My name is Brandon. I'm an alcoholic and an addict, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ.
That is how the meetings I first attended opened.
The 12 steps and 8 principles had scriptures attached to them, and we recited them each meeting.
In this Advent season, I am reminded of the Light. I am always trying to open a crack through which the Light may shine.
Last night, I "pulled an all-nighter." I did this knowing it's a potentially risky behavior for my recovery. I did this for the love of my daughter. My daughter is autistic and hasn't been sleeping through the night. Often, she can self-soothe when she can't sleep, but last night she couldn't. So I was there for her.
She and I talked for several hours about skills we each use to communicate with ourselves... To find the calm in the storm of our minds. We went to IHOP at Midnight and ate Grinch-themed pancakes. We returned home and played video games.
After she fell asleep around 5am, I had a clear memory of those early meetings so many years ago. The Light was shining.
My name is Brandon. I am an alcoholic and an addict, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ.
The truth is I don't attend those meetings anymore because they preached a particularly homophobic doctrine, and I am queer and trans.
But those meetings and the people there still reside in my heart and are part of my recovery team in the way their stories and words live in my memory.
Every time I hear "11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and power to carry that out," I can't help saying, "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16a) and thinking of my first sponsor all those years ago.
As I stayed awake with my daughter last night and helped her use her self-soothe skills, I worked on my own self-soothe skills and remembered why the Light is so beautiful this time of year. It is when family, friends, communities, and even people with whom we disagree come together in a Spirit of giving. We all share in making things new.
This Advent I celebrate my daughter's growth; my sobriety which continues to draw me nearer to God, myself, my wife, my child, and others; and the new groups I've found which support my continuing recovery where I now say, "My name is Brandon. I'm a queer, trans Christian in lifelong recovery from alcohol and drugs, and I'm open to new ideas and language to help me on the way."