The 21st District Recovery Court’s 10th annual community breakfast is set for 7:15-8:30 Monday at the Williamson County Enrichment Center, at 110 Everbright Ave. in Franklin.
Because of the coronavirus, the event, which is catered by Puckett’s and seeks to raise money and bring awareness to the Recovery Court program, will be scaled back to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Recovery Court has become an effective solution to a problem that has plagued local law enforcement and communities. According to Williamson County law enforcement officials, much of the crime committed in this county is drug- or alcohol-related.
The 21st District Recovery Court is a two-year, court-supervised program for nonviolent offenders who suffer from addiction-related issues. For those in the program, it can be instead of or in addition to traditional sentences.
Either way, it provides hope and opportunities for a better quality of life.
Recovery Court changes lives and reduces recidivism while also saving taxpayer money. The length of the program, it’s rigorous treatment and monitoring helps participants change habits and learn new life skills that can lead to a successful, productive and happier life.
For an addict, sobriety is a daily fight to keep from slipping off the cliff. Each day sober is a cause for celebration. Recovery Court provides the skills, support and motivation to break old habits.
During the breakfast, former participants will talk about their journey through recovery and their transformation.
When Sidney McKissack is asked about his journey from addiction to sobriety, he proudly starts with, “I’ve been sober for nine years. Recovery Court and God saved me.”
McKissack, who works two jobs, lives with his longtime girlfriend, who’s “been through it all” with him. They can see buying a house or condo in the future. That would be a big accomplishment for someone who, for years, was only sober when behind bars.
McKissack, now in his 50s, started drinking alcohol at an early age. A couple of beers led to stronger spirits. It wasn’t long until he added marijuana and cocaine and couldn’t keep a job. He became a familiar face with local law enforcement and at the Williamson County jail. Each arrest was increasingly more serious.
His last arrest resulted in numerous felony charges and yielded a 15-year sentence in prison. Then he got the chance to enroll in Recovery Court.
“It sure was hard work, a lot of rules,” McKissack said. “I had to get away from everybody I knew. They weren’t good for me. I passed every drug test. I never missed a meeting and was never late for anything. If you were late, you could get kicked out. I didn’t want to get kicked out.”
McKissack was required to find a job, follow a strict curfew and attend weekly meetings and court appearances. He had to stay busy.
In return for sticking with the program, McKissack’s 15-year prison sentence was reduced to jail time served and probation. Soon he will be celebrating the end of his probation.
“I am so grateful for Recovery Court,” he said several times during the interview.
Recovery Court saves lives and families.
The community breakfast also provides an opportunity to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to Recovery Court and its mission. This year’s honoree will be Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Timothy L. Easter, one of the 21st District Recovery Court founders, a board member and former judge of the Recovery Court.
Monday’s breakfast will be Recovery Court’s only fundraiser this year, so registration is recommended. Simply go to www.21stdc.org/events/community-breakfast.