Jumping off place

Every alcoholic eventually arrives at a bottom. It is different for each, for some it could be the loss of house, spouse, job, money, health and respect. For others it could merely be the threat of those losses. Something happens at which point the alcoholic decides, “This cannot go on.” It is that point at which the alcoholic decides that maybe not drinking is better than drinking. “If I continue to drink I will die.” Or, “If I stop drinking, I may just wish I were dead.”

At any rate, the alcoholic is at a crossroads. AA’s basic text, the so-called “Big Book”calls it the “Jumping off place”. It is that point at which the alcoholic decides between life or death. It may not be an easy decision, some fight with it and manage to struggle for years before finally choosing (or have the choice made for them).

Choosing life is the path to recovery from alcohol and sobriety. It is also the path back into the Father’s loving embrace as you seek His help in staying free from alcohol.

It is a choice made in today’s Gospel reading, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” See Luke 15:11-32. The Gospel contains a verse (#17): “Coming to his senses he thought…”. This implies the son had reached a decision after some thought. He had squandered his inheritance from his father, lived as a lowly servant feeding pigs, and envied the pigs. You would think he wouldn’t take too long in deciding the right course of action, but human pride is a strange thing. Some have trouble admitting to having made bad decisions, they would rather continue on the destructive course they are on. Perhaps a form of suicide. He eventually chose to return to his father and plead for mercy and forgiveness, accepting whatever he would receive.

Rather than receiving punishment and chastisement, the son was most warmly welcomed and embraced back into the fold of his father’s house.

So to, are we received by our Father in Heaven, when we come to our senses by whatever means we arrive at, repent and ask forgiveness. We drank and hurt Him, others and ourselves. We stop and begin the painful process to picking up our lives and amending it.

If you are reading this and are an alcoholic, perhaps you have hit bottom and have made the decision to choose life. You found this blog perhaps because you were seeking tools to help in your continued recovery. That is wonderful, I do hope this place helps. Or perhaps you have yet to reach that point, and still think you do not have a problem or can handle it on your own. Your decision-making process is affected by your drinking, listen to the voices around you who may be telling you things about your behavior. Take a cold, hard look at life. Has it always been this way? perhaps things were terrible before you began drinking, but how are they now, compared to those times?

Have you come to your senses?

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"


  1. Thanks Joe! This is a great article. It seems to describe what others, including myself, have felt: that alcohol, or any other addictive substance or activity fills a “hole in the soul”. Some jokingly discover God at the bottom of a bottle of tequila. The process this Dr. Matthew is trying to teach his patients is in a way similar in manner to the “Matt Talbot Method” of sobriety. Specifically, one transfers a love of alcohol onto Jesus. Jesus replaces alcohol. This is detailed in the book “To Slake a Thirst: The Matt Talbot Way to Sobriety”, by Philip Maynard; Alba House; c2000 by the Society of St. Paul.

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