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Family First: From drug and alcohol abuse to helping others overcome

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Before he entered the Louisiana Teen Challenge program, Justin Batterton was drug and alcohol addict at the age of 14. Before he entered the Louisiana Teen Challenge program, Justin Batterton was drug and alcohol addict at the age of 14.
Justin's is now the intake director and dean of students at Louisiana Teen Challenge. Justin's is now the intake director and dean of students at Louisiana Teen Challenge.
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

A local man who turned around a life of drug and alcohol abuse is now using his experience to help other teens do the same through the Louisiana Teen Challenge program.

Drug and alcohol abuse can not only do damage to your body, it can also harm your relationship with your family.

Penny Branch says 6 years ago, she never thought she would be sitting with her son Justin having a "normal" conversation. "You had every night where you had to wonder if he was going to make it home safely." That's because 6 years ago, Justin Batterton wasn't the healthy man you see today. "You had times when he just walked around like he was in a daze and you couldn't get through to him."

Justin was a drug and alcohol addict at just 14 years old. He says one of the most painful memories was watching his family suffer because of his shortfalls. "Mixture between prescription drugs, Xanax, smoking marijuana to drinking Really almost anything you name it I was probably doing it to selling the drugs to a little bit of everything. The hurt you cause your family having to be bonded out of jail...to have to watch them go through the hurt."

But Justin didn't want this abuse to be the end of his life story, so he decided to check himself in at the Louisiana Teen Challenge. "You're around people you don't know, you've never seen none of these people for the first time of your life you're having to get off the things that you've been dependent on for the last 12 years."

For months, Justin managed to stay off of drugs and away from alcohol thanks to the Christian faith-based residential program. He was no longer living with family, but instead attending faith based classes, surrounded by young men just like him.

Not only did he complete the program, Justin became part of it.

Today, he is the intake director and Dean of Students at Louisiana Teen Challenge, seeing himself in every man that walks through their doors. "Sometimes it can be a reality check. It makes you remember who you were. Also it's amazing to be able to watch the transformation."

For Justin, it was transformation that brought his family back together, and Penny Branch is grateful. "I've got my son back. If it wasn't for teen challenge he wouldn't be here."

The Louisiana Teen Challenge has several centers around the state, including the one on Stoner Avenue in Shreveport where Justin turned his live around. Click here for more information on the program.

Copyright 2013 KSLA. All rights reserved.

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