Community Center, Week One
We at the REAL LIFE Community Center can’t believe it’s already been one week since our grand opening. The response from the community, both in terms of support and those who have a specific need at the center, has been overwhelming. We are truly grateful we are able to provide this proven recovery program to the public, and we’ve already gotten started with several individuals.
We have repeatedly said that we want our community center to be a place where anyone who finds themselves struggling with addiction, unemployment, the effects of incarceration, or other traumas and hardships, could go to seek help in bettering their lives. In the first week, we started working with Patricia, a woman in her lower 40’s with a child, who, while not suffering from an addiction, is having a hard time finding stable employment. She and her young son are currently living in a shelter. We also met a woman who has a history with prostitution, and a man named Michael who is, to this day, still very active in his addiction, which has played a role in marital problems. Too terrified to call his mother, he, in his own words, “just wants to get clean.” According to Michael, he used to be on top of the world – a good life, cars, plenty of money – but then came the drugs.
We’re also proud to be working with an air force veteran who has been unemployed since his honorary discharge, and has, unfortunately, struggled with incarceration. He is hoping to go to school for business, and is looking to use our computer lab to help bolster his chances of being successful in that pursuit.
One of the many ways in which we are helping people get their lives back on the right track is to introduce them to the spiritual side of rehabilitation. Those that find meaning in religious texts and scripture have been found to go a long way in their recovery journey. At the Community Center, we have a large number of Christian leaders who are donating their services in helping these people find the strength they need to address their various traumas, forgive themselves, and start the journey to recovery through Christ. Those who attended the first bible study meeting at the community center weren’t able to get even a quarter of the way through the lesson because the scripture on tap for discussion that day was so powerful.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” You can imagine the flood gates that opened up within the first few minutes of the study. These men and women who have suffered from addiction and traumas, many of us cannot fathom, do not have the best view of themselves – as mothers, fathers, children, or even as human beings. When presented with the opportunity to let go of some of the pain they were holding in, many wanted to do so. One participant said, “A year ago, I didn’t have a heart. I didn’t care. I was heartless.” As the discussion continued, several truths were realized: The condition of your heart will affect the way you think; that Faith is trust, and when we learn to practice our faith, we are learning to trust from our heart, and; healing your heart will heal your thoughts. The testimony in the group was extremely touching, and even though they didn’t get through the scripted lesson, each person who attended definitely learned something valuable that day. We thank our instructor, Brian Gullins for such a successful start.