Wednesday marked a new chapter in the lives of 15 women who graduated from the 60-day Axis program in Farmington, New Mexico. The San Juan County Alternative Sentencing Division hosted the ceremony for the women who completed a court-ordered rehabilitation program for women with substance abuse problems. It marked the end of the in-patient treatment phase of the program.
Amanda Benally, one of the graduates, now plans to go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, be a better mom to her 6-year-old son and look for a job. She will do that by living day by day. “I have a son that deserves a mom that’s there for him. Seeing what I put (my son) through was the hardest thing for me to forgive myself for,” the 30-year-old mom said. “I have to live in the present. If I live too much in the past or the future I’ll relapse.”
To show their support, dozens of her family members and friends came to the event along with other women that are former graduates of the program and recovering addicts. They came to support them in their sobriety and wish the new graduates good fortune. The graduates each stood up and introduced themselves to their supporters. Most of them spoke about how tough the last two months have been but they all had hopeful outlooks for the future.
Benally spoke of the first days of the program. “What? Fifteen of us in here? I lost it a couple times,” she said. “I would just retreat to my top bunk and start writing.” During the program, she wrote dozens of poems and plans to keep on writing now that she has been released.
One of her early poems starts out: “I hate rules. I’m set in my ways. Yet I’m stuck here for another 60 days.” She read one of her later poems for the ceremony that was much more conforming and another was on display at the event. She would now like to get a job working with other people struggling with substance abuse.
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