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Faith-based treatment helps addicts bear cross

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BANGOR, Calif. - A year old drug treatment center in Butte County said it's seeing great success through devotion to rehabilitation and faith in God.

The Elijah House consists of a serene 16 acres where a dozen men at a time stay to get rehabilitated from their drug addictions.

"Day by day it gets easier," said Johnny Adams, a recovering heroin addict who now works at the Elijah House while he continues his treatment.

The Elijah House estimates that it has helped approximately 200 men attempt to rid themselves of their addiction. The center reports a success rate of better than 50 percent, which is significantly higher than the national average of five percent.

Co-founder Joe Henderson said their counselors do it "through a mixture of evidence-based curriculum and faith in Christ."

Counselors here don't judge, leaving that responsibility to a higher power.

"As Christians, we believe this person struggles with sin, but I struggle with sin as well," said Henderson. "Their sin is different than mine."

Henderson says that the Elijah House doesn't require a belief in God for treatment. They added that a faith in oneself makes a difference too.

"This place means nothing without your own willingness (to recover)," said Jerry Dorgali, who was hooked on prescription drugs until he began treatment and committed his life to Christ.

Counselors at the Elijah House say the men here all got into drugs because of pain.

Dorgali, for example, was sexually abused by a family member when he was six.

"Society needs to recognize that there's trauma in most of these men's lives," said Brian Burnette, co-founder of the Elijah House. "They're trying to mask the pain they felt as a child, teenager or young adult."

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