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Create a Community Outreach Program for Addicts at Your Church

by Melanie Peterson
The goal of every church should be to bring as many people to the Lord as they can and a great way to reach more people is to create community outreach programs within the church. There are many people within every community that need help, be it physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Taking the time to create a community outreach program can help your church to grow and save a life one day. A great program to consider is one that caters to the needs of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. Trying to stay clean from drugs and alcohol can often be very difficult for someone to do on their own.

Create a Community Outreach Program for Addicts at Your Church

Having the help and guidance from others can make the process much easier for someone. The following guide walks you through a few tips that you can use to create an outreach program that helps recovering addicts thrive in your community.

Create a Program with Actionable Steps

To stay clean, someone needs to know what steps they can take to avoid falling back into that lifestyle. Creating an action plan to incorporate into their life will give them something to focus on and to strive to achieve as they continue to stick to their sobriety.

Create Open Lines of Communication

There will be times when people will be tempted to relapse. It can be hard to not give in to their addiction when they are stressed, grief stricken, or are simply depressed. Being able to talk to someone about the way that they are feeling could help them to be able to avoid relapsing.
Creating a call log where everyone can easily get in touch with people within the group can be a great way to reduce the number of relapses that happen within the group. You could also have people buddy up together to have someone they can trust to talk to when things start to get rough.
You want to be sure that the people who are working together are both on a positive path in life and you may want one of the partners to be sober for an extended period before they start to mentor someone else.

Don’t Allow Shaming to Take Place

Relapses happen time and again. Shaming people after they have a relapse can cause them to feel alone and lead to them doing drugs more frequently and in higher doses. It’s best to try to encourage the person by letting them know that slip ups happen and that it doesn’t mean they need to give up on their sobriety altogether.

You may want to offer one-on-one mentoring with anyone who does relapse so that you can help them to avoid relapsing again in the future. You may be able to identify what their triggers are so that they can do whatever it takes to be able to avoid them later down the road. You may also be able to come up with healthy alternative actions they can take to deal with whatever caused them to relapse.

Make the Meetings Free to Attend

If it costs money to come to the meetings, you will not have as much attendance as you would if you made the meetings free. You have to remember that people who are overcoming a drug addiction more than likely have little to no money when they get out of an Athens drug rehab facility.

Making the meetings free doesn’t have to be difficult to do. You can have fundraisers to raise the money that you need to hold the group each week. The church will more than likely let you use a room within the church for free for the meetings, but you need to supply any literature, food, or drinks that you want to have available for the attendees to enjoy.

Ensure Anonymity at the Meetings

You want to be sure that everyone knows that they won’t be judged or have all the information spread throughout town after they leave the meetings. Be sure that there is an anonymity clause that everyone must sign before they can start coming to the meetings.

It needs to state that the information that is shared in the meetings must not be passed or discussed outside of the meeting. This ensures that everyone will feel as comfortable as possible when sharing the issues that they are facing.

Advertise Locally to Reach as Many People as Possible

There are many different advertising options available in Athens. You could use social media to let the community know about the meetings that you plan to hold. You could also use a local newspaper in Athens or even take out an ad in a local magazine to advertise about the meetings.

When creating an ad, it’s important to indicate that the meetings are open to anyone, are free, and can really help someone to overcome their addiction or maintain their sobriety in a private way.

Collaborate with Local Rehab Facilities

There are many inpatient and outpatient drug rehab facilities in Athens. You need to be sure to work with them to let the addicts know where they can go to get the help that they need once they finish the rehab program.

You can have flyers that they can hand out and even offer to go to meetings within the facilities so that you can get to know some of the people before they go back into the real world. This can help them to feel like they see a familiar face when they come to the meetings.

It’ll take time for things to get up and running when it comes to your addiction support meetings. Just stay focused and try to help as many people as you can. People will come and go within the program, but it’s best to simply focus on helping people whenever you can and a community outreach program for addicts can be a great place to start. 

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