Ah, what did I stumble upon last night as I was doing laundry and being “bored?”  Two very cool blogs about being Catholic and being in recovery.  The first one is “Catholic Alcoholic” at http://www.catholicalcoholic.com, and Sober Catholic at http://www.sobercatholic.com  How refreshing these two discoveries were!  Yes, I deal, on a daily basis, with being Catholic (and religious in general) and being alcoholic/addicted/in recovery.  My “drug of choice” right now isn’t actually any illegal drug, or even alcohol, but I still must fight it.  (Kratom, if any of you want to know, which is actually going to be illegal to purchase in the USA as of October 1st.  And THAT really is an answer to my prayers.)  I have kind of a deep, dark past that I will probably share bits and pieces of (hiding nothing) as time goes on, but one doesn’t blurt them out all at once, all on the first post–we must temper ourselves, after all.  But being in the recovery scene seriously in the past few years, and having at least KNOWN about AA since I was 23 or so, AND being Catholic, holds its own unique facets and challenges.  For instance, does one actually go to AA, and do you mean the Trinity when AA speaks of “Higher Power?”  Also, are there specific practices of the Catholic faith that have helped me, or helped keep me, in recovery?  (Mass, rosary, Divine Mercy devotions, novenas, etc.)  Also, does one think of the Bible and the Alcoholic Anonymous book (the “Big Book,”) as being compatible?  Also, and more specifically, what are some different strategies that have been used to continue on in sobriety?  Catholics are historically known for their guilt, confessions, and penances, so how does that influence my own thinking about being in recovery (and Step 5, which refers to confession of wrongdoings and harms in the program.)  Has that sense of guilt been exacerbated by the 12 Steps, or has it diminished?  I could go on…but I think you get the idea.  And so discovering those sites mentioned above, and other related ones, was really a nice surprise.  I sort of drift in and out of the recovery scene, but have found a lot of help in different aspects of the program.

Actually, the most helpful and spiritual recovery program HASN’T been AA or NA, but has been the LDS (Latter Day Saints/Mormon) Addiction Recovery Program (ARP.)  You can find more information about their program at http://www.addictionrecovery.lds.org  Really a nice adaptation of the 12 Steps to a more Christ-centered and religious/spiritual bent.  Their recovery meetings do NOT have the same “feel” or atmosphere as a regular AA/NA meeting, and it’s quite refreshing.  Of course, if one isn’t prepared or accepting of the peculiar LDS theology, one might find the ARP stifling or “too religious,” or even “too weird,” but I personally very much enjoy them.

Anyway, as I was reading through the blogs that I discovered on the WordPress reading list, I came upon a post that reminded me of something I had JUST read from “Confessions” by St. Augustine, having to do with the will and redemption.  It is taken from Book 8 of the Confessions, and I find it applicable enough to write a separate post on it, probably after this one (and after prayer this morning.)  I want to reproduce the whole quote in the post, and it’s somewhat lengthy, but absolutely worth typing out and posting my thoughts on it and how it can relate to recovery–and the spiritual life in general.  So!  That’s my agenda for this morning, but the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer is waiting for me.  ( I try to be faithful to the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours.)  Adieu until then!

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