April 23, 2020

Dear Faith Family,

COVID-19 has not only caused concerns for our physical and economic health, but our mental and soul health as well. Whether it be from boredom, fear, frustration or other triggers, addictive behaviors are on the rise. Pornography sites are giving out free memberships and alcohol sales are soaring. People are getting hooked, people are relapsing, people are getting deeper enslaved to their addictions be it gambling, pornography, alcohol, or drugs.

If this is a reality you or a loved one are facing, please know at least these few things.
1. You are not your temptation. You are what the cross says you are: loved and forgiven. Hear that again. You are loved. You haven’t gone too far. In Christ you are forgiven. Yes. You. (If you have not yet entrusted your life to Christ, freedom and healing awaits you in him – “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:10 ) The accusations and allure of your temptation(s) maybe roaring in your ear; but the Lord is stronger and he says to those in Jesus Christ:
2. You are not alone.  Yes, it seems like you are alone. You are not. Not only is the Holy God of the universe on your side, so are we – your brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of us have the same temptations and struggles, some of us have other temptations and struggles; but we all sin and we all have the same Savior.
3. Help is available . If you would like to talk with one of us, Pastor Doug ( dashley@epclongview.org , 303-638-7766) and I ( skral@epclongview.org , 903-918-2774) are available to listen and/or to guide you to resources specific to your need. If you would prefer to remain anonymous at this time, the following online resources may be of use to you.

For the one struggling with addiction:

Alcoholics Anonymous.  There is a strong AA community within Longview. They are currently meeting through zoom as well as in some carefully controlled, socially distancing small groups. Zoom groups are available Tuesdays at 5pm; Wednesdays at noon. 
http://www.aa-intergroup.org/directory.php  the directory can help you find a group.

AA also has sister programs for gambling, sex and narcotic addictions.

In the Rooms.  This is a service built to offer online help that has been around a long time.

Seeking Integrity . Especially for men with sexual/porn addiction, paired substance/sex addiction, and intimacy disorders

ETCADA (East Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse). A strong local resource.

For loved ones/family members of those struggling with addiction:

Al-Anon . Your loved one may or many not be ready to receive help; you can still help yourself. Al-Anon is a support group for relatives of addicts (of any kind) to help you on your own path to healing.

Though it may not always seem like it, sin will always end up destroying you; and - GOD IS BETTER THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE.

You are loved. You are forgiven. You are not alone. Help is available.

With living hope,

Pastor Shelley