NETTLETON • Broken Lives Ministry, a faith-based, residential drug-and-alcohol addiction recovery program for men, will celebrate the grand opening of its new facility on Saturday, September 7, starting at 11 a.m.

Located in the former National Guard Armory at 7314 Will Robbins Highway in Nettleton, the 16,000-square-foot facility will have space for up to 75 men to work their way through its six-month-long treatment regimen.

Shane Scribner, founder of Broken Lives Ministry (BLM), said the ministry started five years ago, shortly after Scribner himself had finally gotten clean and sober after years of struggling with addiction.

“I took my first drink after a high school football game,” he said. “I was always real shy, and it made me feel good. I liked it. Then it progressed to pot, then powder cocaine, then crack and meth. I’ve been in and out of jail and prison, and I’ve been through 16 rehab programs. It’s followed me all the way through life.”

Scribner, 46, said he was never one of those people who could have “just one drink.”

“One was too many,” he said. “And a thousand wasn’t enough.”

Now married with two daughters, Scribner is clean, sober, and on a mission.

“I’ve seen the darkness,” he said. “I know what it’s like. But I know the light too, and I want to throw a rope into that darkness and pull as many guys as I can into the light.”

Scribner, who now owns a successful Mooreville-based construction company, said BLM started in Skyline, where he heard God speak to him.

“I was working on an old building,” he said. “I heard God say to me, ‘I want you to open this place up to help men like you.’ And so we did.”

Scribner said BLM quickly outgrew its original home.

“I started out with three guys,” he said. “They lived in my basement while we worked on the building. Then it grew to seven, then 15, then 27. We were busting at the seams.”

Scribner said after moving to its new home in Nettleton, the program continues to grow.

“We’ve got over 70 guys now,” he said. “We’re in the process of getting our old place in Skyline back so the guys coming out of the program in Nettleton will have a place to transition.”

Scribner said while the stresses of managing both a business and a growing ministry can be overwhelming at times, BLM gives him a sense of purpose and life satisfaction that his former life never did.

“It’s great when you see somebody that’s where you used to be come back to life,” he said. “It’s helped a lot of guys, but that place helps me more than any man there.”

Byron Coker of Smithville has been a volunteer with BLM since the beginning. He now serves on the executive board and serves as the group’s administrative assistant. Though Coker said he had never struggled with addiction, something about the ministry drew him in.

“There but for the grace of God go I,” he said. “A friend invited me to a group devotional when they were just starting in Skyline. I walked in and felt the Holy Spirit really strongly. I’ve been hooked ever since. I eat, breathe and sleep that ministry,” he said. ”

Owner of The New Stitch, a screen printing and promotional company in downtown Baldwyn, Coker said the men who come to BLM are from all races, ages, and walks of life.

“There is no profile for an addict,” he said. “What they all share in common is that they are searching – for peace, for who they really are, for a way to escape from something. They get turned on to stuff and then they think they can’t quit.”

Coker said BLM’s approach is faith-based, but those seeking treatment must decide for themselves whether to accept or reject the premise upon which it rests.

“We’re here to help these guys see that God is the answer to every problem,” he said. “I tell our guys all the time, ‘We’ve got the greatest instruction manual there is; it’s called the Bible.’ But our clients have the free will to accept or reject what we teach them.”

Coker said BLM’s success in keeping people sober after treatment is far better than the average for secular treatment facilities.

“I don’t have hard numbers,” he said. “But I think our success rate is about 35 per cent, which is way better than the average of about 8 per cent for secular programs.”

Coker said even though not all those who pass through BLM’s program will continue to live sober, the success stories keep him coming back.

“Who am I to judge?” he said. “Jesus washed Peter’s feet knowing that Peter would deny him. One soul makes it all worthwhile, so I’m just going to do what I can for the glory of God and trust God with the outcome.”

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