A “Bad act”?

Human beings escape reality with drugs, alcohol, gambling. The addiction becomes compulsive, and those ten years clean might call themselves “recovering alcoholics”, knowing that the craving will never leave them. My glue-sniffing client managed to give up- but then his grandmother died, and in the stress he sought relief the only way he knew, and was caught again. A young alcoholic I knew found himself unable to keep anything down, even water. So he would stop drinking for a day, and as soon as he could swallow properly he would start drinking again. Even random instances of unconsciousness, not related to particularly high intoxication but to brain damage, did not deter him from the drink.

These cases are horrible, an awful warning. God help us.

God wants to help us, actually. I remember a verse because it was sung in a chorus:

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ
For the spirit of life in Christ has set us free
||: Oh, he’s alive, he’s alive, he’s ALI-I-IVE :||
Praise the Lord!

We need to escape reality for a bit. All of us. Hugs are good for this, cuddles even better. Love builds us up and strengthens us so we need not escape reality but are strengthened to face it better. And so we have a God of Infinite Love! Perfect love drives out all fear.

But human churches find that threatening, and want to restrict it. God loves you, they say, but you have to obey our rules. The post was inspired by this exchange on Violet’s blog. Francis has to condemn. “Wrong is still wrong,” he says, portentously. If we do not obey his rules, we are the bad people, the outsiders, and God’s love is for God’s church and not for us. But God’s love is for everyone. Some Catholics see that: the monk at Turvey Abbey was lovely. Carl Rogers saw it, using Love- “Unconditional positive regard” sounds more scientific, but only just- as a therapeutic tool.

George Fox saw it: I saw, also, that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that also I saw the infinite love of God, and I had great openings. “Openings” here means new understandings, opened to him by the Spirit.

We should not be parsimonious guardians of God, doling out short measure of Love to those who measure up. Starving, then, they turn to escapes from reality. God’s love is for everyone! Aged 21 I wrote this verse.

Her husband, drunk, has cut his thumb, and covered the room in blood.
She sits with her head in her hand and greets, the poor bag’s given in.
Who can blame her for craving the warmth and peace of the local loony-bin?
But we have to stand on our own two feet, or stew in our own crud.
In the senile ward they make her bed
The dying amid the unquiet dead.

The kids have been pissing him off all day, he can’t take it any more.
That pool attendant laughs at him as the kids just mess about
So he burns his throat with The Famous Grouse and it blows his brains right out
“Din wanno be a nurse” he moans, as he staggers through the door
The four-year-old stands o’er the prostrate fool
and the pool attendant thinks, “Uncool”.

I cared, but did not know what to do. That stops some people caring.

Rublev Saviour

4 thoughts on “A “Bad act”?

  1. Poor Francis, obsessing about things he claims makes him feel sick. I have to wonder what he’s like in real life, what he does with his days. I think he knows he hates. Some of them genuinely don’t understand the difference.

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    • From his blog, he “served in but did not retire from the [US] military”. He is married. He is not a Catholic Voice type, disapproving of those who use the Latin rite. Little else about his life emerges.

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  2. Clare, my eldest sister was a chronic alcoholic, and violent with it. She obviously had severe psychological problems. The family tried to help her as much as possible but she simply did not want help if it meant giving up the booze.

    My sister was what I have heard referred to as a “therapist killer”; someone who flits from one therapy to another, always looking for the therapist who will agree with them. Of course, they are never going to find them.

    I cannot say that the Jehovah’s Witnesses whose church my sister frequented were much use, particularly when they came to the family home and tried to lay the blame for my sister’s addiction at my parent’s feet. I marched them to the door and to this day I don’t know how I resisted throwing them out bodily.

    Neither were the Christian-based Al-Anon much use. They simply seemed to be saying follow the rules and “We’ll pray for you”, while not even attempting to get my sister to confront her problem or take personal responsibility for it. She avoided Alcoholics Anonymous like the plague, for the simple reason that they did try to get her to admit her addiction.

    My sister was found dead in her home in October 2001. Her body was in such a bad state that she had to be identified by dental records and we were not allowed to see the body or say goodbye.

    I don’t for one moment blame anyone of faith for my sister’s death. That too was her own personal responsibility. Through love, the family tried to help her (unfortunately my parents at time enabled her by giving her money), she did not want to be helped.

    The point here though is that simply saying “Here are the rules, follow them.” is not enough. It is way too simplistic. As ever, it seems to me the faithful take a black and white view of addiction, when it in fact has many, many facets, and no two cases are the same.

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