The Opposite of Change

On yesterday I had an encounter with a group of individuals that was a very impactful for me. The encounter impacted me in a way that made me consider this thought, a body of individuals can force their leaders to be away or act out of character based off of previous experiences. To say this another way, individuals can be so accustom to old environments in their lives that when they come into new environments they try, whether conscious or unconscious, to re-create the environment that they are most familiar with. The reason why I use the word impacted in describing my encounter is because the overall feeling that I walked away with was “hopeless”. Now you might be saying why would you walk away feeling hopeless or why would that be your overwhelming feeling or emotion? The feeling of hopelessness comes from the constant struggle or resistance to get an individual to operate outside of their norms. Most people established norms in their lives and that is, the boundaries for the manner in which they operate. We spend years developing a comfort zone, that sweet spot in life that we find and live in, that place called there. When a challenge comes or change comes to elevate your thinking or cause you to function at a level or in a way that you’re not used to functioning, then the resistance (an opposing or retarding force) to be different kicks in. No matter how great or how minute the challenge to change is, it still triggers that innate defense mechanism where all our walls go up in all the old tapes began to play that locks us into being the same.

Now, am I saying that we should not have a standard of living? A standard of living that keeps us in at certain level in our lives, no. But the ability to remain open to new things in your life comes from the security of knowing oneself. Knowing yourself to a level that new things will not shatter nor shake your identity, so no matter what you walk into or where you go, the essence of your character still remains intact. So no matter what work situation you are in the character of good work ethics should still remain. Regardless of the relationship, faithfulness should still remain because the standard of living that you have worked to establish is the basis of who you are.

The encounter that I experienced on yesterday was discouraging, but it was also eye-opening and challenging for me as an individual. The challenge for me was not to let a group of individual’s change who I am, but the work is in remaining consistent and allowing the individuals around me to adjust. How many times have we heard stories of women being in abusive relationships, and when they find a man who treats them with respect, honors them, and praises them for the accomplishments that they’ve achieved. When the first sign of conflict arises the female reverts back to the old abusive defense mechanisms by preparing herself to be physically mentally or emotionally abused. I’ve talked to several men who have questions this fact. At length we’ve discussed how she would perceive him as being in an abusive person when he’s never put his hand on her never called her out of her name and has often had to defend himself based on the woman’s perception of the conflict. Now I understand that this is an extreme example, but the basic principles still apply. We often try to adjust our present based off of past, when the present is constantly presenting new opportunities and challenges that require skills that we’ve not learned or do not possess. Is it possible that we can use tools from our past absolutely. The old saying, past success breeds presents confidence, is most definitely true, but the key fact that everything in our past does not always help us in our present or future is also true. So learning to manage learning to balance new skills with old lessons requires constant maintenance and monitoring of ourselves. I like the way the 12 step program says it, we continued to take personal inventory and when we are wrong we promptly admit it. The constant or continual inventory of ourselves is both psychological, physiological, and spiritual. Being a sci-fi fan, I am most definitely familiar with the term that is often used in artificial intelligence, becoming self-aware. As humans being we have to become more self-aware to the point where we will constantly run self-checks and diagnostics on ourselves to always ensure you that we’re putting ourselves in the best position for success.


Knowledge and Understanding

Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.

       Today as a celebrate a milestone in my life I give praise and honor to a person that has been instrumental in my life The Rockfor the last 26 years. That person is Dr. Dana Caron. Dr. Caron came into my life around the last quarter of 1987 after I arrived in Austin, TX to address a 10 year drug problem. Dr. Carson was in school at the time and as I remember it was traveling back and forth to school. Even though he was traveling he was about to embrace me in a way that no other spiritual leader has.  I said that to say, he was able to pour into me the wisdom of God on a level that I have rarely encountered. This is no discredit to other spiritual leaders because every leader has a certain gift and his gift is extraordinary.

This brings me to my first point of using the passage Jeremiah 3:15 is that the pastor that God gives has to have the heart of God. We know that God’s heart is evangelism. This was demonstrated when members of Praise Tabernacle were on sixth street witnessing the gospel that night I was on my way to possibly get into some more trouble. This has to do with knowledge and understanding because providing the wisdom to be able to communicate the plan of God is a lost art in the church today. Just think, dose the church that you attend now teach you how to evangelize or do you just hear about it in a message over the pulpit. Hum??? OK, I know people don’t do that anymore. But food for thought, they were killing people for preaching Jesus in the times that we read about. There were wars, homosexuality, politics, people trying to make money, false prophets, and all the things that you deal with on a daily bases but yet they felt that they needed to do it. Just went on a bike ride, I’m back.

My second point is ” to feed you”, I think you Dr. Carson for you constant feeding. Day and night you inhaled the things of God and you made sure that you communicated the things of God to us. At that time in my life I was like a sponge that had been emptied of all the junk that was in me. You filled me with the things of God. As a result, my life has continued to prosper. I don’t have enough time to share all the blessing that God has sent my way and continues to release in my life. As I continue to work to manifest that thing that God has called me to do, the solid foundation that was laid years ago keeps me stable in life, in faith, and in career.

Thanks Dr. Carson

Life After Addiction-25 years ago (Part 3)

This is part three of my story that spans back 25 years. I was inspired to write about my road to recovery and the people that I was blessed to meet along the way. They were angels sent from God to encourage me and guide me along the way with their wisdom, love, and compassion. I hope you are inspired and blessed by reading this.

Read Part 1          Read Part 2

I got an apartment off South Lamar and Barton Springs, a one bedroom which was off the bus line. This was convenient for me to get to work. I live there for a month or two when one of the guys that was in treatment with me got in contact with me. He explained that he did not have anywhere to go so I let him come and live withe for a little while. That turned into a challenge. I came home from work one night and found him and another of my suite mates from the Stratford House using cocaine in the bathroom. I was upset about it but still did not have enough confidence in myself to stand my ground. I was still a work in progress. Once again I found an easier, softer way and let him stay. In the the chapter “Into Action” of the Alcoholics Anonamous book on page 83, last paragraph and page 84, first paragraph it reads:

Page 83
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

I said all that to say that I was still in the developmental stage of my life and this promise came true in my life. To my amazement God had plans for me far beyond anything that I had ever imagined. Today I am able to realize that God has truly done for me what I could not do for myself and He continues to do things far beyond my ability. If you are reading this you are participating in God’s plan for my life. Ok, I went on a little bike ride.
One night I was home alone, I decided to go to bed because it was getting late. I had discovered that if I read my bible before I went to bed that I would get sleepy faster. So, I read my bible a little bit and did not get sleepy. So, I pulled out the old guitar and played some thinking that it would help me go to sleep, but still I was extremely restless. Because I was a musician and had been since the age of 14, I decided that I would walk to 6th street and listen to some bands, mind you it’s around 11:30pm.
I started my journey to 6th street for what I thought was going to be just a routine trip. Walking surely helps me expend some energy but I was not getting sleepy. When I got there it was packed as usual. It was like three lanes deep on both sides. It was people everywhere. While walking on the north side, closest to the street, I saw someone waving at me so a paused to see who it was. Over the pass weeks I had been running into people from my pass so I thought that it was someone else who knew me. (As I am writing this I just remember that this situation is similar to how I got arrested.) So, I fought my way through the crowd to greet the person who was waving to me. When I get there, the stranger with a big smile quickly went into his conversation. In a friendly manner he began to share that he was on 6th street sharing the gospel to all who would hear and quickly ask me if I had a relationship with Jesus. Now, in my mind I’m thinking”Oh Lord, I have been trapped by one of those Christian Goru’s”. I had to carefully plan my escape. As he kept talking I was slowly moving backwards so that maybe I could get caught up in the crowd of people and get swept away so that I did not have to hear the rest of the pitch. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my head that said”If you be ashamed of me before men, then I will be ashamed of you before my Father”. Wow! This stopped me dead in my tracks and spoiled my plan of escape. I stopped and engaged in a conversation with the young man which turned into one of the best decisions I have made to date.
The young man turned out to be a college student who was attending a local church and they were out doing evangelism on sixth street. After we talked for a few minutes and I made the decision that I could not walk away without accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior we prayed. The crowd seemed to disappear and all the noise from the busy street quieted as though it was on mute. All I could hear was ” repeat after me”, in a confident voice. “Father, I come to you, in the name of Jesus. Confessing that I am a sinner and that my life is separate from you, I ask that you come into my heart and save me.”
As a result of this encounter, my life would never be the same. After we finished praying, he hugged me and asked if I had a church home. I said no because at the time I was not going. Remember I grew up in a God fearing home and had to go to church on a regular basis. I asked him “What do I do now?” He took me to a different person, a tall man with a deep voice. He introduced me and explained that I had just given my life to The Lord and that I wanted to know what to do next. The tall man looked down on me and with his deep voice said,”Go home!” so I did.
The young man who witnessed to me, was a student at the University of Texas named Rodney. The tall man with the deep voice was a man by the name of Lew. I will forever be grateful for meeting them on sixth street and for Rodney stopping me because what most people don’t know about this story is that it had been on my mind for some time that I could sneak a drink while out on six street listening to bands. It was something that I had done quite often and in my mind I had planned out how I was going to drink. On that night, I was going to try it but God had other plans for me. I couldn’t sleep because I needed to meet Rodney and Lew. The two men would play an import role in my life for years to come.

Read Part 1          Read Part 2

Life After Addiction-25 years ago (Part 2)

This is part two of my story that spans back 25 years. I was inspired to write about my road to recovery and the people that I was blessed to meet along the way. They were angels sent from God to encourage me and guide me along the way with their wisdom, love, and compassion. I hope you are inspired and blessed by reading this.

Read Part One

After leaving the the REAP facility I went to their half-way house called “The Stratford House”. I lived there for three months and got a one month extension so I had put together 5 months of supported sobriety. During my stay at the Stratford House the adventure continued with my cast of characters. Me, Les, Sam, short for Samatha who we call “Buzzy”, James, and another gentleman whose name eludes me at this time, we had all kinds of fun. We went to meetings, explored Austin, worked, and enjoyed the events of Austin, just all kinds of stuff. The one thing I don’t remember was being boarded. Sure it was a lifestyle change for me but everything was new for me. It was challenging and I would even say hard at times but the biggest memory I have is how much fun I had with them.

Founders week photo                I work at Safeway in the meat market, I guessed I was following in my father’s footstep. I got this job while in the halfway house and it lasted for some time, I’m not sure how long. I had to ride the bus out to the west lake area and would get off after 9pm sometimes. The last bus would stop running at 9pm and you can guess that if I did not get out of work on time I would either have to get a ride or foot it. Foot it is a term that young people don’t use any more because the focus is so much on being cute (or handsome) that the thought of getting sweaty would totally mess up their look. But after being on speed, crank, cocaine, sets (tee & blues), praludes, ascid, mushrooms, brown bears, pink footballs, pink hearts, black mollies, sharm sticks, and I guess I should include the usual suspect, alcohol and marijuana, walking was the last of my concerns. (That was a little bike ride!) Ok I’m back. I would often get a ride because I had to be back in the halfway house by 11pm and some of my friends from the Stratford House would come and get me. There is a lot that happened during my 4 months in the Stratford House and I don’t think that I will need to get into it all but I would like to say that during this time I think my spiritual journey took a turn. Me and my roommates, James and Robert, who we called “Bob” (this is the guy who’s name I could not think of earlier) started doing bible readings before we went to bed. I think I was reading my bible some but I think James suggested the coming together before we went to sleep. So we would read together before we went to sleep and talk about what we read, trying to make sense of it. I know that this may sound bad but I discovered that when I read my bible before I went to sleep, I would fall to sleep faster as to say the devil would be like go to sleep so you can stop reading this stuff. Maybe that’s just me thinking like that.

I was a church banquet getting my grub on!

I was a church banquet getting my grub on!

I left the Stratford House around September of 1987, after being in treatment for around 6 months. The ADAC Unit for 28 days, REAPS for 28 days, and the Stratford House for 3 months with a 1 month extension. Now I was on my own. Part of being in the halfway house was you had to get a job and a bank account to show that you were saving some money to prepare you for your transition to independence. Now the time had come for me to leave the womb of treatment and the protection of my counselors and move into dealing with my life without immediate supervision. I was still on probation at the time so I had that to lean on but I didn’t really feel like I was on probation because my recovery had taken precedence. Anything that probation asked of me I was already doing so much more. I went to meetings all the time and surrounded myself with people who showed that they cared about me. You have to understand that most of the these people had only met me months ago but was showing me love on a level that could only come from a spiritual place that they had achieved from working an honest program. I could say it this way “they had a spiritual awakening as the result of the steps, they tried to carry the message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs”.  (Another bike ride) I feel as though God had picked my probation officer, she was a Hispanic lady. I would miss my appointment sometime and when I went to her office I would tell her “I don’t feel like I’m on probation!” and would you have to remember that you are. I never tested positive for any of her drug screenings because I was clean. When I was using I would always be afraid of going to my probation officer but when I got into recovery it was never a concern of mine. Just a side note about that is while I was in treatment I did not have to report so for 6 months I did not have to report to probation although they were monitoring the situation.

Life After Addiction-25 years ago

This is part one of my story that spans back 25 years. I was inspired to write about my road to recovery and the people that I was blessed to meet along the way. They were angels sent from God to encourage me and guide me along the way with their wisdom, love, and compassion. I hope you are inspired and blessed by reading this.

25 years ago, on Tuesday, March 2, 1987, my parent drove me to Austin, TX to be admitted into the drug and alcohol unit of the Austin State Hospital.  At 24, I had done everything to destroy my life, not that I wanted to die; I just did not know how to live.

Upon arrival I was evaluated and checked in.  I was taken to the unit so that I could be assigned a bed.  Still numb emotionally and not knowing exactly what was happening to me, I know one thing, that I didn’t want to live the way I had been living. I was raised in a home of God fearing parents, my dad was a Baptist deacon and my mother was the church secretary.  I knew of God and developed a belief that God was always there. Maybe it was my religion or it could have been my relationship but I remember many nights being high on drugs and kneeling down on the side of my bed to praying to God.

This was taken during rehearsal when I was playing bass for the band”Prime Time”.

This was taken during rehearsal when I was playing bass for the band”Prime Time”.

When I walked in the day room of the ADAC Unit for the first time I saw this poster on the wall with some writing on it numbered from 1-12.  It caught my eye because the word “God “looked like it was glowing.  Maybe this was my burning bush experience?  Not knowing what the future had in store for me expectations were low because I just didn’t know much more than where I had come from. I stayed at the Austin State Hospital for 28 days, established some new friend who were in treatment with me at that time.  The facility would let us go to outside AA meetings where you would have to sign a notebook and volunteers for the local AA club would come and take us to a meeting. This is where I meet an 18 year old college student by the name of Jeff. He had 2 years clean and was a student at The University of Texas. He later became my sponsor and was a key part of where I am today.

After I left the Austin State Hospital there was a two week period before I could get into my next treatment facility. I did not want to go back home because I was too connected in my community and the lack of money was not an obstacle in my drug usage, so I decided to stay in Austin. I work out a plan where I would stay with my sponsor for a few days and the rest of the time I would stay at the Salvation Army. I was able to get a job in the kitchen at the Salvation Army where I was living and had the pleasure of working with a wonderful man by the name of Lenard, he walked with a crutch. I can’t remember if he was a good cook but he was a personality that encouraged me to stay on the path that I was on.

Preforming at the "High Rise", a club that we were the house band.

Preforming at the “High Rise”, a club that we were the house band.

I finally arrive at my second treatment center which was the Austin Recovery Center’s REAP facility which was on the outskirts of Austin (in the country). Again my journey continues to unfold because I think this is where I really began to start getting in touch with myself. The transition was easier for me because some of the clients that were with me at the Austin State Hospital transferred after graduation. My buddy Les was at the ADAC unit and some new characters had entered the picture.  I guy by the name of James, and a beautiful lady that we called Buzzy help to make my stay at REAP a good one. We play softball, basketball, and other activities, they had to help us addicts get back to some physical activities other than running the crack house marathons.       Interesting story, I was doing some volunteer work, years later at a prison in the Sugar Land area. While facilitating one of their family groups I was sharing my story about being in Austin. I talked about attending the REAP program and one of the family members said “That’s interesting because I worked at the REAP unit”. Then she asked what year and I told her 1987. She said I was a counselor there in 1987, who was your counselor she asked? I told her a lady by the name of Cathy. She said “I am Cathy”! This was a surprise to me because the woman that I remember was heavy set women and this person was thin and frail looking. She later explained that she has been through some things and some health challenges.  I could hear the voice of the comedian Robin Harris saying “small world”.

 Read Part Two

Real Development

We can't do it by ourselves.

We can’t do it by ourselves.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Alcoholics Anonymous
Into Action p. 83 last paragraph p. 84 first paragraph

As we are on the road to spiritual development we have to realize that the little things that we see around us are but temporary. A lot of the challenges that we face on a day to day bases has to do with getting us to the next level in our journey. The parameter that we see and feel are there for a reason. They create an arena for us to grow and learn about ourselves that if we just react we don’t learn all the valuable lessons that we need to grow. We should be proactive in our growth, planning and taking on every challenge that come our way. This will provide the resistance that is needed to build new muscle. Does this mean that I will stop consulting with my support group and those that God has placed in my life to assist me during this season in my life, no. I will use everything that is around me to assist me in moving forward. Remember painstaking means diligent and careful.

Remember conflict doesn’t always come to destroy you but often times come to make you stronger. If we look at every conflict as destruction then will live in fear and what does fear do, it incapacitates us. Causing us to be stagnant or immobile, progress cannot happen and remember as an encouragement that anything that is in motion causes friction and what is friction, conflict.

But, if we are painstaking (being diligent and careful) about this phase of our development, we will be amazed. We will know a new freedom and I would like to add that you will begin to see yourself like you have never seen yourself before and we will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are you proactive or reactive?

The definition of proactive is serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, a negative or difficult one; anticipatory.

As you go through your day quietly within yourself, observe yourself and take notes. Are you reacting to the situations in your day or, have you taken a proactive stand in your day. If you are like most people, you are reacting to the different event that you are encountering in your day. This means your life could be based off a reactive approach.

To be reactive is to allow situations to dictate to you what your truth is and then you have to come up with a way to manage a situation that you did not plan for or expect. This person is like the ball on the bumper pool table bouncing around from object to object trying to get to a desired outcome. Hoping that if the objects just move out of the way then I would be OK.

The proactive person also has a desire goal or destination in mind. They are aware of the obstacle and put plans in place for if and when the obstacle or situation pop-up. They are like programer planning the desired outcome of the program, their lives. Like the programmer they put if and where variables in place. If this happens then I will respond this way and when this happens then I will execute this formula.

One person plan his life and the other is just living his life. Life will allow throw you challenges, it is our responsibility to be prepared to respond to the challenges.

Honesty: Why and How?

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average.

There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. Thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness (sincerity, seriousness, solemnity, intensity) at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol, cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures avail us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Chapter 5
Why is it so hard for so some many of us to get honest with ourselves and the world around us?  Our families, work, and friend all help to create that world around us but yet many of us are pleading with the dis-ease of dishonesty. How can we break free of this dreaded disease and be free of the misconception that has been created by one lie after another?


STEP ONE We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from God that our lives had become unmanageable.

I know nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (Romans 7:18)

STEP TWO Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)

STEP THREE Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)

STEP FOUR Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. (Lamentations 3:40)


Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of nour wrongs.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16a)

STEP SIX Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10)


Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)


Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)


Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23 24)


Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)


Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. (Colossians 3:16a)


Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

Let’s do the dang thang!

How about some health discussion about some of the things that are on your minds and some of the challenges that or hinder us from moving in to what I call “Your Greatness”.  These things are always clogging up our ability to be creative, so why not talk about them.  Maybe this will be the bridge you need to get over whatever obstacle that is standing in your way.