I would like to tell you a bit about myself before I get all into it. My name is Dawayne Perza I am a recovering drug addict and alcoholic.  February 27th 2014 I was arrested at a bar that I was bartending at. The night before there had been a crazy bar fight break out and the cops got called A guys knee cap got ripped off and also had his clavicle broke in two. I had had a bench warrant for a failure to appear from like a year prior that I hadn't planned on taking care of so soon, not to mention I had had 50 oxys dropped off to me earlier that night so I locked myself in the liquor closet till everything settled down. Oh yeah and by the way I used to go by Gordo. (A story for another time I'm sure) By the next night I had smoked 20 or so oxys out of the 50 I had got. I had been in the liquor closet taking a quick "smoke break" and came back out to pour a drink for a random gal, who was kind of cute if I remember right. But who really knows, I wasn't exactly in the best frame of mind and it doesn’t really matter to the story anyhow. So as I was setting the gals drink down a couple cops walk in through the front door. And I am thinking to myself "shit shit dude you got a pocket full of drugs (28 oxys, 13 norcos, and a Xanax to be exact) and you have a freaking warrant.... alright be cool, they don't dont have any reason to hassle with you." 

            So I walked right up to them like everything was normal. They said "Are you Gordo?" and I was like "Yeah that’s what they like to call me. How can I help you officers?" They wanted to know if I had been the bar tender on shift the night before the guy they had talked to was not the guy who the guys who had gotten into the fight had described. I am 5'7 and I had been weighing about 135 so not a big guy by any means and they had talked to my buddy who was a bit taller and 60-70 pounds heavier. So they just wanted a few more details about what had happened the night before and I showed them out front where the fight had happened and all the blood stains that were out there and how I had tried pulling the guys apart and that I had gotten blood all over me as well. Then they were like “Well thank you for your help and blah blah blah” and then they asked if they could get my ID and run everything just standard procedure and what not. 

            In my head I was like "well now I am screwed... if I had just been on the other side of the bar when they came in I could have just tossed my drugs on the floor and they would never have been the wiser But noooo you had to be all cool and chill and collected like an idiot who thinks they are bullet proof. Now you are absolutely screwed they are going to run your ID see you have a warrant and then you are totally going to prison you stupid arrogant jerk. Your cozy little high life has come to an end" OK so yeah I may be a little crazy to have these types inner dialog with myself. But it was a completely normal occurrence so no big deal.

            Funny thing is that not even a week before all this happened my girlfriend at the time and I had been talking about getting me into rehab or a program or something. I wanted to get off the drugs, I just didn't know how. I had bought 100 norcos to taper off the oxy and I had the intent to kick the drug habit all together. Of course I didn't tell any of the people I was getting my drugs from that I was stopping. So when I had some dropped those 50 off it was game on all over again. The girlfriend I had at the time was pissed but I was in the state of oblivion that I craved desperately so nothing thing else but that really mattered. So the cops arrested me after they saw the warrant. Right off the get go I told them that I had a pocket full of drugs and that is was personal use only. They found close to a $1000 cash in my wallet and throughout my pockets. They told me that it looked like I was selling drugs and I said “Officers I told you it was personal use only and I am a bartender and I don't have a bank account.” That seemed to be enough for them. I got charged with a felony possession for the oxy and a misdemeanor possession for the norcos and xanax. By the time I got to the jail I was already going into withdrawal. A normal day I smoked 3-400 ml a day. Sometimes more sometimes less depending on what was available to me.

            So having the sense of impending doom, I had a come to God moment. I pray for the first time in a super long time. I said “Hey God,  I know I usually do the whole let’s make a deal kind of approach with you most of the time you do this for me and I will do this for you. And then almost never come through on my end of the deal. So here’s the thing I am not going to try to play the lets make a deal game with you right now. All I want to ask is for you to make me OK. Whatever happens just let me be OK? Whatever you put in front of me, whether its prison or whatever I will do whatever you put in front of me the very best that I can.” And that was my desperate prayer in a nut shell. Since that day, my perspective on God and God concepts have change and transformed drastically over the last few years.

            The next day I had video court. And was given the opportunity for drug court, a intensive outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program that is a minimum of 14 months. I didn’t even have to think about it. I just said "Where do I sign?"  Obviously the perks alone were worth it. Instead of 7 years in prison,  I get released today and do 14 months of treatment? Of course, I was going to sign to make that happen. I got released a few hours later after putting up bond money.

           As it turns out a 14 month treatment program is a perfect program no screw ups. And you don’t go from where I was in my life, with the frame of mind I had to a perfect no screw ups sort of mentality even in 14 months. I had to be on time to appointments and classes and court. It ended up taking me 35 months to complete and graduate the program. I graduated and had all of my charges dismissed the 18th of march 2017.

           I have mentors and coaches because I know that I have blind spots. Having people in my life that can help me to see things from a different angle than I normally do has been so vital for the path that I have been on. And a huge support network. My life has changed so much in so many different ways. It is incredible to say the least. I devote time, daily, to personal development, and try to incorporate the things that I have learned into my life as best as I can. One of the things that I have found to be most useful is looking at things, situations, people, objectively. It isn’t always the easiest thing for me. I am quick to judge. I find people to be quite irritating at times when I am not able to remove myself from the equation. So I always try to have a positive attitude about everything. Not ignoring the bad but concsiously choosing not to focus my energy on it. I am always look for the silver lining. I am always try to find something to learn and to not be afraid of being open with people about how I feel in a positive constructive way.

           I am a sober Bartender. Working in restaurants and bars has been my employment for most of my life. Cooking, serving, and bartending. It just makes sense to me. I don’t even have to think about it. I get into that flow state. It is amazing and I get so much joy from it. When I said I don’t even have to think about it I don’t mean to say that my mind is blank and that there are no thoughts happening. I mean everything just happens. It just flows together the thoughts are not sporadic or without rhyme or reason. It is a state of mind that is so appealing to me and a big contributing factor of why I let my addiction take hold over me. That frame of mind is like a mental teleportation device to the here and now. To where my feet are, no fear of what might happen nor regret of what has happened. Mistakes can happen and adjustments to fix the mistakes are made without any judgment or prejudice. No need for a pat on the back when things are done right when they needed to be done. Like a river that doesn’t need to apologize when it rounds the bend or has no fear when it meets the falls. It just does what it does unapologetically. 

            Getting into that flow state artificially was easy and seductive with drugs or booze. It was like using the cheat codes in grand theft auto. It was instant and it took no more effort than getting it into my system. But just like using the cheat codes in some video game, everything starts to lose purpose and enjoyment. Running around aimlessly without a purpose is so destructive. Especially when artificially achieving that flow state, that seems to have been designed to create the feeling that we crave so desperately, that feeling that gives our life purpose and passion and desire for growth is being seductively created by something that, for some, can rob our life of purpose, of passion, of desire for human connection, the desire for growth.
            I have had so many struggles and victories, But you can't have a rainbow with out the rain right? I have had a few jobs since I got sober. I worked for Alpha Home Systems. I did some telemarketing and advertisement for a, local to Boise, Idaho company. I worked for TVR Inc. for a while. They were amazing companies but I wasn’t able to find a passion in any of them. But I was scared to get back into a restaurant because that’s where I had cultivated my addiction and alcoholism. It is a prime environment for destructive behaviors to flourish. There was so much fear that if I put myself in that environment I would be setting myself up for failure or worse relapse. But I was tired of working for jobs that I hated. I didn’t want to feel like ramming my head through a computer was a good idea. 
             I took a leap of faith and started looking for work in the field I was passionate about. And I’m just going to say I am extremely grateful that I trusted my intuition. I am grateful that when I go to work I don’t dread it. I don’t feel like it’s a chore or an obligation. Don’t get me wrong I am not always just on top of the world because I get to go to work and I get to do what I love and all that jazz but that’s another thing my entire attitude about work has changed over the last few years.

           When I start to notice that the effort I put into my job is lacking I try to look at things objectively and to see where my perspective is. Do I feel like I have to be here? Do I feel like it’s an obligation?  9 times out of 10 I am not looking at it as an opportunity but more so an obligation and that right there, just being able to recognize that alone has a lot of strength behind it. I am able to nip it in the butt right in its tracks for the most part unless I want to wallow in my own self pity for a while and drag others around me down with my negativity. So when I catch myself in the negative frame of mind I throw on some uplifting music or a personal development or any audio book or something that can get me out of my own head for even just a moment. 
           More often than not, just doing what needs to be done regardless of how I feel at any particular moment helps all by itself and solidifies the desire for improvement and growth. I am already in pain, so why not get a reward from it?

I started this blog originally to fill a need for external validation. That some need was one of the driving factors of why I used and drank like I did. Putting drugs and booze into my body was a solution to my problem or so I thought. I didn’t want to care about all of that stuff. The pain wasn’t worth it. So I just tried to make it all go away. But that takes away all purpose and drive for the joys of life for me. I am now taking this in a new direction. I am going to talk more about my process, progress and evolution. I am also going to have merchandise that can be found here. my intention is to be all inclusive to any path people find themselves on towards progress. I want to be a beacon of hope. Where that phrase Hold On Pain Ends for Hope has transformed into Helping Other People Evolve.