28 October 2018

Too Many Enemies

Their are people who treat me like my last drink was yesterday.  These people expect me to beg for forgiveness for the rest of my life.  I don't mean to sound cold, but I asked many years ago and it wasn't accepted.  I acknowledged their pain - the pain that I inflicted - what else is expected of me?
I've never expected anyone to forget my past.  There was a lot of damage and a lot of hurt.  But the worst thing for an alcoholic is to dwell on the past.  I never want to forget it - I don't want history to repeat itself - but I can't live in the past either.  I've tried my best to move on, but some will always see me as just a sick drunk.
 


Too many enemies

time goes to fast…
yet… now it moves to slow
no happy medium
and the time runs out

just waiting… waiting…
for a ray of hope
a light in the tunnel
that is still pitch black

hard to keep faith
hard to move forward
when surrounded by doubt and fear
more then just paranoia

walls continue to cave in
finding strength… gets harder
securing answers
with still more questions

is failure part of destiny
or the creation of a new hell
built on false pride and denial
a journey of pain

can not accept the easy way
martyrdom a strong badge
difficult to cut free
but… why

27 September 2018

A Score And A Little More

The 4th of September 1994 I quit drinking.  I admitted and finally accepted that I am an alcoholic.  The poem this month is a celebration of 24 years of sobriety.  This poem was written by playing around with words and thoughts from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.



 
A Score And A Little More

Lincoln once spoke of scores and years
today I speak of one score and four years ago
on this formally broken psyche
a new constitution was born
conceived in freedom and liberty
with the proposition that life without alcohol can endure

the self inflicted civil war is over
the battlefield of the mind has been laid to rest
the soul… alive and free
free from despair and self-harm
free to achieve dreams
free to realize that all things are possible

today I can not dedicate…
nor consecrate this event in time
instead I give thanks to those who came before me
I give thanks to a fellowship that accepted me
and I give thanks to a Higher Power that never left me

24 September 2018

Enjoy the process

September is upon us, which means it’s the start of football season. Football (soccer) in England started the second weekend in August, now for this American, real football starts the first day of September. And for me, that means Iowa State University will be taking the field against South Dakota State.

For so many years I sat back with a silent hope that this year it would be different. That Iowa State (the Cyclones) would be better than last year. Then by the end of the year they would be lucky to have won three games. Three wins and nine loses was a good year. Then 2017 happened. The Cyclones beat the number 3 team in the nation – Oklahoma. They followed that up with a win against the number 4 team in the nation – TCU. To say it was good year was an understatement. They won 8 games while losing 5. Those 8 wins equalled the total wins for the previous three seasons. As an Iowa State fan, to say I’m excited for this year would be an understatement.

What is impressive with Iowa State is that they don’t get the best high school athletes. The five star studs don’t want to go to a school that doesn’t have an impressive history of winning games or going to major bowls. The coaching staff have to evaluate talent that others don’t see. To put it simply, they need to find diamonds in the rough.

More impressive than the wins has been the “process” to get to this point. I put process in quotes because their coach speaks about it often. The idea is if you work the process, if you love the process, than the process will love you. What is the process? The team has another slogan they use. Win in the dark.

The idea being that when the lights are out and no one is watching is when the process starts. As players, they need to eat right, get the right amount of sleep, lift weights, run, and stay in shape. The process also means being a good student. Every phase of your life must be part of the process. It must be clean, it must be pure. When this is accomplished then playing football becomes part of the process. Then when they are out in the lights and their fans are cheering them on, they become one, not only with the process, but also with each other.

They know what they should do. They are not expected to grow from a three star player to a five star player. They are expected to be the best three star player they can be and to trust that their three star teammate is also being the best they can be.

What works for a team can also work in our personal lives. It can work with our jobs and our co-workers. Everyone has a personal responsibility to their team. Good work, good ethics, good morals, and a good trusting teammate. They accomplish that then they become one with the process. In reality, the process works with every aspect of our lives. Your workmates, your family… we all need to work together, to trust each other and to love each other, so we too, can become one with the process…

26 August 2018

UK vs USA

Having visited England for six years prior to moving here two and a half years ago, I do believe I can make an honest assessment between the two countries. Many people believe, myself included, that moving between the two countries wouldn’t be that much of a change. I was in for a rude awakening when instead of a visitor, I became a resident. At times, I just wanted to throw in the towel and head back to America with my tail between my legs.

The reason I moved here was because of a lovely British gal and no matter how much I wanted to run away, I wasn’t going to give up on our life together. So I carried on and fought a battle within myself to change what I had learned for over 50 years, to adapt to a new culture and a new way of life.

Admittedly, I still make more than my share of mistakes. Now though, I realize I am the one who needs to adapt, not for a country to adapt to me. Some things were easy to accept and quickly fall in love with. One example would be bacon. Both countries love their bacon. And as an American I can honestly say, you haven’t tasted bacon until you tasted English bacon. Another example with food products is Mountain Dew. The American version of this drink can not be purchased in England. The reason being that one of the preservatives used in it is considered a poison in the UK. To put it simply, all of Europe is a lot stricter with food products than America.

Adapting to food has been one of the more comfortable changes I have had to make. One of the more difficult changes has been employment. From zero hour contracts to contracts in general, work in the UK is more frustrating and in a somewhat bad way, more employee friendly. As an employer, if you have a “bad” employee, it can take forever to fire (sack) him. These employee’s can show up late, leave early and still have a secure job.

The younger generation will work but very few go above and beyond to improve their lives. They know how much to work and when to quit. If they work to much, they can hurt whatever benefits they get from the government. In America, if you work, you may get help with food, in the UK, you can get help with your housing and sometimes travel expenses as well. Some have kids and want to work even less, so they get help with their housing. As and immigrant I am not entitled to any government benefits. Imagine that America. No benefits for immigrants! For me, it is for the first five years that I live here. I consider it one of the smarter things England has done.

Even though, I’m not entitled to any benefits, I am able to receive healthcare. When I moved here I paid a surcharge to have the ability to use the National Health Service (NHS). Now as a working member of the British society I contribute through my taxes to use the NHS as well as help others to have the ability to use it.

This is one expense I have no problem with. I remember back in the 80s when America was giving free breast screenings for woman to look for cancer. Yes, the tests were free, but if you had cancer then you needed money to treat it. Let’s face it. Only the poor people would use this free service. Then when they found out they had cancer there was nothing they could do to treat it.

The reality is that both countries have their own pros and cons. In a very simple nutshell, capitalism says you work to afford things. Mainly though, you work for one benefit – health insurance. One health issue can bankrupt a person. In 2014, I had open heart surgery. The total cost was a quarter of a million dollars. It was also the first year of Obamacare. Without insurance and without Obamacare, I would have gone bankrupt.

In 2016, my first year in England, I was diagnosed with mouth cancer. I had 30 days of radio therapy and spent over two weeks in the hospital. Two years later I see an ENT every three months for check-ups, and through it all I have never seen one bill for any of it. In fact, one expense was even eliminated. If you have cancer, for five years afterwards you get all your medical prescriptions for free.

To be going through cancer or a major health crisis and not have to worry about any bills, makes for an easier path to recovery.

Our two countries have so much in common, yet we also have so much that divides us. We should never assume and American is a Brit, nor should we assume that a Brit is and America. They are two totally unique countries, with a long history that both countries can be proud of.

There is so much difference that it would make an interesting book, from a personal perspective. … hmmm!?!


25 August 2018

The narcissistic bully

Have you ever met a person who shows superficial charm, has an overinflated self-worth, is a pathological liar, as well as a con artist? These people show no remorse, have a parasitic lifestyle, and fail to accept responsibility for their own actions. If you have met someone like this then you have met a sociopath.

How about a person who has a grandiose sense of self-importance and has fantasies that they are famous? They are sure they’re unique and special, while from their family and co-workers they require absolute devotion and admiration. They have a total sense of entitlement and can not show empathy. If you have met these folks than you have met a narcissist.

Combine the two and you have a narcissistic sociopath. A person incapable of change.



The narcissistic bully

a behaviour can be changed
a behaviour can be improved
from anti-social to social
a hoodlum from the past
becoming a friend of today

a lifetime to develop a personality
not always improved
not always changed
what you see is what you get
sometimes a friend… sometimes a bully

the friend thinks of others
the friend shows empathy
the friend listens more than talks
grateful to see the friend
grateful to be a friend

the bully thinks of me-me-me
the bully don’t care
the bully talks and shuts others down
anger fills the bully
disgust fills others

confrontation doesn’t always bring rewards
the bully becomes the victim
from look at me-me-me
it goes to poor me-me-me
no remorse… no regrets

ok for a day… a week… a month
yet no permanent change
the anti social personality returns
the narcissist lives on
the sociopath stays strong

easier said than done
ignore… don’t chat… walk away
don’t give the narcissist power
on their pedestal they live with drama
they don’t care about you… walk away

the sociopath don’t care
no remorse… no shame… no guilt
the narcissist says look at me
no time for you… all me-me-me
do you really need the grief?


28 July 2018

Finding The Simple Life

The Ninth Promise of Debtors Anonymous states that we will find acceptance and gratitude and it will replace regret, self pity and longing.



Finding the Simple Life

A boring life… a simple life
no need for extravagant possessions
add no value to one’s worth
just a thing that will lead to regrets

oh poor poor me
no money for a car
can get it with credit
though it is no longer an option

oh poor poor me
no special vacations… no holidays abroad
realizing there is no debt
yet at times it isn’t much of a reward

oh thank you… thank you
this is simple life is a good one
sleep soundly having no debt
stress free home with no bills

thank you… thank you
for the strength not to keep up
neighbours with new cars and new debt
riding the bus… reading the paper

accepting this new life
simple and stress free
no longer afraid of phones
wondering… how to pay

grateful to accept responsibility
to stretch money… to make it last
to set goals… for a healthy future
thank God for this freedom