Taking this special Bible to rehab was a source of strength and support for him.
Posted in , Sep 17, 2018
It was an ordinary Bible, worn at the edges, with a plain blue cover. On the front, embossed in gold lettering, was my brother’s name: LANGDON HORN. It was the Bible he’d taken with him to rehab. The Bible he’d relied on to get clean and sober.
Then it disappeared, and I worried my brother’s sobriety might vanish with it.
I’d never known the worst of Langdon’s struggles. He hid his problems well. He didn’t share the painful details of his divorce with me or the rest of the family. Didn’t confide in anyone how he coped with being separated from his two daughters, Alex and Arden, who lived with their mother, 70 miles away, in Anniston, Alabama. He filled the absence with drugs.
“Langdon didn’t want anyone to know the real truth,” Mom told me the day my brother checked himself into the rehabilitation facility.
I knew how hard it must have been for him to seek help, and I was proud of him for taking that step. But shaking the habit meant opening up, not holding everything in. It was about confiding in others and trusting completely in a higher power. I’d never known my brother to do that.
The Bible was the first thing Langdon showed me when I visited him in rehab.
“I highlighted the verses I rely on the most for strength. It’s my spiritual road map to recovery,” he said. I flipped through the pages. They were covered in notes and he had underlined passages that seemed to speak to him directly. Inside that little blue book were all the secret struggles Langdon hadn’t wanted anyone to see. I might never know the whole of Langdon’s story, but his Bible held the truth.
Langdon completed treatment and returned home, bringing the Bible with him. It was comforting for him to think of it always beside him when he needed it. The three months he had spent out of work had left many bills unpaid—and Langdon didn’t have the cash to cover them. He lost his phone service and struggled to buy food. Somehow, he kept it together. He made a little money working construction.
Then one day I got a phone call. Langdon sounded despondent. His truck had been repossessed. But he didn’t care about the truck. He cared about what was in the truck. His Bible.
“I can’t believe it’s gone!” Langdon said. “I’d forgotten that I’d left it on the front seat.”
“Can you find out where it was towed?” I asked.
“I tried,” he said. “Somewhere in Birmingham, but it was auctioned off—along with everything in it. The Bible’s gone.”
His Bible. His road map to recovery, I thought.
Langdon bought himself another Bible, although I worried that it could never mean as much to him as the one that had guided him through those early, dark days. He had lost so much! But he got right on with rebuilding his life. He found a regular construction job, which helped him pay his bills, including child support for Alex and Arden. The girls spent every other weekend with him. He made it to the one-year mark.
“I still miss that Bible,” he admitted to me. “But it’s God’s word that’s most important.”
Recovery was a daily struggle for Langdon, as it is for many people with addiction. I watched him closely over the course of the next few years. And I prayed, prayed every day for the Lord to guide and protect him.
It had been five years since my brother left rehab when I went to his house one Saturday morning. It was his turn to have Alex and Arden for the weekend, and he was looking forward to seeing them. When the girls arrived they wrapped their arms around him in a group hug.
“We have something for you, Dad,” Alex said. Dad. It was amazing what five sober years had done for his relationship with his daughters.
“You got me something?” Langdon said. “You didn’t have to. It’s not my birthday.”
The girls grinned at each other. “It’s actually from Grandma,” said Arden. “She was at her church in Anniston, going through the donation box, and found something she thought you should have. She made us promise to give it to you right away.”
Alex and Arden handed him the gift. An ordinary Bible, worn at the edges, with a plain blue cover. Embossed in gold lettering on the front cover was my brother’s name: LANGDON HORN. Page after page was filled with notes and underlining, in the shaky hand of a man starting out on the road to new life.
The story first appeared in the October 2013 issue of Mysterious Ways magazine.