I attended a retreat this weekend for men who are alcoholics in recovery. What a great experience! So much truth and reality! Not to mention good humor, real friendship with one another, and happiness in the present moment.
None of this diminishes or romanticizes what they have all been through. I heard stories of wasted years, blackouts where pieces of their lives disappeared, and broken relationships. But I also heard about professional lives regained, relationships restored and now enjoyed, and a hopeful future.
They were good listeners too. I presided at Saturday’s mass and told a little of my mid-life crisis, which was resolved by my following Steps One, Two, and Three of the Twelve Steps. I didn’t know the Steps back then, but 20 years ago I came to realize that I was powerless over whether my life had meaning or not and that my life had become unmanageable. I came to discover that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity, and so I turned my life over to God as God revealed himself to me.
The men at this retreat listened attentively to my story, asked me sensible and sensitive questions, then told me their stories. They made me part of their fellowship, though I’m not an alcoholic. But I’d suffered powerlessness too and found God looking for me when I was down. And God has led all of us into a new life that we couldn’t have created for ourselves.