Faith, Alcohol, and Recovery

Parham McNair   -  
April is alcohol awareness month.
On October 19, 2003, I decided to quit drinking. That day, I understood I was no longer in control of alcohol. My nearly 20-year journey in staying dry (not drinking) and searching for sobriety (Peace and Right Mindedness) continues.
If you find yourself in a storm on the ocean the old proverb advises us to “Pray to God and Row to Shore.” I found myself in the proverbial storm. For me, “Rowing the Boat” is the active decision each moment, each day not to drink.
I held on (very dry) for about a year with the help of a good friend who was a recovering alcoholic, and then made the wise decision to seek help. I found a wonderfully kind therapist with whom I worked for five years.
Gradually, this part of the journey has gotten easier, but the craving occasionally returns. I accept this occasional craving as part of the process and try not to be too hard on myself for wanting to drink. This occasional craving is a lesson in humility.
The search for Peace and Right Mindedness is the “Pray to God” part of the proverb. Like “Row the Boat” it is an active process. I started attending the WMPC Spiritual Gifts class that allowed me the freedom to express my doubts and struggles. The class has been very patient with me.
Also, through the class, I became acquainted with the work of Richard Rohr. Father Rohr’s books, Breathing Underwater and Falling Upward have been influential. Father Rohr’s most meaningful writing for me is the following:
“If we cannot find some way to make our wounds sacred wounds (like Jesus), we invariably become cynical, negative and bitter (very dry). If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it – usually to the people closest to us – our spouse, friends and family, and the most vulnerable, our children.
As an alternative to drinking or some other addiction (pick one), we can consciously and trustfully hold on to the pain until we find out what it must teach us. Perhaps, then we can bear the cross of our own reality and be transformed by it.”
I have been especially blessed to have a loving and understanding wife that has stuck by me. This journey would not have been possible without her. Thanks, Emily.
Parham McNair, WMPC Member
The following books are now available in the church library for anyone to use;
there are multiple copies of most books.
No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
The 12 Steps: A Spiritual Journey Workbook, by Friends in Recovery
The 12 Steps for Christians, by Friends in Recovery Supportive Christian Literature
The Problem of Pain, by C.S. Lewis
Evil and the Justice of God, by N.T. Wright
Forgiving in a World that Loves to Hate, by Scott and Teresa McBean
Why? Making Sense of God’s Will, by Adam Hamilton
Living Sober, by Alcoholics Anonymous
From Survival to Recovery, by Al Anon Family groups
Courage to Change, On Day at a Time in Al Anon, by Al Anon (devotional)
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book
The 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions, by A.A.
Paths to Recovery: Al Anon Steps Traditions and Concepts, by Al Anon
A Women’s Way Through the 12 Steps Book and Workbook, by Stephanie Covington
A Gentle Path Through the 12 Steps
Recovery for the Christian Family
The Serenity Prayer
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober
Being Sober
A Women’s Way Through the Twelve Steps (Spanish version)
Alcoholics Anonymous (Spanish Version)
The Recovery Book
The Life Recovery Bible
My Life in Recovery Workbook