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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Sky Is NOT Falling, Chicken Little!

According to so many people I see posting on the Internet and on the TV News seems that now that the Supreme Court has upheld Obama-Care that everyone I know has turned into Chicken-Little as they run around proclaiming that the sky is falling down. Hmm...that's pretty interesting...and ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong, I do not agree that it is the answer for our countries healthcare isn't even a reasonable stab at it in my humble opinion. And I have a rather unique perspective because of what has happened to me in the last decade of my life. I've actually had great insurance...and I was without health insurance of any kind for over 3 YEARS. So my opinion happens to be based on experience...and fact, not hype or speculation.

I had a wonderful career at Herman Miller, Inc., had very good benefits, decent and affordable health insurance for nearly 25 years. Today as my disability has been worked out and I buy supplemental Insurance but there was a several year period where I bought my own medical insurance until it became way too expensive. Then I was without insurance for 3 years or so. So I actually know what it's like to have good, company provided insurance, I know what it's like to purchase my own insurance and to be completely without is FRIGHTENING...let me assure you. In addition I know what it's like to have SS Disability Medicare and supplemental Insurance.     

This is a HUGE change of opinion from my working days but today I honestly believe the system as we have had it is a colossal failure...we need to do something different. We are too great a nation not to provide medical care for everyone, honestly to borrow a cliche': "It's What Jesus would do".  But I do not believe Obama-Care is the answer either, there are way too many flaws in this system and I can't see how it can be paid for legitimately. The Republicans had a real chance to participate in the process but were not willing to change or compromise thinking it was plenty good enough the way it was so they refused to budge...and this is what their arrogance got us all stuck with. And now the Supreme Court (with a supposed conservative Chief Justice at the helm) upheld Obama-Care with their latest ruling. What a freaking mess... is NOT the end of the world folks or the end of America as we know it...And I'm getting seriously tired of all the Talking Heads on FOX NEWS stirring up fear among people, particularly the elderly who think they are losing everything they have worked for.  

For me I learned one of my life's hard lessons related to this subject of health care...just a few short years ago I would have been very close minded about this and intolerant toward change. Then I experienced the unexpected loss of my health insurance...I wasn't a welfare case, I had worked my tail off my entire life and I found myself in a terrible bind.  Now I know what it's like and I know there has to be a better way. Next time people try to enact change, participate in the process instead of attacking it...perhaps the outcome will be more acceptable  for everyone.            

Friday, June 29, 2012

Change Of TUNE...

I can't tell you how much I have come to appreciate this communication forum we call "blogging". Like a lot of folks, I really did not understand what it could be used for and how useful it could be. I was enlightened rather quickly and not only have enjoyed writing and updating my own blog (Shell Shock Serenade) but I have really gotten into reading several other blogs on a daily basis. There are some fantastic writers out there and some very creative and caring people.    

So I have really gotten into it myself far, far more then I ever thought I would. I always kind of scoffed at blogs and the people who wrote or read them. Needless to say I have changed my tune just a bit. More later...

Lacking E (For ENERGY)!

I'm not big on writing posts just to write them, just so I can say I have posted something everyday. But I feel like I should post something this afternoon and at least clear out the pipeline of stale, old ideas and such.....So that is what I've done.

We are still experiencing record heat and it is nearly unbearable  outside. The holiday week crowd is starting to show up so it should be interesting.

I'll post later when there is a wee bit more energy about :-)                                                      

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Time Sprouts Wings

It is pretty early (4am) on Thursday morning and we are running out of days in June, 2012. It happens to be the 28th so we only have a couple left.'s cliche and quite common to say but it truly seems as if Time Flies...regardless of whether one is having fun or not!

(I could not resist posting this little blast from the past...It truly represents my drinking philosophy to a T!)

That has certainly been my experience since I have been sober and in recovery. The days are full, life is at worst pretty darn interesting, chaotic yet sane and sure...we have had a few challenges....but the one constant is that the days move on...and rather more quickly then one would really prefer, at that.

Even though i readily acknowledge that life seems to be flying by I would never say that I feel like it's "passed me by" way. They are two distinctly different things in my book. I will admit that particularly near the end of my active addiction there were times when I seemingly was content to drink until DEATH came and got me. I had basically STOPPED living and given in to the idea that dying was best for all concerned.

I'm not embarrassed to admit that any time I write words such as those... describing how I thought and makes me feel like crying. I find it so hard to believe today, it is just so very sad that it had come to that.

On the other hand...there is obvious joy in knowing that it did not end that way...that I lived and found the Simple TRUTH that SAVED ME. Yet there are still moments...little tidbits of regret. I know one has to move on or this can destroy you but I know in my heart that no one starts there life's journey and plans for that kind of end.

That was one of the most difficult things about recovery and continuing to stay sober....I can continue to carry great guilt and remorse around with me if I'm not careful...Believe me, that I could not afford to do....I needed to let go of that and move on. That is one area of many that I rely on my faith to help me keep things in perspective...and it has worked for me so far.

So I as a rule make the best of the time I have. I cannot change the past....I can avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and for the most part I continue to do that on a continuing basis and it's working.  

I start each day with the notion that I will live it to the fullest...that I won't give in to temptation and that I will never forget where I've come from.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Snoozing...THE Hot And Dry ONE

Dearest Readers, I have a confession to make. Because of my ongoing "issues" related to sleep, my sleep vs awake time is somewhat confused....what that means is I am not really getting any sleep at night. So by 3am I usually "bag it" and just start my day.  That means coffee, paper, blog, walk, then golf at 6a. Home to do yard-work and other chores and grab a bit of (early) lunch around 11a. Than somewhere between 11a and 1p I usually try to lay down. 

The last couple days I have managed to fall asleep from around 1p to 2:30p or so and when I awaken....I have no clue where I even am. This afternoon I've been awake for nearly an hour, raked seaweed off the beach, did a few other things, got a cup 'o coffee and I still feel like I have been hit up-side the head with a bowling ball or something!

I don't know what it is but when I sleep at night, I have no trouble waking up and swing immediately into action. When I nap in the afternoon...I am completely BRAIN-DEAD for nearly 2 hours before the cob webs even start to's almost dangerous, my being so out-of-it.
Oh well, it must be this way I guess, if I am to get any sleep at all. And in reality it isn't bad just a bit weird sleeping an hour or two every afternoon. There is no doubting that I need the sleep because I feel so much better when I wake up....key word there being WHEN...I wake-up. 

I have mentioned before that there are certain "vibes" you get when you live in a resort area like this. There are not a lot of people here yet for the weekend/4th of July Week/Vacation....but honestly you can FEEL IT IN THE AIR: They Are Coming! 
Because the 4th falls mid-week it creates an interesting scenario for a lot of people. Last weekend there weren't that many people here and the weather was great. It isn't unusual for the weekend before a holiday week to be slow and we were definitely SLOW. What that tells me is we are going to get OVER-RUN with people this weekend and they are going to be here for the entire week.

I told Marty at the Golf Course this morning that it should be a great week for golf...we are not really expecting rain. The only issue is that it is going to be in close to a 100 degrees tomorrow and we are expecting like 8 consecutive days with the temps                                  in the 90's. It has been incredibly hot and dry already and the forecast calls for more of the same.

I know...thank good for air-conditioning...except I live with a very opinionated fellow who HATES having the Air Conditioning on because he always gets cold. That fellow would be my father...

More on the A/C WARS in my next post so please stay tuned...                                

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Looking...But Not Seeing

It is 9:30pm EDT and it is still fairly light out here in Southern West/Central Michigan, at the far western edge of the Eastern Time Zone. I would actually call it twilight and it is one of my favorite times of the day. Everything seems to have a special "GLOW" about it. I almost wish the world radiated this cool, glow-like aura all the time...oh wait, it once did...back in the old LSD Days!! That's the "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" GLOW, Tee Hee.

All kidding aside, what this post and the content of it represents for me is, the simple notion that even a busy person in today's world can...and should just stop once in a while a take in the beauty that is all around us.

Back in my active addiction days...I would occasionally watch the sun-set or see a colorful sky and think "Hey, that's cool" but honestly, I then never gave it another thought...I certainly didn't take any time or give any thought to enjoying what I had just seen. It was nothing more then a quick visual stimulant...that's it. It wasn't long before that kind of thing and the kind of people who took the time to stop and soak in the real world beauty just annoyed me....nothing got under my skin more then THOSE kind of people...Posers, Fakers. They were "Granola Head, Hippie Wannabees" who lived in some fantasy land...certainly not the "real world": where I resided with my delusional sense of SELF and SELFISHNESS!!

Funny but today I don't see it that way. I used to go through life in a hurry...everything was about getting from point A to point B as quickly as I could. I completely missed the essence of this life all along the way. I was looking around me but I wasn't seeing. That notion that: "I would look but I did not SEE" describes perfectly to me today what I was all about as recently to some degree as late last year. But truthfully...I have been making a transition to a deeper, more meaningful life since the 6th of June, 2006 - The day I got sober. It just takes a lot of time and patience to rebuild an entire life from scratch, to rise again from the ashes of a wasted past.

It has been a process of changing myself ever since then and though it doesn't seem like "starting to SEE instead of just LOOK" isn't a big the bigger picture of life it actually really is. 

Today I do my best to take the time and  really take it SEE the world around me and not just LOOK at it. It makes for a much more meaningful journey through THIS life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

No Mr Sandman...For Me

File:Vilhelm Pedersen, OLE LUKØJE, ubt.jpeg
I am experiencing some strange sleep issues again. I'm unable to really sleep well at night but then I am able to sleep during the day in 45 minute or so nap segments. I have to have the most trouble with sleep of anyone I have ever known though K has her fair share as well.

I'm not really complaining because I have managed to find productive stuff to do and be involved's just that it's a hassle when your schedule doesn't match up with most folk's but in some way's a messed up sleep schedule does have it's advantages. Like being up super early, I just love that feeling of being the only one on the planet who is awake. Obviously that isn't true but that is the way that it feels at 3:30a and I enjoy that feeling...immensely.

The key to coping is adaptability....I learned that lesson the HARD WAY, sveral times over again but reality is that it's TRUE...very true. The sooner I adopted that philosophy...the better I was able to deal with adversity. This sleep "issue" is no different.

Let The Festivities BEGIN!

Well, I'm headed out in a half hour or so and we'll see if the golf course managed to be spared the indignity of being used as a public toilet last night. I suspect things will be OK but one never knows.

I have mentioned before that living where I do, while being super cool and convenient with the lake and golf course right here also has it's challenges. This time of year (around the 4th of July) is the MOST challenging. The place is literally over run with inconsiderate IDIOTS.

My good friends who live across the island have the right idea...they have some farm property and woods about a 10 minute drive away...they go and camp there on these holiday weekends. Pretty smart if you have the place to go...

Don't get me wrong..I like some of the festive feeling going around but it can get out of hand. It is just something you accept when you live here.

Time to head outside...

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Was Never THAT Hammered!

#2 Green

I have a little story to tell this morning and before I get too far into it I will warn readers that the subject matter here is a bit "edgy", let's just say it's unpleasant...yucky even. To be honest, I don't recall if I've ever posted about this particular subject before though I did infamously post from a public bath-room stall once...yes, while I was USING IT. I think there was one (former) British reader who still hasn't forgiven me for that major indiscretion!  

You may now have started to guess that what I intend to write about here is what we in America often refer to as #2...particularly to our children. Yep I'm posting this morning about POOP, Feces, Crap, Sh*t, Poo Poo, KaKa, Doo Doo...and whatever else you want to call it.

Why in the world, you may be asking yourself am I going to write about POOP? Well I will tell you why and I'll do my best not only to keep this brief but relatively tolerable from a dignity stand point as well.

I went golfing at 6a as I often do, using an electric cart and playing a disabled version of the game. As I finished the first hole on the Island Course I looked out to hole 2 an noticed the greens-keeper, Dick start to mow the green then stop. By the time I played my way to the green and started to put, I noticed that not only was the flag missing but so was the metal insert that is the cup. It was all very unusual and quite a strange scenario.

So I heard the mower coming in the distance so I waited for Dick to come back. Well it seems that somebody walked on to the green at #2 last night and proceeded to take a humongous CRAP in the cup then put the flag stick back in it. Then they threw (used) toilet paper in the tree behind the green...I suppose so there would be no doubt that it was indeed a larger, more intelligent life-form that created this living MASTERPIECE! 

Most readers know I am a recovering alcoholic/addict and I have had my fair share to drink over the years and yea, I've done some dumb-sh*t. But let me assure you, dear readers of SHELL SHOCK SERENADE that I was NEVER Hammered enough to do something so crass, so stupid as poop on a golf course green. Not only that...I was never drunk or stoned enough to EVER even THINK ABOUT DOING so.

I'm pretty sure who ever did this last night, sending poor Dick all the way back to the Clubhouse/Cart Barn at 6a with a cup full of SH*T and the flag to go with it on his riding lawn mower, to be replaced is probably too STUPID to be reading this blog or reading at all for that matter. But if by some miracle the Neanderthal actually does read this blog....I would like to be the first to say that you are a complete MORON.

Poison ivy's

I'm sure you are quite proud of the fact that sometime after dark last night , you walked or road 400 yards out into the middle of the golf course and squatted over a golf hole with your pants down around your ankles. WOW, that will be a great story to tell the grandchildren about. You're should have been a comedian! We at the course all hope you are proud of yourself and hope and pray that you pulled you pants down in the woods as well  then maybe now you will have have a roaring case of Poison Ivy on your Rear-End...

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I'm going to break in here with an update...for any METALLICA fans they are being broadcast live from their own ORION Festival in Atlantic City. Here is the link:

They are currently playing the BLACK Album in it's entirety...I'm thinking of you SG...


The title of this post says: "CROSSROADS" but it could just as easily be called: "DECISIONS" or "DILEMMA'S" or "CHALLENGES" or even "CHANGES". What I am really referring to here is that I feel troubled inside about certain aspects of my life. That isn't really alarming and it is a fairly normal process for me. Change has become a way of life and a necessary one at that.

I have adapted to it and made changing on the fly a regular aspect of my life which at first was quite difficult but has gotten easier as time passes and I've gotten used to it. So changing really isn't that big of a deal. the problem comes in when I feel unsettled and dissatisfied like I do now, knowing full well that something in my life is not right...but having NO CLUE as to what it is that's causing that feeling. So I know something is outta-whack...I just don't know what it is. I know I have to make some changes...i just don't know what they are.

Have you ever felt that way?

I feel this way quite a lot. More to follow on this subject as the answer reveals itself to me...and then I'll reveal it to you.

Just Isn't ME...

I sometimes get frustrated with myself because I really believe I complicate life...MY life, way more then I need to. I often don't understand why I can't just kick back like a lot of people and just take things as they come. No, I have to push it, look at things differently and often that means accepting a "less traveled" path in life, by that I mean a less well known, often more difficult path. 

But it is my choice, to a degree I have always been this way so it certainly is a real and honest part of who and what I am. I am not trying to impress anyone here...quite the opposite...I envy people who seem to fit into to "society's puzzle" more naturally and don't worry or think about such dilemma's as blazing one's own trail or being "unique". I've often questioned myself and suffered low self-esteem because I feel that I don't quite "fit in" with society and think it's a flaw in me.

The truth of the matter is I've tried conforming to a more well traveled, more acceptable way of living and it does not just isn't me...simple as that.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Poetic JUSTICE For The "Tickle MONSTER"

Generally speaking grown men (Jerry Sandusky) with the nickname "Tickle Monster" have struggled in prison envirements. - Colin Cowherd (ESPN Radio)

This quote came via Twitter this morning and I felt compelled to post it here as well. I suppose it isn't really funny but I guess I have a rather "BLACK" sense of humor about it and yea, I feel entitled I guess by my internal I suppose what I'm saying is that I earned the right to make fun of this freaking monster by getting sexually assaulted myself as a child. 

I don't know if that is the right thing to do or not but it's the position I've staked for myself this morning so I'm going with it....

Friday, June 22, 2012

What Can I Say?!


At first I wasn't going to comment about Jerry Sandusky and the fact that he was just found guilty on 45 of the 48 counts he was on trial for.

I did watch some of the news coverage and frankly it made me feel sick inside. As the Attorney General for Pennsylvania was speaking there was all sorts of clapping and cheering going on like the prosecution won some sort of football game.

Listen you dumb-sh*ts...NOBODY won anything in this horrifying mess, in fact..everybody loses. All the self-righteous media and the idiotic clappers in the crowd will all pretty much forget about this a few weeks from now but those boys won't. Oh they "get" to sue and become rich, some lawyer will convince them. Hey I'd love to be instantly wealthy again but I know from experience that no amount of $$ will make the nightmares go away...or the fear, the hurt and the SHAME.

They will be asked about this now until the day they die. In my heart I hope it helps them feel better, gives them a chance at a better life but deep down...I can't see it making any difference at all. Somehow I must believe that at least one but more likely more then one of those guys will die at his own hand or because of alcoholism or addiction.  

I don't even know what to say about Sandusky...he's easy to hate, he is a monster clearly for what he did to those innocent boys. But I am not gonna judge him...GOD will do that. The man clearly is in denial, doesn't believe he did anything wrong....I hope he discovers TRUTH behind bars, it's never too late to change what you are inside. He has that and ONLY that to look forward to.

I go to bed tonight thinking about the guys he hurt...I'm reluctant to use the word victims because I hate using that term on myself but obviously that is what we all are. Still I think about what it must feel like to see the person who hurt you brought to justice like this. I no longer have the rage and hate inside of me towards the 3 men who attacked me but I would like to see them still brought to serve time but I no longer want them dead so badly that I would do it myself.

Anyway those are my thoughts tonight...I don't feel any better really...there will be more people just like him I'm makes me shudder inside...and out.                                                                   

Sometimes it Takes Me Awhile...

Much like I described in one of my posts yesterday...I continue to have a bad case of the BLAHS. Lacking energy, motivation and the usual passion I have for being alive. I am beginning to think perhaps I just reacted poorly to the constant, high temps near 100 with higher humidity. I just can't seem to garner the typical energy I usually do so what I am going to do is just do wing it. 

It isn't quite as hot as it has been but it's still 85 degrees but with a tad less humidity. I am fairly confident that I am not ill just a little worse for wear and will bounce back over time with a little sleep and some exercise.

I realize I'm a bit dense at times but it just occurred to me that I live 25 feet from a lake so If you'll pardon me, I'm going for a swim in the pleasant yet cool 75 degree water. Catch you some other time...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winnie, Black Dogs and DAWN

I did a great deal of thinking today and honestly I couldn't tell you one single relevant thought that stuck with me, haha. And I am serious when I say I was seriously thinking about things because there are some pretty important decisions I need to make and it is pretty much my process these days to ponder things well ahead of time, weighing the pros and cons.

So I do recall what I was thinking about....I even jotted a few notes on several subjects but again, I have no memory of anything signifiant that I recall.

So is that old age, too many burnt out brain cells from my self destructive past or am I just not all that interested? could be any or ALL of the above.

I have days and today was certainly one of them, where nothing really catches my eye, holds my attention or stimulates me. I'm disinterested and I think fatigue....mental and physical just may have set in. I've felt this way since energy and no passion. It is something I for one really have to keep an eye on...because true, prolonged disinterest, fatigue  and lack of passion often indicates a visit from my friend Winston Churchill's Black Dog.

I always have to be on the look out for signs that something may be outta-whack, like my falling back into a state of Depression. There are other concerns I am on the look out for as well...any signs that I may be heading for a relapse back into active addiction. Prevention is really the only sure-fire way to truly promote a healthy and continual sober life in recovery.

I really think from my experience over the last 6 years or so that what I have happening the last couple of days is just fatigue derived basically from not getting enough sleep, exercise and from prolonged exposure to high heat.

I am starting to feel a bit better this evening so we'll see in the morning how it goes. 

So until then, GOOD NIGHT.

Crack Pot (Of Dawn)

To this day I can't really explain it but i have always had a natural affinity for early morning. Knowing my past in regards to my alcoholism, would think I'm talking about staying up, rabble-rousing into the early hours but alas, I am not. No, I am an (early) "Morning Person". I just  like being awake , up an at 'em at an early hour. According to my Mum, I have pretty much always been an early riser. She tells the story of my morning routine at the age of 4 yrs old or so of going to the neighbors house in the duplex next door for breakfast when we lived in Medina, Ohio outside of Akron.

I did the same thing here at the Lake, going to the next door neighbors to the north, the Workman's for cereal with their son Tim who was a couple of years older them me. Those are great memories from a completely different era...I don't think neighbors interact like this anymore, at leaf as far as I've witnessed in the last two decades or so...including the time period where I raised my own children.

The natural desire to get up early served me quite well during my long career at Herman Miller in the Production Area. I started out as a regular production employee and worked my way into very good management positions. I worked every shift and variation of a shift but 75% was spent working a regular shift of 5a to 1p with daily Over-Time from 3-5p. We still worked some Saturdays but not very often. I loved the 5a-1p shift because you still had so much of the day to get stuff done. That changed though when I got into management and ended up working all the time it seemed.

Well I certainly didn't intend to post on my old job situation so I I'll bring this post around to a close. Even as I age I still have the most energy, the brightest outlook and best attitude first thing in the morning. I think at this point in my life I'm not going to change. I say this as i get ready to head out and exercise at 5:50a after being awake for nearly 2 hours already. 

So here's to a wonderful start to your day...CHEERS!                                                               

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In The End, HOPE Made All The Difference...

It isn't unusual to be asked by a person new to recovery or just someone who is curious about it what the main difference is between myself today and back in the old days...not including the fact that today I obviously don't drink or use drugs. It is an easy question to answer though it's not always easy to get people to see it or believe it. What is the main difference then? Simple....It's HOPE

That sounds way too basic, much too obvious but it is the ONLY answer that truly makes sense. Typically alcoholics just don't wake up one morning with a burning desire and iron-clad commitment to quit drinking...though it occasionally happens, it is very, very RARE.

No..they usually are miserable physically or in trouble somehow...with the spouse or the Law or at work, etc. We usually have to be pretty hopeless before you can pry our near-death fingers off that dang bottle...and that is the point: Most of us are completely without is all doom and gloom...pain being the most common feeling: it can be emotional, physical, psychological or even spiritual pain but the fact is that life is a royal mess and we are really hurting. There often appears to be no way out except suicide for a lot of us and many of us think about ending our lives often.

And myself actually make an attempt to do so and some succeed...though some, again like myself weren't successful in their attempt. This is where we often find ourselves when we are at the end of our rope...without hope.

It only makes sense then that when HOPE actually begins to return it is very noticeable...But it isn't always that easy...I for example had a great deal of wreckage to deal with when I sobered up: Financial, my wife divorced me, I was estranged from my children, my parents and I'd lost most of my friends. I really hated myself and what I had become.

Everyone who finds recovery has their own story and each person is different so I won't say that my story is typical. The truth for me was that it took a good 4 years before I started to feel hopeful again. I would feel a little hopeful here and there but truly, it was 4 full years before I felt hopeful as a rule, each and every day feeling like I could actually do this recovery thing.

I now know that it was FAITH...absolute BLIND faith that carried me through all those years. I Had been starting to believe that there might be something to this "God Stuff" admitting to myself that there had to be some divine power in the universe though I still felt very mistrustful of the idea and absolutely hateful toward organized religion of ANY form. 

It took time...a great deal of time and patience...just practicing a daily program of service to others, a reliance on a Higher Power over self and daily abstinence. Over time my life stabilized in all areas physically, emotionally, psychologically and finally...spiritually.

And I still believe today that this is an ongoing process...that one NEVER graduates...that it goes on and on until  the day you mover on to another place or become worm food...whatever you believe.

I am not a naturally patient man so all of this was excruciatingly slow to change but it was worth it. I thought I would be bored with such a "boring" and "timid" life style of no Bars,no booze and no drugs. The thought of focusing on the needs of others didn't come naturally either but I found that enjoyable and rewarding almost right from the start . It FELT GOOD to serve...something Inever really knew.

So the lesson was that Hope returned but it took time...and I think that is what can impact the newcomer to recovery the most is the wait...most don't make it through the long, painful stretch  where things don't get better right away and figure..."If this is recovery, forget it...I'd rather be miserable and DRUNK" and they relapse. 

I think that is the hardest part...adjusting to a new kind of living and the fact that it can take a long, long time for some folks to fully make that transition.

But for me..Now, I wouldn't have it any other way. But that doesn't mean that I am out of danger for relapse. No...I believe that it can always happen if you let your guard down and especially if you start focusing on self over others. To me...that is the most critical part: Helping Others!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Opportunity KNOCKS...Again?

I remember one of my therapists or perhaps a therapy group leader who always started off each session by reminding me that each new day is an opportunity to do and BE something special. Opportunity being the key word there...Oh how I hated hearing her say that! It still makes me feel funny inside.

But (and there is always a "but", right?) even though it was annoying and repetitive hindsight I have to admit that it pretty much holds true in my life today. That is how I see each day: As an opportunity to grow, explore, to learn, etc, etc, etc. That still does not make it easy to put that philosophy in practice when life continues to throw you curve-balls or is just plain hard...but it gives me something to focus on when life is difficult. It really helps to keep me focused.

I admit that I have a very tough time this morning looking cheerfully on this day to come and happily seek out whatever new opportunities come my way. I'm physically not feeling well, K's still dealing with a great deal of employment and custody adversity plus even more serious health issues this time then I am. Where is the good in that? How can THAT possibly turn into a positive situation?

Honestly...I haven't a clue...but typically I find myself pleasantly surprised to realize at the end of the day that indeed...something good did take place. So I am hopeful...and I find that the attitude of hope alone often is enough on it's own to change the attitude or dynamic of a potentially sh*tty day.

So Outside we go...where at 5:30a in the morning it is already 75 degrees...a great time to get a wee bit of exercise.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stay The Course....

Well it is nearly 100 degrees, fairly humid and we are still deal with what seems to be more then "our" fair share Adversity in the health, employment and "life in general" department. Basically the old saying goes...sometime you kick butt...other times it is your turn to get your but kicked...both Kim and I have freaking blisters and bruises galore on our particular Gluteus maximus, if you know what I mean. It's been butt whippin' time on the ranch around here for like the last four freaking years...isn't it someone else's turn?!

I know...whine, whine, whine...still, it seems a bit excessive. We really could use some positive news in our lives because I can feel my inner Dr Jekyll...turning into Mr Hyde. What I mean is when I get faced with major adversity I tend to switch into full on aggression mode, basically I get pissed and less then nice when confronted with such situations. It is a trait that has really helped me during some very bad and extreme situations in my life but 'tis not a good everyday way to feel, be or act.

So I guess what I am saying is that even after all these years sober, working in recovery I can still struggle (probably like everyone else) when stuff doesn't go my way. I am still working my way through how to deal with adversity and it often feels like I'm failing the class. 

I know...that is where Faith comes in and it is true. Unlike many, I do not see Faith as this unknowing trust that God makes things better. Why? Because GOD NEVER promises that things will be better...ever. What he does say is he won't forget me when the sh*t hits the fan and looking back on my life that has proven true. 

Things often didn't go my way but he was always there guiding me all along. Perhaps I needed to work through some adversity...Who knows?! I don't pretend to know the ways of God..I just do my best to FOLLOW. 

And the fact that I am still here is a testament to that trust and faith. I've tried the path of SELF...satisfying my needs first and foremost and usually that not only didn't solve my issue but it caused Chaos in the process. No I think I'll stay the course...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Temperature Taking Time (The 3 T's)

In a certain kind a way, I take my "emotional temperature" several times a day, every day of the year...I refer to it as Temperature Taking Time and these days I do it automatically and never have to think bout it before hand. So...what do I mean by emotional temperature? Basically I kind of doing a mini-inventory on how I'm feeling emotionally, plus spiritually, physically and psychologically. And really I'm kind of making it sound like a bigger deal then it really is BUT the truth is that I have found it an invaluable tool in keeping myself grounded, healthy and on an even keel.

Like a lot of people, I can let myself get wrapped up in stuff that in the bigger picture, really doesn't mean anything. Today that sounds like no big thing but when I first got sober...let's face it...people drink over that kind of ridiculous crap. So this was one way I used to avoid doing that.

I also monitored the basic stuff that could impact me in a negative way: Am I hungry, angry,  lonely or too tired? I know, it sounds like silly stuff when you think of it but many a recovering addict who relapsed will tell you they weren't eating well, not getting enough sleep and stuff started to overwhelm them and before they knew it they were drinking...

So even though I'm light years away from the days when I was in immediate danger of taking a drink if something went wrong...I still stay on top of that stuff and it helps me relax, keeps me aware of how I'm doing and I think that awareness also makes me a better friend, family member, significant other and human being because I'm not just aware of what I am thinking or feeling but I can anticipate or recognize when one of the people I am close to is struggling or has a need.

It all goes along with the philosophy of helping others and getting out of that self oriented mind set that dominated my thinking and lifestyle for so many years. This sounds complicated but it really isn't. part of that is because I am truly interested in people today instead of just appeasing them to get what I want or need from them. 

It is something I continue to explore as I get older and more experienced living a spiritual based life focused on service instead of self. I know...iy sounds like a load of hooey (I always have to find a use for that of my favorites!) but it really isn't...I prefer it this way.

Streak Is Broken

I don't know if I've ever gone over 24 hours without posting something so today may be a first but technically I haven't "skipped": a day because I wrote some thing on Saturday and it was STILL SUNDAY when I started this post though I fell asleep and never did finish it.
But I guess if I am to be honest about it...I didn't post yesterday so my long streak of writing everyday has come to an end.

it's funny, I never felt any pressure to post came very naturally. Yesterday was the first time i ever really thought about it from a " need to do this prospective and but the truth of the matter was that in the big didn't matter. So I'll just pick up where I left of.

Now it's time to go outside...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's Freakin' HOT BRO...

The fact that it may be a "Dry Heat" is not gonna make much of a difference on this blast furnace kind of a day...Especially when you live with senior citizens...who are always "cold" all the time, even when 80 degrees IN THE HOUSE!

So the ritual of haggling about when we can turn the air conditioner on begins. I am really not a big AC type of person but daily temps in the 90's for a few days is enough motivation for me.Why suffer when you have it.

It's odd but Dad has spent the last 45 years going to a health club and his routine was always pool, light exercise and his body is very acclimated to the heat...I think that is a hug part of this too. And he is definitely at the age where he is pretty much incapable of understanding someone else's need's nor does he much care. It keeps stuff interesting that's for sure!

But it is what it I'm going for a walk. When I was a teenager growing up here I spent summers living here at the cottage and it was just my grandmother and I during the week. It was awesome, I pretty much had freedom to do as I pleased but I was very close to my grandmother so other then snag some of her JW Dant Whiskey, I really looked after her. Those were really good memories and some of the few from my childhood that weren't ruined by the hell of what had happened to me.

Anyway...gonna behow, stay hydrated...and YEA...Stay COOL!

Friday, June 15, 2012

"It's The Feet In Them Shoes, Maud"

Perspective...You have one dear reader, your parents do or did, the neighbors do, their kids as well...the folks at work, the guy at the gas station all have their own perspective. I certainly have mine and nowadays I'm not ashamed nor afraid to show or demonstrate it...that's what getting sober and a shot of self-esteem will do for you.
 I absolutely love the fact that all humans are different...each with our very own DNA...and perspective. The key to unlocking one's perspective and becoming that unique YOU for all to see is a little confidence, a dash of moxie, some guts and more then a little "crazy". And THEN: let yourself fly....
All way easier said then done of course. But it can be done and when done right...well watch out....SPECIAL people happen. The truly special ones who are what they are...and do not care what you or I think about it...not one whit.

It isn't an easy way to live...blazing one 's own trail as an individual. So many fall into the trap and think  that to truly be an "individual" you need to rebel, push people away and control ALL the details. I believed that once and lived that misguided interpretation of that philosophy almost to the day it killed me.

No I have lived long enough now to know that ANY full life lived on this planet includes GOD and good, healthy relationships with others. I know it doesn't sound as glamorous as giving the whole world thew finger and doing IT your way but in my experience...actually living is better then dying. Hey...that's just my opinion, tee hee!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I love the word combo Hocus-Pokus...just the way it rolls off the just SOUNDS cool. And it can mean all sorts of mysterious stuff or imply that some "funny business" is INDEED going on!

Yea it is also what I used to think a belief in God was...HOCUS-POKUS. Well when I wasn't thinking it was a bunch of Hooey! I didn't have a lot of use for it because I thought it was all "religion" and religion was an invention of Man used to control other men by guilt, fear and intimidation. What's more scary then being threatened with eternal DAMNATION, eh?!

I would look at the few true crack pots who were Christians and jump to the conclusion they were all that way. Here I was someone who touted himself as being so open minded  yet I was judging a whole group of people by the actions of a few. It was convenient to blame THOSE Hippocrates for they were smug and thought (at least I thought they thought) they were better then the rest of us.

I would mock their belief and "FAITH" in this unknown VOODOO like "god Thang" and Angels and such. Of course at this very same time I believed in reincarnation and believed I had actually lived another whole other life time and I didn't think that was odd or Hocus-Pokus...And other people I hung out with hated Christians to, thought they were nuts for believing in GOD but thought my belief in living before was "cool" and they accepted least to my face they did. 

I know people mock conversions to God due to addiction or other trauma in their lives as being be it...The alternative for me was dying so I can handle being made fun of. Frankly I don't really give a rip what they think...I'm just know what happened in my life  and I couldn't believe it. 

All my doubt and skepticism just disappeared and I knew there was something going on inside of was so obvious. I tend to treat other people a little differently then some people who believe...I really don't push my faith specifically with words but many people know my story and it seems so utterly IMPOSSIBLE...even for the most cynical folks to believe I actually survived this whole chaotic death trip on my own. My story speaks for me.

A Wee, Little Nudge, Mon...

I think one of the most interesting and surreal aspects of my being sober is my ability sense and feel things I never felt or noticed before. 

One example of that just blows my mind. I have stated before that I am an emotional person, I can be moody and intense...and though recovery has helped me in that area those things are still true about me...I'm emotional, moody and intense...often all at the same time. I think that is why I excel at the things I like to do...I have an ability to focus that energy into extreme passion and dedication.

On the other hand those same attributes can produce negative results as well especially if I let them run rampant and exercise no effort to control those emotions. And that can happen in an instant so I really have learned to be aware of it at all times.

So one of the weirder ways I have used this enhanced ability to sense and feel is I can now tell when one of these super intense moods and attitudes is coming on me, often well before it does and I can avert it all together. Or at the very least it prepares me a bit so at least I am aware of whats happening to me.

In the past I never knew what hit me and I could really fly off the deep end. I just think this is another way I have adapted to my circumstances.

In my next post I'll explore the connection between those "nudges" I feel and the spiritual side of my life...the Hocus-Pokus post, so to speak. Until THEN....                                                                                                                       

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Darkest Before The Dawn (Re-Post)

One of my good blog Bud's left a comment on my latest post reminding me that it often is darkest just before the dawn...awesome advice and so true.

Ironically that was also the title to one of the most difficult posts I ever wrote here on Shell Shock Serenade. On December 8, 2010 I wrote in detail about the day i tried to take my own life. It still remains one of the most significant and important breakthroughs I've made not only in blogging but in coming to grips with what I had done and who I was then and who I am now.

I share that post with you again today:  

Darkest Before The Dawn...

I wrote this morning about waking up and feeling quite low, then the feeling passes after a while. What I probably should have emphasized is the fact that this is still very different then how I used to feel. Back in the drinking /drugging days, I would wake up and regret that I was still alive. I really would think "I can't believe I'm still here!". I felt so utterly hopeless then too...

Seriously....I was not an alcoholic who was in denial about my addiction, not at all. I knew what I was and would admit it.....I was an alcoholic and a drug addict.  I just had no real desire to change, even if the drinking or using drugs eventually lead to my death...Hey, the sooner the better! Which it most certainly would have done, I think if I didn't kill someone else first while driving a car. So life choices looked like death or prison. 

Just before I got clean I kept wrecking my car: Hit a tree going 55 mph (the saving grace being I drove through part of a corn field before I hit it or I'd probably have died right then and there), I pulled out of a friends driving way  and rolled down a ravine (landed on my wheels, put it in 4WD and drove torn up SUV right up the side of the ravine, out to the road and home) and lastly I slid into a deep ditch on a sunny, Saturday afternoon, towed it out with my pick up and tore part of the front end off in the process. So....I truly believe that it was just a matter of time before I killed someone else or myself in a car, no doubt about it.

(Warning: The following paragraph contains various, specific details about the attempt to take my own life. This isn't a movie, it happened. Some folks might want to skip this part, it's up to you...)

Honestly though, I believe deep down that I was destined to die a hopeless addict/alcoholic. I just could not see any light in life, not even a sliver of hope. Darkness followed by blackness,  a cold forbidding, lonely, eternal anguish, always followed by pain...more and more pain. Why would I NOT desire death? Anything seemed better then the way I was living, the way I felt at that time. So I decided to die and honest to god I was sure that I had enough drugs to do the job. Sleeping pills, anti-depressants, tranquilizers, pain killers, anti-seizure medication, muscle relaxers and more. I was drunk and had been on a drug (read Coke/Morphine) binge for 3 days....I remember looking at several pill bottles full of the stuff. And then one by one I choked 'em down with a Vodka and Cran....I thought I might puke so I put duct tape over my mouth and laid down to sleep forever....I really believed that was IT.

Yet...I did not fucking die! I came to in the hospital and I remember being so very cold, ice cold to my bones. And the light burned like razors in my eyes. My head hurt, hell I hurt every where. But my heart hurt the worst because I knew that now I had no choice but to live....and I had no idea how I was supposed to do that. I cried but couldn't produce tears. It's like a dry heave cry, a wail of sorts, sobs...I think I would have hit myself if I hadn't been restrained.That moment, tied to that bed I felt as low as I ever had in my life. I had no where to go. I was broke....and broken. I was so afraid, I felt so hopeless and lost...completely w/out hope and really all alone. 

I had no idea then that I was at the crossroads of my life, THE turning point. I would never have to feel that way again (and up until now, over 5 years later, I haven't) and I was beginning a brand new life.

 Of course I had no idea that any of this was going on at the's all the benefit of hindsight. I just knew that once again, I had failed. Failed to die, failed to relieve my loved ones of the burden of ME. Sure they'd be sad if I died but they'd get over it. I knew better then they did what was best....I was doing this for THEM!  What a line of bullshit that was. I was giving up, quitting, I was scared and I wanted to run away forever. So typical of me to run! But it didn't happen that way. Nope....

It truly was the darkest, just before the dawn....of a brand new life.


Well what can I say...the "Adversity Bug" still seems to be haunting us (K and I) still, big time. Honestly I'm reluctant to even write about it anymore because it begins to appear as if I'm whining and complaining, feeling sorry for myself or K-Sue.

Kim's assignment at her current position was ended, oddly last night by a phone call at 8pm from the Temp Service she works for. It was a Shock and now we start over. 

We are both grateful for the love and support of our friends but that being said it is getting very difficult to carry on. The further we go into this the HARDER not easier it gets...I cannot even begin to figure this out so we keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue to push up the hill. NEVER SURRENDER...