AA’s influence on where I’m at today

It occurred to me this morning, during meditation, that AA has been the influence of most of the major decisions I’ve made in the past 30 years. Not just the car accident in 1992, but the involvement with AA and therapy have been key components in the choices I’ve made that led me from priesthood to social work to where I’m at today, on the brink of entering into a relationship with someone pursuing me in love.

My big regret in life is that I spent so much in fear of my own true self. I was trying to hide from my gay self, seeking to deny my homosexual orientation. Yet, the harder I tried to suppress it, the more it leaked out in strange quirky fashion. When I came out to Mom and Dad in 1992, Mom said ” we always knew you were gay.” Anne Hoff knew I was gay. Everyone knew except me, and I suspected I was gay but refused to own up to it. So, I cowered in the shadows of my closet lusting at pictures and drinking to kill the drive.

Coming out didn’t seem to quell the drinking much. I suppose I had to still hide as a celibate priest. The car accident, happening 4 years into recovery, opened a door that I had never dreamed would be possible. But, through the door I went. Off to Long Beach, open heart surgery, Santa Maria House, Our Lady of Refuge, Janice, Ricky, Social Work, Tom Crowe, my house purchase, and so much more. I can look back and wince at my naivete at some remembrances, especially of my idealism. But I seemed to trust that things would work out, even, perhaps, indulging in some of my old magical thinking.

Throughout all that, I was treated for bipolar, had a mixed experience in personal therapy, finally gave up with organized religion, but through the whole Southern California ride, I lived AA. To be specific, gay AA. While in Long Beach, they were my tribe. I felt a part of, I was at home.

All of that was possible only through time in AA. Working the steps, attending meetings, commitments, having a sponsor —  they replaced the family and church that I had left behind. So yeah, AA was the door that led me to the moment I enjoy today. I have the awareness of God, Higher Power, spirituality that has come through 12 steps. Even now I can chat with Doug P and get clarity on the insanity that I felt I was getting into with “Michael” in Nigeria. I had to recall with him “If it’s too good to be true, it most likely is not true.” What was I thinking? I wasn’t. I was lusting. So, back to the drawing board.

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