Be sober and vigilant

There was a recent reading in the Liturgy of the Hours (a daily prayerbook used along with the liturgical season, there’s a big link above the posting area that takes you to Universalis, where they explain the LOTH) that I like.

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.

The “sober” doesn’t refer to “not drinking” or a “state of sobriety”, it means to be clear and emotionally level-headed, the better to be vigilant about what is going on about you. But nevertheless, I cannot read the word “sober” without thinking of “not drinking” and how to keep to it. “Avocational hazard”, I suppose.

Anyway, there follows a warning that the devil is also vigilant, constantly on the prowl looking for victims to devour. All Satan needs is a weakness, a lack-of-resolve in your Faith that he can use to exploit.

I’ve written before about how easy that can happen. One needn’t relapse when the alcohol goes down your throat. The relapse happens before the actual event. Once the thought process starts that accepts the safety of drinking, that thought needs to be rooted out and tossed on the spiritual compost heap to wither and decay. Otherwise a type of parallel thinking occurs in which the thought of a drink lurks and waits until a vulnerability opens up. This may be the “cunning, baffling and powerful” refrain heard so often in AA meetings about drinking again sneaks up on people. This is mentioned in AA’s basic text: Alcoholics Anonymous in the chapter entitled “More About Alcoholism” (page 37) “But there is always the curious mental phenomenon that parallel with our sound reasoning there inevitably ran some insanely trivial excuse for taking the first drink. Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check. The insane idea won out.” In the last paragraph in that same chapter: (page 43)“The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense.” It concludes with the declaration that such defense must come from a “Higher Power”, and from the perspective of this blog, that HP is God.

God can provide the effective mental defense against drinking, if you turn your reliance on alcohol to solve things over to Him. Make your Faith your automatic reaction for when things go bad. Jesus is there for you, if you’re Catholic He’s accessible directly through the Eucharist, either in receiving Holy Communion or in Adoration. You can also go to confession and receive powerful graces from that sacrament. Being steadfast in your faith offers a strong resistance to the temptations of the Devil.

And Satan exists. It is said that Satan’s greatest victory these past few centuries is the growing conviction that he’s a medieval Catholic fairy tale, and therefore doesn’t exist. For if he doesn’t exist, why do you need any defense against him? He exists, and the Faith is your only weapon.

Be steadfast.

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"