Ministry seeks ‘new beginnings’|Treatment center opens in Brewton

Published 7:49 pm Monday, July 13, 2009

By By Kerry Whipple Bean

Thomas “Bo” Bell knows how quickly the best things in life can slip away when you make the wrong decisions.
Raised in a happy, healthy family in Escambia County, he chose a path that led him into drug and alcohol addiction.
But after years of problems, Bell found the one thing that saved him: Jesus Christ.
And since then, he has been on a mission to help others find their way back from that dark side of addiction.
Bell, a pastor at Shady Grove Holiness Church who has several years of experience in Christian counseling, has brought his faith-based, spiritual in-house counseling to a new home in Brewton.
New Beginnings Ministries has begun offering counseling services out of a small home off Pea Ridge Road, but Bell has big plans to expand the facility. “There is a tremendous need for what we’re doing,” he said.
Bell has five residents living in the home with him, but he hopes to build a men’s dormitory that will accommodate 20 people within the next year, and follow with a women’s dorm. First up, though, will be a kitchen facility on the site, which Bell hopes will be completed within six months.
Word of mouth about the new facility has brought many people interested in getting help — and helping out, Bell said.
Several groups have visited the facility, including a youth group from First United Methodist Church earlier this month.
The teenagers heard the first-hand experiences of several people who have been in recovery through Bell’s program.
Paul Murphy told the students about how years of addiction had nearly ruined his life. “I’ve been through it 20 years or more,” he said. “I’ve wrecked 10 cars or more. I’ve been in wrecks where I got out of the car and beat it with a baseball bat because it didn’t kill me.”
Murphy started out in the same position as many of the students from First Methodist — raised in a good family, taught to make the right choices — but he took the wrong path.
The recovery program has led him back to God, he said.
That kind of success story is what Bell said he hopes to achieve with New Beginnings Ministries, through the residential program and through community outreach programs and outpatient treatment.
Bell said he is hoping to receive donations and support from the community. Some people have already offered counseling and other services.
Anyone interested in New Beginnings can call Bell at 251-623-1030 or send donations to P.O. Box 1341, Brewton, AL 36427.
Bell said he has been overwhelmed by the support of the community and his new neighbors, one of whom even brought a microwave to the house this past week.