Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude always becomes the main focus of my writing, which for today is for an action I took that I never thought I’d take again due to all my long-standing health issues, that being to join a gym and actually work out again.

I haven’t been a member of any gym since 2013. I stopped going back then because of all the Fibromyalgia pains and sciatica and well a bunch of other life debilitating health issues too. It honestly just became too painful to go, especially on the physical level, but even on the mental and emotional level as well. Being so limited on what I could do at a gym, I just felt like it became a waste of time and money.

While I rarely missed going to the gym over the years after that, mostly because of how bad I felt in my body, I never stopped hoping I’d get back to it one day. Then, one day, just a few weeks ago now, I was talking to a friend named Jym, who told me he had just accepted a full-time position at one of the local branches of the YMCA. He suggested I check out his location sometime. Even though plenty of others have suggested I do that with their gyms in past years, I never felt the desire to do so, until that very moment. I don’t know why I felt different this time, but I did. So, a few days later, I decided to check out the JCC YMCA that Jym worked at.

Being that I don’t have any income coming in, I knew I couldn’t afford any expensive gym membership. If you can believe it, one of the last gyms I belonged to in Weymouth, Massachusetts, had a membership fee that was close to $100 a month!!! Thankfully, YMCA’s are not known for being that expensive, but even better, have been known to work with low income-based people on the monthly membership fee. So, I came prepared with my 2019 taxes and explained why I didn’t have any income. I was probably more forthcoming than most would have been in my shoes and talked about the long path of pain and suffering I’ve been on. A few days later I received a very warm and welcoming call from a woman named Chris who had my membership application in front of her.

We spoke at length about the struggles I’ve had and why I hadn’t been a part of any gym for a long time. She was truly kind and understanding to all my issues, which made me very thankful. At first, she attempted to see if qualified under any of their health programs, such as for those who have things like diabetes or cancer. Sadly, I didn’t qualify under any of them, but she told me not to lose hope and that she’d get back to me. Later that afternoon, I received another call from her with great news. They were able to do my membership for $15/month, something that was most definitely doable in my current circumstances of life! When the call ended, she let me know that my membership would be active that afternoon and I thanked her profusely for helping me so much. The real test came next though.

For someone like me, someone with chronic health issues that tend to be quite debilitating at times, the hard part is overcoming the ego and actually getting in the car to go to the gym. I’m grateful to report I successfully did that the very next day. After getting my membership card at the front desk and thanking Sue, a pretty amazing long-standing employee at this location who made me feel so very welcomed from the moment I met her, I locked my things up in a locker and headed into the Wellness center. There in front of me loomed all the equipment I hadn’t seen for so many years. I felt somewhat overwhelmed and maybe even a little nervous. I immediately headed over to the cardio machines and located the one piece of equipment I had last remembered using back in 2013, that being a Stairmaster.

A Stairmaster is really just a conveyor belt of stairs that rotate around at varying speeds. I used to really enjoy using this machine, mostly for the number of endorphins it created every time I utlizied it. So, I hopped on the machine hoping for the best, and quickly overcame the learning curve of how to use the 2020 version of it. Twenty-seven minutes later I had achieved something I never thought would be possible again. I had climbed 100 flights of stairs, the same amount I used to climb back in the day! I can’t even express how good I felt after that. I finished my workout that day with some light upper body strength-building and headed home in a pretty incredible mood. I’d return the next day, and another a few days after that, accomplishing three workouts in one week!

You have no idea how good it feels to be working out again. Even better, my body seems to be responding much better than I thought it would. I’m extremely grateful for this and am taking this as a sign that my health is improving. While I know this may seem like such a silly thing to be so grateful for, especially if happen to be someone without any major health issues, for a guy like me, who’s been on the physical exertion sidelines for so long now, achieving what I did in my first week at the YMCA is something most definitely to be grateful for.

So, thank you Jym, Sue, and Chris, for making this possible. And thank you God for allowing this as well. I truly do have an immense amount of gratitude now for all of you on this Grateful Heart Monday.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What do you believe Hell is? Is it a mindset here on Earth or some fire and brimstone type of afterlife? Or something else?

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


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Daily Reflection

“Hell is just a state of mind, a radical separation from God.” (Marq de Villers, author of ”Hell and Damnation”)

Does Hell exist? This is a question I’ve often pondered in my life, ever since my United Methodist upbringing that introduced to me this fire and brimstone type of place that all terrible sinners end up going to. Many Christians have argued its existence throughout the centuries based upon how they interpret scripture, while many Theologians have profusely debated the very same scriptures and believed it’s something that human beings themselves created the existence of.

Take Theologian Micah J. Stephens, author of “Hell Is Not For Real: Re-Examining What the Scriptures Actually Say About Eternal Torment”. In his book, he writes, “The word hell in the Bible is a very poor translation of the original Hebrew and Greek words that speak of the resting place of the dead (Sheol and Hades) and a literal valley on the south side of Jerusalem (Gehenna) that became symbolic for the judgment via an invading army. We see Jesus in the Gospels speaking of Gehenna while in or around Jerusalem, not long before Rome sacked and destroyed the city in AD 70. Eternal torment of the soul in the afterlife is not a concept that is found in scripture.” On the other hand, take Brian Jones, Christian author of “Hell Is Real (But I Hate To Admit It)”.  In his book, he interprets scripture totally different and adamantly states, “The fact of the matter is: Hell is real. Deciding or not hell exists isn’t an intellectual exercise, it’s a matter of eternal life or death.”

The majority of Christians I’ve met over the years have said they’d rather not risk the chance of hell existing, even if it possibly doesn’t exist. They worry about the damnnation of their soul and because of it, they tend to live out their lives in total fear of committing some cardinal sin that may send their soul to that fire and brimstone type of place once they die.  And boy, do I know what it feels like to live in that type of fear, oh, so, very, well.

Because of modern day interpretations of the Bible stating homosexuality is a sin (even though the word homosexuality didn’t even exist back in Biblical times), I’ve frequently been told in my life by Christians that I’m either absolutely going to Hell or am risking the possibility of going there once I die because I’m in a gay relationship. Telling me this has never done anything more than leave me in this terrible fear-based cycle of a punishing God who cruelly created me with only an attraction to the same-sex that I’m not even allowed to be with, instead to spend my life in total celibacy, loneliness, or fake heterosexuality.

None of that logic has ever worked for me and I truly mean none of it. It’s never felt right within my own soul. The idea that God made me in his own image, but somehow screwed up in my sexuality, and then is going to send me to some fire and brimstone type of place if I continue to engage in the sexuality he created me with, with a same-sex person I absolutely love just makes no sense.

That’s why I have more of an inclination to believe in what Marq de Villers states in his book, “Hell and Damnation”. In it, he says, “Hell is a state of mind, a radical separation from God.” That computes a lot more with me because living with chronic pain, or formerly in far too many addictions, or all the times I’ve suffered from severe anxiety or depression, feels exactly like being radically separated from God. When you live with a condition that makes your muscles feel like they are burning and on fire for days on end, for years and years, you too might feel that Hell is nothing more than the state of your own pain-based mind.

So, do I believe hell exists? While I may be stoned metaphorically for saying this, what if Hell is right here on Earth, based upon our mindsets? And what if all of us are actually accepted home with God after we die, NO MATTER WHAT TYPE OF SINS WE LIVED IN?

This concept of living out a fear-based existence due to the conception that all chronic sinners go to a fire and brimstone type of place once they die, especially when my sexuality will probably always be thought of as a sin to many Christians, is not indicative of the unconditionally loving God I’ve come to love and worship. Choosing to believe that God picks and chooses who comes home is creation of Hell itself, which is why I choose to believe otherwise, that God loves me just as I am, gay and all.

Dear God, help me to always look to You as an unconditionally loving and accepting Father, who created me just as I am, who will welcome me home in your arms when I die, no matter what.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A young man and woman were eager to enjoy a picnic in the park one Saturday noon, and they opted to go through a fast-food drive-in for a quick snack. They ordered, paid, got their bag of goodies, and headed for the park. When they opened the bag, it was full on money instead of the hamburgers they expected. They rushed back to the fast-food place and returned the money. “This is WONDERFUL,” exclaimed the manager. “We’ve been looking for this money all morning and couldn’t figure out where it could have been misplaced. You two are an honest couple. A lot of people would not have the morals and honesty to return the money. I’m going to call the TV and the newspapers and let everybody know what an honest deed you’ve done.” “OH, please don’t do that,” says the man, “my wife might see it on TV.”

Silly Joke #2

A wise old gentleman retired and purchased a modest home near a junior high school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in peace and contentment. Then a new school year began. The very next afternoon three young boys, full of youthful, after-school enthusiasm, came down his street, beating merrily on every trash can they encountered. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the wise old man decided it was time to take some action. The next afternoon, he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way down the street. Stopping them, he said, “You kids are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your exuberance like that. In fact, I used to do the same thing when I was your age. Will you do me a favor? I’ll give you each a dollar if you’ll promise to come around every day and do your thing.” The kids were elated and continued to do a bang-up job on the trash cans. After a few days, the old-timer greeted the kids again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. “This recession’s really putting a big dent in my income,” he told them. “From now on, I’ll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans.” The noisemakers were obviously displeased, but they did accept his offer and continued their afternoon ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached them again as they drummed their way down the street. “Look,” he said, “I haven’t received my Social Security check yet, so I’m not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?” “A lousy quarter?” the drum leader exclaimed. “If you think we’re going to waste our time, beating these cans around for a quarter, you’re nuts! No way, mister. We quit!” And the old man enjoyed peace.

Silly Joke #3

“How was your blind date?” a college student asked her roommate. “Terrible!” the roommate answered. “He showed up in his 1932 Rolls Royce.” “Wow! That’s a very expensive car. What’s so bad about that?” “He was the original owner!!!”

Bonus Silly Joke

A nun in the convent walked into the bathroom where mother superior was taking a shower. “There is a blind man to see you,” she says. “Well, if he is a blind man, than it does not matter if I’m in the shower. Send him in.” The blind man walks into the bathroom, and mother superior starts to tell him how much she appreciates him working at the convent for them. She goes on and on and 10 minutes later the man interrupts: “That’s nice and all, ma’am, but you can put your clothes on now. Where do you want me to put these blinds?

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.” (Nicole Reed)

Quote #2

“The Universe doesn’t make mistakes. Everything is happening just as it should. It’s only our perception of difficulties that causes us the distress and the difficulty we experience. Not only that, but when we label events as ‘bad’, we fail to perceive the benefit that is waiting for us.” (Chris Prentiss)

Quote #3

“Every moment of your life and everything happening around you is the result of some past karma.” (Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar)

Bonus Quote

“Life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.” (Paulo Coelho)

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

Daily Reflection

“Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So, for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” (John Mayer)

I often find myself wishing I could go back in time to “do things” all over again in a different way. I’m definitely one who has played those head games quite a bit with myself asking “What if I had done ‘that’ in ‘this’ way instead?” Yes, I’m absolutely guilty of regularly wishing I could go back to my childhood knowing what I know now, so that maybe I could do things better. But, what if everything truly did happen as it was meant to? What if even I could go back in time and choose different paths, that I still ended up here at the very same point I am now, with the very same lessons learned? Maybe all the lessons I was meant to learn in this life were unavoidable no matter what I did?

I’ve watched plenty of time travel movies that have shown various points of views of people who pursued different paths than the ones they originally chose once they went back in time. What’s ironic about all of them is that life still got out of control at some point and sometimes even worse than before, until the same lessons got learned. The message was always the same in all those movies, that things were meant to happen as they did, that everything happens for a reason.

I know! That is such a hard concept to swallow!!!

I think about my life of addiction, my parent’s tragic deaths, my countless failed relationships, my failed business that led to so much financial loss, my many health issues, and well basically one poor choice after another, where each led to nothing but one more bout of pain and suffering after another.

Could I have lived a life without addiction? Could my father’s suicide and my mother’s tragic drunken fall down the stairs been prevented? Could I have avoided all those miserable partnerships and pursued the healthier ones I kept avoiding? Could I have skirted financial disaster by never buying the bed and breakfast I did? And the biggest question I face almost constantly these days…Could my present health issues that I’ve battled for 10 years now been totally prevented?

When I meditate on this, my Spirit says no. Because maybe if I didn’t pick up alcohol and drugs, I would have still succumbed to some other addiction. Maybe if I had been there more for my father or mother in their final weeks, it only would have bought them a few more? Maybe if I had avoided those painful relationships, I only would have fallen into other painful ones instead? Maybe if I had told my ex-partner that I didn’t want to do his Bed and Breakfast dream, I only would have invested in some other financial disaster instead? And maybe, just maybe, all this dam pain I continue to face in my body, would still have happened, no matter what I did, because it like everything else had to happen for me to learn what I have and to become that what I’ve become thus far.

I’m a better person because today because of all of these things from my past. I’m more capable and desiring to help others from a place of selflessness now, more unconditionally loving to the masses, and more compassionate and kinder to all, all because of the difficult past I’ve experienced. While my ego has often tried to convince me that it could have handled things differently and made my life far easier to become those things, the irony is that it was my ego that led me down all those crazy paths in the first place.

So, maybe, just maybe, everything really does happen as it’s meant to, that no matter what paths we take in life, that we are always going to be led to learn the same lessons we were always meant to learn? And maybe, if we all could just get out of our egos for a mere minute or two, we might just be able to see how amazing we all are right here, right now, all because of having gone through all that we did.

Dear God, help me to lovingly reflect upon my past, but never fall prey to the illusion that I could have done things better. Help me accept that everything truly happens as it’s meant to for me to become that which You always planned for me to become…

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

Question To Ponder For The Day

Today’s question is…

What do you currently desire the most in life?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude is always the main focus of this weekly series in my writing, which for today I want to offer that for a woman named Barbara who provided me a much-needed reminder of why I should keep writing.

I know I’ve discussed this a number of times prior in my writings, but I think it’s always important to highlight anyone who reaches out to me personally and lets me know how much they appreciate my life musings, of which Barbara is the most recent.

After publishing the article titled “Are You In Touch With The Little Kid Within You?” a few weeks ago, I received a comment directly on my blog shortly thereafter, as well as a friendship request on Facebook from a friendly woman named Barbara who let me know she was a regular reader of my blog and a fellow recovering alcoholic. To have met one of my subscribers and a fellow recovering alcoholic was plenty a blessing already. But it was what Barbara said next that totally made my day. She told me I had a way of putting into words what she has felt since childhood and could really relate to me. Hearing that meant the world to me!

It has always been my goal from the very beginning of me writing to the world that I could write in such a way where readers could easily relate to their own spiritual journeys in life, almost as if either they had walked in my shoes or vice versa, I in theirs. Far too often I’ve struggled reading many other people’s online musings because they were written in such a way that felt far above my level of understanding. So, to hear my writing was very relatable to was a blessing indeed.

Regardless, knowing anyone appreciates my writing in general and regularly follows me is truly a gift. Honestly, on far too many days, I don’t feel like I’m anyone special and could easily be forgotten if I suddenly passed away. Writing in this blog has been an outlet for much of that insecure voice and has often helped me to overcome it, to express myself, all my pain, my life’s sufferings, the blessings I’ve received, and all the spiritual growth I’ve made. Knowing anyone has related to the any of this and has enjoyed following my articles is something that has helped me to keep going at times, especially on those days where my mind has tried to convince me I’m a nobody and to give up just like my parents did.

So, thank you Barbara. Thank you for providing me a much-needed reminder of how I’m appreciated, especially during a time in life that often feels way more difficult because of this ongoing pandemic. I’m truly grateful for you on this Grateful Heart Monday!

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“By changing the inner world, you can change the outer world, which depends on how you perceive it. To change the inner world is to change the ways of perception of this outer world.” (Elmar Hussein)

Quote #2

“When your inner world is fragmented, the outer world is broken. When your inner world is flowery and unbroken, the outer world is healed by your presence.” (Amit Ray)

Quote #3

“Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. To change your circumstances, you must start by changing your internal beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.” (Ruben Chavez)

Bonus Quote

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” (Dalai Lama)

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

When A Random Absentee Ballot Application Came To An Apolitical Person Like Me…

I rarely discuss political stuff with anyone, especially in this blog, because frankly, there currently are too many people taking sides and angrily chastising those who don’t agree with their political viewpoints. And to be perfectly honest, this highly charged political landscape has rapidly been leading me to not want to vote at all in the upcoming Presidential election, especially because I’m not even convinced the results aren’t going to be tampered with. Then suddenly one day recently, I received an application in the mail for an absentee ballot that I hadn’t even requested, from some non-profit voting organization in Columbus, Ohio, and it motivated me enough to at least to talk about it here in my writing.

When I first received this application for an absentee ballot, I truly thought it was some sort of fraudulent thing just to get my personal information. Having been a victim of multiple types of fraud prior, including my SSN getting stolen and illegal tax forms being filed with it from some unknown culprit, I was about to throw the voting application away until I looked up the address on the return envelope and realized it actually was legit. I then pondered for several days after that whether I should fill it out or not.

I’m quite sure a number of my friends, as well as a number of those I only know through Facebook, would say it’s totally absurd I would even consider not voting in our upcoming Presidential election, specifically given the current state of our country. But, when you discover, like I did in the last election, that a friend’s daughter, who wasn’t of legal voting age, had still been on their district’s voter registration sheets and had already cast their vote, I questioned how legitimate our voting process really was and how much was a sham. More importantly though, it’s bothered me ever since I had first become of legal voting age that my vote actually doesn’t even go directly towards what ultimately counts, and really is only factored into some electoral college process that I still to this day don’t even understand. So, really, my deeper truth is that I’ve been apolitical for a very long time and have rarely voted over the years because of it. That feeling has only grown stronger over the past two decades, as I’ve continued to watch more and more dissolution in our country come from citizens bashing each other for being Republican or Democrat and having differing opinions from each other.

The fact is, I have many friends who are presently backing Trump and I have many friends who are presently backing Biden. I also have many friends who will flip off and negatively comment on any Biden signs they see along the road and I have many friends who will flip off and negatively comment on any Trump signs they see along the road. Frankly, I find the whole thing pretty silly and don’t care either way, as I love both sets of friends and refuse to take sides. My deepest truth is that I’m simply sick and tired of everyone bashing each other in this highly charged political landscape. I’m sick and tired of people trying to prove to me how insanely idiotic they feel Trump is, just as much as I’m sick and tired of people trying to prove to me how old and clueless they feel Biden is.

Here’s my reality. It doesn’t matter to me who’s going to be the next President of the United States because I still am going to be myself no matter who gets elected. I still am going to treat others exactly as I was prior to this election. I’m not going to become any different inside myself just because of who ends up being the one to lead our country over the next four years.

So, what I’m really trying to say is this. If you happen to be someone who’s a judgmental, negative, or angry type of person now when it comes to our present political landscape, you’ll continue to remain that way once the election is over, no matter who wins. Why? Because your judgments, negativity, and anger aren’t because of something outside of you, it’s because of something going on within you. You merely are buying into the illusion that your life will feel better inside because something outside ends up changing or remaining the same, such as in this upcoming Presidential election.

In the end, I’m still going to be the same Andrew Arthur Dawson I was before the election, once it’s over. In the end, my inner world isn’t going to change one bit just because Trump or Biden wins or loses. My outer world will ONLY ever change when my inner world changes. That’s why I do my best EVERY, SINGLE, DAY, to work on loving and accepting everyone unconditionally, whether they are Republican or Democrat, whether they have political viewpoints that align with my own or don’t, whether they will vote or not, or whether anything really.

So, while I did send in that application for an absentee ballot, whether I end up voting or not in our upcoming Presidential election isn’t what really matters. What matters is me learning to love and accept everyone for all their own individual uniqueness’s, which includes Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Joe Biden, and Kamala Harris. Because deep down, I believe we’re all children of something far Greater, we’re all connected somehow, and I feel it’s my job to love everyone equally and unconditionally…no matter what.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Sue and Jane are shopping together at the supermarket. When they get to the vegetables, Sue hefts a good sized potato in each hand and says, “You know, Jane, these remind me of John’s balls.” Jane, impressed says, “Hmm, that big, huh?” “No”, Sue answers. “That dirty!!!”

Silly Joke #2

Dorothy is out looking for a special pet, and so she’s trying all the local pet shops. She walks into a small pet shop and explains her need to the attendant. He thinks for a moment and then says, “I’ve got just the thing for you madam. I’ll go get him.”  With that, he disappears into the back of the shop, and returns a few seconds later with a cute little dog. “This dog is a special dog,” he tells her. “It is able to fly,” he explains, and with that he throws the dog up into the air. It immediately begins to float gracefully around the shop much to her surprise. There is one problem with him, however. Whenever you say the word ‘my’, he’ll eat whatever you’ve mentioned. Watch. “My apple!” The lady watches in astonishment as the dog zooms over to the shop attendant and furiously devours an apple he produced from his pocket. “He’s cute, and so unusual. I’ll take him,” she says, and a few minutes later she’s heading to the parking lot with her new dog when she sees her ex-husband who left her for another woman and never gave her the love she deserved. “Oh hi Stan, I finally decided to get a pet who not only will love me unconditionally like you couldn’t, but he also has a true gift!” she says sarcastically. “Oh really Dorothy? What’s so special al this mutt?” he says negatively looking down at her new dog. “He can fly!” she exclaims. The husband peers more intently at the dog, and then remarks, “Fly eh?.. Ha! My ass!”

Silly Joke #3 (Especially for my partner Chris!)

Little Johnny was caught swearing by his teacher. “Johnny,” she said, “you shouldn’t use that kind of language. Where did you hear such talk, anyway?” “My daddy said it,” he responded. “Well, that doesn’t matter,” explained the teacher. “You don’t even know what it means.” “I do, too!” Little Johnny retorted. “It means someone just cut him off on the road!”

Bonus Silly Jokes (Three short, but kind of really funny corny ones!!!)

Martha is heading into the store when she runs into Mary. “Hi Martha, what are you up to?” says Mary. “Well, I need to return this sweater I bought as it was picking up too much static electricity.” responds Martha. “Are you going to buy another one?” “Well actually, I’m hoping they give me another one, free of charge.”

A man was found guilty of overusing commas. The judge warned him to expect a really long sentence.

I was really angry at my friend Mark for stealing my dictionary! So, I said, “Mark, my words!!!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“The deception of others is almost always rooted in the deception of ourselves.” (Bill Wilson)

Quote #2

“They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. (p. 58 AA Big Book)

Quote #3

“We went back through our lives. Nothing counted but thoroughness and honesty.” (P. 65 AA Big Book)

Bonus Quotes (2 more!)

“Honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are the essentials of recovery and indispensable.” (Alcoholics Anonymous)

“Honesty, with ourselves and others gets us sober, but it is tolerance that keeps us that way.” (Bill Wilson)

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

Alcoholics And Addicts Of All Varieties Are Truly Great Liars!

Alcoholics and addicts of all varieties are truly great liars. I was greatly reminded of that just about a week ago when a potential sponsee pulled a fast one on me that I fell hook, line, and sinker for.

After all the years I’ve been around the rooms of recovery and all the lies I’ve been told from people that were still living deep in their disease of addiction, I can honestly say it’s been a good while since someone actually lied to me where I didn’t know it was a lie. That’s why I was so surprised when it happened the other day and this is how it all started.

I had met this guy at the local place I volunteer at. He had been one of the clients at the meeting I put on Wednesday evenings and had engaged quite a bit throughout it, asking plenty of questions, including asking for my number. Having given my number out countless times in the past, I didn’t place much stock into him even using it. Ironically, I was wrong, as I received a call the very next day after he had checked out of the crisis center.

He immediately asked for a sponsor, of which I agreed to meet with him that Sunday afternoon. He then proceeded to call me the next two days, checking in to help him remain clean and sober for another day. When Sunday morning came, I received a text asking for confirmation of where we were meeting and I responded with the details. Two hours prior to our start time, he called me, asking again for confirmation of where we were meeting, indicating he hadn’t gotten my text.

After having talked with him at length on the previous three days, I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he really hadn’t gotten my text with the details. I gave them to him again and then he asked a strange question, which at the time I didn’t think anything of. He told me his girlfriend was probably going to come with him, as she too was struggling with some alcohol addiction issues, but had some level of agoraphobia and needed to see the configuration of our meeting for her to attend. I told him that would be breaking tradition and again accepted he was telling me the truth.

When 5pm hit, I was waiting at a Starbucks where we were to meet. 5pm turned into 5:15, then 5:30, with none of my calls to him getting answered. At 5:50, my phone finally rang. He sounded normal and profusely apologized that his car wasn’t working. He said he had been trying for the past few hours to get it working and finally gave up. He apologized again and asked if we could meet up sometime during the week to attend another meeting. After telling him the only availability I had was the following Sunday at the same time, he agreed to try again then, but in the meantime was going to go check out another meeting I had suggested. And then I asked him to call me the next time he might be late for one of our meetings.

I moved on with my evening after that, attending my home group, during which my phone rang twice from a number I didn’t recognize. When I called it back after my meeting ended, it was this guy’s wife. She asked me if her husband had come to my meeting, which I thought odd, given how he had briefly mentioned that his car trouble had involved his wife trying to help him get it started.

When she told me that he had left in his car at 3pm and had just returned home, I, of course, knew then he had lied to me. She continued by letting me know that he said the meeting was great and how good of a lead it was. What’s funny is how my meeting is an open discussion and not a lead. It also then occurred to me why he wanted that picture of the configuration at the meeting. He was going to use it to convince his wife that he attended!

Here’s the sad reality I will re-mention….

Alcoholics and addicts of all varieties are truly great liars. They do everything right for a short bit of time, creating smoke and mirrors for everyone close to them to believe they are finally on the right track. But inevitably, at some point, for many, the disease beckons them back in to where they then create even greater smoke and mirrors, through lies and deception, so that no one knows they’re back in their disease. Lies then become greater. More lies are told to cover up the previous lies. Until all those around them don’t even know what to believe anymore, like this panicked wife calling me and eventually putting me on a three-way call out of anger, which was extremely uncomfortable to say the least.

So, while I have no idea whether this guy’s wife really was agoraphobic or not, I was actually thankful to have been on the receiving end of all this guy’s lies. If for anything, it reminded me that addicts are sick to the very core and will lie in the most amazing ways where even they tend to believe them, just to escape the truth that they are sick and screwed up.

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

Question To Ponder For The Day

Today’s question is…

Who is one person you only know from some store you regularly go into, that you are grateful for and why?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to Grateful Heart Monday, a series I began years ago to focus the start of my week off on something positive, that being gratitude, which for today is for a guy named Mickey, a barista from Starbucks here in Toledo, whom I’ve really come to admire his personality just from me being a regular patron at his store location.

The first time I met Mickey was at the drive-thru window in the Westgate location here in Toledo, a location most definitely known to be the busiest in the Toledo area. Wait times at this location often exceed every other Starbucks around here due to its proximity to both The University of Toledo and much of the local shopping and restaurants. I used to avoid going to the Westgate Starbucks solely because I always felt the baristas there were overworked and rarely seemed friendly because of it, almost like they really didn’t like their jobs. But the day I met Mickey at the drive-thru, his upbeat energy started to make me feel different about this location, so I began to return, often coming inside instead. One thing I consistently noticed when I did is that somehow his presence there was seemingly having this uncanny effect of raising the spirit of all those there and the place itself.

Have you ever met someone who is able to do this just by them being them? That wherever they are, those around them and the places they are in just seem better because of it. That’s what I see with Mickey. An upbeat, energetic, humorous, and charismatic type of guy who beats to his own drum. Often sporting some type of cool colored hairdo, Mickey definitely stands out in a good way, even in his appearance.

There are other employees at this location that I now look forward to seeing there as well besides Mickey. While I don’t know if it’s Mickey’s energy that’s changed much of the energy of this location, or whether it’s his energy that drew more employees there who carry similar energy as him, what I do know is that it’s now fun and enjoyable for me to get my beverages at the Westgate location.

One thing I really like about Mickey as well is his dedication to his job, one that I hope one day I may have when I work again. Truly, if you can believe it, I actually have a dream to be a part-time barista when my pain becomes low enough to work again. Why I want to be at least a part-time barista is so that I can be of greater service in a way that’s different from the current life of service I’m doing through the rooms of recovery from addiction. Watching Mickey at his job has inspired me to strive for that even more, especially because he carries the energy of the type of person I want to be If I’m ever serving the public coffees and teas. The type of energy that lifts the customer’s spirits just by them being them, that boosts the morale of those who work with them just by them being them, and that allows themselves to be themselves regardless of what anyone else may think.

That’s why I’m truly grateful for Mickey and dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry to him, an employee from the Westgate location of Starbucks here in Toledo. While I may never know him any more than just a guy who serves my coffees and others drinks and foods from time to time, he has definitely made a huge impact upon my life by him just being him.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What, if anything, do you think will be totally different in our world when this pandemic is finally over, once and for all?

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


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Do You Often Wonder Lately During These COVID Times If Things Will Ever Get Back To Normal?

Do you often wonder lately during these COVID times if things will ever get back to normal? Or at least to what “normal” was for us prior to this pandemic? I found myself pondering exactly that as I put on a mask tonight just to walk into a restaurant and totally fogged up my sunglasses to the point where I almost walked into a wall.

Life feels so very surreal right now in this world. Summer is almost over and I don’t feel like I’ve even really had one yet. It’s pretty much been staying close to home with the occasional going out to dinner or playing a game of mini golf.

Typically, by this point, I’d already have taken a vacation somewhere for at least a few days with my partner, been to the movie theater countless times, visited Cedar Point at least once (the local amusement park), splashed around in some water park, gone to a professional sporting event like NASCAR or MLB, had a visit from my sister, or travelled to see her in South Carolina, and much more.

As I thought about all this, the waitress arrived at our table and took our drink order speaking through her own facemask, which I honestly had trouble hearing and continue to struggle with quite a bit when others speak through their own masks. I blame that on all that loud music I once listened to constantly in my car years and years ago.

Nevertheless, I sat there and pondered this COVID life, I began to wonder if we were going to become a facemask-based society, even after a successful vaccine has long been circulated? I began to wonder if people will eventually handshake and hug each other again? I began to wonder if our world is going to be filled with far more hypochondriacs and germaphobes than ever before when this virus has long been gone? I began to wonder how many alcoholics and addicts will emerge out of all this? And even found myself wondering how people will act towards each other in general when the pandemic is over, especially when vaccinated people meet unvaccinated people? Will they be amicable towards each other or criticize each other? Will the world require vaccination cards? On and so on my brain fired question after question until I exhausted myself in all that heady thinking.

I honestly have far more questions about the future that lies ahead and sincerely find myself hoping things are far better than the pessimism my mind continues to try to create out of fear from all this unknown. All I know is that I must keep on being myself, now, and in the time to come. Loving everyone unconditionally. Treating everyone equally. Accepting others for who they are, even if their choices are different than my own. And taking it one day at a time of course, like my 12 Step program of recovery taught me long ago.

While the future may look quite bleak at times to me and while it may appear life will never return to any type of normalcy any time soon, I choose to place all my fears of it and my trust to successfully navigate beyond it with God, knowing I’ve made it this far in such a crazy life because of Him.

Long before COVID-19 ever struck, my life was filled with constant upheaval, pain, hardship, and struggle, yet God guided me through it all magnificently. So, regardless of whatever happens in the future, I know I’ll make it through, because God has helped steer me positively through everything else thus far and I know will continue to do so far beyond this pandemic, all the way up to the day I draw my very last breath.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Little Johnny: Dad, will you help me do my homework?”
Dad”: I’m sorry,” replied the father. “It wouldn’t be right.”
Little “Johnny: Well, ” said little Johnny, “at least you could try.”

Silly Joke #2

A wife went in to see a therapist and said, “I’ve got a big problem, doctor. Every time we’re in bed and my husband climaxes, he lets out this ear splitting yell!” “My dear,” the shrink said, “that’s completely natural. I don’t see what the problem is.” “The problem is,” she complained, “it wakes me up!!!”

Silly Joke #3

Three nuns were talking. The first nun said, “I was cleaning the Father’s room the other day and do you know what I found? A bunch of pornographic magazines!” “What did you do?” the other two nuns asked. “Well, of course I threw them in the trash.” The second nun said, ” Well, I can top that, I was in Father’s room putting away the laundry and I found a bunch of condoms!” “Oh my!” gasped the other two nuns. “What did you do?” they asked. “I poked holes in all of them,” she replied. The third nun suddenly exclaimed, “Oh crap!!!”

2 Bonus Silly Jokes (For adults only)

Man: “Wanna hear a joke about my penis? Oh never mind, it’s too long.” he said laughing.
Woman: “Want to hear a joke about my vagina? Never mind, you’ll never get it.” she said with a chuckle.

A little old lady was running up and down the halls in a nursing home. As she walked, she would flip up the hem of her nightgown and say “Supersex.” She walked up to an elderly man in a wheelchair. Flipping up her gown at him, she said, “Supersex.” He sat silently for a moment or two and finally answered, “I’ll take the soup.”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Look for yourself and you will find loneliness and despair. But look for Christ and you will find Him and everything else.” (C.S. Lewis)

Quote #2

“Great eagles fly alone; great lions hunt alone; great souls walk alone – alone with God. Such loneliness is hard to endure, and impossible to enjoy unless God accompanied. Prophets are lone men; they walk alone; pray alone and God makes them alone.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

Quote #3

“Someone once wrote that musicians are touched on the shoulder by God, and I think it’s true. You can make other people happy with music, but you can make yourself happy too. Because of my music, I have never known loneliness and never been depressed.” (John Berendt)

Bonus Quote

“Whenever you feel lonely, just close your eyes, and say, God is with me, AMEN.” (Unknown)

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

Daily Reflection

“A lonely day is God’s way of saying that he wants to spend some quality time with you.” (Criss Jami)

Loneliness. Something I’ve felt quite a bit throughout the majority of my life. I used to think it came from the lack of love I often experienced growing up in an alcoholic family. But when I formed a new family with those who loved me unconditionally I still felt the same. I used to think it came from not being in the right intimate relationship as well. But after having been in a number of long-term committed relationships over the course of 25 years, I can say I still felt lonely during each of them too. I also used to think it came from not having enough friends, but even when I’ve been surrounded by them, I continued to feel lonely. I tried for years to fill that loneliness up with other things too like possessions, addictions, moving from place to place, jobs, and more. Each temporarily made me forget about it for brief interludes, only for it to eventually return. Because of this, I came to accept that there was no person, place, or thing on this planet that ever would fully take away that loneliness. Instead, I came to believe that my loneliness was all about me simply wanting to be home with God, wherever that is, from wherever I came from.

Why I say that is simply because I believe that wherever God is, is pure love and any time I’ve done something in this life that surrounds me living out pure, unconditional love, I’ve not felt as lonely. Like when I volunteer my time to help a suffering alcoholic or addict. Or when I sit down with any hurting individual and fully give them my attention and compassion. Or when I snuggle up with one of my cats and pet them. Or when I spend time in my gardens pruning the flowers. Or when I take a walk in the woods or on the beach. Or when I give someone a long embrace. Or when I share my addiction story to nursing classes or the Greek life at the University of Toledo. Or when I spend my mornings in deep prayer and tears. Or when I visit a sick friend at their home or hospital. I could go on.

The fact is, I do each of these things to deal with my loneliness, to overcome that constant longing to go home. And whenever I’m doing any of those things, I most definitely have felt far less alone and far more connected to something Greater, something full of a type of love that one day I trust I’ll fully be enveloped by again, where loneliness can’t exist. Until then, my solution to feeling loneliness is to find all the ways I can to offer unconditional love in the world, to others, and to myself, and to do them as often as I can. As only then, do I feel less lonely in a world where it’s so darn easy to feel that way.

Dear God, I pray You continue to help me find more and more ways to feel less alone, whether that’s with unconditionally loving time alone with just You and me, or time with others where I offer my unconditional love to them like You would. Either way, I know my loneliness will never fully go away in a life without You.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times, you grow. Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement. Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will be your strength and character. And be thankful for your mistakes, because they will teach you valuable lessons.” (Troy Amdhal)

Quote #2

“Being thankful is not always experienced as a natural state of existence, we must work at it, akin to a type of strength training for the heart.” (Larissa Gomez)

Quote #3

“Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

Bonus Quote

“While we cry ourselves to sleep, gratitude waits patiently to console and reassure us that there is a landscape larger than the one we can see.” (Sarah Ban Breathnach)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another week’s entry of Grateful Heart Monday, a time for gratitude, something I truly believe this world needs to focus a lot more on right now, rather than on what needs to change in the world to make their lives better. Because frankly, what I’ve learned is the only thing that needs to change for me to live in peace and harmony in this world is me and my attitudes. That’s why for today, I want to talk about something I can’t believe I’m going to say I’m grateful for. That being COVID-19.

Ok, ok, before you end up overreacting, asking yourself how anyone can be grateful for this pandemic, let me explain. The tragedy of this pandemic, the loss of life, and the utter disregard at times for human decency and respect towards each other that seems to be happening throughout these turbulent times is something I have great sadness over and something that makes it very hard to be grateful for anything right now. But, that’s precisely why I felt the need to go deeper and ask myself a really tough question. Is there anything ultimately good coming out of this pandemic, in my life, in those around me, and in the world in general?

Look, I know how easy it is to focus on all the things that feel so upside down in our world right now due to COVID-19. I could create a long list. Yet, at the same time, I find myself being far more compassionate and in touch with my heart lately. Something that tragedy (like from a pandemic) has always driven me to delve deeper into. My capacity for unconditional love seems to be growing a lot lately. And in a world that often feels loveless and needs more love, this pandemic feels like it’s been helping me to become someone who’s more heart connecting and unifying than I ever was before. Case in point, just last week I found myself talking to someone who was truly having a difficult day and feeling on edge. In the midst of them expressing their frustration, I could feel their sadness below it all. So, I reached into it, caressed it, and somehow found the words and tears needed to express just how much I truly loved them. It most definitely made a difference. Prior to this pandemic, I probably would have just offered unsolicited advice and opinions that did nothing but cause them greater frustration.

Another observation I’ve made during this pandemic that’s brought me a feeling of gratitude is more with those around me. Something I’ve seen quite a bit going on is the return to spending more time at home with family and loved ones. So often, we as human beings have kept ourselves so darn busy. We were always racing from here to there and missing out on precious moments of time with those we love. Having much of the things we normally would occupy life with be limited due to COVID-19 has led to far more family get-togethers, game nights, movie nights, bonfires, and other private times that in the past might not have happened at all or rarely happened due to so many other obligations. I actually have found great joy in driving around and seeing the many small circles of chairs at people’s homes sitting around fires and such, conversating, laughing, and connecting, something that felt grossly lacking prior to this pandemic. Many of those I know in recovery who have kids have spent a lot more time with them, which I know down the road will end up being priceless memories for all of them.

One last observation I’ve made during this pandemic that also brings me quite possibly the greatest sense of gratitude is more with the world in general than anything else. As the world sits and awaits a COVID-19 free existence, there has most definitely been a shift going on that’s exposing all the racism, prejudice, inequality, and dishonesty that’s been hidden under the radar for so long. Maybe we needed to have something like COVID-19 place it’s dark mark upon our world to force the truth out, a truth that has long been brushed under the carpet time and time again? The truth that many of us haven’t or didn’t want to see, that all haven’t been treated fair and equal, for a very long time, something ALL of us deserve, no matter what our sex, race, religion, sexuality, etc.

So, as I end today’s slice of gratitude from my life, I want you to know one last thing. I’m a firm believer that everything in the world that happens, COVID-19 and all, has a greater purpose, one our egos may never be able to understand. In the long run, maybe this pandemic is somehow shifting all of us from places of darkness and into places of greater light? And in light of me saying that, as COVID-19 continues to ravage our planet in so many difficult and challenging ways, I choose to remain grateful that we all will come out on top of this, with more open hearts, closer connections, and greater unconditional love for each other, no matter what walk of life we come from. And that alone is why I felt it necessary to dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to COVID-19 of all things…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Did you ever ignore a warning/sign from your inner guidance and create more pain/hardship because of it? If so, explain.

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


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What Can Happen When Our Ego’s Ignore Those Signs And Warnings From Our Higher Selves…

I tend to believe our Higher Selves, that Spirit within us, our intuition, or whatever you wish to refer to as that part of us that’s connected to a oneness with everyone and everything, occasionally provides us signs and warnings from time to time, so long as we allow ourselves to pay attention to them. But sadly, many of us far too often tend to ignore them and instead blast head first into some action that only ends up causing us great pain and hardship, like it did for me one evening just recently when I chose to ignore a number of them that came my way, one after another.

It all started with me having an off day where I felt somewhat angrily cocked inside during most of it, mainly towards my ongoing frustrations with God, my partner, and my health. But ultimately, I was really just feeling self-piteous about what I didn’t have, instead of focusing on some gratitude from what I did have. Because of it, I decided it’d be a great night to go out and blow off some steam by taking a drive in my little sports car I keep in storage more than not, that being my 1998 Acura Integra Type R. I rarely drive the thing and have kept it mostly as a reminder of a life I was once lived in almost total ego. The car itself honestly could be used on a set from one of those Fast and the Furious movies.

Nevertheless, I kept hearing this voice within me that night saying, “I don’t think it’s a good idea you take the car out tonight.” Yet, I rationalized over and over again telling myself that I just needed to clear my head a little and how taking that vehicle out for a night drive would be an absolute perfect remedy, especially since I hadn’t driven the thing in four months at that point, let alone even start it up.

So, just prior to me starting its engine, my phone rang. It was a good friend of mine, Jason, who wanted to talk about a big action he had just taken, one that was a huge leap for him in a very positive direction. At that moment, I heard that voice again tell me, “Why don’t you stay home and chat with your friend instead, as he probably needs a shoulder to lean on right now.” But, I chose to ignore it once more by quickly congratulating him on his accomplishment, and then saying I couldn’t talk because I needed my hands free for the drive I was about to take in my shift-based vehicle.

After I hung up, I started the car and immediately noticed my LED interior lights weren’t working. Yes, I actually have an LED interior light system, which admitting seems so very superficial to me right now! Regardless, I tried to find the source of the problem for a good fifteen minutes, further delaying my drive. That’s when I heard that voice yet again say, “Stay home! You’re not meant to go out tonight.” But, I kept right on ignoring it by leaving anyway and heading out onto the highway shortly thereafter, driving somewhat carelessly. Over and over and over again, I kept hearing that voice somewhere within me saying, “Just turn around and go home.” Looking back, I’m kicking myself now why I didn’t.

Simple answer.

Ego.

Twenty minutes later, I decided it’d be pretty cool to stop and get something to drink at a gas station just off an exit. I really didn’t need one, as I wasn’t that thirsty, but truth be told, I just wanted to stop in the hopes of garnering a little attention, especially when the Lamborghini-based doors open up on my car. Yes, I did say Lamborghini-based doors, which admitting, further makes me sound so very superficial.

Yup, more ego.

At that point, that voice within me was almost screaming to go home. That was my final warning that I recklessly chose to ignore, as I drove off the highway and into the nearest gas station. After satisfying my ego, I zoomed back into the ramp leading onto the highway. Not really paying attention as much as I should have been, suddenly, my left front tire hit the center median, causing my car to jackknife onto it, like I was a rollercoaster on a track. Sitting as low as it does, my vehicle became completely wrecked underneath as I tried to steer off of it without flipping. I jerked the wheel to the right, causing the left wheel’s rim to somehow essentially disintegrate, which then lurched my car straight across the road on nothing but metal, landing me half in the breakdown area on that entrance ramp.

It’s honestly a miracle my car didn’t flip, and even more so that there wasn’t a single car in sight on either the on ramp or the off ramp when any of this happened. Somehow, I think God had something to do with both, just as much as I think my Higher Self had given me ample signs and warnings that could have prevented the whole thing.

It was a hard lesson to learn, which probably will end up costing about $10k to repair when all is said and done. Thank goodness for insurance, but more so, thank goodness that I, nor anyone else, got hurt. Well, let me adjust that statement slightly. One thing actually did get hurt…or bruised shall I say.

My ego. 

Because, at the source of why any of us tend to avoid listening to those signs and warnings that occasionally come from our Higher Selves, our Spirit, our intuition, or from whatever connects us to a oneness with everyone and everything, is simply our egos. And it’s quite obvious I still have a lot of work to do around mine.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1 (Two alcohol jokes)

A man and his wife are dining at a table in a plush restaurant, and the husband keeps staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sits alone at a nearby table. The wife asks, “Do you know her?” “Yes,” sighs the husband, “she’s my ex-girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up seven years ago, and I hear she hasn’t been sober since.” “My God!” says the wife. “Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?” 

7 Would-Be Great Warnings On Any Bottles of Booze

WARNING: Consumption of alcohol may cause you to wake up with a breath that could knock a buzzard off a wreaking dead animal that is one hundred yards away.
WARNING: Consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like an idiot.
WARNING: Consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell the same boring story over and over again until your friends want to assault you
WARNING: Consumption of alcohol may cause you to thay shings like thish.
WARNING: Consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell the boss what you really think of him.
WARNING: Consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burn on the forehead.
WARNING: Consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, handsomer and smarter than some really, really big guy named Psycho Bob.
WARNING: Consumption of alcohol may cause you to wake up naked next to someone you don’t know and probably want to keep it that way.

Silly Joke #2

A man and his wife were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The wife says to her husband, “For our anniversary this year you can ask me one question, any question you want to and I will answer it truthfully no matter what!” The husband replies, “Okay, this has been bothering me for a very long time, but I haven’t had the courage to ask before…but I have noticed that all of our eight children look similar to one another except one. I can’t figure out how he got to look so different. Did he have a different father than the rest?” The wife stops. She is unable to look her husband in the eyes.  Finally, she replies remorsefully, “Yes. Yes, he did have a different father than the rest. Her husband was taken aback and slowly responds, “Please, you must tell me who the child’s father was. I must know.” Again she struggles to look into his eyes. She is obviously very distressed now. After a long silence, she says slowly, “You’re his father.”

Silly Joke #3

Some Really Great Church Bulletin Blunders:

“The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: “I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.””
“Today’s Opening Hymn: “Angels We Have Heard Get High.””
“The class on prophecy has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.”
“Life groups meet on Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM for food, fun, and fellowwhipping.”
“Don’t let worry kill you, let the church help.”
“This evening at 7:00 p.m. there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.”
“The church is glad to have with us today as our guest minister the Rev. Ralph Green, who has Mrs. Green with him. After the service we request that all remain in the sanctuary for the Annual Hanging of the Greens.”
“The beautiful flowers on the altar this morning are to celebrate the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.”

Bonus Silly Joke

Sam has been in business for 25 years and is finally sick of the stress. He quits his job and buys 50 acres in Alaska as far from humanity as possible. He sees the postman once a week and gets groceries once a month. Otherwise it’s total peace and quiet. After six months or so of almost total isolation, someone knocks on his door. He opens it and there’s a big, bearded man standing there. “Name’s Lars …Your neighbor from forty miles away….Having a birthday party Friday … Thought you might like to come. About 5… “Great,” says Sam, “after six months out here I’m ready to meet some local folks. Thank you.” As Lars is leaving, he stops. “Gotta warn you…There’s gonna be some drinkin’.” “Not a problem… after 25 years in business, I can drink with the best of em.” Again, as he starts to leave, Lars stops. “More’n’likely gonna be some fightin’ too.” Sam says, “Well, I get along with people. I’ll be there. Thanks again.” Once again Lars turns from the door. “I’ve seen some wild sex at these parties, too.” “Now that’s really not a problem,” says Sam. “I’ve been all alone for six months! I’ll definitely be there. By the way, what should I bring?” Lars stops in the door again and says, “Whatever you want, just gonna be the two of us”. 

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is one unique expression of your love that you tend to regularly offer a person you get into a relationship with?

(Note: This is considered one’s language of love and a few examples of it may include: cooking a special meal, hiding love notes to be found, bringing home flowers, etc.)


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

What Is Your Language Of Love?

For the longest time in my life, I didn’t know what my language of love was. To be more clear what that is, I didn’t know how to express my love to a partner. Instead, I typically focused more on my own needs than theirs. I usually struggled to offer intimacy in non-sexual ways such as cuddling, kissing, and holding hands. And I often forgot on a regular basis to show them they mattered in those little special ways, like leaving a small love note in a hidden place to be eventually happily discovered by them. The only time this ever changed was when I was in the “doghouse” and trying to get out of it, or when I had an agenda behind offering it.

After many years of pain and suffering and choosing to turn my will and life over to the care of God, that completely changed. It was only then did I begin to learn a new language of love. It was then my heart gained the desire to be more of a giver and think of the needs of my partner more than my own. It was then I found the natural drive to regularly offer intimacy on every level. And, it was then I began to truly enjoy showing my partner at least once every day in a unique way how much they mattered to me. Now, I’ve been on the other side of the coin for the past few years though, as the Universe has been teaching me what it feels like to be on the receiving end of someone who isn’t in touch with their language of love. And honestly, it’s been extremely frustrating and led to much loneliness and emptiness.

While I do feel my partner loves me, he’s often struggled to provide daily moments of intimacy or special tokens that say I really matter to him, two things I truly desire in a relationship. Much of that is specifically because he never learned that language of love in his younger years, just like I didn’t. We both came from families that didn’t teach us those type of things. Instead we learned various dysfunctional forms of love that were usually quite conditional-based and ones that carried into our adulthood. Until I went through several years of utter pain and suffering that led to me seeking a closer relationship and help from God did any of this change for me.

My partner is still on his path of self-discovery to learn what his language of love is. While there have been some moments where his has been similar to my own, we’ve joked that it often feels like we’re on completely different flights and carriers, instead of being on the same flight and in nearby rows like a healthy couple tends to be. Unfortunately, the love language he’s developed thus far is one that’s left me feeling more alone and that I don’t matter, because it’s one that doesn’t involve much closeness, touch, or special signs of his love. His love language is one that involves holding the fort down, like paying the bills, keeping food on the table, and basically making sure there’s a roof over our head. While each of those are important, they don’t fulfill a huge part of why I’m in a relationship in the first place.

All of this has led to me most recently asking myself questions that I honestly don’t want to be asking because it brings up fear. Maybe his language of love will never mirror my own? Maybe intimacy and closeness and day-to-day random acts of love are never going to be his thing? Maybe his language of love and my language of love are better suited for others out there who mirror more of what our is and may always be. These are questions I wrestle with quite a bit as of late.

I love my partner, truly I do. But as I continue to battle chronic pain and wait upon God for further guidance and ultimately relief that may or may not ever come (although I maintain the faith that it eventually will), I absolutely desire and need closeness, intimacy, and to feel special with whom I’m monogamously tied to. Whether my partner will ever be able to provide that I don’t know, but I can’t fault him for that if he never does, because all of our love languages are unique to each and every one of us. Thankfully, now I know at least what my prior relationships must have felt when I didn’t know what my own language of love was or even how to express it.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“A good neighbor is one who’s always ready and willing to help. One who wipes the dirt off your face and heals your broken heart. One who inspires and gives you hope during life’s darkest moments.” (R.R. Matt Smith)

Quote #2

“We become neighbors when we are willing to cross the road for one another.” (Henri J.M. Nouwen)

Quote #3

“Loving your neighbors requires first knowing your neighbors. Knowing your neighbors breeds empathy. Empathy removes fear and thus provokes the truest of love. This love is not the goal…It is the prerequisite to a life worth living.” (Joshua Swoleck)

Bonus Quote

“The happiest people I know are people who don’t even think about being happy. They just think about being good neighbors, good people. And then happens sort of sneaks in the back window while they are busy doing good.” (Harold S. Kushner)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude always gets expressed, specifically for the purpose of starting my week in writing off on a positive note. For today, I’m expressing thanks to both my new neighbors, who by the time this gets posted, will have fully moved in next door, and to my old neighbors, who helped me to learn some very valuable traits that are quite necessary for the recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

I think it’s important to have a great relationship with one’s neighbors for many reasons. For the recovering alcoholic and drug addict like myself though, that can be quite challenging to develop when neighbors on either side of my home are constantly outside drinking alcohol or smoking weed on their front porches to excess. For the past bunch of years, there rarely has been a moment where I haven’t smelled strong wafts of beer or weed whenever I’m outside. Ironically, all my neighbors have known for a long time that I’m in recovery for addiction to alcohol and drugs, yet sadly, that never got factored into their daily usage of either. So, trying to find my inner peace by working in my gardens or sitting outside has consistently been tough to cultivate when all I can smell are two things I once was addicted to that God totally removed from my life over 25 years ago now. It truly hasn’t been very relaxing to this recovering alcoholic and drug addict to have to deal with this on a regular basis. Add in repeated issues with dog poop and pee killing the grass I try so very hard to maintain, constant traffic coming and going in and out of their driveways, large group gatherings, and occasional yelling, screaming, and fighting, I haven’t felt very Zen outside around my home in some time.

So, I guess you would say I was overly ecstatic when I learned one of those neighbors bought a new home and moved out recently. Ever since, things seem to have drastically changed, as it’s extremely quiet now around my home given most of these gatherings always seemed to be on this one neighbor’s front porch. I’m so thankful I don’t smell weed or alcohol now on a daily basis, but please don’t take me wrong here either, because my old neighbors were also friendly people who did take good care of their home and offer my partner and I vegetables from their garden and fresh muffins as well from time to time. The reality is that my alcohol and drug free life made it rather difficult for me to be in the regular midst of them given how much they enjoyed drinking alcohol and smoking pot. In light of all this, I’m sure one may be wondering whether my new neighbors will be any different, especially surrounding the usage of alcohol and marijuana, or any of the prior stressors I faced as well. I’m thankful to report that I’ve already learned none of my prior stressors will be problem this time around!

So yes, I’m grateful for my new neighbors, but indeed, I’m also grateful for my old ones as well, as the lessons I learned from them are priceless. Priceless mainly for a recovering alcoholic and drug addict like myself, chiefly in regards to the level of patience, love, tolerance, and acceptance I had to develop to coexist with them peacefully, hence why I’m dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday to both them and my new neighbors!

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Quote #2

“Never lose your inner child. You are going to need it when you grow older and start to see how bleak society can be. The inner child will be your support system one day, you just don’t know it yet” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“The kid in you holds the key to living a full and rich life. Let him or her out to play!” (Cheryl Richardson) 

Bonus Quote

“Inside each of us lives a child, appreciative of life, and curious towards change. One who trusts fully, loves fearlessly, and is able to show emotions, both good and bad. Happiness can be found here. Choose to let this child live each and every day.” (Doe Zantamata)

Peace, love, light and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Are You In Touch With The Little Kid Within You?

It’s so easy to grow up, put our “big pants” on, and forget about that little kid in us. But deep down in each and every one of us is a little boy or little girl still longing to have fun, even as we become adults. Yet, too often we end up neglecting that part of us as adults and ignore any of those urges to be a kid again, even for a few moments. I’ve come to learn in my life how crucial it is to not ignore those inner urges anymore and to let my kid out on a regular basis, because when I don’t, I tend to find myself becoming totally sad and depressed.

I’ve seen this same type of depression in a number of people in recovery from addiction I’ve worked with, each having mostly neglected their inner child for most of their adulthood. How I learn this is by having them do a homework exercise of coming up with a list of things they liked to do as a kid and to identify the last time they actually did any one of them. Most haven’t done a single one of them in many, many years.

When I realized this for myself, it was a game changer. It’s when I saw that there was the big me, adult Andrew, the guy who calls the day to day shots in life, and then there was the 8-year-old me, little Andy, the kid who still longed to play and do kid stuff. I hadn’t honored that part of me in so long and it was the very thing making me quite sad on a daily basis.

In light of that, people tend to ask how to figure out what their kid wants. Well, I began that process by first identifying what my kid didn’t want. Things like alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sex, gambling, and the like that big Andrew got addicted to that caused little Andy to get neglected.  Once I eliminated all those unhealthy addictions and stopped living in them, I began to remember the many things I liked as a kid.

Things like mini-golf. For those who know me, I probably play close to a hundred games of it every single summer nowadays. I’ll even take day trips to play courses in towns in the middle of nowhere or in cities a few hours away too and I always seem to feel better after doing it. Or things like eating ice cream and chocolate. My little kid loves both. Just a few weeks ago in fact, I felt my little kid nudge me with that urge and so I abruptly went to Cold Stone close to 10pm and got myself a treat. And you know what? I felt really good afterward. Not from the sugar itself, but from listening to that little kid in me.

The bottom line is that I’ve found it so important to keep a healthy relationship to my inner child. Whether it’s exploring a new game of mini-golf, gorging on some ice cream or chocolate, going to the movies, taking hikes, pulling out some of my board games, playing cards, working on puzzles, coloring, or even just making silly faces, noises, or goofing around like I did as a kid, each I’ve found to be uplifting, sometimes even pulling me straight out of sadness and depression.

So, if you should ever find yourself being regularly depressed, may I ask you to consider the last time you allowed your inner child, your little kid, to come out? When’s the last time you let him or her have some fun? Fun that your 8-year-old self would have had. If you can’t remember, then maybe it’s time to finally reconnect to that part of yourself. Who knows, it may end up being exactly what you need to improve your mood and your life…

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