Conference ministers to pastors about addiction

From Staff Reports

PELHAM – On Tuesday, Feb. 20, COMPACT 2020 and Bradford Health Services provided a free training event for leaders in the faith community. The event was attended by Church leaders from throughout Shelby County and surrounding areas.

The First Baptist Church of Pelham hosted the event.

“Today’s conference was profoundly beneficial, deeply educational, and significantly inspirational,” said FBC of Pelham Senior Pastor Daven Watkins. “I have a greater understanding of the disease of addiction and how to minister to those it affects.”

Adam Robinson, Senior Pastor of Double Oak Community Church, reached out to COMPACT 2020 late in 2017 to learn more about upward trends in adolescent substance abuse and also to explore options for churches to become more involved.

Representatives from Bradford Health Services and Recovery Consulting agreed to provide free training on addiction and codependency in order to help church leaders better understand the behaviors exhibited by addicts and the impact addiction can have on families.

Tim Hilton of Recovery Consulting, presented “The Addicted Brain,” which uses everyday language to explain the physiology of addiction. Understanding how addiction affects the brain is the first step in understanding the disease. While he is not a doctor or a scientist, Hilton draws upon his own struggles with addiction and countless hours of research and lessons from leading experts in the field.

A local parent, Mike Bailey, shared his personal story about the loss of his daughter, Ashlynn, to a drug overdose. Mr. Bailey encouraged church leaders to continue to press the conversation about substance abuse and addiction with young people and their families. He said families cannot be fooled into thinking that addiction can be managed in isolation or without professional help.

According to addiction experts, family members and loved ones of addicts are often the silent victims of addiction.

Jeremy Rakes with Bradford Health Services presented the Dangers of Co-dependency – describing how to best help an addict along the path to recovery. Family members and friends of the addicted person often contribute to the disease by giving cash, paying bills, making car payments, or providing anything else the addict wants.

“Let go of the stigma, let go of the shame and listen,” Rakes told the crowd.

By providing information about the impact of addiction on individuals and their families, COMPACT 2020 hopes to help pastors better minister to those who find themselves or a family member struggling with substance abuse.