Through a Simple Twist of Faith, Part Two

Through a Simple Twist of Faith

Part two of a three-part article written by Randi G. Fine

Some who suffer adversity have had their lives negatively altered by an identifiable, pivotal event. Others gradually lose their foothold over a period of years. Though unaware that it was happening while it was happening, I experienced the latter.

My first eighteen years were tumultuous. An insecure childhood worsened by a series of unfortunate life altering events whittled away at my self-esteem. By the time my nineteenth year rolled around and I began living on my own I was functionally depressed yet emotionally numb, hardened to life yet highly vulnerable to its assaults. Though I was in a downward spiral I saw nothing unusual about the way I felt inside, how I was functioning, or the choices I was making. I knew no other way to feel or act.

I am not implying that I experienced no happiness during those years. There were many good, joyful things that happened in my life, but the exuberance was short lived. From my vantage point life was a place of suffering and hardship. That’s just how it was. And since I was naturally drawn to people with problems even worse than mine who had similar perspectives, it is no wonder I thought everyone saw things as I did.

At age nineteen I moved out of my parents’ house to leave behind the chaos there that I could no longer tolerate. Believing I was ready to take on life as an adult, I dropped out of college, found a job, and moved in with a roommate.

Living on my own and supporting myself provided a joyful freedom I had never before experienced. Unfortunately it did not stop the problems. Things only got worse for me and the problems became much more serious.

Many of the problems were the result of unwise decisions I had made, but one was not—the home invasion rape that nearly cost me my life. That was beyond my control. And then, as if I wasn’t far enough down, my “boyfriend” preyed on my vulnerability and swindled me out of all my money. I never saw him again. I do not claim to be a victim—I take full responsibility for allowing that to happen.

Still, after twenty-two years of living under an emotional “battering ram” it seemed as if adversity had won the fight. My spirit was weary and broken. All I had left was a glimmer of hope that a miracle would somehow save me. I envisioned a knight in shining armor coming, sweeping me off my feet, and taking me away from my life as I knew it.

Surprisingly that actually happened. A man miraculously came into my life, seemingly out of nowhere, and we fell deeply in love. My knight had everything I could have ever wanted; a great personality, stability, his own home, and a good job with a very promising future. Together we began the fairy tale romance I had dreamed of but never thought was possible. Sure that everything would be wonderful from that point on, I breathed a huge sigh of relief—the fight was finally over.

But the euphoria was short lived. It wasn’t long before the mask and armor came off and my true knight was revealed. It was not a pretty picture. The perfect love of my life had relapsed into a ravaging intravenous drug addiction.

For a long time I did not want to look at what was being shown to me. I was afraid to jeopardize the relationship that I had invested everything into; the relationship that I believed had saved my life. I could not survive without him; he was my love, my life, and my savior. Severely co-dependent that I was I truly believed I could fix him. I was determined to do whatever it took to create a happy ending—even if it took my last breath.

I stuck it out with him through a few ups and a lot of downs, through a heart wrenching maze of sobriety and relapses. During one extended period of sobriety we got married. Believing (probably fantasizing) that he had remained sober a planned pregnancy followed a year later.

The first trimester of my pregnancy was horrendous. I was incapacitated and too sick to worry about his comings and goings. Free from the close monitoring and the tight leash I kept him on, he relapsed into his worst addiction ever. That still did not deter me. I was even more determined to save my marriage and preserve the ideal family unit for my unborn child.

Seven months into my pregnancy I began attending Nar-Anon meetings. It was there that I first heard about turning my problems over to a “higher power.” I could not grasp that concept. I was the fixer and doer in my life. If I couldn’t do it than no one else could either—certainly not some unseen “higher power.” That is how someone with a co-dependency disorder thinks. I struggled for months to connect with an intangible source of strength outside of myself to hand my problems over to.

After the baby was born things got even more desperate. Staying with my husband meant risking life and limb, though in my state of mind I probably would have stuck it out if I only had me to worry about. But that was not the case. My six week old daughter was in imminent danger.

I could no longer fool myself. The dream of happily ever after had completely disintegrated. After he left for work one morning, I took my newborn baby and left with whatever belongings I could fit in my car. I did not have a nickel to my name or any way to make a living.

That was truly my emotional bottom, but like it or not staying there was not an option. More than anything I wanted my daughter’s life to be better than mine. That meant one thing—I had to somehow fix my life. I had to change.

Continued From – Through a Simple Twist of Faith, Part One

This entry was posted in Adversity, Codependency, Faith, Spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One comment on “Through a Simple Twist of Faith, Part Two

  1. There is something so invigorating about your honesty. Thanks for having the courage to share your story. Thanks for doing what you do.

    I had a very similar experience with religion. Except mine was Catholicism. I don’t hold any grudges and like many other things I’ve reclaimed from my memories from healing, I am thankful for what I learned from Christianity. My family wasn’t religious like yours (Thank God). They didn’t push faith on us. So I was able to take what I could from it on my own terms, in my own head. For a long time as a young child I was very religious and even was an altar boy for a time.

    I liked what was taught about Jesus. I learned a lot about being a kind person, about compassion, about the power of love even when others hate you. The supernatural stuff was silly to me and what eventually led me away from religion. But I certainly learned from it and a big part of who I became sprouted from listening to stories about compassion and caring.

    My path through spirituality or religion went down a different direction than yours, Randi. It was through reason that I found peace, through acceptance of my fate, through knowledge that me being here able to observe and acknowledge my own existence is mind-blowing to me. Where many people find evidence of the supernatural or an all powerful being steering the ship to be motivating and absolute, I found endless wonder in, what is in my mind, the complete lack of those things.

    Our bodies are not perfect. Even the most perfect biological specimen of a human being is just an amalgam of mistakes, corrections, competing processes, and eventual decay that works just well enough and just long enough for us to exist. This never stops being amazing to me. Nor does our teenie tiny mass of cells, a speck of dust within the grand scale of our galaxy, or even more grand, the entire universe.

    We are a speck, a chemical reaction on legs, yet we have to ability to look in a mirror and know what we see before our eyes. This fills me with constant amazement and motivates me to seek out more to my life than just filling a duty. I want to grasp the stars if only for a moment through the stroke of a few notes on a keyboard. I want to lift my limbs into the air, to know that when the dust covers me, when the blood stops moving through my veins, and my thoughts are silenced, I didn’t sit quietly in the corner waiting for my own cessation.

    I say these things because as a non-believer you generally find two options from others – that the only way to achieve the sublime is through the acceptance of the unseen, through giving in to some notion of faith, through stopping some degree of rational thought to yield to superstition OR live a life eternally hopeless or directionless. It has been just the opposite for me. Giving in to the supernatural or irrational takes away opportunity, it takes away just how precious and rare every day of our existence is, and takes away hope. I live every day in constant amazement, wide-eyed and eternally grateful that I have two arms, two legs, and a mind that allowed me to escape from insanity, and time, precious time, to live out whatever the rest of my life yields for me.

    Just a different perspective… As always, thanks for sharing everything so honestly. You ooze out authenticity.
    Brad

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