ERIC Number: ED301822
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987
The Recovering Alcoholic Catholic Priest and Role Immersion.
Machell, David F.
A professional role that may be one of the most immersively demanding professions is that of the Roman Catholic priest. This internalized role creates psychological/emotional territorialities which regulate the person's sexuality, societal status, professional rituals/behaviors, social interrelationship expectations, and work rituals. The disciplining of one's psychology as a priest involves a process of the suppression of feelings which has been called professional protective emotional suppression (PPES). The alcoholic has held unexpressed and unresolved feelings throughout his/her life, creating a high state of internal anxiety. Compensation expressions are characteristics common in persons suffering from the disease of alcoholism. The role of a Catholic priest superimposes onto the recovering alcoholic a layer of life complexity that may create and reinforce psychological unhealthiness. The dimensons of PPES may come together to create in the priest a ritualized suppression of feelings which has developed through the years. The priest is suffering from alcoholism and PPES. In treatment of the alcoholic priest the church needs to recognize that alcoholic persons in early recovery may react to their work responsibilities excessively and completely, thus camouflaging the real problem issues, and supervisors should receive some training in understanding chemical dependency. Recovering priests should be involved in Alcoholics Anonymous or the equivalent and counseling is recommended. More intensive prevention/precautionary education concerning alcohol/drug issues needs to be introduced at all stages of seminary education. (ABL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A