Maybe I don’t need to know the “why”…

A friend with many years sober ended his own life recently.

I just found out last week and it shook me up. I knew him somewhat, but since we were both recovering from drugs and alcohol, we did have a connection.

He was a friend of the family. We had worked side by side a number of times helping out at family events and repair projects at the property of one of our senior-citizen family members. We chatted at length about our journeys to find sobriety and remain there.

12-step programs helped him find sobriety at first. He then left them behind in favour of an obscure religious philosophy he claimed fulfilled his recovery needs.

Yet, somehow, he drove many miles to a remote location and put a gun to his head and ended it all. Which leaves me wondering how much recovery he really had? Or what stronghold had he left unbroken? We won’t likely ever know. Family members felt strongly he had relapsed months prior to his sad end.

This event prompted me to attend my AA home group that I had not been to in several weeks. Part of my motivation was that I clearly did not want to get caught in a similar drift away from my recovery such that I might go down a hopeless road of my own and come to a tragic end.

In spite of all of the things I dislike about how AA is practiced in my community, I felt strongly that I was where I needed to be that night and felt good that I had gone.

I listened through and filtered out the blow-hard AA “preachers” who continue to try to change a collection of relevant experiences and effective suggestions into a legalistic religion full of ‘musts’.

Somehow, in spite of so many things I don’t care for or agree with, I know I have a place in these rooms and in this program.

Just for today, I have stopped asking why. In the light of today’s sobriety, the why just doesn’t matter.




About Chaz

Husband, father, brother, son, friend. Sober member of AA. Grateful for the life God gave me and for the happy struggle of recovery.
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12 Responses to Maybe I don’t need to know the “why”…

  1. Caddo Veil says:

    Oh sweet nephew, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend–a tragedy for sure. I’m lifting his family and friends up in prayer. I lift up extra prayers, wrapped in Hugs for you–the struggle is harder during some seasons of our life, than others, and when there is a dramatic trigger such as what you’ve shared here. Know that God our Father is holding you close in His love and grace–that His promises for provision are assured, and that they include more JOY. God bless you abundantly–much love, Auntie Caddo

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Auntie…. I am doing fine though. I had not seen him in maybe a year. My heart too goes out to his family. He was his mothers only son and sisters only brother. Thanks for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers.

  2. Debbie says:

    Chaz –
    I know you’re hurting and I’m so very sorry. Along with Caddo, I’m praying for your friend’s family and friends – and for you.
    I’m thankful you’ve found a place in those rooms.
    You have a place in my heart, too.

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Debbie…. I am fine now. It was shocking to hear… and I am more concerned for his immediate family than anyone else. I too am thankful for my place in the rooms. I had a good debrief with a believer friend after last nights meeting who had recently lost his only brother to our disease. He too finds a place in the rooms in spite of any disagreements. Thanks for your comforting thoughts and comments.


  3. Chaz I understand, I recently learned that a friend of mine took his life. I met him a few years ago. We spent many a saturday morning together, solving the problems of existence. We shared a common problem, but he also suffered from bipolar and other things. It seems we often suffer from many demons, not just addiction. His recovery was uniquely his own, as is mine and as is yours. What worked for me was not enough for my friend. We don’t always know what battles our friends are fighting. I always cringe when i hear people talk about 12steps as being the solution to all of our problems or 12steps being the only way. There are many ways to recover and there are often many things to recover from. Sometimes we are fortunate to treat them all and on occasion somethings go untreated. I am always open about my struggles with depression and anxiety and the need for medical help. Not everything is fixed miraculously, sometimes the miracle is being shown the proper treatment or being lead to the right doctor. Your friend was likely fighting other battles. Today he doesn’t have to fight those battles. I believe we come to this life to have certain experiences, when we are done we leave, only to return again to have new experiences. He will be back and perhaps you’ll have another chance to know him. Be well and always take care of yourself.

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Rich…. thanks for the comments.

      Agreed on many points. We simply do not know the depth or breadth of what others, or even ourselves, are going through. Nor do we know the power of the strongholds that fortress our deepest pains and dysfunctions.

      I also agree that no two of us need exactly the same thing…. and we certainly don’t all need 12-step programs. I have a number of friends who are clean and sober not having set foot in a 12-step room. Do you have Baskin & Robbins “31 Flavours” Ice Cream shops in your area? Reason I ask is that a good friend once made the simple observations…. “Baskin & Robbins makes 31 flavours for a reason… we all need and want something a little different”.

      Thanks again for adding to the dialogue.



  4. Debbie says:

    Praying with you for your friend’s family, Chaz, and for you. That is a shock and just something we never are ready to hear. I’m glad that you went to a meeting . . .and came out dealing with this better. God bless you and keep you close to Him always!

  5. Heidi says:

    Chaz– Thank you for sharing your pain with us. Your sincerity and vulnerable post touches my heart. Please know that I’m praying for you and for your family and his family. I’m sorry it happened but I’m glad you wrote about it so we can pray.

    • Chaz says:

      Thanks Heidi…. we are moving through it. I did not know the invidual super well and had not seen him in close to a year so it was not as impacting as losing someone closer. But obviously it was shocking and upsetting. Especially when I think of his immediate family and how they are feeling. The suicide was gruesome…. it involved a gun.

      And as you have learned as well, God can take the most heinous situations and synthesize good out of them. Since we cannot change what has happened, we are best to move on and take value from it so we can help others through such things and avoid the same.



  6. Gospel Restoration says:

    Very sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I will say a prayer for you and all involved. Thank you for sharing this so vulnerably and beautifully.

    • Chaz says:

      Thank you GR. One of the purposes of my blog…. and a reason keep it somewhat anonymous is so I can be very open and honest. Thanks for your prayer and encouragement.

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