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.

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