LIHUE — Chasity Silva said she didn’t realize how serious her drug addiction was until her children were taken away.
“In June 2013, I made bad choices and found myself addicted to crystal meth. Not long after I became addicted, I became pregnant,” she said. “For the next 10 months, I lost my house, my job and the support and trust from my family and friends. But most importantly, I lost my two daughters.”
Her children were 14 months and two days old when Child Protective Services came to get them, Silva said.
“It was at that point, when they were taken from me in the hospital, that I realized I chose ice over my own kids,” she said.
Silva was one of 14 people who graduated from Kauai Drug Court Thursday afternoon.
Martin Steinhaus, drug court supervisor, said the 28th graduation represented the biggest class on Kauai.
It was a fact Kathleen Wantanbe, drug court judge, acknowledged.
“We’re here to recognize 14 graduates who are taking up the entire jury box,” she said. “This is a good sign, to have this many people graduating. I’m very proud of the graduates, and I want to encourage them to continue to live a clean, productive and sober life.”
Silva, who enrolled in Kauai Drug Court in November 2014, has been sober for two years, two months, one week and one day.
“I am no longer a lost, broken or hopeless (person) who had to watch someone else raise her kids,” she said. “Instead I am loved, self sufficient and have a purpose in life.”
Kauai Drug Court began in 2004 as a way to give participants access to a court-based intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment program, which also provides intensive case management and probation supervision. The program offers incentives and rewards to clients who maintain sobriety and are either attending school or training, or are employed.
The participants go through rigorous testing including frequent and random drug and alcohol testing, mental health evaluation, random home visits, curfews and frequent review hearings before the Kauai Drug Court judge.
Farah Mongeau, who entered the program in April 2014, said her addiction started early in life.
“I began using drugs at 12, alcohol much earlier. I come from a long line of alcoholics and addicts. I used to blame my use on my family, my life and my circumstances. I was a victim of circumstance and poor choices, and played the role,” she said. “But the reality is that bad things happen to good people, and it’s how they respond to them that defines them.”
By the time she was arrested, Mongeau had been using drugs for 25 years. What started with marijuana grew to smoking meth and shooting it, she said.
“I started selling drugs to support my habit. I carried a loaded gun and was delusional enough to have used it,” she said.
But, as she progressed through the program, Mongeau realized she wasn’t obsessing about getting high anymore.
“The only limits I have today are the limits I put on myself,” she said.