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Addictions support group fueled by faith

News editor

Val Newton has been to the mountaintop, and he’s trudged through the valley of addiction. Today he tries to walk the high road in faith, and wants to help others with similar challenges.

The former Good News Christian Fellowship pastor and co-facilitator Chandra Morris are bringing Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program, to the county.

“This is the first time that this is going to be tried here,” Newton said. “The goal of this ministry is not to fix an individual. The goal is for people to walk alongside each other in a journey of deliverance. It’s a Christ-centered ministry that ministers to every hurt, every hang-up a person might have.”

The nondenominational, peer-driven support program was developed at Saddleback Church in California, headed by well-known pastor, author, and speaker Rick Warren.

“It ministers to both chemical and co-dependencies of all kinds,” Newton said. “It’s not just for alcoholics or drug addictions, but all the addictions in our lives.”

Newton had been at Good News a little over a year when he resigned in 2013, and he’s excited to be back in a place where he can share what God has done in his life.

“Even when the pain and hurt has subsided, we find ourselves utilizing these coping mechanisms to become undisciplined and powerless to stop them,” he said. “I thought they were through, but they were never through. I found myself being entangled again in the yoke of bondage. I’ve had the experience of Christ coming in and intervening. That’s my investment, because I know personally the deliverance of Christ.”

Celebrate Recovery is based on eight principles derived from the Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, Newton said, but an equally-important element of the program is sharing one’s struggles with other participants.

“It’s imperative for us to become accountable to others in this process,” he said. “Those are the first steps to our recovery. Anonymity and confidentiality also are imperatives of this group. What’s spoken in this group stays in this group.”

Newton and Morris attended a daylong training in Oklahoma that helped to develop a vision of how Celebrate Recovery could work in the county. They’ve also recruited Donna and Tom Blaze, Theron Nienstedt, and Kendra Henry to their leadership team.

“We’re participant-leaders,” Newton said. “We all have struggles we’re working through ourselves, but we believe in God.”

Although not associated with Marion Christian Church, the group will meet Saturdays in the church basement.

“Without that blessing, we couldn’t have gotten this far,” Newton said.

The inaugural meeting will be this Saturday beginning with a snack and meal time at 5 p.m. A large group session will be at 6 p.m., followed by small groups at 7 p.m. Child care will be provided, and there is no cost to attend.

“What’s a better place to be on a Saturday night than a place where you’re trying to work through some core issues about something you’re seeking deliverance from?” Newton said. “We’ve met several people of all ages who have been asking if there’s a ministry like this here in the community, so there’s a great need. If people are serious about coming, they will be there.”

More information is available by calling Newton at (620) 382-5876, or by email at eveleonewton@gmail.com.

Last modified Sept. 20, 2017

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