Last Sunday we read the Parable of the Lost Son or the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). As I listened to the reading which I have heard hundreds of times, I started remembering when I became aware of something that I had never identified with in the story before. Having been in recovery for the last 7 1/2 years opened my ears up to hear old things in a new way. As we were hearing about the younger son taking his inheritance from his father and squandering the money, I remembered that like me, the son suddenly comes to his senses. He WAKES UP to the fact that his life is a mess. I can remember the day I woke up and realized how unmanageable my life was. I too had an answer to my dilemma when my epiphany came, and like the younger son I ran home to the rooms of AA. I knew that AA was there shining like a beacon in the darkness because I had grown up in Alateen and Al-Anon. God had always had a plan! I knew that there was love and hope if I just asked for it. What a miracle to WAKE UP and know there is a solution to my problem. Like the younger son I knew I was wrong and I also knew I would find love and forgiveness on the other end. However, I had another surprise.
Not only was I like the younger son. I had also been like the older son. I too had stewed in my own resentment for years. Some of those resentments were for my family members who were alcoholics and couldn't understand why they were drinking. I did not understand it until I saw my own resentments and began to identify with them and see that the drinking had all been about pain and doing anything to make it stop. AA gave me the solution to the pain by giving me the 12 steps to work. Little by little the fog of resentment and fear began to lift. I began to rejoice like the Father in the story when a newcomer came in and had the same life changing experience I had. How easy it becomes to love and forgive when you know how much you are loved and forgiven. You want to share God's redeeming Grace with everyone. I love going back and rereading the Prodigal Son because I find myself over and over again in the story. It is a good reminder to know where I came from, what I was like and what I am like now, and that my Higher Power has my best interest at heart no matter what I may be thinking or feeling today. May you find that same Grace as you walk through the steps of AA and continue your journey of recovery!