Oates Institute

Spiritual Care of the Alcohol and Drug Addicted

Addictions in their various forms present difficulties and opportunities for church families. The difficulties are, of course, obvious. Addictions disrupt [...]

Addictions in their various forms present difficulties and opportunities for church families. The difficulties are, of course, obvious. Addictions disrupt families, church and communities. The problem of addictions is not only spiritual, it also exacerbates physical and financial resources of the family and spiritual community. Services available through pastoral care settings are too often a resource of last resort. Care givers are reluctant to intervene where they are uninvited, and a common trait of addicted individuals is denial and thus are reluctant to reach out for help. This seminar guides the counselor through the opportunity to minister to the addicted individual and the family. In so doing, the spiritual community is served as well.

Lee Whitlock will be our facilitator. Lee has worked extensively with the alcohol and drug addicted, serving as the director of Beacon House, in Louisville, for many years.

Key Points:

• Understanding the Illness: Recognize addictions as illnesses by examining current research and the disease through case studies of men and women in recovery. Recognize that the care giving community can make a difference but must have the insight into the dynamics of the disease in order to do so. Resources for the care giver will be discovered and discussed.

• Spiritual (Religious) Approaches to Addiction: This section looks at the fluid and ever changing approaches to dealing with addiction: half-way houses, residency (long and short term), in-patient, etc. We will also explore how these options combined with a spiritual experience or those that do not take a spiritual approach work.

• Examination of 12-Step Programs: The emphasis during this week will deal primarily with Alcoholics Anonymous’ program primarily because it is the oldest, and other 12-Step programs are designed around this methodology. This week will primarily look at its methodology, but will offer insights into its history and success. We’ll see how the spiritual community, primarily the church, helped develop the AA recovery program.

• The Counselor’s Role in Recovery: We will examine the role that forgiveness and acceptance plays in recovery, how an attitude of acceptance lays the groundwork for counseling addicted individuals, guiding principles for counseling, assistance for the extended family. The Judeo-Christian approach to salvation has at its core the recognition that “all have fallen short,” but this is coupled with the understanding that forgiveness and acceptance is an obligation of the community. We will examine how counselors can lay the groundwork for the community accept the addicted individuals but also how the community can become an inviting community as well.


You may participate in this seminar from wherever you are. All you need is your tablet or computer and access to the Internet. You may also participate according to your schedule. By spreading the discussion out over several weeks using a discussion forum, you may read others posts and submit your own to the conversation at times that are convenient to you.

This seminar will use the Oates Institute’s Connected Learning approach, which invites participants to reflect on their experience in light of the assigned readings and share the insights of that reflection with the group. This allows us to more fully engage with what the author and seminar facilitator share and we discover new insights about ourselves in light of our experience. Often we discover that we know more than we thought we did. Sharing our insights helps us go deeper and to also learn from one another’s experience. One of the exciting aspects of online seminars is that the participants are from so many other places providing us with the opportunities for learn from other regions and cultures.

Continuing Education Requirements:

As a participant in this online seminar you may earn 12 contact hours of continuing education credit by reading the resource and other presentations and participating in the discussion. Those seeking continuing education credits must contribute at least two posts per week to the discussion — one reflecting on the presentations or case studies in light of personal experience and context and a second responding to someone else’s reflection or inquiry. The evaluation form submitted at the end of the seminar serves as the CEU application. Following your submission of this form you will receive your CEU certificate.


As with all Oates Seminars, registration for this seminar is simple. Members may register for free by simply applying for the course in the upper right corner of this page. Non-members may participate by also applying for the course where you will be taken to a payment page. Select the $95 non-member seminar registration choice, pay and you’ll be registered. If you have any difficulties at all, please email us at registration@oates.org.

For non-members, you can save money over the long-term by becoming a member, too! A one-year clinical membership is just a few dollars more than paying for two seminars as a non-member. So BECOME A MEMBER and save!

Navigating The Course

For help navigating the course once you’re approved, watch this video:


And be sure to introduce yourself in the course forum here.


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