Amish

Exploring New Characters

It’s amazing how ideas can just emerge from the smallest little things! Tonight, I received a phone call from my 12 year old. She’s scared where she is staying and wanted me to talk to her while she went to retrieve her laptop on the floor of the bedroom she is in. 

So that got me thinking about a story regarding some of the darker aspects of life.

Substance abuse is an ugly thing to deal with. I know that many of us would like to think that the Amish, with all of their amazing beliefs and values, are immune to it…but they are not. Frankly, like many working professionals, they can be high-functioning substance abusers…not easy to detect to the untrained eye. It’s a reality, not matter how ugly it is.  🙁  I wish that no one would have to deal with substance abuse. It’s horrible and emotionally draining, whether a husband or a child (or sibling or parent)…But wishing it away doesn’t make it go away. 

Alcoholism among the Amish is not unheard of. How would they handle it? I’ve heard of rare situations where the wife will take the children and return to her parents’ home to escape the wrath of an alcoholic husband. Ultimately the church will get involved and the man will be shunned. However, the woman cannot remarry while he is alive. 

But what about the children? Do the children visit their alcoholic father? Do they have visitation schedules? Overnights? What if the children are scared and want to come home because the alcoholic father is passed out on the sofa? Since the Amish don’t have phones in the house, how could they call home? 

In the Divine Secrets of the Whoopie Pie Sisters, Pam and I addressed the issue of alcoholism among the Amish between a husband and a wife. In my latest book, An Amish Buggy Ride, I am writing about an alcoholic Amish man whose addiction creates problems that resonate throughout his entire family. However, the issue of an alcoholic father and how it impacts the children…that’s something that would be interesting to explore (to me, anyway). I know how our society handles such situations; how do the Amish?

I have to mull over this new storyline and do some research among my friends. I know that there is an increasing concern over substance abuse among the younger people.  Seems like the evil of drug and alcohol addiction has its hooks into every culture and religion out there. Even the Amish have not escaped it…  🙁 

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0 thoughts on “Exploring New Characters

  1. This sounds like it is going to be a very interesting book to read. Can’t wait to hear more about it and read this book when it is done.

  2. I love that you aren’t afraid to tackle those difficult issues, Sarah. I look forward to the book.

  3. Hi Sarah – When I was 8 months pregnant with my son, Max (now 26), a friend took me to my first Al-Anon 12-step meeting at the First Methodist Church in Princeton. My (now ex) husband was experiencing black-outs from alcoholism and I wasn’t sure how I would get to the hospital to give birth. A man at the meeting (a recovering alcoholic with many years in the program) asked me where I lived and told me he’d make some phone calls to see if he could find some “12-steppers” nearby who could be on call to drive me. At the next meeting, he said “Here is a list of names and phone numbers of 4 sober people (with many, many years of sobriety) you can call any time, day or night, to drive you to the hospital to have your baby. And, guess what? They all live on your block! And, that is how the Higher Power works.”

    I spent many years attending 12-step meetings, even after divorcing my alcoholic, and the experience transformed and saved my life. I also attended open A.A. speaker meetings to listen to recovering alcoholics tell their stories. If you want to do research for your book, go to open Al-Anon and A.A. meetings. Google for a list. I also recommend reading Alcoholics Anonymous, aka the “Big Book”, written by the founders, Bill W. and Dr. Bob. And, one of my favorite books, “Getting Them Sober”, which gives a great description of the dynamics between the alcoholic and families. It kept me sane when I had to deal with the alcoholic. If you want me to go with you to a meeting, let me know. : ) Marilyn

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