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Help for Today's Pastor, Minister, or Priest Who Wants to Help the Alcoholic or Addict

Help for Today's Pastor, Minister, or Priest Who...

Has experience with alcoholics and addicts in his church and elsewhere; wants to be of help; has heard strange things about or has concerns about A.A.; and doesn't want expensive or expansive alternative programs? In fact, that servant wants his church active in a knowledgeable, effective, Christian recovery effort. And, here's what he or she can do.

Start with the Facts
Here is the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship program - as briefly summarized in A.A.'s own literature - which repeatedly evoked the comment, "Why this is First Century Christianity! What can we do to help?"

Actual Seven-Point Original Program

Rebuilding Your Old Ruins in Christ Jesus

And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
Isaiah 61:4, NKJV

This Scripture really spoke to me this morning as I thought of how so many of us come from places of brokenness, of loss, of deep wounding. We can sometimes wonder if wholeness is a real possibility for us again, or is it just a pipe dream?

I do not believe Jesus is the Author of pipe dreams. Nor is He the author of confusion and the chaos that comes from our addictions and sin and life-controlling problems. But He is the Author of Life, the Author of the rich, eternal, abundant Life that flows forth from within His Spirit and up into our hearts and spirits as He pours His Love and Hope into our hearts:

Moving from Being "in Recovery" to Having "Recovered"

Would you like to recover from alcoholism and addiction? Do you believe that God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, can relieve you of those problems? According to the fourth edition of Alcoholics Anonymous--known affectionately within A.A. as the "Big Book"--an effective way to recover from alcoholism is to establish a relationship with God.

Prayer for Those in Recovery from Substance Abuse

Dear God,
I pray for those who struggle with alcohol or other drugs. Please let them know how much you love and care for them.

Please don’t let them bury themselves in guilt and shame. You are a God who forgives. You are the God of the second chance and even of the third and fourth chance.

Help those in recovery find a job. Give them an employer who understands addiction and will make it possible for them to work and still be able to attend recovery meetings.

Give them real friends who will love and respect them and hold them to the standard of staying clean and sober.

Bless them with a sponsor who will both encourage and challenge them to do their step work.

Traumas and Addiction (Workshop Transcript)

Obie-Host: "Welcome to our Workshop on Trauma and Addiction. We will be discussing trauma, abuse and as well as addiction. Would someone like to open us in prayer?"

"Yahweh, thank you so much for the freedom we have to gather together in fellowship with you and each other - Thank you that Yvonne is giving us her time to teach us -Holy Spirit open our eyes and ears - that we may see and hear what you would impart to us today - Have your way - may your will be done. Amen"

Obie-Host:"Welcome everyone to the Workshop on Trauma and Addiction - our leader today is Yvonne Ortega. She has credentials as long as my arm, as well as personal experiences in everything she talks about. Yvonne, please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about yourself."

"Hi you all! Thank you for having me. It is a blessing to share with you all. Yes, I have credentials, but, I've also learned through the school of hard knocks.

Trauma refers to situations in which a person is rendered powerless and great danger is involved. The situations involve death and injury or the possibility of death and injury.
Those events evoke a state of extreme horror, helplessness, and fear. They are events of such intensity and magnitude they would overtax any human being’s ability to cope.

Such events can be childhood physical abuse or sexual abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, natural catastrophes such as hurricanes and tornadoes, car accidents, war and combat, and a life-threatening disease. Just as the body can be traumatized, so can the psyche.

Humility in Recovery

In recovery, we need to stay focused on the path ahead. There are many obstacles that can effortlessly obstruct our growth process. One deadly sin that we should always steer clear of is pride. Anyone in recovery is extremely susceptible to external hindrances because we were once slaves to them during our addiction. Outside hindrances can include numerous things, such as shame, resentment, fear, self-centeredness, and pride, among other things. If we are to evade these hazardous obstacles, we should harbor and uphold a humble spirit. Once we are finally clean and sober, have gone to meetings, and have worked the program, we learn that God alone can cure us of our past sins. We must surrender our will and our lives over to the care of God. And this, my friends, requires an act of humility.

If I Wanted to Leave Alcoholics Anonymous....

First of all, I don't!

But let's just say:

    (1) That I'm thinking of drinking.

    (2) That I'm really not "willing to go to any lengths" to prevent that from happening.

Anger and the Alcoholic/Addict

Anger is a normal emotion everyone feels at times. But unbridled anger can be disastrous for the alcoholic/addict and their loved ones. If anger is allowed to get out of hand it can even trigger a relapse.

Identifying the Problem
If you are an addict or alcoholic frustration and anger can be caused because you may feel your rights are being ignored or your needs are not being met.

Our Behavior Should and CAN Reflect Who We are in Christ

1 John 2:29-3:3
If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of Him. See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when He is revealed, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. And all who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure.

When You Have No Sponsor or Recovery Buddy

It is OK Not to Have a Sponsor
Not everyone in recovery has a mentor all of the time. It is OK not to have a sponsor or recovery buddy! It is important for you to have a special rapport with the person who is going to be your recovery buddy or sponsor. Do not try to rush the process The more time you spend finding an appropriate person the more likely you will find someone who is a good listener and communicator. Not everyone is able or willing to commit to being a good sponsor. They may have other obligations that prevent them from being an effective mentor.

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