Drug Program Teaches Life Skills by Andrea Calcano Cruz

Posted: July 6, 2012 in News and politics

Not many open doors exist for drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes and the homeless. They are often shunned, ignored and intentionally forgotten —because with acknowledgement comes a responsibility to help.

However, the doors of Wahneta Tabernacle of Praise, located at 1664 Rifle Range Road and headed by Pastor Richard Owens, not only has open doors with food assistance and spiritual support, but is about to begin a Christian-based intervention program for the chemically dependent. The hope is the program will ultimately change lives and bring families back together again.

A former alcoholic, whose life and career as an entertainer were devastated by his addiction originally, founded the program in Louisiana in 1978. Called the Christian Intervention Program, it is under the Spirit of Freedom Ministries, which is based in Metarie, La. Using literature and a workbook, the program consists of 20 lessons given over a period of 20 weeks.

A former alcoholic himself who is now 27 years clean, Owens said the course, which boasts a 90 perce nt success rate, requires an investment of $30 from each student to cover the costs of the workbook and literature. Students will receive a certificate of completion once they finish the course.

Owens, who would one day like to see the program in more churches in Polk County, said he has known about the course for a few years but is just now ready to get it going in the Wahneta community.

 

STAYING CLEAN

Wayne Golden, a parishioner of the Wahneta Tabernacle of Praise, will teach the local Christian Intervention Program. He has been trained by the current director of the Spirit of Freedom Ministries to not only be able to give the course but to also teach others to give the course. A former drug addict himself, Golden is very familiar with the path walked by those he will be trying to help and that gives him an advantage.

“It’s not a drug treatment, but a drug intervention program,” Golden said, the difference being a physical intervention versus a mental and spiritual one.

The topics covered in the course are varied and broad, such as family relations, morals, values, self-esteem, parenting, developing respect for law enforcement, developing Christian character, and even how to balance a checkbook.

It is these kinds of basic skills and lessons, Golden said, that most disenfranchised people were never taught.

“(The course) doesn’t just deal with addictive behavior,” Golden said. “It helps individuals with controlling their finances. It’s a life skill course.”

Golden, who has a prison ministry and gets choked up when talking about his own recovery, has given the Christian Intervention course just once to a young man who is the son of a fellow parishioner.

“(The young man who took the intervention course) is doing good and hasn’t relapsed,” Golden said. “He is now off of drug probation, and is now just on regular probation.”

“It was in the process of giving the course that I really came to the knowledge of what the course truly is and how successful I believe it will be,” he continued.

Auburndale resident Mark Griffis, who did crystal meth for more than seven years, said he got clean through the Christian Intervention Program and has stayed clean 11 years.

“I was snorting 200 dollars of dope a day up my nose,” Griffis said. “Only 6 percent ever get off of crystal meth, and thank God, I was part of that 6 percent.”

Also a prison minister, Griffis said this program works and he is proof of that.

“For years I didn’t have any control over myself,” Griffis said. “My mind was, ‘I’ve got to have another fix,’ and this program brought me back to reality.”

Griffis said this particular program helps the addict realize where the addictive lifestyle started and will work if the addict takes the program seriously.

 

FILLING A SPIRITUAL VOID

Both Owens and Golden emphasized that the benefits of the program, besides getting clean, are that oftentimes families are reunited. In addition, spiritual voids are filled.

Although the intervention workbooks are peppered with scripture, both agree that a spiritual void has likely been what’s led to a physical dependence on illegal drugs or alcohol.

“It’s an outreach thing that I really feel strongly about,” Golden said. “It’s not a denominational thing. It’s not something that’s pushing my faith or how I believe on somebody else. It’s simply a faith-based life skill course.”

He added it doesn’t matter whether the person who needs help doesn’t ascribe to a religion. In fact, both Golden and Owens stress that although they’ll encourage the students to attend church, there is absolutely no obligation to do so whatsoever.

In addition to helping local community members in Wahneta get clean, Golden said, they have been trying to get the word out to area high schools, prisons, and the local court system. He said the course may be a viable alternative to jail time for first-time offenders.

“In a lot of states, it’s approved where first-time offenders have the option of taking a faith-based program,” Golden said, “and we’re lobbying Tallahassee right now to get that approved.”

Owens said the program might also be an option for employees who’ve failed a drug test to get their jobs back.

“This (program) is just to try to help somebody get their life back on the right track and get their family back together, their jobs,” Owens said. “The church is here to support and work with them every way they can.”

Donations and sponsors are welcome, Owens said, for those who cannot afford the $30 for their course materials. In addition, non-perishable food donations are accepted for the church’s food pantry.

<!–Not many open doors exist for drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes and the homeless. They are often shunned, ignored and intentionally forgotten —because with acknowledgement comes a responsibility to help.

However, the doors of Wahneta Tabernacle of Praise, located at 1664 Rifle Range Road and headed by Pastor Richard Owens, not only has open doors with food assistance and spiritual support, but is about to begin a Christian-based intervention program for the chemically dependent. The hope is the program will ultimately change lives and bring families back together again.

A former alcoholic, whose life and career as an entertainer were devastated by his addiction originally, founded the program in Louisiana in 1978. Called the Christian Intervention Program, it is under the Spirit of Freedom Ministries, which is based in Metarie, La. Using literature and a workbook, the program consists of 20 lessons given over a period of 20 weeks.

A former alcoholic himself who is now 27 years clean, Owens said the course, which boasts a 90 perce nt success rate, requires an investment of $30 from each student to cover the costs of the workbook and literature. Students will receive a certificate of completion once they finish the course.

Owens, who would one day like to see the program in more churches in Polk County, said he has known about the course for a few years but is just now ready to get it going in the Wahneta community.

 

STAYING CLEAN

Wayne Golden, a parishioner of the Wahneta Tabernacle of Praise, will teach the local Christian Intervention Program. He has been trained by the current director of the Spirit of Freedom Ministries to not only be able to give the course but to also teach others to give the course. A former drug addict himself, Golden is very familiar with the path walked by those he will be trying to help and that gives him an advantage.

“It’s not a drug treatment, but a drug intervention program,” Golden said, the difference being a physical intervention versus a mental and spiritual one.

The topics covered in the course are varied and broad, such as family relations, morals, values, self-esteem, parenting, developing respect for law enforcement, developing Christian character, and even how to balance a checkbook.

It is these kinds of basic skills and lessons, Golden said, that most disenfranchised people were never taught.

“(The course) doesn’t just deal with addictive behavior,” Golden said. “It helps individuals with controlling their finances. It’s a life skill course.”

Golden, who has a prison ministry and gets choked up when talking about his own recovery, has given the Christian Intervention course just once to a young man who is the son of a fellow parishioner.

“(The young man who took the intervention course) is doing good and hasn’t relapsed,” Golden said. “He is now off of drug probation, and is now just on regular probation.”

“It was in the process of giving the course that I really came to the knowledge of what the course truly is and how successful I believe it will be,” he continued.

Auburndale resident Mark Griffis, who did crystal meth for more than seven years, said he got clean through the Christian Intervention Program and has stayed clean 11 years.

“I was snorting 200 dollars of dope a day up my nose,” Griffis said. “Only 6 percent ever get off of crystal meth, and thank God, I was part of that 6 percent.”

Also a prison minister, Griffis said this program works and he is proof of that.

“For years I didn’t have any control over myself,” Griffis said. “My mind was, ‘I’ve got to have another fix,’ and this program brought me back to reality.”

Griffis said this particular program helps the addict realize where the addictive lifestyle started and will work if the addict takes the program seriously.

 

FILLING A SPIRITUAL VOID

Both Owens and Golden emphasized that the benefits of the program, besides getting clean, are that oftentimes families are reunited. In addition, spiritual voids are filled.

Although the intervention workbooks are peppered with scripture, both agree that a spiritual void has likely been what’s led to a physical dependence on illegal drugs or alcohol.

“It’s an outreach thing that I really feel strongly about,” Golden said. “It’s not a denominational thing. It’s not something that’s pushing my faith or how I believe on somebody else. It’s simply a faith-based life skill course.”

He added it doesn’t matter whether the person who needs help doesn’t ascribe to a religion. In fact, both Golden and Owens stress that although they’ll encourage the students to attend church, there is absolutely no obligation to do so whatsoever.

In addition to helping local community members in Wahneta get clean, Golden said, they have been trying to get the word out to area high schools, prisons, and the local court system. He said the course may be a viable alternative to jail time for first-time offenders.

“In a lot of states, it’s approved where first-time offenders have the option of taking a faith-based program,” Golden said, “and we’re lobbying Tallahassee right now to get that approved.”

Owens said the program might also be an option for employees who’ve failed a drug test to get their jobs back.

“This (program) is just to try to help somebody get their life back on the right track and get their family back together, their jobs,” Owens said. “The church is here to support and work with them every way they can.”

Donations and sponsors are welcome, Owens said, for those who cannot afford the $30 for their course materials. In addition, non-perishable food donations are accepted for the church’s food pantry.

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