“This Year Will Be Different!”

How often is it that we start a new year and tell ourselves that this year is going to be different?

I’m going to lose weight.

I’m going to quit drinking.

I’m going to get healthier.

I’m going to become more spiritual.

I’m going to take some vacation time.

I’m going to spend more time with my family.

I’m going to be nicer to my friends.

I’m going to find a new job.

I’m going to move to a new home.

I’m going to start saving money.

I’m going to…

Is this you?

I know it’s definitely been me.

Year after year, a new cycle of calendar year would begin with the ball dropping on New Year’s Eve and I would take a fresh outlook on the next 365 days. And somewhere along the lines, I would find myself again watching the next New Year’s Eve ball come down and telling myself what happened to this past year, why didn’t I do any of those things that I said I wanted to do.

Why did I always live for tomorrow? Why did I live for how much better my life might get tomorrow? Why do I long for what the future may hold instead of working on myself in today?

I’m sure for each person it’s different. There were times I stayed in jobs hoping that it might get better one day. I stayed in relationships hoping that they might improve over time, that the person might treat me better, might love me more, etc. I made plans to get healthier and take care of myself more but felt the task was too daunting to take the first action in achieving it so I’d sit back and do nothing but watch TV.

That changed because I was given chronic pain to endure for awhile. I been living with it now for just about 3 years. When it first started, I sat on the sidelines and thought it was just going to pass over time. I figured if I did nothing in my life different and just kept going on with how things were, it would slowly dissipate. I waited for God to basically just come in and fix me. What I didn’t realize is that there were actions I needed to take too. Things that were coming out of my self will that God had given me free will to do in the first place. There were actions I was doing in my life that were keeping me perpetually in pain. Much of it was due to the people I was spending time with, the actions I was doing with them and the way I was treating everyone everyday. My life was totally self-centered and I only thought of what I could get out of everything instead of what I could put into something.

About a year ago that began to change. My chronic pain hadn’t alleviated. If anything it had gotten worse. So when 2012 began, I took action. And that year began something new for me. I stopped living for what tomorrow was going to bring me and I started living in today on how I could be a better, healthier, more God centered individual. In doing so, I removed all those toxic people from my life, I prayed more, meditated more, spent more time at recovery meetings and places where I could share my own experience, strength and hope, and learned how to spend time taking myself out and doing things that I still could in the pain I was in. “Take yourself out on a date” my therapist had told me more than once. So I finally did. And I still do.

I’m getting healthier each and every day now. Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally I have definitely gotten relief from the levels of pain I had once felt in those areas every day. And physically, well, I know that relief is coming soon. I believe that because I place God first in my life, and am taking actions each day to get healthier, that the physical pain will leave me when it’s meant to.

Do I hope for a better tomorrow, one where I don’t have as much physical pain? Of course. I have hope. It’s what keeps me going sometimes. My hope is with God though, that I won’t be left in this place of pain. BUT, I am not sitting on the sidelines just wanting everything to be better because of God snapping His fingers or the universe aligning just perfectly for Andrew to have a good life. I am doing my part, to take action, to set plans, to lay forth a better tomorrow, a better week, and a better year, one where God is at the helm.

That age old adage is true…don’t wait for tomorrow for what you can start doing today. If you have a goal for this year, make a plan to achieve it and start doing actions towards it every day.

Today is all I have. I may not be here tomorrow. So, I try each today to live it to the best I can, the fullest that I can, where God is driving my bus.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

The Difficulty With Removing Some Addictions

Working through addictions can hard, especially depending on what the addiction is. Some are much harder to remove than others. While some are as simple of never consuming or doing again the thing itself one is addicted to, others aren’t that simple.

Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, smoking a cigarette, having a caffeinated beverage, eating chocolate, and gambling all fall under one side of the spectrum in addictions. For me, those were easier to remove the phenomenon of craving that went with each of them. Why? Because I didn’t need any of them to function in this lifetime. None of them were life essential and after removing them from my system and going through withdrawal for each, life went on.

Unfortunately, my addictions transferred to ones that weren’t as simple as to just remove them from my life. What about overeating, codependency, and sex and love? A human being has to eat to sustain life. Unless a human being goes into the wilderness or a monastery to be away from people, being in connection with others is next to impossible to avoid as well. And as for sex and love, I have found this is a part of being human and even with long durations of celibacy and withdrawal from others, the drive never went away.

Codependency for me is something that took an intensive amount of therapy to get to the source of why it was that I ended up in relationships with others that I felt I couldn’t survive without. Ultimately it was the fear of being alone. No matter how bad the relationship was, I seemed to always stay in it because the idea of being alone was worse. Working through this one is an ongoing thing for me. Spending time alone and doing things in life by myself is a big part of my recovery with codependency. I’ve learned I can be happy by myself doing things such as puzzles, watching movies, reading, writing, going to the beach, and even traveling. Making sure I spend time alone and learning to have a healthy relationship with myself has led to me being able to be in healthy independent relationships with others.

Overeating is a little more challenging in that I know starving myself won’t make it go away. Slowing down in my life through meditation and working with a counselor helped to see this addiction and its triggers a little clearer. For me at least, the main reason why I overeat was to feel an endorphin rush that I got from the food itself. I know that might sound crazy but food can make one feel good when eating it. I love pizza for example. When I have a single slice I really enjoy it. It’s when I have a whole pizza in one sitting when it becomes a problem. Economics labels it as the “law of diminishing returns”. With each amount of consumption, less satisfaction happens. Sadly though, an addiction based mentality doesn’t think that way, they think more is better and creates more of that good feeling. Being mindful as I eat is the only way I know how deal with this. I watch my portions. I try to stay away from buffets. And I do my best to eat as healthy as possible. I’d rather overeat carrots and get a little bloated then eat several large fries at McDonalds and feel depressed the next day.

Then there’s sex and love addiction. I put this last because it’s the hardest for me. To be sexual truly is a part of being human for almost every person in this world. To fall in love with someone is many a person’s dream. Even worse, one can’t go anywhere today without seeing sex or love plastered in your face. Billboards and signs, racy commercials, TV shows and movies continuing to take it one step further and push the envelope, and God forbid one mistypes on an internet search tool that might result in over a million pornographic websites returned in the listings.

Unfortunately, my first sexual/love based experience in this life was when I was molested at 12 years old. While I had been attracted and also a friend to this much older adult prior to the incident, I never deserved to be taken advantage of by this person and I was never given any counseling around it after it happened. To make matters worse, my family never helped me to understand my sexuality or my hormones that I was feeling which had preceded even before that tragic event. So I was left to believe that what I experienced was normal. My life pattern became a stream of dominant, abusive men that I allowed to take advantage of me both sexually, monetarily, and emotionally and sadly, I felt excitement around those terrible relationships because it was my “norm”. When someone came into my life that really was a healthy person who could love me for me, I’d run away. True love was foreign. I didn’t experience it as a child. Deep sexual intimacy was also foreign. I had never experienced it from the time I first had a sexual encounter nor in any of the people that followed.

I’ve been working on removing the effects of this addiction for the past nine months. I’ve lived for more than 27 years of my life with that addiction in charge of me. It’s been over nine months now where I’ve not let it be in control. There are many actions I’ve had to take to no longer have it in charge of my life. Cutting ties with those that triggered me was one of the first things I had to do. I had so many people in my life that were either lustrous objects or friends with benefits. All of them are gone now. Staying away from any type of pornographic material was another. Sadly it’s everywhere now. So many magazines are incredibly racy now and like I had already mentioned, it doesn’t take much to find images on the internet. I avoid today the places that triggered me as well like bars, or rave scenes, or house parties. I used to fantasize and daydream sexually a lot in my life as well. I don’t anymore. I don’t allow myself to. All of it perpetuated the downfalls of this addiction.

I am happy to say that I am finding a lot more freedom today from the burdens of this addiction and really an addiction based life. My body is still recovering on every level from living so long in so many addictions. I know it takes time. Snapping my fingers and wishing all of it would just go away hasn’t happened and probably won’t ever happen for me or anyone else. Removing any addiction takes a lot of hard work, prayer, meditation, and focus. It is possible to find freedom from any addiction. From my own experience, the solution was putting God at the center of my attempt to heal from any one of them. When I tried to find healing on my own, it never happened and I just went right back to any number of them. Living in God’s will or as a 12 step program puts it, a Higher Power’s will, has brought me more peace than I ever experienced when I was active in any addiction.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson

Life Lessons for Andrew Arthur Dawson

Today’s entry is somewhat different. My spiritual advisor gave me a homework assigned to write in a third person about what I have learned so far in this lifetime. So I’ve placed that assignment’s result below that I produced.

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A long time ago, Andrew spent much of his life living in addictions and obsessions chasing after money, power, men, relationships, possessions, and quick highs. Each of these things was believed to bring happiness but over time they brought nothing but temporary satisfaction to a gnawing hunger for something deeper.

In the first chapter of Andrew’s life, he experienced the lack of unconditional love and kindness in his own family and how that manifests into conditional love based actions. He also experienced what it was like to be robbed of his sacred sexuality when an adult violated him. The first chapter ended of Andrew’s life at the age of 17 when Andrew decided that being alone and unloved externally was too painful.

In the second chapter of Andrew’s life, he learned how to numb himself from pain of the lower vibrations of life using sex, alcohol, drugs, and anything else that provided quick stimulation. Using people, manipulating, lying, being deceiving, lusting, becoming filled with greed, Andrew’s only source of happiness was in what he could gain with money or people outside of his own self. A light showed into Andrew’s darkness in his second chapter of life when he met Susan. Susan provided a temporary beacon to show what was possible when Andrew was able to connect to Source energies. For a brief period that lasted approximately six months, Andrew saw what was possible if he was living in more of his Divine Self serving Source’s needs and wants on this planet. The lower vibrations unfortunately took over for Andrew and he fell back into the veil of illusion for many more years. The second chapter of Andrew’s life ended on April 27th, 2010 as Andrew was soon to be turning the age of 38. Andrew had prayed to God in a moment of great mental and emotional pain just prior to this date to release him from the bondage of the addiction based life he had been living. Having committed many acts of lust and conditional based love centered relationships; Andrew had found himself dependently attached to a married man who was an active alcoholic. Andrew soon realized that he was in relationship with the energy of his parents who he had been unloved in so many ways from the beginning of his life.

And so the third chapter of Andrew’s life began with the letting go process. On April 27th, 2010, Andrew’s body began to manifest physical limitations and uncomfortable sensations that slowed his life down immediately. From that night to the present day, Andrew has gone through major releases in his life. For two more years after that night when the physical manifestation began, Andrew went through two more toxic relationships to learn that no human being can make him happy, no human being can fix him, and no human being can save him. Andrew also learned that each of the toxic relationships that he had in his life stemmed from the way he was brought up in his own family. As the awareness increased, Andrew cut the cords to all of the unhealthy people in his life especially all those that came into his life from 2007 forward until that date in 2010, each of which were teachers on some level to show him how sick he was. For over nine months now Andrew has been free from toxic friendships and relationships. Andrew has stayed clear of those that might re-animate those connections. And Andrew has done his best to keep his body, mind and soul clear of all unhealthy behaviors including what he says, thinks, eats, and does.

The following are a list of just some of the lessons that Andrew has learned in this life.

1. Andrew lived many lives of adulterous lust based relationships. God brings into Andrew’s life those relationships that are healthy. Those that Andrew finds a quick drive towards, are always from his ego and self-will.

2. Andrew learned that caffeine, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, lust based sex, and any other stimulant producing thing that induced a quick high was counteracting any ability for him to serve Source.

3. Andrew learned that teachers will appear when the student is ready and many of the teachers were just mirrors for showing actions and behaviors that Andrew was guilty of doing himself but pointing the finger instead at those teachers.

4. Andrew learned that what energy necessarily might have felt great when doing or performing certain things in his life, the release process of that same energy generally is quite painful if that initial energy was done out of toxicity.

5. Andrew learned that the healing process begins on the spiritual level and works its way from spiritual to mental to emotional and finally to physical of which he is patiently waiting for now in his journey.

6. Andrew learned that most people in his life left because they were manifestations of his lower self and as he began to remove his lower self, those people no longer fit in his spiritual journey.

7. Andrew learned that controlling things might get one ahead in life, but when a spiritual journey truly begins, it starts back to just before the control had started in life. In other words, the spiritual journey begins back when the student abandoned himself and looked outside of himself for happiness.

8.  Andrew learned that a truly centered spiritual person doesn’t always have to speak and when he does speak, his words match his actions when he’s not speaking. He learned at the same rate that many people may sound wonderful when they are speaking but it is only their ego driving them and that who they are when not in public view is not aligned with who they are when they are speaking.

9. Andrew learned that lust has dominated most of his life from just around the age of when he was molested at 12 until the age of 39 and that lust is not love and that love is not conditional and that true love is not about having to perform sexually or give certain things to someone. True love loves someone no matter where they are in life, no matter what they do, and no matter what they are able to offer.

10. And finally, Andrew learned that to be happy in life, it was never about how many people were in his life that wanted to spend time with him, it wasn’t about how many things he could buy, it wasn’t having the best looking partner, it wasn’t about how much money he could earn, it was always about going back to that wounded child and spending time loving that child with God holding his hand and driving the healing process. And even more importantly, that Andrew can achieve true healing and a spiritually centered life only if God remains at the center of his journey.

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I believe I’m still currently in my third chapter in life. And, I believe there is still one more chapter in my life beyond this one and that chapter will be the one where I am teaching to others that which I’ve learned in this life. But for right now, I’m still in the healing aspects of my life repairing the damages that I’ve done to myself in this life and in previous lives. I am grateful to Source for getting me this far.

Peace, Love, Light, and Joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson