Sunday, December 30, 2012

Service Work

On Thursday night I had the opportunity to hear Judy P. tell her story at my home group.  She had an amazing story and 40 years sober.  There was how ever one part of her story that really hit home with me.  She shared about the service work she did.  She shared about letting the drunks in her home to get a hot meal, clean clothes, and a warm bed, so they could feel human again.  She also shared about her service to her community.  I was so impressed with her ideas about getting back into society by doing volunteer work that was outside of the recovery realm.  It just reinforced why I got out of the corporate world and went to work for my self.  I want to throw myself into the deep end of my recovery service work as well as other community work.  Where can I be of maximum service?  This is a question I need to be asking my self every day.  So now that my schedule is more flexible I will be working with a group of guys that take a meeting into the jails every Monday.  I am also currently looking to do some volunteer work with a literacy program.  I was thinking the other day how hard it would be to recovery from drugs and alcohol if you could not read or write.  Heck how hard would anything be for those in society that have fallen through the cracks.  So I think these are two places where I can be of most service, to the alcoholic and addict that still suffers, and to my community.  I know we live in a society that today has gotten away from the "it takes a village" concept.  But I am a firm believer when our fellow man struggles and suffers it affects all of us.  I live a blessed, privileged life.  I can only keep that status by giving it away.  As a matter of fact tomorrow I am working the Sober Panic Fans table at the New Years Eve Widespread Panic show.  Who says you cannot do service work and have a shit ton of fun at the same time!

Where can you be of most service?

Happy New Year, God Bless, and WMFP!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Laws of Attraction

I can remember partying after the 2010 New Years Eve Widespread Panic show with a girl and another couple, at some point during the night a friend of the two girls calls, and they put the call on speaker phone and she proceeds to tell the room about the most recent episode of cheating on her boyfriend.  Despite my high level of intoxication, I was amazed at how "acceptable" this was to the three people I was with.  Of course this should have been a blazing warning sign for me at the time. Needless to say, both the women in the room that night went on to be cheaters them selves.  Birds of a feather I guess.  Anyways, my point in bringing this up is what on earth did I put out into the world that attracted people that found infidelity acceptable behavior, much less funny.  Even though I was well into my addiction at the time, I was at a point in my life where this was not acceptable behavior to me.  I had been a one woman man for years by this point and would not condone this behavior from anyone in my life.  So now I have to wonder how someone with the moral code like mine would have attracted such people.  Who knows, maybe it was the drugs, booze, and everything else that allowed that type of woman into my life.

Now that I have put together a few 24 hours of sobriety and have completely changed my life, I have to wonder what it is about me that is still attracting the strangest of the strange.  I would like to think, and the people that know me best would agree, that I am a kind, gentle, caring, affectionate, honest person.  So how on earth is it that even in sobriety I am still attracting the complete opposite.  The liars, the cheaters, the disrespectful?  I had an experience a month or so ago with a woman that showed complete interest, yet finally admitted that was not her intentions at all, and she even went as far to apologize to me for having preyed on me for my attention.  WTF, where do these people come from?  The most recent attempt at dating resulted in an I miss you text on Christmas Eve, quickly evolving into completely disappearing all together over the next three days.  My sponsor tells me it is ok to have reasonable expectations of people.  Simple things like returning phone calls, showing up, and basic honesty...  Things that normal people do in their relationships.  I don't want to get to a point where I cannot expect these things out of people, and only expect the bad.  This is not something I want for my life, but experience does tend to mold us as human beings.  It is also hard for me not to compare my self to other people.  If I had a dollar for every dip shit, asshole, dickhead I know that I would not let into my home that has an amazing girlfriend, wife, and family, I would be a rich man.  It makes no sense to me.  Maybe society has determined that men and women are suppose to lie, cheat and steal from each other.  Maybe, just maybe, society has us convinced that kindness and generosity are signs of weakness.  I was speaking to a friend of mine this morning from Colorado that is going through a divorce.  Her soon to be ex is a good looking tough guy, a scrapper if you will.  Yet he fails to show up for his two young sons through out this whole process.  How did this scum bag pussy ever end up with a beautiful wife and two amazing children.... Unfortunately, I do not have the answer to any of these questions.  I can only continue to look inside my self and learn how to grow from with in, spiritually and emotionally.  This situation still continues to baffle me!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

Wow, I am really not sure where to begin.  This will be the third year I have written a blog entry on or around Christmas.  Like years past, I will share about what has happened in the past year, where I am headed and my Christmas wish.  This year will be much different from years past, due to the overwhelming changes that have occurred over 2012.  Some things will remain the same, I am still a creature of habit.  For example, after listening to several different bands and genres of music that would be appropriate and inspiring for this entry, and finally I went with the Drive by Truckers.  I don't know if it is the sweet, sweaty, sounds of the south that inebriate my mind to get all the words out or if it is the connection I have with their lyrics.  Songs like The Righteous Path, Purgatory Line, Danko/Manual, When the Pin Hits the Shell, and The Living Bubba almost seem as if they were written for my place in life no matter how much that changes.  Some how, some way, this music inspires me to get my words out and share them with the world.  Maybe it is the words of struggle, pain, recklessness, love, hope, loss, intoxication, and being southern that touch that place in my heart.  Maybe it is the underlying message of perseverance in their music that will inspire me tonight to share my thoughts on hope and the future.  What ever it is, the twang is loud tonight and we are on our way.

Speaking of the Drive by Truckers, right now Gravity's Gone is playing.  One of the reasons this song is one of my favorites is the amazing pedal steel guitar.  It seems appropriate to start this paragraph off with a quote from this song.  "What used to be is gone and what ought to be ought not to be so hard."  This quote could sum up the year of 2012 for me.  It has been a year of letting go, making peace, and moving on.  Deciding last November, after 22 years of drug and alcohol abuse, to get sober was not a hard decision at all.  The police will have that impact.  Little did I know that the easy part would end with that decision.  The life I use to have was now over.  Colorado, friends, girlfriends, insanity, and so many other things were gone.  Learning to live with what ought to be was a long and painful road.  Moving to Colorado was one of the most exciting times of my life.  It was a place that I fell in love with the first time i visited and knew that is where I wanted to live.  I was done with Cobb county and my life in Atlanta was in the past.  It took a lot of time for me to finally realize that I will get back to that land that I love so much, but now is not the time and it will not be happening any time soon.  I am finally at peace now with the fact that Atlanta is where I am suppose to be, for today.  Along with Colorado, letting go of some of the relationships, one in particular, was a very bitter pill to swallow.  And yes what ought to be ought not to be so hard.  But sometimes it just is and with a little faith and hard work that pain slowly subsides into the back ground.  Eventually the point of looking back turns into the point of looking forward.  This is where letting go and moving on from the insanity was the biggest obstacle.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  This remained a factor in my life until about October of this year, and finally I came to terms with the fact that the result was ALWAYS going to be the same.  Sadness, pain, anger, distrust, were feelings I no longer wanted in my life but I had to get off the road of crazy and give it all to God to let those feelings go.

2012 was an employment roller coaster.  Three places of employment later, I have started my own company, Adelaide Productions LLC.  I have decided that going back to school and learning how to make a living working for my self is the not only best for me, but possible employers as well.  I know I am not the easiest to employ.  Hell, I hate shaving, getting hair cuts, dress pants, I love tattoos and punctuality is not a strong point.  But, with a little hard work, I have complete faith that I can make the money I need working for my self.  This will allow me to grow my beard long and grey, grow my hair way past my collar, and never worry about my tattoos showing...  A modest living is the goal but hey lets aim for the stars.  As long as I stay sober, I know any thing is possible.  Along with starting my own company I am going to back to school in June.  Kennesaw State University has a fantastic professional writing program that I want to engage. Becoming a writer is a life long goal and there is no time like the present to chase it.  It is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all right?  I am so excited.  Cannot wait to see what is to come.

Now it is time for my Christmas wish.  It is funny just as I started typing this paragraph "Everybody Needs Love," an Eddie Hinton song started to play.  This is exactly why I pick the Drive by Truckers to write to.  I always get what I need, when I need it from this band.  Tonight the topic of the meeting I went to was on having a spiritual awakening.  For me they started in back in June.  I am not sure if they have came from working the steps, being sober, having an open mind, or all of these combined, but they have happened and continue to do so.  I shared about the moment at the children's Christmas Eve service last night where I finally got it.  For years I have been asking my self why the story of Jesus Christ being born is the greatest story ever told.  Last night it finally hit me.  It is the ultimate story of hope.  Struggling and poor, Mary and Joseph gave birth to their baby boy in a barn, and look at how far his life has gone and how many lives he has touched.  That is a hope that I so desperately wish for tonight, Christmas night 2012.  Hope for myself, hope for my family, hope for everyone I love, hope for all mankind.  A hope that we all find that love that we all need to survive.  A hope to show me the way of forgiveness and acceptance.  A hope, that even against our nature, we as men and women can find our way above the violence and hate that plagues us. It seems so simple, yet so difficult.  Today I have faith and I have the hope that we will achieve the goals of love and peace for ALL MANKIND.

Good Night, God Bless and Happy Holidays

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Gratitude

Today my sponsor asked me if I could remember what everything was like last year, being a little over a month sober.  Unfortunately, this question brought back a flood of bad memories.  I then shared the conversation with my mother and her comments also reminded me of things from that time that unfortunately are still painful.  This immediately put me in a place of irritability and discontent.  Thankfully, I now have a set of tools to use when I get into that scary, ugly place in my head.  So, I knew it was time to sit down and make a gratitude list.  I have so many things to be thankful for today, Christmas Eve 2012.  Here is that list in no particular order.

First, I want to express how grateful I am for my amazing family.  I know with out a doubt I would not be sober and in the best place in my life I have ever been without them.  My parents have done their part by going to Alanon.  I am very grateful for the help that program has given them.  I am positive that with the help of both Alanon and AA, our family is finally beginning to heal from all the years of drug induced damage.  My sister and brother in law have also been amazing.  My sister is such a positive light in my life.  She is always willing to listen to me when I need her.  They have also given me the greatest gift I could have ever received, my niece, Adelaide Amanda Baines.  She brings me so much joy, it is indescribable.  I am truly blessed to have found an amazing sponsor, who has been an integral part of me making it through all the bullshit this past year.  The faith and wisdom that he has shared with me has taught me so much and has enabled me to live a much happier and peaceful life.  Through him I have grown closer with my higher power and the fear and doubt subside more and more every day.  I have so many fantastic friends that have supported me on this new journey, new and old.  Jake, you are the best friend I have ever had!  Thank you for all the hours of conversation you have given me and your unwavering support will never be forgotten.   

Last but not least, I want to thank God for all the blessings in my life.  I am sure that you kept me alive for reasons that I now know, but definately did not deserve at the time.  I will continue to do your will as well as I can and to continue to carry the message to the alcoholic and addict that still suffers.

For all of you that were not mentioned here, you know who you are and I am very grateful to have all of your love and support.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stop Throwing Up and Start Growing Up

I heard the statement stop throwing up and start growing up when I first got sober a little over a year ago.  The statement was used while giving out a white chip at a meeting.  That statement has stuck with me now for a long time.  It makes me think about how childish and irresponsible I was when I was out there using and drinking. So many stupid things I would do.  From not paying my bills, going in to work hung over, lying to women just to get them in bed.  Shit the list could go on and on.  Today, something happened that made me realize how much growth I have achieved.  I did the next right thing and ended a relationship that had a lot of potential for a lot of bad things to happen.  It sucked having to be an adult and have that conversation but it is what is best for both parties.  Bad timing I guess.  But I know I did the right thing for both of us.  So despite being a little let down with the situation I am very happy about knowing how to handle a situation that use to baffle me.  Which brings me a lot of joy.  There was no freaking out, no name calling or yelling, just rational thought, and a calm discussion.  It is a strange feeling to be able to see personal progress in action.  I have not thrown up in a very long time (hell I was never much of puker accept after Widespread Panic shows) but I have definitely started growing up.  Well it is time for my home group meeting and dinner!
Till next time!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spiritual Progress

I am going to start off with a quote from the big book:
      "Many of us exclaimed, "What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged. No    one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we were willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought."

When I read/hear this part of how it works I tend to think of my spiritual progress.  I think about how far I have come in the last year. Today I can honestly say that I am an alcoholic and could not manage my own life.  I know no human that could have relieved my addictions and after seeking God, he has relieved so much more than my alcoholism and drug addiction.  The biggest cause of my using for so many years was fear.  Today my faith in a higher power of my understanding has relieved all of that fear and doubt of the future.  Recently I was let go from my job (purposefully) and have begun working full time on getting my company up and running.  This has made a huge dent in my finances.  A year ago I would have been in sheer panic.  Today, the fear of economic insecurity has truly left me.   I know as long as I do my part and have the faith that God will continue to keep me safe just as he has done my entire life, everything will work out.  I have to believe that even during the overdoses, I was kept alive by a power greater than my self.  It was not just luck.  Today I believe that the purpose in keeping me alive is to share my experience, strength, and hope with the world and show others that struggle with drugs and alcohol that a new life is possible.  Carrying that message is my ultimate job today.

My reason for this post today is to share my struggle with that spiritual progress.  Even though I am on the road to permanent faith, I struggle on a daily basis with my prayer and meditation.  Back in the summer I had my schedule set for my prayer time in the morning.  Of course this was right about the time of my spiritual awakening.  It was a high that I had never felt before.  SO, it only seems natural that my time with God at this point would have prospered.  Today, even though my faith has grown, my actions in prayer have not.  So on the list of things to do is work on my prayer and meditation.  With that I will end with Thank you God for my sobriety and all the blessings you have given me!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Coming Alive

What a fantastic week it has been.  I am living proof that being sober and working a good program will pay off.  The last two meetings I have attended allowed me to hear the things I absolutly needed to hear. Let me share a little bit about the week I have had.  First, I was laid off from my job.  Which was a complete blessing.  I was terribly unhappy with the whole situation.  And no amount of money is worth spending that much time miserable.  With all this new free time I have, I will be working on my new company, trying to take a stab at becoming a substitute teacher, spending more time with my baby niece, and diving even deeper into my AA program.  I am hoping to get set up with a group of guys that take meetings to the local jails twice a week.  This is where I feel I could be of maximum service to my fellow man.  I also have a ton of things to get taken care of in order to get ready for school in June.  One of these things includes doing a ton of writing.  I have a lot of writing projects in the works and hopefully they will get me some money.  The new website for The Sober Life is currently under construction and I am learning about internet/social media marketing.  I am very excited about my professional future.  As long as I stay sober, it is all possible.  No more under achieving for this under achiever.  This week I have also started spending time with a beautiful woman.  I am very excited to see what might happen here.  It is funny how things work out some time.  I want to yell it from the mountain tops!  I am so HAPPY!  Thank you God!  I am so very grateful! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Letting God Be God

As a drug addict and alcoholic I can definitely say that I am not in the out come business.  As much as I want to think that I have control over what happens in my life the reality of it is that I don't.  It took me a really long time to figure out that this was a big part of my using and drinking.  Fear of the out come, joy of the out come, disappointment in the out come.  All because I thought sincerely that I had some control.  So I went out and got blasted for all these reasons.  How foolish and egotistical  is that to think that I would have all that power.  The power to make people do what I wanted.  To make them love me...  After a few hours sober I have learned that I have to do my part in life.  This ultimately is doing the next right thing.  And only then do I have some influence on my life.  But even then after doing all the right things, the result can end up being different from what I wanted.  Today, I am OK with that.  I have to be.  I cannot change the way things go.  So now I get out of the way and quit trying to control the uncontrollable.  For example, I took the risk and was let go by my company so I can work on my own business and getting it up and running.  I can sit here and worry and let the anxiety consume me or I can just work as hard as I can and what will be will be.  It is all in God's hands now.  And I truly believe that everything will be OK.  Whether the business fails or succeeds.  I will be OK.  Ultimately that is all that matters.  I went to a meeting last night that my sponsor chaired and the topic was about letting God be God.  Step out of the way and let things take the course they are suppose to take.  Having learned to accept this, I have found a peace that I cannot describe.  I truly have nothing to worry about ever!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


As I listen to the amazing pedal steel in a Drive by Truckers song, I am thinking about why I love that instrument so much.  After tonight's first step meeting I realize what it is about that mesmerizing wain of that guitar that gets my rocks off.  It is a sad but peaceful sound that carries the pain openly that is so prevalent in rock n roll.  It reminds me of sad times in the past, but in a way that eases the pain a bit.  Like the pedal steel guitar, tonight's meeting made me realize that I have a bitter sweet reminder of where I came from and where I am going.  A few weeks ago I started getting all my bills and debt in order.  It is a hefty pile that I owe and it is def in the five figure range.  As we talked tonight about being powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable, I realized that the fact that I owe over 25k in student loans and still don't have a degree, is a glaring example of how unmanageable my life really was.  Drugs and alcohol had a direct affect on every single attempt I ever made to go to school.  How could I owe that much money and not have my degree.  Oh yeah, I am a raging drug addict and alcoholic that lights every single aspect of my life on fire when I am using.  Recently I have found myself in a very happy and peaceful place and it was good to see that fact tonight.  I dont feel bad about not having my degree yet, but it is a great reminder to see how foolish and irresponsible I become when I am high on cocaine and whiskey.  It is good for me to keep these things that remind me of where I came from close.  I dont ever want to go down that road again!  Thank you God for my sobriety today.  So grateful!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Proof is in the Pudding

I thought I would get down a few words tonight and share some of the details of what is going on here in my life.  I usually try to have some sort of "Recovery" base to my entries but tonight that is not the case.  Maybe that is the proof in the pudding. What I mean by that is that tonight I don't have a whole lot pressing on my soul that I need to put into some profound words. Maybe, what I have learned is working.  After all, I am sober!  Tonight, even though things are a bit crazy, I am pretty happy with everything.  The other night at my home group birthday celebration I shared that a year ago I would not have been able to be a business owner or any where near it and last week I obtained a silent partner and funding so I am pretty stoked about this new adventure.  The new website is slowly getting under construction and I cannot wait to to see it.  I am sure it will be a lesson in patience, but I it will also be a lot of fun.  I have also started back to working on a collection of short stories that hopefully will be published into a book one day.  It is also a pretty great feeling to finally start making a dent in some of this debt so I can get my ass back in school in June.  The local university has a great English department and a professional writing minor that looks awesome.  It will be great to see how I do in school sober.  That has not happened since high school.  I am determined to get my degree even if it takes 30 years.  Hell it might end up close to that since I started my higher learning journey in 1992.  I have also come to the realization that I no longer  want to work in any corporate environment.  The bullshit, dishonesty, and flat out shenanigans just don't really mesh with this new life I have built for myself.  Hopefully I will be able to put a POSITIVE end to that part of my life here before too long.  I def think working for my self is the way to go.  Hell if I never wear a suit ever again it will be too soon.  Now lets talk about getting ready for my baby niece's first Christmas.  I am so excited about this even if she does not understand.  Watching her grow has been such a wonderful blessing,  and with that being said, I have taken moving out of Atlanta off the table for now.  There are too many things I would miss being away from her in these young years.  Hell I might even meet a woman here that loves the Grateful Dead and is not full of shit!  HA HA!  Who knows!  Well I hope this finds everyone well and happy on this first Monday in December.  Remember to be good.  Santa's elves are watching!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude and Acceptance

I , like so many other alcoholics and drug addicts have a very hard time accepting the things I cannot change, as well as feeling grateful for what I do have.  Today, I am feeling very restless, irritable, and discontent.  Despite being surrounded by so much loving family, the loneliness is weighing heavy on my heart today, as I obsess about the past and the future. These feelings are very reminescant of Thanksgiving last year, ten or so days sober.  The big difference today is I know what to do when these feelings arise.  This morning the daily reflection that I read reminded me that Gratitude and Acceptance will heal these negative feelings that I hold on to so tightly.  Which is why I decided to write now instead of later.  I need to take the time to get down on paper or screen what I am grateful for and make those blues run.

Today, Thanksgiving, 2012, I have a little more than a year sober.  This is what I am grateful for the most.  On my year anniversary, last Saturday my little sister shared with me how much more pleasant and enjoyable I am to be around.  It made me realize how much of an overbearing asshole I would be when I was around my family and how awful for them it must have been. Thirty minutes or so ago I felt those old selfish ways coming out and I knew it was time for me to take some time for my self and make a list of all the wonderful blessings I have.  While I write here in the recliner in my living room, my brother in law is holding my beautiful baby niece quietly while she takes her Thanksgiving nap completely content just being in her daddy's arms.  The sweet sounds of my mom and sister making the last minute preparations for our Thanksgiving meal are coming from the kitchen. I can see my Dad and my Grandmother walking around the front yard in the warm Georgia sun looking at all of my Dad's plants.  My grandmother looks happy and content to have another holiday with her family.   This calm that is coming in from focusing on these wonderful simple blessings is a new relief to the stress and pain that comes from having an alcoholic mind.  

Tonight like every Thursday I will be going to a meeting at my home group and spend some time with some wonderful, like minded, supportive people.  So many of these folks have played a huge part in the success and growth I have had in the first year of my sobriety.  I am so vary grateful for them.  I am not sure I could have made it this year with out you guys.  You all know who you are and I love you all dearly.

Now that my heart and mind have returned to that serene place, I will say that I will pray that all of you are blessed with the things that make you happy.  I will pray not only for my own wisdom and peace but for all of yours as well.    Remember to put in the work but to let God handle the results!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Found Out How Tall I Am

      I thought it would be appropriate that I listen to some Widespread Panic tonight while I write.  I am hoping the sweet sounds of Michael Houser's guitar take my mind to the places it needs to go so I can get all the right words out.  I keep listening to Proving Ground over and over and I think about how those words relate to my life today. I think I can apply most of the lyrics to the past year of my life.  Especially when I follow it up with The Last Straw.  I think that is actually where I will start all of this.  On November 4th, 2011 the last straw had finally been pulled.  After a short yet disturbing interaction with the Denver Police I knew I could go on no longer living a very deadly lifestyle.  I knew as I stared at that cop, if I did not change I would definately end up in jail or dead.  And just like the lyrics to Proving Ground, "Find out how tall I am, by jumping in the middle of the river," I headed back east to get sober.  That was 365 days ago tomorrow... Here is my experience, strength, and hope from the past year.

     It has been one hell of a year.  There is no doubt about that.  To compare it to a roller coaster would not do it justice.  It has absolutely been the hardest year of my life.  After much reflection I realize that I have learned quite a few lessons this year.  Like all lessons they are positive whether the felt good or not.  Here are a few that come to mind in no particular order.  Be careful who you trust, real friends are hard to find, and shit happens. Trust in God.  Go to meetings, work the steps, get a sponsor, help other drug addicts and alcoholics and you will stay sober.  Of course there have been more but I would have to say that these were the big ones.  Oh and GROW THE FUCK UP. The best part about coming out of a twenty year black out is having raw emotions to go along with these lessons that I have learned.  Emotions not masked with mood altering substances to pick me up and put a smile on my face, fake or real.  The last ten years of my life or more I drank and used for every reason.  Break ups, new jobs ,lost jobs, holidays, concerts, shit I even liked to use the sun as an excuse.  If it was a pretty day lets go tear it up.  So now that I have these raw emotions, mixed up with some hard lessons, betrayal, heartbreak, financial woes, and newly found sobriety.  I have been an emtional shit show the past year.  Thankfully I learned those other lessons quickly about going to meetings and all the other 12 step stuff.  I honestly say I could not have stayed sober with out them.  I am able to use the tools I have been taught through these programs to learn that I dont have to stay in active addiction any longer and keep digging that hole.  Today, I have no reason to get fucked up.  Now does that mean I dont think about it.  No, I do think about it.  I think about a great rock show, spun out of my head, with out a care in the world.  But that is not how it works for me today.  Those days are long gone.  Now all that is left is jails, institutions,and death.

     Speaking of jails, institutions, and death, when I first got back to Atlanta, my mother would say to me "Believe it or not, God kept your ass out of trouble, and alive for a really long time."  I would cringe in those early days when she would say that.  I still had a lot of anger and resentment towards God.  And when I say God, it is a God of my understanding, what makes sense to me.  I could not believe that such a loving God would have turned his back on me.  There was actually a point in my life that I was contemplating a tattoo that consisted of a broken heart and the word forsaken.  How fucking stupid is that?  Now that I have had some time to work on my relationship with God, I was not the forsaken one.  He was.  I had turned my back on my beliefs and that God I knew as a child by polluting my mind, body, and soul with all that crap.  And then like a dumb ass, would ask, why me God.  Now I realize it was not luck that kept my heart from exploding so many nights, it was God.  It was God, that kept me from going to jail that fateful night in Denver.  It was God, that slapped me in the face, and told me if I did not change I was going to die.  Today, I am grateful for that slap.  Today, knowing what I know, I pray.  Some days are better than others.  Some times I am more connected that others.  But today, if I know anything at all, is to TRY and do Gods will.  And most days I have no idea what that is accept to stay sober.  And today, that is enough for me.

     As I start on this last paragraph I started Proving Ground over again.  repetition and consistency is good for this drug addict and alcoholic...  Any ways.  If you have not figured it out yet, that river I jumped into was sobriety.  For the first time in my adult life, I have been sober for one entire year.  By jumping in that river I found out how tall I am.  I learned how to take a punch like a big boy and not completely piss my self.  That is what I needed most.  To learn how to be tall again.  To learn how to be confident and full of faith.  Of course there is a large amount of humility to learn but like we say, progress not perfection.

Proving Ground

Written by Widespread Panic

I really wanna move like I'd like to
Sometimes I remember myself
I really wanna feel like I'm supposed to
Sometimes I remember how to feel

How did I find myself just this way
My body keeps on moving
But my style gets in my way

Find out just how tall I am
By jumping in the middle of a river

Well, we were shaking cliches like we used to
You just remember the smell
Breaking my brain like a boy who just
Can't forget her smell

Now, how do you like the way I drive
Take us a little bit different way every next time (time)

Find out just how dry I am
By jumping the middle of a river

Find out just how tall I am
How tall I am

I really wanna move like I'd like to
Sometimes I remember myself
I really wanna feel like I'm supposed to
Sometimes I remember how to feel

How did I find myself just this way
My body keeps moving
But my thoughts get in the way

Find out just how tall I am
By jumping in the middle

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Moving Forward

It is Sunday night and I am listening to my new favorite album Black Eyed Galaxy by Anders Osborne.  Mind of a Junkie, Send Me a Friend, and Higher Ground all sum up the thoughts and feelings I have had today.  Thoughts about bad memories from a year ago today, feelings about the doctors appointment I have tomorrow and the employment situation I am in.  Most of all the reflection on how God has given me an opportunity to work on my selfishness in the event of getting some help in replacing the vehicle I just lost.  What I learned is that I really need to do another fourth and fifth step.  There is still a lot of anger and resentment lingering around certain subjects.  And like someone shared in my meeting tonight I am tired of carrying that fucking shit around and am ready to get rid of it once and for all.  I cant change what happened over the past year and I was not to blame for most of it but I did play a part in it and I am ready to let it go.  I am tired of being angry and full of resentment.  Unfortunately this is what I have tonight.  Time to let it all fucking go!

Good night!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No Gauge for My Sanity

Tonight I heard a speaker share something in their story that really hit home with me.  He said that once he got sober he realized that this was the first time in his entire life that he had found sanity.  This was a place he had never been before.  This resonated so loud with me.  I realized for the first time that I have been acting like an alcoholic/drug addict my whole life.  This behavior started way before I started using and drinking.  I lived with no accountability, selfish, self centered, and a brazen fuck it attitude.  Now that I am able to recognize these character defects I have nothing to compare life to with out them.  I cannot compare the sanity (which is minimal) of today to any other time in my life simply because I don't think I have ever been here in this place before.  Thus making this place now an even stranger place to be.  I have no litmus test on how life is without the insanity.  And for me today that brings me some sort of peace.  A peace that comes from not having any answers and it being okay.  A peace that comes from knowing that today since I am truly learning how to live life the right way for the first time that I can take my time.  I don't have to force anything.  I don't have to try and control anything and I can be patient and just live and learn to be me in my own skin.  The other day my therapist asked me what is the next step.  I replied I have no idea.  I could not have been more honest with that answer.  And she replied with, that is okay.  Just stay where you are and maintain for a while.  After hearing those words tonight I am overwhelmed with a feeling of relief and serenity simply because I have realized that it is okay for me to just BE right now.  I can live in the moment and not make any life altering decisions, or be chasing anything or anyone and just be happy with myself and where I am right now.  Which is here with my family learning how to live life sober.  Continue to grow in my program and work through the demons that I have been carrying around for so long.  It really is amazing what I can learn when I keep my mouth shut and listen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Last night I had the opportunity to be a part of a discussion about what a blessing it is to be sober.  There was a new comer in the room and while every one was sharing I was thinking about the events of the last two months and where I was this time last year.   In the last two months I have started a series of oral surgeries, found out I have a torn meniscus and will have to have knee surgery and I will be finding out this week (hopefully) what is happening with the buy out of the company I work for.  Now this time last year any or all of these things would have had me out of my mind and completely wasted.  I would have been making excises for my behavior, putting my health at risk, pushing myself to a jail, an institution or death.  Today, I don't have to revel in that madness. Tonight, my ass will be exactly will be where it needs to be sitting in a chair in a meeting and not in a bar stool.  It is truly a blessing to have found the God of my understanding that has forgiven me for my mistakes and has kept me under his wing safe and sober.  It is truly a blessing to be able to make the right decisions today to ensure that I am continuously working towards emotional sobriety and what is best for my life and not worrying about what is best for anyone else.  Some of these steps have not been easy and have required a lot of introspection and work.  But I would not trade the peace and serenity I have today for anything.  Today, I have learned to accept everyday life, good or bad, with out having to use drugs or climb into a bottle.  Now that I have cleared the majority of the self made bullshit from my life I am able to live happy, joyous, and free.  It was really kind of funny last night at my therapy session, I realized I had nothing to really talk about and it was a relief.  That might be the biggest blessing of all.  No more chaos!  This will only allow for great things to come my way!

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Adventures

Just the other day I was sharing with a co worker that I felt that like I had no entrepreneurial spirit and that I had no ideas about starting a business of my own.  A few days later I was looking at the statistics from this blog and the proverbial light bulb clicked on.  I started this blog back in January as a way to get all the negative feelings and thoughts I was having in early sobriety.  By early June there were right around 1000 hits on the blog and had received very little feedback.  It took me a minute to realize that by early October I had over 6000 hits and the Facebook page I had set up to represent the blog was growing at slow but steady pace daily.  By now I have received several messages from complete strangers about how they enjoy my writing and found it motivational and inspirational.  I figured to myself, maybe now is the time to go after that life long goal of being a story teller and finding a way to make a carrier out of it. This week I have made some investigative phone calls and have done a little research into this world of sober story telling and just as I thought there is money to be made here.  And after looking at some of my competitors sites and content I feel quite confident in my abilities as a writer to be able to compete with some of the sites that are coming up in the top ten results in Google in the recovery writing realm.  So as of today I have a name for my LLC that will be filed for one week from tomorrow.  I have to wait till payday of course.  I have research being done for three new domain names as well as a new logo and a new website on the very near horizon.  This could not have come at a better time, seeing that I am taking a trip to the orthopaedic specialist for a knee injury from playing soccer and I the fact that I could possibly be loosing my job.  I have a great friend of mine that has a knack for making big money in the Internet world and he believes that I could have a hit on my hands.  So between his ideas and the response I have received from all of you it is just enough for me to put forth the effort to becoming a business owner for what I thought was the first time, but I do remember a little thing that I was a part of last year involving the music business of Colfax Avenue in Denver.  Unfortunately I was too far into my disease to see that through to the end but there were small victories and a lot of fun and money raised for good causes.  I am sure a few of you got to witness some of the Colfax Radio collaborations.

With all this being said tonight I am truly grateful  and excited to be on a new path having no idea where it will lead and yet today I do not fear it one bit.  This is all due to this new way of life that I have found in sobriety and having faith in a higher power of my understanding.  As long as I stay sober and commit myself to doing the next right thing, stay in the now, and continue to help fellow drug addicts and alcoholics the coveted 9th step promises will continue go come true.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you that have followed me on this path.  If you continue reading I will continue writing.  Shit I will still write even if y'all don't but I hope you do!

Thank you and God Bless

Now Ronnie Van Zant wasn't from Alabama, he was
From Florida He was a huge Neil Young fan
But in the tradition of Merle Haggard writin'
Okie from Muskogee to tell his dad's point of
View about the hippies 'n Vietnam, Ronnie felt
That the other side of the story should be told.

From "The Three Great Alabama Icons" as written by Earl Hicks and Brad Morgan

Monday, October 15, 2012

For Those That Mean It

As I sit here tonight listening to the new Patterson Hood album reflecting on the events of the day, I have to admit that I am full of several different emotions.    I will preface what I am going to say next with this will be the last time I will share about this subject.  I am making this a promise.  A promise to myself, to her, to my readers and to God.  Today I received an email.  And in that email was the truth.  The truth that after two years she never did love me and that she used me, and that she never wants to see me again...  I will take the advice a friend of mine gave me today.  Take it for exactly what it is.  Well I will let you imagine what the rest of the email said but that is the jist of it.  But instead of going on a huge negative bit about it I am going to celebrate.  I want to celebrate the people that have never lied to me with those three deadly little words.  Tonight I want to show joy, gratitude, and the unmeasurable amount of love to the people that do truly love me.  They love me without the expectations of getting some thing in return.  True selfless love is something I truly admire and hope for in my own life.  To give and to receive that kind of love means to me that I have finally made it home.  So to all my friends Pete, Jake, Emily, Geoffrey, Brian, Aaron and Annie,Jason F, Janice and Rusty, my parents, Corrin and Craig, Tiffany, Tony.  Tonight I celebrate the love you give me,  It is honest,strong and even curt sometimes.  I would expect nothing less.  This is what it is.  Also in this celebration I will promise to her and to all of you that I will never let a woman believe that I truly love her when I really dont.  That is a deception that is too hard to forgive.  Never will I use those words without complete honesty or for ill gets.  So like I have said many times before.  Please say it and mean it.  Or get out if you dont and dont look back.  For those of you that do have it and do mean it. Remember it is your actions that will make them believe the words I Love You.  Celebrate all the love that you have.  It is a beautiful thing to be shared and rejoiced.  For there are some that will never know what reciprocated love really feels like.

To all of you that I mentioned I LOVE YOU EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!  I hope I will put forward the actions to prove it!

After the damage you've done
How can you leave me now

Patterson Hood

Better Off Without

Better Off Without Lyrics

Patterson Hood

I'm better of without her holding me down
Driving me crazy when she's not around
Better off without pacing back and forth
Taste of ocean water leaves me wanting more
And if salt is what she craves why am I bitter
She's so sweet it rots my teeth
Every time I kiss her
And I'm better off in 50 ways
Why do I still miss her
Misty eye'd and tossed about
Thinking about things I'm better off without
Thinking about things I'm better off without

Guess I'm better off without all she was about
Her village swing so violently
It's tough to stand my ground
So tough to stand around pacing back and forth
Lonely is to wake alone at 4 in the morning
While she's off to better things
Better off without me
I would only hold her down until she'll stop frightening
My skin is underneath her nails since she came on bound
Guess it's too late to turn around
Thinking about things I'm better off without
Thinking about things I'm better off without
Thinking about things I'm better off without

Friday, October 12, 2012

After the Damage

Soon as I saw you standing there as incomplete
I felt the world slip from under my feet
I felt the world come crashing on me
You could've warned me about my defeat
I paid my attentions paid all my fines
For the sake of adventure losing my mind

'Cause I nedded somebody to make me a mess
Get me up in the morning and get me undressed
Make sure all my sport coats are clean and well pressed
Make sure my short cummings are adequately adressed
You made me a sandwich and help me unwand
I left you damage to out of your mind
You're as good as good as good can be
And I never thought it would happen to me

How can you leave me now
After the baggage and babies
After the damage I've done
After the life that you made me
After the damage you've done
How can you leave me now
After the damage you've done
I'll figure it out somehow
How can you leave me now

How can you leave me now
After the baggage and babies
After the damage I've done
After the life that you made me
After the damage you've done
How can you leave me now
After the damage you've done
How can you leave me now

Patterson Hood

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

List of things I Deserve

This is some homework that was suppose to be done a few weeks ago, and my procrastination of the assignment only makes me think that it is something I might be having a hard time with.  Believe that, a drug addict and alcoholic having a hard time with self worth.  Well it is a very good question.  What do I deserve?  There are those folks in AA that believe that we deserve nothing. Human beings are entitled to nothing. Well one of the best things about AA is I can take what I need and leave the rest.  What are the chances that I will hear some bullshit in a room full of drunks right.  Anyways I do believe that I deserve certain things in life.  Now this is not an extravagant list by any means.  But there are somethings that are necessary in my life. 
     Happiness is the first thing I deserve.  Now this is not something, like most of the things on my list, that does not come with out some work.  The opportunity for myself to be happy comes from a few things.  The first is staying sober.  I know I will never be happy if I go back to the drugs and the booze.  I also have to learn.  It is only through wisdom that I can protect myself from the people, places, and things that are bad for me and that directly affect my happiness. Happiness is really the umbrealla for which everything else falls under.  I deserve to have someone in my life.  A partner if you will.  We as human beings need other people in our lives for our survival.  And after all what is a life with out a partner to push you, to love you, to support you, to make love to you, and the list goes on and on.  The partner umbrella has quite a few things under it. Things I have mentioned before such as honesty, and loyalty, patience, and compassion.   These are things that I deserve not only out of a partner but out of all the people in my life.  And I deserve to give it back as well.  Surely if I am not loving, kind, and patient, then I do not deserve these traits from anyone much less a partner. So for the most part I should be in pretty good shape in this department.  Last, but not least, I deserve peace.  Peace in my mind, peace in my body, and peace all around me.  This falls under both of the before mentioned.  This will come from doing what I need to do for myself and others, consistently looking inward for self improvement, learning when to let go and let God, forgiveness of myself, and acceptance of everything.  This list of tasks is never complete.  It is one of constant and persistent work.  As long as I continue on this path, I will get what I deserve.



I am thinking about a lot today.  After reading the daily meditation about Payoffs from Destructive Relationships and the conversation I had with my friends last night I have reached a bit more clarity.  It is time to put myself back out there and start dating again.  It is time to be open to someone that is honest, kind, loyal, and fun.  Here lies a few big questions.  First, where does one meet a sober, not so crazy, smart, attractive, outdoor and rock n roll loving woman over the age of thirty?  Second, how akward will those first moments be with out a cocktail in my hand?  Lots to learn here...  The last relationship I had was full to the brim with Vodka and Cocaine on both ends.  So approaching the subject sober will be a huge change.  Now  I am going to toss this concept out there that is so so taboo in the rooms...  Sex and intimacy.  Oh the joys of relearning how to live life with a clear mind and heart.  Ulimately it comes to being open minded and willing to allow new postive people into my life and to stay on the tracks heading forward.  Which is impossible if I continue to look back.  So the Payoffs are standing on my own two feet, being open to someone much better suited for me, and having the confidence in my self and my accomplishments.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go
Payoffs from Destructive Relationships

Sometimes it helps to understand that we may be receiving a payoff from relationships that cause us distress.

The relationship may be feeding into our helplessness or our martyr role.

Maybe the relationships feeds our need to be needed, enhancing our self-esteem by allowing us to feel in control or morally superior to the other person.

Some of us feel alleviated from financial or other kinds of responsibility by staying in a particular relationship.

"My father sexually abused me when I was a child," said one woman. "I went on to spend the next twenty years blackmailing him emotionally and financially on this. I could get money from him whenever I wanted, and I never had to take financial responsibility for myself."

Realizing that we may have gotten a codependent payoff from a relationship is not a cause for shame. It means we are searching out the blocks in ourselves that may be stopping our growth.

We can take responsibility for the part we may have played in keeping ourselves victimized. When we are willing to look honestly and fearlessly at the payoff and let it go, we will find the healing we've been seeking. We'll also be ready to receive the positive, healthy payoffs available in relationships, the payoffs we really want and need.

Today, I will be open to looking at the payoffs I may have received from staying in unhealthy relationships, or from keeping destructive systems operating. I will become ready to let go of my need to stay in unhealthy systems; I am ready to face myself.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


These cities blur before me, a swirl of colors leaned against the sky
Gone so far away and I never really told you good bye
I know it's kind of lame but sometimes things just turn out that way
We were the best of friends and I'll always remember you that way

We started out with nothing, but wild plans and big ideas and dreams
You were quick to swing the hammer and always fast with some ingenious scheme
Sometimes we argued violently but forged it out of bedrock into steel
Our foundations were so solid and our instincts based on something very real
I feel so damned nostalgic every time I think about those times
I forget how it became that I wouldn't recognize you on the line
I start to feel so guilty but goddamn it I swear to you I tried
To bridge between the distances before I left without saying good-bye

I have friends I met last weekend and friends I've had since I was eight
Friends I've said goodbye to and friends who unexpectedly passed away
And nothing is disposable; at least it's never been that way for me
Its not like you were an acquaintance that I could say never really meant anything to me
No we were really great friends and I always thought that it would be that way
Yet I wonder if I'd know you if the guy that I saw last walked in here today
And I swear until I die, I never would have expected you and I
To grow so far apart and leave without ever saying good bye

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers (April 14, 2005 - Ft. Collins CO, back of bus) © Soul Dump Music (BMI)
Wurlitzer Electric Piano - Jason Isbell / Gtr Solo - Mike Cooley



   Tuesday, October 9, 2012
You are reading from the book Each Day a New Beginning
When all of the remedies and all of the rhetorical armor have been dropped, the absence of love in our lives is what makes them seem raw and unfinished.
—Ingrid Bengis

Love soothes, encourages, inspires. It enhances our wholeness, both when we give it and when we receive it. Without the expression of love we are severed from our family and friends. It's the bond that strengthens each of us, giving us the courage to tackle what's lying ahead.

We need not wait for someone else's expression of love before giving it. Loving must be unconditional. And when it is, it will be returned tenfold. Loving attracts itself, and it will heal us, soften the hard edges of our lives, and open us up to receive the blessings that others' gratitude will foster.

It's such a simple thing asked of us - to love one another. Unconditional love of our sisters, our lovers, and our children breaks down the barriers to our achievements and theirs. Loving frees us to enjoy life. It energizes us and makes all goals attainable. We carry God's message through our love of one another.

I am charged with only one responsibility today: to love someone, dearly and wholly.

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey© 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. Published 1982. Second edition 1991.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012
You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go

Learning to gently reveal who we are is how we open ourselves up to love and intimacy in our relationships.

Many of us have hidden under a protective shell, a casing that prevents others from seeing or hurting us. We do not want to be that vulnerable. We do not want to expose our thoughts, feelings, fears, weaknesses, and sometimes our strengths, to others.

We do not want others to see who we really are.

We may be afraid they might judge us, go away, or not like us. We may be uncertain that who we are is okay or exactly how we should reveal ourselves to others.

Being vulnerable can be frightening, especially if we have lived with people who abused, mistreated, manipulated, or did not appreciate us.

Little by little, we learn to take the risk of revealing ourselves. We disclose the real person within to others. We pick safe people, and we begin to disclose bits and pieces about ourselves.

Sometimes, out of fear, we may withhold, thinking that will help the relationship or will help others like us more. That is an illusion. Withholding who we are does not help the other person, the relationship, or us. Withholding is behavior that backfires. For true intimacy and closeness to exist, for us to love ourselves and be content in a relationship, we need to disclose who we are.

That does not mean we tell all to everyone at once. That can be a self-defeating behavior too. We can learn to trust ourselves, about who to tell, when to tell, where to tell, and how much to tell.

To trust that people will love and like us if we are exactly who we are is frightening. But it is the only way we can achieve what we want in relationships. To let go of our need to control others - their opinions, their feelings about us, or the course of the relationship - is the key.

Gently, like a flower, we can learn to open up. Like a flower, we will do that when the sun shines and there is warmth.

Today, I will begin to take the risk of disclosing who I am to someone with whom I feel safe. I will let go of some of my protective devices and risk being vulnerable - even though I may have been taught differently, even though I may have taught myself differently. I will disclose who I am in a way that reflects self-responsibility, self-love, directness, and honesty. God, help me let go of my fears about disclosing who I am to people. Help me accept who I am, and help me let go of my need to be who people want me to be.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher

Monday, October 8, 2012

More Wow!

Monday, October 8, 2012
You are reading from the book Today's Gift
Learn what you are and be such.

The most precious gift we can give those closest to us is honesty. Yet we often hide our true selves from friends, fearing we won't be accepted or loved if we let them see the real us. Often, we show parts of ourselves that hide who we really are. We have often heard ourselves or others say, "My parents would just die if . . . ," or, "don't argue in front of the children."

If we hide too much behind false images, we run the risk of losing track of what is real and what is false. We become actors instead of real people, trying to please Aunt Jane, our grandparents, our big brother, or our children.

When we conquer our fear of letting others in, we are able to see ourselves honestly. When we discover that others accept us as we are, we can accept and love ourselves. To know oneself is to know a person of value.

What part of me have I been hiding?
From Today's Gift: Daily Meditations for Families ©1985, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher.


Monday, October 8, 2012
You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go
Learning to Wait

I've started to realize that waiting is an art, that waiting achieves things. Waiting can be very, very powerful. Time is a valuable thing. If you can wait two years, you can sometimes achieve something that you could not achieve today, however hard you worked, however much money you threw up in the air, however many times you banged your head against the wall. . .
—The Courage to Change by Dennis Wholey

The people who are most successful at living and loving are those who can learn to wait successfully. Not many people enjoy waiting or learning patience. Yet, waiting can be a powerful tool that will help us accomplish much good.

We cannot always have what we want when we want it. For different reasons, what we want to do, have, be, or accomplish is not available to us now. But there are things we could not do or have today, no matter what, that we can have in the future. Today, we would make ourselves crazy trying to accomplish what will come naturally and with ease later.

We can trust that all is on schedule. Waiting time is not wasted time. Something is being worked out - in us, in someone else, in the Universe.

We don't have to put our life on hold while we wait. We can direct our attention elsewhere; we can practice acceptance and gratitude in the interim; we can trust that we do have a life to live while we are waiting - then we go about living it.

Deal with your frustration and impatience, but learn how to wait. The old saying, "You can't always get what you want" isn't entirely true. Often, in life, we can get what we want - especially the desires of our heart - if we can learn to wait.

Today, I am willing to learn the art of patience. If I am feeling powerless because I am waiting for something to happen and I am not in control of timing, I will focus on the power available to me by learning to wait.
From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Perfect for Me Today

Sunday, October 7, 2012

You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go
Letting Go of Naivete

We can be loving, trusting people and still not allow ourselves to be used or abused. We don't have to let people do whatever they want to us. Not all requests are legitimate! Not all requests require a yes!

Life may test us. People may seek out our weak spots. We may see a common denominator to the limits that are being tested in our life. If we have a weak spot in one area, we may find ourselves tested repeatedly in that area by family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Life, people, our Higher Power, and the universe may be trying to teach us something specific.

When we learn that lesson, we will find that problems with that area dwindle. The boundary has been set, the power has been owned. For now, the lesson has been learned. We may need to be angry with certain people for a while, people who have pushed our tolerance over the edge. That's okay. Soon, we can let go of the anger and exchange it for gratitude. These people have been here to help us learn about what we don't want, what we won't tolerate, and how to own our power.

We can thank them for what we have learned.

How much are we willing to tolerate? How far shall we let others go with us? How much of our anger and intuition shall we discount? Where are our limits? Do we have any? If we don't, we're in trouble.

There are times to not trust others, but instead trust ourselves and set boundaries with those around us.

Today, I will be open to new awareness about the areas where I need healthier boundaries. I will forego my naive assumption that the other person is always right. I will exchange that view for trusting myself, listening to myself, and having and setting healthy boundaries.

Words that get me through!

Once upon a time, my advice to you would have been go out and find yourself a whore
But I guess I've grown up, because I don't give that kind of advice anymore

Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt

I was 27 when I figured out that blowing my brains wasn't the answer
So I decided, maybe I should find a way to make this world work out for me
And my good friend Paul was 83 when he told me; that "To love is to feel pain"
And I thought about that then and I've thought about that again and again

Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt

"To love is to feel pain" there ain't no way around it
The very nature of love is to grieve when it is over
The secret to a happy ending is knowing when to roll the credits
Better role them now before something else goes wrong
No, it's a wonderful world, if you can put aside the sadness
And hang on to every ounce of beauty upon you
Better take the time to know it there ain't no way around it
If you feel anything at all

Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt

So if what you have is working for you, or you think that it can stand a reasonable chance, and whatever's broken seems fixable and nothing's beyond repair
If you still think about each other and smile before you remember how screwed up it's gotten or maybe dream of a time less rotten
Remember, it ain't too late to take a deep breath and throw yourself into it with everything you got

It's great to be alive

Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt

 Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers (In studio 11PM, June 16, 2005) © Soul Dump Music (BMI)
Pedal Steel Guitar - John Neff / Wurlitzer Electric Piano - Jason Isbell / Lead Guitar - Mike Cooley

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

You are reading from the book Touchstones
Forgiveness is another word for letting go.
  —Matthew Fox

Learning forgiveness - both granting it to others and accepting it for ourselves - is one of the primary means of a man's spiritual recovery. Many of us, after entering this program, are plagued with strong feelings of guilt. We have finally become accountable, and we see our lives in a new perspective. We long for a chance to undo our mistakes. Many men carry guilt for years as if they deserved to be punished. Our recovery program tells us to let go.

Simply going through the motions of forgiving or accepting forgiveness will not get us very far. We must squarely face our feelings and tell someone so we are no longer alone with our guilt. Then, if there is the possibility for repair without further hurt, we must make repair. In this concrete way we can be genuinely forgiven and fully accept forgiveness. When a man has a spiritual experience like this, he matures and gains the ability to forgive others.

I am grateful for the relief of being forgiven and letting go of past mistakes. I will genuinely let go of my guilt and resentment.

Monday, October 1, 2012


In AA the fourth step is to get down on paper, honestly, all the people I was mad at, all the people I have hurt, all of my sex relations and what was my part in all of it.  What did I fear and how could I have handled all of it differently.  Well at least that is how my sponsor had me work the step. Well it has been a few months now since I have worked my first fourth step and tonight at a meeting I finally realized that relationships and how I let them affect me play the biggest role in my disease...  Sure, I knew the specific issues I put on my fourth step and the affect they had on me, but tonight I am able to see the big picture.  The topic of the meeting I went to tonight was on complacency.  And even though I feel like I am far from a drink or a drug tonight, I cannot become complacent in my self examination, and the examination of current and future relationships so I keep that distance.  My emotional sobriety depends on this as well.  I have learned that I have to accept others for who they are, but that in no way means that I have to continue to allow them to take up space in my life.  It occurred to me tonight, that keeping my side of the street clean may entail stepping back from people that may be harmful for me.  And they can be harmful in many aspects.  There expectations of me, and mine of them... And when the reasonable ones are not met, where do I draw the line.  I know I have said this before, but I have to agree with my sponsor, there are healthy and reasonable expectations in relationships with friends, family, and significant others. So what happens when those expectations on either end are not met.  Well some people such as family are harder if not impossible to let go of.  Others are much simpler, not easier, to walk away from.  So tonight I have clarity in seeing that I cannot be complacent on who and what I allow into my life.  Today my relationships must be a two way street.  I can no longer be the here when you want me guy. I can no longer compromise my dignity and self respect for relationships that work on your terms and not our terms.  And sure it is not all about me, but relationships are a give and take.  And the longer I allow them to be on a one way street the further I am from maintaining truly healthy and meaningful relationships.  Ultimately, to me, this is part of why I got sober in the first place.  To have those meaningful, honest, relationships that are full of joy and happiness.  Progress not perfection!

 With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
I still had two strong legs, and even wings to fly.

Gregg Allman

Monday, October 1, 2012

   You are reading from the book The Language of Letting Go
Be Who You Are

In recovery; we're learning a new behavior. It's called Be Who You Are.

For some of us, this can be frightening. What would happen if we felt what we felt, said what we wanted, became firm about our beliefs, and valued what we needed? What would happen if we let go of our camouflage of adaptation? What would happen if we owned our power to be ourselves?

Would people still like us? Would they go away? Would they become angry?

There comes a time when we become willing and ready to take that risk. To continue growing, and living with ourselves, we realize we must liberate ourselves. It becomes time to stop allowing ourselves to be so controlled by others and their expectations and be true to ourselves - regardless of the reaction of others.

Before long, we begin to understand. Some people may go away, but the relationship would have ended anyway. Some people stay and love and respect us more for taking the risk of being whom we are. We begin to achieve intimacy, and relationships that work.

We discover that who we are has always been good enough. It is who we were intended to be.

Today, I will own my power to be myself.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Isn't It Ironic

Not to be cliche but I was flipping through the channels on the radio on my way home tonight and caught half of Alanis Morissette's Isn't It Ironic.  It took me right back to an easier time, 1994 or 1995 maybe.  The memories of those years are a nothing but a flash now but as I listened to the words of that song I laughed to myself.  Despite how poppy and top 40 it might be some of those lyrics are very true in my life today.  I wont go into all the places my mind wandered in those few minutes but the line about the good advice you just didnt take resonated loud with me.  In that brief moment all the advice from all the people that I should have listened to zipped through my head almost as if it was on a movie screen.  A lot of that advice would have kept me out of the place that I am in now.  Stay away from drugs and alcohol, dont smoke cigarettes, save your money, and make good grades in school are just a few that I thought of while I sat at the red light in the rain.  Well if you have not figured out by now, I did not listen to any of that good advice.  I did things how I wanted to do them.  And here we are 38, in recovery, living at my parents house in my home town, learning how to live life again, the right way.  Now I dont feel bad about how I got here, and for the most part I dont feel bad about being here.  Sure some days are easier to swallow than others.  But I am proud to be in recovery.  I am happy to say that for the last 11 months I have taken MOST of the advice of the people around me.  Minus one big decision.  And today I am still sober.  Today, I have money in my pocket.  Today I can feel and be trusted.  Today I will do what I say I am going to do. Today I am on the track to being the man I am capable of being simply from realizing that my plan sucks and that there is a much better way to live.  It is funny, reflecting on the weekend, I have finally achieved the life that I once dreamed about.  A NORMAL life.  A life full of things that normal people do.  Lets see, I took it easy Friday, spent Saturday with the family and went to a fundraiser for the church camp my sister and I went to as children.  Met up with an old friend and scored two goals in a soccer game on Sunday.  I am having a huge deja vu moment as I reread those words and think back to the day after Thanksgiving last year and remember telling someone how much I longed for a normal life.  And now its here, and I can only thank God and the program of Alcoholic Anonymous for it!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Carrying the Message

So over the last week I have been looking at new ways to build my readership.  Especially free ones.  I have been looking at different discussion forums and such where like minded people might dwell...  I use to frequent the Widespread Panic discussion forum quite a bit so I figured this too would be a great place to test the waters.  I know there are a good bit of sober Panic fans so why not.  Well despite all the bashing I have taken over sharing about my sobriety in a heavily drug influenced arena, I have received several positive messages from complete strangers.  All of them we very appreciative of me telling my story and were surprisingly supportive.  All of them encouraged me to keep writing and to a few my words were inspirational.  Ill be honest it choked me up a bit today.

  I also had another person reach out to me on Facebook, a complete stranger, who found me through my blog.  It turns out we have mutual friends in Asheville.   All of which is too funny for more than one reason.   Anyways, he shared that he is newley in recovery.  This just proved to me that what I share here is exactly what I need to be doing.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to be of ANY service through my writing and maybe, just maybe, I can help someone to stop digging their hole at the bottom. 

So tonight this is my gratitude list.  Thank you all who have reached out to me in the last few days with your kind words...  You have helped me get through another 24 hours without a drink or a drug.  The love I received today from you is exactly what I needed. 

Thank you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Its funny how easy I can slip into that negative place despite everything I have learned over the past year.  Slowly but surely I am coming out of that black hole once again and something happened tonight that made me decide to do a gratitude post every night.  Do I have everything I want in life?  No, but I do have some pretty amazing things...  Tonight I got to spend some time talking with a new friend that shared his experiences that made me realize that things will be ok. I am looking froward to seeing this relationship grow.  Today I also had the wonderful experience of seeing the light come back on in a fellow alcoholic...  And it is only through service work was I able to see this change and it quickly got me out of that place in my head where I did not need to be, just like it is suggested in the big book.  Tonight I am also grateful for another friend.  A friend that is always willing to listen.  A friend that always calls me on my bullshit.  A friend that knows how to make me feel important with just a few kind words and a sweet smile.  You know who you are and I am glad you are in my life!  I cannot do this without you!

Thank you God for keeping me sober another 24 hours and the many blessing you have bestowed upon me. 

Searching with my Good Eye Closed

Painted blue across my eyes And tie the linen on And I'm on my way, on my way Looking for the paradigm So I can pass it off Is it on my side, on my side
Is it to the sky, is it to the sky Looking to the sky and down Searching for a ground With my good eye closed
If I took you for a ride Would you take it wrong Or would you make it right, make it right Looking for a pedestal That I can put you on And be on my way, on my way
Is it to the sky, is it to the sky Looking to the sky and down Searching for a ground With my good eye closed
With my good eye closed With my good eye closed With my good eye closed With my good eye closed With my good eye closed With my good eye closed
Stop you're trying to bruise my mind I can do it on my own Stop you're trying to kill my time It's been my death since I was born I don't remember half the time If I'm hiding or I'm lost But I'm on my way, on my way
Is it to the sky, is it to the sky Is it to the sky, is it to the sky I'm on my way, on my way On my way, on my way I'm on my way, on my way Is it to the sky, is it to the sky I'm on my way, on my way Is it to the sky, is it to the sky

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Tonight I will try to remain positive.  Tonight I will believe in the changes others can see in me
even if I cannot see them my self.  Tonight I will have hope that things will get better.  Tonight I will believe that my God will take care of me.  Tonight I will love myself because I am worthy.  Tonight I will progress on changing my thinking.  Tonight I will forgive myself and those I am mad at.  Tonight I will lay still and no peace.  Tonight I will go to sleep grateful knowing I mad it another 24 hours with out drugs and alcohol.  Tonight I will thank God for so many blessings.  Tonight I will ask God for his will not mine.  Tonight I will believe that God is doing for me what I could not do for my self!
Tonight in this moment I have everything I need...  All by the grace of God!

Good night.  Love hard, appreciate them, be grateful and pray!

Monday, September 24, 2012


I went to a men’s meeting tonight and the topic was humility.  From what I have learned over the last 11 months, I am not alone in my struggle to find humility.  Without humility I will be as I understand it I will be unable to stay sober and I cannot by truly honest.  In order to be truly humble I have to remember that I am powerless and to constantly work on my conscience contact with my higher power... It is in his will, not mine will I obtain the ever elusive humility… 
                Tonight, feeling bad both physically and emotionally I have a lot to put into words about my lack of humility and my need to be honest.  There are so many questions that I have on this quest I am on to becoming a better person.  Do I need to yell yet again from the mountain top that I am a raging drug addict and alcoholic that lied, cheated and stole my way through twenty years?  I AM powerless over drugs and alcohol, and people too.  Maybe this just needs to be a reexamining of my character defects.  Just because I am sober now does not mean that I am no longer selfish, self-seeking, arrogant, and as much as I hate to admit it full of fear, doubt and guilt.  Tonight, I am full of resentment and lack the grace of forgiveness and my prayers consist of two things.  God help me, and please give her all that she wants in needs in life…    I know this is turning into just one big stream of feelings and thoughts and bullshit but tonight it is all I have.  Tonight all I can do is humbly ask God to remove afore mentioned defects of character and to ask for the open mindedness and willingness to let go and forgive.  I no longer have the relief of escapism through serious mind altering substances, but I do have the ability to be honest and get out the emotions I am feeling… Yes, I do want things to be different.  Yes, I am having a hard time accepting things as they are.  But today, I don’t have to get wasted over them.  As I rapidly approach that anniversary of that night that finally brought me to my knees last November, the memory has been replaying over and over in my head.  Hitting the bottom that night and feeling so desperate.  Looking into the eyes of someone I loved so much and realizing the hell I was living in while I was escorted out by the cops.  That is a memory I have to keep fresh.  I do not ever want to go there again.  SO maybe tonight being sober has to be enough.  I’m not sure any of this makes sense.  Caffeine, steroids, antibiotics and some other medicine I cannot pronounce I have done a number on me tonight….  With that said, I am going to bed.  I have to believe that the longer I am sober the better things will get!