Frequently Asked Questions

How Do We Keep Recovery Participants Motivated?Premium Content

How do we help participants to stay motivated so they will complete our programs and succeed afterwards?

1. I've stayed in touch with the “hands on” dimension of the ministry by volunteering at our local rescue missions. Conducting chapel services for program participants and interacting with them is something I always look forward to doing. One local mission, the Kansas City Rescue Mission, where Joe Colaizzi serves as executive director, is an example of a rescue mission recovery program that is doing a lot of things right. Their recent follow-up efforts reveal that for three years running, 70% of their graduates are still sober for year or more after leaving the mission. This is a very good rate of success. So, what are some of the things they are doing to promote such success?

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Depression and the Recovery ProcessPremium Content

The unrelenting sadness and hopelessness that characterized my experience with depression is something I will never forget. In the grips of depression I often felt paralyzed, not possessing the strength to rise from bed or even to open my eyes in the morning. I felt completely alone, unable to make contact with anyone, not even Almighty God. I lost interest in life and the things that make life special. I became reclusive and withdrawn, not wanting to be with friends I alternated between insomnia and exhaustion. I couldn't concentrate. And always, I felt inexplicably sad. Nothing made me happy. Most frightening of all, I made intricate preparations for my death. 1

This year, 17 million Americans will suffer from depressive illness. In 1988 the General Accounting Office estimated that up to half of the homeless suffer from chronic phychiatric disorders. 2 - many also addicted to alcohol and drugs. While severe forms of psychosis are readily recognized, depressive disorders, which are more subtle, can be overlooked as factors that prevent program participants from moving forward in recovery.

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Tough Love in Addiction Recovery ProgramsPremium Content

How do we properly cope with the emotional distress that some staff members experience when called upon to dismiss residents for violating recovery program rules?

A. The Principle of "Tough Love" -- One of the keys to overcoming staff difficulties in this area is educating them in the important principles of "tough love." While it can be extremely difficult to dismiss certain people from a program, we really are doing what is best for them. For those in denial about their problems, consequences can be their salvation! People continue to abuse alcohol and drugs (and persist in dysfunctional behaviors) as long as they feel the benefits outweigh the costs.

Additionally, being dismissed can often serve as an important learning experience. Such people may return to the program with a much better attitude, having had a chance to get a hard look at the pain and destruction in their old environments. Someone once said, "It's hard to go back to digging around in the garbage after you've been feasting at the King's table!"

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Avoiding Burnout in Addiction Recovery WorkPremium Content

Working in with needy people can be overwhelming at times. Staff members of outreach ministries are surrounded daily by those in need and they often struggle with limited time and resources to help them. So, learning the art of "self-care" is essential. The key to this is developing healthy attitudes toward our ministries and ourselves. Here are a few tips that can help you to avoid "burn-out" and find more joy and fulfillment in the work of the Lord:

    A. Learn to Detach – Whenever we're focusing our energies on people and problems, we have little, if any time for care and nurturing of self, and meeting our own legitimate needs. We must remember that it is God who does the real work in the lives of hurting people. This helps to take a little of the load of responsibility off our own shoulders.

    B. Learn to Practice "Professional Distance" – This does not mean being callous or uncaring toward those whom we help. It does mean keeping good boundaries between ourselves and our clients. It means not becoming so wrapped up in their lives that we carry their struggles home with us at night. Over-involvement can cloud our decision-making process to the point where we end up playing "favorites." This will jeopardize our relationships with our other clients. We cannot assume responsibility for the decisions our clients make.

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The Last Perfect Man and the Carnal ChristianPremium Content

One of the most helpful comments I heard when I was new in Alcoholics Anonymous and began to hear all the condemning remarks made about ministers, politicians, doctors, AAs, and other 12-Step people who-though Christians-had missed the mark was this:

The last perfect man left us some 2000 years ago. But He is seated at the right hand of God. And He is coming back to gather together the children of God.

Over the years, a number of folks have criticized Christians in A.A. because of the foibles and shortcomings of A.A.'s founders and 12-Step groups themselves. These folk argue that nobody should associate with an organization founded by such "sinners."

I can truthfully affirm that, when I sat down in A.A., I had some sinning problems to deal with. Also that God had provided the Way and the power to deal with them.

I can truthfully affirm that some of the drunks and addicts who were sitting next to or near me seemed also to be in need of some instruction and some cleansing. And that the Word of God contained instructions for doing the job for them if they wanted to believe in God and diligently seek Him.

The Bible has some important comments about such sinners-whether they have yet to be redeemed, or are already saints. It says:

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Is there anything wrong with "social drinking?"Premium Content

Abstinence: Still the Best Choice

As a person who has struggled with addiction to alcohol and drugs, I would be foolish to drink. But what about the Christian who has never had such problems? Is there anything wrong with what is considered social drinking? I believe there are at least five compelling reasons why abstinence should be the norm for all followers of Christ:

The cost to society.
Nationwide one in four families is experiencing alcohol related problems. It is estimated that 20-25 percent of all hospital costs result directly from alcohol misuse and abuse. People without Christ drink mainly to fill a spiritual void that only Christ's presence can fill. Therefore, Christians who do know Him ought to stand out in this fallen world by not being identified with this destructive spiritual counterfeit.

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Romantic Relationships in Early RecoveryPremium Content

Why should recovering alcoholics and addicts avoid new relationships with members of the opposite sex in the first year of recovery?

By avoiding new relationships with members of the opposite sex you also:

Avoid losing the focus on personal issues
For alcoholics and addicts, real lasting change occurs only after a long and often painful process of self discovery. This involves understanding their own addictive behaviors, repressed emotions, and destructive thought patterns. However, their denial uses the feelings and behaviors of others to avoid facing their own pain and dishonesty and from assuming responsibility for their controlling and shame-producing actions. Introducing a romantic relationship, with an intense focus on the other person, too early in recovery inevitably "short-circuits" the important process of reconnecting with self and learning to become responsible for one's own feelings and behavior.

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Definition of Addiction

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Definition of Addiction: Frequently Asked Questions
by American Society of Addiction Medicine
(Adobe Acrobat PDF File)
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Death: What's on the other side?

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

How Do I Detach From an Alcoholic Spouse?


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To detach with love from the alcoholic means to not allow what they do while drinking harm your emotional and or spiritual well being.

Detaching with love is something learned that over time becomes a habit-a good habit actually.

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