Each year that passes of my sobriety I’m reminded of my blessings and the gratitude that I owe to the people in the fellowship of AA who shared how they remained sober and pointed me back to God. I also think often about a phrase that was used in some of my early AA groups that has always stuck with me: Trust God, clean house, and work with others.
Those in these fellowships knew the importance of that phrase and many like it. By listening to others’ shared experiences I realized quickly that honesty was necessary to get right with God, myself, and others. They also stressed praying for a willingness to surrender while working through the Twelve Steps with a sponsor. Finally, they emphasized an open-mindedness toward others and a respect for where each person is on their spiritual journey. I desperately needed help and the fellowship welcomed me, cared for me, and loved me.
My Catholic faith at this time was non-existent as guilt, shame and remorse kept me far away from entering the Church. But God placed people into my life who were helping others restore their broken lives through recovery. When I reached my fifth step, my Catholic sponsor encouraged me to step out in faith by meeting with a priest for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It was there where I admitted to God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. This flooded my heart with grace and mercy, and I was ready to receive God’s very self in the Eucharist. I was reborn.
Soon after I would realize that service work and working with others is imperative to long-term sobriety. I prayed for ways to share with others my free gift of recovery. One way of doing this was by bringing AA meetings to the DeKalb county jail, where I shared my experience, strength, and hope as well as my faith in and love for my Higher Power—God.
I now meet weekly with my AA sponsor after my home group meetings and attend weekly CIR virtual meetings. I sponsor women in both fellowship groups in response to the generous sponsorship I received when I needed it at the start of my recovery journey. Catholic in Recovery has been a saving grace when I sometimes struggle with anti-Catholic sentiments in some of the rooms of AA. As a result, Catholic in Recovery has enhanced and enriched my journey in recovery. It has been refreshing to be able to share my Catholic faith freely and openly with others.
Yet, I must never forget that it was through AA and the Twelve Steps where that spark of hope was first ignited that rekindled my faith in and love of God. AA squelched my fear and gave me the courage to come back to the Church, handing over my broken and sinful heart to Christ’s healing hands through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
God desires that we all enter into His love no matter what rooms of recovery we find ourselves in. Ultimately, we are called always and everywhere to shine His light and love onto others in need of recovery, hope, and healing. We are called to trust God, clean house, and work with others.
By God’s grace, Kathy has been clean and sober since June 1, 2006, and is an active member of Catholic in Recovery. She also feels called to share the merciful love of Christ’s healing grace with all those suffering from the pain and wounds caused by abortion. On most days, you can find her at daily Mass, the gym, or caring for the needs of her family.