A Recent Exchange of Correspondence with Someone Really Suffering Today
Our Reply (See below for the letter of inquiry):
First of all, we receive hundreds of messages like yours. We are not professional counselors, therapists, treatment facilitators, or the like.
Second, we are content providers with many years of successful research, experience helping drunks and addicts, and are not those who seek to profit or sustain ourselves off the backs of the suffering. On the other hand, we do have enormous, continuing, regular expenses of disseminating the fruits of our work, travels, and expenditure of time.
As to who might be able to help you in your own area, we also have many contacts in many parts of the world who are at least dedicated to helping others recover with the help of God.
Third, your message is replete with statements that you have little or no money to expend on your own health and recovery. This is not an unusual fear-related concern of the newcomer. You appear to be unaware of what the love and power of God have done, can do, and will do for those who are desperate enough to go to any lengths to devoting the time, money, and effort to do what is needed.
Fourth, I cannot recall all the details about the many who phone, email, and write over the period of 22 years. Therefore, I would not even attempt to make specific suggestions without your following through on the suggestions of this letter.
Those things said, here are some specific suggestions:
1. Please immediately send me full details about yourself—age, family, marital status, children, siblings, Christian contacts or friends, precise residential address, phone number, education, vocation, religious background, business and/or work experience, present religious affiliation, and your willingness to ask others to help you with the expense of receiving what you wish. Are you a veteran? Do you rely on public assistance? Do you have or have access to a physician? Do you have friends, family, relatives, former associates who will help you or might assist if asked.
2. With your stated drinking, drugging, and mental state, you need to consider the following
measures: (a) Consulting with a physician to see how he or she diagnoses and suggests treatment for your condition, your danger of seizures and withdrawal, the limitations on your physical and mental condition, and whether medical detox and psychiatric assistance are necessary for your success.
3. How willing are you to devote 100% of your time to recovery—whether it means daily or more frequent involvement in 12 Step fellowships, Christian fellowships, meetings, staying away from slippery places and slippery friends and temptations, getting the help of a pastor or recovery counselor, undergoing an intervention, getting a sponsor, studying the Bible and daily prayer, fellowshipping with like-minded believers and others who have succeeded with sobriety.
You asked that I write, and I consider the foregoing questions and answers to be a sine qua non for making further suggestions for you, for where you can go, for where you should be living, for what your support situation is, and who would be willing to help you.
Author, 42 titles & over 800 articles on A.A. History and the Christian Recovery Movement
Exec. Dir., International Christian Recovery Coalition
PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837
The Inquiry Just Received from a Man Named Ian
Subject: Recovery, Christian help
My name is Ian [last name removed]. I have a severe alcohol and drug addiction. I drank yesterday, and took pills today. I am well nigh overcome with anxiety, paralyzed by the unmistakable ominousness of condemnation. My heart is failing me for fear. I have been on your e-mailing list for quite some time and read the messages on occasion. The e-mail I most recently received struck me, as I could relate to the concomitant confusion of the differing recovery systems available.
Frankly, I am spiraling straight down to hell. I have been in and out of AA and church for many years. I haven't gotten any better, nay, I have grown more wicked and desperate as time passes. I read that you are available to do a few things involving teaching and training christian leaders, etcetera. I am not in any leadership position, in fact, I am still very much bound by sin.
After years of reading the bible, the AA book, attending twelve step meetings and church, I am very much perplexed and disillusioned. I have a question or two, if you can assist me with answers, it may help me very much. I might add also that, unfortunately, I am unable to afford any of your books right now, nor can I pay for a treatment program of any sort. I have attended over a dozen such programs in the past, they don't seem to work very well after the initial sobering up process. In other words, I am not staying sober.
Now then, I would like to know if you would be willing to correspond with me, or at least send me a single personal e-mail, explaining the gospel and what it is I need to get Jesus, get out of the hell I am in, as well as avoid the eternal one toward which I am rapidly approaching. I am sorry to inform you that I wouldn't be able to pay you very much for this information, I could, perhaps, offer a small sum of money though. I am only asking for an e-mail from you, nothing free aside from a brief synopsis of your plan of christian recovery. Even if I am not able to remain sober, at least inform me how to escape the damnation of hell; that is, of course, if the two are separable. (It would be hard to imagine anyone who drinks to excess entering heaven). "A drunkard shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven." I have listened incredulously to those who claim that a "wet" drunk can die and go to heaven, perhaps a similar circumstance as the dying sinner on the cross next to Jesus?
Anyway, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE write back. At least to tell me to p. . . off, if nothing else. I have sent you a couple of e-mails and yet have not received a response. Perhaps this is exclusively a business account and you are unwilling or unable to reply to personal appeals? If that be the case, I implore you to make an exception. If you can not or will not reply, I will assume that I'm unable to contact you and will cease to send you e-mails.
Either way, thank you for all the e-mails that you have sent. I just can't understand the path by piecing together the historical accounts and experiences of others who seem to have found a working christian program for recovery. I have read some of the basic procedures, yet I can't comprehend how to begin to effectively use it in my life. That is why correspondence, regardless of brevity, would give me a better chance of finding the Lord.
My eyes have been made heavy and my ears deaf, possibly in order to prevent me from turning to Him and being healed. It is also reasonable for me to assume that I am a vessel of His wrath, such as those spoken of by Paul the apostle, created for the express purpose of displaying his power. Perhaps if you beseeched the Father on my behalf he would reconsider his judgement for your sake and give me a chance? I understand you wouldn't be able to make a living if you just gave it away like that and all your hard work would be in vain. I can't fairly expect you to divulge such information, and I shouldn't be such of a bum, but I would be very grateful if you would. Would you direct me to someone who could help me, Lord permitting, find Jesus if you know of anyone willing and you are unable to accommodate my request?
Dick B., email@example.com