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)

“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
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!
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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.”



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?”


Faces of Hope: Charles

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This month’s Faces of Hope introduces you to *Charles, a HopeQuest client who is living the miracle of restoration in his own life and the life of his family.

Charles:  “I was employed in emergency tree work and injured my back on the job. After being prescribed pain killers during my recovery, I quickly became addicted. I had never had a problem with pain medicine, but I was already an addict: I drank too much and used ‘recreational’ drugs. 

 What began with me taking prescription pain meds soon became the prescription pain meds taking me.  

I entered the HopeQuest program completely broken. I was in a very dark place. But I kept praying and reading the Bible. I began to look at what caused my behavior, why I hated my life, and who it really was that was keeping me from being happy. It was me! I had bought into the enemy’s lies and believed I could not be a good person, father, or husband. At HopeQuest, I began to listen to people who truly cared about me. I chose to believe that Jesus loves me – including all my flaws. I turned my whole heart to God. I began to see real change, and that is when a miracle happened: my wife began to see that I was changing, too. I completed the HopeQuest program and was able to go home to my wife and two boys. 

 I have been clean for the longest time in my life and was granted another miracle: a third son! I know that Hope Quest not only saved my life, Hope Quest saved my family.”

 *Name has been changed to protect privacy

Seven Desires

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For this month’s resource recommendation, I read Seven Desires by Mark and Debbie Laaser.

What is it about: The authors focus on what they perceive are the 7 great needs of every human being:

1. To be heard and understood
2. To be affirmed
3. To be blessed
4. To be safe
5. To be touched
6. To be chosen
7. To be included
Using examples, Biblical references, and sound psychological principles, the Laasers explain each desire and show how they are sought and what it feels like to have those desires truly fulfilled. Also the authors show healthy ways to embody these desires in your relationships. This book gives the tools needed to start repairing and rebuilding relationships and developing new skills for creating emotional and spiritual intimacy.

Why did I read it: At HopeQuest, we offer this book to our clients, whether or not they are in a marital relationship. The concepts apply to everyone’s heart, because God created us with these desires! His design is to show us how to be fulfilled in him first, then to give and receive from others.

Favorite idea: “God loves you, and he calls you into relationship with him. He has put the seven desires in your heart to show you how to have that relationship. As Psalm 37:4 puts it, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.’ When you know this, you can find healthy ways to get your desires met, and you can serve the desires of others.”


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Broken Children, Grown-Up Pain

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For this month’s resource recommendation, I read Broken Children, Grown-Up Pain by Paul Hegstrom.

What is it about:  Paul Hegstorm authors this book with honesty.  He openly shares in the first chapter about some of the brokenness in his childhood and how that affected many areas of his life, continuing into adulthood.  Using personal examples, psychological studies, and biblical principles, he shares practical and proven methods for facing and dealing with the pain of the past.  There is healing, when we are finally free to pursue authentic relationships and build healthy emotional intimacy with others. The book goes chapter by chapter, addressing stages of life and how to make healthy decisions, despite what may have happened in the past.

Why did I read it: At HopeQuest, we ask the clients to read this book as a part of their journey to healing and restoration.  Many times the root of an addiction comes from some kind of brokenness in childhood.  Despair, emotional isolation, abuse, neglect, and self-loathing are just some of the damaging fragments that remain embedded within our souls when we are broken as children. The memory of the past may seem distant and clouded, but scars remain that continue to inflict pain upon our adult lives-and often end up spilling into the lives of others.  This book is often the first step in healing the past for our clients.

Favorite idea:  “When we begin to uncover the truth about ourselves, we can start asking real questions about what we need in our lives.  We can learn to talk about what we want and need.  Everyone communicates differently, and each of us will discover the right method of expressing our needs to those we love.  We must take courageous steps to share what’s in our hearts and minds.  This is the beginning of the journey to wholeness.”

What Makes HopeQuest Unique?

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We asked our staff members their opinions on what sets HopeQuest apart from other recovery facilities and here are some of their answers.

“I think that what makes us unique is our integrative approach to counseling. Many of us have professional degrees in theology and counseling, so we are able to offer true Biblical/spiritual guidance, as well as clinical and psychological support.”

“Most programs are either Christ focused OR clinically focused.  HopeQuest is unique in that we are both Christ centered (without being legalistic) and clinically effective. Most programs tend to focus on behavior modification while we focus not on behavior but on getting to the “root” of what is driving the behavior.  We also do extensive psychological assessments that are used to tailor each client’s therapy to the individual; it’s not a “one size fits all” program.”

“The fusion of Christ in what we do.  I think it makes HopeQuest so unique compared to any program at a church or a clinical recovery center.  That’s where the hope comes from – the reality of the resurrection. That’s how we can tell someone who’s life is in shambles ‘Trust us, there is hope.’”

“HopeQuest is unique in its offering of grace and acceptance of where you are at. They meet you where you are at without feelings of shame or judgement.”

“HopeQuest is truly a distinctive ministry that blends God’s personal healing and forgiveness with very sound clinical and therapeutic processes that helps clients understand how their past life events have played a part of their choosing an addiction as the way what to cover up the pain of those events.”

What we do at HopeQuest changes lives, in turn changing families.  Be a part of the change! Donate today!