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Thorson marks 108th graduation from Drug Court

Eddie Thorson, drug court, steele county, owatonna
Eddie Thorson laughs with Judge Joseph Bueltel at his drug court graduation ceremony June 26. Thorson became the 108th graduate of the Steele-Waseca Drug Court. Staff photo by Jonny Clubb
Jonny Clubb, Staff Writer

Eddie Thorson celebrated his 31st birthday on June 24, and just two days later, he graduated from the Steele Waseca Drug Court.

“What a heckuva birthday present this was,” Thorson said to courtroom full of more than 20 friends and family members who came out to support him.

After 31 months in the program, Thorson became the 108th graduate of the Steele-Waseca Drug Court June 26. Thorson is the latest in a long list of successes in the program’s nearly 10-year history.

Last week’s session opened with a question about gratitude from Judge Joseph Bueltel and that theme of gratitude carried throughout the afternoon. Drug court participants spoke about finding gratitude in their own lives, and Thorson began his graduation speech by noting his gratitude for the people who helped him along the way.

“I just want to say thank you to the drug court and Waseca drug court team,” Thorson said. “(Parole officer) Kaiya Martin has been a big inspiration in my recovery. She has been a been a huge support in it. I can’t thank her enough.”

Thorson then told his story of addiction, treatment and recovery. He said that before entering drug court, he “was always running the streets day and night” and that his parents were “constantly worried about him.” He described himself as in and out of treatment and in and out of jail.

Eventually, Thorson found success at a treatment program called Douglas Place in East Grand Forks.

“Best treatment I’ve ever been to. I loved it,” Thorson said. “I came out with a positive attitude and even the judge told me while I was in there that I was looking better on camera…and that was a big inspiration to me.”

Since then, Thorson has found stable employment, started a relationship, and built a strong network of support, all while progressing through drug court.

“It’s hard to believe where my life started at and where it’s progressed,” Thorson said. “I’m just grateful to be standing here today and that goes along with what the judge was talking about. I have gratitude every day that I have changed my life.”

Those in attendance also had the opportunity to say some kind words to or about Thorson. Many members of the audience congratulated him and told him how proud they were of his success. Others thanked him for his positivity and help in their own recovery journeys.

 Steele-Waseca Drug Court Coordinator Nicole Grams spoke about Thorson’s positivity.

“You came in with a lot of excitement and ambition every single day. Even when you had hard days, even when you had struggles, you still came in and were very assertive about what you were going to achieve,” she said.

Martin also commended Thorson for his positivity and inspiring attitude.

“You have been an inspiration to other people. I’m very proud to see you today still just as positive as the day you came back from treatment,” she said. “Congratulations, you deserve to be here and to keep moving forward on this awesome path.”

Now, Thorson is looking to the future and is excited about being a dad.

“I am so excited about being a dad,” he said. “I want to raise them and let them know that active addiction is not the place to be…I’m also excited. I’m nervous, but I mean every parent get that way. I’m just excited to see where this life takes me.”

Thorson is also excited to continue helping others in their own recoveries.

“I try to do on to others as I would want done onto me. I’ve had people help me, so now I want to reach out and help the next fellow addict that’s willing to accept the help,” he said. “That’s just who I am. I have a big heart, and I hope to keep carrying that on.”

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