FRESH START MINISTRIES OF CENTRAL FL
Helping those struggling with substance abuse since 1986.
Recovery & Restoration Through Christ
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Step VIII of Alcoholics Anonymous: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
In the 40+ years I’ve been ministering to people with life controlling problems I’ve noticed that the major problem they have in recovery is loneliness and isolation. Many also are tormented with the guilt and shame of who they’ve become and what they’ve done. Many times they feel so cut off from others that even when they are around those people they still feel lonely. Guilt, fear of being hurt, and self-hatred contribute to the thought and feelings that others may ever love us again no matter how much we change. We feel all alone in this struggle even when those around us are supportive and want to help us succeed. Being willing to accept their love is part of the preparation for making amends. Loneliness can break us and defeat us in the recovery process. When we are getting prepared to make amends, we also need to prepare our heart to accept whatever love, support, or friendship may be offered in return. Supportive friends and healthy relationships are necessary for our recovery. If we fall down we are going to need help getting back up. When we stand alone we are vulnerable to our inner enemies. Learning to trust others, reach out to others and to admit to others that we need help will give us added strength, wisdom, and protection against our habituating and compulsions.
Rev. Joseph Cordovano
Early Intervention or Hitting Bottom: What’s Best?
Although many times we hear an addict must “hit bottom” before he seeks treatment, this is not always true. As with cancer, diabetes, or any other disease, early diagnosis and treatment is best. With addiction, early intervention has three major benefits:
1. It’s less intense. Treating addiction early means the addict is less likely to be using larger quantities of the drug and a less addictive (or fewer) drug(s). Because the addiction isn’t as intense, the treatment is not as intensive.
2. It produces less anxiety. Early intervention means the addiction hasn’t had time to cause as much turmoil in the life of the addict. There has been less disruption in work and family relationships, and caused less stress and anxiety.
3. It’s less disruptive. Often when an addiction goes untreated, and early intervention wasn’t possible, the addict suffers from arrests, job loss or significant decrease in performance, physical and emotional distress, and even death.
Early intervention is the best route to treatment and recovery. Loved ones surrounding and confronting the addict in a loving, supportive environment can initiate an early intervention.
However, if an early intervention is rejected, do not blame yourself. The addict ultimately has to decide to admit he has an addiction and be ready to accept treatment. Each person’s journey to recovery looks different. Each person’s family dynamics and support are different. And each person’s addiction is different. Although all addicts have similar struggles, they are all unique individuals, and we cannot blame ourselves if an early intervention attempt is unsuccessful.
Early intervention is ideal; but, not always possible or successful. If you need support until the addict is ready to accept help, find healthy coping mechanisms, support groups, and the faith to keep your emotional and physical health at an optimum level. Most importantly, don’t let the weight of guilt or shame weigh you down.
An important area of our recovery is being real with God, ourselves and others. Sometimes the most difficult part of recovery is just simply being honest with ourselves and humble enough to admit areas we need help in. At Fresh Start we like to call these times, “ministry opportunities”. I can say from personal experience when I have been open to receive and admit things I need to work on I have grown as a person, husband, father and a minister. On the flip side of that equation if we recognize an area of our lives that needs improvement and refuse to deal with it, we stunt our growth and no one benefits from that. Fear keeps us from pursuing areas of our lives that may get us out of our comfort zones, but the freedom that we will experience in doing so far outweighs our fear. Let me encourage you to get real, Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (24) Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life”. Step out of your comfort zone and allow God to speak truth into your life, it will revolutionize it. I would like to thank you for your continued prayers for the men in the program and their families, and I pray God’s riches blessings on you all.
Rev. Timothy Carlsward
August Church Schedule
8/4 Journey Church, 9:00 am
1965 S Orange Blossom Trail, Apopka, FL 32703
8/11 Christ Church, 9:00
2200 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32806
8/18 Celebration Church , 9:00 am
3100 Edgewater Dr, Orlando, FL 32804
8/25 Church in the Son, 6:00 pm
(Special Speaker: Nick Vujicic)
4484 N John Young Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32804
The 12-Step Support Group meeting is every Tuesday evening from 7:15 to 9:00 pm.
We now provide Addicts Group, Family Group and Alumni Group
Addicts: (Step Eight) “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
Family: Step Eight Teaching
Alumni: Step Eight Teaching
Addict: Understanding and preparing for Step Eight
Family: Understanding and preparing for Step Eight
Alumni: Understanding and preparing for Step Eight
Addicts: Working Step Eight
Family: Working Step Eight
Alumni: Working Step Eight
All Groups Combined for Graduation: Lawrence M., Brett L., Steve D., Joey M., Brad C., and Dave G.
Fresh Start Ministries of Central FL | 407-293-3822| info | www.FreshStartMinistries.com
If you have been accepted into our program, keeping in mind that this is a temporary housing facility, you can NOT bring everything you own. There is very small space for personal items. Essentially, each bed has about 3ft of hanging space, 3 dresser drawers, and 1 foot locker. You should just bring the bare minimum and if you find that you need something else, your family can bring it or you can purchase it later. But, we will not allow you to acquire too much here. If in doubt about something, just call and ask us. However, we do provide all bed linens, pillows, and bath towels.
The following is a list of suggested items you should bring:
- Nice clothes and shoes for job hunting and church (a collar shirt [dress preferred]) or a good polo. Slacks and/or nice jeans without holes.
- Shorts and T-shirts for hanging out and sleeping in (no shirts that advertise or promote alcohol, tobacco, music, or sexuality).
- Sneakers and Flip-flops
- Alarm clock that does not play music (battery-operated preferred)
- Board shorts if you plan to swim or play volleyball by the lake (at your own risk)
- Toiletries that include but not limited to: Shaving gear, toothpaste & toothbrush, liquid bath soap, and shampoo (travel size is preferred)
- Liquid laundry soap
- Petty cash (optional, but a new client is allowed a one-time petty cash allowance up to $100–however the average is around $50). Petty cash is usually useful for laundry, bus passes (for job purposes), and snacks & soft drinks (from the vending machine).
The following is a list of items that you should not bring:
- Laptops and/or computers
- Pornography or similar content not suitable in a Christian program
- Clothes that advertise or promote alcohol. tobacco, sex, gambling, or music
- Powdered laundry soap
Commonly asked questions
1. What is your definition of an addict?
An addict is someone who can choose when they start using, but not when they stop using. (something other than themselves dictates when they stop, for example, they run out of money, pass out, get arrested.)
2. After an addict realizes their problem & seeks help, is it possible to be normal again and not crave their specific addiction?
It is possible to have a normal life but once they cross the imaginary line from dependence to addiction, they can never go back to using the chemical socially again. The cravings will eventually slow down to only once in a great while but never leave them totally.
3. What is the most important thing to focus on during the stages of recovery?
Be “teachable” & honest. And to change people, places and things.
4. Is there an average amount of time you need in order to recover?
Each person is different, but the rule of thumb in the AA big book is not to make any major life decisions for a minimum of 1-2 years.
5. What are the different types of addictions? What sorts of things can a person be addicted to?
Alcohol, drugs, working, spending money, gambling, rage, anger, sex, pornography, etc. (not necessarily in this order).
6. What is your definition of codependency?
It’s the illusion that you can make yourself happy by trying to control people and events outside yourself. A sense of control or the lack of it is central to everything you do and think. Simply by being in a relationship with someone who has an addiction issue, family members are automatically Co-Dependents.
7. How can addiction change a person’s behavior?
It’s like falling in love. When you’re in love with someone you do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Example: you may stop hanging around your friends as much, talk ing on the phone more than you usually do. With addiction we make choices based on getting high, for example we might not have enough money to buy our dope so we use the rent money or we rent our car to the crack dealer who trashes it, at the very least.
8. Before seeking help with an addiction problem, what first must a person realize?
They must realize they are powerless over their addiction. They must ADMIT they have a problem that they need help for.
9. What determines if a person is codependent or not?
A co-dependent is bound and tormented by the way things were in the dysfunctional family of origin. Example: father was an alcoholic, so his daughter becomes a compulsive volunteer.
10. Would you say that, generally, codependency and addiction go hand in hand?
Yes, actually the addict needs someone to take care of them and the co-dependent needs someone to take care of. Also, the second major characteristic of addiction is codependency. Once an addict gets into recovery, then all of his codependency traits rise to the top and then those must be dealt with also.
11. Would you say addiction is a mental desire/habit or more along the lines of a disease?
When you say disease, I take it to mean ‘is addiction a physical thing?’ In that context I believe it is more mental. Example: alcohol is out of your system in 72 hours, cocaine in any form the same, pills have half-lives so it takes longer to leave your system; same with methamphetamines. Once the stimulant is gone, then it is the “stinkin thinkin” that keeps the addict going back.
12. When someone struggles with addiction, what do they usually require?
Some may require detoxification, but all will need to be sick and tired of being sick and tired, and then will need to get in a program that will help them learn to rely on a higher power rather than themselves, and to learn how to make better choices.
**If you have additional questions, feels free to send an email to: email@example.com and we will answer your e-mail and post it on our website for others to view.
As a family struggling with addiction issues, let us help you better understand the dynamics of recovery!
The Fresh Start support group meeting targets issues such as addiction, codependency and life management while at the same time helping families build strong support networks. The meeting is a non-threatening environment made up of an educational teaching on addiction or co-dependency.
There is no charge for the meeting, however an offering will be accepted. Fresh Start is a non-profit organization helping the addicted community in Orlando since 1986.
The meetings are open to the public and everyone is welcome.
If you have a husband or boyfriend in the Fresh Start program, you are REQUIRED to attend the weekly family meetings.
All other family members are STRONGLY encouraged to attend. Healing can not be isolated, & family members can learn important topics such as Boundary Setting, Signs & Symptoms to look for when he is on a Build Up to use, Steps for detaching when necessary, Marriage 101, How your life will need to change now that he is changing, and many others.
We hope you will join us as we travel the road of recovery and healing together.
WHEN: Tuesday evenings, 7:15 to 9:00. Doors open at 7:05.
Due to the sensitive nature, NO children please
Come be a part of our weekly support group meeting at:
FRESH START MINISTRIES
4436 EDGEWATER DRIVE
ORLANDO, FL 32804
Please feel free call us for more information at (407) 293-3822
During the process of recovery from addiction, many rehab facilities require their participants to engage in and maintain a job during their stay. Doing so has a number of benefits that will ultimately improve patients’ lives once they leave the program. Here are nine reasons to work during recovery.
Sense of Stability
Having a job provides a secure lifestyle. During a patient’s initial addiction, it is possible that he or she lost control of their life—socially, financially, etc. A job gives them the opportunity to regain that lost security. This allows them to familiarize themselves with a sense of stability for their future endeavors and regain what was once lost.
Freshness is key. Living in a rehab facility might become tedious for some; many facilities require patients to stay on the premises unless otherwise designated. A job can help keep things new and exciting.
Purpose in Life
Having a job gives patients a newfound purpose in life. Addiction can dramatically impact a person’s motivations and drive. These jobs will instill a sense of cause and let the patient know that despite what he or she might believe, they are needed somewhere.
Working gives a person the feeling that they are being productive, that they are doing something worthwhile with their time. Patients can thus put their free time to good use by maintaining a job.
Jobs are a doorway to a healthy social life. Many jobs require interaction with others. This gives patients the opportunity to interact with people from beyond the rehab facility.
Jobs can provide a much-needed distraction from the pressures and stresses of rehab. The process of rehabilitation is not an easy one and can be taxing on the mind and body. Working gives patients the opportunity a chance to mentally and physically escape from it, but in a positive and productive environment.
Money in Your Pocket
At its core, working is a means of making money. This is no different for those who work during rehab. In fact, doing so allows them to acquire money for their life once they exit the program. This way, they do not leave empty-handed.
Meet New People
In addition to meeting customers, jobs grant the opportunity to meet new people and make friends in fellow co-workers. This allows patients to befriend people outside their rehab program, friendships that can perhaps last beyond the end of their stay.
Learn New Skills
A job can teach you new abilities that you never even knew you had. Working will give patients the chance to learn something new, which can then be applied once they leave the program.
Anytime tragedy or trauma strikes it affects the whole family. Whether from violence, death, sickness, addiction, or a host of other tragedies, the entire family feels it. There is a healthy cycle to recovery. This cycle starts with recognition or admitting that there is an issue. After recognizing it, the addict must seek help and healing; communication and forgiveness are part of this process of reconciliation and recovery.
Arnie’s story is one of a relatively normal childhood followed by tragedy to triumph after several years of struggling with addiction. Arnie and his brother were raised by their father after the mother decided to abandon them. But, Arnie had a good childhood, growing close to his dad and considering him a trusted advisor and support system. Arnie excelled in sports competing at the state level, had a 4.2 GPA, and was known as a “good kid”. One evening while in high school he went to an after party and drank. However, for the next two years he was mainly known as the designated driver, not having much interest in drinking. When Arnie entered college he found that it was “normal” to drink on the weekends; he joined in and became a social drinker on the weekends.
Always a high achiever, Arnie enlisted in the military, pursued Nuclear Engineering, and accumulated many accolades. The philosophy in the Navy seemed to be “if you work hard, you deserve to play hard”. You were left out among your buddies if you didn’t drink so after his shift he and the guys would stop off at the bar. It wasn’t a problem for him to have a few beers. Arnie always showed up to work, worked hard, and continued to excel through the ranks into leadership positions. Occasionally, he’d show up with a hangover. In 2007 Arnie was transferred to a Seal support unit where it was his job to train men in hand-to-hand combat and disburse meds for the “blow out kids”. While in this role, he suffered a knee injury, had surgery and spent two months bedridden on painkillers. As an overachiever Arnie defined himself by what he did. Not being able to define himself by his job while being bedridden, his personal life and marriage were on the rocks. He found himself in his “own pit of misery”.
In 2008 Arnie was back on active duty and deployed to Afghanistan. His life was beginning to come together when the same leg was injured by an IED. The doctors removed shrapnel from the leg, performed bone grafts, and Arnie underwent several surgeries. While recovering from his injuries, he was separated from his wife, taking “Roxies” (a form of pain medication). His wife described him as “emotionally detached”; Arnie agreed that he wanted to numb everything he felt.
Six months later his dad committed suicide.
Arnie decided if there was a God, and he didn’t think there was, God wished harm on us. Arnie looked back at the relationship he had with his dad and realized that his dad was his support system. But, he also realized his dad had struggled as an alcoholic and Arnie often wondered as a child why his father seemed to choose alcohol over his family. As Arnie struggled with these thoughts and grieved the loss of his father, he lost all faith in humanity, completely shut down emotionally, and his addiction “kicked into overdrive”. After 9 years in the military, he was discharged. Where does one go that defines themselves by their work and suddenly has no job?
Five months later, his personal life was about to dissolve. He had a 5 bedroom home, wife, two kids, several cars, a $80,000/year income, a pretty good life for someone in their mid-20s. But, he was about to lose it all.
Arnie introduced himself to people as a “sarcastic A-hole” and his life mantra was “If I’m gonna burn, I want the world to burn with me”. Realizing he failed as a son, brother, father, and husband as well as his job, he tried committing suicide.
He and his wife decided one Sunday morning that they were done; divorce was imminent. She left to take the kids to church; but, minutes after leaving she got the feeling she should go back home. Entering the home, she saw that Arnie had tried to hang himself in the bathroom. Turning around saved her husband’s life.
Arnie was admitted to a psych ward for rehab and treatment. After being discharged, he decided it was time to start fresh so he moved to Florida where he had a former-step-mom. Arnie’s grandmother died after he had been in Florida a year.
His only living blood relatives were his brother stationed overseas and his kids who lived out-of-state with his estranged wife.
Arnie relapsed, hanging out with old friends from high school. Just one beer with the guys turned into 4 or 5. Two short weeks later he was drinking heavily and kicked out of his home. Moving in with a friend, Arnie decided to contact his wife and try to work things out. He was struggling with drinking; she with pills. To the outside world, Arnie was known as “superdad”, doing everything with and for his kids. This was all a façade. After one month of being a family again, they both became heavy pill users. He started stealing to support their habit. One day fate knocked at his door. He was pulled over for going 46 in a 45 mph zone. Because he had a warrant out for his arrest, he landed in jail.
In the blink of an eye, it seemed, he lost everything.
Arnie always said you could take everything away from him but his pride. Pride and arrogance was his downfall! He used what happened to him, his hard knocks, to justify why he was using substances. Arnie was so desperate he was considering using his firearms, to harm himself and others. Being pulled over changed the direction of his life.
After 3 months in jail, fate again intervened.
This time fate was named Mark. Mark ministered to the inmates and helped Arnie enter the program at Fresh Start Ministries. Before Fresh Start Ministries Arnie had been in 5 other treatment programs, seen numerous psychiatrists, prescribed pills, and tried secular programs. Fresh Start Ministries was different; Arnie didn’t always understand or agree with their 12 month discipleship program. But, he understood how it worked. Arnie said this program “got the darkness out… moved me from hopelessness to hope”. All the “stuff” he owned only gave him the illusion of happiness. He was always looking for the next thing to make him happy. Now he’s living it.
Arnie asks, “What do you base your happiness on? What you own or people you affect?”.
Arnie arrived at Fresh Start with the paper bag from jail and the clothes on his back, doubtful and resistant. Today, Arnie knows his purpose is to be in a relationship with God, to love, and be loved. He is no longer searching for happiness; he’s living it every day. He’s no longer hopeless; but, provides hope to others every day. His identity is as a child of God.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
By Portia Nelson