Finding God in addiction

It is now a "tradition" in the diocese of Manzini. Once a year, a fundraising event is organized in the diocese to support our seminarians. 

I believe it started in 2013. You might remember if you are in our diocese:
  • 2013: Archbishop Buti Thlagale OMI on "The Catholic Church in the XXI century"
  • 2015: Fr Nick King SJ on "The scandal of Christian disunity"
  • 2016. Sean-Patrick Lovett on "Everything you wanted to know about Pope Francis and the Vatican but were afraid to ask"
It is also becoming a "tradition" to do it in partnership with the Jesuit Institute in South Africa. 

This year was no exception. As they invited Fr Tom Weston SJ to talk on "Finding God in addiction" we were able to add Swaziland to his busy schedule in South Africa. He was in Manzini on Saturday 8 July.

Fr Tom is a recovering alcoholic himself. He has been sober for 40 years. A favorite quote of his is: 
Anyone can do 30 years sober. It's cobbling together the first 11 days that is the real miracle. 
He has been involved in 12-Step Programs since 1976.

The commitment of the people to support the fundraising event plus the importance of the topic became very clear as about 200 people gathered at The George Hotel. 

"Addiction" seems to be very much part of our families and our society though it seems we choose not to talk much about it... In fact, answering questions, Fr Tom insisted on one point: "Start talking. Get information"

I was encouraged by people asking "What is the church planning to do about it?", "Is the Church planning to start support groups for families?". Questions he could not answer being just a visiting priest. Questions I threw back at those present. The answer needs to come from... the Church, which is all of us.

As he was talking about his own personal journey, people could identify with what he was saying. They had experienced in themselves, their families or friends. Particularly when he said that "addiction is like a tornado going through the lives of other people"

Among other things he said:
  • "I don't take the first drink" (If I don't take the first I cannot get drunk)
  • "I do this for today" (one day at a time)
  • "I have to ask for the support of God and friends" (his community and support group)

The talks are now available on a CD for those who would like to listen to it again or ... missed it!

We are grateful for this partnership with the Jesuit Institute in South Africa and to the Diocesan team who so generously work to make it possible.

We have good news too: we already have the name of next year's speaker and have already committed him to come to Swaziland.