Hardly a day goes by that we don't report on another incident involving drugs or alcohol.

The vicious cycle of substance abuse continues to spin out of control. Often those incidents end up with people going to jail.

Every now and then we get to report on individuals who have overcome the grip of substance abuse to move on with their lives.

That's the case with Preston Thomas who on Tuesday night became the first graduate of the Jefferson County Drug Court.

The 64-year-old Madison man spent the last 16 months going through rehabilitation after more than 40 years of daily use of marijuana and alcohol.

Judge Alison Frazier, who runs the drug court, said there are several participants who are close to finishing.

A person invited to participate must complete several steps to graduate. Upon successful completion, the prosecutor agrees to dismiss the alcohol or drug charges.

Had Thomas failed the course, he'd be spending up to eight years in prison.

Completing the program and staying clean and sober for 20 month is the toughest thing Thomas has had to face in his lifetime.

His accomplishment is one to be admired. We wish him well in what he describes as "the beginning of a brand new life."