Skip to Content
 
 
 
Find:
Advanced Search

Michael Liimatta's blog

Helping the Homeless Who Suffer from Mental Illness - Part 2

This is the second installment on the topic of helping the homeless who are mentally ill. With a basic knowledge of the issues these people confront, knowlegable Christian workers can make a huge difference in their lives.

Read more

Why should addicts avoid new relationships with members of the opposite sex in the first year of recovery?

For addicts, real lasting change occurs only after a long and often painful process of self discovery.  Becoming involved in a romantic relationship too early is a sure fire way to short-circuit the process.  It is actually one of the most frequent causes of relapse.

Read more

Let's Start the New Year Off Right: Advice for the Urban Ministry Worker

by Michael Liimatta

There’s something special about starting off a brand new year.  It’s always a good time to look back to assess where I’ve been and to take a few moments to reflect on what I might do in the coming year to become more effective in my ministry.

Read more

Let's Start the New Year Off Right: Some Advice for Urban Ministry Workers

There’s something special about starting off a brand new year.  It’s always a good time to look back to assess where I’ve been and to take a few moments to reflect on what I might do in the coming year to become more effective in my ministry.

Urban mission work is certainly unique.  The rewards can be tremendous, as well as at the discouragements.  So, here are a few things I thought about as I looked at the new year ahead:  
Read more

Theology of Christian Recovery


 

The primary distinctives that differentiate Christian Recovery from other approaches to life change lie in our approach to spirituality. Here are some of the major theological tenants of the Christian approach to recovery.

Read more

Hallmarks of a Healthy Support Group

Simply stated, a support group is a regular meeting of individuals who have joined together to offer one another support and encouragement in order to overcome a shared problem.  In informal, small group settings, participants, in turn, share their own experiences, feelings and struggles

Ideally, a good support group is, first, a place where recovering addicts will find true acceptance and a sense of what unconditional love is all about.  It is a safe, non-judgmental setting where they can express struggles, thoughts, ideas, and feelings without fear of rejection.  Hearing the stories of others with similar difficulties and how they overcame them, gives the struggling addict great encouragement to go on in a life of sobriety.

Read more

Depression and the Recovery Process

The unrelenting sadness and hopelessness that characterized my experience with depression is something I will never forget.  In the grips of depression I often felt paralyzed, not possessing the strength to rise from bed or even to open my eyes in the morning. I felt completely alone, unable to make contact with anyone, not even Almighty God.  I lost interest in life and the things that make life special. I became reclusive and withdrawn, not wanting to be with friends  I alternated between insomnia and exhaustion. I couldn't concentrate. And always, I felt inexplicably sad. Nothing made me happy.  Most frightening of all, I made intricate preparations for my death. (1)
Read more

Helping the Homeless Who Suffer from Mental Illness - Part 1

Nearly one in four homeless individuals suffers from a severe mental disability(1).  People with various forms of mental illness frequent urban missions for temporary food and shelter. Some express a desire to participate in long-term rehabilitation and recovery programs.  The most common forms of mental illness among the homeless are schizophrenia and the affective disorders (bipolar and major depression).(2)  Because I have recently received so many enquiries regarding how to best minister to the mentally ill in a urban mission setting, we will dedicate the next few installments of this column to this subject.
Read more

Michael Liimatta's Spiritual Journey

I grew up in an alcoholic family. Both my father and my mother came from alcoholic homes, too. Because I grew up in such a very chaotic home, I was running the streets from an early age. My first drinking experience was when I was just twelve years old. I was "turned on" to pot at age fourteen, and went to jail twice for selling marijuana, hashish, and LSD, before I was eighteen years old.

Read more

Homelessness & Addiction Recovery: A Lasting Solution

2_men_drinking_under_a_streetlightEvery substance abuse counselor has probably at one time or another pointed to the "skid row bum" and said, "You don't have to be like him to be an addict or alcoholic! " While this type of person may represent only 5% of all addicts, Christians who are in recovery have a lot more in common with him than they may think!

Read more

Doesn’t the “medical model” help addicts avoid taking responsibility for their behavior?

The only people I’ve ever heard using the “disease concept” as an excuse are practicing alcoholics who have no real intention of changing.   I hear something totally different from Christian counselors and other professionals who subscribe to what is also called a “clinical approach” to treatment and recovery.  While recognizing the impact of factors like heredity and brain chemistry in the development of addiction, they know that real change happens only when addicts and alcoholics begin to take responsibility for their lives and truly “own” their own behaviors. 

Read more

How can our attempts to help a hurting person actually hurt them?

Lately, I have been thinking quite a bit about Paul’s admonition to the Galatians and how it relates to those of us who are reaching out to addicts and other people in need.

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”  (Gal. 6:1 NIV)

This passage and the verses that follow have some important principles to keep in mind as we seek to be people helpers and not “enablers”.

Read more

Women and Addiction – Part 2

In our previous installment, we introduced the July 2002 Caron Foundation report, “Women & Addiction: Gender Issues in Abuse and Treatment.”  In discussing the first part of this report, we paid particular attention to the some of the trends related to addiction among women and some of the reasons women become addicted.  Now we will turn to what the researchers have learned about women and addiction treatment and explore some of the challenges they face in getting help to overcome addiction.
 Read more

Women and Addiction – Part I

When most people think of the alcoholics and addicts served by rescue missions, they think of the “Skid Row bum” – a disheveled older alcoholic who has lived on the streets for years.  But, especially in recent years, the number of young female addicts who look to mission for help is on the rise.   According to Dr. Susan Merle Gordon of the Caron Foundation, “Addiction doesn’t have the face most Americans imagine when they think of an alcoholic or drug addict."

Read more

The Power of Making Amends

"If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering." (Matthew 5:23, 24)

The Power of Making Amends

Read more
Syndicate content