Tag Archives: addiction

Recovery – From The Inside Out

header_02I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition (PBCSAC).  In attendance was a plethora of addiction industry, well-connected professionals from various South Florida rehabs, sober homes and focus groups.  This group, together with like groups from counties all over the State of Florida and the United States, is credited with the overdue attention given to the opioid epidemic. In May, Governor Scott declared Florida’s opioid epidemic a “public health emergency.” As a result, additional funding can be realized in strategic areas for heroin antidotes. Funds were made available for the Sober Home Task Force to stop the greed and help provide safe homes for people in recovery. New addiction awareness initiatives, locally and in Washington D.C., are being implemented.

With that said, the addiction battle is against an enemy that is so vast that we can only combat the proverbial “tip of the iceberg.” The Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., Vice Admiral, recently submitted his report, “Facing Addiction in America … Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health” and he stated “… addiction is a health condition, not a moral failing or character flaw.” As such, addiction is a disease that affects body, soul and spirit. Many 28-day programs provide medically assisted treatment where patients can detox and address physical/body recovery. There are many behavioral health rehabs providing counseling services to address the soul in 30 to 60 day rehabs. Rehab defined … restores an addict to their condition prior to using the substance.

ego-says-once-everything-falls-into-place-ill-feel-peace-spirit-says-find-your-peace-and-then-everything-will-fall-into-place-quote-1Faith Farm Ministries was the only faith-based organization represented at the PBCSAC meeting. We understand that there is an obstacle to the “rehab” approach. An addict may not have dealt with whatever caused them to use in the first place. For this reason, Faith Farm’s approach provides a regeneration program, or spiritual recovery.  Just like a caterpillar becomes a chrysalis, then a beautiful butterfly … this is what Spiritual Recovery does for a person.

Making an impact in the external addiction battlefield is a daunting goal.  It seems to me that the battle strategy to combat the addiction enemy can best be fought from the “inside – out!” We stand a better chance when we try to help a person by loving them and helping them to love themselves.

About the author:  Judy Walters is the Project Manager for Faith Farm Ministries, serves on the ministries’ Academic Board serving as the Board Secretary and is a member of the Emmaus community. She is a published author,  copy writer and editor. She strongly conveys the healing nature of Christ through Celebrate Recovery 12 Step materials combined with The Alpha Series materials by Pastor John Glenn. She is a co-founder of the Boynton Beach Celebrate Recovery Group that currently meets at Faith Farm’s campus. 
As a mother of four with a former real estate career spanning 25 years, she has many stories and life lessons worth sharing. She is a licensed minister and a counselor with compassion and a powerful message of hope for those who struggle with life controlling issues. Audiences are sure to have valuable take-a-ways when Judy shares her powerful testimony to inspire and equip audiences in recovery from issues like addiction, co-dependency, abuse and low self-esteem. She has a genuine love for ALL of God’s people and cherishes diversity. She is an enthusiastic disciple that models agape love. Her goal is to remove the stereotype and preconceived stigma of addiction and recovery by showing others that recovery from life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups can be fun and fruitful. “People in recovery for any life controlling issues are the strongest, bravest and most transparent people I know, and I admire their courage.” 
Learn more about Judy | Request Judy

When You’re In It … You Can’t See it!

Have you ever been in a dark room? I mean REALLY dark … so dark that you cannot see your hand when you hold it up to your face.  You cannot see darkness nor can you see anything within that darkness. The fact is … there is no such thing as darkness. Darkness is simply the absence of light and its different intensities.

Life is much the same. For those who have had marital problems, received a chronic illness diagnosis, or experienced financial ruin, they know what darkness looks like. Marital counseling, a good doctor or financial planner can bring light to the darkness. Letting the light into the life situation allows for the proverbial “light” at the end of the tunnel. Until then, hopelessness is the darkest place we know.

The disease of addiction is darkness for the addict and those that love them (co-dependents.) Unlike other diseases, the stigma connected with this disease adds shame and guilt to the hopelessness often preventing those affected to seek the light. The disease of addiction is so cunning that it convinces the addict to stay in the darkness of denial rather than expose their problem to the light for all to see.

This morning I learned that two young women I know, both in their early 20’s and both with a young child, lost this battle yesterday.  They refused to see their problem, keeping it in the darkness and not allowing the light to expose them. One died of an overdose yesterday. The other is in a coma on life support with no chance of recovery.

Faith Farm Ministries is a 65 year old, free, faith based drug and alcohol recovery program with 445 beds for men and women. It is that safe place where people can emerge from the addiction darkness into the light with no shame or guilt. Light gives new hope, new purpose and new life. I am aware of nowhere else that provides a free program with free education, including recovery classes for up to 9 college credits, GED Classes, life-skills and spiritual classes, vocational training and life counseling.  We help those who want to heal, restore their families and contribute to their communities.

If you want to help Faith Farm in its mission to save lives, you can text FAITHFARM to 41444 or visit www.faithfarm.org and click the Ways to Give tab to make a gift. For every $1 you gift and invest in our addiction recovery program, there is a tax dollar savings to you estimated at $12 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, theft and health care expenses. (Source: Association of Gospel Rescue Missions) 

About the author:  Judy Walters is the Project Manager for Faith Farm Ministries and serves on the ministries’ Academic Board serving as the Board Secretary. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Oceanside Emmaus community and is a published author,  copy writer and editor. Audiences are sure to have valuable take-a-ways when Judy is the presenter as she draws on her past with her own powerful testimony to inspire and equip audiences in recovery from issues like addiction, co-dependency, abuse and low self-esteem. Her favorite thing is teaching, whether at the pulpit or in the classroom. She strongly conveys the healing nature of Christ through the Celebrate Recovery materials combined with knowledge from The Alpha Series materials by Pastor John Glenn. She is the Celebrate Recovery of Boynton Beach Ministry Leader. She provides administration, marketing, social media, event planning, donor development, customer service and public relations for Faith Farm as the ministry’s Project Manager.
As a mother of four with a former real estate career spanning 25 years, she has many stories and life lessons worth sharing. Redirection of her passion has led her to become a licensed minister and a counselor with compassion and a powerful message of hope for those who struggle with life controlling issues. She has a genuine love for ALL of God’s people and cherishes diversity. She is a friendly and enthusiastic disciple with a mission to show others what agape love looks like. Her goal is to remove the stereotype and preconceived stigma of addiction and recovery by showing others that recovery from life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups can be fun and even fruitful. “People in recovery for any life controlling issues are the strongest, bravest and most transparent people I know, and I admire their courage.”
Learn more about Judy | Request Judy

What’s Your “Popeye Moment” … Efficiency vs Effectiveness

I like to consider myself to be a very efficient person.  I’m an expert at multi-tasking and consistently juggle many activities at once. Sometimes I find a couple two or three dozen Windows open on my computer all at once and I work efficiently! Efficiency is doing things right! However, Effectiveness is doing the right things.  One can be so busy being efficient … that they fail to be effective.

Effectiveness is directly related to passion. What is your passion?  What condition, situation or cause drives you to sadness or anger?  What breaks your heart? What drives you to want change?  Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor at Willow Creek Church, defines that one thing in your life as your Popeye moment” … that moment when you say to yourself, “I can’t stands it no more!!!”  I can recall that Popeye always did things right.  He was quite an efficient sailor.  He also puts up with a lot of abuse from Brutus UNTIL Popeye’s own “Popeye Moment.”  The sailor man has had enough when he says, “I can’t stands it no more.” Then, he eats his spinach, grows huge muscles, and proceeds to let Brutus have it with both anchors.  And, he wins the heart of Olive Oil … toot, toot!!!  I’d say he became effective!

There are many world issues that can break our hearts:  child abuse, animal abuse, environmental issues, human trafficking political issues, senior citizens, 3rd world plights, homelessness, Alzheimer Disease, cancer, heart disease, mental illness  or a plethora of other diseases.

In my own life, the pain resulting from addiction and co-dependency in my own family was my “I can’t stands it no more” moment.  I went from being busy as an efficient real estate broker to being effective at Faith Farm Ministries.  I use ALL of my experience and talents that I have accumulated throughout my long career and apply it to my passion for helping people overcome life controlling issues so that they, too, may live effectively.  I can honestly say that I LOVE my work.  It is not like work at all when you love what you do.

Faith Farm Ministries is a 64 year old, free, long term, residential drug and alcohol recovery program for men and women.  Three locations provide an intense, college accredited recovery curriculum, a comprehensive work training program, spiritual guidance and counseling.

I am also blessed to lead a Celebrate Recovery group at Faith Farm in Boynton Beach on Friday nights.  This is a 12 Step program that is accessible to the students as well as their families, alumni of Faith Farm, and the community members that have struggles with any life controlling issues.

My passion for what I do translates into my effectiveness for those I serve.  Passion allows your life to take on meaning, purpose and effectiveness. I used to be very efficient, busy … and unhappy.  Today, I have purpose, effectiveness, joy and peace that surpasses my understanding.

What’s your “Popeye Moment?”


This month, Faith Farm Ministries will hold its 63rd annual Homecoming celebration.  It is unlike any homecoming events you might have attended in college.  Approximately 1,000 students, alumni, staff and families of those once addicted to drugs and alcohol will gather to celebrate their recovery from addiction and/or co-dependency.  They worship, fellowship, share their stories and give hope to those still struggling.  They received another chance at life; some recently and others many years ago.  Recovering addicts are the bravest and most courageous people you’ll ever meet.  They have been through hell and back, and they are willingly to share their stores because of what God has done for them.  They are transparent (real), and they use terms like hope, new life and eternity … and they “Dare to Dream;” such an appropriate theme for this year.

Keynote Speaker, Dean Middleton, is President of United TranzActions, Inc., is also the founder of Spirit in South Florida, a nonprofit that has funded two opportunities for Faith Farm’s students to attend a free Phillips, Craig and Dean Concert at the Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale.  Dean funded bus transportation, tickets, venue and band for approximately 200 Faith Farm students; once in May and again in December.  Additional concerts are being planned to bless similar rescue mission/recovery type ministries.  Dean’s heart and message is a one of hope and concurs with our “Dare to Dream” theme.

Three of Faith Farm’s courageous alumni will share testimonies, each with a passion to help those who are going through what they experienced many years ago.  Roy Foster went on to become a 2009 CNN Hero nominee for his passion to help veterans and recently broke ground on The Village of Valor, an entire community devoted to serving veterans and their families.  Alyssa Schroeder attended our women’s program.  Since Faith Farm, she married Eric, also an Alumni. They now run a successful business while they continue to help others who struggle with addiction. They are expecting their first child.  Marty Angelo attended Faith Farm in the ‘80s and was mentored by Founder, Rev. Garland “Pappy” Eastham.  Marty answered the call to prison ministry in California and has counseled celebrities who struggled with addiction.  He has authored five books and continues to give back.  All “Dared to Dream!”

Underwriters for this event include Solid Rock Church, South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary, The Tucker Group, LLC, Alpha Ministries, LLC, plus two anonymous employee staff members.  All day live music by their own Faith Farm bands, barbecue, Pappy’s Old Fashioned Lemonade, Ice Cream and other home-baked goodies, fishing, Volleyball, Kite Flying, Bounce Houses and Face Painting are some of the other activities typical of the day, but the highlight of the afternoon is always the extremely competitive annual softball tournament between the farms. There is nothing like witnessing a bunch of competitive, recovering addicts … humbled and praying and giving thanks before and after (sometimes during) these softball games.  “Dare to Dream!” It’s Tim Tebow times 30! And, it’s beautiful!

Faith Farm is making a huge difference in thousands of lives and needs your financial support to continue saving lives being lost to addiction.  It is because of special people like you that we can continue to help restore lives of people who struggle with life controlling issues.  For more information on how you can help, visit www.faithfarm.org, or contact Judy Walters, Project Manager, at (561) 737-2259 or email Judy at  jwalters@faithfarm.org.

Photo from Homecoming 2013 by Christina Wilkof Photography


Why Don’t You Just “STOP IT”?

On Mad TV’s Season 6, in the year 2001, Bob Newhart had a guest appearance acting in the role of a Life Coach, Dr. Switzer, in a skit called “Stop It”.  It’s a classic … so very funny.  You can search “Stop It” on YouTube and watch it here, too!  In this 6 minute video, a counseling session unfolds with an unsuspecting, new client, Catherine Bigman, who struggles with fears, eating disorders and relationship dysfunction.  I might add that the new client was a referral! 

I have used this video numerous times in recovery meetings and step classes.  Because of its sarcasm, it always gets a chuckle, if not a healthy laugh.  It also removes the stigma connected with issues, allowing people to open up and truly initiate their pursuit of getting serious help.    

The good doctor’s remedy was a simple two words … “STOP IT”!  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were that easy?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if hurts, habits and hang-ups could be cured with this simple directive?  All of our anger and resentments, addictions and co-dependency, depression and lack of integrity:  All of them would simply disappear with a simple “STOP IT!”

If you haven’t had any life struggles, then you are either truly blessed, or in complete denial (Go directly to Step 1 of the 12 Steps!)  But for the majority of the human race, there is dysfunction; on top of struggles; on top of character defects; caused by … “God only knows”!  Life is very complicated and “Stop It” is not practical advice:  Comical, but not practical.

If you had cancer or diabetes, and I told you to “STOP IT”, would you be able?  Of course not!  You would seek the best doctors, medicines and counseling.  No shame, no guilt!  You didn’t choose to be sick.  You also know you would not be able to “STOP IT” with some plan and a support system.

Addiction is no different and  “STOP IT” is not a treatment, rehabilitation, a plan or a support system.  I don’t know anyone who chose the disease of addiction.  Why is there such shame and guilt?  If you don’t understand the disease, then perhaps you have always thought it was a choice.  An addict should simply not use drugs.  An alcoholic should STOP drinking.  Right?

This thinking is as ridiculous as the Bob Newhart skit!  It is this attitude that creates the shame and guilt that prevents an addict from their pursuit of getting serious help before it becomes a terminal illness. And, for those who do still have this thinking angle, I’ve got two words for you.  Write this down!  “STOP IT”! 



Judy Walters’ blog at www.Judy-Walters.com, called Contentment In All Circumstances (in Spite of Addiction, Chaos & Drama)draws help from Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church of Philippi.  Like Paul, Judy seeks to help others accomplish what she has learned in living and working around addiction and co-dependency  … “for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11.  This is truly the “Peace that surpasses all understanding.”

Judy joined the corporate staff of Faith Farm Ministries in April, 2008. She is responsible for project management, public relations, marketing, event planning, and communications. She serves as Adjunct Faculty at South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary, the Academic Board Secretary, CWT Committee Member and the Faith Farm Alumni Association Registrar & Liaison. She enjoys teaching classes at Faith Farm’s women’s home as well as Celebrate Recovery Step Study Classes. Her career began as a paralegal followed by a span of 28 years as a real estate broker specializing in shopping center management, leasing and marketing. Judy has served on several non-profit Boards. She is currently a Board Member of the local Emmaus community. She is also a Team Member for Celebrate Recovery Boynton Beach. She has extensive experience in teaching and leading small groups, including recovery groups, bible studies, discipleship classes and even girl scouts and boy scouts. Judy grew up Pittsburgh moved to Florida in May of 1977. She and her husband, Larry, have one daughter and son-in-law, three sons and a granddaughter. Judy finds contentment in all circumstances and perceives every day as a victory … every mess as a message … and every test as a testimony. She enjoys reading, writing, social media, campfires, rainbows, butterflies, thunderstorms, baby laughs, and music of nearly all genres, but mostly praise music.  

Please contact: JudyWalters12@gmail.com

Feel free to reproduce with the above paragraphs appended.

Ask the Addict’s Mom – Do you feel addict’s moms are getting the support they need in dealing with addiction as a disease?

Let me start with a quote from one of our moms:

“. . . drowning in despair…watching you die right before my eyes.” 

When I read these words written by a member of The Addict’s Mom, I immediately understood.  Any mother who has had a child with a disease understands.  Any mother who listened to doctors tell her how sorry they are to tell her that her child has cancer, leukemia, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or any other chronic, life threatening disease knows how this mother feels.  We all feel like we are “drowning in despair.” 

However, addiction is a disease where only other mothers of addicts understand.  No friends rush to comfort and console a hurt and grieving mother of an addict.  No plans are made to bring hot meals to an addict’s mom.  No Hallmark cards come with comforting messages to say so sorry to hear your child is ill.  No one calls to see if they can help in anyway, or to let you know they are there, if you need to talk. We have mothers who cannot even go to local grief support groups after the loss of their child to addiction because of resentment from other parents.

The family, especially the mother, is left in the solitude of despair without a real support system.   When it comes to addiction, myth, misinformation, and outdated, ineffective treatment still prevail.  It a disease where some well-meaning, but misguided person will tell a mother her child just needs more willpower. Can you imagine any sane person telling a mother of a child with diabetes that they lack willpower?   Can you imagine anyone telling a parent whose child just died from cancer that it was a choice?

If a mother of a child with diabetes, leukemia, or aids was told treatment couldn’t start until their child reached a crisis or until the symptoms became severe there would be protests from all sectors of society.  What would happen if a diabetic teen was left untreated until they lapsed into a coma?  You would hear such public outcry and people would investigate. 
But this is not the case for the addict.  Moms beg and plead for help, for information, and intervention, but are often forced to wait by myth, by apathy, by lack of health insurance, or worse health insurance that won’t cover the treatment.  Mothers are often forced to wait until the symptoms of addiction become so severe that their child faces criminal charges, and they will. Criminal charges are often part of the progression of this disease if left untreated.  They may even have to wait until, as one mother posted recently, they find their “child not breathing with a needle still in their arm.”   Even worse is the lack of support mothers whose children have died from drug overdose receive.  Grieving mothers of addicts tell me they have been made to feel unwelcome and even asked to leave local grief recovery groups.

On top of this, we have family-members, friends or complete strangers weigh in by daring to say that our child did this to themselves and therefore doesn’t deserve sympathy or help. This just compacts the despair and lack of support addicts moms deal with and leave them to silently retreat in pain, shame and despair. I did, until I found “The Addict’s Mom.”  Joining “The Addict’s Mom,” was the beginning of new hope for me.   Through the stories and voices of other members, through the resources and inspiration, I discovered I had also been living with my own myths about addiction.   Most of all I found the support I needed, and our members tell us they have found the support of other moms helpful as well.

Now when personally confronted by people who tell me my son’s addiction was a choice, I ask them “who says so?” I know I have the support of thousands of mothers dealing with a child with the disease of addiction.  I know I have the support of medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, treatment professionals and government organization all stating addiction is a brain disease.  I have found I can respond by sharing facts, by telling them the dedicated neuroscientists and other professionals who study and understand addiction say this is not a choice. It is important to educate those who don’t understand how the brain is physically changed by the process of becoming addicted. Addiction so drastically alters the brain that people genuinely cannot change without treatment and help. This is not a matter of will-power, it is a matter of biology.  

And recently when sharing my story of my son’s addiction at a local conference, for the first time ever, I was given a hug by someone who did not have a child or any other close family member suffering from addiction.  This young woman, just heard my story, hugged me and said, “I am so sorry you and your son are suffering.”  It isn’t a landslide of support, but it is a small spark.  And just maybe this small spark will become a flame, so that other mothers will not find themselves alone, drowning in despair without support.

Duana Wilkins 

Executive Director 

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You can also sign SAMHSA’s National Substance Abuse Prevention Pledge. www.samhsa.gov/prevention/docs/PreventionPledge_09192012.pdf 


Barbara Theodosiou

Founder – The Addicts Mom

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The Addict’s Mom reaches out to families dealing with addiction.  We invite them to join us, where they can “Share without Shame,” the daily struggle, their sorrows, their victories with other families who understand the impact of this devastating disease.  We off resources, groups, referrals, but most of all we offer hope and the knowledge that we are not alone in this fight to change perceptions and save lives.  The Addict’s Mom is currently registering for non-profit status and growing by the hundreds daily.  Find us on Facebook as well as the web.  We Are Not Doctors or Therapist. We Do Not Give Medical Advice or Opinions or Engage In The Practice of Medicine or Therapy.  Opinions expressed by our members are opinions and should not be used as therapy or medical advice.  Always see guidance from your doctor or therapist before proceeding with any treatment or procedure. 

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What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Meet Bob!  (His name has been changed for anonymity sake.)  Bob is an addict.  Bob has the weight of the world on his shoulders.  There’s too much month at the end of the money.  He believes he’s failed as a provider, husband and father.  He drinks to numb the pain.

His kids, Lucy and Jake cannot concentrate in school.  Without sleep, they are doomed to fail.  They don’t bring friends around.  How embarrassing it would be if dad wasn’t “feeling good” today.  They go elsewhere    . . . without supervision.

Sharon is Bob’s wife.  She looks much older than her years . . . the years have made her resentful.  Her energy is spent.  She is practically raising the children by herself.  She fears that Bob’s anger is escalating.  She gives him an ultimatum… Get Help or Get Out!  So, Bob comes to Faith Farm Ministries and not only does he achieve sobriety, but he finds his faith, God and his purpose.  For nearly a year, Bob learned life and coping skills.  He received spiritual training and work therapy, all of which will make him a better husband and father.

Bob returns home but with the pressures of the world closing in again, Bob relapses and his wife wants a divorce.  Why?

The Answer!

First, recovery is a process . . . a way of life.  Rehab isn’t enough.  There must be a support system in place.  This is done through church and accountability, which is best found through regularly attending small groups, such as Celebrate Recovery, AA or NA.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 4, it says two are better than one.  Although one person may be overpowered by the enemy (in this case, the addiction), two may withstand the enemy.  If one falls, the companion is there to lift him up, “but, woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”  Even better and stronger, the writer talks about a three stranded cord, the third strand being our creator.

Second, addiction is a “Family Disease”.  Not only does Bob need recovery, but so does the family.  Co-dependency is just as serious and as life threatening as an addiction.  Years ago, in her book, ”Codependent No More”, Melody Beattie introduced the concept of codependency to the world, when people believed that martyrdom and selfless acts were simply done out of love, even at the risk of unhealthy results, losing one’s identity and perceived value.  Co-dependency became a very over used, misunderstood term giving rise to a new generation with a super inflated sense of entitlement, laziness and self-esteem.  Beattie’s first definition, “letting another person’s behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior”, lead to apathy and a convenient excuse to remove all relational problems.  I have met people in recovery who are very proud because they have refused to help someone in need or they have divorced.  They believe they have recovered, but they have it terribly wrong.  Through recovery groups, a codependent can learn to set boundaries that allow them to be happy, healthy and supportive of an addict without enabling.  Every addict needs an enabler so they can continue in their addiction.  Without an enabler, the addict must face consequences that ultimately lead to change.

Reprinting of this article is permitted when appended with the following information:  2013 © Judy Walters, Project Manager at Faith Farm Ministries … www.faithfarm.org  and  www.judy-walters.com