Conrad Cooper, Laura Howe
Conrad Cooper 00:00
The concept is rarely, we believe spirit led and we believe it is of a vision that is been progressive and that has been evolutionary in his process that uses best practice international best practice, but not accepting that the norm or the processes that have been followed, that society has evolved with are okay. God is doing a new thing and he says, Can you hold it? Can you see it? Can you get to the point or seeing then we need to actually need to look at the category without looking at the the perspective or the evolution of the Minnesota model or the other programs that are out there. Let's see what God wants to do.
Laura Howe 01:02
From Hope Made Strong this is The Care Ministry Podcast, a show about equipping ministry leaders and transforming communities through care. supporting those in your church and community not only changes individuals lives, but it grows and strengthens the church. Well, we want to do that without burning out. So listen in as we learn about tools and resources and strategies that will equip your team and strengthen hope. I'm Laura Howe and I am so excited for the show today because we're going to be talking all about addictions, with Conrad Cooper of Project Exodus. Now growing up, I had no awareness of how prevalent addictions were I, I had this passion to help people I was always the go to person in my friend group and I was always bringing people home that I wanted to feed and help. And but I grew up in a small rural town in the middle of Southern Ontario, Canada. We are my family went to church regularly. I served in kids ministry as soon as I was old enough, went to youth group missions trips, but this passion grew just to help people but I had never experienced or had any clue what people needed. And so it led me to become a social worker and in my early years, I came face to face with the many stigmas and biases and let's be honest, just plain ignorance that I had around mental health and addictions. I was challenged with the language that I used and those around me use regularly when talking about addictions, I heard words and use words like people are needing to become clean, and and inferring that people are dirty or unclean or, or are filthy, calling people addicts or and really just seeing their behavior as the primary aspect of who they are rather than seeing their identity as anything else a child of God or, or what someone's gifted in or skilled in or anything. And this shame-based language and how we reject people or cast them as dirty or outsiders just reinforces the trauma that drew them to addictions in the first place. And no one knows this better than Conrad Cooper. He is now director of Project Exodus, an international organization based out of South Africa that offers innovative recovery strategies for individuals and training for churches. But Conrad has his own recovery journey. Raised in Johannesburg, Conrad went to boarding school. His father well, very successful. His work drew him all around the world, which resulted in him being absent for most of Conrad's life.
And while in boarding school, Colorado was first molested at the age of nine with repeated incidents for the next three to four years. At age 14, Conrad began drinking and smoking weed regularly. The multiple losses, traumas and challenges that he faced caused him to draw inward and just feel different than those around him. So alcohol and drugs became so much more attractive because they allowed him to feel more like himself a fun, outgoing, extroverted teen who wanted to be the life of the party. Conrad was a work-hard play hard kind of guy and as a young adult, his work ethic resulted in him becoming a very successful business owner and National Manager by his early 30s, but his appetite for high risk behaviors just continually grew. When Conrad played hard, it included a steadily increasing amount of cocaine, toxic relationships and partying. He soon found himself at the side of the road being passed by taxis and businessmen that were once his colleagues in his hunt for his next hit of crack cocaine.
Conrad Cooper 04:50
I remember you know, stealing money for my folks, him I was like, thirty-six, thirty-five and you know, going off to a place we used to use called Hillbard it was very much a drug-orientated environment, and they were big taxis driving pass and trying to catch a taxi and really driving past passengers, you know in a sports car, looking at me and shaking his head. I was deeply filled with shame. I was taken to a treatment center here in South Africa, my sister and I were using, we had been using together for many, many years and she helped me by taking me in there. I was destined for a caveat of the 12 step, I pretty much call it a 12 step progam and in spite of myself I relapsed on day three, I jumped over the wall, went and bought crack, and then came back to the rehab and jump back into the rehab and use inside and, and got caught. I ended up on the streets. They kicked out and for that night, I mean, understandably, they asked you to leave, they asked me to leave, I was desperate for money, I tried to sell myself and everything else that I could at that point and ended up sleeping on the pavement outside the rehab convinced that I'll be able to talk my way in the next morning but I couldn't and those few days were really difficult. Eventually I got back really determined and you know, to make this work I wanted I'd made a decision I wanted to ask and 10 days later, somebody that I knew had jumped and had to come in and brought crack into the rehab and I used and got caught and got expelled for two weeks and just got really really bad.Went back into treatment of those two weeks and I didn't understand rehabilitation or the process around it. You know why we should be crying during this day for group or, you know, I really battled with with environments. I committed to it, I mean, I pushed hard my sisters was also out there still using so I wasn't allowed in visitors, the lady I'd been with, was also out there using so there was no visits permitted. As I threw myself into the into the recovery work, I really wanted it and other 17 or 18 guys there I was told I was most likely to catch in recovery I was I was going to be the guy that made it. And I'll never forget the day before, two or three days before, I was shared my divorce papers from the lady that I was with in rehab. I was told by the counselor that the chances of me relapsing at that point we're really high, not because I didn't want it but because I was too resourceful within myself to be able to do it. And I did I relapsed an hour and a half after coming out.I got shot a day later, two days and the cut run through my lungs, my chest and very nearly died. And God start intervening. I saw God in the rehabilitation center. I mean, I got into the Word .there. Was it a Christian? Wearing Where did that come from? He's a Christian, retired Christian, retired Catholic priest called Jeremy and I started racing God with him again. And then of course, I got into Proverbs about you know, the woman and everything else. That's what happens to me. That's the process. Still not understanding blaming and defecting and avoiding my own personal truth in a situation or even thinking about like, what happened to my youth or so? Yeah, I mean, it changed. I didn't, you know, I didn't understand. So I came out used and then and then I got bad and then then I got really, really bad. And it was like all sorts of ways of getting money. I got really into it. After that timeframe. My daughter came to visit me in hospital, and I came out of intensive care all the way from Durban and I had when I removed the drain from my lung, I had organised a taxi to take me to go to school and she came to visit me at hospital and I wasn't there and got back and I used in hospital got kicked out. It got really bad for the next couple of years. Yeah, there are a lot of other people that are involved in the story that perhaps I don't really want to implicate or talk about too much. But ya, I eventually checked into a Christian rehabilitation center of my own accord and there's a really hardcore military kind of bootcamp here in South Africa I use those words to describe a rehab and so everybody knows which one I'm talking about. It was quite abusive environment very full of dogma and without grace, just prior to going to the rehabilitation center, I woke up on the 2nd of January 2000 and I was in a crack house in a rather bad area in Johannesburg. And I turn on the TV and chat by name of Ray McCauley, which was the founder of a very big church in SouthAfrica was preaching and God sort of like reached to save me I think. And I showered, I got dressed, I went downstairs, I put my hand out and a car stopped and they asked me where are you going. I said I am going to church. And they took me around the way , also gave me money. Ah, so said, Thanks, guys. I'll just jump off here. And before I could turn around to go back towards Hillbard and another vehicle stops, and says, Okay, you're lost where you go instead? Well, going to church, I think. Cool. We're going to right, we're going to Ray Mc, why don't you come with us?
Laura Howe 11:20
Okay. You're about to head back.
Conrad Cooper 11:24
Yeah. So I went to Ray Mc.and I gave my life to God that morning. And things started to change. I walked outside, you know, after that service, I mean, they were like, maybe 80 people, 90 people gave their life to God, it's a big church. I went along with the flow and went outside, lit up a cigarette, and somebody came up and said, young man was quite young then 37 and said to me, like, you can't smoke this hallowed ground. And I was like, wow, okay, well, I'm out of here. I'm going to Hillbard and the next 18 days was like, I just got shut down. away, I turned me into this point, and then resulted on the 20th of January 2000, getting into this treatment facility. And that's my sobriety date is the 20th of January 2000. So God willing, and in month and a half I will be twenty three years in recovery.
Wow!! That's impressive. Yeah. So
Conrad Cooper 12:29
That's where the turnaround sort of coming and went to the treatment center. had a run in with the boss. It is a notorious treatment facility checked out and RHTed and I'd met God.
So I've met God, I mean, I really liked ahuh okay, where have you been. although I am sure he was saying the same cause he had his hand over me the whole time and the prayers of a devout mother. And, yeah, that's when I left there,and he put a picture of a rehabilitation center in my head, physically in terms of like, the boldings and the layout and those kinds of things. And a year later, on the 13th of February 2001, opened South Coast Recovery Center, on 15,000, rands or $1,000, I guess, borrowed rental property, and was determined that the methodology that I had seen a pilot at the Minnesota cannon base not to try any process, because everybody has a series of journeys that go into play. And that was part of those thoughts of mine. But they seem to be God was critical, you know, to be able to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. You know, he was, you know, like, there were critical scriptures that I took to heart you know, in my weaknesses, strength is perfected therefore in that strength is perfected and I can have the mental authority of the creator over me.
Laura Howe 14:18
And that was one year? That was one year after?
Conrad Cooper 14:24
Yeah, besides any kind of,yeah
Laura Howe 14:28
Wow. Because you were pretty thick into it for me and the last five years were intense, dark and, and really, really tiny. And then, and then one year after salvation and sobriety, you were already dreaming about what ministry or what opportunity you could offer. That's incredible. That's cool. That's like a movie thing.
Conrad Cooper 15:01
So that's started the center you know? And I thought, Okay, well, business-wise, I can put it together the hire like a counselor,I mean how hard can it be to raise?
Laura Howe 15:17
I'm sure you're gonna learn, you learned. Yeah.
Conrad Cooper 15:19
You know, the first counselor employed, you know, turned out to be a Muslim guy. Yeah, that didn't go well and didn't work off. And over the next few years, I think things changed. So so we started, we got a bigger property, we ended up with 23 acres and about 4000 feet under roof a separate ladies residence, a separate guys residents as it regards residents transitional house or halfway house for medical facility, psychologists, 75 primary care beds, 18, warehouse beds, support groups in different parts of the country. And we wrote about 13, 14 different kinds of programs along the way. Trying to find specialist disorder processes we had to train us in the winter, from Minnesota, Oh, my gosh, I forgotten. I'll get back to another one. Oh, I forgot. I'll get it. That one came in from the States came over and spent the weeks with us training and venue staff and encouraged to apply to colleges applied psychology training, we did a whole lot of training with the team. And we're working with special program on crack cocaine and crystal meth, and opiates and kind of creates all of these separate programs. As long as you believe in a 12-step program. Absolutely. I have no doubt in the program. But it's part of a toolbox. It's not that tool. Yeah,
Laura Howe 16:54
I like that it's part of a toolbox. Like it's one offering that if if it's the right fit, it will work great. But it's not, it might not work right for everyone.
Conrad Cooper 17:05
Sure, sure. So it's such a really awesome roadmap you know, to opening doors and getting people don't miss them both are great. And you need a really getting uncovering of the process around it. But there are living steps, and step one, is not going to break anybody's interest in reality, or stop somebody from using so you know that there's a high degree of functionality that was utilized as a tool and work that we found to work within that in that kind of space. But more important than that was inability to have a depth of understanding on a spiritual process and equipping from a spiritual process. More important around that, or as they've been referenced, or taught here, but as important was the community and building into community, and understanding the intricacies of specific drugs of choice and the impact that they may have. And being able to keep it at a multidisciplinary level. And understanding, you know, the need of professionals, but likewise, understanding of the need of people who have walked walked the journey and have got good recovery. And when I say recovery, we're talking about abstinence, within that kind of space. A lot of people these days are talking about, you know, control usage and harm reduction. But we really find that ability to heal and to get better over an extended timeframe is critical. So yeah, the center had fifty on staff.
Laura Howe 18:47
I'm curious when you say the center because what we're what you're offering to churches was that birthed out of that center.
Conrad Cooper 18:56
In many ways, it was at the center, we were founded long term, minimum six months, often nine to nine months or longer. It was really an educational base. And that data became clear to me as God opened up Isaiah 4:6 says my people are dying from lack of knowledge and that's rehabilitation requires training at multiple levels. The spiritually, biblically, recovery tools, emotional intelligence, self worth, and the depth of understanding because many of the guys who have got blocks that are missing. So So we found that you are measuring recovery over a two year period, and of the guys that competed fumitory had like a 78% just standard sustained recovery, It was really was an incredible process.
Laura Howe 19:45
78% people, for people who are listening, that is unheard of. Yeah, yeah. Really?
Conrad Cooper 19:53
Yeah. I mean, we really sat in awe of God. I mean, we had baptisms coming out of it. I mean, we had baptisms. But bear in mind, this is a ministry-based process, right Christian rehabilitation center that comply fully with legislation. So in the intersection, I got to serve by God's grace. Yeah. Incredible that, even like I was five years in recovery, and served on the advisory boards, the Minister of Social Development, and the Executive Committee as chairperson of the communication portfolio. And we had handled the National Drug master plan and changing this African legislation of the new Act. And for about six years. I was party to that until I got a little bit too. I needed to focus on what you're doing in terms of developing. And then about 2014 2015, probably, God sort of speaking to me in terms of what's next, you know, and it wasn't about one
Laura Howe 20:59
This is just one center. What's next? Yeah.
Conrad Cooper 21:03
And it wasn't about scaling. Okay, it was about running multiple centers. It was actually, we still don't really reach the minimum percentage. It's a how do we take what we know to work which already was a hold? Keeping the bolts, right? You know, there's, there's absolute, I mean, it's empirical. It's Biblical. We have to advance in our, in our sanctification in working out our salvation, but intensification working out our salvation, and working out those kinds of processes, we do need to become more that into that kind of space. And it became like, how do we actually get the word out to the one that recovery is possible? It's achievable. But more than that, it's a right. It's our inheritance. It's our claim, and it is our right. So how do we actually get out of the system to people to get to what once a Con Edison percent of people who need people and are unable to access that on an international level? I mean, that's what world report stats. So how do we do this, because I wasn't satisfied with the burials and with all the stuff that happened, and I thought the center is the result. And we took all the proceeds from that, and we poured it into developing projects in this, okay.
Laura Howe 22:30
So this is what I'm really excited about, because Project Exodus is, I want to hear more about it, and we're gonna go into it. But I just want to pause for a minute and look and reflect or sailor over what, where God has brought this from a life that was transformed for you personally. And then the favor and the developing of the of the of the, of the center of the recovery center. And this Project Exodus isn't about, oh, the next fad or the next thing, this is coming from years and decades of learning, and development and seeing God's hand in the direction and, you know, learning and proof of concept and all of these things. And it's really exciting, it's really exciting to see that this is coming from God's hand on an individual's life, then birthing this community in the center, and then seeing Okay, where now where how can we make a difference, decrease barriers take down, reach the people where they're at, and transform lives. And the cool thing is, is the partnership between the science of recovery, the learning, and then the spiritual well being in the spiritual health and like you said, that we are children of God in that story, not only is possible, but is achievable. Like it's, it's, it's, it's our right, interesting, I love that. Yeah, I love that. So tell us more about Project Exodus.
Conrad Cooper 24:07
Great. So Project X, which is where it started. And we lovingly refer to it as Pix and we say the guys have been pixified.It's the concept is, is really, we believe Spirit lead. And we believe it is of a vision that is then progressive. And that has been evolutionary in its process that uses best practice international best practice, but not accepting that the norm or the processes that have been followed and that society is involved with are okay. God is doing a new thing. And he says, Can you behold it? Can you see it? Can you get to the point of seeing, then we need to actually need to look at the pedigree without looking into the perspective of the evolution of the Minnesota model or other programs. Let's see what God wants to do. What is their purpose, we have a deep understanding in our team and a deep level of recovery and a deep level of God and deep desire to change community. And we know, obviously, we will need different cultures, languages not that I can speak one of them really, because I battle sincerely with languages, but we feel the language of recovery transcends most of those. But if we look at recovery, often, the treatment plan that gets involved is a directional process finishing up with a kind of a reactivation, rehab plan. And that being one of the fundamental objectives and making sure that all the boxes are, are ticked with an approach process. And we know that some people can't get into treatment. Internationally, they're not able to access it because of the costs or work circumstances, personal circumstances, look at demographics, or geographics. How do we understand that without vision, nothing can really work. Without purpose how can we really expect to the guys to keep in recovery? And if that is a principle then surely, we should start off that engagement process in terms of a life recovery plan? How do we talk about in life and this is one of the critical areas. So one of the challenges we face in running the same center was that when we used to send people out with the most amazing, you know, kind of your orientated, reintervention plans with all the whistles and figures of warning signs and such and such and if that happens, consequences, etcetera, etcetera. That's number one, and created a situation that is easy to break a recovery plan, every guest prevention plan. And if that happens, we've already created a trend.
Laura Howe 27:33
You're seeing that as much of the tools and the resources and the tricks and the tips, all those things that you can send people out, once they got out, the environment in which they were in, made it easy to break all of those things that they learned.
Conrad Cooper 27:52
Correct. So it's not unfinished,
Laura Howe 27:56
Despiet being in recovery, like in the center for nine months,
Conrad Cooper 28:03
Correct. So, you know, we found that it worked. And if we put like a rigorous structure around us, in terms of like, an old school kind of recovery group, and accountability, and everything else worked until you took your hands off. So wasn't sustainable. Yeah, that became the question. So surely, we should start off by saying, okay, great to hear. What is it that you see? What are you being led to believe in terms of a vision, and that vision for some people who maybe I want to stop, I want to reduce heroin from six times a day to two times a day, or I want to come to the recovery group, or I want to bring my usage, it's not prescriptive is not a, what your three-month goal, your six-month goal, your nine-month goal, or what do you want to become? It's actually how to understand that there's more to life, there's a path out. And as a person, if I can create something that's inside, I have something that I can pull toward. And we know Biblically that to hold ground, we need to make declaration, we understand that there's a declarative process, it needs to, one needs to stop and speak into it and make that declaration. And that's the second quarter life recovery plan. So it's about bringing the people in, in a way that we can change the visit and change the view and start developing hope and belief. And then evolves into our life recovery plan. And that's been sort of talking about, you know, structures around yourself, how do you put yourself at accountability? And then how do you get into the program structure? And that life recovery plan? We have guys now who use it as a tool in their day to day lives of actually what is my life recovery plan? If I'm coming through a divorce, do I have vision can I see that a separation,I don't want to it to end and divorce, right, all I need to do, right? What does that process look like? Am I going to structure their plan, so they become intrinsically owners of their own process.
Laura Howe 30:12
So is that step two, or is that after step one, when they receive vision, they start building this plan.
Conrad Cooper 30:17
So we've changed the language from step one or step two. So there's no confusion
Laura Howe 30:22
right now, step one, but you said there's three things,
Conrad Cooper 30:26
The initial assessment, and I'll send you a whole batch of stuff that you can search through just to make sure we get a depth which I won't be able to really explain thoroughly into the space here. But effectively what what life recovery plan does, it brought vision, in bold declarations over that vision of choices and decisions that I've made my life and my recovery of who I choose to have as accountability, I sponsor insufficient within that space, I'm needing to have somebody seeking spiritual growth, or meeting somebody to speak into my personal management and development or needing finances or needing those kinds of accountability structures around myself. How do I work strongly and effectively around triggers, how to understand those processes, or what's going to put you into dangerous situation right up front and build resilience and coping mechanisms and stuff around that. And then, of course, becomes the ability to create a treatment plan. There's all my own structure. So one of the challenges we face in treatment was when we, the guys left the center, and we try to refer them into a church, when they were received by the church, the church didn't know what to do with them, right? They had a reaffirmation plan that was not 50 points, 60 points long and divided up into sections. And they would hold this document and God did not know how to provide the necessary kind of support structures in church, we found that the guys in other kind of support structures didn't become part of the community of the church necessarily, that there was a distinct shift in between the normalization of what a culture recovery looks like, as opposed to a culture of addiction, or perceived culture of normality within the church. And that is all provided a series of scenarios, strong line around expectation of the guy should just rock out and done treatment and now be able to automatically socializing, socializing efforts in the community, or handle the community pressures or understand the social sciences of good manners or how to engage and therefore often felt that there was just and that that became one of the original origins of many guys, addiction, or acting out in terms of substance abuse.
Laura Howe 33:01
So right, so whenever you send someone out from the center, they would enter into a church, and not only would it not provide what they were looking for in community, but it actually would harm because it would be the shame-based language and the rejection and the triggers and all of the things that would that lead them to to addiction.
Conrad Cooper 33:26
A lot of churches and churches are greatly intention. And I know beautiful. I don't want to be critical know, any way. But they simply didn't know. They just didn't know.
Laura Howe 33:35
Yeah, many churches, you know, they don't know. Okay, how do I support someone with addiction? I don't want to enable them. I don't know. I don't know what language to use. I don't know. Do I provide this much support or that much support? Or what would be most people don't know. Yeah.
Conrad Cooper 33:55
I mean, this becomes a hot topic in terms of, you know, guys can be prayed for and set free and then the reunification that next day. You know, what got us to do those kinds of processes, and to be fair to the church. And I said, with the utmost respect, because the key to this is the church. That the key to this is the church, that we can't expect the church to be everything for everybody. And to be able to understand the intricacies of all the trauma or multiple traumas or complex post-traumatic stress or mental health issues of bipolar or depression necessarily. And why would we anticipate that somebody a parser, or an eldership would have a depth of understanding of the addiction process or comprehending addiction and comprehending the recovery journey? And obviously, getting to grips they're going to be great. There's so much more to it. So one of the points that we really are affirming this African National Drug master plan is an amazing piece of work. It's an amazing documents were drawn from government departments in those other government departments already, or duplicated or replicated or from a national perspective down to provincial down to local communities. But the reality is, governments generally are not able to roll that all out to that kind of level and is broken communication. And the only people that are really on the ground is the church.
Laura Howe 35:32
It is, it is, it is in the neighborhoods of where people are living is accessible. It is so many, it has so many opportunities for touch points for the community, unlike so many other organizations, whether it's the YMCA, or you know, whatever, the the church is such a unique vehicle to be able to connect with people.
Conrad Cooper 35:57
It is that vehicle. It's what God intended. In my mind. I agree. So we became about a clear cut understanding is how do we demystify addiction to the church? So first and foremost, before treatment programs before the beauty of of our storehouse, or the well that we have? How do we really get the church to start understanding that, to comprehend addiction, to pull the culture of recovery in the church with okay to come there and say, Hey, guys, listen, I'm battling with pornography. And actually, if I look at the stats, that's over 70% of the church. And it's that is addiction doesn't look like using fentanyl, or crystal meth or, yeah, it's a behavior disorder that comes with it. So therefore the congregation and if we say one in sixty five, wherever you put an active addiction, 65 people are negatively impacted. It is the church. Yes. So if we're going to talk about mental health and preach about mental health, we shouldn't be preaching, because actually, it's ever present in the church. And we send perhaps a danger that the churches are too broken, may well be a broken church. And it stands to reason that if we not preaching about mental health along the way, and of course, as a subject, not as an over writing arching process, if we not preaching about it, or fostering an understanding of fostering a culture of recovery, which allows people to be normal and normalized within the space of church, how are we going to remain current? Not about changing the word and making the word fit into the current situation. It's about changing us. Of how do we make it okay, guys, listen, I'm gonna recovery from pornography or sexual addiction, I have messed it up. How do I create an environment? It's okay to say that, as opposed to how are you doing today, brother? I'm good. I'm blessed. And blessed. Yes. Yeah, that's not minimizing the strength of that, of course, or anything else. But we have to be able to talk about we also guys, why do you come to grip? Oftentimes, you know, it's like a manifestation of God, we actually see the word authenticity coming in and the work being done in that area. I'll carry on for like another thirteen podcasts on that subject
Laura Howe 38:47
So let's, let's gear into let's let's focus in on Project Exodus. Because what you are doing, you are equipping churches to be the safe places you are providing training and resources and use essentially, right? If someone's like, Okay, I know, this is an area where our church, we don't know a lot. We know there's people in our community, we know there's people within our congregations are struggling, but we don't know how to support them. What does Project Exodus offer?
Conrad Cooper 39:18
Right? So we are able to equip the church with the ability to run recovery groups to teach into the community, and we have churches doing this, like literally take our material and preaching from that, obviously, marry it with and preaching from that, understanding that this is okay. It's okay not to be it's okay to be in a situation that we want you to be set free, but that is insufficient. It's about how do we equip you? And how do we bring you up into that space? And how do we make a ministry in the church for recovery?
Laura Howe 39:53
Is it a group curriculum, or is it more than that?
Conrad Cooper 39:57
There's so much more. So I'll try and really not overburden that process. But we believe that we've been called to provide a store, storehouse of recovery related resources to the church, so that the church can be equipped equipped to run their ministries and to look after their communities. And the and the people in the congregation. That looks like many different things. There's a base point of how we equip people to comprehend addiction, and comprehend the recovery journey, and to know that it's so much more than substance abuse or just pornography, and that pornography is one of the same behavior disorders, we understand that, that if we look at the iceberg, model, 10% is the substance or behavior that is apparent. And the 90% underneath is what's going to be dealt with just to have a specific pornography or loan group perhaps, develops an affiliation of an abusive environment, and that we have to just pep foot that we're not going to take a bunch of crack addicts necessarily a credit crack recovery group. We talked about recovery, we're talking about changing the belief system about restoring neurological pathways, we're talking about equipping and training that is best done in with the church rolling out recovery group structure, both for families, and for the individuals that are suffering in groups.
Laura Howe 41:25
For families and those deeply caregivers, those deeply impacted and then those who are actually the person who are seeking recovery. Correct. It's beautiful. It's beautiful. I love that. What else is there? You said there's those group models? And then there? Do you have downloads or resources for teachers on how to address what language to use and things like that?
Conrad Cooper 41:50
Absolutely. So just on that particular point, as far as groups are concerned, we provide everything. So we provide the training, how to run the group facilitator training, or the registration documents, indemnities, everything that is needed to be able to literally open a grid, and we provide a curriculum, which to its delivery, provide ongoing training for over a year. We can't learn take what we learned over two decades, and
Laura Howe 42:20
No, you can't do that. So over it, you have content enough to cover a full year or more.
Conrad Cooper 42:31
And we develop content that runs extensively that keeps on getting updated. And that is cutting edge that is innovative. That is resolutions really,
Laura Howe 42:40
It really is, I have taken a look at it.
Conrad Cooper 42:43
It's all about Ezekiel 37 prophesying to the breath and are calling those dead bones to where they need to be raising up an army. And all of a sudden, we finding that the culture in the church shifts, and the recovery guys start being the ones that are volunteering and driving, and all of a sudden see there is doctors and surgeons, psychologists and school kids and business people and everybody starts talking the principles of recovery, not the principles of addiction, right? It's talking about life, and how do we do drive forward?
Laura Howe 43:17
It's shifting the culture.
Conrad Cooper 43:19
I love it. Correct. Brilliant. And cultures.. the church knows how to do culture. And the church of all people know how to do culture. It's about continued activation and engagement to your course. It's about building life. Yeah. Then we have an outpatient program, which is at a higher level. At this stage, it's in one section, which is the excess recovery schools. It's a 12-module five months, once or twice a week, curriculum that really obstacles dramatically. Anybody that's needing to understand recovery or to understand themselves or to develop further recovery scores, dealing with emotional intelligence of worth this much in a particular space, that part is really one equip themselves really, really in terms of like, how do you engage and understand group dynamics. A lot of pastors have done a lot of groups, small groups, etc, connect groups and those kinds of things. But the facilitator skills are a little bit different when and when you apply them. Amazing things happen in groups. And if you have got the understanding of an emotional intelligence process, etc, they're drawn out and the language that goes with it, which is learn, learn and apply a learner effect and apply those kind of principles to our training. They're really good. So that's a process outpatient program. We have people in this country and in the UK at the moment that run it as a as almost a clinical practice in terms of the charge for right and able to really bring a group of people in a closed group format for apartment areas with on ramps and off ramps so you can run a continuing interest It's a beautiful we having amazing success that the gods that stay in that or talking and and this is unsubstantiated at this point. But because of like 80% sustained recovery when in the group structures and go into coaching coaching in this area. And then we've got your so much more we have an app that you can literally do part of this journey on an app, you're able to go on to the app and your life recovery can get accountability, check into groups. Make sure there's accountability tracking within that space and low drag testicle. Of course, we do want to trust you, but we want you to be able to be able to validate that as well. And we also got this so much more phenomenal program, which which goes into the space was launched in February, we started which is just writing out into Hillsong and CFC church and Grace Bible Church and Sweater, which is a huge, huge, beautiful, amazing church, which is we call Thrive, which is a dictionaries version of the first kind of modules, which helps us divorce care and equipping in effect small group leaders having a depth of understanding or if they are responsible for the 5, 10, 20 pupils in their small group, they should have the skills, they should have these abilities to understand accountability and said, looks like you might just be having a bit of a behavior disorder addiction problem, how can I help you to refer you into the right ministry etc. So there's a whole lot of development that I can do.
Laura Howe 46:33
Yes, and we'll have all of these things on the show notes on the show notes, all the links and the resources, pamphlets and all those things where people can check it out. I'm, I'm so excited to be able to share this resource with with every one. Because this really like you said, it's not about a core, it's about building life, I love that you buy quote, I we're definitely going to be putting that quote out there because it is so much more. And it comes from a place of your lived experience and God showing up and transforming your life and many other lives. And I'm very excited to introduce this to so many people because I want you to I want people to check this out. So we are going to have that on all the show notes. And and for a final question, I would love for you to reflect back if you could write a letter to yourself your younger self or send your younger self a voicemail in those early days. Now that you know what the end of the story is, what would you tell your former self?
Conrad Cooper 47:41
So before I answer that I would like to say the the team that we work with, we have sixteen full time and five guys volunteering. We have the most amazing team all the lived experience all the stories, qualified people with honours degrees, we have a doctorate in clinical psychology as part of our board. Yeah, no one's thinking
Laura Howe 48:01
No one is thinking you're just making this stuff. Yeah.
Conrad Cooper 48:05
So just to put that into context. It's not about me.
Laura Howe 48:09
Yeah. No, absolutely not. No, but God has brought together this team.
Conrad Cooper 48:14
Yeah. So what would I say to my former self? Yes. It's a mixture of like, run. away, run away. Okay. But I said tongue in cheek, I would say be kind to myself. be forgiving, and test God because the story I cried out too many times. And even during this process, I'm from under the broom, broom tree, just like enough, like timeout, you know, come on, you know, is this really what it's about? To the point that we are advising and speaking to the betterment of psychiatric units, we've got our groups running in psychiatric units and rehabilitation centers and things and just saying, actually He does have a plan.
Laura Howe 49:12
He does have a plan
Conrad Cooper 49:15
He does even when seems to beyond any crazy picture that it's impossible that he does. And there's all plans to bring life and use every situation for his good.
Laura Howe 49:25
So thank you. Thank you so much for joining us on this podcast. Thank you for having the vision to be able to see this through because people all around the world are going to be blessed and find freedom through this. So thank you.
Conrad Cooper 49:42
Thank you. We appreciate you so much.
Laura Howe 49:45
Hey, thanks for listening. This is such an important episode because there are people in your congregation and in your community who struggle with addictions you may know about some, but I can guarantee that there are others that haven't it hidden and feel so much shame. This episode has challenged me to build a culture of recovery in my church to create an environment that is safe and supportive, so that people feel that they can share how they're really doing, and that we don't respond with shame and judgment. consider looking into Project Exodus and and seek out their training that they provide. I know they have some online groups as well so anyone around the world are able to access their resources. I hope you've enjoyed listening to this episode as much as I did recording it. If you want to be reminded when a new episode goes live, make sure you follow thanks for connecting and take care