Throughout the world, members of the Church and others have found hope and healing through the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), sponsored by LDS Family Services. Now, with the advent of arp.lds.org, the 12-step program’s message of recovery through the Atonement of Jesus Christ is accessible to more people than ever before.
The initial release of the site in May in English (plans are in place for the site to be translated into other languages at a future date) includes information for people facing addictions, their loved ones, their leaders, and ARP volunteers. This structure is somewhat similar to that of the combatingpornography.org website the Church released in April 2010.
The site solves what have been two major barriers to the program in the past—awareness and availability, said Ben Erwin, LDS Family Services counseling program manager for the ARP. The site’s presence on LDS.org will help more people be aware of the program’s existence—and of its being a program sanctioned by the Church—and it will help people who may not have had access to the program or program materials previously.
One of the main features of the initial version of the site is the Meeting Locator. This tool allows people to find meetings by location, by schedule, by group makeup or addiction, and by meeting type. For instance:
People whose jobs require travel can find a meeting in the locations they’re visiting. (Prior to this, they might have just skipped their meeting for the week, missing opportunities for valuable support.)
People whose commitments preclude them from attending meetings during standard times can find a meeting held during a time more conducive to their schedules.
Someone who wishes to attend a meeting for a particular type of addiction—for instance, pornography or unhealthy eating—can find meetings geared specifically to their struggle.
Someone who lives in a remote area or a region in which meetings are not yet being held can find meetings held via conference call. This could also be a good option for those who are not comfortable attending a face-to-face meeting.
All information about meetings entered into the tool is maintained locally by LDS Family Services Offices, program coordinators, or others associated with overseeing the meetings—not centrally by Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. This is important because, since the program is priesthood-driven and meetings are organized under the direction of a stake or district president, those who have stewardship in particular regions can update the meetings instantly.
Because the program is administered locally, those who are unable to locate the program in their area can speak to their stake or district president and request that he consider hosting the program in their unit. Stake and district leaders who receive such requests then address the need with Area leadership.
The site will continue to grow over time, both in terms of language offerings and of content.
Elements of future releases may include videos of recovery stories, resources for immediate support, and secure tools for confidentially sharing questions and experiences.