I knew Joy’s House; a sober house for women I opened in my daughter’s memory last month,

Could make it.

The fact that it’s starting to happen made me realize that it actually would.

There’s a big difference between knowing,

And realization.

Knowing something is going to happen is good,

But the realization that it is happening is….


I knew Joy’s House could make it.

Should make it.

The layout, the size, the 1 acre yard, the amenities;

Unlimited long distance, computer w/wireless Internet, big screen TV with all the channels, close to five different 12 step meeting rooms and 2 treatment centers,

The bungalow on the property that my girlfriend & I live in, so it’s easy to watch the place;

Were tailored made for a ¾ way house.

But the realization,

That it would make it,

Is …well…magical!

We had 2 girls the first week we opened.

Then, one went back home; she was not ready to be on her own,

And all the amenities that came with that, especially having to get a job and follow rules.

And the other moved to another women’s house a week later.

“It’s defeating the purpose of being in a ¾ way house if I’m in this big place all by myself.”

She told us when she left.

And she was right.

Then for the next few weeks;


No calls, no e-mails,


I knew Joy’s House could make it.

Should make it.

But the first payments came due:

$3,000 to my dad; who took out a home equity loan on his home to buy me Joy’s House,

The electricity; $563!!

The cable, the phone, the Internet, the lawn guy, the insurance, etc..etc..etc..

And I didn’t have it.

So I pawned my Breitling watch.

A watch I loved, and had wanted for years.

The one bought when I won my first poker tournament sober.

Put your finger under your chin and push up to close your mouth, it sounds funny, right?

After my dad had enough, ‘Enough!’s’, I played tournament poker for a year before getting clean & sober,

I was pretty good at poker, too. With a handful of pain pills & a few drinks in me, you couldn’t tell if I was bluffing or not;

You couldn’t tell if I was awake or not!

After rehab, I tried to play again.

But I couldn’t win.


Anytime I had a hand and bet, I…twitched, shrugged, did something, giving a “tell”

Because everyone would instantly fold.

It was so frustrating because I used to be so good at it;

When I was all numbed out.

I began to think I couldn’t make it without drinking or using.

My nerves were still so raw and seemed like they were just under my skin.

Then one night I had a realization.

I wasn’t ever going to play in the World Series of Poker tournament.

I wasn’t even going to go back to playing tournaments for a living.

I’d had a conscious contact with God after doing my steps and I knew this was not in His plans for me (Imagine that!).

Though I tried!

And then I accepted it.

And as soon I did, I relaxed.

The next day was Saturday & I played in the big tournament at the Hard Rock that night, like always. It has over 200 people and a $350 buy in.

I decided that this was going to be my last one and I was going to my best to win it.


It started at 6pm and at 3am there were 3 of us left. We decided to put 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place together and split it.

I won over $8,800.

The next day I bought my Breitling.

Every time I look at that watch, I know.

I know that I can still play, and win; sober.

And that was enough for me.

So pawning it was a big thing for me,

But I did not want to ask my dad for more help.

It would be admitting I couldn’t do it.

Rigorous honesty?

My dad is not the most …open, in showing his feelings.

In being able to encourage.

In giving a compliment.

He is definitely old-school; keeping his emotions in his pocket.

Deep in his pocket.

He also criticizes.

A lot.

When it got too much while I was running his club, I’d ask him, “Do I ever do anything right?”

His answer was if he didn’t tell me I was doing something wrong, then I must be doing something right.


When I finally quit working for him, I swore I’d never treat anyone like he treated me.

But now I'd started to.

My secretary and Joel, my art director got so fed up Joel threatened to quit.

“There is no fun here anymore. We're a team and yet you are always criticizing.”

“You never say anything positive anymore.”

When I got home, my girlfriend Lynda yelled at me to stop criticizing everything she did.

I yelled back, “I have a lot of pressure on me! This economy is not making it any easier to sell ads in Journey and I have to come up with over $4,000 in a few weeks – and we don't have any girls in Joy's House & I don't have another Breitling to pawn!”

“ I ….” starting another sentence, I suddenly stopped.

Because I realized that what I was about to say was. “I'm going to have to go back to my dad and tell him I can't pay him. I couldn't do it. That I was never going to make it – just like he used to tell me.”

And as I realized what I was about to say,

I realized that I had become him;

The very thing I used to hate: knocking and criticizing everything around me because I didn't know how to say I was worried (as he was about me back then), or ask for help.

And because I had gotten away from God reliance.

As soon as I realized, that something happened.

God spoke to me.

“There is absolutely nothing you can do to bring girls into Joy's House, or make the next issue of JOURNEY come out. You have to rely on Me.”

And I knew it was true.

And I did, turning it all over to Him.

Two days later a girl moved in.

The next day another.

And at the end of last week, two more on the same day.

Another is moving in on Monday.

As for JOURNEY magazine?

I've been given an opportunity that is huge! I am 90% finished completing a partnership that is from God;

There is no other explanation.

I'm not allowed to talk about it until it passes their legal department,

But when it does, the exposure will make It's all in the JOURNEY become known nationally.

It is an incredible opportunity.

And another thing?


I have been so busy with JOURNEY and with with getting Joy's House off the ground and the latest opportunity that may be the biggest thing yet,

That I haven't been as close to the center of my recovery as I should; skipping a meeting now & then, not calling my sponsor as often, etc..

I know it's time to do my steps again.

I know that will center me again and give me that indescribable inner peace & sureness that God is in control – not me, so there's no need to worry.

And when I realized that?

It was magical.



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