How I Accepted Myself and Learned to Love

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Photo by Wendy Alvarez on Unsplash

“Connection” is a shallow, amorphous term — easily hijacked by people like me to delude ourselves into thinking we’ve got it.

How could I not be connected?

How could I not be connected? I was a leader at work, a helpful neighbor, caring friend, open-hearted brother/son/grandson, devoted husband, and loving father. These adjectives describe each connection as I wished and willed it to be.

How could I not be connected? I had thousands of contacts on social media. Daily, I devoured the inane nuggets of people’s lives as though they meant something…


An homage to salad

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Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

Because it is complete. Because it delicious. Because vitamins ABC. Because iron and calcium, niacin, riboflavin, potassium and pyridoxine. Because protein. Because fiber. Because fat.

Because variety — I am the master mixer before my culinary soundboard:

Because Monday delighted with a sprinkling of fried onion bits;
Because Tuesday, a different acid tickled my tongue;
Because Wednesday was sweeter with golden cubes of dried apricot;
Because Thursday earthy-fresh mint and basil mingled;
Because Friday pumped the protein with an egg.

Because lactuca sativa makes the bed, and capsicum annuum heats things up; allium cepa brings the bite and cucumis sativus…


Uncovering a familial fellowship of alcoholism and recovery

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I heard you were a Friend of Bill.
A 1960-ish, Katonah, NY, in the flesh friend. Of Bill W.
I imagine you sipping coffee in his living room.
Could you see your taut smile on my face sipping tepid coffee in poorer spaces?

You were PopPop.
White, messy mop. Honking cartoon schnozz.
Quiet-sad? Quiet-brooding? Quiet-forgetful? You were a quiet man.
What words did you swallow and keep, only for you?
Could you taste the blood as I bit my tongue?

Son of a plasterer, rough-handed, potato-raised. Husband of Maude. Father of Doris and Jean. A working man, a family man…


Self-love freed my heart

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Michelle Bonkosk on Unsplash

It’s hard not to believe the Universe is sending you a message when the song, “Wicked Game,” begins playing in the middle of breaking up with your first gay love.

The world was on fire and no-one could save me but you
It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do
I’d never dreamed that I’d meet somebody like you
And I’d never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you

We ended it via text. I’m a bit embarrassed about that, but we agreed doing it face-to-face would be unproductive. Either we would’ve put up a cold front to stifle…


How a long walk in Prague with Paul McCartney and a Disney princess taught me how to use meditation as a tool for recovery.

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One of the greatest challenges of early recovery was learning how to let go.

Up until I got sober, I maintained an iron grip on my own self-styled version of “reality.” I carefully managed the image I projected to the world. I attempted to control and manipulate people, places and things to fit my narrative and serve my needs.

I am not exactly sure why I approached life this way, but I believe it was driven…

Ryan Shaw

Newly Liberated Seeker. Father of 3. American Expat in Prague. Reformed Mad Man. Determined Writer. One day at a time. Truth will set us free.

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