Recovery

93. 21 YEARS IN RECOVERY

21-year-aa-birthday-sobriety-coin-204-p

Well, here I am at my 21st A.A. birthday. I remember looking forward to my other 21st birthday because it meant I wouldn’t have to rely on others as much to make decisions. I had gotten drunk only once before when I was seventeen. My friend and I scraped together a little money and bribed some guy to buy us a fifth of green label Jack. We stayed home and got sloshed while playing cards using only a strobe light to see by. It was fun for about an hour and then we both got sick. I had a hangover for two days and vowed to never drink again; and I didn’t for what seemed like a long time.

Then, some years later, after I’d turned twenty-one, I moved in with a guy who had booze everywhere and I thought “why not?” I began drinking about once a month and it felt OK. I got past the occasional hangover rather quickly and I began looking forward to the next embracement of self-induced oblivion. Within two years it was happening pretty much every weekend.  Then came the day I was screwed. I found out that “hair of the dog” actually worked when I’d drank too much the night before. From then I was a maintenance alcoholic. Too much and I couldn’t function because I’d pass out. Too little and I’d get the shakes or worse, delirium tremens. I had no idea just how close to death I’d been until looking back. That was a long road.

If you’re suffering now I have this advice for you. There is no shame in asking for help. Many wait out there with solutions and Love. Trust me. Those I know who have made it back from what seemed like hopelessness are truly the best people I know these days. It’s a heck of a price to pay, walking through hell to find oneself,  but it’s worth it.

Who knows, you may end up liking and eventually Loving that person in the mirror. I did.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

87. A DYING WISH

generics

When I turned nineteen in 1983 I moved into my first apartment. It instantly became clear that this was not going to be the freedom filled adventure of youthful fantasy. My take-home income was around four hundred dollars a month and my bills added up to about three hundred and twenty of that. I didn’t own transportation so there was no financial burden in this category. I didn’t even have a phone. I did however have a quiet, clean place to call home only two blocks from both work and the nearest grocery store. I had my art, my books, and a (color) television to help pass the time. Food turned out to be a luxury. When it came to eating my belly was filled from the generic aisle. In the eighties there was a “fad” in nationwide supermarkets of extreme no-frills, basic products. They were generally at least half the cost of the lowest comparable item and the quality barely matched the price. Here was my salvation from starvation. Most of my consumption was in the form of macaroni and cheese dinners at 10 for a dollar, ten pound bags of potatoes, and butter and sour cream. My high carb, high fat diet provided enough energy to keep me from looking for a third source of income.

Because I worked nights, and held down two jobs, my social life consisted primarily of talking to whomever I happened to be in the vicinity of. I’d never been a party going person nor did I pursue any other kind of pastime that would have drained my wallet. I’d been in a couple relationships already but wasn’t jumping at a chance to renew the experience; besides I couldn’t have afforded a girlfriend even if I wanted one. As it turned out, I didn’t need money at all. On one of my rare days off I came home from the store to find a woman moving into my apartment complex. I was surprised to learn she was on her own, apparently a couple of friends had let her down. So, me being me, I jumped in and began helping. Turned out she has secured the unit directly below mine. Within a couple of hours we had all her possessions through the door. Once it was set up her place was almost as sparse as mine. I found out she was manager of a General Nutrition Center in a local mall and was in the middle of some life changes. There was a ten-year age difference between us but that didn’t stop us from becoming fast friends.

I discovered rather quickly she was in (recent) recovery from alcoholism, but that meant little to me. She seemed normal enough and as time strode on our friendship branched into prolonged visits and activities which she paid for and I gladly accepted. Going to the movies or a restaurant was a rare event in those days and I jumped at the chance to do anything other than sleep and work. Eventually, and probably inevitably, our friendship turned more intimate.

I remember during one of our conversations she mentioned she hated to hear men say they loved her. I was understandably confused at her statement and asked why. She said it was because it always turned out to be a lie. One day I was watching her put on makeup and get ready for work. I must have been staring at her a little weird because she suddenly blurted out, “Don’t look at me that way!” I was a deer in the headlights. “What way?” I asked feeling really nervous. “You’re looking at me like you love me.” I couldn’t and wouldn’t say it. It had been purposely set up this way; at least it felt like it at the time. Soon after the entire fling fell apart. She ended up going out with another man behind my back and I began to build a wall of self-pity. The foundation of this eventual prison was built on a single desire; the one that almost killed me.

“I wish I couldn’t feel Love.”

Everything I did for years was tethered to avoiding the action and emotion of Love. Slowly, painfully, this pursuit drove all the passion, all the color, and all the variety out of my life. I became a generic person, a “human” who “worked” and “ate.” My value to the rest of humanity was soon bottom shelf. Living only for the sake of living will eventually cause one to run out of reasons to continue, and in time that’s exactly what happened to me. Survival was my singular quest and even that began to erode with a lifestyle of escalating self-abuse. My primary goal was quite honestly, oblivion. I shunned any responsibility other than those involving support of my my basic needs; earning enough money to buy alcohol and stay off the streets.

For twelve long years I lost touch with my spirit until quite by accident I invited Love back into my life. It re-manifested by uttering a single, heartfelt word.

“Help.”

When I finally reached out with a willingness to leave everything behind, including my possessions, my belief systems, and even my acquaintances, I found an abundance of outstretched arms willing to guide and support me. The trip has been stormy and frightening, but never have I lost my footing. When I couldn’t see ahead I was carefully led. Every action that pulled me further from certain doom was carried out with patience, compassion, and understanding. My surrender of the past and embracement of a mostly unknown future has remained dedicated and focused. As a result, twenty years later, I now have what many may see as an enviable life. I’m at peace, I have a beautiful, loving, responsible, and sober wife who’s also my best friend. There’s no need for anything yet I have access to resources for manifesting whatever I want. Best of all I’m back in touch with myself.

You see, when I decided Love wasn’t worth pursuing, I unintentionally lost what positive feelings I had for myself. A connection to spirit vanished. The decision to eliminate this action, this emotion, led to the eventual elimination of ALL motivation and feeling. No matter where Love may lead me now, I choose to embrace it because it is the nourishment of a life well lived, and I encourage all to feast.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

 

84. TWENTY YEARS IN RECOVERY – JULY 28, 2015

20th

I, like many people, used to let my mind wander obsessively on two types of thoughts, worry and regret. I could conjure future fantasies and find any excuse for not moving forward at the moment. Likewise I had similar skills that would keep me immobilized when looking back on my life. “What if?” and “It’s too bad.” were the same chapters I kept rereading. The reality I didn’t know at the time was that both these places are unreal; paranoid fantasies used over and over to fuel and excuse self-destructive behavior. Keep in mind worry and regret are NOT equal to reminiscing and planning. The latter two are healthy and honestly, necessary.

These days I concentrate mostly on what’s in front of me, and there’s a lot. I have a tendency to work on the moment; living and breathing with expectations of the future fueled by forgiveness of the past. So far, I’ve found no better way to live. A life without the fear of tomorrow or the pain of yesterday is the greatest gift of my recovery.

Does it feel like twenty years? Not really, and for that I’m grateful. This disease is always there, it never really goes away. Probably the best that can be done is to keep it behind me which in turn forces me to stay ahead of it, always moving, always learning, always helping.

I will say this, the BEST people I know are those who have gone headfirst and thoroughly through the program. They have nothing in common past A.A. They all have different beliefs and priorities and they are all utterly reliable and honest. There are those who feel 12 step programs are not the best route for those struggling with addiction. I have a little to say about this. The program itself says two things, and always has, that it’s a choice to be made by the individual when all other avenues have been exhausted and that it’s simply not for everyone.

Keep this in mind……..EVERYONE QUITS, AND MAN I MEAN EVERYONE.  How you choose to get away from the demons of your life is a choice; just please, don’t choose death.

The cross and coin in the picture were given to me by my wife in honor of this day. The A.A. coin commemorating my twenty year mark is solid silver. My Love; she is thoughtful and supportive.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

83. A MINOR MIRACLE

ticket

May, 1999…….

I hadn’t talked to Joe in some time. He was my sponsor and my friend, but our relationship was more than those words two can describe. His patience and teachings had saved my life. There was a bond to the common ground of alcohol addiction and an understanding of other things that linked us as well. Physical separation and a lack of communication did not weaken our connection. I’d been in recovery for almost four years and we hadn’t spoken for some time when he called. I knew a few sentences into our conversation that something was wrong.

“Joe! It’s good to hear from you!”

“Daniel. How are things in your world?

“I’m doing well. I have a wonderful girlfriend and my job is going very well.”

There was a silence, not too long but definitely noticeable, before he replied. “I’m glad to hear it.”

His tone alerted me as well. “What’s wrong, Joe?”

He sighed. “I’m going to lose my apartment. I was wondering if I could borrow some money. I’ll pay you back next month.”

“I have some saved, what do you need?”

“Five-hundred dollars.”

“I’ll be home tomorrow, when can you come by?”

“How’s one o’clock sound?”

“I’ll have your money then. See you tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Daniel.”

I was still living single for the most part and made almost daily trips to the grocery store. There was obviously a need to stop by the bank as well, so out the door I went. After picking out my usual lot of crap-food, I paid for my load and got another ten bucks out of my account to buy a scratch ticket. I did, and still do play frequently, so this was not a spur of the moment departure from my usual behavior. The result is the scan of the ticket above. (Sorry about the resolution, it’s a copy, of a copy, of a copy so it sucks, but it IS the ticket I won five-hundred dollars on.) Figuring no one would believe this story I quickly made use of the store’s copying machine to obtain proof of the serendipitous moment.

Five hundred dollars, no more, no less. You’d have a hard time convincing me this was random. Joe showed up right on time the following day.

“Nice to see you, please come in.”

“You’ve got a nice place here.” Joe hadn’t been to my apartment since I’d moved in. It was too bad he had to see it under these circumstances.

“Here’s your money.”

“I’m so sorry for this, it just kills me to ask for help. I’ll repay you next month, I promise.”

I’d told Joe on numerous occasions that I owed him my life, and if there were anything I could do to attempt to repay the debt I would be not only obliged, but honored.

“There’s no need to compensate me, the universe already did.” With that I showed him the scan of my scratch ticket I’d bought the day before. “All I’m out is ten bucks.”

Even after showing him the ticket he still was insistent on compensation. I finally convinced him otherwise. He was moved by the gesture and after we talked a little more he went on his way.

I have seen enough of these “coincidences” in life to be firmly convinced that they are of divine intent. My faith that whatever is needed will manifest at the perfect moment finds new footing as each day passes.  Such has been the case for every circumstance of my life so far. It isn’t as if some things were perfect and some weren’t; all my choices, all the so-called unplanned events, and even the most seemingly insignificant occurrences have conspired to give me what I choose to call a perfect life. One thing’s for sure, I would have never recognized any of it before I quit drinking, now close to twenty years ago. As a direct result of my recovery I embrace each moment as part of something wonderful waiting to unfold. There’s no doubt that what’s directly in front of me might be unwanted, but no matter what all of it is part of a better tomorrow.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

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

67. AA BIRTHDAY……19 years, JULY 28TH, 1995

19 years

When I went to my first meeting I was living in Des Moines; alone with no future and a lot of past. It must have been a bad weekend or night because something prompted me to make a call to find the nearest group. Upon walking through those doors for the first time I definitely became a little weak-kneed. Even though I was uncomfortable with the environment, the urge to bolt never occurred to me. I was unwilling to put myself in the spotlight, so I sat tight-lipped and did my best to listen while I silently judged those surrounding me. I came to the conclusion I was in a room full of criminals, me included. That was three and a half years before I finally stopped drinking. I’d been living a life of constant desperation, and that’s just about as close to death one can get before breathing stops. We see movies and TV shows about the living dead, zombies if you will; and I’m here to tell you, they are real. I was one of them. So are a great many more. I fed upon death and produced nothing. I didn’t care who I had hurt, I didn’t care about tomorrow, and I didn’t even care for the moment. The only thing that kept me going was fear.

Occasionally I would go to meetings when my shame weighed heavy and my life seemed lost, but I never did what was asked so simply of me until  drank my last drink; I HAD to hand my life over to a higher power. The humor of the situation (so easy to see now) was that almost everyone had a better life than I did, in other words I didn’t have to search very far for my “higher power.”

If you are looking for your “higher power” please keep in mind all this has to mean is asking for help from someone who is in a better place. In the end, this is all it should be anyway. God is omniscient to begin with, which means the presence we seek is everywhere and in everybody. I’ve said it for years, “the cosmic radio has never moved from the station, we just turned down the volume.” Turning up the volume will effectively drown out  our own misgivings and insecurities. Keeping it down will amplify our doubts and fears that in turn will be the seeds of self-destruction.

IF you are thinking about going to a meeting; if you are considering trying to change your path, here are a few pointers. These are the first flames in the darkness, may they guide you to a place of peace and prosperity.

  • Ask for help from those who have made it beyond the same place you now stand.
  • Do not question what comes next, do what you are told. For the moment whoever “they” are, they are the higher power.
  • Know that you will probably be angry about what is asked of you, this is normal and unavoidable, do it anyway.
  • You must be willing to pay any price. This is better known as a leap if faith.
  • Breath. Do not worry about the future, do not regret the past, focus on the moment. This is called “one day at a time.”
  • This is a program designed to strip the ego. Selfishness and self-centeredness must be eliminated or you will die. Period.
  • This program has never failed those who live by its words.

The BEST people I know are members of this organization. I’m totally serious. If it weren’t for them I would most surely be long dead. Those who take it to heart and practice and share the steps I would trust my life to; actually I do. Do not let your fear stop you from a future that might never happen. Know that I and many others Love YOU, really. Give us the chance to prove it.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

51. GHOST STORY

ghost

This is a tale of supernatural coincidence. It is the story of a miracle, and I swear every word is 100% true.

Day 1

A few years ago, around 2005, I decided to find out how my AA sponsor was doing. It had been some time since hearing from him and didn’t quite know where he was since I hadn’t written down his address. His phone had been disconnected as well.  This didn’t surprise me because the last time we spoke he’d mentioned cutting back on non-essential bills now that he was in retirement with  a limited income.  I’d visited his apartment since he moved, but couldn’t recall exactly where it was. The general vicinity was known, however I wasn’t about to go around randomly looking, hoping to recognize it. I found a web site designed for locating people and paid for some information, which to my surprise, proved quite useful. The following Saturday morning I set out to see my friend. My spirits were dampened upon arriving, it was a security building; hadn’t remembered that. After trying Joe’s number for several minutes without an answer I randomly tapped on several other buzzers hoping the occupants wouldn’t get too mad; there was no response. I then spent the good part of an hour trying to figure out how to get word to him some other way and was finally rewarded with a chance to approach a tenant who was leaving. Gathering my groveling skills I pleaded shortly with the gentleman to let me in so I might at least leave a note on his door. The first synchronicity was about to happen. The man was living in the apartment Joe had occupied. He suggested talking to the property manager and maybe she could give me some information on his whereabouts. It was a couple of buildings over, and I found the office with little effort. I called the number on the door and left a message that went something like this, “You don’t know me but I’m a friend of Joe Patton. He used to live here and I can’t find him. I know you don’t have to, but could you please call me and let me know if you remember him and if he is ok?” I left her my number not expecting a reply since I’d asked for information of a personal nature.

Day 2

On Sunday morning around 8:00 a.m. I received a call from the manager of the apartment complex. She was very kind, more than helpful, and a little sad. I had a slight suspicion what was wrong. She told me Joe had committed suicide about a year and a half prior.  My response to the news was surprising. A peace settled over me and I was happy for him. The funny thing was, I didn’t think I would react that way. By no means did I agree with his actions, but I felt I understood them. He had said some time back he may be going into hospice. I thought he was exaggerating his situation, not out of rudeness or insensitivity, but because he always acted and moved with such a healthy swagger. Obviously this had not been the case. After looking at his situation from the point of view of an addict, I could understand why it made sense to him. He had left a lifetime of dependencies in his wake and when suddenly faced with the possibility of leaving this world full of drugs that would violate his ethics, then the option of self-termination became a justifiable alternative. I’d read years ago that suicide is actually a crime, so I surmised calling the police might yield more information. My goal was to pay respects to wherever his remains were. They told me that obvious suicides are not crimes and are simply handled by the coroner’s office. I sent off an e-mail with all the information I had asking if they could let me know anything else about Joe. Synchronicity number two was about to happen. That night I went to my basement and got online to relax. Literati is a generic version of Scrabble I used play almost every day on Yahoo! While playing I would usually turn on my “personal” radio station through a now defunct web site called Launchcast. It was a music service that allowed the listener evaluate songs, albums, and artists. Given enough time, 90% of what streamed would become whatever the user had  graded. At this point I had around 5000 ratings, more than enough to cater very personally to me. For the most part every tenth song or so was either a new release or something that the system had guessed matched my preferences.  About half a dozen times or so (at this point, for the last year and a half) a soundtrack had popped up  that never matched my tastes or had anything on it I’d approved. This was the music to Joe’s favorite movie. It’s called “Last of the Dogmen.” It was released in the mid nineties and it’s about a lost tribe of American Indians found in modern times. Well…….as I was playing online that night, here it came. The name of the track was, “Somebody’s out There.” The hair on the back of my neck went up, not out of fear but recognition of what was going on. I was alone and looked around slowly to see if anything was moving or if I could actually glimpse an apparition of some sort. I didn’t notice anything and didn’t have to. I slept very well that night.

Day 3

It’s Monday morning now, and another phone call came, this time around nine. There was a kind and sympathetic person on the other end. Within a few minutes the Coroner had given me all the details he could about Joe. He told me how he died and that one of his friends had taken care of the funeral arrangements. I knew he couldn’t give me any private information about Joe’s friend for obvious reasons, but instead asked if he could call the man in question and give him my number. He said he would be very happy to try and I said goodbye thinking it wouldn’t work. (I would have been upset if I hadn’t tried.) Within three minutes there was yet another call from a man named Chris.  We talked for a while and came to the end of the road metaphorically speaking. He told me his ashes were spread in a park near Boulder. Chris was most compassionate and he seemed happy that someone still cared for Joe. And that was it….I thought. Synchronicity number three was about to bear down like a locomotive. As usual that night I was in the basement playing my game to unwind while listening to music when Joe’s soundtrack popped up again. Two days in a row for something that had never been listened to or rated? Now it was weird enough it played the night before, but this was way too specific to be considered some sort of random event. The title of this particular track was “Leaving Forever” Hmm. Now……….the next song was one that actually had been rated years before but not heard yet. Queen released an album in 1980 called “The Game” it was extremely popular at the time and being a fan of the group I had marked all the tracks as high as possible. The song that started playing next was called “Don’t try Suicide.” What a way to say farewell. I leaned back in my chair without needing to look around for any physical evidence of his presence and said out loud, “Good-bye, Joe.”  

Is he gone now? No. I still ask him for his opinions; I still ask him for guidance; I still ask him for his presence; and while my prayers may not be answered in ways I can verify or explain, they are indeed always answered. I miss my friend even though I know he’s never really left. This story is for you Joe, rest in peace.  

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

 

50. FIFTY POST SUMMARY

50 dollars

Well……..I thought I would mark my fiftieth post with a list for easy access to what’s been written so far. Hope this isn’t too boring, it wasn’t for me.

  1. Welcome to my Blog! This introduces who I am and why I decided to create this page based on my frustration at trying to find entry level material to the subject of self-help, self-empowerment, and self-actualization. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/02/self-help-for-beginners-welcome-to-my-blog/
  2. My Favorite Joke It’s just what it says and it really is my favorite.  https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/03/my-favorite-joke/
  3. How to Know if You are on the Right Track- The importance of mentoring, lowering defenses, and taking criticism is discussed. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/04/how-to-know-if-you-are-on-the-right-track/
  4. What I Believe- Just me letting the reader know what kind of person is behind the subject matter presented here. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/09/what-i-believe/
  5. 12 Step Meetings- Behind the Doors- Written to illuminate a little of what goes on at 12 step meetings. Very benign, straight to the point, and informative. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/11/12-step-meetings-behind-the-doors/
  6. Baby-An Example of my Artwork- Off topic. Meant to let people know a little more about me. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/12/baby-example-of-my-artwork/
  7. What is the Purpose of Language?- Illuminating topic on a commonly ignored subject. Some humor. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/15/what-is-the-purpose-of-language/
  8. My Favorite Bumper Sticker Lots of humor and a very important way to look at the world. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/19/my-favorite-bumper-sticker/
  9. The Right Questions- A better way to find the correct answers, part one. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/25/the-right-questions/
  10. My Second Favorite Photo- Amazing shot, inspiring! https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/25/my-second-favorite-photo/
  11. Eliminating Regret- How to rid yourself of what I think is the biggest cause of suffering on the planet. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/28/eliminating-regret/
  12. Advice from the Ground Floor- One of the first lessons I was taught when I first quit drinking. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/06/11/advice-from-the-ground-floor/
  13. A Gift to a Friend- Expressing myself to someone whom I owe my life to. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/06/21/a-gift-to-a-friend/
  14. The Strength of Compassion- A life changing realization that came from a tragic event. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/07/07/the-strength-of-compassion/
  15. Taking Chances- Harnessing real power and using it to explore life’s possibilities. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/07/16/taking-chances-2/
  16. A Holiday Story- One of my favorites. Full of humor and a really cool ending. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/07/18/a-holiday-story/
  17. Liberty Re-Written- Twenty reasons why I know the world is a better place that it was only 150 years ago. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/07/24/liberty-re-written/
  18. Being Tough- A Must read for most, especially men or those who have men in their lives. Will take you for a spin. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/08/10/being-tough/
  19. What I refuse to Believe- More information on who I am and where I stand. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/08/14/what-i-refuse-to-believe/
  20. Approaching Life Politely- It’s not what you might think. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/08/29/approaching-life-politely/
  21. Another Example of my Artwork- Off topic a little. This was a gift to Wayne Dyer. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/09/21/another-example-of-my-artwork/
  22. Please Forgive me….- Self explanatory. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/10/14/please-forgive-me/
  23. The Importance of the Right Question- A better way to find the right answers, part two. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/11/03/the-importance-of-the-right-question/
  24. I Would Not…. Life philosophy. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/11/05/i-would-not/
  25. All the World is a Mirror- How I see myself. Some humor. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/11/19/all-the-world-is-a-mirror/
  26. What Does GOD look like?- My interpretation on how the universe flows. Meant to introduce the concept of GOD to those who might be apprehensive to the idea. No “religious” ideas are pushed.   https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/11/28/what-does-god-look-like/ 
  27. Coming Full Circle- Waking up to an aspect of becoming more self-actualized. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/12/10/coming-full-circle/
  28. A Change of Perspective- How I came to see the world in a different light. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/12/24/a-change-of-perspective/
  29. In Search of Beauty- The exercise of opening my eyes to what what’s really out there. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/01/25/in-search-of-beauty/
  30. Come in and Rest a While- Invitation to new readers. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/02/come-on-in-and-rest-a-while/
  31. “We Cannot Be….- An important observation of life. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/02/we-cannot-be/
  32. “The Right….- Another important observation. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/03/the-right/
  33. “In the house….- Yet another basic, but often ignored philosophy. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/03/in-the-house/
  34. A Life of Peace- The basic fundamental I practice to remove turmoil from my life. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/10/a-life-of-peace/
  35. Please Stop By- Another open invitation to all. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/11/please-stop-by/
  36. Living in the Moment- An epiphany I had some time back, a little sad, and very true. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/16/living-in-the-moment/
  37. I Confess…..- I’m human too, with some funny flaws. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/18/i-confess/
  38. A Perfect World- A short observation on how we judge ourselves. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/20/a-perfect-world/
  39. Take a Stand- About choosing and following a clear path in life. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/23/take-a-stand/
  40. A Very Short Story- It speaks for itself. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/02/25/a-short-story/
  41. Outrunning the Demons- How I found and eliminated my worst enemies. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/03/01/40-outrunning-the-demons/
  42. I Love You!- It’s just what it says. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/03/04/i-love-you/
  43. Endless Possibilities- A short equation on how to remove the shackles of life. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/03/04/endless-possibilities/
  44. Satisfaction Guaranteed- A quick philosophy that ensures lifelong contentment.  https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/03/05/satisfaction-guaranteed/
  45. Change your Life-Lose your Luggage- Why the past means nothing in the course of tomorrow. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/03/07/44-change-your-life-lose-your-luggage/
  46. Cleanliness is next to Godliness?- Check out why here. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/03/08/cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness/
  47. No Limits- Another way to approach life with determination. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/03/09/46-no-limits/
  48. Walking with Purpose- Just a healthy way to move through the days. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/03/10/47-walking-with-purpose/
  49. Embracing Tomorrow- Why I don’t believe in age or its limitations. https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2014/03/11/48-embracing-tomorrow/

Thanks you so much for your support this past year. I look forward to many more connections and revelations as time marches on.

Please follow my blog. Comment and share as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

           

41. OUTRUNNING THE DEMONS

Dark_eyes_wallpaper_by_ONLYMEAGAIN

I used to have nightmares that would make Wes Craven’s movies look like Sesame Street. The hellish visions seemed so real I would find myself jumping out of bed in the middle of the night in a sweaty panic, fighting off the ghostly images that would follow me into the realm of reality. My solution to this predicament was even more of what was aiding their appearance to begin with; alcohol. To be honest it would actually work on occasion and allow me a period devoid of all awareness, all interest, all  feeling; so there were times I could escape the immediate threat of my inner twisted menagerie and float away on a sea of apathy.

Introspection is the perceived enemy to those who are their own worst threat. What I didn’t realize is that when I avoided looking at myself, those reflections would intensify and re-manifest in other ways. Part of my mind, the part that was fading quickly but still intact, was desperately doing everything it could to warn me of my inevitable demise. No subtleties  in play here. The carnival of madness was in full swing, and I was both the audience and the main attraction. My personality was split between rationality and insanity. The war that I encouraged between the two almost killed me. I was a candidate for a straight jacket and there’s no doubt I would have passed whatever test would have been required  to acquire one.

On occasion I had times of sobriety (but NOT recovery) and physically this would feel great, but abstinence does not equal nor even add to mental health. Every time I went into a period of  self-restraint my ego would eventually re-assert itself. I” would begin to think “I” could control the urge to do what I knew was wrong. The mistake was interpreting an attitude of smugness for resolve, and again I would find myself in deep trouble.

There came a time where I eventually painted myself into a symbolic corner. I had run out of choices. I had neither  the balls to blow out my brains and end it all in one fell swoop, nor the stamina to keep on living. Empty, tired, and desperate I FINALLY started asking for help. Those that came to my aid knew what had to take place. They were the ones who spun me around and showed me for the FIRST time what I was really running from; self-judgment. The absence of self-judgment is self-acceptance, and it is  in this state of mind where conflict ceases. What was once broken became whole again. This is something I never could have done alone. The idea of attempting to face my demons on my own was too horrifying a prospect to even contemplate.

IF you are in a place similar to where I was, the only way to get free from that which feels inescapable is to drop your defenses (no more excuses) and ask for help. One of my first entries on this blog (for which I have provided the following link) will clarify just how to go about doing this.

CLICK HERE  https://danielandrewlockwood.com/2013/05/04/how-to-know-if-you-are-on-the-right-track/

The secret I have learned is this; those demons I was running from only existed when I refused to face them. They are shadows, reflections without dimension. It was my running that gave them strength, my denial that fueled their resolve. Where understanding is present, fear is absent. Where fear is absent, love exists. Where love exists, life persists. Where life persists, the possibilities are endless……and I intend to continue proving it.

Please follow my blog. Share and comment as you wish.

With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood