How Not To Die Alone In a Meth Lab

Let’s face it: Breaking Bad was all about small groups. 

Ok, maybe that’s a stretch and maybe I have a special kind of pastor neurosis that causes me to see everything through the lens of my ministry. But stick with me here. If you never got into the show (or if you’ve completely forgotten it by now — I realize my cultural references are a few years behind) here’s the premise: 

Walter White is a middle-aged Average Joe stuck in an unfulfilling life. He works two jobs, and enjoys neither. He has a family who loves him but doesn’t respect him. Then he gets bad news: lung cancer. He’s dying. He has no way to pay for the treatment he needs, and no way to make sure his family is cared for once he’s gone. And so he decides to “break bad.” He starts dealing meth so he can afford to take care of himself and his family. And he doesn’t tell anyone. 

In a bit of storytelling genius, the writers of Breaking Bad gave Walter White enough love for his family to motivate desperate measures, but not enough emotional connection to share his pain. Walter wants to do things for them, but he doesn’t want to experience the journey with them. And that lack of connection is what costs him. Walter doesn’t have anyone to do life with, and once he embraces his lonely calling as Drug Lord, his isolation outpaces everything else. In the final episode, he dies alone. 

What if you got Walter’s news? Who are the people you could count on to walk the difficult, costly journey of cancer with? If you don’t have those connections, that doesn’t mean you’re destined for a career as a criminal and kingpin. But it does mean you should work on those connections before such life-changing news comes along. 

If Walter White just had one friend to confide in, he wouldn’t have had to break bad. The lesson is clear: if you don’t want to die alone in a meth lab, join a small group.