Drug Court ceremony honors graduates' work to get sober

Drug Court ceremony honors graduates' work to get sober
Rhonnah Houlihan (Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It's been a long road for the 18 graduates who will walk across the stage at the Berger Performing Arts Center on Wednesday night, June 6, commemorating their hard work to regain their sobriety.

The grads are moving on from the Superior Court's Drug Court and the Pima County Attorney's Office Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison program.

Graduates, their families and friends, Superior Court judges, and alumni are paying tribute to the successes of each of the graduates.

The success of the programs that helped get some of them sober, like drug court and DTAP, has been long-standing. The Superior Court's Drug Court program has been around since 2007, aimed at recovery rather than punishment. DTAP has been helping people regain their sobriety since 2010 by providing them residential drug treatment and recovery support.

For Rhonnah Houlihan, drug court completely turned her life around. Houlihan, who will read a poem she wrote while in jail at Wednesday's graduation, is on track to graduate in February 2019.

"Drug court saved my life," she said. "I was going to go to prison. So I was going to get like a two-year sentence and now I have the chance to be out and actually work on my sobriety, because in prison they don't have programs like the one I went to. I went to a rehab and they taught me so many things to stay clean and it's just, it's a blessing."

Houlihan struggled with using meth and heroin. She was eventually arrested and after her time spent detoxing from drugs she says she realized it wasn't worth it to go back. Now, she's working to change the course of her life and to achieve her goals.

"The thing that I can say the most is that it's just a one day at a time thing. Every day will be hard but you just have to get through it, cause they say in NA (Narcotics Anonymous) that you just have to get, stay clean one more day. And that's a win."

A win indeed for Houlihan. Tuesday, June 5, was her 7-month sober anniversary.

It's something she's very proud of and even though she won't be walking with them, Houlihan says she's proud of Wednesday's graduates.

The Drug Court and DTAP graduation is at 6 p.m. in the Berger Performing Arts Center at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind, 1200 W. Speedway Boulevard.

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