Faith-based drug ministry expanding to Craighead County

CARDWELL, MO (KAIT) – While it's hard to determine, the success rate for alcohol and drug recovery programs appears to be substantially lower than most people would like. According to Steve McCracken, the power of drug and alcohol addiction destroys lives and wreaks havoc for people trying to better themselves. While several success rates are dramatically lower, he claims his faith-based recovery program is successful 60% of the time.

"I guess our overall message is just that they don't have to live they way they have been living. There are options out there that these men can come in here and become empowered that they can get clean. It's not just about getting clean, getting off the chemicals, but it's about developing a relationship with Jesus Christ," said McCracken, founder of Shepherd's Fold Ministry in Cardwell.

McCracken's ministry has been accepting men struggling with addiction since March of 2010. Currently, men ranging from 19 to 58 years old are in his program. McCracken said his ministry will expand into parts of northeast Arkansas very soon.

"It's sad to see the reality of things. Most of the guys that come through here have been hurt by society and a lot of them have been hurt in churches. They've been cast by the wayside for so long and nobody has loved them. I find that is the most effective tool that we have with these guys. The fact that we don't judge them and we just love them," said McCracken.

McCracken told Region 8 News a corporate sponsor donated land on Highway 141 north of Jonesboro, near Craighead County Road 720. He said there is more need for faith-based ministries than currently provided. The property was closed on Wednesday.

"If we took the numbers of men that have actually completed and actually worked the program for their benefit, I could give you a real number of roughly 60 percent," said McCracken. "People have already said they would donate some of the labor, some of the supplies as far as the electrical and different things."

Local churches have also expressed a desire to help men coping with addiction. Last weekend, the Worship Center of Jonesboro hosted a barbecue dinner and concert to benefit the men of Shepherd's Fold. McCracken said the church raised $3,200 combined with the barbecue and concert.

"We want to turn that negative into a positive and show these men how to become productive and employable," said McCracken. "Most of these men that come in here have fines, court costs, child support and we're all about that. We want these men to stop having to run from that responsibility."

McCracken said Shepherd's Fold relies on donations and is a non-profit organization. For more information on the ministry, email him at or call 573-654-2280.

"I was going to lose everything I had. I was going to lose my family. I got a little baby girl. She was six months old at the time. I was falling away from God most importantly," said Matt Cook, one of 13 men currently residing in the Cardwell location.

"I never overdosed before in my life and I overdosed and that's what happened before I came here," said Cook. "I was looking for xanax. I couldn't find the xanax, so I thought maybe if I took something else that'd slow me down. I wouldn't be so worked up about it because I was trying to face some issues I was having in my life. I thought that might help me and that's just part of that thinking you develop."

Click here to hear about Cook's story.

"I had enough sense to know that God was the answer to my problems. I just didn't have the discipline and the drive to turn everything over to him," said Cook. "I just asked him to forgive me. I told him I couldn't do it anymore. My life is just going to be ruined. All I had to do is submit. People make it out to be so hard, but it's really that easy. You just give it to him."

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