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God, For Those Who Have Trouble Grasping the Third Step from Orson Bean, via Power Line


February 2020

I’m a big fan of the blog, Power Line, though not for anything to do with recovery.  This is one of the few times I can ever remember a Power Line post that had to do with my specialty.  In this instance, Scott Johnson wrote a post (here) about the passing of Orson Bean, a 20-year veteran of Broadway, a stand-up comedian, a fill-in on The Tonight Show, and he was a game show panelist.

He was also a friend of Bill.  Not Clinton, Wilson.

His passing was Scott’s occasion to comment on a post Bean wrote for their blog about a new book he had written back in 2007 about how Orson found God.

A personal belief of mine, based partly on observation, is that famous, wealthy people have the hardest time quitting drinking and drugs.  Our lives are lived on self-will run riot.  For the famous and wealthy, they’ve often found what appears to be a way to make self-will work.  For we normal folk, that life crashes and burns.  For those who’ve managed to manipulate the system to make it work for them, whatever the personal sacrifice, to abandon self-will is exceedingly difficult.  If the adverse effects of addiction aren’t bad enough to change, why change?

The God steps in the program are simple for most; I can’t, God can, so I think I’ll let Him.  Where the famous and wealthy run into trouble is in that whole “I can’t” part.  They often are under the mistaken impression they, indeed, can.  Now that I think of it, those who fancy themselves as intellectuals might find themselves in this boat.

Orson Bean learned how to beat his, “but what if I can?” to find God and wrote about it in M@il for Mikey:

He drank and snorted drugs and DID inhale. But he was never quite happy―until he sniffed around, found religion, and became a recovering alcoholic. This is his story, aimed at those folks who are interested in recovery, but suspicious.

If you have a problem with “the God thing”, this might be a book for you.


  1. joliesattic says:

    Wow! I remember Orson Bean on “To Tell The Truth!” I think that was the show where the kid who’d been a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer was on. That episode had always stuck with me. Leonardo DiCaprio played him in “Catch me if You Can”

  2. joliesattic says:

    BTW, I love his story. Thanks for sharing that.

  3. mikeykjr says:

    I added this book to my Amazon wish list 🙂 Sounds interesting even though I’m not one to believe in “God”. But I do enjoy reading other perspectives. Thanks for the suggestion!

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