The disease of addiction to drugs and alcohol is real, and for many struggling to overcome those obstacles, a helping hand can make all the difference.
For anyone fighting that battle locally, help can be hard to find, but now a group of individuals with New Life United Pentecostal Church in Liberty has made it their mission to offer assistance and be there to support anyone suffering.
“We’re somebody that can just talk to if they need somebody to talk to,” said David Darbonne, who has been part of the A.C.T.S. program for two decades.
A.C.T.S. is a substance abuse program that stands for Alcohol Chemical Treatment Series and is a 12-week program offering lessons on the impacts of substance abuse and providing an opportunity for those fighting the battle to have an outlet to discuss issues.
Darbonne, along with Jim and Kristina Parker, has been working to build the local support program since last November, and they have averaged around four individuals each Monday at 7 p.m. They hope they can impact more as they share their stories of hope and encouragement.
Kristina shared her own struggle and fight to end addiction in her own life with individuals in the program. She began using methamphetamines at a young age and found herself in jail on drug charges at only 17 years of age.
“I continued my addiction until I was 25, and I ran rampant, and that time I was just using anything I could get my hands on. So, I can pretty much relate to most of the people coming in because there wasn’t anything I didn’t use and I can relate,” she said.
Kristina has been clean for a decade and has made it her mission to help anyone struggling to break the chains of substance abuse.
“I’m lucky to be a part of this program. I’m blessed to be a part of this program because I can relate to them and know what they are going through,” she said. “I just want to let them know we’ve been where you are, and there are people out here that love and care for you.”
Kristina, who lives in Hull, is joined by her husband Jim in that mission to provide hope for the community. Jim, unlike Kristina, never had issues with drugs, but alcohol plagued him over the years.
“I never really messed with drugs because I was too busy with the bottle,” said Jim.
Jim made clear it doesn’t matter if it is alcohol or drugs, and the dependency can take over.
“An addiction is an addiction. No matter how you look at it. It can be alcohol; you know it can be drugs. If you really want to get down to it. It's just porn; it's just this; it's all an addiction,” he said.
Together the duo works with Darbonne, who never had issues with substance abuse; however, he has seen the effects on others, and the trio, who are all licensed by the state, strive to make a difference.
The group works in conjunction with the probation department to assist court-ordered individuals in attending meetings, although Darbonne makes it clear they are not just a place to have a piece of paper signed.
They also heavily encourage others that want to get clean to come out and join them, as it is a safe place to confront the realities of addiction.
“I want them to know that they are not alone and shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for help or anything like that. I’ve been there and I don’t want them to feel ashamed,” said Kristina.
The program is free and 48 lessons are taught, and for every twelve classes an individual completes, they can earn a certificate, but it is also a place for individuals to address their issues and concerns.
“You’re free to come and talk about whatever you want to talk about. We’re not putting a cap on what you can come and talk to us about,” said Jim Parker.
He also made a point o
The A.C.T.S. program is available for anyone wanting help with chemical dependency. Everyone is welcome to come out and participate in the recovery process in a safe, no-judgment zone.
“If you want the community to change, you have to do something to change it,” concluded Darbonne.
The church is located at 2510 Jefferson Dr. In Liberty, and for more information, call 713-502-5685.