Some people have asked why there is a need for a program like ACA. Many people do not realize that pastors and church workers suffer from addictions as much as anybody else. In fact some studies show that alcoholism is actually higher among clerics than in the general population. But clerics are usually in a position where they do not feel able to reach out for help as easily as a common person. Clerics usually have the attitude of putting the needs of others before their own needs, and being the ones their parishioners go to for strength and advice. They are more used to helping than in being helped. Also many clerics find themselves in a position where they feel they can not admit to a problem like alcoholism or addiction in general. As a result of these perceptions many clerics who suffer from addiction suffer in silence, until things get so bad that the problem becomes painfully obvious, not just to the cleric, but to the congregation as well.
ACA provides a confidential forum in which clerics can come forward with their problems knowing they are dealing with fellow clerics who have been down the same road. In ACA we do not go by full name (usually just first name and last initial) so as to respect anonymity. And our online forum allows the assurance that confidentiality will be respected. In this environment ACA is free to give the help needed to aid our fellows in their recovery from addiction. In ACA we offer the service of one cleric talking to another in regards to recovery helping both to remain sober.
There are other programs like ACA out in the world today, but these other programs usually are limited in scope to only clerics of a particular denomination and are unable due to the restraints of time and finances to reach beyond their particular denominational lines. Smaller denominations and churches which do not have such programs in place tend to be left out in such work. ACA is Inter-Faith and Non-Denominational in its scope. Anyone who honestly seeks to recover is welcome. We currently have Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists and others working together to help one another in recovery. We find as alcoholics, addicts, and clerics that we have more than enough common ground on which to operate.
What Is The ACA Program Like?
The ACA Program is patterned very much after the basic AA Program. The exceptions are that we consider our service a ministry and reach out primarily to clerics. We use the same 12 Steps as AA, paying particular emphasis to the practice of Prayer and Meditation found in Step 11. Plus we come from the clerical point of view in which fellow clerics find they are welcome to share their own particular stories of finding sobriety in a church or religious setting. Sharing from our own experiences we seek to help others avoid some of the pitfalls we ourselves have encountered.
As with other 12 Step Programs ACA focuses on Spiritual Growth. We find, in recovery, that clerics experience a profound Spiritual change; one which allows them to become better pastors, ministers, rabbis, and people in general. This kind of Spiritual growth taking place in an Inter-Faith forum allows for a new openness to emerge in the life of each particular cleric. The awareness that we are all Children of a Common God sinks in, and clerics are able to open up in their ministries as they never could before. In ACA we help the Spiritual Leaders of today become better Spiritual people in recovery, allowing them to experience a closer relationship with God and their fellows. In this work lives are changed, and ministries revitalized!
How Can You Help?
ACA is currently trying to raise awareness of our program both globally and locally in the Springfield Mo. area. If you know of someone who might benefit from the ACA Program, please pass this information along to them. The more people we enlist in our network of recovery the better job we can do in helping our fellows in recovery. To date ACA has members in several different countries with a variety of different lengths of sobriety. Some have been sober only a few days, while others have been sober for years. We have a collective of over 60 years of recovery in the group at present, and we are just getting started! Help us in getting the word out.
Another way people can help is by making donations to this ministry. ACA is not supported by any one church or denomination. We are completely reliant upon private contributions for the continuation of our work. Any donations received go into the ministry, and are deeply appreciated!
If you have any other questions please feel free to contact ACA at the email address listed in the sidebar to the right. Thank you for your time in considering the work of ACA!
Rev. Ralph L.