Man Misses Dog Companion, but Aims for Successful Completion of Rehab Project during Probation Extension

By Gina Kim

SANTA BARBARA, CA – Now on his third strike under Proposition 36, a defendant elected for a probation extension in an arraignment hearing on four drug-related charges here in Santa Barbara County Superior Court this Tuesday, hoping to successfully complete his recovery project.

Judge Jean Dandona noted the defendant’s “great deal of progress” since his initial charges three years ago on counts of drug possession and disorderly conduct, all nonviolent misdemeanors.

But in order to have his case dismissed and expunged, the defendant must address the causes of his relapse, the judge said.

“Getting clean is not hard for me,” stated the defendant, who had just returned to a group and sober living rehabilitation program. “The difficult thing is remaining clean…it’s something I have to do for the rest of my life, every relapse is worse than the next.”

He described loneliness as “an incredible poison” and the central trigger to his most recent relapse, especially in light of his dog’s absence. After 16 years he said he had to give up custody of his dog for the sober living rehabilitation program, but he lost his primary source of emotional support.

Still, the defendant claimed responsibility over his choices, stating there was no one else to blame but himself. “Pointing the finger” at others would overshadow his own role, he explained, and sentence himself to another relapse.

The defendant added, “Sometimes I feel like I’m on a thin thread of hope.”

Judge Dandona expressed approval toward his ability to identify the pattern, stating she was glad he returned to rehabilitation.

In addition to step work, testing, and project recovery meetings, the defendant will continue to attend the sober living rehabilitation program two times a day.

The court is scheduled to reconvene on the case Nov. 16.

NOTE: The name used here is not the accused’s real name, per The Vanguard’s new policy of not identifying the real names in lower level misdemeanor cases.

About The Author

Gina is a sophomore at UCSB majoring in History of Public Policy and Law. She's an aspiring professional writing minor interested in studying law.

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