The Sister Ignatia Heritage Center and Chapel at Summa Health’s St. Thomas Hospital in Akron is closing.
St. Thomas Hospital opened in 1928. Eleven years later, the late Sister Ignatia and the late Dr. Robert H. Smith, known as Dr. Bob and the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, together created the first hospital-based unit in the country devoted to the treatment of alcoholism. In its first decade, the detox ward at St. Thomas Hospital treated more than 5,000 individuals.
Akron loves to tear down its history. I don't really get it. But we do it all the time.
Maybe the highest point in Akron's history is this right here. AA.
Though I suffer from alcohol addiction, I did not recover using AA. I personally used Smart Recovery. (I love it so much I became a trained facilitator) But I always love a good AA meeting.
I've been alcohol free for 19 years.
I am a diehard believer in living your life any way you damn well please as long as you aren't hurting someone else. But getting out of the alcohol trap was the best thing that happened to me (don't get me wrong, I had MANY awesome drunken experiences. But it eventually became a rut that controlled my life.)
Drugs and alcohol start off as a path to mental and psychological freedom. But then for some people they become a new prison that becomes worse than the original emotional prison you originally were trying to free yourself from. And maybe what's worst is that drugs and alcohol never really teach you anything. Sooner or later, you end up right back to where you started years ago having to figure out your shit the hard way.
I see so many addicted people in Akron. It's because their trap is Akron and the generational poverty and trauma that comes along with being raised in this city.
But the trap isn't ultimately Akron. A trap is actually only ever in your head. Akron creates an environment that leads easily to addiction. But you can find peace and mental freedom even in Akron. AA helps you do it.
If you are feeling exhausted from your addiction travels, consider going to an AA meeting. We have a bunch of them in Akron. And what's nice is, you get to remember that it ALL started right here in your city, Akron Ohio. I think understanding that helps with the spiritual journey of it all.
Two stained-glass windows from the chapel that have to do with health care, entitled “To visit the sick” and “To feed the hungry,” have already been removed from the chapel and are undergoing restoration before they will be installed in the new Summa center.
It's nice they are saving some relics from this chapel. And really, something like AA isn't about a place or things. It's about connecting to something bigger than ourselves. Something beyond the space and time of earthly things. AA is about letting go and trusting in a power greater than anything we have within ourselves. That power is like a river that can take you wonderful places if you stop fighting the current and let it take you where you are truly meant to go.