Growing up in a small town in Oregon, I promised myself I’d never touch alcohol because people forget to come home when they drink that awful stuff. At a party, I saw my friend’s father kissing a woman I didn’t know in our front hall closet, and I thought, “Jeepers, alcohol even makes you forget who you’re married to.”
I completely changed my mind when I was 18 years old and found the champagne fountain at my sister’s wedding. My relatively short drinking career of 13 years ended in Athens, Greece. I called myself an “International Beatnik” but I was actually a wino suffering from liver damage, DTs, Convulsions, Insanity, a broken spirit, and a padlocked heart. I awakened from a 5 day coma during my 3rd visit to the psycho ward to see my Dad sitting on the side of my bed and a Greek policeman stationed at the door. The police found drugs in my flat and I was deported. I was 31 years old.
Dad escorted me to Palm Springs, CA, where he and Mom were spending the winter. I had a lot of trouble walking and talking. Here I was with a MA in Speech Pathology and I couldn’t even string a sentence together. Miraculously, I ended up in a 12 step fellowship soon after our airplane landed and I haven’t had any alcohol or any sort of drug since January 12, 1969. It’s been a wonderful 50-year journey from darkness into light. The Twelve Steps saved my life and my sanity, and for that, I’ll be eternally grateful. My special interest has been practicing the various methods of meditation. I’ve studied with some very enlightened beings.
There were no treatment programs for alcoholics when I was new to the 12 steps. We had sponsors who guided us through the 12 Steps, and we had each other. If anyone went back to drinking, all of us cried together because so few people ever made it back to the 12 steps. This year I’ve been fortunate to spend time at Taylor Made Retreat, leading a meditation class. It’s a wonderful way to give back what I’ve been given. And it’s really fun to see the 12 step program working on all sorts of people from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences. As the Big Book of AA says, “The alcoholic is like a tornado, roaring his way through the lives of others.” Taylor Made Retreat teaches the way of patience, tolerance, kindness, and love.
Taylor Made Retreat’s founder, Lowell MacGregor, his staff, and volunteers do an outstanding job of using the 12 Steps as a design for living. The newcomer is truly reborn in body, mind, and spirit. Old ways of experiencing life fall away. A man I met the day he left prison for TMR is a different person now. He and the other clients are busy working their way through the 12 Steps and helping others by setting up chairs for the community AA meetings and making visitors feel welcome and appreciated.
If you visit Taylor Made Retreat, you may feel the consciousness of love and peace like I do every time I walk through the door or explore the beautiful grounds. Taylor Made Retreat is a sanctuary in the middle of our fast-paced world. I feel so fortunate that it’s only a few minutes away from my home in downtown Portland.
Patty L. ♥️