I'd like to tell you of a miracle that was wrought in my hometown (Maysville).
In 2007, I had been clean from all drugs for about a year, and my friends and I were unsatisfied with the amount of services our region had to offer for the many people who had unintentionally gotten addicted to drugs, including alcohol.
My friends and I wanted what bigger cities were offering their citizens, and we went on a search for a place to have a recovery "clubhouse" for the “Greater Maysville Area.”
After looking all over the city limits, we narrowed our decision to a location at 1211 Forest Avenue in the heavily populated East End.
We found it was owned by Andrew Wood, a local attorney. I called him and asked if it was for rent, and he said it was.
He asked what we wanted to do with it, and I told him we wanted to help addicts. He asked me to meet him there in 15 minutes, and I raced there. He immediately shook my hand and gave me a key. He said his brother "Stocky" was getting ready to give addicts “another chance” with the new Drug Court, and he wanted to join the effort.
He invested $45,000 in renovations and sacrificed several months of rent while we got the place ready to help addicts in the best possible way we knew how.
When we opened "Another Avenue Recovery Center,” addicts poured in like a hospital in a war zone.
This immediately drew attention, and many didn't know what to think. Letting scores of addicts meet for hours at a time made many people nervous. People thought “two addicts’ heads put together were worse than one,” much less 50-plus.
We had instances of opposition due to misunderstanding which was nobody’s fault. We were trying something mainly attempted in metropolitan areas, and it seemed radical to a small Kentucky town nestled between the hills of the Ohio River Valley.
I was a convicted felon and a notorious addict in and around Maysville, so that didn’t help our situation.
Certain people were not allowed to enter due to laws on “felon-felon association,” my increasingly confrontational demeanor, and concerns from many people who dealt with addicts on a professional level.
Our hearts broke as we waited for God to move, and He eventually did, but on His own time, in His own way. Mr. Wood told us to hang in there, that he was more interested in our lives than our money, which was a relief to us. We took him as much money as we could dig out of our pockets, which often wasn’t much at all.
We were building on something more than just a place in which to "hang out." We were investing in our recovery from addiction and the future of our communities.
Over the years, addicts came from everywhere. People drove hours to come support us. We flew speakers in, and addicts ran through the doors bawling.
We are proud of our efforts, and we are not ashamed. We did our best. There are well over 100 people who are clean today, who got clean in that building at one time or another. There are thousands who are clean who visited us.
I may not be alive if it weren't for Mr. Wood and the property he lent us for nine years.
Sunday, September 18, we moved our efforts to local churches, and I want to take this time to honor Mr. Wood and several others who made our dreams come true and who made this miracle happen.
I'd like to thank God for allowing us to live, love, and learn about life.
I'd like to thank the many addicts who humbled themselves and came into that building (often with their children) to help, get help, and enjoy what they had left of their lives.
I'd like to thank John Denham, Ron Rice, Kent Butcher, Jared Muse, Chris Neal, T.C. Rice, Zach Sutton, Rebecca Palmer, Gerald Curtis, Pamela Vaught, Donna Penrose, Lewis Nichols, Stocky Wood, Cissy Lester, Jimmy Lester, Danny Rudd, Craig Denham, Hazel Graham, Jane Ellen Evans Bailey, Ray Young, Matt Wallingford, Romey Griffey, the Central United Methodist Church, Ruby Webster, Sydney Helphinstine, Ray Reed, Angie Reed, Terry Cunningham, Bob Collins, Mary Ann Collins, Barb Clarke, Geno Beamer, Vicki Tichenor, Linda Helphinstine, Dale Helphinstine, Hilda Helphinstine, the Wilson and Humphrey families (next door neighbors), Beth Evans Wood, The Ledger Independent, the families and friends of all addicts, the people who rooted for us, and anyone I may have forgotten.
I'd also like to thank the late Chris Caudill, Justin Boone, and Brent Howell for their efforts, their love, and for inspiring us to press forward with our mission to help the rest of our friends.
None of our efforts were in vain. We did it. We got and stayed clean, even if some aren’t still clean, today. At least they will know that recovery and other miracles are possible right here in your Maysville.