VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Those who are helping people overcome drug addiction said they are seeing more and more people hooked on Meth. At a graduation ceremony, a choir of men who are ready to be free of drugs and alcohol sang about how the Home of Grace Christian Recovery Center in Vancleave had helped them start their lives over again.
Brian McCollom is a man struggling to recover from Meth addiction and a patient. McCullum said he spent so long abusing drugs and alcohol that he barely remembers his life before addiction. Not so long ago, living sober was the furthest thing from his mind.
"When I found Meth and tried Meth, it took away everything else. The desire for anything else," said McCollom. "The only thing I could focus on was Meth."
McCollom said he would sometimes stay up for four days at time. He calls himself a functioning addict who he worked constantly to support his habit. While he gave his family money, he said he gave no emotional support and hardly ever went to his children's school activities.
"The Meth was more important to me than my family," said McCollom. "lt just grabs you. It pulls you in. My stepdaughter, she has had a really hard life. All I want now is to be there for her."
Every Friday, the Home of Grace holds a graduation for people who've successfully completed the three month program. McCullum is working toward his own ceremony.
"I had tried to quit on my own, and I couldn't do it. You can't do it on your own," McCollom said. "You can try to do it on your own and you can be sincere. You may want to do, but you just can't. There has to be something else to help you. A support group. God. There has to be some kind of higher power."
Counselors said Meth is an epidemic largely because it's easy to make or buy. They're seeing an increase in users who are both young and old. Officials said at one point the facility treated a grandfather, son, and grandson for Meth all at the same time.
"Prolonged use causes hallucinations, delusions. And over a period of time it will rot your teeth out. What they call Meth mouth," said counselor Kent Lassiter. "People that do Meth are pretty easy to spot. Meth kills. It destroys lives, homes and it will take your whole life. It will destroy your life. Take your dreams, your hopes. Not only your life, but the generation below you and the one above you."
Brian McCollom is praying to become the kind of man his family can respect and depend on. He said he had to move out of his home after testing positive for drugs so that the Mississippi Department of Human Services wouldn't take his children.
"I heard a statistic in class that only three percent children who are taken from their parents for Meth, only three percent of the parents ever try to get their kids back. And it's with God's help that I'm going to get my kids back. My kids need me, and I need them," said McCollom.
He said just a few weeks ago he considered leaving treatment early because of mounting family problems, but instead he prayed.
"Just this morning I had told God, 'I'm hard headed. It takes a little bit more effort for me to get something. I'm not asking you to make this next month that I have here go by like tomorrow. But I would like to ask for the remaining time that I'm here that you give me something, show me something, help me get as much as I can while I'm here.'"
He was reluctant at first when asked to tell his person personal business on television, but decided to do it anyway.
"If it can help somebody else to at least think about the change then maybe they can change," McCollom said. "It says in the Bible it only takes a mustard seed of faith to start growing to build on. And if it helps anybody, then it's well worth it."
Home of Grace also runs a treatment center for women in Gautier.