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Friday, August 31, 2012

Sun God or Post Writing Excuse...You Choose!

There are many different reasons I write posts for this blog. Sometimes I am venting or EMO-Ving as it were.  EMO-Ving for the uninitiated around here stands for "Emotional Vomiting" or another, more dramatic (and gross) way to say venting. I may have made some discovery about myself that I wanted to share or I perhaps I just feel the obligation to post something because I consider this a 'daily, real time blog" and real time means just that...right now.

Those are all cool and legitimate reasons to write a post. Other reasons are that I might be following up a comment or previous post or there might be something that just occurred to me that is relevant to where I am at,
right at this moment.

Well this post is being written for none of those reasons....nope. I actually decided too sit down and take the time to (attempt) to write a post (no easy task during these days of no sleep). 

The bottom line is I wrote the post so I could use the above picture which I happen to think is really cool! I often feel like I'm carrying the Sun and so for one shining moment this afternoon in a blog post...I am.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One Night

I'm actually going to try and post. The Republican National Convention is on and Mitt Romney is about to accept his Party's nomination and give his acceptance speech.

I love the fact that here in America we get to debate the issues and CHOOSE our leaders. This process is sacred and rare...we are one of the few countries that possesses such a system . I still get excited about the Election Process in our country and that feeling goes back to the first election I remember ever really paying attention to, Ford/Carter in 1976 because I had a Social Studies Class that actually had assignments requiring us to follow along.That was the beginning of my involvement and interest in the political process.

Romney gave an interesting speech and it will be interesting to see how the President responds at the Democratic National Convention.

Well I've just run out of gas so although this is not all I wanted to write about tonight, I have to shut it down. Good Night...

At Wits END

Today was another day trying to get my life back on some kind of reasonable schedule...but to no avail. I have just about had it with living this way...I am so frustrated, exhausted and angry. Anyone who has been forcibly sleep deprived for days at a time should know how I am feeling. 

But just as I feel like I am going to spin off the tracks I get enough energy to hang in for another few hours. And that is pretty much how I've been getting by but I am running out of steam and just feel totally sick and outta-whack.

No Go...So I'm Going Anyway!

I am heading out this morning to get some early morning exercise. I have not slept yet but plan on trying to nap after I get back. So I'll catch you in a couple of hours....

PHOTO: Kathy Tomsom

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I am going to try and post something today but I'm not optimistic about the results....

For those of you who have regularly read Shell Shock you may recall that I have had some periods in the past where I literally cannot sleep for days...yes even weeks on end and that is exactly what has been happening to me lately.

And I haven't a clue whats causing it but I've gotten to the point where I can't really write. I keep nodding off at the keyboard or hit a long string of the same keys....what a freakin' mess...I'm a complete train wreck physically and that begins to take a major toll on me and I am getting really frustrated.

I began working on this post early this afternoon and this is all the further I've gotten nat 9:55pm tonight. Enough said...


I'm exhausted and going through another one of those bad patches where I haven't really slept more then a few minutes each day. Every minute of each day right now is a blur... I'm just holding on and doing the best I can. Good Night....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Melancholy Monday would be an apt description of my journey through out this day. I have not been able to gather any kind of enthusiasm or energy to keep things moving along and it feels suspiciously like I'm rafting down a river of molasses as time goes oh so slowly by...

At least I know that I am not dealing with the "Black Dog" (Depression) this, this feeling is much less powerful and intense then that. Describing the feeling as melancholy is perfect because that is exactly the way that I feel...half way in between high and low...happy & Sad or cheerful & quiet.

It is a rather unusual spot for me and one I rarely find myself in. I tend to be a person of extremes...I am far more comfortable that way.           

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All The Difference

I do find myself rather weird cat for the way I get emotional about certain things.  The last couple weeks contain a couple of good examples of that...For instance, I was completely blown off my emotional foundation by the post/picture of the dog of a Cancer victim saying goodbye to his master one last time. That story and image have been seared into my memory and it still really bothers me.

The passing of Neil Armstrong, the first person to ever walk the moon is another example. I was just really affected by his death and I never knew the man. He was a very influential role model to me as a boy...not only did I follow his exploits on TV but I also read countless books and magazine articles that I cut out of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, TIME and NEWSWEEK. I suppose I am just a little surprised at the intensity my reaction to his passing.

Those are some examples of what I mean...I do realize that I am the kind of person that just feels things a bit more intensely then some people is just part of the make-up of who and what I am. And today I can accept that without a hint of hesitation. In the past I would try and hide my true reaction to things because I felt odd or embarrassed about it. I was far too insecure about myself and frankly, I didn't know what I was about anyway. It's different today...I am much more comfortable just being me and boy does THAT make all the difference in the world!

PHOTO: Kathy Tomson

Saturday, August 25, 2012

He Flies With The Stars Now...

Neil Armstrong...the very first human being to walk on the Moon has died today and for this star-struck child of the Apollo Space Program it is a Sad, Sad day indeed...

I was obsessed with going to the Moon...what 7 year old boy in July of 1969 wasn't?! We all wanted to ride that gigantic candlestick (The Saturn V Rocket) to the Moon and perhaps beyond. And it all seemed POSSIBLE now because of what these magnificent men of the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury Space Programs did. They fulfilled President John F Kennedy's Promise to put an American on the Moon before the decade of the 1960's was out...and they most certainly did that.

It was all so incredibly exciting, watching mission after mission of men go up and get closer and closer finally ending with a successful landing on the Moon and Armstrong's immortal words: "One small step for Man, One giant leap for Mankind". He was a larger then life figure for boys like myself...a real explorer like Columbus or Lewis & Clark except he lived in our world right now.

Another exciting aspect to Armstrong being the first Man on the Moon was his connection to Purdue University where my Grandfather worked and a great many family members went to father, aunts/uncles and even my son Ian. He would periodically speak at a function at the school so as a young man I actually heard him speak a couple of times on the importance of Space Exploration...something I still feel strongly about today.

He was a very shy and private addition to serving in the Korean War as a Fighter Pilot in the Navy, he was also first and foremost a scientist in addition to being an astronaut and pilot.

Today our country lost a true of it's great HEROES. Rest In Peace, Neil.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tears Of Shattered Glass

It was very strange of me and totally unexpected. Early this morning I was online doing some blog-work as I often do in the wee hours of the day when the image of the woman with Cancer I posted in a blog-post Aileen popped up on my screen. There she was, obviously unconscious with her dog Jethro licking her face. I became overwhelmed by the sight of it and the thought:"Now that she has died...who is gonna take care of Jethro?" That realization and question just devastated me and I'm not sure why. But the thought of that poor dog going on without his owner broke my heart.

I know I'm intense...I know this subject (Cancer) pushes ALL of my emotional and psychological buttons yet I'm still shocked that I feel as moved as I do.I just feel a sense of abandonement for the dog.

Sad, Melancholy Day In The Fight Against Cancer

Today I'll try to get off the heavier then normal focus of my recent blog posts. It is just that the whole Cancer subject wounds me first experience was burying a friend who wasn't even 30 years old. She had fought tooth and nail to rid her body of the Cancer in a 3 year fight, spent a year in remission and then the BASTARD (Cancer) came back and within 3 weeks she was dead.

I guess I didn't do a very good job getting off writing about all the  "heavy stuff" did I?! Sorry...there is just too much emotion in me this morning concerning this will be all I can do to keep turning it over to GOD to keep me from exploding...Next to RAPE and it's consequences....nothing get's me as emotionally wound tight as Cancer. Those two subjects, (both have affected me personally) bring out the rage in me faster then any other subject WITHOUT FAIL!

And now...with the latest move by Lance Armstrong to stop fighting (read statement) USADA's (United States Anti-Doping Agency) unfair and unprecedented attack against him, he will now be labeled a drug cheat. This absolutely breaks my heart. This case is way to complex to begin discussing it HERE this morning but I truly believe it is a witch hunt, even a judge said that even though he does not have jurisdiction to rule that ASADA has deliberately targeted Armstrong, years after the time limit expired. And frankly even is he did dope back then, though out of thousand of drug tests he never failed a one, he would have only been doing what everyone else was then so it would not have been an advantage.

You're probably wondering what this has to do with this post on Cancer...well this Charade by ASADA has taken Lance away from work on LIVESTRONG, his foundation that truly FIGHTS CANCER. Now perhaps he can re-focus on what's most important to him now...The fight against this horrid disease.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Change Of Perception

I left yesterday with a post I wish I never had to see...let alone write and be a part of. It began with a picture of a hospice patient, obviously gravely ill lying in her bed with but hours to live. The woman's brother had brought her dog Jethro from home to see his owner one last time before she died.

On one hand there obviously is something incredibly tragic about this picture of a beloved pet dog saying a final goodbye to his 46 year old owner...yes...Aileen was but 46 years old...4 years younger then I am. She was way too young to die but Cancer is no respecter of age or race or gender...IT KILLS indiscriminately.

But in a strange yet subtle way there is something incredibly poignant about that picture and scenario. It is not only a testament to the incredible will to live some people have (just looking at Aileen one can see she has put up a gallant fight she has put up, right down to the FUCK CANCER Bracelet on her right arm).

So today instead of wallowing in sorrow...I look to the Heaven's with a BIG smile for fought the good fight, your brother and your family have taken your cause up from you and fight on in this terrible, heartbreaking WAR against this awful disease. But today...because of your picture I can see hope and BE hopeful that the day when they find a way to win this war is shortly at hand.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Aileen & Jethro...Broken Heart

I was not always a great fan of FaceBook. No...My first impressions were basically that it was a massive waste of time. But I have since discovered many positive things about it and actually give FB some credit for helping me break the chains of isolation. But that is not what I am writing about tonight and I'll leave THAT great story for another time.

Early this morning had a post come across that literally took my breath away and proceeded to break my heart. It was a picture (Above) of a woman and we know this only because we are told. She is so ravaged by illness (Cancer) that it's impossible to know by looking at her.

The woman is lying in a bed at Hospice and her Dog is half on the bed licking her face. We find out through the text of the story that the woman's name is Aileen and that is her dog Jethro. He is saying goodbye to her because within minutes after this photo was taken by her broken hearted brother Miles, Aileen dies after a long, tough fight against the Breast Cancer that eventually killed her.

The author of this post is Mile's girlfriend Xeni, who goes on to explain that Miles and Aileen both lost their mother a few weeks after finding out that Xeni too has Breast Cancer as well. 

The stark hard facts of reality in this scenario leave very little room for HOPE when it comes to this HORRIBLE disease...I was stunned by the implications I saw in this post....potentially the 3 woman closest to Miles (Mother, Sister, Girlfriend) dead in the very prime of their lives thanks to that Angel of DEATH called CANCER. Aileen, whose hand is pictured above in the hands of her brother Miles.....was only 46 years old.


I'll make a little confession here. I am posting this more because I have a really cool picture to share then I have anything really important to say. 

This little bugger reminds me of myself during the "Cocaine Days"...I was like a ball of continuous, intense energy and that is exactly what this Hummingbird looks like except with little wings going a million miles per hour!

I think the reason I like this picture so much is that the photographer, my friend Kathy Tomson...does such a wonderful job capturing not only the motion of her subject but the overall intensity and determination of that little winged fireball to LIVE...not an easy feet at ALL BUT SHE SUCCEEDS!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

INVERTED Is Not Upside-Down

I'm sure it would not surprise anyone who knows me or my story that throughout my journey from active addiction to a life of recovery I have been through many different kinds of moods and emotional upheaval. It just logically comes with the territory. I would dare say there isn't an emotion or combination of emotions that I have not felt at some time in the last 6.5 years of sobriety.

But I can't really ever recall feeling like I have been lately. I typically feel every emotion to it's very core...I feel things "heavily" that is to the very deepest denominator. I've really always been that way and wouldn't really know any other way to approach life except head on, full bore, damn the torpedoes, etc, etc..

But as of late I have not felt things that way and it is really rather odd. There are moments that I can just barely register an emotion or a reaction to what's happening right then....I'm not even certain I am feeling or thinking anything at all. This definitely has not ever happened to me before. On the contrary I was ALWAYS on the verge of being over-whelmed or swept away by my own emotional intensity so NOT feeling something is tantamount  to having my world inverted....and for the last couple of days that is the way I've a stranger in a real strange world.

I feel emotionally blind-folded in a way yet there is part of me that gets a strange sensation of freedom...of experiencing free flight that I am at loss to explain it except to say it's rather pleasant and  oddly I am at home with it.   

At first I suspected fatigue but I have had periods in the last few months where fatigue has been much more of an issue then it is today. So I'm not really sure where this has come from though I think the calm feeling of freedom I'm experiencing is serenity and peace of mind. Those are definitely not normal everyday feelings for me..but I could certainly get used to it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Flexible Variety

I'll admit that I have kind of a double standard for myself when it comes to posting on Shell Shock Serenade. On one hand the original premise is to capture the life of a recovering alcoholic/addict on a daily and real-time basis meaning the posts should be relevant, as they happen kind of thing. And I certainly have found no shortage of subjects to expound on...

But then there are other times where I spend a great deal of time working out what I am going to write about in advance, writing and re-writing it until it "sings" as it were. Both methods have provided good work for me and it's such good work that I am OK continuing on using both methods....I like the variety it provides not only the blog but the poor old sod who writes the thing as well!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Living In The VOID

Sunday, Sunday....oddly it is now one of my favorite days of the week. During the last few years of my career while overseeing a group on 3 shift I dreaded Sundays because I had to wait around all day and evening to go to work at 9p at night. It was an awful schedule, I was completely and totally bankrupt by the end of my days at Herman Miller...emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually bankrupt. I was not even running on fumes so my eventual collapse into chaotic and insane behavior seems almost logical as I look back with the benefit of hindsight.

No human being can be expected to endure a physical and mental strain of that magnitude brought on by the stress and strain of working such ridiculous hours. I had become completely isolated from friends, from family and from life itself by the very nature of working nights and especially working 12 plus hours a day.

I had no support from my spouse at the time or anyone else living with me then....everyone in my household at that time went about their own business and I

began to really resent their freedom while I felt I was sacrificing for them. It really fueled the anger I was already feeling deep down to the very depths of my soul.

Now I didn't expect people to change their entire lives around just for me, especially my kids who were really exempt because they are not responsible for maintaining the household. But even today I think that spouses have a sacred duty to support one another...especially during such a demanding and difficult time. And in my experience I rarely see that happening...I suppose that is why my opinion of marriage is so low. I basically do not see the point for most marriages...unless it is an absolute commitment to each other in front of GOD I think it's hollow, a house of cards and will collapse. I just don't believe in marriage without some HIGHER purpose.

It is a lesson I learned the hard way and as K is now working some ridiculous hours at her new temp job, it has motivated me to go to any lengths I can to help make her life more reasonable, to support love her. I wait up for her to get off work at 1:30a and make her dinner. I have adapted my schedule to hers as much as possible and try do what I can to ease her daily burden...whether that means running her errands or doing her shopping well then I do it. And it has helped. 

K's working 6-10 hr days...3p-1:30a M-Sat. She has already been told that they will hire her after 90 days so we are motivated as a team to keep her working there.

I do want to say that I don't blame my X for my job stress, our divorce, my alcoholism or anything is just a simple fact that there was no support for my working those hours, I was on my own to take care of virtually in a vacuum completely isolated from the people I care about and society as a whole...It is what it was.

Plus I know now that you cannot live life in a vacuum...that you need to reach out to people and that was not something that I was very good at. Today of course is a much different story.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Renewal & Redemption

Today is just an amazingly beautiful day and with the low this morning at 47 degrees, it is obvious we are now on a solid Autumn Trajectory. And I for one couldn't be happier about that for I am a tried and true Lover of the Season:  A True FALL GUY.

I love Autumn with it's crisp cool leaf-smoke tinged's majestic "Fall Sky"...big billowy clouds and deep dark blue palette. The leaves changing color and the subtle hint that Winter, Mean Old Man that he on the way.

I have always been somewhat f``inated with the concept of Fall that everything it can begin again...Renewal. The concept of renewal is one that most of us are OK with because we would all like a chance perhaps to start again...knowing what we KNOW, of course! 

I've posted this several times before but it is simply one of my favorite poems...shoot it's one of my favorite written works period. "Late October" by Maya Angelo is an excellent example of this concept of renewal...of beginning again.


the leaves of autumn
sprinkle down the tinny
sound of little dyings
and skies sated
of ruddy sunsets
of roseate dawns
roil ceaselessly in 
cobweb greys and turn
to black 
for comfort.

Only Lovers
see the fall
a signal end to endings
a gruffish gesture alerting
those who will not be alarmed.

That pretty much illustrates the point I am trying to make. That poem was on the back cover of the program at my wedding to Marcia. It has always been a profoundly important piece of art and philosophy in my world and that continues that way today.

So when I headed out this morning at 5:15 and the air burned with the cool crispness of newly chilled air on summer-sun-tanned skin FALL was the first thing that came to my mind (other then the fact that I was FREAKING COLD!!)

I can look back at various points in my life now and tell that in their own way they were times of Autumn for the Soul as it were and critically important periods of renewal at that... particularly after I found recovery. 

I now understand the value of a "step-back" in one's daily life...a time to pause, to ponder and re-evaluate on the fly how I am feeling and whats going on. This has proven invaluable to me because it helps to keep things in perspective...and that is so critical to seeking happiness and serenity on the road to recovery.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hot Buttered Keyboard BOY

I'm all buttered up, with no place to go...except to my the freakin' Blog again! It's a rather interesting combo...A keyboard and hot buttered popcorn. It makes for a rather, slippery wicket, I'd say old CHUM!

Such is the "Wild & Crazy" Chaos of a Friday Night for this old War-Bird...I'm really burning the candle at both ends out, I'm living hard and fast on the razor's edge! I imagine given the right (or in my reality - the WRONG) set of circumstances I could probably still hold my own in staying out late and hanging out though I know now that it would be impossible for me to stay sober if I was out and about until the wee hours all the time. 

For me the whole point of staying out all night and raising hell was to get blasted in the partying and hanging out really  makes no sense at all to me without the "blown out of my mind" part....and I have absolutely NO DESIRE to go back to that life again, no freaking way!

But I digress....imagine that, little 'ole MOI has gotten a bit out of control! I'll leave it at that for now and move on to the shower...where I'm long over-due to rinse all the extra butter off of me....

Riding My WAVE

I am not going to go out on a limb and claim this with any certainty but a little part of me feels that I just may be getting some of my writing "MOJO" back. And the main reason I feel that way is I can write a WHOLE freaking sentence or more without falling asleep at the keyboard and making a royal mess of it all.

The words and subject matter of these last half dozen or so posts are starting to FLOW outta me without much resistance or thought at all...and that my blog reading friends is a very good sign for this tired and somewhat burned-out Blogger.

Indeed...the stream of thought by which I live and die when it comes to my writing seems to be back in form and I couldn't be happier. When I have to think about what I am writing it simply isn't as good as the stuff that just pours out on it's own and needs but a tweak here or there to be ready for publishing. 

So I am hoping to build on some of the recent post ideas that have come from the most recent offerings and see if I can find a MEGA-WAVE to ride into the weekend...or the SUNSET.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It 'Tis Nothing Shocking

I was just thinking about this blog and my involvement in blogging. I wouldn't even know where to start listing the benefits that have come my way because I've written Shell Shock Serenade. The act of writing about the difficult and "un-touchable" stuff made that stuff suddenly TOUCHABLE for the first time in my life. Talking about being raped brought that event down out of the clouds of fear and mystery and made it real (too f++king real at times, frankly) but real and because it is real and touchable it can be DEALT with...again for the very first time in my life. That my PRICELESS. Painful...Oh YEA but Priceless.

I was thinking about some of the people that I "know" now because of "Shell Shock" and because I read their stuff online. People I know but don't know because I've never met them, never will...shoot in most cases I don't know what they look or even sound like. People like CHRIS at Chaos and Kairos who as far as I know is now visiting the States (she lives somewhere over seas)...she has been a reader and commentator of Shell Shock for quite a while. Her blog is fantastic and she just strikes me as being "good people".

There is SG or Spockgirl over at Spockgirl Musings who has been a reader pretty much since the beginning. She lives in Canada...I believe out Vancouver way but I am not certain of that and you know what? It doesn't really matter. Christine Macdonald has a blog by the same name...a fascinating individual and so cool too. What a story she has to tell. 

All of these writers are people I'm sure I would never have the opportunity to meet and certainly not have conversations about my most intimate troubles, secrets and nightmares. They have been the shoulder that I've cried on when no one else would or was around. In our own weird way Bloggers are there for each other...these ladies I've named are all people I consider part of my support network...people whose opinions I actively seek and trust just by posting on the is a strange and unusual dynamic but one that really works. And yea...I don't really know any of them...but in another way I know them very intimately....that my friends is the benefit of blogging. They have been great listeners and all have their own poignant stories to tell.

I can't even scratch the surface when thinking how invaluable my blog experience has been and it was something that just popped into my head as I was sitting here thinking. I suspect I'll give this topic some thought and see if something comes out of it. For now....supper time.


Thinking It Through

After sharing last night that I have a rather difficult dilemma on my hands concerning some family related matters I spent some time thinking about how much simpler my life has gotten because I am now open and honest with people and typically have no need to cover up or lie about my true intentions.

It is true but that still doesn't guarantee that things will be better because there are still other people involved and they can behave any way they want to. But for the most part I have noticed that when I show up and act ethically and honestly...others tend to follow suite...or if they are anticipating a disagreement or confrontation, my more serene, rational manner has the tendency to deflate those kind of expectations and/or tensions.

The bottom line when it comes to my dealing with difficult decisions and coordinating complex, detailed plans with others is that I just need to keep it simple, honest and straight-forward. I have found that when I do have chaos or unexpected issues...inevitably in hindsight I will discover that I caused a lot of that stuff by how I originally handled it. 

I just have to continue to apply those lesson learned the hard way and things will continue to improve.

Lastly...the most difficult aspect of communicating and coordinating can be the difficult or demanding personalities of the other folks involved. I can very easily get annoyed and distracted from my course when dealing with someone who I find challenging.

Yesterday I had made some great progress moving forward on that particularly difficult decision I had to make...only to find out one of the people involved had asked a mutual friend to intervene with me to see if I could speed up the process up. Yep, I found that slightly annoying since I had until the 24th to answer but I let it the past I wouldn't have.

So today it is still a matter of just keeping it simple, leave emotion out of it if possible and keep moving forward.


Alluding To A Problem That I Cannot Not Explain

Overall, I think I can be pretty decisive most of the time. There are occasions where that isn't always the case and it usually has something to do with an issue or experience from my past that causes me to pause and start to ponder things. Once I start thinking about stuff, weighing all the issues and angles...well I have a tendency to bog down. 

But that is not how I usually operate...NOPE, typically I move pretty quickly through all of life's various obstacles. That is why it can be incredibly frustrating when I do find myself having real trouble deciding what I should do in a certain situation. What makes this whole dilemma even m,ore frustrating is that I thought I had already had this figured out.

It is probably more then obvious at this point that I have a decision to make that is causing me some major is also probably obvious at this point that I am not going to go into specifics here but let's just say that whenever I run into a situation that has to do with my past and my family, It is more then likely that I am going to run into trouble.

On more then one occasion in the last two days I thought I had this whole thing figured out only to screw myself over with a bunch of  questions that can honestly never truly be answered and have to start the whole process over again. And so I find myself spinning endlessly around in circles at loss at times as to what to do and equally sure of myself at other times that I know what's best. 

Ach, what a mess...

PHOTO: Kathy Tomson

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I just realized that I did something here at Shell Shock Serenade that I don't think I've done for a very, very long time...I skipped an entire day...I did not post a single word for August 14, 2012. This is extremely  rare...mainly because I am a complete jabber-box and posting multiple times in one "real time" is part of the original premise and mandate of the blog. I doesn't seem like that big of a deal in the overall realm of things but it was something that I had never let happen before.                        

Oddly...I could feel this bit of irresponsible behavior creeping up on me...I was feeling a little LAX with my posts. Let's face it...this is MY LIFE we are documenting isn't that interesting or exciting. But overall I feel we have captured in a very realistic way what it is like for some one who is trying to turn their life around by staying clean/sober One Day At A Time.

Of course when I started Shell Shock the focus was going to be on recovery from substance abuse...Little did I know that there was a huge new door that was about to swing wide open for me and that was when I started to post about being sexually assaulted (raped) as a 12 year old boy. That completely transformed the blog as it should have and this whole thing became about ONE PERSON'S Human Experience instead of being limited to someone's life of sobriety. And what an exciting change this has all brought about.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would write or talk about those very personal events to people I didn't know....honestly I could not picture saying anything about it to people I did know.

Anyway this whole situation has worked out in a way that I could never have imagined and it has been a really positive life experience...


Monday, August 13, 2012

Late Monday....

It is late Monday evening and I am doing a lot of thinking tonight. That can be both a positive and/or a negative thing. I was never one to be relaxed about my daily, I typically am one who stays really tuned into what's going on virtually by the minute. I just am wound kind of tight that way and prefer to hold things close to me. Sure I think that behavior was probably initially fueled by insecurity but now I think it has become a comfortable working method so I stick with it. 50 I don't want to change as much as I used to though I am still open minded therefore I am pretty reasonable about making change and accepting it necessary.

That (being open minded about change) is a minority position, I've noticed, among most human beings...haha! Most folks....regardless of their age really dislike....even HATE having to change the way they do things or the way things are. I really ran into that attitude and mind-set when I worked in production management for a world-class office furniture company. We were implementing and operating a Continuous Improvement System of Manufacturing based on Toyota's TPS (Toyota Production System)...this is a continuous change based philosophy. Change is encouraged therefore frequent and vigorous in this system and it took us more then 5 years to get the folks in the factory to accept that this is the way it's going to be. It was a very difficult transition for most people because they typically do not embrace change.

But eventually things worked out. My son is in the very same field today.

But those are the kind of things I have had on my mind this I am going to proceed with some difficult issues that exist in my world right now. Perhaps with out going into specifics I may include some discussion about those issues in a future post. But we'll have to deal with that at a later time. For tonight I am signing off and wishing all who are reading Shell Shock Serenade at this time, a very peaceful night...sweet dreams!

Photo: KT

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Messed-Up Mind-Set

I am not quite sure what kind of a day this is or how it is going to turn out. I really haven't spent any time at all with Kim.....K is coming off a huge week of over-time and adjusting to 2nd shift hours (3p-1:30a)...they are supposed to work M-Th but are working mandatory Friday's and Saturday's as well...

We decided to to use the day to get caught up on chores, spend some time together and..... imagine this: enjoy it!

I used to be one of those people that truly felt guilty when I realized I was actually having fun and heaven forbid, enjoying myself. It's just messed up to work yourself into a mind-set where enjoying yourself is not OK yet that is exactly where I found myself. 

It has taken some time and really a huge change to the way I approach work and play yet I have noticed a significant reduction in stress and a much more enjoyable mind-set where I accept both work and play as natural. 

Big Deal you say? Well, for me it really was true!

Photo: KT

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Oh my, it is already 9a Saturday morning and I am hoping I still have the motivation to write something but I am at a loss to know what that actually might lingers there...just beyond my comprehension.

There are certain areas or aspects of my life that I have traditionally just not done very well and it is very hard to admit and accept that. Because these "things" of which I speak also involve real people I happen to care about, I cannot in good conscience elaborate anymore on the details out of respect for their privacy but certain current events in my life are digging up similar scenarios and I'll be very honest, I don't really know what to do.

In the past I always tried to do what I considered the right thing to do...even if this decision led me into situations that were embarrassing or hurtful to me...I thought I was sacrificing for the sake of others. The problem was that they could have cared less what I was doing or why...I was just a fool. Now, I am once again facing a similar scenario and I have some decisions to make. In the past I never felt appreciated for doing what I thought was right and more importantly, I had serious doubts myself whether it was really the right course of action to be taking.

This time around I am giving some serious thought to not going through with it. I'm sure that my doing this will cause folks to be upset with me but as I just wrote...I went through with it in the past and nobody seemed to even notice so I figure why bother...Today I know that it's OK to put myself first at times...I can take care of myself without feeling guilty. I will add that this decision has come only after many days of thought and contemplation plus a great deal of personal meditation and reflection.

But there will still probably be a price to pay...I'm sure but today I am worth the trouble!

Friday, August 10, 2012

More About...STUFF

Once again I need to be a bit measured in how I post information about Kim and her work. There definitely are some positive signs but as soon as I posted about her job possibilities looking good this morning, I had several people write and post congratulations...

Well folks, I know you mean well and we really do appreciate your support but nothing has happened yet and probably wont for 3 months (90 day waiting period) but the key thing here is HOPE. There definitely are signs that maybe this is finally going to turn around for Kim and she will have a "real job" in the near future making all this stress and heart-break a little more WORTHWHILE.

So we wait and pray and work and hopefully find a sliver of time to play a bit all the while chipping away the 90 days and working toward a brighter future.

Thanks to all of you who have supported and encouraged us the last 8 months since K has moved down here ...we could not have done it without you. Your friendship means a great deal to us...


K's Good News (So Far)

The end of the week is here and I now feel comfortable mentioning that K started a new job on Tuesday and the prospect looks good for it to become permanent. It could still take 90 days to finalize because she is under contract to the company from a Temp service. That contract would have to be bought out.

Anyway, they are openly speaking of hiring her and that has NOT happened before so it is exciting. The job is 4 10 hour days (M-TH) but they are working mandatory 10's on Friday and Saturday. Her hours are 2nd shift 3p-1:30a so that is really rough but since I am flexible I can adjust to her schedule so she is not so isolated.

That was the downfall of my 5 year experience working 3rd shift management...I was completely isolated from my family and friends. It had a huge negative impact on me and I won't forget that. So I will do all I can to adjust to her time frame so we can establish a healthier routine. She will have 1st shift opportunities down the road as well so it isn't like she is trapped on the shift forever.

I was reluctant to mention this because I don't want to jinx it but it is what it is so this is the latest news fro K's employment home-front. More as we know it...

Photo: Kathy Tomson

Thursday, August 9, 2012

US Woman Win Gold!

United States
Photo:Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The US Women's Soccer Team Avenges their loss a little over a year ago to Japan in the World Cup by beating them tonight 2-1 for the Gold Medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games!

It was a tough, hard fought game all the way through...But this time the US women did not let their guard down late in the game and Japan, despite furious attempts to score the equalizer in the last 20 minutes of the game could not find the net and the Americans win.

I played soccer for over a decade as a boy and a teenager and have always loved to play and watch the sport. It's popularity in the U.S. is growing like crazy now primarily because ESPN has treated soccer as an A-1 popular American Sport. More and more soccer games...professional and International are being shown on TV then ever before.

I think the US Women's Team's success has really fueled this popularity and this Gold Medal will just ADD TO IT.

So way to go Ladies....Olympic Gold Medal Winners London 2012!!!

STORMY WEATHER (It's Wet & Raining Outside As Well!)

I am still weathering a bit of a storm inside of myself these last couple of days...every day to some degree really. I find it quite interesting that shortly after I got sober I started to use a weather metaphor to describe my emotional state...stormy, sunny, partly cloudy...they work well in describing human emotional states because most of us in our society understand the weather terminology therefore the translation is fairly easy.

Often I'll have waves of emotion wash over me, an emotional Tsunami if you will...those waves can run the spectrum from very positive emotion to the most painful and negative. There are many things that factor into this emotional state of being...the most significant to me today is that I am not masking, ignoring or trying to run from those emotions in any way. It is obvious that in the past I avoided feeling at all costs and I was usually successful at doing so. Naturally this didn't make the pain go away it just pushed it deeper so that it would grow and fester even more.....and ultimately find a way to make itself a most damaging way.

It is a cliche but I was an emotional was not a matter of if I would explode but when and how would it happen. It was a self-destructive, self-fulfilling prophecy. It had the affect of feeling like I had a Hell-Hound on my Trail. In other words I was totally aware that something very bad, something evil even...was chasing me down. I vividly remember the feeling yet I had no clue that this had anything to do with my repressing or avoiding my emotions through my use of alcohol and drugs.

I was living on instinct...a base, bottom-line survival instinct really where I always came first. I never second-guessed it and how can you...when an addict does not take care of their needs (for drugs mostly) immediately, they get tremendously sick so there is simply NO alternative: we have to be completely self oriented and selfish...often, life itself depends on feeding THAT monster. Certainly when you get to the point where I was of being so physically addicted to the drugs AND the alcohol.

But today it is HAVING and being forced to cope with the emotions that brings on the storm...and that is OK. It 'tis how it should be and I am getting better at dealing with whatever comes my way and in real time. In a follow-up post I will do my best to detail how I learned to live with the "bad stuff".

So until then... 

Lightening Fast

It is nearly 1am and the native's are restless tonight (I'm a bit sick to my stomach). I think I'm just a little tense tonight...I'm wound a little too tight and I think it's causing me some discomfort. I have a lot on my mind as well and unfortunately it is sensitive and private in nature...involving someone I am rather close to. So I can't in good conscience share whats on my mind....but it's troubling therefore taking up a great deal of "SPACE" in my head....Rent Free!

I don't obsess over such things as much as I use to but I still worry that I made a mistake or perhaps didn't do the right thing. Today I don't get as critical of others as I use to but I get much more critical of myself...I believe this a far more healthy and reasonable approach if only because I actually can control my reactions and/or behavior and with other people I cannot. I am totally powerless to change someone else.

So for me that is a much more positive way to go about my business....

Well it looks like the rain is letting up so I need to get my tired fanny outside and exercise.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Like many ideas I get for blog post topics this one came from commenting back and forth with another blog author on her this case it is one of my absolute favorite blogs (Chaos and Kairos) and one of my favorite bloggers:Chris.

It is not a new or original idea at all and frankly our commenting back/forth just reminded me of the topic and that I probably should address it on the blog.

So what you are likely see in the next few days/weeks/whatever are some posts on the various aspects of regret...regret for past behavior, the value of life experience gained during active addiction, the human cost of addiction (relationships) and other aspects on the subject of regret/guilt and I will try and answer the much debated questions was it worth it and would you do it again?

Those last two questions are a bitch  to answer and a huge dilemma because the TRUTH can be so complex and frankly, the answers to those questions can be rather ugly if one is completely honest about it. We don't like to admit that we would do it all over again...even if it meant creating the same chaos and pain as in the past.

It hurts to admit that we addicts often LIKE most of our experiences when we are drinking/drugging and it was ONLY when the price of that addiction got TOO PAINFUL that we gave up and threw in the towel to get help.    

The people who love us, that we often hurt the most, don't want to hear that we often aren't as regretful as they think we should be. And they really don't want to contemplate the impact when we say we'd probably do it all over again.

Because it is such a selfish, self serving point of view that we have. 

These are some of the issues dealing with the guilt, regret and value of experience that I am going to further explore over the next few posts. It is an unpleasant subject to think about because if you are truly honest about it you will discover things about yourself that ain't pretty. 

Well hold on folks...the Brutally Honest Train is leaving the Station...all ABOARD!  


A New Leaf (Continued)

I've decided to follow up my short  "turning over a new leaf" post with a follow-up entry. 

Today...Tuesday August 7, 2012 is Election Day here in Michigan. It is strange but even when I was a young adult more interested in making music and partying then being responsible...I always took voting very seriously. I have always considered it a great privilege just to vote, PERIOD.

It is not a joke or an exaggeration: Good people died for MY right to VOTE. Yea that sounds like I'm playing up the dramatics and maybe I am, but so be it...mainly because it is TRUE...thousands have died for my right to vote and the right to live as a free person in this wonderful place we cal AMERICA.

I adore Europe, I have often thought of living in England or the Flanders region of France or Belgium. But neither one of those two favorite places of mine rate over the country of my origin. I belong works too well and besides...I still get to visit.

The election today is mainly noted for it's impact on local politics because the Sheriff and Judges are up for election. The rest is primary stuff or the November Elections. But I have some interest in both the local judges and the Sheriff and I truly enjoy exercising my right to vote. 

Super-Fast Morning Thought

I am sitting down for a brief minute here to post on this very busy morning to try and break a habit I have gotten into lately of not posting first thing in the morning.

I've been busy in the A.M. of late so I have skipped the early morning post I usually have been doing at the beginning of each day...then last night I realized I did not like the precedent that has started so I'm taking a moment to post that I intend to get back to posting at the start of each new day.

So this is " A New Beginning's Post" #1....

PHOTO: Kathy Tomson

Monday, August 6, 2012

Moan-Day, Moan-Day...

Sore Body Parts? Uh...YEP! Which one's you ask....the answer without exaggeration is: It seems to me like pretty much all of 'em, mate! It it really does, too...

I have used the description that I feel as if I have fallen out of a tree before and today is most certainly a "Fell out of a tree" kinda day. Knees, numb feet, ankles, elbows, back, neck, hands, wrist, name it...sore, swollen, generally a big bummer, really.

As crazy as it may seem though, since this is more the "norm" for me in life then the isn't that big of a deal in the bigger picture of things. But it has me thinking about something else though that is a huge concern for me these days...My daughter Chelsea and her back injury.

Unfortunately, Chels has back damage just like her father. We aren't exactly sure about the origin of her trouble but it is more then likely the result of some inherited physical pre-conditions like narrowing of the spine and weakened disks, tendons and bone structure leading to to the tendency to give out on her when she least expects it.

I am really concerned for her not just because I am her Dad but as someone who has lived with this I understand the debilitating pain that never seems to lesson or go away. I am innately familiar with the way one's mind begins to betray them, to trick and manipulate you into thinking it's OK when it isn't. It can be a can turn you completely inside out emotionally.

That is why the support of the people who love you is the most important weapon in the fight against this kind of pain and disability. That is why I am here to support her. To let her know that she is loved and cared for.

I just absolutely hate to see her dealing with this and in her late 29's as well. It is around the same age I started  to really have trouble as well and I too had a young (read toddlers!) children and was a single father part of that time. It breaks my heart really when I see and hear of her experiences the exact same things that I did oh so many years ago. What is the possible purpose in this one must wonder?      

Ultimately we never will know but accepting what it is will be the first step toward managing one's life while being held to the fire of pain and disability.      

Pic by KT