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Through the Red Door

Red Door

In the early days of the Church, when the front door of the parish was painted red it was said to signify sanctuary – that the ground beyond these doors was holy, and anyone who entered through them was safe from harm.

In the lives of many recovering people, it is through these same red doors that sanctuary is found on a daily basis. Initially that sanctuary may not have started in the rooms with high vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows, but in the basements and back rooms of churches where 12-step meetings are held.

This blog was created for recovering people to share the experiences they found walking through those doors of safety, refuge and peace.

 
To submit a entry to the blog, please click here for the details or contact us at info@episcopalrecovery.org.

  • 07/30/2016 7:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Although far removed from the Fifth Sunday in Lent, this last week in July gives me an annual chance to ponder anew the raising of Lazarus in the eleventh chapter of John.

    I have always loved this story, and found great joy in preaching on friendships tried, expectations challenged, reliance on God – all leading up to the triumphant “Lazarus, come out!” All very well and good, and let’s get on to Holy Week. What I didn’t yet know was the best part of the story was yet to come.

    Some of the circumstances of my life, partly growing up gay in the 1960s in the suburbs of the Midwest, formed me as a chameleon. Early on, I became deft at wearing whatever guise I thought might be expected of me, changing masks when it seemed desirous or necessary.

    One of the masks I tried on late in life was a social life of recreational drug use. It was like finding a ticket to an amusement park I never knew existed. Of course, amusement park life and real life could never meet. Now there were two complete sets of masks.

    And I learned, as many of us have learned, it was fun --- until it wasn’t. Fun to habit to problem to utter chaos. I struggled to solve my addiction on my own before anyone else found out. After all, it was my fault, right?

    As the unmanageability of my life skyrocketed, my energies were directed at keeping those two sets of masks apart, with increasingly less success. And then it happened, my worlds collided, and I hit a bruising and humiliating bottom.

    The days immediately after were the darkest I had ever known, culminating in dragging my frightened, defeated self into my Bishop’s office saying, “help.” Slowly, help arrived. Often from the people I had hurt the most.

    And this, of course is the point of the Lazarus story I had previously overlooked, and now live by. After Lazarus is alive, but not yet living, Jesus turns to the crowd saying, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Take all those masks off of him, and let him begin to live as the person God made.

    And from that day to this, through the grace of God, and with the Steps and Fellowships, I try to practice resurrection, to live unbound by the masks of self. And this new life is often not what I want, certainly not what I had planned. But, day by day, if I pay attention, it is the life that I need. Thanks be to God!

    Paul J.


  • 07/22/2016 12:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid. I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in. I was afraid I wasn’t good enough. I was afraid I’d fail. I was afraid I couldn’t do it perfectly. I was afraid there was something fundamentally wrong with me that wasn’t wrong with other people and I would never be able to live comfortably in the world.

    Then I learned that fundamental thing was a God sized hole in my soul. There was treatment for that, and treatment for the other thing, the alcoholism, the insidious unscrupulous disease that thrived on fear and self-loathing.

    My alcoholism is arrested and abstinence has been possible only through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Admitting powerlessness over alcohol and all mind altering substances, giving my life to God daily, taking a thorough inventory and giving it away, praying for removal of my defects of character that stand in the way of my usefulness to my brothers and sisters in the world, trying not to engage in behavior that impedes my spiritual growth or is hurtful to me or those around me, checking in with myself every day that I’m on the right path, maintaining that relationship with God and helping others, that’s my treatment.

    I used to think the fear would go away, or the self-loathing. I’d get rid of that stuff for good and skip down the road of happy destiny. After years of experience, the truth is the fear doesn’t go away and often times the self-loathing and feelings of unworthiness continue to percolate just beneath the surface. Only now I see the fear as a little child, and sometimes my terrified adolescent self that only wants to keep me safe. If she can keep me from taking too many risks, stepping out into the unknown with no circus net to cradle our fall because she thinks, inevitably we will fall, then she can keep us safe and sound, and we will never experience grief or loss or pain or rejection. Sometimes, she’s really loud and persistent, and before too long I look at my life and realize I’m holding myself back from experiencing the fullness of life because I got too comfortable in a job I didn’t like, or stayed too long in a relationship that was destructive.  All tangled up in that mess is fear, feelings of unworthiness, and not being capable. But I have these tools, this fellowship, and these people-mostly women-that I can come to with my desire for change and my fear of change, and tell them what’s going on. I talk about it, out loud, in a group full of women, who share their fears and feelings of unworthiness. These women have walked the path ahead of me and moved the big boulders out of the way. They stand in the light and wave me on saying, “This way. It’s ok. It’s safe. It’s super scary but it’s safe, too. Cause we’re here.” And the fundamental truth, underneath all of it, is that we are God’s beloved. That is the fundamental truth of who we are. We are not our fear, or unworthiness, or our character defects, or our limitations. We are God’s beloved.

    -Holly C. 


  • 07/18/2016 11:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As I sit in the AA meeting this Saturday morning at 9 I think of the reaction of so many people to the violence in Dallas, Louisiana, Minnesota, 5 policemen (now 8), 2 black men killed.  People talk about returning violence for violence, questioning how could there be a loving God who would allow this to happen, no longer believing in God.

    I know violence can never overcome violence.  For those who question the presence of God, I want to drag them to this AA meeting. This is where the God of my understanding lives. This is a room full of people who had stinking thinking not dissimilar to the thinking of those who killed others this week. Somehow the people I see coming into this meeting have changed, and they now represent a room full of miracles, people trying to lead a different life, knowing that there is a God who saved them and trying to make a difference in the world because they were rescued.

    The meeting is on the second step, “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Two people, a balding man and a young attractive woman pick up 24 hour chips. Rarely seen. No birthdays. 

    One middle aged attractive woman with many years in AA talks about how her sponsor first asks her about her higher power. Hers is a vengeful God keeping records of all her many wrong doings. Her sponsor looks her in the eye and tells her, “I want to loan you my God for 2 weeks. My God likes to be read to, likes to hear these meditations each morning. My God likes to hear the Serenity Prayer and the Prayer of St. Francis each evening before you go to bed. My God likes to talk to you like you talked to him as a child, on your knees by your bed.” Just these simple things change her life and she then says in passing, “I get into trouble when I am in a hurry and only say these prayers on one knee as I go out the door.”

    The group talks a great deal about sanity. One woman speaks out, “ When I went to treatment and heard the second step, I kept saying, ‘I am not insane!”’ Her counselor finally asks her, “ Does it help for you to think about where you are?” She bows her head and says, “I think I am in a psychiatric hospital.” Many talk about realizing they are insane when they hear the definition. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expected a different result. Yes, we are insane, but by some miracle we are being restored to sanity, trying to find a new result following a new way of life.

    I am so grateful I am in this place today.

    Joanna

  • 07/06/2016 10:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Summer is short, but daylight hours seem longer, especially in northern climes where sunbeams linger ‘til stars flood a midnight sky.  Summer’s idle hours are ideal for lazing on a lakeside dock listening to the wind stir tall pines, or on the swaying foredeck of a sloop at anchor, or long interminable drives to nay-cation with relatives… hours filled with games: “I spy with my little eye…”; or, songs; “what do we do with a drunken sailor” / “the wheels on the bus go…”; or, stories by the fire pit: family legends and memories ghost stories; whatever springs to mind.

    Stories from scripture? As it turns out, there’s an imaginative twist on holy writ that is purpose-built for summertime. The life of Christ is highly episodic, filled with incidental characters to drive the narrative: random, faceless men and women who emerge to be counseled, blessed or healed, then neatly disappear. Summer’s hollow hours are brilliant opportunities to flesh out these stories… perhaps, some of these bit players were mired in addiction. Who knew? 

    Jesus curing the ten lepers (Luke 17, 11-19) is ripe for picking. The story unfolds in a village on the border between Samaria and Galilee as Jesus preaches his way toward Jerusalem. One leper bellows, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  That’s certainly a wide-open appeal with roomy expectations. It seems this bold leper knew Jesus, or at least had heard of Him.  For his part, Jesus didn’t give the plea much shrift – just another infirm, diseased and deformed outcast on the outskirts of a hard-scrabble village.  Indeed, He dismissed them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” No way! This is crazy. Priests don’t welcome lepers, they despise them as foul, contaminated by sin and disease.  But, they went anyway – group courage?  Hey! Just like in our own recovery.  Before the lepers even arrived at the synagogue, they were cleansed.

    One, a Samarian, we’ll call him Jonah, came back and thanked Jesus, who blessed him and sent him along – Christ always sends us to “carry the message”.  “What about the other nine?”, Jesus wants to know. Well, what about ‘em?

    As it happens, Jonah had come back because he and David, the only Samaritans among the ten, were trekking home and Jesus was on their route.  David had raced on, because he’d been stricken only recently and was frantic to comfort his young family. It hadn’t occurred to him (yet) that they were in God’s care too. 

    The remaining locals were detained by amazed and wary priests, dithering between praise to heaven and damage control.  Eventually, the priests bogged down in their own deliberations, so the exultant lepers uttered thanks and slipped away.

    Anne hurried to the marketplace where her brother sold nuts and seeds and while she regaled village women with droll wisecracks and comic tales.  Anne made every day a celebration. 

    Samuel hastened to his forge, now in the custody of his idiot cousin. Samuel liked his craft, but prized his customers and relished devising clever answers to their needs. 

    Jonah had hated his disgrace, the ignominy and degradation, the stench of his rags even more than his disfigurement and pain.  His unexpected cure stunned him.  Lost in self-pity, he remained agonized, isolated and numb.

    Trevor, (we’re making this up, so the names needn’t be strictly Hebrew) remained with the priests.  He cherished the scriptures and admired the learned ones for their wisdom and devotion. Having been so favored by God, perhaps he could contribute to their understanding.

    Paul tracked down Averill, his nemesis and partner in a toxic feud that has layered fresh resentments since they were young men, hoping that smug sonofabitch would choke on Pauls’ great favor with God.

    Aaron and Susan have been many years married and were jointly afflicted. They had each other and, basking in God’s lavish grace, left the village to seek out other lepers and pariahs, bringing them care and comfort and inspiring hope among the hopeless. 

    Shy Meg returned to her family and spoke little of the miracle and the Healer.  As she and the others departed from Jesus, she’d looked back at Him, walking with his friends in the late afternoon sunlight.  She held that image in her heart and from time to time, encountering others of the ten in their small village, she sensed their shared gratitude. He had changed everything.

    We, too, in recovery are transformed.  As addicts, we go as a group to show ourselves to our various priests. We live our lives, practice our trades and professions, dodge our fears, seethe in our resentments, rejoice in our loves and serve others as best we can.  We are healing.  We are the ten.

    Ice cream, anybody?   Happy Summer! 

    -Martin

  • 06/30/2016 7:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I heard, early on, that god, whatever it is, doesn’t give you more than you can handle (nor less than you can handle, btw!)

    She asks me one day, “Will you accept Jesus as your lord and savior?”
    I answer, “Yes, I got nothin’ to fear from Jesus ((I had been sober, the first round, for 10 or 11 years, 7 years in ACoA (Adult Children of Alcoholics and Other Dysfunctional Families) and was crystal-clear that there is something out there, why not Jesus. Besides I had had a visit from Jesus on a “walk with Jesus” mile on some spiritual retreat years before.))!” And added, “as long as I can continue to discuss and ask questions.”  She agrees.

    She asks me soon after, “Can we marry? I want to be right with Jesus and be married in the eyes of god as well as in our hearts.”

    I answer, “Yes. I got nothin’ to fear from marriage!” [grimace]

    It is impossible for me to believe how much love surrounds me now. I came from such awful ancestry. Bigoted, abusive, neglectful, grasping, criminal folk came before me and were charged with raising me. Only my grandma, “magu,” rescued me from full ‘confirmation’ in the family tree. Bio-mom completed what magu could not, I lost magu only three years after I found her-before my 5th birthday [swallow]. Bio-mom tried out an Adult Children of Alcoholics and Other Dysfunctional Families meeting on a Wednesday – the “teddy bear meeting” in Spokane, Washington. Bio-mom was so strangely changed and calmed, something I had never seen before. Then she went to the ACoA meeting again the next week and the calm and the stillness happened again. I was so stricken by this powerful affect that a few years later, while in college, my friends and I were commiserating over how crazy our social backstabbing was that I spoke up that my mom had gone to this place and clearly felt better after.

    We got to the meeting and this being the early 90’s there were 50 people in the room. We had to break into 4 groups after the leader shared in order to let everyone have a chance to share. Our dozen was in a small office and I sat on the carpet for lack of chairs. A woman on the couch shared and cried like a snotty mucus mess. I was floored. I thought, “Wow, it’s safe to share and cry! Cry in front of these people!?” I continued attending ACOA meetings for 7 years. I host an online ACOA meeting, now.

    After 7 years of ACOA meetings, I finally said, “Maybe alcohol’s a problem.” Fortunately, I uttered this to a fellow in both fellowships. He said, “Well, why not come try out a meeting?”

    It is so strange that it is a “moral” remedy that maintains my relationship to Self-sean. Three years ago I acquired severe neuropathy in both feet and I am stuck at home 80% of the time. Eclipsing face to face meetings, god has handed me the mission to seek out the fellowship as a disabled person and this seems too great to bear. Thing is, my life has become full and purposeful in spite of my disability. In fact, the leader of one of my 12 step fellowships called me today to talk about some more adjustments to make to the meeting listings to help folks that are stuck with only the internet to nourish their moral remedy. It is vital to rant, to plead, to yell and to cry. Sometimes expletives are shouted. This is all to clear out the past so the sadness can see the sun and being a sad man is more and more ok with me.

    I cannot, will not, need not, turn my back on the 12 steps. Drowning and lost, I found a place in the life boat. Life! [tears]

    -Anonymous


  • 06/22/2016 9:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The world is a harsh, violent, scary place these days and the massacre in Orlando put me over the edge. The word on the street is that we are sensitive creatures, we alcoholics and addicts. More so than the average person. Maybe it’s a genetic predisposition to sensitivity, or maybe it’s because of the trauma of abuse many of us endured as children, the jury’s out on that one, but even Bill wrote, “We alcoholics are sensitive people.” (BB p.125) He knew.

    I often feel out of place in the world even after 15 plus years of sobriety and spending the last 27 years in Alcoholics Anonymous. The violence we human beings perpetuate against each other is devastating and last week, one more time, I’m shaking my head and thinking, “Really!? Again!?” When are going to learn? When are going to care for each other in a way that acknowledges the dignity of every human being? When are we going to act more like Jesus? When? And so I lose hope. I can’t easily shake off the despair of loss, whether it’s 60 million refugees displaced by war and violence in their countries or the 50 in Orlando or the sadness that I feel every time I drive by the tents of the homeless under the Gower over pass on my way to the church every day in Hollywood. I feel helpless and hopeless and powerless.

    And then I walk into a meeting. The same meeting I have walked into for the last 10 years. My home group: 9am Came to Believe. We read from the collection of stories from the short but spiritually packed book, Came to Believe, and we share our experience of God, our spiritual journeys, our doubts, our fears, our sadness, our joys, our grief, our successes. We talk about trusting God, and finding joy in the little things. We talk about the harsh realities of the world and how sometimes we feel like going out there again, seems absolutely impossible. Then someone shares about how she did it, how she mustered the courage to go into the world, one more time, and do what needs to be done, and everything was ok. God was there. And the room is filled with hope, again.

    God is always there. God meets me in my grief and holds me in arms so big and wide and gentle and merciful that I can move through the world with a little more hope. The women of AA fill me with enough strength and courage to muster the energy to get out there and do my best and believe that through unity, recovery and service, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” Julian of Norwich

    -Holly C.

  • 06/16/2016 3:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    (Note: The name of the priest mentioned in this personal reflection is not the individual's real name.)

    Nervously I sat in the nave, waiting for something they were calling a "12-Step Eucharist" to begin. This was not my home parish, but it was a real Episcopal church with the dark wood and stained glass and old-fashioned red door to prove it.

    I scanned the room a bit furtively, taking in the group of maybe 30 people as we gathered. I was a mid-forties female suburban corporate executive with less than six months under my belt, and being open about my alcoholism, even among others in recovery, was still scary. But here, in God's house? It was what I knew my healing required, and it was terrifying.

    I engaged in some chitchat that quickly turned into deep sharing with the attendees seated around me—a motley assortment of prodigals who, like me, were making their way back to God.

    I gazed at the altar. The flyer had said that Communion would be served. This was a Eucharist, right, so Communion would be served? Somehow the idea of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, surrounded by these people I'd never met before, but who knew something profound about who I was, what I was, what I had become... I felt so vulnerable.

    The service got started. There were well-known lines from the Big Book to listen to and recite, woven among the more familiar components of the Episcopal Eucharist. I began to relax. These two worlds that were both so life-giving to me—Alcoholics Anonymous and The Episcopal Church—were harmoniously merging in a way that was incredibly powerful. I was not the only one feeling this. The energy in the room was palpable.

    And then a middle-aged man dressed in clerical vestments approached the lectern to deliver the sermon. Now I worried anew. I wondered whether this priest had any idea what I had been through to get here. I wondered whether this man of the cloth knew how ashamed I was before God. I wondered if he could help me find God again.

    He opened his mouth to speak. “My name is Brent, and I’m an alcoholic.”

    Tears began flowing down my cheeks. He was one of us.

    A 20-something, heavily tattooed man sitting next to me, an urban artist in recovery from heroin addiction as I had learned in my conversation with him before the Mass started, reached for my hand. I looked at him and smiled through my tears. He understood what I was experiencing.

    “We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition, page 17)

    “…for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)

    I was completely safe here. No part needed to hide. I experienced fully who I am—a recovering alcoholic Christian and a Christian recovering alcoholic—in a way never before possible for me in an AA meeting room or in the Church.

    I was deeply known by God and by the other beautiful human beings gathered here. At one time, in one place. And I was invited to meet them all at the Lord's Table.

    The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven. Given for us.

    The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation. Shed for us and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Sins. Indeed. And it was grape juice. Yes, shed for us.

    This was the first sip of the sacrament I had taken since, half a year earlier in the wee hours of a Monday morning, I had gotten on my knees in my bedroom closet and cried out to God that I was sick and that I needed God's strength to heal. That I needed salvation—the cup of salvation.

    This is what I received that day—among my people, in my Church. Welcome, understanding, safety, wholeness, community, salvation. Thanks be to God.

    Katherine G.

  • 06/02/2016 12:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hell is defined as a state of separation from God; exclusion from God's presence. For those of us consumed by the grips of an addiction, it certainly is. Addiction, whether it be from a substance like alcohol, drugs, or food, to a behavior such as sex, viewing pornography, technology/ gaming, or shopping, the behaviors certainly do separate us from a "power greater than ourselves." These behaviors bring relief for the user. A separation from what haunts them, whatever that may be.

    In our western culture there seems to be a "quick fix" for any type of discomfort. We don't like to sit in any feelings, or situations that disturb us. Whether it is from a present relationship or a past memory. This release soon becomes a self-imposed prison. A dark place where there doesn't seem to be a way out. A sick cycle. 

    Society in general sees it as a weakness. What many do not understand is that the addict has lost the power to choose, once the addiction has taken over. The relief is constantly on their minds. This relief soon turns into an obsession, and a destructive prison that they feel they cannot get out of.

    Addiction takes with it the addict, the family, and friends leaving destruction in its path. As one alcoholic put it, "I drank from the bottle until the bottle drank form me." I like to think of addiction as a "Dementor," from Harry Potter. It is a non being that is considered one of the foulest in the world. It feeds upon human happiness, and causes depression and despair to anyone near them. Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs is costly to our Nation, exacting more than $700 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity, and health care.* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Excessive Drinking Costs U.S. $223.5 Billion. More young adults use prescription drugs non-medically than any other age group. Many souls are dying every day from addiction. 

    I recently celebrated my freedom from alcohol, five years of a life worth living and loving. Even during the most difficult times. Through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, I came from a life of struggling to be free, to a life in which I am free to struggle. In my opinion, the world could use the 12 Steps to help everyone live a more peaceful and full life. 

    It is my hope to help others. To pass on the Good News! 

    Peace and Presence. 

    -Patty K.
  • 05/28/2016 7:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Collect of the Day: Proper 3
    Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be peaceably governed by your providence; and that your Church may joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    Twelve years ago this week I felt abandoned, isolated and trapped in a continuous loop of despair. This week I celebrated twelve years of continuous sobriety. How did that ever happen? Sometimes I shake my head in gratitude and astonishment, continually amazed by the grace and love of my Higher Power, whom I call God. Over the past few years in particular, in addition to regular 12-step meetings, I’ve been praying the daily office using an app on my phone. I find that setting aside some time in the morning or in the evening helps me quiet my mind and increase my conscious contact with God. Today, for example, I smiled as I read the words “joyfully serve you in confidence and serenity.” Twelve years ago I certainly did not feel much joy, confidence or serenity, and I wasn’t interested in serving anything or anyone. On this warm sunny day, with a sleeping dog at my feet, I feel so much gratitude for the gift of sobriety, life, love and joy. In my 12-step group we talk about the goals of love and service, which aligns beautifully with the desire to serve God joyfully. When I speak with a newcomer, I feel so much compassion, love and welcome as I share my own experience, strength and hope. In helping newcomers, I feel more peaceful and at ease within myself, and I feel joy, confidence and serenity. Today a woman in my daily meeting had a lot of pain and suffering, and I was able to listen to her struggle. I do not know everything about recovery but I do feel confident in my ability to share my own experience in the spirit of being helpful, thus I can “serve (God) in confidence.” Listening to another deepens my own well of joy and compassion for myself and others, thus I can “serve God joyfully.” Praying the serenity prayer daily helps me ask God to grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. With these new tools, from my church community as well as my 12-step community, I know that today I can embrace this challenge to serve God with confidence, serenity and joy.

    -Kirsten RH

  • 05/18/2016 8:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Growing up in an alcoholic home I had a strange sense of what was normal.  I thought all grown-ups had drinks in the middle of the day, in the evening and at bed time.  One really did have three martini lunches. I thought all 5 year olds drank from their parents’ champagne glasses on holidays.  When I was out of college and looking for work, I drank at lunchtime because that’s what grownups do. I did it in graduate school too, even if I had afternoon classes. Every Sunday a group of my parents’ friends gathered at our house for after church drinks.  All very normal, right?

    The one place I did notice that things were not normal was in the things I was not allowed to do which others my age could do.  I think primarily because many of them involved my being driven somewhere or inconveniencing may parents in some way.  Additionally they were so out of touch that I was always sent to school in jeans or overalls—everyone else wore dresses.  I was sent to the pool in swim trunks because at 8 or 9 I didn’t have noticeable breasts.

    I did not know that what I was experiencing had a name---shame.  I not only made mistakes, I was a mistake, an inconvenience, who fit in nowhere. 

    I truly think that I drank against the shame, drank to not be shy, drank to finally fit in. Unfortunately I over shot.  I drank more than anyone else and it became a source for more shame.  I managed to get tranquilizers but was careful to not mix them with booze.  I always waited 30 minutes between stopping my drinks for the day before I took a tranq. or a sleeping pill. At some point I realized that might not be normal.

    I drank because I couldn’t not drink.  Sometimes I stopped after 2 or 3 but once I put the first one in my mouth I could no longer predict how much I would consume.  I swore off alcohol many nights as I fought the “twirlies” in bed and had to keep one foot on the floor. The next day it was “well, I won’t drink anything tomorrow”.

    A side benefit of getting sober was that I could buy a high four poster bed because I no longer had to be able to get my foot on the floor to keep the room from spinning. But the greatest benefit was that at age 40 I found a program that not only got me off booze, it gave me a road map that got me to the goal I had always chased.  My skin fit.  I was comfortable in my own skin and didn’t grimace when I looked in the mirror.

    I still make mistakes, we all do, but today I know I am NOT a mistake.  The shame is gone, and I belong somewhere.  Not just in AA but in the wider community.  I have been given the opportunity to be of service to God and my fellow man. As they say, if I’d said 30 years ago where I wanted to be at age 70 I would have short changed myself. As a friend who died 52 years sober always said, “I don’t drink, and I’m not mad about it”. I’m thrilled about it!  Sober is the new normal. Thanks be to God.

    Lisa K

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