Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Woman Shares Drug Court Experiences

02/07/2010, 5:39 pm
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Dan Churney,, 815-431-4050
Theresa Boyle wasn't sincere when she first entered Grundy County drug court. She said she was in it to keep two felony convictions off her record. Not to stop using drugs and alcohol. Not to straighten out her life. Nothing else.

But that changed.

The 24-year-old Minooka woman, who has relatives in Streator, was arrested in early 2007 in Grundy County and charged with possession of cocaine and fraud. While in the jail in Morris, another woman there told her about the drug court program, which then was a few months old. Boyle shrugged, not thinking much of it.

Later, Boyle's attorney also told her about the program in greater detail and she gave it some thought, but didn't like the sound of it — too much supervision. However, she didn't want a felony record to dog her in the coming years, so she entered the program. She went into it addicted daily to alcohol and smoking. At one time for about six months, she had a $150-per-day cocaine habit, but she weaned herself from the white powder before drug court. She can't credit drug court with that, but she can credit it with keeping her off it and everything else.

"I realized I had no self-esteem, no values. I thought I was invincible. I had grown up too fast."

She attributed her substance abuse problems to not having a father in her life, which made her feel worthless, as if something was always wrong with her. She saw other children with fathers, but hers wasn't there.

Drug court showed her she wasn't the spoiled goods she believed.

"I loved drug court. They forced me to get a job. I'm lucky I'm alive, but I wasn't sincere at first. I drank the night before my first day in court. The toughest part was organizing everything, because they expect a lot. I was wasting a lot of time. They taught me to prioritize."

Boyle remembered the turning point came early, when Halloween approached shortly after she entered the program and she was invited to several parties where liquor and drugs would flow.

"Halloween is my favorite holiday. It was a big temptation, but I used the tools (drug court counselors) put in front of me. I resisted because of the consequences. My attorney told me I was walking a fine line and my life was at stake."

Boyle graduated from drug court in March 2009. Boyle and her 4-year-old son live with her mother. She also has aunts involved in her life. Boyle attends a community college full time.

"I put my whole life into my son and school."

However, in the process, she said she has lost four friends from childhood because they're "still in the scene," as she described the drug culture. "My medication is positive people."

Boyle agreed to go out of her way to speak to The Times about her experience with drug court because she'll do "anything to help the cause."

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