My name is Steven Gledhill, founder and author of FREEdom From MEdom Project. I am married, a stepfather with three grown sons and two grandsons. I have been counseling adults and kids for more than 20 years, and an ordained minister. My Bachelor’s Degree is in Psychology from Judson University. I’m certified by the state of Illinois as an alcohol and drug counselor (CADC). I am a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).
I love that I get to do what I do. My joy is in serving our Lord as he sees fit to use me to advance and enrich His people. I don’t really know who reads all the stuff God has directed me to write and post here. I believe these words to be carefully crafted as God, I believe, puts them in my head. I trust his words are ministering to people around the world in some way. I can imagine, but I really have no idea.
Since November 2015, I’ve been counseling teenagers and pre-teens in the Presence Health network at a Chicago-area psychiatric facility. These kids are wounded and hurting to the point that they become stuck in patterns of self-harm and are serious about suicide as a remedy for their pain. It seems that the most important I attempt to do with these kids is help them to recognize that there is a stark contrast between feeling helpless and feeling hopeless. When those feeling hopeless give up, they deem suicide to be a viable option to remedy their pain. Those feeling helpless wanting to give up can stop trying to fix what is broken on their own and seek out help. Perhaps then they can take suicide and self-harm off the table altogether as a coping strategy. As human beings, we tend to experience, embrace, and trust our feelings until we are held captive by them. What is essential is that we filter our emotions through what we understand makes the most sense to our intellect—our capacity to reason. I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel entitled and need God’s help with that. I write a great deal more about this in something I call, Hopeless to Helpless… Pain to Peace. It’s a running theme throughout this site.
For almost five years before my current position, I worked at an Illinois correctional facility that doubled as a rehabilitation center for convicted felons. Men in prison don’t usually find God in prison, they return to God in prison. Many are searching for truth about who God really is and what it really is to experience relationship with Him. The men are looking for God who is real, sustaining, forgiving, and loving. Others will insist that since they have not found God to be authentic, and that God does not and cannot exist. I love those guys. I enjoyed challenging them to wrestle with the logic of human existence and the “evolution” of love and hate, and everything that has to go exactly right for life to even be possible. With them, I talked about the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, King David’s flawed relationships, etc. Much of what I did counseling inmates is right here at FREEdom from MEdom Project. The one the guys seemed to appreciate the most is Trapped in a House on Fire (and still playing with matches)! if you want to check it out.
For six years until 2010, I developed curriculum and provided intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment. Utilizing these same Christ-centered FREEdom from MEdom principles and steps, we were able to consistently document success rates better than 80 percent at a time when studies of secular cognitive behavioral treatment approaches indicated success rates ranging from 50 percent down to as low as 8 percent (we tracked clients over three years… the follow-up data included clients who left treatment before its conclusion). My Bachelor’s Degree is in Psychology from Judson University.
In the early 1990s, God set me on a course that would lead me into the field of counseling people struggling with addiction. In 2005, He birthed in me the vision for FREEdom from MEdom. Addiction recovery counseling has become my passion. God has taught me more recently that this issue of recovery is not only for a select group abusing and dependent on alcohol and drugs, or people with gambling problems or sexual addictions; recovery is intended for every single one of us through a relationship with God in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that we all have a problem with addiction to our selfishness (John 8:34).
When I took to heart this revelation that I truly believe is inspired by God and supported by Scripture, it radically changed how I did, and do, counseling. No one is exempt from the need for authentic revolutionary recovery. Even while working for secular 12-step agencies, the most relevant and applicable tool that I stressed to my clients was consistent prayer. As I counseled clients to pray as their first option to effectively combat dysfunction in their lives, amazing things happened. Even clients that didn’t enter therapy believing in the reality of a living and loving God with divine authority, left therapy knowing that their new-found faith was realized in their tangible real-life experiences of healing and recovery. Their faith was in what they knew to be true and real. Prayer is not a new concept, but for some it was being experienced for the first time as access to the truth and experience of God’s transformative power in their lives. The recovery revolution in a person’s life means it has turned from what wasn’t much good into something new and wonderful.
Then, a funny thing happened. If it works for them maybe it will work for me, too. I have a tendency to struggle with what I know God can do versus what I believe (really believe) God will do in my life. As I have been honest with God about my flaws and my sin, and been more willing to readily forgive rather than hold on to stuff, I have been released in so many ways to experience the transforming power of God in my own life. It has made me a much more effective counselor.
FREEdom from MEdom Project came to life in 2010. After completing the manuscript FREEdom from MEdom: A Sensible Strategy for Recovery that Works in 2008 it became increasingly clear that a publisher for “just another guy”, a nonfiction author without a built-in audience such as a mega-church or having celebrity status, would be an extreme challenge. I would need to self-publish.
God led me to Dee Wilson, a retired information technology specialist who worked incredibly long hours to launch the FREEdom from MEdom websites and then teach me how to enhance the the look and functionality of the site in addition to showing me how to operate within the site (publish and edit material, embed images and video, etc.). I have been self-publishing ever since.
The next challenge is to still to edit all of the material. I still intend at some point as led by the Spirit of God to compile what is on the three FREEdom from MEdom websites, including lessons and curriculum (NLX 101) and publish the material as a hard copy book or books. I pray that God will direct the online material to a publisher with enthusiasm for the idea of bridging the gap between evidence-based clinical principles of recovery (i.e., cognitive-behavioral approaches) and the proven reality of Biblical truth (from which came the 12 steps).
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. Ephesians 1:19
FREEdom from MEdom began from the question, “Is addiction a disease or a choice?” I began writing in 2005 about what I believe the Bible has to say about addiction. Much of that original writing is in the article, “Disease Debate: Is Addiction a Disease or a Decision?”. From that came the manuscript “FREEdom from MEdom: A Sensible Strategy for Authentic Recovery” completed (though unedited) in 2009. In today’s age of technology and social networking, FREEdom from MEdom Project is read in almost every nation on the planet.
As God continues to reveal truth concerning freedom from my addiction to me I am able to parlay what I discover and continue to learn into sensible steps for experiencing recovery. FREEdom from MEdom Project is the culmination of this process that I am so passionate about. Thank you for your interest in this work. Become a participant of FFMP and join me on this blessed road to freedom through recovery.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:17-21 (NIV)
* I am available for weddings and funerals. My license for ministry is through LifeSpring Community Church (Plainfield, IL) and The Churches of God General Conference.
FREEdom from MEdom Project Team:
Dee Wilson, Website Developer
Jeri Wickersham, Editor
Steven Gledhill, Founder/Author