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Addiction & the Faith Community

Oxford Treatment Center
2017 Community Workshop Series
Fourth Quarter: Addiction & the Faith Community

Oxford Outpatient Center
Thursday, Nov. 2, 6-7:30 p.m.
Contact: Mark Russell, 662.679.0639

Tupelo Outpatient Office
Tuesday, Nov. 7, 6-7:30 p.m.
Contact: Mark Russell, 662.679.0639

Getwell Church-Southaven
Thursday, Nov. 16, 6-7:30 p.m.
Contact: Angela Quadrani, 901.484.1929

All workshops are free and open to the public

How can churches best show love to people addicted to drugs or alcohol? How can they support those in recovery?

The role of the faith community in providing care to people in addiction and their families will be explored in November, as Oxford Treatment Center presents the final installment of its 2017 Community Workshop Series.

Panel conversations are set for Nov. 2 in Oxford, Nov. 7 in Tupelo, and Nov. 16 in Southaven. All events are free and open to the public, with refreshments provided.

Previous workshops have focused on Addiction & Families, Addiction & Young Adults and The Cycle of Addiction. For the fourth quarter, the topic grew out of conversations between Oxford Treatment Center’s outreach team and area pastors.

“Particularly here in the South, churches are on the front lines of the struggle against addiction,” said Brian Whisenant, community relations representative for Oxford Treatment Center.

“When families are worried about a loved one’s drug or alcohol problem, their pastor is often the first person they confide in,” he said.

“We want to hear about the challenges that churches face in helping people overcome addiction. We also want to offer our resources and support in any way we can.”


Larry Willis, close up of man in blue checkered shirt

Clinical Outpatient Therapist Larry Wills, LPC, M.Div.

Leading the panel conversation in all three locations is Larry Wills, LPC, M.Div.

A clinical therapist at Oxford Treatment Center, Wills works with clients in early recovery through the center’s Resolutions Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in Oxford.

Wills is also an ordained Southern Baptist minister and a former hospital chaplain. He said believers shouldn’t assume that faith can “fix” addiction, a disease that affects the body and the brain. Still, he said, the spiritual component of 12-step recovery programs can complement a person’s journey of returning to or growing in faith.

“Nobody is immune to poor choices,” he said. “You may have grown up being a very religious child and gone with your parents to Sunday School every week — and still wind up getting addicted to a substance because you made some poor choices somewhere along the line.”

Wills said that across the country, churches often support recovery and provide meeting space for 12-step groups.

“Most clergy understand that addiction is not about a moral failing or a lack of faith,” he said.

“It is a disease that hijacks the brain and causes people to act in direct conflict to their own values. Part of recovery is reclaiming those values, and building skills that give you the ability to live by them.”


Each panel also includes a local pastor and a clinical therapist at Oxford Treatment Center’s local outpatient location.

The panelists are, in Oxford, Pat Ward, pastor of The Orchard, and Deja Washington, MSW; in Tupelo, Colby Cuevas, pastor of Thrive, and Anna Warren, NCC; and in DeSoto County, Bob Ginn, ministry leader of Celebrate Recovery at Getwell Church, and Michael McCallum, MS. Daniel Farmer, an academic advisor at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, will represent the 12-step recovery community on each panel.

The Oxford and Tupelo panels will each be held at Oxford Treatment Center’s local outpatient office. In DeSoto County, where the center has an outpatient office in Olive Branch, the panel will be hosted by Getwell Church in Southaven.

For more information, contact Whisenant at (662) 701-9653 or

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About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Oxford Treatment Center is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed... Read More