By Kathy Walsh
DENVER (CBS4) – On Monday, 15 people graduated sober. All completed the Denver County Sobriety Court program and made commitments to maintain a sober life.
It’s not an easy program. It is 14 to 24 months of treatment, supervision and staying sober, but graduating from Sobriety Court is a ticket to a better life.
Lei-Linne Radlein is a proud graduate. She says she has gained confidence and courage and is a different person than the one who came to Colorado two years ago.
“A very insecure individual who was only living for the sake of her children,” Radlein explained.
That was 2016. She left her two sons in California, but carried a chronic disease with her.
“Are you an alcoholic?” asked CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
“Yes,” Radlein answered.
She had a DUI in California. In Colorado, she got a second and then a third in less than 30 days.
“I suffer from depression and there was the whole change and missing my sons … wondering if I made the right choice or not,” she explained.
It was a difficult time, but this single mother got a break. She was accepted into the Denver County Sobriety Court, a special treatment court to reduce the recidivism of drunk driving in Denver.
“It would shorten my sentence in jail, but it would be a longer follow up period,” Radlein said.
She spent three months in jail and a total of 18 months in the intensive, structured program that included random alcohol testing and classes.
“Doing community service, getting therapy, trying to identify the root cause of the problem,” she said.
On this day, she is back in court with her 3-month-old daughter, Emory. Two years sober, Radlein is graduating after completing the program.
“A big word for me is hope. I now have hope,” Radlein said.
And she has hope for others. Radlein is speaking out so others struggling with sobriety won’t be ashamed.
“It takes a matter of courage and bravery to admit that you have a problem, but that’s the way you get the help,” she said.
According to the court, since 2011, 438 people have graduated from Denver County Sobriety Court. Participants in the program are 19 times less likely to re-offend than non-participants.