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addiction to connection

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Connection shows us, we are created for peace

I am a husband and a father of two energetic boys. We live in the Glebe and love our neighbourhood. I volunteer with the Glebe Community Association, advocating for affordable housing and Melody is the Vice President of our son’s preschool. We enjoy cycling as a family and before the pandemic I was a cyclefit instructor at our local YMCA. I am currently pastoring a small church plant called Bytown Community Church.

I have been a friend, neighbour and volunteer at Jericho for around seven years. I was first introduced to the ministry when I met Jon Ruby. Shortly after we met, the men of the discipleship house started attending the church that I worked for. Within just a few short weeks from meeting the men, my wife and I rented a house almost right next door to the old discipleship house on Fifth Ave. I went from not knowing of the program to interacting with the men daily in only a few short months.

As a neighbour and a pastor of the church the guys attended I started to slowly get to know the men. It did not take me long to realize how much I could learn from the men and the 12 step program. My wife and I started coming for dinner and before long I was leading devotions one morning. It was very natural and organic as one of the men and I even ran a half marathon together. I am very thankful for the two or three years that we were able to live next to the discipleship house and interact with them almost daily.

Having the experience of training for a half marathon with one of the men is an experience I will never forget. The long conversations we had and the brotherhood that developed. It was very apparent that this experience is what mutuality looks like. We both needed the other. I was a contact and a friend for this man outside of the addiction community which was invaluable to this man. He pushed me and trained me to achieve new athletic goals and even took me through a step 4 one day when it became apparent that I had resentment towards a friend. These experiences are extremely valuable.

Jericho is a remarkable ministry that brings connection. It teaches men how to develop healthy relationships with God, one another and the world around them. Through the wisdom and the strength of the 12 step program, with a strong emphasis on faith in Jesus Christ, it has the potential to help men experience new levels of freedom and healing that were previously unimaginable.

I am so thankful for the presence of Jericho in my life. I never realized how much I needed the 12 steps until volunteering there. Weekly I feel like I get a reminder that my identity, security and wholeness are all found in Christ and community. I cannot face tomorrow with my own strength.

Often on Thursday mornings I will bring a text that I am going to teach on Sunday and discover new insights as the men share what they see or what it says to them. I have a richer relationship with God because of the ways the men teach me about who God is when we gather.

We all struggle with isolation. I believe that all of us have rebelled against God and tried to live life our own way and in our own strength. The problem we all face is when that system we’ve developed for ourselves falls apart and doesn’t bring us the human flourishing we longed for. When we find ourselves at the end of our rope, struggling, discouraged and unhappy, the good news is that God makes a way for us to experience wholeness and peace again. Through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection we now can have peace with God, other people and all of creation. This work of connection is the beautiful work that God is doing through Jesus. When we bring someone out of isolation and addiction, we are helping them experience that peace with God, others and themselves that we were all created to have.

Dan Chook-Reid

Longterm Volunteer & Friend

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