When Prayer Doesn’t Fix Addiction

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Being clinically effective and Christ centered has it’s challenges.  Not from being effective in our approach to treating people held captive by addiction, but by the perception of Christians at times that more spiritual focus and more spiritual discipline is the sole answer to the problem.  Sometimes prayer doesn’t fix addiction.  Most of the time, it doesn’t.  So why do we still pursue being both clinically effective and Christ centered in our approach to treating people?

  1. God is for people trapped in addiction. God knows their story.  He understands their pain.  God is pursuing them with a reckless abandon to redeem and restore what has been lost.  If God is for them, we should be to.
  1. God can “fix” the addiction in a moment. He can do that!  But most often, God uses process to bring about recovery and restoration because other relationships are involved.  Process involves trust and faith.
  1. Significant emotional events change how our brain functions and works. Both in positive and negative ways.  Addictive behavior does as well.  We are so blessed to have skilled and gifted professionals with a heart for God and hurting people that can clinically address the deep and often broken parts of our clients.  We are thankful for people whom God has given great insight to the workings of both the mind and heart.
  1. We are clinical so the local Church doesn’t have to be (although it can be). The local Church does so many things such as feeding the poor, orphan care, widows, taking the Gospel to the world.  Our desire is to let the local church be the local church and shine where she is strong….in loving and leading people to Jesus.

So yes, we are both clinically effective and Christ centered.  God has given us a unique skill to care for the mind and minister to the heart.  We aren’t just one or the other, we are both.  Our goal goes far beyond the ceasing of an addictive behavior, but to offer Hope and Life as our clients move forward.

333 Dollars

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 333 dollars.

Seems like a random number doesn’t it?  What could you possibly do with 333 dollars?
I can tell you what we can do with 333 dollars.  That money buys one man’s day in the Trek program. It is one day closer to a family having their son, brother, or father back.
What does he do in that one day, you ask?
He is in group therapy for about 6 hours.
He gets 3 square meals a day, plus snacks.
He has a roof over his head, a comfortable place to sleep, and most of all, his family knows he is SAFE.
He may have an individual counseling session with his therapist.
He sits on the front porch and talks to his mentor about the things he is learning about himself.
He plays a round of volleyball with the other clients.
He does his homework from group that day, reads his new, leather bound Bible, and journals.
That seems like a lot of activities for 333 dollars, doesn’t it? I thought so too.  At HopeQuest, our vision is to make recovery affordable and accessible. Your gift, along with the gifts of other generous donors, allows us to do that by financially subsidizing 1/3 of a client’s stay. And it starts with one day.
So my question to you is, would you, your small group, your Sunday school class, your church, or your family, be willing to donate 333 dollars to pay for a day in Trek, so that one man can write a different ending to his story?
Call 678-391-5950 today or you can send us a check at P.O. Box 2699, Woodstock, GA 30189

 

Addiction Kills

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Usually I recommend a resource for you to read in reference to addiction.  This week, instead of something to read, I want to give you some steps of action for a resource.
Addiction kills.  There, I said it.  Addiction kills people.  Have you heard the statement, “Everyone knows someone”? If that statement is true, and I believe it is, then I have to ask you the question: What are you doing to help the person you know?  Maybe it’s your brother, your cousin, your co-worker, or your family friend.  Here are a few ways you can help that person that came to your mind, who you know is struggling with addiction.
  • Pray for them.  Prayer changes hearts and saves lives.
  • Reach out to them.  Don’t give up.  Being passive and quiet out of fear often enables them to remain in their addiction. Allow your love for them to show.  There is always hope.
  • Love them by fighting for them.  Without help, the cycle continues, and in most cases, gets worse.  If your loved one needs help, pursue it wholeheartedly.  You won’t regret it.
One place you know you can call is HopeQuest.  We have beds available today.  We can help your loved one.  Please call 678.391.5950.

I Made It!

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This is an excerpt from some final comments that one of our clients wrote upon finishing his time at Trek. This really resonated with me, and I hope it will for you as well.  Recovery is hard work, as exemplified in his final statement- “I made it.”  

It takes courage to admit you’re in over your head.
It takes stamina to stay the course.
It takes hope to believe that life can be done in a different and better way. 
I am so proud of our clients as they daily persist in recovery, while they are in Trek, and when they leave and go back out into their worlds.
“It’s been a quest to find myself and who I truly am. No matter what the circumstances are, I matter. There are people out there that care. I think the name (HopeQuest) fits so perfectly here. This is harder than the Marine Corps. This is harder than Iraq. I would choose deployment to Iraq over this. I did it. I needed it. I made it.”

How to Successfully Talk about your Feelings

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Today I wanted to share a really helpful tip for communication. This is straight out of our client curriculum- but it is truly a great life skill for everyone to use.  Being clear about how you feel and why (both in good and bad situations) is vital to healthy relationships.
To help others better understand you; follow this format when communicating your feelings.

•I feel____________________________(feeling word)

•About____________________________(situation)
•Because__________________________(reason)
“I” statements have the capacity to communicate what is going on with you and therefore trigger care and concern [for you] within your relational partner’s heart. “You” statements have the capacity to trigger defensive posturing with your relational partner.
Some things to avoid when conversing about your feelings:
– Saying “I feel like,” or “I feel that.” These statements express a thought or belief, not a feeling.

– Saying “I don’t know” as a feeling word. Do not say “It doesn’t matter,” or “I don’t care.”

– Instead of “I am proud of you,” say “I feel proud about_______ because______.”  Specifics are more important than you may think!

– Using minimizers like “I feel a little angry” or “I felt kind of hurt.” Try to accurately label the feeling – if you have to use a less intense feeling word, do so.

- Do not talk at, preach to, or teach one another. This causes others to close off and not hear a word you say.

-Do not talk for others. Communicate your feelings and only yours. Keep the focus on yourself and how you feel.

If you stick to your feelings and truly express them, you will see how powerful this tool can be.  Remember feelings are necessary for relationships.

The Importance of Community

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A crucial part of operating a nonprofit is our relationships with the local community.  Counselors, medical professionals, detox facilities, churches, care ministries, lawyers, and individuals with a heart to serve, to name a few.  Since we are located in Woodstock, Georgia, we are blessed to be so close to the big city of Atlanta, which offers many opportunities to connect and partner with other organizations.  We get phone calls every day from hurting people, and we never want to hang up the phone without giving them another resource to find the help they and their loved ones need.
One of the strong focuses for HopeQuest in 2015 is to strengthen relationships with our local referral partners and community.  Some ways we do this is offering tours of our facility, making appointments to share HopeQuest with counselors and churches, and connecting with the resident recovery community.  We want to aid other organizations by offering our outpatient support groups, Journey and Walking Free, as well as make our inpatient program, Trek, readily available.  In saying this, I want to take a moment to extend this opportunity to you.  If you, or your company or church, is interested in partnering with us, or would like to have a conversation about resources that are available to you, please contact Samantha Kelly at Samantha.kelly@hopequestgroup.org.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. God Bless!

Faces of Hope: Lance’s Story

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Lance was born in Texas; his parents divorced when he was young, and he moved with his mother to Arkansas.  He felt disconnected from his father, who was an alcoholic, and his mother worked as a correctional officer trying to support Lance and his sister.

When Lance was in middle school, he began experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and with members of the same sex.  He was confused why he felt some of these feelings about other boys, but when he asked his mom about it, she dismissed his concerns.

Feeling inadequate and insecure, he started using drugs and alcohol to cope with his same sex attraction during his high school years.  This quickly turned into more delinquent activities, and eventually he was imprisoned for stealing.  Throughout his early twenties, it was a blur of being in and out of jail, using drugs and alcohol, and promiscuity.  Eventually, someone invited Lance to church.  He had experienced some Christian influence when he was younger, and decided to give it another try. He was desperate for something different than what he had been experiencing thus far in his life.

At church in Houston, he attended a Catalyst Retreat where he was finally honest about his struggles with homosexuality.  Being honest and real with the men at the retreat was therapeutic for Lance.  Shortly after, he was referred to HopeQuest, and those who attended the retreat that day with Lance all pitched in to help him pay for his recovery.

Lance completed his 12 weeks at HopeQuest and has been living in our transition house for the last 3 months.  He is debt free and free of legal troubles, and living clean and sober.  When describing how HopeQuest was different from the other rehabs and prisons he had been in, he said, “Prison held me, and HopeQuest healed me.”

We’re Moving!… Moving Forward

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Friends and Partners in Hope,
Seasons Greetings!  Typically this week in our email campaign we feature one of our “partners in hope”; someone that has given substantially of their time or money to help our ministry.  Well, this week, our featured partner is… YOU. That’s right, you, reading this email. Those of you who give financially, who serve faithfully, who pray continuously, and who have a heart for helping people overcome addiction. We have said from the beginning that recovery work is not easy. The work we do is messy and sometimes painful.  But this is what God has called us to. In the world we live in, more and more people need help, and the hope that only Jesus can offer them.
I’m sure you saw in our most recent newsletter about our new campaign, “Moving Forward.” We are very excited at the prospect of having a new facility and being able to help more people. We have received approximately 100,000 of our goal, and are anticipating a solid finish to our 2014 year end goal of 250,000 going towards the “Moving Forward” campaign. The best part of this campaign is enabling us to help more people, while keeping the cost of our program affordable. Will you help us raise the remaining 150,000 by December 31st?  You can help us by donating today, knowing your gift will benefit individuals and families for years to come.
As an organization and behalf of our clients, thank you for your generosity and God bless!
-Roy
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Resource Review: Boundaries

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For this month’s resource recommendation, I read Boundaries (When to say YES and when to say NO to take control of your life) by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

 
What is it about:  Christians often focus so much on being loving and giving that they forget their own limitations and neglect to create margins. This book will show you how to set healthy boundaries with your parents, spouses, children, friends, coworkers, and even yourself.  Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life.  Drs. Cloud and Townsend show you how to bring new health to your relationships. You’ll discover firsthand how sound boundaries give you the freedom to walk as the loving, giving, fulfilled individual God created you to be.

 
Why did I read it: At HopeQuest, we offer our clients this book as a part of their journey to healing and restoration.  Having boundaries, especially healthy ones, is typically a completely foreign idea to our clients.  Learning about how to express yourself to others and set safe, healthy guidelines on your life is a necessity.  This book is a life changer!

 
Favorite idea:  “Boundaries define us.  They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to sense of ownership.  Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom; and taking responsibility for my life open up many different options.”

 

Boundaries

Resource Review: Telling Yourself the Truth

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For this month’s resource recommendation, I read Telling Yourself the Truth by William Backus and Marie Chapian. *Winner of the Gold Book Award (500,000 copies sold) and Winner of the Gold Medallion Award (E.C.P.A.), which recognizes excellence in evangelical Christian literature.

What is it about:   Wrong thinking produces wrong emotions, wrong reactions, wrong behavior, and unhappiness! Learning to identify your thoughts and change them is the first step on the road to healthy thinking.  The authors explain what they call “Misbelief Therapy.”
Each chapter is broken down into categories of misbeliefs: anger, self-talk, depression, anxiety, lack of self-control, fear of change, and relationships with others.  The last chapter is also dissects common ideas that can dictate our decisions, like “In order to be happy I must be loved by everybody” or “I want it, therefore I should have it.”  These thoughts become beliefs that, if you let it, have the power to control your life!   Telling Yourself the Truthcan show you how to identify your own misbeliefs and replace them with the truth.
Why did I read it: At HopeQuest, we offer this book to our clients because getting control of your thoughts, especially destructive ones, has great power to affect success in overcoming addiction.  Addiction stems from negative experiences, emotions, and thoughts, that become so powerful that they start causing actions and eventually, a belief system.  Taking responsibility for your life and choices and changing them is empowering for not just our clients, but anyone who reads this book!
Favorite idea:  “What you think and believe determines how you feel and what you do.  We hope you have decided you can change your emotions; you can be an adjusted and happy human being, no matter what you have experienced in your life and no matter what your circumstances are.  The question now is, do you reallywant to be happy?”

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