Berkshires, Vermont, Boston and Other Things That Matter

Berkshires, Vermont, Boston and Other Things That Matter

Berkshires, Vermont, Boston and other Things That Matter

The Berkshires and Green Mountains greeted me as I began a lovely trip to celebrate a wedding and present my book. The Berkshires gave way to one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever witnessed. Paul and Lindsay Falcone said the words, “I do.” surrounded, not only by people that love them, it included their four legged friends. A wedding in the Berkshires- not a bad way to begin life together. Celebrating life with the Falcone Family is a magnificent way to love everything Italian. 

Next experience brought me to the breath taking Weston Priory where I presented my book. The Benedictine Monks grace that beautiful space and for my book, granted me permission to print the words of one of their songs, Wherever You Go. I participated in one of the most spiritual experiences of my life-celebrating Mass with the Monks. I left Weston Priory to present my book at the Wilson House in East Dorset, Vermont. The birth place of the man who started it all; Bill W. Presenting my book at the Wilson House brought me full circle. Beautiful East Dorset, Vermont, where Bill lived his formative years embraces all in recovery. You feel his spirit. His voice that tells you “Everything will be fine as long as you live One Day At a Time.”

Three experiences that remind me the beauty of my adopted state and it’s impact. Celebrating an open air Mass with the breath taking Green Mountains as a backdrop I experienced the peace for which the Monks of Weston Priory live and promote. Arrival at the Wilson House-the birth place of Bill W. filled me with continued gratitude. My book, Catholic Alcoholic: A Witness to Addiction and Redemption is doing well and is helping people. A huge reason for that is the gifts given from Bill W. and Weston Priory. And finally the experience with Paul and Lindsay, love and nature. Pure and simple.

Returning to Boston, to Charlie, Jenny, Jon and Boston Strong, we visited the place of the Boston bombing. I love Boston. Emmanuel College helped formed that love and now holds part of my beloved family adds to that love. The horror of that day is replaced by a city of immense strength and love. There is only one Boston. To witness the triumph over evil is profound. Boston. Astonishing resiliency.

Following my trip to the east coast I reunited with my Saint Martin Academy sisters at our biannual reunion in the Black Hills of South Dakota, our spiritual home.  Magnificent women. Friends since the age of 13/14 years old respectfully, our friendship has spanned a life of many joys and as many heartaches. Yet, because a group of Benedictine nuns provided an education in academics, life skills, faith, friendship and values, our friendship has stood the test of time. It is important to all of us. We truly love one another. We visited the Academy, now a Catholic grade school, retreat center and multiple other life giving experiences. I found one of my high school dalliances still in the molding of the chapel. Humm. Somethings last a long time.The tolerance of the nuns is truly miraculous.

And the other miracle is the success of my business. My life long dream of establishing my own business occurred a few years ago. It was difficult to focus on when you are daily spending two hours of your life on I-35. Things had to change. Commuting, although you love what you do and who you are doing it with, is not for the faint of heart. I miss the patients. I miss my colleagues. I do not miss the commute. Leaving Hazelden, after seven years of walking with the patients and amazing colleagues changed my trajectory and brought the realization of knowing the depth of faith it takes to walk the walk. I left behind one of the most talented group of people I have ever known. My team below, along with an amazing group that included maintenance, CD counselors, some talented people in the mental health department, wellness, dietary, the CEO and with the beloved patients, I lived the dream of my lifetime. Daily I witnessed the death and resurrection of the human spirit.

Thank you for all the support, encouragement and energy so many of you have provided to launch Five Point Consulting. There are too many of you to count. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And during this time of transition I was professionally thrust back to the crisis occurring in our beloved church. I wrote about my own personal experience in the book. People constantly ask me in light of the ongoing abuse scandal why I stay Catholic. I respond, “Faith is not frivolous. It is a gift. And when you are given a gift you do not return it. Ever.You respect it. Honor it and care for it.The Church is us. All of us. Saint and sinner alike. No one is exempt from sin; the separation from relationship with God and others. Abuse is abhorrent. I know. I also know I would never do to others what has been done to me. However, abuse does not define me, it encourages me to love even more. Even those who abused me. No, that is not a victim stance, it is a stand of health, of healing, of accepting the abundance of God’s grace. We do have a choice. To either use our experiences for construction or destruction. My faith is not determined by those who abuse, rather by the way I treat people and what I believe God calls me to do and that is to pray for the ones who have abused me and to love them, not their behavior. And I do. Love the sinner. Hate the sin.” 

Finally, Saint Thomas Academy, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Michael’s, Saint Peter’s and Nahant Preschool hold the joys of my life as they continue seeking knowledge. Along with my faith, their hearts, lives and love are the most important gift God has given me. 

Advent is a time of waiting, watching. May your Advent, Christmas, Hanukkah, holiday season be one of total joy with quiet serenity. 

Annetta Sutton

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