Collaborative Christian Recovery Ideas and Plans
That Emerged from Our Recent California Visits,
Report on Talks by Dick B. and Rev. Ken B. at the
Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors Institute Conference at Palm Springs, California
October 2, 2011
By Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved
The following is my report on the ACADC annual conference my son, Ken, and I attended and spoke at over the weekend of September 30 through October 2, 2011.
The People Who Really Helped Make the ACADC Institute Conference a Worthwhile Potential Arm of the “Collaborative Effort for Christian Recovery”
For the third consecutive year, Dick B. and Rev. Ken B. were invited to speak at the annual conference of the Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors (ACADC) annual at the Hotel Zoso in Palm Springs, California.
Dick B. delivered a talk on two major subjects. The first was a review for attendees of the Christian origins, history, founding, and successes of the “Christian fellowship” program of A.A. in Akron from 1935 to 1939. The second subject focused on a new project of the International Christian Recovery Coalition just launched at this year's ACADC conference: the “Collaborative Effort for Christian Recovery” project.. The planned collaboration will enable Christian counselors, clergy, churches, treatment programs, and other leaders and workers in the recovery arena to become resource people helping those afflicted with and affected by alcoholism and addiction to find help from God and for healing. This project involves a planned forthcoming radio program, Skype program, “renewal” meetings for Christian leaders and workers in the recovery arena, and plan for initial inquiry, (usually-non-professional) assessment, and referral of those in need to community resources at the beginning of their walk toward recovery and victory as healed, clean and sober, responsible Christian members of society and their families.
Rev. Ken B. spoke about how we came to launch on January 1, 2011, another project of the International Christian Recovery Coalition: “Christian Recovery Resource Centers and Persons.” He also spoke briefly about what a Christian organization, group, or individual would receive as part of becoming a “Christian Recovery Resource Center or Person.”
The aim of the International Christian Recovery Coalition--as exemplified by its mission statement, its Web site, its Facebook page, its blog, and its forums, as well as its conferences and “Christian Recovery Resource Centers and Persons”--is to show (from A.A.’s own origins, history, founding, original program, substantial changes, and successes) exactly how Christians in A.A. and others in A.A. seeking God’s help can tap into the original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program, learn its real origins and changes, understand the problems of its later diversity, and still apply the original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program principles among today’s varied group of believers and unbelievers.
We strongly emphasize worldwide collaboration among Christian recovery leaders, programs, and fellowships. We also emphasize the importance of “training the trainers” in each recovery realm to begin their particular work by informing patients, students, clients, and suffering people about the Christian origins of the recovery movement in the Great Awakening of 1875 in Dr. Bob’s village of St. Johnsbury, Vermont; the successes of Christian evangelists like Dwight Moody and Ira Sankey; the unique street ministry success of the Salvation Army in the London slums; the revivals conducted by the YMCA brethren in converting souls to God through Jesus Christ and teaching them about the Bible; the highly-successful Christian recoveries in the Gospel Rescue Missions which focused on conversion and salvation and the overcoming of alcoholism and addiction through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. Also the program of the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor of Dr. Bob’s youth in Vermont which laid out the very meeting and fellowship format that the early AAs used in Akron—prayer, Bible study, Quiet Time, confession of Jesus Christ, conversion meetings, social gatherings, topical discussions, outreach, and support of their particular church.
The final Coalition emphasis is dissemination of accurate facts. Facts that can and should enable Christian leaders and workers in the recovery arena to explain to others the effective origins of Christian recovery; the relationship between early A.A.’s “Christian fellowship” program in Akron; the changed recovery emphasis tendered in Alcoholics Anonymous (the “Big Book) and its Twelve Steps published April 10, 1939; and how the early program can and should be applied in present-day 12 Step and other recovery programs for those who are already Christians or who want to recover with God’s help.
As always with the Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors, our addresses were directed at the importance of Christian counseling in the overall recovery arena today. And two major points were clear to us from the remarks of Pastor Michael Belzman, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, and Chairman of the ACADC. First, the importance of healing should be a part of recovery. Second, the importance of outreach to other organizations such as churches should be a part of the picture—even for every facet of the recovery arena.
The following were those who appeared interested in the International Christian Recovery Coalition with whom we had extensive meetings and discussions during the conference period.
David Powers from San Diego was an exhibitor and presenter of Rock Recovery Ministries, ABC Sober Living, and Soledad House. He is a recovery leader at the large Rock Church and a strong supporter of our work. We were able to meet with David at the ACADC conference on Saturday evening and again on Sunday morning. Particular emphasis was placed on the importance of seeing the recovery picture as a whole, of collaborative support, and of embracing the presentation of A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature in connection with applying the Bible and “old school” A.A. today among those who are Christians or are seeking God’s help.
Robert Probst, CAS, Associate Director, Long Beach Rescue Mission., 1335 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90819. In view of our extensive research and writing on the role of rescue missions in the Christian origins and important Christian practices of early A.A., it was a breath of fresh air to be updated on rescue missions by a man who is connected with one today and who also is much involved in collaborating with other recovery workers and 12 Step people.
Timothy and Kelli White (Founder and CEO of) X-Cons 4 Christ filled us in on what works with gangs and cons when the matter of God is presented to them forthrightly as differing from trying to interest them in some particular Christian group. Since outreach to prisons, correctional people, and emerging prisoners is an important part to us of the whole Christian recovery outreach, we found it invaluable to hear of their vigorous support of our work and their expertise in dealing with the convict community—whether incarcerated or free.
Melvin M. Beckwith, CADC II, NCAC, ICADC, SAP, is the Program Director of Central Valley Addiction Center, PO Box 726, Merced, CA 95341. Melvin shared extensively with us on approaches in his arena to the recovery problem as a whole. He too appeared supportive of our mission.
Pastor Jeff Page of Overcomers Outreach, Set Free Christian Fellowship, San Bernardino, shared with us the Bridge work of Overcomers Outreach and also the work of Set Free, led by Senior Pastor Raymond Slocum.
Mark E. Nathanson, Ph.D., CDAAC, RAS, Lancaster, California, is Clinical Director of United Community Action Network. Dr. Mark was a speaker and led prayers while we were in attendance at the Conference, was supportive of our mission, and communicated some important ideas on collaborative action and community outreach.
Paz Guttierrez, Substance Abuse Counselor, 7315 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91605, works with New Directions for Youth, Inc. New Directions for Youth, Inc., is dedicated to providing comprehensive programs and services to at-risk youth and their families. He shared extensively with us, supports our mission, and is experienced in an outreach arena we wish to reach and which is part of a comprehensive, collaborative Christian recovery effort.
Ramiro Chavez is a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, 12835 ½ Shreve Road, Whittier, California, and brings to the Christian recovery field another spoke which particularly involves family first.
Tammy Lucarelli, CDAAC/CDVC/RAS, is Associate Director of Visions of the Cross (“We Believe in Miracles”), 3648 El Portal Avenue, Redding, California 96002. She is State Licensed and Certified in the Alcohol and Drug Program Residential, Outpatient, and Transitional Housing. All of these areas of service are examples of parts of the recovery arena that need to be known and available to “Christian Recovery Resource Centers and Persons.”
Earl and Roselyn Koffman are Senior Pastors at Open Door Ministries, 4310 E. Austin Way, Fresno, California 93726. They present still another example of the varied Christian recovery leadership in places in California from San Diego and other areas of the Southern California region to the Central Valley and Redding.
Robert Tucker, Ph.D., is President of ACADC, maintains New Life Spirit Recovery in Huntington Beach, and also provides an Orange County Office for the International Christian Recovery Coalition. Though he had to leave early before we could spend much time with him, he has been a panelist and exhibitor and benefactor at other International Christian Recovery Coalition activities. He is a hands-on Christian counseling, treatment, and teaching leader.
We expect to build on the contacts and connections we made during the ACADC conference in the years to come.