We just got word that Pope Benedict has appointed Monsignor David  (click link for article) Talley an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Atlanta!  I’m so happy to hear this news.  Monsignor Talley was instrumental in my acceptance of AA and my recovery.

After I had been sober for about 18 months, I started putting up a wall between me and AA– because I felt uncomfortable talking about spiritual matters and God with people who weren’t Catholic. My instinct was always to defend the Faith.  This wasn’t a good thing to do in meetings because in AA each person chooses their own conception of God.  So, rather than be in “that environment” I decided to cut back on meetings and up my Mass and Adoration attendance.

That didn’t work. I eventually drank again and had a hard time stopping this last time.

In confession I talked to Monsignor about alcohol; and he was very supportive.  He recommended I attend meetings and work the steps.

I told him I thought I should find a different sponsor because my sponsor was not Catholic. He said all that matters is that my sponsor can take me through the Steps.

I remember telling him I felt AA was a good thing, but I sometimes felt uncomfortable in meetings because it is so non-denominational.  In certain meetings I would go to, I’d get the impression that there were AA members who were even anti-Catholic.  I didn’t want AA to overlap my faith. He said there is no conflict whatsoever between AA and my Catholic faith.

And one of the beautiful things is how AA brings me closer to God and makes me a better Catholic.

Instead of telling me to stay away from these “non-denominational anti-Catholic” (ha ha) people, Monsignor Talley told me (emphatically) that working the Steps will only enhance my Catholic faith, not detract from it.  He told me I “must” attend AA and work the steps.  And I have found his words to be true.

After this exchange with Monsignor Talley I had an openness to AA that I hadn’t had before.  I called it my Road to Damascus moment. Someone I trusted of high authority in my Catholic faith said not only was AA ok, but it was the thing I needed to do.  Something about the fellowship of other alcoholics and the meetings, plus the structure of the Steps really helps me. And I’m now an enthusiastic 12 Step Program person.

Thanks Monsignor!  And congratulations!