Family Recovery Court graduate perseveres, despite pandemic

BATAVIA, OH — Lexus McCoy didn’t let the pandemic stop her from starting recovery from addiction. McCoy, 22, began the rigorous Clermont County Family Recovery Court just before COVID-19 hit. Much of her support came over Zoom, instead of in person.

“You have a great work ethic,” said Judge James A. Shriver, during the court’s 11th graduation ceremony on April 15.

McCoy joined the program in February 2020. She has been employed throughout the process and is pursuing her GED. Since joining the Family Recovery Court, she has been successfully released from probation. She is active in the sober support community and is working with a sober support sponsor. She has had her 5-year-old son back in her care since December 2020.

Her commencement project covered Parenting in Recovery. She spoke about handling the challenges of raising a small son – and the helpful advice she received from family members, her boyfriend, a counselor, her recovery coach, caseworkers, Family Recovery Court staff, and her Narcotics Anonymous (NA) family and sponsor.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out for help,” she said.

Family Recovery Court, a specialized docket under Judge Shriver, was one of the first of its kind in southwestern Ohio when it started in 2014. The program is based on the drug court model, which emphasizes treatment over punishment.

On average, the program takes more than a year to complete. Families (couples or individuals) voluntarily enter Family Recovery Court.

Requirements include attending frequent court hearings, Substance Use Disorder treatment, random and frequent drug screens, meetings with a case manager, calling and checking in regularly, attending AA or similar sober support meetings and getting a sponsor or mentor, having income, establishing housing, taking care of criminal matters and getting a driver’s license.

Participants work closely with a recovery coach, who helps them get started attending 12-step or similar meetings and makes herself available to talk.

Judge Shriver presented McCoy with a certificate for 400 days of sobriety, a diploma and gifts such as a notebook charting her progress.

“You persevered and you knew what you wanted,” Judge Shriver told McCoy.