Hope Not Handcuffs program seeing success in Genesee and Lapeer counties

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FLINT (WJRT) - (12/1/2017) - Hope Not Handcuffs launched in Genesee and Lapeer counties in June.

The program encourages people with addictions to stop into a police station, where an angel will help get them into treatment. So far, 50 people are on their way to recovery.

"I was always thinking about getting help, but you're not ready until you're ready," Fred L. said.

Fifty-seven days ago, Fred walked through the doors of the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Flint.

"I hit my bottom. I had lost everything pretty much, sleeping at a friend's house, car, you know -- just bouncing from place to place. I was looking for something. I don't know what it was," he said.

Fred was 18 years old he started drinking and never stopped, turning to drugs as well.

"Fifty-seven days ago I couldn't tell you, you wouldn't even recognize me. I was about 175 pounds. I put on about 30 pounds here," he said. "The program is amazing. The way I feel now is better than I've ever felt in my life."

Each day, he and other program participants take on a strict schedule.

"Pretty much give you a structured life that you need that you didn't have before, know what I mean?" Fred said. "We work. I'm on the maintenance department, so I fix things that they need fixed around here and other stores."

Brian W. has been clean for 39 days.

"What surprised me the most was how welcoming the other gentleman were that are in here. They were very welcoming I would recommend this place to anybody," Brian W. said.

He knew he needed help, but it's his mom who pushed him to get it.

"Her health was, kind of, you know, getting bad because of me, worrying about me. Her blood pressure was going up, so I figured it was time I got my act together," he said.

Brian is grateful he's on his way.

"I'm feeling a heck of a lot better physically and emotionally and I'm having a good time here," he said. "My mom is doing better. She's much, much happier now."

Hope Not Handcuffs program coordinators said it takes the addict wanting help to go find it, but you can always use tough love.

"Tough love isn't turning your back on them," Cheri Pfeiffer with Families Against Narcotics said. "Tough love is setting boundaries, letting them know if they need help, I'm here to help you, but I will not watch you live that lifestyle."

The program lasts for six months, but participants can stay at the Center for up to a year.

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