No Longer Bound is a unique addiction-treatment program based in the Atlanta area. It is also an enthusiastic participant in the THRIVE | Initiative, which utilizes a proprietary microdonation change-roundup app to raise money for nonprofit organizations. We dig a little deeper with NLB’s chief fundraiser and marketer, Carol Smith.
1) What is No Longer Bound?
CS: No Longer Bound is a one-year, residential nonprofit treatment program for men in addiction. We have been in Cumming, Georgia, for 31 years, but there have been a lot of different iterations. It was founded by Mike Harden, who was a Marine who returned from Vietnam addicted to drugs and alcohol. He really blew up his life, lost his marriage, spent eight years in chaos, almost homeless. Then he found recovery … and he became like a missionary on the streets trying to save other men from addiction.
2) How is this program different?
CS: Most residential programs are 30 days or less, most long-term programs are out-patient, most faith-based programs are ministries without any evidenced-based therapies or state licensing, and most clinical programs don’t have a faith component. So we’re all those things and we don’t even know anybody else in the US that’s doing what we’re doing. … We also spend a whole year on family therapy, which we don’t know anybody else in the industry that does that. We believe that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety — it’s connection. And if people have healthy, connected relationships then they won’t need to use substances, so we work on restoring broken family relationships.
3) What kind of need are you seeing for this kind of program?
CS: Addiction is the number one cause of death in America right now for people under 50; it’s crazy. In the state of Georgia, overdose deaths increased by 38 percent last year. A local church did an outreach study trying to determine what were the issues faced by the community — and this was an affluent community — and the number one issue faced in this anonymous survey was suicide and addiction.
4) Can you share a success story?
CS: One of the men in our program, he’s just the sweetest guy but he had felony charges, felony drug-possession charges. … He’s just the nicest, soft-spoken, big-hearted young man but he was battling addiction and got caught with too much on him and so he was facing forty years — and all the charges got dropped [after completing the program]. He just got a job … he just bought a car, he’s got a mentor who’s going to help him to learn to manage money. … He can’t even tell you what he’s feeling. I think he’s so proud, I think he’s so grateful, he’s so happy. It’s just really good.
5) What’s your impression of the THRIVE | Initiative so far?
CS: I really love the fact that people can make a difference in the face of what seems like insurmountable challenge. If you just say addiction is the number one cause of deaths in the community, people feel like they can’t make a difference — but they can make a difference because we’ve seen miracles every day on our campus. We are making a difference and people don’t know that they can join that. So I like the change roundup because it’s an easy way to say, “Yes, I want to be part of the change the community needs.” I’m just grateful to THRIVE for trying to figure out how to fund the needs of the community … and I feel proud of them for doing it.