Life-Line gives addicts a new start

URBANA -- One group is working to restore hope in the lives of men who struggle with substance abuse.

It's called Life-Line Connect. The program provides practical resources not only to recover from drug and alcohol abuse, but they also teaching men how to live life beyond those addictions. It's more than just a recovery program. Many addiction programs last 30-90 days. Life-Line goes beyond that to give men long term help and resources to live a strong life after recovery.

Michael Savage is a former addict who has been through the program. He says, "Being a heroine addiction robbed everything of my life. I was in and out of jail, I was in and out of prison."

Savage's parents were addicts, and from a young age, so was he.

"I'd been through every treatment center in Missouri. I was shuffled around from this halfway house to this treatment center. Nothing ever stuck, it just never worked."

Many rehab centers provided him with short term solutions and he describes it as putting a band-aid on something that needs surgery.

"My family wanted nothing to do with me anymore because I stole from everybody. Nobody could trust me."

He realized he couldn't even trust himself. but that's when he found Life-Line Connect.

"This program changed me from the inside out. I was able to forgive myself of all the hurts and the hang-ups and the junk and the mess and all the wrong that I had done. I was able to make amends first with myself and then with my family."

Life-Line gives men who struggle with addictions a safe place to call home. They take in six men every year. It provides them with counseling and resources to recover from addiction and rebuild their lives.

Les Cotton is another former addict from the program. He says, "It helps you find a lot of wounds in your life and bring healing to those things. It also addresses the emotional, the physical and financial because most of the men that come to the program, their finances are in ruin."

Several local businesses have hired men from the program and they say each of them have been men of integrity and commitment.

Bill Yeakel is the service manager at Lanz Heating and Cooling. They've hired five men from Life-Line. He says, "We like to think, wow we did this great thing and we helped these guys but the reality is that they help us become better leaders, better managers. Because as we learn from addiction, as we learn through the program, it helps us understand our culture better."

The men say that culture is what recovery is about. Teamwork, support, and accountability to themselves, their friends and their family. In the past 10 years, Life-Line has helped around 70 men to end their addictions.

Life-Line is planning on expanding their housing. Right now they're only able to take in six men a year. The new building will have 24 additional rooms. An architect has already designed the layout. The zoning committee approved the plans. They plan to build it at the same site as their old building at Apostolic Life Church in Urbana.

David Rogers is Life-Line's executive director. He says, "We want to expand because we get calls every week from family members or men themselves that need a place to find a safe environment for recovery. And literally we have to turn many away because we don't have room."

Rogers says the project will cost around $640,00 dollars. Life-Line is just now starting to raise the money. 

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