I have been doing some praying and analysis about starting an online business to help adults in recovery from addiction or in the criminal justice system with an online e-mentoring program.
Members/participants would be assigned a mentor based upon likes, dislikes, goals, and issues the member is currently facing. Members could attend live online presentations on resume and job skills, bible studies, recovery issues, cognitive behavioral skill building and have access to online clergy.
Mentors would spend about a half hour per month per member they're paired with on our network's live chat. They could also hop online and chat with any of the members as well. Mentors have the ability to make a small income for their time.
Since I don't have sponsorship, members would be expected to pay a fee each month for the services offered which also help offset costs of the website, maintenance, software..etc.
I'm just looking for what others' opinions are about something like this.If you want the website name, please contact me directly. The full site is anticipated to be up and running June 30, 2013. Thanks.
Sounds great if you can leave the religious nonsense out of it.
No, that they can't do. They see someone vulnerable and take advantage. That's how it works.
And that would mean yet another entry in the codex of Proof That Religion is Pure Evil.
How can you call anything EVIL if it helps a crack addict break away from any bondage such as that?
Using the drug isn't the bad part. It is the things that a person HAS to do in order to feed their need that destroys that person in side.
If you think it is evil to to help those less fortunate, then you might want to reexamine your belief system???
If not for the grace of god each and every one of us could be in a situation such as theirs.
Walk a mile in their shoes and then say that anyone that helps you are doing evil, no matter their motives,
Your idea has great potential, especially good, but some bad potential because of a liability factor and some other factors. You'd need to somehow "vet" your mentors and your clients both, in a way, and how would you be able to "vet" your clients to know that they're not fake? Some people are sneaky and sue-happy and would like nothing better than to not only denounce your intent but to destroy you personally simply because you're a Christian.
I agree with what Jerami said.
I believe that something intended for good and for the glory of God will be worth it in the long run. I can't imagine this being easy and free from attack by Leftist corners. But then, since when has doing good ever been easy?
But also psycheskinner has a point about payment. I think you need sponsors if you're gonna do this. Because if money changes hands, there's liability. Especially if that money comes from the "patient". And mentors would probably need to be paid, as you said, instead of being the ones who pay. So that leaves sponsors like churches maybe, or conservative groups, and/or individuals who are willing and able to help further your idea......and where to find those, I dunno.
One positive factor that struck me is this--------online counseling would avoid a lot of the danger of temptation that addicted individuals have when in a literal group setting-------I mean, even AA and NA have personal mentors ("sponsors"), but if a sponsor falls off the wagon he/she may take their protegee with them and there goes the blind leading the blind. And I've talked with drug addicts before, and they're often discouraged because in those type settings (just like in jail!) they still pretty much have free access to drugs, alcohol, etc., whatever their addiction is; a guy told me that's why he doesn't go to those meetings, because the temptation is just as great or greater (at least for him) and he's around people who are always talking about the addiction. So, maybe online counseling would give the client more freedom to help themselves by allowing them to withdraw from the intensity of the peer pressure at times.
And "anonymous" mentoring is sometimes the best, since people don't always feel free to tell their Pastor or to confide in a family member, etc. Plus, just because someone's a Church leader or has a title doesn't mean they're any better equipped to counsel someone than others are!
I dunno. Just my thoughts. Wanted to encourage you to continue to pray about it and consider it in the light of intent and your own ability to deal with all the problems that are bound to occur. I believe if God is on one's side, who can be against him? I also believe we should look before we leap. But don't let anything keep you from making the leap if you're sure it's the direction God wants you to go in..........
It can work, but have to say Christian is okay, but in my experience as a human service worker, in my area offline there seems to be a failure rate and people fall through the cracks, because they are forced to participate in services daily they don't necessarily want to participate in, and drop out because of the religion aspect. Rules and regulations, they are more rebellious. You have to keep in mind though too, those who want to participate have to want to help themselves. Those are the ones that would evidently come your way for help online. It is needed online, and you can help people more online, they don't have their guard up, and can be themselves. Fortunately from my experience online helping people you really need to have mentor's that are qualified, no there resources, no how to counsel, and give correct guidance. Which would mean, they would have to be very knowledgeable in mental health, spiritual counseling, life coaching, mentoring training themselves. Plenty of people do seek out help on the internet, and I can tell you there are millions and you can make money off of it, the problem is people have to do what you advise them. They also have to be able to trust you. You have to have ethics, confidentiality, there are a wide area of dynamics, but not necessarily a counseling or psyhology area. More of a safe place, motivational site where they are not being judged or falling on their path. You have a good idea, you'd just have to have a good team of mentors and work together to create something that would work. Rating system for clients to let others know whether they are being helped by the mentor, and can leave feedback, or scoring. They can pay mentors through pay pal. The can link right to the mentor for so many minutes and can cut off when they want too. Giving them choices of course to be there or not be there. Usually people with experience can help others, but you have to really be choosing mentors that have overcome their obstacles, their hang ups, and are successful today in those areas you're talking about. People don't want to be preached too, but someone who will listen to them, up lift them, and give them wisdom, direction, and inspire them to get through the hurdles in life. Well if you ever get one up, let me know I can probably help in that area.
On the spiritual aspect of it, you have to leave that an open door to what they believe and follow, and not oppose your own beliefs on them. Such as why in 12 step programs they say higher source. When they are aloud to choose their own path and recovery they are more succesful to overcome. It's through your compassion, example, and non-judgment you help them the most. This is has just been my experience counseling online, and in my training with spiritual and human service work. If you mainly want a Christian atmosphere they work for those that want to choose that way of course. Just depends on if that is the only part of the population you want to help.
I am not a believer so of course it wouldn't be something I would seek out if I had a problem. However plenty of people who believe in God would probably welcome something like that. In my opinion if religion helps someone get out of a dark place then great.
That only trades one vice for another and doesn't actually solve any problems.
It solves the drug problem. I don't know about you but I'd rather a loved one believe in God than be a strung out crack head.
I think many 12 step programs have helped people get off drugs, because it gives them a purpose driven life, and higher power gives them faith, hope, and strength to overcome their addiction. While I'm not fond of the homeless shelters shoving services down peoples throats and forcing people to attend, I can see when they are given the choice to choose their own path, even of atheist they are still helped in some way understanding their weaknesses and making them into strengths. Some Christian programs do fine, while others go over board. Good Samaritan Ministries helped many people, and turned into love inc. Fortunately they don't force christianity on people, but they are given the choice. They are still helped.
As others have said, this appears to be primarily a method of proselytizing a particular religious belief - Christianity - onto others that have such a need for something else that they would put up with it.
I'm sure you can find plenty of Christians whose conscience (if present at all) would allow them to prey on those with a real need for help with addiction. As such it is probably workable.
I have seen this too in my home town Wilderness, even bringing people over from budapest. They are told the only way they will get help with their children, even if it is medical, and surgery, they have to conform to Christian beliefs, and attend Christian programs. In this case I seen it in action, and while I applause the help that was given helping this child for free, it felt harmful to me that they believed something else, and forced to believe something they probably don't just to survive in America now with housing, clothing, food, medical etc. It was freedom for their families, but at the same time not so sure, they will or will not follow along with Christianity after awhile. While these are good people helping them in my community, they don't believe they are doing any harm spiritually. I can not say whether it is or not, but the people would have to speak for themselves whether they agree this helps them to become christian and leave their old ways.
Who do you expect to pay the fee, the poor guy recovering from drug addiction? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If it is a religious act of charity, it should be free. If it is not free, it should be provided by qualified counselors or actual ministers of some kind. Otherwise it smells a little like potential exploitation of vulnerable people to me.
According to the OP, it's a business and mentor Christians can earn money by "helping" addicts, cons and ex-cons. Such "mentors" will have access to clergy to help them out when they find themselves in over their head.
Addicts will be expected to not only pay to learn about god, but also pay to support the website. As the primary qualification to be a mentor is to be a Christian I don't see much real help with their problem being given.
I don't think it is intended to be a religious act of charity at all - just another money making scheme targeting those that can't afford real help.
That reinforces my feeling that the idea is dodgy.
Christian mentors should be acting out of Christian charity.
Paid counselors should be qualified and insured.
And if a person is in need, how is a half hour Skype per *month* going to help them?
Well I certainly wouldn't pay an unknown typist on the web for psychological or physical help...
People get emotional, spiritual support already over skype, social networks, and there are people out there helping others. I have been one of them and don't get paid for it. Fortunately the groups of people I know, some get paid, some don't. I don't charge for one reason. Because the liability, and of course being sued, if something goes wrong. You also have to be careful what you're saying, and what advice you're giving. You also have to know what you're doing, ethical responsibility, and not something to trudge into lightly. There are plenty of scammers out there, and fortunately they get away with it, and as long as they know how to get around it, they can easily do it.
Interesting comments. The business model supports recovery, not those active in their addiction. I've worked in mentoring programs and addictions my whole career so I know the difference and I know why many turn back to their addiction.
As for the Christian part- everyone has their opinion. If someone is in recovery and chooses God as their higher power, why would anyone discourage that?
The money part is an issue. I have no other way to cover costs. I'm not hiring professional counselors or therapists because this is not a counseling website. I do hope to recruit some of those professionals that can and are able to give of their time to help out.
You're right - everyone has their opinion as to the validity of Christianity, and no one should discourage choosing God as their higher power.
On the other hand, everyone has heard of Christianity and God - why is it necessary to harangue a recovering addict about if they've already heard? Why must it be a part of the recovery advice?
Similarly, why would the program be limited to Christian advisers if not to push the God idea to a captive audience?
Because it does not address the problems of addiction and only serves to mask them temporarily.
Don't you think everyone wants to recruit professionals for free?
At the end of the day, nobody is going to pay for a monthly online chat with a random person. And those who would probably have bigger problems than their recovery.
I think it would be more helpful to advise them to go to their local church, 12 step or whatever.
Wilderness- That's the model I've chosen. Why can't it be part of the recovery advice? There are solid principles that help people through biblical teachings. If there are principles and ideas that can help people (through my own experiences and experiences of others I know), then what difference does it make?
psycheskinner- Thank you for your comment. That's why I wanted to post on here first before I even attempt to start this. It's been an idea I've been toying with and so now it's at the point where I take it to the public to see what kind of response I receive.
Your site, your model - you can design it any way you want to and I fully support that you have that choice.
What I don't think you really want is an answer as to what difference it makes - at best you want confirmation that the chosen model is a good thing and that you shall not get from me.
You would need to list those "solid principles through biblical teachings" here in order for anyone to make an assessment. It is baffling to understand how scriptures are linked to drug addiction??
A friend of mind went through a similar program. In the end she is still using Oxycontin...but she is now a devout Christian. Pretty useless in this case. I liked her better when she was just addicted to Oxycontin, because now she suffers from both drug and religious addiction.
If they want to use a 12 step process, and want to use God as their higher power, they can do so for free with an online group that will offer a lot more than 30 minutes of chat a month with their sponsor.
It seems people want to focus solely on the Christian aspect of this business rather than the concept of running an e-mentoring program solely online.
There are secular ways to support recovery such Motivational Interviewing (Miller, Rollnick, Moyers)and utilizing the Stages of Change Model (Prochaska, DiClemente) and quite possibly using a Rogerian (Carl Rogers) style to help. These can be supported using a biblical model such as Galations 5:16-26, Ephesians 4: 1-3, Ephesians 5: 15-18, James 1:19-20. There are many,many more.
Again, people in recovery seeking positive pro-social, biblical support will be interested in our services, if I decide to pursue this.
getitrite- I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I hope she continues to seek help.
I would think that people seeking pro-social Biblical support would go to their local church.
It sounds like a good idea, except for the compensation part. I would think it should be a free service funded by donations from Christians. Those who voiced disdain because it would be Christian based clearly aren't aware of the good belief can do for those who are alone and lonely. I would think anything that does real good for another human would be seen as a good thing.
Outside of Christians that believe without knowing if it's true, I don't think you will find many people that would agree that a belief in Christ will help with drug addiction. Many of the associated facets, yes - things such as companionship, love, support etc. can be invaluable but can also be there without a belief in Christ.
Requiring those needing help to sit through sermons promoting a particular religious belief is not only unnecessary, then, but quite objectionable as well. I find it disgusting to think that otherwise good people offering their help to those that need it include a demand that they accept the mentor's religious beliefs in order to get that help.
The compensation end of it - if the OP and mentors want paid for the help rather than giving it altruistically that's up to them.
I would disagree. Simply because it is belief in Christ that makes people go above and beyond. It makes them do the right thing, when no one is watching. It makes them believe that their actions do matter.
It's funny that the word Christian makes you assume sermons would be involved. The most Christian people I know personally don't do sermons. Maybe because my definition of the word isn't colored by door knockers and the bizarre postings we are entertained with on Hub Pages. I have a niece who had a drug problem. So many attempts to help were futile. But when she checked into a Christian facility she finally turned the corner. She didn't turn wacko. She got better. I don't know if she believes in anything, or not. But I do know she isn't strung out anymore. Hasn't been for several years now. Thanks to however they got through to her.
I don't see anywhere in the OP that there would be virtual baptisms. We aren't talking about ancient religions where we are unclean and can't be communicated with because we don't have the same faith. Christians reach out many times in the name of Jesus to glorify his name by giving out of love. Without proclaiming why they do what they do. Primarily because it is written that actions done for no better reason than to be glorified by others means that is all the reward you will receive. You are doing good for the wrong reasons. The two negate each other.
But, as to the OP. I think the whole idea is an uphill battle. Why anyone would pay for the service is beyond me. Someone in need of encouragement and support in order to fight an addiction problemisn't going to get what they need from people demanding compensation. And, how does that work if they can't pay? "So sorry. I came to help out of brotherly love, but your last check bounced. I'll love you again when it clears the bank." I would think that a free service is the only way to maybe help a few.
Christians don't need payment? Churches certainly do, as evidenced by the collection plate and a demand for 10%...
Think the thing is most programs are run on grants and donations by others through the sector of Chrisitianity. Fortunately you then would need someone to do fundraising events to keep your organizations running even if it is a website, and you would have to have a 5013c i think it's called to verify you're a real business. Fortunately I have done some work free on the internet like this, because I believe in paying forward and good karma, all though at the same time, it is time consuming, and you are giving out a lot of good information, advice, and helping someone, where it's all good to help humanity, but at the same time you have to live and pay bills.
Not to mention you would have to be a good grant writer, to get the plan of exactly what you're doing, reciepts, papers, etc. There is a lot of work that goes into something like this, and be successful, and you have to have it all mapped out what kind of service you're giving, how it will help others, and the outcome. Depends on what route you want to take and how serious you are about being successful, or not.
If not sermons, some proselytizing element. Otherwise being Christian would not be an absolute requirement for mentors.
I believe that is a fair assumption. But, as in the real world, the person being addressed has the ability to roll their eyes and step away. I would think those with an aversion to Christianity would avoid the site in the first place.
I think the more avenues one has to seek help, the better their chance of finding help. If the holy roller brand of religion didn't do good for some it wouldn't exist. I don't think online proselytizing is a big conversion business anyway. Finding God on line sounds to me like looking for a needle in a haystack by recording reality shows about people with needles. You are fascinated with the topic of needles, but not enough to find one of your own.
I appreciate all of the feedback and I think I will look for other avenues to finance the site and program other than the membership fee. Perhaps some relevant ads. I'm hesitant to locate grants and private funding mainly because I currently work with government and private contracts in this field and the amount of restrictions can be cumbersome and don't necessarily benefit the clients.
A Troubled Man- A professional AODA Counselor is required for primary and secondary treatment. However, treatment is not ongoing. For most people primary treatment will last between 3-6 months with another 3-4 months of aftercare which can be secular or religious (either one can be effective, it's up to the patient). Again, my program will focus on those that have already been through treatment and are seeking support in their recovery process. The biggest reason why people relapse is a lack of positive, pro-social support and lack of employment. That's what the research shows (LaTessa et al). If you're going to speak out of pure emotion, then leave the logical business conversations to others.
Sorry, but there is nothing effective regarding "religious aftercare", it has absolutely nothing to do with the problems of addiction. You don't appear to understand that.
Once again, that is fine as long as you remove the religious nonsense because it is not required at all.
LOL. No need to get your nose of out joint just because others are pointing out the underlying motives of your program; ie. religious indoctrination.
hmm...trouble do you know in research studies they've proven that people that have some spiritual belief, and practice actually make better leaders, succeed more, and overcome obstacles more. lol I did a research paper on this, and fortunately it is a persons choice, but lots of addiction people failed at recovery before they actually reached for a higher power. I know you're an atheist, and all do respect, addiction and religion are two different things, but I can tell you it does help people heal, and recover in life. My philosophy is you can't treat a person just with the medical model, but both mind, spirit, and body all have to be treated. Again you can't neglect the mind ...cognitive behavior...health the biological illness, ailments...chemical...and spiritual...the soul searching for higher purpose and direction in life. Guess although I get your points, being on the other side of the fence...i can never imagine living life with out God. lol
You're free to back up your claims and refer us to those studies.
And, that's the research studies?
None of which have anything to do with religion. Of course, you would need to show us that spirits exist. lol
Souls have never been shown to exist, hence your entire premise is false.
But, you do. No gods have ever been shown to exist.
The first thing to realize about addiction is you are not treated and then in a separate recovery period. It is day by day for the rest if your life, and the time after release from hospital or residential treatment is the most high risk period of all.
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