From the Executive Director – April 2014

We had a wonderful packed house at our annual Recovery and Spirituality Retreat at Laity Lodge. Ashley Cleveland, Dr. David Augsburger and artists Robert and Claudia Fuerge led us beautifully in song, instruction and artistic expression. The challenges that the material presented and the intense discussion during our break times will continue to offer me opportunities to reconsider my own way of thinking, feeling, and doing in the world – and that can only be a good thing!

Travis Reed (Work of the People) captured some amazing video, and it’ll be available to you soon. In 2013, Travis did a series of videos from our first retreat as well. Matt Russell and Kelly Hall have taken on the work of creating compilations of materials on each subject. Our first collaborative venture on “Surrender” is a beautiful work – and available now through our store and Amazon. Included in the book is a curriculum guide written by Kim Engelmann, a fantastic author, pastor and friend. It’s not only artistic and thought provoking – it is another resource that you can use at church, in recovery meetings, with a small group – anywhere you are finding ways to wrestle with what it means to surrender ourselves to the care and control of God.

Have I mentioned that we also opened our office in Richmond, VA in 2013? If you join us for our workshop on the 11th step (Thursday night May 15th – Saturday afternoon May 17th) that’s where we’ll be meeting. Come prepared to practice the 11th step and experience a time of personal reflection. I’m looking forward to seeing you!

In the meantime, keep the faith, Teresa

From the Exec Director: March 2014

I love my work. When Phillip Seymour Hoffmann overdosed, I had a bad day. That startled me; after all, I don’t know the guy or his family. I have long appreciated his gifts and talents as an actor, but I didn’t KNOW P. S. Hoffmann. I did, however, know Kevin. He died the Thursday before Hoffmann – cause yet to be determined, but we fear the worst. He didn’t make the news. I only heard of his passing via Facebook posts blaring R.I.P.

Hoffman and Kevin represent a long list of names I have tattooed on my heart.

Next to their physical loss – gone from this world of hugs and coffee meet-ups, parenting snafus and productivity – I hate what I hear others say about these tragic deaths. Bloggers and pundits expound on drug addiction and alcoholism. Blaming and moralizing, hopelessness and judgments flavor many of the conversations. And as bad as that is – nothing gets my goat more than the ignorance.

There’s just so much we don’t know about the treatment of addiction – but it shocks me how many don’t even understand what we do know in 2014. Research? Ignored or unread. Experience, strength and hope? Dismissed or distrusted. Community support for the addicted and their loved ones? Not enough to go around, and much of what is available is accessed in crisis but not committed to as a lifestyle.

Personally, I have a couple of choices. I can curl up in the fetal position, eat more peanut butter than I have bread to spread it on, or….sit. In recent years, the practice of prayer has become both more difficult and meaningful for me. I’ve mostly set aside my narcissistic cries for God to do what I want, and instead, give myself in surrender to listening for his Spirit. Frustrated and compassion-fatigued after a week of loss, I continued to take my daily time to sit, surrender, and wait upon the Lord.

After a couple days, I rose up from my extended sit and found my joy. I was able to recall not just the Kevins of my community, but the Craigs and Joannes, the Jens and Bruces, the Barbs and Jays, the Lindas, Dougs, Debs and my friends at NACR – people who keep putting one foot in front of the other, moving toward the possibility of transformational recovery. These precious people are good reasons to get up and go to work.

Speaking of work – our mission at the NACR is to keep finding ways to get resources into your hands, so that you can continue your ministries with fresh resources, more information, maybe even new mentors and coaches to help you as you serve others. Check them out! Buy them! Use them! Let us know how they’re working for you!

Finally, I don’t say this often enough: can you support our cause financially? These materials don’t appear like burning bushes! Every family needs a viable, sustainable, and effective recovery ministry within driving distance – help us help you make that happen. Thank you.

Blessings, Teresa

From the Exec. Director – Dec 2013

Generosity is such a beautiful gift from God. As a result of the gift of giving – specifically to the NACR – we have some opportunities coming to fruition that I cannot wait for you to discover. Sometimes my husband and I send ten or twenty, fifty or a hundred bucks to an organization like the NACR. I cannot speak for Pete, but I always wish I could give more. Or, sometimes I think, “Why bother?” My giving always seems so small in comparison to the need.

It’s at this point in this newsletter where I could put on my preacher’s hat and talk about the value Jesus placed on the widow’s two small coins, but you know the story, right? I’ll save you the sermonette. But what I cannot help but share is how our collective nickels, dimes and quarters are being used to fulfill the mission of this organization. Here’s what YOU, the giver, have helped accomplish at the NACR this year.

A second annual recovery and spirituality retreat in partnership with Laity Lodge. For most folks, this will require an airline ticket and registration fees, using precious vacation days and making arrangements for others to take on their weekend ministry and family responsibilities to get away and experience refreshment. Thank you for providing funds to help scholarship our leaders who have the will, but not the financial way to get here without you. (See newsletter for details and don’t forget to register!)

Four new publications going to press even as I type:

  • Curriculum to accompany the nine awesome recovery and spirituality videos captured and produced by Travis Reed from Work of the People at last year’s recovery and spirituality retreat at Laity Lodge. (Additionally, nine booklets of art, poetry, music and essays on each of the nine videos is in the works.)
  • A new Christ-centered 12 step workbook, ideal for churches interested in providing materials and build support groups that are distinctly Christian and honoring of the 12 step process.
  • TWO new works from Kim Engelmann, in collaboration with me. Kim has created a wonderful workbook that we believe enhances small group experiences for those interested in reading her latest book, “No More Running in Circles.” For those who enjoyed her book “Running In Circles”, I hope you’ll appreciate this new expanded version of her story and our collective perspective on the model of the 12 steps. In this new book, “No More Running in Circles,” we talk through our experiences with transformation that have helped us recover our lives. Her frank, honest recounting of her own past trauma makes this a must read for people interested in building a beautiful life out of the ashes of despair.

Look for our releases of all these materials in early 2014. You will find them here at www.nacr.org. Or, come to the retreat at Laity Lodge – we’ll have them available there too!

Thank you for helping us help others, through your donations, your participation and your commitment to serving your local community.

Teresa

From the Executive Director – July 2013

SPIRITUALITY AND RECOVERY

It’s hard to get away, isn’t it? We talk about taking a sabbatical, signing up for a retreat and attending workshops. But family, finances, work and ministry responsibilities interfere with our good intentions. At NACR, we get it; we know you’re out there and that you’re eager to improve your serve.

We are working hard to bring resources to your doorstep. Remember when we hosted a retreat at Laity Lodge last February? We had a packed house, but that left thousands of you unable to attend! So we went to Laity with you in our hearts; we committed ourselves to figuring out a way to bring part of the experience of this retreat into your community.

A series of videos were captured during that retreat and they are now available here. There are two formats: one short version – great for sermon clips and a second longer version – we imagine you using them in small groups, classes and even for personal use. The nine topics that are the focus of each video can help us help others. In particular, they discuss spiritual practices that can enrich our eleventh step experience. Notice how beautifully spiritual disciplines and the twelve steps meet up at the eleventh step! Isn’t that cool?

If you find these enriching, imagine how useful these films are going to be paired with our soon-to-be-released curriculum on the same subjects. When you want to enrich your community’s experience with spiritual practices and/or the eleventh step – remember that resources are available using either the short or long videos and we anticipate releasing curriculum suitable for small study group experiences within your community soon.

BREATHE

Interested in taking a break, getting away, and regrouping? Need a meeting with fellow recovery ministers, pastors, treatment professionals and support group leaders? Join us for breathe…Friday, October 11th and Saturday, October 12th, 2013 at Grace Fellowship church in Timonium, MD. (Want more details? Ready to register? Need a scholarship to help with your expenses? Contact us and/or register here

Addiction: the Church’s Role in Recovery

Please take note of this training opportunity scheduled for August 3 in Memphis, TN! The topic of this free, half-day workshop is: Addiction: the Church’s Role in Recovery

The workshop is sponsored by the Recovery Commission of the Diocese of West Tennessee. The featured presenter will be The Rev. Dr. Stuart Hoke. Rev. Hoke is an adjunct professor at General Seminary in New York City. He has pioneered a tremendously successful course of study on the Church’s role in the treatment of alcoholism and addictive illness. Over the past 6 years Stuart has shared his expertise and energy with more than 350 students at the seminary and beginning this year, will be adapting that course for an audience in dioceses and parishes across the country.

Organizer: Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church
Date: Saturday, August 3, 2013
Time: 9:00am to 12:30pm
Place: Grace St. Luke’s Church, 1720 Peabody, Memphis, TN (Trezevant Hall)
Who: All people interested in the work of recovery
Complimentary lunch provided by the Diocesan Recovery Commission

If you would like to attend, please call, email or text Shannon Tucker at shannon.tucker@gmail.com 901-281-0785.

From the Executive Director – June 2013

Greetings!

Can you relate to a recent email inquiry I received?

“Dear Teresa, My recovery ministry is about three years old, and it feels like we’re stagnant. I’m discouraged. It’s not like we don’t have plenty of crisis calls, we do! But once the crisis passes, it seems like the enthusiasm for the work of recovery dries up. The family we served disappears…until the next crisis! Does this ever happen at your recovery ministry? What am I doing wrong?”

Reply: “No! Of course not! In our community, people are always faithful to the work! They recover their lives and just move forward in blissful transformation!” Just kidding.

Real reply: “Oh, yes. I experience this same thing on a regular basis. It is discouraging!”

How about this email?

“Dear Teresa, I’m wondering what you can tell me about the 12 steps. We have a recovery and care ministry in our church. The leadership and support groups have helped me (as Senior Pastor) serve our community; I am deeply grateful for their faithful work. But lately, we’ve been getting pushback about not offering 12 step recovery work. I’ve historically been philosophically opposed to this model. I don’t like the language of “higher power” or “as we understand him”. But I met this guy. He’s been visiting my church for about six months, he’s in recovery and is a big proponent of the 12 steps. His faithful service and wisdom are so obvious and attractive, I’m beginning to rethink my position. Any advice?”

Reply: “No! It sounds like you are an amazing pastor, open to learning and listening – what more could I add? Just keep following those inclinations to consider new ways to serve suffering people, I suspect with that attitude, the Spirit will guide you into your next right step.”

This is one of the many things I love about my participation at the NACR. It reminds me that those of us who participate in the work of recovery are not alone. There are a variety of approaches to recovery ministry that allow church communities to participate in the healing process of hurting people.

Churches and treatment facilities and mental health professionals and families…all across the nation are learning from their mistakes and discovering new ways to embrace recovery and spirituality. People are finding their way back home to God. And yes, sometimes it is easy to forget that it works.

How do we keep the faith? Sadly, some people do come and go, relapse and recover and then relapse again! The roller coaster ride of recovery ministry is enough to cause ministers and treatment professionals alike to break out in a bad case of spiritual lethargy and hopelessness. It’s my experience that I need time for vigilance around my own work – because if I am not practicing my own spirituality and recovery principles – I have no experience, strength or hope to share.