Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times Romans 8:28 Ministry Inc. founder and Executive Director Tammy Lumb (left) and counselor Ann-Margaret Choate have been using a 20-bed recovery home to help Macon County women through drug addiction since December 2018.

Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times

Romans 8:28 Ministry Inc. founder and Executive Director Tammy Lumb (left) and counselor Ann-Margaret Choate have been using a 20-bed recovery home to help Macon County women through drug addiction since December 2018.

Tammy Lumb has seen family members consumed by addiction throughout her life, and for years, she told herself that drug offenders were beyond help.

Now, she serves as founder and executive director of Romans 8:28 Ministry, Inc., a 20-bed Christian recovery home for Macon County women battling drug addiction.

"We've got a lot of problems here in Macon County," Lumb said. "I don't think anyone can deny that, or say that it hasn't affected them in some way or another. I am the mother of two children that struggle with addiction, and for a long time, I walked around with my head held low."

After growing up in a home with parents addicted to pain medication, Lumb spent years trying to prevent her own children from using drugs.

"I thought I could teach my children to hate those drugs, and I did everything I possibly could," Lumb said. "Different things came into their lives, and they struggle with addiction. In the beginning, I thought, 'it takes tough love' … so I'm the one that reported my children. I called law enforcement and let them know where my kids were and what they were doing."

Lumb's outlook began changing when she learned of ways drugs are transported into detention centers, and she credits God with sending her down a path from volunteering at the county jail to opening the recovery home.

"I started this house for Macon County, because when I was working up at the jail, I was getting ladies signed up to go to different recovery homes," Lumb said. "Those ladies don't have any money, and they've pretty much burnt all their bridges. They would get accepted into these ministries but would have no funds to get in."

Women being treated through Romans 8:28 Ministry receive a year of counseling and therapy sessions and will also work jobs in other communities after two months to help cover the home's expenses and learn skills to re-enter the workforce.

The organization finds people to stay in the home through the Macon County Jail, anti-drug coalitions and more, with women age 18-50 undergoing recovery. Five people work in shifts to provide 24-hour service.

"They're finding themselves, finding laughter, joy and healing on a day-to-day basis," counselor Ann-Margaret Choate said. "It makes things more productive for them to go through this together, because they provide support and accountability. They're experiencing what love is through their sisterhood."

Those living in the home receive visits from immediate family every two weeks, and they also attend church and meetings for Celebrate Recovery, a 12-step addiction recovery program.

"When they leave this home, they're going have life skills that, for the most part, they've never had before," Lumb said. "They'll have completed the Bible front to back, gone through counseling and prepared themselves to function in society."

Some of the patients and their families have also found faith through their time in the home, which has helped them through aspects of their struggle.

"To watch the light come back in their eyes and see them find Jesus and learn what recovery looks like is very rewarding," Choate said. "Families come in and see that change in their daughters and granddaughters, and you find out they've also started going to church or asking questions (about God and Christianity)."

Lumb hopes the recovery home will inspire people in the community to support those battling addiction. She plans to open a donation account at Citizens Bank and begin holding fundraisers, and those interested in helping now can drop off household items at the Macon County Welcome Center.

"This experience has been amazing," Lumb said. "I've seen ladies who felt they had no value realize they do and that God loves them. They're no longer walking around in shame. God has a purpose for all of us, and we have to open our hearts and listen."