LOCAL NEWS

Drug Court Graduate Credits Daughters For Recovery Motivation

Jul 29, 2019, 8:07 PM | Updated: 11:44 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A man who spent five years as a drug addict is celebrating a major turn-around, after graduating from the Salt Lake County Drug Court.

Three years ago, Chad Nielson was running a puppy scam to fuel his drug habit. After drug rehabilitation and drug court, he’s now clean and focused on building his relationship with his young daughters.

“It’s just the beginning for me too,” said Nielson. “It’s the beginning of a new life. It’s the beginning of a lot of pride, and a lot of accomplishment that has only just begun.”

As a heroin addict, Nielson got comfortable with instability, poor health, and crime.

“I was doing criminal activity, and everything else,” he said. “Running around on the streets, using drugs. I was down at Rio Grande for the longest time before they did the sweep down there.”

He started using marijuana at age 11, and moved on to hard drugs at 18.

When he was in the throes of addiction less than three years ago, he had moved on to heroin and crack cocaine.

Nielson was in and out of jail until relatives finally steered him towards drug rehabilitation.

“Once I chose sobriety, there is no looking back, and coming this far is epic,” he said.

He credited his family, drug court, and his rehabilitation program for helping him find his path to sobriety.

Nielson graduated from drug court Monday along with 13 other people.

Six county drug courts, including one exclusively for military veterans, allow offenders to stay out of jail, but require extended supervision and treatment.

Nielson said he was committed to sobriety for a couple of reasons.

“The biggest thing was when my daughters called me when I was in jail,” he said.

They had a heart-wrenching conversation on his youngest daughter‘s birthday several years ago. The girls were worried about their dad.

“My oldest daughter told me, ‘No matter what you’ve got to do to be sober. Be away from us, just don’t kill yourself,’” he said. “That was a defining moment for me. That was just… I’m done.“

Nielson’s 12-year-old daughter, Monet, said she watched her dad doing drugs in the past. At that time, she was worried her dad would either commit suicide or die from a drug overdose. He had already had four overdoses. She feared he wouldn’t be around as she grew up.

“He’s not going to be around. That was a thought going through my head, because he was just using and using and using. There was one time I walked in on him using,” she said.

Monet and her sister Jayna said they are proud of what their father has accomplished, and look forward to having fun and spending time together. He’s no longer absent from their lives.

“He took faith in himself and actually noticed that he was doing something wrong and that he had to go and fix something to make things better,” said Monet.

Jayna, age 10, used to live in fear that her father would go back to using drugs. S said she likes their new life back together.

“Now I put all of that in the past. Now it’s time for his graduation,” she said.

“I did it for my daughters,” said Nielson. “But, I also did it in a major way for myself, because I have to take care of myself before I can take care of them.”

Knowing that he could not be there for his daughters haunted him for years. They’re all living together now, starting off a new chapter and a new school for the girls this fall.

“We’ve developed our relationship, and developed it, and worked on it,” he said. “We can talk now. We can open up to each other. If feels like a family.”

Nielson works at Odyssey House helping peers in their recovery from drugs and alcohol.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park on Monday, Jan. 15, 2007....
 Logan Stefanich, KSL.com

Here’s why Garfield County wants to increase visitation to Utah’s ‘Mighty 5’ during peak months

While droves of visitors pour into southern Utah every year to explore the state's "Mighty 5" national parks, one of those five is being left in the red dust, leading tourism officials to reimagine how and when they want to attract visitors.
15 hours ago
(Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Casey Scott visits Ogden Christmas Village

Casey Scott joined us at the Christmas Village in Ogden to get us in the Christmas spirit!
15 hours ago
Proch pirates and doorbell cameras...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: Why you cannot rely on doorbell cameras to thwart porch pirates

Over a third of us have been hit by porch pirates in the past year according to a new study from ValuePenguin.com.
15 hours ago
Vincent's House of Goju in Magna, where 57-year-old Michael Vincent was shot and killed in July 202...
Kaitlyn Bancroft, KSL.com

Prison ordered for woman who shot and killed husband, but claimed self-defense

Cynthia Vincent, who shot her husband and claimed it was self-defense, was sentenced her to one to 15 years in prison for the July 2021 manslaughter death.
15 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Christina Rogers, Janeen Damian, Michael Damian, Brad Krevo...
Eliza Pace

Netflix’s ‘Falling for Christmas’ filmed at these charming Utah locations

Lindsay Lohan's "Falling for Christmas" movie may seem familiar - it's because it was shot in Utah!
15 hours ago
A sign marking the entrance to Hildale in Utah, from Colorado City in Arizona. (FILE)...
Larry D. Curtis

FBI says polygamist leader took 20 wives, many underage, alleges illicit sexual activities

Probable cause documents lay out illicit sexual activities of a small religious group — that included underage girls — under the orders of Samuel Rappylee Bateman, living on the Utah and Arizona border. The documents also detail how girls were helped to run away by Bateman’s adult plural wives after they were removed from family […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Drug Court Graduate Credits Daughters For Recovery Motivation