Category Archives: Alcoholism

Death and Acceptance

I attended an AA meeting today for the first time in who knows how long. I had intended to go to Confession, but I ran into the priest and he told me that it was cancelled for today. Some diocesan shindig. I knew the parish hosted an AA meeting at the same time and so I figured, “What the heck? I’ll check it out.”

The topic was death and acceptance.

I didn’t share as I’m usually reticent about doing so. Fear of speaking at AA meetings go ‘way back. I do when I can offer something. I should have today, but was nervous as I had never been to this meeting before.

What I would have said, had I bothered to was something like this:

“Taking death and acceptance, and putting it into our recovery, all I can say is that we’ve already died once. Our old practicing alcoholic selves died when we entered the program and achieved a lasting sobriety. We’ve been reborn, in a way, when we got that sobriety and learned a bit about the Steps.

I think the book “Daily Reflections” has a reading from (I think June) which says something about how we alcoholics are fortunate to have lived two lifetimes in one life. There’s the life we lived as drunks, and now our new one as sober alcoholics.

All we have to do is “keep our side of the street clean” against the eventuality of our own death.”

Not bad. But it was enough to conquer the fear of attending a meeting for the first time, much less expecting me to talk. What I said was hinted at anyway by some other speakers, so really no big deal.

Maybe next time.

 

 

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

New eBook: The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts

A new ebook I have written for Catholics and other Christians suffering from alcoholism and addiction is out:

The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts. The book helps people to reflect on their recovery and relationships with others, and ultimately with Jesus Himself. Whether people are still struggling with their addictions, or have been clean and sober for a few weeks, months, or years, the reflections will lead them to meditate on the spiritual growth they have achieved so far.

So far, it is available only through Smashwords, but print editions from CreateSpace and Amazon will be out perhaps this week, as well as an ebook version for Kindle.

The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts takes a time-honored prayer and brings it into a useful format for people to pause and reflect on their recovery, their relationships with others, and ultimately with Jesus Himself. Whether people are still struggling with their addictions, or have been clean and sober for a few weeks or months, or many years, the reflections for each Mystery of the Rosary will help them meditate on the spiritual growth they have achieved so far. Over the years, their thoughts on each meditation may change, depending on “where they’re at” in their recovery journey.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics – a new ebook by ME!!

Yesterday I released through Smashwords.com my first book, Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics

To quote from my description, “The ‘Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics’ is a book that is rooted in an ancient Catholic devotion. It is intended to assist Catholics and other Christians find deeper meaning in their struggles with alcoholism, by connecting the oftentimes hard road of sobriety with Jesus’ suffering road to His Crucifixion. The reader sees that their old alcoholic ‘self’ is being led to the Cross and the joy of eventual resurrection of a new sober self can follow. Whether they are still drinking and struggling, or have been sober for many years and still have difficulties coping with sobriety, this book should help readers maintain that sobriety.”

It is available for download and at USD $2.99 and can be read on any ebook reader. It is right now only available through Smashwords.com, but it should be released through Apple, Amazon, Sony and other ebook publishers and distributors perhaps later this week. There will be a followup blog post announcing when that happens.

The meditations are drawn from old posts of mine, but they have been edited for length and quality (I noticed some errors in the originals). These old posts may be deleted this week.

It would make a good Christmas gift for someone you care about!! 🙂

Anyway, thanks, and I hope you all find it useful.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Matt Talbot Way of Recovery

(Note: This is reposted from SoberCatholic.com) The launch of the “revived Catholic-based recovery network” is on! I actually started it last night, on the Vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is called the “Matt Talbot Way of Recovery.” Although Matt Talbot is widely associated with recovery from alcoholism, his way to sobriety can be applied to all addictions. His model of sobriety is a good, Catholic-based one that can serve as a framework and guide.

The Group is on Yahoo, I chose that rather than start a standalone website like a discussion forum or social network as it is easier. Past attempts at a Catholic-based recovery network have ended in failure for a number of reasons, this way of an email discussion list is less risky. If it proves to be very popular and successful, then perhaps sometime down the road a discussion forum-type of site can be done. I am not looking that far ahead.

Here is the link to click on to join:

Matt Talbot Way of Recovery

Here is some important information about the Group:

Once you submit a request to join, your request must be approved by a Moderator. So far, I am the only one. Please be patient, I should get back and approve your request within a day.

Afterwards this is the email address to post messages to the Site and Members: MattTalbotWayofRecovery@yahoogroups.com

You can also access messages and post new ones just by going to the Group’s web page at (in case the above link doesn’t work, copy-and-paste this: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/MattTalbotWayofRecovery/

These are the site’s settings(as of now, can be changed later):

Membership requires approval (probably not going to be changed. Need to keep out spammers and bigots)

Messages from new members require approval (I think once your first message or two is approved, you’re then unmoderated)

All members can post messages

Email attachments are distributed, not archived

Members cannot hide email address (therefore it is important that you have an email address that has a good spam filter, or one that is just devoted to online recovery work. This is to preserve anonymity, if that is important to you.

Listed in directory (again, see the email address suggestions in the previous point)

After you’re in, you can the determine how you wish to interact. As stated above, you can either post and reply to to messages either by way of email, or by going to the Groups web address. You can decide which way by the following settings:

MTWofRecoveryMessageDelivery

So, you can receive each email as it comes in, or just a digest of all emails for that day, or for that week. Or, just visit the website. You can visit the website anytime, even if you subscribe to emails. This is useful if you wish to search through the archive of past messages.

As far as I know, that is it! If I have forgotten anything, I’ll add it later. Jump in, join, and let’s have fun! 🙂

Back story: Revived Catholic-based recovery network possibly starting on Monday (Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

September 5, 1995. My father died.

On this date in 1995 my father died.

He and I weren’t very close, (“fathers and sons …”) generational and attitudinal differences separated us.

As a result, I didn’t really grieve over his death. I mean, I was saddened and did feel the loss, but I wasn’t ripped apart by his death like I was over my Mom’s 10 years later.

This relative lack of impact was aided by the fact that I was 2,500 miles away and hadn’t seen him in 4 years.

I went home for his funeral, and reconnected with the family, but when I returned home to California I continued life as usual. I had started drinking heavily to cope with life’s problems a year before (failed romance) and my drinking picked up a little more upon my return, so that may have softened the need to grieve in a sober manner.

The point of this is that although I wasn’t too close to Dad during his life, I am much closer to him now. That would seem strange to non-Catholics, but for believers with a knowledge of the Communion of Saints, that shouldn’t seem strange at all.

Death doesn’t end a life. Death is just a passage from this life to another. This life is temporary, everything “is”, and then passes away to dust and a dim memory. The life after is eternal. Whether that life is spent in Heaven or Hell depends on what you do in your Earthly life.

There is a connection between those of us still here on Earth and those deceased. It is called, as I referenced in a previous paragraph, the Communion of Saints . (Via New Advent.) This is comprised of the “Church Militant” (those still on Earth), the “Church Suffering” (those in Purgatory) and the “Church Triumphant” (those in Heaven). Only the souls that have damned themselves to Hell are excluded.

“Communion” implies a community, wherein the members still can relate to one another. This relation is conducted by the means of prayer. We pray to the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering for their intercessory power with God. We can somehow sense their presence (although admittedly that “sensing” may be wishful thinking).

They are there to help, comfort and console us. We are separated from them by the chasm of death, but that chasm can be crossed eventually by our own deathly passage.

I said earlier in this post that I am much closer to Dad now than while he was alive. I have grown to be much like him, at least with regard to the practice of my Catholic Faith. (I still haven’t taken up woodworking as a hobby, nor returned to fishing as a pastime, but may in time. I do enjoy yardwork, like he did, and love baseball, too.) I understand him better as the years progress and as I grow older.

To anyone who has lost a parent (or anyone beloved) to death, fear not. They are not gone from you permanently. Consider them as just having moved far away, and the distance you need to travel to meet with them again will take the rest of your life.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Four Last Things

There are four unalterable, unavoidable truths that every human must eventually face.

You will die.

You will be judged.

You will be received into Heaven or…

 … your life will condemn you to Hell.

Period. No wishful thinking will alter the above truths. They are expressly laid out in the Bible and they cannot be avoided.

“But I’m not Christian…” Yeah, so what. Non-Christian religions may have much truth in them and they may lead people to God, but only in Judeo-Christianity has God revealed Himself to us and wrote a roadmap to the afterlife and salvation in the Bible. You will be judged for what you are responsible for (more on that in a later post).

Anyway, my name is Paul, and I am an alcoholic who found sobriety from drink in the Twelve Steps of a recovery program but discovered sustained sobriety in the Catholic Church. In the course of my recovery, I thought more deeply than most other 12-Steppers of my acquaintance on the eternal verities. Death. Judgement. Heaven. Hell. The four unavoidables.

I’ve rarely heard these topics brought up in recovery meetings, except that some members presumed that they’ve already experienced Hell or went through Purgatory on Earth as a consequence of their drinking. I understood that as an expression of suffering, but I wondered about the real places , or whatever they are. That will be explored in this blog.

This won’t be your typical recovery blog, not that my primary blogging effort: Sober Catholic is normal, either. (At least by people who are used to straight up Twelve Step blogs.) This blog should also be of interest to people not in recovery but who are curious about the afterlife from a Catholic perspective. Just filter out any “Don’t drink” talk. 

Concerning not drinking, another reason why I am starting this blog is that one thing I’ve heard in 12 Step meetings is the basic conviction or feeling that once you’ve stopped drinking, that’s it. You’ve run the race and you’re “in”. That’s always bothered me. Just not drinking today isn’t enough. You may still sin (that is, offend God), and perhaps even mortally sin. There are whole other ways to screw up your life besides drinking. You may still do those. Hopefully this blog will make you aware of that and start thinking beyond “just not drinking.”  

I will try my best to present everything from a point-of-view that is Catholic, and authentically so. No pick-and-choose “cafeteria Catholic” here.

Hopefully, this will actually be fun, in a strange sort of way.  I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to to do this beyond musings and meditations on the four unavoidables and related things, using my own thinking and authentic Catholic teachings.  I have this image in my head of me going around and taking pictures of cemetery plots and using them as visual reminders. “Someday, this will be where you’ll be, or someplace quite like it.” 

I will discuss grief, a particular interest of mine. I will also talk about Purgatory, and yes, the Church still teaches that it exists. 
Anyway, take care and read on.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"