Salvation Army Rehabilitation Program helps recovering addicts get back on their feet

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Somewhere between downtown Huntsville and Governors Drive lies a rehabilitation program that opens its arms to men who feel like their backs are against the wall, a group of men who share a common past.

"Alcoholics or anyone with a drug problem," program member Shawn Clark said.

Those temptations have landed them in a rehabilitation program at the Salvation Army. Now, they're writing a new story, one that doesn't end at the bottom of a bottle.

"I've only been here for a month and a half but it's already, just the family based, everybody here is like brothers and you fit in quickly," Clark said.

In the past, they answered life's tough questions by opening a pill bottle.  Now, they open something different for answers that are much more long term.

"Jesus first," Clark explained. "All the examples of what God has done for all the people that have been here longer than me."

Until now, they chose a lonely path, one that case manager Kevin Free has already walked.

"I'm a recovered addict," Free said. "I've been delivered by drug addiction also."

The guys said Free pieces their lives back together through respect, compassion and love, but he gives praise to a much higher power.

"We have to give credit to what God's doing in these men's lives, it's changing them from the inside," Free said.

A six month faith-based work therapy program can be a rocky road -- weekly counseling, no cell phones and church several times a week. The members also hold jobs at the Salvation Army Thrift Store and Salvation Army's kitchen on Seminole Drive.  During the first month, they do not have any communication with their families besides church services.

"The people we turn away are the people who are not interested in following our rules."

The program's members either enroll in the program on their own free will or they are court ordered.

"If you're court ordered, Kevin will go to bat for you at court," Clark explained. "I mean they do a million things to help you here."

Clark said he encourages everyone who is at the end of their rope to give the program a try.

"Keep your head up, accept God, and if you need us it's 305 Seminole Drive and you can call Kevin Free at any time," Clark said.

If this program could help you or a loved one, call Kevin Free at (256) 536-0442.

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