Focus on Life: Substance Abuse

The Focus on Life initiative was undertaken by the Compassion, Mercy and Justice Team (formerly Social Concerns) to call attention to man-made or natural conditions that are taking, endangering, or denigrating human life from conception to old age.

Jesus said in John 10:10 “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. But unfortunately, this abundant life promised by Jesus is cut short for millions each year as a result of war, crimes, elective abortions, and natural disasters such as famine and floods.

Our goal is that by calling attention to these conditions, the FirstCov church family will be more sensitive to these issues and respond with compassion, prayer, and action where possible to help relieve the suffering. Jesus is relying on us to be His hands and feet to minister to those in need and His voice to call for justice in the world.

Substance Abuse

According to the Substance Abuse and Social Services Administration for 2009, approximately 23.5 million Americans needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem. Of these, only 11% received treatment at a special facility, indicating people with drug and alcohol issues are not seeking or receiving the treatment they require. Almost 25 percent of Americans admit to binge drinking once a month

They reported that in recent years there have been approximately 90,000 alcohol-related deaths including 10,000 annual vehicle fatalities; 33,000 overdose deaths from other drugs; high correlation with crime and domestic violence; ruined careers, shattered families and hurt children.

So, what to do if you or someone close to you has a drug or alcohol problem?

First, knowing the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse is an important part of getting help. If you suspect someone you love is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, look for the following warning signs:

  • Problems at work or school because of drinking
  • Engaging in dangerous activities, such as driving, while drinking
  • Blacking out and not being able to remember what happened while you were drinking
  • Legal problems, such as being arrested or harming someone else while drunk
  • Continuing to drink in spite of health problems that are made worse by alcohol (e.g. liver disease, heart disease, diabetes)
  • Friends and family members who are worried about your drinking

In River Falls, WI there are several options; if it is a crisis situation, call 911, otherwise, the following organizations can lead you to the help you need:

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous and its' 12-step program has been helping addicts get their lives in order since 1935. They provide treatment assistance for alcoholism, substance abuse, and opiate addiction for individuals, families, and groups. Call 715-426-0820 or 800-471-9876.
  2. River Falls Alano Club hosts Al-Alon meetings several times each week for people with addictions and their families. Anyone whose life is or has been affected by close contact with a problem drinker is invited. They are located at W9896 770th Avenue, River Falls, WI. Call 800-471-9876.
  3. Servant of the Shepherd Church is a congregation of recovering addicts and alcoholics (and their families and friends) striving to serve God by loving His people. It is located at 103 N. Fourth Street, River Falls, WI. Sunday services are at 11 a.m. followed by a noon fellowship and meal. Call 715-425-6910.
  4. Kinnic Falls Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment Services offers residential inpatient treatment so patients can focus solely on recovery in a safe environment. They also have a sober-living halfway facility that is safe and substance-free for people going through recovery. They are located at 900 S. Orange Street, River Falls, WI. Call 715-426-5950.
  5. Vibrant Health (River Falls) Family Clinic and your family physician is a place to understand treatment options and other services available in the area. They are located at 1687 E. Division Street, River Falls, WI. Call 715-425-6701.
  6. First Covenant Church, River Falls, WI will connect a person to specialized addiction resources as quickly as possible. The pastoral staff's goal would be to walk with that person as they enter into the treatment process and provide spiritual resources that are often significant to the treatment success.

What can we do?


For people with substance abuse issues and the people around them. That they may confront the problem and take advantage some of the treatment options.

For the professionals and others who have made it their work to help people with addictions.

For redemption and healing for all the shame, sorrow and regrets from the past. Treatment offers a new beginning for body and soul.

Pray for courage. If you know someone who needs help, do something, be brave, be a hero. Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. That would be a tragedy.

From your FirstCov Compassion/Mercy/Justice (CMJ) Ministry Team

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