Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hope


Last night I found myself hanging out with about a half-dozen guys who go to a lot of AA meetings. Amazing to me how that happens!

Wherever I go, I just always seem to find myself in the company of those folks....

One of the guys who was there is very young, and has only been going to those meetings for about a month. He first showed up on his own, after he'd lost rank because of his drinking over here Down Range. I find it amusing that people seem surprised that personnel over here wind up having problems because of their drinking, since consumption of alcohol is not permitted on account of General Order 1B.

Except of course for the Super Bowl.

And the Fourth of July, it appears.

(Personnel in the AO (Area of Operations) where I've been living for the past year were authorized up to two beers on Super Bowl Sunday. I chose not to partake, and also chose not to give "my beers" to anyone else during the Super Bowl... My young friend spoke with a fearful wistfulness about the fact that word had just come down that the CG (Commanding General) has authorized up to two beers per Service Member and civilian for the Fourth of July.)

Alcohol is *very* easy to obtain over here anytime, anywhere, despite what the General might have to say about the matter! The number of Soldiers I've met who've run into UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) troubles -- over here -- attests to that.

My young friend had been out on missions during the past week, and hadn't been able to get to meetings in more than a week's time. As he moved into the first mission, he reported, he told himself that he probably didn't really need to go to meetings after all. Missing a few (or more!) would be fine, because he had the "not drinking thing" down.

After all, he'd not had a drink for just shy of a month!

Anyway, last night he told his friends who go to a lot of meetings that his buddies in his squad had told him he'd *better* get his ass to a meeting, because they were tired of dealing with him the way he was acting. That there was a noticeable difference (for the worse) in his attitudes and actions after having missed three meetings in a row.

And that if he didn't go on his own, they'd drag him there.

He told the group that as he walked into the building and saw people in the room, something inside him changed, and that he felt instinctively that there was something there for him that was not available to him anywhere else.

And that it felt spiritual.

And that they'd probably think he sounded weird saying that.

Later, he told me privately that after he'd missed three meetings in a row, he stopped by the office of one of the guys who goes to a lot of those meetings, just to check in with him. He knew that his attitude had deteriorated rapidly and significantly, especially after he'd gotten into a fight with another Soldier, and that he needed to talk with someone who goes to a lot of meetings.

I pointed out to him that, according to my friends who go to a lot of those meetings, one of the so-called "Promises" says, "We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us."

"It seems to me," I told him, "that this Promise is already coming true in your life! You could tell something wasn't right with your attitudes and actions, and that talking with another alcoholic in recovery would help."

"You intuitively knew how to handle a situation that used to baffle you."

He paused, thinking deeply.

Then he smiled a huge smile, his eyes bright and twinkling. He looked so young (he's the age now that I was when I stopped drinking) to be a combat veteran on his second deployment.

And he said, "I really listen to what you say, because you were my age when you stopped drinking, and I figure if it can work for you, it'll work for me. I never thought of my visit to M in the way you put it. That gives me hope."

Hope.

To the spirit, what water is to this parched place.

I leave here filled with it myself.

Blessings and peace to one and all,


Fr. Tim, SJ

1 comment:

Katie said...

Again, your impact on so many people is just awesome. My cup is always refilled after I catch up on your blog.
Be safe and blessings,
Katie

 
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