“I want to tell you what this place is like,” says Justin, a program participant. “It’s like when you have spent your whole life in darkness – your whole life – and suddenly, a light is turned on. At first, it’s blinding, but after that, you can finally see. You can see everything clearly. Everything is finally bright and beautiful. That’s what this place has done for me.” Justin is one of 26 participants in the program at Adult & Teen Challenge – Flint Campus. Every participant has wrestled with drug, alcohol and other addiction for most of their lives. Many have lost everything. Some, like Justin, have found inspiration in their families and children to get help. Others have found theirs in the realization that a better life is possible and deserved. The Adult & Teen Challenge has provided all of them with friendship, responsibility, faith and hope including Flint Campus Director and former program graduate, Phil Hall. “It’s a beautiful thing to see the change in these guys from where they were to where they are now,” he says. “They are all whole, new people. It’s a really amazing place and a privilege to be here. It’s a place that changes lives forever.”
Operating solely on donations, the intense, faith-based program is affiliated with Teen Challenge USA International with branches in Detroit, Toledo and Flint. “The program offers a one-year residential recovery program for people who have hinderances in their lives such as drugs, alcohol, pornography, anything that is life-controlling,” informs Hall. “We believe that the Lord will deliver them from these afflictions.”
The program is a detailed and structured road to recovery. Participants commit an entire year to education, community and faith while working to stay clean. “Our guys are cut off from the world to deal with their addictions,” says Hall. “We are very rule-oriented. We have a dress code and hygiene standards. Participants are not allowed cellphones and cannot leave the property.” The program has helped a multitude of young men in Flint begin new lives as business owners, fathers, spouses and leaders. With a success rate of 80% after graduation, Adult & Teen Challenge offers a reliable way to beat addiction for good.
The program is broken down into three sections. The first 90 days is typically the hardest for most participants. “The beginning is pretty tough for anybody dealing with addiction. We don’t do detox here – they do that in a medical facility before joining us. It’s the first 30 days afterwards that are most telling,” says Hall. “If they can make it past the first 30 days, they usually make it to graduation.” In the following six months, the bulk of the healing takes place. In addition to Bible study, participants study healthy living, healthy expressions, dealing with addiction, business, finance and more. They have the chance to help the community by working with charity drives, in various churches and neighborhood cleanups. They host events such as “Together for Good,” distributing backpacks and food. “Last year, we gave away 150 backpacks to neighborhood kids.
We just want them to know that we are here to help,” informs Hall. “We do smaller mission work here and there and, in the spring, we have our big fundraising gala.”
“It’s a beautiful thing to see the change in these guys from where they were to where they are now. They are all whole, new people.”
Those further into the program are able to gain on-the-job experience working at partnering business, NorthGate in Flint. NorthGate helps fund the program and has hired former graduates full-time. “The last three months of the program is meant to equip the men to be successful in the future,” says Hall, “and job experience is a big part of that.”
For every successful program graduate, there always seems to be one to take his place. Our nation is going through a true epidemic and opioids are a leading cause. According to Hall, most of his participants got addicted to opioids due to physical injury. “Prescription opiates have really hindered this country. We are 5% of the world’s population but we consume 95% of all the prescription drugs in the world. That’s crazy!” says Hall. “There is a crisis that is wiping out generations.”
Adult & Teen Challenge is out there spreading the word that help is available. They want those suffering with addiction to know that there is hope. If you are dealing with addiction and want to create a better life for you and your family, please reach out to the program by calling 810.424.9039 for instruction or visit the website and apply at lcministries.org. The fee is $700 for the year, but Adult & Teen Challenge -Flint will work with each participant for payment.
If you would like to support the program via donation, monetary donations may be made on the website. The Flint Campus is currently in need of cleaning and toiletry supplies as well as new paint, furniture and flooring. Please contact the Flint Campus for more information.
Director Phil Hall has seen remarkable stories take place in the program, seeing men and their families change in inspiring ways. “A young man came to us who had died and was revived at the hospital by Narcan,” he explains. “His father sent him to us and, as his son changed his life, the father did also. That’s the ripple effect. It’s really exciting. It’s the hardest job I have had in my life and the most rewarding. I get to watch people and families change their lives.”
If you would like to read Pastor Phil Hall’s personal story of recovery, Click Here.