While randomly flipping through the Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible last night while in Eucharistic Adoration, I chanced upon this passage from Tobias (Tobit in the NAB. Please note that the translation in the NAB is very different from the D-R. If you don’t have a copy of the D-R, there’s a link to it in the blog’s sidebar in the “For all things Catholic” section).
Now this trial the Lord therefore permitted to happen to him, that an example might be given to posterity of his patience, as also of holy Job. For whereas he had always feared God from his infancy, and kept his commandments, he repined not against God because the evil of blindness had befallen him, but continued immoveable in the fear of God, giving thanks to God all the days of his life.
Tobias had become blind, despite having led a virtuous and faithful life in very trying circumstances. (Why do bad things happen to good people?)
Note that the passage says that the Lord permitted this trial to happen to him, meaning perhaps that God could have prevented it.
But the passage also states that there was a reason for the trial’s happening, “so that an example might be given to posterity for his patience.”
OK, so a bad thing happened to a good person. And perhaps such things fit in with God’s overall plan for your life, that a bad thing occurs so that something good is drawn out of it. In Tobias’ case, it was so that others would benefit from his patient endurance.
How do you react to your alcoholism or addiction? Are you angry and resentful that you cannot drink like normal people? (You might know the joke told in AA meetings: “If I could drink like a normal person, I’d drink all day.”) Or do you accept your addiction, deal with it, incorporate the principles of your recovery program into your life and seek to determine how you can learn from your experience and apply it to other people and situations?
In my cessation from drinking, I learned I needed more that what AA’s spirituality offered. I returned to the Catholic Faith, feeling that only a 2,000 year-old religion with its breadth and depth can truly keep me sober and alive. AND I eventually started this blog, with the idea that there are other Catholics and spiritual seekers who need to dive into deep waters to sustain them, because other spiritual solutions are unsatisfying.
So, what are YOU doing with your sobriety? If your sobriety is a private affair, that is wonderful, you are still an example to others in a little way. But if you feel called to do something more than just not drink, that is wonderful also, as you are seeking to reach out to others and bring the Gospel message to those who need it.
Do whatever is within your abilities and don’t apologize for not doing more, if more is beyond your reach. As long as you end up viewing your sobriety as a gift, and your recovery as something that brought you closer to God. We are not all called to start Catholic sobriety blogs, or whatever else. We are meant to stay sober and draw closer to God. Whether in small ways or big ways, you’re doing God’s work. This is more than most.
Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"