We often hear “why do bad things happen to good people”? I suppose this query has been with humankind since the beginning of the world. Many people have puzzled over this question and many struggle with it today.
Specifically this is my response to why I, as a religious brother, have been given the disease of alcoholism.
I believe and further know that I was genetically disposed to alcoholism from birth. The disease is rampant on my mother’s side of the family. As many as six have died as a result of this disease. Once I found alcohol and started drinking, it activated my neural system and brain to demand more and more of the substance. Try as I did for years to cut back, there was, in truth, no cutting back. Accident after accident eventually took place as well as other devastating events in my life.
Fortunately for me, I was remanded to Guest House by my religious superior under the vow of obedience that I had taken. That turn in the road has made all the difference in my life. How so?Read More
I asked Brenda TeVogt at one point during our chat last week why she couldn’t just pray or will her addiction away.
“I was a human being before I became a nun,” replied TeVogt, a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, an international pontifical order. “I did not lose my faith. But I wasn’t sure who God was. My addiction became my God. It became more important to participate in my addiction than going to church.”
I try to learn something new every day, and TeVogt, who took her vows in 1990, provided a humbling lesson. I’ve bent elbows with male members of the clergy, some of whom I suspected had a drinking problem or could easily drink me under the table. I know they are imperfect human beings, just like me. But not nuns. In my eyes, they are perfect, infallible, right up there on the hallowed pedestal with Mom, Mother Theresa and the Virgin Mary.Read More
I believe that joy is the sure sign of the presence of God. The joyful person is fun to be around. In recovery we sometimes meet SAM – that is the person who is “sober and miserable.” That person is no fun to be around and is something of a drag on an AA group.
Today’s gospel has Jesus telling us “….I have told you this (remain in my love) so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” (John 15:9-11)
Mother Teresa of Calcutta has penned a beautiful piece for us about joy. She says: “If you are joyful, it will shine in your eyes and in your look, in your conversation and in your contentment. You will not be able to hide it because joy overflows. Joy is very contagious. Try, therefore, to be always overflowing with joy wherever you go. May God give back to you in love all the love you have given and all the joy and peace you have sown around you, all over the world.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please grant me the joy of living a sober life so that I may reflect your love to all others I meet today.
These thoughts offered by Brother Richard Hittle, S.J., a grateful 1980 graduate of Guest House and an employee since 2004.
When Father has a drinking problem
A priest’s alcoholism becomes the parish’s affliction, too.
Every week or so, Father Ray toted a suitcase past the rectory offices. “Dry cleaning,” he’d say.
“Liquor bottles,” feared both the pastor and Mary Catherine Meek, who worked in the suburban Chicago parish. People caught whiffs of alcohol on Father Ray (not his real name) at Mass. He had undergone treatment for alcoholism before this assignment.
Confronted by the pastor, Father Ray denied relapsing. The pastor expressed his concerns to the diocese.
“Then Father Ray had it out for the pastor because he was getting him in trouble,” Meek says. “Father Ray took it upon himself to go out and visit the sick so that he could say, ‘Look, I wouldn’t be doing this if I were drinking.’ He had the parish secretaries bedazzled with his charm and easygoing humor. He would sit chitchatting for an hour and actually interrupt their work, but he was forming a protective shield around himself.” Click here to read the FULL ARTICLE
“stand up straight on your feet.” The man jumped up and began to walk for the first time in his life…
In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 14-5-18), we see Paul and Barnabas bringing the Good News to the Gentiles in Lystra. While preaching, Paul noticed a lame man who had never walked. This man watched Paul intently and Paul noticed him, saying “stand up straight on your feet.” The man jumped up and began to walk for the first time in his life. Paul recognized the necessary faith this man had and performed this miracle calling upon The Lord to heal him.Read More
Dear Guest House Family,
What an utterly wonderful surprise today when I opened the mail and received your beautiful Peace card in celebration of my 30th sober anniversary!!! Your kindness has touched me so deeply! I thought, “How do I thank you,” and then I thought, “What better way to thank all of you who may still be struggling with alcohol than to share my story with you?” It’s not that my story is so great, but rather I hope it shows you that being sober is simply, absolutely, and positively FABULOUS! Believe me, it is all worth the initial struggle, because everything just gets better and better and better. In time, you each will find yourself becoming comfortable with yourself: becoming comfortable with your world, and-with all that comfort-you will be able comfortably to do things you never imagined you could do. So to begin at the beginning, my adventure, in fact, starts in Michigan. Born to a family with alcoholism (no surprise-research is increasingly substantiating alcoholism to be not only a disease, but also an inherited disease based not on will- power or the lack thereof, but rather on brain chemical imbalances-! also had the good fortune along the way to do post-graduate study in our disease), I remember the parties and the yachts and all the fun, always accompanied with alcohol.Read More
By Mary Ellen Merrick, IHM, D. Min., MAC
Executive Director, Guest House Women’s Treatment Program
My community has a publication that we make available several times a year and it usually has articles centering on a theme. A few issues back, the theme was “Celebrate” and I was asked to write an article about celebrating sobriety. I took the letters of the word SOBRIETY and said the following about each letter.
S - for many people sobriety is a SECOND chance to fulfill a covenant between a God who loves unconditionally and a humanchild who comes to understand that truth in a deeper way.
O – for the OPPORTUNITIES to be a genuine service to other people who are also in need of understanding and compassion.
B - for the ability to understand what BALANCE means in the daily living out of one’s life. It includes leisure and prayer.
R - for the desire to be in RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with oneself, others and the God of my understanding. This may necessitate learning skills that will enhance communication.
I – for the effort to become a person of INTEGRITY. Does the inside match the outside when I am alone and when I am with others? Who gives me feedback about myself?
E - for the EFFORT that is the foundational in order to do the daily work of remaining sober.
T - for the TRUST that is needed to sustain a program of recovery.
Y - for the YES to believe in the possibility of continuing sobriety and to accept it as a gift.Read More