Wayne D. White Recovery Community Center Opens

Wayne D. White, affectionately known as “Brother Wayne,” is the founder of Footprints Inc. in inner city Kansas City, Missouri. He started the organization in 2001 and served as director until his passing on February 28, 2012. 

Brother Wayne was a passionate life change agent in the community as well as a pioneer in substance abuse recovery.  He was a Missouri Certified Substance Abuse Counselor with eighteen years of experience.  A Vietnam Veteran, compassion for his fellow veterans led him to establish the Heroes Home Gate, our short-term residence for homeless veterans, in 2009. His “Life Change Station” model was a true recovery community center before the concept became popular.

Brother Wayne’s passion for the lost and vision for recovery continues to inspire our staff, board and volunteers to be more and do more for the Lord.  We are committed to seeing his vision to reach the addicted and the struggling veteran continue and grow.

For this reason, a new recovery community center, located at 4501 Troost, was named in his honor. Nearly two hundred people from the recovery community and local agencies joined us for a celebration of Brother Wayne’s life. They toured the facility and learned more about the programs and services of the new center.

The goal of the Recovery Community Center is to improve quality of life, prevent relapse and sustain long-term recovery. The center provides education, information, referrals, counseling, peer support services and fellowship for those seeking long-term recovery from substance use disorders. Along with recovery-oriented activities, a computer center is available to provide ongoing instruction in computer skills and job search assistance. The program is staffed by volunteers, as well as qualified addiction counselors and peer support specialists.

Footprints, Inc., the sponsoring organization, is certified as a recovery support provider by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Behavioral Health. Visit their web site

Footprints, Inc. Appoints New Executive Director

Bro. Wayne White founded Footprints, Inc. 2001. He passed away in 2012.

I’ve recently brought my three passions – education, addiction recovery and digital inclusion – all together in one special place of service right here in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

On February 18, 2017, I was appointed to serve as the new executive director of Footprints, Inc. My first project is creating an inner city recovery community center on Troost Avenue that will have counseling, support groups and classes. It will also have a computer center teaching PC and job skills. We’ll be bringing digital life skills, GED classes and other employment oriented training to formerly homeless vets and people who are just beginning the journey of recovery from addiction. This is something very close to my heart since digital inclusion really matters when it helps people who have been struggling gain confidence and self esteem on their way back into the workforce.

Footprints, Inc. was founded by my good friend Wayne White in 2001. He was a Viet Nam veteran himself who overcame addiction. Caring for his military brothers who lost their way was his inspiration to establish our VA funded short-term residence for homeless veterans. His passion and dedication has left a lasting imprint on this city.

I had previously served on the board of Footprints, Inc. for several years. When Wayne succumbed to the effects of exposure to Agent Orange in 2012, I was asked to serve as board chairman to manage the organization through that difficult time. Thanks to being so familiar with things, I have truly hit the ground running – getting things going in a way that I never could have while serving in a volunteer capacity. Long range plans include additional residences for both men and women in early recovery and a permanent facility where veterans can stay after they leave our Heroes Home Gate shelter.

When I returned to Kansas City after serving with HUD in Washington, D.C., I had several interviews but none of them seemed to quite fit. I shared this with my wife and she simply said, “I think you already know what God wants you to do!” So, here I am off on another thrilling adventure in capacity building for a nonprofit with a ton of potential that is meeting incredibly important needs in KC’s inner city.

Learn more at – http://www.kcfootprints.org

Once an Alcoholic, Always an Alcoholic?

What about those who say, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic? Doesn’t that deny God’s ability to change a person?” I have been asked this question often as I have conducted workshops with rescue mission workers and people from other Christian groups.  Usually, though, it prompted by a failure to distinguish between the spiritual issue called “drunkenness” and the therapeutic/medical condition called “alcoholism.” Anyone working to bring real healing and lasing change to addicts and alcoholics, must have this issue clearly resolved in their own minds.

Here are a few issues to consider:

A. Release from compulsion is a reality Those who react negatively to this phrase usually interpret it to mean that an addicted individual is condemned to live under the constant danger of slipping into drunkenness against his own will.  This, of course, would be a definite denial of God’s power to change the addict and empower him to live a victorious life.  The truth is that many believers do testify of an experience where the power of the Spirit of God actually lifted  the compulsive desire to use alcohol and drugs from them.  Some others, though, do struggle with re-occurring bouts of intense temptation to use again.  In some cases, this actually has a physiological basis which has been called “post-acute withdrawal syndrome.”  If we are mindful of this, it can actually comfort someone struggling and help them through these times, instead of making them feel guilty.  Additionally, after an experience of salvation, the newly reborn addict still needs special support to assist him to contend with all the lingering consequences of a life of bondage to addictive substances.

B. The physical dimension of addiction – When God delivers an addict from the compulsion to drink, he is no longer a “drunkard” in the spiritual sense.  Yet, he is  still a recovering alcoholic or addict in the therapeutic sense.  What separates the “heavy drinker” from the addict is the lack of ability to stop using alcohol once drinking has started.  I often tell people,  “It’s not how much you drink, or how often you drink; it’s what happens to you once you start – you just can’t stop, even when you want to!”  On a physiological level, anyone who has become an addict will always be “sensitized” to alcohol and/or drugs.  Even very limited use of the “drug of choice” can “activate” the chemical mechanisms of addiction leading to compulsive use and behavior.  Total abstinence, therefore, is a must.  This physical aspect of addiction will remain with the recovering person until he is glorified by the Lord and receives his new body.  With the acknowledgment of this fact, the recovering person will be all the more diligent to abstain from drinking or casual drug use.  He or she recognizes the dire consequences of even “moderate” alcohol or drug use.  If the recovering addict remains abstinent, this physical consequence of addiction will not otherwise effect his life and Christian walk.

C. Overcoming the “fall-out” of addiction A life of addiction results in destructive attitudes, distorted emotions, and warped patterns of thinking.  These do not simply disappear when an addict experiences spiritual rebirth.  Calling a person a  “recovering” addict or alcoholic also implies that he or she is actively overcoming the lingering problems of an addicted lifestyle through involvement in a definite program of personal growth.  Some of the deep-seated attitudes that keep an addict locked in his addiction include; pride and grandiosity, rebellion against authority, dishonesty, manipulation, blame-shifting, resentments, procrastination, etc.  While these “character defects” are common problems with practically all addicts, unless they are “hit head-on” they will lead to defeat.

 

— Michael Liimatta is the former Director of Education for Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, where he served for 17 years.  For more of his writing and audio workshops online go to the Guideto Effective Rescue Mission Recovery Programs.