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MASON CITY — The threat of losing her daughters forced Bridget Stitt to confront her meth addiction.

When she entered the Cerro Gordo Drug Court to monitor her sobriety in March 2015, she was pregnant with her third daughter.

After 16 successful months in the program, Stitt, 31, on Tuesday became its second graduate.

"I have an amazing life today. That's what's keeping me sober," the Mason City woman said after the ceremony.

"Didn't think I was going to be able to do this," she said.

"It's so hard to come out of that, especially when you're on the needle," she said. "I'm glad I got away from that. I looked pretty bad. I was pretty bad into it."

Struggling with addiction, her low point came when she was on the verge of losing her parental rights in 2013. It sent her in a spiral deeper into drugs, she said.

"That was rock bottom, right there," she said.

Following a March 2014 drug conviction and failures to get sober, her future looked bleak.

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"My probation officer said one day, 'I think it's time to go to prison,'" she said.

Stitt asked to enter the drug court program. She was told acceptance was not guaranteed. 

Following her March 2015 entrance into the program, she has passed every drug test and remained sober after her youngest daughter, Kinslea, was born in October.

As she held Kinslea, now nearly 10 months old, Cerro Gordo County District Judge James Drew congratulated Stitt on her progress toward sustained sobriety.

She will finish her three-year probation from the 2014 conviction. She plans to eventually become a drug counselor to help others with similar struggles, she said.

"It's refreshing and exciting to see Bridget be rewarded for the work she's put in for her recovery," said Gretchen Hollander, a parole officer with the Iowa Department of Corrections.

Budget cuts forced the cancellation of the former Community Drug Court program in 2010. The county revived the program in January 2015, requiring those who are enrolled to meet weekly with Judge Drew.

Drug court was created as an intensive probation program and the last stop for high-risk offenders who would normally be on their way to prison. There were about 25 people in the prior drug court program when it was cut.

An interdisciplinary team consists of representatives from the Cerro Gordo County Attorney's Office, Iowa Department of Corrections, Prairie Ridge Addiction Treatment Services and an attorney to represent the defendants during their time in the program.

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