When I applied and interviewed to be a resident at Bonaventure House, I had identified as an “aggressive atheist” for the previous two decades. (I may have left the word “aggressive” out when speaking with them, but I was certainly clear that I didn’t hold any religion or faith tradition.)
I was assured that there was no litmus test for residency as long as I was willing to be tolerant of other peoples’ faiths. Having no other options, that was no problem — I was willing to be part of a Catholic recovery environment as long as they were willing to have me.
In the days immediately before moving in, however, I started to have the “vital spiritual experience” that the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous speaks of. It wasn’t exactly a white-light epiphany, but there was definitely an awakening on the day before I moved in. For the first time in over 20 years, I was able to understand and accept (back) into my life the notion of a Higher Power.
Since moving into the House three months ago, the Spiritual Care team has been a central part of my experience here. Director Paula Addington and her band of loving volunteers have been invaluable in helping me understand and nurture my mustard-seed-like faith. While never pushing any agenda, dogma, or set of beliefs, they’ve provided me with a program of reflection, discussion, readings, prayer and meditation that have been helpful beyond words in developing my nascent spirituality.
The approach they take is a very light one, with plenty of flexibility for each resident to get as much or as little attention and guidance as they want or need. I’m very happy to be a part of the community here at Bonaventure House as I continue on the path of rebuilding my life, and I’m extremely grateful that the Spiritual Care team is there to help me.
Mike M. is a resident of Bonaventure House.