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September air is not the same as August air.  Although summertime in Southern California is practically a yearlong thing, the air changes in September.  It feels a couple degrees cooler, and it smells different.  I can’t really put words to it, but it’s just a hint of  burning wood or leaves.  Combine that with a salty ocean breeze and it makes for a comforting feel to the air, at least in my opinion.

I always associate this change in the breeze with my younger days back home in Riverside county.  I’d say it takes me back to 14 or 15 years old, when life was “simpler” or so it seemed.  When I first began smoking marijuana regularly and drinking 32 oz. Miller High Life’s with my friends, some of whom are no longer alive.  Those days are burned into my memory and hold a strong connection to the smell of the Fall air, but this year reminiscing on those days comes with a dark side.  As the leaves change, part of my heart stays stuck in the summertime.

My mom has been gone now for almost 4 months, a loss I suffered prior to what would be a very hot summer.  A summer spent  excelling in many aspects of my life.  Progressing and growing materially and spiritually, all amidst experiencing a powerful underlying sadness that I now feel has grow into mild depression.  These are the days I’ve come to fear.

A fatal illness knocks on the door of my mind on a daily basis and for a little over 3 years now I have not let that malevolent force consume my thought process.  Some ignorant folks would say it is not illness, maybe they have not experienced the pain of chemical dependency.

I thought I would be able to “work” my way through the grief of losing my mom, but I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t work like that.  I began to ask myself, How does it work then Dillon?  You teach and guide others through the journey of recovery every day, you should know how to “fix” yourself.  You are a guiding light in a world of darkness and you are praised daily for your contribution to the battle against addiction, you surely can’t let yourself fall victim to a mental exhaustion. I was blocked from seeing the truth by my own pride and fear of being vulnerable.

I sit down on this cool September morning to write about my thoughts and struggles because I find serenity to match calamity when writing.  I find that I cannot “work” myself through mental exhaustion and pain.  Early in my new life without Heroin I thought that I would never slip into a low spot because my spirit had been awoken in a way that I had never felt.  I no longer felt hopeless, but found hope that there was another way. A way to the truth, a way to be utterly present for myself and others.  The thinking of an almighty Creator had found it’s way into my delusional thought process and opened a portal to an entirely new perspective on the world around me, and life itself.

Merriam Webster defines life as the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for GROWTH, functional activity and continual change preceding death.  What a beautiful description of this thing I often take for granted and find myself rushing and racing through.  Racing to get where? Who knows, hopes for an eternal life of serenity with all of those I have lost is what I’d like to think.  I am learning that I will fall down and I will get back up, and that’s okay.  Pride keeps me from being vulnerable, and lack of vulnerability leads to exhaustion and a crumbling spirit.

Today marks 27 years I have trudged along in this world. September also brings about the beginning of the NFL season and the race for an MLB playoff spot.  It looks like the boys of the Chavez Ravine may never win a world series in my lifetimes, now THOSE are the days I’ve come to fear.

Until next time, with love…

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