I was already a Christian and already a cult member when I joined Al-Anon. Accepting that I was powerless was as easy as breathing. Believing only a God could save me was too. I already had the first three steps down when I crutched through the door. I was the easiest mark a cult recruiter could hope for. I realize now I was looking for a cult to join at that time. Of course, I wasn’t conscious of that.
My grandmother Giggy, the founder and leader of the now defunct cult I was raised in, was slipping off her pedestal. She’d become mean and nasty, more openly racist than ever before, thanks to FOX News. She had a gag Shep Smith swimsuit calendar in her office. She’d stopped writing, stopped going on book tours, and even stopped drinking water because her degenerative hip made rising and sitting to use the toilet extremely painful.
That last point broke me. I chose to defy her teachings to spare her pain. I pressed the issue until she let me enroll her in Medicare so someone could take a look at her hip. When someone called her a week later to go over the details of her application, she had no idea what they were talking about. She started crafting paranoid conspiracy theories about the government and its plans for her.
Giggy wrote the final issue of her cult newspaper, explaining that she was getting medical care and blaming the decision on powerful forces. She told her followers she was getting insurance so her adult daughters could not be charged with elder abuse. She’d never ried if those same daughters ran afoul of the law by neglecting their minor children, only their aged her.
A flurry of medical appointments quickly produced hearing aids, prescription eyeglasses, and a titanium and plastic hip. She became confused again in the hospital and walked to the toilet hours after her surgery, thinking it was scheduled for the next day. Nurses freaked out and scolded her, and she felt persecuted. During her stay in a post surgical nursing home she became very depressed. We family all assumed her temporary loss of autonomy was the driving force.