‘Being Sober and Becoming Happy’ is topic of Schirber Lecture

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February 13, 2020

John MacDougall

Dr. John MacDougall

Dr. John MacDougall will deliver the 2020 spring Schirber Lecture, “Being Sober and Becoming Happy,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Founders Room (room 170), Quadrangle Building, Saint John’s University, Collegeville.

Although the event is free and open to the public, it is especially designed for students and professionals in the health sciences.

MacDougall, who wrote a 2013 book by the same title as this lecture, is the spiritual care coordinator at The Retreat, a facility in Wayzata, Minnesota, that treats alcohol and drug dependency. The Retreat’s mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities affected by alcohol and drug dependency by providing affordable, effective educational services grounded in the Twelve Step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.

MacDougall understands that all alcoholics and addicts are essentially the same – each drug is different. Some addictive drugs are uppers, some are downers, some make us numb, some make us romantic, some make us argumentative, some make us dreamy, some make us lack initiative, some make us obsessively busy, but what all the addictive drugs have in common is that they gradually take over our lives, crowding out every other loyalty: God, other people, work, patriotism, avocations and love, until our lives focus more and more on obtaining our drugs, using them, rebounding from our use of them and planning how to do them again.

His lecture is an accessible introduction to sobriety over a lifetime — and enjoying the happiness that comes along with it. For anyone curious about the benefits of a Twelve Step program for addiction, or anyone in recovery who is looking for a way to grow their spirituality, MacDougall shines a light on an uncertain path in an open, honest discussion of his own experiences with addiction and recovery.

The Schirber Endowed Scholarship and pre-med fund at Saint John’s University was established by Dr. Martin ’42 and Rose Marie Schirber of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Martin practiced medicine in Grand Rapids during most of his medical career. A number of their sons and daughters also graduated from or attended Saint John’s and the College of Saint Benedict.

The purpose of this endowed fund is to provide support for a lecture program (two annually) intended for students in the health sciences, but open to all. One lecture addresses alcoholism and addiction and the other address pro-life issues in medical ethics.