In this passage from today’s Gospel Reading Jesus warns a man who had been ill for 38 years:
John 5:14:“‘Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.'”
We do not know what the illness was, but it doesn’t matter. We can take this story and relate it to our alcoholism.
Jesus warns the man not to sin. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the man sinned and his punishment was an illness, but perhaps his illness was a natural consequence of some sinful act. Just a thought…
Now, this is where a Gospel lesson may be directly applied to some natural consequence of drinking again after a period of sobriety.
You have stopped drinking, you are aware of the physical, mental and spiritual dangers of alcohol abuse. Also, if you are aware of the moral dimensions of alcohol abuse as a result of some of the Steps and through Confession, then you are aware that it is a sin. Knowledge increases your culpability. Your will may have been corrupted, but if you have had sustained sobriety you should have regained some control over it. You should have enough safeguards in place to counter the “cunning, baffling and powerful” nature of alcoholism.
Jesus essentially warns the man that something worse may happen to him if he sins again. We know this from our own experience with alcoholism. If we relapse, it may make our recovery far more difficult. Granted, many people who “go back out” and “do research” find that drinking is as bad as it ever was, and their resolve is stronger.
But there are many examples of people who for whatever reason, continually relapse. Their hope of recovery is damaged.
The “something worse” for them is their continued life of addiction and all that implies, plus the shame of repeated failure.
Much prayer is need by and for these.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"