Friday, March 8, 2013

New start, new challenge

Carol Hardy believes if her local Minister hadn’t the confidence to talk about and support her battle with alcoholism, her life would have likely taken a very different course. Her personal experience of the importance of being able to turn to religious leaders in the community, and for them in turn to feel they have the ability to talk about addiction, form part of Carol’s main aims as she takes up a new post with Living Room Cardiff.

There has been a recent increase in individuals with addiction problems approaching the clergy and other church leaders for help and this is often the first time they have asked for help from anyone (NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals, 2007). However, there is a significant knowledge and skills gap among clergy in regard to dealing effectively with individuals who have alcohol, drug and other addiction problems. Some clergy lack confidence and are not personally equipped to help individuals deal with deeply personal and disturbing problems.

Carol, said, “Personally, I was fortunate. My Minister had a background in addiction issues. However, I know this was and is very much a rarity. The natural tendency amongst our religious leaders is to avoid getting involved in people’s personal business, but much of this is down to a simple lack of experience and confidence in dealing with addiction issues.

“Part of my first duties will be to make contact will all denominations in Wales to pilot a course on how to improve skills in discussing addiction. I am looking for any support to kick-start the pilot, but the aim is to create a framework of courses and a handbook, the first of its kind to be published in the Welsh language.

“As addiction problems increase, I want to ensure clergy understand the issues involved and are ready and able to respond appropriately in a timely manner.”

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