30 Days of Faith: Day 23
I grew up in an alcoholic home. My father drank heavily, and my sister, Carol, also started drinking when she was 16 and I was three years old. While my father has been passed on these last 11 years, Carol is 61 and still struggles with alcoholism.
Growing up, I was told everything was about willpower. I was taught that if I wanted something badly enough and worked hard enough at it, I could make it happen. My dad led me to believe that Carol, too, could stop drinking on her own, if she only wanted to. She almost died once, and landed in the hospital many times throughout her life.
Jesus took my heart on March 5, 1997 and my life has never been the same since. Even when all I can pray is “Please God” I know He hears.
It wasn’t until I joined Al-Anon this past year that I really understood Carol has a disease. I had to forgive her, and my father, for all the past and just love her through anything that might happen now or in the future. Alcoholism is indeed a “cunning, baffling, and powerful” illness – only basically controlled by never taking the first drink, which is simple but not easy.
This past week, during Christmas season, which can be difficult and stressful under the best of circumstances but can be especially tough for an alcoholic, my sister relapsed after almost two years of sobriety. She didn’t tell me, but I could hear it in her voice on the telephone. Then, I couldn’t get in touch with her at all this weekend. She wasn’t answering her cell phone or land line, and wasn’t returning messages.
Never before have I relied on the Serenity prayer so much. I prayed, over and over: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” One day at a time, one minute at a time, I went through the motions of this past weekend and put the care of my sister in the hands of a mighty God. Finally, she called back Monday and said she had been depressed the past few days and had not answered any calls. I talked to her for a while until I felt certain she was all right.
When I spoke with her this morning, she sounded much stronger, and even looked forward to our Christmas Eve gathering. This may not seem like much but these are miracles of the heart. See, before I might have been confrontational. I might have even asked directly if she had been drinking. But that’s not my business anymore. My job is to take care of myself and to love her as best I can. She has an illness kept in remission only by abstinence. I have an illness too that is kept in check by attending meetings and talking with my sponsor.
Prayer works. God always answers. Maybe not always the way we want Him to, and not in the time we would like, but He walks us through, because He loves us more than we could ever imagine.
Posted on January 24, 2012, in 30 Days of Faith, Christian Living and tagged Al-Anon/Alateen, Alcoholism, God's faithfulness, Serenity Prayer. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on 30 Days of Faith: Day 23.