Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Most Transformative Moment of My Life

The following incident occurred sometime in 1982.  I accidentally injected an overdose of meth amphetamine and cocaine.  I was feeling scared and sick and ran into the bathroom.  I was very weak and faint and thought i was going to pass out so I laid down on the floor.  Everything began to go black and I felt myself going into convulsions.  Everything was black for a moment then I saw a speck of light and felt myself floating toward the light.  Soon I was going toward the light through a tunnel of lights.  It looked something like when they show going into warp speed on Star Trek TV.

Suddenly I was completely still and engulfed by a soothing white light.  I was talking with GOD but not with my mouth but with my mind.  It was like a mental telepathy.  I didn't see GOD but felt GOD's presence.  I was asking questions about my life.  Why do I live? What is the purpose of life? And things like that.  As fast as I thought a question the answer was in my mind.  I think the best I could describe "the light" is that it is a place of absolute knowledge and understanding.  Thus a complete absence of fear.  The voice in my mind then said, "You're not ready to be here yet", I recall not wanting to leave, it was such a wonderful place of unconditional love, serenity, and peace.  But then I suddenly woke up, completely sober, feeling a tremendous sense of peace.

Afterwards, I felt wonderful and it completely changed my view of life. Everything made perfect sense.  I learned that life is simply a big school.  Our purpose for living is to learn how to love others and how to receive love.  I no longer fear death.  I no longer fear GOD.  GOD is the absolute perfect manifestation of unconditional love, knowledge, compassion, acceptance, and peace.  GOD is nothing to fear.  Fear is a lack of faith in GOD.  Overcoming, or letting go of fear is the human challenge to reach our highest level.  To transcend or rise above the distractions of this school of human experience.  GOD guides us toward accomplishing our purpose through our special, individual connection with GOD...our conscience.  When we allow fear to consume us, we deny, or fail to follow the guidance our conscience provides.  In essence, we deny our own happiness.

GOD gave me a very special gift when I visited the light.  I refer to this gift as "discernment".  When I read a book, or listen to others speak about spirituality, I can tell in an instant whether it is truth or not.

I often feel particularly sad when I hear the words of someone claiming to be a man or woman of GOD and they preach a message of fear or intolerance.  I hear these things often coming from people that call themselves fundamentalist.  Since visiting the light I have read the Bible cover to cover.  As I read I saw the stories acted out in my mind as if it were a movie playing in my head.  I know what the truth in the Bible is now.  Many preachers today twist the words of the Bible and take them out of context.  Any preacher that teaches fear of GOD does not know GOD.  I feel sad about the manner in which these wolves in lamb's clothing scare people.  According to Jesus in the Bible, the highest commandment is to love GOD your father in heaven above all others and to treat others like you would want to be treated.  How can a fundamentalist claim to be a man or woman of GOD and yet violate this highest commandment by attempting to scare others?  Or by practicing intolerance of others such as their condemnation of gays, or people that merely practice other religions.

In the years that followed my visit to the light I went through many changes.  I went to college and everything I learned was filtered through the knowledge I received while at the light, the discernment of my conscience.

Today I know that everything happens for a reason, and for the ultimate good, GOD's will.  I know that all of my life experiences were meant to be.  They were designed to bring me to where I am today.  I know what true peace, happiness, and unconditional love really are.  I've turned my life around from a life of violence and drug addiction to a life with purpose.

For many years I worked as a counselor sharing with others the things I've learned.  Teaching them how to listen to and follow their conscience.  Teaching them how to recognize the dysfunctional thinking habits and beliefs we develop to justify and minimize inappropriate, and often criminal behavior.  Showing them how these beliefs and ways of thinking enable us to manipulate others, but more importantly, to quiet and deny our own guilty conscience.  I wrote an affirmation that I repeat over and over,

"There is nothing another person can say or do that can make me say or do something my conscience knows is wrong."

I've read others with experiences like this and they call them near death experiences.

Friday, December 29, 2017

WTF is going on?

If you happen to be someone who has followed me and my work....you're about to be in for a BIG surprise. This blog is headed for a whole new shift in direction. A couple things will become apparent very quickly. Things I write are likely to be extremely raw. When I say raw I mean authentic, genuine and real. Since I'm retired I don't need to worry about managing my reputation for my business and career. If you don't like, or disagree with what I think and write, that's okay. It doesn't matter in the least. I don't care if some narrow minded moron judge doesn't like my attitude.  They're a moron and I no longer need to patronize their ignorance in order to get client referrals. So now if I think you're making a moronic decision I'll just fucken say so....unless I don't care two shits,  So from now on I write what I think with much less filtering. My filtering now (other than my conscience) would be concerns not to hurt, humiliate, or embarrass loved ones. This can be challenge because I think my wife is a little concerned about what I'm going to say most times I open my mouth. Lol

The next point is profanity. Also known as "sentence enhancers" (thank you Sponge Bob and whatever client it was that pointed me to the video of that episode.  Plain and simple, the enhancers serve to strengthen the intensity of whatever persuasive point one is attempting to make. There's a big difference between being "pissed" and being "fucken pissed". I use sentence enhancers a lot. If that's an issue for you then fuck off. You don't need to read my blog and you're probably a fucken moron and won't get what I write about anyway.

Finally, there's no deeper meaning or agenda on this blog effective right now. I'm only writing about what is on my mind at the moment. If you think there's something more to it than that..it's your shit creeping in and hasn't got shit to do with what I'm writing about.....probably.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Why I retired

Some may wonder about my sudden departure from my career. So here's some of the story. Please understand I feel an obligation to not share all personal details of my life on a forum such as this because my family is entitled to their own privacy. So I've tried to be discreet with consideration of the feelings of my family and loved ones.

A few years back (I'm not going to try to create an accurate time line) a series of trauma events began occurring in my life.  I was already getting a burned out and needing time off.  Kim and I had purchased and remodeled a mobile home in Clearwater, Florida and enjoyed spending time there several times per year.  I trained Kim's brother Tony to operate certified batterers intervention programs and helped him start the Amends Program in Evansville. During that time Tony and I became best friends and spoke to each other daily. We became each other's confidant, advisor, sounding board, etc.  And he was covering my business allowing me to take badly needed time away.  My time away was so pleasant and enjoyable that Tony and I were making options for me to take extended time off on a regular basis.

Things were looking good. My company was doing amazing, running very smooth, revenues were continuing to grow and income seemed very solid and secure. And the revenue was diversified because we had programs running in numerous areas and our eggs were not in one basket...I didn't think.  So in addition to our vacation home in Florida, we were living in an amazing condo in a woods in Lawrence Township. It was awesome with a two story sunroom that looked like it was in the middle of the Brown County forest. During that time I was also making maximum allowed contributions to my 401k, IRAs, etc.

Kim and I were actually in Florida taking some time off when we got a phone call in the middle of the night....Tony had suddenly passed from a heart attack.  I knew this was going to be a big blow but to be honest there is no way I could have anticipated the struggle in store for me over the next few years. As I write about this I certainly have no intention to minimize the pain and struggle of others as it was a very, very difficult time for all involved, not just me. But in this story I'm simply attempting to describe what happened to me, how it impacted me, and how it is shaping my life now and in the future.

I felt morally obligated at this point to step in and take over the Amends Program because honestly there was no one else qualified to run the program.  I wanted to keep the promises and commitments Tony and I had made to the community when we started the program and I knew Tony's family needed income. So I stepped in to operate the program and I gave what money I could to the horse rescue and Tony's family. I really did the best I could and it was excruciatingly emotionally heart wrenching when some family implied I was exploiting the situation. This became even more exacerbated when my entire business statewide had a sudden and unexplained drop in referrals and revenue. My revenue statewide dropped 75% in one year. I had no idea why or what the heck was going on.

The drop in revenue, as it turned out, was mostly due to some changes in state law and how policies were being implemented for courts to refer offenders for services. It's 2018 and the company is just now recovering to the previous levels.

During this time Kim's mother got ill and began consuming more and more of Kim's time and attention. So Kim's obligations increased a lot as well as mine trying to keep the business afloat, pay for our condo, help Tony's family, etc., etc., etc. With money suddenly tight and every dollar counted, some major adjustments had to happen and they had to happen quickly. We were in a serious negative cash flow situation. To stop losing money I needed to do the following:

1. I was locked into office space leases on locations which were no longer referring sufficient clients to generate revenue needed to pay the rent.
2. We were obligated to our monthly expenses of the Florida home even though we could no longer spend time there.
3. Our condo was way more than we could afford with the huge drop in our business income.
4. I was worried because I needed to notify Tony's family that my ability to continue to support them was ending. This was the most difficult thing because I'm sure they had no idea of why the business dropped so much and blamed it on me....though it was really not in my control (I later learned).

So Kim and I talked it over and implemented a plan.

1. We decided to sell our place in Florida and to sell our condo to get out from the monthly obligations of each.
2. The equity from selling our home in Florida and our condo was enough for us to pay cash for a smaller, but nice, condo in far south Perry Township. We also had enough cash to remodel most of the condo and make it ours.
3.  I had to actually let go of part of the business. I turned over the Lafayette program to a younger man who had trained with me for years and was wanting to do this work for a career. It turned out very well. He relieved me of the lease I had in Lafayette and was able to reinvigorate the program there and restore it to financial health.
4. I was able to secure better locations for the programs I still had left Nonviolent Alternatives and the Amends Program in Evansville.

This stabilized our financial situation and we are financially healthy again but we are indeed spending a lot less money than we were 4 or 5 years ago.

While going through these adjustments, Kim's mother became terminally ill and consumed more and more of Kim's energy to care for her. Then the next crises occurred, Kim came down with sudden onset head to toe Rheumatoid Arthritis. She suffered a bad reaction to the treatment which caused a lung disease and twice was hospitalized for Pneumonia and we almost lost her. Then the medicines needed to save her life caused her to get Osteoporosis and her bones started dissolving.  She is now over four inches shorter than she used to be.

Eventually Kim's mother passed, and my mother passed down in Texas. Kim's illness and medical condition continued to decline. She was sleeping most of the day (23 hours a day???) for months. The situation appeared dire. I took steps to pass along more of my classes to others so I could be home to watch and take care of Kim. Eventually I cut back to just teaching a Saturday class in Greenwood. This was this most difficult period of time throughout the whole struggle. Kim was so sick and I was so scared. I was constantly waking up to make sure she was still alive and breathing. I watched every step she took so I could catch her if she started to fall.

Thankfully, Kim began improving slowly but steadily. I'm not really certain what exactly happened to me. But I know my own stamina and strength began to noticeably decline around March 2017. I told Harry (my Lafayette guy) if he was wanting to take over my Greenwood program he better get things in order to do so as I was some how declining....though I had no idea what was happening to me. By July I was done. I could no longer accurately predict my ability to stand, walk, or function well enough to teach a class. Some days I had strength and some days I didn't. I had no idea why.

I was hospitalized twice trying to figure out what's happening. I've had about every type of test and scan you can imagine. All of my vital organs have been scanned, tested, and retested. I have no life threatening problems. Yet I've had severe fatigue, exhaustion, and overwhelming anxiety. Several times we thought we had a diagnosis and each time it turned out to be false.

Through very careful observation and absolutely amazing diagnostic skills, our private physician was noticed a tremor I was experiencing. He was also able to rule out that it was caused by a medical cause but was phycological. He was able to determine this because of how many tremors per minute....I have no idea why that means anything. But Kim and I were able to find behavioral adaptations to eliminate the tremors. Further exploration along this path has shown me that my primary illness is psychologically originated.

As it's been described to me, I reached the maximum level of stress and trauma that I was mentally and physically able to endure....then I collapsed. My brain and body decided as soon as it looked like Kim is in the clear and appears to be okay, it's time to shut down. I must have operated on adrenaline for months.

But the bottom line, I'm done. My career is finished. I am now in the process of recreating myself. I'm trying to rediscover some of the positive things about who I was in my youth and incorporate them into a new me for the next chapter of my life.

Right now I have minimal capability of dealing with even minimal stress.  My days now are mostly consumed with trying to calm my anxiety and re-learning how to be calm and at peace.

My private physician is helped a lot. Almost like hand holding me through this process. He worked closely with me on all medications, vitamins, my diet and exercise plans, working on creating a new social structure and support system, etc. I'm also now have a mental health counselor at the VA I'm seeing.

One other aspect of me now that many may find shocking, but those who know me well not so much, I'm a dual citizen of Indiana and Illinois. I maintain a residency in Illinois because I am a legally registered Medical Marijuana patient there.  I am very careful and cautious and aware of any quantity of cannabis I may (or may not) possess when I am in the State of Indiana....and definitely what county I'm in.

Marijuana has changed significantly from when I was young. It's remarkable how much more refined and perfected things are now. I'm systematically identifying strains that are most medicinally beneficial to me and the administering processes that work best for me. I'm grateful the State of Illinois provides me as a military veteran with PTSD (not from military combat) the ability to safely access the medicine I need to maximize my quality of life. As I stated previously I'm very cautious while in the State of Indiana to minimize my risk of criminalization and severe consequences. I can not imagine spending time incarcerated in my present condition. I think the odds of being arrested and criminally charged are small, I've already decided if it happens I'm going to need to relocate permanently to Illinois, not simply part time as I am now. So if you see pro marijuana legalization posts from me on Facebook, you now know why.

It took some time but we finally found what we hope will be the right medication and I started taking it a few days ago. Thus I should be much better within the next couple weeks for sure. There's 85% chance the medication will alleviate all of my symptoms. Plus I've lost over 50 pounds and my goal is to lose 50 more.  Most would think I'm pretty good where I am. I just think I'll be happier when I'm thin.

My focus now is to start rebuilding my support structure. And as I recover from my illness I need to work to get stronger physically. I need to find something to occupy my time and a way to make some friends to keep me company.