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Hartselle Enquirer

Recovery ministry seeks to reshape wrecked lives

Milestones Recovery Ministries is a dream come true Christian ministry co-founded by George and Kim Upton.

A dream voiced by Kim Upton of Hartselle 10 years ago is now making itself known as the foundation for Milestones Recovering Ministries (MRM), a faith-based. non-profit, non-denominational organization devoted to helping women whose lives have been wrecked by alcohol and drug abuse.

Upton and her husband George realized the fulfillment of their dream April 1 when they opened the office of MRM in their home at 1212 Florence Street. At the same time they acquired a large residence on the outskirts of town as a temporary home for recovering addicts. It is already occupied by 15 residents who are undergoing a 12-18 month recovery process, and others are waiting to get in.

Working with alcohol and drugs addicts is not something new to Kim. She directed an addiction recovery program for a Decatur church for five years. A few years earlier, she experienced life as an alcohol and drug addict herself and wound up in prison before she became a Christian and went through a 10-month addiction recovery program at City of Hope in Bessemer.

On the eve of her graduation, she shared her story of addiction and recovery with readers of the Hartselle Enquirer. In that Feb. 10, 2000, article, she said, “I used to complain a lot but now I thank the Lord everyday for his mercy and grace. I just know He is going to use me in some way to minister to people who are experiencing the same alcohol and drug dependency problems I had. My hope is that someday Hartselle will have its own City of Hope. I would like to work there as a counselor.”

“George and I felt the Lord moving us in this direction for about a year but there was some hesitation on my part because I had a good job,” Kim said. “Once I gave up my job things fell together quickly. Within a week, we had a business license, an office, some equipment and a few dollars of seed money. And, almost immediately, we began getting telephone calls and referrals on behalf of women who were hurting and in need of our help.”

Milestones Recovering Ministries receives no state or federal funding. Each person entering the program is charged a one-time $375 processing fee. Beyond that, the organization relies on private donations and fundraisers to stay afloat. Basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and health care are provided to the residents free of charge as long as they remain in the program. An application to the Internal Revenue Service for 501-c status is pending.

The addiction recovery program involves individual and group therapy, life skill classes, work therapy, literacy education, intensive addition classes, Bible classes, worship, community outreach and random drug testing.

“Everything we do is Bible-based and Christ-centered,” Kim said. “We share with them what the Lord has meant in our lives and we want them to have the same life-changing experience.”

Those undergoing recovery are closely supervised and monitored to ensure that they don’t have access to drugs or alcohol, according to Kim.

“We have strict rules and guidelines and everyone is required to obey them,” she pointed out. “We work closely with church ministries, attorneys, judges, law enforcement agencies and probation officers and conduct random drug screenings. Residents are also responsible for housecleaning and yard work and assist in fundraising activities.

MRM sells donuts every other week and hosts a country dinner on Wednesday nights as fundraisers. Yard sales are also held periodically.

Anyone wishing to support the recovery program with a donation or schedule Kim or George for a speaking engagement is invited to call 256-773-4358.

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