TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — Addiction is a tough disease to tackle and overcome. A local group made of people who have been through the struggle formed an organization called Recovery Resources in Johnson City, which sees dependents through treatment and beyond, reuniting with family and living what they say is a normal life.

“We offer men’s recovery living program for guys coming out of jail, prison, treatment, off the streets,” said Director Craig Forrester. “We help them with housing. We help them with connection to employment. Connection to outpatient services, connection to recovery supports, peer support. Every one of us at Recovery Resources is somebody who has lived experience with drug addiction or alcoholism.”

Forrester said in two years the client list has grown ten-fold and now has a waiting list. He said long-term recovery improves with support from friends and family. But addiction doesn’t end when someone gets clean, he said.

“I would absolutely say addiction is a lifelong battle,” Forrester told News Channel 11. “The good news is, is that it’s a winnable battle. The bad news is, is that you’ve got to be willing to put forth a whole lot of effort to fight that battle. It gets easier with time. It gets different with time. And so the same issues that I had eight years ago aren’t the issues that I’m having today.”

Forrester says places like Recovery Resources are crucial to a healthy community. He says the area would look a lot different without them.

“If there was no recovery living programs in the Tri-Cities area? This is going to sound terrible. A lot of those folks would either end up dead or in prison,” he said. “You know, you look around the communities that we live in and there’s a giant homeless population that we continue to grow. Our jails are overcrowded. That number would go up. The overdose deaths would go up astronomically.”

“So without us, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger of a burden on our community as a whole. What’s really cool is that our community can rally around. It’s not just Recovery Resources doing this. It’s our community taking ownership and helping us.”

A community he says is made better by giving men a safe place to recover and learn life skills to keep them on the right road.

“Our guys do countless hours of community service for all kinds of different organizations,” Forrester said. “They have jobs all throughout the community. In various business sectors, whether it’s, you know, trades, restaurants, manufacturing, you know, we have guys doing stuff similar to what I do with peer support, mental health treatment, hospitals. Our guys work everywhere. And what I hope to see is that our guys will be the reason that our community changes how they view drug addiction and the stigma around that, because they’re going to be the ones that you’re working next to and not even know it.”