PIQUA — Celebrate Recovery, a Christian recovery program hosted by the Piqua Compassion Network, is celebrating one year of helping local residents with their addictions.
From drug addictions to co-dependency issues, Celebrate Recovery has seen over 1,500 people this past year, and Larry Taylor of Piqua is one of those attendees who has been involved since its inception in Piqua.
“We birthed Celebrate Recovery around a story like this,” Rebecca Sousek, executive director of Piqua Compassion Network, said. “I think it’s a story that the community needs to hear and that will provide hope.”
Sousek said that stories like Taylor’s and others who attend Celebrate Recovery, which is usually anonymous, show “that people can really overcome” and also highlight “what a family Celebrate Recovery has become.”
Sousek explained that the Piqua Compassion Network joined forces with the PROTECT Piqua Board and the Piqua Police Department to offer a Christian faith-based, 12-step recovery program called Celebrate Recovery as part of PROTECT Piqua’s Heroin Education and Addiction Recovery Team (HEART) team.
Celebrate Recovery meets at the Piqua Compassion Network, located at 531 W. Ash St. in Piqua, on Thursday nights between 7-9 p.m., doors open at 6:45 p.m., and they utilize facilities in True Vine Church. In addition to helping attendees with drug addictions, they also discuss problems of alcoholism, depression and anxiety, grief, sexual addiction, trauma, co-dependency, sexual abuse, food addiction, and compulsive behaviors.
Taylor first got connected with Celebrate Recovery through the HEART team, in which Doug and Bethany Dolder, lead facilitators for Celebrate Recovery, are involved. The HEART team includes representatives from the PROTECT Piqua Board, law enforcement, an EMS specialist, a recovery specialist possibly from the Miami County Recovery Council (MCRC), a chaplain/faith-based partner, and a pharmaceuticals specialist.
“The hope is that the person will connect with someone on the team,” Bethany Dolder said. She said that Taylor connected with the pastor on the team. “Before we left, we were all standing out on the porch, and I said, ‘Can we pray with you?’ … We all held hands, and we prayed right there on the front porch.”
Taylor met with the HEART team in July 2017 and went into rehab in December 2017. Taylor was also at the first meeting of Celebrate Recovery, bringing a family member with him.
“I didn’t start using drugs until I was 30,” Taylor said, which Doug Dolder said was not typical. Taylor said that he was never around drugs when he was growing up, but he got hooked on drugs when a friend of his shared pain medication with him.
“I had a headache, and my buddy gave me a Vicodin,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s addiction grew over 10 years, and he got addicted to cocaine, his drug of choice. He also used methamphetamine and heroin if he could not get cocaine.
“I didn’t want to get clean,” Taylor said about when he met with the HEART team. “I just agreed with them (the HEART team) because I didn’t want to get anymore drug charges, to be honest. It wasn’t much longer … that I started using again, probably like a few days later.” While Taylor’s situation did not change overnight, he got connected with MCRC and participated in an outpatient program with them.
“It seemed like, throughout the week, I would get my clean days up to four or five (days), and then come Monday, it would be back to zero,” Taylor said. “Ultimately, I had to go to rehab … I needed to get inpatient (treatment).”
Taylor said that, at first, he was only going to go to inpatient treatment because of his family and to be a “functioning addict.” Taylor also said that he related to a subject who appeared in the Miami Valley Today article “Addict says heroin his first love,” Christopher Reynolds, who said back in December, “Sometimes I know in my heart I love my kids. But sometimes I love drugs more. It’s a big pill to swallow.”
“People don’t outwardly say that, but if you’re not being a parent, you’re not working, (and) you’re not taking care of your kids, you’re only living to get high,” Taylor said. “Matter of fact, you’re stealing from people, stealing from your parents, taking money out of your mom’s Bible … It’s bad.” He added, “I only went to rehab to be a functioning addict. I never wanted to stop doing drugs. That probably sounds sad, but that’s how bad addiction is.”
The morning Taylor was supposed to go to rehab, his father passed away.
“I got high the whole time, even like during his viewing and funeral,” Taylor said.
When Taylor eventually went to rehab in December 2017, he said his sister gave him money to go to rehab and buy food while he was at rehab, but he “wasted it all on drugs on the night before.”
“I did gamble on heroin that night. Obviously, I’ve gambled on it before,” Taylor said. He said that, as an addict, “If you can’t get what you want, you just take what you can get.”
Taylor said that he started reading the Bible more and get reconnected to his faith after having grown up in the church.
“Ultimately, on Jan. 3, God freed me of my drug addiction,” Taylor said. “I thank God all of the time.”
Celebrate Recovery had their first meeting one week after that in January 2017, and Taylor attended that first meeting. He made it to every Celebrate Recovery meeting last year except for one.
Since Taylor got sober, he has got a job, his driver’s license, and more. “I got my own vehicle now. I got re-baptized,” he said.
He also set up a bank account for his daughter and sees her more. He recently celebrated a year of sobriety.
“It’s not about staying clean for me, it’s about trying to become a better person in Christ,” Taylor said.
The facilitators emphasized the importance of the faith basis for the program as Sousek said that “not all communities have a faith component” to quick response teams like the HEART team.
“We pride ourselves in Miami County … having that as being a part and believing that is an important part of recovery,” Sousek said. “We have the 12 steps like for NA or AA, but we wanted to do something that is faith-based for those who have a belief and really want to connect with something spiritually.”
“Naming that higher power, Jesus Christ, makes a difference,” said Jerilyn Lowe of Piqua, a facilitator for the co-dependency small group discussions at Celebrate Recovery. She added that they are also working with families as a whole.
Pastor David Fishback of Piqua said that the community he sees at Celebrate Recovery emulates what he reads about in his Bible.
Sousek said that Celebrate Recovery is a place where people feel accepted and not judged, and Lowe added that it is a place where “you don’t have to hang your head.”
“Lives are being changed because of what God is doing through Celebrate Recovery,” Doug Dolder said.
Follow them on Facebook at Celebrate Recovery Piqua or Piqua Compassion Network. For more information, the Piqua Compassion Network can be contacted at (937) 778-8856.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org