In the previous four posts of this series I wrote about the things in the Catholic Faith that a Catholic can use to live a life that could be free of alcohol and drugs.
“Catholic” means universal. A catholic life derived from the Catholic Faith would mean using all of the resources of the Faith in guiding and ordering a life. This would include using it in your struggle to stay clean and sober. It would mean that Catholic Christianity molds and guides your thoughts and actions, and what strengthens you to get through each day. Everything that I mentioned in the previous 4 posts can help guide or order your day. Just as alcohol and drugs were used “back in the day” to get through things and how the addiction was the source and summit of life, so too can Catholicism be the new priority in life. And a free and liberated life, at that.
Here is a sample day (obviously a rough sketch of a possible Catholic life. But the notion is there. Some variant is possible for everyone):
You awaken. Instead of staring at the ceiling or wall resentful at having survived the night, or trying to remember what happened the last time you saw the day, you are pretty well refreshed from a good sleep. You thank the Lord for a good night, and seek His guidance for the day.
“Lord, not my will, but Yours be done.”
(Your morning routine is set, whatever it is concerning breakfast and morning beverage.) But now it is time to devote to God. You pray a Morning Offering and a few other set prayers, then reach for the Bible and start your daily lectio divina. This spiritual meditative exercise fortifies you, as the Word of God jump starts your mind. As like your first few daily shots of alcohol set a fire to you after your first waking moments back then, now it is Scripture that gives you a focus.
This meditation completed, your get your Divine Office and pray the first section, the “Office of Readings.”
You get ready for the day, and take your Breviary with you (either the book or your cell if it is on your mobile 🙂 ) You head for Daily Mass en route to work. Prior to Mass, while sitting in Church, you read the Morning Prayer section of the Breviary. Usually there may be a connection to the Daily Mass readings.
Mass begins… you listen intently to the prayers and responses and the Readings, and you do not recite things, you pray them. You understand the Mass. Jesus is here.
Off to work, the Lord still within you as you had received Communion. Your commute is long enough so that you have enough time to pray the Rosary while driving (or sitting in public transit.) You prefer this to the raucous noise of morning radio. You don’t want the world to intrude, just yet. You let your mind go over the Mysteries of the day for the Rosary, and you think about their meaning. You get to work. You go about your morning.
Lunchtime. Time for Daytime Prayer. You turn to the prayers for mid-day and read them in the Breviary. Perhaps you also read the Breviary during a morning break, or maybe just a selection from a pocket New Testament. Nevertheless, you now punctuate your workday with Scripture and prayer, rather than swigs from a concealed bottle containing vodka (vodka because it is “odorless and leaves no taste on your breath.” Yeah, right.) Prayer and the Word of God gives you the strength and courage to make it through work.
Time to leave, you go home. Dinner, and now Evening Prayer from the Breviary. The evening is ahead of you. Drinking is not on the agenda, the thought hasn’t even crossed your mind.
Anyway, as you prepare for bed, you review the day, as you will be doing an examination of conscience with the Breviary’s “Night Prayer.” You review and recall any sins of commission and omission.
Night Prayer said, you go to sleep.
“Into Your hands, Father, I commend my spirit.”
The point of this series and its Conclusion is to underscore that as much as one drank in the past, there is a prayerful and Scriptural counterpoint to that life. Catholic beliefs and religious practices, from Mass attendance to prayer to devotions such as the Rosary, can provide a consummate life that envelopes you. Your mind will be re-programmed to not require a drink to cope. While a 12 Step or some other recovery program can provide some tools to help you cope, these sometimes run the danger of preventing you from seeking the fullness of the Faith that Jesus established in Earth. They may be the “easier, softer way,” but as Jesus said the road to Heaven passes through the narrow gate. Things that distract you, that deflect your eyes from the prize, should be discarded or put into their proper place. Heaven is your goal on the “Road of Happy Destiny.” Scriptural passages studies and learned, examples from the lives of the Saints can give you the boost and support needed to counter the dark ways of the world, or at least assist you in maintaining a healthy balance and perspective.
Adding the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (“CCC”), and there is an excellent resource to “validate” your choices. I never even mentioned the CCC in this series, but it is the best companion to the Bible out there. Full of objective truth gleaned from Scripture and the writings of the Popes and Saints, the CCC helps “fortify” you in ways few things can, next to the Bible.
They can give you the tools needed for you to you react differently to things, whereas in the past you relied on alcohol, and now perhaps on meeting dependency and slogans, Scriptural passages and the CCC can be the “ammunition” to fire back at the stuff life throws at you.
Lessons learned from studying Truth.
This is freedom, this is liberation. Instead of being a slave to alcohol and drugs, you are your own person. True freedom isn’t in doing whatever you want, with little thought to the consequences to yourself or to others. True freedom lies in being the best person that you can be, the person God intended you to be. Your true self. That is what you should Recover.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"