Philadelphia Calix Society Has It Goin’ On

cardinal rigaliWe’re only in the beginning stages of launching a Calix Society chapter here in Atlanta, but I’ve been so impressed with the Philadelphia “Philly”  Calix because of how active they are. Here is a link to their web site to learn more.

Below is an excerpt taken from the Philly Calix website. I was excited to read this as this is what I would love for to one day happen in Atlanta–a conference on addiction supported by our Archdiocese. But I can’t get ahead of myself, as here in Atlanta Calix is just a zygote.

The conference referenced below was actually held in the Fall of 2010, when Cardinal Rigali was still the Archbishop of Philadelphia.

Today, Cardinal Rigali is one of the Cardinals entering conclave on Tuesday to elect our next Pope!

Here is an article from last month where Cardinal Rigali talks about the qualities he would like to see in the next Pope.  I tend to agree wholeheartedly with him.

Here is a link to the book Cardinal Rigali wrote in 2010 about breaking free from addiction.

From the Philly Calix web site:

Cardinal Rigali’s Conference on Addictions

On Friday November 5th (2010) Cardinal Rigali, (the then) Archbishop of Philadelphia, held a one-day conference on addictions. The conference was titled the same as his book published this year on addictions, “Let the Oppressed Go Free: Breaking the Bonds of Addiction”. Approximately 375 people attended the conference including seven from the Philly Calix units. We had a table set up with a nice display of Calix information. Almost all of those that stopped by the table had never heard of Calix and were excited to learn about our society.

The conference was covered by the archdiocesan newspaper, the Catholic Standard & Times. The November 11th edition had a front page article on the conference. In the online version they included a link for addiction recovery resources and that contained a link to an article written by our own Amy N. about Calix. We also found a link to Cardinal Rigali’s homily at the closing Mass published in the print version of the CS&T.

The Philadelphia Calix Society chapter is a model for the rest of the country, with four different groups that meet more than once per month to practice the 11th Step with other Catholics in recovery.

Calix Atlanta

chaliceWe’ve got a date for the first Calix Atlanta meeting and created a web site to give people information about Calix here in Atlanta.  Here is a link to the website–quick and easy template just like this blog.

Calix Atlanta members meet monthly to practice the 11th Step in community with other local Catholics in recovery.

Calix is not Catholic AA. Calix is a lay organization approved by the bishops in the various chapters’ respective dioceses. There are chapters in 21 states in the US. Here in Atlanta, we have just begun process of getting that approval. Calix doesn’t attempt to “sober anyone up.” An alcoholic who is not sober is not ready mentally or spiritually for Calix membership.

Why Calix?

The Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is generally accepted as the best remedy for we who are afflicted with the disease of alcoholism. The Calix Society, an organization of recovering alcoholics, their friends and family, shares this view.

Why is there a Calix Society? What does it do? Answers to these questions are vital to the Catholic recovering alcoholic attempting to achieve and maintain a sober life.

We have spent a long time, often many years, developing a physical dependence on alcohol. Finally by the grace of God, we reach the point where we must change – physically, mentally and spiritually. We manage to put together a short period of sobriety by attending AA meetings and working the 12 Steps.

For Catholic alcoholics; however, sometimes something more is desired to fulfill our spiritual program of recovery. We realize that the 12-Step program advocates recourse to a “higher power,” and is necessarily non-denominational. But having been raised in the Church, rich in tradition, dogma and ritual, we begin to yearn once again for the faith we may have neglected or abandoned when we were drinking.

Through Calix, we reintroduce ourselves to our Catholic Faith, in sobriety. Some important points to consider:

  • 12 Step Programs are necessarily non-denominational and need to remain that way
  • The 12 Steps are not opposed to Catholic teaching; and Calix is not divisive of 12 Step fellowships – it is a true symbiotic relationship.
  • Calix provides an opportunity for those with resentments about the Church to explore those issues by reintroducing Catholic alcoholics to their childhood faith.
  • While it is not a forum for airing grievances against the Church, Calix meetings are a safe place for fallen away Catholic alcoholics to grow in knowledge of their faith.
  • Calix provides Catholic in recovery an opportunity to openly discuss scripture and utilize the Sacraments to enhance their 11th Step work.
  • While Calix is not a forum for airing grievances about 12 Step programs, those skeptical about specific recovery programs are welcome and encouraged in sobriety.
  • Recovery literature suggests alcoholics in recovery might do well to return to the church of their youth.
  • Recovery literature also suggests we would do well to learn about prayer and spiritual matters from clergy. Calix provides Catholic alcoholics a forum to do so.
  • Fr. Ed Dowling convinced leaders in the Catholic Church that there is nothing about the 12 Steps that was contrary to the Church’s doctrines.
  • In a letter to the Calix Society, co-founder of AA Bill Wilson wrote that he found nothing about Calix that was in conflict with AA traditions.

Amen.

Why CALIX?

The following is information taken from the CALIX SOCIETY web site.  To me, Calix seems like the perfect bridge between AA and the Catholic faith for those of us practicing Catholic alcoholics.

The Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is generally accepted as the best therapy for those afflicted with the disease of alcoholism. The Calix Society, an organization of recovering alcoholics, their friends and family, shares this view.

Why is there a Calix Society? What does it do? Answers to these questions are vital to the Catholic recovering alcoholic attempting to achieve and maintain a sober, serene life.

WHY CALIX?

Consider the men and women, who have spent a long time, often many years, unwittingly developing a physical dependence on alcohol. Finally they reach the end of the line – physically, mentally and spiritually. Assume that they manage to put together a short period of sobriety and tentatively are testing the Twelve Step program. Their physical condition improves rapidly and, after a longer period, so does the emotional side of their lives.

For Catholics, however, something more is needed that can not be found in their Twelve Step meetings. They realize that the Twelve Step program advocates recourse to a “higher power” and God, but they also know that Twelve Step programs are necessarily non-denominational. Having been raised in a church rich in tradition, dogma and ritual, these recovering alcoholics begin to yearn once again for the faith they probably have neglected or abandoned. At this point the Calix Society can say: “Come back home. You must maintain your sobriety through your affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous, but let us help you to regain the spiritual life without which you may not succeed in the never-ending fight against your addiction.” Perhaps the disease never will be conquered completely, but the sincere men and women of Calix have the answer of the Calix Society: “Substitute the cup that sanctifies for the cup that stupifies.”