Posts Tagged ‘Musings’

It has been a little over a year now since I made the decision to pursue my dream of becoming a professional writer, and things seem to be moving along. I feel I am currently sitting on a unique original idea which could very well be the ticket in helping me realize my dream. In the research I have done I have been unable to find one book which utilizes the style I do. This is not to say they are not out there, but the only thing I have found which is similar is the Dr. Seuss books. I believe this concept and series has real marketability to it. When I compare my finished work to some others that are currently on the market it is clear what I have been able to put together is a superior product.

This is all fantastic and it makes me so excited to know I am this close to realizing my dream. It feels like it is right in front of me just waiting to be snatched up, but for some reason I am afraid to reach out and grab it. Why can’t I take that final step to complete everything? I think what it comes down to is my fear of failure. I have failed at everything I have tried to accomplish in my life, and the thought of failing at this is terrifying. I feel like this is my last shot at accomplishing the last dream I have left. If I fail than what do I have left to cling to in hopes of becoming more than I currently am?

I originally thought I would realize my dream through writing poetry. I thought this right up until I realized there is no future in this type of writing. I was a bit disappointed to learn all this since I had just written a poetry book with no future projects in mind. I really wasn’t sure where to go from here since all I really knew how to do was expressing myself through what I called poetry. I have no writing training to speak of, and my grammar skills are at a fourth grade level. I thought for sure I was dead in the water.

I currently have one book “Trapped Within My Illness” which is currently under review by “Graywolf Press.” I feel this poetry collection is better than the three I had previously written, but I am not expecting much to come of this. I have all but stopped looking for publishers to review my work, but if I come across one I will for sure submit my manuscripts to them. I love doing this so I will continue to write poetry and self-publish my work in hopes of once I start doing readings people may be interested in owning something I have written. If not I really won’t be disappointed, because I love the emotional release writing poetry brings to me.

Once I realized there was no career in writing poetry I was kind of at a loss for what to do next. I know when I first started this blog I had dreams of one day having fifty-thousand visitors a week, and that I would be making enough money to live off of with just the advertising alone. I again had to face the realization that this blog will more than likely never receive fifty-thousand visitors a year let alone a week. I was a bit saddened by this at first, because I love doing this blog so much and it would have been great to become a career blogger. Knowing this to be true has caused a bit of a conundrum. I am afraid because I love doing this so much that it is taking my creative time and energy away from other projects. I battle back and forth contemplating if I should slow down and take a step back in order to work on other projects. I think I would have a hard time giving this up though.

Since I started this dream I have come up with many different book ideas. There were some I thought were great then after further consideration I decided to scrap them. Then there were other ideas I still think are great and they would be a blast to work on. These ideas are just sitting there with no work being done towards completing them. The problem with these ideas is they are all more than likely to take me a year or three to complete. Considering my personality I am unsure of my ability to write something so lengthy. I also do not have enough confidence in the ideas themselves to spend three years on something which may or may not ever become a reality.

It was in one of my ideas though that I feel I have found my talent and voice in such a unique way that this idea may be the one which helps me realize my dream of becoming a professional writer; my “Dylan Thomas” series. I have already written two installments in the series, and I have another two hundred or so ideas just waiting to be put to paper. This series is based and written around my youngest son Dylan. In the manuscripts I have finished thus far I have been able to include my other kids in the story as well. This makes working on them so personal and enjoyable. These are picture books which are written entirely in rhyming format. This format and the way I present them are currently to my knowledge not being done. I was really surprised when I wrote the first one just how well the story flowed. When I finished the first and second book it honestly felt like magic. I had never written something I have actually been proud of, until I wrote these two books. I hired an illustrator and thus “Dylan Thomas: Finds His Courage” was self-published. I have received nothing but positive feedback from the book, and everyone who read the next installment “Dylan Thomas: Bedtime Songs” have said that this version is far better than the first. I figured I was all ready to start submitting these books to literary agents.

Nicole looked into what all goes into trying to find a children’s literary agent and what she discovered was that it is best to have multiple stories to submit to them so they can see that your idea is not just a one and done deal. It was decided that the best course of actions was to write a few more manuscripts to include with the query letter we planned on sending to agents. I have known about this for around two months, yet I have not spent a minute working on it. There may have been times I got prepped to start on a title, but I ended up working on something different. I have been just floored for why I have not been more proactive on finishing these projects. My most recent hurdle was creating an outline for each story, and day after day it went un-worked on. Well last week I got a rush of creativity and finished completed outlines for four additional stories. I have yet to take the next step to begin completing them.

I wonder what the hold-up is. I make the time to work on my poetry and blog posts, but I have been avoiding actually working on the one thing which will further the possibility of realizing my dream. I then realized perhaps I am putting this off because once I finish these and start sending them off to agents, and I don’t get picked-up then I may be faced with the stark reality that my stuff may not be good enough. I think if I was faced with such a reality I would be utterly devastated since these children’s books seem to be where my talent is at.

I need to make the time and take a courageous leap of faith and finish these next few manuscripts. I need to get them out to agents to see if there is any reality in my dream. I would rather know now in year two or three that the possibility of my dream coming true is close to zero. I would rather know now then spend another five years chasing something that is a long shot. Right now I have a quality, original and well written children’s books which can be turned into an ongoing series aimed at children ranging in age from 1 to 11. If this doesn’t get picked up I am honestly not sure I am able to top this complete idea.

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“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.

“He hoped and prayed there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped there wasn’t an afterlife.”
Douglas Adams

Is there such thing as an afterlife? Do we live on as energy, or is there a magical place we go when we die? If the answer to these questions is “no” then this means we simply just cease to exist. We burn out like a candle in the wind all but being forgotten years down the line. Questions such as these are what have been fueling my desire to find some form of divine power and intervention. For the first time in fifteen years I need my life to hold some meaning even though I know it doesn’t. I need unequivocal proof that a God exists and there are better things waiting for us when we pass. If I am not able to get this proof I desire I will continue to live my life in fear and panic over what will happen to me when I die. I will worry so much that I will forget to appreciate and cherish the present. Next thing you know death will be at my doorstep and I will be met with regret over the time I have wasted worrying.

This newfound need to enter the realm of the illogical has been plaguing me ever since my friend died. I have been haunted with the stark reality that he may no longer exist in any form. This breaks my heart, but this also stirred up a buried internal fear of no longer existing. Wait scratch that the knowledge that someday I will be void of thought scares me much more. This is freaking me out, so what do I do to try and find peace? I turn to my archenemy; religion. This once perceived almighty evil is infiltrating my life, and filling it with passed down stories of better things to come. I can no longer rely on my logical atheist ways. I have caved, but do I turn to the mightiest of faiths, or do I stay with Taoism or Buddhism?

I hope to find an answer which I feel comfortable with, because the constant anxiety and panic is overwhelming me. Here is the problem though; if I pick a religion will I ever “really” believe the teachings or will reason and logic keep me from fully committing? Will I get so desperate I just try to live a lie, and constantly need to trick myself to stay on faiths path? I remember Trey calling me a “disillusioned Christian” awhile back, but I would consider myself more as a “desperate atheist needing reassurance that my life has meaning and I will be able to continue to think until the end of time” type of person.

The thing I do not get with this quote is why anyone would want to hope there isn’t an afterlife? Isn’t it ingrained in our DNA to survive? If this is the case than our brains would be hardwired to at least hope our existence lives on. Perhaps this hardwiring in our brains and instincts is the foundation of religion. I know by experience that atheists do not believe in an afterlife, but I wonder if deep down inside part of them is at least hoping they are wrong; I know I am. I must be completely honest I sincerely admire those who are truly in acceptance with the fact that one day they will just cease to exist. As for myself I am going to sit here and hope and pray there IS an afterlife.