Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Cherokee Named Messenger

What's in a name?

I recently learned some interesting tidbits about my birth name.

Dave means "beloved"

Harm means "warrior."

A beloved warrior.  So it's only fitting that this warrior is now a member of the Cherokee Nation.

On August 4, 2009 I was accepted as a Cherokee at heart.  This is what was said...

"You, Dave Harm, are now named  "Messenger"   (A tse Nu sti)...I name you Messenger, after observing you and the message of love and hope and strength that you give.... so Dave the Messenger.....is now a Cherokee Indian... May your life song be long and your path smoother and straighter...This I pray to our Great Spirit...."U NE QUA."  You are now a Cherokee with some Shawnee in him....WELCOME my brother Dave Harm."

So the beloved warrior has a new name - Messenger.  Not only delivering the message, but also sharing it and receiving it. 

I was admitted into the Wolf Clan of the Cherokee Nation.  What does this mean?

Ani'-Wah' Ya or Wolf Clan is the largest clan today and the most prominent clan, providing most of the war chiefs, and warriors. True Ani'-Wah' Ya are protectors of the people. The wolf clan are keepers and trackers of the wolf and the only clan who could kill a wolf through special ceremonies and wolf medicines. The Clan colour of the Ani'-Wah' is Red and their wood is Hickory. 

Wolf's wisdom includes...
* Facing the end of one's cycle with dignity and courage   * Death and rebirth   * Spirit teaching   * Guidance in dreams and meditations    * Instinct linked with intelligence   * Social and familial values   * Outwitting enemies   * Ability to pass unseen  * Steadfastness   * Skill in protection of self and family   * Taking advantage of change

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Recovery Hero

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

Through the pain and confusion
I'll live life 
with no illusions

Some will say they are friends
but more than once
they will lie
with trust gone
the heart breaks
and slowly begins to die

"It displays a unique perspective and original creativity -
judged to be the qualities most found in exceptional poetry."
Howard Ely, managing editor of The International Library of Poetry.

The 11th Tradition

Mainstream 12 step programs are all built from Alcoholics Anonymous.  All these fellowships were born from AA.  So this is why I use AA literature, to review the 11th Tradition, which states “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”  AA says that the disease of the alcoholic centers in the mind.  The alcoholic needs to change his way of thinking and be willing to do that.  By doing so, certain things will happen... the promises will come true.

Some things happen to me that at times I need to talk about.  I am not the greatest verbal communicator... so instead I use the written word.  Most times these things or frustrations can be ironed out one on one, either with my sponsor or someone close to me.  Other times though, I don't want to go through the process again... so I write about my frustrations for everybody to see.

Early in March of 2010 I felt like I was attacked because of the traditions of AA... specifically the 11th tradition.  And naturally I went on the defensive... but after thinking about it some more I sought out some thoughts and advice from others.

First, I will say that anybody who knows me knows that I do talk about 12 Step programs... but just not one program... numerous programs I have talked about.  Not once have I ever said, “I am a member of...” nor have I ever said, “My home group is...”  You may guess as to which program I may belong – but that is all it would be -  a guess.

I do this for two reasons... first is for the traditions and the other is I am not responsible for my actions with any 12 Step group.  ANY 12 Step fellowship.  My disclaimer says that Dreaming With Dave is not approved nor endorsed by any particular 12 Step fellowship... nor is the site affiliated with any 12 Step group.

I may have said that “I attended an AA meeting the other day.”  That doesn't mean that AA is where I am a member.  There are many people who attend AA meetings... some are not even alcoholics.  Some could be study groups from colleges.

In my opinion the traditions of many 12 Step programs shouldn't be so rigid that it hurts the program.  There should be some flexibility to help the program grow.  Which in my opinion  deals directly with the 11th Tradition.  Which says, “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”  The key words here are “Our public relations policy.”  And the other words, “Personal anonymity.”

In the early days of AA there was a book called Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers.  This book is conference approved AA literature.  In those days,Tradition 11 just included “press and radio.”  Overtime technology changed and progressed and “films” was added.  A little after that the Internet came along and that too was added.  With that came the controversy of  “personal anonymity.”

So what is personal anonymity?  Do I keep my name secret from you?  Can I tell you my first name?  What about my last name? I can at times say, “I am a member of a 12 step recovery fellowship.  I do practice the principles of the 12 Steps of  the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.”  Does that make me a member of AA?  Did I say I was a member of AA?  No I did not.  While I don't claim membership to AA... it is easy to see that I do belong to a 12 Step group.  If you dug around enough you could probably find out which fellowship, but I don't state it.

Where I personally could be breaking the tradition is by using my whole name.  Even at the meetings I attend, I use my whole name.  Which actually is suggested to be done at closed meetings of AA – to use your whole name.  But by using my whole name I still haven't broken the tradition because I have never said which fellowship I am a member of – never.

But first again it is needed to look at the tradition... “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion...” What is?  “Our public relations policy” IS what is based on attraction rather then promotion.  So what is that?  It would suggest a policy on how to relate to the public.  

And what is personal anonymity?  For me it would be a grave injustice for me to say I am a here all – know all of any 12 Step Program.  My personal anonymity means that my program of recovery is just that – personal.  

According to Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers,  (a book about the early days of AA in the Midwest.)  On page 264, one paragraph down this is what is said, “As far as anonymity was concerned we knew who we were.  It wasn't only AA but our social life.  All of our lives seemed to be spent together.  We took people home with us to dry out.  The Cleveland group had the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all its members.”  One member Warren goes on to say, “In fact, I remember Doctor Bob saying, 'If I got up to speak and gave my name as Dr. Bob S., people who needed help would have had a hard time getting in touch with me.”  Dr. Bob, often introduced himself as Dr. Bob Smith, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Warren recalls Dr. Bob saying there were two ways to break the anonymity tradition.  You may not agree with it... but this is conference approved literature.  The first way is by giving your name at the public level of press or radio.  So a private radio station or private press wasn't breaking the tradition.  This private sector was strictly for their own organization.  Now this is the big one.  The second way is by being so anonymous that you can't be reached by other drunks.  WOW, that is quite a statement.  By guarding your anonymity so closely that other drunks can't reach you for help.

In a 1969 February Grapevine article D.S. of San Mateo, California wrote that Dr. Bob commented on the 11th tradition as follows “Since our tradition on anonymity designates the exact level where the line should be held, it must be obvious to everyone who can read and understand the English language that to maintain anonymity at any other level is definitely a violation of this tradition.”  Read that again.

“The AA who hides his identity from a fellow AA by using only a given name (first name) violates the tradition just as much as the AA who permits his name to appear in the press in connection with matters pertaining to AA.”

He goes on to say, “The former is maintaining his anonymity above the level of press, radio, and films, while the latter is maintaining his anonymity below the level of press, radio, and films.  Whereas the tradition states that we should maintain our anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”

Some other things from this article; a couple of paragraphs down, Dr. Bob said we weren't suppose to break our anonymity to the newspapers or the radio, but he didn't think we would get any place if people didn't know we belonged to AA.  He had the firm conviction that you should let it be known that you are an AA member in the community.  And he was always sure to tell you about it every time you met him.  This originally appeared on page 265 of Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers.   The “we” in that statement – it's me – it's you.  From AA approved literature, “You should let it be known that you are an AA member in the community.”  Sorry... but that is what it says.

Also from The Grapevine in 1981, “Understanding anonymity.”  It starts with  “Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope, with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership, we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution. Does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses or opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.”

Then it starts, “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What is the purpose of anonymity in Alcoholics Anonymous? Why is it often referred to as the greatest single protection the fellowship has to ensure its continued existence and growth?

If we look at the history of AA from 1935 till now it is clear that anonymity serves two different and yet equally vital functions.  On the personal level, anonymity provides protection for all members from identification as alcoholics, a safeguard of special importance to newcomers.  And second at the level of press, radio, films, and new media technologies, anonymity stresses the equality in the fellowship of all members by putting the brakes on those who otherwise might exploit  their AA affiliation to achieve recognition, power, or personal gain.”

Dreaming With Dave has no need for personal recognition, nor power, and I have no ulterior motives for personal gain.  This blog is self-supporting and the reality is I have not made any profit from this blog or from me speaking about my recovery.

The article goes on to say that anonymity on a person to person basis was promised by AA to all that attended its meetings, because its founders and first members were all recovering alcoholics.  They knew from their personal experience how ashamed most alcoholics are about their drinking and how fearful they are about public exposure.  The social stigma of alcoholism was great.  Those early AA members recognized a firm assurance of confidentiality was imperative if they were to succeed in attracting and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Over the years, anonymity has proved one of the greatest gifts AA offers to suffering alcoholics.  Without it many would never attend their first meeting.  Although the stigma has lessened to some degree most newcomers still find admission of their alcoholism so painful that it is possible only in a protected environment.  Anonymity is central to this atmosphere of trust and openness.

Valuable as privacy is to new members, it is noteworthy that most of them are eager to share the good news of their AA affiliation with their families.  Such disclosure however is always their own choice.  AA as a whole seeks to ensure that individual members stay as private and protected as they wish.  Or as open as they wish.  But always with the understanding that anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and new media technology is crucial to our continued sobriety and growth at both personal and group level.

Anonymity at the media level – After its first few years of success the fellowship attracted much favourable attention in the press.  Articles praising AA appeared in magazines and newspapers across the country.  And with each new article the ranks of AA grew.  In those days everyone still feared the consequences of public disclosure.  So the first press coverage guarded members  anonymity for safety sake.  The arrival of new media technology such as the Internet offered new vehicles to carry the AA message to the public.  AA members continue to protect their anonymity in these new public media outlets.

As public awareness of alcoholism increased, the stigma decreased and soon some AA members began to publicly acknowledge their affiliation in the media.  Have I done that?  No I have not.  I have never said that I am a member of AA, or NA, or CODA, or any other 12 step fellowship.

There was a famous athlete who went to the media and announced his affiliation to AA and at first the founders were OK with it... having never experienced the backlash of publicity. Other members followed by breaking their anonymity.  Some motivated by goodwill, others by personal gain, while some tied in their affiliation to improve their business.

It didn't take long for AA to realize that over zealous self-serving anonymity breakers could quickly jeopardize the fellowships hard won reputation.  And they saw that if one person was made an exception other exceptions would follow.  To insure the unity, effectiveness, and welfare of AA - anonymity had to be universal.  It was the guardian of all that AA stood for.

In stressing the equality of all AA members in unity and the common bond for the recovery from alcoholism anonymity serves as the spiritual foundation of the fellowship.

In 1946 Bill W wrote,  “The word anonymous has immense spiritual significance, subtlety and powerfully, it reminds us we are always to place principles before personalities.  That we have renounce personal glorification in public that our movement not only preaches but actually practices a true humility as a whole.”    You renounce personal glorification in public.  

Myself, I don't want glorification, that is not what I am about.  I don't want to be glorified for something I am powerless over.  That glorification belongs to my Higher Power.  My recovery is not for me, my writings are not for me.  They are for my Higher Power.  I also believe it is Her wish, that I share the gift She has given me with you.

Facts about anonymity in AA – from AA conference approved literature. It is not the media's responsibility to maintain AA's traditions, it is our own individual responsibility!  OK, it's not the media's responsibility – but what if someone in the media is a member of AA or NA or CA?  Nowhere in conference approved literature does it say that an alcoholic who is in the media most maintain the traditions.

It is not my responsibility as a writer and the webmaster of Dreaming With Dave to maintain the traditions of a program in which I have not assumed membership too.  If I said that I was a member of AA or NA or Alanon or ACOA or CODA or any other number of 12 Step fellowships, then yes, it would be my responsibility to maintain those traditions.


From AA conference approved literature, “AA members may disclose their identity and speak as recovered alcoholics, giving radio, TV, and internet interviews without violating the traditions so long as their AA membership is not revealed.”

Want to read that again from the General Service Office of AA?

“AA members may disclose their identity and speak as recovered alcoholics, giving radio, TV, and internet interviews without violating the traditions so long as their AA membership is not revealed.”  Again, I have never revealed in public what program I am a member of.


From still other conference approved literature – Experience suggests that AA members respect the right of other AA members to maintain their own level of anonymity at whatever level they wish.  When speaking as AA members at non-AA events people usually use first names only.  Did you notice in that last sentence it says "usually."

Everything with the traditions were written as a suggestion... it is not written with severe bondage or a supreme law... it is freedom of choice and the freedom of an individuals own anonymity.

I have never intentionally broken the 11th Tradition of any 12 Step fellowship.  By using AA approved literature I do believe that I am following the traditions.  Why did I use AA literature?  Because every other 12 Step program is modeled after AA.

As Dr Bob himself said, kind of comically and sarcastically, “Since our tradition on anonymity designates the exact level where the line should be held, it must be obvious to everyone who can read and understand the English language that to maintain anonymity at any other level is definitely a violation of this tradition.”  So with the writings of Dr. Bob and conference approved literature, there is no doubt in my mind that I have not violated the 11th Tradition.

I would like to thank the Monty Man at Take 12 Radio for letting me have a listen to his broadcast on this subject.  He is the one who did the research on this... and for that I'll be eternally grateful...

Friday, 26 April 2019

In depth bio

Dave Harm was born and raised in Northern New Jersey.  He is the youngest of four boys.  He often mentions that while he and his brothers had the same biological parents... they were raised by different people.  His three brothers grew up together, separated by four years in age, they had each other to lean on.

In age, Dave is six, eight, and ten years younger then his brothers.  Most of the damage of his parents drinking, he witnessed alone.  Others might have seen it... yet Dave had no one to lean on for support.

His method of handling the insanity was playing football in high school and partying.  He started drinking when he was 13 and started smoking pot when he was 17.  Even with his own partying already getting out of control, Harm stayed somewhat centered by staying active in football.  He earned a scholarship for his athletic abilities to Yankton College in Yankton, South Dakota.  This was his exit to leave the insanity of his birth home.  With this new life he no longer felt the need to try and get praise from his family and quit football and began enjoying his new freedom.

He stayed in college for a year and a half and dropped out to work on his new joy in life – partying.  He drove a delivery truck during the day to keep up an illusion that all was well.

It was during this time in his life that Harm couldn't do anything for more then two years and that included work.  He quit driving a delivery truck and found a new way to make money - by dealing drugs.  This too, lasted just short of two years and he left South Dakota and headed back to New Jersey.

It was in the early 80's that Harm lost the capability of quitting.  It was during the next eight years that Dave wandered around the country... staying one step ahead of law enforcement and bill collectors.

During this time his “homes” were in New Jersey, South Dakota, Wyoming, and California.  His last stop in South Dakota started his life with homelessness.  He ended up in California, working odd little jobs, usually quitting after he got a paycheck and he would hit the road again.

His main method of travelling at that time was hitch-hiking.  One of his last rides came from a member of AA who gave him a job at a mobile home park.  Though he didn't stay sober, that job ended his life of sleeping in boxes or under bridges.

In 1986 Harm tried suicide as a way to start a new life, which put him in protective custody for 72 hours.  It was during this time that he admitted to being an alcoholic and started a new way of life.  This new way did not last and Harm returned to drinking in 1992.

During those five and a half years of sobriety Harm's life changed.  He became a functional member of society and a reliable employee.  His slip lasted two years and all that he had accomplished he ended up losing.

On September 4, 1994, Harm not only admitted to being an alcoholic... this time though he went another step forward by accepting this fact.  And by the Grace of God has been clean and sober to this day.  Harm is also an addict and has been clean from drugs since the late 80's.  Quitting drugs was easier for Dave, as alcohol was always his drug of choice.

His journey in recovery has taken many turns and he still views it all with the eyes of a child.  He has served on the Tamora (Nebraska) Village Board of Trustees.  He has also been on the Bishop's Committee for St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Seward, Nebraska and also served as an adviser on St. John's Lutheran Church's Board of Trustees in Seward, Nebraska.

While serving others helped Dave obtain and maintain humility, it wasn't till he moved to Southeastern Nebraska that he began to use the gifts his Higher Power gave him at birth.

In 2004, his first book Damaged Merchandise was published and early in 2005 it was followed by War Zone.  Finally in 2009, the third book of this trilogy was published entitled Creating Dreams.

Along the way Harm ventured into other endeavours.  In 2006 he was named a United States Poetry Ambassador and his poem Scrambled Eggs received The Editor's Choice Award from poetry.com.  In 2007, he received the Recovery Hero Award from the website Clean and Sober not Dead.

2007 Harm also became a freelance writer for the Beatrice Daily-Sun newspaper and on every Tuesday for over two years Harm edited a poetry column featuring poets from Southeastern Nebraska.

From 2000 to 2009, Harm was the featured poet for Gage County's Relay For Life.  And in 2008, he took 12 of his most inspiring cancer poems and produced the poetry and music cancer CD entitled Purple Power.

In 2011, Harm began broadening his outreach program and was the keynote speaker at the Hot Springs, Arkansas Recovery Rally.  By the end of the year he became a Certified NLP Master Practitioner. By 2012 he got his certification as a Life Coach and also as well as a certified hypnotist.

From active addiction and homelessness to sobriety and comfort, Harm shares his experience, strength, and hope... with the humility and joy that comes with a second chance at life.   A second chance given freely by his Higher Power.

By 2012, Harm had made connections with musicians in Manchester, England.  From this friendship, 12 of his poems on alcoholism were turned into music, creating the recovery CD entitled 12.

Dave Harm believes in the power of The 12 Steps.  He has done these Steps in AA, NA, CODA, Alanon, and ACOA.  While he freely admits he has attended these meetings, Harm will not say which Fellowship he is a member of in keeping with the 11th Tradition.


I am not a licensed therapist, counselor, or psychologist.  The stories and poems I use on Dreaming With Dave are from my own personal experiences.  I use the 12 steps as a guide because they have worked for me.  Throughout my time in recovery, I have attended five different groups that use the 12 Steps as their guide.  The way I achieved recovery in these programs is not an endorsement by me in anyway, as the only means to long term recovery.  Ultimately, the way you choose to remain sober and clean is your choice.

While I believe in the recovery strengths of the 12 Step program, Dreaming With Dave is not affiliated with any 12 Step program.  The blog is not approved, nor endorsed, by AA, CODA, or ACOA.  Nor am I spokesman for any of these groups.  While you can guess which 12 Step program I may attend, I never share that with anyone.  So that is all you would be doing - guessing.  I do not grant interviews for my participation in any of these groups, nor do I consider the blog to be a promotion for any 12 Step group, nor any spiritual or religious group.

 The primary goal of the blog is to carry the message of recovery through spiritual practices.  Which may include my thoughts on the 12 Steps, as well as Native American beliefs, Eastern and Western Philosophies, as well as ancient mythologies.

The 12 Steps of Self-Parenting were written Patricia O'Gorman, Ph.D. and Philip Diaz, M.S.W.  While I have not been endorsed nor affiliated with Patricia O'Gorman, Ph.D. and Philip Diaz, M.S.W., they have granted me permission to share their program with my audience.

By sharing my thoughts on religion and spirituality, as well as the 10 Commandments and the 12 Steps, I need to say that I am not a spiritual counselor.  I do believe that it is a gift given to us to explore all available avenues to find a Higher Power of our understanding.

NLP - In November of 2011 I became a Certified NLP Master Practitioner... what I share here are my beliefs through my studies with this program.  It is not meant as a form of treatment rather it should be used for informational purposes only.

Life Coach In April of 2012 I received my certification as a Life Coach.  I did this to strengthen my knowledge of NLP.  I look at being a Life Coach as being similar to being a sponsor in a 12 Step Program.  I will only use Life Coaching on subjects I know through my own experiences.

Hypnotist I finished my training and became a certified hypnotist in August of 2012.  Like Life Coaching, I took this course to strengthen and further understand NLP.


All written material on the Dreaming with Dave is owned by Dave Harm Copyright©1994 - 2021 permission required for any use of material from that site, as well as other sites, including but not limited to works on the Self-Growth and E-Zine websites.

None of the written property can be used in any manner or any form without permission. This can be requested by e-mail.

All personal photos on these pages are owned by Dave Harm.

12 Step Creating Dreams Logo is an original creation of Dave Harm Publications and can not be used, except as a link to
The song A Thousand Times was an original poem of Dave Harm and turned into a song by the group Moes Haven.  That group signed off on the ownership of the song and gave the rights to Dave Harm.

All the poems that appear on the
Purple Power CD are owned by Dave Harm, while all the songs were composed by Kevin MacLeod.

The musical compositions that created the CD
12, were based on poems written by Dave Harm.  The conversion to songs was created by K. Collins and all music performed by Alan Haven.  The two gave all rights of ownership of these creations to Dave Harm.

Spirituality and 12 Steps computer graphic is an original creation of Creating Dreams Publications and can not be used without acquiring permission from daveharm.com.
The circle and triangle logo was created by Milagro Website Design and is the property of Creating Dreams.

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is a registered copyright of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The 12 Steps of Co-Dependents Anonymous was adapted from the 12 Steps of AA.

The 12 Steps of Adult Children Anonymous and Adult Children of Alcoholics was adapted from the 12 Steps of AA.

The 12 Steps of Self-Parenting were adapted from the 12 Steps of AA and were created by Patricia O'Gorman, Ph.D. and Philip Diaz, M.S.W.