Saturday, July 4, 2015

Life caught up with me!

Having not written anything since January of 2014 I took a few minutes to scroll through a few of my prior posts.  I am not sure if I should be embarrassed, ashamed, or... No, I will feel none of those feelings that just rushed through my still sick mind.  Those words of yesterday were just that.  Today, life is different.  Well, not too much really.  I have another year sober under my belt which I am very grateful for.  But the demons that prompted me to finally put pen to paper have become all too real yet again.  My life has again become unmanageable. Careers and perceptions took the place of meetings and service work and that balance that I once thought that I had is now gone and so is my serenity. Knowing what comes next, I must make the changes, be the change, and beg for God's wisdom and mercy; Almost 4 years sober and I have hit another bottom.

I will not go into too much detail of how I got here.  I will keep it general like we are told to do when we first come to recovery. In 2013 I made a move to go back to school, leaving behind a strong recovery network that I was never able to really rebuild in the new place of residence.  I take full responsibility, but for whatever reason, I could never recreate what I once had where I got sober.  Then I started my own business and that drove my life 60 plus hours a week for over a year, pushing school out of the way as well as my recovery.  Add in another career move with some pretty heavy responsibility.  And just for fun my body decided  to get sick with migraine headaches lasting months on end leaving me on a  medical leave of absence from the new amazing job I had just landed causing a lot of fear and unanswered questions..  This sums up August of 2013 to June of 2015.

This afternoon I sat in a giant meeting at the International AA Convention in Atlanta alone and depressed. It was my second meeting of the day.  The first one had been a gratitude meeting.  As I sat there waiting for the "Singleness of Purpose" meeting to start, I finally realized how low I really felt.  My mom had mentioned to me in a conversation a few weeks ago that she felt like the alcoholism had crept back in.  At the time I disagreed, and blamed my low behavior on the medical stuff that was happening.  But when I sat there today waiting for that speaker, I could no longer hide from the truth, alone and broken yet again.  She was right.  My disease had come for me and I can no longer hide.   The speaker finally went on and I was paying attention as best I could.  He started to talk about questions we are asked at the doctor when we are sick, if we know our name, if we know the date, those kinds of things.  Then he said something about asking an alcoholic 4 questions.  Now remember, this is huge room with thousands of people, so I am paraphrasing here.  It was hard to hear.  But it was something like this. Do you have a sponsor? Do you have a home group?  What step are you currently working? And what is your service position?  It was at that moment I knew that I could only answer one of those questions.  I do have sponsor but we are not doing any step work right now.  And that is my fault.  I don't have a home group because I have not joined one.  Which also means I am not doing any service work?  Fuck acceptance.  There lie all the answers to my problems.  I have no network, I have no recovery community, and I am definitely not giving away what was so freely given to me.

In that moment something changed immediately. It was almost as if all this weight I have been carrying around just disappeared.  It was as if I could see all of my selfishness and self centered bullshit staring me in the face.  And I have been looking at it for a while now and I am tired of looking at it. I am tired of not being happy.  I am tired of being in this hole.  I mentioned the gratitude meeting from earlier in the day.  The speaker spoke of the word gifts. I began to think of all the gifts I had in my life but somewhere along the line they had all dulled for whatever reason, mostly my own insanity.  So I sat in that seat, that I had earned so many years ago and made another decision.  I made a decision to change, to change my perspective, and to change my willingness.  I must because this is not living and I cannot go on another day, another step this way.  If I am certain about anything and this lighter feeling I have now, if I do not follow through I will surely drink again.

God please help me know your will.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Honesty about the Past, the Present, and the Future

                 Something happened this week that I wish I could say was out of the norm.  Instead it was an ugly, recurring, situation in my life that raises its ugly head a couple times a year and knocks me on my ass every single time.  I know I am not unique in dealing with rejection from the opposite sex.  What I do believe makes me unique is in the manner that it occurs and the regularity of it in my life.  What makes my situation somewhat unique in my mind is that I get 24 hours with a potential person.  Sometimes it’s less than 24 hours but rarely more, rarely.  In these brief relationships I have, I am led to believe either by myself or the other person that we are truly enjoying each other seemingly to be the beginning of something.  Yet, every time, no matter how much fun is had or how great the conversation is, or how much we have in common, I am handed the joker card and off they run.  Now if this was to happen every once in a while, I would not think anything about it.  But, this is not the case.  Minus the crazy person I let run my life for a while for a couple of years ago, this situation has been the norm for my relationships with women since 1995 or so.  Now that I am sober, the pain goes a little deeper, and it takes a little piece from me that I can never replace.    With the sobriety also comes introspection, more now than ever, and this is where that discovery has lead; acceptance and brutal fucking honesty.
                After receiving my rejection text earlier this week, my brain began to swirl and I started to take a head trip down memory lane.  What I came to realize and must admit that somewhere around the age of 19 my relationships with women went downhill quick.  The quality quickly turned into quantity, and regrettably, I gave away to the masses what I should have been saving for a few.  Eventually, the one night stands and the bullshit that came with them got old along with my game and I woke up at 30 alone, full of loneliness and pain.  That loneliness pushed my love for substance abuse to new heights and when my intoxication was at its peak, I let the ugliest of the ugly walk right in and tell me those three words I had wanted to hear for so long.  Like a fool, not only did I believe the devil’s lies, I fought for them.  Fortunately, my sobriety was the child of all that ugliness and I have finally been able to give it purpose.  Now on the other end of that mess, and dealing with new pain, I have to get honest about the reality of that relationship.  No matter what she said or did, she never wanted to love me or be with me.  Her head and heart were not with me, so with all honesty, no matter how many times I call her my ex, I never meant anything to her.  I think it is safe to say that she probably never mentions me and if she does, I will never be referred to as her ex anything.  There was a time when I could not admit that without experiencing terrible pain.  But like they say the truth hurts.  Today that wound has healed and it is what it is, a spike in the ugliness of my fleeting romantic life.
                Coming to terms with my past, brings me front and center to the present.  This too is where I have to be brutally honest and it is not pretty at all.  Despite the success I am having in my life today, I have only one person to share any of it with, myself.  And although my need to be surrounded by an abundance of people in my life has dwindled, the need and want for one person, to be deeply and intimately involved has not faded.  If anything it is a desire that has grown, mostly internally, since I cannot share that deep pain and yearning for a partner with anyone.  I have found throughout my experiences that no one, especially women, want that guy around.  So out of self-preservation and peace of mind, I have accepted my situation as it stands today and I am reapplying the smile of dishonesty.  In order to get through my day and all that it entails without looking at that empty spot in my bed and in my heart, I will relearn the lie from years ago.  That is the lie of being single by choice.  That this is something that I truly want for my life, and I am beyond thrilled to be single and not having to deal with any of the responsibilities that accompany having a companion of mind and body.  Why would I ever want to be in a relationship, when I can have this entire glorious kingdom for myself?  This is something, with time, I hopefully can learn to understand as the truth and in the meantime it will keep me safe and out of harm’s way.
                What lies ahead is the hardest part.  The great unknown, tomorrow land.  If I am not wise in this regard, and learn from what my past has taught me, I am in trouble.  So after inspecting the past and the present with complete honesty, I have to accept the fact that in my 40th year of life, it is reasonable to say that I might not ever find that deep love and commitment I have wanted for so long.  I have to accept the fact that it might just not happen, finding my partner.  And the sooner I accept, and learn to love the fact that I am meant to walk through life alone, the easier life will be.  I think.  Now some might suggest having faith or filling that whole with God.  Well I have faith that God will always give me what I need, but not what I want.  And by the looks of my track record, a nut here or there seems to be what I need, despite wanting more.    SO, tonight I will embrace this track of solitude and accept what is the reality of my life and hopefully by the time I am 50 I will have all of those feelings of what could have been put away in nice tidy little boxes shoved down deep into the abyss and long forgotten.

Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

                It has been a while since I have been able to sit down and dedicate a bit of honest time to getting some words down on paper, so I have been looking forward to this time on Christmas Eve in my parent’s basement to do just that.  Like my Christmas pieces of years past, I spend some time reflecting on my life over the past year and listening to the Drive by Truckers.  It is funny the Truckers have been on a hiatus from my playlists for a while, but I am pretty sure I do my best writing listening to them.  Maybe it is just a habit my brain has and they help me focus on the point I really want to make.  Maybe it is that I can relate to most of the lyrics and they help bring my gratitude front and center.  Oh well whatever it is it works so why change it. 
                Before I started writing tonight I read last year’s piece, trying to get my words flowing.  Albeit hopeful, the pain still resonated loud from a difficult year.  About halfway through reading it, there was a sense of relief, realizing that pain is not as prevalent today and that I am FINALLY on the other side of some really ugly stuff.  The biggest amazement to me is that I walked through that pain, maybe not as gracefully as I would have liked, but, I can hold my head high and know I made it through without a drink or a drug.  The more I think about it, I am not sure how I did it.  There is no doubt, God did for me what I could not do for myself.  There were a few moments over 2013 where I was sure I was not going to make it.  Fortunately, I held on to that information that was passed along to me so freely and I got off my pity party and started the work all over again.  Tonight, I was able to give my two year medallion to my sister, who is keeping them for me and my niece.  She is too young to understand, but if I can give her mom one of those medallions every year, I have kept my word and done the work.  They are what hold me accountable way more than anything or anyone else.
                Like most years of my life 2013 has been full of changes.  I am very fortunate to have the family I do.  They freely gave me a safe place to heal and recover from years of self-destruction.  After a lot of growth from all of us and 21 months I left home for the last time, agreeing that the door was finally closed on both ends and off I went out into the world in much better shape than when I had arrived...  Athens, Ga seemed like the right destination for me to restart my life.  I could not have made a better decision.  It is close enough to home to still feel connected yet it is just far enough away.  The original plan was to go back to school and finally finish my degree, but the world had other plans for me.  The music that has kept me whole all these years finally had shown a place for me to play my part. Within two months of moving to Athens, with the help of two business partners, have opened a new booking agency.  Things are moving 100% faster than I ever expected, and it is a lot of hard work, but it has turned out to be one of the most exciting things I have ever done in my life.  To be able to put in the work and for the first time really see my future building itself is the most accomplished I have ever felt.  I am almost 40 so it is a very welcomed feeling.
                I have been thinking for about a week or two what I wanted for my Christmas wish.  Since I have everything, well almost everything a person could need it took me a while to come up with my wish for this year.  Tonight, I went with my family to their church for the early (children’s) service.  The more I watched the children in all their Christmas wonder it finally hit me what my wish will be.  The older we get, the more beat up by life, consumed by the clock, work, and all the ugly responsibilities of adulthood we seem to lose that magic we had as children.  Tonight, Christmas Eve of 2013 my wish for you, myself, and everyone is to find that inner magic we once had as children and let it grow.  To allow the whimsical, fantastic, and amazing back into our hearts the way an 8 year old does.   To get back to believing in the spirit of Santa Clause, imaginary friends, Big Bird, and anything of the like.  Life is serious enough, who cares about what we as adults are supposed to believe.  It is the magic of the mind that keeps us young and living free.  This is one of my many goals for me over the next year, stop taking life so seriously and to allow my heart to be young again.

Good Night, God Bless and Happy Holidays

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Flirting with Disaster

I am the type of alcoholic that gets the AA symbol tattooed on my body because I need that physical reminder every day.   A reminder of where I have been, where I am today, and where I can end up…  I can remember a while back having a conversation with a great friend of mine in recovery that I could not understand why anyone would ever quit going to meetings and most of all that would NEVER be me.  Cause I have not learned the lesson of the word never.  Obviously!  I sit here tonight after my first meeting in over a week, feeling better than I have in days.  Somewhere over the last two months I have started down a very dangerous path of complacency and recklessness.  Despite what I have learned over the past twenty three months, I really thought I could do this my way.  Oh how I was wrong.
Since the first of August I have moved to Athens, Georgia, started at a new university, and started a new company.  All of this, which was entirely too much for me to take on, took a front seat to my recovery.  When I first arrived in Athens I was going to different meetings every day and got a new sponsor.  Yet none of the meetings had the substance I was wanting.  Maybe I was not looking hard enough, or should I say I was not listening hard enough.  Inevitably, as the weeks have turned to months my participation in my AA program that has brought me so much peace and serenity has dwindled into nothing.  Along with my participation many other parts of my life have dwindled into nothing including my happiness.  That whole in my chest that I thought I had finally closed has seeped open again like a cut on my knuckle that cannot stay closed from how my finger bends.   Finally, I have ended up wallowing in that pain that I was not ready to see return.  I have not been to the gym in a month and the overeating has slammed into me yet again.  The really weird thing is I have been watching all of this happen, knowing what the cause was, and yet, not willing to do what I needed to fix it.  Finally in the last few days I started to see a relapse on the horizon.  This reminds me of how sick I really am, and anything but constant diligence in all aspects of my life will lead me to an early grave. 
Today I got a call from a lifelong friend who shared about his continuous struggle with alcohol and opiates.  It was a painful conversation to have, but it was one I so desperately needed.  As I spoke with him sternly, my words resonated loud into my ears.  I repeatedly told him to get his ass to a meeting, and he spoke of needing help and ending it all.  Then after a few minutes of back and forth about nonsense he asked me if I thought my sobriety was a God thing.  At this moment I realized that it was a God thing and this phone call was about me as well.  I was getting a glimpse of what lies ahead for me if I don’t get back on track immediately.  Then he asked me to pray for him.  I recognized that sound in his voice full of pain, anger, fear and hopelessness.   Of course, I said I would pray for him, and in my mind, I thanked God for answering my prayer this morning. 
As I go back and reread the words above, the reality that I am a real alcoholic and drug addict sets in.  Only a person like me would quit taking their medicine allowing the sickness back in.  This is not something cancer patients or people with any other fatal disease do.  It is complete and utter alcoholic behavior to do such a thing.  To think that I can do this all on my own and have no need for the medicine that keeps me whole is madness.  The best part about my whole day today was that the meeting I went to tonight ended up being a 1st step meeting.  I was exactly where I needed to be, starting at the beginning with people just like me.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

To the Parents, Friends, Lovers, and Passersby

I am always trying to be clever with the titles to my entries.  As a writer I know how important the title can be.  Sometimes it is a writer’s only first impression.  As much as I want my titles to be catchy and engaging, I also want them to have some weight.  I sat here at my desk for a few minutes reflecting on my day like I do and I was considering my inspiration to write tonight.  I have been to a big book study the last two Thursdays.  Tonight we started on the chapter “To the Wives”.  It is this discussion tonight that got my wheels spinning.  This chapter of the AA big book is a look at what happens in an alcoholic relationship.  The sins that are committed on both ends out of love, pain, sickness, fear, from the depths of hell and addiction. These words were written in a different time, a time when most alcoholics were only men.  Several decades later, these words transcend the outdated gender roles, and hold true to those of us that have traveled this path.  Some us have been on the hurting end, some the receiving end of the brutal sword of this disease, and some of us have been both the punish er and the punished.  I have never been a wife, therefore I thought it best I title this post the way I did.  To the people I know or may not know that I have hurt.  Even if I have no conscience memory of a specific path of destruction, I am sure there are several roads I leveled along the way.
I can remember saying a thousand times, what I do does not hurt anyone but me.  Looking back now, that is so shallow and selfish.  Reading the chapter To the Wives as well as having been in a relationship with an alcoholic, I can now see clearly the pain that I caused.  As much as I would like to say that I am a point past the shame and guilt, I cannot.  When I think about what my mother and sister must have felt like when I refused to answer their calls for weeks at a time and only calling to be rescued from yet another self made catastrophe, I am ashamed.  Now that I know what it feels like wondering if I will get the call from jail or worse, I am ashamed.  It is a terrible feeling, trying to let go, knowing that death might be the next thing I hear about the alcoholic from my past.  As the tears run down my cheeks, shameful of my past, I must remember the way this feels.  I have learned in the last 640 days I have lived sober, that I cannot regret or forget my past.  The shame I feel tonight from my past actions will subside for the most part, but a bit of this feeling I must carry with me.  I am typical drug addict and alcoholic with a devious memory, a memory that only wants to remind me of the times that were good when I was out there in the streets up to no good.  I can NEVER forget that bastard I use to be, as soon as I do, I am a dead man.

I have learned over the last two years that I surely have another drink or drug in me.  What I do not have is another recovery in me.  And neither does the people that love me the most.  Staying sober is a lot easier than getting sober, and I know I won’t make it back here before what is waiting for me out there takes my life.  So instead of continuing to be a selfish prick and abuse the love I am so generously given by the wonderful people in my life, I will stay on this path of spiritual growth.  I will continue to pray for Gods will and the power to carry it out.  Even if all that is, is just staying sober and helping others, one day at a time.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Wiser This Time

I am sitting here at my parent’s kitchen table feeling tired, grateful, and nervous.  I am listening to The Black Crowes “Wiser Time” for the fourth or fifth time in the last couple of hours.  I keep thinking about the opening lines of the song: “No time left now for shame, horizon behind me, no more pain, windswept stars blink and smile, another song, another mile.” These words completely represent where my heart and mind are tonight.  November 14, 2011 I moved back from Denver, Colorado into my parent’s house and started on the long road of sobriety.  Tonight on August 3, 2013 I am on the eve of leaving this safe, sober bubble I have built for myself and am heading back out into the big scary world on my own tomorrow.  After all the anticipation of the arrival of this date, the moment is here, and a bit of reflection is a must.
This is not the first time I have been sitting where I am tonight, getting ready to move out of my parent’s house. But, tonight will be the last time I will be in this place.  The difference this time is that I have managed to make some very significant changes in my life.  For the first time since I was 16 years old I have managed to stay sober for longer than a few weeks.  Looking back over the years my times of sobriety have been few and far between.  I will be turning 39 in 21 days, so do the math.  Thankfully, my entire family has grown and we are all a little wiser.  We have broken down the barriers of co-dependency and for the first time ever we are all free.  It is not until tonight that I have recognized the changes in all of us.  This morning my mother and I had a conversation and we agreed this was the last time this will happen.  This door is finally closing, for their good and for mine.  Where ever my path leads, I am on my own.
Just like in the song, despite what has happened in the past, there is no time or space in my life for shame.  What is done is done.  I can’t go back and change anything, so I refuse to be ashamed of where I have been and the things I have done.  And with that, there is no more looking back at what could have been.  No more what ifs, not even one.  No more romancing the past with my career, relationships, my family, friends, and money, none of it.  No more pain.  I have done what was suggested to me and looked at myself with a fine tooth comb, I’ve made my amends, and now I will be on my way without another thought.  I will leave that pain with someone better equipped than I to deal with it.
With finally letting go of all that baggage and weight, which I have carried around for a very long time, I will fill that space with the wisdom that has been so generously given to me.  I will remember that I am powerless over not only drugs and alcohol, but everything in the world but my own actions.  I will continue to grow spiritually, God willing. Most of all I will continue to give back what was freely given to me.  I can never expect to keep what I have and value the most if I don’t give it away.  I am surely wiser this time, and I humbly prey I can keep this wisdom with me just one more day.

Thank you with all my heart Mom, Dad, Corrin, Craig, Addie, AA, and everyone along the way that has been supportive over the last 21 months.  You all have saved my life and I am eternally grateful.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Feeling Grateful Once Again

As I sit here listening to Magnolia Electric Company, I am reflecting on my day and thinking about how much pain Jason Molina (the lead singer of MEC) had to have been in to follow through with the act of drinking himself to death.  This is relevant to me today in ways other than the obvious.  I met a buddy of mine for coffee before my meeting tonight.  Earlier today he buried a close friend of his that died from an overdose.  We shared with each other how we were both grateful that it was not our mothers having to go through that pain.  That we were not the ones that had caused such preventable destruction.  
From there I found myself in my usual Thursday night meeting talking about emotional sobriety and reaching out for help.  I thought about how hard I have worked to change my evil ways and how grateful I am for all the help and support I have received over the last 20 months.  When I think about how much I have changed, sometimes, it is almost inconceivable.  I shared about how I use to make my problems everyone else’s problems, how I looked for others to solve my problems and fight my battles for me.  Neither of which ever happened and if it did it never worked out the way I wanted it to.  I have spent a lot of time here really taking a long hard look at what I needed to change.  I had to really admit the things I really did not like about myself and get off my ass and do something about it.  And today, I am so grateful to myself for that hard work.  I am grateful today that I have found a bit of peace that I have been searching for my whole life.  Before, I never knew the feeling of being content. I was always looking for the drink, the drug, the woman, the sex, the material possession to fill that that gaping hole in my heart.  Yet, none of that worked.  Only through getting sober, being honest, self inspection, and searching for a higher power that was sufficient to all my needs have I been able to slowly and surely heal the wounds of the past.  I am still no angel by any means, but I am miles apart from the old, miserable, needy, shell of a human being I use to be.

Tonight, I have no words that could ever express the amount of gratitude I have for this new life the journey of recovery has given me.  Never, would I have ever thought that I could be a person that would actually think about my motives before acting.  And this is just one of the amazing gifts that keeps me out of harm’s way and emotionally stable today.  I am grateful to be able to sit out in the late summer Georgia heat, late in the evening, and spend some time talking, to share in another man’s pain.  After all, nothing guarantees my sobriety than working with another alcoholic.  I am grateful to be back on my feet again financially and able to finally for the last time move out of my parents house and back to Athens, Georgia.  I am grateful too for the opportunities that are waiting for me there.  I am grateful to see all the hard work I have put into my writing finally paying off with being offered my first professional writing gig.  Most of all I am so grateful for the trust I have earned back from my family, and to honestly enjoy spending time with them.  I cannot ever get the lost time back, but I can make the most of the time I have today, and make sure not to waste a minute of it. I could go on forever listing all that I have to be grateful for.  There are too many, but I am grateful for them all.  I will close with this simple exclamation.  It is great to be alive!

Friday, July 5, 2013


I heard a gentleman share tonight about being an ex marine and that he was a free man today.  Free from the bondage of drugs and alcohol.  As I listened to people share tonight about how they were free to live their lives today without the chains of misery I started to reflect on my own life.  That movie that likes to play in my head was moving slowly, giving my eyes an opportunity to really see how things use to be.  I was a slave to my own appetites for so long.  I had no idea how to live with them and was scared to death of living without them.  I think about all the things that had me mastered for so long, sex, women, money, the “scene”, being cool, food, anger, hate, fear and on and on.  So I shared about what it was like during my active addiction, and then I shared how it is now.  And today my life is beyond anything I could ever dream of for one simple reason.  I have found peace.  I have let go of that anger and fear that drove me for so long.  I have let go of the reigns of false control and let someone else be in charge for a change.  Why wouldn’t I?  Who needs all that baggage from shit that I have no control over?  I cannot control the timing of anything, nor would I ever want to.  But at some point in my old life I thought that I could. I really was that guy that would spend time “worrying about my worries” until it made me so sick, the end was near.  For 20 plus years I was broken and enslaved, and today I am a free man.  I am free not to pick up the straw or the bottle today.  Most of all I am free from the sick insanity that comes from the moment I put that poison in my body.  Today, I will fight for my freedom.  I will fight to the death, after all that is all that waits for me out there if I go back to my old ways.  So, for now I will hold those memories of the insanity and pain close, and hope to never forget.  And hopefully, I will be the one out of ten that makes it.  Thankfully though, today is all I have to worry about.

Happy Fourth of July

Eternally Grateful

Friday, June 21, 2013

An Amends for Myself

     Over the last month or so I have had some memories come back to haunt me a little bit.  Nothing too serious, but they are some thoughts I would rather not think.  I have hit a very smooth stride here at a little over 19 months sober, yet this one thing keeps going round and round in my sick little brain.  So, now that I know what to do when these things come up, I am able not to sit and stew in my own shit.  I have been sharing about it at meetings, talking with other drug addicts and alcoholics, talking to my sponsor about it and most of all praying about it.  From Tuesday night to tonight, two things were pointed out to me.  The first one is that I cannot think my way into forgiveness.  I can want to forgive someone's transgressions all I want.  But, until I forgive them in my heart the deed is not done. The second thing is that it is possible I have not forgiven myself for allowing this situation to take place.
     Tonight, in the meeting I went to, we discussed making amends.  After listening for most of the meeting, I was thinking about two things.  How important it is to do the amends right so I am no longer hurting anyone, and that I had not made amends to myself.  It was important that I shared on these two topics.  I have been on the end of a really bad amends, actually it was not an amends at all, it was more of a fuck you.  So I could not stress the fact enough, that some doors are better left closed.  And this is where the amends to myself comes in.  Some people are just plain bad.  And despite whatever situation has occurred in the past, who wronged who or so on does not really matter.  The best amends I can give for the other person and myself is to stay the hell away. The follow through, or living amends if you will, for myself, is to NEVER let this type of situation happen again.  My living amends to myself is to continue on this journey of spiritual growth and service to my fellow man.  This is the only way I can guarantee my sobriety.  Cause I surely cannot keep what I do not have, and without my higher power I am lost in the wind and full of fear.
     So tonight, before I go to sleep, I will once again pray for the willingness to forgive not only those who have hurt me, but for all the pain and sorrow I have caused myself.  I will pray to forgive myself for all the terrible and negative things that I have thought and sometimes to this day continue to think about myself.  I will thank God for another day sober and be grateful for all the wonderful blessings I have. And I will have faith, that as long as I do his will by staying sober and helping other addicts, everything will be okay.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Remember When?

     For the last few weeks while driving in my truck, I have had the obsession to drink come back.  Usually it is a fleeting thought, but not these.  And it is pretty scary.  I have been having this brief conversation with myself that a Budweiser would taste so good and that I could handle it.  Surely this time I could drink and not do Cocaine.  Then I have to force my mind into playing that tape out.  It is amazing to me to realize how strong my disease is and how much it wants me out there getting wasted and killing myself.  So in the attempt to remember how bad it was at the end I am going to share the last moments of my drinking on that last day.  This is a day I can never forget.
     I had already made my plans to leave Colorado after my girlfriend called the police on me in a drunken stupor.  I went out seven days later on my last Saturday in Denver, thinking to myself what is the worst thing that could happen?  My girlfriend and I had made up and she admitted that calling the police on me was a horrible mistake and that she was sorry.  We had spent the entire week together and I thought we were in a good place despite me leaving to get sober.  She had friends in town and she went out with them and I went to my bar to see everyone one last time and have a good night and say goodbye.  Next thing I know I have lost my keys and I am at my dealer’s house around 9:00 AM Sunday morning.  My girlfriend is not answering her phone and mine is dying, so I figured I would walk to her place and knock on her window to let me in.  Thinking she was just passed out.  After my arrival at her apartment I figure out she is not home.  So I sat down on the benches in front of her apartment thinking she would come home at some point.  By now my phone is dead and even if it wasn't I was way too intoxicated to call my landlord so I waited.  Well I was right and eventually she arrived and shit went sideways.  She was with a friend who did not like me and they had obviously been up all night as well. Next thing you know my girlfriend and I are arguing.  She was mad for just showing up and I was trying to explain the situation.  All the while her friend was threatening to call the police.  I am begging her to give us a minute and to mind her own business.  We are now drawing attention to ourselves and the argument is getting really loud.  Soon enough a woman on a bike decided to intervene and the friend calls the police.  Still having drugs on me I knew it was time to leave and high tailed it out of there.  I finally was let in my building and I kicked in my door breaking the dead bolt and the insanity ensued and I broke down completely.
      I am shaking now that I have gotten all that out.  This was exactly the personal response I wanted.  That day is tied for the worst day of my life.  And both of them could have been a lot worse.  I need to reread this over and over.  This was my last day of drinking and using.  I am sure it looked like a bad scene to all the people in the neighborhood that could see us.  I had turned into that guy.  I was completely crazy, messing around with a woman that was pissed that her boyfriend had shown up because he was locked out of his house and throw the third nut job in the mix and it is a recipe for disaster.  This is a perfect example of bad decisions on my part all the way around.  I can never forget this.  This is where I will end up if I pick up that first beer.  Right back on the madness railroad headed to an early grave.  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I Can Get Better or I Can Get Drunk

     It occurred to me in my first of two meetings tonight how great and amazing my life has become.  The further into the topic of complacency we went, the further my mind went in to that dark place full of fear.  Holy shit your life is amazing right now.  You better not fuck it up. Once that thought ran through my head I realized I am still a very sick person.  I am absolutely a drug addict and an alcoholic.  If one were to look at the entire reel of my life, there are two things that would happen.  First they would realize that I am the common factor in all the dumb shit that has ever happened in my life, and two, that it was obvious that I was never afraid of dying; it was living that really scared me.  In that moment of clarity tonight sitting in that club house for the first time ever I saw myself screwing up before it actually happened.   The fear of success is no longer living in the subconscious. It is out, real, raging, and ready to take all of my hard work and opportunity and toss that shit right out the window…  I have been listening to Lucero’s new album and there is a line that I keep hearing over and over.  “I can get better or I can get drunk.” So what is it going to be this time around?
     Last night I interviewed a band from Denver over the telephone.  They were calling from the studio in LA, and we discussed the things that are happening from doing the work.  As the conversation went on and we dipped in and out of spirituality, I realized how aligned our timing was and that great things were happening for them and me in a similar manner almost on the same calendar.  It was at that point I thought about how much has come my way in the last few weeks.  I am experiencing real opportunities for the first time ever.  What I mean by that is very small pieces of a very large puzzle have been laid at my feet, now it is up to me to fit them all together and put it all into action.  This is much different from landing a great job where my buddy is my boss.  The path is not laid out for me yet but I have been given the tools to do the job.  And I will be honest, this has never happened to me before.  Everything that I have been promised that would happen from sobriety is literally landing at my feet one by one.  So I am at a cross roads.  I can do what I have always done and sabotage the whole damn thing and blame it on anything but myself.  Or I can slowly, and faithfully, put one foot in front of the other, staying focused on doing what is right and not what feels good.  This means I have to dive further into my recovery and continue this self-examination and face the dark side in me and fix what is broken.  It means that I need to go to more meetings than I am now, do more service work, be more honest, and most importantly be more forgiving.  I must let go of more and give away all that I have.  Any deviation from more action in my recovery will be devastating.  Sure I already do a lot.  But as my father says, “You can always do more.” Exercising is my path to meditation and a conscience contact with my higher power today, and in the last week, my ugliness has diverted me from that path.  So before I get too far off and sink the entire ship it is time to pull out my trusty map and navigate back to the correct course.  Or I will surely loose it all!
      I will have eighteen months sober on the 14th of May.  That is not a whole lot of time in sobriety, but it absolutely puts me in the big boy phase of my recovery.  I am now sober, the fog has cleared and this where the real work begins.  No more time outs, I am getting sober left.  It is time to be a man and handle my business and achieve everything I have ever wanted. So like the song says, “I can either get better, or I can get drunk.”  So I think I will leave the getting drunk to the one that has not had enough yet.  I have places to go and things to do.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

God Smacking Me in the Face

     Today, for the first time in a few months, was a real struggle.  It was a day when stuff that I have been burying deep inside finally boiled over.  I will spare you the details but I got to sitting in my own shit and was happy there in that stench, for a little while at least.  Eventually I grew tired of feeling angry, lonely, and full of self-loathing.  I prayed hard today.  I prayed for guidance, relief, wisdom, and a few other things that I will keep to myself.  After I had dinner with my mother at her church, I stopped by the house for a bit before I had to leave for my meeting at my home group tonight.  I picked up this month’s issue of Rolling Stone and read an article about a 33 year old vet that is choosing to take his life because he can no longer live with the pain of being paralyzed from the chest down.  By the time I got to the end of the article I felt like the dumbest, most self-centered, selfish prick on the planet.  What the fuck do I have to complain about?  I am getting almost everything I want out of life, but for the last 24 hours I chose to have a little pity party.  After I read the article, I remembered praying for the relief from myself earlier in the day.  Boom, there it was.  I needed to be grateful for all the amazing blessings in my life.  So after sharing about my need for gratitude tonight at a meeting, I am sitting here doing what I have been taught.  These are the things I am grateful for today.
     Today, more than anything, I am so very grateful for the fact that I can have bad days, moments of stress, ill thinking, and yet my mind does not wander to medicating myself today with a bag of blow and a bottle of whiskey.  I am grateful to have a place to go and share about the crap in my head, not be judged, and get some solution to the problems in my life today.  Two years ago, a day like today would have sent me into a week long bender. That is not my solution any more.  Today, my solution is to use the tools I have been given and work my head out of my ass.  This concept is so new to me, but the further along I go, the more I see it work, and that is growth to be proud of.  I am also so very grateful to be in a position to change gears and figure out where I want my career and my new company to go.  I have been blessed with some major opportunities here in the last few weeks that are almost in explainable.  I am getting that second chance to be involved with the music industry and give back to my community at the same time.  These kinds of second chances shouldn't happen to a wretch like me.  But they are, so I will be grateful and try to remain humble.  Last but not least I am so very grateful for my wonderful family.  I am not sure if I would be alive today without them.  Life became perilous for a while, more so than it is today, and they surely played a part in saving my life.  They helped me get the help I needed and now I am living my second life and that is amazing.   Not many people get to say they get the opportunity to live two completely different lives in one lifetime.  I cherish every single moment I get with my beautiful niece, and hold her, kiss her, and tell her everyday how much I love her.  She has definitely played a role in saving my soul.  For that, I can only try to be the best I can every day.  Some days are better than others, but it is the trying every day that counts, progress not perfection.
                There it is!  These are some of the things I am grateful for tonight.  Sure there are more, but these are the ones that made the list tonight.  Today was a very powerful day for me.  I saw God do for me what I could not do for myself.  So I will be grateful for everything, and continue to work on that conscience contact with my higher power and leave my life to him. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Closing the Book

     The past year and five months have been a long and hard journey.  It started with me in a very low and dark place.  This is a place which I had a really hard time getting out of even after getting rid of the drugs and alcohol.  Reluctantly I have held on to a life that once was and thought somehow, someway, I would fix myself and return to quickly.  Well, after a lot of learning, prayer, introspection, and hard work, I have finally reached a point where I am ready to close the book on my life out west.  It is finally time to let go of all the bad memories and pain and get on with my life.  I am not sure what I was thinking, that I could just move back to Colorado and I would pick up right where I left off.  The reality is for the time being I need plenty of distance between myself, that state and some of the people in it.  Those wounds are no longer sore to the touch, which thankfully lets me know they will be completely healed soon.  The events of this weekend shed light on where I am supposed to be and it was not in Colorado.  Denver will be a place I hold dear to my heart, I did meet plenty of wonderful people and have some amazing times there.  It will always be a very big part of my story, and a part I will not want to leave out.  But for now the dream of living out west has to be put on hold for many reasons including my safety and sanity.  In a lot of ways it is not a healthy place for me and it may never be.  For now my place is here in Georgia with all roads leading to Athens.  The road is full of education and hopefully a career in writing, one way or another.  For the first time since my arrival in November of 2011, I am truly okay with this path headed east and I am no longer looking back.  What’s done is done.  Now it is time for a new future and all the blessings that it holds.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Women Without Cocaine

     One of the best things about getting sober is the light bulbs that have started going off in my head.  Every day that the fog lifts a little more, I get a little more clarity on where I have gone wrong in my life that drove me to drugs and alcohol leaving me in the depths of hell.  Recently, I have really enjoyed the time I have to myself and feeling very satisfied with spending time with me.  When I first got sober I would completely crash after my meetings, feeling lonely wishing I had a woman in my life.  Looking back on the last twenty two years of my life, it occurred to me that women have played a big part in my downfall.  I have spent the last two decades and two years chasing a woman, getting out of bed, into bed, into a relationship, out of a relationship, and everything under the sun with a woman.  The last relationship finally taking me to the darkest place I have ever been finally bringing me to my knees.  Today, I am a new man with a new perspective on self-love, relationships, and what my part in all of it is, was, and will be.
     There is part of me that would like to say that I never let that crap with the ex-girlfriend affect me.  Why would I?  There are so many fish in the sea.  Well I guess you could say I met my match in a sense.  Maybe, I had built a huge wall of defense around me all those years the women came and went without a thought, leaving nothing more than an imprint on the pillow where they had slept the night before.  I wish this was the case with the last relationship but it is not.  It left me depressed, low, full of anger, rage and borderline suicidal.  Now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and those wounds almost healed, I can honestly look at my part in the whole mess and see why I allowed myself to be treated so poorly.
     Fortunately this clarity has lead me to the realization that in order to not let the horrors of my past haunt me for the rest of my life, work must be done.  I hate to use the word fear, but if I had one today, it is the fear of not being able to trust another woman again.  I think to myself, I did not know the last one was lying to me when she told me she loved me. How will I know with the next one?  So, today I am working on not letting the faults of others control my future.  I am working on building healthy relationships with a few women today.  Women that I think I can trust, slowly building a solid, real friendship with.   Hopefully, this will be the final chapter in healing those deep wounds and I will know what an honest relationship with a woman is like and my trust in the opposite sex will be rebuilt.
     It just occurred to me that I have been intimate with only one woman that I shared a true and honest love with.  That woman is the one I lost my virginity to.  This realization takes my breath away the more that I think about it.  Now, I was not one to play dirty pool and tell women that I loved them to get into bed with them.  Some part of me never felt like that was right, and I have always found it quite appalling.  Now that I have been on the other part of that lie, for whatever reason, I now feel like celibacy is in order.   I no longer want to be intimate with some one that is going to lie to me when they say those three words, nor do I want to be with someone that I don’t have those feelings for.  Lets face it at 38, I am not suffering from a lack of lovers over the years.  Like my sobriety, I am working on this new promise to myself.  To hold myself respect and dignity a great bit higher when it comes to sex and women.   I no longer have any interest in having sex just to have it.  I have enough memories of past experiences stored up in my head to get me by until the right one comes along, that is deserving of my love and affection.
     Reading the words I typed above scare me a little bit.  I have to look in the reflection on my computer screen to make sure that it is Erin who is writing all this.  It is scary and relieving at the same time.  Being able to recognize the growth over the last seventeen months is a beautiful feeling.  I can honestly say I love the person I have become.  It is like a new friendship that is exciting and full of wonder because it is so new.  The best part is that friendship is with me and there is a whole world out there to discover with my new friend.  Today, I am finally ok with who Erin is, where Erin has been, and where Erin is headed.  Yet, another blessing from sobriety.

If morning's a bitch with open arms and night's a girl who's gone too far
Whiskey is harder to keep than a woman and it's half as sweet but
Women without whiskey, Women without whiskey
Whiskey is hard to beat
Whiskey is hard to beat

(Cooley / DBT)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Needing Gratitude

     My sponsor taught me when I first got sober that an attitude of gratitude will usually heal any feelings of self pity and doubt.  Now that I have a few hours sober I have learned that being grateful and writing a gratitude list is like my secret weapon.  It is a cure all today for any negative feeling or shitty place my head might be in.  In light of today's events and feelings I have no choice but to trudge through the pain and focus on what I have instead of what I don't.
     This afternoon I got some news that an old friend of mine passed away last night.  We had not seen each other since 2008 I think.  But, we were the kind of friends that could always pick up right where we let off.  We meet several years ago when I was selling wine.  Funny how I remember ending up in the back of his BMW after our first wine tasting for his bar, zooming down I-75, headed to the strip club of all places.  I remember that night and many others like they were yesterday.  My friend was always good for a dirty joke, a pat on the back, a conversation about music, anything to make you smile.  I always kept up with him even though we did not see each other much any more.  Its weird how some people just have that impact on us.  Despite the sadness I am feeling from knowing I will never see my friends crooked, devilish smile again, I am very grateful for the time we did have together.  I am grateful for the nights he answered his phone when I was to wasted too drive and too broke for a cab.  I am grateful for all the times he made me laugh.  I am grateful for all the times he was OK with me being me even if I was not.  RIP my friend.  I know your heaven is full of harmonicas, sport coats, and pretty women.  See you on the other side!
      Tonight as I was getting ready to head out to my meeting, the feelings and pressure from trying to loose weight started getting really heavy.  No pun intended there.  Unhappy with the way my clothes looked in the mirror and feeling the constant pain from hard and diligent exercise, I lashed out at myself in disappointment and shame.  You see I am a drug addict and an alcoholic, which means I want immediate results.  In my mind I should be 60 lbs thinner yesterday, and can only focus on how fat I still am rather than the progress I have made.  As I sat in my meeting thinking about my friend that died today, I realized that I need to be grateful I am alive today to go to the gym and to be sore from a great work out.  I very well could be dead in a ditch somewhere or killed in a drug deal gone bad.  Today, I am blessed with the privilege of waking up every morning sober to fight another day.  I need to be grateful to have the gym memberships I have so I can work hard to get this weight off.  Most of all I am grateful that it is only my metabolism that is fucked up and not my heart or my lungs from all the cocaine and cigarettes over the years.   I am in really good health according to the doctor and that is a miracle.
     I have to remember it is the simple things in life that help us through. Some days will be hard and some will be sad.  But if I take a few short minutes out of a really shitty day, I will find plenty of reasons why life is grand and why there is no need for me to ever pick up another drug or bottle ever again.  Thank you God for everything.  I may not have all I want but I surely have all that I need.

Good Night

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Came to Believe

“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

     I heard in a meeting tonight that hope is faith with a track record.  When I look back on working my second step in recovery, I knew I was insane, and I had hoped that the actions I was taking would restore me to sanity.  I had the hope that if I believed that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity, it would be done.  Now, having worked all twelve steps with my sponsor and reworking them again with my sponsee, I can see that taking that leap of faith worked.  But, I had to take that first step. 
      When I finally saw my insanity in a way that I had never seen it on that fateful night on November 4, 2011, I knew I could no longer go on living that life.  Looking at those Denver police officers, hearing the toilet still flushing my bag of blow in the background, thinking I was going to jail, I knew my life was completely out of control.  The insanity had finally reached its pinnacle.  And in turn, I had reached my bottom, right there on Columbine street.  At this point, I believe that my mind opened, honestly, for the first time.  I could fight no more.  I was willing to do whatever it took to never be in that moment ever again.  I knew, it was all downhill from there if I did not change my ways.  I had to get help or I would surely die.
     My sponsor broke it down to me in very simple terms.  At two months sober, I needed everything to be simple. I was broken and damaged and he knew exactly how to explain this step so my polluted mind could understand and accomplish what I needed to.  He said first we came.  You came to this 12 step program to get help.  Then, you came to believe.  I think that belief for me was that I was in the right place and this program could work if I worked it.  Then he said, you came to believe that a power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity.  I remember this moment vividly.  I believed that with my sponsor having twenty plus years of sobriety that these steps had worked for him so they had to work for me.  All I had at that time was hope.  What did I have if I didn’t?  A life full of pain, misery, and a horrible death was what was left for me if I did not have hope.  SO, I leaped, with both feet, into uncharted waters.  No human being, including myself, had been able to restore me to sanity in 36 years, so I had to believe that this would work.
     It has now been over a year since I first worked step two with my sponsor.  Now that the fog has lifted and the pain and misery have subsided, I fully believe that my higher power did for me what I could not do for myself.  Today, my mind is the calmest and quietest it has ever been.  Even before drugs and booze I was completely out of my mind and that is not the case today.  I do believe, however, that my higher power did not necessarily, intervene in my life and restore me to sanity.  What he did do was give me a daily reprieve by showing me the next right step to take to restore myself to sanity. He gave me the opportunity to put in the work to achieve the sanity I have today.  And just so I am clear, the sanity I have today, is not a clean slate.  I will always be insane; the difference is that I have tools today, to keep me as sane as I possibly can be.  If I deviate from this path, the insanity will come back with a vengeance and my life will become unmanageable again, and I will surely relapse.  So, I take life day by day, doing what I need to for myself to prepare for the next.  It has taken a lot of practice, prayer, and pain to learn what to do and not to do.  The nice thing is that everything I do came in the form of simple suggestions in this program.  I am not perfect in these actions every day.  I am however progressing in a matter that shows growth and for that I am grateful.
     I have found a beautiful and simple substitute for drugs and alcohol today.  I will continue to do what is suggested, and I know I will be ok.  I no longer have any urge or thought to drink or drug.  I am warm and safe in God’s hands.  I will continue to be grateful for all that I have especially my sobriety and sanity.  And in that I will continue to find a little bit of humility, which reminds me to give what I have away.  Today, I am sober and my life is manageable by the grace of God.

Happy Easter 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Two Choices

      I think I have finally figured out what it means to learn from the mistakes of others.  Over the past month or so I have been hearing a lot about relapse, death, and misery.  I want nothing to do with any of these things.  Sure death is inevitable and bad shit happens to everyone.  But I don’t have to be the cause of it by not doing what I have learned over the last 16 months.  As I watch these people leave the program, talk about their relapses and all the other chaos and bullshit that is out there waiting for me, I realize that does not have to be my story.  I have two choices, do what is working and stay on the path of success and happiness.  Or go back to living a life full of shit!
     I know there are plenty of stories of bottoms much further than mine, but my bottom works just fine for me.  As much as I hate to see people in the rooms struggle, come back in after a relapse, or share about the death of a friend from this disease, it brings me a bit of pleasure.  That pleasure comes from hearing about what not to do.  When I think back on my life while I was out there using and drinking I can remember the pain that I lived in.  I was completely miserable, lonely, and desperate.  It finally got to the point that all I had in my life was drugs and alcohol.  I would like to say that I still had the music, but even that had turned into a playground for my intoxication.   I had zero hobbies, I did not do anything without a bag of blow in my pocket, and my health was on a rapid decline.  In the Big Book this big pile of crap is called the four horsemen.  They are described as terror, bewilderment, frustration, and despair.  These four words summed up my life completely.  There was no other way around it; I had officially reached the status of a coke head.  I was living in filth, pushing the boundaries of my mortality, and saw no way out.  Misery and death were my future.
     After figuring out that if I wanted to live my life had to change and I stopped digging that hole and got help.  That help has taught me a way of living that I never knew existed.  I have learned to let go of that control that I never really had in the first place.  I have learned that as long as I stay sober and help others, especially other drug addicts and alcoholics; I will get everything in life that I need.  The voices in my head have quieted down to a whisper that I can barely hear, and I can actually see the time where they will be gone for good.  I don’t fight any more.  I am no longer the center of the universe.  Today, my serenity and peace are way more important to me than being right or even being loved for that matter.  I am content alone, and for the first time in my life my goals are attainable and I am focused and motivated.  I work these 12 steps to the best of my ability and work on keeping in conscience contact with my higher power.  I do this simply by asking for his help throughout the day, and thanking him every night for another day sober and alive.  For the first time ever I have gratitude and peace.  Thank God!
                It is unfortunate that not everyone gets it.  I am so grateful for the stories of the ones that don’t make it.  It reminds me quickly of where I will end up.  So since I have a choice today, I am going to stick with what I have been taught and continue to work this wonderful program of recovery.  Thank you all that share your stories of fucking shit up over and over again, you have no idea how you help me stay sober.  I will continue to pray for those that still suffer in hopes that they too might see the light, stop fighting and find peace.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


      I laugh sometimes when I think back to the first few months of my sobriety.  I seriously thought that just getting off the drugs and booze would be enough for my brain and body to start working correctly and I would get back on track immediately.  I swore I was going to be back in Colorado in six months, a year maybe.  I can remember applying for all these jobs back then that I was in no way ready to do.  A lot of those first few months is really hazy.  I remember being angry, guilty, sad, depressed and every other feeling one goes through when getting sober after twenty two years of mass consumption.  Now, at sixteen months clean and sober, I can say that those feelings are long gone.  I have even managed to fill that big gaping hole in my heart that left me feeling lonely and low for so long.  I remember what it was like leaving a meeting high from recovery and crashing rapidly because of that emptiness. It is quite amazing what a year and four months and a lot of hard work can do for a person.  I look in the mirror now and I do not recognize the person in the reflection.  This person is new to me and new to the world.  This brings me a huge level of excitement and motivation.
      Since I graduated from high school in 1992 I have had moments of motivation.  I chased a culinary career around for years.  I never did challenge my self to move up the ranks how ever.  I stayed where I was comfortable.  My sales career went about the same way.  I have never been interested in a management position of any kind, most of all I just wanted to make my money and be left alone.  This cycle has been repeated over and over for twenty years.  All that time I never thought to myself that maybe the whiskey and cocaine were sucking the life out of me.  This was also the same story for school.  Every time I have gone back, the first semester or two usually goes pretty well, and then partying would quickly move in and become more important. Within a few months I would withdraw from my classes or just quit going.  Now, when I look at my transcripts, all I can do is shake my head in amazement at the track record of dumb shit, year after year.
      This year I am going to attempt finishing my degree.  I have a friend that keeps asking my why I am doing this and what is going to be different about it this time.   My answer to him is that, I don't get fucked up any more and I have a program of recovery that I work diligently.  And to add to that, I know what direction , finally, that I want my education to go in.  I now know with out a doubt what I want for a career and what I need to do to get there.  For the first time in my life, I know it is going to be hard, and I am excited about it.  I no longer have any excuses.  I am no longer the lazy, druggie, dumb ass, I have been in the past.  Now it is my time to shine...  Heck, I have even been thinking about grad school.  But one thing at a time right!
     Along with neglecting my career and education, I neglected my body all those years as well.  I knew I wanted to change that about myself, but I never had the balls or the drive to make any sort of commitment and stick with it.  Hell, its pretty hard to quit smoking or exercise when I was wasted all the time.  At the end I was eating so poorly it is amazing that alone did not kill me.  The real funny part is that I knew better, I just did not care.  Fuck it, I am a junkie is what I thought.  These thoughts today are long gone.
     I am taking these few months before school starts to focus on my health.  I do not want to have a heart attack at forty  and both are right around the corner.  Now, I have had brief moments of motivation in this part of my life, but not like it is today.  I have never been so sick of smoking cigarettes the way I am today.  When I do look in the mirror, I am disgusted with what I see from the neck down.  My goal is to have a really good routine set by the time school starts in May.  I spend everyday day watching what I eat, and I am exercising six days a week.  Hard.  I am so sore right now I cannot sit still.  Once again the question pops up in my head.  What is going to be different this time?  One big difference is that now I have a niece that needs me to be healthy in every aspect so I can be the uncle to her that I am suppose to be.  Heck, she wears me out now and she just started walking.  I will never keep up if I don't take care of my body.  I definitely do not want my sister to have to explain to her daughter that her uncle is gone because he was to selfish to take care of himself.  I will admit, there is a little bit of motivation coming from the ex.  For all the times she bitched about my weight, I'm healthy now so fuck you too!  Ha!
     It is nice to have finally rounded the corner in my recovery and be heading forward, and not looking back for a minute.  I am a completely different person today and I am happy about that.  I am slowly getting to know my self, finding new hobbies, and getting involved in some that I never could or would have living that other life.  Today, my heart is full with love and gratitude.  Everyday is a new adventure with new goals that keep me busier than I have ever been.  So for today, I am going to to continue to keep doing what I am doing, because it is working.  Thank God!  I am a lucky man, not many people get to live two lives!


Monday, March 4, 2013


     At the beginning of my recovery I was very unwilling.  I was only going to go to certain meetings, I was only open to this or closed off to that.  My preconceived misconceptions were going to guide me in my recovery hell or high water.  Thankfully, I listened to my sponsor and the people around me.  I do not think I would be here writing this today if I had done it my way.  I know I have shared this before but I want to emphasize how much of a fighter I was the first 37 years of my life.  I fought everyone about everything.  I could never take anyone's advice or learn from their mistakes.  I had to prove that everyone was wrong.  Most of all, I wanted everyone to look at me and see how great I was because I was right.  Well, I was wrong.  Way wrong.  Today, I have finally stopped fighting and am keeping an open mind and my willingness is off the charts.  For me at least. 
     Because of this new found willingness my life has grown leaps and bounds.  My willingness to believe that a higher power could restore me to sanity and do for me what I could not do for my self has changed my life completely.  Through working the steps with an amazing sponsor I have finally found the God of my understanding.  I would have never learned about this new way of life, much less experienced it had I not been willing.  I would say it is the one action that has completely removed my stubborn blinders.  And for that I am so very grateful.
     Despite my very pleasant up brining in the Christian faith, today it is still something that I am very uncomfortable with.  It is something that I do not agree with in a lot of ways.  Most of all I do not understand it.  But, I do believe that my God and the Christian God are one in the same.  Mine just does not have a whole book about him.  I am not sure if that makes any sense, but it is the best way to explain it.  Well, yesterday I had an opportunity to spend some time with my sponsor and go to a Christian meditation/reflection group at a Jesuit retreat center on the Chattahoochee river.  The place is very welcoming and serene.  I was nervous upon arrival, but I knew I had to remain willing in order to get something out of the experience.  The participants were very kind.  We had breakfast and coffee together before we started.  I was the youngest person there by at least ten years.  When we started we went around the room and shared something about who we were.  I shared that I had not known God for a long time and was there to help with my new found relationship with him.  Two women shared two scriptures and gave us questions on each that related to our own lives.  After they were read and their thoughts were shared we all went our own way on the property and took the time to meditate and reflect on the readings and answer the questions.  The first reading was on temptations.  How appropriate is that?  Well needless to say after my time of reflection I had plenty of answers to the questions that were asked.  After we reconvened, they asked us to share our answers or thoughts.  I went first, which surprised the group I think.  I shared my views and thoughts and how they related to my recovery.  It was such a surprise that one of the women gave me a big hug when it was all over and commented on how brave she thought I was for sharing all that I did.  It was by far one of the best decisions I have made in recovery to attend this seminar.  I thuroughly enjoyed it.
       What I am happiest about, is the fact that after this weekends events, the changes I have made in my life are becoming visible.  I was able to set all my doubts and grievances aside and in return I was given a great experience.  This is truly a miracle.  I never thought I could be this person I am today.  I thought for sure my life was always going to be a struggle in every way.  Tonight, I am so humble and full of joy in the changes I have made.  Thanks to my program and my willingness, I am slowly becoming the man I always wanted to be.  And it feels GREAT!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Am Sorry Just Doesn't Cut It

     On Sunday morning I was getting ready for my niece’s first birthday party, listening to music, reading my morning meditations.  Suddenly I had an overwhelming feeling of guilt and shame come over me.  It was so oppressive all I could do was sit at my desk and cry.  I cried like a little baby for a while, a long while.  It was really strange.  These were feelings I have not felt in a while, not since the fall.  I felt so guilty for all the shit I had done and the person I use to be.  It was almost as if I was afraid that my little niece would somehow, some way, see through all my progress in recovery and see the person I use to be.  Maybe she could see the raging drug addict inside me, kicking and screaming to get out.  
     Tonight, the meeting I went to was about all the times we had said we were sorry for all the shit we had done when we really did not mean it.  I thought about all the times I told my parents I was sorry for running out of money and that I would never do it again.  Or all the times I was late to work or too hung over to get the job done. Maybe, I had apologized for disappearing for days upon end not letting anyone know where or how I was.  I said I am sorry so many times for so much, and I knew I was lying.  I was just trying to get myself out of whatever predicament I had gotten my self into and needed help getting out of.  It was all bullshit.  For all the wrongs I committed, I have made my amends.  I have admitted my wrong doings and asked how I can fix them.  Today, those amends are real and sincere.  The difference is now I have action behind the amends.  I work diligently to be a different person.  I show up when I say I will be there.  I don’t lie like I did before to the people I love.  I honor those amends by keeping my word and changing my life.  Today, I admit when I am wrong quickly and try to bring resolution to the situation I have disturbed.  Today, I examine my part in everything that happens in my life.  I try hard to own up to my actions instead of playing the blame game.   For now, there are no more empty apologies.
     Something else that this episode of guilt, shame and remorse, has caused to resurface is the fact that I have not fully forgiven myself for the way I treated myself.  I have not fully forgiven myself for the financial situation I have put myself in.  For all the money spent on school and still not having my degree.  For allowing myself to be hurt over and over by people that are bad for me.  I have not forgiven myself for the damage that I have done my body from excessive consumption.  Today, I realized that I have to go to the doctor.  I am having serious weight issues, and this has come about from years of cocaine use, lack of exercise and poor eating habits.  I cannot blame anyone else for any of these poor choices.  They all rest upon my shoulders.  They are my mistakes and I have to own them.  And like the any other relationship, I can no longer make false apologies for my actions.  What I must do is everything I can to make amends to myself and continue to live in a healthier, responsible manner.  Today, I am all I have, and without that forgiveness, I will stay out of God’s light and continue to spin the wheel.  My friend shared tonight that his ego can burn him on both ends.  His ego makes him think he is better than or worse than those around him.  But only through humility and keeping the world at eye level, will he continue to move forward.  You see, I am no better than the gutter drunk, and no worse than the billionaire on the yacht.  Through self forgiveness, I will find my way.
     Tonight, when I shared about my breakdown on Sunday, I shared about the blessing that my niece never has to see me intoxicated.  The reality is that as long as I stay sober and continue to do the next right thing, that old devil will continue to fade into the past and even though my memory of him will burn bright for survival, he will never have the chance to haunt her.