RIDGE SPRING — The sign near the entrance to Recovery Works Ponderosa's campus has the silhouette of a prancing horse on it.


“A lot of people in our community think we are an equine rescue group,” Paul Bartley said.


However, Recovery Works has a different purpose.


“We are a faith-based organization that runs a long-term residential recovery center for men who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction,” said Bartley, who is the organization's director of operations. “We follow the principles of the 12-step programs for both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.”


Recovery Works has a 12-acre spread, and its facilities include three modified mobile homes where more than 20 men can live.


“Right now, we have 18 residents, and they all have chores to do, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and yard work,” Bartley said. “We raise chickens and quail, and we have a garden where we grow things like tomatoes, beans, peas, squash and okra. We also have two horses that the men care for, and a dog.”


There are 12-step meetings for Recovery Works' residents every day of the week, and the men attend church on Sunday. In addition, they do volunteer work in the Ridge Spring area. Following the recent ice storm, they cleared fallen tree limbs from yards.


Residents typically spend six months to a year at Recovery Works' center.


“After the men leave here, we know that about 70 percent maintain their sobriety for a year,” Bartley said. “We've had some very good success stories. One of our guys is the head chef and the manager for a restaurant. Another guy works for the town of Ridge Spring, and two of our guys are doing very well in Hilton Head.”


Bartley, who has managed a hardware store and worked in manufacturing, is one of the men who has benefited from Recovery Works' assistance.


“I came here as a resident in 2011 because of drugs and alcohol,” he said. “From the time I was a teenager, I have had issues with drugs and alcohol. I could go for periods of time and not drink or use, but it finally got to the point that I was in really bad shape. I relapsed, and I needed help.”


After Bartley completed Recovery Works' program, the organization's founder, Flint Thomas, offered him the director of operations job.


Last year, Bartley became the mayor of Ridge Spring after his immediate predecessor, Pat Asbil, urged him to pursue the position.


“I talked to the people who live here about it, and they were very supportive,” said Bartley, who was a member of Saluda's Town Council for 12 years.


Recovery Works has an annual budget of approximately $225,000 year. The organization is funded by donations from its residents, their families and the community.


Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013.


A native of Concord, N.C., she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.