To all those who choose life
through the one true Higher Power
that makes it possible . . .
We are especially indebted to:
Skyline Wesleyan Church, (San Diego, CA) staff members for their unlimited support and affirmation, and particularly Pastor Richard Hundly for his trust and belief in this material, and, Gary Whiteside a rock who keeps the program going.
Ron and Karen Martin, founders of Liontamers Ministry, for the contribution their program is making to the Christian recovery movement.
Ron Ross, Jack McGinnis and Barbara Shlemon for publicly sharing their own woundedness through their writing and speaking.
Dale Ryan for his support and encouragement in developing the format and content of this book. Also, for his unfailing commitment to the Christian recovery movement, in starting and sustaining The National Association for Christian Recovery and Christian Recovery International
Participants in the recovery groups where this material was developed and tested. Their honesty and openness is greatly appreciated.
The local church is the rightful home of recovery ministry. Jesus welcomed the broken, the needy and the diseased into his fellowship, saying, "those who are well don’t need a physician." Fundamental to meaningful participation in the Christian community is understanding that in some sense we are not well. People struggling with the most difficult of life’s dis-eases will find practical help in the Christian community, where acceptance, love and hope make change possible.
Unfortunately, many people in recoveryeven Christians in recovery feel ill at ease at church. One person said to me, "I don’t know all the reasons why, but most of the time I feel `real’ at my support group meeting and I `pretend’ on Sunday mornings. I just don’t feel safe to be who I really am, so I say, `I’m fine thanks’ even though it is not true." This problem is made more acute by the secular recovery community’s indifference and/or hostility to Christian concerns resulting in the feeling of `homelessness’ for many Christians in recovery. They can be Christian in their church community, but their commitment to recovery will be misunderstood or unappreciated. In the recovery community, they can be in recovery but their Christian faith will be misunderstood or unappreciated.
There is good news, however. Distinctively Christian recovery ministries have developed in tens of thousands of local churches in the past decade. The impact of addiction, abuse and dysfunction on the Christian community is no longer a `silent issue.’ We are just beginning to face the truth about the extent of this impact in the local church, and just beginning to develop practical resources of genuine help for those who struggle with these difficult problems.
The Living Free Program is an excellent example of distinctively Christian recovery material. Ron Halvorson and Valerie Halvorson have consulted pastors and local churches on the development of recovery ministry for many years. The wisdom gained from this experience, along with their many years of personal participation in recovery, will be helpful to anyone seeking to develop a Christian recovery ministry.
May your roots sink deeply in the soil of God’s love.
Dale S. Ryan
Christian Recovery International