CHICAGO (WLS) --There was a special graduation Thursday for 20 men and women who have made life-changing steps to remain drug free.
They took part in a Cook County drug court rehabilitation program.
No caps and gowns, but graduation none the less.
This ceremony of Cook County Drug Court Rehabilitative Alternative Probation program -- symbolizing two years of sobriety and recovery and a future likely free of drug use, crime and jail.
The ceremony marks the completion of mandatory treatment and counseling; in return, their drug charge is dropped.
Many have battled addiction for years, like Levester J. He leaves behind a 30-year heroin addiction to work, get to know his grandchildren and repair relationships with his children and wife.
Veronica J battled addiction her whole life. Now sober, she is working toward a degree and being reunited with her children.
Drug Court has graduated over one 1,000 people, the majority have had success.
Eighty-four percent of graduates five years out have stayed clean and out of trouble.