BATH COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Every day in Kentucky, thousands of people are in treatment programs fighting to survive drug or alcohol addiction, but many will leave too early and relapse.
At Addiction Recovery Care, or ARC, the founder tells WKYT that one year in recovery is the benchmark for success. Recently, WKYT looked at what ARC does to keep clients in its programs long term.
Each month ARC holds a meeting, or what they call a convocation. In June, it was held at the Bath County High School gym. It's part revival with singing, part celebration and even part Major League Baseballs.
"For those who know me, I'm a huge baseball fan." ARC founder and CEO Tim Robinson told the group, "I can't believe I get to do what I do every day."
On stage he awards clients with baseballs for a job well done. Robinson fought his own battle with alcohol when he lost his mother to cancer at an early age.
"And each week I watched her waste away. I didn't have any way to cope with that. That started an 8-year battle with alcoholism where every single time I drank, I would end up blacking out, I would drink so much," Robinson said.
Sober now 11-years, Robinson started a grassroots, Christian-based ministry to help people recover from drug and alcohol abuse. He saw a need so great, he eventually left his job as a prosecutor and started ARC.
Now ARC has outpatient and residential treatment centers in thirteen counties -- mostly rural areas like Jackson, Fleming, Harlan and Lawrence Counties.
Back at the convocation, Robinson at the podium announces, "The reason that we're here is to celebrate and announce that our next residential center will be here in Bath County."
The crowd of ARC staff and clients erupts in applause. Many of the ARC staff and interns are former clients who have completed a year of sobriety. Leanna Murphy has come a long way. She recalls,
"My fifth DUI. I had lost temporary custody of my son. He's six. I have been arrested over 22 times," Murphy recalls.
Next month she graduates with a year of sobriety.
"God has a calling on my life now. My relationship with my son is great and restored, and my family. And I have purpose now. And I'm excited . The skies the limit now for me." Kayla Parsons says, "I was so hopeless. I was so broken, and I thought that was going to be my life forever."
Parsons credits ARC with saving her life.
"It gave me a life I never knew could even exist."
Megan Evans was a high school English teacher, and addiction destroyed that career.
"I had to create a new community and new environment for me, and ARC allowed me to do that," Evans said.
Robinson says ARC is able to keep clients in the program for up to a year, and the key is a Medicaid addiction benefit that pays for nearly all the treatment.
"In the Summer of 2014, Kentucky became the first Appalachian state to have an addiction benefit for Kentucky Medicaid. People with medical cards...that covered all levels of care for addiction treatment, including residential," he said.
In the last three years, Robinson says more than 4,500 people have been admitted to ARC with the Medicaid Addiction Benefit.
"So this is not just a silver bullet to put somebody in a detox program or put them on a medication. It takes at least a year walking along beside somebody and getting them to a place where not only are they clean and sober, but they've been vocationally rehabilitated."
It's what has given these women and men hope, and has them rejoicing about a new life.
"I love life. I never thought that it could be this good," Parsons says.
In addition to ARC opening a residential treatment center in Bath County, there are plans to do the same in Nicholas County. Outpatient centers are planned this year in Boyd and Rowan Counties.
For people and families looking for help, you can call the ARC helpline at (888) 815-4330.