OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - For 53 years, Home of Grace has been helping those with addictions through faith. Clients, alumni, and their families came together for the annual homecoming to celebrate sobriety and success Saturday at Mosaic Church in Ocean Springs.
It was a chance to see friends - connected by their fight to stay alive.
"Home of Grace has been around for 53 years," said alumnus Tracy Switzer. "They have a long history, and everything they did fit my bill, and what I needed, and gave me the tools that I needed to turn my life around."
Switzer struggled with addiction for more than 20 years and graduated from Home of Grace in 2017.
"I'm learning that it's possible to live again," he said. "It's possible to spread your roots and get connected and re-grow."
He and friends Bryon Rushing and Robby Rodrigue were roommates, and now in many ways, soul mates.
The hundreds of others who gathered feel the same way.
"This is greater than any drug that I've ever done," Rushing said. Drugs and alcohol were part of his life since he was 14.
"It got to where I was drinking every single day and the opiates took over," said Rushing.
But, like so many, Home of Grace stepped in in 2016. And, on this day, he's celebrating 19 months of sobriety.
"There's so much hope here at Home of Grace. It really is," Rushing said. "They really care. They love you. And, you've got a bond for life, for life."
Robby Rodrigue struggled with addiction since age 11, but 2016 was also a good year for him.
"Home of Grace changed my life," he said. "It really is a place where miracles happen."
So much so, it gave the former construction manager a new career path.
"I'm one semester away from having my degree in Biblical studies," he said. "From prison and the needle to Bible college at 45 years old so, God changes lives. He takes broken things and makes them whole again. You know, he took my mess and turned it into a message."
Home of Grace has a 90-day program at two locations: a men's campus in Vancleave and a women's campus in Gautier.
For more information, call 228-826-5283 or apply online.