Liberal Municipal Court Judge Jason Maxwell, right, presents Kayla Navarro with her certificate for completing Treatment Court May 30 at her graduation. L&T photo/Robert Pierce

ROBERT PIERCE

    • Leader & Times

 

The City of Liberal’s Drug Court program saw its latest graduate May 30, and Kayla Navarro said when she first started the program, she felt lost and not serious about anything.

“Due to my excessive drug use, I had lost who I was,” she said. “I blamed everyone in my life for my mistakes and for who I had become.”

Through the program, though, Navarro has learned to take accountability for her mistakes.

“I had to learn everything I had been through was for a reason, and my story would become my testimony to later help somebody else,” she said. “I now know my past doesn’t have to determine my future, and I am the writer of my own destiny.”

Navarro said she has experienced many struggles throughout her three-year journey in Drug Court.

“The biggest challenge I would say was learning how to live life without drugs and alcohol,” she said. “My whole life, I had dealt with everything from pain, stress, loss by suppressing it with some kind of substance.”

Navarro said she has had to come to terms with herself and learn how to feel and deal with the emotions she had been numbing for so long.

“Drugs are only half of the problem,” she said. “The other half is facing my biggest obstacle, which is me. I had to accept I was my biggest problem. I had myself believe I was nothing and could be nothing. I had to change everything about myself starting with my way of thinking. Everything starts with the way you think.”

Navarro gave some advice for those who may be entering Drug Court in the future.

“Only you can change you,” she said. “Your biography is not your destiny. Your decisions are. If you decide to change, you have to change everything, not just what is convenient for you. You are the creator of your destiny. You decide how your story’s going to end.”

Navarro said she would not have made it to the May 30 graduation if it were not for amazing people who helped her along the way.

“Thank you to the Drug Court team,” she said. “Thank you for the opportunity. You have changed my life forever. You had faith in me when I didn’t have faith in myself. You have given me my children. You have given my children their mother back. For that, I will always be grateful. All of you are truly amazing people doing amazing thing. If it wasn’t for your team and this program, I would be locked up with no hope.”

As her journey in Drug Court has come to an end, Navarro said she is excited to see what her future holds, and she ended her speech with a famous quote.

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure,” she said. “It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We are all meant to shine as children do. It is not in some of us, but in everyone. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Every Drug Court graduate gets to choose someone to speak at their graduation, and Navarro chose Municipal Court Judge Jason Maxwell, who is quite familiar with Navarro’s situation.

“Kayla entered Treatment Court at age 34,” he said. “I was very familiar with Kayla at that point. She had quite a few arrests and quite a few court appearances in front of me.”

Despite this, Maxwell said he was not familiar with who Navarro truly was.

“I didn’t know the hard working mother who provides for her family,” he said. “I didn’t know the person who would go on to pass her CNA test and eventually be transferred into administration at her job.”

Maxwell said program officials are trying to transition to calling the program Treatment Court rather than Drug Court, and he said program leaders were blessed to meet the true Navarro along the way through her rehabilitation.

“In particular, I didn’t know the person who would set the example for the other people who were in Treatment Court to see how you should do it and how you should act,” he said.

Maxwell recalled some of the frustration Navarro had, particularly with some of the things she was forced to do.

“You kept pushing through,” he said. “You clung to your sobriety throughout the process, and that is such a struggle for so many people. Your dedication and your hard work paid off. You held on to it, and I’m so proud to know you and impressed by you.”

As a CNA, Maxwell said Navarro has been contributing to society and helping people in need.

“It is so awesome to see somebody who is not using the resources of the community, but is actually giving to the community,” he said. “You’re an inspiration to the community and to the Treatment Court.”

Maxwell said program leaders are looking to start an alumni group for Treatment Court graduates.

“You guys will be able to support each other, but also provide some support for some of those people who are starting out in Treatment Court and need that direction,” he said.

Maxwell ended by expressing excitement for Navarro’s future.

“You’re just getting started with your new life, and we can’t wait to see what your new life has in store for you,” he said.

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