Facing Control Issues During Those Tough Times…

Do all human beings struggle with letting go of control? I tend to think so, but I think that struggle becomes even greater with those who are going through really tough times in life.

I find it’s always easy to let go of control when all bills are getting paid on time, when all personal relationships are doing just fine, when there are no health issues, and well, when I’m not going through any of those tough times. But as soon as I begin to, I find myself often attempting to usurp control elsewhere in my life to compensate for my lack of control during those tough times.

In the past few years, I’ve been going through an extended tough time, one that happens to be with my health and the chronic pain I go through, something that rarely seems to let up lately. Case in point, I had a notably difficult pain-filled day recently where I came home and began to nitpick apart my partner over things that felt oh so important to me at the time. I yelled, cursed, and screamed so much that I ended up leaving the house close to midnight and going for a drive to cool down. During it, I prayed and cried and started to realize just how much my pain levels were driving me to try to control so many things around me, especially with my partner.

I saw how all my repeated comments on what he did with his free time, or about his eating habits, or what he watches on television, or how he did his chores, or even how he treated me, were all just ways I was attempting at controlling something, seeing how I couldn’t control the very thing I really wanted to control, that being with what’s going on within me.  It’s then I realized how much I was becoming one of those micro-managing bosses I once had eons ago when I was in the corporate work force. And that didn’t sit too well with me at all because I never enjoyed working for any of those bosses back then.

As I pondered all this on that late-night drive, I also reflected on the rest of my life and saw how my repeated attempts at cleaning up my yard debris, pushing my sponsees through their step work, changing the structure of meetings I attend, and expecting friends to communicate with me exactly as I do with them, were just some of the many ways I’ve been attempting to control things in recent months, all in the hopes that each might distract me from the very misery I have with the tough times I keep going through.

The fact is, my life often feels so very out of control with the pain I continue to live with. And because I can’t seem to change this level of pain no matter what I try to do, my ego keeps resorting to repeated attempts to change plenty of things around me, hoping it might make me feel better somehow, but it never does. Instead, it only causes me greater suffering.

But on those rare days though, when my overall pain levels noticeably drop, I find myself going with the flow so much easier, letting things be as they are meant to, accepting everything in the way it presents itself as. Yet as soon as those pain levels return, I find I’m right back to my many attempts to usurp control somewhere in my life.

It’s a recovery 3rd step battle that’s for sure, one that I can look back on now in my life and see how all the periods I was going through those tough times, like when I was losing my business or my home, or when my parents tragically died, or when I lost a job, or when I went through a breakup with a partner, I always became more controlling. So, it’s quite apparent to me that my work for now is to learn how to let go of control during this extended tough time and the only solution I know of to help with this is to keep praying and asking God for help in the matter.

The reality is that I really don’t want to be a controlling person in life and am making great strides to change this part of myself. While I may not be able to change this severely tough time I am unfortunately still having to go through, I can at least work on letting go of all those repeated attempts I make to take control of things that never do pay off and only seem to cause me and plenty of others greater pain and suffering. Because in the end, the last thing this world needs, especially myself, is any greater pain and suffering…

Thank You God for helping me to see how my repeated attempts at taking control aren’t doing me one bit of good. Please help me to fully let go of this unhealthy behavior, as it’s only causing me and others greater pain and suffering. In the end, I know that letting go and letting You fully take over those reins of life, even when my pain remains great, will only help me to feel that much more peace and joy when this tough time finally passes…

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

The Difficulties With Prayer For Both Addicts And Non-Addicts

Praying can often seem like such a daunting task, especially for those who’ve ever had any type of addiction tendencies, mostly because of that universal addict mentality that says “I want it my way and right away!” This mentality appears to be a common one with non-addicts as well these days and sadly, the truth is that prayer doesn’t always work this way.

It’s probably a safe bet to say that a great number of people in this world have often resorted to prayer when the “shit hit the fan” for them. In other words, when their relationships failed, when they faced financial ruin, when they developed serious health issues, when child custody issued occurred, when they got fired from their jobs or their employment abruptly ended for other reasons, when they got arrested, when they faced jail time, when loneliness got too great for them, or when any other terrible tragedy took place in their lives, is usually the precise moment when God was called upon by them for help, even if they never had any prior relationship with God. But when that help didn’t come immediately and when an immediate fix didn’t occur, the tendency for both addicts and non-addicts is to get angry at God and flip the middle finger. Thus, making it even harder to turn to prayer in the future. On the contrary though, if an immediate fix did miraculously take place after those prayers, which I normally refer to as “911-prayers”, the tendency is to then start expecting God to do it all the time for them.

But sadly, this really doesn’t tend to be how prayer works for most of us in this world. God isn’t some genie, granting our every wish every time we ask, and because of that, addicts, and plenty of other non-addicts too, often turn away from God because they don’t get exactly what they want.

From my personal experiences with prayer, God not only works on a different timetable than the one my ego wants, but also seems to answer prayers at times in ways that are contrary to what I think I totally need.

Case in point, I’ve been praying for years and years now for my physical, mental, and emotional suffering to be fully lifted, which as of this writing, still hasn’t been. Healing has in fact been rather slow and challenging for me, yet somehow, I’ve become much stronger of an individual because of it, filled with far more faith and patience than I ever had before. Old unhealthy patterns have also been broken in the process, other outlying addictions have been overcome, my level of compassion has increased, as has my unconditional love for others. And I don’t think that any of that would have occurred if God had answered my prayer like my impatient addict brain had desired long ago when I first uttered it.

Nevertheless, praying does not guarantee an immediate answer from God, as my life sure has proven that. But what my life has proven is that God does work on a level far beyond my comprehension when answering my prayers. And even when I’ve thought God hasn’t been answering them, even when my ego has attempted to convince me that God doesn’t exist and that praying is stupid, somewhere within me I still have continued to believe that God is working on a level that’s rather like a Master Chess player, knowing precisely what moves to make to achieve an end goal to this very prayer I first prayed so long ago.

So, if you are someone who finds difficulty with prayer, use my life as living proof that although prayer may not be answered immediately or in the ways exactly desired, that something wonderful does happen for our greater good and far beyond our understanding, each time we do pray. And while I may not be feeling how I’d like to be feeling in my body yet, I do like the person I’m becoming far more than the person I was becoming before I ever muttered my first prayer to heal, and that truly is what’s convinced me that God always does answer every one of our prayers. It’s only our egos, our impatience, and our self-centeredness that says otherwise and makes prayer such a difficult thing in our minds in the first place…

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

A Selfless Prayer From “Turn My Heart”

I found this prayer in a book titled “Turn My Heart” by Susan Briehl and Marty Haugen that really spoke to me. I liked it so much that I wanted to share it in my blog, as I feel that many in this world, especially those in recovery, will truly appreciate it. On some level, it reminded me quite a bit of St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer about selflessness. I hope you might find comfort and connection to the following words of this prayer as much as I did. Peace!

Lord,
when I am famished, give me someone who needs food;
when I am thirsty, send me someone who needs water;
when I am cold, bring me someone to warm;
when I am hurting, send me someone to console;
when my cross becomes heavy, give me another’s cross to share;
when I am poor, lead someone needy to me;
when I have no time, give me someone to help for a moment;
when I am humiliated, give me someone to praise;
when I am discouraged, send me someone to encourage;
when I need another’s understanding, give me someone who needs mine;
when I need someone to take care of me, send me someone to care for;
when I dwell upon myself, turn my heart toward another.

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

A Story And A Prayer Surrounding The Judging Of Others

“A 24-year-old boy seeing out from the train’s window shouted… “Dad, look the trees are moving backwards!” His dad smiled and a young couple sitting nearby looked at the 24-year old’s childish behavior with pity, when suddenly the boy exclaimed… “Dad, look the clouds are running with us!” The couple began to really feel sorry for the boy, as well for his father, and suddenly said to the old man… “Has it been difficult for you to raise a developmentally challenged child?” The old man chuckled and said… “Actually, my son was blind from birth and we just came from the hospital where he finally got his eyes back…”

Have you ever grossly misjudged someone like this at any point in your life? I know I have and have had to put my foot in my mouth a number of times because of it. While it’s relatively easy to judge someone at first glance, it’s not so easy to take back those judgments once they’re vocalized, especially when they’re wrong.

I went through this just recently at a friend’s party I attended. There, where the predominant attendees were gay men, someone showed up that I had always assumed was gay himself. When I approached him, smiled and said, “I always wondered if you were gay and now I know!”, he responded uncomfortably and said “Actually I’m not, and this is my wife.” I’m sure I turned two sheets of red after that just like I did when I’ve asked a few women over the years how far along they were with their pregnancies only to find out they were just heavier-set women with a bulge in that area. Or when I’ve asked individuals where their accent was from only to find out it was just from a speech impediment. So yes, I’ve definitely put my foot in my mouth far too many times because of making erroneous judgments just like the couple did in this story.

Obviously, I still have some work to do in this area of my life, so I’m glad this story was a good reminder of that for me, as ultimately, I think the only one who’s really qualified to ever make any type of judgment is God, and I’m definitely not that, that’s for sure…

God, I pray for help to have greater restraint of pen and tongue in my life, especially when my mind starts to make up rash judgments of someone else from a first glance. Please guide me in all my thoughts, words, and actions so that they may become free from judging others, as I desire to leave that solely up to You.

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