God’s Way Home

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

Andrew Bailes drove from Rainelle to Leivasy to pray for a year straight. “I might’ve missed 4 or 5 days all year,” he confesses. 

Andrew prayed with a small group asking God how they could help people struggling with addiction? Those prayers led to conversations with the local Day Report Center and other mental health specialists who all told Andrew the same thing–we need long-term, structured housing for people struggling with addiction. 

Andrew listened, opening the doors to God’s Way Home in 2021. 

It’s a residential, sober-living home in Rainelle. They operate a faith-based recovery program with eight beds for men. Residents come from the streets, jail, and detox facilities. They are required to work a job, participate actively in recovery (NA, AA, Celebrate Recovery), attend church and Bible Study three times per week, and do community service. 

“Our residents run the place,” explains Clinton Walker, Program Director and Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS). “We treat them like people. They’re not a ‘backpacker’ or a ‘druggie’; they’re human beings.”

The house is clean, organized, and practical. A large living room with huge calendars on the wall help residents plan their days and their sobriety. Comfortable couches set the stage for Bible studies. A well-stocked kitchen ensures residents are well-fed. 

“It’s not all roses,” Clinton tells residents. “Being clean is hard. Being strung out is hard. Choose your hard.” 

That’s true for the residents and the staff at God’s Way Home. 

‘Seeing the lights come on’

A staff meeting includes folks from God’s Way Home and Valley Works. They are across the street from one another in Rainelle and are sister organizations, working to help people get clean and in jobs.

Clinton is also in recovery. He’s been clean for three years now. He worked in the coal mines out of high school, got in some trouble, and ended up in drug court.  That’s when he met Andrew and got serious about recovery. 

“Working here helps me with my recovery,” he shares. “Seeing the lights come on when people realize they can do this, that’s what it’s all about.” 

When Andrew gathered enough money to open the doors in 2021, he realized he had a problem. He had no furniture. No kitchen items. No towels. No extra clothes. Nothing to make the house into a home for men in recovery. 

“So I made a list of everything we needed and started to pray about it,” remembers Andrew. “Not a few days later, I got a call from a lady whose mom died. She asked me if I needed any of the items from the house and told me I could have it for free on one condition–that I take it all. So that’s what we did.” 

They hooked up a trailer to Andrew’s personal truck and moved the items one by one into the house. When they were done, the house was in better shape but still needed more. A lot more. 

“I didn’t have any extra money and didn’t know what I was going to do,” Andrew says. “Then I got another phone call from a lady. Her ex-husband died and she needed to find a home for all of his stuff. She said I could have it on one condition–that I take all of it.”

That’s exactly what he did, again. And this time, by the time they unloaded the last box, God’s Way Home was fully stocked. “Right down to the spices in the kitchen,” Andrew says with a grin.

Within two weeks, every bed was taken. Today, they turn away six people on average every week because they don’t have space for them. They are working to acquire a second building to double their capacity from 8 beds to 16 beds.  

The stigma 

It hasn’t always been an easy road for God’s Way Home. The community expressed resistance when they first opened. 

“Some people think ‘once an addict, always an addict,’” explains Andrew. “That’s just not true.” 

BJ & Rob are two of the graduates of God’s Way Home. Their successes are celebrated on the walls of the house as an inspiration to others.

Over time, they say that stigma and resistance is fading. They intentionally work with local officials, neighbors, and partners to improve life in Rainelle. Last year, they washed the town’s fire trucks and police cars as a service. They also built ramps for wheelchair ramps for local citizens. 

“We’ve got about five churches that support us financially,” Andrew says. They also take the residents to speak at area churches about their experiences. 

“Area pastors come in to help with the Bible studies,” Clinton shares. “It’s all about working together to help the next person with their next day in recovery.” 

God’s Way Home will celebrate a graduation for several residents in early May. Like many recovery programs, they’ve seen successes and struggles. Four men have graduated and are living productive, clean lives. One young man, who stayed clean in the house for months, left to go home one weekend and relapsed. He overdosed and died. 

James lived at God’s Way Home last year and was doing very well, according to staff. He went home one weekend to visit family and never returned following an overdose.

Nationwide, relapse rates for substance use range from 40-60% on average. The key is providing multiple options so everyone can find their own path to recovery.

Andrew, Clinton, and the entire staff agree their job is to give their clients the love and respect they need, refrain from judgment, and meet them where they are. 

“You never know whose life you may save,” says Dara Vance. 

Stay tuned to The Real WV for additional stories on God’s Way Home and their sister organization Valley Works later this week.

Clinton Walker, Program Director & PRSS, with James Boggs, resident of God’s Way Home and Facilities Director at Valley Works. Clinton is three years sober and leads the house. James is deaf and came to the facility in the throws of addiction. He now is doing so well he’s taken a job next door with Valley Works while he lives at God’s Way Home.

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