Why do many addicts relapse after a drug rehabilitation program? Some say it’s emotional triggers; others believe it’s their environment or the duration of the addiction. Others will reason that it’s unresolved mental issues, unemployment or all the above.
After spending time ministering to drug addicts through the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center, local resident Dr. Charles Young recognized a void regarding post addiction support and care. To fill the gap, he founded Vocational Church in 2016. The nonprofit ministry is for men who have already completed a rehabilitation program, and its mission is to “help struggling men become spiritually and vocationally balanced.”
Dr. Young’s ministry experience spans over four decades with him serving in multiple roles ranging from senior pastor to missionary and corporate chaplain to licensed clinical chaplain. Using his unique background and credentials, Dr. Young reaches these ex-addicts through spiritual mentoring, vocational training and physical needs.
Dr. Young said, “I want men who want to be discipled, follow God and have expressed a spiritual interest—not ‘I need to get off the street.’”
Volunteers operate the Vocational Church ministry. For $300 a month, ex-addicts can reside on the property, which houses 15 beds. The caveat—he must stay clean. There is zero tolerance for drug abuse.
“The men are free to come and go as long as they come back sober,” said Dr. Young. “This is a post addiction place that helps them get their act together.”
The $300 goes toward the property’s mortgage. A house mother purchases food and prepares meals using the men’s EBT card (food stamps). For those residents still seeking employment, he is not charged the $300. Sponsorship helps offset this cost until he obtains employment. Every man is assigned a personal mentor from Bell Shoals Baptist Church, and he is required to attend three Bible studies weekly. The Bible studies are taught mainly by Dr. Young, but other teachers are rotated in for variety.
Four men have successfully transitioned out of the program. Currently, 12 men are in the program with good jobs and are working toward restoring their lives.
Vocational Church is located in Valrico. More information and ways to help can be found at www.vocationalchurch.net. Dr. Young’s book Post Addiction Restoration is available on Amazon. For questions, email TampaVocationalChurch@gmail.com.