When we think of how to overcome addiction, we generally think of the process of “going through the motions”, meaning finding a support group, talking to a therapist, doing research, etc. While all of these steps are important to overcoming addiction, they largely address only the physical healing. In order to truly overcome an addiction, we must also take the necessary steps to nurture and promote healing in the emotional and spiritual realm as well, for it is in the lack of healthy emotions and a healthy spirit that addictions take root and become addictions.
We need to examine the importance of achieving not only physical or technical sobriety, but also emotional and spiritual sobriety. First, let us begin with an introduction to a spiritual father whose life’s work is dedicated to helping those suffering from addiction to find the three-fold level of sobriety. Father Christophe Lepoutre is an Orthodox priest and the director of a non-profit ministry called The Fellowship of the Inexhaustible Cup. He is both an Orthodox psychotherapist and pastoral counselor. He holds an MS in Pastoral Counseling from Iona College, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a specialty in Early Child Development, from Vassar College. He also conducted graduate work in Bioenergetics at the University of Bridgeport.
A Founding Member of the Greenwich Hotline for crisis intervention and the Vassar College Drop-In Center for on-campus intervention, his tenure includes work with the Center for Christian Counseling & Healing in West Haven, Connecticut; the Pastoral Theological Institute in Madison, Connecticut; the Christian Institute For Psychotherapeutic Studies in Hicksville, Long Island; Supervisor with the C.G. Jung Institute for Training and Therapy Center in Manhattan; and the Temenos Institute in Westport, Connecticut. He is now working exclusively with the ministry he founded, based upon ancient Russian models, the Fellowship of the Inexhaustible Cup, offering individual, marriage, and family pastoral counseling.
In 1977, he participated in a workshop led by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos (author of Orthodox Psychotherapy), which presented a turning point in his career. Since that time, he has integrated the science of Orthodox psychotherapy, as taught by the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church, in his counseling work. His commitment is not just to a career, but to a cause, which happens to be his career. He has developed the fullness of a ministry to the addicted, and to suffering people who are in families where addictions and their destructive effects have been present.
Father Christophe will walk us through the process of overcoming addiction and engaging in the healing process through the utilization of all three components of physical, emotional and spiritual therapy methods. He writes, the acquisition of physical sobriety is a great gift for the individual who suffers with an addiction, but in and of itself this is not sufficient. Many individuals who are engaged in a 12-step recovery program, including Orthodox Christians, reach a crossroads in their life, and they are in need of healing at a deeper level. They are in need of a newfound freedom, mainly, the acquisition of emotional and spiritual sobriety.