Prayer Changes Things


Just to keep things in perspective. I’m sitting in the exact place (reclined on the  bed in the downstairs bedroom in SLC) where I wrote the blog that said I was done with life on September 1, 2014. I committed to blogging daily for a year and to doing every indicated step set before me to move out of the sad and seemingly hopeless place that led me to make such a dark proclamation.

The blog has been an incredibly useful tool as I set out to change (or have removed) the things in my life that were standing in the way of my happiness. One thing the blog hasn’t done so far (and I think it should probably be it’s primary purpose) is to decide what it is I do want and how I plan to set about making (or letting) it happen. More on that later.

When I first got sober the first time (I was a year sober four times before beginning this period of being seventeen plus years sober), I looked at my life and wondered how I would ever sort out the incredible mess I had made of my life during active addiction. It seemed like an impossible task. The financial debt was great, the amends were many, and I was simply trying to get to midnight everyday without getting loaded. Luckily for me, I found myself in the company of a lot of other sober folks who were farther down the road than me and they introduced me to concepts like “take it easy” and “one day at a time.”

I don’t want to discount the value of my chemical sobriety. Everything that is good in my life is there because I haven’t picked up a drink or a drug in many years and there is nothing good in my life that wouldn’t be taken immediately away if I made the mistake of picking up a drink or a drug. That being said, it has been a very long time since my last drunk or high and yet I still found myself at such a place of despondence 142 days ago that I wanted to end it all.  This is because I continued to act out on some of the same character defects I had before I got sober and I also have, to one degree or another substituted food, sex, and/or spending for drugs and alcoholism and have used these things in the same addictive way as I once did drugs and alcohol. To cut myself a little bit of slack, the past two years have brought challenges that would have killed a lesser man so the fact that I’m still marching forward and not fucked up or six feet under, is a testament not only to my tenacity but to whatever benevolent forces are out there pulling for me— I include you among those forces.

Part of what made the condition I was in at the beginning of my sobriety so dismal is that I had been creating that mess for so many years.  “I didn’t get sick overnight so I’m not going to get well overnight.” That’s what people in the recovery community told me. The troubles piled up as I continued to “cope” with life through running from problems and self-medicating every unpleasant feeling with everything at my disposal. Similarly, on September 1 of last year, things had gotten so bad because I had been acting out on the same character defects for so long. For eight years, I was in active codependence with a man who treated me poorly. My self-esteem was decimated by that. I paid money, energy, love, and time into a common goal from which I got nothing but painful life lessons. To me, that’s the difference in someone saying they were investing while striking a match to cash so that the smoke could please the gods and doing the things that a wise investor would do. It’s easy for me to get so angry about all that that I just spiral back down into the pit where I’ve found myself before— but that’s not the life I want.

The benefit in revisiting a painful memory lies in reminding myself not to make similar mistakes in the future and (of equal importance) not to ever blame anyone else for the terrible place in which I found myself. My troubles are of my own making. Bad things happen to people. It’s part of life. The way I dealt with them is what made things so much worse. That applies not only to my “marriage” but to other areas of my life as well. So what do I do about it?

First of all, I tell myself the truth about it all. Also, I “come out” about the ways I’m struggling to other people. (There’s been a lot of that in the blog.) Struggling in secrecy has never gotten me anywhere. I reach out for help. I’m man enough to admit it— I’m faced with some problems right now that I have no idea how to solve. I need desperately to get back to New York and to get moving forward again with getting my scripts produced and with the work of my foundation. I have no idea how that’s going to happen but the only choices I have are to trust that I’ll be shown the next right steps to take to make this happen or to give up on my dreams. I feel closer to that second choice than I have in a while. I’m just being honest.

If making my dreams come true— wow. I just remembered a time (sometime in the last couple of years of his life) when my father was strongly encouraging me to give up on my dreams. He was ranting and raving about how silly and unrealistic they were. Thanks Dad. You know I never when to my father for advice? That’s a decision I don’t regret. Adam, too often encouraged me to bail on trying to make a go of it in the entertainment industry and in the “save the world/do-gooder” line. He had known I’d been a prostitute in the past and that was the first “non-dream” occupation he encouraged me to go back to. That stung a good bit. He also wanted me to start selling real estate and he and his mother encouraged me to be a teacher.

(several hours pass)

Okay, I’m returning to the blog after a few hours’ break. I felt myself going down the negative path again and I just can’t do that anymore. I’m intent on creating the life I want —and focusing on my mistakes or on the shitty things others have done to me is no way to get there. The toxicity of that crept over me like a rolling fog and so I— well, actually what I did was I got down on my knees at the foot of my bed and I prayed. I prayed, “Please help me. Will you please help me? I need help. I can’t do this alone.” And I heard the words “Go to the gym.” I dropped what I was doing (the blog) and did what the voice said.

I have to take care of my body. Taking care of my body helps take care of my mind too.  I also have to start starting my day in a better way. Remember when I made that resolution a few weeks back? What happened to all that water drinking, Jeff?  At the gym, I spent a good long while upstairs on the yoga floor, rolling out my tight parts and jumping rope. Then I went downstairs and lifted some heavy weights. I’m going to plug back in to CrossFit while I’m here. My original box (CrossFit gym) is here. But for today, the workout I chose was the right one. Now I’m back home, fireside, and happy I listened to the voice. I should pray more— even if I don’t understand what I’m praying to or why it works.

I have to focus on what I do want to manifest in my life instead of what I don’t. I’ve been giving the creative visualization thing a whirl. Have you ever heard of a “vision board?” It’s basically pictures of things that remind you of your goals so you can meditate on them with clearer picture in your mind. I did a sort of high-tech one on my computer so I can hit “slideshow” and it shows me the pictures. The program has some cool music in the background so that makes it even cooler. There’s a picture of a Tony and one of an Oscar, there’s a bearded Henry Cavill, a couple pictures of sky rise Manhattan apartments,  a beautiful warehouse workspace in Brooklyn, a yacht, a private plane, a log home in the mountains, a room with stacks of money. And don’t get me wrong, I’d take any of those things (including a gay version of a bearded Henry Cavill) but are these things what I’d like to be working for right now in my immediate future? Are these the things that will get me out of the dumps emotionally and sailing along in happiness and serenity? No, not really. I don’t need a fucking yacht!

All I’ve read about goal setting says that I should have long and short term goals. And that the goals should be measurable and that I should set deadlines for when I’d like to accomplish them. I have to revisit the goals list again and make some short term goals that can— well, that can allow me to be in a position to sustain myself, make a difference in the world, and help other people. That’s what makes me happy. If I had a yacht, I’d use it as a fundraising devise to back my productions and train/hire vets to run them.

In the morning, I’m going to go be part of a school project for Max. I’ll have to wait until I’m done with that tomorrow afternoon to work on the blog. But tomorrow’s blog is going to be about revising the goals list to include some of my more immediate needs. Henry Cavill will always be there.

In the thing I’m doing for Max’s school, it appears that I’ll be pretending to work for the power company so that the kids can, in Max’s words, “learn to live like an adult.” I think it’s sort of funny that I should be involved in anything that intends to show anyone how to live like an adult. That’s something that seems to have alluded me for nearly half a century so far.

See y’all tomorrow.

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