Courtrooms aren’t generally a place of celebrations, but this week the East courtroom at the Grayson County Courthouse played host to a rebirth of sorts for 11 people turning their lives around.

Grayson County’s STAR Recovery Court gathered in the courtroom to wish farewell to 11 people who made it through the program and are now trying to make it through the rest of their lives without substance or alcohol abuse.

Tyler Pitts was one of those graduates. He entered the program on March 6 after getting caught with drugs. He went to rehab for nine months and then he entered the program.

“I had a broken home,” Pitts said of the reasons he turned to drugs. “I was kind of lost.”

The 29-year-old said he started using drugs when he was around 16-years-old. He graduated high school in Howe and then got a job, but said he wasn’t coping well with his past.

“I wanted to get away from the way that I felt,” Pitts said, explaining drugs — specifically methamphetamine and heroin — helped him do that.

Pitts said going through the Drug Court program has taught him to make decisions based on what is best for him and not on the opinions or needs of others.

“I think it can turn anybody’s life around if you utilize the tools that they give you,” Pitts said of the program.

Judge Larry Phillips, of the 59th state District Court, said this is the second graduation he has been involved in since taking the bench. The court was founded by retired Judge Rim Nall 14 years ago.

“Congratulations, I am proud of each and everyone of you,” Phillips said to the graduates.

He told them there is nothing like a Monday afternoon at Drug Court to learn about how good people really are. Phillips praised their hard work in following the rules set for them by the court.

Some of them, Phillips said, slipped up occasionally, but they didn’t let those slips stop them. Instead, he said, they got back up and kept on moving forward.

Phillips said the graduates’ continued success is the success of the program as a whole.

“We want you guys to succeed,” he said.

The drug court meets every two weeks. Before that regular meeting, the entire team meets and goes over every participant’s status. Those who have excelled get rewards and those who have stumbled can face sanctions. But each is given the support needed at that time to keep moving forward.