Dublin to Host Major International Conference on Addiction and Spirituality

Peter McVerry SJ, Denis Bradley (former 'go-between' between the British Government and the IRA) and US author Jim Harbaugh SJ are among the speakers at an international conference on the role of spirituality and faith in addiction recovery. The conference takes place in All Hallows College, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September 2013. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will attend and speak on the Sunday.

newsThe conference takes place against the background of newly released figures from the CSO showing that in 2012 Irish people spent €6.3 billion on alcohol, a 1.2 per cent increase on 2011. The aim of the conference is to explore the role faith and spirituality can play in tackling addiction, addressing those who suffer from addiction and those affected by the addiction of a friend or family member.

Guest speaker Jim Harbaugh SJ is a recovering alcoholic, AA an Al-Anon member. He has written and lectured on the role of 12 Step spirituality in the treatment of addiction. Peter McVerry will explain why he’s decided to abstain from alcohol as a stand against the havoc unleashed in Irish society by drug and alcohol abuse.

Majella Coyle, a recovering addict now working as an addiction counsellor in Donegal will also address the conference about both her story of struggling with addiction right through to her powerful recovery. Her sister will share the podium with her reflecting on how addiction affects families. She will also share some of the insights of the 12 step programmes. She will outline the powerful role 12 step groups around the world play in helping family members recover from the effects of the disease of alcoholism.

Patricia Gallagher is a young pioneer who works in youth outreach and she will talk of her own experience of abstaining from alcohol as a spiritual practice and the problem of alcohol abuse among young people today. Barney Mc Guckian SJ will address the spirituality of the Pioneer movement addressing the question of how abstaining from drink can make a meaningful difference in a society torn apart by addiction.

Denis Bradley who founded Northlands Rehabilitation Centre in Derry will talk about developing a credible spirituality to deal with the addiction endemic in 21st century Ireland.

The conference is open to anyone from at home or abroad concerned about the issue of addiction and how to address it, especially but not exclusively, from a faith or spiritual perspective. The conference is part of ‘TheGathering Ireland' activities for 2013.

Over one hundred and twenty people have already signed up but there are still spaces for people to come on a daily or per lecture basis.

To arrange an interview with any of the speakers contact : Pat Coyle, 00 353 86 819 0029

For further information re the conference contact : Roisin Fulham 00353 1 8749464.