Monday, November 16, 2009

Getting Too Close To The Source

Something inside me tells me to live dangerously. What is that? Do I like to be in danger? Do I like problems? Am I addicted to drama? I am beginning to think that I need to take better care of myself....again? Before I turn this into a self- bashing session I need to recognize a few of my achievements. First of those being that I have eight months of consecutive sobriety today. Second, that I talked with a complete stranger last night about a job he could get if he really wanted to. The man was talking in a meeting about not having a job and he was afraid of becoming homeless so i went up to him after the meeting and said of knew of a place that was hiring for sure. Then I realized why he was having such a hard time with finding a job. He wasn't the sanest man I have ever met, but he was also not the most insane. One year ago today I still hadn't ran my 2007 into the ground on my way to meet my illusive dope dealer. And third, I was at work last week and was in a really good mood. I saw a roach on the ground and decided that I didn't want a customer to see it. I also didn't want to kill the little guy and actually felt compassion for him/her. So I scooped him or her up in a piece of register tape and proceeded to carry the little guy/gal outside.

I can do some good in this world no matter how small it seems at the time. Now what was the original topic of this blog?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Please Boycott Kanye West

Really? Did he really do that? His behavior is leading me to believe that he is on way more drugs than he needs to be. Did he add crack cocaine to the list of drugs he is currently on? This is an outrage and I hope he loses even more sponsors for opening his big mouth this time. I can understand why he said what he did about George Bush, but Taylor Swift didn't deserve this. I don't listen to her music but I think I am going to start.

I am sending "The College Dropout" and "Late Registration" back to his record label. I don't even care about the money I wasted on him. What I do care about is the time and energy I wasted listening to his rubbish. Apparently he is a racist and finally showed his true colors on national television. I know he has the right to exercise free speech, but some things need to be left unsaid. Kanye West, if you are reading this, I want you to know that I was a fan. I was a supporter of yours, even though I am white and you probably don't even like me because of the color of my skin. Please understand that I am not a racist, even if you are. And I don't put up or tolerate your hate. I wish many more people would send your cd's back to you. You don't deserve our attention. I pray for you Kanye. For God to lift the hate from your heart, and for him to lift you up in his grace.

God Bless You All.....even Kanye West.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Blog Counter

I just noticed that my blog counter is at like 11,900 views. I don't really know what that means. A couple days ago it was only at 200. Why did it jump up to this number? If anyone knows why it is so please let me know.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Am I Doing Enough

Sometimes I sit here and wonder if I am doing enough in my life. Sometimes I doubt I am truly living the way my higher power wants me to. Sometimes I even doubt if I should stay sober. A voice inside my head was telling me horrible things yesterday. Things like, "You are a loser", and "Nobody really likes you, they just feel sorry for you", and "You will never succeed". What do you say to that?

I have been a good friend of Bill W.'s for 5 months 1 week and I still get weirded out by some of the things people do. Try not to take their inventory Chris! I did my 6th step last Sunday with my sponsor just before a speaker meeting that I chair. It was nice but we didn't leave enough time to do my 7th step. That is my higher power telling me that I need to spend more time on it.

I like the saying, "If you aren't working on your recovery, you are working on your relapse." That rings true for me. If someone asks you what step you are on and you have to think about it then you should probably check yourself. It is really easy to become complacent.

In reality, I am doing a lot. My brain doesn’t always recognize my efforts and that little voice speaks to me so loud, almost like it has a mega-phone right to my inner ear. I choose not to listen all the time but every now and then it is a struggle. I took a nice ride on the pink cloud but eventually had to come down and do the work. They call where I am at, ‘The Wall’. When you hit the wall it is important to have strong recovery, strong ‘mooring lines’ so you don’t let yourself drift away. My ‘mooring lines’ are: service work, steps, daily meetings, my higher power, reading, doing things even when I don’t want to, and the Fellowship.

They say we are granted a daily reprieve from the obsession to drink/drug. Just as long as I do the work……daily!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Update

I took this picture the other day so I could use it for an avatar on an on-line recovery site. A couple weeks ago I was looking through some old pictures and found one that I took of myself when I hadn't slept in three or fours day. It shocked me to see myself look so destroyed. My face was gray and my eyes were lifeless. I looked like a zombie. During that time I was serving in the Marine Corps and finally understand why my career came to an end. The last thing my Staff Sergeant told me was to do something with my life. I shook his hand and said something like, don't worry about me staff sergeant...I will be just fine. Boy was I in for a treat.

Today when someone asks how I am doing I don't say I am fine because we all know what that really means. Today I answer with, I am doing great or I am just amazed at how good life can be when you work on it.

May God bless all of you, my dearest friends.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dealing With Negative Personalities

What do you do when there is someone in your life that tries to bring you down to their level every chance they get? Do you play into their negativity or do you rise above?

I am dealing with life on life's terms these days. My happiness is contingent on my sobriety and my ability to work on my disease of addiction. If life is lacking then it most certainly has to do with something I am putting off or avoiding. This time around I have jumped into the program with vigor or as they say, jumped into the middle of the boat. The issues I deal with on a daily basis are much easier to process now that they don't involve using and/or drinking. Many problems came out of that lifestyle. Many triumphs are coming out of this sober lifestyle. Many friendships, insights, spiritual moments, quiet moments, happy and sad moments, and genuine life moments are streaming through my soul today. I am touched by the little things and don't take my life or my blessings for granted. I am sober by God's grace and love. And my side of the street is clean and is in a constant flux of repair and change.

As hard as I work on my spiritual connection, the wind is taken from my sail time and again. I have always had to deal with people trying to put my light out, it has been happening since I was a child. Why do they have to bring me down? Why is it so important for them to make me feel like they do? Trust me; I used to feel worse than you did. If someone was in high spirits I would do things to bring them back down to earth. Nasty things. Things I wouldn't want done to me today. Things I don't accept any longer in my life. I treat people how I want to be treated. My grandfather, may you rest in peace, taught me that proverb when I was just old enough to remember. It is a simple lesson and works when you work it.

If someone steps over my boundaries, I try to let them know about it. I talk to them in a nice way, instead of getting violent and violating their space. I explain that they are only hurting themselves by extending hatred and resentment my way. When I get mean looks, just got one this morning at my home-group, I just smile back at them and give them a little nod. Just letting them know that it really doesn't affect me the way they want it to. I decide who gets to make me feel happy or sad. I have control and power over the way I feel, thank God. Can you imagine if other people could control how you felt? I don't think any of us would have gotten sober.

In reading this, I hope you learned that you decide how you feel and nobody else. We are all children of God, or the Universe and we are one. Have a blessed life and a blessed sober day!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sharing is Caring

On June 14th I will be celebrating my 90th day of consecutive sobriety. To me this is no small feat. If you aren't familiar with the world of 12-step recovery this might sound like no big deal. When I hear non-addicts/alcoholics utter doubtful phrases like, "What is so special about a sobriety date anyways", or "why can't you just stop on your own", or "do you still need to goto thosemeetings", my heart sinks a little. The wind is temporary taken from my sail. I force myself to be reminded that not everyone has the same self-awareness and perception as I strive to possess. To be patient and to not be so quick to judge or anger.

"What is so special about a sobriety date anyways?" To this I would say, it's special for many reasons. For too long I was trapped within the confines of my disease. It never let me out to truly see the blessings all around me. In the first month of my new sober life, everything was a struggle. My emotions were like a house of cards. If someone said one wrong thing to me I was either very angry or very sad. I would announce my days clean every single morning at my homegroup, and the people would say...keep coming back. I kept coming back and kept coming back. We celebrate sobriety because we celebrate life. Our achievements are so important because we have come so far and are not slaves to a chemical any longer. We are all walking miracles.

"Why can't you just stop on your own?" Just this morning at my 7:15am homegroup meeting, a woman that is new to the program had just announced to the group that she was changing her sobriety date to last weekend. She had relapsed on O'Douls, which technically has alcohol in it. I applaud her honesty. I talked to her before the meeting because I noticed that she was crying and asked what was wrong. She said that someone explained to her that she should admit that she had relapsed and get honest. She didn't like this too much at all. So she spoke up about her discomfort during our group discussion and explained that she was proud of the time she put together and that it was from her own self will. Her own self will! In my mind I automatically said the phrase, 'more will be revealed. It seemed to me that my own will got me in so much trouble and that it wasn't until I admitted defeat that I finally got sober. I remember the moment when I was ready to accept Gods will for me. I was sitting in my garage, dope sick and tired of it all, when I looked up and asked for His help. I pleaded with Him and said I was done running the show. I believe that he answered me that day and has every day since. Putting my trust in a Power greater than myself simplifies my life beautifully. If something is in my control to fix or do I don't hesitate to do it. I thought early on that God would take care of everything, but I actually had to do some of the work. Who would have thought;)

"Do I still need to goto those meetings?" The answer to that one is a big YES. This time around I was successful with doing 90 meetings in 90 days. And without having a car. If I had my own transportation I would have been able to do many more. My favorite homegroup, yes I have more than one, is filled with people that would give me the shirts off their backs. I have noticed that they keep showing up everyday, even after they have reached 20 years of living a joyous sober life. The old-timers have so much knowledge and wisdom, not just about sobriety but life in general. I am so fortunate to have these literal 'pearls of wisdom' in my life today. A man with 23 years has been a really good friend to me. Especially early on when I was so shy and didn't know if I should even be in the rooms. His kindness made me want to come back. His gentle and caring nature made me feel welcome when I felt as if I would break down and cry at the slightest suggestion. It is a pleasure to surround myself with people that love life and want to continue to learn and grow. If people only knew what Alcoholics Anonymous was really about; I think they would want to go.

If you could see me as I was just a year ago I think you would be amazed by my transformation. When I look through old photo albums that display my old self, I almost have to say the serenity prayer. I don't like seeing myself with lifeless eyes and gray colored skin. Sure it shows me how I've progressed but it's hard to believe that God gave all of this to me unconditonally. He loves everyone, no more no less.

I know we haven't met but that doesn't mean I don't care for you. Quite the opposite. You are the most important person in my life, the ones I haven't met. Have a blessed day and please be kind to all you meet.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

When will it be enough?

I follow closely to my own program and try to not take other people's inventories but something has been on my mind recently. About a month ago a young couple new to AA started going to meetings with me. One of them did some time at a treatment community I had mentioned in a previous blog titled, "Me Experience, Strength and Hope at West Central CF." They were nice enough to take me to a couple meetings and I really enjoyed getting to know them. They were engaged to be married and I thought this was all very positive. Then all of a sudden the girl started calling me and telling me how unhappy she has been with her future husband and how she wanted to call the whole thing off. She also let me know that she has been going out to bars and that she didn't think she had a drinking problem. I was shocked, to say the least. I thought they were committed to recovery. About a week later I was on her Facebook profile and I saw *recent pictures of them both at a bar, getting drunk....real good and drunk.

This saddens me. I perceived them differently than they really are. It saddens me because I thought they would be saving themselves from the pain and self-torture I endured from the continued drinking. I am about eight years older than them and like them I first started going to meetings at the young age of 22.

What lesson(s) is to be learned here? Should I be more careful about the people I allow in my life? Should I reach out my hand to help them? One thing that is clear is the need to pray for them both. The only thing they are going to find while drinking and drugging is pain and suffering. I thought they wanted to save themselves but it is their choice and it is their destiny to find this thing out for themselves.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

One Stop Blog

This is just an announcement that I am going to add a link to all my blogs that I've written in the past and posted to myspace. I want one place to have them all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Experience, Strength, and Hope at West Central CF.

Last night my eyes were opened. I requested to tag along with a couple guys from my home group to a prison facility named West Central Community Correctional Facility. It caters to men and woman. It is located in Marysville, Ohio, right of state highway 4. I have driven past that place at least a thousand times, on our way up to where my grandparents’ farm is. Every time we drive there and back I look at that place and wonder what it is like in there? Is there violence going on in there? And how the people are doing? So I had the privilege of taking the A.A. message to a prison facility and it was so worth it.

It was nothing like I expected. I had an image in my mind of a dark and cold room. Maybe an old prison library, like the one I was in. A small room that was very small and stuffy; with the smell of decaying books in the air. The people that I imagined to be incarcerated would all be black men. I am in no means a racist, so please don't get the wrong idea. You have to know that black Americans out number any other ethnic race behind bars. A meeting being observed correction officers, as they hovered in the background with their batons at the ready. Making it difficult for us AA’ers to concentrate on what was being said in the present. Just like they were when I was incarcerated. I am so happy to say it was nothing, NOTHING like that. It was in a large room, well lit and had nice plastic chairs that were comfortable. And to my surprise there were woman, as well as men. Some were my age, some were younger. There was only one black man, and he looked familiar. Many of the faces in that place looked familiar. I kept noticing the girls checking me out during the meeting. I don't think they had seen a man that had his shit together in a while. Or they were just feeling the prison blues. It was hard for me to see woman on visitation day, without staring too much. You don't get any physical contact while locked up so you get really horny.

They were all so very nice and respectful. They weren't wearing orange or blue jumpsuits either. They all had on a uniform, consisting of blue jeans and a blue button down shirt. The woman all had on gray sweaters. Probably to hide their features so the men wouldn't get too aroused. Name tags with their last names were attached to their collars. It was very structured. The prisoners responded in unison most of the time and all sat up erect in their chairs.

It really helped me to go last night. Not too long ago the circumstances were different. I was the one wearing the orange jumpsuit, looking at the guy who brought the meeting to me. Wishing and praying that someday I would be like that. I wanted to be a kind and giving person for a really long time. I just didn’t know how. I couldn’t imagine what I needed to do in order to help people. Well, I finally know how to help people. I help by not using drugs and alcohol. I help by showing people that if I can do it, then anyone can! I was in some serious trouble and thought I was going to die an addict in the grips of this soul snatching disease. I can’t live like that again. It is not who I want to be and it isn’t how I want people to see me. Last night really helped me to see where I would end up if I ever went back to using. I saw myself in their eyes and heard my voice speaking from their mouths. I heard the voice of my higher power and actively listened to what he had to say.

There is always hope for the sick and suffering addict. It is never too late to change your life. No longer do I wonder what my old acquaintances are doing. I know. They are doing the same thing they have always done. Addicts walking through this life like half dead zombies with their defenses and blinders up. Walking blind and not seeing the truth. Not seeing that this life is precious and not to be taken for granted. I am grateful that I no longer care for them either. They never really cared for me in the first place. The only thing that was on their mind was how I am going to get that next fix. Or how can I take advantage of this good person or that good person to get what I want. I once asked a friend of mine that I have known for years if he ever thought of quitting this shit and trying to get clean. He said no and that he never thinks about it! What? Never thinks about it. How can you not think about it? How can you like living like a slave to a substance? How can you like blowing veins? Or catching cases? Or seeing shadow people? Or being sick? Or killing your family? Or robbing, raping, being numb? Or how the f*** can you like the fact that you are killing yourself? I never liked fake people and I will continue to work on seeing past their flaws. I will continue to pray for my old friends. That they might see they can have a great life, filled with great people and experiences. Please, give yourself a break and if you already are then continue to. Have a blessed day and more importantly have a blessed life!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Just another Manic...Saturday?

Over the course of the week a few things have became absolutely clear in my mind. That I can't change people! That I can't control people's sobriety! And that it really only damages me in the process. I know that it is a selfish program, A.A., but I never before understood why it has to be that way. If I worry too much about how your addiction is taking control of your life, then I am not working on my own problems. Don't get me wrong, I reach out and help anyone that asks but I can't save or rescue anyone until they want it.

A good friend of mine from high school reached out to me yesterday and I took her to her first AA meeting in like five years. I was so proud to see her stand up and get her 24 hour coin. It brought a tear to my eye. Just to see her surrender really helped me not to drink that day. Thank you so much Katie!

So it's Saturday morning and I haven't had a drink or took a drug so far. I don't plan to use today and that is all that matters. I went to a wonderful morning anniversary meeting in a town near my house called Upper Arlington. It was packed with great people. People that care about themselves, and care about me. Never in my life have I found a group of people so honest, open-minded and accepting. I fit right in with them and don't have to strive for acceptance like I had tried all my life in other circles of friends. These people get me! They don't judge me and they ask me to be there. Keep coming back right! I recently got sober but had not been fully dedicated to my program until about a month ago. I have been attending close to 14 meetings a week. The two-a-days are great because you have positive contact from so many people. God speaks to me through the group and I remind myself to keep my ears open. They tell you to take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth! Yes sir, I will.

I recently got involved in service in my Ohio Area 53 Correctional Facilities Committee. They paired me up with a gentleman serving time at Jackson Pike. I wrote my first letter to him the other day and am putting the envelope in the mail today. I have never been in the facility he's in but have heard stories of the treatment the prisoners receive. It is tragic. A buddy of mine had to kick heroin while locked up there and said it was the worst experience of his life. I guess there were three or four others trying to kick the habit, in the same cell. One toilet!! I don't know about you but when I kicked that stuff I had my own toilet and needed that thing like a diabetic needs insulin. Can you imagine going through withdraws around a group of people that could quite possible attack you at any moment. I am thankful that we have ADAMH because they funded my stay at a rehab named Mary Haven last year in August 2008. Speaking of rehab. I was always the type of person that thought I needed some expensive treatment center with 5-star service to get me off drugs and booze. Boy was I wrong. My first rehab stay was in 2002 at a place called FOCUS in Maumee, Ohio. Right outside Toledo, and it wasn't cheap. What I found at Mary Haven was hope. I remember them asking me, "Do you think you have suffered enough yet?" I honestly didn't know. I had never thought of it like that. I have lost jobs, friends, braincells, cars, apartments, respect, freedom, etc. and not until that counselor put it like that, did I realize that I needed a break.

I have been rambling on and on. I hope reading some of my thoughts helped you to understand where I am at right now. I always search the web logs for people in sobriety so if you are one of those people leave me a comment and direct me to your page so I can hear you experience, strength and hope. I believe in positive people and positive feedback, but I also believe in constructive criticism. Without that I wouldn't be here and would be locked up, 6-feet deep or squatting somewhere in Columbus.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Awakening in Addiction

It has been what seems like an eternity since I have truly been alive. A large portion of my life was devoted to one thing and one thing only. To numb my senses with a chemical aid. To walk through life, the living dead, zombified and totally alone. Dangering myself and certainly devastating the hopes of my faithful few. Putting myself first and you last. Actually you wouldn't have been last. You would have been never because I just didn't care. All the events in my life came to a pinnacle of suffering just this last December when I did more emotional and physical harm to myself and others than ever before. It really is a cliche to use the phrase, "I hit rock bottom", but i finally did. This wasn't my first time being down and out but it will definitely be my last.

Something deep and profoundly powerful is occurring inside me right now at this very moment. A feeling that I am welcoming with a wounded mind, body, and soul. Change. A glimmer of hope appeared to me and it was such a needed and deserved revelation. The natural high that I am experiencing is so beautiful that I just couldn't avoid writing about it. There is hope in addiction and I just gave in and grasped it. I guess the pure insanity finally caught up to me. Or I just hadn't suffered enough pain until recently. I believe a higher power answered my desperate and dieing prayers. A light has been switched on. And it's about damn time.