"When I got sober, it was like I had finally woken up. I experienced life in a whole new way." - Guest Speaker, Teen Challenge
Let’s be honest…. recovering from drug and alcohol abuse is no easy task!
For anyone who’s ever dealt with drug and alcohol abuse, be it personally or watching a loved one struggle through it, kicking the habit takes hard work and dedication.
But submitting yourself to God’s love can help you through this process. That’s exactly what our partners at Teen Challenge and Victory Outreach ask women entering their recovering programs to do. These free, Christian-based programs have two rules:
1. Commit wholeheartedly to sobriety
2. Serve God and serve each other
After spending 2 days going to church with them, sharing meals with them and getting to know them one on one, I learned 5 truths that anyone facing alcohol and drug abuse can apply to their journey:
Truth #1: With surrender, comes FREEDOM.
At church with the women, I was stunned to observe the crowd around me- lifting their hands, praying for their sisters, and crying out with joy at the exhortation they were given to Awaken! from their slumbers and answer the call of God. They didn’t care who saw them, what they looked like, how they sounded – they were free to worship, cry, ask for help and freely give it. No judgment here, just openness and honesty.
Truth #2: With sobriety, comes IDENTITY.
One woman told me that when she was intoxicated, she had sleepily stumbled through life, lukewarm to her faith in God and his power. When she got sober, she no longer saw herself limited to the label of an “addict.” She got a sense of her own identity. And with that identity, came…
Truth #3: LEADERSHIP.
Once you know who you are, you can identify who you used to be in others around you. You recognize the signs and symptoms of addiction and abuse – because that used to be you. One woman took it upon herself to reach out when witnessing the telltale marks of addiction in the lives of friends and family members to help them recover.
Truth #4: When helping others, you build a FAMILY.
Julie Arguinzoni, the founder of Victory Outreach International, has spent her life literally opening her doors to women in need. Now, Julie says, she has an international family spanning countries, continents and time zones – simply because she opened her heart to them.
Truth #5: With a network of support comes SUCCESS.
Michelle* shared with me that prior to entering the recovery home, she had no network of support - and had been isolated with only her abusive boyfriend and the drugs he used to keep her compliant. Connecting with other women in recovery proved that she didn't "need to party to have relationships."
Research from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration), supports Michelle's experience, noting, “The process of recovery is supported through relationships and social networks” to such an extent that community, home, and purpose comprise 3 of the 4 key components of sobriety success.
This means that all of these things – leadership, freedom, identity, family – they come together to create a paradigm of SUCCESS from addiction for women in these programs.
If you or a loved one want to experience this same freedom, please, let us know.