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Person of the Week's helpless experience inspired him to launch addiction ministry

Craig Halford of First Contact says relatives have thanked him for saving their life. (Photo credit: John Le, WLOS)

Addiction often destroys lives and leaves family members feeling helpless. Our Person of the Week, Craig Halford of Hendersonville, was empowered to make a dent in what's become a national crisis.

"You have to have the whole community," Halford said. "We need everyone working together."

News 13 spoke to one of the people he's helped at First Contact Addiction Ministry in Hendersonville. First Contact is holding an open house on Sunday, March 26, from 2-5 p.m.

"There is a guilt that comes along with the deception," said a recovering addict who requested to be identified only as Becky.

So many stories of drug addiction begin the same way. We don't show Becky's face in our interview, yet you can almost see the despair in her eyes.

"It began with pain pills that were prescribed from a doctor for back pain," she said.

After two years, the doctor cut her off.

"It led to other substance use, as well," she recalled. "And buying pain pills off the street."

Eventually, she turned to meth and heroine.

"Of course from there the addiction snowballed and got out of control," Becky said.

When you're fighting to get out of a dark place, finding your way back is a struggle.

Halford said when the addiction epidemic hit home, he was inspired to do something.

"That's how First Contact began. We were all struggling with family members," he explained.

He founded First Contact six years ago, sparked by emotional experience.

"I know the pain from the family side," he told News 13. "I know the struggle of lying in bed at night waiting for that phone call. Worrying about will it be an overdose or will it be a car wreck."

His non-profit provides a lifeline.

"We didn't know where to go to get the help we needed," Halford says. "Secondly, we found that our community services were completely overwhelmed."

"He pours his heart and soul into what he does,'" Becky said. "He spends the majority of his life ministering, reaching out to the families."

Becky went into in detox last July. She relapsed four months later, but after a rehab stint said she's back on track.

"It's tormenting. It's a very desperate place to be," she said. "It's, honestly it's just pure evil. There's nothing good about it."

Now, Becky's a volunteer for First Contact.

"It's OK to ask for help and have courage to do that," she stressed.

Craig is constantly making calls and doing whatever it takes to help people turn the page. He treats the men and women he deals with as if they were relatives.

"I have family members who say, 'You saved my life.'" Craig said. "The power of that is incredible."

He realizes behind every silhouette of an addict fighting for their life, there's a window of opportunity.

"God does not want you to live in this darkness," Becky said.

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