FollowCraig: Happy!

……and your still following

A few nights ago my lovely wife asked if I would write about something happening now and not reflect so much on my past experiences. After thinking about her request it occurred to me that happiness sums up what’s happening now, so here I go!

It seems to me that happiness is such an under studied emotion. We so often read about sadness, loss, frustration, difficulties and more. Great novels and movies are often written from the depths of despair & fear. But happiness is something very different. It’s a special state of mind and spirit. I believe true happiness comes from being secure in oneself.

I for one have experienced great happiness as well as small and almost unnoticeable moments of joy. Everyday when my feet land on the ground as I awake, I am at peace with the day ahead and that little moment makes me very happy.

In my own life so much good fortune and happiness has landed at my feet that I too often have stepped right over it without even taking a moment to recognize it, let alone be grateful in the moment. However I am truly blessed with great memories and would just like to take a few minutes and share some of my life joy’s with you. Hopefully your own joyful and happy memories will be sparked for you as I share with you.

Today my two grown children each with their own families have made me grandfather seven times! I am married to a wonderful partner who brings great joy and peace in my life. She is smart, warm, loving and gives all of her heart to her family and her life. In addition we have a small dog who seems to love me unconditionally (awesome). Today my life is filled with very dear friends who can count on me and I can count on them. My spiritual life is sound and I am secure in my faith. Today I have standards to live by and strive to be present always.

Some would say having a key to your own front door is no big deal but for me that’s one of the things I am most grateful for and brings me great joy & peace. Plus I live where I want rather than where I have to. Recently a dream of mine came true as I now have a beautiful boat to enjoy and share.

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I am happy that my health is good and now that I am nearly 64 years old all my hair remains on my head.

It brings me joy that all those in my family are still here. My mother is alive and well and my father has left me so many lessons and memories.

I am happy that God stepped into my life all those years ago and caused me to make the choices and changes so I can be here today.

Happiness presents itself in so many ways from the smallest experience, emotion or thing to the ones large, noticeable or even remarkable. There is truly nothing more joyful than getting up each day knowing that the day ahead includes me and I will get to play with and live in it! Knowing that I am at peace with my spirit and heart. These are the things that make me happy.

Perhaps the real happiness and joy in my life is grounded in gratitude?

Who knows if anything I’ve written today sparks some memories or if for a moment you too feel the happiness and joy of life as I do? I do know this, if everyday we each would take a few moments to remember 5 things we are grateful for in our lives it would be impossible not to be happy everyday!

 

I’m still writing, you’re still reading so please keep following…..

 

Craig

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FollowCraig: “Spare Change”

You’re still reading ………
I have a special place on my desk for spare change, it’s a large and very oversize martini shaped glass and it is always filled with my left over daily pocket change. Every day, week and month change builds to overflowing and then I take it somewhere to cash it in. Sometimes I even grab some coins for little extra things I might need that day. It’s just a great feeling to have spare change for the little extras or to give someone a tip or the occasional helper some cash. Yes, spare change is really comforting to have.

Earlier today while out walking our puppy dog “Clyde” It occurred to me that life is much like that martini glass on my desk. Every day, week, month and year we leave a little of us somewhere everyday and bring home our experiences, failures, successes and all that each minute of the day leaves in us. So how is this really like spare change?

Years ago it was difficult for me to feel any level of comfort in my own skin. Really impossible! I had to continually be the loudest person in the room, the one wearing custom shirts and showing off all my bling. So self-centered that there was really no space for anyone else in my life but me and my ego. If anyone were to ask me what I believed in or stood for, I would just make up something that sounded good for the moment. My bank accounts were as empty as my soul and my actions had no spare room for others. Sounds pretty bad doesn’t it? Basically I had no spare emotions, compassion or real love to give to anyone else. It was sort of like having no spare change. Nothing extra for me or for others.

How many of us are lucky enough to finally realize these flaws and troubles in our lives in time to change them? I don’t know the answer but I do know that it happened for me. Not long ago it occurred to me that I had become comfortable in my own skin and that self-centered behavior just was not in me any longer. It was as if God just stepped in one day and made me ..me.

Now you may wonder why I’m writing about this now and at this time? Simply this, I have two friends and one in particular who has fallen very ill with cancer. One friend has been so blessed to have discovered it early enough to treat this and my other friend may go home to his heaven very soon. These two men have and always will be my friends. They have each shown me what it is like to have a remarkable and generous character. Both are so blessed to have given so much to so many. They are both so comfortable in themselves that they are able to give so much extra to others. Just like that spare change in that glass on my desk that often overflows.

So perhaps having spare change really is not about money at all but rather just being in that place that you’re able to give away more than you ever need. More love, more, compassion, more time to listen and just more of yourself to others that just don’t have any spare change.

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following……

Craig

FollowCraig: Are my addictions bothering you?

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The other day while attending a 12-step meeting I could not help but wonder what others in our world might think about those of us recovering from our addictions? It seems so many people suffer from so many addictions, alcohol, drugs, smoking, food, sex, debt and so on. How do these behaviors affect those around us? It’s easy to say “oh, that’s not my problem” he or she are just a…., it’s not my business,etc. While that all may be true, how do our addictions really affect others? I think that’s the beauty of the 12-steps to recovery. Perhaps you have never read these steps or just not reviewed for a long time so I have listed them. These are “The Twelve Steps of Recovery”

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and that our lives had become unmanageable.

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

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

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

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

7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.

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

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

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

11. 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.

12. 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.

Once again, after reading these myself I’ve come to the conclusion that those who have made the effort to live by these simple 12 principles do understand the impact of their actions on those around them. So, if my addictions are bothering you, I get it!

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following…..

Craig

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FollowCraig: Miracles II

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A couple of months ago when writing Miracles I spoke of my God car and how in the face of adversity, desperation and fear I was given this gift. So, I thought I would follow-up with a little on this story. Almost five years later I was attending an A.A. meeting in Las Vegas while on my way to California. At the end of the meeting a fellow came to me with the greatest smile and the warmest hug. He said, Craig you might not remember but you drove me to WestCare one day when I was in a drunken and drugged blackout. I know you didn’t want to take me in your beautiful car but you did. I wanted to tell you that I haven’t had a drink or drug since that day, I have a job as a taxi driver, my own apartment and a car of my own. And Craig he said: it’s because of you and what you did for me that day, you stayed with me until I was safe and told be it would get better. No one else had ever said that and been so nice to me. Tears come to me when I remember him and his story. You see it was not me or my car or the care facility, it was God that made that day happen for him, the rest of us were only God’s servants that day.

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following……

Craig

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FollowCraig: “One Message”

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I’d like a venti double mocha latte half-caf, the lady in line orders. It’s funny that we can go to any Starbucks in the world in any language and the menu is the same. The message is the same. I’m Christian and today is the celebration of “Pentecost“, many languages but the message is the same. The 12 steps of recovery is one message but many languages. Great lessons and profound messages are just that, they are one meant for all. No matter the language, the ethnic history, the color of skin but for everyone. We are all God‘s children and he has the same messages for all of us. Just like Starbucks, no matter the language we each know the proclamations. We all hear; One Message!

You’re still reading, I’m still writing, so please keep following….

Craig

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FollowCraig: Green Demons! “the next day”

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Remember my Green Demons? In short, this is how the following day unfolded. God truly let me sleep and I awoke feeling so rested. So much different from the day before, it was nice. I was still frightened as everything in my life was screwed up! I found myself in my kitchen reading a phone book that seemed to just open to the Alcoholic‘s Anonymous phone number. I really was not looking for that number, it just appeared! So I called, they were nice and gave me an address of a meeting happening that day. After some him-hawing around I got dressed up (shirt & tie) and drove to the noon meeting. The meeting place was at an old run down dive bar on Sahara Blvd in Las Vegas. There were a bunch of motorcycles outside and what looked to me some real lost souls. I will never forget walking in only to see all these people drinking coffee, smoking, talking, playing games and such. Not at all the kind of place I would ever hang out at. What was this place? I’m in a suit and all these people look like biker people. Did I come to the right place? I was shocked to say the least, but I stayed. About noon people began to move thru an open door leading to a room filled with several tables and chairs. A lot of people all taking seats so I finally sat down in the middle of the room. The door closed and the meeting opened. I don’t remember much about the meeting, but I wondered about the list of 12 Steps posted on the wall. People began to introduce themselves and when my turn came, I quietly said I’m Craig and this is my first visit. I was so nervous and no one looked like anyone I would want to visit with. However something kept me sitting there, listening and crying inside. I thought to myself “has life had turned to this, was I one of these low life’s“. When the meeting ended and we were moving out to the common social area a fellow came up to me and just asked if I would like to have a cup of coffee with him? Sure I said, why not? It’s funny now but I don’t remember his name and I have never seen him again. We talked for what seemed like hours, I just opened up and he listened, I cried and he gave me towels for my tears. He never judged me, he just welcomed me. I didn’t feel alone anymore, it was as if some small voice was telling me I would be; OK. As we spoke another fellow stopped by and introduced himself, his name was Bob D. Now he must be the head A.A. person I thought as he was dressed very well, looked like Kenny Rogers and walked with confidence. A very charismatic man, my kind of guy! He gave me his phone number and invited me to a “Speaker Night” the following day. He said I should come, but if not at least call him. I said; OK Bob! When the afternoon was over my head was spinning. What is this A.A.? What about those 12 Steps posted on the wall? Little did I know the path my life would take, the journey to unfold ahead of me?

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following…..

Craig

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FollowCraig: “Miracles”

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As I wrote Demons are Green! not long ago and how that experience led me to A.A., I was reminded of many miracles in my life, this is a story of one. A few weeks after accepting that I was so powerless over my life, proof was on my doorstep. I was now a commission only car salesman living in Las Vegas, NV. What a place to stop drinking? To paint a picture of Craig at that time would be that of a 350 lb man, very broke, lost most of his friends, family was staying clear, divorced, living with a very difficult girlfriend! Now living a new “Born Again Life” Right! However I did have one friend, a new friend, a fellow friend of “Bill W.” His name is: Bob “D”. So here is what happened, I went to work on a Saturday morning, stood outside all day and worked very hard to sell a car. When the end of the day came and I walked to get in my car to go home, it was gone! My car was gone! It had been repossessed! Oh, my what was I going to do? My boss was kind enough to loan me a car for the weekend so I was not without, but what was I going to do Monday? I was in such panic, such worry. Later at home I was on the phone to my only new friend, Bob “D”. After all my tears and crying on the phone he said these words to me; Craig, when you get off the phone; “Get on your knees, thank GOD for everything you have and everything he has taken away; ask him to take on your troubles for tonight and give you a nights sleep.” I assure you “Bob” said to me; “Craig you won’t be walking”, GOD will be certain your needs are met. Me the ever-living skeptic said sure Bob! But I thought, oh what can I lose by trying this prayer thing? So, my knees went to the floor and I handed my troubles to GOD to watch over as my friend said to do. MONDAY: Now the worry is back and I go to work. By then it seemed everyone around me knew what had happened a I was being asked all day about my troubles. Then the MIRACLE! Our car dealership had taken in trade an older Cadillac earlier that day, a very pretty white one and a very nice car but to old for the dealership to sell. When I asked my boss about it, he was willing to sell it to me, but I had no money! However, he said to me “Craig you can & could pay for it out of your next two paychecks and drive it home today!” As I am writing this, tears are running down my face as I remember just one of so many MIRACLES in my life! My friend Bob was right, I was not going to be walking. That car became my GOD car and that led to a Greater MIRACLE that was to occur some years later..More to come!

I’m still writing, your still reading, so please keep following…..

Craig

12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous – 12 Step Recovery.

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