August 8, 2010
19 Sunday of Ordinary Time
On Friday I was in Gdańsk at a meeting of the AA group– Alcoholic Anonymous. It has become a custom for over a dozen years that when I arrive in Dębki, I meet with them in Gdańsk at least once.
When we meet, first I present a speech -- not really a speech, a sermon – not really a sermon, and then they talk; they take turns one after the other: “It's been three months for me, it's been two years, it's been fifteen years for me already" -- they persist in sobriety. And they talk about what has happened in their lives during the past year.
I listen to their stories. They are painfully truthful. They have simplicity of a child. These are my saints. I admire them. To overcome alcohol craving, to hold out on the path of abstinence – with God’s help – it’s heroism.
How did we get to know one another? One person from the AA happened to stumble upon my book “A prayer for every day". He started reading texts prepared for every day. He came to a conclusion that this was the best prayer book and poetry at the same time. And he found me. Since then the continuous contact with these holy people began. When they introduce themselves, they say “My name is so and so and I am an alcoholic." Sometimes I correct them "I was an alcoholic." but they know what alcoholism means. This is no joke. They do not accept into their circle drunkards who sip a bit everyday. They know that this ends badly. One has to hit the bottom to bounce back with God’s help, and then, to persevere on that path where every sober day is a joy, tranquility and return to normalcy.
But life does not consist of fighting with alcoholism or with any other addiction. This is just a preliminary phase. This is one of the terms and conditions we impose on ourselves. And the essence of our lives should be the fullness of humanity, development of our personality, fulfillment of our calling to which God summoned us, fulfillment of the task that we have to do in the community in which we live.
For time is short. I’ve realized that it’s been already a year since I was in Dębki last time, and it seemed to me like it was just a few weeks ago. So quickly this time flew by. How much of it is left? Let’s hope it’s a lot. But we cannot waste even one year, even one month, not even a week, not a day. We have to give of ourselves as much as possible, as much as we can afford.