Daily Reflection

“Observe the ant”, the great Oriental conqueror Tamerlane told his friends. In relating a story from his early life, he said “I once was forced to take shelter from my enemies in a dilapidated building, where I sat alone for many hours. Wishing to divert my mind from my hopeless situation, I fixed my eyes on an ant carrying a kernel of corn larger than itself up a high wall. I counted its attempts to accomplish this feat. The corn fell sixty-nine times to the ground, but the insect persevered. The seventieth time it reached the top. The ant’s accomplishment gave me courage for the moment, and I never forgot the lesson.” (An excerpt taken from the daily devotional “Streams In The Desert”)

 I found this short story quite inspirational because of the great feat I’ve been working on accomplishing for more than five years now. The kernel of corn I’ve been repeatedly trying to carry over a high wall in my own life is the work I’ve been doing to become much healthier in my mind, body, and soul, given how unhealthy I became after living for several decades, and frankly, for several lifetimes as well, in toxic addictions and behaviors. At this point, I’ve lost track of the number of attempts I’ve made to achieve this goal, yet I haven’t given up. I’m sure many in my shoes probably would have long ago, as this world often makes it far easier to give up on achieving something than to persevere through it. I believe the only reason why I’ve made it thus far and continue to keep picking up this kernel of corn for another repeated attempt to become healthier is directly related to the blind faith and trust I still have in God. As through them, I’ve found enough strength and resolve, just like an ant, to keep going and to keep persevering for one more day. And I wholeheartedly believe that because of my faith and trust in God, I’ll eventually achieve this arduous task and carry this kernel of corn to where God always intended for it to be.

Thank You, God, for the level of persistence and perseverance You’ve given me to overcome so many obstacles I’ve had to face in life. Having this strength has helped me to keep going, especially through all the suffering I’ve had to endure in recent years. While my mind has become weary of continuing to pick up this kernel of corn day after day for as long as I have, my Spirit remains resilient to keep trying. And that alone is precisely what makes me just like an ant, a creature who never stops trying until it achieves the feat it sets out to accomplish.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“You can’t control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and just let life happen.” (Kody Keplinger)

I was staring out the front door late one afternoon recently during a huge rain and wind storm when I noticed the flag on our 20-foot pole was all tangled up around it and not flying freely in the wind like it usually does. In past storms, I’ve often gone outside to fix this when it’s happened, only to see it get tangled right back up again not too long after. But something within me this time said, “Hey, why not just have some faith and trust that it will untangle itself by the time the storm has passed.” I decided to listen to that small voice and sure enough the next morning the storm had ended and the flag was proudly flying in the breeze uninhibited once more.

As I pondered this simple miracle, I thought of all the health issues I’ve been going through for so long now. On some level, I’ve been in the midst of a very extended storm that often feels quite relentless. Because of this, I’ve tended to do what most might in my situation, which is to try to control the situation and find ways to “untangle” myself during all these heavy rains and winds that continue to blast me on most days. While some of those ways have done so for very short periods of time, none have ever lasted very long. In light of that, from somewhere within me, I heard that voice again ask, “Hey, why not just have some faith and trust that you will become untangled when your storm has fully passed.” And you know what, I think that inner voice is right. So, I’m going to keep doing my best to have faith and trust that all these “tangled up” health issues are going to fully resolve themselves by the time it’s over and without any of my control.

Dear God, please help me to keep having enough faith and trust in You that all these heavy winds and rains which keep on tangling me up in one health issue after another will eventually pass, and that I will become completely untangled by then, and without having to exert any of my control to get there.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free.” (Dave Willis)

When I was molested at 12 years old by a male coach on the swim and dive team I was on, I lived with anger, resentment, and basically just a huge grudge towards the man for several decades after. What I never realized though during all those years was how much that grudge grew worse towards not just him, but many others who carried the energy of him. Anyone who reminded me of this man in any way, shape, or form essentially became him and I’d go on to hate them as well, even when they definitely didn’t deserve it.

You see, grudges really don’t hurt the person they’re being carried towards, they only hurt the person that’s carrying it. And boy, did this grudge hurt me, as it pushed away so many good people from my life, especially when I treated them as if they were my molester.

I used to think that all that anger made me strong and is what carried me through all those years I held firmly onto that grudge, but really, it didn’t make me strong at all. It merely left me in a constant state of fear of what was hidden behind it.

Thankfully, I finally faced that fear on a spiritual retreat in my early 30’s and forgave the man who robbed me of my sexual innocence, once and for all. The freedom I felt afterwards was so liberating and I’m happy to say that I haven’t seen the energy of him in any of the men I’ve grown close to ever since. Yet what I find is even more important is that I have nothing but sadness, compassion, and a God-based unconditional love for someone who I can see now was simply just spiritually sick and had fallen away from living in the Light long before.

And overall, I can clearly see now that grudges truly don’t ever make anyone strong, they only make one bitter like this one did to me for far too many years. But forgiving and letting the grudge go didn’t make me weak either, because in the end, it ultimately set me free…

Dear God, I pray that I never hold onto any grudge again in this life, not even for a single moment, because I know that it will only end up hurting me in the long run the more I hold onto it, and will do the very thing that’s the last thing I’d ever want in the process, which is to feel separate from You. So please help me have the strength to always forgive, no matter how hard it may ever seem, as I know in forgiving I’ll be set free and remain close to You.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“My recovery must come first so that everything I love in life does not have to come last.” (Unknown)

I saw a picture recently that was of a mostly empty, in-ground pool and at its bottom were pieces of garbage floating on some very sludgy green water. Across the picture, written in bold, read, “The Dating Pool in Early Recovery”.

This picture spoke volumes to me given the amount of times I had one relationship after another fall apart because I kept focusing more on the relationship than on my recovery itself.

Nowadays, I’m often asked if I believe a romantic relationship between two individuals can grow and mature in a healthy fashion, when one or both partners are in early recovery. My answer is always the same. It totally depends on where each place their focus first.

When I first met my partner Chris, I was still heavily active in a love addiction, exhibiting very codependent behaviors towards someone else, making any possibility of building anything healthy between the two of us highly unlikely. Yet, here I stand, over 5 ½ years later, in what I would say is the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had with anyone. So, how’d that happen? How did I go from being a sick, love-addicted, codependent type of individual, to a caring, loving, and loyally monogamous partner, given what I just said about dating in early recovery?

Simply put, I finally chose to put my recovery first, which also meant I placed God first for once in my life, which I continue to do so day after day, for over 68 months now, which is the only reason why I believe Chris and I are still together.

So, can relationships work in early recovery? Absolutely! But only when one’s recovery comes first, as placing it anywhere else will merely lead to taking a swan dive directly into the center of that mostly empty, garbage-strewn, sludgy green pool, which I’m sure is something none of us ever wants to take a dive into, now is it?

I pray that recovery will always come first in my life, and indeed that means placing you first as well God. Thank You for guiding me on my path to a life of recovery and for building my relationship with my partner into the healthiest one I’ve ever had, as only You and my life of recovery could make that possible.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson