Posts Tagged ‘Other’

I am a Staffing Coordinator at a nursing home in Minnesota. My main job function is to ensure we are fully staffed twenty-four hours a day. One of my many other responsibilities is managing our lodge employee program. Lodge employees are people who work at the nursing home and live in one of the lodges on our campus. This lodge is a housing unit for people in recovery, many of which are homeless. These individuals, after their first thirty days of sobriety, are then allowed to come up and work at the nursing home as monitors. I can name about a dozen people who are here for a few months, try to go out on their own, then relapse and come right back. Then there are the guys who I see once and never see them again. I feel for these people, and the lives they have chosen. I grow fond of some of them, and try to be there for support, and tell them about my own personal recovery. I root for them hoping they can beat their addictions and enter back into society with a place to live. I look at their lives and it makes me grateful for who I am and what I have accomplished in my life thus far.

I had one of my lodge employees come talk to me over the winter. This guy has been one of the best employees I have had in over three years. He came to me one day to ask me for advice. His dilemma was whether he should leave the lodge and grab his fiancé from another sobriety/homeless shelter in Minneapolis, take the money he has made working here, and go back to St. Cloud to live in a motel. Being that it was winter, he was concerned about what he would do when he ran out of money. He told me it would be almost impossible to find a homeless shelter to live in up there. He said he felt content and safe at the lodge and is going on two years of sobriety. His fiancé, on the other hand, was staying somewhere in Minneapolis where they will hold a bed for her as long as she volenteers as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. She does not like where she is and is trying to pressure this guy to leave. He wants to stay here until springtime because he says it’s a lot easier to be homeless when the weather is nice. I offered some programs he could check into but I really wanted to shake this guy and tell him there are so many options out there for him, he doesn’t need to be homeless. I advised him to stay where he was at and encourage his fiancé to do the same.  

This got me thinking of my own life and how truly lucky I am. I have a beautiful, healthy, and wonderful family. I have a stable job, although not what I dreamed I would become; it pays the bills. I live in a beautiful home, there are times I just stop and take a step back in awe seeing all that I have. There is always food on the table and we feel blessed knowing our kids will never starve. Although I do not place a high value on possessions, we have many things people only dream of. We are able to spoil our kids for Christmas and even though we live check to check, we manage to survive month in and month out. These are all blessings I have been given, which I am sure any of the guy at the lodge would give anything to have. The problem is, I don’t always realize how truly blessed I am, it is as if, I almost forget how great I have it (this is usually when ego takes over.) I will at times take for granted the life I have and the people within it. I just grow comfortable with my situation, I do not take the time or energy to realize and reflect on what I am thankful for. In this situation I  take for granted the things and people I have in my life. I do not express enough how grateful I am to have everything that I do.

Considering my severe mental illness, and my personal battles with addiction, I could realistically be any of these guys over at the lodge, or perhaps even much worse. I wish I could take all the credit for this, but my beautiful wife has been my guiding light. Even in my darkest hours her love, compassion, and just plain giving a shit, has always lead my way home. She has always seen me for the man I can become, even though I have shown her the opposite. My children give me the motivation to become a better father than I have ever had. I have wonderful mother, supportive siblings, regular readers, a killer children’s book series, a great home,  cool shit I never thought I would have. I have kids who love and think the world of me, a great dog (not my first choice but I have grown to love him) and I am one of the few people out there who can say they found and married their soul mate. I may not always see it, but I love my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  

As for the gentleman I mentioned earlier; sadly he did not take my advice. He left two days after we had our conversation, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since. Wherever he is, I hope he can find the same happiness I know today.

As a father, I have always wanted my boys to be just as I was as a child. I want them to prosper on my good qualities, and be absent of my bad. I had so many fun experiences as a child, and I want the same for my kids. I was the type of child who loved sports; I would play football and baseball outside for hours with the neighbor kids. There really was nothing as exhilarating; like a pick-up game of no pads tackle football. I would never do this now mind you; I am far too old and way out of shape. If we were not playing sports I was playing G.I. Joes with my best friend Andrew, we could play G.I. Joes outside for hours upon hours, but for some reason our “wars” always ended up in a fight. If we were not doing these things, we were just outside exploring the neighborhood, and playing miscellaneous games. The funny thing is, as much as I want them to have a childhood like I did; I do not let my kids do half the things I did as a child, in fear for their safety. There is no way I would let them play tackle football without any pads, and I would never allow them to wander and explore the neighborhood like I did as a child.

When I became a father to Austin, he was 3 years old. I wanted him to love football and action figures just as I did, but he really wasn’t into it very much. He also was not big on playing outside with his friends. He is more of a home body, but I am very proud of him, for his intense dedication to football and working out. I must note I am perfectly fine with him being a home body. I think about what I was doing at fifteen, and I can tell you I was out doing very bad things. I felt sad, because I thought he was missing out on all the fun I had as a child. I was confused, because I figured all kids would act and live the way I did when I was a young. My youngest son Dylan, on the other hand is a spitting image of me as a child. This fills me with such joy and such fear.

Once Dylan puts on his football pads and jersey, he will have me set the timer for sixty minutes, and he proceeds to play a complete imaginary football game. He throws the ball around, and catches it; if he is tackled he violently throws himself to the ground. During his imaginary game he does his own play- by-play. He loves it when you sit and watch him, while he plays out this pretend game. When football season is over he turns his attention over to baseball. This kid is amazing, because at the age of six he watches entire baseball or football games. He sits and watches how players pitch or hit, and tries to emulate their movements, just as I did as a child. He is great at reading offenses and defenses during football games. He is also good at calling balls or strikes during baseball games. When I pitch to him he is able to identify the movement on my pitches. He sits and plays entire games of Madden with such joy. I am so proud of him for his intense interest in sports.

He also just recently got into action figures. This Christmas he received a ton of G.I. Joes, and loves to sit and play with them. I am taken down memory lane every time I sit down and play with him. I remember all the characters from my youth, but I am a bit disappointed with how they changed their design. I also don’t understand why they don’t offer more characters. It seems to me they just keep making the same ones with different looks. When I watch him do his thing I see myself playing twenty-three years ago. Like I said earlier this fills me with joy, but I have not yet touched on my fears.  

I was a really naughty kid, and a handful as a teenager. Dylan already shows signs of anxiety and ADHD behavior. My daughter Brianna is also showing signs of anxiety. If they are not properly stimulated they get out of control. I look at Austin, and I am filled with hope; except for his lack of interest in school he is the perfect kid. I am a bit fearful of how Brianna or Dylan will be when they hit their teenage years. I worry if they are not properly stimulated; they will end up going down the path I took when I was younger. I suppose it is karma; if they are a handful. I am sure I deserve it considering what I put my mother through. I just worry about my kids overall quality of life, and the repercussions of my actions and my DNA will be the downfall of my kids. I do not think this is fair. Why should they suffer for my bad karma?

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.

When I first started down the path of trying to become a professional writer, I honestly thought my target audience would be adults. Because of this I published dark adult driven poetry books, and started this blog with adults in mind. Once I made the decision to switch and pursue my dream by focusing my attention on children’s book, I have been concerned over what effect this blog will have on my chances of getting picked up by an agent and publisher. I have also grown concerned over the possibility of my dream failing, and being forced back into working for corporate America once again.  

I have gotten deeply personal about my mental illness, along with other personal things going on in my life. If you know this than you are also aware I am deeply opinionated, and I don’t hold anything back when I write. If my main audience will be children, then this blog serves no purpose since there is nothing on here suitable for children. I wonder what will start happening once I start shopping my stuff around to agents. I am trying to sell a product geared towards children yet my online persona is the complete opposite. I wonder what will happen when agents get my manuscripts and Google my name. They will not think I am very marketable once they read some of the shit I have written. Will they immediately reject my work in fear that parents won’t want to read books to their children written by someone like me? 

When I started this blog I had no intention of holding anything back. I was going to throw myself out there without any worries of what the long term consequences may be. I am sitting here now regretting my bold intentions, and wishing I would have shown some restraint or at least had the common sense to not use my real name. Hindsight is always twenty twenty, and I wish I would have been a bit more discrete. I will not be fully aware of how bad of a decision this was until I try to get another job or until I start getting rejection letters from agents. I suppose if they like the books enough they could always request I use a pen name. This is a possibility, but do I really want to risk this?

I just recently changed my profile, so it does not show my entire name, in hopes I can begin to undo over a years worth of damage. Up until last week I still used my first name, but I changed my display name to “Random Thinker.” I am hoping this will cure the problem, but I do not think changing this will go back and change all my previous posts. All of the stuff I have written prior to this will still show my full name. I am sitting here racking my brain trying to figure out how to fix this. The relentless reality of the internet is; once shit is out there it is there to stay. I have thought about shutting this blog down and go through every one of my posts and mark as private so no one can ever see it. The thought of this daunting task is giving me unrelenting anxiety.

I did a little research, and I think I may have found a suitable answer to this problem, but it is not the most ideal. According to what I have read if I delete my blog, then my posts may still show on the internet (although the help menu was not clear on this.) My other option is to just disable my account. If I do this then all my posts will immediately become private, thus solving my main concerns. If I did this though then I could no longer write on here. If this were true then I am confronted with a serious decision to make. I suppose I could disable this site and create a new one which has no direct connection to me. The problem I have with this is I have worked real hard and put a lot into this site since I started it over a year ago. If I were to scrap this and create a completely new blog then I would be starting over from scrap and thus losing all my readers. My wife made the suggestion to start a new blog, and just post something on here saying my site has moved. I could leave this up for a couple weeks then switch to my new blog. If I were to do this I would have to completely move away from WordPress, which would suck because I wouldn’t know of the best site to go to. I really need to analyze this decision more closely.  

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.

“Even God cannot change the past.”
Agathon

As you may all know in my writings I consistently challenge/question the existence of God. There are times I commit downright blasphemy, yet there are times I show a small crack for God to come into my life. This is the conundrum I find myself in all the time. I do not believe in the existence of God, yet I philosophize on the possibility of the existence of a God. I think with some of the stances or comments I make in a post people misconstrue my stance between believing and non-believing. With my most recent intense anxiety and panic over my own mortality, I have tried to revisit this age old question in hopes of achieving serenity. Armed with this intense fear I have begun to deceive my logic into believing in the prospect of God existing. With that being said I want to confront this statement, and touch on a few other questions.

God is supposed to be all powerful, and nothing is beyond His realm of possibility, or is it. Does God possess the power to go into the past and change the course of history? If he had this power he could undo some of the most horrific events we humans have committed. Now in this question and statement I am challenging the power and as a result the existence of such a God. I can already tell you what the faithful will say to this, they will preach that God does not interfere in our lives because he gave us freewill. With this freewill we ultimately are responsible for our own actions and we have the freedom to define what we become. But hold on for a moment the Bible speaks of many situations in which God interfered with man’s freewill. Why has he chosen to be an absent father and let the world enter into chaos?

If the case is and God has just recently over the last couple thousands of years decided to no longer interfere with humans because we have freewill; I would ask the faithful to explain natural disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami that just hit Japan. Man has no control over nature, but the Bible clearly has stories illustrating that God is capable of such things. God had the ability to either cause or cease this natural disaster, so this means that he either chose to cause this disaster Himself, or knew this would happen and chose to let it happen resulting in the deaths of thousands of people and causing massive amounts of damage to Japan. Man as a result of his freewill had nothing to do with this, so if God existed then He as a result had everything to do with it. What was his purpose for killing so many people? 

I think this argument of freewill is an easy out for the faithful because it wraps everything up in a tidy little bow, and it places blame on man for all the horrors which have happened and continue to happen till this day. Some of the questions I ask myself are where is the divine intervention portrayed in the Old and New Testament? It seems in almost all stories God is very much involved with his most precious creation. We all know how much God hates gay people, so why has he not eliminated them as he did in Sodom and Gomorrah? For that matter why even create gay people to begin with. If homosexuality is a sin, why create people who are born to commit crimes which He hates to his very core? If God’s primary goal is to have all of His creations return to Him in heaven, then why create people who are doomed to hell from day one? This is not just limited to homosexuals we can include in there murderers, rapist, and thieves. I also ask this where was God during the holocaust. The Jews are supposed to be His chosen people, and when they were enslaved in Egypt God sent Moses to save His people. The Jews were in a worse situation during the holocaust then they were in Egypt, so where was the Moses of our time?

The absence of divine intervention in our time is one thing I point to when I am thinking about converting to Christianity. I do not understand how God can be so predominantly involved thousands of years ago, but we have not heard so much as a peep out of him since. Why show such an interest with man back then, but show such a disinterest in us now. Did God just throw his hands in the air and say “fuck it this is pointless! Perhaps I should have thought out the whole freewill thing.” I also point to the existence of natural disasters with no known lesson from God behind the punishment, such as he did with Sodom and Gomorrah or Noah and the great flood. God had no problem telling His people why he was creating such horrible disasters back then, but we have not heard a thing from him with all the natural disasters dating back hundreds of years. Even if there was not a lesson to be learned; why even allow natural disasters in the first place?

In my mind these are good questions I must ask myself to further along my internal struggle behind the existence or non-existence of God. In this case the answer I come to is the non-existence of God. Making a statement of “even God cannot change the past” is the same as saying God does not exist. God is all-powerful and if God existed he should be able to bend and alter the fabric of time, after all this is the man who created the entire universe. The fact that he hasn’t altered the past is yet another notch on the “I am not a believer” column. But hold on for a minute. God may have already altered the past, and if he did we would be none the wiser; since we only know what we know. If God went back in time and murdered your husbands’ fetus for being a douche, you would never know because you would have never met him. God does not have time to kill your cheating husband because he is to busy eating popcorn and watching the destruction caused by natural disasters, and reveling in revenge over the rapid deterioration of the human race.

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.

I am proud to say I have now been writing this blog for a little over a year. This entry is my 276th post and I must say it has been a joy writing each and everyone. I was sitting here the other day looking at my bank of posts, and the numerous Post It Notes covering my desk filled with thoughts I want to write about. I sat here thinking to myself what will happen when I run out of things to say. At this point do I just stop, or do I dig down deep to find new things to write about? I would imagine when I get to this point in all likelihood the joys of writing may escape me. I have already noticed that I have started to write about the same subject matter several times, and I am sure in these posts I have made the exact same points just a different delivery. Is it acceptable on a blog to write about the same topic several times? In doing this am I risking boring my readers with re-hashed ideas which are just tweaked differently with some added material? I have worked very hard at trying to keep this site fresh and interesting, but should a blogger stop blogging if they lose or have run out of material?

I know Trey’s advice would be that it isn’t my readers I should be concerned about it should be about the enjoyment I receive from writing. I hold this close and I do still enjoy writing, but at the same time I do try and deliver quality posts for my readers to enjoy. This is a huge goal of mine which I hope to continue years down the road, but I wonder how long I can sustain this style with fresh ideas. When I first started this I had so much on my mind to say that post after post just came to me one after another. There were so many pent up things and ideas I wanted to get off my chest and as a result original posts just kept coming to me. As time has passed I feel like I have almost said most of what had been weighing heavy on my mind for so many years. In the beginning I would get multiple ideas for posts and I would write them down and come back to them later. I am still getting original ideas but it seems like I have been getting less and less of these types of ideas.  

To combat this lack of original ideas I have tried to come up with some reoccurring themes I could use to help inspire me to write posts. I have tried a few different themes such as “The Philosophy of Quotes” and most recently “The Philosophy of Lyrics.” I have also chosen to break down each verse of the Tao Te Ching which I feel made for good posts. I have tried a few other themes such as “Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Rap Music,” which I had only wrote one post then haven’t even tried to do another one. I am sure I will come up with some interesting original themes which I hope end up being enjoyable to my readers. The last thing I want is for this site to become stale. I am very critical of myself and often times over critique my writings. It is very rare I write something I am truly proud of. When I press the publish button I almost always think to myself that I could have done a better job at writing that post.

I enjoy doing the “Philosophy of Quotes” posts because I am a huge fan of quotes, and they inspire me to think of something different. I really enjoyed the one post I did for “The Philosophy of Lyrics.” I can see myself using this theme several times in the future. I still feel that nothing can beat an original post, where I grab a thought out of the air and just go with it. I have also discovered I enjoy writing personal posts to where I am just getting shit off my chest, but I worry these types of posts end up being garbage material. When ever I write a personal post such as this I always worry that the subject matter may be dull. I can see the post I wrote on addiction being worthy of your time to read, but I am always unsure of posts like this one. I do hope to get back to reading the Tao Te Ching I have kind of slacked on that as of late and I should really dive back into meditating and studying.

I am thinking instead of writing a post Monday through Friday as I have been doing perhaps I will change that and start doing posts Monday Wednesday and Friday. I have often wondered if writing a post five times a week is a bit of overkill. I think if I switch to writing three posts a week instead of five it will allow me to showcase my better posts instead of having them get lost in the shuffle of the next day.  This may also free up the time I spend on here and use it for finishing my “Dylan Thomas” books.

I would like to turn this question over to my readers. I am in desperate need of your feedback on if this type of personal post is boring. I always worry that a reader will not care to hear my trivial thoughts on trivial topics. It feels nice to journal my thoughts, and like Trey would say than this should be enough, but I still worry these thoughts should stay off a public forum. Like I said before the last thing I want is my posts to come off as bland. I have written posts such as this in the past, but I always end up deleting them. Let me know your thoughts.   

“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.