Robert Washington shows the materials he will be using in Celebrate Recovery.
©GUARDIAN PHOTO BY SALLY COLE
Robert Washington knows what it’s like to watch his world fall apart.
“I knew that things had gotten serious when I came home one morning and my wife and three kids had gone. I felt destroyed and heartbroken,” says the Victoria, B.C. native who now calls P.E.I. home.
Immediately he reached for something to ease the pain.
“At first it was alcohol, then a little bit of cocaine and then I started injecting.”
Washington also knows what it’s like to come back again.
After months of falling down and getting up again, due to the support he received from his pastor and a refuge house, he signed himself into B.C. Teen Challenge, a
residential alcohol and drug addiction faith-based program.
“For a year I was separated from society. No television. No newspapers. No Internet, I didn’t get any privileges back until later.
Instead, they immersed me in biblical instruction, using the Bible as a framework for recovery. And they counseled me.
“I realized that the drugs and alcohol were a symptom of a deeper problem. For me, it was unforgiveness and hatred toward others.
“It wasn’t until I was in the program seven months that I started feeling like a human being again,” says the recovering man who hasn’t looked back.
Fast forward, nine years later, Washington, who graduated from Maritime Christian College this spring and is ministering
at Cross Roads Christian Church, wants to help
others in their recovery journey.
“I want to do it because I know there is help for them. I know there is wholeness for them. And because my heart breaks for them,” says Washington, who is launching Celebrate Recovery (CR) a program for people with addictions at Cross Roads Christian Church on May 30 at 7 p.m.
The purpose of the program is to “encourage fellowship and celebrate God’s healing power in our lives as we work our way along the road to recovery.”
“Celebrate Recovery is a vehicle. It’s not meant to replace anything. It’s meant to complement what people are already doing,” he says.
Rick Blaquiere, a member of the church, is enthusiastic about the program.
“We heard that a group that has been going in Saint John has been very successful. Upwards of 60 people have received help in their recovery. So we thought it would work here. Having someone with Robert’s background is a way to reach out to the community.”
Like Alcoholic Anonymous, the program promotes confidentiality and uses the 12 steps.
“But the difference is the higher power is Christ,” says Washington, adding the road to recovery is often a long one.
“It’s a journey that starts at the very beginning of your decision to say, ‘I want to change.’ “
Along the way, it’s important not to become discouraged.
“You might be sober today and it maybe day 17 of your sobriety, but once you glean that (recovery) is something that doesn’t take place in a month or so,
the more realistic you become.”
JUST The FACTS
What: Celebrate Recovery.
When and where: May 30 at 7 p.m. at Cross Roads Christian Church. Program will run every Friday evening.
Getting in touch: For more information call 393-8537.
Websites: Go to www.celebraterecovery.ca, www.teenchallenge.ca