0906_dnr_Brad Lewis_1

Brad Lewis, pastor of Impact Ministries’ addiction recovery program and intensive counseling, poses for a photo in the Elkton church’s sanctuary Friday afternoon.

ELKTON — Pastor Brad Lewis of Impact Ministries in Elkton turned to prayer to find a way to help a congregant’s nephew with addiction after discovering the high costs of inpatient rehabilitation centers.

Five years later, what was originally a once-a-week support group now has four sessions throughout the week to help Valley residents break their addictions to opioids, crystal meth and alcohol.

And it is not the only recovery program Impact Ministries offers, Lewis said.

The ministry has been hosting sexual abuse recovery sessions for three years and programs for those with depression and grief for two years.

“These things just came to life through our addiction ministry,” Lewis said.

In the research to build the programs, Lewis and his colleagues at Impact Ministries discovered how deeply related many addictions are, he said.

“We learned that there are things that drive addiction,” Lewis said. “If you’ve been sexually abused, by statistics, you are 70% more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol as a result of the sexual abuse.”

Faith is the basis for the recovery programs, according to Lewis.

“And what we do when we’re putting a recovery program together is we’ll do a lot of studying about the issue and then find a way to weave that into the Bible,” he said.

The story of Joseph, who was betrayed by his brothers because of a gift given to him by his father and sold into slavery, is used in the sexual assault recovery program.

“It seemed like life was falling apart, but in the end he came out on top, did well, and God blessed him,” Lewis said.

Once the program is built, Lewis and others will sit down with those who have experienced the topic covered, so the curriculum can be tweaked further.

Impact Ministries asks for a $20 donation for the courses to cover the costs of the materials, Lewis said, but they never turn anyone away who cannot donate.

“You can see the drug problem in our society. You can clearly see the problems with sexual abuse and the long-term effects of it on someone’s life,” Lewis said. “Everyone knows someone who’s depressed — everyone feels grief.”

Opioids, crystal meth, and alcohol are some of the leading substances that people abuse, according to Lewis.

“Some people are highly addicted and don’t know where to start. One of the things that we do is we have connections with detox centers,” Lewis said. “If someone is deep in addiction and just overwhelmed, we will help them get set up in a detox center for a short time just to get over the initial hump.”

Several members of the group have been going regularly for four years for continual support from the counseling, according to Lewis.

Social media and word-of-mouth are some of the ways Lewis and his colleagues spread the word about the programs.

“The message we try to get out to everyone is there is help out there and the issues and things we deal with are real and the help is real,” Lewis said.

Contact Ian Munro at 574-6278 or imunro@dnronline.com. Follow Ian on Twitter @IanMunroDNR

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