The beginning of my Christian Catholic journey can be found here, if you need to get caught up on the full story. As I stated in that post, the first 13 years of my journey were not so great, but the story certainly doesn’t end there.
I believe everything happens for a reason or can be used for good in one way or another. This means, even the times when I wasn’t being taught or felt I wasn’t guided well can still be used for good within my life and the lives of people around me.
Continuing the story of my Christian Catholic journey, this post will cover from about 14 years of age to around 24 or 25 years of age. When I get into my 20s, things are a bit hazy, so I cannot be exact with the age or date.
My Early High School Years
I attended Catholic school through my sophomore year in high school. At that time, for reasons relating to the politics of sports, I switched to a public high school. Looking back, this was probably not the wisest move as maybe something from the Catholic high school would have sank in had I stayed. However, it did help to shape my journey.
Anyway, my freshman and sophomore years were spent looking at religion teachers with doubt and contempt, attending mass regularly because I was told I had to, and it was the beginning of my sexual experiences. While I didn’t lose my virginity until 16, it wasn’t something I was really taught to hold on to.
I was surrounded by men (not including my father) that made it seem more like a rite of passage and a “high-five” type of situation instead of what it really should be.
Virginity should be cherished, regardless of whether you’re a male or female. It’s something precious and a gift we should save for marriage, but it’s up to our parents to teach us this. To this day, I don’t think I ever truly had a talk about sex with my parents, which was only one of the factors leading to the loss of my virginity.
Going back to those early high school years, I was a part of a group that wasn’t exactly popular and we didn’t do much to foster popularity. We came from somewhere else compared to most other students and there were only a handful of us in this group. Sure, we got along with plenty of other people at school, but I wouldn’t label us as popular at all.
I don’t remember much when it comes to Catholic education from those two years. I do remember a teacher that was learning Hebrew or Greek (I can’t remember which) because he wanted to read the bible in that language. While there were regular religion classes, which I didn’t really get in grade school as much, I don’t think they were on par with what I needed or what the students needed.
I don’t know if I had a clue what I needed at that time, but it would have been nice to actually understand how to pray the Rosary, why we, as Catholics, pray the Rosary and how to defend ourselves when someone wants to falsely accuse us of worshipping Mary or the Saints.
I had to learn what it meant to pray the Rosary and how to do it properly on my own. I wish there had been a class that broke down all the Catholic prayers, including the Mass, so that I had a deeper understanding of what the Catholic faith is all about. I don’t know if the schools/church/parents are just hoping we will pick up on it through osmosis or just by attending mass, but I can say, that didn’t work for me.
My early high school years are when I started to fall away from the faith and a friend of mine even came up with something we joked about often. He said, “God was just Dog backwards, so we are actually just worshipping dogs.”
I know, it’s stupid and makes no sense, but we turned it into a regular joke as I started to believe less and less in any form of God. These two years were where I started to believe God was a crutch for the weak and not real.
My Final High School Years
As I switched from a private Catholic high school to a public school, I moved even further away from God. I didn’t become a trouble maker or really get into much trouble, but I did start having sex with just about every girl I dated. In fact, I seeked out girls willing to have sex and based every high school relationship on the physical without any true connection to those girls.
It was the wrong way to date, but I had no guidance on the right way to date. Personally, I believe we should get back to a time where we actually court instead of date and I love the example set forth by the Duggars where they send some type of chaperone on every date and a couple’s first kiss happens at the altar. It may seem a bit extreme, but it seems to work rather well for them.
I don’t agree with the whole, you have to try out different types of people physically or you have to kiss a bunch of frogs to find your prince/princess. I think, if we courted, instead of dated, we’d have a far better chance of finding the right person for us much sooner in life. Of course, this also goes along with my belief that we should be training our children to become adults, fully, at age 18 or even sooner, instead of sending them off and labeling them as “College Kids”.
Anyway, the final two years of high school for me were a bit of a blur. I didn’t grow in faith and I found ways to skip church as often as I could, since I had a license and could lie to my parents. This is where the lies started, but certainly not where they ended.
Consistent Lies, Boasting Stories, & a Couple of Wake Up Calls
I started a string of lies in my late teenage years that didn’t stop until my mid-20s, give or take. The lies included omission, taking things completely out of context, boasting about things I had done that were not things I had done, twisting stories to make myself look better, and so many other forms of lies.
I don’t know where the lies came from, but these years, I am not sure if I actually had a conscience or if I was just a selfish idiot. These lies always seemed to take me down a path of lust and pleasure without any true happiness or joy.
I remember a couple of wake up calls that really never set in until later in life. Multiple car accidents including one where I look back today and swear I must have had a Guardian Angel looking out for me because I should have been dead, yet walked way without a scrape, didn’t wake me up.
I remember trying to go to church in my early 20s, but just couldn’t do it. I didn’t have any faith. I was lost and didn’t know it, which I think it exactly what Satan wants with everybody. I think he wants us to be lost, but convinced we are not.
I started drinking, I started smoking weed, and I started doing all kinds of things I shouldn’t have done. My sexual number climbed quickly between 19 and 21 as I was heartbroken, angry, and so lost I couldn’t have found my way out of an open field.
These were the darkest years of my life as I was destroying anything good around me, drinking nearly every day of the week, doing drugs, and sleeping with just about any woman that would let me. The devil had me and he was laughing as my life was being destroyed.
A Small Awakening
No, the next part of the story isn’t how I was saved out of this type of life miraculously. I am not the type to learn my lessons quickly. I am stubborn. I want it on my terms, and I don’t learn hard lessons quickly or easily.
I have always believed those off track would get slapped down by God sooner or later and I was a living example of it. I think God starts gently with little nudges, but those nudges turn into something far more severe when our ears don’t perk up and our eyes continue to be blinded. I was deaf, dumb, blind, and stupid during my early 20s and I certainly wasn’t hearing the voice of God anywhere in my life.
My stubbornness caused me to continue to lie to make myself look better and destroy those around me. I wasn’t sober often and my life was a blur.
While this was the case, I did have a small awakening somewhere between 24 and 25 years of age. I remember telling a woman I had dated and lied to quite a bit every truth I had. I remember it like it was yesterday and I remember spilling every single truth out and telling her everything I had lied about and embellished.
This awakening was the first real moment I can remember God pulling me back, but I had no idea at the time. What I did know is that I didn’t want to live behind a mask of lies anymore. This was the first time I had been 100% truthful with someone and was ready to break the chain of lies I had started back in my teenage years.
The Two Abortions
During this part of my Christian Catholic Journey, I played a role in two abortions. When I was 17, I got a girl pregnant and she asked me if I thought we should have an abortion. Her mom had already offered to pay for it and it would be very easy to blame her mother, but I am just as guilty. I told her yes we should have an abortion and that was that.
I had no idea the guilt I would feel years later and the destruction it would cause in my life and probably in her life. That baby was probably sent from God to rescue me before I could go down a path of destruction and the abortion was probably a portal we opened to allow Satan in, as all abortion is a sacrifice to Satan, anyway.
The second abortion came several years later and I didn’t tell this woman we should have an abortion. In fact, it took some convincing for her to prove that she was pregnant as she had already lied to me once about being pregnant when she wasn’t.
Regardless, I did offer to raise the baby with her, but my support didn’t include us being a couple, which was probably a mistake. I cannot say I did everything I could to keep the abortion from happening and I do feel quite a bit of shame and guilt over this abortion, just as I do over the first one.
She had the abortion and later asked me to pay her back for half of it, which made me feel even guiltier about it. Another portal opened for Satan to enter my life and he did, as he drug me down for the better part of my 20s.
So Many Horrific Lessons I Learned the Hard Way
Hindsight is always 20/20, at least that’s what they say. In my case, self-awareness is stronger when you have Christ in your life than when you don’t. Throughout my teenage years and my early 20s, I didn’t allow Christ in, but I opened portals for Satan. It’s easy to see now why my life was a complete mess and I am still paying for it literally and figuratively today.
Most of the debts I struggle with came from this time in my life and most of the guilt I feel over sin and the immense sadness I feel started during this time in my life.
I learn most things the hard way. Sure, with a simple task or job, I can learn quickly and do it proficiently. However, with life, I learn the hard way and it nearly has to be beaten into my brain for me to get it.
Stubbornness is my double-edged sword. It’s a cross I must bear, but it’s also the weapon Christ uses within me to become stronger in my faith every single day. Satan was in control of my stubbornness during this part of my life and was using it to twist me into a drunken mess of horrific proportions.
Nobody to Blame, But Myself
I will get into blame a bit later in this journey as it plays a significant role in my late 20s and early 30s. However, looking back, I had nobody to blame but myself. There comes a time where we must own up to our actions regardless of the influences in our lives, what we were taught or not taught, and the circumstances.
Ultimately, we make the decisions and we must own up to them. Placing blame on others, on circumstances, or on anything other than ourselves is simply unhealthy and hurts us far more than it could ever help us.
The lessons I learned from this time in my life have and will serve me well. Hopefully, they will help me to guide any children God blesses me with, to avoid the mistakes of their father and to make better choices. Hopefully, they will guide me to never make the same mistakes again and to help anybody God puts in my path struggling with the same evils I struggled with.