Brent Bennett admittedly abused alcohol and pills "off and on for eight years."
In the meantime, the Norwalk man lost not just his business, but he also became estranged from his two children: Lydia, 15, and his son, 13-year-old Sam.
"I left them two years ago thinking that there was something better on the other side of the fence," Bennett said.
He was self-employed and owned a local heating and air-conditioning business. Bennett said he eventually spent so much money on drugs he couldn't pay his bills or insurance and lost touch with his family.
So he voluntarily entered the Teen Challenge program in Youngstown about eight months ago. The 12- to 14-month, Christian-based residential services program is for people of all ages struggling with life-controlling addictions.
"I did it on my own will," Bennett said about participating in Teen Challenge.
"I've been sober for over nine months now. I became sober because I knew I had to quit because my life was spiraling out of control," he said.
His drugs of choice were mostly "Perc 30s" (aka oxycodone, an opiate). Bennett said he also abused crack cocaine and is an alcoholic.
"Alcohol was my entry drug; the other ones just followed," he added.
Bennett, who was "accepted into Christ" in 1992, said he came to Teen Challenge because it's faith-based. He said the program has helped him become sober by emphasizing his relationship with Jesus Christ.
"(It's not) just about going to church on Sunday; it's about living the life you want to (live) the rest of the week," said Bennett, who doesn't believe in "just being a Sunday Christian."
"Teen Challenge has brought structure to my life. You have to get up and go to chapel," he said.
The experience has shown him what he knows is his calling in life.
After completing the Teen Challenge program, Bennett wants to start a ministry to reach people with various addiction issues.
"It could be heroin. It could be pornography. Pick your poison," he said.
"I want to show them there is hope and there is hope outside of the wall of addiction."