The First Fairy Tale
Dale K. Brown
With the problems of creation so imaginatively solved, all contradicting opinions stood starkly revealed as a simple lack of faith. Fundamentalists everywhere heaved a collective sigh of relief and many of them got on with the spiritually uplifting business of doggedly serving an angry god who was broke. But growing numbers of faithful found the answers just a bit too contrived. Many in the middle and upper classes of society were leading materially successful lives at this time, so heaven as a means of escape from an unsatisfactory earthly existence was generally unnecessary.
Theirs was a kinder, gentler creation requiring a kinder, gentler creator. Because of these and other factors, there were mass defections from the stolid ranks of hard-bitten Christian soldiers. These defectors weren't cowards or traitors, however. They were conscientious objectors, avoiding the draft of a war they no longer believed in. As such, they sought asylum in more peaceful beliefs rather than joining the other side.
The laid back god of the Unitarians was embraced by many of these converts. The rolls of the Christian Scientists were similarly enlarged, as were those of the Latter Day Saints. In response to this exodus, many mainstream Protestant churches voted their traditionally harsh god out of office and elected a more amicable Chief Executive. The trend was clear; there would be no more condemnation without representation. God was either going to become a more benevolent tyrant or suffer the fate of George the Third!
For a significant portion of the disenchanted, however, and especially the young, all forms of conventional religion appeared fatally flawed. Many of them dropped out altogether and sought sanctification in chemical sacraments and/or strange beliefs which had either lost their respectability, like astrology, or were inventive mixtures of old myths and new, such as New Age, or were by products of their need to detoxify from all the chemicals they'd ingested; the religion of addiction.
Are you an alcoholic? Have you ever wanted to be an alcoholic? Or have you just fooled around on the fringes? A sort of light petting social drinker?
If you are always the non-designated driver for the evening, chances are you've got a problem. If you've ever drank more than three beers in a single day, if you ever drink alone, if you've ever taken a straight shot because you really needed a belt, A.A. may be your only hope of salvation.
Like any religion, there are inevitable meetings to attend, but in some ways it's more like a surprise party because you never know who will show up to preach. Evening services are usually opened by some nameless, nondescript individual who solemnly advances to the podium and announces to the shock and surprise of no one, "Hi. My name is Bill. I'm an alcoholic!" After this stirring introduction, the suspense is nearly unbearable as one miserable peckerwood after another steps to the confessional mike to recount horrifying details of the black insanity their lives became after that first innocent (but deadly) encounter with old John Barleycorn.
As the evening progresses, these testimonials drag relentlessly on till every newly discovered alcoholic in the room is unmasked and the benediction pronounced. The format of A.A. was soon bootlegged by every up and coming addictive disorder group known to society, and as soon as new habituations were discovered, they were added to the list. But it wasn't a religion one could be proud of apparently because whether it was narcotics, gamblers, or lovers, the surname was always anonymous.
Addiction became a way of life for friends and neighbors. So much so that the non-addicted began to feel left out. Not knowing there was a loneliness anonymous, some actually began attending meetings for habits they didn't even have. It was as if the pathway to hell had become the highway to heaven. They even had their own brand of tele-evangelists. Recovering addicts frequented popular daytime talk shows violating, at least in principal one would think, their anonymity. But the M.C.'s seemed oblivious to these contradictions. Besides, it was good for their ratings.
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