Tribes of the recovering community – Clergy

We’ll wrap the tribes of the recovering community series with a few mutual aid groups for recovering clergy.

Clergy Recovery Network – The Clergy Recovery Network exists to support, encourage and provide resources to religious professionals in recovery. If you are a pastor, missionary, religious professional–or a spouse of one–and you need help . . .welcome home. We have been waiting for you.

Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy – The Fellowship recognizes addiction as primary, progressive, predictable, chronic and terminal. Addiction can be arrested at any stage of its development. Recovery from any and all addiction is a spiritual process. The Fellowship bears witness to this truth at every level in the Church. Lutheran clergy struggling with any form of addiction are welcome in this fellowship. We will do whatever we can to give you support.

Recovered Alcoholic Clergy Association300px-Chartres_-_cathédrale_-_rosace_nord – The Recovered Alcoholic Clergy Association (RACA) is a working fellowship of the clergy of the Episcopal Church. We do enjoy ecumenical contacts with recovering ordained persons from other traditions even though membership is limited to current and former clergy of the Episcopal Church.

Any bishop, priest, deacon, member of a religious order, or seminarian who has a desire to stop using mood altering chemicals is eligible for membership. RACA is always willing offer support and counsel to ordained members of other religious traditions who want to discover the miracle of recovery as we have experienced it.

RACA has grown from the original six organizers in 1968 to 280 in 2014 our forty-sixth year of being more or less organized..

‘Recovering Alcoholic’: Words That Stigmatize or Empower?

zombie_slayer_recovering_alcoholic_ornament-ra51510b4d82a48b8b0e9d9803c750597_x7s2p_8byvr_324• The more the individual identified him/herself as a recovering alcoholic (addict) the higher was his/her level of self-efficacy.

• Higher self-efficacy was associated with more months clean and/or sober.

• The more the individual leaned toward the recovering identity the less likely she/he was to report having relapsed into drinking or drug use during the pervious two years.

So, is it really stigmatizing these days to identify yourself as a recovering alcoholic or addict? The evidence suggests that, to the contrary, coming to the point where an individual able to embrace that identity can help to solidify his or her recovery.

via ‘Recovering Alcoholic’: Words That Stigmatize or Empower? | Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D..

Tribes of the recovering community


Narcotics Anonymous has gotten a lot of attention this week after Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, so it’ll be this week’s tribe:

Narcotics Anonymous is a global, community-based organization with a multi-lingual and multicultural membership. NA was founded in 1953, and our membership growth was minimal during our initial twenty years as an organization. Since the publication of our Basic Text in 1983, the number of members and meetings has increased dramatically. Today, NA members hold more than 61,000 meetings weekly in 129 countries.

More on the history of NA here.

Tribes of the Recovering Community – Birds of a Feather

Orville CThis week’s tribe is Birds of a Feather International:

Birds of a Feather was formed in response to the need for meeting places for pilots and cockpit crewmembers where the subjects of addiction to alcohol or drugs might be discussed with impunity and anonymity.  The cultural bias concerning these subjects has prevented many pilots in the past from seeking advice in this area.   Birds of a Feather intends to address, in an atmosphere of support, the facts–in that the members are alcoholic themselves and have a means whereby productive lives in their chosen profession can be maintained.

Our concern is recovery from alcoholism.  We have no loyalties to any company, government institution, medical facility, union, Employee Assistant Program, treatment center or specific recovery program.  The fear of loss or limitation to our careers because of this misunderstood disease has been a very real concern to all of us and the understanding of those concerns to be found here is priceless.  BOAF has contributed immeasurably to our own recovery and the spirit of passing this philosophy on to others who also might benefit is the reason for Birds of a Feather.

Is AA a Cult, or a Culture?

satanic-cults1Our friend Jennifer Matesa has a great new post on the question of whether AA is a cult.

“The Atlantic Group didn’t resonate with me. It’s like bars—it’s like drinking culture,” she said. “You can find the culture that works for you. Before I got sober, I didn’t like Manhattan drinking culture anymore, so I moved to Brooklyn.” (And had “Brooklyn drinking culture” managed to “work” for her any differently from Manhattan’s? “I could wear a plaid shirt,” she said, cocking a grin. “I couldn’t do that in Manhattan—not in the Meatpacking District clubs I was going to.”)

So is AA a cult or a culture?—I’d already been thinking about this question before Sophia made this remark.

My app, at 129 megabytes, is the heftiest one on my phone, and I use it with impunity, even during meetings, when, I figure, people probably think I’m checking my Facebook page, and when, it has been “suggested,” I shut my phone off and stow it below my seat cushion for the duration of the flight. (Nobody kicked me out of the meeting or otherwise traumatized me that day for daring to break the suggestion.)

Cult and culture share the Latin root colere, which means to take care of and make grow. Culture, the much older word, hung onto this meaning and led to the word cultivate, while cult was coined in the 1800s to denote extreme forms of worship.

At the same time, with the scientific revolution, the word culture was appropriated to refer to the material that scientists use to grow samples in Petri dishes. And that’s how I think of 12-step groups: samples, cultures, growing in a big worldwide Petri dish.

Some sections are healthier than others.

It reminds me of Roger Ebert’s post from years ago:

The God word. The critics never quote the words “as we understood God.” Nobody in A.A. cares how you understand him, and would never tell you how you should understand him. I went to a few meetings of “4A” (“Alcoholics and Agnostics in A.A.”), but they spent too much time talking about God. The important thing is not how you define a Higher Power. The important thing is that you don’t consider yourself to be your own Higher Power, because your own best thinking found your bottom for you. One sweet lady said her higher power was a radiator in the Mustard Seed, “because when I see it, I know I’m sober.”

Sober. A.A. believes there is an enormous difference between bring dry and being sober. It is not enough to simply abstain. You need to heal and repair the damage to yourself and others. We talk about “white-knuckle sobriety,” which might mean, “I’m sober as long as I hold onto the arms of this chair.” People who are dry but not sober are on a “dry drunk.”

A “cult?” How can that be, when it’s free, nobody profits and nobody is in charge? A.A. is an oral tradition reaching back to that first meeting between Bill W. and Doctor Bob in the lobby of an Akron hotel. They’d tried psychiatry, the church, the Cure. Maybe, they thought, drunks can help each other, and pass it along. A.A. has spread to every continent and into countless languages, and remains essentially invisible. I was dumbfounded to discover there was a meeting all along right down the hall from my desk.

via Is AA a Cult, or a Culture? | The Fix.

Recovery as a platform for Justice

imagesBill White had a recent post on recovery and justice:

Addiction is an unrelenting relay race from drug experience to drug experience nested within equally incessant efforts to escape the growing consequences of drug use.  The accumulating debts rising from these processes constitute a point of reckoning that must be faced in any attempt at recovery.  Awareness of that point of reckoning and the complete lack of understanding of how it could be faced often fuels continued drug use and related acts of self-destruction.   This point of reckoning is an essential dilemma facing anyone seeking recovery.  Recovery is many things, but it is at its best a platform for justice.  Recovery without justice is a strained and haunted recovery.

The earliest members of Alcoholics Anonymous learned on the anvil of their collective experience that key actions were required to bring justice to those harmed and to bring to the alcoholic whatever degree of forgiveness and self-forgiveness was possible.  Those essential steps included rigorous self-inventory (honest accounting), confession (honest admission of guilt), restitution to those harmed (amends) and unpaid acts of service (helping others).  Whether one is recovering with the support of a Twelve-Step fellowship or through another pathway of recovery, those four steps remain the best strategies ever developed to ameliorate guilt for past injury to others and to self.

via Recovery and Justice | Blog & New Postings | William L. White.

Spiritual awakening predicts improved recovery outcomes

healinghandsAn interesting study from a friend of ours:


PURPOSE: This study examined concurrent and longitudinal associations between two dimensions of affiliation in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)-attendance and spiritual awakening-and drinking outcomes among adult patients who were in treatment for alcohol dependence in Warsaw, Poland. In a study conducted at four addiction treatment centers, male and female patients (n = 118) with a DSM-IV diagnosis of alcohol dependence were assessed at baseline (Time 1 or T1), 1 month (T2), and 6-12 months postbaseline (T3) for AA meeting attendance, various aspects of AA affiliation, and alcohol use. Alcoholics Anonymous meeting attendance and alcohol consumption were measured using the Timeline Followback interview. Self-report of having had a spiritual awakening was measured using a modified version of the Alcoholics Anonymous Involvement Scale.

RESULTS: There were no cross-sectional or longitudinal associations between AA meeting attendance and improved drinking outcomes. In contrast, self-report of a spiritual awakening between T2 and T3 was significantly associated with abstinence (OR = 2.4, p < .05) and the absence of any heavy drinking (OR = 3.0, p < .05) at T3, even when demographic and clinical characteristics were statistically controlled.

CONCLUSIONS: Self-reports of spiritual awakening predicted improved drinking outcomes in a Polish treatment sample.

via Spiritual awakening predicts improved … [J Addict Nurs. 2013 Oct-Dec] – PubMed – NCBI.

Tribes of the recovering community

FinalWelbrietyMovmntlogo-blksmaller_001This week’s tribe are Wellbriety Circles:

Wellbriety means to be both sober and well. It means to have come through recovery from chemical dependency and to be a recovered person who is going beyond survival to thriving in his or her life and in the life of the community. The Well part of Wellbriety means to live the healthy parts of the principles, laws and values of traditional culture. It means to heal from dysfunctional behaviors other than chemical dependency, as well as chemical dependency itself. This includes co dependency, ACOA behavior, domestic or family violence, gambling, and other shortcomings of character.

Tribes of the recovering community

dralogoThis week’s tribe is Dual Recovery Anonymous:

Dual Recovery Anonymous™ is a 12 Step self-help program that is based on the principals of the Twelve Steps and the experiences of men and women in recovery with a dual diagnosis. The DRA program helps us recover from both our chemical dependency and our emotional or psychiatric illness by focusing on relapse prevention and actively improving the quality of our lives. In a community of mutual support, we learn to avoid the risks that lead back to alcohol and drug use as well as reducing the symptoms of our emotional or psychiatric illness.

There are only two requirements for membership:

  • A desire to stop using alcohol or other intoxicating drugs.
  • A desire to manage our emotional or psychiatric illness in a healthy and constructive way.