April 9, 2022

Alcoholics Anonymous is supported by a sound spiritual logic:  the culprit is not the alcohol, but the person’s relationship with the alcohol.  Indeed, if the problem were alcohol then the solution would simply be to cut ourselves off from it, but that is dualism, a kind of competitive “me vs. them” thinking which is not a recipe for human thriving nor a durable vision for life.  When we put the focus on our relationships with people, places and things, however, exciting possibilities open up.  We begin to see life in its uniqueness and complexity, where everything is good and fundamentally relatable (cf. Gen 1).  Even the alcoholic can appreciate the fact of alcohol, that it has been a gift to people for millennia and invites communion when used responsibly (The Church, in fact, insists on alcoholic wine at every eucharisitic liturgy!).  It should not surprise us therefore that Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t just a philosophy but a way of life that is practiced.  Members of the fellowship form communities to examine their ways of relating and take concrete steps to ensure healthy and life-giving relationships.  The next time we decide to cut another person out of our lives, avoid a place of some past trauma, or distract ourselves from painful memories, let’s join our alcoholic friends by going low, finding that God-place within, and, from that security, demanding creative ways to keep the relationship going.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

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