Cheap cocktail clank glasses together in smoky air as neon lights blink in sync to booming bass blasts from stammering speakers—this could be the way the weekend begins. Instead, many who might have once filled nightclubs and barrooms now come together in worship, desperately craving the transformational presence of Jesus as their redemptive stories unfold.
Recovery Church, hosted every Friday night at 7 p.m. in Atlanta, Georgia, is just one of many venues for clients of Good Landing Recovery. The Christ-centered, biblically based rehabilitation center offers addicts lasting transformation through holistic, holy avenues of care.
Founder Trey Lewis says, "As far as I know, we are the largest standalone PHP/IOP [partial hospitalization program/intensive outpatient program] sober community in the Atlanta area. And so what that means is that when somebody gets here, that it's going to be an attractive environment—an attractive community—that people are going to look at that and say, 'I know that it is possible to be able to know real freedom.'"
The rehabilitation treatment center's website, goodlandingrecovery.com, provides a substantial amount of information about Good Landing Recovery's mission, services offered and what people can expect. Perhaps most captivating, however, is the brief biographical sketch of founder and CEO Trey Lewis. Lewis is a former active duty member of the U.S. Air Force who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in public safety leadership from Mercer University and has spread the gospel across the country as a gifted communicator, leading outreach initiatives and inspiring thousands of strategic leadership conferences.
But prior to his profound impact in reaching the lost, Lewis was fettered in place by active addiction. In and out of different rehabs, nothing quite seemed to unlock lasting sobriety. Nothing, that is, until he encountered Jesus in 2005, who broke that stronghold in his life. This newfound freedom in the Spirit fired a passion to tell everyone about the life-changing presence of Christ and, in it, the power and love that shatters even the strongest chains of substance use.
During Lewis' first year of law school, God set him on a path of destiny that would ultimately pull countless others from the grip of addiction. A dream grew within him to open an inpatient residential treatment facility to transform the lives of men, lost and hurting, buried beneath the bondage of drug and alcohol addiction.
Tragedy Hits Home
But it was the heartbreaking news about Cliff Heaton that catapulted him into action to do more than dream about making a difference. Heaton, from Lewis' hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi, died by overdose at the age of 29. In Lewis' eyes, Heaton had it all. He was part of a family filled with love and support. Known for his joy and ease, he was the guy whose charm outweighed all other factors, landing him a spot on the basketball court despite his lack of talent.
But beyond the bright picture, concern stirred in his parents' hearts at the end of his senior year of high school. They knew their son had access to alcohol, grabbing a beer on the weekends and at parties with friends. Nothing too unusual for a graduating teenager, but they had no idea that their son was dependent on drug use as well. A secret kept hidden for a time unraveled as he transitioned into college.
Marijuana use turned to abuse of expired pain pills found by rummaging through his parents' medicine cabinet. For 10 years, Heaton battled addiction, growing more and more miserable with the direction his life had taken. He went into and out of 10 facilities during that time, says his mother, Chris Heaton. She admits that she slept better when her son was in treatment because she knew he was protected; he was safe. But he wasn't always in treatment, and she tried to prepare herself for the call she prayed would never come.
But nothing can ever prepare a mother for that call.
When a family member shared a baby picture of Heaton on social media after his death, Lewis saw his own child. "When I saw it," he says, "it literally shattered me, I mean rocked me to my core, where I said, 'No longer am I going to sit on the sideline and play it safe.'" Heaton's death pushed Lewis "to jump off this ledge and see what God's going to do to be able to set people free from active addiction."
Values Bring Victory
Lewis and Heaton both tried rehabilitation treatment facilities without experiencing lasting recovery. And they aren't alone in dissatisfaction with recovery programs. Many active and recovering addicts float in and out of programs throughout their journeys toward healing. But what's different about Good Landing Recovery? What sets it apart from other treatment facilities?
Located in the Atlanta area, Good Landing Recovery is a certified member of the Georgia Association of Recovery Residencies, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities accredited for ASPIRE to Excellence and recipient of Best of Dacula for Addiction Treatment Center (2019). It is a fully staffed medical clinical program, and Lewis explains, "That means we've got a staff psychiatrist; we have three nurse practitioners; we have 12 therapists, we also have an ordained minister and a worship leader. We've got an additional 60 support staff and addictionologist who is a former surgeon."
This holistic and Jesus-centered approach to finding the root issue and then working toward healing sets Good Landing apart from similar rehabilitation facilities. Lewis' wife and co-founder, Holly, says, "Jesus is always about putting the axe to the root and getting to the source, cutting it down. So when they come to Good Landing, we will teach them how to get to the root, so they will learn how to break free and experience the true abundant life that Jesus promised them."
Addicts find true freedom from active addiction when a dependency on drugs or alcohol turns to a dependency and reliance on Christ. Clinical director Mary Brooks, LCSW, says, "We want this to be something that is going to empower each client's life, not just 50%, not just 70%, but each client. We want them to leave with something." Because God created us as complex beings, a focus on body, mind, spirit and soul throughout the treatment programs empowers each client.
Treatment addresses the body through targeted nutrition and exercise, with a certified personal trainer on site. Building physical discipline is integral to recovery. Effective counseling strategies and group therapy treat the mind, and pastoral care, Bible studies and prayer nurture the spirit and soul. Find out more about this holistic and personalized approach toward treatment at goodlandingrecovery.com.
Four faith-based recovery pillars form the core of Good Landing Recovery. These pillars include creating an atmosphere of faith (see Luke 1:37), developing an overcoming spirit (see Phil. 4:13), building a strong body (see 1 Cor. 6:19) and trusting the process (see Rom. 12:2). At Good Landing Recovery, staff come alongside those seeking recovery to share faith and the journey, pressing into Bible study and worship for healing as much as the evidence-based treatment in drug rehab, alcohol rehab, outpatient or inpatient services.
Services include partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, alcohol addiction treatment, drug rehab and meth addiction treatment. Interested clients or loved ones can learn more about these personalized treatment services by visiting the Good Landing website or contacting the ministry directly.
Though there are no one-size-fits-all treatment plans, these pillars and values at the heart of the treatment do yield success. And just as Jesus stressed the significance of community, the Good Landing team strives to create family among many clients, who will ultimately become lifelong friends. Lewis says, "We want to create this kind of adventurous, social aspect of a new sober life that they are embarking on. To be able to create good community shows people that the sober life is not this life sentence to boredom, but it's actually going to be a whole lot of fun."
Community Yields Change
You've likely seen the headlines. Captain America, donning fairy wings, held at gunpoint by a former Marine after a botched attempt to burglarize the man's shed. But this wasn't just some costumed man whose photo spread across the nation, and the news didn't just hit close to home.
For Lewis, the news was home.
Recognizing David Hobbs in the costumed mugshot blasted throughout the nation, Lewis longed for his old friend to break free from addiction's grip, just as he had. He had known Hobbs from 20 years before, the high school friend who used to get high with him. Lewis contacted Hobbs' family, extending an invitation to get help for him. This marked the beginning of both a remarkable journey and God's restoration.
Hobbs was lost to addiction for 18 years before finding freedom and graduating from Good Landing Recovery. Lewis describes the first time the two reconnected. Hobbs walked into a group where he was teaching about overcoming shame, yet what Lewis saw in that moment was far from shame. "I saw a man who was full of purpose, a man who was serious about his recovery and interested in walking out of the grips of active addiction."
Today, Hobbs serves on staff at Good Landing, helping others trapped in addiction find their way to the freedom found in Jesus. "That's my way of giving back," he says. "And I'm a completely different person today than I was."
In only three years, the center has experienced accelerated growth, a testimony marketing director Daniel Garner credits to alignment with the purposes and heart of God. In fact, director of clinical outreach Rush Jolly says of Good Landing, "This company doesn't exist ... your sobriety doesn't exist ... nothing could exist without the power of God. So we're huge on that. We're huge on culture and community. We believe in the power of relationships with people who are on the same path as we are."
Cultivating community has been a core principle since the start of the company, but now more than ever, people have a great need for meaningful relationships. The pandemic has created a growing sense of isolation, and many people face looming mental health consequences as a result. Addiction doesn't sleep or quarantine, and statistics have steadily risen in the past year.
But Garner says Good Landing Recovery was one of the first places to adjust at the onset of the pandemic. Because of this, when many other treatment facilities closed the door on clients and sent them away, Good Landing welcomed them with outstretched arms. In this way, COVID-19 has presented an opportunity to share the gospel and redeeming power of Jesus Christ with many more people than before the pandemic began.
At the facility, people are more than patients or clients. Chief Operating Officer Charlie Campbell says, "I'm not just a professional coming into an office environment or a practitioner coming into a clinical setting. I'm a person who has a mission to see people win in life and for them to come back from tragedy and move to triumph."
Addiction can touch each of us in some way, and Good Landing encourages clients to break away from shame and silence to actively seek lasting change. Brooks says, "When they first come in, the light's usually dim in their eyes."
But it doesn't stay that way. She finds great joy in "being able to be the person that helps navigate that and see that light go from dim to a little bit brighter, to a little brighter, putting in all the puzzle pieces." Good Landing Recovery Center is proof that no matter how far away someone has strayed, no matter what mistakes they've made, there is always hope and redemption in the person of Jesus Christ. No one has to fight active addiction alone.
Samantha Carpenter is copy editor at Charisma Media.
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