I've probably doomed myself by putting God in the title of my blog. Probably depends on what I'm looking to get out of this. "To thine own self be true." OK, God it is then. My problem is that I love Poker. And God. And a whole bunch of other things that I adore from time to time. I'm not the greatest player, not the greatest writer, and definitely not the greatest Christ follower around either. Obviously. I've got a lot of issues. Children, addiction, alcoholism and gambling (the non poker variety) just to name a few.
I'm hoping that with this blog maybe I can bring all these things together in some kind of cohesive, smooth running machine. Yeah, who am I trying to kid. It's more that I enjoy the act of writing and the meeting of new people and sometimes actually posting something halfway decent. I can always dream.
The poker part of me: I've been playing pretty consistently for the last 4 years. I started playing online in 2004 in play money games that my boss at the time turned me on to. I graduated to playing cash tournaments at Viejas. Unfortunately, it was probably my 5th tournament and I accidentally went ahead and won. I've been hooked ever since. I played (and play) in cash games at Viejas, The Lady Luck, sometimes Barona and Sycuan. I nickel and dime it online (especially since I can't figure a way to get money onto my Epassporte account). Overall, I'm definitely in the black for poker which continues to amaze me.
The God part of me: The only way to do this is to put it in black and white. Maybe I will add a link to my old blog so that you can see what a mess I was. I've been playing in bands since I was 19 years old. I've had 5 kids with 4 different women. I'd developed a nasty alcohol and drug habit not to mention smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day. I'd shrunk up to the point where I was fitting into size 28 jeans and they were loose. About 115 pounds soaking wet. Sores, speech problems, nervous tics, a general dark cloud over my head. I'd been messing with NA and AA since I was a teenager but it never stuck for more than a couple of years. In May 2005 I was at the end of my rope. I didn't want to live anymore. I was in a nightmare relationship that had me to the point where I was actually calling people's homes and threatening to kill them. I could barely work and I was living in the basement of my employer's house. (Thanks Gene, you were and are a life saver). I finally stopped everything on May 1st, 2005. My clean date. I started going to meetings with my guitar player and just didn't pick up. I did all the suggestions (except work the steps with a sponsor, oops) and haven't had the desire to pick up.
Oh yeah, where does God come into all of this? I started talking to this girl I met online in March of 2006. Craig's list to be exact. She was funny, I loved the way she talked, and attractive. Oh, and she was a Christian. Ugh. I believed that there was a divine presence in the universe but Jesus? Thank God she didn't make a big deal about it. She was much too clever for that. She kept inviting me to go to church with her but I would beg off with one excuse or another. Finally, one day I decided to keep an open mind (and to keep her happy) I went. I was scared. These aren't my kind of people. I felt like they could all see the evil that was in me. Finally the band started and my church experience turned into a rock concert. Huh? I was expecting either solemn hymns or folk rock john denver style of music. It was more like U2. That piqued my curiosity. Then the pastor gave his talk. A down to earth, normal talk based on the bible. It made sense. They got my guard down. Did I mention that while this was happening I was drinking a mocha in the service that I had bought when we were walking in? Good music, a nice talk, A Starbucks quality mocha? Did I mention very progressive church?
I enjoyed it. I still wasn't convinced about the Jesus as my personal savior but I kept going back. The message of the church stayed consistent. They weren't trying to force anything. They didn't want my money. They let me come to God on my own. Novel approach that worked. I don't remember the exact day that I turned my life over to Christ, I remember that it was at the end of the service and Pastor Ed asked if anyone wanted to turn their life over to Christ to please raise their hand so he could pray with us. I did and he did and that's where I am at today. I'm not a bible thumper. I'm not judgemental. I think it's God's job not mine. I have found some peace in my life that I've never experienced. Sometimes I believe that is just old age, most of the time I think it's God. I do have doubts. I do waver in my belief. I'm human. I have a hard time when people say that they don't. I try absolutely to remain humble and not be a hypocrite.
That's my story up to this point. This blog is probably not going to be G rated. I have lots of stories and I'm still not perfect although I have moved from a rated X live to maybe a PG. Thanks if you have read any of this and I hope to make a lot of new friends in the months to come.
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