Navigating the Chaos of Addictions

Gethsemani Way Blog

About Us

12 Step Spirituality



Explore the spirituality of 12 Steps from our Catholic Christian perspective at Gethsemani Way 12 Step Spirituality Faith Sharing Group.

Our 12 Step Spirituality evenings are open only to people in 12 step programs (AA, Al-Anon, Gamblers Anonymous,  etc.) . 

Prayer Nights



Addictions touch almost every family.  We all know someone who is affected by addiction of some kind whether alcohol, drugs, pornography, eating, spending, video screens, or something else.

Our Gethsemani Way Prayer for Addictions nights are open to all including those in recovery, loved ones, and friends praying for individuals struggling with this disease.

Spiritual Triage



Are you hitting a wall? 

Is someone you love 

in the chaos of addiction? 

Are you healing after 

the death of a loved one? 

Tired of being sick and tired? 

Experience Spiritual Triage at a Gethsemani Way field hospital spiritual retreat. 

Our first retreat, "From Defiance to Reliance: Navigating Your Spiritual Life Amidst the Chaos of Addictions," was a 24-hour spiritual retreat for men and women seeking help for themselves, loved ones, family, spouse or friend. 

That retreat was sponsored by Gethsemani Way, Malvern Retreat House and St. Norbert Parish.  

Stay tuned for more information about our next retreats coming in 2019.

Thought for Today

Next Choice Of Higher Purpose


I can find joy in every day, not because life is always good, but because God is.

Starting every day with a dose of acceptance and gratitude is the best wake up nutrition you can take on a regular basis to orient ourselves to pursuing God’s will for us.

Sometimes just the thought of what that will is can be confounding and obtuse. For most of us it is simply dedicating the day to making the next choice of highest purpose.

Doing the next thing that seems best for our growth, correcting misperceptions of reality and being kinder in our words and deeds -- to us and to those who share our lives, becomes the pathway to a happier, more fulfilling day.

Once we accept that we need to be freed from the bondage of self and rely on the fact that God is always with us on the journey, the day opens to all kinds of possibilities.

Life, today, may not work out the way we think it should. Aren’t we fortunate the world is not bound solely by our way and our thinking…but by a divinely perfect plan authored by God.

Resurrect Your Life



The season of Lent and Easter is a time of special opportunity for those in, or affected by,  the challenges and pain of addiction.

The readings and themes of the season offer us an opportunity for contemplation, reflection and renewal in a deep personal way that cannot as readily be duplicated at any other time of the year.

Many talk of giving things up for Lent or depriving themselves of some special treat that they would normally enjoy. To those of us encountering the affects of the painful, confounding and sometimes mysterious impacts of addiction, this season offers us a chance at a deeper and more personal understanding of our relationship with God and the real place he holds in our life, today.

We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Just as the sorrow of the Crucifixion and the unbridled joy and amazement of the Resurrection envelope us, so does our personal experience of the journey on the path from despair to hope – no matter where we are on that path.

Today, we know, that God promises us victory over disappointments once thought to be insurmountable -- if we only seek his will for us and the power to carry it out. 

We are giving something up for Lent. We ask God’s help and love to give up a way of thinking that was rooted in our will, our self-centered actions and a way of living that continually followed us in want and need of his guidance and grace.

Oh, how lucky we have the gift of this day- and all be possibilities it brings for our spiritual growth, our gratitude for the unmerited gifts bestowed on us, and a true sense of happiness.

God Bless Us All 

Happy Easter

News, Views & Reviews

Red Tape Hassles California Pot Growers



According to a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, “taxes were identified as the single greatest barrier to entry for small businesses,” according to the report. The state-and-local effective tax rate on marijuana growers is between 40% and 60% in California, compared with 18% in Oregon and 33.1% in Nevada.” 

Not only taxes, but regulations notes the Journal: “…’consultants and attorneys are often a major cost for small businesses.’ Pot growers also complain that the ‘division of responsibility’ among an alphabet soup of regulators—CDFA, BCC, MCSB, Water Board, CDFW, CDTFA, OSHA—can cause confusion, and that “delayed permitting can have make-or-break impacts for businesses.’” 

This is not all bad news (too bad) for the growers as they may start “pushing” for Congress to pass federal legislation legalizing pot nationwide. That would be a MAJOR mistake. Contact your representatives in Congress and your state to say no to legalized pot! Read more here:

Big Tobacco Replaced By Purple Haze


Recently Senators Cory Garner and Elizabeth Warren have proposed a new Senate bill that would remove the federal ban on growing, cultivating, distributing and possessing pot in states that have legalized it (see Wall Street Journal, "On Legal Weed, Let States Tend Their Own Gardens," June 11, 2018).  

Thankfully, calmer heads are at work.  "This Is No Time To Go To Pot" is a highly critical editorial in last Friday's (June 15, 2018) Wall Street Journal by Patrick Kennedy and Kevin Sabet who know of what they speak about.

"This dangerous proposal would allow the marijuana industry to market high-potency pot candies, gummies and 99% pure extracts (compare that with 5% potent Woodstock weed).  With 70% of today's illicit drug users having started with marijuana, not prescription drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this is exactly he wrong time to legalize pot," the authors write.

They go on to point out the significant rise in Colorado's crime statistics since their hazy error in judgement adding that there are now more pot shops in that state than McDonald's and Starbucks combined. "Congress should not reward Big Marijuana for following the playbook of Big Tobacco," they add. 

Read it for yourself and get active:


Screen Addiciton Among Kids

Screen time among children is rising rapidly as are the opportunities for digital addiction


Addiction to screens is a real thing particularly among our children.

Protect your kids, family and friends with a new service from Zift called the App Advisor that helps parents

understand the most popular apps your kids are using.

Check out the App Advisor here:

Gethsemani Way

Why Gethsemani Way?

"...remove this Chalice from me; yet not what I will, but what you will." -- Mark 14:36

Our Lord's trial in the Garden of Gethsemani in Jerusalem signals the beginning of the Passion and, at the same time, the promise of redemption.

To those battling addictions along with loved ones, and friends, “Gethsemani" evokes both the agony and the hope that leads to recovery and new life.

Thus, Gethsemani Way was founded to build on Jesus’ message in the Garden -- "...not our will Father, but yours" -- while helping people to navigate the chaos of addictions. 

To find out more about the founding of Gethsemani Way go to "Catholic Parents Turn Heartache Of Addictions Into Hope For Others"  published at

Listen to a Podcast of this article as well:  Catholic Recovery Options

Spiritual Triage Hospital

"The church needs … to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. ... Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. ... And you have to start from the ground up.” – Pope Francis

Gethsemani Way is doing just that  by creating a holistic approach to addictions.

Our mission is to provide practical solutions and turnkey tools focused on the trenches – parishes – to reduce the stigma of addictions, raise awareness and foster prevention while enhancing treatment and recovery programs.

Fast Facts

†  23.5 million Americans aged 12 and above needed drug treatment for illicit drug or alcohol in 2009

Only 2.6 million or 11.2% actually receive treatment in a specialty facility

Among High Schoolers, cigarette smoking has been surpassed by marijuana use

Daily use of marijuana by High Schoolers is not perceived as a risk

† Over 63,000 died from drug overdose in 2016 more than 41,000 women who die from breast cancer each year

† The costs to society in terms of accidents, health care costs, premature death, crime, and lost productivity for drug abuse, alcohol and tobacco addiction combined is estimated to be over $524 billion a year.

Sources:  NIDA InfoFats: Treatment Statistics-Adms to Publicly Funded Substance Abuse Treatment Programs, 2008; March 2011. Brining the full power of research to bear on drug abuse and addiction, NIDA 2010.  Surgeon General’s Report , 2004; ONDCP, 2004; Harwood, 2000.

Only child-like prayer sets and keeps us on the path

Who We Are


Mark Christmyer

Mark was a health care marketing professional with advertising, medical education, public relations, promotion, and opinion leader development expertise at the American College of Physicians, Burson-Marsteller, Dorland Global and Huntsworth Health.  Currently, Mark is Director of Communications and Marketing for St. Norbert Parish in Paoli, PA.  He founded Gethsemani Way after struggling to find a Catholic faith-based approach to recovery for a loved one. 

Martin Kenney 


Marty comes to Gethsemani Way from a 30+ year career in the media serving as a senior executive with CBS, McGraw-Hill, Newscorp, Simon & Schuster, Paramount and Viacom. He’s also spoken on recovery at many rehabilitation centers and institutions over the past three decades. He began his publishing career as publisher of Catholicism by Richard McBrien, A Spirituality Named Compassion by Matthew Fox and The Female System by Anne Wilson Schaef. Marty is also a former board member of NCEA (National Catholic Education Association) and NCCD (National Conference of Diocesan Directors now National Conference for Catechetical Leadership). 

Learn More

Gethsemani Way is currently working on a Holistic approach to addictions from awareness to prevention to recovery and fighting the challenges of daily living that face us all. 

Find out more

Reasons Why Gethsemani Way Is Needed


Faith-Based Approach

“The church has done less to cure drug addicts than anybody else. These kids are tired of ‘bless-me clubs;’ they want a church that’s alive and active, not cold and dead.”

-- David Wilkerson Time magazine, 1964, Founder of Teen Challenge

Treatment Mills

“For many, treatment is a revolving door. A 24-year follow-up study of heroin addicts found that 85% had participated in treatment programs and, of these, the median number of times enrolled in treatment was five.”  

-- Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Feb 24, 1997

Treasure & Talents

“…Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” 

– Luke 12: 48

Dollars & Sense

 “…Every dollar spent on [substance abuse] treatment produces at least seven, if not more, dollars worth of savings in terms of healthcare costs, increased productivity and reductions in accidents.”  

-– A. Thomas McLellan, PhD, Director, Center for Substance Abuse Solutions, Department of Psychiatry, Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, former Deputy Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy, The White House


“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”  

-- Matthew 25: 36


“. . . If great things are not done by Catholics in America, the fault lies surely with themselves. . . – Archbishop John Ireland


St. Ignatius of Loyola

The prayer to the right, Anima Christi (Soul of Christ), was incorporated by St. Ignatius of Loyola into the opening of his Exercises.  

How's That Working For You?

"Ignatius was a man who for thirty years lived his life on his own terms. He was addicted to gambling, sexually promiscuous, possessed a violent temper. And he was a narcissist who wanted others always to bend to his will. He was in many ways a poster child for the modern age."

Higher Power: God

"The legacy of St. Ignatius of Loyola reminds us of one of life’s great lessons: God’s plans for you are greater than your plans for you."

Resources & Links


Southeastern PA Intergroup Association (SEPIA)

A Philadelphia area resource for AA meetings, events, information, and materials:

National Institute On Drug Abuse

The best government site for the latest on the opioid crisis, finding treatment, clinical research, trends, statistics, videos and more:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Treatment locator, help lines including National Suicide Prevention Helpline,  fact sheets to help assess care, and more:

Faces & Voices of Recovery

Community organization mobilizing those in recovery, families, friends and allies promoting advocacy, education and networks demonstrating the power and proof of long-term recovery:

National Council on Drug Addiction & Dependence (NCADD)

Facts, signs and symptoms, local assistance, help for families and friends:

References on Marijuana


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Contact Us

Please contact us with any questions you have regarding addictions and support. 

Gethsemani Way

PO Box 1106, Berwyn, PA 19301

Drop us a line!