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Apr 20, 2023 612 Connie Beckman, USA
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Impossible Made Possible

Does your struggles seem endless? When desperation clutches your heart, what do you do?

I was sitting in an over-sized chair wringing my hands and waiting for the Psychologist to enter the room. I wanted to get up and run. The Psychologist greeted me, asked a few basic questions, and then the counseling session began. He held a tablet and pen. Every time I said something or made a hand gesture, he jotted notes on the tablet. After a short time, I knew from the bottom of my heart that he would determine I was beyond help.

The session ended with the suggestion that I take tranquilizers to help me cope with the mess of my life. I told him I would think about it; but instinctively I knew that was not a solution.

Desperate and Lonely

At the receptionist desk to schedule another appointment, I rambled on and on to the receptionist about the mess of my life. She had a kind listening ear and asked if I had ever considered going to an Al-Anon meeting. She explained that Al-Anon was for family members whose lives are being affected by someone’s alcoholism.  She handed me a name and phone number and told me that this Al-Anon lady would bring me to a meeting.

In my car, with tears rolling down my cheeks, I stared at the name and phone number. Having gotten no relief from the psychologist, and with my life in a mess, I was desperate to try anything. I also concluded that the psychologist had already diagnosed me as beyond the help of anything but pills. So, I called the Al-Anon lady. That is the moment God entered the mess of my life, and my journey of recovery began.

I would like to say it was smooth sailing after beginning recovery in the Al-Anon 12-step program, but there were steep mountains and dark, lonely valleys to traverse, though always with a ray of hope.

I faithfully attended two Al-Anon meetings per week. The Al-Anon 12-step program became my lifeline. I opened up to the other members. Little by little, a ray of sunshine entered my life.  I began to pray again and to trust in God.

After two years of Al-Anon meetings, I knew I needed additional professional help. A kind Al-Anon friend encouraged me to enter a 30-day inpatient treatment program.

Letting go

Because I was angry at alcohol, I did not want to be around any of the “drunks” in this treatment program. During the intensive program, I was indeed surrounded by many alcoholics and drug addicts. It seems God knew what I needed to heal: my heart began to soften as I witnessed the personal pain of my fellow addicts and the deep pain they had caused their families.

It was during this time of surrender that I also came to terms with my own alcoholism. I learned that I drank to cover my pain. I came to realize that I too had been abusing alcohol and that it would be best if I refrained from drinking altogether. During that month I let go of my anger towards my husband and placed him in God’s hands. After I did that, I was able to forgive him.

After my 30-day program, by the grace of God, my husband entered a treatment program for his alcoholism. Life was getting better for me and my husband and our two teenage boys. We had returned to the Catholic Church and our marriage was healing one day at a time.

Heart-wrenching Pain

Then life handed us an unimaginable blow that shattered our hearts into a million pieces. Our seventeen-year-old son and his friend were killed in a devastating car wreck.  The accident was caused by excessive speed and drinking. We were in shock for weeks. With our son violently ripped from us, our family of four was suddenly reduced to three. My husband and I and our 15-year-old son clung to each other, to our friends and our faith. Taking it one day at a time was more than I could manage; I had to take it a minute, an hour at a time. I thought the pain would never leave us.

By God’s grace, we entered an extended period of counseling. The kind and caring counselor, knowing that each family member deals with the death of a loved one in their own way and in their own time, worked with each of us individually to process our grief.

Months after my son’s death, I was still consumed with anger and rage. It was frightening for me to realize that my emotions were so wildly out of control. I wasn’t angry at God for taking my son, but at my son for his irresponsible decision the night he died. He chose to drink alcohol and to be a passenger in an automobile that was driven by someone who was also drinking. I became enraged at alcohol in any form.

One day at our local supermarket, I spotted a beer display at the end of an aisle. Each time I passed the display, I felt myself rage. I wanted to demolish the display until there was nothing left of it. I rushed out of the store before my anger exploded into uncontrollable rage.

I shared the story with our family counselor. He offered to take me to the shooting range where I could use his rifle to aim, shoot, and demolish as many empty beer cans as I needed to safely release the powerful anger that controlled me.

Love that heals

But God in His infinite wisdom had other gentler plans for me. I took a week off from work and attended a spiritual retreat. On the second day of the retreat, I participated in an inner healing meditation in which I pictured Jesus, my son, and I in a beautiful garden surrounded by colorful flowers, rich green grass, and magnificent trees filled with softly chirping blue birds. It was peaceful and serene. I was overjoyed to be in the presence of Jesus and to be able to hug my precious son. Jesus, my son, and I strolled leisurely hand in hand, silently feeling an immense love flowing between us.

After the meditation, I felt profound peace. It wasn’t until after I returned home from the retreat that I realized my anger and rage had evaporated. Jesus had healed me of my uncontrollable anger and replaced it with an outpouring of His grace. Instead of anger, I felt only love for my precious son. I was grateful for the love, joy, and happiness my son had given me throughout his much too short life. My heavy burden was becoming lighter.

When tragic death strikes a family, every member can be overcome with grief. Processing the loss is challenging, requiring us walk through dark valleys. But God’s love and His amazing grace can bring rays of sunshine and hope back into our lives. Grief, saturated by God’s love changes us from the inside out, transforming us little by little into people of love and compassion.

Unfailing Hope

Through many years of dealing with the effects of addiction and the craziness that brings, coupled with grieving the death my son, I have clung to Jesus Christ, my rock, and my salvation.

Our marriage suffered tremendously after the death of our son. But by the grace of God and our willingness to seek help, we continue, one day at a time, to love and accept each other. It takes daily surrender, trust, acceptance, prayer and clinging to the hope we have in Jesus Christ, our Savior, and our Lord.

We each have a story to tell. Often it is a story of heartache, challenge, and sorrow, with a mix of joy, and hope. We are all seeking God, whether we acknowledge it or not. As Saint Augustine said: “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

In our search for God many of us have taken detours that led to dark and lonely places.  Some of us have avoided the detours and sought a deeper relationship with Jesus. But no matter what you are going through currently in your life, there is hope and healing. At every moment God is seeking us. All we need do is reach out our hand and let Him take it and lead us.

“When you pass through waters, I will be with you; through rivers, you shall not be swept away. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor will flames consume you. I, the Lord, am your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior.”  Isaiah 43: 2-3

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Connie Beckman

Connie Beckman is a member of the Catholic Writer’s Guild. She desires to encourage Catholic spiritual growth by sharing the truths of the Catholic faith. Beckman shares her joy and love of God through her writings.

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