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GRACE. It Feels So Good to Turn...Eleven.

ARIZONA DAWN 21537_241383129456_666264456_3153678_4750610_N_crop This may or may not be clear to people, but I have two birthdays. My bellybutton birthday on December 29th and another, July 22nd, the anniversary of the day that I got sober. It has been over a decade since I turned away from the need to numb out my emotions. What a journey so far!

I remember in the beginning the sheer agony of being in my own skin. Every reflection of me was like a million shards of "my" broken mirror slicing through my very soul. My wounded past was overpowering, and I was afraid to move. I was a walking, breathing bomb of fire...explosion...then ashes. A pile of rendered dust. Chaos surrounded me, threatened to suck me back. Fear was very angry.

Then Grace came. A tiny pin-point of light. Warm hands held mine softly in a circle and said "pray". I took steps that measured nano-seconds, then seconds, then minutes, and hours...and I didn't die. I began to have moments of clarity and peace, and I clung to them as my armor for when fear would try to return.

Grace continued to come. My prayers grew stronger, and I learned the word faith. The light, soft, pure, resilient, wrapped around me. Nonthreatening and tiny at first, it was stronger, more beautiful than I ever imagined...and the scary things slowly lost their shape and disappeared. I learned the word trust.

Grace remains. The events of my past haven't changed. I have. I have turned the glass over, and it is more than half full. It is in fact, many times brimming over. In my wildest dreams I never thought I'd get to be part of a better day for others, but here I am. Today, I have happiness, purpose, joy and love in my life. I have learned that the light is God.

Went to a funeral today....

Went to a funeral today. What a sad thing. A friend, a gentle soul, passed away last Thursday. The chapel was packed, and not a dry eye in the house when a guitar solo played "Tears in Heaven", by Eric Clapton. A biker with the name "Deacon" sewn on his leather vest presided over the service, but only after his sister got up to read a letter she had written to the little brother she lost and tell him how heartbroken she was that he could never overcome his addiction. "Not a mean bone in his body", people shared at the end of the service, and "He always told you he loved you, even if you didn't feel like anyone cared". A sweet, kind man in his forties who battled with drugs and alcohol...and lost. Some came drunk or loaded, but most didn't. They came clean and sober, taking in the full impact of where drugs and alcohol can lead them if they didn't take it seriously. I couldn't help thinking about John and the lives lost at the Wonderland house...not to mention a few others that were close to me and died after those years in LA. It is real, it is never pretty and it is always permanent.

I know my friend tried his best all the way up to the end. It was just too tough for him. I remember his eyes. Deep inside I always saw how hard he tried to stay clean. I hope he doesn't have to struggle anymore. I hope he is at peace.

Blessings, Dawn

Let's Talk About Drugs

I had promised to post a topic on drugs a few days ago, but in actuality I had already created it last month when this site began because this is a topic that should not be overlooked. The reason being, for me, drugs were so horribly devastating and their nature so cruelly incidious, that in order to overcome my past I had to face the issue of drugs and not sweep them under the rug as I was so tempted to do. In my life, there were long term effects with no easy short term answers. At age fifteen, when I met John, I had already smoked pot and in fact pot was a medium that John used to get closer to me. Once our relationship was established, I was not allowed to smoke pot anymore, except on those occassions when he brought it home and we actually did go through a period of not smoking anything at all. At that time drugs were not important to me. What was important, I thought, was that I felt as though I was in love with John and John was (possessively), in love with me. The drugs came back into my life when John brought them in and in the end he brought not only pot, but cocaine and freebase, and he brought them in with a vengence.

I can't deny the effects cocaine and freebase had on my system. I was emaciated and many times craved it to take away the pain that my reality had become. Eventually, after getting away from John, I rejected any kind of drug in my life blaming them for every horrible thing that he ever did to me. But there was still alcohol...and depression...and fear...and insecurity. Those crippling elements that remained behind and took me years to filter through.

Today I am clean AND sober and I have been for many years. I also have had years of counseling. The issues of depression, shame, guilt, remorse and post traumatic stress syndrome were so severe that the only true relief for me was to muster the courage to confront my past and my pain, clearing the road to learn and grow. It is what has worked for me.

I will never underestimate the damage that drugs can create in a person's life. In writing my book, it was of the uttmost importance for me to honestly detail the path, the seemingly harmless road, that drugs lured us down. My story unfolds in the late seventies and early eighties. No one really knew how high a price we would all have to pay back then. It is my understanding that Cocaine Anonymous wasn't even established until 1981, the year of the Wonderland Murders. Today, as a survior, I find myself in the obvious role of passing down my story, perhaps offering a more educated view of the truth behind the seduction of drugs.

Take care of yourselves. Value yours and other's lives. We are all worth it and for those times that it may not seem like it, remember life has much more to offer than any drug can supply.

Blessings, Dawn