By Cary Quashen, CAS
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2012, over 22.2 million persons aged 12 or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse. Overall, 17.7 million had alcohol dependence or abuse, and 7.3 million had illicit drug dependence or abuse.
Be it in our homes, our schools, our communities, or our faith communities, drug and alcohol abuse needs to be an open and ongoing conversation. We have done a good job in Santa Clarita addressing substance abuse on many different fronts. But, more and more we are learning that the faith community has an important role to play in prevention and addiction recovery.
Many people served by congregations suffer directly or indirectly from addiction. We know that addiction damages people in so many different ways, but especially affects their spirituality and relationship with God. Many faith communities are seeking help to support individuals and families with the needed prevention education, early intervention, referral assistance, recovery support and advocacy related to drug and alcohol problems.
Recently, Action Family Counseling has assisted several faith communities in the Santa Clarita Valley, developing programs to assist their congregational members in the understanding of addiction, addiction treatment and recovery.
Our goal has been to work closely with clergy to develop a plan for each congregation, fitting their individual needs and engaging church members in conversations about alcohol and other drug concerns. We actively teach prevention strategies and skills to thwart the earliest symptoms of addiction and work with individuals and small groups.
We also facilitate the sharing of recovery experiences with others in congregations to cultivate a climate of openness and understanding. And, last but not least, we create relationships between faith communities and community resources such as Twelve Step programs, intervention and treatment programs.
If you are interested in designing a program that helps individuals and families with prevention, early intervention, referral assistance, recovery support, as well as advocacy related to drug and alcohol problems, contact Action Family Counseling Program Director Bob Sharits at (661) 309-0094.
I know the faith community has an important role to play in prevention and addiction recovery support. I am proud of Santa Clarita faith communities who have connected to community resources and are in a better position to help the people they serve find the resources and services they need.
Cary Quashen is the founder and president of Action Parent & Teen Support Group Programs, The Action Family Foundation, and Action Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers. Quashen may be reached at (661) 297-8691.