Paducah Lifeline Ministries held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for a new dormitory that will house 20 people as part of its men's addiction program.

Several people turned out in support of the program, including representatives of the Paducah Lifeline Ministries (PLM) board; sister organization Ladies Living Free, which is a women's addiction program; and A&K Construction.

Terrye Peeler is the executive director of Paducah Lifeline Ministries and Ladies Living Free, and in remarks during the ceremony, she said that she had dreamed of this moment for years.

"Fifteen years ago, this property was a homeless shelter, and 15 years ago, these buildings were in bad shape," she said. "We are still using these buildings (current dormitories), and they are really in bad shape, so we knew that, for the future of Lifeline, we had to build new buildings."

The dormitory - known as Phase 1 - will be built by A&K Construction at a cost of $250,000. It is expected to be completed in four to six months.

Peeler said the organization wants to build another dormitory at the site as well as a kitchen and dining hall, but will have to wait until funding is available.

The new building has been made possible because of donations and a partnership with A&K Construction.

"This first building is being built by generous people from the board to friends of the ministry, and we have some commitments," she said. "So, that's going to take care of this building."

Paducah Lifeline Ministries was established in 2004, with Ladies Living Free being established three years later.

"We are faith-based," Peeler said. "We teach people how God wants them to live. When men and women first come to us, they're broken, they're on drugs - they can't pass a drug test. After a week of being here with us and the fog kind of clears, they start listening to what we're trying to teach here.

"We have three phases (in the nine-month program). The first phase is all classes, getting together as a group. The second phase, they go to work, so they're gone during the day and they come back at night and they do classes and eat here and sleep here. In the third phase, they can leave and go back to their families if they choose to or they can stay here in our transitional housing. If they choose to stay here, then they're helping us."

Peeler - who herself just celebrated 20 years of sobriety - said PLM has a 62 percent success rate. That figure comes from the number of clients who complete the program and are doing well a year after that.

"We don't just try to 'band-aid' and try to put something over addiction; we try to get to the root of what's making them act this way," she said. "They've been traumatized, they've been abused or maybe they just made a bad choice. We help them to take ownership of that and not to blame others. There's a lot of forgiveness that we deal with.

"Once you start getting all that stuff together, they want to change. Most of my staff has been through the program, which helps because they see what happens. They see that (clients) aren't just talking it, they're doing it."

For more information about Paducah Lifeline Ministries or Ladies Living Free, visit PaducahLifelineMinistries.com or email Peeler at terryepeeler@comcast.net.

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