NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A local ministry has been helping men who have been struggling with alcohol and drug abuse.
Veteran Sonny Carelli said he came to Nashville from New York and he was homeless.
"I'm a combat veteran," Carelli said. "I served admirably during desert storm, I was in the Navy, and I would say over the past 25 years I've dealt with substance abuse."
The Veterans Affairs Department in Nashville referred him to Welcome Home Ministries.
"This program is and continues to save my life," Carelli said.
Right now the non-profit has been working with 57 men. They have seven residential homes where they can live while they go through a recovery program.
"I just wish there were more organizations like this that are putting guys like me to the wall and saying hey you can or you can't, and if you don't want to, you know where the door is," Carelli said.
Daryl Murray founded Welcome Home Ministries. He said a local judge has been referring men to him instead of sending them to jail.
"Our guys aren't necessarily coming from incarceration," Murray said. "Lot of them coming from treatment and the emphasis is recovery. That's the whole ticket that glues everything together."
The program has included fellowship and weekend activities.
On Saturday, they went to Percy Priest Lake.
"We have this general term, hey let's party ya know?" Murray said. "Well often time connotates alcohol and drugs and stuff. We're trying to help guys understand you can do fine healthy things without alcohol and drugs and just to come out today at the lake and not have to have that around you."
Murray said Carelli has been one of their success stories.
"So now he's been able to move out, get his own place, got his own little roommate, a little puppy," Murray said.
As Carelli has adjusted to life after recovery, he has hoped that sharing his story will encourage others to get help.
"It's great being sober," Carelli said. "It really is. I thank God for Welcome Home Ministries."
Carelli has also been working at a church as a handyman.
To learn more about Welcome Home Ministries you can visit their website by clicking here.