I am sure most of us have had the experience of leaving our home community and moving to a new location where faces and scenes were unfamiliar. It can be both scary and exciting; feel lonely and exhilarating all at the same time.
On July 3, 2018 at 8:30 am, I walked into the Charis Centre and joined my new community. All of the faces were unfamiliar, the routines were unfamiliar. I didn’t know anyone’s name or what brought them to this community. Now, not even a month later, these faces have become familiar. I know when I arrive at 8:30 am, various ladies will be doing their cleaning routine, devotions or classes will begin shortly after, and most importantly I am beginning to know each lady and their story.
I recently watched a video where the speaker talked about studies on addiction and what causes addictive behaviors. New studies show that addiction is about lack of connection or bonding, so in essence it’s a lack of a sense of community.
In the past two months, one of our residents was reunited with all 4 of her children. What an exciting event! I asked one of the little boys if he was excited to be back with his mom, brother and sisters and he looked at me with a big smile on his face and said “yes, I cried.” I knew from the big smile that those were tears of joy. That little boy’s family community was now reunited.
All of this makes me reflect on how important my new community is to those currently living here and those who will be joining us. If a sense of belonging replaces the addiction, how unbelievably important is our jobs for those of us who work here every day. Those who enter our program will be scared and excited to start their new journey. They will have many times of feeling lonely. They will feel the desire to numb the emotional pain that they are now feeling and learning to process as a sober person. In the course of moving along this journey, when life begins to come together, they will see that a connection with those around them, their peers, counsellors, children, and hopefully and most importantly, their relationship with God will replace the need for the addiction.
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