This book is a collection of personal stories written by ordained clergy from both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. These stories are the personal testimonies of ordained clergy from these two great church bodies who were caught in the hell of alcoholism, other addiction, and codependency and found a way out. Not only did we find recovery, but we found an amazing new way of life that fulfills all the promises of scripture. You can have what we have if you are willing to humble yourself and follow a few simple suggestions.
These stories tell in a general way what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now for us. They are written and shared here in the hopes that other clergy, you, caught in the same hell we were will find hope and deliverance from your disease.
As you read these stories please try to keep an open mind. The disease of alcoholism and addiction is cunning baffling and powerful. It is a disease that convinces its victims that they don’t have it. Each one of us was in denial and we had convinced ourselves that we did not have this particular problem--that if we could just get certain matters of our life under control we could manage our lives in a more responsible way. But with all the earnestness at our command, with all the prayer and hope we had in God, we could not manage and our problems only grew worse. What each one of us has in common is that we recognize we were powerless and that we had to have help from someone else. No matter what we tried, nothing changed until we said to another human being these difficult words, “I need help.”
We are in deep gratitude to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the many 12-Step programs which have resulted from it. We follow the principles of the 12 Steps and 12 traditions believing these are gifts from a loving God given to help broken people find healing, hope, and new life. We as the FRLC do not offer another way but wholly support these 12-Step groups and insist they are the way to recovery for our particular problems. We had hoped this would not be true for us, but we discover in hindsight what a great gift it turns out to be.
What we offer as a fellowship is supplemental support to clergy and their families who face the unique problem of being clergy in recovery—because it is a profession which does not easily allow for brokenness. We have each struggled with this issue and can offer support and strength.
This book was written by clergy, for clergy. If you are a member of the clergy and you wonder if you may have a problem with alcohol or another addiction it is no accident you are reading these words. Whatever your situation, no matter how much personal, private pain and turmoil your life may be in, we want you to know there is hope. You are not alone. We have each been there. And we have each come through, reclaimed our lives and our ministries and have found a new and amazing life. You can have that life too, but you cannot do it alone. The Good Lord has created us to need each other and for some reason we pastors think we are exempt. We are here to help you and our fellowship, the FRLC, exists for the sole purpose of extending a hand to you. Please read these stories and if you need to talk, call us. We will help you.
There are 200 members of the FRLC and we are located in nearly every state. Chances are, there is a pastor somewhere near you who has been through what you are going through and is willing and ready to help you get your life back. We will help you get connected.
We are a completely independent, not affiliated, non-profit organization made up solely of Lutheran clergy recovering from alcoholism, addiction, and codependency. We have no dues or fees and are completely self-supporting through our own contributions. We promise your anonymity and privacy are strictly protected.
You may call for help or more information at 800-528-0842. A recovering pastor will answer the phone or you will be given a recorded list of numbers to call for help.
A collection of stories about Lutheran clergy who were addicted/alcoholic/codependent and found new life in recovery. Modeled after the book “Alcoholics Anonymous.”