Zaccheaus the Crazy Tax Collector and Rehab

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I was very proud of my little tramp stamp turtle tattoo in rehab even though the other ladies had more elaborate beautiful tattoos…

I liked yesterday’s Gospel explaining how Zaccheus climbed the Sycamore tree to see Jesus walk by. And rather than walking by, it’s as if Jesus senses Zaccheus desire to “see” Him and calls out to him to come down from the tree. Jesus wants to stay at the home of a sinner, which must have been shocking not only to the crowd but to Zaccheus himself. Zaccheus was probably used to being disliked by every one. As the tax collector, collaborator with Rome and the town sinner, perhaps he simply resigned to the fact that he wouldn’t have any friends, isolated with his addiction to riches.

Living in isolation from the community is something we alcoholics are familiar with. Isolating is one of my favorite character defects! I say, “I just need space.” Or, “I need peace–I want to be alone.” And I believe myself. When I’m living a lie, of course I separate myself from God and others in order to be able to continue in my comfortable way. The last thing I want is the discomfort of coming into the light and accountability of sharing my life with God and those around me.

But what does Jesus do? He senses the isolation, senses the little bit of desire in our hearts to see Him, and then He announces He wants to stay in our house.

That’s always His way. He initiates the contact through His grace and the power of the Advocate – the holy spirit.  And then He waits for us to answer. The ball is in our court.  And the easiest thing in the world to say – like Mary – is YES!  Yes, come stay in my house, Jesus! YES! And, please never leave!

Saint Catherine of Siena’s quote: “God brought you into this world without your cooperation and will not save you without your cooperation.” And Saint Augustine had a similar quote when he wrote, “God willed you without you and will not save you without you.”

All that is required of is our “yes.”  And then God takes care of the rest, one day at a time of course – as long as we say yes every single day. In the morning. That is key for me. 

The Third Step of AA is to be practiced daily, as well. “We made the decision to turn our wills (thinking) and our lives (actions) over to God (today).

My six week relapse last April and May ended as I said with a DUI in early June while on vacation in Florida.  That DUI sobered me up really quickly but I allowed it to separate me from God – I was so angry at the consequences. I was so angry that God would let something as bad as a DUI happen to me. Of course I knew the Truth, that I caused my own consequences, that it could have been much, much worse, and God is there to help me recover from my own mess; but my Pride was so huge that I couldn’t see God’s plan. It’s funny how I can “know” the Truth but still not let it penetrate me because I am happy sitting in my Pride.  ugh. gross!!!

So, I launched a magazine this summer, sober, and became a workaholic with that.  Didn’t do meetings and didn’t connect with my God but stayed sober.  In early September when my lawyer informed me I would have to do 30 days in jail or 30 days in rehab, I was angry again. So I said screw it and drank for the three weeks leading up to rehab, knowing I’d have to quit anyways so why bother.  I got out of rehab on October 28th and have been home a week. Rehab in itself was crappy. I’m sure I’ll be writing about my experiences there but what matters is I am home now and need to get myself into the routine of meetings and talking with my sponsor. I’m meeting with her today at 10am to go over step 6.  The one good thing that came from rehab is I got through my fourth step FINALLY!

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6 thoughts on “Zaccheaus the Crazy Tax Collector and Rehab

  1. Ouch! This is a rough year for you. My prayers are with you. One constant theme that I always read through your posts is that when we drink we can’t hear God regardless of how bad we want to. Perhaps I’ve been reading that wrong, but thats what jumps out at me. I see that a lot myself on the nights I “just want to have one beer tonight”. Usually thats the time that I’m suppose to spend reading scripture or praying and I let that “one beer” interfere with God. It just destroy’s continuity and connectivity with Him. Sigh.

    Anyway, glad to see your back at it. It will be interesting to see the magazine.

  2. Hi, R! I am so, so, SO happy you are back. Not as happy about your external circumstances, and know I am praying for you. Thanks for the update on this week’s gospel… we did not make it to Mass this week, so that was awesome to get a synopsis!

    I really look forward to reading more about your experiences since you last wrote, I am sure you gained some insight that will help all of us.

    Thanks for the courage and the honesty!

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