Contrary to what most churches will tell you, Christian brains are just as susceptible to addictions as non-Christian brains. Becoming a Christian does not instantly give you a new brain, anymore than it gives you new legs, arms or any other body part. The brain is part of the physical body, NOT the spiritual soul. Churches advocate going to the dentist for your teeth, the doctor for medical issues, but if your brain is leading you astray, the church says, “all you need is Jesus.” The irony of this is that churches are filled with untreated addicts. From the pastors to the janitors, there is rampant addiction to; religion, food, nicotine, control, codependency, drugs, porn, alcohol, gambling, anger, and the list goes on and on. In fact, according to the Barna Group, “57 percent of pastors and 64 percent of youth pastors in the U.S. have succumbed to pornography either currently or in the past.” https://www.christiantoday.com/article/57-percent-of-pastors-and-64-of-youth-pastors-in-u-s-struggle-with-porn-addiction-
If pastors can’t control the choices their own brains are making, how can they impart healing and wholeness to their congregations? Yes, I believe that we need Jesus, but Jesus uses 12 step programs, doctors, dentists and lots of other tools to heal our bodies. Pastors in denial are lying to themselves, which in turn causes them to lie to the people they serve. If Christians dare to go against what they are taught in church and utilize the tool of 12 step programs, they better hide it or they will be judged, condemned and shamed. The Bible is clear in terms of how we know that someone is a real Christian and that is displayed by their ability to love. This behavior is hateful, unloving and not Biblical.
So, what do Christians do who aren’t willing to remain in the dysfunctional, toxic family of the church? They have a few options, but if they want community as we don’t heal in isolation, they can pay for therapy groups or get free help in 12 step programs. If they choose 12 step programs, they better not mention Jesus, or the Holy Spirit or they will incur the same judgement, condemnation and shame the church gave them for going to a 12 step program. As I share these generic facts, my personal pain is rising up in my body to be heard. Please allow me to share some of my own story to help illustrate what thousands of Christians around the world are currently experiencing.
It was 1986 and I was sitting in a church pew in Edmonds, Washington. I was so sick from drinking the night before, I could barely keep up the facade of “being a good Christian.” As the shame of not remembering what I did after blacking out, how I drove home and what a terrible mother I was, filled my being, I begged God to help me stop. I cried, while being sure to keep my “happy face mask” secured in place, which kept the other church goers from seeing my shame. Nothing was working, going to church, praying, pleading with God, reading the Bible, I was still sick and addicted. If I dared to tell anyone in church, I was told I wasn’t “doing enough” spiritually and even that I was demon possessed. I eventually found recovery, but only because I had the money to pay for therapy and not because I dared to go to an alleged “evil” 12 step program.
Ten years ago, I was in a relationship with an abusive alcoholic who was not interested in recovery. I had grown enough in my recovery that I no longer feared the church’s shaming of 12 step groups and I began to attend face 2 face Al Anon and Coda meetings. I had tried for years to get away from the abusive relationship by going to church and again, nothing worked. After just a few months in Al Anon and Coda, I became strong enough to walk away from the abuse and move forward in recovery.
The residual effects of the abusive relationship left me with a deep fear of people and the terror of becoming trapped in yet another abusive situation. This drove me into hiding and isolation, UNTIL God showed me a website called, “intherooms.com.” I can’t begin to articulate the blessings that have occured in my life since finding these rooms, in just a matter of months I was able to come out of isolation and hiding. The one thing I found to be lacking on ITR, was a safe place for Christians to recover, where they could come out of the closet and be a Christian. I met so many people on ITR who would read my profile and say they had so much fear to let people know they love, serve and follow Jesus. It broke my heart when I saw them leave the site and go back to church and denial.
The owners of ITR have compassionate hearts and they truly care about all people in recovery, even the people who love and serve Jesus as their higher power. They had been trying for years to have a Christian video meeting on ITR, but Celebrate Recovery won’t do video meetings. When I approached them, they were open to a group that had a proven track record. Consequently, I’m happy to announce that ITR has partnered with New Life Ministries for the first Christian recovery video meeting ever! This meeting called, Life Recovery, will begin on Sunday, March 3rd at 7pm Eastern time and is open to everyone in recovery. There will be Christians who come to this meeting against the better judgement of their pastors, and they can remain completely anonymous. We need people with strong recoveries and lots of tools to come and offer experience, strength and hope to people who have been shamed, judged and condemned for wanting to recover. It is heartbreaking to see how so many people in recovery have allowed a different HP to divide and separate, when we are all headed in the same direction. Why do Christians need recovery? They are human beings with human brains that are addicted, it is that simple.