If you know someone who has a problem with addiction, you know what a terrible cross it can be. “Much of the addict’s suffering is spiritual,” says Keaton Douglas, head of our “I THIRST” program. This program has grown out of our Regional Recovery Initiative headed by Brother Joe Dudek, S.T., at our mission at the Shrine of St. Joseph in Stirling, New Jersey and is now expanding to other parts of the country.
This warm and inviting place is where recovering addicts can come and feel safe, find a listening ear, an understanding heart, and nourish their tired spirits. The beauty of the program is that it is simple. It is people helping people – people like Brother Joe and Keaton Douglas who understand addiction and give themselves wholeheartedly to offer spiritual support to addicts who are struggling with recovery.
“I THIRST” is an acronym from “The Healing Initiative—Recovery, Spirituality, and Twelve Steps.” The initiative seeks to give people in recovery the spiritual tools they need to stay clean and lead the faith-based fight against substance-use disorders, especially the ever-growing opioid addiction.
There are many facets to this program. One of the unique steps is called Catholic Recovery Coaching. Participants are trained to mentor individuals in recovery and work with their families. “Training includes the development of a recovery plan for the individual, while focusing on Catholic spirituality and how that spirituality can help individuals navigate their own lives by practicing prayer, turning one’s life to God, creating a moral inventory and learning and keeping close to the Sacramental life of the Church,” explains Keaton.
There is also a monthly Mass for people in recovery and their families. The homily is tied into Scripture and the 12 Steps. A weekly Recovery Bible study is held on Mondays. All of these facets supplement traditional treatments and are not considered a replacement. The program provides spiritual guidance and tools for those in treatment or in early post-treatment facilities.
The good news is that the program is working. One participant said, “This time in recovery, I have built a relationship with God and have a better understanding of Him. I gave my life over to His care. The transformation has been unbelievable. For now, I don’t have any cravings for drugs or alcohol. God has relieved me of that compulsion.”
Through the continued support of our many friends, we will be able to reach even more people suffering from addiction through the “I THIRST” Program.