Diocesan Policy on Alcoholism

DIOCESAN POLICY ON ALCOHOLISM, OTHER DRUG ABUSE
AND THE USE OF ALCOHOL AT CHURCH FUNCTIONS

The Diocese of Southeast Florida recognizes alcoholism and other forms of drug abuse as a treatable disease which manifests itself in a three-fold impairment of body, mind and spirit. It affects not only the problem drinker and other drug abusers but also seriously interferes with his or her relationships with the family, the job and society in general.

The illness of alcoholism or other drug abuse is not limited to any segment of society. Alcoholism afflicts people without regard for race, religion, occupation, intelligence, skill or wealth.

We believe that the Church as a redemptive fellowship of Christian believers, must exercise a healing ministry to the problem drinker or other drug abusers and to members of his or her family.

The following is a series of guidelines for those who, in whatever capacity, live with, work with or ministry to alcoholics and other drug abusers and their families.

1. It is understood that alcoholism and other forms of habitual drug abuse is an illness, not moral weakness or a character defect.
2. Because of the complexities of this illness, qualified help should be sought to assist in recognition, intervention and treatment.
3. An ongoing educational program is necessary to inform clergy and laity alike regarding alcoholism and other drug abuse. The education should focus on recognition, early intervention and the various resources available for treatment and ongoing support.
4. It is the policy of this Diocese that employees of the Diocese and parts thereof will be afforded protection of jobs and canonical status during and after treatment. This policy regarding job protection and canonical status will not be applied to those who refuse treatment or deny their need for help.
5. Once the illness is recognized, some kind of creative and therapeutic intervention should be initiated at the earliest appropriate time.
6. Alcoholism and other drug abuse is a family illness and requires treatment of the entire family.
7. The policy concerning the use of alcoholic beverages at Church functions or on Church property in the Diocese of Southeast Florida will be as follows:
a. In accordance with State law, alcohol is not to be served to minors.
b. Drunkenness is not condoned as acceptable behavior.
c. When alcoholic beverages are to be served, nonalcoholic beverages must also provided in an equally attractive manner so that those who choose not to drink are not inconvenienced or
given any reason to feel embarrassment.
d. Any beverage or food which contains alcohol which has not been “volatized” (cooked out) must be clearly labeled as to its alcoholic content; e.g., fruit compotes, punch, desserts, etc.
e. A responsible adult must be in charge of the distribution of alcoholic beverages to insure that
it is being consumed in an appropriate manner and is not being offered to any minors present.
f. The priest-in-charge, or, in the case where there is no priest in residence, the senior warden must be consulted prior to serving any food or beverage which contains alcohol.
8. The Task Force on Addiction and Recovery will be a source of literature, films, and other materials which might be useful to those concerned about alcoholism and other drug abuse.
9. The following prayer from page 831 of the Book of Common Prayer is recommended for frequent . use throughout the Diocese.

FOR THE VICTIMS OF ADDICTION

O blessed Lord, you ministered to all who came to you: Look with compassion upon all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.

 

Reaffirmed by the Recovery Ministries of the Diocese of Southeast Florida, April 2011

We believe that the Church as a redemptive fellowship of Christian believers, must exercise a healing ministry to the problem drinker or other drug abusers and to members of his or her family.