Since 1987, the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) encourages communities to focus on awareness of the disease of alcoholism and alcohol related issues. Often faith communities have been silent about this chronic disease, which is treatable, and not a moral weakness or failure.
This month Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries joins others in raising awareness about alcohol – its proper use and about being a responsible drinker. “Healthy Choices, Healthy Communities” is being celebrated across the country in various faith communities. During this month, faith communities are learning how they can journey with others as they struggle with this chronic disease. The National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence have developed ten tips for dealing issues related to alcohol.
First, don’t be afraid to say no when others want to pressure you to what is right for someone who is struggling with the disease. Sometimes the fear of a negative reaction keeps us from speaking out and helping another. At other times, we are pressured into doing something that enables a person to remain in the grips of the disease. Remember to care and care enough to do what is healthy for the person and yourself.
Second, know your family’s history. Often families do not talk about alcoholism and the struggles that family members have had with the disease. Family silence only perpetuates the disease. The risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by genetics. Some people’s bodies respond to effects of alcohol and drugs differently. If you have a family history, you are four times more likely to develop a problem than someone who does not.
Thirdly, be a companion and role model for others. Being a companion means journeying with the person as he or she experiences life. It does not mean placing oneself in harm’s way or enabling the person to drink or use drugs. But it does mean listening, caring and showing him or her by your own actions that life can be full and rich without alcohol.
Lastly, know when to refer someone so that he or she can get the healing and help he or she needs. Alcoholism is chronic disease that requires ongoing treatment and support. Resources are available in the community and a faith community nurse can help.
To learn more tips for your community to become a part of “Healthy Choices, Healthy Communities”, contact Rev. Donna Pupillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.