WILMINGTON — Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck likes to have drug court participants learn from each other’s experiences and at Friday’s session he asked Mark Fannin to say some words to his fellow travelers.
“This is probably the hardest journey I’ve taken in my life to step out into something where I’m not comfortable,” said Mark. He added that all that other stuff that came before — as disruptive and self-destructive as it was — had become normal for him, had, in a sense, become “comfortable” to him.
A different path was new and uncomfortable, not to mention challenging.
He told the others, when you get knocked down, you pick yourself up and you move forward.
“They say that’s why the windshield in a car is so big and the rear-view mirror is so small,” said Mark. He added he keeps those kind of sayings going through his head constantly.
Mark also said he does a lot of things he never did before, for example keeping himself surrounded by people who are doing the same thing or have dealt with the same problem.
“People like Bricker who show me a pathway — a pathway out — which I never thought possible,” said Mark. Christopher “Chris” Bricker, a June 2018 drug court graduate, was in the courtroom gallery Friday and serving as an example of what is possible.
Friday was the 100th status hearing for the You-Turn Recovery Docket (drug court) in Clinton County, and Rudduck took the occasion to be reflective about the program.
One of the challenges during the past four years since the drug court started was getting law enforcement and some members of the community to understand what some of the issues of addiction are, said the judge, saying it’s a learning curve.
Rudduck related that a member of the Wilmington Police Department who has come to the drug court treatment team’s meetings says he just cannot believe how Mark has changed.
Rudduck recalled that at the drug court’s beginning it was clear that the addiction problem was bigger than the criminal justice system alone can handle, and there’s a need for people in the community to embrace the You-Turn Recovery Docket idea and approach because while the court can be the hub of the drug court there are other community services that need to develop around it.
When something like You-Turn gets going, “Good people come in and want to be a part of it; that happens,” he said.
The vast majority of drug court participants at Friday’s status review were said to be doing well. Two participants had broken the rules and were not in attendance and warrants had been issued. They are reminders, the judge said, that it is not easy.
But to those who are doing quite well, Rudduck advised, “Keep smiling.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.