In my 30 plus years working with the Thoroughbred Racing industry, I have friends that I consider family. One friend, Linda Doane, who is a counselor for the Lifestyle program at Churchill Downs. It is a program for the workers at Churchill Downs, who battle with addiction and other personal issues. She works very closely with the Healing Place, which is a local community for the homeless and those who are trying to recover. Linda and the Healing Place have helped many people overcome their issues one day at a time.

I might not be a stereotype substance abuser, but food is probably my outlet. In my life, I have had experience with alcholics and drug abusers within my family and friends. It is such a great tool to voice your concerns to someone and we as people do not come with a book of instructions. With most of my friendships, they will usually call me to chat, vent, cry, laugh and be happy and or sad. I try to be there for them. While listening, I always try to filter which verbal composition will work best in whatever they are going through. If a friend has a significant other that is sick, I lend compassion. If they are having issues in their job, I try to build up their confidence. If they are making a decision in their lives, I try to listen and be realistic and balanced. I’m one of those who after a conversation of an issue or problem, I need to process it in my mind and think of the logical thing to do. Sounds like I have my sh_t together doesn’t it? Wrong. Linda was, is and is always there for me. So many times, I faced challenges and she has always given me a great balance & wisdom on how to proceed.

This morning, I headed to her office on the backstretch to share my own faults about my recently relocation and leaving a job. I have went over this and other senarios in my mind while driving from Oklahoma to KY and thought, “Maybe it is me. Maybe, I am suppose to just bite my tongue and take the verbal outlashes.” Is this a respect thing or am I too cocky with my accomplishments in the business. But here I am, unemployed during a pandemic, but dammit I have pride!

Well try to pay my car payment with pride!

Linda as always, smiled and listened. Even through the mask, I can see her smile. She is one of the most genuine people you can find. I sat down and explained my situation. I always wondered if this stemmed from my father’s sudden departure when I was 8 years old, on Thanksgiving day 1969. I can remember that day like yesterday. He brought some personal items that were my favorite. His record player (Played 33.3 LPS) and my favorite albums. My Dad said he was leaving, but all I could think about was I had my own record player. Of course when reality set in, and I realized, I couldn’t call or see my Dad anymore, that was a pain worse than a kick in the teeth.

So my running, is this a hereditary thing that was passed to me from my Dad? Or is it just somewhat of a solution in my own mind. Who knows? But, talking to Linda this morning, gave me a perspective that I will try my best to do. My spontanious quick to react personality is just going to have to hit the PAUSE button. Pause, think and hold the quick reaction. These were words of advice that I’ve been thinking about since I left Linda’s office this morning.

My advice to anyone reading this little blog is never think you are to proud to vent to someone that is trained to listen. Keeping things inside is really not healthy. Yes we can have friends and therapists that listen to us. They give us their insight which we are thankful for. But always remember, the one listening can only advise on the truth of the situation, not the events the way only you see it. Never pause on the truth and dignity, but if the reality of COVID-19 and other hardships in the world right now are weighting on you, it is ok to Pause.

Click on the link to learn more about the Healing Place

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