Self Care for Ministers & Recovery Professionals

Healthy attitudes toward our ministries and us are essential elements for success and survival in the work of RESCUE. Ways to avoid "burn-out" and find more joy and fulfillment in the work of the Lord.Minister.gif


  • 1. Detach - Remember God does the work (we are vessels). Fixers vs. guides (not "changing them, but pointing the way). Practicing "professional distance": avoid co-dependency, enablers, messiah-complex

    2. Faithfulness not fruitfulness (focus) - Performance orientation? Avoid shame and guilt-driven efforts, which are from self not the Spirit.

    3. Set your own goals (professional development) - Remember that there's life beyond your mission. Clients especially - feelings of obligation. What do we owe our missions? Why are they in it to begin with?

    We have succeeded when we are no longer needed! Aptitude/motivational testing - Career development <-> self awareness

    4. Be in touch with your own feelings and motives. Feelings are important. Changing policies/"underground lobbying, etc." Can I be true to myself and still work here?

    5. Honesty - speaking the truth in love communication - harboring resentments toward colleagues

    6. Balance - self/others - family/ministry - work/fun

    7. See yourself as part of a team - God was at work in the person before they came to the mission - I'm not God's only representative to this person, nor will I be the last - whether they leave or stay, God will continue to work with them (with or without me. I'm not expected to have all the answers, resources "I am part of God's answer for this person at this time."

    The greatest help I can give is to know where resources can be found & help clients know how to get to them

    Fellowship (big picture viewpoint) conventions/districts

    • Set realistic goals that are measurable within the context of the scope of the ministry's program


  • Detachment implies that we're attached and co-dependents are attached to persons, activities, drugs, and behaviors.

    After Obsessing & Controlling

    Whenever we become attached in inappropriate ways to someone or something, we become detached from ourselves. We lose touch with ourselves. We forfeit our power and ability to think act, and take care of ourselves. We lose control of our lives, and if we're focusing all our energies on people and problems, we have little, if any time for care and nurturing of self, and meeting our own legitimate needs.

    1. Focus on self - you can only change yourself. It takes a total commitment to yourself. This is difficult if you've considered yourself unworthy and useless


    < >Force self to groups and appointments
    Go to lectures
    Read appropriate books, work on journal
    Remaining abstinent - games are structured ways of interacting that are employed to avoid intimacy. Games are not always unhealthy unless used to excess This game-playing is exhausting and keeps things the same - including distance.

    Rescuer (helper) BlackArrow-R.jpg Prosecutor (blaming) BlackArrow-R.jpg Victim (blameless)

    As long as they can fight and you make promises, try to win you back, the struggle is outside with you - not inside of themselves. Once the arguing, threatening, questioning, fighting, and making up stops, there may be little to talk about. This is OK. Taking responsibility for yourself and your happiness gives you a great deal of freedom and gives freedom to others as well to take care of themselves. When you changes roles, others are likely to follow. Partner wills either change or finds someone like the old you. You will attract healthier people if you are healthy yourself.

    5. Courageously face our own problems and shortcomings. - Make lists of positives and negatives of yourself. Look at the past, writes it down. Sex, family, relationships, parents. We need to stop blaming others for our unhappiness. Taking responsibility for our past gives us control to change that. Get rid of excess negative feelings.

    6. Cultivate whatever needs to be developed in self - Don't wait for other's support (financial, emotional, and practical). Go about it as if they weren't there. Get a life going for yourself. Get a job, meet new people, go to school, and join the Y. Get encouragement from a group. Become assertive. Give to yourself - time attention, and material things. Make yourself complete so you don't need someone else to make you complete. You will be able to choose to be with, not need to be with someone.

    7. Become "selfish" - without becoming indifferent, cruel, thoughtless, and self-centered. Put your well-being, desires, work, play, activities first, rather than last. Before rather than after everyone else's needs are met. You don't try to adapt yourself to uncomfortable situation. Listen to your our inner voice (trust yourself) as to what is good and right for you and follow it.

These things will be initially scary. You will feel lonely, empty, and vulnerable. Others will be angry, and may accuse you of not caring. This panic generates from having to become responsible for their own lives.

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Copyright by Michael Liimatta. All Rights Reserved.
Mr. Liimatta is the past President of Christians in Recovery® 
and currently serves on its Advisory Counsel. He has been 
involved in Alcoholics Victorious for over 20 years.He is a 
Social Entrepreneur, Consultant to Nonprofit Organizations 
with OneAccord, Chief Academic Officer at City Vision College 
and has been involved with drug and alcohol counseling and recovery 
education for 30 years. Visit his web site