It’s hard to believe that Ben and Melandy Ward were ever consumed with a life of addiction. That’s because today, they are free and helping others find the true life of freedom they have found!

For Melandy, who really started drinking and occasionally using drugs early on in high school, her lifestyle seemed harmless because she maintained good grades and appeared to be responsible. However, the life of addiction doesn’t stay tame for long and by her senior year the consequences of her path began to surface. She went from using cocaine every once in a while to using it several times a day to stay awake during school. Although her grades weren’t signaling there was a problem, her appearance was. When her parents attempted to intervene, she weighed a mere ninety pounds. Although she rejected their initial offer for help, she eventually responded and moved home to Shreveport thinking that relocating would correct the problem. However, what she would eventually realize was that the problem was her heart, but not until after she would experience a few more years of consequences.

Meanwhile, Ben, who began using drugs at the age of twelve, was on a similar yet more destructive path. By the age of eighteen, he was full throttle into hard core drugs and was lying, stealing, and manipulating to support his habit. After multiple DWI’s, drug possession arrests and a cocaine overdose, he would finally accept that he had a problem he could not resolve on his own. In January of 1998, Ben entered Eagle Creek Recovery Center for the first time. Although he had a genuine experience with God, he did not fully surrender every area of his life and shortly after graduating the program would begin the swift decline back into his old life. ┬áThis is where Ben and Melandy would meet and their story together would begin. They enjoyed the typical party life that most their age were involved in and everything seemed to be picture perfect until Melandy started noticing that Ben didn’t stop when everyone else did. Before long, his addiction was so out of control, there was no way to hide it. After several years, the vicious cycle of addiction would run its course and would destroy their relationship.

Once again, Ben found himself homeless, hurting, desperate, and ready for life to change. In August of 2001, he would go back into the center ready to embrace all that is offered through the program. He had resolved to do whatever it would take to lay hold of the life God had for him. Although Melandy had moved on from the relationship, Ben began to write her letters telling her of the change he was experiencing. At first she didn’t believe him and thought he was pulling some old tricks so she had to see for herself. After attending services at Shreveport Community Church, she saw much more than the evident change in Ben; she saw the need for a change to take place in her own heart as well. From that point forward neither of them have looked back! They have been married for ten years and have two sons named Braden and Micah. Both are ordained in the ministry, lead the Overcomers community support group and are full time staff with Eagle Creek Recovery Center as Program Coordinators. Ben is also currently the on-site Director of the program and is nearing completion of earning a Masters degree in Guidance and Counseling.

” We are so grateful for Eagle Creek Recovery Center and the place of refuge and restoration it was for us. Not only have we experienced new life through the program, but we are now able to be part of new life happening for someone else. It is our greatest joy to see how God changes not only the man but also the entire family. Today we are better friends, children, siblings, and parents because of the impact made in our lives through this ministry.”