There’s Always Someone Worse Off Than You…

Growing up in my house, any serious complaints that I ever vocalized were usually met with a a reminder that there’s always someone worse off than me. So if I complained about the food I had to eat, I was told there were starving people in China. If I had issues with any of the clothes I had to wear, I got pointed out the homeless people on the streets who were missing shoes or shirts or jackets. During the times I got really sick and felt like it was the end of the world, I was reminded of those who were permanently disabled in wheelchairs or were dying in the hospitals with real diseases like cancer. Lately, when my physical pains lead me to higher levels of negativity, it seems that God has been giving me gentle nudges of this very same lesson that my parents tried to teach me.

At the gym the other day, when I was struggling to find the motivation to do any exercise, I saw a man in a wheelchair trying to do an arm only workout. There, I also saw another man having to be helped in and out of the pool with a crane who was unable to walk anymore on his own. And in another part of the gym, I saw a person that was close to 400 pounds trying to shed some of his weight in a small workout.

Last week I went downtown to Boston to watch the fireworks and while I was there, I got caught up for a moment in my head due to my bodily pain. But when I turned around, I noticed there was a quadriplegic person in a wheelchair using a blowing tube and an assistant just to watch the 4th of July display in the sky.

At the movies lately when I have been struggling to just sit there in my own pain, I have watched prior to the previews, a commercial air about very young children who have been battling cancer and are looking for support through the Jimmy Fund.

And in my recovery circles as of late, where I often am going to speaking engagements at places where people are trying to detox from their alcohol or drug addictions, I have been hearing stories from the people there about them being homeless, destitute, HIV+, Hepatitis C positive, or worse.

While my parents might have used a lot that cliche of someone always being worse off than me when I was complaining as a kid, there actually was a lot of truth to what they were saying. I may be hurting very physically right now in my life on most days, but I still do have a home to live in, food to consume daily, clothing to keep me warm, running water to bathe in and drink regularly, a car to get me to wherever I need to go, four limbs that still work enough to get me around on my own, and eyesight and hearing that are functioning to help me still see and hear things around me. Sadly, there are millions of people in this world who can’t say the same and I must continue to remember this, even in my worst moments when I just want to give up from all the pain I feel.

It may have been a saying that made me roll my eyes as a kid every time my parents reminded of those that didn’t have it as well off as me, but it’s truth has persevered throughout my life. God has continued to provide me with plenty, even in all my suffering, and I need to continue to remind myself of that, especially when I get caught up in my thinking about the woes in my life. In those moments, it is then that I need to remember that there really is always someone out there worse off than me.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Keep Going…

Throughout any given week, I’ll occasionally receive spiritual or inspirational e-mails from other sources that have helped me on my healing path. On days when my physical pain that I’ve been enduring for awhile now is extremely high, I often struggle with maintaining hope and faith that I’ll get to the other side of this. Just the other day, I received a very moving article from a spiritual writer by the name of Yehuda Berg. It was titled “Keep Going” and I have cut and pasted it into here as it touched my life and I’m sure it can touch others as well. Enjoy…

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One of the most important keys to manifesting our goals and making our dreams come true is perseverance.

I have a friend who is a famous actor, but he wasn’t always. When he began his career, things were difficult; he would sleep on people’s couches, and sometimes he could barely afford meals. He told me some of the best advice he received during that time was from his acting coach who said, “Perseverance will win out over talent any day. The reason you see the same couple of dozen actors in every film and TV show is because a lot of the other really talented people got tired of trying, packed up their bags, and went home.” 

This was an important lesson, not just for his career, but for his life. 

The people you see living out their dreams are the ones who never gave up, even when the going got rough. 

It’s hard to keep getting up after every time we fall or experience rejection, especially when it seems like we are going nowhere. But the truth is, these hurdles are what require us to raise the bar on our belief in ourselves, our trust in the universe, and the amount of hard work we’re willing to put in to make our dreams a reality. 



Obstacles will make the reward that much sweeter. The more challenges we overcome, the more fulfilled we can experience in the end. 



And remember, it’s always darkest just before the dawn. 



When we feel like giving up is usually when we’re almost there. Keep going!

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Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Not Sweating The Small Stuff

My first and last name initials are A.D. Many used to say that they stood for “Always Dramatic” because I made the biggest deal about everything that happened in my life. I’ve been working a lot to shed this former image over the last year of my recovery and just this past weekend, it was put to the test on my visit to Old Silver Beach in Falmouth, MA.

One of the coolest things that happens in the New England recovery community during the summer are when AA meetings are held on the beach as dusk begins to occur. Old Silver Beach is just one of those locations where these beach meetings happen and it’s held every Saturday night at 7pm usually between the months of June and September. While I had been in attendance in previous summers to a few of the meetings there, my friends who coordinate it gave me the opportunity this year to be the main speaker at this past Saturday night’s meeting.

Unfortunately, as soon as I left my house early Saturday afternoon to head down to the beach, I noticed the air pressure light was on in my car again having just been lit up over a week ago. A quick stop over to NTB showed I had a slow leak on one of my tires. After being told it would be a few hours to get it looked at and fixed, I just decided to have air placed back in it and promised myself a return visit there later in the week when it was less busy.

As I got on the highway from there to head South towards the beach, I immediately hit a wall of traffic. Oddly enough, I didn’t really care and just spent the extra time reciting mantras in the car that I’ve been doing lately to be a more positive and healthy based person. Further into my drive after the roads had opened up for awhile, I saw a sign that said there was a backup near the bridge I was coming up to. I quickly did a search on my GPS and saw a back road that I could take to bypass the congestion, which ended up being a nice detour along a very stunning lake.

By the time I arrived at the beach it was much past the original time I had intended on being there, as I had wanted to spend a good portion of the day just relaxing before the meeting. I discovered through a quick phone call to the friend who coordinated me speaking there that night, that most everyone had already left for the day and were returning that evening for the meeting. I was fine with that because I actually enjoy being alone at the beach as much as I do with other people. But upon arriving at the location I had been told I could park at for free, it was being guarded by security who said I couldn’t leave my car there. As I headed further down the road to where the main parking lots were for the beach, there was a backup of cars waiting to get a spot and a big sign that said the price was $20, which was all I head left in my wallet. I calmly called my friend again and asked her for alternatives and she coordinated to have me go back to this restaurant not too far away and leave my car. A short bit later, I and another few friends were picked up by her and we all headed back down to the beach where she was able to park for free with the beach sticker on her vehicle.

During the few hours that I got to enjoy my beach time, the canvas bag that my new chair was held in disappeared, the large umbrella I had gotten only last summer completely broke, and I discovered upon heading to go use the bathroom that it had been locked at 5pm for the rest of the night. Ironically, none of it phased me and I was able to let it all go.

The beach remained extremely crowded right up until the start time of the meeting, which was rather unusual for that time of the night there, so we migrated the meeting away from everyone and ended up starting it fifteen minutes late. What was great about that was that everyone who had come for the meeting but was running late, actually arrived on time. But even better, as the meeting came to a close, we all got to see the sun set on a completely clear horizon over the ocean.

After the meeting ended, a few of us went back to my friend’s house who did a small cookout and a fire in the backyard of her home. It was an amazing way to end the day and as I sat there and toasted some marshmallows, I felt grateful that none of what had transpired throughout the day had bothered me in the slightest bit. So not even a small air leak in a tire, heavy traffic, difficult parking situations, lost and broke items at the beach, or large numbers of people there, could derail the sense of peace I experienced throughout the day.  I attribute all of that to the work I’ve been doing to grow a deeper relationship with God in my recovery.

Looking back, I have a lot of gratitude for that day as not too long ago any of what happened to me along the way would have turned me into a complete dramatic mess. I’m thankful that in a nutshell, I finally had a day where I didn’t sweat any of the small stuff.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson