Daily Reflection

“Age is only a number we count until we’re old enough to know it doesn’t count.” (Katrina Mayer)

I’ve always heard that age is nothing but a number. But, in just under a year from now, I’ll be the big 5-0, which presently, I find myself getting particularly bothered by, especially when my partner Chris jokes about it with me or with others we’re spending time with. Why does this bother me so much when age probably really is nothing but a number? Because at almost 50, I feel like I haven’t accomplished much in this life other than getting clean and sober from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes 26 years ago.

While I know that sober specific achievement is nothing to balk at and something I continue to be thankful to God for, I honestly believe my issue with my age is really because I’m not happy with me right now. I tend to believe that the greater the happiness a person has within themselves, the greater the acceptance they will have with all their circumstances of life, including their age. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find that within ever since all my major health issues began back in April of 2010. Prior to that, when I was able to be far more active in my life in plenty of ways, I definitely felt happiness within. But with each passing year since I was 39, I have done my best just to survive through a number of mind and body health issues, each making it so very difficult to see the looming 5-0 with anything but dread. While I have no problem accepting anyone else’s age with grace and unconditional love, and even find great appreciation and attraction in those far older than I, I can’t seem to get there within myself. That has become all the more apparent since turning 49 a few weeks ago. Maybe this is that mid-life crisis people always talk about when they reach this age? I’m not sure, but I had a lot of dreams for where I wanted my life to be at by the time I reached 50. Sadly, those dreams feel so far away presently, as all my energy continues to go into just coping with my health limitations and doing the best I can to make it through each day. Frankly, I know if I could just find peace and joy within regardless of my health or any circumstances of life, it wouldn’t matter whether I was 49, 50, 61, or 80.

In my soul, I ultimately know what matters isn’t my age at all, or how I look, or even with any of my life’s achievements. I think what truly matters is just being a good person, a loving person, a caring person, a kind person, a giving person, and well I think you get the point. Except, I’ve struggled with them all the more my mind and body is plagued with one health issue after another. Because of that, anger has often got the best of me lately, something I’ve been disappointed within myself, which is working directly against the very thing I want, that being to accept whatever age I’m at.

It really is ironic how I can look at someone else far older than I, who feels the same way as I do about their age, and offer them the very compassion and love they are struggling to offer themselves, yet I can’t seem to offer that to myself! I know all of this is my ego working against me, something I’ve seen quite a bit of in my writing as of late. While deep down, I know age truly is nothing but a number and that it doesn’t matter in the overall grand scheme of life how old any of us are. I just pray for that part of me to overcome my ego that continues to tell me the lie that I’m a failure at almost 50.

Dear God, I know that age is nothing but a number, especially to You. Please help me find peace and joy within, no matter what my circumstances in life are or will ever be, as I know in doing so, I won’t be dreading turning the big 5-0, or any other age for that matter.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Your purpose in life is to use your gift and talents to help other people. Your journey in life teaches you how to do that.” (Tom Krause)

Quote #2

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” (John Wooden)

Quote #3

“God’s gift to you is more talent and ability than you could possibly use in your lifetime. Your gift to God is to develop as much of that talent and ability as you can in this lifetime.” (Steve Bow)

Bonus Quote

“You are unique in the universe and throughout all time. So too are your gifts and talents. What you can offer mankind, no one else can.” (Gabriel Omelchenko)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude is the sole focus in my writing at the start of each week, which for today is for having the gifts of public speaking and writing, two things that really seem to come naturally to me now, but didn’t always.

There once was a time in my life where I truly despised doing any type of public speaking, mostly because I was so afraid to get up in front of others who were going to be staring at me so intently. The first time I ever had to do so was in an elementary school play where I had only one line I was meant to say. What I was supposed to say was, “I’ll save you Pocahontas!” But, what I said instead was, “I’ll save you Princess Leia!” Why I said that, I have no idea. All I can remember after saying it though was the hundreds of parents and kids there roaring in laughter at my mistake and me running off the stage in shame. It wasn’t until college did I finally opt to take an elective course in public speaking to overcome the fear I had of ever making such a mistake again in front of others. That public speaking class saved my life. The curriculum started off slow with very minor speaking activities at a podium in front of the class. But, the final “paper” in that class was to speak for an hour on a topic of our choosing! The topic I chose was about my father and his alcoholism. Little did I know then that this would help me many years later to share my own story of alcoholism in front of others and once I did, it became easier for each subsequent outing. It really is true that the more one does something, the easier it becomes, because the more I’ve spoken in the rooms of recovery from addiction, the more I’ve been able to cultivate the craft and the less those sweaty palms, a racing heart, and anxiety were present. Now I speak confidently in front of others and have received plenty of positive feedback after each time over the years. Whether it’s been with nursing students, inmates, fraternity or sorority members, detoxing individuals, people at 12 Step meetings, and more, I always look forward to all my speaking engagements now. Gone are those days where I had to picture everyone in attendance in clown costumes or naked to overcome my fears of public speaking, of which I’m so grateful for. As for writing, well that craft took much longer to develop and come to love.

Growing up and well into my adulthood, I only ever wrote anything if it was required, which was either in an educational class, with a therapist, in a Bible study, or on a retreat. Honestly, I hated writing, especially if it was by hand, as my handwriting has always been pretty atrocious! In 2005 though, when I went away on a silent retreat for 10 days in the mountains of West Virginia, I was really inspired to write about the whole experience once it was over. It was a very cathartic exercise and one I thoroughly enjoyed doing. Not too long after, a friend was very much interested in hearing about the retreat so I told him I’d be honored if he read the essay I wrote about it. He loved it so much, he asked if I’d be interested in condensing it into an article for the local newspaper in the town where I was living at the time, of which he was already a writer for. I obliged and not too long after, I too would become a regular writer for this paper under the tagline “Words To Live By” where I’d share motivational stories from my life in about 700 words or less. It was such a success that readers began to reach out to me personally, further motivating me to continue the practice. Where my writing really started to become a true craft for me wasn’t until a spiritual teacher suggested I start a blog. That came after a number of years I took off from writing and she merely wanted me to get back into it, suggesting it would be useful for my healing and my future. This is how this blog, “TheTwelfthStep”, got started and has become an incredible outlet of expression for both the positive and negative aspects of my spiritual journey in life. Over the years I’ve maintained this blog, I’ve found a number of new and unique ways to express myself and the better my words have been able to connect with others in the world, which has brought me great pleasure and immense gratitude.

So, I guess you can say that on some level, the two things I once hated the most in my younger years, public speaking and writing, have now become the two things I enjoy doing the most and perform the best with in life. And for that, I’m truly grateful on this Grateful Heart Monday!

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

If you could choose your life’s purpose and be provided every resource you’d ever need for it (including financially), what would it be?

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


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What Is The True Purpose Of The 12 Steps?

One of the questions I’m asked A LOT when doing alcohol and drug addiction presentations is what is the true purpose of the 12 Steps. There are many answers I could give to that question, and I’m quite sure every person who’s found their sober path following the 12 Steps could answer it differently, but my answer is always the same. The purpose of the 12 Steps for me is to shift my addict’s nature of pointing the finger at what’s wrong in the world to one where I instead take a hard look at myself in the mirror at what’s wrong with me and work on changing it.

Most addicts don’t want to look in the mirror at themselves solely because they don’t like what they see. Instead, they focus on all the things around themselves they don’t like with their friends, with their loved ones, and with the world in general. I met an addict in a detox recently just like this, who didn’t think there was any issue in him having 14 children with 13 mothers and was more focused instead on the actions of his children and mothers.

It’s in Step 4 of the 12 Steps where an addict like this is meant to take that hard core look at themselves as they write out all the resentments they have in life. Just seeing on paper the hundreds of resentments I carried for years really opened my eyes to how negative of a person I had become. But, it’s in the next part of the 4th step that truly held the mirror up to me, and maybe even clearly for the first time in my life where I actually didn’t look away, where I saw all those resentments had originated from my selfish, self-centered, dishonest, and fear-based addict nature. That became even more clear when I did the sex inventory that comes at the end of the 4th step, where the mirror totally reflected the countless people I had used for my own gratification throughout the years.

Nevertheless, the 12 Steps to me have really just become a very large mirror to hold up in front of myself, to go within, and to see all those wounds that had constantly led to me always pointing my finger outward. How many countless wounds I had when I first discovered the 12 Steps that I had been projecting outward for most of my life, consistently pointing the finger at what I perceived was wrong in the world, rather than moving beyond my ego to see what was clearly wrong within me.

An addict rarely thinks that anything is wrong with them and wholeheartedly tends to believe that everything that makes them angry and upset is always because of someone or something else. The only tool I’ve ever seen that can ultimately fix that gross misconception wasn’t one I learned through therapy, or on some retreat, or at church, or in the Bible or any other spiritual book, or in any type of self-help book for that matter either. It was only through my 12 Step recovery work that I finally began to see myself in the mirror for who I truly was, someone I had come to hate because of my addict nature and someone that took that hate and constantly projected it outward, seeing the world as broken, rather than seeing myself as broken.

So, what is the true purpose of 12 Step recovery? For me, it’s to look in the mirror, to look within, to find the source of each of my pains, angers, irritations, frustrations, and the like in life, to talk about them, to write about them, and to forgive, accept, and let them go once and for all, so that I may become totally free of them, free of their burden, and free of any desire to ever project the pain of them outward upon anyone else, something addicts sadly love doing, and something I’m so thankful I do my best now to not do anymore, thanks to the 12 Steps.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

It was a dark, stormy, night. The Marine was on his first assignment, and it was guard duty. A General stepped out taking his dog for a walk. The nervous young Private snapped to attention, made a perfect salute, and snapped out “Sir, Good Evening, Sir!” The General, out for some relaxation, returned the salute and said “Good evening soldier, nice night, isn’t it?” Well it wasn’t a nice night, but the Private wasn’t going to disagree with the General, so the he saluted again and replied “Sir, Yes Sir!”. The General continued, “You know there’s something about a stormy night that I find soothing, it’s really relaxing. Don’t you agree?” The Private didn’t agree, but the private being just a private responded, “Sir, Yes Sir!” The General, pointing at the dog, “This is a Golden Retriever, the best type of dog to train.” The Private, who wasn’t a big fan of dogs, glanced down at the dog, saluted yet again and said “Sir, Yes Sir!”  The General continued, “I just got this dog for my wife actually!” The Private finally in agreement with the General simply said, “Good trade Sir!”

Silly Joke #2

At the conclusion of the sermon, the worshippers filed out of the sanctuary to greet the minister. As one shook the minister’s hand, he said, “Thanks for the message, Reverend. You know, I bet you’re smarter than Einstein.” Beaming with pride, the minister said, “Why, thank you, brother!” As the week went by, the minister began to think about the man’s compliment. The more he thought, the more he wondered why anyone would deem him smarter than Einstein. So the following Sunday he asked the man, “Exactly what did you mean when you said last week that I must be smarter than Einstein?” The man replied, “Well, Reverend, they say that Einstein was so smart that only ten people in the entire world could understand him. But Reverend, no one can understand you!”

Silly Joke #3

An old couple is having breakfast on their anniversary when the old woman says to her husband, “Just think, honey, we’ve been married for 50 years today!” “Yes,” he replies. “Fifty years ago we were sitting here at this breakfast table together. And we were probably naked as jaybirds.” “Well,” the old woman snickers, “should we get naked again for old time’s sake?” So they strip off their clothing and sit back down at the table. “You know,” the old woman says breathlessly, “my nipples are as hot for you today as they were 50 years ago.” “Well, I’m not surprised,” replies the old man. “One’s in your coffee and the other’s in your oatmeal!”

Two Bonus Silly Jokes

Two old guys were chatting…..One said to the other: “My 85th birthday was yesterday. The wife gave me an SUV!”. The other guy responded, “Wow, that’s an amazing gift, an SUV!!! Just incredible!” The first guy said, “Yup !!! Socks, Underwear and Viagra!”

A blonde was playing Trivial Pursuit one night. When it was her turn, she rolled the dice and landed on “Science & Nature”. Her question was, “If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it? She thought for some time and then asked, “Is it on or off?”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“You deserve to be with someone who looks at you every single day like they’ve won the lottery and have the whole world in front of them.” (Unknown)

Quote #2

“Marriage is not 50-50; divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It isn’t dividing everything in half, but giving everything you got!” (Dave Willis)

Quote #3

“Most people get married believing a myth that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for: companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc. The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box. You must put something in before you can take anything out. There is no lover in marriage. Love is in people. And people put love in marriage. There is no romance in marriage. You have to infuse it into your marriage. A couple must learn the art and form that habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, the box will become empty.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“Most relationships end up failing when one person is being loved too much, while the other isn’t being loved enough, when one is doing more of the giving than the taking, while the other is doing more of the taking than the giving.” (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

A 50/50 Relationship Is Erroneous…

When I first entered the dating scene in 1995, I began to hear that relationships should always be 50/50, but over the years through many long-term connections, both platonic and intimate, I’ve come to see that only offering 50/50 is erroneous.

What 50/50 means is that each party gives 50 percent to the relationship. But, what about the other 50%? Shouldn’t each party give 100 percent? Shouldn’t every type of relationship be giving 100% of themselves? Shouldn’t all relationships be 100/100?

To be perfectly honest, until I worked hard on my recovery from addictions, I was the type of guy who usually did give 50%, or far less, to those I was in connection with. Giving 100 percent meant being willing to change and spiritually grow, neither of which I was willing to do, because frankly I was selfish and self-centered, two traits that most active addicts carry.

Nevertheless, to be successful in any type of relationship, for it to blossom and last for years and years, and sometimes a lifetime, I’ve come to see that striving to give 100% is truly necessary. Striving to give 100% means I need to always be willing to work on myself, because as soon as I say I don’t need to work on myself anymore, it’s a clear statement that says I don’t care to address any of my own flaws or imperfections and when I do this, I start giving far less than 100%, and the more I travel down this path, the more I stop giving, and the more I stop giving, the more I start taking. Eventually that only leads to the dissolution of that relationship because there becomes a gross imbalance in the give and take department.

Presently, this is what’s going on in my relationship with my partner Chris. I love Chris dearly, I truly do, but he’s been stuck in a place for a good while giving far less of himself to bettering us as a couple. While I continue to do my best to give all of myself to us, our relationship isn’t feeling very balanced anymore. Rather, it’s feeling as if I’m giving far more than receiving now and that Chris is taking far more than giving. This is precisely what happened in my last long-term relationship. When my mother passed away suddenly during that relationship, I was utterly broken. I really needed my partner, but he became more concerned about our business we had at the time rather than helping me through that very difficult period. When he chose to not spend my first Christmas without my mother with me and my sister, it truly became the final nail in the coffin for our relationship.

I don’t want this to happen with Chris, but I’m really struggling with the many decisions he makes to focus more on himself than us. A great example of this was when I asked him one evening recently to do a small cleanup for me outside in the yard when I was unable to, solely due to a scheduled outing. He agreed to do so, but when I came home after that outing, the work hadn’t been done and his response was that he hadn’t felt like doing it and instead focused only on his own needs, wants, and desires. While that may be ok at times when one needs some personal downtime, when that becomes the regular behavior, it’s definitely not striving to give 100% to a relationship. It’s exactly why I’ve been wavering to remain in this relationship with Chris because I, like anyone in a relationship, deserve an equal balance in giving in taking, hence the striving to having a relationship of 100/100.

While no relationship is perfect and never will be, doing one’s best to give 100% shows the other person how vested they are in it. I have that type of connection with my best friend Cedric who lives almost 700 miles from me. While we are very different in some of our hard-core belief systems, we always make sure to talk twice a week, every week, and we always make sure as well to see each other twice a year, every year, and have been doing so since I moved away from his neck of the woods over 8 years ago now. This is part of us striving to give 100/100, which at the core we both believe is a glue that keeps this going and that’s our faith in God.

So, maybe the reason why people stop giving 100/100 and instead start giving far less, like 50/50, or some other imbalanced percentage, is because they start relying more upon themselves and their egos, who tell them that their needs, wants, and desires are far more important than anyone else’s. I choose to live by a higher creed, something greater than myself, something that I choose to call God, who helped a former addict like me go from giving 50/50 or far less, to constantly striving to give 100% in all my relationships, even when my selfish ego might not want to…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Are you taking any vacation away from home this summer and if so, where to?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, where gratitude remains my only focus at the start of each week’s writing, which for today is for my recent trip to Saugatuck, Michigan for four nights and three days, where I actually experienced a few things I haven’t in a very long time.

First off, I want to say I’m grateful for even taking a small vacation, given I haven’t had one in almost a year due to the pandemic, which had made travel very undesirable. But, beyond that, Saugatuck, which is often said to be the Provincetown of the Midwest, was a place I had on my Midwest bucket list of places to see since moving to this part of the country, so I was grateful to finally get to visit it. Nestled midway up the shores of Lake Michigan, Saugatuck is an artsy-type of community where many LGBTQ come for beach getaways. My partner Chris and I were really wanting one of those, hence the desire why we chose this small town to visit during our birthday week in June.

The first thing I was truly grateful for during this trip was the weather. It is true what they say around here in this Great Lakes region that the weather changes every five minutes. Prior to leaving for our trip, the weather forecast for Saugatuck went from sunny and mid low to mid 70’s, to cloudy and mid to high 80’s, to muggy rain-soaked thunderstorm-filled days. Ironically, it was all far better than what was predicted, as the weather ending up being sunnier than not, raining for only brief periods, and where I got to experience an occasional dense misty fog rolling off the sea, which I found very serene, especially when the sea always looked so calm afterwards.

Beyond the weather, one thing I also had immense gratitude for from this trip was how many lighthouses I got to see. I really have an affinity towards them ever since my last relationship and try to see them anytime I’m passing through any coastal area where one is there. On the way to Saugatuck, we started with Michigan City light and worked our way up the coastline seeing five different ones till we got to Saugatuck. The second day there, we headed north up to Mears, Michigan to Little Sable Light and worked our way down the coastline doing the same till we got back to Saugatuck, catching another five. I’m not exactly sure why I appreciate these structures as much as I do, but maybe it’s because they’ve withstood the test of time, enduring so many major storms, the seas constantly bashing against them, something I often feel is quite representative of my life. I felt that the most at Grand Haven Light, as rain pelted the long cement pier Chris and I walked out on to see the duel lights. But, maybe the one I appreciated the most was Holland Light, as just when I got there, an afternoon of rain finally parted, a fog was drifting away, and the sun was setting. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful, something I felt quite a bit with Lake Michigan during this trip, especially when I tackled an athletic activity I hadn’t in well over a decade due to my health issues.

I used to do quite a bit of athletic activities prior to 2010, one of which was kayaking. When I saw the resort offered free use of them on Lake Michigan, I debated whether I could do it. Always one to rise to the challenge of battling my ego, I hopped in a kayak early one afternoon and pushed myself offshore, heading south along the coastline alone. I was so thankful I did because the perspective of Lake Michigan when out on its waters is far different than gazing out upon it. I was amazed at how much mother nature had eroded away the cliffside and destroyed its natural beaches. How many man-made stairways I saw that were swinging in the wind, having been destroyed in the past year were countless. As I paddled for a good mile or so, I really did experience a serenity I hadn’t in a long while, so much so, that I went back out the next day and traversed up the coastline instead. All in all, while I did have some soreness from the task after two days and several miles of doing it, I was extremely grateful I had pushed through my ego, as I enjoyed it immensely.

Something else I also pushed through on this trip that I hadn’t done since 2010 was ride a bike again. The resort also offered use of a number of three-speed bikes. Chris and I opted to bike one afternoon together for about an hour, going through the local neighborhood and seeing some pretty fantastic-looking beach houses and yards adorning the cliffside. At one point, when Chris decided to take a break, I pedaled on for a few more miles on my own, which for someone that has been more inactive physically over the past decade was a pretty significant achievement.

Lastly, I want to thank the resort itself where we stayed, as it really has just about every amenity one would want on a vacation getaway. The Lakeshore Resort, built originally in 1952 and been family-owned ever since, has been totally transformed over the years to an exceptional level. Besides the kayaks and bikes offered there, they have a gorgeous in-ground pool, multiple Adirondack-chair seating areas around the property, walking trails in the woods they own behind them, two firepits, seating on multiple levels on the cliffside, one of which is directly at the lake’s edge, free yoga instruction, and plenty of gardens and grounds that were perfectly manicured and well-maintained. Everyone on the property has a great view of the lake and the sunsets I got to see every day there were stunning. Oh, and for the coffee snob in me, they also use a local place called Uncommon Coffee Roasters that was pretty dam good! When I can spend two entire days doing nothing but lounging around the resort I’m staying at it’s definitely a place I’m enjoying staying at.

Nevertheless, I’m really grateful for all these many positive memories Chris and I created on this trip, including also the cards we played together poolside and at sunset, the places we dined at downtown and up in Holland, and last but not least, the mother deer and her just-born fawn we saw nursing underneath her on our last day there. So much gratitude from our short getaway and one I’ll most certainly never forget.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“The reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” (Steven Furtick)

Quote #2

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” (Zen Shin)

Quote #3

“Comparison is the most poisonous element in the human heart because it destroys ingenuity and it robs peace and joy.” (Euginia Herlihy)

Bonus Quotes

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” (Teddy Roosevelt)

“Stop thinking you’re doing it all wrong. Your path doesn’t look like anybody else’s because it can’t, it shouldn’t, and it won’t.” (Eleanor Brownn)

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

Do You Often Compare Yourself To Others?

On a recent trip away for a few days, I was sitting outside at the gas firepit at the resort I was staying at with other guests on vacation just like myself. It was a nice evening, the sky was clear, the stars were brightly shining, yet I was miserable. Why? Because I kept comparing my life to everyone else’s there.

The one thing I often find myself doing when I talk with others, especially new people that I just met is comparing their life’s achievements to my own, which honestly is probably one of the unhealthiest things a person can do because it either swells one’s ego or deflates it, with major emphasis being placed on the word ego here.

Comparing oneself to anyone is simply an ego-based move. Most who do it generally hope to feel better about themselves when they do it, that somehow maybe they’ve done more, seen more, earned more achievements, accolades, etc., in life. In my case, due to years filled with health problems that drastically have slowed me down, it’s typically been the opposite, where I feel like I’m a nobody after comparing myself to another.

I kind of felt that way after comparing myself with this couple my partner and I met at that resort firepit that night. They had travelled much of the world, lived in some majorly cool areas of the country, worked in a number of amazing jobs that paid very well, been married happily for 21 years with 4 kids who were all successful, and well just seemed like they had lived a pretty darn good life. I think my ego got deflated the most when I learned the woman’s current profession at 46 years old was a professional nanny for a very wealthy family who takes her on trips to places like Hawaii where she gets paid to go on vacation with them and play with the kids in the sand.

Yikes! Just writing about this further deflates my ego even more because on a direct comparison, my ego makes me believe I’m far less relevant or important when I have no real idea of what those people, or anyone really, have gone through, or are going through, that I probably wouldn’t want. It’s a lot like how I feel with Facebook. Most people post happy-go-lucky things on their timelines with smiling faces and cool places, and rarely express their troubles of life. I mean how often do we see people posting that they are in bankruptcy or suffering from addiction or struggling to pay their bills or going through a divorce, etc. The fact is, taken at face value for what one sees or hears with others, especially people they don’t know or just met, it’s a sure deathtrap for the ego comparing oneself to any of them, particularly for someone struggling with a low self-esteem like I have been in recent years.

While I may not have travelled to all corners of the globe, or be in some job presently that is making a serious impact on bettering the planet somehow, or earning a huge paycheck or any paycheck for that matter, or have chiseled muscular features, or have a family, a big home in an exclusive neighborhood, or any number of other ego-coveted things in this life presently, what I do have is a good heart and honest life, filled with a desire to be more selfless than selfish, giving more than taking, accepting more than judging, and kind more than angry. For me, those things are priceless, not just because we live in a world seemingly filled with so much of the opposite these days, but because the former addict in me never had those qualities or even cared about having them.

And ironically, during the majority of my addiction-fueled days, I had the very things my ego often listens for in others at places like resort firepits, but I was never any happier, at peace, or filled with joy when I had them. The more that I remain clean and sober and work on my life in recovery from many former addictions, the more I see how fruitless it is to compare myself to anyone, because I haven’t lived their life, they haven’t lived mine, and honestly, I don’t think God cares. I think what really matters and what God cares about is being there for each other, something I continue to strive for, one day at a time.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

It has been reported that veteran Pillsbury spokesman Pop N. Fresh died Wednesday of a severe yeast infection. He was 71. He was buried Friday in one of the biggest funerals in years. Dozens of celebrities turned out including Mrs. Butterworth, the California Raisins, Hungry Jack, Betty Crocker, and the Hostess Twinkies. The graveside was piled high with flours, as longtime friend Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy, describing Fresh as a man who “never knew he was kneaded”. Fresh rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a smart cookie, and wasted much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Still, even as a crusty old man, he was a roll model to millions. Fresh is survived by his second wife. They had two children, and… one in the oven.

Silly Joke #2

It was a sunny Saturday morning on the local golf course, and I was visualizing my upcoming shot at the first hole, when a voice came over the clubhouse loudspeaker. “Would the gentleman on the Ladies Tee back up to the Men’s Tee, please!!” I was still deep in my routine, seemingly impervious to the interruption. Again the announcement–“Would the MAN on the WOMEN’S Tee kindly back up to the Men’s Tee.” I finally stopped, turned, looked through the clubhouse window directly at the person with the mike and shouted back, “Would the person in the clubhouse kindly shut up and let me play my second shot?!”

Silly Joke #3

Last year a blonde replaced several windows in her house and they were the expensive double-pane energy efficient kind. One day, she suddenly got a call from the contractor complaining that his work has been completed for a whole year and she had yet to pay for them. She got really upset and proceeded to tell him just what his fast talking sales guy had told her last year. . that in one year the windows would pay for themselves!!! There was a very long silence on the other end of the line after that, so she just hung up and was grateful that she had set him straight.

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult humor)

A very well know rich man, but not all too attractive man meets a woman at a bar and asks her, “Would you have sex with me for 10 million dollars?” Without skipping a beat she screams “Oh God, yes!” The man then asks, “Well, what about for $20?” She looks at him angrily and says,” What do you think I am, a whore?” The man says “Well, we’ve already established that you are, so now we’re just negotiating…”

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

Praying For Freedom From A Mental Health Disorder Most Don’t Understand…

If there was one thing I could truly change about myself, it would be to be permanently freed of hypochondria, a mental health condition I’ve had for much of my life and probably the single most frustrating part of all my ongoing health issues at this present time, as it may indeed be at the core of them all.

People often think hypochondria is something that should easily be able to be turned off. Honestly, it isn’t, just like it isn’t for someone suffering from depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, or any other mental health condition for that matter. What I find perturbs me the most with this condition from an external perspective is when someone who has never dealt with it thinks they could handle it far better than I do. The reality is someone who’s never dealt with this mental disorder (or any other mental disorder they’ve never had but think they could handle better) has no clue how challenging it can be and how much it wreaks havoc upon living any sort of a stable life.

I know that most think that having hypochondria just means you worry a lot about your health but it’s so much more than that. Take for example a few weeks ago when I was playing a round of mini-golf with my partner. At one point I sat on this wooden crate while waiting for my turn on one of the holes, when suddenly I felt this pain where my butt hit the crate. My mind immediately raced to the worst. Was it a bug bite, a spider bite, a bee sting, did I sit on a rusty nail, is there a sliver in me now, on and on my mind raced, obsessively, to even the most obscure possibilities. For the rest of the day the worry of what it was occupied me, so much so that I kept going into bathrooms and looking at my butt cheek to see if I could identify what happened. It took over 36 hours for my mind to calm down about this, when the small reddish spot finally began to disappear. But for those 36 hours or so, I hardly had any serenity at all, as my mind raced over and over again about something that most likely wouldn’t have bothered the majority of individuals it happened to.

I could share countless stories like this where some “ailment” immediately kicks off a wave of hypochondria, where I end up feeling imbalanced in my mind and body until the “ailment” either completely disappears or doesn’t grow any worse. Frankly, of all the health issues I continue to deal with, this for me is the worst because when it is active, my thinking is the very thing that works against what is reality.

When a pimple is most likely just a pimple, my hypochondriac thinking leads me to believe it’s the start of or part of some terrible skin condition. When an ache in some part of my body occurs, I think it’s cancer. When my hand occasionally shakes while holding something, I think it’s Parkinson’s. I’ve probably had just about every disease on the planet by this point, at least in my mind. The mind obsessions with hypochondria tend to feel so real, real enough that I have often attempted to intervene in the body’s natural healing processes, only to make things far worse. Years ago, I’d run to the doctor repeatedly for this condition, sometimes five days a week to different specialists, asking for one test after another because of the hypochondriac worries convincing me I knew what I had, none of which ever proved to be real.

The harsh reality of how this first began might indeed relate to the unconditional love my mother always gave me each time I was “sick” with some perceived “ailment” as a kid. During those moments of “sickness”, she was so kind to me, giving me treats and attention I usually never got. I don’t remember her ever being drunk or mean to me during those times either. Did my hypochondria totally manifest because of that? I’m not sure, but the solution I used for a long time to deal with my hypochondria was medication, which only made me a zombie more than not in life. Nowadays, I am choosing to walk through each episode of hypochondria free of medications, facing each health-related fear head on, and doing my best to do nothing, except let my body work through it naturally. It is very tough sometimes to do this though, because those fears always feel so extremely real.

Because of how much this negatively affects my day-to-day living, there is one prayer I have with God regularly now and it’s to become permanently free of this mental health condition that most don’t understand. I truly believe that much of the peace and joy lacking in my life comes from having hypochondria and constantly dealing with one health-related crisis in my mind after another.

So please God, if you could answer one prayer for me, I pray you fully take this hypochondria disorder from me for good. You once took another disorder fully from me, that being my addiction to alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, so I know you can take this away too. And I know that when you do, I’ll be able to live a much more stable life, just like I experienced when you completely freed me from each of those former addictions.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

When you’re trying to relax and use music in that effort, what do you usually listen to?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

It’s another Grateful Heart Monday, which means another day to practice expressing gratitude from my life, something I believe is key to living a spiritual life, which for today is for making 26 years of sobriety from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes on June 11.

I know each year I’ve written a gratitude article surrounding this when I’ve reached this date again clean from these former addictions, but in light of how much this pandemic affected me, as well as the long suffering I’ve gone through with chronic pain and health issues, the fact that I’ve remained clean and sober from these three things still is absolutely, 100% something I want to express gratitude for.

Ironically, while I have felt many urges over the past year since my last sober date to splurge on other various worldly things, I haven’t felt any compulsion or obsession to pick up alcohol, to take any drugs, or puff any cigarette. Honestly, I tend to believe that’s a miracle given some of the days where my mindset has been over the past year of craziness.

I heard a statistic not too long ago that 40 percent of people who were clean and sober from some former addiction before entering the pandemic, relapsed during it. I personally can attest to knowing several, some with long-standing sobriety, who went back out and re-delved into their former addictions. I’m thankful I can say I’m not one of them in regards to alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, three things that I continue to repeat year after year in this blog that they almost once destroyed my life on far too many levels.

So, yes, I’m absolutely grateful to have another year of sobriety under my belt from the terrible three that once controlled every part of me and I give all that gratitude to my Higher Power, to God, who has helped me one day at a time to keep going, even when my mind hasn’t wanted to, on countless days. For this, I’m truly blessed and so very thankful!

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“If you want to find your purpose in life, find your wound.” (Rick Warren)

Quote #2

“A meaningful life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated, or being perfect. It’s about being real, being humble, being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others.” (Unknown)

Quote #3

“The purpose of all life on earth is to grow.” (LeAura Alderson)

Bonus Quote

“Before life purpose comes self-love. Because you must love yourself before you can love your expression of self.” (Suzanne Heyn)

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

Is There A Purpose To My Life Anymore? Do I Ultimately Matter?

There are a lot of things I’ve written in this blog since its inception, and I do mean a lot, given I’m well in the 3000+ range of personal testimonies shared from my spiritual journey in life. But, there are many days now where I think about quitting this, especially recently with my website experiencing some major hiccups. I haven’t quit though for one reason only because I find it’s the healthiest way to still express myself, even if I may get redundant at times in my subject material. That being said, whether this is redundant in me saying this or not today, my biggest struggle lately is feeling like there isn’t a purpose to my life anymore and that I don’t ultimately matter in this world.

After 25+ years of being in therapy with many different types of counselors, going through a number of 12 Step programs, being a part of several intensive men’s spiritual groups, going away on dozens of self-empowerment retreats, doing regular meditations, affirmations, and prayers, offering gratitude daily, and doing my best to remain healthy, mind, body, and soul through natural healing and helping others, I still find myself questioning whether any of this has done any bit of good. Why? Because I continue to feel like I have no purpose and that my life doesn’t matter. Even worse, I find myself questioning lately whether God even exists, and if God does, why can’t I feel His presence no matter how hard I try to. And at my deepest level of insecurity, all of this leaves me wondering if I died tomorrow, would anyone really even care in the long run or would I easily be forgotten?

While I’m sure I’ve touched the heart and soul of some at some point or another, I question that now more than not. I know I sure do try to make a difference, but, truth be told, there isn’t a day where I don’t still question this. And although I practice gratitude daily, I wake up on most days feeling unhappy and wishing God would bring me home. Frankly, I’m simply exhausted from trying to find my purpose here and feel like I matter. And believe me I have done A LOT to try to find my purpose or create a purpose.

I honestly don’t know how much the chronic pain I’ve felt for as long as I have makes me think this way. I know prior to developing all this pain, I surely didn’t have this low of self-esteem. So, maybe I’m just blocked from seeing the truth? Maybe my chronic pain creates an illusion that I don’t matter when I truly do and maybe it prevents me from fully seeing the purpose of my continued existence? Maybe it also prevents me from really feeling the presence of God as well? I don’t ultimately know the veracity of any of this, but what I do know is that it really does seem to be out of my control to change any of how I feel, given how hard I’ve tried to over the years.

Nevertheless, while today’s words may indeed sound redundant from past writings, just know I shared them today, not just to be fully transparent to the sheer frustration and hopelessness I feel in my life right now, but also to let all those out there who might be feeling similarly know they aren’t alone. Ultimately, I think everyone matters and we all have a purpose here on Earth, but the hardest part in life is to feel that from within, rather than looking for it outside of ourselves, something my low self-esteem lately has done quite a bit of. Regardless, I pray that all of us feeling this way in this world right now may soon find that sunlight of our souls and shine like we are all truly meant to.

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A little child was in church for the first time and watched as the ushers passed the offering plates. When they neared the pew where he sat, the youngster said in a little voice loud enough for everyone to hear: “Daddy, you don’t have to pay for me. I’m under five…”

Silly Joke #2

Two delicate blossoms of Southern femininity, one from Mississippi and the other from Texas, were conversing on the porch swing of a large white-pillared mansion. The Mississippian said, “When my first child was born, my husband built this beautiful mansion for me.” The Texan lady commented, “Well, isn’t that nice?” The lady from Mississippi continued, “When my second child was born, my husband bought me that fine Cadillac automobile you see parked in the drive.” Again, the Texas lady commented, “Well, isn’t that nice?” The first woman boasted, “Then, when my third child was born, my husband bought me this exquisite diamond bracelet.” Yet again, the Texas lady commented, “Well, isn’t that nice?” The first woman then asked her companion, “What did your husband buy for you when you had your first child?” The Texas lady replied, “My husband sent me to charm school.” “Charm school!” the first woman cried. “Land sakes, child, what on Earth for?” The Texas lady responded, “So that instead of saying, ‘Who gives a shit!” I learned to say, ‘Well, isn’t that nice?'”

Silly Joke #3

Grandpa and Grandma were watching the television evangelical show and the preacher said, if the viewers at home wanted to be healed, place one hand on the television set and the other hand on the body part where they wanted to be healed. Grandma got up and slowly hobbled to the television set, placed her right hand on the set and her left hand on her arthritic shoulder that was causing her to have great pain. Then Grandpa got up, went to the TV, placed his right hand on the set and his left hand on his crotch. Grandma scowled at him and said, “I guess you just don’t get it. The purpose of doing this is to heal the sick, not to raise the dead!!!”

Bonus Silly Joke

One day Bill complained to his friend that his elbow really hurt. His friend suggested that he go to a computer at the drug store that can diagnose anything quicker and cheaper than a doctor. “Simply put in a sample of your urine and the computer will diagnose your problem and tell you what you can do about it. It only costs $10.” Bill figured he had nothing to lose, so he filled a jar with a urine sample and went to the drug store. Finding the computer, he poured in the sample and deposited the $10. The computer started making some noise and various lights started flashing. After a brief pause out popped a small slip of paper on which was printed: “You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water. Avoid heavy lifting. It will be better in two weeks.” Later that evening while thinking how amazing this new technology was and how it would change medical science forever, he began to wonder if this machine could be fooled. He mixed together some tap water, a stool sample from his dog and urine samples from his wife and daughter. To top it off, he even gratified himself and put it too into the concoction! He went back to the drug store, located the machine, poured in the sample and deposited the $10. The computer again made the usual noise and printed out the following message: “Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. Your dog has worms. Get him vitamins. Your daughter is using cocaine. Put her in a rehabilitation clinic. Your wife is pregnant with twin girls. They aren’t yours. Get a lawyer. And if you don’t stop gratifying yourself, your tennis elbow will never get better!”

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” (Heath L. Buckmaster)

Quote #2

“Whether a person is gay or transgender or straight, it doesn’t change the fact that they are trying to lead their own life.” (Aya Kamikawa)

Quote #3

“It isn’t about “becoming” another person – I already am who I am – I just want my body to reflect that. It’s not like I’m suddenly changing from the person you’ve always known – this is more about your willingness to see who I’ve always been.” (Cooper Lee Bombardier)

Bonus Quote

Whether you’re transgender or not, most of us get to a point in our lives where we can no longer lie to ourselves.” (Laverne Cox)

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

Ellen Page To Elliot Page, A Transgendered Journey That Helped Me To Spiritually Grow…

Over the past decade or so, I came to really appreciate the acting career of Ellen Page in just about everything I saw her in. Her roles in Juno, Whip It, and Inception were astounding on every level. Most recently, I became an avid fan of her role in Umbrella Academy on Netflix, with her playing a superhero of sorts by the name of Vanya Hargreaves. Then quite abruptly, the entertainment news suddenly reported that she was no longer Ellen Page, and was now Elliot Page. I was shocked given how long I had followed his career as a woman and struggled to understand how one makes a choice like that to change their sex. But, then I thought about it and asked myself, what if the decision for a person to be transgender was not a choice at all and was no different than me coming to accept the sexuality I was born with?

I know there are many out there who have thought my sexuality has been a choice all this time, all starting back with a mother who thought she did something wrong and assumed it was a choice I was making to be the way I was. While she never did come to acceptance and unconditionally love me for who I always was, as a number of others along the way in my life never have either, I came to realize many years ago that I was born the way I was and didn’t need to make anyone else understand. I came to see that my being attracted to the same-sex as I isn’t and never was a choice, it’s who I was from the beginning, and instead I made a choice for the longest time to be something I wasn’t by trying to play heterosexual in a world where male and female copulation was the norm.

Thinking about my own journey to acceptance of my sexuality has helped me to fully appreciate the journey that Elliot Page has been on to now. While it was quite shocking to see his shirtless chiseled picture in the news, I must say I applaud his finally being at peace with himself, enough so to share a picture of him like that with the world. I’ve read a little about his arduous journey to get to this place and how difficult it was to remain female for as long as he did. I can relate, as I never had peace dating any of the woman I dated over the years and felt exceptionally guilty forcing myself to be sexual with the woman I did. It wasn’t fair to them or me, as I solely did it for the appeasement of everyone else, to be accepted in this world, rather than get rejected.

Nevertheless, while I myself am extremely happy with the sex I was born with and can never see myself as anything but male, I actually appreciate Ellen Page’s transition to Elliot Page a lot more now than I probably would have years ago, as I used to judge transgendered people thinking it was just a psychological issue within them. I’m sorry I spent the years I did feeling that way and actually now have immense gratitude for those who finally find the peace they’ve sought for years after adjusting to the sex they feel they were always meant to be, but weren’t assigned at birth.

So, the bottom line I have now surrounding transgender individuals is that I don’t have to ever understand anyone’s decision who goes through gender reassignment. All I need to do is simply unconditionally love and accept them as being exactly who they are meant to be in this life, no different than I’m exactly who I’m meant to be as well. Thank you, Elliot Page, for your braveness to finally become who you always were meant to be and for all other transgender individuals in this world as well. We are all children of God, worthy and deserving of God’s unconditional love and acceptance. Never let anyone tell you otherwise…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is the first thing that comes to mind that you do every, single, day, that you probably will never give up?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, a day for gratitude, which for today is for the Monday night SLAA meeting that one of my sponsees and I started four years ago now and continues to be strongly supported and for my ongoing recovery in this 12 Step program.

SLAA is a 12 Step program for sex and love addiction for those who are unaware of what the acronym stands for. It’s a program that originated back in 1976 in Boston, Massachusetts. The founder of SLAA was a guy by the name of Rich, who was a recovering alcoholic that struggled with infidelity issues and romantic obsessions. My story is somewhat similar to his in that I had many years of sobriety with alcohol and drugs and a good place in recovery with it all but continued to deal with issues surrounding love addictions with unhealthy individuals, mostly married or unavailable. I also regularly used the Internet for sexual arousal, mostly to cope with all the loneliness I always felt late at night. When I discovered SLAA in 2011, I really connected with the program and began my first true year of sobriety on April 23rd, 2012. Unfortunately, when I moved to Toledo in 2014, there weren’t any SLAA meetings within an hour drive, so I went to an SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) meeting here in the area instead. While it helped, it didn’t feel quite right given the main part of my addiction was always romantic obsession. Thankfully, when one of my SAA sponsees asked me if I’d like to start an SLAA meeting in the area with her instead of attending SAA, I was ecstatic and said absolutely! We officially began SLAA Toledo in April of 2017 and have been going strong with it ever since. We regularly meet now on Monday nights from 7pm to 8pm here in Toledo and are presently doing a hybrid meeting where some of the attendee’s video in, while the rest are in a conference room with them on a screen overhead.

It’s truly been a blessing having an SLAA meeting here in Toledo all these years. Not only has it led to me sponsoring a number of individuals through the SLAA program, it’s also become a safe home for others who too once felt just like me, that all the other 12 Step recovery meetings just didn’t fit for them for what they were dealing with in the addiction realm.

My SLAA home group always uplifts me each week. Plenty of times there I’ve witnessed a number of attendees truly opening up and shedding tears, which I really believe says something about how healthy our meeting is. I think when people truly feel safe in a 12 Step meeting, it’s natural for people to open up and sharing from the heart where tears get shed.

Nevertheless, I’m thankful to have recently celebrated nine years of sobriety from my old sex and love addiction behaviors. I’ve been monogamous with my partner these past nine years, have steered clear of all unhealthy old sexual behaviors on the Internet, and haven’t found myself getting entangled into any romantic obsessions either. Much of this is owed to my SLAA home group, where I continue to find a safe haven to open up about a part of my addiction life that once almost destroyed me.

I’m thankful for SLAA, for my SLAA home group, and for my nine years of recovery. I’m a better person today because of it all. Thank You God.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“People who want a cure, provided they can have it without pain, are like those who favor progress, provided they can have it without change.” (Anthony de Mello)

Quote #2

“At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our common, we beg of your to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.” (Bill Wilson)

Quote #3

“Recovery is not the easiest, softer way, but it is the way to sobriety, and serenity.” (Unknown)

Bonus Quote

“I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.” (Atticus)

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

Always Looking For An Easier, Softer Way?

Sometimes I really don’t want to feel anymore because the pain gets too great in my heart and I just want to stop feeling it, even for a moment, which is the very moment when my brain often does its best to convince me there’s an easier, softer way out there to deal with it all. And do you know what nine times out ten that easier, softer way has been in my life? Some type of an addiction.

A long time ago, before I ever became an addict of any sort, I was a very lonely kid who felt pain, rejection, and loss on most days. But, when I discovered the effect that alcohol had on me and how it could take all that pain away temporarily, it immediately became my easier, softer way to handle it each time it came up. I clearly remember the first time I discovered that.

It was the day my mother and father went off to see “Pretty Woman” at the theater because I had recommended it. I thought it might be a great romantic movie to bring them closer together. Sadly, it actually had the exact opposite effect upon my father at least, as he left my mother during the middle of the movie and never returned to her or our home. When my mother came home, I was sitting in one of the family room’s soft chairs just relaxing and watching television. She was hysterical and screamed at her innocent 17-year-old son, “How could you have sent us to that movie?! It’s all your fault! Your father left me because of you!!!” After I had a few minutes to take that in, I stormed into the kitchen, opened up the cabinet, and took out the bottle of vodka, poured myself a drink, mixing a ton of it with a little orange juice. As I did so, my mother asked me angrily what I thought I was doing. I told her, “I’m doing best what you do, by numbing all my feelings.”

That pattern in my life of avoiding feeling and looking for an easier, softer way to cope with all the pain in my life began at that very moment. From then on, my life became a whirlwind of one type of addiction after another for more than 20 years. It really wasn’t until my late 30’s did I realize there was no easier, softer way to deal with pain that really worked, and if I wanted to truly heal from anything, I had to feel.

Most addicts struggle to feel in life with just about everything. It always starts out for an addict with avoidance of feeling something uncomfortable that comes up. Maybe it’s rejection from the family, or at school, or with a romantic interest, or friend? Or maybe it’s not from a rejection at all and instead is from a sense of inadequacy in life, such as a deep-seated insecurity that one doesn’t measure up to the world around them? Or maybe, it’s because of some deep-seated trauma that happened to them, that created a very painful bout of PTSD that still hasn’t been dealt with. Or maybe it’s because of something else altogether that causes them too much pain, so much so that they seek an easier, softer way to deal with it, over and over and over again, hoping to never have to face that ball of pain inside The sad thing that happens though never facing that ball of pain and doing everything one can to avoid it with those easier, softer ways, is that it only expands. That ball of pain grows. And grows. And grows. Multiplying beyond measure until life becomes pain itself and an addict lives in a constant state of looking for easier, softer ways to cope with life itself.

Here is the bottom line. There is no easier, softer way in life that will ever fix pain. The only way to heal from anything painful is to feel it, to walk through, to face it head on. And addicts hate to do that, which is why many never make it through the 12 Steps of recovery and remain clean and sober, because the 12 Step process requires feeling one’s pain.

I’m glad I know now there’s not an easier, softer way out there to successfully cope with all the pain I’ve gone through in life, because I wasted too many years of my life seeking them, only to learn each were a dead-end leading to the next dead-end.

If you can relate, if you are someone who often looks for an easier, softer way in life to cope with pain, please, take a moment right now, breathe, and know the only way you’ll ever get through that pain, where it won’t bother you anymore, is to face it head-on. In doing so, you’ll become a lot stronger in life to cope with the next bout of pain when it comes your way, because pain always comes, but it will get easier to face it, each time you do…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

One day, Jimmy Jones was walking down Main Street when he saw his buddy Bubba driving a brand new pickup. Bubba pulled up to him with a wide grin. “Bubba, where’d you git that purty truck?!?” “Tammie give it to me!” Bubba replied. “She gave it to ya? I know’d she wuz kinda sweet on ya, but a new truck?” “Well, Jimmy Jones, let me tell you what happened. We wuz drivin’ out on County Road 6, in the middle of nowheres. Tammie pulled off the road, put the truck in 4-wheel drive, and headed into the woods. She parked the truck, got out, threw off all her clothes and said,’Bubba, take whatever you want.’ So I took the truck! ” “Bubba, you a smart man! Them clothes woulda never fit you!”

Silly Joke #2

With all the new technology regarding fertility, an 88-year-old woman was amazingly able to give birth to a baby recently. When she was discharged from the hospital and went home, various relatives came to visit. “May we see the new baby?” one of them asked. “Not yet,” said the mother. “I’ll make coffee and we can visit for a while first.” Another half hour passed before another relative asked, “May we see the new baby now?” “No, not yet,” said the mother. A while later and again the guests asked, “May we see the baby now?!” “No, not yet,”  replied the mother. Growing impatient, they asked, “Well, when can we see the baby then?!” “When it cries,” she told them. “When it cries???!!!” they gasped. “Why do we have to wait until it cries?” “Because, I forgot where I put it!”

Silly Joke #3

A blonde found herself very lonely when her husband went to work every day. So one day she decided to try a jigsaw puzzle to keep her mind occupied. She lay all the pieces out on the table but she could not get any two pieces to fit together. A few hours later her husband come home to find her very upset and almost in tears. He asked her what was wrong and she replied- “I cant solve this stupid jigsaw puzzle! Its supposed to be a tiger but I cant even get two pieces to fit together!” The husband looked at the table, took a deep breath and said- “Why don’t i make us both a cup of coffee dear and we’ll sit down together and put all those Frosted Flakes back in the box ok?”

Bonus Silly Joke (Three short ones!)

Did you know I used to run a dating agency for chicken? It didn’t really work out though because I struggled to make hens meet!

A doctor and a nurse were called to the scene of an accident.
Doctor: We need to get these people to a hospital now!
Nurse: What is it?
Doctor: It’s a big building with a lot of doctors, but that’s not important now!

Wife: “Whenever I keep money in my purse, our son steals it! I don’t know what to do honey?”
Husband: “Hide it in his books dear. You know he’ll never touch them…”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What would you say is your biggest “Achilles heel” in life at this present time?

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


The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step The Twelfth Step


Living Life On Life’s Terms…

I often think the Universe keeps bringing me things onto my spiritual path to help me face my biggest defect of character in life and that’s being controlling. I’ve written quite a bit about this over the years, something the addict in me has constantly sought and something that’s been more of my downfall than anything.

Lately, I have four issues occupying a tremendous amount of space in my mind on a daily basis where each have provoked me to want to take some form of control back. Ongoing struggles with my health, my relationship to my sister, my relationship to my partner, and of all things, my relationship with a company that hosts this blog on their server, each have brought out of a side of me that shows how controlling I still can be.

I really want to let go and trust God. I really want to accept life on life’s terms. And yet, I often don’t. Instead, I take 12 Step serenity prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” and warp it. I start believing I can change everything if I just exert enough control and all that’s ever done is make things worse.

The most recent issue I mentioned about my hosting company deals with the fact that I’ve been having issues quite a bit with my site remaining up and running. I spent a good 12 hours on the phone over a recent stretch of five days or so with my hosting company’s highest level of tech support trying to convince them the problem with my site was all them. Every bit of control I was shouting into the phone at them wasn’t helping. Nothing got resolved other than my site’s problems growing worse temporarily with them trying to muck with things at my request. All it left me was feeling totally bent out of shape even more and having quite a bit of restless nights and a lack of sleep. What was ironic though was how after that stretch of days, I finally just gave up and said, “God, I turn this over to you. It’s in your hands…” and later that day, my site suddenly began working far better. I have no idea why, but, I feel the message was clear. I just need to work more on letting go of my Achilles heel, that being my control issues, and start working harder on accepting life on life’s terms.

Regardless, the bottom line is that my ego frequently gets in the way of this because it’s afraid to let go, afraid to accept life on life’s terms. Deep down inside me is really just this little boy who is simply scared to let go and trust God.

Honestly, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life trying to put life on Andrew’s terms because I will end up being a very miserable person for the rest of it if I do. But, I’m quite sure that if I let go of control a lot more than I have lately, that I’ll probably see that living life on life’s terms is a far better path filled with greater peace and joy, two things that have eluded me for much of my life, especially as an addict.

Living life on life’s terms, that’s what I am praying to strive for now. Because I truly want a life filled with greater peace and joy, things that I know will never come through any form of control.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Sometimes you need to look at life from a different perspective.” (Inas Chaboun)

Quote #2

“I’ve started to look at life differently. When you’re thanking God for every little you – every meal, every time you wake p, every time you take a sip of water – you can’t help but be more thankful for life itself, for the unlikely and miraculous fact that you exist at all.” (A.J. Jacobs)

Quote #3

“Sometimes what looks like an obstacle in your path is actually a gift meant to move you in a different direction.” (Jane Lee Logan)

Bonus Quote

“Perspective makes all the difference. It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see. Remember that the sun never actually sets. It’s our perspective that makes it appear to. Our sunset is another’s sunrise. It’s all perspective. How would your life be different if you applied this truth to the things that cause you stress? Letting go isn’t about erasing the past. It’s about looking at the same event and seeing something different. Activate this power in your life! Take the pain and poison of the past and allow it to nourish a new found wisdom. Remember, you can’t change the past, but you can change the labels you place on events. Perspective – it’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.” (Steve Maraboli)

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