Wednesday, June 30, 2010

True to Self.....Others

What can I say?
Whatever my message.
I should be the sole author...

yet my vision
of myself is not clear.
I have blind spots.
At times I spotlight
my accomplishments
unaware of my fabrications
while quick to cast a dismissive eye
at my pratfalls.

I need others, others holding,
square into my public face,
a magnifying mirror.
Others that can project
their likes and dislikes into me
so that I can paint
a clearer portrait from within.

Even then I will turn around
and project into others
my likes and dislikes,
my bright spots
and dark spots,
especially those
that bring my blood to a boil.

As true to myself and to you
as I would like to be,
at best I end up putting
make-up on my warts and blemishes
while highlighter on my good side.

So I guess I’m wrong
I’m not the sole author
of my story.
I need your insight
and editing.

Thank God….. and you
that see me,
through and through,
love me….anyway.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Attitude. Life

Me and life. What can I say?

Well Jim for starters.

Life is an inner attitude...

Change it!

Keep is simple and forthright…

Turn yourself and your problems
over to God…then

do the next right thing*..

Leave them in His hands…then

do the next right thing.

Trust Him … everything will (His) turn out right,

While you’re busy doing the next right thing.

*right thing. The task in front of me, this minute…this day. Usually the thing
I don’t want to do, even nothing.

Thanks for listening to me talk to myself into “letting go.”

My attitude has changed. Relieved. Surprise, surprise. Worry,fear have settled down. Imagine that.

Gotta run, things I can do and you’ve given me the Twelve tools to do them with..



Saturday, June 26, 2010

I am Responsible whenever.....

I answered my cell. What’s up big guy?

Got a phone call, a friend (Jake) needs help. Relapsed. Been drinking. Wasted.
Crying to go to detox.

What’s the problem?

Right now he’s the problem, nobody wants him. You’ve been around awhile, think you might know him. He’s called several places, no insurance, say they can’t admit him for several days, maybe weeks. He’s been to treatment before, they know him. To them he’s a pain in the a**.

Big guy was right. After a few questions I did recognize Jake as one of my first clients in a treatment center, different city twenty years ago. I could also understand everybody’s reluctance to accept him. Jake hasn’t put more than a few months of sobriety together at a time.

Been told to play hard-a** with him. People I’ve talked to say he’s hopeless. Don’t be soft with him, he doesn’t really want it. Maybe he doesn’t want it, but I can’t bring myself to drop him cold; he did call for help.

Right. For me that’s the key. Don’t play God. We can’t judge whether he wants it or not, whether this time will be the time or not. I would suggest that we do whatever we can for the guy and let God do the sorting out.
Knowing his history I’ll make some phone calls, if we can’t get the help he needs we always have ER or…. You call him back let him know we’ll help him.


I called. Made arrangements. We could pick him up. Big guy called back. Jake would not answer his phone.
Jake hadn’t told Big guy where he was, his estranged wife didn’t know either. Big guy would keep trying.

God only knows.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Mike--flash 55 friday

Happy birthday Mike
Senselessly at twenty six
Thirty-eight calibers
tattooed your future.
You and doctors labored
hours at eternity’s door
surviving for twenty years
with missing and impaired
body parts. Without legs,
half a man physically,
twice a man spiritually.
After years of operations,
Not enough pain relievers
Body depleted
ER death, forty-six.
Finally freed.

Jim, Mike's dad

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today Well Lived

My friend greeted me with, how’s life treating you?

Great, better than I deserve.

How can you say that?

Why not?

Well, for starters, you say every bone and muscle in your body aches.
Face it, you don’t have much mileage left on that old bod.

Right, but it’s a good ache because
yesterday morning after “quiet time”,
I had a board meeting (rehab center, text and phone) before breakfast,
took call from friend , made calls, arranged rehab
for her son, a 20 y/o meth, opiates and alcohol addict,
then drove cross town to play tennis till noon,
drove back home grabbed a shower, a bite and a half hour nap.

Drove half way across town to Y with wife
did Yoga for an hour and a half.
We had lunch then, drove further down town
To a weekly 2 hour meditation and spiritual growth group

Drove back home, collected my laptop,
Drove twenty miles to monthly poetry group (writer friends),
reviewed two poems (drafts) ready for publisher.

Returned home (wife and daughters) in time to catch 2nd quarter
of LA, Celtics playoff, made popcorn, caught The Daily Show.
Did personal inventory, prayed and hugged with wife,
then zonked off to sleep.

I tell you all this and say life is good today because
I have come to believe in the Sanskrit Proverb

Look to this day...for,
…today well lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore to this day.

I might add with a good mix of “family, friends, self and Higher Power.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


At quiet time this am we read the following by William Styron. It hit the mark for me, wanted to share it with you.

The poetic and profound writing is in its original form except for one word. For my own reading I chose in the second line to insert addiction and depression.” I also changed the format for my own ease of reading and remembering it.

For those who have dwelt
in depression's dark wood,
And known its inexplicable agony,
their return from the abyss
is not unlike the ascent
of the poet,
trudging upward and upward
out of hell’s black depths
and at last emerging
into what he saw
as “the shining world”.
There, whoever
has been restored to health
has almost always been restored
to the capacity for serenity and joy,
and this may be indemnity
enough for having endured
the despair beyond despair.

From Prayers for Healing. Edited by Maggie Oman


Monday, June 14, 2010

Daily Check In

Been a hard day, I was getting in bed when the phone rang.

No….well yeah…..who’s this?
This is Angie, bartender at Schuyler Tap…..
drunk in here asked me to call you.
What’s his name?
Don’t know. An out-of-towner….drunk when he came in….
gave him a drink to shut him up.
What does he want?
Wants you to come and get him.
Oh crap….just getting in bed…got to get up early…work.
You're not coming? I’m calling police.
Wait…be there in about 15 minutes.
Good…. but I’m throwing his sorry a** out of here…
he’ll be waiting for you on the curb.

He was on the curb like a sack of garbage, head in hands, just like the bartender said he would be….between sobs he mumbled.

From Wisconsin….been sober little over twelve years….good job
….wife, kids…. lost it all …..
It’s okay…. I’ve called other AAs….we’ll be with you tonight.
As I helped him onto the cot at the Starlight, a $1.00 a night flop house on the strip he grabbed my arm and pleaded with me.

Jim, it’s all in the first thing you do when you wake up…..
Please, please check in with your Higher Power every morning….
ask for all started when I didn’t….didn’t take long….
stopped doing everything else …. it all came crashing down.
Thanks….see you in the morning.

Priceless note from 6.13.64.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Spiritual Growth and Dreams

Spiritum contra spiritus
Higher Power opposes alcoholism

So wrote Dr. Jung to Bill Wilson. It was this message, Higher Power Overcomes Alcoholism, that Rowland Hazard, who had been Jung's patient in 1930, who carried it to Bill Wilson via Ebby Thatcher, November 26, 1934. It has been acknowledged that the message was the start of Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill's last drink was December 11th, 1934. Bill's spiritual experience occurred the evening of the 14th.

Just a little history, but wanted to tie in Jung’s connection with the foundation of AA and how his studies, work and his own spiritual journey are significant in honoring how our dreams can be used to guide us in our spiritual growth.

We just spent a glorious week with two-hundred other spiritual-path travelers. We went to workshops, ate meals, prayed, played, and laughed together while learning a great deal about the meanings of our dreams in our lives with a special emphasis on our spiritual growth.

Although the conference was held in an Episcopal Conference Center the travelers were made up of a full assortment of folks who professed affiliation with various established faiths. Unlike AA conferences and retreats we were required to open our minds to honor many diverse understandings of God. Note: I started out in sobriety praying “God if there is a God…”.

The six of us in recovery (two to forty-eight yrs) were tightly bound to the principals according to Bill & Bob and loosely affiliated with the established faiths. My wife and I were numbered among the eclectics (diverse and free).

To be in such a stimulating crowd was exciting. Exciting to learn how others in and out of recovery came to know the God of their understanding. All of us attending listen to our dreams, acknowledging that they have enhanced our relationships with our Higher Power, ourselves and others. The interesting part is how they relate to how to cope with life on a daily basis.

I believe dreams are a great way to improve our conscious contact with our HP. They come to us in our sleep when our “thinking mind” is shut down, allowing the unconscious to speak to us. I put into quotation marks our “thinking mind” because it’s so often said “my best thinking got me here”.

This is not buga-buga, my wife’s term for weird and far out, nor are our dreams to be treated like cheap parlor games. The sub-title of the conference refers to “Dreams, God’s Forgotten Language.”

Supported scientifically as well by documented events in history dreams have been pivotal in helping great men change history; from Gilgamesh to Joseph, Patton, Lincoln and even Paul McCartney with the tune for “Yesterday”.


Friday, June 11, 2010

BP to Lady Gulf Friday 55

No! Don’t screw with me.
Oh, c’mon trust me
You sure it’s safe?
Believe me it is.
Nothing will happen.
Don’t worry…. using a
casing…….won’t leak,
fail-proof…been tested.
No problem.
Don’t lie to me.
Don’t worry…it’s safe.
C’mon just this once.
Always be there for me?
Like oil on water.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sanity and Serenity Restored

Sorry I did a cop-out on you'al for the last several days.
My wife and I took a trip over and through the Smokies.It was downright beautiful and restorative;embracing canyons between evergreen forest and gurgling white water streams.
We had been there many times before and knew it was just what we needed to restore sanity and serenity into our lives.
Once over to the eastern side of the mountains we attended a Dream workshop at a conference center for the week.
The conference was attended by over 200 great loving people all bent on their own spiritual quests. As it has been every year we have attended, there were a few of us in 12 step recovery. Meetings, meals and hanging out with them was the frosting on the cake.
Back now I'll resume posting and hope you will come a-visiting me. I missed you all and will be coming around.