I knew I had a “broken picker,” meaning I had no talent for picking a healthy partner. So when Mercy brings real love into your life it takes you by surprise. That’s how it was for me in 2004. My licensing exam was about a year off. I was a lowly intern and had been gathering training hours in Stockton, CA. I left a fairly menial social worker position for a “real therapist job” in Sacramento–an upgrade in title with the salary about the same. I was hauling boxes out of my office to the car and it was getting dark.
I thought everybody had gone home. I was almost done; just a few more boxes. I had turned in my keys to the office manager, so all I had to do was lock the door behind me and be on my way.
I walked back to the building to get another box, but was shocked to find the door had swung shut! Now I’d have to call the office manager to let me back in. However, just then a bright and shining face appeared through the glass. It was Arleen from Marketing and she was still in the office!
When she opened that door my life was changed.
“Hi,” she said warmly, “would you like some help?” I wondered for a second if she meant help with my life. No, she must mean with the boxes, I thought, but as a matter of fact my life did need lots of help. Arleen, I would come to learn, is someone who’s always at the right place at the right time.
“Yes, I would like some help,” I said. We got some dinner and after that we started dating. I had recently surrendered my addiction, was attending recovery meetings, had a sponsor, and now my first ever healthy relationship found me! To think, if that had not happened, I would have collected my things and left her behind. I didn’t because of Mercy. The first Promise (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 83) of the Twelve Promises states, “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” It’s true!
We eventually fell in love and got engaged, married and moved to Wisconsin. If that sounds weird, moving from California to Wisconsin, that’s okay, because it did to everyone else we met. But for us it was the greatest good fortune and still is. What followed was an amazing spirit of hope and a sudden shift toward healthy change, reconciliation, surrender, acceptance and forgiveness. In short, a new life.