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Clergy and Other Pastoral Ministers

Alcohol and drug problems interfere with the capacity of addicted individuals and their family members to develop and sustain a meaningful spiritual life. Clergy and other pastoral ministers have a wide array of opportunities to address these problems and lead hurting families to recovery support and healing.

Therefore, NACoA established a broad ranging Faith Initiative, which includes The Clergy Education and Training Project® (CETP). Core Competencies, curriculum development, development of free materials for distribution through congregations for educational efforts, and partnerships with federal agencies, leading pastoral counseling organizations and seminary training programs are all part of this effort. For more information on the CETP, see the pamphlet “Breaking Down the Wall of Silence” below.

Clergy Matter
New article published by Join Together


This recently updated handbook -- created by NACoA’s Clergy Education and Training Project® for SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, provides some basic information on alcoholism and addiction, the impact of parental addiction on children, facts about adolescent alcohol and drug use, and prevention strategies. It also has an appendix with handouts for use with children of alcohol and drug dependent parents. You can download the handbook. NACoA’s on-line course, Preventing Alcohol and Drug Problems: A Course for Clergy, is based on this handbook.

Webinar Presentation Slides Available
Topic: Alcohol and Drug Dependence: Its Impact on Congregations, Families and Community Understanding Addiction, Promoting Recovery
. A webinar program of The Clergy Education and Training Project®


Clergy Certificate Program

Certificate in Spiritual Caregiving to Help Addicted Persons and Families
Based on the handbook and curriculum, in Spiritual Caregiving to Help Addicted Persons and Families, this certificate will provide faith leaders with basic knowledge about addiction, strategies to help families and children, and information about community resources and mutual support groups. Obtaining this certificate will help you become more knowledgeable and comfortable in supporting those hurting members of your congregation and faith community begin the road to recovery. Access the application form (PDF)

Required Readings
The articles and handbook below have been selected as the foundation readings for the Certificate in Spiritual Caregiving to Help Addicted Persons and Families. The articles are by leaders in dealing with issues impacting children of alcoholics (COAs) and in the area of clergy education. Three articles provide critical information and insights into the affect of alcoholism on the family (Dr. Robert Ackerman), how to help hurting children (Jerry Moe), and the benefits of COA support groups (Claudia Black). Other articles highlight the important role clergy can play in hearing an individual’s Fifth Step (Latcovich), using case studies to illuminate the core competencies for clergy in dealing with alcohol and drug dependence and the family (Latcovich and Wenger) and the importance of psychospirituality when dealing with addiction (McClone). The handbook by Rev. Woodruff covers the competencies which are the foundation of the certificate program and for education of clergy in addressing alcohol and drug dependence and its impact on family members.

Alcoholism and the Family by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
To Walk With One Child by Jerry Moe, MA
COA Support Groups by Claudia Black, Ph.D.,M.S.W
The Clergyperson and the Fifth Step by Rev. Mark A. Latcovich, Ph.D.
Psychospirituality of Addiction by Kevin P. McCLone, D.Div., Psy.D.

(Articles from Core Elements of Priestly Formation Programs, Vol. 4, Addictions & Ministry Formation, June 2005 are presented here with the permission of the Seminary Department, National Catholic Education Association, 1005 North Glebe Road, Suite 525, Arlington, VA 22201.)

NACoA Offers On-line Courses

Preventing Alcohol and Drug Problems: A Course for Clergy. This course is designed to help clergy attain knowledge and skills about prevention of alcohol and drugs, as well as the impact of family addiction and substance use disorders on children and youth. The online course provides practical steps that can be taken to help children and youth in congregations and communities. To access course outlines and register, click here

Addiction and the Family: An Online Course for Faith Leaders is based on the materials in "Spiritual Caregiving to Help Addicted Persons and Families." This course was developed to enhance your understanding of addiction and its impact on family members and provide you with strategies and tools to help individuals and family members start on the road to recovery. This course is designed to meet half the training requirements for the Certificate in Spiritual Caregiving to Help Addicted Persons and Families and provides three (3) education contact hours.



Curriculum for Education of Faith Leaders
To help educate faith leaders, NACoA developed Spiritual Caregiving to Help Addicted Persons and Families, a clergy education toolkit that includes a handbook for the instructor, curriculum modules, a course outline for the participants, relevant articles for background reading and handouts for each lesson. Designed for use in the education of faith leaders, the toolkit is based on the Core Competencies for Clergy and Other Pastoral Ministers In Addressing Alcohol and Drug Dependence and Its Impact on Family Members. To obtain the curriculum please contact NACoA. The articles listed and accessible in the Certificate Program section above are also contained in this curriculum toolkit. Additional articles of interest are listed below.

Other Relevant Articles:
The Set Up: Living With Addiction by Dr. Tian Dayton gives you an overview of the impact on families who live with alcohol abuse, alcoholism or other drug addictions. You are welcome to download it and use in your own educational programs, with attribution to Dr. Dayton and NACoA.

Role of Clergy: The Effects of Alcohol and Drugs on the Person and the Family, by Rev. C. Roy Woodruff, Ph.D.

Hardwired to Connect
By Steve Hornberger, M.S.W.
The relationship between spirituality and addiction is discussed.

Core Competencies for Clergy
By Reverend Mark A. Latcovich, Ph.D. and Sis Wenger
How clergy can acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to help hurting parishioners.

We invite you to review the following documents.


See the
Core Competencies


Spiritual Caregiving to Help
Addicted Persons and Families
Handbook For Use by
Pastoral Counselors in
Clergy Education

Breaking Down
the Wall of
Silence (PDF)


Additionally, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment has worked with NACoA to create a new poster and complementary pamphlets It Feels so Bad and Alcohol and Drug Addiction Happens in the Best of Families...and it Hurts designed for use in faith communities – especially as pick-up materials in pamphlet racks and in congregational offices and educational centers. Materials can be ordered from NCADI. The poster and pamphlets are also available in Spanish.


Alcohol and Drug Addiction Happens in the Best of Families...and it hurts

Core Competencies Self-Study Guide Available. Studies in the Twelve Core Competencies is a new self-study guide for clergy and other pastoral ministers wishing to enhance their knowledge and skills on alcoholism and other drug dependencies. The self-guided course helps ministry caregivers to become more informed and better prepared to respond to the problem of addiction with individuals and within families. Developed by Rev. Christopher C. Bowers, M.Div., the guide grew out of the author's participation in NACoA's Clergy Education and Training Project®. For more information and to order, visit http://www.counselorandclergy.com

Related Materials:

Children of Alcoholics: Important Facts

Children of Addicted Parents (PDF)



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