A while back, I wrote about a person concerned about his brother-in-law’s alcoholism.
This is the letter she sent me:
I received a disturbing phone call from my sister-in-law yesterday about her husband, my brother-in-law.
Seems that my bro-in-law is experiencing difficulty with alcoholism, but he is reluctant to attend AA meetings because of their insistence that in order to be successful in the AA program, you must submit to a higher power – a power greater than yourself – God. Of course, you are permitted to define God anyway you choose, yet you are reminded in the chapter “We Agnostics” from the “Big Book” that “As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps.”
Seriously, is AA the only non-profit group out there that addresses alcoholism? Is there no god-free group that is focused on addiction? Surely there must be someplace an addicted atheist or agnostic (or secular humanist, pagan, or other) can turn to for assistance with addiction.
I am hoping that perhaps you or one of your readers can offer some advice on what I might communicate to my bro-in-law and his wife about such a support group… one that preferably doesn’t have a huge fee attached to their services.
A lot of people wrote in with their comments and suggestions.
Lee, the original letter-writer, just sent me this:
Around the end of May of this year, I sent you a message about my brother-in-law and his battle with alcoholism in addition to his aversion to Alcoholics Anonymous due to their God fixation. The comments included input from his wife, who is also a blogger at www.onlynola.com.
I am sorry to say that on August 13th, sometime around 5:30pm (by investigator estimates) my brother-in-law was killed in an accident. He drove an asphalt mixer (a very high temperature substance), and he was in a 4-truck convoy in the Ozarks on some treacherous mountain roads. He had fallen behind in the convoy – his truck was bringing up the rear, when, according to the investigator’s theory, his load shifted, causing his truck to move onto the soft shoulder of the road. He could not recover from the shoulder and he went over the cliff.
Nola, his wife, has had his remains cremated, as she plans to scatter his ashes near her father’s lake house. This is also her plans for her own remains, so I think it is fitting to memorialize him this way. His memorial service was on Friday the 17th.
Thanks to everyone for their earlier posts concerning Jon and the alternatives to AA.
I take comfort in knowing that Jon’s life had taken a distinct turn for the better in the three months prior to his death. He had begun anti-depressant treatment and was progressing very well.
I’m sorry for your family’s loss, Lee. Thanks for giving us the update.