Hi you wonderful reader of my blog! So happy to see you here again!
Before I get into the actual story of how I discovered Scientology and got so deeply involved, I wanted to spend a bit of time telling you why I was susceptible to it.
That’s the thing most people want to know anyway: Why would someone so smart be sucked in by something so crazy?
Believe me, I’ve grappled with this for the past 12 years. Everyone’s journey is different, and everyone will have a different answer to that question. But now, I think I’ve figured out why it happened for me.
I wanted easy answers to life’s questions.
Life had always been easy for me growing up. I breezed through high school and college with all the Latins—magna cum laude, phi beta kappa, blah blah blah. Everything I did seemed to turn out well. It was all so easy.
Until it wasn’t. By the time I was 28 years old, in 1988, there were so many questions I couldn’t answer:
Why did my parents disown me when I married my first husband? Two years, no communication. Until I divorced him.
Why did one of my best friends die from AIDS at 27, and nobody was allowed to speak of it at the funeral? Pneumonia my ass.
Why had I given up my goals of going to grad school and working at the UN, to end up as a glorified secretary?
I wanted easy answers. I couldn’t find them. I grew up in the Methodist Church, but couldn’t find the answers I was looking for there. I tried other churches, read every self-help book I could get my hands on, but I wasn’t coming up with the answers I needed, i.e. EASY answers. I mean, life was supposed to be easy for me, right?
Instead, I was rather rapidly trying to ruin my life.
I had started a freelance writing and design business purely by being in the right place at the right time, and I was getting regular business. But I didn’t know anything about running a business and was messing up the financial side of things royally. Of course I didn’t want to tell anyone this, because life was supposed to be easy for me. I couldn’t let them know otherwise.
I was also in the middle of a three-year affair with a man who had been my old boss. He was married and had a baby. I had gotten divorced. He hadn’t. Yet I was still with him. I cried every night about this, and somehow couldn’t break free.
So I started self-medicating in a major way. I had been pretty much a straight-arrow throughout high school and just dabbled in weed in college. Then my first husband and his sister introduced me to cocaine. (Gee, I wonder why my parents were so vehemently opposed to him?) My habit grew and grew, and before long I was doing it almost every day.
It all came to a head at a Super Bowl party at a “friend’s” (i.e., drug dealer’s) house. My heart started racing so fast I thought it would explode. I got really scared. But I didn’t stop. Then another “friend” of ours got arrested and put in jail for a DWI. I still didn’t stop. But I started worrying more about it.
I talked to my drug dealer friend and told her I needed some help to get some direction in my life. She suggested I talk to a counselor who had really helped her. Really? I was taking advice from her? Yes, yes I was.
I went to this person’s office and liked her immediately. She was sweet and warm, not like the therapists I’d seen in the past. We hit it off, and I started going regularly. I didn’t start by telling her about the drugs and the affair—I wasn’t ready to reveal all my dirty little secrets just yet.
She began to give me tools to help me with situations in my life. I started using them and they seemed to work. Not once, however, did she mention that this was Scientology. That’s how Scientology front-groups work: They suck you in with this “helpful technology for life”—then they get ya.
One day I decided it was time to tell her what was REALLY going on with me. I wanted to be free of the drugs and the affair so badly, and I felt like she could help me. So I spewed it all out.
She just looked at me, told me she understood, and asked me if I’d be interested in getting rid of all this pain, so I’d never have to go through it again?
Ummmm…. HELL YEAH. That seemed to align with my “it should be easy for me” world view.
She then gave me the card of a friend of hers, who I’ll call T.C. No, it’s not Tom Cruise, but I’m keeping names out of this to protect the guilty in a sort of an “I-won’t-come-for-you-if-you-don’t-come-for-me” standoff.
What happened when I met him, a Scientology “field auditor”, is the subject of an entire post which I’ll get into at another time.
What I will say now is that for the first time, I was getting easy answers to life’s problems. Did I know that they were wrong? Nope. They answered my questions, and that’s really all I wanted.
Oh, and one more thing: Within two weeks of working with him, I was off drugs and no longer seeing the guy I’d been having an affair with.
That’s what leads me to the second reason why I was so susceptible to Scientology:
I trusted everyone.
It’s kind of weird when I look at it now, but I truly trusted that everyone had my best interests at heart.
I had plenty of reasons not to, but somehow I chose to trust people.
I still trust people, but it’s no longer the same. I’ll trust you until you give me a reason not to. Then we’re done.
Harsh, maybe, but borne out of the biggest betrayal you can imagine: Giving your entire life to an organization, only to have everything you believed in completely shattered.
So anyway, I trusted that these people I was working with were really trying to help me. For the most part, I think they were. But I couldn’t have known in those early days what was in store for me within a few short months.
That’s going to be the next post. I’m starting to get a headache from writing this one.
Stick with me, kids… this is going to be quite a ride.