This podcast features an interview with Derreck Bennett, author of Addictus: A Nonbeliever’s Path to Recovery. In this newly published book, Derreck provides an honest account of his transformation from theistic belief to atheism, and from chronic alcoholism to sobriety. It’s an inspiring story that shows recovery is available to everyone and possible to anyone.
Derreck grew up in a family that practiced an unorthodox form of Christianity that takes literally the bible verse John 11:26: “and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” Derreck and his mother believed they would never experience death if they accepted Christ fully. His father, on the other hand, was less enthusiastic with accepting this belief, which was a great concern to Derreck and his mother—a concern that grew more serious when Derreck’s father was diagnosed with cancer.
After much pleading from Derreck and his mother, his father finally accepted this belief. Much relieved the family was certain that Derreck’s father wouldn’t die from his cancer. Unfortunately, cancer ultimately took Derreck’s father, which tore his family apart and set Derreck on a quest to learn the truth, a quest that eventually led him to conclude that he’s an atheist.
Alcohol enters into Derreck’s life during his senior year in college. He gets drunk for the first time, and it’s all downhill from there. Before he realizes it, he has a serious physical addiction to alcohol and eventually finds himself in treatment.
While in treatment, Derreck received the devastating news that his mother died in an automobile accident. This set off a difficult time, he relapsed and found himself in treatment again. While in treatment he received some exposure to AA, but couldn’t tolerate it because of the religious nature of the program. Though AA is not for him, he doesn’t discourage participation for those who find it helpful. In fact, he was able to find some good in AA that he’s been able to incorporate into his life.
Derreck’s sobriety is enhanced and strengthened through maintaining a network of support from good friends who support his desire to remain abstinent from alcohol. The following passage is taken from his book and describes his approach to recovery.
Through it all, the ups and downs, the good times and the bad, I’ve stayed strong. Not to say that there haven’t been moments of temptation. But when they arise, all I have to do is play the tape forward, conjuring up those painful memories from the past and recalling what is in store for me if I give in. Equally important is finding the courage to reach out to someone, whether I want to or not, during my times of need. Having close friends, a network of support, is instrumental. And, above all, recognizing that I am not powerless, but I do possess the deep, inner strength—the will and resolve—to do he right thing when time calls for it, no matter how hard it may be. That strength is within you. It is within me. And it is profoundly reinforced by the love and support that is available to all of us, just by reaching out.
I hope you enjoy this podcast. It was a pleasure to speak with Derreck. He’s a fascinating person with a great deal of passion for life. He has an interest in comparative religion and enjoys working on his Facebook Page, Heresium. If you enjoy history and learning the truth about the origins of religious belief, I would highly recommend Heresium.
Addictus: A Nonbeliever’s Path to Recovery is available in Kindle format at Amazon.