Amy Winehouse died last week after years of dealing with mental illness and substance abuse. Her family and friends intervened as much as they could but in the end Amy didn’t want help. In pondering her tragic story I was reminded of a column I wrote last year about someone who has a passion for those whom the world has cast away and considers hopeless.
Here’s the dusted and re-edited version of that article.
FORT WORTH, Tx, July 29, 2011 — My column teaser says, “What does it take to change your path to one that will feed the passions within you?” Until this week it never occurred to me that sobriety could be a passion. I saw it as something to certainly reach for but not as a craving.
Sobriety a passion? Yes. This word is a verb. An action. Something you do continuously if you want to retain control of your life.
That’s a monumental challenge once you’ve been a slave to the cruel master of addiction. And that slave driver doesn’t easily give up control.
Addiction is slavery. And to someone who is trying to regain their freedom support and social skills are essential.
What brought all this to mind? An outreach minister who has a radio program that focuses on addiction and recovery.
Rich Dover’s show There Is Hope is on KGNW 820 AM, a Christian radio station in Seattle, Washington. It airs on Saturday nights from 10:00pm –12:00am Pacific Standard Time.
The main focus of the broadcast is to give hope to the hopeless. Listeners are encouraged to call in and join Dover in the show. Callers take part in discussions and commentary, and share their own trials with addiction as well.
What impresses me most of all is Dover’s humility. He’s not afraid to ask listeners what they think he can do better. And he’s willing to listen - even if he gets criticism.
He also calls himself, “The most vulnerable man on radio.” The reason for this is that he freely admits to and talks about his own struggles. Yes, a minister who opens up about his mistakes and the errors in his life.
Dover lets the listener know that he’s just as human and just as fallible as they are. In my experience that is not a common attitude in church leaders. Sounds wonderful and quite refreshing, doesn’t it?
Rich’s wife Carmi joins him in the broadcast booth on occasion and frequently mans the phones. They work together to help others get to and live healthy and fulfilling lives. And both have much experience doing so.
Richard has served people through ministry in the street and in prison. His scope of care also includes evangelism, lay counsel, and Bible instruction.
Carmi was a cell pastor in the Philippines and has been involved with short-term mission trips. And service as house manager for a women’s transitional home helped ready her for this task.
If you do not live in the Seattle area, you can listen to There is Hope via the Internet here: http://www.thereishoperadio.org/
Rich also serves Fairhaven House in the Seattle area where he is director. It is actually three half-way houses where recovering addicts can get back on their feet. The statement from the website states:
“The vision of Fairhaven House is to provide a clean and sober living environment for individuals recovering from substance abuse or other addictive behavior. Fairhaven House believes in not only providing a safe and healthy environment for recovery, but to help individuals work through the root issues behind their addictions.”
Through the program members are helped to get educated and become employed. Members learn the social skills necessary to learn to cope with daily life. That helps them to participate in society and teaches them to serve others.
They learn what works and what doesn’t work in a life of sobriety. This includes creating a budget and learning to handle money. It also means learning to not give in to old habits that will ruin their quest for recovery.
Members learn how to handle disappointment, struggles, rejection, mental fatigue and emotional anguish. They gain new insights as how to be happy and successful as well. Many of these souls never learned to do what you and I do on a daily basis.
That’s often one of the reasons for relapse. It isn’t necessarily that one gives into craving; many times using is the only thing these people know. It’s one of the only means they have to deal with their existence.
But with the help of Rich Dover and Fairhaven House there is hope. Members learn to use the tools that make it possible to live a useful and productive life.
When these people re-enter the world it becomes a much brighter and better place. And imagine the victory a member feels to live on their own terms once more. It’s a win-win situation for everybody.
One of the ways of achieving this is to disciple members who want to know and follow Jesus Christ. And though the teaching is faith based, members need not have any type of religious affiliation. People of all faiths or lack of them are welcome.
That’s not to say that a member has to become a Christian either. They don’t. But as stated before the program is Christian. And it includes attending a Bible believing church and an in-house Bible study once a week.
The Dovers have witnessed many lives changed for the better this way. They also get to see the fruits of their labors which are not always an easy task. And at the same time they are living out their own passion to assist those in dire straits.
Addictions of one kind or another are a common subject in the media. We hear so much about it that it’s easy to tune it out. And unless you deal with it daily, addiction becomes part of the furniture in our lives.
Yet when these folks live clean and healthy lives, there is less crime, suicide, drug overdose and more. Addictions cost society money one way or another. But when free of them ex-members only add to their communities.
And faith in Jesus feeds the desire for freedom from addiction in many Fairhaven House alumni. It also fuels their passion to help those in desperate need. It creates a cycle of blessing.
Only good comes from something like that.
I encourage you to join Rich on Saturday nights. Call in and ask a question, give your opinion, or just listen to what he has to say. Then ask yourself if your passion blesses only yourself or does it give to others as well.
Rich and Carmi Dover live the truth that it is indeed more blessed to give than receive. How blessed are you?
For Claire Hickey, writing is a newly realized passion. Read more of Claire’s work at Feed The Mind, Nourish The Soul in the Communities at The Washington Times, her blog Sustenance For The Mind, and the writing group she belongs to at Greater Fort Worth Writers Group.
Join her on Facebook at facebook.com/Claire0803 and
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.