My life was a train wreck, and I was searching for an answer to my dilemma. I remembered a retreat I had attended in high school many years ago. I was sitting under a tree talking to God, and feeling completely comfortable in my own skin, for what I thought, was the first time ever. I was a practicing Roman Catholic, not a good Roman, but one that sat just outside the circle of the righteous. I called the local priest and asked him if there was a retreat that he knew of that I might attend? He knew of a place in Houston, and suggested that if I found a suitable place to let him know, he would like to start an annual men's retreat.
I found the place, called him back and he suggested I put it together for the parish. This fed a very major part of me, my ego, so I was glad to take on the responsibility. I did so with much vigor and along with about a dozen other men we headed to the retreat house. I took my last drink for that day in the retreat house parking lot. This was 1983.
At the opening session, with about 75 men in attendances (other churches were there also), one of the clergy introduced himself as an alcoholic. I was shocked that someone would do that. He added that if anyone in the audience felt like they might have a problem, please come and talk to him sometime during the weekend. I made an appointment, went into see him, and carefully described my drinking patterns. He knew nothing about how my life was spiraling out of control, nor did I fill him in on those details. I just stuck with the drinking story. The room grew quite for a few million seconds and I asked him what he thought? He answered me in the only way he could of and gotten my attention. “It makes no difference what I think Bob, it is what you think that counts”. I immediately started to weep, and he took me to my first AA meeting the next evening.
The problem that jumped on me as soon as I arrived home was the old craving. I did not require a drink for the whole time I was at the retreat, but as soon as I arrived home I drank. It would be another year and a trip back to the retreat house before I finally gave up the ship. This time all the Brother had to say to me was “Have things gotten any better?” Again through tears I asked for help, and in chapel that night, I asked God to teach me how to love him with my whole heart, my whole soul and my whole mind. I knew nothing about love. I then asked him to allow me to love myself, so I could, in turn, love my neighbor. That was 28 years ago and he has been answering that prayer, one day a time ever since.