VAN BUREN COUNTY, MI — For more than three decades, the judiciary has served people in the United States to the tune of $1.5 billion.

In West Michigan, they save communities thousands of tax dollars by giving those suffering from drug addiction the tools to turn their lives around.

One recovering Kalamazoo addict turned his life around with a program in Van Buren County.

Malachi Trevino, 34, has been clean and sober for nearly three years, but in 2019, he’s nowhere near that.

“Before I got arrested, I lived to use and I used to live,” said Malachi Trevino, a recovering addict. “I was probably arrested 20 times,” he said.

Trevino has a long track record that began when he was just 17 years old.

His problems stem from the loss of both parents. He said his dad died of cancer and his mom died of drug addiction.

“When you go through all that trauma as a child, you just start hiding those things. It’s like an escape from reality. Then all of a sudden it was the weekend, then maybe once a week, and then before I knew it, it was a daily thing,” Trevino said.

About four years ago, he realized he needed help after noticing he was following in his mother’s footsteps too closely.

“I remember looking in the mirror one day and seeing myself slowly dying,” Trevino said.

Trevino was arrested soon after, but he says it was the push he needed. He said he found a good group of people who believed in him, a 12-step program and a drug treatment court that was part of his probation.

“When somebody starts with us at the first stage, it’s pretty intense,” said Van Buren County 7th District Court Judge Michael McKay. “30 meetings in 30 days. The contact they have with the court and our case managers is very intense in the beginning and gradually diminishes as they get closer to graduation and as they prepare to do it on their own,” he said.

The program aims to reduce crime and has proven to do just that.

Since its founding in Van Buren County, it has helped more than 600 men and women with drug addiction.

Malachi is one of the 600.

“I needed some structure. It’s really hard at first, they make you do all these different things. There’s classes and therapy and queues and stuff so, you know, I really had to sit down and they gave me the tools to work on myself. I just had to apply them,” Trevino said.

He submitted the documents himself and finished in the minimum period of 18 months. Participants have up to five years to graduate.

Judge McKay said it was rare to finish the program so quickly.

“It’s a process for everybody, right? It’s their own journey. What you get through the program, whether it’s 18 months or five years, at the end of it you get somebody who’s finished it, who’s changed their life? It’s great, see this transformation,” said Judge McKay.

Read Malachi’s testimony to Judge McKay below:

Malachi Trevino – Testimony by WXMI on Scribd

Malachi made the transformation by making the necessary changes and mending the relationship.

“Now I have a stable job with benefits and good pay. I became a father. Today I am present for the lives of my children. I also got certified as a recovery coach through the drug recovery court,” Trevino said.

Trevino isn’t the same guy he was more than a decade ago, and he said he works hard every day to make sure he doesn’t go back to that.

“Today, I’m present all my life. I take everything in. I don’t need to take and use it,” he said.

Malachi said that time does not allow him yet, but he hopes to one day give money to those who want to change their lives, like him, and become a sponsor himself.

There are more than 4,000 drug treatment courts in the United States, serving 150,000 people each year.

Here in West Michigan, there are several programs similar to the Van Buren County Addiction Treatment Court. Click your county below for more information.

If you don’t see your county listed, Click here.

Check out ours a list of community resources available to help in West Michigan.

More A Path Forward coverage.


Source link