2014, Issue 5 - September/October

The Process of Becoming Whole
The process of “sanctification” (recovery) – becoming wholly devoted, healthy followers of Jesus Christ in every aspect of life (physically, mentally, spiritually and socially) is the work of a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the hurry-up, fast-paced life of today’s world contributes to the thinking of many that recovery from obsessive thinking, compulsive behaviors/harmful habits/addictions can be accomplished in a short time.

In addition, people carry baggage from their past –
•    Abuse (verbal, physical, sexual, financial, threats, etc.)
•    Memories of mistakes and failures
•    Lack of real help from various sources
•    Escape and temporary relief resulting from addictive practices

All this and more contributes to the intense desire to find quick recovery and be a whole, healthy, well-balanced person.

Well-meaning family and friends may question: “Do you still need to go to 12-Step meetings?” They may comment: “Perhaps you are addicted to meetings.” “Why do you still consider yourself to be an alcoholic / an addict?” Reminders of who a person is apart from Jesus Christ help each person recognize their great need for strength each day to be the Christian they hope to be. The apostle Paul understood who he was, even as a mature Christian, when he wrote to Timothy that he was among the worst of sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15).

“When Christ abides in the heart, we are able to impart to others the light and peace that have been imparted to us. … Whatever temptations, trials, or persecutions may come upon us, we need not be discouraged.

We are to live only one day at a time. We do not have to do the work of a life-time in a few hours.” Review and Herald, Feb 23, 1889.

The love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Highest Power, who promised to be with His followers to the end, offers more abundant life (see John 10:10). “One day at a time” we can be and do His will and thereby bring glory to His name.

Ray Nelson, MDiv, MSPH

12 STEPS to Recovery —  STEP #4
Step four can be one of the most intimidating of all of steps. At the same time, it can lift the guilt and fear that has kept us trapped for many years. First of all, the fourth step is an inventory of ourselves. Many of us easily take the inventory of others and point out their faults and failings while we minimize our own responsibility for our choices and decisions. Step four focuses us directly upon our own inventory and challenges us to be searching and fearless as we look at our own lives. For those who have been accustomed to blaming others, this can be a scary proposition indeed.

Beginning the inventory with the prayer of Psalm 139:23-24 is important. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This prayer conveys that the person sincerely wants to ask God to bring to their memory everything that they need to accept responsibility for without denial or minimization. God knows each of us intimately with all of our faults (Hebrews 4:13). He will not hesitate to reveal the truth to us if we are willing to see it.

Many people struggle to make a fearless moral inventory because they are afraid. The word fearless does not imply that we have no fear, but that we are willing to walk through that fear to see how we have hurt others, God and ourselves through our addictive practices. It is important to consider not only the defects in our character, but also our strengths and assets. Many of our gifts and talents are hidden by our addiction; they may be underdeveloped; but they are there waiting to be brought to light as parts of the person that God created us to be.

Having recently completed a fourth step again, I can testify to the healing that making an honest moral inventory brings. Don’t hesitate because God assures us “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10.)

David S

My life began in a chaotic way. While pregnant with me, a domestic violence incident to my birth mother had her flee to a home for unwed mothers and orphanage, where I was adopted at 2 months of age.
Since early childhood I had this longing to know who I was, and why wasn’t I good enough. The more I tried, the further it seemed I was away from acceptance from those I strove to achieve acceptance from. Always another rung added to the proverbial ladder. My core issues have been I was never good enough no matter what I did, abandonment and rejection. Rejection runs deep, as I was rejected by the birth mother and disowned by the family that adopted me.

These issues in addition to others left me with an emptiness that I filled initially with fantasy and reading. As a means of punishment, I would frequently be sent to bed with bread (no butter) and water. Corporeal punishment was metered out regularity. In teenage years I filled that heart hole with piano, track and field, band and stealing.

As a young adult, I began filling that void with pills, food, alcohol, and running for student body positions in college to change how I felt, attempting to gain what I thought was acceptance.

Life and career advanced, I had a family, yet the unquenchable hole in my soul demanded to be filled. I was far away from God, unable to feel His presence in my life or to see He had me in the palm of His hand all along.

As career and family life spiraled out of control, I sought help at ‘The Bridge.’ I learned a set of tools, The 12-Steps, that would enable me to learn what was my responsibility and what was someone else’s. I learned to view God as a loving, compassionate Father and that I was His precious daughter. Life changing! I continue to work the 12-Steps in my life on an going basis.

Today, I know I am enough! The 12-Steps and a personal relationship with Jesus, help me to get and keep right with myself, God and others. I give back to others through grateful service. Is 43:1 “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine...Because I am God, your personal God.





Substance Abuse in the Family: Examining the Impact on Children

“Youth is the sowing time. It determines the character of the harvest, for this life and for the life to come.” —Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 101.

Drug or alcohol addiction in the family is not normally a “preferred” topic in Seventh-day Adventist circles, particularly if it suggests addiction among its members. While addictions such as food, exercise, and work have become more acceptable admissions, substance abuse is “taboo.” We prefer to believe that substance abuse doesn’t happen in our church families; however, as a psychologist (Kiti Randall) who has had the privilege of providing various behavioral health training for the Adventist Church in more than 40 countries, l can assure you substance abuse is a struggle for many Adventist families.

In addition, given the recent surge of the misuse of prescription drugs and the enormous amount of money and support provided for legalization of illegal drugs, substance abuse is increasing. Assisting families struggling with addiction should be a priority within the church, and part of our community outreach. We’ve seen the harmful effects of substance abuse in families, particularly among children, and we seek to advocate on behalf of children and offer interventions for them and their families.

Effects on Children
Approximately one in four children in the United States is exposed to alcoholism or drug addiction in the family. This means that in your neighborhood, or among your children’s friends, one in four might be hiding their embarrassment, confusion, hurt, or shame about what’s going on at home.1 Substance abuse by parents can compromise children’s mental, emotional, and physical health, as parenting is inconsistent, chaotic, and unpredictable. Further, children living in these environments are often subject to physical, emotional, and psychological trauma,2 making them at risk for long-term consequences. There is strong relationship between child abuse and neglect and parental addiction.3 Substance abuse is reported as a n underlying factor in at least 70 percent of child abuse/neglect cases.4 Substance-using parents often neglect t he physical and/or emotional needs of their children. Abuse and neglect can have long-lasting consequences in terms of both brain development and mental health, making this a serious concern for children.

Long-term Consequences
The long-term impact of growing up in a substance-abuse environment is also substantial. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study5 demonstrated the broad and profound long-term impact of adverse childhood experiences on adult mental health6 and disease.7 The ACE study confirmed that negative childhood experiences are clearly a major determinant of health and social well­ being across the life span.

Children whose parents abuse drugs/alcohol are four times more likely to develop addictions. Children model the behavior of their parents. Children may be predisposed by their family environment and genetics to become alcoholics or addicts, but they are not predestined. If we identify and appropriately intervene on behalf of children, the cycle can be broken.

More research is demonstrating that attachment (a significant connected relationship) may be key to breaking the multigenerational cycle of addiction and abuse. Teaching and modeling healthy patterns of relationships can change unhealthy family patterns. The importance of attachment is core to biblical teaching. We were created as relational beings, and out primary occupation on earth is to have a relationship with God and fellow humans. As such, it’s clear that health relationships are vital in changing trajectories for children and families struggling with substance abuse.
We must face the struggles of families with addiction in our church and communities. By educating ourselves and offering healthy relationships, each of us can make a difference for these children and families.
  1. T. Dayton, “Portrait  of an Alcoholic Family: Forgotten Children—Right Next Door?” Huffington Post Living, Feb. 16, 2010, www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-tian-dayton/portrait-of-an-alcoholic_b_463876.html.
  2. M. Barnard, a n d N. McKeganey, ‘’The Impact of Parental Problem Drug Use on Children: What is the Problem and What Can Be Done to Help?” Addiction 99 (2004):552-·559.
  3. CASA (Columbia University Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse). “Family Matters: Substance Abuse and the American Family: Parents Who Use Illegal Drugs, Abuse Alcohol, and Smoke Endanger Half the Nation’s Children” www.casa columbia.org/newsroom/press-releases/2005-family-matters-substanceabuse-and-american-family.
  4. CASA (Columbia University Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse). “No Safe Haven: Children of Substance-abusing Parents,” 1999. www.casacolumbia.org/addiction-research/reports/no-safe-haven-children-substance-abusing -parents.
  5. V. J. Felitti et al., “Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 14 (1998): 245-258.
  6. V. J. Edwards, G. W. Holden, R. F. Anda, and V. J. Felitti, “Relationship Between Multiple Forms of Childhood Maltreatment and Adult Mental Health: Results From the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study,” American Journal of Psychiatry 160, no. 8 (2003): 1453-1460.
  7. R. F. Anda et al., “The Enduring Effects of Abuse and Related Adverse Experiences in Childhood: A Convergence of Evidence From Neuro biology and Epidemiology,” European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 256, no. 3 (2006): 174-186.


This article first appeared in the Adventist Review, July 10, 2014. Used with permission.


Atlantic Union – Syracuse, NY
On May 16th, 2013 Merlin Marrain-Jackson and Darryl Banks facilitated the first Journey To Wholeness meeting at Mt. Carmel, NY. Since then, attendees include long time church members, lost but now re-claimed church members, Christians from other churches, and members of the Recovery Community in Syracuse, NY. Those who attend leave understanding the great need of being liberated from sin and the different forms it takes in our lives. “We thank God, and the ARMin Leadership for the support they received, and pray every church may use this wonderful tool”, said Banks, “Start a meeting in your area and you will see that ‘You can’t keep it, unless you give it away!’” Meetings take place  5:30-7:00pm EVERY Thursday at Mount Carmel Seventh-day Adventist Church- 1926 Midland Ave.

Southern Union – New Port Richey, Florida
The New Port Richey Seventh-day Adventist Church held an ARMin Awareness Sabbath earlier this year. Frank Sanchez reported “We had a Holy Spirit filled day with around 30 people attending the afternoon session. An ARMin group of about 10 people was formed to being a ministry.

Recovery related news, pictures (protect anonymity of individuals in meetings) and upcoming recovery and awareness events can be sent for future newsletters. Please send these to Ray Nelson, Journey to Life Editor – adventistrecovery@gmail.com and/or Katia Reinert, Adventist Recovery Ministries Director – recovery@nad.adventist.org

Recovery Awareness Month
September is a month set aside in the US to raise awareness of Recovery, as well as mental health and suicide prevention. The need to learn and better understand the journey to recovery is so real today, as this touches every one of us. All of us know someone we love who may have in the past or may still be struggling with compulsive, unhealthy behaviors that contribute to brokenness in their lives. In fact, all of us as humans, experience sin in our lives, and together we are in the journey to recovery from our own sinful tendencies.

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) (http://www.recoverymonth.gov), now in its 25th year in the United States, educates citizens that addiction treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. It aims at encouraging the gains made by those in recovery, just as we would encourage those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

Info for use in the web, social media, and other resources are available at SAMHSA’s National Helpline - 1-800-662 HELP (4357) and also on the resource link at our ARMin website (www.AdventistRecovery.org).

Adventist Recovery Ministries would like celebrate with each of you who are experiencing the power of Christ in your journey to wholeness! Many of you have regained your lives back by working through each of the 12 steps and by embracing God’s restorative love and power in your lives. Praise God for surrendering your efforts in cooperating with Him!
We also would like to remind each of the Journey to Life readers who are struggling and who recognize their need for God’s intervention, that recovery in all its forms is possible. It is important for us to take this opportunity to continue to start ARMin ministries in every church in NAD. We pray that many of you who have not yet, may be impressed to take one of the many ARMin trainings scheduled in 2014 and 2015 and facilitate a group in your local church.

Let us celebrate together what God has done in our lives! Take a moment today to say a prayer of thanksgiving and rededication to God for “showing to us the path of life” (Psalm 16:11).    

Katia Reinert, PhD, CRNP, FCN
Health / ARMin Director
North American Division