Question Of The Day

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Today’s question is…

Are you leaving your light on for trick-or-treaters this year? If so, what are you planning on handing out to them?

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


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My Need For Human Touch…

I think human touch is very important. I’m always reminded of those studies that were done scientifically with babies where it was proven that the lack of physical affection can actually kill a baby or seriously limit their growth and development.

As a baby, I was often told I received a lot of human touch. But, as a kid, when my parents succumbed to alcohol addiction, I didn’t get much of that whatsoever. Rather, I remember days when I’d go into the family room in tears wanting my mother just to console me over being bullied at school where she’d tell me to be quiet as she watched her soap operas and drank her wine. She even sent me off to learn karate when I broke down one day about the ongoing bullying, instead of providing me any sort of loving touch.

My first real experience as a kid receiving human touch was sadly when I got molested around the age of 12 from the coach of the swim and dive team I was on. After that, I began to fear anyone touching me and instead felt wickedly uncomfortable with any sort of affection. That lasted for years causing me to recoil inside any time someone placed a loving hand on me or even touched me on any level. Eventually, I worked through this issue mostly because of the work I did through the ManKind Project organization (MKP), which I continue to remain a part of to this day.

Unfortunately, these days, I continue to struggle with one thing that still relates to human touch. I have this overwhelming need now to have physical affection more than not, all because of how low I feel inside about my life due to my long-standing health issues and where my life has been left because of them. And while I crave human touch as much as do, my partner is the exact opposite with it, as he doesn’t need much of it at all. Part of that relates to issues he has in that arena that he’s just beginning to work on. Because of that, quite often I know I come across to him as overly needy, typically when I ask to hold hands more or be held more or simply just to be touched more.

I’m beginning to wonder if for as long as my health issues stick around, will I always appear as being overly needy, chiefly when it comes to craving human touch. But like a baby who needs this for development and really to live, is it the same for adults as well? Do we ultimately need human touch? And can human touch prevent things like depression and anxiety and other sickness? I tend to think so because of the benefit I always feel whenever I receive love through human touch. The downside though is how many people in this world seem to struggle giving or receiving it due to their own upbringing and the lack of ever getting it on a healthy level. Frankly, for many I’ve gotten to know, human touch is such a foreign thing and seems to make plenty uncomfortable.

All I know to do is to keep on showing the physical affection I do to others and to remain thankful for those who offer me any human touch in return. Sometimes a deep hug, an arm around my shoulder, and a hand on my leg, from anyone, goes a long way, especially for a guy like me who hurts so badly inside on more days than not.

So, if you should ever happen to see someone who is truly hurting from anything in life, know I believe that deep down each of them biologically desires some type of human touch and physical affection. While some may generally not be open to receiving it yet due to not having worked through some issue around it, know there are others who would love to receive it and when they do, it may just make their day and help them to keep going for one more day, others that include someone like me…

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

Question Of The Day

Today’s question is…

Was there ever a time that you were so rigid in your thinking that you almost gave up on someone else, but didn’t, and instead watched as they helped you to learn that maybe life isn’t so black and white?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

It’s Grateful Heart Monday, a time always dedicated to a single piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for Jeremiah S., a sponsee who helped me to see that life shouldn’t be so black and white, especially when it comes to doing the 12 Steps.

I’ve sponsored in some fashion probably close to 100 individuals over the years since coming into the world of 12 Step recovery from addiction. I was taught how to do the steps by a woman named Lorraine many years ago and have ever since continued to teach this way to each of those individuals who’ve asked me to sponsor them. Unfortunately, I’ve also been a little too rigid in that process and have a number of times watched as sponsees moved on to other sponsors because of it. But then along came Jeremiah who walked into my life in somewhat of a strange way.

I had been asked by a friend if I was open to sponsoring someone at one point and said I really wasn’t because I had a full plate, but not too long after that, I had an opening because one of my sponsees went back out and decided that sobriety wasn’t for them. On a random evening shortly after that, I opted to go see a friend’s musical performance at a restaurant not too far from where I live. There, as I sat waiting to hear him play, I was introduced to a guy who too was also there to listen to the performance. He introduced himself as Jeremiah and somehow the topic of sobriety came up while we chatted. I came to learn he was actually looking for a sponsor and when I told him I was open to it, I found out that he was actually the one my other friend had been wondering if I had been open to sponsoring. I kind of saw this as God working in mysterious ways like God always seems to do in my life so I began the path of sponsoring Jeremiah pretty much from that moment forward.

One thing I came to learn pretty quickly about Jeremiah is that my style of sponsoring at times overwhelmed him, especially any time I attempted to push him through a piece of the 12 Step work. But, instead of totally quitting the step work, or ever moving on to someone else to help him, Jeremiah stuck by my side and continued to trudge through the steps, albeit at a pace that was much slower than my ego was used to. Upon reaching the 4th Step, which is the step I like to say separates those who really want recovery and those who don’t, I watched as Jeremiah hit a wall, like so many individuals I’ve sponsored do.

The 4th Step is one where a recovering individual takes a hard look in the mirror and finally sees all the damage they caused themselves and others from their life of addiction. Many don’t ever make it past this step and as month after month began to pass with Jeremiah taking a hard pause on this step, I thought that maybe it’d be best to not be his sponsor and move on to someone else who I thought would be push themselves more in the step work. I couldn’t even see my ego in that initially, but thankfully Jeremiah helped me to see it by finding a way to communicate it to me in a way I understood.

Over the course of just under a year, Jeremiah showed me that maybe I needed to become a little more flexible in the way I sponsor. He never stopped calling me every day, rarely missing one, consistently checking in, and slowly but surely, conquering little by little that Mt. Everest of a 4th Step. I’m thankful to say he’s now fully past it and has moved quickly beyond by both finishing the 5th and 6th step work. As he and I stand at the 7th step together now, I realize I’ve become quite proud of Jeremiah and thankful as well, for teaching me something with the 12 Step work that I never believed could happen. That no matter how much time one takes on any of the steps, so long as they continue to trudge forward sober, one day at a time, that it’s important to keep believing in them and their work, which I’m most certainly glad I did when it comes to Jeremiah. I see him so differently now from when I first met him and am blessed to see how dedicated he is to a number of things that includes his girlfriend, his job, his yoga, and of course his sobriety and recovery.

I don’t think I can be any prouder of him than I am and I’m truly grateful for how the student became a teacher to help me learn an extremely valuable lesson, one I’m not sure anyone else could have taught me. Maybe God knew that, so, thank you Jeremiah for coming into my life, for believing in me as your sponsor, and for proving that the path to recovery may not be so black and white.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“Demonstrate love by giving it unconditionally to yourself. And as you do, you will attract others into your life who will love you without conditions.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“You can receive all the compliments in the world, but that won’t do a thing unless you believe it yourself.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You just need to accept yourself.” (Unknown)

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

Daily Reflection

“The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself.” (Sahaj Kohli)

I really continue to struggle defining my self-worth, even with many great insights made in my therapy sessions in recent years and even with all the other personal work I’ve done on myself. For too long, I’ve thought my self-worth needed to be defined by how much money I made or by the type of job I held or by how many close friends I had or even by the number of likes I got on the postings I made on Facebook or Twitter. Thankfully, I clearly see now though that it’s not healthy one bit to base it upon any of that, as looking outside of myself for self-worth has constantly led me to feelings of inadequacy because there’s always been someone else who’s had more money, a better job, greater friends, all while getting tons of more likes on social media. Regrettably, I’ve lived this way for years and it’s often led to me becoming overly depressed.

That’s why I started asking myself as of late, how do I REALLY define my self-worth with still not having a paying job, with the amount of health issues I continue to have, with so very few readers of my blog after years of writing, and with a very limited number of true friends that have stuck by my side through it all. As you can see I’ve truly struggled with a pretty negative image of myself and a low sense of self-worth.

A brother of mine in my men’s spiritual group recently told me that if I want to have any lasting self-worth, I really need to define it from within, not without, so I began trying that, which has proven to be quite difficult. Yet,  each day I am consciously looking now for things to define my self-worth that don’t come from outside of myself, that aren’t based upon some other person, place, or thing in life.

Things like the meticulous work I’ve done on my yard and gardens. Things like the unconditional love I’ve shown myself, my cat, and those few friends I’ve drawn close to me. Things like all the 12 Step recovery work I’ve done to help others with their addictions. And things like the social get-togethers I’ve coordinated between people who normally wouldn’t spend time together. Honestly, I never thought about any of those being things that could define my self-worth because for the most part, I’ve always defined it by how people see me, not by how I see myself.

Another big realization I made only recently when it comes to defining self-worth is that every act of self-care I do for myself, especially when I’m hurting physically, also helps to cultivate more of it, because so often in life I neglected self-care and instead allowed myself to go beyond my limits, hurting myself a lot more in the process. So caring for myself as I continue to heal on many levels actually improves my self-worth. Go figure.

Thus, I see now I have a long road ahead of me to totally reshape my self-worth from what it has been, that being consistently looking outside of myself for it, to what it needs to be, that being to look within for it. So, as I make a daily concerted effort now to see it in my own reflection, I’m hoping to start feeling a whole lot better about myself and my life in general…

Dear God, I truly do struggle defining my self-worth. I’ve looked quite a bit for others to define it for me for a long time now and feel pretty low more than not because of it. Help me God to cultivate my self-worth from within, and not from without, because I know in doing so, my outlook upon myself and my life will be a whole lot brighter.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A man and his ever-nagging wife went on vacation to Jerusalem. While they were there, the wife passed away. The undertaker told the husband, “You can have her shipped home for $5,000, or you can bury her here, in the Holy Land, for $150.” The man thought about it and told him he would just have her shipped home. The undertaker asked, “Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your wife home, when it would be wonderful to be buried here and you would spend only $150?”The man replied, “Long ago a man died here, was buried here, and three days later he rose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance!”

Silly Joke #2

A old man is in his front yard attempting to fly a kite with his middle-age son. However, every time the kite gets up into the air, it comes crashing back down. This goes on for a while, when his aging wife sticks her head out of the front door and yells, “You need more tail!”  The old man turns to his son and says, “Son, I’ll never understand your mother. Yesterday, I told her I needed more tail, and she told me to go fly a kite!!!”

Silly Joke #3

A student comes to a young professor’s office hours. She glances down the hall, closes his door, and kneels pleadingly. “I would do anything to pass this exam,” she says. She leans closer to him, flips back her hair, and gazes meaningfully into his eyes. “I mean,” she whispers, “I would do anything…” He returns her gaze, “Anything?” “Anything.” His voice softens, “Anything?” “Anything,” she repeats again. His voice turns to a whisper. “Would you … study?”

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult humor only)

A guy is having marital problems. He and the wife are not communicating at all and he’s lonesome so he goes to a pet store thinking a pet might help. The store he happened into specialized in parrots. As he wanders down the rows of parrots he notices one with no feet. Surprised he mutters, “I wonder how he hangs onto the perch?” The parrot says, “With my prick, you dummy.” The guy is startled and says, “You certainly talk well for a parrot.” The parrot says, “Of course, I’m a very well-educated parrot. I can discuss politics, sports, religion, most any subject you wish.” The guy says, “Gee, you sound like just what I was looking for.” The parrot says, “There’s not much of a market for maimed parrots. If you offer the proprietor $20 for me I’ll bet he’ll sell me.” The guy buys the parrot and for three months things go great. When he comes home from work the parrot tells him Trump said this, the A’s won, the Giant’s lost, the pope did so and so. One day the guy comes home from work and the parrot waves a wing at him and says, “Come in and shut the door.” The guy says, “What’s up?” The parrot says, “I don’t know how to tell you this but the mail man came today. Your wife answered the door in her negligee and he kissed her right on the lips. “The guy says, “Oh, A momentary flight of passion.” The parrot says, “Then he fondled her breasts.” The guy says, “He did?” The parrot says, “Then he pulled her negligee down and started kissing a lot more of her!” The guy says, “My God, what happened next?” The parrot says, “I don’t know. I got a hard-on and fell off my perch.”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.” (Penny Reid)

Quote #2

“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.” (L.K. Knost)

Quote #3

“For those of you who struggle with guilt regarding self-care, answer this question: What greater gift can you give to those you love than your own wholeness?” (Shannon Tanner)

Bonus Quote

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” (Paulo Coelho)

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

A Reminder From God Through My Cat Smokey…

I believe that God can send us messages and reminders through anything, even a cat, like I feel he did through my male cat Smokey on the day I came home from my trip to my sister a week ago this past Sunday. It was then I found him acting very distant and depressed. Normally he’s a very unconditionally loving and high energy-based cat, even more so immediately after returning from a trip away. But not this time and it didn’t take me long to discover the reason why when I saw him sitting in his litter box for over 10 minutes struggling to pass urine.

You see, Smokey has had an issue with his urethra ever since his birth in which it was discovered it was much tinier than most cats making it harder to pass urine. We’ve tried a number of specialized diets to fix it, but it only made things worse and even with increased water consumption, the unpleasant condition remained. Eventually, we were told by our veterinarian the only solution was an extremely costly surgery to permanently correct it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford it. In light of that, our only recourse whenever this condition arose was to show him some TLC, pray over him, and give him a quick couple of drops of something called “Bach Rescue Remedy for Cats”, which helps him to relax. Typically, within an hour or two after this course of action, he’s always become able to pass urine leaving him afterwards just as spunky as ever. But not so this time around.

I watched as Smokey spent hours and hours pacing the house, laying on the floor meowing in pain, and trying to pee in the weirdest of places. He didn’t want to be held. He didn’t want to play. He just wanted to be left alone. Even holding him didn’t create his usual deep purring. On the outside he looked as normal as could be, making any onlooker think he was totally fine. But on the inside, I knew he was feeling extremely uncomfortable, making him have very little desire to live the joyous and overly social life he usually does with his human companions. And boy, I could relate.

Having long suffered with a number of health issues myself that can never be seen from the outside of me, I’ve quite often become depressed and unsocial. Frequently, that’s led to me getting told by others to just push on through it by forcing myself to do things such as getting out of myself and helping another. It’s rarely helped though, especially when the physical pain has been at a high level. For the longest time, I thought maybe I just needed to try harder, achieve mind over matter, or find some alternative path to feel better. But after watching my cat during his 12-hour urinary ordeal, I really do think God was trying to provide me a little guidance for my own healing journey.

I say that because Smokey doesn’t have the thinking processes that I do. He, like most other cats and even dogs, exist to simply show unconditional love and comfort to their owners. Yet, when my cat Smokey had this urinary issue arise to the level it did that night, I watched as he simply took care of himself until he felt better. He didn’t get out of himself and try to please his masters. He didn’t try to play or even purr. He didn’t try to force joy either. He just curled up in a ball and took care of himself, until suddenly for whatever the reason beyond his or my control, he became able to pass urine again and once he did, he immediately was a barrel of joy once more.

So, thanks to Smokey, I decided I’m not going to listen to those erroneous voices anymore who keep on telling me I need to rise above my pain and just get out and do more things. Instead, I’m going to take a page out of his book and trust it was a reminder from God letting me know it’s ok to take care of myself whenever I’m feeling a lot of pain. I know there’s deep joy and exuberance below it somewhere, it’s just waiting to surface for when my pain levels become far less than they have been. I’m just thankful I’m open enough to see how God can use even something like my cat Smokey to remind me it’s ok to be still when I’m hurting and leave the healing to Him, because I know if I do, I will get better just like Smokey did, and when I do, I too will become a barrel of joy once more.

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

Question Of The Day

Today’s question is…

What is one thing your grandkids, nieces or nephews really enjoy doing the most with you when they get to spend time with you?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, a time to reflect upon something to be grateful for in my life, which for this week is for the time I got to spend with my sister Laura and my nephews Luke (7 years old) and Noah and Jacob (twin 17-year-olds) on a recent five-day trip to see them in Summerville, South Carolina.

If you read my last Daily Reflection, then you’ll already know how much my time is limited to be with my family. If you didn’t, just know that currently, my sister is able to come see me a few days a year where I live and I get to see her family a few days once a year there. Because of my reduced time to see them, I’ve often struggled with becoming resentful, so to combat that, I’ve learned that in practicing a little gratitude, it becomes a great remedy.

In light of that, I’m truly grateful I even got to see my sister and my nephews, each of whom I love dearly. I’m grateful for the special carrot cake cupcakes Laura made for my visit. Grateful for the home cooked meatball subs and salad she made during my first night there. Grateful for the manager (Eric) of the hotel I stayed at, who greatly reduced the rate of my room solely as a gift for the ongoing circumstances of my life. Grateful for a day trip into downtown Charleston with Laura where we enjoyed walking around the University of Charleston, King St, and finding a Parisian bakery where we relished homemade chocolate macaroons, a crème filled cronut and some dark chocolates to go. Grateful for the 50th birthday dinner I took Laura to at her favorite restaurant, Oscar’s, and the delicious meal we had there, including the birthday dessert they brought her at the end. Grateful for the numerous coffees I sipped on at the Starbucks that was right next door sometimes with family and sometimes by myself. Grateful for the skit I got to see Luke in at his school. Grateful for the two swims I had at the hotel pool, one with Luke and Noah, and the other just with Luke and the laughter we shared horsing around during both. Grateful for the heart-to-heart talk my sister and I had on Friday evening where I felt I really connected to a part of her I hadn’t ever before. Grateful for the bunch of episodes I watched of this new Netflix show called Raising Dion with my nephews that we all liked quite a bit. Grateful for the scrumptious meal my sister bought me from a place called Boxcar Betties and the ice cream I treated her afterwards at a place called Marble Slab Creamery. Grateful for a day trip with Laura and Luke to Boone Hall Plantation for their Halloween festival where we got to experience a tractor pull through a festively decorated forest, a walk through a huge corn maze, a feeding of some silly goats, a stroll through a huge field of sunflowers, and the specialized picking of two cute pumpkins. Grateful for the huge laugh we all had there as well when my nephew sat at this mock ABC news desk (who were the sponsors of that festival) where he picked up a coffee cup left behind and did this silly pose with it, spilling cold coffee all over himself in the process. Grateful for the movie night I had with Jacob and Noah where we enjoyed sushi first, then tried this squishy Asian dessert that none of us really liked but had a good laugh about it, and then saw Gemini Man in 3D. And grateful for my final day there where I enjoyed a meal with Laura by the Mount Pleasant waterside, saw a porpoise, took a walk on Sullivan’s Island beach nearby where I got to put my feet in the still warm ocean, and treat myself to a freshly made donut at a place called The Fractured Prune on my way to the airport.

So, yes, most definitely plenty to be thankful for and an abundance of great memories to be remembered with my trip to see Laura, Luke, Jacob, and Noah, in Summerville, South Carolina, and for God who most certainly made it all possible.

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

Question Of The Day

Today’s question is…

What are three things that tend to make you angry the quickest?

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


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Daily Reflection

“We asked God to help us show the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, ‘This is a sick man/woman. How can I help him/her? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.’” (p. 67 Alcoholics Anonymous book)

Just about a week ago now I finished out a five-day trip to see my sister and her family. While there was much to be grateful for during that trip, which I’ll be writing about in my upcoming Grateful Heart Monday, there was also some great sadness, sadness I’ve come to realize I can’t change, because the majority of it isn’t my work.

What I continue to realize though is that my work is to let go of trying to control their situation and praying. Because of their ongoing family dynamics with a brother-in-law who for whatever his reasons truly struggles to embrace me and them with unconditional love and acceptance, I had to pray quite a bit during this visit so that I didn’t turn to anger. Anger that really wanted to surface when he returned into town and immediately ordered his family to change their plans they had with me so that he could be accommodated. Anger that really wanted to surface as I watched my sister cry over and over because of how he treated her as soon as he returned. Anger that really wanted to surface when he attempted to keep his twin sons at home to watch a football game with him while I waited at my hotel room for them. Anger that really wanted to surface with each of his repeated attempts to limit my family’s time with me. And anger that really wanted to surface in knowing he didn’t keep his promise about allowing this trip to be totally about my sister and his kids and me. But thankfully, other than a short outburst with my sister on the Saturday I was there that I did make amends for, my prayers helped to keep all that anger at bay.

Unfortunately, the sad reality I live in now though is that so long as my sister remains married to her husband in his current state of mind and body, I may never get to experience the true closeness and unconditional love I believe my family and I could share together. In the meantime, as Bill Wilson once said, I must look at my brother-in-law as a spiritually sick man, no different than how I have gotten whenever I’ve stopped doing my own recovery work on myself.

Nonetheless, how can I best help him on my recovering path? Sometimes the only solution is to stay away until God clears a healthier path, which I most certainly pray comes sooner than later, not necessarily for my sake, but more so for my sister and my nephews, who I know deserve to receive far more unconditional love and light than they are currently getting.

Dear God, I pray that you continue to help me release any anger I may hold towards those who keep on hurting the ones I love by their selfish actions. Help me to remember I have been spiritually sick as well at times in life and that it took me reaching out to you when I was ready, to become far more healthy. Amen.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

“Class, there are two words I don’t allow in here. One is ‘gross’ and the other is ‘cool'” said the 1st grade teacher to her new class for the school year. There was then a very noticeable silence with all the kids looking at each other when suddenly little Johnny raised his hand and said “Well, are you at least going to tell us what the gross word is and what the cool word is so we don’t ever say them?!”

Silly Joke #2

An elderly couple was driving across the country. The woman was driving when she got pulled over by the highway patrol. The officer said, “Ma’am did you know you were speeding?” The woman, hard of hearing, turns to her husband and asks, “What did he say?” The old man yells, “He says you were speeding!” The patrolman says, “May I see your license?” The woman turns to her husband and asks again, “What did he say?” The old man yells again, “He wants to see your license!” The woman gave the officer her license. The patrolman says, “I see you are from Arkansas. I spent some time there once and went on this blind date with the most annoying woman ever. Man, I don’t think I’ll ever forget her!” The woman turned to her husband again and asks, “What did he say?” And the old man yells once more, “He said he knows you!!!”

Silly Joke #3

A woman walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she’s going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer tells her that the bank will need some kind of security for such a loan, so the woman hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce that’s parked on the street in front of the bank. Everything checks out, and the bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan. An employee drives the Rolls Royce into the bank’s underground garage and parks it there. Two weeks later, the woman returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer approaches her and says, “We are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction seems to have worked out very nicely for you, but we’re a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked out your accounts and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is why would you bother to borrow $5,000?” The woman responded, “Well, where else in Manhattan can I park my car safely for two weeks and for only fifteen bucks?!”

Bonus Silly Joke

A store manager overheard a clerk saying to a customer, “No, ma’am, we haven’t had any for some weeks now, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be getting any soon.”  Alarmed, the manager rushed over to the customer who was walking out the door and said, “That isn’t true, ma’am. Of course, we’ll have some soon. In fact, we placed an order for it a couple of weeks ago.” The customer gave him a really puzzled look and then walked away. The manager then drew the clerk aside and growled, “Never, never, never, never say we don’t have something! If we don’t have it, say we ordered it and it’s on its way! Now, what was it she wanted?” The clerk answered, “Snow.”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“To offer a person unsolicited advice is to presume that they don’t know what to do or that they can’t do it on their own.” (John Gray)

Quote #2

“Unsolicited advice is usually more about the needs of the giver than the receiver and is always self-serving in some way.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“People who are know-it-all’s, and dish out unsolicited advice and opinions, are the same ones who follow none of their own advice and practice nothing of what they preach.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“Don’t listen to people who tell you what to do. Listen to people who encourage you to do what you know in your heart is right.” (Unknown)

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

Daily Reflection

“There is a time to provide advice and offering an opinion, and there is a time not to. Don’t be too quick to offer unsolicited advice. It certainly will not endear you to people.” (Harvey Mackay)

A friend of mine recently made some general comments that I felt were somewhat judgmental of me. When I told them so, they said that wasn’t their intention and that their comments were merely an observation. While the two of us have since worked this out, I wanted to express at least in writing, that in my book, all observations made without asking are no different than making judgments, as they’re nothing more than offering unsolicited advice and opinions.

Lately, it seems as if our country has a lot of unsolicited advice and opinions going around, which is causing a tremendous amount of conflict amongst each other, including between friends and loved ones. There are far too many hot topics out there now that seem to regularly provoke these “observations” being made and I’ve become quite sensitive to it all. Maybe that’s why I find myself keeping more to myself and maintaining a small circle of friends because honestly, the last thing I need in my life right now is another unsolicited opinion or any advice that makes me feel less than.

Constantly feeling less than was something I regularly felt as a kid due to having unhealthy parents who were mentally imbalanced alcoholics. I’ve worked pretty hard in recent years to shed that part of my past and any people from my life who seem to regularly cite out negative observations of me versus positive ones. With the past nine years of my life having been as difficult as they’ve been because of my health, what I truly desire these days is to be uplifted by others instead of having my flaws and shortcomings pointed out or telling me what one thinks I still need to work on.

Unfortunately, many people seem to thrive on offering their observations of others. Why? Because it’s a great way to shift the focus off of themselves. I’ve been guilty of this myself specifically when it comes to my partner. Many times, I’ve fallen prey to making observations of his overeating issues, where each have led to nothing more than arguments, negativity, and most definitely him feeling less than. That’s because each of my “observations” have never been asked for and instead were more about pleasing my ego than being a truly loving and supportive partner. I’m convinced that at the core of this behavior is nothing more than some deep-seated insecurities that my ego doesn’t want me to face, so it instead looks to shift that focus off of myself by making my negative “observations” of others like my partner.

The bottom line is that making an observation of another is really the same as making a judgment, offering an opinion or giving advice, and doing any of these without being asked often tends to lead to conflict. So, maybe a better solution might be to start praising and uplifting each other’s positive qualities, as maybe then we’ll start seeing ourselves and everyone else in a much brighter light.

Dear God, I know I’ve been prone to offering my observations of another without being asked. I can see how doing so is nothing more than making a judgment and offering unsolicited advice and opinions. Please help me become more mindful of that and instead be more apt to offer uplifting words and encouragement, something I think all of us on this planet need a lot more of right now in life…

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer.” (F.B. Meyer)

Quote #2

“I have questioned God sometimes whether prayers have gone unanswered. But answered prayers is still harder to believe.” (David Wilkerson)

Quote #3

“Thanking God after he answers a prayer is gratitude. Thanking him in advance is faith…” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“Why is it that sometimes our prayers seem not to be answered? This is a manifestation of the Buddha’s wisdom, so that we can deepen our prayers, become stronger people, live more profound lives and secure deeper, more lasting good fortune. If our slightest prayer was answered immediately, we would become lazy and degenerate. And we could not hope to build a life of great dignity and substance.” (Daisaku Ikeda)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, a time for always expressing a slice of gratitude, which for today is for something I have prayed for a long while for my partner’s journey that finally got answered.

My partner has been employed at his company for almost 2 ½ years now where there he’s been an extremely hard worker. Time and time again I know he has done his best to prove himself and on some level is a lot like me, an overachiever. Unfortunately, none of that was getting recognized when it came down to getting any sort of increase in pay. In all of his former places of employment though, his hard work consistently paid off where at year’s end he’d always get a raise.

I began seeing the frustration over this in his face every night when he came home from work starting back in the early Spring of this year, where he started saying he didn’t know how long he could keep this up without receiving some sort of performance increase. His company kept giving him more and more work because he kept getting it all done to a high level of quality, yet they continued to not show any signs of appreciation either, other than giving him a verbal “good job” here and there. In the long run, I can attest how that doesn’t really equate to anything, especially when other friends in similar positions at other companies doing the same type of work are getting recognized with good annual raises when you’re not.

Seeing that frustration in my partner led me to begin praying for him. Praying that God would help my partner receive an increase in compensation if it was in God’s will for him to get one. But I didn’t stop there, I instead chose to ask God for a specific amount, because I was always told to be specific in prayer and truthfully, I wanted to see if God was even listening to my prayers anymore. That being said, I began asking for Chris to get something that is normally unheard of in the workplace in regards to raises, that being one equivalent to 10%. I prayed for that amount every day for about the last three to four months. Then one day about a week ago, my partner came home with an incredibly huge smile and said he had some great news. It’s then he told me he got a raise and not a small raise, not a cost of living raise, but a 10% raise to be exact. He never asked for that, nor even knew I was praying for that precise amount!

In the end, my partner’s raise has made me grateful in two very distinct ways. One, he’s not very much motivated again at his job and two, because I know God is actually listening to my prayers, something I was really doubting as of late. So, thank you God for Chris’s raise and for continuing to be with me on my prayerful journey in life…

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Recovery from addiction requires hard work, a proper attitude and learning skills to stay sober, and not drinking alcohol or using other drugs. Successful drug recovery or alcohol recovery involves changing attitudes, acquiring knowledge, and developing skills to meet the many challenges of sobriety.” (Dennis Daley)

Quote #2

“The truth most families eventually discover is that no one can cure another person’s addiction. Only addicts can do that for themselves.” (Beverly Conyers)

Quote #3

“Someone once told me, ‘I heard you finally got rid of your addiction’ and I smiled and said, ‘No, addiction doesn’t work like that, once you have it you will always have it, I just choose not to feed it.’” (Ahmed K.)

Bonus Quote

“Recovery is an acceptance that your life is in shambles and you have to change it.” (Jamie Lee Curtis)

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

Is Alcoholics Anonymous The Only Path To Recovery From Addiction?

Lately, I keep getting asked if Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the only path to recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. While AA has been the best solution to my former life of addictions, I honestly believe there are many other paths to recovery, just as much as I believe there are many paths to God.

I’ve frequently inquired those who’ve said AA didn’t work for them on why it didn’t. The answer has usually been the AA meetings are too boring, they’ve tried it before and it didn’t work, the meetings trigger them too much, or they don’t feel comfortable talking about the drug part of their addiction lives there. While my ego often wants to judge those answers, I know I can’t because I’ve experienced each of them at some point on my own journey to recovery from addiction. The fact is, AA may not be for everyone, but there are tons of other paths to follow to establish a life of recovery from addiction. Some are 12-Step based, some are spiritual-based and some are religious-based. And I mustn’t forget those who simply choose paths of recovery by devoting themselves to more selfless existences where volunteering at places of need become the center of their lives.

While I can only speak to how AA has successfully worked for me, I have personally met others where AA didn’t work, yet another program did. I had one sponsee once who just couldn’t put any length of time together of sobriety under my 12-Step AA guidance, but eventually they found a program called “Racing for Recovery” that totally changed their life. Now, they have several years of sobriety under their belt and a very strong program of recovery.

One of the places I find the most resistance to the AA 12-Step way of life lately is when I bring an AA meeting to the Toledo jail on Monday nights. Most of the guys there have suffered more from drug addiction than alcohol. While I’m actually supposed to be there only representing AA, I have chosen to open the meeting up to talk about any and all addictions, as well as any and all paths to recovery. Because frankly, what’s more important to me is helping every individual find the most suited path of recovery from addiction for them.

There were many years that I tried countless other paths of recovery. I tried other 12-Step programs like Narcotics Anonymous (NA). I tried immersing myself in meditation retreats and long hours of meditation sessions. I tried one religious path that included becoming a Deacon. And I tried another that involved chanting long hours of the day. None of them worked in the long run unfortunately, or maybe I should say fortunately, because it’s what ultimately led me to try AA. Today I attend two 12-Step programs, AA and SLAA. Each has kept me sober, balanced, and focused on recovery from two very former difficult addictions.

All in all, I really don’t think it’s for me to say what the best path is for recovery for anyone. I think that can only come by doing what I did, which is exploring ones that are suggested to finally find the one that works. I have to say though that if someone does not find any path of recovery from addiction after trying a good number of options out there, there’s a good chance they just haven’t found enough willingness yet to do the work necessary to be on ANY PATH to recovery.

And of course, there will always be those who say that remaining clean and sober is enough, but as Bill Wilson, the founder of AA once said, alcohol is but a symptom of a greater problem, which is precisely why I’m glad I finally found my own path of recovery, because I’m far healthier today than when I was a dry drunk and addict following no path of recovery.

The bottom line is that while AA may not be for everyone on the journey to recovery from addiction, I believe it’s crucial to find at least one path of recovery, because remaining clean and sober and doing nothing else usually only leaves a person as sick as they were when they were active in their addiction, or quite possibly even worse…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A young man at this construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone based on his strength. He especially made fun of one of the older workmen. After several minutes, the older worker had enough.  “Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?” he said. “I’ll bet a week’s wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to the other building that you won’t be able to wheel back.”  “You’re on, old man,” the young man replied. “Let’s see what you’ve got.” The old man reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then nodding to the young man, he said with a smile, “All right. Get in.”

Silly Joke #2

Q: Did you hear about the ancient Egyptian man that launched a successful stone quarry business?
A: Turns out it was a pyramid scheme all along.

Silly Joke #3

The man approached the very beautiful woman in the large supermarket and asked, “You know, I’ve lost my wife here in the supermarket. Can you talk to me for a couple of minutes?” “Why?” she responded. “Because every time I talk to a a beautiful woman my wife appears out of nowhere.”

Bonus Silly Joke

Bill, Jim, and Scott were at a convention together and were sharing a large suite on the top of a 75-story skyscraper. After a long day of meetings they were shocked to hear that the elevators in their hotel were broken and they would have to climb 75 flights of stairs to get to their room. Bill said to Jim and Scott, let’s break the monotony of this unpleasant task by concentrating on something interesting. I’ll tell jokes for 25 flights, and Jim can sing songs for 25 flights, and Scott can tell sad stories the rest of the way. At the 26th floor Bill stopped telling jokes and Jim began to sing. At the 51st floor Jim stopped singing and Scott began to tell sad stories. “I will tell my saddest story first,” he said. “I left the room key in the car!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“We don’t choose to be addicted…what we choose to do is deny our pain.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“I was never addicted to one thing, I was addicted to filing a void within myself with things other than my own love.” (Yung Pueblo)

Quote #3

“I am convinced now that virtually every destruction behavior and addiction I battled off and on for years was rooted in my insecurity.” (Beth Moore)

Bonus Quote

“Addiction begins when your brain tries to convince you that whatever pain you’re dealing with, no matter what it is, is too great for you to handle, and that the only solution, THE SOLUTION, is in some other person, place, or thing where until you acquire that, you’re not going to feel better.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

Everyone Has The Capability Of Becoming An Addict And Yes I Mean Everyone…

I’m thoroughly convinced that every single person on this planet is capable of falling into some sort of addiction in their lifetime. Now hear me out before you say that’s totally preposterous.

Several times a semester I meet with a set of nursing students from the University of Toledo to provide them some alcohol and drug education by sharing my story of how I became both an alcoholic and addict and how I eventually found recovery. For every one of the classes I meet with, I always begin by asking each of them to introduce themselves, to tell me where they’re from, what they want to do with their nursing degree, and whether they’ve dealt with addiction with themselves or someone close to them. In most cases, every one of them has consistently known someone that has dealt with addiction issues, usually to alcohol or drugs, and sometimes to a few of the other big addictions out there like gambling. But no one has ever outright come out and said they themselves have engaged in any type of addiction. Yet, when I’ve asked if any woman in the room has ever gone out multiple times and bought a ton of clothes or shoes, got excited over it, and then regretted it later, almost every hand shot up. For the guys in the room, the same principle has constantly held true with playing video games for hours and hours and hours on end, just to achieve the passing of some level or completing a game entirely. The same has also proven true with students eating whole bags of chips, large boxes of chocolates, cartons of ice cream, numbers of energy drinks, and more, where each felt great while doing it, and then crappy afterward. What most of them didn’t realize is that addiction begins by relying upon things like that to feel better. Going shopping and buying a bunch of clothes is a great therapeutic tool to feel good about oneself for a moment in time. But does it truly make a person feel better from within in the long run. Not at all. The same holds true for solving that video game or overeating anything. In the moment, it might feel great when doing it, but then afterward, there’s always the crash, a letdown, and a new craving in the mind to find something else as a pick-me-upper.

My addiction life started on these very paths, buying things to make myself feel better, spending countless hours playing video games on my old Super Nintendo, shooting hoops for hours and hours until I felt sick to my stomach, etc., all of which were avoidance techniques to dealing with the reality that I wasn’t very happy inside with my life. Each were initially things I engaged in to numb myself from the madness I had going on around me like my alcoholic parents or being attracted to men or being molested, and so on. For the most part, they were harmless at first, until they weren’t enough to numb me from my reality of life anymore, and that’s the very moment I discovered my love of alcohol, and then drugs, and then sex, and then relationships, and then gambling, and well you get the point.

What’s funny about the point I’m trying to prove here is that 90% of the population in our country is already addicted to one specific thing and many don’t even realize it. What’s it to? Caffeine. True statistic, look it up if you don’t believe me!

But, while over-caffeinating or over-shopping or overeating or over playing video games here and there is most likely not going to destroy one’s life or become a severe addiction, the point I’m making is that each are precursors that can turn into bigger addictions. All it takes is for everything to turn upside down in one’s life, like getting fired from a job, losing a loving long-term relationship, developing a chronic health issue that’s painful, getting abused, or experiencing a major financial crisis, to name a few. It’s when those types of things happen where relying upon something to feel better such as over-shopping for dresses and shoes, can start turning into something far worse. It’s precisely when addiction often finds an icy grip in the mind and body of the now suffering human being and starts planting a seed by saying, “If you do this right now, you’ll feel a whole lot better, and won’t have to feel this pain anymore.” And you know what? Every single human being has the capability of listening to that voice and believing its lie and when they do, it’s exactly when a person who says they’ve never dealt with addiction suddenly becomes someone who is.

Never tell yourself that you aren’t and won’t ever become an addict, because deep down in all of us is the capability to become an addict of some sort. I’m just thankful I see that so clearly now, so that another addiction doesn’t get the chance to take hold of my life again like it used to…

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

Question Of The Day

Today’s question is…

What would you say you like the most about the city you currently reside in? And what would you say you like the least about it as well?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, where finding something to be grateful for is always the focus of these entries, which for today is actually for something I’ve struggled to be thankful for over the past few years and precisely why I’m choosing to rectify that by expressing a little gratitude for the city I currently live in, that being Toledo, Ohio.

When I came to Toledo, Ohio to live full time back in February of 2014, I was so excited to finally be moving in with my partner after two years of long-distance dating from over 600 miles away. The following year, as my health issues multiplied and my pain levels drastically increased, I found myself starting to bash this city. That’s when I began fixating on all the negative things I perceived to be wrong with Toledo, when in all reality, there were still a large number of things to be grateful for with my life here.

Of course, first and foremost, I’m forever thankful for the fact that Toledo is my partner’s hometown and for knowing how much this city means to him. There’s a wealth of cherished memories he has from here that he’s shared with me along the way and that’s helped me quite a bit to see Toledo in a much brighter light. But beyond that, I really do have plenty more to be thankful for when I think of the life I’ve lived thus far here in Toledo.

Thankfulness that includes, but is not limited to the many day trips I’ve taken to the Toledo Zoo, including each year for the Chinese Lantern and Christmas Lights displays, for the many enjoyable meals I’ve had at local dining establishments such as Tony Packo’s, Zia’s, The Brownstone, Angelo’s Northwood Villa, La Chalupa, San Marcos, QQ Kitchen, Hot Sizzling Wok, Jing Chuan, Mama Mary’s, The Oliver House, Al Smith’s Place, Mayberry Diner and more, for the less than a block walk I have to sit by beautiful Lake Erie’s shoreline or walk on during the winter when the ice is super thick, for the afternoon drives my partner and I have regularly taken to the Maumee Bay State Park and Crane Creek Park to see nature at its best and always for free at that, for catching a few games of the semi-professional Toledo Mudhens baseball team and Toledo Walleye hockey team, for being able to attend a number of good concerts in this area, especially Hall & Oates, Adele, and the Glen Miller Orchestra, for the many good plays and musicals I’ve seen at both the Stranahan Theater and the Valentine Theater, particularly the Book Of Mormon and The Blue Man Group, for the annual visits my partner and I have had to the Wildwood Manor House at Christmas to see holiday decorating at its finest, for visits to the Toledo Art Museum that has free admission and consistently reminds me of a mini-Louvre, for the vibrant and unique way each change of season seems to get represented here, for the fact that I pay far less in living costs in Toledo versus any of the prior cities I’ve lived, for the reality that traffic here is the least I’ve ever experienced versus any of the other cities I’ve lived in as well, for the countless times I’ve found myself meditating at the Side Cut Metropark where I actually created this website’s picture, for the innumerable fun miniature golf courses I’ve played all around this vicinity time and time again, for being only a hop, skip and jump away from Cedar Point, one of the best amusement parks in the world, for the two trips my partner and I have taken to a cozy island out in Lake Erie named Put-In-Bay, one by a friend’s tiny plane and the other by a friend’s small motorboat, for yearly trips to a city just north of here named Frankenmuth just to get Christmas decorations from the world’s largest Christmas store named Bronner’s, for the few friends I have made here who have stuck by my side and continue to appreciate my crazy sense of humor and weirdness, for the Angel’s Landing Spiritual Center that has been the first place of worship I’ve looked forward to going to in well over a decade, and last but not least, for all those I’ve met through my 12 Step recovery work here that have helped me to remain clean and sober one day at a time for over 24 years now.

So, yes, I sure do have loads of gratitude for a city I haven’t shown much love for in the past few years and for that I’m truly sorry. Because Toledo, Ohio is as much of a beautiful city and something to be grateful for like any of the other cities I’ve resided in throughout my life. Sometimes it just takes shifting one’s perspective to see it, which I’m most certainly thankful for I did…

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

Question Of The Day

Today’s question is…

Has there ever been a movie that at first you totally hated while you watched it, but by the end you totally loved it? If so, what was the name of it?

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


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“Brittany Runs A Marathon”, An Exceptional Film That I Went From Totally Hating To Totally Loving…

Have you ever watched a movie that you found yourself hating throughout the majority of it until suddenly it all came together by the end making you completely love it instead? “Brittany Runs A Marathon” was one such film that did this very thing to me just recently.

Based upon a true story, “Brittany Runs A Marathon” is about a woman named Brittany (played by Jillian Bell) who is extremely unhappy with her life on just about every level. Self-loathing, self-deprecating, hating the fact that she’s seriously overweight, frequently drinking and drugging to numb herself from those facts, and constantly character-assassinating others to make herself feel better, Brittany is an incredibly hard person to like. Her only friend is her attractive, self-absorbed roommate Gretchen (played by Alice Lee) who seems to enjoy being around her because it makes her look better. One day when the pain becomes great enough though, Brittany decides to go outside and start jogging, for one entire block. Quickly realizing how unhealthy she’s become on just about every level in life, she sinks to the floor in her kitchen and begins to sob, which in turn attracts the attention of her physically fit and regularly jogging neighbor Shannon (played by Jennifer Dundas), someone Brittany is very much jealous of and judges quite a bit. But when Shannon extends an olive branch and invites Brittany to jog with her in a local running club, Brittany actually shows up and along the way runs into another person equally as unhappy with their health, that being Seth (played by Micah Stock). As new friendships attempt to make their way into her life of people who actually do genuinely care about her, and what begins as a desperate attempt for a quick fix but soon turns into a quest to become something better and far different than the person she’s come to loathe so much, Brittany is on a marathon to discover that deep down within her is and has always been a person to like and to love.

Going to see “Brittany Runs A Marathon” honestly came as a last-minute decision due to feeling exceptionally frustrated and empty inside one afternoon. Making that abrupt decision to go see it was definitely one of the best ones I’ve made in recent times, as this movie totally ran me through the gamut of emotions that in the end paralleled the spiritual journey I’ve been on since 2010. Back then, I was no different than Brittany, silently scorning myself and everyone else too, living in addiction, and selfish and self-centered to the core. While my desire for change didn’t begin with a pledge to jog one city block, it did begin when I opted to get on my knees and mutter a deeply-heartfelt prayer to God to become a much more spiritually-centered, instead of addiction-centered, individual. Ultimately, I simply wanted to become a selfless disciple of God. Ever since, I’ve been on my own marathon of sorts, one that on far too many days I’ve wondered if I’m ever going to make it to the finish line, wherever that is and whatever it looks like, neither of which I’m sure at this point. Indeed, like Brittany, along the way I’ve gone through many intervals of transformation that’s included a lot of pain, hardship, losing a number of friends, and feeling like God is a million miles away. Yet, somehow, like her, I’ve kept running, one day after another, all with one goal in mind, to complete my marathon, that being to self-heal from within from all the toxicity I took in from countless lower vibrational actions I partook in from this life and four prior ones as well. While God may not have shown me any ending in sight yet from this long-suffering marathon of sorts, I can say that the individual I’ve become thus far is a far more likeable one than who I was when I began it.

So, for now, I continue to live with faith and hope that one day I’ll cross some type of finish line where like Brittany, I can look back and see that all the pain and agony I experienced getting there was more than worth it because frankly, I’m worth it.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

After the Great Britain Beer Festival, in London, all the Presidents of the breweries decide to go to the pub for a drink. The Coors President said “Can I have the only beer made with Rocky Mountain Spring Water: a Coors, please.” The bartender gave him the drink. Then the Budweiser President orders, “The King Of Beers — Budweiser.” The bartender proceeds with the order. The Amstel President walks in and orders “The Finest Beer ever.” The bartender gives him an Amstel. Then the Guinness President says, “I’ll have a Coke please.” The bartender is taken aback by this but gives the Coke to him anyway. All the Presidents looked over at him and said, “Why have you ordered a Coke?” He replied, “Well if you all aren’t drinking beer, then neither shall I!”

Silly Joke #2

Larry’s barn burned down and his wife, Susan, called the insurance company. Susan told the insurance company, “We had that barn insured for fifty thousand and I want my money.” The agent replied, “Whoa there, just a minute, Susan. Insurance doesn’t work quite like that. We will ascertain the value of what was insured and provide you with a new one of comparable worth.” There was a long pause before Susan replied, “Then I think I need to cancel the policy I have on my husband.”

Silly Joke #3

Little Amy: Can people really predict the future with cards?
Little Joan: My mother can.
Little Amy: Really?
Little Joan: Yes, she takes one look at my report card and tells me what will happen when my father gets home.

Bonus Silly Joke

The cowboy lay sprawled across three entire seats in the posh Amarillo theatre. When the usher came by and noticed this he whispered to the cowboy, “Sorry, sir, but you’re only allowed one seat.” The cowboy groaned but didn’t budge. The usher became more impatient. “Sir, if you don’t get up from there, I’m going to have to call the manager. The cowboy just groaned. The usher marched briskly back up the aisle. In a moment he returned with the manager. Together the two of them tried repeatedly to move the cowboy, but with no success. Finally, they summoned the police. The cop surveyed the situation briefly then asked, “All right buddy, what’s your name?” “Sam,” the cowboy moaned.  “Where ya from, Sam?”   With pain in his voice Sam replied…. “The balcony.”

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

Question Of The Day

Today’s question is…

What day-to-day task in your life do you actually look forward to doing that  someone else might not look forward to doing at all and instead dread?

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


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How To Deal With Those Valleys And Deserts In Sobriety And Recovery…

When I first came into the rooms of recovery with 12 years of sobriety, but nothing to show for it other than a sincere desperation to stop wandering the desert and to leave the dark depths of the valley I felt I was in, I made an erroneous assumption. I truly believed that all I needed to do was to get through the 12 Steps with a sponsor and doing so would make me emerge victorious, where I’d never find myself in a desert or valley again. Boy, was I wrong.

What I’ve learned ever since is that recovery has both its peaks and valleys and most certainly it’s lush periods and deserts too, even after doing the 12 Step work and even after plenty of years of sobriety. The fact is, recovery from addiction has both its ups and downs where sometimes the downs feel like totally barren deserts and very dreary valleys, which personally, I’ve been going through quite a bit over the past few years.

It’s often suggested to get out and help others more when times like this happen, as well as to attend more meetings, to sponsor more individuals, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, sometimes even that doesn’t seem to help one to return to more fertile grounds or higher peaks, which I can attest to given the amount of time I continue to dedicate to my recovery work every each and every week and still feel the way I do.

So, during times like this, when nothing seems to vault me out of the depths of despair, when even prayer and meditation don’t seem to be of much help, I’ve come to understand that I just need to keep showing up, to keep attending those meetings, to keep sponsoring my sponsees, and to keep volunteering at the places I do. Essentially, I simply need to keep putting one foot forward in front of the other on the road to recovery, even when it feels completely barren like I’m walking through Death Valley.

Today was a perfect example of this. I woke up for what felt like the millionth day in a row where I felt more down than up. While my ego wanted me to just stay home in bed and do nothing, I instead kept all my commitments. I went to church. I attended an end of the summer social. I arrived early at my home group to help with anything that needed to get done to set up for the meeting and socialized with others until it started. I also remained behind once the meeting ended to help clean up. In doing so, I didn’t get exalted into the heavens so to speak, but it did leave me with a feeling of at least a sense of satisfaction for remaining clean and sober for another day of my life, something that often tends to slip away when a person begins seeking immediate forms of gratification during any period where valleys or deserts are present.

So, while I’ve been in the midst of probably the biggest valley and most desolate desert for quite a while now, I continue to show up, as that is what we do in the rooms of recovery to remain clean and sober, to stay spiritually healthy, and honestly to survive. Because in all reality, sometimes the path to that next peak or fertile landscape can only come by trudging through those very long valleys or totally barren deserts with nothing but faith. Eventually those peaks and fertile landscapes will come and all it takes is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when your ego screams otherwise…

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.” (H. Jackson Brown Jr.)

Quote #2

“Humility is the greatest quality that a man can have, and arrogance is undoubtedly the worst.” (Maulana W. Khan)

Quote #3

“These are the few ways we can practice humility: To speak as little as possible of one’s self. To mind one’s own business. Not to want to manage other people’s affairs. To avoid curiosity. To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully. To pass over the mistakes of others. To accept insults and injuries. To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked. To be kind and gentle even under provocation. Never to stand on one’s dignity. To choose always the hardest.” (Mother Teresa)

Bonus Quote

“Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?” (Carl Sagan)

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