Understanding Addiction and Supporting Recovery: Strategies & Tools

April 7, 2024 - May 19, 2024
Live Weekly Discussions with the instructor are available on Sunday afternoons, starting April 7, 2023, for those who wish to deepen their understanding of the material through conversation and reflection. We will meet 5-6:30 pm ET / 4-5:30 pm CT / 3-4:30 pm MT / 2-3:30 pm PT on: Apr 7, April 14, April 21, April 28, May 5, May 12, May 19

This program melds our baptismal commitment “to seek and serve Christ in all persons” and “to respect the dignity of every human being” with a longing to increase understanding about those who are predisposed to addictions and to offer them a path to recovery and wholeness. Grounded in scripture, tradition and reason, this training helps individuals and religious communities to reflect critically on the current state of substance use and addiction, to prepare to minister as Recovery Allies and/or Rapid Response Teams, to prepare their churches and dioceses to be Safe Havens and/or Recovery Ready Churches and to share Christ’s love with those struggling with substance use.

This course has been developed to respond to the 21 Acts of General Convention on “substance abuse” beginning in 1973. These Acts of Convention call for the Episcopal Church to educate and train clergy, to examine and establish policies, to promote healing and minister to those affected, and to establish committees and task forces to address matters related to alcohol and other drug use. As a result of taking this course, church leaders will be able to demonstrate the Core Competencies: the basic knowledge, attitudes, and skills essential to the ability of clergy and pastoral leaders to meet the needs of persons with alcohol or substance related problems.

Our call is not only to respond to the General Convention resolutions, but also to respond to Jesus’ command to love our neighbor. In the Gospel of Luke, responding to a lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus tells the parable of the good Samaritan. Afterwards, he asks, “Which of these was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The lawyer answers, “the one who showed him mercy.” Jesus responds, “Go and do likewise.” This course will help individuals go and do likewise by showing mercy to individuals, families, and communities affected by substance use disorder and addiction.

SESSIONS (asynchronous)

SESSION 0: Introductions, Expectations and commitments
SESSION 1: Why the Faith Community
SESSION 2: Prevention and Risk
SESSION 3: Chronic Disease, Alcoholism, and the Brain
SESSION 4: Language Culture, and Recovery
SESSION 5: Pathways to Recovery/Philosophies of Care
SESSION 6:Children of Families at Risk
SESSION 7: Family Members and Other Care Givers
SESSION 8: What Does it Mean to be a Faith Responder (Recovery Ally) and Safe Haven (Recovery Ready Church)?

All sessions are available in an asynchronous format for you to engage at your own pace. Each session will open on Sunday and will be available for the duration of the course.

About the Author

Jan Brown

The Rev. Jan M. Brown is the Founding/Executive Director of SpiritWorks Foundation Center for the Soul, a recovery community organization based in Virginia. As an ordained Deacon in the Episcopal Church, she serves as Archdeacon of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, and at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, VA.

Jan graduated from the College of William and Mary with a BA in Psychology, is certified as a Peer Recovery Support Specialist, a Recovery Coach Professional and an international scholar on Addiction Studies. She received her Master of Science Degree in Addiction Studies in 2018 from the International Programme on Addiction Studies at King’s College in London, the University of Adelaide and Virginia Commonwealth University. She is an Addictions Educator and speaker on topics of recovery-oriented systems of care, faith responders, recovery allies, the role of the church in addiction and recovery, recovery support services and recovery management.

Jan serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Faces and Voices of Recovery, Recovery Consultant on SAMHSA States Targeted Response (STR) Technical Assistance Center Team, Consensus Panel member for the SAMHSA TIP – Peer Recovery Support Specialists and co-chair of the Addictions and Recovery Commission for the Diocese of Southern Virginia. In 2014 she was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse. In 2015, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church appointed her to serve on the Commission on Impairment and Leadership. Jan was recently included in the Online Museum of African American Addictions, Treatment and Recovery as one of the Historical Pioneers, most notable among the African Americans Who Have Made (and are Making) a Difference in Promoting Resistance to and Recovery from Alcohol and Other Drug Problems.