When I stop and look back through the years of my recovery, I can see without a doubt how God has been with me, gently nudging me, pushing me further away from my own desires and toward His desires for me. A life of sobriety brings forth many new adventures. Though, it also brings trials and tribulations.
But such trials and tribulations give us the opportunity for growth, acceptance, and trust in God. I am not the same person I was when I first entered the rooms of recovery. If I was, then I might be sober but I would be miserable. I would be what I like to call “insanely sober.” But with God in the picture, my sobriety has been a blessing. God and sobriety have given me a new life—one full of hope and promise.
There have been times over the years where I wanted to throw in the towel because having to grow is painful. As we might know, a life of recovery is based on three essentials: rigorous self-honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.
By committing to each of these essential elements of recovery, I’ve slowly allowed God access to my life, where he continually chips away and discards the rubble built on sin and replaces it with grace. He knocks down the barriers that addiction has created. He calls me to Himself, from which I can be a living disciple to my family, friends, recovery fellows, the lay faithful, and all of society. My world became a much brighter place when I began recovery and quit blaming others and excusing my selfish behavior.
It’s only by being still in God’s presence that I can hear Him whisper reassuringly that He will guide me through any event, situation, or life circumstance. I stand on the battle lines with others in Catholic in Recovery willing to share my experience, strength, and hope in a world so desperately in need of healing and renewal!
I have much to be joyful over when it comes to my sobriety and God’s help in maintaining it. For one, my grandchildren have never seen me drink and I believe God has given me a “parental do-over” in helping them know and grow in a relationship with Christ. This is something I failed to do with my daughters when stuck in the vicious cycle of addiction. But I know God makes good out of everything, and in His time and theirs they will turn to Him.
I’ve learned many other things in my sobriety as well. Below are some “gems” that keep me hopeful and joy-filled in recovery.
- I list things I am grateful for when I start to feel sorry for myself or find myself complaining about this or that.
- I always try to look at the glass as “half full” rather than “half empty,” remaining optimistic about the future and, more importantly, aware of the One who ultimately controls it.
- I try to look for ways to help others and, as a result, am always blessed by it.
- I try and to foster interior joy in Christ, through prayer and the sacraments, when times are tough or things don’t go according to my plans.
- I make plans but leave their outcome to God.
- When I have wronged others, I make amends and seek forgiveness. This guards my heart against anger and resentment and, God willing, allows me to move forward doing better to sin no more.
- I try to wear the world like a loose garment, enjoying each moment as it comes and goes.
- I laugh a lot and cry as needed!
Ultimately, I do my best every day to pray, to hear God’s voice in love, and allow His will to fill me with His eternal peace.
What are some ways you’ve been blessed on your journey of recovery? What moments can you recall when God led you through something you thought was impossible or hopeless? How can you make sure you’re doing things daily to help you remain hopeful and joy-filled?
Kathleen Ann, by God’s grace, has been clean and sober since June 1, 2006. She is an active member of AA, CIR, and works part-time as the Project Rachel Coordinator in the Life office at the Diocese of Rockford, where she helps gently and confidentially guide those wounded by abortion to hope and healing in Christ Jesus. On most days you can find her at daily Mass, the gym, or caring for the needs of her family, young and old alike.