When people face a crisis, they often look to their faith.
Religious leaders are often the first line of defense, the first person to call when someone needs help or guidance. That certainly applies to those who are dealing with addiction.
Whether seeking help for themselves or advice to help a loved one, members of the religious community are often at the forefront of the fight against substance abuse.
On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge in Berks County held a special workshop to help them provide the tools and resources they need to succeed in the battle.
Rosemary Sullivan Sandman, Head of Promotion and Compliance for Nonprofit Organizations, said: “And you have to hit when the iron is hot, because you may lose that window of opportunity to get them the help they need.”
Workshop open to all members of the faith community who want to learn about support
Those who are recovering or suffering from addiction were led by Nathan Schaeffler, executive director of counseling services, and Rev. Brian Koch, ministry ambassador.
Schaeffler emphasized to participants that addiction should not be revoked simply as a moral decision.
“Many people consider addiction to be a moral decision or illness,” he said. “Actually both. It starts as a moral decision and grows addictive over time. Long-term use changes the chemistry of the brain and causes brain disease.”
But he added that the addiction is curable.
“We feel that sick individuals should not be locked up in prison, so we are here to let them know that people can be cured by finding recovery in rehabilitation.” He said. “Addiction makes the brain dependent on emotions rather than intelligence. It is important to know that this can be undone with help.”
Schaeffler said members of the faith community have the opportunity to help guide those struggling towards recovery resources such as the Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge. He said the organization ensures that people meet and individuals receive the right level of treatment.
According to Sandman, meeting attendees were provided with a list of local resources, information about addictions, and information on how to better serve members of the herd in need.
Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge hosts a workshop on addiction to the religious community
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