Q&A with therapeutic court graduates

Posted: Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mary Miller, a 61-year Juneau resident, and Jo Ann Lockwood, a 45-year resident, will graduate from the Juneau Therapeutic Court on May 15. Miller is an executive secretary for the state of Alaska, and Lockwood is the owner of Your Office Assistant, a sole proprietor bookkeeping service in Juneau.

Q: Generally, what is your opinion on the Juneau Therapeutic Court?

Miller: "I think it was very helpful to me although I didn't believe I had a problem and was negative at first. I said I could speak one-on-one, not to a group, but that changed. It turned out to be very helpful, and I have to say, it was rigorous but worth the time and effort."

Lockwood: "It has been an honor to have been a participant in the Therapeutic Court Program and to have been encouraged and allowed, individually, to change my life."

Q: Please comment on the instructors or program itself.

Miller: "There were a few changes during the time I was in the program, but all in all, it did go well, and I had no problems with any of the counselors and especially liked Judge Levy for his kindness and time he puts in - not with just one person but to all."

Lockwood: "The Therapeutic Court Program is based on three values - honesty, integrity and complete accountability. The 'team' includes Judge Keith Levy; Kendall Merry, Therapeutic Court coordinator; Mike Helms, Therapeutic Court liaison at Gastineau Human Services; Samantha Abernanthy, counselor at Rainforest Recovery; and the attorneys involved."

Q: Would your recommend JTC? If you could give someone who was in your situation advice, what would you suggest?

Miller: "I don't have a drug or alcohol addiction, and I know that I made it through the program. I made a bad choice in driving and have paid dearly by not having the freedom to drive myself anywhere, anytime I need to, and it's very hard for work not to mention the family I have to depend on. I do recommend the program to everyone who has a DWI, and it should be mandatory to anyone who has two or more. Since I am not familiar with drugs, I cannot say. I am glad I accomplished what I set out to do although losing a brother and my health issues only made me pursue my goals."

Lockwood: "With daily check-ins at the Half-Way House, including urinalysis and breathalyzer, and weekly court appearances, counseling classes and mandatory AA meetings for the first six weeks to three months in the program, we are allowed the habit of the three basic human values of honesty, integrity and complete accountability, to become a part of our being.

"The 'team,' as well as all participants, are in continual close contact. We are mandated to three AA meetings a week, with a signature sheet turned into Therapeutic Court, weekly, throughout the eighteen month program.

"We have become a close-knit group, as we are allowed to work through our daily living activities, with the challenge to change and the long-term support of the 'team' and other Therapeutic Court participants."

Q: Anything else you'd like to add?

Miller: "Thank you to all the officials who help make a difference in my life for the better, open my eyes to see where I am going and be proud of who I am. I only hope I can help someone by completing the program."

Lockwood: "The close contact, both in the Therapeutic Court structure and the AA community, even more securely binds our honesty, integrity and complete accountability."

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