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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Recovery Congregations Helping Addicts in Muskegon - Learn More November 18th With Dr. Monty Burks

We are immersed in a world that seems to be ever increasing when it comes to addiction.  What's more frightening, is that what we're addicted to seems to be getting more deadly as time goes on and those addicted cross all boundaries of socioeconomic backgrounds and life styles.  The arguments have all been heard that it's the fault of one entity or the other, or maybe it's just society getting "soft" and everyone wanting the easy way out....but the reality is...addiction doesn't discriminate.

We are still in the midst of the "Opiate Crisis" by every definition of the word.  Prescription painkillers can be the start for some that lead them to the next level searching for that feeling on the street.  Alcohol is available on every street corner it seems and comes in increasingly tempting flavors for people to try.   Let's add in vaping which some consider a healthier method of delivering a drug, nicotine...which is honestly a harder habit to break than an opiate, and while we're at it we'll toss in nefarious street dealers that taint what's being sold so their customers can reach a higher high, which sometimes ends up with death.  We have a real mess going on and we have remarkably limited resources to fight it.
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Cooperating Churches on Facebook

Do keep in mind, this is all being written from the perspective of a recovering alcoholic.  16 years now by the grace of God and in as much as I don't feel the bite anymore, I see day in and day out the struggles some have and how remarkably difficult it is for them to find help.  I also know first hand how hard it is to get that help when you are willing to try and that there is no certain path for anyone in recovery.  There is however a couple of key things in any recovery and as I spoke to today's guests, they stand true.  One of the first things is faith.  This isn't to corner you into any secular religious experience...it's just a reminder that faith in something will be necessary and the other is humanity.  People are key in to making sure anyone who is willing to have a paradigm shift in their life, people around them will be required to help them transition into who they will become.

Dr. Monty Burks is the Director of Faith Based Initiatives in the Tennessee Department of Health and Substance Abuse Services and has helped pilot some incredible programs there involving church congregations to provide a safe haven for those living with addiction where they can find love and support during their time of need in an environment free of judgement.  Quite often, people with substance abuse problems are left with nowhere else to turn due to their problem and with an eroded support system, the outlook goes from bad to worse.  In Tennessee over 300 churches participate in the program, and with Muskegon having 240 churches in it, the goal is to get 50 churches or more to participate in this program.

Dr. Burks will be speaking on November 18th on a few different occasions.  In the morning the first talk begins at 9a at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, then there will be a discussion at the United Way followed by a return to St. Paul's at 5:30p so anyone who's interested can hear the idea.

I was able to meet up with Kate Kesteloot-Scarbrough of Mediation and Restorative Services and Lily Marx who is the Coordinator of the Muskegon County Cooperating Churches organization to discuss this incredible program and learn a little more.  As with any discussion about addiction, I am pretty candid about my own and we talk a lot about what to expect.  Take a listen.

A new approach is sometimes what's needed!  Get informed and learn more!  This is showing great promise in Tennessee and any weapon in the fight against addiction is a useful one.  You can follow the link below to visit the Muskegon County Cooperating Churches website for more details.  Our thanks to Lily and Kate for the invite down today.

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