14 May 2017

What If?

Step 12 of ACOA says that after having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Recently someone asked me if I could go through life again what one thing would I change.  Without hesitation my response was "my parents."  That is the only way I would want to relive my life.  Any other change would mean reliving that hell once again and I couldn't do that to myself another time...

This is the idea behind the poem What If?

 

What If?

Oh what a change
mom helped me with homework
dad played catch with me
quiet and peaceful at nights

a family that never was
a family just in the mind
no booze… no eggshells to walk on
no fights… no black eyes

a fantasy? sadly… yes
at least for this child
a child who sees only pain
a child who hears only screams

please dad succeed with suicide
please mom stay drunk and sleep forever
those moments of silence… pure heaven
those moments of peace… to few and rare

a home stinking of scotch and beer
a bed occupied by more than a child
a lonely life where no one is trusted
and at times… death would be welcomed

to do this life again with different parents
could it be worse? don’t know how
saw blood and burns… black eyes too
suicidal hangings and threats with butcher knives

it’s ok to say the childhood was bad
it was beyond bad… it was a holocaust
spiritual death where a child died slowly
everyday saw a new way to be tortured





13 May 2017

Step 12 of ACOA

Step 12 of ACOA says that after having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others who still suffer, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I recently had the pleasure and unique learning opportunity watching a TV show about a retired “star.” Former, singer, model, and for a short time he was in the movies. People like this are usually considered to be “stand-offish” to common folk like myself but this person was quite different. He seemed to genuinely care about others.

Anyway, he wass so welcoming and open, yet at the same time very private. He would spend all day talking to you, just as friendly as can be, yet at the same time, he just want to go home, kick off his shoes and relax.

He didn’t care if you did not recognize him from the magazine covers he was on, or the songs he had written. He did not want you to drool at his feet, he just wanted you to be open and friendly and he would return the same respect to you.

I never knew of this man until I moved to England and by watching TV began to figure out the European celebrities. As I have learned of this gentleman, I have come to learn of his past. Alcoholism, sex addiction and numerous other calamities, have run this person’s life. The more I know about him the more I realize how much our lives are the same.

When he speaks of sexual addiction, I was shocked. I just couldn’t imagine him having that type of life. I remember back in the mid 80s, I was homeless and hitch-hiking around America. I was in my mid 20s and had nothing. I was in Utah on Interstate 80, when a car pulled over and offered me a ride.

I hopped in and we chatted for awhile and then he asked me if I ever considered modeling. I had no idea what he meant. My mind was stuck in making car models. He said that he painted nude male models for a hobby. We sat quiet for a minute as the car raced down the road. I was broke and I thought I might make some easy money. So I asked him how much he would pay me.

He said that he didn’t pay anyone to do it. Like he said it was a hobby. But he said he would feed me and I could get cleaned up. I thought about it a bit more. We continued down the road and he pulled into a truck stop to fill his car up. I got out to use the toilet. As I was relieving myself, I thought about it a bit more and snuck out of there and disappeared.

There is no doubt in my mind that my life would have radically changed that day if that guy offered me money. There is no doubt I would have said yes and I would have stripped for him and whatever happened after that would have been OK because I was earning money.

After that first time, I don’t think it would have bothered me to be a male prostitute. I was still homeless for a few more months after that but an offer like that never came to me again and I never sold my body for sex.

I mention this because this person did sell their body. And I can not judge him at all because I know how easily it could happen and how easy it would be to say – just this once.

My childhood still haunts me today. I never developed coping skills to handle it all and never had a support system to help me. As an ACOA, I can now accept the past as my own doing. My parents were screwed up, but they never made me drink, or do drugs, or (almost) sell my body. For years I lived as a victim. Today, I realize that if I had the faith when I was younger to let others hear my pain, I might have had a different life with a lot less dysfunction and self-torture.

No matter the family circumstances, secrets from the past do nothing except keep us locked away from the real world. The secrets I kept for so many years, were not mine and had no place living rent free in my mind. By letting go of those secrets I was able to start living.

26 April 2017

Getting my hands dirty!!!

I got my hands dirty last week. Oh no, I didn’t break any laws or got myself in trouble with any moral majority. No, I got my hands dirty the old fashion way. Wearing old jeans and a sweatshirt, my hands grasped a shovel for the first time in seven years and I played in a garden. Moving dirt around, getting rid of weeds, and getting the earth ready for some planting.

The one thing I have learned in the seven years away from gardening is that it is a lot of work IF we make it that way. I see people with vegetable gardens, spending endless hours weeding their little plots and making it look so good, yet I never see them enjoying it.

I like gardening but I don’t like the work, which is why I’ll probably never have another vegetable garden. I want to enjoy the fruits of my labour. I want to see the early bulbs pop up and see the tulips bloom. I want to see the azaleas come to life with all their glorious colours.

A strange thing about azaleas. I grew up in New Jersey and in our front yard were two rather huge azalea bushes. Every spring they would come to life with their bright vibrant colours. They were always a popular choice for gardens, not just in our yard but many yards in New Jersey.

When I moved to the plains. First, in South Dakota and then to Nebraska, no one had ever heard of azalea’s. Because of the frost lines, it was impossible to keep an azalea alive in those barren winter lands. Yet, go further north, on an island in the Atlantic and azalea’s flourish. That’s right, they grow quite well in England. The way the jet stream goes, nasty winter weather never makes it to England. Don’t get me wrong, England isn’t a hidden Hawaiian paradise, yet winters here are quite comfortable with very little or no snow and green grass year round.

Whoops, starting to drift here. Back to gardening. I enjoy seeing these plants and shrubs grow and provide wonderful colours and unexpected wildlife. There is nothing that can compare after a hard days work, going home and seeing all the life that shrubs bring with just the simplest of care.

When I started thinking about this little garden of ours, I started thinking about waterfalls and goldfish but right now, I think I’ll just keep it simple for awhile and let it grow. Let’s see what the garden wants to do before I tell it what I want it to do.



25 April 2017

I Awoke

The 11th Step of ACOA says that we sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry it out.

 

I Awoke

an awakening came
doors opened… sun shined in
no longer needed fear left
comfort came when two became one

a part of me remains unseen
a bond that we only share
a closeness that we understand
a Silence stronger than any word

occasionally a prayer is given
overcome by feelings of guilt
alive and well… peaceful
yet greed wants more

learn to meditate
and began to listen
then the conscious was awaken
an understanding of everything

very little prayers are left
better to listen than to be heard
a realization that things were happening
yet they couldn’t be explained

a friend who is never seen
peace that is only ours
comfort in never being alone
and knowing you are the One




19 April 2017

ACOA's Step 11

Step 11 of ACOA says that we sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.  


As a child I was very close to God. In fact, I’m almost ashamed to say, I was closer to God at that young age than I am today. I prayed that God would end the violence. I prayed for quiet. I never got it but I still believed in God and believed that in the end He would save me.

At eight years old, I slept in half a bed. The other half, I saved for God. At the dinner table, I sat on half the chair. The other half? Was reserved for God. Car rides, movie theatres, wherever I went there was always a place saved for God.

As the years went by and the violence became worse, I began falling away from God. How could I love a God who let me be pissed upon? I say that literally. How could I love a God when I would be awaken late at nights to blood curdling screams. At these times God was a rich man’s fantasy – no way was he real. No way did this god give a shit about an innocent child.

I came to this change of belief when I reached my teenage years. It is a normal time of rebellion but mine went a step further. Screw my parents, screw God, screw priests, and screw police. It was at this time I found alcohol and for the first time in my life I felt so comfortable and so much at peace.
Sadly though, I had no idea how to handle peace. So that meant I drank more and became more rebellious. And it eventually meant a road to drugs as well as alcohol.

There comes a point in time though that, God Willing, you realize you can’t live life like that. Total chaos is first needed but when that point happens then life can begin. In Greek Mythology, the god Chaos was the origin of everything. Without chaos there can be no growth.

It was these thoughts of Greek Mythology that brought me back to God. It wasn’t the God I grew up with, nor was it the God I learned about in Catholic grade school. This God was my God. It was a God that I could understand and a God I could relate too.

The conscious contact I have with God, continues to evolve and grow. After my recent medical issues, I realize that I am not as close to God as I thought. I struggled with radio therapy and still can’t do MRI’s. If I had that total trust in God that I crave for doing those things wouldn’t be that difficult… but I just can’t do it.

Every 12 Step program speaks about “progress not perfection.” Progress means more than just putting one foot in front of the other. It’s recognizing that we still have a lot to learn and more growth needs to take place. Progress means looking at the world through the eyes of a child, where innocence is more focused than doubt. That trust defeats fear and that love conquers hate.

The 11th Step challenges people to deepen their relationship with God. Yoga, Hindu, Buddhists, Native Americans, and many Indigenous people from around the world, whether in Alaska or in Africa, they all meditate.

I believe meditation is deeper than prayer. To me, by praying we are speaking to God. By meditating, we are listening to God. For me, it is a beautiful place to be. The place that I call – Silence. Silence with a capital S. Truly, a very spiritual place. Why not try it today.

Turn off the radio. Turn off the TV and the phone. Shut it all down, including your mind and get into the Silence…

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.