Family Upreach, Inc. (dba NewLife Behavior Ministries)
Reconciling individuals and their families to God, each other, and society. We educate persons in the community as well as the incarcerated on transforming behavior from negative to positive. We offer some material asssistance to released offenders, families of offenders (especially children) and those in addiction recovery. We work with those on parole supervision.
The NLB curriculum is often used in prisons, with family members of offenders, and with ex-offenders. It can be used with anyone struggling to overcome addictions or those needing help with the challenges of life! We offer 14 courses, including a Children's Edition. The curriculum is approved by Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and used locally in state prisons and county jails. NLB is also used in 43 other states, and many foreign countries. Although not a "Bible" course, God's Word is used as the guide to teach desired changes in thinking, attitudes and behaviors.
Here are the courses we offer:
1. "A Sense of Self"
2. "A Sense of Family"
3. "Parenting Matters"
4. "True Freedom"
5. "Christian Marriage Skills"
6. "The Christian Woman"
7. "Attitudes and Behaviors"
8. "Christians Against Substance Abuse"
9. "The FamilyNet Series"
10. "The Seeker Bible Study Series"
11. "Prisoners of Christ"
12. "Managing My Anger"
13. "Christian Against Sex Addiction"
14. "A Sense of Self" Children's Edition
In addition to conducting classes in prison and local jails, we sponsor 12-step support groups in the community using the "Christians Against Substance Abuse" course.
Very early in my development (or, lack of development) it became apparent that I was different from other kids my age. In prison frequently, I had plenty of time to think my predicament over. At a very young age, I stole from my grandmother and didn't get caught. A false message was sent to me: It is OK to steal! You can get away with it. You won't get caught. I soon lost all sense of honesty so, as soon as possible. I ended up in prison. I repeated this journey several times - six more times - to be exact! It was all because of my unwillingness to change my attitude, my value system, and my lifestyle.
It was during my last prison sentence that I finally admitted something was drastically wrong. I was introduced to NewLife Behavior Ministries and on April 8, 1986, I gave my life to Christ. This meant I was set free six whole years before the guards actually opened the gates and let me out of the prison. Altogether, I spent a total of 37½ years in prison - most decent folks wouldn't want to be around me but at NewLife Behavior in Corpus Christi, I found loving and caring people who welcomed me with open arms. This gave me an immediate sense of well being and a sense of belonging. It made my transition back into this society very easy. It was just what I needed. For several years, I worked a City Hall and then went to work right here at NewLife Behavior.
I was 45 and had just gone into another drug program when properly introduced to the 12 Steps. They made sense. I worked hard to apply the steps to my life and realized they work. And I learned something else - once again I was "somebody" and admired. I had all this experience but now I was straight! I was a good guy! I thought, "This is neat stuff. I can be 'straight' and be somebody." I called Buck Griffith (President of NewLife Behavior Ministries) and said: "I'm really trying hard and want to come to Corpus." Buck said, "If you can get here, our door is open."
I started out living in a garage apartment smaller than the jail cells I'd been in. I got a job working in a print shop right away. It wasn't long before I became a salesman and shortly thereafter the company provided me with a pick-up. Soon, I was the shop manager! I was improving but a long way from where I needed to be. I'd go for two or three weeks before I'd sneak off and get drunk. Since drugs weren't involved, I thought I was OK. I wasn't smoking pot, no hard stuff, no syringes, and that was remarkable . . .
Even when I messed up, NLB encouraged me. Buck nursed me through lots of crazy junk. He'd pick me up on Saturday morning when he knew I had been drinking the night before and take me wade-fishing in the Laguna Madre. I have one leg with a knee that won't bend. When I wade-fish, the seaweed collects on that one foot and ankle. It's like dragging a ball and chain! On top of that, Buck wades out about 5 miles from shore. He would get me out in water up to our chests and stay 4 or 5 hours! He loves to fish but I actually believe he took me out there so I couldn't get any booze. Plus, it sobered me up for church on Sunday. It worked! My life has never been the same!
This isn't about anything that I have done. I just wanted to stay clean. I've always been able to make a living. I just wanted to stay sober. I wanted to stay out of jails. NewLife Behavior has had a tremendous impact on my life.
I was a Christian and had been in "recovery" about four years before I became involved with NewLife Behavior Ministries and started viewing the Twelve Steps from a Christian perspective. Reflecting back to the beginning of my last incarceration, I realized that Step One became alive to me at the very moment I entered the jail . . . I was facing two prison terms of at least nine years and possibly as much as forty! I was tired of playing games. I gave up! I quit! My life had become "unmanageable"!
Spiritually, I had made previous commitments to Christ. But, I always fell away. When I first got involved with NewLife Behavior, I wasn't particularly interested in going to heaven . . . I just wanted to learn how to stay sober and stay out of prison! So, when paroled, I went straight to Corpus Christi to get involved in this outstanding program. This is when and where my new life began.
I had an unhappy childhood to say the least. My Dad stayed drunk most of the time and beat up on Mom and us kids until Child Welfare took us off to an orphanage. I was adopted at the age of six but my adoptive parents were pretty much alcoholics. Drinking was accepted in their social circle. They were party people and socialites. I didn't have much family life as most of the time I was at private schools and summer camps. I was in the way of my adoptive parents. We moved around a lot. I had few chances to make friends. Wherever I went, I managed to get into lots of trouble. Because of my self-destructive behavior, I reached a "cross-road." When I was 17, the authorities let me decide if I wanted to go to jail or enter the United States Army! I chose the Army!
I was "introduced" to drugs there and the abuse continued escalating after my discharge. Eventually, I served four prison terms. Abusing drugs for 23+ years taught me how to run people off! My so-called 'family' disowned me years before. I was alone and lonely with no one really caring if I was alive or dead. As I look back today, I realize I did some really bad things to people so, I don't blame them.
Upon my final release, I had no friends - no family - no job - nowhere to go. I was completely homeless for the first time in my life. I was totally alone when NewLife Behavior Ministries threw their loving arms around me. Some of the folks there were among the very ones I had hurt the most! Still, I was loved and found a depth of friendship I had never experienced before. NewLife Behavior became my "family." They made me feel worthy and accepted. They helped me re-enter the mainstream of society. I have learned to share my feelings without fear or judgment. Thank God for this program. I am no longer alone!