Bishop’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs | Diocese of Lansing

Bishop’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs

Our Mission

The Bishop's Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs serves God's people as a spiritual and physical resource to inform, educate and support the healing of individuals and families; we provide community referrals and encourage reconciliation with God, while adapting to the changing needs within the Diocese of Lansing.

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Our website

provides a resource for our community to access and utilize help available in the parish, along with educational information and prevention and treatment programs. We believe that this site can offer hope and encouragment to individuals or to the families of loved ones in need.

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How we help

In an effort to promote the healing and recovery of individuals and families, the Bishop's Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs offers referrals to a wide range of services. We provide highly trained parish representatives who offer assistance to those in need of treatment and support.

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Individual referrals

Outpatient services

Group and individual counseling provided outside a residential setting

Inpatient sevices

Group and individual counseling in a hospital or residential setting

Self help groups

Referrals to 12 step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Al Anon, etc.

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Family referrals

Family members often have needs that go unnoticed and unmet because the focus tends to fall on the substance abuser. Referrals to available services include:

Outpatient counseling

Group and individual counseling for co-dependency, marital problems and family relationships

Self help groups

Referrals to 12 step groups such as Al Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics

Children's services

Group and individual couseling for a variety of associated problems, such as neglect, abuse, COA (children of alcoholics) issues and substance abuse prevention

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Community resources available to parishes

Speakers and presentations are available to church and school groups on a variety of topics relating to substance abuse in the family. Prevention, education and informational sessions can be arranged by calling our office at 517-342-2471. Video and printed resource materials also can be obtained with little or no cost.

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All information about anyone receiving assistance through the Bishop's Council is treated confidential. Recipients of substance abuse services have rights to confidentiality that are protected by law and respected by this organization.

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Parish representatives

The Bishop's Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs strives to make help available in each of our parishes in the Diocese of Lansing. The below information is an alphabetical arranged list of the current BCOAOD representatives and their contact numbers. If a parish does not list a representative, we are currently working with the church to have one available in the near future. You are welcome to call our office directly for additional help at 877.342.2513.

City Parish Representative Phone

St. Joseph

Bob Waldbuesser
Ann Jameson
Adrian St. Mary of G.C.    
Ann Arbor Christ the King


Ann Arbor St. Francis of Assisi    
Ann Arbor St. Mary Student Parish    
Ann Arbor St. Patrick Doug Cameron
Patrick and Judy Kelly
Ann Arbor St. Thomas the Apostle Thomas Silva
Heather Wurster
Bellevue St. Ann    
Brighton St. Mary Magdalen Dcn. Davide Scharf
Debbie Leech
Brighton St. Patrick Lou Ann Lathrop
Barbara Peterson
Walter Cannon
Brooklyn St. Joseph Shrine Bob Kerr 517-547-6792
Burton Blessed Sacrament    
Burton Holy Redeemer    
Charlotte St. Mary Bernie and Shirley Sumner 517-645-2239
Chelsea St. Mary

Dcn. Richard Shanneyfelt
Larry Doll
Penny Smedley


Clarklake St. Rita    
Clinton St. Dominic    
Clio Ss. Charles and Helena   810-564-1180
Concord St. Catherine Laboure'    
Davison St. John the Evangelist Barb and Rod Adams 810-654-0482
Deerfield / Blissfield Light of Christ    
DeWitt St. Jude    
Dexter St. Joseph Jim Hill 734-216-7399
Durand St. Mary    
East Lansing St. Thomas Aquinas / St. John Student Center Dennis Meyer
Edward Haggerty
Eaton Rapids St. Peter    
Fenton St. John the Evangelist Charlene Zaher 810-629-1944
Flint Holy Rosary    
Flint Our Lady of Guadalupe Linda Espinoza
Arminda Garcia
Flint St. John Vianney    
Flint St. Mary    
Flint St. Matthew    
Flint St. Michael    
Flint St. Pius X    
Flushing St. Robert Bellarmine    
Fowler Most Holy Trinity Rosemary Feldpausch 989-593-3543
Fowlerville St. Agnes Michael Ledwick 810-687-4982
Gaines St. Joseph    
Goodrich St. Mark Karen Thornton 810-694-1734
Grand Blanc Church of the Holy Family Ellen Venos 810-694-4891
Grand Ledge St. Michael Thresia Ganga 517-321-1479
Hamburg Holy Spirit Mike Falinski 810-231-4921
Hillsdale St. Anthony Ann Mayers 517-278-4288
Howell St. Augustine    
Howell St. John the Baptist Barbara Judge 248-887-1375
Howell St. Joseph    
Hudson Sacred Heart Catherine Sliker 517-547-7154
Jackson Queen of the Miraculous Medal Dcn. Jack Kowalski
Maggie Navarre
Jackson St. John the Evangelist John Tyson 517-782-2021
Jackson St. Joseph Dcn. Albert Krieger
Linda Rice
Jackson St. Mary Star of the Sea Sue Good 517-789-8255
Jackson St. Stanislaus    
Laingsburg St. Isidore    
Lansing Cristo Rey    
Lansing Immaculate Heart of Mary Jo A. Sheehan
Melinda Roznowski
Lansing Resurrection John Abel 517-449-8327
Lansing St. Andrew Dung-Lac    
Lansing St. Casimir Joe Murphy 517-485-7759
Lansing St. Gerard Greg Blake 517-321-3934
Lansing St. Mary Cathedral    
Lansing St. Therese Leo Arens 517-327-0535
Leslie Ss. Cornelius and Cyprian    
Manchester St. Mary    
Manitou Beach St. Mary on the Lake Linda Schwalm 517-547-7325
Mason St. James Michael Clark
Jack Vogel
Rich Michaelewicz
Michigan Center Our Lady of Fatima    
Milan Immaculate Conception    
Montrose Good Shepherd    
Morrice St. Mary    
Mt. Morris St. Mary Francisco Mata 810-736-8890
Okemos St. Martha    
Otisville St. Francis Xavier    
Ovid Holy Family    
Owosso St. Joseph    
Owosso St. Paul    
Pinckney St. Mary Angela Gilligan 734-878-2667
St. Johns St. Joseph    
Saline St. Andrew    
Swartz Creek St. Mary Queen on the Angels    
Tecumseh St. Elizabeth John Roberts
Joe and Gail Ohlman
Westphalia St. Mary    
Williamston St. Mary    
Ypsilanti Holy Trinity    
Ypsilanti St. John the Baptist    
Ypsilanti St. Joseph    

Education and prevention

Alcohol Steroids
Heroin Ecstasy MDMA
Prescription Medications Methamphetamine ICE and CAT
Definition of Alcoholism Jellinek Chart (Mod.)
Inhalants Hallucinogens
Sedatives and Stimulants Phencyclidine PCP
Cocaine/Crack Prevention

Addiction: The disease concept

Studies by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse continue to shed new light on alcoholism and addiction. The following information is helpful in understanding the disease concept to alcohol and other drugs.

Neurotranmitters: These substances are often called "God's drugs." They are natural chemicals in the brain that influence our most basic feelings and responses. They affect the part of the brain that is concerning with the "Five F's": fight, flight, flood, fluid, and flirt. Endorphins and enkephlins are manufactured naturally by the brain, meaing they are endogenous, or produced within the human body. 

Over the millennia, mankind has experimented with many different substances to replace, enhance, or magnify the effects of these neurotransmitters. Alcohol and other drugs have been used for many years to produce or magnify pleasure. These are considered exogenous, coming from outside the human body.

The specific ways in which alcohol and others drugs affect the brain is a subject of continuing research, with new findings announced every year. One of the leading theories on neurotranmitters involves the GABA receptor as a promising candidate for explaining withdrawl and the heightened sensitivity to alcohol shown by alcoholics. 

There is little doubt that there is a gentic link to alcoholism. Studies seek to resolve the argument between "nature" and "nurture," or whether a person becomes and alcoholic because of a natural predisposition, or because of the way they were raised. 

If alcoholism were just a learned behavior, the results of studies would show that the children of alcoholics had no greater incidence of alcoholism than the general population. But this is not the case. Studies show that 50% of those tested went on to become alcoholics even if they were raised in nonalcoholic homes. Indeed, among male children who had two alcoholic parents, the rate is 80%.

What are some other definitions relating to substance abuse/addiction?

  • Physical dependence occurs when a person shows withdrawal symptoms once a drug; medication or chemical is stopped. 
  • Withdrawal involves tremors, mood changes, depression, nervousness, hypertension, weakness, among others, and can occur in both addicts and non-addicts.
  • Mood, anxiety, psychotic induced disorders are psychiatric symptoms that may occur with prolonged substance abuse, and in some cases, these psychiatric symptoms will end once the system is free of substances.

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We are blessed in this country with some excellent treatment centers and self help programs.  Parishes should be prepared to help people in need to find appropriate assistance. Parishes also should be able to advocate on behalf of the many persons who encounter obstacles when searching for appropriate and affordable treatment or other recovery programs.  Below are treatment services listed by the regions in the Diocese of Lansing, along with links to various self help programs.

Feel free to use the treatment locator for your area ... [click here].

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Resources and self help

Parish facilities may be made available to self help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Al-Anon, Alateen, Adult Children of Alcoholics, and NAR-Anon.

Alcoholics Anonymous   (Lansing: 517.377.1444)

Narcotics Anonymous, Lansing


Alcohólicos Anónimos

Alcoholics Anonymous

Betty Ford Center

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

Cocaine Anonymous

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America

Facing Alcohol Concerns through Education (FACE Intiative)

Hazelden Foundation

Intervention Resource Center

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Narcotics Anonymous

National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP)

National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC)

National Association For Children Of Alcoholics (NACoA)

National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD)

National Catholic Council on Alcohol

National Coalition of Hispanic Health and Service Organizations

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

National Inhalant Prevention Coalition

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Office of National Drug Control Policy

Parents Resource For Drug Education

Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy

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B.C.O.A.O.D. volunteers

Please join us in helping the family of God

The Bishop's Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs relies on the help of volunteers to accomplish the goals of our mission. If you are interested in finding out more about the possibility of joining our ministry team as a parish representative, please read through the Resource Specialist Requirements and our Confidentialality Statement form. Then call our office toll-free at 877.342-2513.  

Our goal is to have a representative in each of our 95 parishes in our diocese. If you would like to find the volunteer associated with your parish or see if one is listed, click here.

Note: All parish representatives are established with the approval of each parish pastor.

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Priests, pastoral coordinators and lay ministers

What can we do in our parish?
On a day to day basis, we have numerous opportunities to include messages about drug/alcohol use in our parish activities. As the leader of a parish (priests and pastoral coordinators), you can set up a parish representative to work with the Bishop's Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs. This can effectively help with prevention and education efforts and reduce and/or eliminate alcohol and other drug abuse in our community.

As a religious leader, think of how you can best utilize your resources by asking yourself these questions:
Do you have a policy that identifies the role of your religious community for responding to alcohol and other drug abuse issues and problems?

Do you integrate into pre-marriage meetings or counseling sessions information on issues such as fetal alcohol and cocaine syndromes, the detrimental role of drugs and alcohol in a marriage, the role of parents as drug educators, and guidelines or norms for drug and alcohol use within families?

Are you aware of the public and private, local, regional and state treatment resources available to your parish community? Do you refer parishioners to  these resources?

Have you established a group support system for members returning to the community after completing therapy or treatment for a substance abuse problem?

How involved is your parish in drug education or drug prevention activities?

Does your youth ministry, adult education and family enrichment programs include information about alcohol and other drug abuse?

The Bishop's Council can alleviate much of your caseload regarding family drug problems by having a core group of trained volunteers in the parish capable of making appropriate referrals to community treatment resources.

It is of the utmost importance that the parish representative of any given parish protect information shared with the Bishop's Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs. Information related to the B.C.O.A.O.D. with regard  to individual or family alcohol and/or other drug abuse problems should be treated as confidential, as there are ethical, professional, legal and spiritual consequences to divulging this protected information. For example, representatives are expected to never talk publicly about confidential information or allude openly to a person's abuse of alcohol and/or other drugs.

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Motivate your parish

As a religious leader, you can motivate your parish to help break down the stigma associated with drug addiction, to overcome denial, and to generate interest in joining the war on dugs. It is helpful to stress:

Everyone, including the addict, is on a spiritual journey.

Spirituality is a human experience shared by most people.

The traditional values of the Church are mirrored in the 12 steps of spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Lesson suggestions for homilies and youth information:
After a brief discussion of the virtues, it becomes clear that life is basically a spiritual journey for everyone from narcissism to altruism.

Life is a spiritual journey

















Self Pity






Living in the Past


Living in the Now




Instant Gratification



Drug Addiction



What the parish has to offer:
The richness of our spiritual heritage. For some people, a distinction between spirituality and religion has been helpful.




Intuitive Knowledge



Tanscendent Power



Personal Relationships



Sense of Awe



It is spirituality
With its emphasis on the "higher power" — that is more helpful to people who are recovering from addiction, rather than religion, which may have been a stumbling block to some in the past. Of course, both realities are mutually supportive of each other in the final analysis.

It is the teaching about values and virtues by the parish that constitutes the great richness of the spiritual traditions.

What is a Value?

  • A value is something freely chosen from alternatives after thoughtful consideration of the consequences of each alternative.
  • A value acted upon repeatedly becomes a pattern of life.
  • A value gives direction and meaning to life in such a way that it enhances the growth of the total person.
  • A value is cherished and publicly affirmed to others.
  • A value, when incorporated in the life of a community, benefits the well-being of all.
  • A value that is common to all leads to the bonding within society.

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Virtues and 12 step spirituality

Compare the following two lists and note how traditional virtues are mirrored in the very concrete 12 step spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Traditional Virtues
The following traditional virtues serve as antidotes to the seduction of alcohol and other drugs.

Hope is that quality of the spirit-controlled mind that causes one to see beyond the confines of the immediate difficulties and pressures of life into the greater panorama of God's plan for the ages.

Disposes of all gifts of the human person into one unified and ordered whole. A
disordering of the gifts leads to the roaming unrest of the spirit and begins the road to despair.

Encompasses the steadfastness before the vicissitudes and difficulties of life.
Fortitude is a powerful antidote to the compulsiveness, impatience and escapism, which are the hallmarks of addictive behavior.

Humility is viewing one's self from God's perspective and living accordingly. A person can only think higher of him or herself than he or she ought when God's perspective is blurred or obliterated. The truly humble see themselves as important to God's plan; but they also realize that the extent of their personal worth is calculated only on the basis of who God is and their personal relationship to him. Without God they are nothing. With God they are divinely significant.

Courage is the mental attitude necessary for the completion of tasks which threaten us. Whether this threat is physical harm or personal embarrassment, courage leads us to act according to God's directive, knowing that the outcome is his will, whether deliverance or destruction.

Patience is the ability to properly assess God's timing and to be obedient to his course of action. Patience (perseverence) is akin to endurance in that it causes one to remain faithful in the face of (seemingly) unresolved situations. One knows that God is still at work to accomplish his puposes. Patience does not mean that you are forbidden to act swiftly and decisively or that you will not seek to resolve matters according to your own whims and anxieties, but that you seek to learn fully God's lessons from the situations of daily living.

Prudence is the perfected ability to make right decisions. Thoughtlessness and indecisiveness come under the heading of imprudence.

Justice is the equitable rendering of due process to everyone.  Parents need to respect the rights of children and children need to respect the rights of parents. Some examples of parental duties are:

  • Setting a good example for children and not abusing alcohol and/or other drugs.
  • Encouraging self-discipline through giving children daily duties and holding them accountable for their actions and responsibilities.
  • Establishing standards of behavior concerning alcohol and other drugs, dating, curfews and unsupervised activities, and enforcing them consistently and fairly.
  • Explaining to their children at an early age that alcohol and other drug abuse is wrong, harmful and unlawful, and reinforcing their teaching throughout adolescence.
  • Encouraging children to stand by their convictions when pressured to use alcohol and/or other drugs.

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Alcoholics Anonymous 12 steps of spirituality

1. We admit we are powerless over alcohol — that our lives have become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. We make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.
4. We make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. We admit to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. We humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. We make a list of all persons we had harmed and become willing to make amends to all of them.

9. We make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when making amends would cause injury.

10. We continue to take personal inventory and promptly admit when we are wrong.
11. We seek, through prayer and meditation, to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him. Praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry out His will.

12. Having a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we try to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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