I was baptized and raised Catholic by parents who thought it was their duty to bring up their children in the church. I went to CCD for 7 years, received my first communion and was confirmed. Growing up, I enjoyed going to church, volunteered to teach CCD and became a part of the choir. It appeared I was the picture perfect Catholic boy.
I was in love with God and my religion – I thought it explained everything and I agreed with the Church on all their doctrine. I was so invested in my faith that I chose to go to a Christian college. Even though it wasn’t Catholic, I felt that I would grow stronger in my faith (and not address the fact I was gay). I could meet a nice Christian girl and we would get married and have children. As I spent my time at college, my faith did grow and I became more Catholic (despite being in a Protestant environment with people telling me I was going to hell for my beliefs). Even after coming out, I still held the Church in high regard and was committed to my faith.
I believed that there was one way to get into Heaven and that was by accepting Jesus as your Savior. If you didn’t do that, regardless of what type of person you were, or what you did. This was the only way to avoid going to hell. I told myself that I didn’t judge others for not having this belief, but in reality I did judge those who didn’t believe like I did. I was in ‘the club’ and I was going to heaven, no matter what. It was a great feeling, until the foundations started to crack.
As my the foundations of my faith started to crack, I began to question things. Why was the Church the authority on things? With all the covered up abuse and scandals of the Catholic Church was involved in, why I should I let them tell me anything about morals? Eventually, there were enough cracks for the entire foundation to crumble and I was lost.
Losing my faith was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It allowed me to grow beyond the limits of Christianity and not put my understand of the Divine in a box. Today, God reveals themselves to me in many ways, and often in a form that resonates with the Judeo-Christian tradition. I’ve gone through my journey of deconstruction and am now in the process of reconstructing my spirituality and faith, which has had significant impacts on my sobriety journey.
I’m going to tell the story of this journey and hope that you’ll join me. If you are going through something similar or want to see some of the things that have inspired me, I have added a list of books that have aided me.