By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
Sometimes it’s much easier to share, heal, move on, stay steadfast in a new direction and have faith when you’re doing it with someone who’s walked a similar path.
The Church Underground has a basis on the story of the Underground Railroad Quilt, where the quilt blocks were a means of “Lighting the Way.” Recovery Underground, a local extension of The Church Underground, provides that “Lighting of the Way” for people who struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol, or sometimes both.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NIV), is a tenet of The Church Underground.
Jake and Megan Carver, along with their three children, have lived that struggle. Jake was the addict, but addiction is never exclusive to just the addict. The family lives and struggles with their loved ones and their addiction.
Anthony Michael Mordis, Jake’s best friend, died in a tragic motorcycle accident in 2015.
“I didn’t know how to handle that,” said Jake. “I turned to drugs. I was an addict of six- or six-and-a-half-years, but Megan didn’t know for the first four- to five-years, until that fifth year when I overdosed. My family was there when it happened and I was unresponsive for 45-minutes. A paramedic told me, ‘There must be a plan for your life.’”
While attending a Men’s Encounter event, Jake heard God talking to his heart, and a new journey began for him. But recovery didn’t start immediately. After wrecking his truck under the influence, Megan finally demanded rehabilitation. Dalton, a good friend, and Megan were taking Jake to Care Center Ministries in Mtn. View, when Jake exited the vehicle in Cabool and took off. The weekend was spent with his brother, and Monday morning Jake’s brother dropped him off at the facility.
“It was very emotional, but I told myself, ‘I have to do this,’” shared Jake. It lasted eight days.
Jake came home, with Megan urging him to go back.
“I knew he wasn’t ready,” shared Megan.
“The only thing that sucked about being sober was feeling emotion,” said Jake.
He checked in for another 10 days at the Care Center, but on the ninth day drugs were brought into the center and Jake had Megan pick him up. He knew he wouldn’t resist the temptation.
Jake’s sister was a substance abuse counselor in Troy, Mo., and up until this time was unaware of her brother’s addiction. When unable to get ahold of Jake, she contacted Megan, who explained his unavailability. Jake’s father picked him up at 11 p.m. that night and the next day took him to Troy to be with his sister.
Jake agreed to live with his sister in Troy for 14 days, and was given a list of five people who would help with transportation to recovery meetings. Jake called four with no answers; the fifth and final number was to Adam Stahlschmidt, who answered. He picked Jake up that evening for his first meeting at The Church Underground. Meetings were two nights a week, a Bible study on Thursday and church services on Saturday. Jake stayed for 13 months, and also worked a full-time job at a fabrication shop, where his supervisor knew his story.
Meanwhile Megan was taking care of the home, the three children and working full-time at two jobs. Her message to Jake on staying committed to recovery was, “Don’t make me bury you!”
Being Christians, God was giving Megan strength to carry on and the surety that He was watching over Jake. Jake was receiving the strength to complete his recovery.
“The love and the care given at The Church Underground, I knew that’s where I needed to be, and I was helping others as a friend,” stated Jake. The love and care given would soon be shared with others, as would the continuation of helping others as a friend, in his own community.
Jeremy, the pastor at The Church Underground, asked Jake, who was one-year clean, to give his testimony, which he did at the end of February 2022. He moved back home with Megan and the kids in March 2022.
Home for about a month, God put it on Jake’s heart to start a recovery group locally. He called Jeremy and asked if he could be an extension of The Church Underground. Recovery Underground was started in Houston, where they were allowed to use the health department facilities for recovery groups. Bible studies were held in their home.
Two months back home, Jeremy with The Church Underground requested Jake pray about preaching. Jake was led to return to Troy once a month to preach.
Monday, June 5, Recovery Underground opened its doors at 106 Main Street in Licking. Their mission is to provide, “A safe place to find freedom from slavery! A group of people that come together to share our struggles!” They recognize that addiction is a form of bondage.
Recovery meetings are held each Monday beginning at 6 p.m. They are open to anyone, without shame and guilt, at no cost. Bible verses that correlate with the “word of the night” are shared, along with individual expressions of that word, discussion and prayer.
Bible study is held each Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. Study will be one book at a time, one chapter a week, with open discussion.
After Jake returns from a mission trip in July, church services, testimonies and the sharing of a meal will begin on Saturdays at 6 p.m.
The Carvers agree that, “None of this would be possible without putting our faith in God! He leads, we follow.”
Recovery Underground information and contact information can be found on their Facebook page.