Solution to a Seemingly Hopeless Personal Situation
by Monsignor Joseph Calise
Apr 25, 2017 | 2647 views | 1 1 comments | 313 313 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Recently, I had the opportunity to ride the M Train from Manhattan back into Queens one afternoon.

Near Seneca Avenue, a man entered the train car with a small package in his hand. As he sat and unraveled the bag, it became a quite visible can of beer which he proceeded to consume between Seneca Avenue and Fresh Pond Road.

Although I understand the desire for something refreshing after what may have been a hard day at work, there seems to be something inappropriate with the need to drink alcohol at 3:30 in the afternoon and something problematic with the inability or unwillingness to wait until arriving home.

As you can imagine, at that time of the day there were several youngsters going home from school on the train that, I fear, were given a poor example to follow.

In our country today, there is much talk about medical marijuana and the lessening of penalties for public use of what was once a very controlled substance.

I am obviously in favor if anything that can offer relief to someone suffering from an illness but, at the same time, disheartened by the number of times I have been walking down a residential street and been jolted by the presence of what is, to me, a very unpleasant odor.

Everyone using marijuana publicly is simply not using it for medicinal purposes.

These may seem to some like rather inconsequential examples. However, I would wager that every one of us knows someone whose drug or alcohol consumption is a cause for concern.

The social acceptability of alcohol and marijuana when joined with their availability put our young (and not so young anymore) in real danger of developing a dependency that could lead not only to addiction, but also to the use of and the addiction to other substances.

I do not think we need more than open eyes and common sense to realize that for many people, perhaps even some very close to us, alcoholism and drug abuse are a problem.

What is equally as important for us to consider is that help is available. The second chapter of what is commonly referred to as “The Big Book” by members of Alcoholics Anonymous is titled “There is a Solution.”

What a great message of hope that is to those who find themselves or their loved ones in the throes of addiction. There is a solution.

The preamble of Alcoholics Anonymous, the mother of all 12-step recovery programs, reads “Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

“The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking,” it continues. “Our primary purpose is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.”

The desire to stop drinking, using drugs, gambling, overeating – the desire to stop any behavior that hurts us and the people around us - can be healed if we want it badly enough and are willing to reach out for the help that is available.

Monsignor Joseph Calise is the pastor of St. Stanislaus-Transfiguration Church in Maspeth and works with men and women in addiction recovery programs in Williamsburg.
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Janet O'Connor
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May 05, 2017
Thank you Father for this important column. It seems as though, especially in the Boroughs, we are innundated by what has now become "the new normal". It is certainly alarming how many young people are freely using in public places, and this man's behavior, of course, does not help.

If you regularly ride the Long Island Railroad, particularly during the summer beach months, you will find it crowded with young people either stoned or drunk and rowdy. Train conductors seem either helpless or disinterested. No one listened to Senator Al D'Amato when he said recently on NY1 that we are in the middle of an alcohol epidemic. You have to wonder why?!