My New Life Now

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 23, 2017

My New Life Now, Picayune’s faith based drug addiction recovery group, held its graduation ceremony last week to honor those who completed the 16-week program of drug abuse and alcoholism recovery.

The program is held every week at Resurrection Life Church and works by helping these individuals build a relationship with God.

Christine Collier founded the program in 2003, after experiencing the physical and emotional trauma addiction brings.

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While serving the church during her time in recovery, Collier constantly came in contact with others dealing with addiction and alcoholism.

Collier said the group gives attendees a chance to discuss their issues.

“Drug addiction is fuelled by denial and it is a strong feeling of being restricted and tied up,” Collier said.

During each class, attendees participate in reading and other exercises that bring about conversations. Collier said they use the Bible as a guide to the path of living a healthy life.

The effort started with five people and is now touching the lives of thousands across the county. In 2009 a version of the program was brought to the county jail.

Collier said the goal is to help those dealing with addiction find their freedom and begin a walk of faith.

“People have to feel the need to be liberated. We cannot chase people to follow our guided path, we are facilitators and use the word of God to encourage, mentor and challenge,” Collier said.

Melody Myrick was introduced to the program while at the Pearl River County jail. It’s now been eight years since she embarked on her journey away from substance abuse and she’s relieved to have made the choice.

“I knew nothing about recovery when I was in jail but when I joined these classes I knew I did not want to go back to the people, places and things I was involved with during my time in jail,” Myrick said.

Myrick said the recovery program helps participants set goals, boundaries and establish foundations to prevent them from relapsing.

Collier feels that there’s a stereotype that all drug addicts are unintelligent. But she believes all they need is a little encouragement to break the shackles of addiction.

That encouragement is enforced in the form of a certificate given to all those who attend 80 percent of classes through the 16-week program.

Collier takes pride in seeing people go through the program and later become leaders.

Sarrah Willhite is one such example. She is currently enjoying her new life as the minister of music at New Life Baptist in Picayune.

Willhite said she was introduced to the program during her time at the county jail. To her, the program introduced her to the root of her problem, allowing her to use Jesus and the Bible to find her freedom.

Willhite now wants to develop a program for children affected by drug abuse.

Three churches in the county conduct recovery programs similar to My New Life Now, including Trinity Outreach, Resurrection Life and New Life Baptist.

Collier hopes that other churches in the county will soon provide similar programs.