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Parents celebrate having a drug-free Christmas with their kids
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
Parents filled the outdoor patio at Carlito's today. The atmosphere was light, filled with laughter and celebration. Members of the group had one thing in common: a history of substance abuse. The Jefferson County Family Treatment Drug Court met to celebrate Christmas and its' members achievements. The program aims to give drug-addicted parents a way back to their children.
"It saved my life. If it wasn't for this program, I'd probably be dead and I would not have my children," said Krissi Savoy, a Drug Court participant who will graduate in January.
Savoy says this Christmas is a big deal for her and her kids.
"This is probably the first sober Christmas in years, since I was probably thirteen," said Savoy. "And just getting to teach them what Christmas is really about."
Tasha Moreno is Savoy's sponsor. Moreno graduated from Drug Court about two years ago.
"It means a lot. I mean, it means my freedom, my life, my sobriety, my kids. I mean I'm a mother, when I tell my kids I'm going to do something, they know now it's going to get done, it's not going to get put off. I mean a simple thing like going out to eat, we're going to do it," said Moreno.
Judge Larry Thorne began the program in 2005. He says it has a 75 percent success rate, which is a huge difference to what he saw before the program.
"I had handled many child protective service cases that involved drugs, out of all those cases, [over] 5 or 6 years, I had only had one successful return of children to a drug addicted mother. So you can see, the difference is just huge," said Judge Thorne.
The goal of the program is for parents to regain custody of their children.
"And what happens at the end of this process, like with Tasha and with Krissi, you watch them over the course of 9 to 18 months, you watch them get their lives back. And they become productive members of society, and you can look into their eyes and the lights are back on, really it's an amazing thing," said the Associate Pastor of United Methodist Temple, Russell Hall.
The United Methodist Temple sponsored this year's Christmas lunch, and works alongside the drug court program. Savoy says this program is helping her be the mom she wants to be.
"Everything. They're the world to me. They're the reason I wake up every morning. They're my world," said Savoy about her kids.