Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, a dedicated time set aside for gratitude from my life each week, which for today is for something I normally wouldn’t be grateful for whatsoever and am usually quite annoyed with instead. But, I’m choosing to look at it differently, with a grateful set of eyes, and that’s for all those whirly-birds and leaves that fall into my yard every spring and fall.

For most who know me, I tend to treat my yard with a little too much OCD, liking it to always look extremely neat and orderly. But during two times of the year that last about 2 to 3 weeks each, it becomes very hard to maintain, when all those maple trees around my house shed thousands of whirly-birds and leaves.

There have been countless times that I’ve cursed those trees, shouting with my “Shop Vac” wand pointing at the skies at how annoying they are. But, today, when I cleaned up the first big round of those whirly-birds, I actually approached it differently. I approached it with gratitude, and was thankful for the opportunity to be more mindful in my life, to learn greater patience, and ultimately, to keep my mind occupied on something other than my ongoing frustrations with my health, as well as anything else I’ve been worrying about lately.

Given I don’t have any job in my life to take up a lot of my time, nor any heavy volunteer work due to the pandemic having cleared away much of that, I’ve had an incredible amount of free time, which for the addict like me isn’t always the best thing, and is precisely what I was thinking about today as I began to clear away the first big round of spring clean-up. At least my focus in my downtime was on a healthy action.

If there’s one that isn’t healthy for an addict like me, is to just sit in the house for endless hours, surfing the internet and watching tv, because it generally leads to nothing good in the long run, and even greater depression at times. Thus, having this task is a blessing rather than a curse.

So, I’ve decided this spring, and coming up this fall, to be grateful instead for all the time I’m outside taking care of those whirly-birds and leaves. I’m going to remain thankful for having something to occupy my life in a healthy way, for continuing to beautify my yard and be out in nature, and having the chance to learn how to be more mindful in my life, present in my actions, and at peace through it all.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“I don’t think people were overmedicated, but I think health care cannot stop in the clinic. If all we do is throw pills and procedures at people after they’re already sick and we don’t deal with what’s making them sick to start with, that’s a real problem.” (Jill Stein)

Quote #2

“Overmedication is a symptom of a system that is haphazard, uncoordinated, and driven by the need to safeguard its own interests rather than that of the children it serves.” (Joseph M. Costa)

Quote #3

“We’ve overmedicated kids. Quite frankly, some of the overmedication of kids are because welfare moms want to get additional benefits, and if they can put them on SSI through maintenance drugs, they can also put them on Social Security disability and get a separate check. That is wrong on every single level.” (James Lankford)

Bonus Quote

“Our bodies are wiser than we ever imagined, and so much of what plagues them is interrelated. Overmedication has robbed us of our sense of control, and modern life has separated us from the restorative rhythms of nature. It is understandable to respond to the man-made madness of this world with tears and frustration; those feelings of distress are a pathway toward health and wholeness. We need to tun in to our discomfort, not turn it down…and sit in our being.” (Julie Holland)

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

Trying To Rectify An Overmedicated Childhood…

I’ve had many discussions with people in recent years who often have thought I should be on some sort of medications to cope with my ongoing mental, emotional, and physical health issues I’ve been dealing with for some time now. There is a main reason why I continue to not pursue the medicinal path and that’s because of all the damage medications did to me as a kid during my formative years.

I was most definitely overmedicated as a kid and much of the reason why I believe my mind and body is the way it is now is because of that. Whether my being overmedicated was due to all the mental health issues my mother had back then or the beginning stages of my own mental health issues, I don’t know. What I do know though is that I’ve done my best to allow my body over the years to correct what was incorrectly done to it for all of my childhood and even young adult years.

How many times my mother sprayed Chloraseptic down the back of my throat for every little tickle or strange sensation there? Too many to count. How many times I was given Sudafed for every single sniffle I got is also countless. Add in the amount of times I took antibiotics, specifically Amoxicillin, each time I developed any bit of a cough or cold is countless as well. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how medicinal treatment was administered to me during my formative years. As a young adult, in my mid 20’s, after leaving home, I continued seeking pills to fix me from one doctor after another, with one perceived pain after another. Heck, one time I even though I had issues with one of my knees and had surgery where they found nothing. The result though of that was my mother coming to stay with me for a good while and pampering me during that period while I took the prescribed drugs to deal with the pain.

The fact is, this pattern began with me growing up believing that for every little issue I had going on with my health, that the only solution was to run to my mother, usually in worry, where she’d comfort me and provide something medicinal for help. I’d then trust it would do its thing, and honestly, it always did, at least from the expected outcome I wanted. I’d get comfort temporarily from an alcoholic mother and I’d feel closer to her because of it. It’s quite possible that the very reason for becoming overmedicated in life was knowing my alcoholic mother stopped being the dysfunctional person she normally was each time I was “sick”. Because when I was “sick”, she consistently played the loving mother I needed. And, it’s also just as possible that my mother needed a “sick” kid to nurse back to health to give her a sense of purpose, or at the very least, a distraction from her mental imbalances and addictions.

I learned recently that there is a medical diagnosis called Munchausen syndrome that may be exactly what I went through as a kid, and that both my mother and I suffered from it. Regardless of whether that’s true or not, I believe all those medicines I took poisoned my body and never gave my body the chance to learn how to function healthily on its own immune system. How much of that really has contributed to all mental, emotional, and physical imbalances today? Maybe a lot.

If there indeed is any truth to this, as this being the main source of all my health issues today, the only solution I’ve seen to rectify this beyond my weekly therapy visits, is to walk through what I’m feeling and let my body do what it needs to do to heal itself. That means not running to a doctor, a pharmacy, a drug store, or even a health food store to find some pill to fix anything that’s making me feel uncomfortable inside. In 2011, I actually stopped this path for an entire year, all because I allowed one of those in my life at the time to convince me that medicine was a better path, rather than continuing to listen to my spirit telling me to remain on the path I was. The result of that was a descent into madness, institutionalization for a few days, and growing far sicker. I returned to this path in mid 2012 and have remained on it ever since.

I know some may think I’m crazy for following this path, but I can tell you that living the life I once did, taking one medicine after another, visiting doctors constantly, seeking some sort of reassurance through it all, never worked. I always felt worse the longer I remained on that path in both mind and body. While the healing path I’ve chosen, one free of medicine, is often quite arduous due to having to sit with so many hypochondria-based fears surrounding my health, I still have my faith in God that I’m on the right path. And I pray that one day my mind and body will be free of all the damage I once did to it through medicinal abuse throughout much of my younger life.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

After ordering a milkshake, a man had to leave his seat in the restaurant to use the rest room. Since he didn’t want anyone to take his shake, he took a paper napkin, wrote on it, “The world’s strongest weight lifter,” and left it under his glass. When he returned from making his call, the glass was empty. Under it was a new napkin with a note that said “Thanks for the treat!” It was signed, “The world’s fastest runner.”

Silly Joke #2

A priest was sent to a very small church in the backwoods of Alaska. After a couple of years the Bishop decided to pay the priest a visit to see how he was doing. The priest said that it was a really lonely job and that he didn’t think that he could have made it without his rosary and two martinis each day. With that the priest said to the Bishop, “Would you like to have a martini with me?” The Bishop said, “Yes, that would be nice.” The priest turned around and hollered toward the kitchen, “Rosary, would you fix us two martinis please?”

Silly Joke #3

A blonde walks into the library. She walks up to the counter, slams a book down and screams at the librarian, “This is the worst book I’ve ever read! It has no plot and far too many characters!” The librarian looks up and calmly remarks, “So, you’re the one who took our phone book…”

Bonus Silly Joke

Two factory workers, a guy and a blonde were talking. “I know how to get some time off from work.” said the man. “How do you think you will do that?” said the blonde. He proceeded to show her…by climbing up to the rafters, and hanging upside down. The boss walked in, saw the worker hanging from the ceiling, and asked him what on earth he was doing? “I’m a light bulb!” answered the guy. “I really think you might need some time off. Why don’t you go home and take a few days for your mental health…” said the boss. So, the man immediately jumped down and walked out of the factory. The blonde suddenly began walking out too. The boss asked her where did she think she was going? “Home. I can’t work in the dark!”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is your favorite place to get take-out food if you aren’t going to cook at home?

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


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Having A Game Plan For Recovery From Addiction Instead Of Just Winging It…

When I volunteer at the detoxes that I do here in Toledo, I’m always amazed at how hardly any of the clients there ever seem to have any type of game plan on how they’re going to handle their addiction once they get discharged and instead often just wing it.

Many addicts and alcoholics tend to look for a miracle cure to their issues, hoping some medication will quickly fix all their problems. I lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people introduce themselves to me at the detoxes I attend who state they are only there for medication and that they either don’t have any alcohol or drug problems, or that they do, but it’s well under control. Yet, after getting them to open up a little more, I generally discover how much their alcohol and drug use has been a major catalyst to why they need medication in the first place. Why they never seem to understand that alcohol and drugs affects one’s brain chemistry, often causing the very reasons why they are there, including anxiety, depression, and plenty of other mental health disorders, is beyond me? Regardless, even if medication gets prescribed to them there, that alone is never the sole solution or a good game plan.

So, what is a good game plan for someone coming into the world of sobriety from alcohol or drugs, especially if they’re emerging from a detox? Depending on one’s life situation, there are truly two paths that one can take for help.

For those who are homeless or have no real responsibilities in life, I tend to recommend that their best course of action is one where they go into an in-patient alcohol and drug treatment program. Here, in Toledo, there are many of them now. One of my favorites is Midwest. At places like Midwest, structure gets created for the person new to the world of sobriety, or someone coming back to it after a relapse. Having structure is so critical to the alcoholic and addict, as those without structure, frequently just relapse back into their disease, especially if they’re homeless or have no responsibilities in life. At in-patient treatment programs like Midwest, a client gets exposed to communal living, the 12 Steps, meetings, and learns how to function again in the world starting with a controlled environment without alcohol or drugs. And after completing a program of 30 days at places like this, they can move into halfway houses or other sober living type situations, where the structure becomes less for the individual, yet enough still remains to help guide them sober in the real world.

The other path is for those who have a full set of life requirements already, such as those with an important job, a family, someone they’re taking care of, etc., where they can’t necessarily go into some in-patient treatment program without having serious repercussions because of it. For them, the recommendation is usually to find a therapist to talk to, a home 12 Step group to attend, a sponsor to do the 12 Steps with, and going to other 12 Step recovery meetings daily. Having structure like this is crucial for the person who returns to living in the real world immediately upon getting sober. Without this type of structure, an individual like this often tries to build their recovery into their life, rather than the other way around, where most often doing so leads them straight back into their addiction.

I’ve worked with individuals throughout my recovery life who have followed each of these paths and have seen great success for those who stuck to it. But coming out of detox and having no game plan, trying to just wing it in life, rarely ends well for any alcoholic or addict. Even, I, myself, continue to have a game plan all these years deep into my life of recovery from addiction. I’m glad I do, because the last time I tried to live life without one, well that didn’t end so well, as I landed in a mental ward and had a suicide attempt during that period of my life.

The bottom line for any alcoholic or addict is that once the alcohol and drugs are out of their system, whether that occurs in a detox or at home, there NEEDS to be some sort of a game plan in life for their recovery from addiction. One that keeps them connected to other sober individuals, one that helps them learn how to function in a world without using alcohol or drugs for survival, and one where ultimately, they find a Higher Power who will keep them clean and sober through anything. Without this, trying to just wing their recovery and hoping that things like a medication will fix it all, usually results in nothing more than constantly living in a vicious cycle of addiction and temporary stints of sobriety…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Name one inanimate (non-living) gift you received from someone long ago that still remains a special part of your life to this day? (Ex. A teddy bear, a locket, a snow globe, etc.)

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the main focus of my writing at the start of every week, which for today is for two people, Chuck and Lynn Sords, who were really there for me just after my father took his life and remained a loving part of my life ever since.

It’s hard to believe that it has been over two and half decades since my father took his life. As tragic as his passing was all those years ago, there indeed was a very strong blessing that came just after it and that was the entrance into my life of a couple who attended the church I was attending at the time, who surrounded me with love when I felt it wasn’t worth being loved or loving anyone anymore.

Those initial weeks after my father’s passing were a total blur, even to this day, but if there is one thing I remember quite vividly during that period of time, it was Chuck and Lynn approaching me on one of the Sunday’s I attended service after my Dad’s death at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington D.C. There, in their hands, was a small teddy bear that on its shirt said, “Prayer Bear”. They told me that the bear would comfort me through that difficult time and that the love of them both was in that bear. I most assuredly felt that when I took the bear into my hands. That day the service was taken from the book of “Philip” and I subsequently named the bear that solely for that reason. Philip has remained a close part of my life and either slept in my bed or nearby my bed ever since, always reminding me that there is someone in this world who truly loves me, even when I sometimes don’t feel worthy of being loved or loving at all.

I truly have been grateful for Philip, but I’m more grateful for Chuck and Lynn remaining a part of my life ever since that day I received the teddy bear. Chuck and Lynn became surrogate parents of sorts after that, given all the turmoil I went through. They truly surrounded me with unconditional love, opening up their home countless times to me, for meals, game nights, conversation, and connection, something I never really had much of in my own biological family.

While over the years the proximity to where Chuck and Lynn live to where I live has grown quite distant, all it takes to see how close I still am to either is to pick up the phone and call them, or to suddenly receive a call from either, like I did recently from Chuck. I tend to generally feel much better after talking to them and often wish I did live much closer to them.

How many times Chuck and Lynn have consoled me when I needed it, embraced with me warmth, and surrounded me with love over the years is countless by this point in time, and although I have not seen either in person in well over a decade by now, I still continue to feel their presence in my heart and soul and probably always will.

Philip will forever be a wonderful reminder of their love, but Chuck and Lynn’s love for me and vice versa most definitely transcends far beyond the physical construct of the teddy bear. I know God put Chuck and Lynn in my life exactly when I needed it, by moving their hearts to connect with mine through the gift of Philip, and I will eternally be thankful for that and for them continuing to remain a part of my life ever since that day.

That’s why today’s Grateful Heart Monday is dedicated to two individuals in this world who have consistently shared their hearts and love openly with me, embracing me with something I never had much of growing up. Thank you, Chuck and Lynn Sords for all you’ve done for me, you both mean the world to me and always will…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is the most toxic thing a parent can say to a child?

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


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The Story Of A Where The Brother Becomes The Sister’s Best Friend…

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, there was a brother and a sister who were innocent, pure, and worthy of praise, affection, and unconditional love and their names were Andrew and Laura. It didn’t take long for them in life though to see what they’d experience the most were actually drama, chaos, negativity, and unwarranted discipline, all because of a few things their parents Lew and Pam struggled with immensely, that being alcoholism, PTSD, and manic-depression. In this story, one where Andrew and Laura rarely felt embraced, accepted, or good enough, the two truly needed to turn to each other for the support they didn’t get from their parents. Sadly, instead, the dynamics of their household pitted them against each other more than not, and the two quickly grew apart, learning to fend for themselves alone in a world where they felt like they never mattered.

This is a true story and one whose aftereffects continues to play itself out between my sister and I, someone I love dearly, but have very little association with at the moment. I often believe this is much in part due to how I treated her as a kid, as I viciously fought with her most of my younger years and hated spending time with her on most days. On the contrary, I know of many who bonded with their siblings growing up and consider them amongst their best of friends to this day, devoting time with them over the phone or in person regularly, which is what my heart truly desires with my sister now. While there are presently some unfortunate dynamics with my sister’s husband that most definitely affects the potential of this from ever happening, I also tend to believe things would be quite different even in the midst of those dynamics if I had been there for my sister when we were growing up and became the best friend she needed. It’s sad to say, but I was anything but that growing up to her. I was so incredibly mean to her then and have far too many memories of me lashing out at her for no reason. Looking back, I believe I took out on her what was unfolding before my eyes with our parents and their incredible dysfunctionality.

Nevertheless, I honestly long to have memories of my sister and I growing up with laughter, connection, and a close friendship in general. But, the truth is, we rarely experienced that nor spent any healthy time together enjoying each other’s company. Rather, each time my mother was mean to my sister, or my father leaned too heavily upon her due to his mental illness, I wasn’t there for her, leaving her to feel utterly alone. The fact is, feeling alone is something we both have felt quite a bit since our childhood, yet when we could have turned to each other to help with that, we didn’t. It’s much in part why we became codependent in our lives with each of the relationships we eventually found ourselves in, learning to depend far too heavily upon them for our survival and needs that we never got growing up. How much of that would be different today, if the two of us had bonded more growing up, being there for each other, I don’t know? But, add in the notion that I spent so many years in addiction after our childhood, it only further aggravates the estrangement my sister has always felt from me.

This is why I’m not sure if my sister will ever fully trust me in this life to be there for her because of how much I was never there for her when it ultimately mattered.  It’s one of the biggest reasons why I find myself often wishing I could go back in time and become my sister’s best friend early on, as maybe we’d be that right now. I know I’ve done what I can to rectify my past, but sometimes the damage done is just too great. Truly the matter is in God’s hands now, as only he can do the work necessary in my sister’s heart and soul, and with us in general, to ever bring about a close friendship between us again.

Regardless, I love my sister dearly and pray that one day I’ll be one of her best friends in this world, one whom she can trust and rely upon when life rears its ugly head, and one where she’ll never have to feel completely alone ever again.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Michigan Lawyer: “Well Barney, so you want me to defend you? Have you got any money?”
Barney: “No sir. I ain’t got no money, but I do have me a 1928 Ford Car!”
Lawyer: “Well I’m sure you can raise money on that. Now let’s see, just what do they accuse you of stealing?”
Barney: “A 1928 Ford Car.”

Silly Joke #2

A guy goes to a girl’s house for the first time, and she shows him into the living room. She excuses herself to go to the kitchen to make them a few drinks, and as he’s standing there alone, he notices a cute little vase on the mantel. He picks it up, and as he’s looking at it, she walks back in. He says “What’s this?” She says, “Oh, my father’s ashes are in there.” He says, “Jeez…ohhh….I…” She says, “Yeah, he’s too lazy to go to the kitchen to get an ashtray.”

Silly Joke #3

My wife: You need to do more chores around the house.
Me: Can we change the subject?
My wife: Okay. More chores around the house need to be done by you.

Bonus Silly Joke

It was many years ago since the embarrassing day when a young woman, with a baby in her arms, entered his butcher shop and confronted the butcher with the news that the baby was his and asked what was he going to do about it? Finally he offered to provide her with free meat until the boy was 16. She agreed. He had been counting the years off on his calendar, and one day the teenager who had been collecting the meat each week, came into the shop and said, “I’ll be 16 tomorrow.” I know,” said the butcher with a smile, “I’ve been counting too, tell your mother, when you take this parcel of meat home, that it is the last free meat she’ll get, and watch the expression on her face.” When the boy arrived home he told his mother. The woman nodded and said, “Son, go back to the butcher and tell him I have also had free bread, free milk, and free groceries for the last 16 years and watch the expression on HIS face!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“The five ways to tell if a friend is toxic are: (1) Do they make you feel bad about yourself? (2) Do you have to change the way you act in front of them? (3) Do they use their power to control you? (4) Do they drain you, emotionally and mentally? (5) Do you feel trapped in a vicious cycle with them?” (John Wei)

Quote #2

“You shouldn’t be always available for someone who doesn’t even ask how you are doing.” (Gnanasri Iswani)

Quote #3

“Some people aren’t loyal to you…they are loyal to their need of you…once their needs change, so does their loyalty.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“Toxic friends are people who speak badly about others, are negative, lack compassion, constantly have drama, lie to you, talk more than they listen, have to be right, and try to control you.” (Unknown)

Peace, love, light and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Choosing To No Longer Be Used In Friendships…

Recently, a friend of mine I once did a numerology reading for over 14 years ago texted me and asked for some more numerological advice. When I did their numerology reading all those years ago, I was paid for it and provided them exactly what I do for anyone else who has ever asked for one of these readings. Each has appreciated what I offered and never asked for any further advice, yet this friend has done it numerous times over the years. I finally decided after their most recent attempt that it was time to put a stop to it, as I realized it wasn’t healthy for me anymore to continue to do so.

While it may not take up a lot of my time to keep answering the numerology questions I have for this friend over the years for free, the reason why I’m putting a stop to it really boils down to the fact that I’m not getting anything back in the friendship. Simply put, I feel as if I’m being used, something I’ve often allowed myself to be in life.

During the most recent persistence of this friend reaching out for further free numerological guidance, I let them know what I was going through personally. I told them my life felt like it was in pieces because of the state of my health and the state of my relationship, and asked them for prayers. I told them I’d be unable to help them at this time because of it all. It truly was my first attempt to set a boundary and take care of myself and I felt far better after doing so.

I guess I should say I wasn’t all that surprised though when I didn’t get any response back from them showing any support of where I was at in life, no kind or reassuring words, only them continuing to not understand why I couldn’t just take a few moments of my time and give them the numerological answers they needed. The interaction was a strong reminder of what I don’t need or want in my life anymore, which are friends who aren’t capable of being there for me when I need them. It’s something I’ve come to see with this individual over the years, as each time I’ve reached out to them, needing a friend for support, promises get made to call me back and are never fulfilled, yet each time when they’ve needed me, I’ve always done what I could to be there for them.

Friendships like this are toxic in the long run. I don’t want friends like this because they only lead to a lower self-esteem for me. Friends like this are only there when it benefits them somehow and that’s not a real friendship. Regrettably, I know this behavior all too well, as there were many addict years of my life when I was this type of friend to others.

I’ve come to painfully learn this over the years in my 12 Step recovery work for my former addictions. I see so clearly now that friends aren’t a commodity to use when you need them and to discard when you don’t. Rather, friends are people you are there for when they need you and not just when it’s convenient for you. On some level, it’s why I’m thankful for the strong reminder this friend gave me of this, a reminder of how I once was and how it probably affected those who once considered me a friend.

The friend I want to be today for another is someone who can be trusted will be there for them when they need me, a shoulder to cry upon, and someone who will listen without judgment. I still have a lot of work to do in this area, which I so clearly saw through the actions of this individual.

Sometimes the best learning lessons in life come in ways like this, ways that might not feel so good when it happens, but ways that are necessary to evoke change. I’m choosing to act now by removing friends like this from my life, who aren’t healthy for me and are consumed more in what I can do for them, than ever being there for me, as I deserve better, and so did all those who I once used just like this. If you happen to be someone I once did this too, I truly am sorry and pray you forgive me.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Having the ability to drive is a privilege many don’t have. If you have that privilege, name one thing it allows you to do far easier than if you had to rely upon public transportation for it?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude becomes my only focus in my writing, which for today is for a privilege I’ve often taken for granted, and that’s my ability to drive and having a valid driver’s license.

How many of you who have a valid driver’s license and regularly drive yourself to all the places you do have ever expressed gratitude for it? Up until today’s posting, I’m not sure if I ever have myself. The fact is, I drive a lot. In fact, the Toyota Camry I drive that has been mine since I bought it off a lot in late 2006 has almost 280,000 miles on it if that gives you any idea of how much I tend to be behind the wheel. Of course, to be able to drive that much, I have to have a valid driver’s license, something I got way back in 1989 in New York and have never been without since. How many places I’ve personally driven myself to since then is countless at this point in my life. Jobs, interviews, 12 Step meetings, day trips, vacations, romantic dates, friend outings, game nights, movie ventures, coffee get togethers, speaking engagements, volunteer gigs, and so much more, each having been so much easier getting to because I’ve had a valid driver’s license and ability to drive myself wherever I needed to.

After going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) here in Toledo recently and sitting amongst many trying to get back on the road or possibly for the first time, I came to really appreciate a luxury many don’t have in this world, many of whom I’ve personally met through the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous who lost their licenses long ago and don’t have the ability to drive anymore due to driving under the influence. It’s something I think about regularly each time I attend a meeting and hear about someone who got a DUI. Truthfully, I drank and drove illegally many times over back in the day during my active addict years and should have lost my license each time I did. Thank God I never hurt anyone back then, including myself, and thank God I never lost my license either. That’s why I was so grateful at the BMV, as renewing my license was a rather painless process. I showed up, filled out some paperwork, answered some questions, retook an eye test, and a short while later, was walking out with documents showing my approval for the new federal driver’s license.

Many of us who have this privilege to drive never realize how difficult it is for others who don’t have this privilege, who have to rely on public transportation to carry on their lives. I’ve met some who have to get up an extra hour and a half early just to get to their jobs on time using public transportation. And what about those who don’t have licenses who have to do grocery shopping? I simply go to the store and load all those bags into my car and then unload them right at my front door. Others who don’t have the ability to drive have to carry all of theirs onto buses and walk blocks and blocks just to get them home. If I had to rely upon public transportation to do any of this, there is a single bus that leaves a few streets over from my home only twice a day and doesn’t really go to any of the places I regularly go to. In fact, many of the places I drive to in this area don’t even have public transportation going there.

It’s for these reasons and many more, that I most assuredly am thankful for still having my ability to drive. Having my ability to drive and having this license in my wallet after all these years since I first got it, is absolutely something I want to celebrate for today’s Grateful Heart Monday and something I don’t ever want to take for granted again.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“A person may look strong on the outside, but may need another’s emotional support.” (Mary Watkins)

Quote #2

“Emotional support is the biggest support, because it not only uplifts our moral courage, but also holds us united in every juncture of our life.” (Birister Sharma)

Quote #3

“How someone makes me feel emotionally and mentally is way more important that what they can do for me materialistically and physically. I’ll always choose love, affection, and emotional support over being showered with gifts.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“Be someone’s security blanket when their is in the wash.” (Richelle E. Goodrich)

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

What Do You Do When The Thing You Want The Most From Your Partner Is Something They’re Unable To Offer?

What do you do when the thing you most want from your partner, due to your own issues in life, is the very thing your partner is unable to offer, due to their own issues in life? That indeed is the dilemma I’m presently facing with my partner Chris.

Chris and I have found ourselves struggling plenty of times with each other for the last five years, as five years ago, when he went away on a men’s retreat that I hoped would draw us closer, it did the opposite by pushing us farther apart. There, on his retreat, he re-opened a doorway into a tragic event from his past in the hopes to heal from it once and for all. While it accomplished that, it also shifted something else within him, so much so, that it erected a huge wall up within himself, notably on the emotional level. While I know most relationships go through their ups and downs, our relationship has had quite a few downs ever since that retreat. My long-standing health issues haven’t helped the matter either, as they’ve tended to only exacerbate the presence of that wall within him.

Where this shows up the most in our relationship is any time I find myself longing to be held or reassured, especially on those days when my pain becomes so great. This type of emotional support is something he once gave me freely and with plenty of regularity, because he wanted to and not out of codependence. It’s honestly what led me to want to be with him, as I never got that type of support in any of my prior relationships.

While I do my best these days to offer this to myself, that really only goes so far, and while my partner does provide for me in a number of other very important ways, including the staples of food, water, and shelter, he struggles immensely offering me the emotional support I desperately need right now in life.

Unfortunately, his patience has worn very thin over the years, specifically since this retreat, which becomes overly evident any time I’ve sought this type of support from him. Because of this, I’ve frequently sought it elsewhere, and occasionally found it with those I’m attracted to, which only leads the addict in me down a slippery slope. Ultimately, I want this from Chris and truly just miss the person he once was during our first four years together. While the mental blockage within him may hinder his ability to see that my need to be regularly held, touched, and verbally loved is a normal thing in a relationship, he does at least acknowledge the existence of the blockage.

I have prayed on this repeatedly over the years, asking God for guidance on what I’m meant to do. My old addict self would have left this relationship long ago, believing there was someone else better out there to offer the emotional support I need. Yet, I’ve seen the results of acting upon that ego-based urge so many times before, where I quickly learned time and time again that the grass wasn’t always greener somewhere else. The simple reality is that someone else indeed may be able to offer me the emotional support I need, but grossly lack in another area that Chris has bountifully been already giving me.

So, what do you do when the very thing you most want from your partner, due to your own issues in life, is the very thing your partner is unable to offer, due to their own issues in life? I have no idea. What I do know though is that I love Chris and I know he loves me, and I will continue to pray that love is enough to get us to the other side of this…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

“Thanks for the harmonica you gave me for Christmas,” little Joshua said to his uncle the first time he saw him after the holidays. “It’s the best present I ever got!” “That’s great,” said his uncle. “Have you learned how to play it then?” “Oh, I don’t play it,” the little fellow said. “My mom gives me a dollar a day not to play it during the day and my dad gives me five dollars a week not to play it at night!”

Silly Joke #2

John had just gotten back to work after taking a two-week vacation and was talking to one of his co-workers. “Did you know that the longest drum solo ever recorded was 10 hours and 26 minutes…?” said John. “Really? No, I didn’t know that. That’s a long time!” responded his co-worker. “Yeah, and it was performed by the child sitting behind me on my Delta flight 963 from Tokyo to LA!!!”

Silly Joke #3

A man was walking down the streets of Washington DC one night. All of a sudden a mugger sticks a gun in his ribs and says, “Give me all your money!” He replied, “Do you realize I am an high level member of congress?!” The robber said, “In that case, give me all my money!!!”

Bonus Silly Joke

Two sisters, one blonde and one brunette, inherit the family ranch. Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in financial trouble. In order to keep the bank from repossessing the ranch, they need to purchase a bull so that they can breed their own stock. The brunette balances their checkbook, then takes their last $600 dollars out west to another ranch where a man has a prize bull for sale. Upon leaving, she tells her sister, “When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull, I’ll contact you by telegram since we don’t get any cell signal out there, and let you know to drive out after me and haul it home.” The brunette arrives at the man’s ranch, inspects the bull, and decides she does want to buy it. The man tells her that he can sell it for $599, no less. After paying him, she drives to the nearest town to send her sister a telegram to tell her the news. She walks into the telegraph office, and says, “I want to send a telegram to my sister telling her that I’ve bought a bull for our ranch. I need her to hitch the trailer to our pickup truck and drive out here so we can haul it home.” The telegraph operator explains that he’ll be glad to help her, then adds, “It’s just 99 cents a word.” Well, after paying for the bull, the brunette only has $1 left. She realizes that she’ll only be able to send her sister one word. After thinking for a few minutes, she nods, and says, “I want you to send her the word, ‘comfortable.’” The telegraph operator shakes his head. “How is she ever going to know that you want her to hitch the trailer to your pickup truck and drive out here to haul that bull back to your ranch if you send her the word, ‘comfortable’?” The brunette explains, “My sister’s blonde. She’ll read it very slow.”

And just because I laughed so hard at this one, here’s one for some quick adult humor…

Q: What do you call a ninety year old man who can still masturbate?
A: Miracle Whip.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“It doesn’t matter how many Sundays you sit in church, or if you think you are saved or how many you think you saved. God sees what you do and how you treat people. That’s what really matters.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“Religion is like a pair of shoes. Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.” (George Carlin)

Quote #3

“Open-minded people don’t impose their religious beliefs on others. They accept all of life’s perspectives and realities, doing their own thing in peace.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“If we live in our oneness-heart, we will feel the essence of all religions, which is the love of God. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood, and the feeling of oneness, are the signs of a true religion.” (Sri Chinmoy)

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

Daily Reflection

“The people who are trying to force you to be circumcised are the ones who want to show off and boast about external matters. They do it, however, only so that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. Even those who practice circumcision do not obey the Law; they want you to be circumcised so that they can boast that you submitted to this physical ceremony.” (Galatians 6:12-13)

How many have you ever known in life who try to “save” someone, who have this agenda of getting someone to become a Christian, but yet at the same time, do many things that contradict much of the very religion they are trying to “save” someone into?

Today’s Daily Reflection’s passage is one that speaks to this very thing, but from long ago in Apostle Paul’s time. In this Galatians passage, Paul’s referring to the many who were so intent in his time on getting a person circumcised for them to become Jewish and then proudly sharing that with everyone when they did, solely to boast of their success, even when many of them weren’t even following the very laws of their religion they were converting people into.

As I’ve stated plenty of times already in my life, this is why I don’t label myself a Christian, because I will never match up to its laws, rules, and practices that are laid forth in the Bible. It’s why I never try to “save” anyone either, because frankly, I need “saving” myself and work on that daily with God directly for Him to guide me in His own way. I honestly believe people are meant to find their own individual paths with God, paths that allow God to speak to them in unique ways, but not paths that are shoved onto them through fear or force, which is often how the practice of “saving” comes across.

I’ve known of many Christians in my life who do this, who try to force their religious views upon another, often through fear, and especially to those who aren’t of any religious background. They try so hard to get a person to see their ways and hope that they’ll get them to become a Christian, and when they do, they tend to share that achievement with everyone, feeling so good about themselves. You know what all that really is. It’s ego and nothing more.

I learned on my spiritual walk with God how important it is to move away from ego and become humble, and to demonstrate that by often putting myself and my needs second and another’s first. When I’ve done that, I find I’m able to emanate more of what I wish to become in life, that being a man of peace, love, light, and joy, and each time I have, it seems as if people have naturally gravitated to me and wanted to know more about my spiritual walk, which is ultimately how I think God wants people to get to know Him. But trying to get people to know God by “saving” them tends to become an action more of the mind than of the Spirit and places the focus more on the “saver” than the “savee”.

I just wish people would let God talk to them in God’s own awesome ways. Because God really does have an infinite number of ways for each and every individual on this planet to connect to Him. But trying to force one’s religion and views upon another, in an attempt to “save” them, I think is the very reason why so many continue to fall away from God these days. Maybe it’s time we all start practicing a lot more humility on our spiritual paths by letting everyone find their own path to God, rather than shoving our own paths upon them. Maybe in doing so, more will start finding the true light of God within them, as then the world will become far more filled with peace, love, light, and joy.

Dear God, may I never force upon anyone the things I’ve learned on my spiritual path with You. May I instead work on becoming more and more humble each and every day in the hopes I too will one day embody the peace, light, light, and joy, I see in You.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Name ONE movie actor or actress NO LONGER ALIVE who you truly connected with in many of their films?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another round of gratitude for this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, which for today is for Chadwick Boseman, an actor who I came to admire his talent and perseverance no matter what circumstances he faced in life.

As most know by now, Chadwick Boseman passed away in 2020 due to a very painful 4-year-long battle with colon cancer. But, throughout his painful circumstances, most would have never known the struggles he was facing, as he continued to act and star in a number of impressive films including Marshall, Avengers Infinity War and Endgame, 21 Bridges, Da 5 Bloods, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. What I came to appreciate the most about Boseman in watching all those movies was that he never gave up, or in, to his illness and throughout it all, he showed the world how incredible an actor he was.

While Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was not necessarily my cup of tea for the type of movie I like to watch, his performance within it was electrifying and incredibly believable, so much so, that it earned him many acting awards for the role. I was so excited that one of them was an Academy Award nomination for playing the character Levee in the movie and had really hoped he’d take home the trophy on Oscar night posthumously. Sadly, he didn’t, but he most assuredly left his impressive mark upon Hollywood in his too-young-to-die 43-year-old life.

The first time I saw how dynamic of an actor Boseman was came in the film “42” where he played the role of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. It was such a memorable one for me that I, even 8 years later, remember vividly the story of Robinson and even bought the film for home viewing because of how well Boseman played him.

I always tell people the mark of a great actor or actress is when you no longer see the person playing the role they are playing and instead you feel like you are actually watching the person they are embodying in the film. Said in another way, it’s when a gifted actor or actress is able to lose themselves completely in the role they are playing. There are a number of great actors and actresses throughout movie history that come to mind who have done this quite well and have often been nominated for many acting awards because of it. Two modern day individuals who come to mind the quickest for me are Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis. Both built their resume up from one film to the next, getting better and better with each performance and I believe that Boseman would have eventually joined their ranks and been amongst the greats in acting history if he had remained alive.

That’s why I’m so sad that Boseman passed away tragically from a disease he wrestled with painfully for far too long. I am grateful though that even through it all he showed the world and especially me, just how amazing he was, both as an actor and as a human being with an incredible ability to persevere no matter what his circumstances were in life. You will be missed Chadwick and I dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to your life and how much it touched mine.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Love your family. Spend time, be kind, and serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Forgive and don’t hold onto resentments. Tomorrow is not promised and today is short.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family” (Mother Teresa)

Quote #3

“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.” (Lisa Weed)

Bonus Quote

“To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” (Barbara Bush)

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

I Often Wish I Had A Family…

I often wish I had a family. A big biological family with extended family beyond that. That kind of family with plenty of aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews and first cousins and such. I have many friends and even a partner who have much of that and while I’m grateful for them and the support and connection they continue to receive from those various family members of theirs, it’s left me feeling very alone in this world. Because beyond my sister and her family, individuals I haven’t had any connection with in the past few months, I have no other family to reach out to.

My father and mother were the only children of their parents and they passed away long ago when I was 25 and 33 respectively. My grandparents did have a few brothers and sisters who had kids but I never got to know any of them deeply when I was growing up and to this day have no real direct connection with any of them. In light of that, my current sponsor and others in the past have frequently told me I need to create my own family and I’ve tried. And tried. And tried. And repeatedly come up short.

Recently I came to realize just how difficult this is for me during an extended car ride home from Cleveland where my friends Mike and Frank were talking about how much love and support they have in this world. After an hour of hearing about their extended families and how many people care about them, I told them to please stop, as it was wrenching my heart incredibly.

Beyond my partner Chris of nine years who I live with and consider family of course and my best friend Cedric who lives in Massachusetts, I can’t say I have anyone else in my life who I’d consider “family”, someone who’d drop everything to come be there for me if I asked. I have a few good friends from former cities I once lived in who I know care about me from a distance, who I talk to from time to time, but that’s different.

A family member to me really is someone who is there for comfort, especially in times of great need, who enjoys seeing you regularly, and surrounds you with love and joy when they do. I don’t have that beyond Chris and Cedric and wish I did. Why this is may indeed be related to having lived in addictions for far too long, diseases that took me away from connecting to others. Or it may be because I’m weird and not most people’s cup of tea when it comes to someone they might grow deeply connected to and consider family one day. While I’ve often prayed that God would bring a new family into my life and have tried so many different avenues to bring that to fruition, that prayer has yet to be answered.

Some days this has led me to honestly wish I had been born straight, as I would have had a big family with many kids if I was, who hopefully would have had many kids themselves. Having grown up feeling alone with only my sister and I, two people who sadly fought like cats and dogs for most of our childhood years, I truly have deep compassion for those who may be reading this and feeling like they can relate.

How many of you wake up each day and wonder if you passed away, who really would show up at your funeral? Or if there would even be a funeral? And how many of you have wondered if anyone would really miss you in the long run once you were gone? I think these things daily and cry out to God in tears on most mornings on my knee’s bedside, begging Him for answers as to why my suffering and aloneness has been so great in this life.

Continuing to bear the brunt of the health issues I do, having such difficulties making deep friendships that could become “family”, having no biological family anymore to connect with, I’ve come to treasure those moments when Cedric and I talk and laugh like no days have passed since we last saw each other. I thank God for those moments and all the ones with Chris as well each time we take small road trips for a day and create new memories with each other. And I even treasure those small gifts in life like my cats jumping on top of me and calling me their family as they purr away and fall asleep on my lap. I am very thankful for those simple moments, especially on those days when I feel so very alone in this world.

That’s why I believe that having family is something to truly be thankful for, which is also why it bothers me when I hear individuals tell me they couldn’t care less about their family and harbor resentments towards them, unwilling to forgive and reconnect. Because family is something I may never have, but if one day I do, if one day I have a handful of people who truly are there for me, who would come from wherever they live if I called upon them and said I really needed them here, I will forever be grateful for it. That I can promise.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

The only cow in a small Kentucky town stopped giving milk. The people did some research and found that they could buy a cow just across the state line in Illinois for $200. They brought the cow from Illinois and the cow was wonderful. It produced lots of milk all of the time, and the people were very happy. They decided to acquire a bull to mate with the cow to produce more cows like it. They would never have to worry about their milk supply again. They bought the bull and put it in the pasture with their beloved cow. However, whenever the bull tried to mount the cow, the cow would move away. No matter what approach the bull tried, the cow would move away from the bull and he could not succeed in his quest. The people were very upset and decided to ask the Vet, who was very wise, what to do. They told the Vet what was happening. “Whenever the bull tries to mount our cow, she moves away. If he approaches from the back, she moves forward. When he approaches her from the front, she backs off. An attempt from the side, she walks away to the other side.” The Vet thought about this for a minute and asked, “Did you by some chance, buy this cow in Illinois?” The people were dumbfounded, since no one had ever mentioned where they bought the cow. “You are truly a wise Vet,” they said. “How did you know we got the cow in Illinois?” The Vet replied with a distant look in his eye, “Well, because, my wife is from Illinois.”

Silly Joke #2

There was this guy at a bar, just looking at his drink. He stays like that for half of an hour. Then, this big trouble-making truck driver steps next to him, takes the drink from the guy, and just drinks it all down. The poor man starts crying. The truck driver says, “Come on man, I was just joking. Here, I’ll buy you another drink. I just can’t stand to see a man cry.” “No, it’s not that…” said the guy. “This day is the worst of my life. First, I fall asleep, and I go late to my office. My boss, outrageous, fires me. When I leave the building, to my car, I found out it was stolen. The police said that they can do nothing. I get a cab to return home, and when I leave it, I remember I left my wallet and credit cards there. The cab driver just drives away. I go home, and when I get there, I find my wife in bed with the gardener. I leave home, and come to this bar. And just when I was thinking about putting an end to my life, you show up and drink the poison I just put in my drink!!!”

Silly Joke #3

After the holidays and all those delightful, seasonal treats, a husband stepped on one of those quarter scales in the store that tells your fortune and weight. He drops in a coin and eagerly reads the results while his wife rolls her eyes. “Listen to this,” he said to his wife, showing her a small, white card. “It says I’m 295 pounds, energetic, bright, resourceful and an absolutely great lover in bed!” “Well,” his wife nodded, “at least it got your weight right…”

Bonus Silly Joke

A man travels to Spain and goes to a Madrid restaurant for a late dinner. He orders the house special and he is brought a plate with potatoes, corn, and two large meaty objects. “What’s this?” he asks.  “Cojones, senor,” the waiter replies. “What are cojones?” the man asks.  “Cojones,” the waiter explains, “are the testicles of the bull who lost at the arena this afternoon.” At first the man is disgusted, but being the adventurous type, he decides to try this local delicacy. To his amazement, it is quite delicious. In fact, it is so good that he decides to come back again the next night and order it again. After dinner the man informed the waiter that these were better than the pair he had the previous afternoon but the portion was much smaller. “Senor,” the waiter explains, “the bull does not lose every time.”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What’s cool now, but probably won’t be in 5 years?

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


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Is “People-Pleasing” Just Another Form Of Being Controlling?

I know I have control issues and continue to work on them. I think all of us in this world have control issues actually and sometimes I think those control issues mask themselves in strange ways through our behaviors that to us might seem like we’re doing the right thing, but to others, it comes across as controlling. One such way I believe is through “people-pleasing”, a behavior I’ve battled on and off through much of my life, which recently, I came face to face with through an action I took in a men’s group I’m part of.

In one of our meetings a few weeks ago, we were working towards coordinating an upcoming outdoor meeting and barbecue. After much discussion, a date was voted upon and agreed to, after which I realized that a member of the group (and also a good friend of mine) who wasn’t there to vote, might not be able to make that date due to their work schedule. So, I asked the group if they wanted me to contact this person and ask about their schedule. The answer was yes, and so I did. The answer I received from my friend was for a different date than the one the group had already agreed upon. So, I immediately brought that back to the group and made sure I expressed my desire to have this person included in the event. The result? The date got changed to accommodate them, which only led later to far more drama, chaos, and frustration in the group. In the end, my desire to be there for this friend and make sure they got included in that group outing was ultimately a “people-pleasing” action, the consequences of which led to nothing more than the appearance that I had been controlling through it all.

While my intentions were good to include this friend, the better solution would have been to just leave the initial date agreed upon by the group and hope that my friend could have made that date. How many times have I done this? How many times have I tried to “people-please” through what I thought were good intentions, by trying to include “everyone” in various events being scheduled? Countless. And how many times has that ended up backfiring on me, causing more drama and stress and always making me look controlling? Also, countless.

A good friend of mine recently told me that he learned long ago that when scheduling any event, he just settles on a date and sticks to it. Those who can be there, will, and those who can’t be there, won’t, and he doesn’t worry about trying to include “everyone”. On the contrary, I do always worry about including “everyone” in event planning and get concerned about letting someone down if they don’t get included in that planning, which always seems to get me in hot water. That “people-pleasing” action really does come across as controlling, rather than looking like I’m just trying to be a good guy.

So, I think I’m going to start taking a page from my friend’s book and just let events get planned on the day that seem most suitable for those present, rather than me worrying about including every single person not present. Because me trying to arrange everything to include everyone really has consistently come across as controlling, led to more drama and chaos rather than peace and unity, and frankly, has been completely exhausting upon my life.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Inside every man, there’s a little boy crying, ‘I want my mama!’” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“Crying does not mean a person is weak, it means a person has a heart.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“Men hate to cry, they rarely ever do. But, when a man cries over you, you know he loves you. Because men often only cry when they’ve lost something or are afraid of losing something that they love as much as or even more than themselves.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“People cry, not because they’re weak, it’s because they’ve been strong for too long.” (Unknown)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

It’s time for another entry in my Grateful Heart Monday series, a series which continues to focus on only one thing, that being an important piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for no longer being afraid to cry in front of others.

A long time ago, I was taught that if you were going to be a “real man” in this world, you should never cry in front of others. That grown men should not openly display this type of emotion in the world. My mother was the first to tell me this and she often did her best to help me grow into those big boy pants, to make me tough, and never show any vulnerability like that. I did pretty well with it for many years, even taking Tae Kwon Do and becoming a brown belt to be strong. Later, I learned that alcohol and drugs were also great ways to keep those vulnerable emotions suppressed. On the really heaving drinking and drugging days though, when I went too far with the substances I was consuming, my emotions got the best of me and I’d often end up in a torrent of tears about all the insecurities of my life. I’d always blame the alcohol and drugs of course the next day and toughen right back up, vowing to not allow myself to ever do that again. I did of course time and time again, but only when I was under the influence.

When I finally got sober from alcohol and drugs, and had nothing to suppress those emotions anymore, I went to the next best thing, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, mostly because I started crying all the time and didn’t want anyone to see that. I honestly believed from what I was taught that it made me weak and I wanted to remain strong, So, I tried my best even sober, to never openly shed my tears.

I took that to the extreme, like I have most things in my life, and rarely did I show my tears, even when my father took his life or when my mother took her tragic drunken fall down the stairs. I began to use other addictions to numb myself from those deep emotions and pain and paid the price for that, as I eventually learned that putting a stopper in those feelings and holding all those painful emotions down, only led to me becoming an angry and rage-filled individual, someone who walked around in the world with a major chip on his shoulder.

The only individuals I ever really let see the real side of me for much of my life were those I fell in love with and a few therapists I saw. To the rest of the world though, I hid my true self, someone who deep down was a hurt little boy who always felt sad and alone. When I finally came to terms with that and realized how much damage it was causing my mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical health, I began working on opening those flood gates. To do so meant walking away from a number of other addictions that only suppressed those emotions.

The past eight years or so, I’ve done pretty well with this and have really worked hard to show my vulnerability. I still have my good days with it and some bad days. On the good days, like just tonight for example, when I was hanging out with a good friend of mine, I let the tears fall from my face and it was rather healing and connecting with my friend. On those bad days, when I don’t want to take that wall down around my heart, I tend to yell and cause arguments, trying to create separation with those I love, all because of the fear of getting hurt, something I know all too well throughout much of my life with abandonment and loneliness.

But, the reality is I know it’s ok to cry now and how healthy it is as well, not just alone on my knees on the side of my bed, but everywhere. While I do cry more than not these days about the state of my life with my health, especially in the morning when I awake and am alone with all my pain and all that angst it causes me, I am thankful I can express it more openly now too. I do so with plenty of others in my life, to the groups I speak to, to my close friends and even those who aren’t friends at all. I am authentic now in my life in my emotions more than not, and for that I am so very grateful. Because at the core, showing my tears, allowing my tears, for the world to see, while my mother long ago would have said grown men don’t do that type of thing and that it makes one weak, I see otherwise. Showing my tears actually make me strong, strong in myself for being true to me, and strong in showing to other men that there really is a strength that comes from expressing feelings like that with another.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Addicts may seem apathetic to the problems they are causing. Be aware they are relying on an innate defense mechanism – denial.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“If a person doesn’t want to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, they may try to blame others. Don’t accept blame or try to fix things for them when you’ve done nothing wrong. They need to learn that if they want different outcomes, they will have to make different choices.” (Doe Zantamata)

Quote #3

“Blame is a cigarette. It soothes your mind and your muscles when you take a drag on it. It feels like it helps. If you do this long enough, you forget that it helps only because it takes away the same stress it creates. Blame is an addiction.” (Vironika Tugaleva)

Bonus Quote

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” (Audre Lorde)

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

When A Sponsee Blames Their Sponsor For Their Own Issues…

I love sponsoring others in 12 Step recovery, as it’s very rewarding spiritually, but at times it can also be extremely draining, especially when a sponsee indirectly or directly blames me for their own issues, baggage, and addiction itself.

Just over a month ago now, I had a former sponsee tell me they didn’t want to call me every day to check in, which is one of my requirements. They had over 13 years of sobriety from another program, but very little sober time in the one I was working with them in. They felt it was beneath them to check in each day because of how long they’ve remained sober in their other program. After talking with them at length though about this, the real root wasn’t about me at all, it was about them not wanting to do the work in the 12 Step program I was sponsoring them in anymore and them feeling they could handle their addiction on their own.

And just recently, I had another sponsee infer that the work I was doing with them and the traditional 12 Step recovery method itself was the very thing leading them into one relapse after another. What they failed to see was that before I even started the work with them, they were in a chronic relapse pattern over and over again for years, which was very evident a few days after stopping the work with me when they had another relapse. Here again, the problem wasn’t in my style of sponsoring, nor was it with the 12 Step program either, it was that they just didn’t want to do the work necessary to remain clean and sober.

The fact is, addicts are notorious for believing they can handle their addiction on their own, especially after getting some sober time under their belt. It’s a false assumption that’s often made, specifically when a sponsee begins to grow weary of the amount of work involved in the 12 Step process. And when that starts to happen, it’s typically their ego that often drives them to attack the very person trying to help them, in this case the sponsor, solely to allow them to be back on their own. Why would one’s ego want that? Because if there is no sponsor or 12 Step recovery program guiding them, it becomes very easy to allow the smallest of circumstances to guide them straight back into their addiction without anyone or anything to help keep it in check.

How many times I’ve had sponsees attack my style of sponsoring or the 12 Step method itself is countless at this point over the 14 years I’ve been doing this type of work with others. Hell, I even did this myself during my previous 12 years of sobriety prior to that with all the sponsors I had during that time. Nevertheless, it’s always the same reason why this happens. It’s because addicts are addicts and addicts don’t like facing the pain of themselves and their disease, which is precisely what sponsors and the 12 Step process does. It makes an addict face themselves, the very thing their addiction causes them to run from like I did during the first 12 years of my sobriety where I just became a dry drunk.

I have a lot of sadness for any sponsee who attacks my style of sponsorship or the 12 Step process because most tend to disappear after doing so and ultimately end up reengaging in their disease not too long after with very few ever returning. Those who do are usually quite apologetic, realizing how sick their mind and ego actually was. Having succumbed myself to so many addictions throughout my life, I know addiction behavior all too well and how my ego always is trying to lead me back into it. That’s why I have a sponsor and a sober support network. It’s why I’m still going to meetings all these years later in both of my recovery programs. And it’s why I remain very active in sponsoring others and volunteering.

Because the last thing I want is to start believing the problem is in my sponsor, a 12 Step program, the meetings I go to, or anything else that’s outside of me. The problem is within me, always was and always will be. Addiction is not out there, it’s in us. It’s never anyone or anything else’s fault. It never was and never will be. Believing anything otherwise will only give power to our addiction itself and that’s something I absolutely don’t want to ever do again…

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