GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Fleance Collins knows the depths of long-term addiction. He said his problems took him on a downward spiral from his life as a nurse, to a place of despair.
"In a word, it's miserable," Collins said. "I mean miserable. To have come from a professional career, and then to come to homelessness, it doesn't happen overnight."
He also knows sobriety doesn't happen overnight either. That's why he came to Trinity House after finishing an addiction treatment program at Home of Grace in Vancleave. Trinity House is a faith-based transitional home where men live, work and step from their respective addiction treatment programs, back into society. With every stride, they leave a trail of good deeds behind them.
"I came here primarily at first to help myself," Collins said. "But then after I got here, I realized that helping others was just as important as helping myself."
Todd Trenchard founded the ministry, years after fighting a personal battle with addiction. He and Andy Collette, Executive Director of the of the United Methodist Seashore Mission, say they have incoporated community service into the program at Trinity House because they know how important it can be in the path to long-term recovery.
"Trinity House is known as a place where people can call if they need help," Trenchard said. "They've helped senior citizens; they've help put up playgrounds for Boys and Girls Clubs; they've helped civic organizations; they've even helped the Gautier City Hall plant gardens."
Trenchard said he was met with some skepticism when he wanted to move Trinity House into a Gautier neighborhood. Now, he and Collette believe it has made a positive impact on the surrounding area.
"When you're in recovery and you're progressing forward, it stops being so much about you and what you can do for you, but what you can do for other people," Collette said. "And when you can make that bridge over that gap, and move to that next place, then your recovery is almost guaranteed."
That spirit of service lives beyond Trinity House for its alumni. Clyde Cummins, the program's third graduate, is dedicating his life to helping others.
"I am starting school in September to become an alcohol and drug counselor," Cummins said. "You know when you leave here, you want to just pass that on."
Collins said he also wants to continue his service when he leaves Trinity House. He wants to continue working with Collette, serving the homeless and hungry through the Seashore Mission.
Through making a difference in the lives of others, these men are making permanent changes within themselves.
"Hope, joy, being alive, feeling alive again with ambitions, dreams. That's what its like now," Collins explained happily.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Trinity House should contact Todd Trenchard at 228-217-5791.