Dear Friends in Christ,
It seems such a long while since I last communicated with you directly. Early last month my office informed you that I would be released from hospital care into a residential skilled nursing facility. This was for physical therapy to recover my mobility after a debilitating infection. I am happy to tell you that the therapy worked. I am feeling strong and can walk again. I am so grateful for all your prayers and good wishes. They got me through.
More recently, I announced my retirement as of November 29, the first Sunday of Advent. I said I needed to spend time with family and discern next steps in my ministry, but there is more to the story.
During my time in the hospital it became clear that, apart from the health issues that brought me there, I had a problem with alcohol. With the help of family and senior members of my staff, I checked myself into an excellent residential treatment program. That is where I have been from September 23 until today, October 23. My reasons for retiring remain what they were when I first announced it, but the full explanation runs like this. It is time for me to focus on family and whatever God is calling me to next, but it is also time for me to give primary attention to my continuing recovery. In the meantime, I cherish the weeks I have with you between now and Advent.
This has been intense, at times painful, but ultimately spiritually restorative time for me. As anyone recovering from any kind of addiction knows, the spiritual work is never over. Recovery is a lifelong road lived one day at a time. I am blessed to engage the early steps of that journey in your midst, supported and inspired by your faithfulness as a diocese to Christ’s call. I am thankful that we have these next few weeks to walk together in the strength of this call.
With great affection,
(The Rt. Rev.) Thomas E. Breidenthal, D. Phil
Bishop of Southern Ohio