Life after departing the Ames Fellowship Church felt like some sort of new-found freedom.  It felt like I was breathing the free air. I could go where I wanted, do what I wanted with whoever I wanted.  Tom and I had bonded through the entire experience but we opted for different directions.  I went to the E-Free church and he just quit going to church altogether.  I was maintained a much lower level of involvement in the E-Free church and only attended a few of their college-age activities. 


I had been through a lot, including getting booted from ROTC and a short estrangement with my family.  I had been going to school for a few years and was getting increasingly weary of it.  I was sliding back into some old ways which included a fair amount of drinking.  I never did do any sort of drugs, which is fortunate considering my addictive personality.  By the time I graduated in December of 1987 there wasn’t much charismatic or fundamentalist left in me at all.  I moved back home for a time, taking a few part-time jobs plus I was still in the reserves.  I finally did get a half-time job that paid well-enough to pay rent. 


In the mean time, I had my one and only serious run-in with the law.  Me and some buddies got drunked up one night and stole some road signs and then smashed a whole bunch of mailboxes.  We got caught and I was sentenced to a year of probation.  This made living and working in the home town a little more challenging.


By fall of 1988 I was working a new job, teaching Sunday school with the same group of kids Mom and Dad had taught, age-wise in the Presbyterian church.  But spiritually, I was in a weak spot.  This became more glaringly obvious when I met Ellen.


The entirety of that episode is documented in my Dead Ringer post.  This episode had serious consequences as far as my spiritual life.  I reacted with bitterness, anger and contempt towards God.  He did, indeed, look exactly like C.S. Lewis’ Divine Sadist who liked to fuck people over for His own amusement.  My rebellion was total and absolute.  I had quit teaching Sunday school as soon as Ellen and I broke up, and din’t go to church afterward.  It would be years before I would darken the door of a church again.


That’s not to say I was not still a spiritual person.  Oh, I was VERY spiritual!  I bought myself a deck of cards and learned how to read them for the amusement of my various friends.  Those would be Tarot cards, for those who are interested.  Dancing with the Devil was not anything I had a big fear of at the time.  I sort of welcomed the chance.


I saved a gob of money because right after Ellen broke up with me, I took another full-time job plus helped Dad on the farm when I wasn’t working at the factory or in the reserves or teaching.  Weeks would go by and my checks just stacked up before I had a chance to cash them.  I simply had little time for a lot of mischief.   At least for awhile. 


Somewhere amongst all these jobs, I managed to go to a few sessions with a personal therapist.  He was a nice guy, and we talked about my failed relationship a bit.  But that’s not what he really wanted to talk about.  What he wanted to talk about was my relationship with my parents and especially with my dad.  At the time, my knowledge of psychology was limited but I was learning.  I picked up a copy of “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” and had all sorts of insights about me, Ellen and our relationship.  I still thought there might be a chance of reclaiming it.  The therapist was into the psychodynamic perspective and while somewhat related to transactional analysis (from the book) was not what he was into.  Psychoanalysis is all about delving into the subconscious, underlying issues and unresolved conflicts.   Once it became obvious that I was never going to get my parents into a session with him, he said he thought I was okay and didn’t need to see him anymore after about 3 sessions.


 He really was a nice guy and I did feel supported.  I think insurance might have covered it all back then.  So I would not call my first experience with a therapist a bad one.  It was quite good at a time when I needed it.  This was also in the days before psychotropic drugs became the norm instead of the exception.  My own knowledge of psychology has increased greatly since that time so I’m unsure as to how helpful it would be  today.  I think I would make a poor client.  I’d be too busy analyzing the therapist and their approach!


That fall, I went back to ISU for a year and during that year I made up for some lost time, sexually speaking.  Around my 26th birthday I cast my virginity off and said hello to sex.  And a pregnancy.  And an abortion.  The latter blind sided me.  Not enough to stop me from having sex, but it is one of those sins in my past I consider to be a grave one.


During this year at ISU I would eventually begin to find my way out of the  dark pit into which I had cast myself in.  A girl I was somewhat interested in introduced me to the world of 12 Step groups.  That was the beginning of what you all now know is Sinner’s Anonymous.


I first went to Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) meetings.  It was a safe place to express some of my own inner hurts and pain.  It was also a very safe place for rediscovering God.  It was never forced.  But Alcohol, while somewhat a force in my life was not really my bottom line.  So I briefly explored the Sex &Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) group.  This was interesting, but again I didn’t find my “bottom line” in this group either.  I would later learn of Codependent’s Anonymous which hit much closer but we didn’t have a local CoDA group.


Spiritually speaking I was making a giant circle, going through many different stages inside and outside the church.  If you read the Old Testament, this is pretty much how the Israelites did it.  They wandered all over the wilderness.  Then they would be under God’s care for a bit before slipping away again in their practices and faith.  And as you can see I have traveled all over the spiritual map, from being deeply devotional to being in open warfare with God.  God was always there, always.  There were times that I felt the hedge that was around me to be confining and suffocating.  Then I’d get some extra room and screw up.


Towards the sunset of my 26th year, I was still restless.  The scar from having my heart broken still felt like my soul was pulled from its roots.  I was ready for a serious change.  I was honorably discharged from the Army Reserves, so now I was a lot freer to go where I wanted.  And I chose to fly.  To fly south to new adventures and away from Iowa. 


Iowa was a good place to grow up and be from but for a young, single guy it was not all that.  Eligible men outnumber eligible women by a substantial margin.  Good if you’re a woman but lousy if you’re a guy.  Most of the guys in Iowa are tall, big and educated.  I once brought a gal from Alabama back to Iowa and she could not believe it.  She thought she was in a land of giants!  Even the high school drop-outs in Iowa are more literate than many college graduates from other places.  So while I was in Iowa, I was just another mediocre, hard working, tall, educated guy.  I was in a class that was a dime a dozen.  Plus the economy was never very good where I grew up.  So I looked for greener and warmer pastures.


And that is how I decided to move south…to Florida!




4 Responses to “Rebellion”

  1. agathalorange Says:

    Do you mind if I post a link to your blog on Decommissioned? I thought I might post it on the Reading thread.

  2. FTN Says:

    Ah, some therapy that wasn’t really all that successful. Add into that how much you’ve studied it on your own, and I think we’re seeing a better explanation of why you are so wary of it.

    Next you are off to Florida! Home of retirees, playing shuffleboard in shorts and dress socks!

  3. diggerjones Says:

    You can if you want, Agatha, but this blog is not necessarily AFC/GCI centric like Decommisioned. I richly enjoyed reading those discussions, but I don’t have a dog in that race. I don’t regret my experience as much as other ex-members.

    Ha! No FTN, my therapy actually accomplished the objective which was to get me pastmy most severe depression and move into simply being chronically mildly depressed! I don’t regret that experience, either. Understand that going into it I was about as close as I’ve ever been to being suicidal. I lost about 40 pounds in 3 weeks. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t really want to live. I started smoking. Therapy didn’t solve all of those issues for me and you know as well as me that it isn’t a cure-all. It’s not even that great of a science or an art. It can help SOME things sometimes.

    But now that you mention it, I need to elaborate on something else. Thanks for dropping by!


  4. My SECOND counseling experience « Reality & Redemption Says:

    […] Over on my other blog, I do go into my first experience with counseling, when I was in my 20’s.  FTN left a comment and in the midst of my reply it hit me that that was not my final go ’round with counseling.  Oh no.  I did have another experience. […]

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