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Kentucky Inmates Celebrate Milestone in Celebrate Recovery Program

by Kelly Paul, Advance Yeoman (re-printed with permission)

Wickliffe-A group of six men currently incarcerated at the Ballard County Detention Center dedicated to turning their lives around celebrated a milestone in their recovery from alcohol and/or drug abuse and other issues that have taken a stronghold on their lives. On Monday, Pastor Jamie Lee of Grace United Methodist Church in La Center celebrated with the men as they acknowledged their having completed six months of hard work in a program called Celebrate Recovery.

Grace United Methodist Church has offered Celebrate Recovery on Thursday evenings since January 2012. The program has been growing strong and has been helping people not just with substance abuse, but with other issues as well. These issues include but are not limited to divorce, abuse, low self-esteem, and depression. Jailer Mike Horn approached Lee one day about bringing the program to the inmates. Since then, Lee has been meeting weekly with the men at the Ballard County Detention Center for over six months.

The small group of men all showed great appreciation for Lee for having had taken the time to come out to the detention center to show them “the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process.” They all shared their gratitude for Lee, Jailer Mike Horn, and the Celebrate Recovery Program. They also expressed a deep desire to continue with Celebrate Recovery as they work toward getting their lives back on track after having been incarcerated for one reason or another.

“Mike and Jamie stayed faithful and gave us opportunity. Most jails don’t care about your spirituality,“ said Mannie Mathews-Honarmand. “They could be doing something else… Christ is moving in this jail.”

Anthony McAbee said the program has allowed them to “rewrite our obituaries.” He continued, “It has opened up doors for us to come closer to our savior and to open our hearts and eyes. We don’t have to be stuck in drugs and mess. It has helped me get back closer to family and friends.” He later added, “This is the only jail I know where every cell is studying the Bible…not fighting.”

Cedric Buchanan said he felt like God put him in the Ballard County Jail for a reason, “God put me here…to be saved… I take everything in and embrace it. My whole perspective of life has shifted. This jail has been a blessing.”

When asked if they had to come to the meetings, Mannie said, “I didn’t come for time off. We want to be positive with our time. I have a new way of thinking and living.” Mannie talked about his changed way of thinking by saying, “You have to face your problems. I can admit to things and face life on life’s terms.” He said he felt that he now has options. He smiled while saying, “I never thought I’d be getting baptized in jail on Easter 2013.”

Jerry Compton said the program made him realize he needed to change his life. “I’ve realized I’m a messed up individual.” He said the program has changed him. “Everyone can look at me and see that I have changed,” He expressed his gratitude to Horn by saying, “Mike is offering people a chance to change their lives instead of just doing time. He puts his heart into it.”

This six-month milestone is not the end of the program for these men. A big part of the Celebrate Recovery program is taking a personal inventory, and it is no easy task. Twenty-two men started the program over 6 months ago, and only the six remain. Even when they leave the Ballard County Detention Center, they will continue to take a daily inventory of their lives and continue to grow based on the principles they have learned in the program.