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Unique, Community-Centered Recovery

The Forge:

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The Forge Men’s Addiction Recovery Organization offers unique, community- centered recovery in its new location, the former Vidalia Woman’s Club Building on Highway 280 in Vidalia. “So many times, rehabs and recovery centers are off the map and tucked into remote areas. That’s fine if that works for you, but we really wanted to give our guys the opportunity to reintegrate into the community,” The Forge Director Craig George remarked. “We separate them in the beginning, but after certain goals are met, they get jobs within the area and begin to work to pay for their expenses.”

According to George, this system relies on community partnership. Local citizens who employ these men are trusted to report any issue or concern they may find with the men. “We are trying to build a relationship with everyone around us that they are comfortable coming to us if there is a problem that needs addressing with one of our guys,” he said. Yet, this work in the community does not occur until the occupants of The Forge have already completed part of their recovery treatment. George explained that upon entering the facility, the men participate in activities to help run the dormitory of the organization. “When they are working within the facility, their job is upkeep. They are here to help make sure that everything is clean and the basic tasks like that, but they are also the guys who are responsible for knowing where every housemate is at all times,” George explained. “They are to know where each guy is going, who they are riding with, and all the details. It helps reintegrate them into responsibility.”

Throughout their time running the dormitory, the men learn life skills, such as meal planning and budgeting. Their final goal for this stage in recovery is to plan and budget for an activity for themselves and their housemates to enjoy. “We call this project a “Level One” project,” George added. “It meets the milestone of someone serving themselves. We have done many fun things through these projects, such as Braves games, Six Flags trips, and camping.”

Once accomplishing this project, the men begin their transition back into society and work on a “Level Two” project, which focuses on serving others in the community. According to George, the men are currently working on building a new kitchen facility for The Dream Center. “The men planned the project and are doing the construction work themselves,” he said. “Through this project, they are learning to serve others.”

The last project that the men complete is the project they leave behind when their time of in-house recovery is complete at The Forge. This “Level Three” project serves to reveal the leaders that the men have become and to pay homage to the facility as they complete a project on-campus at The Forge. “It could be anything from a volleyball court, to a bench, to a paint job,” George explained. “It doesn’t have to be big. It really is their choice what they want to leave behind.”

George added, “I hope these projects stand as reminders of lives helped so that our inhabitants can see that recovery is possible.

The Origins

George shared that the basis of treatment program within The Forge is the same program that he endured during his recovery in 2016. “I have been through this approach to recovery, and I know it works,” he commented. “Many treatment centers focus purely on mental and physical rehabilitation. They don’t address the spiritual healing. To me, that is one of the most important pieces of healing for addicts, which is why we make sure to address it.”

He continued, “That’s why our message is ‘Freedom, Hope, and Purpose.’ We want to restore those things within these men so they can continue on to restore other areas of their lives.”

This mission of restoration came from humble beginnings. Before George was serving those struggling with addiction at The Forge, he was opening up his own home to them. “Once you have truly recovered, there is no way you cannot want to help others recover from the same thing,” he said. “It started off with me inviting guys into my home, helping them get on their feet. Then, we were able to get a small house in Vidalia where one of our guys in leadership could live with the men and help watch over them. Having the building that we do now is truly a testament to God’s ability to grow something out of nothing.”

Currently, The Forge is housed at 406 West First Street in Vidalia, which is the former Vidalia Woman’s Club building. The facility has been transformed into an effective dormitory, complete with two bedrooms, several showers and bathrooms, a kitchen, and a large living room area. Each bedroom is set to hold 8 occupants because of the use of bunk beds and other space-saving devices.

“We want the place to feel like a home,” George said. “These guys are here anywhere from a year to two years, so you want them to feel like they have a place.”


The Forge is a 12-step facility open to men, ages 18 and older, who suffer from behavioral and/or chemical addiction. To donate to The Forge or for information about treatment, contact Craig George at 912-425-1711.

NEW FACILITY — The Forge moved into a new facility in March, as the organization bought the former Vidalia Woman’s Club building. In this photo, George shows off a new bedroom within the building.Photo by Makaylee Randolph

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