A new addiction recovery program has come to Gastonia.

Promised Land Baptist Church in Gastonia is now offering RU on Friday nights and Sunday mornings for addictions of all kinds.

RU, which stands for Reformers Unanimous, was started as a Bible study in Rockford, Illinois in 1996. Chapters of the program developed in 2000 and now, more than 1,000 chapters exist around the world.

The program addresses a myriad of afflictions, including alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography addiction, cutting, PTSD and eating disorders.

Promised Land pastor Harold Blankenship is heading up the program, which has been held since early December. The chapter was launched when the effects of addiction started to hit close to home.

“Last year toward the end of the year, we started seeing the need to minister to some of our own people who were struggling with addiction,” said Blankenship.

The program was started by Steven Currington, who became addicted to cocaine and alcohol two years after high school graduation. A near-fatal car accident proved to be a wakeup call. Soon after, he began attending church again and started to minister to fellow addicts in the community.

The program is Biblically-based, emphasizing the need for a relationship with Christ.

“(RU are) also Baptists of like mind with us as far as our doctrinal beliefs,” said Blankenship.

There are 10 principles of recovery that participants will go over. Lessons to be learned include how sinful habits hurt those around us, accepting blame, and fighting the “bondages of addiction.”

Participants use multiple books to guide them throughout the ongoing series, starting with the “Overcomer” handbook and a daily journal. While the first books are free, others in the series will need to be purchased at minimal cost. Anyone needing financial assistance can talk to Blankenship.

Meetings are set up under a “Talk talk talk” model. The first talk is with God through prayer and testimonies. Members then break off into a group for men and a group for women to talk about their weekly challenges and struggles. The third talk is God talking to participants.

Charles and Heather Mumpower lead the men’s and women’s group at Promised Land’s RU meetings.

A Sunday school class is also offered, called RU 2, and is also led by Charles Mumpower. The recent lessons in RU 2 have focused on the fruits of the spirit, love, peace, etc. Mumpower is dividing each lesson into a fruit.

“If you have an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ, you’ll have fruits from that relationship. I explain what that looks like. How it relates to recovery is if you are abiding in a relationship with Jesus Christ, you’ll have that fruit and won’t do what you were doing previously that led to your addiction,” said Mumpower.

Mumpower knows from experience.

“I walked through just about my whole young adult life in addiction. My life didn’t change until the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ,” said Mumpower.

The Mumpowers had been looking for churches in the area when they say the lord led them to Promised Land. Charles gave his testimony to Blankenship, who then mentioned he was thinking about a recovery program. A few months later, Blankenship approached them about participating.

“If I can help anybody, even just one person, it’s so worth it to us,” said Mumpower.

RU is modeled differently than other addiction support groups and programs, but Blankenship emphasizes that they’re not in competition.

“I think again we’re not competing with AA or NA or any of those programs. We’re grateful for any program that’s helping people with addictive behaviors. Our purpose is to encourage, strengthen and give people at least people of faith a path of finding help recover from their addictive behaviors,” said Blankenship.

So far, there are about 27 registered, active members. Anyone in the community is welcome to attend.

For more information, call Promised Land Baptist Church at 704-868-2364 or visit www.rurecovery.com.

Contact reporter Brandy Beard at 704-869-1840 or bbeard@gastongazette.com.