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?

With a disease given me – I did not ask for it! – I soon realized that my God expected me to accept it and deal with it.  It has power over me that is beyond me BUT the grace of God is greater.  Indeed this disease was given to me to bring me closer to my God and to allow me to depend upon Him totally.   There is no straying from His love and grace unless I wish early death.

Now what do I make of this?  I count it as a blessing not a curse.  God has given me a clear path to follow and to enjoy life and living.  This disease is my means of salvation.  This is as clear to me as day and night.  After all, my friend and savior, Jesus Christ, had his own trials and sufferings to endure.  If ever there was a good man, He was it.  Why should I expect to pass through this life any different than He did?

By extension, priests and religious men and women are, as human beings, subject to the same trials and sufferings as the rest of the world.  When anyone of them is given an addiction to deal with, it has to be handled personally and intimately with God.  Either the addiction is dealt with or it takes over the life of a person and kills.

This is, in a word, the reason for Guest House. Dick Hittle, SJ