Being that I am living in the Philippines and the peso to the dollar doesn’t account for jack squat, I have no money for advertising or promoting my book, The Price For Harmony. I tweet quite a bit and post to Facebook, but that’s about … Continue reading I Can’t Believe it…
There is a quote I like from one of my favorite authors, Henry Miller. In his book titled Big Sur And The Oranges Of Hieronymus Bosch he states : “The more aware we become the more we perceive there is a relation to right living and good fortune.” I came across this book and found that sentence when I was still in my early twenties– a time when the world seemed dark, dead and chaotic. Although I couldn’t grasp the concept fully at that stage in my life, that quote always played an echo around my brain stem. Now here I am in my youthful forties and I understand more what Miller was saying. It isn’t just your actions that constitute right living. It is also how you think, respond, love and which emotions you want to give energy to.
One thing I have learned on my lonesome is that when you have faith and patience things tend to just fall into place. Sometimes that’s a sharp sword to swallow. I realize that today this sort of “new age” thinking has saturated the public eye and media to the point where it seems so commonplace and mundane. Every talk show has some guy who wrote a book about how to make things happen in your life. Ever since the success of the book and film The Secret (which I first watched while I was in jail on alcohol related charges) many self proclaimed guru’s of the law of attraction have jumped on the bandwagon. Some may actually be genuine, but many are just plain full of it.
One of my greatest teachers was the late Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. Sadly he passed away peacefully in his sleep late last year and the young age of 75. This man was a living Buddha if ever there was one. It truly is because of his direction that I have been able to achieve many of the fortunate things that have occurred and continue to occur in my life and that I was able to find the place inside of me that led me to stop many of my self destructive habits. From his books and talks I learned how being anxious and full of worry actually push away the things you desire. Now I simply step aside and allow the the forces that be to take charge and do what they will. Then respond. I state my intention or desire in a positive way then just let it go. And go on with my life and watch the miracles start to happen. And they DO happen.
I’m not just talking small miracles either. I am talking about solutions to seemingly impossible situations. Recently my book Thirteen Years Of Dust was picked up by GenZ publishing. A miracle there in itself. But as its states in my contract, upon publication the author is required to purchase at least 20 copies of his/her book for promotions and signings and conventions. This is the only out of pocket expense and sounds rather fair to me. But the obstacle for me was–I don’t have that kind of cash. By that kind I mean U.S. dollars. I live on Philippine peso which is considerably worth less on the global market.
So I started a gofundme campaign (which is still going on). It was the most reasonable thing to do. At first a few donations trickled in from some family members which I was extremely grateful for. Then nothing. Darkness. Time was running out. But I didn’t worry. The old me would have lost sleep over it. What did I do? I trusted waited and chanted. A good friend of mine asked me, “How can you be so calm?” I have to laugh a little. Would getting upset and anxious get me anywhere? I just waited and did what I could. Posting on Facebook and Twitter. Talking to people here and there. Then yesterday two donations came in totalling 200 USD! This put me way over the halfway mark and actually gave me something to work with! Now will I say being anxious and nervous would have caused this not to happen? No I can’t say that. But I can say I had a more peaceful journey and was ready to accept any outcome.
This is just a small example. It has become more and more apparent to me that whatever I focus my energy and thoughts on shows up in my life. Sometimes it’s the strangest things. Sometimes it’s not even what I wanted, but it was what I thought about. If thoughts can form your dreams then they can also form your reality.
There are just a few things to keep in mind. The first is to remember that you are only limited by Krishna (God) and your own imagination. The other is you cannot go against Krishna’s will. (Here I use the Name Krishna because of my religion. Use any name for God you wish!) Surrendering is the only way. I am living proof.
Love, Peace and Harmony
Born in the USA to Indian parents, then then raised and educated in London, Special Agent Shriya Thakur joined the FBI after she returned to America to reclaim her right as a citizen. She was trained as a field agent, but because of her small size and British accent, she’s been riding the pine doing backround checks for the past nine years. When the opportunity opened up for her to transfer to Akron’s Cold Case unit, she jumped at the chance to get out from behind the desk. Unknown to her, the FBI had very little faith in her abilities in the field at the time and only granted her the position because they didn’t expect these cases to get solved. Then she met Duke Bradley and everything changed. Not only for her and her career, but for Duke’s universe too.
Here is what Duke says when he fist laid eyes on her:
“She was a doll, I mean a real dish. She looked to be all of about thirty-three with a petite frame and this natural lusty, black hair which was pulled back tight, like a medieval facelift and seemed to be held in place by some wizard’s spell. It was soft and wavy in places, and frizzy in others as if she had just met up with a dose of lightning. Her eyes were sideways teardrops with a deep chocolate center and black mascara lines along the bottom lid. She had slim lips, no lipstick, and a high forehead with thin arching eyebrows and tiny hairs that forgot to grow sideways where the two almost met in the middle. Her cheekbones rode high on either side of her celestial nose and her jaw tapered down, like the bottom of a valentine heart, but then rounded into a slight dimple in her chin.
She glanced up from her reading for a mere second, then decided afterwards I deserved another check, this time, a bit more stealthful and not long enough for me to motion to her, but I could tell she was looking.
Her skin was the color of toasted almonds, but I was sure it would be darker in the summer once it gets a good load of sunshine. She had on a sour cream colored button down with short sleeves that slid into her Khaki pants smooth as an iron on decal. A gold badge clung to her belt on the left side of her narrow waist and her empty gun holster was on the right. By complete accident and totally unintentional, I happened to notice the blue lace of her bra saying hello where the buttons at her bust line separated. Especially when I let my head tilt just a hair to the right. Another mystery I was more than eager to solve.”
Thirteen Years of Dust is a cult classic in the making. You will surely be fascinated by Duke Bradley and absolutely fall in love with Special Agent Shriya Thakur. Watch for it’s release and more in this series!
Things are picking up. I opened my product page this morning to find a couple more reviews both with 5 star ratings. Nothing could tickle me more. Now for my ARC I chose both people whom I knew would be gentle and those who would really crack it apart. People I know who know books and who know Noir and mysteries. At any rate, I’ll just get to the reviwes. This first one is fom a guy I have known since kindergarten and lost touch over the years, but just recently rekindled our childhood friendship. I asked him to be a reviewer and he agreed. Here is his review.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat read from a great author
By Amazon Customer on February 4, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
I’ve known the writer my whole life. Was surprised to hear he’s a writer. Being from Akron Ohio, this book has the gritty feel of my hometown. Very good read. Characters are believable. Very well written look forward to more from the author. Way to go Jeff. EVERYONE READ THIS BOOK!!!!!! And again thanks Jeff for early release.”
Great review and honest.
Now onto the surprising one. This next one caught me offguard and made me feel all tingly. He captured just about eveything I set out to acomplish in my debut novel for Duke Bradley, Private Eye. I only know this reviewer from Facebook and have never met him in person. We share one thing in common and thats a love of old movies. Now on to his review.
5.0 out of 5 starswith his dislike for sticking to the rules
By Keith A on February 4, 2016
Duke Bradley, Private Eye, with his dislike for sticking to the rules, his wisecracks, and his beloved (only to him) coconut straw fedora, tries to move beyond his past demons and his pathetically empty pockets to go after the reward on an unsolved murder case that has been sitting cold for thirteen years. With precious little time before his eviction is carried out, Duke needs the money the way he used to need his bourbon, as if his next breath wouldn’t be possible without it. The more he boldly sticks his nose into unsavory places, the less assurance we have that he will be granted that next breath.
Duke narrates his investigation like a detective stuck in an intriguing 1940s film noir, with a tinge of update to keep him up with the times. Duke is not without his prejudices and impatience, and makes far from a perfect hero, but you can’t help but love him anyway. He enlists the help of FBI Special Agent Shriya Thakur, simply because he needs a ride and her extra access, but she has more to offer than he expects.
The dialogue crackles with descriptive language that flows endlessly from Thompson’s pen. Thompson, as he notes in his forward, knows a thing or two about addiction and he uses that knowledge to make every hint of Duke’s struggle ring with honesty. Even sober, with his last drink sitting untouched for years, as this murder case has been, it doesn’t stop his addiction from tantalizingly calling him at every opportunity.
Thirteen Years of Dust offers what was so compelling about those past noirs, a great ride with dialogue that snaps knowingly and an engaging detective who doesn’t even try to be perfect, but who always stays one step ahead of us while we have to try to keep up.
-Keith Allison, humane educator for the Ethical Choices Program and author of What if the Shoe Were On the Other Hoof?
What a great review. He is an author himself of a great book called WHAT IF THE SHOE WAS ON THE OTHER HOOF? and a humane educator for the Ethical Choices program.This man’s ethics cannot be questioned, so his review is about as honest as they come.
Anyway, it’s another hot day in the Philippines. This heat is going to kill me one day I know it. We could use some good rain, or at least a skyfull of grey clouds..that I would like. Reminds me of home. Akron, Ohio. That is also the setting for the Duke Bradley mysteries.
I think I’ll share a little bit of what I am working on now. The next in the series. No title yet. just take a quick gander. Unedited and not yet juiced up but might give you an idea what to look for.
—-“I walked down Main and came upon the Civic theatre. The marquette was a lit up with the announcement of a Noir film festival for the coming weekend. I kicked around the idea of buying a ticket and getting a seat. Well, two seats. I knew Shriya would enjoy it, but then I would have to listen to her mimic their slang for the next week and a half. Maybe longer. That would ruin the whole thing for me.
I have seen all the films on the menu, but not on the big screen like they did back in the 40’s. I love the old black and white Noirs. Don’t make them like that anymore and they probably wouldn’t fly nowadays. People want shit exploding and sadism. The simple crook just isn’t fancy enough for people these days. Maybe that’s for tv.
Nothing is black and white anymore. It’s all gray. The real Noir is over. Those black days are gone no matter how hard someone tries to hold onto it. Even me. I’m not true Noir. I was born too late.
Maybe a new type of film and literature, Mystere Gris. That’s French for “grey mystery”. Came up with it myself. In those movies it seems the sun never shines and everything good happens at night. Well I am here to tell you it ain’t so. Sometimes the sun is shining bright as hell and you still feel like shit. Then others you can be happy as a hyena and it’s all gray and gloomy like I like it.
Akron is a gray city with gray buildings and overcast gray skies a lot of the time. the lake effect they call it I think. Since it sits so close to Lake Erie, it gets a lot of rain and clouds coming off the water. Down from Canada. Thanks k’nuks.”
Just a short teaser. Gotta a long way to go before the next one is on the shelves. My advice to you? Pick up Thirteen Years of Dust. It’s only a buck right now. I mean it’s a dollar–I don’t think it will kill you to try. Especially with these reviews. What do you have to lose?
Thank you and Goodnight.
Two days of drizzle. Not bad. I would prefer a good pouring, but I have to take what is given. At any rate, it’s a glorious grey, Mystere Gris day. The perfect kind of day for writing.
I am an American living in a third world country. An ex-pat they call it and I am not an ex-anything. Well, an ex-drinker. Anyway, living here and trying to exist like an American is complicated. I call it Amerikano living with a twist. There are a lot of limitations and many, many things that are just not available here.
Books are one thing that is rare to come across. (BTW I do accept old paperback book donations–mysteries and adventure. No romance. Literary and classics always welcome.) Not many people here actually read, and English isn’t their cup of joe. They have the most annoying expression when English is presented. They grab their face and scream “OH! English! I am getting a nose bleed!” They live under the impression that speaking English causes the nose to begin bleeding. I have been speaking English for more than 40 years and never once got a nose bleed. The peculiar thing is all of the important newspapers are in English. The road signs, advertisements, signs at the mall, t.v. shows, even a lot of radio stations. English English English. I go to buy medicine at the pharmacy and the tech makes a huge production about how she cannot understand English. But is very good at her job. All the medications, instructions and dosages and all the textbooks are in–yep you guessed it–ENGLISH.
So yesterday I got a good surprise. Another American I know just returned here from a few months stateside. He popped into my work for just a moment and gave me some goodies that he knew I was missing. A box of Cream of Wheat and a bottle of Old Spice aftershave. I couldn’t thank him enough.
There exists a certain camaraderie among the foreigners living here. No matter what you hear about The Philippines, I am here to tell you they are an extremely prejudiced and racist group of people. Not a day goes by that I am not ridiculed. My friend, too. Unless–unless you have a lot of money. Then they leave you alone. Then and only then are they nice to you and warm and friendly. As soon as they find out you aren’t ‘rich’ by their standards–well, they treat their dogs better. And they don’t treat their dogs very well.
Honestly though they think they are doing well. It’s all ego driven. they want the American lifestyle and line up to leave The Philippines, yet refuse to think like an American. You cannot live like an American and think like an American unless you adopt the American ideals. That’s what leads us Americans living here to kind of stick together. That and a good dose of English now and again.
We are a bunch of guys that wouldn’t normally mix back in the States. I mean take for instance my buddy, Doug. He is 70 years old, retired sailor. An airplane mechanic most of his life both private and for the US Navy. He is a big guy with a barrel of a belly and slicked back dirty grey hair that used to be blonde. And even at is age he has the kindest blue eyes I have ever seen on a guy. Now, taking all that into account and knowing me. We really couldn’t be more different in our likes and hobbies and even political and religious stances–BUT we have two common things that bind us–ENGLISH and the USA.
I am not talking USA the land, or the states or even the government. I am talking USA the ideology and the attitude of the American. “Get ‘er dun!’ as Larry the cable guy used to holler.
The main attitude here is “Do it for me or not at all. It’s too hard.” I can’t stand it.
Cream of Wheat. You know, I grew up on the stuff and I really got tired of it after awhile. Then after about a year here, I started looking for it. Not that I have the money to buy imported goods (hershey bars are imported here–very expensive. I accept donations on chocolate as well!) No Cream of Wheat. No grits. In fact, cereal is very limited here.Here they take rice from the night before–fry it up– or boil it with chocolate powder –and call THAT breakfast. No sir–I need my cereal. So at long last when Douglas, my American friend, told me he was going home for the holidays, I jumped on him right away. Cream of Wheat and Old Spice. There is no better after shave, in my humble opinion, than Old Spice. He returned two days ago and I am pleased as punch about it.
So I am going to sit here and wait for him to come by and chat. The skies are still gloomy. Makes me think of Akron. A bowl of cream of wheat and gloomy skies and I am a happy guy.
Thank you and GoodNight
Four years ago yesterday I was on the tail end of a pretty good three week bender. Four years ago today, I started my first twenty four hours without a drink. I haven’t had a drink since. Four years is a long time between cocktails. And I can honestly say that I KNOW I will never have another drink.
How can I make such a claim? I know many who have been in recovery facilities and twelve step programs would say this is a dangerous statement to make. That I am an alcoholic and always will be and the next drink is out there. Yes that is true, I am an alcoholic and yes that next drink is out there. But I won’t drink it.
So it has been four years after a lifetime battle to put it down. Each dry period lasting maybe several weeks to a month or so. This time it’s four years. What changed? Some would say will power. Not even close. I never had the will power to do it before, why all of a sudden would I be able to muster up the strength to stop so suddenly? What’s more to never put alcohol in my body again. Just because I haven’t taken a drink doesn’t make me sober, that would just make me dry. A dry drunk they call it. So you may ask again. What changed? My thinking.
I used to think like a drunk. Selfish and incoherent thoughts, hell bent on destruction and pleasure seeking. An ego that wouldn’t let things go and a determination to be justified and correct in all my actions. I was the general manager of the universe. Being drunk only inflated this thinking, this mindset. Being dry and meeting the people I have met showed me how to live without alcohol, not tolerate my relapses. That led to sobriety.
The focus, however, is what happened four years ago today that led to where I am now. As I said I was on a three week bender at the time. Now, my benders evolved over time. When I was younger I could drink and drink and still function, even go to work. Some would get a little suspicious, perhaps detect a little alcohol on my breath, but never a substantial reason to accuse me of being drunk. There were times, as a chef, that I would come out of a blackout and would find myself being congratulated for one of the greatest shifts I had ever run. Go figure that one out.
Into my thirty’s I began to lose that ability. I started getting sloppy. It was taking more for me to maintain my edge. My ‘trick’ was to take a gatorade bottle, pour most of it out, leaving just enough for color and fill the rest with vodka. Then I would go to work. That then progressed to the big water bottle. I worked in restaurants where drinks were provided for the staff. Then during my shifts I would lose my edge. My speech would get slurred, my actions uncontrolled. Still no one could figure out why. My excuse? Blood sugar was low. Cooked that one up and it got me out of a lot of scrapes. Low blood sugar. When things would get really bad I would go to the detox center for a couple of days. there they would give you a generic doctor’s excuse for missing work, but never gave the reason why.
After three Dui’s, time in jail, loss of jobs, eviction, debt, relationship disasters, loss of my vehicle and friends to the point where I was unemployable, forbidden from my mothers house and my phone never ringing I still didn’t stop. All of that gave me reason to drink more.
I was right! I am always right! And they were all treating me poorly!
My health was taking a dive.
I called AA, pleaded with God, began attending meetings and reading all of the literature. My dry spells got longer in which I was able to begin putting my life back together, ‘I’ was back in charge. I even moved into a “sober house” with other alcoholics and regular meetings. I did everything I could think of and I still ended up drunk.
I started working with a guy I met online who lived here in the Philippines. He hammered AA into me. Put me to work. After 17 months of chatting with him I moved to the Philippines and got married and was living with him in his house. Turned out to be a disaster, not because I got drunk, but many other issues. But as a result of that failure I went out and got drunk.
My wife held things together. I was in a strange country with strange customs and we didn’t have any money because of a scam. We moved around in between my benders.
Now my benders consist of drinking and nothing else. When I take a drink now I lose all control. And that’s where I was four years ago yesterday. For three weeks I would drink, pass out, get up sit in a chair and drink. I didn’t shower, I barely ate and I didn’t move. The only time I would move was to search the house for where my wife hid the money then go out and buy another bottle because she wouldn’t do it for me.
My wife had put in a phone call to a woman in AA here named Maggie. She is an american of Filipino descent. I had met her online through AA websites. She put me in touch with Jim. Jim became my sponsor. That was four years ago yesterday. He drove an hour down to see me. We talked, he bought me a coffee then dropped me back off at home. Little did he know, or maybe he did, that planted something in me in that brief meeting that started me on this path toward freedom from addiction to alcohol. Yes I say addiction to alcohol. I am an alcoholic, but that addiction is merely a symptom of a much deeper problem, my lack of spirituality.
In the Philippines, they have what is called Sari-Sari stores. They are everywhere. They are little stores for candy, cigarettes, soap..well pretty much anything you need including rice and canned goods. There was one right outside of my door and on the morning of September 18th 2011 my wife had given up on me and she was sitting outside of that store talking with the neighbors. I was still inside with a half a bottle of gin that I had bought from that very store. My wife wasn’t going to stop me anymore.
I hadn’t bathed in over week. I felt sick and I could barely lift my head. I grabbed that bottle of gin and finished it off. The panic immediately set in. I needed another bottle. It was a familiar feeling, one that I would get as soon as I opened a bottle and took a drink. How was I going to get the next bottle?
I wiped my chin and stood up. It took me a few tries. I was going outside to get another bottle. I knew my wife was out there, holding my infant son. I didn’t give a good goddamn. I needed that drink. I started to walk outside and before I got to the door I heard a voice. It was inside of me and outside of me. Above me and behind me. The voice simply said, as if with a sigh “That’s enough.”
I walked outside and I looked at my wife. Her eyes glared at me with a mangled hatred and disappointment that used to be love and respect. “Another bottle?” She asked me, dripping with sarcasm.
“That’s enough.” Said I. “Coffee.”
That was my last drink.
Only another alcoholic can understand the hopelessness, terror and gloomy damnation we face when we are drinking. The frightening moments in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep, shaking, sweating. Waiting until morning for the stores to open, knowing the jeers and the tongue clicking we will have to endure in order to get to that drink. Even we get drunk we remain painfully aware of the damage we are causing, especially when we are the head of the family. We are aware, but we simply don’t care. We ALLOW alcohol to take over.
Earlier I mentioned in my dry periods the word ” I ” a lot. That is what I thought it was all about. And that’s why I could never get sober and even today I know that ‘ I ‘ can’t do it.
To answer the question “What changed?” I allowed God to take over. I heard that voice.
The only way we can stay sober and live without alcohol is to undergo a spiritual awakening. The only way to undergo a spiritual awakening is to let go. Realize that we cannot do it.
Jim had said one thing to me I will never ever forget. The first step in AA is “We admitted we are Alcoholic and our lives had become unmanageable.” Seems easy and it is. Admitting it takes no guts at all, in fact I used it as an excuse to drink. People would say “Hey why do you drink so much?”
“Leave me alone, I’m an alcoholic! I admit it!”
But what Jim told me was we have to ACCEPT that we are alcoholic. He said to me as soon as you accept it, you will never have another drink. And I did just that. And I haven’t had a drink since. I am closer to God as I have ever been and am finding more ways everyday to get closer and stay close with HIM.
Some would say I am fanatical about God, and my religion is strict and strange. I can only answer: When you have been to hell, you will do whatever it takes to get to the other side. No matter what.
In four years I have not been to an AA meeting. In my area there aren’t any, the ones that do exist are very far, and the general attitude of the Filipino is that alcoholism is not a disease, but a lack of will power, so we can only hope at some point in the future they come around and join the millions of people across the world that sees this malady for what it is.
I still keep in touch with Maggie from time to time through facebook. My son is growing and I can be a father to him. My daughter was born 7 months ago and has never seen her daddy drunk. My wife is happier. My relationship with my family back in the states is strong. I have real friends now. I have written three books this year (a life long dream to be a writer) and although they may not be that good, my writing is maturing and I am doing it. I couldn’t have done it drunk, and I couldn’t have done it without God. Some would say many other writers were alkies and made it big. I say good for them. Most of them are dead now. I would rather write sober.
As for Jim, well he was murdered by his wife and her boyfriend on christmas eve 2011. I think about him constantly.
I left this essay raw and unedited. These are my thoughts for today. They may seem bland, rough and not well thought out. Four years ago my head was so foggy I couldn’t even put together two sentences. It stands how it is.
I am so grateful to God, to AA, to Maggie and Jim. To my mother and sisters for standing by me. And to my wife for not completely giving up. Thank you is all I can ever say.
Thank you and goodnight