Mother Teresa once said, "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."Darren Donaldson, founder of Individual Family and Community Wellness Coalition (IFC), said when life's struggles have reached the breaking point due to addiction or substance abuse, IFC is one of the resources there to offer help and hope with no judgment. IFC is a non-profit faith-based, community supported, grass roots organization that Donaldson began in 2010. It is run by volunteers.What the IFC rallies doIFC events occur, at a minimum, every 60 days, always on a Monday night from 7p.m. to 9 p.m. and are always free to all. The rallies are come as you are and take place at the Texas Opry Theater in Weatherford which can seat 475. IFC offers awareness, education and prevention information, free snacks, refreshments and resource literature."You have here a neutral place to go for information, escaping any chance of condemnation with no admission of guilt when you walk through the doors because it's all about community awareness, education and prevention," Donaldson said. "It's not a church, but it is faith-based and anyone out there that has a barrier up because they don't want people to know they or someone they care about has a related issue - those barriers are gone."At the rallies, "very passionate" volunteer guest speakers often give testimonials similar to the struggles that someone in the audience may be experiencing and share how they've managed to overcome those struggles."So what's the best way for the general public to feel safe from judging eyes but to go hear testimonies, to hear professionals talk about it and feel compelled to help others giving them hope?" Donaldson asked. "The rallies are. There are people out there living in this nightmare that don't know where to go for help and they are afraid of the repercussions that it could have on them by letting someone know what they are dealing with."He said people are afraid of being type cast whether it's themselves or their children that are struggling."Their are people out there that will drive a 1,000 miles to take their child or themselves to rehab to keep people in their own community from knowing their child has a heroin addiction and themselves possibly being labeled a bad parent," he added.The missionThe goal of the IFC is to "make a positive impact in the lives of those who are looking for and need to know the raw truth about how to prevent or overcome the myriad problems caused from drug use in our families by mobilizing all of our community resources and agencies, by developing and implementing comprehensive coordinated strategies for substance use awareness, education, prevention, intervention and treatment." Additionally, the IFC strives to:Increase community awareness through education.Develop training opportunities for providers.Support school district prevention efforts.Organize countywide awareness activities and events."IFC was an assignment placed on me by God," Donaldson said. "Before beginning the coalition, I attended several different 'help organizations' and their meetings and it has been my observation that it does take all kinds to reach all kinds, but the ones that are faith-based had a much better meeting - people were actually being freed from the stuff."The rallies vary in attendance, anywhere from 20 to 80 people. One had close to 100 attendees to the event to listen to Dr. Caroline Leaf. Leaf is author of Who Switched off my Brain and has a PhD in Communication Pathology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa."She generously volunteered her services in 2011," Donaldson said. "She spoke on substances and how they alter the brain and her insights helped many that night. One young lady approached Dr. Leaf afterward and, with tear-filled eyes, hugged her and said 'there is hope for me.'"Donaldson said it's that people can no longer rely on what God gave them naturally to make them fine. He said something gets "out of whack and they don't feel normal anymore.""The only thing that makes them feel normal is to use a substance to feel normal again and there are so many functioning users and addicts, it's overwhelming," he said. "Trying a substance once in a while is considered using; when it starts happening regularly and to the extreme that it causes sickness and loss of ability to make it to class or work etc. is stages of abuse."He said multitudes get up everyday, many with the help of an enabler which prolongs the addiction."Ninety percent of the time, somebody who is having a problem with substance abuse and can't stop on their own, has an enabler in their life," Donaldson said. "If they have an enabler in their life, they can go for years reaping havoc as a functioning addict."He said when there is not an enabler, hitting bottom comes quicker due to the user losing their job, car, home or family. He said it's often times that only after an individual hits their rock bottom that the healing can begin."It creates a downward spiral and pain and suffering gets higher to the point they finally reach for help," Donaldson added. "They finally reach a point where they stop worrying about what others think; it's now a matter of deciding to get help to survive. Knowing where to turn at that point is paramount."For more information on the IFC, visit www.ifcwellness.com or to make a donation, their mailing address is IFC Wellness Coalition, 220 Adams Dr., Suite 280 #321, Weatherford, Texas, 76086 or hit the donate button on the website.Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, ext. 102Twitter: @Lancewinter
IFC Coalition meets this Monday at
Texas Opry Theater, 319 York Ave.
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.