Alcoholism And The Worldwide Church Of God

Alcohol, as determined by most experts, is considered a drug. Within moderate consumption, it’s enjoyable, palatable, and relaxing. But to the person with the wrong type of inherited DNA, it can be poison. Alcoholism has now been classified an addictive illness, and the individual it’s no more to blame for their sickness than anyone who has diabetes, MS, or Alzheimer’s. The more the alcoholic drinks, the medical experts tell us (even though the patient is initially ignorant of the outcome), then the more the mitochondria that’s attached to the DNA becomes distorted, and the more the craving becomes.

After a while, the alcoholic is hooked, and it’s NOT just some simple case of “Just say no” (Sorry Nancy R, you’re wrong), or “Anyone can stop,” and it’s NOT some case of some self-righteous, “I can, you can . . . repent” type of thing. Those who pass such unqualified or self-righteous judgments have no real knowledge of the deep nature of this sickness. They’ve obviously never been to the edge of being “hooked,” or thrown right into suction of the alcoholic vortex.

A lot of people in Worldwide Church of God never had (or reached the zenith of) this problem, and there were indeed some in the hireling ministry who exhorted moderation in all things. There were some ministers who honestly did their super-best to help the problem (like Dale Hampton and others), but this didn’t stop the self indulgent leadership. There were, in fairness however, some, a very few in the leadership (repeat – VERY few) who were more like the Essenes. This early NT group were more interested in Christian “purity and cleanliness” than common sense. All such, conduct (which might have included drinking) was well regulated. A couple of the upper Worldwide Church of God leaders advocated: “No more than two glasses of wine a day.” But, why did anything need to be said, IF this was not already an overall problem? That “rule” itself indicates there was a major problem that needed to be addressed. Anyhow, who needs two glasses of wine a day? Try none.

The alcohol business is big all over the world today. In the United States, the amount of business that’s done is staggering. Each year, this industry does over one hundred Billion dollars – and that’s with a big “B” – in this country. The government takes seven Billion $ in taxes, so we needn’t ask as to why the government is so quiet about the topic. Amid rumors and reports, we have the observable facts that way too many of the Capitol Hill gang are either heavy drinkers or outright alcoholics. Remember one of our past House Speakers, “Tipsy” O’Neill? He’s dead. Has anyone wondered lately why so much of our current legislation is somewhat “smashed?”

On top of this, Madison Avenue just loves the alcohol business. Aside from what they themselves put away with biz lunches and dinners, etc., the lobbyist community drinks their fair share and derives multiple millions to keep the corridors of gurgling fermentation wide open. The latest reporting is that Madison Avenue makes a minimum of six hundred million ($600,000,000) a year in advertising from the alcohol business.

These are facts, as we have them, and this is NOT a condemnation of anyone’s drinking. These are the statistics of the world around us in which we live. This is NOT a criticism of what a person is, was, or will be. What people do with their own lives is their own business, and people can drink if they want. That’s anyone’s right. But, if there’s danger involved, then the warning signs ought to be clear. What is more important, is that when you pay money to an organization to “lead” you to the path of righteousness, then good, professional advice must be given, and professionally expected. If it’s not, then the membership are literally being extorted. The leadership have grievously let the membership down, and in the case of Worldwide Church of God, and many of their ex- leaders are now collecting generous paychecks in other cults, those cultmasters have actually conned the brethren.

While we have personally seen many of the membership in need of desperate help with alcoholism (and one typical testimony is now on the site at the end of my ALCOHOLISM article), at the same time we had a reputedly medical-malpracticing, over-guzzling, upper-ministry that conveniently ignored the problem. If that’s so, then what’s the congregation to do when it needs help? A major problem here was being disregarded. It was simply being discounted. When you have some members sinking into the alcoholic mire, and many of the leadership soaking themselves in drunken debauchery, then how can any of the flock be helped?

Those who are more professionally involved with the problem will tell you that there’s no cure for alcoholism. AA is reported to have only a 12% success rate, and that’s not enough. There are many sites to help, if and when the need arises. I understand that there are nutritional “fixes” for those who wish to go that route. One general site is below, and there are many other links to other areas.

This is truly a serious worldwide (pardon the pun) problem, a problem which is sponsored by profit, and a problem that Worldwide Church of God deliberately chose to ignore. We have the testimonials, and seen the damage to lives. Unless you’ve been in the middle of trying to help with this sickness, it is simply incomprehensible. More alcoholics, I’ve been told, die in detox than drug addicts coming through the same compulsive channels of craving.

Meanwhile – back at the Pasadena ranch – the cultmasters partied well into the night and beyond.

I’ve received many private letters on the subject, and for that reason, they’ll stay private. But many of these horror stories NEED to be told, and they may be told ANONYMOUSLY – much like the AA concept. No details need be given about the individual person, or area, or hireling. We’re trying to deal with a problem here, and sometimes sharing can help. And any letter about this problem will be posted anonymously.

. . . and of course, in so many other areas too. But so far we’ve heard nothing from the cultmasters. There have been no admissions, no APOLOGIES, no regrets, no shame, no responsibility, no sadness, no grief, no sorrow, no embarrassment, and seemingly . . . no guilt. This then, was a predominantly drunken, and “good time” leadership that once set the example for the membership to follow. This then was a current leadership that has now oozed its muck and poison into other splinter groups. This then, is a leadership that could have turned many people’s lives around for the better. This then, is a leadership that could have helped and counseled people from becoming the alcoholics as many now are. This then, is a leadership that could have helped save many lives, marriages, homes, families, and security. But they didn’t do any of the above.

This then, is a leadership that – in the words of F.D.R. – that will forever live in infamy.

If you’d like to contribute ANONYMOUSLY, then please email:

Email Responses Below


The minister came to my home because I had requested a “visit”. My “unconverted” husband had been becoming more and more abusive. My hopes were that maybe the minister from “God’s true church” could influence my husband to nicer to me and the children.

To my horror, this minister encouraged my husband to go and drink and for me to allow it and not to complain. My husband was a died in the wool ‘alcoholic’ and we had gone through all kinds of alcoholism counseling. I had counseled and counseled with the ministry in the past and knew that there was a file on us with the local minister. This was a new minister.

With that visit, my critical thinking began to awaken. Alcohol almost destroyed my life, and here this “man of god” was telling my alcoholic husband “how to drink”. I was outraged. The minister lost all credibility in my mind, and that was the beginning of the end of my stay in WWCg. It took a lot more than that to break the bondage, but that was the beginning of breaking of the chains.

Name withheld please.


Another thought.

This person who wrote anonymously in response to John O’s article is waiting for a “miracle” to save him from the booze. Based on the dates he gave, he is not a young man any more. I recommend that you or John O write him back and tell him to get his ass to AA now.

Screw the miracle–it ain’t likely gonna happen. The only thing that can save his very life is a support group and a healthy dose of the 12 Steps. Saved my ass in 85. They really do work.

John B.


Hi Ed:

Just recently, I remembered a story of the Alcohol and Worldwide Church of God connection that I thought might be of interest.

Years ago, when I was still a deacon, I learned that I was being considered for an LE.

One afternoon, after my regular work, I had to go to Pasadena to a meet at a full time elder’s home to deliver some paperwork. Dan C. was most cordial, invited me in, sat me down, and immediately poured me a shot of “Old Fitzgerald” 100 proof bourbon. He waited a minute or two before the effects took hold, then he started his little inquisition.

“Tell me,” he said, “how do you feel the work is going now?”

Since I knew my situation, but I was loyal (then) anyhow, I answered that one, and all the following questions correctly. But thinking about it later on, this deliberate, alcohol, probing methodology bugged me. I’d no sooner finished the shot, than he refilled it . . . his hand never left the bottle.

“And tell me,” he said further, “do you think that Mr. Armstrong is doing a good job?”

Another refill.

“And tell me,” he probed, “do you feel Mr. Armstrong’s overseas trips are productive?”

Another refill.

This went on and on, and I basically told him what he wanted to hear – all the good stuff about the Pasadena work, etc., yak, yak, yak. But eventually, I had to drive home, and politely refused any more of his pressure with the 100 proof. That stuff really packed a wallop. So I went into the kitchen and drank a couple of big glasses of water, so I could be Ok on the way home.

Much (actually years) later, I again thought about the incident. Is this one way they screen possible LE’s for the church? First, they check the tithing record (mine was good), and secondly – if they can – they try and loosen you tongue with alcohol to see if you’re “loyal.”

Some interview! Some church! Some hypocrisy! Some cult! Yukkk!

Best. John O.



People may want to avail themselves of Rational Recovery at

Dr. James Milam points out in “Under the Influence” that Alcoholics Anonymous has only a 12% recidivism rate, while Rational Recovery claims 70%.

Alcohol is a toxic poison, so it is important for those in the third and last stages to get competent medical help. They may need to be hospitalized for detoxification.

One of the concerns we should have about Alcoholics Anonymous is that the principle of the 12 step programs is that we are weak and must rely on a higher power or we cannot be successful. While I firmly believe in God for the miracles and goodness worked in my life, I do not believe we should assume that we are completely helpless and weak. That is what the Worldwide Church of God taught us. I see no sense in shooting ourselves in the foot by claiming we are too weak to do anything for ourselves. It is my observation that God only helps those who help themselves.

The truth is we can do lots of things for ourselves, and this is one of them. We don’t have to use other people as a crutch to overcome our addictions. We need to take ownership for our own lives and not give it over to others.

When we take responsibility for ourselves, we can achieve and overcome more than if we do things as an anonymous member of a whole flock of dumb sheep. When we do, we can build self-esteem through accomplishment.

Of course, it takes courage to step out and do things on your own. But then, taking courage and overcoming fear is the only real way to live a life of achievement.

Taking ownership is exactly what Rational Recovery is all about.



Dear Editor / John O.;

Something that has been overlooked in the posting on Alcoholism, is the affects it had on our children.

Who remembers “The Good[?] News” article: “Teach your children to drink”? This masterpiece taught us how to induce our young children to drink wine, beer, and other such, at the age of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 years old. [Could you get daddy a beer from the fridge? And, oh, son, you can have some too!]

The picture in mind is an alcoholic mother, having passed on her faulty genetics to her off-spring through her mitochondria, addicting her children to alcohol at such an early age, not just with the sanction of the Worldwise Church of Fraud, but with the Worldwide Church of God actually encouraging her and her husband to do so, in the interest of building a solid, god-fearing family as a basis of the foundation of church and country.

This was undoubtedly the doing of those Alcoholic leaders of the Worldwide Church of God who wanted to turn children into spiritual clones of themselves for the sake of the work and the future of god’s kingdom (a future of abused but pleasantly drunken sots in a hazy stupor, particularly at the Feast of Booze, picturing the future of their present state), raising drinking the height of godliness, seeking to make child prosel-lights (sic) two-fold children of hell in the image of themselves, and have accomplishing the deed, could subtly lead the same into an overindulged profligate life of hopeless guilt similar to their own–though much poorer (substitute wine spritzer for Dom Perrion)–doomed to be willing to contribute any amounts to their evil masters to atone for the sins for which they were not responsible, without ever understanding what was done to them: This has been their legacy.




Dear Editor:

I was reading the letter by “Douglas” about Rational Recovery and AA. I completely disagree with his take on Alcoholics Anonymous. I don’t know who Douglas is or what is his experience, but he apparently has not been a member of AA. I have. (See my article on alcoholism a few months back.)

Douglas states that AA has only a 12% recidivism rate. He seems to think that is bad. May I point out that the word “recidivism” refers to those who are repeat offenders! A 12% rate of recidivism (in anything!) is very, very good.

Personally, I doubt that AA’s recidivism rate is that low. The reason is that many people who attend AA meetings are there because a judge ordered them to attend. I saw dozens of people attend meetings by court order, and the minute they had complied with the terms of the court order they disappeared. The only person who is going to succeed in AA (or any other recovery program) is the person who wants to be helped.

Finally, Douglas completely misunderstands the concept of powerlessness. He writes the following:

” One of the concerns we should have about Alcoholics Anonymous is that the principle of the 12 step programs is that we are weak and must rely on a higher power or we cannot be successful. While I firmly believe in God for the miracles and goodness worked in my life, I do not believe we should assume that we are completely helpless and weak. That is what the Worldwide Church of God taught us. I see no sense in shooting ourselves in the foot by claiming we are too weak to do anything for ourselves. It is my observation that God only helps those who help themselves. ”

This is very misleading. Douglas makes it sound like we have to throw ourselves on the mercy of some other individual to save us. This is not the case. What he is referring to is Step 1 of the 12 steps. It’s been 15 years and I no longer remember the exact verbiage, but paraphrased, it goes something like this: “We came to believe (or understand) that we were powerless before alcohol…” (Other 12-step groups substitute their own substance or addiction for the word “alcohol”.)

I don’t know if Douglas has a drinking problem, or thinks he does. If not, then he is not qualified to criticize AA. But when you are an alcoholic–when you cannot control your drinking (as I could not in the early 80s), you are totally goddamned helpless! You may be strong as a bull in every other aspect of your life, but when it comes to booze, your testicles are not your own. If you think you can “control” it, you are lost. Your only hope is the realization that you are in over your head. You cannot save yourself. You cannot control yourself. You can pray and promise and swear never to drink again, but tomorrow you are still a slave.

The 12-step program works. It can save you. It saved me.

Why does it work? I don’t really know. But it does work. It has saved tens of thousands of lives, including mine. Maybe God really does have something to do with it, I don’t know. What is important is that the alcoholic believes that some “higher power” is involved. And remember, the vast majority of these people have no “Christian” background. Douglas seems to think that AA is another cult. Well, if you want to treat it like one, I suppose it can provide that disservice for you, but of itself AA is not a cult. It is a program that works.

As for God helping those who help themselves–well, when an alcoholic finally hits the bottom, when he finally breaks down and admits that he has a problem–then he is helping himself! Indeed, AA cannot help anyone who is not willing to help himself.

As for Rational Recovery, I have never heard of it. If it works, that’s wonderful. But don’t trash AA. It also works. And it is not another religious cult.

John B.



In regards to the letter from John B. in support of AA,

I agree AA is a very helpful “tool” for regaining one’s rightful place in “main stream society” as Bill Wilson, co-founder stated. However in recent years , as “enterprising Treatment Centers” have blended psychotherapy with the “spiritual” program of AA, it has become less effective. One Thing for any “died in the wool” AA member to consider though, is that the first 9 of the 12 steps of AA are written as past tense.

I was a member of AA for 7 years or so.

Having been employed as an Addiction Therapist for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 13 years, I have come to understand alcoholism as a Behavior problem and definitely not a “disease”. During most of my 20 years in the Worldwide Church of God, I drank alcoholicly as did I’m sure about 10-15% of the other members (national average).

Treatment centers and even AA, as they have allowed treatment centers to influence them, have programmed many an unwary individual into believing they continue to be powerless over some in-curable disease (never Bill Wilson’s intent). By the way, the word “recovered” is in the Big Book of AA 22 times as opposed to “recovering” being mentioned twice. In short, the alcoholic does not become powerless over alcohol unless he “chooses” to drink it. An individual who is “powerless” over and inanimate object has much deeper seated psychological problems. Again, quoting the AA “Big Book”, “alcohol was but a symptom of our problem”.

Finally, I say if AA works, use it, if RR works, use it. If SMART Recovery, Men for Sobriety, Women for Sobriety, SOS, Alcoholics Victorious or any other support group assists one to achieve and maintain sobriety, by all means latch on to them. But remember in the end, it will be the individual who will stand on his own two feet and declare victory over “his behavior” and dependence on a substance or group, i.e.. wcg to make him whole.



I remember the pages in the old Bible Correspondence Course (which was stopped before I completed it) there was a section which proved Jesus drank alcohol. Before joining the Worldwide Church of God, I remember asking a minister if this did mean that alcohol was permitted, as I was raised a church environment where alcohol was evil. Definitely before joining, there was only the indication that drinking in moderation was permitted.

Once inside, it appeared that the abuse of alcohol was glossed over. Although we gave up the ways of the world, one’s masculine prowess and culture was based on the quantity and quality of his indulgence.

Two incidents come to mind. I shared a house at one stage with several fellows. One, in particular, displayed symptoms which, in conversation with a counselor, were apparently classic symptoms of substance abuse. While this, and several other problems were brought up with a minister, as far as I know, nothing was done. I sold him a car (and was never paid) which, in a few weeks, was smashed, and he was arrested for high blood alcohol. After his hearing, he told me that he was found guilty “on a technicality.” I joked to myself that the technicality was being drunk. Years later, I was told the Worldwide Church of God told him that he should seek professional help to deal with his problem.

The “laws of God and the laws of man” appeared to allow consumption of alcohol to override legislation. The minister I originally asked about drinking gave me the impression that “legal blood alcohol level” was a man-imposed restriction which he was not happy with. At a church function, held in a public school, a few of us grabbed a can or glass and went out on a balcony, it still being daylight. One of the organizers was angry with us -didn’t we know that it wasn’t permitted to drink alcohol on school property? The answer -get inside so no one would see us! I only wish that I would have said that it wasn’t permitted, I wouldn’t drink at all at the school. But I just went inside.



I just finished reading the article by John O. entitled “Alcoholism and the Worldwide Church of God.” I will add these thoughts:

I don’t want to consider myself an alcoholic, but I know I am. I was born into Worldwide Church of God or virtually, for the first feast I attended was at the ripe old age of two. I never drank in my youth, except to take a sip of beer from my dad’s can from time to time when I was growing up. I was not exposed to alcoholism in my immediate family. In later years, however, I learned that my uncle was an alcoholic. He committed suicide in 1991.

I learned about “drinking” from the brethren in Worldwide Church of God. After church services one day, we were invited to a member’s home and offered beer or a rum and coke. After a time, we became close friends with this couple. We were invited often. We would drink before dinner, during dinner, and after dinner. I soon learned that when I entertained, it meant having plenty of alcohol available.

Also, during that time I became close friends with our minister and his wife. They liked to drink, too. His wife especially. We would have ladies’ nights where we would go to our favorite restaurant. Of course, this included drink. I remember this minister telling me (he and I were having a confrontation about the validity of something he had said) that everything that came out of his mouth was from God. I told him I doubted that was true because his wife had told us one night while having dinner (and wine) that she had to be careful how she used sex because she could get anything she wanted. So, my question to this minister was how would we know when his wife was using sex to get what she wanted or when was God leading him? He was, of course, indignant. He turned to his wife and asked if she had said that. She said she had not. Luckily for me, there was another woman in attendance that night that was willing to state that she had said such a thing. A few days later, received a phone call from his wife. She was crying. She did not say that she was sorry that she had lied, she just said that she “had been corrected.”

The first time I ever got drunk was at the Feast. I was a guest of this minister and wife at their hotel in *******. They poured Southern Comfort and 7-Up like water. Three rounds of that was too much for me. I spent the night hugged to the commode and with the realization that I was drunk.

My husband had started attending Worldwide Church of God against his will when he was a teen. His parents made him come initially, but then it just became a habit. Consequently, when we married, he was not as staunch of a “believer” as I. I was the one who believed that we had to do everything the church told us — one of which was believing the ministers were grossly overworked and needed help from lay members. This included babysitting their children, mowing their grass, cleaning their homes, washing their cars, staining their patio furniture, maintaining their heating/cooling systems, etc. etc. I became involved in all of this and was rewarded with my name being mentioned from the pulpit. In the meantime, I was empty, sad, frustrated, and lacked peace. I could not understand why I could not feel joy. I began to be depressed. More and more as the years went by, I was depressed. Not only did the pressures of the church make life difficult, but my husband could not seem to stay in one place for very long. We moved 12 times in 20 years.

I counseled with the minister about being depressed and frustrated. He told me the reason for this was because my husband was doing a proper job as the leader of the family. Many a day we would sit and discuss my husband’s faults. I grew to blame him for everything. I blamed him because he wasn’t faithful in tithing, I blamed him because he didn’t study the Bible as I thought he should, etc. etc. The sadder and more depressed I got, the more I turned to alcohol for “relief.” It seemed to numb the intense pain inside of me. I didn’t realize it, but I was forming a habit. Hardly a day went by without a drink. When we moved to ***** in the early 90s, I was really getting out of control. I thought maybe I needed a part-time job. That didn’t help. I just continued to drink after I got home.

I counseled with the minister in my new area about depression. He told me the Bible didn’t say very much about depression. The one thing he could remember was that Saul had been depressed and that his mood had come from demonic influence. I related to him that I was drinking heavily. He told me not to go to AA because most people came out of their program with a smoking problem. I was to pray about it.

After 20 years and three suicide attempts, my husband had had enough and our marriage ended. I quit attending services. I received no financial or emotional support from my family. I was an embarrassment to them. My father said he was ashamed to speak my name. My mother sent me a letter outlining how much she was disappointed in me and of my damnation in the eyes of God.

Now I was totally alone in the care of my daughters. I knew I couldn’t drink and work and provide for them. I felt, however, that I needed to start attending church again, and went back to Worldwide Church of God. By this time, Worldwide Church of God had started making drastic changes in their doctrine. I wasn’t counseled to see if I were worthy to come back, I was just able to start attending. After a few weeks, I start dating a man who had been attending since the 80s. We were married within 6 months. I felt real hope for a better life.

I was to learn that my new husband was a heavy drinker and that when he drank he became a man filled with rage and darkness. Initially, I drank with him and made excuses for him to my daughters. But it got ugly, fast. Once, during the first year of our marriage, he removed himself to the basement to carry out a drunken and drug-filled stupor for a week. Now I was getting a look at what I could be like under the influence. I was terrified. I no longer joined him. Now he taunted me with “judging him” and being “self-righteous.” Everyone has “things they’re working on.” I found out the reason for his first divorce was NOT the fact that he had a new-found faith, but rather that he had put his ex-wife in the emergency room. I was to find out many such things in the next few months. He left me three times in the four years that we were married. Each time without financial support. The second time I took him back only upon the urging of the minister to preserve the marriage union. The last time he left, I did not.

I am now ** remarried for the third time. I have an absolutely wonderful husband, provider, and friend. We are truly compatible and very happy. I was beginning to think that joy and happiness were not for me or that I was incapable of loving or being loved by anyone. All is not well however. My parents will have nothing to do with me because I am “living in adultery.” I have been excluded from family gatherings for almost a year now. I have been suspended from services at UCG in ********* because my husband and I did not fill out their form requesting their permission to remarry. (We were given a reception and wished well by the UCG in *******.) In order to be considered “in the eyes of God” we must agree to the scrutiny and painful resurrection of our lives. And so, we go on.

Rum. I don’t drink to numb pain these days, or at least I don’t think I do. It’s habit. I can’t imagine not being without it. I don’t know what to do. It is embarrassing and humiliating. I know my husband would support me in whatever I had to do. I hate to be a disappointment to him. He thinks so much of me and believes in me. I don’t want to ruin what’s left of the rest of my life.



I thought about this for a while before I decided to write to you about my experience with alcohol in the WWCG. I think their was a lot of misunderstanding about alcohol abuse and very little compassion from the ministers, at times. Most those time were when I needed them the most.

I did not understand why I couldn’t stop drinking, now I do, I felt helpless, people were told not to listen to me, I was crying out for help in every way I could. I had a husband who at times encouraged me to drink as it was a big turn on to him to see me get (down and dirty). I was told by a minister to just stop! Sure, just stop, put the bottle down and don’t pick it up again. Wish that worked on my Father, four sisters and many, many relatives of mine.

I grew up in it, bathed in it, was confirmed in it, sexually abused in it, and I almost died in it. I felt very alone, and helpless. I was disfellowshipped because of it, disowned by friends in the church because of it, yet totally ignored when I asked for the kind of help I really needed. I once asked a minister why we didn’t have groups like AA in the church and was told that they didn’t think other people would like it to be know that they were in the same boat. Was not that the reason we were all there, we were sinners and needed help?

I felt like I was a helpless bum, and yet I knew many who did have my problem, just they got away with it.

It was not just this church that I had problems with, when I didn’t get good results with this church I reached out for help from others and got responses like, well I have got meetings with the teens this week and sports night such and such night, maybe we can get together. When???? I was dying and you were worried about sports.

Well, I thank the great God of this Earth that he did help me, I got very sick and almost died, but he came threw and now I listen to others like me, I help them, not degrade them, or preach, as I know one has to walk with them, not before them, or behind them.

As far as AA, it never did help me, I just heard a lot of gossip, a lot of fun being made of some poor person pouring his heart out, thinking it will never go beyond that point, yet it does and pretty soon everyone in town knows how many men you slept with or what you did for a drink, et. I have been hit on by their great sponsors that are supposed to help you, yet cant wait for a call at 2 in the morning from the near by bar, to take you home and take advantage of your poor little drunk self.

Yes, I did resent a lot of the attitudes of people in the church, but feel they are changing for the better now, opening up, looking up instead of down. God is the head of my life, not dictators and he is molding us all, letting us walk in others shoes to understand them better.




I just finished reading this piece and would like to add a few comments based on my experiences.

I had listened to the World Tomorrow broadcast and read the literature since I was 15, and knew it was OK to drink. I elected not to, and for the next nine years did not drink (even when I spent 3 years in the Army and went to Vietnam). I was accepted to AC Pasadena in 1968 at the advanced age of 24.

The week before the school year began we had an assembly one evening in the gymnasium where Mr. Rod Meredith was introduced, and he had something to tell all the incoming students. It was in regard to the social taboos of the religious world, and one taboo in particular–it was “BOOOOOOZE” (shouted in a way only that man could shout). This was introduced to us in a very lighthearted way, like it was funny. All the kids laughed. He explained that it wasn’t wrong to drink, and there was the right way to drink. The Ambassador way, if you will. That speech was the icebreaker for the uninitiated, and a way to prepare them for what was to follow. He didn’t want any upset freshmen to get excited when they saw their dormmates having a drink. In fact, each dormitory had its own refrigerator where the students (of lawful drinking age) could keep their liquor. I, for instance, was in 360A Grove street dorm for men. There were about 12 of us in 360A, and we had our own refrigerator. 360B, 360C etc. each had their own refrigerators, and about the same number of occupants.

Once Meredith gave the speech, that was the go ahead for the students to get their supplies of alcohol. I think the school didn’t want any liquor around for the arriving freshmen students who didn’t yet understand the Ambassador way. Of course, if you weren’t 21 you still had no problems obtaining liquor. You could always get a beer or a glass of wine from a friend. I remember there was a certain winery that was a favorite. Somebody had a list of their products, and you could order from him when he made the run.

Drinking was not only acceptable at AC, it was openly encouraged. For example, I remember being in a class or a club meeting where the instructor told us that if you are really tense about a social situation, go ahead and have a drink because it would relax you. If you had a date with a good looking coed and were a little nervous, have a drink and things would go better. In Japanese Language Club (a dinner meeting affair which met once a month) sake was served. If you don’t know what sake is, it lies somewhere between 151 rum and rocket fuel. I got plastered, and my date (where are you Sharon?) laughingly guided me back to the dorm as the sidewalk tilted crazily.

But my best use of booze was was in speech class. We had to give six speeches per semester, and I wanted to do well on this one (I was a rotten public speaker). I had the hour before class free to practice the speech, so I took a quart of malt liquor into a prayer closet and consumed it rapidly while going over the material. I was ready. I got to class in the nick of time, and was the first to speak. I went through the speech in a very–shall I say “uninhibited”–manner. After I finished the class critiqued my efforts. I still remember my astonished classmates saying things like “major improvement”, “good gestures” and “I’ve never seen Bob so animated”. No shit. But the best part was that this class was run by David Albert and he never caught on. Up yours, Albert.

So, when I left Ambassador I took one thing with me that I did not bring–an addiction to alcohol. It was to be a cruel master to me for many years afterwards, but I overcame it, no thanks to the Cult.

Bob Matthews


My Name is “Big Jack” & I’m an alcoholic.

I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am neither ashamed or proud of that fact but very thankful. Unlike others I’ve read here I remain a member not because my life is out of control & unmanageable but to maintain the manageability & control that God has given to me through AA. If I have taken what God has so freely given me & not been willing to give back, I would be the same miserable person I was before as a drunk.

I looked for, and thought I’d found, God for 30 + years all the while practicing my alcoholism freely. I became a member of the WCG in 1966 & started working for Ambassador College less than a year later. Unlike others that learned to drink from parents or the church I brought my well established habit along with me. I actually slowed way down during the first year or two until, while counseling for marriage I was told I was probably bound to my first wife that I had married illegally in Mexico at the age of 17. So living in this unnatural state I returned to my always available friend, alcohol.

That is when my double life started, one of being a nice fellow working for the College as a “eunuch” for the work’s sake , the other being an alcoholic lecher, practicing my disease in the dark rooms & bars mainly in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. As time went on the fear of the unpardonable sin started beating up my emotions & what was left of my spiritual life.

Finally, after 6 years of waiting for the final decision to come down from the “doctrinal committee” with my drinking continuing to get greater I got the news I was bound. Even though my wife( who waited single for me all this time) & I left the church on our own my drinking took a turn for the worse. I drank for almost 40 years & lived through it. But my disease & I took prisoners, my family & loved ones. No physical abuse but a lot of emotional & not being there when I was needed.

I never blamed God for my disease. For one reason, I didn’t know I had a disease. I just wanted to drink & live in such a way that wouldn’t hurt people, especially my family. I finally decided to try AA. It was a rude awakening. These people looked like they had real problems & I got the point that they weren’t going to be able to teach me how to drink “normally”. It sounded like they were telling me my only hope was to quit drinking………at least for today. But I knew I needed help so I would give it a try. My first step to sanity was to accept the fact that “I was powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable”.

I went through the steps & they seemed to be working. In the remote area of Bullhead City, Arizona, I remained sober as a functioning member of AA & things seemed good. But eventually I let a few misunderstandings & personalities get in the way. I took a drink and the hell started all over again, at a very accelerated pace. Three years later after a lot more pain to me & my loved ones I went humbly back to the rooms that had saved my life before. This time I had to let go of my old ideas, including my beliefs in God. When I was willing to do that God gave me a brand new life including Him & His Son, Jesus. I haven’t had a drink now for over 4 years & if I keep it in today I won’t find the need to drink, … I pray to God that I die sober & still helping as many other drunks trudge a wonderful new life of sobriety. Unlike ES above when I here some negative things being said in the periphery of a meeting I leave. I would tell her to get a good sponsor that really cares for her life. They are there but sometimes you have to look hard. Eventually you will have more to offer than what your needs have been. Be willing to share & give. That’s when the miracles start to become obvious.

I have found, for me, I can’t function in organized religion. All religious love is conditional & that being the doctrinal belief system that divides us all. I am loved unconditionally by God & believe that’s because it was done once, for all & it depends on what Jesus did & not what I do. But I don’t demand one other person believe like I do. I better not or I wouldn’t have many friends. I know I don’t know it all. But everything I believe allows me to fellowship with you, soberly. I hope yours allows you all to fellowship with me. In most cases I think not. Bottom line, without sobriety I would be the enemy of you all & myself.

In closing:

“God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference”.

One Reply to “Alcoholism And The Worldwide Church Of God”

  1. Several decades ago a WCG minister combined with other churches and local organizations to work with alcoholics (he himself was an admitted alcoholic) When Herbert Armstrong found out about it they forbade him from continuing on with the group. The church has always denied it had an alcohol problem. How can the only true church have something so sinful in their midst?

    At the Pasadena Feast site there was a ministerial dining room set aside for the elite ministers who could not eat with members seated 20 feet away in the dining room of the Student Center. The ministerial dining room had a bar stocked with at least 20-30 different kinds of liquor, wines and beers. I know, I had to help buy it all a couple of times. We also had to make up gift baskets for the top leaders in the ministry filled to the brim with exotic cheeses, meats, crackers, candies and bottles of wine. The baskets cost $150-200.00. Meanwhile just several feet away were poor church members who brought sack lunches because they could not afford go out to lunch. One minister even dared to bring a family in with him and caught all kinds of hell for doing it. You could see the shocked look on the members faces when they saw the spread laid out in front of them.

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