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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

For those who think they know me, I don't know you. Unfortunately, you don't know the better me. However, I am graduating from gambling treatment tomorrow.

I have a friend who I had a rift with about a year ago. He speaks in terms of obscurity and uses Gandhi like expressions for what they wish others and the world to ideally be. He has an altruistic vision of the world and he made a nice video about it but he still resorts to name calling and hate speech.  This is an example of someone who is human--not fully seeing the true picture of themselves.  However, every range of human emotion can be validated even if it is inappropriate.  We ultimately decide who we want to be and how we can offer ourselves in friendship or persecute in hate. He does not look for the particular goodness in others.  For those whom he likes (or responds to him well), he accentuates their strengths.  For those he dislikes, he is quick to point out their shortcomings.  He even has a video on happiness and makes it clear that one should not criticize others or point out the weaknesses of themselves.  I have tried to live my life with the rush of love and goodness by connecting with people I identify with and trying to learn more about those I don't connect with.  Lately when I have dealt with conflict, I have had to define and recognize with those whom I had the conflict with.  I had a 4 yr friendship with a neighbor in North Hollywood in whom had a lot of good qualities of intellectual pursuit but a lot of major weaknesses including over-dependence on a woman who was simply a flake.  She couldn't establish a job until she actually got one being his PCA because he was heavy with some acute health problems.  She made him a lot of dinners and lived with him rent free but then would complain about the proverbial price of that exchange.  Free rent is hard to come by.  She didn't really want to answer to him or pay a price in which he exacted loyalty from her.  There was also the imbalance that he was in love with her and she had no interest in him.  In time, they became good friends.  She also reached out to me, helped me pack and continued to send me letters.  I was really only a marginal neighbor busy with a student teaching program. I got to know them better but knew in the back of my mind I would not be spending much more than I had to in North Hollywood.  When I got my inheritance, I had to get out of the big city of L.A. and search for my childhood roots.  Unlike my former friend in New York, I am not immediately hostile to anyone who has an issue or problem and the terms of the friendship aren't contracted on the difficulty of their lives.  Because I had two recent conflicts with a close acquaintance but not an intimate friend and a long term friendship that was plagued with certain difficulties because of perspective, I have been forced to examine myself.  The long term friendship dissolved because all of a sudden one day it ended because the continuity of our radio production and other issues were defined totally by one party and his basic disappointment with me cut off.  He abruptly made decisions. There were times he was cruel to my mutual acquaintances, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and forgave him assuming his personal growth over time would include learning not how to treat people like shit.  My radio show was purely recreational and I have not pursued vocational goals with it although I did start professional radio classes in Hollywood in 2012 with American Radio Network.  I can examine others and watch their videos on YouTube and determine what they are trying to say or who they are even if the friendship is over.  As adults, we strive for understanding and sometimes closure.  Now that I have made it out of my gambling addiction and graduate March 24th, I decided to publish some of my notes from my impending speech tomorrow night.  They may not make total sense, but my readers will understand where I am coming from.....enjoy!!!!  I value the new friendships I have made in this one year treatment center.

I started the gambling treatment program on March 29, 2014.

Read Parable of lost sheep.  Luke 15

I joined with the incentive that help may be possible but I did not know what form I would receive it in.  It is because as a gambler, one is a perpetual runner from problems and the excitement was in that escape.

When I first entered Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment , I filled out the forms and thought how could another structured environment exposing my weaknesses be reassuring?

When I first met people in the group, some had undefined motives for being there and others seemed to have stumble on a greater entity known as themselves.  Their actions didn’t match their countenance or presence of mind.  They had more gifts to share with the world than they could even be conscious of.

Candance – an inner and outward beauty and radiance.

Diane – persistence and dedication

John Clark – story telling abilities, soft sense of humor and candidness

Dawn – a determination to plead with participants to recognize themselves.

As soon as the essence of the program enlightened me, I understood the nature of why someone needed to commit.  Spending my whole life avoiding intimate confrontation with myself, my savior, my son and despair from the past such as losing a daughter by death and husband by divorce magnified the light of struggles.

Gambling was an easy escape in which I would enter the world of superficial light to conceal the outcome of permanent darkness.  Laughing people, jokesters, those dealers who thought they knew me and exploited my weaknesses, I became a pawn in their game.  I was attached to the one thing that would be my ultimate destruction.  Although I had allies, I was setting myself up for the final battle that would force confrontation with myself which was a cloud of eternal escape.

It seemed to be embodied in their profession that their jabbing insults would become my potential mockery.  Their act of genuity was like a false cup of reward, ready to remove my joy.

I was unable to separate myself so a power bigger than me made the eternal separation.  It was a result of my own actions, poor judgment and a swift decision by Native Am management that 86’ed me for life.  I felt like Tim Tebow with incredible gifts but only possessing the scrutiny of the media and a mockery for my true self which was a fallen Christian.

How did I find the light?  I saw it through the lines of despair and repentance of other people’s faces as they recognized in themselves that their greater good lie outside the actions of their temporary fix.  That there was something better within themselves that could allow them to conquer this mad disease.  For some if it was small children at home.  For others, they could not win over their critics but they won the victory over their own critics which included themselves.  Others had to face critical family members or job changes or financial consequences but the purpose of overcoming was not hindered by one obstacle.

We learned to depend on others and when those who could not define their higher power, they waded in the outpatient group by practicing the readings, learning slowly until they could envision an outline of a higher power that could strengthen them until the next meeting.

Some people cracked and faded, never fully gripping a self identity that could hurdle the next challenge.  For those fallen by the wayside, I recognize your battalion of excuses but it will only become future building blocks for the next bridge you will have to prepare yourself to cross.  You cannot escape yourself.

Running turns to walking and to stillness until the vision eventually becomes complete.  Then you find new ways to define yourself as you co mingle eternal paradigms of happiness, new joy and the flavor of love.  One day you will see in a mirror dimly and then you will see face to face.  I will know in part, I am understood even as I understand fully
Addendum: True friendships are not built on hostility and finger pointing.  Friendships are built on acceptance of the person and the convergence of understanding and recognition of weaknesses.

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