During this season of Advent our lives are enriched by so many objects that symbolize the anticipated birth of Our Lord. As I examine my own life in recovery there are phrases as well as objects that prompt me to dig deeper and to meditate on their significance in my life. Despite the frantic schedules, crowded stores, and demands for time, I find that I really am emphasizing that word FOCUS.
The fact that the Red Door is such a symbol reminds me that during my long life spent with dedication to the programs of Al-Anon and AA being so important, the door also represented being open for re-entry the few times I faltered in this path. Since my father was in AA I attended my first meeting when I was 12 and always respected and honored his own journey and service to fellow alcoholics. In fact it was someone he had sponsored that carried the message and “opened the door” for me when I first came to terms with my own disease. This happened while living in another country and I was the only woman at first. The door to the General Service Office became of vital importance to me. They provided amazing support and encouragement along with my brothers and their wives. Pamphlets, even phone calls from my “long distance sponsor” helped so much as I began my first sober years.
Phrases have become important to me and as recently as this past Thanksgiving holiday KISS…or Keep it Simple Stupid became my mantra as my husband and I both in recovery traveled to distant places for reunions with both sets of children and their children. In that rewarding, although heavily charged emotional atmosphere, I would close my eyes and repeat the thought. On our return home we both celebrated that period with our children filled with gratitude for the health of the interactions and so very thankful that God has given us both the gift of reconciliation and acceptance.
The theme in Rochester and the wonderful “Web of Grace” so aptly gathers the many positive experiences in recovery and illustrates so profoundly the reliance on our Higher Power as the pathway to recovery.
Most recently for me a new phrase comes to mind as we look at not only the history of 12 step recovery programs and other programs that support the sufferer, but also the family…and to me it is “Connecting the Dots.” This imperative relates to scientific research, yes, but more personally to the many possibilities there are as we continue this journey. This season of celebration with the observance of His birthday can only re-enforce us as we gather with others on similar journeys of recovery. Gifts take on a different meaning. My prayer is that each of us focuses on these symbols and phrases and sees them as God’s great gift to us, and that we take a moment to be strengthened by their meaning, especially in terms of our addiction, and to say thank you.