The Narrow Path

As anyone who reads my blog regularly already knows, I am a big believer that the 12 steps of recovery apply to a lot more than just getting sober, they are the foundation for a better life. Therefore, I look for ways to include the steps in my life, and, conversely, I take note when things in my everyday life run parallel to the 12 steps of recovery.  For example, when I hear someone talking about “one day at a time” on television, I stop and listen.  Or when I read about a celebrity using rehab as a hotel, I heed this as a cautionary tale.

So when I went to Mass this weekend, and listened to the gospel, and the homily following the gospel, it got my attention.  Long story short, in the gospel Jesus is telling his congregation how to get into heaven:

Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.  –Luke 13

There’s obviously more, but the part I focused on was travelling the narrow path, and staying on the narrow path.  The priest went on to elaborate, and talk about the ways we can start out with the best of intentions, but the wider path is just so much easier, so much more tempting, that it is very easy for us to veer off the narrow path.

This spoke directly to me in terms of my recovery from addiction.  Let’s face it, the widest, simplest path to follow is to drink.  Everyone does it, it is more socially acceptable than not drinking, and it is fun to feel inebriated.  For an alcoholic/addict, there comes the point where the drinking becomes socially unacceptable, and there is the first choice to get on the narrow path.  It took me quite some time, and a lot of fighting, to make this choice.  The wider path, for me, was looking around and seeing so many people “drinking as I did or worse,” and so I actually fought to stay on that wider path.  Ultimately, there comes a time (God willing), when you are at the ultimate fork in the road.  When I made the choice to get on that narrow path, at first the only thing necessary to keep me on that path was to not pick up a drink or drug.  Simple sounding, but boy did that path look narrow at the time.

By doing that, I was finally heading in the right direction.  As I trudged onward, choices came up, not exactly forks in the road, but more like small bends to the right or left:  should I continue to attend AA meetings, or can I do this on my own?  Shall I take the opportunity to do the steps with a sponsor, or should I take my time with it?  Do I continue to follow the principles that AA has taught me, and reach out my hand in sponsorship, or should I just focus on myself and my recovery?

Each question I answered, each choice I made, either kept me on the narrow path, or led me slightly off it.  And so that will continue for the rest of my life.  Sometimes that seems like a depressing thought, “why do I have to continuously make these difficult choices, when it seems like the rest of the world doesn’t even think about it?”  But most of the time it seems like a gift: I can walk through my life with my head held high, knowing I am on the right path, the narrow path, and what better feeling is there than that?

Another bonus feature:  when I took my first steps on the narrow path of recovery, it appeared almost impossible to navigate.  But as time goes by, as I am challenged to make seemingly difficult decisions to stay on the narrow path, all I have to do now is look behind me… the path that once seemed impossibly narrow now appears quite wide, and almost ridiculously easy to navigate. And that lesson holds true throughout any new venture:  exercise, diet, staying organized, keeping a schedule… all things that seemed insurmountable at first become so much easier with time and dedication.  And the payoff to the effort?  To quote the famous ad campaign… priceless.

Today’s Miracle:

This is going to be a long one.  The topic of the blog also happened to be the topic I chose for my meeting this morning, I found AA literature to correspond to it, and I explained honestly how I came to choose the topic.  I had some reservations about this, because I try to discuss my spirituality in a universal way, out of respect for the AA program, but this required me to speak of Catholicism, so I worried a bit that I might offend my fellow attendees.  As I sat before the meeting, still debating how to go about discussing the gospel reading, I glanced out the window, and saw a man approaching who I thought to be a newcomer.  And he was a newcomer,to my meeting anyway, but I knew him from earlier in my sobriety, when I attended meetings closer to my Mom’s house.  I have not seen this gentleman in close to a year, and he had told me back then that he tends not to go to “club house meetings,” as he is not particularly comfortable there, but his schedule was such today that he wanted to attend a meeting, and this was the only one he could get to.  Why would this story fit in the category of today’s miracle?

The gentleman is a Catholic priest.

I still have goosebumps!

Posted on August 26, 2013, in Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I love God Shots like that. Goosebumps indeed. The narrow path – that it is indeed, and like you said, it is at the same time roomy. But it’s not like that at the beginning. And for me now, when my ego starts to bang on my drums, that path does narrow. It gets a bit harder, as the thorns and landmines start to populate my spiritual landscape and reduces where I can put my foot down. But when I am doing what I need to do, and keeping up on the spiritual goodies, then I am ok. I am hoping to venture on that tough narrow path in my health. My poor eating and almost non existent exercising, and that blasted sugar thing are really going to test this theory…ha ha. But I too have had those thoughts – “Is it just me that is constantly monitoring and keeping an eye on motives, thoughts, behaviours, etc.? Do most people have to do this?” and I guess it’s a mixed blessing. We get the chance to make those choices, as you said, but we also have to suffer when we know we make a choice that is not in alignment with His will. ugh. But that’s growth, isn’t it?

    Great post, and quote 🙂



    • Thank you Paul, but I must say this: if you are biking to and from work, doesn’t that count as exercise? Because in my book, it surely does!

      That is an excellent point, about the path narrowing when we are not using our basic tools. And God only knows how much I can relate to the poor eating habits, I eat like a spoiled, indulged 8 year old! So when I think of venturing on the narrow path of eating right, your description is certainly spot on for me.

      But the good news is: if we can stop drinking, then really, what CAN’T we do?

      As always, you give me food for thought (pun intended), Paul!


    • I forgot to say this, Paul. “God Shot” was running through my head the entire morning, before I even got to your comment! It’s been a while since I’ve gotten such a direct response from the HP, and man, was I grateful for it!


  2. my favorite post of your blog series. very inspiring! and, wow, on the surprise of the newcomer to your meeting this morning! (conincidence? i think not).


  3. I needed to hear this post today. The narrow path is a great reminder to me of how to step carefully, one foot in front of the other, so as not fall from the path. But the beauty I see as I walk is breathtaking, and well worth the effort. I’m proud that I no longer follow the large group that take the easier, wider path. I also love how you use the 12 steps throughout your life. I need to go back and rework those steps in my own life. Thanks so much for this post and have a blessed day!



    • Hi Trish, it is so great to hear from you! So glad to hear that the post was what you needed today, I LOVE when that happens! And I could not agree more, when I take the time to view my surroundings, I am amazed by the beauty around me. Thanks so much for commenting!


  4. Coincidence?…if only there were such a thing!


  5. What a wonderful post! i agree that sobriety is a much narrower path, but that’s also what i like about it! The narrower the path, the clearer the direction i must take. When i was leading my own life, i was out of control and driving myself nuts! Now all i have to do is not drink, go to meetings, read the book and listen to people who have what i want.

    And, like i always say, “Coincidence is the language of God”.


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