Some of our brothers and sisters have found themselves in a downward spiral that could end in premature death if a fundamental change doesn’t happen: getting & remaining clean. It’s easy to pontificate about the necessity to get and stay clean “or else,” perhaps even trying brow-beat someone into change hoping to trigger a desire to live more healthily. None this works. The simple thing is to allow God’s grace to work and to have a clean environment to live and work, to provide competent professional help and to make opportunities available for substantive change to happen. One more ingredient in my book that’s essential and a non-negotiable is the spiritual. Prayer, spiritual direction and fidelity to the witness of the Church goes to the root level of human desires and happiness given us by Divine Providence. But we have to admit that unless a drug addict wants to change her life no amount clever argument or cute programing is going to matter. If a person doesn’t take his human heart (his desires) seriously, including his need of happiness, then there is little we who aren’t captured by addiction can do.

The Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement have opened their friary, St Christopher’s Inn, in Garrison, New York for drug habilitation for the homeless. The Franciscans have developed a culture of life for those who are vulnerable and weak and hoping to live differently.
Last Sunday (August 16) the NY Times ran an article about the work of a farm sponsored by the friars and sisters along with the laity who collaborate to make change possible. The setting is an organic farm where the slow yet determined life of plants provide the metaphor for conversion: ground prepared, seeds planted, soil and plants watered, hoed, weeded and hoping for a harvest.
Please read the article and watch the video clip provided therein.