Nothing Is Beyond Resuscitation When It Comes To God

For most of my life, friendships were hard to come by. Either I never fit the image of what was cool, or if I did, I was far too selfish and self-centered for anyone to want to remain within it. But one of those friendships denied all those odds and withstood the many tests I put it through over the sixteen years since it began. And this past weekend I got to spend quality time with this friend while I helped him celebrate his 50th birthday in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

It’s pretty amazing to see how far this friendship has come ever since the first day we met. That was on a Monday evening back in 1997 in Brockton, MA during a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. For whatever reasons, we hit it off immediately and were soon inseparable friends. There was a major difference between us though back then. He was very immeshed in his recovery from his addictions, whereas I was very immersed into finding more of them to live in. Within six months from that time, I chose to move back to Virginia after having lived in Massachusetts for less than a year, solely for the purpose of finding another geographical cure for my misery in life. Many miles and a bunch of states then began to separate our friendship, but something deeper kept it alive, which today I can only say must have been God.

Over the next decade though the distance between us grew as my path of self destruction got worse, while his path of freedom from addictions grew even stronger. I would occasionally visit him on trips I took back to Massachusetts to see my sister who still resided there. As hard as it is to say this, it was always about me when I was in town visiting. I never wanted to go to those AA meetings with him when he asked. More often than not, I guilted him into not going to them and instead would convince him to do something completely different. So what we did, where we went, and any itinerary that was established always came back to my own doings and control. Essentially the friendship was running on a lot of my own self will and was weakening day in and day out without me really even knowing.

Eventually my life fell apart in Virginia, when I had lost my business and a long term relationship. I felt I had nowhere else to go except back to Massachusetts since the only two remaining people left in my life who seemed to give a crap about me were my sister and this friend. In a total act of desperation, I chose to go to his AA home-group on a Friday night when he asked me to tag along. For years I had only gone to an AA meeting for either the sole purpose of looking for a sexual hook-up or for those times when I was having a down day and just wanted to dump my mess on someone else. Having so much pain and anguish within me, and seeing how happy this friend always was, a part of me felt that maybe the path he took all those years ago when we had first met, was the choice I should have taken too. That night, I began my recovery after many years of being a dry drunk, but I also started something else as well. I starting trying to work on a much closer friendship with this friend seeing that it was beginning to run out of steam due to my actions.

Unfortunately, over the next five years, I tried to juggle my recovery alongside my addictive behaviors while trying to maintain that friendship. I continued to perpetuate those seriously unhealthy and toxic based relationships and became so codependent on most of them, that I often sacrificed the time I could have been spending with this long standing friend re-developing a closer bond. For someone that had stuck by my side through thick and thin, I didn’t show much of the same dedication back towards him. After enough times of me choosing to stay more devoted to those toxic friendships than to working on mine and his, he began pulling back a little at a time until so much distance was between us that it was as if I was living again in another part of the country. It’s ironic that just about a year ago, that distance had grown so great that I thought this friendship was truly over. The damage I had done to it from all those years of acting out in various addictions had made it seem totally beyond repair. But one thing HAD started to change last year that gave this friendship a glimmer of hope. ME.

It was around that same time that I had finally begun removing all those toxic people out of my life who I had kept around for way too long. Layers and layers of baggage were lifted off of me and my life from that action alone. Then I started working on turning my life COMPLETELY over to the care of God every single day. Not partially and not by a certain percentage like I had always done in prior years, but fully, I made the decision to have God take over the reigns of my life. Through this, my friend became willing to sit down with me to see if God wanted us to salvage what was left from our once very strong connection. When that day arrived and we met, it had been over two months with almost no communication between us. I had already come to the acceptance that if God wanted the friendship to still be there, it would be. And if not, I would move on.

Three hours later, my friend and I embraced after having made very deep amends to each other for the parts that we both contributed to, in the distance that had grown between us. We made a promise to set time aside each week to hang out from that point forward, and to talk in the days that came in between those times. And through our own relationships with God and the strength that continues to build in each of them, we have kept those promises now for close to a year.

I can safely say that today, as this Provincetown trip comes to a close, my friendship with this person is now stronger than it ever has been in any of our previous sixteen years together. The laughter, the tears, the embraces, and the warmth within it, are beyond any of the friendships I have ever had in this life with anyone else. For that I must give all the credit to God who was able to guide me out of that darkness back into the light, and also saw fit to breath life into something that I thought my destructive ways had moved beyond resuscitation.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Time Machine Conundrum

I often play a mental game with others by asking “Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time and keep your memories of how your life has been, would you change anything?” The answers I get are always fascinating.

Up until recently, I used to wish I had made better decisions throughout my life and often dreamt of going back in time and starting my life over at a certain point. What’s funny is that I don’t think that way anymore because I am liking who I’m becoming now. Living with the drama I usually put myself in before that, I didn’t really like myself or my life. In turn, this led me to living in a fantasy land about things such as time travel where I would think about how my life could be if I had done this thing or that thing differently.

As I began healing from all the past things that happened to myself, I pondered some deep questions about time travel which made it seem not so alluring. What if everything that happened in my life, was meant to happen as it did? What if I was able to go back in time and changed one thing that I thought would make my life better, and instead, it made things even worse or more complicated? What if the dysfunctional family that I had was the one that was best suited for me to become the spiritual person I am becoming today? What if the relationships that I got in that were toxic were all meant for me to be in so I could eventually be in a healthy one and one that is closer to God? What if all those jobs I had and subsequently quit or the business I owned and tragically lost, all were learning lessons to gain a greater spiritual awareness for the work I was always meant to do?

There’s a great movie I once saw surrounding this very subject. It was entitled “The Butterfly Effect” and starred a very young actor named Ashton Kutcher. In it, he continued to try to change things and make them the way his mind thought they should have been and proceeded to get worse and worse results. Each adjustment he did created a ripple throughout his life that changed everything, even to some of the good things that had happened which he didn’t want to have altered. By the end of the movie, he finally came to acceptance with things, even with the tragic things that had happened throughout it, including the ones he kept trying to manipulate. When he did that, he was able to move on and found new happiness and love.

Ironically, this is exactly what is happening in my life today. Once I began accepting that things happened as they should, I started wishing less and less that I could go back in time to change anything. The reality for me is that I don’t wish to change a single thing in my previous life anymore, even if the ability to time travel actually did exist. I like who I’m becoming now even though there still are many days I’m suffering in physical pain and question God. I can only imagine how much better my life will become by continuing on a path of acceptance and love for everyone and everything.

So if I could go back in time to any part of my life to change it…I wouldn’t. But if could take that time machine and repurpose it, I would go back invisibly and observe many of the great spiritual teachers that God brought to this earth who have since passed. But that’s really just a good subject for a whole other blog entry now isn’t it?

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Negative Rewards Based Belief Systems

People love to give their opinions on just about everything. I think we’re all guilty of it at some point in our lives. Normally, I don’t really like hearing them from other people these days, especially when it comes to the subject of the physical pain I endure. But in rare cases, such as with what happened last week when a woman in a new age store gave me hers about it, I actually saw it as a good thing and grew from it.

I frequent new age stores quite a bit simply because I like crystals, incense, and the like. When I was away last week in the Nashville, Tennessee area visiting my sister, I was searching for a crystal named aquamarine which I learned was hard to come by. Thankfully, I was in luck when I found a store named Cosmic Connections that had some in supply. Rarely do I engage in conversation with any of the employees at new age stores now when I visit them. That’s only because I have at times been provided at many of them, misleading advice and poor direction, which only have complicated my healing path. For whatever reason though, I did the exact opposite of this when I visited this one in Nashville that day. While I did end up in a long conversation with a woman who talked about quite a number of things, there was one thing she said about my pain and the healing I’m going through, that proved to be a blessing in disguise.

“Have you ever considered the idea that the reason you are still in pain is due to some belief system you still hold onto which wants you to remain in pain?”

Whoa! At first I wanted to be angry upon hearing this because I have done so much to change myself and try to heal. It was especially hard to believe that there might actually be some part of me that wanted to remain in pain. But like there are many bad opinions, there really are those too that sometimes end up being quite good, such as this one, because the truth is, a part of me subconsciously did want to stay in pain.

After much meditation and prayer, and then a long discussion with my spiritual teacher about what that woman at the store said to me, I understood my truth behind that statement and it stemmed back to my childhood. There, I had a dysfunctional family where verbal shouting matches, anger, punishments, and control dominated most days and nights. As a child though, I learned early on that when I was sick, all of those undesirable family traits were tossed aside for love and affection to help me heal. In other words, there was great reward for me in being sick as when I was, there was no fighting, no arguing, and no being told to go to my room. My meals were chosen by what I wanted to consume and not what my parents forced in me. There were also loving hugs and tender words when they listened to what was going on within me. As life went on, I got sick more than not. And it wasn’t that I was faking being sick, as I really was sick. It was that my mind and body was on a programmed response forcing me to be that way. It’s really is true that the mind and body are powerful tools. Somewhere along the line, mine learned that when I was sick, I’d get the love I so needed, wanted, and deserved and because of that, it created this negative belief system and programmed it into me.

Throughout most of my life that followed since then, during much of the tumultuous connections I maintained, I got sick and had many physical ailments. In each of those times, those around me offered compassion and had less unreasonable expectations on me which was opposite of how they normally treated me. On top of that, doctors and practitioners would console me like a loving mother would. So throughout most of it, I was doing nothing more than solidifying that negative programming.

All of us, even animals, have different types of programs constantly running within us that begin somewhere. Some are healthy for us, and some aren’t like the one that have kept me being sick. An example of some other type of programming can be shown quite simply with my roommate’s dog who upon hearing the word “Treat?” will begin to salivate and drool, jump up and down, and start doing tricks without even being asked, all for the sake of the reward that her brain knows is about to come. In my case, as I allowed people to treat me terribly and remained in unhealthy relationships, my programming would bring about sickness and ailments just for the reward of getting more love and affection from them. Through my closer connection to God today though, I am loving myself so much more and having a much better relationship with myself. I don’t have any toxic or negative people close to me that do nothing but bring me down. Because of that, this negative rewards based belief system isn’t going to work because I don’t need to be sick to have love come into my life, it’s already there. I generate it now with God’s guidance from within and from surrounding myself with healthy people.

The bottom line is that I don’t want or need to be sick or ailing anymore. And I most definitely don’t have the desire to find love in my life by becoming sick or ailing. That woman really did hit the nail on its head with what she told me. What she didn’t say though, but what I know is also true, is that this old belief system is already dying through all the work I’ve been doing on myself. I just have to be patient. After all, it took years to create this programming, hopefully it won’t take the same to delete it.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson