For many years there has been a hard crust in me. If you could have taken a saw and cut me down the middle to examine my interior in cross section, you would have seen it. It was a hardened steel layer that matched the contours of my body from head to toe, just below the surface of my skin. Nothing could get through it.
That hard layer in me was made of material that was once flexible and dynamic, and capable of responding to both subtlety and intensity. Feelings and memories I had denied and held down under strong pressure were hammered flat and welded together into an impenetrable crust. This is what I thought I had to do to protect myself.
I was terrified of reality. I hated the pain and stresses of real life: conflict, danger, responsibility, loss, rejection, loneliness, and need, etc. In order to reject reality, I had to lie to myself about what was happening to me as it was happening. I altered the facts as they were entering my mind in an attempt to dull the strong feelings that were making me uncomfortable.
I did not realize that the hard facts and the strong feelings which accompanied them in the real world were meant to drive me to find real solutions in the real world. When I lied to myself about what was really happening, my situation usually got worse. The pressure of truth became stronger, but instead of giving in to it, I pushed back against it with more lies: denial, minimization, procrastination and magical thinking.
Over time, the upward pressure of the truth and unresolved problems continued. The ingenuity and energy I was putting into lies and avoidance was meant for problem solving, and did not work as an escape.
Because I had made a commitment to telling lies to myself and to others, I was making a commitment to sin. In making a commitment to sin, I was making a commitment to Satan. In league with him, Satan gave me stronger weapons to fight against truth, reality, and God’s will. He gave me the medication of addiction. Getting high on sex and drugs kept me way out of touch with healthy pain and stress, and it kept me way out of touch with the will of God.
I did not see that pain is a gift from God. Pain is golden. Pain keeps us from worse injury or death by teaching us not to harm ourselves with things that are too hot, or too cold, or too sharp, etc. Pain tells us we have gone too long without food or rest. Pain tells us how valuable someone or something is when lost or threatened, and motivates us to take protective action. Pain is what drives us to God. The memory of our own painful experiences are meant to help us to identify with the pain and suffering of others from simple human rapport to aggressive intercession on their behalf.
The misuse of our own pain to justify our sinful behavior is resentment, and resentment poisons the whole process of health and recovery. Being courageous enough to live with our pain and our consequences is to make the maximum use of them to help us make real changes for the better in real life. Real faith is only possible when the real situation is faced for what it really is, then believing God for the real solution, and that Christ by us is fully capable to do our part.
My choices to escape from the pain and stress of real life cost me far more than the initial discomfort I was unwilling to face. By choosing to tell myself lies to change reality, I chose sin. In choosing sin, I began to believe my own satanic lies, and the result was the kind of insanity that trades everything in life worth having for the false world of my selfish dreams. In forsaking reality, I forsook God, because God is in reality. Every good thing worth having is where God is-in reality.
While I was in the thrall of my stupor, I lost almost everything worth having. I lost a business of my own and $20,000. I lost several other jobs after that, with long stretches of unemployment in between them. I lost my self respect. I lost touch with my wife and son and how to be for them. I eventually lost my wife in divorce. I nearly lost my faith that I was a Christian, and I certainly lost credibility as a Christian to all those around me.
I thank God for the recovery I now have. To continue to grow, I know I need to be willing to feel all the feelings that come with the everyday stresses of life so I will be able to handle the real problems with real solutions. It has also been vital for me to face the negative of what my real past of Satan misuse has been. By talking to others about what I am thinking and feeling, I am learning how to be truthful to myself and to others. Sometimes this feels scary, and I feel exposed and want to protect myself. But now I know the truth of what Page said to me once, "You think you are protecting yourself, but you are really protecting Satan, and he hates you!"