“This Year Will Be Different!”

How often is it that we start a new year and tell ourselves that this year is going to be different?

I’m going to lose weight.

I’m going to quit drinking.

I’m going to get healthier.

I’m going to become more spiritual.

I’m going to take some vacation time.

I’m going to spend more time with my family.

I’m going to be nicer to my friends.

I’m going to find a new job.

I’m going to move to a new home.

I’m going to start saving money.

I’m going to…

Is this you?

I know it’s definitely been me.

Year after year, a new cycle of calendar year would begin with the ball dropping on New Year’s Eve and I would take a fresh outlook on the next 365 days. And somewhere along the lines, I would find myself again watching the next New Year’s Eve ball come down and telling myself what happened to this past year, why didn’t I do any of those things that I said I wanted to do.

Why did I always live for tomorrow? Why did I live for how much better my life might get tomorrow? Why do I long for what the future may hold instead of working on myself in today?

I’m sure for each person it’s different. There were times I stayed in jobs hoping that it might get better one day. I stayed in relationships hoping that they might improve over time, that the person might treat me better, might love me more, etc. I made plans to get healthier and take care of myself more but felt the task was too daunting to take the first action in achieving it so I’d sit back and do nothing but watch TV.

That changed because I was given chronic pain to endure for awhile. I been living with it now for just about 3 years. When it first started, I sat on the sidelines and thought it was just going to pass over time. I figured if I did nothing in my life different and just kept going on with how things were, it would slowly dissipate. I waited for God to basically just come in and fix me. What I didn’t realize is that there were actions I needed to take too. Things that were coming out of my self will that God had given me free will to do in the first place. There were actions I was doing in my life that were keeping me perpetually in pain. Much of it was due to the people I was spending time with, the actions I was doing with them and the way I was treating everyone everyday. My life was totally self-centered and I only thought of what I could get out of everything instead of what I could put into something.

About a year ago that began to change. My chronic pain hadn’t alleviated. If anything it had gotten worse. So when 2012 began, I took action. And that year began something new for me. I stopped living for what tomorrow was going to bring me and I started living in today on how I could be a better, healthier, more God centered individual. In doing so, I removed all those toxic people from my life, I prayed more, meditated more, spent more time at recovery meetings and places where I could share my own experience, strength and hope, and learned how to spend time taking myself out and doing things that I still could in the pain I was in. “Take yourself out on a date” my therapist had told me more than once. So I finally did. And I still do.

I’m getting healthier each and every day now. Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally I have definitely gotten relief from the levels of pain I had once felt in those areas every day. And physically, well, I know that relief is coming soon. I believe that because I place God first in my life, and am taking actions each day to get healthier, that the physical pain will leave me when it’s meant to.

Do I hope for a better tomorrow, one where I don’t have as much physical pain? Of course. I have hope. It’s what keeps me going sometimes. My hope is with God though, that I won’t be left in this place of pain. BUT, I am not sitting on the sidelines just wanting everything to be better because of God snapping His fingers or the universe aligning just perfectly for Andrew to have a good life. I am doing my part, to take action, to set plans, to lay forth a better tomorrow, a better week, and a better year, one where God is at the helm.

That age old adage is true…don’t wait for tomorrow for what you can start doing today. If you have a goal for this year, make a plan to achieve it and start doing actions towards it every day.

Today is all I have. I may not be here tomorrow. So, I try each today to live it to the best I can, the fullest that I can, where God is driving my bus.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Difficulty With Removing Some Addictions

Working through addictions can hard, especially depending on what the addiction is. Some are much harder to remove than others. While some are as simple of never consuming or doing again the thing itself one is addicted to, others aren’t that simple.

Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, smoking a cigarette, having a caffeinated beverage, eating chocolate, and gambling all fall under one side of the spectrum in addictions. For me, those were easier to remove the phenomenon of craving that went with each of them. Why? Because I didn’t need any of them to function in this lifetime. None of them were life essential and after removing them from my system and going through withdrawal for each, life went on.

Unfortunately, my addictions transferred to ones that weren’t as simple as to just remove them from my life. What about overeating, codependency, and sex and love? A human being has to eat to sustain life. Unless a human being goes into the wilderness or a monastery to be away from people, being in connection with others is next to impossible to avoid as well. And as for sex and love, I have found this is a part of being human and even with long durations of celibacy and withdrawal from others, the drive never went away.

Codependency for me is something that took an intensive amount of therapy to get to the source of why it was that I ended up in relationships with others that I felt I couldn’t survive without. Ultimately it was the fear of being alone. No matter how bad the relationship was, I seemed to always stay in it because the idea of being alone was worse. Working through this one is an ongoing thing for me. Spending time alone and doing things in life by myself is a big part of my recovery with codependency. I’ve learned I can be happy by myself doing things such as puzzles, watching movies, reading, writing, going to the beach, and even traveling. Making sure I spend time alone and learning to have a healthy relationship with myself has led to me being able to be in healthy independent relationships with others.

Overeating is a little more challenging in that I know starving myself won’t make it go away. Slowing down in my life through meditation and working with a counselor helped to see this addiction and its triggers a little clearer. For me at least, the main reason why I overeat was to feel an endorphin rush that I got from the food itself. I know that might sound crazy but food can make one feel good when eating it. I love pizza for example. When I have a single slice I really enjoy it. It’s when I have a whole pizza in one sitting when it becomes a problem. Economics labels it as the “law of diminishing returns”. With each amount of consumption, less satisfaction happens. Sadly though, an addiction based mentality doesn’t think that way, they think more is better and creates more of that good feeling. Being mindful as I eat is the only way I know how deal with this. I watch my portions. I try to stay away from buffets. And I do my best to eat as healthy as possible. I’d rather overeat carrots and get a little bloated then eat several large fries at McDonalds and feel depressed the next day.

Then there’s sex and love addiction. I put this last because it’s the hardest for me. To be sexual truly is a part of being human for almost every person in this world. To fall in love with someone is many a person’s dream. Even worse, one can’t go anywhere today without seeing sex or love plastered in your face. Billboards and signs, racy commercials, TV shows and movies continuing to take it one step further and push the envelope, and God forbid one mistypes on an internet search tool that might result in over a million pornographic websites returned in the listings.

Unfortunately, my first sexual/love based experience in this life was when I was molested at 12 years old. While I had been attracted and also a friend to this much older adult prior to the incident, I never deserved to be taken advantage of by this person and I was never given any counseling around it after it happened. To make matters worse, my family never helped me to understand my sexuality or my hormones that I was feeling which had preceded even before that tragic event. So I was left to believe that what I experienced was normal. My life pattern became a stream of dominant, abusive men that I allowed to take advantage of me both sexually, monetarily, and emotionally and sadly, I felt excitement around those terrible relationships because it was my “norm”. When someone came into my life that really was a healthy person who could love me for me, I’d run away. True love was foreign. I didn’t experience it as a child. Deep sexual intimacy was also foreign. I had never experienced it from the time I first had a sexual encounter nor in any of the people that followed.

I’ve been working on removing the effects of this addiction for the past nine months. I’ve lived for more than 27 years of my life with that addiction in charge of me. It’s been over nine months now where I’ve not let it be in control. There are many actions I’ve had to take to no longer have it in charge of my life. Cutting ties with those that triggered me was one of the first things I had to do. I had so many people in my life that were either lustrous objects or friends with benefits. All of them are gone now. Staying away from any type of pornographic material was another. Sadly it’s everywhere now. So many magazines are incredibly racy now and like I had already mentioned, it doesn’t take much to find images on the internet. I avoid today the places that triggered me as well like bars, or rave scenes, or house parties. I used to fantasize and daydream sexually a lot in my life as well. I don’t anymore. I don’t allow myself to. All of it perpetuated the downfalls of this addiction.

I am happy to say that I am finding a lot more freedom today from the burdens of this addiction and really an addiction based life. My body is still recovering on every level from living so long in so many addictions. I know it takes time. Snapping my fingers and wishing all of it would just go away hasn’t happened and probably won’t ever happen for me or anyone else. Removing any addiction takes a lot of hard work, prayer, meditation, and focus. It is possible to find freedom from any addiction. From my own experience, the solution was putting God at the center of my attempt to heal from any one of them. When I tried to find healing on my own, it never happened and I just went right back to any number of them. Living in God’s will or as a 12 step program puts it, a Higher Power’s will, has brought me more peace than I ever experienced when I was active in any addiction.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Life Lessons for Andrew Arthur Dawson

Today’s entry is somewhat different. My spiritual advisor gave me a homework assigned to write in a third person about what I have learned so far in this lifetime. So I’ve placed that assignment’s result below that I produced.


A long time ago, Andrew spent much of his life living in addictions and obsessions chasing after money, power, men, relationships, possessions, and quick highs. Each of these things was believed to bring happiness but over time they brought nothing but temporary satisfaction to a gnawing hunger for something deeper.

In the first chapter of Andrew’s life, he experienced the lack of unconditional love and kindness in his own family and how that manifests into conditional love based actions. He also experienced what it was like to be robbed of his sacred sexuality when an adult violated him. The first chapter ended of Andrew’s life at the age of 17 when Andrew decided that being alone and unloved externally was too painful.

In the second chapter of Andrew’s life, he learned how to numb himself from pain of the lower vibrations of life using sex, alcohol, drugs, and anything else that provided quick stimulation. Using people, manipulating, lying, being deceiving, lusting, becoming filled with greed, Andrew’s only source of happiness was in what he could gain with money or people outside of his own self. A light showed into Andrew’s darkness in his second chapter of life when he met Susan. Susan provided a temporary beacon to show what was possible when Andrew was able to connect to Source energies. For a brief period that lasted approximately six months, Andrew saw what was possible if he was living in more of his Divine Self serving Source’s needs and wants on this planet. The lower vibrations unfortunately took over for Andrew and he fell back into the veil of illusion for many more years. The second chapter of Andrew’s life ended on April 27th, 2010 as Andrew was soon to be turning the age of 38. Andrew had prayed to God in a moment of great mental and emotional pain just prior to this date to release him from the bondage of the addiction based life he had been living. Having committed many acts of lust and conditional based love centered relationships; Andrew had found himself dependently attached to a married man who was an active alcoholic. Andrew soon realized that he was in relationship with the energy of his parents who he had been unloved in so many ways from the beginning of his life.

And so the third chapter of Andrew’s life began with the letting go process. On April 27th, 2010, Andrew’s body began to manifest physical limitations and uncomfortable sensations that slowed his life down immediately. From that night to the present day, Andrew has gone through major releases in his life. For two more years after that night when the physical manifestation began, Andrew went through two more toxic relationships to learn that no human being can make him happy, no human being can fix him, and no human being can save him. Andrew also learned that each of the toxic relationships that he had in his life stemmed from the way he was brought up in his own family. As the awareness increased, Andrew cut the cords to all of the unhealthy people in his life especially all those that came into his life from 2007 forward until that date in 2010, each of which were teachers on some level to show him how sick he was. For over nine months now Andrew has been free from toxic friendships and relationships. Andrew has stayed clear of those that might re-animate those connections. And Andrew has done his best to keep his body, mind and soul clear of all unhealthy behaviors including what he says, thinks, eats, and does.

The following are a list of just some of the lessons that Andrew has learned in this life.

1. Andrew lived many lives of adulterous lust based relationships. God brings into Andrew’s life those relationships that are healthy. Those that Andrew finds a quick drive towards, are always from his ego and self-will.

2. Andrew learned that caffeine, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, lust based sex, and any other stimulant producing thing that induced a quick high was counteracting any ability for him to serve Source.

3. Andrew learned that teachers will appear when the student is ready and many of the teachers were just mirrors for showing actions and behaviors that Andrew was guilty of doing himself but pointing the finger instead at those teachers.

4. Andrew learned that what energy necessarily might have felt great when doing or performing certain things in his life, the release process of that same energy generally is quite painful if that initial energy was done out of toxicity.

5. Andrew learned that the healing process begins on the spiritual level and works its way from spiritual to mental to emotional and finally to physical of which he is patiently waiting for now in his journey.

6. Andrew learned that most people in his life left because they were manifestations of his lower self and as he began to remove his lower self, those people no longer fit in his spiritual journey.

7. Andrew learned that controlling things might get one ahead in life, but when a spiritual journey truly begins, it starts back to just before the control had started in life. In other words, the spiritual journey begins back when the student abandoned himself and looked outside of himself for happiness.

8.  Andrew learned that a truly centered spiritual person doesn’t always have to speak and when he does speak, his words match his actions when he’s not speaking. He learned at the same rate that many people may sound wonderful when they are speaking but it is only their ego driving them and that who they are when not in public view is not aligned with who they are when they are speaking.

9. Andrew learned that lust has dominated most of his life from just around the age of when he was molested at 12 until the age of 39 and that lust is not love and that love is not conditional and that true love is not about having to perform sexually or give certain things to someone. True love loves someone no matter where they are in life, no matter what they do, and no matter what they are able to offer.

10. And finally, Andrew learned that to be happy in life, it was never about how many people were in his life that wanted to spend time with him, it wasn’t about how many things he could buy, it wasn’t having the best looking partner, it wasn’t about how much money he could earn, it was always about going back to that wounded child and spending time loving that child with God holding his hand and driving the healing process. And even more importantly, that Andrew can achieve true healing and a spiritually centered life only if God remains at the center of his journey.


I believe I’m still currently in my third chapter in life. And, I believe there is still one more chapter in my life beyond this one and that chapter will be the one where I am teaching to others that which I’ve learned in this life. But for right now, I’m still in the healing aspects of my life repairing the damages that I’ve done to myself in this life and in previous lives. I am grateful to Source for getting me this far.

Peace, Love, Light, and Joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Little Engine That Could

It’s amazing how my brain tells me I can’t do something quite often. And it’s even more amazing that when I can get out of my brain and into my heart and soul, I’m able to do just the things it says I can’t.

Last night, as I was attempting to get myself to sleep, my brain continued to tell me that there was no way I was going to be able to make a 12 to 13 hour drive I would be attempting to make the next morning to visit my partner (we currently live apart). Normally I would fly but with financial issues looming, I opted to drive for the first time. Even more interesting is that he doesn’t even know I’m visiting, it’s a surprise for our anniversary which is February 25th.

So as I lay there reciting mantra after mantra, doing breath work and trying to get myself to fall asleep five hours sooner than my normal bed time, I drifted in and out of an anxiety based state. If you’ve read any of my previous postings you’ll know by now that I handle day to day chronic pain currently in my life. Sitting or standing for extended periods is quite a challenge.  The anxiety finally got the best of me this morning bringing me fully awake at 4:00am. After my morning prayer, mantras, and chakra balance, I was on the road with the clock reading 5:20am. The clock hadn’t passed a complete hour before I had already thought many times about turning around. But, there was a thought that was more silent and more subtle. It was one telling me that this was a lesson in my life to learn.

I’ve been going through chronic pain now since April 20th, 2010 and have been healing slowly. I have chosen to heal holistically which is a much longer process than taking prescription drugs and having invasive medical procedures done. For the last few years I have battled the same feelings about this healing like I was about the drive this morning. I have wanted to give up, to pop some pills, to go back to my old addictions, or have surgery done to see if maybe it might help somehow with any of what I feel every day. It’s almost been three years now since that day it all began to manifest on a physical level.  The progress I have made to change my way of living and become healthier on every level has been arduous but fulfilling. And I’m still moving forward, one day at a time. Really, one moment at a time. And I haven’t chosen to go back to any of my old behaviors or go get that surgery doctors aren’t even confident will help.

So back to my drive and how this all relates. Within that first hour of my drive as some of my pain kicked in and the doubt crept in, I made a decision. I made a commitment. I’m not going to go back. Not in this. Not in my healing. Not in anything that is going to bring me closer to becoming a spiritual warrior for God. I’m tired of giving up. My father and mother gave up and cut their lives short by their own actions. Their parents gave up as well suffering tragic endings too. I’ve seen a lot of tragedy in my family with a lot of throwing in the towel. I made a decision in my life that I wouldn’t follow in their footsteps. My decision today to go through with this drive, and my decision to keep healing holistically, is all part of a bigger plan. One where God can one day use me as an inspiration for others who are going through trials and tribulations. Giving up on my drive, giving up on my healing, and giving up on my life, would prevent that dream from happening.

Incidentally, I’m writing this now in a Starbucks at my destination. Along the way, I made several stops to get out and stretch when I started to feel overwhelmed. I followed within the speed limit and actually arrived three hours sooner than I was supposed to.

I feel pretty amazing right now. Regardless of the pain, I’ve had a smile on my face and thanked God for giving me the strength to get here. My partner has no idea yet that I’m here. He’s in school right now and because I arrived early, I have time to kill that I didn’t expect I would have. It’s funny how these things happen. It’s funny how when I shut the old tapes off and made a decision from my spirit, what I can accomplish.

While the drive may seem like a small thing, it’s really not. It represents a small victory in the bigger picture of my life. One that I am going to win with God at the center of it. I am healing holistically. It has taken awhile, and I know there is never an end to the generic healing process one goes through in life to getting closer to Source. But what I do know is that there will be an end to these short term chronic pain issues that I’ve been dealing with as long as I keep going, putting one foot in front of the other, and telling myself just like the little red engine did, that I can do it too.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Pointing The Fingers

It’s real easy to point a finger at something my brain says doesn’t seem right in this world. There are lots of things around me everyday that I notice don’t seem to add up in a fair sense.

Here are just a few of them:

1. People speeding up rather than letting a car in that’s trying to emerge

2. People whispering at meetings about things they heard about someone else

3. Seeing on the news another shooting and more talk about gun control

4. So many blaming the president for the woes of our nation

5. Noticing yet another reality show that highlights the craziness of yet another family

6. Watching person after person go by a homeless person who’s hand is outstretched and receiving nothing

7. Hearing about how it’s unfair that athletes earn so much money

8. People saying one thing to the masses and then doing another

9. Churches stating they are all-welcoming but rejecting people from various backgrounds

10. Criminals get away with light sentences for serious crimes because they have money to get a good lawyer

The list really could go on and on. Here’s the reality. With just about every judgement that I place out there and every finger that I point at the ills of this world, I am guilty on some level of doing those same exact things.

Let me get back to the list but answer them from my deepest truths.

1. Many times I’ve sped up on the highway when I saw someone merging in to “beat them out” or to “be first” because “I was there first”.

2. I lost track of the number of times that I have gossiped to someone else about a person that relapsed on their addiction or that was doing such and such behavior.

3. I’ve been to a gun range and been friends with people who loved to sport their guns and gun licenses.

4. I’ve shouted at the TV or to a friend many times about how the president was crappy and causing this problem and that problem.

5. I’ve thought about how a reality show on my life would be better than what I see being put in the airwaves.

6. I’ve ignored homeless people when I had a dollar in my public judging that that would just spend it on alcohol or drugs.

7. I earned large sums of money in jobs years ago where I wasn’t really doing much of anything except dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

8. I’ve stood up on a podium in meetings and spoken about how wonderful my life was and how good I was to everything and everyone and outside of those meetings, was swearing often, lying regularly, and living in other addictions day to day.

9. I’ve been a member of different types of groups such as my fraternity that rejected people for the way they looked, the way they acted, their lifestyle, and more.

10. I was arrested for stealing a long time ago and because my father had money and was able to afford a good lawyer, “it went away”.

The truth is that it’s easy for me to look at the misfortunes of society and comment negatively on any of it. It’s easy to do it because on some level I’m guilty of what I’m condemning.

I look at all these things now. When I find myself judging someone or something, I look in the mirror and ask myself where have I been guilty of this. I’m a firm believer that anytime I feel negative towards something outside of me or anytime I point the finger at someone else that I think is living sideways, I need to look within and see what is it about myself that I don’t like or that I haven’t dealt with.

All of those things I listed above I work on today and ask God for guidance on. Here’s that list one last time.

1. I drive much slower on the highway or on any road today and I try to allow a car to merge in when I see them attempting to do so.

2. I stay away from gossip as best as I’m capable. I stay away from people that live in that mode.

3. I stay away from guns, I don’t support guns, and I don’t have any friends who have guns or carry guns. I don’t even play games that are “shoot ’em up” type games. I’m even beginning to not like going to the movies and seeing over the top gun based violence movies.

4. The President is a figure head. There are many people that are part of how laws and legislation get passed. Because the nation is a certain way, trickles down all the way to me and I know that any woes of the nation is due to all of us and not just one person. I admire any president for standing firm in all of that attack they get daily from people angry with the state of the nation.

5. I don’t watch any of those reality shows anymore about any family. I don’t expose myself to those types of programs that highlight the things some might find as silly or crazy. My life is crazy enough sometimes and it’s a reality show just to live it. I don’t find a need to see it on TV too.

6. If I have a dollar bill in my wallet, I will give it to a homeless person. If I have some loose change, I’ll give it to a homeless person. I could be that homeless person one day. How they spend that dollar or whatever sum I was to give them, is between themselves and God.

7. I learned that the more money I earn, the more I seem to spend and the more I seem to spend the more I need more money. All I felt towards athletes was jealously that I no longer had large sums of money that they are earning. Truthfully, I don’t watch sports anymore on TV and I traditionally don’t go to sporting events. Money isn’t ruling my life currently like it used to.

8. What I say at a meeting today is the exact way that I live my life outside of a meeting. I do not live two separate lives anymore.

9. Anything that I am a member of now or any group that I take part in, I am open about my lifestyle and I am open that I accept everyone equally. If there is any hesitancy to accepting that or me, I do not go to those places.

10. I haven’t committed a crime since my drinking and drugging days for starters. And, I also realized that I don’t know all the truths to any crime that I see on the news or in the papers. I’m just hearing the news’s side of things. So anything I may say is just my own judgement of what’s being presented to me.

The bottom line is that for every finger I’ve pointed at someone or something else that I didn’t like in my life, I need to point that same finger if not all of my fingers back at myself. The more that I work through my judgements and negativity, and the more that I look within and ask God for guidance, the more I find myself accepting all of these things.

It really is true that when I point a finger, I’m guilty of something related to that within myself. By asking God for guidance on revealing those things, I have seen a much greater level of peace in my life towards everything and everyone.


Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur

A Testing of Faith

Faith is a strange thing. It’s easy to say that I’m faithful when everything is going great in my life. When I’m on the top of the world earning great money, where my health is awesome, where I have a great relationship, and where my social calendar seems quite full, sure it would be easy for me to say that life is grand and that I have faith in God’s plan for me.

How about the reverse? Where is my faith when I’m unable to work and am earning no money?Where is my faith when my health is filled daily with chronic pain? Where is my faith when most of my friendships have disappeared and where my weekend nights are spent alone? I’ve been pondering these questions a lot lately as I continue to deal with a shift that I’ve been praying is an energetic one to raise my spiritual vibration.

First, what is the definition of faith in God (or a Higher Power). It is when one makes the Words of God (or Higher Power) the main determining factor for every action you take, and remaining at peace whether you know the outcome or not.

Not too long ago I remember feeling like I was living on top of the world. I was earning $82,000 a year, had a partnership with a person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, had all the latest and greatest gadgets, owned a nice single family home, had two cars, and a nice retirement building up. Back then the excitement of my life consisted of living in the indulges of what this world had to offer. Traveling often, dining out frequently, engaging in multiple sports leagues, shopping for whatever I wanted and thought I needed, and often being driven sexually either with my partner or on the web with images and chatrooms.

I went to church at that time in my life. I did weekly bible studies too. I even was serving communion and had become a Deacon. And I told everyone how faithful I was in God and that God was rewarding me daily with plenty of abundance. Using the definition of faith in God that I just wrote in here, I knew the outcome of where I was at every day. There were relatively little surprises in my life at that time. And other than some minor incidences that I call hiccups in my life, my life went pretty smoothly and I made sure to always present to others that I had faith.

Faith is truly the absence of proof of anything tangible. Faith is something that one does not go around and tell everyone it is within themselves. Faith is walking through ANY situation and being ok with it no matter if the results are favorable or not.

Somewhere along the lines, things fell apart in my life and things became very unfavorable. I turned to addictions to sustain my life force and vitality. I chose quick highs to keep myself going. As the years passed, I lost that partner. I lost my home. I lost my business. I lost most of the money I had saved up. I lost many friends who I thought were close to me. And then over the course of the past three years, I lost my health and my ability to work. Since then, I have been in chronic pain with serious Fibromyaliga, prostatitis, and severe sciatica and numbness on my left leg and foot. Add in depression and anxiety and that is my current state of health.

So where is my faith now? Where is my faith in God? I wish I had the perfect story to share. I wish I could say that I felt everyday that everything is going to be ok and that God is going to get me through this and that all this was a healing process. I can’t say that. Where I once walked around with my head up high telling everyone how much faith I had. I find myself questioning God a lot. I find myself asking if God exists a lot. I find myself asking if there really is a plan for me. My faith has been shaken. On most days when the pain is high like today or like yesterday, I find myself asking those closest to me if I’m ever going to make it through this. Where I’m at now I find myself reflecting on the story of Job a lot.

I love the story of Job. Job is a wonderful story in the Bible that although I’m not religious, I love to read and reflect on it. Job had everything and then he lost everything. Job was faithful to God when he had everything and even when he had nothing. And even though Job didn’t understand why he lost everything for a period of time, he continuously prayed and asked God for understanding. The worst Job ever got was cursing the day his own birth happened and demanding God take his life. And Job eventually did have God speak to him and after God spoke about faith, Job was rewarded with everything he lost and then some. Job had lost his wife, his land, his ability to work, his children, and his health. And Job gained it all back at the end. How much time in between did the losses last for? It never says. I wish it did.

It’s been 9 months now where I’ve been living free from all things that I would say are poison to a spiritual life. I have a very diligent list of spiritual things I do each day to keep me on that path. And while I everyday thank God for making it through one more day of what I endure, I do find myself often asking why I’m here and going through all this now. I find myself asking if God has a plan for me through all of this. I pray a lot throughout the day. Much of it is me just asking for strength and help to make it through one more day, one more hour, one more minute, or even one more second of the pain I endure.

I’m not taking drugs or medicines to deal with what I’m dealing with. I was reacting violently to every medication when I tried that route and also feeling extremely numb and indifferent to life. I was either a zombie then or a sponge for pain now. Truthfully I’d rather be a sponge for the pain right now as I at least am able to feel tears, my sadness, and my emotions in general.

On any of the drugs I used to take, or any of the medications, or even with any of the people I put in my life to chase after, all of it just numbed me from the pain that was there. It wasn’t healing any of it.

I’m not sure what I believe right now in this moment on what’s happening to me. I wanted to write an article that showed my truth. The real me. I had written a lot of hopeful stories so far about my life that all are indeed very true. But there is also much in my life that is challenging that I would not wish upon anyone and I felt today it was necessary to share those truths with the level of pain I’m feeling today.

I know one thing. My faith is being tested. I pray to God everyday to make it through this and to heal holistically. I pray to become a complete servant for God’s needs. I pray that I don’t ever go back to the toxic living that I once did not too long ago. I pray that my DNA makeup in my body will shift to drive me down spiritual paths rather than the toxic ones. And I give God thanks at the end of each day in a journal writing down at least nine things that happened that day that I was appreciative of.

Does God exist?

If so, is He watching me?

Is all of what I’m going through a test of my faith?

Is all of what I feel just a shift to make me spiritually healthier?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. I do know one thing. I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing, which is praying to the God that I believe is there, to the God that has gotten me this far, and to the God that has sustained me through so much already. And I’ll hope that one day I’ll see this from a better perspective, one where I can look back and understand why it is that I went through it all in the first place.

Regardless, I will keep on sending out my love to God and trusting in an old AA saying, “This Too Shall Pass…” And in doing that, I know I am being faithful…

Peace, Love, Light, and Joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

My Sunday Best

When I was a kid, every Sunday I was taken by my family to Community United Methodist Church in Poughkeepsie, NY. For just about 17 years of Sundays, you would find me at the 11am service wearing “my Sunday best”. In other words, the nicest clothes I had to wear for a church day. My parents and my sister would also be wearing their best and we would walk into church and give the customary greetings to all the people our family knew.

There were plenty of smiles and hugs. There were many who said “it’s good to see you” to us. And there were a lot who thought our family was the family to be. A few years ago I ran into some of my old parent’s friends who knew them before they had passed. I remember telling them how bad things had gotten when I was growing up. How my father was bi-polar and an alcoholic and how my mother was also an alcoholic. They were shocked. They said our family always looked so happy and that many of their friends said they wished they were more like our family.

From the outside looking in, especially seeing us at church on Sunday with us wearing the nicest of clothes, with my mother in the bell choir, and my father being a layman and plenty visible in the church hierarchy, it’s no wonder people thought that. Sadly, it was all an act. That’s what alcoholic families do. They fake it. They cover up the truth. My mother was so deathly afraid that anyone knew just how insane things were in our household.

So there we were, sitting in church each Sunday, together as a family and I remember wishing I was anywhere but in that pew. My parents made everything seem so great with us and I remember the pastor always blessing us and being so kind to us. If he had only known just how much pain we all had inside within the safe confines of our home.

To make matters worse for me back then, I never understood church in the first place. To me, it was a lot of all rising and all sitting, reciting words that weren’t coming from my heart, singing songs that even if they felt inspiring, we weren’t able to clap at the end, and listening to a message that provided a singular viewpoint of the pastor and his relating it to some passages in the Bible.

I’ve learned that God is everything and not just about going to church on a Sunday and practicing a religion. God is in all religions not just one, and He is in nature, He is in all the people we see around us, and He can be in everything I come across each and every day. I can experience a sermon at hearing an uplifting AA message at a meeting. I can experience a reciting of words when I pray on my knees throughout the day. I can experience the church music by singing or listening to an inspiring song on the radio. I can experience my connection to people by just smiling at those that may seem down, by holding the door for those going into a building, or by just reaching out and calling someone and listening to what they are going through.

I didn’t go to any church service today and I’m not currently a member of any church. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to it. I just haven’t met a church today that embraces God in everything especially with me and my sexuality. So while my family may have covered up the truth on Sundays when we were wearing our Sunday best, I too have found many places of worship presenting similar illusions.

Even though many churches say they are, many are not all encompassing, all friendly and all welcoming. I went to church services and got the friendly handshakes, hugs, and
hellos, and was greeted with the usual “I’m so glad you’re here today”,
but when I made attempts to join those churches, I was subsequently rejected because of my sexuality and told I wasn’t welcomed. I dug deeper at those churches and I was truthful about me and I saw their truth. If anyone had dug deeper with my family, they would have seen the truth too.

The thing I’ve learned about church, religion, people, and life in general, is that what I may see with my eyes and hear with my ears isn’t necessarily the whole truth. The whole truth is what rests within my own heart and soul and all those thoughts in between. The whole truth is something that I’ve had to discover through a journey alone in prayer and meditation, and with God. The Bible, The Koran, the Torah, and any other great text are all wonderful tools to use for discernment on who God is within our own being.

I love God and I am truthful to the extreme today on every level of my life. What you hear me say, what you see me do, and how I live my life is as truthful as one is going to get. I don’t paint any illusions nor try to present myself as something other than I am. Using a famous person in the Bible; Jesus, well he did just the same. From what I read in the Bible at least, it seems Jesus never wavered from who He was and what He was all about. Why couldn’t my family have been that way? Why don’t churches just state openly their truths? Why don’t people just be honest about where they are at in their lives? I can’t really answer any of those questions because I’m not any of them. I know for me, I wasn’t truthful about my life because I was afraid of not being accepted and liked.

With the work I’ve done on myself so far, I like myself a lot more today. I’m OK with being alone and I love who I’m becoming. I present who I am to everyone else as the same that I present to myself when I’m alone. I’m rejected a lot today from people who don’t understand me and I’m often attacked on some level for reasons that I don’t even understand. But because I love myself and how I live my life today and because I have God at the helm of my life, none of that matters. I just continue to be honest and truthful because that’s how all the spiritual teachers throughout history have been.

On a final note, I still attend a church service every now and then and I’m not against it. There are some wonderful messages that I can hear and some wonderful music that I can feel at them. What’s different today is that I go to church when I would like to, I wear what I want when I go, and while I’m there, I am exactly who I am just like when I’m not there.

JUST BE YOURSELF. I know I am today.

Peace, Love, Lights, and Joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

A Lonely Saturday Night or A Saturday Night Enjoyed Alone?

Saturday nights many, many years ago were once nights filled with whooping it up, drinking and boozing until the wee hours of the morning or until I passed out. When those days passed on by and I found sobriety as a new way of living, Saturday nights were ones filled with clubbing and chasing after the “potential options” that were out there. Or maybe, they were spent online from nine at night until three in the morning chatting to people I knew I never was going to meet, and having conversations with people that usually happens after dating for awhile. I call all those Saturday nights, my addiction years.

From the age of 17 until 39 I occupied my Saturday nights with one intention and one intention only, to get high on something or someone. And it wasn’t a good Saturday night unless that happened. It’s amazing how many years passed doing the same behaviors over and over again and never changing it. Sure, the situations changed, the locale changed, the people changed, but I never did. I was always on the prowl for “my fix”.

So here I sit in front of my computer at just before 7pm on a Saturday night and have no plans. My roommate/landlord on the other hand just left to go out to a dinner party and said he most likely won’t be back until tomorrow morning. I remember those days. I remember them well. I remember the blackouts. I remember waking up next to people that I asked myself “Why?” I remember feeling disgusting, dirty, shameful, remorseful, negative, and sometimes even fearful. And I lived that way on just about every Saturday night for 22 years. 22 YEARS! Wow, to even say that aloud, well in words that is, seems surreal.

1,144. That’s the number of Saturday nights that I spent achieving this sole task.

Nine months ago, I made a decision to clean my whole life up. In my recovery, the pivotal nature was the 3rd step. I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood him. During those 22 years, I lived in my own will more than not. God was always someone to rescue me when I was in trouble. I called God my 911 God. Nine months ago that changed. It was then that I added two words to the third step.

I made a decision to turn my ENTIRE will and my ENTIRE life over to the care of God as I understood him.

What I came to understand was that if I wanted to life fulfilled within solely by the love of God, I need to let everything go and let God put the things in my life that truly mattered to achieve that. The result? I have gone through a complete housecleaning.

All the things that were toxic, all the things that I thought were making me happy, all the places I went to that made me feel good, I parted ways with each of them. Every facet of my life was encompassed prior to this action with some level of self seeking motive. I lived a life of placing things and people in my life and going to those places that I would get what I wanted.

Zoom forward to now. I am sitting at a desk typing this and sharing my heart to no one in particular. I got a salad from the salad bar at Whole Foods and plan on eating that and watching a show or two on the television. I’ve been reading the Beautiful Creatures book series and am towards the end of the 2nd book and will probably find myself in the throngs of it before the night is over.

There is a part of me that is lonely. I’ll be honest with you. There was no one that made a phone call to me and said they would really like to see me tonight and hang out. In the same aspect, I’m ok with that today too. Why? Because I’ve learned to be ok with being alone. My loneliness is really not about the people who didn’t call me and ask me to hang out. It’s not about missing all those people that are still out in the bars who might have found me attractive. It’s not about the vast numbers of individuals who are still online in the chat rooms conversing and looking for “a special friend for the night”. It never was about any of this.

In the amount of time I’ve spent alone these past nine months, I discovered that the loneliness was about missing my best friend, God. It’s my belief that inherently my soul comes to the Earth and occupies a vessel for a lifetime. Why I would leave God’s side and incarnate into a vessel with there is most likely a ton of love and warmth with God I don’t know. Is it to continue to learn lessons? Is it required? Is it to evolve? I don’t know the answers to this. What I do know is that most people come to the Earth like I did, and get lost. They lose their focus because they are born into lives with people that were already lost.

I’m not talking about being lost directionally. I’m talking about being lost spiritually. In my life, I got lost rather early, and I spent most of my life seeking to numb that feeling of loneliness with alcohol, drugs, smoking, sex, gambling, caffeine, and well the list goes on. Now I’m facing that loneliness head on, on a Saturday night no less.

While I feel lonely, I actually am enjoying spending it alone. Tomorrow I will wake up and will not be next to someone who I’m kicking myself that I just did what I did. I will wake up having another day of sobriety. I will wake up free from hangovers, guilt, and frustration about where my life has taken me. Instead, I will wake up and ask God to be in charge of my life for the day. I will ask God to guide me in all my thoughts, actions, and words for that day. And I will wait patiently upon God to find more meaning, purpose, and direction in my life doing what I’ve been doing day in and day out for the past nine months.

I believe I have a purpose, a spiritual purpose, for God. I believe that my self will prevented this from every materializing. I’ve been detoxing on some level and energetically shifting on many levels these past nine months. All those years of doing what I did had a cost. It may have felt good doing what I did when I did it, but it sure doesn’t feel good on the way out of me as I purge my system of all of it.

The bottom line is this. I’m truly grateful that I can sit here on a Saturday night and feel lonely because I really do miss God, but I’m ok with being alone and having a night with just me.

After all, the best relationship next to mine with God is one spent with me.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

I Better Pack My Bags, I’m Going On A Guilt Trip!

What is a guilt trip?

Google defines it as: “An experience of feeling guilty about something, esp. when such guilt is excessive, self-indulgent, or unfounded”.

I define it comically today as “An experience Andrew Dawson had often during his dysfunctional childhood.”

I don’t believe God can ever be present in a guilt trip. Guilt is a tool used by those who wish to selfishly gain off the manipulation of another. Those that fall prey to guilt trips and give what the other person is asking of them are people like me that were never able to establish healthy boundaries in life.

In the alcoholic family I grew up in, there were no boundaries. There was no unconditional love. Things got done more than not with a combination of fear, control, and guilt. I was not able to say no as a child to my father or mother on anything. The sports I partook in, the classes I signed up for, the places we went out to dinner, the vacations we took, the food that was put on my plate, I had no voice in any of it. When I spoke up and tried to establish my voice and a boundary, a guilt trip was usually the result.

When one spends the first 18 years of their life with guilt, it stands to reason that responding to it favorably for someone else’s benefit will continue to occur until one heals from where it started. Until the age of 39 years old, I could easily be guilted into doing just about anything for someone.

I fought very hard as a child for approval and I shouldn’t have. All I wanted as a child was for my mother and father to tell me they loved me and were proud of me for me. I wanted to be good enough just as I was. Why wasn’t sixth place out of 25 in my sectionals swim meet good enough? Why wasn’t the B in school ok? Ironically, they were. I just couldn’t tell myself that then. I listened to my mother and father about how I had to try harder.

Sadly, what I didn’t know then, was that they were just replaying the tapes from their childhood. They were only teaching me what they had learned themselves. And I’m sure their parent’s parents were the same and so on and so forth. Someone had to break the pattern and learn what unconditional love was all about. And at the age of 39 I was exactly like my parents.

I was guilting others to get what I wanted and being guilted by others into what they wanted.

“Will you do this for me. Please? You know that I’m so good to you…”

“Will you loan me some money? You have way more than I do, don’t be selfish…”

“Why don’t you buy dinner for us? You earn more money than me…”

“Can you clean my car for me? You don’t have anything better to do since you’re not working like I am…”

These are just a few of the guilt trips that I’ve experienced. Each one of them I’ve given into. Why? Because I didn’t feel like I was worthy and deserving of unconditional love. I never had it. I only got conditional based love. If I did those things, then I was given a hug, an embrace, and a thank you. If I was lucky, I got a “I love you for that”. That’s all I knew.

I didn’t know that it was ok to say no and that I could still be loved by the person I was saying no to. I didn’t know that there were people out there that might ask if I could do something for them but not put any condition on the end of the request. I didn’t know that those same people would be ok if I said no and still love me just the same. I didn’t know any of that because I was replaying the same tapes with my parents again and again in relationship after relationship.

The saying is true that when the pain gets great enough that a person will take action. For me it took a lot of physical, mental, and emotional pain. It took a lot of fighting and anger. It took a lot of my happiness.

And there came a day when I finally said “ENOUGH!” “Enough of the guilt, enough of the manipulation, enough of the conditional based love. My pain had manifested so great that the price of continuing in the same patterns from my childhood was greater than what I was getting from it. So I faced the people that were doing it to me and said goodbye. Who I was really saying goodbye to were my sick parents. And suddenly I found myself alone and just about friendless.

I had brought into my life so many people that were begging me to work through these issues with my Mom and Dad and finally I did. And I did the one thing that I needed to after I had done the massive cleaning of my house of friends. I spent time with me. I learned how to like me. I learned how to love me. I learned who I was, what I liked, and what I wanted. I realized that I would never be able to have a healthy friendship or partnership with anyone unless I had a healthy one with myself and was able to set boundaries with everyone else.

These past nine months have been a huge learning curve for me. I’ve had to say “no” so many times when my mind was saying yes to people giving me guilt trips. My landlord has asked me many times to take care of his dog when he was running off to do something else or had fallen asleep on the couch and didn’t want to get up. I know today that his dog is not MY responsibility. I took responsibility for so many other people’s things. Their animals, their money issues, their health issues, and so much more. I’m not responsible for making anyone else happy or sad. I’m not responsible for someone else’s life. I’m not responsible for someone else’s responsibilities. I’m responsible for me. Strike that. God is responsible for me and I’m responsible for serving God as best as I can.

Don’t get me wrong. I will help out those that need help and are ailing on some level. But I allow God to guide me now and not my brain which gave into all the guilt consistently my whole life.

Would I walk my roommate’s dog if he was sick? Of course.

There’s a fine line between selflessly helping someone who needs help versus being guilted into helping someone else’s selfish nature out.

The only way I’ve been successful in not falling prey anymore to these guilt trips is to developing that loving relationship with myself and learning about what is ok and what is not. I used to always be on the go and never slowed down to even think about any of this. Thankfully my body responded with enough pain that forced me to slow down and reflect on the state of my life.

I’m still in a learning process. I know I’ve grown though. And I’m very thankful for the progress I’ve made and the boundaries I have put in place.

While saying “No!” is still rather new and difficult, I know the more I practice it, the easier it will become to not pack my bags anymore and go on that guilt trip.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

How Did My Health Get This Bad?

The last few years of my life have been challenging as I’ve been facing physical health issues that surfaced. How I’ve handled them is ironic as it’s paying attention now to the messages I was getting when it all started.

Physical health issues more often than not are the result of imbalances within ourselves that began a long time before the first physical symptom manifested itself. April 27th, 2010 was the day the severe sciatica and numbness began in my left leg. This progressed into developing prostatitis and then other aches and pains that fell under the label of Fibromyaliga. For the first two years after the initial onset of these physical health symptoms, I looked for physical causes and physical treatments. What I didn’t realize is that this all began on a spiritual level a young age.

I, like everyone else, is a spiritual being in a human vessel. I believe we all come here to learn various lessons but in each of them, we are meant to love and embrace each other unconditionally. Sadly, along the way, life happens. Hardship happens. Bad things happen. And our focus shifts to preservation of self we we find ways to be happy that are very selfishly centered.

I was born into an alcoholic family and I was neglected and unloved by them and molested by an outsider in the first 16 years of my life. Spiritually, I had no conception of unconditional love, hope, joy, and peace. Shortly after turning 17, I found my solution to be alcohol and drugs. From then until the age of 23 when they no longer quieted my spiritual imbalances from my childhood, I found my mental thoughts becoming more and more negative. My outlook on life was looking more clouded. I was seeing things through a set of jaded eyes.

Between 23 and 35 years old, I sought out other addictions as my solution rather than finding spiritual peace within and healing from all that unrest as a child. As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I chased sex and love, gambling, caffeine, geographical cures, shopping, traveling, and more until eventually between 35 and 38 years old my emotional state went to a constant up and down with anxiety and depression.

I still didn’t listen to the messages my own body was giving me. I kept myself in unhealthy and abusive friendships and relationships, I chased after people who didn’t want to be with me, I indulged in things that were poisonous to my body, until I found myself in a relationship with a married man (to a woman) who was closeted, a homophobic, and an alcoholic. On some level, I had come back around full circle to my life as a child where I was a son to two very sick alcoholic parents. And then after many days of enduring incredible sadness with this relationship, and many days of carrying constant worry and fear about it, the physical pain started in my left leg. April 27th, 2010.

The messages to heal were there a long time ago. I got sick first spiritually when I grew up in a family that was unhealthy. I didn’t choose to work on releasing that sickness through therapy or some other healing modality when I left home, I chose things to numb those feelings. As time went on, I chased thing after thing and person after person, growing first mentally sick with constant negativity and doubt about my future and then emotionally sick with anxiety and depression. My intuitive self along the way continued to tell me that this person wasn’t good for me, this decision wasn’t the right one for me, this job wasn’t a good fit for me, and this relationship wasn’t healthy for me, but I wasn’t listening.

Those messages got louder, the pain got stronger, until it had to manifest itself somewhere and the only place it had left to go to release itself out of me was on the physical level. So here I am today, January 24th, 2013, still dealing with physical pain. There is a difference though. I realized I can heal and will heal but I have to start from the beginning.

About 9 months ago, I parted ways with all things toxic in my life including possessions, people, meetings and anything else that was perpetuating these life patterns of pain. I then had a baseline to start with and I reached out to God and said to please heal me from within. There are many drugs out there both legal and illegal that have been produced to bring about less pain. All of them on some level simply suppress the body’s own ability to heal. I went down that path for the first few years of this pain and got nowhere other than more angry in life and seeking out worldly things to cope with a miserable existence.

In the past 9 months, I have worked on my spiritual presence here. I pray throughout the day to live in my higher self and to serve a higher existence. I seek God to run my thoughts, words, and actions. I meditate at least 30 minutes in silence once a day. I spend between 30 and 45 minutes every day stating positive mantras. I listen to a spiritual message each morning for 20 minutes to start off my day. And I end my day with writing 9 different things to be grateful for to God in that given day. With all that work, my life has gotten better. First mentally. I noticed my thinking became more positive. My words became more positive. Life seemed a little less negative and clouded. And the more days that I continued to do all these actions, I noticed the depression and anxiety lessened as well. I added in bi-weekly acupuncture, polarity and reiki, and weekly therapy sessions and eliminated all chemical medications and caffeine in the process.

I have started to get some slight relief in my physical pain on many days. I believe that the more I continue my path of healing in the order I got sick, I will get better. I realized I decline first spiritually, then mentally, then emotionally, and finally physically. My healing has been in that same order. I had to work on the spiritual unrest from my childhood first and all the things. I followed on with that throughout my life. Then, I worked on my mental thought process through the mantras and therapy. Thought that and other positive actions, I found emotional healing taking place.

It’s just a matter of time with God at the center now for my life and my healing that the physical relief will come. In the meantime, all I have is today, one day at a time, and I will live it with having God at the helm guiding me on how to be the most loving, spiritual being that I can be in this lifetime.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Gay Stereotype

“Seriously, you’re gay?”

“You don’t look gay?!”

“You don’t act gay?!”

These are just a few of what many have said to me when I talk openly about my sexuality. It’s been 17 years now since I “came out of the closet” and began to deal openly with my sexuality. Before 1995 when I was on the other side and “in the closet”, I remember the many taunts at people that others viewed as gay even if they didn’t know if that person was gay or not. A lot has changed since then with both those that are gay and those that are not and well, a lot hasn’t changed either.

I’m 6’5″, about 170 pounds, with a short crew cut hairstyle and blue eyes. It’s hard not to notice me and most wouldn’t know upon looking at me or spending time with me that I am in a gay relationship. I don’t like labeling myself as gay primarily because of the stereotypes that are associated to the term and lifestyle.

Wikipedia describes a stereotypical gay male as the following: “Homosexual men are often equated interchangeably with heterosexual women by the heterocentric mainstream and are frequently stereotyped as being effeminate, despite the fact that gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation are widely accepted to be distinct from each other. The “flaming queen” is a characterization that melds flamboyance and effeminacy, remaining a gay male stock character in Hollywood. Theater, specifically Broadway musicals, are a component of another stereotype, the “Show Queen”, generalizing that all gay men listen to show tunes and are involved with the performing arts, and are theatrical, overly dramatic, and campy.”

I did a search on Google to see what many say a stereotypical gay person is like. The Wikipedia definition is tame compared to what some think. What’s sad about these generalizations is that they are the same as when I was growing up. In 40 years of my life, it hasn’t changed. Television continues to bring shows on the air such as Will & Grace and Modern Family depicting these stereotypes. People love these shows and they win a lot of Emmys. Modern Family is the latest to win year after year and have nomination after nomination for their portrayal of gay characters. Eric Stonestreet was nominated this year for that very specific role. It’s very believable that he’s gay when you watch him on the show. In real life, he’s not. Neither was Eric McCormack who played the gay man Will on Will & Grace. In a movie, most often a “gay male” is depicted as weak, feminine, flamboyant, and promiscuous. Are there gay males in the real world that are feminine and flamboyant, promiscuous, and like show tunes? Of course. Are there many other gay males out there that are completely different? Most definitely. It’s not even just with gay men. Lesbian women get the wrap with being described and portrayed as being overly masculine, having a deeper voice, short cropped hair, and wearing male clothes. The only main thing different with lesbians on TV and movies today is that they are showing more strikingly beautiful women be sexual with other women. My guess is because it is within many straight male fantasies to be with two women into each other and themselves.

When I tell people about my sexuality, I get a lot of dropped jaws and the questions that I began this posting with. I’ve even got the “but you play sports” and the “are you sure” comments. Is it difficult for mainstream America and really the world in general to embrace a masculine acting man who finds attraction in another man because of these stereotypical portrayals of a gay male? Lesbians don’t get the same treatment. It’s becoming more and more common to see a lesbian woman openly showing affection to other woman in public. I have seen it myself with many women holding hands and kissing in public. Television shows and movies are quick to show this as “it’s more accepted in society”. But have two men regardless of how masculine or feminine acting they are, hold hands in public and/or kiss, and it’s like a needle scratches across a record and the whole room looks up and stares negatively at you.

If the portrayal in mainstream media could shift their focus and start portraying men that are extremely masculine, such as in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, people might begin to remove those stereotypes in their thinking. I’m not living a promiscuous life. I don’t talk with a lisp. I don’t have a swish when I walk. I like sports. I’m not really into Broadway. I wear jeans and Harley Davidson shirts. And…I am attracted to men.

Unfortunately with Hollywood and media portraying the same characters over and over again that people remember easily such as Jack in Will & Grace, the judgments and labels easily continue within mainstream society about what a gay man is all about.

I used to make a joke a long time ago that the main difference between a gay man and a straight man is a six pack of beer. Interestingly enough there is truth behind this joke. I’ve met many men who are married and extremely masculine acting that like men and are sexual with other men. Even worse, it’s usually when their intoxicated on some level. And sadly, it’s usually those same men who are openly calling gay men “fags”, “homos”, and “queers” and spreading those stereotypical labels out there about what a gay man is like.

There is a lot more to a person that is gay then what television or movies portray. Just as there is a lot more to a straight person than what you see portrayed. Does the shift need to happen with Hollywood depicting gay characters and gay relationships as more masculine? Or do more people that are gay and not fitting those stereotypical images need to overcome their fears in public and hold hands and show affection?

There are no differences between gays and lesbians and heterosexuals other than what happens behind a bedroom door. These stereotypes and all others polarize each of us from loving each other. We are all God’s children and all connected in some way. Isn’t it more important to focus on developing unconditional love and acceptance of all people then on segregating each other with how we see things with our eyes, hear things with our ears, and label things with our words?

Peace, love, light and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Ups and Downs of a Sports Fan

It seems a long time ago when my life had a large amount of it revolve around certain pro sports teams. Living in the New England area, it’s hard to exist as a non sports buff. On some level, everyone here seems to wear around a type of paraphernalia favoring one of the local teams. I will admit that I do have a few articles of sports based clothing that place me here in this area.There is a major difference though with me and most people I meet here when it comes to sports. I don’t follow any of the local pro teams nor any of the other ones outside this area. There was a time I did though.

If you live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine or Vermont, your bound to be a loyal devotee of one of the New England based pro sports teams which include the Boston Celtics ( NBA ), the New England Patriots ( NFL ), the Boston Bruins ( NHL ), and the Boston Red Sox ( MLB ). I grew up in New York though and for most of the younger years of my life I followed two local teams, the New York Mets ( MLB ) and the Buffalo Bills ( NFL ), and one other team, the Chicago Bulls ( NBA ). If a game was on with one of those teams, there was a strong likelihood that I was watching it, face glued to the television. If my team won, I was so happy. If my team lost, I was miserable and criticizing the players or the coaches. And then there were the debates I got into with people about how “my team” was better then “their team”.

All of this shifted in my life just past my college years when I lost my father and then my mother both tragically. During those years of grief, I sought healing through several things but one that specifically changed my whole level of interest in life. When I discovered meditation, my life changed dramatically. It was at a silent retreat that I had gone on for ten days that I was given a crash course in meditation.

During that retreat, all the creature comforts of life were removed and I spent ten complete days in silence meditating, walking, and reflecting. There is no media on any level and no writing instruments either. It’s just myself and my thoughts. That’s when I realized how I was on hyper speed in most of my life every single day and how I spun myself up and down based upon so many external things.

When I emerged from the retreat, my eyes were focused differently on life. While everyone and everything seemed to be on a freeway racing at top speeds, I was at a snail’s pace. That’s when I really started to see how I was allowing things outside of me influence how I felt every single day.

Why did I get so bent out of shape when one of the teams I liked lost? Why was I so hyper when one of my teams was winning? Why was I so angry and irritable at life and people around me when my team was doing poorly? Why did I treat everyone around me so much nicer when my team was in first place? Meditating helped me to go deeper with these questions and find some answers.

I wasn’t connected in ANY way to ANY professional athlete on ANY team. Yet I based a large portion of my life around those things and my life reflected it depending on how each was doing. I bragged about how great my team was to others, especially to fans of opposing teams, and I got into arguments to those same people just trying to defend something I wasn’t even connected to.

Upon moving to the New England area, I immediately felt different than most people here. There really are a vast amount of avid fans here of the local pro sports teams, especially the New England Patriots. A few years ago, they went 16-0 and then lost in the superbowl in the final minutes to the New York Giants. I swear you could have heard a pin drop in every house, on every street, throughout all of New England when that happened. And then the next day, it was the most called in sick day that whole year. No one was on the roads, as if it was Christmas Day. A few years later, the same thing happened again in the Superbowl, to the same team, in the last few minutes. And once again, life shut down for another day and everyone seemed angry and irritable. On the news they show people near the stadiums destroying property, shooting guns, getting in fights, and more whether the teams have won or lost.

I’m not sure why I ever was so deeply invested in any team. Maybe it gave me something to believe in. Maybe it was an escape. Maybe it was just something to do. Whatever the reason, it’s not me anymore. I’m not following any team or any player or any sport anymore and interestingly enough, I’m a much calmer person in my life. I’m concerned more today about reaching out and helping others and focusing in on people that are suffering and how I might be of assistance. The other night when the Patriots were playing the Ravens (and lost) I was at a Detox speaking to alcoholics and addicts that were needing help. To me it was a no brainer of where I wanted to be that night. To others that I called and asked if they wanted to join me, I was told I was crazy for wanting to miss “the big game”.

My truth is that I don’t want to feel anxious and jittery anymore and that happened a lot when watching a game. I don’t wish to subject myself to the highs and lows that come throughout the minutes I glue myself to a television during a sports season. I’ve dealt with enough anxiety and depression in my life that I don’t need to enhance it by tying myself so closely into the life of a pro sports team.

The biggest pro sporting event in the country is coming up in two weeks. The Superbowl. Will I watch it? Yes. But not for the reason one may think. I like the commercials and the halftime show. If I could string that all together for 60 minutes of viewing and remove the game, that would be a great hour spent for me.

I really am not on a roller coaster anymore of ups and downs and don’t plan on being again in this life. I like being a much calmer person throughout the day and I know that I wasn’t when I invested hours of my life each week cheering a team on. I’m happy for the athletes if that’s where their passion is. I pray for the best in each of them, their teams, as well as for their safety. That’s about the extent of connection I have anymore to sports. I like feeling more at peace and I’m grateful that meditation helped me to look at my life a little deeper to see what things kept me from getting centered and balanced, being an ups and downs kind of sports fan was just one of them.

Peace, love, light and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Beyond the 12th Step of Recovery

Lately, with the world not ending on 12-21, but going into a shift for greater awareness and healing, I got to thinking about the 12th step in AA.

“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

For those who are in any recovery based program, it is this step where one goes out into the real world and begins to try to make it a better place for not only themselves but more importantly for all others.

In the first part of this step, a person emerging from all their hard work within goes out and helps others who are still suffering from the same condition the steps helped them with. Whether it’s alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, overeating, smoking, sex and love addiction, etc, the first part of the 12th step is for those that have found recovery to go out and share their experience, strength, and hope to others still suffering from the throngs of their addictions.

But, I have found that the second part of this step is one that is often overlooked, “…and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

What does that exactly mean? I wondered that myself for a long time.

When I finished the steps in AA, I thought the only actions of the 12th step were to reach out to the still suffering and sponsor them, offer them hope, get them to meetings, and go speak at places of recovery about my experience, strength, and hope.

There’s more than just that. Look at these words for a moment. “All our affairs.” Is the still suffering “all our affairs.” Is staying only in the arena of that addiction all that is necessary.

I compartmentalized the 12th step in my life and had my work with recovery and those still suffering and then I had the rest of my life. What I discovered is that Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob had a bigger purpose in writing the steps. It was their hope that God or a Higher Power would become the center of a recovered person’s life and that upon their recovery they would emerge a new man or woman and bring more light to this planet in everything they did both inside and outside the halls of their recovery.

Sometimes it’s painful when I see someone speak at the podium or working with another because it’s those same people that I see when not in the recovery mode harboring resentments and being open about them, gossiping, throwing trash out their windows from their car, snapping at those on the highway that aren’t driving the way they think they should be, driving recklessly and endangering others on the road, swearing profusely amongst their friends, diminishing deep intimacy with sexual jokes and perversion and well the list goes on and on.

I only see this because I was guilty of all of those I just listed and more. Each of them was a part of me when I was living partially in self will and partially in God’s will. The point of the 12th step is to be a better God centered individual in everything one does in their life from their words, to their thoughts, and finally to their actions.

It’s my deepest belief that Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob established a foundation for all of recovery based programs to have individuals become more spiritually centered in their whole lives once they were brought fully through the steps.

Back in 2008 with over 13 years at that time of continuous sobriety, I was on the one hand helping alcoholics and speaking in meetings about how great my program and life were and on the other hand I was in adulterous based relationships, driving on the highway at super speeds, watching vast amounts of pornographic material on the web at night, swearing at the drop of a dime, character assassinating people behind their back, and tearing apart my life from within without even realizing it.

“All our affairs” means just that. In every affair of my life from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, I live today with God directing me in everything during those periods. I try to be courteous to others emerging in on roads and let them in ahead of me. I pick up garbage that is in parking lots and bring it to the nearest trash cans. I take shopping carts that are left in the middle of a parking lot to the nearest collector of them. I hold the door open for people behind me when walking into stores. I smile at those who seem to be having bad days. I do extra things around my roommate’s house that he might have on his list of things to do, so as to help him and his burden out. I surprise my partner with doing some of his chores to ease his day. I tell people that I’m proud of them when they achieve something even if its relatively small in their own minds. Sometimes I even buy people in line behind me their coffee’s and donuts. The list goes on.

There is much more that I can do and everyday I ask God to guide me how to serve His needs. Every day is different and every day brings new challenges to me. Sometimes my ego gets in the way. I’m not perfect, but I do try to do those things that even my ego says it doesn’t want to do for someone else.

All in all, I learned that just because one is a good speaker or a good sponsor in recovery, doesn’t mean that they are living the fullest 12th step they could be. Appearances are often deceiving. It’s my hope that I can achieve with every waking breath, a life of servitude to God’s needs and wants, as I know that I’ll be a far happier man in my life then any of the years where I lived in any amount of self-will.

If you have experience in any recovery based program and are out there helping others in your program, please realize that it’s just as important to reach out to the rest of the world in all your thoughts, words, and actions and make it a better place to live.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Grudges and Resentments – Poison To the Soul

One of the things in the New England area that AA groups do are commitments. A commitment is when an AA group will go out to either another group or to a place of recovery such as a Detox, a jail or a halfway house. At those places, its members will share their experience, strength, and hope in their AA recovery. It’s part of the 12th step work of reaching out and helping others.

Recently, I had an interesting experience happen one night when my group was on the schedule to speak at a detox in Brockton, MA at a place called High Point. Sometimes groups get double booked, meaning two different groups are scheduled to speak at the same time. The normal process when that happens is for one person to chair the meeting and to call a mixture of speakers from both groups.

I made a phone call to the detox ahead of time to make sure my group had the commitment that night as a few times that’s happened as well with a group showing up that wasn’t on the calendar. To my disappointment, my group indeed that night was not on the calendar for some unknown reason even though we had it on our calendar. What was ironic though was that the group that was scheduled was my former home group of which I still had AA friends in.

One of its members was still a friend of mine, her name is Jen. I called her and asked if she was going to be there. Sadly, she was not, but she encouraged me to still go. Truthfully I had really been looking forward to the commitment that night as I had not been on one for quite awhile.

After some dilemma, I agreed with her and went. When I walked in there were two people I knew and two I did not from my former home group. Up in the front of the room were five chairs and four of them were occupied. A girl I knew out of the people there asked me if I was even part of their group anymore and I made a joke about not being sure where my home was lately. She laughed and then I told her about my group having been on the calendar and then suddenly we weren’t.

This is where the story brings up the title of this posting. Also at this commitment was a guy who I had known for several years. He is most often referred to by a nickname but for purposes of anonymity in this posting, his name is Darren. Having just seen him a few weeks before and sharing a good conversation, I said hello and he ignored me which I found odd. Then he slid his chair towards the wall as far away as he could get from me which I found even more odd. He was chairing the meeting and just before he was to begin I asked him what was up and why he was sitting so far away.

The only response I got was that he was just claiming his space. During the commitment I noticed he wouldn’t look my way at all and when I tried to talk to him silently during it he closed his eyes and ignored me. He proceeded to call the three people to my left that were members of his group first and then with 15 minutes still left in the meeting, he called me.

When the meeting ended the other three members said goodbye and it was nice seeing me and hearing from me and several of the women and men in the detox came up and thanked me for a God centered message. I went to say goodbye to Darren and he was already gone.

I’ve really tried in my life today with recovery to not take ownership of other people’s stuff. I’m far from perfect in this and can say there are still areas of unsettledness within me and insecurity when I know someone has an issue with me.

Two nights later, I showed up at this former home group for a beginner’s meeting. Darren was in the front of the room helping to set up. I went to talk with him and ask him what was up from the other night and he walked away. When I proceed to follow him into the kitchen in the church basement and ask him for a few minutes as I had a question for him, he said he had nothing to say to me. I could feel the anger seething from him towards me and yet I had no idea what it was about.

Then the topic that night was presented at the beginner’s meeting by the speaker. It was about letting go of anger and resentments. How ironic! I listened to each person that raised their hand and was called up. One of which was Darren. I found it interesting when he shared because he talked about how he was free of anger and resentments and how his program was working so well that he didn’t walk with the anger anymore in his life that he once had.

It reminded me of much of my own journey where I went into meetings and wanted to speak just to feel important. I would tell everyone when I shared how great things were in my life, how I was free from this or that, and yet deep down I was still that same angry and resentful person. In hearing Darren’s message I saw the mirror for myself on something that I did quite often in my life until I truly decided to turn over my will completely as the 3rd step says to the care of God.

It’s been about two weeks now since that night and I have come across his path a few more times. Each time he has completely ignored me. Last night was the most difficult as I was talking to two AA friends of mine and Darren was also talking to them and when he left he said goodbye to the both of them directly with their names and said nothing to me.

I really don’t know what Darren’s anger and resentment towards me is about. I’m not really sure why he’s ignoring me. I wish I did. The human side of me has thought a lot about every possible thing it might be and I finally just prayed and I’ve been praying. A pacifist by nature, I like everyone to be happy and joyful with each other and I don’t like feeling anger or resentments. They are poison within. They eat away at the soul. If I was to walk in a room of 10 people and 9 of them shake my hand and say they are happy to see me and one ignores me, guess what, I want to know why and the self-centered side of me wants to fix that person and make them talk to me or like me again.

I’ve been praying daily for Darren to be free from whatever anger or resentment he holds towards me. I send him peace, love, and light and hope that whatever it is will come to the surface and that he will share it with me. My recovery today has taken me to a place where I will own anything that I may have done to bring harm to anyone else on any level. And what I’ve learned as well in my recovery is that I can make the attempt to find out what it is by speaking with the person if I don’t know what it is. If that attempt is met with a conversation, then I listen with an open heart. If that attempt is met with avoidance as such with Darren, I’ve learned there is nothing I can do.

It’s frustrating on some level now for me because it’s like the “elephant in the room” when I see him. I go to say hello and then I realize he doesn’t want to talk to me for whatever resentment he’s harboring. I don’t want to hold anger, resentments, grudges or anything negative towards anyone today including him. My own will leads me to being angry back at him. God’s will helps me to let it go and pray for peace, love and light for him.

It’s IMPOSSIBLE to be spiritually centered and God driven when I hold anything negative towards anyone. Where Darren is at is where I lived for most of my life. I am not better than him. I spent many years harboring negative thoughts and feelings towards people that I didn’t like for whatever my mind told me. Today, it’s not a way that I want to live and I’ve made a choice to live differently. I practice daily praying for those that I might feel anger or resentment towards. I also have a list of mantras that work around that same area and I do them each morning. It’s my goal each day to serve God faithfully and love all the people here on this planet, even those that I may not like how they are treating me.

I will continue to pray that Darren will find peace within himself towards whatever it is that has cause him to now ignore me. As much as it’s difficult for my wanting the whole world to get along and for everyone to like each other, the sad reality is that people aren’t there yet and that people carry those grudges.

To be filled with God’s pure light and be a beacon of hope and joy for everyone, all darkness, negativity, and toxicity must to be removed. I pray that one day Darren may approach me and talk about whatever he has been carrying negatively towards me, until then I turn it over to God and will pray for Darren’s happiness.

Peace, love, light and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

To Tell or Not To Tell the Truth, That Is The Question

I have watched lately with great sadness about the demise of Lance Armstrong. Lance finally came clean with the world through his interview with Oprah Winfrey about his drug use and cover-up of it.

For years the public has watched the media report on the accusations of Lance’s drug use. Teammates, commissions, panels, doctors, and more continued to state Lance Armstrong was using drugs and earned all his wins because of it. And the world waited with bated breath each time there was an accusation only to find out each time that there was no proof. Lawsuits, counter-lawsuits, denials, and more denials. 

Ironically, I never was into cycling until I saw Lance win his first Tour De France. It was such a big thing because Americans never seemed to win the Tour De France with the exception of Greg Le Mond. But then there was Lance who won once, then twice, and then again, and again and again until he had garnered seven titles.

To watch bicyclists on television race in a foreign country seemed rather boring to me for most of my life prior to Lance Armstrong. But he became an inspiration to me with having battled cancer and then winning year after year at a race that Americans rarely won or even placed in the top three.

The news continues to report on how Lance Armstrong let the world down and how people are very angry and hurt because of his lies. I don’t feel that way.

Lance is still an inspiration to me. Why? Because he finally told the truth.

Until the last few years of my life, where I have made a stand to be honest, open-minded, and in integrity with all my thoughts, words, and actions, there were many times I lied. It was just several years ago that lies were commonplace for me. A lie is such that if one gets away with it, it becomes easier to lie again and more difficult to be honest about the truth. And when one lies enough, it’s easy to begin to even believe one’s own lies. That was me. And for the really big lies, that affected many people, the last thing that I ever wanted was to be exposed as a fraud.

I’m not sure when Lance first lied about his drug use. But I’m positive that after his fame started spreading, that when his dream to spread hope to other cancer patients and survivors expanded, and where children everywhere had begun cycling to aspire to become him, that it became next to impossible to tell the truth.

Lies are like poison within our bodies, minds, and souls. They eat away within us and tear away at the very fragment of our existence. I give Lance a lot of credit for going as long as he did with the lying. I’m sure that everyday the news reported on someone publicly announcing that Lance was using drugs, it gnawed at his soul.

What would you do if you were famous and the whole world had changed on some level to now loving a sport that once wasn’t so popular, to how cancer patients now had more hope, to how people in general began having the “little engine that could” syndrome? The argument is that he never should have lied from the beginning. In fact most would say he never should have done any drugs in the first place as well.

Hindsight is 20/20 or so the saying goes. The point is that he lied and he got away with it, for a very long time and the world changed for the better with his lies. And now the world seems to be hurting with the truth.

This brings me back to my point of why Lance is still an inspiration to me. He told the truth and placed his whole life on the line. He brought to the surface all the cover-ups and admitted his drug use.

Lance has been stripped of everything because of telling the truth. He’s lost his titles, he’s lost his golden boy status of fame, and he probably will lose a lot of money before all this is said and done between the sponsors dropping him and lawsuits. But he told the truth knowing this was all going to happen.

That takes a lot of strength to do. Lance can now heal. Truly heal. Spiritually. The poison can leave him now. And he can move on in his life and be an inspiration to others on a different level. What is that inspiration? Well the main one would be telling the truth and being honest. Another would be not taking drugs to excel in a sport. But more importantly, Lance doesn’t have cancer and millions of people still do. He can still provide hope to others through honesty about where his demons took him and how he rose above that and healed not only physically from the cancer but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Lance if somehow you should ever read this. I’m proud of you. It takes a tremendous amount of spiritual strength to do what you did. While the news may report on how so many look disapprovingly on you, know that one still finds you to be an inspiration.

Peace, Love, Light, and Joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Intimacy? (In-To-Me-See?)

This has been the topic as of late for me. I saw this word once in an AA conference broken down like this and it got me to thinking about my life. Intimacy is a funny thing in that many people, including myself for a very long time, when hearing the word, think sex.

Ironically what I have learned over time is that intimacy is something altogether different and is present in not only romantic relationships, but also friendships too. And something that has surfaced recently with me is the fear and trust issues that arise when someone is “in to me see”.

From the time that I was very young and dealt with my alcoholic and mentally ill parents, there wasn’t intimacy between us. The intimacy I envision might be present in a healthy family with parents and their children is sitting down with them and showing them interest in their homework, their personal lives, loving them even when they fail, and lifting them up when they are down, and most importantly, just letting them know in general that they are proud of them just as they are.

That doesn’t happen in an alcoholic family. Sadly the children of alcoholics often are abused and made to feel they aren’t worthy of love and that they aren’t good enough. My sister and I experienced just that.

So I never experienced intimacy with my Mom or Dad and had to find someone else to have that connection with.

Who I found was the diving coach on my swim team. He liked me a lot. He showed me a lot of interest. He praised me. He told me lots of nice things……and…..he molested me after all that. That was at 12 years old, with a 40’s something year old man.

In the first 17 years of my life that’s all I was to experience was not feeling good enough in my own family, and being sexually molested by someone I thought was a friend. And because I did not get therapy and counseling around any of this, I went into my adulthood finding friends and partners who repeated this cycle.

I didn’t know what intimacy was. I didn’t know I deserved love for who I was not for what I could offer or do. With my parents I had conditional based love. I had to do many things to even get them to praise me and even then, it never felt satisfactory to them. And with that diving coach who I thought was my friend, I gave up a part of my physical self.

Until just last year, I lived year after year with friendships and romantic relationships with people that used me, abused me, took advantage of me, dominated me sexually, and commented on how many things I still had to change to be “normal”.

Rarely if ever did I hear the words that I was good enough for any of them. Rarely did I ever hear that someone liked me just because I seemed like I had a good heart. And when I did hear those words from someone, guess what I did? I ran the other way. Why? Because I spent more than 20 years of my life not believing that I was worth anything to anyone unless I gave a part of myself away. When someone truly liked me for me and wanted to be with me just because of my heart and soul, I didn’t trust it genuinely. I was so used to being used and taken advantage of that I thought there had to be angle. There had to be something that someone wanted from me.

John (from The Mirror In My Face posting) was a perfect example of that. He told me he just liked me for me, that he loved me for me. And I’d try to work through those old tapes and those old fears, and walk through that uncomfortability and open a part of me up that I hadn’t and what I got was guilt trips, and sexual advances, and how he wanted this or that with me on a romantic level. All I was wanting was a friend to like me for me and not want a single thing more from me. He was just one of so many that I allowed to continue to come into my life and reaffirm what I had gone through as a child.

In the past 9 months I have removed all of those people that bring me back to my childhood. I have removed all of those toxic, unloving, self-seeking, conditional based love people. I don’t need them. I never did. God has blessed my life with a wonderful partner today who loves me for me. I use the saying “warts and all” even though at the present moment of me writing this, I don’t have any warts. I’m not sexual right now in my life and my partner doesn’t mind. He loves my heart and my soul. He loves our friendship. And he’s ok with what I offer. I also have a true friend that has been in my life for over 15 years. Over the years he has truly shown his unconditional love for me as a friend. I’m grateful for that.

As I continue to walk through the fear and let people get closer to me today, I have more of a sixth sense now to those that have a hidden agenda. I have more of a knowing of those who aren’t healthy for me. Being around my partner or my best friend and a few others in my life who have God at the center of their lives and are not living for what they can get from others has helped me go down a better path.

It’s definitely scary for me today being close to my partner or my best friend. They are “in to me see”?! And they aren’t into me for my body, for money, for possessions, or for a relationship that they think they deserve or have to have. They are in my life because they genuinely love my soul and can be near me without needing anything more. They appreciate the time I spend with them even if its just for a few moments here and there. And they love me even when I let them down or do something that may not be in the best that I could be.

Intimacy is so much more than sex. Intimacy is so much more than what happens in a bedroom. Intimacy is loving someone without conditions. Intimacy is accepting someone just as they are. Intimacy is appreciating someone just because they exist.

It has always been foreign to me to be close to anyone. With no knowledge of someone liking me just because and with having always had people telling me I wasn’t good enough or self-seeking something off of me, intimacy and intimate based connections scared me.

The more that I walk through that fear, the more I stay away from those people that reaffirmed the old tapes, and the more that I spend time with those that love me just as I am, I find that I can be intimate and receive intimacy. I’m happy to say that God truly has helped me in developing this belief.

Peace, Love, Light, and Joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Progression of Addictions

I was listening last night to a speaker at my AA home group and heard him mention something that I’ve heard many times before. He made mention to how there is “us”, meaning alcoholics and addicts, and “them”, meaning all others.

My experience is drastically different from that viewpoint. For most of my life I have been more of an extrovert and have chosen to not be so “anonymous” about my addictions. In the midst of being so vocal about them, I have talked to many people who weren’t addicted to alcohol or drugs, but the majority of them were battling with some other dependency. I found too that most people didn’t like to label themselves as addicted to anything.

In my spiritual journey to get closer to God, I have come to realize that anything I found solace in and built a dependency around was simply because I was covering up an emptiness inside. In AA meetings this is often referred to as the “hole in the soul”. People share quite often about how alcohol or drugs filled that hole and numbed that emptiness. I can attest.

My emptiness began a young kid. I lived with an alcoholic mother and father who chose to point out flaws and imperfections instead of loving unconditionally. Pointing the finger was commonplace. And more than often, the blame for my parents problems was placed on either myself or my sister. When my mother died in 2005, I had to clean out my childhood home with my sister and we found many letters that we had written as young kids to our parents. Each of these said in some way that we were sorry for being bad kids, for their fighting, and for any pain we caused them. Yet my sister and I were not bad kids. We tried out best to show them how good we were. We both excelled in school, sports, after school activities, and even in the thoroughness of the chores that we were assigned to do.

In the eyes of an alcoholic or an addict, it’s never good enough. Something is always wrong. And I grew up with a very strong message that I wasn’t good enough.

To make matters worse, in trying to excel in my sport of choice, swimming, I ended up being molested by the diving coach. I was 12, he was in his 40’s. I had known from a very young age that I was attracted to men, prior to being molested. The molestation was my first sexual experience in my life sadly. I was never given a birds and the bees talk prior to that or after. Left to my own thinking, I found fantasy and self-gratification through which I relived being molested again and again. I thought it was normal what I had experienced and it had for a moment, made me feel good on some level as compared to the hole I normally felt inside.

Until the age of 17, I lived in my fantasy world alone. If I felt down I would go back to the fantasy world. If I felt up, I would go back to the fantasy world to try to feel even better. And then I discovered alcohol.

I had never had a drink before because I didn’t want to be like my parents. After a pivotal junior year in high school where I went from being an outcast and a loaner, to merging into the “in crowd”, I was invited to a party. After lying to my mother to get to that party, I was handed my first cup of beer. When I finished the first cup, the effect was amazing, even more so than the fantasy world I lived in on most days. So I had a second cup and then I blacked out and passed out and began a five year long run of alcohol and drug exploration.

Combine that deadly combination with picking up cigarettes during those years and I found myself smoking a pack of Newports while I drank or took some type of drug every day.

For awhile, it did was it was meant to do. It numbed me. It hid down all those years of loneliness. It hid down that “hole in the soul”. It quieted down the demons from being molested, abused, and picked on for most of my life. It covered up the fact that I was attracted more to men versus women. And it made me feel like I just didn’t care about anything that I would classify as painful. With any addiction or dependency though, eventually consumption grows more and more to get the same effect. Those terrible voices from deep down inside me were getting louder and louder no matter how much I was consuming of any of them. And one day I found myself not being able to quiet them down anymore and my life started to spiral out of control.

I hit my first major bottom on June 10th, 1995, the day before my 23rd birthday. I was sitting with my closest friend from college, Rob, at my apartment in Fairfax, VA watching TV. I had developed feelings for him and was using all those substances to cover that up. I had acted only a few times during my college years on my attraction to men, each of which was when I was in a complete state of inebriation of which I passed it off onto as the cause.

On this moment in my apartment, I was attempting to get closer to Rob while he attempted to move farther away. It spurred on an argument which led to me feeling that I was going to throw up. I went into the bathroom and got down on my knees and instead of hurling, I prayed. I had never really prayed before selflessly. God was always a genie type of God to me. God, I wish for this please. God, I wish for that please. In this moment, it was different.

“God, I can’t handle my life like this. I can’t handle all these feelings. I don’t want to be addicted to any of these things anymore. Please help me. Help me get beyond this. Help me become a better person.”

That was as close to the prayer as I remember. And God answered. I can only describe it as a spiritual awakening, but instantaneously, the desire to drink, do any type of drug, or smoke cigarettes went away. My sobriety date for all three is June 11th, 1995, my first full day without any of them.

I wish I could say this was the end of my life as an addict. I titled this blog entry as “The Progression of Addictions” because that is what happened to me after this day. The alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, were not my problem. My problem was all that pain inside. My childhood was filled with a ton of it and on top of that, I was not sure if I was bi-sexual or gay. Without those things to “calm me down” and “cope with my life”, I had two choices. I could bring it all to the surface and seek help through counseling and recovery support through 12 step meetings, or I could keep numbing myself through other dependencies. I chose the path that was easier for me back then. I found other dependencies. I wasn’t ready to face all that pain.

Over the next 16 years, while I never did pick up a drink or a drug again. And while I never went back to smoking a cigarette. I found that there were many other things I could do that would make me feel good for a moment and I chased them.

I got addicted to sex instantly and joined groups that made that seem acceptable.

I jumped into long term relationships to hide from the random sex and became codependent on each one of them until they no longer made me feel good and I would move on to the next.

I got addicted to seeking better jobs that might “fix me” and “make me happier” so I quit job after job citing something was wrong with each of them, and got subsequently re-hired at a higher paying one each time.

I found that caffeine gave me a buzz when I drank it and also enhanced my euphoria that went hand in hand with my sexual prowess. My consumption of high caffeinated coffees and sodas became astronomical.

As the money I earned increased with the higher paying jobs, so did my purchases. I bought every techno gadget that came out. I had to be the first to have it. I bought multiple cars, houses, designer clothes, shoes, and so much more.

I found gambling and grew dependent on buying lotto tickets, scratch tickets, and playing slot machines.

The internet rolled around, and I discovered free porn and online chatting. I would spend hours and hours until dawn rolled around engaging in it.

I made tons of friends and then tons of enemies and got addicted to geographical cures. I moved from place to place thinking I could hide from the past and just recreated the past wherever I went.

I travelled outside the country when the money came in greater to afford that and went from country to country, cruise to cruise, destination to destination, seeing some of the greatest things this world has to offer and yet I was miserable.

I bought a business, investing money in someone else’s dreams, and lost that business.

I chased after heterosexual men who were active in their own addictions and tried to fix them while I grew addicted to being around them.

I overate filling myself with so much food (especially desserts) and then went and worked out for hours on end to burn it off.

And eventually the spiritual pain I originally started with as a young child became mental pain as I chased addiction after addiction,which then became emotional pain as the abuse to myself from all the addictions and obsessions I had got worse, and one day as I mentioned in my last blog, it all cumulated into massive physical pain.

That is the progression of addictions. There was nothing that I could consume or do without becoming addicted to it. Each of those things I mentioned was a numbing agent to me. Something to cover up that emptiness within. Something that would hide the fact that I had done nothing important in my life. Something that would shadow over the truth that I was so selfish and self-centered and rarely helped another with any type of unconditional love.

I had no God at the center of my life. I was the center of my own life. And I acted accordingly as I saw fit and was destroying my life and this vessel my soul lives within as such. It was the physical pain that manifested that made me hit the worst bottom that I’ve ever hit in my life. And it made me slow down and look at what I did to myself. And that’s when I took action. When the pain was great enough to face all those demons that were there prior to me ever doing any type of dependency on anything in this life.

Over the past 9 months, by placing God first in my life, I have successfully stayed away from caffeine and any other stimulants, gambling, all toxic friendships that were surrounding my sex/love addictions and codependency, started eating much healthier and in much healthier portions, focused on healing as the only job to pursue, and learned how to like being with me alone.

My conclusion in all this is that with me being at the center of my own world, trying to find my own happiness, I found nothing but consumption of things that there never was enough of. Placing God first in my life on everything has led me down a path where I don’t want to be quickly stimulated by anything or anyone. For as high of highs that I’ve experienced in this life with so many different things, I too have experienced the worst low of lows. The rollercoaster hills were great in my life without God at the center. Today, it’s more like I’m on a kiddie coaster as my life smooths itself out and I continue to heal from all those wounds I endured since a child.

If you find yourself needing anything to “quiet the nerves” or “enhance your mood” on any given day whether it’s a drink, drug, sex, gambling, caffeine, chocolate, food in general, material good, trip away, or whatever it may be that you find a drive towards, you may want to look within and ask what you are covering up. I covered up my wounds for way too long and at 40 years old, I’m finally facing all of it and having God direct me from here on out.

Peace, Love, Light, and Joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Mirror In My Face

(For anonymity purposes, all names in this posting have been changed.)

In my previous posting I mentioned someone, named John, who had been in my life in the past. I thought it might be noteworthy to expand more him as it truly was a great learning lesson that I went through from November of 2007 to January of 2012 when he was a part of my life.

There is that old adage that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. John came into my life for a reason and several seasons although he believed it was supposed to before a lifetime if not all future lifetimes.

Something about myself that I never faced was my own codependency and addiction/obsession issues. I truly believe that God answers our prayers to grow spiritually by allowing people to come into our lives that will help teach us the lessons we so desperately want to learn.

One night in November of 2007 when my former home group in AA was not meeting due to scheduling issues with the church it resided in on a Friday night, I went with my friend Devon to an AA meeting neither of us had gone to. It was an AA meeting that was listed in the book as gay/lesbian. Rarely if ever did I got to meetings with this type of listing because I found myself at the meetings not focusing on why I was there (recovery) and more on what was there (options, i.e. my addictions).

On that night, I spoke in that AA meeting when it became open discussion and told people I was new to the area and was looking for friends. Looking back at that night all those years ago, I realized that my speaking up was not spiritual based and was self-seeking based. There were a few people in the room I was attracted to and was hoping they would give me their numbers.

When the meeting ended, a few people did approach me and give me their numbers, one of which was someone named John who I thought was slightly my type as based upon the addiction based life I normally sought. Today I know so much more about these patterns and have not lived in them but back then I sought after people that kept reliving the same drama I continued to put in my life.

The only number that night that I placed emphasis in calling was John’s. There were many days in the past that I wished I could go back and change that night and not even show up at that meeting. Today, I am grateful I did because I learned lessons through my connection with John that I might have never learned if I hadn’t shown up there and connected with him.

Within a week, I had met up with John at a restaurant for a meal and realized that night he wasn’t someone that I wanted to pursue out of my addiction/obsessions. Something I learned in recent months is that the trauma I suffered as a child with the mental and emotional abuse at home along with being molested at 12, were catalysts to me living in unhealthy addiction based relationships for most of my life. After I had come to acceptance of my sexuality, the type of man that I sought was abusive, emotionally despondent, and selfish. All of those traits led right back to my childhood.

John didn’t fit those traits. John was just like me. He was insecure, codependent, and just wanting to be loved as he hadn’t been truly loved in his life ever. Sadly, when you put two people together that have the same issues, it generally leads to nothing positive and a lot of finger pointing.

Initially from around November of 2007 to maybe the beginning of the summer of 2008, I developed a friendship with John. Sadly, my motives for developing the friendship were selfish based. John was just like me in that he never felt like people would want to be in his life unless he went above and beyond the call of duty with gifts, money, etc to those people. Because I was a spiritually sick individual that was self-centered at that time in my life, I thought I would allow myself to take advantage of those things from someone else since my whole life had been doing those same behaviors to friends.

In the first month of knowing John he had bought me many dinners out, a new Braun shaver system, and other miscellaneous gifts that I don’t remember anymore. I also thought that I could fix John. The one difference between him and I was that I was outgoing and social and he was introverted and withdrawn. At that time he had no friends to spend time with outside of work. It gave me a purpose back then. Maybe I could change him and make him what I thought was cool and popular.

It didn’t work. As time went on, he became more and more enamored with me. Friends began to tell me they were seeing this and that I should back off. I didn’t see it. Maybe I did but I was so focused on what I needed. John was a good guy. He would listen to hours and hours of me complaining about the people in my life that I was doing those same behaviors to that he had been doing to me. John was a great consoler. What I didn’t know was that John was becoming addicted to having me in his life. He was building up an obsession to me and he was falling in love with me on top of all that.

It started to become clear just how much this was happening when I went away with my closest friend Devon, as well as John on a roller-coaster trip in June of 2008. We made a stop through in John’s hometown on the way to Kings Island in Ohio. On the first night away, we went to a gay bar where I met someone I felt was more my type. I was single and my focus back then when I was single was always on what I thought I needed. When one is codependent and suffering from addiction properties, they usually don’t feel complete unless they have someone in their lives as a relationship. That’s how I was for most of my life. What I didn’t know is that is how John was becoming too.

So on that night, at this random gay bar, I was dancing. I used to like to dance to house music. And I met this guy who I thought seemed genuinely nice. When the guy asked if we could spend more time talking after we left the bar, I said sure but that I was staying at my friend’s house and that he’d have to follow us back to the house and then I’d go talk to him from there.

As we left the bar when I was driving John and Devon in my car back to John’s mother’s home which we were visiting, this man followed us. In the back seat sat John who was extremely silent. Devon and I were talking about how much fun the bar was and suddenly there was deep sighing with a sense of anger in the sighing in the back seat. After about three of these, John exploded and started screaming at how wrong it was for me to be doing what I was doing. I felt so bad for Devon who was just on the beginning of being in the middle of the drama that truly had begun between John and I. I spent a few hours that night talking to this guy and that was it. Nothing else. I never have been the type of person that sleeps around for fun. I have always been more of a passion based person. When I had come home to the house where I was staying, it must have been after 2 or 3am. John was sitting in the house by the front door with his arms crossed looking very angry. I didn’t want to deal with it, and I just went to bed.

The next morning I had assumed the whole thing had blown over and I went to talk to John. I was wrong. Very wrong. John exploded on me again. That was one thing I never enjoyed AT ALL with him. He had a rage about him that was so bad, it was seriously unattractive on any level. That was one trait that I rarely, if ever, showed. I have always been more of a pacifist.

In between John’s rasps, he said that I was supposed to be his partner. That the love he had for me was true and genuine. That God told him we were supposed to be together and that we were twin flames reincarnating life after life to be together with each other.

I was stunned. The truth was finally out that John had some type of love towards me. He stated he had fallen for me while from the outside to others, it appeared he was addicted and obsessed with me and had love in between all that. That was my pattern with others. I wished I had been able to see the mirror when it all started.

It took another 3 1/2 years of craziness with John and I for me to finally see it within myself.

A few months after that initially outburst, the drama had gotten so bad between him and I. Friends had walked away from wanting to be around me and my sponsor had told me the friendship wasn’t healthy for me. I didn’t listen and I kept hanging around taking what I could from the friendship that was still serving me. I had only me to blame. I gave John false hope. I told him what he wanted to hear. I told him that I didn’t feel the way he did but maybe one day I might. I told him we were best friends but I never felt that way.

And one day in the fall of 2008, when the arguing which had been happening daily got too much, John went and got a tattoo of me super imposed on his chest. He had taken a photo of me and him and had an artist place the picture of me above his heart.

When he told me and further showed me it, I was stunned. He told me that he felt that if I ever walked away from him that at least I would always be close to his heart. I have never thought my actions of keeping him around would lead to this kind of behavior. My friends were all freaked out and in turn I was as well.

I did what I thought was healthiest at that time and I told him I couldn’t be his friend anymore and moved on with my life. Sadly, I became more sick after that. I did most of those same behaviors with others with the exception of getting a tattoo.

And one day in 2009 the sick spiritual life I was living began to catch up with me. My health was deteriorating and I was dealing with chronic pain issues. Instead of seeking healthy help to deal with where I was at, like a therapist and most importantly, God, I chose to believe that John was better. He had been communicating still with Devon and my sister and they led me to believe he was better.

What I didn’t realize then is another trait that someone who has an addiction and obsession does, they present to the people closest to you a very wonderful picture of how good their life is so that it will hopefully lead to getting back what they so want. That’s what I would do when I was faced with a similar situation and that’s exactly what happened with John.

So on an exceptionally pain riddled day John had made an attempt to contact me and reach out. He had attempted to do that on and off throughout the time we hadn’t been talking. And on that day, in that moment, I responded and Round 2 of our connection began.

From the spring of 2009 to around the mid winter of 2010, John and I became friends again. My reason for brining John back in my life was purely selfish. I missed one thing about him. The health and healing side of John that came to my rescue when I was down and out. John was into a lot of the holistic healing that I was in. And I rather than me going out and paying for help, I went to him, for everything. All my drama, all my pain, all of my misery, I went to John.

This is what makes an addiction and obsession based relationship so alluring. This is what makes a codependent relationship so sick. John got what he wanted, which was someone who needed him. I got what I wanted, which was someone to tell me I would be ok.

It doesn’t work.

Both people grow more sick and dependent on each other. Both people blame their misery on each other. Both people fall further away from God.

That’s what happened to me.

And that’s what happened to John.

John became jealous of those people I continued to chase after and get addicted to myself. I became angry at John’s jealousy and guilt based comments. And the two of us began to go to both Devon and my sister as intermediaries causing them unrest and frustration.

John threatened suicide and generally told me that he would never love again. That God wronged him. That love sucked. And constantly asked God why God would give him the feelings that he had for me if I wasn’t going to return them.

And eventually the whole friendship went down for the count and Round 2 ended.

I wished I could say that was the end of the mess.

It wasn’t.

The next round happened because my sickness continued. I was involved with this guy named Ralph who was married and an active alcoholic. I was living my life so spiritually sick. I mentioned some of this in my previous posting yesterday. John had been out of my life for a bunch of months and that dreaded day happened on April 27, 2010 when the pain struck me like fire in my left leg.

I had been praying for God to help me heal and truly end this long saga of sickness that I had been living in. The answer came in the most unexpected way. It came through great physical pain.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take the most healthiest actions at that point when the pain started. I picked up the phone and called John and sought his help and did what I always did when I needed something. I apologized for all my previous stuff that I had said and done. I made John believe that I was wrong for most of what had happened in Round 2. And, worst of all, I gave John hope again and Round 3 was upon us.

Round 3 should have been the end. It really should have been. I spent from April 27th of 2010 until around January of 2011 having John in my life again. I never felt good about any of this. I caused a lot of pain both for myself and for him. I made John believe that maybe one day I might feel the way he did. I only did that because I was afraid to go through all the pain I was going through alone. I didn’t really have any friends left. My addiction and obsession based life had pushed most people away. Devon and I barely hung out anymore because of how sick I had become.

And that’s when I met Mike. Mike was brand new in AA and trying to recover from an opiates addiction. He was a former Marine and a rough and tough Harley biker type of guy. As Mike came into my life, I forced John out. The more that I chased after someone I was attracted to, the more that John’s anger and jealousy increased. I was the same way towards the people I chased after when they didn’t want to be with me.

It’s amazing just how long we will put ourselves through unhealthy behaviors and just how blind we are to the mirrors in front of us that are there to help us heal. So as I got closer to Mike, I ended Round 3 with John.

Over the course of the next four months, my pain levels increased, drastically….everywhere. I lost my faith in God. I lost my faith in holistic medicine. I lost my faith in my own healing’s abilities. I landed at the doctor’s office. The one place that I hadn’t been to in more than a decade. I had been healing holistically for so long. Mike was the opposite of me in so many ways. He didn’t really believe that God can heal. He believed that medicines and drugs were the answers to every ache and pain.

And what I didn’t know is that when you spend most of your time around someone with strong beliefs like that, especially when you have an addiction or obsession towards then, you begin to become like them. And I did. I started like Harley’s, I started going to the doctor’s for every problem I had, I started acting tough and badass in the best way I thought I could. And ironically, I started dating women thinking I could get closer to Mike by being that way.

That’s how sick I had become. I had truly lost sight of God and myself in every way possible.

And guess where I landed? I landed in the mental hospital for about 5 days. I had become so depressed and was living with so much anxiety. I was put on anti-depressants and started having a cupboard of medications I was on. I found myself becoming lower and lower even on the medications because I knew inside how sick I was but yet I wasn’t stopping any of my behaviors.

And then I did the unthinkable. As if the pain hadn’t been great enough. As if the drama in my life had not been great enough. I brought John back in shortly after getting out of the mental hospital. I told myself that I needed someone to tell me everything was going to be ok. I needed someone to console me through the drama I was creating with Mike. John was the only one who I thought could do that. And I convinced myself that it would be different this time. That is how crazy things get when someone is spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically sick. Their brain tells me things that aren’t true. All of those bad times that happened with John and I were just shoved under the rug and I picked up the phone and called him beginning Round 4.

Round 4 lasted until January of 2012. It was the worst of all of them. In any sick relationship that God is not at the center of it, it will only continue to get worse. In AA they say that the untreated alcoholic will continue to get worse even after periods of sobriety as when they relapse, they go right back to where they left off. That’s how it was with John and I. The drama would always pick back up within a matter of days.

And the sad thing is that we both allowed it. I would blame him for my problems. He would blame me for his problems. Both of us blamed God for our problems. It was awful.

And I did the unthinkable. John told me that he believed I wouldn’t heal unless I allowed his love in. Where my brain and thinking was at in that sick state of my life, I believed that I had to be with him more than a friendship. So I allowed myself to live in a sexual connection with him, somewhat of a friendship with benefits, for a few months. I can’t tell you how awful this made me feel every time I did something.

I felt repulsed every time I connected sexually with him. I knew it was sick and not what God wanted of me. And in the meantime, it was feeding John’s addiction/obsession/love of me. And I was still focused on wanting that with someone else.

I lost my mind, and everything around me.

I attempted to kill myself and that’s when the pain was at its greatest for me.

The next few months is where the greatest shift in my life began to happen. I realized that I was never going to heal doing any of what I was doing. I realized that I had to go through this pain without a codependent friendship or relationship. I had to remove all the toxicity in my life.

And I did.

I parted ways with John in January of 2012 after he hung up the phone on me and said he was done with me. Shortly thereafter, I walked out of Mike’s life in April. I stopped dating the woman I was dating because I had been giving her false hope. And I did what I should have started back in June of 1995 when I had first gotten sober. I started working on me and my relationship with God. That became my top priority.

I have been free from all of that drama and toxic behaviors for about 9 months now.

It’s been a year now that I haven’t had John in my life. I have been through some exceptionally difficult pain filled days. But I haven’t gone back to John. And I never plan to. 4 rounds was enough. I can’t imagine I would survive a Round 5.

I have removed all the traces of John that I’m capable of removing from my life. All the pictures, gifts, and remnants of him being in my life are gone. The same holds true from all people that caused me to live in greater drama and toxicity in my life.

Sadly, I continue to catch wind that John hasn’t let me go. His best friend is now considered to be my best friend Devon. And he still keeps contact with my sister and her family. I have been told of things he still does that were things we did together like going to some of my favorite restaurants or playing mini-golf at some of my favorite courses. This past Christmas he gave each of my sister’s family a $50 American Express gift card including my sister’s newborn baby. He has meals occasionally with them without me present. And even more difficult for me, my sister is moving to Nashville in February and John told her he’d like to go visit people he knows there and see her family while he’s there. What’s ironic is that other than traveling to his hometown when his mother passed away, John has never travelled anywhere. And what he didn’t realize is that the gifts he’s giving my family are making them uncomfortable but they won’t say anything to him in the fear of hurting him. What angered me the most in it was that I gave each of my nephews a $50 bill for Christmas that was immediately overshadowed with them showing me John’s $50 American Express gift card.

I have only myself to blame for continuing to bring him closer to my life with my family and time spent with them. My sister deals with her own codependency and I know she worries about John being hurt if she was to put distance between her family and him. I know her husband has issues with me to start with and has had anger and resentments fueling his actions with me for a long time as based upon things I did in the past that caused pain and hardship to him and his family. I’m still working on healing in that area with them. He continues to maintain contact with John as well and sometimes I wonder if he does it because he knows it angers me.

Either way, it’s out of my control and I practice every day trying to work though any anger or rage that surfaces in dealing with John. His presence in my life indirectly is still causing me mental duress and I have informed both Devon and my sister that it does.

I sent John a letter back in the spring of 2012 making a formal amends for all the pain I was responsible for with him, taking ownership of my parts in the drama, and asking him to please stay out of my family’s life and that I wouldn’t be coming back again in his life.

Unfortunately, he emailed my sister and her husband back then and told them what I was asking. John expressed his sorrow and sadness to my sister which played off of her codependency from our childhood with our mother, and it fueled her husband’s anger with me. Since then, he maintains contact with them and occasionally spends time with them by going out for a meal. I have consistently asked my sister to break off contact with him as it’s causing me greater pain knowing he’s still around in some way in my life.

Every time I try to put it to rest, it comes up somehow that he’s still around in my life. Part of it I can blame on myself because I have asked at times to both my sister as well as Devon about it. I keep hoping that they will tell me they aren’t spending time with him. I’ve realized I have to just let it go. What they don’t realize, that I do today is that they are perpetuating his addiction and obsessions issues by spending time with him.

I think today Devon genuinely has a casual friendship with John and I can see the healthier side of that. I know John feels that Devon is one of his best friends. I’m not sure if the reverse is true. I have more acceptance that the two of them will probably remain friends. I am still working on my acceptance of his presence in my sister and her family’s life.

John many times told me when we were friends that he was closer to my sister and her family and thought of them as his family more so than his own sister and her kids. That really bothered me because I know his sister would welcome a deeper friendship with John. John chose not to deepen it.

Although I don’t know the deepest truth to John’s motivation to being around my sister and her family, I do know that if I look at the mirror and ask myself what would be my motivation to keep any part of people connected to those that I had been addicted, obsessed, or loved to in my life, that I was still holding onto them somehow.

I have learned through my spiritual work that I can only focus on my healing, on my journey with God, and let all of what’s happening around me go. I have done my part to remove John out of my life and have had to leave the rest of it in God’s hands.

I have prayed my sister will finally honor my request to remove him from their life.

I have prayed that John will meet someone else to become connected to like he was with me that might help him see these patterns.

But most recently, I have prayed just to let go of trying to control the situation and I removed all the things that I still had buried in different places of him like the photos and trinkets and such as that is all I had in my control to start with.

So the greatest lesson that John taught me was that John was me. I was John. We were the same sick individuals. The anger I felt towards John in response to all the things he did towards me was truly all the things I did to others and wasn’t even aware of. All the things I did to him that made John angry, were all the things he was doing himself and wasn’t aware of.

I’m grateful to God for learning this lesson. I believe John is no longer a part of my life and that I haven’t had ANY desire to bring him back, because I settled my karma on this and learned the lessons that brought him into my life in the first place.

I’m not sure if John still believes that God wants him and I together. I’m not sure if John still feels that we are these “twin flames” destined to be together. I’m not sure if John still hopes deep down that one day we’ll be in each other’s lives again.

What I do know is that I don’t wish for that to ever happen again. I have wished him well and prayed for his own healing. I pray for him to move on and fully let me go both directly and indirectly like I continue to do with him.

I feel that John was a huge shift in my consciousness to see the codependency and addiction issues in my life. I thank God for brining John in my life again and again to teach me that.

I’m just glad I am almost totally free from the pain that friendship and relationship caused me and that I continued to endure every day. Whether my sister and her family keep him in their lives or not and whether Devon continues to or not as well doesn’t matter anymore. I know that I have to move on and not focus on what they are doing. That is their lives and the more I try to focus on them and change their actions, the more it brings up the anger and keeps some of that old drama still alive.

I end with this.

Thank you God for teaching me about my own sickness through my relationship with John. May You bless John and send him on his way releasing him from any bondage he may still have or feel with me, helping him to cut any cords or attachments he may still have to me. I know you have done the same for me and I thank you for that. And may all people involved that may have endured the drama he and I shared, also be released of any residual pain created by either one of us. Amen.

Peace, Love, Light, and Joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

A Summary Until Now…

I’m 40 now. Most people say I look more like 30. I’m grateful to God for that. I guess all the meditation I do and the spiritual place I’m in now sheds some years off.

It’s almost been three years since I first started experiencing a shift to living in a higher vibration. April 27th, 2010. I’ll never forget that day. I had been living a lie in my life at that point and doing nothing to help myself heal or grow spiritually. I was heading down a dead-end road. My life was consumed with addictions and obsessions towards people and things I couldn’t have. Most of my time back then was focused on trying to be with this one person named Ralph. I met him in AA and my path turned much darker the more I spent time with him. I had tried to come in between him and his wife and came close to relapsing on alcohol after many years of sobriety.

Before that day, and before Ralph, there were many men that I obsessed about and was codependent with. My life pattern always seemed to be focused on having the best possessions, whether they were people or not. I existed to have what I didn’t. Sometimes it seems unreal that this pattern started at 17 years old with a guy named Anthony who I became best friends with in high school. As my life went from high school to college, it became one name after another that I was co-dependently obsessed with. And amongst all those names and obsessions, I also became addicted to alcohol and drugs. I don’t remember most of the people I chased after during the five college years I had at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Most of the time during those years at RIT if I wasn’t studying, I was partying or chasing after someone.

The only memorable name at RIT was a guy named James. I give credit to that friendship to helping me see that I was struggling with my sexuality. The first spiritual shift in my life began on June 11, 1995 when I turned 23 years old and quit drinking, drugs, and cigarettes. To this day, I have not relapsed on any of them and I give credit to God for that.

Sadly though, on my path of self-discovery with my sexuality and my life, once I found sobriety, I couldn’t face the inner pain that arose. I realized that the drinking and drugs, and the obsessions and codependency I had were all covering up the inner truth to me. I felt alone. I had always felt alone.

Both of my parents were addicted to alcohol and drugs. My father was bi-polar and my mother battled depression as well. I don’t remember much in the way of unconditional love and happiness as a kid nor does my sister. I also hadn’t had any real friends for most of my younger years until I had meant Anthony. I was always the tall dorky kid that was picked on. I was always on the outside wishing I was in the in-crowd. And to make matters worse, I was molested by a 45 year old man who was the diving coach for the swim team that I was on when I was only 12 years old. All of this had surfaced emotionally for me when I had put the drinking, drugs, and cigarettes down.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to when I was 23 and had just found my sobriety and talk to that broken kid that refused to work through all that inner turmoil and loneliness. I always hear the phrase that everything happens for a reason. I guess I wasn’t ready to face that pain as it took me 13 years to even look in the mirror and realize I was that same broken kid inside that had never been truly loved as a kid.

What happened instead between the June 11, 1995 and April 10th, 2010 was a blur. A blur of names that I thought I loved. A blur of jobs that I thought I wanted to be at. A blur of money that flew out of my pocket. A blur of possessions that never made me feel any better. A blur of pain that I had learned how to numb what was already numb.

Kirk, Lester, another Kirk, Hugh, Edgar, Larry, Charlie, and then Ralph were the progression of just some of the names of men that I thought would make me happy and instead brought me more pain and sadness. I became spiritually numb on top of everything and thought I’d like to follow in my parents footsteps. My Dad had commited suicide in October of 1996 and my mother had fallen down the stairs drunk in February of 2005 with a result of the breaking of her neck and an instant death.

I travelled the world, bought a bed and breakfast and subsequently lost it as well. And I kept running into the same pain everywhere I thought a geographical move would cure. It was in the Boston, MA area that I finally had to face me.

That day came just before April 27, 2010 when I was so addicted to having to be with Ralph that nothing else in my life mattered. None of my friends. Not my sister or her kids. And not even God. One day I prayed. I prayed for God to help me go through whatever it is that I need to go through to heal from a life of hell.

God has been answering my prayers for the last two and a half years. It was on that night in April of 2010 that I developed serious sciatica and numbness in my left leg slowing me down from the perpetual spinning out of control that I did daily. The athlete I once was slowly deteriorated as my left leg stopped being able to function like it once did. I tried to continue living in the craziness of my life as I always had with that pain, except the pain got worse the more I lived in it. I developed prostatitis and then severe Fibromyaliga.

Even after dropping Ralph out of my life, the pain wasn’t great enough for me and I went through one more major downfall. A very long 16 month life with this Harley rider named Mike. He was a drug addict and my life soon fell so low that I questioned whether it was worthing living in all the pain I was in. That questioning landed me in the mental hospital and that was the lowest place I had ever been in my life. It also became a catalyst to a rise out of that darkness.

It didn’t happen immediately, as it took me until April of 2012 to remove him from my life as well as all other toxic people, things, possessions and more out of my life including a guy named John who had been doing to me what I had done to so many others for years. He was addicted to me as I had been addicted to so many other men. None of it was spiritual. None of it was healthy. None of my life was health when I hit that day in April of 2012 and I started parting ways with everyone and everything that separated me from serving God.

It’s been 9 months now and I’m still in a lot of physical pain. That hasn’t changed….YET. It will though. I know it will because I have God at the center of my life. Spiritually I feel so much better on most days and mentally and emotionally I have been having more positive upbeat days then downtrodden depressed filled days. It’s just a matter of time before the physical pain starts lifting.

God has brought into my life a partner who I love dearly. We have been together for almost a year now. I hope to spend my life with him but I know that I only have today and I do my best to love with all my heart and not my mind now like I used to.

I know I could go on with so much more about where I’m at but I have an AA meeting to get to as it is a big part of my life right now. I try to share my experience, strength, and hope to others daily now and I live for only one reason, to serve God and spread His messages. Ironically, I ran from God (and AA) when I got sober having only had short moments throughout my 17 years of sobriety where I felt close to anything I would deem a higher power. I never pursued AA when I got sober other than for an occasional social moment or a potential hook-up. When I finally decided to give 100 percent to AA and the 12 steps, I found that God has always been there for me waiting for me to give up on the spiraling out of control that I did for most of my life.

I’m not religious. I’m not all about AA either. I’m about serving God and whatever path God sends me on. Right now it’s AA and I need to run as my meeting starts at 6:30pm.

Peace, Love, Light, and Joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

My First Official Blog Posting

Well I finally figured out how to set up a blog. This was initially an assignment from my Shaman/Spiritual Advisor. After some initial hesitation to writing again, I thought this might be a safe venue to pick it back up.

As time goes forward, I’m sure the direction of my blog will change. For now, I know the main desire in my writing is to inspire others with motivational stories about things I’ve gone through in my life or am still going through.

Whether it deals with my 12 Step Recovery work, healing that I am facing from traumas I’ve been through, sexuality issues I still must deal with in today’s world, questions to ponder, thoughts for the day, views on entrainment I experience, or just spiritual reflections on life in general, I hope my writing will inspire others with peace, love, light, and joy.

I hope you will continue reading tomorrow…

For New Blog

Peace, Love, Light, and Joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson