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Hell, part 1: “Fall from Grace”

May 16, 2009

Twenty-five years ago I was a mess.  My life was a mess; I had no hope; and I had no future.

A disastrous marriage and damaging divorce knocked me off my high-horse and helped me to understand that I wasn’t the smartest person on the planet.  I needed that, thank-you-very-much, but the fall from that horse nearly killed me.

In the midst of trying to recover from my fall, I stumbled across a woman who adored me, put up with my carp, but didn’t stand up to me.  Our on-again, off-again relationship of four years propelled us both into cynical dysfunction.  In the meantime, I sought to drink myself to death, drove too fast, tested the limits of time, space, distance, and depth. Drugs, sex, and loud rock’n roll consumed my life.

I had made a deliberate choice to find Hell and I left no avenue unexplored. I thought there would be freedom in Hell, but I was wrong.  I didn’t find freedom – oh, I thought I did – sometimes I felt very free.  But the short flights of freedom were always followed by hard landings.  Heartbreak, hangovers, and hopeless depression are no way to live.  Soon enough, I discovered that no amount of cocaine would erase the pain.  No amount of alcohol would make it OK.  And no amount of introspective marijuana highs would enable me to figure out life.  In the words of Huey Lewis, I needed “new drug,” and I wasn’t finding it.

Organized religion scared me. The guilt-trips, control, and lack of authenticity were all I could see.  However, I did begin to see my problem as a spiritual problem.  I was in Hell.  How else does one get out of Hell than to find God?  But how does one find God?

I started searching.  Buddhism had some interest for me, until the circuitous journey of discovery seemed too futile for me to pursue for very long.  Scientology had an initial draw, until the cute girls passed me off to some guy who wanted to cleanse my soul.  I never went back!  Science fiction seemed to offer some philosophical explanations as to the nature of man and the hope of a brighter future – but sci-fi didn’t offer me any hope for today’s issues.  Various musicians offered some direction, as did various authors, and sundry other pop-culture icons, but none offered a lasting satisfaction.  Even my work, though satisfying, wasn’t enough.  I was running out of ideas.

That’s when some events came together in synchonistic harmony. I started reading the Bible (Yes, that Bible).  I thought, “Hey, I’m a pretty well-read guy, if nothing else, I should read this book for its literary significance.  I mean, I should at least be exposed to it, right?”  So, I’d come home from work, make a big pot of coffee, and sit on the deck of the house I was sitting, and I began to read.

I came to the conclusion that there is something bigger than me. I don’t have to have all the answers.  Someone, something, somewhere is bigger, smarter, and stronger than me.  But what is that?  What does that mean?  I decided to not let my mind runaway with itself.  I’ll just continue to take this journey one step at a time.  I was learning to listen and I was learning to seek.  Survival has no timeline, but death trumps all.

This was in the Summer of 1985.  I’d been looking for a way out of Hell for couple of years now.  But it was going to be a couple of more years before I found an exit.

[to be continued]

  1. clouda9 permalink
    May 16, 2009 10:36 pm

    I believe we are always on a journey, bet things have drastically changed for you since 1985…I know they have for me.


    • May 17, 2009 12:06 pm

      Oh indeed @cloud9 – even in the last 4 years, since my kids started being born! 😉


  2. May 17, 2009 8:33 am

    I have a new song stuck in my head now; thanks! 🙂


    • May 17, 2009 12:04 pm

      Reply, I think they have “drugs” for that OCD stuff now… 😉


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