I started my recovery oversees in the end of 1990s. My country of biological origin had just been opened to the West.
AA was started in few big cities, so that people addicted to alcohol and other drugs didn't have to die.
There were no detoxes and no treatment centers, but suffering alcoholics and addicts had new hope, the message of recovery from God.
God loved us so much that He was able to remove the political walls and offer peace and serenity for all of us.
I was in a hurry doing the Steps, just thinking that if I could do them fast, I could use drugs and drink safely without killing myself anymore. Therefore, I ignored many suggestions that AA offered. I wasn't willing to get a sponsor, I wasn't willing to do the Steps in order with my sponsor. I just went to the Orthodox church with my Fifth Step and wanted to hear from the priest "All your sins are forgiven, you can drink 'socially' now." But, thanks to God, it didn't happen my way. After listening to all my testimony, the priest said: "You, addicts, are very complicated people, with complicated matters. As a human being who does not have these issues, I can't fully grasp them. Each time you confess, you go back and keep killing yourself. I would strongly recommend that you, my daughter, go back to YOUR people in recovery and do what your program suggests you to do. Do the STEPS." I was shocked. I didn't expect that he had read the Alcoholics Anonymous book before seeing me. He was well prepared with the answer.
Twenty some recovery years later, I live in the Diocese of Southeast Flordia where I'm a member of the Episcopal Church. I love my congregation, I love my pastor, and I love reading the Word of God in the Bible.
And, I have a vision of the Recovery Ministry in our Church: That the pastor can say to any people who suffer from the disease of addiction and alcoholism that our parish has educational programs; that the people in our parish are not in denial about this problem among it's parishioners and clergy; that we have a recovery mass for those who hesitate to admit their problem; and that we are open to any change.
Regretfully, for myself and for others in my Episcopal Church that need to hear the message of recovery, what is happening is that the recovery masses are being discontinued.