Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pt 7: Letting go of God and Chiropractic

If you've really read all this and care about my life enough to do so, I say thank you. This really is what I have been doing these last 10 years.

I remember going to this website full of ex-Chiropractors and a few still practicing Chiropractors who speak out about everything they went through. Many of their stories were very similar to mine. I was choked up to read a thread about ex-Chiropractors commiting suicide this morning as I researched these posts. I was fortunate enough not to have been married or with children and other responsibilities. I can only imagine the pain they went through as they began to realize they were living a lie. Here is a typical rant from a student who went to "life university"

"The threads i see here about suicides in the profession don't do the truth justice. Look back to 1984 I knew one personally. He had quit his profession as an air traffic controller to become a chiropractor. The last thing he said to me during exams before he killed himself was I feel kind of funny. It is so true that if you decide to get out so many of the people you care about will turn against you....Another was when my friend told me we had fallen for a bunch of bull shi### before he killed himself. We were young in our 20's and thinking our motives were pure we thought we had a chance. We never had a chance. Chiropractic is a circus tent. Where are the clowns?"

Eventually I was forced out of Chiropractic by a lucky event which only cost me about $2,000. I had rented an office space and was going to hire an old friend who had cerebral palsy to be my front desk person. Due to her condition she couldn't maintain her job in an ER because all the walking put too much stress on her knees. I could not afford to start the practice and she stated she had a trust fund that she would never be able to use unless she went off disability benefits. So she was going to help me out a few thousand dollars from the fund. She paid for much of the office furniture, the advertising and insurance. Looking back it wasn't much, but it seemed like it at the time. After a couple of months I started receiving bill after unpaid bill for things she "paid" for. She had lied, and I was swamped. I confronted her parents and she turned out to be a confirmed pathological liar. This was the greatest thing possible for me. I was forced out of practice. Forced to move on. I sublet the space.

Most people who I've known, if asked, would say "Aaron failed in practice, and because he couldn't be a successful Chiropractor, he got out of the profession". No string of words could be more false.

Most importanly due to this experience, it began to help me realize that there is no God. There is no plan for my life. All my tears and prayers and begging for guidance was just me talking to myself. It took a couple more years for me to say "I am an atheistic materialist", but at that moment I lost my ability to take spirituality seriously, and this opened the floodgates to the pressure cooker of the cognitive dissonance. It was an Aha! experience which brought the epiphany that no god or "Universe" or spirit, or life purpose is desiring me to save the world through Chiropractic. Over time it sunk in and I began to heal from the madness.

When I was a spiritualist I was frequently depressed. Suddenly I found myself going several weeks at a time without experiencing more than a day or two of depression, whereas before it would be classified as clinical. Although I was financially devastated, I could pull my foot out of this bear trap and start limping forward finally. I finally understood why I couldn't immerse myself into the belief systems several of my other friends accepted. I figured out why I had so many problems with what they believed and said. It wasn't because of something bad about me, it was something good! I was critical and analysing and I saw through all of their bullshit beliefs. Once I quit blaming myself for "not getting it", I felt so much better, and ceased to be depressed.

I look back at where I was and it is inconceivable that I believed many of the things I did. It was an entirely different life. After some time I became fascinated with why people believe such weird things. The people I once hated or thought were delusional- Dawkins, Shermer, Dennett, Sagan, etc... Became my heroes.

I became humble. I realized how incredibly stupid I am. I lost the ability to really take myself seriously in some ways after having fallen so deeply for things that are so demonstrably ridiculous. But I felt good about this. Being stupid and seeing clearly is better than being brilliant and delusional.

This account is nowhere near complete, and is quite lazy, but that's what blogs are for right? There is much here that is missing, and I have skipped over troubling aspects of Chiropractic that are more major than what I've remembered, but truth be told I don't think about Chiropractic much anymore until someone brings it up. As I said in the beginning, it is like having had a divorce. But in this divorce, no matter how far you have grown apart from your spouse, she always returns and someone always has to bring her back up again. You can be sitting sround a dinner table anywhere at any time enjoying your meal and someone can say something like "Now why did you divorce her again? Can you explain it to me? I would have never let someone like that slip through my fingers. Pass the mashed potatos."

Oh well. I am getting better at dealing with it, but that minimum monthly student loan payment for 22% of my monthly income never ceases to make my veins pop out. Ya, no shit. And funny thing is, if there weren't money in Chiropractic, nobody would give a shit. It's all about money and power.

I'd like to thank Chiropractic for teaching me that there is no god, no spirit, and that everything about us as human beings, from our most base and violent qualities to our most noble altruism, is purely Darwinian.


Anonymous said...

i read it. keep riding. there's nothing wrong with being excited about being alive. But you can think yourself into a corner, given enough time and boredom.

keep on keepin on

Blogter said...

Thanks for exposing chiropractioning. I was about to go for it, and your post has convinced me to think twice. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I went through the exact same thing as you. I questioned chiropractic while I attended chiro school 2000-2003, but unfortunately I stuck with it. I kept telling myself it would work out and I would make it work. Now I am $125,000 in student loan debt. Fortunately, I was able to find a decent job in the healthcare field and I continue to keep my options open.

Hang in there, there are many of us in the same boat. Just keep telling your story...


Lim Leng Hiong said...

Great series of posts. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Lee said...

Wow, Aaron, thank you for your honesty. It must have been so painful to have the bottom drop out on you like that and I am glad you made it through to the other side. Also, thanks for that inside look at chiropractic. I've never been too familiar with it although I've always been a bit suspicious of some of the claims made by practitioners.

Aaron said...

Hey ck, did you get my text message? I wasn't sure if I had your new number, I was trying to call.

Aaron said...

Thank all of you for your comments. There are many of us with similar stories. Feel free to copy the story and share it with anyone interested. I need to correct the typos.

Nick said...

You americans are a sad and twisted bunch judging from this article.

Why does the whole profession die because you had a lying receptionist and you couldn't make it in life.

Maybe because you saw chiropractic as the way to make a quick buck and you couldn't cut it?

Get a life