Meth addicts find peace at Sissonville Community Church - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Sissonville Community Church aims to heal meth addicts

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For more than 10 years, Clifton Thaxton bowed to meth.

"It makes you feel like Superman," Thaxton said. "You can do just a little, and it'll put you back in a position where you got a new start. And tomorrow you're gonna do this, and tomorrow you're gonna do that."

But now, Clifton Thaxton preaches the gospel from a pulpit at the Sissonville Community Church. He bows to Jesus Christ these days, who he claims is his lord and savior.

"You don't find too many churches with pastors like me that have been there, and with congregations, like I have, that have been there," Thaxton said.

The Sissonville native said he's been sober for almost 13 years; Thaxton said God spoke to him while he tried to commit suicide during the height of his meth addiction.

Thaxton formed the congregation in December 2011, and since then, he said more than 200 people have crowded the pews--most of them recovering meth addicts.

Travis Asbury was one of them.

"There's been some that didn't make it, some come and go, but for the most part, this has been a positive, positive impact on this community," Asbury said.

He said others in the community have rained criticism on the church's specific mission: to heal drug abusers.

"They've called it crystal Methodist church, rehab church," said Asbury, who is the former assistant pastor at the church. "It's come under a lot of scrutiny. But these the people who come to this church wouldn't be accepted at other places." 

"No one here is holier than thou, let's put it that way," Thaxton said. "We all know why we're here."

But both men said they've faced various challenges while working with recovering addicts in a community that's become infamously tied to meth.

"I have cried many times over losing this one or that one," said Thaxton, as he broken down in tears. "It's a tough ministry, let's put it that way."

But they said the power of the church lies in the power of its members to relate to each other.

"If Cliff and I can do it, anybody can do it," Asbury said. "It's not impossible to get off that drug."

"I've never seen what we've seen here," Thaxton said. "And even though they fail, we have to pick them up, dust them off, say 'We're gonna go from here.'"

The Sissonville Community Church is interdenominational and welcomes people struggling with all types of addiction.

Services take place on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Thaxton said the church is also extending its ministry to help the homeless. Their fundraiser, "Gospel Sing," will take place at Sissonville High School at 3:00 p.m. this Saturday.