KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — If anyone is an example that there is hope for those battling addiction, it's Reico Hopewell.
The former star athlete lost his college basketball scholarship and almost his life to addiction. But now, he's a certified addictions counselor helping others overcome the same struggles he faced.
"I burned every bridge, and I couldn't go to my family's house, I stole from everybody or lied to everybody or manipulated everybody," Hopewell explained.
After using a number of different types of drugs and doing everything he could to get high, Hopewell found himself in prison. That's when he made a decision.
"I got on my knees, and said 'God, please just take this taste away from me,I don't want to use drugs anymore,' and I believe at that moment I was delivered from alcohol and drugs," he explained. "I haven't had a desire since."
Since then, Hopewell has started a private practice, become a substance abuse professional and founded the Mend House, a 40-bed sober living community to help others like himself.
"God has been really, really good to me, and I'm able to help these men who are in some dark places," Hopewell explained.
Mathew, a veteran who's battled addiction, is one of those men.
"You don't even know how to love yourself, and I think this gives you a safe place to explore how to do that," he said.
Hopewell said one of the things he focuses on to help people overcome an addiction is that community effort to help that person who's struggling, because it has no bias.
For more information on the Mend House and how you can help, call 865-801-9061 or visit Hopewell's Facebook page.