Choosing Life

In the past month, I’ve had conversations with a number of people addicted to alcohol and drugs who are now sober. One day at a time, they are rebuilding their bodies, their lives and their relationships.

Each one–whether they’ve been sober for weeks or years–was humble, honest and afraid: they know how easy it is to start using again.

“Does it ever get easier?” I asked “Art” (not his real name), who’s been sober twenty-nine years. He shook his head. A young woman explained. “The longer it’s been since you’ve stopped drinking, the farther the memory of how bad it was and the reasons you stopped. That’s why I work with newcomers to AA. They remind me what my life was like before I quit.”

“I’d be dead if it wasn’t for them,” she went on to say. “Art and his wife adopted me soon after my first meeting.”

She wasn’t exaggerating. Every one of them knew people who died from an overdose or alcohol poisoning.

And every one of them give back. “I try to do a good turn every day,” said one man. Another, who used to attend our Wednesday Lunch Club, is ten months sober and working. He returned a couple of times to visit and gave two hefty donations even though he barely makes ends meet.

“I can’t tell you how many lives Art’s saved,” the woman said. I suspected it was true of all of them.

It’s no coincidence that these conversations have taken place as I start the new year literally bearing the weight of my own addiction. God has brought these people to me for my good. They have much to teach me about the cost of denial, the worth of humility, and the value of friendship.

They are giving me the courage to choose life.


Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.
–Joshua 24:15

* * *

Love Mischief for the World


God has done some incredible love mischief in William Paul Young‘s life. His book The Shack, has sold over 20 million copies and is one of the top 40 bestselling books of all time. It transformed many lives, including mine, because it transformed our view of God. In conferences and interviews, Paul tells the story of how God met him as he faced the truth about his own brokenness and began to believe that he was deeply loved. His recovery led to reconciliation with his wife and the writing of The Shack, which was originally given as a gift to their six children. Young has also written Cross Roads, Eve and the foreword to Richard Rohr’s new book The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation.  The Shack, the movie, is due to be released in March.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
 Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“…drops” by Carlo Scherer. Used with permission.
“Last Day” by Rachel Titiriga. Used with permission.
Photo of Wm Paul Young by Tylerwardis (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Overeating, Reflections, Stories, Wednesday Lunch Club and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Choosing Life

  1. Anonymous says:

    A sweet reminder of the delicate balance we face between life and chaos . . . “I have come that you might have life and life abundant.”


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