2015, Issue 1 - January/February

Re-thinking Recovery
In a TED Talk presented by Jim Stolze, the value in “re-thinking volunteerism” was emphasized. The thoughts and action plans he referred to, led me to ask, “Is it time to re-think recovery?” Is there a better time to do so than now, as another year begins? 

Is it possible that our re-thinking needs to begin with the root of what it is that keeps us hooked on unhealthy, harmful habits and addictions?

“Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. …

“…Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help.” Alcoholics Anonymous 62. 

Harold B’s thoughts on Step 6 in this issue of our newsletter help us re-think the core issues involved in addiction and recovery.

It is of utmost importance that we recognize the value of 12-Step groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, AL Anon, Overeaters Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, The Journey to Wholeness, etc.), which provide on-going support from those who have lived and are working their program of recovery. As they share their experience, strength and hope in an anonymous, confidential setting each person in the meeting receives practical suggestions that they can apply to their personal recovery program. Additional help is available from experienced group members who provide direction through their sponsoring of newer members. 

It is also important to remember that 12-Step groups are not intended to provide professional counseling. Each and every group is autonomous and those who serve the group do so as volunteers. Therefore, questions such as, “HOW DO I KNOW IF SOME COUNSELING WOULD HELP?” which Dr. Harold Smith answers in the feature article in this issue, are essential.

Finally, it is necessary that we continue to de-stigmatize recovery and bring it out of the shadows into the spotlight. Please continue to pray for Adventist Recovery Ministries this year as Katia Reinert, Director and each of us seek to “carry the message” of Christ-centered recovery to people everywhere in preparation for Jesus Christ’s second coming.

Ray Nelson, MDiv, MSPH

12 STEPS to Recovery —  STEP #6
We are at the midpoint of 12-step recovery. We have admitted our powerlessness over whatever the issue confronting us, have turned our will and lives over to the care of God as we currently know Him, have made a searching, fearless, and personal moral inventory, and then have shared the results with a fellow traveler who is also on the road to recovery. 

Yes, we have acknowledged our character defects, but we have also come to believe that the root of all our troubles—selfishness and self-centeredness—come from our sinful nature, a congenital defect! “The sinful mind does not submit to God’s law (of love) nor can it do so.” —Romans 8:7

So because our promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand, we have come to the conclusion that recovery is a spiritual battle and that only God can and will replace our self-centeredness with His love.

“The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The battle which we have to fight—the greatest battle that was ever fought by man—is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love.”  —Mount of Blessing 141 

In this step we are fully surrendered, entirely ready for God to do His “heart-transplant” in our lives – “Have Thine own way, Lord, Have Thine Own way – Thou art the potter, I am the clay.” This is our daily, ongoing experience, “and thus through constant surrender to God we are learning to live the new life, even the life of faith.”Steps to Christ 48 (adapted)

Finally, I claim one of David’s heartfelt prayers as my personal 6th step prayer: “Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” —Psalm 139:23, 24. 

Harold B


My Brief Testimony: Recovery through Jesus Christ and His Power Experience (Past) 
My addiction started unintentionally when I was four years old. I was oblivious about the dangers of what I saw and what I was feeling. As I stumbled upon more pictures and videos, my addiction escalated and my need for it became a daily craving. In time, I understood I was watching sexual acts. I was ashamed but retained the secret. I assumed I could stop but I failed repeatedly. I was filled with guilt, disgusted at myself and powerless. I drowned myself in denial; never admitting my addiction. As it progressed, I didn’t recognize what I was doing, why I did it and how each fall even really started. I was terrified at the idea of rehab or a support group.

Strength (Now) 
My recovery started unintentionally when I enrolled into my Master’s program. I had pride myself on my academic success. I could pretend everything was okay as long as I was excelling. During my first weeks of classes, I realized I enrolled into God’s private rehab. One professor required our participation and support in her 12-step program. Another professor required us to honestly write about our deepest pains. Getting better was entangled with my academic success. I was forced to rehabilitate. I learned that my addiction was my coping mechanism for my childhood hurts and abuse. Without it, I was depressed and mildly delusional. My dependence on God increased as my walls of denial crumbled. God removed my cravings. Then, He introduced me to key people who helped in my recovery process. I found strength through their community.

Hope (For the Future) 
My commitment to this journey of recovery is intentional. One of my recovery keys is knowing my purpose and reasons for sobriety. After my first semester, God explained my mission and promised to strengthen me. I hold Him accountable to do that and thus far, I have grown to trust His promise. I envision myself with a renewed mind that deals with problems in a healthy fashion. I have goals of encouraging other women and educating others about this serious addiction. Although I keep these goals in mind, my motivational yet balanced prayer is the serenity prayer. My addiction was not built in a day so my recovery won’t be completed in an hour. Yet, I can rely on God to grant me the serenity, the courage and the wisdom.       

Brittany H.W



How Do I Know if Some Counseling Would Help?

Oh man I thought that I had things pretty well headed in the right direction!  I’ve started the 12 steps to recovery.  I’ve admitted that there are things in my life I need to keep track of and clean up.  I’ve even admitted to my family that I am trying to turn things around.  

It seems like things are on the right track!  But! But! But! I feel scared, stuck!  I worry about messing up again (and I really don’t want that).  I’ve got people counting on me.  I am counting on me!  I really want to make this work!  Any Ideas?  Any help out there?

Yes! Yes! Yes!  

It could be.  It just may be.  It could be that talking regularly with a counselor may be just the thing to help make a difference!  An extra set of ears and eyes can be a lifesaver at times.  Someone who isn’t your significant other.  Not your daughter.  Not your mom or dad.  Not the pastor.  These people already know you.  They have an idea of what you are going through.  But you see them regularly.  They depend on you.  They have hopes for you.  

Here’s where a good counselor comes in.  It’s what they do all the time.  Yep, they sit and listen to people talking through things, figuring out things, ALL THE TIME!  

Here’s how they are different:  They aren’t your moms.  They aren’t your bosses.  They aren’t your kids.  They aren’t your wife or husband.  They aren’t your girlfriends!  

The counselor listens to what you show up with.  They aren’t judgmental.  They will find out what  YOU WANT!   A good counselor will listen and then ask you next week how things went.  When did the cravings hit?  How did you feel?  How much did you use?  How was it?  How do you feel about this whole turn around thing?  

A good counselor will talk with you about discouragement and will help you rethink just why you are trying to do this completely hard thing.  He or she will help you rethink, rephrase, review the positives of *staying clean.  He or she will help you talk through the strong reasons for staying clean and the down sides of returning.

A good counselor will help you think through and talk through the losses that have happened to you because of your addictive behavior.  You will look at it through clear eyes.  Then you will move on.  No blaming.  No pointing. Just strong plans for today and tomorrow and the weeks and months ahead.

Hey!  How will I know if I need it?  Here are several things to check.  Does the help you are getting from programming such as 12 steps and community help, but not enough?  A counselor may be what will make the difference.  Am I having trouble keeping up at work?  

Hey! How do I find a good counselor?  Google counselors or psychologists and a list will come up in your community.  Call them.  Ask how much it is.  Ask if your have insurance coverage.  Go for a visit.  Check them out.  Be picky.  Find someone you think you can connect with.  Keep trying!  Keep Going!  You can’t get help if you don’t keep going.

Hey!  How long will I have to go?  Will a counselor put me on meds?  You go as long as you and the counselor can see you really need it. Sometimes several months.  Sometimes longer.  No the counselor won’t put you on meds.  If you need help with depression or anxiety he or she will refer you to your MD to check on whether a change in meds would be helpful.  

Your counselor WILL ask you about any meds you may be taking and ask if you are taking them as prescribed.  


You being successful in your track to ongoing stability in your life is what’s important.  If you think from our little talk today that it may be helpful. . . . .  Ask around and find a counselor who is good at what he or she does and loves doing it.  Your success is what’s important!

Harold B. Smith, PsyD  is a licensed psychologist practicing in Michigan


*Editor’s note – “Staying clean” is a statement generally used in the recovery community with reference to staying drug free (not using or abusing).  The term can also refer to avoiding the use of any addictive substance or behavior.


Southern Union — Greer, South Carolina Awareness Day
On November 16, 2014, Frank Sanchez, Southern Union Conference ARMin Coordinator, presented a
Christ-centered 12-step Awareness Day in Greer, South Carolina. The venue was a Lutheran Church where several people came to attend the event and share their personal story of recovery.

Lake Union — Dowagiac SDA Church Awareness Day 

On Sabbath, January 17, 2015, the Dowagiac Seventh-day Adventist Church, 410 Hill Street held an Adventist Recovery Ministries Awareness with many in attendance. For more information : 269-782-0457.


Andrews University, MI 

The Journey to Wholeness Christ-centered 12-Step Group meet on Fridays, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. in the Seminary Building, Room N-108 and Sabbath (Saturdays) 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. in Nethery Hall, Room 134. All are welcome.

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

The Call to Initiate an ARMin Ministry
We are at the beginning of another year, and for many who seek for God’s guidance for the plans ahead, perhaps a clear call is heard from above to engage in ARMin.

I have received several emails of people who learn about ARMin and then feel called to start a group in their own church. Often they have been on a journey to recovery themselves, or have had someone in the family who has. Thus they feel called to share that experience with others. Other times, they are searching for a ministry that can be relevant to both, members and others in the community, who may be suffering from various unhealthy addictive behaviors. They see ARMin as a way to connect offering hope and healing.

Now, often many ask, “how do I start?” Sometimes they feel they already have experience attending or leading a 12-step group at work or even at church and that the ARMin training is not needed. However, we emphasize that regardless of the previous experience someone may have had with 12-step meetings, the official NAD ARMin Training is critical and required for the program to be successful. Why?

It is simple. The ARMin meetings and program, are slightly different from a regular 12-step meeting or even a Celebrate recovery meeting, in that we have a specific resource used and also important elements that are unique to the ARMin program. In addition, the structure of ARMin in the SDA Church, is also different than in other settings. The training provided by the NAD ARMin is meant to impart knowledge of addictions and its elements, explain the Journey to Wholeness resource use, and also the elements regarding how to best run the meetings. In addition, connections are made with other ARMin leaders and facilitators, so one can build a network for support.

We invite you to consider being an ARMin facilitator for your church, allowing God to use you to bring hope and healing to many. We have scheduled several training opportunities in 2015 across many regions of the US (see Upcoming Calendar and Events). If you are feeling God calling you to this ministry, don’t put it off. Allow Him to guide and direct your path. The blessing you will experience is beyond measure.    

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