Carlos Story of Hope

stories of hope Jan 12, 2018

My name is Carlos and I’m 24 years old. I had a very normal childhood and was brought up in church knowing God. I have an amazing family that has always been there for me, with two loving parents and three awesome little brothers. I excelled in school and sports, but even though I had all these positive things in my life, I still wasn’t happy. There was still a hole in my heart that I couldn’t fill. Instead of turning to God for help, I turned to drugs for that easy, temporary fix to my anxiety. 

I started at a very young age and that went on through my teenage years and adult life. I’ve been to jail and prison multiple times repeating the same cycle over and over again. God had revealed Himself to me on multiple occasions throughout my mess but I simply chose to ignore Him. I thought I could do everything myself. The more drugs I sold, the deeper my addiction became. Money, drugs and girls wasn’t cutting it anymore. I started resenting life and...

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How to Encourage Your Loved One While in a Recovery Program

family resources Jan 11, 2018

Recovery programs are excellent.

Countless lives have been saved in them. Families have been restored through them. They truly are helpful centers of hope for addicts and for those who love them.

But they aren’t without their challenges.

When an addict is in a program, the family often wonders how to help.

They don’t see the addict every day. Communication isn’t always perfect. And sitting around waiting back at home while hoping for the best can be difficult.

But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. In fact, there are several ways families of addicts can help the person they love while in a recovery program.

Let’s look at 4 opportunities together.

Attend Support Meetings

It is not uncommon in recovery programs for family sessions to be held. These are done with the family, the addict, and the program staff. Some of them are even done as open group sessions.

Being present at these meetings communicates several things. One, it lets the addict know you...

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Kailah's Story of Hope

stories of hope Jan 08, 2018

My name is Kailah.  I’m 24 years old, born in Trenton, New Jersey but grew up in Virginia.  This is my story.  This life I have been given could be seen as many things.  Some people may even say unfair, tragic, broken, defeat, even hopeless.  That’s how I used to see it.  

Just a few words of what the world taught me to be defined as.  Words played to me by the events of my life to confirm to a broken heart that it was deemed worthless.  So this empty soul began her quest of validation.  Thanks to the powers of a praying Mother my heart was always seeking; a seed beneath the surface, just waiting for the cultivation of a hardened heart to break through.  

That point hit last year and due to a series of events my life changed the moment it ended.  The seeker inside of me knew something was missing so I needed to fill what spaces my past had left...

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Books We're Reading as a TC Leadership Team

leadership Jan 08, 2018

This was originally intended to highlight the next few books our Key Leaders we're going to be reading. But after having a few people come back to and share this article a few months later, I thought it would be neat to update the list and make this an ongoing article with the books we read as we add them. 

Since I am also super passionate about reading I will include a third list of books that I discover along the way. I am currently a member of Leader Box, a subscription-based service that sends 2 leadership books a month with a reading guide and allows access to a community of leaders to discuss the book with. Though the pace is fast and it's certainly not recommended for your casual reader.

We have a few levels of Leadership at Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge. The list will be broken down into which book the particular group of leaders is reading. I'll also create a third list that I'll add my personal selections to as I come across them

Books for Our Key...

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Nick's Story of Hope

stories of hope Jan 06, 2018

My name is Nick and I am from Winchester, VA. This is actually my second time going through this program. I graduated in November of 2015 and I thought I had it all figured out. Once I graduated, I basically told God, “Thanks for your help, but I’ll take it from here.” 

I quickly ended up reincarcerated for violating my probation and for some new charges. I used this time to re-establish my relationship with God and told myself that I would do what I needed to do to stay sober and be there for my daughter.

I did really well for a while. I had a great job, and I was involved in a church and attending meetings. I had built a good foundation. But the more I worked and the more money I made, I started putting God and my recovery on the back burner.

This February, my father got sick and was hospitalized due to an infection in his knee that had spread. On Valentine’s day morning we received a call that he had gone into cardiac arrest and was put on life...

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3 Ways to Cope with Seasonal Depression

family resources Dec 12, 2017

Many people enjoy the holidays.

But at the same time, many others do not.

The same season that brings joy, gifts, and fun times for some is the same that brings painful memories, loneliness, and emptiness for others.

Is it possible that you find yourself relating more with those who struggle through the holidays that with those who enjoy them?

If so, you’re not alone.

The key is to learn how to cope with seasonal depression and to rise as high above it as possible.

The good news is that there are 3 ways to do exactly that.

Keep Doing What You’ve Always Done

Just because the season has changed doesn’t mean you have to as well. The key is to keep doing in the valley what you planned while on the mountain.

Take, for example, the man in the Bible known as Daniel.

He prayed three times a day, always.

Then, the king issued a decree stating that anyone who prayed to any god other than the king would be thrown into a den full of hungry lions.

But watch what Daniel does.


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Lindsey's Story of Hope

stories of hope Dec 09, 2017

My name is Lindsey.  I’m 22 years old from Waynesboro, VA.  I’ve been struggling with substance abuse since I was around 15 years old.  It started out small, like drinking occasionally and smoking weed, but then I started experimenting with pills when I was around 16.  Even then it was occasional and nobody knew or even suspected that I had a drug problem.  I started going to a lot of parties and drinking almost every weekend as time went on.  Then, at the beginning of my senior year in high school, I entered into a relationship that quickly turned from bad to worse.  A few months into our relationship I was introduced to IV drug use and that’s when things got really bad.  I was missing school so much that it’s a miracle I even graduated.  It was getting to the point where I was using every single day and stealing from my own family in order to maintain my habit.  

Finally, in November of 2013 I was caught by...

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How to Get Through the Holidays Without the One You Love

family resources Dec 09, 2017

Holidays are a great time, right?

Lights, trees, presents, and smiles.

Friends and families gather for warm hot cocoa and fun times around the fireplaces.

But what about for those of us who have lost someone?

It could be that a family member or close friend recently passed away. Or perhaps the person is away. This could be for work or the even more difficult scenarios such as prison or rehab. It’s even possible to have someone physically present but mentally or emotionally distant because of an addiction or other problematic situation.

The reasons why some of us are forced to face the holidays without the one we love vary.

The good news is that the methods for dealing with this dilemma are the same. They involve overcoming the same set of lies those of us who find ourselves in this position often believe.

Thinking that these 4 lies are true is where the battle really lies. Overcoming them and believing what is actually true is how we gain the victory.

Let’s look at each...

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Amos Story of Hope

stories of hope Dec 07, 2017

My name is Amos and I am a 37 year old “addict” working towards a better life through the Lord Jesus Christ. I am always hoping and praying for that better future, but I seem to catch myself being stuck in the darkness a lot. Wondering when this never-ending nightmare will be over – will I ever move forward? This never-ending battle of addiction.

I’ve come to focus on the things that I can change. Ephesians 5:8 says, “For once you were full of darkness, but now have light from the Lord.” I’ve learned to live as a person of light. The more I live in God’s light the less I will want to be influenced by the darkness of the world around me. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

In Proverbs, we are told that wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you and...

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Do Not Attempt This at Home

family resources Oct 26, 2017

“Do Not Attempt This at Home”

Guest Post Written by my Father, Pastor John Franich, Founder of SVTC.

This is a disclosure we often see on TV or newspaper ads when someone is offering medical help or advice on how to solve a problem or repair something.  It’s also good advice if we have a family member going through an addiction.  Except for this advice, who we all agree is good for others, think it doesn’t apply to us.

I had this very same experience several years ago in the early years of the beginning of Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge.  While trying to build a ministry to help others with life-controlling problems, there was one developing right under my own roof.  But of course, with a college degree, I had all the answers. But it is very different when the problem is that close to home.  All the education and expertise you think you have when it’s your own doesn’t matter. Even if you have a reasonable IQ your EQ may...

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