YORK — Recovering from substance abuse is a lifelong challenge, but the Living Water Rescue Mission is helping men and women overcome those challenges in a Christ-centered recovery program.

“I just can’t explain the change in me,” said Jessica, who has benefitted from Living Water’s Healing Heart Program [last names are being withheld]. Jessica is one of several women – from all walks of life – working through the nine-month, three-phase program.

The Healing Heart Program – along with the New Life Program for men – are non-denominational, while still focusing on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

“Part of what an addiction is, is a disorder of worship,” said Nathan Joslin, Executive Director of Columbus Rescue Mission – Living Water Rescue Mission’s Columbus counterpart.

“I’ve gone from pursuing self-indulgence to asking how I can glorify God in all situations,” said Nicole – another Healing Heart disciple. “You learn a completely new life.”

Larry Joslin, Living Water Rescue Mission Associate Director, said the Healing Heart Program embraces participants unconditionally. “Out there [outside the Mission] if you’re too open, you get in trouble,” he said. “Here they [those recovering] can say anything without being judged.”

Cassie, another Healing Heart Program disciple, said she has witnessed that acceptance through Christ’s love shared by her peers. “They aren’t just saying these words because they have to,” she said. “They say it because they really care. I have amazing people who are all around me.”

The program, however, isn’t effortless, Larry Joslin said. “If you don’t work through things, you’re not in a process anymore.”

Living Water’s Discipleship program uses the Bible, Biblically sound textbooks and media, Bible lessons and life skills classes to strengthen the disciples’ faith and resolve to see through the process. Christ-based counseling also helps support the disciples work through life issues – including relapse.

“Secular treatments don’t generally help you step out into the world,” said Jessica, who has tried other rehabilitation programs.

Cassie said the discipleship program has given her clarity as she traverses the recovery process. “I know I’m doing what I have to do,” she said. “I have amazing people who are all around me.”

Jessica, who has remained sober for quite some time, credits God working through the discipleship program has helped her succeed. “I promise you: this [sobriety] never would have happened to me if I hadn’t come here. Here I’m accepted for who I am; Jesus loves me for who I am,” she said. “It’s not a religion – it’s a relationship.”

Nicole said her faith has grown stronger in the Healing Heart process. “The more you know him, the more you realize you need Him,” she said.

Jessica said leaning on God’s word has been eye opening. “It’s a freedom that we’ve been searching for all of our lives,” she said.

“We’re alive.”

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