QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
COMMON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MY LOVED ONE STRUGGLING WITH AN ADDICTION?
This is the most commonly asked question that we receive, so rest assured that you are not alone. Caring for someone that is suffering with an addiction is heart wrenching, and can produce painful experiences of powerlessness over another person’s behavior. Finding balance between supporting a child, sibling, significant other, parent, friend, or anyone close to you while not enabling their addiction to continue can be tricky. The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation website proves resources for family members and loved ones that are struggling, including topics on how to care for yourself through it all.
Addiction does not happen in a vacuum, and it is important to seek help for yourself. There are twelve-step groups that provide support, including Al-Anon. Fellowships such as these provide an opportunity to share experience, strength, and hope for what can seem like a hopeless situation. We also encourage you to seek out our community forums to connect anonymously with others who are going through something similar.
Saint Monica is an excellent saint to reach out to as an intercessor through your difficulty. Through patience, boldness, love, and trust in the Lord, she found freedom from the bondage of her son’s (St. Augustine) and husband’s belligerent behavior for years before they found healing. You can learn more about Saint Monica here.
WHAT IS MY LIFE GOING TO LOOK LIKE IN RECOVERY?
Those that struggle with addict typically struggle with letting go of control. For many, the source of our addiction seems to be the only thing that we can control at all, even though an honest look at our lives would indicate that the addiction has complete control over us. There is no knowing what a life in recovery is going to look like, but freedom, happiness, a fellowship of friends that support and care about you are most likely in your near future if you choose to let go and lean into the will of God. If you find that those are not things that you’re interested, your misery can certainly be refunded!
Most people who get to experience sobriety from their addiction find themselves interested in the surprising nature of events that take place when they are present for their own lives and the people around them. Each day, well lived, can produce opportunities for growth and getting to know more about yourself and your Creator. You may find some difficulties facing the realities that you were previously hiding from, but the fruit of that comes in the form of being able to hold your head high and look yourself and others in the eye knowing that you’ve done your best today.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A SPONSOR?
Sponsorship is one of several overlaps between the way we work through the twelve steps of recovery and experience the sacraments of the Church. Both are processes that we do not go through alone, and a relationship with a sponsor is a great gift.
Most important in making the decision about who to find as a sponsor is ensuring that they have gone through all twelve steps and are continuing to practice recovery principles in all of their affairs. You should genuinely “want what they have”, that is, a commitment to their recovery and a self-sacrificial lifestyle that is available to helping others.
Your sponsor should be able to relate to some of your life experiences, be willing to share their own, and maintain confidentiality regarding the things you discuss together. Having a similar faith can be beneficial when it comes to discussing spiritual practices, devotions, and prayer types.
Sometimes having a sponsor who has a contrasting personality can be beneficial. Accountability and encouragement can both be gained by working closely with a sponsor. If you have a tendency to be hands off with some of the work associated with going through the steps, finding someone with a rigid, hard-lined approach to mentorship may work well. If you are often too hard on yourself, having another voice to show mercy and compassion can help offset your destructive thinking.
Head over to our community forum to discuss more about sponsorship.
WHAT DOES SACRAMENT MEAN?
As per the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):
We recognize that the Sacraments have a visible and invisible reality, a reality open to all the human senses but grasped in its God-given depths with the eyes of faith. When parents hug their children, for example, the visible reality we see is the hug. The invisible reality the hug conveys is love. We cannot “see” the love the hug expresses, though sometimes we can see its nurturing effect in the child.
The visible reality we see in the Sacraments is their outward expression, the form they take, and the way in which they are administered and received. The invisible reality we cannot “see” is God’s grace, his gracious initiative in redeeming us through the death and Resurrection of his Son. His initiative is called grace because it is the free and loving gift by which he offers people a share in his life, and shows us his favor and will for our salvation. Our response to the grace of God’s initiative is itself a grace or gift from God by which we can imitate Christ in our daily lives.
The saving words and deeds of Jesus Christ are the foundation of what he would communicate in the Sacraments through the ministers of the Church. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church recognizes the existence of Seven Sacraments instituted by the Lord. They are the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist), the Sacraments of Healing (Penance and the Anointing of the Sick), and the Sacraments at the Service of Communion (Marriage and Holy Orders). Through the Sacraments, God shares his holiness with us so that we, in turn, can make the world holier.
WHAT TREATMENT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR CATHOLIC CLERGY, MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS, AND SEMINARIANS?
Addiction cuts across all demographics, and even a life dedicated to serving the Church does not make one immune to the effects of alcoholism and addiction. In fact, there are some challenges that clergy face that make their circumstances more likely to create addictive behaviors.
Guest House has been offering residential treatment and long-term care for Catholic clergy and religious brothers and sisters for over 60 years. Their alumni hold leadership positions throughout the Church and go on to lead meaningful lives, bringing their parish and communities to new spiritual levels as they grow in their recovery. If you suspect that a religious leader in your community is struggling with addiction and showing signs of dependance, make a call to Guest House and they will be happy to walk you through the situation and how they can help (including intervention). They can be reached at (800) 626-6910.
Here you can find helpful links, prayers, and content essential to recovery and a spiritual way of life. Stay tuned as this continues to develop and grow.
Catholic in Recovery Blog is where you can find reflections, testimonies, advice, insight, and more on a Catholic approach to addiction recovery.
Integrity Restored is a great resource provided by Dr. Peter Kleponis to help men, their wives and their families break free from the bonds of porn. The site provides resources and tools to encounter healing in the midst of suffering, and maintains Catholic virtues and principles to encounter the blessings of a new freedom.
Made in His Image is a non-profit organization established by Maura Preszler. Its mission is to begin a dialogue, a discussion, in a safe and compassionate setting, to foster hope and healing, and to empower women to turn from victim to survivor. They share healing for women suffering from eating disorders, sexual abuse, and physical trauma.
SMART PHONE APPS
THE TWELVE STEPS
1. We admitted we were powerless over ________—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Word on Fire Catholic Ministries is a nonprofit global media apostolate that supports the work of Bishop Robert Barron and reaches millions of people to draw them into— or back to— the Catholic faith. The resources (articles, videos, scripture studies, and more) have an impressive ability to bring understanding to rather deep and difficult topics. Bishop Barron and other contributors to Word on Fire present very relatable topics to modern day and the culture that we live in today. Moreover, Bishop Barron often ties his biblical reflections with the principles of the Twelve Steps.
The Call Collective is a collection of work by Chris Hazell, a young adult Catholic who uses his unique writing style to analyze the implications of faith in our culture. Through a Christian lens, Chris discusses the role of faith in our everyday lives while commenting on creativity, art, and the presence of God in our everyday lives.
Restless Pilgrim is an assortment of thoughts by David Bates, a well-traveled Englishman. David shares his personal experience around the faith and provides a great collection of topics including theology, apologetics, and current events.
The Vatican Website is a reliable source of Catholic Church documents, speeches and homilies from the Holy Father Pope Francis and Popes across the last century. This is a very rich website full of historical documents, encyclicals, and archives of the church. Here you can also find the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – A good source for daily bible readings, information about the saints, daily meditations, and more.
SERENITY PRAYER (LONG VERSION)
God grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And Wisdom to know the difference
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread & forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever.
THIRD STEP PRAYER
God, I offer myself to Thee
To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help
Of Thy Power, Thy love and Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always.*
SEVENTH STEP PRAYER
I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.
I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character
Which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do your bidding.*
God, Please help me to be free of anger and to see that the world and its people have dominated me. Show me that the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, has the power to actually kill me. Help me to master my resentments by understanding that the people who wrong me were perhaps spiritually sick. Please help me show those I resent the same Tolerance, Pity and Patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.** Help me to see that this is a sick man. Father, please show me how I can be helpful to him and save me from being angry. Lord, help me to avoid retaliation or argument. I know I can’t be helpful to all people, but at least show me how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one. Thy will be done.*
**Dear God, I have a resentment towards a person that I want to be free of. So, I am asking you to give this person everything I want for myself. Help me to feel compassionate understanding and love for this person. I pray that they will receive everything they need. Thank you God for your help and strength with this resentment.*
PRAYER OF SAINT FRANCIS
Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is wrong, the spirit of forgiveness.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
PRAYER TO SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
Saint Michael the Archangel,
Defend us in battle,
Be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host,
By the power of God,
Thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
*SOME OF THESE PRAYERS WERE ORIGINALLY FOUND IN THE TEXT OF THE BIG BOOK OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS AND ARE USED IN TWELVE-STEP GROUPS AROUND THE WORLD
Catholic in Recovery is a nonprofit ministry that seeks to serve those suffering from addiction and unhealthy attachments.