Ya know, I can’t make anyone admit they have a problem, nor can I make anyone get sober. I’m not “Harvey Milk” and I’m not here to recruit you. All I can do is share my own experience, strength and hope. The rest is up to you. With that being said……..With the holidays upon us and another year almost over, I can’t help but reflect….
In just a few weeks, I will be 45 years of age (Dammit man that hurts to say..Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, let’s just keep that on the DL! LOL) Sadly enough, I spent more than half my life in a drug or drink induced fog…..Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had more than my share of blessings over the years, but I was always too damn tore up to appreciate any of it.
Four years of sobriety have seemed to just fly by and it’s not really a long period of time either. In the world of recovery, I’m still a baby. However comma, in that time, to say I have been truly blessed would be an understatement. I have become a reliable, dependable person whom people have come to count on, trust and actually like. I can look in the mirror and actually not get disgusted by the reflection looking back at me. I’ve become the kind of partner my wife deserves to have and I have realized that I have much to be grateful for even when I’m going over those potholes that life throws in my way. I’ve been given the ability to think more of others than I think of myself without any expectations of anything in return……and I like it. Looking back at the person I was four years ago, the person I just described did not exist.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I spent a life time in misery, havoc and mayhem and to me, it was all “normal” It wasn’t until I got sober that I actually saw the destruction, wreckage and pain I caused exactly for what it was and how far back all that damage went. In four short years, I’ve discovered a happiness I never knew existed and all I had to do was put the bottle down and follow a few suggestions. Unbeknownst to me at the time, there were blessings even before I gave it up….Truth be told, I should be dead right now or at the very least, dieing of liver failure or wet brain due to the way I drank. Why I’m not is not for me to question, all I can say with the utmost certainty is that I am here by the Grace of God and I have no doubt about that. I’ll be forever grateful and acknowledge those blessings every day of my life. With my sobriety, I’ve been given a second chance and if I screw it up, I know I won’t get another one. Oh, believe me I DO have another relapse in me, what I don’t have, is another recovery. If (God forbid) I go back out, I will surely drink myself to death in a very short period of time.
With every year that passes, I discover more and more about who “I” am and what I’m capable of. With every year, it’s a new series of lessons to learn and challenges to over come. This past year my life has been no different. This year has shifted in a different direction that I never saw coming and I’ve had the pleasure of being given the opportunity to explore it. Change has never been something I dealt well with and I’ll admit it terrifies me but my sobriety has allowed me to jump in with both feet and have faith. I’ve been given the opportunity to use my experience and bad choices in a more positive way. To reach out to others about this deadly disease on a much bigger scale by writing these blogs, I’ve been honored to be the co-host of the “Pit Stop” online radio show on GSHRADIO.COM and a partner in crime who is just as crazy as I am…well maybe not AS crazy, but has the same strong desire to help others as I do and who ( in my mind ) is a prime example of what a true friend should be.
I’ve also discovered….or should I say I’ve rediscovered my passion for Male Illusion but in a way that I didn’t see coming. I still love to be on the stage entertaining people, but I’ve realized that I no longer “Need” to be the center of attention in the spotlight on a regular basis. I’m finding that I enjoy being behind the scenes being an advocate and mentor to others. Granted, it’s very frustrating at times, but I’m up for the challenge. I want others to see my crowns, titles and accomplishments as ANYTHING is possible IF you work for it and not give up. I don’t want them to view them as just bragging rights and egotism. I want to give the newbies a firm leg to stand on by teaching them about Male Illusion as Gage, Wolfie (Pop) and many others taught me over the years. They gave me the respect for the art of male illusion, the tools I needed to move forward and the freedom to explore my own possibilities. There’s no way I would have accomplished the things I have been blessed to have accomplish without them.
Being a creature of habit for so very long, it amazes me how my whole way of doing things and thinking seemed to have done a complete 180 in such a short period of time. It’s become second nature to me. This is gonna sound batshit crazy to some who may be reading this but I am grateful for my alcoholism. If it weren’t for my madness and the bottom I was forced to hit thanks to a very special friend, if it weren’t for the support of others and a firm but loving sponsor to help me find my way back, I would never have become the person that I am today. Life, even at it’s worst is amazing for me today but I don’t take it for granted. I have to work my own program on a daily basis and constantly remind myself that if I stop doing what I need to do, I could loose it all in an instant. I have no idea what 2015 holds for me, but I’m ready and as long as I maintain my sobriety, there are no limitations.
I don’t believe I’ve ever said this before, but I would like to thank Susan Guiterez for giving me the opportunity to share my experience, strength and hope on the pages of We are 1 voice. I also want to thank everyone who has given me their unconditional love and support over the years even though my dark days. I also want to thank my co-host and partner in crime; Vinnie Marconi for pulling me into the Pit Stop and bringing it to life. You sir, are the heart beat of the show and I’m honored to be your copilot. (Special thanks to Greg and Victor for coming up with the concept and giving us the forum, it wouldn’t be possible without either of you) and last but not least, I want to say a very humble thank you to my readers.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist