Breaking free from addiction – The Church in Wales

People suffering from harmful addictions will be the focus of Recovery Sunday at the end of October, writes Wynford Ellis Owen, specialist counseling consultant for Cynnal, the counseling service for clergy.

This month marks another milestone in the history of the battle against addiction to alcohol, drugs and other harmful behaviors in Wales.

Sunday, October 30, has been designated as Recovery Sunday to encourage churches to think about those suffering from various dependencies or addictions, to learn more about their situation, their needs and the help available, through such services as Adferiad, Cynnal, Enfys, the Living Room, and other services and providers.

It also encourages churches to do something practical to help. This could involve a financial contribution towards the work. Others may take note of what is said in Hebrews 13:3: “Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them.” The author of the letter to the Hebrews no doubt refers to a literal, physical prison, but on Recovery Sunday let us remember that addiction to alcohol, drugs, food, sex/pornography, gambling etc. is a prison for so many people today.

All of us, from time to time on life’s journey, feel a longing for stillness and peace in the sense of getting away from problems, from the things that enslave us or threaten to do so. Sometimes we want to be away from other people. “Go away, let me be” – that’s what we want to say at such times.

But ‘peace’ in that sense isn’t always possible – we can’t always simply escape from situations, things or people, and, indeed, it may be that that’s not the best thing to do anyway. And people too often escape to places that don’t offer ultimate freedom, but addiction – to alcohol and other drugs, gambling, pornography, to name but a few of the possibilities. Work, too – the ‘workaholic’ syndrome – can also be a very real addiction.

However, we can all pray for a deeper peace – we have a special word for that kind of peace in Welsh – tangnefedd, the inner peace that can be ours, even in the midst of strife and suffering.

In our service this year, which has been composed by Siôn Aled, we will reflect on cultivating that miraculous inner peace in our own lives and on how we can lead others to experience the same healing.

You can download the service here

or visit

This is Wales’ 11th Recovery Sunday. On this Sunday, we invite Christians to unite in prayer for those who are dependent and trapped in addiction, asking God to help us to help them.


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