…”for the effect”…
We often work to help newcomers see that most of us “drank for the effect” that alcohol had on us. I learned how that had been true in my life after I came into the rooms of Recovery which held the teachings, the hope and the fellowship of the 12 Step Programs.
Early on in my drinking, alcohol had an effect alright. I blacked out and had no idea what a blackout was. I was scared and embarrassed and did not ever want to experience that again. So, as many of us do, I continued drinking and tried to figure out how I could keep drinking and avoid the experience of a blackout. It was not successful effort. It took a lot of energy and I spent many years of my life focusing on that objective.
As those years passed, I drank “for the effect” it had on me when I was scared and alone and sad and overwhelmed. For a long time it had the effect of diminishing my sense of my own fears and sadness and I got through some difficult years of my life. When I finally came into Recovery I saw that the effect that alcohol had on my life and relationships had changed. I realized that I had hurt the people I love the most very deeply. I had lost a job, spent many years in useless codependence, and made many foolish choices. Alcohol had an effect on my life for sure.
So, after I came into the 12 Step Programs, worked through the steps with my sponsors in both AA and Alanon, the meetings, readings and fellowship became a regular part of my new life. And I discovered something new: I now go to meetings “for the effect” it has on my life. I now work the steps “for the effect” they have in my life. I now choose the have fellowship with people in Recovery “for the effect” they have on my life. And “the effect” has included growth and healing and many healthy new changes and ways of making decisions.
Along the way, after coming into Recovery and getting in touch with some healing, I was able to return to church in a way that I could receive the grace and mercy of God. That grace had never left me but I simply had not been able to receive it. And another wonderful dimension has become a part of my life: I have discovered that I choose to worship “for the effect” it has on me. I choose to pray and read scripture within the context of grace “for the effect” they have on my life. I have discovered that I can make choices from that point of view. I am very grateful to have found both the 12 Step Recovery Programs and the sanctuary of the Episcopal Church.
The symbolism of The Red Door is very meaningful to me. The meetings in the basement of the church and the worship in the sanctuary of the church have truly come together in my life. I am grateful for Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church and for the weaving together of these truths of change and hope.