Stauros Conference (June 7th – 9th)
This summer, Stauros Ministries will be holding a conference in McGrath, Alaska!
Stauros has been invited to the village of McGrath by Brad Sturm, the director of One Wilderness Ministries. During the second weekend of June (7th – 9th) Brad will be flying leadership from surrounding villages into McGrath to attend the conference. Stauros will be offering presentations, discussions, and Q&A sessions in order to provide the community leadership with whatever they need to combat the epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse that plagues their communities.
Alaska isn’t just isolated from the rest of the United States, but the Alaskan population is mostly isolated from each other. Isolation is a breeding ground for addiction. The Alaskan Natives also experience a unique disconnection from the outside world.
Statistics on addiction and suicide in Alaska are grim, and shocking:
- Alaska is #1 in the nation for suicides, and more than half of the time drugs and/or alcohol are involved
- Native Alaskans are: 3x more likely to abuse alcohol than the general population
- Young native males are 14x more likely to commit suicide than of the general U.S. population
- Cases of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) are some of the highest in the world, with up to 81% of prenatal alcohol exposure, or maternal alcohol abuse, being reported.
Addiction is a complex issue. Extensive research has been conducted regarding the nature of addiction.
And society has made great advancements, especially in recent years, in regards to the psychological and biological components of addiction. So with all of these insights, why do addiction rates continue to climb, and recidivism rates largely remain the same?
Because the most important aspect of addiction is the spiritual component. And it’s taken a backseat to the other remedies, and for good reason. There are spiritual aspects of human nature which science cannot explain, and maladies that modern-day medicine cannot cure.
Substance use occurs because of the powerful and instantaneous rewards, but substance abuse, and subsequent addiction, is typically a symptom of deeper psychological issues, such as trauma, fear, anxiety, or depression.
Buried within these are feelings of disconnection, hopelessness, a lack of purpose or meaning in life. A feeling of being incomplete. Of being unloved. Or just not being good enough. These are at the very heart of addiction, and they are all spiritual symptoms. You can’t take a pill to acquire hope or to give you a purpose in life. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help with symptoms of PTSD, but it will not give you a sense of completion.
The ultimate goal of addiction treatment is not simply to achieve sobriety but to help the individual undergo a spiritual transformation. True recovery involves a strengthening of quality relationships with others, deepening one’s relationship with God, and a sense of purpose and meaning in life.
The bottom line is that addiction is a tragedy, but it is also a tremendous opportunity for personal growth and spiritual transformation. But don’t be misled: Addiction is a spiritual problem that demands a spiritual solution.
Stauros in Alaska
Justin details the importance of the trip, along with concepts that will be covered during the 2nd weekend of June.