Bearing One Another’s Burdens
“It’s a group that nobody wants to be in but those of us who are in it support and understand each other’s challenges,” says Jackie Carpas, of Grace Church (Akron, Ohio, Jeff Bogue, lead pastor) in reference to the Families Facing Addiction (FFA) group she and her husband, Nick, lead at their church.
Nick and Jackie were faced with addiction in their family when they found their daughter became addicted to drugs and ran away from home nearly 12 years ago. Even though Nick and Jackie had friends and other family members to confide in as well as a family counselor, they felt isolated and as if they had no one to turn to and nowhere to go.
“It’s difficult for someone to understand the devastation of addiction on the family if they themselves have not experienced it,” says Nick. Despite feeling alone, Nick and Jackie’s time with the Lord deepened, and they were led to a group called, “Families Facing Addiction” at a church near their home. Nick and Jackie began attending the group which provided scripture-based support and a connection with others who were experiencing the same issues. Soon the couple felt convicted to lead the same group at their home church. After working with Robby Neidlinger (pastor of marriage and care ministries) at Grace Church, they launched Families Facing Addiction at Grace Church, Bath Campus in November 2018.
Families Facing Addiction is a confidential care group for those who have loved ones struggling with drugs or alcohol. FFA utilizes a Christ-centered solution to help families with insight on dealing with their loved one by not enabling and providing appropriate boundaries. A typical group meeting consists of sharing time, praying together, and looking at Biblical principles that deal with the issue of addiction.
One of the most rewarding experiences for Jackie as she co-leads the group is seeing how a new member will listen, participate, share their story, and then at a future meeting be able to latch onto and encourage another new hurting person.
“The Bible tells us to bear one another’s burdens,” says Nick in reference to Galatians 6:9, as he shares the importance of being messengers of the Holy Spirit to help promote restoration and healing to hurting group members. Through spiritual concepts, Nick and Jackie put an emphasis on how addiction affects personal life issues such as marriage, children, and sibling relationships. They talk through appropriate ways to love the addicted and how to eventually release their loved one to the Lord.
“When we become more effective, that makes an impact on our loved one,” says Nick. Nick and Jackie continue to seek to bring hope to those who have struggling loved ones and would like to see the concept repeated in churches across the country. Since November, the Families Facing Addiction group now has 14 attendees on average and meets on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at Grace Church.
[Connect:] To send Nick and Jackie an encouraging note or to learn more about the structure of Families Facing Addiction click here.