Spiritual Awakening Depression!

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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby desypete » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:35 am

JohnDaniels wrote:Hi Pete,

I read your post about the loss of your son but didn't have time to post a few days ago when I read it. I just wanted to thank you and share some of my own experience strength and hope over the loss of my son about the same time as yours.

By the way Pete, I really enjoy reading your posts.

Thank for sharing your experience about your son. I understand.

My wife and I lost our son a few years ago also. He was 38. His problem that lead up to his death started when he was a child.
I've mentioned this briefly in another post but never went into any depth. I only mentioned it previously to share the message about the personal growth and development this program has taught me. How this program has taught me to slow down, think think think, ... think things clear thru to the end, get out of myself, learn selflessness from taking actions that got me out of selfishness and self centeredness.

I'm certainly not looking for sympathy here, I'm merely sharing with you, one alcoholic to another in recovery. As we know, when two alcoholics share at this level it helps, sometimes just to know that someone understands. Not just about not drinking, but about recovery and living life sober and trudging the road to happy destiny. I'm not talking about sharing or going on about our pain and agony, but more so about our recovery and the things we have done and the healthy actions we've taken and still do to try to make some sense out of things that sometimes seem to be senseless. Oh there's no doubt about losing a child is a heart breaker, it ripped he heart right out of me for a while and this is just my experience here and is unique, none of us are the same as we all handle things differently in this life. Thanks to the AA program, the steps, the stories in the books and the support of folks just like you I have grown thru the pains and thru the pleasures. I've learned how to apply the AA teachings in all my affairs.

When our son was a small boy he was hit by a car. He was not expected to live or if by chance he did live he would have problems all his life due to the way the accident exposed his brain. But he pulled thru and was out of the hospital in 2 months smiling, laughing and being his happy self again. This was a miracle.

The things in my story that follow here are intended to show the miracles that happened to prolong his life and the meaning in his life. SO much meaning.
He had lost allot of blood when he was hit by the car and his brain had been skidded and damaged on the pavement. The hospital gave him allot of blood. Without that ability he would have not even survived thru the first night in the hospital.
His brain had swelled and had been damaged. There was a brain surgeon from the Neurological Institute who jumped right on top of things from the time our son was admitted into the hospital. This surgeon was amazing. Come to find out after we got to know him he was also one of us who started an AA group meeting to help other doctors and surgeons. I think that may be one of the reasons he had such a warm personal touch due to the AA teachings he learned. He shared with my wife and I over coffee at a closer more personal level than I had ever experienced with a surgeon. He radiated AA's teachings and was an example to us all of how AA can work in all our lives.

A few years past after the accident and our son was developing as we thought he ought to. Then he started getting colds that turned worse but he eventually got past them with high doses of antibiotics. He was suddenly not healing as fast as he normally would have. He was a very strong athlete and a great distance runner but even that was slowing down. I had my suspicions so I took him to visit his neurosurgeon.
Back when our son was given all those blood transfusions in the hospital it saved his life. However at that time they were not keeping as close of tabs on the blood as they do now. Now I'm not blaming and I'm not crying the blues here, but we believe as did his doctor, the blood they gave him from the hospitals inventory contained HIV.

Our son was as straight as an arrow.

Our son was immediately started on HIV medications and they eventually showed he practically had no HIV according to the testing.
I put every bit of my heart, my soul and my self into making the remainder of his life as full as possible. We knew he would die but we didn't know when. This gave new meaning to "Living One Day at a Time".
I build motorcycle frames, race car frames and race chassis parts. Our son loved racing and race cars as much as I do. I set my business aside for a few years and devoted every bit of my self to making the rest of his life the best I could. He and I built him an All American Soap Box Derby Racer to race in the All American Soap Box Derby. He took 1st place in our state, which qualified him to race in the World All American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio. They treat those boys like celebrities back there with a big parade, police escorts with sirens blowing and so on. Oh the big smiles on their faces! He stayed at a camp that week back there that week with cabins, boating, fun times. In the World Soap Box Derby race he finished a close 2nd place. Our son and our family were so thrilled. I would be glad to share pictures of all that sometime if you'd like.

When we got back home from Akron I took him in for his checkup and he was doing fine.
He had a dream of becoming a race car driver. Together we built him a go kart, a 1/4 midget, 1/2 Midget and he had so much fun racing whether he won or not.
He wanted to race NASCAR. I enrolled him in Bob Bondurant's School of High Performance Driving where he learned all about how to handle a race car and the mechanics and safety of the race car. I didn't want the school to think this was just some spoiled kid coming in. I told them what a special young man he was and how much this all meant to him. They were amazing with him. They told my wife and I they had never had a student that happy and free, learn so fast with so much enthusiasm. They put as much into his schooling as he was putting into it, so that was allot! We were so proud of him. He always had a big smile on his face that drew people to him. He was likeable.

Thru his schooling he realized his dream and became a race car driver. I taught him to weld and use the machine shop in order to build and maintain his race cars and race trucks. He built his race cars and race trucks in my shop and raced in off road races in Parker, AZ and Nevada. He raced in Sports Car Road Racing and Formula Racing. He made it into NASCAR and raced for a well known team. His life was a shining example of the way miracles happen.

All at once he developed a rare aging disease that took him very quickly. I sat with him and asked him how he felt about all that has happened. He was so strong about his answer to me. He said, "Dad, we play the hand we're dealt. You always taught us kids to be strong and work hard. You and mom have given me more than anyone could ask for. I've had a full life packed into a short time. You're the best dad in the whole world."

He faced his death like a man and even cracked a joke about it near the end when he said, "Dad. Will you make sure I have cowboy boots on when I go. I want people to know I died with my boots on". Then he laughed. I laughed with him but turned my head and my tears fell.

The morning he died in his apartment I felt it, I mean really felt it.

I was hurting on a level I had never known. At the same time I felt his innocence, his laughter, his love, his gratitude and his strength.

The aftermath of dealing with our son's death was unfamiliar territory for me. I'd lost friends an family before, but this was my only son. Although my heart was breaking, so was my wife's, all our other children's, our son's aunts and uncles, his grandmother, all his friends hearts. I realized it wasn't only me whose heart was breaking. AA has taught me to rid myself of selfish thoughts and selfish actions and learn take selfless actions and think less of myself and think more of the needs of others. I was never smart enough to come up with those ideas on my own. I learned them in our program. Based on that I was there as a responsible husband for my wife to lean on, I was there as a responsible husband, father, son to my mother, and to his friends and the rest of the family. Their hearts were breaking and they needed someone. I became that person for them. I believe that was what I needed to do. In my drinking daze I would have never been that kind of a man for them all. I am grateful to our AA program for teaching me how to deal with life on life's terms.

Incidentally I have been sent another gift. We have some amazing neighbors. The mother works so hard cleaning at a 2 hotels. She is raising 3 boys who are responsible and giving, no gangs, no drugs, always offering a hand. Those 3 boys and I have become quite close over the past few years as we work on cars and I teach them how to do things. The one with the least amount of self confidence who was failing in school has increased his grades and become a great athlete at his high school. He thanked me for helping him to learn self confidence. All this in this story of mine is nothing I have done on self knowledge. I gave up and surrendered some years ago. AA has taught me the things I need and I truly am amazed and am not even half way through yet. My life is continually filled with more meaning.

Thank you Pete for being here


wow what an amazing share john
thanks my friend i can understand totally that level of pain and how well you are turning it around helping others like those youngsters, that is what this program and way of life does for us as without doubt without aa i know i would have had no chance of being anything like the dad i have been to my kids

thanks again for your post it really did warm my heart up no end to read the last part of it where your out there helping those kids, that is how i learn my lessons is from others examples in aa
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby desypete » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:49 am

kdub720 wrote:Geez, deep topic and awesome responses. I feel that I am doing good, yet out of know where I have gotten cravings, when I thought I was "cured." But I realize that it is just memories of certain times. The depression thing is wild, For me I know I am doing great spiritually yet still battle with the depression thing. I often think of the movie "Waynes World" where wayne says' He thought he had mono for an entire year, but just turned out he was really bored." I think about depression a lot in my own journey. I am glad you all brought it up today.

the one thing that should be spelled out here is that none of us are drs and if someone is feeling depressed they should seek medical help
i know i did when i was feeling so low but when i went to see the dr i was more concerned with the medications she was offering to me so in the end i simply told the dr that i am an alcoholic and i dont wish to put anything mind altering into my body

the dr was very understanding and then started to look at other ways to help me like self help groups to cope with bereavement, which i did try a few times being with other parents who had lost there child, but after a few weeks of them meetings it was clear to me they were living in the moment of pain and some of them there child had been gone 10 years, so they just simply had not moved on and were living the hell in there mind and hearts each and every day as if it happend to them yesterday

i dont mean to sound hard here when i say that but the way we live in aa we are shown to do something about things if we can, not to sit in pity, etc and so the self help group helped me decide what i dont want to be or how i dont want to cope if that makes sense

but over time and its been 5 years now things in my life have got better, the pain is a lot less although i always miss him everyday, i have had to deal with the painful memories of him suffering but i replace them with those memories of how brave he was, and one more thing that stands out to me is
in the end my son of 16 years old was more concerned with me and about me and how i would cope without him than the fact he was going to die

he has a beautiful heart for such a young child

i also remember all his friends who came to our house everyday to be with him, they all shaved there hair off to be like him so he didnt feel out of place when the chemo caused his hair loss
so i try to focus on things like that which shows me the good inside of people which helps me

and of course my number 1 source of my help and strength is you guys in the fellowship of aa who have passed on to me over the years all sorts of things that have helped me to grow
so i thank you
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby JohnDaniels » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:24 am

Thanks Pete

I agree, it's in the giving selflessly.

We've had some tragedies in our lives but in AA we've learned to pick up the tools and go to work.

There's a movie I really like called The Days of Wine and Roses. There's a part in it that has a real powerful effect on me. It's near the end when Lee Remick comes to visit Jack Lemon and their little girl in his apartment after Jack lemon gets sober in AA. Jack Lemon is trying to talk his wife Lee Remick into stopping drinking and going to AA with him. Her reply is "No no no!!! I can't I can't!!! When I stop drinking life is cheap and it's dirty and it's ugly! But when I drink, life is beautiful! Come back and drink with me again."

It ends with him watching her from his upstairs apartment window as she walks past a neon bar sign.

The thing I get from that scene is the way alcohol has a special effect and does something for alcoholics. It changes our perceptions of reality and makes us instantly taller or smarter or makes life more beautiful.
I used to close the divey bars early in the morning trying to drink some beast beautiful. But when I was drunk if she denied me I didn't get crazy over it. I felt SORRY for her! But if I was dry and she denied me I'd want to go out and slit my throat or drive my car off the grand canyon!
It's the way alcohol once gave us that special effect. It's like that song "Abergavenny" from the late 1960's. I chased the dragon for years trying to find that original special effect again. But the more I drank the less and less of that special effect I had until I was eventually drinking to get past the shakes, for the craving, and for the daze. Then drinking simply over one excuse after another. Then over the compulsion and the obsession.

There are things in life that can rip the hearts out of us all. The thing is, folk's like you and I have found our answers in AA to deal with life's pains and life's pleasures. I work the phones on the midnight shift for Central Office. One night I got a call from a guy who said he got drunk because the sunset was just too beautiful and he just couldn't stand it!
An example of how we can learn in AA to deal with the beauty in life too. =biggrin
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby positrac » Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:34 am

Lee Remick comes to visit Jack Lemon

Well acted by both stars and I never liked the movie once the abuse of the drink came into play. I believe the Jack Lemmon also played death of a salesman and another movie I never finished because it hit so close to home growing up.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.
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