“Crisis is the earthquake that rattles the foundation of your life. Crisis forces you to look inward. You must believe there is a better tomorrow for you. That requires faith. And faith demands the expectation of something even though there is no tangible evidence it exists or will ever come your way.”

Deborah norville, author of back on track


As I entered Peter’s office, my eyes scanned the room. It was apparent I was the last one to arrive. Seated on the couch were Father Peter, Father Bill, and Sister Judy. They awkwardly sat side-by-side with barely inches between them. I had an urge to snicker. 

In the armchair to the right of the couch was Father Ed Fitzpatrick. I certainly understood why everyone else was at the meeting, but my mind couldn’t make sense as to why Ed was there. I tried my best to hide my confusion. Known among priests as the liquor vicar, Ed was the man in charge of priests that fell off the wagon. He was a big ole Irishman who had had his own bout with the bottle, rendering him somewhat sensitive to the plight of an alcoholic.

Peter broke the silence. “Come in, Stephen, and have a seat.” I glanced suspiciously at Ed. It was too late for me to leave, so I sat down in the matching armchair that faced all four of them. Fear was settling in the pit of my stomach as I tried my best to maintain eye contact.

Ed wasted no time. “Have you been doing drugs, Stephen? I felt my entire body stiffen as the blood drained from my face. I wasn’t sure what to say, so I said nothing. Inside though, I was screaming, “Hell yeah, Ed, I’m using enough drugs to sedate a small farm animal.”


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