To Heal The Broken…

Time and time again, the biggest reason why I see people falling into any sort of addiction is because their heart is closed off from receiving love and subsequently, they tend to feel unloved in this world because of it. The fact is addiction then becomes a great numbing tool for those who have closed off their hearts and constantly live feeling unloved.

I know this first hand because I lived that way for most of my life. It took me a long time to reopen my heart to the level it is now, but with that comes a great burden at times because it’s often led to me getting hurt. Yet, in the same breath, it’s also been quite rewarding as well. Case in point, in the jail meeting I run each week on Monday nights, I recently met a 19-year-old kid who confessed he can’t stop doing Percocet’s and wanted to know how he’s ever going to stop. Instead of going through the usual, “when the pain becomes great enough” spiel, or suggesting going to meetings, getting a sponsor, and doing the 12 Steps, I felt compelled to ask him about his childhood. He angrily began talking about his drug addicted mother and how his father supplied her with those drugs. When I asked if he ever felt loved by either of them, his quick response was a resounding “no.”

While I didn’t know this guy whatsoever before that meeting, I knew exactly how he felt, because that’s how I grew up. As he told me the story of his passion for wrestling and how he was never quite good enough in his parents’ eyes, no matter how hard he tried to succeed in the sport he loved, I could see the anger swelling within him. It was then I looked directly in his eyes, in front of a dozen other inmates sitting around me, and said “I am so proud of you for your honesty and your desire to change, and I want you to know that I love you and you deserve to be loved. And this is the very reason why you remain broken and choose to live in your addiction day after day.” As soon as I said that, he went from being totally angry to totally crying, because I had successfully guided him to the very source of what keeps leading him back to his addiction, that being his broken childhood.

Whatever the addiction, the reality is that deep down there is a broken part of us somewhere within that keeps leading us to engage in an addiction to numb us from that part of ourselves. In this case, this 19-year-old inmate had grown up not loving himself at all because of never having been unconditionally loved to start with.

People always ask me why I do this recovery work as much as I do, and why I get so personal. Well, ultimately, it’s because I’ve learned we’re all broken somehow, especially those of us who are addicts in this world. And deep down within us is a little boy or girl who just wants to feel loved and not broken anymore.

So, it’s my hope to continuing being this vessel to help mend the broken, especially in the world of addiction. There I will keep planting those seeds of unconditional love with one goal in mind, to bring greater light into the darkness of a broken heart and soul to show them that someone out there truly does give a damn about themselves, until they can give a damn about themselves and walk the path along my side of sobriety and recovery.

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

“The Lord Giveth And The Lord Taketh Away…”

I, like I’m sure so many others often do, tend to question why God lets loved ones die by unnatural causes and tragic circumstances. This past year I lost two good friends to drug overdoses, one was in his mid 50’s and the other in his mid 30’s. I also lost a very dear friend of more than two decades to an immune system failure, and just the other day my 4-year-old cat Smokey abruptly died due to his bladder bursting from a urethra blockage.

When my cat left in the carrier that morning to head to the vet from not being able to pass urine for almost 12 hours, I had prayed and prayed and laid hands on him, asking God to help him. Little did I know that the help would be to put him out of his pain permanently a mere hour later. At first when my partner returned home to tell me the terrible news, I was shocked and wanted to believe it was all a joke somehow. Smokey had been my rock over the past three years, constantly bringing me comfort whenever I was hurting from my health issues. How could God have taken him away when I needed him the most? Why would God do such a thing? Was this really the answer to all my desperate pleas and prayers I had done that morning and all the prior evening when Smokey had started not feeling well?

At that precise moment my partner had told me this heartbreaking news and stared at me in tears, all I could think of was that King James verse from Job 1:21 that said “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away” and believe me, it did nothing to comfort me. I’ve struggled in recent times to find comfort in reading the bible, having suffered for far too long.

As I thought about that passage, my anger began to consume me. I then pondered all the other awful deaths I went through this year and felt my physical pain overwhelming me, when suddenly I started cursing my existence just like Job once did with all the loss he went through.

I really wanted to take a drink or do a drug or act out in some serious addiction, just to numb the hurt, the pain, and the loss of the only thing I had in my life that represented 100% unconditional love. Not once did Smokey ever treat me poorly.

Thankfully, I kept all my sobriety and went out that afternoon and evening with a rapidly growing friendship to a guy named Mike while my partner decided to distract himself with his schoolwork. Mike has been such a blessing for me in a number of ways, including being able to make me laugh pretty easily, which normally doesn’t come that easily. After a few hours of hanging out with him over a meal, a coffee, and a drive, I felt much better and was far less self-piteous. It’s then I began coming into a greater place of acceptance.

The thought crossed my mind that if my partner and I had proceeded down the path we were considering that morning, that being to get immediate surgery to correct Smokey’s urinary condition he was born with, there was a very good chance it could create a long road of heavy vet expenditures, as we were told. For a guy like me with no job and no steady income, and a partner who supports the both of us, maybe indeed God saw best to take Smokey from this plane to save many expenses, headaches, and anguish? Whatever the reason why it was Smokey’s time though, I also had acceptance that he was at least no longer in pain. I had watched him countless times over the last three years sit in his kitty litter, sometimes for more than 10 minutes, desperately trying to pass urine.

So, in the end, I accepted that even if Smokey’s passing had nothing to do with God wanting my partner and I to avoid paying high vet bills in the future for his health, that God must have had a reason that was for the greater good for both Smokey and us. Accepting that made his passing much easier to deal with and ironically even helped to appreciate that biblical verse, even if it took me a good number of hours to get there, when I finally could say it really is ok that “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away” because in the end, it ultimately is.

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

My Need For Human Touch…

I think human touch is very important. I’m always reminded of those studies that were done scientifically with babies where it was proven that the lack of physical affection can actually kill a baby or seriously limit their growth and development.

As a baby, I was often told I received a lot of human touch. But, as a kid, when my parents succumbed to alcohol addiction, I didn’t get much of that whatsoever. Rather, I remember days when I’d go into the family room in tears wanting my mother just to console me over being bullied at school where she’d tell me to be quiet as she watched her soap operas and drank her wine. She even sent me off to learn karate when I broke down one day about the ongoing bullying, instead of providing me any sort of loving touch.

My first real experience as a kid receiving human touch was sadly when I got molested around the age of 12 from the coach of the swim and dive team I was on. After that, I began to fear anyone touching me and instead felt wickedly uncomfortable with any sort of affection. That lasted for years causing me to recoil inside any time someone placed a loving hand on me or even touched me on any level. Eventually, I worked through this issue mostly because of the work I did through the ManKind Project organization (MKP), which I continue to remain a part of to this day.

Unfortunately, these days, I continue to struggle with one thing that still relates to human touch. I have this overwhelming need now to have physical affection more than not, all because of how low I feel inside about my life due to my long-standing health issues and where my life has been left because of them. And while I crave human touch as much as do, my partner is the exact opposite with it, as he doesn’t need much of it at all. Part of that relates to issues he has in that arena that he’s just beginning to work on. Because of that, quite often I know I come across to him as overly needy, typically when I ask to hold hands more or be held more or simply just to be touched more.

I’m beginning to wonder if for as long as my health issues stick around, will I always appear as being overly needy, chiefly when it comes to craving human touch. But like a baby who needs this for development and really to live, is it the same for adults as well? Do we ultimately need human touch? And can human touch prevent things like depression and anxiety and other sickness? I tend to think so because of the benefit I always feel whenever I receive love through human touch. The downside though is how many people in this world seem to struggle giving or receiving it due to their own upbringing and the lack of ever getting it on a healthy level. Frankly, for many I’ve gotten to know, human touch is such a foreign thing and seems to make plenty uncomfortable.

All I know to do is to keep on showing the physical affection I do to others and to remain thankful for those who offer me any human touch in return. Sometimes a deep hug, an arm around my shoulder, and a hand on my leg, from anyone, goes a long way, especially for a guy like me who hurts so badly inside on more days than not.

So, if you should ever happen to see someone who is truly hurting from anything in life, know I believe that deep down each of them biologically desires some type of human touch and physical affection. While some may generally not be open to receiving it yet due to not having worked through some issue around it, know there are others who would love to receive it and when they do, it may just make their day and help them to keep going for one more day, others that include someone like me…

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