Saturday, December 31, 2016
There is hope though, a lot of it. I see it in the volunteers helping others no matter what. The drop-in centers and the Angels that man them. The Police volunteers that spearhead the community groups in order to help our friends and family. I am grateful and hopeful through those actions and people. The strength and perseverance they show through some hard times has been nothing short of amazing . I don't believe in bad years just bad moments. I also don't believe that you cannot change those things. You have that ability whether it be through your faith, network, hard work, and or determination and will. It takes more muscles to frown then it does smile. Finding meaning in tragedy and turn that into triumph for you and your fellowship is what living life is all about.
Be positively contagious for those who are not where you are just yet. Do not give up on others, imagine what it would have felt like if others gave up on you. Be kind in how you deal with people. Be awesome in every step you take, others may be watching you. Be yourself because everyone else is taken, words that I live by. Be brave and have wisdom when choosing which battles to engage. You cannot avoid them all but you can avoid being in them all. Look for the silver lining in all that you do. Laugh as much possible and as loud as possible. Joy is so much more then a 3 letter word. If you are struggling and need help ask for it. Love will always be much stronger then hate. Hate is just really loud. Don't listen to it. We are here to help you and be there for you every step of the way.
You never have to do it alone again.
Monday, December 26, 2016
Immediately I booked a bus trip back up to Massachusetts. I was done with Florida. I wanted to go see my son. First things first though. I had to get high. Trapped in a hamster wheel promising myself I will always do right by my family, friends, and loved ones right after I get high. So many broken promises the minute the needle hits my vein. I forget quickly, the world becomes distorted and I have no desire to be around people who are not in the same boat. At these moments I don't believe they would understand. Plus I convince myself that I'm not hurting anyone but me. Which is I know now is an absolute lie. The truth today is that I effect and hurt everyone around me when I am lost in these moments that turn into years quickly. I never managed to see my son and after getting into more trouble I fled back down to Florida. Quickly I saw that my cross country tours were wearing thin on everybody including myself. Within a month and half I had taken the greyhound up and down from Massachusetts to Florida six times.
A friend of mine in a halfway house in South Florida had mentioned that there was a Christian Community in Atlanta, Georgia. Without thinking twice I fled for Atlanta. Hoping something would set me straight. Soon as I got out there I quickly realized the biggest problems from being on the Pig Farm. No drugs and No Alcohol. I gave it about a week and fled back to Massachussetts with quick stop in Fayetlville , NC. I was starving and phoned a friend in Massachusetts asking him if he could order Dominoes and have it delivered to the bus stop. Of course my friend with patience and love bought the pizza but not before he had his usual talk with me about getting sober, staying sober, and then eventually working my Recovery. He had been down this road before and was coming up on 5 years clean. When you are lost and struggling and you hear these messages of hope you think its inspiring and wish it true for you. Your reality lies to you and tells you different. It will tell you its meant for them and not you so why bother. If you are struggling don't listen to this message your conscious tells you. Its a lie and took me a decade to figure it out.
There are many people you meet along the way some you wish to never meet again and others you have no choice but to thank God for. My sponsor and my mentor are two that I am grateful for and wish to remember for as long as my life permits me to. My mentor came through the same connection at 4D Recovery. He had introduced us. He owned his own business and had a large Recovery Community and housing for new guys like me. He told me I could stay here for the first month if I promised to work as well as help out around the complex. With no hesitation I said yes. I was jammed up and homeless . My choices were very limited and I had burnt about every bridge along the way to get here. I started to be apart of something and felt apart of finally. There were people with different amounts of sobriety from all over the country with a million stories just like mine some even crazier. We were all there from various struggles but finally I had the same common goal as those that were well around me. To get my life back that drugs and alcohol had taken from me.
My sponsor I had met years back in prison when we were cellmates. Shortly after we both got out we lost track of each other until once again we met 1500 miles away from our home in Massachusetts in the sunny state of Florida. We had our consequences holding us back way back then. Now we have the power of the Universe pushing us towards one another and forward in life. He broke down the 12 steps for me and was able to show me my character defects in a way no other person has been able to. He explained of powerlessness and told me of my responsibility and reward of giving what I have been freely given away to others that are just like I was. I still have the same sponsor and have moved on from my mentor. I still have respect, love, and appreciation for what he has shown me. He taught me how to move in the field of treatment and how to speak to others. Today I sit down at the table as a professional with other professionals all because someone believed in second chances. Second chances are paid for with people who do not make it and end up losing their life to addiction. I think of these things now every time the thought of drinking or using come up. It has been almost a year since I picked up drugs or alcohol and my life is completely changed. Then I felt nothing. Today I feel everything and that feels amazing.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Their was a method the that they had suggested to another mother which was successful. The person on the phone suggested to us guided family children's meditation. So I searched it out on youtube and found a childrens guided meditation called the Enchanted Forest. Which as cliché as this might sound as a family we found the magic in meditation. Since implementing meditation I have learned to let go of the stresses I carry with me after work and leave them at work. More able now more then ever to focus on my family and there needs without worry. My mind clear and I have free conscience with less worry. The anxiety of that train ride home from the city and the fear of what horrors my little ones have unleashed upon my house are over. They still make their messes like every child does or 3 and a half in my case. But we are a better unit and the stress is no longer there. I am able to approach every situation in the moment and as is instead of worrying about what hasn't happened.
With my children I have found them much calmer and relaxed instead of bouncing off the walls. They still bounce from time to time but its more of a game instead of chaos. There is harmony within my family. My parenting has improved with this new found Mommy tool. I am grateful for reaching out and finding a new alternative to deal with the stresses of being a parent with a full time job while going to school part time. It is fun for myself and my children. They look forward to this as a family and I as well with them. Before implanting this with my family I was just looking for a solution to make more of me. Almost one for each of my beautiful children. Their needs individually as well as their needs as a family are always my first priority. They know now when Mommy gets out of work we all have something to do together that benefits our Mind, Body, and Soul.
Monday, December 19, 2016
I turn to the addict next. My anger and pain that he or she has caused us all for ending such a beautiful life to soon. How can they be so damn selfish when all of us love them so much? Do they not see the value that we see in them? I am mad at these moments for losing them. For having to search for their voices only in my dreams. So what now? I turn my angst inward I begin the self-blame for not doing all I could do. Had I not done enough? Still I find no right answer. This disease has become a Social Disease. What if someone was not suffering from the disease of addiction but rather caught up in a moment of advertisement not realizing that were being advertised too. What if we are advertising for what we stand against unknowingly ? What if we do not realize what we are showing the next person growing up who is feeling misplaced in the world. Someone who struggles to find a voice but see's the noise his neighbor had made through his addiction. Later being memorialized on Facebook with his passing soon after at a vigil? So he or she decides to take that path. Not because he or she is an addict but because their society had created a path they did not realize looks appealing to some feeling out of place and easily influenced.
We suffer as a community but not all suffer from the same thing that we are so quickly to label with the same stamp. How much are we truly missing from the problem? The solution might be something we are overlooking if we are not searching in the right places having such a singular focus. In recovery we say the problem is not in the drugs it is in the thinking. What if our solution lied in thinking that we have not tapped into yet? We must be willing to consistently shake the foundation of our conscience if we are to ever evolve in how we combat this epidemic. Figure out what works. discard the rest, change if we have to, and never give up.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
From politicians to medical professionals we have been lied to long enough. A change in reform must happen or this epidemic will not shift. We are dealing with an overdose epidemic country wide that is completely wiping out a generation and spilling into the generations coming up. The Social Disease of Addiction as my friends at 4D Recovery have termed it. They are working around the clock with client care trying to make a dent with the , "great epidemic of the 2000's". I have personally lost well over 50 individuals whom I have grown up with. Most funerals I find myself just going through the motions not really able to comprehend it any longer. I feel jaded at every sad ending to a long struggle with addiction. How can we make a dent when industries are the first to receive benefits. The same businesses that sickened us now are the same ones with grants to come up with, " The Cure" with more medication. The industries measure of reform come in the push for legalizations of marijuana and the fallacy that it will help curb drug addiction. Less is given towards the towns and communities that actually put in the work for real change. More drugs? Less problems? How about less drugs, less problems. More funding, more education, and more money to those communities and less for those industries.
We have politicians giving us some then taking back more. Governor Charlie Baker is a perfect example of such maneuvers that leave the Recovery Community scrambling once again for funding that is already so scarce. Shortly after signing a landmark opioid bill The Governor was quoted as saying, " I am proud to sign this legislation marking a remarkable statewide effort to strengthen prescribing laws and increase education for students and doctors." Fast forward to a week ago Charlie Baker as part of a state wide budget has cut 1.9 million dollars for Substance Abuse Treatment. I'm sure reasoning is outlined. For a lot of us there is no excuse when we are struggling as is to get the ones we love the proper treatment they need.
The reform we need has still not be presented to us. It is forming however within the communities that are grossly underfunded. We have been lied too long enough. Education for children is needed. Treatment is an amazing tool although unfortunately it is the last resort. Being proactive in our school systems instead of cutting budgets for them. Like diverting money from public school systems to fund charter schools. We live in a society where the take is always much bigger then the give when it comes to those in less of position to stop such things. We need help and our voices are becoming louder. As parents we will not settle for hopelessness there is always hope. We are the silver lining for those who are looking for answers. Lets focus our future on solutions and creativity. Let us continue to pray for our children, family, and friends.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Along the way to Recovery you are going to need help. Sometimes you are going to need it so much that you feel as if you are doing nothing but bothering people. The idea that you should have your shit together is a story we tell ourselves. It is just that, a story that we perpetuate into something we pass of as true when it is the furthest thing from it. I have a friend over at 4D Recovery I speak with a lot. Not only is he in recovery but he is intelligent in grounded in faith. Our conversations range from sobriety, religion, life, success, drive, health, and family. I need that I need professionals around me to listen to me and talk to me through my insecurities, anxieties, and fears of failure. If it wasn't for them and their time that they volunteer I would feel crazy in my recovery. I need guidance and help every step of the way. My fellowship was my family while I mended those relationships with my blood family. They showed me love and took me in. Spent hours and weeks with me just talking and being that friend that we all need. I love my fellowship and will always remain grateful to them. Before my belief in God there was belief in my sponsor that there was a God. He hammered home two true fact that hold truth to this day.
1. That there is a God
2. That I am not him.
So many times through my failures in my recovery I would try to wrestle control from the universe instead of letting this just happens as they and accepting them as they are. We all do right? That is what makes us human. From an addicts perspective these things are trivial and sometimes so hard to comprehend. To let go! That we become overwhelmed and frustrated to a point where using and medicating seem the only viable way out of our thoughts. Help is the best way out of the mental prison. How do we know we need help if we don't have the right people around us? Who do we reach out to? That's why friends like I have mentioned have helped mold me into who I am becoming and keep me grounded when my mind gets away from. If you need help don't wait 10 years like I did. I had to lose everything in order to say I NEED HELP. The three words that saved my life . You don't have to. Some of you will but you defiantly don't have to.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Then comes my natural insecurities of myself that I believe we all carry as humans. Some more aware then others but there is a common thread there as people. That is sometimes our biggest downfalls as humans. Self-awareness. I definitely have it. Recently I gained weight from tearing my rotator cuff. I am heavier then I ever have been and not too happy or confident about it. My natural thought process was everyone is going to see the part of me that I don't like and I won't be able to get away from their eyes. I was judging myself for what I looked like instead of measuring myself for the character I have. This is an irrational thought that my sub-conscious passes off to me as the truth and sometimes it is hard to tell what is real and what is fake. There is a line that I love in Alcoholics Anonymous that states, " although we admit it injurious we cannot differentiate the true from the false". They were talking about alcohol. What I really feel like is they are talking about the state of mind before we pick up the drink . Or in my case the panic attack that came with these thoughts. Instead of processing this irrational thought I pushed it down and kept walking towards Champs. Strike two.
I struggle with complexes of others I perceive as being better then me. The struggle came from seeking attention when I was younger . I always felt in competition with stepfathers and other men in my house. So I sought and starved for attention in many forms. To this day although I do not like to always talk about it I believe it is important to express these thoughts because I know I am not alone anymore with these feelings and struggles. Right before entering Champs my mind started perpetuating stories of men in there being better then me. That they were more worthy of the women I love and that maybe one day I would lose her to someone like this. There was no specific face just a variable. These people represent X in my panic attack equation. My confidence was shot and I was already struggling from suppressing the other insane irrational thoughts I was having. I said, " why not?". Lets not deal with this one either. Strike 3. I was out and whiffed hard at the curveball. My subconscious had won without ever telling me one good thing about myself or the truth about my situation. I was in full blown panic mode. My anxiety was horrible. I couldn't stand still. I hated myself and everyone around me from the way I looked to the way they sounded and I could not tell you why. Needless to say I made it out of that store shortly after without buying anything.
This is my story and a true story. Shortly after feeling like I was drowning I walked over to my girlfriend and told her the truth. I just simply said I am having a panic attack. I didn't know why then but later figured it out with a professional and now I am able to explain it to you. Therapy helps for moments like these and many more. I don't always have a cure for what plagues me but as long as it does not kill me I will remain proactive in trying to find a solution. Anxiety and panic attacks are real and usually brought on by inside problems that we project to outside situations. I didn't have social anxiety although I would say at the moment I did. It started with me. All I wanted to do was sit in my chair and lay back at that moment and calm down. I couldn't I was in Time Square in Champs sneaker store trying to just buy a pair of sneakers. If you struggle like I do I suggest you take the suggestion of self care. It may help you actually buy a pair of sneakers like I couldn't. Or see the world through different lenses finally. There is beauty in my anxiety I just have to be brave enough to discover it. My therapist explained that before I even walked into that store I was being attacked by all these self destructive entities my subconscious had created. I was floored by the description but in total agreement.
Friday, November 25, 2016
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Friday night I had just got back in the house with my daughter and received a call from my fathers wife. She told me my father had a massive heart attack while breaking up a fight and was being transported to a nearby hospital. Immediately regret set in and all the could of and should of thoughts rushed my mind. I should have called him and spoke with him that week . I could have been a better more compassionate person to him. These are common regrets we have when we either lose someone or nearly lose someone we love. Time runs out, life is undefeated in humbling you by showing you what mortality really means. Don't live with regrets or leave a job without finish the work. Fortunately for my father he made is out of the heart attack but he will even tell you that smoking and not recognizing his mortality will catch up too you. He is a very strong man with a huge heart but time and life catch up to us all. Live your life with the ones you love as if today was the only day we can have with them. Love hard, have compassion, learn patience and tolerance, and most of all be grateful.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
When facing any challenge in life you must have the mindset of a champion or you will lose and sometimes lose badly. Not every battle ends in a win but they can always finish with a victory. My mindset when I first got clean was to never go back to the way I used to live ( strung out and homeless). Those thoughts would haunt me so in turn I would torture myself with the mindset of a champion. I would tell myself even if I faced loss I would never allow defeat of myself again. I never believed in myself and allowed doubt to destroy my character and sense of self. I was broken and lost and didn't recognize the man I thought I learned how to be.
I have yet to be defeated in the last 6 years. I have taken so many losses on so many chances coupled with things like death which is completely out of my hands. When I lost my closest friend I felt defeat and at the same time victory over my own disease and addiction. It can be a double edge sword. Death to addiction reminds you of your own mortality and renews the sense of gratitude for being sober if you remain open minded. Never lose hope or your problems will win. I am a champion of my addiction and choose to remain at the top. On the road to victory you will make so many mistakes as I have but never let it discourage you. These are the things that mold you and make you a sharper fighter when its time to step back into the ring. Your mindset is everything. Your mind is what is going to tell you and fight you on whether you should engage your soul. When I skip prayer it starts with the argument I have going on with my mind. Should I or shouldn't I? Why when you can pray in the car? I'm in a rush Ill do it later today. But that moment usually does not come. Your mind does a good job of hiding your memories that are most important to you. The ones that remind you of the person you are fighting to be.
Watch out for the thoughts that defeat you. Be aware that those voices just might not be you. They are not your friends and most likely would give anything to see you lose. Have faith and courage through your trials and tribulations. They will be your armor , strength, and sight when you are blinded by calamity and negativity. Having the heart of a champion does not require physical strength. It is the essence of life built up from within. It is in you already you just have to nourish and cultivate that which is ready to grow. You are a warrior act like it till you feel it and it becomes a part of your everyday character. With this mind set you will face many losses but never feel defeat.
This is dedicated to my father Edward Johnson who just survived a heart attack. Thank you for showing me yet again that there are levels to victory. I love you.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
The morning after my last drink I woke up in my brother’s boiler room with tears streaming down my face.
I wanted to die.
If I’d had a gun there I would’ve stuck the nozzle in my mouth and pulled the trigger. Gladly.
I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore.
I crawled off the futon, walked through the kitchen, and pissed all over my brother’s backyard.
I stumbled back to my room and as I was about to lay down and pass out again for a few hours, I did something I hadn’t done in almost twenty-five years.
In that rug less room, with the tiny swinging window carved high into the concrete, my only indication of whether it was day or night, with the leathery aftertaste of Jose Cuervo stuck to my tongue and stale, flat Coor’s Light rolling around in my gut, I got down on my knees and prayed to a god I didn’t believe in.
My prayer was simple and I felt like a fool, but I did it anyway.
I need help.
I can’t do this anymore. Please help me. Please.
Later that day I called a friend I had met at an meeting the previous week and he told me to come pick him up and we’d goto a meeting.
As soon as he got in the truck he asked, “Are you done?”
Without hesitation, I answered yes.
I got my twenty-four hour chip that night and it was embarrassing and shameful but I knew I had to do it. My friend insisted on it anyway.
The next few weeks were a haze.
I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t eat much.
I felt completely lost.
I kept going to meetings but I wasn’t listening to anything that was said. When it was my turn to read, I’d pass and I never spoke a word. But I kept going.
I knew I never wanted to drink again so I took the suggestions that were offered to me. I went to meetings. I got a sponsor. I started (begrudgingly) the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
And my life improved immensely. I also went on commitments with my home group and was able to identify with them (and they with me). It didn't matter what our backgrounds were-we were all alcoholics trying to stay sober for just one more day. I found solace in that. I also found some of the best friends I'm ever going to have, friends who don't co-sign my garbage and who keep me real.
Since becoming sober I received both my Certified Personal Training certificate from The National Academy of Sports Medicine and my certificate as a Certified Health Coach from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
I also published my first book, "And Drink I Did", in July of 2015. It's the story of my alcoholism and my recovery from this insidious disease.
I know that if I stay connected to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, regularly attend meetings, and practice the 12 Steps on a daily basis, I'm capable of anything.
Sobriety is the single most important thing in my life and I'm grateful every day (one day at a time) that I'm able to not only stay sober, but to carry that message to other alcoholics who may be suffering.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Write a goodbye letter to Heroin. This is my thank you card for fucking up my life. You have hurt me too long. I moved on to Hope and Healing. That you promise of a future that you and the needle lied about damn near killed me. It was a good run but the Sun came out and I need to dry off. My daughter is getting older and we both need each other more then ever. Our past was an experience but the present seems incredible. I am finally excited about my future instead of worrying about my tomorrow. I don't wake up sick any more the color is back in my soul. I feel vibrant and alive and my laughter is back. The obsession with you is over although I make think of you in passing. You were my love till I grew older then turned into my Beautiful Disaster.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Why Editing My Truth No Longer Works For Me
Most of my life I operated under the assumption that I was wrong and other people were right. I am not sure where this idea came from, but I just always believed that society and other people knew more than me and so any thought or feeling that I had that lay outside of the norm I believed was wrong.
Due to this I would constantly edit my own truths. I wouldn’t share what I really thought or believed and I would just go along with the crowd, never really giving myself the ability to get to know who I was. I would just agree with whatever idea was presented to me and take it on as fact because it came from a place outside of myself. Doing this caused me to take on all sorts of faulty beliefs over the years and when I finally got sober I was awash with half-truths and mixed up ideologies. I couldn’t differentiate what I really believed and what others told me I should believe. You see I knew that as an addict my mind behaved in an irrational manner and I had learned long ago to never trust what it told me.
The thing about this is that this didn’t stop once I got sober. I didn’t instantly become more in tune with who I was or what I believed and I continued to just go along with what other people said. To a certain extent, looking at it objectively now, the editing of my truths may have actually gotten worse once I got sober.
See the thing of it is that when I got sober I sort of had to put aside any personal beliefs and thoughts I had, in order to follow what other people told me. I was told that my thinking was skewed and that my best thinking on my best day got me in the dilemma I was in, so I had to trust other’s thinking in order to overcome my alcoholism.
In the beginning, this was very helpful and it also took some of the stress off of me in terms of having to make decisions. I could just call my sponsor and support group, ask them what they thought and then go with whatever the general consensus was. It really was a great thing, but unfortunately, it also caused me to never truly trust myself.
I started to become dependent on other people’s truths and just went along with whatever they said because I didn’t trust myself. I also didn’t want to upset them by going in a different direction then they suggested, so I would just bow down to other people’s realities and never really got in touch with my own. It wasn’t until I did this for a few years that I started to realize how damaging this was to me.
I remember clearly that on a number of occasions people gave me their suggestion or they said something that I completely disagreed with and I just went along with it. At the time I knew that it didn’t feel right but I wasn’t sure of myself enough to speak up. Since I didn’t speak up I usually felt terrible when I was alone with my thoughts and I felt like a pushover and phony.
The good thing is that the longer that I have stayed sober, the harder it has been for me to do this, going along with others and editing my truth that is, and I find more and more that I have to speak up and I have to trust myself. This may sound counterintuitive because the point is driven home in us that we cannot trust our own thinking; that our thinking is diseased and at all costs, we must avoid it, but this is not really anyway to live and trust God.
I know that in order for me to be able to see the full picture of my life I need others input, but I also need to be able to trust myself and speak up when necessary. This can sometime feel like a balancing act that I am not equipped for, but lately, I have been challenging myself to speak up more and follow my intuition.
This is incredibly uncomfortable for me to do and there are many times when I just want to crawl back into my people-pleasing hole and rest on the conclusions of others, but I know that I can no longer do this. Part of growing up for me is the ability to stand on my own two feet with my own beliefs and not apologize for them. Some people may find the things I say or do weird, and that is okay because it just means that it is not their truth.
Mulling over these ideas has also lead me to a new and comforting fact— no one has any idea what they are doing. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but rather that life is fairly confusing and most of us are just grasping in the dark for answers, trying to do the best we can. Coming to understand this allowed me to see that in most cases, people’s opinions are no more right or wrong then my own and that if I truly believe something, then I have to follow it.
The back of our medallions say, “To thine own self be true” and even though Shakespeare used this quote in an ironic way, essentially saying don’t be yourself, the fact of the matter remains that to my own self I must be true, and doing so means following my own truths.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
I reached out to her and asked if it would be ok to help them out for Christmas. She was probably shocked by my gesture. I was just eager and grateful. I finally found the miracle on Christmas that we hear about. I can't remember what the gifts were or what gifts I had been given by friends or loved ones. The memory of Joy was the first long lasting gift that no one could take away from me. If you are looking for something to do in your life, recovery, venture, etc. Give back to others. Give your time to those who need it. Make a phone call that you usually wont. Spend time with those that matter. You have been giving an opportunity in this world to make something long lasting. To leave the right type of legacy does not take genius or ingenuity it takes desire and imagination. The memories on Christmas will forever outweigh the presents on Christmas, to give is the greatest gift of all. I believe God places people into your life to change you suddenly or subtly . For me the impact was instant and long lasting. I am not perfect and can still be selfish but every time Christmas comes around I have my mission and for that I am thankful.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
That time was difficult for all of us especially my mother. The stresses we show our children are nothing like the ones we withhold from them. Speaking as a father I know this to be more then true. We had a routine at times where my mother would ask me to pick up my sister Katie who was only a baby in daycare if she wasn't going to be home in time. The walk seemed forever and I would say yes no matter the whether. We were like a team at times . My mother always preached family first. Always protect your sister, hold doors for women, be respectful, be polite, never lose your imagination. I can go on and on with the lessons she would teach. Or tell you how I watched her struggle from choices and at the hands of domestic violence. I even watched her try to commit suicide. I took it real bad. I felt as if she placed that before her kids. Before me, if she loved me so much how could she try to even do something like this? But she struggled then like I struggled later on in life and now I get it. When you feel so trapped inside yourself and that internalized pain is far greater then any pain you have ever felt externally you implode. Not always in suicide but addiction, self harm, abuse and bullying of others, etc. She is a warrior and we all made it through those times together. At that time she had her heart broken by my stepfather and he had just thrown her across the room in front me of the day before.
We had so many ups and downs as family, we were very poor and she was a single mother working to just stay afloat. Some winters the oil would run out with no money to fill the tank we would bundle up and turn the stove on to attempt to heat some of the house. It was at those moments you realize family is all you have. We were all stressed. I showed it mostly in school. My class work was off the charts but I did not participate in homework. I was either too focused on what the adults were struggling with or out committing some form of crime. Smashing house windows, stealing, lighting fires, breaking in to peoples houses and cars. I would steal so many things from stores then try to turn around and sell them in school. I never saved the money I didn't know what to do with it. We never had any and I never knew the value of a dollar. My first 13 years in this world were primarily on paper food stamps. I still remember the 1 dollar brown bills in food stamp money.
My home life would sometimes get exposed at school if my mother decided to challenge the "system". Like the time my mother wrote to the newspaper. In it she wrote how the school system was unfair to lower income families. Mainly in regards to her not being able to afford football equipment for me. I love her for what she did but I was so embarrassed at school. I tried to hide that we were poor. But it was too late and the captain of the football team walked by me on the way to class and asked, " Why is your mother such a ( The word is completely inappropriate)". I lost it on him. I threatened his life. I was going to pick up the pipe right near my hand and split him open. I hurt because I knew even in high school how hard she fought for us. She gave her life up to raise us. Bullying is real and you never know what kind of home life someone has and the struggle they face just to show up for life daily. You also never know who that person may become . There is a saying I live by, " Never look down on someone that maybe one day you may look up too".
My family has character and everyone of us are characters. We are warriors that have survived so much as family. We have had have had angels that I only can thank God for placing them in our lives when we needed them most. My grandmother although we had our battles and it may seem like just my resentments I am grateful for. I can still see her walking up the street on multiple Christmases with bags of toys that she had taken on the train and carried them to us from her home. My mother like my grandmother raised their kids alone . They share the same struggle. Also the same love for kids. I owe a lot of who I am from watching them. They did it better alone then other time with any man. I learned how to be brave even though I am afraid of failing all the time. The message I got today brought me back to a time of struggle and appreciation and if I could ever do it again. I wouldn't change one thing.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
This can be applied to life, business, and the culture you are trying to immerse yourself in. Am I willing to accept the consequences of my actions and decisions? Well..(Are you?) If you are unsure then maybe those moments and situations need further examination before entering into it. That pause you take for yourself before taking action can mean the difference between a thousand and a million. Life or your unexpected and totally avoidable death
I have found myself in my personal life and business life immersed in the consequences that I did not want chasing only a result I desired . Both personally and professionally they have effected me greatly and in a few such moments they nearly ended my life. I am only here today because I have learned to pause in a lot of my situations.
We sometimes close our eyes go all in and just hope for the best. Well..don't. Place value on your life and or business. The quality of life you will receive with your eyes open is far greater then that which you will receive with them closed. The world is not scary. Perpetuated doubt is what fuels fear. Which will prevent you from growing personally and professionally.
I think the worst situation for me would be to have my eyes open but watch the world pass me by. I challenge myself with growth everyday. I do a lot of things afaraid. I do them anyway. My list of regrets should be blank when I am done. I have had so much time on this planet not to waste. It would be a shame to take advantage of my most precious commodity.
Monday, October 24, 2016
If you have survived to this point and identify with this story. Know it is a true story and you are not a loser or any of the lies we perpetuate to ourselves or others press upon us. We are warriors meant to transform the status quo. To create a safe pathway for those without a voice. You are a winner and a champion of trauma. Domestic violence and child abuse have no room in my life and I do not tolerate it around me and I do not pass it on to my child. She will know that she matters. I can remember her and I walking one day and we are cracking jokes back and forth. She was walking behind me and said, " You are a loser". At that moment I paused but did not let her see it effected me. But it did. I am not sure If I will ever fully escape the stigma of that word but you can be for certain I am going to help others that struggle in the same fashion. So I turned to her and explained that I do not like that word and that nobody is a loser. Its hard to explain to her that her Great Grandmother was cruel in that sense. If she reads this when she gets older I want her to know that this is my truth. This is my life that I survived and that you will face many wars in your life. Don't ever give up on yourself and know that if it wasn't for you I might have. You came at a time when I was at my lowest. I survived it to become the father I always wanted to be for you. Neither you nor I or anyone for that matter will ever be losers. This is a cold world that can eat you alive if you let it. So make the best of it and bring light and love to the ones around you. Be the light for the others that become lost and need to find their way home. Just like you were the light for me when I drifted into the deep. Be a winner like a Boss. Be the champion of all your challenges in your life. Impossible cannot be spelled without the word possible.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
So here we were once again and I wanted to be left alone. He wanted me to get better. He saw that my spirit was sick and kept mentioning to me to start believing in a new faith in which he had found. At first it started off with prayer. What I didn't know is that he was reaching out to the Pastors at the church and praying for me to get there for over a year. Then he would nag me to go and I would refuse. Eventually we verbally fought over him wanting me to be open minded and just attend and me wanting to be left alone. I thought I was well. The problem is the Devil will tell you 100 truths about yourself just to slip in one lie. That lie was that I didn't need any more then what I had when it came to faith. I believed in the basics and up until that point that was perfectly fine with me. Or so I thought. What was he seeing that I didn't in me? What was it that he found that I hadn't yet? These questions were burning inside me and I was burning up with anger that once again he was competing with me and I was losing. Not realizing I was competing within myself and kicking my own ass. Understanding that I am going to be the hardest opponent I have to face all day is easier said then done. Sometimes its best to just get out of my own way.
Reluctantly I gave in. Mike if you are reading this you didn't win and you will never. In all honestly from the past we both had together and separately to what we have become is the impossible becoming possible. Recently he got married , has two children, and a rescue pitbull we shared together named Nina. He is tucked away safe from the chaos we used to bring on ourselves. He is clean and not the person anyone remembers . All due to the Grace of God. I started to change in this new fellowship. At first I was listening and then out the door the minute it was over. No stopping for conversations or small talk. I didn't want to be asked personal things and I wasn't ready to share. I hurt so bad inside , I was going through so much. I decided to get active quietly or so I thought. The funny thing is when you reach out to God for help it does not always come quietly. Sometimes the Universe seems to conspire to help you. Suddenly I found myself immersed in a new belief and a new family.
The message came to me so much clearer then I have ever experienced before until that point. Still I was broken and I needed an answer to the one question that frightened me the most. If I have already sinned then what is the point in changing my ways now? Pastor John had a very simple but most impactful answer for me. He said, " God already forgives you for your past sins and the sins you are going to commit". What he explained was that the point is to recognize these things repent or change your ways and continue bettering your life and those around you. Ok the answer was not that simple but the message was divine. Mike's push brought me there through his faith. If reading this and you think , " Oh he must not think he sins now". Wrong I know I do but it renews my faith to understand no matter how far gone I feel there is someone that already knows my story and loves me when I cannot love myself. Having a mentor with me as I try to grasp and learn this new way of life has been valuable to my growth. If you are struggling with lack of inspiration, pain, addiction, depression, or whatever it might be. If you find yourself lost in a crowd of people. Find yourself a mentor. Mine was a pastor. Yours might be different. Just don't pass on the opportunity when the universe presents itself to you. You were not made to feel alone. Especially if Adam had Eve. It could be the most important decision you will ever make in your life. I know mine was and still is it is infinite love and power that I have discovered not mine but loaned to me for the price of service, worship , and prayer.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Pete and I first met through our mutual sponsor. He was loud, loving, and obnoxious. He was extremely smart and talent with word and lyric. He had such a way of pissing you off with his words and also harbored a hidden talent of writing music. You would never know with spending the majority of time speaking fluently in sarcasm and insanity. We didn't intend to go crazy or die. Its what the obsession brought on by drug addiction starting with drug use brings. I hear so much talk these days about safe alternatives and medications to cure drug addiction. Personally speaking after leaving the lad of drug abuse and experiment for over 10 years there is NO CURE. Just solutions and the chemical way has already failed us. How is it supposed to cure us? It is said that these alternate medications take care of the cravings. Suboxen is said to do this exact thing while blocking opioids. Yes it does take care of the craving. But it is never the craving that gets us in trouble. Its the obsession. I crave beer hear and there to this day. Fleeting thoughts that never transpire or last for more then a few seconds. The obsession to chase that first one lasted me 10 years and led to arrests and homelessness. The obsession led me down a path where I could not recognize who I was nor could the people in my life. They thought I was making bad decisions and at one point so did I. Truth is though we were right and wrong. Right that I was unrecognizable wrong that I was making the decisions.
The obsession is like no other. If Pete were here he could tell you about it. We share similar and different war stories. We also share being parents and being helpless to our addiction while our kids were young. My mind was so foggy with how to fix myself. I only had one clear thought. When and how the fuck am I getting high today? As long as I could get high first I could start trying to figure out how to get my life back together. Who I was going to be that day depended on how my medication worked that day. The hard reality is the medication hadn't worked the same since the first day I tried it. I nodded out almost puked and fell in love with opiates. I remember falling asleep that night with a blueprint on how to fix all my problems. My mind and heart were so connected that night. I had reached a spiritual experience that I had never experienced before or after as a matter of fact. It came with one catch though. The next day I wasn't going to remember shit until I tapped back into that finite power. I would tap into again and again and just like the first time the answer was there when I was high and nowhere to be found when I was sober. Pete and myself along with so many others have all shared this same exact experience. We are not morally bad people making shitty decisions. We are unique talented souls who are in trouble and need some serious help. We cannot figure it out for ourselves and it does not seem to be getting better. So whether you see us as sick and suffering or just bad people. You should get to know who we are before you only get to know about who we were. I only can tell you who Pete was. I prefer to still think about who he is. He is important and will remain important along with all the other friends we have lost as a collective nation. I loved him like a brother. I am going to miss you Peter. Thank you for everything brother.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Saturday, October 15, 2016
When my father tried having a talk with me about God I had told him , " F-God". He doesn't exist. I was 18 years old, pissed off and had the world figured out. I thought he might laugh or joke with me but he was adamant about me finding a some sort of faith. I was great at avoiding and running counters to get away from what I felt was not a good fit for me. To me there was no God. If he existed I wouldn't have had to deal with the life I had to that point. By 18 I had gone through physical abuse as well as witness my mother go through it. We had experienced true poverty trying to heat the house with the stove because we couldn't afford oil. The beginning of the school year was always difficult . While other kids came in with name brands we used to have to wait for the welfare school allowance that went towards all three of us. Trust me 1800 for an entire school year does not go very far for a single mother with 3 kids. I would get bullied in school for my attire. It was so traumatic to be made to feel different when you already had struggles at home. So to me if there was a God , why the fuck would he put me and my family through this shit.
You can imagine how the religious intervention went. I am laughing now thinking about it. I can't remember if they were Mormons or Jehovah Witness. They came to my door after one of our blasphemous talks. My father told them to come back another day to speak to me or to perform and exorcism , one of the two. I was not made aware of this secret plan until a week later 5 minutes before their arrival so ran out the door literally and hid behind the house until they left. My agnostic behavior lasted well into my 20's. I would only pray to God when I had reached a new low in my life like being arrested for masked armed robbery. I put on a ski mask and robbed the local convenience store like an asshole. I got caught and landed in county jail for the first time. I was terrified my first night. God and I had a long talk that day. Then found that I enjoyed it and totally forgot that I was asking for his help 2 days before to get me out of my situation. I was around people like me being fed for free without a care in the world. That is the problem with jail there is more less rehabilitation then you think. When you are used to struggling and getting high having the struggle for a bed and a bag, pill, or drink and now someone is offering you free room and board. You get comfortable real quick. heavier moments when I would shoot a bag of heroin just before bed. My breathing would slow and I would wonder if I was going to die. How my daughter is going to grow up without me. That if God could just make sure I wasn't going to die I would change my life tomorrow. It was always tomorrow and yet God still loved me for all the lies I told. All the promises I never kept. For all the mistakes I made and I was going to make. God did exist . My mother still tells me today that Gods favorites always have the hardest times. If you are struggling I hope you make it through the pain and storm to discover this for yourself.