Maria Kouts lost her son to an overdose in 2018 and she vowed that one day she would open a faith-based drug rehabilitation facility in the Gila Valley.
Her dream is getting closer to becoming a reality.
She’s leading people struggling with addiction through a faith-based 12-step recovery program and the non-profit organization she helped create is searching for land for Josiah House.
After Josiah died, Maria, her husband, Safford Mayor Jason Kouts, and their pastor, David Chapman, knew they wanted to join forces to create a place where people battling addiction could meet and take classes in Graham County.
The pandemic made them re-evaluate their game plan however, and instead of purchasing land and immediately building, they decided to focus on programming.
Kouts began teaching a 12-step program in February of 2020 at The River church. Although she never knew anything about drugs before Josiah, she said she knew about defects of character, moral failure and co-dependency.
“(It)Doesn’t matter what we use to try and bandage our wounds, the wound never heals if not treated,” she said. “I offer unconditional acceptance with no judgement; Recovery in a safe place where you can be you. I offer a starting line and lots of tools to help individuals grow.”
She wants to help those who want to rebuild their lives from the ashes, she said. The Josiah House will be God-centered and offers a future of hope and wholeness, one step at a time.
“I hope several will finish(the program). My goal is for them to begin facilitating a class,” Mariah said. “I never want to create followers. I want leaders graduating from my class who will in turn make leaders.”
She always wanted to be a part of something bigger than herself, she said.
“Recovery is a process and it requires people to be real, transparent, vulnerable and honest and when everyone in the room is on the same page and shame disappears, change occurs,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.”
Kouts is looking forward to the day people will be able to become better versions of themselves at Josiah House. She hopes people will come to the center sometime later this year, feel safe and grow.