Sister Annette and Elder Kirk Lillrose of Kalamazoo, MI, working with our own Sister Debbie and Elder Ed Greenwald, hosted a training meeting yesterday for priesthood leaders and Addiction Recovery Program workers from the Pittsburgh Stakes and Brookville District. A few highlights follow:
Bro. Douglas LeCheminant of LDS Family Services reported that in 2009 there will be some 51,000 ARP meetings held worldwide, most in the U.S., with some 386,000 in attendance. The number of meetings has increased by 350% in five years.
The June 2009 edition of The Ensign included an excellent article explaining the Addiction Recovery Program by Lia McClanahan, "Addiction Recovery: Healing One Step at a Time."
Dr. Donald L. Hilton, Jr., a neurosurgeon, gave an outstanding presentation on redeeming the soul. Repentance and recovery work together to restore the soul: repentance heals the spirit, while recovery heals the body. Addiction is "a pathological but powerful form of learning." Recover is difficult because addiction resents the brain's powerful pleasure "thermostat" and damages the frontal area of the brain, where judgment occurs.
Elder Lillrose gave instruction for priesthood leaders. Prospective ARP workers should sit through a complete 12-week cycle before they are called. The most effective groups do not strive to save souls by teaching; rather they focus on giving hope for recovery through sharing of personal experiences. A priesthood leader assigned by the stake president in each stake—either a member of the stake presidency or a high councilor—should oversee the program and keep the stake president informed.
There is much we can do in PA to improve our performance, but we were counseled simply, "Do your best, and leave the rest to the Lord."