Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, where I find an important piece of gratitude to start my week off with, which for today is for a dear friend of mine who passed away last week from a drug overdose and his nickname was Bobby Beans.

It was just under eleven years ago now when I had the pleasure of meeting Bobby at a meeting in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. I was a broken mess at that point in time and hadn’t worked a day of recovery to save my life. Instead, I had become a well-worn dry drunk and had moved to Massachusetts hoping to start my life afresh. Little did I know that a part of that life reboot would entail meeting a vibrant and friendly guy in his mid 50’s who loved to make people smile and laugh.

Bobby was one of those guys that had such a sense of humor, it was very contagious and anytime I was feeling down, he’d make sure to say something that would always cheer me up, including calling me “Gumby”. But, I didn’t really get to know Bobby until I became part of a sober men’s meeting that was held every Monday night at another friend’s home. On the very first evening I attended it, shortly after beginning my recovery work with a sponsor, I was terribly upset about the state of my life and miserable on every level. I felt like my world was upside down and that I was never going to be happy again. Yet Bobby, who was present on my first night there, made me feel so welcome. As I cried and felt utterly hopeless that evening, he somehow found the right words to comfort me and a way to reassure me I was going to be ok. And he also promised me he’d always be there for me, and you know what? He never broke that promise.

Bobby was a man of his word and never judgmental of me as well. He accepted every facet about me from the onset, especially my sexuality, even though he was totally heterosexual during a time when many were still widely rejecting those who were gay. He also made sure to always point out the good in me and never the bad, even when I couldn’t see the good in myself. And because of that, he became a trusted friend and someone I looked forward to seeing every single week, both at that men’s meeting and my Friday night home group.

I loved spending time around Bobby in recovery and in general in life. He was one of the rare people back then that I didn’t want to keep at arm’s length and that was solely because of my spiritual attraction to him. Bobby radiated joy more than not and it was quite noticeable.

In fact, it was hard to walk in any room and not know where Bobby was, not only because of his bubbly personality, but also because of his deep, booming, and raspy Boston accent that made him so unmistakably unique. And while Bobby was in his mid 50’s when I first met him, you would have thought he was more like a 20-something because of his constant youthful and jubilant nature.

I watched Bobby work hard on his recovery from the beginning and for a guy who went 40 years with a drug addiction and faced a huge uphill battle from the start, Bobby continued to overcome it day after day and became a huge spirit of motivation for me because of it. I often told myself, if Bobby could do it, so could I. And both of us did, one day at a time.

But sadly, due to a terrible accident that came after ten years of sobriety and recovery, painkillers got reintroduced back into Bobby’s life and became the demon that brought his addiction back, like it happens in so many cases these days with plenty of others. And although he attempted to get back on track, he’d struggle finding continuous sobriety again until the tragic day of his death. Yet, that never stopped him during any of that struggle from still being a loving, friendly, funny, caring, and giving guy, who would never think twice about giving the shirt off his back to help another, like he always did with me.

Bobby Beans, or “Beanzy” as many called him, touched so many lives, including my own and I’m not sure if I’d have the level of recovery I have today if he hadn’t become a part of it when he did. That’s why I’m honestly having a hard time accepting the fact he’s gone now and really miss him, yet I’m still left with a tremendous amount of gratitude for all the times I got to spend with him, as he very much touched my heart and soul during all of it.

I trust that he’s making God laugh now with his infectious sense of humor and blessing all the heavens as well because of his presence. I’m so grateful Bobby that God brought you into my life when I began my road to recovery and I look forward to the day when I hear you calling me “Gumby” once again, hopefully as I’m entering the Light of Heaven…

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday! While today’s piece of gratitude may come as a shock to some of my readers, what I’m actually grateful for today is my sexuality. But, before I explain why, let me go back a little in time.

As a young teenager, I was mostly an average guy, living an average life, in an average middle-class family, residing in an average middle-class neighborhood with plenty of picket fences and other Caucasian families. My high school was filled with individuals who came from most of the same. To put it more bluntly, I lived in a bubble life that never had to deal with racism, discrimination, or anything of the sort.

But, by the time I reached the end of my high school years, I began to notice something was different with me. I was attracted more to guys than girls and thought something was wrong with me. And by no means was I grateful for that realization back then whatsoever.

When I finally emerged from the closet and accepted I was a gay male in a mostly heterosexual world, it wasn’t an easy transition, as my religious upbringing made sure to constantly provide reminders that I was a living abomination because of my sexuality. Several churches over the years in fact, would even confirm this by rejecting my petition for membership.

Yet, I pressed on and still sought out God and through that, I eventually found a blessing in disguise when it came to my sexuality. I discovered that my sexuality made me far more able to relate to those who have had to deal with racism and discrimination their entire lives. In other words, my sexuality opened up a pathway in my heart for greater compassion and understanding to those who had lived their entire lives feeling separate more than equal from the rest of society.

Over the years, while I continued to struggle at times with the religious views on homosexuality, I came to acceptance that God made me this way for a reason. Not as punishment. Not as a curse. And not as a means to become celibate for the rest of my life either. But rather, as a gift to help me relate more to a vast array of God’s children who were never part of that “average” type of existence and weren’t able to fit in so easily in this world because of it.

You see it’s my sexuality that’s helped me to understand much of the oppression black people have had to go through. It’s my sexuality that helped me to understand the same with people from other races as well. Essentially, it’s my sexuality that helped me to embrace diversity rather than the white privilege I was born into.

Overall, being a gay male in a world that’s mostly straight has ultimately helped me to see things through a clearer set of eyes, ones that have shown me how to unconditionally love, accept, and understand a lot better, those in society who too have felt ostracized and treated differently because of some part of themselves that couldn’t be changed and was not the societal norm.

This is why I’m so grateful today for my sexuality, because with the spiritual journey I’m on, being able to relate on a heart level to as many people from as many different backgrounds as I can, is extremely important to me, as I know it was for Christ as well long ago…

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Good day to everyone and welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday where I write about a single piece of gratitude to start my week off with, which for today is being the honest and integrity-based person I always wanted to be.

You see, it wasn’t all that long ago that I was a far more dishonest person who lived out of integrity more than not in life. I used to lie and manipulate my way through everything and regularly failed to keep my promises with others. But, my recovery, my spirituality, all the pain I’ve gone through, and a renewed desire to be a disciple for God has definitely changed that.

I work really hard now to be fully honest with everyone, both in person, and through my writing. What you see with me or what you read from me is exactly who I am. I have nothing to hide and, on some level, it’s pretty freeing. While there might have been times in my past where someone could have blackmailed me with something to hold over my head, today, there is nothing where that could be done, as I have exposed all my past, my secrets, and my deepest truths. And I must say, it’s actually very freeing.

As for the integrity part. I used to make a lot of promises to people, especially with close friends and family. Yet, my addictions and toxic behaviors often got in the way of me ever keeping them. I let a lot of individuals down in the process. Thankfully though, I keep my commitments with others these days because I know how important it is to be a man of my word, given all the disappointment I once saw in others with whom I couldn’t keep my word with.

Honesty and integrity are now two of my best qualities that I feel I have to offer this world and are also two qualities that I look for in those I choose to spend my life around. I find it’s far better to be in connection with those who are real with me, real with the truth, even when it hurts, and real with their word, especially when they make me a promise. Because there are just too many people nowadays that aren’t honest people, not with themselves, not with their friends, and not with their loved ones. Instead, they go through their lives in denial on some level and hide in the shadows, hoping their deepest, darkest truths, never see the light of day. Because of that, they often tend to live in fear and create little lies over and over again to escape ever being fully exposed. And the more they do that, the more they become out of integrity. And the more they become out of integrity, the more they continue to lie to compensate. It then creates a vicious cycle until the person becomes someone they don’t even like very much, which is exactly what happened to me for much of my earlier years in life.

So, while there may be a few parts of my life, like my health issues, that I still struggle to like about myself, I am grateful to God and have learned to like myself for becoming such an honest and integrity-based person nowadays. I am also grateful that my friends and loved-ones get the full truth from me now, as does the rest of the world. Because frankly, honesty and integrity are two qualities that I see Christ was able to demonstrate time and time again, and thankfully, I can say I now do too.

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