Baseball has always been a great love of mine ever since my parents took me to see the Phillies in Philadelphia at Connie Mack stadium (21st & Lehigh St.). Growing up in the Allentown area about an hour north of Philadelphia as long as the Phillies were in town, every Sunday we would make that trip. I don't know who was the bigger fan me or my mother. We only had two seats close to the field behind the Phillies on deck circle so Dad sat in the bleachers and my two older sisters stayed home. As I grew, my love for baseball never waned. My husband and I went to several games at the Phillies then new ballpark Veterans Stadium. As our family grew (I have 3 children) we took them to the games as well. Our kids are grown and some have moved to other states but the love of baseball has stayed with all of them as with me.
Moving forward, in 2008 the Phillies organization put their minor league Triple A team in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania - once home to a booming steel industry. Recently, we headed to the ballpark with our daughter and her family. That night things were going fairly well and I got to spend the night with my grandchildren enjoying the IronPigs baseball game. The theme for this night was cheesesteaks for it was a Salute to Philly Night. As such, the IronPigs were not the "Pigs" that night, but the "Steaks" and thus launched the battle of "wit" or "witout."
For those of you not familiar with this epicurean delight made famous in Philadelphia, the best way to describe a cheesesteak is thin slices of beef usually grilled with onions and served on an Italian roll. Of course, cheese is also added to the cheesesteak, sometimes as slices that melt into the sandwich or, as they do in Philly, squirt it with Cheeze Whiz. There are those, however, who prefer it without the cheese or the onions.
As the game went on, the thought occurred to me that an alcoholic has a similar battle. He can begin the journey on a path of "with" or "without." The path "without" is lonely and filled with many pitfalls with the disease waiting patiently for him to fall into its grips again. However, the path "with" shines with God's light and is filled with many to help you avoid those pitfalls so you can continue your journey of recovery.
The year 2015, for me, was filled with many deaths (six including my Mother) and the loss of my shares of the family business I grew up in. All of which contributed to my downward path finally ending with my entering Caron in January 2016. My journey has not always been an easy one since leaving Caron.
While sitting in the hot sun of the first game of a double header on that Saturday, I received the news that my Aunt had passed away. Now, in 2015, when I got news like that I filled my glass and never left it get empty or, being at the ballpark, I would have gone directly to the Bier Garden. However, on this day, something was different for I knew I was not alone. So instead of going to a bar between games, I went to McDonalds. During the second game I was able to connect with my sponsor and, after the game, instead of going to a bar I kept my commitment. I went to the 10 pm AA meeting that I chair. As chair, I picked the topic of Death and Loss and how to deal with it sober for I needed to hear others' experience, strength and hope.
So, for me, my journey began at Caron with everyone there showing me the path of hope. Since leaving Caron, my path shines bright with Gods light and is filled with my sponsor and the fellowship of AA, along with Caron's My First Year of Recovery and Alumni to help me stay on that path.
I chose the path of "with." Likewise, may you always stay on the "with" path.
As for my cheesesteaks, I also like them "wit" (real cheese, though, not "wit whiz" like in Philly).