Former Priest Celebrates 19 Years of Sobriety During National Recovery Month

A Saint and a Sinner: The Rise and Fall of a Beloved Catholic Priest

Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly, author of “A Saint and a Sinner,” Helps Others Overcome Addictions

What is a man’s life worth if he’s judged solely by his worst days?”

— Stephen Donnelly

WINTER GARDEN, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, August 31, 2021 / — Recent surveys note an alarming increase in drug use and drug overdoses — including those resulting in deaths — in the United States, making National Recovery Month, which begins tomorrow, ever more important.

The month-long focus on substance abuse treatment and mental health services began more than 30 years ago by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. September is designated as National Recovery Month, an opportunity for both public and private entities to celebrate those living in recovery and educate others about the need to seek treatment.

While the statistics are staggering, Stephen Donnelly knows all too well that drug use and addiction are individual challenges. His new memoir “A Saint and a Sinner: The Rise and Fall of a Beloved Catholic Priest” details his struggle with drug use, including the last 19 years of sobriety. The book, co-authored by Diane O’Bryan, was published late last year and explores Donnelly’s painful attempts to hide his addictions to both alcohol and illegal drugs while pursuing his calling in the priesthood.

Donnelly describes the book as a story of “repentance, regret, reflection and transformation, a hopeful tale of a flawed man and his redemption.” He said he wrote it for those who likely recognize themselves in his story. “The pain and beauty are in the journey,” he said, “falling down, getting back up and persevering.”

For Donnelly, falling down coincided with the one-year anniversary of Sept. 11, which marked his first day of sobriety. He entered a treatment facility and got serious about getting clean and staying sober. He continues to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and he helps others get up and persevere as he does each day.

“What is a man’s life worth if he’s judged solely by his worst days?” National Recovery Month answers the question Donnelly posed in “A Saint and a Sinner” by reminding us those who are seeking treatment or have sought treatment have better days ahead.

Stephen Donnelly spent two decades as a Roman Catholic priest. He battled drug addiction and alcohol addiction during that time, although he has been sober for 19 years. He continues to be active in Alcoholics Anonymous, assisting others in their journey toward sobriety. Diane O’Bryan was one of Father Donnelly’s parishioners. She suggested they co-author his memoir. Both are first-time authors.

Jim Knight
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