Rebecca Wyant is a local woman with a passion for spreading the word of God. The way she plans to incorporate that into her life is with the Arch of Freedom, a Christ-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.
Wyant used to deal with alcoholism firsthand but is now using her experiences to help others overcome their addiction. She decided to open the center because drugs and alcohol affected her family life in the past.
Wyant said both her family and friends have been associated with drug and alcohol abuse, along with herself. She said this was a big influence in her decision to open the center.
“I started drinking in my teens, not saying every teen drinks. I started experimenting and mine was kind of periodic, whereas whenever something would go wrong in my life, that’s what I went to, that's what I used to cover up what I was going through at that time,” Wyant said.
Wyant said she struggled with relapse and what helped her overcome her own struggle was finding good friends that led her to Christ.
“Over the years, I would go back and forth. Any trials in life, I would start drinking again,” Wyant said. “Then I fell in with some good Christian friends, and that is what truly made the difference.”
One of Wyant’s loved ones who struggled through substance abuse went through a year-long residential program in Des Moines, Iowa.
Wyant said her family member was struggling to come back to Maryville because there was no place for him to continue the recovery process after he came back. So she decided to help him by starting her own small group for him before he came back.
“He came up to me and said, ‘When I get back to Maryville, I don’t know what I’m going to do. There’s no follow up support and Des Moines is a couple hours away’. His case manager suggested that he start up his own small group. I actually started the small group while he was still up there,” Wyant said.
Wyant said during her time with the small group, she drove past the church and said she felt like it was what she was meant to do.
“I drove by that church that is on Third Street, and it was just overwhelming. It felt like that was what I was supposed to be doing,” Wyant said.
Wyant said she never had this in her plan for the next five years. She said she was planning to pay everything off and then retire.
“God laid this plan upon me. When I started sharing this vision with others, they were thinking the same thing; it was kind of remarkable,” Wyant said.
Wyant said she has just been doing repairs on the building, so it’s just her for right now.
“For what we will be offering, I’ve been discussing primarily with two pastors, Laura Rand from Church of Nazarene and Paul McKim from Laura Street Baptist,” Wyant said.
Wyant said she’s waiting to do more with the church until she can get more volunteers.
“We can’t run this ourselves; we just have to be open on evenings and weekends until we have more volunteers,” Wyant said.
Wyant said the center is going to open up in the spring. It’s just in the opening phases right now, but in the spring it will be available for a couple classes a week. When they get more funding, they’ll go from there.