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This Chapter Is Closed. Part Twenty.

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Eric and I were on a road trip back to Gwinnett County. Gwinnett County left a bad taste in my mouth. The city of Buford reminded me of my arrests and the dysfunction that used to torment me. My PTSD kicked in automatically. For so long, I had decompartmentalized the negative emotions and behavior associated with the events that led me back to court. I was living a new life free from the discordance of addiction. I was free but I was not free from the cause and effect of my past unheeding behavior.


I am speaking from experience. Last year, September 2022.


My first stop was at the Lawrenceville Municiple Court.


An old memory revisited me from the last time I was there in 2018. I had court for the FVO (Family Violence Protective Order). Eric walked by my side even then to speak on my behalf; although he was the one who traumatized me from my very first arrest and the fact... he had police officers escort me out of our home three times. My lawyer, years prior, thought the case was absurd. I was ordered probation with fines.


I WILL WALK YOU THROUGH ALL THREE ARREST IN ANOTHER POST. Get your popcorn ready...


Eric and I walked into the courthouse, went through the TSA, found my courtroom as I waited for Ms. Wise to meet me out front. I nervously walked to the ladies' room praying for a miracle. I had a petition for the interlock system to dismiss it and to minimize my fines. We had already paid thousands of dollars. I am not kidding. And with the start to my second charge, I was ordered to pay around $600 every month for twelve months. We could not afford it! Ms. Wise appeared and said, "Hello Jillian. You changed your hair from the last time I seen you and gained some weight!" (It was a compliment from the image she saw while I was incarcerated). We both laughed. I think Eric was in shell shock with her honest, yet friendly demeanor.


Me: Hi Ms. Wise! How are you? {We hugged)


Ms. Wise: I am good and happy to see you here still sober! I am so proud of you.


Me: Thank you! It has been a long journey but worth it. I am so grateful for you.


Ms. Wise: Is this the husband or friend?


The manner in which she spoke I wanted to crawl underneath the chair. She was and remained 'not a fan' of Eric. She not only had legal access to our past disturbances; but she witnessed the brokenness in me from his heartless actions and toxic mind games. And of course, she was my defender.


(For Eric's defense, it takes two to tangle like that. I was at fault too.)


Me: It is my husband, Eric. They shook hands. She asked if he could 'scoot' down to sit by me.


Ms. Wise: Jillian, okay so what we have here is a hardship letter for your finances. We need to show you are not working due to not having a current license and it is affecting your need to take care of your three children. The judge may want to hear from you. Remain calm you have completed an extraordinary amount of treatment, remained sober-you are sober?


Me: Yes, of course I am sober. You know I am sober!


Ms. Wise: I have to ask...You have done a good job.


Then, we drifted into conversation on how the legal system is corrupted. I shared how difficult it is to defeat all of the expectations, fines, and obligations. What do people do who do not have help? It is nearly impossible to complete the conditions without help.

Jail is not where people should be thrown if they suffer with addiction. You will only be released to the same environment which will have you arrested again within time. It is a non-ending cycle. Not to mention, how you are expected to pay off fines when your driving privileges are taken away, you have to complete DUI school, along with everything else and if you get pulled over you are arrested for breaking the terms of your probation which is an automatic six-month sentence.


Ms. Wise: Jillian, I know. It is a corrupt system not meant for repeat offenders to break the law and repeat patterns. Then we have cases like yours that is a success story, and this is why I do my job. You cannot save everyone.


Me: I agree.


Ms. Wise: It is time.


Eric is patiently waiting while trying to support me but obviously feels out of place. He reassures me that it is all going to be okay.


I was more so worried about the prosecutor doing his job and noting that I was in town for another court date for a DUI case in Dawsonville County. Had he done his research, I probably would not have had the interlock system dismissed and my fines minimized to $250 each month. God covered me. And I am beyond grateful for his grace and mercy. God rewards and sees when you are obedient to him. The judge granted my request to have my license reinstated. I got my miracle.


I walked out in awe of God's faithfulness. I had one down, and one to go! Eric and I enjoyed our afternoon together. We walked around the mall and ate lunch. After, we found the cheap hotel I had found online. The pictures did not look bad. We drove up and Eric said, "is this it?" I belly laughed so hard. I said, "the pictures didn't look bad online. I am trying to save us money."


Eric: Hope, we stayed in better hotels when we were dating.


Me: Eric, come on, let's check it out. It is only one night. (still laughing)


I had already done this one time before when we had the kids with us; trying to save money when we went to an amusement park. Then, Eric did not even get out of his truck. He immediately searched online and found a Hilton. The look on his face was priceless as I tried to tell him we would be fine. I adjust and adapt better than he does! Eric is OCD. Everything has to be a certain way. I am laidback, go with the flow. We complement each other.


He agreed to stay. I want to say the walls were painted red. It felt like one of the rooms a scary movie was filmed in. We were exhausted. Eric ordered take out as I ate comfort food and drifted off to sleep. I woke the following morning with anxiety. The day before, Ms. Wise sat beside me and spoke on my behalf. Today, I was my own lawyer. The gift of recovery is walking with integrity, confidence, and ownership of your past mistakes. I did that. I took full responsibility for the harm I caused, unlawful behavior, and hearts I hurt. To know yourself and to accept all parts of yourself as God made you is pure joy.


By the time we arrived at the court room, as I waited for my name to be called; my anxiety had departed, and I was more than ready to get it over. I was mentally tapped out. The district attorney asked me to step outside the courtroom. Upon meeting, he intimidated me. After sitting with him, I felt at ease. He began to read the police report to me. Tears rolled down my face. This particulier night he read aloud was the night Eric called the police and made a claim of assault against me. He said I hit him with a paper towel holder. I left the house after Eric kept threatening to call the police to have me leave. Brutality. I have already written about that evening. No need to revisit it. It is called 'The Assault' on another post. After I left, I was pulled over twice. The second time I was arrested and charged with a DUI. The DA read aloud my arrest from the DUI charge.


I was saddened as he read aloud. The woman was hurting and in immense pain. The woman was angry and bitter. The woman wanted to run as far as she could from her life; She could not bear it any longer. The woman wanted to die. The woman was me.


I will never forget his words. "The girl I saw in that picture (he pointed toward my lovely mug shot) I thought would be dead by now. This is why I waited so long to bring your case to court. I was waiting to see what you would do."


Tears continued to flood my eyes. I thought, "was I that bad?" The truth is yes. The rate I was going I would have not survived.


He was aware of my charges in Gwinnett County. He turned the page to my offered plea agreement. Do you agree to this plea agreement? If so, we will proceed. The decision is the judges. I agreed.


I was nervous as I walked up to the podium. I stood next to him. He began to read off my charges then the miraculously occurred. He began to speak on my behalf. The district attorney read of my accomplishments as he shared with judge, we had reached a plea agreement. I was in shock. The judge agreed to the terms and conditions. The DUI was dropped to reckless driving. I was in a state of gratitude as I expressed to the judge and the DA thank you. I received two years' probation, more fines, random drug screenings, and my peace of mind.


One year later: My past is behind me. I am no longer bound to probation. I have a valid driver's license. I am officially 'off paper'! I have complete freedom. I have a new life.


If I can do it, so can you.


My life has been completed restored. I know where my help comes from. It comes from my Jesus.


GLORY BE TO GOD. This chapter is closed.









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John Bucciarelli
John Bucciarelli
2023年9月08日

Great Job Hope. So proud of you and what you have accomplished. God has His hand on you. You have great faith. Your testimony helps many. Blessings my friend

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