28 March 2017

Freedom Through Inventory

The Tenth Step of ACOA says that we continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

Freedom Through Inventory

Could I be wrong?
Is there even a doubt?
The questions raise little doubt
promptly… make that amend

centerness and ego take a back seat
relations with others and oneself
is the goal for happiness
serenity and peace will follow

it’s never wrong to admit fault
it’s never wrong to accept responsibility
it is said actions speak louder than words
yet… “I’m sorry” can heal many wrongs

the ego can be the road to destruction
humility the path to construction
building new roads... finding new ways
making life more enjoyable

it’s never wrong… to say i’m wrong
it’s never right… to ignore a wrong
it’s ok to be seen… as a human being
in the end the spiritual will awaken

a handshake… a hug…
the walls come down
a beautiful place to be
forgiveness between you and me

13 March 2017

Step Ten of ACOA

Step Ten of ACOA says that we continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

When you first start a program of recovery, doing a daily personal inventory can seem quite daunting.  Over time though, the process runs like a fine tuned machine because over time you learn from your mistakes and they aren't repeated....


One of the hardest things to learn as a child is humility. A child has a strong ego. A child wants to be the center of attention and they live to always be right. Sadly, not only do children behave this way. Any adult child, who is not in recovery, knows they are always right… just ask them.

It all goes back to what was mentioned in the very first sentence – humility. Humility isn’t thinking less about yourself, it is thinking of yourself less. As an adult, that can be achieved as a child it is difficult. And as an untreated ACOA it is nearly impossible.

The hard part about being “untreated” and “treated” is knowing when what you are doing is for self-help and not an action of vengeance. Recently, I had a one-sided argument with someone who finished their discussion by saying, that they were more of a man than me because they were able to forget the past.

If you can forget it, have you forgiven it? Or did you just bypass all of that mumbo-jumbo? In my youth I tried to forget and it lead to suicide attempts and addictions to alcohol and drugs. By trying to forget, I nearly killed myself.

I had to find the humility to admit that I was powerless, that as a child I had no control. That part was difficult, yet I needed to do it to get to the next step which was having the pain acknowledged. I was physically, verbally, and sexually abused, it is not wrong, or make me less of a man to want it acknowledged.

What would be wrong, is intentionally hurting someone to justify my means to justify my recovery. An example, if I was abused as a child, than I have the right to abuse others. It would be easy for an ACOA to justify these actions. “It didn’t kill me and it won’t kill them!”

What is that old saying? Two wrongs don’t make a right. That is why as an ACOA, the need to admit our wrongs is imperative, not only to do, but to do it as soon as possible. If I don’t, the child deep inside of me will come to believe that the adult me is god… and that is a terrible place for an ACOA, as well as an alcoholic to be.

20 February 2017

No Explanations

The Ninth Step of ACOA says, “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

No Explanations

So hard to not explain
there were reasons for the insanity
yet… it doesn’t matter
it was wrong… it wasn’t right

pains inflicted… so much hurt
survival was the reason
still not justified
“sorry” just seems to easy

an amend to long to make
hoping for an understanding
not concerned about forgiveness
just an acceptance

praying for freedom
from a past that won’t leave
a goal of peace
within and without

it can happen
a future together
first though… an olive branch
with no explanations

19 February 2017

Making amends in ACOA

The Ninth Step of ACOA says, “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

When a person does a 12 Step program, every step feels like a new weight of the world has been placed on your shoulder. Step Nine is no exception to this rule. In fact, for me it was not only a difficult step to take but also a very scary one.

The hard part for me was that I could justify all my actions because it was a matter of survival. Not only emotional and spiritual survival but also physical survival. There were times I lied to save myself from physical harm. There were times I lied because I didn’t want someone else harmed – namely my mother.

Some things no matter how much I tried to justify it were wrong. Mom used to hide money under a corner of the carpet. Part was for household emergencies. There’s no doubt in my mind she was the financial wizard of our home, but when alcohol ruled the roost, that money was her private stash to buy her booze without anyone knowing it. I used to steal that money. How many emergencies happened that could have been avoided if I left that money alone. Sure, I probably stopped her from getting drunk a couple of times but it never stopped her entirely.

When I began to work these steps, both of my parents were dead, so I couldn’t make amends to them but I could make amends to my brothers. None of my three brothers accepted my amends, in fact, one said that I spend to much time thinking about the past. With the past I had, it is hard to act like nothing ever happened.

In fact, it wasn’t till late in 2015 that my oldest brother sent me an e-mail and said that he regretted no doing more to get me out of the terror that I endured. That was his word not mine – terror. After my brother’s death, I felt an uneasy silence from the one brother I have had contact with.

He e-mailed me on my birthday, with a beautiful passive aggressive message that ended with “At least I was man enough to let go of the past.” I wonder if he could have let it go, if he was my age when everything happened. For me, I tried letting it go and it nearly killed me by trying suicide. I tried letting it go by falling into a bottle and then some drugs – it didn’t work.

I had to look it square in the eyes and acknowledge it and come to the understanding that I was a kid. I was a kid, even when I was 30 years old, because I never dealt with the past. I was a kid who had no control, yet my alcoholic parents had control over me.

My point being that as an ACOA we learn to keep the secrets – no matter how bad they are. It becomes our family crest – a badge of honour. To grow, to stop the rage that has built up over many years, to finally become free from our childhood, is by doing the 9th Step. To do it with no justifications, just humility and with honesty to say what was done wasn’t right and I’m sorry for hurting you.

27 January 2017

Inconceivable Denial

Sometimes we can't deny what has happened.  No matter how hard we try, the truth remains.  By denying  this fact, we can't find an end and with no end we can't find a new beginning.


Inconceivable Denial

can’t look away
can’t walk away
but… that’s all it can be
its inconceivable
everything that has
passed us by

but I wonder
what would happen
if… just if…
we had just one day
death… or life
who’s to judge

it would be a future
where no one
could venture safely
and hearts would be
broken… as well as healed
it’s a lonely world

where right and wrong
would become one
so night and day
would no longer matter
and the end… would be…
a new beginning to…
a new end…

14 January 2017

Year one ends with cancer

My first year in England is nearing an end in a fashion I didn’t really want. It was two years ago, that I was leaving a hospital for the last time before I returned to work. In no time at all I regained my strength and the depression of hospitals and clinics left me.

Now instead of returning to work I am leaving work. And instead of being out of work for two months, I’ll be unemployed for at least three months. And for the first time in my life, I’ll go from caretaker to patient.

Two years ago, when I got sick and was told something is wrong, my worst fear was that it was cancer. In fact one of the reasons I avoided doctors for so long was that fear. I almost felt a sense of excitement and relief when I found out it was my heart and not cancer. That’s right. I was happy to learn my heart was the problem and it wasn’t cancer.

Fast forward two years, my heart is strong and healthy. My stamina and endurance is back, but now I have been diagnosed with cancer. Cancer of the tonsil… a form of throat cancer. Actually, it couldn’t happen in a better way.

My heart surgery showed me how strong I was mentally and how I could cope on my own, with keeping appointments and managing my medications. When I first left the hospital I was taking over a dozen different medications that were given at different times of the day and night.

I also have witnessed what cancer can do to others, so I feel halfway prepared for what lies ahead. The good news about it is that the cancer was caught early. The oncologist said, “there is no evidence that it has spread.” So, while I’ll have chemo, once a week for seven weeks, it won’t be as bad as it could have been. And during this time I’ll also be having six weeks of radiation therapy.

A new adventure in my life. One that I have said in the past that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy is now part of my life. The advantage for me, which at times makes me very grateful and other times makes me feel sad, is that I won’t be doing this on my own.

I have a strong wife, who already has shown her talents for being a great caretaker. Besides being loving and concerned, she is showing her ability to be strong and strict and not letting me become a victim.

All in all, a new walk in my life. A new challenge and a new adventure. One I wish I didn’t have to experience but now that it is upon me I’ll attack it with all I got and defeat it. Cancer may be in me, it may be a part of me, but it will never be me.