Set Free Alaska, a Christian-based treatment center, will soon be able to double its patient capacity.

The Wasilla organization received a $500,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation.

Executive Director Philip Licht said they’ll use the money to renovate an old church-turned-schoolhouse into another outpatient treatment center.

“When people need help, it's crucial they get it right away,” Licht said. “These are individuals who have gifts and skills, they have family that they're wanting to take care of. The addiction is standing in the way of that.”

Jennifer Johnson said Set Free Alaska’s recovery program saved her life.

“I'd been in treatment before but it was different this time and I was ready for change,” Johnson said.

She struggled with addiction for years and reached rock bottom when she was arrested for driving under the influence with her three kids in the car.

“My drug of choice was anything that would numb me so I didn't have to feel. Alcohol is what was legal and always there,” Johnson recalled.

She now works for Set Free Alaska while training to become a chemical dependency counselor. Johnson said the grant money means the organization can help even more people like herself.

“I think it’s needed. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was for me to come into the program and to see it expand like this is amazing,” Johnson said.

Licht said treatment options are limited in the Mat-Su Valley. He’s said the Rasmuson grant will give them the room to help 140 additional patients.

“The partnerships we have shows the need and the commitment of our funders and stakeholders to say, ‘We have to address this need. The issue of addiction is out of control.’”

Set Free Alaska hopes to have the new outpatient facility renovated and ready for clients by October 2018.

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