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Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Monk Talking About His Alcoholism and Recovery

Here is a fascinating podcast, which he calls a 'travelog' of hell.

Monk Cosmas is a member of the Monastery of St. John of Shanghai in Manton, CA, under Abbot Meletios (Webber).

From his presentation, his sobering up happened through both the Church and the 12 Steps nearly simultaneously, which is something that is rarebut starting to happen more frequently.  Fr. Cosmas represents a growing number of sober alcoholics who have found the Orthodox Faith and grown significantly because of his experience of sobriety through the Church.

The Orthodox Church here in the US tends more to be a haven for intellectual converts running from objections to their former denominations or people engaging in sentimentalism.  So, fasting and prayer become 'rules' they have to abide by rather than life-saving practices that produce real virtues and overcome personal shortcomings.  Such folks use the Church to excuse their bad behavior, or at least camouflage it.  Sure, this can be true of an addict or alcoholic as well, except whereas the 'normal' person merely becomes annoying when he forgoes the real spiritual work of the Church, the addict or alcoholic very often relapses and dies.

Monk Cosmas deals with a world that average folks in the Church right now never want to acknowledge.  They want their liturgies predictable and aesthetically to their tastes, and they want the Sacraments made available according to their busy schedules.  However, the spiritual world is hardly so mechanical and pleasing.  It is messy, difficult, and occasionally comes with unpleasant smells (no, I'm not talking about cheap incense).

Christians would do better to 'get' the fact that the Church is a life-or-death experience, not just an option.  Many of us are wagering our lives on the Church, and the One who dwells therein.

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