Celebrate Recovery brings hope to local opioid addicts - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Celebrate Recovery brings hope to local opioid addicts

Recovering opioid addict Asa Rowan Recovering opioid addict Asa Rowan

On the outside, Asa Rowan has it all: he has a beautiful family, a home and a job.

On the inside, however, Asa battles a demon: an addiction to opioid pills. It is that demon that almost took everything away from him, just a few years ago.

"I started getting them legally," Rowan said. "I had back problems."

Asa's doctor started prescribing him large amounts of pain killers to alleviate the pain.

"I continued taking more and more until I was taking it more than just for pain," Rowan said.

That is when Asa's relationship with pain medication quickly spiraled out of control.

"My doctor cut me off and when that happened, I stared buying them illegally," Rowan said.

Asa began buying from whoever and whenever he could, asking strangers and even stealing from his own family. At one point, Asa was spending about $200 dollars a day on pills, taking about 40 to 50 pills just to function.

He says he was trapped.

"At first you start taking them to get high, but then you start taking them to feel normal," Rowan said.

It was a numb existence that nearly cost him his life.

"I woke up with my brother over me doing CPR on me and giving me an IV," Rowan said.

Asa hit rock bottom. His wife said he needed to get help. Asa spent a few years in and out of detox and rehab trying to find a solution to his problem.

That's when Asa turned to church. But it wasn't a typical Sunday sermon. He was there for Celebrate Recovery.

John Brennan head's the Celebrate Recovery Program at Heartland Community Church in Rockford. He has seen first hand how opioids and addiction can tear a family apart, including his own.

"I hope I've done my last funeral for opioid addiction," Brennan said.

Brennan turned to the bible. That's where he says he found hope and healing. That inspired him to start the program in Rockford.

"We'll get people come in that are drunk or high and we sit with them and make sure they know they are at the right place," Brennan said.

Brennan calls it a Christ-centered recovery program aiming to bring back hope, freedom, sobriety and healing one day at a time through a 12-step program.
Addicts meet in small focus groups and discuss the topic of the night, and also share their own struggles.

"We want to make sure there is hope in the process," Brennan said.

Hundreds like Asa come in on a weekly basis now.

"I can be 100 percent with what I am and what's wrong with me," Rowan said.

Asa says he's seen real change in himself.

"I'm coping with issues on the inside, not on the outside," Rowan said

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