CUMMING, Ga. – For 10 months, Mark Smith regenerated himself. Meaning, he shed his addiction to drugs, alcohol and even his nicotine shackles.
A now sober Smith beamed, his wife Niki by his side, during the No Longer Bound annual fundraiser and auction Oct. 13 at the Forsyth Conference Center. This year’s fundraiser to help addicts heal, was called “I AM the Event.”
“It was the most exhausting, stressful and rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” Smith said about the 10-month program. “By far, the most rewarding. I can’t describe how much I love No Longer Bound.”
Part of the “regeneration” faith-based program Smith and about 80 men go through each cycle requires family support.
“The family goes through family recovery,” Smith said. “They get educated on what an addict is really like.”
Smith graduated the program in July 2008. He likes to give back to the program, and motivates addicts to kick their habit.
Honorary gala chairs Paul Smith and his wife Pam, no relation to Mark, called the in-patient program “incredible.”
Paul said this year, NLB has made some great accomplishments, including getting ready to open a thrift store next month, 315 Dahlonega Highway in downtown Cumming, and adding a new campus to NLB, a former elementary school in Bremen, Ga., near Alabama.
NLB’s main campus is at 2725 Pine Grove Road in Cumming.
“We are doing inner healing,” said Paul, who volunteers with NLB. “It has made me a different person.”
During the event, Christian-faith singer Ginny Owens gave a powerful live performance.
Several items were auctioned and attendees were served a gourmet dinner.
Many left the event moved by a video produced by NLB, which shared a message of hope and showed how the program has worked to rescue so many former addicts.
“It is not very often that I am reduced to a weeping mess in public,” said Lisa Weinman-Orth, one of the hundreds of attendees touched by the event’s message.
Richard, who is halfway through the program, said NLB has given him a new outlook and he has never felt better about his future.
“It has changed my life,” he said.
For more information, visit http://www.nolongerbound.com