God’s Mysterious Ways

Thank you for joining in for another entry of my series, God’s Mysterious Ways, where I write about things that may be more than just coincidences, where God may very well indeed have a hand behind it, which for today is about a random post-it note that was stuck to the floor at a Starbucks I went to recently.

In the last month or so at all the Starbucks I’ve been to, there has been a board of sorts near the front of each store with colorful pens and sticky notes below it to write out something one appreciates in life, is grateful about, or a gesture of general kindness for others. I’ve occasionally glanced at each of these boards, but never have I added any post-it note of my own. That’s only because each of them are usually so inundated with tons of messages already on them with sticky-note upon sticky-note, that the notes themselves become invisible to me, leaving me uninterested in the feel-good campaign. For the most part though, on those occasional glances to those boards, I’ve noticed a few generic messages like “Blessed” or “Have a beautiful life” or “I love my partner” and things of that sort, none of which have ever left me feeling moved at all. That was until a few weeks ago when I entered one of the local Starbucks in Toledo.

I was approaching the register feeling extremely blue, questioning like I do on most days lately whether God is ever going to deliver me from my chronic pain, when I glanced down on the ground for whatever the reason and saw one of those sticky-notes affixed to the floor all by itself. I found it odd and due to my OCD, I also found it annoying that it was there on the clean floor. So, I picked it up and was going to place it back on the board somewhere. But, when I picked it up, I noticed its message, one that has most definitely has stuck with me ever since. It said, “God Never Fails.”

Of course, my initial thoughts went to questions like why that post-it note was there in the first place and how long had it been there. After two days of thinking about this way too much, I brought it up to my therapist and as I spoke about it, I finally got into my heart and teared up. Because at my essence, I do believe God indeed never fails, and isn’t going to fail me with the long-endured healing process I undertook so long ago now.

While this may not have been the burning bush my ego often wishes for, it was a message that hit my heart in all its simplicity and something I felt warranted another entry in God’s Mysterious Ways.

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

God’s Mysterious Ways

It’s been a while since I really felt I had anything of value to write about regarding “God’s Mysterious Ways”, a category I began a few years ago where its intended purpose was to share about things happening in my life that seem beyond explanation and often feel like signs or messages from Source. Thankfully, I finally have one to share again.

Before I get into what it is, it’s important to note that if you follow my blog at all, then you already know I struggle immensely with chronic pain and have been for years. What you may not know though is that I’ve been frequently praying lately, or more like begging, for a sign or message from God surrounding it, as it’s gotten to the point now where I feel like giving up any hope it’s ever going to get better. Nevertheless, I’ve remained open to God answering my plea for guidance, something I used to get regularly from Source a few years ago to be honest. I’d frequently get signs like extremely vivid dreams that kept my hope alive, ones that I’d awake feeling so loved and connected to God. Signs like strange encounters with creatures in nature like a foot long praying mantis sitting on my door handle one day that wouldn’t move until I looked up the native American symbolism of it. Or even signs from total strangers who randomly approach me like one person did in a detox I spoke at years ago who told me they saw a huge angel standing behind me and that all was going to be ok. But, as I said it’s been a long time since I’ve had anything like that happen, where I felt God had a personal hand in it, where I couldn’t explain it away with science or rationality. That is until just last week when I received something in the mail that I feel was absolutely from Source.

On an overwhelmingly pain-filled afternoon, I arrived home to find my only piece of mail was an envelope from Guideposts, a publication I’ve subscribed to for several years now. I thought it was my bill, but upon opening it, I saw it was some random gift they sent me, something they do occasionally, but usually nothing I hold onto, as typically, it’s just a snippet from a new publication they’re hoping I’ll subscribe to. In this case though, it wasn’t. It was actually a tiny devotional of sorts they sent me purely as a gift with nothing to subscribe to. Its title was “Hope for a New Day”, something I really connected with. When I quickly flipped it open, it landed on the very middle of the book where the staples came through. On that page was the title “Small Steps.” I’m not sure why I opted to read it, because frankly, I get plenty of devotional type stuff in the mail all the time and usually just throw them away, given I already read six devotionals every morning. Regardless, I read it and am convinced after doing so, that God loves to answer us in unique ways, we just have to remain open to however it may come. The following is that reading and something I feel speaks for itself. And oh, in case you’re wondering, if any of the other brief devotions in this small booklet had been what it opened up to, none of them would have felt like any sort of message whatsoever for what I’m going through.

Here’s the “Small Steps” entry from that booklet, as it’s printed:

“HUMAN BEINGS can be very impatient. We want things right away. We believe our time is our own, and, when we have to wait, we become frustrated. God, however, is patient. His timetable often seems uncomfortably slow, rest assured that God’s timing is not only perfect, it is just what we need.

It is important to remember this when recovering from a crisis. Often we pray for solutions, for strength, for calm, for change – only to find our troubles persisting past what we thought was our breaking point. The temptation is great to conclude, God has forgotten about me.

That is the wrong conclusion. God has not forgotten about you. Rest assured, He is working mightily on your behalf. However, He is working toward the right solution, not necessarily the solution you want right now.

This can be hard to accept. But you must remember that God sees your whole life, not just this difficult moment. He does not simply want to put things back the way they were. He wants to make a new and better life for you from the ashes of the old.

So stick to your plans. Go through them step by step. And if you’re feeling discouraged, remind yourself of God’s great truth: hard experiences will pass away. Not on our timetable. On God’s timetable. The best timetable.”

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

 

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter in my series, Grateful Heart Monday, where I write about a piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for the mere five seconds I was ahead of being hit by a huge Ford F150 fleeing from policeman who had guns drawn, an incident that ended up totaling several cars directly behind me.

Some say that timing is everything and I often feel that God has a hand in that. I once saw an amazing movie about this with Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Anthony Mackie. It was called The Adjustment Bureau and was about angels in human form, invisible to us, who influenced daily things in our lives through even the simplest of actions like spilling a cup of coffee onto a person or abruptly changing a traffic light when a car approaches, where in doing so allowed for something to happen or not to happen. I’ve often wondered if this very thing occurs in real life and I say this in all seriousness, I tend to believe it does.

How many random elements impacted the timing of my drive that day prior to me coming upon this unfolding crime scene I have no idea. Mathematically the number’s probably quite staggering. Forgetting my sunglasses and my bottle of water before I left the house, the home phone ringing (twice in a row in fact!) just as I went back in to get them, all those traffic lights I hit or missed along the way, the many cars, especially a few 18-wheelers that affected my drive on my way that day, there were so many factors that influenced the precise timing of where my vehicle was at any given time on the drive that day to my appointment with my sponsor in 12 Step recovery.

Nevertheless, when I ultimately found myself slowly inching around in the left lane by this large F150 stopped in the right lane on a local road near where I was meeting someone for coffee, an officer had his hand on his holster while he talked to the guy in the passenger seat of the truck. They both were yelling at each other, although I couldn’t hear what was being said because my widows were up. I could still feel all the tension though and was thankful once I got in front of the whole thing. Not five seconds later, I suddenly heard this huge kaboom and looked in my rearview mirror to see the driver of that truck trying to flee the scene and was now in the process of ramming multiple vehicles directly behind me as he tried to get away. Even after he had badly mangled at least three of them, he tried to continue driving his truck, but at that point it had become inoperable. As soon as that became apparent to him, he raced out of his truck that was now smoking and blocking both lanes behind me, all this unfolding only 50 yards or so from where I just was.  The man was tackled in the middle of the street and placed in handcuffs and I continued on to my destination visibly shaken. Five seconds earlier, my car would have been one of those totaled and the fact that it wasn’t, and the fact that I wasn’t involved in any of that crime scene is something I’m extremely grateful for.

I already have enough physical pain in my life to deal with that I can only shudder to imagine how much more I would have had being struck with the force he did to those cars behind me. Beyond potential whiplash, PTSD, head or neck trauma, and of course the notion that I was driving my partner’s still relatively new car that day, I feel like I have a lot to be grateful for here. So, I’m dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday to the 5 seconds of time that meant all the difference. Did God influence those 5 seconds somehow? I choose to believe God did and I’m grateful for those 5 seconds I was ahead of that crime scene unfolding because they meant all the difference with my health, my partner’s car, and my life in general.

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

God’s Mysterious Ways

Thank you for joining in to another entry of my series, God’s Mysterious Ways, where I write about things that may be more than just coincidences, where God may very well indeed have a hand behind it, which for today is about the unique timing of a call I made to a close friend of mine recently that might have just saved his life.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my friend Frank in Tiffin, hanging out at his home for a while before going out to dinner, which we usually do bi-weekly. As I was taking a closer look at the few plants in his home, none of which seemed to be doing all that well, I noticed on the table behind one of them sat a carbon monoxide detector. I asked Frank why it wasn’t plugged in and he mentioned that it had been having issues and believed it just needed a new battery. I thought nothing of it and off we went to dinner shortly thereafter.

About a week later, I sat in a hospital room with my partner Chris, keeping him company as he had just had back surgery that morning. While we watched a film on my laptop, Frank messaged me to see how Chris was doing. I responded that all was well and he said we’d both be in his prayers. When I finally left Chris’s room after 10pm to head home while he got some much-needed rest, I checked my phone quickly to make sure there were no calls or text messages to return. There wasn’t. Typically, I don’t make calls or send text messages after 10pm unless someone has either previously set up a scheduled call with me or someone has reached out to me. So, in this case, I had no reason to contact anyone and began my drive home.

A few minutes into my drive, I felt this sudden urge to call Frank, even though there was no reason to call him. I had already spoken to him earlier, both on the phone and via text. Yet, the desire to call him was quite overwhelming. So, I dialed his number, which he picked up after a few rings. I asked how he was doing and as he responded, I could hear in the background a very loud and annoying alarm going off making it hard for me to hear what he was saying.  I asked Frank if he had gotten a burglar alarm in his house and he told me it was his carbon monoxide detector acting up again. Almost as if I was on auto pilot at that point, I told him to bring that detector into his garage and see if it went off in there. After waiting a few minutes and then returning to his garage, he told me it wasn’t going off anymore. I then told him to immediately call the fire department and remain in his car until they got there. An hour passed and I grew concerned so I called Frank, only to find out that he was now at a local hotel. Why? Because the fire department had discovered immediately upon arrival that there were lethal doses of carbon monoxide in Frank’s place and told him that if he had gone to sleep that night, there was a pretty good chance he wouldn’t have woken up the next morning, or simply put, ever again.

So, did the sudden and overwhelming urge I had to call Frank that night, when there was no need or reason to do so, come from something Greater? Or was it just another coincidence in my life? Of course, I don’t have the answer to that, but I choose to see it as God using me in a way that potentially saved my friend’s life and for that I’m truly thankful. Thankful for feeling like I still hold a purpose in God’s world from time to time and thankful that my dear friend Frank is still alive and well!

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

A Reminder From God Through My Cat Smokey…

I believe that God can send us messages and reminders through anything, even a cat, like I feel he did through my male cat Smokey on the day I came home from my trip to my sister a week ago this past Sunday. It was then I found him acting very distant and depressed. Normally he’s a very unconditionally loving and high energy-based cat, even more so immediately after returning from a trip away. But not this time and it didn’t take me long to discover the reason why when I saw him sitting in his litter box for over 10 minutes struggling to pass urine.

You see, Smokey has had an issue with his urethra ever since his birth in which it was discovered it was much tinier than most cats making it harder to pass urine. We’ve tried a number of specialized diets to fix it, but it only made things worse and even with increased water consumption, the unpleasant condition remained. Eventually, we were told by our veterinarian the only solution was an extremely costly surgery to permanently correct it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford it. In light of that, our only recourse whenever this condition arose was to show him some TLC, pray over him, and give him a quick couple of drops of something called “Bach Rescue Remedy for Cats”, which helps him to relax. Typically, within an hour or two after this course of action, he’s always become able to pass urine leaving him afterwards just as spunky as ever. But not so this time around.

I watched as Smokey spent hours and hours pacing the house, laying on the floor meowing in pain, and trying to pee in the weirdest of places. He didn’t want to be held. He didn’t want to play. He just wanted to be left alone. Even holding him didn’t create his usual deep purring. On the outside he looked as normal as could be, making any onlooker think he was totally fine. But on the inside, I knew he was feeling extremely uncomfortable, making him have very little desire to live the joyous and overly social life he usually does with his human companions. And boy, I could relate.

Having long suffered with a number of health issues myself that can never be seen from the outside of me, I’ve quite often become depressed and unsocial. Frequently, that’s led to me getting told by others to just push on through it by forcing myself to do things such as getting out of myself and helping another. It’s rarely helped though, especially when the physical pain has been at a high level. For the longest time, I thought maybe I just needed to try harder, achieve mind over matter, or find some alternative path to feel better. But after watching my cat during his 12-hour urinary ordeal, I really do think God was trying to provide me a little guidance for my own healing journey.

I say that because Smokey doesn’t have the thinking processes that I do. He, like most other cats and even dogs, exist to simply show unconditional love and comfort to their owners. Yet, when my cat Smokey had this urinary issue arise to the level it did that night, I watched as he simply took care of himself until he felt better. He didn’t get out of himself and try to please his masters. He didn’t try to play or even purr. He didn’t try to force joy either. He just curled up in a ball and took care of himself, until suddenly for whatever the reason beyond his or my control, he became able to pass urine again and once he did, he immediately was a barrel of joy once more.

So, thanks to Smokey, I decided I’m not going to listen to those erroneous voices anymore who keep on telling me I need to rise above my pain and just get out and do more things. Instead, I’m going to take a page out of his book and trust it was a reminder from God letting me know it’s ok to take care of myself whenever I’m feeling a lot of pain. I know there’s deep joy and exuberance below it somewhere, it’s just waiting to surface for when my pain levels become far less than they have been. I’m just thankful I’m open enough to see how God can use even something like my cat Smokey to remind me it’s ok to be still when I’m hurting and leave the healing to Him, because I know if I do, I will get better just like Smokey did, and when I do, I too will become a barrel of joy once more.

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

God’s Mysterious Ways

Welcome to another entry of God’s Mysterious Ways, where I write about things that may be more than just coincidences, where God may very well indeed have a hand behind it, which for today is about a sponsee I invited to attend my weekly volunteer commitment with me recently.

Every week, I volunteer at a place called Rescue Crisis, which essentially is for people who are severely struggling with addiction or mental health and need urgent attention. Every Wednesday I run a 12 Step meeting there for anyone who may need it, where my focus is on sharing my experience, strength, and hope with my recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.

Normally, I run this weekly meeting by myself, mostly because the number of clients from week to week isn’t very high and thus doesn’t require any extra support. I’ve also enjoyed handling it alone because it’s empowered me and given me a sense of purpose in my own recovery. But just a few weeks ago, when I was talking to one of my sponsees and trying to coordinate a time to meet with him, I kept feeling the need to ask if he’d like to do my next volunteer commitment with me at Rescue Crisis. He instantly agreed and we met for coffee beforehand on the night it arrived. Afterward, we headed there and walked in to the building together. Immediately upon entering the lobby, I saw someone there who was standing next to several large black trash bags, looking very much in fear and despair. Ironically, the guy just so happened to be a friend of my sponsee’s and someone my sponsee needed to make an amends with. The reason for the amends was due to my sponsee having chosen to never return a call for help from this guy, when he had specifically told him to reach out and he’d help.  Sadly, he had lost track of how to reach him a good while ago and suddenly there he was again, standing in front of him.

My sponsee discovered his friend had been discharged from another recovery center due to a relapse and had been dropped off there. His friend was now homeless on a night where the temperatures were in the low 20’s and unfortunately, there wasn’t any ability for Rescue Crisis to take him in for the night. So, as a way to make his amends, my sponsee invited his friend to join us in our recovery meeting and then offered him his place to stay that night for a warm meal and a bed to sleep in away from the cold. But in my opinion, that’s not even the best part of this story! Because the next day, after that warm meal and bed, his friend got admitted into another recovery program where my sponsee got to personally drop him off there.

Who knows what would have happened if his friend had been forced to sleep out in the cold that night? Would he have drank again to deal with it? Would he have even survived the night? Was it God who saw fit to motivate me to invite my sponsee to a meeting I rarely feel the urge to bring anyone to with me, solely to bring these two together, knowing how the rest would play out?

I leave it for you to decide…

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

God’s Mysterious Ways

Welcome to another entry of God’s Mysterious Ways, where I write about things that appear to be more than just coincidences, where God may very well indeed have a hand behind it, which for today is with something that happened more than four years ago now with my home security system.

When I decided to finally move from Boston to Toledo to live with my partner at his home, I opted to upgrade his alarm system, which was rather outdated, mostly for my own peace of mind. On the day the installer came, I was told the system upgrade would probably take a full day to complete. Little did they, nor I, know just how complex the upgrade would be. After a full day of being there and wires exposed everywhere, I was told they would have to return the next day to continue. When the next day arrived though, they came and left in a very short period of time, never to return again, leaving me wondering what the heck was going on. After repeated phone calls to the alarm company, I learned they had abandoned my job for personal reasons, which left me hanging with a system that was no longer operational. It took several weeks and countless hours for the security company to rectify the situation he had left behind. In the end, it took about a month to get my alarm system fully operational, all because of the mess the original technician had left behind. Needless to say, I was quite angry by that point and told the company to never send this installer out to my house ever again. Whenever I had a service call with my alarm over the years that followed, I made sure to ask who the installer was, always ensuring it wasn’t this original technician. Yes, I was harboring a resentment, yet never even saw it that way, and felt my actions were truly justified. In the end, I think God saw it was finally time for me to forgive, because what happened just recently, made sure to cross our paths again.

I had to set up a service call for a minor issue with my alarm system about a week ago now, and as always, I inquired way ahead of time who the installer was. After making sure it wasn’t that original technician, I moved on with my life as always. But, the day before that appointment, I received an odd phone call from them that told me I needed to call their operational team who coordinates the installers schedules. During that phone call, I learned that the window they were supposed to arrive had somehow switched from the time I originally established. Unfortunately, the time they had moved me to no longer worked with my schedule, which led to management having to switch me back to the 8am to 12pm time slot. I never thought to ask after all that, who the installer was going to be, because I had been so caught up with frustration over the time mishap. So, when the service installer showed up at my door the next morning, the first thing he said was, “Do you remember me?” And for the life of me, I didn’t. Yet, when they introduced themselves, I suddenly remembered, and it was then I froze. Part of me felt myself clench in frustration, while another part of me said that maybe it was time to finally let my resentment go.

As this installer stood before me, they apologized and told me that they had been going through a divorce during the week I was being installed and a huge fight had ensued over custody of their kid, which had forced them to take the rest of the week off to handle matters. After hearing that, I had much compassion and knew I needed to forgive, which honestly, I look back and wished I had done so long ago. After shaking hands and saying I forgave them, I could see the tension in their eyes lighten. They told me that every time they had done an install anywhere near my home in all the past years that had passed, they had always wanted to come back here and apologize, but the company had refused to allow them to make any contact with me, all because of the words I had originally expressed in anger.

I must admit I have some sadness that it took well over four years for me to let this go and offer my forgiveness to someone who deserved it long ago. Yet I’m incredibly grateful that the Universe saw fit to bring two people together, one who seriously needed to let a resentment go, and one who humbly sought nothing but forgiveness from them. How they got assigned to my service call in the first place is honestly beyond my understanding, given the red flag that had been placed on my account and given the number of installers the company uses. Yet, that’s precisely the reason why I feel this is just another great example of God’s mysterious ways…

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

God’s Mysterious Ways

I recently subscribed to a magazine titled “God’s Mysterious Ways” (published by Guideposts), which contains real life stories about things that appear to be more than just coincidences, where God may very well indeed have a hand behind it.

That being said, I’ve had a few of those experiences myself and have already written about some of them for The Twelfth Step, which is why I thought it might be best to group them all together into a new category for my blog. From now on any article with this subject material is going to be titled exactly like my new subscription and my hope is that each of them may help people who may be questioning their faith, as I have done quite a bit in the past year myself.

In light of that, I actually do have a story to share today that involves this very blog and a prior article I wrote. As many of you know, I am in recovery for a former sex and love addiction that once plagued my life and have written about that subject material many times over already. One such article I wrote a good bit ago was about romantic obsession and talked about what that means and the toll it can take on a person’s life, like it did mine. Like many of my articles I’ve written, I simply posted it and hoped that one day it might somehow reach the people that could benefit from it. But, like most of my articles, it went mostly unread, at least according to the statistic counter I have access to behind the scenes that tells me how many times it got viewed.

Sometimes that very action of me seeing how very little my article was read has made me want to quit writing and shut down this blog. But it seems like every time I get close to making a drastic decision like that, God sees fit to show me that there is a greater purpose to The Twelfth Step, beyond just being a place to collect my spiritual musings of life.

I say that because just last week, I was sitting down with a new sponsee from the SLAA program, where in the course of our work together that day, I asked why they chose me as their sponsor. The answer I received was not one I expected. You see, they had done a Google search on romantic obsession weeks prior and what arose on page two of those results was that very article I had written about that subject material. When this person looked up the program of SLAA after learning about it in my article, they found a local meeting to attend, which just so happened to be the one I helped to start here in Toledo, Ohio. On the night they showed up to it, they quickly discovered the author of the very article that had guided them to that meeting and to SLAA was sitting right next to them. And that was all they needed for motivation to ask me to sponsor them through the steps.

So, was it in God’s mysterious ways that my writing actually helped to guide someone, not only to a program they desperately needed, but also to someone only God knew would be a great fit to help get them on the path of healing for an addiction that was destroying their life? I leave the answer for you to decide, but as you can see, mine is pretty clear…

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

A God “Coincidence” I Still Clearly Remember From Long Ago…

Something I’ve emphasized in a few of my prior articles is how I truly believe God communicates to us through what many often write off as “coincidences” and I decided I need to share one of these moments that I still clearly remember from long ago.

The story of this “coincidence” begins back in my senior year of college at Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York in 1994, just after I had been put on double academic probation because of yet another drunken incident. Because of this infraction, I had been forced to see the drug and alcohol counselor on campus for a number of sessions, along with a local person who was in recovery for alcohol and drug addiction.

During each of these sessions, I was asked plenty of times if I thought I was an alcoholic by this local person who regularly attended Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. I clearly remember telling him over and over again each time he asked that I was just having a good time with my fraternity brothers and that my drinking was no different than any of them. I also scoffed at pretty much everything else he and the counselor suggested and rolled my eyes more than once over what they kept trying to insinuate with my drinking.

When our sessions were close to an end, I was asked by this local person if I wanted to attend a few AA meetings with him. I adamantly refused and said there was no way I was an alcoholic and just wanted to finish the sessions and move on with my life and indeed that’s what I did when they eventually ended.

It wasn’t long before I resumed my heavy drinking and soon forgot about this counselor and her recovery friend. About a year later, I had graduated from college and was now working in the field my degree was in (Information Systems). By that point my drinking had grown to epic proportions and I couldn’t go a day without getting drunk. On June 10th, 1995, I had had enough of it and in a moment of great pain, I admitted to God and myself that I was powerless over alcohol and drugs and that my life had become unmanageable.

I spent the next three to six months going to a therapist to help with my newly found sobriety and even started out doing the right thing by attending AA meetings on a regular basis. During that period of time, I also went with my mother on a trip to Houston, Texas to help clean out her mother’s house and then take a leisurely drive from there to Austin to see one of her best friends who had moved to that city only recently.

While on that road trip from Houston to Austin, in the middle of nowhere, I told my mother I needed to stop and get a drink because I felt parched. I clearly remember it being a hot day and started looking for a place to quench my thirst. When we finally came upon a little supermarket in a small town, I quickly hopped out of the car and bounded into the store to find something cold to cool me down. As soon as I entered the store, there standing directly in front of me with a shopping cart in hand was that recovery guy from Rochester that I had been forced to see back in my senior year over a year and a half prior.

He immediately recognized me and I smiled from ear to ear knowing that this couldn’t be just some random “coincidence”. With it being more than 1600 miles from where we first met and in a store in a small town that I suddenly and quite randomly stopped at, I felt like I was meant to see this man again to tell him I was an alcoholic and was now clean and sober.

After doing so, he told me he had always wondered if I was ever going to realize it for myself. It was then I thanked him for being the first person in my life to truly plant the seed that would eventually lead me to sobriety from a disease I had once been so unwilling to see how active it was within myself. He was more than grateful to hear that and for the “coincidence” of us running into each other. Before leaving, he told me he had moved to that small town not too long after meeting me and somehow, I knew in that very moment of him saying that, that God really was and probably always had been, working in my life.

So, if you happen to ever get any one of these types of “coincidences” in your own life, don’t just write them off as one. Maybe, just maybe, it’s really God continuing to work in one of His mysterious ways to orchestrate the world in a way where His unconditional love and light can prevail…

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

“Joshua”, An Inspiring Book I Believe God Led Me To

I’m not a big reader of books these days, but every now and then I’m led to a book in a strange way where the book itself ends up truly inspiring and uplifting me. The latest one to do this was “Joshua”, a novel by Joseph Girzone.

How I came across “Joshua” began all the way back in February. I had just finished reading a decent story a friend had given me that paralleled much of the healing journey I’ve been on and began looking for something new to take with me on vacation. Because I’m not an avid reader and often get easily bored with many of the things I do read, I’m not the kind of person these days who just buys or downloads any specific book. That’s why I usually pray now for guidance from God on even the simplest of things such as the next book for me to read, as so far in doing so, it has led me to several incredible finds. The last time this happened was with a book titled “The Shack” by William P. Young.

Nevertheless, nothing came to me in regards to my next read prior to or during my vacation. Nor did anything come my way during all of March or April, but that didn’t stop me from continuing to pray for the next book to come into my life. And then one day I randomly asked a friend in early May if he had any book suggestions. At first he didn’t, but as he was getting ready to hang up the phone, one came to mind. He said the title was “Joshua”. While that in itself didn’t peak my interest, as so many have recommended books to me before, what did was something that happened two days later. My best friend had just come from a free giveaway at the local library and said a book jumped out at him. And wouldn’t you know it, it was the same book, “Joshua”.

I tend to feel that when things like this come in multiple occurrences in short periods of time, it’s my Higher Power sending me a message. So I immediately ordered the book from Amazon and began reading it as soon as it came in the mail. The story itself is a fictionalized approach on what it would be like if Jesus came back in modern day. In this case, Jesus returns as a man named Joshua in a small town named Salem, which is actually a community in upstate New York. It didn’t take long for me to be extremely moved by this book, in fact it was hard to put it down and digest what I had read so far. When I finished the last page, torrents of tears gushed out of my eyes and it was then I was fully convinced God had led me to this book that was written so long ago (1983).

I’m now reading the second book in the series as there are a number of them and it too is fast becoming another great read. While I believe that not every book that moves one person will move another, I do know that God works in mysterious ways to answer prayers. In this case, I have no doubt that God led me to “Joshua.”

So if you are looking for something to read that might inspire and uplift you, you could read “Joshua” or, you could do what I did instead and pray. Pray that God guides you to the book that God wants you to read. You never know, it may be one that will change your life like “Joshua” did for me…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Another Example Of How God Works In Mysterious Ways

Toledo, Ohio is my home now and I’m grateful to my Higher Power for bringing me here. I must say there still are some moments though where I really do miss living near Boston, Massachusetts and the other night was one of them. But ironically, what transpired that night was probably meant to happen exactly as it did because in the end it showed me another example of how God works in mysterious ways.

It all began with me taking a relative newcomer in sobriety to a recovery meeting last Saturday evening. This wasn’t a normal meeting I was taking him to though. I had decided I wanted to go hear the lead speaker at the Ohio State Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Convention, which was being hosted here in Toledo this past weekend.

Back in Boston, I usually annually attended the Massachusetts version of this conference with many of my recovery friends and I was very interested in seeing how Ohio’s was. Regrettably, given my lack of income in recent years, I’ve only been able to attend the lead speaker meetings during any of these conventions for quite awhile now. In Massachusetts, while it’s hoped that people would pay the registration fee even if they just came for those speaker meetings, there was always an unwritten rule that no one was ever turned away even if they hadn’t paid. I quickly learned on Saturday this wasn’t the case in Ohio though.

As I prepared to walk through the meeting doors with my newly sober friend who had only a few months under his belt, we were promptly told we couldn’t enter because we hadn’t registered. Even after I informed them of my friend being newly sober, I was told that Ohio’s AA convention didn’t have any unwritten rule like Massachusetts did. The bottom line was that if you hadn’t paid, you couldn’t attend anything including the lead speaker meetings. While I’m not sure if Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith would have approved of this policy, especially when a newcomer was involved, I immediately practiced acceptance with it all and apologized to my friend for not knowing. After I got back in my car to take him home though, my evening began to get even more interesting.

I suddenly received an urgent message on my phone from another local friend. He had been in a major accident where his car was completely totaled and towed away. Unfortunately he also had no way of getting home, which was close to twenty-five minutes away. So after I got my newcomer friend back to his home, I immediately went to help this other friend out. The fact is I know I’d want the same for me if I were ever in the same type of situation. Oddly enough, once I had him safely in my car and we were on our way, it started to rain. He then smiled gratefully and told me his Higher Power must have been working for him that day because I had been the only one who had answered and been available to help him out.

So while I may have been initially sad and a little embarrassed that I hadn’t gotten my newly sober friend in to see the lead speaker at that convention on Saturday, it seems as if my Higher Power had other plans for me that night. I guess that ago old saying continues to prove true in my life, as this was yet another example of how God really does work in mysterious ways.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

God’s Mysterious Ways

Sometimes I find it truly amazing on how my Higher Power will guide me in the least suspecting way to affect the most incredible change in someone else.

A few nights ago I was supposed to go speak about my recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction at a local prison. When I didn’t receive final confirmation from a friend who was coordinating it, I ended up having the evening free. Something inside me though kept telling me I still needed to get to an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting that night. As I opened an online webpage that listed all the local meetings by day to figure out which one I should attend, there must have been close to 200 to choose from. After some careful consideration, I chose a beginner’s meeting that was several towns away and also one I had never been to before. A few hours later, life got kind of interesting for me.

It’s important to note for the purpose of telling this story that the location of this meeting was on a very large property for a monastery. As I drove around that property for a while, the only clue I had to where this meeting was being held was the word “Lodge”. When I finally discovered it, I saw that a dark van had followed me the entire time I was looking for it. It was then that I noticed this lodge was dark and its parking lot was empty. I got out of my car feeling slightly frustrated and approached the van guessing its driver was there for the same reason. When it’s window opened, the driver quickly confirmed that suspicion. But it was who he looked like, how long he had been sober, and his actual name that made me believe I was meant to be there in that moment, and that all of it was a spiritual test for me.

I’m convinced that God allows us to be tested from time to time for the sole purpose of seeing whether we’ve learned various spiritual lessons in life. In fact, I’m just as convinced that life is all about learning a series of them by going through one situation after another until we do. So as I stood there talking to this van’s driver, I noticed how much he resembled the last person I had become toxically obsessed with and attached to several years ago in AA when my sexual addiction had the best of me. Even more ironic was when he told me he only had about a week of sobriety. But most ironic was when he told me his name, as it was the same name as that last person I had sexually chased after and almost ended my life over.

When I realized all of this, half of me wanted to run away and the other half wanted to prove to myself how much I had spiritually grown over the past few years. Thankfully, I chose the latter and managed to eventually gain access into the building where two others joined us who were also looking for that same meeting. We found out that the beginner’s meeting was no longer being held on the property, but that the regular meeting still was. Except that meeting wasn’t scheduled to begin for another hour and half. So we all decided to hold our own beginner’s meeting by sharing our experience, strength, and hope with each other. When it came time for me to share, I did as I always do these days, I talked about my spiritually and how I’ve gone from completely hating to completely loving God through my recovery from addiction.

By the end of that evening when it came time for me to leave, that van’s driver told me how much he learned from me that night. He said I had a way of talking about God that helped him see things so much more clearly than ever before. I told him to give God that credit for changing my life so greatly because it was solely God who guided me there. When I drove away that night, I knew I had passed some type of spiritual test because I could feel a sense of peace within. Three years ago, I couldn’t say the same. Back then, I was pursuing newcomers like a predator because of an untreated sexual addiction instead of helping lead them into a life of sobriety and God.

Through God all things really are possible and I guess everything does happen for a reason. I know both of those statements sound so cliché, but God truly worked in mysterious ways the other night, not only in my life, but also that man’s. God showed me how much freer I am from addiction than I ever thought I could be. But even more importantly, by moving away from a life once filled with so much self-will, God showed me how I can truly help a newcomer find their own path to recovery.

Thank you God for continuing to light my way…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

God Works In Mysterious Ways…

Have you ever had one of those days where you woke up and just felt like putting the covers over your head and not going anywhere for the rest of the day? Unfortunately, with the level of physical pain I am currently having to endure, I often experience days like that. But on some of them, God seems to work in strange ways to keep me going on this path of healing and recovery from the toxic life I once lived.

A few days ago, I awoke with such a severity of bodily pain that I spent that entire morning and a good part of the afternoon in incredible anguish and despair. Even after doing my normal spiritual maintenance routines, I felt no better. After a lengthy conversation with my spiritual teacher, I was given a few exercises to try that she hoped might help reduce some of the pain levels I was going through that day. One of which dealt with communicating to my parents through prayer (given they were no longer alive) and letting them know I wouldn’t accept anymore the low vibration patterns of living and behaviors they passed onto me. The other homework assignment was simply just to do some deep breath work in silence.

While both seemed to help reduce some of that anguish, especially with the tears that came up in my conversation with my parents, I still felt like Gloomy Gus and decided to get out of the house. I went first to a local coffee shop where I got myself something to drink and worked on my blog site. Upon leaving, I had already decided to go to a random local meeting that I had never been to before. While I was walking to my car, two young gentlemen at a table propped outside asked if I would help them with a donation to the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program they were part of. I gave them my support without hesitation and took a few minutes to tell them that I was actually heading to an AA meeting myself having been in recovery for eighteen years now.

By the time I got into my car, I already noticed I was feeling a slight bit better emotionally. Once I got to the meeting, I introduced myself to a few people that were already there and found myself a seat. When the coffee was ready, I approached the table where it was at and grabbed myself a cup of decaf. A nice woman introduced herself to me as the coffee maker and asked if I was new to AA. I promptly responded to her that I had been around for a while having just celebrated my 18th year of sobriety but that I was new to her meeting. What happened next I could only say must be God.

She shyly asked if I was willing to lead the meeting for that day because she had not found a speaker. My first sponsor always told me to never turn down a request such as that because it may be God working in my life, so I didn’t. And just over an hour later, after I had shared my journey to recovery and listened to all the people who had raised their hands during the open discussion, I felt amazingly better, as compared to how I started the day. Many people in that meeting room had approached me after it had ended to let me know how much they had connected to my story and thanked me for showing up and giving them my service. Some said it was exactly what they needed to hear with what was going on in their life lately.

Between my conversation with those two young gentlemen who were just beginning their journey of recovery and my being asked to lead a meeting I had never been to before, my attitude had completely changed for the better. While the level of my physical pain may not have reduced from both of those things, I had developed an attitude of gratitude which hadn’t been present for most of the day up until then.

Often I don’t truly understand much of what is going on in my life lately with all these levels of pain I continue to go through on most days. But there is one thing I do understand, and that is sometimes God has mysterious ways of helping us to keep going, especially when we think we’re down and out for the count. I’m grateful for each of those mysterious ways when they happen and will continue to do my best to realize that God may not be helping me in the way I think I should be helped, but God sure is helping me in the way I probably need to be helped.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson