Just then an e-mail from Fr. H:
"In today's gospel Peter says to Jesus, 'We have given up everything and followed you.' 'Followed'. Insight: the following is all and everything."Just that, no more. Ha, ha! He didn't know then that I had been to AA, because he has been in retreat. But we will meet this morning.
So maybe it's still not about alcohol for me, but I do need to be willing to give it up to follow Jesus. Maybe my old 1st step, 22 years ago, is still good, because I sure did feel powerless then, and my life was sure unmanageable. Maybe what I need to do now is a systematic, thorough 4th through 9th step. I did go to Confession way back then, as I was also coming into the Church, and let go of the really big stuff, the major sources of shame and guilt. But as a 4th step it wasn't systematic, and I haven't really done an 8th step. I guess if I have harmed people it's mostly been through sins of omission ... excessive introversion, self-centeredness, self-sufficiency, being unwilling to be involved with people. Case in point: I worked 19 years at my old job, and a lot of people wanted me to keep in touch. It's been a year now, and I have kept in touch with all of about 2 of them. I've blown off even the people I was pretty close to, even the people I really liked. Just can't be bothered.
But all this is a little confusing for a potential hermit. How much and what kind of involvement with people is right for me? What do you want of me, God? How available shall I be, how involved, how interdependent? Where is the healthy balance between hermit-monk and self-absorbed?
I kind of wish it was alcohol bringing me to my knees. AAs are the only people I know who are really willing to confront their character defects intensively and throughout their lives. They're the real monks, more so than any of the church monks I know. I wish I could find, or maybe I could found, a 12-step program for ordinary seekers of God. Then again, as long as I'm willing to not drink, maybe the AAs will let me stay a while and work it out with them, even if I don't say "and I'm an alcoholic."
Anyway ... 3 days in, 3 meetings done, 27 more to go before I even feel like I have anything to base a discernment on, and that's a bare minimum. I am setting myself that 30 days (no, 30 meetings -- I might not be able to go every day) threshhold for a first evaluation of whether or not God might be trying to tell me something, whether maybe I should keep going back for a while longer. I think that's fair. I have also signed into one of the online recovery forums, and I guess I'll have to call one of the local women on the phone, too.
That's me for now, signing off............