HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It’s a church of second chances. If you are an addict or a recovering addict, Victory Baptist Church in south Hattiesburg says there is a pew waiting for you.
Once a week, on Tuesday nights, the church gathers to commend those who decided to get clean and stay sober. Eddie Laird is the leader of the Life Recovery Group at the church. He said he knows what it means to fight addiction. That’s why he is helping anyone through the rehabilitation program the church offers.
“It’s a faith-based 12-step program," Laird said. "We help work people through the steps and help them in their recovery and deal with not only drug and alcohol addiction, but any type of life recovery events.”
The road to sobriety isn’t easy. Victory Baptist church parishioner Charles Farrington said his addiction ran deep for 11 years.
“Opioids, methamphetamine, just everything,” Farrington said.
He said he has been sober for six months, but it wouldn’t have been possible without Victory Baptist Church’s faith-based rehabilitation program.
“And through this church, they have opened up my eyes and just really have showed me and loved me when I couldn’t love myself,” Farrington said.
A harsh reality of addiction is that not everyone stays sober. That’s why the pastor of the church, Dale Pulliam, said it was important for the church and it’s rehab services to receive training to carry and use Narcan.
“These guys go work in the community, and sadly ,some of them do relapse, and they come home, and if they come home to Bobby, he needs that medicine if they relapse," Pulliam said. "Because he is their only hope of getting to the hospital.”
The church invited Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Lt. John Harless to talk about the opioid crisis and to train the church’s rehab and recovery staff to use Narcan.
Laird said this training is a crucial step to making sure the pews are filled with folks every Tuesday night, ready to celebrate and keep fighting for their sobriety.
“One thing about being in recovery is being able to share your problems, share your hurts and your hang-ups and share what’s going on in your life with other people who can understand so people can show you love and show you there is hope,” Laird said.
Pulliam said they try to reach out to women and men in jail, prison and homeless shelters to help them get back on track.