Community Matters: A Story of Revival

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- "It started from low self-esteem, low self-worth" said BJ Carpenter, 34.

You'd never know looking at him now, but BJ has a dark past.

"I quit school in 8th grade after failing it twice," said Carpenter. "The last grade I completed on my own was 6th."

For 15 years, he abused drugs.

"It started out with smoking pot and drinking, but it quickly escalated to cocaine and meth and anything I could get my hands on," he explained.

Out on the streets with no future in sight, Carpenter checked himself in to the Union Rescue Mission's drug rehab center in Little Rock.

"We've got 46 beds in here," says Carpenter, while showing us around the facility.

It's a place where addicts can turn their lives around. They have jobs and must complete a G.E.D. They're also taught about Christianity. For Carpenter, it wasn't easy.

"There were many times when I wanted to quit, wanted to leave, wanted to continue using," said Carpenter.

But Carpenter pushed through, got his diploma and is now working on a certificate in substance abuse counseling. 

Three years after he checked himself in, he now works at the Union Rescue Mission, helping others navigate the road to beating addiction.

"He's a mentor of mine," said recovering addict Kenneth Cummings. "He's helped me out a lot."

Carpenter credits God and folks at the Union Rescue Mission for his amazing turn around. 

"It's a pretty cool thing coming from the streets, having no hope in the future to, you know, having a career," said Carpenter.

BJ Carpenter -- living proof there's hope even when the cards are stacked against you.

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