Courtroom one at the Christian County Justice Center was filled with people laughing, crying and applauding three individuals who graduated from Christian County Drug Court Wednesday afternoon.
Jamey Adams, Jennifer Frazier and Brittany Ezell all stood at a podium in front of a room full of friends, family, sponsors and drug court personnel to share their stories of success as they transition from drug court graduation to continuing to live a sober life.
After graduating from drug court, Ezell now wants to work toward becoming a substance abuse counselor herself.
Where her addiction began
In 2015, Ezell received an indictment from Christian County Grand Jury for trafficking in drugs and organized crime. Ezell shared that she was selling drugs to fuel her drug addiction. However, she said her drug problems probably started when she was around 15 years old.
Ezell explained that she began dating a drug dealer, was smoking marijuana and began being consumed with party life. Ezell said she wanted to do everything he was doing; however, her “hardcore” addiction began after she turned 21.
In 2015, she was indicted for drug trafficking and spent 13 days in jail before she was released and spent the next two years dealing with her court case. After being sentenced on her charges, she was sent to Grace and Mercy, a non-denominational, nonprofit house that focuses on helping women in crisis through evangelism.
After completing a sobriety program through Grace and Mercy, Ezell’s mother became sick and she turned to drugs to deal with the stress and hardship once again.
“My mother got sick, I thought I could stay sober in the mix of that, but not only did I lose my mom, I lost my best friend,” Ezell said. “So, what’d I do? I turned to drugs again.”
At that point, Ezell started the drug court program and realized she had a problem. Ezell spent the last two years trying to complete drug court, but not without her fair share of problems.
Ezell said she received several sanctions while in drug court, meaning she was reprimanded and sometimes had to spend days in jail.
“I put drug court through a lot,” Ezell said. “I’ve been on eight or nine sanctions until finally (drug court supervisor) Mike Walker and I talked, and they said ‘Brittany, you need help.’”
After that, Ezell was sent to long-term treatment at Cumberland Hope Community in Harlan County, roughly six hours away, for 11 months. During that time, she couldn’t see her children or the rest of her family.
Ezell has three sons, Landon, 13, Louis, 11, and Liam, 8. She shared that she gave her oldest son, Landon, to his grandparents when he was 2 years old.
After completing treatment, Ezell returned to Hopkinsville and spent three months at Trilogy Center For Women.
“I then decided it was time for me to move on (and) become a mother,” Ezell said. "I was away from them for a year; it was time for me to do things I’ve not done."
Now, Ezell currently works for Holiday Burger and is dedicated to not only staying sober but also working toward using her story to help others.
Her new and sober life
During her years as an addict, Ezell’s sisters Amanda Birdsong and Courtney Hale, said she was selfish and never really cared about being a mother or a family member. Birdsong even added that during Ezell’s addiction, she was afraid of leaving her kids around Ezell.
Now, she is a caring and dedicated mother and takes pride in the little things related to being a parent that she never did in the past.
“This might be a small thing, but I actually bought school supplies and school clothes for my kids,” Ezell said, with her sister Courtney Hale adding that was something she never cared about in the past.
Ezell today focuses on staying busy, working and taking care of her children. Moving forward, she said she wants to become a substance-abuse counselor and help others using her story.
“I love helping people,” she said. “I’ve always had a big heart, it’s just the drugs hardened it. Today, I care for people.
“I love listening to people and giving them advice," she continued. "I love telling people where I’ve been and where I come from. I want to teach and help people with what I’ve been taught and learned.”
Ezell added that she never graduated high school due to fueling her drug addiction. So, her next step now is to work on getting her GED, which Birdsong, who is a teacher, is happy to help her accomplish.
After that, Ezell wants to work toward getting a Peer Support license and then go to college to get a degree in order to become a counselor.
Despite being sober for over two years now, Ezell acknowledges that it’s not over.
“It’s a fight that I’m going to continue to have to fight daily," she said. "It doesn’t stop here. It’s still there, I still have an allergy to drugs. But, I have a sponsor, I have family today that I can lean on and I didn’t before. Can I sit here say life is perfect? No, but I can face those days and not have to be high and that’s amazing to me."
Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra