Focus: Healing relationships
Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
One of the best proven ways to keep moving ahead in recovery is to be a regular part of a support group. Meeting with a few trusted people on a consistent basis can help–by giving you something to look forward to and the knowledge you aren’t alone. If you’ve never done anything like that, maybe you should think about it. Alcoholics Anonymous, Christians in Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, and Overcomers are a few of the faith-based support groups you might find through churches. There are also various online support groups. Some may be geared more toward either depression or dependency—but people with either issue are usually welcome because depression is so closely related to dependency.
Another type of ministry you might try looking for offers help to people who need ‘inner healing’. There are groups with that type of focus all over the world. Inner healing ministries offer retreat weekends and meetings where you can receive guidance and prayer for specific memories that may be especially troubling to you. If you aren’t able to find an actual support group, try looking for a Christian women’s or Christian men’s organization in your area. Most churches have fellowship groups or Bible studies for men and women. There are undenominational ministries in most cities that are open to people of all faiths, such as Aglow International, Christian Women’s Club, and Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International.
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Now, you can listen and/or read!
The most important thing–is to find a group of people who are non-judgmental—hopefully people like yourself who have, or are trying to make progress…led by a person who has had success over weak areas in their own life. It’s hard to get up the courage to seek support, but you will be amazed at how much it will help you–once you get involved.
You might feel more comfortable going to a meeting at a different church than your own–or one that meets in a nearby town or city. Sometimes it’s hard to open up around people you know. It could be easier for you to start fresh with people you’ve never met. When you’ve been battling a long time, people you know can sometimes be calloused to your condition—making it awkward for you to express your needs. When you’re worried what people are going to think of you, you probably aren’t going to have an easy time opening up and sharing some of your feelings. If you’re with people you don’t know that well, you may not have as many of your normal inhibitions. If there is someone you trust who is also in recovery, you might consider asking them to go with you to a support group. You might go consistently if someone else is going with you–if that wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. One way or the other—at least make the effort to try.
I’m not going to suggest that you get involved with a secular group—one that isn’t Bible based. It would also be better if you go to a group that is either men or women, rather than co-ed. Right now, you need to keep building your faith foundation. Secular groups don’t share the same views as Christian groups. In a faith-based program, you will be constantly fed with scriptures and hear encouraging testimonies which will give you hope. At secular groups you will share your feelings and be encouraged to find strength from within yourself. Guess what? The strength you need isn’t in yourself or you’d already have it. When you don’t get true ministry for your needs you will probably come away wondering what you accomplished by going. If you continue to go and things aren’t improving, you may get more depressed—not less.
God wants you to have support from others who understand what you are going through. You don’t have to suffer alone. He wants you to have relationships that will stimulate you toward making improvement. He wants you to be encouraged—but also challenged. He wants you to keep moving forward by growing closer to Him and other believers.
When you are in a dark place, it’s hard to make a change. If your eyes are used to the dark and you come out into the light—your eyes may actually feel pain and maybe ‘tear up’. But once your eyes have adjusted to the light—you see so many things that you just couldn’t see when you were in that place of seclusion. You have probably been isolating yourself so long you don’t even know what you’re missing. Isolation isn’t just ‘being locked away’. You can feel isolated even though you’re surrounded by lots of people—if the people you’re associating with aren’t people who you can trust to share your burdens.
Declaration: I will find new strength by seeking out a Christian ministry dedicated to the needs of people like myself who are committed to continue making progress in recovery. I will find a group where I can receive hope and encouragement from others who share a similar history—but who are working together to create a new future with the help of God.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.