For years, Sharon was a compulsive overeater who struggled with diabetes and other weight problems because of her unhealthy attachment to food.
“There was a lot of crying out to God over the years. Finally, I stopped asking for a miracle and started asking for help, and I began to accept that I was powerless,” Sharon said.
With the help of a therapist, OA and AA material, prayer, and God’s grace, she was able to give up sugar and processed wheat completely seven years ago. She also learned the value of taking care of herself to find healing.
“I stopped taking care of others as a way to please them and started taking care of myself,” Sharon said.
Her husband William had his own struggles with alcohol.
“I drank in my early teens whenever I could get it, and that increased over the years,” William said.
In 1981, at the age of 31, William’s father invited him to attend an AA meeting with him.
“I was living in New York City, and after my father invited me to that first meeting I started going regularly. I was still drinking but two months in I heard someone say, ‘It is nice coming to meetings sober, too.’ I liked that but I didn’t know how to respond. So, I had a couple of drinks that night, thinking about what he had said and the idea of alcoholism as a spiritual malady, which I had never heard of before. That night ended up being the last time I drank, which was 41 years ago,” William shared.
While William was committed to a belief in a higher power, it took time for him to reconcile this belief with the Catholic faith of his childhood. Over time, as he returned to the sacraments and attended Jesuit retreats, he came to understand that his higher power was in fact, Jesus.
Two years ago, William heard about Catholic in Recovery at an AA meeting. Just before then, he had started dating Sharon, and he asked her to attend one of the CIR general recovery meetings with him.
“It was wonderful for us to share our faith and recovery in the same meeting. Our CIR group has been so welcoming and supportive, and my experience has helped me find ways to reach out to and help others in their recovery, which is something I hadn’t done before then. Plus, my dating relationship with William grew in part because of these CIR recovery meetings where we could talk about our faith with others,” Sharon said.
In fact, many of their Saturday dates began with their Catholic in Recovery virtual meeting. They also began attending each other’s churches, going to Mass on Saturday evenings to support William’s Catholic beliefs and going to a worship service on Sunday mornings to support Sharon’s Protestant beliefs.
“We were fixed up by my goddaughter who is in recovery with William and she asked him if he wanted to talk to me. When we first spoke over the phone, I really grilled him because I needed to know how serious he was about his faith because mine is so important to me. CIR helped us share our Christian faith with each other and grow together in our relationship,” Sharon said.
They kept their relationship quiet, though, and no one in their CIR group knew they were dating until they became engaged.
“Everyone in our group was so happy and excited for us when we surprised them with our engagement. One person who lives in another part of the country even offered to come to the wedding!” Sharon said.
Sharon and William were married on June 26th, 2022 in a Catholic Church and are still very involved in Catholic in Recovery. They don’t hesitate to encourage others to give Catholic in Recovery a try no matter where they are on their faith or recovery journey.
“The most important thing that I heard when I went to AA is to keep coming back,” William said. “The Holy Spirit is present in CIR meetings, and so I would tell others to just keep coming back.”
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without God and the only reason I have new life and freedom is because of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. In CIR, we respect the differences of everyone, even religious differences,” Sharon said. “You don’t have to grow in your recovery and faith alone and you can do it with others. CIR has helped us affirm the graces and faith that God has given me and William in our recovery.”