If we are honest with ourselves, we know that addiction is a disease that touches all of our lives. Maybe it doesn’t dwell in our own home, but in that of a family member or loved one. Maybe the addiction isn’t to alcohol or drugs, but food or sex or gambling. However addiction touches our lives and however desperate the situation may seem, though, one thing is certain. Where there is faith, there is always hope.
Who is Jean?
Jean Heaton is a blogger, retreat leader, community volunteer, and author from the Nashville, TN area. She is a wife of 34 years to a horse vet (even though she’s afraid of horses). She worked in his office for almost 25 years before she finally “fired herself”. She’s a mom to 3 adult children, 1 horse and 2 dogs. She dreams about traveling and books, and loves the outdoors which is where she often finds God.
Both her husband and son are in long-term recovery. Jean has worked her own Twelve Step program for those affected by the addictions of others. She shares her experience, strength, and hope with others at www.jeanheaton.com.
In her brand new book, Helping Families Recover from Addiction: Coping, Growing, and Healing through 12-Step Practices and Ignatian Spirituality, Jean retells her journey “working the steps” as a family member of people with addictions. She draws on personal stories and research, including examples from Father Ed Dowling, SJ, spiritual advisor to Bill W., a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and others to illustrate the connections between this life-saving program and Ignatian Spirituality. Each chapter ends with reflection points based on Scripture that can help readers as they begin the work of each of the Twelve Steps.
Addiction Recovery & Ignatian Spirituality
I remember a conversation with my parents back when I was about 10 years old. In it, they told us that a certain teenager we knew and loved had been admitted to a rehab facility. Now, in all of my 1980s, sheltered, Catholic schoolgirl-ness, I didn’t really know what they meant. So, Mom went on to explain that this boy had a problem with drugs and alcohol and it had gotten really bad. So bad, in fact, that he needed special people to help him get better. My parents really stressed to us the importance of the fact that this didn’t mean we should love him any less or treat him any differently the next time we saw him. His problem with alcohol didn’t mean he was any less who we loved him for being.
That conversation has stayed with me for over 30 years. And it really helped later in life when I found out that another man in my family had been an alcoholic, as well. Having lived through the experience of knowing and loving one person through addiction and recovery meant that, even though I found out about this second man’s alcoholism after his death, I didn’t have to let this new information taint my memories of him. If anything, they made me love him even more because of who he was to me in spite of his own struggles.
After reading Jean’s book, I knew I wanted to have her on the show to share her own story of family, addiction, and recovery. Her unique way of looking at recovery through the lens of the Catholic faith and Ignatian spirituality is truly inspiring.
Quick Links from the Episode
If you struggle with addiction: Alcoholics Anonymous.
If there is addiction within your family: Al-Anon Groups.
Buy Jean’s book on Amazon.
Check out Jean’s book at Loyola Press.
Click here to visit Jean’s website.
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