The Rt. Rev. Douglas Hahn, Bishop of Lexington, writes a pastoral letter about addiction and grace:

On five occasions in the last year I have received a call from a parish priest reporting the drug related death of a young adult member. On these five occasions a parish has surrounded a family grieving from fatal addiction. These five deaths are but a shadow of the much greater tragedy of drug and alcohol abuse in our region, especially among young people. Every parish priest can tell a story of drug or alcohol abuse; every family, including my own, can name an addiction-related sorrow.

Addiction is one of the great crises of our time. It affects individuals and families in our nation at epidemic proportions. It knows no bounds of education or class. It touches even the healthiest families. It is as prevalent within the church as it is in the wider community. It is a disease that creates chaos and heartbreak, it is surrounded by secrecy and shame, and if left untreated it is fatal.

… Many parishes host 12-step meetings. I encourage you, as I encourage all of our clergy, to attend an open 12-step meeting. You will be inspired to hear the mighty struggles and the joyful victories of those present. You will see the power of God’s Spirit at work.

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Image: Heroin by Psychonaught (own work). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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