The Narrow Path
Posted by themiracleisaroundthecorner
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.
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 12 steps, Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Catholicism, choice, drinking, foundation for a better life, getting sober, God, Gospel, Gospel of Luke, Higher Power, Jesus, Luke, miracles, Narrow Path, no coincidences, one day at a time, Priesthood (Catholic Church), Recovery, Sober living environment, Sobriety, Spirituality, staying sober, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.