Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

" We all shine on, like the moon, the stars and sun" Instant Karma, by John Lennon

I have so much to write about and no time to do so. Today is payday, so I need to go get my check and put in the bank so my overdrafts are paid up, thank God for overdraft coverage it has been worth the extra fees this month. I am also working tonight. We are taking the clients to a speaker meeting which has a dance following it. Tomorrow I have to be at work by 1pm but there is an Alkathon going on and 2 of my main groups are sponsoring meetings so I need to support them prior to going to work. With any luck I will get a post pecked out in a couple of days when I have a few minutes to relax and write at my leisure, for now it is reading your post and hopefully a comment of love and support.

It has been an honor getting to know all of you this year and be apart of this blog community we have. I pray that all of us continue to grow and learn from adversity, to gain more trust in our God or the path of the Universe. I pray that we may all be peaceful and serene. That we accept the things we cannot change, do the footwork to change the things we can, and know the differance. Remember we are all worhty!! We are all special! We are all loved!!

Have a great and wonderful 2010!!! Please don't party til you puke this year, remember the gifts we have been given via a sober life or for the non-alkie/junkie, via a spiritual path.

Love to all.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Last few Days

I want to and need to make this short, any bets on whether that will happen or not :-)

I never made it out of Lincoln on Christmas day. We had a blizzard come through, the same one that covered most of the Midwest. We didn't get as much snow as the states north of here or even Oklahoma, poor Okies aren't use to snow like this so it really caused problems, same for Texans. The interstate and highways where shut down across the state.

The woman who was suppose to come in at 3pm was stuck in western Nebraska, so I ended up working her shift, total of 16 hour day for me. I didn't mind though. There was no real thought process involved, I was already at work, had no reason to go home, so when I was asked to say I didn't hesitate to say yes.

Spending Christmas with the clients was another no thought process. I didn't think about myself and what I was missing, I honestly didn't think at all, I just knew this is where I was needed and went with the flow. The clients all had a good day for the most part. I brought in cupcakes and candy canes for them, the center had small presents for each client which brought a smile to most faces. We had a couple of different group sessions to talk about things, resentments and how they would like to see their lives changed by next Christmas via staying sober and clean. We watched My Name is Bill W, most clients hadn't seen this before and I talked about the history of AA, about Bill, Dr. Bob and Ebby. The evening was free time, they watched movies and played cards. For my part I just stayed available, walked around talking to different clients at different times, played cards with them, shared my experience, strength and hope. God allow me to carry the message of love to them by not complaining that I was with them and not my family, it was a 12 step day without intent. I just did the next right thing and that thing was to be with them. This wasn't just me all the staff that worked that day where cheery and helpful, some more than others but that is how it goes, some just have a job at the center others want to be there and serve their God.

We had one woman who did have a minor breakdown after a phone call with her kids. They had never expressed their anger at her before, she thought everything was going well because she gave them everything they needed materially, she was a drug dealer. In the phone call they expressed their anger about the stuff they had lost when she was arrested. We told her that she would probably have more conversations like this one because the one thing she never gave her kids was "herself" she was so busy providing for their material wants she neglected their emotional needs, her kids range from 9-15. The client is new and hasn't started working on look at how her addiction has effected her and her family, the phone call gave her a taste of that and we helped her walk though the event. She was shaken up for a while but eventually the tears stopped and she got involved in other activities to keep her mind off her troubles.

When I came home I couldn't judge how deep the snow drift in front of my drive was, so I hit the gas and plowed into a 3 foot snow drift that I thought was only a foot or 2 deep, stopped me dead in my tracks. God had my neighbors see this and after 20 minutes of digging we got my car unstuck and in the drive. Yesterday it took me 20 minutes to go 100 yards because of the snow on my street, I had to dig and use pieces of plywood under the tires to get me to the street that didn't have deep snow on it. I had planned on this problems so I wasn't late for work. I will shovel some more before I go to work today, mainly the street in front of my house.

As for me having Christmas with my family it is going to wait until Wednesday. I talked to my mom early Christmas morning just to wish her a Merry Christmas, later I talked to my daughter, Angel is still to small to care about talking to grandpa on the phone if she is doing something more fun. In reality going down Wednesday will be better because I will have more time to spend with all, it isn't about being with them on the actual day so much as just getting a chance to see them and spend some time together. I am sure my daughter missed me but she spent time with my family, her cousin's, grandma and great aunt so she was with family plus she also was with her boyfriends family. This is the first year we have not been together on Christmas but it won't be the last as she gets older and has a family of her own. For me I have other obligations with my new career and missing holidays is part of the gig. What counts is spending quality time together when we can and phone calls to say I Love You and am thinking about you.

When my grandson is born I am going to go and stay with Angel while my daughter is in the hospital. I plan on bring Angel back to Lincoln with me for a week afterwards also, this will give my daughter a chance to recuperate and get use to having an infant again without having to take care of a toddler as well. A couple of the people I work with have little kids so I should be able to find a daycare for Angel while I am working plus I have recovery people to help out. I am actually looking forward to having her down here for a week, this might change after a couple of days into it, grandpa is rather use to doing his own thing around his house.

Well I hope all had a great Christmas. My prayers have been daily for those who have been going through some tough times in their lives.

Love you all! Peace Love and Light

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Just a couple of images I liked to express Christmas for me. I love nostalgic pictures of old houses in the country, there is something very romantic about them, it is also my dream to live in an old farm house surrounded by the beauty of nature. The dolphin is my symbol for all living creatures. I was looking for an image of a pack of wolves in the forest surrounded by trees and snow but couldn't find one, that would have been a more fitting image, so tap your imagination my friends.

I hope every one has a wonderful Christmas. That you enjoy the day in the way that brings you the most joy and happiness. That you love and feel loved. For those of you in recovery I pray that it is a day without a desire to drink or use. I pray that the God of your understanding blesses each and every one of you, on Christmas day and throughout the year.

I may or may not be seeing Angel, my daughter, mom and family on Christmas day. There is a strong chance of bad weather. Right now we are receiving rain, it is suppose to continue to rain and maybe turn to snow, they are predicting this for tomorrow as well. If the highways are icy and snow covered I will not try traveling. With the main highway being on a open plain what happens is, it gets icy from blowing snow. I if I can't make it home for Christmas it will be alright, I have next Tuesday and Wednesday off and if the weather permits I will go home then. My daughter has called a couple of times. She really is missing me at this time of year but on the other hand she doesn't want me driving. The weather is out of her control and she is very anxious over that. I just keep telling her we will just have to wait and see what the roads are like at 3pm Christmas day.

I have lived long enough in this state to know that the forecast can be wrong sometimes, to not get overly worried, yes make sure you have food to eat just in case you are snow bound but not to get all freaked out either. I have watched way too many people get all stressed out over a weather forecast and then nothing happens, maybe I am cynical but way screw up your interpeace over something that may not happen. Like I said take precautions and then accept what will happen. I can be a bit of an asshole when it comes to my feelings about how others need to accept the weather for being the way it is, we are sooo powerless over it why get all stressed out. I need to work on accepting others and not allow their actions to piss me off.

Quickie thankful list.

Thankful for having a daughter that loves and cares about me and wants to spend time with me, after all the bad times we had.

Thankful for a warm home, food to eat, hot water, I am bless because many in this world don't have these things

Thankful that my mom is still alive and I can be apart of the time she has left

Thankful for my friends back home and my new ones here

Thankful for my blogger friends, their love and well wishes

Thankful that I don't have the desire to drink, even with all great sale prices and colorful advertisements that try to convince me that I don't have a problem, that I could be all cheery with a cold bottle of Bud, yeah right death and destruction for people like me

Thankful for my daily reprieve and my willingness to continue my spiritual maintenance

Thankful that I no longer hate Christmas and those that get carried away with it

Thankful that I am alive, have a great job, am of service to my God

I will stop there, cause I just relized the list could go on for a lot longer.


Monday, December 21, 2009


I have bits and pieces of this post running around in my head for a couple of days now, so it is time to set the words free, lucky you ;-)

That is my little dog and companion Sweetheart, as most of you know I got her a couple of months prior to getting sober and she has played a major role my sobriety, she was a gift from God when I really needed one but didn't know it at the time. She is lying on her pillow under my desk which is where she goes when I am on the computer.

The other picture is of Angels gifts with the exception of the toddler lego's I bought her and left at my mom's house so Angel can play with them while waiting for grandpa to show up on Christmas day. The big box contains, "My Very Own Kitchen" really cool little kitchen with pans and utensils I picked up for $20 at a family dollar store. I bought the little dog in the purse because it looks a lot like Sweetheart and Angel loves Sweetheart even though Sweetheart has mixed feelings about her, part jealousy and part having a toddler chasing her around and wanting to play gets old quick. I also bought Angel her own folding chair, you can't see it but the chair has Tinkerbell on the back rest, another bargain from a dollar store, my mom has a small stool that Angel loves to move around and sit on so I thought I would get her a chair of her own. I will put the kitchen together in the next day or so and with the exception of the chair wrap the rest of the gifts, since even for a toddler part of the trill of gifts is tearing the paper off. I also have some baking to finish doing, baking treats for daughter, her boyfriend and Angel, plus making a cake for N and her kids, just a little something to say I care.

I am working Christmas Eve 2pm-10pm, we are taking the clients to some type of recovery Christmas program at another treatment center, not sure what it is all about though. Christmas day I am working 7am to 3pm, then I will leave directly from work to head west so I can spend a few hours with Angel, my daughter, my mom and whatever family is still around, maybe see N if she is home. I can't spend the night because I have to work the 7am-3pm shift on the 26th as well. I am grateful that my boss scheduled me to work the first shift so I could spend some time with my family.

So here is what has been on my mind. I am chairing my home group meeting tomorrow night and the topic that came to me was the Promises. Part of Christmas is about gifts. If one is a Christian it is their God's gift of Jesus. For others it is giving a little special something to those we love, whether they be bought or homemade, a traditional way of saying you are special to me, even though I feel we need to do this throughout the year and not reserves this for Christmas and ones birthday only.

The Promises our a gift from the God of our understanding to us for being diligent about changing our lives via the 12 steps. As we learn to get out of self and trust our God these gifts start to materialize in our lives. The new freedom and happiness comes because we are no longer slaves to King Alcohol or Dictator Dope. By learning to accept our past as a learning tool we no longer regret it, yet we still have to remember where our actions under the influence of alcohol and drugs can lead us. Comprehending serenity and knowing peace come from accepting life on life's terms and accepting God's will instead of forcing our will into our life and the life of others. We understand that our past can be our greatest asset in helping others because we all have the same dung on our moccasins. When we begin to accept the love of our God and the love of others, we begin to believe we are worthy of being loved and so that old low/no self esteem and pity pot starts to leave us. As we comprehend and apply the paradox of "giving it away to keep it" and as we learn to humble ourselves towards being a servant of our God, we stop being servants of self, thus our self seeking motives start to slip away. When we start to feel better emotionally, spiritually and physically it can't help but change our whole outlook and attitude towards life. As we learn to become comfortable in our own skin, as we make wrong the errors of the past (make amends), we gradually lose fear of people, not every one is out to get us or thinks we are piece's of shit. A tough one for a lot of us, me include, is being comfortable with the income I have, understanding that more money won't bring happiness, that even if I am poor for the rest of my life I can be happy and as long as I do the footwork God will take care of my needs, my wants are not important in the Big Picture of life . Through prayer and mediation, through the process of learning to trust our God, we start to develop a God conscience that helps us deal with the situations that life throws our way, we do the footwork and once again accept our God's will in the outcome.

The Promise aren't just for alcoholics and addicts,(note for Paula). I feel they are what happens for anyone who tries to live a life based on spiritual principles. If we work towards treating others as we wish to be treated then life rewards us for our efforts. When we learned to love ourselves as the Divine loves us then we gain a feeling of inter peace and serenity which also comes from learning to live in the moment at hand and not worry about the future nor dwell on the past. The Promises are about Karma, about reaping what we sow, about serving our God to the best of our ability on a daily bases. The Promises are a daily gift from our God as long as we continue to do the footwork. They are also a gift to ourselves because we have free choice. We can either choose to live in serenity and peace or choose to be miserable, grumpy and Ebenezer Scrooge year round. I know I don't reap the promises every day because some days I am so full of self I shut out the sunlight of the Spirit but if I work on seeing and touching the light I can fill my life with that light the majority of my days. The promises are this little agreement between my God and myself, my God says "boy if you want to live a serene and peaceful life here is what you need to do, take it of leave it the choice is yours", gratefully on most days I take it. As an ex-drunk I know that if I take one drink all these promises disappear, they have in the past and will again.

So if you feel you didn't receive any gifts of value this Christmas think again. If you are receiving these Promises from your God then you have received the greatest gift of all, a life beyond your wildest dreams, life filled with happiness, joy and LOVE, a life where even when we are given a shit sandwich to eat we can accept it and say pass the salt and hot sauce because even shit sandwiches don't last forever.

In case you don't get a chance to read me until after Christmas, let me say this to all of you now. Merry Christmas my friends, you are loved and you are worthy of being loved!!! May your new year be filled with the blessing, some may be in disguise, I know mine will be.

Love you all and let's all do our best to carry the message of peace on earth, goodwill towards all living things throughout the year, please!!

Peace Love and Light

Friday, December 18, 2009


While I was out finishing my Christmas shopping, I stopped by the recovery bookstore to get some teaching material for the treatment center, I also bought some wallet cards for a couple of co-workers and spares to give out for anyone who needs a pick-me-up. I bought The Prayer of St. Francis and Disiderata and Let Go which I hadn't seen before. I thought I would share Let Go with you all, since me being the selfish person I am wanted to share the message with you because I like it. So away we go!!

Let Go

To "let go" does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else

To "let go" is not to cut myself off, its the realization I can't control another

To "let go" is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences

To "let go" is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands

To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another, it's to make the most of myself

To "let go" is not to care for, but to care about

To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive

To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being

To "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies

To "let go" is not to be protective, it's to permit another to face reality

To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept

To "let go" is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them

To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes, and to cherish myself in it

To "let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody, but to try to become what I dream I can be

To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and to live for the future

To "let go" is to fear less and to love more

I hope everyone has a great weekend basking in the sunlight of the Spirit.

Peace Love and Light in Fellowship

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ice on the Streets but not in my Heart

How's that for a catchy title to a post;-D Not sure how much this post will deal with either since I am just starting out. Will say we are experiencing an Artic blast, high temp was 10 degrees with the added wind chill it was -10, my old town was -27 at 7am this morning that is with a wind chill. Needless to say it doesn't take a person long to smoke a cigarette if you have to do so outside. This won't last long though, usually we get a couple of weeks of this type of cold every winter. I am one of those who will never bitch about how hot it is in the summer because I would rather it be 100 degrees than 10 below. I accept the cold, I live in Nebraska and have no choice in the matter but I also dislike having to wear gloves, heavy coat and shoes, too much restriction on the body and not enough pure air caressing my skin.

My little friend left treatment today, she is going to the women's home where she will get further assistance in staying sober and learning to manage her life and become a good mother. She had a small hiccup but that turned out for the best, she is only getting her son part time. She will have her son every other day instead of all the time. At first she was really upset by this but has come to understand that this will give her a chance to work on her instead of constantly thinking about her son and parenting. The bit about my feelings towards her have pretty much passed, I just needed to write about them, get them out in the open so I could see them better. Not that I still don't care about her well being and that of her son but I will try to stay out of her life as much as possible, other than to talk to her at meetings and be an emergency backup for rides. If she starts using me too much for rides then I will have to put a stop to that. She is in God's hands just like the rest of us.

As of tomorrow we will be down to only 12 clients in the treatment center with one leaving the end of the week. We will probably get a couple more this week not sure how many though. Since I have worked at the center, we have had on average 17 clients, so this small of numbers is different for us. Not sure why the decline unless it has something to do with the holiday season. The clients we have right now are a mixed bag, more so than usual especially for such a small number. We have some that are really just playing along, not sure if their heart is really into long term recovery. We have a couple of older guys who have been through treatment before, been in recovery before and think they know everything. A couple of these guys are hard to work with because they won't really listen to suggestions about the reason they haven't been able to stay sober. Oh they can write all about what it was like and what happened but when we try to guide them we receive these looks of "you don't know what the "F" you are talking about". What I see with these guys is their pride is getting in the way, somehow they need to get humble to the fact that they can't do recovery on their own and never could, it is about God and others. The best course of action is to just continue to talk with them the best that we can, have them take a closer look at their thinking, emphasis the need for a spiritual base of recovery. It is fun and sad at how "hard headed" we can be sometimes, I include myself in this.

I was on a panel Sunday to discuss sponsorship. The noon group has started going over different pamphlets every week to discuss different aspects of recovery and share about them, mainly this is for the newcomers. I was asked to be on the panel a couple of months ago and like I was told long ago never say "no" to an AA request unless you absolutely have no to due to prior commitments. I was extremely nervous about being on this panel, it was my first time speaking in Lincoln and with so many people available I really questioned why I was chosen being a small fish. Another reason for being nervous was I was on the panel with some long term recovery, one guy had 33 years, one woman 26 and another with 18, I was the 4th person with 3 years. Sunday morning my mind was in hyper drive, I was really hoping for a reason not to attend, fear was raging in my head. The only thing I know how to do was pray, I prayed in the shower, I prayed drinking my coffee and I prayed on the drive over. There were about 30 people in attendance which is a comfortable size for me, even though I am pretty much a reserved person I have no huge troubles speaking in public, I ask God to guide my thoughts and speak from the heart, God has always come in and taken over giving my courage and strength. My fear once again was being on the panel with these other people and worrying about what they would think of what I had to say, selfishness it the root of all our troubles.

Mister 33 years started off, he talked about his history with sponsorship and also about the history of sponsorship in AA, really interesting share, I was up next. I really hadn't thought much about what I was going to say prior to getting there, I figure I would just share my own experiences with sponsorship and my understanding of it, pretty much wing it with my God's help. While mister 33 was speaking I thought about the fact that I was sitting here in a suit and tie, so that was my lead off. I shared that it was because of a sponsor that I was wearing a suit and tie, that I was told long ago that when I speak in public that I am representing AA and as such I need to look respectful, I also need to show respect for myself to. I shared that my normal attire was jean's, t-shirt or flannel shirt but what kind of message would that send. To me that sends the message that I don't take recovery seriously, that I don't take AA seriously either, that I don't have respect for the audience if I am up there in a flannel shirt and jeans. Part of learning to respect myself is respecting my appearance, if I feel good about myself then clean clothes, good hygiene and appropriate dress reflect this. Now I love my jeans, t-shirts and sandals or boots and wear them to meetings but they are all in good repair, I have thrown away shirts if the collars get ragged or save them for yard work. If the newcomer walks in and sees me looking ragged what kind of impression am I making, do I look to them like the gutter bum they expected. My appearance is part of sharing hope and maybe a common bond, hope that we have risen above the self hating scum we once where and our appearance reflected this, the common bond comes from being average but clean and healthy, a reflection of the soul. I hope this makes since to you all.

The other thing I talked about, and this came from the pamphlet, was not choosing a sponsor that is just like us, some one that we have "everything" in common with. I need someone who is just different enough that this person will not be my best buddy. If I am too close to someone then that person may have a tougher time giving me the tough love they have to on occasion, they have be able to call my BS without fear of damaging the friendship, a friendship based on hanging out together. My sponsor and I are friends but not close friends, we have enough in common that we can have casual conversations and spend time together but I don't hang out at his house either. My other contribution to the panel was, talking about the sponsor being the first person I learned to trust deeply. By learning to trust my sponsor I learned to trust my God. My sponsor was my first contact with God in my opinion, my sponsor was God speaking to me when I was unable to listen directly. When I got sober I was fairly anti-social and didn't trust anyone including myself, my sponsor showed me how to trust again. He didn't mock my words, he would explain how my thinking wasn't sound but never did he mock me. This trust lead up to doing the 5th step with him, trusting him to know everything about me so that he can help me and also teach me to help myself with God's aid. Via the 5th step my sponsor knows when my old character defects are rearing their heads and he can point this out to me so that I am aware of the choices I am making.

When the meeting was over, I receive handshakes and hugs, returned in same. The fear became gratitude like it usually does. Once again it was brought home that I need to trust God in this process of recovery. I will always say yes to an AA request but that doesn't mean I will always walk into the event serene, it is in the action that serenity is achieved sometimes. God has shown me this over and over but I have selfish fear sometimes, guess this mean's God has more work to do with me and I with It.

Today is kind of a messed up day. I worked the overnight last night plus an extra hour, got home around 9am, made it to bed shortly after 10am. I got up at 6pm and have been messing around on the computer plus doing some cooking. Tomorrow I have to go in at 7am, so up by 6am. It is creeping on midnight now, the best I can do is put in a movie now that this post is done and hopefully fall asleep in an hour or so. Cool thing is I will be alright when I get up, cup of coffee and a smoke with wake me up further and by the time my happy butt walks through the door of the center I will be full awake and filled with grace. My head won't be fuzzy from the effects of too much beer and I won't thinking about "having" to go to work, I will be glad that I am "allowed" to go to work and happy to be there.

Hey Sarah hope you like the shorter paragraph's, made a conscience attempt just for you to divide subject matter up better :) Hope all of you are well and happy as can be, that you are finding peace, love and light of the Spirit.

Hugs and Love

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday's for what it's worth

This is the snow drift behind my mom's house in Kearney. Here in Lincoln we received about 10 inches, the wind created drifts much deeper than that though. the side streets where a bear cat, I had a hard time getting out on the main street Wednesday morning to get to work, I was temporarily stuck. I give Lincoln a lot of credit they do a much better job of clearing the main streets than the towns out west I was driving in yesterday. The temperature was below zero during the day on Wednesday due to the wind chill factor, yes I got out my gloves and cap, it warmed up into the 20's during the day yesterday. This isn't unusual weather for Nebraska, 30 years ago and more it was far worse, argue global warming if you will but our winters have become a lot milder. When I was a kid living in the country we would be stuck for day's because there would be 10ft or higher snow drifts blocking the roads, these were gravel roads cut through rolling hills. Sometime this spring I will have to take some pictures from where I use to live and post them here.

I held off go to see my mom and daughter until yesterday, Wednesday later afternoon and evening the interstate highway was still fairly nasty, blowing and drifting snow, even though I am a seasoned veteran of winter driving there is no reason for traveling 135 miles on crappy roads unless you absolutely have to. I got up early yesterday morning and headed down, interstate was clear, I came back last night since I have to be at work by 1pm today. Angel was happy to see grandpa and she went with me to my mom's. I got the photo's we had taken from my mom, they turned out really well, wish I had a scanner so I could show you all. While in town I also stopped and saw a couple of dear friends, one is a recovery buddy who is spending time in jail but has work release so I visited him at work. The jail time is doing him some good, he has been really digging into the steps, his sponsor and he are working the steps on how they apply to his relationship problems, which is what landed him in jail. We talked about the road tripping to San Antonio for the international convention and he is in. My plan is to buy a motor home with my tax refund and get 4 or 5 people together to split the cost, drive straight through, park the RV at a park spend a couple of days at the convention and head back Saturday late night so we will get back by Sunday late night for those that have to work Monday.

I had a great visit with one of the few close friends I had during my drinking daze. Her husband and her saw me at my worst and worried a lot about me, they know what a miracle it is that I am still sober. We hadn't seen each other since I moved out here. She said I looked really well. I thought I was doing good before but she said she could tell my disinterest in my old job was taking it's toll and even though I was happy my face still was haggard from not being spiritually complete. I always fine it interesting when people point these things out, I think I am really showing acceptance yet the face reviles the truth that inside I was suffering somewhat.

My daughter had her ultrasound yesterday and she is going to have a boy. He is healthy and the pregnancy is go well. He is due in April via c-section, so they are trying to figure out a date for his birth.

Angel is Angel, just as happy and content as could be. I took her, my daughter and her boyfriend out to eat at a Chinese buffet last night, my Christmas present to them for now. Angel really doesn't have a stopping point when it comes to eating, as long as we kept putting food in front of her she kept on eating it. She is a chunky baby by nature but not obese so I guess it is alright to let her eat as much as she wants for now, just have to monitor it if she continues to do so when she gets older. Poor baby got upset and cried when grandpa told her bye bye, she really understood what was happening and wouldn't give me a kiss or hugs. I take this as a gift from God and a gift of being sober.

Our holiday schedule is out. I am working 5 days over Christmas and also New Year's which includes the actual days and both eve's. My boss did me a big favor and scheduled me to work the 7am to 3pm shift Christmas, this way I will leave from work head back to Kearney and spend a few hours with Angel, my daughter, my mom and anyone else that may still be around. I did pull a selfish one with my daughter, I told her my visit takes priority over Angel spending time with anyone else Christmas day. Angel and I have been with each constantly from her birth until I moved here, for all practical purposes I am her main grandparent, she sees her dad and his family every few months. So I feel we have a much closer bond than anyone else. My daughter understand this and she also wants to spend what time I have Christmas day with me, it is a time of family for us. I may have my misgivings about Christmas but it is and will always be about family to me. In the past it might of been a chore but I always made sure I was at the family Christmas gatherings, whether I was getting along with family members or not, I went because I knew my parents needed me there, that on this one day we put aside our differences and were a family, I even held off on my drinking because my dad did not approve of it, once he left it was a whole other story though.

I will write more about work and holiday's, what we have planned for the clients and such. Tonite is anger management group for me, we have a bunch of newer clients and I will take them through "selfishness and self centeredness" as outlined in the Big Book and finish with pages 86-88. Pages 86-88 outline the way in which we learn to recognize our anger, fears and other feelings and how to handle them in a healthy way, which is spiritual. There may be a couple of clients who have heard this discussion before but it won't hurt them to hear it again plus I am starting to fine tune my lesson structure and hopefully I will have the clunk's out this time.

My boss talked to me Wednesday and he wants to find a group or 2 for me to teach, either existing or a new ones of my choice upon approval from the clinical staff. He is taking my Hot Seat idea to them so maybe I will get a chance to explain to them how this works and why I feel it is beneficial, if they shoot it down no big deal, I did the footwork which is what counts. I have another idea about having a group on steps, 1,2,3,10 and 11. These are kind of covered in general treatment plans and other groups but there isn't a group designed for just the steps. My thought is that I can use some material from workbooks available, the Big Book and 12 and 12 to assist the clients in better understanding these steps. I am not a replacement for a sponsor, I feel that these steps can aid people early in recovery prior to working all the steps with a sponsor. I am leaving out steps 4 thru 9 because I feel these are steps that can only be done with a sponsor, step 12 is also better left alone until one has a sponsor. This is just something I am purposing. My boss is also considering changing the time and of spirituality group so it fits into my schedule better, I told him this is the one existing group I would really like to teach. Right now we do it on Sunday morning, my problem is I work the overnight shift on Sunday/Monday, time will tell.

Well time to take a shower and get ready for work. I hope and pray everyone is hanging in there at least, better than hanging in there would be great but sometimes it isn't meant to be.

Peace Love and Light
Big HUGS from Nebraska

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Wonderland

This is a side view of my house looking from the west, yes I do own an old beater pickup and a station wagon. Yesterday and last night we received 4 inches snow. Yesterday it was really beautiful out, light to medium snow coming down, slight breeze so the snow was coming in at an angle. The accumulation was gradual, so it was a peaceful build up. The streets around town were a bit slick but not icy slick and to my amazement people where being cautious as they drove around, they were not driving so fast and not tailgating, actually slowing down a bit ahead of stop signs and traffic lights instead of rushing up on them per usual.

Yes I did go out shopping yesterday even though I dislike the crowds. Part of this was boredom and just needing to get out of the house for a bit, the other part was semi-legit. I talked to my daughter yesterday and found out Angel doesn't have any snow boots or winter shoes, so being the compulsive obsessive person I am on occasion, my mind was set on going and getting her some boots NOW, forget the cold and snow. I was also obsessing about what to buy Angel for Christmas and needed to check out prices and availability, oh yeah and the pup was out of cheese, yes she is spoiled and has to have her cheese every couple of days and I was out of hash browns and last but not least I wanted to rent a couple of movies for the evening. So now you have my justification for venturing out into snowy 25 degree weather. Wednesday the high it going to be 15 degrees, with the overnight dipping below zero, crazy thing is as long as the wind isn't blowing it is bearable with a good coat on, my gloves and skull cap are still in the closet somewhere but I do need to find them just in case it gets really cold and windy.

I did find Angel some really cute boot's, the cashier said grandpa did a good job, they are pink leather and faux fur lined. Found out grandpa can't afford real Lego's but found a non brand name type at half the price and more toys in the bag. I still haven't found an inexpensive play kitchen for her, prior to Christmas I saw some kitchen sets with play stove, cupboards and cooking stuff for around $25.00 but couldn't find one at any of the stores I checked out, everything was $65 and up, granted they were nicer with more gadgets and electronics but that is out of my price range. I will check the online catalogs for my local department stores and see if I can order what I am looking for online, if not then I will have to find her something else. Angel really won't care what grandpa gets her, she will be happy with any toys she gets but grandpa just wants to buy her something special for Christmas. I will buy my daughter something small for Christmas, probably a bath and body basket plus make some goodies for them but I have told her that her bigger present will have to wait until after the first of the year when I have a bigger pay check, she needs a kitchen table and other home stuff so I will take her shopping for them. Truth of matter is both of them will be happy just to have me with them for a few hours and the feeling is mutual.

My daughter has been very understanding about the decrease in my income. She hasn't called asking for an extra $20 and is learning to live within her own means. Prior to moving here, I was always giving her a bit of money for gas and diapers. It wasn't intentional enabling on either party, I think it was just an easy thing for both of us to be a part of, it was easy for me to give her some money and easy for her to ask for it. My daughter doesn't question my decision to move here, the cut in pay or hours worked. She misses me just I miss her and Angel but she knows more than anyone else about the years I spent working at a job that was not mentally and spiritually satisfying. She is proud of what I am doing now, that I am living up to my potential. She also understands the years I spent not being happy and feels her old man deserves to be happy, deserves to be finally living his life for himself and not others.

Another side of the sickness that is selfishness is giving so much to others that we make ourselves miserable. Not a "poor me" miserable but yet I wasn't being true to myself or my God because I was always putting others needs ahead of my own. The middle path requires finding that balance between serving others and still serving our own spiritual and emotional needs. I don't think there was a huge conscience decision made when it came to helping others, it was programmed from years of gaining self actualization and gratification with the act of putting others ahead of me. When I do this in a selfish way then I neglect the self that needs caring for. Slowly I am learning that to be a of complete service to all I need to take care of me, if I get spiritually or emotionally sick because I am spending too much time taking care of others then paradoxically my unselfish acts are in fact selfish because I am not giving in earnest but out of a desire to help you in order to make me feel good about myself. What it boils down to is, checking my motives, being aware and vigilant about my actions. Has God removed the "bondage of self" today or is Scott being unselfish because Scott feels unworthy or unloved? This is a hard question to ask and answer. The one thing I do know is that if I find myself suffering I can look at the question and determine if that is the trouble or is another aspect of selfishness causing the suffering.

So this brings up a small dilemma I am going through that I wasn't going to write about but since this blog is about me being honest with me and writing tends to clarify things better, not to mention that some of you have a loving interest in my life just as I have in yours, I will go ahead and peck it out. I have become aware that one of my clients and I have developed a strong bond, one that has is become more than professional. I am not sexually attracted to her, physically and emotionally yes but no yearnings for sexual interactions. She entered treatment over a month ago, very broken and with more stuff to deal with than most clients. She is 44 years old, her life has been ruled by various forms of trauma, addiction and the consequences of a life lived in addiction/alcoholism. I have watched her transform from a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. She connected with me shortly after coming to treatment, the fact is I was one of the few tech's that who could help her on a deeper level because of my experiences and also my knowledge. Along with a couple of counselors, we have been able to help this woman, we have helped her look her past in the face, deal with it and accept it. She is finally starting to stand up for herself, she told me the other day, she is finally standing on equal ground with her mother and not allowing her mother to manipulate her, that if she doesn't feel spiritually strong enough to talk to her mother she doesn't. This woman has shown great willingness when it comes to learning to live in recovery, where once she was all over the place she is now learning to focus on just one thing at a time. She has reached out to a couple of strong women in AA for support. She has a 16 month old son and it is a joy to watch how she is learning to have a healthy relationship with him, how she has learned to say no to him, instead of giving in out of shame. Every time I work we have long conversations about recovery and spiritualism, about how to live life in the moment and about being aware of our strengths and weakness and what to do with them. In a couple of weeks she will be leaving to live in a local treatment home for unwed mothers, a place where she can continue her recovery and learn parenting skills in a controlled environment. What has been going through my head is that I would really like to continue to see her after she leaves our treatment center and not just at meetings like I do other past clients. I would like to have her come around my house for a meal or just spent a bit of time talking, with her son along of course, he is the same age as Angel and just as sweet. I know this is wrong on so many levels, one I do not 13th step and I do not want to either, two I am doing this because she is someone I can take care of. She has to grow at her own pace but I really want to take her under my wing. Wow having just said that I see something, she is so fragile I am afraid she won't make it, I am in part playing God and in part attracted to her need for someone to guide her with a strong shoulder to lean on, ouch. Damn I really don't like this feeling. I want to continue to be her friend and support her once she leaves our care but I will have to stay on guard for my own weaknesses and motives. I have been really good so far in pointing her towards women in recovery to talk to and brooding her support system. I see my fear being losing her and our connection once she is gone. The only thing I know how to do is make sure I stay as spiritually fit as I can which means, to be aware of the attraction and know it is unhealthy for her, that if things get heavy to be one to back off, to use compassion and loving kindness in doing so. It may be possible to have a friendship, to spend time with her and her son but it will have to be done with boundaries in place and I have to set the boundaries for myself. I do not want to harm this woman in anyway, nor do I want to harm anyone who is traveling the path of recovery. This is a new one for me campers, we have had a lot of pretty women in treatment and up until this point I have not been attracted to any of them and a few have come from where this woman has and I have worked with them also but for some reason she is different. Maybe my life working at the treatment center has been going along too smoothly and God is giving me an opportunity for growth, a new challenge, putting my spirituality in check.

So we started out with a weather report and ended up with a spiritual and emotional report. I am going to visit my mom, daughter and granddaughter for a short few days starting Wednesday late afternoon, I have to work until 3pm Wed and will take off after work then come back Friday morning because I have to work at 1pm, this will be the only chance I get to go there prior to Christmas to visit them and I also need to get the family and individual pictures we had taken from my mom so I can give them out for Christmas, plus I need a bit of sweet Angel time, going to take her to see the pretty sights of Christmas, also my daughters oil change is way past due, isn't changing oil a parental responsibility until they get completely on their feet;-)


That I have a warm house, a good vehicle to drive, a wonderful daughter and granddaughter, glad my mom is still alive and healthy, that I have a few dollars for buying presents, that I have a great job that allows me to grow spiritually each day, that I am not still drunk and stuck in spiritual and emotional Hell, glad this blog is here to write out my thoughts on, glad I have a sponsor to go to with my thoughts, glad I have meetings to attend which assist my God in keeping me balanced, glad for all you wonderful campers who share your experience, strength, hope and love with me.

Peace Love and Light

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Rebel Jesus

I know that some people who read my blog are who like me are not Christian's and here we are at Christmas time when people are suppose to be celebrating the birth of Jesus the person to whom Christianity took it's name from yet has been side lined or on the other extreme be held up as a warrior prince and not the prince of peace. Here are some of my thoughts on Christmas followed by the lyrics from a great song by Jackson Browne, I tried to post the video but was unable to do so even after a considerable time trying, so if you want to hear the song just look it up on line.

I have a love hate relationship with Christmas. I have deep respect for Jesus, for his compassion, for his teachings and what they stand for. I don't believe he is the be all and end all though. He is one of many great teachers and his teachings are attractive to certain people just as the teachings of Mohammad, Buddha and any number of teachers, whose words have created a religion have meaning and importance to those that follow these teachers. Some religions don't have any one teacher but many or none at all but follow a path which the followers believe is true for them. Some people just simply lead spiritual lives without any particular religion. Who is to say what is right and what is wrong, it is all just human perspective based on deep feelings concerning spiritual matters. I am one of those that feels that in the end we will find out that what we hold true in our hearts is probably what will appear when we leave the physical world behind and move to the celestial world, if the celestial world even exist. Enough said about that.

I do celebrate Christmas, I am quite comfortable with Christian symbolism because in truth that is what the season is really about. If you are going to celebrate the birth of the Jewish carpenters kid then I would imagine there are going to be images and references to this kid. What I have a problem with is hypocrisy, intolerance, selfishness and rampant commercialism. True believers carry the love and compassion of Jesus with them 24/7 365, which is how it should be. Just like Buddhist you can't follow the teachings of the teacher only when it serves your purpose and only on special occasions and still receive the full benefit of the teachings, I have to practice the Dharma daily to the best of my ability, just like the 12 steps of recovery for those of us in recovery, half measures availed us nothing! It just seems to me and I could very well be wrong about this, that a lot of people only pick up the "Peace on Earth Goodwill towards all" mantra when Christmas is on the horizon. Maybe this a good thing because it gets people out of their self absorbed lives for 30 days or so a year which is better than never. Hey I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to giving money to a street beggar, my thought is generally that this person is working a scam, which is a shame because I am sure that some of these people are legit. I don't reserve charity for December though, just like all compassionate people this is something I do year round and do without much thought which is what my spiritual practices teach me. I know there are a lot of people out there that do the same. It is just sad that societies have gotten so caught up in their constant movement, the constant rush for the next "thing/more" that it is only during December that we are told to focus on others as much as we focus on self. I wish everyone mostly those in the positions of power would focus on keeping the spirit of Christmas alive everyday, thus replacing the intolerance that seems to prevail the rest of the year.

Compassion is more than just charity, it is helping others to help themselves, it is living by example, it is being assertive but not aggressive, being the strong voice of reason when people are in a bitter disagreement, it is teaching acceptance, acceptance in the fact that we don't have to like everything but that peace comes for accepting others for being just the way the Creator made them. Compassion is compromising, agree to disagree then find a common solution for the good of all. Compassion is wanting the best for everyone, love and tolerance. Yeah maybe this is all wrong, I don't know what I am talking about and I have listened to Imagine one to many times but I do believe this in my heart.

I wish there was away to get the focus off the buying of shit that benefits no one except the money changers, it sure doesn't benefit the slave labors who make it. I have no problems with buying presents, I buy them. What I have a problem with is the national obsession of it all, it is just spiritually ugly to me. My eyes see greed and selfishness at it's worse. People aren't thinking about Jesus or any other spiritual teacher, they are thinking about saving 10 bucks on a fucking 100 inch big screen TV, it's their money, I just wish it didn't pollute the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace. If you love to spend money over the holiday go for it, you earned, I just prayer you show compassion to all those around you and the poor retail people as you do so, that's all. One last nasty comment, now I put up decorations that are visible for people driving by my house, nothing inside because I live alone but I wonder how much of our decorations are about being festive and much of them are about one upmanship, "look Marge we have more stuff on our house and in our yard then the Smith's do". Just a question that runs through my mind, I really hope people are doing this for the right reason because I am selfish and enjoy the money they spend.

What does Christmas mean to Scott?? It is watching children's face's light up at all the sights and sounds, yes it is also watching them get all excited about new toys. It is Jesus and Santa Claus who is the other Spirit that gets diluted. It is home made gifts made with love. It is special treats they we only make once a year. It is great music with a spiritual themes, I wish someone would write a song about Buddha that is as wonderful as The Little Drummer Boy or Silent Night just to mention a few, Jethro Tull does have a Christmas album out that is more paganist and really awesome if you like Tull. Even for me it is making that special effort to be more compassionate towards others, this year I will be spending part of the day with people in the treatment center and I will do everything in my power to make the clients feel loved while they are missing their families, extra prayer and mediation to channel the power of God will take place. It is about family and close friends, the day when we all stop rushing around in our busy lives and take time out to be "truly present" with each other or at least that is the intention. For those that go to church I say God bless you and I hope you feel the presence of Jesus. For my pagan friends may we all stop and look at the wonder that is life and give thanks.

If you have stayed with this rant thanks, it was bound to come out sooner or later. I don't hate Christmas, in fact I am quite fond of it. If I seem too judgemental or harsh it was not my intention nor did I mean to offend anyone.

Peace and Love

The Rebel Jesus
by Jackson Browne

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by 'the Prince of Peace'
And they call him by 'the Savior'
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

God woke me up at 6:30am

I woke up at 6:30am, now for some of you this is not a big deal, you work normal hours, you go to bed at a reasonable time but for me it is unusual unless I have to work the first shift, in which case I get up at 5:45am. I am not working a regular shift today, I have a staff meeting from 2:30pm until around 5:00pm and that is it. Oh yes my bed time is usually around 1:00am also, so my normal waking time is in the 9 to 10am range. Now I am not complaining mind you just saying that is what happened this morning and there was a good reason for it.

Since I was really awake, mind totally clear and aware, I read and commented on a couple of deeper issues than I wouldn't have if my mind would have been cloudy or if I lacked the time to reflect my thoughts with the bloggers post. My comments on these post or any post for that matter are just my perspectives to be taken for what they are worth, accept or disregarded as one will. As an ego driven human being I have my perspective/opinion, I see it as neither right or wrong but as "just is". I feel the words; right, wrong, good and bad are thrown around way too much and used judge mentally, when in fact it is all about ones perspective based on ones understanding of life so far and yes tainted with ones ignorance.

A another good side about waking up this early is that I have to replace the battery terminal on my car, once the temp gets above 35 which it should do by noon, it is sunny and cold this morning in Nebraska, the over night temps are dropping below 25. On the positive side for all of you who are thinking "damn that is cold" we don't have a killer north wind blowing, there is no moisture in the air, thus no ice or snow, although there is a chance of some later in the week. Also by getting up this early much to your amusement I am pecking out this post, coffee and smokes in their usually places on the desk.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my sobriety birthday, I felt the love!! I also received a lot of love from my friends back in Kearney via Facebook. Last night I took cookies to my home group and had a friend give me my chip. This is a man who I respect greatly, he was one of the first really solid members I got to know in Lincoln AA, it was through him that I found some really good meetings, meeting based on the Solution and not the problem. He said his ego was honored when I asked him about meetings and more honored when I actually showed up at those meetings, man can I identify with that. I am not saying this so much about myself but the willingness of people in recovery in general, isn't wonderful when a new person ask for direction and we see them follow through with it. There are a lot of meetings in Lincoln and I am sure most of them are really good but being the creature of habit I am, I will stick with the 5 meetings I like and am comfortable at for right now, maybe down the road I will need a break from these and investigate some different meetings just to keep things fresh.

Monday I worked the day shift at the treatment center. In the afternoon there is a Relapse group which was taught by the woman who was recently let go, yes she was unfortunately fired and her life is in God's hands. I had expressed interest in teaching this group. Monday my supervisor asked me if I wanted to teach it for that day and I said sure. He sat in on the group and afterwards he had me come to his office to review the group. His feedback was all positive, he said I have a "presents" in the group, that the clients paid attention to my feedback, he said I did a good job about keeping it general when talking about recovery, in other words in talking about my own recovery. I have been really working on talking in 3rd person when I do groups, keeping my recovery out of it and using "we, us, our" terms and not "me or I". The group did end with a clunk though, I was a much aware of this as my as my supervisor, he gave me some suggestions on how to handle the clunkiness, again positive. What all this means is that the group is now mine to teach on a weekly bases. I will review where the last person was taking the group and with my supervisors permission change anything I feel I need to change based on my own personal experience. If I don't teach the group based on my own personal experiences whether they be actually or from my perspective thus far in recovery based on what you have taught me then I lose my edge or passion. One things they do and this comes for the counselor's, is role play; if a client is getting ready to leave treatment the client will come up with different scenario's that may cause him/her to relapse and the peers will assist the client in playing them out. I feel role playing is unrealistic, anyone can handle anything in a controlled environment, there is too much time to think, while the scenarios may be actual they aren't realistic to what would be happening in real life, pretending to walk in on your partner smoking a joint or drinking a beer and actually having this happen are too totally different things, same goes for situations which test ones emotional and spiritual strength. What I am going to purpose is that we have the clients who are getting ready to leave treatment do is, sit on the "hot seat". Here is how a hot seat group works, the client sits on a chair in the middle of the room surrounded by their peers and staff, the peers take turns pointing out the clients weakness using feeling statements; " I feel afraid for you because you use humor as a defence and don't look at the real underlying problem" for example. The clients really have a better understanding of their peers than the counselors and staff members do, since they spend so much time together. Hot seat groups are not easy on for the client or the peers, no one likes to give tough love and constructive criticism, it is very uncomfortable for all involved which includes staff. The point of the hot seat is to make the client really aware of what others see about them, for the client to take that feedback and hopefully gain some insight into their own weakness's, weakness's that can mean life or death for some one new in recovery. This does not replace steps 6 and 7, maybe give some insight but I will make sure as I always do with the clients that it is imperative that they get a sponsor and work the steps once they leave treatment. I just think using the hot seat will serve the client better than role playing, I hope that my supervisor and the counselors agree, it not then I will just have to do the best with the tools I do have to work with. It is truly amazing and a gift that I am teaching this group, here I am with a background in manufacturing and mechanics, teaching a group at a treatment center, God really works in interesting ways!

I haven't heard from my daughter since last week. This makes me sad and hurt. She didn't call to see how my Thanksgiving went. She doesn't have a phone and I still won't help her out with one, she is too irresponsible with using her time. I can't afford to put her on my plan, well not a plan that would give her unlimited texting and a butt load of minutes like she needs. As far as I know she is still working as a waitress so she should be starting to make good money in tips, she just needs to learn to control her spending so that she can afford her own phone. I can text her best friend in an emergency to have my daughter call me. She usually calls once a week from either her friends phone or if she is in good terms with her boyfriend his phone. What I am trying to say is it sucks not having contact with her, just to see how things are going for her and my Angel. I am sure everything is alright, her best friend would call me in a heartbeat if things weren't. You know I am so much a parent. I think about all the conversations I have had with my parents over the years and completely understand how they felt when one of us wasn't in regular contact with them and how important it is too my mom for me to call her at least once a week now. My daughter, Angel and the unborn baby are in God's hands but it still doesn't completely keep dad/grandpa for wondering how they are doing especially when it has been a while since I have last talked to her. I guess karma is kicking in, she is busy with her life and just forgets the simple things that mean so much to parents just the way I have done in the past, 18 years from now she will probably be going through the same thing, God bless karma.

Well I suppose that is enough of a ramble for today. I need to get myself in the shower and dressed to meet the day. If anyone is into Trans-Siberian Orchestra, their newest Christmas album is excellent, a bit harder musically than past albums but still really good, Target has it on sale for $13.99 which is a good price considering it is a double disc, nothing like good progressive rock with a solid story about the true essence of Christmas.

May the sunlight of the Spirit shine on all of you!!
Peace, Love and Light

Saturday, November 28, 2009

3 Years O.D.A.T

Three years ago today I had my last drinks, so tomorrow is my anniversary of being completely sober for 3 years, second time around. In past post I have shared quite a bit about my relapse and the shame that I used to justify staying in the disease, the fuel for denial. This post is about my return to recovery, how I got my sponsor and a couple of things about the first few months of recovery. My first month in recovery can be called nothing less than the act of a God working in my life. Like a lot of you out there I am a miracle produced by the Divine One.

Just in case you are aren't aware, I had 9 years of active recovery, I went to no less then 3 meetings a week, had coffee with my sponsor and others in recovery weekly, I was respected and loved. I moved from the safety of the town I as a part of recovery in, I was going through a divorce, bankruptcy, I was a single parent to a 5 year old, the people in AA in the new town were not overly friendly to strangers and I wasn't good about reaching out to them either. One thing lead to another, I stopped going to meetings, stopped picking up the 2 ton phone and eventually picked up a six pack. That 6 pack lead me to 10 years of insanity that was far worse and more damaging than my other period of drinking, I am living proof of the progression of the disease of alcoholism.

November 2006, I was on probation for my second DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol, my daughter had spent the summer in a foster home, due to a suicide attempt that was related to my alcoholism, I lived 30 miles away from where I worked and did not have a drivers license and had to rely on the generosity of friends to get me back and forth from work. My DUI had not slowed me down by any means. I was suppose to be going to out patient treatment but kept making excuse to my probation officer why I hadn't done so yet and knew I was on the verge of probation violation which meant more jail time and more missed work. My employer put up with me because it was a small company and I was the only one in my position and completed my work, but didn't excel what so ever, I have a feeling I was on shaky ground and it wouldn't have taken much to be fired. A couple of weeks prior to Thanksgiving on a Sunday night I was arrested at my house for a bad check, second time in about 2 months, my daughter once again watched her dad being cuffed and hauled away in a sheriffs car. Once I got to jail I called my sister who had came and got my daughter, to see if she would bail me out of jail, she explained how angry she was with me and refused to help me, my daughter also got on the phone and expressed her anger. The town I lived in only had 700 people so my poor daughter was faced with the embarrassment of having her dad once again being arrested. As I laid in that jail cell, I honestly thought about the damage I was doing to my daughter, the fear and heartbreak my parents where going through. I also realized how I had pretty much reached the end of my rope and was headed for far worse trouble than I was already in if I didn't get help. That night I made up my mind to go to treatment, I still didn't want to quit drinking, still didn't admit I was an alcoholic, my intention for going to treatment was to get my drinking under control, the Big Book talks a lot about me during this stage of my addiction. Upon my release from jail the next day, I made the phone call necessary to get me admitted to a treatment center, one I had known about via my ex wife having been there, it was also only 1-1/2 hours from my home which would allow my daughter to visit me, my entrance date was November 29th 2006, I drank like usual the night prior to I leaving for treatment., My mom, oldest sister and daughter took me there.

Really quickly here was my drinking pattern, I drank beer anytime I wasn't working, I had a part time job and would drink between the time I got off work at my regular job until the time I had to go to work at the part time job, the job was in a convenience store so I was able to steal beer and wine from it plus smokes, sometimes if it was slow I would drink in the cooler, I had peanuts stashed to try and cover my breath. On an average day I would drink probably 15 to 20 beers, on weekends I would start at 10 or 11 am and drink until after midnight, no flipping clue how much I drank on those days. I was a chronic beer drinker, drinking beer consumed my life. When I had a vehicle I carried a cooler of beer with me. My use of other drugs was sporadic mainly because of the expense.

The treatment center I went to was fairly structured, which is what I needed and even though I didn't want to quit drinking my subconscious mind told me I needed a very structured environment if I was going to receive any help at all. We were not allow to have any music with us, no books other than the Big Book, NA basic text or other GSO books. We could not leave the facility other than to smoke outside in a designated area or on Saturdays we would walk to a meeting as a group. Our time was controlled from 7:30am until 10:30pm, we had education groups, relaxation groups, therapy sessions and 1 meeting a night. The only time we could use the phone was on weekends, and your first weekend there this wasn't allowed. The meetings alternated between AA and NA, one night AA one night NA. God was working in my life because I was able to jump back into recovery after only being there a few days, the Hope and sense of belonging I had once felt in recovery returned to me. I was reconnected with the God of my understanding once again. Towards the end of my last years in recovery unknown to me was the fact that I was building up a resentment towards those who used the Christian form of God and thought others needed to believe in this concept of God as well, being a non-Christian this was troubling to me but I was never honest enough to share this. In my drinking I would use this resentment as a warring excuse not to return to AA. A couple of days into treatment I reread We Agnostics and was reawakened to the knowledge that it is about the God of our understanding no matter how another may perceives it or tries and persuade someone differently. It is because of this experience that I am still to this day a faithful defender of the statement "God of our understanding". I stand strongly on the need and necessity of spirituality in order to get and stay sober and for the newcomer or the confused I stand just as strongly on one's own personal understanding of God, I never want to see another person have the resentment I once had.

I arrived at treatment on a Wednesday which was NA meeting night. Thursday was AA, I took my seat a few rows back and when the meeting started I hear this voice introduce herself and my first thought was "oh shit!!". The voice was that of a woman I had known when I was in recovery before, she was actually one of my ex's sponsor's. I hadn't seen this woman in 15 years, when I moved in recovery it was 60 miles away from where her and her husband who is also in recovery, lived. Something I carried around with me during my drinking years was a shame for having once been an active member of AA, I always feared meeting someone from AA in a store, so here I was in treatment and who should be chairing the meeting but G. After the meeting I swallowed my fear and approached her, showed her my hospital bracelet and told her that I had been out for 10 years, she smiled at me and gave me a huge hug and said welcome back. G and her husband K still lived where they use to, which as God would have it was 10 south of where I was living at the time, they were both going to college in the town where the treatment center was and G made it a point to come to the treatment center meetings while waiting for K to finish with classes and also to do service work. I told her to tell K hi for me. I would see G a few more times before I left treatment.

Saturday mornings we went to a meeting outside of the center, a few blocks away. My first Saturday at this meeting, as we where leaving I notice a small older woman and again I had an "oh shit" moment. Here was a woman from my old home area, where I was at prior to going out. She was the wife of my grand sponsor and someone I admired greatly. Once again I swallowed my fear and approached her, to this day I can still see her eyes light up and the beautiful smile she gave me, her expressions where those of pure love. We embraced as old friends, talked for a minute and she told me she would let some old friends of mine know I was in treatment, they would eventually come see me the following Saturday. She told me her husband had died a few years ago, he died with over 30 years of sobriety, I was sad that my active alcoholism stopped me from saying goodbye to this wonderful man.

What these 2 women showed me has not been forgotten. Yes it sucks when someone goes back out but I need to always welcome someone back the way I was welcomed back. I need to reassure the person who has relapsed that there is no shame in relapsing, that the main thing is they have made it back. I try to show them the same love that was shown to me. If one of these two woman would have chastised me for having relapsed I may have lost hope, I know it would have reinforced my self loathing, my shame over the things I did when I was out there, both women knew my daughter and also my ex and I shared a bit of that part of my sickness with them because I needed to share it with someone I could trust, God put 2 angels I could trust in my path when I needed them most. I believe that people who live the 12 steps of recovery are some of the least judgemental people on earth, we hate the disease but not the one afflicted with it.

I was suddenly released from treatment after only 2 weeks, the reports from my counselor to the insurance company showed enough progress on my part that the insurance company felt they didn't need to spend anymore money on me. I feel when insurance companies do this type of things they are acting very dangerously, in my case it turned out alright but I am an exception to the rule, via the grace of God. I had no way of getting home once I was released, it was early in the morning, my mom lived 3 hours away and anyone else who might give me a ride was working, so I called G. G gladly gave me a ride, I told her I wanted to ask her husband to be my sponsor, so she arranged for him to meet me at my house later that night. K and I started this wonderful journey of sponsor and sponsee that evening. The miracle was that K and G where able to give me rides home during the week days, I would get a ride to work, then stay at a friends house, one who supported my sobriety because she had witnessed first hand my destruction, I would go to meetings, sometimes meeting K and G at the meetings other times waiting after the meetings for them to come through town and give me a ride home. It was on these rides home that K and I started bonding. I hadn't lost a lot of recovery knowledge while I was out there it just needed to be reactivate and dusted off, plus K gave me some new prospectives to look at and wonderful guidance. On these drives I really opened up about my troubles with my ex and not loving her, K shared his understanding of love with me. K always says to me either at the end of a phone conversation or upon parting, I love you, it took a couple of years to reply back the same. K and G are involve in service work and I went along with them when I could, I learned a lot about area service work from them and met a lot of people in recovery throughout the state of Nebraska this way, it was via attending area functions that I first met people from Lincoln, in doing so when I need to find a good meeting in Lincoln these people where there for me. I have worked my steps with K, he has been there with me through thick and thin; he was there for me when my daughter was sent away to a girls group home because the damage I did to her was so severe I couldn't correct it while she lived at home, he has been the voice of reason when dealing with my daughter, a voice I have the choice to heed or not, K allows me to have free will so that I can learn from my mistakes, K rode with me to my father's funeral, K has been instrumental in my resent career change, we have talked about my strengths and weakness and about the obstacles I would face, the fact that he is a drug and alcohol counselor was another hidden blessing from God that 3 years ago I was unaware of. K is still my sponsor, I have no reason to find a sponsor in Lincoln, K knows me better than anyone else since he has been with me basically from the beginning and also was part of my past, I call him at least every 2 weeks, more if I have questions or fears. I do have other people in my life I can call and talk to, people I trust as much as I do K but K is special so for now I will keep our relationship as sponsor and sponsee going. K taught me a lot about compassion, K re instilled how important it is to be of service, to give rides to those that need them, to take newcomers to fellowship events if they are remotely willing, K has been my example of what it means to live the 12 steps of recovery. I am grateful that my God put K in my life, I may have made it without him but it would have been a helluva a struggle.

My first year was like most peoples full of peaks and valley's. Most of the lows came because it was the year my daughter's alcoholism started getting her in deeper trouble. My troubles with the law had ended and hers where kicking into high gear. It was during my second year that via the grace of my God once again that things would finally start to change for her, that change came in the form of an unplanned pregnancy. God has blessed me by rebuilding a relationship with my daughter, one that 3 years ago was on very unstable ground. When I got out of treatment after only 2 weeks, my daughter via the influence of my sister who was in the last stages of her own life as a sick alcoholic, had no faith in my ability to stay sober what so ever, to put it bluntly she was Pissed. I can't blame her, she was only 5 when I started again so she never know the life I once lived, her life was filled with fear, disappointment, anger and embarrassment. Now she is proud of her old hippy dad as she jokingly calls me today, she is interested in my work and proud of what I do. Her spiritual path is weirdly similar to mine, she is firmly Agnostic but accepts others beliefs but just like me at 18 she doesn't know about spirituality in her own life, she just does her best to treat others as she would have them treat her, which is all that really matters, the journey is hers to travel, I can give guidance when asked and I can also live by example one day at a time.

I look back over those first few months and year in total awe at the gift's I was given by my God. God took a sick alcoholic and once again showed him hope and love, once again put the right people in his life at the right time. I am a miracle and I am one of the blessed, this is said in with completely humility.

Short gratitude list to end a long post.

I am grateful for the unpleasant deeds I did that got me to the place of surrender, they are
a reminder of where I came from and where I can return to.

I am grateful for the 2 angels who showed up at my very first meetings welcoming me back into recovery with loving open arms.

I am grateful for We Agnostics, the chapter in the Big Book that has saved my life more than once, for God inspiring Bill to write those wonderful words for those of us who have trouble with the "God Thing"

I am grateful for K, whose love nurtured my back to healthy sobriety and continues to do so.

I am grateful for all the people I have met in recovery past and present, they have all left a mark on my heart.

I am grateful for starting this blog and all the wonderful people I have met through it.

I am grateful for the little dog I got a couple of months prior to getting sober who has been my constant companion ever since.

I am grateful for the healthy relationship I had with my dad during his last years, for the healthy relationship I have with my mother today.

I am grateful for the wonderful relationship I have with my daughter and of course my beautiful granddaughter, and know that I have a chance at having the same relationship with the unborn child now living in my daughter

I am grateful for my job, which allows me to be of serve to God and recovery. Thanksgiving one of the clients wanted to leave treatment, she was full of fear, God allowed me to be a messenger and along with other messengers we changed her mind and she stayed, God worked through us, so even though I didn't get to spend Thanksgiving with the ones I love, I was blessed in spending Thanksgiving where I was needed.

Well campers, I hope everyone has had a great and wonderful weekend!!!

Peace Love and Light of the Spirit

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tiny Messengers

Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls

I'm trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shore.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.

I posted a comment in which I said "I was just a tiny messenger" which lit the Muse's candle, so grab a cuppa because here we go camper's. The bit of lyric from highly under appreciated Indigo Girl's is about how we are always searching for deep meaning while in reality it is the simple less complicated and tiny messages and messengers that can have a strong impact on my life. Yes I can name a dozen or so big name's but for the most part is is less known that effect me the most.

As you all know I am in constant contact with newcomers via my job. These beautiful people are raw, damaged and beaten, not only from alcoholism and addiction but also from abuse, low self esteem, grief, depression, some mental disorders, anti-social behaviors and other things, alcohol and drugs where but a symptom of a much greater problem. Because of this I have to stay as spiritually fit as possible. I am a "tiny messenger for the Grace of a Greater Source".

As a messenger, I need to be open to and always on the look out for messages I can hear that can be translated to others. I have my Big Book, 12 and 12, other GSO books, I have spiritual books most of them are Buddhist in topic but not all, I have my sponsor, the wonderful people at the meetings past and present and then I have you all.

For me there is no "I or Self" not that I remember this all the time, there is still an ego in my psyche who wants to be acknowledged for the things I say and do, thus taking credit. The Big Book is all about WE, the Promises say WE. So it is not I who will receive the promises, it is we. The reason I am using the promises as an example is because this Sunday for Spirituality group I used them as a teaching tool about regaining Spiritual Health. When we share our experience, strength and hope with others, we get better, our lives get better and we get spiritually healthy and the promises come true for us.

All of the promises are important to understand but for our clients the hope lies in mainly in the following promises; knowing a new freedom and happiness, not regretting the past nor wishing to shut the door on it, comprehending serenity and knowing peace, the feeling of uselessness and self pity disappearing, fear of people leaving us, realizing that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. If I was to talk about the promises has they apply to my life only, I would maybe touch 2 in 20 somewhat completely due to similar backgrounds and scratch the surface of acknowledgement with others. When I use the collective We of experiences I can touch the hearts of all those who are willing to listen because it isn't about Scott and those who can relate to Scott, it is much larger and has larger appeal. The We breaks down the uniqueness, when I relate your experiences with alcoholism/addiction, your experiences with recovery, this tiny messenger is able translate better how universal the problem and the solution are.

Something I didn't understand that much about as an average member of AA was the abuse suffered by women and PTSD. As a single parent I understand the shame from neglecting children which effects women greater than most men, women tend to be the main person in a child's life due to the role of being a mother, although once you crack the surface most guy's do feel shame for leaving their children to be raised my the child's mother but they generally don't have the shame for daily neglect that women and single parents do. PTSD, sexual, physical and mental abuse are things I have very little personal experiences with, I did suffer some abuse as a child and PTSD from my life in the military but it isn't combat related. It is via the WE that I am able to carry the message of hope to those who suffer from these forms of abuse and PTSD. It is the Grace of my God that has allowed me to be open and be aware when I hear people at meetings talk about these things thus allowing me to share the experience of that person in the 3rd person way that may assist someone who was not at that meeting. You my wonderful and honest blogger friends are another source of knowledge, I pass on your experience, strength and hope too. I have a deep compassion for the suffers of these wounds, I feel that if they can't acknowledge them and accept them their chances for recovery is lessened. Along with the counselor's, we as tiny messengers for the Greater Source/God, have the chance to change lives. Never assume that when you share about your sufferings either verbally or in writing is in vain because we never know where the Higher Power may have a need for those words. Not all our clients attend AA/NA meetings on a regular bases, it isn't a requirement that they attend meetings outside the treatment center just highly suggested, so they hear the voices of other members echoed in what I and other recovering tech's share.

When I returned to recovery I battled understanding my usefulness to God and to others. I battled understanding and accepting that I am who I am because this is the way my God made me. I didn't want to be me, I wanted to be the studly confident guy who could easily converse with other's, make jokes and have everybody love him. I couldn't accept my role in being the reserved, insightful person who choices his words carefully, who lacks the bullshit gene, who to this day still prefers small groups of laid back people to large noisy crowds. My sponsor and I had a lot of talks about Scott learning to love Scott for who he was and what his God made him to be. Today almost 3 years later, I understand my role as a tiny messenger, what I originally thought where liabilities where in reality my greatest assets. This all goes to prove once again I have no business questioning the work of God. I use the tools given me to improve my conscious contact with my God, tools that require awareness and action on my part but when I doubt my God I need to be silent and realize I don't know the big picture of what God is doing in my life and the life of others.

We are never alone folks, there is no individual One. We are all One, one people in the service of each another and the Greater Source, I am you and you are me and we are all together. Another comment I posted was about if I could be any animal my first choice would be a dolphin, I love dolphin's, I blame this on Flipper, dolphin's for the most part swim the ocean in complete peace and serenity, they are happy and joyous beings, they have compassion, they are aggressive when they need to protect others, they are wonderfully social creatures, I feel they understand the WE more than most human beings do, they seem to accept this with grace. I am not ashamed to say that being dolphin like is a standard that I as a human being would like to work on obtaining. Maybe dolphin's are tiny messenger's from our God too??

Well I need to get myself and the pup some supper. I hope all is well with everyone, that we are all accepting life and our God's terms to the best of our abilities at this particular time in the web.

Peace Love and Light to all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Frothy Emotional Appeal

"Frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices. The message which can interest and hold these alcoholic people must have depth and weight. In nearly all cases, their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, it they are to re-create their lives. " The Doctor's Opinion

A friend of mine just started an in depth Big Book study on Wednesday night that I have made a regular on my list of meetings. We read 1 paragraph at a time and discuss the paragraph then go to to the next, it took 8 people 45 minutes on 3 paragraphs from the Doctor's Opinion and I am loving it!! My experience in the past with book studies has been to read a few page's then discussion. A couple of the people attending have over 20 years and are very knowledgeable so their insight is excellent.

The quote above is one of the three we read this Wednesday. I have read the Doctor's Opinion a few times but I tend to read fast and my mind only catches certain things, so reading at a slower pace is shining light on things I have read but never stopped to think about and the above paragraph is one of those. Plus I have my favorite passages that I read over and over and tend to not read whole chapters very often, I am sure I am alone in this;-)

I love the word "frothy" having a bit of redneck in my attitude, frothy brings up images of silly coffee concoctions people order at coffee houses, drinks made for people who really don't enjoy the rich flavor of coffee on it's own but like a hint of it mixed in with their sugar and whipped cream. No one ever approached me about my drinking problems with sweet appeals, well maybe my mom once or twice, most of the time it was with despair or anger. For the most part people didn't approach me at all because I was deep in denial and would argue the issue with them and they just gave up. What I do know is that "frothy emotional appeal" has little effect on me no what the subject is, if someone has an issue with me sugar coating it doesn't work, it plays on my selfishness and baby side. I prefer straight shooting, up front and honest. It doesn't mean I want people to be drill sergeant assholes but just calm and straight to the point, I am big boy and can take it even if my pride and ego get bruised they will heal. So the good doctor is right about this one.

"Must have weight and depth" no therapist, clergy, family member or non-alcoholic has ever had the strong effect on me that a recovering alcoholic and addict has. Another alkie or junkie can connect with me and I with them because we share a heavy common bond. You all talk my language, you understand the shame, fear and anger, you have suffered like I have suffered, so what you are sharing with me has weigh and depth because I know you know what you are talking about. I think this may also be a trust issue with us, I am going to trust you because your moccasin's have the same smelly dung on them that mine do.

"Their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, it they are to re-create their lives." I have to trust my God if I am going to re-create my life. Some say they didn't have a life prior to recovery but I did although it was a sick life. It has been with the Grace of my God, that I have strong and healthy relationships with my family members, well for the most part, so may family life has been re-created. This also applies to my work life, my interactions with others, being a law abiding citizen and a decent human being. I really on my spiritual condition to keep me grounded, sometimes my selfishness gets out of hand and starts flying upward but thankfully when I get too hot I return to the ground.

So those are my thoughts on that little passage. Feel free to had your own thoughts about it in the comments.

Life is good over all. I was called in to work a couple of times this week to fill in, so there will be a couple of extra dollars in the paycheck which will go for Angel's Christmas. Since I only have one paycheck prior to Christmas, I get paid the 30th of November, for once in my life I will actually buy my presents ahead of time and then budget out the rest of the money for my living expenses, also known as, gas, food and smokes, bills come off the top right away.

One of the full time tech's was either fired or quit today, what happened is privileged information. Her leaving might open some doors for me. I was asked to teach a class today on Meth, one she would usually teach. I was never a speed freak, so I have very little practical experience with any type of speed let alone Meth. My boss gave me the hand out to read over and thanks to God I was able to find enough key phrase in it to use for a good class and discussion, I also relied on the clients who have been addicted to Meth to help me out, so yeah God, yeah clients, you both made me look good in a humble way. There is also an opening for someone to teach Relapse group which is right up my alley, so I told my boss I was interested. I am honestly sad for this tech, she has been having some personal problems which have effected her job performance, late for work, using her cell phone at work, plus having a cynical attitude towards certain clients. I pray she gets the help she needs.

This weekend my schedule is insane but it is self imposed insanity. I work 7am to 3pm tomorrow/Friday, 3pm to 11pm Saturday, 7am to 3pm Sunday and 11pm Sunday night until 7am Monday morning. The shift tomorrow and the early shift on Sunday I volunteered for, I was already scheduled for Saturday and Sunday/Monday grave. Saturday I get to do the Big Book reading group, this week we are going to read There is a Solution, love the part about us being like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Saturday evening it Stress Management which I have to work out a lesson plan for and then Sunday is my baby, Spirituality group. For spirituality group I am going to find something to read concerning love, compassion and friendship, I think I will have them write out what their definitions of these 3 words are, one to have them think about them and what they mean to them and also to see how as individuals our definitions may differ, anyway those are my thought as of right now this may change come Sunday morning.

Well campers I have clothes to put away and a shower to take, so I better get at it. Thanks for tagging along.

The Divine in me Honors the Divine in you!!!
Peace Love and Light