Building Clergy and Lay Competency in Addressing Alcohol and Drug Dependence at the Parish Level

(This document can be downloaded in its original form by clicking Guide for Clergy Education Revised W097.)

Building Clergy and Lay Competency in

Addressing Alcohol and Drug Dependence at the Parish Level

This outline represents the basic points which are presented in the St. Dimitrie Programs training course for priests in the area of alcoholism and drug addiction. The course is designed to give a basic understanding of addictions and to help the participant to develop basic skills essential to meeting the pastoral needs of people affected by alcohol or drug dependency, including family members.

NOTE: Each section has more than one level of training. All sections should be completed, in their proper order, before advancing to a higher level in each section. This allows for a progressive educational program to promote the understanding of alcoholism, and how to address the recovery needs of the parish.

Section One: Regarding alcoholism and addiction the participants will:

  1. Have an understanding of the definitions of alcohol abuse and chemical dependency.
  2. Understand the signs and symptoms of alcoholism and drug dependency.
  3. Be able to identify and to discuss the symptoms of alcohol and drug withdrawal.
  4. Be able to identify and discuss the effects of alcoholism on the family.

Section Two: Regarding intervention and providing motivation for change the participants will:

  1. Have basic skills for the evaluation of alcohol problems in the individual and in the family.
  2. Be able to make appropriate interventions with dependent persons and their families.
  3. Be knowledgeable about providing motivation for the individual to change.
  4. In the event of not being able to make a needed intervention will be knowledgeable about appropriate pastoral interactions with the addicted person and the family.

Section Three: Regarding developing counseling and recovery programs the participants will:

  1. Understand the basic principals of 12 Step programs AA and Al-Anon.
  2. Be able to encourage the spiritual growth of persons using these programs for the purpose of recovering from addiction.
  3. Be able to encourage and assist the development of 12 Step recovery groups in the community.
  4. Relate traditional religious practices and the use of Orthodox spirituality to the preserving of the life of the individual and of the family unit which is affected by addiction.

Section Four: Regarding the parish and community the participants will:

  1. Be able to discuss the difficulties which the social stigma of addiction presents when helping the alcoholic or addict and to have a strategy of how to encourage the parish community to be welcoming and supportive of persons afflicted by alcoholism or drug dependence.
  2. Be familiar with and to be able to utilize existing community resources that could assist the dependant person and their family in finding their pathway into recovery.
  3. To be aware of the basic principles of prevention programs and to have knowledge of how to develop prevention programs for the benefit of the parish, and for the good of the larger community.
  4. Will be able to clarify and acknowledge values and attitudes regarding alcohol and drug use in the parish community, in their own personal life and in that of their own family.

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