Wednesday, April 4, 2007

My spiritual journey: Christianity to Godnostic part 3 of 3: Walking through Hell to find peace.

When I left you last I was jobless, I had to move back in with my parents, I had just been dumped by Katie, and I was drinking constantly. Obviously, I can't blame all of this on my new found Atheism, but I think it was the final nail in my coffin to a full-blown downward spiral. I continued to write tortured poetry, and flaws of the gnostic religions. After I found out that Katie was already hooking up with guys within a week of our breakup I became extremely depressed. She was already in the process of falling out of love with me before the breakup, so for her it was an easier transition. I would have been fine if I thought she was just sitting around the house feeling sorry for herself like me. After being her everything, I felt that I must not have mattered as much to her as I thought. There was even a day when suicide didn't sound like a bad idea. Now that I had no fear of hell, what's the worst that could happen? Eternal sleep? That would have been fine. Then I snapped out of it and figured that I needed to stop being a pussy and letting someone else have control over my emotions. She is a great person, and I learned a lot about relatioships and love from her, but it was time to move on.
I didn't want to find a new job and work 9 to 5. I just wanted my bed, my bottle, and my pencil. I was in a rut and things needed to change. But ya know what they say about alcoholics, before it gets better, it has to get worse. Buckle the fuck up, this was a bumpy ride!!

My parents were cool about me moving back in but they still wanted me to get a job so I could pay some rent and keep up with my car payments. I milked that out for a long time by posting resumes on and never checking the results. After a while I think I took my internal clock out of any type of work-like schedule. I was staying up until 6 or 7 in the morning and sleeping in until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. It was pretty patheitc waking up every morning knowing I hadn't done shit for yet another day. After a while I started running out of excuses for why I was always home and never looking for jobs so I took my show on the road. I packed up my Hyundai with a chair, cooler, cd's, and a backpack full of literature and notepads. I'd go to different parking lots in Williamston and sit in the passenger side of the car read, write, and drink. I would always get bored just sitting there so I decided to move my party over to the Meridian Mall. I spent many an afternoon in Schuler's books as I numbed myself to everything and focused on hypocracies. This atheism was giving me freedom, the freedom to go ahead and live life without consequence. Then "consequence" happened. After knocking back a pint in Schuler's I decided to go to Ruby Tuesday's and watch the '04 presidential election. While there, I had some more drinks and left. Apparantly when I left I was visually drunk because a security guard followed me out to my car and as soon as I put the key in the ignition he asked me to step out of the car. I blew a .23 BAC and had to do a couple days in jail and plenty of probation and fines. Not long after that I got a ticket for "disturbing the peace" because I ran from a cop when I was leaving a party. I wasn't doing anything wrong, I must have just thought it would have been funny. I got about 20 yards down the sidewalk until I derfed-out right on my face. The cop then put me in a wicked-fresh cross-face chicken wing. The most embarrassing thing that I ever did occured at a track meet. I was sitting in my lawn chair in the woods behind the Williamston Football field and Track. It was the first beautiful day of spring and I just wanted to be out in nature for the day. When I heard the PA start announcing the field events my mind traveled down memory lane. I was on the Williamston Track team in high school so I wanted to hang out with old coaches and former teammates that were currently coaching. I wanted to re-experience the atmosphere that I loved to compete in while in high school. There was only one problem, it was 5 O'clock pm and I had been drinking since 11 am. Therefore, I proceeded to make a complete dildo out of myself in front of peers, parents, athletes, and worst of all the coaches that I respected so much. Before long someone had called the cops and they had me escorted off the premises. Luckily I didn't get a fine, but I should have. I still worry that I will see one of those coaches in the grocery store someday and I will be too embarrassed to even walk up and apologize. I was disgusted, I stayed in bed for a day deliberating if the path that I was on spiritually was working out. Obviously it wasn't. I wanted to save myself from that type of embarrassment from ever happening again. So I vowed to hit the job search hard and limit my drinking to weekends. The money that I had saved was pretty much gone. I figured I'd do that after May 19, 2005. May 19 was the opening of Star Wars episode III and me and some of my dork-ass friends wanted to go tailgating at Celebration Cinema and go to an afternoon show after we had some drinks. After I had been there for about a half hour I got calls from both of my friends saying they couldn't make it. I figured I was already there and already had a fifth in my possession, so I decided to go it alone. I drank most of the fifth in the car and by the time I got into the theater I was on a different planet. I plopped myself into a chair and passed out about 5 minutes into the movie. I woke up just in time to see the credits. (that was $8 well spent) As I walked to my car I finished up what was left of the fifth that I had poured into my $5 cherry coke from the theater. I got in the car and everything seemed ok, but by the time I got onto the expressway things were not cool at all. It was crowded, raining, visibility was low, and worst of all, I was seeing double. I knew that I had to get off the expressway. I started getting so scared that I wasn't gonna live past the night. I wouldn't have the opportunity to do any of the things in life that I was so passionate about accomplishing. I started praying to a god that I had denied and and mocked. I was looking for anything to help me through. I don't know if a higher power intervened but simply by praying calmed me down and helped me focus on the task at hand. I got off on the Okemos exit and parked at Big Boy I racked my brain as to who I could call. I tried many of my friends and I got many voicemails. I didn't want to drive all the way back to Williamston so I went to anyones house I could think of in the area. I just wanted a place to sober up and crash for the night but every apt, house, or condo I went to was empty. Nobody was home and I had checked at least 7 places. Finally I decided that I needed to get home before it got too late. As I was driving down Beech st. in East Lansing I was playing with my radio and crashed into a telephone pole going about 15 miles per hour. I couldn't get it off the curb so I fled the scene because I knew I couldn't pass the breathalyzer if the cops showed up. I ended up sleeping inside a garage of a house that I lived at with my friends Kortney and Jason. Soon enough I woke up to a flashlight in my eyes, the cops apparantly tracked me with a scent dog from the accident site. That was DUI #2 and this time it didn't fall on deaf ears. I was actually somewhat relieved that I was being forced to take some steps to getting my issues taken care of.
I was in jail for a little longer this time. The first thing that I did when I got to jail was ask my mom to start looking for some in-patient rehab facilities. I figured if I told her that while I was so low emotionally. I couldn't go back on it after I got out. Jail was crazy this time around. I had a really scary roomate and he snored like a bear, every time I kicked his bed to get him to shut up he would threaten to kill me. What a tool!! I passed my time in jail reading Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith. He made some good points to show flaws of religions. But after reading some of his opinions, I realized how hypocritical the Atheist viewpoint is. This smug bastard was so full of himself for apparantly having all the answers to everything. He was guilty of the same "faith" that he was attacking religious people for. If an atheist has the absolute faith that there isn't a god, isn't that the same thing as a christian that has absolute faith that there is a god? I think so, considering neither are proveable one way or the other, but they both debate like their views are facts. One of them is wrong or maybe they are both partially right or wrong who knows? The worst part is I knew that I was guilty of these douchebag crimes. This is when I read in Mr. Smith's book about what he called "weak atheists" also known as agnostics.
I was intrigued as I started to read about what the agnostics believe and it made me feel stupid that I was 24 years old and their views were honestly the only thing that made sense. I couldn't believe that it took me so long to embrace something that was so obvious. Agnostics believe that God is unknowable in this lifetime on earth. Maybe there is a god, maybe not. Since it is unprovable why debate about it like the christians and atheists? Why kill for gods in Holy Wars when you have no solid basis to take another's life other than a 2000 year old book? After getting out of jail I had all these ideas as to what I wanted to do with myself. I relaized I did want to go back to work and actually get on a regular schedule. My mom showed me some of the places that she was looking at for rehab and the best one for the cost and statistics was called Sundown M. Ranch in Yakama, Washington. I was excited as hell, not only was I gonna be getting some much needed maintenanece but I was also getting a chance to fly out to the west coast and hang out in the Yakama Valley.
I flew out there in June, it was a 27 day program. The schedule was strict but I loved it. I'll go into this whole rehab experience in depth in another blog because I can't do it justice within the context of this article. I will just touch on the spiritual aspects. In most recovery programs there are the 12 steps. In this program we were to complete the first 5 before we left. I had no problem with the first step which was admitting that I was out of control. I had no fear of steps 4 and 5 either. But steps 2 and 3 just didn't seem right. Step 2 is: "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity". Step 3 is: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him." What kind of shit is that? So here I am an agnostic, who not even a month before was a devout atheist fighting off the myth of God on the frontlines, and I'm supposed to just change everything I believe in because I drink too much? I was too educated on religion and the idea of god to simply be scared into believing in whatever the counselor told me. They would find loopholes around the wording and say "your higher power doesn't have to be "God", it could simply be that chair over there." I would look at them and be like "How can that chair give me the inner strength to stop drinking?" They obviously had no answers for that.
It was crunchtime, I had finished my first step and tommorrow it was my turn to do the 2nd and 3rd steps. We had worksheets that we needed to do before we went to class and officially did them. These worksheets had a bunch of questions about our "God" and I had no answers. After becoming frustrated with the whole thing I decided to go outside at dusk while there was still some light outside. As I was walking around the beautiful complex I looked around at all the mountains and cliffs that surrounded me. The sky was shades of purple, orange, and pink. The temperature was 70 degrees with a slight breeze. Everything about this night was perfect. I walked over to the white picket fence that surrounded the facility and looked up towards the face of a cliff. There was a hawk gliding in the air on a current and although we were more than a mile away from one another I felt connected with it. It was just hovering their high in the air looking right at me. A feeling of euphoria filled me up. Actually to be honest, I felt like I had been inhaling nitrous oxcide (laughing gas). I just stood there and smiled at the fact that I finally felt some type of supernatural force come into my life. I knew that the God in the religious books was not the god that worked for me. I wanted something I could see and feel. I chose "nature" and all of god's creations to be my higher power. Ever since that day, I haven't had a day where the beauty on this planet hasn't absolutely blown my mind.
Now that I knew that I had a higher power it was time to work on my other issues. Not necessarily my drinking, but my mindset as an alcoholic. As an alcoholic I lived life as 2 different people. The person that I wanted people to see me as, and the secretive and unthuthful person that I was when I was alone. I got very good at calling people's bullshit in our group sessions at the Ranch and I started to just spill my guts to complete strangers about things I had done that none of my friends or family members knew about. It was very freeing, and I was liberated with how much better I felt by just telling the truth, instead of trying to give into my facade. Halfway into my time at Sundown Ranch I was leading our group meetings. I was also the guy people came to for help with their assignments and steps. After finishing that program I felt like I could do anything. I started going to AA meetings and slowly but surely I became numb to any types of negative feelings. After being in recovery programs for months as well as my time in jail, I heard so many stories of abuse, rape, child protective services, vehicular homocide, and every single other attrocity that can happen to people. I just lost the ability to be sad or upset about anything. I have been so blessed on this earth. I was born in America, I grew up on a lake, I have the greatest parents in the world, I have don't have any physical or mental disabilities, I have great friends, and I've had all the opportunities and advantages that anyone could ever need, and the cherry on top is a job and coworkers that make my carreer enjoyable everyday. There is no need to worry about the things that we have no control over. All we can do is enjoy life to the best of our ablities and do positive things for our fellow man and environment.
I still referred to myself as an agnostic for quite a while simply because there was no term in exsistence for what I really was. I was somebody that believed in a God but not in the context of any of the Holy books. I like to believe in an afterlife, but that's something that is completely unproveable as well. I will continue to try and live life as a good person and when I die if there is a heaven, I hope to go there. There can only be good to come out of a society if it's individuals believe that helping their fellow man can grant them passage to paradise. Atheists will probably call me gullible, but that's fine. I believe god communicates through different frequencies with everyone including the Atheists. It keeps our society diverse in faith as well as scientific progress. So what to call my new rligion, agnostic was simply too neutral. If my belief in god was a glass it would be at least 75% full. I was talking on the phone with my friend Andy one day and we were discussing my beliefs and Andy came up with the term "Godnostic". I liked it because it was pro-god but I still leave the possibility open that there may not be any divine creator because, if our belief in god is simply because we believe that nothing can be created without intelligent design, then what intelligently designed god? If you response is: God simply "is", then wouldn't that mean that the universe could just exsist? However, that is more philosophical than spiritual. I choose to believe, it makes my life more enjoyable. I've studied up on religion and I have honed it to custum fit my life and personality. I plan to keep Godnostisism very broad and flexible. Other religions have suffered by trying to sharpen and make too specific certain translations. Christianity has been broken into 2500 pieces which is pretty amazing considering they are all studying out of the same book!! Flexibility is the key.
I have a long way to go on my path of life. I'm not gonna turn this into an after school movie, because I do still drink on occasion. However, I only drink on weekends and usually even that is just Friday night. I'm an alcoholic and I enjoy drinking. I havn't been in any trouble in 2 years, and when I drink it's more of a social thing than a "drown my pain" kind of thing. It's not perfect, but I'm living my life and enjoying every second, when it all comes down to it isn't that experiencing the glory of God's greatest gift- Life?? Hope you enjoyed the 3 part series that has given a glimpse into some of my darkest and most uplifting experiences. Till next time, your favorite, and mine-- Tabor


Rev. said...

Well written, straight from the heart shit.
I wish i could say it more poetic. But, that was about the most honest writing i've seen, and the best way i can describe it is:

Well written, straight from the heart shit.
I think you know what i mean by that. Good to have you back tabor.

The H.C. said...

Hey Tabor,
I don't know what to say that you didn't tell yourself. I will say that when I started hearing about your exploits I was sadden to think someone so young was going to end up dead or in prison for killing someone else. After seeing so many people go down the path you went down, I've pretty much resigned myself to admitting I can't save them, as much as I want to. My heart is filled with hope that you may be one of the few exceptions to the rule. I enjoyed your story as much as any I've ever read, especially the part about you realizing the beauty of God's creation even if the idea of a God is hard to grasp. I too have found Christianity hard to relate to for a lot of the same reasons that you stated, but I can't believe such beauty could be created for no reason. I'll say a prayer for you to stay on your right track. Remember Tabor, we don't know everything about how things will play out. You may be here to help the world with something that you can't even imagine. The butterfly effect of life has so many possibilities. Until then, breath the free air of a person who gets to live the life any dying person would kill for, and don't disgrace his death by throwing your life away.

I sincerely loved this post...Good job my friend.

TABOR said...

Hey Rev and H.C.
Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you could both enjoy the post and get inside That Tabor Guy's head for a few minutes. You're right H.C. you can't save people that have walked down the path that I have. It's up to the individual to change their own behavior and they won't do anything until it gets bad enough. I like to think that I have a have a greater purpose on the world. Maybe I will go down in history as the godfather of Godnostisism, or maybe I will be like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix and save mankind. Either way, I know I'll enjoy every minute of it.

ajbendaƱa said...

Hello Tabor dude,

I stumbled onto your blog today as I was reading some of the H.C.s posts on the current primary elections being held. I was scanning his page and saw your site on his favorite links. I feel it was syncronicity that brings me to this page today since i don't believe in coincidences but I digress. Your story is eerily similar to my own life.

From the early Catholic upbringing, to ccd, to getting tired of it all and the questioning. The Rebellion from church. Atheism, gnostic, to losing a girl, to hitting personal lows and doing stupid things with alcohol, to finding a form of spirituality that suits my life, finally realizing that there is more to this life and that I am here to live it up and turn the darkness of this world to light one step at a time.

Thank you for sharing your story and opening up. It made me want to write a similar history of myself, to just get it all out and let the world know who I am. The social side (facade) and the side only I experience alone. I don't want to wait till I hit rock bottom to change my life, but more and more I see that sometimes thats what it takes for us not to fall back on our old ways.

Again thanks for sharing.

Lori said...

Well.. I'm glad to see that you found a form of religion that suits your needs. I really think that's kind of what religion is... something more for us to believe in so that we feel there's more of a purpose than just 'being'. I'm a christian and I fully believe in God because I feel it in my heart. The connection you said you felt... that's what I would call the holy spirit. Crazy story... glad ya made it out alive and with a brighter and more knowledgeable outlook on religion/life. I look forward to reading more.

Tabor said...

Thanks Lori. I envy you for being a christian. Sometimes I think my life would be much easier if I could just give myself over to Jesus. Unfortunately I can't force myself to believe something that my heart doesn't buy into 100%. I hope one day I'll have one of those religious experiences that makes me a believer. But as for now I'll continue to be tolerant and allow people to believe the things that work for the individual. I appreciate the feedback and kind words.

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