A colorful banner outside a church in Oklahoma catches attention, but it is not a banner to promote a new sermon series or a children’s activity, but instead it is a banner to advertise help for those with addiction. According to Tulsa World.com, faith communities have known there are people sitting in their pews struggling with addiction, and now some places of worship offer or host recovery programs.
Micah Hobbs, who oversees the Celebrate Recovery ministry at Memorial Road Church of Christ, said, “People in the church are just as broken as people who are not in the church. But the reality is we are all broken and are in need of healing and hope, encouragement and support.” Celebrate Recovery was founded in 1991, with the goal of overcoming life’s issues with a 12-step program based on Christian principles. This program addresses any kind of habits, hurts, or hang-ups. The purpose is to focus on God’s healing power through the 12-steps, and the program is conducted by Christians who have been through 12-step recovery.
Many AA and NA meetings are held in churches, and churches have long since been supporters of recovery and 12-steps. Some faith groups have developed programs to teach clergy about addiction. The addiction ministries for the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church offer an education program and a support group. The 12-day education program is open to anyone who has been clean and sober for two years. It covers the addictive mind, the spiritual dynamics of addiction, and and how substance abuse impacts faith communities.
The United Methodist Church supports Faith Partners, a program creating teams in churches to help people deal with addiction. A Faith partner team may have a member in long-term recovery that the pastor can call on to take someone to a meeting that day, immediately. An Oklahoma City rabbi said the Jewish faith deals with addiction slightly differently, in a more “straightforward manner,” where the addict most often deals directly with the clergy. Followers of Islam historically engage in practices that bring them closer to God when they are having trouble overcoming sin.