When I chose to get state certified as a substance abuse recovery support specialist, I was essentially making two commitments – to develop and maintain a degree of professional competence through continuing education in addiction issues and to be available to those who are making a commitment to achieving sobriety as a supportive resource and accountability partner. In my work at Bethel Village Women’s Addiction Recovery Pathways Program I do that everyday. I also do that in my role as a team leader with Celebrate Recovery, a Christian 12 step fellowship that meets at Lynn Haven UMC. But from time to time, the Lord directs others my way who are in need of Christian support for their own spiritual journey, including the need to give up substance use, abuse or dependency. It is a privilege to be trusted with the emotional support and care of someone who is making that decision. It is, however, a bit daunting to have that responsibility, especially given the potential for physical consequences of withdrawal that can accompany stopping alcohol.
This weekend I have been in prayer for a person who is discontinuing an abusive, self-medicating relationship with alcohol. My conversations with the individual led me to believe that the desire is sincere, the commitment is firm, and the need is great. Utilizing a detoxification unit as a precaution against the potential effects of physical withdrawal was not really practical for the individual at this time. While the frequency of use certainly indicated a pattern of dependence, at least psychologically if not physiologically, the degree to which the quantity had created a physiological dependency was not known. This was a judgment call, to move forward with the risk of withdrawal. Prayer and time have proven that the concern about physiological dependence was unwarranted. The individual appears to have successfully made a clean break.
Now begins the really hard work of facing the emotions and reality of life situations that led to escapist behavior. The process of entering into fellowship with someone in need is an act of faith in God, that He is going to equip both of us with what we need to move toward wholeness in the life of the helper and the helped.