When Greg Troutt left jail after serving time for several misdemeanors stemming from a drug addiction, he had 60 bucks in his pocket and a bus ticket — and a calling — to Texas, where he had been based at Fort Hood.
Troutt, who was born and grew up in Kentucky, joined the military, and when he came out, became one of the many addicted to drugs. While in jail, he began praying, preaching and forming an idea to help people when he got out.
“I felt called by God to do something bigger while I¿was in the jail, and I¿said ‘There’s something bigger than this.’ So I got my calling while I¿was incarcerated and began to preach while I¿was incarcerated and began to experience God while I was incarcerated,” said Troutt, who is now the executive director of a Christ-centered life recovery program in Kentucky. “So I knew that it didn’t make any difference what your circumstance was. What made the difference was what you wanted to do with your life.”
Troutt spent a year as a youth pastor in Texas and visited crack and meth houses along with bars, bringing people from them into his church. He said this wasn’t acceptable to the church where he was.
“They said ‘This is very odd that you go downtown into these crack houses, and it could bring a bad name to the church,’” he recalled Thursday. “Well I kind of disagree, you know (because of) the whole ‘if Jesus were here, where would he be?’ Would he be in the church where everybody’s OK, or would he be in the crack houses and meth houses and bars?”
Another church contacted him that liked what he was doing and asked him to be its pastor, but then after a while, some there said the people he was bringing in were “undesirable.” Troutt prayed to God for two years, traveling around the state and preaching to addicts. He gained recognition and became tagged as “Methman Preacher” or “Barroom Preacher,” and churches started investing food and other supplies in his mission. He began looking at reasons why people get addicted, researching addiction ministry and researching counseling programs.
“Then we opened a house which was the first house, and we’ve not stopped since,” he said, referring to the first residence detox facility of 2nd Chance Outreach he helped open, later followed by another in Texas. Both are still in operation.
In 2007, Troutt and his wife, D.J., came to Kentucky, where they learned of the particular problem of prescription drug abuse. They first opened a residence detox facility in Columbia, followed by a facility in Jamestown, which offers a 30-day natural detox program, along with different counseling programs and resources.
Troutt said that although there is a lot of hype about using methadone in detox, only about 10 percent of people require medical treatment, usually for other problems resulting from the drug use. 2nd Chance Outreach emphasizes the benefits of natural medicines, and people requiring medical treatment are referred to doctors.
“If you can go natural, it’s better because obviously you don’t trade one drug for another,” he said.
Troutt said program staff receive safety training, but the program relies mostly on the Bible, getting its curriculum from God. He doesn’t hire people to handle addiction unless they’ve gone through it and recovered from it.
“I can’t explain to you what it feels like to lay in a hotel room, look under the door, paranoid thinking, people are out there that aren’t really there, and being able to see them and be in fear for days,” he said. “You can’t explain those things. The detox — you can’t even explain detox to somebody. You can read it in a book, and it says ‘well they’re going to have shakes and sweats,’ but unless you go through it … it’s like trying to tell a man about childbirth.”
The Jamestown facility, which has detoxed thousands with no fatalities and treats all types of addictions, operates as an umbrella office to the two regional offices — one that just opened in Winchester July 16.
The Way to Recovery, 120 W. Broadway, also faith-based, provides intensive out-patient care and is an independent living facility for those who graduate from a detox program, like the one offered in Jamestown. Participants stay for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years. They are required to find employment and volunteer until they do, attend AA¿or NA¿meetings, attend Bible study and find a church to attend regularly.
John Pichler, who has lived in Winchester for about 30 years, is the director of Winchester’s facility. He was a resident at 2nd Chance Outreach in Jamestown last year for alcoholism. A¿church member then, he said he kept his problem hidden. After going through Jamestown’s in-patient treatment, he said, he came out with gratitude in his heart for what the program and its staff had done.
“I was at first just going to go down and stay there and volunteer as staff at Jamestown, and we got to talking about the vision for the center and having an office here in Winchester, and so that became my mission was to open up the office,” he said.
Pichler said it took about two months to find a property and get it furnished to open. It has three full bedrooms with bunk beds and three full bathrooms, and a maximum of 12 people can live there at once. Two people were living there as of Thursday, and the facility takes referrals from different treatment programs. The Winchester office can also refer individuals needing in-patient care first to treatment facilities.
“We do our very best to see that if somebody is in need of a residential (detox), program, that we get them there, and my goal is within 48 hours,” he said. “When they need help, they need it right away.”
2nd Chance Outreach treats men, women, pregnant women, married couples and those over 50, and the goal is that after going to an independent living facility like Winchester’s, they won’t be dependent on that facility anymore because of the tools gained.
“And we’re successful at, you know, getting them back to a point where, you know, they can live a happy life,” Pichler said.
The vision of 2nd Chance Outreach is to have 12 regional offices eventually. Troutt’s gospel radio program, aimed at addicts specifically, airs on Winchester’s 107.7 at 7 a.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit http://2ndchanceoutreach.com/ or call Winchester’s facility at 355-5517.
Contact Katie Perkowski at email@example.com or follow her Twitter, @TheSunKatie.