Does anybody remember good luck charms?
I remember rabbit’s foot key chains. I think the idea was to rub the foot to bring good luck. I remember dandelions too.
Remember being a kid and picking up one of the feathery ones. Then you were supposed to close your eyes, make a wish, then open your eyes and blow all the little feathery seeds into the sky so that your wish would come true. Continue reading
What people don’t seem to understand most is that compulsion defies logic. It defies sanity. Compulsion is what makes an otherwise unthinkable idea become thinkable. But there’s more to it than this.
It’s like this:
There is this little tiny voice, which speaks in the third person. It piques interest, like a diversion, and then exploits the ideas of a ongoing compulsion. Some have called this voice, “The monkey on my back,” and some have call compulsion “Diseased thinking,” and me, I say it’s the beast in me. And the beast in my knows me well. Continue reading
I was somewhere south of Houston and walking down by the shops and looking through the windows at clothes I could never afford. I was in my late 20’s at the time. The weather was closing in on the end of the warmer months. Autumn had just begin and the change in season was just underway.
It was me and the girl I dated at the time. There were two others with us and neither of them were people I liked. But yet, of course, there they were, with us, and walking along, talking loud about Continue reading
The world changes and as it does; suddenly the familiar things become strange like some small detail we’ve seen a million times before, but yet, we never seemed to take notice of until are eyes were able to see things from a different perspective.
I sat across from a detective once. Meanwhile, my life was about to alter and all I could notice was the loose Continue reading
Once the sun comes up, the world takes on a new appeal.
Everything is glistening now with a new sensation.
The sky is colorful and the beach at point Lookout takes on the orange haze that beams from the horizon.
I can feel myself Continue reading
One of the smartest women I have ever met once told me, “Everyone is recovering from something, Benny. And don’t you forget it”
“We all got something going on,” she said.
“And we all have something to work through.”
I say she is right about this. We all have demons and skeletons, bumps and bruises, and scars than run as deep as our Continue reading
As I see it, there are different kinds of friends. There are friends like say, the ones you grew up with. These are the neighborhood kids. These are the ones you go back with. You have history with them and you know the little secrets no one else will ever know because real friends like this keep tight lips—and when something good happens, you smile and you nod proudly because you know the whole story. Friends like this are rare and far and few in between. This is true. It is also true that there are no friends like old friends. I can say this wholeheartedly and with all the love in my heart, there are those who have stood by me throughout my life regardless to the upswings or downfalls and have treated me Continue reading
The feeling of freedom comes most at the dawn of our awareness when the sky is about to change. The sunlight sheds light upon our crazy little world. This moment above all is most important because that which was confused or left in the dark is now enlightened by the brightness of sunlight.
This is freedom, here and now, as the sun comes up over the town to convert our emotion into the language of a picturesque view and summarize this thing, which beats in our chest, or Continue reading
I was smaller than most. I was weak too, or at least weaker than most with a small boyish, baby-like face. I appeared much younger than the others my age. I was not athletic or spectacular in any way that would make me stand out in the crowd. I was uncomfortable at best and eager to be liked.
I wanted to fit and feel comfortable in my surroundings. I wanted to say the right things and be the right person but for some reason, everything about me seemed mismatched or unfitting. My words never came out right and instead, they repeated in my mind like a haunting and undying echo and I would try to say something to correct this but the words that would follow only came out worse than the original things I had already said.
I tried though. I did. But Continue reading
I can stand true to one thing; pain is painful, I agree. But when it comes to pain from the heart, I defy anyone to stand so strong that they don’t fall to their knees.
I had an amazing phone conversation with someone who is fresh out and back into the world. Wherever he was previously is unimportant; however, now he is home and free from his previous surroundings. Now he is back to where his real life can begin.
There has Continue reading
There is a time, just before the sun sets,
and the sky over Midtown is perfect
and nearly orange.
All is quiet as I find my spot
to retreat on the roof of a building on Lexington,
the Eastside of Manhattan.
I can hear the Continue reading
I was never one to enjoy being along. Perhaps, this was because I couldn’t stand my own company but nevertheless, I found myself alone, high as could be, often times wondering what my life would have been like if I just turned right instead of left.
I was in my bedroom and I could feel something terrible coming for me. I knew there was something on the way but like a child with his under-the-bed monster, I had no idea what dangers awaited me.
I weighed next to Continue reading
There is thing we have and we all have it too. We call it life, and sometimes, life happens beyond our control. Life goes on without regard for what we ask for or what we wish. This is life.
Life happens on a daily basis. This is us, every day, weaving through time and negotiating the daily obstacles, overcoming, sustaining, and enduring the mild to major intrusions. that happen to us, Like it or not. This is life. Continue reading
Grandma Lena used to sing to me when I was little. She would sing, “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter, and make believe it came from you.”
I was so young then. I was smaller than I could possibly imagine. I was young but yet old enough to remember (I guess.) I remember Grandma Lena’s voice and how it sounded. I remember the feel of her hands and how her skin was so soft, like a chenille blanket. She would ask me to write letters but I was young and young boys have other ideas and other plans. And least of off all my plans were writing letters or picking up the phone to call Grandma and say, “Hi.” Continue reading
Please note: The following is just my experience. I do not claim to know more than anyone nor do I claim to say these things from a professional standpoint. But breaking things down this way has helped me.
Sometimes the attacks come out of nowhere. One subtle thought leads to another and then the fear receptors override logic. This is what happens. Your fear receptors overreact and release calcium Continue reading
When there is nothing left to surprise us,
and when there is nothing new to common life,
and there is nothing more than our routine,
which we keep intact for routine’s sake,
we have to hold onto the things that excite us.
We have to cling to the things that hold a place in out heart,
which drives us to feel young again,
like kids running across town from the Eastside to the West,
or like a couple sitting on the shoreline
Say like, somewhere along the Amalfi Coast
when the sun begins to set Continue reading
This will be my last day here at Mountainside Lakes. I had to stop counting my days because I found the numbers to be too distracting. I am leaving; however, this is not because I completed the program successfully. This just means that I am being discharged early because my roommate John went off into the woods to end his own life.
I am being treated differently now, better than ever before. I have been Continue reading
It was late and cold. I found myself walking with someone I had never met before. He was leading me toward a small brownstone that was burnt and abandoned. The doors and windows were boarded up. The concrete steps leading up to the front door was littered with trash, old paper bags, newspapers, beer cans, and broken bottles. I had never been here before, This was Brooklyn, I think. I was in East New York, if I’m not mistaken.
The man I was with was someone from the street. His eyes were wired like electric demons but his face was somehow distorted to me. His skin was dark as night. But his eyes; his eyes were haunting me. I remember him leading me towards the side of the building and in through a side door that was broken open. Continue reading
I haven’t written to you for a few days now. It’s been hard to write and hard to process the last few days of events. I was in the middle of sending a letter to my mother when the news came in about my roommate John.
I don’t understand why life happens the way it does. I can’t make sense of anything anymore. I haven’t Continue reading
My roommate John has been missing for two days now. His things are still in the room. His dresser is still left the way he usually leaves things. John is somewhat obsessive/compulsive with the way he organizes his arrangement of things on his dresser. There is an old black and white picture of a woman that I always assumed was John’s mother. There is a picture of St Dismas.
Dismas was the good thief that was crucified next to Jesus and asked to be remembered. There was a laminated mass card he kept placed at the top left corner and there are the white Rosary beads which John wore around his neck and underneath his shirt.
I can feel John’s presence in the room. It is almost like he’s here, but he’s not. I can’t say this any other way. His bed is made. His things are where he left them. Everything is in its usual place, except for John. Continue reading
Just another day at the side of the mountain . . .
We all have to meet up in the big meeting room each morning to check in for attendance. One of staff will calls out the names and we all have to answer to show that we are still here. I have seen a few others answer for their roommates and their friends.
I have also heard people respond to roll call with the jail-minded responses. For example, today is my eighth day in. This means I have 20 days left so in this regard, my answer would to roll call as 19 and a wake up. Although Mountainside Lakes is not the prettiest of places, it is certainly not jail nor does it resemble anything like a jailhouse environment. Continue reading
This is day 7 of 28
Word hit the rest of the fellowship at Mountainside about Brian yesterday. The news flooded our little community here like huge tub of red blood that spilled over on a white floor and spread outward across us all.
No one really spoke much to Brian. He was young and somewhat unlikable. Brian was socially awkward. He was just a kid trying to find himself and trying to find a way to feel comfortable in his own skin.
I suppose this took too much of him. My guess is the Brian’s world spun too fast —and I suspect that it’s not that Brian wanted to die so much. I think he just wanted to world to stop. But the world doesn’t stop. It never stops. It just keeps turning and for Brian, my guess is he just couldn’t take another trip around the sun. Continue reading
Today is day 6 of 28.
The writing has been hard for me, which is why I missed yesterday’s entry. But at last, I think I got my first night’s sleep since I’ve been here. I was able to purchase a set of earplugs from the commissary to muffle the sound of my roommate’s snoring. John has been good though. He remains mostly quiet when we are in the room. I suppose neither of us like to talk much especially in the morning. We did speak a little last night though about different places we used to score in Alphabet City.
Yesterday was rough on Continue reading
Today is day four and this place must be getting to me. I finally went to the bathroom yesterday and thank God for that because the constipation was killing me. Last night’s meal was chicken, which was actually pretty good too.
We had our first real day of spring yesterday. The sky was clear and the sun was warm. Everything around us seemed to thaw and winter let go of its grip. Everything is green around here now. The mountains are pretty and there is a lake down by the trail, which is a nice place to walk. The funny thing is I’m not even sure that I recognized the seasons were changing until now. Then again, I’m not sure what I recognize anymore. All I know is I am stuck here fo Continue reading
Day 3 of 28
This is day three here and I still don’t know what to make of this place. I feel like I’m walking through motions that someone else is making me take. Nothing here is done by me. Instead, everything is done all because someone else told me to.
They told me I would get my job today. They said everyone here gets one job until they retire a few days before discharge. Most get a few days off. Some work until their last day here but the job isn’t really a job. At least it’s not a job as far as real jobs go. Each patient (or inmate, depending on who you ask) has to do one shift in the kitchen to clean the dishes.
The kitchen is a real kitchen in the back of a large dining room with round tables and chairs. They serve coffee all day but the coffee is terrible and tea has never done much for me. Continue reading
This is day 2 of 28
I came in yesterday after a long drive that I can barely remember. I was drunk when I came in. I walked through the front glass double doors into the main room of a place that I can only describe as a place that looks like an old rundown motel and hasn’t changed since its prime in the 70’s.
They call this place Mountainside Lakes. Of course, they do. Mountainside is a place in some faraway town that no one has ever heard of before and here I am, trapped between a mountain and nowhere. Here I am now on the bed in a room where I’ll sleep for the next 27 days until they let me go home.
I’m here with a paper and pen because this notebook (namely you) is my only connection to a world outside from here. Continue reading
Think of it this way when you can. Close your eyes.
Think of the faces at the table.
Imagine them all smiling. This is your family.
Think about your Continue reading
More and more, I have become interested about how the brain works. This is especially so when it comes to my own and my own life. So in an effort to learn more about me as well as my mistakes and behaviors and in order to understand more about the self-made roadblocks we often find in our way, I took a deeper look into the definition of what sobriety means.
According to dictionary.com, there are nine different definitions. However, a few of these stood out to me above all. According to the dictionary, to be sober is to be free from excess, extravagance, and exaggeration. To be sober is to be sane or rational, and to show self-control. Although I am some of these things, I am certainly not all.
I thought Continue reading
It has been told to me that the hardest things to find in life are often the things which are right in front of our face. I see myself as a seeker of things and often times, I find myself in places where I feel lost or incomplete. Of all things to feel and find, the hardest things to feel is out of place, lost, or Continue reading
It wasn’t long before the realization set in. I felt foolish. I was stupid. I could feel the weight of the handcuffs and of course, I could feel the discomfort of steel tightened and cinched to a tight setting around my wrist.
It wasn’t long before the nerves shook and the fear took hold. I could not show this however, else, it would be obvious that I was afraid and seen as either weak or timid.
Of all places, this was no place for me to appear either of the two. As it was, I had been picked up for a simple foolish mistake.
I was not heading in for any hard crime. No, I was in my pajamas, however, and picked up on a bench warrant after being pulled over with expired registration tags on my car. Continue reading
I know you feel afraid sometimes. We all do.
I know that there is this thing inside you that want to protect because you don’t ever want it to hurt again or suffer or feel so vulnerable that something could come along to hurt you and in one swoop, this would punish you beyond repair.
Little kids are afraid of the dark. I have heard of children that shut the lightswitch in their bedroom and then they run to bed and try to get underneath the covers before the lights go out. I used to do this too. Continue reading
And love . . .
Love is always changing, transforming, and emerging in new ways like an early sun before it takes over the sky, and I’m like, “Ah, here it comes.”
My love is always changing, always seeking and always yearning. It is always looking for the next level of awareness. And I say awareness because I see it like this: I see love as something with its own view. I say love has its own way of seeing things —so I don’t agree when I here people say love is blind. I just say my love sees things differently and what you might call Continue reading
There are no guarantees in life.I know this the same as I know that tomorrow will come and so will the next day after that. I know these things are on the way, but yet, I have no idea what they will bring with them.
I have no idea who I will meet or say goodbye to. I have no idea what successes are in store for me. And just the same, I am not sure what failures I will have to overcome. All I know is I have a path to travel. I won’t know where the wind will come from or which way it will go. I just know the wind will blow in whichever way it chooses.
And if I play my cards right . . . Continue reading
I suppose a lot of things are intimidating in the beginning. I remember my first class I needed to take to start gaining my certifications to help in the recovery world. They went around the room and each student had to introduce themselves to the class. Each person had a title. They all had credentials. Some in attendance had been in the clinical world for a long time, some of them held master degrees, and me, well, —I was just me, intimidated Continue reading
If I could I would love to go back to when I was fresh on the job and new in the business world. I would love to go back and say to me, “Be careful with the way you measure yourself.” I would say be mindful of the people you speak to and yes, be careful with the friends you choose because there is no moderation here in the business world. Friends are friends and business is business. I would caution me to be aware of this. If I could I would tell me just because someone might have the same dream as you, it doesn’t mean they have the same drive to achieve it. So don’t give in and more importantly, don’t allow yourself to be intimidated.
I would explain money has a way of changing people. So do titles and job positions. People can become drunk with these things and they buy into the lies of their own ego. Continue reading
Damned kids . . .
They know it all. You can’t tell them anything. They don’t listen and I swear, it’s like talking to the wall, only, the wall listens better and the wall doesn’t talk back.
I never thought I would say these things. Then again, I never thought I would be an adult either, —which is not to say that I never thought I would grow older. I guess I just assumed I would always see be the Continue reading
set the stage, edging from summer into the fall, the scene is quiet and peaceful.
Ready . . .and action!
It was around sundown on an evening, midweek, and on the Eastside in Midtown Manhattan. I took to the 29th floor roof of my employer’s building after a long day at work. I was high above Lexington avenue and facing west at the new construction of a building, which is Continue reading
I believe in the word energy. I believe this is us and that we are energy in which, exactly like Einstein said, “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. I can only change forms.”
I believe the body is a container and the rest is us, how we live, how we think, eat, and breathe. I believe with all my heart in the energy of the soul, which is us down to the core.
We are born this way, like this, born as a vessel that stores our energy, which is always constant. I believe the mind and the body and soul is always constant; therefore our energy is constant. We are a sum of this, always, and because of this we have the personal responsibility to choose the direction in which we direct us. Continue reading
The hardest part of loss, especially when it comes to the unexpected loss, which happened out of nowhere and the one who passed away, is gone, but to us, we feel as if we have been left behind to wonder if they knew who they were and what they meant to us. This becomes the weight we carry. This is the heavy hearted pain we hold; and we hold this as if to acknowledge our loss, as if to prove our love, and we hold the feelings of our loss because whether the Continue reading
I believe that yes, we do have to fall sometimes to learn what it feels like to get back up. We need to know that we can endure. We need to know that we can overcome and that in spite of our mistakes and regardless to our own inner defects or outbursts and regrets, we can still go forward if we choose to.
We can still move forward as long as Continue reading
I agree when you tell me life is a journey. Along the way, we learn about various disciplines of thought. We go through different phases of our character, we shed our skin as we grow to evolve and we encounter different experiences. We meet different people with paths that match our own; in some cases, we part ways, sometimes we split temporarily and then we reconnect at another point in time. We run parallel with other people living their life, and sometimes, we overlap, somehow cosmically, and we find ourselves back where we began in an almost deja-vu state. We move and we grow and we go on our own way. Then suddenly, almost miraculously, we come to the understanding that we always had exactly what we needed and that everything we ever wanted was always right there, right in front of our very own eyes. Continue reading
I started a long walk with my longtime, best friend. I am at the age now that I realize the company we keep is important because this helps become accountable for ourselves. The people we choose to have in our lives are important because they have a direct effect on how we act, perform, or choose to improve. I passed the junction in my life where I thought differently about the crowds and popular opinions and I’ve grown beyond the times when I was lonely, even in crowds, and now I have come to the realization that life alone is Continue reading
We have this reward system in our mind, always hungry, always looking, and always crying out like a kid looking for a cookie.
This is how I see it:
When the good news is in and when things are right, the kid is happy. When everyone is friendly and everyone is supportive, when the votes are for and not against, the kid thrives. But take something away, throw in an insult, throw in fear, throw in anything you can think of that would be unsettling for a kid to hear; throw in an uncomfortable turn or an unexpected stream of bad news and take away the reward. Suddenly, the Continue reading
Back when I was living at 60 Meadow street when my Aunt’s house was home to me and the ideas of adulthood were still pretty new, I remember resigning a few of my fears about school and agreed to take the steps towards getting my high school diploma. I have always been uncomfortable in classroom settings. I always felt intimidated by teachers. I never liked taking tests. Most of all, I never liked the anxiety I felt when taking tests, which is why I always steered away from the ideas of going back to school.
Plus, I never wanted to Continue reading
There is a time when the body is most still between breaths.
This happens either at the top or the bottom of one’s breath,
and at that moment, the body is in its stillest position.
And there is something to be said about watching
as the one you love breathes. There is something to be said
about them in the stillest moment
with Continue reading
And the music, God, I swear there has to be something about the music when heartache comes to town. Somehow, in some crazy way, out of nowhere and in the random deep moments, the most painfully sad song comes on the radio to signify the moment and capitalize the pain. You feel every note that plays. And every word to each part of the lyrics coincides with everything that beats in your heart.
I have a few of these songs myself. They are Continue reading
They call it a foxhole prayer. These are the prayers that come out in times of great stress. This is when people pray because their back is to the wall. They’re afraid because it’s a life or death thing or they’re afraid to be caught.
Sometimes, prayers like this come when slumped over a toilet, the room is spinning around and no matter how you grab the walls; the room just won’t stop. Sometimes the foxhole prayer is quick and it comes Continue reading
I cannot say when the switch happened or how. I am not sure if I ever have one of the falls to the knee moment and felt embraced by the warm light of God because of a near death experience. I am not sure where the change began, or how, or what took place. In full disclosure, I did not believe in my process nor did I ever consider that I would ever find me straight or drug free. In all honesty, I believe my change came after a combination of events.
I suppose my first Continue reading
I love early morning walks. They give me time to separate the nonsense on my head and allow me a moment to redirect my energy. And it’s best at sunrise when the town is still sleepy and quiet. For me, sunrise means the sun comes up above an old Church, otherwise known as Old Wesley Chapel which is across from my home. For me, the sunrise comes up and sheds light on my small town on this side of the mountain. The Continue reading