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Palm Beach County organization uses divine intervention to help those with drug, alcohol addiction

WPTV anchor Tania Rogers speaks to members of Recovery Church Movement in Palm Beach County.PNG
Posted at 9:51 AM, Jan 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-22 09:51:23-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — More than 140,000 people die nationally every year from excessive alcohol drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Florida, it's more than 6,000 deaths.

But a local organization led by church leaders is trying to lower those numbers through divine intervention by offering hope to people struggling with alcohol and drug addictions.

Junior Saint-Val, growing up with four siblings, his prison was alcohol.

"I'm the baby of five kids. Single mom, dad wasn't around. What I turned to for comfort for one season, became a prison in the next," Saint-Val said. "In the end, I was drinking about a bottle of Jack, washing it down with a bottle of Rosé, and having six beers, all in one day, and also using drugs at the same time."

10 years ago, he decided to get help and went to a treatment center,

"I was depressed, I was suicidal," Saint-Val said. "That's where these two guys were a part of and God restored my hope."

Phil Dvorak is the founder and president of Recovery Church Movement.

"We are in a crisis," Dvorak said. "Some people can drink and it's just a nice glass of wine, but for an addict or an alcoholic it unlocks something inside of us, it creates this desire for more. And so for many people, once that's unlocked, they need to go on a journey of recovery."

The organization is faith-based.

"What is wonderful about Recovery Church is we don't just bring people to sobriety. What happens is that people come in and are hopeless, desperate, feeling like there's just no hope for them. And they are brought to faith and purpose," Dvorak said.

Recovery Church Movement started almost 11 years ago in Lake Worth.

"We just had our one little meeting we were drawing 200 or so per week. And we really didn't start concentrating starting to spread this movement until five or six years ago," said Pastor Mike Eleveld, the ambassador of Recovery Church Movement.

Word about Recovery Church Movement spread across the country.

"Because of the people that we were reaching, they were in halfway houses, sober houses, they gained sobriety. Then they ended up going back to their homes, for example New Jersey. Then they start talking to their pastor now that they are attending a church in New Jersey we had this crazy thing called Recovery Church down in Lake Worth let me tell you about it. Then we get a phone call from the pastor there, saying we would like to start one here. And that's how it started," Eleveld said.

Men and women of all ages in recovery.

"Now we have 58 Recovery Churches meeting around the country, here in South Florida all the way to New York, New Jersey, the Midwest, out west," Eleveld said. "We have over 50 churches right now in the pipeline that want to start Recovery churches and so this year is going to be very busy for us."

Excited about the people who want to help, and mourning the lives lost.

"We see the faces of those that have gone back and overdosed and died. It breaks our hearts. But we are seeing so many more gain recovery, gain a new life in Christ and that's what motivates us," Eleveld said.

As for Saint-Val, he said he'sl found freedom and joy.

"And today I get to work for Recovery Church Movement help people find the same hope that I found," Saint-Val said. "When you're in addiction you think no one can love me. I don't even like me. So I have a beautiful wife, three kids, have a six month old who is keeping me up at night, but it's amazing how something can keep you up and you can love it so much."

"And not only do they realize they can be saved from this, they feel they can live a new life, but that God wants to use them for His purpose to help others," Dvorak said.

"How much do people pay to be a part of the Recovery Church Movement?" WPTV anchor Tania Rogers asked Eleveld.

"They don't pay anything," Eleveld answered. "Every week, almost 2,000 people are gathering in Recovery Churches, and we are seeing lives transformed every day."

The organization said could reach 100 more churches nationwide by the end of 2024. And there's an international recovery church in Costa Rica.