Former Celebrity Journalist Let Go of Religion to Recover from Addiction
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Many recovering addicts turn to religion or some higher power to help them heal. But the reverse was true for former celebrity journalist Kevin Sessums, who needed to let go of Christianity in order to recover from his drug addiction.
In his new memoir, I Left It on the Mountain, Sessums documents his journey to theism during his walk of Camino de Santiago in Spain, a well known religious pilgrimage. The walk inspired him to separate from his Christian roots and was pivotal to his recovery process.
"Part of the freeing of my shame, of the darkness, I think was shedding the good/bad, God/evil dichotomy and looking at the greater picture in a spiritual sense," said Sessums, in an interview with HuffPost Live.
Though describing himself as a “very spiritual person” who believes in a god or “higher power,” Sessums says: “I am not a Christian. And that has been my salvation.” He says coming out as a theist has been more difficult than revealing that he’s gay, HIV positive, or an addict.
Prior to his pilgrimage, Sessums was a journalist who interviewed high-profile celebrities, many of them struggling with addiction themselves. He famously interviewed Courtney Love while she was naked in a bathtub, met a drug-addled Anna Nicole Smith, and described getting stoned with Heath Ledger in Prague.
But the environment eventually took its toll, and Sessums’ cocaine and meth use and sex addiction eventually spiraled out of control. His recovery began when he hiked Mount Kilimanjaro. But it wasn’t until his walk of Camino de Santiago that he was able to truly let go of Christianity and find “salvation” from his addictions.
“Maybe some Christians find in their Christianity what I found by releasing it from my life,” he says. “I think we are all sort of trying to find the same thing in our lives, and that is to heal."