Jeff Baucom knew eight years ago that if he didn’t make a serious decision about his drug use, he would have to face the consequences of his addictions for the rest of his life.
“I used drugs because I was always trying to fill a void in my life that seemed to grow larger and larger by the day,” he said.
Baucom, a Cobb County native, is the founder of Inner Voyage Recovery Center, a new drug and alcohol addiction treatment center in Towne Lake. He said he will use his experiences to reach patients there on a personal level.
“I was on a trajectory for long-term destruction”
Baucom said his addictions started in eighth grade with marijuana.
“I played travel baseball growing up in East Cobb County, and when I didn’t make the baseball team at Pope High School, I began having an identity crisis, among other personal issues,” he said. “I had lost my sense of identity and used marijuana as a coping mechanism.”
His marijuana use eventually led to him experimenting with a variety of drugs, Baucom said, including OxyContin, throughout high school. He said this was a difficult time for him, and once he graduated high school and went to Georgia Southern where there was less accountability, his addiction issues only worsened.
“After two semesters I was very depressed and a heavy opiate user. This eventually led me to heroin,” he said, which damaged relationships with friends and family. His parents sent him to several treatment programs.
“I used until I was about 26 years old. My parents wanted to get me help, so I was exposed to recovery and the reality of my decisions and underlying issues,” he said. “Several treatments later, I came to a point of surrender in which I knew if I did not make a serious decision, I was on a trajectory for long-term destruction.”
Baucom said that, about eight years ago, after the treatments, he made the decision to surrender his ideas of how to manage his life and seek help from a 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program.
“I grew my relationship with God through these programs,” he said.”
Baucom decided he wanted to help addicts
After receiving help for his addictions, Baucom decided he wanted to help others who are struggling with mental health and addictions problems, as he did.
“I have always felt a strong desire to help others, but my addiction and destructive lifestyle inhibited me from engaging in that part of my life,” he said. “After gaining some solid recovery, I knew that I wanted to share my life and passion by helping others recover. During my addiction, I saw several professional therapists, but I received the greatest help from those that were in recovery themselves because I felt they truly understood what I was going through.”
Baucom’s passion and drive led to him opening Agape Recovery House in Marietta, and now the center in Towne Lake. Baucom is a certified addiction counselor, and is licensed by the state Department of Community Health. He opened Inner Voyage Recovery Center last week, and he said he expects to take on about 15 to 25 people over a 90 day period.
”Beating addiction is not something you can do alone,” said Amber Jackson, operations director at Inner Voyage. “A successful life in recovery includes helping other people, and we are blessed as a smaller organization to help people that we can relate to.”
The center offers partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment programs that consist of various therapy sessions, management, group exercises, 12-step education, trauma informed care, case and medication management, drug screenings, and aftercare coordination.
Baucom said addiction issues are a growing concern in Georgia, specifically the Atlanta and metro Atlanta area, which is why he chose Towne Lake. He added that addiction rates have gone up since the start of the pandemic. Although each person’s journey may be different, he said, everyone is capable of living a life of long-term sobriety with lifetime connections to others on the same journey.
Parker Jackson, campus and community outreach director with nonprofit Vision Warriors in Woodstock, said another treatment center to the county is more than needed.
”I think we are underserved in the community in regard to addiction and recovery, and I think adding another treatment center such as Inner Voyage will bring more availability to the area, which is great,” he said.