John and Susan Vawter were shocked in 1997 when they discovered that drugs had invaded their family. John was senior pastor of Bethany Community Church in Tempe, AZ at the time. As word got out about this news he began to get calls from other pastors in similar situations. In 1999 John and Susan started the “You’re Not Alone” ministry for pastors, missionaries and Christian workers whose kids abuse alcohol or other drugs. 63 people attended the first conference. From the beginning the ministry has been strongly grounded in Jesus Christ. It is true, as the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:4, that “God comforts us in our afflictions so we might comfort others in theirs.” This verse has been the motivation for helping others from day one.
No family is immune from being invaded by alcohol and other drugs. You’re Not Alone commissioned a study by the Barna Group and was told that 1 in 5 Christian kids admit they use or have used alcohol/drugs; 17% of the pastors in the USA have a child who is abusing or has abused alcohol or other drugs; and sadly, 74% of those pastoral families who have had drugs invade their families have not gone for help.
As more people heard of the ministry it became apparent that it could not be limited to ministry families. In 2003 the focus expanded to include Christian families and weekend ministry in churches. John edited a book called Hit by A Ton of Bricks: You’re Not Alone When Your Child’s on Drugs.
A website was developed to offer wisdom and experience from parents who had been there. As it developed it became apparent that most people like to get their first dose of help in anonymity. The website now gets thousands of visits per year. Interestingly, much of the material on the website has been developed in response to people asking for specific help. You’re Not Alone does not do statistical research but anecdotal research. The best help and advice seems to be from parents who have walked the path of having a child addicted.
In 2003 John Vawter was asked to start a daily radio program. It is now heard on 450 outlets around the USA. In addition to giving encouragement to parents its purpose is to motivate people to go to the website to find help.
Regardless of your beliefs or theology, we are committed to helping parents (and grandparents) understand where they are and where they need to get for the sake of their own health. The Path to Parental Health – Eight Responses Many Parents Experience (Click Here) – is published on this site.
John Vawter has edited a book of “19 Stories of Hope, Love, and Healing” based upon talks at “You’re Not Alone” conferences. Click here to order Hit By a Ton of Bricks: You’re Not Alone When Your Child’s on Drugs.