Elliot Smith remembers his academy teacher pulling him aside after class one day. The teacher noticed he wasn’t enjoying singing anymore—something he loved doing since elementary school. The “darkness” continued until he realized it wasn’t something he could just “pray away.”
What might Ellen White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, say to addicts today? Cheri Peters, founder of True Step Ministries, recently edited White’s classic book Steps to Christ with what she thinks is the answer to that question.
Norman Carter, a member of Allegheny West Conference’s Temple Emmanuel in Youngstown, Ohio, is on the frontlines of the drug crisis. “[The opioid crisis] is a beast that’s been unleashed. … In order to stop it, you have to stop drugs, and we know that is not going to happen. I think that all we can do is be prepared to provide services to those in need,” says Carter, who kicked his crack cocaine habit nearly eight years ago, and three years ago founded the Carter House, a transitional residential program in Youngstown.
Darcel Harris, a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict says, “The same neglect an alcoholic gives his or her children [is the same as] a workaholic, so we look at addictions, behaviors and choices, not just alcohol and drugs."
“[The church] is supposed to be a hospital, but we’re not all ready to address the sick,” says James Jackson, AEC’s coordinator for Adventist Recovery Ministry (ARMin), and a member of the Mount Olivet church in Camden, N.J., who spent 20 years under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.
The opioid and heroin epidemic is crippling communities across the nation, leaving health officials and providers, coroners, law enforcement and churches scrambling to respond to and combat this widespread crisis. Read how Adventists are helping addicts recover