07/09/18 — From addiction to recovery

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From addiction to recovery

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 9, 2018 5:50 AM

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Clay Worrell sits in his home studio where he records his videos for Facebook and YouTube. Worrell is a former addict who is working on a program to assist people with recovery.

Clay Worrell's recovery story is compelling.

He grew up poor but determined to make something of himself, becoming a top salesman in real estate and later mobile homes, amassing financial success by his mid-20s.

"My whole identity was money -- my Rolex, my Harley, money in the bank -- that was my identity," he said.

His lifestyle also included substances -- lots of substances. From alcohol to a variety of drugs, he admittedly did a lot of "stupid things," he says now, which wound up claiming 12 years of his life.

He lost his wife, his home and much of the hope he had for the future.

At one point, he didn't even recognize himself in the mirror. Or, he says, avoided looking in the mirror altogether.

He is recognizable today because of the eye patch he wears, the result of being shot in the head.

And he spent a lot of time trying to break the cycle.

"I have attended more than 25 detox units, 20-plus hospitals, four addiction programs, from 20 days to six months," he said, adding that the grip addiction had on him also led to stints in jail and several suicide attempts.

The one thing he did not have, he said, was God.

The 1989 graduate of Southern Wayne High School said his life, and his story, began to move in a better direction when he found his faith.

It took time, though, and things did not automatically turn around.

He was a self-proclaimed "why guy" and discovered his own recovery and addiction pattern only improved when he developed a relationship with God.

"Don't tell me about Him. Show me," he said.

His wife, Felicia, began to notice a difference and returned to the marriage, supporting him and praying him through some of the struggles. They now have two daughters, Felicity, 5, and Zoey, 2.

Worrell's success in the years since are measured in spiritual terms.

He earned a doctorate of theology and master's in counseling. He is executive administrator of Bible Faith Global College and has developed a program to help addicts and their families climb out of the pit like he did.

His own addiction experiences of slipping and relapsing became a case study for his introspective approach, he says.

Those going to rehab, whether it be 30 days or 90 days, aren't completing the program and walking out with a notebook, he said. In fact, he said, the relapse rate is very high -- around 85 percent, he said.

"While you're in rehab, the goal is to detox, but then you're on your own," he said. "But if you're dealing with this (addiction) you need something more, especially since opiates and prescription addictions are rapidly rising to be the No. 1 cause of death for those under 50."

Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based approach, can be effective but Worrell estimates that they have close to a 10 percent recovery rate. Worrell also tried each of the programs.

"It's important for us, as people, for us to change our life or our lifestyle," he said, adding that can be challenging in just one hour a week. "You talk about the problem and you talk about the problem some more. (My program) is very different in that this is structured to create the new person.

"I'm not here to talk about all the bad things you did in the past."

Now 47, he has spent recent years developing his own faith walk and helping others navigate out of the grip of addiction.

He created Epic Life Solutions, a faith-based video and online program with resources to pick up where rehab leaves off.

"What I have done is given them the keys to recovery -- a manual designed for a group or individual, a 90-day reading guide -- and a program built around biblical truths," he said. "There is daily teaching and individual daily Bible reading, and the whole family doing that. It's designed to get them to talk about problems, and we're talking about solutions.

"Why it's so effective is, when you put your loved one on a program and they have no materials when they come home -- I'm sending all the materials to them, plus all the teaching."

He also does personal counseling and is working with churches and organizations around the country to share the message.

For more information on the ministry, visit www.clayworrellministries.com or call 919-252-9552.