Cool Stuff

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Echo Of Thunder...The 4th of July!

When I was a little boy I spent a large chunk of my summer here on Coldwater Lake. I wish I had a pic of the old cottage I could scan and post here. I'll try and get that together this weekend. But anyway I stayed here at the lake, in the old cottage most of the Summer. And the days leading up to the 4th of July were really the best days of the whole summer.

There was a certain magic about it. The large crowds of people that were here, the fireworks going was a thrilling time for a little boy...especially one with a vivid imagination like I had.

I used to lay in the bunk room (my grandfather had 2 WWI surplus style Army Bunks in a little room and the kids, at least most of us stayed in there)and I would lay in there listening to the fireworks going off all night long...The echo of thunder, reverberating around the wooded edges of the lake. I'd close my eyes try to imagine that it was shellfire on some distant battlefield, long ago. I could picture the whole, entire battlefield in my mind, it was thrilling and it was a different time.

And my dad would have a ton of fireworks that he liked to set off, it was just exciting. We would all pile into the pontoon or speed boat and watch the fireworks display over the lake. It's funny but for many years I never came back here on the 4th of July. Not sure why, busy, other plans, it was a variety of things I suppose.

But the last several years I've lived here and i am really starting to get that exciting vibe again I had as a kid. This morning my mom mentioned to my dad that she was getting excited with all the people here this week all ready. One of the newer traditions they have here on the island is one that didn't exist when i was a boy but I believe it started when my kids were staying here with their grandparents.

That is an island parade. Yea it's corny but I have really learn to love it, I really do. It's patriotic, it's funny and it's tradition. This year is really the first year that I 've lived here that we have had company staying over the weekend. That really has the 3 of us looking forward to the weekend with great anticipation.

The fridge is full, both fridges actually are full of brats, lunch meat and all the good foods of summer, watermelon, blueberries, strawberries...the root beer is on ice, my mom's making making cookies like the wild cookie, cooking fiend she has become. The weather is supposed to be great, the lake water is already warm. I can't wait, just another full day...and the weekend will be in full swing.

We have had a lot of people here this week, it's really been the first week that a lot of families stayed here instead of heading home last Sunday night. That added to it, having people around all week. We have the yard all together and a gigantic burn pile, I mean it is HUGE...that is another thing we haven't done in recent years.

I made a big batch of popcorn tonight to get things started. Ok I'm all fired up so I will close. Here's hoping you all have a safe and happy 4th!

Just Like Me

I have written frequently here on the blog about what kind of person I was like before I got sober and started to live a life in recovery, One Day at a Time...

I was angry, judgemental, self-orientated (not just selfish but I thought the world should and did revolve around ME), rude, arrogant, co-dependant, resentful, sullen, surely, dishonest (A liar), cold, detached, distrustful, disinterested...and more. And most of the time even the people closest to me didn't have a clue that I was any of those things. I was also an actor...and a damn good one too. Funny the game you can run on people who WANT to believe you.

Overcoming these traits and others has been the hardest part of my daily recovery...because I have to be diligent about it every single waking moment of my life. But for me to have a chance at recovery I absolutely had to do something to change my behaviour and little by little I have. It has not been easy or fool proof..sometimes I back slide and act like a jerk. The important thing then is to have the humility to see my mistake and rectify it immediately. It really goes back to what I wrote in an earlier post today: It all starts with LOVE.

Acceptance, forgivingness, compassion, understanding, caring, listening, relating, all starts with LOVE. Without it you don't have a chance. I certainly don't.

On my own I am judgemental. I used to spend countless hours thinking about what was wrong with the other person, why the trouble we were having was all their fault and how it couldn't possibly be ME. I was so full of sh*t, so arrogant in thinking I knew what was best for everyone else. What I've learned today is I knew nothing then. It wasn't until I started honestly looking at myself that I realized what a faker, what a pretender, what a joke of a human being I was. Here I thought I knew what was best for everyone else and I didn't truly have a clue what to do about myself. I was lost and too proud, stubborn and arrogant to ask for help... so I floundered and nearly drowned in my own Sh*t before I stopped fighting it and surrendered.

One of the most difficult situations that I can face in my life today is when I run into people who tend to act like I did back then. It is so hard for me to deal with people who come across as arrogant, stubborn and self-righteous as I was. Always finding fault with others, never looking at themselves. I can relate...that is what makes it so hard because they are acting just like I did. But I can't say that to them...they'd never listen. All I can do today in those situations is listen, share my story and Love 'em as much as possible.
But it's hard, especially if I happen to care about them.

My natural reaction to constructive criticism is anger...naturally! But I have found that it achieves absolutely NOTHING...except to perhaps make other folks even angrier than they already are. The people I struggle with most in my life today are those very people who share those very same character defects...part of it is because it's like looking into a mirror at myself. And the other part is they are just difficult to deal with, they avoid talking about it so nothing ever gets resolved. Often, they are convinced that they know what's right...truth is they typically don't have a clue. They tend to jump to conclusions, based on their own assumptions and never want to actually confront a situation or talk about it. That is exactly the way I handled things back then because I didn't want to be bothered, I truly felt I knew the answer and it would be a waste of time to talk about it.

Looking back on my behaviour then...Wow, was I ever wrong. I never listened to what anyone had to say, I made up my mind what kind of a person I thought they were (usually a less then flattering opinion) and judged them on that immediate impression.

I was a complete and utter idiot for thinking that way. I've learned today that nobody is perfect of course and though a person may have issues, may be annoying and drive me crazy. But now I know that every single one of them has value as a human being. Not judging people has been the hardest thing for me to learn. It truly just occurred to me one day totally out of the blue: "What makes me so great?" I couldn't really answer other then to say "nothing". I was no better then anyone else. I made mistakes just like they did (except I was really good at hiding them and making myself look good, but it was still living a lie!)

So that is a focus of mine today and everyday. I cannot let my selfish, self-centred ways take over my life. I have to keep my eyes on higher ideals, keep my eyes on TRUTH. I've learned the hard way that my way is the wrong way. When I listen with all my heart to God's will (and it isn't an easy thing for this guy to do) and follow it, I have found a freedom in doing that I have never, ever known before in my life! I can't explain it, it just is what it is. But I sure am grateful for it...

Why Thom...Why?

I think anyone who has read this blog, even just once or twice is aware that sometime in the recent past I experienced a significant spiritual awakening, as it were. I became a Christian, a Follower of Jesus. Now to some that might not be a big deal. they will go, hey great...glad you did then they'll move on to talk about something else.

There are others and this would have INCLUDED me not so long ago who will go: "Aw F*&K! Holy Sh*t, that's all we need on this planet another freaking crackpot Christian". Yep...that is how I would have reacted and then I would have mocked the person mercilessly for being ignorant, weak, a hypocrite, close minded, a "sheep" (a term a buddy and I used to use to describe people who can't think for themselves, we considered Christians SHEEP) and a right wing conservative. Honestly I don't see myself as any of those things, I really don't. I still think for myself, I don't blindly follow any person on this planet. I do however believe what I read in the bible and I follow what it says because I truly believe it is the TRUTH that I have been looking for my entire life: The Word of God. Ultimately and I feel strongly about this, is the key to being a Follower of Christ is LOVE. We must love one another, with out restriction, yes without JUDGEMENT and not hold back.

When Jesus was asked by the religious leaders of his time why he (A Rabbi and highly respected because of his position) would hang out with prostitutes, tax collectors..sinners....the dregs of society at that time, he said that a doctor goes where the sick people are. So that is what he was doing, the people that needed Him and his message were the sick, the poor, criminals, the misguided, those sinners struggling in this big, bad world just like me. So that is why I feel guided to reach out to other addicts...and let's face it, addicts & alcoholics who are really suffering are often not hanging out in church or at Country Clubs. No they are in hospitals, in jail/prison and at various recovery support group meetings so that is where I need to be. That is the connection that got made for me and made it simple to realize that I had to reach out to those who were hurting, whose lives were a train wreck just like my life was.

It really does fit into the life I've been trying to live that focus's on being of service to others. I was hesitant to write much about being a Christian here on the blog because I didn't want to chase the few readers I had away. Ultimately not mentioning it here, well that was living a lie, I couldn't hide what I really believed so you will see posts like this. I'm not trying to tell anyone what they should do, heck i never listened to what others believed myself.

But I will share here what I have found works for me in my life. Since the basic Premise of Shell Shock serenade is to follow my life as a person in recovery, well helping others is a big part of that. And believing that is what makes a difference in this life. It is ultimately loving and reaching out to others that opens people up to change. Those were obvious things for me to accept and get my arms around in day to day life. And it's worked for me so far...

So I'm not entirely sure what I am trying to achieve with this post other then to "come out" I guess and say what I think and feel, whether it's about spiritual matters or not....I don't know if this will become a "Christian" blog...I suspect that it will be what it always has been: a blog about the life of a human being trying to live his life from day to day, including all the ups and downs that go along with it...I hope it continues to be open and honest, to teach and entertain...maybe even enlighten folks perhaps on what it is really like to suffer and feel so isolated and lonely in this big ole mean world and how to over come those very feelings.

I would appreciate any thoughts or feelings on this matter or anything else so feel free or you may email me at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Follow up: The Family Jewell's

This is going to be a short post basically clarifying my position or opinion if you will to the Reality TV Show Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Before anyone gets the wrong idea here, nobody was more surprised then I that I liked what i was seeing. I don't like reality TV shows in general. But the point I was trying to make was that I was impressed that they represented Gene so honestly and let him show his
vulnerability and they did it well. I am an adopted kid, I too have felt abandoned at different times of my life and they really did a good thing with the first two episodes of this year. It looks like week 3 is more of the same.

I'll probably watch it too because I actually learned some things about myself and others. I really do see value for a lot of different people in that. I don't want to condone or recommend the show to anyone, there still is a ton of ridiculous CRAP in it but I am going to give credit where it is deserved and I thought these shows were awesome in content and subject matter. They dealt with the Holocaust, the formation of Israel in 1948, a little boy who felt abandoned by his father, siblings that had never met their famous brother and that brother not even really knowing he had a family in Israel.

So there we go, I thought they elevated reality TV a bit and Kudos to A&E for doing it as well....

Gene Simmons Family Jewels Rocked This Week!

Well, well....things seem to be looking up, at least health wise this morning. Another day and night where I didn't suffer too much and continued to feel better for the most part as the day and evening ran it's course.

I ended up just stopping into the Doc's office yesterday morning and everyone seemed to agree that the injections I'm getting were too powerful, the dose was too high so we'll reduce it. Typically I get those shots on Tuesday but I held off and I think I'm going to continue to do so until this coming Tuesday. I just don't want to risk ruining what is looking like a really good weekend visit from K-Sue and My son Ian and his fiance E.
The Simmons-Tweed Family
Last night at 10p I watched Gene Simmons Family Jewels on the A&E Channel. I am a bit embarrassed to admit it because I usually do not watch TV except for live sporting events, weather, news or channels like History or discovery, etc. I especially despise reality shows because I think they are typically faked and there are times that this one is too in my opinion.

But the last two episodes, the first two of this new season are about relationships. The first last week was about Gene's relationship with his long time partner and mother of his children, Shannon. He has always resisted making a commitment and now that their kids were both in college she was considering if she wanted to stay in the relationship.

Last nights episode continued that theme and added a trip to Israel where Simmons was born to meet his 3 half sister's and brother. He had not seen his father since he was a small boy and the man had passed on8 or 9 years before.

I will not spoil the story for either episode in case anyone wants to watch it but honestly I applaud them on these 2 shows. It truly was about relationships and how incredibly valuable and FLEETING they are...honestly those 2 shows went perfectly along with where my head and heart has been the last couple of days. I thought these were honestly and openly done with Gene sharing openly and honestly his true feelings of abandonment and fear of confronting his past.

I'm sure they will replay these episodes all week on A&E TV and I suggest to anyone who might be interested to definately watch them. See there is a first time for everything!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Live...To DIE.

Sitting here this bright and sunny Tuesday late afternoon, I took just a moment to watch the wind blow the waves, quite briskly from north to south (my left to right as I see it). It is really pleasant from a humidity standpoint, breezy and dry. Though it is windy I could care less. I have felt so lousy the last 3 days that I am reveling in the day, shoot it could be freaking snowing out right now and I would feel joyful. I'm happy to be and feel alive. I tried to capture the movement of the water but I really couldn't in this pic. If I turned more to my left in the shot, it looks to the NE point of the island but if I do that it would show the waves and white-caps but also all the docks and boats parked there. This was a prettier shot without all of that man-made clutter. I made an executive decision to go with this shot...well I am the blog owner so I guess I get some editorial privileges, eh?!

Any reader of this blog knows I pretty much wear my emotions, thoughts and feelings on my sleeve. But at times like these I feel rather dis-connected and detached...I guess what I'm saying here is I feel like I've been on the sidelines of life instead of on the playing field the last few days so it becomes a tad bit challenging to just suddenly pick up where I left off. I mean I spent the majority of the last 3 days in bed, at the Docs or hospital so I haven't really felt like I have been living. NOPE, just existing and I can't tell you dear reader person out there in BLOGVILLE how much I detest that feeling of being a spectator or non-participant in life. Ach....I really do dislike it...why? Good question but easy to answer.

For much of my last year to two years of my drinking and drugging days that is how I felt: I just existed, much like a boulder gathering freaking moss on some forgotten hillside somewhere, hopefully as far away from the sunlight or people as I could possibly be. And I succeeded in achieving that lifestyle and feeling for a large segment of that time period.

But looking back on that time now it feels like such a waste and of course in many ways it was wasteful. But I also realize that even in that simple existence of EXISTING I learned things. And certainly that experience benefits me today first and foremost by the simple fact that it reminds me every time I think about it how valuable this life is, this time on the planet, especially when it comes to appreciating people we love and who love us. Because the bottom line is this life ends and it ends suddenly sometimes and when it's over well that is it, it's over. This is a lesson I will never forget...make the best of what time one does have because it is finite and it is fleeting. Life is over before we know the literal blink of an eye sometimes, poof and it', they are gone.

I started this morning thinking about people I loved who are no longer with us on the planet. In a way it is sad...I don't know that I'll see them again in eternity.

This probably is not the post to start with this train of thought but I don't believe for an instant that the reason we are here on this earth is to be happy. I think we are here to DIE. I really do and if you are familiar with the Bible in Luke Chapter 9 verse 23 Jesus makes it pretty clear that following him is no bowl of cherries.:

Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke Chapter 9: 23-25

It's funny but that is the verse that convinced me to believe in HIM and become a Christian. Why? Because it was the first time that something biblical had made total sense to me in the realm of my own life experience. To FOLLOW you DIE DAILY pick up a CROSS and FOLLOW...I don't know folks but that resonated with me. I guess I was under no illusions that we were supposed to be in some sort of fairy tale existence here on earth. Life is too hard. Even those folks who by all standards of earthly living are successful can suffer terribly in this life. Here is a real life example that is happening right now not far from where I live...

There is a huge local news story in Ft Wayne Indiana, just 50 miles south of where I live about a teenage boy, a standout high school basketball player who committed to play ball at the University of Michigan who survived a plane crash in N Michigan over this past weekend that killed his dad (who was doing the flying, his stepmother and one of their pets. Years ago he and his dad survived a first plane crash (and again dad was flying) that killed his mom and two siblings. His pilot father was a physician in the Ft Wayne area and they were quite wealthy. They were heading to their Summer Home on Walloon Lake up by Charlevoix, MI where Ernest Hemingway spent his youth. By all appearances this was an idyllic situation yet their family was fraught with tragic experiences...
It just proves that life is fleeting and good things won't one instant everything we know and love can disappear and all we have left is....WHAT? That's the real question in life, isn't it? What do we have when everything we know and love is taken away from us....what is left? God? Our faith?

I'll be posting on that question and my thoughts here in the future. Thanks for reading and hey, it's good to be back in the land of the living!

Hesitantly Optimistic

I do not, repeat do NOT want to sound even a tad bit optimistic here but after I posted my 3a ode to vomiting I was able to lay back down and drift off to sleep for a while without further interruptions. And though this may be way to early to tell, I have to say I'm feeling at least semi-human at the moment. Which is good since I have to travel into town at 10a for a meeting. Unfortunately the gentleman I'm meeting with chose McDonald's of all places to meet so I'm hoping that the bouts of nausea I've been experiencing have indeed run their course.

I'm not a big fan of the place, anymore anyway. I used to love their food, especially as a kid but now I can hardly even smell their food without feeling sick so this should be interesting to say the least....I do like their coffee so that is a safe place to long as my stomach holds.

I've noticed since I started feeling ill on the weekend that my posts here on Shell Shock have gotten shorter and shorter. Illness I suppose is a good way to keep me brief in thought and emotion I guess....

I'll call the Doc after 9a and see if they agree with my assesment that the Testosterone may be the ultimate culprit here and I should hold off getting a shot today. I just can't take another day of nauseous misery like the last couple...

SI'm hoping that I can then get back to posting about something other then that I feel lousy. And I wouldn't mind be able to enjoy going outside for a bit too...well, we'll see you on the back side of all these appointments.


Good morning Thom, my name is NAUSEA and it is my job once again to awaken & welcome you to the world again this morning. Don't you just love waking up to vomit? I know you do...

Needless to say I am not in the greatest frame of mind right now. I think the decision about whether I am calling the doctor or not this morning has just been made for me thanks to my not so dear friend NAUSEA and his sidekick Little PUKER. Humor?! At a time like this...ah, yea I guess if I didn't try and joke about it I'd really feel bad!

I did some further searches online for side effects to the injections that I am receiving and I'm pretty sure it's causing this but I still need to let Dr Chrissy in on what's happening here. It's funny it took nearly a month for this to manifest itself into these symptoms but once it did, LOOK OUT! Trust me, I got the message about how strong this crap is...Yeeoow!

One other observation before I try and lay back down again: As soon as I was looking online and realized with some certainty "yea, it's the shots and I'm not going to take today's dose, I INSTANTLY felt a bit better". Funny how powerful the human mind is, as soon as I knew what was happening with me, I felt better, a little bit better anyway and more comfortable.

It is strange though, I read these same side effects 2 days ago but I guess they made more sense now after I've had them for a couple of days. It would have been nice if I could have saved myself the trouble...

Alright, let's see if we can get horizontal without throwing up this time...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Little Kids and Big Kids Too!

When I was a kid my mom used to read me this story, I haven't a clue what it was called or how long it was whatever...but the main theme of it had to do with Summer time when it stayed light out longer and little boys and girls had to go to be while it was still light out.

Well, as ill as I am right now it's not just little boys and girls going to bed while it's still light out....

Good Night All!

Odds, Ends & Awkwardness...

I am definately not as good natured or accepting about feeling ill instead of being hung over like I was yesterday! They both really blow and I'm quite sick (pardon the pun) of being ill so let's get on with it, shall we?! Frankly I don't like what's going on with me and I am a bit more concerned about today because of the way I feel. Something just isn't right... strangely I feel like I did when I had pneumonia all those times last Summer, Fall and Winter with the added symptom of nausea and vomiting yesterday and the day before.

I'll see the doctor tomorrow if something doesn't change by then. I've noticed over the course of the last year how good I've gotten at reading the signals my body is sending me. I know when I'm just feeling a bit "off" for a day or two and when I'm really sick. I'm way more sensitive to it and I think that is typically a good thing but it can be overwhelming when you're prone to illness as I have been the past year.

I get enough energy to do some things for an hour or two then I'm completely depleted of strength and have to rest or if I eat I'm sick to my stomach and incapacitated for several hours I just said, ENOUGH already!

I have a fairly busy week before the holiday sets in though nothing planned today. But tomorrow is a different story...One of the things that I have tried to do differently in my life is ask for help when I need it instead of trying to handle everything always on my own. This has been one of the more difficult things I've had to do because my pride gets in the way.

So tomorrow I have to take care of some things that aren't very pleasant but it's part of life. One situation involves a guy I have real difficulty with and he creates quite a challenge personality wise. He also knows my parents and is always asking questions about them. It is difficult but I have to try harder to accept him for who he is. He has always been very nice and the personality issue is one I have to get over...

But I've tried to be more understanding when dealing with people today and for the most part it's helped me work through those awkward and difficult discussions...still I am not very good about this sort of thing and it challenges me. I have to remember that he is doing this for me, I asked for guidance, etc so I have to accept that he may be different then I would like.

The rest of the week is full of the usual stuff then on the weekend we are having K-sue, Ian and his fiance Ellie here for a 4th of July visit. We haven't had a lot of company on the holidays in recent years so we are really looking forward to it. The island is already filling up...a lot of people that came on the weekend didn't leave. I love this time a year, it is one of the magical times on this island. Yea, they have corny traditions like the 4th of July Parade but I love that kind of thing. Plus it will be nice to have a full house for a few days...

So that is added motivation to feel better! Strangely, one of the things I've wondered about is if this "illness" might be related to the shots I'm getting. It really doesn't "feel" that way but I could be wrong about that. So if I don't feel a change for the better by tomorrow I am going to see the doc...I can't mess around with my health anymore....

So I think I'm going to try a little swim and see if that doesn't refresh me and make me feel better. I'm a little leery because I'm running a slight fever and the water is still on the cold side but I'll give it a try and see what happens...or maybe I'll take a splash in the WARMER shower instead!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Idiots on Golf-Carts

A really nice night, not much humidity, still warm and not too many Ham & Eggers here for the holiday week yet but give 'em time, give 'em time...they'll come crawling out of the woodwork like freakin' cockroaches. It's funny but the cops are cracking down on golf cart use on the roads so it will be interesting to see who win's that battle. Extreme wealth and lawlessness vs the LAW, it should be a riot to watch. Unless one of these little "angels" gets killed in the process...

That's what always bothers me about these young kids (some like 7 or 8 years old, tops!) driving golf carts everywhere is they really don't know how to actually drive. I've seen countless near miss accidents over recent years. Including an hour ago when my mum and I nearly got hit by a cart full of kids while we were out walking tonight.
When I was 12, a young kid of about 10 yrs old drove a mini-bike out of the woods down the road right into the side of a Camaro. He split his skull open on the door handle and we basically watched that kid die right down the road from where I'm sitting right now. Even though that was 37 years ago, I can still pick out the exact spot where he laid bleeding by the side of the road as my two Great-Aunts (Louise and Marion, who were nurses) tried to revive him. The boys father (who still lives here with his wife, I play golf with him sometimes) came roaring up in his station wagon, hysterical trying to take the boy to the hospital. I remember my dad and another guy putting his arm around him saying "John you have to wait for the ambulance" and he just broke down in tears. That memory is burned into my memory forever....
I guess that is why these parents who don't want to watch their kids, so they buy 10, 000 dollar golf carts with racing wheels to keep them occupied make me sick. I think it's a matter of time before we see another kid die on this island road. I just hope it's not this 4th of July!

Sick Still Beats Hungover!

This post more then likely won't make sense to most of the people who may try and read it simply because it will be hard to relate to this situation unless you've been there. So if your a practicing or recovering junkie/alcoholic, you'll "get" what I'm going to say, at least you probably will.

The last two days I have really been ill...almost flu-like symptoms, getting up vomiting in the early part of the day followed by nausea and low grade fever. I just feel lousy but not lousy enough to skip doing stuff around the house and outside (yard work) or going to church this morning. But even though I was getting on with my life I really felt and still feel poorly. What I find ironic about this and what other alkies should be able to relate to is this:
The way I feel right now, feverish, sick, nauseous, weak, chilled..etc. WAS my "normal" back during my drinking and drugging days. I'm not kidding, I felt like total crap every single a matter of fact a day like today would have been a GREAT day. Funny but I can hardly stand it right now! I've either gotten soft and wimpy or I am just use to being and feeling healthy theses days.

And the difference is just goes to show how resilient we humans can be and how we can and will compensate for anything. And adapt to our circumstance...of course the crazy thing about addiction (one of the many crazy things) is that I new darn well I felt lousy. And I knew why I felt that way, I was an addict and a drunk, that's why. And I definately hated feeling crappy all the time but not once did I ever think about quitting so I would feel better...not one single time that I can recall.

But I would go to great lengths (and expense) buying tons of V-8, Sports Drinks like Gator Ade and even going so far as buying big bottles of Pedialyte Oral Hydration for infants to hydrate and help with hang-overs. That's the stuff Pediatricians recommend for babies who vomit a lot and get de-hydrated. I would suck tons of that syrupy grape flavored crap down on many mornings to try and get myself right to work or just to drink again. I was a very sick man....
So today, feeling sick like I do really gets me down because I want to feel I normally do. It's a beautiful day and I'm stuck inside with a fever but I do feel quite grateful that I now have a life I usually enjoy living.

I haven't a clue if I just picked up a little bug or if this might possibly be another side-affect of the Testosterone shots I'm getting (My guess would be it's the shots)but I suppose I can deal with it today knowing it's just a little bump in the road, a day or two of feeling low, then it will get better. I just thank God that I no longer have to feel this way all the time...there was a time, not too many moons ago when this WAS the norm. I shudder when I think that some people are still living that nightmare every single day of their lives....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sick Of All The EYE (I)

I have been getting frustrated with myself because it seems like more often then not I am using the word I in the first sentence of each new post. It just seems too self oriented and I don't like it but then I go "DUH!" it's a freaking blog about my life so I guess there isn't much I am going to be able to do about it. I have to write about myself...that's what this is all about. But I find it interesting that it's starting to bother me a bit..

I think it is good I'm getting sick of writing about myself all the time and want to include other interests and subjects in my posts...If this blog is going to continue in anything close to it's originate form then I am going to have to get over my reluctance to write in the first person about little old me. I mean I still think this concept is relevant and there is still something to offer someone who is searching for info on recovery or trying to heal from sexual abuse, I think this is still a great and comfortable way to reach out to those folks.

Anyway, I had been thinking about that for a couple of days and wanted to share it here and otherwise get it off my chest. So that's that I guess and I'll close now...

An Unpleasant New Reality

Well I have said it before and I will say it again...I really do love a new adventure. I do and now I actually don't mind shaking up my routine and trying something different for a change. It keeps life interesting, I learn new's kind of fun really. But my new experience this morning was not an enjoyable one and frankly, I hope to never have to go through that again. What was this new experience I'm referring too? Well I'm glad you asked...

I had to vomit for the first time with the new valve in my stomach that is not supposed to let a person vomit anymore...That's right, I puked when I'm not supposed to be able to puke anymore. (I'll spare everyone pics on this post, you can thank me later!).

This was NOT fun and it really kind of started my day off on the wrong foot. First of all I just didn't sleep much and then at 3:30a or so I began to feel nauseous. Nausea is a side-effect of one of the medication's that I have taken for a long time so feeling a bit sick to my stomach...particularly in the morning is really nothing unusual. But periodically, I'll really not feel well and in the pre-surgery days I would usually take a sip or two of coffee, vomit all the coffee/water out of my stomach and I'd be good to go. It might happen once a month or so...I was beginning to think the surgery had taken that side-effect away...nope!

Anyway I had to get sick and I couldn't so I started gagging which made me feel even sicker so I started this weird sneezing/gagging/half vomiting thing that eventually got most of the liquid out but I never felt any relief like I used to. I've felt queasy all day and just not very good. I realize this sounds a bit daft but in the past I kinda liked being able to blow it out in 5 minutes and get on with my life...this was a rather rude awakening to a new morning reality for me, a true paradigm shift!

I suppose I can grumble but isn't going to matter in the long run...I just hope I can get used to it because it was unpleasant and it actually really hurt stomach, diaphragm and abdomen as well.

It's always something, isn't it? But the reality is that the surgery made a huge difference. I was a very sick fellow and getting that esophagus fixed, preventing the acid from my stomach from seeping into my lungs has made my life so much more enjoyable. I had been unhealthy and then downright ill for a long, long time and had come to just accept the way I felt. I will take a little unpleasantness in the morning once in awhile over that nightmare any time...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spoiled Little Brat!

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about a decision I had to make concerning my Wednesday nights and what study group I was going to attend. It was a difficult choice because I really enjoy both groups, the people and the material. I really didn't want to choose but there is no other alternative....I was torn up about making this decision enough that I was motivated to write about it here.

Well, today I was with some friends in recovery and one of them asked me about my big decision and I realized that I hadn't mentioned here on the SHOCK what I had decided to do. And I know every reader was just freaking twitchin' to know what I had going on with that. My life being so exciting and intense you know....
Actually I decided to....not decide, at least for another week. There is another week of journal work, a closing discussion group type thing so I'm going to attend that. Basically I bought myself another week to figure this out but honestly I am not doing myself any favors because this really kind of sucks having to make this choice, basically. Don't get me wrong, it's not often in life where you get to make choices where you can't lose either way. Both of these study groups are really great so I can't lose. But I'm selfish like and I want to go to both study groups, wah, wah, wah! I'm like Veruca Salt...she wants her bloody Oompa Loompa's now and I want to go to both study groups NOOOOOOWWWW!!!

OK, now that I revealed my true, whiny and ryhm's with "twitchy"...behavior I think I'm going to have to settle down a bit and follow my heart. It truly has been one of these things where I have made up my mind a couple of times, it was a done deal only to have something happen at the very last minute to change my mind.

But hey, at least I came clean and let everybody know what's going on. I don't want anyone losing any sleep over my decision..tee, hee...right! will work out just the way it works out...funny how that always happens, huh?!

Just Close Your Eyes...

Ever just close your eyes, sit back and listen for that familiar CRACK of a baseball striking a Baseball Bat? I didn't think so...but I have. It is funny but as I do so I begin to smell a ball park full of aroma unique to that place. Hot Dogs, Peanuts, Beer and fresh cut grass...brats, onions and peppers and cotton candy. Baseball Parks do have a unique smell and it isn't always pleasant...the venerable old parks: Fenway and Wrigley are now the only two left both smell of stale beer, hot dogs and urine yet somehow it isn't just is.
Crowsley Field

Other sporting venues used to bring the same type memories: Old Ohio Stadium before they modernized it was the same way as was that gorgeous old lady, Notre Dame Stadium and as I young boy even Ross-Ade Stadium (Purdue University) down the street from my grandparents house.

Two ball barks ago the Cincinnati reds played at Crowsley Field and that old place literally was in danger of falling down. It was my father's old stomping grounds, Cincinnati being right across the Ohio River from Dayton, Kentucky where he was born and grew up.
As I'm thinking about those places that are now gone forever...two more of my personal favorites were Tiger Stadium in Detroit and of course the grand Old gal of them all, the HOUSE That Ruth Built: Yankee Stadium. I still can't believe they tore it down. I understand why but it some ways that is just typical New York behavior: tear it down build it bigger and better. And hey, the old Yankee Stadium had issues but i really feel that it was salvageable and more importantly, worthy of being preserved. Tiger Stadium on the other hand was NOT savable in any realistic way. It truly was beginning to collapse and the Tigers organization does not have the financial resources that the Yankees do, namely their own TV Network.

Anyway, I haven't a clue why I got off on this ball park jag tonight other then I had just closed my eyes and was listening to the ball hit the bat, 1967 Reds vs the San Francisco Giants at Crowsley Field and I actually got to see Willie Mays play the very early version of the Big Red Machine. I owe my father a great deal, he did so many things for me while I was growing up. One of those was involving me in sports. I played sports from the moment I can remember. He also took me to ballgames...all sorts of games: Football, Hockey, Baseball, Soccer, name it. I remeber sitting in a hot August twilight as a really small boy at Butler raceway here in Southern Lower Michigan as they raced cars on the dirt. He had absolutely NO interest in stock car racing but he thought it would be cool for the two of us to we did.

I remember eating peanuts and watching him drink Weidaman Beer at Cincinnati Reds Games at Riverfront Stadium in the early 70's or watching 2 time Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin at Ohio Stadium in 1974. Basketball games at Ohio States old St John Arena and of Mackey Arena at Purdue which was on the same street as my grandparents house in W Lafayette IN.

I really believe that going to sporting events together saved our relationship after my teenage years. Throughout my teen years Dad and I never did see eye to eye and
we would really argue...sometimes it came to blows. We couldn't speak to each other without yelling. After my kids were born and I moved up to Michigan, we started to go to all Purdue Home Football Games together plus away games at Ohio Stadium (my folks still lived in Columbus at that time), Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame Stadium. Sports were a common love and we could co-exist in peace at those events...that eventually grew into the wonderful relationship we have today. So I guess that is why I have such fond memories of those places today....

No Sleep...Courtesy of Home Depot!

We have a house full o noise as the floor guys finish putting in the transitions that were part of a Home Depot FIASCO...meaning they screwed up multiple times. First they didn't order them at all, then they ordered the wrong stuff...frustrating right?! Well then they said they ordered the right parts but it was taking forever to come in. All this time we have wood floors only partially installed. Well it turns out they had the parts all along (at least for a week) they had come in to the attention of the manager and nobody told him..they stuck them in the warehouse in a back rack. The manager did run the parts out last night, finally! Some how I get the feeling that Home Despot er...Depot won't be getting any more business from my family.

So chaos reigns with power tools, burning wood smell...nothing like trying to catch a power nap in the middle of a construction zone. It isn't going to happen...I generally snag a bit of snooze time after being up for a few compensates a bit for being awake since 3:30a...well sort of zombie-like awake.

Alrighty then, the half awake whining session now I might as well get going. A last word here...I realize stuff happens and mistakes are made, that's life. But frankly the series of mis-communication and lack of knowledge here on the part of the local store in Coldwater got to be a little much. Having been in management in a factory myself for 25 years I know how this kind of thing can happen. If it were my charge I would make darn sure that lesson's were learned from this fiasco. Unfortunately I don't get the impression anything will be done now that they have the customer off their back. that's unfortunate because problems like this can be great learning and training opportunities.

And those in my opinion were the issues: lack of training for the initial sales person. She didn't know the product and what it required to complete the job. Communication was awful, way too much "assuming" that the other guy took care of it instead of making sure it was indeed taken care of. Lastly, to have the product in house for almost a week and nobody knew was totally uncalled for. Someone should be following up. If the customer has to call multiple times...well that's big trouble.

The people were friendly enough and they tried hard to fix the problem after the fact but honestly, by that time it is too late, friendly doesn't cut the here endeth the training lesson. Sorry to our regular readers for getting side tracked but needless to say I was kind of counting on a few winks this morning to supplement the sleep I missed out on last night. Suffice it to say, any subsequent posts might contain a bit of that bitchiness left over from this morning"s fiasco! So I apologize in advance, forgive me me...

Conflicting Conclusions Collide...Resulting in a SMILE!

Sometimes I really do have to just take a step back and laugh at how things in life tend to happen sometimes. After some thought it seems at one moment that all of this self evaluation I do leads me to believe that I am making admirable progress in my recovery (life). On the other hand the SAME self-evaluation, etc. can also lead me to believe that my life (recovery) is one, big complicated, irrevocable MESS.

It all depends on the day, time, etc. that I'm doing the evaluating. And I do find this humorous, in fact it would be down-right hilarious if in fact my conflicting conclusions didn't mess with my freaking head so much!!

That is so typical of my life...really it is probably just typically representative of life itself...nothing is ever just plain cut and dry. Predictably, I would prefer black and white conclusions yet in my life all I ever come up with are shades of grey...there are NO absolutes what-so-ever.

So that is how I started my day, late last night I was feeling pretty good about how things are progressing. There are challenges but I feel a bit more together emotionally as I work through them. Then I get going this morning and those very same conclusions, the exact same situation looks like the emotional version of climbing Mt Everest and K-2, one right after the other without supplemental oxygen.....simply impossible!

Could it be just a morning thing? Like I just woke up and things look less desirable until I get some coffee and get going? Not likely since I've been awake since 3:15a (over 3.5 hrs) and morning is truly my favorite time of day. If I ever experience time of day negative mood swings they typically occur for me in the late afternoon...but hey, anything is possible!

Again I think it's somewhat laughable that I can feel two completely opposite things basically at the same time yet that is how I have always reacted to stuff, particularly change. So I suppose I smile, accept that I CAN feel conflicted and that it probably is not a big deal at I'll just roll with it for now.

So that is what I'll do....and perhaps we can chat about it later as well....good bye!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Not CRAP!

Ever think about the people we love, those folks we care about and we miss terribly when they are gone? Often the old cliche holds true: We don't truly appreciate something until it is gone. Then the stark reality brought on by absence really drives the message home: We miss them, we need them, we love them.

K-Sue is my dearest friend and confidant, companion and go-to person...not just in a pinch but always. Her oldest child Kodee is in his second week of Boot Camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego (Camp Pendleton). She misses him dearly and it really has me thinking (once again) about relationships and love. And I mean basic, good old fashioned unconditional "love your neighbor" love as much as family or romantic love.

As I attempt to grow and become a more understanding person spiritually, I have come to realize that so much of what I would consider "good, caring, considerate care for others" or "being a good person" hinges on our ability to shed our selfish habits and love others unconditionally. There would have been a time, not so long ago that I would have thought what I just wrote there was a total load of CRAP. I would have considered it a joke, laughable and would have considered them the thoughts of some Birkenstock wearing "tree-hugger" who was weak physically and emotionally. As I got drunker and drunker I would have made more and more fun of anyone who would believe such gibberish...until I fell down and passed out, I guess the joke was on me!

Today, knowing what I do now I couldn't agree more. Ultimately it is LOVE and make no mistake of my meaning...I'm talking about the love that flows into us from God. That in my opinion is the only thing that can save us from ourselves. I know that it is true in my life, there is simply no doubt about that. So knowing that LOVE truly is the key that opens the door to a new way of living, it automatically brings me back around to a critical manifestation of HOW we humans love each other: our relationships.

In the past, I used people to fulfill my own needs...typically when it came time where I might have to sacrifice something of mine (time, money, work, a listening ear perhaps...) for someone else, I always had an excuse why I couldn't be there. I was not a dependable: friend, father, husband, co-worker, spouse, son, brother, golf name it. Why? Because I was focused solely on self...sure, I would do things when it was convenient for me to do so (and there was no real sacrifice required from me) then really mine that mediocre effort on my part to guilt that person into doing more stuff for me later, I was shameless in my expectations. I had no idea what a true relationship, whether it be a friendship, marriage, parent, brother, etc really was...

Today I am learning as I go. Once I sobered up I and began working at living a different kind of life, one that really evolved around service to others, my eyes began to open and I realized how incredible a true relationship based on unconditional love really was. This was not an easy or simple transformation for me. It was very natural for me to always check, with out even thinking what "my take" would be in any particular situation (or relationship). Basically what's in it for me?

But I found through experience that there great joy in loving others. It is NOT a is never a burden to reach out to others, it is a privilege. Just to be able to really care for someone today after years of only thinking about my self, to actually listen and feel what someone else feels, quite simply brings me closer to God. I just have no other way of saying it...that's the rub. It is a magical, incredible moment when giving begins to feel like receiving. The joy, the love, the trust one gets in return for helping others is absolutely the greatest gift I have ever received.

And I'm not kidding about feeling closer to my Creator. No I really do. But now that relationships...loving others unconditionally just because it is the right thing to do gives me a freedom from self that I cannot even begin to accurately describe. I'm afraid I'm starting to go around in circles a bit so I'll bring this post to a close.

But all oif those thoughts came to me this afternoon just because I thought of K-Sue missing her son Kodee so much. And then realizing that whatever pain relationships can bring us and they do cause pain at's entirely worth it as far as I'm concerned.