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Monday, May 12, 2008

Redemptive Suffering and Celebrations of Life

On Saturday I gathered as many members of my sponsorship family as I could at my home in Modesto. Twenty women came together for fun, food, fellowship and pictures. We had such a lovely time. It was, of course, a 'birthday' party for me - my sweet 16 sober birthday was May 4 - but really it is a chance for all the women I sponsor to meet my sponsor, to get all dressed up and look pretty and sparkle and be women of GRACE together.

I looked around the room and was just filled with gratitude. What a gathering of beauty I saw! All of us sober - when none of us should be! - we clean, shiny faces and big smiles. We were laughing at each others silly jokes, poking fun at ourselves, and just revelling in the miracle that is sobriety.

It is so easy to forget - most of us alkies do not get to do stuff like this because we are too busy trying to survive one more day. We grab at our magic elixr and suck it down, because without it the day is too long, colors too bright, life too much. We just cannot cope without our booze.

So the miracle is more than just me celebrating 16 years sober; no, the miracle is that in my home on Saturday 22 women who should be dead or dying under bridges or in back alleys, doing things for booze that they would never do sober, living lives that are hopeless and sick and sad and so very very dark, were sparkling like diamonds in the sunlight of the spirit.

I can never thank God enough for the miracle that is my life today. I know that I could have continued on my sober path and had a pretty good life - but returning to the Sacraments of the Holy Mother Church has made my life bigger and stronger and happier and even more full. My weekend could have just ended on Saturday, but it didn't because on Sunday I got to take my joy of the previous day and offer it up on the altar as a sacrifice of thanksgiving with Jesus. I got to receive HIM into my own body just as He instructed us to do if we want to experience eternal life. Where else am I going to find the continuity in Christianity that I find in sobriety in my 12 step program than within the arms of the Holy Mother Church? And because I have been sober long enough to get a clear head, I have been sober long enough to find my way Home to Rome.

I just listened this morning, after prayers, to the testimony of Father John Doe - the first Catholic priest to join AA in Indianapolis. What he said was so profound. Without AA he would not have sobriety. Without sobriety he was a pretty lousy priest. With AA he is not just another sober drunk, happy joyous and free - oh no. With AA, he is a man who is charged with carrying on the work of Jesus Christ, in persona Christi....and he can never thank AA enough for giving him back his true life.

That is how I feel today. I know my world is not the way I would like it to be - I drive too far to work and I don't particularly like the women I work with and I am feeling (most of the time) like I am too stupid to be allowed to vote or drive a car. But all in all, I have to admit that I am happier today than I was 16 years ago. I am more stable today than I was 10 years ago. I am more centered today than I was 5 years ago.

And I am more aware of how loved I am than I have ever been in my life.

Thank you, God, for this life of mine. I wouldn't change a thing, even if I could....

except for those lotto numbers, of course...

1 comment:

Esther said...

Leslie, I love this post. It is so happy and free and hopeful and full of life! I am grateful that you are sober 16 years later.