July 10, 2009 --
Wilbur D. Mills Treatment Center in Searcy is a drug and alcohol treatment facility. Director Jim Clark says contrary to belief, the program doesn't last 28 days.
"Some people will come in with family or on their own. Others will be court-ordered here. Sometimes they are told how long they have to stay. But we encourage them to continue the program with counseling and meetings for one year. You have an 82% better chance of staying sober if you do this."
He says for those that choose to go home, that sobriety rate drops 17%.
"Many people go back to that same environment and the same friends that they were using with. Many times it will lead you right back here."
Instead, the facility offers a transitional living program to help addicts get back on their feet before returning to being on their own in society.
"They still need a little bit of a controlled environment. They aren't strong enough yet to be on their own, so we teach them how to live again."
William Ashabranner, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, says this is exactly what he needed to get his life back on track.
"I had my own business, and I was drinking heavily and using drugs and I was in debt. And I decided to make a choice to steal some stuff to pay that loan off."
That choice landed him in prison for three years. While in prison, Ashanbranner says he began to change his life through a Christian based recovery program.
"I gave my life to Christ. I surrendered my will to God and he has helped me get back on track. I have been sober for 3 years now."
Through the transitional living program, he's able to get back to work, now with two jobs. He's also learning valuable life lessons as well as forgiveness.
"When we are using drugs and alcohol, we don't think about other people, we only think about ourselves. I'm different now. I know that if I don't stay sober, I'll have nothing. I've been there and I don't want to go back there again."
The program serves men and women. If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Wilbur D. Mills Treatment Team at (501) 268-7777.