hopequest blog

Transformation Happens at HopeQuest…

Hi, I’m Brian Minor, and I went through the Trek program in 2017. Whether you’re a Trek alum, attend Walking Free or Journey, been to a Reclaiming Families Weekend, or are a dear friend and support the ministry of HopeQuest, we all have been touched in some way by God through this amazing ministry – and every one of us has a story to tell about that.

This is my story.  

In 2013 I was facing a big transition. I just became the missions pastor at church which was new for me. At the same time, I had to have a root canal done so I went and got a prescription for pain killers.

A couple weeks went by another stressful situation came up. I went to the doctor and got a prescription for Adderall. I had taken it in college to help study and prepare. It was a miracle drug for me. I took one, and then I took more and more until 3 days later I used all my medication.

Going back to my childhood, I can remember as a 10 year-old taking my first pain pill and instead of feeling down and lethargic and disconnected, it actually gave me energy and made me feel confident.

I always saw it as something that I could just stop. I could use Adderall to get this job done, then I’m good. If I could just use the pain killers to get me off Adderall, then I’m okay. But I never actually took that first step to try and stop. I just kept putting it off and putting it off.

In the summer of 2016, my father-in-law passed and it was in that place the first thought I had was, “I don’t want to deal with this pain.” So I called the doctor and asked if I could get a script. I got another script for Adderall. As I was sitting there going through my father-in-law’s stuff, I wondered, “What would happen at my death? What would my wife find out about me? How surprised she would be that the man she fell in love with was trapped in addiction. So, I stuffed it down. 

The event that got me to HopeQuest happened on day when I went to a funeral and later was at someone’s house, and left on the sink in the bathroom was a pill bottle full of Hydrocodone. There were like 2-3 pills in there and I took one. The next day I woke up and the LORD spoke to me audibly and said, “Repentance is a gift. Your journey starts today.” 

My Executive Pastor called an emergency meeting and said, “You need to come in.” All sorts of emotions were going through me: panic, fear. I had no proof I would actually be caught, but I was praying that I would. I walked into his office and just lost it. I didn’t have to say a word. He knew what I had been doing. I told him, “I want freedom. I want out! I need help!” I confessed everything to him and that’s what lead me, by God’s providence, to find HopeQuest.  

As a pastor I learned to hide my pain and hurt behind masks. How could I struggle with addiction and yet lead others? I had a head knowledge of authentic community, but at home I couldn’t even connect with my own family. HopeQuest gave me the tools to communicate and connect with my family again. I learned how to engage in healthy conflict resolution and how to invite Jesus into my struggle versus constantly trying to clean myself up to be approved by Him. HopeQuest truly changed our family’s trajectory.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and thank you for your gift this month to HopeQuest. 

Gratefully,

Brian and Meredith Minor

COVID-19 Public Statement

Dear HopeQuest Family,

There is no doubt that we are living in unprecedented times as together we face realities and concerns surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  At the HopeQuest Ministry Group, nothing matters more to us than the physical, emotional and spiritual health of those men God has entrusted to us for help. In doing our part to face this challenge well, we have continued to execute policies we have had in place that keep our clients, families, and staff safe.  Because of our normal preparation, we have been able to follow the recommended best communicated by the CDC while continuing to provide the appropriate treatment for our clients as it applies to their recovery. During this extraordinary time, we want to give extra focus to ensure the safety of HopeQuest clients and staff. Below you will find several key questions answered. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to us. Wisdom involves communicating, following guidelines, praying, and ultimately trusting God. We promise to do all four together with you as I know God will continue to guide and protect us all.

  1. Is HopeQuest still open and taking new clients?
    • The short answer is yes. Not only are we continuing to take in new clients, HopeQuest might very well be the safest place they can be as they work on their recovery.
    • In times like these, addiction flourishes with uncertainty, isolation and other challenges. As addiction takes advantage of this crisis and spirals men deeper, please remember only recovery saves lives impacted by addiction. We must stay open to continue to serve those men who are finally ready to take a real step toward freedom and hope.
    • We have revised our admissions department pre-screening and screening process to include specific health screenings, international and domestic travel, and family members’ risk potential. Anyone deemed a possible risk will not be allowed on campus. 
    • We currently have clients in Residential, PHP, and Transitional Living housing. Please pray for their safety (see increased protocols and info below). Most of all pray for their continued transformation and recovery.
    • If you need more info about an admission or potential client, please contact our Admissions Team, as they would be happy to help you make an informed and wise decision.
  1. How are we keeping clients and staff safe?
    • We normally adhere to universal healthcare precaution measures to prevent the spread of any infection and have elected to add additional measures to ensure the health of our clients, employees, and visitors. These include following CDC guidelines especially in the areas of handwashing, sanitizing living/workspaces, and social distancing.
    • We have canceled all outings and off-campus activities for the clients.
    • We have restricted visitor access at our residences.
    • Our medical team has done additional training with both the clients and staff to ensure they are aware of all policies and practices meant to keep everyone safe.
    • All clients and staff have regular health and temperature checks by our medical team.
    • We have protocols in place and are prepared to isolate/quarantine staff or clients that are exposed or test positive for COVID-19 in order to ensure client and staff safety.
  1. What about HopeQuest events and meetings?
    • Family sessions are being done via technology to limit contact.
    • We are working on contingency plans for our April Reclaiming Families Weekend.
    • All Walking Free, Journey, and Freedom Experience groups are not meeting in person and, where possible, will move to online formats for the foreseeable future.
    • The Journey Retreat has been canceled. A decision will be made later regarding the Walking Free Retreat as it is not until the last weekend in April.
  1. What can you do to help HopeQuest?
    • Pray – while we follow the guidelines of experts and direction from authorities, our trust is wholly in God. Please pray that God will keep our clients and staff safe. More so, pray that God would do the transforming work that only He can do. In addition, there are men and families wanting to get help so please pray all barriers to their being with us would be overcome.
    • Refer – if you know someone that is struggling, we are here to help. It is rarely the “best” time to get treatment, but it is always the “right” time. Our Admissions Team is available to answer any questions and help people make wise and informed decisions.
    • Give – every single year our financial partners make it possible for men that could otherwise not afford help to receive it. Around 80% of our operating costs are generated via program revenue including insurance and client fees. That allows us to point 100% of our donations toward client scholarships and not operating expenses. With the economic impact of this crisis, your help is needed more than ever. Please consider helping us help others by donating. Every gift you share makes a significant difference.

We are so thankful for you. Know that your help really does make a difference. It is a huge encouragement for me, the staff and our clients to know that you are praying for us. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Grateful,

Troy Haas 

CEO | CADC II, CSAT

Are You Aware Of Unhealthy Dynamics In Your Relationships?

During Reclaiming Families Weekend, clients and their friends and families learn many things, and we teach a breakout session that looks at unhealthy ways people have grown to relate…

Being Aware of Unhealthy Strategies

• Guilt

• Enabling “Helping”

• Rescuing

• Controlling

Being Aware of Unhealthy Roles

• Superstar/Hero

• Rebel

• Mascot

• Scapegoat

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook

Other Recent Posts from Reclaiming Families Weekend

How Do I Turn My ME Into A WE?

The Five Factors Of Addiction

What Is Addiction?

Relationships And God’s Plan

How Do I Turn My ME Into a WE?

During the Reclaiming Families Weekend for our Trek residential clients and their friends and families, one of the breakout sessions discusses healthy relationships of ME and WE:

Me

When talking about relationships, you have to start with an understanding of a healthy individual.

  • Understand who I am
  • Know my thoughts and feelings
  • Recognize the source of my thoughts and feelings
  • Family of origin
  • Life experience

We

Creating a “We” through cohesion/togetherness

  • When ME and YOU come together, we form a WE
  • Varying degrees of WE, or emotional bonding
  • Balance of separateness and togetherness
  • Independent from + connected to
  • Build consensus vs. do your own thing”

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook

The Five Factors of Addiction

Five Factors of Addiction can be explained as follows:

Biological Factors

• Genetic vulnerability

• Individual biology

• Coping with undiagnosed or untreated medical or mental health issues

• Repeated use leads to lasting changes in the brain – habituation

Psychological Factors

• Distorted thoughts and beliefs

• Inability to cope with negative feelings

• Personality traits

Environmental Factors

• Trauma

• Peer influences

• Failures

Family Factors

• Develop a sense of self

• Develop values, limits, and coping styles

• Learn to relate to others

• Develop our understanding of the world

• Shapes our view of God

Spiritual Factors

• View of self

• Sense of purpose and meaning

• Faith and hope

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook

What is Addiction?

Definition of Addiction

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addictive Behavior Can Be Characterized by 5 Specific Features:

  • Inability to Abstain
  • Behavioral Control Impairment
  • Craving
  • Diminished recognition of Significant Problems
  • Emotional dysfunction

Source, and further information: 

https://www.asam.org/resources/definition-of-addiction

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook

Relationships and God’s Plan

Relationships: God’s Plan

• With God

• With ourselves

• Within families and others

 

Relationships: With God

• We are meant to have a real and vital relationship with God.

• This relationship becomes our “source” of real life!

• We are meant to live out His design and purpose for our lives.

 

Relationships: With Self

• Begins with being connected and bonded together with one another.

• Then comes learning to separate from others to form a sense of self. (Boundaries)

• Have a healthy self-concept which includes significance and worth, self-awareness, and self-acceptance.

 

Relationships: Within Families

• Families provide the environment of safety and acceptance for a child to bond, learn boundaries and gain a healthy sense of self.

• In families, children become prepared for the challenges of life and then are launched into adulthood.

• We are meant to live out His design and purpose for our lives.

Reclaiming Families Seminar Workbook

What Are Your Core Beliefs About You?

Here’s the thing. Your beliefs about yourself are absolutely, totally, and inextricably tied to your recovery.

Why?

Because recovery from addiction is only successful when we believe that we are valuable — that we are worth loving.

Because recovery from addiction is only possible when we dare to believe that others love and accept us, even when they know everything about us.

Because recovery from addiction requires us to trust others enough to ask for help.

And because recovery from addiction means we no longer have the need to escape from ourselves through some substance or behavior, since our greatest needs have been met in relationships with God and others.

So, if we are going to be successful in recovery, we must face our shame and find freedom from it.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Recent Blog Post on Shame:

Trek – Week Forty-Three

Trek – Week Forty-Three

Shame is a complicated emotion. In a very healthy way we can feel ashamed of something we have done because our behavior doesn’t match up with what we value or believe. We sense that there is a disconnect between who we are and what we do — an experience common to every human on the planet. And it is this same experience that helps us to realize how much we need a Savior to help us successfully navigate this thing called life. Without Him, we are doomed to fail at loving ourselves and loving others well.

On the other hand, shame can become an emotion infected by toxic beliefs about ourselves which results in an overwhelming sense of defectiveness and worthlessness. We feel that we are uniquely screwed up, and therefore there is no hope for change.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Trek – Week Forty-Two

You’ll learn a ton of tools for dealing with anxiety while you are in the program — beginning, of course, with identifying it and expressing it to others in the community.

Journaling is also a great way to start making the connections between your anxiety and your addictive behaviors. You can write an IFAB (I feel… about… Because…) statement choosing an appropriate word to match the intensity of your anxiety. You can rate your anxiety in your journal on a scale of 1 to 10 so that you and your counselor can have a sense of how big your anxiety is in a given moment. It may also be helpful to record what you want to do when you start experiencing anxiety.

…Once you’ve acknowledged all of this to yourself, you can think about a different, more relational, way to deal with the anxiety.

…As we learn how to experience our emotions and express them to others without pushing the escape button of addiction, we grow in our ability to tolerate discomfort — a huge factor in emotional maturity.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Other recent Trek posts on Anxiety:

Trek – Week Thirty-Nine

Trek – Week Forty

Trek – Week Forty-One

Trek – Week Forty-One

One of the critical growth areas for our recovery is to begin connecting the dots between our emotions and our behaviors. Since anxiety is such an uncomfortable emotion to experience, it can be pretty persuasive in motivating us to seek relief.

Learning to address our anxiety in healthy ways becomes a core component of relapse prevention as we move ahead in recovery.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Other recent Trek posts on Anxiety:

Trek – Week Thirty-Nine

Trek – Week Forty

Trek – Week Forty

Anxiety has these four components:

• Feeling of uneasiness, agitation, or discomfort

• Some physiological sign (specific to each individual but can be things like sweating, increased heart rate, tightness in chest, butterflies in stomach, restless movement — pacing, moving foot, clicking a pen, etc.)

• Uncertainty about the reality or nature of the threat (I don’t know exactly what I am dealing with — fear of the unknown)

• Self-doubt about my ability to cope or deal with the problem effectively (I don’t know if I can do this)

We live in a world that is focused on performance — being the strongest, fastest, smartest, most beautiful, and most successful. Even the church, which is supposed to be a place of acceptance and grace, a safe community in which we can take a deep breath and relax and just be, is often instead another place we feel pressured to perform.  “Don’t do that,” “yes, do that,” and you need to do more of that” is what we hear.

Is it any wonder why so many people — including Christians — suffer from anxiety and depression?

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Trek – Week Thirty-Nine

In terms of an emotional experience, crippling fear is the worst.  There is probably nothing more distressing to a person than feeling completely helpless and powerless.  But that is not the only kind of fear that can trip us up in recovery.

Anxiety is a huge trigger for addictive behavior.

What exactly is anxiety? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it in the following way:

Painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind; an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Trek – Week Thirty-Eight

If you are triggered, you may suddenly feel very angry — like so angry you want to hit something or quit the program. You may just have the urge to run, like you have to get out of the room and away from people. You might feel overwhelmed by a desire to drink or use or act out in some way.  Your body may be physically responding to your memories — sweating, racing heartbeat, tightness in your chest, feeling like you are going to throw up.  Or you may just feel yourself shutting down, like you are disconnecting from the world around you.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Trek – Week Thirty-Seven

We experience fear on a spectrum.  On a scale from 1 to 10, we might go from feeling nervous about something — butterflies in our stomach — to feeling utterly terrified — peeing-your-pants kind of fear. Just like anger, fear can be a secondary emotion that kicks in when our senses tell us that we are in physical danger. Our bodies take over and we instinctively do one of three things: fight, flee, or freeze.

Also like anger, our fear indicator can get calibrated incorrectly when we have experienced life-threatening situations or trauma in the past.  Sometimes a disorder called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop with symptoms like these: nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance of situations that remind us of the event, refusing to talk about what happened, beginning to distrust all people, isolating from others, feeling keyed up and jittery, and being hyper-vigilant for signs of danger.

It’s understandable with these kinds of symptoms why up to 75% of people who have survived abuse or trauma report that they have a drinking or substance abuse problem (National Center for PTSD, 2016).

One of the things we need to be honest about with ourselves and with our counselor as we begin our recovery journey is the presence of some kind of trauma in our past that is causing us to want to numb out or find relief from the emotional pain we are experiencing.  Our addiction will not get better if we don’t deal with the underlying causes.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Trek – Week Thirty-Six

I want you to hear me say that it makes sense why we have been so angry. Of course, we’re mad. And it’s time to deal with the hurts in the only way that can bring healing, change, and growth.

We’ve got to face them — instead of trying to protect ourselves in unhealthy ways that destroy us and our relationships with the people that we love.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

RECENT TREK POSTS RELATING TO ANGER:

Trek – Week Thirty-Five

Trek – Week Thirty-Four

Trek – Week Thirty-Three

Trek – Week Thirty-Two

Trek – Week Thirty-Five

Let’s be honest. Hanging onto healthy and helpful expressions of anger when we are triggered can be really challenging — especially if we have grown accustomed to letting our anger control and define our behaviors.

This is particularly true for those of us who have experienced physical or sexual abuse, emotional neglect, or trauma. Because of our past experiences, we may be hyper-vigilant—always looking for danger, always distrustful of others—and we may be very sensitive about how others relate to us.

…What I probably won’t do once my old wounds are triggered is hit the pause button and take a moment to question my perception or put myself in my co-worker’s shoes.  My anger has clouded my ability to have empathy or to think about the situation in any other way than from my self-protective stance.

That’s why anger is so tricky.  If my emotional thermostat is not calibrated correctly because of past abuse or hurt, I may believe that others are out to get me or that they are intentionally hurting me when they are not.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Read recent Trek posts relating to anger:

Trek – Week Thirty-Two

Trek – Week Thirty-Three

Trek – Week Thirty-Four

Trek – Week Thirty-Four

“So how can we express anger in a way that is healthy and actually helpful in strengthening emotional intimacy?”

Great question.

…We can define helpful anger as:

Honest – I use an IFAB statement to express my anger (“I feel furious with you right now about your behavior because it was disrespectful and hurtful.”)

Kind – I do not use cutting or sarcastic remarks.

Responsible – I recognize that no one other than me has power over my emotions; others can’t makeme angry.

Fair – I do not use humor to attack others (in public or in private).

Contained – I don’t get back at others or hurt others when I am angry. I trust God to deal with them.

Controlled – I invite God to help me manage the expression of my anger.

Interactive – I express my anger in safe relationships where it can be talked through and worked out.

Expressed – I deal with my anger by acknowledging it and expressing it appropriately instead of stuffing it or obsessing over resentments toward others.

Authentic – I express anger in order to repair relationships instead of to manipulate the emotions of others.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Trek – Week Thirty-Three

…And here is the tricky part. Because anger is always a secondary emotion meant to protect ourselves from hurt, it is often expressed in hurtful or intimidating ways to others. When others feel hurt or scared, they generally either try to calm us down, withdraw from us, become defensive, or get angry back. This can throw the relationship into a very negative cycle in which we are constantly reacting to each other’s anger instead of talking about the hurt and fears underneath it. Instead of fighting for emotional connection and intimacy, we end up fighting each other.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101

Trek – Week Thirty-Two

Anger is an emotion God gave us to enable us to move to protect ourselves or others from danger or harm when something hurtful or scary has happened.  Anger is accompanied by a physical rush of adrenaline and other neurochemicals which impact us physiologically.  Our senses are more acute, our muscles tense, preparing for action, and our facial expression and body language communicates to others to back off.

So, here is the important part to remember.  Anger is always a secondary emotion that arises because of some kind of hurt or fear of being hurt.

–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101