Perpetual Struggle

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  • #1043
    ChristineChristine Alder
    Participant

    I have admitted that I am an alcoholic, and had come to that realization quite some time ago. I just cannot seem to get past 1-2 days of sobriety. The power that alcohol has on me is something that I never thought was possible to this degree. I have been to several AA groups, but these groups were so mired in past behavior, that I would leave the meetings more depressed than when I got there. Instead of hope, I felt more lost.

    I know I need to attend regular 12 Step meetings, but am so afraid of trying another AA meeting for fear of leaving without hope.

    I am scared.

    #1082
    AnthonyAnthony Buttigieg
    Participant

    Hi Christine my names Anthony been in recovery 5 years now! I can relate to what you re going through. Hang in there! The first few month it can be difficult for some people to even understand what’s being said at meeting s because of anxiety and withdrawal symptoms. Keep going to meetings you don’t have to get up and share just make a habit of attending even if you really don’t feel like it. You can leave soon as meeting is over if it’s too much for you. Other thing I can suggest is getting phone number of some body with similar story to you. Can meet at coffee shop or something. Will be praying for you and hope to hear back from you????.

    #1094
    BaryeBarye Bluth
    Participant

    Hi – I am new here and am also a new Catholic. I was baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2017. I have been to AA for years but always go back to alcohol. I really just do not like AA. This past year I went to Celebrate Recovery for a few months. I think that helped me really see that Jesus will help me with recovery. I got turned off by the really out there christianity…didn’t resonate for me.

    That said, I have my own perpetual struggle. Today, I am just wanting to want to be sober. I’m glad I found a Catholic recovery site. That feels like hope.

    My best,
    B

    #1095
    AnthonyAnthony Buttigieg
    Participant

    Hi barye! I’m new to the site and fairly new to the Catholic Church also! Would love to hear how God lead you to his church???? I’ve been in AA recovery for 5 years now. Haven’t picked up a drink one day at a time. I found working the steps and living by its principles in all my affairs has been so important to me staying sober. Also makes me a better Catholic! Celebrating recovery is great program i actually had a lot to do with starting one at the Assembly of God Church I use to attend. If it’s working for people great! I to had the same issue as you did with it though. I also felt they were trying to reinvent the wheel a bit which I didn’t like.

    #1096
    BaryeBarye Bluth
    Participant

    Hi Anthony,
    Thanks for your reply.

    Let me just say that I love being a Catholic! How I got here has a long story. The short version is Mary (Blessed Mother) brought me. The longer, good, version is: 10 years ago, I took my daughter to Rome, Italy to go to college. I was a single mom and she is the best thing that happened in my young life. It was breaking my heart to leave her there, so far away from our home in Oregon. On the last day I was there, I went to a church in Trastevere where we were staying. I lit a candle and found a statue that looked like Mary and went and talked to her. I asked her to keep my little girl safe and take care of her there. She did and it turns out that she had me on her radar too.

    Fast forward Spring 2016, I left my very angry husband and had this compelling desire to have a statue of Mary in my home. So I found one and set up a little altar. I left Mormonism when I was 19 and just bounced to different churches but never wanted to stay. I always prayed and I just “talked” to Mary. Then that fall, I went to dinner with a new friend. I asked her what church she went to. She said Catholic. I told her about my fascination with Mary. She said they have classes. I said NO WAY! But then a series of events happened in the next few weeks that kept putting Catholic in front of me. The final straw was I drove a different route to work one day because I needed to go to the Post Office. I passed a Catholic Church that had a banner out front saying ‘Curious about our faith? Classes starting soon.’ I promptly called my new friend Ann and said maybe I would go. She volunteered to go with me and so it started. That was September 2016 and about December 2016, the priest talked to my class about the Eucharist letting us be closest to the holiest of holies. I just wanted that desperately. I still stayed on the fence for a few months but then jumped in with my whole heart and was baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2017. Best day ever! And, guess what? The church I went to was the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome. My friend/sponsor/godmother Ann gave me an app and one day last Spring I was reading about that church. I google earthed it and it was the exact church! No accidents!

    I am glad AA is working for you. I’m going to try to open my mind and give it another shot. I figure this can be my Lenten sacrifice this year. That is coming right up. For now, I am talking to Jesus about it and he is helping me even though I don’t feel ready to cut it loose.

    How did you come to the Catholic Church?

    #1097
    AnthonyAnthony Buttigieg
    Participant

    Hi bayre! That is an amazing testimony! I love it! Il try keep my story short..
    I was baptised as a baby into the Catholic Church but my family never went to mass or anything. Dad a atheist very anti Rome. I became a atheist from being agnostic at 19 years of age and started my drinking career around same time. This went on for 11 years my drinking brought me to my knees and a friend of mine a AA member suggests trying AA. I went to few meetings got a sponsor started working the steps. After neeling down to do the fourth step prayer something changed in me. I left my sponsors house and driving home I believed in God. Something woke in me and changed how I viewed the word. Doing AA for a while I started recognising core Christian teachings and principles to the steps and doing research on AA History found out I was right. So I started attending Protestant churches because I wanted to learn more about Jesus who captivated me got baptised and really got into serving at my church. Some years later I became a bible study leader and was kind of known as the go to guy for scripture interpretation that’s when the problem started. I wanted to be accurate with my interpretations of scripture but didn’t know were to go because what ever answer I gave I knew a church down the road said something different. I started looking into church history to see the earlyest teachings and realised also to trust the bible as the word of God I had to trust the Catholic Church. I was confused frightened becoming agnostic so I asked for prayers for clarification and wisdom, re visiting the New Testament I read it slowly and everything was sounding Catholic! I realised Mary had to be sooo much more then just another bible character. That Jesus started a physical Church and without its authority to guid us everything becomes a mess. After some arguments with friends and my wife Justine, I went back to the Catholic Church was excepted in by father Jude and I love it!!!! I have come to find that AA teachings fit perfectly with my Catholic faith. Much better then most Protestant denominations. The founders of AA derived most of its principles from the book of James.nearly named AA the James club historical fact. James is all about faith and works love, charity and service which is perfect Catholic theology and also strong AA principles. God works in all things that is good AA the 12 step program is definitely one of them. I continue to grown in AA because I’m a Catholic and I continue to grow as a Catholic because of the 12 steps. Also a Great opportunity to speak about my faith and bring others some clarity about our beautiful Church.????????

    #1100
    BaryeBarye Bluth
    Participant

    Hi Anthony – what a beautiful story! I hadn’t really thought about AA being Catholic but I got it from your writing. That really helps, actually. I love that you were all-in at your protestant church but were so noble as to want to pursue the back story for those who consulted you. And, so amazing how it brought you back to your Catholic roots! I love conversion stories – I watch the EWTN show A Journey Home all the time.

    Could you share what it was like when alcohol took you to your knees? My head trap is I get sober and then down the road a year or so I start thinking I can drink normally. I know that is addiction talking. (At least now, when I am in the thick of a relapse). If I do it again, I want to do it for my whole life and be thrilled about being sober. Mostly for me, I can do my responsibilities so am ‘functioning’ but I have this hamster wheel I am on in which I think I can drink, I can for a bit, I have too much, bad hangover and commitment to try again that lasts a few days or a few hours. Ug. Hate it. Christine’s story above really resonated for me.

    I’m so glad you are all here and there is a site for Catholics. That makes me so happy.

    PS – I never thought about AA shares as being a missionary thing…so nice. I love our church so much.

    #1104
    AnthonyAnthony Buttigieg
    Participant

    Hi Bayre! Thanks so much for the kind words. I can’t get enough of the journey home either! Lol. To answer your question the last year of my drinking was horrific! Black outs, really really bad hangovers I don’t think I wanted to end my life but I didn’t want to live anymore either, I couldn’t see any objective purpose for being alive and felt hopeless and defeated. When I got to AA I was frightened that it wasn’t going to work for me and was focusing on the difference rather than the similarities, few other members to be frank were really giving me shits. I thank God today I met one person who told me that AA is like anywhere else, good people bad people, sick people but we all share a common problem and that’s alcoholism and everyone who had a desire to stop drinking, had a right to be a member. So I focused on the similarities rather then the difference s. That’s when I began to heal. Some of the strategies people use to keep sober and ideas of a higher power would have lead me to drink ! So I had to find what works for me which was having to find what’s objectively true. This lead me to the Catholic Church. But others are happy just not to drink and it’s working for them so that’s great and that’s what makes this program so successful, the openness, honesty and focus on alcoholism. I’m by no means saying that people never get sober outside the 12 step program. But there are many cases of members in the clergy that couldn’t get sober on prayer and Church practice alone, they needed the fellowship of other recovering alcoholics. There is a fransican monk who attends meetings in my area that will tell you this himself. However for my own experience I needed more then Aa meetings to continue growing and healing which is were the Church has played such a important role and I’m not shy to share that at a meeting. I can totally relate with how you can go for long periods without a drink then out of nowhere think “ I recon I could have a couple today” and then drink. This happened to me time and time again before I really applied the 12 steps into my life. I can sometimes have the thought pop up on a rare occasion but I truely believe it’s God and doing regular meetings that stops me from picking up. Hearing other people’s stories and helping the newcomer that walks in the room. I have no doubt in my mind that I would be in prison today or dead if it wasn’t for the 12 step program that God is working through. Yes AA is definitely based on strong ancient Christian principles. Bill Wilson one of the founders had a spiritual director named Fr. Dowling, a Catholic priest. It’s been said that bill did his 5th step with Fr. Dowling. So I wouldn’t call AA Catholic as such, because it’s focus is recovery from alcoholism, but the information I’m giving is historical. It’s based on Christian/ Catholic spirituality and principles, wether people in AA like it or not. Love this site too! Love being able to talk to Catholics in recovery. Bayre talking to you has helped me a lot.

    #1105
    BaryeBarye Bluth
    Participant

    I forgot about Fr Dowling! Thanks for sharing your story. It helps. I’m preparing. I’ll find some meetings in my town and try again. Thanks Anthony!

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