In my previous post, we discussed what addictions are, how they start, how they are perpetuated, and what all addicts struggle with when dealing with the bondage they are in. In this article, we’ll be discussing solutions and the hope of freedom that comes from allowing Jesus to take over our lives.

The Cure

13537530_10153591734416078_485782059864669274_n.jpgWhat are the spiritual tools used to vanquish this out-of-control fire of addiction?

  • Hope allows the addict to envision a life other than one devoted to serving the addiction, a life of freedom from bondage. Not a life free from pain — because so long as we live on this planet prior to Jesus’ return, there will always be pain — but a life free from the burden of healing ourselves from that pain, allowing the Healer to “bear our pains” for us. Hope motivates the addict to start and continue his/her recovery because victory becomes attainable rather than appearing elusive or impossible
  • Forgiveness allows the addict to face the future without carrying the garbage of the past along with him/her. All those deeds were nailed to the Cross with Jesus and God says that He remembers our sins no more. WOOHOO!
  • Accountability removes us from isolation and keeps us in a place of attachment with others who love us and accept us as we are. This provides a safe place for the addict to “own up” to both his/her good and bad parts, and receive God’s grace and mercy for the bad.
  • Truth removes the lies that are the foundations of our strongholds. Like anything else without a foundation, the walls around those lies crumble and fall.
  • Healing takes us back to those incidents of emotional trauma and then through the pain of them, this time with Jesus by our side, giving His grace and mercy to sustain us as we undergo that process.
  • Unconditional love is the most important of all. The addict needs to know in the very depths of his/her soul that God’s love for us is neither based upon our ability to meet a set of standards or rules nor on our failures in doing so.

What is Recovery?

There is an old proverb that goes:

He who aims at nothing always hits it.

So if we are going to start the recovery journey ourselves or with someone we are going to help, we need to know when we have reached our goal, when we have “arrived” at the desired destination: no longer being an addict.

Recovery seems so easy to define on the surface. Simply, successful recovery means that the addict is no longer enslaved to the strongholds and uncontrollable compulsions and obsessions that were the fabric of his/her addiction. But behaviorally, what constitutes recovery is a bit more varied and cannot be so easily described.

With some addictions, simple abstinence is the entire goal. Alcoholics who no longer imbibe, drug addicts who no longer shoot up/snort/smoke/swallow their drugs, smokers who no longer light up, gambling addicts who no longer place bets, rage-aholics who no longer lose their tempers at the slightest provocation, porn addicts who stop viewing the stuff — and have proven that abstinence over an extended period of time measured in years, I might add — can honestly say that they are recovered, but with one caveat: any addict is only one slip away from a relapse.

Here’s what I mean by this:

  1. An addict never truly “arrives” at a place where he/she will never again be tempted to relapse. Addicts are never allowed the luxury of abandoning their vigilance against any and all attempts for the addiction to regain a foothold. Why? Because our psychopath enemy, the devil, never gives up and wants us back. As a result, there will be times when he ratchets up the pressure to relapse through some combination of circumstances that will seriously tempt the addict to seek escape using his/her drug of choice. 12-Steppers deal with such situations by going to extra meetings and/or by contacting their sponsors for emotional support. Accurate examples of such relapse situations and relapse prevention strategies have been compassionately portrayed by the Deacon Clayborne character from the Nashville TV series I’ve already mentioned.
  2. An addict will never successfully steal God’s glory for delivering him/her from the addiction. The selfsame moment an addict starts taking credit for his recovery and stops giving glory to God for it, he/she has started a countdown timer to his/her next relapse. Guaranteed!

But back to defining recovery. We’ve already established situations where total abstinence is the desired goal, where abstinence literally defines recovery. On the other hand, there are other addictions where abstinence cannot be the end game. A major case-in-point would be food addiction — abstinence cannot be the measure of recovery here because we need to eat in order to live.

Sexual addiction is another case where total abstinence is not always a true measure of recovery. Abstaining from illicit/illegal sexual behaviors — all sexual activity outside the bounds of a traditional, monogamous, heterosexual marriage — is a definite goal because all such sexual misconduct is sin, whether it is legal or not. Pornography is yet another sexual behavior where abstinence is indeed applicable.

But total abstinence of all sexual activity is a non-starter. Why? Because we are sexual beings by God’s sovereign design and sex is God’s invention given for His children to enjoy. Though it, He provides: 1) a means of procreation for the human race, and; 2) a pleasurable bonding experience designed to both protect the marriage from adulterous influences and help perpetuate unity in the relationship. Point of fact: total sexual abstinence by a married addict over an extended period of time is actually counter-productive to the addict’s recovery.

Workaholism is yet another example. God has established in His Word that we humans are to work for our daily bread — if at all possible — so workaholics cannot just decide to become shiftless layabouts to resolve their addiction — they have families to support, bills to pay, etc.

In such cases, rather than abstaining, the goal is to change the addict’s relationship to the behavior. In all of the three examples I’ve just given, these behaviors literally need to be sanctified. Sanctification is a $10 theological term that many have heard and few understand. Let’s look at the NT definition:

sanctified (hagiazo)
to separate from profane things and dedicate to God; to purify; to make free from the guilt of sin; to purify internally by renewing of the soul

Here are the implications of sanctification regarding recovery. It means that progressively:

  • The activity in question is being brought under the lordship of Jesus Christ — He is actively in charge.
  • The addict is being led by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, rather than the impulses of his/her former idolatry.
  • The addict’s identity and self-worth is increasingly founded in the Truth of God’s Word, rather the strongholds of the past.
  • The addict is daily making his life a living sacrifice to the Living God (Romans 12:1)
  • The addict’s life is being transformed by the Holy Spirit’s renewal of his/her thinking processes (Romans 12:2)
  • The addict knows his limitations and doesn’t deliberately expose him-/herself to temptation unnecessarily (Romans12:3)

But the most important over-arching definition is this: spiritually, recovery means that the One True God is now back on the throne of the addict’s heart and the idol of the addict’s drug of choice is no longer being worshipped. The slave of sin has been set free!

The Prodigal Son: An Allegory
of Addiction & Recovery

One of the most significant passages in the Bible concerning addiction and recovery is Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son.

…A certain man had two sons and the younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.

But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine and he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

But when he came to himself, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.'”

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

But the father said to his servants, “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet and bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry, for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” And they began to be merry.

Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, “Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.” But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.

So he answered and said to his father, “Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.”

And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” — Luke 15:11-32

The Analysis

Here we have this no-holds-barred party animal, a Jersey Shore refugee, who has indulged his every whim in the single-minded pursuit of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. He is now homeless, his funds exhausted, his fair-weather friends having abandoned him to his fate without a backward glance during an economic downturn. He has sunk to the lowest of the low in Jewish society: tending pigs, living among them, eating their food out of sheer desperation, and most likely smelling of pig poop. Guilt, shame, and remorse are consuming him for both the consequences of his actions as well as how he had treated his loving father. He then “comes to himself” aka “hits his wall” and realizes that he doesn’t have to live that way any longer, starving and wallowing in his shame and pig feces.

Not only does he arrive at an accurate assessment of reality, he also comes up with the correct solution — and then follows through with a choice to act on it: he humbles himself and resubmits to his father’s authority (surrender), attempts to renounce his sonship rights (making amends), and returns home (repented).

This is the starting point every addict must come to and the recovery process every addict must engage in to get free from the addiction(s) that plague his/her life.

Please note that this story also illustrates and reinforces a point I made earlier: the kid already knows he is a sinner, that he is guilty, that he is unworthy. He is totally ashamed and no one neeed to rub his nose in that fact.

A further insight into the story is that it is a revelation of his father’s character (gracious, loving, merciful, forgiving) that gives him the hope to believe that his father might accept him. It is the son’s own sense of worthlessness telling him he would be lucky to be accepted back as a slave. It is this sense of worthlessness and helplessness that also causes him to humble himself before his father.

One little emphasized aspect of this story is that of the Prodigal Son speaking to himself. We create our own reality through our internal dialog (the words we speak to ourselves) because we cannot help but to believe everything we say to ourselves aloud and we will always say and act out what we believe in our hearts. So as he was making his way home, rehearsing his speech to his father, he was further developing his own faith in his father’s mercy.

It is vital to take note of some of the father’s behaviors.

  • The father was actively and anxiously looking for and expecting his son to return. Jesus says it was the father himself who saw the son from afar, not the man’s servants acting as lookouts.
  • The father was filled with compassion, rather than self-righteousness, condemnation, and/or disgust.
  • The father didn’t care one bit about the filth covering his son. Rather than being repulsed by the son’s filthy appearance and the nausea-inducing stench emanating from his son’s body, or being fastidiously concerned about getting his own clothes fouled, he embraced and kissed his son.
  • The father cleaned up his son after he restored and accepted him, rather than demanding the son clean himself up beforehand.
  • The father could have self-righteously left his son in his shameful and demeaning attire as a lesson, but instead had servants remove his son’s filthy, stinky rags and dress him in clean clothes and shoes.
  • The father placed a ring on his son’s finger, thus restoring his son’s position and authority within the family.
  • The father was neither embarrassed nor frugal in inviting his friends, family, and even servants to a massive feast to celebrate his son’s return.

Quite a homecoming, right? I found myself bordering on tears of gratitude that our Savior did precisely all that for me, as he has done for every addict that has ever come to Him for deliverance from their bondage.

The History of the Church in Recovery

Unfortunately, most Christians act like the Prodigal Son’s brother, setting themselves up as judge and jury over the addict, pointing out how bad he/she is, serving up massive heaps of even more guilt and shame, rather than participating in the Father’s redemptive attitude and behavior. Tragically, the brother never realized that the ground is always level at the foot of the Cross and missed the party because he was too busy sulking.

Many well-intentioned — but ignorant and misguided — believers, even ministers, try to beat addicts over the head with the Bible, using the concepts of sin, guilt, and shame as tools to motivate change in the addict, not realizing that, rather than throwing water on the runaway fire of that addiction, they are actually using gasoline. As we have already explored, though pain was the impetus for the addiction, guilt and shame are what fuel it. An addict already knows far better than any person just how sinful and guilty and shameful he or she is. Ministering along these lines simply reinforces the concept in the addict’s mind that he/she is beyond hope and that Christianity holds no hope for him/her because God hates him/her.

Back in the days before alcoholism was recognized as an illness/addiction, self-righteous religious folk (I refuse to honor them with the title “Christian”) used to minimize the iron grip alcohol had on alcoholics, saying, “You’re just a drunk! Stop drinking!” not knowing their total lack of compassion and the shame they were heaping on the alcoholic were actually making things worse. This was in a day when a great deal of what passed for Christianity was actually a shame-inducing, performance-based counterfeit of it (aka man’s religion) that has been prevalent for centuries.

It was not until AA was started by a couple of Christians who had used biblical principles to overcome their own alcoholism that alcoholics began receiving the grace, forgiveness, and emotional healing they needed to get free and stay free. Sadly, the shaming of addicts continues to this day by so-called Christians such as that misguided cult at Westboro Baptist in Topeka, Kansas who, along with others of their ilk, have for the foreseeable future caused all attempts for compassionate Christian outreach to the homosexual community with the love of Christ to be viewed as hate-speech.

Thankfully, the self-righteous judgmental model of church is rapidly fading from the public scene and the “hospital model” (which I believe is the true-to-God’s-Word concept) of church is replacing it. By “hospital model,” I mean the pastoral leadership and congregants all recognize we are all broken — both by our own sins and the sins of others against us — that we need to be healed by the love, grace, and power of God, and the primary channel for God’s grace to flow to His children is though the Body of Christ. In such a “hospital” church, any addict can show up and receive the help, love, and teaching required for recovery.

Celebrate Recovery

It was this very “church-as-hospital” philosophy that led to the creation — and widespread adoption by congregations throughout the world — of Rick Warren’s Celebrate Recovery (CR) program, a Christ-centered model for assisting addicts to get free of their bondages. Churches transcending denominational and doctrinal boundaries become CR franchisees of sorts, implementing the CR model within their individual local churches (an example & more CR information here).

The activities taking place on a typical CR meeting night are: a dinner offered for a nominal fee or donation, a short worship service, a testimony by a recovering addict and/or a short Bible teaching on addictions, and then the folks split up into various specialized groups for chemical dependency, sexual addiction, abuse recovery, codependency recovery, anger management, etc., each with a facilitator. In the CR model, each local church provides the funding, facilities, and volunteer staff members for their “franchise.”

Honor Rick Warren as a visionary man of God or revile him as a heretic, one fact is absolutely certain: he co-founded the most widely available Bible-based recovery program on the planet — and it works!

Teen Challenge

Another even more effective Christ-centered recovery program is that of Teen Challenge, a ministry launched by Pastor David Wilkerson of “The Cross & The Switchblade” renown. They are a parachurch organization, which means they operate independently from any particular denomination, movement, or local congregation, obtaining their own funding through donations and fund-raisers, maintaining their own in-patient recovery facilities, and hiring their own full- and part-time staff to man them.

Other Programs

In all fairness, as many churches have moved away from the “self-righteous judges” model of dealing with addictions and seen the validity and necessity for offering recovery programs, they have made their facilities available to groups such as AA, NA, SA, and other 12-Step-based recovery meetings, but provide no funding or staff to support them because such recovery groups maintain a strict policy of independence from other organizations.

The 12 Steps

As I’ve already stated, the original 12 Steps from AA were written by Christians based on biblical principles. Every step is founded on at least one Scripture verse — it is these applied truths that give the 12 steps their power to set addicts free. Here are the 12 Steps as amended by Celebrate Recovery, along with each step’s foundational Scripture passage:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

    I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. — Romans 7:18

  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

    For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. — Philippians 2:13

  3. We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

    Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. — Romans 12:1

  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. — Lamentations 3:40

  5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

    Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. — James 5:16

  6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

    Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. — James 4:10

  7. We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9

  8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

    Do to others as you would have them do to you. — Luke 6:31

  9. We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. — Matthew 5:23-24

  10. We continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

    So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! — 1 Corinthians 10:12

  11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and power to carry that out.

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. — Colossians 3:16

  12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.

    Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.Galatians 6:1 may be tempted. — Galatians 6:1

Weaknesses & Pitfalls Inherent to
“Secular” 12-Step Groups

Before we move on to some other great stuff from Celebrate Recovery, I want to address some issues raised by secular 12-Step programs as exemplified by AA.

A “Higher Power As We Understand Him”

Here’s why I have termed AA and it’s various clones as “secular.” The original Steps #2 & #3 read as follows (italics mine):

  1. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  2. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

We’ll start here with Step #2. Remember we covered a few paragraphs ago how AA was founded in response to judgmental churches and so-called Christians who heaped shame on alcoholics? This “higher power” schtick was an attempt by AA’s founders to dodge the considerable resistance alcoholics to this day have against Christianity because such self-righteousness had totally alienated them, much like the aforementioned Westboro Baptist cult has managed to alienate the entire LGBT crowd from the true Gospel.

The upside of the “higher power” verbiage is that it has succeeded in getting past the religious defense mechanisms of many alcoholics. I personally know 3 recovered alcoholics who later became Christians once they got seriously into their recovery and discovered that the God of the Bible actually loved them (one of them is the pastor I quoted when I was defining the characteristics of addictions in the opening sections of my previous article in this 2-part series).

The downside is this: the power of God to transform human lives resides solely in the Word of God, the name of Jesus, His shed blood, and His finished work of the Cross. Many church folk hear the “higher power” language and immediately throw AA and other 12-Step groups under the bus because they have just enough Bible knowledge to know this, though they have failed to think through the ramifications of their condemnation (typically these are the same self-righteous folk that condemn addicts, I might add!).

Because this “higher power” stuff hinders — if not outright prevents — addicts from connecting to the only true long-term Solution for their addictions, it has led to a very high recidivism rate among the various secular 12-Step groups, AA included. The last statistic I heard said the rate was about 95%, whereas Christ-centered groups such as Teen Challenge see those stats almost completely reversed: about 80+% of their grads stay sober!

Now on to Step #3: the “God as we understand Him” clause is equally devoid of any divine influence or power. Here’s why: Jesus clearly states in the Gospel of John that if we have seen Him, we have seen God because He is God, and Jesus is the only Way to God the Father (John 14:9-10). Therefore, it is absolutely impossible to even begin to grasp the character, will, and ability of God or properly relate to Him without having first established a personal relationship with Him by submitting to Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10).

Identity

Another problem with secular 12-Step groups such as AA is the issue of identification. Remember when we talked about denial earlier? One of AA’s tools to combat denial is how members address the other attendees at a meeting when it comes their time to share. They say something very close to: “Hi, my name is __________ and I’m an alcoholic.” The group responds by saying, “Hi, __________!” After the addict shares, the group responds with applause and words of encouragement and affirmation. Through the public admission, the alcoholic’s ability to deny his condition is constantly being removed. Through the responses of the other attendees, the addict receives the grace and acceptance all addicts need in order to recover.

Such a confession has a noble intent, but it is fatally flawed from a biblical perspective. Here’s why: our identity as believers is in Christ and the finished work of the Cross, rather than in the sins and bondages of our past. Such declarations in fact deny the power of God to transform us from addicts to non-addicts.

And what have we already covered about the words of our mouths? We cannot help but to believe everything we say! So to constantly proclaim that we are — present tense — alcoholics, addicts, codependents, victims, whatever is in fact an expression of unbelief, no matter how noble the original intent or desirable the end result.

A scripturally accurate confession would be something along the lines of: “Hi, I’m _____________ and I’m a recovering alcoholic who is being rescued and transformed moment by moment, day by day by the blood of Jesus and the finished work of the Cross.” Such a confession brings the person saying it into agreement with God’s Word — always a good thing — and helps renew that person’s mind to believe the Truth, instead of the strongholds of the past.

All Grace & No Truth

One final issue with secular 12-Step groups: the Bible describes Jesus in John 1 as “full of grace and truth” and these two concepts must always remain in balance for us to live successful lives as believers. AA and their clones are all about grace with zero teaching concerning how we can and should apply the Word of God to appropriate the power of God to get free. Everything presented at an AA meeting is anecdotal based upon personal experience and there is precisely ZERO instruction. From my perspective, this is a fatal flaw.

When I joined my first 12-Step group for my own addiction, I had been a born-again believer for over 20 years and had just come to grips with the fact that I was indeed an addict. To my total surprise, it took me about 3 meetings before I came to the absolutely accurate revelation that I had all the spiritual weapons required for me to get free already in my hands because I had been taught them for years — it just had never occurred to me to apply those same biblical principles to my addiction. DOH! Once I started doing so, I immediately began experiencing greater and greater intervals of sobriety and freedom.

That’s why when I felt called to develop my own still-in-development recovery program called Stronghold Busters, one of its major components is Bible teaching on topics directly related to overcoming addictions and other compulsive behaviors. Such concentrated Bible teaching is also a factor in why Teen Challenge is so successful in getting people set free.

Celebrate Recovery’s 8 Recovery Principles

Celebrate Recovery condenses the 12 steps into 8 Recovery Principles based upon the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5. Here they are with the cross-references to the 12 Steps:

    1. Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. (Step #1)

      Happy are those who know that they are spiritually poor.

    2. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step #2)

      Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    3. Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. (Step #3)

      Happy are the meek.

    4. Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. (Steps #4 & #5)

      Happy are the pure in heart.

    5. Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps #6 & #7)

      Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires

    6. Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. (Steps #8 & #9)

      Happy are the merciful. Happy are the peacemakers.

    7. Reserve a time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. (Steps #10 & #11)
    8. Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words. (Step #12)

      Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.

George’s Obituary in an Alternate Universe

Here is the obituary that I dearly wish I could have written 30 years from now when George would have been 90:

George (last name omitted), born 10/16/1950 in Dover, NJ, died 12/17/2044 in the Prescott VA Hospital, of natural causes. George was a talented carpenter and mechanic who worked in various construction-related jobs for most of his life, his final position being a senior building inspector for the State of Arizona, a post he held for 30 years until his retirement. Prior to that, he was a decorated single-tour Vietnam veteran who spent the balance of his 4-year enlistment in then-West-Germany.

As a young man, he was predeceased by his 2 younger sisters and mother and tried to drown his pain in alcohol for a few years, but he eventually became a born-again Christian, then sought and received the help he needed to resolve his abandonment issues from his mother’s and sisters’ deaths as well as his PTSD from Vietnam. As a result, he was clean and sober for well over 50 years and was instrumental in helping many other hurting addicts and veterans get free from their personal demons. George was revered throughout the recovery community within the Tri-City Area, having successfully sponsored over 60 men in their sobriety.

George was also active in the local Gospel Rescue Mission homeless shelter, helping wherever needed, assisting many homeless folks to get back on their feet with dignity and self-respect restored. He was a fiery and fearless preacher of God’s Word, sharing his testimony of how God’s love and the blood of Jesus had saved him, healed him, and set him free with anyone who would listen.

George also put his encyclopedic knowledge of the construction trade to charitable use through his decades-long association with Habitat For Humanity. Through them, He participated in the construction of dozens of homes for the less fortunate.

George is survived by his beloved wife (name omitted) and 4 daughters (names omitted), 10 grandchildren (names omitted), his stepbrother and partner in ministry, Steve Willis, and his cousin Patricia (last name omitted), all residents of Prescott Valley.

The memorial service will held at The Heights Church because of the large expected turnout and there will be an interment ceremony at the Prescott Veterans Cemetery. Both are open to the public. Rather than flowers, please donate to the local addiction recovery program of your choice in George’s memory.

Conclusion

I sincerely hope and pray that this article is instrumental in changing the life of even one of you who reads this or at least is somehow educational enough to help some of you who know and love one or more addicts and have felt helpless in your desire to help them get free of their bondage.

Thanks for reading!

Credit Where Credit Is Due

The following people are the primary sources of my knowledge on the topic of addictions and recovery as well as other psychological issues. I cannot begin to describe the full impact they have had upon my life and ministry.

Disclaimer: I am neither an official spokesperson for nor do I have any official or unofficial relationship whatsoever to any of the ministries, recovery groups, or organizations mentioned in this article.