The following core competencies are essential
for clergy and pastoral ministers to meet the needs of people
with alcohol or drug dependence and their family members.
- Be aware of the generally accepted definition of
alcohol and drug dependence and the societal stigma attached
to alcohol and drug dependence.
- Be knowledgeable about the signs of alcohol and
drug dependence, characteristics of withdrawal, effects on
the individual and the family, and characteristics of the
- Be aware that possible indicators of the disease
may include, among others, marital conflict, family violence
(physical, emotional, and verbal), suicide, hospitalization,
or encounters with the criminal justice system.
- Understand that addiction erodes and blocks religious
and spiritual development, and be able to communicate effectively
the importance of spirituality and the practice of religion
in recovery, using the scripture, traditions, and rituals
of the faith community.
- Be aware of the potential benefits of early intervention
to the addicted person, family system, and affected children.
- Be aware of appropriate pastoral interactions with
the addicted person, family system, and affected children.
- Be able to communicate and sustain an appropriate
level of concern and messages of hope and caring.
- Be familiar with and utilize available community
resources to ensure a continuum of care for the addicted person,
family system, and affected children.
- Have a general knowledge of and, where possible,
exposure to the 12-step programs—Alcoholics Anonymous,
Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, Alateen, Adult Children
of Alcoholics, and other groups.
- Be able to acknowledge and address values, issues,
and attitudes regarding alcohol and drug use and dependence
in oneself and one's own family.
- Be able to shape, form, and educate a caring congregation
that welcomes and supports persons and families affected by
alcohol and drug dependence.
- Be aware of how prevention strategies can benefit
the larger community.
Core Competencies for Clergy and Other Pastoral Ministers
in Addressing Alcohol and Drug Dependence and the Impact on
Family Members is available in print from SAMHSA's
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at
P.O. Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1 (800)
729-6686 (English and Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD).