A Focus on Recovery: The impact of community


September is National Recovery Month. Throughout this month, North Alabama United Methodists are sharing their stories on various aspects of recovery ministries and how they bring transformation to people, local churches and communities.

This week’s story comes from Scott Jones, the Chaplain at Brother Bryan Mission in Birmingham, Alabama.

In the study of addiction and recovery, research proves that social and environmental factors carry significant weight on whether a person may become an addict, especially if those factors are experienced in early adolescence (Kendler, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18519825, 2008). Therefore, it is important to understand that if children grow up in environments where substance abuse of any kind is happening, there is a much greater chance they may fall into addiction. Research shows other contributing factors include family history and early initiation into addictive substances.

Consequently, when someone enters recovery from addiction, a community providing support and abstinence can be one of the greatest contributing factors to sustained recovery. While it is not always the sole answer to a person’s needs in recovery, support from family and peers can be a motivating factor in continuing in recovery. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests in their 13 Principles of Effective Treatment that an approach to recovery must incorporate several integrated therapies, of which group interaction is a significant expression. Recovery was never meant to be an isolated event, but one in which a community can come together to support an individual in his or her specific plan of treatment.

In the video below, Scott Jones, who is the Chaplain at Brother Bryan Mission in Birmingham, Alabama, shares about his recovery experience. He speaks to how his family environment contributed to his addiction and how community helped him grow in recovery.

Community is an important step for persons in recovery. Local congregations can provide community for an individual in recovery in multiple ways including (but not limited to):

  • Weekly worship
  • Life skills classes
  • Small groups
  • Coffees and conversations
  • 12-step classes
  • Sunday school classes
  • Alternative social gatherings

Addiction does not discriminate based on socioeconomic group or demographic. Persons from all different walks of life are involved in recovery and every church can offer some type of community to support their recovery.

If you’d like to learn more about the various options of recovery or if you know someone specifically who would benefit from recovery, please visit the website of the Recovery Resource Center at www.recoveryresourcejeffco.com.

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