SPRINGFIELD, Mo. While researching methamphetamine abuse in Springfield we met a man who spent nearly half of his life on drugs.
James Haines decided to get clean a few months ago.
He wants to share his story to let others know that there are people in our community who are willing to help addicts like him. Haines believes that if his life can change that there is hope for others.
"Seventeen is when I started using methamphetamine," he says.
At the height of his addiction, Haines says he was grossly underweight. His face looked sunken in.
"When you're addicted you don't realize what the worst part is until there's that one sobering moment where you realize you're walking the street in the rain and you have no place to go and you haven't showered for days an you're hungry," he explains.
He's lived this way since he was a teen. One day he decided he had enough.
He says, "That was over 3 years ago when I hit that rock bottom point and I still had a prison bit I had to go do."
Haines has spent the better part of the last ten years in and out of state prisons. His rap sheet several pages long.
"I'm used to selling drugs, getting high, in and out of prison. I spent more of my adult life in prison than I have on the streets," he said.
He came to a fork in the road. One path was to continue his life of drug abuse. The other was to get clean.
"It's my seventh time getting out of prison. I got off that bus I wanted to run. Something told me to make that phone call. One of the gentlemen here, he said this program saved my life. So I gave it a chance," he says, referring to Victory Mission.
"Here I get to be completely immersed in recovery and developing and rehabilitating these men's lives," says Mark McKnelly.
He runs the recovery program at Victory Mission.
"What we want to do is build or actually rebuild men’s' lives from the ground up," he says.
In just a few months McKnelly says the program has grown from 10 to 35 men who are all working towards recovery.
"We are seeing men just completely break free from past addictions and to see that dramatic change is incredible," says McKnelly.
He's helping Haines to get back on his feet.
"I have to learn how to be responsible, pay bills and just be a functioning part of society. Be a father. That's a huge step for me," says Haines.
He says he still has a long ways to go but now feels he has the tools to be off drugs for good.
"Now it's getting to the point where it's getting exciting because I get to see every single change in me and people are seeing the change in me," he says.
Victory Mission offers help free of charge, for men, but there are strict guidelines to be a part of the program. They are working on a program for women.
Links for other addiction recover resources are listed on this page.