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.
Reflection for May 13, 2013
With today’s Gospel from St. John, we come to the end of what is called the “farewell discourse of Jesus.” Jesus gives us his final word about our future in this world: “I have told you all this so that you might have peace in me . . . take courage since I have conquered the world.” (John 16:29-33)
In AA we often say that we will be delivered from our obsession to alcohol if we seek God and trust in Him alone. This, of course, has to be more than just mouthing words. It has to be rooted deep within our heart that God and His Spirit dwells within us. Calling upon that Spirit throughout this day, we will be led rightly. (more…)
Reflection for Monday, May 6, 2013
Today we are reminded of the important place of women in society and thus in the AA program. In the Acts of the Apostles first reading for today, we find Paul at prayer with women from Philippi, a Roman colony. “We spent some time in that city. On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. One of them, a woman named Lydia….listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,’ and she prevailed on us.” (Acts 16:11-15) (more…)
Today is the day we remember Jesus ascending to His Father in heaven. Thus we call it “Ascension Thursday”. What exactly does this mean for those of us in recovery?
For one thing, we can easily reflect that we too have “ascended” to a new life from what we experienced when we were drinking ourselves silly. It is good for us today to review a bit about where we came from and where we are now.
Luke tells us in his account from the “Acts of the Apostles” “….But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:1-11) This was the instruction of Jesus to those gathered with him just before He ascended to His Father.
Do we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit promised us and given to us from The Lord? If we really believe then we will call on this power today to lighten our spirit, bringing us new joy.
Guest House is North America’s founding behavioral health and addiction program for Catholic clergy and religious. Since 1956, we’ve provided personalized clinical treatment with a spiritual emphasis. Our goal is focused: To successfully return men and women to their mission. Our accredited full time clinical staff provides these services at our tranquil, private residential facilities.
To provide such important treatment, education and recovery to more than 8,000 clients since our inception, we’ve constantly sought out new and innovative ways to treat, reach, educate, serve and follow-up with our clients. As part of our mission to the Church, we have recognized that the valuable information compiled in our field is crucial to all servants of the Church, and all advocates of education, prevention, intervention, treatment and lifelong sobriety, including: (more…)
Our scripture for today almost seems to be lifted from the “Big Book” of Alcoholic Anonymous: “Beloved, clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your brothers and sisters throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. To him be dominion forever. Amen.” (First Letter of St. Peter 5:5b-14) (more…)
The psalm assigned for today (Ps. 87) speaks of “….And all shall sing, in their festive dance: My home is within you.” For me, this ancient prayer is telling me about the intimate relationship God has with me. I need not seek Him; He resides in me.
Those of us in recovery from alcoholism have learned that intimacy with our Higher Power is crucial to our daily life. Either we are aware of God’s presence or we slide back into self-destruction. Once we start to feel we don’t need God’s guidance, we are indeed on a very slippery slope. (more…)
“….Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal. So they said to him, ‘What can we do to accomplish the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.’” (John 6:26-29) (more…)
We’re told when we come to AA that we are powerless. That is certainly true of curing ourselves of the disease of alcoholism. However, once we get the Higher Power (God) in our lives, we begin to realize that we have power, namely, the power of the Spirit. This enlivening Spirit becomes more present and real to us as we pray and meditate daily. Gradually we find we have a tremendous ability to influence others for the good. This makes us not only feel worthwhile but also useful to humankind. Isn’t this something! A great contrast from our earlier life in the bog of alcoholism. (more…)
The high priest rose up and all his companions, that is, the party of the Sadducees, and, filled with jealousy, laid hands upon the Apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said, ‘Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.’ When they heard this, they went to the temple early in the morning and taught. Act. 5:17-18 (more…)