I graduated from Teen Challenge Middle Georgia six years ago. I feel like saying "I'm clean" is ridiculously inadequate to describe the level of freedom I now live in. I entered the program as a daily intravenous user of opioids and stimulants, yet I left the program addicted to nothing. I also had almost no material possessions, only a pile of student loans and a commitment to do well at whatever God put before me. I now have an awesome, godly wife. I own a successful multi-state business, own a home and other real estate with no debt. I host a weekly bible study in that home, and actively seek to spread the good news of the freedom Jesus Christ offers to every kind of sinner.
Do I say this to brag on myself? Heck no, every good thing in my life is from God and it all still belongs to him. I tell you these things to do two things: first, to boast about how God has miraculously transformed my life from misery and needles in my arms, to contentment and joy!
Secondly, to give credit to the institution that provided the structure and opportunity to choose the obedience to the Lord that leads to life. I've heard the complaints of those students who wanted to run their own lives, and the whines of family members who could not let go of their codependent role. "Too much work, not enough counseling" or "too much judgment, not enough God."
All of these complaints are the excuses of those who are unwilling to see to completion the difficult and often painful task of changing. I've said the same things, I've been one of those people. I feel compassion for them. But I was sickened by the thought that a family might miss an opportunity to see God transform their loved one because of people who are only passionate about being negative. They have the fruit of that heart, while so many others like myself and my family have fruit of a different kind. Life in Christ! No drug addiction, no depression, no worrying about death or prison! My parents didn't just get "the old Justin back" like they thought they wanted. Instead they got a new son, who would be a hard worker, become a good husband, and one who honors God!
Is Teen Challenge Middle Georgia perfect? Of course not, the budget is tight, facilities sometimes wanting, staffing is difficult, and it's run by human beings. But God uses it to transform the men who are willing to see it through. And he blesses the families that are willing to say "no son, press though." That is the bottom line. I am in contact with many men who are proof of that, just like myself. You can do it, there is hope for the hopeless!