Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church
 

Full Circle by Lisa K.

12/10/2014 3:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
I grew up in an Episcopal church in West Virginia, the one place I always felt safe from the chaos of my alcoholic home---I sang in the choirs and tried to figure out why girls couldn't be acolytes. While in graduate school I met some more evangelical, charismatic types who seemed to have an extra something. When my father died of alcoholism/colon cancer, one of my new friends came to apologize to me because she had not been able to pray for my father to live, since he “was leading a miserable life.” WHAT? Is God so frivolous as to hold some sort of popularity contest in deciding who is to live or die? Did St. Peter count the votes---before the days of “hanging chads”?

I had very little to do with the church or God for the next decade. Twenty nine years ago, like many, I came into recovery with many misgivings about the role of a higher power in my life. I was told to “act as if” there were a loving presence walking beside me and caring for me. The third step says we turn our will and lives over to the CARE of God. The one who walked beside me would care for me, not protect me from losses, or pain. I had never felt truly supported and cared for, even by my husband, so this was a powerful notion. I acted as if, and at some point it ceased to be an act; it became a reality of my life. God even sent me a letter one time: I received an envelope with “HP” as the sender and saying “redemption enclosed.” Wow! As it turned out, it was a rebate check from Hewlett Packard, but for a minute there…

Slowly, my HP and the God of my church merged as I began going to church again, and feeling the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. I saw this merger visually as I lay on a gurney waiting to go into surgery as my Priest held my right hand, my sponsor held my left, they held hands and we said the Lord’s Prayer together. We were, in a sense, a circle, and a triangle. For me, this represented the full circle I had traveled from God, away and back. I felt the power of the “we” which is the guiding principle of recovery and of faith in community. There are many people in recovery who will never return to the church or the God of their childhood and they have years and years of recovery through a higher power with a name of their choosing. Somehow, for me, it was important to realize that the God of my church, who had provided a place of safety and peace in my childhood, had been with me through all the darkness and pain, patiently waiting to welcome me home.
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