Monday, October 31, 2011

The Longer I Am Sober

I have a feeling that I know what it is that keeps me sober. I know why I am so active in the recovery community. Not the sober community, because although I commend those who are sober the way that they live their lives, the way that they treat others and even the words from their mouths show that they have no concept of what true recovery is. I mean the work of recovery. It is because the longer that I am sober, the more I owe back to society!

For years I did nothing but take from society and assisted other people in ruining their lives and the lives of those around them. Now that I am in recovery, it is my job to help impact those who are in addiction positively if the opportunity is there. If not, then I lead by example. I am proud to do this, blessed even! I know that I am doing what I was built from the ground up to do.

We all have our calling in life. Some are called to the ministry, some to art and still others to computers. What we need to do is follow our calling and support the calling of others. With that in mind, I would remind everyone that tomorrow is Tuesday, November 1st. I am having the kick off for Better Life in Recovery....the documentary tomorrow evening from 6-8 PM at the KY 3 community room.

To clarify, the kick off is November 1st from 6-8 at 999 West Sunshine in Springfield, Missouri at the KY 3 building in their community room.  So far WKND 88.3 the Wind has promoted it, the Springfield News Leader had an article about it over the weekend and we hope that KY 3 will be doing a piece on it also. I hope to see you there giving your support and seeing what you can do to help us first make the documentary then bring it to the youth who need it!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get Busy Living.....Better Life in Recovery

Of all the movies that have been made, there are a lot of quotes that I really like. My favorite quotable movies when I was a kid were Breakfast Club and as I got older Tombstone. That said, the one quote that really sticks out in my mind is from the movie Shawshank Redemption, and that quote is, "You either got to get busy living, or get busy dying." In my addiction, I was busy dying. Sure, I might not sleep for a week or more at a time, but I never really did anything. I put myself in situations where I hoped that someone would kill me, but they never did. I would have done it myself, but the time that my sister found me passed out in a pool of blood after a botched attempt I promised her that I would never do it again. 

I would keep that promise to her, but I tried to commit suicide by using drugs, alcohol, cars, police and other addicts. I had no real reason to live, and my life went no where. That is a pretty sad place to be, and I could not seem to find my way out of the depths of self-pity and self-loathing that I was stuck in. Then I had my conversion experience, and nothing has been the same since! That is why the quote from Shawshank Redemption really sticks out in my head!

Since I had my conversion, I have gotten busy living. I volunteer at least 10 hours a week. I share my strength, hope and experience with kids and adults when ever I get the chance. It could be one-on-one, it could be at a church, recovery meeting or college class with 500 people. The bottom line is that I share what I have, and I have a life worth living now. That is a wonderful feeling! The longer that I live sober, the more I owe back to the society that I once drained. That is why I am writing this blog today, to talk about what I am doing to improve society.

I am currently working on a documentary called "Better Life in Recovery." It has its own website found at  It also has its own Facebook page found at that you can like and follow how the documentary is coming and give both it and those involved with the project your support. 

We are trying something innovative with this documentary. With edgy editing techniques and modern music we will show the tragedy of multiple young adults who have entered into addiction and the tragedy that it has caused in their lives in a format that will keep their interest. We will then showcase how they stepped into recovery and how much better their lives have become since they escaped the clutches of their addictions. This documentary is intended to be taken into junior and high schools, colleges, seminars, trainings, forums, detention centers, churches, youth groups, recovery meetings, rehabilitation centers, film festivals, PTA meetings, etc. 

Any way that we can get the message of recovery to the community, we will do it. This in turn will transition into several more documentaries that will assist us in reaching even more people. The difference between most videos and documentaries and this one is that we will be bringing 1-3 people who were in the documentary to do Question and Answer sessions after the documentary is shown. This will be much more impacting on the viewers. It will not be someone 40 years older than them that has never had an addiction issues. Instead, it will be younger people that they can relate to who have actually lived with addiction, and beat it! 

We will be in the Pepsi Refresh project as of November 1st. That means that as of November 1st we will need as many people voting for our project every day as possible. We do not yet have our voting instructions. We  will be able to put those as well as a flyer that you can copy off on our site at when we get it. This page contains instructions on ways that you can help us and the flyer that will be available to be printed off is on the bottom right hand of this page. I ask that you share this blog with all of your friends that you have on Facebook and by email and twitter, like the Facebook page and share it with everyone also. We need as many voters helping us as possible. 

Help us make this project a reality so that thousands of adolescents and young adults can stop being busy dying and instead get busy living!!!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spiritual Spackle: Why Me....How can I make peace with my past? Part ...

Spiritual Spackle: Why Me....How can I make peace with my past? Part ...: I would wonder for days, "Why me?" and it got me absolutely no where. I would try to escape my past by doing good things: volunteering to he...

Are you a sheep or a goat?? Matthew 2:31-46

Matthew 25:45,46 says, "“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I love this scripture, and today I just want to put it in simple terms that we can all understand. Jesus here is actually talking about works of compassion. He talks about seeing people hungry, thirsty, sick, hurting and in need and doing something to help them. A lot of us help others with monetary and tangible needs, but do we help them with spiritual needs? Do we minister to those who are in need? 

I know, good deeds are not the reason that we are save. You are absolutely correct in that, as Jesus died on the cross so that we may be saved. His sacrifice is how we are saved, but how we live our lives is evidence that we are saved! We all have salvation, but not all of us use it. Imagine soap in the bathroom. It is available to all of us, but some use it and some choose not to. That is the same with salvation, some will use it and some won't!

There is evidence that we have received salvation. It is not a halo or wings suddenly appearing, or a booming voice from a burning bush (although that would be nice). So what is the evidence that we are saved? We become Spirit-filled and Christ-like, plain and simple! What does it mean to become Spirit-filled and Christ-like?

Galatians 5:22-25 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit we must also follow the Spirit."

So, we are to follow my modified Golden Rule: "Treat others better than you would want them to treat you and your loved ones!" We are to avoid temptations and use restraint and self-control. We are to forgive others as we would want them to forgive our loved ones! Finally, we are to follow the calling of the Holy Spirit no matter how uncomfortable the calling is.

Followers of Christ will treat others this way. Those who do not follow Christ will not. So I ask you, how do you treat others? Do you forgive them, or do you hold grudges? Do you accept people, or are you judgmental? Christ came to save the sinners, not the saints. We too are meant to minister to the sinners. The saints don't need us!  So we lead by example and reach out to those who are hurting, following the example of Christ. He fed and healed them before He preached to them.

We too should reach out to those in need and first take care of their physical needs before their spiritual needs. That is being a sheep. A goat will only take care of part of their needs, the fleshly part, and not all of their needs. If we take care of all of their needs, follow the lead of the Spirit inside of us then this scripture tells us that we will have eternal life. The goats will receive eternal punishment!

Today reflect on how you help others and how your lifestyle affects the people that you come into contact with. Either choice you make is an eternal choice, which do you choose? They will know you by your love, compassion and your walk! So I ask you, are you a sheep or a goat???? Don't choose wrong!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Me....How can I make peace with my past? Part 2

I would wonder for days, "Why me?" and it got me absolutely no where. I would try to escape my past by doing good things: volunteering to help my friends move, giving the panhandler money, community service and even counseling. Yet no matter what I did, I could never come to any kind of peace with who I was, what I ha done and what had been done to me.

That question would repeat itself over and over in my head, and I never had a good answer. Was I born unlucky, did God hate me, was I the devil's special project? Why, why, why did all of these negative things happen to me. If bad things in life were garbage, I could have started a land fill at birth and would have been out of room by now. I was stuck in the victim role for years.

Somewhere along the way I discovered that I was not a victim and accepted the things that I had done and what had been done to me as simply a part of my life that I had to go through. That said, there was still that part of me that wondered why did I have to go through it? Why me............? What was the purpose of everything that had happened to me? I was stuck in the survivor role with those questions, and not having the answers fueled my drinking and increased my acting upon the other "character defects" that I have.

Over time I came to realize what the purpose was! I realized why I had gone through all that I had, why I had made the choices that I had made, and why I was still here when it has killed so many others. I call it my trash/garbage theory. It is why the 12th step is so vitally important for those who are in addiction. It is why we not only get experience, strength and hope from others but we also share ours with them. We have to own our past and see it for what it is.

Imagine that everything in our past is garbage. The poor choices we make, the things that others do to us, the trouble that we get into with the legal system, etc. I mean everything that happens. We tend to not really deal with it and keep it inside of us. We are like a huge hoarder, and our lives become full and stressful. That is the victim stage. We have all of this inside and we are internalizing it.

Once we accept what has happened to us we externalize it. We realize that many things are beyond our control and that addiction is a disease. This allows us to throw the stuff out. We are now in the survivor role, which leaves us questioning what has happened to us. We accept that things happen, but we do not see the purpose behind it and it takes on no meaning. There is still no purpose! Because of that, the garbage we have now been able to get rid of just sits outside of us and begins to accumulate.

We now are creating a landfill that begins to mound up, and to be honest it has no purpose other than to stink and destroy our view. We have now built a trash site, and the garbage begins to accumulate. When your everyday view overlooks a stinking landfill site, your demeanor does not improve. It causes us anxiety, depression, anger, fear, etc. We now have feelings that are overwhelming us because there is still little to no hope or positivity. Then, the magic happens!

We suddenly think of what the purpose is.........LIGHTBULB!!! What are the uses of trash? The only one that I can think of is compost. Compost is breaking down our garbage and using it for fertilizer. What do I have to turn into compost? I am someone who has/is: an addict, attempted suicide, convicted of felonies, done time in prison, a recipient of childhood abuse, overdosed several times, woke up in the middle of the night from shakes that I had to drink to make go away so that I could go back to sleep, dropped out of high school, seen multiple friends die, lost a parent to suicide, been diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders, a child of an alcoholic, parents who divorced when I was young, always felt alone, violent, scared but afraid to admit it, etc.

As you can see, I have a lot of garbage in my past. I have also once I discovered it had the ability to use that trash to build up others. I can use overcoming all of my past choices and tragedies to give hope and instill strength in those who are still suffering in their addictions. I can also help those who have not yet began using drugs/alcohol/food/sex/violence/shopping/codependency/etc. as a way to cope, escape and numb to let them know how it can end up.

That is the positive reason for my horrific past. I have wisdom now that I never would have had without my past. Wisdom only comes from experiencing something and battling it. Those things that I have experienced and overcame have given me vital information that I can pass onto others. I can share my strength, experience and hope with them. I can save lives! I am like a doctor, nurse, paramedic, fire fighter! I have been giving training from my past that enables me to save peoples lives today.

How exciting is that? To know that what you once felt guilt over, which you internalized into shame and self-loathing, now has positive power! It can enable people to make better choices. It can save lives and make families stronger. The longer I am sober, the bigger my responsibility to help others. The greater the negative coming in, the greater the positive going out. As Einstein said, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

For me the action was the negative choices and negative things that others did to me. The reaction is giving my testimony and sharing how incredible my life is now. I am eternally optimistic because I have seen rock bottom and came back on top. For that I am blessed, and I will share my story to inspire others to attain true recovery. I am in recovery from the consequences of life and I love to share my struggles and victories with all that I meet. I know for me, that has made all of the difference!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

5,000 Views and Better Life in Recovery

Yesterday I hit 5,000 views on Spiritual Spackle. That means that 5,000 pages have been read on here. To me that is amazing, considering I just started the site in  several months ago. I wanted a site that would be able to speak to both addicts, those in recovery and Christians. Due to that I have written mostly about my Christian experiences and the things that have kept me sober. I have also shared rough drafts of some of the chapters that will eventually make up the book with the same name as the website, Spiritual Spackle.

One of the most exciting statistics for my site is that I have had visitors to it from 42 different countries. Some of them I expected since they are English speaking, and some of them I had to look up to see where they were. I have been blessed to be able to share the power of Christ and the hope of recovery to people on the opposite side of the globe. That is such an amazing feeling, to know that what you have written is interesting to people who live in places you have never even heard of.

Over the course of the past few months, I have been shown what it is that the Holy Spirit is leading me to do. That mission is to bring the dangers of addiction to our countries youth and hopefully, based on my website, to the youth of many countries around the world. It all starts with the documentary that will hopefully be funded by the Pepsi Refresh grant that voting starts on November 1st. I would like to refer everyone to the site to find out how you can help us win the grant and complete the documentary.

For more if you would like to help and live in the southwest Missouri area we are having a kicking off party at the KY3 community room on November 1st from 6-9. Please let me know if you are coming by email or facebook and I hope to see you there. Wow, I have had 5,000 people interested in reading what God is leading me to write. That is awesome!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My first brand new vehicle and what it represents

What does buying a brand new vehicle mean? For some of you it means that you want a car that you can depend on. You have decided you want to get a vehicle that you can guarantee does not have any mechanical problems. You want a car that has not been hot-rodded by a previous owner. If it does have any problems, you want to know that there is a warranty that will fix any issues for the next 3 years/36,000 miles all the way up to 10 year/100,000 miles depending on the manufacturer. That assurance will help you sleep easier at night.

To many of you, it means that you are ready to take on the commitment of a substantial payment for the next 5-6 years. You feel that you will be able to make enough money to make a payment every month for the life of your loan. A car payment is generally the second biggest payment, after the house payment, for a person. In my case it would go house payment, child support and then car payment.

This is a pretty big commitment, and one that many people make second on their way to buying a house. It is kind of like the get a plant, get a fish, get a dog philosophy in AA/NA that some recommend should happen before beginning a relationship. First, buy a used car. If you can pay that off, then you can buy a new car. If you can support those payments for several years, then you are reliable enough to buy a house. That is the order that many people follow.

None of that fits me. For starters, I have tried to buy a house long before I ever bought a brand new car. I felt that brand new cars were to flashy for my business, so I always drove cars that did not stick out. I preferred white, blue or green vehicles that were a couple of years old. I felt that they would get me pulled over less. I never completed buying a house, but I was in the process of it when I got raided. I decided that after my house getting kicked in several times that I needed to move, and I just let the house go. No concept of responsibility.

To me, buying a new vehicle represents something. It represents the fact that my life has changed. I can commit to paying for something the next 6 years and guarantee that the payment will be made. It stands for the difference between my addiction and my recovery. In my addiction, there was not a single bank that would have given me or anyone that I was dating a loan without a cosigner. Even with a cosigner that loan was doubtful for even a used car, let alone a new car.

That SUV means that I have been responsible long enough to save money and in turn take that money and pay bills, a down payment, sales tax, title and registration fees. It means that I am in a great relationship that I have total faith is staying together. It means that instead of spending money on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, court costs or attorneys I can now spend money on things that are of substance. I spend money on things that are positive and not unhealthy for me.

It means that I have a family that I actually care about and want with me. It means that I take into consideration their feelings. I went and picked the new SUV out with my wife and son. We got a vehicle that we all agreed upon. I did not go out and just buy the first one that I test drove. I instead drove multiple vehicles and looked for one that we all like and all could agree upon.

Finally, I have never bought a brand new vehicle because I never felt that I really deserved anything nice. I did not deserve something that had not been previously used by someone else. Today, I deserve to have things that are mine. I deserve to have nice things, because I can take care of them. Today, I deserve to be happy and have a happy family. That SUV in my garage represents that.

In closing, I want you to know that my new SUV represents me in recovery. We are both clean. We are both dependable. We both have features that will protect my family from harm. We both have features that are not standard in most other models. We both have been put through various tests to see how we handle under stress, pressure and the collisions that can happen in life and have been given excellent safety ratings. We have both been built from the ground up by various people and processes to become what we are now. Everything that we went through in the past was just a process to get us where we are today, which is right were we are supposed to be. We are beautiful, rugged and stronger because of the things that we went through to be here. Finally, we both have our best years in front of us.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What I Have Against the Word Recovered

I have personally never liked the term recovered. I know that Bill W used it (he also used LSD, nobodies perfect) and so does the AA literature, but I have never been a fan. To me recovered means that it is over. This will never be over. I once heard said that the greatest trick the Devil ever did was to convince the world he didn't exist. MY addiction exists. My addiction is looking for a way back into my life. It wants to see just a tiny crack in my shield. That is all it needs to get active again in my life.

My addiction is currently in the back of my head lifting weights and running on an elliptical, getting stronger and stronger. It wants me to believe that I am cured. If I am cured, I can stop all of the positive recovery oriented things that I am doing today. After all, if I am recovered I really don't need them. That is what my addiction will convince me of. I know, it has done it before!

The Devil works in the same way. He will convince us that we are better and that we do not need to do positive things that bring us closer to God daily. "You don't need to pray all the time," the Devil whispers. "You don't need to read the Bible today, you read it yesterday," he tells us. My faith and my recovery have things in common. They both need to be fed. They both have the ability to continue to grow for the rest of my life. They will both always be fighting against their opposite.

I have found that the more I pray, the more I meditate, the more I read God's word the stronger my faith will become. I need accountability partners for both my faith and my recovery. The more that I am around positive people in recovery or of the same faith, the stronger mine will become (accountability partners). I need a sponsor, a person with stronger faith/recovery than I have to be an example for me to follow. If I outgrow them, then I replace them.   

You see, the problem with recovered is that it is way wrong terminology. Recovered means that I am out of danger. I am never out of danger. In AA it is said there is a reason that it is called alcohol"ism" not alcohol"wasim." It will never change, the fact that I have an addiction. I can change whether or not I use, but once I use all bets are off. Just because I do not think about it 24-7 does not mean that I am cured. My addiction wants me to think that I am all better, but I am not. When life is going great, the thought may not be in the forefront of my thinking, but it is still there somewhere.

I no longer obsess about using, but the desire is still there. Example, when my dad committed suicide several years ago the first thought that popped into my head was to get high. "That will make you feel better," my addiction reasoned. My second thought was to call my sponsor, which I did. If I am recovered, that thought never touches my mind. Either one of these things does not occur. First the desire to use is gone, so I do not think about using. Secondly, the sponsor would not have been available to talk to because I would not have had one.

I am not cured, I am in remission. I am in recovery, which is present tense. Recovered is past tense. When you are recovered you leave the hospital. I will never leave the groups that I attend, because I need to not only give but receive strength, experience and hope. The day that I am recovered is the day that I die. Only then will it be over. I am blessed and grateful to be in recovery and I would hate to be recovered. I might forget where I came from or how I got there. Recovered means that I can use or drink again. That will never happen.

The truth is that I have a spiritual disease from which there is no known cure! I am thankful for that disease. It has given me knowledge, wisdom, strength, insight and the ability to reach people and positively impact their lives that I would never have had without it. That is awesome! Still there is never a time while I am alive that I will not be an addict. But there is recovery. There is remission, and for that I thank God for through Him all things are possible! For that I am forever grateful!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Goals for 2012

These are the goals that I will accomplish by the end of next year. I am unsure how I will accomplish them, but I know that I will. I have the drive and ambition and a lot of great people in my life. Here they are and I will keep you updated as they progress.

Goals for the next 14 months
1. Win the Pepsi Refresh Grant                                                                                                                 Voting starts November 1st and we will let you know how to vote and have a flyer you can copy off and put up and hand out on the website as soon as we get the information on the 1st
2. Complete Documentary "Better Life in Recovery"                                                                                 We have shot the first person for the documentary and are in the process of finding more people to interview. I am checking on some that would be perfect but there may be a conflict of interest that has to be looked at.
3. Complete writing Spiritual Spackle and have it published                                                                       I have about 60 pages written so far. That  is about 8 chapters, but I still have 12 or so chapters to go. I am getting the chapters out to several people to read for feedback.
4. Have shown documentary to several test audiences and gotten feedback
5. Begin motivational/inspirational speaking at least once a month
6. Raise enough money to fund 1st year of "Better Life in Recovery" in 2013
7. Have at least 50 engagements set up for 2013
8. Begin filming second documentary of parents who have had children in addiction, some who have recovered and others who passed away while still in their addiction
9. Start a nonprofit ie 501(c)3

I do have some needs that people can help me with.
1. If you are an attorney and would like to volunteer some of your time to help us the beginning of next year with the forming of the nonprofit, let me know.
2. If you are a grant writer I could really use your help next year also. Let me know if you would like to help out because I know that is a daunting and time consuming process.
3. I still need volunteers for the documentary. Right now my big need is 18-25 year olds in recovery who would be willing to go in front of the camera and share their strength, experience and hope.
4. I will also need help orchestrating fundraisers, getting items donated for silent auctions and getting organizations to pay for advertising. I could use help with that and may try to work with the college on getting an intern for the nonprofit once it is formed.
5. If you would like me to come speak at your church, recovery center, homeless shelter, small group, forum, college or elsewhere in your community contact me and we will set something up.

This blog will be reposted as progress is made on the goals and as more needs either arise or are filled.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why Me....How can I make peace with my past? Part 1

I spent most of my day not forgiving and passing judgement on myself after I stopped abusing drugs. I would look into the mirror and all I would see staring back at me was a drug addict and a convict. I saw someone that I dispised and disliked. Staring back at me was the person that no one trusted and would never need. I saw no purpose to my life. All I knew was the first 3 decades of my life had left me with nothing to show but scars, a criminal record, a swath of broken people, lies and heartaches. Iwas hopeless, broken and defeated! All I knew was I was off of drugs,.................and life was miserable.

I eventually turned to alcohol to drown my sorrows. It made me forget how horrible I felt. Suddenly I was right back where I started. I had "friends" and I was always out doing things. I was always with people, but I was still miserable. At best, I would drink to inebriation and have momentary lapses of memory. I would briefly forget who I was and what I had done in the past and have a good time. Then I would sober up and remember who I was again. Then I would have to get drunk so that I could forget again for a few hours.

Looking back, it was a vicious cycle that was created. I wanted to get off of the merry-go-round and I couldn't get it to stop. Honestly, most of my friends were not really even my friends.  Most of the things I did endangered my safety and had the potential to hurt and even kill other people. I would randomly sleep with anyone and everyone, sometimes multiple people at one party. I would fight anyone at the drop of a hat.

Worse yet, I would get behind the wheel of a car blitzed. I would wake up at home and have no recollection of how I got there. I would drive a 3,000 pound bullet around, playing Russian roulette with the lives of everyone on the roads, in the ditches and on the sidewalks. I have woke up unable to find my car and found it flipped over several times in a field later that afternoon. I am blessed to have never killed anyone in all of my drinking and driving while blacked out episodes. I would not want to live with that, because I know a couple of people that do.

What follows will explain how my life was when I was clean. I was working full-time and kept the same job for 6 1/2 years. I started college at 29 and got an Associates degree, 2 Bachelors degrees and a Masters degree over the next 7 years. I graduated with honors. I went out nearly every night with friends and more nights than not everyone came back to my house for an afterparty. I should have been happy. I had more friends than I could count and if you were looking at me you would have thought that I was on top of the world.

The truth was that I still hated myself. I was still miserable. I would be in a room full of people and I still felt all alone. I felt that I had to put on airs and not admit who I was and what I had done or I would not have any friends. I looked at all of the choices that I had made in my past, the things that I had done to myself and other people and I could not admit that I had been that person. I could not forget all of the things that other people had done to me; from abuse as a child to overdosing and dying in front of me to stealing from me to trying to kill me.

All I could do was ask myself one question.......WHY ME?????

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The 1 Rule that Changed My Life

This may sound too easy to some of you. One rule that can change your life; it may sound too simple to be true. Is there really one rule that can help me change the way that I live my life? I would say yes! I am living proof that you can make changes in life. I have been through the wringer over and over again. I hit rock bottom and I grabbed a shovel, as most of us do. It is like hitting the bottom is not good enough for us. I always thought that being bad was all that I was good at. I tried to be an overachiever in my addictions, from drugs to violence to sex to crime. 

When I realized that I needed to make changes after I got saved, I made one major change in my life. That one thing was to ask myself several questions before I did anything. It was all that I needed to do. It will not happen overnight for most of us, but eventually we will not need to ask ourselves the questions anymore. Why? We will no longer have to live our lives as if because the question that we used to ask ourselves will be answered. We will have developed a pattern of doing the right thing.
To start off with we will look at how a pattern is made. Imagine that you live in a house that is separated by several hundred yards of woods from your best friend’s house. Furthermore, imagine that it is quicker to cut through the woods then to go around them. You know, shortest path between two lines being a straight line and all that. Visualize going through the woods. 

The first time that you go through them, it will be difficult. You will have to walk through briars and overgrown brush. You will have to try to blaze a new trail. The next day, you will have to pay careful attention to the trail so that you can see it; if you can see it at all. As the days pass with you and your friend walk back and forth through the woods several times a day, the path through the woods will begin to get trampled down. It will become easier and easier to get through the woods to your best friend’s house. It will get easier to see. Eventually you will have a nice trail and the danger of the briars and brush will be gone. You will now be able to stay on the path with very little attention to it because it is now worn down and obvious.
Our brain acts in much the same way. We have electrical impulses that are sent from neuron to neuron, or from your house to your best friend’s house, in your brain. These impulses begin to build neural pathways in our brain. These are the trails that we talked about as we walk to our best friend’s house. These trails are presently nonexistent for some of us. We have never done the right thing. If we did, it was probably accidental or incidental. We therefore have our work cut out for us.
At first, we have pathways that have already been built that we will have to overcome. It may be automatic for us to cuss or fight when we get angry. When we need something, our first impulse may be to steal it or hustle to make money illegally instead of working for it. When we are offered a drink or a drug, it is an automatic reaction to accept it. When faced with whether or not we should lie or tell the truth, we always choose to lie.  We will have to overcome these first. That is why we have the questions that we will ask ourselves when faced with every situation in our life are asked. These questions are kind of like moral training wheels for us.
As we begin to make the right choices, we create new pathways that will override the old pathways we have that are wired to do the wrong thing. The more that we do the right thing, the easier it will become. Just like that trail, we will have to pay less and less attention to what we are doing because it will become a well walked path that is now the only viable pathway for our brain’s electrical impulses to travel.
So what are the questions that we need to ask ourselves? For me I realized that it was an automatic response for me to do the wrong thing. I found myself always in fights, drunk, being immoral, cussing, lying, etc. You name the sin, and I was doing it. I always justified what I was doing by saying that as long as I was not shooting up drugs that I was doing great. 

This was fine when I was agnostic and I was not a father. I had no higher power to answer to. I had no one who looked up to me that I needed to set an example for. That is at least what I thought. When I reflect back, I still had a niece that was being raised alone by my sister that needed to see what a positive male looked like. I was never that person in her life, and I let her down when I was in my addiction and not in a relationship with Christ. In my anger, I was oblivious to anyone’s needs other than my own.
Then I had my son, and my thinking began to change. It was not long after I had my son that I began to examine my life. I began to realize that I needed to make some changes to my life. I tried and I was unable to do it. Then my father died. I was lost. I could not see up from down. My drinking intensified, and I was emotionally unavailable for a couple of months. Then I started to go to church a little more frequently and realized that I needed to change. 

I was unsure how to do it. My brain was hardwired to always have the first thought wrong syndrome. I would argue that it was every thought wrong back then. I began to ask myself several questions that made all of the difference to me. I wanted to be a better parent to my son, and I needed to start sooner than later. What could I possibly do to accomplish better parenting?
Over time the best way that I have found to parent is to always act like my son is on my right side and Christ is on my left. I would ask myself, "If Christ were here, would I say/do that?" and if the answer was yes, I would then ask myself, "If my son were here, would I say/do that? Would I want my son to say/do that?" If the answer to all 3 of those questions was yes, then I knew that it was okay to do.

If you are in a relationship or married, you can use your partner. Imagine that you are a flirt, and that you always flirt with the cute person in your office. Now ask yourself those two questions before you engage in behavior! If my wife were here, would I flirt with my coworker several times a day? Now ask yourself question two. Would I want my wife to flirt with the good looking guy at her office all day? How would that make you feel if you were to walk up and see that happening? Would you feel loved, betrayed, happy, outraged, etc. Think about how the same action you are preparing to do would make you feel before you do it to someone else!
The cool thing was that over time I no longer had to ask myself those questions. For starters, I no longer had to act like Jesus was next to me. I knew for a fact that Christ was always by my side. There was no need to pretend anymore. Furthermore, I did not need to ask myself if my son were there would I do this because my Spirit-led morals always lead me in the right direction. In fact, when I put Christ first, I know that I am setting a great example for my son as well as a blessing to my wife. If I follow the principals of a true Christian and put Christ first in all that I do, I will be a great father, a great husband, a great worker and a great friend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Documentary Update - Please Like and Share New Facebook Page

I know that I have been on this documentary kick the past week, and that kick is going to continue. Tomorrow I will have a new blog up that will address something other than the documentary. The truth is, this documentary is vitally important to those who are struggling with the consequences of life. I know that this documentary and the way it will be presented are going to really help some people who are in pain. We want them to be able to work through that pain and come out victorious!

Those who are already in their self-destructive behaviors may find the hope and faith that they need to find their way out of them. Those who are not yet engaging in those behaviors and are only thinking of them will find that they are not alone and that they do not have to go down that road, and what will happen if they do. I do not want victims or survivors, I want thrivers. I share the difference between those three roles in my blog entitled Spiritual Spackle (read it here:

The purpose of my blog today is for you to share the new Facebook group that I have started entitled Better Life in Recovery. I would like for you to join this group and get this group out to as many people as you can. You can find it here:

Share this group with others. This is of vital importance to the new documentary. The Facebook group  will soon be connected to the new website with the same name at The reason this is so important for people to be part of this group is that when voting starts for the Pepsi Refresh grant on November 1st this will have all of the voting information on it. People will be able to go here and get information on how to vote, where to vote and the name of the project.

We will need  thousands of people giving us their votes every day in the month of November in order for us to win. This will allow us to get the documentary shot quicker and begin presenting it sooner than if we do not get the grant and have to fund everything out of our own pocket. I cannot stress this enough, PLEASE LIKE THE FACEBOOK GROUP "BETTER LIFE IN RECOVERY" AND GET AS MANY OF YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS TO LIKE IT ALSO SO THAT MORE PEOPLE WILL SEE THE VOTING INFORMATION WHEN IT IS POSTED. THAT WAY WE CAN INCREASE THE PROBABILITY OF OUR WINNING THE GRANT IN NOVEMBER AND CAN BEGIN TALKING TO OUR YOUTH EARLIER!!!! WE ARE TRYING TO SAVE LIVES HERE AND YOUR HELP IS VITAL!!!! THANK YOU!

This is what the documentary is about:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Documentary Update - Almost November

So, yesterday I went to my email and saw the most beautiful thing:

Hi David!

Congratulations! Your Pepsi Refresh Project idea Inform YOUTH of addiction's DANGER and recovery's POWER through FILM!! has been randomly selected for review out of all the submissions we received this month.
You’re one step closer to getting your idea out there! But before your idea can be posted for public voting, we need to review it to make sure it meets the Pepsi Refresh Project’s Official Application Guidelines. If it doesn’t meet all requirements, it won’t be posted. On the first day of next month, we’ll let you know if your idea has been approved and will be up for voting. After that, you would begin promoting your idea for a chance to receive a Pepsi Refresh Project Grant!
Thanks for participating in the Pepsi Refresh Project. Keep at it! It’s because of you, your votes and your participation that we’ve made a difference in refreshing the world.

Instead it will contain personal stories of those who have waged war with addictions, from drugs to alcohol to food, and came out victorious. It will not glorify or show pictures, but instead contain stories that will show the cost of addiction and how innocently it can start yet how horrific it can become. Since this is what it contains, it should be okayed for one of the projects that get voted on in November. 

I am so ready for the month of November. On November 1st the voting will start and by the end of November we need to be one of the top (I am shooting for top 5) vote getters in the $25,000 category. The top 15 get awarded the $25,000 grant that will enable them to begin their project. I would love to get this grant as it will enable this documentary to get shot and be available for us to begin showing it in schools, colleges, detention centers and other various community venues. 

Here is what I need from you:
  1. Come November 1st be prepared to vote daily the entire month for this project 
  2. Inform your friends and family so that they can vote also
  3. Try to get the word out to your schools and colleges to your fellow students, professors and teachers(if you need flyers they will be posted the first day of November on [which will not be up for several weeks from today] once we are in for sure)
  4. Talk to your college departments and see if you can post the flyers on the billboard and don't forget to share it with your professors and fellow students (see flyer information on 3)
  5. Get the word out at your job to coworkers (at lunch, breaks, staffings, etc. see flyer information on 3)
  6. Get the word out at your church (see flyer information on 3 and if you are in Southern Missouri we will talk to your church ourselves if you would like)
  7. Get the word out to your youth group (see flyer information on 3 and if you are in Southern Missouri we will talk to your youth group ourselves if you would like)
  8. Share it with your Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, Living Free, Addicts Victorious, Alcoholics Victorious or other Recovery Group (see flyer information on 3 and if you are in Southern Missouri we will talk to your recovery group ourselves if you would like)
  9. Get the word out to your small group (see flyer information on 3 and if you are in Southern Missouri we will talk to your church ourselves if you would like)
  10. Put a copy of the flyer up in your break room at work
  11. Talk about voting to your peers at school, whether you are in junior high, high school or college (this documentary is for you)
  12. If you know a DJ, share the information with them to talk about on the radio and you can get them in contact with me if they would like to interview me on the air if in Southwest Missouri
  13. Put the information up on your blog or share my blogs about the project on a daily basis
  14. Put the information up on your Facebook, MySpace, or other social networks and tweet about it (Shoot, now I have to get a twitter account and I swore I would not do that)
  15. Remind everyone you know daily by email, text, social network or tweet to vote daily the entire month of November!!!!
  16. Do not forget that there is also a video that will be up on the site and is already under documentaries on this site that is a one minute synopsis of what we are doing and why it is both different and needed
Thank you very much for the buy in and help on this. It is and will be appreciated more than you will ever know. We will have a new site up just for this project in the next couple of weeks at that you will be able to visit. It will have the link to vote and the information on the 1st of November as well as the flyer you can put up and hand out as soon as we find out that we have been approved after the final review process. 


I could not have been happier! This means that out of all the grant ideas that Pepsi received ours was one of the 1,500 that was randomly selected. It will now go through a final  review to insure that it does not go against any of the policies that they have for their grants. It cannot promote any particular religion, glorify drugs or alcohol, contain images of drugs or alcohol, promote a political party, contain nudity or profanity. There are also some other policies that they have to review also. Our documentary project, entitled "Better Life In Recovery" does none of that. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Movie Review - My Sister's Keeper

I have managed to get emotional since I had a son and stepped into recovery. I am unsure of which of these two events caused me to get a heart, or if it was a combination of both of them. The short story is that now I care, now I cry, now I allow myself to feel. Generally this translates into a tear here or there during a movie. After all, I am a movie guy. I love movies, even ones that have no redeemable value. This movie was quite different.

I just watched a movie that ripped my heart out, from start to finish. It was one of the most emotional movies that I have ever seen. It tugged at my heart as both a parent and a care giver. It touched on some important ethical concerns that in some cases need to be addressed. I was amazed at the dark nature of the movie, but it is about a young girl who is diagnosed with Leukemia. Enough said.

The movie consists of a family of five. There are three children, oldest child is son Jesse. Then there are the two daughters, Kate is the middle child with Leukemia and Anna is the youngest. Anna was genetically engineered by her parents to be a perfect donor for her sister Kate. She has been a donor for her sister her entire life. There are a lot of flashbacks and montages through out the movie that point to how Jesse was ignored and Anna's feelings and the pain she endured were never taken into account by either of her parents.

Anna has gone to an attorney to get medically emancipated so that her parents can no longer harvest her body against her will. They have taken a lot from her over the years, and this time Kate needs a kidney. It is interesting to see the love that is still shown by Anna to her sister and the love that she receives in return from Kate. Her mother, who is an attorney, is willing to take the case to court. How dare her daughter not want to give her kidney to save her sister's life.

Through the court case we see the interactions that the family has had with each other and how Kate's Leukemia has caused them to grow closer together. We also see the pain that Kate has gone through in relationships and in her disease. There is a boy who also had cancer that she had a romance with that is replayed through flash sequences.

The movie has raw emotions that are laid out before us by some pretty superb acting. The plot continues along as the case is taken to court and the initial shock of Anna's announcement continues to ripple through the family. There is humor that is interspersed through out the movie, and it flowed well.

I do not want to give away that much of the movie, I guess that this review is simply to tell you that it ripped my heart out. It will probably have the same effect on you. It was a tear jerker, and there was a good story to go with it. It shows how some parents will do anything for their children, and often the child's own concerns and best interests are not taken into consideration.

Sometimes we as parents do what is best for us, and what we perceive is best for our kids. I grew up with kids who hated playing football (or basketball, baseball, cheerleading). They practiced all year long and went to camps for the sport from elementary school all the way through high school, and hated every minute of it. They only played it to make their parents happy. When they tried to talk to their parents about not playing, they were never listened to and taken seriously. That cannot be!

I guess that what stood out to me most in this movie was my responsibility as a parent. I have a responsibility to look out for the best interests of all of my children. I should never put one before the other, and I should always make sure that what they are doing is something that they want to do. It should not be for me or because of what I think is important.

 There will always be things our children want to do that they cannot, that is a no-brainer. What I am saying is that we should listen to our kids and not live out our fantasies through them. This movie made me think of the children that are never given a choice, but instead expected to do what their parents want without taking what they want into consideration. It is also a scary look at the ethical dilemmas that we could theoretically face thanks to our advances in technology.

All in all, I give this movie an A-. There are definitely some lapses in the story that is told, but Abigail Breslin and Sophia Vassalieva are exceptional as Anna and Kate respectively. Alec Baldwin is great as the attorney hired and Joan Cusack does well as the judge. Jason Patric is believable as a dad torn between supporting his children and backing up his wife. Finally, Cameron Diaz plays the mother bent on saving her daughter's live no matter what very well. There was some offensive language, some underage misbehavior, alcohol and some graphic hospital and health related scenes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Back in the Swing of Things After a Relapse (Food, Drugs, Alcohol or Sin)

Here it is, Wednesday, and I am weighing in again. This Monday was the first week that I have really decided to get back on Weight Watchers since my cruise. I have tried several times and several ways to get back on track, but it has been difficult. I allowed myself to relapse on food during the cruise with a guarantee that I would go back on Weight Watchers when I got back home. I have not yet been able to get back on track. The more I looked at how difficult it was, the more I remembered how hard it was with my other addictions.

The funny thing is, this is only counting points. I am still allowed to eat unheatlhy on occasion, and yet I was still failing until this week. I did really well with it until the cruise, then I allowed myself to slip. Now I am reminded of the mantra repeated in group, "One is too many and a thousand is never enough." Once I opened the door to let bad eating habits in for a week, the door never closed.

Our lives are not only this way with food. Our lives are this way with alcohol, drugs, pornography, lying, cheating (tests or partners), stealing, gossiping, flirting, etc. If we give ourselves permission for a little, a lot can happen. We may justify it, but it does not change what it is. A relapse is a relapse, and it can quickly spiral out of control. No matter what we say about it, that is what it is. A white lie is still that, a lie! Flirting can get out of hand really quick, and innocent words can still destroy a relationship.

I am reminded of a quote from Romeo and Juliet, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." When Shakespeare said that he meant that no matter what you call something, it is still the same thing. Renaming a thing does not change what it really is. To cut down on confusion, I have a rule that changed my life you can apply here. I will share it in depth in the next week, but here is the gist of it. Ask yourself two questions before you do an action. If the answer to both is yes, then do it. If either of the answers is no, you do not do it.

Question 1 is this, "If my child (or significant other) and God were standing next to me, would I still do this?" If you answer yes, than you ask yourself this question, "Is this something that I would want my child (or significant other) to do. If that answer is also yes, then you can proceed. If either question is answered with a no, then you cannot do it. It is that simple, and yet it helped save my life.

So what door have you opened to sin, thinking that a cracked door will not harm you. "I am strong enough to do it only once." If you let yourself wander to one porn site on the computer, that is still cheating. You may not look at it that way, but the Bible does. Matthew 5:28 says, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Tell me that we do not look at porn sites, or flirt with anyone, without some form of lust. Gossip is the same way. 

In fact, any type of sin is that way. A sin is a sin, no matter what I call it. Just because I say it isn't water doesn't mean I won't get wet if I jump into it! Furthermore, it tends to hurt not only us but we also hurt others. We need to remember what was talked about last week in my blog on loving your neighbor as yourself. Treat others better than you would want them to treat your children. Would you want someone on a site ogling your son or daughter? No, then do not ogle someone else's son or daughter.

So, examine how we treat others and how we treat ourselves. Realize that there is no difference between our spiritual time and our secular time. If I would not do it or say it in church, I should not do it or say it outside of church. I'm not judging, I'm just saying. If only God can judge me, I can still judge myself too. I know right from wrong, and I need to examine all that I say and do so that I do not give the Devil a gateway into my life.

Once Satan (sin, alcohol, drugs, porn) gets into my life, he is difficult to get back out. If I give him just a little, he is sure to take a lot. Many of us who have relapsed have found out that it generally picks up worse than when we stopped using. We need to insure that we are doing all that we can to keep the door shut for good. If you look back to my posts entitled Iron Sharpens Iron you can see that even the places that we frequent and the company we keep can be open doors for our defects to take back over.

You always have a choice, but will you make the right one? Only you can answer that. I guarantee you that the Holy Spirit will guide you in the right direction (positive people, positive places, positive choices) if you allow it to!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Iron Sharpens Iron Part 2 - Change your Playmates

When they refer to playmates they are literally referring to the people that we spend time with. There are people in our lives who engage in the activities that we are trying to no longer engage in. We tend to surround ourselves with people we feel comfortable around.  When I first enter into a new lifestyle, I need to surround myself with people who will support the way I now choose to live.
This is actually one of the most difficult things to do. We may have used drugs with our brother, sister, husband or wife. We may drink with our parents and all of our friends. We may not have any friends at all that do not do drugs or drink. We may not, when we look at our lives realistically, have any true friends.
When I have someone ask me what a true friend is, I ask them the same question, “If you had $1,000 dollars on your dresser and you were leaving the house and your friend were staying, would you hide the money before you left? Or would you be confident that the money would still be there when you came back?” What most of my clients find out is that the people they thought were friends are generally nothing more than acquaintances?
In my past, I had friends that would have taken a bullet for me. They would have helped me hide bodies! But they also would have helped hide mine if they could have made any money on it. The truth is, they were only my friend because they either wanted what I had, what they could get from me, because I had good drugs, could get rid of their drugs, did drugs with them or because they were scared of me. It is really hard to admit it, but I had very few true friends.
Here is a story that I will relate about finding out one of my old acquaintances was truly a friend. I moved when I got clean. I knew that I could not stay clean and still live where I had been a drug dealer for so long. I moved to Springfield, and I worked at a local restaurant in the mall. I saw one of my old friends several times over the course of five years. Every time that I saw him he would catch my eye, then turn around and leave the restaurant. I had not been working at the restaurant for a year, but was at the mall Christmas shopping when I saw my old friend again. He walked up to me and asked me how I had been doing.
“I have been doing really well, but I have to ask you a question," I replied. "How come every time I've seen you since I left Branson, you have seen me and immediately left the place I was at?"
"It was because I was still dealing drugs, and I knew that you weren't anymore. I did not want to be a temptation to you."
“So why are you talking to me now?” I asked.
"Because I am no longer doing drugs. In fact, I have been off of drugs and out of that lifestyle for a year now. Unfortunately, I had old charges that came up and I have to turn myself in to complete a federal prison sentence in January. I was actually hoping to run into you, I just wanted you to know that I got clean to."
After that he and I caught up on what was going on with the old crew that I used to hang out with. It consisted mostly of people in prison and people who were no longer alive. As I say goodbye to him, it dawned on me that he was actually a true friend. He knew that I could probably not maintain the lifestyle I was living if we were to remain friends. So instead of being a negative influence, he chose to not be in my life at all. Honestly, I had very few friends who did not do drugs when I finally got off of drugs.
There's a reason for that. In addiction we tend to chase away the people who do not do what we do (drugs, alcohol, etc). We stop being friends with people who truly care about us, because they tend to want to see us improve our lives. They remind us of the negative things that we are currently doing. So instead, we surround ourselves with people that do not have our best intentions at heart.
The Bible in 1 Corinthians 15:33 states that, “Bad company corrupts good character.” And Proverbs 13:20 says," He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
It sounds like maybe we need to make positive friends. It is hard to learn how to be sober if we hang around with drunks. It is hard to stop committing crimes if we hang out with criminals. If we want to make changes in our lives, we have to be willing to do whatever it takes to make those changes. This includes no longer hanging out with our old playmates and beginning to hang out with new ones. Aerosmith, in their song Amazing, say it best, “I kept the right ones out, and let the wrong ones in.”
Do not get me wrong. I still have friends from my past who are in my life and others who are not. There are some things I will not be around. I do not hang out with criminals, nor do I hang out with people who are doing drugs. I do not run around with people who break the law either. I believe in self-determination. I have found out that I cannot change my friends, just as other people could not change me while I was still active in my addiction. I have found the best way to be there for those types of friends is for me to live my life right.
That said, there are people from my past that I'm still friends with. For example, look at the people that I used to be friends with when I was an alcoholic. Many of them still drink. A couple of my best friend still drink, yet I still will go out with them. I will meet them for dinner and a movie. After the movie is over, I will go home and they will go to the bar. I feel that one of the best ways we can minister to others is by still being their friends. That does not mean that we put ourselves in danger situations, but that we still are friends with them.
So where do I find new playmates, you may be asking yourself. There are 12 step recovery groups (Alcoholic's Anonymous, Narcotic's Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, Living Free), church groups, community support groups, therapy groups and even online support groups. These kinds of groups are important for several reasons. For starters, we have a chance to be around people who know where we have been and can relate to us. This generally stops people from being judgmental. Secondly, we get to be around people who will share with us their strength, experience and hope. Finally, we get to learn new behaviors by people who actually exhibit them.
Proverbs 27:17," as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
When I began to hold myself accountable, I also needed to be around others who would help me be accountable. It is really difficult for me to make wise choices when I hang out with people who are not making those same choices themselves. If I want to begin a new lifestyle, I need to ensure that I hang out with people who also follow that lifestyle. I have found that the best way to do that is by being around people who were where I want to be. That does not mean when I have outgrown people, that I am no longer their friend. What that does mean is that I am constantly finding new people to become friends with.
I have found a sponsor, who is someone who helped me work through the 12 steps, which I am a huge advocate of when working through difficult issues that we are trying to overcome. I am best helped by someone who has lived through what I am living through. They have the wisdom that I need in order to succeed. 
As you can see, changing our playmates, playgrounds and playthings needs to happen in order to successfully achieve a new way of living. These are major pieces that are an integral part of our recovery puzzle that needs to be completed in order for us to be kept from anything that causes us harm or separates us from God.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Iron Sharpens Iron Part 1- Change your Playgrounds

There are multiple things that are talked about that will allow you to make positive lifestyle changes. Some of the most important things that they talk about are your playmates, playgrounds and playthings. These are three of the major obstacles/barriers that exist in our environment and that keep us from making beneficial changes.
When they refer to playgrounds, they are talking about the places that you frequent. As a substance-abuse counselor, I tell people that they should avoid their old playgrounds. As a Christian, I tell people that they may not want to frequent their old hangouts also. I tell everyone that is making changes that they need to not only be aware of where they partake of their hobbies at but also the hobbies they engage in. The hobbies they engage in are referred to as playthings.
When they mention play things, they're talking about triggers. Triggers are the things in our life that make us think of the habits we are trying to rid ourselves of.
1. If you are trying to work on financial issues, credit cards may be a trigger for you. Cutting up your credit cards may be a good idea for you.
2. If you're an alcoholic, fishing may be a trigger for you. In the future, you may want to only go fishing with sober people who were supportive of your sobriety.
3. If you like to fight or have anger issues, heavy metal concerts and bars may be triggers for you. I know that they were for me. I did not stop going to concerts, instead I switched to worship music. I found that it tends to uplift me and fill me with hope instead of causing anger in me.
4. For those who suffer from depression, isolation may be a trigger for you. It was for me. I came up with an action plan for things to do when I began to isolate which included calling a sponsor and accountability partners. We will discuss those when we get to playmates.
5. What if you're addicted to video games? I found that a good thing to add to my life was reading the Bible, attending small groups, and actually spending time with my wife and my son.
We also need to ensure that we are aware of the places that are dangerous to our overcoming the habits we are trying to change, or our living a Christian lifestyle. If you continue to frequent your old haunts you are putting yourself at risk of once again engaging in behaviors you are trying to stop. Do not give relapse, sin or the devil a foothold in your life. When we frequent places of ill repute that is what we do.
Listed below are a couple examples:
1. If you are an overeater, there may be a bakery that you pass by on our way home from work that he would always stop at. Would it not be wiser to change your route going home than it would be to drive by the bakery every day? Remove your object of temptation.
2. If you have a sexual addiction, why would you ever go to a bar or a club? This is the last place I would ever go to. For starters, the temptation to pick somebody up will always exist there. Most bars and clubs are nothing more than meat markets. Secondly, inebriated people are not that much fun to hang out with if you are sober.
3. I was an alcoholic. I also enjoy playing softball a lot. I always played softball at the fields that had bars at them. When I stopped drinking, I found a league that was played in a park that did not serve alcohol. This was a good idea because if alcohol was not available to me I would not drink. Also because there is no alcohol there, there do not tend to be any fights there like at the fields that serve liquor.
4. I enjoy playing pool and bowling. I am not good at either of them, but I do enjoy them. There are multiple bowling alleys in the town I live in. There are also multiple places that I could play pool at. There is a Christian bowling alley in the town I live in that also has a pool table. Therefore I can play pool and bowl in a place that has no liquor served at it. Once again, if there is no temptation than it is less likely that I will stumble.
Do the above examples make sense? Why would you tempt fate? If I have a box of rattlesnakes, I am not going to stick my hand in there on the off chance that they might not bite me. That is what we do when we frequent places we should not. We basically play Russian roulette with our new lives.
The Bible even supports this. In Proverbs 14:11 it says, “The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish." Why would you want to hang out in a house that you know will be destroyed? Would it not be better to hang out in a place that will flourish? I would certainly think so.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Documentary Update

The end of next week or beginning of the week after that we will be finding out if our project is one of the 1,500 projects that Pepsi pulls randomly for people to vote on. If they do, then you will probably be sick soon of hearing me ask for votes starting in November from the beginning to the end of the month. The top 10 vote getters in our category will get $25,000. That will allow us to actually pay for the documentary with the grant and have it finished by the middle of next year instead of having to pay for it all out of our own pocket. For those of you who do not know about the project, read all about it here:

Will soon be looking to start a 501(c)(3) soon after we get the grant that will enable us to start fundraising and looking for grants that will allow us to hopefully begin touring the country in 2013, with the hope of touring Missouri in 2012 with the documentary. We will also immediately begin shooting our next documentary after we complete the first one. The second one will be parents who have had children, and some who have lost children, to drugs and/or alcohol.

As always, I am excited about the opportunity to empower both our youth and this countries parents with the knowledge they need in a format that will keep their attention from people that they can relate to to make more positive choices. The percentage of youth and young adults who suffer from the disease of addiction or the root cause of addiction who are not addicted yet (whether it be food, drugs, alcohol, sex, anger, depression, self-loathing, etc) continues to increase. This will particularly continue to be a problem as long as our economy and job market are as poor as they are currently.

We have already approached several people who have agreed to interview for the documentary. We are really in need of both males and females who are well spoken and in their late teens and early to mid-twenties who have gone through addiction to either drugs, alcohol or food and are currently in recovery. If that defines you and you would be interested in giving me an hour or two of your time on camera, leave me a comment or email me.

We also have contacted several places about possible shooting there. One is the Randy Bacon Studio and the other is the Creamery Art Center. They both have the ambiance that my editor/camera operator/wife is looking for. We will continue to look for locations that would lend to the stories that our documentary will tell. Where we film will be based a lot on the grant. We will use the area that donates us space if we do not get the grant from Pepsi and mention them prominently in our credits. If you have a great place and would be willing to let us tape their let me know!

We have had several people who have contacted us and have volunteered the use of their music if we give them mention in the credits. It is amazing to see how people will volunteer things to you when they hear the cause and know how many people it could impact. My wife and I are both blessed to have some amazing people in our lives.  If you are a musician and you own your own music and would like to contribute it to see if it would fit in the documentary let me know!

In closing, stay tuned to find out more. Furthermore, if you have any fund raising ideas or hear of any grants that would benefit us, please let me know. I will keep everybody up to date on when we will begin accepting donations of cash (after we form the 501 so they are tax deductible) and letting you donate items for our silent auctions and other fundraisers. I guess basically this is just a taste of what is to come once the documentary is actually in production in order to hopefully raise the funding to be able to take it and some of the cast to places to show the documentary and answer questions from the viewers year round.