Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, a day always set aside on my blog to reflect upon a single piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for a movie I saw recently in the theater titled “Waves”, that was both a great reminder of how far I’ve come in my own recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, and also one that showed just bad things could have gotten if I hadn’t become sober when I did.

“Waves” is predominantly a movie about an African-American teenager named Tyler (played by Kelvin Harrison Jr.) who comes from a middle to upper class family where serious pressure and control from his father Ronald (played by Sterling K. Brown) happens to him more than not. Because of that pressure and feeling he constantly needs to prove himself to his Dad, Tyler resorts to using painkillers and alcohol simply as a temporary solution to cope, especially when things really begin spiral out of control for him in a number of areas of his life, including him seriously injuring his shoulder in a wrestling match, his girlfriend getting pregnant, and his girlfriend also choosing to leave him. And the more Tyler’s life spirals out of control, the more he makes one bad decision after another, until eventually the worst thing that could happen to him actually does.

I know this pattern well, as I too was on the very same road back in early 1995. But thankfully, my pain eventually became great enough to actually do something about it and when I did, I clearly began to see for the first time that the path I was heading on with addiction would have led me directly to either jail or death. So, watching Tyler’s disease continue to play itself out far beyond where mine went, really saddened my heart, because the terrible consequences of his life all stemmed from his untreated addiction and state of mind. In the end, seeing Tyler engage in such self-destructive behaviors that were made even worse any time he drank or drugged, helped me see just how much I should be grateful for what I have and for how far I’ve come on my own road to recovery from addiction.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the many other friends and loved ones who have completely ruined their lives solely because of their continued alcohol and drug consumption, my parents being included in that. Over the years, I’ve watched so many active alcoholics and addicts experience major financial setbacks, seen countless of their friendships and partnerships end, and their jobs be terminated. Sad to say, but I’ve also seen even worse consequences than this as well. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore though and instead was able to find such a great appreciation for this film.

Without spoiling anymore of “Waves” plot, I just want to say how very grateful I am to God for this movie. As through it, I clearly see how I was just like Tyler many eons ago, when ego still totally ruled my existence because of all that active addiction and inner turmoil within me. The fact is, the last thing I want to do these days is drink or drug, because I know I can always dig a deeper hole, pit, or grave if I do, something that Tyler never realized until it was too late and something I’m so very thankful I’ve never had to experience.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Children in alcoholic families suffer trauma as acute as soldiers in combat, they also carry the trauma like an albatross throughout their lives.” (Pamela Weintraub)

Quote #2

“Survivors of ANY and ALL abuse become very good at anticipating the moods of others, looks, actions, all of it in an effort to survive. Believing that if we can be agreeable, be compliant and loving, do things how they want, that we will be safe. This becomes our way of life.” (Darlene Ouimet)

Quote #3

“Being ignored causes the same chemical reaction in the brain as experiencing a physical injury.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“Alcoholism is a well documented pathological reaction to unresolved grief.” (David Cook)

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

“Honey Boy”, A Sad, Yet Very Realistic Portrayal Of How An Innocent Youth Can Become Such A Self-Destructive Adult

In July of 2017, when Shia LaBeouf was arrested for the first time and got charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness, I totally judged him. I said, “Oh, here’s another one of those spoiled-rich Hollywood elite acting out again because they can, because they know they’re only going to get a slap on the wrist!” That WAS how I truly felt about Shia LaBeouf…until I saw the movie he made about his life titled “Honey Boy”.

“Honey Boy” was an eye-opening film for me and one that was another perfect reminder that I shouldn’t ever judge anyone. The movie begins with the arrest of an actor named Otis (played by Lucas Hedges) who’s completely inebriated and mouthing off to the police from the back of a squad car as they drive him to jail. The viewer is then quickly transported back into time where they get introduced to the pre-teen version of Otis (played by Noah Jupe), just as he’s beginning to emerge into the popular actor he’s destined to become. It’s immediately apparent how very little young Otis ever gets the chance to be a kid and be himself due to the constant pressures from his overbearing father James (played by LaBeouf himself). It also doesn’t take long to see just how abusive and controlling his father really is, none of which Otis deserves. Ironically his father is also a convicted sex offender who’s really just trying to find his way back into the world and hoping to escape the stigma of being a convicted sex offender by way of the Hollywood success of Otis. In turn, watching young Otis do his best through his acting to earn his father’s approval is extremely heart-wrenching, especially when Otis begins to pick up some of his father’s negative traits along the way, like chain smoking. In the end, it’s pretty obvious why Otis becomes the rebellious adult he becomes, and as sad as this movie is, “Honey Boy” is still a very realistic portrayal of how an innocent youth can become such a self-destructive adult.

I have to give it to Shia LaBeouf for completely exposing the truth of his life, on why he becomes the way he is, through “Honey Boy”. On some level, learning about his father’s toxicity was very difficult for me, as it reminded me so much of my mother. I constantly vied for my mother’s approval more than not during my youth, always wanting her to just look at me one day and say “I love you son and am so proud of you!” But like Shia with his Dad, I never got that from my Mom, instead, I picked up most of her negative traits as I frequently sought her approval and never got it, by engaging in alcoholism and other addictions, falling into self-pity, and eventually becoming so self-absorbed that only my problems mattered to me in this world. Ultimately, I became a very self-destructive adult because of it, no different than LaBeouf, and in many ways, I’m still trying to find my way back from. So, yes, “Honey Boy” was a great reminder of my own upbringing and in seeing clearly how far I’ve come from the toxic person I once was. But even more importantly, I’m grateful that this film helped me to dispel the judgments I was holding onto against LaBeouf and a number of other famous people as well, who too have walked in similar painful childhood shoes like I once did, who eventually became such self-destructive adults because of it.

The fact is, most self-destructive adults, whether famous or completely invisible in this world to the vast majority, are often simply only the by-products of tragic upbringings where unconditional love was more than absent or never present at all…

I highly recommend “Honey Boy” and truly commend Shia LaBeouf for his courage and his transparency, something I wish more of us in this world would exhibit a lot more of…

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