All along, I was never really,
Quite that strong.
I had thought, had wished I were.
But, only time,
Reveals truth in the end.
Yet, it’s not end.
I hear a still small voice whisper.
This evening,
I find myself stronger,
Than I ever imagined,
Myself to be.
But, only time,
Reveals truth in the end.

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The Veil, and the struggle within.

The greatest forces we fight in life are not from without, but simply within.
We are truly our own worst critic, and our own worst enemy.
We fail to see the beauty in life, because of the veil.
A veil of our own creation.
Yet, it’s thru this veil, that only shadows we see.
Shadows of long ago, of times gone past.
Shadows of our present state, as harsh as it may be.
Simply a veil.  A covering.
It covers our secrets.  It seems to protect.
Yet, truth be told, only leads to suffering, and, more suffering,  in the end.
Can this enemy be conquered?  Can the veil be removed?
Can we face the life as it is, and simply move on?
That answer if simply up to you, and me,  my friend.  HB

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Love in It’s Purest. The Example.

I awoke this morning,
From an amazing, yet perplexing dream.
A dream or reality,
It was hard to tell.
The impression it left,
Was one I would ponder for hours.

I had a visit from a dear, old friend.
One I hadn’t spoken to,
In quite some years.
The conversation ensued,
Into the wee morning hours.
We had so much catching up to do.

We spoke of so many things.
But, it was clear.
The one subject that was prominent,
On both our minds,
Was one I had pondered for years.
In fact, sought.
The subject was simply love.

I had many questions of my friend.
What is true love?
Can this love be found,
In an existence that’s gone mad?
In a world philosophy that teaches,
To each his own.

I have loved, and been loved.
I’ve known the feeling,
And, I’ve known the emptiness,
Once the feeling has passed.
I’ve uttered the phrase,
At times without real meaning.

Yet, the love I’ve sought, and seek
To understand.
Is one that goes beyond feelings.
A love that simple words cannot express.
Simply about love.
A love deeper still.

A love without origin,
It has no beginning, no end.
It knows no boundaries.
Has no hills to ascend,
No valleys to cross over.
Has nothing to prove.
Love in it’s purest form.

Love that has no thought,
Or treasure it’s own.
In it’s richest form,
It’s simply a gift to others.
It knows no race, belief system, or creeds.
There is no discrimination where true love abounds.
If only this world, could understand.

It has no earthly origin.
Sickness or disease,
Can never conquer it’s end.
For there simply are no judgements,
Where true love abounds.
“Haven’t I left the example,
For the world to see?”
My friend interjected.
For love in it’s purest form,
“Was never about me.”

As the conversation drew to a close,
My friend turned, and looked at me,
Before he walked away.
“My friend,” he said, “The love
That you seek, can never be found,
In a book, a place, or someone.”

“Love in it’s purest form,
Can only be found within.
It’s only when we find Love within,
That it can naturally flow out.
And, that my friend, was my story.
My end.  The example for the world to see.”  HB

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Can America Stand, in the Midst of it All?

This week my heart has truly been saddened by the recent tragedy that took place in San Bernardino, CA, and my thoughts and prayers have been with the victims, their families, and friends all over the world.

However, my heart is deeply troubled and concerned about the state and future of our country…The United States of America, our beloved homeland.  I admit, I am a man of little understanding.  And, for the life of me, I just cannot  understand how something like this can occur.  Or rather, why we as a country, one nation, under God, can allow this to occur.  And, we can sugar coat this however we may, but the truth is, as a nation, we, allowed this to happen,  and, it will only get worse, if we continue on the course we are on.

I recall within the first days after this tragedy took place, very few called it an act of terrorism.  Even our leaders at the highest level were reluctant to call it an act of terrorism until “furtherflag-at-half-mast-2” investigation took place.  The truth is, it was an act of terrorism from the very beginning.  Domestic, or international, it was terrorism at it’s finest.  And, in watching the news today, we know it was a terrorist attack connected to ISIS.  But, this is the one thing I cannot grasp, the one thing I don’t get.  The FBI knew nothing of this family.  They were under no surveillance.  No watch.  But, yet they knew (FBI) that they had been in contact with international terrorist cells.  Yet, that in itself  was of no concern.  Seriously!   And, today we are calling it the greatest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.  That concerns me, as an American.  It really strengthens my faith in our government, that our “presidents” strategy” is working.

How can we as a country be the world’s keeper, when we cannot keep our own?  How can we police terrorism abroad, when we cannot police it at home?  Just questions I find myself asking.

I’ve never been a big fan of Donald Trump, but he said something recently that I’ve been thinking for a while.  It went something like this, ” If America continues on the course she is on, America will fall.”  And, I believe that is a fatal truth.  We are at a turning point in our nation.  There are a lot of issues that America is facing today.  But, everything is secondary when it comes to protecting our nation and national security;  That for ourselves, and all future Americans.   We need to protect our home first, from within, then from without.  And, I just think we as American’s need to wake up to the realities of the America we are living in, or, one day, we will wake up, and there will be no America at all.   HB


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Tribute to World AIDS Day

Happy December 1st everyone! Join with me as I am reminded that today is World AIDS day. A day set aside to remember those who have lost the battle to AIDS. A day set aside to support and show compassion to those who are living with HIV. A day set aside to remind us all to continue on in the fight to end HIV forever. A day set aside to raise awareness in the hopes of ending fear and stigma, still so ever present, and, prevents so many from being tested, from wanting to know their status. I could go on and on, but we can no longer live in silence while screaming for a cure. We are the cure. It’s not a brilliant idea, as one recently suggested to a post I had written. It can be a reality. But, it’s a reality we must actively pursue. Love yourself, and much love to you all. HB


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Day 6: The Road to Recovery

Once I came to a place where I could honestly say that I had a problem, I tried like hell to avoid one thing…..Withdrawal.   I thought about going back to a drug and alcohol treatment facility, but that I wanted to avoid at all cost.  Not saying that drug and alcohol treatment centers are bad.  They have their place, and have certainly benefited many over the years.   Yet,  based off my last experience, I just felt it wasn’t the place for me.  I searched for alternatives, and came across a program online, using alcohol to gradually taper off, of alcohol.

Needless to say, this did not work for me.  Just my experience.  I’m not sure that there is any such thing as moderation, or tapering off for someone suffering from alcohol addiction.  And, again, that’s just my opinion.  For me this time around, it was cold turkey.  I know that not everyone agrees with that method either, and it poses a lot of concern/risks.   For myself, it’s the route I had to go, and here I am at day six.  That in itself has been amazing to me.

However, I must say, the past few days have been somewhat miserable.  The first few days, I felt kind of okay, physically.  But, day three came around, and it was a whole different story.  Day three through five I experienced the worst “hangover” ever.  And, I know the word “hangover” well.  The headache, nausea, chills, night sweats, and the ache in my liver was horrible.  I guess my liver had gone into overdrive to rid itself of the toxins.  And, then the sleepless nights.  Just lying in bed tossing and turning.  But, in looking back, that’s one of the reasons having a few glasses of wine in the evening appealed to me in the first place, and led me to where I am.   I have always been quite the insomniac, and realize that this is one of my triggers.  I actually struggled with the notion that one glass wouldn’t hurt, but I know the lie all too well.

Last night was another long sleepless night, but, I got up this morning feeling somewhat refreshed.  I’m feeling tired, but the “hangover” is gone.  I truly feel as though the worst is behind me, and the best is yet to come.   And, the greatest part is, I feel more clear-headed and stronger than I have in years.  I’m liking this feeling, and feel that I’m for the first time in a long time, on the road to recovery.  HB



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Day Three, Letting Merlot Go.

Day three of Sobriety.  I’ve been reflecting much the past few days over exactly where my drinking crossed the line.  I grew up in an environment where alcohol use and abuse were part of daily living for many years during my youth.  And, I always told myself that I would never allow myself to become an alcoholic, even though I did gain a fondness for it at a very early age.  I found another outlet in life;  Religion;  It kept me on the straight and narrow for quite some time, scaring the “hell” out of me.   Don’t get me wrong, I did the typical partying thing throughout high school, and my years in the military.  But, I would characterize myself during those years as more of a social drinker, at best.

And then, Life began to happen.  In my late twenties, my marriage fell apart, and for a brief moment I resorted to alcohol, drinking a little more heavily.  But, I soon learned that drinking only made a depressing situation, worse.  And, I had a five-year old daughter to take care of, and so losing myself in drink was not an option.

Once again, life happens.  A few years passed, and I found myself coming face to face with an issue that I had been struggling with all my life, and that was my sexuality.  (I’ll write about that struggle later).   Once I came to terms with myself, I began living and experiencing the gay lifestyle.  I immersed myself in the culture during those early years.  And, it was then that the world of alcohol really opened up.  I was enjoying my new-found freedom as a gay man, going out and partying frequently, meeting new people.  Just living the life.   Yet, even in those days, the alcohol I could live without.  It just never had been my thing.

It was also during this time, that I began to really excel in my career.  And, it was during this time that I discovered a new love.  Her name was Merlot.  In all my drinking experience, I had never tried wine.  But, once I did, I was in love.  It was an innocent pleasure during those days.  I mean, what could be wrong with coming home after a long day at the office and having a taste of her luscious fruit?  She brought a warmth to me that I had never experienced before, and she had a way of luring me into a nice, restful sleep, after a long, stressful day.  This went on for several years, and of course I was consuming more by this time but, I was in love, and life was good.

Once again, life happened.  I was diagnosed with a chronic illness.  I was devastated at the time, and so I went home, curled up in bed for a few weeks, just me and Merlot.  I was going through all the blame, all the guilt, self-pity, and remorse that I had allowed this to happen, and she was there.  I took full responsibility then, as I do now, but, after two weeks, I had enough.  I made a decision.  I was going to sell all that I had, and move half way across the country, and that I did.

Looking back, I don’t regret the decision, but it was probably not the best I made during that time.  But, as they say, hind sight is twenty twenty, and that I didn’t have.

There were so many issues going on at that time.  Chronic diagnosis.  New surroundings.  New home.   No job.  My plan was to take off a year.  To give myself time to get accustomed to all of this change, do a little traveling here and there.  And, that worked for a while.  Hell, I had worked hard.  I deserved a little break from life.  Or, so I thought.  But, I found that I had so much time on my hands, too much time, and I began once again to spend a lot of quality time with my Merlot.  She seemed to always be by side.

And, once again, life happened.  I met a wonderful guy and fell in love for what seemed to be like the first time in my life.  But, looking back, I think Merlot got a little jealous, and got in the way.  It was during this time I truly recognized that I may have a problem, and decided to get help.  And, it did help for a short, and I mean a very short while.  Heartbreak ensued, and I once again found myself calling on Merlot.  I had gone to treatment.  I was back in control, or so I thought.

Needless to say, living life with Merlot became a living hell.  While once she was an innocent pleasure who brought me rest, and the one thing that I could pick me up when times were rough, she now had me in her sweet grasp and would not let me go.  By this time, there had been no such thing as a restful night for quite some time.  In fact, I was afraid to sleep at all for fear of not waking up for work, if I woke up at all.  And, so I would stay up nights, me and Merlot.  Often, when I did make it to work, it was after an all night drinking binge, if I made it to work at all.  By this time, I was often missing days, not knowing where they went.  I’m grateful today, that I have a job at all.

The cold hard realization hit me.  I had crossed the line somewhere along the way.  I had totally lost control.  I was totally powerless in her presence.  It was time.  My friend Merlot had to go.  And, that has been my reflection as I journey through day three of my sobriety.  HB

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