A Prayer For Letting Go Of Control

For years I never let go of control with anything in my life. I found it so hard to also let go of any of my negative patterns, programmings, and behaviors. A few years ago I really started praying diligently to God for help in this matter. I want to share my prayer with you as I know it can help you as much as it did me…

“Dear God, I’m really struggling with letting go of control in my life. I know I live in a lot of self-will and I need Your help to remove it. I don’t want to keep living my life this way. Will You please eliminate all my negative patterns, programmings, and behaviors that constantly lead me to take control away from You? Please take from my life all the things that keep me separate from You. I am open to whatever you need to put back in my life that will bring me closer to You. I truly want You to be at the helm of my life guiding me in every thought, word, and action. I love you God and I’m grateful that You’ve heard this prayer. May Thy will, not mine, be done, always, now and forever. Amen.”

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

An Addiction Fueled Wolf Of Wall Street

While I see plenty of movies both in the theater and at home on a weekly basis, there are only a handful I ever feel motivated enough to write about in this blog. Most of the time it’s the ones that spiritually uplift me, which lead to that. But in rare cases there are those that truly appall me, like The Wolf Of Wall Street, which compel me to do the same.

There really is only one reason why The Wolf Of Wall Street totally appalled me. It wasn’t because the film wasn’t acted well, because the acting was spot on with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, amongst others. It also wasn’t because the film was directed poorly, because the directing was top notch as it always seems to be with Martin Scorsese’s films. And in all honesty, it wasn’t because of a poor movie script either, as I found it to be a rather well adapted screenplay from the book it was based on. The thing I actually found most disturbing about it was how realistically it portrayed my former addictive lifestyle on screen.

From alcohol to drug addiction, to sex and gambling addiction, and throwing in a ton of greed and gluttony, The Wolf of Wall Street was a three hour look into someone else’s addiction fueled lifestyle that resembled too closely to my own. I can count on one hand the amount of times in my entire life that I ever felt a compulsion to walk out of a movie and this was definitely one of them. There were too many moments during this movie’s running time that I cringed and wanted to leave the theater, like I saw a few people actually do. The only reason why I stayed was out of respect for an artistic film that will most likely garner at least several nominations throughout the upcoming movie awards season.

As I said already, this movie wasn’t a bad movie. The fact is that it was a good movie because it yanked at each of the old addictive triggers within me. In other words, it was all too real and completely believable. Unfortunately, it just hit too close to home for me as it visually depicted a life similar to my own that once tore my soul completely apart. To hear stories about various addictions from others in 12 Step recovery meetings is one thing. I can handle that as it comes with the territory of going to those meetings in the first place. But to see one of those stories displayed so accurately on a movie screen is quite another as I wasn’t able to handle that at all. Watching actors and actresses massively binge on alcohol and drugs, seeing them take part in one sex orgy after another, and observing how their love of money led each of them to treat others so poorly for the movie’s entire three hour running time, was too much for my spirit to handle.

I love the movies, but mostly because I like to leave the theater feeling spiritually good. It’s movies like Saving Mr. Banks or The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty that have done that to me. When I’ve left the theater after watching those films, there was tears in my eyes and a feeling of gratitude in my heart for what God has given me in life. But for The Wolf Of Wall Street, I didn’t leave the theater feeling spiritually uplifted on any level. In fact, I left the theater feeling quite down and out. That’s only because I know too many people who are still out there in this world living their lives like what this movie depicted. There are too many people who still actively engage in any one of the addictions that were demonstrated so well in this movie. And sadly, many of them will die from those addictions. I do have to admit something though the more I think about this. I was able to leave the theater after seeing The Wolf Of Wall Street with one single piece of gratitude to God. And that’s for the fact that I am clean and sober today from all of those addictions.

It’s too bad that this movie wasn’t able to show the real hope and recovery that exists in our world for people that suffer from addictions. The movie Flight with Denzel Washington was a perfect example of a movie that did. It showed a man’s downward spiral into a major alcohol addiction and then his eventual rise out of it. Unfortunately, The Wolf Of Wall Street didn’t quite get there and instead it spent the majority of its three hour running time displaying only the terrible things that occur from an addiction fueled lifestyle.

If you are thinking about seeing this movie and have a background similar to mine that’s addictive based, I only ask you to prepare yourself for an extremely realistic portrayal of all the downfalls that come with addictions. But please know and remember when the movie is over that there is hope and recovery out there for all addictions, as God has made me living proof of that.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Making A “Living Amends”

I used to apologize constantly for every mistake I made in life. Saying “I’m sorry” became a common occurrence for me. It didn’t take me very long to learn though that those words held no real value when I kept on repeating the same mistakes. Thankfully, 12 Step recovery helped me to break that cycle. Even better, it showed me how to heal all the damage I had caused others by using the amends process in the 8th and 9th Steps. But I also learned a very valuable lesson when I started making those amends to those I had brought harm to throughout my life. I learned that sometimes the only amends the people I had harmed were seeking were a “Living Amends”.

To put it quite simply, a “Living Amends” is where a person starts to live life in much healthier manner as compared to their old negative way of living. It’s basically when a person starts making genuine efforts to remove all their toxic behaviors on a daily basis.

For a guy like me who used the words “I’m sorry” more times than I can remember, doing even the basic amends process in the 8th and 9th step wasn’t always enough. My sister was the first person to inform me of this. Time and time again, I had caused her great harm and pain because of my addictive lifestyle. Often I was completely selfish, self-centered, dishonest, and engaging in fear based behaviors around her. The first time I approached her to make a formal 9th Step amends, she went along with the process and thanked me for it when it was done. Unfortunately, it wasn’t done for me though because not too long after that I just repeated my same old mistakes and hurt her all over again. By the time I got around to doing the 9th Step process again a few years later, I approached her for another formal amends. It was then that she outright refused. She told me she was tired of hearing me make apologies that ranged from “I’m sorry” to the formal 9th Step amends lingo. What she really wanted to see was me living my life in a much healthier way.

I’m grateful to say that I’m doing that now. In fact, my sister recently let me know how proud she was of me with how I’m living my life. We have regular conversations now about spirituality, God, and the like and I finally feel as if I’m becoming the brother she always wanted.

This is what a living amends is truly all about. It’s about living a life where God starts running the show. It’s about becoming that beacon of love and light and not that vacuum of darkness and negativity. And it’s about living one’s life in such a positive way that the amends is being made in that action alone.

So if you are someone who needs to make an amends to anyone, I ask you to consider just one thing. Are you still exhibiting any of the same old negative behaviors that caused the harm in the first place? Because if you are, then I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and hold off on making that amends. Instead, ask God to help you change all those old negative behaviors. In doing so, know you’re making a “Living Amends” where you’re not only healing yourself, but also all those you harmed as well…

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson