We believe the Christian approach to overcoming alcohol and drug addiction produces the most effective and enduring results. Therefore, we teach that the Bible is the inspired Word of God which directs us to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Through the experience of salvation, the “New Birth in Christ,” an addicted person achieves both sobriety and more importantly, a lasting relationship with the loving God who created him.
Ask any narcotics agent about drug use in Louisiana, and the truthful answer is alarming. It turns out that drug use and addiction are on the rise, especially when it comes to heroin, a drug that is growing in popularity across the nation.
“They are calling the drug problem an epidemic now,” says Kevin Laughlin, director of A Place of Restoration in Gray. “We are seeing younger ages and more overdoses because of heroin. There are a lot more physical effects. It’s becoming scary.”
At Rock Bottom
Back in 2000, Kevin was forced to face his own addiction. At age 14, he began experimenting with marijuana; by 15, he had dropped out of high school and found himself addicted to cocaine. He hit rock bottom at 22, and with the encouragement of his friend, Buster Dupuis, he moved to Florida to participate in a rehabilitation program at Dunklin Memorial Church.
“When I was 22, I hit a bottom with legal and financial problems—I had nothing,” Kevin says. “Buster called, and I remember looking around knowing this isn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t fun."
Climbing Back Up
Buster reached out to Kevin because he, too, was a recovering addict who went through the program at Dunklin Memorial. When Buster completed the program, he wanted to help men in Louisiana the same way. His desire to give back led him and his wife Maria,to the founding of A Place of Restoration .
Getting into the Program
Since 2009, A Place of Restoration has been restoring the lives of recovering drug addicts. The regeneration program focuses on Christian values and gives men the opportunity to fully heal by leading them to see that the addiction isn’t always the problem—the problem lies in what led them there.
Mentors at A Place of Restoration believe the secret to successfully fighting a drug addiction is to build their teaching around Christian beliefs. The program, which is affiliated with Living Word Church, lasts nine months, during which the men are housed at a private, rural facility.
Kevin attributes the program’s very good success rate partly to the rigorous interview process.
“When we do a phone interview, we try to find [those] that are really serious and willing to invest in a relationship with Jesus,” Kevin says.
All in It Together
The program at A Place of Restoration has three phases. The first phase seeks to teach the men responsibility by taking ownership of their choices. During the second phase, they focus on inner healing, facing their past, healing their pain, and learning to forgive. The program’s final phase stresses the importance of discipleship and teaches the men how to use the tools they have been given and the truths they have learned to keep
moving forward in their lives.
During the nine-month stay, A Place of Restoration provides work for the men via landscaping and carpentry opportunities. Most of their clients are also members of Living Word Church. The program seeks volunteers to cook meals to bring to the men, but all other staff come from a past of addiction.
“All of our staff has gone through the program here, and another staff member came from Dunklin Memorial,” Kevin says. “We seek staff members that have come from addiction because we want people who understand where these guys have come from, not just something they learned in a classroom. It always reminds me of where I’ve come from. When you see someone off the streets, it makes you grateful for what the Lord has done.”
Slow & Steady Wins It
When the men finish the program at A Place of Restoration, they are encouraged to participate in the training program and to commit to a year of working as a staff member. Typically, about three men go through Servant Leader Training.
“We’ll offer Servant Leader Training to transition them out. The slower transitions are more successful,” Kevin says. “A lot of guys want to get out and make up for lost time, but we try to deter that and get them to take the slower, longer road. The quick, easy road doesn’t usually work.”
A Family Plan
Because addiction affects more than the individual, A Place of Restoration also offers family classes and works with marriage counselors in an effort to bring healing to the entire family. Kevin hopes to eventually offer hotel rooms and a larger dining hall to accommodate visiting families.
The mentors have helped man after man on the verge of divorce or self-demise. One success story tells the tale of a man whose wife was prepared to file divorce papers. After seeing her husband’s progress in the program, she gave him another chance. The couple will soon welcome their second child. Another graduate is a recent newlywed who assists with a youth program at Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge. These stories are just snapshots of what the program has produced.
Let the Truth Be Known
Kevin estimates that A Place of Restoration has welcomed about 300 men inlyto its program. Though only a small number are from the immediate area, many often rebuild their lives and work to improve around Houma. A large population of the men come from Lafayette and the Baton Rouge area; they know little about the place, but are drawn in by what the program has to offer. Kevin hopes to continue growing the program and impacting lives. He knows firsthand the miracle it can be to a struggling addict.
“Most people think that drug addicts are these people in the gutters on streets,” Kevin says. “Everywhere I have gone and spoken, 99 percent of people raise their hand when I ask if anyone has been touched by addiction. People are coming to realize that it is affecting a lot more people than they think—kids from good homes … men with good jobs and good careers. People turn a blind eye to that and don’t want to acknowledge that. A lot of people write off addicts as if they have always been addicts and always will be. That is far from truth.”
Helping Hurting Families Heal
We have a passion for men trapped in the bondage of chemical addiction. Our mission is to bring restoration to these men by providing a healthy environment, Biblical instruction, a work ethic, and to pursue family restoration.
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The Journey of an Addict
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Ask any narcotics agent about drug use in Louisiana, and the truthful answer is alarming. It turns out that drug use and addiction are on the rise, especially when it comes to heroin, a drug that is growing in popularity across the nation....