The Seductive Lure of Magical Thinking

During the Memorial Day Weekend in 1975 I made a mistake that would set in motion a life of mediocrity and failure. I was only 15 at the time so I didn’t know better. But now I do. It was on that weekend that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and as a bonus was baptized in the Holy Ghost. In that moment I gave away the right to be an independent thinker. Being a teenager is no excuse it was a desperate move that stunted my growth as an adult. The teenage years are normally a time of rebellion, testing boundaries and making the kind of mistakes that build character. Giving away yourself to a religious higher power is like buying the undercoating when you buy a new car. What you can’t see comes only with costs and little or no value. Of course, at any point during my adult life I could have taken my spirit back, but I didn’t and now I’m 60. Any lessons learned now I will only take to the grave, its too late to grow. Christianity was an exercise in magical thinking as is sobriety something I will discuss in more detail later.

Christianity seemed a Godsend, pun intended, to my damaged family. My father finally abandoned us for good a few years earlier making a history of abandonment permanent. Christian Assembly became my father figure and my oasis. In Christianity, each kindness come at a price, my freedom. Every major life decision for the next 25 years was controlled, actively or psychically, by this life-destroying force. From my education to my first marriage, I was living by principles that were eating away at my soul. I only got out of the loveless first marriage by following Jesus’ command that divorce could only be granted in the case of adultery. So, I followed his guidelines and had an affair that became my second marriage. I immediately went home and confessed to my wife so that divorce was ensured. That second marriage was a nightmare that only happened by following the teaching of Christ.

My missteps haunt me every day, there’s nothing I can do about the past, nothing that would grow me up and give me a second chance. There’s only existence. I don’t judge others only myself, but Christians need to recruit or proselytize in order to build the pyramid means that I am often confronted by those wishing to ‘help’ me. One of my unfortunate behaviors when drinking was to be rude and condescending to anyone who approached me with their magic formula for happiness. The Christian culture encourages members to look down at anyone who is not a part of the club and to tell others how to live. I wish I could rescue them all and bring them back to themselves but that is impossible, and any attempt would be harshly received.

Speaking of drunk behavior. A couple of years ago after numerous failed jobs and scattered moments of homelessness I turned to that other magic, sobriety. I needed to stop drinking because I only binged. I did the same with food but that doesn’t come with the same scarlet letter. Waking up at home bloodied by a fall or on a sidewalk in some strange part of town, my binging was going to lead to either death or prison. I had no interest in the usual form of sobriety, to subsume my life into a group, Alcoholics Anonymous, which tried to mask their religious intentions. They say Higher Power, but they mean the Christian God.

Writer, poet and vagabond