When I was in 5th grade at Leck Kill Elementary School, my teacher was Marion, my grandmother’s sister-in-law. Much to my amazement during one of her classes, Marion declared in response to a classmate’s answer to a question, “I’m from Missouri, I don’t believe that. Prove it!”
I was astonished because, as far as I could determine at that young age, all my relatives were native born Pennsylvanians, all of German heritage. Troubled for the rest of the day I made Marion the primary topic of discussion at the supper table with my family.
“Why no, Marion is from Trevorton (a nearby town), ” responded my mother and grandmother, “why would she say that?”
When confronted by her lie, Marion laughed while explaining the meaning of Missouri, the ‘show me state.’ Lesson to be learned was this: don’t believe anything alleged, whispered, declared as truth or seen without ample proof. And even then, ask questions.
Applying this to my recovery, to my commitment to sober living and to the entirety of my faith walk, I would like to believe that when I walked into the rooms of my first AA meeting, listened to the people tell their stories, and wished for the sobriety which they had, I thought, “Yes, this is for me, this is what I want, this is something I can do.”
But that would be a lie. I was a scared drunk simply wanting relief from a life which had put me on the doorstep of suicide. I did not know what I wanted. I was 34 years old feeling like an old man with nothing to live for. And I certainly did not believe that I could do what these sober alcoholics had done…..5, 10, 15 years of sobriety and they had survived without the crutch of alcohol which had carried me for so many years.
“Lord, I can’t do this,” I cried out when I left the meeting and returned home.
“Yes, you can, and here is how you will do it. Surrender your life to me and turn it over to my care.”
“But, Lord, you don’t know. The things I have done, the people I have hurt, the heartaches I have caused those who love me. You just don’t know.”
“I do know. And even so, I never stopped loving you. You are one of my Father’s children. Walk with me. ‘One day at a time’, ‘easy does it’, ‘let go and let God’…..it’s all there in the meeting rooms.”
Yes, those damned placards on the walls attempting to encourage me. Many nights, I sat quietly listening to others share their stories staring at the sayings on the walls while continuing to think, “Lord, I can’t do this.”
Those nights turned into years until finally through faith in a Higher Power, I realized that “Lord, I can’t” turned into “Lord, by your grace, I will.”
In a nutshell that’s my story and it can be yours also. There are no secrets to sobriety. Walk by faith as long as necessary until you can say, “Yes Lord, I will.”
And you are asking, “Larry, what does teacher Marion have to do with this story?”
Show me; prove it; I don’t believe it. Some of us are sicker than others and some of us need to live by faith until we can see clearly the promises of sobriety.
2 Corinthians 5:7 “We live by faith not by sight.”