Thought For The Day

One of the greatest changes that came out of my life from 12 Step recovery was the desire to help another without any other motivation but the desire to help another…today’s quotes are ones that I feel help to further explain this…

“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.” (Charles De Lint)

“The next time you want to withhold your help, or your love, or your support for another for whatever the reason, ask yourself a simple question: do the reasons you want to withhold it reflect more on them or on you? And which reasons do you want defining you forevermore?” (Dan Pearce)

 “Be nice to people… maybe it’ll be unappreciated, unreciprocated, or ignored, but spread the love anyway. We rise by lifting others.”  (Germany Kent)

“Don’t value your self-worth by others or external things but by appreciating who you are within. And if you must measure your success do it not by what you have gained personally but what you have contributed to a wider benefit.”  (Rasheed Ogunlaru)

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

When There No Longer Is Any Hidden Agenda To Doing Nice Things For Others…

My partner Chris and I got into an argument recently about the amount of time and effort I’ve been placing into maintaining a neighbor’s yard. I’ve been cutting, edging, weeding, and keeping up their yard care for well over a year and a half now simply because I care about what they’ve been going through and the struggles they’ve been facing in life. While many might question my motivation, thinking I have some hidden agenda, let me be clear in saying my only motive is to help another out of the kindness of my heart.

I frequently tell Chris that I do a lot for others these days because it makes me feel better in knowing I’m giving back now to a world that I once took so much from. Frankly, I’m trying to reverse my past where the addict I once was did far more in taking what it could out of people, places, and things, then in contributing something from my heart.

Sadly, active addicts are generally like that. They just take and take and take and take until the person they’re taking from becomes fully depleted and has nothing more to give, and that’s when the addict moves on to the next victim. I once was that addict, one who took so much from so many people. I don’t want to be that addict anymore, so I give back now and do things like taking care of a neighbor’s yard who’s struggling in life in many ways. My true motivation is merely to let them know someone cares about what they’re going through, and this is just one of those ways I show that.

I always tell Chris and others that I believe our Higher Power, whom I choose to refer to as God, sees the selfless things we do and occasionally gives us a little wink that says, “Hey, good job, I’m so proud of you.” I got one of those reminders the other day when I awoke late one morning and headed out to my mailbox to get the day’s mail. Within it was a card from this neighbor sincerely thanking me for all the yard work I’ve done for them and how appreciative they’ve been. When I saw they had also placed a $50 bill within it, I was immediately moved to tears because it’s something I didn’t ask for nor expect and felt it was one of those winks from God.

Nevertheless, I see the 12th Step of recovery as one that’s all about giving back. While its intention is more geared for helping another suffering addict once recovery is gained, I take it a step further by giving back to the world in as many ways as I can, including actions like me taking care of a neighbor’s yard. That’s a stark contrast from my old addict self who wouldn’t take care of anything for anyone else, unless I was going to regularly get something back. While I felt blessed to have received this gift from my neighbor, the fact remains I will continue doing the yard work for them, not for any future kickbacks, but simply because it’s in my spiritual makeup now to be there more for another than myself.

I hope to spend the rest of my life doing the best I can to keep helping others in this world know they do matter by continuing to do things just like this, by dedicating my time, my energy, and my love in a way that in the end will hopefully reverse the long stream of negative karma and selfish acts I lived in for so long when I was stuck in addiction. To wake up today and ask the God of my understanding how I may be of service to Him today, rather than wake up and ask myself who’s going to please me today, is the best gift that recovery from addiction has given me, one that continues placing myself more second than first in a world that was once quite the opposite…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house, they noticed a beautiful blonde looking out her kitchen window watching them as they checked her gas meter. Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one. The younger trainee took him up on his offer and they were off and running like bats out of hell. As they came running up to the truck neck to neck, they suddenly realized the blonde from that last house had just arrived behind them huffing and puffing. The senior training supervisor asked her if everything was ok. Gasping for breath, she replied, “Well, when I see two men from the gas company suddenly running as fast as you two were away after reading my meter, I figured I’d better run away as well!!!”

Silly Joke #2

An overly confident guy gets on a plane and finds himself seated next to a very attractive woman. He immediately turns to her and begins to make his move. “You know,” he says, “I’ve heard that flights will go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger sitting next to you. So I’d like to chat if you would?” The woman, who had just opened her book, closes it slowly and says to the guy, “Sure, what would you like to talk about?”  “Oh, I don’t know, how about nuclear power?”, says the guy trying to over-inflate his ego. “Hmmm,” says the woman. “That could be an interesting topic. But first, let me ask you a question. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff–grass. Yet the deer excretes little pellets, the cow turns out a flat patty, and the horse produces muffins of dried poop. Why do you suppose that is?” The ego-centric guy is dumbfounded. Finally he replies, “I haven’t the slightest idea?” “Well, if that’s the case…” says the woman, “How is it that you feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you really don’t know shit?”

Silly Joke #3

A man and a woman had been married some time when the woman began to question her husband. “I know you’ve been with a lot of woman before. I want to know exactly how many there were?” The husband replied, “Look hon, telling you that is only going to upset you. I really don’t want to do that because there were many. Can we just leave it alone?” The wife wouldn’t let it rest and finally, the husband gave in. “Well…” he said “There was one, two, three, four, five, six, YOU, eight, nine…”

Bonus Silly Joke

Voicemail Recording: “Hello there! It’s a great day and I’m out enjoying it right now and I hope you are too. Please leave me a message don’t forget to be positive and share the love ok?”

Voicemail Left After The Message:  “Um….this is the clinic calling…Speaking of being positive, your VD test is back. You may want to stop sharing the love for a while…”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What will matter the most to you when your time in this life comes to an end?

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


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What Will Really Matter The Most When Our Life Comes To An End…

Have you ever wondered if every one of those things many of us have worked so hard to obtain or achieve in life isn’t what really will matter when our life comes to an end?

Whether that’s achieving a dream position/title at some job with amazing pay and a great benefits package, or acquiring a dream home in a neighborhood you desired with a great backyard/view in a coveted school district, or owning a dream car or some other long sought-after valuable possession, or going on a dream vacation to some exotic locale, or reaching a level of income you always dreamed of earning, or experiencing a level of sex/intimacy that satisfied all your sensual dreams and desires, or reaching a level of popularity you only ever dreamed of having, or getting an award you only ever dreamed of achieving, whatever it is you’ve attained from your dreams in life, in the long run, has it left you feeling fully complete? I ask this because I’ve had enough of those things in my own life to realize that none of them made me feel any better or left me feeling fully complete in life after I had attained them for a while. Along the way, I discovered what left the biggest betterment upon my life were each of those loving marks I made upon another’s heart and soul, and never what I personally obtained or reached in life for myself.

Look, I once had that dream job, title, and income, owned that dream home, taken the dream vacation, garnered those dream possessions, experienced those dream sexual encounters, reached that dream level of popularity, earned that dream award, and achieved many of those self-desired dreams, yet none of them ever left any lasting impact upon my own heart and soul, and instead only left me coveting something else to seek in life.

So, what has mattered? What has made the biggest difference within me? What has left the most lasting of impact upon my life? It’s been in those hugs I’ve given to another when they’re in need of support. It’s been in telling someone I’m proud of them for an achievement they’ve made. It’s been in all those times I’ve let someone know they’re not alone in this lonely world. It’s been in all those tears I’ve shed alongside someone suffering from deep grief and loss. It’s been in helping someone desperately in need, especially through my 12 Step recovery. It’s been in all those gestures of kindness I’ve extended to another even as small as holding a door open for them. Ultimately, each of those times I’ve put someone else before myself, showing them unconditional love from my heart seems to leave the most lasting of impact upon my life. This is what I believe will truly matter the most when my life finally comes to an end, that being all those times I did my best to be there for another, rather than all those times I accomplished something for myself.

For that very reason, now I see that to live a life where I’m more there for another than myself, where my heart finds a way to connect to another soul in need, is what truly matters in this world and will consistently leave me feeling more full than empty. So, in the end, maybe that’s all that really matters and anything else we strive after for ourselves is really nothing more than a fruitless quest to please an ego that will never fully satisfy us and only leave us wanting something more…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

The biggest solar flare in our planet’s history hits our planet. When it’s over, everyone discovers they have a new ability (“a superpower of sorts”) in life, what’s yours?

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter in gratitude. For this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, I’d like to express my gratefulness for my friendship with a guy named Ronn Musser.

A few weeks ago, when I messaged my friend Ronn, I inquired if he was open to going and seeing this movie I had a desire to go see at the time. His response was one I didn’t expect because it showed nothing but unconditional love for me. He said, “I’d be open to seeing any movie with you.” He further clarified he just wanted to spend time with me and that it didn’t matter what we did.

You see that’s what I’ve come to know about Ronn, he’s that type of guy who isn’t interested in what he can get out of a friendship, he’s more interested in what he can bring to it, including just being present with someone he cares about. Ronn is far more about simply being there with his friends just because, rather than expecting it to meet one of his own interests.

It often seems like that far too many people these days make plans with others only when it’s doing something they want to do, rather than simply because they just want to be with their friend. When my health went downhill years ago, I felt like I became an outcast in this world because many stopped spending time with me anymore mainly because I wasn’t able to do much. My best friend Cedric was the first to show me otherwise. Eventually others came into my life who I could add to that list, which can now include Ronn.

I desire to have people in my life today like Ronn, who want to be around me because they just like being around me. That they love me for me and enjoy my company, not because of what I can offer them or what we are going to be doing together.

That’s why Ronn is such a good friend to those in his life, as he does care about the people he spends time with. He’s also an incredible listener as well and I often feel far better after spending time with him because I feel heard in life. That’s in stark contrast to many I’ve spent time with where I felt more invisible than not, and left feeling more down than up.

So, I’m grateful today for Ronn Musser continuing to remind me there are people out there in this world and in my life who do care more about just spending time with me than meeting one of their own selfish interests. It’s people like Ronn who are priceless in a world where so many pursue friendships out of selfishness rather than selflessness…So, thank you Ronn for being my friend…and thank you for those friends in my life like Ronn who have stuck by my side as well just because they care about me, no matter what.

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes are a direct follow up to yesterday’s article on when we find ourselves playing that “What If” game that often takes us in a complete circle going nowhere in life…

“The trouble with the what-if game was that once you began to play it, you couldn’t just quit whenever you wanted. From one what-if grew another.” (Dean Koontz)

“But that’s the thing with the what-if game – you really never know the answer to that question. And maybe it’s better that way. Because underneath the surface of what-ifs are much worse ones.” (Elizabeth Eullberg)

“For years I played the what-if game. Maybe you’re acquainted with this pastime. The rules are simple: Rule #1: You’re only allowed to think of worst-case scenarios. Rule #2: You can only lose. Rule #3: The more you play, the greater your losses.” (Craig Groeschel)

“Playing the game of ‘what if’ never gets you anywhere except stuck in the past. The lesson in life is to move forward with what the universe hands you. You cannot expect others to know or understand your karma and your personal path. And you must allow them the grace of stepping on theirs, even when that leads them off in a direction that you cannot follow.” (Suzanne Wagner)

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

Playing That “What If” Game…

I’m sure every single one of us on this planet has played that “What If” game at some point or another in our lives. You know that one where we find ourselves questioning if we could have had a better outcome arise from making a different decision than the one we actually made in our past, one that typically has a less than desirable outcome.

Playing this game is one that only seems to occur when we think some present circumstance in our life could have been better if we had chosen differently in the past. While I recently wrote about a similar subject where sometimes those past decisions are ones that our Higher Power has a hand in to save us from experiencing greater pain, there’s still plenty of times I’m left wondering where my life would have headed if I had just chosen Option B over Option A.

Do you remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels from the 80’s where you reach a page in the book and have two options to choose from, where one option takes you down one path in the story, and the other takes you down a completely different path? That’s about the extent of what I’ve done in my brain far too much in life, wondering how things would have unfolded if I had chosen differently.

What if I hadn’t pursued that friendship with Carmine during my senior year of high school, that guy who led me to my first alcoholic drink and to quit the swim team? 

What if I hadn’t gone to Rochester Institute of Technology and instead chosen the other college I had been accepted into, that being Northeastern?

What if I hadn’t pledged Phi Kappa Psi, or any fraternity, and had instead focused on developing my sexuality and spirituality during my collegiate years?

What if I had spent more time getting to know my father prior to his suicide, instead of avoiding time with him? 

What if I hadn’t gotten into relationships with 1st Jerry, Kevin, 2nd Jerry, Barry, or Carl?

What if I hadn’t purchased that bed and breakfast and instead remained in my home outside Washington, D.C. working at my last corporate job with U.S. Customs.

What if…

What If…

What if…

The fact is, I realize today it’s a complete waste of time playing this “What If” game, writing out my own “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel in my head surrounding all the decisions of my past life. While this type of game may be great subject material for some science fiction series on television (ex. Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch on Netflix) or for some major theatrical release (ex. “Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow”), it’s only created more pain and suffering in real life the more I’ve dwelt on my past decisions with thoughts I could have done better.

I’ve made tons of decisions in my life I feel I could have done far better with, but after watching enough science fiction surrounding this and meditating on all those decisions I’ve labeled as poor ones, I’m inclined to believe that everything really does happen for a reason, including each decision we make. Because I’m just as inclined to believe that even if we had made a different decision, that eventually the outcome would still have been the same, it might just have taken a slightly circuitous path to get there.

So, maybe it’s a totally pointless exercise to play this game because who we are now, what we are now, what we stand for, and everything in between, is precisely the person we’re supposed to be at this very moment in time? Maybe every possible decision we could have made in our past would have resulted in us becoming the very same person we are now? And maybe all that’s important today is simply to accept ourselves right now, just as we are, and continue to explore our spiritual growth in life, learning as we do, rather than wasting any more time living in the past playing that “What If” game that never goes anywhere but in circles in our heads…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

The new minister stood at the church door greeting the members as they left the Sunday morning service. While most of the people told the minster how much they liked his message, one man seemingly had a different opinion. “That was a very dull and boring sermon, Pastor,” he said. The pastor was a bit baffled by this, but he continued shaking hands. A few minutes later, the same man re-appeared in line and said, “I don’t think you did much in the way of preparation for your message.” A few minutes later, the man circled back once more shuffling into the line. “You really blew it. You didn’t have a thing to say, Pastor.” Finally, the minister could stand it no longer. He went to one of the deacons later after everyone had left and asked if he knew the man. “Oh, don’t let him bother you,” said the deacon. “He has some diagnosed mental health issues. I was told that one of the things he does is go around repeating whatever he hears other people saying.”

Silly Joke #2

An exasperated mother, whose son Little Johnny was always getting into a lot of mischief, finally asked him one day after he got himself into deep trouble, “Little Johnny, how do you expect to get into Heaven acting like this?” Little Johnny thought it over and said, “Well, I’ll just keep running in and out and in and out and in and out slamming the door each time until St. Peter yells, ‘For Heaven’s sake, Dylan, come in or stay out!!!’”

Silly Joke #3

A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store for Thanksgiving, but couldn’t find one big enough for her family. She asked the blonde worker behind the counter, “Do these turkeys ever get any bigger than this?” The blonde replied, “No ma’am, unfortunately, they’re all dead.” 

Bonus Silly Joke

Cassie was taking two of her grandsons on their very first Amtrak ride heading to Washington, DC for a mini-vacation. At the snack bar on the train, she saw they were selling Pop Rocks, a candy she loved as a kid but one that she knew neither of her grandsons had ever seen or had before so she bought each a bag as a treat. Before they received it, she told them the story she heard as a kid about someone eating these and having soda along with it and it blowing up their stomach, but said it was all a silly rumor. She then gave them both their treat. The first one eagerly tore open the bag and popped one into his mouth just as the train went into a tunnel. When the train emerged from the tunnel, he looked across to his brother and said: “Well it didn’t blow up my stomach, but I still wouldn’t eat it if I were you.” “Why not?” replied the curious brother “Cuz, I took one bite and went blind for half a minute!!!”

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Which of the following do you prefer the most to connecting with a friend/loved one?

  1. Text
  2. Phone Call
  3. In Person
  4. Video Call
  5. You tend to avoid communication.

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


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Are We Moving Farther And Farther Away From Having Healthy Communication With Each Other?

One of the things I think I’m probably most concerned about with the direction our society is heading in, is the growing disconnection we seem to have with each other, especially when it comes to much of the new generations in life where the strongest form of “healthy” communication seems to be in texting.

I’ve been reading about how addictions are massively on the rise in our culture, especially since the pandemic first came upon us, and I tend to believe much of that is due to our present forms of “healthy” communication. Because the forms we are using now are really less about communicating and more about avoidance. How many times I’ve called people in recent years who’ve had voicemails that are full, I’ve lost count. I spoke to a college student last week here locally who told me they never listen to their voicemail and tend to leave it full. Most of their generation say the best way to reach them to communicate is via text.

People want to know why depression and suicide attempts continue to increase every year. This is why. Human beings weren’t born to simply immerse themselves in text messages, social media and the like. While one may have tons of friends or followers on their social media, that doesn’t translate to having healthy communication and connection. Isn’t having healthy communication and connection more about one person meeting another for a coffee or meal, or maybe taking a stroll through a local park with each other, to talk about life, and show  how much they matter to each other.

Many addicts have also been relapsing into old addictions in the past few years while others began a path of addiction, all because the pandemic moved them further away from having healthy communication due to quarantine and isolation. While video chats helped to alleviate some of the loneliness, it wasn’t enough for some who chose addictions to cope with the lack of real human connection.

Nevertheless, I miss those days when people actually had healthy communication with each other on buses, in stores, at restaurants, in public places, amongst strangers even. Today, not so much. Today, all it takes is a quick look around in public where you’ll see so many blankly staring into their phones rather than at the people they’re spending time with. Believe me, I’ve fallen into this pattern at times as well all because of the fear of missing out on something. But this is one of the main reasons why our world keeps digressing more and more from healthy communication.

Healthy communication is about being there for each other, learning about each other, supporting each other, making eye contact, and showing in those moments, that one doesn’t have to be alone in a world that these days seems so easy to feel alone.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling disconnected, alone, or isolated in this world, try reaching out to a friend over the phone, or better yet, meet one in person and be fully present with them, rather than immersed in whatever forms of the digital realm you carry with you. Because it’s in those moments you dedicate to another human soul, that often become the very thing that not only will help you feel less alone in this world, but also help another feel less alone as well, especially someone like me who has always felt more overlooked in society than embraced. I treasure real human interaction and thank all those who continue to call me or meet me in person. It’s each of you who have demonstrated healthy communication and reminded me I do matter in a world I often feel like I don’t…

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes surround those who plant seeds of kindness, hope, love, generosity, and the like, never really knowing if they’re making a difference or not in life…

“The seeds of kindness you plant today will one day bloom in the hearts of all you touch.” (Katrina Mayer)

“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love. It will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.” (Steve Maraboli)

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)

“The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. Be patient and stay the course.” (Fabienne Frederickson)

“Every thought, word, and action plants seeds in the garden of your life. Are you planting seeds of love, compassion, peace, or those of anger, resentment, and dissatisfaction? Choose wisely and tend your garden well.” (John Bruna)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

It’s time for another chapter in gratitude, which for this Grateful Heart Monday, I wanted to officially express my thankfulness for the ongoing reminders I continue to get from time to time from Source to keep doing what I’m doing in life for work.

I often find myself getting caught up in my head wondering if I’m even doing what I’m meant to be doing in life, mostly because it’s quite far from what I once went to college for and presently it’s only volunteer based. Having gone to a major university to earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and working 10 years in that field, then engaging myself in the bed and breakfast/inn-keeping industry for 7 years beyond that, never truly enjoying either other than the money both brought in, I’ve thankfully chosen to spend the last decade of my life doing something far different.

Over the last ten years, I’ve immersed myself in what I believe to be a third career iteration, one that’s primarily in the addiction recovery realm with me simply donating my time and energy just to help others via my speaking and writing. Doing this specific work has been both exceptionally fulfilling yet totally frustrating at times, only in that I frequently find myself wondering if it’s even making a difference. It’s easy to think that way when I see so many relapses and deaths from addiction with such regularity and when so many of my speaking presentations and articles I write receive little to no feedback. Thus, I’m extremely grateful when I get those occasional reminders from others telling me how much what I do has helped them.

One came recently from a fraternity brother who heard my alcohol and drug story at the chapter house years ago who just never let me know until recently how much it had impacted their life back then. Another came recently as well from a reader of my blog who told me how much my words continue to make an impact upon their life due to my openness and transparency with what I’ve been through. Other reminders have come at times via the addiction centers I volunteer at where me simply telling my story of addiction to recovery has planted seeds I never even knew sprouted until I randomly ran into them long down their road of recovery.

I have really seen the truth that one never really knows the depth of the seeds they plant from their acts of freely giving of themselves in life. Even though my current work path isn’t one that’s income bearing, I continue to remain grateful, especially on this Grateful Heart Monday, to God for the ongoing reminders I receive that the work I’m dong now is important and is what I’m meant to be doing in life presently, as it’s not only clearly helping others, it’s also providing me far more fulfillment, something I can most assuredly say never did happen in either of my prior careers…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

Have you ever experienced an outcome from something you didn’t want, only to discover later that if you had gotten the outcome you wanted, it would have been far worse?

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


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Sometimes When We Don’t Get The Results We Want, Maybe We’re Actually Being Spared From Even Greater Pain…

A valuable lesson I continue to learn in life is that sometimes when things don’t go the way I think they should be going and I end up not getting the results I want, may actually be my Higher Power sparing me from even greater pain if I had actually gotten what I wanted.

In the beginning of January of 2010, I would experience a day where I thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. On that day, I’d sign on a dotted line for the short sale of my business (a bed and breakfast) and my home, where I officially lost $660,000 of cash that I had invested into both over the previous 7 years.

When I began that path in 2003, acquiring that business and home, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed so to speak when it came to the new life I was building. As each year passed, I kept sinking more and more money into the business attempting to keep it afloat, with constant promises by my partner at the time that one day we’d sell it for well over 7 figures, and all of it will have been worth it.

In 2009, during the tail end of the housing crisis/shortage, we weren’t even able to pay a single mortgage bill for the entire year. Frankly, I was amazed that we didn’t go through a foreclosure that year. With little money left in the bank and not enough customers to support the business, more money was going out than coming in. Through a miracle, the owners of a competing bed and breakfast in town purchased it from us at the 11th hour, allowing me personally to walk away from it with nothing more than the shirt on my back. As the years passed after that, I checked on my old business from time to time, even stopping by at one point to see how it was faring. I was amazed at how even more beautiful it had become and thought for sure it had more than earned a 7-figured value. The thought of that though made me sick with all the financial loss I incurred from it.

I let this occupy me for years, often making me very resentful at times. I frequently wrestled with the thought that maybe I could have re-financed or invested a little more into it to get out of the hole we were in. But then one day, when I was on my own personal website, checking the links on my “About Me” page, I realized the hyperlink to my old bed and breakfast had become a dead page. I hit the link a few times thinking maybe it was a mistake. I even typed in the URL directly and the result stayed the same. After some digging, I discovered the bed and breakfast I once owned was no longer a bed and breakfast and had become a weekly rental property. After further digging, I discovered the innkeepers who bought the place from us in 2010 had sold it at the beginning of the pandemic for $765,000, which was only $80,000 more than I had originally paid for it, a number I was at least spending every year to keep it afloat.

Learning this blew my mind! After 10 years had passed since I had last owned that business, it had never even came close to the value my ex had promised we’d get from our investment. I realized that If I had remained in that business, spending even more to keep it afloat, refinancing, or doing something more to not lose it, I would have experienced far more financial loss than I did.

So yes, while I learned an incredible number of spiritual lessons from my life surrounding my old bed and breakfast and home, the most recent one I learned is one that continues to show me that my Higher Power always sees the bigger picture, even when I often don’t, and does spare me at times from even greater pain if I had actually gotten what I wanted…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A man was helping one of his cows give birth, when he noticed his 5-year-old son Little Johnny standing wide-eyed at the fence, soaking in the whole event. The man thought, “Little Johnny’s now 5 and I’m gonna have to start explaining the birds and bees soon. But, no need to jump the gun – I’ll just let him ask when he’s ready, and I’ll answer.” After everything was over, Little Johnny asks, “Daddy, how fast was that calf going to get lodged into the cow like that?”

Silly Joke #2

Maybe all those “Flat-Earthers” conspiracy theorists are right? Because despite what some people think, since the world is arguably 75% water, and none of it is carbonated…can’t one accurately deduct that the earth is technically flat?

Silly Joke #3

If the Lord came to a man named Noah in 2022…

“Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans.” He then gave Noah the blueprints in saying, “You have 6 months to build the ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.” Six months later, the Lord saw Noah weeping in his yard and no ark present. “Noah! I’m about to start the rain! Where is the ark?” said God. “Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed. I needed a building permit and I’ve been arguing with the inspector about their need for a sprinkler system. My neighbors claim that I also have violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations so I had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision. Getting the wood was another problem. There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl, but I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the spotted owl, but they weren’t hearing it! And when I finally started gathering the animals, PETA sued me. They insisted I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space. Besides that, I’m also trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on the lack of minorities I had in my building crew while the trades unions say I can’t just use my sons. They insisted I had to hire Union workers with ark-building experience. “So, forgive me, Lord, but I think it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark given all these issues!” Suddenly, the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?” “No,” said the Lord. “I think it’s clear it’s already been destroyed…”

Bonus Silly Joke (Adult Humor)

Little Johnny’s mother is in the kitchen making supper for her family when Little Johnny walks in. Mommy, where do babies come from? Well, honey…you see it’s like this. A mommy and daddy fall in love and get married. One night they go into their room…they kiss and hug and share intimacy and eventually a baby comes from that. “What’s intimacy Mommy?” responds Little Johnny. ”That means the daddy puts his male part in the mommy’s female part. That’s how a baby gets made honey.” “But what about the other night Mommy, when I came into your room late at night when I couldn’t sleep and saw and daddy’s male part in Mommy’s mouth? What do you get when you do that Mommy?” Johnny said not quite understanding. “Expensive jewelry, honey!”

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

Thought For The Day

In alignment with my entry yesterday, I wanted to follow up with several inspiring quotes on how I tend to see God always moving in such strange and mysterious ways…

“God is making things happen for you. Even when you don’t see it, even when you can’t feel it, even if it’s not evident. God is working on your prayers.” (Unknown)

“One thing I love about God Almighty is that He works in mysterious ways. Sometime He will tell you; “Stand still and I will do all the work for you.” Isn’t He the one that can make all things possible?” (Temitope Owosela)

“The Lord works in mysterious ways. What’s true to one man, a wonder and a marvel, might not seem so to another, as God didn’t intend it for him.” (Katherine Howe)

“God does work in mysterious ways, but when we try to place God in a box, when we try to figure it all out ourselves, and remain in control, we are sure to miss out on knowing that when it happens. (Andrew Arthur Dawson)

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

God’s Mysterious Ways

As I finish reflecting on my trip to my 30th Alumni Reunion for the NY Theta Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) through my writing, I thought it would be fitting to end with what I believe was another one of God’s mysterious ways that helped make my attendance to that reunion even possible.

I haven’t been back to visit my fraternity or my alma mater since the spring of 2014 mainly due to financial restraints in my life. Add in the distance I put between my fraternity and I over the years due to shame and guilt of where my life went and the reality I wasn’t even doing the career I went to school for anymore, nor had any paying job, I didn’t feel that attending any of the reunions was even practical for me. So, when I saw the 30th reunion was coming up, I quickly dismissed any idea of going.

Four weeks away from it though, I randomly received a call from a brother on the alumni reunion planning committee, someone I barely knew who had been initiated long after I had graduated and moved away. He took the time to get to know me during the call and at the end asked if I was going to attend the 30th reunion. I told him it just wasn’t in my budget, which he understood. I thanked him for the call and hung up grateful for the connection but sad over the distance I felt with the majority of my fraternity.

Not too long after his call, I decided to place a posting on our fraternity’s Facebook group. That action was solely precipitated after seeing a post from last fall where one of our brothers passed away tragically due to addictions and mental health issues. I wanted my brothers to know I too have faced much of the same thing so I poured my heart out, which at the end of it, I let my brothers know I wouldn’t be attending the 30th reunion due to financial constraints.

That night, I sent a prayer to God, something so many often tell me they think is a pointless action and is just us talking to ourselves. While I do understand why they feel this way given how many times prayers often go unanswered, sometimes prayers are answered in very direct ways, as was the case with this one.

I simply prayed that if God wanted me to attend this 30th alumni reunion of my fraternity, that He had to make it happen, as I had far too many reasons telling me why I couldn’t and shouldn’t go. I went to bed right after that prayer. When I awoke the next morning, I had a private message in my Facebook account from a brother I also didn’t know all too well and hadn’t spoken to in a very, very long time. In his message, he said he was moved by what I had shared our group’s Facebook page and that he believed God was leading him to pay for all my major expenses to attend the reunion. Because of the timeliness of his message, having uttered that prayer mere hours earlier before heading to bed, I honestly couldn’t refute that God does listen and does care.

Why other prayers don’t get answered, including the many health-based ones I’ve been muttering for years I don’t know. Why God answered this one, obviously wanting me to attend this reunion, I’m not sure if I know the depths to that answer either, but what I can say is that in attending this reunion, I was able to leave with both a rejuvenated feeling of reconnection to my brotherhood and closure to all my toxic and tainted addictive past that affected my relationship with so many of them for so long.

So, yes, I am quite thankful for seeing yet another one of God’s mysterious ways manifest in my life. Attending my 30th Alumni Reunion of the NY Theta Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at RIT has left me with many beautiful memories, some new friends, and a release from all the shame and guilt I had carried for far too long with a fraternity I truly love from the bottom of my heart.

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is something that means a lot to you, but might mean very little to someone else?

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


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Expressing My Gratitude For The 30th Alumni Reunion Of NY Theta Phi Kappa Psi…

Welcome to Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the only expression in my writing to start my week off, which for today is for my 30th Alumni Reunion of the New York Theta chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my hope for this reunion as I was holding great fear surrounding my toxic past that affected my relationship with my fraternity for a long time. I’m thankful to report how blessed I felt from this reunion and how connected I felt afterwards, the following is my gratitude to the brothers who made this truly special for me…

To Geoff Taylor, a brother whose heart runs deep, whose love for helping others and being a servant of God was more than prevalent through the entire weekend, and for helping me to see more of the positive side of life, I’m grateful for you.

To Chris Kay, a brother who has never given up on me, who has always believed in me, always supported me, and the only brother who makes me smile for being the only one taller than me!, I’m grateful for you.

To Brian Uhlin, a brother who showed me I’m loved by God even with having the tainted past I do, I’m grateful for you.

To Mike Van Bruinesse, Jay Williams, Eric Harrington, Tom Rehm, Phil Farchione, and Don Derrenbacher, six brothers who gave me amazingly huge hugs when they saw me, who each offered me many words of love, connection, and encouragement, I’m grateful for each of you.

To John Finter, Rob Parada, and Seth Gitner, three brothers who have remained incredibly active in our chapter for all these years, we wouldn’t have the chapter we have today or even have a reunion if it wasn’t for each of you, I’m grateful for each of you.

To John Hamblett, my pledge brother who spent much of the first day with me, treating me to an Indian meal and a Starbucks, reminiscing and laughing about the craziness during our undergraduate years and pledging days (“It’s making me do weird things!!!”), I’m grateful to you.

To Joel Feldman, a brother I have come to know over the years on a much deeper level, sharing a bond I don’t have with most, who spent time with me over coffee and during much of the weekend, reminding me of the good times we had together during our undergraduate days, I’m grateful for you.

To Daniel Sarata, a brother who has most assuredly helped me remain connected to our fraternity just by reading my blog and maintaining contact with me, who took the time at the barbecue to open up to me as he always does, sharing from his heart, and introducing me to his very spiritual and inspirational wife, those tears I shed there with you both were real, I’m grateful for you.

To Matt Christen, a brother who came long after I graduated that I met at the 20th but really came to know at the 30th, who spoke great words of wisdom with me, made me laugh A LOT, who truly has the kindest of heart, (and someone I’m definitely coming to in a zombie apocalypse with all those special set of hunting skills!), I’m grateful for you.

To Justin Steinhard, a brother who reached out to me personally on the phone prior to even coming to the reunion, letting me know I mattered to him, who checked in with me at every single event to make sure I was ok, and who did an incredible amount of work to make the reunion possible this year, I’m grateful for you.

To Craig Pettingill, a brother who took the time to introduce me to all of our family tree at the reunion, for helping to coordinate a huge family photo that I will always cherish, for the number of connecting conversations we had there and since I returned home, I’m grateful for you.

To Andy Molinaro, a brother who’s currently our chaplain, who reminded me so much of Jim Harmon, our chapter’s first chaplain, for playing a game of pool with me at The Landing Strip when I needed a double’s partner, and for spending time getting to know me and sharing about his life as well, I’m grateful for you.

To Bryan Takeuchi, a brother I continue to find great inspiration in, in the energy he carries, in the fatherhood principles he exudes, for continuing to follow the musings of my blog, and for the deep moments of connection I got with him prior to the reunion’s chapter meeting, I’m grateful for you.

To JaJuan Webster, a brother who shared with me a big hug, who helped me feel very much welcomed and embraced at the first event, and for sharing with me deeply on your career aspirations, I’m grateful for you.

To Greg Springer, a brother who has a story as deep as mine, for your open honesty on all the trials and tribulations you’ve faced in life, and for the hard work you’ve put into this weekend and our chapter in general, I’m grateful for you.

To Mark Butts, and all the other brothers who tagged along in my car to events, each of you reminded me why I always loved spending time on the road with my brothers way back when, talking and listening to music, I’m grateful for each of you.

To Trevor McClenon, a brother who although we only shared a quick hello during the weekend, reached out once I was home via messenger, who reminded me that the work I do in my 12 Step recovery often has blessings I may never know of, and has talked to me at length several times already, I’m grateful for you.

To Wade O’Brien and Jack Kalina, two undergraduate brothers who led much of the coordination of this reunion, for their leadership in general, and for the friendliness I had each time I talked to either of you, I’m grateful for both of you.

To Peter Radman, a brother who took the time to open up to me about his upcoming work in Croatia while roasting next to that blazing bonfire, I’m grateful for you.

To Greg Villafane, one of the newest brothers in my family tree, who I believe carries a level of energy that is destined for true leadership and greatness in this world, for learning you come from Glen Cove where my father’s family was from, and for really going out of your way to get to know me in a big way, I’m grateful for you.

And for all the rest of the attendees of this 30th reunion who I hugged, shook hands with, spent time connecting with for the moments we did, no matter how brief, each of you are why I remain a loyal Phi Kappa Psi brother, I’m so grateful for each of you.

Brothers, I love you all and dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry to the 30th Reunion of the New York Theta Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, to our fraternity in general, and to each of you…

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes are ones I would think unconditionally loving families would agree with and ones I often wish had emanated fully from my own family…

“The most beautiful thing in this world is to see your parents smiling and knowing that you are the reason behind that smile.” (Unknown)

“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” (Matthew Jacobson)

“As a parent, I will always be proud of my children, not because they have achieved something great, but because they simply. are my children.” (Unknown)

“Affirming words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation at the right moment in a child’s life and it’s like lighting up a whole roomful of possibilities.” (Gary Smalley)

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

The Time When I Saw A Proud Mother And Father With Their Son During My 30th Fraternity Alumni Reunion…

Recently, I returned to my alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), for my 30th alumni reunion of my fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi. In a few days I’ll be sharing my gratitude from that, but today I wanted to reflect on something I saw on campus while there, which was a proud mother and father walking along with their son, who was beaming from their praise.

I’ve often wished I had parents like that. Parents who looked at their son in that way more than not. When I first got dropped off at college at the beginning of my freshman year, I clearly remember my mother being the only one there. My father had walked out a few months prior, just before my high school graduation. They were amid a very long and drawn-out divorce process that would go on for several more years. Reflecting on this 30 years later after seeing the image of those parents glowing over their son, and their son who will probably always remember that moment with fond memories of his parents love for him, a wave of sadness overcame me and I began to cry.

Many of the people in 12 Step recovery have shared experiences like this. Quite a number of them fell into their addictions because they were raised in families were unconditional love was rarely, if ever, present. Many often struggle to recollect moments were either of their parents ever beamed over them. Rather, their memories are more of all the times they were feeling alone, unloved, abandoned, and seeking something to fill that pit of despair.

That pit of despair is what I felt when I saw that boy with his parents. A pit that may always be there on some level any time I see parents doting over their kids. I try to make up for that pit today by telling myself how proud I am of how far I’ve come in life and how many achievements I’ve made. I also do my best now to be a parental figure to those I help in the recovery realm, letting them know how proud of them I am as well with the work they do to change their lives for the better. Addicts tend to have a very difficult time feeling like they even matter in this world and overcoming that pit can take a long time, something that I still battle with from time to time to this very day, especially when I see parental figures showing their kid so much unconditional love.

While I was so proud of those parents and happy for their son, it truly was a bittersweet moment for me. In all honestly, I never walked for my graduation from RIT because I didn’t think my parents would show up together for the sake of me going through a special day, so I bypassed it altogether having my diploma mailed to me. But, there are still days that I do miss my mother and father, just not the mother and father that died tragically from their own additions and mental health issues. The parents I miss in those moments when I see loving parents with their kids comes from a time far earlier in my life, far before all the family drama unfolded, and far before I was ever thrusted into any courtroom battle over family finances and the like. It took me working my 12 Step recovery for years before any of those happy memories returned, all because I had held onto anger and resentment over my parents during my addiction years, as that was far easier to protect my hurting heart.

So, when I see proud and loving parents these days with their children like I did at RIT during my 30th alumni reunion, I can thank my 12 Step recovery work for helping me to remember something as simple as me playing a game of miniature golf when I was in single digits, where I just sunk a hole in one, and my parents cheered for me, beaming from ear to ear.

It’s those moments that have become precious and dear to my heart thanks to my sober and recovering life, moments I can choose to remember at any point I now see those proud parents beaming over their children, something I know that deep down below all my parents sickness was always there…

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

My twin brother recently called me from prison.
He said, “Remember how we always said we were were so close we could finish each other’s sentences…?”
I hung up the phone after that…

Silly Joke #2

Two Mormons were going door to door, and knocked on the door of a woman who was not happy to see them. She had no desire to talk to them and went to slam the door except it suddenly bounced back open. Convinced one of the Mormons had their foot sticking in the door, she said, “Can’t you Mormons ever take a hint? I already have Jesus and spread a lot of Christ’s love in my life!” One of the Mormon’s then responded, “Ma’am if that is the case, you might want to show a little of that to your cat who got caught in your door when you tried to slam it in our face…”

Silly Joke #3

The new school year had just started. Ms. Davidson was not happy to see that she had Little Johnny in her class this year. She had been told by all his prior teachers that he was always shouting out extremely inappropriate things in class. As she began her first lesson feeling concerned, she wrote on the blackboard, “I ain’t had no fun all summer!  “Ok, class, what do I need to do to correct this sentence?” she said pointing to the blackboard. “Get laid?!” Little Johnny shouted back.

Bonus Silly Joke

A man was slowly driving up a steep, narrow mountain road enjoying the sunshine. He had taken his shirt off and had his top down on his convertible catching all the rays. A woman driving down the same road slowed down and opened her window. As they passed each other, she yelled, “PIG!!!” and drove on. The man immediately yelled back, “BITCH!!” As the man rounded the next corner angry at the woman judging him like that he suddenly crashes into a large pig standing in the middle of the road. If only men would just listen for once…things like this would never have to happen!

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes center around yesterday’s article that had the subject of anger, something I’ve noticed has increased a lot in this world since the pandemic began. Maybe it was already there growing, or maybe it truly has made it more prevalent, either way, today’s quotes are ones that support how I feel about anger…

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.” (Roy T. Bennett)

“Do not let your anger lead to hatred, as you will hurt yourself more than you would the other.” (Stephen Richards)

 “Never respond to an angry person with a fiery comeback, even if he deserves it…Don’t allow his anger to become your anger.” (Bohdi Sanders)

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.” (Chinese Proverb)

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

Did The Pandemic Make People Angrier?

Anger seems to be a topic I’m writing about a lot lately, as I’ve been seeing so many examples of it when I silently observe the world around me, which is why lately I find myself wondering if the pandemic has led to this. It really seems as if everyone is on edge now, extremely irritable, and that it doesn’t take much to set someone off in a spew of rage or anger.

Case in point, when I was sitting in a theater the other day watching a movie, some guy near me had been looking at his phone briefly when suddenly another near him started shouting obscenities over it. Soon, the two were in a heated exchange, causing everyone nearby to miss an important part of the movie. I did my best to tune it out and thankfully the feud stopped shortly thereafter without any acts of violence.

Has the pandemic somehow made people become more like this, like ticking time-bombs, waiting to jump on someone else for doing something they feel they shouldn’t be doing? Are people purposely wanting to get into verbal fights or worse now? Gun violence seems higher now since the pandemic began, and frightfully it’s also becoming easier to carry a concealed weapon, making me feel so unsafe, as I’m more of a pacifist, even in the face of anger and violence.

My truth is that I don’t like anger, rage, people raising their voices, or anything of the sort. It’s why I tend to steer clear now of people who are like this, including my partner when he exhibits it, as I don’t want to be around anyone who’s primary exuded emotion is that of anger. Frankly, it makes my health issues feel even worse and my pain far higher.

The fact is, I have never seen anything good come out of uncontrolled anger, especially when it’s been inflicted upon another. It never brings people closer and instead, typically creates more division and chaos, sabotaging all feelings of closeness, and sometimes even ending a beautiful connection because of it.

I’m reminded of what Bill Wilson once said in his book Alcoholics Anonymous when it comes to anger. He stated that “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.” I agree. I know many would argue though that even Jesus got angry. This of course is in direct reference to the tables he overturned in the temple where the moneychangers were doing business there. What is often misunderstood here is that the only times Jesus got angry was when God was being dishonored. Never did Jesus lash out just for the sake of lashing out. Rather, Jesus used compassion more than not for teaching lessons. But compassion isn’t the primary emotion that seems to be emoting from most right now.

Personally, I don’t have the luxury of getting angry because anytime I get that way and remain in it, I look for some addiction to numb myself from the strong emotion. That’s why I regularly use prayer and meditation now, as that seems to help keep me more at peace, especially when anger crops up.

So, whether the pandemic has increased people’s anger or not I don’t know, but what I do know is that quieting my mind is necessary to deal with it when it appears. Trying to control it though without any prayer or meditation only leaves me in even worse of moods and more heated than anything. The bottom line is that if one truly wants to see their anger die down within themselves, it’s never going to happen by trying to control any situation to fit what their ego thinks should be happening. The change must come from within and that can start by quieting the mind to get to the source of that anger, something that will never happen when one chooses to yell or scream instead, as doing that only brings about greater pain and suffering for all involved, even though one’s ego will often try to convince oneself otherwise…

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

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

What is one thing you will always remember as an unconditionally loving action from one of your parents during your childhood? (Note: If you don’t have one of these, know I can relate and that I love you unconditionally!)

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


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Grateful Heart Monday

Because I don’t tune into the news much, sometimes it takes me a good while to hear about newsworthy spiritual content that I’d really enjoy sharing with my readers. Today’s expression of gratitude on this Grateful Heart Monday is one of those that actually occurred a few years ago and deals with Derek Prue, a father from Alberta, Canada, and his then 8-year-old son Derek Jr.

When Prue noticed his son was constantly wearing a shirt whenever they were at the pool and learned it was due to his son’s self-consciousness and embarrassment with the large birthmark on his torso, Prue wanted to make a difference in his son’s life. So, Prue found a tattoo artist who could ink him with a very similar marking to his son’s, which ended up requiring over 30 hours of painful tattooing. While Prue received quite a bit of attention and praise from the news, friends, and social media surrounding what he did, he maintains the only motivation was to show his son how much he loved him unconditionally.

After I read the article about Prue and his son Derek Jr., I was deeply moved. Seeing the picture of Prue standing next to his son with them both proudly displaying their torsos and both grinning ear to ear, I looked for other examples of beautiful parental love actions like this. I was surprised to see a number of other parents did the same with actions that ranged from tattoos of their kid’s surgical scars to shaving their heads. All of this led me to thinking about one specific thing my father did for me before he died.

When I came out to my father in the summer of 1995, a time when sexuality was far more rejected in families than it is today, his response was something I’ll never forget. He told me that I could have said I had HIV and was dying of AIDS and that he would still love me unconditionally. Shortly after that he even joined a PFLAG meeting all to show his loving support of the new journey I had just embarked upon with my sexuality. While it was a rare unconditionally loving memory from my past with parents who were alcoholic and often showed actions saying otherwise, it’s this memory that I hold near and dear. This is precisely why whenever I give my 12 Step recovery presentations now, I ask who the parents are there. When any hands get raised, I make sure to always tell them the most important thing they can ever show their children is how much they are loved unconditionally and how proud they are of them just as they are. I’m thankful for that memory I have with my father, as I’m sure Derek Jr. is now of his father, because it’s that memory that will help a kid get through any moment in life they end up feeling unloved in a world that can often feel unloving.

So, I’m thankful to report on this story of Derek Prue and his son Derek Jr., someone I’m sure will grow up always remembering every time he sees his Dad’s chest now bearing the same birthmark as his own, how much he’s truly loved and embraced unconditionally. I dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to all the parents like Prue who have done similar actions in their lives all to show their children they are loved NO MATTER WHAT…

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

Thought For The Day

Today’s quotes deal with all the money ill-spent during much of my life, on addictions, on people, places, and things, and a lot of time and energy, only to discover a lot of spiritual truths through it all…

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.” (Will Rogers)

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants.” (Epictetus)

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” (Anna Lappe)

“Once you really accept that spending money doesn’t equal happiness, you have half the battle won.” (Ernest Callenbach)

“Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.” (Haruki Murakami)

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

Saying Goodbye To Harley…

While I’ve known a few people in my life named or nicknamed Harley, today’s title and subject material isn’t about any of them, it’s about an obsession I had, an addiction at best, that I finally was able to say goodbye to, once and for all.

Just over ten years ago now, I was obsessed, codependently, with a guy named Andy, someone who loved Harley Davidson motorcycles and clothing more than anything else. When I met him, I was interested in neither, yet became immediately enamored with both him and his two-wheeled adoration. Prior to meeting him, no offense to the rest of the Harley Davidson aficionados, I couldn’t stand hearing those bikes whenever they went by. They hurt my hearing and most of the guys I ever knew who owned them were typically rude and obnoxious to me, always parking their motorcycles on sidewalks and acting like they were better than everyone else.

But in came Andy into my life, in the 12 Step recovery world, during a stint where addiction ruled some of his world temporarily. I immediately became smitten with him because that’s what an addict like me did so easily back then. It didn’t take long before I was hanging out with Andy more than not, doing my best to fit into his world, even though I stood out like a sore thumb. His world was a bunch of bad-ass biker type of guys, all heterosexual, who partied hard and talked about many things I had no clue about. In my best of thinking (but really worst of thinking), I decided that maybe if I bought a whole bunch of Harley Davidson clothing, shaved my head, and grew a goatee, that I’d fit in better into Andy’s world, and he’d like me better. As I said already, this is what serious codependency and love addiction does to an addict of that type of variety, one who becomes addicted to pleasing another to gain their love, often at their own expense.

Over the course of almost two years, I amassed close to $1000 of Harley clothes and hats, all top-of-the-line type of stuff. Most of the time I wore it people would ask me what kind of Harley bike I owned. Whenever I responded that I didn’t have one, I was usually asked what kind I’d like to have. I never had a good answer because deep down I still didn’t like Harley Davidson bikes or motorcycles in general, yet I pretended to like them for the sake of winning Andy over, so I generally made up an answer. This never won Andy over and only made myself seriously sick in the process, trying to become something I wasn’t ever meant to. This is sadly what codependent and love addicted type of thinking does to a person in the long run.

Eventually, towards the end of April of 2012, Andy called me one day to hang out. I had become so sick from that addiction at that point, I knew I had to say goodbye. While I successfully did that day, I didn’t say goodbye fully to Harley Davidson. Although, I would never again buy any of its clothing after that, I continued to wear what I had for another ten years. I don’t know why I did for so long, maybe because I felt like a bad ass whenever I wore it, maybe because I had spent so much money on it, or maybe because it still reminded me of the love I once had for Andy, I’m not sure? But eventually one evening, just over a week ago now, I opened my closet and saw all that clothing and knew I needed to let it, Andy, and any traces of that old addiction go, once and for all.

I headed to Goodwill the next day with it all in tow and handed it to a man there accepting donations. He ironically told me he was a big enthusiast of Harley Davidson motorcycles, go figure! He was shocked to see so much of the brand in my hands and in such amazing quality. I held a conversation with him about his hobby and when it ended, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, knowing it was probably going to be the final time I ever talked about Harley Davidson motorcycles again.

While this indeed was a big step for me, considering how much time, energy, and money I had spent on Harley Davidson, trying to win over Andy all those years ago, I am blessed to be fully free of it all now. Saying goodbye to Harley was probably the best thing I have done in my SLAA program of recovery in a good, long while, and I can say that I am a far healthier person now because of it. Thanks be to the strength of God and my 12 Step SLAA program of recovery!

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

Employer: “We need someone responsible for this job.”
Blonde: “Sir your search for someone to fill this position can end here! You see, in my previous job whenever something went wrong, everybody said I was responsible!!!”

Silly Joke #2

A very faith-based young lady came home from her date rather sad. She told her mother, “Jeff just proposed to me an hour ago.” “Then why are you so sad?” her mother asked. “Because he also told me he was an atheist Mom! He doesn’t even believe there’s a hell.” Her mother replied, “Marry him anyway. Between the two of us, I’m sure we’ll eventually show him how wrong he is!!!”

Silly Joke #3

A college girl was given a challenging homework assignment for her Literature class. It was to write a story in as few words as possible that would still gain the readers attention and it needed to be about religion, sexuality and mystery. She ended up receiving the highest grade in the class all because she wrote…”Good God! I’m pregnant and I don’t know who did it!”

Bonus Silly Joke

A blonde decided not to name her dog “Rover” or “Boy” or “Duke” when she was young and had named it something she’d never forget, which was  “Sex”. Unfortunately it’s gotten her into trouble ever since…

Example 1: When she went one day to where you get a new dog license, she told the clerk she would like to have a license for Sex. He thought she was praying a prank and chuckled, “I’d sure like to have one of those too!” But when she responded, “You don’t understand, I’ve had Sex since I was 11 and never got a license for it!” The clerk said she should probably leave.

Example 2: When she got married and went on her honeymoon, she decided to take the dog with her. She told the hotel clerk while her husband and her dog were outside with their car that she wanted a room that had a special place for Sex. He thought she was making a joke and chuckled, “Every part of our rooms can be used in that way ma’am.” She didn’t quite get it and responded, “You don’t understand, Sex keeps me awake at night.” The clerk tried to joke again, “Me too.” But when she responded, “Is it ok to have Sex anywhere in this hotel?” The clerk wasn’t joking anymore and said the hotel she was looking for was on the other side of town.

Example 3: When she entered Sex in a dog contest, Sex got away just before the competition began. Another contestant saw her looking around in one room after another and asked what she doing. She told him she had planned to have Sex in the contest. He joked and said, “You probably would have sold out tickets!” She didn’t quite get it and responded, “You don’t understand, I really hoped to have Sex on television.” He contacted the head of security after that.

Example 4: When she and her husband separated, her husband took the dog. She went to court to file for custody of it. In court, she said, “Your Honor, I’ve had Sex before I got married!” The judge joked, “Me too.” She didn’t quite get it and responded, “After I got married, Sex was never the same.” The judged joked again, “Me too.” But when she responded again, “I’d even be ok if I could give you Sex until you make the decision on this case!”, the judge immediately threw her case out.

Example 5: When her husband decided to finally return her dog, Sex ran off again the very first night. She spent hours looking around town for him. A policeman pulled up at one point and asked, “What are you doing in this part of town at 4 in the morning ma’am?” She said, “I’m hoping to find Sex officer! Can you help me?” The officer not in the mood began to arrest  her. She yelled, “I’m only looking for my dog named Sex, why is that a crime?” The officer realizing she was a blonde said, “You might want to change the name of your dog ma’am.” She didn’t quite understand why and the officer could tell, so he just said as he started to drive away…”Maybe you need to stop looking for Sex tonight and call it a night!”

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