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Weekly Reflection

January 22, 2015

Our Friends in Recovery Are Pointing the Way

Over the past few weeks as we at Redeemer have formally and informally been discussing the sad and tragic death of cyclist Tom Palermo caused by Heather Cook, who was drunk, texting, and who initially fled the scene, it has been some of our parishioners in recovery who have spoken courageously with the greatest wisdom.  They know full well the deceptive and pervasive power of alcoholism, a disease which cannot be cured but can be controlled one day at a time, and only with vigilance and determination.  They have struggled to attain and maintain sobriety.  In so doing, they have relied on the support of others.  They have been quick to point out Heather's DUI four years ago was a sobering indication of a woman with a very serious alcohol problem; quick to maintain four years is not a long time to be in sobriety (if, indeed, she was); quick to witness how important it is for those struggling with the addiction to honestly address their problem and talk about it with others.  "You are as sick as the secrets you keep," has been said over and over again.  It applies not just to alcoholism but underlines the dangers of denial for those afflicted with any addiction.

This great tragedy needs to teach us all lessons, and those among us in recovery can and are helping immeasurably!  If you are struggling with an addiction, now is your time to seek out persons who know first hand the vagaries of what you are going through.  Several parishioners have offered to counsel and advise--your clergy can put you in touch with these fine people.  We who are not afflicted by addiction have much to learn as well.  We need to understand alcoholism better, stop treating alcoholic incidence among family members and friends in casual ways, stop making excuses for those who drink too much, and stop being so trusting of what they tell us--the spins they tend to put on their problem. The Church has long been an avid supporter of 12 step programs like AA and Al-anon, which is  why so many of our Churches have regular meetings in our buildings.

Months before the recent tragedy, leaders here at Redeemer have been planning a 12 Step Eucharist and Cristina will be the celebrant of such a Eucharist at Faith at 5 on January 31st.  It will be a special Communion service that Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. utilizing many features of 12 step recovery.  While it may have special significance to those attending such programs, it promises to be instructive for all of us--another way we can all learn from the wisdom among the community of recovering persons living and witnessing among us.  Seriously consider attending, and do invite your teens and older children.

+Bob Ihloff