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October 20, 2018

10/5/2018 10:29:00 AM
Kovars speaks about recovery journey at Dodgeville Kiwanis meeting
Almost two months ago, The Dodgeville Chronicle completed a cover story on Chris Kovars, who became the second graduate of the Iowa County Drug Treatment Court.
On Monday September 24, Kovars was a guest speaker during the Dodgeville Kiwanis luncheon, held at Dodger Bowl Lanes. Alongside Kovars was Mike Peterson, Deputy for the Iowa County Sheriff Department.
In 2015, Deputy Peterson was asked by Iowa County Sheriff Steve Michek to attend a meeting for drug treatment court.
"I had no clue what I was getting into," Peterson said.
From that meeting on, Peterson was hooked.
At the luncheon meeting, Peterson explained that Iowa County Drug Treatment Court consists of a probation agent through the Wisconsin State Department of Corrections, Iowa County Assistant District Attorney Matt Allen, Unified Counseling of Dodgeville and Lancaster, a treatment court coordinator of Iowa County, the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office, Iowa County Judge Margaret Koehler, and Peterson as the Sheriff's Department Representative.
"When you hear all those things, usually in the field we've never really work together," Peterson said.
The drug court started to be recognized in Florida in 1989, based on the concept of the multiple justice groups coming together to find other avenues for helping individuals to recover from substance abuse.
Currently there are approximately 2,600 drug courts in the nation. The program is based off sanctions and incentives.
"When one comes to drug court, they must be honest and show up," Peterson said. "We build on the honesty, and from the honesty we start getting more from there. They also have to show up, in order to get the honesty."
Peterson stated that Kovars started with the program in October 2016, and one thing that Kovars was missing from the system was treatment. Treatment was available in the drug court program. During the program Kovars had over 275 required drug tests, over 200 meetings with a probation officer and treatment coordinators, and over 100 counseling sessions; all of which did not include attending drug treatment court on a bi-weekly basis.
Although Kovar's journey in the drug court program began in October of 2016, his journey towards recovery began a lot earlier. Kovars is originally from the Cuba City and Hazel Green areas. He started drinking and using marijuana at 16. At the age of 21, he began using Adderall, a prescription drug known to help with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. He used Adderall for almost two years.
One night when he wasn't able to get an Adderall "fix," an individual offered him crystal meth, claiming that it had the same effects as Adderall.
"I was immediately hooked," Kovars said.
As time went on, he developed more relationships with people who had access to drugs.
When Kovars spoke about his experience, he stated that he first saw the drug court program as a "fake it to make it opportunity." He started in Grant County, and wasn't yet sentenced into the drug court program. He was using for three months straight and didn't try to stop.
It wasn't until halfway through the program that he realized that he wanted to stay clean.
"I had to make a big step to do that," Kovars said.
Kovars pointed out after a fourth sanction, his father offered to let him stay with him and his stepmother. Seven days after that conversation, Kovars spent Christmas with them, and hasn't used since.
"That's a huge accomplishment for me," Kovars said.
He stated that although he has stayed clean, the urges to use are as strong today as the first day of becoming clean. When he first became sober, he had to find other ways to occupy his time. Whenever a "craving" would set in, he played video games for 30 minutes.
"Even though its not a very long time, it still takes my mind off of it."
He also copes with the urges by contacting his brother, who completed the drug court program in Texas.
"He's a good person I can talk to whenever I feel urges," Kovars said.
He also realized that he had to cut ties with the unhealthy relationships that made it harder to complete recovery. Before coming to Iowa County, he had 40 friends, but has greatly reduced the friendships to three.
Since becoming clean, he has been looking into career opportunities. He is planning to attend culinary school, and is still deciding on which school to attend.
The advice he gives to anyone that is looking for help in recovery he says:
"Take it one day at a time. Surround yourself with people who will help you step by step."
Iowa County Sheriff Steve Michek shared optimism on the drug court program.
"It's pretty nice to have an alternative that people can attempt, rather than face other consequences," Michek said. "It's pretty special when people like Chris can have success."
More information on the Iowa County drug treatment program can be found by calling (608) 935-0393.

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