Thursday, October 11, 2012
A Straight Laced Lady and a Wild Character on the Same Team? by Linda Maynard
We have all been warned about hanging out with certain people and admonished, that he/she is a bad influence.
During my teen years, I did just the opposite. I was looking in all the wrong places and ended up with some destructive relationships
It was around that time, as a freshman in High School, that I had my first drink. It was a good feeling…it was an exhilarating feeling. I would continue to chase that original glow, in futility, as I became addicted.
In the early years of my marriage, I finally surrendered, realizing I could not stop on my own; I entered a treatment center and started to attend AA meetings. I was a young mother with two very young children. More than the physical addiction, it was the shame and guilt that consumed me. I felt like I was the worst wife and the worst mother.
The are two special people that came into my life and helped me on a road of recovery.
One woman was Gene, the other was Louise.
They were my AA Sponsors.
A sponsor in AA is someone who has had experience in AA, years of sobriety and would come alongside you for support.
They have passed away and yet when I look back at my life, they each played such significant roles.
However, they could not be more different from the other.
Gene could have been my mother. She was a lady in every sense of the word. She had a calmness about her that was palatable. Even though she was often serious, she also had a wry sense of humor. I'll give you an example. I called her one day, quite upset that my son was not toilet trained yet. I overreacted because it was just feeding into my guilt.She said, “Linda, I really doubt that he is going to go on his first job interview and still not being toilet trained. ”
That put it into immediate perspective and I could even laugh at myself.
Often, when I was beating myself up emotionally, she'd say“What would you say to your best friend in this situation?” Again, she brought things into reality as I realized that I would be much kinder to a friend, than I was being to myself.
Louise, on the other hand, was around my age and a whole different character. When I say character, I mean no disrespect but she definitely was an "out of the box" person.
Let’s see… if you could imagine Janis Joplin, not on drugs…that would be Louise.
She suffered from lupus and was often quite ill and weak, yet she had such a positive attitude towards life. She was a no nonsense person about sobriety though.
She had a hard life, lost custody of her children, due to her alcoholism, but was rebuilding her relationship with them. There was a lot of healing and forgiveness that happened between her, her children, and her ex husband. She never hid the fact that she really messed up, nor did she excuse it one bit, but she was determined to do what she could to repair the breach.
One day, I was looking at the Steps of AA. This one read, “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”
I had already turned away from the God of my youth. As a matter of fact, I was quite angry with Him. I never could deny there was a God; I just did not want to have anything to do with Him.
So here was a dilemma. To “work the steps” and get well, I was to get to a place that I believed there was a power greater than me. On one hand, alcoholics can mess up BIG time and yet do not want to relinquish control. It’s crazy thinking, I know.
I am not sure if this will make sense to anyone, but when I spoke to Louise about having such a difficult time with this faith thing, she said “Can you believe that I believe?” It was not a trick question, it was as if she was asking…” Can you see that I trust and I am staying sober. That can be your reality too.”
I thought, yes I could do that. I leaned on that, until I was able to believe for myself.
I thought, as I was writing this, how these 2 unlikely women were “sent” to me. I believe it was God knowing who I needed, at that particular time.
I have regrets though, as I realize now, that if I did not know these women as I do, I may have judged them wrongly. Rejecting them on some level and calling them "nominal "Christians.
Now I think, how could I discard these people, who showed forth the Love of Christ to me without fanfare or position?
So, I ask the Lord to keep my vision clear and my heart humble to accept everyone He sends in my life.