Troy Joseph Pocock was last year given an ultimatum by a Canberra court: get clean, or get locked up.
One year on, Pocock, 31, has been praised by a judge for his "very impressive rehabilitation".
On Friday, Pocock appeared in the ACT Supreme Court for sentence for a series of burglaries at the Tuggeranong Hyperdome that netted $16,000 in electronics.
The court heard Pocock had become familiar with the maze of vents at the southside shopping centre during his work as an airconditioner installer. He used that knowledge to steal electronics from JB Hi-Fi and Dick Smith in four daring after-hours raids in mid-2013.
But a combination of CCTV footage, DNA, and forensic material helped police identify Pocock.
A police raid on his home uncovered stolen electronics, hand-drawn maps of store layouts, and building plans for the Hyperdome.
He was arrested and later pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and theft.
The court heard Pocock had committed the crimes in order to fund his alcohol and drug use.
In February last year, Justice Hilary Penfold deferred sentencing so Pocock could attend residential rehabilitation.
The court heard Pocock was now on the verge of completing a one-year stint in the facility. In that time, he had returned clean urine tests, risen to a supervision role among residents, had committed no further offences, and had been allocated an ACT Housing property.
The court heard he now understood the underlying issues which led to his substance abuse and had developed mechanisms to cope.
Justice Penfold hailed Pocock for his "remarkable progress" and congratulated him on a "very impressive rehabilitation".
The judge sentenced him to three years jail, backdated to take into account time spent in custody and rehabilitation. Justice Penfold immediately suspended the remaining 18-months upon Pocock signing a two-year good behaviour order.
The judge said she hoped the prospect of full-time jail would be a strong disincentive for drugs and crime.
"I hope I don't see you back here again," she said.