Cool Stuff

Monday, April 30, 2012


I am a lot of things but naive isn't one of them. Self-delusional isn't one of them either...I am facing e few TRUTHS tonight that I fear are undeniably FACT in my case.

I honestly am really struggling this evening because I am beginning to think and feel that perhaps I  would be wise to avoid all romantic relationships now and in the future. I do not think that I am built for them and they never end well. 

I am really struggling with trust...not trust in terms of being faithful or fearing unfaithfulness but because I cannot accept being mislead, deceived or lied to...whatever the reason. I do not deal well when people are not honest with is a show stopper, period. No matter how hard I try and I cannot seem to succeed.

I don't feel lost or angry or lonely or anything just different then everyone else. I just feel like I cannot deal with this continuing is not healthy for me or anybody else.

Perhaps the time has now come to consider going at things differently....I know this post will kick off a fire storm but I am hurting tonight and there is much I can do about it.

No Control...

I will say that most of the time I am pretty good about dealing with unpleasant things that happened in my past but there are occasions when stuff will come up unexpectedly and catch me by surprise.

A couple of people that I am very close to are upset about some things that are bothering them from a long time ago and they want to try and rectify the situation. It is stuff that has happened to me that they are upset about but I really don't want to be fact I have refused to even discuss this subject with either one of them. It just upsets me more and IT is something that I have learned to let go of because there is nothing that can be done about it

But in spite of my wishes they have informed me today that they have gone ahead and gotten involved even though I asked them a long time ago to not to do so. It is very upsetting and just brings back a whole bunch of bad memories and hurt feelings...I know they care about me and think that they are protecting me but I wish they had just stayed out of it because it will only make things worse. And I dread what may happen next...

And I guess the point is there are elements of this life that we have no control over...and what other folks do or say is definitely one of those things. Now I am feeling all turned around again and it pisses me off because I really do not want to think about this stuff anymore.......but guess what? Here I am stuck in the middle all over again

Sunday, April 29, 2012

NIGHT Fall On The Island

Nightfall...still an odd and somewhat interesting time of the day for me. It is often a trigger that makes me think of the partying days, spending time up north or over at my good friend's place in New Richmond, MI. I have always had an certain kind of affair with the night...with darkness specifically and I am certain think that is NO coincidence.    

I know that during my days of active addiction I just always felt like I was hiding something, I felt like a phony even when didn't have anything to hide and night-time was just the natural choice because I didn't feel so noticeable...I wasn't really a "night person", actually I am a morning person and always was...nobody is around to notice you early in the morning either so I comfortable then as well.

Now that I've found myself struggling to sleep as of late, I have come to appreciate and despise the night in equal parts! I take advantage of the time to read, to write here on the blog and so forth...but obviously that only goes so far and a person needs to sleep!

Well we shall see because I am very near to turning in for the night right now. I think I am going for a short walk...then stretch out and try to sleep. I definitely miss having Kim around for these short, impromptu walks in the evening but her situation is so good right now that I cannot complain. And realistically she needs the rest because of her work. Our time will come! Good Night every one....                                                                                                               

The Promise...Of A Nice Warm Week.

When you live in the North Country, you figure out pretty quickly that Winter can last between December and March...or more likely between late October and early May.  It is definitely the later here in Michigan though this winter and spring have been remarkably warm and nice.

The problem was we've had the better part of two weeks of 70-80 degree days in March and early April. Everyone thought summer was and dock got put in, lawns are being mowed a full 6 weeks before normal, the golf courses were hopping, etc..etc.

Then it became more seasonal...not really bad but lows in the 30's and highs in the 50's with some wind...well, actually a lot of freaking wind!. But even though it got chilly and windy we still  really didn't get the usual rain fall.

Now it is slowly warming up and this week we have some 70's, even some 80 degree temps promised so I think we are swinging back toward sustained warmth again. My buddy Marty who runs the Iyopawa Island Golf Course here where I live, will be a very happy man!

So I'm gonna venture out on this 59 degree day and at least get some golf in if's pretty crowded and with my disability affecting me I usually play only when it's slow, so we shall see...

My Perception Shifts On Sunday, Sunday!

Sunday used to be the worst day, by far... of my week. I worked in production and Production Management at Herman Miller Furniture Co. in Zeeland, MI for nearly 24 years, the last 6 in management on 3rd shift. I absolutely despised the shift, I never could really sleep and Sunday was a day where you basically woke up in the morning and waited around all day to go into work at 7, 9 or 11p, whenever we were starting.

It was the absolute worst decision that I made my entire career, to take a third shift management position but I was told it would be for a year. But the economy went soft, then the bottom fell out and I was just fortunate enough to hang on as over 50% of my peers were was an employment bloodbath and a very scary time when you had two children, both making decisions about college and approaching their High School Graduation.

The shift, by it's very nature was de-humanizing & isolating, which was really the worst thing possible for someone working 60 plus hours a week and a functional (but quickly deteriorating) alcoholic/addict. And I basically received little to no support or understanding from my wife at the time. I can now see that she clearly wanted out of the marriage but I was clueless about it any of that then. I was overwhelmed with working long hours and raising two kids from a previous marriage. I wasn't paying attention and should have been...Ultimately she used my isolation, my own obsession with alcohol and my being out of touch most evenings to deceive me and covertly go to counseling, initiate a divorce and buy a home before I really even knew what happened. I was told we were getting a divorce and that was final, I was not given a choice and I was devastated. 

The worst humiliation was talking her into going to a counseling session but again she refused to even consider working on saving the marriage...I felt like a piece of trash, one of the worst feelings I've ever had in my entire life. Today I not only am not bitter about that (But I sure was at the time) but I am happy it occurred, because looking back in hindsight it is obvious that the marriage really didn't exist and there was never any hope that it could be saved. Still,Sundays tend to trigger the memory of the "bad stuff.

Today...Sunday once again is an enjoyable day, peaceful and usually reserved for quality time with K and family. It's always a busy day around here in the summer so it would really suck if I had to go to work in the evening like I used to while everyone golfed, drank/partied their way through Sunday afternoon while I would be forced to try and get some sleep, more often then not...failing.

I even start of my Sundays by going to early church at 8:30a, which I never would have dreamed of in the past. ironic, eh? Speaking of guessed it, gotta get going so we'll catch up with you later, my dear readers...if I'm not too busy enjoying myself!

(PHOTO: K. Tomson)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Quickie...Post, That Is.

Saturday morning again, another visit to THE LADIES at The ' in Masonville House (Assisted Living) where they live. As sore, tired, un-enthused, lethargic and ill as I happen to feel at the moment yet I am actually STOKED to be going to visit the GALS at the HOUSE. It is not a cliche, or mumbo-jumbo...the real rewards in this life most often often given to the GIVER, not the TAKER.

When I first heard the Recovery Philosophy that for one to keep what they had (sobriety, a new life, happiness, etc) they had to give it away (IE: share yourself and your gifts with others) I thought it was absolute nonsense. I couldn't have been more wrong. It absolutely is the truth.  Of course there bare exceptions but overall I will mostly find that when I choose to do something for someone strings attached, I tend to benefit the most in the long run. 

Plus...let's face it FEELS GOOD, it just DOES! See 'Ya Later...

(Photo: KT)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Daily Blog Fodder

I don't actually know how long it's actually been but I have posted at least once a day on Shell Shock Serenade for a year and a half, perhaps two years or more with out missing even one single day. Now it's an obsession to post. But it's more then that really...I feel that if I am committed to doing a blog, in real time about the EVERY DAY LIFE (There's the key, folks) then I need to represent at least once every 24 hours.  And typically I'll post more then once a day anyway.

And I will be honest here...though I'll admit I have FORCED a post or two once in awhile to meet that commitment...most of the time I have something really legitimate I want to write about. And that is the part of all of this that truly surprises me..because I never thought that my particularly boring life (these days anyway) would be interesting enough to provide fodder for a daily, public journal...yet it does. Of course I am sure some find it absolutely a bore...but hey, to each his own.

We (K and I) are dealing with another issue with her car. Yes it's a Toyota and they have an excellent reputation for quality but this baby has nearly 250, 000 miles on it and certain things like the radiator and front brake shoes are going to wear out in that it's 16 years old. Such is the way it goes in life.

I am going to take advantage of a sunny yet cool afternoon and hit that little white ball around for awhile. We shall write to y'all...LATER!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Well Being is a Human Being

I have been posting about physical pain and having to learn how to  live my life while dealing with it on a daily basis. It is just like anything else adapt to the circumstance as best you can. For me the saving grace is being able to modify my my physical body position and get horizontal at any time almost in an instant.

My disability and pain is such that I can do certain activities, like walk or play some golf sometimes but the issue is how my body reacts and what I have to do to re-claim my mobility...At times it is impossible to know how how long I can be on my feet or when I lose all ability to function at all. Other times I can be active but for only short spurts and then have so much pain that I cannot sleep much at all for a week.

The key really is to live life to the best of my ability and do my best to do what I want to do. You just have to accept the consequences and do the things you have to recover and stay as healthy and well as possible.

That not only means physically but emotionally, psychologically and most importantly...spiritually. That is what overall wellness is really all about. 

The picture above is of my oldest Grand Child, my Grandson Mason. Talk about an incentive for living well. I used to literally not care what happened to me and I accepted things in almost a nonchalant way because I expected to get hurt, to hurt myself in the process or not live to see was a fatalistic outlook for sure.   

When I think about my (2) Grandson's, how much I love them and enjoy seeing them and my whole just plain feels good. Life is good and as good as I can make it...that is a challenge I enjoy rising too each and every day.                                              

It Isn't...OK, OK?

Maybe I would have been better off had my head actually just gone ahead and exploded like I wrote about in a post yesterday

Today...well saying that things are just slightly "outta balance" in my world today would be a huge understatement. I don't like to talk about this or write about it but I am really struggling with physical pain.

I can't even come close to describing the pain that I am in and how you can start to feel like you will NEVER get relief from it. People will look at me and since I don't exaggerate or try and ham it up, they cannot have a clue how much I hurt and how limited I truly am physically. 

I hate living this way and I just mentioned to K in a text that feeling this much pain really causes me to start thinking crazy sh*t. It always kicks in my old thought process of wanting to self-medicate which I have not given in to but it bothers me.

I'll have more on this subject this afternoon....

(PHOTO: American Battle Monuments Commission)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Head HURTS...

Skull shot through glass.

Nikon D3,45 mm
Copyright Nikki Sixx
Photo Copy Right: Nikki Sixx

There are times when the inside of my head feels like it is going to explode. KAPLOOEY in one big sticky, bloody mess...Then there are other moments, equally disturbing where there is so much pressure...physical, emotional, psychological built up inside that it feels as if whatever inhabits that region (my brain, perhaps) is slowing being pushed by the pressure through any possible escape route and it is seeping through all those various little portals, cracks and crannies...only to find it's way eventually to the floor. Nice thought image, eh?!

And then I think...why did I just write that...I  must be out of my mind or full of crap or something and could care less about my brain or any potential "seepage". But on the other head indeed hurts so perhaps there is cause for alarm, tee hee. To quote Alice Cooper of all people: "Welcome To My Nightmare"...such is my life these days...
Actually the headache is but a figment of my vivid yet restless imagination but was it truly that I have a fully occupied brain today and when I get that way I think there is a bit of short circuiting that takes place. In other words I've had a lot on my mind today and instead of taking  the time for meditation and prayer as I typically do...I blew it off and figured I could handle it.

And what do I get as a result of that behavior?  Well...I feel out of balance and really, I am not kidding...out of sync with the world around me and with myself. All that because I tried to rest control of my life and it's worries from a CREATOR who was and is more then willing to handle that crap for me today or any other day. Why I must always persist on repeating past mistakes when I know the outcome of that behavior...well, I'll never learn I suppose. Maybe it's habit...actually I do think habit has something to do with it but I suspect there is a part of me that is lazy and doesn't want to take the time or make the effort to meditate. 

Which is ridiculous because I always feel refreshed and glad I did it when i do take the time to pray and meditate. I need to to take heed of that lesson I believe...                                    

No Wind & The Cost Of Suffering

It actually is not windy this morning...after 4 consecutive days of high wind it is actually calm and serene out there. Naturally that gets the wheels turning and has me thinking about trying to play and little CG (Crippled Golf). I don't has really been a difficult couple of weeks from a physical standpoint. 

That is the most common pattern with me...I'll get a stretch where the back is almost tolerable but my feet and legs are shot. Then they (my legs) will respond and rebound a bit and my back really takes a nose-dive. Pain is an everyday reality and it is the learning to live in spite of it that is the key to having a fairly active life. But there always is a trade off....a price to pay for everything I get. 

If i am active...i will suffer for it later...that is a fact of life. And the severity of the suffering often seems out of sync with the actual activity I participated in to create the pain. It never seems to make sense and I can honestly see how people who suffer from severe chronic pain get to the place where suicide seems like the best or only alternative. Pain will mess with your will control you.

Well i need to at least try and walk today for a little while...see if I can loosen up sufficiently...   

More later...                 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When Foolish, Nonsense Rules The Day!

November and the Election is a long way off and I already want to puke after continually reading and hearing the awful rhetoric, distortions and judgmental name calling/finger-pointing that is going on. And I am not talking about the politicians, TV pundits or anyone else famous. Nope I am talking about the so-called self-appointed experts on Face-Book and around town...many of whom I accepted as friends.

I have always voted for the best candidate and am not and have never been a member or believer in either party. Yes I realize there is more then two party's but let's get realistic...those are the only two that are least for now. But I respect people and their right to choose....that is why we are called "free" when we enjoy "freedom"..we have the right to choose our leaders. I may not agree with you...I may debate the different candidates but I will not call anyone stupid or a fool for watching a certain news channel or having your own beliefs.

There is so much ugliness to this campaign stuff that it is sick. There is a gentleman on FaceBook who I used to respect who persists in calling everyone who happens to think differently then he does's disturbing, complete nonsense and insulting. I have no respect for anyone who behaves that way and I certainly have no respect for him or anyone else like him. Does he actually believe that belittling people will get them to agree with him?! In fact I think he's lost his mind the way he rails on, foaming at the, keyboard as it were. This is a grown adult (supposedly), a retired professional absolutely blows my mind.

It's incredible to read his accusations of how intolerant everyone is who is Republican or watches Fox News yet he comes out calling everyone a stupid-idiot who disagrees with him. At first I thought it was a joke, that he was kidding and acting this way on purpose to make a point. Nope...unfortunately it isn't a's all to real.

I get discouraged when I see what politics are like today. How people blindly follow Ideology instead of doing the work themselves to figure out for themselves who should be the next president. Peoples reliance on the Media to do their thinking for them is nothing short of frightening. It scares me to no end...

Mr Twitchy, Tonight...

I have been feeling rebellious lately. On the surface someone might read that and chuckle thinking "we all feel rebellious once in awhile". And a lot of folks will "let their hair down" occasionally too. That isn't what I am talking about at all. As a matter of fact my choice of words are  really describing what I am really feeling here. "Twitchy", "Dangerously Restless" or "playing w/Fire" may indeed all be a little closer to the truth...

Once in awhile I'll almost get a death wish and want to do IT all over again...if you know what I mean. Yes...there are times I miss the old life style and yet the mere mention of that thought is nothing short of totally insane. That is why in recovery circles they talk about the insanity of our disease...

But the first few times that I felt this way after I got clean, it really messed me up because I thought I was really going to go through with it.The truth is I never even got close to relapsing but the feelings and the compulsion to use were very, very real and they frightened the hell out of me.

Today I fully realize that feeling this way comes with the territory...Let's face it, it is what us junkies do...we think about partying all the time. NOT TO...wouldn't be NORMAL.  The main thing is to recognize it for what it is...a passing fancy. So it's important to not get wigged out about it and it will pass...and it always does. 

I typically follow that up by taking a close look at what's going on in my life...usually something is a bit out of kilter spiritually. More often then not the cause is spiritual because I get away from prayer and meditation and then I start to believe I am actually in control....ah, WRONG! 

The truth is left to my own devices I CAN and WILL  screw up a Wet Dream...SO I  have to turn that stuff over to the CREATOR and have faith that this is what has kept me clean and sober for so long. And I scurry back to practicing my recovery program the way I should.

I am certain that today's little Emotional Adventure will be no different...

Nostalgia Falls Like Rain

I am still feeling the lingering effects of nostalgia for the old cottage that prompted my late post yesterday here on THE SHOCK. And that is perfectly acceptable to me....I like thinking about that time and place, I will always cherish those memories and have no regrets. I think how fortunate I was to grow up spending the majority of my summer's here and that was also time spent with my Grandmother. She was one of the most influential people in my life and I really benefited from spending my summers here as a young teenager. Often it was just her and I here during the week....that time talking together was just priceless.

She very much encouraged my love of history, literature and the arts in general. And though she was very much a product of the Victorian Era...I think deep down she really liked the fact that I chose to be different then most people and didn't hide my uniqueness. She often commented to me about such things.

One last memory here before I have to leave for town. My Grandmother used to love the fact that I would always ask her to recite poetry before dinner. It would generally be some old classic by Tennyson or Rudyard Kipling.."IF" being one of her and my favorites. It still is my one of my favorite poems...

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son! 

(Photo of Rudyard Kipling)

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Grandma, Pancakes, A Life-Time Ago and Bluegill

There is definitely time in life for restraint and I am doing my best to exercise some of it when it comes to the subject of a certain custody situation and a certain family.I know I am being vague...I have to be. This situation is screwed up enough with out me doing or saying something that could end up making it worse for someone I care a lot about. Want to read between the lines...go ahead, this is all I can really say about it and THEM. Oh other then to admit that in my weaker, less Jesus inspired moments I really wish they'd all rot in Hell. 

Now that those ugly feelings are out of the way I can think about more pleasant sunsets at night being a sailor's delight and the like. That saying always reminds me of my grandmother because without fail, she would repeat it at every red sky night we ever had here at the Coldwater Lake because she simply loved the notion that one or more of her grandsons would get up before dawn and catch a mess of bluegill, rock-bass, perch and crappie for breakfast. Yep...That is a Davis family tradition that still very much has stood the test of time: Pancakes and fish, Eggs and fish...all with potatoes and fresh fruit. Breakfast was a work of art back in the days of our old cottage. Often we would have people drop in for breakfast. In the summer breakfast and lunch were often breakfast was served late. 

Not sure why I happened to recall that tonight but what the heck...there it is. A bunch of wonderful memories...a cottage full of kids and adults acting like little kids (the beer drinking men water skiing and shooting off mega fireworks. 
At least for me                                                                                                                                                any way...that is still a cherished memory and that place will always be my favorite place in the whole world...even though it is now physically gone. Funny but where I am actually sitting right now would have been just outside of the north corner of the front (lakeside) porch (right where we are standing in the picture of my family circa 1987, above). Often I forget that the cottage was RIGHT HERE where I am, where I live...right now. It seems like another lifetime ago...and in many ways that is exactly what it was. Exactly....

[By the way...the pic above is my Mum/Dad, my sister Elizabeth, her husband Dave and their first daughter Angie, my two kids Chelsea/Ian and yours truly with the most awesome mullet you'll ever see...except you can't really see it!]

ACH...I Feel Ill...All Over Again!

I am definitely carrying some emotion into this day. Yes, it's anger and I would say that it is healthy and justified. Because there are always possible legal ramifications when talking about the custody of a minor child, I cannot really delve into any detail but this situation that K has been dealing with is simply insane. Unfair doesn't even come close to doing it justice but honestly I can not really say anything else about it.

I was involved in my own situation for years with an ex who did not want to participate in the lives of her kids but never once did she use them to try and get back at me. That seems to be the norm in this situation...not only with ex's but with family members as well. They have no morals, no conscience and quite frankly haven't the intelligence to realize that just perhaps they don't KNOW everything...they are convinced they do yet their own lives are pathetic. I have never seen a situation where a few bucks and I literally mean a few bucks and simple convenience would lead a parent to repeatedly put their child in less then ideal situations where safety and behavior is concerned. It's frightening....and terribly irresponsible.

I've had to make those choices myself and it wasn't easy. But you have to do what is right for the child...not yourself. No matter what the consequences are. This situation makes me sick and shouldn't even be happening. This is behavior you see repeatedly on the Jerry Springer show and perhaps I was naive and thought people like that didn't really exist...that it was really all an act for TV. Sorry my dear readers...but they do exist, unfortunately for ALL of us...they really do.

OK...enough EMO:V-ing for one morning. Talk to you later...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pre-Marriage PREP

It is after 9 pm on Sunday evening and the weekend is almost over. Night has descended over the the island but it is anything but peaceful and serene....we have a bitterly cold north wind blowing in excess of 25 mph. Still, I love listening to the sound of the wind howling for all it's worth. There is something warm and comforting about being snug in inside as the cold north wind does it's work.

K and I finished up a pre-marital counseling program we have been participating in for the last 8 weeks. I wasn't initially thrilled about doing it but I really am glad that we went through it. I think it was a reminder of what we should expect from marriage and what it takes to make a marriage work.           

With that I am signing off for the evening. The week starts early with a book study and discussion group at 8am sharp at a neighbors place here on the island.  Have a good night everyone...

I Still Can't believe It Sometimes!

I know I have posted something similar to this in the past but  happen to find MY going to church EVERY Sunday such an extraordinary feat that I just HAVE to mention it again...and again...and again. I realize that there is nothing special nor unique about going to church...people do it all the time...often, even when they would rather not! 

But I cannot help but compare this circumstance to those days whenIi was very opposed to even the hint of a notion that I should attend any kind of religious services. I honestly have difficulty explaining what has changed other then the obvious, That I believe very strongly in God and that his only SON died for me on the CROSS to forgive my Sin. Now I  attach some importance to going regularly and I am a bit more open minded about other Christians.

This is not to say that I am free from still standing in judgement of others...even though it is NOT my job to do so. But there are still people I don't trust, who rub me the wrong way or don't seem genuine or sincere. I learned long ago that i cannot live other peoples lives for them...I am however accountable for how I live my own and that needs to always be my main focus. It is certainly more than enough to keep me occupied.

Well we are off and I would imagine that I will touch base some time later today.

(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)

Does Anyone Remember The Laughter?

I have repeatedly written about the quality of my life after I became sober. To recount the various ups and downs here would take several posts... suffice it to say that it has been an immense struggle at times but after all,  I have been given my life back...and in many, many ways it is better...much better then before. But even though that is absolutely true, there is a disturbing reality that I have had to come to terms with as of late.

For all the good that I have going on in my life and for everything that I have been given, I am extremely grateful. But I noticed something recently that has really begun to bother me. At first I thought I was over reacting, now I am not so sure. I have discovered that in a great many ways the laughter that used to be a great part of my life is now MIA (missing In Action) simply doesn't seem to exist anymore.

And I am not sure why or what happened...but I am positive that it is no longer a part of my life like laughter used to be and that makes me rather sad. Why? Because deep down in my heart I know that even though it may come back to me once in awhile in bits & pieces, that basically as a permanent part of my LIFE...well it is gone forever. And I can never have it back...things will never be the same.

Because I believe it was the laughter of innocence and youth, carefree and unencumbered by pain and tragedy. some ways wisdom and courage, among other things have taken it's place but it isn't really the same. 

Of course I have no one to blame but myself so there is no reason to really get down about it but it's one of those things that I think about when I'm alone and it's quiet, just me and my thoughts. Thats when the sadness creeps in and I wonder if any one really...remembers the LAUGHTER?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Feelings & Thoughts That...LINGER.

A cold, grey and rather windy early morning sunrise here on the island. The wind just seems to have it's own unique "sting" to it sometimes, making one crave a fire or at least the pleasure of climbing back under the down comforter on one's bed...

I wrote a POST last night on the subject of my aging and how it is accelerating the effects of my physical disabilities and health issues. Those realizations have left me feeling more then a little melancholy right now which probably is not helped by the cold, grey, blustery day greeting us here in lower Michigan this Saturday morning in mid- to late April.

I do realize that this too shall pass but accepting reality and living in the here and now takes more faith, courage and fortitude then my past life of avoiding pain and TRUTH at all costs. It is a simple and undeniable fact that human beings happens to all of us and though there are some exceptions...most of us would prefer that we didn't age. Or at least it didn't affect us as much or that we could indeed as thy say "age more gracefully". I've always wondered who this "THEY" is....the truth is that I haven't a clue nor do I know anyone who claims to know them self.

It is probably one of the more difficult and relevant issues of my relationship with Kim because like I lot of people in our society...I have an inherent abhorrence of feeling like a burden to those people who love me. I really have trouble with the notion that at the age of 50 (in 10 years time) K-Sue will be faced with the reality that her husband cannot walk because of neuropathy or has had both of his feet amputated for the same reason and replaced with artificial limbs...just one of many scenarios related to my physical condition that really, really bother me.

Any way..the point is the thoughts and feelings...linger. And the answers I am looking for have not magically appeared the way that I expect them too. What to do then, I ask?

Well I shut this post down and head into town to hang out with 100 year old woman at the assisted living facility where I hang out on Saturday mornings.'s THAT time to go hang with the "GIRLS"!

I imagine that I'll have something more to say on this subject latter but until then....bye, bye.

(Photo: K. Tomson)

Difficult Fact Of Life

My difficulties getting a reasonable, daily amount of sleep are pretty well documented in this blog. I have yakked about it often enough but the truth is that talking about it hasn't really solved the problem though I would say the situation, in my opinion is a bit better these days. I am getting enough sleep to function and considering the alternative (I went nearly 6 weeks straight without sleeping more then an hour or two a day) I'll take what I'm getting.

The issue now is that in the evenings...I cannot sit for any length of time, at my computer, watching TV, talking to someone, reading...whatever, without nodding off. And I mean BOOM, I am completely and totally out. I will wake up with a start...all bewildered and disoriented with my face plastered onto the external keyboard for my laptop...the imprints on the keys indented into my forehead! This is happening to me quite frequently and no amount of coffee or caffeinated soda seems to make a difference.

I guess it is just another unwanted and uncomfortable thing I have to adjust in this life. Don't get me wrong...I am so grateful for the life I have today...not all that long ago, I couldn't imagine being able to function the way I do so I appreciate what I have. The simple truth of my life is I have some rather severe physical...disabilities...ah no I don't really care for that term, I prefer to call the difficulties I guess. I either am completely unable or severely limited from doing something or I have a great deal of pain and discomfort actually doing it. 

And there are things like going to the bathroom that I have some frequency and time issues with as well. These things affect my ability to travel, volunteer at the jail and in a multitude of other ways as well. It just is difficult and   I don't like have to explain it to people either, it's embarrassing. I do see these as repercussions from my addiction though they could be health issues that might have occurred anyway...there is no way of knowing that now.

It is a fact of my life that really bothers me and has me thinking a great deal about whether it is fair to marry Kim, though she would really be upset to hear me say that. My concern is that I already am 10 years her a matter of fact, I am 10 years older then K-Sue...and 10 years younger then her mum. What a

But my fear is that in a decade or so,I am going to be totally unable to do some basic things like walk, get around in a reasonable manner, have sex, etc. I don't think that is fair and it really bothers me.

Kim has told me on several occasions that it doesn't matter to her, that she understands but I can't help feeling that it isn't right...Oh well, that is a bridge I guess we will cross when we get to it.

OK, so before I do another face-plant "Header" into my keyboard, I'm gonna close this, this post for the night. Until tomorrow then...
(Photo: Kathy Tomson)

Friday, April 20, 2012


Yes, Yes...the answer is yea...there are times, more frequently then I would like to admit...that I begin writing a post just like this one without the hint of a clue as to what I am going to write about. It has been an uneventful day....just very busy. I left the house at 5:50a this morning and have really been hopping ever since.

But the weekend is here, K got caught up on some much needed sleep and we picked her car it's all good to go for now.

I have often written here how I try to make myself available whenever I can to work with folks that are struggling. And it doesn't have to be a person struggling with booze or thing that I have learned as I have gotten older is that all of us in this life will struggle some times. And often most people will feel alone and not really know how to work through whatever issue they may be having.

There is really not a cookie-cutter, one size fits all solution to peoples issues...they can be rather complex and loneliness for example is a biggie...and there is not really an easy solution for it but finding fellowship at a church, or doing an activity or with a group of people in recovery....again though, it isn't easy and often you just have to hang on and just weather the storm.

That is where a person's desire to make a change makes all the difference. If someone really is not committed to surrendering themselves to the notion that they cannot control their addiction and do something about it...they will drink or use drugs's almost a certainty.

Well...I have a little voice (gradually becoming LOUDER) that is telling me to grab a quick lunch and take a I am going to follow the advice. Later...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Rare Endorsement And A Rather Strange Day

It has been a rather strange day today in that just about everything I need to do is dependent on the actions of another person...and nobody is really coming through so i sit on my tookus all day basically gather freaking MOSS! Yes...TOOKUS is not really a word but I think it's familiar to enough means: Bum, Butt, Fanny, A**, Rear-End...I think you get the picture, eh?!

I did get my Smart Phone in the over-night mail and it is already set up and ready to go. It absolutely astounds me that less then 24 hours ago i ran that thing through the wash and I have a fully functional and personalized replacement in my pocket as I type this...

I know everyone feels differently about their cell phone and cell phone service but i honestly swear by SPRINT/Nextel. I have been a customer for...jeez, a really long time and they are just always on top of their game. Even when something goes wrong or there has been a mistake (which lets face it people, they happen) they make it right. I typically don't endorse many company's...I endorse SPRINT, no doubt about it.

Now I am waiting to get word on K-Sue's Car. That is basically the last loose end that is hanging out there but there isn't a whole lot that I can do about it really. 

I'm, not KINDA..I am really stoked because we have our pontoon boat in the water and it is about 70 degrees right now so perhaps we should take the first boat ride of the new year. It's pretty much the weekend for Kim since she works 4-10 hour days, Monday through Thursday though she often will work OT on Thursday nights or sometimes Fridays. She doesn't have to work tomorrow so that is really cool.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

At Least It Wasn't The Toilet This Time!!

Any fairly perceptive reader can probably gather by the title of this post that the author (that would be ME) has gone off and done something really dumb today...and they would be correct in their assumption.

I ran a rather large load of laundry today, nothing special clothes, some golf towels, bath towels...Oh yea and my Samsung Galaxy S II Smart Phone from Sprint! Yep I went and ran my PDA through the wash, completely ruining the dang thing. 

I am fortunate because I have Sprint's Insurance Plan so the phone will be replace by USPS Next Day Mail. It's just a hassle because everything I do involves that smart calandar, it's my only phone, I keep a journal on it, I text and email frequently, I even post blogs and take picks with it for Shell Shoc.

Of course the timing couldn't be worse because Kim's car is in the shop and I have to coordinate with the garage tomorrow to pick it up. Luckily I had an old phone of K's that I had Sprint activate for the evening so I am connected.

Thew last time I ruined a phone by getting it wet goes back to my drinking and drugging days. I was snorting a line of Coke on the counter by the bathroom sink (and this was at my own house!) and the phone was in a jacket pocket. When I bent over to do the line...OUT slides the phone...right into the toilet!

Thankfully it had been flushed but still...the phone was a total loss. I was expecting a call on scoring more coke so I had to run out as fast as I could and pay cash for a brand new phone since I wasn't due for a discounted by upgrade. I was re-connected in two hours but it still really was a bummer.

Since the Smart-Phone I have today costs a fortune without an upgrade (and I am not eligible anyway) the insurance was definitely the way to go. It costs like $4 a month and this was the second time (that was a different phone) I have filed a claim and had a phone replaced.The first one was for a mechanical issue so I am pretty much sold on the notion that it is worthwhile investment, especially considering it would cost over $500 to buy this exact same phone.

So even though it is a hassle to have to replace all the Apps, and start over I feel quite fortunate to be able to replace it and so quickly. The woman on the phone said it would be here tomorrow and it was here in a day the last time I did it so I expect it will be here tomorrow.

It Was Nothing But A mere Sliver...Of HOPE.

I mentioned in a brief post last night that I attended a dinner for a Jail Ministry that I am involved with. The featured speaker was a woman who told her story, how she was able to overcome her Meth addiction and the harrowing account of the events leading up to her becoming a Christian and how the Forgotten Man Ministries played an important role in her finding a new way to live.

I could not help but think how hard it is for people who are struggling in this life...whether it be with addiction, divorce, illness...Whatever their issues may be because we all face adversity in life. And often we feel that it is us against the whole big, bad world.

I think back to the days of my active addiction and then  to the early days of my recovery. Both were extremely difficult, painful times in my life. I often felt during those times that I wasn't going to be able to overcome my troubles and frequently I felt like giving up. Of course during my active addiction I made a very serious attempt to "give up" by attempting to take my life.

But what I really think about was during those early days of recovery....why didn't I give up then? What kept me after difficult day? In some ways the pain and struggle was worse then because I was no longer escaping my physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual pain through drinking and drug use.

Today I know the difference was hope. After I got out of the hospital something inside me had changed...I had hope...albeit it was just a sliver but it was there none the less and it made all the difference. I don't know how it got there or what I did to get it but something inside me kept me going forward...because deep down I now felt that just MAYBE I had a chance. I didn't know how I had a chance but  I just knew that I did.  And that was just enough to keep me in the game, as it were.

Today I know that God was leading the way (just as HE had ALWAYS been there leading the way) but this time I was finally in a position (I was sober, I was willing, I had stopped fighting and surrendered) to recognize HIM and FOLLOW.

Even then it was nearly 5 years into my sobriety before I realized and accepted that I was a Christian. Before that...I just believed that there was some sort of God but I never felt compelled to  try and define him...I was just hanging on each day by that fragile SLIVER of HOPE. And for me, at that time...that was enough.

So that is where my head is at this morning. I am thinking about all those folks in the world who woke up today...wishing in their heart that they hadn't. That they had just kept on sleeping forever. It is those people  I think about today. And they are an important part of my motivation to keep going keep writing about my story here on Shell Shock Serenade, to keep going the jail as a volunteer, to keep the Bible Reading Ministry going on Tuesdays and be willing, at any time to reach out to another person who may indeed be hurting so much that they are standing at that very same cross roads that I I choose to live...or choose to die?

It really does make it worthwhile knowing that one person can make a difference...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jail Birds

I'm sitting here at a banquet in town for Forgotten Man organization that ministers to inmates in Michigans County Jails. Here I am a former cocaine junkie in a room full of law enforcement folks and politicians. Who would have thunk!?

I'm Having Fun Right Now...Don't Really Know Why!!?

I was just reading some recent posts from a few of the blogs I read regularly and it just fascinates me how unique we humans are. I love how each person has their very own special way of "seeing" and interpreting their daily life.

I think one of the most important and crucial aspects of recovery for me was learning how to re-engage into active society and get away from the isolationist lifestyle that I had become so accustomed to. I think if you had asked me even 2-3 years ago (several years after I found recovery) I would have looked you in the eye and told you I was a loner and I preferred to be alone. An I really believed that at the time. I'm learning now that it simply isn't true.

No I had just convinced myself that it was my natural preference to be aloof, alone and isolated.  Don't get me wrong. I am introverted but that is far different from being anti-social. I am convinced today that cultivating relationships...honest, open, loving relationships on all levels is as much responsible for the turn around in my life as staying away from the booze. It was simply impossible for me to cultivate relationships when I was drinking because the "drink" dictated my behavior and I no longer had any influence over my life.

I find it so interesting these days when I get an opportunity to meet new people. And yes I still find it rather odd because I am still a bit of a fish out of water in social "small talk" type situations but each time I experience it...things get better.

I have an early morning study session this morning...still reading "Doctrine" by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears and I will say that I was quite ignorant when it came to basic Christian Doctrine...this study has been a real eye opener and a great benefit to me. I really have enjoyed it...OK, enough...Gotta run!

(Pic By Kathy Tomson)

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little Rain Must Fall...

Rain Forest Wallpaper
It never fails...just when I feel like a nice pattern of sleep and health related stuff is starting to come together I spend a whole night unable sleep. In a way it doesn't matter because I did not have anything going on this usual 8a Monday morning commitment  was canceled today so I was able to get some writing done.

We have had some much needed rain here in S Michigan the last couple of days and combined with warm temps it was darn near humid yesterday. So the trend toward a warmer then usual Spring has continued.

I think I have mentioned before that I am typically not a person whose over all mood is influenced by the weather. For some folks, they fall into Depression if there isn't enough sunny days and the like. I really enjoy a variety of weather and that is why I particularly like living here in the upper mid-west. We get a good dose of all four seasons and I particularly appreciate that.

Today should be a fairly mellow day though I am going to try and go back to the jail tonight as a participant in the Forgotten Man Ministries. My physical issues this winter have prohibited me from going and that has gotten frustrating because I love doing it.

So I'm hoping I feel up to it but if not the annual Forgotten Man Banquet is tomorrow and I'll start getting back into the swing of things with that.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Now I Can Remember!

This will sound odd to just about everyone who reads this...everyone who isn't an alcoholic/addict in recovery, that is. But I can't tell you how much I enjoy remembering what happened at the end of each day! You are probably wondering: "Huh...what is he talking about?!!" 
So perhaps I should explain.

My daily routine for decades as a practicing addict/alcoholic was to drink myself into oblivion each and every night. And I was rather successful in achieving this pathetic goal for many, many years. Needless to say...if you drink and party every night until you literally pass aren't going to remember a lot of stuff that goes on late in the day/night.

That was one of the first things I started to notice when I sobered up....that I could actually remember the end of each night...I'm sure to most folks that sounds ridiculous but too's huge. I have a ton of memories of what are essentially "half days" of living and no freaking Idea what happened to me at the end of each one of those days. It is surreal looking back on it now.

I am just so incredibly grateful for the gift of sobriety that I have has completely changed my world and honestly given me my life back.

(PHOTO by Kathy Tomson)

When The Rain Comes...

A warm, breezy and wet (read:RAIN!) Sunday here on the island. Kind of a bummer that it has to rain on a nice warm Sunday afternoon but we really have needed rain and you can't really comes when it comes.

Perhaps it will lighten up later in the day and give us a chance to get outside. 

I spoke with the Chaplain in charge of the Forgotten Man Ministries at the local County Jail when I was at church this morning and he asked when I would be able to come back to the Monday night service. Because of my health I haven't been able to attend since the new year. I told him I am willing to give it a try but I have some concerns related to a couple of physical issues I have. He is going to help me with those so I am going back tomorrow night and give it a try.

I'm stoked because I really enjoy doing that kind of volunteer work and I really have missed it. Now I have to think of something to talk about if called on to share to the inmates...the Chaplain, Dave is notorious for calling on you to speak when you least expect it so I need to do a little footwork  a head of time just to be prepared. It is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever been involved in and I am thrilled to be given a chance to go back. Let's pray that all works out...

Today...K's Dad and Step-Mom are driving through the area on their way back from Virginia so I think they will be stopping by Kim's place to check it out...that will be really cool if they can see where Kim lives and see all the stuff she has done. They basically are the only one's who support her instead of tear her down so it will be nice to see them again...

OK.....gotta run, looks like the rain is slacking off and I'm heading outside.