Confession

75. A MAD-LIB FOR ADDICTS

cookie monster

 

Before I get a ton of hate mail from those who say addiction isn’t funny, I agree, it’s not. It does eventually become extremely important to be able look back on our past and learn how to not beat ourselves up over events we cannot change. Some of the funniest stories I’ve heard are in A.A. meetings. Obviously I’m sworn to secrecy, but it’s nice to know that it’s possible we can eventually laugh at those times that challenged us the most.  Nothing I have done that hurt others holds any kind of humor, that’s for sure, but there are plenty of things I have done to myself to supply more than enough amusement. Looking at these episodes of poor judgement and incomprehensible decision-making is, in my opinion, an excellent way to help strip the ego. The trick here is to look in the mirror and practice forgiveness rather than remorse. Doing the latter only fuels the need to be seen as a victim. Sharing these moments will not only help you find common ground with those willing to help, it will rid you of the “cringe” factor the memories may dredge up. Shame is one of the most draining and damaging of emotions. Getting beyond the need to express this concerning your past is one of the healthiest things you can do. Remember, self-actualized people are quick to laugh at themselves and are self-accepting.

If you are currently in a place where the pain is overwhelming, my prayers are with you. If real recovery is in your future please believe that what lies ahead isn’t ALL drama and business, there will be times of joy and discovery. A huge part of recovery is learning how to re-connect to feelings that have been forgotten, misplaced, misdirected, and abandoned. Management of expression is absolutely central to mental health.

I cannot use a fill-in-the-blank format for this entry, WordPress does not have this option. Please use a separate piece of paper and simply match the numbers. The choices I have provided for the blanks make things a bit more specific than your typical mad-lib. Trust me, it’ll come out much funnier this way. Try to fill out your form without scrolling all the way down. You may also highlight the top section, then print separately. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Confessions of an Addict-

  1. verb, past tense ______________
  2. object _______________
  3. public event _______________
  4. body part _______________
  5. body part _______________
  6. famous person _______________
  7. sport _______________
  8. a food _______________
  9. a profession _______________
  10. a possession, can be plural _______________
  11. low number _______________
  12. notorious man _______________
  13. notorious woman _______________
  14. number _______________
  15. weird characters/people _______________
  16. object, plural _______________
  17. a phrase meant to insult _______________
  18. adverbial phrase (how did you jump? i.e. …..like a madman, without hesitation, for no good reason, etc.) _______________
  19. a dangerous action (i.e. – running into traffic, etc.) _______________
  20. article of clothing _______________
  21. something yucky _______________
  22. verb, past tense _______________
  23. object _______________

 

( ) = an optional word, choose one or the other.

  1. I once got so drunk I ______1._______ (a) an _____2._______ during _____3.______.
  2. I failed the roadside DUI test because I could not touch my ______4. ______ to my ______5.______.
  3. When I get wasted my friends say I act like ______6.______ trying to play ______7.______.
  4. I once came out of a blackout surrounded by empty ______8.______ boxes and dressed up like a ______9.______.
  5. Once, I was so desperate for money I gathered (all) my ______10._______ and sold (it) them at a pawn shop for ______11.______ dollars.
  6. My mug shot looked like ______12.______ had a kid with ______13.______ who obviously hadn’t bathed for ______14.______ weeks.
  7. My nightmares used to include ______15.______ throwing ______16.______ at me while shouting ______17.______.
  8. Someone once posted an online video that showed of me completely sloshed, running ______18.______ while ______19.______ just so I could win a bet.
  9. I once went to work so hung over I was wearing my ______20.______ inside out and my breath smelled like______21.______ .
  10. There was a time where I would have ______22.______(on) a ______23.______ if it meant I could be free of my demons.

So, have fun with this. It should serve as a reminder to some (and a promise to others) that living on the other side of addiction is ALWAYS going to be better than dying inside it.

I look forward to hearing some of your responses to this. Feel free to post what you came up with and let others share in your laughter!

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

53. I WAS ASHAMED……9/11

WTC-9-11

I do not like who I used to be. There is no doubt I’m a better person than I was,  far beyond that which once caused me self-disgust, but I do wonder if there are other traits laying in relative dormancy, waiting for an unknown catalyst that will allow them to come festering to the surface. If they are anything like what happened to me here, I both dread and welcome it. This entry does not reference any addiction; it addresses a personality flaw that came to light in the weeks following 9/11. If you’re wondering how this could align with the ongoing topics of self-improvement, self-actualization, and recovery, read on. You’ll realize by the end of this article why I’ve written it.

Tuesday morning, September 11th, 2001….. Two co-workers and I were at a high school in Denver awaiting the delivery of an underground acid tank that was to be installed as part of the laboratory remodel. Our work load was light and there was nothing to do but wait. I was getting caught up on paperwork to pass the time while we listened to the radio in the trailer. Normal programming was soon interrupted and news came on that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. The DJ said there might be some deaths. My first thought went back to WWII when I had read about a bomber hitting the Empire State Building. There were some casualties and the structure is obviously still there, so while there was an immediate concern for the events so far, my initial reaction was more of curiosity than horror. With nothing else to do I suggested we go to one of the empty classrooms where construction was taking place and turn on a TV to see if we could get some more information. Like everyone else in the nation we had no idea what we were about to witness.

We came in just in time to see another plane fly into the second building; and although I had no insight to my reactions at the time, this is where my character defect started kicking in. I ask you, the reader, to forgive me for what I’m about to say. It’s difficult to write about, but I feel it’s an important observation nonetheless. Bear with me and you’ll find out how everything came out on the other side.

In my opinion it’s rude to slow down past car accidents to gawk at the wreckage. I’ve always been one to insist on NOT looking out of respect. It’s reprehensible behavior and I’ve been practicing what I preach all my life; that is up until that morning. It was so difficult to not look. I remember dozens of shaky camera angles; obscured views from the sky and street where confusion and panic were being voiced. Images flitted across the screen while stoic news reports and random speculations were voicing their opinions in the background. And then it happened. None of us watching really saw the first tower fall, but we did see the second one. Its mighty bulk tilted ever so slightly and disintegrated into itself obscured by a giant cloud of smoke and dust. Like so many of us the image is burned into my memory, unfortunately so was my reaction to it. All I could think was, “Wow, that’s good special effects!”  I might have even said something, I don’t really remember. I was so detached from the event I had no empathy about it for some time. The question was, why couldn’t I feel anything?

Three weeks have passed now. I don’t think our enemies were counting on the reaction we had as a nation. If they expected us to cower and crumble, well, THAT didn’t happen. If anything our resolve was strengthened by the disappearance of all the petty squabbling amongst ourselves as we (and a good portion of the planet) banded together and stood in unity for peace. It was a nice side-effect to the carnage of that day. Every night the news was dedicated to what had happened, and while I believe that news is only news the first time it’s seen, I agreed with the continuing coverage. Like Novocaine, the numbness I was injected with was beginning to vanish as the events of 9/11 were re-played  in an unending loop. They began to get harder and harder for me to watch. Finally I had enough. I walked into the bathroom and threw up. I also began sobbing; partially for the victims but more because I realized there was something very wrong with me.

I was immobilized.”Why hadn’t I reacted this way when it happened? Where is my humanity?” “Am I evil and selfish?”  It took some reflection but I now know what was “wrong,” and as I move through the second half of my life, I seek to reinforce a crucial part of me that was missing. Sometime in the late eighties I came across an article debating the influence of violence in media aimed namely at television and movies. Video games weren’t realistic enough to be mentioned, but I’m sure they’d be included if it were written today. I read forth with a preset point-of-view. My opinion was that people know the difference between what is make-believe and reality, and honestly I still believe it’s true, but that wasn’t the focus of debate.  The argument was this; if someone sees any act of  brutality whether it’s real or not they will not react with the same revulsion that would normally surface once the actual event is witnessed. They become desensitized. What should obviously be an expected reaction becomes dulled and unsympathetic. I changed my mind once I had finished reading the piece, but I never changed my habits; I went on watching and being entertained by violence. By the time 9/11 occurred I was so detached from reality that my mind went to the only source of connection I had established, fantasy.

As time went on I slowly began changing. Most of the actions in my life since I’ve stopped my self-destructive behavior have been focused on creativity; writing, drawing, building, and learning have worked wonders as they drive me towards becoming a better man, but what I initially missed was improving upon a more productive and creative, reaction to life. When I magnified appreciation, acceptance, tolerance, and forgiveness I ended up manifesting a creative environment. My perspective on all which surrounded me was beginning to align with what I wanted for myself.  I’ve done my best to drop the desire to compare the present with the past and this has helped me to better absorb the moment without as much prejudice.  Taking on the roles of both participant and observer has shifted my perspective towards a more compassionate lifestyle, though I’m not nearly in a place I should be yet. Selfishness and self-centeredness still assert themselves frequently, especially in the form of not listening and interrupting. Impatience, judgment, procrastination, and a whole plethora of other unwanted personality traits are still in my bag of tricks. Fortunately, a lot of them are becoming rather dusty.

My “observer” is to the point now where simply I cannot watch the yearly replay of those horrific events from twelve and a half years ago. I’ve tried, and it’s just too much. Too much suffering, too many lives forever fractured by the losses of their loved ones. All the tomorrows gone forever, and all the memories that cannot be erased. For those wounded who survived, it must be like a splinter in the soul never to be removed; a constant reminder of what cannot be repaired or replaced.

Last year my wife and I visited ground zero.  I fully expected to enter a space of restlessness and despondency. It was nothing of the sort, in fact it was one of the most spiritual places I’ve ever been; peaceful, beautiful, and inspiring. The museum on the grounds was not open yet, but we did attend another called “The Ground Zero Museum Workshop.” There are stories and photos here you probably have never heard or seen. It chronicles the event itself along with the aftermath in the weeks and months that followed.  Here is a link- Ground Zero Museum Workshop.  This tiny gallery (it’s literally one room) is also a holy place. I highly recommend it.

Those people who died that day paid with their lives to give us the gift of not only a more United States of America, but a more united world; one where we can look at each other and not just accept our differences, but ignore them completely.  They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Damn right.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

37. I CONFESS…..

dang it!!

I wish I was totally at peace all the time, but my ego seems to mess that up more than I’d like. You see, a few things still bother me, and I wish they didn’t. It’s okay though because there was a time when I found EVERYTHING annoying. I was one of those guys who could get pissed at winning the lottery. Really. So time to fess up and share (hopefully with a dash of humor) three of the situations in life that I still let get under my skin.

Let’s start with elevator etiquette. Why do people insist they shove their way ON before the occupants get off? More than once I’ve made a decision to stand about one inch from the door just to let strangers try to tackle me when it opens while I ask with a fake bewildered face “Can I get off first?” Yes it amuses me, (and has brought a LOT of laughter from those still inside waiting for their floor) but here’s the kicker….I find myself doing the opposite of what I want from the other side. Yes, I always apologize for being thoughtless, but I’m just as guilty as those who annoy me, which bothers me further. Ugh.

Next up, four-way stops. What? A complaint about drivers; what the? Anyway…It’s not the ones who roll through that get to me, it’s that no one seems to remember or care who got there first, so they sit and wait for the most aggressive one to take initiative. It also seems that at some point every day I pull up to at least one of these intersections and someone is just sitting in their vehicle, waving people through. They’ve been there for so long that their car is getting dirty from simple exposure. Really? Please just go. Years ago I actually met a motorist across from me who was doing this and I was shaking my head “No,” but they kept on waving. I finally turned off my truck, got out and waved THEM through. They left skid marks. Never figured that one out; and yes, I was sober. I’m not an aggressive driver, I swear. Almost everything is fine with me and it reflects in my record. Close to one million miles now and only two points on my license since I’ve had it as a teenager. I guess I just don’t like being confused. Not only that, I always make it through safely and respectfully so what’s the problem? Me, it’s me.

Finally, this is the situation I find REALLY aggravating. It’s a behavior pattern I’ve a hard time trying to break. I’m a plumber and I use a lot of tools that I scatter to different tasks, especially on large jobs so it’s quite often I misplace something. When I do, my first thought is  always, “Who stole my whatever it is that I misplaced.” To be honest I have had stuff stolen in the past twenty years…….twice. That’s it; yet my ego still goes on its rampage for a few seconds looking around the room for the culprit. My mind is quite aware that no one took anything, and still I persist in this Pavlovian response to my ineptitude. Can I have a “DUH” please? Most of the time I relax rather quickly, get out another tool, and wait for the situation to fix itself. It always does. Someday I’ll be rid of that particular bit of programming in my hard drive. The good news is that it happens less than it used to. Maybe it’s because I misplace my stuff less than I used to. Wait a second….do you think that’s how I’m subconsciously teaching myself to be less scatter brained? Couldn’t be; could it?

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

25. ALL THE WORLD IS A MIRROR…

thinker (2)

I once met a man who acted exactly like me and I couldn’t stand him. This is the God’s honest truth. As I stood there slack-jawed, watching this person complain, blame, and throw a tantrum, I was both amused and horrified. His behavior was not just disruptive to his own agenda, it was interfering with the duties of those around him. As he flailed about it dawned upon me that all of his energy was being used on the opposite of what he said he wanted; getting the job done. I was a year and a half past my most self destructive behavior when this happened, and I was grateful for having witnessed it. I’d never been so stunned in my life. I was this man; selfish, self-centered, and looking for excuses in my environment that could perpetuate my behavior. I felt sick. I also felt fortunate.

Do I really feel we see ourselves in others? Yes. There is a way to use this observation to  great advantage, and it’s probably not what you think it is. Most people don’t want to openly admit their mistakes or flaws, preferring instead to keep a mental note of what not to repeat should similar situations arise. Fair enough, though the benefits of humility, trust, and respect will flourish when one is quick to admit error to those it has inconvenienced. Since it is rather painful to look at what annoys us the most and try to find that part of ourselves that aligns with what needs purged, I would suggest an entirely different path. Look instead to everyone around you and seek out what is good, beautiful, perfect, and pleasant. In turn you will subconsciously elevate those same qualities in yourself. There is no need to evaluate the “bad” in others when observing the “good” will benefit you more. Don’t get me wrong, just as the beginning of this essay pointed out, I was glad to discover what needed changed. I think it’s easy to see that if I were to be in  constant (negative) judgment, and then go on to justify this state of mind by announcing that I was in search of myself, my ego would simply take over and I would revert to thinking I couldn’t be nearly as “broken” as those I was witness to.

Do not the best of us also see nothing but the best in others? Do not the most negative see nothing but an imperfect and broken world? Think about that for a moment. History has its examples just as our own families and colleagues provide theirs. Consider this, I believe that redemption is available to the worst of us; because if it isn’t available to the worst of us, then is isn’t available to any of us. What this means to me is that there is good in everyone, and I mean EVERYONE. The harder we look for it in others the more we must express it in our own lives. This practice lends itself to a life of love, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, and empathy.  All of man’s struggles seem to arise from the absence of these five qualities. Let’s not let the opposite determine our actions..

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/worlds-colliding/

4. WHAT I BELIEVE

principles

Before getting too far into more ground-floor subjects of self-help, I’d like to share with you some of the ideas that make up my foundation. When I first read other authors, I was curious to know what kind of belief system they stood upon. I wasn’t looking to align with any specific philosophy or spiritual viewpoint; it was simply of interest to me what their convictions were. If a way to refine the information about the sources I’d researched would have been accessible, then perhaps a more efficient path of growth would have been available.

I believe one can be both confident and humble at the same time.

I believe being tough means doing things that are tough to do.

I believe I am connected to everything and attached to nothing.

I believe redemption is never beyond the reach of anyone.

I believe we are all bonded, both in flesh and spirit.

I believe all wishes come true.

I believe regrets are grudges I hold against myself.

I believe that whatever I believe in, the opposite must also be true.

I believe I am responsible for everything in my life.

I believe one voice can be heard among billions.

I believe I am both unique and common.

I believe in the power of intention.

I believe that nothing happens that isn’t supposed to.

I believe that yesterday is no indication of tomorrow.

I believe that optimism is wasted unless it’s tempered with action.

I believe nothing improves unless dissatisfaction precedes it.

I believe the journey is the destination.

I believe life gets better every day.

I believe age has nothing to do with potential.

I believe cleanliness is next to Godliness.

I believe all self destructive behavior is anchored in shame.

I believe that in the house that is love, chiseled into the floor of the basement is the word “forgiveness.”

I believe I could be wrong about everything.

I believe I have both a free will and a destiny.

I believe in doing the most, what I’ll regret the least.

I believe there is beauty in everything.

I believe the inability to release and properly express emotion leads to unexpected and unexplainable behavior.

I believe compassion trumps the golden rule.

I believe letting go is the most powerful force I can choose to align with.

I believe whatever I am, I am not this body.

I believe there is no such thing as luck.

I believe I’ll never lose my wonder for the miracle that is this world.

I believe I can do anything.

I believe I see myself in others.

I believe this world is worth saving.

All of these ideas I really do believe in. My life is a continuing example of their manifestation. Some annoy me, some overjoy me, but all serve me well.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood