By Rich Brown
The acronym FREED on the front page of the Overcomers Outreach Guidebook means a lot to Bob Farrar.
The Joplin man has not only been helped by Overcomers Outreach, which reaches out to people with addictions, compulsive behaviors or co-dependencies, but he has been responsible for starting a chapter in Joplin.
The letters in FREED stand for: Fellowship in recovery, Reconciliation to God and His family, Education about chemicals and addiction, Edification through faith in Christ and Dedicated service to others.
"The first thing we do when people come to meetings is stress that this is a two-way street," said Farrar, 70, a California native who moved to Joplin 10 years ago and started a local OO chapter. "We tell them they gotta apply that higher power. Some then want to go to church and some don't. It is preferable that we go to church.
"That's how I found it ... being so much easier to go to church and finding Jesus Christ as my personal savior. We don't stress what church, just say go to the church of your choice."
The group holds one-hour sessions at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at First Baptist Church, 633 S. Pearl Ave. And although Farrar attends First Baptist, he emphasizes there is no particular denomination associated with OO.
"Just because we meet at a Baptist church doesn't mean it's Baptist organized," he said. "It is nondenominational. It's a Christ-centered nonprofit corporation dedicated to reaching out to people with problems of addiction, compulsion and co-dependency within the church of all denominations."
There are other areas beside alcohol and drugs under the OO umbrella, Farrar said.
"People are being helped with compulsive behavior, lying and gambling," he said. "We have sex addicts, and it is for all kinds of compulsions and addictions. Of course, we use some of the Alcoholics Anonymous material with it, such as the 12 steps of AA. All you have to do with the 12 steps is replace the word alcohol with your own addiction. It works."
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