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Christmas: A Bad Time for Alcoholics and Addicts?

December 29, AD2017 0 Comments

comfort, mournFor some, the sights, signs and smells of the holidays bring joy and a warm feeling. But, while others are joyously diving into the season, some of us are dipping into conflict, guilt, and a sense of guilt.
—Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, Dec. 24.

If I could speak to other parents facing the same situation, I’d say, “You need to hand your children over to someone greater than yourself, because you can’t control your children or the addiction. You are not helping them if you try to—hold on! It gets better.
—Anonymous, “Stories of Faith and Addiction”, St. Joseph Catholic Church Drug and Alcohol Ministry Website

“Tis the season to be jolly!” …Or is it? For many addicts, alcoholics, their family, and friends, there are triggers-Christmas tree ornaments that once were scattered in a drunken rage, the Christmas Eve phone call from the ER about an overdosed child-that are reminders of bad times in the past.

Bring Faith Into the Lives of Addicts

Now, I don’t intend to dampen the spirit of this sacred holiday. Rather, this article is a plea to support efforts to bring faith into the lives of addicts, alcoholics and their families. As an example, our parish has formed a “Drug and Alcohol Ministry”. We meet monthly, with a prayer/rosary session beforehand. Our mission is not to give advice-that’s left to the professionals and 12 Step groups-but to give support and to help people, those afflicted, their families and friends, know that faith in Jesus Christ will give them hope.

The website for the ministry contains the following resources: a prayer for the month, a list of local 12 Step meetings, a list of counseling services and stories of recovery through faith in God. In our area, the Higher Power of the Twelve Step meetings is explicitly God. But this may not be the case elsewhere.

The statistics for recovery are a mixed lot. Some reports give 10% (or lower) recovery rates from just 12 Step programs. Others give higher figures for 12 Step programs plus extensive counseling. But the most significant statistic is 60 to 75% recovery—abstinence two years after release from rehab—if there is a significant faith component to rehab efforts. And it must be realized that recovery is not only for the addict or alcoholic but for his/her family.

So, we pray for the addicts, the alcoholic, and their families and friends: that they follow the road of faith in recovery.

PRAYER FOR THOSE WHO STRUGGLE WITH ADDICTION
God of life, You made us in Your perfect image to live in Your love and to give You glory, honor and praise.  Open our hearts to Your healing power.   Come, Lord Jesus, calm our souls just as You whispered “Peace” to the stormy sea.  St. Jude, holy Apostle, in our need we reach out to you.  We beg you to intercede for us that we may find strength to overcome our illnesses.  Bless all those who struggle with addiction.  Touch them, heal them, reassure them of the Father’s constant love.  Remain at our side, St. Jude, to chase away all evil temptations, fears and doubts.  May the quiet assurance of your loving presence illuminate the darkness in our hearts and bring lasting peace.

Amen.

 

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Retired, cranky, old physicist. Convert to Catholicism in 1995. Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith. Intermittent blogs at Rational Catholic and adult education classes here to achieve this end. Extraordinary Minister of Communion volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC. Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group. And, finally, my motivation: “It is also necessary—may God grant it!—that in providing others with books to read I myself should make progress, and that in trying to answer their questions I myself should find what I am seeking. Therefore at the command of God our Lord and with his help, I have undertaken not so much to discourse with authority on matters known to me as to know them better by discoursing devoutly of them.” St. Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity I,8.

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