Addiction revival group H.E.A.L. sweeps Logan County - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Addiction revival group H.E.A.L. sweeps Logan County

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People were shouting. They threw their hands in the air, moving from side to side. Some knelt on the ground. Others remained standing. At one point, a woman blew into a ram's horn.

To some, the scene could seem overwhelming. To Stephanie Deaner, it's the most peaceful place on earth.

"It's unspeakable because you can't explain it," said Deaner, 39. I've never felt like this before."

Deaner is a member of the newly-formed group, H.E.A.L. The name stands for Help Eliminate Addictions in Logan. The organization held one of its first meetings at the First Baptist Church in Logan this week.

Deaner knows firsthand about addiction.

A doctor prescribed Deaner pain medication at age 15 to combat her severe headaches. The Switzer native said she found herself addicted.

By age 18, she turned to crack.

"It's tormenting," said Deaner, recalling her addiction. "It's very, very powerful, you can hear it and I can feel it."

She described the following 20 years as a dark period. Deaner lost custody of her two daughters and watched countless friends and relatives drift from her side.

"I think most of the people in Logan live the life that I do because they think there is no other option," Deaner said.

In July 2010, Deaner attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on drugs.

"I done a line of coke, and I took five Xanaxes and I told God: 'You just need to let me die.'"

She claims that's exactly when she heard the song that changed everything: "Set me Free," by Casting Crowns.

"One verse was talking about who's this man coming my way and talking about Jesus setting you free, and I got up and got off my bed and begged him not to let me die."

Deaner turned to religion after that incident. She is now an avid member of H.E.A.L. and wants to spread its message to everyone.

"I think it's the only solution, everything else has failed," Deaner said. "I mean everything else."

Deaner also attributed her success to Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-based approach to sobriety aimed at all "hurts, habits, and hang-ups."

A group of community leaders, pastors, and recovery counselors decided to create H.E.A.L. in June. They said they faced no other option.

"It took us realizing our backs were against the wall," said Tim Barnhouse, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Logan. "If we did not do something, then we were going to lose Logan completely. "

While H.E.A.L.'s philosophy is based in Christian values, people of all faiths and afflictions are welcome.

"What I see is people are coming together with a common goal," said Major Richard Ojeda, a community leader committed to the revival.

Members said they want to spread H.E.A.L's mission to all 187 churches in Logan. Approximately 50 congregations are on board, according to Barnhouse.

Deaner said she's been clean for three years, all thanks to her new addiction: Faith.

"It's a stronger power," she said. "I don't want to run away from it. I never want to come down from this. And I want other people to feel it too."

For more information about H.E.A.L., click here.


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