Faith-based ministry fights addiction in Hattiesburg

Updated: Jun. 26, 2019 at 10:02 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A local faith-based recovery ministry in the Hub City has a mission to help men fighting addiction.

The Wilderness Refuge Recovery Ministries is located in the heart of downtown Hattiesburg. It’s a welcoming home for men fighting addiction.

Inside, an inspirational environment mending minds.

“It’s a brotherhood," said Michael Ainsworth "We have great unity and everybody get’s along very well. We lean on each other. It’s a good place to be.”

Ainsworth began his journey with Wilderness Refuge Recovery Ministries in May after becoming addicted to methamphetamine.

“I was an addict for 20 years," Ainsworth said. "I just one day woke up and wanted to be clean.”

Sober for eight months, Ainsworth has several mentors who help him along the way, including recovering addict Jamie Craft, who serves in a leadership position within the transitional home.

“I take the guys to work," Craft said. "I cook supper and take them where they need to be. I’m like a home dad.”

After a lengthy fight with methamphetamine, Craft turned his life around and is now helping Refuge House founders Patrick and Heather Ezell.

“I’m an addict in recovery too," Patrick Ezell said. "I struggle with opioid addiction. It started with pain pills and gradually grew to the point where I started chasing heroin. I never used heroin, but that’s kind of the point where God intervened. Whenever I went to treatment, that process we felt God calling us to do something in recovery and helping other men in recovery.”

“Addiction affects the whole family," Heather Ezell said. "So, it’s really important for everyone to be involved in the recovery process.”

The Refuge House opened its doors in December 2018.

“Whenever guys get out of treatment, it’s super important to be surrounded by good, safe, encouraging and accountable support system," Patrick Ezell said. "That’s really the heart of what we do at the Refuge House.”

The home houses up to 16 men. Residents must have graduated from a rehabilitation facility or be enrolled in drug court to be considered.

With a mission to heal, the group continues its focus on restoration and recovery.

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