BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - "I was arrested for possession of cocaine. It changed who I was, it broke relationships I had with people, it was not a good thing but I couldn't see it that way at the time," Joseph Barbato told FOX10 News Thursday, October 17.
Barbato graduated from the Baldwin County Drug Court, after spending two years in the program.
"If it wasn't for this program, I'd probably I don't know where I'd be, either in prison somewhere or dead one of the two," Barbato said.
He said the first 6 months of the program were some the most challenging because he had to change all his habits and cut ties with the friends he once hang around.
Barbato said for two years he drove from Mobile to Baldwin County for the program and during those two years he said he had a lot of time to think.
"I had two years to sit there and realize no one else put me there. This is no one else's fault," he said. “I was taking drug and alcohol tests 2-3 times a week.”
Two years after joining the program, Barbato spoke at his graduation ceremony.
He described his experience as one of his greatest accomplishments but something he hopes he never has to go through again.
Barbato said the people in the program helped change his life especially Judge Robert Wilters.
"I had a lot of resentment at first. Now more respect than I can imagine, I can't even describe the respect I have for him," he said.
After graduation, Barbato walked away with his family by his side, determined to make everyday count.
"Getting in trouble getting arrested and being in this program was absolutely the greatest thing that ever happened to me by far. Rebuilt a relationship with my whole entire family," he said.
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