Born to a confused sixteen-year-old girl impregnated by a man she met at an English pub, virtuoso guitarist Eric Clapton didn’t have much of a wholesome family childhood. His father vanished before he was born and he was raised by his grandmother, led to believe that his mother was his sister. Young Eric was soon playing guitar on the streets of London while passers-by dropped coins in his hat.
Years later, in rehab for alcohol addiction after having become an international music star, Eric writes in his autobiography:
“…I was absolutely terrified, in complete despair. At that moment, almost of their own accord, my legs gave way, and I fell to my knees. In the privacy of my room I begged for help. I had no notion of who I thought I was talking to, I just knew I had come to the end of my tether, I had nothing left to fight with. Then I remembered what I had heard about surrender, something I thought I could never do, my pride just wouldn’t allow it but I knew that on my own I wasn’t going to make it, so I asked for help and getting down on my knees, I surrendered. Within a few days I realized that something had happened for me. An atheist would probably say it was just a change of attitude, and to a certain extent that’s true, but there was much more to it than that. I’d found a place to turn to, a place I’d always known was there but never really wanted or needed to believe in. (emphasis added) From that day until this I have never failed to pray in the morning on my knees asking for help, and at night to express gratitude for my life and most of all for my sobriety. ”
Eric survived and went on to thrive because he took his soul seriously. Treating his addiction as if it only afflicted his body wasn’t working. Like the famed twentieth century Swiss psychiatrist who played a role in the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous by recognizing that alcoholism has a spiritual dimension, Clapton involved his soul by using prayer.