New Hampshire bishop V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, is undergoing treatment for his “increasing dependence on alcohol,” he wrote in a letter to the 49 churches in his diocese.
Robinson, 58, voluntarily checked himself into an undisclosed facility on February 1 for a four-week stay. Robinson said in the letter, dated February 13, that he has the support of his partner, Mark Andrew, and his two daughters.
“Over the 28 days I will be here, I will be dealing with the disease of alcoholism—which, for years, I have thought of as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop drinking altogether,” Robinson wrote.
Robinson was elected as the church’s first openly gay bishop in 2003, a move that has threatened to split the U.S. Episcopal Church and permanently alienate it from sister churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion.