Youth Ministry Now The Focus of Sawyer Green, NLB Grad 2015

Youth Ministry Now The Focus of Sawyer Green, NLB Grad 2015

When Sawyer Green reflects on his middle and high school years, he says he didn’t know who to go to for help.

“My dad was working long hours. My brother married and moved out. I didn’t have anyone who I felt I could ask for help.”

In Sawyer’s junior year of high school, he started drinking and using drugs. But he says the process of walking away from his knowledge of right and wrong started a few years earlier, when he transitioned from private to public school.

“December 7, 2014 was the day I finally asked for help,” he said. “I was 27 years old and had been to a bunch of different treatment programs. In those short-term programs, I just wanted to get out of trouble. This time, my emotional, spiritual and physical health were at a demolished rock bottom. I was at the lowest low I could imagine. And this time I actually wanted to stop.”

When Sawyer arrived at No Longer Bound, the Assistant Program Director was a young man he had known in addiction.

“Graham had become so happy and successful and full of joy,” he said. “Seeing his transformation was very hopeful to me. In addiction he seemed worse than me. It was very inspiring to hear other men talk about how he was helping them change their lives.”

Ultimately, the freedom Sawyer felt from becoming fully known gave him the desire to help others have that same experience.

“Talking openly to others, not having to hide who I was, the structure of work—I bought into all of it. I wanted to be a part of the life change happening at No Longer Bound.”

Sawyer's North Point youth group

Sawyer, far right, with one of his North Point youth groups.

Sawyer graduated from No Longer Bound in 2015, then stayed on for a year as an intern. From 2017 to 2019, he worked as a counselor. It was 2018 when he began leading teenagers at North Point Community Church.

“They ask for a four-year commitment, and that commitment has helped carry me through the difficult times of serving teens. COVID was hard, especially as my guys were getting driver’s licenses. But over the past three years, some of my guys have made incredible transformations.”

Sawyer says his time at No Longer Bound, helped him understand how he got off track as a teenager.

Sawyer is celebrating his first anniversary

Celebrating their first year of marriage!

“I was about their age when I was struggling with normal life things—changing grades, changing schools, my brother going off to college. I didn’t know I could ask for help. At No Longer Bound, I learned people need validation for their struggles.

It’s a lesson he now  employs frequently. “I validate my guys, so they know it’s okay that what they’re going through is hard.”

In addition to serving teens, Sawyer also serves the Recovery community through meetings, service work, and sponsorship.

There’s something personal that means a lot too.

“And I am just finishing up my first year of marriage,” Sawyer added. “My primary goal now is to be a great husband. And I want to finish strong with my Inside Out guys. After that, God hasn’t given me next steps yet. I just plan to keep serving and maintaining my recovery while being honest with God, self and others.”

Your financial supports helps NLB continue to transform lives.
In many instances, the transformation ripples
not just throughout this life but for eternity. 

The Ripple Effect of A Transformed Life

The Ripple Effect of A Transformed Life

“People have three needs: to be heard, to be understood and to valued. If you listen well and are fully present with the person your with, then you access their heart and you can sew a seed. That has been my mission and my calling for 20 years, but it all began at No Longer Bound.”

The road Rand Eberhard traveled to that realization was a rocky one.

In seventh grade, Rand started drinking and using drugs. For the next ten years, his life spiraled out of control.

“The facades I developed as a teenager—funny guy, tough guy—became my false foundation. I set aside all my moral boundaries and said, I’m going to run this thing and do what I want to do.”

In Rand’s final semester at Milton High School, he was kicked out.

“I was chemically dependent and emotionally a wreck. All of my income was going toward my substance abuse. I even lived homeless on the side of the Chattahoochee River for a time, so I could use drugs.”


A 2002 NLB grad, Rand Eberhard.

Rand’s heart began to change when a young mother came to buy drugs from him and brought along her children. “At that point, I became troubled,” Rand said. “Even in my party world, I knew I was dividing a home.”

Soon after, while working at a grocery store, a customer shared a Bible verse with Rand.

“For the first time in my life, I believed it,” he said. “It cut me to the core and exposed my brokenness and my selfishness. But instead of condemning me, it gave me hope.”

As Rand considered changing his life, his probation officer gave him the opportunity to interview at No Longer Bound, and then enroll. “It was there I began taking an honest look at myself and my addictions and, most importantly, at God.”

At No Longer Bound, Rand learned his addiction was a response to a deeper issue. He began keeping a prayer journal. For the first time, he developed empathy for the needs of others and a calling to be like the men who spoke the word of God into his life.

But Rand’s newly developed passion lacked formal credentials.

“When I graduated No Longer Bound, the only education I had was a certificate from DUI school,” he indicated. “But I got my GED then attended Bible college, graduating in three-and-a-half years with a degree in Biblical studies. I knew I wanted to work in the ministry of reconciliation, and I knew I wanted to work in prevention with young people.”

The transformed life was initiating its ripple effect, starting to transform others.

First God gave Rand the opportunity to work in urban ministry in Atlanta, then He opened the door for Rand to join the staff at The Church of the Apostles, which was founded by Dr. Michael Youssef. After years working with hundreds of students in downtown Atlanta, Rand ultimately earned his Master’s degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Rand acknowledged the consequences of his early life.

“Some of the drugs I used took a toll on my mind. I am now dependent on a continual connection with the spirit of God. Without that, it wouldn’t be possible for me to be a dad, a husband, or a person who is about the Lord’s work.”

Today, Rand is Associate Director of Congregational Care at the Church of the Apostles. He says the theme of his work is hope, healing and harvest.

“My goal is to affect people for hope, so they can find pathways to peace, all so they become restoration workers and sowers of the Gospel.”

That is the ripple effect of a transformed life.

Your financial supports helps NLB continue to transform lives.
In many instances, the transformation ripples
not just throughout this life but for eternity. 
Brandon Rayburn, 2011 Grad, Now Corporate VP Employing Other Recovering Addicts

Brandon Rayburn, 2011 Grad, Now Corporate VP Employing Other Recovering Addicts

In Brandon Rayburn’s final month at No Longer Bound, he felt like a changed man. He was ready to make up for lost time but knew he couldn’t go back to his former job (which was tied to his addiction.)

“I had a wife and three small children. We had lost our house through the process of my addiction. We literally had nothing and were starting over from square one.”

A man named Vince (also an NLB alumnus) walked onto campus one day and handed Brandon a piece of paper.

“I hear you need a job,” he said. “Show up at this address and we’ll hire you.”

That’s how Brandon Rayburn began working for Special T, the nation’s largest table-only manufacturer. At the time, it was located just around the corner from No Longer Bound’s campus.

At first, Brandon worked in the warehouse, packing tabletops into boxes. The pay covered only the cost of his children’s after-school daycare, but it was a start.

“I didn’t know what I was saying yes to,” said Brandon. “Looking back, it was God. Special T has pushed me, believed in me, and lifted me up in ways I could never have done myself.”

Brandon with wife and son at a ballgame.

Brandon enjoying a ballgame with his wife and son.

In the past ten years, Brandon promoted through almost every job in the company. From the warehouse, he moved to ordering, then shipping. Today he is the Vice President of Operations.

In that ten years, Special T has grown from 10 million to 21 million dollars in sales. But more significantly, it has achieved this success by hiring people in recovery and creating a workplace culture that allows men and women in early recovery a chance to start over and change their lives.

Brandon has hired more than 70 No Longer Bound graduates in the past ten years.

“Probably over a hundred men in recovery total,” he said. “In the beginning, our environment was men in recovery helping out other men. Then we hired a new employee who adopted the title Recovery Director.”


The Recovery Director leads early morning recovery meetings daily, manages the workplace sponsorship program, and crafts contracts with new employees related to their sobriety.

“We haven’t experienced any of the labor issues the rest of the country seems to be facing,” said Brandon. “There seems to be an abundance of men and women in recovery in need of a job.”

Brandon said being a part of a recovery community at work not only helps him feel whole emotionally, but it also helps him do what No Longer Bound taught him to do.

“No Longer Bound told us we need to disciple others, give back to the community and help new people.”

What’s next for Brandon?

“A rise in addiction indicators has already been announced—increased spousal abuse, increased child abuse, social isolation. These things are gasoline to addiction. It’s going to be an exponential problem. What do we do with that? How do we work together? How do we get a bigger soapbox?”

Brandon said the hardest and most rewarding event of his life was going through No Longer Bound.

“I found out who I was and who I wasn’t there. I’m not my vocation. I’m Brandon the father. I’m Brandon the son. I’m Brandon the husband. What I do for a living gives me value, but it doesn’t define me. Now I have joy and peace in doing anything.”

Brandon Rayburn with his daughter.

Brandon’s older daughter wrote a beautiful Father’s Day letter in 2016, captured in a video on our stories page.


Perils of Codependent Relationships

Perils of Codependent Relationships

Written By: A No Longer Bound Resident, Austin

“Codependent” was once used to describe a specific set of behaviors in spouses of alcoholics. While this is still true, the term has expanded to other situations. It also includes people who have grown up in a dysfunctional home and other difficult circumstances.

As a faith-based addiction program, we define “codependence” as a relationship in which one partner finds his or her worth or identity based on a relationship with someone else.

The codependent person often chooses relationships in which the other person needs to be rescued. Whether knowingly or not, they take on this role because they want to be indispensable.

Although at first glance this concept seems to be based on outward relationships, codependency is actually a dysfunctional relationship within the self. It is a pathological or addictive relationship with other people. These unhealthy relationships tend to be primarily one-sided (as opposed to a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship).

How Does Codependency Play Out in Addiction?

One doctor paints the picture of codependency within addiction like this: “The addicted person develops a relationship whereby the other person will feed into the addiction. So the wife or husband or other family member almost facilitates the person’s ongoing dependence on the substance. That’s not because they’re intending to make it worse, it’s because they’re drawn into that whole circle of behavior, and breaking the pattern of that is almost impossible.”

Generally, a codependent person’s attitude is very easily affected by others. Typically, a codependent person reacts, under-reacts, or overreacts to problems and stress. Rarely do they just act.

Codependents have a tendency to overreact to things that aren’t that big of a deal, while they under-react to situations that actually are important. Both of these reactions represent a different aspect of codependency.

An overreaction is addictive because the codependent party is able to:

  • help others in crisis/be the rescuer
  • fix problems
  • focus on the negative things others do to them
  • blame those around them for their own issues

All of these are behaviors are used to avoid their own reality and pain.

An under-reaction is the denial side of codependency. Denial behaviors actually refuse people of their basic human needs. This forces the person to minimize or eliminate feelings, pain, ambitions, goals, and more.

Our Basic Needs as Humans

At No Longer Bound, we teach that a person’s basic needs are love, acceptance, worth, and security (LAWS). Almost always, a codependent’s basic needs are restricted or falsely met within a dysfunctional relationship.

Unfortunately, codependency can lead to a false sense of worth or responsibility, as well as hurt and anger. Codependency may have developed in one’s childhood as a need to fix others’ problems. It’s likely that they were in situations where they needed to rescue or control someone. It’s also likely that their basic needs were not being met at that time.

Are You In A Codependent Relationship?

Left unchecked, codependency can become a response to people in all of their relationships, although it usually begins in only a few. Many (not all) relationships that involve active addiction, neglect, abuse, or control are defined as codependent.

If a person feels that they are responsible for trying to make the other person happy, they might be a codependent. Here are some other clues that your relationship is codependent:

  • You have an obsessive need to please the other person
  • You feel guilty if you don’t do everything correctly
  • You worry about minor mistakes that could upset them
  • You feel incomplete without the presence of another individual
  • You neglect self-care
  • You have resentment towards your role as the rescuer
  • You lack objectivity when helping others
  • You take yourself and situations too seriously

In short, codependents seek others for their own validation and happiness, resulting in completely dismissing their personal responsibility.

Changing a codependent relationship starts by setting healthy boundaries and having a healthy understanding of the role you play. For men in addiction, a faith-based addiction program like No Longer Bound can help you set these boundaries and work toward reconciling codependent relationships.