March 6, 2002 I almost died from self induced alcohol poisoning. Though this was a major event, it is not the story, the story is what happened after. If I had not recovered, my life would have become a statistic, and to those who might have been hurt because of my disease, I would have become a painful sigh.

Anyone reading this has known at least one or more people of painful sighs. They are persons who, for any various set of reasons, are unable to reach some measure of their fuller potential. I am not speaking of the potential we or society may place on someone; that’s something entirely different. I am speaking of the person who has such high expectations set up for themselves with visions so high and exalted that when the specter of inadequacy meets reality, the pain becomes so intolerable the only way to repulse it is to seek perpetual numbness. At least that’s the truth from this alcoholic.

Each person who submits towards the downward spiral of addiction may have their own variation, and each story is equally valid, but if I can share anything from this experience to hell and back, I can attest to the grace of healing. These past ten years are more a story of healing than the pangs of addiction.

I use the term “grace” because it was a gift which I didn’t ask for, or expect. I use the term grace, or gift, because I have realized that I was not cured. I am fully aware if I’d continue to drink, I would once again become dependent of my drug of choice. Besides harming me physically, continued dependence would numb my personal release from reality; I would slip back into the full throttle of denial.

For me, the grace of healing stemmed from the gift of not having to fight night and day to remain sober. The grace of healing allows me to recognize that I will always feel inadequate, and that’s OK. The grace of healing allows me to feed off the light of hope rather than hunger within the darkness of despair. The grace of healing affords me the opportunity to respond with compassion towards others, knowing that in some small way, the grace of healing afforded me can be shared. Yes, I am still alcoholic, but the grace of healing allows me not to care. Illness no longer has control over my life.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons once wrote:

The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason God, who cannot be grasped, comprehended or seen, allows itself to be seen, comprehended and grasped by humanity, that God gives life to those who see and receive. It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy God’s goodness….. Robe courte col en u The Glory of God is the human person fully alive.

Sobriety affords me the opportunity to seek becoming fully alive. This goal cannot be achieved spending most of one’s waking hour fighting of the temptation to drink, or to get a fix from a drug which numbs the full measure of God’s glory; God’s light — sucked into the vortex, the black hole of addiction.

The glory of God is found in simplicity. Simplicity is found when one can use the Glory of God as a refiner’s fire to melt the chains of our own complexities which cloud the simple truth that love restores fullness to that which was once darkened.