Learning through Observation of Variable Expressions

I believe that the purest form of love can only be experienced through direct, personal observation. In today’s society we are pressured to make moves, to take action without prior knowledge, to expect instant connections without hesitation. We live in a world with rapidly decreasing attention spans where you’ve only got 6 seconds or the first message to make a lifelong impression. We engage in people places and things based on word of mouth, yelp reviews or social media posts and we carry this same mentality and process into our inexplicably personal love life. My self-discovered definition of LOVE is to Learn through Observation of Variable Expressions. What I mean by this is that we cannot learn to love through review, we cannot experience love at first sight. We must choose to engage with this human being on a level which cannot be expedited. We must first choose to learn about them. Learning may occur in any number of avenues from exploring interests to lucubrating habitual behaviors or discovering coping mechanisms. Looking for things that make them “tick” is the first step in the complex process. If you can take the time to comprehend the depths of an individual, to completely and totally understand what drives them and what gives them a sense of fulfillment and purpose in this life and contribute to that then they will love you. If you can stoke their fire and even reignite it when it simmers out because it will. We are imperfect creatures and life is full of difficulty and struggle. Inevitably you will face trying times which will produce feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt. In every story the hero gets lonely. If you can be a partner who understands the process and fuels the drive and sense of purpose in your partner you just may open up their heart. Be someone worth loving.

When I meet someone I am always curious as to what drives their “why” whether that be a career, family, values, spirituality or religion or some other external force. We choose to engage with someone, then we choose to learn about them and as we observe we will recognize in any number of expressions of how this individual may reciprocate the same. Human beings express their love in some of the 5 common love languages which include words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch. Now I am no subject matter expert here however, I do know what love is not. I have foolishly believed I have been in love and I have been led astray with improper values and unsavory acts. Because of my experiences I have spent many hours exploring the depths of my soul in an attempt to discover exactly what I need in life not just from others but from myself as well. I desire someone who shares a deep spiritual connection with me, someone who will indulge and will fill my well of the soul. Someone who loves themselves first because if you cannot express internal love and appreciate all of who you are then I do not believe you can properly express love or impose a sense of love on another human being. If you have not Learned through Observation of your own personal Variable Expressions then how will you know what to look for in a mate. I challenge you to set aside some time, sit down with a pen and paper, the computer, fuck it even a whiteboard. I challenge you to make yourself a list of things that make you happy, then write a list of things that give you purpose, and finally write a list of things you might desire or even require from a partner. Be mindful that happiness is fleeting, happiness is a side effect from pursuing projects of purpose. Happiness may melt away quicker than sorbet in the desert but purpose will be the driving force behind your relentless actions when everything around you is failing. Purpose reminds you why you are on this path. Take time to identify your purpose today, you won’t ever get this day back. Don’t waste it by being unprepared. Identify your soul food, prepare the dish and learn to love yourself because someone out there wants to love you. Give them something to love.

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Perspective

per·spec·tive
/pərˈspektiv/
noun
  1. 1.
    the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.
    “a perspective drawing”
  2. 2.
    a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
    “most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective”

 

In my humble opinion, perspective is the single most important, viable factor of life on Earth. our entire reality is crafted and cultured rather carefully from our perspective and perception. I have experienced prolonged durations of extreme fluctuations of perspectives ranging from the deepest, darkest, corners of despair and hopelessness where suicidal narratives loomed overhead for undivided attention. Evenings consisted of sorrowful, pathetic cries to whatever higher being may listen, please just end my suffering. I do not want to experience another cycle of living hell. I was too afraid to end my own suffering but I prayed to some unknown god and asked him to do the job I could not finish myself. I was halfway there. I had endured a disastrous, miserable, spiritual death leaving just a physical death to proceed until the deed would be complete. There is nothing enlightening about this shade of perspective. This view of perspective offers nothing to the soul, and destroys the inner spirit of a human being. Unfortunately, there are millions living, stuck in this sorrowful state of existence. Some individuals will never experience a change and they will wallow on forever until the bitter ends. Naive to the beauty of life, they will never know how truly blessed being a participant just may be. These are the tragic ones. The one’s whose headstones will read “gone too soon” while their families question motives and continue on forever confused asking the question that will never be answered. Why? It is no easy feat to accomplish a true shift and from my understanding, and my experience on this planet there is only a slight chance of occurrence. I am a fortunate case in point however, I have been blessed by my higher power and given the unlikely possibility to shift. I find myself struggling to explain with words for it is simply an indescribable state of being. I feel it deep within, deep in the core of my soul and the root of my being. Today I am rushed with overwhelming feelings of gratitude for things as simple as watching the sun set on the horizon and the blessing of good health of me and my family. Today my perspective is such that allows me a sense of wellbeing because I know that I am powerless. I am powerless over everything in this life except for my attitude and my actions. Powerless is the new powerful, there is something exceptionally serene about having an understanding that you just don’t have to worry anymore. Now, inevitably, life on life’s terms happens each day but no longer do I find myself exerting forceful, self-will unto my immediate environment in a scantily attempt to manipulate people, places, or things to produce unilateral desired outcomes. Today I am FREE. Today I find spiritual fulfillment in giving aid to others. I want you to know that if you are there, in that dark space with no way out that you can make a way out. YOU have control over your attitude and your actions and with purpose you too can shift your perspective into something beautiful. I believe in you and if no one has told you that they love you today, I love you.

you are in your own way

What if I told you that the only thing standing between you and self-actualization is you. Social conditioning, environmental distractions, material obsessions. Fill the void, buy more look better, upgrade. Our environment constantly reinforces the fact that we aren’t good enough, we need the newest gadget to really be happy, we need to stay up to speed on whatever is trending in the world because we can’t be left out can we? but what if the real answer is being left out, the real answer is doing exactly what gives you purpose. The answer is to deviate from commonplace and embrace change and uncertainty. We constantly tell ourselves that we aren’t as good looking as the person next to us, we don’t take risks because society often deems that foolish. don’t you know it’s safer to stay inside what’s currently relevant or popular. Exerting energy in all of these external sources to keep up can be exhausting. I don’t know exactly if it was skydiving, or Narcotics Anonymous or a combination of both that has allowed me to realize just how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. But what I do know is that after this last toxic relationship ended for me and I accepted the pain and all the emotions that accompanied that time in my life I have shifted my perception. I have finally learned what it means to become powerless. I know that I am powerless over drugs and other addictive substances or behaviors but I think deep inside my soul there was still a part of me that thought I could still control other pieces of my environment even by doing the right thing as selfish as that may seem. However, I think there was still some self-centeredness left within me but once I experienced everything that took place around new years I truly understood that anyone is capable of anything and that even includes the ones who you hold closest to your heart. As cynical as this may seem there is something peaceful about that realization. You begin to really accept others as they are and you realize that you too have made mistakes and that we are all human and will inevitably make mistakes. This simplified things for me because now I know that if I set out with one goal in mind, to make less mistakes every day. I will become surrounded by people who have the same mindset. We are not guaranteed any certain number of days on this planet and anything may happen at any time and thats a fucking true statement. The reality is I might die tomorrow, and you might too and thats just a realistic possibility. Accept that you cannot control anything in this universe besides your own attitude and your own actions. You might be able to force your way onto your immediate environment for a little while, and you may even experience satisfaction temporarily. Eventually, eventually your time will come and your self-will will lead you down a dark path and you will again grow sour with resentment for those who failed to meet your expectations. And you will be faced with a choice once you hit this rock bottom, either go on as best as you can, to the bitter ends or you can find a new way to live. I pray that you have or will choose a better way to live. Because our lifetime is too short to spend upset or unfullfilled. Do not get happiness and fulfillment confused. they are two entirely different states of being. Happiness can easily be experienced through instant gratification. Fulfillment or self-actualization comes from purpose. Happiness will be a fleeting emotion, motivation will falter. When you reach those difficult points in your life how will you handle them? will you give up because happiness is now out of reach and no goal is within the range of instantaneity. Or will you collect your broken mess and stand up tall and press on with confidence because you are here for a reason, you are special and you have a story to tell. So go on, work hard when no one is watching, do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Live life, don’t hurt others, have fun and regret NOTHING.

embrace

Work hard. choose the difficult path, the one that has yet to be blazed. The one that has a shit ton of resistance, the one referred to as impossible or “Not recommended.”  Attack adversity and embrace the uncertainty that comes with change with a smile on your face simply because you can. Get out of your comfort zone because no growth occurs in a locked spirit. nothing changes if nothing changes and whatever you are not changing you are choosing so remember that. There’s no one to blame for your misery, struggle and adversity is inevitable in this life but suffering and misery is a personal choice. Sometimes it may feel like the whole world is against you but theres something bigger at work here. Every “failure”  is just a building block for your next strategy and every obstacle yields knowledge acquired. The universe, God, your Higher Power or whatever you believe in has a plan for you but be mindful that self-will can exercise authority over God’s will because God’s will requires delayed gratification and that shit takes time to set in place. What I mean by self-will having power is the realization that if I take the world into my own hands I may be able to directly influence my immediate environment for, a few minutes, or a few months if im rather lucky. This influence and control will be immediate for there is no one to shut me down in this present moment because god will not just physically show up and remove control from me. I may even be able to produce some immediately desirable results such as manipulating other human beings to get what I want out of them, hell I may even trick some people into liking me if I am really fortunate. That will be the extent of that, the satisfaction will perish as quickly as it arrived and inevitably I will relinquish control of my life and chaos will ensue. Fear will take over and within no time at all I will engage in primitive behavior to salvage what is left of my dignity. This is the story of living life in active addiction, you thrive on instant gratification and scold the first unfavorable outcome while writing off any imperfect individual as someone “lesser than I” because don’t you know he’s worse than I am. It takes time to acknowledge these character defects, it takes hours of writing, days of thinking, and years of implementing change. The opposite end of the spectrum may be rarely scaled by many, or perhaps there are a lot more human beings living in God’s will than I understand and maybe it’s me who is late to the party. Sadly judging by the way our society remains at large today I don’t think my intuition is incorrect. Living in God’s will is a true gift, something that cannot be bought with all the money in the world. A life of relinquished self-will is something invaluable, the feeling of serenity brought on by this path is enough for me to remain on this journey for the remainder of my time here on this planet. There is something to be said about having a spiritual relationship with a power greater than yourself that reassures you that no matter what, no matter what adversity is thrown onto your path that you are going to be okay. Nothing will cross you that cannot be overcame, there is no power greater than God can handle and coming to that realization has brought me one step closer to self-actualization. I promise, if you place your faith in the hands of a higher power you will be provided for, you will prevail, you will achieve your dreams and you will be alright. Today I am clean, I am free from active addiction and dammit anything is better than being a slave to the substance. If no one has told you they love you today, I love you and just for today, give yourself a break.

The girl with the hand tattoo pt.2

I think we are all moving too fast. iMessage, 20 second instagram stories, 60 second instagram videos, Airdrop, instant gratification has seeped into every aspect of our everyday life. When is the last time you have written a letter? When is the last time you passed by a stranger and wished them a good day? I think we are existing in such a fast paced environment that we are beginning to forget what living life really feels like because we are so focused on the next rush to give the dopamine dump. We are in such a hurry to the end result we tend to view delay or obstacles as some tragic failure or impossible feat. It feels good to be writing from the soul again, it’s been quite some time. I am hurting. Only recently have I began to write, but the emotions are starting to surface again. When we broke up in January I was confronted with a myriad of emotions, relief, sadness, anger, guilt, and fear to name a few. I had become so lost in the relationship that I didn’t even notice I was being verbally abused. She went through my fourth step, for anyone who knows about recovery and knows what step number 4 is knows that it’s essentially your skeletons, all of your skeletons in the closet written out on paper. She went through my fourth step and initially she told me that it strengthened her love for me to know how much I have changed my life around. I wasn’t even upset that she had gone through my writing because today I am a transparent individual, if I choose to allow you into my life I have no problems letting you know my story because I trust you and I know that I am a man of my word so I expect people in my circle to be the same. Eventually one thing led to another and she would bring up things from my past and joke about accusing me of doing those things and I would just sort of laugh and call her stupid and we would carry on. This trend continued and progressed until there would be mornings she would wake up and be angry at me for the dreams she had and would be genuinely upset with me over things that took place in her dreams. I don’t know how this never occurred to me as being absolute madness but I continued to love her, she would have mental breakdowns routinely and I would hold her on the kitchen floor at 3 am while she sobbed in my arms wanting to kill herself. I had become engulfed in her psychological war in her head with no way out. She would tell me that I have saved her life and she could not live without me and if we ever broke up she would kill herself. I have never acknowledged any of these things until tonight. She caused me more tears in 1 year than I had shed in my entire life. She caused me more emotional pain than I have ever felt because she had also given me more love than I have ever felt in my life. Perhaps it felt more real because this was my first honestly, clean relationship I had ever been in where I had actually felt genuine emotions. my hands hurt, im done writing for the night, ive got a lot of thinking to do and emotions to process. 40 something days until I graduate college, my daughter loves me, my family loves me, i’ve got a kickass life today and im clean from mind altering substances today. It was a good day, if no one has told you they love you then well, I love you. give yourself a break, go do something that sucks. Get uncomfortable and push your limits I promised you will be surprised with what you can accomplish.

My fingers cannot keep up with the speed of emotional processing that my brain is doing right now. I was just wrapping up my evening with my daughter, starting to get things ready for my day tomorrow and I think I am having another spiritual awakening. I have been overwhelmed with gratitude starting with the realization that I really am extremely hard on myself just about all the damn time. I often have near unrealistic expectations of myself leaving anything short of perfection viewed as an absolute failure. I am not perfect, no human being is otherwise this life and existence wouldn’t be so meaningful. I haven’t touched drugs in nearly 3 fucking years, to the outsider that may not seem like such a significant feat until I give an example that merely relates. If you wake up with a nice cup of coffee and a freshly scrambled omelette every morning and tomorrow I wake up and tell you that you can never have any of that ever again, might be a little upset yeah? Heroin was my world, my queen, my king, my everything. It was the most toxic love relationship I have ever experienced in my life, I surrendered my life to a substance and had accepted my fate, I would either grow old and die alone addicted to heroin and opiates or I would hopefully overdose soon enough to end the suffering. You see I was inadvertently saving my own life every day because I was too afraid to actually kill myself but too helpless to make a change in my life. Today my life is completely contrast in comparison to the miserable trajectory of my past existence. I am within 2 months of graduating with a BSN (Nursing) and beginning a whole new, blank chapter of my life. Today I have an unconditionally loving relationship with my daughter that I cannot even picture a life without, I am a Marine Corps veteran with an honorable discharge, I am an inspiring big brother and a dependable son to my parents. I have also been hand selected by a highly respected group of medical practitioners to go on a field trip to the middle east to bring high quality health care to the front lines of conflict zones. I am not sure why or how this is all happening because surely I do not deserve to have a life like this. Nights like these remind me why I have made the changes in my life that I have today, because today I live a life worth living and I have a conscious contact with a higher power of my own understanding. That’s where I feel a lot of our society struggles with higher power and spirituality is because there is so much push for religion, there is only one way to do it and it’s our way. I feel like that’s how a lot, not all but a lot of religious folks are that I come in contact with. That drove me away from religion but today I understand that it’s okay to not blend in with society, it’s okay to take an alternate route, it’s really okay to JUST BE YOURSELF, it’s okay. We don’t have to conform to every ideology or template presented to us in this life we are free to create the life we desire and by the same token we create the life of misery that we put ourselves in. We only have one shot at this damn thing so why not make the most of it every single fucking day. We are here for a finite time, a limited edition experience and it’s not getting any longer. Today I know I am only in control of 2 things in life, just two, my attitude and my actions and everything else just isn’t up to me and the sooner I accepted that the sooner I would learn the true meaning of serenity. That’s all for now.

Putting myself first

I don’t know how many of you struggle with this concept or defect but the more I practice introspection the more I can identify this character defect and how it affects my everyday life. Perhaps it’s the guilt I feel for the person I was when I was using, or maybe it stems strictly from my psyche, which tells me I am worthless every single day. My deceiving mind belittles me with every new scenario or interaction. My mind tells me I don’t deserve to be a nurse, my head tells me I am nowhere near as smart as the other students so I shouldn’t expect myself to pass this test. My mind tells me that I am too awkward and I don’t have the status necessary to talk to that beautiful girl over there. I will always be weaker than someone on earth so I should just give up training and not waste my time. I’m already in my late 20’s if I were going to be a real athlete I would have already gained my place among the great ones. I shouldn’t even acknowledge that I am a veteran because I never saw true combat so I don’t even deserve to be recognized. I already have a kid and im no longer with my daughter’s mom so i’m just another trash example of irresponsibility and the consequences of poor decisions. I constantly put myself down, i’m afraid to tell others no when they want to make plans because I hold myself at such low value that I would rather allow myself to stress out about deadlines than tell a friend I cannot make that outing. Maybe it’s because I never kept my word when I was on heroin, maybe it’s because I truly began to believe I was worthless while I used that black tar angel. Maybe it’s because I never felt valued by others when I was growing up, and I never quite felt accepted by the “cool kids.” Maybe I don’t put myself first because I have an honestly low level of self-esteem and feel that I don’t deserve to have this life. I first began to notice this character defect about a year ago or so. I am so worried of making myself a priority that I feel like if I decline or don’t put my energy toward someone else than people won’t like me. I literally stress out about replying to messages, returning phone calls, responding to social media in a timely manner that it takes up a tremendous amount of time in my head. I don’t know if this is a normal feeling in my generation but honestly this is how I feel and I need to take action to eliminate this stressor from my life. I really feel I have identified this as one of the primary stressors of my life and for that I am extremely grateful that my life has come to a point where my main source of stress is literally coming strictly from inside my heart. That is a powerful thing to recognize because that means that in this given moment the only thing that stands between me and true serenity is a little bit of internal work and thats one of the very few things in this life and on this planet that I can actually control. I can make that decision to make an internal change for the better. I have the power to wake up everyday and choose to be better. Today I will choose myself first, I know that the ones around me who love and respect me will be okay if I don’t reply right away because I am working on creating a better version of myself that will in turn benefit everyone around me. Today I am grateful that I have control of my life again, I don’t spend my time being dragged down the streets of life by my addiction. Today I have strength to push myself to become a better man with each sunrise. Today I will make myself a priority, I will engage in something that will initiate internal growth and I will not feel guilty about it. I hope you take care to do the same and if no one has told you they love you today, I love you.

Lookout.

I am sitting here at 1130 at night after laying in bed jamming out to some Yellow Days and thinking to myself about what may lie ahead for me in this life. I thought of some good things and some possible bad things that may or may not take place in my life but in that moment it became apparent to me. I finally, truly understand what it means to live in the present. We don’t have control over anything other than our actions in this life. There is no guarantee that I will not die tomorrow and that’s just the reality of this experience. Anything other than my direct input into the world is 100% out of my control. After thinking about this for a few minutes I began to understand that living in the moment is truly the greatest gift I have ever received. There is nothing more precious than this very moment, there is no fear of the unknown because in this very moment there is no future. There is just right now, no past tragedy or distant, unsatisfactory memory clouds my mind when I find myself living in the present. I feel that in order for one to experience this true state of mind you have to place some amount of risk in life, as someone who is constantly safe and cautious does not experience discomfort all too often. On the contrary, in my opinion an individual who takes risk and avoids having backup plans is forced to focus on the present moment because at any given time there are so many possible negative outcomes they may find themselves confronted with. For me I feel that addiction has helped shape that perspective of my life because I was at such an emotional low for such a long time that I truly had lost the value of life. I have shared before that I was too afraid to actually kill myself but there were many nights spent crying myself to sleep hoping that I used enough Heroin that I would not have to wake up to endure another day in my self-created living hell. Additionally, since I have taken the leap into the world of skydiving I feel that my perspective has since further shifted. To be technical, a skydiver literally saves his own life every single time he jumps from an aircraft. Yes there are many technological advances in skydiving equipment that also play a huge role in safety but at the end of the day the principle remains the same. While skydiving accidents are rare they do still occur unfortunately. That is an accepted risk that we take as jumpers however, like I previously stated that it is that routine risk that allows me to stay so present because during freefall there is no time for concentration or distracting thoughts on outside issues. For that brief moment in time there is no phone call more important, there is no traffic to curse, there are no arguments with the significant other there is just you, your rig, and your friends. Nothing else matters at this time and with some experience the skydives begin to feel longer and longer and you develop a profound sense of serenity because you know it is possible to have a still mind even briefly, and that’s what we’re all after isn’t it? Just some piece of mind for a little while so we can see just how beautiful life really is.

a love song to heroin, and why I jump

Dopamine; Heroin

I know that this ain’t right
and I know that you ain’t love
But if you keep those eyes
I just might stay with ya
You are killing me killing me killing me
Oh baby set me free set me free set me free
But you are what i need what i need what i need
Oh i am falling deep, catch me, see i can’t breathe
baby, you are crazy
i am breaking
this ain’t what it seems
you got me
Tearing myself apart
I’m picking at our beginnings
You’d rather Bite than bark
I’m thinking that we been finished
you pull me back, That spark
You say it can’t be diminished,
But this is ashes from art
dear
Wanna be together but you don’t try that hard
I wanna be forever but our future’s just to dark
And you just been my treasure but keeping you’s too much
Thought I knew myself but I see it was fools love
You’re my dopamine; (Heroin), feeling like my only drug
You’re not healthy for my well being you’re my only love
I just took a look see my veins are incomplete
I been hateful of myself you’re just a sin I seek
You can’t keep me clean, you won’t love for free
Lord knows that I tried I can’t live lover free
Sorry I believed you when you were loving me
Then you threw me to the side guess you weren’t that much to me
And I been feeling so addicted
You got me so wound up round ya soul I feel so twisted
Know that you’re not safe I’m outta place I’m so conflicted
Wanna call it love but you’re a face there’s something missing
You got me prancing and prancing again
Dancing and dancing again
playing ’round the fact that I’m nothing without you
You gave me nothing but doubt too
This song is called Dopamine, by KiD and Deanna… some lofi beats artist. I’ve had this song on repeat for 2 days now. I seriously cannot stop listening, even in class through one headphone, at the gym during intense training sessions. It has become a background theme song in my life right now, I feel so strongly connected to it because of the lyrics. The artists intended to sing about a failing relationship between two humans. I interpret it as a failing relationship between myself and Heroin. My first true love. “I wanna be forever but our future is just too dark”. I have been clean for about 16 months now. My life has changed significantly, got out of a relationship, into a new one and out of that one and into the best one I have experienced yet, a thorough relationship with myself and my Higher Power. I miss a girl, i miss her more than I have ever missed another human being before. She brings me a lot of joy through her beautiful imperfections. Something that Narcotics Anonymous has taught me, to accept others just the way they are and place no expectations on one another, that way you will be forever surprised threw any acts of kindness or love that they express to you. We talk about spirituality, stresses and anxiety, future goals and plans, relationships…I am trying to incredibly hard to keep my feelings at bay for her. I would be devastated if I ever did anything to ruin this friendship in anyway or make it awkward. I pray about solution and as much as I want to skip ahead and pursue her as a love interest I know that building a good friendship has absolutely no risk and 100% pure benefits. Every solid relationship seems to begin from a good friendship, so ive been told. I’ve yet to experience anything like this. She misses me. I am afraid of heights so I started skydiving school. I dont like public speaking so I have been working on a podcast. I have learned in recovery that sometimes God places the most blissful and serene experiences, right on the edge of your biggest fear and just far enough outside of your comfort zone to force you to take a leap of faith. That’s what recovery was to me when it was all so new and foreign. That’s what skydiving is everytime you make an exit from the aircraft. I have been off the social media since the first of the month. I realized that being down here in Orange County, away from my family and friends in Northern California, that often times I unconsciously depend on social media to feel “connected” to the outside world. I have been feeling so lonely since I got off the app, but i’m just letting myself ride this wave of loneliness. “I don’t always like the way that I feel, but today I do know that what I am feeling is real.” I am at peace with my life today, I jump from planes to calm my mind. There is something about racing to your death from 12,500 feet in the air that brings about a sudden sense of peace, and then upon pulling your chute. the beautiful sight and noise of that fabric opening flawlessly above your head to slow your decent. Then pull your toggles to full flare and just for a second or two….there is absolutely no noise, you’re too high up to hear the birds, and in a stall there is absolutely no noise from the wind, no traffic, no text tone, no email, nothing except a beautiful view of the earth, a feeling of relief after your chute opens without malfunction, and a calm peace of mind as you glide above the earth’s surface for the next few minutes. That’s why I jump. That’s why I am clean. the feeling of recovery is comparable to the feeling of skydiving. Initially anxiety and uncertainty overwhelm you as you climb into the plane and make your ascent, or as you become introduced to Narcotics Anonymous and attend your first meeting accompanied by terror. the plane evens out as does the nerves after meeting your first few NA contacts. You meet a sponsor, you take your position to exit the aircraft, the idea of never using drugs again and giving up your will and your life to a program you have no experience with is just as terrifying as your first freefall. you make the leap into the step working guide, you exit the aircraft for your first jump, your circle of awareness barely extends beyond your eyeballs as you are overwhelmed by the initial experience, unable to even focus on your altimeter, just staring blankly at it as you stare blankly at the readings with absolutely no clue what any of these words or mantras mean. So foreign, you receive hand signals from your instructors and instantly respond and try not to flail as sky trash, you call your sponsor with what you feel to be a life ending predicament, they guide you through with a calm and reassuring tone, you regain control of your freefall, you regain control over the situation in your life and realize it wasn’t actually that big of a deal. Instructors continue to prompt you with hand signals and you begin to calm the nerves and respond more fluidly, you call your sponsor and update him excited that you finally learned to accept some constructive criticism from another member, and are mindblown at the fact at they actually care for you and aren’t just negligibly putting you down. You lock on at altitude, wave off your instructors and pull, you take your first commitment at a meeting and become a service member, the chute opens and controllability check is smooth, people acknowledge you at meetings and tell you thank you for making the coffee, they tell you that they appreciate you and that circle of awareness gets a little bigger as you lock on your drop zone. You finally learn what it’s like to live in the present moment, you smile at the sight of looking down at earth from 3,000 feet as you glide, you complete your first few steps, you feel accomplished and at the same time realize the light of recovery and potential has just begun to shine through through the darkness and despair of using. life can be happy, maybe… you fly your pattern and come in for your landing, eyes fixed on the horizon, stage 1 flare, full flare, feet are on the ground, your sponsee calls…you bring him back to earth. You completed your first jump, you helped your first addict in need. Full Fucking Circle. I love you. The sky is the limit. Together We Stand Alone.

Attitude and Gratitude

As i sit here aimlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed, listening to a song called Pure, by Blackbird Blackbird i cant help but feel an internal happiness. I haven’t written in quite sometime other than my brief check in a few weeks ago around my 1 year milestone. I miss the internal release I get when I write. October 22nd marked 1 year for me…1 year since I have put any mind-altering, mood changing substances into my body..my substance of choice was Heroin… I capitalize Heroin because for many years i held that drug above everyone and everything else. Heroin ruled my world as well as the world of many others around me. Today my God rules my world. Today I don’t wake up wishing I had died in my sleep from overdoses or bad dope as I used to. Today my life has meaning, and I see it everywhere I look. My life has changed so significantly since I found the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous in December of 2014…in just 3 short years a miracle of sorts has happened. Today I live with purpose, I live clean; which if you have ever suffered from any type of addiction you understand how abnormal of a state of being it is. Today I am a present father to my daughter, a loving son to my parents, a mentor of an older brother to my younger sister, a nursing student, a positive influence to everyone around me. I love my life and i truly cherish every single relationship that is present in my life today. As i’m sitting here in my studio apartment, I have chills running down my spine just thinking about how truly blessed and lucky I am, as well as how much the neighbors probably hate hearing this song on repeat this evening. In my opinion we are but spiritual beings living out a human experience and through our own perception we have the ability to make every single day as great or as miserable as we so choose. At the end of the day that angry boss or that asshole who cut you off in traffic cannot determine the outcome of your day…we all have the power to see every situation and experience in our own light. If you choose to let the little things bother you or bring you down, you are truly missing out on the gift of life itself. Life is such an amazing opportunity that each and every one of us get to take control of and dictate our own future, what better deal than that? to wake up every morning with a smile on your face and love in your heart and go out and touch other’s lives with positivity. Whether it’s a simple smile to the attendant at the cash register or a stranger passing by or the opportunity to save someone’s life. The world already has enough assholes and hatred why do we need to continue to add to those numbers? Looking back just a few short years ago I never thought I would ever have this mentality or perception. I thought the world was out to get me and if you didn’t have what I needed or wanted then you had better get the fuck out of my way. Now I converse with people not to determine what they can do for me, rather what can i do for them or how can I make their day just a little bit better. I want to put smiles on other’s faces and I want to continue to express gratitude and positivity to the people around me. If no one has told you that they love you today… I LOVE YOU. It feels good to be back. It feels good to write again, the winter season is upon us and I look forward to those cold mornings that I can rise with the sun and a cup of coffee on the balcony and throw some feelings down here and share them with whoever reads it. If this message only makes it to one person, and if they crack a smile or better yet spread that smile to one more soul….then my job here has been completed, I do this for me, but I do it for you as well. Just remember this, no matter where you are in your life, you’re right where you’re supposed to be. Keep hanging on and remember I LOVE YOU. Goodnight.