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Addiction and Pastoral Care

POD; Published: 2/5/2019
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7568-6
Price: $ 26.50
240 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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A timely resource treating addiction holistically as both a spiritual and a pathological condition

Substance addictions present a unique set of challenges for pastoral care. In this book Sonia Waters weaves together personal stories, research, and theological reflection to offer helpful tools for ministers, counselors, chaplains, and anyone else called to care pastorally for those struggling with addiction.

Waters uses the story of the Gerasene demoniac in Mark’s Gospel to reframe addiction as a “soul-sickness” that arises from a legion of individual and social vulnerabilities. She includes pastoral reflections on oppression, the War on Drugs, trauma, guilt, discipleship, and identity. The final chapters focus on practical-care skills that address the challenges of recovery, especially ambivalence and resistance to change.

Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore
—Vanderbilt University
“Simply put, this is the best book out there for any health professional or individual who wants to understand the spiritual and political complexities of addiction.”
Carrie Doehring
—Iliff School of Theology, Denver
“Given the prevalence of struggles with addictive substances among persons and families, religious leaders and chaplains will find Waters’s book extraordinarily helpful in understanding the neurological, medical, relational, cultural, and theological dimensions of substance use disorders.”
Christian Century
“The book’s power resides in its combination of compelling theological language with clear research data on how addictions affect the body. . . . Framing pastoral care as a task of curiosity and creativity, Waters invites the pastoral caregiver to imitate Jesus’ own ministry in embodying ‘creative resistance to the wounds of power on bodies and souls.’”
Religious Studies Review
“Adds a layer of theological complexity to writing about addiction, making it seem truer to life than many of the more clinical or neuroscientific studies. . . . Counselors, those in recovery, and ministry students will find this a practical, thought-provoking, and useful read.”