COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – The demand for drug recovery increased since the pandemic started. And a local entity dedicated to turning addicts’ lives around wants the community to help reach more woman.

“I wouldn’t be here. I know that I would be dead,” said Dina Ford.

The Katherine’s Way graduate watched her boyfriend die from a drug overdose while addicted to alcohol and meth herself. That’s when she knew her life needed to change. She started the program in January.

“I could not deny that my life was unmanageable,” she said adding that she had been sober once before.

Ford, who is a mother as well, joins three other women who recently graduated from Katherine’s Way. The Columbia County based mission run by 143 Ministries helps women recover from substance abuse addiction. Leaders there say more women have been in need recently. And its new scholarship program is the answer to their prayers.

“I was supposed to get married and we broke the wedding off,” said Katherine’s Way graduate Stevie Lucas. “My life was just going down hill real quick. I had just got on my knees and prayed to God, like I know there is a way out.”

That out was Katherine’s Way, to love and pray.

Last year, the organization’s first 5K Color Run allowed for 24 women to receive no cost treatment due to scholarships. Along with Ford, Lucas was also addicted, using medical settings to get opioids. But she was accepted and given a pathway to recovery.

Lucas said of her start last August, “They asked me if I was willing to sleep on the couch and in that moment I was willing to do anything, yes, I’ll sleep on the couch.”

While bedding eventually came through, Lucas needed child care help and the money covered it all.

But it’s the resources provided to the individuals personally that graduate Kathryn Rowe appreciates.

“I’ve gained tools,” she said. “I’ve gained a new way of thinking. The network and the community that surrounds me here and that uplifts me on a day to day basis is something that I’ve never had before.”

For Shalace McLeod, who lost her job and family relationships to a three year drug addiction, the Bible study style, 12-step movement was confirmation God was alive in her life.

“He just kind of gave me flashes of where he was in my addiction and He was real and He had always been with me,” McLeod said.

The Katherine’s Way 5K Color Run takes place September 24 at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. 143 Ministries wants the community’s help through sponsorships to help more women recover. Executive Director of Women’s Recovery Ana Nobles told NewsChannel 6 the current capacity for the program is a total of eight people. People are continuously coming through its 90 day program and transitional housing. There is now a waitlist for anyone wanting to join. Nobles said the goal for this year’s Color Run is to top last year’s donations.