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Addiction Recovery

Finding Serenity

October 6, 2016

My addiction was fine for a while.
But it’s like everything else. Every other addiction progresses and gets worse and worse and then it finally catches up with you.

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The Journey

I lost a great friend, a guy I had known for a long time, grew up with, in a car wreck in October 2014. Then lost my mother in January 2015. Lost Nanna in February 2015. And an oldest brother to suicide in March 2015. And I put on a fine face during the whole time but it was eating me up. I was mad at God. Mad at the world. I ended up in the hospital and called my Reverend.

I knew The Salvation Army was the place I needed to be. I jumped into the spiritual side of it, not just the AA side of it. I needed God in my life. I needed him back in my life. I had lost all faith and all hope. 

It was a pretty big burden, but it just depends on your perspective of it. It was bad at the time but brought me back to where I am today. It’s what it took to get me back.

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Can you describe how you felt before the program and how you feel now?
Lost. Empty. I had lost all faith and hope.

And now how do you feel?
Serene. I just kind of go with the flow with whatever God has got in store for me. And, I mean, it’s all glory to God.

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What is the greatest joy that you have now?

The opportunity that Major gave me [to be employed by The Salvation Army]. Being able to stick around and be able to be a vital part of the Salvation Army. To be a part of the team. The reason that I am strong is the reason the Salvation Army does what it does. To be just even a small part of that, is a great feeling. It’s a great cause. Helping burdened families that have lost everything. Being able to show them that we do care. To be a part of that, it is a pretty neat feeling.

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“He is doing something for a reason and I don’t know. I will eventually know the answers but today I don’t and all I can do is trust. And that is what I’ll do.”

Easter through the Eyes of an Addict

March 21, 2016

In planning and anticipation for Easter, I often forget to sit back and truly reflect on the tragedy, loss, exhilaration and restoration that mark Holy Week. Rather than being invested in the story of redemption, I seem to focus on the events going on in my world: the candlelight service, the yummy lunch or the Easter egg hunt that will shortly follow.

This year, I don’t want to let the week go by unnoticed. I want to remember the beautiful story of Easter, an event that happened several thousand years ago and yet is more relevant to today than any other story. This story brings freedom, light, belonging: it brings life.

People have remarkable stories if we will simply ask, if we will simply listen. I thought who better to tell the story of freedom and light than those who recognize their bondage and have found a way out! So I asked several of the men in our addiction recovery program….

Why is Easter special to you-

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“It represents Jesus and his rising after 3 days. It’s a very special day. It’s special for me because he rose, so I am saved. And this Easter is more special because I am free of a lot of things: free of my addictions and everything else. And knowing that my twin daughters can see that is very special.” -Larry

“Easter is when Jesus was resurrected, and that’s where my faith is: in the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. And this Easter is more special, because I am surrounded by Christian people.
For the past few Easters, it was just another drunk day. But not this year, it’s more of a celebration. It’s back to the basics!” -Michael

“It means freedom. Freedom from sin. I used to be in bondage and I don’t have to be anymore because of our great Savior, Jesus Christ. I can be confident and full of hope.” -Brett

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William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army said, “I will tell you the secret: God has had all that there was of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, even with greater opportunities, but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart and caught a vision of what Jesus Christ could do with me and them, on that day I made up my mind that God should have all of William Booth there was. And if there is anything of power in The Salvation Army, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life.”

Now, that is something to celebrate this Easter: the lost, the broken, the hurting and the poor being given hope and life though the Gospel of Christ and through his church. Not through the efforts of man, but through grace.

Transformation

February 22, 2016

One of the most incredible things The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas is able to offer is a free Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Program. Here’s a little info on our program:

  • It is a 6 month, faith-based work therapy program.
  • We currently offer 16 beds.
  • It is totally free of charge to the men who attend.

Brian is going to tell you his story. But before he does, will you just take a moment to celebrate with us?! In the last two weeks, we have had two men graduate from our program, and we have another FIVE up for graduation over the course of the next four weeks! We are beating the odds! For a quick look at drug abuse statistics in America, check here.

Now, for a story about a life changed that is guaranteed to change your life.

Brian 1

How did you find The Salvation Army?
I was in my third drug and alcohol treatment program. They had all been thirty day programs before this one [at The Salvation Army]. I called a man named Jim Reaves, a good, good man. He helped save my life. I told him they wouldn’t let me leave my program unless I had a sponsor to talk to when I got back to Northwest Arkansas.

He told me to come see him as soon as I got back in town and we’d talk. He owns Razorback Pizza, so we met at the one on 6th Street, and he told me about the [Salvation Army] recovery program. That was in 2000.

But between 2000 and 2002, I had to do what we like to call “research”. I was stealing stuff, lying, cheating; I was a pretty vile character. I had been down that path before but not to this extent. And that was after I had already gone through three recovery programs.

In 2002, I hit rock bottom.
I snuck into my daughter’s bedroom and stole money out of her piggy bank so I could buy alcohol or drugs or whatever I was longing for at the time. It was heart-breaking but it wasn’t enough to curb me. Addiction is pretty strong.

Finally, I went through the program and graduated December 26th of 2002. And I have been here since that day!

Brian 4

Did you want to be in the program when you started in 2002?
To be honest with you, when I came here to stay my four months for the program, I was not there to get sober. I thought, “OK, I’ll go through the program and do what I need to do to make people think I am getting sober”.

But this is what proves to me that God is gonna come find you wherever you’re at.
I was lying in my bunk one day thinking about how I could get away with [my addiction] better the next time rather than latching onto a cure. If I could just hold on a little longer, and get away with it a little better where I don’t get caught next time, things will be OK.

But God came to me, and he said, “No, I have better plans for you.”
He said, “We are building an army out of the sick, out of the oppressed, the lonely and broken-hearted. There are other people out there going through the same situation as you are. They have gone down the same roads that you’ve gone down, and they are going to learn something from the pain that you’ve gone through.”

What makes this program work?
The first thing that has to go is all the junk [in your heart]. Once the confession was there, the healing began. Once I met Jesus at the foot of the Cross, then healing came. And real, genuine love- I could finally understand it. It was a life changing event.

Then there is the absolute love that the men in the Corps (church) have for the people in the program. They took care of my family while I was in the program. They paid bills. They pretty much put themselves out there to help me and my family be successful. Their love made me want to come back. It really stuck strong with me.

Also, the camaraderie of the men that I went to the program with was way different than anything I had ever experienced before. We were all actually invested in changing our lives and the lives of people around us. It’s amazing how beautiful it is when everyone around you is of a like mind. There is no judgment. All we were trying to do was please God.

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What do you currently do with The Salvation Army?
I head maintenance for Northwest Arkansas Area Command.

By trade, I am a master electrician. I prayed to God that if The Salvation Army was where He wanted me to serve, then He would open a door for me. I was in between jobs when the new Major came in and they presented me with a job.

It is such a blessing that I never thought would come true. I am around the program guys every single day. I actually get to work with one of them! I get to tell them what the Lord did for me and what he can do for them. I spend time with them, because that’s what was done for me.

What would you say to addicts who are struggling?

You have never gone too far, to not be brought back.
There is absolutely no distance that you can go, which you can’t come back from. There is no depth too deep that God won’t bring you back from if you seek him. And that’s the truest thing I’ve ever said.

Living sober is absolutely attainable; it’s not impossible. Once you move from one side of the fence to the other, life is so much better. The worries are less, the stress is less. There are so many benefits to living a sober lifestyle. It is indescribable.

Brian 6

What would you like to tell our community about The Salvation Army?
God is moving in this place. People are being helped; lives are being changed. There are a million things I could say, but I think the most important is that lives are being changed for the good.

I saw a picture one time.
It’s simple but it blew my mind.

You see the sea of despair. There are ten foot waves and people all in it. Up the valley there is a line of people, hand-in-hand, all the way to the edge of the water. The people who just came out of the water are dripping water, and they are reaching their hands down into the sea to pull the drowning up this hill.

And that’s the way it is here. Exactly how it is here.

The love that these guys showed me when I was a horrible, horrible person and didn’t deserve anything was amazing. For them to love and accept me for who I was, to try and lead me in a different direction, that meant everything in the world to me.

That’s why I keep hanging out with the guys here.
Cause I love them, and I am one of them.


Is someone you love in need of transformation?
Please give us a call at 479-521-2151.

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You can donate online here.