From traditional 12-step programs, to Christ-centered outreach, there are many different options for anyone looking to get and stay sober. One Huntsville outreach combines the two and offers a 12-step program for men which focuses on God. Robert and Rachel Padon started Straight Path Ministries about 2 1/2 years ago, both former addicts to either drugs or alcohol.

“Our main focus is to lead people to Christ,” Robert said. “I was once a crack addict myself for 18 years. The Lord saved me, delivered me from it and let me take my experience and help other people recover from the same place I was at.

“About four years ago, my wife, Rachel, and I started going to Northside Baptist Church,” he added. “I felt the Holy Spirit one day. I went up to be saved. The pastor led me to Christ.”

Robert said even after giving his life to God, there was doubt in his heart.

“There was just a little bit of disbelief. Is God really there? Did he really save me?” he said. “Satan took that little bit of disbelief and worked at it and made it bigger and bigger.

“I did OK, but I could only go about three months without using. It just got worse and worse,” he added. “Finally, I went to the United Methodist Church on 11th Street. I went to the doors and prayed to God, I cried out to him. I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore. If you really are there, send me a sign, otherwise, I’m going to take my life. I’m not living here in this condition anymore.’”

That night, Robert went on a drug and alcohol fueled binge.

“Three nights later, I was driving down the road in my truck. I found myself repeating Hebrews, chapter 12, verses nine through 15, over and over again.” he said, his eyes wide with the memory. “When I heard what scripture I was repeating, I didn’t even know there was a Hebrews in the bible.

“My wife had bought me a recovery bible when I got saved,” he added. “She would hide money in it, because she knew I wouldn’t look in there. I wasn’t raised in church. I had no clue. I called her and asked her to come get me and when we got home, I read that scripture. My life changed dramatically from there.”

After that night, Robert said he felt God communicating with him.

“I’ve made that covenant with him, that I’ll work with him,” he said. “That’s what it took me to recover.

“I knew that God wanted me to put together a rehab facility for people to get in and get away from the drugs and learn all they need to learn,” he said.

Rachel said after starting Straight Path Ministries, she and her husband realized it wasn’t enough. Soon after, they started the Nehemiah House, a Christ Centered Discipleship program, which is a 90 day recovery program featuring work ethics, chapel five days a week, men’s leadership training and husband/family skills training, among other programs.

“These guys need to be protected from the world, until they can learn to live in the world,” Rachel said. “We also have a bargain center they can work in; it gives them time to learn.

“I teach being active in church is important,” she said. “The way I look at it is — if you start with Sunday, you go to Sunday school, go to church and then go home and have dinner. You watch a movie, take a nap and go back to church — you’ve got that day licked.

“Tuesday we have a meeting, so you go to work and go to the meeting, you’ve got that day licked,” she added. “You work Wednesday, go to church, you’ve got that day licked. Find somewhere you can volunteer in the church, plan something for the weekends with your family and go do it. Act on what you plan. Do anything, but plan something, so you know you have a date with your family on Saturday, and you’ve got that day licked.”

Doing something every day and involving yourself is the best way to make addiction recovery work, Rachel said.

“I had someone ask me, ‘Why do you put so much on your plate?’ And I said, I used to make time every day to drink, with Satan,” she said. “Surely, I can do something for the Lord every day, besides just taking advantage of the blessings he gave me.

“If you wake up every morning and thank God for the small stuff, if you pray up your day, your day will be much better.”

Robert said his addiction is better, but for him, it’s a never-ending battle.

“We have to realize that even a 10-year program isn’t enough. We have to struggle for the rest of our lives,” he said. “I’m glad our program is getting off it’s feet. It’s wonderful to see the changes, in just a few weeks, how much the men’s features have changed and their color comes back.

“Whether they make it the full 90 days or not, if they’ve accepted Christ, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “If we can keep that up, our success rate is 100 percent.”

Another endeavor the couple has recently undertaken is a construction company called Apostle Restoration.

“The men can take everything they learned from project Nehemiah and come work for Apostle Restoration,” Robert said. “We teach them and let them work and make money and put to use everything they’ve learned in their 90-day program. We think it’s going to be very successful to keep people from falling back into sin.”

Both Robert and Rachel said no matter how they do it, anyone addicted to a drug or alcohol should seek treatment.

“It doesn’t matter what program it is, AA/NA, as long as they seek help,” Robert said. “I can’t express the importance of a support group.”



Local drug and alcohol resources

• The 190 Group of Alcoholics Anonymous meets every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and every Sunday at 4 p.m. at Harrott Construction in Point Blank. For information, call (936) 662-7246.

• The Huntsville Group of Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 1214 12th Street daily at 8 p.m. and Monday through Saturday at noon. Call the meeting hall at (936) 291-3376 for information.

• Narcotics Anonymous meets every Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Lake Area AA/NA, 421 San Jacinto, in Trinity. For information, call (936) 594-0066 or (936) 546-2170.

• Straight Path Ministries sponsors alcohol and drug recovery meetings each Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at 2914 Sam Houston Ave. For information, call Robert Padon (936) 661-9582.

• Harmony Group of Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the United Methodist Church social hall. For information, call (936) 291-7646.

• Al-Anon group for family and friends of alcoholics meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Conference Room at Huntsville Memorial Hospital. For information, call (936) 291-2685.

• Riverside Al-Anon Family Group meets at 7 p.m. each Thursday at the Riverside United Methodist Church. For information, call (936) 891-5323 or (936) 661-1877.

• Narcotics Anonymous meets every Thursday at 7:15 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church. For more information, call (936) 594-1866.