[I]t was a bit unnerving to receive the call from the Delaware State police.   My mind reeled in an instant in and out of a thousand places.  Most of these instantaneous mental locations involved my own history and darkness.  I wondered silently, “is it possible that some misbehavior from twenty some years ago had rightfully caught up to me”?  I had not knowingly ever traveled to Delaware, I was known though to travel in an interstate way while in a black out.  It is odd where one’s mind can go and what can be considered in a half second pause of a phone conversation.  As the conversation actually continued I was asked if I knew a Paul Molthen.  I answered that yes I did.  Are you a relative sir?, followed.  The information stopped flowing as I honestly answered the last question.  All I was to actually learn was that “Paul had been in an emergency”.  I asked her if Paul was still alive but was declined any more information.

It does not take a whole bunch of mental math to come to the understanding that the story will not turn out well when out of the blue you receive a phone call from the Delaware State police.  Obviously they had come into possession of Paul’s cell phone and had been running down the list of his contacts in an attempt to get in touch with a relative.   Just a few short days earlier I had received a text message from Paul informing me that he was headed for Massachusetts as a job with UPS awaited him.  He thanked me for our friendship and prayers, he joked a bit, he praised my children.  I remember feeling a bit uneasy reading the text, as there was a tone of finality to it.   I also recall whispering a short prayer as I responded, asking Paul to be careful and make some wise choices.  I did not hear again from Paul.  It was confirmed by many this last Saturday that Paul was in fact dead.  The cause and or reason was not easy to pin down as the stories being passed around the kitchen were numerous and varied.  On the way home I received a call from Paul‘s on again, off again, most recently off girlfriend that Paul had committed suicide.  I was shocked, not by the news of his death; more the understanding that Paul had taken his own life absolutely knocked the air from me.

I ask myself often why was it that I got this thing we call recovery?  Why is it that while Paul and I drank in a very familiar and similar way that God saw fit to allow me to become and remain sober?  I think it would be a fact to state that every person who drinks in an alcoholic manner has at one time or another considered the path that Paul ultimately took.  The thought typically is to escape the fear, dread and self-loathing.  One adds the incorrect idea that the way of life we find ourselves in cannot change and a recipe for devastating tragedy is born.

I do not want to be preachy or maudlin but I will tell you when I hear the news that a fellow alcoholic takes his or her own life I weep at the loss.  I have also come to better understand the closing of most meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, when we would ask and be asked to pray for the alcoholic who still suffers.  I would ask that we all take a moment and do just that.  Pray for our friends who suffer from this deadly disease.  In this time of prayer, let us also listen; listen for how He would have us come alongside.