The Open Door Ministry is also working to open a women's recovery facility
It’s the seemingly simple things like waking up at a set time that Zach Rimmer said helped him create a foundation for his recovery through Flagler County’s Open Door Ministries.
“I’m not in this for a graduation, for a piece of paper; I’m in this to change my life,” said Rimmer, who has been with the recovery ministry for over four months.
Rimmer was arrested twice before age 18 for drunk and disorderly conduct, he told a packed ballroom at the Hammock Beach Resort during the Harvest Moon Gala. His 20s were a “blur of arrests and bad decisions,” he said. After getting released from jail in September 2017, he had two more violent felony charges within three months and ended up behind bars again. That’s when he was introduced to the jail’s STRIDE program (Skills, Transition Support, Respect, Integrity, Direction, Employment) that works with Open Door Ministries.
“The harvest of recovery is basically: you get to have your life back. You get to have your husband back or your wife back or your children back. You get to reenter society as a new person, seeing stuff from a different perspective.”
-CHARLES SILANO, Grace Tabernacle Ministries pastor
Several speakers shared their recovery stories at the third-annual gala on Friday, Nov. 16. Charles Silano, pastor of Grace Tabernacle Ministries said Open Door started selling sponsorships in August, and, since then, it’s raised $55,000 to further the Christ-centered ministry’s goal of restoring people with substance addiction through rehabilitation, life skills and Biblical truths.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, whose uncle died of alcoholism, said: “I’m willing to bet there’s not a single person here who’s not been affected by addiction in some way at some point, either themselves or their family. Addiction is real, and it obviously affects a lot of people.”
Guest speaker Mason Bradley shared his life-changing experiences through Open Door, where he wasn’t just taught the word of the Bible, but rather, he learned how to read it, understand it and apply it himself.
“For the first time in my life, I was filled with an absolute certitude that not only was there a God, but that he’d been there with me the entire time,” Bradley said. “I didn’t get pulled over in Jacksonville with a .34 ABV and not kill anyone or myself and just wind up in jail for 22 hours. How does that happen? Divine intervention.”
As one of the guest speakers, newly-elected Flagler County Commissioner Joe Mullins spoke of how he believes God gave him a second chance at life.
After securing a master’s degree in sports and entertainment from University of California, Los Angeles, Mullins said his small-town Georgia mindset was shattered by the lifestyle he became immersed in.
“I never thought I’d be around some of the things I was. But, I was in an industry where the lifestyle was constant drinking, it was constant going out,” Mullins said. “It was OK to do cocaine, and people had it around us all the time. And as a sports agent, I wanted to fit in with my clients.”
After years of substance abuse, he said that in 2010, a doctor told him he was either going to end up in jail, in treatment or dead.
“I remember sitting there one night in tears going, ‘I’ve gone too far; I’m not going to be able to stop this; I’m not going to be able to change my life,’” Mullins said. “‘God put me here for a reason, and I’ve totally screwed it up.’”
After getting the help he needed through a 12-step program, Mullins said he realized that a personal relationship with God is what he was missing.
Rob Reed also spoke of hitting rock bottom because of alcoholism and addiction.
“At the end of my addiction, my life looked like some of the other addicts: I had lost my job, my wife had left me and filed for divorce, I was not able to see my daughter, I had no money left, and I had an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and utter despair,” Reed said.
After his own recovery, Reed was introduced to Silano through his sponsor, and he said he felt a calling to help other addicts and their families, as he’s seen the devastation it can cause.
Ultimately, community support is what keeps the recovery ministry going, Silano said.
Staly praised the ministry’s efforts.
“Without people like you and the people attending tonight, the revolving door of arrests and re-arrests would be endless,” Staly said.
Open Door Ministry currently has one operational home for men in recovery, and the ministry has secured a second home to start working on women’s recovery, as well. At the gala, Silano thanked the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach, which donated a grant for $6,000 for a roof at the new women’s facility. Silano said he hopes to open the women’s space within the next six months.
“The harvest of recovery is basically: You get to have your life back. You get to have your husband back or your wife back or your children back. You get to re-enter society as a new person, seeing stuff from a different perspective,” Silano said.