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Addiction and Spirituality: Dealing with Holes in the Soul
This course will examine the largely unacknowledged and sorely underexamined epidemic of addiction in the United States. Statistics show that one out of every seven persons in the United States has some form of substance abuse. Every church, mosque, synagogue and temple has persons afflicted and affected by addiction. A holistic, pastoral overview of ministry to persons with addictions will be presented through reading, presentations, research and dialogue in and outside the classroom. Using the various models of addiction - moral, mental health, medical, etc., - we will discuss the underlying spiritual issues of sin, shame, unforgiveness and the spiritual responses of healing, forgiveness and grace. Persons engaged in religious leadership and service of all types, including pastors, imams, chaplains and the regular congregational member who cares and gives care will be interested in this important course.
Monday, June 25 – Saturday, June 30, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Develop our own spirituality
- Develop understanding and empathy for people living with addiction or in recovery
- Understand what resources our own faith tradition offers for recovery and well-balanced life
- Become familiar with Spirituality and Recovery literature and understand different models of Recovery
- Learn more about ourselves
This course will meet June 25 through June 30, from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Because we meet only six days together, our time will be enhanced by student participation, which is expected. The class sessions depend on the students having read the assigned books for each day’s lesson. A reflection paper is due Tuesday through Friday that shows your engagement with the reading materials. Each student will give a short presentation on Friday or Saturday. A longer reflection paper is due at the beginning of class Saturday that will show how the week has impacted you. The final paper will be a research paper and grading will follow the guidelines for Hartford Seminary Research Papers.
Along with participation in the class discussions and exercises, students will be expected to read the following four books:
Prior to the beginning of class, Required Texts (given in order they will be gone over in class):
Heyman, Gene. Addiction: A Disorder of Choice. Harvard University Press, 2009
Keating, Thomas. Divine Therapy & Addiction. Lantern Books, 2009
Nelson, James B. Thirst: God and the Alcoholic Experience. Westminster John Knox Press, 2004
Additional Required Reading (To be read during the week of class.):
Kurtz, Ernest and Katherine Ketcham. The Spirituality of Imperfection. Bantam Books, 2002
Assessment Expectations: writing assignments, tests, class presentations, etc.
A 2-page reflection paper will be required Tuesday through Friday, incorporating the readings and personal reflections, including the participant’s faith tradition, i.e., what does the reading say, and what does my understanding of my faith tradition have to say about this reading? This short paper is similar to a journal, but more reflective and well thought out and organized.
A 5-page reflection paper is expected at the end of the course on any two or more of the required or suggested readings and how that reading is relevant to your faith tradition. This paper is designed to show your growth of thought throughout the week. It is not a research paper, but reflective of the week’s classes and readings and the your learning process.
A 15 minute presentation about addiction and what resource your faith tradition can play in recovery. This presentation should be informative and tell our class something important your faith tradition, as you practice and understand it, has to offer someone struggling with addiction and recovery. In addition, a research paper and/or ministry project on some aspect of addiction will be due July 30. This paper will develop the students thought process on Addiction & Spirituality and include, at a minimum, three of the required textbooks. Incorporating some of the recommended texts will enhance the paper. An effective paper will include:
- A clear statement of your topic, including a brief review of your own spiritual tradition and why this topic is significant to you and relevant to the class subject.
- Specific evidence that supports your understanding and analysis of the information by citing examples from the assigned and recommended textbooks as well as your own faith tradition and teachings.
- Reflection on the theological and spiritual dimensions of your topic, as well as alternative views and why you may or may not agree with these alternative views.
Please use Times Roman 12 point font, double-spaced, with one inch margins and page numbers, and include your name on each page of the document.
Please submit your final paper to me through email as a Word Document attachment, with you last name and first initial as the document name.
Attendance in class is required. If you know you will be unable to attend a class session please inform the professor in advance. Missing two sessions will preclude successful completion of the class.
Available by Appointment or after class
Suggestions of a few basic books to be read by those without a background in the topic (not required)
Hoffman, John and Susan Froemke, eds. Addiction: Why Can’t They Just Stop? Rodale Books Inc., 2007.
Excellent introduction to Addiction and highly recommended!
May, Gerald G. Addiction & Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. San Francisco: Harper, 1988.
------------. The Dark Night of the Soul. San Francisco: Harper, 2005.
Among my favorite books about spirituality
Bien, Thomas and Beverly Bien. Mindful Recovery: A Spiritual Path to Healing from Addictions. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002.
Excellent book written by husband/wife team of therapists using mindfulness w/great case-studies.
Dupont, Robert. The Selfish Brain: Learning from Addiction. Hazelden, 1997
Comprehensive Book on addiction, biology of addiction and many individual drugs.
AA Big Book
Overview of class:
Monday - Introduction of topic; Presentation of models of understanding addiction, Discussion of Heyman book in the assigned readings
Tuesday – Addiction & Spirituality lecture with guest Bob Carini, 2-page paper on Heyman;
Wednesday – Addiction and Spirituality, will discuss the Keating book, 2-page paper on Keating;
Thursday – Addiction & Spirituality resources from various faith traditions, Biology & brain chemistry, etc; Discuss the Nelson book, 2-page paper on Nelson;
Friday –Discuss the Kurtz & Ketcham Book, Class presentations, 2-page paper on Kurtz & Ketcham;
Saturday - Class presentations, 5-page paper due, questions, issues, etc.
Class Participation 25% of Grade
Attendance and participation in every class session is expected of all students. The participation grade includes active familiarity with the readings and completion of all writing assignments as well as active participation in our discussions and presentations.
Class Presentations 25% of Grade
Each presentation should be well organized and show a clear understanding of the points you are making and demonstrate why you believe your faith tradition has something to offer to someone in recovery. You can use notes, but should speak clearly and logically in your presentation. You are speaking with expertise and have something valuable to offer.
Five-Page Paper 25% of Grade
See the description above.
Final Paper 25% of Grade
See the description above. This paper integrates the central insights and readings of the semester.
All assignments should be handed in when due. Completion of this course in a successful manner is dependant on all assignments beings completed on time. Late writing assignments are strongly discouraged and course extensions are not permitted.
Plagiarism is the failure to give proper credit for the words or ideas of another person, whether published or unpublished, and is strictly prohibited. Credit will not be given for written work in this course containing plagiarism, and plagiarism may result in a failing grade for the entire course. Please consult the plagiarism policy on pp. 56-57 of the Hartford Seminary Catalogue 2011 – 2012, and/or contact the instructor with questions in this regard.
- Gene Heyman, Addiciton: A Disorder of Choice. Harvard University Press, 2009. Buy now (required)
- Thomas Keating, Divine Therapy and Addiction. Lantern Books, 2011. Buy now (required)
- James Nelson, Thirst: God and the Alcoholic Experience. Westminster John Knox Press, 2004. Buy now (required)
- Ernest Kurtz and Katherine KLetcham, The Spirituality of Imperfection. Bantam Books, 1993. Buy now (required)
- John Hoffman and Susan Froemke, Addiction: Why Can't They Just Stop? Rodale Books, Inc., 2007. Buy now (recommended)
- Gerald May, Addiction & Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. Harper, 2007. Buy now (recommended)
- Gerald May, The Dark Night of the Soul, Harper, 2005. Buy now (recommended)
- Thomas Bien and Beverly Bien, Mindful Recovery: A Spiritual Path to Healing from Addictions. John Wiley & Sons, 2002. Buy now (recommended)
- Robert Dupont, The Selfish Brain: Learning from Addiction. Hazelden, 2000. Buy now (recommended)
- Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anyonymous World Services. Buy now (recommended)