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!