Hope Not Handcuffs is celebrating its first graduating class in Genesee County

Published: Apr. 4, 2018 at 10:25 PM EDT
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(4/4/2018) - "Hope Not Handcuffs" is celebrating its first graduating class in Genesee County.

Now the class is preparing for their own second chance at life.

You don't forget stuff like that and I never will,” Fred said.

It was an emotional day for him as he remembers hitting rock bottom battling his drug addiction.

More than six months ago Fred was sleeping on his friend's couch with nowhere else to go.

"You take hold of something, and it takes a hold of you at the same time,” he told ABC 12.

Fred is making history.

He's part of the first graduating "Hope Not Handcuffs" class at the Flint Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center.

"I had a problem, and I took care of it,” he said.

But he says getting there wasn't easy.

"There were days where I just wanted to walk out that front door if I didn't have my family or my close friends,” Fred said.

We first met Fred back in December at the beginning of his journey.

"I look at where I was and where I am now and how I reacted to things and how things change. Your whole body changes, your attitude, everything changes,” he said.

Now he's hopeful for a new job and celebrating having his own place, where he can call home.

I am going to get out of here A) focused on myself and take a little time to regroup myself outside.

Fred didn't get here by himself.

Aaron Rubio was Fred's "Angel" helping guide him to this moment.

“Its nights like this you get to celebrate and see we were able to help people change their lives and kind of reroute back to the normalcy of life. So, it's definitely a good feeling,” Families Against Narcotics Director Aaron Rudio said.

Now Fred is looking to do the same to someone else in the future.

“I want to be able to help someone out as much as I can. Take what I learned and go from there,” Fred said.

The "Hope Not Handcuffs" is an initiative that allows addicts to go to police departments and ask for help.

Rubio says when they get to this point police and the Families Against Narcotics will work on setting you up on the road to recovery, much like Fred's.