BATAVIA, OH (Dec. 9, 2022) – When Anthony Vieregge entered the Family Recovery Court Program in August 2021, he was homeless and unemployed. He did not have reliable transportation, had outstanding warrants, and was actively using lots of different drugs. He had lost custody of four children.
Just 15 months later, his outlook has completely changed.
“Anthony completed residential treatment, sober living, and transitional living,” Judge James A. Shriver said at Vieregge’s graduation from the program on Dec. 8. “He is very active in the sober support community and now chairs meetings. He has overcome some of the most challenging barriers in his road to recovery. Anthony has an apartment of his own, obtained a license and a car, completed his education for a Peer Support Specialist, taken care of all criminal matters, and reunified with his children. Anthony has been sober for 437 days and has provided 80 negative tox screens.”
Vieregge was joined by his recovery sponsor and guest speaker Daniel Cochran, family and friends at the program’s 14th commencement ceremony.
Cochran shared how helping others helps people in recovery maintain their sobriety. He spoke about the satisfaction of seeing Vieregge grasp sobriety while facing many daunting challenges.
“The best is yet to come,” Cochran said to Vieregge, who spoke about overcoming his struggles with the help of the program. He also showed a video with music that depicted his journey thus far.
Judge Shriver presented these graduation incentives: Outstanding Achievement Certificate, Framed Family Photo, Reports Binder, Sobriety Themed Graduation Gift (Wallet with Serenity Card), $100 Gift Card, Cake to take home. He also gave these additional incentives: Children Home for 100 Days (Ice Cream Gift Card), Over Six Months with Same Employer (Recognition with Applause and Candy Bar), 80 Negative Tox Screens ($25 Gift Card).
The specialized docket under Judge Shriver was one of the first of its kind in southwestern Ohio when it started on Nov. 13, 2014. Clermont County Family Recovery Court was 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.