Leadership

Joshua Scalf

Pastor, President, & Founder

Certified Peer Recovery Specialist,Undergraduate Ministry Certificate, Johnson University

Marley Jane Scalf

CEO

Undergraduate Ministry Certificate, Johnson University

Lincoln Shelton, LPC, MHSP

Clinical Director

Drew Anderson

Counselor

Maigen Vaughn

Womens Program Director

Certified Peer Recovery Specialist,Undergraduate Ministry Certificate, Johnson University

Joshua Nunley

Men’s Program Director

Tim Gouge

RSM Auto-Mechanics Instructor

Johnathan Layne

 Intake Coordinator, Carter County TN Campus Program Director, Middle TN Campus

 

Ray Oliver

Job Skill Training Director, Osha Certification Facilitator

 

William Colonnell

Mens Dorm Director

Kym Morgan

Super Thrift Manager

Chad Bryant

  Lawn Care Coordinator 

 

Kandy Whitson

Womens Intake Coordinator

 

Darlene King

 Womens Laundry Management  

 

Joey Rowell

 Womens EDU Facilitator

 

Bruno Petrovic`

 Job-Skill Training Director

 

Shawn Harless

 Mens Education Facilitator

 

 

Our Testimonies

My name is Joshua Scalf and the monster of addiction that has destroyed so many lives is the same monster that I’ve battled for the past seventeen years. He used to exhaust my every thought, consume my dreams and would steal any truth from my life. His grip is tight. His lies are blinding and your relationship with him will always end with the same outcome; pain, misery, and regret.

 

 Who was I? I served thirteen years as a slave to addiction. Just like many, I was dope driven, wild-eyed and reckless. When chasing my high I didn’t care who or what stood in my way. My chaotic conscious was numb to consequence and my heart hardened to remorse. Drugs were my only purpose and for anything else in life, I simply didn’t care. My self-denial eluded the fact that I chose dope over anyone who truly loved me. I abused the love my family has for me to lure them in and get what I wanted. I smashed my friends and loved ones trust like a broken mirror. Even today, I can still see their anguish through the shattered pieces.

My Credentials. Living by crack-head concepts, I thought straws were for snorting, lightbulbs were for smoking and belts were better worn on the arm. I would say things like: “Rehab’s for quitters,” “Friends that stick together stay together,” and “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I thought it was always better to ask forgiveness rather than permission. I served four calendars in Virginia department of corrections because a judge didn’t see it my way. I’ve eaten more state beans, slept on more kindergarten mats, and sat on more stainless steel toilets than I care to mention. It didn’t take long to realize that prison life isn’t for me. I always seem to run my crimes and drugs in the same sequence. It didn’t matter which ones I done and I did a lot of them. From grand theft auto to distribution and from smack to speed. I went as far down the rabbit hole my mania would take me. For years, I fell deep into dejection and felt that I was at the point of no return.

Addiction is sick and so was I. My cravings were so commanding that there was nothing I wouldn’t do to appease them. Even the strict rules of drug court couldn’t slow me down. From taking expensive blockers sold at head shops, to drinking bleach or sure gel, I became a drug test specialist. I was a bathroom James Bond, looking the P.O. in the eyes, as I emptied my condom of clean pee. They started to catch on however, as symptoms of my using started to show. It wasn’t hard to miss the significant loss of weight, missing classes, and excuse-making attitude. I was called in for an unexpected drug test. Not prepared or able to cheat this one, my sickness took over. Addiction decided there was no length we wouldn’t go in order to stay out of jail. I told the girl I was seeing at the time that I was going to the basement. I instructed her that she would hear a chainsaw start, and when she heard it stop, to call an ambulance. She didn’t have to wait on the saw to stop because my screams were enough to drive her to dial 911. My horrid habit had so much control over my life that I took a 191 Stihl chainsaw, squeezed the trigger full throttle, and gashed my own leg. I was taken immediately to the ER where the doctor wrote the prescription I needed to cover the opiates in my system and an excuse for why I didn’t report for my drug test. I didn’t go to jail, but in all reality, I could have lost my leg or hit an artery and bled to death on that basement floor. The scar I wear today is a vivid reminder of how ill addiction makes us.

The absence of life replaced with regret. I realize that there are so many afflicted. Their lives are at the lowest of lows. Even those that are coming off drugs are withdrawing and each new sobering day brings an ample amount of guilt. Your conscience slowly starts coming back to life and remorse floods your heart. It replays all the bad you’ve done and shows the faces of all you’ve hurt. When my niece was born, my sister looked around the room for her brother. I wasn’t there. All our lives she looked up to me. From chicken pocks to imaginary tea parties, we did everything together. She was so excited to introduce to me this little precious new member of our family. Sadly, I chose dope instead of choosing to be an uncle and brother.

I remember as if it were yesterday. I had tweaked myself into a closet. The phone kept ringing and in between shots, I finally answered. It was mom on the other end with devastating news of my grandfathers’ passing. My conscience was so consumed by my addiction that instead of feeling sorrow, I felt that I needed another shot. Later, I pictured my grief-stricken grandmother, so frail, leaning over my papaw’s casket. The pain and suffering from the loss of the one she loved most in this world, pouring out through her tears. I can see her leaning to the right seeking the embrace of her grandson. She needed me to comfort her and return the love she so humbly gave me all my life. I gave her or my family nothing. While they lowered my grandfather in the ground, I sit secluded in a walk in closet with the door shut, sticking myself over and over again in the arm.

My papaw taught me to mow. He’d pull the cord on an out dated Murray push mower. When that old Bridge and Stratton engine fired so would my excitement. He’d say, “Come on son, help papaw mow.” My happy little feet would toddle across the yard. I’d stand under him both hands on the crossbar mid-way up the handle. He’d push, we’d mow and I’d smile like a hero. I loved that man and he loved me. I just couldn’t leave that closet to bury him or give my last respects. I don’t have children, but a lot do. Who’s there to teach them to ride a bike, throw a ball or tie their shoe? Who’s at home tonight, checking for the boogieman under their bed? They need you to hold them, protect them and love them. You can’t hold them unless you let go of addiction.

Future Fighter. We can’t change who we were or what we done in the past, but we can create who and what we’re going to be in the future. You can be that brother a sister can lean on or the grandson whose comforting hug replaces grandma’s tears for a smile. You can be a parent your child depends on. You’ll hear them say things like, “I want to be like you, daddy, or momma.” When you take them by their little hand, they look up at you, and their big smile is your hearts recognition of being a true parent. There’s no greater high. This overwhelming sensation floods your insides. It’s the same emotional intoxication that speeds your heart when momma hugs you up, looks into your eyes and you know she knows you’ve finally made it. Her baby boy is truthfully clean. No more nights spent crying at the door worried you won’t make it home. You’ve made it and going to make her proud. A strong loving family needs the foundation of strong loving men to hold it together.

Normally foreign. There is a problem we addicts run into our first few weeks of sobriety. We clean out from drugs, but our minds and emotions are still prisoners of the life style. The world we lived and knew has come to a sudden halt. The ringtones from your phone have silenced and the incoming texts stop vibrating your pocket. You don’t have to take Carl to the doctor on the fifth to get his pain script or Sara on the fifteenth to get her Benzos. You’re not selling seventy of this to make ninety of that. You stop flipping here or hustling there. In the grocery store and gas station parking lots, there’s nobody waiting on you or you waiting on them. You don’t have to drop nothing off or pick something up. So the question you frantically ask yourself is, what the crap am I suppose to do now?

A normal life like having a checking account or a valid driver’s license is foreign to us. We don’t know how to use a calendar or how to schedule things. We eat in our cars on the go, not at a dinner table. Six in the morning is when we get home, not go to work. “What’s a grocery list? Do I really have to go to a post office to mail this?” Being on time to us is being fifteen minutes late. It doesn’t feel right to be around a crowd without a buzz, so ball games, church or social gatherings are out of the question. Because we don’t fit right into society, some of us sadly relate sobriety to feelings of worthlessness, loneliness and lack of accomplishment. We feel we’re always being told what to do or who we’re supposed to be. We quickly trade our addiction for depression and depression leads us to use again. Don’t use again. Instead use these feelings as markers. Big yellow caution markers to let you know what made you feel this way and that you don’t want to feel it again. Depression can be turned into direction. Use the pain of your past as a reminder the next time someone offers you a pill or you feel the urge to use. Remember, it’s normal that you feel bad for the iniquities of your past. Those feelings prove that you have a heart and that the Spirit is still dealing with you. They will convict you to change into a better man, a man to be proud of.

Freedom. Who I used to be and who I am now is inspirational hope that each and every addict can live clean and purposeful lives. I was filled with the same torment. I was a liar and a thief. I was a junkie and a drunk. I let down, abused and abandoned my family. I was a murderer. I cussed and constantly spoke garbage. What I’m about to tell you is crucial. Everything that I was and all the evil I did, I gave it to my Lord Jesus Christ. He lifted it from me and put it on his back. As they cussed him, spat on him, beat him, he drug it through the streets and up to Golgotha, the Place of a Skull. They drove nails through his hands, pierced his side, and as the thorns punctured his head, the blood dripped onto my sins and covered them forever. (Matthew 27:27-50)

This world often produces problems too big for us to handle. No doubt, we need to accept responsibility and pull our part, but there’s gratifying relief in knowing that if we lose grip, God’s big hands are there to take hold. He can lift the overwhelming weight of addiction too. For me the Lord has taken away the appetite for my vices and replaced them with the hunger to help others. There’s no greater fulfillment than love. Love for your family, love for your neighbors, and in loving others, you’ll find love in yourself.

Stop your dependency for dope and start to depend on God. Allow him to ignite the strength that I know lives inside you. Let the Holy Spirit come alive and bang on your heart like a gong! The reverberations will echo deep into your soul and allow your spirit to strum alive with the life God breathed into you. You will feel the essence of God more powerfully than any drug. Your pulse will quicken. Your pupils will dilate. You will be high! Believe me, I know. Just let the love of the Lord flow through your veins. Your choices will be the right ones. It will give you the tools to repair the relationships that your addiction has damaged. You won’t have to talk because your walk will say it all. Family will trust you. Most of all, God can mend the pain that I know cries out from your heart every day.

Redemption Road. I won’t lie and say it’s an easy road to travel. There’re slippery spots, loose gravel and blind curves. Keep your eyes on Jesus and your foot on the brake just in case you have to turn around from a tempting situation. Remember there are detours and help that you can turn to. You have to accept it and stop making excuses. You are a new creature in Christ, old things are passed away. (2Corinthians 5:17) The old man and old feelings are gone. You don’t want any mood altering substance. Just because a doctor prescribes it doesn’t mean you can take it. Ask him to write you a get out of jail free card too and some disappointment-free pills. You can give them to everyone your relapse lets down along the way. Channel your addiction and direct it into something positive. Put the same energy you put into getting high into staying clean. Find hobbies to fill the void; Church, recovery groups, spiritual healing classes, hunting, fishing, dance, music collecting, bike riding, rafting, swimming, skating, taking nature walks with Jesus, go to storytelling, food tastings, yoga, the gym, and there is so much more. Look for it like you looked for dope and you’ll definitely find it. Turn to being a parent. There’re a million things to do with your kids. Go find the fun. Working is a must. It builds self-confidence, self-worth and shuts down the devil’s workshop: which is idled time. Find a job you enjoy. If you regret it you’ll quit it. Keep a job while you look for one though. If you made it through withdraw, I’m pretty sure a cruddy job won’t knock you down. It won’t take long to find what you’re looking for. When you’re clean, you’re responsible. When you’re responsible people will hire you.

The last direction I can give you is to pray. Not just before a meal. Not just before bed. I’m talking all in, all the time, one on one, you and God. So I say to you, “ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him that knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10) One of my favorite scriptures. Ask for strength, seek wisdom, and the door of sobriety will be opened. This appetite for freedom is not just for me. It is for everyone that wants it. To the addict that suffers, there is hope. To the family that’s hurting, there is help. God has called Recovery Soldiers Ministries to the battlefield of addiction. Through him we can end the struggle. Take this blessing and opportunity. Call us if you or your loved one is in the pit falls of addiction. Sponsor and support us if God has placed a burden on your heart to help. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)

“As a young girl I was full of innocence and purity. I trusted EVERYONE… I spent my early years of childhood in my daddy’s junk yard. We lived in a tent and eventually a small shack. Most of the time we didn’t have a running vehicle so we walked. As a 4 year old little girl I would hold my daddy’s sweaty hand as we walked the roads. My daddy was a broken, hurting man full of hatred and pain…he filled his gaping wounds with alcohol. His addiction robbed him of me and so much more. I was taken in by my aunt and uncle at 5 years old…they introduced me to a world unknown… a world of running water, lights, a real bathroom, home cooked meals and most of all UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. They loved me as their own. They made every effort to make me feel like I belonged. My biological mother stepped in and wanted to spend time with me…I was ECSTATIC! My real mother….my blood…my heart…my momma. I would get to go with her on weekends and this was such a special time for me because I loved my mother. However, my mother was a drug addict. She was a broken woman seeking love in men, drugs and alcohol. Knowing of her brokenness made me love her even more… I wanted to save her. I wanted her to be safe…I wanted to see her smile. I loved my momma. Satan however did not…he hated her, he hated me…he only wanted to steal kill and destroy. And that’s what he did. My mother let the devil get in and shatter my innocence…her and her boyfriend sexually molested me when I was only 9 years old. I was destroyed, hurt, confused and afraid. That little girl that TRUSTED everyone suddenly could TRUST NO-ONE. By the time I was in high school I started doing drugs to numb the pain…I sought out my healing and my redemption through a pill, a pipe, a joint and fornication. I experience death, hell and the grave of depression and hopelessness. I was manufacturing and shooting meth in my veins every single day. By the time I was 18 I was seeking death. My misery had reached an all time high when the drugs were no longer enough to escape. I desired death… Revelation 9:6 “They will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.” My addiction sent me through…Death, Hell and the Grave. In saying that…what did Jesus experience? Death, Hell and the Grave! Then…JESUS ROSE FROM THE GRAVE AND CONQUERED FOREVER VICTORIOUS! Today I am honored to say that I have shared in Jesus’s suffering! I had to go through death to CONQUER , I had to go through hell to experience VICTORY and I had to go to the grave to RISE WITH JESUS! I was met by a loving father in a tiny jail cell. I cried out from the depths of my despair and every ounce of my being cried out. Only then, in that place of complete brokenness was HIS love made perfect! His power and might was most strong there in my weakness! Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Jesus resurrected me from the dust! He breathed life into my dry bones…he put a new heart in me and removed my heart of stone. Although he met me…I still had to get up and follow Him. I entered a faith based recovery program ready to spend 13 months humbling myself and letting God transform me with His word. I went on to graduate and serve as a biblical counselor for 4 years. I have spoken to thousands of people over the past 9 years since my conversion, I have proclaimed the name of Jesus as I pour out my heart and share my journey as a prodigal returning home to my loving father. He loved me in my brokenness…even then He shed his precious blood for me. I am forever humbled for his act of LOVE. I have fallen in love with this Jesus Christ…This Savior who redeemed me from the hand of the enemy…who brought down my heart with labor, who by his loving kindness and endless mercies led me to repentance. Thank You Jesus! Oh how I love you my KING, my ROCK, my REDEEMER! May I forever reflect your glory! “ ~Marley Jane Scalf

Hello, my name is Lincoln Shelton. I am 44 years old. I am married to my wonderful wife Denna, of 20 years. We live in Jonesborough, Tennessee where we are members of Nolichucky Baptist Church. Where at Nolichucky Baptist I teach discipleship and a Thrive class for Sunday school.  I have been involved in ministry for over 20 years. I accepted Christ at the age of 20 and was called to preach a year later.  Shortly after my call to ministry I began to serve as a youth minister.  After serving at that church for two years I felt led to continue my education. I attended Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where I earned an Associate Degree in Religion/Church Ministries in 2003.

After graduation, I worked at the Hendersonville Rescue Mission. I was employed there for seven years. During this time, I saw a great need for Christian-based counseling for those who are bound by addiction and for the mentally ill. While at the Rescue Mission I also pastored a bilingual (Spanish/English) church. During this pastorate I counseled numerous couples who were having marriage difficulties which furthered my desire to become more competent in counseling. During this time, we also baptized over 25 new converts.

My wife and I moved back to Tennessee in 2010, as we felt led to return to this region. Shortly after we moved, I began pastoring Community Church of Bristol. I served there for over four years. It was at that time I felt as though I needed once again to further my education. After working with juvenile justice youth, serving as a hospice chaplain, and counseling in the secular field, I felt called to create a ministry in the field of Christian coaching and counseling known as Thrive, Life Advancement Ministries INC (thrivelam.com). I received my license as a professional counselor (LPC, MHSP) 7-29-20.

I am ordained as a SB minister. I have my Associate Degree in Religion/Church Ministries (Fruitland Baptist Bible Collage), Bachelor of Science in Psychology/Christian Counseling and MA in Professional Counseling through (Liberty University).

 

In His service

Rev. Lincoln Shelton

Five years ago I was told by the doctors I had six months, possibly less, to live. I had cirrhosis and I needed a liver transplant. I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything or anyone but drugs and alcohol, that’s what my life had become. I had spent the last 15 years letting drugs and alcohol rule my life. I had lost control, and I had lost hope. I couldn’t stand myself and what I had become.
I was in and out of the hospital for years due to my addiction, weeks at a time, just for them to get me some what on track, and then I’d be right back at it. I was going to UVA once a month trying to get on a liver transplant list. I had no intention on doing it because deep down I knew I’d die before I even got it. During this time my sons father was sick too, all his organs were shutting down and he passed away at the age of 33. My son was 12, just lost his dad and there I was next in line. 
I remember laying in bed, hadn’t showered in at least a week, hadn’t eaten anything more than a few crackers thinking to myself just grab the gun, end it. I couldn’t move my arms to get the gun that was under the bed. It was as if I was paralyzed and couldn’t move. This was the absolute lowest point in my life.

My name is Joshua Nunley. I’m 30 years old and I’m from Monteagle, TN. My parents divorced when I was a toddler and I went to live with my mother. She taught me how to find joy and happiness in life. She showed me how to love people and have compassion on others. I only went to see my father every other weekend. He taught me obedience and work ethic when I did. He also taught me Scripture and how to serve the Lord. Like most kids, I didn’t enjoy the discipline or I received when I went to my dad’s house so when I was old enough, I stopped going. It was at this time that I turned away from the Lord and from his Word. I would attend church with my mom sometimes, but I never truly had a desire for it. I had a pretty typical upbringing throughout my youth. I made good grades, had lots of friends and lived a joy-filled life. When I was in the eighth grade my mom started suffering from brain complications and health problems. These health problems eventually led her into an unintentional addiction to prescription medication. It confused me and made me question life. My mom suffering from addiction and my dad not being present in my life made me feel alone and unloved. As a result I started drinking and smoking marijuana with my friends when I was sixteen. I just wanted to be accepted, included and to fit in with others. I never imagined that this seemingly innocent behavior as a teenager would lead me into a twelve year downward spiral of addiction and alcoholism. Over the span of a dozen years, what started out as drinking with my friends at age sixteen to have fun turned into me being alone with a needle in my arm just to get by. During my twelve years of addiction I lost sight of myself. I lied, I stole, and I manipulated everyone that I encountered. I wreaked havoc on every situation that I was involved in. I destroyed every good thing about my life. I worried my family sick, I wronged my friends who tried to help me and I wasted many years of my life due to substance abuse. I was in and out of jail, working dead end jobs, dropping out of college and digging myself further into addiction. I was caught up in a repetitive cycle that was ultimately going to end in death. I knew that I needed help pretty much the whole time I was in addiction, but I didn’t have the strength to make the change myself. One of my best friends from high school, Marley, had overcame the addiction that controlled her for many years. She went to a program, found the Lord and eventually opened a recovery center herself. She tried to convince me to get help for years, but the enemy had me exactly where he wanted me. I believed his lies and was content living a life of hopelessness, misery and despair. As my life continued to crumble, I knew that I needed to get away from what I had always known and get help. By the grace of God I got taken to jail on March 28, 2021. I started reading my Bible in jail and I began to feel this tug at my heart. The Lord met me where I was at in my life and He saved my soul. I surrendered my life to Christ on April 28th, 2021. I then reached out to Marley and told her I wanted to come to treatment. I came to Recovery Soldiers Ministry on June 18th, 2021 and traded my will for His will. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but at the same time it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I graduated from RSM on June 21, 2022 and signed a six month internship to serve as the Intake Coordinator. After my internship was completed I was offered the position of Program Director for the ministry. I accepted it and still serve at the Program Director position for the ministry. I get to help men who come to treatment here as they attempt to undergo the same transformation that I have. I teach class multiple times a week, counsel men in the program and work alongside other staff members doing various assignments to further the Kingdom. On July 20th, 2023 I was ordained as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I now serve as one of the Associate Pastors of Redemption House Church in Elizabethton, TN. God has revealed and maintained a burning desire in my heart to help others and to serve Him. I know that here at RSM and at Redemption House Church I can continue to grow in the Lord and answer the calling that He has given me at this point in my life. I don’t know why He loves me so much, but I am forever grateful that He does. It is a testimony to the goodness of God that He has transformed an all around terrible individual like I once was into a man of God. He traded my anxiety for peace, my depression for joy and my unbelief for faith. He took the prisoner of the world that I once was and made me a servant of the true King. For most of my life I was a slave to many things, but now I am content being a slave to Jesus Christ. As my roots grow deeper in the Lord and I separate myself from my old lifestyle I try to keep the mindset of the apostle Paul when he was writing in Philippians. “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Thank you for reading my testimony.

-Joshua Nunley

Growing up I never really wanted for anything. I attended church fairly regularly and I knew about God. Looking back I isolated myself as a child. My parents became consumed by their jobs and when I turned 14 we quit attending church. My addiction started when I was 15 years old. I made a choice to start smoking marijuana to fit in with my peers. By the age of 16 I was using meth and started drinking occasionally. I was open to try most anything and experimented with anything I could get ahold of. Things at home started to get worse between my parents and they ended up divorcing the day after I graduated high school. I had an expensive habit by this time and became involved with manufacturing meth and selling various drugs to support my habit. I spent a lot of time in and out of jail. I became involved in a relationship that was fueled by addiction. In Feb. 2006 my daughter was born. I knew I needed to change my lifestyle but I turned to methadone to get off of the drugs I was on. That went good for about a year then I started back into the same old pattern of my drug lifestyle. My daughter was 3 when I realized she was picking up on mine and my wife’s bad habits. I knew something had to change. Unfortunately my wife did not feel the same way and we ended up getting a divorce. She had been seeing other men and tried to keep me from seeing my daughter. She continued to use and by Gods grace I got clean for a while. I ended up getting custody of my daughter and things went well for a couple of years. In 2011, I ended up having to have surgery on my shoulder and was prescribed pain medication. I didn’t stop when my meds ran out and continued to use. Went through an up and down battle back in addiction until it grabbed a good hold back on me. In early 2013, I ended up committing two felony offenses due to my dependence on drugs. I ended up losing custody of my daughter and spending some time in jail. When I got out of jail I went straight to drinking. Managed to hold a job for a couple of years all the while my addiction took my life back over. I ended up violating my probation due to several misdemeanor charges and was facing a 6 year prison sentence in 2016. My family didn’t want anything to do with me at this point and while I lay in a jail cell I cried out to God and He heard me. I knew I needed help and all the methods I had tried ended in failure. In February of 2017, the judge allowed me to be released to Recovery Soldiers Ministries instead of going to prison. That is where I found true freedom from addiction through a relationship with Jesus Christ. March of 2018 I completed the program. I worked a good job, continued to tell others about what Jesus had done in my life, and even taught God’s Word at times. I built my relationship with my daughter and family back and everything was going great. I slowly drifted away from ministry but still attended church regularly. Then came the COVID pandemic in 2020. I started to isolate myself to work and home. Even after the pandemic I continued to stay mostly home. I fell out of fellowship and the enemy seen a crack in my armor. I drove by the liquor store for two months before I gave in to that little voice saying just one drink will be okay. So after 5 years free from addiction I started to drink. Slowly I progressed to smoking marijuana and taking pills again. I knew I needed to stop but couldn’t. So God got my attention through the man I had been working for. I decided I needed to regroup and get my priorities figured out and came back to Recovery Soldiers Ministries for help on January 1st 2022. In this regeneration process I found the healing and answers I needed to have a continued success in freedom from addiction. All of what I have had to go through in my past has prepared me for what is now happening in my life and where God is leading me for a future in His purpose for my life. I am currently an intern with the ministry looking forward to becoming part of the staff teaching those that have been through similar trials the skills I have acquired over the years in various trades as well as becoming a certified OSHA trainer to help those coming out of the grips of addiction transition back into society ready to join the work force safely and effectively.

  -The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way. 

     Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him 

     with His hand.    

    Psalm 37:23-24

My name is Kym Morgan. I am 47 years old.I grew up in a loving home, did well in school, made friends easily, and my family was very active in church. Most of my childhood was in Jacksonville, Florida. At age17, I met someone and within 3 months we were married. I dropped out of my senior year and quickly started a family. By 24 I had four little boys, and they became my reason to live. My marriage struggled, probably more than most but my family was my number 1 priority. I learned to look like
I had everything together on the outside while on the inside I was suffering quietly. I eventually got my GED and graduated college in 2007, as a respiratory therapist. I started a career, had my family, and things seemed good..I had no idea nearly a decade long addiction was creeping into my life. My world was shattered when 17 years of marriage ended suddenly. I remember being so angry and afraid. The boys were almost teenagers and naturally, they were deeply affected too. Emotionally I shut down, became unable to help my children deal with their loss. I began to consume alcohol and take prescription medication to cope. I chose abusive relationships and became abusive as well. Being well known in my community, I felt like the world was watching me fall but nobody could help me. My addiction spiraled. I became a slave to alcohol. My body would tremor without it. I was arrested for the first time in my life with a DUI. I lost my car, home, career, and was homeless for 2 years. My family told me I would never know my grandchildren or be welcomed in their homes, unless I went for help. I finally surrendered. Since coming to Rsm, God has restored everything to me and more. Through this ministry God has healed my broken heart. I have learned the joy of the Lord is my strength and things of this world don’t define who I am. I have been offered a career with the ministry, helping ladies find the freedom in Jesus that I have been given, and managing an amazing thrift store that shines light into our community. My family supports me and they see that God reached down, touched my life and restored my hope. I am so thankful for this journey and the love RSM has shown me. Recovery is possible!
Psalm 107:13-14 then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces.

 

My name is Johnathan Layne and my darkness started very early. When I was 9 or 10 years, my dad gave me something, but it wasn’t a ball glove or a bicycle. It was a pain pill. Now he wasn’t a bad dad or even a bad man. I loved my dad. He was my world. I wanted to be just like him. That was the problem. So with that came growing up in the drug house or, some people might call it a trap house. Now we call it the world, but I just called it home. So growing up in that came drugs, and with drugs comes money, women, and popularity. I was addicted to being popular just as much as I was the drugs. I liked being able to control people and, in that life, when you have the money and drugs, you can control whoever you want. So time goes on and, just a bunch more darkness and drugs are in my life and, Satan is just giving me everything I want so that he can use it to destroy me later. I meet a girl and fall in love, and she gets pregnant. Just to give you an idea of where I was at in the world. I was not ready for a kid and, I knew it. The baby was a son and, he didn’t make it. He dies and, everyone is telling me how sorry they are. But I wasn’t upset I was relieved. I didn’t have to worry about buying diapers. I could buy dope. That’s how awful I was and how tight a grip Satan had on me. So more time passes and, I start to get tired of living this way. You know, I took pills and did dope to have fun and get high. That was all fun and good for a season, but eventually, I got to where I had to take pills and do dope just to get back to normal. For my body to function or just to be able to get out of bed, I had to do drugs first. No one wants to live like that. They just don’t know any other way to live yet. So Kara gets pregnant again with my daughter and, I decide I’m going to change. So I come up with all the wordly solutions. I move out of the drug house, get an apartment, and get myself a job. I am fixing everything on the outside and, I’m not doing a thing for the inside. That never works, I promise. I also get on something called suboxone. Suboxone is a drug they give you to get off drugs, which makes no sense. I will say this about suboxone even if you are the one percent of people that can take it the right way. It’s still not true freedom. I don’t have to have ANYTHING anymore. I don’t even drink coffee anymore. So with all this, I am just an awful person. I put my poor mama through hell, I neglect my kid and her mother, and I do not care about anything but me. That’s what addiction has to offer you. I finally end up in jail with drug and assault charges, and my preacher walks into the jail cell and asks me if I was tired. I said yes, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. He told me he knew about this place called RSM that was changing people’s lives. I said, let’s do it. I came up here, and within two days of being here, I got saved and baptized and fixed everything on the inside this time. Ever since then, God has been blessing me to death. Not only is my four-year-old daughter waiting on her daddy, but God has also blessed me with another beautiful baby girl. My mama has never been more proud of her son. My kids’ mother has got saved and gave her life to the Lord since I have been at RSM because she saw how good God is working in my life. God has shown me my calling in life, which is to teach God’s word and help drug addicts who are just like I was. Luke chapter 2 says, ”I must be about my father’s business”. That’s what I am going to do. Whatever God wants me to because He saved my life. I should be in hell with my back broke right now. But I’m not because of His grace and mercy. I give Him all the honor, glory, and praise for it all. I thank Jesus every day, and I thank RSM for introducing me to Him!

My name is Chad Bryant, I am 31 years old and was raised here in Elizabethton. At an early age I had things happen to me that caused a lot of pain in my life. I didn’t know how to deal with it so I started searching for ways to numb the pain I was feeling. At the age of 12 I got into some of my parents medication. I liked the way it made me feel but didn’t know it was a temporary solution.I was raised in church all my life. I had very good parents that taught me the way I should live but I choose the ways of the world over the ways of God every time. If I was feeling an emotion I didn’t like I would take nerve pills and pain medication to numb it, and it only got worse as I got older.I met my wife when I was 16 years old our relationship was good in the beginning, but as I got more dependent on drugs my life would get much worse until I let the drugs consume each and every thought I had. By the time we were married I had a job, but I spent every dime I made on drugs.I turned to Suboxone because I thought it would help but it only made my addiction much worse. The thing about addiction is you never get enough to satisfy the emptiness and hopelessness you feel on the inside.You just keep taking the drugs and soon just taking them was not enough any more. I turned to iv drug use.When i had my son I really thought and believed I could turn my life around but addiction had such a hold on me it only got worse.With the shame of being a terrible father and husband my drug use had made me so self centered that I would even take from my family just to get my next high. Throughout this entire time, my family and wife who had put up with the way I was living for 14 years only wanted me to get better. They tried everything to help me.My wife constantly prayed for God to change me.I truly believe God put her in my life to pray for me and help lead me to Jesus.It had got so bad that my parents lost hope and my wife was ready to give up on me, she had filed for divorce. I decided it was time to try something different recovery soldiers ministry had came to my church a few years before and done a testimony service.I sat there with long sleeves on hiding the marks on my arms wanting so bad to have what they had. I called my pastor and he got in touch with RSM. On September 13th 2021 I went with the intention of trying it for a couple of weeks and coming home so I could say I tried. When I got there and saw what God was doing in the life of the people there it changed my mind.The lord got ahold of me. I started digging into his word, I saw how much he truly loved me. I gave my life to Jesus and have been living for him ever since. He gave me hope and brothers to help me along the way. He showed me I could have a true purpose in him and what I thought was only gonna be 2 weeks God turned in to a year and a half. I have completed the program and almost through with the 6 month internship and I transition to a staff member in a couple of weeks.God has restored my marriage that was over before I came and showed me what it truly means to be a godly husband and father. I have been living at home with my wife and son since I graduated 6 months ago and my marriage and relationship with my son is better than ever before. I am so thankful for God using this ministry as a tool to change my life and the lives of countless others I have seen since I have been here.It is truly amazing what god will do once you submit to him.I would like to thank my wife for sticking by my side all those years that I was in addiction and all the prayers she prayed for me. More than anything,I would I thank Jesus Christ, for saving me and taking the mess I made of my life and turning it around, to use for his kingdom.I’m thankful to recovery soldiers ministry for leading me to Jesus and allowing me to continue to work there so I can help lead others to him.

I am from Big Stone gap Virginia, which is where I lived most of my life. I had parents who were alcoholics, used drugs and fought a lot when I was growing up. So chaos was definitely a normal way of life for me. I was taught that when you experienced stress or you were tired or needed energy, there was always a pill that would help. I had two children in my 20s and was prescribed Percocets to help with the pain from having two cesarean surgeries. It was during those years when I realized I had a physical dependency and didn’t like the way I felt without them. So for the next 10 or 15 years, I was what I considered a functioning addict even though the ways I  would obtain the medication I needed was never legal until I was prescribed Suboxone by a doctor. That’s when it became popular to admit you were an addict and seek help for it. I was on Suboxone for 12 years and thought I was sober but the physical pain I felt when I tried to stop taking Suboxone was worse than anything I’ve ever experienced. In 2015, I met a drug called methamphetamine. Within five years time it took my home from me, my job, my vehicle, my children. My friends and family all turned their backs on me, because all I was doing was stealing, lying, or manipulating them to maintain my drug habit. I lost my self-worth, my dignity, my purpose , and any hope I had for a future.. I was constantly in and out of jail. Never had a place to stay longer than a week, and was spiraling deeper into a horrible pit of self destruction and darkness. And after running from the police for 2 years due to serious criminal charges I had obtained along the way bc of the people I surrounded myself with and the terrible things I was doing, I finally got arrested. I was put in jail in a city where I didn’t know a single person, I was scared and didn’t know the next time I would see my children or feel the sun on my face. Because I was facing a lot of prison time. Thats when I called on the name of the Lord, and threw my hands up and asked for His help to save me from myself. I was reading a book in a jail cell, and because of that book, I prayed the sinner’s prayer and asked Jesus to come into my heart, and be Lord of my life forever. It seemed everything felt lighter after that, and when I was extradited back to my hometown I was given an opportunity to come to Recovery Soldiers Ministries, through a Peer Help organization that worked with the jail. I came to this program December 30, 2021 and my life has never been the same and it never will be again. I have found purpose again. I now have hope, a future, and most importantly, I found Jesus Christ and he has saved my life. He restored back to me my self-worth and dignity. He broke shackles off my feet and delivered me from all my troubles.  I will spend the rest of my life, singing his praises, and giving God all the glory! Thank you Jesus!! And thank you to RSM!

My name is Joey and I’m 61 years old. I was raised in
California I was the youngest of 3 daughters. My parents
were divorced when I was in the 4th grade. After my Dad left
my Mom started working. So I was raised with the help of my
2 sisters. I never felt like I wasn’t taken care of.
When I was 21 I married and had 2 boys. They were 2
years apart. I ended up divorced when they were still very
young, so I raised them on my own. I worked on and off over
the years while raising them. Life was pretty good.
When the boys were in their late teens I met a guy; I was
47. He thought it was cute when I drank hard alcohol. This is
when I started on the road of alcoholism. It started so
quickly. Within a year I got my first dui, wrecked my brand
new car, lost my job, and lost the guy. I ended up alone and
drinking more than ever.
This is when I decided I should move to Oregon with my
parents to get a “fresh start”. But the alcohol followed me.
Leading me to another dui with my alcohol level being 4.2; I
could have died. It also led me to my first rehab (cost
&12,000 for 30 days). Unfortunately that sobriety was very
short lived.
My parents and I decided I should move with them to
their Arizona home; another “fresh start”. Once again the
alcohol followed me, along with 2 more rehabs. Finally I was
doing better then I met a man. We both were attending
church and were living sober lives. We quickly decided to
get married and then the drinking started again.
Once again I decided I needed a “fresh start” so we
moved to Georgia. We didn’t drink but I had a very unhappy
husbans. I knew I couldn’t live like that so I sent him back to
Arizona.

Once again I started drinking again another move to
Virginia another “fresh start”. I ended up drinking now from
loneliness and depression. Also ended up with another lost
job, another rehab, and another dui. When I got out of jail I
was homeless and staying in a very violent and drug filled
place.
I had been reaching for God through all of my drinking
years. But the devil kept on winning the battle for me. But
God started sending His people. He wanted to show me
another way and to tell me I was loved. I could see God
through all these people. I knew I wanted to be like them. I
wanted God in my life. I told people I needed and wanted
help and I wanted God.
That is when I was brought to RSM.I didn’t know
what I was coming to and I was afraid. But I know now it was
the best decision of my life. I have found God, sisterhood,
and a purpose in life. I never knew it was possible, but God
is using me. I’ll say it again, He is using me. Somebody who
didn’t even know the Bible and didn’t even really know Him
when I first got here.
I am saved, baptized, redeemed, and loved by God.
My standby verse is Jeramiah 29:11

For I have plans for you declares the Lord
Plans for good and not disaster
Plans for hope and a future.
I think He wrote this verse just for me. I trust it and I
believe it.

My name is Bruno Petrović. I moved from Bosnia in 1997 when I was 11 years old. I
didn’t know English and it was therefore difficult for me to have what most would
consider a normal childhood. My parents did their best to get a job and to make sure
we had a home, but during that time I was left by myself quite a bit. In the times that I
was alone, it developed a curiosity within me. Since I lacked proper guidance and
attention, I turned to the ways of the world. My darkness started early at around age
13. I started smoking marijuana and it escalated from just marijuana to harder drugs
as time progressed. All the sin that I was living in led me down a road of darkness
and misery. When I was 17, I was a witness as my best friend was murdered in front
of me. This accident led me even further astray. I eventually got kicked out of high
school and life was getting the best of me. To cope, I just got higher and increased
the severity of my addiction. I went to work immediately after I dropped out, but I was
on drugs the whole time. I thought I could function if I worked, but I was losing
everything slowly but surely. Everything I did have; the enemy was creeping in to
take it slowly but surely. My lifestyle of sin and addiction led to me losing custody of
my daughter. It escalated my depression and my addiction even more. I made a
million different excuses to keep using because I simply just didn’t want to deal with
the pain and damage that my life consisted of. I went through many institutions and
rehabs throughout the years. Eventually, I had no one and nothing to turn to except
God. I prayed and He answered me. I committed my life to Christ and since I have
done so I feel joy, happiness and peace again. I have less material things right now
in my life than I have ever had, but I am more fulfilled than I ever have been. I am
truly free. I have liberty. My daughter Audrey is back in my life. I see her regularly
and we are building a healthy relationship. It might take some time, but she doesn’t
have to explain why her daddy isn’t around anymore. She now knows her dad loves
her and didn’t give up. Jesus saved me and gave me another chance at life, and I
want to take full advantage. I want to be all that God has called me to be and to lay
hold of everything that He has in store for me.