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Making Christmas bright

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard Santa watches as Zykeria Samuel (hot pink) and  Neveah McCall (black jacket) opens their presents, which were provided in part by the Escambia County Drug Court participants

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard
Santa watches as Zykeria Samuel (hot pink) and Neveah McCall (black jacket) opens their presents, which were provided in part by the Escambia County Drug Court participants.

Drug Court participants provide Christmas to area children

The joy on the children’s faces was enough to make the hardest of souls smile, the crowd agreed.

And if there was ever a “tough crowd,” it would be those currently enrolled with the Escambia County Drug Court, who gathered Friday in First Baptist Church’s Bell Chapel to provide Christmas for more than five area children.

The more than 50 members from all parts of the county, along with the LA Bikers, worked to provide Christmas gifts for the families.

Drug abuse, property crimes and more led each participant to drug court. Now, the group is working to righting their lives.

“And that’s what makes this (providing Christmas) so special,” said Denise Carlee, DC coordinator. “They put the needs of these families above their own this Christmas. That’s huge.”

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard The Baynard, McCall and Samuel children pose with Santa.

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard
The Baynard, McCall and Samuel children pose with Santa.

It’s true for Becky Sorrells of Atmore. A six-month drug court participant, Sorrells was enrolled in the program that offers counseling and education to fight drug addiction, after being arrested for possession of a controlled substance and distribution.

“Pill problem, that’s what got me here,” Sorrells said. “Drug court has been a learning experience. Now, instead of wondering where my next drug is coming from, I have the tools I need to fight my addiction. I’m working on me from the ground up. I’m never going back to living like that.”

Crimson Rose, 19, of Brewton, was doing the wrong thing at the wrong time, she said.

“Spice, that’s what got me,” Rose said. “I’d been addicted for more than a year. I wanted to work, and someone told me Spice didn’t show up on a drug test.”

It didn’t show up on her drug test, but it now shows up on her criminal history, she said.

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard Josiah Baynard (boy on bike) and mom, Deliah, go through the stack of presents left for him on Friday.

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard
Josiah Baynard (boy on bike) and mom, Deliah, go through the stack of presents left for him on Friday.

Clean since September, the one-week participant of drug court credits the tools she is learning with her recovery.

“I fight every day to stay clean, not to relapse,” Rose said. “I’m scared to be open about my addiction, but I know that’s the key. That and a positive attitude.”

Suzanne Digmon, 34, has fought addiction for 16 years. Her mother, Letty, said drug court has brought her daughter “back to life.”

“It’s like she’s back from the dead,” Mrs. Digmon said. “To see her recovery, I celebrate these days. And here at Christmas, we have something to celebrate. I gave up hope a long time ago. It’s like she’s been born again.”

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard  Suzanne and Letty Digmon smile at the new life made possible by the Escambia County Drug Court process.

Stephanie Snodgrass | The Brewton Standard
Suzanne and Letty Digmon smile at the new life made possible by the Escambia County Drug Court process.

And that’s exactly what the recovering meth addict from Atmore said, too, of her two-month progress in drug court.

“I had periods of sobriety,” Miss Digmon said. “But life put me right back in that path again. Now, I know that I have to work hard, and drug court helps me do that. The support that I get, it makes it better.

“I feel alive,” she said. “For the first time in a long time, I feel alive.”