An Organized Plan of Attack, Part II


On September 1, I found myself in such a place of despair that I decided that this year of my life would likely be the last. I committed to a year of daily blogging and to taking all the actions I could to get better but if that didn’t work, I would make a grand and glorious exit on my fiftieth birthday (October 15, 2015). The verdict is to be handed down on my 18th sobriety anniversary (September 1, 2015). When I wrote the post at 2:30 am, I was dead serious. Acting as I often have in my life, without regard to how others would be affected, I published the edict for the entire world to see. I now can understand the implicit selfishness in this action and for that I apologize. What I do want you to understand is that I am very serious about making some much needed (and long overdue) changes and that this is far from the first time I’ve found myself in that horrible place. The declaration was my way of raising the stakes.


I’ve set out to “change my life” many times with new programs, new therapists, new books, new religions (or recommitments to old ones); the truth is, I believe, that needed change sometimes (and most often) happens over time and by taking advantage of many things that do work while letting go of many things that don’t. That’s what this year is about for me.

Spiritual teacher Edwene Gaines shares a story of when she was in a similarly low place in her life. She talks about praying one of those prayers of desperation after a long time of living in a cyclical pattern of limitation. She had felt like she had doing “what she was supposed to do” but still, things seemed to stay the same. She prayed from a place of great frustration, “What do you want me to do, God?! Whatever it is, I’ll do it; just show me! What do you want me to do?!!” She then said it was if she heard the voice of God, “What do you want me to do, Edwene?! Whatever it is, I’ll do it; just show me! What do you want me to do?!!” It’s a funny story but I think it makes a very good point. She also said that she would never call up Sears and Roebuck catalogue (a dated reference, maybe today we might say Amazon) and say, “just send me whatever you’d like.” I get the message in her parable. “God” works the same way. The word “God” is in quotation marks because I simply do not believe in conventional ideas about God. (There’ll be a forthcoming blog in which elaborate on this but suffice it to say that most of what I’ve heard about God in my life, I consider to be full of shit.) Of course I believe in God. I’m a poet. Poets believe in God. We have to.


When I pray, it’s not because I believe it is going to change something in the mind of God. I pray so that something in my mind can change. I believe God (or The Infinite Universe or whatever) has limitless abundance waiting to be poured out into our lives but that often many of us are so busy standing in the way of that, the things we want are never made manifest.


Although I don’t believe in the anthropomorphic idea of God, sometimes it is a useful convention to help me think about The Divine. Often it is helpful for me to think of God as a loving parent and a loving parent doesn’t give their child something they can hurt themselves on, no matter how bad they want it. I’ve bought a few lottery tickets in my life (dangerous behavior given my history of addiction) but I’ve never bought one hoping it didn’t win. But I can also see that there have been many points along the way where millions of dollars might have killed me. Hell, I was doing a pretty good job on the little bit of money I had! I want to remove (or more appropriately have God remove) the things in my life that stand in the way of the abundant life I want. I also want to be ready when it happens so that I can use that abundance to be of greater service to God and to my fellows rather than simply use it to self-medicate ancient pain and anger. Conventional recovery community wisdom tells us that we shouldn’t pray for selfish things. We may, however, ask for things for ourselves if other may be helped. Nothing helps me more than seeing those who once struggled start to thrive. It sets an example for me. It lets me know a better life is also possible for me.


As I said, I believe the desires of our heart are Divinely given and no, I’m not talking like “I desire that that hot guy over there on the rowing machine would come over here and…” well, y’know. I’m talking more like “I would like to have a husband that I adored who would love me and be kind to me (and whom I found to be mad-sexy).” I believe in setting goals. My mom always says, “If you pray for potatoes, look for a hoe to appear.” (note: that’s hoe, not ho) I intend to identify these divine desires and set them up as goals. Then I’ll ask God to direct my thinking and to reveal to me what I need to do (or in some cases stop doing) to achieve them.


Two days ago in the blog I divided my life into four categories. They are:


  1. Emotional, Spiritual, Psychological
  2. Health and Fitness

III. Sex and Relationships

  1. Career and Finance


Now it’s time for me to be still and let Spirit reveal to me what exactly I’d like things to look like in each of these respective areas.

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