Addiction treatment center plans big expansion
MONROE – Since opening in 2017, The Bridge to Recovery off Stafford Street Extension has helped more than 200 people overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol, but it’s still not enough.
Every day, Executive Director Lew Davis has to turn away a handful of people seeking help due to lack of beds at the center and instead, redirect them to other resources.
He’s hoping an expansion that includes more residential dorms, a community building, fitness room, additional parking and a utility and maintenance building will allow his staff to help more people. That way, he said, he won’t have to turn anyone away again.
“Everyone deserves a chance at recovery,” Davis said.
The story behind The Bridge to Recovery is one inspired by the struggles of addiction treatment. Generally speaking, Davis said, addicts need to detox before entering residential rehabilitation, sober living and outpatient therapy, or joining a support group. The problem is that many detox centers and shelters are full. Most hospitals can’t spare a bed either.
“You don’t just walk into the emergency room and say, ‘Hey, I’m ready,’ because you’ll get turned away,” said Davis, who was a clinical counselor for 40 years before stepping into his administrative role.
Even after detoxification, the road to recovery is not a simple one. Davis said people are struggling, relapsing and dying from their addictions due to the prohibitive and restrictive criteria some treatment centers have in place. Unless an individual has the financial resources or a great health insurance plan, entering a treatment center can be a difficult process.
Retired Methodist Minister Jim Allred realized this problem after moving back to Stanly County and trying to steer several addicts toward sobriety. In 2011, he and his sister, Doris Skeen, opened the first Bridge to Recovery site in Oakboro as a pre-treatment house for men after detox, but before a bed was available for residential treatment.
The Bridge to Recovery opened a women’s pre-treatment house in Stanfield in 2014. Shortly after, the board of directors decided to open a residential treatment program and assumed a 5.9-acre property in Monroe that was formerly known as The Friendship Home.
Residential treatment at the Monroe campus is a 28-day program that aims to free men of their drug and alcohol addictions using evidence-based clinical practices facilitated by state-certified and licensed counselors. The cost is $2,500; however, free assistance may be available to those with financial struggles.
The Bridge to Recovery’s program uses both professional practice and spiritual renewal. Ordained pastors help lead people through their transformations, but Davis said no one is forced into Christianity.
“Most people come in angry at God or think God is angry at them, or maybe someone pushed the Bible on them too hard and they don’t want anything to do with it. Some people are open to it and will try anything,” he said. “We let a person choose their own path and we help guide them and support them. We offer the Bible, but we’re not Bible-based.”
The program is also rooted in abstinence, which means staff does not use drugs (like suboxone or methadone) to keep people off drugs.
“It’s like giving beer to an alcoholic and saying, ‘Stay off the whiskey,’” Davis said.
The Bridge to Recovery’s Monroe campus has a 70 percent sober rate and 95 percent completion rate. Davis said many graduates go on to help others by leading support groups or working in treatment centers and clinics.
The campus currently sleeps just 17 men, but the expansion will allow for up to 60 adults and also includes plans for a new multi-purpose building with a fitness room. Davis said the new space will be used as a dining hall, chapel and meeting space for support groups, as well as host professional community workshops and public awareness banquets.
He’s hoping to break ground this spring, thanks to donations from anonymous benefactors in Union County and a private North Carolina foundation he could not disclose.
“I’m really excited. This is the best job in the world. It’s a real warm and fuzzy,” Davis said. “Just to see people glowing and excited to restart their lives and the staff so willing to help kind of makes up for some of the tragic stuff you tend to see with addictions.”
Want to know more?
For more information on The Bridge to Recovery, visit www.thebridgetorecovery. org/ or call 704-909-8025. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to help?
The center is always in need of donations. Visit www.thebridgetorecovery.org/donate for a full list of requested supplies.