When Jessica Reed started attending Montgomery County’s Family Treatment Court, she admits she did so begrudgingly to regain custody of her young daughter.
“I was still in the mindset that I hadn’t done anything wrong,” she said.
A year later the Huber Heights resident says the specialized docket run through the Juvenile Court is the best thing that’s happened to her in her recovery from cocaine and alcohol addiction. She’s close to getting her daughter back full time and has more than 150 days sober.
“The thing with family treatment court is they’re not just with you for the addiction side of things,” she said. “I’m a better person now because of them, not just that I don’t use drugs anymore.”
‘It was fun’
For Reed, 22, cocaine use started as a way to have fun in 2017. It quickly got out of control. By December of that year, she was using every day and admits she neglected her daughter.
“I’d be up for three days, or I’d just sleep. So I wasn’t involved with my family,” she said. “It was fun and that’s why I did it. I think people need to be honest about that.”
At one point her mom became concerned enough to take Reed to a treatment center.
But the woman doing her assessment said there was nothing the facility could do for her because her drug of choice was cocaine. Reed remembers her saying, “that’s not going to kill you.”
“They sent me away, sent me home, and I kept using after that,” she said.
In March of 2018 a showdown with her boyfriend over Reed’s drug use ended with her mother calling Children Services and her daughter being removed from the home.
A caseworker referred her to Family Treatment Court, which is designed to improve outcomes for children by providing their parents with drug and alcohol treatment and other services so reunification can happen more quickly.
‘They never gave up on me’
Reed said her first days in the court program were scary. She heard other participants talking about heroin use and withdrawal symptoms and couldn’t really relate to them.
But support from the court staff is what got her through, she said.
“I was so alone and it was very frightening and almost embarrassing,” she said.
The staff never made her feel like a failure, even when she relapsed repeatedly with alcohol and once with cocaine.
She experienced two miscarriages and the court staff were there to help her cope without turning to drugs.
“They never gave up on me even when I was this close to giving up on myself,” Reed said.
She’s now in the third of four phases of the court program and is confident her 2-year-old daughter will be home soon. She’s engaged to her daughter’s father and they’ve been going to couples counseling. Reed said she’s learned skills to make her a better mother and has even grown closer to her own mom in the process.
“I really don’t believe I would be where I am now, and as close to getting her back without them,” she said.
“She’s my everything. It hurts that I forgot that for awhile.”