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.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A life long process....

Being restored to sanity is a life long process.

Well their you go. Thats just the way it is and I might as well try accepting that as soon as possible.
Although we live one day at a time, somewhere along the way I have made a commitment to this lifestyle and it's the journey that matters, not the ending.

I love any movie or book that deals with crazy people.
Mostly because I can relate! The best way it was ever described to me is
that "crazy people don't know they're crazy, thats why they're crazy".
So I love watching the movie or reading the book to follow this person dealing with their mental illness
and the process of finding out that something is wrong with them and they had no idea.
They had no clue. Like the movie ABeautiful Mind. What an excellent film dealing with insanity.
Here you have this amazingly intelligent man that changes the world with his mathematics and at the same time sees people that are not their and interacts with them. WHOA - C R A ZY!
He wasn't an alcoholic or an addict, but the mental illness is the same.
Some are sicker than others and the bottom line is most of us have no idea how crazy we are when we show up for the first time to recovery. I was under the impression that if I had more money, a better job,
could just catch a break, a new woman, better dope, I could manage this ridiculous life I was leading.
I actually believed that this was all someone else's fault. Their was someone else to blame for my misery and my inability to keep a job, take care of my children, and my life gone such awry.
It never really occurred to me that maybe I had a problem with drugs and alcohol.
It never occurred to me that I was doing the same thing over and over and every time it was the exact same outcome. I would tell myself that this time it would be different. I wouldn't do as much, I would only drink a few beers, I would only spend $20, I would leave when my friends left........the list goes on.  I never left when my friends left, I stayed way too long and was usually thrown out.
I have never in my life only drank a few beers! NEVER!
I may have only had $20 to spend, but I stole or found a ways and means to get more.
But it never occurred to me that something was wrong with me,, because I was crazy.
It did not occur to me until I went to a few recovery meetings and read a book and heard a few things,
like "1 is too many and 1000 is never enough".......  hmm.
I still went out and tried to do drugs and drink one more time, thinking I would try some different drugs
and that would make a difference. I had every intention of only staying a few hours. I had to be at work in the morning and I was doing pretty good, sober for about 30 days.
I stayed out and up for about 5 days straight. Lost my job, got kicked out of the house (again), had no money, no car and was out of dope.
(btw, this was certainly not my "bottom", as I had gone through way worse shit than this)
It just finally occurred to me that something was wrong.
This was not my intention, and then it hit me like a bag of bricks, THIS IS WHAT ALWAYS HAPPENS!!!  My intentions are never to lose my job, ruin my relationships, get kicked out of the house. My intentions are always to be social and have fun like the others, but the others go home when they are full. They stop. That was the difference, and I couldn't stop once I started.
I realized then that my mind had been controlling me against my will.......and I had no idea.
I AM CRAZY. I went immediately back to the recovery meetings and I have not left since.
It was only that little bit of hope that started it all. The hope of realizing something was wrong with me.
Only then could I take steps to change my mental illness.
It's a big pill to swallow and as I said in the beginning, it's a life long process.
Even today I am still pretty much crazy, though I have my sanity checked on a daily basis.
When I do not admit to my mental illness, my ego is in control.
I also have tools now and I know what to do when I start to get a little squirrely.
I pray. I make a physical effort at making a spiritual connection with my higher power and almost immediately I am relieved. I may be fortunate today to not use drugs or drink when I am getting crazy, but it still can cause problems in my life. My ego, self-centeredness, selfish, know-it-all mental illness can get in the way of progress. It can take over and I don't even know it, until I take step back and look at the situation from the observers point of view. I realize today that my mental illness is real and will never go away, but it is in check and will be if I continue to work the programs of recovery that saved my life and make a concerted effort at maintaining a spiritual life here on Earth.
So, here's to a life long process of being restored to sanity..... God knows I need it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hello fellow crazy people!

Well this is a new blog for me.
I have been writing a blog on the adventures of my band, Royal Southern Brotherhood and it has been a very good experience. People seem to like the stories and whats going on behind the scenes.
I also found out that I am a pretty good writer. Though not in the English correct, punctuality way....

So chances are I will assume you have no idea who I am and why would you? I am just a husband and father of 5 that lives in Texas. I play music for a living, which is a dream come true, and I am in recovery.  My sobriety/clean date is October 28, 2003. My home group is in Nederland, Texas.
I am not writing this blog because I think I am a spiritual guru or because I believe I have special insight into the recovery programs that might save your life :)   I am writing this blog to save mine.
I have always played music and thought for sure once I entered into the recovery lifestyle, that I would never be able to play music again. Not in bars or clubs, maybe in church. But after working the steps and through the love and support of my home group I was able to once again walk into a club and play music without the fear of drinking or using looming over me or obsessing in my mind.
I became spiritually fit and I had a legitimate reason to be there.
With that all said, I have been playing music again professionally for 9 years and touring the world.
My musical career has been more successful than I could ever dream of and it's all thanks to recovery.
I go to meetings every chance I get on the road and always when I am home, but not as many as I would always like to make. I talk to my sponsor and others in the program on a regular basis. I have written many songs that are recovery based to have something positive to sing about, and some about the horrors of addiction and alcoholism to remind me of that pain that I never want to feel again.
In doing so, I have many friends in the program all over the world that I stay in touch with and get to see throughout my travels. My wife is in the program as well, though not an alcoholic/addict, but as a loving, caring woman who happens to be in love with an addict. My point is that my life is built on recovery. Almost everyone in my life is somehow connected to the programs of recovery and still I make mistakes on a daily basis. I just can't seem to get it right, but I know, progress before perfection.
Yes, I know all the little sayings, slogans, I can quote all the books and I do know the spiritual principles as do I apply them all to my daily life, well, thats another story.
In fact, that will be the basis of this blog.
I don't get much time to sponsor anyone these days, so I really have to make an effort to read the books on my own and get into a spiritual mindset for the day ahead.
Thats why I thought I would write a new blog, to get some of this shit out of my head and get on track.
Sometimes I just forget to read my book and pray before I hit the road and I end up dealing with some crazy ass, obsessive shit and I can't figure out whats wrong......until I go to a meeting and remember that I am crazy! Thats the problem, it's been the problem all along. I just forget. Thats my disease.
I am crazy and my mental illness tries to convince me I am not crazy.
Luckily in the past 9 years or so, I have not once picked up or used or taken a drink of anything and for that I am grateful. I also thought it might be interesting to others to hear about the life of a traveling musician in recovery. The crazy people I run into and sometimes wacky situations and how I handle it,
not always as spiritual as I wished, but most often I do ok. But the bottom line of this blog is to help me get out of my head and share my experience, strength and hope.
I'll try and write this a couple of times a week or when I need to get some shit out.
I'll try and make it as entertaining as possible without just making stuff up to be funny.
So- here's to a new blog and a life long journey in recovery which is wayyy better than sleeping outside, hooked on drugs with no family or food or shelter. I need to remind myself of that sometimes....
Peace, Love, Zito