This week’s Here’s To Your Health is taken from an interview with Sister Ruth who has helped thousands of alcoholics in North America during her career. Ruth entered the Sisters of St. Joseph convent 1st of September 1942, she retired in 1993 to Anderson, IN at a senior citizens complex, but she’s busier now than when she worked. Ruth currently attends a meeting at the Madison County Detention Center for women, her home group is “The Bridge Group” in Anderson, IN, and she attends a meeting almost every day. Sister Ruth is one of the most sought after AA speakers in North America. Ruth was born on 28th of August, 1926 to a family of German Catholic farmers. She is the oldest of five girls and they lived on a farm near Yoder, IN. Ruth’s sobriety date is the 28th of August, 1983. Ruth said, “Whenever I give a lead, I turn the matter over to God by saying, “God, please put the right words in my mouth, use me to carry your message and please keep my ego out of the way.”
Ruth described herself as her siblings ring leader who got them into trouble. Ruth’s mother ran the family with an iron hand and because her father (Ruth’s grandfather) and her only brother had died of alcoholism, she detested alcohol. Ruth said:
Never a day went by that I didn’t get a spanking because as a child I just had to test the system. My mother would tell me to do something, but I wouldn’t do it because I had an obsession about evading responsibility and I had to see if I could get by without following mom’s orders, but I always got caught and punished.
We never had any kind of outward affection in our home, our parents never put their arm around us or hugged us, but when we got caught disobeying orders we were punished. Our world consisted of doing our duty and even after entering the convent (in the early days); we never hugged because we were not allowed to touch one another. It was not until I entered AA that I learned to hug and be hugged by people and now I’m making up for lost time. I was taught that God is a punishing God and He was up there watching my every move and writing it down and I believed it was only a matter of time before He too punished me with hell, fire and brimstone. Yet today, I can still hear my mother’s voice saying, “You’re stupid, you have no good brain cells, you’ll never amount to anything, you’re a born loser and you’ll never make it in life.” And, it was the same at school, I felt like an ugly duckling and I felt worthless; my self-esteem was zero. I carried those feeling with me all through my life. After I attended a Catholic grade school for eight years and barely passed, I entered a public school system my freshman year of high school. I got along even worse in that public high school and so my parents decided since I was such a bad kid they should send me to a private academy for girls at Tipton, IN my sophomore year of high school. It was the first time I’d ever been away from home and I loved it! Three weeks later, at the age of 15, I decided to become a nun because I saw all the other girls running around in their black dresses and veils and I wanted to be like them. Besides that, I wanted to get away from home and I thought God might like me better if I was a nun? I called my parents in September and told them about my decision and said, “If you don’t come to see me this weekend you can’t come before December,” so they drove down to Tipton for a conference with sister superior. My parents were shocked to hear the nun’s news and they wondered what on earth the nuns had done to their daughter? After my parent’s conference with sister superior they decided I was too young to be a nun and so I had to wait until I turned 16.
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