Recovery in a Christian Society
Recovery is one of if not the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. Getting and staying clean has been a long journey but I’m grateful for it all. I’m grateful for active addiction, rock bottom, all of it not just the recovery part, the whole shabam! I am grateful because it has all led me to who I am today and I’m pretty cool with me today, learning to not only like myself but love myself. It’s a process and I am especially grateful for the day I realized that being a Pagan was no longer something I was just interested in, it is a calling and I was called to it.
Unfortunately, I had jumped on the perverbial Christian band wagon, my youngest son and I were even baptized. I felt like such a liar at times, a fake, a phony, but I love history and enjoyed reading some of the stories in the Bible but they were just man made stories to me. I kept going to church because I wanted to belong, I wanted to impress certain family members and friends. I was seduced by the belonging everyone in recovery was feeling when they would talk about Jesus and God. It is not a religious program but when you are newly in recovery and desperate to find a way to fit in, feeling lonely and fighting for your life, it’s sounds great and this is a predominantly Christian society so it makes sense that it would be the religion and higher power of choice within the rooms of recovery. They try to explain that if you just practice praying and stay clean it will all come to you but that’s not what happened to me. I felt so alone, I knew something didn’t feel right and I just kept playing the part, I thought it was me, something was wrong with me, why couldn’t I just belong, believe? But I did belong to something bigger then myself, I felt it every time I was alone in the woods, every time I felt the breeze, the sun, went swimming and walked on the grass in my bare feet, I felt so comfortable, so free and it was like I was at home more then when I was actually in my house!
Then I would go back to the rooms and hear it all over again and it just became a negative thing for me, every time I heard “God of my understanding,” or just “God” in general, it was such a turn off and made me feel so awful about myself because I didn’t believe there was this all mighty God who created the world and the whole heaven and hell thing. It just didn’t feel right and made me feel guilty every time I went to a meeting or church, it became such a negative thing for me and I began to isolate and stopped going to meetings all together. I became depressed, being bi-polar, having an incredible cold and difficult winter didn’t help either but I did a lot of studying and exploring and kept coming back to Paganism and Wicca, it just made so much sense to me but I resisted because I thought it was wrong, I had been programmed to believe that Christianity was the only “true” religion and if I didn’t believe in it or God then I would never recover and that is a death sentence for me. I had to remove myself from all of that and start studying other paths because I knew if something didn’t change I was going to relapse and I couldn’t let that happen. I started with Buddhism because that was a philosophy of life to me, not a religion but again I was drawn back to the Old Ways, it was calling me and I kept trying to push it away. I wanted to fit in, not feel more apart from everyone in recovery.
I started to learn how to quiet the mind and meditate. Meditation was what made everything so clear, it happened in a snap of the fingers one day, I just opened my eyes and knew, I was a witch. I still don’t believe I can transform someone into a frog but why would I want to? Not only is hurting people morally wrong (no matter what our religion, we all have an inner moral code) but in recovery the guilt I felt for all the pain I had inflicted over the years was unbearable. All frog jokes aside, I don’t like hurting people, no one does expect those with tainted souls and of course there’s that “ever mind the law of three!” rule. Meaning if I really could and did turn someone into a frog that would be harm and I would get it back three fold. I do believe in the power of nature, rituals and the mind and altering the elements for good. I do not believe in a single God and I don’t have a specific branch of Paganism that I follow, I guess that’s why I’m considered Wiccan which is a fairly new term, modern I suppose. I believe in the power of Nature, the Goddess and the God, everything balanced because you can’t have one without the other, light, dark, good, bad, masculine, feminine, it all makes sense to me and just feels so right, so natural. It is what works for me and I do not believe in forcing people to believe my way is the only way, my religion is the only religion. I didn’t realize admitting I was Pagan to myself was the easy part. Returning to the rooms and admitting to others was the hardest part and took some time and courage before I felt comfortable enough to say something.
I was finally happy and excited about my new found relationship with my higher powers and the Goddess. I wanted to share it with my sponsor and the others but even feeling this way, I still was keeping quiet and not telling anyone what was happening for fear of rejection and becoming an outcast once again. I had to do something though, the charade I was putting on was growing tiresome and making me feel terrible. I finally fessed up and “came out” but it was up there with one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life and it was one of my proudest and courageous moments as well. I was shocked that I was not ostracized, I wasn’t looked at as if I was crazy and I also found that I’m not alone, there were others who had different higher powers as well! I felt like so much weight had been lifted. Some still believe that it is a “phase” and that I’ll return to jesus one day but for me, now, I really don’t care what anyone thinks anymore because it’s not about them, it’s about me. I have to do what is right for me and that may be a self-centered approach but I won’t be influenced to follow something that’s not right for me anymore. I think that is the most important lesson I learned during this part of my journey, it doesn’t matter what others think of me and if they think negatively about me and what I believe why would I want to impress them or keep them in my life anyway? I am grateful for it all because it all made me who I am today and I’m pretty cool with me today.~ Blessed Be~