WINTHROP, Maine — When we first met Robert Barter nearly two years ago, he faced two choices: go back to prison or almost certainly die from an overdose. But he says a faith based-residential program saved his life and put him on the right track.
Teen Challenge started back 60's in New York City as a way for teens to get clean but is open to people 18 and older here in Maine.
The program which has operated on a historic farm for 13-years is deeply rooted in biblical teachings. People who don't have money or insurance are never turned away -- but they have to be willing to commit to 15-months of sobriety.
When he walked through these doors of the Teen Challenge program, nearly three years ago -- it was Barter's last chance to break a cycle that had gripped his life for more than 20 years.
During the 15-month program, he learned to change his habits and behaviors. He performed chores, attended bible studies and worked on the 400-acre property. Barter, who grew up without a father, says his relationship with God not only filled that void but kept him from sliding back into addiction.
'It's easy to go back to your former life, it's easy to get comfortable, the hardest thing is to walk forward but the payoff is love, joy, gentleness and peace.'
34 months clean, Barter is now married and works for the Bread of Life Ministries in Augusta. The non-profit provides housing and meals for the homeless. Barter hopes to one day go to divinity school and become an evangelist and do missionary work in the South Pacific. He hopes his story will inspire others to take a step towards getting help.
Teen Challenge New England operates residential programs for women in Vermont and Rhode Island, but not in Maine.
Officials are looking for an affordable property or a donation of a house to start a program with the hopes of providing up to 12 beds.
If you would like more information on Teen Challenge USA click here
For information on Teen Challenge Maine go here
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol and or drug use, call 211 to get help today or click here