[So, yesterday I had an appeal hearing down in Indianapolis. A very important hearing. Something that I have been working very hard at for quite some time now, and as I wrote about in ‘Felons’ it is once again my background coming up to thwart my progress. During the whole back-and-forth of the hearing, which was very emotionally charged, I kind of went off on a tangent. At first I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so lead to talk about this, but I went with it anyways. As the appeal hearing unfolded, I realized it was a good thing that I followed this nudge…]
While I was living out the whole ‘Hostages’ experience down in Georgia, in the apartment we saved up for while living in the woods- some neighbor friends of ours knocked on the door. We had made many friends in the complex. Our door was always being knocked on. We had the party spot. Everyday was an open invitation to come on over and drink, smoke, or sniff yourself to the moon. No wonder we didn’t ever last long anywhere. But anyways, on this day, a young couple we smoked weed with occasionally knocked on the door. After checking the peep hole out of habit and paranoia, I opened the door to see the male of the couple holding a large cardboard box. “What’s up?” I asked them. I leaned forward expecting to see a case of beer or several bottles of booze in the box. Instead, inside this large brown box was a puppy. The cutest little white puppy-just covered in little black speckles. He even had the most perfect black patch over his right eye- Just to the left, as you look at him, of the massive gaping wound in his forehead. It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen.
I have always loved animals. Animals have always loved me. I don’t know why, but I have just always felt connected to them some how. Especially dogs. I don’t know if it’s because I pick up on the traits in them that I myself posses, like loyalty, unconditional love, friendship, and companionship. Or if its just something more simple, like the fact that I just love dogs. At any rate, this site hit me right in the feels. It actually hurt me to see such a cute little helpless dog hurt so badly. It was really bad. The center of his little face was completely laid open, all the way to the bone. And the smell that was coming off of him was enough to make someone puke. You could actually see where some of his face was actually starting to sort of rot while he was alive. It was clear that this poor pooch had been suffering like this for quite some time.
“We found him like this, on the side of Old Highway 85, and we knew that you were the person to bring him to.” “What should we do?” “We couldn’t just let him die there.”
I’m not sure exactly what happened to this poor dog, either someone did this to him on purpose or he got hit by a car. It didn’t matter, he needed some help. He was shaken badly and scared to death. You could see it in his little dark eyes. I couldn’t believe he was still alive. The infection alone should have killed him, it stunk like nothing I have ever smelled before. The flesh around the outer parts of his wound was turning an indistinguishable color and if he didn’t receive help soon, he was going to die.
“Give him here.”
And I called my buddy across the complex to come over with his golf cart- we were going to the vet.
The vet agreed to check him out, and look him over for free. It was indeed an emergency. But that was about as far as he was willing to go for free. “800$” he said.
There was no way we could produce that kinda money. Not a chance. So I did the only thing I could do at this point, I begged. I pleaded with these people to please help my new friend here. I told them what they already knew, that this dog was going to die, couldn’t help himself and had no one else to help him. I think I even said, “You became a vet because you love animals, right? Well love this one, please!” And after about thirty minutes of pleading the pooch’s case, the doctor agreed to help him at no cost. He was going to be okay, we hoped. about an hour and half later they brought the little speckled guy out in a little plastic box. He was sedated, but he was going to be okay. All we had to do was love him, and apply this ointment to his stitches twice a day until the tube was gone. And we did both daily.
We named him “Ruckus” because after a while, that’s what he was. He was absolutely insane. In a good way. He was so happy and full of life after being rescued that he would get these little episodes of what we could only call “the zooms”, where he would just go bonkers and run all over the house barking and wagging his tail. He was very grateful to be alive and loved. And if anyone so much as raised their voice around me or my friend, Ruckus was the first one to let you know to calm it down. He was our friend, and our protector. He was very happy and loved.
So, what in the hell does this have to do with anything? And why in your right mind would you bring this up in an appeal hearing in Indy, Herb? how can any of this possibly go along with what you’ve been talking about thus far?
Well, you see, the point I was making to these suits down in Indy was this:GRATITUDE.
Ruckus was a good dog, because he was so grateful.
Addicts in recovery are great employees, fathers, mothers, sons, brothers, sisters, and friends, because of their gratitude. Remember, gratitude in a key element, at least for me in my recovery- because I WAS that lost pup on the side of the road. I was the one left for dead. I was the one absolutely chewed up by life and just waiting to die, but for whatever reason, I was spared. I was pardoned. I have been shown Grace, Mercy, and Love. Somethings that, at one point in my life I was certain I would never again experience. I was lost. Broken. Dead. Gone. A forgotten statistic.
And I think that that is one of the things that really makes recovery so special:The gratitude around here. I meet so many amazing people day in and day out, who you would not want to trade problems with- even in recovery. Life doesn’t stop coming at us, just because we get clean. But my best day using pales in comparison to my worst day clean. There is just something about hitting those bottoms, that creates such an attitude of gratitude and appreciation for us, once we get to the other side. If we make it. I have indeed experienced hell on earth. True hopelessness. Woe. Bottom. And death on the inside. I have experienced things that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
“My life today, even the bad days, is lived with a deep core sense of gratitude to be living, breathing, and free. I truly appreciate every little blessing and opportunity that comes my way. And if granted this opportunity, sir, I will settle for nothing less than my absolute best, day in and day out. And that is why I believe I deserve this opportunity sir.”
“Nothing further, sir. Thank you for the opportunity to hear me out this morning, and thank you for your careful consideration.”
And my appeal hearing was finished.