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Friday, December 31, 2010

So I Smile...

I have often written about change here on this blog. I embraced change out of necessity, desperation really. Back in the Summer of 2006 it became painfully obvious that if I didn't make some changes to my life immediately, well I was in big trouble already but things would indeed get worse.

So I proceeded to try and make a single, solitary day at a time I began to try and live my life free of booze and drugs. It has never been easy, not even close but the results....well, I have a life I enjoy living today. That's about the best way to look at it.

But as drastic as all that sounds now, ultimately when it came time to make that decision to sober up it was an easy choice: All I had to do was recognize that I either make that change or I was going to die. That simplified things quite a bit.

Since that time, I've become somewhat accustomed to making change as a way of life. It was and is a necassary for me to look at myself and my behavior on a daily basis and accept my deficiencies then try to do better next time. It works for me and keeps me focused on looking forward and living positively.

But it has never been easy for me. Some change is obvious and easy...some most definately is not. And there are times that even though deep down in my heart I know I'm headed in the right direction, that it is still incredibly painful for me to change the way that I have been living.

Yet life must go on and it will. But there are days where I want to just stop this whole train of life and simply get off...because it is so hard to live a life of accountability to one's self. Yet I chose this life and I made the right decision for me, for my life. So I accept that pain and heartache sometimes are part of the deal. And so I smile a little bit to myself and move on to another day on the planet...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Open The Door....

I came to discover the "Blog World" rather recently as in the last year or so. I of course had heard of blogs and occasionally had read one linked to an article or e-mail but never really paid them much attention. I have always enjoyed reading passionately and continue to read books, mostly Non-Fiction constantly. I also subscribe to Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic magazines and have since I was a teenager. Any time I ever considered subscribing to an online newsletter or blog I always figured I had more then I could read already, when could I possibly find the time? Plus, what could I really be missing when it came to blogs...they were just folks babbling on about themselves, their hobbies, politics or other obsessions....Oh yea, I couldn't have been more wrong!

I really cannot remember which came first the egg (Writing my blog) or the Chicken (Reading Blogs in general) and it really does not matter. I did discover them and I am truly grateful that I did.

I already explained in previous posts why I find putting my own blog together so important for my own sake and sanity. Today I'm focusing on the work of others....

 My god, I am simply stunned by the incredible creativity & artistic talent of some of my compatriots in the blog world. And I will admit feeling more then a little intimidated at the incredible writing and Web work put into some of these sites. Reading these works has opened an incredible new world for me and I'm thrilled to have stumbled across it when I did.

A short perusal of my blog list will illustrate the broad range of topics that I find interesting. Certainly history oriented sites are a favorite as our some of the sport oriented sites as well. But what I find really facinating our the blogs devoted to the authors own experiences living their lives. Some our full of humor, choosing to look at the absurd, ridiculous, everyday happenings at their work place or at home. Some write about their children, perhaps raising a child as a single parent and all the challenges and rewards that follow them along.

Any person who follows this blog or has read any of my posts will not be surprised to know that the Blogs I am most interested in deal with overcoming pain, tragedy or circumstances that the author was not expecting. They are full of emotion and hard questions about life. I read them because I can relate and I have learned that if I can relate to something there is the potential that I can learn something from it as well. And I'm all about finding better, more interesting or effective tools for living.

Just a few that I have found just beautiful, helpful, incredibly powerful or just plain interesting for me right now are:

Hello Tommy
Sunny Sings The Blues
A Crows Song
Christine McDonald
Embrace The Suck
Sand Through My Hourglass
Wife of a Wounded Marine
My Soul Is A Butterfly

And there are many more...this list was never meant to be all inclusive, no it is but a small taste of those whose work I really appreciate at this place and time in my life....

I will let the reader choose to explore these if they so choose. I feel I couldn't really do them justice if I tried to give each a brief overview. But I read each of these regularly, every new post. Unfortunately time hasn't allowed me to go back through the archives of each one and explore but I find great joy in every new entry.

And the best part of all this is that every day the choices increase. The wealth of good, relevant Blogs is being comprehension it's so vast and the fact that it is so accessible makes it even better.

So if you are new to the Blog World and reading my blog on a whim, it was recommended to you or it was a mistake...please know that this is but a tip of the iceberg of the blogs out there. They embrace absolutely every possible subject one can think of. Do yourself a favor and explore the Blogosphere for an hour or just may open the door to a whole new world!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why I Don't Feel Sorry...For Myself

I suppose it would be an understatement to say that I have experienced some unpleasantness in my life. Uh, no shit Dick Tracy but hey, I have to start this thing somewhere.

A great deal of the unpleasantness was a result of my alcoholism/addiction but there were other causes as well. I was sexually assaulted as a child, I tried to kill myself and failed. Plus I destroyed most of the important relationships I had in my life up to that time. I lived 44 eventful years before I sobered up and I've still had my share of pain and heartache since then as well. But such is life, difficult things can occur and there isn't much more to say about it then that.

That briefly covers the pain and discomfort part. But since I put the active "junkie" years behind me I've gone through the rather painful process of realizing what a selfish, unkind, mean-spirited, arrogant asshole I was during the majority of my adult life. And yes, this basically covered the time I practiced my addictions to their fullest, to the point of self-destruction. I've already posted at one point or another on this blog about most if not all of this stuff. I also mentioned that long before I began drinking and using drugs that I recall feeling somehow different, separate and isolated from other people. All of these things contributed to one messed up individual namely: Me

The point of listing all of this is that the hard work began in my life AFTER I got clean/sober. I had to admit I had a problem, accept what I was, then somehow begin the process of becoming the kind of person I aspired to be: Kind, loving, thoughtful, selfless, helpful, clever, understanding and so on....I think you can see a pattern developing here. Bottom line: I really had to make some changes and it wasn't going to be easy.

So I began that process in the Summer of 2006 and it continues to this day. I truly believe that this journey to becoming the person I want to be will really only be complete when I pass on to the next yep, it is a life long process.

At times this journey has been interesting, exciting and even fun. I've discovered the joy of real honest to god relationships with people I really care about and who care about me. In a lot of ways it is like discovering life all over again...except I have the benefit this time around of all that life experience, both the positive and the negative, to guide me along the way.

The other side of that coin is this journey has been and continues to be very painful at times, particularly emotionally. And I've found that it's easy to get discouraged, to want to bag it, to quit. But I can't do that, I just can't go back to being "THAT" guy again. But still, it would be easy to feel sorry for myself and wonder why I deserved such a difficult and unhappy fate. Yet I haven't fallen into that particular trap and I'm not sure why. But I'm afraid to stop and ponder that too much so I just move forward to continue to face the things I'm afraid of the most, because those are the things that hold me back the most from the new me.

The sooner I divest myself of those old demons the sooner the new, positive stuff from my life today takes their place.  Perhaps this will not make a lick of sense to some, it's made no sense to me either, until my life experiences started to get better. Much better in fact and I  then began to feel better about people in general, because before I thought they were all idiots...just mindless sheep that only existed to annoy me and keep me from doing what I really wanted to do. Which was only think about me, myself and I.

The truth is I want to change...I've wanted to change for years and because I desire this transformation I'm willing to sacrifice for it to happen. That is why no matter what happens or how difficult certain days can be, I simply will not feel sorry for myself. How can I? I'm responsible for this mess...yes, Alcoholism/Addiction is a disease, I did nothing to deserve my alcoholism but for years I knew what I was (an Addict/Alcoholic) and yet I continued to do absolutely nothing about it. Until I'd lost most everything near and dear to me including employment, friends, the love of my life, my home, all my money, family members and then in the end: me. I tried to take this life of mine away and failed. That is when I realized I had nothing, nothing at all to lose....and from that moment forward I wanted to make a change.

And I have...


Is it cheating? Could it be considered taking the path of least resistance or is it a cop out? Does it water down the purity of this blog? I don't know....I'm certainly curious about those questions and more.

What I am referring to here is the whether I should be posting song lyrics to represent something from my past instead of writing first hand about my feelings from that time. Such is an example of the process of critical analysis that takes place in my brain concerning just about everything I say and do. Some would say it's a blessing, to think so critically this way...some would say it's a curse. Frankly, it can be both a blessing and a curse...some times simultaneously! It depends on the situation but since I've processed my behavior, thoughts and feelings this way all my life, lets just say I'm pretty much used to it.

Back to the question of whether there is any value in posting someone else's written work on my site to communicate something I want to say or illustrate about myself. I just realize I've posted poems as well so they must be included in this discussion.

The easy answer of course is: "It's my freaking blog and I'll post whatever I want". Yea, yea but I'd actually like someone other then myself to read it so I need to make it at least interesting...and readable!

Let me explain my rational this way, any one who has read a post of mine on this site realizes that:

1) I have no shortage of things to say. Some would suggest this blog contains too much of my babbling on and on. The suggestion being I should add more pictures or short, anecdotes to keep it interesting and add more flow. This is actually something I am trying to do and not having much success. I'm too wordy. Trust me...I'm working on it!

2) I also think it's obvious that I'm not shy about revealing my very personal thoughts and feelings...I really don't hold anything back. I pretty much say what I want or need to say in any given post. It has been suggested by some that I share too much and I need to stop doing that. Sorry, I can't, it's impossible to do this half way. For me, it's all or nothing....

So those two points lead me to my answer to the original question if it's relevant to add some else's work to my posts?

I think is. And this is why...

I truly believe these songs/writings were and are significant to me and my life. Probably more so then I can effectively communicate in this forum. So why not add them, what does it really hurt? Does it water the post down? How could's not like the poem or song is taking the place of something I want to say...nope, it's adding something.

I think some may find it ridiculous that such things were so significant to me in the first place...Uh, so what?! They were and I'm not apologizing for it, it's not like I could really control the fact that music became so important to me. And that I see it as relevant today as representative of something significant at another time and another place.

Because I have experienced such significant upheaval in my life: Addiction, Suicide attempts, Death of friends/family, Divorce, Rape, Recovery, Sobriety, Major changes in my philosophy of living (IE: A Spiritual Experience), etc., It is easy to feel totally separated from my past and for me, that isn't healthy. So I need something to bring those segments of my life together and to make sense of it all. But even though I can feel alienated from previous events, certainly there is a kinship between my past and present....Music has become the thread that ties it together for me. I can't always relate or understand my behavior in those days but the musical connection allows me to relate to it that way. And I do, it very clearly makes the connection for me...

So realistically, I'd be leaving something out if I didn't relate the importance of the music and poetry, etc. of those days gone by. 

As far as I'm concerned, If it is important to me then it needs to be addressed in this blog because this blog is me. That is the point of writing the damn thing, yes?!  YES!

Excuse me for having a bit of fun with this because I am actually humored by my own obsessive, anal need to evaluate things to death. Someone will surely read this and go: "WTF?! Just shut up and write already"! And to that I say; Write On...and I shall.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I am once again posting lyrics to a song that played an important role in what I've taken to calling "The Soundtrack to my Life", at least to date.

Music has always been important, for it's art, it's emotion and the simple beauty of all. I was never far away from a song. That continues to this day.

For me, the music that I listen to typically conveys what I am feeling at that point in time yet find myself incapable of expressing myself. I don't always know how I happen to adopt a certain tune but i do, then I posses it to death. I listen over and over....that song or typically it's several songs or a certain band I'm into plays constantly. then that group or songs(s) fade away and I move on to something else.

One Man Army is a song by Our Lady Peace, a wonderful band from Canada that has never really taken hold here in the States. The importance of this particular song to me is very evident if you know anything about me. It describes how I've happened to feel since I was a little boy....

One Man Army

Take these plastic people
Read their lips, now let it linger
Is there anything that makes them sound sincere?
Tightly hold your hand
Take a deep breath, give them the finger
Are you worried
That your thoughts are not quite clear?
Overlooked, unfit appearance

I remember falling
I remember marching
Like a one man army
Through the blaze
I know I'm coughing
I believe in Something
I don't want to remember falling
For their lies

Unbutton your clothes
Undress your soul, show them your vigor
Are those inhibitions easiest to fear?
Take this gasoline tin
Head up high, walk like a winner
Let the bare feet be  the last sound that they hear

I remember falling
I remember marching
Like a one man army
Through the blaze
I know I'm coughing
I believe in something
I don't want to remember falling
For their lies

But I know, I know, but I.

I remember falling
I remember marching
Like a one man army
Through the blaze
i know I'm coughing
I believe in something
I don't want to remember falling
I remember crawling
Through the way
I know I falling
I remember marching
I don't want to remember falling
I don't want to remember falling
for your lies.

By Our Lady Peace

I can't stop...

A big part of my life these days is dealing with the pain I live with everyday and not letting it dictate the kind of life I want to lead. That isn't always easy but if you have the desire to overcome your adversity, then work for it things usually turn out pretty well.

A great deal of this battle takes place between my ears. I really believe that to a degree I'm only as disabled by my "disability" as I allow myself to be. It can be difficult some days, like today because my knees, left hip and lower back are really working together this morning to mess up my attitude! But, there is simply no way am I letting that influence what I can and can not do today or any day for that matter. The pain almost speaks to you: "Pssst..Hey T, this is your hip & your back talking' are in too much pain this morning to ride the Xbike, you really need to skip it today...why don't you just lay back down in bed all day".

Yea, that's pretty much how it sounds if I listen to the chatter going on in my head. I am hurting, it's quite cold in the exercise room and I just don't feel like doing it today, what would it hurt to just skip one day? Uh, because Thom, that would make it easier to justify doing the same thing tomorrow, then the day after that and so on and on. Because one thing is certain at this stage...the pain doesn't just  go away, nope , it doesn't. I have to learn to live with it on a daily basis and the sooner, the better.

And I shall....and the most important part of that is to keep doing what I know is right. And exercise is definately helpful and the right thing to do. If I don't keep moving this creaky old body of mine regularly, it will rot away. I've seen it happen, where I've just laid around "resting" my back and believe me, you lose strength that way very quickly. I cant afford to lose any more flexibility and strength...the ball is definately in my court on this one. It is up to me to make the change and I will, one day at a time, bit by bit.

The lesson that I have learned is that I need to be patient and do what exercise I can, not what I think I should be able to do. I've also discovered that my body talks to me, it will tell me when it's time to stop, I just have to listen to it. And you know what else I've found? That doing SOMETHING, is better then doing nothing, Duh! It really makes a difference, even if it's just a moderate 20 minute ride, a 30 minute walk....either way the heart gets the blood pumping and I feel the energy surge through me. That definately feels good, much better then sitting around on my ass. But again patience, for this guy, is the key to success when it comes to physical activity.

OK, well now that I've convinced myself to not give in to the desire to lay down...I'm going to ride!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Abyss

It bothers me so...the Heart, my Heart for it aches and will for some time to come.
I'm afraid...too afraid that I fear I won't function as I should.
I have frozen...a moment, the exact moment when I do what I should have already done.
I react, more like recoil, then leap alone into the abyss that waits for me.
It is too hard, to ponder then accept that the song, our song is finally...over.

Too Much Pie!

Perhaps those of you who know me or have regularly read Shell Shock think that I am trying to be clever with words when I titled this post "Too Much Pie".  I do tend to try and be creative with titles and I enjoy playing with words so those two things often go quite nicely together.

But in this case I'm not kidding, engaging in word play or attempting to be creative. Nope, I ate way too much this weekend and pie was the main culprit. I literally became a bloated, unstoppable human pie eating machine and I am suffering for it this morning  ...we had four freaking pies in this house for 8 people, several of whom do not pie eat it at all. I have no idea what I was thinking....Oh wait, that's right, I wasn't thinking...I was too busy shoving food in my mouth! It's like I was on a mission to save the world from left over pie! " Never fear the left overs, my dear lady, the PIE MAN is here"!

Any progress that I have made in the last few weeks changing my diet and getting more exercise on the recumbent bike went completely down the toilet...Well, now that I  think about it, I wish MORE of it had literally gone down the the toilet instead of being plastered to the sides of my now gigantic, bursting belly. Will I ever learn?!

Hmmm, probably not because I am a complete sucker for good food. I loose all control and I most certainly did the last few days. I have a really bad habit of substituting eating for entertainment went I am bored. And that is exactly what I did over the weekend. You are definately in trouble when you eat for fun...especially when your a guy that really loves to have fun, tee hee!

OK that's enough. I think everyone understand that I ate too much over Christmas and now I'm unhappy about it. So what do I do now, you ask? Well, I struggle to pull on a pair of athletic shorts, stretch a t-shirt over this mountain of blubber I call my stomach and waddle up to the X-bike to get reacquainted...again!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

So Sorry, Mr Freud!

Yikes! I just re-read my last post as I often do and oh brother, did I find a lot of typos. I'm really sorry about that, especially for those of you who may have already read this post (BOOBS for BOOM, whoops!)...

But I will take a moment once again to reiterate my philosophy about Shell Shock Serenade and how I want to post.

I really see value in getting a thought, feeling, mood or observation down and posted as quickly as possible. The up side is some unique and timely things get mentioned that I might poo poo or edit out if I chose to think about them too much. I can be a perfectionist to a certain degree and I do not want to fall into the trap of  polishing my posts to the point where they have lost their original meaning or impact.

On the other hand, the downside is some typos sneak through the spell check and some poor or unreadable sentence structures survives as well. I typically leave things be for a hour, come back to the post and re-write out any errors, typos or lousy sentence structure if i think it's necassary. I resist the urge to change the nature or main points of the post though there have been times that I've found the original so ridiculous that I went and made some major changes. But this has only happened a couple of times.

I am also definately NOT a typist. I have struggled with a very frustrating learning disabilty, particularly related to hand-eye coordination/dyslexia all my life. One of the many ways this impacts my writing is I invert the order of letters in a word or just plain misspell words. I do use spellcheck & proof read but as with my big typo this morning both Boom and Boob are both recognized words and I just didn't catch it when I read through it. And once again, my sincere apologies to all readers out there.

But in the end I have made the decision to continue producing posts for this blog in the same manner as I have just described. My goal has always been to try and catch those "snapshots" in time in regards to my thoughts, feelings, observations, etc.

But you will have to take my word as I claim total innocence in regard to my typo this morning, it couldn't have been a Freudian Slip....

A Day of Giving

Another morning....Yep, another day to try and figure out what the hell I'm doing here on this big, blue ball in outer space?! Actually I'm just fooling around with that statement, though that is one of THE great questions of all time. The fact is that the place to answer the question "What am I doing here" might be a Master's Thesis or Doctorate in Philosophy or Religion, perhaps Science. Some would say why ponder it at all, the answer is already in your heart and if you are a Christian or Jewish or a Muslim , etc. you would already know that. But for me, that would be biting off way more then I'm capable of chewing at this time in my life (or certainly at this time of day!) 

Often after I get going in the morning my mind turns to to this blog and I start considering what I may write about for my next post. Some times I have something already in mind that I want to cover but more often then not I sit down and the words will just come out by themselves. I think that a sharp, discerning reader realizes that today is in fact one of those days! I do enjoy this process very much because quite often what I end up with in a post will surprise me as much as anyone.

Today is a Sunday and it is also the Day after Christmas. As a young boy there was often a rather melancholy feeling to the "DAY AFTER" Christmas. It was like the fun was now over, all the anticipation, the dreaming and speculating...poof, they were gone. All that was left was to count the days left until I had to go back to school....Vacation OVER. That was definately a big Downer and a very negative way of looking at things for a 9 year old boy, right?!! Yet I remember thinking that way...of course New Years provided a little respite but it certainly wasn't as exciting or magical as Christmas, no way!

All that being said now and remembered I have to now think about how I am going to approach this day from now on. I don't like the notion that you have this big build up to Christmas the BOOM, big bummer right afterward. No, that doesn't seem right. I think there must be a better way to approach the day following Xmas.

Boxing Day. There you go, the Brits have the right idea. Boxing day is a term I've always been familiar with but honestly I never really understood exactly what it meant. There are several explanations of it's origins but I'll steer clear of writing a book about it and just quickly explain what I do now know about it. It is a Bank (or Public) Holiday, observed in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some others. Basically it is observed today as a shopping holiday, a day off work but also as a day to perhaps focus on the less fortunate. Stories going back to the Middle Ages of  certain Kings or Landowners Boxing up left over food after Christmas and having it delivered to peasants in the villages of their Realm. Hmm, it's kind of nice to here some news of good and charity coming out of the Middle Ages...Then after the goodies were delivered, the rape, pillaging and be-headings would begin! Ok, I know, that was in poor taste....

I really like the idea of focusing on those less fortunate the day AFTER Christmas. Why? Because I think as a Country or society as a whole, America/Americans do a great deal of charitable things throughout the year. But we do tend to focus on it right before Christmas. I suspect we might let down a bit in our focus on the poor and unfortunate as soon as the holiday has passed. We are tired, burned out on Xmas and we just want to hunker down, get the holiday bills taken care of and move on.

So I like the idea of thinking of others on this day after Xmas. I really shouldn't need a special day to remind me to be charitable and giving of myself but hey, whatever it takes. Sometimes I need a little kick in the pants to motivate me to do the right thing...So from now on, it's Boxing day for me.

It is no longer the DAY AFTER Christmas, nope it's Boxing Day, a day where old Thom here starts to focus on someone other then himself. Plus It should be fun going around today wishing everyone a Happy Boxing Day and having folks wonder if I've lost my mind or not....

Saturday, December 25, 2010

So This is Christmas?!

Can you feel it....those little nudges that suggest something special is happening today. I definately do and I'm supposed to be the hard core cynical realist of the family.....yet  there it is and I can't deny it. It's Love...the love of my family, the unique love of super close friends and though they aren't here with me this morning, I'm thinking about them and I have a hunch: they've thought of me too.

It is the love of a son, though he is currently sitting in his future In-law's home in England, was thoughtful enough to contact his old man this morning via Skype. What a treat that I am, a Baby Boomer who basically grew up w/radio and black/white TV in the Analog Age, now using what we always thought then as a tool of the far off future, A Video Phone straight out of "The Jetson's" to wish my boy A Merry Christmas half way round the world, how sweet is that? Very, very sweet....

And the love of a daughter, I can feel that too...all the way from Greenville SC. That little girl of mine nearly brought her crusty old dad to tears last night with one of the most beautiful things ever written or said to me. I am speechless because it's hard to know how to respond to something so incredibly beautiful. But it's wonderful and the feelings, Sweetie are mutual.

 To the love of my parents whose example of love I can sum up very simply: They were ALWAYS there for me, through thick and thin, heartache and pain (lots of that, unfortunately) and of course during the many good times as well. They have held me close to them all their lives and I've always know what it felt like to be cared for and loved, to feel safe.

And finally the love of those who have shared my fate of pain & desperation only to surrender and discover a much better way of life. A bunch of people who deal daily with a disease that quite simply wants to kill them....They are some of the most incredible, caring people I've ever known.

So those are my thoughts and feelings this Christmas morning, 2010. I feel so fortunate to have such special people in my life.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Carentan O Carentan

Trees in the old days used to stand
And shape a shady lane
Where lovers wandered hand in hand
Who came from Carentan

This was the shining green canal
where we came two by two
walking at combat-interval
Such trees we never knew

The day was early June, the ground
Was soft and bright with dew
Far away the guns did sound
But here the sky was blue

The sky was blue, but there a smoke
Hung still above the sea
Where ships together spoke
To towns we could not see

Could you have seen us through a glass
You would have said a walk
Of farmers out to turn the grass
Each with his own hay-fork

The watchers in their leopard suits
Waited till it was time
and aimed between the belt and boot
And let the barrel climb

I must lie down at once, there is
A hammer at my knee
And call it death or cowardice
Don't count on again on me

Everything's all right, Mother
Everyone gets the same
At one time or another
It's all in the game

I never strolled, nor ever shall
Down such a leafy lane
I never drank in a canal
Nor ever shall again

There is a whistling in the leaves
And it is not the wind
The twigs are falling from the knives
That cut men to the ground

Tell me, Master-Sergeant
The way to turn and shoot
But the Sergeant's silent
That taught me how to do it

O Captain, show us quickly
Our place upon the map
But the Captain's sickly
And taking a long nap

Lieutenant, what's my duty
My place in the platoon?
He too's a sleeping beauty
Charmed by that strange tune

Caretan O Carentan
Before we met with you
We never lost a man
Or known what death could do

By Louis Simpson


It's quiet around here, everyone accept yours truly has gone to church for Christmas Eve Services. I just cannot find the motivation to participate. And I don't really feel bad about not going, either. No guilty conscience or a slight sense of regret. Nope it's not for me and this year I feel comfortable enough in my own skin to make that decision and live with it.

But in other ways I  feel rather annoyed, a tad cranky and on the verge of acting confrontational. I tend to get this way when I feel hurt inside. I suppose it is a way I protect myself. I will admit that I do feel like I've given a lot of myself lately and sometimes I don't feel very appreciated. But you know what? That's my problem and I need to get over it. I cannot control what another person says or does. I have no control over that at all. I acknowledge that it's alright to feel hurt feelings and be disappointed but I simply can't let it control the way I feel overall. I enjoy life too much to act the sourpuss...I know that I'm not making the best of the situation around here. I'm transferring some of my hurt and disappointment from another time and it's affecting how I feel now with company in my home. That isn't fair to them or in fact to myself.

I don't want to be a grump or take it out on somebody else. I guess I feel like most of the time I go out of my way to accept other people the way they are. If that means they don't help out during the holidays or don't remember a Xmas present, so be it. But somehow I kind of feel like I am being held to higher standard. This may or may not be the case...I may just think that's true. And the bottom line is so what anyway?! Who cares...what matters in the end is how I feel about myself and how I live my life. I should hold myself to a higher standard, each and every day. I can't afford to spend any of this precious time on the planet worrying about what other folks say and do. That is a ridiculously childish way to live and I can't afford losing my focus.

So I suppose I'll let it go, scatter those negative  feelings to the wind and let 'em fly away. I will not hold on to the anchor, as it were and drown in self pity...nope, no way. I've learned that lesson the hard way, quite some time ago. But I also need to learn from the experiences I've had lately that have left me feeling taken advantage of. I cannot afford to repeatedly make  poor decisions either. I can do better and I will make better choices the next time around. I need stay the course, recognize my mistakes, learn and keep on truckin'!

And Then They Are Me

I often wonder what a child really sees. What do they think about it and how do they feel when they are seeing it?  Will they remember anything about it when they are an adult? Those kinds of things pop in my head and make me wonder....and I wonder a lot.

I do not have instant recall of my childhood memories. No, they are more like "snapshots" in time, little mini movies in my head. I also recall certain Mum's Meat Loaf or Cookies, Grandma frying bluegill....both of them could fill the house with the wonderful aroma of good food. I can still picture them in the kitchen at our house in Worthington, OH or at Grandma's place in West Lafayette, IN.  Both have their aprons on and the kitchen is a alive with activity. There was a rule, you did not loiter or linger in the kitchen, oh no! If you had business there, you did it and quickly moved on or else you'd have to explain yourself. Uh, no thanks! But still, I was facinated by what took place in there, it was magical....

I always seem to picture my father in the middle of doing something. Even if he was sitting in his chair in the family room, there would be stacks of papers strewn around, articles cut out and various pens, paper laying about, a full ashtray. I still see him on the old green riding mower circa 1969 circling the yard here on the Island. Back when the old cottage still stood. Again MAGIC: A magical place in a magical Mind's Eye is like my own little Disney World in my head.

I recently visited my grandsons in South Carolina. And I would find myself looking at them for long periods of time, wondering what are they seeing? What do they think or feel right now? What is really there behind those thoughtful, innocent eyes? It literally melts me right here as I write, thinking about those two young boys, my "GRANDS", the wide open future as it were.

How will they remember me? That matters, 'ya know?! It really matters, to me anyway...I only knew two of my grand parents and they were my Dad's Mother & Father. Both of my Mum's folks passed on long before I was born. And my Paw Paw (Grandfather) died when I had just turned 8 yrs old so though I do remember him, those memories are fleeting and often are just shadows in the mists of my memory.

That makes me feel even more strongly the importance of my bond with those two boys. They mean so much to me, perhaps more then they will ever know but I hope not. I hope we spend so much time together that there will never, ever be any doubt in their minds how much their grandfather loves them.

I've often tried to describe how I see them, how I really feel about having Grandchildren. Other then the usual "I love them", "they mean everything" kind of statements it is hard to truly express where they fit into my life.

So as I look back through the shadows of my past and see the little boy that was me, I also begin to see two new little boys join him in the woods at Aunt Betty's house. Or on the Green hornet as dad pulls us around Coldwater Lake in the old Empire with the 40 horse Evinrude. I can see us running together down by the Olentangy River in Worthington and jumping off the old pontoon boat out in the deep water here at the lake during summer. We laugh together as we sit at the dinner table in the cottage as my Mum and Grandma fry Bluegill and make pancakes for breakfast and we see how many we can eat. We eat until we almost explode....

Hey...I see it. I'm think I'm starting to know now what all of this might mean. I think that those boys, those two amazing little boys, my grandsons are slowly but surely becoming....part of me.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh Brother! Here He Goes Again....

Hey, does anyone else get as sick & tired of hearing bad, sad, tragic, disturbing, hopeless, confusing, twisted,  sick, weird, cold hearted, careless and just plain negative news as I do. I know, I've posted on this subject before. But whew, it's really starting to drag down any spirit of good cheer I manage to hold on to throughout the day after fighting through Holiday traffic, long lines at the store, impatient people at the Post Office and so on and on.

This morning the Ft Wayne Journal Gazette had stories about a high speed chase yesterday that ended with the guy killing himself and critically injuring his passenger after hitting a Utility Pole. A local man was killed w/his dog while defusing bombs in Afghanistan, particularly sad for his family just days before before Xmas. A continuing story about a woman who apparently killed her 2 yr old son a year ago and officials just found his tiny skeleton in an abandoned house on the city's south side. Floods in California, poverty & war in know the story. It's the same thing every day, just the names change.

That is why I seek solace from a spiritual source, looking for serenity and yea, inner peace during some trying and tragic times. I fully understand that there are a great deal of positive things happening in the world every day. But with the 24 hour news cycle world we know live in, we really have to look hard for the feel good stories to find them.

I used to be a negative, sarcastic, obnoxiously critical, pain in the ass guy. Always critical, first with hurtful observations, looking for the worst in people. Then in my self righteousness I swing in with my own ideas for saving the world. I was so full of shit!

 I truly try today to focus on the positive, to look for the good first, not the negative. That certainly helps me during nasty news cycles like we had this morning. But I've realized from watching people I know how bad it is to constantly sit in front of the TV or computer and let yourself be overwhelmed by the negativity. It can really effect a person, push them towards depression...literally turn a happy person sad. I don't want to be a sad guy anymore, I do know that. So how does one seek a life on the positive side of the ledger?

I've been very open in my life that I have long struggled with religious ideas and yes, Christianity. I felt like it was shoved down my throat when I was young and I never felt worthy enough, I never felt like I belonged. I honestly felt that the Christians didn't want me, I wasn't good enough for them....

 These feelings most certainly went hand in hand with the notion that I wrote about a few days ago that I was somehow different, an outsider at birth and never really belonged...anywhere! I felt separate from our religion oriented society so my solution was to push away and separate myself even further through outrageous dress, language, behavior (IE: drug/alcohol use, Rock & Roll music) and hang out on the cultural fringes of our society.

When I felt so alienated I fought back by pushing religion (and religious people) away and verbally attacked them for what I perceived as their judgmental, hypocritical attitudes and behavior. I felt vindicated when noted Christians like Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggart fell from grace. Here I was pointing my finger now in judgment of them. It was an awful way to feel and act towards another human being.

I will admit that as I write today, I can't say that I have resolved this spiritual war taking place inside of me, trust me I wish I felt as confident in my beliefs as some people I know who seem so content, serene and peaceful.

But what I can say is that I have stopped fighting it and I do my best to be open minded. It is difficult because I get uncomfortable and feel awkward when someone speaks of their spiritual beliefs. Even if what they are saying sounds positive and perhaps attractive...I feel like running as quickly as possible in the other direction. I do not trust people at all, it takes a great deal of time for me to develop some trust with someone, especially if they are talking about religion. I have gotten more accepting of other peoples opinions and beliefs, I just don't fully trust any concept that comes from another human being. I know, what a mess I am....

But I will say that I certainly believe in's defining what that truly means to me that has been so challenging and difficult.  I know that I am alive today for a reason, I'm just not certain what that reason is. But I'm getting subtle nudges here and there. I feel an awesome power of the positive when I am talking with a person new to recovery and they are starting to feel better about themselves.

So I'll tell you what I have decided to do...I've made a decision that I don't have to decide what I believe in right now. I'll stay focused on positive things and I'll live my life just trying to be helpful to others. What I mean is I am going to try and be good to other people at all times, not just when I feel like it. I lived for so long just focusing on me, my needs with little thought about anyone else. Only if they were impacting me or something I wanted or needed. I know deep down the satisfaction that comes through giving of yourself. So that's what I will try to do, help others. Be a friend, spend time with someone new to recovery, listen better (I really have work to do in the listening department!) just be a good human being. That is the plan.

I realize some will see all this as corny, I feel that way sometimes too but hey, it's what I have to do so I'm going to throw a dart and see where it lands. It feels like the thing to do, my heart is all's my big, bad brain that wants to get in there and screw things up! I think I'm going to listen to my heart this time and see what happens....

That Magical Time

I confess, I'm not at all stoked about the holidays in general. We do have some family coming and I am looking forward to seeing them but neither of my kids will be around so from my (selfish) perspective it's a bit of a bummer. But they are healthy and happy so I feel quite good about that.

But early Xmas morning isn't the same when my kids (and their kids) are not around. But to be honest, the magical feeling of holidays and birthdays in general left me long ago and actually I don't miss it. I kind of resent being forced to give gifts not because I'm cheap but I'd rather give them spontaneously, when I choose to give them. I was always pretty good about just giving a gift when I felt moved to do so. I still like doing it that way....

When I was a boy there was definately some powerful, amazing spirit in the air at this time of year. We did lots of cool things back then. We lived in a suburb of Columbus Ohio, Worthington. It was a nice neighborhood and several families on our street always got together during the holidays. The adults had their cocktail party and the children ran amok doing our own thing, snooping at our gifts and throwing snowballs at the city bus. It felt like a unique  and special time and looking still does.

All of the neighborhoods in the City of Worthington did luminaria on Christmas Eve. Every household (and almost all houses participated, that certainly wouldn't happen today) put paper bags full of sand w/lit candles in them along the curb. They were about 6 feet a part and we lit them at dusk...oh my, what an incredible sight that was. The big thing was to get in the car and drive through the various neighborhoods (I think there were 4 but my 'Lil Sis will correct me if I'm wrong) with just the parking lights on. As far along the streets as you could see the lights would stretch until out of sight.

Then we would have lots of food, the house would be all decorated with lights and the fire would be going. Then my parents would take my sister and I to bed. I remember feeling like my heart would explode out of my chest, I was just so excited...Then the next morning Santa had left toys out for us to play with while my parents slept in a bit (until 6 or 7am or so!!). It truly was magical...

Obviously those days are gone but the memories are still so vibrant and real. These days we get up, enjoy coffee and some peaceful time with all the decorations lit up. We still have candles though they are in the house in candle sticks now. We open gifts, have a nice breakfast then the big deal of the day at home is dinner.

But then I started doing something a little different on Christmas morning. After breakfast I head into town. I meet up with a rather large group of people in recovery and we spend some time together. And you know what...I start to feel that magic again! It's always such a treat to see a guy or gal, who is new to sobriety at those Christmas morning get togethers. They seem stunned that they are actually there, sober and kinda having fun. I remember feeling that way myself when I was newly sober and it was so cool.

I guess I'll always feel the spirit of Christmas the most when I'm feeling grateful for the life (sobriety) I have and sharing a little time with my friends in recovery. The best friends I've ever had and the best time of my life (so far)....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Time for me to lay things on the line so here is some straight talk from yours truly. So Why The F*#k Am I Doing This?

I get very little feedback to my posts on this blog. So basically I don't have a clue whether folks find this useful, interesting, ridiculous or whatever. I do know that people look at it because I can see the number of page views but that's it.

I'll admit it's rather weird to put so much time & effort into writing and then have absolutely no idea if anyone other then me finds it the least bit interesting or not. Frankly I have to assume that most folks who check in here don't find this blog that groundbreaking, interesting or worth their while. And that's cool....hey, it's on me to make it good & readable so obviously I have some work to do. It often contains specific information that may be difficult or uninteresting for people who cannot directly relate to it. So  perhaps I'm not going to succeed in getting that many people to read this, if that's the case then what? Is that why I did this, to become known, to be noteworthy, to be noticed? Hmmm, I don't really think so....

 So I suppose I should then evaluate why I'm really doing it, why am I writing this stuff down for others to read. What's the there a point? Do I find this blog worthwhile? All good questions....

Let's start there....I do find value in writing this blog. It has been enlightening to say the least to write about my thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. everyday. I feel like I've truly learned things about myself that perhaps I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. That's all good, very good.

Now I have to ask myself if I truly need to publish this in a blog format for others to read. Would I get the same benefit by just journaling these very same things? I'm not getting much feedback anyway so whats the difference? The answer to that is I believe that I work harder at being honest, at digging towards the Truth, my Truth when what I am writing is out there for others to read. I may not get validation for what I am saying but I am getting something back for having taken the risk to share it. Plus it holds me accountable to write it publicly because I then work even harder at not bullshitting myself if I know it's being read by someone other then myself.

Another question I have to ask myself is should I be posting such personal information in a public forum? This is my real life by the way,out there in public for everyone to see....and some of this can be embarrassing information, thoughts or feelings that I share here on any given day. Is it worth baring my soul just to learn a few interesting things about myself?

Well, there is always the chance, slim though it may be that someone will read this blog that can really relate to it. Perhaps they feel some of the same fear or alienation that I did, perhaps they have no where else to turn. Maybe they have a drug problem or they have felt totally alone and think they are the only person out there that feels like that. So yes, I do feel a sense of responsibility as a human being to take what has happened to me and share it with others in the event that it might be helpful to them. That's the bottom line, I have been given a gift of life, my life in recovery. I feel that I must give it back, that it's almost a sacred responsibility to share what I have been so freely given. This is just one way that I can do that.

I know that something deep down motivated me to start Shell Shock Serenade in the first place. And I still feel a responsibility to continue to work on it and develop it, regardless of whether I get any feedback or not. Honestly, it would be nice to know what people think about what I'm writing, there is some validation in getting a response. And I'm curious as well. I'll admit that I expected some debate or discussion but to date that has not happened. And it may never happen yet I still feel the desire to continue writing. So I will do just that, continue to post on this blog.

And I can only write one way and that is to lay my thoughts and feelings out there completely uncensored. I am alive today because of blatant, unreserved honesty and I cannot in good conscience temper that now. So this blog may be contain subject matter that is unpleasant to read. I understand that but I made the decision to write about my life and as good as it is today, there were times when it was mostly a painful existence. An that basically is what I am thinking and writing about at this time. It will vary over the course of time because I can take off in many different directions at the drop of a hat.

So fair warning to those who are hanging in there and reading on in the next few days, weeks and months. I'm not going anywhere and I intend to continue to roll the blog (dice) as it were and see where we all land. It could be a very a rather intense ride....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sick-Sicker-Sickest: The Sickness

Yep, it's that time again kiddies! I'm sharing another blast from the musical soundtrack of my life.

Today's song is from the band SEETHER and the song is called "The Gift"

It is a gut wrenching and harrowing listen as is but for me this one takes me back to a very specific time and place, one of the most frightening places of my entire existence: The last 12 months of my drug taking life. My Cocaine addiction is at it's height and of course I'm drinking around the clock going in 3 day cycles of using Coke/drinking and then taking mass doses of Methadone/Ambien/Seroquel to bring me down to try and sleep. I was a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off.

This song was my Anthem: I knew what it said and for me it was my truth at that moment. My sickness had completely taken over my life....I thought I was doing GREAT?! I really did....

The funny thing about hearing the song today is it still brings me those same feelings of dying hard, living fast, living to die...and in a strange way I still identify with it in that I can see how it can happen.

That is how I know that I am only a drink or a drug away from lighting that fuse all over again. I don't even question it: I use/I die, I drink/I die, period end of story. For an addict/alcoholic, it's truly the first drink or drug that kills you, not the last....

The Gift

Hold me now I need to feel relief
Like I never wanted anything
I suppose I'll let this go and find a reason I'll hold on to
I'm so ashamed of defeat
And I'm out of reason to believe in me
I'm out of trying to get by

I'm so afraid of the gift you give me
I don't belong here and I'm not well
I'm so ashamed of the lie I'm living
right on the wrong side of it all

I can't face myself when I wake up
And look inside a mirror
I'm so ashamed of that thing
I suppose I'll let it go
till I have something more to say for me
I'm so afraid of defeat
And I'm out of reason to believe in me
I'm out of trying to defy

I'm so afraid of the gift you give me
I don't belong here and I'm not well
I'm so ashamed of the lie I'm living
right on the wrong side of it all

Hold me now I need to feel complete
Like I matter to the one I need

I'm so afraid of the gift you give me
I don't belong here and I'm not well
I'm so ashamed of the lie I'm living
right on the wrong side of it all

Now I'm ashamed of this
I'm so ashamed of this
Now I'm so ashamed of me
I'm so ashamed of me


Right Side Up

One of the things that I have discovered about myself in the last few years is that deep down I have always felt like an outsider, like I never really belong, in society, in my family...heck to the whole human race. From what I can recall, this feeling predates my drinking/drugging days so I have to believe it is something I've probably felt since I was born or shortly afterward.

As a young person that alienation was prevalent in my dress and rebellious nature. Yep, I am a product of the late 60's/early 70's youth movement of sorts.  Kind of a  Drop Out "If you can't join them, beat them" kind of reverse psychology/philosophy. That's when I first started smoking dope and doing other drugs including alcohol. I was an introverted sort, looking inward for my strength though I wasn't anti-social in any real way. I just felt separate from my contemporaries so I separated myself physically as much as I could from them. It all felt like I chose to do that, at the time. But in reality, looking back in hindsight I really wanted to belong, I just felt like maybe I wasn't wanted.

That feeling has persisted all these years. I still feel that alienated "tug" at times today and the funniest little things can set it off. Something as typical as one of my parents making a comment about a behavior of mine they dislike. That's what parents do, it's nothing unusual but it's sets off major feelings of alienation and rejection inside of me. And I have grown into a person (thanks to boat loads of therapy) that accepts constructive criticism reasonably well. At least after I've thought about it a while. But deep down the comments dig something rather painful up in me and it's hard to deal with. It brings on the self loathing Thom I though I put away for good....

Of course recognizing something is the first major step in being able to do something to change it if you so desire. I did want to change that behavior so I've worked hard at putting myself back in situations where I have to engage others and I've enjoyed it. Now that I know just because I may feel left out of different it doesn't mean that I really am. It can be just an illusion, a Brain F*#k as it were. I also have learned that maybe I am different or unique in some ways, so what. That doesn't mean I'm bad or wrong because of it. It doesn't have to define me...unless I choose to let it do so. Often now, I do let my differences show because I'm not ashamed anymore of who I am...

I feel good enough about myself these days that I usually don't sweat the differences nor do I flaunt them like I used to. I used to push my differences into other peoples faces...that was the rebellion coming through. Now I just be myself, whatever that may be. I feel guided by certain spiritual guidelines that I feel strongly about and those are the things I tend to measure myself by. Because when I violate those babies, I usually know it right away because my serenity gets outta whack, very quickly too! Before long my whole world will seem turned upside down so I tend to try to stay in touch with my spiritual side at all times.

And from experience I have to say that I prefer my world to be right side up! Until the next time....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ragged As We Go

Home now and feeling a bit ragged around the edges. Seems like there is always some kind of pattern to my life, like things happen in cycles. Maybe it's nature or God's way of providing balance in life. I don't even pretend to know the answer to that and thank god I don't have to. My lot in life is to accept what happens and live life to the fullest, one Day At A Time. I know, I's a cliche but it works just dandy for me to focus on the day (task) at hand and go from there. Keep the focus in today, so to speak. I imagine some folks do it for them, whatever works, 'ya know?

One thing I am fairly certain about is that positive events in my life tend to be followed up by , lets say less then positive events or stress. This day/couple of days have been no different. After a good visit to see the Grands, there have been some car issues for Kim, etc., that have created stress. I'm not complaining, just pointing it out. You see I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about such stuff, rather pointless, eh?

Perhaps not, it is how (my) life seems to flow: gradually up...then gradually down....up....down and so on. It used to be Up..Up...Up...UP,UP,UPWAY UP then KABOOM...Crash, BIG Explosion then taking several days to figure out what happened. Most times never having a clue what happened: I'll take the gradual ebb and flow up and down pattern every time.

I will admit that I am humored by the fact I even contemplate this stuff at all today. In the past, even recent past I always just lived a life of reaction. I reacted to things as they happened. Rarely making positive choices just fixing problems, little or big as they occurred, plugging the holes in the Dam, as it were. Never an pleasant way to live, I assure you.

Today, there is a method to the, sort of ha, ha. Just keeping my focus, making the most of what I have going on right now. And that has made me pretty happy, at this stage in my life anyhow.

I do wonder how others approach life. Just react or is it a planned adventure....perhaps something in between? It is rather difficult, as I watch people roar by of their rocket of life, to know what their thinking, if their thinking at all, tee hee. I'll give 'em the benefit of the doubt but I often wonder with some folks. Any way, is there a plan or do you react, deflect or just manage a plan on the fly, that being the "as we go" plan?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's the last day of my visit to see Chelsea, Joel and my grandson's  Mason & Maddox here in Greenville, SC. Kind of sad but you know I'm just really glad I made the trip. It's a great Xmas present to myself to come and spend a few days here. Good Days On the Planet stuff, big-time...

This morning I saw a FB post from an old childhood buddy who is now a cop in Columbus, home town. This weekend a local radio station in Columbus CD101 is having it's 18th annual Andyman-A-Thon to raise $ for Children's Charities in Central Ohio. (My buddy Scott is in the middle of the pic below). Andyman was a beloved DJ in Columbus who passed away tragically while swimming on vacation w/his family in July in Northern MI. This is a charity he started in 1992 and his friends at the Station are keeping this thing alive. (If you want to donate here is the # CD101 in Columbus, OH through 7pm tomorrow night 614-221-1025) So why am I writing about this.

Because Human beings doing this kind of stuff for one another ROCKS, It literally kicks Ass and I think we need to hear more about what we as people do for one another instead of only how we are killing each other, or screwing up our government or taking advantage of others or crappy weather...OK, you get the picture, right?! This is good stuff and there is a lot of it going around, all over this country not just today but everyday.

Well the "GRANDS" have just arrived so this post is over..but please, let's think about those who are less fortunate right now, wherever they may be. That way we can all ROCK....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Could Have Been A Big Bummer

I had an interesting experience this morning. Crowne Plaza Hotels obviously has a new type of good morning greeting for their go out to your car first thing in the morning and the back passenger tire is completely flat.  "Welcome To Crowne Plaza Greenville, Mr Davis. Welcome to the deep South freaking Yan"....just kidding folks! I don't want to stir up any more sectional distress then there already is.

To continue the tire story, it had a great ending because AAA came out, put a spare on for free and Discount Tire here in town fixed it all in about 30 minutes, again at no charge. So other then losing about 90 minutes of time and having the complimentary breakfast messed up it was definately a no harm no foul situation. Everyone involved was friendly and very efficient so it was very cool, could have been a big bummer.

So we picked up Chels and the kids and just did a bunch of fun stuff together. We went swimming, hit Mickey D's, the boys took a snooze (Grandpa's Favorite)and hung out. Going to meet Joel here in a bit and get some seafood. It has been a great day yet great days always go by so darn fast.

So we are already half way through the visit, Zoom Zoom.

I'm tryin something new as I type I have my grandson Maddox sitting in my lap. Of course he's pushing every button there is so I think it's time to close! Grandfather time trumps blog time....EVERYTIME!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Out House Effect

We had a rather interesting drive down here to Greenville this morning. It felt more like a dog sledding expedition to Antarctica, only thing missing were the dogs and the penguins. The heavy snow, sleet, frigid temps and high winds combined to make things rather wild and yep, stressful. Oh that and the fact that there isn't a single Rest Area on S Bound I-75 in the State of Kentucky! I learned later it's a weird phenomenon called the "Out House Effect"....The mysterious coincidence when a restroom is never available when a person has just had 3 cups of coffee, is totally stressed out and really, really needs one.

Oh, and the  so called "normal" truck drivers out there were driving those rigs with a vengeance. Honestly they were  way out of control, speeding, tailgating and just being overly aggressive, it was almost comical if it wasn't so reckless and dangerous. Some mother truckers (you know who you are) in Tennessee, Kentucky, North & South Carolina today, well Y'all basically suck, 'ya hear me!? Hey and thanks for driving half a dozen motorists off I-75 and scaring the hell out out of the rest us. What was the freaking deal? Jeez something definately was driving the insanity on the roadways today. It truly was an unreal experience.

But we made it in one piece and I got my grandson fix for day one. So that will carry me through until tomorrow....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Yankees Are Coming...

I survived the night though I can't really say I slept very well but in the end, I killed some time. Now the anxiety kicks in....

It is winter time and one of the main concerns about traveling this time of year is the weather. And since we are driving, that means I need to check the various areas we are driving through for their specific type of weather.

We are transitioning from (far) North to South so it does look like we will first be dealing with some snow, then it will change to the rather spooky "Wintry Mix" and finally to mostly rain in S Tennessee and North & South Carolina by the time we get there in the early afternoon.

We are going to hit the road early tomorrow morning sometime around 2am. I have gone on record here as saying I am a morning person and that definately translates to early departure times when I travel. But this time, even I am a little concerned about leaving THIS early....but since this trip ISN"T just about me, we need to try and be there in the early afternoon for other reasons so that is when we'll hit the road.

There are a lot of advantages to traveling at that time (that's assuming that the driver is of course actually AWAKE!) reduced traffic being the most obvious. Since we are going through downtown Dayton, Cincinnati, Lexington, KY plus Knoxville, TN that is a pretty nice benefit because Cinci in particular gets confusing when the traffic is heavy. It just reduces the tension a bit and that's always a good thing for me.

Of course the weather is a concern and adding snow/rain/wintry mix to the night driving will obviously increase the tension so it's probably a wash. But time is the main motivator this trip, not traffic/driving concerns so we are taking off super early no matter what.

So now I'm packed and heading into to town in a bit to wash the ride, gas her up, check tire pressure, etc then it's once again a waiting game. Kim will get here after lunch so that makes things a tad more tolerable.

So now it's about 20-21 hrs to GRANdPA TIME and honestly, I'm not the least bit excited or looking forward to thi...OK, that's Bullsh*t and I know it, I can't wait so look out South Carolina, the Yankees are coming (again) in just a few short hours....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Petulant Little Brat (I Am)

I'll get right to the point....I'm having a hard time being patient. This is me speaking at this very moment:(The following sentence should be spoken out loud just like Veruca Salt whining for an Oompa Loompa from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory) "I want to leave for South Carolina NOW!" And I am whining because I do want to leave now. I shouldn't have to wait, I'm entitled, I'm a freaking Grandfather for god's sake!

Of course there were legitimate reasons why this little vacation was scheduled for the days that it was. Mainly because it wasn't all about ME, there were other people involved in this Royal Grandfather's Visitation. They happened to be the best days for everyone concerned, considering Chelsea needed to get time off work, Kim had appointments, dog care and her mother to take into account. Plus Christmas is coming next week so there wasn't a lot of other days that worked out for everyone else. So I have to wait and since I'm just a tad spoiled I don't do "waiting" very well and that is the reason I'm acting like a petulant little brat (Although I'm discovering that it's rather fun actually!!) But I digress...

I am a grandpa and right or wrong, the desire to see my grandsons is overpowering any common decency that I once had. I'm not very understanding of other peoples needs so I want to go now!

OK, I'm kidding (sort of) though I am anxious to get on the road. It's just about 24 hrs now before we leave and I think I'm going to make it w/out going absolutely and completely BONKERS....once we get started it will all mellow out.

I knew when I first found out that my daughter was expecting that I was going to find being a grandfather a wonderful experience but even then I have loved it much more then I ever expected. It's hard to explain, I mean I enjoyed fatherhood but this is sort of like that feeling but better, much, much better. I know I've written about this before on this blog but when my grandson Mason calls out my name, honestly I feel like I'm going to melt. Those two little guys just mean so much to me, I'm not sure they'll ever really understand how much.

So now I just count the hours before we leave and I think I'm going to pull the old trick I used to use when I was a little kid trying to wait for Santa Claus to come....I'll just go to bed really early and try to sleep away as much time as possible...Nighty night!

Watching The Wheels Go Round and Round...

One of the difficulties of living a life in recovery is watching folks you really care about struggle to stay sober themselves. For some, a life of continuous sobriety always seems to hover, just out of their reach.

It's heartbreaking to see someone I really care about, go through the vicious cycle of cleaning up, only to relapse again and again and again. It reminds me of my own trials and tribulations and that's hard to accept. And the Addict/Alcoholic never goes through this process alone, nope they drag their families, friends, co-workers, etc., full of hope that this time it will really work, back through the mud and mire of addiction time after time. 

There isn't a magic potion or pill that takes this awful disease away. It just doesn't work that way. I truly wish that no one would ever have to feel the way I felt, to experience that same misery and hopelessness that I did. But life certainly isn't fair and that's the way it goes sometimes. People fail to find sobriety and they die. And this is in spite of the very best efforts of the people who love them the most and are doing everything in their power to help them...

The flip side of that coin, of course is watching someone who just a few short months ago was experiencing that very same helplessness and hopelessness discover that they can actually live sober. We Alkies are always the last to get it, believe me. We think we can't do it only to realize some where down the line that one day at a time, we have been living a life of sobriety. In my experience, it's truly like watching a resurrection. People coming back from the dead.

Sounds like a bunch of overly, dramatic hooey huh? I thought so too but this Doubting Thomas gets to see this happen fairly regularly with his own eyes and yea, it's really true. People can be hopelessly addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and find a way to live a sane and sober life. What a trip that is....

I try to capture and  share what that dramatic change is really like through my own experiences, bit by bit on this blog. I can honestly say that it isn't an easy thing to explain...because there often is no rhyme or reason to who finds sobriety and who doesn't. Often, the person who seems the most likely to succeed, doesn't. And the opposite is most certainly true as well. How can that be? I haven't the slightest idea, I just accept it because that's the way it goes... For me, today it's truly as simple as that.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let It Go,Brett....Let It Go!

Well hell, it seems like everyone else is writing or talking about Brett Favre missing a game so I'm going to as well.If there is anyone who isn't familiar with the story: Brett Favre, Quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings and future Hall of Famer has started and played in 297 consecutive football games. Tonight he will not play against the New York Giants because of an injury. The first time he has not started/played in a game since 1992.

It truly is an incredible play the game of football, as physical as it is that many games in a row is simply astounding. It will never happen again, nope, Nada, way, NEVER.He has played badly injured, barely able to walk and throw...nobody has ever questioned his toughness. His judgment and selfishness is something all together different. But I'll leave that commentary for another time....

I believe the man deserves to end his career now and walk away. I honestly think he should have done it before this season. But after the incredible year he and the Vikings had last season, losing to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game and getting within 1 game of the Super Bowl, I'm not sure any one can really blame him for coming's what competitors do.

So I think this is it, I can't see Favre ever setting foot on a football field for a game as a player again. I think the Vikings put him on IR (Injured Reserve)and go with Tarvaris Jackson for the remainder of the season. Minnesota is out of playoff contention and it would be the best way to transition to life with out Brett, let him fade away here at the end of the season.

Anyway, I haven't always liked Brett Favre as a human being, I personally think he has acted like an egomaniac, jerk at the beginning of every season the last few years as he has gone back and forth trying to figure out if he should retire or not. It has tarnished his legacy some as has the email and text controversy he has going on with a former NY Jets employee he reportedly sent improper texts/emails/voice mails too.

Now is the time to let it go Brett.....Let it go!