About ten percent of all people in the United States struggle with addictions to alcohol and drugs. Clergy are often the first "professionals" who are made aware of an alcohol or drug problem. Unfortunately, clergy are not always trained sufficiently in this type of ministry, and the opportunity to bring hope and healing to an alcoholic and addict may be missed. Returning the Lost Sheep: Ministry to the Alcoholic and Addict, an Orthodox Perspective is a book that focuses on the theological understanding of addiction, and then looks at the core competencies that priests should be familiar with in this field. Some of the competencies include: Understanding the definition of alcoholism and addiction, the signs of dependencies, the characteristics of withdrawal, the effects on the family and the individual, as well as the characteristics of the stages of recovery, and how early diagnosis and recovery benefit the individual and family. Special emphasis is given to ministry to the addict's family members, who also become affected through their loved one's disease. The last part of the book is a simple handbook for priests on how to minister to alcoholics and addicts. Suggestions on creative ways to begin a conversation with an addicted person, a list of questions to determine addiction, and a step-by-step manual on how to coordinate an intervention are included. It also show the steps to take after the addict returns from treatment, including attending meetings with them, working the steps with them, and how and when they should begin to receive communion again. Relapse, a very common and frustrating reality in early recovery, is also covered. Finally, suggestions on how to establish recovery groups within the church, as well as how to increase alcohol and drug awareness within the community are included. Clergy and family members will benefit greatly from the statistical information and practical guidance found in theses pages.
Father Dimitrios Moraitis is currently the Senior Pastor of Saint Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Shrine in Greenlawn, New York. Having served the communities of Saint Demetrios in Chicago and Saints Constantine and Helen in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Father Moraitis has worked with alcoholics and addicts, both in a one-on-one setting, as well as serving as the interim spiritual director of the Saint Francis Recovery Community in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has facilitated numerous interventions, trained many clergy, and helped hundreds overcome the chains of addictions.