15 former addicts and offenders graduate Winn. Co. Drug Court - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

15 former addicts and offenders graduate Winn. Co. Drug Court

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More than a dozen Rockford area residents who have struggled with substance abuse and turned to crime are starting new lives.  They've passed through a program in the Winnebago County Court system.
Supporters say without that initiative, these former felons could still be behind bars or even dead.  Wednesday's fifteen Winnebago County Drug Court graduates bring the total in this area to 555 since the program started 18 years ago.
"I was a heroin addict off and on for 10 years of my life." -says Rockford resident and program graduate Amandah Bolton.
Bolton started using at age 16.  During her time as an addict, Amandah says she hit rock bottom.
"It got to the point where I was sleeping in my car, not having anywhere to go, no family because of my addiction."
It took her a decade to realize she needed help.  Amandah had this epiphany while she was in jail.
"You have to want it.  Once you want it and you continue on the right path, everything goes well from there.  You have your ups and downs, but if you keep your faith, keep going, everything has a way of working itself out." -she explains.
Now, she's a drug court graduate, Amandah has her GED, a job, she's been clean for more than two years and recently welcomed another great gift.
"I have a family.  I have a little girl who just came into my life and I've just been blessed for staying clean."
Tanya Griggs is another success story.  She struggled with addiction for 30 years.
"Anything that made me feel good, but my drug of choice was heroin and cocaine." -Tanya admits.
Tanya's been in the drug court program since 2010.
"It was a struggle.  I'm not going to tell that it wasn't, because it was.  But, I believe that anything worth having, is worth fighting for."
She says she reached a low point in her addiction when her dad passed away.  She wishes he was here Wednesday to see her accomplishments.
"I know he's looking down at me.  I know he's proud now."
Tanya is currently in school earning a 4.0 GPA.  Her dream is to become a drug counselor and help others like she's been helped.  But, the most important accomplishment has been getting her kids back.  They now make up the strong support system backing her success.
"To hear them tell me 'Mom I'm so proud of you,' that's just a feeling that I never want to go away."
Both Amandah and Tanya say if there's anyone watching going through their own issues talk so someone.  Reach out and get someone to listen.  Click here for more information on Winnebago County Drug Court.  
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