The Turning Point of South Carolina Changes Lives

Four years ago, John Stephens arrived at the gates of The Turning Point of South Carolina with his belongings and the weight of the world on his shoulders. After graduating from high school in 1982 and joining the military, John imagined a wonderful future. But unfortunately these dreams were never realized. He turned to drugs and alcohol, leading him down a long and destructive path.

Despite his years struggling with addiction, John believed he was still capable of so much more. He finally was able to find the relief and guidance he had been seeking at Turning Point. Turning Point, known to many as “the working man’s recovery house,” provides transitional housing, employment assistance and job training for adult men recovering from alcohol and drug use disorders. Since 1995, over 5,000 men have received a new start in life. The organization’s 100-bed residential facility provides individuals with a safe, drug and alcohol free environment to live and grow spiritually, physically and mentally. Residents work in jobs off-site and attend daily Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

John’s life was in serious jeopardy and The Turning Point of South Carolina offered him a chance for recovery and a better life. The comprehensive treatment and support services provided by the organization restored his faith. John is eternally grateful for the new opportunities he has been given. Following John’s required 90-day residency commitment, he wanted to give back to the people that turned his life around; so he joined Turning Point as a weekend manager.

“I now wake up each morning and have a reason for living,” John reflects. “When you realize that each day is all you may have, you begin to see your commitment in a whole new light. I can’t imagine a better way to give back to an organization that changed my life.”

John is the first person that residents meet when they walk through the doors of Turning Point, the place that will change their lives forever. He reassures these residents that good things come to those who commit and dedicate themselves to everything the organization has to offer. “I started at the same place they are now. And it was not very long ago,” John shares. “Having walked in their shoes, I can easily relate to their struggles and what they are dealing with. I encourage new residents to not be ashamed of their stories, since telling them may actually inspire others to seek a better life.”

John finds fulfillment in being a positive role model for the men entering the program. He believes that by providing his guidance and support, they will find the same joy for life he has found. He considers the staff and residents of the orgnization to be his extended family. “Working at The Turning Point of South Carolina is more than just a job; it is being an instrument in the lives of men who need it the most,” John said. “It’s like having 100 kids, and I couldn’t hope for a better blessing.” For more information about the Turning Point of South Carolina, visit or call 864-299-0090.

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Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson is the president and founder of DNA Creative Communications, a woman-owned public relations and inspirational marketing firm for nonprofit organizations. Under Debbie’s leadership, in 2010 DNA founded Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums, an annual training program for Greenville nonprofits in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville County, the United Way of Greenville County and the Hollingsworth Funds. To support other nonprofits across the state, she also manages education programs for the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization. As an a advocate for the nonprofit community, each month Debbie shares nonprofit stories in her Shine the Light columns in the Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Monthly. In addition she teaches nonprofit marketing at Clemson University to inspire and develop future nonprofit leaders. Debbie is a graduate of Leadership Greenville, Leadership South Carolina and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative. She currently serves on the boards of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the United Way of Greenville County and the United Way Association of South Carolina.

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