Wednesday, June 29, 2011


my sponsor gave me a book by dr. allen berger titled "12 smart things to do when the booze and drugs are gone". i have begun to read it slowly and find myself opening up at some interior level. i have been interested and cultivating the idea of stage 2 sobriety or emotional sobriety and this is what dr. berger's book outlines. the 12 things are simple, practical, and not-very-easy perspectives and practices that lay the groundwork for a more balanced and "healthy" presence in the world.

the 1st smart thing is "know yourself- and how to stay centered". as i re-read this and type it seems so very simple. but i also know that i spend much of my time filling empty spaces inside with food, music, and shopping. i also know that i am still learning to see when i am over-reacting because i don't like how i feel or i don't like the situation at hand.

so this simple instruction requires regular and regimented practice- or i may never get to carnegie hall. i am interested in continuing to grow as an emotional being. i would like to have relationships that reflect balance and mutual admiration in addition to the loved ones i cherish in my life. most of all, i want to learn to love without caution. this is something i haven't allowed myself to indulge in since my late teens.

i am going to repost some of dr. berger's words posted on his website,  as i believe it is a compelling philosophy.  i think i will post about my journey through this book and these 12 smart things. i hold high hopes that i will find adventure in his guide.

At a glance

Our society is locked in crisis. Society teaches us to focus on having rather than being. That is, we seek things and status instead of wisdom and authentic relationships. Deep down, we know we can never have enough things and status, but we keep trying because we are afraid that we won't be lovable otherwise. This creates a vicious cycle: we can never have enough to be lovable, so we keep trying to get more. We go on and teach others—our children, our friends, our loved ones—the same false message.

My philosophy is simple. Each person has a true, lovable self that wants to come out. My goal is to help every client reclaim that true self. That is the way to break the vicious cycle, and the way to ease our social crisis.

Having versus Being

Our society is in crisis. An unprecedented number of people are losing homes, gasoline prices are soaring, one out of four teenagers is dropping out of high school, drug and alcohol addiction are rampant, and the divorce rate is the highest it has been in the history of the United States.
What is causing these problems? I believe the answer can be found if we examine our culture and how we adapt to it.
We live in a culture that is based on having rather than being. That is, we seek things rather than seek wisdom. Consider the evidence (and consequences) of our misguided search:
  • We treat ourselves as objects and look at others as objects too. In our society, women are sex objects while men are success objects.
  • We overvalue possessions and judge our worth on what we own and what we do – rather than on who we are.
  • We focus on our image rather than our character.
  • We are driven to achieve and to acquire as much as we can. We search for glory in all the wrong places.
  • We want more and more and more -- in fact we are "addicted to more." We want a better car, we want more money, we want to have more fun, we want the latest tech toys, we want a more attractive partner, we want more understanding, we want more sex, we want more respect, we want a better body, and we want it all to come easily.
Our focus on seeking things instead of wisdom is a kind of illness. This illness manifests in the feeling that we are unacceptable the way we are; that we are unlovable. So, to make ourselves "marketable" and acceptable we try to live up to an idealized image of who we think we are supposed to be. This idealized image is our false self. We cling to this false self. Deep down, we see it as the solution to a basic fear or anxiety that we won't be loved or accepted. But because our solution to this basic anxiety rests on a rejection of the who we really are – a rejection of our true self – it never works.
The irony is we reject our true self to make ourselves acceptable. We alienate ourselves from our true self and then we fear that we are going to be found out to be a phony. The result, in our culture, is that most of us really are phonies. Worse, we pass the message along to everyone around us.
Let's look at some more ways we (and our culture) betray ourselves.
  • We are discouraged from being real and authentic. Instead we are encouraged to have things and status.
  • We are discouraged from being honest. Instead we are told that, "Image is everything."
  • We focus on performing and producing what we think others want, rather than on building character and letting our true character produce authentic fruits.
  • Ultimately, things seem to be more important than people. What a mess! I don't know about you but I am sick and tired of it.
I believe this crisis is a wake-up call, giving us the opportunity to find a healthier balance in our lives -- but only if we wake up! We are asleep, thinking we are awake. We are living in a trance. We are hypnotized into believing that this is how life is supposed to be. But it's not.
We have all learned to play games with ourselves and others that keep us immature. We are afraid of pain and frustration, but the reality is that pain helps us mature and grow up. Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth and personal transformation. But we are pain-phobic in this society and we have learned to avoid suffering at all costs. The price we pay is great.
I believe it is important to find our lost, true selves. Needless to say the going is tough at times, In fact I believe the more honest we are and the healthier we become the more we will be able to face our shortcomings. Quite a paradox isn't it? Therapy is difficult, ignorance is not bliss, and addressing our problems is definitely the road less traveled. I believe however that there is a basic need or force within us that wants to mature and become a better person. I hope you will listen to that part of you.

reprinted from dr. allen berger's website...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


image credit.... kuku smigun

the reasons i do what i do sometimes reveal themselves to me quietly and unexpectedly. i received a copy of a letter to be read at the "reckoning" of an acquaintance. i am without much to say. i think the words speak for themselves.

                I would like to apologize for bringing a syringe into the facility.  I didn’t have the foresight to see the risk it might have caused others.  I didn’t do it purposely but it came about through deviant behavior none the less.  This behavior is what I would like help addressing.  I don’t wish for forgiveness but instead am asking for help if there is any, to change my behaviors. 

 I don’t like who I am or how I came to be here.  I struggle every day with self esteem and find myself feeling sad and desperate with every decision I have made, but I understand need help to get on the right track.   I understand I have forgotten the skills to successfully make it in the community and it makes me feel hopeless and hate myself even more.  My only hope is there some type of “Change of behavior boot camp” available that I can use to my advantage.  I’m sick of just getting by and I don’t feel prison or jail will give me the necessary skills to be the person I want to become.  If I go back to jail, I will come back out the same person that I hate today.

                 When I was arrested last year I was a homeless, full time I.V. drug user with AIDS who was getting by with stealing and living off of government funding to get by. I was just barely getting by and there was no part of living about it. I was unhappy being who I was but using dope seemed to smudge the reality of being me, to get through the day to day grind.  Now that I am no longer homeless or using drugs, I see what is left of me in a clear and sad way.  I am very much a damaged individual. There is so much work to be done to come up to where I would like to be, that I don’t even know where to start at times.  It would be easy if I could take on just one problem at a time like I’m correcting clerical errors in this letter with word perfect, but life doesn’t come at me like that and I’m pretty sure yours either.  It’s overwhelming at times and again leaves me discouraged and hopeless.  

                                To get through these hard times, I look at what I have good going for me.  I am no longer homeless.  I am no longer using drugs on a daily basis to blur reality.  I am getting the best health care from a top doctor who really cares about me and wants me to succeed.  I am taking the bests drugs out there to maintain my health and understand staying off of dope is more than relevant to do this.  I am getting help from a very caring addictions counselor with my relapse prevention and cognitive classes.  I now have family and friends who will talk to me again.  When I was using they chose to have no contact with me.  Although I may not like myself yet, having someone tell me that they love me gives me the strength to do better and try harder.  I am even capable of getting employment but didn’t have the basic skills to maintain it, due to my recidivist behavior.   So I keep on doing what I think will work but the fact is, I am lacking some basic skills to continue and succeed at this program and life.   Please take all of this into consideration.  I do want to be here and if there is any program available to assist me in getting to a better place, other than prison, I am open to the change.

                                                                                                Thank you for help in this matter,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

loving the simple things

i have an aunt and uncle that live in idaho springs- a small mountain town just this side of ski country. for years i have been hanging with them for a weekend here and there- getting some r and r and getting outa dodge. this weekend was no exception.

the last 5 years or so, i have been spending much of my time there cooking for them. grilling, sauteing, baking, boiling, chopping, and seasoning. it has become an immense sense of release for me. i look forward to seeing them 4 or 5 times a year, and i think they have looked forward to seeing me perhaps just as much.

my last visit i had mentioned pasta and so my aunt has had that in her mind ever since. my plan didn't formalize until friday when i went shopping. i decided to make bowtie pasta with peas and pesto, chicken piccata, and roasted pears with caramel gelato. but my favorite surprise this year (mine-not theirs) was fava bean spread. fresh favas with parmesan, lemon, mint, garlic, and seasoning blended into a refreshing and  earthy tasting concoction that spread beautifully onto crackers and whetted our appetites for the rest.

i also made a strata for breakfast this morning with artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers that seemed to be everyone else's favorite thing. there were an unbelievable amount of ooohs as we had breakfast this morning.

i admit i love this part of my life. i really love cooking and i love doing it for people who want to experience it. it makes for a fantastic weekend...

basic fava bean spread recipeapproximately 1 cup of shelled fava beans
1-3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp. lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded parmesan or pecorino
2 to 4 Tbsp. of olive oil - add until desired consistency is achieved
fresh herb of choice - mint is standard, but basil is also a great choice
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste... recipe reprinted from paris and back

Friday, June 17, 2011

pre-pride parade fun

It's that time of year! RMRU PrideFest festivities in Denver's Captial Hill neighborhood include an all fellowship meeting before the parade and participation on the RMRU Float.
Come grab a cup of coffee, a little breakfast and get a spiritual boost before the Parade with your clean & sober friends; then ride the RMRU float along the parade route, down to Civic Center Park for continued Pride festivities.

Where: Cheesman Park, Purple section (last group) When: Sunday, June 19th, 2011
Time: 8:00am - meeting,
9:30am - lineup for Purple section
What to Wear: comfortable shoes, solid colored t-shirt or shirt in one of the 6 Pride colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue or Purple)
Additional Information:
  • All entrances to Cheesman Park will be closed to traffic; if you are driving to the park, you will want to allow plenty of time to park on a side street and get to our section in the lineup.
  • Please remember that by participating in the RMRU group, you represent a Clean, Sober and Principled way of living - please be respectful or others, obey all PrideFest rules, as well as local and state laws.
  • Bring extra sunscreen and water for the day - you'll need it!
  • Questions/more information contact Jericho at 720-581-2426
We look forward to seeing you all there!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

pride resonates

Everybody's journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality. ~James Baldwin

Thursday, June 9, 2011

a simple matter of pride

he stopped by today to get a letter of support. the change in him these last few months is rather astonishing really. he has been sleeping regularly, has ceased using speed ad nauseum, and has been eating regularly. his eyes have become clear, his thought process has become understandable, and his smile and laughter have returned as if they had gone to afghanistan and had finished their tour of duty.

he has been in residential treatment these sixty-some days and has sparked a new interest in self-care. about 4 weeks in this process, he was told by a couple of employees that he would be restricted from doing his chore work by either cooking or washing dishes. the inference was that since he was hiv positive, he might endanger the rest of the residents if he were near the kitchen.

this had upset him naturally. it has been some time since he had been stable enough to think about standing up for himself. he had spent the last 3 years or so just trying to survive- mostly depending on the kindness of tricks and strangers. as i listened to him tell me this, i could hear the tone of "victim" in his voice. i recognize it well.

i asked him if it bothered him. he indicated that it did somewhat, but he did not want to take the chance of stirring up trouble. i understood this, however i felt it a duty to nudge him to talk to his case manager about the situation. he could relay how the restriction made him feel, and he could underline the fact that this policy is not logical nor legal. i would be happy to help educate the staff  if needed about the facts and the myths about hiv as we know them in 2011.

as we chatted today, he told me that the counselor had listened to him, would research the issue, and get back to him- which he did in 2 days. he told our guy that he was right and he would be talking about the issue at the next staff meeting. yesterday was the meeting, and both the staff members that did the duty restriction came up to him individually and apologized.

his eyes lit up as he lightly savored self efficacy. he almost oozed the joy of being pleased with himself. i don't often have such a joy-filled disneylandesque experience.  my days seem to be mostly much more complicated. but today, it certainly made me happy to see someone else happy.  for a minute, i got to be lighthearted and witness a beautifully simple (and drug free) pride parade.

 let the rainbow flag fly...:D

Sunday, June 5, 2011

summer remix

there is a weekend festival in denver known as "people's fair" which has traditionally been the kick-off for summer. i went one of the 1st years i lived here. i found then that my aversion to turkey legs was reality. i have since realized that although many outdoor festivals can be fun and innocent, there are many that seem to be a reason to over-indulge for some. and i can't think of any more reasons not to attend.

i certainly do believe that summer is worth heralding in. i have planted some geraniums in pots outside my door as well as some supertunias on my little patio. i have splashes of bright color acting as sentry at both my front and back doors. and those little beefeaters (as it were) bring a smile to my face every day.

speaking of making me smile, this vintage modern romance tune does the trick. check out the hairstyles and the joie de vivre that oozes out of the totp performance. all those "new romantics" getups. and then the 2nd vid really illustrates the power of a remix. from that goofy outdoor festival sound of the 1st version to the slick, hip, and underground 2nd version. thank heaven for the remix

Thursday, June 2, 2011

all for a song

so i came across some bookfsmart software which slurps all the info from my blog and will put it into book form. so i am considering putting together a book. i can't tell you how not simple this process is. i am only doing this so i can give it to people i know, but i am judging what my process has been so harshly anyway.

i have one version done, but it happened way too soon. i am now working on a 2nd version that is basically embracing the stepwork and the gifts that brought with it. i don't know how long this will take, but i am not going to rush it. i am thinking it would be a good gift to give for my 7 years.
it is indeed a re-learning adventure. i came across this post which i had completely forgotten.

"under the influence"
Walking on a cloud
Feeling high
It happens every time
Whenever I'm with my guy

Tripping on love
And it feels so good
I can't help myself
And I wouldn't think I could

Plus he's got that certain drive
That I'm a victim to
Love's really got a hold on me
And there's nothing that I'd rather do
i guess the post title could lead to a wrong impression. no- i have not used. nor have i "fallen in love". i am, however, under the influence of something newer in my life. there have been distinctive and noticeable changes in my reactions to life recently. i feel as if i am being graced with patience and serenity in ways that are new and could be intoxicating.

a good portion of the reasons why are due to this spiritual program i am adapting for my life. it seems to fit more comfortably with each wear. with every working of the last 3 steps, i move toward peace. and part of it may also be an overarching relief about who's in charge with the ensuing inauguration of president-elect obama. i know i feel much more secure with someone i feel trustworthy in that position. and a good portion, no doubt, is the grace i have received these last two years, from scraping out all the sediment on my insides through this blogging process.

i have managed to clear away so much wreckage and make room for life again in an exhilarating way. this is a vibrant and colorful journey. the destination is still not known to me, but the pit stops and side bars have been life altering. i definitely am under the influence. of what i am not certain, but it feels a whole lot like love as i think it is.
posted at kickintina on January 17, 2009
i heard this remix by frankie knuckles today and can't get it outa my head... hava listen...