|Lying on the bed,
my body rigid with tension, my mind locked on to the question of how
to sneak into my parents bedroom next door and get the gun I
knew was in my dads top dresser drawer. I wanted to kill myself.
Thoughts of despair, suicide, resentment, and loneliness filled my
early high school years. I felt there was a big gaping hole inside
of me no matter how hard I tried to fill it using drugs and sex. A
sudden knock on the door by my mother announcing dinner broke my concentration
and my body relaxed. I never got the gun.
One day, looking in the big mirror over the fireplace in my house,
I saw two people looking back at me. The person on the outside who
I had become - a drug addict, and the other, a person imprisoned
on the inside - the real me. I had no idea who she was. I started
to try to find out who this person was, the real me, but it was
like trying to grasp sand, it slipped through my fingers and I was
left with nothing.
I wanted to find something concrete about myself that I could cling
to. Nothing about my life felt stable. My family looked stable and
concrete but that was a fašade. Rage ran rampant in our house and
I lived in constant fear for as long as I could remember.
One morning I woke up and something was different. I felt as though
I was standing outside myself, observing. Another being had entered
my body and decided that I was going to go and talk to the school
counselor and tell him I thought I was insane. It seemed so simple.
There was no fear as I walked into the counselors office,
but I broke down in tears telling him what was going on inside of
My high school counselor arranged for me to talk with a drug counselor
at an adolescent drug and alcohol treatment center. The drug counselor
told me his story of addiction and recovery. I related to his story
and felt so relieved I wasnt going crazy after all! I was
simply chemically dependent! In the middle of my junior year I entered
into a six-week drug treatment program.
The week before entering the program I stayed up late writing my
philosophy of life. It just came to me, in another one of those
moments of another being taking over my body, and I began writing
and writing and writing. I took this philosophy of life into the
drug treatment ward with me and shared it with another person who
was struggling with his own acceptance of his drug addiction. A
few years later he shared with me how this writing had caused his
turnaround in accepting his own addiction.
I re-entered school after treatment and became part of a 12 step
support group of students in recovery from drugs and alcohol. I
had quit using drugs; however, addictive personality tendencies
take time for healing and change to occur. Letting go of the other
addictions was even harder. Right before school began, I did something
that was so totally against my morals that I sank into a deep depression.
I had committed adultery. An empty shell walking around with no
feeling, I wanted to die. I wasnt going to commit suicide
or start using drugs again, I already felt dead. I thought, I
am already dead inside whats the point in this empty shell
continuing to exist?
Once my senior year began, I started going into the chapel on a
regular basis and journaling and praying. I was raised Catholic
and to me God was a remote, moody God. Not a God I could relate
to or really wanted to relate to, but at this point I had no choice
but to turn to God. In the back of my mind I knew it was God who
had taken over my being that day when I went into the counselors
office. I knew it was God who had taken over my being that night
when I wrote my philosophy of life. So I had reason to start to
In November, my birthday weekend, half the senior class went on
a retreat up in the woods of Northern Minnesota. I didnt know
many people from my class except the druggies and I wasnt
hanging out with them anymore. Friday night after we arrived we
were given a sheet of paper and a pen and told to write down what
our hopes were for this weekend. I wrote down that I wanted to open
up and let others know me. All throughout high school, I was shy
and had low self-esteem, and had hung out with the group of druggies.
Saturday afternoon, a few of us were sitting around listening to
Father Fitzgerald talking about the mass being planned for that
evening. All of a sudden I heard a voice whisper in my ear, Go
for a walk. I looked around to see if the person next to me
had whispered it, but no she hadnt. I then felt a very strong
urge to go for a walk.
On that sunny, crisp November day in Northern Minnesota I walked
in the woods, and, emerging into a small clearing, I suddenly felt
an intense energy flow directly into my womb, two inches below my
naval, and up and down my body. This energy was an overwhelming
Love and Joy sweeping throughout my whole being, filling me up completely
and bursting through the top of my head. I ran up a hillside feeling
like Maria in the Sound of Music, singing at the top of my
lungs and dancing with joy bursting forth from me. I felt Christ
was at my side and God was everywhere around me, in me, through
me. I was at one with everything around me. In that moment I knew
I was forgiven and had been healed of my past. The gaping hole Id
felt all my life was gone, it had been filled with Love.
It was time for the evening mass so I returned to the fireplace
room. During the mass we were suppose to talk about what home meant
to us. This shy person who never talked couldnt stop talking.
I physically fought with myself to keep my mouth closed but it would
not and I began telling of the experience I was having as I continued
to feel the Joy and unconditional Love flow through me in this telling.
I knew that if no one else loved me God did. I felt I was home at
Back at school, standing in the cafeteria, I felt at one with the
world around me and compassion towards everyone, even my mother
and father. My body felt lighter, less dense, there were no boundaries
between me and anyone else. I was at one with all creation and the
compassion poured from me. I knew I was experiencing Heaven on Earth,
I knew I was experiencing the Love of God that Jesus talked about.
I now know what born again Christians talk about. Although I dont
consider myself a part of the born again Christian movement, on
my 18th physical birthday I was spiritually born.
Eventually this feeling of total oneness faded, but it left me
with a knowing that we are all meant to live in Love, Joy and Compassion.
An ember of this experience lives on within me, urging me to share
this story with others and to contribute to the emergence of this
Love in the new millennium. Unconditional Love, Compassion, Joy
and Forgiveness are here for all of us. Living in and expressing
them is the next evolution of humankind, it is our destiny.
Twenty-four years after that experience, I am in the process of
writing my own Holy Scriptures documenting all those times I have
felt that Holy Presence or experienced a dream, or intuition about
the step Im to take next in my life. These Holy Scriptures
are meant to encourage me in times of doubt and fear so I can keep
having faith knowing that-
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down
in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters; he restores
my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his names
sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil; for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they
comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of
my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely
goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and
I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
With over 20 years of sobriety, Karen Cox is now a spiritual
director who encourages others to write their Holy Scriptures. She
is currently following her dream of completing a degree in psychology.
Karen grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and spent some time in California
where she graduated in 1998 from the Mercy Centers Spiritual
Directors Institute. She is a member of Spiritual Directors
International, the Association for Humanistic Psychology and a member
of the Living Enrichment Center in Wilsonville, Oregon. Karen can
be reached at (503) 439-3351, or firstname.lastname@example.org.