I’m re-blogging this post from July 27, 2009 because it shows what I gave up when I relapsed three months later (in October 2009) and it shows what I finally have back now that I’m sober again.  Dear God, please don’t let me throw this gift of sobriety away again.


 “a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade” (Mark 26: 31-32).

This reading I read today (some time in Ordinary Time in 2009) was about slow and patient growth in the spiritual life. Jesus talks about the tiny mustard seed which slowly grows into a really big bush, where the birds of the sky come to dwell in its branches.

This parable is one of the ones that resonates with me because three years ago when I was on my final couple of months of fighting to stop drinking for good I was just like that mustard seed. I had that little bit of faith, the cracked open door that let just enough light in to set me on my new course. When I look back at that summer of 2006 and how far my life has come since then I am filled with gratitude AND fear.

Gratitude. I’m a sober Mom, a sober wife, a sober sister, a sober friend. I am fully present in this world and face my problems straight on. I live life on life’s terms, God’s term’s and not my own…in a sense that I don’t escape from what is handed to me any more. I am grateful for this because for the first time in my life, I have peace. Of course I’ve had peace before, but it’s always been temporary peace, not permanent.

This peace is different. This is the peace that the Bible describes Jesus as giving us, the peace which surpasses all understanding. The kind of peace one can have despite external circumstances. The kind of peace those people in Tanzania that Taylor and Annie visited on their mission trip had. Their lives were almost completely void of material goods yet they were happy, always smiling and praising God. The joy. Beautiful. I do not yet have their perfect peace, but I’m heading in their direction for certain.

FEAR. I’m afraid of losing this. I’m afraid of my humanity and how I may so easily one day throw all this away for the whims of the world or a pleasurable moment. I am afraid I will one day choose the world over God and give up all that I have gained. I fear being “cut off” from the source, my source of peace and happiness, which is God. This is not a “higher power.” This is God. Jesus Christ. The holy Catholic Church. The communion of saints. For me, drinking cut me off from my source. Drinking in and of itself obviously isn’t bad and doesn’t normally cut people off from God. But, for ME, it did.

Drinking was my source…my misunderstood spring of (false) life-giving water. If I had a bad day, having a few drinks made it good. If I had a good day, drinking at the end of the day made it even better. If I was upset with my marriage, drinking prevented loneliness. If I was bored with housework, drinking made it fun! If I was tired from a long day, drinking pepped me up. If I was awake and couldn’t sleep, drinking brought me down. It was my end-all-be-all solution to all my human emotions and activities.

God knew this. And even though I continued to do my daily prayers and go to Mass and hold on to Him, there was something still blocking me from Him. I was trying to serve God and Mammon. He saw so much more in store for me. And when I gave Him the cracked open door, He flooded me with His light and love. So much so that I thought, “Hey? This is nice. This is really nice. This is what I’ve been searching for. And this won’t ever let me down.”

So, the longer I am sober the more God reveals to me. Like the mustard seed that I am, God starts small. He doesn’t flood me with His life-giving water all at once because as a little seed I would be washed away. He gives me a little water here and there and as I grow He gives me more water, based on my needs. He is patient with my littleness and my slow growth. And my goal is to one day, at the end of my life become that big bush where the birds of the sky dwell.