Creating Hope in Our Clients

I have often said that the residential recovery program’s first goal is to create hope in our clients. What are some ways we can accomplish this?

Before people can begin the process of change they must fully understand two basic truths; 1) that change is needed in a certain area of their lives and 2) that change is possible.

In previous articles, I have discussed strategies of breaking through the addict’s denial system, which is the starting point for his or her accepting the need for change. But if we only convince people that their lives are a mess we may leave them in a place of despair. We must create an environment full of hope where they can catch a vision for how their lives could be in Christ, along with giving the tools to build a life of faith and recovery.

A. Share the Word — In chapel services and Bible studies with new residents spend time studying scriptures like Jeremiah 29: 11 – “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Addicts tend to be “spiritually dysfunctional” and need to gain a clear perspective of God the Father, His character, His power, and His intentions for them.

B. Addiction Education – Gaining more knowledge about addiction serves two very important functions. First, it helps the addict in denial accept his or her condition. Secondly, this knowledge can be a tremendous source of comfort and hope for those struggling with post acute withdrawal symptoms and the emotional difficulties that come with early recovery. Many addicts believe they are “terminally unique.’ — that no one has experienced the same struggles and that their problems are so bad they can’t be fixed. Newly sober addicts need to understand that they are suffering from a malady that is shared by others. Many resources are available: lending libraries, literature, videos, and local professionals who can speak at the mission. Contact AGRM’s Education Office for information on educational resources for use in a mission setting.

C. One-on-One Counseling – Every participant in a long-term program needs at least one hour a week with a staff member who understands addiction to help them through the struggles of early recovery. One very important goal of the first few counseling sessions is to help addicts to work through the toxic shame that them tells them they can’t change. They need to know that God loves them and that His power is available to help them to overcome addiction.

D. Support Groups – Good support groups provide recovering addicts with a safe, non-judgmental setting to share their struggles, thoughts, and feelings without fear of rejection. Hearing the stories of others with similar difficulties and how they overcame them provides valuable encouragement for them to go on in a life of sobriety.

E. Hearing the Stories of Staff Members and Program Graduates – People who are new to our programs need to get acquainted with those who have completed the program and have gone on to lead successful, sober lives. Find ways to get them involved in formal meetings and informal gatherings like alumni picnics. In a similar way, it’s important to give other members of your staff who might not be directly involved with the recovery program a chance to share who they overcame addiction, as well. Both program graduates and staff members who are themselves in recovery stand as living proof that the principles shared in your program really do work!

Free Wi-Fi for a Low Income Housing Project

Connecting for Good, the nonprofit organization I staretd in 2011, has entered into a partnership with the  Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority   to bring free Wi-Fi to their largest low income housing project — Juniper Gardens.

The   large  mesh network  we are building  will cover almost four city blocks and wil bring free in-home broadband Internet to 390 units where nearly 1,000 people live.    More than 70 Wi-Fi radio transmitters will be installed on nearly forty buildings.

We will also be developing a computer learning lab in the community center at the complex. Similar to our Rosedale Ridge project, we will be providing digital life skills training and inexpensive refurbished PC systems to residents at Juniper Gardens.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED! Make a donation to this project on


AskimoTV Interviews Michael Liimatta (video)


1. Alcoholism (7:45)
Mr. Michael Liimatta & Ms. Elise Engber
video2bHow does one define alcoholism? What is a binge and does binging lead to an addiction, or does one binge because they are already addicted? What is the difference between a drunkard and an alcoholic? In kicking an addiction like alcoholism, is it preferable to go down the route of abstinence or a gradual recovery?

2. Drug and Alcohol Recovery (8:21)
Mr. Michael Liimatta & Ms. Elise Engber
video2bWhy is loss of control the hallmark of a person’s addiction? What importance is placed on the addict’s ability to be in control, throughout an recovery program? How does admitting powerlessness towards drug or alcohol act as the first step toward recovery? Does the concept of powerlessness play a role throughout an addicts recovery and not just at the start? How so?

  3. Homelessness and Addiction Recovery (10:44)
Mr. Michael Liimatta & Ms. Elise Engber
video2bWhat is the most common demographic of people today who are considered to be homeless? What do most of the homeless people today have in common besides for their living situation? Is addiction a direct cause for the number of homeless people that exist today? What evidence is there to prove this phenomenon? What is a rescue mission, what does it entail and how has it been proven to aid recovery in an addicted homeless person?

4. Online Learning  (8:44)
Mr. Michael Liimatta & Ms. Elise Engber
video2bHow prevalent is online learning today? What are the benefits of this method of education? Are there any limitations to online learning? How has the new trend of online education affected traditional university education? Is there a way for traditional universities to combine both methods of teaching and learning to maximise the effectiveness of education?

5. Digital Inclusion  9:47)
Mr. Michael Liimatta & Ms. Elise Engber
video2bWhat is meant by the term the “Digital Divide”? What are some of the major implications for people who do not have adequate access to the internet in terms of making progress within their society, like finding a job for example? What are some of the difficulties that non-profit organizations face as a result of this “digital divide”? What can be done to minimize the gap that is limiting so many people and organization’s abilities to develop?