July 31, 2015 9:56 pm


I believe that smiling gives a similar happiness that exercising does in terms of how our brain responds….   Basically, our brain feels good and tells us to smile; we smile and that tells our brain it feels good and so forth…..

When I “run” or ride my bike I have noticed that when I smile at folks I feel better!  Therefore, I make a point of smiling at people I pass even on days I do not feel like smiling.  By the end of my exercise, I am always in a better mood than when I started.

It is amazing what a little smile can do for me and for others!


Pink Clouds

July 24, 2015 9:06 pm


“The Pink Cloud”


When newly sober I floated on the wonderful bliss of “The Pink Cloud” for about 9 months.  Everything was good and I was excited about recovery, soaking it all up!!

Reality hit when I was notified that I was “Academically Withdrawal” or kicked out of Graduate School.  I was “ABD” or All But Dissertation and left devastated, humiliated, angry, and I felt like a failure.

These were the first real big emotions that I felt in my early sobriety….     By then I was able to identify my emotions (BIG step) and I had some tools in place to cope.

I arrived at the doors of AA with a long history of things that DID NOT WORK in my life to deal with upsetting emotions, disappoints, as well as happy events.  I know without a doubt that DRINKING DID NOT WORK FOR ME.  Picking up a drink was no longer an option or a solution….

So, as far as I could see my decision was clear….  I had to take action using tools I had been learning and really put them into practice…..    Step work, calling my Sponsor, getting on my knees, actually memorizing the Third Step Prayer, and meetings, meetings, meetings!!!

I may not have that Doctorate, but I no longer seek a chemical solution to my spiritual problem.   Some days, I still have that pink cloud!!!

And one of my life-saving quotes from the Big Book during this time was:

“… with us, to drink is to die.” p. 66



July 16, 2015 1:49 pm





Ever have a memory of drinking triggered?  I do, every time I hear a can open I am triggered remembering that beautiful sound of opening a beer……  EVERY SINGLE TIME!


That sound then causes me to romanticize the beer.  Drinking a nice cool beer on a hot summer day……  Ahhhhhhhhh…   Can you taste it?

I have fortunately been taught to play the tape forward.  Over time this has become ingrained in me.  Drinking that first, and possibly second beer might work OK.  But by beer number 12, things are not looking so pretty anymore….

It is for this reason that I remain diligent about what it is suggested to do in recovery….

A relapse is just opening the wrong kind of can away….

Lawn Mower?!?

July 8, 2015 7:13 pm






How many of you have ever seen one of these?


In case you have not, it is a lawn mower….   In fact, it is MY lawn mower!

When using this mower I can go through I wide range of emotions – sometimes I am super stoked that I am getting a good workout, then I can get angry, resentful, and frustrated pending how hot and humid it is outside…….  Remember I live in the middle of the country and it gets very HOT and HUMID here!!!

This morning my emotions turned negative and what helped me get back into the solution was making a gratitude list….

As I was making this list I was brought back to the first time I can remember actually constructing a gratitude list walking along the coast of Carmel-by-the-Sea, where I got sober.


My gratitude list then and today included my surroundings and ability to participate in all that is around me – nature and having the ability to be present.

This was my view today:


Soy beans and corn for as far as my eye can see……


And my beautiful Cosmos!


And purple Cone Flowers.


And a super cute puppy hiding out in the brush!!!

Most of all, I am grateful for a clear mind, open heart and strong body which provides me the ability to be able to use this mower…………

What top three things are you grateful for at this moment?


July 3, 2015 12:24 am


I frequently ride my bike down a long, flat path past a Trap and Skeet Range. Listening to all those shotguns fire as I pass got me thinking about the different meanings of the word “SHOTGUN” throughout my life and just in general…..

I remember calling “SHOTGUN” all the time when I was young!  I ALWAYS wanted the front seat!  This meaning of the word “SHOTGUN” comes from the Old West, when the person sitting next to the coach driver carried a shotgun to fend off robbers.


The next meaning of the word “SHOTGUN” came into play for me in high school….  “SHOTGUNNING” beer!!  To shotgun a beer meant to poke a hole in the bottom of the can, opening it slightly at the top, then drinking that beer down as fast as possible!!!  And then repeat, many times……


Have you ever “SHOTGUNNED” smoke?  The definition of this is inhaling smoke shortly followed by an exhalation into someone else’s mouth…..  This term is said to have been developed by troops in Vietnam, who would actually put a marijuana cigarette into an open chamber of an unloaded shotgun and blow it into each other’s face.  An example of this can be seen in the movie “Platoon”.


Next is “SHOTGUN” wedding…  This is a wedding where one or both parties are forced into marriage due to an unplanned pregnancy as depicted in the following cartoon:


And to come full circle in my life all the way from calling “SHOTGUN” for the front seat, to “SHOTGUNNING” beer, to now actually shooting a “SHOTGUN” for fun and sport!


Good thing I have found recovery…. !