URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — An organization called Lifeline-Connect is saving lives and reuniting families torn apart by addiction.
Wes Taylor is a graduate of the program. He was in a car accident at the age of 16. He became addicted to painkillers and his addiction spiraled into other drugs.
“I knew, with no uncertainty, that if I didn’t get help I was going to end up dead,” says Taylor. “I mean nobody wants to grow up and be a drug addict … You spend so long trying to hide your problem from everybody around you that you end up in a position where you’re in a place where you can’t get free on your own, you’ve got to have help.”
Taylor says he was at a breaking point when his family couldn’t be around him. He already had a failed attempt at one recovery program when he found out about Lifeline-Connect in Urbana. The faith-based addiction recovery program consists of residential treatment. At the age of 23, Taylor entered the program.
“From the moment you get there, you know that you’re surrounded by people who care about you,” he says.
Taylor spent 19 months at Lifeline-connect. It set him on the path to where he is now: the owner of a construction company and an assistant pastor
“Lifeline as a whole, despite all the love, all the care … it’s tough. I mean it really is designed to be a place where people can change — if they wanna change,” he says. The program has changed more than 130 men just like him, from all over the U.S. and Canada.
“We believe there’s no such thing as a lost cause. Everybody deserves another chance. Not just a second chance, but another chance,” says David Rogers, Executive Director.
The organization’s been around for 15 years and relies heavily on donations.
“Our program is 500 dollars for the whole year and the only way that happens is because of people in this community — and really all over the United States,” says Brenda Rogers, Administrative Director.
Thanks to all of that help, Lifeline-connect expanded a few years ago. Their new dorm can fit 24 people. Leaders say the program doesn’t just treat their addictions, it also breaks stigmas.
“As people we tend to judge the things we don’t understand. We don’t understand something, we tend to throw something at it we do understand. We put it in our own box like, ‘oh well, they just don’t wanna change’ or ‘they just don’t love their families’ or ‘they love drugs more than they love their families’ or ‘well they just like that lifestyle.’ You know, most of the time that’s not true,” says Director Randy Brown.
Taylor is proof that it’s not true. He wanted to change and now, he’s hoping his story can serve as an inspiration to others.