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Say No To Drugs, Yes to God (Transcript)

by Stacey Smith


Wanda Haskins weighed 81 pounds and was missing most of her front teeth when she came to New Life for Girls in the Bronx 5 years ago. She had lost her job, her husband and custody of her son to a crack addiction. Haskins had been in and out of secular rehab for 7 years without results, and wasn't sure that anyone could help her.


I learned a lot of stuff about the damage the drugs would do to my mind, to my blood system, to my heart, to my lungs, to my liver. It was very informational. It should have scared you straight, but it doesn't.


Nearly 14 million Americans use illicit drugs, and every year millions enter faith-based programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Haskins found herself among them. Strung out and dying, she started asking about Christian treatment centers. She says she turned there because nothing else had worked.


I said, you know what? People keep telling me Jesus saves, and Jesus loves you, and Jesus wants to help you. Well you know what? I don't really have much choice. I'm kind of down and out, and I'm going to give Jesus a try.


Haskins has been sober for five years and is now the director of New Life. The study found that addicts who opted for spiritual treatment were 30 percent more likely to stay sober than their secular counterparts. Haskins says she is living proof. She credits her success this time to developing faith. She says it is what keeps her off of drugs to this day.


I'm not going to tell you it was easy, because it wasn't. But I remembered those times when I wanted to give up on life and I'd say, 'No matter how bad it is right here, right now in this program, it's not as bad as the last day I used. And I would be able to stay one more day and one more day and I realized that something inside of me was changing.


Though the nature of faith is elusive, the numbers are not. The National Center on Addiction found that Adults and teens who are not spiritual are twice as likely to abuse drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Wanda has been sober for five years, she says she couldn't have done it without her faith.



I know he's real in my heart, I know he is. Because I know that what I've accomplished, I could not have done on my own. And when my son puts his arm around me and says, "Mom, I'm so proud of you," I say, "I'm so glad you are, but you of all people should know that I didn't do this alone."


Though faith-based rehabilitation certainly has its critics. According to Wanda Haskins, New Life For Girls has done just that--given her a new life.

Stacey Vanek Smith, Columbia Radio News