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Hell, part 2: “First Steps”

May 24, 2009
Toothpaste For Dinner - http://www.toothpastefordinner.com

Toothpaste For Dinner - http://www.toothpastefordinner.com

(continued from Part 1)

When I first decided to turn my back on Christianity, and all of its trappings, It was only because it wasn’t working for me.  I wasn’t really turning my back on God – other than the fact that God and church had become synonymous.  In my mind, and in my heart, I had no way to separate the two.  Church obviously reflected a God of arbitrary rules, an accounting of misdeeds, and a difficult – if not impossible – path of redemption.  It all seemed impossible.

Not long after diving into Hell, did I discover that the lure of sex, drugs, and rock’n roll were very strong.  Never in my life had I discovered tools that could so release me from the pain of the here and now.  Never before had I felt so free.  Never before had I been so attracted to something.  And, unfortunately, never before did I need something so badly to maintain my sanity.  I had become an addict – which is no surprise when you look over my family tree.

It was the Spring of 1986 that I realized just how powerless I was to make good decisions. Fresh out of a relationship, I loaded up a backpack and flew to Hawaii.  I camped on the Kona Coast for a few weeks and while living with the hippies, I meditated on life.

I was amazed at how willing I was to unite my life with someone so broken. Lies, addiction, seduction, and bad choices – who had I become?  How naive, to be in so deep, yet be out of control.  While on that Island, I realized that many of my bad choices had been made to acquire sex.  With a fresh perspective and a negative-results HIV test, I made a vow of celibacy.  This demon had to be dealt with – I was risking too much to satisfy his seductions.

Upon my return to home, in the old city of Sellwood in SE Portland, I began to work on balance.  I gave up cocaine, gave up caffiene, started exercising (riding my bike to work – 18 miles one way), and started eating a more balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.  The changes were dramatic.  In just a few months I felt like I was off of the merry-go-round.

In the meantime, I began to work through Bill W. and Dr. Bob’s 12-Step program. While I wasn’t ready to give into The Church, and I still saw it as synonymous with God, I sought a more generic Higher Power.  It was also around this time that I had the amazing opportunity to meet with my ex-wife – I’ll tell you more about that next time.  It was the 12-Steps that pulled me out of the pit though – for without them, I wouldn’t have been able to hold to my early vows of celibacy and health.

[to be continued]

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