Recovery through religion

When Rob Nash says he’s a drug addict, it chokes him up.

“I quit drugs before they invented crack cocaine,” he said. “I’m sure I would be dead.”

Nash attends NewChurch Live, a Christian church that is open to anyone. Chuck Blair, who is the senior pastor, said that they have programming surrounding recovery.

“Part of my ministry is just to get up and tell my story,” Nash said.

Nash added that he broke nine out of the 10 commandments by 19. He felt a lot of guilt and shame, so he felt he could keep going.

“Today I have a God that is loving and kind and loves all people,” Nash said. “It’s pretty tough. I was 42 when my children showed up. That’s a miracle in my life.”

Mary Haney has a slightly different story. She lost her son to addiction.

“It feels like being thrown in a fish bowl and not knowing how to swim,” said Haney, who lost her son to a heroin overdose more than four years ago. “Watching a person disappear before their eyes, yet no matter what you try to stop it, it’s like a runaway train. There is no stopping it. It left me feeling helpless, riddled with fear.”

She said being rendered helpless, it also left her feeling that she had an underlying purpose to function, which is how she got involved in advocacy work for the church.

The church does programming around recovery once a year. He said it’s all about making conversations that don’t squeeze people into one box. Blair remembered going to Kensington and hearing a poem from someone dealing with addiction.

“How do you pull people in who were abandoned by god?” Blair said. “Get on people’s level. Once you can get in the boat with them, you’re a sales rep for God. When they see people like Rob and Mary talking about their life struggles, maybe they get to the greatest of things we share: “Me too.” When we can hold faith that way, it seems to work.

 

About the author

Emily Scott

Emily Scott is a junior journalism major and history minor at Temple University. She works as the Features Editor of The Temple News, editing and covering people, places and things around campus and the city. Contact Emily at tuf39703@temple.edu.

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By Emily Scott