Maryville United Methodist Church to house weekly recovery program
By Melanie Tucker | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A year’s worth of groundwork has been laid here in Maryville that will now seek to provide help and understanding for those who need it most.
A test-run of sorts was held Wednesday evening for Recovery at Maryville, a Christian based program for people dealing with issues like drug and alcohol addiction, grief, pains of abuse and compulsive behaviors.
The program is based on the national model of Celebrate Recovery that is currently offered around the country, but with some differences.
About 100 people were in attendance at the Wednesday kickoff, held at Maryville United Methodist Church, where the weekly program will be housed.
This is a branch of Recovery at Cokesbury Network in Knoxville, which has been offering the program for 10 years and is launching in other locations, including Chattanooga and Lebanon here in Tennessee.
Addressing the issues
Larry Carroll is co-pastor at FUMC along with his wife Brenda. He said a core group of about a dozen people came together several months ago to help establish Recovery at Maryville.
The weekly sessions start with a meal at 5:30 p.m., Carroll said. That is followed by a time of worship, at 6:30 p.m.
After that, individuals form into small groups with others who are facing similar problems.
There are groups for chemical dependent men and women, codependent men and women, one called Life Hurts, God Heals, as well as classes for children in families trying to overcome these issues. There is no cost to attend.
Cokesbury, Carroll said, had been looking to expand into Maryville. “It made sense to partner with us,” the pastor said.
Cokesbury had teamed up with the Salvation Army here in Blount County months ago on a similar program but it has sense disbanded.
“Brenda and I are very much sold on the program,” Carroll said. “One reason being we have people in our family who are dealing with addictions. All of us are in need of recovery in one way or another.”
Recovery at Maryville works in conjunction with Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and like-groups who base their programs on the 12 steps. But Carroll said there is an important difference.
“The big difference between us and them is we do not have a problem naming the higher power,” the pastor said. “We know that higher power is the God revealed in Jesus Christ.”
Currently, there are about 75 to 80 volunteers at FUMC and within the community who are committed to making this program a success. More will be needed as Recovery at Maryville grows and expands.
Al North is a member of that group of core leaders who has been meeting for the last year. He and his wife Jackie are the onsite coordinators.
North said he wasn’t familiar with Celebrate Recovery before signing on. He teaches GED classes at the Blount County Justice Center and said Recovery at Maryville is another support for those leaving jail and starting a new life.
“I have always had a concern about the community having support systems for ex-offenders,” North said. “I see this as another means of support.”
Many behind bars are there because of addictions, North pointed out, but Recovery at Maryville isn’t geared solely for recently-released inmates. The issues dealt with in the program reach far beyond addictions, he said.
North can put that on a personal level. He said he grew up in an emotionally and verbally abusive situation as a child, that left him with low self-esteem and high anxiety in adulthood. A program like Recovery at Maryville would have been valuable to avoid some of the pitfalls of that abuse, North said.
The energy level at Wednesday’s kickoff was encouraging, both Carroll and North said. They both stressed this isn’t simply a program by FUMC for FUMC, but an undertaking that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of others outside the church. They have placed advertisements everywhere, including print, radio and word of mouth. They are expecting 300 to show up on Wednesday.
“I think this will grow as people see the transformative quality of the program and how people’s lives are changed,” Carroll said.