Book Review: Recovery Rosary-Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts
By Paul Sofranko,
Published: April 01, 2012, Words: 12,824, English, ISBN: 9781476307558
When I first started to be “public” with this blog–yeah, I was a little nervous about being openly alcoholic–I surfed around for kindred spirits before “coming out.” I found one in Paul Sofranko (Paulaholic) via his resourceful blog Sober Catholic.
My New Year’s resolution was to pray the Rosary every day. When I discovered he had written a book, Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts, I naturally purchased it on the spot. Impulsivity is one of my character defects, but in this case it boded well for me! The eBook version for my iPad mini was only $3.99, so I wasn’t taking much of a risk.
It’s simply wonderful!
From the Smashwords description: “The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts” helps people to reflect on their recovery and relationships with others, and ultimately with Jesus Himself. Whether people are still struggling with their addictions, or have been clean and sober for a few weeks, months, or years, the reflections will lead them to meditate on the spiritual growth they have achieved so far.”
Loving the Rosary as I do, I was pleased Sofranko strikes the delicate balance between protecting and honoring the format and mysteries of this most holy spiritual practice, but at the same time providing a fresh take for recovering alcoholics to meditate alongside Jesus and Mary.
Contrary to popular belief, the Rosary is not about the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is about Jesus. Catholics believe Mary points the way to Jesus; and through Mary we are able to develop an even closer relationship with our Savior. What was it like to give birth and raise the Son of God? Luke 2:1-7. How happy must Mary have been when she and Joseph found the child Jesus praying in the Temple after having lost him for three days? Luke 2:41-52. What’s the mother-son dynamic at play during Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding at Cana? John 2:1-11. What would it have felt like for Jesus when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane? Matthew 26:36-45. Why was it so important to Jesus to give us his mother before he died on the cross? John 19:25-27.
All these things we ponder as we meditate on the holy Scripture passages while fingering the delicate beads and repeating the Hail Mary prayer over and over.. Through the Rosary, we go deep into the life of Jesus and contemplate these things.
And Sofranko points out to us, “The Rosary is Twelve-Step-friendly.”
The 11th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous states:
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.”
“As we understand Him.”
Sofranko continues, “You want to know God’s will for you? The Bible is a good place to start looking. You want a great role model for following the will of God? His own Mother is a perfect example. By praying the Rosary you will be meditating on the Scriptural passages that each section (mystery) is based. You can nicely combine Mary’s submission to God’s will with direction from Sacred Scripture.”
In the Introduction, the author explains to the unfamiliar exactly what the Rosary is and what it means–in simple terms even non-Catholics can understand. He clears up some common misconceptions as he explains how Biblically based and how in line with 12 Step Recovery the Rosary truly is.
As he takes us through each of the Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous mysteries, Sofranko explains a mystery, “is something divine that we cannot fully understand with our limited human intellect.” He then for our reference provides precise Bible verses where each mystery is highlighted in the Word of God. At the end of each chapter he offers a meditation for the recovering person, suggesting we consider each of his meditations in light of where each is in his or her recovery walk. He explains that the meditations are meant to be personalized for the individual in order that the reader ponders his or her own step on the path.
I wholeheartedly recommend Recovery Rosary certainly for all Catholics in recovery, but even for all Christians who wish to expand their meditation practice of the 11th Step to include the Scriptural passages and the life of Jesus.
To purchase (seriously guys–just $3.99!), please visit the order page on Sofranko’s blog here. Or, you can find it in all the major online booksellers:
I look forward in this time of Lent especially to diving into Paul’s second book, “The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics.” Thank you Paulaholic for these recovery treasures!
Check out this other review of Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts on the Phoenix Diocese newspaper:
The Catholic Sun