Game Night: Help Those Struggling with Addiction Get Back on Track

close-up of the game of Life

On the way to the perfect life, sometimes we experience a detour. If that detour involves drug or alcohol addiction, hopelessness is often the outcome.

The young woman who set her goal for a college degree and then law school takes a detour when she begins drinking at college parties. She doesn’t mean for it to take over her life, but she is suspended from school, is jailed for driving while intoxicated, and loses the trust of her parents, who have done everything they know to help her.

The young woman is sentenced to time in a group home with a recovery program as part of her punishment. She’s in the company of her peers, others who started life with dreams and goals. What does the future hold? Does God care? What part of their dreams can they recapture? How can your missions group help these women or men like them get back on track?

Plan a game night with the intention of showing goodwill and friendship and that fun doesn’t hinge on alcohol or drugs. When your plans are made and permission is obtained to proceed, clear every activity with the director of the recovery program or counselors.

Here are some suggestions for activities:

  • Set up tables to accommodate 4 at each table, and provide board or card games they might be familiar with such as Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, Scattergories, or UNO. Intersperse members of your missions group at each table.
  • Play a version of Name That Tune, using music from the era that fits most of the residents.
  • Take part in a “silly” game, such as giving each group of 4 a box of assorted items to fashion a hat. After 10 minutes, ask one member of each group to model the hat on the imaginary fashion runway.
  • Bring no-bake cookie ingredients divided into several packages, and lead the groups to mix up the cookies and share with one another.

Leave residents with some encouraging words:

  • Create a large jigsaw puzzle out of a piece of poster board. It could be a beautiful photograph or an inspiring quote. Give each resident a piece of the puzzle, and ask everyone to work together to assemble the puzzle. Tell them that God knows all the pieces of their lives and He is waiting to help them put the pieces together in a way that honors His plan for them.
  • During the last 15 minutes, present a brief devotional about running the race of life. Develop your thoughts around Hebrews 12:1–2: “Let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.” Enlist someone who enjoys crafts to create medals for residents as their reward for continuing the race.

Time may not permit all these activities, so choose the ones that fit your situation. End the evening by asking residents if they would allow you to pray for their well-being and for God’s protection and guidance.

Sammie Jo Barstow is a freelance writer living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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