Social Enough: An Overdose of Church Took Years to Recover From
In the first post, I mentioned how part of the reason that I fooled myself into thinking that I was social enough was that I went to church a lot growing up. I was part of their youth group and saw them at least twice a week. I had been essentially brainwashed. I was surrounded by religion almost constantly, even at school. Very sheltered. Then I went off to college and I was finally free! Not too drastic — I still went to a religious college — but I was finally free enough to start thinking for myself. I loved it! I was on my own, so no one was forcing me to join a church in my new town.
So I didn’t. I backed off gradually. Sure, there were religious classes, chapel meetings that were required at school, but that made it much easier to tell myself that I got enough religion at the college, without going to church. I would go with the family whenever I was visiting home, but that’s it.
Then I graduated and went back to my hometown. I would make excuses and say I was too busy to go, but still ended up going to the Sunday services with the family about every other week. Then gradually a bit less. Then less. Then my grandparents would bitch at me and try to guilt me into going more, which made me want to go less.
The rest of the family besides the grandparents actually started following my lead. There was the excuse that they didn’t like the new preacher, but I knew better. It was a chore. Their heart wasn’t in it, just like me. No amount of guilt would change that. And that’s how it was for a few years.
While all this was going on, I was attempting to make friends as an adult. Nothing was working. With each failure, I felt worse. I tried to think of what I was doing wrong. I actually came up with something when I decided to think of it the other way: what was I doing right before? And I finally came up with an idea that worked.