Men’s recovery center provides sanctuary

Published 7:00 am Friday, November 20, 2015


. BROTHERHOOD: Rev. Clarence Tilghman speaks to some of the residents at the center. Photo by Ashley Collins.

BROTHERHOOD: Rev. Clarence Tilghman speaks to some of the residents at the center. Photo by Ashley Collins.

Steven Chance Speed from Collins, Mississippi said he lost everything when he became addicted to drugs and alcohol.

“I lost my home, so I became homeless and I lost my children and my wife,” Speed said.

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But everything changed when he went to the Damascus Road Recovery Center for Men in Poplarville.

“When I came here, everything fell into place and I got a job, a house and my family back,” he said.

Speed is just one of the many men who’ve found solace at the Christ-centered addiction recovery center in Poplarville situated in the countryside on Highway 53. The center recently opened in May, said Rev. Clarence Tilghman, the center’s executive director.

Tilghman served as a pastor for more than 30 years in Mississippi before finding his calling at the center.

“I wanted to be somewhere where I could help people,” Tilghman said.

The men’s recovery center is a privately owned and operated non-profit outreach of Jacob’s Well Ministries. Everything from the men’s beds to the kitchenware is donated from the community. The center is funded via a monthly $500 residential tuition, donations from individuals, churches, local businesses and social clubs.

During the six-month program, the men reside in a dormitory-style setting and undergo an inter-denominational Bible based work and worship program to help quell their addiction to substances such as drugs and alcohol, said Pastor Charlie Haynes, director at Jacob’s Well Ministries.

On a daily basis, the men undergo counseling and devotions and learn how to live a structured lifestyle to prepare them for the workplace.

“We have men working on grounds keeping, cooking and cleaning, we also teach them responsibility and how to work with others. Some men also arrange donated items to be taken to our thrift store to be sold,” Tilghman said.

Haynes, along with his wife, brought Jacob’s Well Ministries to Pearl River County in 2005. Haynes drew inspiration for Jacob’s Well from his own struggles with addiction.

Haynes said 1996 was the year he found Christ after dealing with alcohol and drug addiction for years. After his family sat him down for an intervention and asked him to leave the house, Haynes said he was able to save himself and recover his relationships with his wife, Pamela, and their children.

“I got a call from God to help people. That’s when Jacob’s Well began,” Haynes said.

Haynes and Pam founded the Righteous Oaks Recovery Center for Men in Chunky, Mississippi in 2001 and the Jacobs Well Recovery Center for Women in Poplarville in 2005.

Haynes said the men’s recovery center in Poplarville focuses on ministering the men and helping them strengthen their relationships with their families. Every Sunday, the men get a chance to see their families and attend church at the center’s sanctuary, which is open to the community on Sundays.

He also said the center doesn’t force Christianity onto its residents. Rather, they focus on strengthening their faith in order to help them overcome their addiction and live a happy life.

Michael Inman from Picayune is currently in the sixth month of the program. Inman said the center has changed his life for the better.

“I was always searching for peace and I knew Jesus was the answer and it took this place to find it,” Inman said.

Caleb Heap, who’s also from Picayune, has only been at the center for the past two months and said that he’s already, “found out who I am.”

The building itself was donated by Steep Hollow Baptist Church and previously served as a shelter for abused women, Tilghman said.

The need for recovery centers is great, Haynes said.

“We get a lot of calls from people who know someone who could benefit from the program. Addiction is something people don’t normally talk about, but it shouldn’t be ignored,” Haynes said.

He also said they don’t focus on a resident’s particular addiction, but rather their heart.

“We want to see what’s going on in their heart to see what makes them become addicted. It’s the healing of the heart that sets them free,” Haynes said.

The center has 35 beds, a sanctuary, a kitchen, bathrooms, a living area and an outdoor living space.

Once residents complete the six-month program, they receive a plaque during a graduation ceremony.

“One of the biggest challenges they face when they get out there is that when they apply to big companies they ask for their criminal history, and often many of these men have a past, so that automatically checks them off to many of those jobs,” Haynes said.

To help graduates find employment, Haynes said they’ve developed relationships with private businesses and entrepreneurs in order to help men like Speed get back on their feet.

“It’s good for these guys to see someone like Speed who’s graduated and doing something good,” Haynes said.

For more information about Jacob’s Well, visit