Monday, September 28, 2009


Its amazing how being busy can be an excuse for so many things and nothing all at the same time. Being in school and working has its stresses and I am someone who always excells in having fun as well, putting all this together can be tiresome and draining but there are a few things that I think I have figured out. The first of which is a mantra of some of my classmates and makes a great deal of sense when you are buried in paperwork like I am on a daily basis, work smarter not necessarily harder. I come from a family of hardworkers and worked forty to fifty hours a week all through junior high and high school which maybe added to why I dropped out, but thats another story, point being, I can work very hard, but that isn't always enough. Sometimes it helps to work smart to see the end before you get there and take a smarter approach of how to get there. Obviously this does not apply to everything but paperwork, most definitely. Second is to love what you do. I hate waiting tables at this point of my life so much so that I dread going, don't know exactly why...just do. I love counseling people. I love working with them through their problems, I love a challenge I love to struggle, I love being a part of that process...helping someone else. I would work that job plenty hours of overtime and be completely happy, I look foward to going there. I think that this makes a huge todays economy you cannot always do what you love but then that may be in the perspective you take. Third of course is so leave work at work and have fun. We can all get wrapped up in the day to day leaving things undone feeling as if the pile gets bigger, but if you never do anything to lighten that load to take a moment and enjoy this life, the only life you may be given then really whats the point. Kiss your wife, do something you love, enjoy nature, enjoy family nothing in this life is permanent it changes all the time. Busy is a sorry excuse and excuses are like assholes...everybody's got one....don't make excuses and don't live in regret, life is too short...all for now

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Summer 2009

It's been awhile since there was a post here but that is all for good reason. I had an excellent summer that was filled with alot of work and alot of fun. The greatest part of the summer was getting engaged to my girlfriend of 4 years in June. I never thought of getting married or planned on it so this was an awesome moment in my life. Despite being in school all summer long, I experienced an immense amount of relaxation and fun.
Beginning with seeing the Dead play in Greensboro, NC the live music kicked off and would never stop, there was 2 Dave Matthews shows in Charlottesville, VA where they are from with some of our great friends, Springsteen, the Boss in Greensboro, NC, Dave Matthews again in Raleigh and Charlotte which included the opening band the Avett Brothers who are now some of my favorites, another two epic Dave Matthews shows at SPAC in Saratoga, Springs, NY, Bob Dylan in Durham, Willie Nelson in Durham, Billy Joel and Elton John in Washington D.C., as well as a Beatle, Paul McCartney in Washington D.C. and to top it off with front row dead center the band less than 10 feet away another Dave Matthews Band show at Woodstock. I cannot tell you which was the best or the most fun because they were all unique and crazy in their own way. I will say seeing a Beatle play Beatles tunes was a jaw dropping experience, and SPAC DMB two shows right after getting engaged were mind blowing.
Had alot of fun at sports events as well. Starting with watching the Phillies beat up on the Nationals at the nice ballpark in Philly, followed by two games at the new coliseum in sports the New Yankee Stadium one of which was the epic 15 inning 2 run walk off ABOMB from AROD against the second rate Boston Red Sox. Also, got to watch the Giants practice in Albany and the horses race in Sartatoga.
Also, my fiancee and my sister each graduated college this summer and have each progressed to starting Grad school and Law school. It has been a wonderful summer, one of the best of my life, truely unforgettable. All these fun things happened while taking summer classes and working so people have fun, live in the moment, go with the flow, do things that bring you and others in your life happiness. Life is too short to say next year or next tour, jump in with no regrets.....more to come.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

You and Me

On June 25th, 2005 I had my first date with my future wife at a little place in Saratoga Springs which was followed by a romantic stroll through the park up at the performing arts center. At that time I had just spent a year of my life working on gaining control of my life and becoming the person that I wanted to be and that people have always told me I could be. I moved to North Carolina in the summer of 2004, a little over 6 months clean and still trying to end the worst relationship that still to this day I think I have heard of, although everybody has had moments. What I realized about myself is that without drugs and women I wasnt really anybody or anything in my eyes, others saw things but I didn't. The next year I spent trying to focus on myself. the whole "date yourself" thing, find out what you like and don't and try to grow as a person type moments. I worked on honesty mainly because I was never honest with others because I was never honest with myself. Which leads to alot of loneliness and isolation. I stayed away from relationships with women, sure I had fun at times, but emotionally I never got involved and was honest with the women I met. The rule in the AA meeting that I was attending while picking up the peices of my life was to not date anyone for the first year of sobriety in order to find out some things about yourself and build a foundation that a relationship couldnt tear down with a fight or breakup. By the time of our first date I was about a year and a half sober and 11 months sober from relationships.
Leading up to meeting this beautiful girl where numerous chance occurances the main one being that I was supposed to have a job in Albany and when I got back to NY to work there, I was told that they needed me to work at a past place of employment that was owned by the same people. I accepted knowing that I would only be there 2 or 3 weeks until my sister graduated high school. That was where my future wife worked. She hated me at first as classic as that sounds but she got into my soul right away by being one of the only people to see right into me. My life changed forever when I met her and only in positive ways. Right away we fell in love and decided to do a long distance relationship until we couldnt do it anymore. A whole year we talked on the phone, wrote letters, visited, set up pcamp in peoples apartments, not many people in thier 20s would be that trusting, dedicated, committed, willing, and honest to do that and most people thought we were crazy, but what we found out is that she did better in school and had more fun and saw more things and I did the same. When she moved in the following year I started to do the best I have ever done in life period. Since then we have both graduated college and been accepted into graduate programs, we have visited 19 states and one other country besides the US, we have shared numerous moments of awe in nature and with family and friends. We both found what we want to do in life and are actively pursuing it quite successfully. To top it off I quit smoking for over 2 years now. All this is not amplified by any substances or lubed with any booze it is 100% real no matter what. This is happiness that I didnt know until I met her but if I hadnt have had that time for me to build myself, or her to take a chance, what I am trying to say is that for this whole time my life and happiness was not dependent on her. There wasnt that pressure, we have fun, we love, we do things big, we are spontaneous, we did things like long distance and it worked because we had fun doing it, there was nothing we would rather be doing, and today it is the same thing, words like compromise rarely come up even though they are important in relationships, we have fun and live, there is no being tied to the ground, no holding back, this is one of the reasons we never fight or argue, we are happy people in our daily lives without each other and then come together in this beautiful way and share our happiness as different as it can be at times but this doesnt define us as people it is love that flows into everything we do, think and say. This is hard to put into words but since I have met her I have felt that I can do anything and she can too and when we chose to do that together we have been able to do everything we have set out to do. Just one of the many reasons I asked her to be my wife. You and me together we really can do anything, baby!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why I Am

Why do you do what you do? Why do you talk that way? Why do you work a certain job? Why do you enjoy certain things? Why do you get mad at other things? Why are you the way you are? This is a tough question that not many people ever get asked or ever really think about, they just do. Go through motions day by day accepting reality as is and trying to make the best with the great reasoned question being why are we here? what is the purpose? but beside humanity as a whole do people really ask people these questions? No, do people ask themselves these questions? most likely the answer again is no. These are some very important questions though because they define your life.
I ask myself these questions quite frequently. Why am I in school? to further my abilities to help people that are like me, Why do I wear shorts year round? cause comfort in life is very important to me and with a short time here on earth I want to be comfortable, plus the south is beautiful. Why do I get up each day? the love that creates itself with unexpected moments and opportunities that can only be discovered by arriving at that point at the right time? Why do you work the job you work? because, if I could help someone in any way like so many people helped me then my life will have passed on to another and my experiences and struggles can help another person to relate or identify and pass on to someone else. Why do I date Desiree? She is not only the most beautiful person I know but a true deep source of inspiration, happiness, strength, passion, and the most abundant source of love I have ever experienced, can't even put into words. Why do I love Dave Matthews Band, Bob Dylan, and Grateful Dead? Many different reasons but bottom line they rock my soul. Why am I sober each day? Because I would have been dead by now and nothing in my life has purpose while on chemicals.
I only know some aspects of myself but they are important ones to me. Which is another question Why are they important? These questions are important to ask because with such a short time to live the time should not be wasted on things that are not of meaning or importance in your life. Is the stress of a job or relationship worth the cost of time that passes and frustration that it causes or should the time be spent in a job that you enjoy or a relationship that fulfills a part of you? Is the anger towards a situation worth the scars of your hope that remains after the guilt has subsided? Why not do things that you want to do and not what you have to do? If you want love in your life do loving things in your own life.
It all comes back to awareness. Awareness of yourself, your spot in life, your situation and an honesty with that. For me its love. Love of people, places, music, sports, information, spirituality, animals, nature, struggles, all of it. There is love in everything as we are here out of love itself. I enjoy finding that love in the smallest of places. The forgotten places, the hidden places, with people who do not have the chance to experience love, the people who cannot feel love, the love the comes from the sun every day and from the stars every night. Perspective.
So I dare everybody to ask yourself these questions. To be honest and take the chance of trusting your instincts. Life is too too short. Any minute any of us can disappear. Are these the dreams you had or intended, is there something you want to do. When you live full out your dreams you are free as it is your God given right. When I got sober and have stayed sober, anything life throws at me I cannot lose. Chemicals almost killed me but I am still here 5 years later trying to help other people not die from chemical use. When you extend that mentality to your whole life, that you cannot lose, there is no limit to what you can achieve. I recently read a quote from the amazing professional surfer Kelly Slater and he states that "You are who you are until you start becoming aware of yourself. Then you start to have choices of who you are. Then you get a new life". I dare all of you to answer those questions. I have and that is Why I Am!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Boss

Had the great opportunity to see "the Boss" Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band this past Saturday night in Greensboro, NC and was thoroughly entertained and inspired. I have no idea where the nickname comes from but after seeing the man who turns 60 this year rock a stage like a twenty year old on speed with the ability to rock a crowd that has not gone away for over 30 years now, I get it....HE IS THE BOSS!!!!
The show began with a rip roaring badlands and was followed by song after song with not a dull moment or a chance to get your breath. I have been to many arena shows in my lifetime but have not heard one nearly as loud as the Boss gets it as he is one of the four bands ever to shake Madison Square Garden while playing a live show. Usually one song would go into another song with no breaks in between but when there was a break in between the interaction with the fans was amazing. At one point he took signs from the audience to the stage while saying that the fans always try to stump them with hard songs as on each of the signs was a request for a song for the band to play. He picked the first sign which was the song entitled "7th son" a real old old song with no relation to Springsteen and the band played it perfectly the first time. Then he took another sign this time "hang on sloopy" and asked Stevie Van Sandt what key, hummed the melody asked if the band was ready, got a note played response, asked if the crowd was ready then slammed into a song they never played and did it with energy and perfection. I have never seen anything like that. Later in the show he let a girl all of 10 years old sing his songs while the band played and the crowd cheered and then let the crowd strum his guitar while he adjusted the chords during Born to Run. This is probably why many bands such as the great David Bowie, Pearl Jam, and Lou Reed have said that seeing Bruce live way back when let them know what a live show is supposed to be about the man is 60 and ran around like a teenager.
Then before the encore he advocated for the North Carolina food banks and when the crowd was dull with thier response he advocated some more until he got his point across followed by some advocacy against the death penalty which is a touchy subject down these parts. I was also shown a picture of Bruce close up by one of the security seating people on his cellphone. He said that Bruce took the time to meet every employee of the Greensboro Colesium before the show began. This is a blue collar hard working now rock star legend who never forgot where he came from and is humble and gracious enough to give back what he can.
This was my second time seeing Springsteen. My first was with the Seeger Sessions Band which was a 19 peice folk band that played classic folks ballads. That show was one of my favorites that I had ever been to just because Bruce is a performer, an entertainer and truely is the Boss. I didnt know one song of his the first time I saw him and I only knew a handful of songs the other night, my first time with the E Street Band, but I learned that whether or not I knew a song, the Boss told me at the beginning of the show that he would rock my soul with his music and he truely did. I left that show in awe of the history, the energy, the rockstar, the band, the man, and his message. Once again one of the best shows I have ever seen. Probably the greatest live performer I have ever seen. I advise anyone who hasnt to see the BOSS as he truely delivers and never disappoints thats why he is THE BOSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Funny the Way it Is

coming up on completion of my second semester of graduate school and doing quite well with it all is just another reminder of how funny things in life can be. My life has been full of ups and downs, changes and insanity, quitting and surviving, working and slacking, being kind and being unkind, loving and hating, fighting and finding peace, so many of these experiences when I think of them brings and overwhelming smile to my insides that forces its way onto my face with a smile and sometimes the good ol' choke up of tears. Most of the good stuff is so simple and it sweeps me away to a place I don't know but try to embrace. Today for instance I sat on the porch watching the birds at our bird feeder as the sun set over the fields enjoying the fresh cool summer air after a hot day while reading a book. This is something I never imagined myself doing or would even admit to someone even a couple years ago. My life is filled with drastic change. Today people depend on me, trust me and I feel the same way towards them.
The past few weeks have been crazy with some fun and alot of work. Anytime I needed a reminder I looked up at the stars or the hot sun as to how this is all so insignificant, how we could be all gone at any moment, and what I want to do with my days. I realized I am happy to be where I am with what I am doing for the first time in my life. My life is filled with love from many different areas and I give it away as much as I can to others. I never had visions of what happiness would be and this is it. Maybe its the time of year with the flowers, the rain, the ocean, rivers and mountains. Nature, stuff that was here before me and here after me and all I used to do was smoke it and drink it and now I enjoy it, Just is really Funny the way some things never change and some things do and no matter what time keeps passing and there is nothing we can do about it except try to do our best and love.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2009 Baseball Predictions

MLB 2009 Picks

American League

New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays

Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers

Texas Rangers
Los Angelos Angels
Oakland A's
Seattle Mariners

National League

New York Mets
Florida Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals

St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee Brewers
Pittsburgh Pirates
Houston Astros

Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angelos Dodgers
Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres


Wild Card round

New York Yankees over Chicago White Sox
Boston Red Sox over Texas Rangers

New York Mets over Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamondbacks over St. Louis Cardinals

Championship series

New York Yankees over Boston Red Sox
New York Mets over Arizona Diamondbacks

World Series

New York Mets over New York Yankees

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Last night I saw a documentary about a man with an incredible inspiring story that is what sports should be about. Sports today are mainly caught in the media as cheating, with steriods and money and videotaping, there have been no feel good stories that are awe inspiring. Baseball history was full of these moments which added to why it is considered a national pastime for our country. In light of all these steriod admitions and HGH lies, there is one player who had to get off the junk in order to play and is far better than anyone in baseball today.
Josh Hamilton is an amazing story that was covered in the local news down here when he first began is rise back into baseball as he is from Raleigh, NC. I have alot of similarities with this man as my only loves growing up were baseball and chemicals. I was good at baseball, better than alot not as great as some, but nowhere near Josh Hamilton's ability to play the game. When he made the opening day roster for the Cinncinatti Reds in 2007 fans in North Carolina were buzzing with joy for this man as well as the "he's my cousin" or "he's my nephews neighbor's friend, yeah, we go way back" type stuff, something was special about all of this. I had the chance that season in July to see Josh play in Cinncinatti against the Giants and the advocating doper himself Barry Bonds. Josh hit a home run and Bonds did not. There are many other comparisons that can be made there but Bonds is a waste of my time.
This past summer during all of the hoop-la surrounding the last season at Yankee Stadium was a kid from Raleigh and his 70-year old pitching coach. You would have to been under a rock for a week to not have heard or seen how amazing that evening was where at the home run derby Josh hit 28 HR's in one round and the majority were to places that nobody had hit the ball including two off the back wall of the stadium. Amazingly enough he gave it all to God.

I am incredibly grateful for a player like Mr. Hamilton in all that he has been through and accomplished to this day. His is a story of redemption on a scale that reaches thousands of people and sheds light on addiction and what it can do to people but that there is a way out, there is hope. With all of the celebrities that go to rehab to jump start their careers and shows like celebrity rehab were they make dramatizations of real life a real story of hope and addiction was needed and to be on this grand of a scale hopefully gives hope to families with addicts, parents, and kids in general. That here is a guy who didnt use roids, came clean, got honest, showed what temptation will do to your dreams and what you can accomplish when you put down the dope. In his case it was an amazing gift.

I quit baseball when I was in high school because I would rather party and do some dope than play the game that I loved so much as a kid. I have memories of baseball year round when I was a kid as well as substances year round. Ultimately I chose drugs and today I am sober trying to help others get and stay off drugs. Today I love baseball, I play some softball, but I try to be around baseball as much as I can. It reminds me of those days as well as the simplicity of life. In some ways Josh Hamilton is living out my dream of being in the MLB and I will cheer him on as long as its not against the Yankees. He said that when he was at Yankee stadium two weeks prior to the All-Star game the fans in the bleachers were chanting "Josh smokes crack", and then he said two weeks later at the All-Star game they were chanting "Ham-il-ton" showing how far he truely had come.

The best part about all this is that he is completely open and gives it all to God. When I was a kid my idols were Daryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and Lawerence Taylor all of whom had long battles with substances. They were not like this. They didnt talk about it or change it for years and years. To hear Josh speak and give it all back as a ballplayer is very amazing to see. Ballplayers today are millionaires and snobs. He stays and signs autographs enough said. There was a great story about him in sports illustrated last year.

Last season Josh hit .304 with 32 HR's and 130 RBI's in his second season. He will have a huge year this year and will continue to become a superstar in baseball. This is one of those stories that people will tell their kids someday, this is an example of overcoming all odds, this is legend, he has a part of Yankee Stadium history, and for this legend its about the next person to help. "The Natural".

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Beast in me

The other night while lying in bed with alot on my mind Johnny Cash started playing on the tv. Johnny Cash, like Bob Dylan is one of my all time favorite artists and person that I admire. I read his book some time ago and like John Cusack says in High Fidelity, my favorite book would have to be Cash by Johnny Cash. The other night the song that got me was "The Beast in me". One of his best but not as popular songs, as he did sing a great many. The lyrics are:

The beast in me Is caged by frail and fragile bars Restless by day And by night rants and rages at the stars God help the beast in me

The beast in me Has had to learn to live with pain And how to shelter from the rain And in the twinkling of an eye Might have to be restrained God help the beast in me

Sometimes it tries to kid me That it's just a teddy bear And even somehow manage to vanish in the air And that is when I must beware Of the beast in me that everybody knows They've seen him out dressed in my clothes Patently unclear If it's New York or New Year God help the beast in me

The beast in me

I felt that song wash a calm all over me and I slept great. Another reminder that change is good but its a constant struggle. What you put into things is truely what you get out on the other end. Sometimes all you can do is just keep moving. There is this part of me, this "beast" and all that comes with it. Sometimes I feel it but rarely does it manifest itself today as it used to. Another description I appreciate was James Frey's in A Million Little Pieces, as flawed as it was, described that "fury" in him that was just automatic. This is not an increased heart rate or something like that, its a burning rage, a beast in a cage, ready to break and we dont give into that day after day. I felt that beast the other day at the grocery store looking at the prices of cigarettes and I wanted one, I felt the intensity, the desire so filled with rage...quickly I remembered why I quit, Oh yeah it will kill me, and calmed down, but looking at me or talking to me you would have had no idea that my emotions had just won me over. That used to be my life. There is nothing else in the world like that feeling. If I could have that feeling and funnel it to something other than chemicals I could be a millionaire. Back when I would rob, steal, cheat, fight, hurt, anything to get that desire met with no it wasnt someone else was wearing my clothes and controlling my movements.
I was calmed by the reminding of this by someone like Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash was a badass, there is no other way around that but on the other end he was the other extreme of complete humilty, faith and sharing of God's words. Seeing that was something I needed to see as I am trying to balance the bad part of my life with the good and carry that positive message to others.
Cash by Johnny Cash was like any other book a thousand times better than the movie, even though the acting was great. What I havent developed in my life which I completely repsect and admire about a person like Johnny Cash is a unquestionable core foundation of religious belief. I have had my doubts, my skepticism, my varied interests, my feelings hurt, throughout the religions. I seem to like bits and peices of different things that way they dont dissappoint me and in a way I have some control. I dont question that there is a God and that I am loved and here for a purpose. I beleive in love, forgiveness, heaven, hell, and Jesus. There is a part of me that wishes to be as hardcore as someone like Johnny Cash or as disciplined as a buddhist monk, or as in touch as a samari. When I read Johnny Cash's book I was coming out of one of the worst places in my life and beginning the best and I related and was inspired to do more. I realize that there is only so much a person can do at once, one thing at a time, first things first, but time is always slipping into the future.
I have big goals and big dreams and I love my life and all that comes with it. Like a typical junkie I always want more and always want to take it to another level. Like Johnny Cash's words, "The beast in me Has had to learn to live with pain And how to shelter from the rain And in the twinkling of an eye Might have to be restrained God help the beast in me", it all comes back to God and why we are here in the first place. I believe I have been forgiven for the things that I have done and that I am still here to do something. I hope I live up to that.
And by the way, if you havent read that book, its well worth the read. The man can quote some scripture and talk about some dope with the best of them with a humility and ease that is inspiring.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Are things ever finished in life?

I have had the recent experience of remembering and feeling my past. Some of the horrible things I did, people I hurt, even some things I never remembered before I am becoming more aware of. I thought after all my years of therapy and meetings and talking with friends and really confronting these issues that I had found some kind of peace with them. Now that I am learning the other side of substance abuse in the actual treatment from a counselors role I am feeling and remembering what it was like for me to go to counseling and deal with some really tough stuff. As happy as I am today and completely different than I was then, this stuff still shakes me probably more now because I am shocked that I did those things. It's important to remember of course, but the playback and talking about it with people who havent had those issues who I want to be my colleagues and classmates is very uncomfortable. Being a drug addict alcoholic is a huge part of me, it is one of my defining life characteristics and I wouldnt be who I am without it so I am not ashamed to have done what I have done in that sense of how it relates to my journey, but I am not that person anymore in many ways as well so it is unnerving to relate to myself in that sense. I have been struggling with these feelings that came out of nowhere that I cannot always identify. I feel everything now to the point that I get choked up at sappy movies and even tv shows, I feel everything so much more than I ever did. When I am down I am really down and up really up, feelings are very intense and because I spend alot of time in my mind trying to identify the feeling the feeling gets confused into thought which is an uncomfortable place to be. In my daily life I dont say hey, I am a person in recovery, I feel I will gain two responses, one being the general stigma that goes with being a drug addict and the other of wow you are a strong person, both of which make me uncomfortable in a setting where people do not know me. That part of my life is very personal and alot of the things I did I am not proud of at all. Last night I told some class mates that I was indeed an addict alcoholic and I felt the pain of that part of my life and the rest of the night I havent felt really good about myself. I feel very different and alone in trying to balance helping myself and helping other people at the same time when I can relate to it all. Maybe now is the time for me to feel those feelings again and remember again so I can relate to a greater extent to the people I am trying to help or maybe this is just to further my recovery because these feelings are still there as much as when I live my daily life up until a week or two ago I dont think about them. Time will tell. It feels like nothing is ever finished when dealing with emotions because they shape character, coping, thinking, feeling, defensiveness, and sensitivity. There is acceptance and forgiveness but somethings are hard to forget. Just whats on my mind today, hope I didnt disturb anyone.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

rented movies to see

Some movies that have recently been watched in our home that are worth a view or two

Secret life of bees--excellent movie, well acted, great story, heartfelt

Nick and Norah's infinite playlist-usually tacky chick flicks not my thing, liked this one-good shots of NY and good music throughout the movie, fun story too.

RocknRolla-cat and mouse on drugs thats all ill say

Henry Poole is here-Very spiritual and inspiring both really enjoyed this movie

Man on Wire-documentary about the man who tight roped the world trade center was made like an illegal movie really entertaining, baffeling and crazy

Into the wild-already blogged bout it nough said

Michael Clayton-this movie is one of the better movies I have seen in some time

Half Nelson-already blogged on it nuff said

Charlie Wilson's War-interesting look at a true story of how we screwed up in the middle east, one of Tom Hank's best performances and mr. hoffman

Darjeeling Limited-love these movies by Wes Anderson this one is my favorite due to the spiritual tone of spiritual connectedness really awesome

some other time will have more

pat on the back

Been busy, busy, busy...sometimes I can get lost in the pace of things done and things to do. Lately I sit in extremely hard classes getting my skull shattered with information that is beyond my frame of existence. Medical information that only Dr.'s should know. I get frustrated, feel out of place, lost, focused, smart and stupid all at the same time. Knowing today I am getting my ass kicked and no matter what I do today to make tommorrow a little simpler, my ass will be kicked again. It is what it is. Lately, I find it important to give myself a pat on the back. I look around the class and there are not many people who lived my life, went through my struggles just as I am sure that I havent experienced theirs, but I know for me I shouldnt be here, I never graduated high school, or had any drive to do much of anything other than dope, sports and girls. I am the total opposite of who I was and in many senses who I am. I feel real good when I can see my progress, when I can remind myself of the pain and struggle and how my problems today arent nearly as bad as my old problems were to deal with. I never expected or wanted to be in Grad school, opportunity knocked, I answered que sera sera. I am grateful for these opportunities that seem to keep coming the harder I work for them. I guess what I am trying to say is I have this feeling of living two totally extremely different lives and being able to still relate to both of them so well is sometimes unnerving. I love my life today, I loved parts of my life then but it is all a part of me. Which one really is me? There are some core things that transfer to both lifestyles but there is no belief system or structure that changes me to who I am now, some AA some spirtuality and the knowlegde that using will kill me when I do it again. I find myself in these classes wondering how in the hell i got here? When I allow myself to feel out of place everything feels ok. That is definietly strange but true. Being a student can be tough becuase of the pace and competition and its something i truely struggle with but work hard enough to prevail time and time again. I guess I like getting my ass kicked. None of this probably makes alot of sense but my brain is racked with too much info for the time being. If anything gets taken away from this its that take time to breath and give yourself a pat on the back. We all have struggles and success at different times and sometimes just take a second and breath and recognize that, it allows for a sense of accomplishment, boost in esteem, and refocusing of what is now. Everybody needs and deserves a pat on the back from time to time

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I did it My Way

I am someone who has always done things my way. I dont mean having things go my way, or work out in ways that are favorable to me I mean doing things how I would do way. One of my favorite songs is Frank Sinatra's "My Way" were he talks about all the ups downs triumphs and regrets but that no matter what he did it his way. I do things my way too. The only problem with someone like me is that doing things my way usually gets me into a geyser of trouble, most specifically with chemicals. My way of dealing with what life gives me is to escape it and the fastest way for me to do that has always been with chemicals. Sure you can do it with money, women, food, gambling, reading, tv, music, some are just much more harmful than others. When I first was introduced to the idea of getting sober, the whole turn your will over, change people, places, things, none of this stuff worked with my way of doing things. I would do what I had to and it was good as long as I wasnt using substances. I than used other things such as women. Either way by doing things my way I ended up right back with the substances. This process went on as a miserable struggle for another 7 years before I started to listen to what people were telling me. My way of doing certain things sucks. I dont know how to live or be sober, I dont know how to love and respect women, I dont have a clue how to handle money, no idea how to be honest and faithful, no idea on how to treat people with respect. My way of doing things involves ways that screw me myself and I and anyone who cares about me over. Certain things I had to change.
Today my way of doing things can be seen in many ways, at the core of me there are things that can be difficult to change. On the other hand I am sober now and I do alot of that work by generally doing the opposite of what I would normally do. Feel like someone, thinking of harder, feel like hurting someone physically...walk away, feeling depressed...make a gratitude list, feel like not being honest....definitely tell the truth, buildin a resentment....let it go, see things one way...look for the other way, it is all about doing something different than my way. I havent used in 5 years, havent cheated on my current girlfriend who is the only woman I have never cheated on, most people would call me an honest genuine hardworking person which is not what you would have been told 5 years ago. The other thing is that I am much happier and stress free. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is humble yourself and admit that you dont know shit and you might want to try something different. If you had a clue how to be honest, you wouldnt lie, if you had a clue how to be in a relationship you would be in a happy one, if you had a clue how to get sober you would be. Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I have been there and today thankfully I dont have to. I see an awful lot of it and it always proves itself true. Real change comes from actual change. Frank said it best though:

And now, the end is near;And so I face the final curtain.My friend, Ill say it clear,Ill state my case, of which Im certain.Ive lived a life thats full.Ive traveled each and evry highway;And more, much more than this,I did it my way.Regrets, Ive had a few;But then again, too few to mention.I did what I had to doAnd saw it through without exemption.I planned each charted course;Each careful step along the byway,But more, much more than this,I did it my way.Yes, there were times, Im sure you knewWhen I bit off more than I could chew.But through it all, when there was doubt,I ate it up and spit it out.I faced it all and I stood tall;And did it my way.Ive loved, Ive laughed and cried.Ive had my fill; my share of losing.And now, as tears subside,I find it all so amusing.To think I did all that;And may I say - not in a shy way,No, oh no not me,I did it my way.For what is a man, what has he got? If not himself, then he has naught.To say the things he truly feels;And not the words of one who kneels.The record shows I took the blows -And did it my way!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January 2, 2004

My good friend wrote a very inspiring blog on the day he collected 5 years worth of one day at a time without a drink or a drug. I have been putting off writing something about this topic, and probably wont be able to say it in any different or more profound way but I feel that this is something to be shared and I have put it off for awhile.
On January 2nd, 2009, I myself reached 5 years of being clean. This is not something I like to acknowledge but it is also something that has been defining in my life and important to others as well. 5 years of being clean, not sober. Sobriety means many things to many people and to me it is a state of being, of character. Not what it says in the dictionary. For the first year or so of sobriety I was a miserable, sober, person....not who I am today. Sobriety today means that "my cup runeth over", life is really, really good. I was not planning on being alive this long and never had a desire to be a part of anything that I am doing today.
I battled with addictions to almost every drug you can think of. I aggressively abused drugs to the point that my body suffered at 18 years old with damage to my liver and stomach. I dropped out of school, was kicked out of my home several times and couldn't feel if I was dead or alive and to me it didnt matter. I hurt family, friends, and people I greatly respected....and didnt realize or care what was happening all around me. The most important part of my story was the people that God put in my life. I had a tough but loving family, had some real true friends, teachers and Pastors that stood by me. The only hope I had came from things that these people said or did during those times. I know God put them all there for me to be where I am today.
I had several relapses from the age of 18 until 21 and on January 2nd, 2004 I spent the first of these collection of days clean. There is no real epiphany there, or moment of clarity that is just when it stopped for that day and than another and another and here we are. It was never easy but once again God had the right people at the right time. A crazy girlfriend helped me realize that you can be just as miserable and insane even when you are not using which led me back, after fighting away for so long, AA. My first encounters at 13 and 15 didnt go so well. These things changed my life. Doing what people suggested, doing the opposite of everything I had ever done. I used to punch people in the face for looking at me funny and today I walk away from those situations. My whole life was running and escaping from feeling and dealing with reality as simple as it is. I still run at times, but not to things to kill me. I look at being clean as being on something because I was on something 24-7 for 11 years of my early life. Being clean is new and crazy in itself. I feel everything. I laugh harder, cry harder, love more passionatley, and breath deeper. My thinking has expanded and I hope to give this all back to many other people.
I got my GED and went to college, I have an associates degree in liberal arts and a bachelor degree in pyschology and religion and philosophy. Now I am working on a Masters degree in substance abuse and clinical psychology. I have a beautifull loving girlfriend who reminds me of how important all the small things that I never thought about really are. I have some of the greatest friends anyone could ask for and get along with my family for the first time ever. I also participate with school and counseling and help people. I have passions for things other than chemicals and criminal activity. The point being I dont even recognize who I was and how I lived. I dont know how I am alive and have these opportunities for things I dont understand I give it to God and do the next good thing. I do know that anything is possible for anyone out there. I am still strange, crazy, intense, and have moments of fear and resentment. I find hope in most things. My girlfriend asks me if I think about using or if I ever would again, and I do think about it, not as much but to this day it is my first thought or instinct, happy take some acid, sad have some coke, angry grab a drink, peaceful grab a joint, hyper grab some dope, I just dont act on it and feel pretty damn good about it. Eric Clapton is someone I greatly admire. When his son died the way he died, Eric didnt use. When I think of that I am blown away, and do not know if I could do the same, but there is my hope...that someone like Eric Clapton could do that....I can do that. Dont use no matter what life throws at you, somehow it does change and improve.
Being that this is something I dont enjoy writing I hope it didnt put you all out. I love life today and am grateful for everyone that impacted my life because I wouldnt have one without you. One day at a time....