From Darkness to Light Day 5 by Connor Gallagher

And Yet it Shines

by Connor Gallagher


I grew up a devout Catholic. Somehow, as heavy as the whole tradition was, there was one idea that entered deeply into my mind: “A light shines in the darkness.”

As an alcoholic, the sentiment behind these words has sustained me and given me great hope over the years. There is a light within everyone and everything that is pure and undefiled. I was sober for 18 wonderful years, and then I took a job abroad where the alcohol flowed like water. Even as I write this now, I am a bit drunk after downing a bottle of wine. I don’t even bother pouring my wine into glasses these days; I chug straight from the source.

And a terrible thing has started to happen, the amazing peace and love I felt for so many years has been replaced by a distorted, sharp inner feeling that is hard to put into words. Why I have plunged back into this terrible habit baffles me.

I do believe everything happens for a reason, though. And one thing I’ve realized is that Emerson was right. Most people do live lives of “quiet desperation.” Most of the people I work with now have no time for the concept of God. They’ve made fancy dinners and trendy clothes and a good worldly reputation their God. And I am ashamed to say, I’ve followed in their footsteps. My mantra has faded; my meditation practice has petered out.

Yet, just the other day, a few of my students came to me about saving Mother Earth. They have planned a series of events, including tree plantings and a pledge to eliminate plastic bags from their lives. The light does shine even in the darkness. In a hungover rant the other day, I pled with my students to help Mother Earth, and some of them had ears to hear it. The light of their innocence shines.

Maybe I am here in the land of death to realize how unbelievably blessed I once was. Not until this self-imposed exile did I realize in a way that burns under my fingernails that Emerson and Thoreau and Tolstoy were right. We humans are meant for simple communal living, not for the trashy bling the world tells us is valuable beyond measure.

The world has me now. Will I be lucky enough to return to the wholesome rhythm of hard work, and fellowship and service to humanity? Only God knows.

As I’m writing this I take note that tomorrow is Easter. Those of you who are in the land of the living at Amritapuri, STAY! Don’t leave for anything. You are blessed beyond words. For those of us in the land of death, may that moment of sanity, that voice of God once again become alive in our hearts and minds.

Afterall, we all once wallowed in darkness until God personally said to each of us, “Come, darling child. You were merely dreaming of darkness. There is only light!”



Connor Gallagher

Just a man trying to get back to the light.





Post Script:

Somehow on Easter Sunday three weeks ago, I ignored my hangover, got on my bike and rode to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I have been sober ever since. A young, hip Columbian dude took me under his wing on that resurrection morning and is guiding me through the 12-steps.  They share practical, down-home spirituality—surrender to God’s will, clear the wreckage of the past, meditate, and help free those who are still suffering from alcohol.  It would seem, the Lord is seeing fit to bring this Prodigal Son home.


Written for the From Darkness to Light event.  If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more information Here.   But first, leave a comment and let Connor know what you think about his words.


About the author

I am a King without a Kingdom, in a world with many masters, wrapped in the spoils of a jealous heart, and my people’s callous laughter.


  1. Thank you Connor, for writing this. I know how hard it was for you. But we all have a story to share that can help others and I’m glad you decided to share yours. I know that you will find your way back to your path.

  2. Thank you for your honest expression of where you were and where you find yourself at present. Hope and faith are light and there is help when or if you decide to regain sobriety. You are loved just as you are.
    blessings, litebeing

  3. I am feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the honesty and emotion in your words, Conner. Sometimes we tend to deviate from our path but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we aren’t good and worthy of a second chance. I have learned never to be ashamed of experiences that have given me both pain and wisdom.. for it’s the reason that we become the people that we are today. You have the power and strength of realization which tells me that you will find your way back to your path one day undoubtedly. Thank you so much for sharing your story ❤️❤️

  4. The realization and honest acknowledgement of the misery within yourself solves half the problem. Because most people tend to be in denial. Now that you HAVE gone halfway, and we all admire that spirit, I hope the rest of the path comes easy and clear for you.

  5. Knowing the mind – numbing pain of the addiction to alcohol I pray for clarity to arise about the self destructive hate encouraged by alcohol. Go to the light. Go to love. Go for life.

  6. Hold on, life is a journey with many surprises you may find worth experiencing and safe journey!

  7. I was very moved by your story Connor and delighted to read the postscript. I am glad you took yourself to AA and found a sponsor. Life’s journey can have many twists and turns but we learn from all of them. Are YOU going back to Amritapuri?

  8. Thank you Connor for sharing so deeply. Your story has touched my heart and you will be in my prayers.

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