Monday, May 30, 2011

This Memorial Day, Let's Remember....

...that not all of our fallen heroes die in battle.

Too many are lost in the silent but equally deadly struggles with addiction, alcoholism, mental health issues and poverty, directly related to their service in defense of their country.

Our Country.

 They deserve more than a day, once a year. Their families need more than a flag-draped coffin.

 They need us. Every day.

 Let's be there, for them, because God knows, they were there for us!
God Bless America!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Mother's Day Sunday Wrap-Up

I am so glad that I can write some happy news for Mother's Day.

Timmy, who I posted about this week, missing for over a week, was sighted in Southwest Philadelphia, according to his mom, Doreen. She saw him with her own eyes, she said, and now knows that he is alive. That may not seem like much to some people, but to any parent familiar with the world of addiction and recovery, it's a big deal.

Thank you everyone who reposted the "Timmy" post, to everyone who called with a tip, or emailed me or called Doreen with info.

Happy Mother's Day

Thursday, May 5, 2011


If you know anything, please help!

Timothy M. Sheehan
Timmy Sheehan, age 24, from Aston PA, has been missing for over one week. His family is desperately worried and has filed a missing persons report. If you know anything at all about Timmy's whereabouts, or what has happened to him, you can contact me in complete confidence at 484 431 2931, or email me at

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jesus Christ and Recovery

Back in the 1980s, a small Baptist Church in Delaware County approached me about doing some training on addictions for their fledgeling "drug ministry." I had never heard of a church drug ministry, and raised Catholic, didn't have much of an idea what a "ministry" was, either!

What it turned out to be was a group of extremely dedicated people, all members of the church, who were  serious about addressing problems of addiction and alcoholism within their community and their congregation.  They were great students, open, curious and receptive, and on a personal level, the kindest and most caring group I had ever encountered.

It was the first of many trainings I was privileged to do for the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Twin Oaks PA. For many years afterward, working in rehabs, I would get a call from a member of the Drug Ministry telling me that "one of ours" was coming in. No special treatment required, but I would expect to schedule a session with one of the Deacons from the Drug Ministry along with the usual family sessions and so forth. When it was time to plan aftercare, unless there was a reason for some specific counseling, I would discharge my client to "AA/Mt. Pleasant Drug Ministry."

The A.A. referral was primarily a CYA. The fact is  that I knew the Drug Ministry was the only referral necessarily.

For some people entering Recovery, the Church fulfills them in a way that no secular program can. They feel a vague disconnect in traditional 12 Step meetings, where the general talk of a Higher Power does not seem to be enough.

To be frank about it: They need Jesus Christ, and need a recovery community within which it is completely accepted to be a Christian first, and an addict or alcoholic, second. While this seems to fly in the face of traditional secular or 12 Step based treatment, the fact is that Christian Recovery Programs now account for a significant number of individuals in recovery from addictions.

  • Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church's Drug Ministry has been in existence for over 20 years, and has helped hundreds upon hundreds of addicts and their families. Some of the Ministry's original trainees are now ordained Ministers, working to develop effective Drug Ministries within their own congregations.
  • Celebrate Recovery, a Christian Recovery program affiliated with the Saddleback Church, and open not only to alcoholics, drug addicts and their families, but to people dealing with everything from co-dependence to compulsive gambling, has groups in over 10,000 churches and reports over 500,000 people having completed their 8 Step Program.
  • For years,the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has listed Faith-Based Services as one of the most effective ways to deliver prevention information to youngsters.
I am sure that this post will generate discussion, and as always I welcome comments. Links are attached to some of the organizations mentioned in the post. Please check them out.

 Celebrate Recovery

Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church

Jacob's Well Counseling

Sacred Spaces Counseling Center

 (Special Thanks to my Stepdaughter, Karen Verrecchio Talbot, for her inspiration and guidance.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What's God got to do with it?

For many years, one of the first tasks I had for anyone I counseled or supervised was: go to a couple of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and come back, and we will talk about it. It was effective--most people went, and came back with quite a bit to say and many topics for discussion.

In time, the task expanded. Narcotics Anonymous meetings were introduced as they came into existence, as well as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon. But one observation remained the same:

What's with the God business?

It always generated a lot of discussion. Supervisees coming from a secular background were appropriately skeptical, while both supervisees and people seeking recovery with a more religious background found 12 Step spirituality a little watered-down and weak.

And people who carried some very heavy baggage related to religion just shut down and disappeared.

This, along with other issues I have written about before, led me to a conclusion that for people recovering from addictions and their families, there is no one path that is right for everyone. Over the course of my next few entries, I am going to offer some  observations and contact info for several alternatives to the 12 Step model that have proven their effectiveness, and are much more specific to the needs of the individual seeking recovery.

Some are secular; some are faith-based.

All are effective. I look forward to the discussion.