Recovery from the inside, out: local ministry helps those transitioning into society

(WTHI Photo)

BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) – From living behind bars, even battling addiction, to life on the outside. It’s a transition that’s far from easy.

“One of the things I learned many years ago when I was in Narcotics Anonymous is you have to change your people, places and things,” said Kevin Eckiss.

Now, more than 8 years in recovery, Eckiss still remembers that feeling of a fresh start.

“I moved to Brazil, Indiana to get away form my people, places and things,” he said, “Little did I know that there was a lot of drugs here in this town as well, and once I got here, I saw the need after going into Putnamville Prison and Clay County Jail that when guys get out, I see them come back.”

Hoping to close the prison system’s revolving door, Eckiss found a solution inside a former nursing home building on Hendrix Street. That’s where he runs his ministry, Inside Out Recovery.

The 31,000 square feet facility provides housing, basic needs and Christianity related programs for men. The ministry’s purpose is to help those who have been released from the prison system, or a drug/alcohol treatment program, make a smoother transition into society.

“If they don’t have a home or job or basically meeting all of their needs, then they’re more than likely to commit more crimes and go back to prison,” Eckiss said, “We take that pressure away. When someone comes here, they don’t have to worry about housing because it’s provided, they don’t have to worry about food because it’s here, clothing is provided, we provide everything they need.”

Residents are not charged to live in the facility. Eckiss says the only time residents would have to pay is once they secure a job.

“We would prefer them to get some schooling or some education before they get a job because we want them to find a career path for that, not just a minimum-wage job,” he said.

As a Christ-based facility, Eckiss says residents also learn about religion while living there.

“We want them to learn about the true disciplines of what it means to be a Christian,” he said, “A person doesn’t have to be Christian to come here, but they will learn what it means to live out Christian standards, they’ll go to church, things like that. We want them to walk away with a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. If they do that, we believe that the rest of their life will somehow fit together.”

As residents work to rebuild toward a better future, Eckiss says it takes more than you think to truly make change.

“We want Christ to change them from the inside,” he said, “That’s part of what our name means, Inside Out Recovery, that change comes from the inside and manifests itself outside.”

Right now, Inside Out is only using 10,000 of the 31,000 square feet. By 2018, they’re hoping to open 15 more rooms to bring in more residents.

Eckiss says there is still room available at the facility for those interested in joining. For details, you can visit their website.