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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hang On Babe...



As lousy as I feel physically, I've decided to ignore the inconvenience of discomfort, pain and massive, periodic sweat episodes and head HOME (to Holland, MI) tomorrow morning for two full days of just "being there". I am hooking up with my long-time physician on Friday and will more then likely get a wee bit of shopping done, though the main reason I'm going is to enjoy myself. Staying at a favorite hotel with a great pool, 24/7 gourmet coffee and great location...I love it.


I suppose I'm just ready for something different in my life...I've definitely hit a wall and desire a change of scenery. It gets me wondering if I should relocate but I have so many good things going here that I wouldn't want to give up or change.


So i'm not sure if this is just one of those nights where it seems like a good idea to change but in reality everything is fine and I'm feeling a bit restless. It's hard to know....


I kind of worried myself into a rut the other day thinking about my back/nerve damage and disability in general. Should I go ahead and get the fusion surgery that gives me a slight chance at getting off medication but has some rather risky side effects. Plus there would be a HUGE out of pocket medical expense because my insurance would only cover approximately half of the bill.


I just don't know what to do anymore but that is what life is like for me at the moment...one major decision after another.


Anyway...i cannot do anything about most of that stuff tonight. But I can look forward to Holland tomorrow and seeing K-Sue so that's the focus tonight...

TRUTH Seeking Son Of A Gun...



There are times that writing posts for Shell Shock are a real struggle and a stretch...and just as often they'll flow effortlessly right out of this very deep place of mine and the feeling I get is so positive, so profound...that it is nearly euphoric and....addictive. Almost always though...there has been profound benefit in writing and discovering myself and what makes me..ME. 


Clearly...blogging provided the "missing link" for me toward gaining balance in my life. But more importantly...writing for me is definitely "TRUTH Seeking"...it helps me uncover bits and pieces..of ME. Often parts of me that I never knew were there or were significant.


I also believe that writing/blogging is definitely a safe guard for me against emotional over-load. I naturally now tend to use the blog to EMO-V or vent. I now believe that this regular "emotional vomiting" that I do here on the SHOCK has gone a long, long way in providing a safe place of sanctuary to get this crap out in the open and most importantly...OUT of ME!


Shell Shock Serenade has become for me, to quote my dear friend Carol...a "Safe Place To Fall". I realize it sounds utterly ridiculous to think that a public blog forum is a safe place to share the very deepest, darkest secrets of my SOUL but it has proven to be just THAT!  Ironic? Hell yea it is...but it is such an accepted and important part of my life now that it really doesn't seem odd to me at all to post these secrets here for EVERYONE on the freakin' planet to read if they so choose...it's strange.


I never expected to be a person who wrote much...perhaps a little poetry...a song lyric, an obituary but never anything like this. But I thank God it's worked out this way because I have a hard time picturing my life right now without the writing....


(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The "CADENCE" Of SOUL...


For the second time in a month I have the very same U2 song lyric stuck in my mind: "We see the sun go down in your eyes" from the song "One Tree Hill" which is an ode to a dead friend on Bono's...Greg Carroll. This song sends shivers right through me every time I hear it...


ONE TREE HILL
We turn away to face the cold, enduring chill
As the day begs the night for mercy love
The sun so bright it leaves no shadows
Only scars
Carved into stone
On the face of earth
The moon is up and over One Tree Hill
We see the sun go down in your eyes

You run like a river, on like a sea
You run like a river runs to the sea

And in the world a heart of darkness
A fire zone
Where poets speak their heart
Then bleed for it
Jara sang - his song a weapon
In the hands of one
though his blood still cries
From the ground

It runs like a river runs to the sea
It runs like a river to the sea

I don't believe in painted roses
Or bleeding hearts
While bullets rape the night of the merciful
I'll see you again
When the stars fall from the sky
And the moon has turned red
Over One Tree Hill

We run like a river
Runs to the sea
We run like a river to the sea
And when it's raining
Raining hard
That's when the rain will
Break the heart

Raining...raining in your heart
Raining into your heart
Raining...raining into your heart
Raining, raining...raining
Raining into your heart
Raining...
Raining your heart into the sea

Oh great ocean
Oh great sea
Run to the ocean
Run to the sea



By U2



I have always felt more "real"...more "alive" when I was sad...that's not speculation, it's FACT. That would explain my tendency toward art works by Van Gogh or Picasso or Impressionism as a whole, music by John Lennon or Jimi Hendrix..Curt Cobain. Death was never TABOO to me nor was it necessarily sad and certainly NOT bad. It just WAS...and IS. I feel more alive when I am in tune with my mortality...the fact that yep, I'm gonna die some day...OH, and that day could be TODAY!


Hence the recent FOCUS on salvation, redemption and eternal life as a FOLLOWER of GOD....


Intense songs or poems of reality really are what move me, more so then some game of "let's pretend all's well and look he other way"...Nope, that ain't my style.


Great War Poetry is also a huge influence on me because it captures the stark REALNESS, The SMELL and HARD REALITY of our daily existence at all times...One of my favorite works and I've reproduced it here on Shell Shock several times before is Wilford Owen's Spring Offensive about men about to go on an attack that more then likely they won't survive...yet they go anyway:


SPRING OFFENSIVE
Halted against the shade of a last hill,
They fed, and, lying easy, were at ease
And, finding comfortable chests and knees
Carelessly slept. But many there stood still
To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge,
Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world.

Marvelling they stood, and watched the long grass swirled
By the May breeze, murmurous with wasp and midge,
For though the summer oozed into their veins
Like the injected drug for their bones' pains,
Sharp on their souls hung the imminent line of grass,
Fearfully flashed the sky's mysterious glass.
Hour after hour they ponder the warm field —
And the far valley behind, where the buttercups
Had blessed with gold their slow boots coming up,
Where even the little brambles would not yield,
But clutched and clung to them like sorrowing hands;
They breathe like trees unstirred.
Till like a cold gust thrilled the little word
At which each body and its soul begird
And tighten them for battle. No alarms
Of bugles, no high flags, no clamorous haste —
Only a lift and flare of eyes that faced
The sun, like a friend with whom their love is done.
O larger shone that smile against the sun, —
Mightier than his whose bounty these have spurned.
So, soon they topped the hill, and raced together
Over an open stretch of herb and heather
Exposed. And instantly the whole sky burned
With fury against them; and soft sudden cups
Opened in thousands for their blood; and the green slopes
Chasmed and steepened sheer to infinite space.
Of them who running on that last high place
Leapt to swift unseen bullets, or went up
On the hot blast and fury of hell's upsurge,
Or plunged and fell away past this world's verge,
Some say God caught them even before they fell.
But what say such as from existence' brink
Ventured but drave too swift to sink.
The few who rushed in the body to enter hell,
And there out-fiending all its fiends and flames
With superhuman inhumanities,
Long-famous glories, immemorial shames —
And crawling slowly back, have by degrees
Regained cool peaceful air in wonder —
Why speak they not of comrades that went under?

By Wilford Owen





I have always seen life through a different "LENS" then anyone else...or so I think. That would explain my love for IMPRESSIONISM.


File:Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant, 1872.jpg
(Painting: Claude Monet)



Speaking of Impressionistic ART...in all honesty, that is how I actually physically see the world on a daily basis...my mind filters reality back to me that way. Oddly I think that is somehow connected to a new phenomenon I have been experiencing while doing the Bible Reading Ministry at local Nursing Homes and for shut-ins from our church.


While I am reading out loud, I have begun to notice that I detach from what I am actually doing (reading) and I can picture what I am reading about as if it is actually happening. For instance I can  picture Jesus walking down a crowded road near Galilee, desperate, excited crowds pressing in to be healed...his disciples getting frustrated as the crowds push in and are delaying their arrival to their destination. I can "see" everything, hear the sounds, SMELL it. Animals, donkeys, dogs and sheep moving down the road...children playing about as their parents strain to hear but a single word from the "TEACHER"...and all might be better.


I can "see" it as if it exists right in front of me and the more I read...the more the story takes on life, the words and sound become multi-dimensional and I begin to lock right into the rhythm, the very cadence of the writer...it is almost like an out-of-body-experience. And I might add...it's highly addictive...I LOVE the way that feels but can't always re-capture it every time I read out loud. I need to be careful with something so addictive or I'll end up wanting to read to people 24/7...haha!


These very thoughts, notions, ideas and thoughts I am expressing in this post, are the VERY SAME things I felt as a boy when I would later describe my feelings about them by saying that I always felt DIFFERENT from everybody else. I just KNEW that nobody else felt this stuff the same way that I did and I was afraid of admitting it publicly because I was afraid they would make fun of me or mock me for my being different...I didn't know if I was just a little more intense and "arty" then most people or if I was really screwed up, way different then the "norm" and something was really freaking wrong with me...and these same feelings have stayed with me all the way through my suicide attempt, healing and then getting/staying sober and finally my becoming a FOLLOWER of Jesus Christ. I know now I am just ME and that is great, it's who I am and nothing really else matters.


This has been a interesting blog post RIFF tonight, because I honestly didn't have ANY idea that this stuff was weighing heavily on my mind. But it has always been true that I have always been a "HEAVY PERSON" emotionally...not only letting myself feel my emotions but EMBRACING them to their fullest extent and I think that is what works the best for me...So in this post, we'll just let ME be ME and let it fly....


(Paintings By Vincent Van Gogh)

Aww Man...



Alrighty then..I think some of the fire has gone out of the message so I am going to give this another try...


I'm sure readers of The SHOCK have heard the old adage "when it rains it pours"....well the furnace here at the house died this morning just as the temps dropped into the 20's, we have a 30 mph wind gusts and are expecting 8" of snow tonight...YIPPEE! Actually we are looking at a Winter Storm Warning and 6-10" of snow so it looks like we are getting winter started off with a bang!


I'm always curious if the readers out there really get a feel for who I truly am just by reading the posts daily. I try to be honest and I don't put on an act or sugar-coat stuff but today's outburst was pretty darn representative of how I used to be most of the time: Yea, I was THAT angry, wired THAT tight and ready to explode at almost anytime. That was the NORM not the exception....


Just found out that the blower motor on the furnace is dead and it will be Thursday until they can replace it. GREAT...the one time in my life when I am not hot (typically I am always hot, wear shorts in winter but I have a fever so I'm freezing!).


Well before I piss and moan about this any more I think I'm going to just bag it and sign off....



Hitting The Freaking Wall...HEAD-FIRST!


Hold on babe...the TRAIN'S a coming and it ain't gonna be pretty.


OK, I've had about enough of this exhaustion sh*t to last  a f**king lifetime! I haven't a clue what kind of penance or whatever I'm supposed to be paying but enough already! I don't think I have ever felt so completely SPENT as I do right now...I mean I am literally pushing the borders of sanity and I still cannot sleep.


So called "sleep" experts will quickly remind you that "nobody ever died from lack of sleep". Yea?! Well I imagine a few asshole's like yourselves have been waxed by a few sleep-deprived crazy asses like myself after listening to your sanctimonious horseshit about not dying. So nobody has ever been exhausted and fell asleep at the wheel and died?! I beg to differ dumbshits....probably happens somewhere in the US at least ONCE every single day!


I know people are wondering where the gentle man of GOD has suddenly gone...sorry but he needs at least a little bit of sleep to be GENTLE!


Ach...I freaking hate this. The Doc wanted to do a "Sleep Study" and I'm wondering why because my problem is I cannot SLEEP at all! So we do it last night...45 freakin minutes of sleep then the lady at the office lectures me about this not being good enough for a sleep study. Don't know for sure but I think it's safe to assume she regrets saying that to me...


Please dear reader bear with me...I am releasing some of the extreme pressure building up in my head because I am so frustrated with my health right now. I try to let go and let GOD but as you can see....I am not having the greatest luck with that right now.



Failing The Test?

I'm taking a sleep test tonight...It's funny that I'm sitting here typing out a blog post instead of actually...ah, sleeping, isn't it? Rather ironic that I've managed a mere 20 minutes of sleep though I am in reality exhausted..

So I have a sneakin' suspicion that this sleep test tonight will prove less then helpful since I can't actually get to sleep...and frankly that is the issue right now anyway....I can't get to sleep or in the rare occupancy when I do, stay asleep.

Well it is almost 3a and I am going to take one more crack at sleeping so if you don't see me for awhile then I am probably having some success....

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Coming FURY





Ahhh yes, I am posting again...What the heck else do I have to do...I am dying (or so it feels). The old blood pressure/high fever thing has laid me out and I cannot do anything I'd like to do so I am trying to be a good sport (I am a lot of things in this life..a "good sport" is definitely NOT one of them, hahaha).


Winter is starting to settle in...the wind has picked up in velocity and I can really tell. The wind..gentle but a few short weeks ago clearly now has developed "BAD INTENT" so beware...one and all!


Wind and water is a nasty combination....the trees here on the island...once, just a short time ago...stood so majestically with their leaves now stand mute as singular bare sentinels...silent witnesses to the coming fury of wind and snow that we call WINTER. 


But at least it is somewhat expected...this furious onslaught of unpleasantness. It is at least no surprise...the arrival of this  Winter Wonderland with it's frigid aches and pains...the all time killer of mobility for old farts like me!


Oh MY...why do I wax poetic...why? No real reason I guess...other then I can and I feel inclined to do just that. So the first real BITE of winter wind descends tonight...and it reminds me that it is now time to hunker down 'til April...a truly northern thing. We'll become a society of cave dwellers...now only connected via social networking sites...they bring a new social dynamic to isolation.


It's become a desired social situation to be snowed in at home in a Blizzard...oh how times have changed!   


(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Where 'Ya From?!



I've given some thought occasionally about the weather, the region where I live and how that may have affected  my personality in any way. Obviously on the surface it's obvious that it's true that region and weather affect things like a persons personality, tendencies say to be out of doors, that kind of thing...It can even in a larger sense affect the culture of the people around them. This would be particularly true if you lived in an area populated by a large ethnic presence...say the Irish in Boston, New York or Chicago are good examples. 


But we see less and less of that "neighborhood" effect anymore here in America. I think we are grouped more by the region where we live.  I for example, have lived in the lower peninsula of Michigan since the early 1980's, spending the majority of that time in Holland, Michigan. Yes, a place that definitely had a strong ethnic influence...Hispanic! 


That's right, Holland had a definite Mexican feel to it even though you would obviously think it was the Dutch. When I first moved there it was a more noticeable Dutch influence but there was always a large population of migrants in the area that stayed after harvest because of the low cost of living, nice town, good schools. Every year after harvest more and more workers stayed and soon there was a large and vibrant Hispanic Community in Holland and it's stronger then ever today.


But even the Mexican population is more affected by what I have come to call the "Michigan Culture" then even they would imagine: Out doors oriented people, hunter/fishermen (sportsmen), winter sports, rural/country feel, blue collar yet educated, etc.  I would say that is mostly the type of cultural lifestyle that has rubbed off on me as well.


I was not raised that way back home in the suburbs of Columbus Ohio but I definitely have a farmer/hunter mentality now...I own firearms and know how to use them, I eat food I catch or kill....I think the emphasis in Michigan..indeed it's an American trait as well is on independence more then any other entity.


I have no clue where this post-riff idea came from today...it is not something that was on my mind or an issue in any way but it's relevant I guess to the kind of person I am. But I was a person who had moved here from another area and I stood out like a sore thumb...both ears pierced, long hair, a bit more liberal socially (though conservative fiscally, especially when I was wealthier with assets!) and I tended to flaunt the differences. 


Holland in particular was ultra-conservative and religious (we call West Michigan the northern Bible-Belt) and that gave me a ton of cannon fodder targets in the local hypocrite/religious nut population I so frequently ridiculed. And they were ripe in their hypocrisy...they were the classic "Sunday" Christians...then they drank, lied and cheated on each other's spouses every other day of the week. There was so much judgmental attitude and self righteousness behavior it would have been hard to actually believe it was true if I wasn't seeing it with my own eyes. I relished ripping these assholes to shreds...


A life long resident of Holland, K-Sue will attest to the truth of this portrayal here. She was raised in a Christian Reformed Household and it was incredible how much emphasis was put on LOOKING GOOD, looking like nothing is EVER wrong...even when there was a lot that was really wrong! They always acted pious even though they didn't practice what they preached...which was NEVER. It really damaged Kim, especially her self-image being brought up this way but hey...that is a whole freaking post all on it's own.


So that is why I frequently will mention here on Shell Shock how weird it is that I am now a Christian because my whole opinion of Christians was based on this stereotype and caricature...I couldn't have been more wrong about that!


I think this is an interesting topic with some more room to explore so perhaps we'll visit again some time...but for now, well it is time for supper.




All Sorts Of Oddball Crap...





I just got word from my Doc that I am to stay home, preferably in bed, take my BP Meds and try to get well or he is putting me in hospital..SOOOO, I guess I'll listen but I'm starting to get pissed off with this health thing. I'm frustrated and starting to feel a bit discouraged. Oh well...it's just another day on the planet and one must persevere.


I was thinking about some of the recent things I've posted here on Shell Shock and it struck me that I am in one of those ruts where the post titles are actually way better then the substance of the post. It is the nature of writing...sometimes you can kick out great posts...they just flow right out of you but then it's impossible to come up with a suitable title. 

This is just the opposite...the title's are interesting and thought provoking (I think so anyway) but the posts are weak and a bit forced...again in my opinion. I realize that I am never satisfied and this is just another example where that is true...of course it is my nature to always push to do better.


Another thing that I have noticed since I started writing Shell Shock Serenade...I tend to write better, more interesting posts when things are not going to well as opposed to times when life is really good. Pain obviously motivates me, it inspires me and brings out the passion in me more then satisfaction and happiness...though I am really starting to improve in that area. I really believe that I am just not used to feeling good very often and it will just take some time to get the hang of it...I'm getting there.


But isn't THAT a riot? I have to actually get used to life being good?! But it's really the case with me...I just have not experienced my happiness in the last decade of my life or so. It really shouldn't come as a surprise because people get conditioned to what they experience and adjust to it in their lives day to day. I am no different...and this situation is a perfect example of that.


So that is how my Monday is starting off...with a series of interesting questions. We'll visit some more of this type of question as we continue later on...


(Painting: Vincent Van Gogh)

Rendezvous With Father Time


Another early morning start that wasn't planned..it is just part of being me. I never really get used to the 1:30a wake ups but I do enjoy the quiet solitude that one gets from being alone at this hour to meditate and pray.


I find it fascinating that I can spend so much time alone now after hating myself so much. And quite honestly that wasn't all that long ago that I felt that way. I still remember it well...It was a terrible way to feel about one's self but that is the way it was. I also remember well the feeling of revulsion I had when I happened to see my own reflection in a mirror.


I'm not saying that has all gone away now because I do struggle with self-self esteem and self-image...I probably always will. But I am better then I was...I know now that I am not responsible for all the worlds problems and when I do make a mistake I realize I am not perfect nor do I have to be. I just have to be myself and do the best I can.


It has been during these periods of enforced, prolonged solitude that I really have grown closer to GOD and learned to trust HIM above all us. NOT an easy task for this control freak but one I am getting better and better at it.


Well I am going to close for now...I'm sure there are more posts in me and we'll save those for a later time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

SORROW-I'm Only Weeping



I just returned to the house after walking in the rain for the last half an hour....it was a rather hard and steady rain so I used my umbrella, which I adore. I know, it  probably sounds odd to "adore" one's umbrella but I do, we are very close, the two of us. Oddly, I'm not even British and I feel this way but there is something that has always endeared me to the functional tools of every day living like an umbrella, a good pair of sunglasses, a standard black wool over-coat and black leather dress gloves. 


God knows where I developed this heightened sense of appreciation for these everyday "tools" yet I have and they become even MORE important to me as I get older!


So I'm walking in a cold, steady rain...thinking of trying not to think about the pain that I am in but failing miserably of course. It is a part of my life, pain is and I shall never again know what it's like to be without it....but hey, there is no sense in feeling sorry for myself about it...such is my life. It tends to make me stronger and more sensitive to the suffering of others so I must look on it as a blessing...which it is.


It is one of those periods I experience in my life when I feel or start to feel detached or separated from other members of the human race. This includes, first and foremost those folks I am close to including in my life...K-Sue. It is as if the pain, the sorrow, the distraction of those things drives a real wedge between me and other living, breathing things. I have no clue how to make it go away...but it just does...eventually.


So tonight I hear the hard rain fall again in my thoughts and feel the wet, cold chill of separation of the soul from the thinking part of my being and I wonder once again: am I dying? Is this what dying feels like to DIE? Does it start with a "knowing" separation of the thinking from the feeling side of one's being? I suspect that it might...


Long time readers will know that I once felt I'd experienced that sensation for real and if pushed on the subject I would have to say today that I have seen nor heard nor felt ANYTHING that would make me change that opinion. I still am convinced I took three long hot days to die in the hot early summer sun, 1-3 July, 1916 near Beaumont-Hamel, France...Not sure why that notion has just popped into my post this evening but it is on my mind...honestly it is ALWAYS somewhere there on my mind. 


Anyway I am not currently in a very good place physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.....I am physically hurting a great deal, my blood pressure is high and I have very swollen feet and a fever. I am not my usually optimistic self this evening though I may be getting "dosed" by a certain familiar  BLACK DOG that takes great pleasure in my misery. Who knows...I didn't feel the Depression coming on but it certainly feels like that is what's happening to me right now,


I want to feel hopeful in the hands of GOD...I do, I really do but that isn't the way I am feeling at this moment but my nature tends to believe the dark side over the LIGHT. Oh my, oh my...


(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)

Power RIFFING, Sunday 3:34am



I am an emotional person and as a result I'm rarely reluctant to share my feelings with others, here on the SHOCK or in person...one on one. But sharing one on one certainly didn't  come naturally to me. It was something that I have been working on since I found sobriety in 2006.


So much of my recovery has depended on my ability to be honest with myself/others and to communicate effectively. And yea, that communication certainly included sharing my feeling with people when it mattered. My quality of life, obviously in regard to relationships but in general emotionally is better when I communicate effectively. There are less misunderstandings and even in disagreement with someone, I've found that there is more positive energy focused on finding a positive and satisfactory resolution then there was before. I definitely notice the difference communication makes.


I know this talk of honesty, communication and sharing one's feelings makes for boring blog post fodder yet it has changed the way I operate in my everyday life...and because of that there has been a profound difference in the quality of that life. I know that when I have made improvements to my own way of behaving, that it has seemed to have a broader impact on my day to day life then I would expect.


I know in my relationship with K-Sue for example, that communicating more openly and honestly has improved the overall quality of that relationship. But more importantly for me, it has helped promote more trust. Trust being an area where I still have some significant work to do, not just with Kimi but with all relationships. 


So I don't know where I get the notion at 3:45a to riff on communication, trust and sharing one's feelings but clearly it is something that is never far away from my thoughts. So as is my usual pattern...if I'm feeling IT, wherever I happen to be and whatever I happen to be doing I'll take it and run with it. This morning obviously no different. Until LATER>>>


(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Who Could Forgive This Despicable ME?



I never expected to "know" GOD...I figured if he did in fact exist..."knowing" HIM would be reserved for the very special or extremely devout....NOT some f**k up like me...


I didn't have a clue at that time how great our GOD is and what FORGIVENESS of my sins was all about...I understand it much, much better today.


The thing that is humbling and the hardest for me to forget is what kind of person I was just a short time ago. I was so selfish and self serving...never caring really for others, unless of course there was something in it for me.


I was completely untrustworthy...a liar to the very core of my being...I had to be, I couldn't very well let people know who I really was and what I was really like!


My entire life...for many, many years was completely and totally dedicated to finding THE state of TOTAL OBLIVION through drink and drug use basically for every waking moment of my existence. Nothing and I mean that, NOTHING else mattered in the end.


Who could forgive such a person? I certainly could NOT! I had come to completely HATE myself. I was disgusted by the very thought of me, myself and I. Yet I hadn't a clue as to how to change who I was...


Some of that began to change when I got sober. An event I attribute completely today to divine intervention. I should have died that day at my own hand yet somehow I survived. 


If it seems as if I am still a bit lost, in disbelief about this whole life change I have just experienced these last 5 plus years, well that is because I am stunned...I just can't believe this has happened to me. I have been SAVED when I most certainly had done NOTHING to deserve it...and I am so completely grateful to my CREATOR today for taking pity on this lost little boy and rescuing him...from HIMSELF.

How Did THAT Happen?!!


Here's a warning...thormoo's gonna talk about JESUS again so all you folks that hate God like I used to or are too intelligent to discuss such fairy-tale mumbo jumbo like I was or just don't care for it 'cause you got it figured out for yourself...again, just like I used too...can tune it all out. Perhaps there is some other reason...it's OK, it is a rather controversial subject and folks are going to have opinions about it.


As most readers know, I just became a Christian in January. Though I was raised in the Episcopal Church, I wasn't a practicing Christian as a  matter of fact I hated the very thought of him and hated freaking Christians  as well and what I thought was their phony sense of piety. I took issue with the notion that they could stand in judgment of me and others? How utterly ridiculous...


So how in the world does a person like me become a Christian. Fair enough...It's a good question. It had nothing to do with wanting to belong. I didn't feel left out and sought fellowship through belonging in a church. It certainly was not for a church membership or the "need" to belong to a church. No it was none of these. It is actually quite simple...


I was at the end of my rope. I wanted to die...I hated myself and saw NOTHING good at all in this world or in me. I sought a way out through suicide and failed. I threw myself on the mercy of GOD...and shockingly, he responded by giving me sobriety starting June 6, 2006 and one day at time I have been sober ever since.


After that I opened my mind then my heart toward GOD...I was just plain afraid about life and living...so I didn't know what else to do, I didn't trust it (Spirituality or faith) at all but slowly I continued to open myself up and I started to live for helping other people, focusing on being of service to whoever needed me.


Finally in January of this year it all made sense....I discovered a critical scripture passage for me in LUKE 9:23 to paraphrase it says: "For those who want to be disciples of Christ must deny themselves DAILY, pick up their Cross and Follow HIM"... Hearing that changed everything for me. I wanted redemption, I needed salvation...I was in desperate straights.. I have looked EVIL in the face in my lifetime...trust me I am NO stranger to EVIL...the Devil was a buddy of mine. I desperately wanted to be SAVED...I could not live like I had been living. That is why I did it.


Not for friends, not for a church, not to look good or be a big shot. NOPE..I became a Christian because I needed saving...and Jesus Christ SAVED ME by what he did on the CROSS. My life was won at the CROSS on Golgotha that day...no doubt about it.


I now believe in a GOD that so loves me that he took a part of himself...his DIVINE self in the form of his SON and had him pay the price for ALL MANKIND on the CROSS. That is what was done for me...I am SHATTERED by the recognition that JESUS did that for this pitiful human being.


So for me this was very serious, live saving shit...redemption and salvation. It was not a game or some show..no I knew I was damned...I knew it from a very early age and then...I didn't have to be damned anymore, I was saved.


And so I became a FOLLOWER of JESUS..he set the perfect example of how to live and on a day to day basis I struggle to live for him by serving others...not to "earn" anything...there is NOTHING to be earned. Jesus already saved us if we just accept it....


So that is the very short version of how I got to be a Christian...

Can't Be Trippin' Over ME!


Time to get crackin' as it were. I actually think I managed to get about 3-3.5 house of accumulated sleep tonight and even though that doesn't sound like a whole lot to most folks, I feel rejuvenated. Really...

One of my least favorite things to blog about is ME. Ironic eh, since Shell Shock Serenade is all about ME? Actually what I mean is I don't like writing posts that seem self-promoting, whiny or ego-building. I try and use the example of what happened and what IS happening in my life to illustrate to others the challenges and the possibilities of recovery  from addiction/alcoholism and healing from rape/sexual assault.

So writing over and over about my health seems to me a bit whiny and self serving though in reality I think it is more relevant to my life in recovery and in life then I realize or will let on.

So many of my medical issues are related to my recovery because they are a direct result of my active addiction. Same with the Black Dog (Depression) and other psychological issues...

But I will say that I am most certainly negatively affected by my health right now. Physically I am really unable to do maintain the physical lifestyle to remain at the level of health I need to stay active, healthy and fresh these days.

Last night I was concerned because I felt so poorly and I was afraid that would negatively impact my 9a Bible Reading Ministry I have on Saturday mornings at the Nursing Home. And though I am still struggling with high BP, my feet are swelling and I feel feverish/weak, I feel more rested and generally in better shape. I'm looking forward to seeing the "ladies" (most days the listeners at the nursing home are all the same 7-9 ladies) this morning and sharing the WORD.

I guess that is the main reason other then just being concerned about health in genera that this illness is really bothering me: I am afraid it will affect these amazing things I get to do each day while trying to helping others in the process. I've come so far, worked so hard and have truly been blessed by GOD...and now it seems like my freaking body is going to fail me and it will all be wasted.

I know I can't afford to think negatively like that and let this get me down. I will just have to keep plugging away and I do believe that good things will continue to happen. I'll be honest...I am beginning to wonder if I can continue to live  like I want to live...my physical condition is much worse then I ever realized and it frightens me. I need to be honest with myself that perhaps I did a great deal more damage to myself then I ever realized.

Well I need to hold my head up, keep my eyes on the prize and BELIEVE. Things have come this far...I truly believe they will follow if I let them....



A Few More Winks...

Hello there....once again I'm reporting from the middle of the freaking night, this sh*t is officially getting old now...and I am more then ready for a change back to normal please...thank you!


I have never had an hint of blood pressure trouble in my life so I will admit that this incident has my attention and yes I am a bit concerned. I certainly don't want to have any long term issues with this so I am trying to do what Dr C wants m to do...


So I am going to slide back into bed and see if I might be able to catch just  few winks..

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Really Nice Weekend



It is Friday evening here at the lake and the vibe 'round here is tired yet it 'tis a peaceful & satisfied type of tired..no real stress or tension...I feel very satisfied with our trip to Dayton, the visit to my sister's place and the whole day yesterday with family. Kim brought her 12 year daughter and that went well too...I have really enjoyed the holiday which is saying a HECK of a-lot for this guy who usually doesn't care for them AT ALL, TRUST ME!


The girls are making sugar cookies and I will say it does my heart good to see K-Sue have this kind of QT (Quality Time) with Mackaroo. So that's it, fire in the fire place, football games on with the sound turned down so we can read in peace. A wonderful setting, looking out at the last light aglow on the lake.


Tomorrow is the last major football Saturday of the year and my parents will be back from Dayton to watch the Purdue-IU football game. I read at the Nursing Home then take Kim and Mackey home...


So that's the mellow weekend we go going...catch up with 'ya-all later!

Another "QUICKY"

I have it in my mind that the regular reader to the SHOCK is probably enjoying the fact we are on the road for vacation because it keeps my posts shorter and I' less likely to get off on a tangent...of course, I think the best posts come from those "tangents" but hey...to each his own.


I'm am impatiently waiting for Kim to get Mackaroo up so we can hit the road. It is times like these...travel, etc that i wonder if i can ever be part of a "family style unit" again because I like traveling solo. I'm too impatient and really hate waiting...


OK well, we are off....more, later.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We Found Food!

Whoa...it was starting to feel  little sketchy here....Believe it or not, we were actually looking at starving on Thanksgiving Day. How ironic, eh?!

We had a wonderful visit to my sister's place here in Dayton (Centerville) Ohio. Kim, her daughter Mackenzie and I went back to the hotel and had an awesome swim. We needed a snack so then we.headed over to McDonald's for milkshakes and food except the freaking place was CLOSED! Every light in the joint was on and there were a steady stream of cars going through the drive-thru just like we did but only to discover that they were closed! Everything in the area was closed.except a sports bar named Frickers...it was a pretty popular place tonight! We were all wearin' slippers and sweats but hunger prevailed over dignity because.....now we are eating like pigs..er, kings!

Ass Crack 'O Dawn: Thanksgiving Day 2011



Am I thankful? I mean REALLY thankful for my life today? Or is it just something one must say on this national day of THANKSGIVING?  In all honesty, I'd have to say it's a little bit of both...and it would depend when you ask. But I believe I can honestly answer in the "affirm'...yes, I truly am thankful for the many blessings that I have in my life today.


It can be easier at times for us to look at the obstacles we face in our daily lives and begin to feel discouraged. As a matter of fact...I am struggling with that very scenario right NOW, as I sit here and write to you this morning. We feel what we feel and it can be easy to take our eyes off what is ultimately MOST important: GOD.


Typically when I drift off track these days...I very quickly end up right back to where I am muddling around in the mire of doubt, resentment, anger and even despair...It doesn't take much at all to lead me right back to feeling all those same negative feelings.


But the moment I realize what is happening I can change it. And that probably is the biggest difference in me today. It isn't that I have moments where I drift because I most CERTAINLY do and I suspect that in't going to change. The difference is that I recognize I am drifting MUCH faster these days and I will shift my gaze back to HIM. And it really makes a difference.


It is a little after 4a this Thanksgiving morning, 2011 and I have been up since 2:10a. In another hour or so I'll get the ladies up and we will begin our journey south. I am still less then thrilled about these big traditional family get together's but I want to do it and make the best of it. It is a much better alternative for Kimi and M so that indeed gives me even more motivation to carry on with this visit.


So if you are traveling today..Be Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The VISIT

Tomorrow morning Kim, her daughter M and I are going to my sister's place south of Dayton, Ohio in Centerville for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to it though family get together's were NOT my cup of tea. I couldn't stand going to them and honestly I still am a bit weirded out by them but I'm trying. 


They seem forced and often are awkward and uncomfortable experiences. I'll do my best to enjoy myself and relax. I'm sure we'll have a good time and I am pleased that Kim and M are coming, not just for my sake but to get out of Kim's screwed up family situation. Here, Kim is wanted and people really care for her...unlike the sick and twisted situation she has in her family. All we can do is pray for those folks but I'll admit it....it's hard. I really don't want God to have mercy on her sister...no I would rather she just SUFFER. But...I cannot give in to the hatred and I turn it over to HIM.   


So we are off tomorrow and I'll check in from Ohio and let you all in on the exciting and FILLING details of our Thanksgiving Celebration....

It Spilleth Over...

Iguassu Falls waterfalls brazil
This has been an extremely emotional week for me...which is really saying something because I would be the first person to admit that I am naturally a very emotionally charged and motivated person. I have...for a variety of reasons just always felt things very intensely.


It started Monday evening at the jail...After being reminded that life is way too short by the very recent death of an former inmate who had just been released mere days before she died in an alcohol related traffic accident. The driver of the car barely survived and has a traumatic closed head injury...she will more then likely never fully recover. The inmates were on edge, emotional and it seemed as if something really Bad...or Good was going to happen. It was an amazingly positive, emotional service..one that I will never forget.


The subject of addiction and death will get my blood "up" every single time. This disease of Alcoholism/Addiction wants nothing more then to see all people who are alcoholic/addicts die as a result of their disease. Of this...I have No doubt what so ever. I hate this fucking disease with a passion that borders on Biblical proportion because I see first hand, every single day how it destroys lives and entire families...with nary a blink of an eye.


It gets easier as my time in recovery grows to forget that the bottom line here is that addicts DIE and at an alarming rate. If their disease is not treated daily by abstinence and in my experience a related spirituality based daily treatment plan...such as the 12 Steps of AA or other similar type structured support groups...then the odds of jail, institutions and death are basically 100%. Recovery or death are basically our only true options.....


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and though I suppose I will post something specific to that day I want to take a second here give thanks for the many blessings I have been given this year...it has been a very special year for me because after spending most of my life in a dark and vast Spiritual Wasteland, I finally surrendered my life to GOD and now FOLLOW him. My life today couldn't be more different today...


So I will warn readers about a couple of things you should know about me particularly around HOLIDAYS.


I am intense and emotional so I would expect a slew of hard hitting posts in the next several days, even though I will be traveling a bit. I am feeling a great deal of passionate gratitude about my life right now and since writing and in particular writing here on the SHOCK is the main way I express myself these days...


So Hold on as we wind down the short week. Travel safely if you are hitting the road today and we will see you back here a little later...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Empty Vessel...Am I


There is no gentleness to my glance...I lack a certain softness to my tone...there is no tenderness to my touch. A mechanical pretender....am I.


At the age of 12 I had whatever natural tenderness I possessed raped and beaten right out of me. And I will attest to the fact that it doesn't just "grow back". So in regards to tenderness, sensitive caring touches and the like, I found myself but an empty vessel. Over the years I filled that void with all sorts of "goodies" that I could manufacture for myself as a direct result of life's circumstances: Anger, Hate, Fear, Resentment...just to name a few. 


I lugged those bastard, rogue emotions around with me for 30 odd years and in the process they slowly but surely siphoned off bits and pieces of my SOUL. I was the disappearing MAN...and right before your eyes...and mine too!


So much of my day to day life these days is to search and seek for those missing pieces of my soul. It of course is a SPIRITUAL Journey and ultimately it is ultimately to touch the FACE of GOD that I seek. Though I still hurt and the depth of that hurt is impossible to accurately explain...so I have a long way to go, though I know that HE will indeed be there waiting for me when I arrive.


For many years I grieved for those lost feelings such a tenderness, gentleness...always accepting the fact that I would always be ultimately...even in recovery...that EMPTY vessel.


But in late January of this year something profound happened...I met Jesus on my own personal road to Damascus...once blind, now I SEE! And I...the beaten and raped ONE, now have become HIS...and whole again.


Lately...I've noticed a new sensitivity toward others and I'm not exactly sure where it came from...It 'tis a combination of love and gentle caress...and at the same time I no longer cling to the bitter feelings of resentment and hate that marked so much of my previous everyday feeling toward others and toward life itself. No...Those feelings, along with the aching void they once inhabited have been replaced with a new found ability to feel for others...this new emotion, one that I am only vaguely familiar with is...TENDERNESS.

The Odds Pretty Much Suck...



I realize this is going to come across to most folks as a very simplistic statement, bordering on stating the obvious even...But making a major change in a person's life, one who is currently under duress (IE: The shit has hit the fan, things are really not good...negative circumstances have already begun to occur and this person is up to their neck in trouble) is one of the most difficult things a person can do. And more often then not, when we are talking about the subject of Alcoholism/Addiction...the success and follow through rate of that particular changes is somewhere UNDER 10%. Yea...these odds really blow, eh!??


And it always is a situation where we wait until we are in deep do-do before we take action...most people will not come to the LORD unless lead there...and usually, in my experience anyway...trouble is usually leading the way!


Why is it so difficult to change? Well often those changes have physical or medical ramifications....like giving up DRINK and getting sober for example. A person suffering from alcoholism has an addictive disease....the solution/treatment is SIMPLE but far from easy. In other words the treatment is abstinence: "Just don't drink"...that's simple enough isn't it? Just trying doing it for a prolonged period of time. The reality of recovery involves not just abstinence but changing behaviors that lead us to drink...and that's when it gets tough!


Over-eating/overcoming obesity with a changed lifestyle of exercise and diet is similar...learning to live with Depression, surviving sexual abuse or rape, just coping with life's various curve-balls and adversities...none of this is easy to accomplish while trying to live your life at the same time. Life doesn't shut down for us so we can make changes just because we screwed up and have to get our shit together. No...more often then not...the situation is even more chaotic and complex BECAUSE we have messed things up to the point of NO RETURN.


One of the questions....er, even criticism's I've received is that after more then 5 years of sobriety...why am I still talking about this stuff...should it be done by now? People...I'm told are tired of me talking about it all the time and bothered by the subject matter. Especially in my case because by dealing with the initial most urgent issue of addiction...I discovered that there were a myriad of other issues eating away at my very soul...rape being the most corrosive and damaging.


I believe this is the reason we deal...that I have had to continue to deal with change of this magnitude over DECADES...especially if you were out there living this for 30 years like I was...it is going to take a really long time...a lifetime, I believe.


I also believe that is why it is so critical to involve others, take advantage of any resources available for whatever issue you may be dealing with...like support groups for example.  I never recommend trying to "fix" this kind of stuff on your own...I know that is a motivating factor in why I write this particular blog is to enlighten folks on the issues of making changes and sticking with them. It also helps me, strengthens me and my resolve and gives me motivation and yea, the  faith to reach out and share my story with others. 


I realize there may be more then a little defensiveness in my response here about change but I really believe that is hy the success rate is so low...people get discouraged because it is taking TOO long to get better...But I am convinced with the proper information, communication and support...more people can find their way through to TRUE FREEDOM in their lives, One Day At A Time.


(Painting: Claude Monet)