most people who know me do not know how religious i am, and assume because i was a drug addict, i had no religion- but this is about as far from the truth as you can get. i am absolutely sure that GOD is out there, and have definitely met the DEVIL, and they both fight over me constantly. i see the organized religions, and feel the majority of the people in them to be fronters or con men who use religion, to fund their means of living and guilt trip and prey off the weak,or obsessive souls out there still looking to fill something in their lives they are missing. i watched my mother seek out several different factions of religion when i was growing up, trying to fill some void because she knew something was missing, a major part of her problem was from mental stuff, and i was exposed to Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, Lutherans and Judaism- Christ- she even had my sister and i praying to a wooden box with a Asian type decoration and incense burning on it. she did this for years until she started watching TBN and taping the programs so she could listen to them when in the car, and claims to have found god, then goes into preaching- it is ridiculous to watch her proclaim how religious she is and tends to have Jesus pictures, praying hands and crosses everywhere, she almost has as much Jesus stuff as the church, but she is not only the most crazy person i have ever met,but the most evil as well, a vindictive soul that enjoys the suffering of others. she is also the most miserable . you can tell pretty much immediately if someone has GOD in their hearts or not- it is this general attitude of joy,and happiness, and faith in goodness, that shines from them and you just know that they have found something that makes them shine like that and wonder what it comes from. i was fortunate enough to watch my father change his life from the drinking and excessive marriages and just not living his life right, to one with out the alcohol and with a family, and i saw he was truly happy for the first time with his new wife and family,i was kind of jealous, cause i didn’t get a family life when he was married to my mother. but i kept close contact with him, as he had taught me painting and i worked with him and we used to drink every day,and the drinking messed up his life when he went back to it, and he was no longer happy. he finally figgured out what was ruining his life and quit the drinking and carousing, and went back to life with his family and then i noticed that my dad no longer was worrying any more and seemed to never want and then as he changed his value system, from worrying about the bills and if he would be able to provide, and he was at peace again so i asked him where he had gotten this glow, and he told me of how god had assured him that he would always have everything he ever needed so to not be concerned when he felt GOD had asked him to give away cars or money, and he started doing those kind of things- money was his LAST concern,cause he did not worship it. somehow i managed to pick that up from him-that inner peace, cause i had already been to hell, and knew you could leave it. i changed things in my life from being a junkie who stole from the thieves and drug dealers to someone that managed to let go of the most addictive things i was doing , that were ruining MY life. the change was not all at once, but rather steps into becoming a better person,instead of the greedy junkie- i wanted to shine like my daddy, from the inside out. and most people know me for my shit eating grin that i normally wear. they think it is because i am crazy, it IS partly that, but mostly from my belief in god which i found to be real to me. it really did change me -my old peeps would be shocked by the changes in me, probably wouldn’t even believe me to be the same person, and they would be right, i am NOT the person they knew, and money is not what i value. my values changed by watching my father lead by example to be one of the happiest persons i know , other than me, i got that from watching him and his values change, due to what we know to be faith in god,in summation , i try to share my inner smile with most folks, but have had to come to the conclusion that there are some people you just can’t reach, they will always be miserable due to having the wrong values– even if you want to help them, you can’t they just can’t BE happy. i found that quitting all the addictions i have was not hard because i was doing it for the right reasons,i found that when i lived life for myself and own selfish wants, god would give me only what i needed to live, then i found that when i was living my life right, god was giving me everything i WANTED. my dad said some one had told him once in concern to the general happiness him and i have, and faith that everything is in gods hands, and we will want for nothing,–that if he could bottle that inner glow,just the happiness we exude, we could sell it and become millionaires! that’s what confirmed the fact that even if some one sees the love— that they could not ever receive it, until they changed their way of thinking– cause even if we could put it in a bottle– that we would NEVER sell it, we would never even CONSIDER selling it, faith and love and belief in god can only be given away or received- absolutely free, which is what my father and me try to do every time we smile… and i am registered,ordained reverend with the U.L.C.