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Through the Red Door Blog

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.

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  • 12/12/2019 6:44 PM | Anonymous

    Feast of St. Nicholas, St. Mark’s 12 step Eucharist, December 4, 2019

    If you have been at this 12 step Eucharist previously on the first Wednesday in December, you have heard a homily about St. Nikolas.  I apologize right now because you are going to hear about him now for the third time. I am powerless when it comes to St. Nikolas.  He has just been a too important figure in my life. You might say that in December, I replace my addiction to alcohol for an addiction for St. Nikolas. 

    Very little is known of the life of Nicholas, bishop of Myra who lived in Asia Minor around 342. He is the patron of seafarers, sailors and more especially of children. As a bearer of gifts to children, his name was brought to America by the Dutch colonists in New York where he popularly became known as Santa Claus.

    The feast day of St. Nicholas has been celebrated in our family as a major holiday since my sobriety. We have a big family meal together. My husband dresses up as Bishop Nicholas with a beard, a miter, and crozier and long red stole and comes to visit our grandchildren after dinner. He speaks Greek to the children and the adults. Speaking Greek is my husband’s favorite pastime, and of course you know that Nikolas was Greek. Nike the Greek! Then our grandchildren go into the bedrooms and leave their shoes outside the doors and Bishop Nicholas leaves chocolate coins and presents in their shoes. I won’t bore you with our pictures of this family event, but they are stunning.

    Why am I sharing with you our family story? For the last several years on this feast day, I sit and watch this pageant and am filled with so much gratitude, for my sobriety date is close to the feast day of St. Nicholas. Each year I know that if someone had not led me to a recovery program, I would not be alive tonight.  I would not be witnessing this wonderful blessing of seeing my children and grandchildren giggle with glee as they try to respond to a beautiful old man with a fake beard speaking Greek to them and secretly giving them candy in their shoes. For me it is a yearly reminder to keep working these 12 steps so I can be around for another feast day of St. Nicholas.

    This is just a suggestion. Look at the calendar of saints. Find one close to your sobriety date. Learn about that saint. Observe that saint’s day in your home, in your life. You may just consider that saint as your patron saint. This is just one more way to remember how our lives have been transformed by our sobriety. Spend that saint’s day giving thanks for those before you who loved you before you were born with a love that only comes from the love of the God of our understanding. St. Nikolas reminds us that God uses every possible tool to keep us clean and sober.  Give Thanks and Enjoy.

    Joanna joannaseibert.com

  • 12/05/2019 10:27 PM | Anonymous

    Thanksgiving Day, 2019

    Today is Thanksgiving, a good day for me to express gratitude for the blessings of recovery. A couple of weeks ago, at the last minute, I was asked to speak on a Wednesday night in my home group; it’d been a couple of years since I’d told my story in that room. In my head, I had reviewed the high points and contours of what I wanted to say. Then, during the opening business, I got nervous, wondering “how am I going to get this thing started?” I said a quick prayer for guidance.

    When the chair introduced me, she simply said, “telling his story tonight is our Paul.” It was one of those God moments, and everything fell into place. Because, if I was “our Paul” to them, then they surely were “my people” to me. We belonged together. And in those few seconds, my story that night became a story about connectivity.

    When I was active, having a connection was the name of the game. Eventually, it was the only thing that mattered. Any generosity of heart or sense of sharing that may have been present in the early days had vanished. I was leading a selfish life in almost complete isolation. Even if I managed to have a connection, I wasn’t connected…to anything or anyone. Through the grace of God, that was then, and this is now.

    Today is Thanksgiving, and one of my companions in recovery died this morning. Paul was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia about a year ago. The chemotherapy that flooded his body knocked his immune system for a loop, making it impossible for him to be around a lot of people. When his health allowed, his sponsor arranged for a small group of us to bring a meeting to him.

    We were a small and relatively consistent group. As we gathered around our friend whose own sense of joy in his recovery was undimmed, despite unimaginable trails, things began to change. We came to know each other in profound ways.

    Guys in those meetings took risks in their shares. I trusted them enough to step up my game, too. I didn’t think that I had many judgments or barriers, but how wrong I was! By learning to see others more clearly and allow myself to be seen more fully, I found myself connected in a new way, part of a band of brothers who knew and trusted each other.

    I saw Paul about a week before he died. I thanked him for his generosity of spirit in sharing so much of his suffering and hope with us, showing me how to become more comfortable in my own skin and connected more deeply to those around me. It was our last conversation.

    Today is Thanksgiving, and among the flurry of text messages after Paul’s death, one of our number wrote “Thanks to all of you, for showing me how to love, succeed, fail and suffer with other people, all the while being a part of.”

    Today is Thanksgiving, and I am more grateful than I can say for Paul, and for being a part of this group of faithful friends with whom God has connected me.

    Paul J.


  • 11/27/2019 9:21 PM | Anonymous

    “If you’re looking for a miracle now Buddy, you better be one All alone, on your own.” Kris Kirstofferson.

    How often have we heard that phrase “If you want to see a miracle, be one.” I had no idea what it meant when I first heard it. When I listened, really listened to the words of Kirstofferson’s song “Let the walls come down” and then it made sense. “Let the walls come down, Let the love come through, when it all comes down, It’s up to me and you.”

    I remember complaining about an AA member who visited our group regularly and told his story. I made the comment that I was tired of listening to him talk about his feelings. The person to whom I complained got to the point: “Seamus, he is more free in jail than you are walking the streets.” I was the one locked up within myself.

    Despite all the therapy I’d been through, there was still that wall, that distance that protected me from others. Then, bit by bit the walls came tumbling down. They had to. I was dying of loneliness and aloneness even in a crowd.

    I could talk a good talk about being powerless over alcohol, over people, places and things. I admitted I needed a H.P. and I found one. I worked the steps but something was missing. The message had not been transmitted from my head to my heart. There was a wall there that was porous and feelings were beginning to eek through and I was uncomfortable.

    The issues of being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic -- Don’t think, Don’t talk, Don’t feel, Don’t trust -- were deeply imbedded in me. Don’t think about what’s going on inside the house; don’t talk about what you see or hear (family secrets); don’t feel (and you won’t hurt); don’t trust (anyone but yourself).

    I was about three in the program when I first read a book on ACOA issues. I read the signs and identified with nineteen of the twenty signs. Yes, I was not only an alcoholic, I was an ACOA. In my situation, a parent who did not drink – a hardworking, church going, alcohol hating person who had a great sense of humor.

    “Let the walls come down. Let the Love come through.” To be the miracle I had to do the work I told and taught others to do. I feigned emotion and got away with it but I was the one who got hurt by the pretending.

    When dawn broke this morning, I felt grateful for another good night of peaceful sleep. I felt grateful for another day of wonderment and awe. I pulled back the curtains and looked out into what I now call “God’s art gallery”  and watched God’s handiwork in motion. I took a handful of nuts and spread them along the fence for my sentient brother- a squirrel - who has taken to visit in the early morning and late afternoon. 

    “Let the love come through.” This was not always easy. Love was, I thought at one time, a rather fickle emotion. Then I came to understand it as a decision, a commitment to love myself – warts and all; love other people, places, and things. Love opened my heart to forgiving self and others as I revisited the steps and discovered what I missed the first couple of times. Love was the spiritual awakening that assisted my seeing the world through a kaleidoscope, an awe inspiring view of colors; a world that was no longer black and white.

    “Don’t leave till the miracle happens” an old guy once said. Then I heard another say “Don’t leave after the miracle happens.” Today, the miracle happens each morning, afternoon, evening and night as I keep the walls level with the ground, keep my heart and mind open to new insights, increase my hope and trust in self, others and my Higher Power. The miracle is that I did not do this on my own. The miracle for me is that I responded to my Higher Power prodding me into the light and love I had always sought but could not find on my own. My H.P. gave me the wisdom to respond and I am grateful to have done so.

    “And you can’t free nobody else if you can’t be true to yourself. If you’re looking for a miracle now buddy, you better be one, all alone, on your own.” Kristofferson wrote a wonderful song. It could have been great if he had realized we are not alone when we respond to the call,“Let the walls come down, Let the Love come through.”

    Whatever we hold on to, that’s what we’ve got - only that much. Maezumi Roshi

  • 11/20/2019 9:43 PM | Anonymous

    At first, this anonymous stuff carries a negative connotation, sorta’ “I’m so ashamed of myself.” Some of us see ourselves as bad persons and we have to hide our efforts to clean up our act and accept that we are addicted to substances that have come close to ruining our lives. So, we may wish to claim secrecy (anonymity) as we struggle down our path of recovery. For the brand-new person, this anonymity may be just what is needed - period of quiet reflection, and meditation if you will, to understand and accept the essence of the Program, to replace those “people, places and things” that contributed to our addiction and whose continued allegiance by the addict will only serve as threats to our sobriety and perhaps to our new found serenity. It’s also a good time to quietly take the first steps toward searching and strengthening our relations with our Higher Power.

    The addict is undergoing a real restructuring of his or her life - habits, friends, ways of thinking, one’s value structure, our spiritual lives - it’s all under our microscope. We are fundamentally changing the proposition that we are the most important people in the room. We have to learn that “it’s not all about me” and this doesn’t come about by the wave of a hand. It takes practice - conversations with our sponsor, our home group, our families. It takes work on our relationships we have harmed.

    But all this ignores something that is frequently present at our moments of surrender. Many already knew of our malady. They may have been embarrassed by it. Some may have guessed an addiction of some kind was causing our aberrant behavior and it’s generally true that those folks will be happy that you have seen your problem and are stepping up to do something about it. They are thankful.

    In fact, in today’s social scene, it is not surprising that a conversation might go like this: Friend says, “Notice you aren’t drinking, how come?” You say, “Well, frankly, it was becoming a problem.” Friend, after reflective pauses, “Really? Good for you! What have you done to deal with it?” You then might provide a very brief summary of the steps of your program. But, your friend interrupts, and says, “Say, I have a sister who seems to have a problem” You, “Well it is a major problem today , ‘specially when it gets all tied-up with drugs.” More contemplative pauses from Friend, who then says, “Could we talk over lunch about all this?

    There! See how you can find yourself in the middle of “carrying the message?” And, frankly, with advice from one’s sponsor, it’s possible an early arriver to the Program can have that conversation.

    So, “Anonymous”? ... Yes, but there may be exceptions in some situations.

    There is another reason our founders insisted on anonymity. Somehow some knew of the failed efforts of a group in the middle of the nineteenth century who had made good progress developing a program that was providing an effective regimen for the addict. Known as the Washingtonians, after some degree of success, the members decided to publicize their successes and ride the public speakers’ circuit preaching the gospel of recovery by following Washington‘s methodology.

    Many returned to their addiction and the organization failed.

    Why? There probably were several reasons but the AA Old Timers saw the collapse as a return to the ego, a glorification by the speakers of themselves: “Look what I have done, look at me, I tell you to follow me and, you will succeed!” This ego thing always is raising its head of importance.

    Our surrender process cuts to the heart of our addiction. We always tried to cure our addiction ourselves, uninterested in any outside assistance. We learned we couldn’t solve the problem to please someone else. Our whole outlook was dominated by ego’s bloat ... ME FIRST!”

    So, we have found that with the “Anonymous” approach, we have a chance for success.

    Jim A./Covington, Kentucky


  • 11/13/2019 7:39 PM | Anonymous

    Surrender results in a change in perception. We realize that our selfish, self-centered addictions, afflictions and compulsive behaviors have cut us off from God and have left us in a dark, lonely prison of hopelessness and despair.  -Wally P., Back to the Basics of Recovery, 1999

    For most of my life the biggest road block to my recovery from sex, love, and pornography addiction was looking me straight in the mirror. In the height of my acting out, my life centered around what I wanted, when I wanted it, and with whom I wanted it. I had little concern over the consequences of my actions or the emotional impact such behaviors might have on others. All I remember is the powerful sense of urgency - yes hunger - to fill that void deep within. A longing inevitably followed by the cycle of shame, guilt, and self hatred.

    My recovery began once my perspective changed.

    I went from looking in the mirror to looking inside. What a frightening and beautiful exploration! When I came to see myself for who I really was - a flawed, imperfect human being - it became much easier to surrender to the reality that there is a God and I am not He, She or It! I began to realize, as I worked the 12 Step Program of Recovery, that my self will and ego resulted in a bottleneck of spiritual power. The inner work required by my program allowed me to move out of denial and into reality. I could no longer pretend to be something I was not.

    Steps One, Two and Three required me to not only admit I was powerless but to embrace it as well. Those are two very different things. One was a mental exercise (which I had conducted each time I quit my addiction) and the other was an act of the heart. It was the desperate surrender of a drowning man who had to accept that continuing to do things my way would not end well.

    As I recover, I choose to lean into my powerlessness, knowing that the more I embrace it, the stronger my recovery grows. Embracing my powerlessness is surrendering to the reality that my best effort to manage my life endangered my family, brought about my divorce, left me unemployed, arrested, and publicly shamed. But in doing so I exercised the courage to reclaim the power which I allowed my addiction to steal from me. As strange as it may seem, accepting my limitations laid a foundation upon which to build my new recovery life.

    The embrace of powerlessness brought the gift of faith into the life of a once life-long evangelical. Surrender allowed a shift from “hunger” to “hope” to occur and has become a day by day (minute by minute) work of the spirit. Today I am able to see that surrender does not imply that I am a loser. Rather, as one person in recovery once said, “Surrender just means you are smart enough to join the winning team.” -Shane M.

  • 10/31/2019 9:30 PM | Anonymous

    A couple newcomers to our fellowship brought this topic for discussion.  Those early days and months can be confusing. I felt there was so much to learn and then one had to figure out how to bring this life-changing knowledge into his or her daily life. Progress appeared to be slow. Sometimes it seemed I should take notes when I observed some making notes in a journal – maybe keeping a journal wasn’t a bad idea.

    Some said that the early days were tough for we may have still felt guilty, ashamed, broken in spirit, deeply remorseful, in fact, maybe genuine appropriate feelings. The answer to this was always, “don’t dwell on the past.” Some didn’t arrive at our rooms easily it may have been court-ordered or prompted by a non-negotiable ultimatum from an employer or family member. 

    What I learned, and this was just my reaction, is that the Program’s map of the journey to sobriety and serenity was a path of some length, with twists and turns, failures here and there, and constant attention to the Program ‘s teachings. I heard at one early meeting that as we worked the Steps, we in essence would be changing our social mores and practices, probably dropping personal relationships with some friends, even reevaluating one’s life values.

    But of course, sometimes there is a feeling of disbelief that you found yourself at an AA meeting at all:

    “I’m not as bad as some of these folks here still have my job, wife and kids, no DUI, auto accidents. My goodness, all I need to learn is a few ways to drink normally, just one or maybe two at a party.”

    And, as I continued my attendance, I found much relief: Everyone said that we needed to “let go and let God,” “easy does it," “keep it simple,” and a whole raft of other seemingly over-simplifications of my feelings and frustrations in these early days. One thought that meant a lot was the idea that the Program sought to remove that feeling of concentration solely on myself I was not the most important person in life, they said saving my inflated ego was not life’s number one priority.

    Then they starting discussing the importance of a spirit-based life. Take prayer for example: the Big Book talks about our seeking God’s will for us and the courage to follow that will removing our ego as the author of God’s Will, rather “Thy Will, not mine.” Then they said the group can serve as our “Higher Power.” Talk about confusion!

    The successful ones made one thing absolutely clear. Never give up. Keep at it. Go to a lot of meetings, not one or two a week 90 in 90 and not just lead meetings but mostly discussion meetings where you can learn  as did Bill and Dr. Bob that the purpose of these meetings is for one alcoholic to talk to another alcoholic and to learn from other alcoholics how they successfully found sobriety and serenity.

    Yes, go to meetings, especially when you don’t want to go. Call your sponsor, read the Big Book, reach out to others especially newcomers, for you are going through the same thicket of ideas... and remember the Big Book’s promise: “Sobriety and serenity will always materialize if we but work for it”

    Jim A., Covington, Kentucky

  • 10/23/2019 7:23 PM | Anonymous

    “The humility generated in recovery is the ability to admit that when it comes to the core questions about who you are and why you are here on this planet the only honest answer is, “I don’t know.” Humility…is living the question without settling on an answer.”(1)

    “Can you tell me…?” That was sufficient for me to get into a history lesson. If the question was “Is it going to rain today?” The answer might be a lesson on condensation or climate change. The deeper I got into my addiction, the surer I was of who I was, what I wanted, what I knew. Sadly, that was only on the outside. On the inside I lived in fear of the answer being wrong; of people discovering I didn’t know what I was talking about; was stupid, a con-artist. I can still remember being told: “You don’t have to give a lecture in order to answer a question.” I had no idea I was doing that either. I was just so afraid, I had to talk.

    I live in so much doubt about self, others, God, I had to have an answer; I had to let others see that I knew what was going on; why things were, etc. I had to have some kind of an answer in order to look good, to seem intelligent.

    My fears caused me to read a lot (something I didn’t learn to do till I was a senior in High School. That’s another story.) I was driven by fear; fear of God, fear of being seen as a con-artist, as being stupid, fear of “not knowing” the correct answer.

    In early recovery I highlighted and memorized lines in the Big Book in order to quote them at the next meeting so that I could be seen as being intelligent; “with it,” “committed to recovery.” I read as much as I could get about the history of A.A., its spirituality, etc. All head knowledge.

    One day I was told, “You know you don’t have to know everything.” I responded, “that’s true.” But I told myself: “If you only knew me, you’d know I have to have the right answer.”

    And then came the time, a few years into the program, I finally could relax and say, “I don’t know. I haven’t got a clue.” Freedom. Breathe deep and relax. The world didn’t come to an end and lightening didn’t strike. It’s okay not to know (and I think it’s okay to say, “I don’t know” in order to let another answer the question. I don’t have to be the one to answer the questions. There are times it feels good to say; “You ought to ask….”

    “Humility…is living the question without settling on an answer.” I once read that “the only true answer is another question.” That made perfect sense. Each answer leads me to something bigger, something deeper, something greater.

    “Why is God not mentioned in step two?” The answer to this led to me find an answer that made sense for me which, in turn, helped me turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Her. “Why can’t I go to confession to a priest?” This led to a deeper understanding of step four and a real healing in step five.

    And then there were the questions I have to live with: “I’m an alcoholic because?” “Why me, not my sister?” “Why is it that some people relapse, or relapse and die after years of sobriety?” “Why is there not a cure for this disease?” “Why do people…..”

    So many questions for which, as yet, there are no answers or even partial answers. With sobriety I have learned to live with questions and be comfortable in not only not knowing answers but that I don’t have to have an answer. Sobriety brought me peace of mind.

    (1)   RECOVERY- the sacred art. Rami Shapiro. 43


  • 10/16/2019 6:55 PM | Anonymous

    We carry thoughts of Gratitude all day, every day of our recovery, and that’s as it should be.

    Sometimes our Gratitude comes to the front of our memory at a meeting as someone expresses relief from past conduct and its shame and sorrow, its black cloud. It’s that relief we receive, free of charge from our Higher Power’s Grace.

    Sometimes it came on a holiday, such as a July Fourth celebration, or the distant echoing of “TAPS” at a service for a fallen police officer or firefighter and we are grateful for the selflessness of their bravery and devotion to those they protect.

    Days of a religious nature also seem to call on us to remember and we see that the Grace we receive from our Higher Power is exactly that – it’s “free,” no strings attached, and it seems to arise just at the moment when we might have a need for it.

    I see Gratitude when newcomers appear and take that first step of commitment. They feel as we all did – a relief, something taken off our shoulders, we see light ahead and the privilege of literally starting our lives over without baggage and even including a plan to grow that feeling, to grow in our spiritual being and to undertake regular Twelve Step work.

    Our kids and grand-kids prompt a swelling of our hearts. Running through life seemingly without a care in the world, their growth as they move through the teens and early adult-hood – and doing so with that same joy they encountered as a kid running and playing.

    I have a Gratitude for the Traditions – we come to meetings and don’t vote on agendas, motions, approval of minutes or election of officers. We can listen to others speaking without a “hidden agenda,” all of us seeking only a “happy, joyous and free life” way of life.

    That brings to mind the Gratitude I see in the range and timing of our meetings. Any time, any day, any city or village, county, state, country – one can find a meeting. When we try other meetings, we see the Gratitude of others we don’t see in our usual home group.

    I think of Bill and Dr. Bob, the “Old-timers” – those who came before us and carved out of whole cloth a way of life without relying on any additive substances to get us through life’s sudden hurt. They are Saints.

    And our loved ones and those that stood behind us during our dark days of pain and rage – spouses, family, friends, employers. It’s a journey to sobriety, sometimes scared by a return to the “old ways” but they joined our journey and shared in its joys and trials.

    ... and we are Grateful for all this and more, especially for the serenity we gain as we work the program day-by-day.

    Jim A. – Covington, Kentucky


  • 10/10/2019 6:09 PM | Anonymous

    Jonah 2:5-7
    New Revised Standard Version
    (NRSV)


    5
          The waters closed in over me;
              the deep surrounded me;
            weeds were wrapped around my head
    6          at the roots of the mountains.
            I went down to the land
              whose bars closed upon me forever;
            yet you brought up my life from the Pit,
              O
    Lord my God.
    7       As my life was ebbing away,
              I remembered the
    Lord;
            and my prayer came to you,
              into your holy temple.

    This past Sunday, one of our beloved seminarians brought a sermon about being, feeling, believing that we are enough. She, of course, drew from the day’s lectionary – especially the epistle (2 Timothy 1:1-14) and the Gospel (Luke 17:5-10). Her words resonated with me as a person in long-term recovery. I often feel as if I need more or as if I am not enough.

    This never enough feeling tries to keep me trapped in my addictions. I may presently be free from alcohol and drugs, but I tend to seek my sense of worth and well-being from approval from others and perfection and the illusion of control – all things for me which are as personally dangerous as my substance addictions were because they draw me away from self, God, and authenticity.

    Feeling that I am not enough is filled by what therapists call cognitive distortions or automatic negative thoughts. For me, mind reading, fortune telling, catastrophizing, black-and-white thinking, personalization, magnifying, overgeneralization, discounting the positive, filtering, labeling, emotional reasoning, always being right, fallacy of change, and control fallacy are very common in my thought life. These addictive thought patterns connect closely to my feelings that I am not enough and that I need more things, people, education, time, money, therapy, etc.

    The disciples, in Luke, asked, “Increase our faith.” Paul says to Timothy, “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God.” As our beloved seminarian shared in this past Sunday’s sermon, these are each an example of learning that you are enough. The disciples want more, but, in fact, everything they need is within them already; they need not doubt. Jesus' parable of the mustard seed illustrates this. Paul reminds Timothy that he has what it takes to start the God-fire – re -kindle – the ember is already there – you are enough.

    So, when I am underwater and need to get out of a negative thought cycle, to recognize that I am enough, that I have enough, I try to remember Jonah – I remember God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and I pray. Sometimes that prayer looks like reading Forward Day by Day; sometimes it looks like writing morning pages. Sometimes that prayer looks like getting to a meeting, and sometimes it looks like this: I am not ashamed. I have faith. You brought me up from the pit. I am enough. Amen.

    Brandon B.
    San Marcos TX


  • 10/03/2019 9:45 PM | Anonymous

    The following is an article written for our parish newsletter designed to heighten recovery during September, National Recovery Month. May it encourage you to see your own faith community as a vital part of your recovery.

    Hello, my name is Shane and I am a grateful person in recovery.

    In January 2016 I walked into Saint Peter’s after a very dark four years. I was broken, discouraged, fearful, and attempting to rebuild my life after the choices I made in addiction had paid off in destructive ways. Coming from an evangelical background, I did not know what to expect when I shared my story with Teri, the previous Rector. I remember crying over my choices and her listening and taking it all in. After she heard all the gory details, she looked me in the eye and told me something I will never forget.

    “You are welcome here Shane.” She said.

    Now, over three years later I can not imagine my life without Saint Peter’s. I have discovered that my church life is a key component to my recovery and being at Saint Peter’s empowers me to walk out my recovery in the context of a loving, caring, and Christlike community. In my time here I have had the privilege of meeting other people in our congregation who are recovering as well. Some from alcoholism, others from drugs, and still others from the pain of being co-dependent or having a loved one who is an addict. While the impact of addiction is a common experience we share, it is the belief that this family of choice helps us recover which really connects us.

    If you are struggling with any type of addiction and you come to Saint Peter’s, you are in the right place. I invite you to begin your own recovery story by reaching out to someone – a friend, a staff member – and take the first step back toward sanity. It begins with asking for help. Visit the website for the Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church, and read about the resources available to you. Contact one of the 12 Step Meetings help in our area, a few of which actually meet at Saint Peter’s! There is hope available, all you must do is reach out for it.

    September is National Recovery Month. If you have been impacted by addiction in someway, will you join me during this month in three activities?

    First, let us pray. The Book of Common Prayer has a wonderful prayer for those who are struggling with addiction. It is a great way to turn spiritual energy toward a difficult challenge that affects hurting people.

    Secondly, if you know someone who is struggling with alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, or any other compulsive behavior, would you love them enough to express your care and concern? We never know how our willingness to be honest can sync up with God’s timing and be the catalyst that jump starts someone’s recovery

    Finally, will you join me in making sure that Saint Peter’s continues to be a place where hurting people can be made whole? Isn’t that the promise of the gospel? When you meet someone in our congregation who is struggling, will you continue to be open and available to them? Can we join together and love the struggling as Jesus loves us, extend our arms and say, “You are welcome here.”?

    Thank you for the incarnational love that permeates this place. It is changing lives.

    Sincerely,
    Shane

    September 2019

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