LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A special graduation took place Wednesday in mid-Michigan that not only changes lives but saves lives as well.

It marked a fresh start for a handful of people who worked through Eaton County’s Adult Circuit drug court.

Officials said programs like this are the best ways to get people in recovery the support they need.

“It was a long road, I came from the bottom, I was struggling in active addiction. And today, I’m not, I’m sober, I’m happy, I’m free,” said Anastashia Elliot.

She was one of several recent graduates of Eaton County’s drug court program.

Officials with the 56th Circuit Court said this treatment program is a critical piece in helping people recover from addiction to drugs and alcohol.

For Elliot, she said it helped her achieve more than she ever expected.

Elliot now plans to help other people weighed down by addiction as a new employee with Lifeboat, a recovery program in mid-Michigan.

Elliot’s mom said it was difficult seeing her daughter struggle, but that all turned around when Elliot hit rock bottom and was arrested.

It’s a program Director of Community Corrections Melanie Achenbach takes pride in.

“It is the single most greatest joy I get from my job on a personal level is watching them achieve the small goals, the big goals and yes, graduation is icing on the cake,” said Achenbach.

Elliot said the long journey taught her lessons on determination, and that recovery is possible.

Achenbach said more than 130 people have passed their treatment court program since it started back in 2007.

Last year, the Department of Justice awarded more than $29 million to similar drug court programs around the country.