DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A nonprofit in the Miami Valley is taking a two-pronged approach to fighting addiction: offering help for the entire spectrum of things one can be addicted to and then encouraging those in the program to become “addicted” to serving others as part of their recovery.

The program tackles other problems, as well.

It all started with a burden on the heart of the founder of Mission Addiction, Edward Livesay, to help those impacted by drugs.

“I kept hearing about the heroin crisis and the opioid crisis and how Dayton was the worst in the country,” Livesay said.

After a couple of years of working with nonprofits and county task forces, Livesay launched Mission Addiction and its core program, the Map for Healing and Recovery.

“Think about being lost or not sure of your way,” Livesay said. “You need a map. So we have this program that covers physical, emotional, relational, spiritual issues. Life purpose. Spiritual gifts. Serving others.”

While the initial focus was on those recovering from drug addiction, Livesay says that quickly turned to anyone who needed help:

  • Hurting individuals
  • Struggling couples
  • Strained families
  • And, still, those in recovery from addiction

“Anybody who just wants to become better and grow in faith in the process,” Livesay said. “Or anybody who wants to serve and make sure that they’re in a good place or make sure that they’re healed first.”

He says the program — which meets weekly — heals the whole person, the couple and the family.

“If people are healthy in all of those ways then all of these other problems go away,” Livesay said.

It’s about letting go of the past…

“That baggage,” Livesay said. “That backpack full of junk people carry around is gone.”

…and finding healing, through faith.

“We’ve never been accused of being judgy or preachy,” Livesay said. “There’s a lot of that in the media and that’s not who we are. That’s not who Jesus was. That’s not what faith is. He’s the best part of this. He’s the healer. He’s the ultimate teacher counselor and healer and he’s guided us through this.”

The reach has been incredible.

Instead of shrinking because of COVID, Mission Addiction grew. It’s now helped people in 25 states and three other countries.

Mission Addiction’s next session begins on Monday, May 8, and will run weekly through mid-December.

You can find more details including how to sign up for the program, click here.