KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For those who live along Hinton Avenue in East Knoxville, Christmas decorations are for more than just celebrating the holidays, it’s celebrating the gift of recovery.

The homes are a part of a rehabilitation and recovery center for men who are fighting addiction. Nearly four years ago, one of the members started decorating his home and now the entire community is showcasing its Christmas spirit. Many say it’s another key step in their recovery process.

“I remember mom decorating the Christmas tree and dad putting lights up and it’s some of the greatest memories before I got addicted,” said Mark Marshall.

He said his addictions started in his early teens, “I needed somebody to tell me what I needed to do. That’s how bad of a condition [I was in]. I was an addict for 31 years.”

At his lowest point, he reached out for help to get back on his feet. “Jellinek [E.M. Jellinek Center, Inc.] teaches you how to be a man and that was what was missing in my life,” he said. “They took me in, they believed in me, and they loved me to a point where I love myself.”

Now, Marshall’s a substance abuse counselor for the organization that helped him. “I’ve been a counselor for three years now,” said Marshall.

While he was recovering, one of his favorite things to do during Christmas decorating his house in lights. The tradition caught on and now everyone participates, lighting up the entire neighborhood.

“Just seeing these guys come out, we’re a family here. Just seeing them all out together, holding the latter, and climbing up and putting the lights on, and it’s a sense of accomplishment and pride.”

Director Mike Kolinsky said it’s a sight his dad, who was one of the first executive directors of the organization, would be proud to see. Unfortunately, his dad, Frank Kolinsky, passed away 11 years ago.

“He loved lights,” Kolinsky said. “He loved the decorations and all, and he’d be ecstatic with it. Charismas was his favorite time of year.”

It’s their favorite time of year that’s full of holiday cheer and coming together.

“It’s unity and we don’t recover alone,” said Marshall.

At someone’s lowest point this is a way they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is also a little bit of friendly competition here. Everyone in the recovery program gets to vote on the best house. Whoever wins gets to place a sign in their yard saying they had the best-decorated home.