FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – It’s rare that the testimony of a 17-year-old girl and her mom brings tears to the eyes of county officials but it happened during the Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday (April 6) when Abby (last name withheld) courageously told the story of her drug addiction, her recovery and how the Forsyth County Drug Intervention Program saved her life.
Drew Hayes, Principal at Academies of Creative Education, Matt Meyer, Director of the Insight Program, and Mitch Durdle, the Abuse Counselor at Gateway Academy, explained the program before introducing the principal speaker.
“Hey, I’m Abby and I’m six months sober,” she began. “I’m 17 years old.”
Abby started using drugs when she was 14 and was expelled from school before she started high school. When she was allowed to return to school she said her sophomore year was extremely hard. “I was dealing with my addiction, my suicidal tendencies, self-harm and mental issues,” she said. “I rarely went to school, my grades were terrible and my life was going in the wrong direction.”
That is when she transferred to Forsyth Academy. “I met Mitch there and he introduced me to Full Circle,” she said. “My life has done a complete 180. I’m continuing to do the work to stay sober and get my life together. I am so much happier with who I am and the actions I take every day. I used to have a very bad relationship with my family and took a lot of actions that made my connection with them worse.”
The good news is all that has changed. “I have a great relationship with my Mom, stepdad and siblings,” Abby said. “It’s incredible how this has happened because I never thought I would be this happy and healthy. So many kids that are using and abusing drugs and dealing with a lot of issues can benefit from these programs because it changes your life completely.”
Her mother spoke next and, fighting back tears, said, “Full Circle and Insight – I know this may seem a little dramatic – it has saved my child’s life. I am so proud of my daughter and where she is – six months sober.”
Abby’s powerful testimony also touched an emotional Sheriff Ron Freeman who addressed commissioners, saying, “Tell me something we can do better with our money. Tell me something we can do better that makes such a difference.”
Following the teen’s testimony the Board of Commissioners directed the county attorney to draft a new three-year agreement to continue the Drug Intervention program.
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