New Outreach Program Offers Alternative Treatment For Addiction

Around 200 people attended the Teen Challenge of the Four States? annual banquet this past fall. In cooperation with the Talkington Foundation, the ministry is offering a new outreach program to area residents struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.

By Whitney Saporito

Posted Jan 15, 2012

Teen Challenge of the Four States and the Talkington Foundation are pairing up to offer a new outreach program for Neosho area residents struggling with addictions.

Lifeline, the new 12-week, 12-step program, will be offered as a Christian based alternative to the traditional addiction meetings regularly held at the Kelly Club, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Rev. Jim Lowans, executive director at Teen Challenge, said that combining the efforts of his program with those taking place at the Kelly Club seems to be a perfect match.

“We could team up and it would provide us a forum, a place to offer and also I think it would provide additional outreach for the Kelly Club that’s a little different from the traditional AA outreaches that they have,” Lowans said.

The program is set to begin at 7 p.m. March 22. Those interested in joining the program should contact Lifeline facilitator Randy Rogers at 658-8448.

The program is free, though Lowans said a slight weekly donation is encouraged to help pay for the book participants will use. Once the book is paid off, no further donations are requested.

Teen Challenge of the Four States is a faith-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, located just outside of Neosho on Missouri Highway 86. Residents stay at the Neosho facility for four months before moving onto the next phase in Cape Girardeau.

The Talkington Foundation, founded in 2006, also addresses addiction, and provides the Kelly Club as a home for support group meetings to take place.
Don Larson, co-founder of the Talkington Foundation, said though the two organizations approach it differently, they are both working toward the same end.

“The real reason we decided to do this is to try to help recover from addictions,” Larson said. “They’re working in a different framework recovering from addictions, but our goals are all the same. We’re not competing, we’re trying to help all the people we can.”

Lowans said there would be a limit of 12 participants per 12-week course. Though the meetings are starting out as weekly, Talkington Foundation President Alan Williams said the frequency of those meetings could grow, depending on the demand.

Larson said those participating in the support groups are encouraged to enter through the conference room door, which is to the side of the building. He said not entering through the front helps participants to keep their anonymity.

In addition to providing an additional outlet for the community, the new outreach program is also designed to provide post-rehab support for those recovering from their addictions.

“The biggest problem with addictions of any nature is recidivism, going back to the drug,” Williams said. “The need was to help combat that. You know, [Jim’s] got an in-house facility there, personally, I went through a treatment center for alcoholism and it was a 30-day deal, so, after that what do you do?”

Lowans said it is the hope of he and those at the Talkington Foundation that the new Lifeline program will provide help for those needing the after care and also those just getting started.

“Our goal is, really, if we can get people in there that we can keep out of Teen Challenge residential then that’s great,” Lowans said. “On the other hand, there’s going to be people who have been through the program, in fact there could be teen challenge graduates, who relocate in the area and end up coming to this as a thing to reinforce and keep them on track. I think it serves a two-fold purpose, but the main purpose for us is to reach people before they need residential.”

The program differs from the Teen Challenge Residential program in that it addresses all addictions, not just drug and alcohol.

“It’s a 12-step program for addiction so we’re not dividing it where if you have an alcohol addiction or you have a drug addiction or for that matter if you have an eating disorder addiction, it will be a faith-based 12-step program for those battling addictions of any type that want to identify God as the higher power,” Lowans said.

Lowans began training the volunteers serving as Lifeline facilitators last week. The program facilitators are those who had volunteered through local churches.

Both Lowans and those from the Talkington Foundation agree, it is the support of the community that has made programs such as Lifeline possible.

“I just think it is a very important step for the community, that various organizations working with those battling addictions are coming together and focusing on what they can do together to help the overall community,” Lowans said. “The community in general has strongly backed both entities.”

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