It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years already.
Like many of you I remember exactly where I was, when the news broke. Shahnaz Esfandiary and I were dating at the time, and she called me at 6 something in the morning (9 something on the east coast) and told me to turn on the TV.

The first tower had been hit. It wasn’t clear yet if this was an accident. Then I watched live on TV as the second tower was hit. That confirmed it. This was no accident. It was the work of the most awful people ever to live on this planet.

The sickest part of it, is that these people were doing the devil’s work, and claiming that it was in the name of whatever G-d they believe in. Regardless of their beliefs, they have no G-d. No G-d would ever endorse this kind of act.

These terrorists are disgusting. They’re an abomination.

One thing that many people have recounted already today, is how we came together as a nation, supporting, and loving one another.

One nation, under G-d, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Recognize those words? Notice it doesn’t have any exceptions. Not for Mexicans, and not for Muslims. There is no latitude in the phrase “for all.”

We need to come together as a nation of nations. We need to treat each other with love and tolerance.

Courtesy, Kindness, Justice, and Love are the keynotes by which we may come into harmony with practically anybody.

If you live, or begin to live by these principles today, the world will begin to become a better place for everyone around you, including you. Then that spreads through everyone you come into contact with. Then it goes on with whomever all of them come into contact with.

Love heals, and love is contagious.


I hope you enjoy your cup of spiritual coffee for today!

Wake Me When It’s Over

Despite what a lot of people, myself included, may think, there are many times when my life feels variously tragic, and almost entirely unsuccessful. Is this my shit? My addiction making an effort to rear it’s ugly head, and convince me that life isn’t worth living, especially without the drugs to numb my pain? Perhaps it is. There is also a perspective forming within me, that my life in recent years has been a tragic succession of getting fucked over in every single relationship I have. The sad part is that most people that I talk to, including the most significant people in my life, don’t disagree when I share that I feel like I get far less than what I put into every single relationship. Bottom line for now, is that I’m angry about this. I am tired of it. It’s time for me to get mine, is the thought that runs through my mind. Then I have to stop myself, because this is the exact basis, on which I have been taught, I cannot live. Not anymore. But it’s happening. I’ve trusted in this process, and I am beginning to feel as though it is turning on me. The promises are no longer proving to be coming true.

More and more these days I worry that everything I am doing is just another in a long series of mistakes. On the very night of my graduation from high school, I was out partying. I came home that morning at about 6:30 am, still hammered, and leaning over the porcelain G-d, spewing the remains of my stomach into the abyss.

One thing that happened that night I remember well. Erin (I will leave it at that for her anonymity’s sake) read my Tarot cards. I never had them read again, and I am not even close to 100% sold on the validity of these things, but I do believe there may be something to them. She told me that I was going to be really successful, but that something or someone was really going to fuck me up along the way. For a while I thought that someone might be ME. It still may be. After all, among the things that getting clean has taught me, it is that my problems are of my own making. In other words, I can point my fingers wherever I want, but in the end, I have to take full responsibility for everything that happens to me. This is different from accountability. There are certainly things that people can and will do to me, which renders me helpless in terms of my inability to control others. On the other hand, taking responsibility means that what I do about it, and how I react to it is 150% up to me.

Thank G-d I have a way of life which can answer all of my problems. The simple solution at times like this? I need to get to more meetings and work with others. Especially the working with others part.

And now, I have to get back to work. Speaking of which, here is my perspective. My focus MUST be on those who are actually paying me for my efforts. They come first. Then I can do the other stuff, that may be fun, but as long as it’s for free, they take second chair to the paying stuff.

Being Dependent Gives Us Independence

This doesn’t make any sense does it? Or doesn’t it?

If you bear with me and follow me on this, you’ll see why the reason it doesn’t make any sense, at first is because of our own shit, which blocks us from progress in almost every single area of our lives.

This is the way to a faith that works

Our egos make it difficult to believe something like this. We think we don’t need any help, and we further this notion with the idea that needing help is a sign of weakness.

We couldn’t possibly be more wrong about this. Asking for help is a sign of strength, borne of humility. It means we acknowledge that we don’t know everything, and we can always learn more. In fact, this is the only way to grow.

Too many of us don’t want to listen. We think that listening means we need help, and that needing help means we’re weak. Then we wonder that we cannot make any real progress in anything.

  • Is your business stagnant?
  • Are your relationships not moving in the direction you’d really like?

Maybe… just consider the possibility that you aren’t listening. Another symptom of this is that you are constantly exerting your own will on others.

  • Are you controlling people instead of working with them?
  • Do you cut people off mid-sentence, because you’re afraid you’ll forget what you have to say?

Want the antidote?

It’s actually really simple. If it’s that important to say it, you won’t forget it. And if you forget it, before you have a chance to say it, then it wasn’t that important.

What I have learned is that by taking the cotton out of my ears and putting it in my mouth, I learn a great deal more. I’ve also found repeatedly that when I want to cut someone off and say something but don’t, I almost always find that what I wanted to say isn’t necessary to say. The reason is that after more information was revealed (based on listening), my disruptive response would have been based on conjecture. Look conjecture up (or google it) it’s a good one.

Everything that we “know” to be true is based on dependence. We trust the source from which we’ve learned something, and then we rely on it. That’s another way of saying we depend on it. Often times we think that source is our own experience, but look deeper at the experience. Something IN that experience taught us something. We draw conclusions based on information we’ve gathered, and this means we’re relying, or depending on something, doesn’t it?

Would you jump up in the air,

if you didn’t know you could depend on gravity?

Yet how many of us REALLY understand how gravity works? Most of us are not scientists, and therefore we have no real fundamental understanding of how gravity works. Yet we aren’t afraid to jump up in the air, lest we float away into outer space and suffocate.

We depend on many things, and that dependence

gives us the freedom to jump without fear.

If I can humble myself enough, to recognize that I have more to learn, then I can find the sources that I trust. I can learn from those sources. The newfound knowledge, that I acquire from the sources I trust, gives me the independence to act with confidence. I act with the confidence that I am acting appropriately, in any situation. That appropriate action is how I grow every single day.

Learning to live a life of independence that is based on appropriate dependence is how I am able to function really well in this world. Being dependent on the right sources, has given me tremendous independence. Now I am clear on how to live and let live. When a relationship yields 0% for me, I know it’s time to move on. When someone is doing something that I don’t like, I have choices today. The best choice, in these cases, is simply to remove myself from that person, place or thing, that I have an issue with. The best amends we can often make, is to leave a person, place, or thing alone.

Some of this might seem a little “out there” but I assure you it isn’t.

I don’t have to like everyone and everything out there, but that doesn’t mean I annihilate them. It means I displace them, by replacing them with what, or whomever enriches my life.

For some of us, we find that dependence on G-d or a higher power (if you prefer) is where we get the greatest freedom. Freedom is independence, and independence can always be achieved by finding the RIGHT sources to depend upon.

Give Give Give

That’s what they told me. Over and over again, I was told I have to give and keep on giving. They said this would make me a whole person. They said that this would help me build myself esteem. They told me that if I changed my whole way of living, on the very basis of going from selfish to selfless, that all would be well.

This has been true, for the most part. Lately I’ve been experiencing something different. Lately I’ve been experiencing a new brand of resentment. It may surprise some of you to know that most of the time I am actually feeling pretty lonely. I’ve been plagued by this, for a very long time. Why? How is this possible? I have people constantly reaching out to me for help. I’ve done exactly what they told me to do. How could I possibly be lonely?

What I realize now, is that there is another side to this. A side THEY didn’t prepare me for. When you spend your whole entire life developing, and preparing to help others, whom do you go to for help? When you carry yourself with such confidence, because that’s what you’re feeling as the result of constantly helping others, whom do you go to for help when you need it? Why would people think they had anything to offer you, when you’re the one people go to for help and answers?

Where this process fails me, is that it is difficult for me to make a real connection with people, because the relationship is too one sided. I realize that in almost every single relationship I have, I am putting way more in, than what I get out of it. And THAT is causing a resentment on a very deep level.

If I’m quiet, it’s probably because I am struggling. I’m struggling with people turning their backs on me. I’m struggling with people who act one way in one setting, and in another, they are a completely different person, whom I barely recognize. People change the rules based on what suits them. You can’t work with this person, but now that my company (or it’s successor) is working with this person, you need to be ok with it. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s insincerity. Disingenuity. It makes me want to tell everyone, “go fuck yourself!”

“This is different,” they tell me.

You know how many times I said that as I took the next hit?

Lack of power is my dilemma. I can’t control other people. Other people will do what they need to do, and unfortunately in most cases, it will be based on what suits them at the time. It has nothing to do with me.

I wonder what would happen, if I suddenly turned back to my old selfish, self? Wait. Scratch that. I know exactly what would happen. I’d be back on my knees in no time, begging g-d for mercy once again.

I have to be the bigger person. On many levels, I have to suck it up, and remember that it isn’t about what I am getting back. It’s about what I’m giving. At a certain point, when a relationship yields 0% it is just time to move on.

I DO have people I go to for help. My therapist guided me there last Friday, as I sat in his office, struggling with everything I had, to hold back the tears. I told him that in every relationship I can think of, I put way more in than what I get back. He asked me to think about whom I CAN go to for help. The answer was immediate. I know who. I called him last night, and wednesday I’m meeting him for dinner, then we’ll head to a meeting.

Times like this, I have to flip the script, and instead of offering help, I need to ask for it. It needs to be with people whom I trust, to offer it, free of judgment, and without being overbearing. There may be two people in my life who fit this mold. I know who they are, and I just need to reach out to them and ask for help, like so many people do with me.

Why I Got Addicted To Drugs and Alcohol

It took me a long time, to get addicted. Maybe it was instant, and I didn’t know it? Maybe the signs were there before I even took the first hit, for the first time.

Looking back I can see the addictive behaviors. When I like something, I don’t want to stop. I could stay up all night playing video games. When modems were a very new concept with computers, and we had these dos based bulletin board systems, I remember staying up all night. One night, I had completely lost track of time, until I noticed the sun coming up at around 5 am. Then I was curious, so I took my bicycle out, and went for a ride.

Were those addictive behaviors, or just the results of an extremely curious and passionate mind?

Speaking of my bicycle, that was sort of another obsession of mine, growing up. I loved to ride. It was a great escape for me, because I really didn’t think anyone liked me, and when I was on my bicycle, I was free. I could ride for hours. I would go from town to town, and I would stop and visit girls along the way. Most, I had a crush on. Some I just enjoyed talking to. Then I would get back on my bike, and ride.

I can, and have looked back at many of my behaviors. It helps to know, that there is evidence, perhaps, to suggest that my addiction was out of my control. Otherwise, it is tempting to want to blame myself, and that makes it much harder to recover. One of the keys for me, was knowing that this was not my fault. Yes, I am accountable for my actions, and I have to take responsibility, but that’s not the same thing, as being at fault. I experimented with drugs like many kids do. Most do not wind up where I did. If you had told me, back then, that I would wind up where I eventually did, I would not have believed you. So you might way I was screwed either way.

What I learned, when I got clean, was that, while it is helpful to know what may have lead me to  my addiction, it really didn’t matter. There are many reasons, on the surface, that people drink and use. There is really only one reason, at the core. To quote the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous,

“Men and women drink, essentially because they like the effect produced.”

That was really all I needed to know. I LOVED the effect produced. I loved to feel anything other than what I was feeling when I was not under the influence of chemicals. I was scared, and lonely, and like I said above, I just didn’t think anybody liked me, or didn’t understand why they would. In my own view, I was a weird kid.

By the time I was a senior in High School, I came to regard my being different as an asset. I made it a point, to make sure people knew that, as my parents put it, I walked to the beat of my own drum. I was voted “Most Unique.”

There was another obsession of mine, which had become apparent by this time. Girls. I loved girls. I loved the effect produced when I got their attention, and especially when I’d won their affection. Unfortunately none of them could sustain my interest for long. I missed out on some good ones, behind that.

What mattered when the time came, to get clean, was that I had a problem. At first I could see that I had a problem, but it took me a long time before I realized that I could not stop on my own. I had the same theories that most of us do, when we walk into the rooms of recovery for the first time.

In one of my first meetings, I was in Narcotics Anonymous. The people there were talking about shooting heroin in abandoned buildings. The were relating to one another about not having any veins left to shoot in.

This was not me! I was not like these people. I was educated. I would never end up in an abandoned building, and I never stuck a needle in my arm. These are all “YETs.” Yet stands for You’re Eligible Too! These were things that only “REAL” addicts did. I had the perfect justification for going out again, and I did just that. I wasn’t even clean in my first meeting. I stopped at the dealer’s on the way to the meeting, to pick up. After all, there was no way I was going to be able to deal with these people, without being high. Not a chance in hell. The second meeting, I was clean for, and I never made it to the third one. I got high as a kite all night long. I talked on the phone with people at a million miles an hour, and I didn’t think they knew. They did.

First I had to recognize that there was a problem. Then I had to accept, that I was too far gone to stop on my own. This was a big leap, and it took me a long time to make it.