“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.”
That immortal line from “A League of Their Own” is about professional baseball, but it could be applied to a number of things, including Kenosha County’s Drug Treatment Court.
Drug Treatment Court offers nonviolent offenders with substance abuse problems an opportunity to avoid prison by going through an intensive, court-monitored treatment program that includes counseling, drug testing, oversight by a team of court officials and frequent check-ins in the courtroom.
The program lasts at least a year, and it is not easy. Just ask its most recent graduate, Jaime Rightmire.
When she was recommended for the program, she saw it as an easy way out.
“I thought this was going to be something I could fake my way through,” she said at her graduation ceremony last week. “I didn’t think I was going to have to do much except basically go to these meetings and these groups and tell as little as possible.”
But she was wrong.
It took a meeting with her treatment provider — with a message she didn’t want to hear — to change her tune and get serious about the program.
“It was then I realized I needed to change, and I had to be open, honest and use coping skills instead of using drugs to numb my feelings and talk about what’s bothering me,” she said. “And I had to learn to reach out for help instead of ... pushing people away.”
The story was similar for Philip Tabili Jr., who graduated from the program in 2018.
“I think I saw it as a get-out-of-jail-free card,” he said. “I didn’t care. I didn’t want to be in jail, but I didn’t want to stop getting high. I thought getting high was life,” Tabili said.
But he did a “complete 180,” according to his treatment court coordinator. Upon his graduation in June, he had full-time work, an apartment, a car and a new outlook on life.
“I realized that being sober is better than being high,” he said.
The county’s Drug Treatment Court has proven consistently that it works. But it works because it’s hard.
It’s not for everybody, and not everyone who enters makes it through because it demands much from its participants.
But for those who graduate, the work makes all the difference in the world. Each success story is one less person in jail or one less addict on the streets, committing crimes in the eternal lust to get high.
We applaud the Drug Treatment Court for its success, and its difficulty. Because skating through such a program does no one any good.
And as Tom Hanks said in the movie, “the hard is what makes it great.”