A couple of year’s back I was completing a presentation for one of my classes in my Master’s program at seminary on the Connection of the Church and the 12-Step Program. In the research, really concentrated on Fr. Samuel Shoemaker when I ran across a poem he wrot, I STAND BY THE DOOR . I can really relate to “standing by the door” to help those who are struggling to find their way to God and recovery. So I stand by the door to help the addict/alcoholic and their families a way into the door.
This is important for me, my calling. January 27, 1991 is my sober birthday and it was after surviving a near death experience in Desert Storm that I received, but not totally understanding, my calling. It was a long, cold, lonely night. There was a call for an emergency launch of our aircraft. A bomb threat was made on the base and the hanger. Get all aircraft and flight personal out of the hangers and into the air. After the last bird launched, I collapsed on the runway with searing pain in my chest. A long, cold, lonely night in Bitburg Germany, my first husband was with me – a strand relationship - and my children were safe back in Houston Texas. Up to this point in time, I wanted God to take me home for I did not want to live anymore – cold. I had my “spiritual awakening” that night and fought to live for I made a commitment to my daughter to come home from this war.
When I came home, my life has and was going to change for God has given me a second chance to do His work and not my own self-destruction. I got a divorce from my first husband. God sent people into my life to help me through troubled times and to keep me inside HIS love and grace. There were few people standing by the door to help me on to my recovery and to realize the full depth of God’s love.
My calling today is to help those persons and families during difficult times of getting and receiving help for their addiction. I am an addictions counselor and currently fulfilling the requirements of family counseling. I currently work in a prison in Wyoming to counsel those who suffer from drugs and/or alcohol but they are spiritually bankrupt also. To help those men to see their way along the wall to the door handle to God’s grace and love. It is not always easy or successful but if one makes it then it is well worth standing by the door.
The other part of the calling is to make myself known in the parish and diocese of who I am and what my calling is about. I teach groups like Stephen Ministry what addiction looks like and how to address – it is beyond them. In the past I have had informational booths at council to help the clergy and laity identify addiction issues. I have also had booths at professional conferences to show the counselors and other professionals we are all about recovery. Then there are individual phone calls for help – “my son (daughter) needs help….” “my mother (father) needs help…” “my husband (wife) needs help…” I have sent letters to the church to advocate for recovery and help. I have helped on retreats and brought those from shelters to retreats for spiritual awakening.
My life is ever evolving – progress not perfection – in recovery. My life is so fulfilling now than it has ever been before. By the grace of God I have recovery and only by the grace of God I am alive today to do his work.