Posts Tagged ‘Community’

I left this place long ago, but felt it needed to return to the thread that weaves my stability. It’s funny how therapeutic it is to bare your soul for anyone and everyone to see, but it is also funny to witness how destructive it can be. I have been reminded of both of these dualities as of late.

When I started this blog 20 or so months ago I started it as an extension of my dream of becoming a writer. I had just recently published a poetry book, and figured having a blog would further my career by brining in new fans. As time went this blog became the glue of my sanity. Being able to say my thoughts and opinions in their truest forms helped me cope with the truth and reality of what I really am. I was warned by those around me that being so open and candid will only lead to problems, but I ignored this advice not ever imagining my thoughts and opinions would ever lead to rejection and sorrow. I should have listened to those much wiser than myself because my words, my thoughts, my feelings and my everything led to the most gut wrenching type of rejection that a human being can endure and this is the rejection by family.

Every year we have a family reunion up at my Uncle Ernie’s place and it is a grand old time. The time spent there with my family is meaningful and memorable. I hold a very thin string connection with my family and this place and this time is one of the few moments where it doesn’t feel like there is an invisible void separating us. We were unable to go last year due to finances, and we were hoping but unsure again about going this year due to the same reasons. My kids always get bummed because they enjoy going there. I found it odd how we didn’t receive an invitation last year and we didn’t receive an invitation this year. This oddity was revealed to me about a month or so ago, and this information would set off a string of events, feelings, realizations, and over all shittyness that cannot be forgotten and can never be taken back.

The reason I wasn’t receiving invitations and the reason my mom sat at my house two months ago trying to hint us away from going to the cabin was because we were not invited to this family affair. Truth be told Ernie the person who hosts the event does not want me on his property. Not only am I not wanted but I am not welcomed. I am not sure which one is worse being not welcomed or not wanted?? Not only am I not welcomed and not wanted but my wife and kids are not neither welcomed nor wanted. Needless to say this news totally fucked my emotions and fucked my mind. I am not going to go into some deep sob story of my childhood emotional trauma, but rejection by family cuts pretty fucking deep. What’s double is as a byproduct of my rejection my wife and kids were rejected.

So why may you ask were we handed down verdicts of not being wanted or welcomed or worthy of sharing in the merriment of family? Why does Ernie not want us there? The answer is my blog. Apparently my thoughts, opinions, and my struggle with mental illness were too much for Ernie to deal with. He fears that I may infect his family with my illness and beliefs. You see Ernie is a religious man a Catholic in fact and my opinions on religion deeply offended him, as well as my many other writings including my opinions on the legalization of drugs, and my struggle with MI. These things bothered him so much that he felt the need to keep over 250 of my posts and even tried to use them as proof and evidence of my blasphemy as if I was on trial. I know my thought process and my views do not fall into the social norm, but for a family member to cast me out for this and for being me is as painful now as it was when I was ten, and when I was eleven, and when I was twelve…. You get the point.

As much as I want to right now I will not spew out my feelings towards this man. The e-mail I sent to him says everything I needed to say. It was short, simple, and to the point. I should also note that when he was conversing back and forth with the family he used this e-mail as evidence and justification for his bigotry. For a man of such strong faith he completely misses the moral and ethical lessons his Holy book teaches. There is no man who can judge me. This is up to God and God alone. Judge not lest you be judged, or some shit like that. I just have one thing to say to Mr. Ernie.

You cannot produce an e-mail and some blog posts to justify you being a bigot. You are worried about me infecting your children but truth be told I am the same now as I have ever been and every time I have been up there I keep these things to myself. I have never infected them, so part of your logic is a farce. I will say this though. I would never want my children exposed to someone so close minded and judgmental. I do not want my children even exposed to the concept of bigotry let alone to be exposed to one. We may not agree on a shit load of topics, but the difference between you and me is I am not intolerant of your beliefs and ideas. I would never reject you as a person for believing differently as I do. The inquisitions died long ago… Let it go. I want you to rest comfortably knowing there is a possibility that one day I will be burning in a lake of fire and torment for eternity with lets say gay people and everyone else you are intolerant of. I would gladly suffer hanging out in hell with homosexuals and pot smokers than experiencing eternal life knowing I would have to share heaven with people like you. You are the perfect example for why people are growing away from religion. I will leave you with the same message as the e-mail I sent you…

Dear Ernie,

Go fuck yourself you narrow minded judgmental prick.

Love Tim

Now I should state that this message may be harsh and may not be mature, but when time expires I would be sick with regret not having the opportunity to say those things. I am sure there will be disapproval and anger from those in my family, but they have become numbers with no names.

This event set off a string of domino events that led to this dayWednesday July 13, 2011. The amazing undeniable truth behind dominoes is once you knock that first one down you can’t stop it and you can’t take it back.

The thought and action to start this blog and be true and honest, led to this man rejecting me in one of the cruelest ways. These two actions led to my mother standing up and defending me tooth and nail with an action of protest that spoke louder than the million dollar march. This protest led to non-protest, which led to strained and broken relationships, which led to out of control OCD, which led to failure, which led to devastation, which led to truth, which led to denial of truth, which led to acceptance.

As I said in the beginning I started this blog because I had big dreams that with the publication of my poetry book that I would become some known poet whose words and essence were read by many. I started and paid for a website to help promote my poetry and this blog. I had to accept and come to the realization that this was a pointless and futile dream. My poetry and my words never became a reality, and I had to accept and face that they never would. I accepted this nobly and just continued to write in this blog, and everything seemed grand. The audience I was writing to would get larger and larger as time passed, and it appeared in part I was accomplishing something I had set out to achieve. I would never find riches by being a blogger, but my voice would be heard.

I made the decision awhile back that I should stop writing in this blog to pursue my dream of becoming a professional writer by focusing on my children books. I managed to lie and fool myself for sometime that this dream could somehow become a reality, but in reality this is deluded. I have done nothing with my life and I have managed to accomplish more than nothing. My loved ones have always worried about me losing touch with reality. They will do what they can to point out where I am going wrong and what have you, but they did and said nothing as I pointlessly pursued this false hope of achieving something. To honestly think that I could become published is complete insanity. Did no one step in because they think “well hey at least Tim isn’t delusional.” Or “hey at least Tim can’t hurt anyone.” These people let me stew in a false reality giving me false hope. This is a cruel fucking joke! I sat here for the last few months working my ass off and pouring my dreams and aspirations into this thing. I created struggles in my life thinking this should be a priority because this could become a tool to give my family a better life. That if I was able to achieve this then all of a sudden I would be transformed from a nothing into a somebody. You know what I have finally accepted reality and truth that in the real world there is no fucking fairy tales, there is only truth. I just wish one person in my life who ever proclaimed to give a shit about me would have been honest and said “hey Tim you know what… your not really good at writing.”

The thing I find funny is I stopped writing in this blog, and I completely stopped writing poetry. I did this because of the kids books and the fear that if an agent or publisher saw this blog it would influence their decision in a negative way. I essentially sold myself out. I tried to exchange the real Tim for a better model. I have always been labeled a runner. Someone who runs away instead of dealing with things. I think I run away from excepting who and what I truly am. I do my best to wrap myself in lies, and only rarely does someone hold up a mirror and forces me to see who I really am.

Whatever done rambling on and on in a pointless dialog. I apologize for the flow of this post. I am just free writing and not really paying attention to wording and sentence structure. It felt good to drop in and be honest to myself and anyother readers I have left. The sad but unavoidable truth in life is we can never say everything that needs to be said. We come and we go leaving holes that could have only been filled with words unsaid. The only thing a person can do is to make sure they use their voice to fill as many of these holes before the journey ends. Think for a moment on something you have always wanted to say, but never did. Find the courage to say those things today. Fill that hole inside of you and inside of them so you can achieve peace. Yesterday was my liberation from things unsaid. I experienced and felt the process of death and re-birth. I felt the cancer I have left on peoples lives fade away when everyone became just a number.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Scott Adams 

This makes me think of the movies “Pay it Forward,” and “Evan Almighty,” which happens to be two of my top 200 movies of all time. I know you may be thinking 200 is an odd number to have, but it is what makes the most logical sense. “Pay it Forward” is great, because it shows the ripple effect over this one boys acts of kindness. It amazed me how many lives were changed over those three little actions. “Evan Almighty’s” primary message, is how we can all change the world with one act of random kindness at a time.  These movies made me think of what role I play in acts of kindness; besides “The Bucket List Foundation” I do very little to better my fellow man. I write about how greed keeps us from thinking about the needs of others in our society. I do not consider myself a greedy man, but I wonder why I do not practice what I preach.

I think one of the reasons for this, is I have not been in a position to really execute these acts of kindness. I am aware, that what I am in a position to do is acts of kindness towards my family, but I even find myself having trouble with this. My doctor says this can be attributed to my Anti-Social Personality Disorder. I actually had an opportunity to display an act of kindness, but I passed on the situation.

I went to get our morning coffee, and there was this younger gentleman with a makeshift duffle bag made from a bed sheet tied on all four sides. He said he needed a ride to Mystic Lake Casino, so he could catch a bus into downtown Minneapolis. He said he only had ten dollars on him, which wasn’t enough for the cab fare. He went on to say he had a pretty bad fight with his girlfriend, and he had to quickly get out of the house before there was a domestic violence issue. I honestly told him I just didn’t feel comfortable giving a ride to someone I didn’t know.

As I was preparing my coffee I kept thinking to myself that I should give him a ride to help him out, but then my other side was telling me this was a bad idea, because he could take my car and rob me, or possibly worse. I think this is a key reason why people hesitate to help out those in need. It saddens me to say but the society we live in today is violent, and void of morals. You really cannot tell who you can trust and who you can’t. I think because of this people are hesitant to do the right thing. It would have been so easy for me to do this guy a solid, but this voice in my head was telling me he can’t be trusted.

What interests me the most is the ripple effect random acts of kindness can have. It is amazing to me how the smallest things have such dramatic effects way beyond what we even realize. This makes me think of the butterfly effect, and how the most minor trivial changes can drastically change the future as we know it. It would be amazing to do a social study on what would happen if every citizen made it a priority to do one act of random kindness a day. Would this mass ripple effect alter the outcome of the human race? How much would our society be altered if we all made this a priority?

I want to do my part and better society and my fellow man, but I am at a loss for how to do it. I suppose this can be done through my foundation, or I can start looking for the smaller things. I believe the message in “Evan Almighty” was focused on how the main characters acts altered his family. Evan was so focused on his work that he neglected his family. In the end his journey was one of creating a stronger family unit. I stated earlier, how I am in a position to give these acts of kindness to my family. I think this is a great start, and in reality should be my top priority over anything else. I would imagine these acts towards my family would have a massive ripple effect, even more so than giving that guy a ride.

Now that I think about it, I do perform random acts of kindness, anytime I am on the floor in the nursing home. I go out of my way to interact with the residents here, and I always leave them with a smile on their face. I know I leave them with a feeling that they are valued. You would be amazed at how this vital human need is lacking in our nursing homes. I can do my part everyday I come to work, and in all my interactions throughout the day. I can do my part by strengthening my family unit, and by nurturing an environment built on unconditional love. Maybe this is the simplest way to change our world.    

God asks Evan “How do we change the world.” Evan answers “one single act of random kindness at a time.”

 Evan Almighty

I cannot recall a single state in our union, which is not deep in debt. Because of this debt, states are forced to cut vital funding such as education, social services, law enforcement, nursing homes, and many other crucial state and federal programs.  As a country, we are so deep in debt to China, if they demanded to collect what is owed to them; the value of the dollar would crash, resulting in serious issues for America. I can think of two ways to catch up on this debt, while at the same time putting money back into vital funding throughout the government, such as the examples I just gave, as well as rebuilding our infrastructure. If we are able to fund these extra programs we would create millions upon millions of jobs, and cut taxes resulting in stimulating the economy. My solution, to this problem is the legalization of drugs, and opening state run casinos. The positive ripple affect these changes would have on our society would be far reaching.

I did a “My Solution” post last year, about how to fix our prison system. One of my suggestions was the legalization of drugs. The amount of money we spend a year on federal prisoners is over 60 billion dollars. In our federal prison system 53% are convicted on drug charges. Imagine if we were able to cut 53% of the prisoners in federal custody. This would save us 31.8 billion dollars a year. These numbers do not include the individuals incarcerated in state prisons, and the dollar amounts to house them. Many of these “criminals” are incarcerated for marijuana. One example, of a sentencing guideline involving pot, is no less than ten years in prison, and no longer than life, if you were caught with 1,000 marijuana plants. Nothing less than ten years for growing dope?! 

These dollar amounts are shocking, but what they do not show, is the unavoidable revolving doors, of our prison system. There is a high amount of repeat offenders, which come in and out of our prison systems. I am sure there are many theoretical reasons for this, but one such reason, is that felons have a hard time living on the outside, because their options for going straight, are limited due to the felonies they have on their records. They discover the harsh reality that if they want to make a living, their only option inevitably leads them back to a life of crime.

Another advantage, of legalizing drugs, is the systematic elimination of gangs, cartels, and organized crime. I am not saying we would completely stamp out these organizations, but if you take the drugs away, then just like that you have crippled their organizations. The legalization of narcotics would create jobs and bring much needed revenue to our government. The illegal drug trade in America is a trillion dollar a year business. Imagine being able to eliminate a trillion dollars a year of our debt; without raising taxes. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using drugs, as long as you are a productive member of society. Who am I, or anyone else for that matter, to judge this person?

Some may say, if we were to legalize drugs, then addiction would skyrocket. I disagree with this. It is not as if it is hard to score drugs in our society. The concept of the war on drugs is suspect and laughable. In 1973 Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA,) and ever since our government has been fighting a war they will never win. If drugs were legalized, we could eliminate this repressive agency saving us around 30 billion dollars a year. This dollar amount is just the money saved from the elimination of the DEA, this does not include the money spent by local police, FBI, ATF, and CIA to aide in fighting this war. With more and more prisons becoming privatized by corporations the chance that drugs will ever be legalized is slim to none. There is just simply too much money involved in incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders.  

The person, who becomes addicted in an illegal system, is the same person who would be addicted if drugs were legalized. It all comes down to honest and realistic prevention education. If kids are told the real truth about marijuana, then they are more apt to believe what they are taught about other drugs such as meth. Kids are told all these horrible things about pot, and when they finally try it, and see they were lied to, they think they were lied to about other drugs. I hope in my lifetime, at least the legalization of marijuana will become a reality. If you were to compare the downfalls of drinking, to the downfall of smoking pot, you would see they don’t even compare. I have yet to hear about someone smoking themselves to death.

Another way to increase state revenues would be the legalization of casinos, and sports gambling. In the state of Minnesota, we have a few Native American run casinos, and these casinos, rake in an enormous amount of money a day, and an even more shocking amount of money a year. Mystic Lake Casino, for example does not open its books to the public, but it is estimated they pull in around a billion dollars a year in profits. There have been talks in the past, of opening up a state run casino, but once that reservation money lined the pockets of our officials, the idea was quickly scraped. Opening a casino, would create more jobs, assisting in stimulating our economy, and could be used to fund state run programs. There is already legalized gambling on the reservations, and I feel it is time we start cashing in and benefiting. I also mentioned sports betting. Organized crime and offshore online betting websites bring in billions upon billions of dollars a year. People are going to gamble, whether it is legal or not, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of these operations, and make them legal. This, like drugs, is taking money away from the criminals and offshore businesses, and putting that money back into our communities.

It is sad, that the powers that be do not see the long reaching benefits of these ideas. What is it we are so afraid of with the legalization of drugs? Why hold back, on cashing in on gambling, or prostitution for that matter? Crime would decrease, our prison population would decrease, and our deficit would decrease. The best part about this is we would be creating an endless amount of jobs, and we can do these things without having to raise taxes a single cent. All these positive things can happen, and improve this country, unfortunately in doing this; you are taking money away from the ruling class, and putting it into the hands of those who need it most. Just like anything else in this country, the ruling class would never allow such a thing.

I have always looked at our country, and I have seen many blemishes on the face of this once great nation. There are so many perverted and corrupt things going on right under our noses, its enough to make you sick. We as a nation have been sold out by the representatives we have elected to look out for our best interests. This act of treason alone should be enough for an uprising! The way this government is run, and the way the system is rigged to produce faceless consumer slaves is insanity. What’s worse is this very same system which we keep running by working ourselves to death and consuming more than we can afford, consistently shits on us around every corner.

I have always been baffled as to why the masses are not storming the streets demanding things change. When I first started this blog I was optimistic my words would someday lift the veil over people’s eyes and allow them to see clearly. I want nothing more than to be able to make an impact and change things, but the task seems daunting and impossible. Because of this I suffer from the thinking “I am just one person what can I possibly do?” I am certain there are many other people who see things for what they are, but probably suffer from this same type of thinking. Because of this nobody does anything, and thus we all fall back into our proper places as cogs in the machine. If somehow, all the enlightened individuals were to come together we could make a real difference. As individuals we may not be heard, but united as one voice we can become a positive vehicle for reform. I felt confident that through my writing I could start some grassroots movement aimed at taking our country back.

I was so pumped when I came up with an idea to start a grassroots movement called “The American Republic Movement (ARM).” I was wide-eyed and optimistic about this idea. I was proud of myself for taking the first step I have always wanted to take. I created a page on my newly formed website dedicated to the movement. I started to write more political posts urging others to come together in unity and demand our officials start working for us instead of corporations and special interests. When I started this I dreamed the movement would take off just as the Tea Party Express was taking off. I felt this movement was going to make a real difference and by the time my children entered adulthood they would be living and working in a just system.

I was all gun-ho about this, until I received a slap of reality from Trey. He informed me that he worked for years trying to make a change and the way our system is set up it is impossible to defeat a two-party system. I trusted Trey and I knew he was wise, but I still thought that maybe I could make a difference. I continued to focus more of my posts on politics and the issues, and kept my ARM page up on my website. After awhile I was receiving no interest on my website contact page and little support from my readers. I became discouraged and pulled down the ARM page of my website and took a step back and stopped writing so heavily on political topics. I hit that wall where I couldn’t change even a hundred people so I just gave up and submitted to my corporate masters. I look back now and realize I just created this website with absolutely no marketing, and my blog had only been up a few months. I still hope as my readership continues to grow, and as I continue to write about political matters I am able to get even one person to be able to look through a lifetime of programming, and see things as they are. Perhaps if this one person I get to take a second look at things, may be the person who can successfully unit people together for positive change.

In the end the truth is we can make a difference in our country, but in order to do so we need to stand in unity as one voice. A hundred men and woman may be muffled, but what will our government do when a hundred million men and woman are protesting and marching the streets demanding change. We need to find people willing to run for office, even if it is at the lowest form of government, who actually cares about this country, its people, and its future. In time with the people taking the streets demanding this country changes, our current politicians will feel the pressure and realize they can no longer rule through corruption. They will be held accountable for the promises they make to us while they are running for election.

The process of ushering in real reform in this country may take many years and in reality may not show during our lifetime, but perhaps this country can become great for future generations to come. I think we all owe it to ourselves and our children to be proactive in bettering our country. We are going to hell in a hand basket and if we continue to just sit ideally by hypnotized by the opiate of the media, before you know it this country will completely collapse, and the rich will finally achieve their ultimate goal of complete control.

About a year ago I founded a non-profit organization “The Bucket List Foundation.” This foundation started after the responses I received from a post I did in remembrance of a dear friend who lived at the nursing home I worked at. All I did was throw out an idea I had to help make the lives better for our oftentimes forgotten elderly. This post helped unite the founding members of the foundation. The founding board members changed a bit but the core members came together and everything started to take off. At first we were going to apply for the Pepsi Refresh Grant to get us off the ground but Nicole and I were concerned of the impact that would have on us come tax time. We decided to start from the ground up, and build from there. I must admit we were a bit awkward. Despite this we started to make some real progress, until recently where we hit a major hurdle in our development.

Our last meeting was months ago. The end result of this meeting was we were going to figure out how to break up the writing of our business plan. Nicole was put in charge of researching everything that went into writing a successful business plan, once completed she was to delegate sections to each member to complete before our next meeting. I do not think we were fully prepared for the sheer scope of this project. In reality we had just set ourselves up for failure because this was far more than one person could handle by themselves, when you added in Nicole’s workload the task was almost impossible. Time went by with no progress being made. The days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months. I was afraid with all the time which had passed the dream of this foundation just sort of sizzled out. I honestly thought the foundation had died completely.

I ended up talking to our president to see if she was still interested, and she confirmed that both her and her father were still very much interested in making this dream come true. She sent out an e-mail to all the board members to make sure we were still on board, and to see about scheduling our next meeting. I responded to the e-mail letting everyone know I was still interested in proceeding and advised we should either get together or brainstorm via e-mail on how to get us back on track. I am sorry to say I have not received a response from anyone.

I am a bit discouraged by the lack of response. I am worried that our first hurdle may end up being the last hurdle we ever face. I feel without the unity of the board this foundation may be dead in the water. This is a sad day for many people because the foundation could have made a difference and changed so many of our aging population’s lives. I wonder how we can proceed if we cannot all pull together. Could I place an ad in the paper saying we are looking for board members to join our foundation to fill the spaces of the departed? I think one thing which caused this foundation to falter after hitting this bump was the lack of members on the board. We were a group of five individuals trying to accomplish a daunting task, and perhaps this task was too much for just five people to handle.

I truly hope The Bucket List Foundation is not dead. I know this foundation would make a difference in so many peoples lives, and if this doesn’t get off the ground than it is a shame this idea rested in my head instead of someone who could have made it a reality. When we were chugging along I kept thinking of all the peoples lives we were going to change for the better because of this. Now I am afraid I will be thinking how many people’s lives we didn’t change because we just kind of gave up.

I have spoken in posts recently about failure and I feel this is yet another example of failure on my part. I think back and if I would have been more organized and vocal as a leader perhaps this foundation would still be moving forward instead of being stuck in the mud. If you want my opinion; we need more members on the board to make this thing work. I have honestly thought then as I do now that we require members with specialties in the hurdles we are trying to overcome. How can you ask a group of people to come together and figure out how to write a solid business plan? The answer is you can’t. I place full blame on myself for allowing this thing to die down. Like I said earlier I hate that this idea was wasted on me. All I am able to do now is do what I can in hopes the individuals still interested come back together. If we are able to ignite a spark and move towards finding the right people to join the board; I feel confident this thing of ours can come back to life.

If you are interested in knowing more about the foundation you can check it out under “The Bucket List Foundation” in the categories drop down menu. I think some posts may be missing. If so let me know and I can point you in the right direction or give you more information.

“Hi my name is Tim and I am an addict.”

I am happy to say it has been around ten years since I have uttered those words in an NA meeting. This does not mean I have been totally sober the entire ten years, it just means I haven’t been co-dependent on meetings to stay sober. I have discovered a much more successful approach at staying sober, and that is controlling the addiction instead of the addiction controlling me. Learning this key lesson is in my opinion the most efficient way to maintain sobriety. As addicts if we are talked into, forced or just decide enough is enough our options to beat this thing is through treatment and NA/AA. Unfortunately this system does not work for everyone and those who it does not work for are in danger of allowing the drugs to continue to control them. I am sure there are programs out there that do not follow the traditional NA/AA model; I have just never heard of any before. I have often times thought about sharing my experiences to others in hopes my approach and philosophy may help them beat their addictions.

In my life I have had my fair share of issues with addiction. I started using at the age of thirteen and from that very moment I was in love with getting high. I would spend the next ten plus years getting high everyday all day. I have almost thrown my life away several times in the name of getting my next high, and in the midst of it all I really didn’t care. My life had zero value to me, and I felt it had zero value to anyone close to me. Since my life had zero value and nothing really mattered I might as well enjoy life and party. Because of my chronic using I have been through treatment several times. Except for the last time I was in treatment I always used while I was going through treatment. For some reason I was never able to buy into the NA/AA model, and because of this I took very little lessons away from my time in the program. The last time I was in treatment I was there for a week and I had to go AMA (against medical advice.) I didn’t want to leave to get high, I just hated being locked up. There was no way I would survive getting clean in this place, so I checked out and went to wage battle against my addiction.

I am not saying the NA/AA model is completely useless because it does help many people get clean, it just didn’t do it for me. The sad part is I do not believe I am alone in this thinking, and to my knowledge there are not many treatment centers out there that take a different approach on getting people clean. I think NA/AA takes vulnerable individuals and creates co-dependency upon the meeting and the collective in order to stay sober.  I was never able to get past the concept of handing my life over to a higher power. For those of you who read this blog a lot you know I am stubborn and have strong feelings and opinions on religion. It was this step that almost always caused me to shun this organization. The only higher power I recognized was myself, and I was broken so this is scenario simply wouldn’t work. Little did I know at the time that this concept would become a huge component of my personal plan to beat addiction.

In my journey from being a drug addict to a non-addict was a long and hard road. I had many relapses some worse than the others. I do not look at a relapse of using just once. I look at a relapse as thrusting yourself back into the using and abusing routine. My last relapse was probably my worst ever. I am not going to get into great depth of what I was using or how it was systematically destroying my life. I will just tell you that by the time I hit the absolute bottom I spent two weeks curled up in my bed detoxing, insanely sick from withdrawals. My doctor recommended I go to a detox center to be monitored because the drugs I was using were dangerous to come off of. I being the stubborn man I am wanted to do this without the aide of professional assistance. I wanted to prove to myself that I had the strength to beat this thing. It was an extremely rough road, and I can tell you with certainty this last binge/detox episode changed my life. I have not nor do I ever plan to relapse again. I can say this with complete certainty because of the personal program I built myself.

Among many other things I realized this lifestyle I had been living my entire life has been nothing but destructive, and has hurt those I loved. There is no high worth fucking up the lives of those who care about you. There is no high worth my kids seeing me as a junkie. This last situation will be my last. Since this last episode I have had many chances to take my drugs of choice and every time I have turned it down. I realized that if I put myself in safe situations then I am limiting the possibility of being confronted with the option to use. The times where the drugs were still able to find me I said no every time. I may have wanted to say yes so I could experience the sweet embrace of my drug of choice, but I realize that these particular narcotics had a profound control over me, and if I gave in even one time it could be my last. Unlike the AA/NA model I do not believe that once an addict always an addict, and to stay sober you can never touch another chemical of any kind. I think this concept is the downfall of many people who follow this model. It is possible to enjoy chemicals without completely throwing your life away. Personally I just needed to know which chemicals I had control over like drinking for example and which ones had control over me. With these things along with the other lessons and practices I put together I went from my addiction controlling me to me controlling my addiction. This my friends is part of the magic key to finally beating addiction.

I do not recognize addiction as an illness. I view it as a self-induced affliction. We all had the choice to say no at one point in our lives, and many more after we said yes for the first time. We all had the choice to make better decisions but we did not. These choices in the beginning were not made because we had an illness it happened because we made poor choices, because of this we were lead down the path of addiction. I believe the withdrawals and suffering which comes from getting clean is tough, but far from an illness. We did this to ourselves and taking ownership is a huge step in looking at your life of using, and as a result beating it. I believe many people use the cop out of addiction as an illness to justify their behaviors while they were using. I know when it came down to making amends I whole heartily blamed my horrendous actions on my using, as if I had no control over my decisions. These types of justifications keep us from seeing who we really are, and what we are capable of becoming because of our using. Saying “the illness made me do it” almost makes you blind to the person you have become.

I recognize when the drugs control you the addiction seems like an illness. But more so I consider addiction as a choice. I understand this to be true because in looking back at my using days my drug binges always started with a choice to relapse and use again. Even in the beginning I made the initial choice to use drugs I knew were highly addictive and destructive. I knew this yet I still made the choice to try them, even after trying them the first time I had to make the choice to try them again and again. At any point I had the choice to make a better decision. Relapsing was my choice which threw me back into a self-induced affliction. We addicts are very much in control of this decision; we just need to possess the strength and common sense to make good choices. We may sit back and blame it on our “illness,” but in reality it is our choice to use once again which is the issue. Finding the “why” in this scenario and facing it will assist in solving the problem. This along with learning to control the addiction instead of the addiction controlling you is a good start in getting sober.

I wonder how much money our government makes off our taxes. I also wonder how much money our government makes off of us in things like renewing tabs and what have you. These taxes we pay are supposed to go towards things to better our society. Over the last many years our taxes have gone towards funding a war we cannot win. A war many of us oppose. I am hard pressed to believe that the majority of tax payers would be in favor of knowing their money is going towards the death of our children. There are many examples of lost tax money, but one that stands out to me is our privately owned summer camps for criminals. We pump in billions of dollars keeping this system a float.  

I think back to the famous stance the colonies here in America took on the taxes the parliament put on the colonies. Their motto was no taxation without representation. I wonder if this same stance can be made today. Technically we have elected officials in the house who ultimately choose what to do about taxes. I am a firm believer that our elected officials are not a positive representative to the people; therefore I ask you are we being taxed without proper representation? I am not to knowledgably when it comes to these affairs, but I assume when new taxes are passed they are just passed without the say of the people. It goes through the house and imposed by the representatives’ we have elected. I think the statement taxation without representation stands true today because those in the house have alternative agendas that do not include the betterment of their constituents. If this is the case well then something is truly wrong with this situation. Could the people today stand up and use the same war cry our forefathers did? Can the people ever take our country back from the tyranny of our current government?

I am not saying all taxes are bad. They are a necessity to the betterment of our nation. I just question where these taxes are spent, and are these taxes imposed on the people justified. Are we being properly represented? I write a lot about the injustices I see in this country. I am by no means an educated man, and I am sure if I dedicated my time to learn all the in’s and out’s of our system I would probably find so much more to bitch about. Taxes are just one of those things we have no control over. Taxes are taken regardless of anything, and I feel the money is not being spent in the proper places. I am 100% against the war or any other form of occupation. I am 100% against our revolving door prison system, and its piss poor penalties. I am against these things yet the government will take my money and use it for such things. It just gives me such a feeling of yuk knowing I am so powerless, and I have zero confidence that our elected officials will do the right thing.

American exceptionalism is an American theory that the United States occupies a special role among the nations of the world in terms of its national ethos, political and religious institutions, and it’s being built by immigrants. Even though its origins date back to the 1600’s the concept still lives on today. This mode of thinking is what has damaged our reputation throughout the world. The concept that we are better than all other nations because as Alexis de Tocqueville, argued; the United States held a special place among nations because it was the first working representative democracy. We may have been the first but we were not the last. I am sure there are some out there who could have a valid argument how a later form of democracy trumps ours. Belief in American exceptionalism is more characteristic of conservatives than liberals. Which being liberal to me makes the idea seem even worse.

Parts of American exceptionalism can be traced to American puritan roots who believed in divine providence. They believed God had made a covenant with their people and had chosen them to lead the other nations of the world. The scary thing is; there are those republicans out there who still believe such a thing.  If we take a look at the Latin phrase on the back of the great seal and our one dollar bill it reads “novus ordo seclorum” which translates as “New Order of the Ages.” I think our republican leaders at that time and still to today would want nothing more than to spread their form of “order” to the entire world, and become the nation God has chosen to lead the world.  

Proponents of American exceptionalism argue that the United States is exceptional in that it was founded on a set of republican ideals, rather than on a common heritage, ethnicity, or ruling elite. In the formulation of President Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, America is a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”. In this view, America is inextricably connected with liberty and equality. We may be connected with liberty (although this may be up for debate) and equality (also up for debate.) The notion of republican ideals against the ruling elite? Isn’t that a bit oxymoronic?

The United States’ policies have been characterized since their inception by a system of federalism and checks and balances, which were designed to prevent any person, faction, region, or government organ from becoming too powerful. Some Proponents of the theory of American exceptionalism argue that this system and the accompanying distrust of concentrated power prevent the United States from suffering a “tyranny of the majority.” What I find interesting is we are protected from the “tyranny” of the majority, but we do nothing to protect us from the “tyranny” of the minority.

All countries probably believe they are exceptional in their own right. Britain at the height of the British Empire, Nazi Germany, as well as the communist state Russia, and France in the wake of the French revolution all demonstrated exceptionalism in terms of systematically engaging in what they considered benevolent enterprises. I believe although broken America is one of the greatest nations in the world. Do I believe we should feel superior over all other nations because we are what we are? No. We are not the judges and jury’s to the world. The belief and ideals we have are fantastic, but are these ideals better than say Norway’s? We could look at Norway or Iceland and say they are exceptional over us because of their low crime rates and penchant for staying away from wars. Does this make them better than us? In my eyes it does, but I cannot speak for a nation of people, nor should anybody else. It is fantastic to have pride in your country, but this pride should not stir up supremacism. I have always believed America should keep to herself. Trying to find nations we believe should be a democracy then enforce said beliefs by military force is wrong anyway you look at it. This concept that America is exceptional above all other nations is the exact way of thinking that caused other nations to hate us.

The No Fun League is at it yet again trying to ruin Americas Game. The powers that be have created a new rule in an attempt to protect the players. This new rule in effect will fine and suspend players for flagrant hits. It is my understanding this is; but not limited to helmet to helmet tackles, and the big hits safeties deliver over the middle. These types of hits are a staple of the NFL. When a receiver is going over the middle he should expect to get drilled by a safety, cornerback or linebacker. This is what separates the men from the boys. Players like Cris Carter made a name for himself being fearless over the middle. He knew he was going to get jacked, yet he still caught the ball. He was deaf to the footprints over the middle, and focused solely on catching the ball. He was a warrior who put his team before his own body. He was a football player.

There are a countless amount of football players who have made a name for themselves as fierce hitters. These gladiators waited over the middle licking their chops waiting to unleash unimaginable amounts of pain on whoever touched the ball. They were the enforcers of the team, and were respected and feared by the competition.  The one enforcer that comes to my mind first is Ronnie Lott. The opposing offense knew when they came in to play the San Francisco 49ers the receivers needed to be aware of Lott patrolling the middle of the field. The receivers knew if they wanted to go over the middle Lott would be waiting there for them to deliver a mighty hit. This fear factor changed the way teams played against the 49ers. This one man was able to change the course of a game, and how opposing offensive coordinators game planned.

Football is a mans game. Lott for example chose to have one of his fingers cut off so he wouldn’t miss any games. Jack Youngblood played with a broken leg so he could help his team in the playoffs. Brett Favre kept getting up after brutal hit by brutal hit in last years NFC Championship game. His ankle was completely destroyed. It takes a tough son of a bitch to put on those pads and strap on a helmet every Sunday. These men enter into battle every weekend with the goal of victory. This is why we love and admire these players. Limiting players like Ed Reed from being brutal and ruthless on the field is in effect taking him off the field. The NFL needs to realize they are taking away one of the greatest weapons of a defense. If a defense is able to get into the quarterbacks and wide receivers heads and alter their mindset; then the defense has already won. 

Over the years the National Football League has created new rule after new rule to help protect the players. The “Brady rule” for example was conceived when the New England Quarterback Tom Brady was injured the first game of the season and was lost for the year. This was after the New England Patriots undefeated regular season. The NFL had to create a rule to protect its big named quarterbacks. I can somewhat understand this, but these quarterbacks need to realize they are playing professional football, and in playing football you are going to get hit, and you are going to get hit hard. The true test of a football player is getting up off the ground and playing another set of downs. What’s next changing the game into flag football?

Changing this rule, and tacking on a punishment as stiff as suspension and losing a game check is going to cause the big hitters of today to not run full force like they should. The fear of accidently causing a helmet to helmet tackle will cause them to let up on the gas a bit. This will be a disadvantage to the defense, and a shame to the fans. This is going to rob the fans of one of the greatest elements of professional football the big hits. We tune in every Sunday to watch a war between two opposing teams. This is our version of the Roman Coliseum; these are our warriors. Why must we ruin the purity of the game? Injuries happen, and people get hurt. This is all part of the game. The owners know this, the players know this, and the fans know this. Taking away the raw violence of the game is to water down the greatest sport ever. I turn the television on every Saturday and Sunday to watch men battle men. To see the unscripted violence in full HD, I do not want to see timid defenders holding back because they are afraid of suspension. Let the gladiators’ loose and let them battle.

My wife had to have surgery on her mouth to fix two impacted wisdom teeth. Her teeth were not going straight up they were growing sideways pushing at her molars. The dentist told her she had to get this surgery done otherwise she would have severe problems down the line. We have duel dental insurance and at that time health insurance. Between these three the procedure was extremely cheap. The place she had the procedure royally botched the operation and caused a whole new set of problems. She was sent to another dentist, when he saw how badly his colleague screwed up he offered to have all visits with him for free. It was because of this shitty dentistry my wife had to go have a serious surgery because the infection was eating away at her jawbone. After the surgery she had to take hardcore antibiotics through an in-home IV. The whole thing was a complete nightmare, but we did not realize there were other issues to come about. This time it was not her mouth it was the insurance companies screwing up.

When my wife received the first bill she noticed the insurance company did not cover everything they were supposed to. When she called the insurance company she had to jump through all these hoops, talk to many different representatives, and really press the issue until she found out the insurance company miscoded many of the services to the tune of over one thousand dollars. The representative she spoke to said she would make notes in her account and said she would fix it. We also received bills from the dentist’s office after he said all services would be covered. My wife continued to fight this as well. We had to go to some out of network providers specifically for the in home IV antibiotics. We received a referral and before my wife accepted she contacted the insurance company to ensure it would be covered and they gave the okay. Sure enough it was coded as no approval out of network.

She has been dealing with this for months. Every time she calls she has to jump through the same hoops as the time before; only to hear “oh yea we miscoded. We will fix right away.” My wife has been in pain for over two years and she still has nerve damage in her mouth. On top of this she still has to deal with the insurance company which has now sent us to a heavy duty collection company. This has gotten so frustrating for her it will bring her to tears. I wish I had better knowledge of how this all works so I can call and help.

I wonder how many people have to deal with “miscoding?” I wonder how many people just pay their bill unaware they are getting screwed. In the film “Sicko” by Michael Moore it addresses how insurance company employees are trained to miscode varies procedures which would normally be covered. It is no secret insurance companies are crooked. They try to find anyway to get out of covering our healthcare needs. This is no secret yet nothing really gets done to hold these bastards accountable for their crimes against the people. We all pay high premiums month in and month out. For many of us we also have such high deductibles to pay before coverage even sets in.

During the healthcare debate there were a lot of lies, rhetoric and fear mongering going on to try and turn the people against Obama. Some of these same people were the ones who voted for him because of his healthcare reform. I remember seeing rallies were people were freaking out and shouting at people for this reform. I remember people spitting on a sick man holding a sign saying he was dying and has no coverage. I am sure these protesters were either well to do and had cheap coverage, or they were ignorant and had no idea what Obama was actually trying to do. Either way the healthcare bill as it stands sounds like it will do very little to stop insurance companies from bending us over and giving us the high hard one. I am amazed with how crooked people know they are and how much these insurance companies are screwing us; we have yet to rally together and demand change. This is further proof how we are indoctrinated into a frame of mind allowing us to be taken advantage of and just accept it and go about our days. I think we not only owe it to ourselves, but also our children the chance to live in a just and fair society. Don’t you?