Recovering Addicts Give Back To Society - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Recovering Addicts Give Back To Society

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After storms hit hard across the Quad Cities Area, many people have been left with major clean-up projects. One local group is volunteering to help as a way of giving back."I just finally hit a bottom, and I knew I needed help," said Gordon Essex, who battled a drug addiction for about 14 years. "I think it's hard for men to stand up and say that we need help."

Essex went to the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center for help.

"The truth is that we all need a little help," he said. "The miracle did happen, and my life changed."

Participants are expected to commit to at least six months in the program. Essex stayed for around one year.

"My father actually went through the program," he said. "I waited for him so we could graduate together."

Now, he and dozens of current participants are putting away sandbags at the LeClaire Park Bandshell in partnership with the city. Every few months, the group does community service projects. Essex says the opportunities help them both get back into and give back to society.

"I think it's awesome that the community comes together and helps us, and I don't think that they know," he said. "I think they think the Salvation Army is a thrift store, or a place to donate, but I don't know if they realize that they're actually saving lives."

The program allows participants to take on daily tasks at the warehouse. Both Essex and Brian Wells, also a graduate, have secured jobs through the Salvation Army.

"It gave me a chance to get the comfortable feeling back inside myself again to where it's okay to be me today," Wells said.

They say continuing to be around men who are working on themselves, after going through tough times, urges them to keep doing well.

"Now, I'm the guy that is helping others," Essex said. "I was the guy that couldn't help myself at one point."

"It's a wonderful opportunity for those that want to change, and this program is where it's at," Wells said.

The group is also working on converting a vacant home at Garfield Park into a senior center.


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