I write this on Holy Saturday where it is all about waiting. I am not good at waiting, never have been.
In the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have learned that one common trait of alcoholics is, “I want what I want when I want it!” The first several hundred times I heard that I was convicted. After a while I learned to chuckle nervously. Now I know that truth as a comfort and a way of building a defense against the first drink.
Yesterday I helped lead a Way of the Cross Procession through the second largest city in New England. We wound our way through places where the homeless seek services, where there have been incidents of violence, sites of tragic accidents and places where hope that patience can pay off lives and moves and has its being. This is a city in the grips of a major heroin crisis. Some 35 or more people died from overdoses in the city in 2014. This year does not look much more hopeful.
As we walked between the homeless advocacy program and the site of an automobile accident involving a well-known panhandler in our city, we passed the building that used to house one of the largest pluming supply houses in Central Massachusetts. That business has since moved out of the center of the city, but that is another story.
The moving vans were lined up behind the chain link fence topped with razor wire that protected the business from the neighborhood it inhabits. As I passed by with the procession, behind the cross, I tried to count the empty nip, half-pint and pint bottles that had been blown, swept or plowed up against that fence. I lost count at over one hundred.
It is a stark reminder that the drug of choice is still mainly alcohol in my town. It was my drug of choice. In days past I would have been one of those contributing to the pile of small vodka bottles, empty of liquor but still capped, that lined one of the major streets of my city.
I could not wait to get home from the ‘packy’ to get started. One or two ‘nips’ on the way home was ‘just a start’. I could not wait to get home. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it now.
Thank God for the Fellowship, the program, the Steps and the power of the God of my understanding that expresses in this world as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier I can not only wait a little bit now, I value patience and continue to grow in trust that the promises of the ninth step (Alcoholics Anonymous p. 83-84) are mine if I give myself over to a few simple suggestions.
If the promises are not signs of the resurrection, I do not know what is. May God grant us all the patience and honesty to grow into the fullness of the people God has created us to be. In God’s time and not our own.
Blessed Easter season to all!!!
The AA Promises
1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
4. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves
Are these extravagant promises?
We think not.
They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. Alcoholics Anonymous p. 83-84