Friday, January 22, 2010

Four People Complete Drug Court Program in Emotional Ceremony

Posted: 01/14/2010 09:28:31 PM PST

Sometimes the road to victory is rough, but as four Butte County residents testified Thursday, one can definitely make it.
Those victors were two men and two women who made the long, stringent journey through the county's drug court program to a graduation ceremony at the courthouse in Oroville.

It was an emotional afternoon, not only for the graduates and current drug court clients, but for friends, families and drug court officials, including Superior Court Judge Sandra L. McLean.

Before the ceremony, excited Chicoan Troy Woodrow was anxious to get started.

"I feel great," Woodrow said. "I'm excited to get on with the rest of my life. It took this program to change my life, but now that I'm through it, I'm ready to get on with the rest of my life."

Drug Court is an 18-month program, but it took Woodrow 26 months to complete it. During the graduation, he told the audience that in the beginning, he didn't think he would make it.

"At one point, early on, I made a decision to change everything and do everything asked of me by drug court to be successful," he said.

Woodrow said he began taking one day at a time. Those days turned into months and eventual success. He advised those still in the program to do what they're asked.

What got him into the program was possession of methamphetamine. He has turned his life around, is employed and has a good relationship with his 17-year-old son.

During the ceremony, graduate Jill Hoxby fought tears



as she received her diploma and listened to comments from probation counselor Roberta Powell.
Powell spoke of Hoxby's remarkable change from being like a hermit to becoming a beautiful woman who now chases after her life.

When given a copy of her initial jail booking photo, Hoxby exclaimed the picture was awful and that she's a new person.

"When I came into drug court, I had given up on me," said Hoxby. Referring to public defender Steve Trenholm, who was missing due to a recent accident, she continued, "Steve said he saw something in me that I didn't know I had. Drug court and God show me there's another way."

Quiet and subdued, graduate Kristina Moon shared few words during the ceremony, but she urged others working through the program to be honest.

"If you're honest, they'll help you get through anything, no matter how bad it is," Moon said.

Throughout the ceremony, McLean congratulated each graduate in a unique way, and happily granted an end to their participation in drug court. At times her eyes glistened with tears.

After the ceremony, graduate Nolan Zink beamed excitedly. Inside the courtroom, about a dozen family members and friends had cheered and applauded his long road to victory. It took him three years and two months, but he made it.

Zink said he began using drugs in college, and use quickly became a lifestyle. Then he had a motorcycle accident in 2003 and couldn't walk. His addiction coupled with depression, and he "went south," he said.

For him, the turnaround was after he got into a faith-based recovery program for a year.

"I never had any faith before that, but I began to see people around me who had hope and joy, so I followed their lead."

Zink said he felt great.

"I know that with the goals I set for myself, the world is at my hands now," Zink said. "I have the choice not to go back."

Dan Nelson of the District Attorney's Office said officials in the program are pleased to see the progress the four individuals made.

"They're reconnecting with their families, becoming productive, and getting jobs," Nelson said. "They've become people I would be glad to recommend for employment."

The journey included intensive meetings with Behavioral Health counselors, probation and drug testing, monthly reviews and attendance at self-help meetings.

There were words of advice in a message from Trenholm read by a probation official. He advised them to stay away from people and places where there is drinking and/or drugs. He also reminded them they're not alone, and can get help if they need it in the future.

"We are here," Trenholm stated. "Don't try to do recovery by yourself."

Staff writer Barbara Arrigoni can be reached at 533-3136 or

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