I was raised Roman Catholic and my grandfather was a fourth degree Knight of Columbus. So, I was very intrenched with a fixed Idea of what God was and was not. As well as a lot of dogma and beliefs that I wasn’t even sure were real, that the people telling me weren’t eve sure were real either. I always suffered because I was trying to force myself to believe in a God or higher power.
I became exposed to the dharma when I was dealing with chronic pain. I was required to meditate as part of my treatment, and at the time I couldn’t relax any of my muscles. But the meditation helped me learn to relax. My massage therapist told me it was as if I’d switched bodies. That change was so profound that I got curious about what else meditation could do for me.
I am not sure exactly when I first became aware of the dharma path, but my first brush with it was through reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Beyond the Self a translation of the Sutra on the Middle Way. At the time I had been in recovery for about 10 years and had a sustain spiritual practice of self-reflection and service, but I had never been exposed to the truth of Dependent Origination.