As a Catholic, I had been taught very specific rules, rituals, and dogmas regarding God and our place in the universe. If you’re Catholic, you know the deal. I was taught to fear God, that sex was bad, divorce was forbidden, attendance at any other church was a sin, suicide is a mortal sin that will send you straight to hell, but by praying and asking for forgiveness from the priest at confession the slate would be wiped clean.
Like many Catholics though, I drifted away from the church. I always halfheartedly accepted the rhetoric, and figured a few quick driveby’s and confessions would put me right, I just never seemed to get around to it.
My whole life though was a roller coaster of success and failure, fear and self loathing. I graduated from high school and never went to college because I probably didn’t have the drive to succeed. I worked in nursing for almost ten years, during which time I was happy, but felt unfulfilled. I married, had children, and decided to get work a little more lucrative and with benefits. I ended up becoming a state prison officer.
I was very good at every job I ever held, and in some ways I was a good father. I didn’t fare so well in personal relationships, particularly the one with me. I figured I was scarred from my childhood, I was a loner, I was just no good, blah, blah, blah. The stress and fear from working in a prison was very real though, and I ended up diagnosed with Major Depression and I “contracted” alcoholism. I went to rehab a couple of times, and I was hospitalized in psychiatric units more times than I can count. I had Electro Convulsive Therapy treatment three different times, each course of therapy consisting of multiple treatments. The last time I had it, I stayed at my lady friends home, and completely lost any memory of an entire week. We attended a concert, went to the Bronx Zoo, and I had outpatient ECT, none of which I remember.
I took all the meds, saw all the doctors, went to all the AA meetings, but I still loathed myself deep inside, and I couldn’t stay sober. I met a wonderful woman who stuck by me and supported me even after I wrecked my car driving drunk, and got arrested. When she left me, because of my drinking I swore that I would never drink again but I did. I believed that I couldn’t help it, that I was a victim, and it wasn’t my fault. My ladyfriend during this time suffered a severe auto accident that nearly cost her her life. I cared for her as well as I could, but when I thought she was getting too demanding, I pulled back from her. Of course, I drank.
Our relationship became on again, off again, distant, dying. In my contemplation of our time apart though, I found that I couldn’t let her go, and that I truly needed her in my life. However, another bout of drinking had her declare that we were well and truly finished.
As I contemplated this, I found that I just couldn’t accept it. I had been able to walk away from every other relationship I had ever had, so why not this one? I wrote her a long email, what she called my life story, and I “explained” all the reasons why my drinking wasn’t my fault, and she should feel sorry for me like I felt sorry for me. Fortunately, she called me on my bullshit, and told me flat out to get myself some help.
I took a few days to come to the realization that she was right, and I started looking around. What I found was pretty much the same old stuff that I’d tried before, and failed every time. I made the usual arrangements to meet with different treatment folks, and I determined that I would succeed this time.
My girlfriend didn’t cut me out of her life completely, and we occasionally date. It was after one of these dates, when we had gone our separate ways, that I was home thinking about her and the times we had gone through. I set myself a goal that in one year I would be alcohol and depression free, and if she would only give me the chance, I was going to marry her. She’s the most unique woman I’ve ever met, and she taught me about living life. She doesn’t talk about it, if she decides to do something, travel someplace, she finds a way to do it. Before her, I always talked about wanting to do this or that, travel here or there, but never did it.
I sent my lady an email declaring my intention, and half expected her to write back and tell me not to bother, because it was never going to happen, but she didn’t. I couldn’t sleep after this, and spent the night watching streaming videos on my computer.
That’s when I found a video called “The Secret” the blurb said it was a feature length movie with the secret of the universe. I figured that would be rich, so I clicked it. I watched the entire movie. Then, I watched it again. It wasn’t bullshit, and it wasn’t nonsense. To me, it was an epiphany. It explained why I had been mired in depression and addiction, it explained what I thought of as a conflict between a good and loving God, and one who would send you to hell. It explained why some people are rich and successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. It stripped away my notions about love, sex, homosexuality, politics, race, culture.
In three hours, I had been given a whole new world view, I had been given hope, I had been taught how to be happy in my life. I had been taught how to improve my life. My fear and worry were replaced by joy and determination, my urge to drink, my self pity, my depression were swept away. I had a new identity, one where I define who I am, and where my life will go. I started using what I’d learned, and within two days it was proven true.
My old persona has been stripped away, and I’m becoming the powerful, caring man I truly am. I really believe anything is possible now, and as I embark on this journey, I will share my success here. One of the teachings is “follow your bliss”, another is “do what you love.” I love to write, so here I am starting a blog. I’ve made a list of goals, some of which are personal, some not, but it’s too early to talk about them now. As they come true, I will faithfully report it here.