Mother God: How Insulation in Addiction Leads to Catastrophe

Mother God

Spoiler alert! Please read with caution – this post contains plot details for all three episodes of “Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God”

Amy Carlson was a 45-year-old, mentally ill alcoholic who thought she was God. This shocking three-part MAX Documentary “Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God” follows a delusional new-age hippie and her worshiping lackeys as they enable her into an early grave. 

The cult, which was called Love Has Won and predominantly resided in Colorado, documented their inner operations as they worshiped at the feet of Carlson, a deadbeat mother of three and former McDonald’s employee from Kansas. Carlson touted herself as a 19 billion-year-old God and preached “conspirituality.” She also fancied herself the reincarnation of Jesus Christ (and Marilyn Monroe, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, and seemingly whomever else she felt drawn to) and that she could heal people “with the power of love.”

While Carlson is the central figure of the documentary, my main focus fell on the cult — a band of a dozen or so clearly stoned lost souls. I was completely flabbergasted that these cartoon-like people actually existed and that this really happened here on Earth. What was also astonishing to me was the group’s level of hubris and how they fawned over a woman who really just needed an intervention and a 5150 hold. 

What makes this documentary particularly infuriating is not so much the childish charades of grown adults talking about imaginary starships in the sky and their A-team of galactic shepherds (the highest being Robin Williams). But how their dangerous ignorance and self-imposed grandiosity ultimately contributed to the death of Carlson — and the subsequent desecration of her corpse.

I found myself picking my jaw off the floor as I watched them play with Carlson’s dead body and move it across five state lines. And they didn’t do this solemnly. They were camping, partying, and documenting the entire circus while her discolored, emaciated corpse rotted away in a myriad of different places — a tent, the back of an SUV, a hotel room. 

I suppose I don’t know what I expected because these sorts of things seldom end well. But what this documentary communicated to me is how insulation almost always leads to catastrophe, particularly when drugs and alcohol are involved. When you have a gaggle of individuals with substance use issues and sick thinking in one insularly cocoon, you have the makings for a tragedy. 

In other words, when crazy only has crazy to bounce off of, you just end up with more crazy. 

The group also suffered from a total absence of logic, practicality, and sound reason. Perhaps one could blame this debacle on a lack of intelligence or all the untreated mental illnesses that were crammed into one room. Pour a bunch of alcohol and drugs on top of an already mercurial mess and you’ve got a disaster.

It’s no surprise someone died in this instance. And while Carlson did not have to die, she did –- as many active addicts and alcoholics do. And that’s not her fault or anyone else’s. This documentary is just another grave reminder of how untreated addiction and alcoholism so often ends in death. Watching Carlson drink herself to death while being cheered on by her deranged followers was absolutely heartbreaking for me as a recovering alcoholic. 

This documentary showcased what can sometimes be more deadly than addiction itself — the fact that insulation and enabling allows addicts to operate with permission till their disease kills them. And that’s one of the many ways catastrophes like this happen. 


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