Ash Wednesday and Abstinence


Awhile back, one Ash Wednesday —before I came to believe — I tried giving up booze and bread & butter for Lent.  (I really loved them– more than chocolate!)

ash wednesday
Cross=Love Vaishakb Pillai

Abstinence that year, even without relying on a power greater than I taught me a lot.


Howsomeever,  I still had a lot to learn. 

Here’s where the Twelve Steps, the fellowship and the God of my understanding showed up ever day with a worthwhile lesson; even when learning wasn’t on my to-do list.

Mainly, I needed basic training in:

Basic training — and advanced learning — is about staying open and teachable, and dependent on a simple lesson:

Nothing becomes simpler, better or easier with a drink. . . for the one who has a desire to stop drinking. ( Is My Drinking Out of Control? )

And it’s still a blessed daily lesson that being restored to sanity is a better use of my time than trying to prove I can handle alcohol.

It’s also a better use of my money, too! LOL!

By the end of drinking, I had spent so much money, not just on the best labels of beer, wine and booze! Plus, I blew oh so much money on having just the right accoutrements to enjoy drinking— special glasses, napkins, trays, pitchers. 

What was important was creating an ambiance of conviviality and class— maybe because I didn’t want others to see Gollum-like creature my need for alcohol was becoming. 

The blessing is that  that 40-day abstinence removed a veil and showed me what my “friend” looked like. 

One Lent taught me what “my friend” kinda looked like*

Whether or not Ash Wednesday has been the beginning of spiritual discipline for you dear, reader, it’s never too late to start one.

If you wonder if your habits, attitudes or hang-ups are getting uncomfortable, just for today, let go of one or two. Or maybe just be willing to let-go?

Learn to ask myself better questions

Just a suggestion. 

“. . . In fact every Lent I fail. Every Lent I draw up ambitious plans of spiritual improvement and fall flat on my face. I have never yet met a Lenten discipline I couldn’t manage to violate at some point. And in my experience, this is more common than not among Christians . . . 

But the only hope any of us has is God doesn’t keep score.   

And that is the point of Lent. ~ Edwin Woodruff Tait, Walk Through the Wilderness: A Spiritual Pilgrimage Through Lent, Saturday after Ash Wednesday ) 

Thank you for stopping by . . . Hope you come by again!

ash wednesday

Love in Christ,

Sober and Grateful 

P.S. Here’s a helpful balm for hurts, or hang-us, or attitudes that might need some realignment: 8 PRINCIPLES 


*Fair use, Photo Credit 

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Ash Wednesday and Abstinence
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One thought on “Ash Wednesday and Abstinence

  • February 17, 2024 at 8:28 pm

    Barbara, you are hilarious and a great writer! I am so grateful to call you friend! Loved this blog!


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