Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Can you name a small town in the United States that you once visited that felt warming and welcoming on every level, where its people just seemed incredibly inviting and genuinely friendly?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, which is always an entry in gratitude from somewhere in my life. Today, I want to give thanks for a very relaxing day trip my friend Ronn Musser and I took one Friday afternoon just over a week ago now to the small town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, a town that really felt a lot like it was straight off the set of the movie Pleasantville!

If you’ve never had the chance to see the movie Pleasantville, I encourage you to give it a whirl. While this entry in gratitude isn’t necessarily about that movie, the warming and welcoming energy from all the townsfolk in Pleasantville is exactly what I felt during my entire afternoon stay in Yellow Springs. From the very moment we drove into the downtown vicinity where all the cute little shops and restaurants were, I noticed people everywhere were smiling and conversing amongst one another. It felt very inviting indeed.

Our day began at a 19th Century restaurant named the Ye Olde Trail Tavern, which had a number of entrance ways I had to duck below, assumingely because people of my height didn’t probably exist with great regularity in the early 1800s. Built in 1827, the tavern and restaurant definitely held the air of stepping back in time, which could be felt immediately upon walking in. As we were cheerfully greeted and seated on the outdoor patio on a 68-degree sunny day, I noticed the menu was quite eclectic, from German fare to beer battered fish to a number of very interesting sandwiches and burgers. My personal favorite was the huge piping hot pretzel sticks and beer cheese we started our meal with. Everything else we ate was absolutely delectable as well and I want to give our waitress kudos too for giving us plenty of friendly tips for things to see and do during our visit, including where I could get some sweet treats, something I always do when visiting somewhere in small town America.

Most of the rest of our day after our lunch was done was spent going into all the neat little shoppes in town, where I can honestly say that every worker or owner greeted us with not just a smile, but also bountiful conversation. I very much appreciated the owner of the first store we entered, the Village Herb Shoppe, who gave me a free white sage bundle after I shared some of my spiritual journey with him. With each subsequent store, the warm feeling continued. At Basho apparel, the store owner was from Greece who made his own shirt designs, one of which I liked so much I bought. Another store owner took pride in how he’s doing his part to protect the environment with products that create sustainability. At Yellow Springs Toy Company, the employee had a great chat with my friend Ronn and talked about totally loving his unique job. At Tom’s Market, we walked up and down the aisles just taking in the variety of products that we never get to see in the big supermarkets near our homes where I also noticed all the employees seemed very happy. We ended up getting a few homemade desserts there that included a “key limb bomb” and a “cheesecake cone”. Wow is all I can say about how tasty they were! A few other key notables to mention from a few other stores we visited that brought a warm smile to my face included seeing a black cat sleeping so soundly in an empty bin at the comic book store that she didn’t even stir an ounce when petted, or the shopkeeper who busily swept off his sidewalk until not one spec of debris remained and his area was spotless, or the friendly metaphysical shop workers who guided me to find a few owl crystals for my partner, or the amazing photo work I saw in one store that when I asked who the incredible photographer was, the employee said it was him (Ryan L. Taylor) and thanked me profusely while talking about where many of his pictures were taken.

Overall, I must say that I thoroughly felt uplifted and renewed during my entire afternoon visit to Yellow Springs, Ohio. It’s no secret that I’ve struggled immensely trying to feel that way in Toledo, Ohio, where on most days, it feels the exact opposite. So, this was truly refreshing and uplifting to my heart and soul. Yellow Springs is beautiful town that I could totally see myself living in, especially when I saw a community board near the local market that posted many of the things to do around town, including countless free spiritual classes of things I’m totally interested in. I actually wished after seeing that board that I could have stayed much longer.

Nevertheless, Yellow Springs, Ohio is a lovely town with plenty of lovely people who take great pride and joy in not only their stores, but also in their town itself, a town I hope to visit again one day and a town most definitely worthy of being the subject of today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry!

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes are ones that may help a person suffering from any addiction. If you are suffering from an addiction, I hope you may give 12 Step recovery a try, as it’s the one thing that has helped many remain clean and sober from plenty of addictions for a very long time…

“The worst part about anything that’s self destructive is that it’s so intimate. You become so close with your addictions and illnesses that leaving them behind is like killing the part of yourself that taught you to survive.” (Lacey L.)

“When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That’s when the sparkle started for me.” (Mary K.)

“While we are in recovery we need to be able to strike a balance between not allowing our ego to do all the talking and not letting our low self-esteem to only present what is wrong with us.” (Noah L.)

“We must do away with any shred of denial, minimization, justification, or rationalization. To recover, we must completely and totally understand and accept the truth that addiction creates suffering.” (Noah L.)

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

New Relationships And Buying A Bunch Of Nice Stuff Won’t Keep You Sober…

Going deep within and taking a hard look at oneself is probably the single most important thing to do when a person first gets sober from any addiction. Finding a person to date or buying nice stuff for oneself most certainly isn’t. Unfortunately, many choose to do the latter and often find themselves falling right back into their addition all over again because of it, something I continue to hear again and again, just like I did the other day while running a 12 Step meeting at the local detox I volunteer at weekly.

Every Wednesday, I run a 12 Step afternoon meeting at this detox where I seem to now be seeing the same people returning over and over again, usually because their focus in sobriety was on anything except the work within. As I spoke to the clients in my meeting this past week, I was informed from one of them that their sponsor had just relapsed and was in a 30-day residential program nearby. When I inquired on who their sponsor was, I wasn’t surprised to hear who it was. I had met this individual over a year and a half ago in the very same detox. They had been homeless, drug addicted, and begging on the street for a long time until they finally had taken the best step towards a better life, one that had brought them into the detox I was running my meeting at and onto the 12 Step recovery track. For a while, I kept in touch with them on Facebook after they had successfully completed the initial stages of their recovery program. I enjoyed reading their postings as they evolved in their sobriety, making healthy sober friends, hitting meetings, and talking about the 12 Steps. But when they began to post a ton of pictures of the brand-new motorcycle they purchased and of the new attractive girlfriend they now had, I grew concerned. A concern that was actualized as soon as their sponsee confirmed the relapse in my meeting the other day.

Getting in a new relationship in the first year of recovery from an addiction is absolutely the single greatest reason why most relapse back into their addiction, because those who do, often make the person they date their higher power. And when that relationship begins to fail, essentially making them lose faith in that temporary higher power, the first go-to-method to cope in that grief is the substance of their former addiction. The same aspect holds true for people who like to buy nice stuff for themselves once they get sober, especially when they get a good paying job. Addicts tend to love acquiring those shiny things, something I’ve referred to in prior articles, because it makes them feel good every time they acquire something new. Eventually, the addict always finds that all those new things don’t take away the pain of what drove them into their addiction in the first place and neither does any new relationship for that matter either. Those things only provide temporary happiness, and accomplish essentially the same thing that the substance of their addiction once did, a way to numb oneself for a time from feeling any pain of life. The true work for a newly sober individual from any addiction is something addicts generally hate to face, that being themselves.

All the brokenness of an addict’s life including any failed relationships, losses they’ve experienced both financial and personal, past abuse they’ve endured or inflicted, tragic deaths they’ve had to go through, childhood traumas they’ve tried to forget, and the like, each are the things addicts NEED to face, but often don’t. Why? Because it’s too painful for them. Yet, that’s the very thing addicts need to do when they come into 12 Step recovery if they truly want to remain clean and sober from the substance of their addiction for the rest of their life.

The ONLY reason why I am still on a strong path of 12 Step recovery from so many addictions, is because I keep facing all the pain of both my past and my present, instead of trying to numb myself from it with a bunch of temporary things. Things like thinking another intimate relationship or buying a bunch of brand-new stuff will fix. I’m thankful that 12 Step recovery has taught me otherwise. Ultimately, the single greatest lesson 12 Step recovery taught me was to go deep within and face all my brokenness, seeking a true Higher Power to guide me through it all. For me, that’s God who’s accomplished that, one day at a time, something no new relationship or buying a bunch of nice stuff ever did or will…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

After church, Little Johnny and his younger brother decide to go ice fishing. Little Johnny begins creating a hole on the ice when a voice from above says, “Young man, there’s no fish down there. You need to stop making that hole.” Little Johnny asks his younger brother, “Who was that?” His younger brother replied, “I don’t know Johnny.” Little Johnny shrugs his shoulders and starts to work again on making the hole when the voice suddenly says, “For the second time, there’s no fish down there. You need to stop making that hole!” Little Johnny then asks his younger brother, “Could that be God?” His younger brother replied, “I don’t know, maybe?“ Little Johnny shrugs his shoulder and continues working on the hole when the voice appears behind them. Little Johnny and his younger brother turn around and a man says, “Young man, for the last time, I’m telling you there’s no fish down there. Please stop making a hole!” Johnny looks up and asks, “Are you, God?” The man responded, “No, I’m the manager of this outdoor ice skating rink!”

Silly Joke #2

At one point during a game, the coach said to one of his young players, “Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?” The little boy nodded in the affirmative. “Do you understand that what matters is whether we win together as a team?” The little boy nodded yes.  “So,” the coach continued, “when a strike is called, or you’re out at first, you don’t argue or curse or attack the umpire. Do you understand all that?” Again the little boy nodded. “Good,” said the coach. “Now, do you think you can you go over there and explain that to your mother?”

Silly Joke #3

A conservative religious mother of a 17-year-old girl was concerned that her daughter was having sex. Worried she might become pregnant and adversely impact the family’s name, she consulted their family doctor for guidance on how to approach the subject. The doctor told her that teenagers today were very willful and any attempt to stop her daughter might result in rebellion. He suggested maybe her daughter would be open to taking birth control pills, but in the meantime, to talk to her and offer her a box of condoms. As much as that wasn’t the advice she wanted to hear, she thanked him. Later that evening, as her daughter was preparing for her date, her mother suggested birth control and handed her a box of condoms as well. Her daughter then burst out laughing and reached over to hug her mother and said, “Oh Mom! You have nothing to worry about!!! Because I’ve been trying to find a way to tell you, I’m dating Susan!”

Bonus Silly Joke

Joey’s 9th grade teacher sent a quick personal note along with his grades home to his mother that said, “Joey is a very intelligent kid, but he spends far too much of his time thinking about sex and girls and always seems to be talking about it with his friends, creating a lot of distraction for others. Joey’s mother took some personal time to write Joey’s teacher back and sent it off with Joey the next school day. When Joey’s teacher opened it, he read, “If you find a solution for this, please advise. Because I have the same problem with Joey’s father..”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is one part of your personality today that is drastically different from your younger self, and probably something your younger self never would have envisioned for your older self?

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


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Life Sure Has Become A Dichotomy…

I find it ironic how much life sure has become a dichotomy. As a teenager and eventually a young adult, I never wanted to sleep long hours, was active in so many things I barely ever had any free time, enjoyed big group get-togethers, struggled to settle down with one person in a relationship for very long, had to always buy a ton of in-things, chased whatever would bring me large paychecks, and loved living in or around some large city that seemed to consistently support all of that. But now as a middle-aged man, none of that is true for me anymore.

As a middle-aged man, I like to sleep in late and like taking naps when I can. My activities are kept more limited, as my downtime has become more precious. I feel like a fish out of water at big group get-togethers and would rather hang out with one or two people at the most. I hardly buy any of those in-things anymore because I don’t feel I need them nor the stress they seem to create having them. Usually, I just let things age until they stop working. I’m finally having to face that with my iPhone 6s Plus that I purchased back in 2015. I also don’t desire to have a job anymore that pays me incredible sums of money and am more inclined to do work that just feels satisfying even if it pays me nothing like my current path with all the volunteer work I do. And where I once loved city and surrounding suburban dwelling, lately I long for the peace of rural living where I won’t have to see or hear neighbors within a few feet from my home.

With all these personality changes, I’ve been wondering lately if this huge contrast of who I once was from my younger years is just a factor of getting older. I’d argue it’s not necessarily that because I know many who are still living as much like their younger selves, except now having just more responsibilities in life. So if that’s not it, why have I become such a stark contrast from who I once was?

There is only one thing that’s different in my life today and in the past decade or so that wasn’t present in my old personality, and that was seeking a Higher Power, whom I choose to call God. Up until I was in my mid to late 30’s, the concept of God was just something that I sought when life got out of control. But as soon as I regained control, I didn’t ever seek God. Now, I seek God all the time because my 12 Step recovery showed me a healthier way of living by seeking something Greater than myself to guide my life. When I was guiding my life more than not, I sought a lot of things that I don’t believe were ever authentic to my heart and soul. They were only authentic to what my ego thought it needed for survival and happy living.

Nevertheless, the more I seek out God in my life these days, the more I find myself not relating much to a vast number of people on this planet where the focus seems to be greater with pleasing oneself than others. I truly believe human nature is inherently selfish and I was so incredibly selfish in life until I began seeking something Greater to guide my life. Now that I try to do that on a daily basis, something I give credit to my 12 Step recovery program, I feel what I seek in life is far different than what most others are seeking. I face a lot of adversity now more than ever because of it, especially whenever I do actions out of selflessness, much of which are often met with suspicion, judgments, and attacks upon my character.

I see my future evolving now into something so drastically different from what my youthful self once envisioned because of my relationship with a Higher Power. A future self that most likely will involve only a few spiritual friends and a hopefully a continued monogamous relationship, weekends spent more home than out, travel to places that are quieter rather than bustling with nightlife and activity, employment that isn’t about its pay and more about its fulfillment for God, and living in the country where I don’t find myself stressing out over neighbors living essentially on top of me.

Life sure has become a dichotomy from the person I once was…but I’m becoming ok with that. Because I’d rather have a life with a Higher Power at the helm, where life finally seems to be heading somewhere, as when I was at the helm, like always felt like it was going nowhere, except down…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you could pick the type of person you would want to sit next to you on any flight you might ever fly, thinking of your friends, which one’s personality would you enjoy flying the most with?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the sole expression of my writing at the start of every week, which for today is for meeting Pastor Troy Budreau of the Faith Baptist Church in Ray, Michigan, a man who was randomly assigned the seat next to me on a plane ride home recently, in a row I hadn’t originally intended to be in.

Just over a week ago now, I returned from a five-day visit to the Washington, DC region after catching up and connecting with some dear friends (Love you Peter, Sammy, Sterling, Lee, and Darrell!). I was flying Delta and had picked my seat months prior at the time the flight got booked. I usually choose the same seats whenever I fly, generally near back of the plane because I have the unfortunate tendency of always needing to go the restroom more than once during every flight. That being said, at the time of my check in, 24 hours before flight time, I noticed my seat had been changed from 18C, the one that I had booked, to 12C, which was the aisle seat of an emergency exit row. I was surprised because typically those aren’t assigned till the day of the flight and only by the gate agents. Nevertheless, shortly after boarding the plane on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, a sharply dressed gentleman in a full business suit pointed to the only seat next to me indicating that he would be sitting by the window. While I had planned to watch an episode of The Orville during my flight that I had downloaded prior to getting to the airport, for some reason I decided to ask this man what the occasion was for his fancy attire. That was ironic in itself because in recent years with all my chronic pain issues, I tend to tune out any passengers sitting next to me because quite often most conversations with random passengers are usually superficial in nature and feel awkward to me. I was pleasantly surprised though that what transpired for the rest of the flight after I asked that question was an amazing conversation with a humble man who was able to lift my spirits quite incredibly.

I believe everyone has a story that’s worth listening to and Pastor Troy Budreau definitely has one of those. While it’s not my intention to share any of that for the subject of this article in gratitude today, it is my intention to say that Troy is a very kind soul, who I honestly believe was meant to sit next to me. I don’t think there are any accidents because not once during the flight did I want our conversation to end. I felt God was very present in our entire conversation, as Troy talked about the pain of his journey and the many learning lessons he’s had along the way, even sharing with me a story or two about the ups and downs of being a pastor. In turn, he intently listened to much of the pain of my own journey in life, never once judging me for any of it, never once bringing any admonishment upon me whatsoever, something that so many religious people often do to me whenever I converse with them. What Troy did instead was hold space, as I did for him, where two souls were able to embrace with Light for the approximate hour and a half flight.

As I’ve spoken about so many times before, the common response when an individual shares about the pain being endured in their life is usually to be offered some piece of advice, something I loathe and detest more than anything now. When it comes to many Christians I’ve come across and shared some of my painful journey with, that is frequently what I’m given, the result of which is me feeling more down than up. I am thankful that Troy didn’t do this at all. Troy instead carried the love of Christ in a way I haven’t experienced through much of my life, especially as of late. For those brief moments our paths crossed randomly above 10,000 feet, I truly felt as if Christ himself was embracing me gently through Troy’s kind and loving words.

So, on this Grateful Heart Monday, I dedicate my sole piece of gratitude to you Pastor Troy Budreau, for carrying the love of Christ in a way that left me feeling uplifted and renewed. I hope our paths may cross again one day, but until then, may God bless you, my friend.

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

Oh, and P.S. – Just before I left the plane, I learned Troy too had been placed in the seat next to me at the last minute, when he got to the gate! Now if that’s not God working, then I don’t know what is!

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you were given the ability to easily eliminate one thing from your life right now PERMANENTLY that has been plaguing you, what would it be?

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


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A Very Interesting Question I Was Asked Recently About The Guy Who Molested Me When I Was A Kid…

In one of my recent alcohol and drug addiction presentations at the University of Toledo with a large group of fourth year nursing students, I was asked a very interesting question during the Q&A period after the main part of my speaking was complete. A student wondered if I had ever entertained the notion of sitting down with the middle-aged man who once molested me as a child to tell him that I’d forgiven him. In all the thousands of presentations I’ve done thus far, I’ve never been asked this, yet my answer to this student was swift and didn’t take much thought because I absolutely have pondered it and would meet with him if I could.

The man who molested me was arrested years ago on distribution of kiddie porn. I only know this because I looked him up one day a few years ago wondering what happened to him and thinking that very thought the student inquired of me. When I saw he was now locked up and probably would be for the rest of what years he had left, I couldn’t find any further trace of where he was incarcerated, as a pedophile’s location once they are imprisoned often isn’t public record.

Nevertheless, forgiveness is an interesting thing because when many people often say they’ve forgiven someone or something, if you really get them talking about it, quite often they’ll start getting angry about it and having that anger is probably the strongest indicator possible that says they haven’t actually fully forgiven yet.

When I speak about the man who molested me these days, a man who I can say his name now, Tom Albright, without flinching, without anger, and without any emotion other than sadness, says a lot. Sadness only in that I have compassion now for a person who remained spiritually sick their entire life and most likely will die in prison now because of it. I can’t say that sadness is how I’ve always felt surrounding this though.

For more than two decades, and maybe even close to three, I lived in so much anger about Tom Albright that I wished he would die, and painfully at that. Having had my sexuality taken from me just as I began puberty does a number on one’s mind and heart. I spent the first decade after getting molested thinking that the way this man acted upon me was the way love was supposed to be in life. I had no role models in my life when it came to what love was supposed to look like. After all this man spent six months showing me a lot of loving attention, always saying such kind words, getting me to the point of feeling safe enough with him so I could trust him. That trust that I built in him is what led to me being violated and to an incredible number of years remaining angry. But remaining angry isn’t healthy when it goes nowhere.

Being angry all the time is like swallowing a toxic chemical such as bleach and letting it sit within your stomach churning and burning away from the inside while hoping it somehow will inflict that pain upon another, except it doesn’t and only hurts the person living in anger, and severely at that. In addition, holding onto anger like this also adds layers and layers of cold walls around one’s heart, causing them to remain more closed than open to any form of giving or receiving love as they go through life. I lived this way for far too long and doing so led to living in one addiction after another to cope.

The only, and I mean ONLY, way to truly get over someone that hurts us, is to FULLY forgive them, and that process often isn’t easy whatsoever. In my case with Tom Albright, it meant going away on a spiritual retreat for a few days with a bunch of men from an organization I’ve been a member of for several decades now. There, on the retreat, I chose a man to play the role of Tom. He was given the words to say that Tom once said to me. A gauntlet of men was then placed in front of me that I had to break through with only my body, as this man kept saying Tom’s words, words that were once said to me while he molested me. When I reached the man playing him after breaking through that gauntlet, all that repressed anger and rage was at the surface. As I was safely held back from physically harming the man acting as Tom, I screamed out all my pain, all my anger, all my rage, and all my anguish, until it finally left me with a very hoarse voice that was able to say the words for the first time, “I forgive you…”, looking directly into this man’s eyes. All that remained afterwards were tears, tears of joy for finally being free of that dark energy and hold that Tom Albright had held over me for most of my life.

So yes, I would meet with Tom Albright today if I could. While I honestly don’t know whether this man is alive anymore or not, as most likely he’d be well in his 80’s by now, whether he is or isn’t, this is what I would say to him if I did meet with him.

Tom, the pain your actions caused me as a child had immeasurable damage upon my heart and soul, damage that took many years away from me connecting healthily with others and many years as well to repair. I want you to know though that I am fully healed now of this and found forgiveness for what you did to me when I was only a kid. I truly have forgiven you Tom Albright and want you to know that I love you because deep down below the sickness you remained in your entire life, is still a soul from God, one that I know started out pure, and one that I believe will be made pure again one day by God Himself…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1 (2 Little Johnny Jokes!)

Mischievous six-year-old Little Johnny comes crying to his mother because his little sister pulled his hair. “Don’t be angry,” the Mother says, “Your little sister doesn’t realize that pulling hair hurts.” A short while later, there’s more crying, and his mother goes to investigate. This time the sister is bawling and Little Johnny says… “Well, now she knows…”

“I’m worried about you always being at the bottom of your class Johnny,” said the father to his son Little Johnny, a kid who always said the most inappropriate of things.” “It’s alright Dad,” Little Johnny replied. “You know they still teach the same thing at both ends…”

Silly Joke #2

Judy: My boyfriend John was pretty rude to me last night, so I slapped his face. I felt totally awful afterward and was sorry I did it.
Trudy: Because you still care about him?
Judy: No, because he was chewing some tobacco in his mouth at the time I did it!

Silly Joke #3

Larry: Do you know my boss made me go into the office on Labor Day?
Seth: Really?! That sucks!
Larry: Yeah, and halfway through the day, he came in to check up on me and caught me having a beer.
Seth: What did he say?
Larry: He said, “You can’t drink while you’re working!”
Seth: So did you stop drinking?
Larry: No, actually I told him, “Oh, don’t worry – I’m not really working.”

Bonus Silly Joke

A big-shot businessman had to spend a couple of days in the hospital. He was a royal pain to the nurses because he bossed them around just like he did his employees. None of the hospital staff wanted to have anything to do with him. The head nurse was the only one who could stand up to him. She came into his room and announced, “I have to take your temperature Mr. Jones.” He complained as usual for being interrupted from what he was doing on his laptop, crossed his arms and opened his mouth. “No, I’m sorry,” the nurse stated, “but for this reading, I cannot use an oral thermometer.” This started another round of complaining, but eventually he rolled over and bared his rear end. After feeling the nurse insert the thermometer, he heard her announce, “I will be right back to check on this. Please stay in that position until I get back and do not move.” She left the door to his room open on her way out. He cursed under his breath as he heard people constantly walking past his door, laughing. Ten minutes later, the man’s best friend showed up to see how he was doing and laughed. Angrily, his big-shot businessman friend said, “What, you’ve never seen someone get their temperature taken???” “Yeah man, I have, but I don’t think the carnation sitting in the center of your ass right now is going to accomplish that, although I do think you have a fever because it’s kind of wilting!!!”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Has there ever been a time where you practiced that principle of “Love Thy Neighbor” and received the exact opposite of that from them? If so, how did you handle it?

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


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Daily Reflection

“Loving your neighbor is easy when he’s nice or when she’s the same as you. But the rule is ‘Love Thy Neighbor’…Even if he is different. Even if she is a bit mean. Even if they don’t believe in the same things you do. You don’t have to hang out with thy neighbor or agree with thy neighbor, just love them. Treat them with as much respect and acceptance as you’d like them to treat you.” (Doe Zantamata)

I have a neighbor living next to me now, who has never trusted me from the start, always believing I have some hidden agenda, some angle, as to why I’ve done the things I have in our neighborhood, including me meticulously maintaining their front yard for a number of years when no one else regularly was. For years their father was ailing and couldn’t get out and do any yard work and the only other occupant of the house was a son who never seemed to do much to help out with anything. The grass in their front yard often went uncut and unkempt for weeks at a time because of it. I found compassion for the situation, so one day I decided I was just going to help out by beginning to maintain it for the ailing father. Their yard really needed a lot of TLC, as it was mostly weeds and wild violets. I began diligently working with it, slowly restoring it to its glory, simply because I wanted to do something nice for someone else who wasn’t able to do it for themselves. I didn’t want or ask for anything in return and just desired to create joy for another. When their father unfortunately passed away about a year ago, the son was removed from the home and another sibling moved in, the one who hasn’t trusted my motives from the start. They immediately informed me early this spring my yard services were no longer needed, of which I said I understood. So, I spent this cutting season only doing a few strips to the left of my fence bordering their yard, as I learned fences are never placed on property lines due to it often creating legal battles when they are. Fences are typically placed because of this, back at least 2 inches, to a foot and a half from property lines. My neighbor never said anything to me about those few strips I cut each time, that is until just a few weeks ago.

They had put some grass seed down in a few areas, some of which was within my normal cutting area. They had also placed a small movable fence surrounding those areas, which I carefully mowed and edged around one day. Having been in the landscaping world for a long time, I wasn’t about to damage any of my former or their present hard work. Sadly though, my actions that day triggered a very loud and expletive response from them that essentially was no more than “Stay the f$$k off my yard!!!” When I tried to talk with them in a calm manner, explaining that I was only trying to maintain a part of our property still, their rage grew only worse, with many of our surrounding neighbors hearing their angry rant at me. A rant that continued well into that night and even the next day with whomever they spoke to, as I unfortunately caught part of it each time I walked outside to do some of my normal chores. Frankly, it hurt immensely, leading me to cry profusely over it. That principle of “Love Thy Neighbor” felt like it had meant nothing to them whatsoever in those moments, even given all the hard work I had done for them with having never once asked for anything in return. My ego initially wanted to retaliate with negative words, but my Spirit had me pause, reflect, and pray over the situation and for them. In the process, I realized that loving one’s neighbor doesn’t always mean that the love given out will be returned in kind. Sometimes it actually means getting nothing in return, other than the sole satisfaction that comes from being a loving steward in this world for God. While my neighbor may never understand this or grasp that I have no other motive than to serve God, I plan to continue loving them, albeit from a greater distance now, but loving them nonetheless, because loving thy neighbor isn’t about doing something with the expectation of it coming back in kind, it’s about doing it no matter what, knowing it’s how I’d want to be treated, and how God would want me to treat others as well.

God, I pray you may help me to always love thy neighbor, even when thy neighbor may never love me in return.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Name one TV show you never thought you’d like, that you ended up watching and totally loved?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where the focus is always on a piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for a show I wrote about on my Facebook timeline a few times lately that has been really helping me to laugh lately…and A LOT at that…something I’ve needed badly in my life for some time. What’s the show? The Orville, starring Seth MacFarland, on Hulu streaming. A show I initially didn’t give a chance, but one I finally did, am so very grateful I did.

I was never really a Seth MacFarland fan given his type of sarcastic humor in the Family Guy show that he created, which is why when I saw his new Star Trek-type show coming out in 2017 titled The Orville, I was uninterested in watching it, even though I’m a fan of most Star Trek type shows and movies. But after one of my fraternity brothers (thank you Matt Christiansen) recently asked me to give it a whirl for at least a few episodes, I decided I would, mostly because Matt’s a great guy who has a type of humor that totally makes me laugh. I assumed that if Matt’s humor was anything like what The Orville’s humor was like, then maybe I would like it. And I totally have!

Once I passed the second episode of the first season, I never turned back and have been regularly binge-watching this series. The belly laughs I’ve had thus far while watching it, along with its numerous positive messages, have left me constantly feeling uplifted every time I’ve sat down to catch a new episode. If you’ve ever seen the movie, Galaxy Quest, starring Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver, which is essentially a Star Trek spoof of a film, and one of my favorite comedies of all time, then you most likely would like this show as much as I have.

Laughing is hard for me. Living in chronic pain on most days honestly makes it hard to laugh, let alone even smile. But there hasn’t been a single episode yet of The Orville where I haven’t laughed incredibly hard or felt better by the end of it. I have to give it to Seth MacFarland for creating something that I feel is dramatically different than Family Guy, which essentially to me has always been a type of potty humor that doesn’t interest me.

Currently, I’m in the midst of Season 3 and can’t wait to see where the direction of this show continues to head. I’ve come to learn this show has a huge fan base and every time I bring it up with friends, I find so many others who seem to like it just as much as I do. I truly am hoping that this show gets renewed for a 4th Season, but at least for now, I found an outlet that definitely induces laughter in me, something I desperately need as it’s a great pain releaser.

If you haven’t watched this show, I encourage you to give it a whirl yourself, as I highly recommend it and dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to Seth MacFarland’s, The Orville.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you could eliminate one type of addiction in this world for everyone, forever, which one would you choose? (Ex. Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Gambling Addiction, Sex/Love Addiction, Food Addiction, Spending Addiction, etc.)

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


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When Relapses End Tragically…

It’s heartbreaking to witness alcohol and drug relapses, especially when it’s with people who have had some time under their belt remaining clean and sober. The hope is that they’ll quickly regain their footing and insert themselves back all the more into their 12 Step program. But not everyone always makes it back, which is probably the hardest thing to witness, specifically when it ends tragically. Such is the case of an individual I knew and appreciated tremendously who was employed at the detox I volunteer at weekly that I’ll anonymously refer to as Joe.

Joe was one of those faces I really looked forward to seeing each time I showed up to hold my 12 Step meeting with the clients of the detox he worked at. He never failed to greet me warmly, always giving me the thumbs up for the work I do, consistently supporting my efforts, and even cracking jokes with me from time to time. When I began to notice Joe wasn’t around two weeks in a row, I asked where he was thinking maybe he just moved on to another job or was taking an extended vacation. The truth was far worse. I learned Joe “went back out” as they say, deciding for whatever his reasons to pick up his alcohol and drug addiction one more time and it ended badly. Joe overdosed, during which he lost too much oxygen to his brain. While Joe is still alive, he’s now in hospice care, has lost much of his memory, and by all means will probably need care for the rest of his life. And, in case you’re wondering, Joe is only in his mid 30’s.

Choosing to go back out with addiction is like playing Russian Roulette. Eventually it will take your life. With how potent things are getting in the alcohol and drug world, there are more deaths now from people relapsing than ever before. What recovering individuals continue to repeatedly forget once they get clean and sober is that all those inner demons that caused them to be an addict in the first place are always there on some level, trying to succumb them back. It’s the 12 Step work that keeps people sober, not just staying away from the substance of the addiction.

I don’t know what Joe’s reasons were to go back out one more time. Maybe it was that simple thought that it would be different this time. Or maybe it was a really bad day and he didn’t care anymore. Ironically, if you had seen Joe before his relapse, you wouldn’t know he once was a hard-core addict. More bright and cheerful than anything else, I realize I may never see that again in Joe and in all reality, Joe probably doesn’t even remember me anymore given the damage his relapse caused his brain.

I’m sad for Joe, but even more sad for how bad the alcohol and drug problem is becoming, not just here in Toledo, but also around our country and the world in general. People aren’t talking about this that much because there is so much else going on in the news taking far more precedence these days. I continue to fight on though, not just for the souls of others to find release from the grips of their addiction, but also against the Enemy, that darkness, that keeps trying to beckon me back into the allure of what alcohol and drugs offer at first. But I know that eventually both will assuredly take everything away, including my life.

That’s why I’ve dedicated today’s article to Joe, and others like Joe, like Aaron, or Bobby, or Derek, or Paulie, or Charlie, or any of the other endless list of names I have now of people I’ve loved and cared about who either died at the hands of alcohol and drug addiction or experienced some tragic permanent life changing alteration from them. It’s them that remind me there is never a good relapse back into addiction and that the only solution is to spend the rest of my life doing this 12 Step recovery work I do and remaining devoted to God in the process. Both have kept me clean and sober thus far, 27 years and growing. God willing I pray to never have to experience when a relapse ends tragically…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A man died and arrived at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter greets him and says, “Welcome. Come walk with me and I’ll show you where you’ll be living in your afterlife.”As they’re walking along the path there he notices clocks on a golden fence. He asks St. Peter, “What are all those clocks for?” St. Peter replies, “They’re clocks for every person in the world. They click once for each time you lie.” The man looked at them further and noticed each had a name on it with their profession below it. As they continued along, the man noticed something interesting, so he asked out of curiosity, “I haven’t seen any clocks of a politician or lawyer yet? Where are they? St. Peter calmly replies, “Oh, them…a ton of us have been using them as fans!”

Silly Joke #2

John and Martha Stewart lived in a rustic cabin without any electricity deep in the mountains. Thankfully they had a phone line, as late one night his wife who had been pregnant for almost the nine full months suddenly went into labor. A local doctor from around their hills was called in to assist in the delivery. To keep the nervous father-to-be busy, the doctor handed him a lantern and said, “Here, you hold this high so I can see what I’m doing.” Soon, a tiny baby boy was brought into the world and John went to put the lantern down. “Whoa there, John!” said the doctor. “Don’t be in a rush to put that down too soon, as I think there’s yet another wee one to come.” Sure enough, within minutes he had delivered another little baby. John went to put the lantern down again when the doctor blurted out, “Whoa! Not yet Johnny boy, it seems like there’s still yet one more to arrive!” John scratched his head in bewilderment, and nervously asked the doctor, “Hey Doc, ya think maybe this lantern light ya gave me is what’s attracting them?”

Silly Joke #3

Three doctors died together in a plane crash are now waiting in line to get into the Pearly Gates. St. Peter walks out and asks the first one, “What have you done to enter Heaven?” “I was a pediatrician who brought thousands of the Lord’s babies into the world.” “Good enough to enter the gates,” replied St. Peter and in he goes. The same question is asked of the second doctor. “I was a general practitioner who went to Third World countries three times a year to cure the poor.” St. Peter is impressed and allows him through the gates. The third doctor already knowing the question, blurts out, “I was a very powerful director of an HMO who reviewed many medical files of countless patients.” St. Peter calmly responds, “You may enter Heaven…but your coverage only allows for 2 days here.”

Bonus Silly Joke

A man who always obsessively read the manual for everything he bought from a store was also a hypochondriac and germaphobe. One afternoon, he felt like he was running a temperature so he decided to go purchase a rectal thermometer knowing that was the best way to get an accurate reading. He stopped at his local pharmacy and purchased one from Johnson & Johnson. After arriving home and opening the package, he removed the thermometer and its small manual. Once he safely inserted the thermometer into his rectum, the man began reading the manual where its first line caused him to recoil in horror and quickly pull the thermometer out of his ass as it said, “Every rectal thermometer made by Johnson & Johnson is personally tested…”

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

Thought For The Day

I often struggle with how so many believe their religion or spiritual path is the ONLY path that’s right. I believe there are infinite paths to the same Source, to God if you will, and that we all have our own uniquely tailored path to that, which today’s quotes stem from having that belief…

“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammad and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.” (John Lennon)

“All religions are the same. They all lead to God. God is everybody.” (Neem Karoli Baba)

“All religions demand equal respect, as something good can be learnt from each of them and it’s pointless to divide humanity on the basis of religion.” (Tarandeep Kaur Bhasin)

“I respect all religions and their beliefs. I believe God is One with many different names. Some may call him Allah, others Bhagwan, Jesus, or Buddha, yet they all come from the same place, love. It’s ok to believe in your religion, but please respect others and their journey to God as well, as we’re all on our own unique paths to the same Source.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

Are People Losing Their Minds?

The other day I was driving around locally, passing through a yellow light that was about to turn red. Just as I was almost through the intersection, it indeed turned the scarlet color, momentarily blocking the forward progress of some guy in a brand-new Jeep for a millisecond of time. He immediately flipped me off and loudly yelled out his window some very strong expletives at me, leaving me wondering are people losing their minds, as this seems to be becoming the norm these days.

People really seem to be flipping out so very quickly now, living on such short fuses. Why are people acting like this so much these days? There is a growing number of alarming examples of this, of verbal and physical violence over even the most minor of things now, things that once never created any sort of issue whatsoever and were easily diffused with an “I’m sorry” when they happened. Except that’s not happening anymore.

Take for example the movie I watched recently in a local theater where some guy was ready to go to blows with another guy simply over him asking the other to turn his phone off. Or a neighbor telling me about a person who followed them home one afternoon, all because some driver was mad at how slow they had been going in front of them, who wanted to make sure they knew how mad they were. Or what about that guy who shot a McDonald’s employee recently because their fries weren’t done right??? Seriously, what is wrong with this world presently?

What is causing this? Why does everyone seem like they are boiling kettles ready to burst at any given moment at someone else? Some say it’s due to our political climate that started a few terms ago. Others say it’s an energetic shift happening on this planet. There are those who say it’s what the pandemic caused. And some ultra-religious believe it’s the sign of end-times to come. What I believe is that this world is becoming more and more godless, choosing self over anyone else, paying more attention to one’s own needs, wants, and desires, more than anyone else’s, being more self-absorbed, then selfless in life. It’s easy to do so when fear consumes the mind and fear is what is racing around our planet now with all that has been going on.

There is only one reason why I don’t act this way with others. It’s because I believe there is something out there, up there, around us, and in us, or all of the above, which I choose to label as God, that I feel guides me to be a better person, one more selfless, than selfish. Yes, our world has changed dramatically in recent years with one terrible thing happening after another. But one thing hasn’t changed for me during all of it, and that’s my seeking a Higher Power to guide me through it all, rather than me looking to guide myself through it all, making myself my own higher power in the process. Unfortunately, I think more and more people are choosing to be the center of their own universes now, guiding themselves through all this drama in any way they know, which often ends up being more selfish and self-centered than selfless.

So, do I think people are losing their minds? Not exactly, no. What I do think though is that more and more people are living out of their minds with this increasing fear, choosing themselves before anyone else, focusing on pleasing their own nature, rather than being respectful of others. I know that pattern well having been an active and seriously sick addict for well over two decades with a number of addictions. Living in addictions often leads a person to act this way. I pray daily to my Higher Power to not be this way anymore, as I too have felt the desire to lash out at times with all this fear. And for the few times I have, I realize how toxic it’s been, not just for my spiritual path, but also for the world in general.

There indeed is a lot of fear in our crazy world right now and yes, the world does often feel so very upside down. But the answer to dealing with this isn’t through acts of expletive outbursts, rage, or physical violence. That will never change anything and will only make this problem grow worse. The answer I believe is to go within, to calm the mind enough to reach the heart/soul, as there seems to be the main place I always find a Greater love for others more so than myself. And the more I work on connecting to that place, the easier it’s been to diffuse and disconnect from any heightened situation that might otherwise become something far more out-of-control if I was to try to navigate it from my mind instead…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

For coffee drinkers, besides making it at home, if you had to buy a drink of it on-the-go at some local coffee chain, what is your favorite go-to-place? (Ex. Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons, Panera, etc.)

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, which for today is for Katelyn Smith, who is the District Manager of Starbucks in my region and someone who went above and beyond to help me with a growing issue I’ve been having with my usual coffee order at a number of her stores.

It’s no secret that I’m addicted to Starbucks coffee. If you ever want to find me on any given afternoon, there’s a good chance I’m consuming a coffee during that time at one of the Starbucks locations in my region. Over the last few years, I have grown to love one single drink more than any other, and on most days many baristas know me well enough that they are already placing my order as soon as I walk up to the register. My drink is a Venti (large) Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, sub out the vanilla syrup for 5 pumps of mocha, no ice, vanilla sweet cream on the side, and two Trenta (extra-large) cups of ice on the side.

For many, me included, Starbucks coffee is too strong on its own, so I always dilute my large beverage into two extra-large cups of ice, adding my vanilla sweet cream to both. I generally consume one in the afternoon, and one later at night, as I do try to limit my caffeine intake. In recent months though, I began facing an issue with this drink where employees were trying to charge me for the amount of vanilla sweet cream I use. I tend to like my coffee more sweet than bitter and use the additional vanilla sweet cream in each of those extra-large cups of ice. For the longest time, none of the baristas anywhere had an issue with this. In recent months though, that changed. Some employees, including even a manager, began telling me that I need to start paying $1.25 for the extra vanilla sweet cream. One employee recently even went so far as to tell me I needed to pay $4 for the extra vanilla sweet cream because it constituted an entirely new beverage. I began to feel shamed by employees over this issue, and as it continued to happen, I became embarrassed just to order my drink, which is why I opted one day to contact Corporate Starbucks to see what they had to say.

I spoke with a senior supervisor there who told me that because my vanilla sweet cream was already part of the cost of the beverage I order, that having the additional amount wasn’t a problem and I should never be charged anything extra for it. They then contacted my local District Manager, Katelyn Smith, to follow up with me on the issue, who in turn reached out and set up an in-person meeting with me. I was nervous about this meeting, as I had been given so much flack lately about this silly issue. What I received though from her was a very warm welcome, a sincere understanding, and an immense amount of gratitude for just bringing the issue to her attention in the first place, something she said most normally don’t and she wished they would. She assured me she would correct the problem by talking to all her store managers and even told me to reach out to her if I encountered the problem again, as she would immediately address it. We actually spent an hour together discussing this and many other things about Starbucks in general, which I must say, Katelyn is a really great listener who has a huge amount of empathy. I could see why she is a District Manager, because of how much she made sure to address all my concerns with the level of compassion she had. At the end of our meeting before she had to leave, she even bought me my usual beverage, an action that simply blew me away.

I honestly wish all managers and supervisors in this world were like Katelyn Smith. Talking to her felt very down-to-earth and was truly a sincere pleasure. Because of it, I’ve dedicated today’s Grateful Heart Monday to her, not just because she addressed my Starbucks issue with grace, but also for reminding me why Starbucks is a company that always does go above and beyond to retain their customers, which is why I keep going back daily for my coffee. Thank you, Katelyn, for being an amazing District Manager and for helping me! I’m very grateful.

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

Thought For The Day

In light of all the judgements many have made of me unfairly, especially here in the Midwest, I wanted to share some quotes that meant something to me about what I feel real love and friendship is all about…

“Always love your friends from your heart, not from your mood or need.” (Unknown)

“The most basic need a soul has is to experience unconditional love and acceptance.” (Unknown)

“Once you learn to accept and love friends for who they are, you subconsciously learn to love yourself unconditionally.” (Yvonne Pierre)

“Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when your broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.” (Alan Cohen)

“I don’t want someone who sees only the good about me, I want someone who sees the bad and still loves me.” (Unknown)

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

Why Do People Rarely Seem To See The Good In Me Around Here?

Why do people rarely seem to see the good in me around here? This is the main question I continue to wrestle with immensely the more I face the rejection I do here in this region of the world I reside in. And with each passing year, it only seems to grow worse. My only reprieve now are the mini trips I take away from this area where I don’t seem to face this rejection.

I recently faced this rejection with a local fraternity alumni association I’m part of here, where two members of it whom I’ve only spent about 2 hours of time with overall since I first met them made blanket statements about me. Blanket statements that weren’t favorable at all and filled with judgement, enough so that I’ve been told they aren’t sure they want to sit with me again in a meeting.

I have been struggling with this type of harsh response towards me in this area repeatedly. Never did I go through this prior to moving to this part of the country. How many times this continues to happen here where I’m treated unfairly and unlovingly, I’ve honestly lost track. Why people don’t focus on the positive work I am doing, I don’t know? While I do my best to look for the good in everyone, no matter what, as I do believe there is good in everyone, for whatever the reason, far too many here focus on all the negative qualities they perceive in me.

I have worked so hard to erase my selfish past, to be more unconditionally loving, and to give the shirt off my back for people in need. Yet, time and time and time again I have had one person after another here judge me repeatedly, some even viciously directly attacking me, while others talk quite harshly about me behind my back, never once focusing on any of my positive traits, or caring about the heart I have, stomping on it incredibly in the process. Frankly, it feels like I am continuously judged, tried, and executed here by a jury who never has been willing to truly hear my case.

Every, single, day I ask God to guide my life, to be unconditionally loving, and to help me overcome all my pain and health issues and character defects. I field plenty of phone calls for recovery daily doing my best to help whomever is on the other end with love and light. I meet with tons of hurting people all the time just because I want them to know they are loved and cared about. I run meetings with faith hoping it’s helping them somehow and do countless speaking engagements simply trying to pass on my experience, strength, and hope to those in attendance. Yet, I continue to be judged in a negative light regardless. The fact is, most here in this neck of the woods have never seemed to like me from the start. Even my partner’s family has unfairly judged me from the beginning.

Whenever I’ve asked individuals around here why they think this is, I’m told maybe I should try more of “this”, and so I try to do more of “this”, and they continue to not like me. Others say I should try more of “that”, and so I try to do more of “that”, and yet they still don’t like me. It hasn’t mattered whether I try to go up, or down, or left, or right, or jump, or sit still, as no matter what I’ve done to find acceptance here in the Midwest, it just hasn’t happened.

I know I’m a good person. I know I have a good heart. And I know I care about people…A LOT, even when they don’t like me or care about me one bit. Like one of my bordering neighbors, someone I helped restore her front yard over the past six years, never asking for anything in return, who suddenly decided to scream at me at the top of her lungs the other day, for all the neighbors to hear, over an issue that I was fully willing to talk peacefully about. She too has never liked me from the start and always has believed I had some hidden agenda doing all the work I did for free, when I never had any agenda at all other than to add beauty to the world. But even with her yelling at and hating me, I still care about her.

I wasn’t always this type of person though. I used to be such a terrible and selfish person who hated everybody, including myself. 12 Step recovery changed that. And so did my relationship with God. I know my best friend Cedric would support these statements and say how much I’ve become a far more selfless and unconditionally loving individual now. Why people around here never seem to focus on that, I frankly don’t know.

So, if you happen to be someone who is judging me, or labeling me negatively, or purposely avoiding me, or has a less opinion of me, know my heart grieves surrounding this because I try so hard to be a good person on this planet. Why you don’t see that, I don’t know. I still love you unconditionally nonetheless. Why? Because God opened my heart enough to see the good in you, even when you can’t or won’t and may never will see the good in me. And I’m ok with that because God knows I am a good person. I pray one day you’ll see that too…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Dad: “I taught my kids a lot about democracy tonight by having them vote on which movie to watch and what pizza to order.”
Dad’s best friend: “That must have been a really great learning time for them I’m guessing?”
Dad: “Totally! Especially when I picked the movie and pizza and told them it was because I’m the one with the money.”

Silly Joke #2

A little old lady goes to the doctor and says, “Doctor, I have this problem with gas, but it doesn’t really bother me too much. They never smell and are always silent. As a matter of fact, I think I’ve farted at least a few times since I’ve been here in your office. You wouldn’t know I was farting because they really don’t smell and are totally silent.” The doctor says, “I see. Here’s a prescription. Make sure to take this 3 times a day for seven days and come back and see me next week.” The next week the lady goes back. “Doctor,” she says, “I don’t know what the hell you gave me, but now my farts … although still silent… stink terribly.” The doctor says, “Good! Now that we’ve cleared up your sinuses, let’s start working on your hearing.”

Silly Joke #3

An absent-minded husband thought he had conquered his problem of trying to remember his wife’s birthday and their anniversary. To try to fix that, he opened an account with a florist, provided that florist with both dates and instructions to send flowers to his wife on those precise dates along with an appropriate note signed, “Your loving husband.” His wife was thrilled by this new display of attention and all went well until one day, when he came home, kissed his wife and said offhandedly, “Nice flowers, honey. Where’d you get them?”

Bonus Silly Joke

Two parents took their 5-year-old son Little Johnny, who always says the most inappropriate of things, on a summer vacation and went to the beach nearby one day, only realizing once they got there it was actually a nude beach. They decided to stay as they felt it would be a great learning lesson for Little Johnny. The father went for a walk on the beach while Little Johnny dashed into the water and began playing in the waves. Not too long after he came running back to his mom and says…”Mommy, Mommy, I saw ladies with boobies a lot bigger than yours!!!” The mom replied, “Well son, the bigger they are, the dumber they are!” Little Johnny shrugged his shoulders and then ran back into the water to play in the waves again. Several minutes later he was back and says, “Mommy, Mommy, I just saw men with huge dingy’s so much bigger than daddy’s!” The mom replied, “The bigger they are, the dumber they are dear!” Little Johnny shrugged his shoulders again and quickly left to go play in the waves once more. A few minutes later he was back yet again and says, “Mommy, Mommy, I just saw daddy talking to the dumbest lady I’ve ever seen and the more and more he talked, the dumber and dumber he got too!!!”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is the most fulfilling volunteer position you’ve ever had in life thus far?

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


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How An Addict Goes From A Life Of Taking To A Life Of Giving…

Most addicts, no matter what their addiction, are inherently takers rather than givers. They tend to use people more than help people. And when push comes to shove, getting any help from them, be prepared for them to either hold it over your head at some point down the way, or ask for something in return immediately upon completion. On my journey through 12 Step recovery over the years, I’ve learned one of the main goals of the 12 Step process is all about moving a person away from living this life of selfish taking into living a life of selfless giving.

Fifteen years ago, when I first walked into the rooms of recovery with 12 years clean and sober from alcohol and drugs. I was essentially a dry drunk/addict who was still completely selfish and self-centered, always doing things for others for a price, a price that always benefitted me somehow. When my first sponsor took me under her wing though, I began to be guided away from this behavior, as she directed me to volunteer at the AA headquarters in downtown Boston answering calls on their hotline for a 4-hour shift. I did it initially begrudgingly because I just wanted to appease her. What I didn’t know though was how much that volunteer job would change my life forever, as it taught me the invaluableness of helping another without asking for anything in return. It became a regular occurrence on those calls to help so many in desperation, many just looking for a friend so they didn’t feel so alone in what they were going through, and some simply asking me to pray with them. I saw how much that service made a difference, both in their lives, and in mine with my heart feeling a lot fuller. Ever since then, I’ve consistently been more on the path of service, one that continues to help me move further and further away from a selfish taker to more of a selfless giver.

What giving translates to in the 12 Step recovery realm often begins with taking on a simple position in a home group like making coffee before the meeting starts or just setting up chairs. Eventually it can lead to other service work in the greater recovery community such as serving on a committee. It also can mean sponsoring others and going on commitments to places where people are still suffering from addiction. It can even mean starting your own 12 Step meeting. Beyond the 12 Step recovery realm, it can mean just being more of service to your partner or friends, saying yes, more than no, and having no hidden agenda or angle. Overall, this is the primary objective of 12 Step recovery beyond remaining clean and sober. That is to learn how to live a life of freely giving of oneself rather than living a life of constantly taking from others.

I sincerely believe I’m doing a pretty decent job at this now, but that certainly didn’t happen overnight. It took years of following the advice of others in 12 Step recovery who had been on the recovery journey far longer. It’s because of what they taught me why I do so much service work now. Many newcomers often ask me why I continue to do it as much as I do with 27 years now clean and sober and the answer is simple. I do it because there’s far greater satisfaction in life when giving of oneself without ever asking for anything in return, then in taking for oneself and always wanting something more.

Living as a taker is a dead-end existence, one that leaves the soul feeling so very empty in the long run. But living as a giver transforms the mind and the body into an existence where life can feel far lighter and far brighter, something I’ve come to see quite a bit more as I continue working on selfless giving more than selfish taking…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is a fun and light-hearted one…

You are permanently stranded on a remote island where bananas, nuts, and drinkable water are in abundance. Suddenly one day an enormous crate with an easy-to-open latch washes up on the shore. On the outside of the crate, it says “Non-Perishable Food Within”. What would you hope would be inside the crate to eat?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, which for today is for having a spiritual belief system that doesn’t conform to what the masses say and one that accepts everyone on their own uniquely tailored spiritual path.

Having grown up in a Christian family that didn’t practice good Christian values whatsoever behind the scenes, who put on more of a persona that they were good Christians when out and about, made me despise for the longest time the Christian faith. Thankfully, I no longer feel that way about Christianity, nor about any other religion either. And while I do believe and follow in the teachings of Christ, I no longer label myself as a Christian because I felt it was too conforming, leaving people out more than welcoming them in.

I’m definitely not a conformer. as I tend to go against the masses in my life more than not, so much so that it often gets me in trouble, sometimes even unfriended because of it. While I’m not against any specific religious path, including Christianity, I do believe there are an infinite number of paths to the same Source, or God if you will. I also believe that everyone’s spiritual path is specifically tailored in a way that’s unique to them, one that helps them communicate to Source in a way they’ll understand, even if they haven’t become aware of it yet.

Nevertheless, if I was to label myself spiritually, I’d say I carry both Christian values and Buddhist beliefs. Yet, I also relate much to Quakerism for their freeform style of worship and Wiccans mostly for their love of nature. But ultimately, I don’t think it matters what I or anyone else defines themselves as when it comes to their spiritual side. So long as one isn’t trying to play God themselves or purposely trying to hurt others in the name of whatever their Higher Power is, I do my best to accept everyone as they are on their spiritual walks, no matter what spiritual path looks like.

The fact is, I accept everyone at their core for whatever their spiritual beliefs are and am grateful I feel that way today. Ironically, I once was a guy who would only associate myself to fellow Christians and would scoff at anyone of other religions and faith systems different than mine, even going so far as to let them know I felt they were wrong and misguided. Sometimes I even said they wouldn’t ever enter the gates of Heaven because they weren’t accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior. I’m grateful to say I don’t say things like that anymore and believe now it’s my purpose to accept each person as they are, which comes from my love of Christ’s teachings. It’s precisely how I embrace people of all faiths now. I know plenty of people from many different walks of faith who are incredibly wonderful and beautiful souls who quite probably are more worthy and deserving of being in a place like Heaven than I would have been in many years of my life, especially during my active addiction days.

To have arrived at where I am with my spiritual belief system now, one where I still follow the Trinity but believe I’ve lived many lives before this one as well, and one where I also respect others on their own individual spiritual walks, is something that didn’t come easily. Honestly, it took me being judged by a vast number of ultra-religious people throughout my life due to my sexuality to arrive at my open acceptance now of others when it comes to spirituality. I’m also grateful that my 12 Step recovery work has helped me to meet so many from different spiritual backgrounds, as each who accepted me just as I am, contributed to developing the very open faith system I have now.

So on this Grateful Heart Monday, I am thankful for the spiritual belief system I have nowadays. One that doesn’t conform to what the masses say, and one that accepts everyone on their own uniquely tailored spiritual path, paths I believe forged by Source in ways meant for each of us to individually find our own way Home, even when it seems far different from my own…

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes deal with the concept of Social Media and FOMO (The fear of missing out), something I wrote about in depth in yesterday’s article…

“On social media people tend to show off and post their most attractive picture, and moments that are most likely to give everyone else FOMO (Fear of missing out). They rarely share the moments when they feel down, or when things have gone wrong and they need support.” (Helen Fielding)

“Social media has created jealous behavior over illusions. Sadly, some are envious of things, relationships, and lifestyles that don’t even exist.” (Nadia Buari)

“Don’t compare your everyday with someone else’s highlights from their social media.” (Unknown)

“Social media has led us into a life where we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, instead of us being thankful for who and what we are and thankful for the uniqueness we all have in God’s eyes.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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