Luckily, she found it with Drug Court.
She recently celebrated her graduation from the 52nd Judicial Circuit Specialty Drug Court, which offers those eligible an alternative to jail time to complete a substance abuse program.
Now 46, Tabor admitted she had struggled with substance abuse since her teenage years. It was then when she first entered treatment, but by her mid 30s she was an alcoholic and had been through rehab three times.
Since 2007, when Drug Court started in Graves County, 100 people have been accepted but only 36 have graduated.
She needed rescue. She needed a life boat.
“I knew I wanted sobriety. I knew I wanted a better way of life. And I knew that jail wasn’t going to help me find that,” Tabor said. “I needed somebody to lead me in the right direction and that’s when I asked to be able to apply for Drug Court. It absolutely changed my life.”
Her surroundings, she said, kept dragging her back into her old habits.
“I did OK as long as I removed myself from people, places and things,” she said. But even around people she had met in rehab wasn’t a guarantee of sobriety. Tabor said some she made friends with got involved in methamphetamine and she soon fell into its trap.
A year later, she was looking at 5-10 years in prison. During her graduation ceremony in the Graves County Circuit Courtroom earlier this month, Tabor read a statement that outlined her journey from addiction to recovery. She recalled that after six months of incarceration, she was granted the opportunity to apply for Drug Court.
“I knew from the very start when I met with (Program Supervisor Kim Brand) to be assessed that God was sending me a life boat. And if I were ever accepted, I would need to hold on tight,” Tabor said. She credited Brand, Recovery Coordinator Jeanie Carson and retired Circuit Judge Tim Stark with encouraging her to make right choices, helping her rediscover who she was, and learning about being a person of integrity.
“All three of them were invested in me and let me know that I mattered, that I was important and worth saving,” Tabor said. “They believed in me until I could believe in myself.” Mickey Fowler, who pastors Pryorsburg Independent Methodist Church and owns K&N Restaurant in Mayfield, was another supportive figure. Fowler visited Tabor in jail and baptized her there. Upon her release, he offered Tabor a place to stay and job at his restaurant.
“I have self respect. I’m accountable and reliable. I’m financially stable. My faith and relationship with God is strong. I have a sponsor. I have the trust and love of my family back,” she said. “I feel I’m succeeding at life, and had Drug Court not given me the opportunity to get in this life boat, I wouldn’t have that today.”
Tabor said the plaque she received for her graduation doesn’t compare to the other gifts she received through Drug Court. Now, through her work at K&N, she said she wants to be a sign of encouragement to others and help folks through recovery, as well.