LAKE WALES, Fla. — Tucked away on 80 acres of land north of Lake Wales, you feel a sense of calm as you enter Refuge on the Ridge, but there is work being done there. We’re not talking about improvements to the property, but men working on bettering themselves.
“When we were in our addiction, we were lazy," Garrett Bryant said. "Working is very important, it’s vital in recovery."
Bryant came to Refuge on the Ridge after struggling with alcoholism for 10 years. Now, he’s five months sober.
“Abusing substances for so many years, I forgotten what it’s like to be sober. Now, I'm having to relearn life sober. So it’s fun, it’s enjoyable. It’s like being a child again,” Bryant said.
Pastor Andy Blair opened the faith-based rehab program for men, last March. He also has overcome addiction.
“I found myself in rehab in 2006," Blair said. "I told God at that point, that if he would remove this addiction and the alcoholism from me, I would serve Him for the rest of my life."
Blair told ABC Action News Refuge on the Ridge is unique, because it’s a ten-month regeneration program that focuses on repairing the men’s relationship with God and family.
“Our mission statement is putting families back together one man, one family at a time," he said. "So, we encourage wives and kids to come out on the weekends. We have some housing that our sheriff has been so gracious to supply us."
There’s a $5,000 fee but anyone unable to afford it can still participate. The center has become a safe haven for Bryant, who hopes to make his family.
“If you would've known me five months ago to who I am now, I think it's safe to say I should be very proud of who I am now,” Bryant said.