W&C Understanding Addiction

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Addictions pose a grave and growing threat to the health and well being of individuals and families across America. While alcohol and drugs are obvious addiction issues to be addressed, the extent of society’s other addictive behaviors goes far beyond those two issues.*

  • Researchers suggest that personal behaviors cause more than 50% of illnesses.
  • By 2020, behavioral health disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide.
  • The annual total estimated societal cost of substance abuse alone in the United States is $510.8 billion, with an estimated 23.5 million Americans aged 12 and older needing treatment.
  • More than 2 in 3 adults in our country are considered to be overweight and 1 in 3 is obese. Children with one obese parent are 40% more likely to become obese adults; with two obese parents, the number skyrockets to 80%.
  • Americans makes up only 4.6 percent of the world's population, but we consume 80 percent of its pain-killing drugs.
  • 47% of families in the United States reported that pornography is a problem in their home. Ninety three percent of boys and 62 percent of girls are exposed to online pornography during early adolescence. 

The Episcopal Church has not been silent. The Church played a leading role in founding Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930’s. In the 1970’s we opened the church doors to 12 Step meetings and launched the Palmer Drug Abuse Program (PDAP) for youth, at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston.

Today, Twelve Step programs have expanded from dealing only with alcohol addiction to include separate Fellowships focused on compulsive overeating, sex and relationship addictions, drug addictions of every kind, as well as support Fellowships for the family members touched by every addict’s life. 

The Hope and Healing Center of Houston, a ministry of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, provides educational and recovery resources for addiction and related issues. View the videos linked below to learn more about addiction and its consequences.

The Hope and Healing Center

Addiction Teen Addiction


There is help for you. Visit Alcoholics Anonymous, the well-known 12 step recovery program. If you think that AA is not for you, explore alternative programs, such as SMART Recovery or Addiction Center which is a 100% free resource for treatment options and recovery centers across the country. This helpful publication from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) outlines issues and treatment options for addressing abuse problems. Additionally, The Hope and Healing Center, a ministry of St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, offers recovery options.

*Statistics above gathered from the following resources: Center for Disease Control; SAMHSA Behavioral Health (2011); National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases; President’s Task Force on Obesity for the National Medical Association; American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, 2011; National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, 2010.