Due to the personal nature of this post, it was written anonymously and no pictures are included. All names have been changed to protect confidentiality of the Life Group. Click here to join a Life Group.
Does God guide people together? I will admit that I'm never sure how God works. But in this case, I do think we were guided together.
Our Life group is not large, but we don't need to be. We enjoy hearing about each other's weeks and discussing God in everyday life. One particular week, we found that we had much more in common than we knew.
Each of us have a deep connection to alcoholism.
As this is very personal information, I have changed the names, including my own. If anyone asks me about it, I will deny it as I respect these friends of mine. Life groups offer a place to share privately, but I did get permission from the others to share our story. We want anyone considering joining a Life Group to know that we have been blessed and it's worth exploring more.
"I hear you all speak of your moms and doing things with them and I wish I had had that. I never did. I want to always BE the mom I never had." Samantha opened up and shared her story with us – a story of abuse, both physical and emotional – and the fact that her mother was an alcoholic. "I hated her. She was a raging drunk, but I eventually learned to forgive her." Sam's mom is no longer alive, but we listened to her tell us about a childhood filled with pain.
Mary listened to Sam's story, relating all too well. "We definitely have something in common. My mother was an alcoholic for the majority of my childhood and youth." Mary began to open up about her mother's constant drinking, showing up to family events drunk, drunk driving and her eventual arrest. While she was happy to say that her mother has now been sober for many years, she spoke of the effect her choices had on Mary's life growing up.
I began to see God's hand in bringing us together as I listened to both stories, then shared my own. "My mother hid her alcoholism very well. While I began to suspect there might be a problem, I had no idea how long it had been going on." I told them about a kind, sweet, educated woman who hid alcohol around her house, sneaking drinks when we weren't looking. I shared about a loving mother who lied to her family because of her addiction and her "rock bottom" moment when she had to call us from the back of a police car, humiliated. I was also happy to share of her success of 6 ½ years of sobriety and our rebuilding of trust that we had lost. We all marveled at God, giving us the courage to share and how it helped each other to hear that we're not alone.
Then, Janice spoke up. "My husband tried to kill me," she said, fairly matter-of-factly. As we all sat and listened, Janice told us a story of a man whose abuse of alcohol grew to a dangerous point and almost cost her her life. "One night, he started to strangle me. When I was able to get free, he locked me in a closet all night." I listened to her tell of a long, cold night and a husband who used to cut up her credit cards and steal money from her purse so that she would be dependent on him. I also saw a strong woman who had the incredible courage to break out of the closet the next morning, go to the police and say "no more," changing her life for the better. Janice said, "Now, I'm free. I'm happy."
We all sat, stunned how God put us together in this Life Group, in this moment. We were each thankful that we had others who understood how alcohol can change a person you love. Listening to the results of each story, from death, arrests, car accidents and for 2 of us, our mothers' eventual sobriety, we all understood each other's pain. We could relate like others could not.
Every week is not like this. Some weeks, we have a lot of laughter and just talk. We've had a few tears and a lot of sharing and listening. We talk about where we've seen God's hand working in our lives and those "ah-ha moments" of spiritual growth.
Samantha spoke up at the end of our last time together, "Joining this group was the best decision I could have made for me." I encourage you to consider joining a Life Group. It may or may not be what you're looking for, but you'll never know what God might do without giving it a try.
Note: Anyone dealing with alcohol addiction in your life or the lives of a loved one, Trietsch hosts several weekly AA meetings. Visit ctmaa.net for more information. Trietsch also hosts Al-Anon meetings Saturdays, 9:30 am & Thursdays, 6:30 pm in room 240.