Many people are struggling with substance abuse and addiction during the COVID-19 crisis. Below, Immanuel member Rick Hodgdon shares his story and the importance of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Immanuel hosts two weekly AA groups, an open meeting at 7:00 pm on Wednesdays and a meeting hosted by Pastor Susan on Mondays at noon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request Zoom links for those meetings or find them in your weekly ePresence eNewsletter. If you are new to AA, information, terminology, and common questions (and answers) are available here.
These are certainly unprecedented times, filled with fear and uncertainty. A decade ago I will share that alcohol would have been a comfort to me, a way to escape from the discomfort I presently feel. Today, I realize alcohol cannot be my “buddy”, there are better ways for me to address these concerns, tools that can allow me to accept life now without my previous consumption of liquor to excess.
My personal tipping point was the loss of my wife, after a long fight with cancer. I’ve been given many gifts in life, a wonderful spouse leads that list. However, I struggled with depression and turned to alcohol to cope with my loss. Withdrawal from friends and family crept into my existence so loneliness seemed to promote the daily consumption of drink. Why not, who cares, I’ll do as I please, I’m an adult!
After three and a half years of self pity, a coworker who was very open about his involvement with Alcoholics Anonymous, noting my behavior, shared his personal story of alcoholism with me and invited me to join him at an AA meeting in my area. As I reflect back I believe that was God doing for me what I was unable or unwilling to do for myself. Prior to “joining” AA I did think there could be a God, but I never felt his presence or power in my life or in the life of others. It is interesting to note that Alcoholics Anonymous does not promote God but refers instead to a “higher power”.
There are many long-attending members who are agnostic, unsure of what influences their lives and takes away the compulsion to drink. Many stories include alcoholics that swear they will not take a drink today, yet cannot abstain for even a day.
My gift from Alcoholics Anonymous was one of hope. I tried visiting a counselor prior to joining AA and was unable to express how I felt and she didn’t fill what was missing in my life. I now embrace “Spirituality”, the personal feeling that I am connected in some way to others and can perform daily in some positive way. A simple prayer “God lead me where you need me” works for me. Should someone like to talk with me I’m available.