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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — New Horizons Behavioral Health is seeing several success stories emerge from one of their residential programs, Journey to Recovery.

WRBL’s Hannah James spoke with two employees who are now working in the same program that helped them turn their lives around.

Carol Tyson, a New Horizons Social Service Tech, shared her story.

Dec. 21, 2008, is a day Tyson will never forget. It was the first day on her road to recovery.

“What brought me to New Horizons in the first place was substance use disorder,” said Tyson. “I actually had committed my third felony, and the judge sent me to Journey to Recovery, and I ended up in Midtown Recovery by way of Journey to Recovery.”

The six-month rehabilitation program helped Tyson get her life, and her children back.

“I was that mom who chose the drug,” Tyson told WRBL. “I was that mom that was consumed by it.”

Tyson now has ten years of experience working as Midtown Recovery’s lead counselor. In the same treatment center she attended, she now helps others as the relapse prevention counselor to keep people from picking back up drugs and alcohol.

“I never in a million years thought my life would turn out like this. And to be in a position where I can give back to others has been a passion of mine,” Tyson shared. “Ever since it clicked, you know, because there’s some there’s a point in this transition, hopefully, that it clicks. And I’m just grateful that it clicked for me. And so now my primary purpose, I know what it is… it is to stay free from all mind-altering substances, and it’s to help others achieve the same freedom.”

While recovery looks different for everyone, John Burdeshaw and Tyson agree on one thing: Journey to Recovery saved their lives.

“It was one of the best things that ever happened my life,” said Burdeshaw.

Burdeshaw now a New Horizons Recovery Coach at Connections recalls the moment when he was recommended to the six-month rehabilitation program.

“I’ve been locked up a dozen times. I did some time in prison. I went to four different rehabs. I had OD’d a few times. I was shooting up meth and heroin on and off for 20 years,” shared Burdeshaw. He was recommended to the program by a close friend. “I came to New Horizons…I was at the end of my time on the streets in addiction, and things got really bad. I had been homeless for quite a while. I was suicidal and I had a friend recommend Journey to Recovery to me.”

That recommendation landed him in the program that saved his life, introduced him to his wife, and helped him gain back custody of his children. Now he serves as a Recovery Coach at Connections, a recovery community organization where peers congregate to support each other.

“I see a lot of people come through the front door at Connections the way that I was the day that I came into New Horizons, when I was desperate and homeless and needing help,” said Burdeshaw. “I see a lot of people come through the door with the same situation and I really like looking at their lives and telling them, ‘We have your back, and we care for you here. And if God did it for me, he can do the same thing for you.’ And so, the best thing about my job is seeing people go from the very bottom and struggling to where God takes them.”

Both Tyson and Burdeshaw advise anyone struggling, to reach out, and remember… you’re not alone.

“There is a lot of help in Columbus, Georgia, for people needing recovery and for mental health. A lot of help, obviously. Journey to recovery and all of New Horizons. You have the American works that help. We have the Safe House Ministries and the Grace House and the Freedom House. And so there’s just a lot of resources and help in Columbus, Georgia for people that need help with homelessness, addiction or mental health.”
— John Burdeshaw

“There is no shame in asking for help. There is a life after substance use disorder, a mental diagnosis. I’m proof of it. There are so many resources in the community that can aid and assist in getting people on the right track. But a lot of times it’s fear and typically fear of the unknown. But I can be that voice for them and let them know. I didn’t know either, but I did it anyway. And here I am.”
— Carol Tyson

Anyone seeking help that doesn’t know where to start can call New Horizons or stop by Connections located on 4827 14th Avenue.