The power of friendship

Addiction can isolate and alienate people from society, which only exacerbates feelings of loneliness. One benefit of our rehab program is that it facilitates reconnection out of this isolation through joining a supportive community of likeminded men who are also going through addiction.

Both suffering from alcohol addictions, Shane (pictured left) and Timothy (right) came through the Living Free program together, and this month they will start a year-long internship at Teen Challenge SA together.

Timothy says, ‘Shane and I have come through together, leaning on God’s word, supporting, and helping each other grow. It is great to see how much God works in the lives of others, and this has helped strengthen my faith’.

‘Without the community, it would be just a solo journey of sober time’, says Shane. ‘All the guys helped me with my communication and helped me put my Christianity into practice. I’ve learnt you don’t need to be on drugs or other substances to have fun and good times.’

‘One of the workers, Darren, challenged me to push myself, change my behaviours and take everything I learnt in class and put it into action. Darren is the biggest inspiration for my recovery – he was there from day one’, says Shane.

Usually, towards the end of the 12-month journey, our students get to spend more time off-site, visiting churches, volunteering and setting up for life beyond. But unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Shane and Timothy have been unable to do these things.

‘At times it’s made the community life difficult as we’ve not been able to go out or have any visitors’, says Shane. ‘However, having the restrictions has also bought us together. It’s made us appreciate our families and our communities outside of Teen Challenge a lot more.’

‘The program has not stopped, and we have had to rely on God’s resources – food in abundance, toilet paper not lacking. The Lord is showing us his provision in a global crisis, day by day. I am learning that he is in control. I am learning to seek the face of God in everything’, says Timothy.

During this time, the students have been running their own Friday night chapel and Sunday church services. ‘We, as a family, have a chance to lead these services and use the gifts of ministry given to us by God. This gift of teaching has always been there in me, but due to addiction, I’ve never been able to use it until now’, says Timothy.

‘Now Shane and I enter into the internship after we graduate in June with a new direction and a new purpose in God’s grace, knowing that our lives are in him.’