The summer of bible camp was "The Summer of Love."  How ironic I thought, while others everywhere were tuning in, turning on and dropping out, I was trying to understand basic human nature and to find out if God really does exist. From a child's perspective, I grew up thinking if the people who claim they love me and want to protect me will hurt me, then what will the rest of the world do to me? That isn't actually the right stuff to guide a person into adulthood, but nonetheless it guided me into being clueless where romantic relationships are concerned. The "funny" thing about it is that I've gone through life waiting and wanting someone to prove me wrong, but to date no one has. My logic says since people are human and humans are flawed, anyone is bound to hurt/disappoint someone else, but on a deeper still filled with idealism and good things that can't be destroyed by this cesspool called life, I choose to hold onto the belief that love is a good thing and in many situations is the only thing that keeps us afloat. So until love comes my way, I'll just stay in my canoe and hope I don't lose my paddles. 

After that summer when I fell short of receiving God's grace, I turned to trying to understand evil instead. When Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible was hot off the presses, I purchased one and read it from cover to cover hoping for a lightbulb moment. Needless to say, it was just another book filled with words written by man and it didn't explain the great mysteries of life any more than the Christian Bible had. My spiritual journey I suppose some would say was corrupted by my inability to believe what I couldn't see. Instead of blindly believing, I questioned EVERYTHING instead. If God loved us so much then why do bad things happen to good people? Where are the miracles? Why are there wars, famine and disease? No one seemed to be able to adequately answer these things through the Biblical verses they would throw my way. I needed more than meaningless words on a page to help me swallow anything I was told about God. I needed more than just empty written words to make God a reality.

Eventually my salvation was found in my experimentation with drugs. As that experimentation deepened, I found certain drugs had a numbing effect. That feeling was one my whole body craved.... especially my emotions. Nothing bothered me as long as I stayed high, so by the tender age of 14, I stayed high ALL the time. I could easily sit back and blame my choices on my genetic background. I'm sure the long line of alcoholism that runs on both sides of my family would be enough of reason to say I didn't stand a chance not to be a substance abuser. Yes, the odds were against me, yet somehow I know that's not why I changed the path I had walked as a small child. I didn't begin life as an addict. You see, I actively sought out finding something that would make me numb. It took me many years to realize that without drugs I would have been a much uglier statistic. I choose drugs to stay alive if that makes any sense. They didn't choose me. 

Looking back on it, I call the next 16 years of my life "my leap of faith". They say God looks out for fools and drunks, but I think He/She has a special fondness for all addicts. Addictions, whatever they may be, cause an emotional bankruptcy in the person. No love is greater than that of a person and their drug of choice. When I say "drug," I include food, sex, gambling, shopping, work or whatever it is a person uses to escape. All other things in life come second regardless of what we try to tell ourselves and everyone else who is in earshot. That moment, at the climax when nothing else matters, I found freedom from pain and a facade that made me think nothing could ever hurt me again. Many years later, when the truth stared me in the face daring me to look elsewhere, I realized the truth and only the truth would set me free. 

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