If there is one book this year that I wish I could give to EVERYBODY, this is it. Like most people, I struggle with a family member who is an alcoholic. I struggle to understand them, reach out, and have any kind of a conversation with them. They have been wounded by alcoholism and depression for more than 20 years, and our lives took radically different turns. They have also been through several different AA or AA-type programs, plus a long stint in rehab and are still drinking.
Enter a really useful book that helped me start to understand where they are coming from and the things they have suffered. Written by an alcoholic in recovery himself, Scott Weeman gets to the heart of the struggle in each of the traditional twelve steps and links those steps to his growing faith as a Catholic. The Sacraments are the secret weapon to understanding an alcoholic. They will also help those who struggle with drinking or another addiction to get help that lasts if they want to see real change and repair relationships and get their lives back on track.
One of the truly touching moments in this book is Weeman’s description of his friendship with Dorothy, a recovering alcoholic who had been sober for 43 years to his nine months. The author and Dorothy forged an unlikely friendship, touring the country together to see more of America as she helped him work through turning his will over to God. Dorothy helped him address his self-loathing, self-pity, and need to always be in control which was hindering him in every aspect of his life.
Scott Weeman not only tells it like it is for an addict, but walks us through his thought processes and his study of the faith, which in turn led to his healing by the power of the Sacraments. Baptism helped him understand Step 3, letting God be in control of his life, and watching the miraculous events that followed. He was washed by the waters and began a new life path, leading away from alcohol and self-centeredness, and toward a future of helping others as he helped himself.
With prayers and reflection questions at the end of each chapter, The Twelve Steps and the Sacraments is the most valuable tool I have ever read on addiction. It brings to life the whole person: mind, body, and soul because if you want to heal, you have to work on everything using small steps. Being open to the process, and open to the power of faith in action is what ultimately determines whether a person will succeed or fail. And as a wounded family member who suffers right along with the alcoholic, this book is vital to my journey as well. Scott Weeman gives us astonishing clarity with his honesty, his insight, and his deep faith. Buy this book for everyone, and pray for the alcoholic in your life. Stay close to the Sacraments, for they are the outward signs of inward grace given by God to help us fight our battles.