02/06/05 — Faith-based program helps with addictions

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Faith-based program helps with addictions

By Linda Luck
Published in News on February 6, 2005 9:02 AM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Nelson Davenport believed that Wayne County needed something like Reformers Unanimous when he first read about the faith-based addictions program in a magazine two years ago.

But he put the thought aside until he came across another article about it last year. Then he says, he knew he was going to have to follow up on his conviction that a chapter had to be formed here.

Davenport flew to Michigan for training last spring and started a Reformers Unanimous group at Spring Creek Baptist Church at the beginning of the summer. Three people attended the first few meetings: Davenport, his wife, Lynn, and another man. They decided to postpone the meetings until the end of the summer and start back up in September.

Since then, the chapter has grown to 15 members.

Most of them were present on Friday night when the group gathered around a table in the Spring Creek Church fellowship hall.

First, they watched the 15-minute video that opens every meeting. Next came a time of praise when Davenport invited each of those present to tell "what the Lord has done this week."

The response was immediate and enthusiastic.

One man said he went two days without smoking a cigarette.

A woman said she had turned off the television and completed 30 challenges.

Another woman said she had gone two weeks without smoking.

No one seemed self-conscious or embarrassed. Only the positive was stressed. The members say the group has changed their lives for the better.

Reformers Unanimous was founded about six years ago in Rockford, Ill., by Steve Curington, a former drug addict. It now has more than two hundred chapters meeting in churches large and small across the country.

Each chapter follows 10 basic principles, based on Christian teachings, and uses the videos and workbooks for instruction and illustration.

Upon attending a meeting of Reformers Unanimous, a person is given a copy of "The Overcomer Entry Book."On page 4 is the first "challenge," to memorize the Reformers slogan: "Only the Truth makes Free!" Following challenges include Bible reading and church attendance.

Davenport says he has so much faith in the program that he has even approached a county judge about the possibility of referring people in trouble with drugs, or any other addiction, to the program.

Davenport says Reformers Unanimous has been praised by officials in other states for its success rate.

Allen Johnson, who attends the meetings at Spring Creek Church, said he is living proof that the program works.

Johnson is so excited about the results that he took brochures to Spring Creek High School to invite students to start a Reformers Unanimous program.

"I know parents are spending a fortune trying to help their children who are on drugs," said Johnson. "They need to know that there is a program available right down the road. It's free and it works."

Johnson said he wasn't permitted to leave the brochures at the school because they contain references to God. Still, he says, he wants parents to know the program exists.

The meetings last about two hours and small groups are formed sometime during the meeting. Davenport said this is the time that a person can receive personal counseling. It is also the time when the challenges are completed and checked off.

Each meeting also includes a short teaching lesson on how to overcome temptation using principles found in the Bible.

The last half hour or so is reserved for refreshments and fellowship. Child care and transportation is provided if needed. It can be arranged by calling 252-569-1138.

On Friday night, Mrs. Davenport made a large pot of spaghetti for those in attendance to everyone to enjoy.

"But don't expect it every week," she said.

After all, "An addiction is anything you can't say no to," Davenport said.