Walking Free/Journey Support Group Materials
You may not be aware, but we value what God can do in the life of those that are held captive by addiction. We value it so much, in fact, that HopeQuest has a full-time Campus Pastor/Director of Spiritual Formation for our TREK Residential Program.
Today, this was a communication piece our Campus Pastor sent out as he challenged our residential program participants in spiritual life:
Good morning gang,
Wanted to give you a heads up on what we did this morning in spiritual life. We showed them this video: http://youtu.be/5oPDcFJk–E
And then I asked the guys “so why would I show you this video and what does it have to do with your recovery?”
I’ve watched time and time again the power of gratitude as clients recover. I challenged them to write five things they’re grateful for today, and then challenged to do five everyday and hang them up. Was shocked at how many guys were in tears… Please keep praying for these men. I love what I sense God doing around here.
Here’s what we’re doing with those:
Our work is greater than just stopping destructive addictive behaviors. We help people do that, but our vision goes far beyond stopping behaviors. It moves into restoring freedom, hope, and life.
We are so excited to announce we will be opening the New TREK Residential Program for Women!
The program is a 12-week, state-licensed program for women held captive by addictions such as drugs, alcohol, or sex addiction. While we had previously admitted female participants in the traditional TREK program, we ceased to do so in March of 2014 for the purpose of developing a program to address the unique and specific needs of women. We are so pleased to share this great news! The new program is gender-specific (women only) and will function independently from our current TREK Program for men. We will have renovated residence facilities, female support staff, and specialized care designed for our ladies. Our Women’s Program will be limited to a maximum capacity of six ladies.
- Are you interested in helping us launch the New TREK Residential Program for Women? You can through becoming a Founding Member! For more information, you can click: https://hopequestgroup.org/product/trek-womens-program/
- Do you know a woman that needs our help and would benefit from the TREK Residential Program? Contact Joe Sellers, our Director of Admissions, at 678-391-5950 or email@example.com, and Joe will help you understand more about the option of the TREK Residential Program for Women!
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.”
•I feel____________________________(feeling word)
– 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 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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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
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.”
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.”
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!
HopeQuest offers Journey, a support group for women whose spouses struggle with sexual brokenness. Each year the Journey support group offers a spiritual retreat for its members. This story that I am about to share with you happened at one of these retreats.
I have friends I call “The Fellowship of the Broken.” These ladies have all experienced pain, heartache, and grief in their lives. This adversity has done it’s work and yielded women who are authentic and open and thirsty for God.
I have watched the Father save those who are crushed in spirit. I have seen women who had isolated themselves take the risk of opening up to others. I have seen women trade their ashes for beauty. I have seen miracles. It is amazing and beautiful every single time.
This is the beginning of one of those stories.
Holly* spills over with energy, a full- throttle kind of girl. If she is ever slows down to walk, rather than run, she walks fast. She has fire and passion. I say she was the inspiration behind the Nike slogan, “Just Do It”.
At this time in her life, Holly is enduring intense emotions over the betrayal she has experienced in her marriage. She is up, down, hopeful, discouraged, angry, frustrated, tender and forgiving. Life is a roller coaster right now.
During our Journey retreat, after a powerful lesson on how our souls relate to God, our speaker instructed us to decorate our own small, plain wooden box. We were given a box and art supplies to help us create a box that would represent who we are, body and soul. Holly, whose strong suit is not arts and crafts, was trying her best to make her box as she had been encouraged to do.
Unfortunately, there was an accident when Holly mistook the white paint for the mod-podge. For all you non-crafters out there, this means that instead of gluing on her designs and making them look shiny like a coat of mod-podge would do, she completely covered her work with white paint.
Her box was ruined.
Discouraged, Holly tossed the ruined box aside as garbage and got another plain box. There wasn’t time to start over, so Holly simply slapped some stickers onto the new box and called it done.
Someone, who had watched Holly toss her first box in the trash, rescued it. This woman redesigned, repainted, and remade the box into an amazing work of art. And as a finishing touch she painted this verse across the front: He Makes All Things New.
I wasn’t aware that any of this had happened. So when I saw the beautifully decorated box she was holding during worship, I said, “I think you are lying about not being very good at this crafty stuff! Your box is beautiful.”
That’s when I saw that she was crying. And with tears rolling down her cheeks, Holly told me that someone had redeemed her solid white mess up from the trash heap, and produced this lovely new creation she now held.
Immediately my own tears started flowing, as well. I was so overwhelmed by God’s tender mercies and care for my friend. He had seen her struggle. He had seen her pain. He had seen her need. And He had called on one of the members of the body to give a gift of hope.
That anonymous woman was obedient to the call. She used her gift of compassion to bless Holly. Little did she know that her simple act of repairing the rejected box would become known to every lady at the retreat and that small act would resonate deeply within our souls.
As Holly shared the story with the group, we all could sense that God was speaking to our hearts as women. He was proclaiming His love and tender care for each one of us.
Our own lives had looked like they belonged on the trash heap. Broken, messed up, imperfect. But what we viewed as rubbish was still valued by the Father. He didn’t turn His back to us. Rather, He lovingly looked down and rescued what seemed ruined and beyond repair.
And now we are God’s treasure. We are learning to cling tightly to Him, come what may. He is making us new.
*names have been changed to protect confidentiality.
For this month’s resource recommendation, I read The Addictive Personality by Craig Nakken.
What is it about: This book helps people understand the process of addiction. Author Craig Nakken goes beyond the more common dependencies (alcohol, drugs, sex) and uncovers the common denominator of all addiction and describes how the process is progressive.
Nakken sheds new light on:
- Genetic factors tied to addiction
- Cultural influences on addictive behaviors
- The progressive nature of the disease
- Steps to a successful recovery
The author examines how addictions start, how society pushes people toward addiction, and what happens inside those who become addicted.
Why did I read it: At HopeQuest, we require clients to read this book as a part of their journey to healing and restoration. It helps those struggling with addiction understand more of the root of the problem, instead of just the side effects. This book will help anyone seeking a better understanding of the addictive process and its impact on our lives.
Favorite idea: Recovery is not just about breaking off your relationship with an object or event, though vital to the process. Recovery is primarily about coming to know your addictive personality and taking the necessary steps to rid yourself of addictive attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors. Nakken’s example – “People in a recovery program for alcohol addiction need to clearly understand that they are prone to form a possible addictive relationship with another object or event – such as food for example. For these people, sobriety acquires a new dimension; instead of only monitoring their relationship with alcohol, they also need to learn how to monitor the addictive part of themselves.”