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  • Juliette Angelo

Is 'God' Real? Traditions & Religion

It is that time of the year again.

With Christmas rolling in, I found myself thinking about traditions and religion.

When I got sober in 2021, I grappled with the idea of 'God'. I have always been a fairly spiritual person, although never having put much thought into it. Very young, I had an understanding that the world was not black and white. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, and as I grew older, did not have much capacity to question the ways of the world. I was asleep, in auto pilot, just trying to get by. My later teenage years, I began to seek guidance, and dabbled with tarot. I could feel myself shifting, as if some part of my psyche was finally beginning to wake up from its slumber.

After I got sober - and had a full blown spiritual awakening - I found that I needed something more. I had too much pain and I did not know where to put all of it. It was obvious to me that there was something divine at work in my life. I wanted to dive deeper into that revelation.

I have survived a lot in my life. There have been moments, specifically in the past few years, where I could not find any meaning in my existence. Why had I gone through all this pain? What was the purpose?

I have had my experience with the Church, Christianity, Catholicism, organized religion... but something did not sit right with me. Like so many others, I was taught that God = Church. Where else was I supposed to find him? Newly sober, I looked for sanctuary anywhere I could, which naturally brought me to the Church community, specifically Celebrate Recovery. I found that my values did not align with theirs. Why was my 'God' so different from yours, when we supposedly believed in the same thing? After a tumultuous time, and much confusion, I left religion once and for all. I was completely lost, but for the first time, I was free.

Left with no one to turn to, and no church to go to, I had to venture deeper within myself. This is when I began to find my true God.

I realized that religion and spirituality are two very different things. As I began my independent soul journey, I felt as though I was finally awake. I had surrendered myself to the unknown, to a higher power of my understanding, just like they teach in AA. I could feel things I had not be able to before. At first, I thought I was going "crazy" (which I have learned is just a cheap word for people who lack any type of spiritual or emotional depth), but I learned to trust myself.

Through a variety of spiritual practices, such as: reiki, biofield tuning, energy cleansing, yoga, meditation, sound bowl work, affirmations, equine therapy, prayer, and journaling, I slowly began to feel the healing within my body, my spirit. I felt poisoned, as if my soul needed to be detoxed. I had done the 'clinical' work on my brain, but that only goes so far. Bit by bit, I rebuilt my spirit and cleansed my soul. I could feel the heaviness leave my body. I felt lighter, happier, clearer, purer. I slowly learned to love myself.

Today, I live in peace. I do not practice any specific type of organized religion. There are some practices I like to take part in, but for the most part, I do my own thing. I still go to church sometimes (I've always thought the buildings were beautiful), I have a buddha in my house, I have a cross, I have some plants, I have some tarot, I have a very large variety of crystals, but most importantly, I have myself.

Through spirituality, I have healed from experiences that I thought would be impossible to move forward from. I remember those moments of true disparity. I remember falling to my knees and begging the pain would stop. I look back on those memories with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and wonder. You can heal from anything. Nothing is impossible. Impossibility is just a belief taught to us by the mundane.

The more in tune I become with myself, the less and less I need. I know I have stepped forward into a life of peace. In fact, just last night I had a dream of walking away from a tornado. I could feel the wind behind me, I could hear the roar, but it did not affect me. I was walking away from a life of turmoil and upset. I often receive messages within my dreams. This one certainly left an impact on me.

I do not feel inclined to believe in anything I do not believe in anymore. I myself have been hypocritical to my own beliefs... How can I be around someone who so rejects the way I have found my peace? Why am I participating in practices I do not believe in? I fall into this trap still. I alter my own belief system to appease others, mostly out of fear, or intimidation, which I am learning to become stronger against.

I believe in love, I believe in balance, I believe in a beautiful afterlife. I believe in a higher power that loves me, unconditionally, and only wishes to see me happy. I believe in hummingbirds and the magic of horses. I am okay existing in quiet peace and I am fine not knowing all the answers.

It is so freeing to write about these things, after being told what to believe for so long. I know so many people are yearning for spiritual freedom after a lifetime of being told how to think. I have seen many others find peace within themselves and walk away from teachings that no longer serve them. It is a beautiful thing.

My rule of thumb: If it scares you, it is not "God".

If it brings you peace, if it makes you believe in your dreams, if your life melts together like butter, if you feel unconditionally loved and protected, that is your 'God'.

It is whatever you want it to be: male, female, genderless, an energy, an animal, a feeling, yourself. You are the creator of your own reality, you are loved without judgment. Anything that teaches you otherwise is not worthy of your magic.

"It is not what we do that changes the world, it is who we become."

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