A Spiritual (not religious) Lifestyle
Thought to Ponder . . .True religion is the life we lead, not the creed we profess.
As I made a decision to do something about my life as it was back in 1994, early on I had the GOD thing thrown at me.
Like most, I had attended Sunday school as a kid and at the insistence of my parents. At an age I was allowed to make decisions for myself, I found better things to do on a Sunday morning, like sleep in to recover from Saturday night!
At about 17 years old, I met a lady who was in to a fundamentalist Christian religion, or at least her family was, and to please and impress her and them, I started to attend their church. Being the type of person I am (half measures availed us not) I embraced the religion, the church, and its members hook line and sinker. In return, I received a lot of attention, praise and encouragement from not only the young lady, but the congregation as a whole. I had found a place where I got some of the things I was lacking in life.
The romance with the religion continued for about three years and the relationship with the "girl" who was to become my wife and mother to my children continued.
Was I genuine in my beliefs or just going through the motions to please others? It's a moot point today. I learned a lot and cleaned up my behaviour, left booze and drugs alone for the first time in my teen years, and acted like the person my new church friends thought I should be.
At the end of high school I had options. I was accepted at Bible College (1st acceptance) followed by acceptance at two good universities where I had an option to play football. University won out easily.
I was a "Christian" in the conduct others saw over my first year "away" at university. The relationship with the young lady (3 years my junior) continued on. I returned home after 1st year and the personal relationship got far more physical- note I did not say intimate- through out the summer.
I returned to school in the fall, and just prior to Canadian thanksgiving, I got the confirming phone call that the young lady and I were about to be parents. In our infinite wisdom and against parental advice- we decided to get married.
A very funny and life altering thing happened, one that was to shape the next 25 years of my life and alter the lives of 2 young people.
Without belabouring it and getting into specifics, the church that had been our rock turned on us and my wife's family. The god I knew I had found at this church and in my mind was part of this church and spoke through, in part, these people. To be shunned was devastating.
Any connection I had with god ended. It was as sudden as the disconnect of a telephone line. I very quickly reverted back to my old behaviours that included the proverbial sex, drugs and rock and roll. God was gone, and gone for the next 25 years. He had dropped the ball in my mind.
Going forward, my career thrived but my personal behaviour began a downward spiral. I was a terrible husband, sporadically a good father and a personally needy person. Even major career success could not fill the hole inside; I had lost self esteem and confidence as a person. I continued to play the role of "business executive" well to prove my mettle and gave freely to others to try and fill the hole in me. The marriage ended and within a short time I took another lady hostage. I did the best I could as a parent, but my best left a lot of room for improvement. I wrecked the havoc that a person active in addictions does without meaning to upon those they care about the most. I use the word care, not love, for self-love was gone and you can't give to others what you haven't got for self!
Wife #2 moved out on me, the great provider. I truly cared about her more than anyone I had ever met, yet my selfish behaviour caused her to run to save her own sanity; an act of real corage. I spiralled downwards very rapidly.
Here I was, 46, materially appearing successful, no higher power in my life, emotionally and spiritual bankrupt and as low as I could go- something- a miracle- said change and get help, and in a moment of clarity (following a police stop where a breathalyser clearly malfunctioned) I listened.
"Reluctantly, I opened my mind to the fact that maybe, just maybe, there was something to this spiritual lifestyle.
Slowly, but surely, I realized that there was indeed a Power greater than myself, and I soon found myself with a full-time God in my life and following a spiritual path that didn't conflict with my personal religious convictions."
- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 287
Today I have a relationship with a Higher Power (HP) that I found deep inside of me. I understand the prose "Footsteps" and daily, as I work on my spiritual fitness, more is shown to me. I know by the grace of my HP, the life I have today is a miracle and daily I feel gratitude for this gift given. I am truly grateful for the inner strength given to me that allowed me to make change and regain self respect. I have love in reserve today that I can give away, and I work hard to keep my tank full!
My religion is my life. While I respect others who find comfort within a "creed", this has not been something I have sought out.....yet. While having gotten over my resentments about church and structured religion, I know churches are people and the individual dogmas to a large part man made with a need to be right. I'm OK in any religious facility because my personal HP comes with me.
For those struggling with the need to find a personal higher power and the benefits of finding one, I hope this helps. It was a bit of a struggle initially for me and then to realise that something gave meaning and purpose to human life and; that something wasn't me! G (ood) O (orderly) D (direction) is a part of my daily life today! email@example.com.
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