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Addiction recovery conference - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Addiction recovery conference

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

A church in Jericho that helps families dealing with incarceration is reaching out to the community. Not only to help men and women who are behind bars, but also those struggling with addiction.

Recovering addicts and community members filled the pews at the Lighthouse Christian Church in Montpelier for the Church at Prison's 20th annual addiction recovery conference. The 2 day event offered 30 workshops and brought inspirational speakers to the church, and the prison system.

"We want them to be inspired to continue doing the work that they're doing, share with each other new ideas. Understanding how we're all working and trying to bring together a vision in Vermont of where we are all going," said Peter Fiske, Church at Prison Pastor.

Sheila Raye Charles, the daughter of the legendary musician, Raye Charles, spent 20 years addicted to crack cocaine. She lost custody of her 5 children and spent nearly 5 years in prison. Now, she hopes to encourage others with her story.

"All of the things that I've overcome through my relationship with God, I share that in my message because I want them to know that God is able and he truly will make you the light of the world," said Sheila Raye Charles.

Charles has traveled the world reminding others recovery is possible.

Recovering addict Donald Morrill said, "It doesn't matter to me that she's Ray Charles' daughter, what really matter to me is that she was addicted to crack and lost five children and was able to turn it around and be an inspiration to others, that's what's important to me."

Pastor Fiske began the conference 23 years ago and says stories like hers gives others hope.

"Trust me, I'm a living, breathing miracle and I can tell you that God works," said Charles.

As Charles continues to spread her message across the nation, she says her musical gift and perseverance come from her father -- but it's her gift to inspire others that has had the biggest impact on her life.

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