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Mohave drug court grads hear Angius' powerful story

Hildy Angius

KINGMAN - Two recovering alcoholics and the child of parents who were addicted to heroin shared their personal stories at a Drug Court graduation ceremony Thursday. Once again, a prominent member of the community revealed intensely personal details of their own struggles, and in the process gave hope and inspiration to dozens in attendance.

Mohave County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Hildy Angius said she often introduces herself in public settings as a matter of course, given her position, but she also introduces herself thusly:

"Hi. My name is Hildy and I'm a grateful recovering alcoholic."

She can remember the date she quit drinking. Angius told the six graduates and their peers in the Mohave County Superior Court Drug Court Program's third graduation, and their friends and relatives, that she has been sober since Nov. 15, 2006.

"I consider myself a success story," she said. "I (used to) consider myself a broken person."

Angius voiced her support for drug court, which primarily helps people with an addiction to methamphetamine and other drugs, saying her stepson is alive today thanks to a drug court program.

"It's up to you," Angius said. "I can't do it for you, but I can tell you that without sobriety I cannot have this unbelievably incredible and satisfying life."

Angius said you have to "do the work" to maintain the straight and narrow path and that you have to allow yourself to be humbled.

Mohave County Supervisor Steve Moss once again told of walking in on his parents shooting heroin when he was 6 years old. Moss also spoke of living in foster care for three years, along with his brothers, because of his parents' addiction.

But he also said his father never beat drugs. His mother did - and as a single parent raised three successful sons.

Corky Cornell gave them the long-view. The 80-year-old has been sober for the last 41 years. He told them he still goes to meetings and encouraged them to acknowledge they will have to do the same.

Each graduate spoke and most teared up at least once. They spoke of being grateful to Judge Ken Gregory, Judge Rick Williams and the probation officers, counselors and others that make up the drug court team.

They spoke of a "life of despair" when they arrived at drug court and they now see, clearly, a life of hope.

They thanked the team for its patience and for "not giving up on me."

One drew laughs when she acknowledged her probation officer.

"She reached out to me ... with cuffs."

She also pointed out Justice of the Peace David Huerta, a former law enforcement officer, in the audience.

"He was my arresting officer," she said. "Thanks for being here."

Lighthearted moments aside, the ceremony was gravely serious for graduates, and for many of those who are still in the program.

They have rebuilt shattered lives thanks to one of the most intense and successful prison diversions programs in history.

In fact, longtime plans to establish drug court programs in Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City have come to fruition.

Williams said he will head up drug court in Bullhead City and Judge Rick Lambert will help build a drug court in Lake Havasu City. Gregory will continue to lead the program in Kingman, a job he began six months ago.


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