Wednesday, August 19, 2009



We had heard that a new AA meeting had started up about 35 miles out in the swamps of SW Florida, in a place called Ave Maria, a community of about two years. (I call that "new.) So four of us set out Monday night, since the group had asked for support from Naples AA members.

Meeting topic was a chapter in our big book called "To Employers". It is not my favorite place in the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous. I find it difficult to relate to a CEO who decides to keep an addict-alcoholic on the payroll while he seeks treatment, looking forward to the day when said addict would become a producing person. Yes, I admit there are some redeeming elements to the material, but in today's market, a boss is quite likely to tell the alcoholic-addict to "take a hike", since profits demand cutbacks,especially of dead wood.

Central to the Ave Maria community is the Oratory, pictured above, around which is clustered a large circle of Italian architecture of shops and apartments. After the meeting a few of us crossed the square (well, the circle!) to the Oratory, to check out the interior, and to just be "quiet, at peace" for a period of time.

Th night lighting played its softness throughout the church, which itself is reminiscent of an Italian Cathedral. Above the high altar hangs an imposing, near-gigantic cross icon of multi-tonnage. Two choicely placed spotlights made the cross symbol to shadow itself on either of two ceiling areas, giving views of different perspectives waayyyy up there. What magnificence!

Prayer Girl did what she does...prayed! Actually, PG made a fairly abbreviated "Way of the Cross" around the whole place, a place made for meditation. It occurs to me right now that I forgot something.

Up high and to the rear in a choir loft is situated the $1.2 million pipe organ, and on the keys was someone practicing, working on a piece by the great genius and icon of music, J.S. Bach. The playing was done in registers which emitted sounds ethereal throughout the Oratory. Just marvelous it was.

What blessings we received, for our taking the few steps across the traffic-less brick paving into a sanctum, a bit of heaven on earth. The Bach being played was with fitting passion.

Many interpret Bach in a square and pedantic, even boring manner. But any composer who fathered 24 children (Bach) had to write music with passion as its hallmark. So with Bach. (Enough of today's music lesson?)

What does this have to do with recovery? Well we started out to participate in an AA meeting. On the way home we had a "meeting after". This was Monday evening.

Right now I am in a passionate mood to join you all in being sober and clean today.



dAAve said...

I am aware of numerous friends who have been given leave (sometimes paid) from their employment while doing treatment/rehab. Of course, insurance pays for much of that, so it may not last much longer.

Mike Golch said...

that must have been a moving musicial experence.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful picture - the oratory simply dwarfs everything around it. Awe-inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

Tall Karen said...

Your passion is contagious! Oops, I just caught it! Thanks for sharing and passin it around! How's the bump on your head today?

Madison said...

I know several people who went to rehab, followed by AA due to employer demands. In expensive rehabs, valued employed persons have large companies totally footing the bill for their treatment, while others in the facility have families taking out second mortgages. Is it a bad thing to have a CEO keep an addict on the payroll? I've seen spouses really worry financially that, not only is their spouse falling apart, but the company might cut off the finanical support. I hope you'll expand on your thougths in future blogs.

Susan M DeAngelis said...

Very Inspiring.

Love your intensity and devotion.

Ed G. said...

Glad you could have such a moving experience - also glad you shared it with us...

Blessings and aloha...

Cat said...

What a beautiful place and wonderful for meditation...

diane d said...

Oooooooo, it's so pretty!!!

Syd said...

I think that the example in the BB about working with the alcoholic so that eventually he/she will be productive is a great thing that many in today's society need to read and practice. More compassion is needed for people who are ill. I'm proud that is how things are handled at my workplace. I know of one fellow who has been to recovery 3 times. He is still here.

Rhonda said...

I love the pic!
and this post!
Thanks for the inspiration!