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Thursday, January 27, 2022

New Year ~ RENEW You!

The concept of New Year’s Resolutions has been around for over four thousand years. Most historian accounts credit the Babylonians for starting the tradition. It is said they rang in the year making promises to the gods in hopes they’d earn good favor in the coming year. They often resolved to get out of debt which ironically remains a popular resolution today. While so many things have changed dramatically, the issues we face at our core are issues that people have been facing for thousands of years. People of all walks of life, and all different circumstances, are candidates for renewal of their minds, and that can come in many different places.

Celebrating Recovery

Our minds are a powerful force, but they are a force that can be transformed. Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a Christ-centered 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain, or addiction of any kind. The first CR group in Enid was established in 2010 and currently meets at Emmanuel Enid church on Thursday evenings. An additional CR group was formed in January 2021 and currently meets on Sunday evenings at Westminster Church.

CR is based on 8 Principles founded on the words Jesus relayed in His Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew Chapter 5. The 12 steps loosely parallel the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous but are very specific in keeping Jesus Christ as their Higher Power, and the necessity of turning over their lives and wills to the care and control of God, if they want recovery to be complete and long-lasting. It is also important to note, that only 1/3 of people that attend CR do so for addictive behaviors to drugs or alcohol. Many attend because they have other issues such as anger, co-dependence, people-pleasing or any number of other issues that are stopping them from living their best lives.

Dave Marshall is a member of the Leadership T.E.A.M. of the Celebrate Recovery group that meets at Emmanuel Enid. The T.E.A.M. is made up of a Training Coach, an Encourager Coach, an Assimilation Coach, and a Ministry Leader. Each of the four positions is (ideally) filled with an experienced male and female Leader. A CR Leader has had significant time in recovery, attended an in-depth study of the CR 12 Steps (known as a Step Study), has at a minimum written and given (preferably) their CR testimony as to the impact God has made on their lives and how CR helped in the process of moving from dysfunction and being out of control, into a world of much more reliance on God and His plans and purpose. 

Dave has been in recovery and in Celebrate Recovery since April 2010. He has held all the T.E.A.M. positions, except Assimilation Coach. He has been the Training Coach twice and currently holds the position. He has led men’s small groups and is currently leading a 5th Step Study. He has attended local, state, and national training functions and conferences and has traveled to other CRs to give my testimony, lessons, and provide CR-specific training. 

According to Dave, CR does not propose to be a substitute for a professional counseling service, but it goes hand-in-hand with any counseling program and goes especially well with a Christian counseling program. They do not claim to be trained counselors. Many leaders “have been around the block” and can provide life lessons that may apply to an individual, should they seek that kind of input. Otherwise, CR attempts to be a safe place where people can be “who they are,” at the “place they are” in life…all without judgment or condemnation. The objective is to consistently show the love of Jesus.

Dave shared that his issues started way before he ever decided to show up to CR. Once he did start attending, the group dynamic helped him battle issues with anger and other emotions. He said most people’s issues take years and years to develop and then some “thing” happens that “exposes us to ourselves and others and we hit rock bottom and we can’t deny the current situation anymore.”  He said that is usually the point when people show up to CR. At that point, adults get into recovery.  

Celebrate Recovery at Emmanuel Enid also has a program for kids aged 5-11, called “Celebration Place” which is focused not on recovery (as hopefully, they have not had those issues yet) but “pre-covery.” Leaders like Bel Marshall and Jeanine Irvin work with children to help them learn how to speak the language of recovery. They teach children what it means to share openly and not feel judged for the feelings they have. The goal is for kids to learn skills to express themselves so they do not suppress their feelings. “The kids that attend the groups are more likely to share their feelings. Most adults don’t generally share their feelings until their first meeting,” Bel says. If the kids learn to express themselves in a healthy way, it may help prevent issues later in life.

Families often attend in support of a loved one and throughout the program discover things about themselves they did not realize. While they may initially attend in support of their family member, some choose to stay to focus on improving their habits. Bel can relate. She initially did not believe she could benefit from CR but volunteered to help with the children’s program. One particular evening there were not any children in attendance and she and another leader attended the worship service. Following the service, she browsed the table of literature on several different topics and picked up a brochure on co-dependency, and started reading. She read about the characteristics of someone that is co-dependent and what their life looks like and she thought, “Oh my goodness, this is me. This totally and perfectly describes my life and its craziness.” She said after she read the brochure it was “like her eyes were opened” and she thought this is why she needed CR because she recognized herself as the “classic co-dependent.”  It was at that point she started attending CR for her benefit in addition to her volunteer work with the children.

When Dave was asked what keeps him involved,  keeps him coming back and why he stays in leadership, he said first and foremost “to continue to work on my recovery.” It did not work on his own before and he is under no illusions that he can do it on his own, now.” Dave says one of the most rewarding things about CR is to see people transformed because of the work that they are allowing Jesus to do in their lives.

Finding Wellness

Did you know that Enid is home to a globally known Christian-based Wellness Practitioner?  Lura Dahlem relocated to Enid in March of 2020 to be closer to her grandchildren. She opened her business, The Wellness Place, with a focus on helping people look better, feel better, and live better. Lura connected with the community very quickly. She currently serves on the Air Force Association Board, is a member of Enid Noon Ambucs, and is a lay minister for St. Matthew Episcopal Church.  

She is a personal and corporate coach, as well as a successful mentor and trainer, teaching Maximized Healing ™ techniques and Enhanced Life Skills ™ using Faster EFT tools for stress-free living — at home and in the workplace. She is a regular speaker and presenter as a trusted authority in her field, addressing groups and organizations about stress-free living. A relationship expert, 12-step recovery coach, instructor, adjunct professor, and certified wellness practitioner for both children and adults, Lura teaches from the heart and is known for her genuine caring concern.

Lura’s academic achievements include three degrees; a BS in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University; a BA in Pastoral Ministry from Kansas Newman College; and an MA in Pastoral Ministry from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis with a concentration on Grief and Loss.

She utilized downtime during the pandemic to take courses and add to her list of board certifications which include Clinical Hypnotherapy, Success Coaching, EFT, TIME Techniques™ (a collection of techniques used for eliminating negative emotions)  Natural Language Processing (NLP), FasterEFT process for personal growth and life coach training, having studied directly under the developer and founder of FasterEFT process, her childhood friend, R. G. Smith.

EFT is an Energy Healing Modality. The technique is based on the belief that all negative emotions are caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system. The tapping is used to balance the energy using the energy meridians. FasterEFT is based on Neurology and Biology. The technique is based on the belief that there is no disruption, everything is functioning as it should. Tapping is used to disrupt the signal between the brain and the major organs of the body that trigger the fight or flight response while changing neural pathways in the brain.

Through her education and training, Lura help’ people with drug-free and talk-free alternative and complementary therapies. One of her specialties is teaching stress management techniques that can eliminate fear, anger, grief, loss, and guilt about past traumas and events. The tools are simple, easy to use, and have deep, lasting effects. 

Lura uses Zoom to maintain her national and international clientele. She had a client she had worked with for several years that was located in California that she had never met in person.  Not long ago he was traveling cross country with his parents and made a point to travel through Oklahoma to be able to finally meet in person. 

Above all, Lura enjoys seeing the transformation of her clients and seeing results. When asked about how she handles such a packed schedule, she said, “when you love something and get results from people it doesn’t seem like work.” She enjoys teaching others how easy it is to change their perception and create life-changing results.

According to Lura you find the right solution by reframing the mindset. The results are instantaneous. “Once there is mental habit switch the body just follows.”

Lura works with individuals as well as groups. Her skills have become especially useful for people in the medical field. She can tailor programs based on the need. One of her most recent projects involves putting together a regime for medical staff that worked throughout the pandemic. She is also hoping to have an opportunity to work with educators at some point as well. Teaching skills that guide people to life improvement is the favorite part of her job. This connection between your body and your overall wellness, is really important.

Making Peace

Parents are not supposed to outlive their children.  It doesn’t matter how old they live to be, it is not natural for them to go first. Angela Coursey knows this all too well.  Her son Anthony was 27 years old when she received the call that would change the world as she knew it. 

The news pierced her to the core, Anthony was gone. How? Why?  So many questions. They were told there would be an autopsy and to expect three to six months before receiving any type of result. 

It was just one month earlier Anthony had returned to Enid after spending time in a drug rehabilitation out of state. Things were good and Angela was confident that her son was doing well and that he was surrounded by people that wanted him to continue to do well. Her momma heart was happy, and she was so proud. All three of her sons were blessed with the ability to “get knocked down and stand up laughing.”

Angela was tough herself, she had lived a hard life and learned some tough lessons, but getting through her son’s funeral was the hardest thing she had ever had to do. She “had never felt this broken.” It was only the support of friends and family rallying around her that got her through the day.

Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

In the days that followed she experienced many moments of reflection and sought wisdom in coping to keep going. As she was reminiscing over pictures of her family, she described her kids as “proof that patience, forgiveness, and love will overcome any challenge.” She recognized them for having taught her some of the most valued lessons.

Moments of gratitude and thankfulness were overwhelming when she reflected on the amount of support from family and friends.  She was amazed at the distance some of the people traveled long distances to say their goodbyes and be there in support.

At times, there were moments of extreme anger. Anger so intense she would shake. She had decided that maybe boxing or martial arts might be a good idea to release some of the emotion, and ultimately signed up for Tae Kwon Do. She enjoyed it until a foot injury kept her from continuing. Anthony’s fiancé gave Angela his keyboard and her attention shifted to learning to play while she healed.

The time that elapsed while awaiting autopsy results and the toxicology report was excruciating.  She had already begun her own investigation and felt she knew what happened.  She needed to hear the official report to be certain.

One day while online she came across videos recorded by internet personality Chanda Lynn about the opioid crisis in our country. The in-depth videos covered a spectrum of information.  She explained from opioid use and withdrawal to recovery. The videos were easy to understand and relate to. Many situations were familiar and for a moment Angela let herself play the “if only” game. If only she had listened to that particular information before, she may have been more aware of how critical her son’s situation was. She realized that although he went to rehab she didn’t realize how deep his addiction was until it was too late. Upon his return, she had innocent confidence and trust in those around him. She believed he probably didn’t want to be “hanging out with mom.”  In hindsight, she blamed herself for letting her lack of confidence as a mother keep her from being with him. Her warning to parents and loved ones is not to do that. Pay attention, be overprotective, be a pain. It’s too late for Anthony, but if just one person is saved as a result of sharing his story, it will have been worthwhile.

The following few weeks were filled with emotion including extreme anger at times as the wait for the medical examiner’s report continued. Anthony’s birthday came and went. She made a cake and had a small family gathering.

She continued to try to make sense of the situation and held strong in her faith. She found a way to be grateful and thank the Lord for his mercy and grace for the mistakes she had made in her life and asked for His protection and relief from the anger.

It was mid-November when the call came from the medical examiner’s office. It was official and her fear was confirmed. The cause of death was acute fentanyl poisoning. She had learned from her research that almost every drug bought on the street can be cut with fentanyl. Fentanyl is similar to morphine but is 50-100 times more potent, even a very minimal amount is lethal.

Having answers did not make it any easier.  He was gone and she needed to find a way to move on. She sought support for her grief and as a result, started attending AA/NA at Van’s House, a staple of the Enid community for nearly two decades. Van’s house was formed by Scott Van Krevelen and his wife Sally to provide a place that would empower residents to take an active role in their recovery from addiction.  After just a few weeks of attending meetings, Angela said, “Going to AA/NA at Van’s House was like going to the best church service ever! So much hope & glory to God is given…I’ve heard elders say they don’t see revivals anymore…I’ve been seeing it in the House!!!”

Whether it be through one of these places or many other ways, the New Year is a great time to focus on renewing your mind!

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