Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Truly Thankful

It has been a while since I have blogged and I have been wanting to do so badly,
but I have been so fortunate to be busy working, so it's been hard to get a minute to reflect.
Of course, with the end of the year, comes naturally a feeling of looking back.

I hope we can all look back on this year and have fond memories, but that may not be so
for everyone. Life is hard and then you die........says Johnny Winter.

I have had such a wonderful year and for that I am grateful.
RSB had the best year yet, touring all over the world to wonderful audiences.
We traveled to Australia, Europe, opened for Gregg Allman, played the Wanee Festival,
played at the Notodden festival and rocked the Blues Music Awards, we ended the year
by recording our second studio album.
Mike Zito and The Wheel was born in 2013, recording and releasing our debut cd and getting
some great tours in and around RSB.
We were so humbly honored this week to be nominated for Blues Music Awards.
All in all,  a fantastic year, with so much that has happened, I cannot remember it all.

I was gone too long this year from my family. I missed my children and my wife.
I didn't get to play with my kids enough or watch them grow. I feel some regret
when I think of how much I was gone. I know it;s all for the best in the long run,
but that is time that I will never get back. I look forward to having more time for my family
in 2014.  But, I became closer with my bandmates and my friends on the road.
I made new friends at shows all over the world. I spent time with people and got to really
know them well this year. I celebrated 10 years in recovery and performed at a huge recovery
convention with RSB. My good friend Tom spent the day with me and Charlie, it was great.

My dear friend Joan made me an amazing video for Gone to Texas, with all of my friends and fans
showing their Gone to Texas signs. My main man, Tommy created my first ever online fan club
website, Zito Nation......   I have a fan club! who would have thought :)
Scott and Kelly sent my wife flowers when she needed them to brighten her day.
People got involved personally with our business this year and really helped us get kicking!

Listen, I could go on and on about all the wonderful things that happened this year,
but it's not the point to brag or show off, it's to look back and say thank you.
I missed my family so much this year, it hurt......but you, YES YOU - my friends
that were at every gig, that called me, emailed me, facebooked me, sent me messages
to show your love, friendship, appreciation. You went out of your way big time to show me love,
and for THAT I am truly thankful.
I could not have gotten through this year without you, Laura and my children either.
We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.

Finally I am over the moon for my wife, Laura. She is my rock.
She makes our house a home, and takes such good care of my girls.
She has stood by my side through thick and thin and never lets me down.
Our marriage is a dream come true and this year was not easy, but we made it through
by helping each other and loving unconditionally.
The mothers of my children are also hero's in my life. It's not easy raising kids and I am
not there nearly enough to help anyone being on the road so much, but they continue to
be strong and raise these kids of ours to be wonderful, loving children and I am so thankful.

Life is not easy, but it's worth living when you've got family and friends to live it with.
Rich or poor doesn't really matter to me, although life can be much easier when you've got a
few bucks, but it won't make you happy. Happiness is found in embracing the imperfection
of life. Rolling with the punches and making a gratitude list once in a while, which I believe I just did with you, right here :)

Thank you all again for a great year and for all the love - let's do it again next year!!!!
Peace, Love, Zito

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Absurdly Lucky

Yes, I am truly grateful.
I really don't have anything to complain about and my life just keeps getting better.
It's been a special time for me recently as I am celebrating a milestone in my recovery.
I am so thankful to all of my friends for all of the love and support.
Everywhere I go, I have friends there waiting for me.
They bake me cookies (I'm getting FAT!!!), they take me dinner, they bring their children to the shows,
and most of all, they come to see me and spend time with me and I am so blessed.
RSB just finished a week at sea on the Blues Cruise.
It was such a good time. I am a fan of the performers and the musicians and it's so fun for me
to hangout with the people I admire and love. Best of all, my oldest son Zach was able to come
with me this year on the cruise. He is 18 and a freshmen in college.
He is a tremendous guitar player and is very much into the blues. I don't get to see Zach everyday as he
goes to school and lives in another state, so it's a big deal to just get a week with him, let alone
being on the cruise together. We had such an amazing time. We obviously enjoyed playing the shows
with RSB, but also going to all of the jams and getting up together and playing.
Zach also took the stage over at one point without me and played with Cyril Neville,
Tommy Castro, Sam Fish and Albert Castiglia. It was a very proud moment for me.
There was a time when I couldn't really see Zach. I was so bad off in my addiction, I couldn't
ever keep my commitments to pick him up and spend time with him, I wanted to,
but I couldn't stop using.  It ended with me not being able to really see Zach at all
and he was old enough to know something was wrong. I know he was very hurt by my addiction.
Luckily for me and my family, I found the programs of recovery and my life
has been changed forever. I look back at this short period of time I have invested in recovery
and how much my life has changed and how just a few years later I am with my son on the Blues Cruise playing music together and being so close - it's truly a miracle.
Recovery is available to anyone. I am not special or unique, I have just followed the rules.
For the first time in my life, I followed the rules.
I do believe this new lease on life is a miracle, but I never want it to seem to those who are constantly
struggling that they are not miracle worthy, or that God loves me more.
That's not true. Recovery is available to us all. I heard it said recently from a good friend that we
are "absurdly lucky". The odds are against me and yet I have beaten the odds.
By no means of rational mathematics should I be alive today. I should be dead.
I cannot explain to you how I am alive, other than an other worldly intervention.
When I see others struggling along the way, fighting the awful fight of addiction, I feel for them.
It is a pitiful existence and I have so much empathy. That could so easily be me, and was me.
But thank God it's not me today, and for that I am truly grateful.
I believe when we decide in our hearts that we have had enough and want to change, God will
line everything up to help us break the cycle. Surrender is all we need to make a change.
So, looking back at the misery and strife I caused myself and my family and seeing the
Sunlight of Spirit all around me today, in everything I do - I believe I am Absurdly Lucky.
I thank God for my life and those who share it with me, that means you too!
To spend time with my children and see a beautiful relationship rather than disconnect and hurt,
is a miracle.  I call them on the phone, I take them on vacations, I make them breakfast, tuck
them in their beds.....might seem normal and usual to most of you, but to me it is a miracle.
So I will continue to trudge the road of happy destiny. It's all that I have and all that I need.
And I thank God for my clean and sober life.
Peace, Love, Zito

Friday, September 27, 2013

Crazy People All Around Me.......

Well, it's been said that difficult people are a blessing in our lives.
I've read that in literature and in Buddhism books.
When we have adverse situations or people around we have to look at them
as an opportunity to grow spiritually.
We never seem to learn much when things are going well and we don't have
any real problems. Those are the times when we enjoy the peace and the pink cloud.
But nothing lasts forever and somewhere around the proverbial corner is a HUGE
pain in the ass just waiting to teach us a lesson or two :)
If we are trying to live by spiritual principles and get better everyday, we have to look
at our own behavior when dealing with difficult people/situations.
What is it about this person that is rubbing me the wrong way?
They are self centered, selfish, egotistical, obnoxious, mean, clueless.......
wow, those are all the things I used to be and some I still am.
In fact, this person is what I am hoping to not be like at all.
They're reminding me of my own character defects and I do not like that one bit.
You spot it if you got it, and I believe that to a tee.
When someone's personality is just plain killing me I realize I have some more work to do.
When I cannot forgive them for being human, I probably need to learn to forgive myself.
When a painful situation arises, it's time to start praying and meditating and find the peace within.
The difference between today and my past is my reaction.
In the past I would never consider praying as an alternative to hating someone.
I would never think I need to meditate on this situation for a while before I make a judgment....
are you kidding me????
I'd just jump right in and stir the shit pot with them, probably even harder just to prove
I'm a bigger pain in the ass than they are!
When a situation or person would come along and make things all real and uncomfortable
I would immediately get to drinking and using to deal with it, and when that turned into a full
blown bender, I'd blame them for my misfortunate decisions.
Even if I am past using, I would still argue and fight and yell and say and do things I would regret.
I would cause more trouble for myself than the original person or situation posed at all.
So, if I am trying to live by spiritual principles today, I have to hold off on my feelings
and breathe and process it all before I make a move.
Sometimes, I misread the situation.  Sometimes, the person isn't really doing anything wrong,
I just can't stand their personality.  Sad but true.
So, I go to another person I know and trust and run my feelings by them and see if they are justified.
Am I feeling this correctly, or am I letting my ego get involved here?
This is all new to me and my way of living.  Thinking about what I'm thinking about is a totally
new concept for me when I arrive in recovery.  It takes years to develop this skill and train myself
to work in such a new found way.
But, I can promise you that it is a huge payoff for the world around me and especially ME!
Since I am self centered at my core, it appeals to my inner sanctum that this training and process will help me the most! I will greatly benefit  from learning to deal with life and people in this manner.
Eventually I begin to see the "opportunity" in difficult people and adverse situations.
Like "Wow this guy is an asshole.......I'm gonna learn a LOT from him!"
It's life on life's terms and it's just the way it is.....
I can fight for the rest of my life or I can surrender and make the most of it all.
I am so fortunate today, without all of my using and drinking, most of the adversity in my life
has been removed.  I still deal with life like anyone else and I have people that seem to make their
way in and stir up old feelings of resentments or new people that I have to learn to deal with
on a whole new level, but for the most part my life is pretty damn easy.
Mostly due to the fact that I have learned to apply the spiritual principles to everyday living.
I do not react today, at least not externally :)
I'm not perfect, but I'm trying.
I immediately know to do the right thing and I know what the right thing is to do,
and if I am just not quite sure of my choice I have numerous friends I can call and
do some fact checking for me.  Like all successful people ie: Presidents, CEO's, General's -
I have people I trust to help me make the tough decisions.
I enjoy the peaceful life today and I seek it in every turn possible.
When adversity comes along, I meet it head on and deal with it right away.
The sooner the better, because nothing lasts forever and this too shall pass.....
so let's get to passing please :)

Peace, Love, Zito

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Dream Come True

What a day I had yesterday......

Sometimes in life, everything just falls into place. The stars align and you go for the ride of a lifetime.
It takes years to add it all up and in a greater time frame than I can ever imagine.
That is the experience I had yesterday in Philadelphia.

We play a lot of shows out here on the road. Mostly in Clubs, Theaters and such.
Sometimes, lately in RSB, we get to play some very cool venues.
Yesterday we played at the Philadelphia Convention Center.
It was a BIG room, with big sound and stage and lighting, very cool indeed.
Still, their was so much more to this show that made it the gig of my life.

I met my friend Steve in 2007 playing with Bugs Henderson in Texas.
Steve and I share a common struggle and belief in a recovery program together.
Steve is an avid music lover and promoter and puts on events in Texas.
We became friends and began working together.  I played many bike rally's and corporate
type events over the years for Steve. He is always thinking of me when he puts events together,
and how he can help get me and my music in front of the folks.
Steve came and saw RSB in January at Austin City Limits Live with Gregg Allman.
He loved the band!  Thats when the ball began to roll......

Royal Southern Brotherhood performed at the 35th World Convention (Of a Recovery Program that saved my life) yesterday in Philadelphia, Pa. for 3000 screaming addicts and alcoholics.
It was a dream come true for me.  The crowd was inspiring to say the least.

It was an early day for the band after a late night.  We had an 8:30am load in and the gig
was at 1pm. These are not musicians hours :)
The guys in the band were awesome and respectful and knew this meant a lot to me.
But that being said, I don't know if they considered this to be much of a gig.
A show during the day, recovering addicts.....sounds kind of dull.
But I knew that this would be the best gig ever.  These are my people, and they are wild.
No one has more fun than people in recovery. They get high off the music, the vibe, the
spirituality of the experience.
We hit the stage and began rocking. They were digging it from the first note.
About 4 tunes into the set, I was to sing "Gone to Texas".
I knew I had to do it, so I walked to the mic and said loud and proud
"My name is Mike and I'm an Addict."  The screams were ferocious!!! They leapt to their feet....
"I'm from the Wings of Freedom group in Nederland, Texas"  More screams, even louder now.
I gave my clean date and told them what an honor and a privilege it was to be there playing music for them and with the Royal Southern Brotherhood, and then we played "Gone to Texas".
Women screamed and howled, huge grown men cried in front of the stage. I swear I saw a woman faint into her chair!!!  The lights were divine and it felt like heaven. It took everything I had to hold back losing it and just crying in front of the audience, but I made it through with the help of the band
and we rocked that song like never before. Standing ovations all around the room. Cheers and Hoots and Hollers filled the room. The energy was uncontainable....mesmerizing.
Immediately we went into Fire on the Mountain and everyone got up and rushed the stage.
For the rest of the hour, 1000 people stood in front of the stage hanging on every note that was played.
They screamed so loud at times, we couldn't hear ourselves. The band smiled relentlessly, it was never ending.  We finished with "One Way Out" and walked off to screams and chants so loud, we had to walk right back onstage. I walked up to the mic and said "So what you're saying is KEEP COMING BACK!"
THEY WENT CRAZY!!!!!!!!! They began chanting - KEEP COMING BACK, KEEP COMING BACK!!!!!!
The band launched into "Gimme Shelter" and the roof was officially raised.
Cyril and Devon took off to the front rocking, Charlie and Yonrico laid down the baddest groove ever.
I just stood their for a brief moment and took it all in......
10 years ago, I did not own a guitar. I had pawned them all for drug money.
I did not have a home, could not see my kids.....I was hopeless.
I began my recovery journey and thought I would never play music again. I will never be able to be around alcohol or places or people in the music world anymore.
I accepted that fact and moved forward because I knew I was killing myself and I had had enough.
If I had to live without playing music but live clean and sober, so be it.
10 years later I am playing with the Royal Southern Brotherhood in front of 3000 screaming drug addicts at the World Convention........UNREAL.
God is good and life is weird. You never know whats coming up, but when you're  living right and doing the next right thing, anything is possible.
Charlie and I stayed after the show and hung out at the convention.
We met up with my friend Tom and tried to see some of the workshops and meetings, but we never got further than the hallway. People stopped us and wanted pictures, autographs, and hugs....lots of hugs.
We stood in that hallway for over an hour hugging people, from all over the world.
It was so amazing and wonderful and I was and still am in awe. It almost feels like a dream.
It certainly was a dream come true and I know in my heart that I am forever grateful. I am so grateful to the program that saved my life, gave me a real life, and brought my family and music
together.  I am thankful to RSB for being a class act and really showing those addicts a good time.
This was the best gig of my life, I can't imagine any other show topping this...
Peace, Love, Zito

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nothing changes, if nothing changes....

"Well my mind's been going through them changes...."

The Buddy Miles song always hits me when I even hear the word "change".
I love that song!

Change is such a strange word and concept to analyze.
It's so simple and yet so extremely complicated at the same time. Mostly due to the nature
of what we are trying to change.  It's obviously very easy to "change" clothes for an appropriate
occasion, or change direction on the road to get to where we are going in a car.
Those are just two very simple easily changeable situations in life.
I know we could list a million. Then, we get to the deeper version of change with things
like personality traits, character defects, complete ways of thinking......WHOA
these are not so easy, yet they are exactly the same.

Example:  We are driving to New Orleans. We have never been there before.
We hit the road and head in what we think is the right direction, but we are going the wrong way.
Someone tells us, we need to turn around and head the other way to get there.
So, we trust them, they have been there before, we have not.......
We turn the car around and head in the right direction. End of story :)

Now, some of us would think we know it all and we don't need to ask for directions.
We would just continue driving in the wrong direction, rather than admit we were wrong.
This is a very common character defect. We know it all, we don't need any help.

Obviously you can see where I am going with this. Many of us ,in life, believe we don't need help.
We know it all, and thank you very much, but we'll continue down the wrong path....just because.
"Hard Headed" is what my mother would call that, yours probably as well.
But it's much deeper than that simple analogy. A lot of this comes from life long "Conditioning".
We were born into a family/situation with certain beliefs and customs in a country that lives and eats and works a certain way. We may have had shitty parents, wonderful parents, no parents. We might have been beat up everyday, molested, made fun of.....the list goes on.
Most of us do not reach the age of 25 without believing what was taught to us by the people before us.
We rarely make decisions, based on our own actual experiences, to justify our beliefs in God,
Politics, Love, Life etc....
It was handed down from the generation before us and they got theirs from the one before them.

I am sure I am just laying out some very simple, common facts about the condition of life that we are all aware of. My point is, it's very difficult to "change" this conditioning. Some of it is very good and
what makes us who we are, helped to build our character. To carry on traditions from our heritage.
Change is also a very frightening experience. As human beings, we are afraid of change.
We want everything to be the same, all of the time. We are creatures of habit, good or bad.
There is never any real need for "change" until we begin to hit the proverbial brick wall.
When things start to get painful, we consider the need for change.
And only when they get down right awful, do we actually do the work needed to bring about
a real change.
My drinking became a huge problem in my life. People told me I had a problem well before I
ever accepted it. Loved ones, friends, stopped me along the way and told me I was going in the wrong direction, but I did not believe them, and eventually when I did believe them, I just didn't care.
I knew I was heading in the wrong direction and that was fine with me.
Not until I suffered enough pain and misery was I willing to consider another way.
and that was just the beginning.....

I learned that in order to learn how to quit drinking, I would have to change one thing: Everything.
How I talked, how I walked, what I thought, everything must go.
I had to be willing to give myself up and start over in life. I had to come to an understanding that
everything I had believed could be wrong. That is the biggest pill to swallow.
It is the ultimate ego deflator. I had to learn to turn over all of my thinking and actions to a Higher Power. I would no longer exercise my will, I would follow the will of God....
...or to the best of my ability :)
Cause believe me, it's a life long struggle to do this work. It's a daily, repetitive, exercise.
Also, it's not always such a quick change. When I stopped drinking, immediately their were beneficial
results. The same when I stopped doing drugs and stopped smoking.
I had immediate positive results when I began to make a real effort to not lie anymore.
I can't say I have been 100% successful, but I am much better today.
But some of the real changes took place over long periods of time, and for an alcoholic mind
that is not an easy thing to deal with. I want it all, right now. I never want to wait for anything.
But I have learned to achieve some of these long term changes by practicing spiritual principles
in my life: Patience, Tolerance, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Honesty.....the list goes on.
The long term changes are the most worthwhile. Nothing comes easy in this world, and when it does,
it's not worth much at all.
The idea that today I can stay calm in the midst of the storm, I can be peaceful and not react to
difficult situations, I can accept life as it is on a daily basis and be a pure miracle.
These are the changes that require trust in a Power greater than myself.

Nothing changes, if nothing changes: bottom line.
In order to quit smoking, you have to actually: Not smoke anymore.
The same goes for every character defect: If I don't want people to call me a liar - I have to tell the truth.
If I want to get better at something, I have to practice.  I can't just "will it" to happen.
Life does not work like that here on planet Earth.  God provides me the opportunities and I have the choice to do the work necessary or not, it's up to me.

I am truly thankful for the changes in my life today. I look forward to new changes and new directions.
I am no longer afraid of change, I accept it and embrace it. Something new is coming and it
will be wonderful if I am ready, wiling and able to participate.
Peace, Love....Zito

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I woke up this morning in Turku, Finland.
We have been here a few days, in the same hotel, which is quite a luxury
we don't see very often. Getting a few days in the same place can really make a difference.
You can call this room home for a while. Stretch out, clean your clothes, catch up on some
work and just stop moving for a minute or two.
I've been waking up my entire life, we all have.
Most often I wake up to an alarm which I have set, other times I just come to, slowly on my own.
We move so much that it may take me a minute or two to stop and think where I am, whats going on.
These days, I have nothing to fear when I wake up.
I am not waking up in some dope house or in jail or from a night of misery and shame.
I am just waking up to my life, and it's such a good life these days.

As I practice the spiritual principles in my life I take on a deeper awakening.
My heart and soul have been living this spiritual life all along, but my mind
didn't catch up until later in life. Practicing the spiritual principles does not
make me spiritual, it's just part of the awakening process.
I have been spiritual all of my life.
I will be spiritual long after this physical life ends.
When my mind slowed down enough to entertain the thought that their was
another way to live other than the hopeless life of addiction, I began my true awakening.
It was a very long term "Coming to"......

It took a while, a long while to come around. I am in the midst of that process as I  type.
Realizing that life is so much more than what is in front of me is an ongoing experience.
I still get caught up in the drama and the ins and outs of this world, we all do.
That is what "re-membering" is for, I need to take time to "re-member".
Get back to that understanding that takes all my worries away.
I am fortunate in my life today and by applying the spiritual principles,
I don't have much to worry about at all.
It is an awesome feeling of gratitude and serenity to "re-member" who I am and where
I am going in this life.
Anytime of day, in any situation or frustration, I can always go back and start over.
I never feel more gratitude than after waking up in the morning.
Before the world gets into my day with noise and problems and personalities and all
that shit, it's just me and the universe. I thank God that I am alive today and I have so much to be thankful for in my life. I often think I don't deserve all of this, but thats just an alcoholic mind.
I am still waking up as I type this morning.
It will be a beautiful day.
Peace, Love, Zito

Monday, June 3, 2013


"Forgiveness is the renunciation or cessation of resentmentindignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, disagreement, or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution"

I was always of the opinion that no matter what I did, everyone should forgive me because I'm really not a bad guy, I just did some bad things.  I made some bad choices. I stole from you, but I am not really a thief, I was just high, or I REALLY needed whatever you had.
If I lied to you, it's because I really didn't know the truth..... I would lie to cover up a lie.
I was always the victim in my book. I did the things I needed to do because of some set of circumstances.  If things had been different, I wouldn't have acted that way.
I can remember being very young and always feeling very entitled.
But my family never had much money, so it was so sad and just a shame that I couldn't get what I I took it. I needed it and you should feel sorry for me, I am poor and we can't afford it.
I always assumed I would make up my dastardly deeds by showing that I am a "good" guy.
I never actually took responsibility for my actions. They were more your fault than mine.
And I was offended when you didn't forgive me for my wrong doing.
Most of my life I lived feeling entitled and demanding.
I don't know if I ever really felt bad about anything I had ever done wrong, except when I got caught.
Then I felt bad for getting caught, but not really for my actions.
I always seem to believe deep inside that I had a right to act the way I did.
It's all pretty sick and part of the deep mental illness of ego and self-centeredness.

I also would certainly never forgive you, unless of course you forgave me too :)
Master manipulator that I am, I could turn any situation around and have you apologizing to me for what I had done wrong to you. You made me feel a certain way and I felt I had the right to this bad behavior. I honestly felt like I was justified in all that I did.
It was not until the lies and cheating and stealing moved onto a new level in addiction that shame and remorse really began to take it's toll.
When the stakes were higher and the lies were bigger, I began to take notice of my behavior and the effects it had on the loved ones around me.
I wasn't lying about small things anymore, these were life changing things.
In addiction, eventually you start to bottom out. You start doing things you told yourself you would never do. For some, they hit their bottom and realize the need for change and then change their life
based on the awful situation:  my wife is leaving me, I lost my job, I crashed my car....etc.
But if you are an addict/alcoholic like me - these awful things happen and you realize the need for change and pray to God that you will never do this again...........and then you do it again.....and again....
because thats the way it is.

In recovery, forgiveness plays a huge roll.
At first I am thinking that this is all about getting the people I have wronged to forgive me.
Again, I am thinking about me and not them - because it would be great if all my loved ones and friends would forgive me and love me again. I have a good excuse this time, I am an addict.
I wouldn't have done all of that shit if I wasn't!
But I learn as I go along that thats just not what its about. I lied, stole, cheated well before I was in full addiction. Addiction only highlighted these wonderful attributes of mine.
It's who I am, I am a liar, a thief and a cheat.
But I can change these things about myself, one step at a time.
I can become honest and trustworthy slowly over a period of time.
The real forgiveness begins within. Thats what I have learned in recovery.
I accept the true fact that I am selfish, self-centered, egotistical. I am a liar. I lie to get what I want
because I am so damn selfish. But once I accept this about myself, I can begin to make a change.
It starts with not lying, not cheating, not stealing. That gets easier with out drugs and alcohol.
I learn to think about my motives and think about what I am thinking about.
I question my reactions, my actions, etc.
Slowly I learn to tell the truth, to be honest and to not take things that are not mine.
I begin to respect honesty and most importantly I begin to respect myself.
I am human and humans are selfish. I am also dealing with a mental illness.
I forgive myself for being a sick human. But I also do not behave the way I once did.
The more I practice honesty and behave accordingly, the easier it gets to forgive myself.
Because nothing changes if nothing changes. But once I begin to change, I can start let go of my past and walk forward. Liar, thief, cheat - that was the old me. Today I am learning honesty, trustfulness, forgiveness. I have learned to forgive myself and in turn I have forgiven you for anything you might do, because you are human too. We are one in the same.
I have learned that to be truly forgiven by others, I will need to forgive myself first and not
take part in the old behaviors anymore. Slowly over time, my loved ones will begin to trust me again.
In order to be trustworthy, I must be trustworthy.
In order to not be a liar, I must not tell lies.
and my favorite - you can't get drunk if you don't drink.
so damn simple, but we complicate the shit out it!

peace, love, Zito

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Humility or Humiliation

"Understanding that we are not unique is a good indication of humility."

Great quote from a favorite recovery book of mine.

I used to think that the word anonymity had one definition. It meant that our identity was kept publicly unknown.
Of course it does have this meaning and it comes from the Greek meaning "without a name".
But their is a deeper meaning to the word.
It brings about a spiritual principle that requires some thought.
It means that we are not unique. We are the same.
We are not apart, we are connected. We are one.
The spiritual principle of anonymity means that we remain anonymous for humility's sake.
We do not take credit for our good fortune or our good deeds, we know that they were bestowed upon us by a loving Higher Power. We are just the facilitator at times. When I cannot think of the word I want to use as I type,
I ask God to help me remember and the word is then put into my mind, almost immediately.
I trust that this care is their for me at all times, in every situation, available to us all.
When I write a song, I often think "where did that come from?"..... It came from the Spirit.
I am aware that I am not the "Great" one. I am not so great that I can think of all these things, I am borrowing them from the past or being directed by the Spirit. 
My accomplishments are gifts, I am only being open minded and aware, the result is from God.
I have to do my part, I have to be here, I have to stay connected, I have to stop thinking and get out of the way
and let the Sunlight of the Spirit shine on me. But I am not unique. I am anonymous.
I am humble and practice humility at every turn or face humiliation.
I lived my life in humiliation for years. I took credit for everything good that happened, and passed the buck to God for all the shitty things. It was God's fault I lost my family and lost my job. It was God's fault I didn't have enough money and didn't get my way. Someone else was at fault for my misdoings, but I was responsible for all the great accomplishments in my life.
Today I know much better the truth.
I am responsible for all the mistakes in my life, and God is responsible for all the wonderful blessings bestowed upon me. This is the spiritual principle of anonymity. 
I know that it is right to remain anonymous for my good deeds, and to not take credit for all the good things that come my way. I need to continue to share my good fortune with others, not as I am doing them a favor, but with the understanding that "what is mine is yours". This life of love and happiness is being given to me freely and I need to continue to give it away in order to keep it.
The spiritual principle of anonymity means that I am not unique, I am the same.
I am apart, not separate. I remain anonymous because it is spiritually correct.

Peace, Love, Zito

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Feelings....fuzzy little feelings

"It doesn't really matter how you feel" - that's one of my favorite sentences ever :)

This can be a "touchy" subject (couldn't help myself), but their is truth behind the veil.
My feelings get the best of me. Not as often as they used to, but still I can get lost in how I feel.
Obviously, a lot of this has to do with just growing up and maturing as a human being,
but some of us just don't quite get a grip until later in life, and then again some of us never get a grip.
I was the worst of the worst. I would most always say "well that's just how I feel!!!"
I can't help it, that's how I "feel". Which basically means, I have no control over how I "feel".
My feelings are stronger than reality. They take over and I have no control. I say things compulsively
based on how I feel. I do things compulsively based on how I feel. My feelings justify my reactive behavior. If you hurt my feelings, I will hurt yours. I will cry and be sad.
Most often, their is no rhyme or reason to my feelings.
I over react, and often my feelings don't quite match up with the reality of the situation.
Just for understanding sake, here is a piece of definition from Wikipedia on "feel":

"Perception of the physical world does not necessarily result in a universal reaction among receivers (see emotions), but varies depending on one's tendency to handle the situation, how the situation relates to the receiver's past experiences, and any number of other factors. Feelings are also known as a state of consciousness, such as that resulting from emotions, sentiments or desires."

So......perception of the physical world does not necessarily result in a universal reaction?

You mean, that not everyone gets the same feelings from the same situation?
I guess that's why I am always looking for justification and rationalization for my feelings!
I am hoping to find someone else that sees this reaction of mine to be honest and real. it is....wait for it........

My feelings may not align with reality.
Which means I may have a distorted understanding of the truth.
My feelings have a lot to do with my past experiences.
Which means I am not having this new experience right now, I am having
the same experience over and over from my past. I am judging.

Their are 3 sides to the truth.
Remember the Brady Bunch?
The kids would get into trouble- by breaking a vase in the house.
All we know is the vase is broken. Then the parents question the boys and girls on who
broke the vase. The boys have a story that shows that the girls broke the vase.
Then the girls have a story that proves the boys broke the vase.
Then Alice walks in and says she saw the dog come in and break the vase - the truth.
Silly, but a good way of looking at the 3 sides of the truth.
Your version, my version, reality.

I get upset or hurt over a situation. That happens to all of us.
In the past, I would just go with my feelings. I would indulge in anger and resentment.
I'd obsess over the situation. It would consume me. I'd have every right to "feel"
that way. I would never stop and think about the situation from an honest view point.
I would never ask an outsider for their input.
Today, things are different for me.
I am not allowed the luxury of "feelings".
I have learned from my past, that my feelings are never in tune.
When I first cleaned up, they were so out of whack!
I would get angry at anything and sad over nothing. Then when something truthfully sad or awful happened, I would not feel at all. I would be numb. Because ultimately, I don't want to feel
in the real world. I want to create my own feelings to enjoy for my self centered ego, I certainly don't want to take part in the real world with honest feelings of the life around me.
I would put drugs and alcohol in to cover up my real feelings, and then crazily over react to smallest things in life.
Perception is part of my disease. I do not always see the truth.
Like the Brady Bunch story - their is really only one truth.
But, I may not be privy to the truth always.
I may see it one way, you may see it another, and then an outsider may step in and reveal the truth to us both. Over time, I have learned to not trust my feelings, and in return my feelings have become more in tune.  It is a process.
It's one of those baffling struggles in life - I can't get credit until I have credit :)
Once I learn to question my feelings, and understand that I misjudge situations everyday,
my feelings will start to be more truthful. And truthfully, my feelings will become more calm.
I will not over react so much, I will just kinda ride in the middle lane, and that is a very good place to be!  My life before recovery was quite a roller coaster. The highs were REALLY high and the lows
were the LOWEST of LOWS! Today, most of my life is just medium. That may seem boring to some of you. You might think, that doesn't sound like so much fun, but it is the truth, and the truth will set you free. Freedom from my over reactive, inexplicable, ridiculous feelings.
When I get a strong feeling today, i question the validity. I call my sponsor or talk to a friend.
I ask them what they think of the situation. Am I over reacting? Why am I feeling so strongly?
The most powerful men and women in the world follow this process.
They have advisers. Before they make decisions, they talk to others to see if they are on track.
to sum it all up- most often it "just doesn't matter how I feel".
I have to carry on with my life. I have to do my work and take care of my responsibilities, regardless of how I feel. That is what being responsible is all about.
I have learned that feelings are like the special effects of life.
If we watched a movie and we heard gun shots and explosions but no one was shooting a gun or their were no bombs, it would be very out of place. If we saw them shooting guns and big bombs were being dropped but their were birds chirping and happy music playing- it would be really strange.
Special effects in a movie are their to enhance the story, if they were not in sync
it would be confusing.
The more awareness I achieve in my life, the stronger the state of consciousness.
The more the truth will be revealed to me.
I am thankful to the recovery process for helping me to get my feelings in sync with the reality of my life today.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's a spiritual journey....

Well, I have heard it said that this life is a spiritual journey in a physical body.
I'm sure you have heard that before as well.
Spirituality is a process of awareness and understanding that their is more than meets the eye
in this world. Something else is going on under the surface.
I'm not here to preach, and I am not very religious, but I have a belief that everything happens for a reason and we are all connected by love.
We are going somewhere and this is just a small, small, window on the ride.
The journey begins within.
I learn to forgive myself. That I am not all bad nor all good.
I am a human being, with flaws and defects, and that is ok.
Their is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and when I learn to forgive myself,
I begin to forgive you. I start to see that you are just a human being as well.
You have flaws, you are not all bad, nor all good. You are doing the best with what you've got,
whether you realize it or not.
I start to accept myself. I am not perfect, inside or out.
I start to look in the mirror, literally. I used to hate mirrors, and hated what I saw.
I despised myself. I wasn't attractive enough, thin enough, didn't have the right nose or chin.
I also saw insecurity, humiliation, weakness.
We all deal or have dealt with these feelings. We are all the same.
Slowly over a period of time, I become more spiritually fit, I do the work, walk the walk.
I pray, I meditate, I take time to consider the world away from this world that I cannot see with my eyes. I begin to make good choices, help people, be responsible.
I look in the mirror and begin to be ok with what I see. Maybe I am not so bad.
Maybe I look ok. Maybe people see more than my looks, maybe they see something deeper.
I begin to have self acceptance - that I am who I am and maybe I like this person.
Slowly, I begin to like you. You are not so ugly either. I start to see a deeper you, their is more to you
than just your hair and your face. You have so much more to offer than your looks.
You are too are only human and we are here together.
I can honestly say, as corny as it may sound, I can look in the mirror today and smile.
I can smile at you. I can listen to you and realize you have something to say and I should listen to you. You are telling my story. We have so much in common.
We have the same feelings and insecurities. We have the same hopes and desires.
We are the same.
The spiritual life is just like the physical life in many ways - you get out of it what you put into it.
When I eat right, sleep right, exercise, I feel strong and confident in my physical body.
When I take time to acknowledge my spirituality, to pray and give thanks, to meditate and listen,
I begin to receive spiritual gifts: Patience, Kindness, Understanding, Forgiveness.
The physical life gets much easier.
I am not a guru of any kind, I am just a man trying to do my best and I fall short everyday.
But I am ok with that today. I know I am trying my best and I will try harder tomorrow.
I recognize that this physical life is such a spec in time, so minuscule, it will be gone so quickly,
and the spiritual life will live on forever, I need to make peace with my spirit while I can so I can try and enjoy who I am and who you are while we are here for these brief moments in this blue world.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This too shall pass

We have all heard this phrase over and over throughout life..."this too shall pass"
Often it is uttered by a loved one or close confidant when we are struggling through a tough time in life.
In recovery, as in life, you learn a number of slogans and sayings and phrases that are there to remind us of the reality of life.
We have lost a family member and this too shall pass. The pain and anguish of a broken heart and this too shall pass.
All of this being true. Time heals all wounds. When we think we cannot live any longer because of this pain, we continue to live another day and slowly over a period of time, we move on.
Well, I have no pain today, thank God!
I'm not suffering or healing in anyway. I'm very happy and thankful and had a great nights rest. All of my kids are doing well and my wife is happy (which means I get to be happy).
So as I take in a good morning and drink some coffee, I am reminded in my readings that.......this too shall pass!
Joking aside, it's true. We always use these sayings to comfort in times of need but they apply always. This is a huge part of the spiritual principle of acceptance. Life is not all good nor all bad. People are not all good or all bad and experiences are the same.
As much as I am really feeling good this morning, it's not going to last forever. Something will arise in the near future that will take this peace away.
I'll get caught up in something that might hurt my feelings or make me angry or make me sad and this happy relaxed state will be long gone!
Now, that is just the truth, like it or not.
And I am ok with that. I realize that today, that life changes and I have learned to "roll with the punches".
The best part in this beautiful realization is that I never get TOO angry or TOO sad over the upcoming shifts in my happiness. Life is not the crazy roller coaster it once was for me.
It's all kind down the middle and pretty even. I also have learned to really enjoy these moments in time when the world is at ease for me. Take it all in because it won't last forever. I don't anguish myself with what painful experience is around the corner, I truly appreciate my happiness and give thanks for the comfort in time.
These are the times when I pray and meditate. I get ready for what life will throw at me next. "Good times bad times, we've all had our share"
Life is moving forward whether I like it or not. It's on a path in time and when I can become in sync with the world around me, physically and more important spiritually, it's much easier to be here on planet Earth.
I realize today that this too shall pass.
This entire life will pass right before my eyes. What seems like forever will be gone in an instant and I better make the most of my time while I am still here.
Peace, Love, Zito

God Bless the victims and families in Boston. It hurts my heart.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Patience is a pain in the.....

So,  I reach out to someone, my wife, my manager, a friend and they don't answer their phone right away.......should be no big deal, right?
I've learned the principle of "Patience" in many ways over the years and in the big picture I have really embraced this idea of letting go of my feelings and attachment to the outcome of life and trusting that it will all work out.......wait for it comes.....  BUT,

When it comes to these little day to day interactions, once again I am at a loss.
Subconsciously I must be thinking, Where are they? Why aren't they answering? Don't they like me?
Don't they realize I have something very important to tell them? Why aren't they just sitting there waiting for me to contact them?

This is of course just one example of my impatience.
When I get in traffic, wait in a long line at the store, can't get the Internet to log on, when I have to listen to you finish your sentence so I can get to saying mine (that's one of my favorites).....
The list goes on and on.
Obviously this is a little part of all of our lives, addict or not. We are human and impatience is part of the human condition. Patience is a virtue, a spiritual principle, it must be practiced in order to be obtained and even then I cannot live in the clouds, I have to come back to Earth with the rest of you and probably will need to continue to practice this life long process.

Like I said before, in the big picture I have really learned to embrace Patience.
I realized early in recovery that getting my life together and back on track was going to take time and consistency. I didn't become an addict over night, so it would take time to change my way of thinking.
It would also take time for those around me to begin to believe in me again.
I had let them down so many times, they were shell shocked. I had said I was sorry 1000 times, only to break their hearts again and again. My point here is, I accepted this form of patience.
I realize over time, in the big picture, everything will work out.
It always does, and usually much quicker and easier when I stay out of it all together.

Once again, it's the small, day to day life experiences that are what I need to continue to work on.
I remind myself to slow down and relax a little. Whats the hurry?
Also, if I take the time to look at these little snafu's as wonderful spiritual exorcises, I can say thank you for giving me a chance to "Practice" the principle of Patience.
When I get impatient with my kids, my wife or my friends, I have to stop and remember that these
are human beings just like myself- give them a break and give yourself a break.
It's ok to not get everything done today - what would I do tomorrow?
Am I just in a hurry to get life over with and die already? :)
In the end, prayer and meditation always saves the day.
I read my literature a little, say a prayer and let it all go.
In God's time, not mine.
Peace, Love, Zito

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This amazing turn of events....

Recovery cannot be described better than an amazing turn of events.
When I surrendered and became willing, everything in my life lined up properly and gave way. I would need to write a book to share with you the thousands of coincidences that have occurred in the past 10 years all relating to my journey in recovery.
The best part is that they still happen today and I am witness to them all.
I am a firm believer that my higher power never keeps anything from me, I keep it from myself and when I am ready, willing and able, anything is possible.
This is not so much an amazing coincidence just a fantastic little story that I was told last night. I am currently on tour with the Royal Southern Brotherhood in Australia. We performed last night at the Byron Bay Blues Feat on the Gold Coast. This alone is pretty damn incredible! After our show we went to a booth for an autograph session. After we had signed for everyone a photographer approached me and asked if he could tell me a story. He said he had taken his first trip to the US in the summer of 2002. He had been around the Midwest and eventually ended up in Columbia, Mo.
He got on a Greyhound Bus and headed through Saint Louis and then down south. He said he met me at the Greyhound Bus Station. I had a guitar in one hand and small bag if clothes in the other. He told me I looked a little lost and wasn't sure where I was going.
He pulled out a copy of my America's Most Wanted cd and said I gave it to him. Of course I don't remember any of this. He said we talked for quite awhile about American music and the blues.
He said I was very kind to him and that meeting me was one of the highlights of his US journey. He said he often wondered what may have happened to me until this year when he saw my name listed as a performer at the Byron Bay Blues Fest. He lives in Brisbane and was going to be here to photograph the festival.
I was really stunned and blown away.
I immediately grabbed a copy of my Greyhound cd and handed it to him.
We talked for a bit and I told him what happened after our meeting at the bus station and how it all eventually worked out. His name is Lucky.
It's almost like meeting someone who met you in another life. I was so curious. I can barely remember that fateful trip, just the basic facts.
All I remember is that I was so down and out and thought I should do everyone a favor and just leave.
I stole a friends acoustic guitar, my fathers credit card and bought a one way ticket down south.
I was happy to know when he informed me that I was kind and friendly.
This may not mean much to you and in the big scheme of things is just a little anecdote, but it meant the world to me.
It also reminds me that this is a REALLY small world we live in and everything we say and do counts!
When we are young we may not understand that every action has a consequence, good or bad.
That over time the events in our life shape us into the adults we will become. Our choices help define our character as well as the consequences of our choices.
At the time, that runaway trip was the most painful time in my life, today it is my saving grace. I had a lot to learn and the school of hard knocks was right for me. I have never learned much when everything is going great.
Today I can use my painful past as part of my experience, strength and hope to remind myself and others that I never have to feel that way again.
Thanks Lucky.....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Down Under Blues

Well, I am the world traveler this week in Australia with RSB. It's amazing to think where the blues has taken me.
I remind myself to be thankful to Muddy Waters and Blind Willie Johnson for this life I lead. I am just a student of the music and of the spiritual principles.
I thoroughly enjoy the traveling aspect of this musical career. Especially to foreign and exotic places.
I am also reminded that people are people, no matter where I go.
They are alive and living, working and playing. I travel thousands of miles to some distinctly different part of the world and look immediately for differences. What are they eating?
What are they doing? Where are they going?
I guess I am hoping to find that they are so different, eating crazy foods and living in some abnormal way....but they are not. They are exactly the same as you and I. They are trying to make it all work. Pay their bills and get through life the best they can. They have families and jobs and responsibilities just as we do. Sure, maybe they eat something a little strange or do things a bit odd to me, but its very superficial.
The bottom line is, people are people.
We hope for no harm and generally want to live in peace. I believe this.
I believe that people are all mostly good at their core. I do not believe in evil of any kind. I do believe in mental illness and emotional sickness.
I have been so fortunate to have traveled all over the world In the past 20 years and its all the same.
Sure their are some in the world that want to destroy and harm and steal and conquer, but the majority want to live in peace. We forget this sometimes when we are home in our little world. We watch tv and see only the bad out there and it seems like its all bad!
It's just not true. If you haven't ventured out into the world, you don't know what you're missing.
As soon as I realize that the differences are minimal in my travels, I begin to see the similarities. They are abundant.
This is at the core a huge part of my disease and mental illness. I want to be different form every one else.
I feel the need to be unique.
Although I am unique in certain ways,
I am more like everyone else.
I am not so different. None of us are.
We are the same.
We are connected. My disease wants me to disconnect, and that is ,in my teachings, the root of my self centered, egotistical illness. The sooner I can begin to seek the similarities in others on a daily basis, the sooner I can begin to give myself a break. In return I will begin to give everyone a break.
Because we are all human.
Very flawed. If I can begin to lower the expectations I have on myself, I will lower them on the rest of the world and immediately everything gets more peaceful and serene.
We are all connected, we are all one.
What I do that is good for the whole is what's best for me, because I am part of the whole. What benefits me only, immediately draws a line between us.
I am no expert and these are not my great opinions, these are just the principles that have been taught to me by those that came before me and I am reminding myself each day to re-member.
Peace, Love, Zito

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I get by with a little help....

It's still amazing to me how this disease works. That I can just so easily forget What's wrong with me and get myself into trouble. I have to consistently be reminded of my addiction to keep me on path.
It's like I wake up everyday and somewhere between brushing my teeth and getting dressed I get this thought that says "oh yeah, I'm an addict". Then I say the serenity prayer, do a little meditating and get on with my day. I'll try and read some literature, and spark my recovery for the day.
But, their are days when I am in a hurry, and this doesn't always happen.
I get out the door, get busy on the phone and before you know it its getting close to noon.
It's these days when I might get this uncomfortable feeling in life. People might start to get on my nerves for no real reason. I get easily frustrated with simple situations and start to enjoy that
"Why me" feeling. That's never a good place for anyone, and certainly not an addict.
I'll admit, I don't think during any of this that I might go get a drink or a drug, but I do think
"To hell with all this!!!"  I'm used to being very forgiving in life thanks to recovery, especially in forgiving myself for being human. In return I am very forgiving with all of humanity.
Eventually I am reminded of my disease and to give myself a break. It's like suddenly I get it, "oh yeah, duh! I have the disease of addiction!" That's what's going on here, that's why I'm having a hard time with all this easy shit.
Because of my career choice, I spend a lot of time early in the day by myself.
 I usually get time to do what I need in the morning before we hit the road
But also,When we are on tour, things can get hectic.
This is when I can honestly say "I get by with a little help from my friends"
Luckily my wife is affiliated with the program and she'll be the first to remind me that
things are not so bad when I get squirrelly.
I also have so many friends out here on the road that are in recovery, and they always come to shows and support. Just seeing their faces will usually put me at ease and remind me of my recovery.
We usually share a little bit with each other of how we are doing and it really, really helps.
It's such a blessing to play music in recovery.
I thank all of my friends out there who walk the walk and talk the talk.
Just for today
Peace, Love, Zito

Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm obsessed with obsession....

Maybe I am possessed, yes maybe that's what the problem is with me!
Wouldn't it be wonderful to write this obsession off as a real demon inside
Of me that is possessing me and making me think and do awful stuff? Rhetorical
Obviously, I don't believe in monsters and will probably have to take responsibility for my own actions and thoughts. Ha!
I do really well for a long time, just going along with the days, following the rules of society.
I pay my bills on time, get my oil changed, use the seatbelt, don't curse in front of the elderly or children.... I even do nice things for people when I can, and then suddenly out of nowhere,
Somebody gets into my head and I can't get them out!
I somehow get involved in some crazy wacky situation that involves he said and she said and we thought, and you thought and it all goes right over the cliff.
That's life I guess. Things are not perfect all the time, nor should they be.
It's so easy when I am giving someone else advice on how to deal with this situation by telling them to just let it go, who cares, it's no big deal, you can change your mind, just pray........
But when it comes to me, oh my mind tells me this is the worst thing ever. No one has ever had it this bad before and I better get good and obsessed about it all.
I start reciting all the lines of the conversation or situation at hand. It's like an afternoon tv special going on in my head. Then I get even crazier and start adding things they didn't say just to make it all more juicy and exciting! I start reciting my lines as well, what I will say when I speak to them again.
It takes over and it won't stop. Once I recognize that my mind is plagued with this situation I start to immediately say the serenity prayer. I know I need relief once it really starts to change my mood on the outside. I can't focus on things around me and I get very agitated. So I begin the recovery process yet again. I start by praying every time my mind begins thinking about this crap in hopes that I can change my mind, but my sickness is strong and it doesn't really work well at first.
So I start reading my literature and try to meditate a little more to help ease the pain.
Still I go through every scenario possible. I take a different angle to the situation as time goes on.
At first I might be very angry and stand offish about all of this and then I may get very apologetic in a very sarcastic way and it usually ends with a good old I don't give a shit.
Still every clear moment, I catch myself thinking about this shit.
That gets frustrating, just the idea that I cannot let go of this in my head starts to get me down.
Eventually, slowly over a period of time, I will begin to forget about all of this and forgive those involved, including myself. I let it go and move on. I slowly become free once again from the bondage of self. That's what I wanted all along! How come to it didn't happen quicker? I still want what I want when I want it and recovery is still a process. It takes time. I have come to the understanding that I'm going to have to probably suffer a little bit but in the end it all goes away. The important thing today is that I don't use over it.
That's a miracle!
I need to recognize that I am growing and give myself a break. The longer I stay in recovery and continue to work the spiritual principles into my life, the easier it all gets. What used to cause a huge bender now only causes a day or two of bad thinking. That's pretty good.
The more I recognize my own disease,
the more I realize others are sick as well and we are just trying to get along on this big rock until we die.
God is good and so is life today in recovery.

Monday, February 25, 2013


I could probably write 1000 pages on gratitude.
If I even began to be so humble and think of all the people, circumstances, blessings, God working through my life events that I am so thankful and grateful for, I would be here all day on a pink cloud
with carpel tunnel.
It's always easy for me to look around, especially when I am home, and be thankful for my life. To wake up in a bed and not on the street or the basement of a drug house, it's pretty amazing. Its easy to be grateful for the obvious things in my life. When something is wonderful and brings happiness and makes my life easier, it's just instinct at this point to be grateful.
But.......if I am going with the idea that "everything happens for a reason", that their are no coincidences.....well, then how do I find the gratitude for the things that are not pleasant in my life?
People who are huge pains in the ass, situations that are painful and time consuming, times when I pray my life was different.... thats when I need some gratitude. Not just a reminder that my life is great and look at the big picture, thats what we tell newcomers, I've been here awhile, that shit is good but I have to grow up and work further, on a spiritual level with my painful situation. This situation that Im in that I wish would end, must be happening for a reason. It must be an opportunity to practice some spiritual principles, to work on an area that I need help with. When I am stuck with this person that is such a huge pain in my ass, who really rubs me the wrong way, their must be a spiritual reason for this.
Especially, again, if I am going with the "everything happens for a reason" .......   Dammit!
I can't just take the good with the good, that doesn't work. I have to look at these people and situations as opportunities to grow spiritually. Most of the time, this understanding doesn't happen immediately or even over night. It's usually a process. It's painful and it hurts and I obsess for a period of time about how much I can't stand this person or feel sorry for myself that I am in this situation. That goes on for a while, then when it hurts enough, I begin to pray to relieve myself of the pain. I start saying the Serenity Prayer every time I think about it or catch myself obsessing. That slowly begins to change the way I look at whats going on. Then I talk to my sponsor or other people I trust about how I feel and whats happening. ( I will usually talk to people first who will maybe see my side of the story and agree with me that this person or situation is a huge pain in the ass and I certainly have a right to feel the way I do)
Eventually I will talk to my sponsor who will usually tell me they are sorry to hear about this and they understand, immediately followed by "well, thats just the way it is, and you'll probably just have to suck it up and move on". Dammit Again!
Slowly I begin to accept this person or situation into my life. I begin to be able to live with it and not obsess or let them get under my skin. Ultimately, if I am going to really try and live a spiritual life and continue to seek God in all things around me, I have to start to become grateful for this situation or person. When I think about the times in my life when I learned the most, they were never wonderful, painless times of joy and learning. They were usually the most painful, God awful, gut wrenching times. This is how I learn. This is how we learn as human beings.
When I stick my finger in the electrical socket, it hurts and I remember to not do that again.....
(Unless you are an addict like me, you keep sticking your finger in the socket and can't figure out why it keeps hurting, hoping you'll find a way to do it with no shock.) But, thats what this is all about.
Once I get past my disease and get into the spiritual part of my program, I can begin to work on the principles. When I can look at this person or situation as an opportunity to learn, a chance to "Practice"
these principles, then I begin to not only accept whats around me, I begin to have gratitude for this experience. Gratitude that the outcome will be greater than the pain of this moment. That everything happens for a reason. Sometimes a painful person is reminding me how I once was and how I definitely do not want to behave like that again. A painful situation is teaching me that program works, that I don't have a desire to use over this, and that praying and meditating is always the answer.
So, today I am grateful for all of you big pains in my ass out there!
I am thankful for painful situations in my life that I wish weren't happening, I obviously need to learn something and I'm pretty sure I can live through it today.
It could always be worse, thats for damn sure, and usually it's not nearly as bad as I think it is.
Life is painful at best, and my spirituality is the only relief.