For the Victims of Addiction
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.
Book of Common Prayer, 831
September is National Recovery Month.
Here at Saint Peter’s Conway we are raising awareness of addiction while offering hope for recovery through a series of weekly articles. We have asked people in our church or diocese to share the hope they have found in recovery. Today, Rev. Dr. Stuart Hoke stars his “experience, strength, and hope.” Stuart has spoken at Saint Peter’s Conway on several occasions in the past few years and is a good friend to our congregation. Stuart is a popular conference presenter taking the message of recovery all over our nation and world.
“My name is Stuart, and I am recovering from addiction. By the Grace of God and the fellowship of a spiritual program of healing, I haven’t found it necessary to take a drink of alcohol or to ingest any other mood altering substance since the 8th day of March, 1987, and for that I am very grateful.
My own presenting complaint that became a compulsion was alcohol. I drank too much, I drank too often, and I drank to change my reality, alter my mood, and adjust my attitude. I got to a point in that slippery slide that leads to alcoholism where I could not predict with any degree of success what would happen to me after I took that first drink. At times I felt that I could control my ingestion of spirits; at other times it was katy bar the door, and slowly but surely and quite imperceptibly, I began walking that primrose path that leads to perdition. Troubles erupted, symptoms multiplied, problems gathered momentum—until a group of Episcopal church people had the nerve, the guts, the audacity to say to me—“Stuart, we love you, we care for you, and you have a problem that’s affecting all of us. Let’s get help, for you and for us.” I was dispatched to a residential treatment center for alcoholism, and the help I was given in that place was monumental. Just the knowledge of the disease itself was a godsend, but then there was the ongoing program of recovery which has given me the remarkable life that I have today.
During the rehab’s intake procedure, I met with the attending physician. He was reading my chart with a degree of scrutiny, and sporting something of a scowl on his face. I was prepared for him to say, “Son, you are doomed.” Instead, he looked up, smiled and said, “Well I see here that you have a case of garden variety alcoholism. My advice to you is this: Don’t drink anymore, go to 12step recovery meetings regularly, get yourself a sponsor, read the literature and learn the nature of addictive illness, do service for others, pray and meditate, and you’ll be fine. I said, “wait, wait a minute…you don’t know the troubles I’ve seen…I need an exotic form of treatment.” He said once more, “Don’t drink another drop, go to meetings, get yourself a sponsor, read the literature, do service for others, pray and meditate and you’ll be fine.” That was 32 years ago, and I have been much better than fine ever since.”
Next week, the Rev. Dr. Joanna Seibert, Deacon at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, Little Rock, will be sharing from her heart about recovery.
- The Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church is a great resource for anyone in recovery or family member. Their website is available here.
- Each month Saint Mark’s Little Rock hosts a 12 Step Eucharist Service. Find out about it here.
- A list of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Conway is available here.
- A list of Al-Anon meetings in Conway is available here.
- A list of Narcotics Anonymous meeting in Conway is available here.
- A list of Overeaters Anonymous meeting in Conway is available here.
- A list of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting in Conway is available here.