Some days we just need to sit still and remind ourselves how grateful we should be for every moment.
I wake up in a different city. The smells and noises are unfamiliar. The bed feels awkward. I did something completely out of the ordinary today. I just attended my first out-of-state AA meeting. I walk through the foreign land of folding metal chairs with steam rising from the freshly brewed coffee without fear. This was by no means a simple task for me. I am a new-comer with low self-esteem. This was a lot harder than stumbling on some Mexican booze cruise.
Since I missed the nooner due to lack of GPS, I made it to the happy hour meeting. Tell me I would be seeking out an AA meeting while on vacation a year ago and I would of told you to get your head examined. There was a flick of the switch inside of me. Some call it physic change or shift. It had to come from somewhere to get my ass in this AA seat. Being sober and waltzing into some scary room of loving strangers has spiritual cleansing qualities in itself.
For once, I walked into a meeting excited. I was actually not nervous. The thing about AA meetings is that you may not know a single soul in the room, yet you feel very at home. Even though I did not speak in the meeting, I hung around after and talked to some people. Talking to others is no longer a scary chore for me. I’m starting to embrace this mysterious program with an open mind. I can finally say “I am doing new things!” I think I like this feeling. As Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil points out “I like it, like it….”
2:46am in the morning. I am doing the “toss and turn groove” all night listening to my thousand year old heater produce mysterious noises. It almost sounds like Freddy Kruger needs to break out of it. On top of that nonsense, Cali and Patches are snoring away. They both sound like I’m sleeping next to Chicago’s O’Hare airport with 747’s landing in both directions. If snoring is the most annoying thing my dogs do besides wanting to crash through the front window to rip the mailman apart, I’m perfectly fine with it.
The other day, I was talking to a friend from high school. I asked her opinion of me back then and how she thinks of me today. Her answer was no big surprise. She told me back then she considered me a “burnout”. I had to agree. Thinking of the days during in senior year waking up eating toast, drinking beer and smoking pot before class. No argument there. Today, she referred me to as a “lost soul”. That threw a tiny wrench in the life equation. After careful consideration, I could see that. Divorced, no kids, do what I want, vagabond, I’ll take that. The reason that statement is so true is the past four years (though my drinking and using) I lost a lot of respect and loyalty from my family and close friends.
Yes, Loyalty. My dogs have seen me at my personal best and worst. I literally was living a real nightmare as they were living it with me. Alone, scared, depressed, crazy, I was not someone you exactly invited over to dinner. I blamed life, isolated myself from everyone, and walked around with a constant rain cloud over my head labeled “poor me” on it. If it wasn’t for my dogs, and their true love and loyalty to me, I would not know where I would be without them today. The bond between humans and dogs is so strong that dogs can see through the temporary lapses of momentary insanity. If only we humans could to that.
Next time you are down (but not out) and hate life, look in your dogs eyes. They love you no matter what. Every day I look into their eyes and am grateful. And with that, those two four legged creatures makes life a whole lot easier.
Ok, so I normally do not promote my music. Hell, I do enough talking about myself, which I’m not all too comfortable with, writing this blog. I been tapping my skull for a week trying to figure out this dog piece I want to write about. I guess that can wait until next week. Since this is a first, I thought I would share it with everyone.
This is the first music video I have ever made for youtube. It features my instrumental band, The Reunion. This track is called Barcelona off our 3rd album, Closure (2002). The pictures were taken from a trip when I was in Barcelona, Spain. I hope you like it. Enjoy!
“We don’t really have to look to far to realize we have everything we need.”
I just have to say this to myself. I need to drill this in my stubborn head head when things don’t exactly go my way. What do we do actually need out of this strange thing called life? First, the basics are essential: food, air, shelter, etc. Those needs are a given. Being a recovering addict; I always have something to complain about, am not grateful, think it’s what’s in for me, and take advantage of these everyday needs.
ALL I REALLY WANT!
Dam right! This life isn’t always a disco or a country club. OK, I have to admit, I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun up until I was around 32. College, LSD, vacations, girlfriends, countless insane nights with the bands, early beer buzzes in the morning. You get the idea. Throw in all the alcohol and drugs; common ancient recipe for becoming one hot mess. Everyone around me saw were I was headed, but I didn’t A landslide came over me!
All GOOD THINGS MUST END
Fast forward eleven years later. Hell and Demons came out (the fun was long gone as I became party for one) for the next decade. Divorced, bad business decisions, death of some loyal dogs, and the lost of my precious grandfather. His death effected me deeper than I thought. I was his caretaker for three years; watching him slowly die in front of me was not an easy task. That caused stress obviously. I went into total isolation which I refer to as the “the dark years”. My addiction reached an all-time high with the drudgery of chemicals.
Go For Whatever You Want
Being sober is priority; making me re-prioritize. What do I want today? Easy. Sobriety of course. Love or a healthy relationship (we can dream right?) Travel to more exotic places and world peace. And just to live that “Simple Kind of Life” as Gwen Stefani points out. Oh, and a beach house in Todos Santos, Mexico; a plus! But, first and foremost, SERENITY. Is this too much to ask for? We shall see, we shall see.
Sobriety isn’t all so bad. Patches and I enjoying his final race after an amazing 10 year flyball career.
Key word alert here! Boundary; learn it, memorize it. In recovery, if we don’t make boundaries, we may as well put sobriety down the porcelain goddess. Here is the simple mathematical equation as I see it.
X = Sobriety Y = Serenity Z = Boundaries A = Unhappiness B = Not Sober
X + Y – Z + A = B
I am no Einstein, my college transcripts definitely prove that. But, I will firmly stick with this “super duper sobriety equation”. Having testing this theory over time along with not saying the word “No” has always put my sobriety in real jeopardy.
One recent example is that I starting losing control of my house. Just today, I had another drunk wanting to crash on my couch. In the past, saying yes would instantly make me lose my sanity and sobriety. If I do not firmly say “No, the Todd motel has no fresh towels or vacancies,” I am truly fucked. It is ok to set a boundary and say no to people. I believe it is no longer my responsibility to take in the strays. That may sound mean, but this is my life (upgraded to 5.0 with boundary software downloaded). From here out, this is my life equation:
Z + Y = X