Thank you for discipling a participant through Chemical Recovery (CR)! You have chosen a selfless and noble task. This task will make you a better disciple, maker of disciples, and shepherd. You will learn a great deal about your partner in this process and you will grow in your ability to disciple the heart.
As a discipling partner for a CR participant, you are agreeing to:
- Remain abstinent from alcohol, drugs, and nicotine
- Remain in contact with your partner on a daily basis
- Spur your partner on to complete their journal on time
- Encourage and comfort your partner when the process becomes emotionally difficult
This cannot be done without help. Your brother/sisterhood can be the deciding factor in a participants success. Your role as a discipling partner is to three fold:
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – Hebrews 3:13
The disciple that your are partnered with will be experience extremely emotional challenges through CR. They will be undergoing catharsis, the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong repressed emotions. Throughout this process, they will be reliving past experiences and feeling emotions that they have avoided for, in some cases, many years. Encouragement is essential in this time. You will need to consistently remind the disciple you are partnered with to “be strong in the grace.” You will need to remind them why they are going through the CR process. You will need to be a safe place for them to confess temptations to smoke, use chemicals, or drink alcohol.
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and does what is righteous…. honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath, even when it hurts… – Psalm 15:1,2,4
Many people that have a CR background lack character. Some often refer to CR as “Character Recovery.” This isn’t entirely inaccurate. There will be a great deal of character building that occurs as a result of having assignments, deadlines, and expectations based on the disciple’s assertion of commitment to the group. Your role in this accountability is to ask lots of questions during the journaling process. The best types of questions are open ended questions. People with a CR background can sometimes tend to avoid conflict by not answering questions directly. Asking close ended questions can give the CR participant an opportunity to be deliberately vague.
Do not be misled. You may have known the candidate as a disciple for years, however, the process of going through CR will not only stir up old emotions, it will also bring about old behaviors. The seemingly honest and open disciple you know, may revert to being deliberately vague when dealing with past hurts. Do not be shocked at this. Be patient but also ask questions and seek understanding.
….May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. – John 17:23
When a disciple is going through the CR process, their aversion to pain will tempt them to call the fairness and harshness of the CR Leader into question. This is called, externalizing or projecting. Taking responsibility for the pain we cause ourselves and others is very difficult. Instead of feeling the pain, participants will want to focus on problems outside of themselves. Your presence not only holds the participant accountable, it also supports the CR Leader. This unified front leaves the disciple without an excuse when dealing with their pain. As a discipling partner, your presence and participation will mitigate any blaming that may occur.
You will see first hand how gently CR Leaders deal with participants and how each participant is equally called to the standard of the Bible. Your role will be to remind the participant of this when they want to externalize and/or quit CR.
Your work as a discipling partner will have lasting impact on your partner, your church, your city, and the world!