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Addiction, Spirituality and Mental Wellbeing

Saturday 30th November 2019
St Mary’s University

Hosted by the Centre for Initiatives in Spirituality and Reconciliation (InSpiRe) at St Mary's University in collaboration with The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

A day exploring the integration of mental well-being and the spiritual life in the context of addiction. Topics covered include drug and alcohol, sexual and pornography addiction.

Keynote address

  • Adrian Chiles

Guest speakers

  • Teresa Baron
  • Tony Mercer
  • Bishop Richard Moth
  • Dr Mark Murphy
  • Melanie O’Reilly


The day will run from 10am to 4pm and will include talks, workshops and plenary forum. It will cost £35 including a buffet lunch. Book will open shortly.


  • 9.30am: Registration
  • 10am: Introduction and Worship: Bishop Richard
  • 10.20am: Keynote: Adrian Chiles on Addiction
  • 11am: Q&A
  • 11.20am: Coffee
  • 11.45am:  Group Listening (Facilitator: Dr Helen Costigane)
  • 12.30pm: Responses
  • 1pm:  Lunch
  • 2pm: Workshops:
    • Sexual Addiction (Mark Murphy)
    • Addiction, alcohol and recovery (Melanie O Reilly)
    • Addiction and Internet Pornography (Teresa Baron)
  • 3.05pm: Tony Mercer MFPH (Programme Manager (Substance Use), Public Health England) – Drugs
  • 3.50pm: Final Worship and Finish: Bishop Richard

Melanie O'Reilly

"After gaining a degree in Psychology I worked with homeless men in London and Kent. Following this I trained as a Social Worker and worked as a generic and child care Social Worker in Southampton. Since 1990 I have worked as a Keyworker/Counsellor and Group Facilitator at Charis Alcohol and Drug Therapy Unit in Tower Hamlets, a project for  men who are homeless, or in danger of becoming homeless, which offers long-term residential therapy and rehabilitation.

The Charity has a Christian Foundation and the Programme is based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I trained as a Spiritual Director on an ecumenical course in the late 90s and integrate this approach into my work with Charis residents. I have been married for 26 years to Billy, who also works at Charis, and have two sons."

"In preparation for this workshop I have interviewed the residents of Charis, the Alcohol and Drug Therapy Unit in which I work, to ask them what they would like the Catholic Bishops to know about alcohol, addiction and recovery.

Between them they have over 700 years lived experience of addiction and recovery! The contents of this workshop will be based on their responses and stories; an exploration of these issues from their lived experience."

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Saturday 30th November 2019
St Mary’s University

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