FIRST: Families In Recovery Seeking Truth
Living in addiction leaves a trail of heartache, disappointment, and smoldering bridges. Ironically, the pain created by addiction becomes a driving force behind the continuation of addiction. For those in addiction, their deepest pain and greatest regrets revolve around the damage they have done to those who love them most. Years ago, I heard in a recovery seminar that on average, 1 person in addiction negatively impacts the lives of 17 others. I continually share this statistic with those serving on the frontlines of recovery ministry. It is encouraging to realize while helping one person in recovery I am also helping 17 others I may never meet. Parents, spouses, siblings, and children of those struggling with addiction fall into this ‘group of 17’ and decades of experience in recovery ministry has proven the obvious time, and again, these folks need healing also. The Foundry offers an opportunity for the loved ones of those we serve to come and receive encouragement and ministry. We call this opportunity FIRST, an acronym for Families In Recovery Seeking Truth. This group meets from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., the first Sunday of every month (with the exception of Mother’s Day) in the Women’s Center. Our goals for every FIRST meeting are simple.
I normally introduce myself at the beginning of every meeting and spend a few minutes setting everyone at ease by telling them what to expect during our time together. At some point during these opening remarks, I will say, “If you leave here today with more hope than you came in with, we are going to call it a win.” Hope in a FIRST meeting comes from 3 primary sources: Recovery program graduates in attendance share their amazing stories, families that have attended F.I.R.S.T., in some cases every month for years, share their stories of miraculous breakthroughs, and practical answers concerning the mysteries of addiction recovery.
Many times those in attendance do not realize the toll a loved one’s addiction has had upon them. Something very powerful happens when people become honest with one another in a group setting. The Holy Spirit never fails to show up and help bring the needed healing to those who have made themselves available to His work. The most powerful ministry I have witnessed in a FIRST meeting does not come from The Foundry staff to those in attendance, but when families begin to love and encourage one another.
#3 Learning to help productively
The third objective for every FIRST meeting is to provide instructions to help their loved one in addiction recovery. It is difficult for family members to face, but many times, their efforts to help have contributed to the addiction cycle. Enabling and codependency are vital things to become aware of and learn to avoid.
I say it this way, “Recovery is what you, God and others do together to get you to and keep you in your best life.” We cannot do recovery without God, and we cannot do recovery alone. God and others are necessary if we are going to live our best life. Do you see the dilemma so many in addiction find themselves in? The very people they need to recover are among the 17 they have hurt the most. The sad reality is the overwhelming majority of our participants never have a single loved one show up for a FIRST meeting. Pray and believe with me for this to change. Effective recovery for our participants is directly related to healing for those who love them most.