Religion

Redemption and renewal: Former probation office becomes drug-treatment center

BRADENTON — The first time Pastor Al Davis entered the one-story office building at 1027 Ninth St. W., it was to make probation and victim-restitution payments.

A quarter-century later, both he and the building have been transformed.

Once a state work-release center for probationers, the structure now houses Joseph’s Storehouse of Florida Restoration Center, a residential drug- and alcohol-abuse treatment facility. One of its founders is Davis, who overcame drug addiction and a criminal past to launch a Sarasota ministry with his wife, Dorothy.

“It’s amazing,” he said as he stood inside the rehabilitation facility Wednesday, two days before it holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house. “It’s amazing because of what God has done to my life.”

The 40-bed center will provide inpatient treatment, counseling, and life- and job-skills training for men 18 and older seeking to overcome their drug and/or alcohol addictions. Future plans include separate facilities for woman and adolescents.

The men’s treatment program lasts three to 18 months and will be tailored to each individual and his family, said Paula Styles, the center’s chief executive.

It’s also the first faith-based treatment center in Manatee County to be licensed by the state, Davis said. The treatment program’s foundation is based on Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The Davises said the most-successful drug/alcohol treatment programs are based on Biblical teachings. “It’s all about helping people turn their lives around through the word of God,” said Dorothy Davis, who founded Consuming Fire International Ministries with her husband.

The nonprofit ministry has spent $250,000, mostly from donations and grants but also including the Davises’ personal funds, and 2 1/2 years to establish the treatment center. Most of that went toward renovating the building, which needed a fire sprinkler system, an ADA-compliant bathroom and other upgrades to meet local, state and federal codes.

“We endured the patience of Job. We had a little bit of suffering too,” Al Davis said of the lengthy process.

The facility recently earned its state license but has not yet taken in its first client. It now has six staff members, with plans to ultimately have 15 to 20 at capacity, Styles said. It plans to use donations, grants and awards and insurance payments to cover its operating expenses.

Joseph’s, which also operates a food bank at the site, is named after the Genesis story of a slave who tells an Egyptian Pharaoh to fill storehouses of food before the arrival of a famine.

The ribbon-cutting is 9 a.m. Friday, followed by an open house until noon. The center is looking for donations of twin beds, bedsheets and blankets, towels, toiletries, pots and pans, a commercial washer and dryer and other items. It can be contacted at (941) 708-3030.

Duane Marsteller, transportation/growth and development reporter, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2630.

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