Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Salute to AA

Perhaps you’ve heard the term army brat… well I’m an AA kid.

Is there a finer philosophy to live a life by than Alcoholics Anonymous? Why? Because it’s the pure, unadulterated message of Jesus Christ. Humility, honesty and hope rolled in one. What’s not to like?

I still remember the day my mom joined AA.. I’d been called by my Dad who couldn’t leave work to go over to their house and let a visitor in. My mom had been in her room for days. When I opened the front door the woman brushed past me saying brusquely take me to her. She entered Mom’s bedroom and came out an hour later announcing she’d be back the next day to pick mom up and take her to a meeting. Before she left very kindly she looked at me, patted my arm and whispered in a soft tone, “It’s up to her, but she can be okay.”

My Mom started attending meetings regularly. The Serenity prayer appeared on our refrigerator door. Sure there were some setbacks like the time I attended an open meeting with her and to my utter embarrassment I realized after we arrived that she’d been drinking. I wanted to disappear through the floor when one of the leaders approached me and suggested I take her home.

The Big Book appeared on the coffee table and Mom talked about Bob and Bill as if they were immediate family members. Anyone within earshot of her heard about the twelve steps, nine of which refer to God/higher power. How fitting since in Him we live and move and have our being. Mom became a Christian for real and startled going to church. The first verse of Scripture that she learned was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phillipians 4:13) I was sooo proud of her.

In time the constant inner panic, the fear of what condition she’d be in when I came home, the horrible dread that blanketed every holiday lifted. My Mom’s compassion and sense of humor and enthusiasm for life reappeared. The world changed within our home and a precious aura of peace appeared.

I owe much to the fine men and women of AA who helped Mom and most of all to the God power that makes the program work. Because AA does work. Bill got it right. It’s community and the power of God and sharing love and truth with others that changes minds and hearts. I’m proud to be the daughter of a deceased recovering alcoholic and salute all those who’ve carried AA’s message of hope and healing.

As I go through the motions of preparing for the celebration of this holy, holiday season, I'm mindful of the men and women fighting for their very lives in the throes of addictions and of those in hospital wards seeking to slay the monster cancer. And those facing financial woes in this economy they never dreamed possible.

Life is fraught with challenge, but in all circumstances and every generation these words still ring true: "I can do all things [that need doing] through Christ who strengthens me." There is always reason for hope and victory in Jesus Christ. And sometimes Christ relies on people like AA's founders Bill and Bob and the rest of us to make it happen.