Becoming disillusioned with the Church. I want to avoid losing my faith.

bmw633

Woodpecker
It’s been 6 months since I posted on the forum about some personal issues and it was recommended by some wise forum members that I go to church and get closer to God and Jesus.

I have been going to church, praying, educating myself about theology, and talking to my priest often about my faith and my personal situation.

However, I do not feel closer to God. Or if I am closer to God, then He is demanding that I suffer for past sins and is refusing to forgive me.

As far as the situation with my wife that I posted about, there has been some positive interaction (text messages and emails) between me and her, but it’s all a mirage. At this point, she has zero intention of ever seeing me, and when I say anything via text that pisses her off (which I am prone to doing) she flies into a hate-filled rage, cursing at me and throwing in my face everything I did to her in the past (violence, drug addiction, etc.).

Also, I am no closer to moving on and getting over her than I was before.

As for the other aspects of my life, I have not had a job in the 6 months since I first posted here. I’ve been fired from every job (or had to quit) because of a medical condition that causes me to vomit and gag throughout the day.

I am isolated and I don’t really interact with anyone other than my immediate family, and all we do is fight and argue.

I have had several relapses into hard drugs, and I am constantly giving in to lust (porn, masturbation, etc.).

I know that I’m not supposed to be Christian only to receive Earthly benefits, but it also doesn’t make sense that I’d continue to practice Christianity while actively living in mortal sin and falling further and further into isolation and self destruction.

There’s been times in the past where I’ve wanted to end my life. I no longer feel that way and I’d never actually take my own life, but what I’m currently doing is basically achieving the same thing only slower and more gradually.

I’m not looking for sympathy or anything. I know I am probably doing something wrong (i.e. not truly worshipping God properly) and this situation is my fault/my responsibility.

The coughing gagging should be checked out by a doctor. Might be something that can be easily corrected.

As far as the wife, you need to block her and move forward in your life. It is like Kicking a dead horse. You cannot open the next chapter in your life if you are still dragging the past with you.

I would check out the Oil Sands region, move and find a high paying job.
 

JohnQThomas

Woodpecker
I know it`s hard to discipline yourself, I struggle with it every day. But you have to do everything yourself.

Eat healthy, (Paleo, max 2 meals a day, OMAD maybe) sleep well, exercise, get some sun, spend some time in nature. No drugs or alcohol and limit caffeine to one dose a day. (black coffee or tea, or just water) That will fix you stomach/gut issues. Can`t expect health if you`re poisoning yourself consistently. I know all about those addictions issues, so I`m not moralizing at all. Trust no one but yourself, and screw what other people think. (especially women) I`m sure you can pull yourself out of this, and become a greater man.
Great advice. (Except maybe cut down on substances like caffeine gradually, not cold turkey—which in many cases has led to despair and attempts at self harm.) Best wishes; will pray for you, brother.
 

Hermetic Seal

Pelican
Orthodox
Gold Member
I have found the "Jesus Prayer" extremely helpful in developing resistance against worldly evils. Every time you are tempted, judge another, or become angry, utter the Jesus Prayer, asking for His mercy until it passes. This combined with a daily prayer rule has been the most effective for me. Do not rely on your own strength, which cannot stand alone against the world. Do not rely on your own wisdom, which cannot stand against all the devil's tricks. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

I think this video from Father Josiah Trenham will help you.

Great advice and video. Father Josiah has inspired me more than any other Christian teacher in recent months, and I thought this one was the best I'd seen.

I know this is a difficult situation Rob and I can't really claim to have the answer. All I can suggest is try to have a love and genuine desire for God to be at the heart of your motivation, rather than a sense of duty and obligation to do Christian stuff. Untangling your base motivation can be tricky and isn't a one-time thing, but I think this might point you in the right direction, spiritually-speaking.
 

Rob Banks

Pelican
When was the last time?

Do the friends, family, and priest know about the drugs?

Aloha!
The last time was about a week and a half ago.

Honestly, though, if I had the money and the access to a supplier (which I don’t have right now), I’d be doing it every day.

I have come to the conclusion that whatever spiritual forces are influencing and controlling me (be it God or the Devil) are making it clear that I am not to resist evil.

It’s kind of like when the police are arresting you and you resist. You’re not gonna escape, and you’re only gonna get hurt and end up doing more time.
 
Rob, are you doing anything where you can see progress, like lifting weights, building something, learning an instrument, etc.? I know when everything's going wrong it can seem like trying to fix an amputation with a bandaid, but I have found it to be very helpful. Succeeding at something, no matter how small, can have a very powerful effect on your mind.
 

JohnKreese

Pelican
As dramatic as it sounds and as much as others might disagree, you really need to think about how you would not only be "quitting God" (who is infinitely more important than anything else to degrees that we can't even comprehend), but also all of the people here (and likely in other areas of your life) who have attempted to help you over the last 6-12 months (or however long). The very busy, yet very knowledgeable, patient, and sympathetic men who have taken the time to reply to your posts (and I'm assuming, personal messages as well), providing support, suggestions, and other means of assistance. Quitting because your life hasn't gotten measurably better over a relatively short period of time is a bit of a slap in the face to those who truly care about your well being and have done so much to help you.

That aside, Kona is right. The drug use has to stop before anything else can be accomplished. It is literally destroying any possible advances you might be able to make in any other area (it could be likened to the belief that we cannot achieve any type of merit via our actions when we are in the state of mortal sin. Any great efforts in our spiritual lives are essentially wasted while in this state). You have to use whatever resources you have at your disposal to address these issues as soon as possible.

Regarding any of the advice for grandiose nutrition, training, etc., don't even consider such undertakings until you have established a base level of appropriate living (proper sleep schedule, drinking enough water, not subsisting totally on junk food). Once you have achieved this (as you continue to work HARD to end your drug addictions), you can add work-related endeavors (whether this is job training, online work, or menial employment) and BASIC exercises (just do Starting Strength and be done with it for a few years).

So to break them down:

Stop drugs (most important...success of everything else depends on it)


Proper sleep schedule (get to bed at a reasonable hour (before 11 unless working) every night at the same time. Sleep for 7-8 hours)
Drink enough water ( anywhere between 3.5-7 liters...roughly a fluid ounce per pound of body weight)
A diet that isn't all junk food
Keep going to church at least weekly and saying your daily rosary

* You're also going to buy some type of composition book or planner (whatever, just buy something you can keep a log in). You'll label each area for each day and check that you have done the task for that day (ex. SLEEP, WATER, DD ("Decent Diet"), ROSARY, JUST SAY NO). Only 5 things right now (6 if you add CHURCH, but that won't be a daily thing)

THEN (after you've kept it together for 1-2 months)

Add work (whether job training, research, online work, in-person job)
Add fitness (Starting Strength is ideal because its simple, make progress every day, easily trackable, most important lists, only 4-6 movements)

*Now you add FITNESS, WORK to the notebook. Now you have 7-8 things (again, CHURCH, WORK, FITNESS won't be every day things). Still very manageable.

Notice that nothing (except the hard drugs) is taken away at this point, outside of, possibly, some junk food. You'll be able to drop certain negative elements more easily after including these value adds into your life (ex. you'll drink less on days before training so you won't feel like crap in the gym).

Just doing these things, 6 months from now (January 17, 2021...write it down) you won't be interested in "quitting God" or any of the people who have and are continuing to help you, who care about you, and want to see you turn your life around. I can't help with the drug stuff, but can explain more about any of the other items and concepts.

Don't "quit God", don't quit us, don't quit yourself.
 

Psalm27

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Rob what is your view on salvation? Because you seem to think it's by works, which is not true. Only the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, can save you. Salvation is a free gift by the grace of God, which is received through faith in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for you, me and all of humanity.

Check the video in my signature for more information.

Secondly, how is your prayer life? The Bible says ask and ye shall receive. Ask the Father in Jesus name to deliver you from porn, masturbation, drugs ... you should of course do your part there as well but if you ask in faith, believing He will deliver, He will deliver. This has worked for me many times.
 
I mean, it’s been months and I’ve seen no change whatsoever. I’d be bullshitting myself if I said I’m becoming stronger or a better man.

I’ve posted threads similar to this one in the past, and I’ve also talked to friends, family, my priest, etc., and they’ve always convinced me to go back to the church, keep trying, etc.

I’ve come to the realization that Jesus will not fix whatever is wrong with me. And I don’t have the spiritual strength to keep worshipping Him knowing full well that I’ll never find peace during this life.

I guess at least I know I tried and I gave it a good 6 months. God has revealed to me that it just isn’t meant to be. I have offended Him too gravely in the past (and continue to do so) and I have been cast away by Him.

Alternatively, maybe God loves me but I am possessed by demons.

Or maybe it’s all bullshit that God can save anyone. Maybe you have to already be a strong person, have good family relationships and friendships, etc., in order to be saved.

In any case, there’s no point in keeping spinning my wheels.

God is rejecting me. I fully accept that this is my fault and I don’t blame God, but I’ve come to the realization that it is far beyond me to be able to fix it.
Not true. As long as you keep getting up after failing. And as long as you don't deny Jesus when the time comes. You will come through. In your case Pray and Fast.

Certain demons as Jesus said can only be dealt with that way(Mark 9)
 

ItalianStallion9

Woodpecker
Consider fasting. I went on a 72+ hour fast with only water (no food, nothing but H2O). My last meal was on Monday evening and I didn't eat one bite until Friday morning. In addition I cut out all social media, tv, emails, etc. Physically you might feel weak, but spiritually there is often something that happens while fasting.
 

JohnKreese

Pelican
Consider fasting. I went on a 72+ hour fast with only water (no food, nothing but H2O). My last meal was on Monday evening and I didn't eat one bite until Friday morning. In addition I cut out all social media, tv, emails, etc. Physically you might feel weak, but spiritually there is often something that happens while fasting.
No. Too extreme. He's not ready for that yet.

Rob, keep it simple for now. Review what I've written. Do what it takes to quit the drugs for good and work on the small wins and developing good, basic, habits for now.
 

jarlo

Woodpecker
Orthodox
Have you tried NA? The principles behind the 12 steps are faith-based, and while I don't think that 12 step programs are a panacea, they can be very helpful for some people. They might be a particularly good idea now - the isolation can exacerbate all those dark thoughts, and if you can find an in-person meeting, it's at least some place where you can still talk with other people.

I also agree with the suggestion to find a counselor/therapist. My main suggestion would be to find one who is male and specializes in addictions. It can be very useful to have a counselor on your side to guide you through the bad thought patterns which will lead you back into addiction.
 

mojo

Pigeon
Rob, are you doing anything where you can see progress, like lifting weights, building something, learning an instrument, etc.? I know when everything's going wrong it can seem like trying to fix an amputation with a bandaid, but I have found it to be very helpful. Succeeding at something, no matter how small, can have a very powerful effect on your mind.
This is it. Rob - respectfully - it seems you an have addictive tendency.
You can channel that tendency into a new positive addiction.

If you start running a mile every day, you will feel a new, healthy type of high.
If you pick up a guitar and push yourself to learn your favorite songs, you will feel a new sense of satisfaction.
If you push yourself to do 100 pushups a day (or more), you will feel strong, and you will want to be stronger.

There is nothing like the endorphin rush after difficult exercise...the full pump of blood in your muscles, the lightness and peace of mind, the power of knowing you can dominate the inner-bitch and live fully in the present.

It is excellent that you have asked God for strength and clarity.
We must also MOVE in a new positive direction.
 

kazz

Kingfisher
It sounds like you have underlying anxiety, sadness? You cant think clearly when you are like this. Is there a time when you can think clearly? If so think about yourself, be honest with yourself. Write down the things you could do to make your life better.

Are you sensitive? If so things like bad or hard relationships with women can seem overwhelming, but in reality they are not.
 

Enigma

Hummingbird
Orthodox Inquirer
Gold Member
Relevant quote from Unseen Warfare:

With respect to faith in God, I will enjoin the following to what was said in the third chapter: understand that nothing is more simple for God than to let you conquer your foes, few or many, old or new, strong or weak. But He has His season and order for things.

So if a soul is overwhelmed with sin, and if it is guilty of many infractions in the world, and if it is corrupt beyond understanding, and if, simultaneously, to the measure of its will and strength, it employs all possible means and labors to be free of sin and turn to the way of righteousness, but cannot become stable in anything good, however slight, and instead, sinks down every further into evil, even if it is all that, it should not weaken its faith in God or forsake Him. It should not give up its spiritual armaments and labors but it must struggle and fight, wrestling with itself and with its foes with all its strength and persevering labors.

Understand that in the unseen battle everyone is a loser except the one who never stops fighting and maintains his faith in God, because God never forsakes those who fight in His ranks, even though occasionally He allows them to suffer wounds. Therefore fight, each one of you, and never give ground, because the whole exercise involves unending struggle.

God is ever ready with medicines for those knocked own by the foes and with assistance for conquering them, which He gives to His soldiers at the right time, if they look to Him and have steadfast hope in Him. At an hour when they least expect, they will see their haughty foes perish, as it is written, "The strong men of Babylon have stopped fighting" (Jer 51:30 ).

I would suggest focusing on spiritual reading and the lives of the saints over theology, if you're not already.

Aside from the book quoted above, 400 Chapters on Love by St. Maximos and A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain by Metropolitan Heirotheos are two personal favorites.

For the lives of the saints, The Life of St. Antony by St. Athanasius is as good a place to start as any -- and pretty much free, since it's in the public domain.
 
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