Family court




Drug Court founder Judge Tim Brock (left) Magistrate Stacy Lynch, who presides over Family Treatment Court and Safe Baby Court  with Family Treatment Court Coordinator David Statum congratulate the program’s first graduate, Davina Lawson at the Coffee County Justice Center Courtroom. 


Coffee County Family Court’s first graduate Davina Lawson knows the depths of despair that comes from addiction. But she wants to use her experiences recovering to help others succeed.

“If I can make a difference with one person it will be worth it,” Lawson said, “because I know (Family Court) made a difference with me.”  

Lawson was an alcoholic for 27 years. That addiction coupled with harder drugs, took her to rock bottom.

There are places that a woman – a mother, tells herself she would never go. The drugs carried Lawson there, then beyond.

“I’ve done a lot of things that a mother said she would never do. Missed a lot of birthdays and family events. Everything along the way I told myself I’d never do, I did,” Lawson said.    

Lawson said that her addiction cost her some of the most important things in her life. She failed to finish a nursing degree by a few weeks, wrecked family relationships and endangered those in her care.

Now at 19 months sober, Lawson has found recovery.

“The Recovery Court program has been a huge motivator to my recovery. They’ve all been there to help me, to push me through. My relationship with God has been factor in me getting better.” 

Lawson entered the family court program a year and a half ago. She went through the program at a slightly slower pace than some, but to be sure, she had the final goal in mind.

“It’s books; it’s homework, counseling and a lot of honesty – a lot of gut wrenching honesty,” she said.  

Looking to the future, Lawson wants to help others who may be facing some of the struggles with addiction that she faced.

“It’s scary for the ones out there in the world today. It’s terrifying,” she said. 

Lawson is concerned about the casual attitude toward drug use by the community.

“Some people can attend those events and party for the weekend. But I was going through $3,000 in a week, maybe, two week’s time. And doing everything I could for the fix,” she said. 

She said that there was a time when she could drink socially, but can’t narrow down when she lost control.  

“In the beginning it was, hey, you want to party? That’s how it happened, that quick. First on weekends, then it turned into you have to have it,” Lawson said.

Waking up in the driveway in her 20s, wondering how she got home. The I.V. drugs made it worse.  

“People argue about whether addiction is a disease. All I know is I was putting the drugs before the love for myself.

 “Today I love me. I love the God in me. I know I’ll do anything for anybody that’s trying to get better,” she said.

Lawson is a regular face around drug court. She helps out in the food pantry, still attends meetings and offers others in the program help with their recovery assignments.


Treatment Courts: an umbrella of programs  


Family Court Recovery court is just one of the Coffee County Treatment Court programs.

At the top is Recovery Courts, explained David Statum, Family Treatment Court Coordinator. Then there is adult drug court, juvenile drug court, mental health court, safe baby court, family treatment court and veterans court.

“They are all fully functioning separate entities under the same umbrella of the recovery courts,” he said.

And there are overlapping participation depending on what the situation is. Some people are in Drug Court and Safe Baby Court.

Treatment Court offers Recovery Academy, Intensive Outpatient Treatment, Substance Abuse Treatment in the Coffee County Jail and Sober living housing for men, women, and families.

Lawson entered the program in October of 2017.

 “I went and got an assessment with Miss Martha (McCallie).

The next Wednesday, Lawson started Intensive Outpatient Treatment three days a week and 90 meetings in 90 days to settle into a routine. She graduated the program the first week in June. Next Lawson will start peer recovery.

“I know what I’ve accomplished, and I want to help people,” she said.

Lawson said that she hopes to be involved with a Coffee County Courts mentor program this fall.    

   “Twenty-seven years, I existed; today I live. Now I want to help others,” Lawson said.


John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. He covers Lifestyles in addition to handling education reporting and general news assignments.John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

Staff Writer

John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. He is a graduate of THS, Motlow and MTSU. He lives in Tullahoma, and enjoys the outdoors with his wife, Mitsy, and his 17-month-old, Sean.

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