If a Church Can Adopt a Needy Child, Why not a Recovering Addict?

From 1994 to 1999, the One Church-One Addict (OCOA) was established as a program that organizes and trains volunteer teams in churches and other religious congregations to support people in recovery from alcohol addiction and substance abuse and help them get necessary treatment.

The project's pilot phase was administered through the American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities (or AARR—it was renamed the Center for the Community Interest in 2000), a Washington-based organization that stresses citizens' role in solving social problems with less reliance on the government.

Key Results

  • In the project's pilot phase—which was designed to test whether congregations could be mobilized to help people recovering from addictions—the project was piloted in four states: Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana and South Carolina.
  • The American Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities set up One Church-One Addict as an independent, nonprofit organization. It was certified as an option in the Combined Federal Campaign, the annual fund-raising drive conducted by federal employees in their workplace each fall, increasing both its visibility and fund-raising potential.
  • One Church-One Addict worked to expand the program to other religious congregations throughout the country. Its founder, Father George Clements, spoke about the program at some 250 events. He also met with state and federal officials, to promote the program's replication to other congregations.
  • One Church-One Addict reports that approximately 750 religious congregations had established or begun training volunteer teams to support people in recovery by the end of the project.