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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Don't Let The BASTARDS Get You Down

I am pretty much going to let the title of this post speak for itself. I will say that it is directed at Kim. The Bastards in Question (there are 3) made a real attempt at destroying everything K has worked so hard for the last few months in Coldwater in one quick swoop last night. The only problem is they don't know what LOVE really is all about or how it even works. These are people who say they are Christians but lie and cheat, intentionally hurting people who get in their way, all  because they want to control you. One is nothing but a stalker and control freak. (Listen pal, you just lost...big-time...your own daughter thinks you are a joke). They don't understand how REAL friends and family care for one another. The people who truly love her stepped in and helped the middle of the night, no less.

The ball is in her court and I guarantee that this time she will pick it up and RUN with it....So, you better watch out folks, she has grown up.

I don't understand how hateful, jealous, conniving, spiteful and basically full of shit these people are...I was not raised to lie and hate like they were so I have difficulty understanding people who act like I don't "get" them. Perhaps there is time for you to repent kiddies....I suggest you think long and hard about doing it right now because Jesus may then forgive you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

K-Sue, Chin up babe...they threw their best punch and whiffed. They lost, they lie, they hate, they are on the other hand are golden, not perfect but I'm so proud of how hard you've worked. Now it is your turn....

Be proud for building your life back from scratch, you had absolutely no help what so ever in the past. Yes you made mistakes, many of them but you've owned up to them, learned from them and now it's a different world. Things sure have changed and you have many people who love and care about you today...don't be discouraged. Hang tough...yesterday was is over and you came through it in better shape then before. You'll see...

I love you and there are a lot of people who are pulling for you. Keep the Faith...the hard part is almost over. But gird yourself against IT because it's not over...

Better Nights

I have had better me.

I don't even know where to begin so I guess what I am going to do here is not begin at all. Tonight, The BASTARD WON hands down....But tomorrow is another day, fresh and full of opportunities to beat him back. So here                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      is TO Tomorrow!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tragically SPECIAL: The Prince Of LIES

The last couple of days have provided me with a few new ideas in regards to how I process my negative emotions as they relate to my past troubles. Perhaps after all of this time and therapy....we (my therapists and me) had it all wrong fromm the start. perhaps the Black Dog is just another way I heal myself sub-consciously. My body intentionally lowers it's own energy level to help balance out all the stress and strain...providing a much needed respite from the pain, uncertainty and the internal/external pressure to BE BACK TO NORMAL AGAIN like RIGHT NOW that we and society puts on us.

Please don't get me wrong...i am not saying that all Depression serves this purpose or that Depression isn't bad, serious or dangerous because it can be all of those things. Let us not forget that I tried to take my own life here 6 years ago so it IS serious. I am just wondering if there might be another element to it FOR me. That it doesn't always have to be negative...that the human body may very well have a good reason to go into a funk, to climb into a fetal position as it were and ride the storm out.

I most certainly believe there have been times when this is indeed true.

I have been carrying on a comment dialog with a reader about this subject and the subject of how to cope with my parents. My parents love me very much, they have always tried to be there for me even when I was not acting very gracious or grateful to them for all their help. They have been through a great deal. I never did tell my parents about being raped. Not only would it have been humiliating and awkward...the circumstances of where it happened and how would have been impossible to explain. 

I was in an adult establishment/club/private club with the much older brother of some neighborhood friends. My parents would have called the police and I could not let that happen...I figured I made the stupid choice to be was MY problem and I needed to "Fix It" all by myself...and I did. The cuts, bruises and black eye were explained away as a neighborhood football injury and I did not take my shirt of or let them see the rest of my body or they would have known something was up. My entire side, ribs, legs we one big bruise from being kicked and dragged across a tile floor.

It was years before my mom noticed my chipped's funny, one of those chipped teeth is right in front. Several times my dentist in Holland MI talked me into having him repair that and each time the repair job failed. It is almost like a message from the gods that I need to see that tooth for the rest of my living days so I will NEVER FORGET!

I remember once watching the Movie "The Prince Of Tides" with Nick Nolte and Barbara Streisand. I had no clue that the film contained a rather graphic rape scene of a young boy. The closest I ever came to telling my parents my 'dirty little secret" was when my mother wanted to see that film and i discouraged her because of that scene and I think that I reacted to strangely emotional that she must have thought something was wrong. They ended up seeing it anyway and I never spoke to them about it again.

it's funny...funny in that not so funny, tragic kind of way that part of me never wanted to be different because of what happened to me. Except at the very same time...throughout my whole life since that day I have wanted to scream from the roof tops that because of what happened to me I WAS DIFFERENT...Tragically Special, I guess.

How does one ever know who they are supposed to be when every look in the mirror makes one want to VOMIT?! Or cry...or SHOUT...or DIE?! You have no idea the irony of my being a Christian today after all the HATE I heaped on Jesus for doing this to me. 

I used to dream that it happened in church...on a Sunday morning...during a church service and every parishioner sat quietly and watched...doing NOTHING to help me while I was raped and beaten nearly to death. I had someone in college once tell me it was God's Will...that I was being punished for my sins.

How does one have  a normal childhood...LIFE after that? When I shredded my arms with a K-Bar in High School I so badly wanted to tell the shrink and my parents the truth about why I hated myself so much but the words just would not come...

I often question why they come so freely to me now? Ahigher purpose, perhaps?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Leaking My Sadness All Over The Place...

I was having a short conversation with my mother this evening when she said that her and my father were concerned about me because I seemed "burdened"..."like the weight of the world was on me". The comment really caught me by surprise, disturbed me and I had to think about it for awhile. Though I do carry a certain amount of baggage from the past around I don't really feel burdened...not enough that my parents would notice.

It was disturbing in the sense that I have always gone to great lengths to keep my troubles out of the view of my parents...they have been through enough, are in their eighties and I don't want them worrying about me. So for them to have that concern bothers me. It also means that i am showing more emotion on the outside then I care to and that is troubling as well....

I just feel like I have hurt them enough in my life-time...I do not want my Mum/Dad worrying or being troubled by me or my behavior so I have to give this one some thought. I wasn't prepared for them to notice that I am troubled by anything. They do not know the full details of my past...they know something happened and I basically told them they didn't really want to know the details and they agreed. I think that's true for my father, he doesn't like stuff like feelings and talking about stuff that has happened. But my mum is different and she has occasionally pressed me for more information. I do not want her to know, specifically about the rape.

She has a tendency to find a way to blame herself and I think she would do that in this case as well. Because I was 12 when it happened I think it would upset her that I was in a place where that could happen to me. 

I don't know...I never wanted to go here with them and now they are noticing that I have a "heaviness" about me...which is strange in itself because I thought I was doing pretty well but something is leaking out the side for all to see...Hmmm!

The Tendency To DISAPPEAR

I wrote a post at the end of the day yesterday called: "I Could Have Killed Them". Posts like these have a sort of "state of my ability to forgive" quality to them as if I am checking in to see how much rage and anger are still impacting me on a day to day basis. I often don't like the answer and I didn't like the answer I got yesterday either.

I want to be over this, I do not want to keep carrying around this weight, this heaviness that never goes away. These posts like this tend to alarm some readers and I understand that...the pronouncements about having the ability to kill sound shocking and they are. Understand that there is no danger on those feelings being acted on but I share them to demonstrate How much this has IMPACTED, hurt and destroyed a good part of me.

Innocence...youth...idealism...HOPE...well they all have a tendency to disappear when this shit happens. And it seems hopeless that I can ever get even a tiny little bit of it back...

Then something will happen that does encourage me and I persevere. That is just how it goes sometimes and there is no rhyme or reason to it at all.

But I assure the reader that great progress has been made and I feel more hopeful then ever that a time will come when I no longer think of that day...every day. I believe that...I really, truly....DO                          

Monday, May 28, 2012

I Could Have Killed Them...

There are times that it occurs to me that perhaps these moods I have...the Black Dog...Depression might simply be a very human response to the horror I have experienced and though I react to it like it is a negative thing...perhaps it is anything BUT negative. Perhaps it is the ultimate balancer of things....bring me down from the chaos..providing a calm...a trance-like existence to let me heal.

Yes heal...even today I need to heal physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually....I still bear physical scars from being raped...I cannot take a dump without pain. Every time I sit on a toilet I re-live that moment. It's a wonder I haven't become permanently constipated!

I close my eyes to sleep and the specters often appear...always laughing, leering...insulting. And the battle begins all over again...I lose every single time. Fighting the good fight? What good fight might that be...I get raped, beaten to a pulp and a life time of HORROR movies run constantly in my head for a life-time of viewing pleasure.

I think one of the things that has secretly always bothered me is that deep down I wanted to hurt those people...hurt them bad. Periodically I still have the fleeting thought of it. That does not sit well with me...not at all. I know I could have killed those men and would have given the  chance. Deep in my soul it wounds me that I could kill, that I could lock and load and without hesitation put a bullet in the head of each one of those people and walk away stone cold.

Today, typically I don't feel that way and I have made major progress toward forgiveness. I honestly hope I keep making progress in that area and never EVER will that animal...the BEAST...who resides DEEP INSIDE me...also called RAGE and HATE show it's menacing self. I want PEACE, inside & know I have NEVER known PEACE, not ONCE in my entire life and just time I would really like to know what peace feels like.

That monkey is always on my's time my friends to get the big BUGGER off of me...and RIGHT NOW!

Remembering...TOGETHER Our Shared Sacrifice. (Now Updated)

In keeping with the theme of Memorial Day I thought I'd post an interesting video of a program I watched live yesterday morning. One of Shell Shocks regular readers from Canada was telling me that someone on another web site reacted harshly towards her assumption that Memorial was for all Vets of every nationality. And while our American Memorial Day is to honor the War Dead of the United States....that by no means discounts the Allies that fought with us.

This video is rather long (30 minutes) but I found it fascinating. It was a joint ceremony between the Country Of France and the United States Marine Corps to honor the dead Marines who fought in the WWI Battle of Battle of Belleau Wood held at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

French and American Generals as well as other dignitaries speak but it shows how they all still remember what happened there nearly 100 years ago now. I think it's at least worth checking out.

It vividly demonstrates that France indeed remembers our sacrifice for them during 2 World Wars. I have traveled the Battlefields of the first and second World Wars and they absolutely respect and honor our many War Cemetery's over there. It is very poignant to read at each one where it says that the land was given by France for ALL Time to the United States to honor and remember those who sacrificed for Freedom and for France.

Ousary Crypt at Verdun, France

I think all Americans who laugh at the "cowardly French jokes need to visit the WWI Battlefield of Verdun and see where a MILLION French Solders were killed in Battle in 8 months time, in an area less then 20 miles square! Look in the back windows of the Ousary Crypts and see the millions of HUMAN Remains picked up on the battlefield that are unidentified. Travel down the "Sacred Road", the only road in and out of Verdun during the Battle where the troops traveled, many for the last time to the Human Meat Grinder that was Verdun.

Then we might all have a better understanding why the French people react the way they do at times. They were led to slaughter by their government and military and there is a National Mistrust of those entities to this day, some 94 years later.

So check out the video or just listen to a few minutes and be fascinated as 2 countries who have repeatedly helped each other (Remember Lafayette in the Revolutionary War?) now honor each other's dead for America's Memorial Day...

In Remembrance...

Today we observe Memorial Day in The United States. We take a day...a long weekend really to remember those who have fallen. Many people have kind of morphed this into a holiday honoring those who served in the military...particularly during war time. I believe those folks should be recognized and honored for their service and their sacrifice. And they are with their own holiday as well: Veterans Day.

But I often think with all that focus being paid to the Vets we forget what this holiday is truly about: Those who gave THEIR LIVES in the service of their Country. I follow the American Battle Monuments Commission page on FaceBook and I like it because it reminds me EVERYDAY what these people did so we can be, FREE!

So today, by all means thank a Vet but also take a moment to stop and say a little prayer to those who made the ULTIMATE Sacrifice, often in the very PRIME of their lives, so we Americans can enjoy the FREEDOM we have today.

God Bless You and THANK YOU!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sports, Confession and a 'Quickie"...

Memorial Day Sunday...The Indy 500 and The NASCAR Coca-Cola 600...American auto racing's biggest day. Last night the Purdue Boilermaker Baseball Team won the Big Ten Tourney for the first time ever, so off they go to the College World Series. Lot's of Baseball, NBA Playoff's and Hockey's Stanley Cup Playoff's. Yea...Americans love their sport...Oh and the US Men's soccer Team seems to be hitting their stride under new coach Jurgen Klinsmann who was a huge star for Germany's team in the 80's/90's. is great and I obviously enjoy it myself. I have always enjoyed the Memorial Day 3 Day Weekend as is the traditional beginning of Summer in America. The Lake here is packed and today temps are expected in the 90's F so it should really be hopping out there today. The Island Golf Course was also packed yesterday and  I'm happy for my good buddy Marty who runs the golf course, because it has been kind of a strange and slow start to this year's golf season.

Well I'm headed out early this morning so I shall close. But before I do I have a little confession to make...I'm not sure if I have ever let a day go by since I started Shell Shock Serenade where I have posted something new at least once a day. Well yesterday it was getting late when I realized that I hadn't posted anything so I admit that I whipped up a "quickie" to keep my streak alive. Hey, I'm only human! Have a great day folks and Be Safe!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cheap Excuse For A Post But At Least It Keeps The "Streak" Alive!

We have had a pretty good day as far as Memorial Day Weekend goes. The weather is warm and except for a few isolated showers late morning it has been beautiful outside.

We went for a long walk tonight and plyed a late round of 9 holes as well. Well I'm whooped so I am going to turn in ...Good Night!

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Change In Policy

Ever since I began writing Shell Shock Serenade I have had sort of an unwritten policy that I would not re-post things I'd written before. It just seemed like a cop out to me to not have to be creative and write something new. Especially since the premise of this blog was to capture in real time what ever was happening in the life of a recovering addict/alcoholic and rape survivor. The very nature of this kind of work seemed to cry out and demand new posts...not just re-hashing the old stuff.

Interestingly, I have rarely ever had trouble finding something to write  about...on the contrary, it flows out of me fairly easily. But once in awhile, I would see the names of older posts pop up in the trend lines of the blog dashboard and re-read them. And they were pretty dang good if I should say so myself. I also noticed yesterday that a couple of these older works were completely relevant to what is happening with me at this very moment. 

So for those reasons: They were pretty good posts when they were originally written and they are currently relevant...I have decided to bring them back and re-post them. The response to them have been very good. I have a few more in mind that you will see in the near future but I will still keep pumping out new posts just like I always have.

The basic blog is not going to change...there will just be a few re-posts, that's all. My wish is that by loosening up my rules a bit this will enhance the blog, not detract from it. Let's face it...I have written nearly 1,400 posts...all there is a lot of stuff there I'd like to share again. I'm proud of my work, I think it effectively tells my story and I want new readers to be exposed to some of that work and this is a great way to do it.

So that's it...long time readers will notice only because it is something I had never done before. Let me know what you think....

Fighting Your Ass Off To Stay Alive (Repost)

Yesterday I re-posted a blog-post from the past, today I have another from 19 April, 2011. I recently got a message from someone who had read this post at a time when weren't doing so well and wrote to tell me this helped them a great deal. I was very humbled by that message. Because of that have decided to post it again in hope that it might be helpful...

Fighting Your Ass Off To Stay Alive

AP PHOTO (Lucian Reed)

Yesterday I posted about forgiveness and how the pent-up feelings from my past will sometimes seep out into the light of day and remind me that they are still very much alive and well, deep inside of me.

I started riffing on forgiveness and pretty much left the line of thinking I was originally on and I think there is some really value in picking back up on that.

As any regular reader of SSS will recognize, I had some awful experiences occur in my life before I found recovery and started trying to live a life based more on giving then taking as well as sobriety/abstinence from booze/drugs. I was raped as a boy, a suicide attempt at the age of 44, extreme guilt for not being the designated driver for 3 of my friends when they were killed while driving drunk in a car accident in 1981 that also killed an innocent senior citizen coming home from church....I was 4 months sober at the time and just out of a treatment center, I lied to my friends that I had plans when they asked me to come with them. Those memories carried and carry with them some really heavy emotions and feelings, that are still very much alive and well inside of me to this very day.

What do I do about them? I really wish they would go away, the memories in particular but the feelings and emotions's so hard to still have to deal with them today and they still make me feel hurt, lost and inadequate. I wish I could purge the whole bunch of them right out of me and never have to remember again what happened to me back then and how I didn't handle very well.

Then it occurs to me that so much of what is good in my life today has to do with how I have lived and responded to that stuff. This sounds totally CRAZY but I started to look at those memories and their accompanying feelings as a GIFT. Yep, you read that correctly, a GIFT.

Because of that gift I have a rare (GOD given) ability to relate to people that are really hurting inside. When I was hurting and feeling lost, hopeless and wanted to die...I could think of NO ONE I could turn to who would not freak out when I told them what I felt. That doesn't mean that person didn't exist, I just had no idea who they were or where to find them...So I was on my own. It is my deepest, most humble wish that NO ONE has to go through that experience ALONE ever again, if I can do anything about it!

So not only is it important for me to never forget where I came from and how desperate and alone I felt but it's critical that I am open and honest about those experiences and yes, feelings I had during those terrible times of trouble. That way, if someone...anyone is hurting inside perhaps they just might think of that "Crazy F**king Shell Shock" guy and email or call me.

I can't make problems go away, believe me I would if I could but it just doesn't work that way. But I can listen, I do understand and I really care about folks who are hurting inside. And I'm not the only one, nope..not even close.

In closing that is a point I want to make. There is a lot of stuff in this life that I DO NOT UNDERSTAND but I do know this: No problem, feeling, experience is so BAD that you or anyone should consider themselves worthless and try to end their life. NOTHING is that bad, trust me...I know. Fight your ASS off for yourself one more time. You can do this...Deep down our greatest human instinct is SURVIVAL, use it! You really don't want to give up, don't let the BASTARD convince you otherwise! Don't be embarrassed or afraid to ask someone for help. A friend, family member, clergy...ANYONE, it doesn't matter just ask and start the ball rolling back into your court. Life is worth it, I really believe that.

I can always be reached here if anyone ever has a question about addiction/alcoholism or suicide or loneliness or being afraid.....get the picture?! I think you do... (Plus all comments on Shell Shock Serenade are monitored by me before being released to the site. I will keep any/all personal inquiries confidential-T)

Rat Dreams, A re-post and a Holiday Weekend

Ye-ow, it's been a strange blogging period for me...the subject matter has jumped all over the page though the main subjects have been struggle, Depression (My Black Dog) and Kim's recent set-back with her health.

Yesterday I did something that I have NEVER done (to my recollection) in 1,387 separate posts on this blog... I re-posted a blog from the past. I did so because I thought it relevant to what I am currently experiencing with my emotions.

Speaking of those emotions, I am still experiencing another "BDD" (Black Dog Day) and it is pushing a week now that this has been going on. I usually do not experience week long bouts of Depression but there is always a first time for everything...

This is the beginning of the summer season...Memorial Day Weekend so the Knuckle-Heads are out in force. They started coming The day before yesterday and pouring in last night. Tonight it will seem like the 4th of July there will be so many people here. It comes with living on the island and being a resort type place. You get used to it but there is a lot of annoying crap that goes on.

Well, I have a few yard things I need to do before it gets too hot out here so I am going to take care of the stuff now...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Un-Endurable Sorrow That Is Me (Re-Post)

Dear Reader,

This is a first for me...I am re-posting a blog-post from the past...December 17, 2012 to be exact. I think it fits very well into what I have been posting lately about how I enjoy!

The Un-Endurable Sorrow That Is Me

Relationships just hurt too much sometimes....And because they do, it is really hard for me to ever truly consider them a worthwhile entity in the end. I often think I truly am better off alone, completely by least when I hurt myself, I know I mean it and nobody is bullsh*tting or lying to me about it...I know people mean well but it never ceases to amaze me how often those same people who are the ones who should care about you more then any other will in the end hurt you the most. But hey...we forgive them...for they know not what they do.

I've hurt so deeply and so often in this raggedy assed existence called life that I have no more tears to donate to the soil of this lost planet of SOULS...shattered hearts cannot be pieced back together when they are already in a million pieces...sometimes you just have to sweep the "SOUL Shards"...the remnants of them under the rug and persevere with but a fraction of a Heart.

That is not to say I blame anyone for the way that I feel...I do not blame anyone but myself because I understand now that I earned all of is but my CROSS to bear. And bear it I shall....

Straight up the rugged rocky stone path that twists and turns in tight spirals as it ascends the mountaintop that represents my life, in it's own personal Golgotha. All that remains this day is dried blood on the rocks that once held THAT CROSS in it's sway...

A human wind chime spins and sputters while twisting in it's mutters it's haunting dirge through-out all time and tests the metal of all men's SOULS...

On that dark and dangerous hill-top, the WATCH-MAN sees only me and you, my friend...he notices the tear-stained cheeks and blood-shot eyes and HE and only HE pines for the remnants of our collectively shattered HEARTS...Ahh YES, they are to be the main course at this BEGGARS BANQUET...where I am again the honored GUEST.

Day Of The (BLACK) Dog

I am experiencing one Black Dog Day after another and this time they do appear to be getting increasingly more serious, more intense, more...troubling. The longer I think about what is going on these last few days...not so much in my day to day life but between my ears..the more troubled and concerned I am. This period of Depression has clamped it's jaws down on me pretty effectively.

I would say that the average period of sustained "Dog Days" for me lately is a day or two and then it passes about as quickly as it appeared. This I think the reader can discern is bothering me a great deal and most certainly has gotten my attention. I have no clue why it has happened for life seems to be going rather well.

Well, now that I think about it...I take that back because the last day and a half K has really been ill and it is rather serious. I blogged about her issues in some previous posts: Here and Here. So that has obviously added to my stress, worry and concern but typically that isn't something that contributes to "The Dog" episodes. No, crisis type situations typically will SNAP ME OUT OF My Depression, not contribute to it.

So I guess the point of this post is that I am baffled because this is an unusual scenario even for me...who quite often has weird stuff going on in their life. I need to keep active, it's a cliche but in this case it's very true staying active, physically moving is good for what is ailing me. 

Just spoke to Kim here at 4:30a...she is unable to work again today because of her illness. Her face is very swollen, she is weakened from loss of iron and the heavy doses of antibiotic. We are just going to have to trust the Creator on this one because there isn't anything else she can do. She has worked so dang hard to get where she is and the obvious concern is that they will hold this against her and it will prevent them from hiring her. 

I have to believe they know how good of employee she is and I know they believe she is sick. They have seen her face and have been very concerned so i hope it all works out.

I am just the type of person who worries about such things...i fret about them and they drive me crazy...but there is absolutely NOTHING I can do about it right now but take care of Kim. Because the truth is she was and is still really sick.

OK...enough for a 4am post, haha...we'll write at 'cha more later.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tired, Concerned And Plum Tuckered Out....

It has been a very long night....another night without any sleep and I am very concerned about K. The infection has swelled the whole right side of her face and it looks so painful. She is working for this company through a temp service and is trying so hard to get hired in, she didn't need this set-back. Plus she is very much weakened from the infection and the low Iron.

She had a doctors slip but she went to work anyway and they told her she was in good shape with them, they know she is sick (just by taking one look at her face!) and not pulling a fast one so she is now home where she belongs. I am really concerned about her.

They did say that it would continue to swell today then the anti-biotic would kick in so she just needs to rest today. So that is what she is going to do. I have some business to in town this morning then I hope to catch up on then I have to stop and rest. So that's the plan...

I'll update later on Kim's I'll see you then.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Baby Is Hurtin' Tonight!

I am pretty upset tonight. We had a bit of a medical scare with K-Sue this evening and I am still really worried about her and am thankful she is only a two minute walk down the street. 

She had a weird red bump on her face and it was inflamed and hot to the touch. It turned out to be infected. She got an IV and anti-biotic but that was not the worst of it. Her Iron was "dangerously low" according to the doctor in the ER, actually 2 doctors spoke to us. They wanted to admit her and give her a complete blood transfusion. It would mean two days in Hospital w/out insurance, needless to say she refused and now I am really concerned about her.

She has dealt with low Iron and feels that they were over exaggerating...which may indeed have been the case. I do not trust that hospital after having some serious issues with them myself. So we shall see. Then the idiots just sent her home with a pain pill prescription AFTER she told them NO, she was a recovering addict and did not want it. So we tore it up but she never should have been given it in the first place.

So I'm really thinking about my baby tonight...

The Melting Ice Cream Post

I have often experienced these moments in time where I feel like an outsider, feel lost, alienated and just somehow "out of the loop" from everyone else. Recent readers to Shell Shock will recognize that I have been posting on this exact subject for the last few days. As long as I can recall I have been subjected to the Black Dog Days....those are periods of Depression that I've known all my life. I "borrowed" the moniker "Black Dog" from Winston Churchill who suffered from chronic depression and called it his Black Dog....I always thought that was clever and use the term myself.

I am somewhat fascinated by how these moods can come on so suddenly...seemingly from out of nowhere. And just as suddenly they disappear...without a trace leaving only a bewildered ME standing in it's tracks. Ironically some dear friends of mine have a big, black dog named Smokey, whom I adore so now I kind of feel bad using that name to describe something as painful and hurtful as depression after seeing Smokey but hey, the name has stuck so it is what it is...sorry Smokey!

What I have also found interesting is that I can be experience The Black Dog much like I have the last 3 days and still go about my business which I am thankful for. Many people suffering from Depression are almost paralyzed by it...thankfully I haven't experienced it to that extent.

Not to change the subject but to illustrate what I am talking about when I say that I do not sleep and I'm struggling.  I just woke up sitting at my desk, this post I'm writing on my computer with a whole series of lines (8 lines to be exact) of letter "S's"  and the half eaten bowl of ice cream that I was working on while writing had toppled off the desk and melted onto my lap and down my leg to my feet. What a freaking mess and a strange sensation. 

So I am sorry folks but I'm going to cut this short...I obviously need to clean up then catch up on some sleep so I'll try and take a little nap. Perhaps I'll check back later....

Monday, May 21, 2012

The "I" Is 4 - INTENSITY

Hey...maybe it's time I just snapped out of the funk I'm in and become "Mr. Positive Thinker'.... Hmm, Naw, I don't think that's possible given the current state of affairs...

I just feel what I feel, I don't force it or pretend...the intensity is what it is. I am an intense individual and that can frighten some people....including, at various times...myself. I'm extremely passionate about the stuff I care about, a stickler for ethics and doing what's right, no matter the consequences, prone to stand up and fight the good fight for what I believe in. If if the cost of such a fight is high.

But with all that intense energy there often comes a lull, a down period and that may contribute to my periods of Black Dog (Depression). When I am fully engaged in something, I don't have time to think about anything else but when everything slows down, even when things are apparently fine...well I'm not so sure that doesn't trigger the black Dog scenario...I'm not positive about that but I have seen enough times where it has happened that I believe it is not a coincidence...

I think that is why I have always felt that I operated better, more effectively in a crisis. I have always handled chaotic situations...well. I think it's because that plays to my strength...all the intensity built up inside. I am good at reacting to things, putting out fires, using "triage" techniques to determine the worst, most serious issue to be taken care of first...then take the appropriate action to deal with the issue. I think that is why I had success in production management...there was a major crisis just about every dang day! All I did was put out one fire after another...all day (and night) long, day after day, week after week, month after month...

I also think that is why the drug days and intense partying were so appealing...working hard, playing even HARDER....and eventually the drinking and drug taking became an everyday thing. So when that all went away I did have some major issues adjusting the peace and quiet...and I think there are times that I still do. I also think that contributes to this emotional "letdown" that I have been experiencing lately. That is something I am going to pay more attention see if there is merit to that theory...I believe that there certainly is a connection but we shall see.

So this all may very well be just another bump in the road...time to re-evaluate how I'm doing, to see if there is perhaps something else or maybe different that I can do in my day to day life to work through this feeling of being "let down" when life is going well and all hell isn't breaking loose. I think this is becoming more relevant for me now because things are getting better in my life and there are more sustained periods of normalcy...of good, serene days where there is no trouble or chaos. Yes, that is a big part of recovery...learning how to live a reasonably "normal" life.

That is probably a hard concept for a non-addict/alcoholic to understand but I never really had NORMAL days...nope, things were always kind of crazy and I got so used to that as normal that I fed off the craziness, I needed it to sustain me and the momentum to keep on going through all the nonsense. So when I got sober and my life changed...there was part of my that was happy and relieved because living that way was a real challenge...but I also think I missed it to a certain extent and it has taken quite a while to adjust to the lifestyle. Slowly but surely I have...I just think there are days where I very fleetingly long for the chaos and I will feel a tinge of sadness because in my twisted mind, I miss it!

It's all Just Part Of Living, 'Ya Know!

There has been a mood or state of being that I have been experiencing fairly regularly lately that I struggle to describe but it has been the predominant way I've felt most of the lats week. It includes the "outsider" feelings I've discussed...those feelings of isolation, being different and feeling apart from others. 

Again...none of this is new but I felt a little more alarmed about feeling this way now I guess because my mind is "telling me" I should NOT feel this way after nearly 6 years in I should have a better handle on things after all this time. Well, it does not work that way....LIFE, does not work that way and we should know that if we are at all realistic.

So today is another day where I feel somewhat withdrawn from the norm even though I started my Monday meeting with a couple of guys at 8a for book study session...just as I always do. I started my day in prayer and meditation like I do every day yet the result was different then it usually is...I am not in a good place emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually. I know is obvious if I just stop what I am doing and take an honest look at myself. I just have to stay the course...these storms usually pass and typically there is a fairly reasonable explanation.

The difficulty that arises is that it is my natural tendency to embrace the sorrow, the negative emotions and wallow in them instead of pushing through and knowing it will pass if I stay positive, stay open and connected to my CREATOR through prayer/meditation and DO NOT ISOLATE. That is critical...when I am feeling pressured, angry, hurt, resentful, lonely or any other negative type emotions my tendency is to isolate...get off by myself. Well that is dangerous for me because I am not good company for myself when things are tough, my thinking gets a tad "flaky"...I tend to make the wrong decisions under those circumstances and complicate matters even more.

This is the part of life, dealing with the hardships, the difficult decisions and day to day stuff that I used to love to just blow off and drink...then things seemed as bad as they were...of course I was MAKING them worse in the process!

Today I have not felt well physically which is always challenging but I am going to keep plugging away. I think getting a little fresh air sounds like a great idea right now so off to walk I go...

(Pics by KT)

"Mustn't Grumble"

High-street terror: The incredible destruction of the Blitz is revealed in this image as a double decker bus is plunged into a bombed crater
I have been in a rather intense and reflective mood this morning to go along with the pattern from the last few can check that out via my last few posts, beginning with "Pain Man". Even though this can feel or look like a set-back to others reading about it here, I don't look at it like that at all.
Standing tall: The spire of the Central Criminal Court - better known as the Old Bailey - rises defiantly in a landscape scarred by a heavy German air raid
First I've had no thoughts of drinking or using drugs...that my friends is the ULTIMATE danger sign. Two...I now know after being in recovery for awhile that the majority of good, productive growth typically comes from dealing with hardship and learning how to cope and over come it.  That has held true for the entire length of my time in sobriety.

I know now that me getting all worried and excited about "down" periods like this tends to only make things worse. I realize you cannot ignore it but I think having an active spiritual life has injected some rational calm and serenity into a situation where I used to try and control things....and in the end that would only mess things up even more.

Must run for now but I'll leave you with one of my favorite sayings that Londoners were fond of using during "The BLITZ" in WWII when their beloved city was being pummeled by the Nazi Bombers: We "Mustn't Grumble!". So I will accept that sometimes life is just hard, that's all but I will trust that God's got it so I will persevere and keep pushing forward...always remember that I "Mustn't Grumble"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Not My Job To Judge

I went to church this morning as I typically do for the 8:30a service. I was feeling quite alienated as one can read about in my post from late last night.  I never know how situations like that are going to go because it really is a classic example of my "old angry, alienated, lost man world" meeting or clashing with my "new spiritual world". Honestly I wasn't so sure who was going to win. ask may I say that? I'll get right to the point...I have always had some serious issues with organized religion and in some very legitimate ways I still do. I am a Christian and I am not ashamed of that or trying to run away from it but what that means is I try to live my conduct myself to the best of my ability as Jesus would do. The Bible is pretty clear about that. Frankly there are elements of the organized church, because it is organized by human beings that is flawed: judgmental, intolerant and in my view misguided.

So when I get in a place like I am now, where I am feeling how "different" I seem to be from others...I tend to focus on that kind of stuff and take my focus off all the good things that are going on with my church. Are there people there who judge others and are unfair and intolerant in my bet. Can I be that way some time...yes I can. Can the people who are vehemently against Christianity be that way...without a doubt. We are all human...we are flawed...period, end of story. We all screw up, none of us is perfect.

That is why I read the Bible as much as I do and I do not see the intolerance in Jesus that a lot of Christians are accused of today. He just loved us, sinners and all. Not the sin., mind you but he hung out with the poor, the hurting, those who were considered "unworthy" by the religious elite who spent most of their time PLAYING GOD. That is not my job...

One of my first mentors in recovery in Holland Michigan was a Gay man in his late 60's-early 70's. He had been sober quite a awhile and he played a very critical role in those early days of my recovery. He had been with his partner for nearly 30 years...30 years totally dedicated and loyal to each other. When California passed the Law originally allowing Gay Marriage they flew out to San Francisco where my mentor Dale was from and he and Arthur got married.

I was very happy for them and had no problem with it at that time. Some folks won't like this but I have no problem with it today either...even as a Christian. Christ can judge if he so chooses...HE can accept or reject anyone of us but  let's remember...he is GOD. I on the other hand, am not and he expects me to love and accept others. I am not saying that I am taking one position on this issue or the other...I'm not. But I know that I do not judge those two wonderful friends who have been so helpful and kind to me when I was at the end of my rope.

Ultimately God decides and we all live with that for all is not my JUDGE. So I won't...


I have to be honest here...these are the kind of posts that I do not like to write...not at all. Give me the posts about new discoveries and growth, finding serenity and that some things in life are now starting to make sense. Those are the fun posts to write...they feel good! And I can even handle the posts about my difficult and horrible things were, what it took to break free from the chains of selfishness, how much I hurt the people who cared about me, etc. Those can be really tough one's to write, because those were painfully difficult times but they are history and something much, much better has replaced those awful experiences.    

 But that is not the kind of post I am writing tonight. Nope...the post that I least like to write are the posts where I write about my current struggles...pain that I am experiencing RIGHT NOW, the stuff that I have NO CLUE how to resolve at the moment or even make just a little bit better. Even just acknowledging that I have a ways to go before things can get better...

Tonight...this very moment, I am really hurting inside...I mean hurting like I never expected to ever hurt like this again. Yet here I am....feeling so lost and full of sorrow, not knowing which way I WANT to turn, feeling mistrustful and recognizing the gathering storm clouds on the horizon of my life.

It is a sad Truth about me that there have been times that I am attracted to the pain, that I will actually cultivate it, dance with the sorrow and embrace the heartache. I never knew why just that I did and I always accepted that as my fate or destiny.

 An old Native American buddy once told me that I am an Old Soul...that it was my higher calling to bear the pain and sorrow for many others so that they could live happy and free other words I was CHOSEN to suffer and I at some point in my many life-times, accepted that burden and have subsequently lived lives accepting the burden for other peoples pain. It is actually considered a huge honor to be one of these "chosen ones" is considered a Holy Endeavor.

Yea, yea...I know what you're thinking...
"what a load of hooey that is" and I think that too...most of the time. But there are moments where everything seems to fit, where that notion makes FAR too much sense and it really does seems to be the TRUTH. Like it or not...believe it or not, the truth is I have done more then my fair share of hurting in this life time. For whatever reason I have actually lived the life of a "Pain Man" and it does seem entirely believable at times that this could in fact be my fate. 

Well whatever the case may be...I am most certainly in a prolonged period of intense emotional, psychological and spiritual pain to go along with the physical pain I experience everyday as a result of my injury/disability. Honestly, because I am so used to it and it has become "my norm"...the physical pain is pretty much the least of my worries. The other three though frighten me....I am less sure how to handle those and I had recently begun to think, to be quite frank, that the worst of my days were over in those areas of my life. Ach! It obviously turned out that I was WRONG!

Since I have been in recovery (going on nearly 6 years now) I typically go back to the "basics" when I am struggling and do some of the fundamental recovery activities that I started out with in the beginning. This is a very natural reaction for me, it is usually a very effective way of dealing with these situations and that is exactly what I have done. But this time...there really hasn't been much of an improvement or change. No this has continued to be a very "Soul Searing" experience for me and I strongly believe there is a time and a purpose for everything so I will do my best to endure and learn.

But it obviously bothers me that I cannot figure out what's really going on and that I have to just have faith and trust that God has me in the palm of HIS hand. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Knuckle-Head Spawn

Today is one of those gorgeous, unspeakably beautiful days you think about in Michigan when it's the middle of January, -5 below zero with a foot and a half of snow on the ground and a 30 mile an hour wind. When you ask yourself how in your right mind do you explain ever wanting to live in such a god-forsaken place...well you think about amazing days like this: 82 degrees, no humidity, full sun and a light breeze coming in off the lake. Oh's stunning.

Of course there is a downside. The KNUCKLE-HEADS are back...when you live in a Summer resort oriented area you deal with Knuckle-Heads...lot's of them (Summer-People). Drunk, loud, obnoxious, they spend thousands on golf carts and jet-skis so they don't have to EVER watch their kids...nope, the Knuckle-Head Spawn ride around all day, doing stupid dangerous stuff on the road (or in your yard) or on the water while the majority of their parents get hammered on booze, shoot off thousands of dollars of fie works and chase each others spouses around trying to fornicate...You think I'm kidding?!  You're say the least.

It would be (and sometimes is a little bit) funny if it wasn't so sick and dangerous and negligent....etc., etc. But obviously it changes the peaceful, serene surroundings of the island and the lake. Thankfully the worst of the shenanigans are limited to holidays and weekends for the most part so you can live with it. But this is the weekend before Memorial Day...most schools in Indiana are getting out and since a large proportion of the Summer Spawn are from Ft Wayne and Indy and we are 2 miles north of the Indiana border that impacts us in a big way. Next week will be worse simply because there is a 3 day weekend.

Until we meet again my friends....

Justin Verlander

File:Verlander warms up.jpg

It's really tough when someone get's this close to making history then it doesn't work out. It's been a few hours but I'm still feeling a bit  bummed out that Justin Verlander, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers took a No-Hitter all the way through the first out of the 9th Inning then gave up a weak single that ended his chances to make history by throwing a No-Hitter. It's so deflating to get that close to closing the deal then having it fall apart and I feel bad for him. But hey, I'm not gonna feel too sorry for him...he is still one of best pitchers in the game today. His effort tonight, in-spite of not getting the No-No was fabiluous...hats off to this amazing ball player, it's just a real treat to watch him pitch!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Serenity & LOVE

As I sit here at my computer this morning I can hear the early morning birds breaking out in their familiar always amazes me how loud that actually is. It is a rare occurrence living on a lake when we have no wind at all but that is exactly the scenario this morning so the "Birdsong Choir" as it were is coming through even louder and clearer then normal this fine Mid-May morning.

I have really come to appreciate the small, noticed details of our life here on the planet. The smell of a large pine forest or cut grass. The Birdsong or water lapping in waves against the shore. There most certainly is a serenity in my life today that not only NEVER existed in the past but was so far out of the realm of possibility that I never even considered it!

I have often shared about my difficulties sleeping here on Shell Shock but I want to take a minute to share something special and quite dear to me. I have mentioned here on the blog that Kim and I are celibate, have been for years. But we often have slept together, taking naps most Sundays after church. When K is here...I sleep. I don't know why...I was always a person that could never sleep and snuggle at the same time. I always slept without touching my partner in the past. 

Kim works 10m hour days, Monday through Thursday...working from 6a-4p. she has to get up at 3:30am and leave at 4:45a to make her hour commute to work each day to Hillsdale, MI. Even so there were several nights this there have been every week since she moved two houses down from me where she stays over here until 12:30am or so when i have fallen asleep with her beside me and then she walks home to her own bed. That is how much she cares about me...

And that stuns me that anyone would care that that concerned about me especially since I am retired now and often don't "have" to get up early.

I don't really know what else to say about this wonderful, hardworking selfless lady that i am so blessed to have in my life..except, I love you Babe!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Keeping A Close Eye

I wonder if if I just care more now about what I say and do these days compared to the partying days when I just lurched from one day to through to the next. Now I actually think about what I am doing, what I say to people and how I am conducting myself. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't an animal before but my focus was without a doubt on me and what I wanted and how I could benefit from whatever it was that was going on.

Today...I really have an interest in what other's have to say to me and what is on their mind. This morning I spent a half an hour just talking with Marty up at the Clubhouse. It has become a part of my day I enjoy....just catching up with folks, discussing the current news...this folks, is something I NEVER did before while I was working. I did not take the time...I was too UBER-Focused on getting to the bottom line...not just about work but about EVERYTHING. I was so freaking obsessed with the destination but I all but blew off and ignored the journey...yea, that journey this little thing we call life!

It sounds nearly impossible to do but trust me...all I cared about were the results....never taking my time to enjoy the trip along the way. My vacations were often like that....we'd plan so many things that we were always driving hard and fast to get from one place to the became stressful...and we were supposed to be on VACATION!!

I think the thing that bothers me the most about so much of this stuff is that I was always so convinced that I was right, that I KNEW what I was doing and that this was the ONLY way to really live ones life. I can now see that perhaps that was a contributing factor in my divorce as well...the fact I was so obsessed with finishing and not living..the insistence that I knew what was that realization really sticks in my craw this bothers me a great deal.

But I know I made mistakes and the cool thing is that it is never too late to rectify them by making a change in the way you live...and that is really what my life is about. THAT is what RECOVERY..that word, that ACT, that LIFESTLE realize the errors of my ways and CHANGE them. Very simple and it can be done.

I remember how insurmountable sobriety looked to me in June of 2006...I clearly remember thinking...there is not f**king way that i will ever be able to live...not to mention enjoy living without beer...drinking. I could not picture it at all. Yet I rarely if ever think about drinking. 

I do however believe that I can think too much about how I can improve, how I can grow...etc. There are times I do think that I should shut that stuff off more and just live life without thinking about it instead of always measure it and compare. The problem is that it was not all that long ago that I was a mess so part of me never trusts myself, I feel like I did when all this was new to me, that I have to check myself all the time and make sure everything is in order and I am not screwing up.

I suppose there is still a healthy dose of fear there...i do not want to repeat the mistakes of my past...and even though it has been nearly 6 years, there is part of me that knows that I will always be vulnerable to my own weakness deep inside and the disease of addiction does not disappear when you are sober. No it's like Cancer being in remission except addiction waits for you to weaken, to convince yourself that you are now OK, that by some chance you can handle it now. The disease literally gets stronger during abstinence...

I'm not is a proven fact that alcoholism/addiction is a progressive disease...If a person has been sober for 10 years and starts to drink, the disease does not start where you left off or start over at the, it picks up right where you would have been had you been drinking that whole 10 year period of time. I've done it and I've seen it...and it's true.

So I suppose being a wee bit wary is really a good thing when it comes to this. I can live with that I guess. I sometimes need to learn to be more loving and accepting of myself. I will forgive others long before I will ever forgive me...and that needs to change.

So much for writers block, eh?!