A Christian Recovery Resource Center Program for Consideration
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Suggested Roles You Can Play or Utilize in Whole or in Part
Qualifying newcomers: One or more orientation sessions should be provided that insure the newcomer wants to quit drinking and using forever; that insure the newcomer will go to any lengths to do so; and that test the newcomer’s understanding of his problem by having him tell his story, complete something like the Twenty Questions, and declare that he concedes to his innermost self that he is an alcoholic or addict. We believe the program at Rock Recovery in San Diego does this effectively right now.
Offering hospitalization/detox/medical supervision for newcomers: Each newcomer should receive medical protection against acute withdrawal dangers, seizures, DT’s, and other physical and mental consequences of extreme abuse. This can be provided by a physician, an ER, a detox center, or a hospital. Hospitalization was a “must” in early A.A. Yet it is all too frequently overlooked by those in fellowships and programs who would serve others today.
Providing personal discipleship or sponsorship for newcomers. This means that, from the beginning, newcomers should be aligned with a recovered, qualified Christian who is on call to help and will show the respective newcomer how to follow the necessary instructions for salvation, recovery, healing, and abundant living. This element is an important ingredient in the Men’s Step groups on Oahu.
Offering participation in a real Christian treatment program to newcomers—as an option. This means offering a Christian or “Christian track” treatment program to each newcomer: a program that is affordable and within his financial means; is reasonably long-term; requires belief in God; requires a decision that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior; and that includes prayer, Bible study, Quiet Time, Christian literature, and daily Christian devotionals. A program that (1) Offers Christian counseling; (2) Provides adequate information about the Christian origins, history, founding, original program, and successes of early A.A.; and (3) Stresses the importance of fellowship with, and witnessing to, others who need help. These elements are fully covered in The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010 (www.dickb.com/Christian-Recover-Guide.shtml); and “Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery” (www.dickb.com/IFCR-Class.shtml).
As a caveat, we believe that if the Christian program is diluted by over-emphasis on Twelve Step recovery and the Twelve Steps themselves, it does not prepare the newcomer for what he will encounter “in the rooms” upon his departure—relying upon nonsense gods, admiring undefined “spirituality,” and adopting New Thought lingo.
The foregoing Christian treatment suggestions represent the essence of the original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program of 1935 as it was adapted by Dr. Bob and Sister Ignatia after 1939. Applications today can be found in Salvation Army ARC’s, CityTeam Centers, Calvary Ranch, Dunklin Memorial Church, ABC Sober Living’s Soledad House Recovery Home for Women, and New Life Spirit Recovery, Inc.
Offering Christian counseling to newcomers—as an option. This means pointing the newcomer to licensed, certified, Christian counseling, whether it is provided in a Christian treatment program or center, or made available to a newcomer as an adjunct. The Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors Institute trains such counselors, and we will be speaking at their Palm Springs convention this November about this option.
Offering a Christian recovery program to newcomers—as an option. This means pointing the newcomer to a Christian recovery program, in place of, or as a follow-up to, a Christian treatment program. Such a long-term recovery program can be conducted as a residential program (like the ones CityTeam and The Soledad House provide); or as a church recovery fellowship (like those of Rock Recovery, Lifelines at The Crossing Church, the Serenity Group of the Oroville Church of the Nazarene); or as a ministry (such that at the Salvation Army outpost in Lahaina, the Men’s Step group in Oahu, the Turning Point Fellowship of the Cornerstone Fellowship—Livermore Campus, and by the James Club Fellowships in Norco, Rancho Cucamonga, and Covina).
This can and should be a hub program which insures that newcomers are given opportunities to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, learn how to study the Bible, join in prayer, seek God’s guidance daily, seek complete healings, and learn how to “take” the Twelve Steps within a biblical perspective such as that used so effectively in Cleveland, Ohio--where the society grew from one group to thirty in a year, achieved a documented 93% success rate, and eventually developed a simple program based on the one established by Clarence Snyder. [For more on the highly-successful, early Cleveland A.A. approach, see the recently published Our A.A. Legacy to the Faith Community: A Twelve-Step Guide for Those Who Want to Believe, by Three Clarence Snyder Sponsee Old-timers and Their Wives. Compiled and Edited by Dick B., 2005.]
Holding regular speaker meetings with well-qualified, Christian speakers. We recommend holding weekly or periodic, community-wide, Christian speaker meetings (such as the Friday night Lifelines meeting at The Crossing Church in Costa Mesa; the regular meetings held by the Men’s Step Groups in Oahu; and those put on for many years by the Wilson House in East Dorset, Vermont).
The speakers can include: recovered Christian alcoholics and addicts with long-term success; clergy; physicians, pastoral counselors, business owners, trades-people, lawyers and professionals, educators, treatment center leaders, psychologists, law enforcement and correctional people, coaches, athletes, other celebrities, veterans, military, and bridge-group leaders.
This is not a new idea. It was certainly employed by Bill Wilson as reported in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. Speakers at large meetings during A.A.'s early years included Father Edward Dowling, S.J.; The Rev. Dr. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.; attorney Bernard B. Smith; Lois Wilson (Bill Wilson’s wife); Dr. W.W. Bauer of the American Medical Association; the psychiatrist Dr. Harry M. Tiebot; Dr. John L. Norris; industrialists Leonard V. Harrison and Henry A. Mielcarek; Dr. Austin MacCormick, Professor of Criminology at University of California; and Treasurer Archie Roosevelt. Present-day Lifelines meetings at The Crossing Church have brought together large crowds of A.A. and N.A. newcomers, folks from treatment programs, and many who belong to The Crossing Church.
Requiring (or strongly encouraging) newcomers to attend regularly A.A., N.A., or other Twelve-Step meetings. We recommend encouraging newcomers to participate in these meetings, in company with like-minded believers or sponsors. This is done by ABC Sober Living and other AA-friendly, Bible-friendly, History-friendly centers.
Requiring (or strongly encouraging) newcomers to attend regularly a Christian Church, Christian Fellowship, and/or Bible study group. Such participation was recommended in early A.A. and is widely used today in the groups we have surveyed.
Providing wholesome, exciting, entertaining, outside activity on a regular basis. We recommend arranging entertaining, challenging, and/or fun affairs with like-minded believers—frequently including family members—events such as the bonfire meetings of Rock Recovery in San Diego; chip meetings at the Lifelines meetings of The Crossing Church in Costa Mesa; the annual retreat of the Men’s Step group on Oahu; sobriety birthday parties, Christian retreats, dances, roundups, picnics, barbecues, sports events, competitive events, movies, plays, water activities, snow activities, hiking, scenic trips, camp-outs, and musical concerts. And we have provided or participated in them all in our own Bible fellowships which were filled with my A.A. sponsees.
Providing training for Christian leaders and workers in the recovery arena. We recommend specific training for Christian leaders and workers that explains how a newcomer can be approached, given a significant message about Christian recovery, brought into the foregoing suggested fold, and trained to pass it along to others.
Holding a “graduation” ceremony. We recommend honoring those who have completed the training or program, and are ready for the challenge to “go and tell.” This important aspect of early A.A. “Twelfth-stepping,” of early Christianity fellowships, and of present-day evangelism and witnessing should be the linchpin of long-term service to, and glorification of, God and His Son Jesus Christ.
Go to www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com
Acquire The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010
Acquire The Dick B. Handbook for Christian Recovery Resource Centers
Contact Dick B. or Ken B. for information about programs already in progress and about how to establish your own Christian Recovery Resource Center and really help the afflicted and the addicted in your own community.