Fresh start: rehab program helps local homeless overcome addicti - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Fresh start: rehab program helps local homeless overcome addictions

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
"That's what a new year does. It brings hope," said Dale Grisso. "It can be different."

The power of hope is something that's very real for Grisso.

"In any given year, there's gonna be some folks whose lives got destroyed," he said. "And when that time comes, we're ready."

Grisso helps run the Christian Life Program. It's a year-long drug and rehab program at the Chattanooga Rescue Mission. The first day of 2015 is a reminder for a fresh start.

"A lot of folks think the problem with addiction is they drink or do drugs. No. The problem's in the way they think," Grisso said.

He works to change that by retraining positive thoughts for those who've hit rock bottom. While some people are professionals, others come off the street. According to Grisso, the majority are those who are homeless, or at least facing it.

"The one thing about homelessness that I think people don't understand is not that you just don't have a place to stay, you don't know where the food's coming from. You don't know if there's ever a chance to get out of this."

He said the new year is a reminder things can be different.

Over 100 people have turned their lives around. Many of them still check in to report they're clean, said Grisso. Typically four to six people graduate from the program each year.

"I thank God for what I got today," said Michael Blevins, who is a graduate of the program.

Blevins said he turned his life around after living on the streets for seven years. He got sober and found a real home.

"Drugs and alcohol ain't gonna take you nowhere," he said.

"You can't change your past, but you can change tomorrow," said Grisso.

Although the goal doesn't change, 2015 is another year that holds hope.

"I hope to set a bunch more people free," he said.

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