HANNIBAL, Mo. — Trent Salzman gave up his life to recover from addiction about five months ago in a Marion County jail cell.

Salzman lost his mother to COVID-19 in 2021, which sent him into a severe relapse. After his day in court, he took up residence for the fourth time at the Harvest House, a recovery center located in a church building on Hope Street in Hannibal.

“Sometimes when we first come here, we’re so sick and so broken that we go back to drugs,” he said. “When I came back this time, I was completely shattered.”

Although broken, Salzman said his recovery this time was different. He gave himself heart and soul to find a new life through his faith and the help he found at Harvest House.

“I had a big hole in me that I needed to fill with something. I had to surrender,” he said. “For so many years I thought I just had a problem. drugs, but it wasn’t just a drug problem, it was part of a much bigger problem and it was a spiritual problem for me.

Salzman learned that it wasn’t just about kicking drugs, it was about fixing his mind and soul — and connecting with the right people.

He found these people at Harvest House, and now he wants to give others the same chance he had. Rolling up his sleeves, Salzman is now building part of the same house that helped build it.

An expansion of Harvest House began Thursday morning.

Saltzman joined other residents of the men’s living quarters and area church volunteers, including Harvest House board member Reverend Randy McDonald, pastor of Adiel Baptist Church.

The remodel will expand the men’s living quarters, adding seven rooms to the 14 the building currently houses.

The men of Harvest House and the women of the women’s facility across town form a close relationship as they experience recovery together. Residents have private rooms but shared living quarters, kitchens and bathrooms.

The new apartments on the ground floor will have a private bedroom and bathroom with a shared kitchen and living room to continue living in a community. These apartments will be for residents who have completed the program but wish to continue living at Harvest House.

“A lot of men want to stay and they can stay as long as they want,” Reverend James Bridges said. “When people come out of prison and go back to their old surroundings, you put them right back in the fire. We want to be that place after prison and after treatment.

Salzman is one of those men and he has already chosen his room. He has found camaraderie and responsibility at Harvest House and he wants to stay there.

“You have to be careful who you are and that’s why we’re a tight-knit group here,” he said. “It’s not about snitching here, it’s about holding each other accountable. We would rather you not love us and live than love us and die.

Salzman also points to Living Way Fellowship, the church led by Bridges, as a big part of his recovery, as well as Bible study and prayer among the guys at Harvest House.

“Show up every week, get involved and pray — plus with the guys at home,” he said. “Developing those healthy relationships that I’m able to bring back into the community.”

The men of Harvest House not only live together, they serve together. Salzman helps other Harvest Outreach ministries by serving free meals to the Loaves and Fishes community and packing boxes for the food pantry, Feed America.

Bridges said his own recovery journey led him to start the Harvest House ministry with the Reverend Larry Hinds, pastor of Brush Arbor Church outside the city of Monroe.

Bridges, who once used intravenous drugs, is now 18 years sober after spending more than a decade in prison and 30 treatment centers, halfway houses and sober living facilities.

Meanwhile, Hinds, a relative of Bridges, preached in jails and jails and continually prayed for Bridges through his addiction and time in prison.

Years later, they reconnected at a National Day of Prayer event where they were both invited to preach, and when Hinds stood up to speak, he pointed the finger at Bridges.

“Larry stood up and said, ‘I don’t know why I’m here, but I want to talk to this guy,'” Bridges said. “He desperately wanted to do something to help people after prison.”

Taking everything he learned from his time in various treatments, Hinds and Bridges formed a program in 2010 that has now helped hundreds of men and women transition into life after addiction.

Salzman, 46, said he finally felt like he was really living.

“I stopped fighting everything and surrendered my life to Christ,” he said. “I don’t like that old lifestyle anymore and I don’t want anything to do with it.”

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