Randy S. considers his life before entering the STAR Court as barely a life. When he was arrested in 2013, he was an unemployed, homeless IV meth user who had lost all hope. During his STAR Court hearing, Randy was asked if he had a drug problem and wanted help to treat his addiction. Realizing he had never been asked those questions before that day, he was brought to tears. Rather than receive a lengthy jail sentence for the charges against him, Randy was stunned to learn he would be placed on deferred adjudication and would be able to participate in a drug rehabilitation program.
During Randy’s 90-day inpatient rehab, he quickly recognized that drug abuse was only one part of his overall life struggle. Growing up in a conservative home, he experienced severe oppression from family members who believed homosexuality was sinful, evil, and wrong. Identifying as a gay man, he spent his entire adolescence and young adult life denying his true self and feeling hopeless and depressed as he struggled to reconcile his religious beliefs and sexual orientation. Through his treatment with the STAR Program, Randy discovered that his drug addiction was directly correlated to the trauma and despair he felt throughout his life.
With the help of counselors working with the STAR Court Program, Randy began his journey of self-discovery, forgiveness, and life-changing transformation. Although his counselors were incredibly supportive and affirming of his positive qualities, Randy was also held accountable for his own progress and given tough love when necessary. He believes that the most important aspect of his entire STAR Program experience was that he was never judged for being gay, but instead was accepted and encouraged to embrace his authentic self. For the first time in his entire life, Randy felt safe enough to share his feelings, the trauma he experienced in his youth, and his history with drug addiction. The work of both the STAR Court staff and treatment providers helped pave the way for Randy towards a successful drug rehabilitation and recovery, and laid the foundation for him to become the strong, proud, and free gay man he is today.
While in the STAR Program, Randy met Jessica R., a transgender woman who quickly became Randy’s best friend. Jessica was also participating in the STAR Court Program, and had faced very similar life experiences, trauma, and addiction, which helped form a strong bond between the two. Jessica’s love and support in the early stages of his recovery helped Randy grow tremendously as an individual. Randy and Jessica’s time in the STAR Court Program not only allowed them to undergo a life-changing transformation and experience freedom from addiction, but it also opened a door for them to explore and fully embrace the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, which in turn has further strengthened them as individuals.