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Open Door Mission celebrates 14 graduates of "New Life Program"

Posted at 10:42 AM, Jan 09, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — 14 men and women made the commitment at Open Door Mission to become stronger and more self-sufficient. They graduated from the New Life Program which gives people the tools they need to contribute to their communities.

Graduates like John Roussell admitted to once feeling completely lost.

"I tried to commit suicide, ended up in jail, I really sobered up and was able to process everything that I had just done," Roussell said.

Before the program, Roussell had relapsed on meth. It was at Open Door Mission's New Life Program, he was challenged to make a turnaround.

"I would only change for a couple of days and then go right back to what I was doing," Roussell said.

He "freed his chains" through Bible study, group therapy, and church.

"I had to really face a lot of things, not just my drug addiction, emotional issues, mental issues, and just realizing if I'm going to give my life to God, I have to give it fully, not just what I want to give," Roussell said.

It's second, third, fourth chances, and an unending love that Chief Program Officer Steve Frazee believes is key for helping his graduates persevere.

"With addiction, with mental health, there isn't a cure, there is things that you can do to help you cope. As you think success, success is longer periods of time, where you don't have a relapse and don't have a mental health episode and reducing the depth that you fall," Frazee said.

Forming relationships is how Frazee and Roussell are convinced of grace.

"People abuse substances to feel good because they're not feeling good - to find out what's driving you not to feel like it's supposed to be hugely important, you do that through conversation, you do that through a period of time," Frazee said.

"I still question what happened because if it wasn't for God intervening in my life, that I don't believe I would be here - or maybe even be here on this earth," Roussell said.

Graduates of the program have gone on to work at Open Door Mission, go to school, or become licensed mental health practitioners.

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