The Greek Archdiocese posted this excellent speech by clinical counselor Michael Kallas:
It is aimed at average people trying to understand a friend or family member with an addiction, and how to ‘get it right’ in addressing the problem with the sufferer. It is very basic, and that makes it valuable for those who have never had formal training or long-term experience in dealing with addictions.
All of our parishes could do with a Michael Kallas. We all need someone to ‘translate’ the addict-experience into something that makes sense, because too often it does not. His knowledge is especially needed by clergy, since we are often the ones who have to deal with addicts.
I have tried on several occasions to ‘coach’ fellow priests through the maze of the addicted mind when they have been forced to deal with a particular pastoral case that stumps them. The problem is that the way you deal with an alcoholic or addict is usually in a manner which is totally opposite to how you would deal with a ‘normie,’ and so most priests find that their ‘instincts’ get them into more and more trouble.
Usually, after such an experience, they have more sympathy for ‘enabling’ families that wonder why everything went so terribly wrong even with their best efforts. If you follow Mr. Kallas’ advice, you will find yourself making fewer bad decisions.
He gives excellent advice on listening, which has become a lost art as we enter the depersonalized era. Many time, when we are supposed to be listening we are either thinking of the next thing to say or fighting the urge to interrupt, both of which turn us away from the speaker and allow the conversation to devolve into two unrelated inner dialogs rather than alternating speaking and listening.