Reggie Hendrix tried just about everything to beat his cocaine addiction.
The former Williamson County resident, now 57 years old and a business owner in Nashville, thought he could outmuscle his drug problem. He was otherwise healthy, and believed he could stop using through the sheer strength of his body and his mind.
He was wrong, as it turned out.
“I had been having drug addiction problems most of my life,” said Hendrix, who started smoking marijuana as a teenager and soon discovered the power of cocaine. “I would get in trouble with the law, and it was always drug related. Over time, they would just lock me up, and I would never get any kind of help or anything like that. I would still be sick as a dog when I got out.
“My drug addiction became cocaine, and it progressed and got worse and worse. I tried all these ideas of staying sober. I’d tell myself, ‘I’m a strong guy, I can do this.’ You listen to that rhetoric from other people, but nothing worked.”
Until, that is, Hendrix received a recommendation to participate in the 21st District Recovery Court program. An alternative sentencing program in the 21st Judicial District of Williamson, Hickman, Perry and Lewis counties, Recovery Court affords local non-violent offenders with addiction issues the opportunity to complete an extensive two-year, court-supervised program in lieu of and/or in addition to traditional sentencing. It enables them to receive the treatment and skills training necessary to become productive members of society.
The program’s Board of Directors will host its ninth annual Community Breakfast Monday from 7:15 to 8:30 at Puckett's Restaurant in Franklin.
The 21st District Recovery Court is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization funded primarily through grants and private donations, and Monday’s breakfast is one of two fundraisers held annually to support the program.
Hendrix said he’s certainly thankful for the Recovery Court. He had lost count of how many times he had been in and out of jail, and his addiction ruined his marriage, hurt his family, strangled his finances and cost him property ownership.
But about five or six years ago, Hendrix met someone who finally put him on a path toward healing.
“Kim Helper saved my life,” he said, referring to the attorney general for the 21st District. “She recommended that I go through that program. She doesn’t realize how much she impacted my life.”
Hendrix said his involvement in the program was the first time he felt as though he was finally being helped. Participating in it was like both a breath of fresh air and a slap in the face.
In addition to other criteria, Recovery Court will only consider applicants demonstrating a genuine desire to confront their addictions. Participants must undergo rigorous treatment, intensive monitoring and develop new habits for successful living. Participants pay modest fees toward their treatment cost.
“Drug court was not easy,” Hendrix said. “It was something you had to earn. They gave you nothing for free. You had responsibilities, something I had neglected for so long. There was a discipline, and you were held accountable. And I needed that in my life. I took that as a challenge to get my life back in order. It really helped me, and I still utilize the same principles that the program has today.”
Now drug-free and staying busy in his home renovation business, Hendrix is back in good graces with his family — especially his mom, who is in her late 80s.
“It’s just a joy to be in the company of my mom,” he said. “She’s a person that’s stood by me through thick and thin. For her to have her son back, it’s a joy.
“I went through a lot and lost a lot, and by the grace of God I’m still standing here today. I’m being very productive on a daily basis. I take everything one day at a time and don’t take anybody for granted.”
Monday’s breakfast will feature two Recovery Court graduates who will share their stories. The event will also honor Alma McLemore, former board member and a volunteer with the program, with this year’s “Gayle Moyer Harris” award. It’s named in honor of the founder, Gayle Moyer Harris.
As seating is limited, those who would like to attend may RSVP to Connie Martin, at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Those who would like to support 21st Recovery Court but cannot attend the breakfast may send donations to 21stRecovery Court, 370 Natchez St, Franklin, TN 37064. For more information, contact the 21st Recovery Court office at 615-595-7868 or visit www.21stdc.org.