In choosing elements to include in a recovery program, the first requirement is to surrender to the God of your understanding. The second requirement is a recovery team to help you. Having three-five people who support recovery with “tough love” will support someone through the rough times. Your support team doesn’t have your answers; he/she has an individual recovery plan of his/her own that is shared with others. I quickly learned to make not drinking my number one priority in life no matter what.
When I was getting sober in the late 70s-early 80s, two Catholic priests were very instrumental in my recovery. Having been reared Presbyterian in a small town, I had no experience with other religions or faiths. I am grateful that I had the courage to try new ways because it began a journey I still enjoy of trying all the spiritual techniques and/or ideas that I seek out.
The two priests were Father Martin (who was a recovering alcoholic with a ministry of “chalk talks” that opened up worlds of acceptance and understanding) and Father John Powell (a retired Loyola Jesuit priest who has written 21 books and is the 2nd best-selling Christian writer).
Father Martin’s Chalk Talk movie was widely used in DUI classes in Florida. I was fortunate to have been able to teach classes every week for five years to multiple offenders. The course was 12 weeks long with the focus on alcoholism. I was also fortunate to have seen Father Martin in person several times. I was only sober a few months the first time I saw him. During the talk that evening, he said that you go after the kind of recovery that you think you deserve. What a concept! I had just assumed that the same things happened to everyone in recovery. Instead I started to forge new paths for myself. In my next post, I will write about Father John Powell.