A Catholic Monthly Magazine

The Journey Continues

Bill Farrelly

by Bill Farrelly

To those who might have been following my journey I apologise for the long absence - and indeed I do not intend to again be a frequent visitor to these pages but it seemed I ought to bring you up to date on proceedings - especially in regard to my battle with addiction and with my long prayed-for and hoped-for reconciliation with my beloved wife.

I was about to say “First the bad news …” but now, having more of an understanding of how God works in my life, it may ultimately not be bad news: my wife and I are still apart.

To say that I am often sad and lonely would be the understatement to end understatements. There are times when I feel close to despair, times when I beg God to end this limbo. Because that is how I see it.

My prayer is this: please, God, either bring us back together or help me to be at peace without my wife. For reasons I don’t understand it seems that God requires me to stay in this state of suspense. And most of the time it is bearable because I simply (ha, ha, if only it were simple) surrender to what I see as his will.

Now, back to the matter of my addiction and this indeed is very good news. By the grace of God, the fellowship of my support group and the 12-step program, as of late 2014 I have been “sober” for three years and eight months.

That is a miracle and one I give thanks for many times every day. I am truly blessed.

For those of you who are familiar with addictions and/or may have shared your life with an addict (no matter what kind of addiction – hence the reason I put the word “sobriety” in quotes) you will appreciate the peace that accompanies the recovering addict if he or she has truly embraced the 12 steps and addresses his or her multiple underlying defects of character. (If you are unfamiliar with the 12 steps, you can easily go online or to your library, to be informed).

For me, as for vast numbers of addicts, the biggest single underlying defect was resentment. There were/are others: envy, judgmentalness, self-pity, pride, fear, to name a prominent few.

With great determination and a loving God backing me to the hilt I have tackled these defects with a passion I did not know I possessed and the relief I feel is almost beyond description.

On the journey

On the journey

But it can be best summed up this way: for the first time in my life I like who I am. I no longer hunger for approval (yes, I do long for affirmation from my wife but I believe that is different), I no longer judge others (except politicians!), nor for the vast majority of the time do I feel resentment, envy, or self-pity. I am not afraid. I am not, as I once thought I was - despite my addiction - somebody special.

And yet, of course, in God's eyes I am somebody very special. Such a beautiful paradox: both I am not and I am.

Even as I write this and despite my deep gratitude for all the blessings in my life including yet another beautiful grandchild since I last shared my story with you, the loneliness of not being able to share my joys (and occasional pains) and those delightful grandchildren with my wife feels impossible to bear.

It's hard, isn't it? It's hard to trust.

Once again, God understands my fragility and he nudges me gently as if to say: Keep going, Bill, keep going.

Amen and may God bless you all.    


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