The road to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is usually long and hard. A partnership between Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls and eight local churches is hoping to ease the recovery process with a new initiative.
"The problem of addiction in the great number of... in fact, pervasively throughout society is, the stigma of shame."
The stigma of being alone. The stigma of ignoring the problem, as Pastor Bob O'Connor of Gloria Dei Lutheran says.
Which is why his congregation of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church is one of eight that are part of a new initiative to help those battling addiction.
"[To] Begin a conversation in our congregation about what addiction is. In fact that it is a disease, it's not a moral failure," O'Connor explained.
The new initiative is called Communities Facing Addiction. With the help of Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls, there will be around 50 volunteers throughout all eight congregations, ready to listen to those who may need support with their addiction. A key factor in beginning the recovery process.
"They can be a "safe landing space" for those members of the congregation," explained Executive Director of Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls Monique Johnson, "to feel like they can come to somebody in their own church and say, 'You know, I'm really having a hard time with this, where can I go for help?'"
Because both Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls as well as each congregation knows that battling a disease is sometimes long and difficult.
"It's a brain disease and I think when people start feeling that that's true," says Johnson, "that that breaks that barrier."
A barrier that Pastor Bob O'Connor has seen many times, having seen addiction in his own family, but says, once broken, leads to clarity.
"It ordered their life in a way that clarified it greatly. By confronting their addiction, it cleared away all the fog, all of the questions and, now, with understanding themselves better they've got this very clear track to run on."
The initiative will kick off Sunday, September 25th at the following churches:
- Gloria Dei Lutheran
- Our Savior's Lutheran
- First Lutheran
- Westside Lutheran
- St. John American Lutheran
- Holy Cross Lutheran
- Renner Lutheran
Executive Director Monique Johnson also hopes that, if the initiative does well within the handful of churches, that it'll be implemented into other congregations as well.
If you or someone you know is facing addiction and would like help, you can get more information from Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls by clicking here.