The saddest struggles we have
Bonus Pastor Ministries’ mission is to help addicts and their families, this is what all 16 staff members and all volunteers are working for and are passionate about. This service is an empathetic one, and it often touches those who serve (our staff and volunteers) emotionally. Being involved in this service is a real honor for us, and sometimes, when we see those we serve rescued and experiencing freedom from their addictions, it brings us great joy, because in these stories, we acknowledge God’s love and mercy becoming reality in the life of an addict.
But there are times that there are sadder, darker outcomes. Incidents that remind us that our clients are not seeking rescue from addiction simply to improve their standard of living or “quality of life”, but they are, in very real ways, engaged in life and death struggles.
In the recent past, two of our clients took their own lives. Both of them participated in the long term therapy program and had abstinent periods. Both seemed to be progressing in their therapy, both were willing to change their lives and were working hard. In the latest case, although the circumstances of his relapse are not altogether clear, what we do know is that one desperate day the struggles of life were enough for him to drink a great amount of alcohol again and kill himself under the effect of it. We were all shocked, shaken, and saddened when we heard the news from a volunteer who is working in the aftercare group in which the person used to be an engaged member. When facing these types of situations, those staff members and volunteers who worked closely with the person must work through the tendency toward serious self-accusation and thoughts of questioning what they could have done to prevent the tragedy. It is important for the staff to work through the repercussions of these situations both together as a group and at times to seek counsel from outside the group to help gain proper perspective and emotional response. It is like tightrope walking, especially for the counselling staff members, to be empathetic, caring, and fully engaged but also walking in humility knowing that our efforts are imperfect and the hope of our work is bound up in the love and mercy of God and the work of the Spirit to bring deep healing and restoration to the addicted person.
Please help us, join with us, in this struggle. We would ask you to remember our staff in prayer, that they would be strengthened and encouraged by the Spirit to persevere through the dark days of ministry; that we would know what it means to be “…as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.” (2 Corinthians 6:10), sad that we live in a world suffering under the tragic effects of sin, yet rejoicing that our work can be fueled by a living, eternal hope – Jesus Christ our Savior who calls the lost to himself. Pray for those who come into the BPF Therapy Program and Counseling that they would not only experience rescue from addiction but also redemption through Jesus Christ which is new life—and a new identity—in Him.
Why do we put such effort into prevention work and public education?
Recently some of our long term staff noted that in Romania, very few people believe that there can be a cure; a hope of rescue from addiction. There is a misconception running through the culture and society here in Romania, which is that addiction has no cure, an addicted person is hopeless and worthless. It often happens that the relatives of the addict deny the illness of the addict until they are so far down in their addiction that realizing the problem makes them abandon the sick, believing he’s “beyond hope”. This misconception is not only the idea in villages, but even can be heard in medical circles: some doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists see addiction as a medical problem which can be treated only through medication and even then the hope of full recovery is not held out as a possibility for the addict. We are always pushing back against these misconceptions within society. We see these misconceptions are one of the reasons that we have always struggled to have our Therapy Center filled with recovering addicts. Bonus Pastor sees a great need to hold out hope, not only to addicts, but to families, spouses, children, and students all suffering from the effects of addiction, and one of the main ways we do this is through prevention and public education work whenever and wherever possible. Our aim is not to offer just another therapy option, but we are desperately trying to reach addicts who have been abandoned, with a message of hope and rescue found in and through Jesus Christ.