Moments of Love with Mary
– The Spiritual Letter Box –
Allow the father of a family who today is a member of the A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) to tell you his story.
I drank for years. Often my salary was spent on liquor. My wife and children were almost destitute and still I went on drinking. How stupid we can be when we lose our head!
One day, I don’t know why, I was ashamed of myself, seeing how good my family, reduced to misery, was. I was appalled to find myself in the depths of the abyss, and dragging my dear ones into it.
It wasn’t easy to climb back up. I can’t explain how my will (I didn’t think I had any left) underwent such a change that I am now able to resist all invitations extended to me. I am so happy over this! Where did I get this strength, which I didn’t know I had?
After having worked steadily for two years now, and having thus obtained the minimum comfort for my family which is happy, I have just learned that my third boy has started drinking and is neglecting his job.
My wife doesn’t deserve any more tears. I’m the guilty one. What unhappy memories are going to come back to her mind! I don’t dare speak to her about it.
I haven’t seen my tavern friends in two years. Now it is my son who is preparing big trouble for himself. I wouldn’t want to let him do that. Looking for happiness in the bottle is only increasing one’s troubles and those of others.
I have tried to speak to my son but he won’t listen to me. How can I talk to him about the pain he is causing his mother when I caused her so much myself?
I feel so awkward in front of my son and my wife. But it does me good to unburden myself this way. I’m far from understanding what others see in the spiritual life, but let me tell you that, in your review, I look for the spiritual letter box which helps us to understand.
A Happy A.A.
This confidence you make in all simplicity reveals a heart caught between the beneficent joy of an ordered life and the painful anxiety that besets your heart of a father who sees an unmindful son travelling the path of deception from which he will emerge battered and bruised.
Because of your own experience, you would like, through counselling and advice, to spare him the disillusionment which awaits him. But, there are temperaments which will not tolerate any interference in their personal life, and if one insists, they resist all the more. Their pride and self-conceit must be broken on the rocks of trouble and misery which are of their own making. It is only then that they realize their weakness. It is only then that humility lifts them up.
You bear a magnificent witness in favor of your wife, who must be experiencing the charm of a revitalized home. Do not hesitate to let her know of the happiness and joy you have rediscovered. Such happy sentiments will also fix themselves in the thoughts of your children and help them to understand that true happiness is more often than not within our reach.
Have the same patience with your son that your wife had. The suffering you fear will be caused her will be softened by the understanding and sympathy you show her. There are very difficult moments to be lived through in this life; but they are lightened if the spouses, together, bear the weight of the cross.
Those who are caught in the vice of drink often give the impression that they are heartless. Yet if we could see the drama that is taking place in their souls, in this hidden torment, their nightmare, our impression would change. For there are men imprisoned by atavism who, yet, when given support, prove with courage and tenacity that their hearts hold reserves of dynamic generosity and goodness.
In many cases, the power of grace exercises an influence, and the sudden strength you experienced eloquently proves this. As a member of the A.A., you already know what a powerful force of transformation prayer is. It is beautiful this prayer of yours: “Oh God, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE to change the things I can change, and the WISDOM to know the difference.”
Continue to be the happiness of your loved ones.
(Review, “L’Armée de Marie”, volume III, no. 7)