Since I’m going to hell anyway
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was very young, maybe eleven or twelve years old, hanging out with a friend at “The Pit.” The Pit, as we called it, was an old foundation of a house that was dug into the ground. We made a makeshift roof out of junk wood and metal we had gathered up from our neighborhood. This became our version of a tree house that we would hang out in and do “kid stuff.”
At this point in our young lives, “kid stuff” was gathering up Playboy magazines and stealing beer and cigarettes from our houses and maybe even some of our neighbors’ houses. (Sorry, Mom and neighbors.) Call it boredom, call it fitting in, call it copying adult behavior, or call it small-town living. Whatever you call it, not every kid did it the same way, so the bottom line is this was just our way.
I was raised Catholic. My family went to church pretty regularly and I attended Sunday School taught by the priest or nuns. My brother was an altar boy, and I choose to follow in his footsteps. I really think I did it because sitting in church was murderously boring, and at least being an altar boy gave me a job and a purpose for being there.
I certainly listened to the teaching. Again, some of it did not interest me much and other parts of it were just confusing. I did, however, learn that good people went to heaven and bad people went to hell. This seemed to be the crux of every fable, story, or parable that we examined. I also learned that the lines were sketchy, at best, of what was the difference between “good” and “bad.” There were some behaviors that the teaching was pretty clear on, though. And by the time I was a pre-teen, I had already done some of the “bad” ones.
Now, I don’t know if the church was clear on the whole “forgiveness of sins” thing, or perhaps I didn’t pay very close attention to that part, but I was pretty sure that there was a good chance that I was doomed to hell at an early age. And to be really honest, I didn’t care. If I am going to be completely candid here, I will admit that I never really cared for the whole “born in sin” thing. In fact, it really made me kind of mad.
Back to that day in “The Pit.” My friend and I had just found a new thing to do. I do not remember who, what, or where we got the idea from, but we decided to crush a bunch of No Doz tablets up and snort them. I clearly remember us saying “since I’m going to hell anyway.”
I would like to be really clear here that I do not blame my religious upbringing on my decision to practice risky behaviors like abusing drugs. The point I am trying to make here is that I believe that my young mind rejected the idea of my being born in sin. The term “sin,” to me, meant “bad.” So if all people where born “bad,” what is the point of that? What message does that send to someone of that age? Or for any age, for that matter?
Here is where your personal power can be experienced: Stop calling yourself bad, stop labeling your behavior as bad, stop judging others’ behaviors as bad. Look at things and see if they are producing the outcome which you desire. If not, call them “no longer useful” and move away from them.
Start taking notice of your preferences. There is a huge distinction between “preference” and “addiction.” If your choices are not producing the life you say you want to lead, choose again. Does this sound too good to be true? I assure you it isn’t. And people are doing it all the time. The only thing that limits you is what you think limits you.
The only thing stopping you from making changes in your life is your fear of the unknown. Life is here to conspire with you, not against you. It has been my experience, and the experience of many others, that when we decided to give sobriety a chance, life got better. The Soul offers us unlimited grandeur; the Mind desires to keep things small. The Mind is all about survival; the Soul knows survival is guaranteed.
I choose today to hold beliefs that serve my purpose. Fear-based beliefs no longer work for me. Conversations with God tells us that “obedience is not creation.” I would say that obedience is an escape hatch that we use in order to not be responsible for our choices. I have heard Neale say, “no one ever does anything they do not want to do.” I have placed a great deal of thought into that statement, and I would agree.
“Most people on earth don’t believe in God as God really is because it is just simply too good to be true.” ~ NDW
(Kevin McCormack, C.A.d ,is a certified addictions professional and auriculotherapist. He is a recovering addict with 26 years of sobriety. Kevin is a practicing auriculotherapist, recovery coach, and interventionist specializing in individual and family recovery. Kevin has a passion for holistic living, personal awareness training, and physical meditation. You can visit his website Life After Addicton for more information. To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin@TheGlobalConversation.com)