BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Four participants graduated Sullivan County Felony Recovery Court Tuesday night, as proud friends and family watched.

“It’s been a long journey, you know I started when I was 20 weeks pregnant,” one of the graduates, Monica, said. “I was addicted to suboxone, and I didn’t want to have a drug-addicted baby, and so he was born clean.”

Monica said she’s been struggling with addiction for the past ten years, but it’s the recovery court that finally helped her overcome.

“It gives me a new respect for the justice system,” Monica said. “I mean even though I’m looking forward to getting out of it, they truly are there to help us.”

Criminal Court Judge Jim Goodwin is a program leader. He said recovery court started in 2015 with one goal in mind.

“It’s a vicious cycle where individuals are addicted to drugs, they commit crime, to either get money for drugs or to get drugs and then they go through the addiction, the criminal justice process,” Goodwin said. “We’re trying to use recovery court to break that cycle.”

Graduates said they are thankful to the program for holding them accountable and their fellow graduates for inspiring them.

“I was an addict for almost twenty years,” graduate Shannon Widener said. “I’m just proud to be where I’m at.”