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I Care: A light for others in recovery

Kevin Brown says a prayer during church service at the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center in downtown Sacramento, on Jan. 14. A former addict who has been clean for over four years, he now encourages others in recovery at the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.
Kevin Brown says a prayer during church service at the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center in downtown Sacramento, on Jan. 14. A former addict who has been clean for over four years, he now encourages others in recovery at the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. lsterling@sacbee.com

An illuminated wooden cross casts a golden glow around Kevin Brown as he bows his head in prayer at the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center in downtown Sacramento. The chapel is packed with nearly 100 men. Some are drug dealers, just out of jail, mandated by the court to be there. Others are freshly off the street, still detoxing as they fight to stay clean at the no-cost rehabilitation program.

With his slicked-back hair and pressed-collared shirt, Brown, 44, is far from the addict he was four years ago, crediting the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous with saving his life. With the help of sponsors and faith in a higher power, he graduated the strict six-month program and now hopes to encourage others in recovery.

The 92 men currently living at the rehab center work eight hours a day at a Salvation Army warehouse. They’re provided meals and clothing, required to dress in appropriate business attire and treat others with respect. Each night they attend classes, meetings or go to church.

Brown visits twice a week and works with people he sponsors. He says he always makes a point to check in on someone new. “I give them some pointers and tell them it’s going to get better and better.”

▪ To suggest a community volunteer for the I Care column, contact Lezlie Sterling at lsterling@sacbee.com

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