January 24 – This Friday another group of graduates will have successfully completed Macon County Drug Court.
The Macon County Drug Court is holding its eighth graduation and one graduate shared her story of how the program has affected her and how far she’s come.
Sharon Conaway is a lifelong Decatur resident who’s very conscious of her mistakes. In the past, she says her dependence on meth and marijuana was a hindrance to a productive life. It was after she was arrested for retail theft and burglary that she had to make a choice. Conaway faced 4 to 11 years at the Illinois Department of Corrections or could attend the drug court. She decided getting clean was her best option.
Conaway has now served in the program for 14 months and admits it was difficult at first and had a couple slip ups. Now she can proudly say she’s been sober for five months, is employed, has completed three semesters at Richland Community College majoring in Business Management and gets to see her one and a half-year-old grandson grow up.
“My main supporters are my son, daughter in law and grandson,” says Conaway. “The biggest part of my support group is my hybrid drug court family. Everybody is awesome they know your life story and what you’re going through. These people have changed my life.”
Loved ones will be present as Conaway and other graduates will be honored for their achievements at the graduation ceremony at Macon County Courthouse Courtroom 5A. Since March 2014, the program has graduated a total of 76 participants who have successfully completed the program.
“This is probably the biggest accomplishment of my entire life,” says Conaway. “This is life changing, and such an achievement for me because of the lifestyle I lead for 23 years. I’m sure I’ll be emotional with joy and sadness and it’s kind of a bittersweet moment because these people with the drug court are my family and they know everything I’ve gone through and my struggles.”
Conaway wrote a poem about her struggles that she will recite at the graduation. The poem reflects her struggles with addiction that she wrote a year ago.
“This poem is where I was a year ago and here’s where I am today,” says Conaway. “When I arrived at the program I was struggling with anxiety, codependency and addiction. Now I’ve got everything under control. I’m going to read it to let the people know in drug court to never give up.”
The Drug Court Graduation is this Friday, January 27 at 2:30 p.m. in Macon County Courthouse Courtroom 5A. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served following the graduation.