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30 April 2014

Helping churches tackle addiction

Helping churches tackle addiction

Alliance member, Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has begun a pilot ministry for people wanting to break free from addictions and life-controlling issues.

After 18 years of helping people out of debt, the charity believes it's right to tackle the causes behind their poverty, one of which is addiction, which is also named as one of the five 'pathways to poverty' by the Centre for Social Justice.

Statistics show that addiction affects large numbers of people both directly and indirectly. For example, 25 per cent of all search engine queries are related to pornography. Also, in the UK, 2.6 million children live with parents who drink hazardously and 43 per cent of CAP debt help clients spent over £800 a year on cigarettes before receiving help.

A report by the Centre for Social Justice also reveals a number of concerning UK statistics such as that one in 20 adults are dependent on alcohol and one in 100 people are dependent on opiates or cocaine. A new drug enters the UK market every week and the UK has had the biggest drug problem in Europe over the last ten years despite the government investing three billion pounds in tackling it.

Founder and international director of CAP, John Kirkby, said: "We know that fantastic work is already being done across the UK by Christians to set people free from addiction so we are hoping we can complement what's already happening. We are looking to launch two new initiatives, CAP release groups and CAP community detox – and as always, we aim to help the poorest and deliver this in partnership with the local church."

Launching this year, CAP release groups will be aimed at people who want to stop their life-controlling habits. They will be run in churches with trained volunteers providing elements of community, coaching and a course to help people move on from dependencies such as smoking, drinking, gambling and internet addictions.

"These life-controlling habits can wreck lives and cause financial and relational poverty", said John. "It's therefore essential that we help people tackle these issues in order to find freedom. We are looking for churches that want to partner with us to help us pioneer this exciting new service."

CAP community detox aims to help people find freedom from drug or alcohol addiction. Working with their local medical practitioner, CAP will empower churches to support people through a medical detox and then afterwards, as they adjust to life in a healthy community. The services are currently being piloted and expected to be launched in 2015.