Union County halfway house looks to transform men in more ways than one

Union County halfway house looks to transform men in more ways than one

MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) - There’s a group in Union County who wants you to know about a special spot. It’s a one-of-its-kind in our area. A halfway house for men needing to recover from drugs and alcohol.

They end up transformed from more than just their addictions. The house is on a six-acre farm near downtown Monroe and it doesn’t cost the guys who are using it to get healthier, a dime.

The place is called Ground 40. Currently, 42 men live here – all from different parts of this country. They have 120 days to turn it around. Some get it on the first try. Others fail, leave and find their way back here to try again. What makes this place special isn’t what you can see, but what you can feel.

Each of these men could tell you something about their lives you probably wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Some have self-hate, others suffer from abuse, abandonment or neglect.

Phillip Smith who is in the middle of recovery said, “Some of us are not used to being loved out there. Especially, though addiction. We’ve torn other people up and other people have torn us up.”

“It’s like you’re being thrown in the deep blue sea and expected to swim,” said Victor Johnson, who spent 5 years in prison after living life on the streets.

Mix in homelessness or a prison sentence and their personal life outcome is even more damaging.

“A lot of guys are broken,” said Will Reese.

Reese, who’s from Kershaw, South Carolina says he is one of the lucky ones to have pieced himself back together. Before beating his demons at Ground 40, he says he was popping pills and before he knew it, had started turning to a harder drug: Heroin.

“The drugs were destroying me emotionally, physically, every way possible,” said Reese.

Reese also says his family tried to pull him out of the dark by giving him an ultimatum: Get clean or get out. It worked for a little, but he relapsed and only found true healing in God. He’s now at Ground 40, as a disciple of Christ and trying to help men recover through the power of prayer.

“The Bible and through Jesus Christ is the only way that we’re going to overcome addiction,” said Reese.

These men don’t pay money for their rehab instead, they do community service. They learn to care for farm animals and to help those who can’t help themselves by building wheelchair ramps for those in need.

“I’m learning the value to love those around me. I’ve learned the power of love,” Johnson confirmed.

Organizers of Ground 40 say they would like to expand their services to help save even more men and their families in the future.

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