Feb. 1, 2023

Craig Nichols hopes his new location downtown becomes a safe place for people hoping to recover from addictions.

The founder of Washed Clean Addiction & Revovery Ministries recently opened a center at 322 E. 14th St. on the southern edge of downtown.

“Our goal is to create a space where people can meet, where there will be worship music, testimonials, people in recovery, people from ministry – really to connect people in the community,” Nichols said.

Washed Clean is a 12-step recovery program with a Christian focus. It offers residential, faith-based recovery programs for men and women in Sioux Falls and, until recently, operated a thrift store.

Nichols said the space next to Sunshine Foods and Norberg Paints  is meant for anyone ready to consider recovery.

“There are a lot of professional businesspeople who struggle with cocaine, alcohol and other things,” Nichols said. “It’s not just drugs and alcohol. Everybody has some kind of brokenness in their life: trauma from childhood or an abusive relationship. We all need help.”

Nichols said his ministry focuses on the Life Recovery 12 Steps.

“Step one says we admitted we are powerless over our problems, and our lives have become unmanageable,” he said.

Nichols was an addict for 38 years, and about six years ago he decided to get sober. “That day, I just committed to God and was like, OK, this is it, I can’t live this way anymore,” he said. “Immediately, I started to see change in my life. It was a level of surrender, and within a year, I knew I was called to ministry.”

He said he feels called to help his community.

“The meth addiction and alcohol is where my heart lies,” Nichols said. “That was me. When I walk into a room of recovery, those are my people.

We are all in this together to find restoration and wholeness.”

This weekend, Washed Clean will host John James, the founder of the Christian band Newsboys and a motivational speaker, along with his wife, Tanya. The event in the new downtown center is “designed to help individuals explore the depths of their spiritual journey and discover how to restore their lives after it was touched by addiction or trauma.”

It begins with the first session at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and another one at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Saturday is an all-day session that includes lunch, and Sunday will offer a worship service.

Nichols estimates that he has spoken with thousands of people over the past few years, and about 60 men and women go through the Washed Clean residential recovery program each year.

“I just really had a calling to help people who were struggling with the same struggle that I was delivered from,” Nichols said.

He hopes the new space offers an opportunity for Washed Clean to connect with more people, including through recovery meetings, Bible studies, small groups and events.

“We have a community that is being shaken by so many things, how do we work together to combat this at a different approach,” Nichols said, noting the various programs available in the community. “There is no one-shoe-fits-all for addiction. You might try eight different places and finally something clicks.

“We hope to create a space where people can be loved and accepted and greeted at the door with a smile, and let’s have a cup of coffee and figure this thing out together.”

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