Monday, June 21, 2004

Summary of Childhood Religious Experiences

I am suffering one of those headaches that I bet is allergy related, that deep stabbing ice pick behind the eye type. I remember that back in the early days of my sobriety these headaches were a huge, huge disappointment to me. I had been convinced that they were a part of the hangovers I got from drinking straight vodka all night long. I shed the nauseous stomach and the dizzy disorientation and even part of the headache, but the ice pick was right there, just like it had been when I was drinking. Hence the Claritin-D daily.

Lisa just commented that it might be time for a new air filter so that may help as well.

Yesterday I posed myself some questions regarding my faith in a Higher Power. I guess I should say a little about my religious and spiritual background. I was raised a nominal Christian. My parents had my sister and I attending a Methodist church in downtown Arlington, TX as a kid. At some point we stopped going, I do not know why. I believed in God back then, but I don’t know that I could have articulated that belief in any way.

I was a trouble child in school and my parents withdrew me from public school before I was asked to go to one of those “special” schools for troublemakers (this was a pattern of mine all of my life until very recently: leave just before being kicked out). Cistercian Prep School in Irving Texas was my next stop, a private Catholic school for boys only. As a Pagan, I do not believe in hell, but the priests who run that school do and since they are so insistent upon a hell, may they burn in it. Based on the news stories I hear (about the church, not about Cistercian) I guess I should count myself lucky I was not molested.

I should also note that there were some priests there who were uncommonly kind and thoughtful, just as there were some very angry and sadistic priests. Perhaps if I had focused on the kind ones, I would not have lost sight of the Divine, but I did not. Somewhere in there I lost faith. I did flirt with the heavy metal “Ozzy Osbourne” version of Satanism and was caught turning crucifixes upside down.

During this time my parents brought me into the United Methodist church. A friend of theirs had become a United Methodist minister and we attended her church. She was big on the love God has for his children and down on the concept of a judgmental God. I do not recall paying any special attention to her. I was confirmed in the church but that was a desire of my parents, not my desire.

I was claiming atheism as a personal faith from high school into college. However, in retrospect I think I was fooling myself, I had a higher power and that power was alcohol. It certainly was a power greater than myself and it worked active miracles in my life. Anyone interested in my drunkalogue can look up either drunkalogue or alcohol and find it.

At some point I found a definition of agnostic and an explanation of why the term was coined by Thomas Henry Huxley. I was an ardent fan of evolution then (and I still am) and adopted agnosticism as a faith. For those who do not know, agnostic comes from the Greek prefix “a” meaning without and the root “Gnostic” meaning revealed knowledge. So an agnostic is one who is without the revealed knowledge of God. This definition caused me to later pursue an exploration into Gnostic Christianity and Gnosticism in general.

From adolescence until the present, I have had a disdain for organized religion of any kind. Churches, it seems to me, are more likely to hinder than help ones spiritual development.

This is not one of my better posts, if it is boring to me, I can imagine that it will be boring to any reader. I am going to leave it as is though. It is a pretty good summary of the mechanistic aspects of my faith background. I’ll try to do a workup on the less mechanical aspects soon, as that is far more interesting.

Good Morning Goddess Brigit, my name is Andy and I am an alcoholic. I have been kept sober one day at a time by Your grace and Your grace alone. I received this gift from You on Imbolc, 2001. I would like to take this moment to thank You, my Higher Power, for this my daily reprieve. Today is a good day to be sober.

Please, Brigit, Bright Arrow, be with me today all through the day and help me to stay sober all day long. Show me Your will for me and grant me the power to carry that out. Thy will, not mine be done. Inspire me to act and create in Your name. Be welcome in me and to me, body, heart, mind, and soul.

Adjuva Brigittia! Thank You! Blessed Be!