One of the reasons that Guiding Light Recovery stands out from other substance-abuse treatment programs is the emphasis we place on developing one’s spirituality in sobriety. It is important, however, to distinguish the concept of spirituality from religion, and to remind you that men of all faiths have found a welcoming invitation to a life of lasting sobriety here at Guiding Light. Indeed, one of the first things you see when you walk through our doors is a sign that reads: “We do not presume you to be Christian, but it is our hope that we are Christian toward you and welcome you in the same manner that each of us has been welcomed through Jesus Christ into the heart of God.” We are not here to change the mind of our clients or to tell them what to believe, or indeed whether they should have to believe in anything. We do, however, believe that building a fulfilling life that is worth staying sober for requires time to heal one’s own body, mind, and yes, spirit.
Esther has been volunteering to work with men in our Recovery program as a spiritual director for ten years. Over the past year she has been working individually with clients over video-conferencing platforms but was recently cleared to begin coming into our facility again to facilitate one-on-one spiritual direction sessions. It is great to have her back again as she is widely beloved by the clients and staff of Guiding Light. “The thing with spiritual direction is that there is a mystery to life that is way beyond you, and you don’t necessarily have to solve this mystery,” she said. “The whole idea of surrender is key to recovery, and there is a sense, in my experience, in which becoming a person who follows Jesus and believes in God and the spirit, demands that kind of surrender.”
The truth is that there is nothing rational about living a life in active addiction. The concept of surrendering the belief that one’s addiction is inherently solvable or fixable by strictly rational means is the first step to recovery. That is why, we believe at Guiding Light, spiritual direction is such an important path of development for clients learning to live a different way. “I think we are raised in such a rational culture, post-enlightenment, empirical evidence, reasons for everything and so forth, that we get introduced to this element of mystery and we tend to think it is a riddle to be solved. But the Mystery, with a capital M, is just infinitely beyond us, and to accept that is giving up a piece of that rationality, and that’s the first step in sobriety.” For the majority of men that come through our doors, Guiding Light is the first place they have ever been introduced to any concept of spirituality. “This young man I was just meeting with, was talking about the effect that quiet and prayer seems to be having on him. He said, ‘I have never done that “quiet business,” as he called it, before and he said ‘I just can’t believe how I have this feeling of wellness after I spent that time in the quiet.”
Clients of Guiding Light Recovery attend an average, 144 individual spiritual direction sessions during their time here. We believe that the emphasis we place on spiritual development is a key factor to our high success rates. It costs roughly $300 a day to house, feed, and teach our clients, and we believe it is truly worth the investment. A remarkable 78% of men that come through the Guiding Light Recovery program stay sober for a year or longer. We are entirely funded through private donations from people like you. Without the unsparing generosity of donors and the tireless dedication of volunteers like Esther, none of this would be possible. So many men have seen their lives changed for the better because of the good work that takes place at Guiding Light. Men have homes, jobs, and productive lives again. Families have brothers, sons, and fathers today because of you. God bless and thank you so much, from all of us at Guiding Light, for all that you do.
THIS MEANS THAT ANYONE WHO BELONGS TO CHRIST HAS BECOME A NEW PERSON. THE OLD LIFE IS GONE; A NEW LIFE HAS BEGUN!
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17