Lucy Perry photos
House of Hope Assistant Executive Director Pete Latrenta and resident Donnie Bousman talk about drug addiction Tuesday.
House of Hope Resident Director Geno Latrenta boasts that, thanks to community contributions, there's always room for more at the Bible training center. He's standing in what will soon be an extra men's shower in the building.
It can happen to anyone. Gradually, addictions can take over a life.
An average kid in high school, Donnie Bousman began using drugs recreationally. He soon got bored of marijuana and pills and moved on to cocaine in his 20s. Eventually, he traded everything he cares about for a fix.
Throughout the 15-year long cycle of pill-popping, boozing, marijuana and cocaine smoking, Bousman found sobriety only here and there. Half-heartedly wanting help, he underwent treatment a few times. The longest stretch he went without using since his adolescence was the one time only period of less than a year. Doing hard drugs landed him hard time. Facing a prison sentence for DUI and possession of cocaine, he finally saw the light. This time is different, he said while sitting in The House of Hope, W. US 40. This time, Donnie found God. Fortunately for him, the judge modified his sentence and allowed him to check into a treatment center rather than sending him to prison.
"It's the Lord," he said softly, explaining the relationship he has with God is surreal. "The Lord brought me here."
He doesn't remember everything from his drinking and drugging days, but he does remember enough to want to stay clean and sober today.
The 31-year-old Mooresville man, credits God with granting him the strength to turn away from the confines of substance abuse -- the shackles which created a barrier between his wife, Stephanie, and their three young children.
He lied, cheated and stole for his addictions. He walked away from good jobs and responsibility as a husband and father and now shutters at the thought of some of the depths to which he sank.
He once was arrested for for domestic battery on his wife.
"My wife got sick of me selling weed, being high and being gone -- she got tired of it," he said, explaining he and Stephanie divorced twice over the course of his using. Now, married the third time to the same woman, he's ready to take the commitment seriously.
Bousman owned his own drywall business and worked as a union carpenter, but lost it all as he fell into the "harder" stuff. In 1995, he was introduced to cocaine and it quickly became his drug of choice.
"It's the bloodline of the devil," he said in retrospect. "I'm lucky to be alive."
After living in crack houses in Indianapolis, leaving his children unattended while he went on drug runs and letting dealers use his truck, he wound up with nothing. He pawned everything he owned and didn't shower for over a week at a time. Paranoid on drugs, on that last arrest in November, he hit rock bottom. For a long time, that's exactly what his family had wished for him.
That's when he got the chance to move into the House of Hope, where he's lived for the past three months.
"As soon as I got arrested, I said, 'Lord, I'm in your hands now," Bousman said. Into recovery, he said it feels like he's never done drugs and has shut the door to that part of his past.
He lives in the House of Hope with 42 other men and women. Like him, they were all once slaves to drugs.
"It's amazing, after you turn your life over to God...there's no way to explain it," he said.
At the House of Hope, a mission Bible training center, residents go through a four-phase program. The individual has few priviledges during the first two months, other than sending and receiving mail. They must do assigned chores in the facility. As they make progress, the individual assumes more responsibilities and earns more priviledges. They then have the option to take part in counsellor training.
"The crux of the training is finding Christianity in your life," Pete Latrenta, assistant executive director of the program, said.