PASCO -- For four months, Todd Holien has gotten up each morning at 5 and busied himself with chores, prayer and work. He's focused on living -- and trying not to think about meth.
After what he described as a lifetime of addiction -- and 10 trips to inpatient drug rehab -- the 50-year-old Spokane man believes he finally has found his path away from drugs and toward a cleaner, simpler life through Teen Challenge, a Christian ministry that helps people break addictions.
The organization was founded more than 50 years ago in New York City with a mission to save young people from drugs, but since has branched out to help adult men and women with their addictions as well.
"You don't know how humbling it was for a guy my age to come to a program called Teen Challenge," Holien said.
Teen Challenge has operated a 10-bed house in Pasco for five years where men can stay while they begin their recovery from substance addiction, said Pastor Russ Tappero, executive director of the men's centers in Pasco and Spokane.
The yearlong program also teaches participants life skills and job skills, and on Tuesday, program officials marked the grand opening of a thrift store at 1120 W. Sylvester St. in Pasco where Teen Challenge participants can learn job skills and gain a sense of purpose.
Or at least that's what Holien said the program gave to him in his four months in the Tri-City program before leaving to continue the work of recovery at the program center in Spokane.
"Before this program, the only thing that would get me out of bed was knowing I had dope," Holien told the Herald.
But one day -- after being fired from his job because of his drug use -- Holien woke up and had no more methamphetamine in which to lose himself.
"I had a moment of clarity," he said.
Holien said he called his former boss and asked him to drive him someplace where he could get help -- somewhere away from Spokane and away from the associations he knew might drive him back to drug use.
His boss brought Holien to the Tri-Cities, where he started Teen Challenge.
"I knew this time I needed more than a 30-day spin dry," Holien said. "I needed follow-up. I needed God in my life. That's why this program is different. There's a lot of follow-up."
Tappero said the Tri-City center is like an induction center where participants go through four months of getting clean and learning how to work the program before going on to recover at one of the other centers in the Northwest.
Sometimes, men stumble, but Teen Challenge will give them a hand up until they get it right -- as long as their desire for recovery is sincere, Tappero said.
"We're in it for lifelong recovery," he said.
The program's focus is on healing the heart rather than the outward symptoms of the person's pain, whether that's addiction to alcohol, drugs, pornography or gambling, Tappero said.
The goal is to make participants whole both physically and spiritually and to help them re-start their lives.
"We believe if we can address the heart, the behavior changes," he said.
The thrift store gives men in the program a place to occupy themselves and supports the program financially. Teen Challenge was able to open the store through a more than $20,000 donation from Sharefest in 2011, and other donations from the community.
As Holien prepared to return to Spokane on Tuesday, he said his time with the program in the Tri-Cities had given him a sense of hope about his life.
"Teen Challenge gives any man that's made a mess out of his life ... they give you the hope you can start fresh," he said. "Teen Challenge in the Tri-Cities has saved my life."
Although the Tri-City organization only has residential services for men, it has other programs to help women and adolescents, and can offer referrals to other residential recovery services, Tappero said.
Pastor Jesse Campos, former Tri-City executive director for Teen Challenge, also is working on a gang outreach program to help people leave gangs and re-establish their lives.
For information about Teen Challenge programs, call the Pasco office at 547-2389.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543;email@example.com