Next Step Card: Credit card designed to help recovering addicts gain financial independence

Card will not work at bars, package stores or ATMs

DELRAY BEACH, FL - Seth Meredith looks at a picture of himself from two years ago, and can't believe how gaunt he looked.

He had been hooked on pain pills. "You can kind of just see the frailty of my body, " said Meredith.

But now he works at a restaurant in Delray Beach, and has been sober for nearly two years. "It's the first time in my life I can call myself an adult," he said.

But after four years of abusing pills, he is still rebuilding damaged relationships. "I would rob, I would steal, I would cheat," he said.

Eric Dresdale knows the story well. It's his too.

During his own recovery at a program in Delray Beach, the former real estate broker realized that you can't recover without a job. But jobs pay money, and money gives access to the things that created the mess in the first place.

"It was almost like learning how to walk again. I had to redevelop all these life skills," said Dresdale.

He's struck a deal with MasterCard to create a prepaid card that let's family members see every purchase - and can't be used at bars, strip clubs and ATMS.

He calls it, "The Next Step Card" and says it'll help families come together. "Our hope is that they work with the person they get the card for in setting up budgets in different categories."

Robert Parkinson has treated addiction for decades, the last several at The Beachcomber in Delray Beach.

He says the card - which Dresdale says is the first of its kind - is largely positive. But for a few people, he says it won't work.

"People will buy merchandise and trade that merchandise for drugs," said Parkinson.

Meredith says the card would have helped him avoid racking up $20,000 in debt. It's another side effect he still lives with.

"A lot of the manipulation is taken out. It's really a beautiful thing," said Meredith.

The card goes live next week and will be available nationwide.

For more information, go to: http://www.nextstepcard.com/

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