The world is a harsh, violent, scary place these days and the massacre in Orlando put me over the edge. The word on the street is that we are sensitive creatures, we alcoholics and addicts. More so than the average person. Maybe it’s a genetic predisposition to sensitivity, or maybe it’s because of the trauma of abuse many of us endured as children, the jury’s out on that one, but even Bill wrote, “We alcoholics are sensitive people.” (BB p.125) He knew.
I often feel out of place in the world even after 15 plus years of sobriety and spending the last 27 years in Alcoholics Anonymous. The violence we human beings perpetuate against each other is devastating and last week, one more time, I’m shaking my head and thinking, “Really!? Again!?” When are going to learn? When are going to care for each other in a way that acknowledges the dignity of every human being? When are we going to act more like Jesus? When? And so I lose hope. I can’t easily shake off the despair of loss, whether it’s 60 million refugees displaced by war and violence in their countries or the 50 in Orlando or the sadness that I feel every time I drive by the tents of the homeless under the Gower over pass on my way to the church every day in Hollywood. I feel helpless and hopeless and powerless.
And then I walk into a meeting. The same meeting I have walked into for the last 10 years. My home group: 9am Came to Believe. We read from the collection of stories from the short but spiritually packed book, Came to Believe, and we share our experience of God, our spiritual journeys, our doubts, our fears, our sadness, our joys, our grief, our successes. We talk about trusting God, and finding joy in the little things. We talk about the harsh realities of the world and how sometimes we feel like going out there again, seems absolutely impossible. Then someone shares about how she did it, how she mustered the courage to go into the world, one more time, and do what needs to be done, and everything was ok. God was there. And the room is filled with hope, again.
God is always there. God meets me in my grief and holds me in arms so big and wide and gentle and merciful that I can move through the world with a little more hope. The women of AA fill me with enough strength and courage to muster the energy to get out there and do my best and believe that through unity, recovery and service, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” Julian of Norwich