Beginner saying hello and looking for some guidance in coding

Hello everybody, new to the forum here so I though I would introduce myself. I am an automotive mechanic from New York and have always been interested in the electrical aspect of working on cars, such as working with CAN BUS and MUX systems when implementing security, remote start and other features to cars. I am a very hands on person and Firmly believe in trying to make it yourself before going to buy it. One of my friends had introduced me to Arduino about a month ago because he thought it would be right up my alley, and after doing some research into it I was hooked, he let me borrow his Makey Makey so i can play around with it and get a sense of what the coding is like and i like the layout of the IDE. I finally an UNO and the "getting started with Arduino" paperback from MAKERSHED over the weekend (not knowing they carried them right at radio shack and micro center) and it just came in on Monday. I have been playing around with it every chance I get and I have went through most of the tutorial sketches contained in the book and trying to add more to the code with every example and really learning a great deal of how it works and what mistakes can be made. By Wednesday I felt comfortable starting my own project ( a fancy Lighting setup for my garage workbench) based on what I had learned so far and using some examples from the book and after a few tries of it failing, (by cutting and pasting examples and filling in my own variables) I ultimately decided to just start the entire code from scratch and get into the habit of "labeling" what is going on in the code so I can get back to it and not be confused (my only experience with coding is some HTML learned in high school and a drop of CSS) and it vastly improved the functionality of my project BUT there are still problems that I'm not sure how to fix, I was up all night trying to research the forums and some instructables to see if I can get some inspiration and so far I have improved some things but its still not all there. I try to go through the coding one step at a time by; entering code, compiling it, Uploading it ( if no errors are present), testing if it works then adding more to the code and going through that process again. This way works for me but maybe it's not the best way of going about coding. Therefore the code below will have some variables and integers there that aren't used because I haven't gotten that far yet. I would greatly appreciate if someone could just point me in the right direction to get this working.
I have looked into the "switch" and "break functions and haven't successfully made them work in my project. This project isn't something that I NEED in life but i'm trying to use it as a stepping stone to learning the code involved with the project. I would ultimately like to start tinkering with the CAN BUS systems in vehicles so i'm taking it one step at a time to soak this whole process in rather than just copy and pass someone else's code and not understanding exactly what it's doing (that bothers me)
So any help, advice or criticism would be great so I can learn from my mistakes, Thanks in advance!

 // Accent light control program

/* a program to control ambient lighting for my garage workbench that has a few variables and the ouputs are;
a red LED strip for ambient lighting, 
a white LED strip for the main lighting 
and two narrow "focus" lights, basically two seperate LEDS that have a narrow beam pattern for when i need extra light on a certain portion of the bench.
i have the LED strips powered through the vin pin with a 12v power supply (with a 1200ma max out) since the LED strips need 12v to operate.
they are switched through TIP - 120 Darlington Transistors on outputs 10 and 9 so i can dim them in and out through PWM 
basically what i want the program to do is turn the red LED strip on with a switch (so i can leave the program running constantly when no-one is around) 
and be able to adjust the brightness through a pot once it is on
the white LED strip will be activated by a button (which will likely be a PIR sensor, the one i have is just a digital 5v input when motion is detected)
when the button is "pressed and held" (the PIR has something within range) it will switch off the red LED strip and fade in the white LED strip
and when the button is released the white LED strip fades out and the red LED strip resumes while still able to be dimmed in and out
the two focus lights are a kind of optional thing, they would be able to turn on and off independently regardless of the state of the button or switch
i can live without the focus lights and just control them through a simple relay circuit without the arduino

I have went through 4 different sketches trying to get this program to work and basically all I have been able to do is dim the red LED strip and control 
the white led strip through digitalWrite but the whole point is to be able to dim the white LED strip in and out, otherwise I would just make the whole setup 
with 12v relays and my other power supply to just switch between the two sets of LEDs, im pretty sure i'm not asking much of the arduino to accomplish this 
so any help whatsoever would be greatly appreciated */


const int REDSTRIP = 10;                            //RED LED strip
const int WHITESTRIP = 9;                           //WHITE LED strip
const int LEFT_LED = 8;                             //Left "focus" beam LED
const int RIGHT_LED = 7;                            //Right "focus" beam LED
const int TBUTTON = 2;                              //Button for transitioning between red and white LED strips (possibly a PIR sensor as stated above) 
const int SWITCH = 3;                               //Switch to select the state of the red LEDs (on or off)
const int LSWITCH = 12;                             //button (not momentary) for activating the left "focus" LED
const int RSWITCH = 11;                             //button (not momentary) for activating the right "focus" LED


int buttonState = 0;                                //the position of the button that transition between the white and red LED strips
int switchState = 0;                                //the position of the switch that activates the red LED strip
int LbuttonState = 0;                             //the state (1 on 0 off) of the button for the left "focus" beam
int RbuttonState = 0;                               //the state (1 on 0 off) of the button for the right "focus" beam
int val = 0;                                        //initial value used for referencing the potentiometer input(A0)
int valL = 0;                                       //the initial value of the button for the left "focus" beam for reference
int valR = 0;                                       //the initial value of the button for the right "focus beam for reference
int old_valL = 0;                                   //variable for storing the previous value of valL
int old_valR = 0;                                   //variable for storing the previous value of valR
int fade = 0;                                       //initial value for the fade in or out of the white LED strip

void setup() {
  pinMode(REDSTRIP, OUTPUT);                       //assign the red LED strip as an output
  pinMode(WHITESTRIP, OUTPUT);                     //assign the white LED strip as an output
  pinMode(LEFT_LED, OUTPUT);                       //assign the left "focus" LED as an output
  pinMode(RIGHT_LED, OUTPUT);                      //assign the right "focus" LED as an output
  pinMode(TBUTTON, INPUT);                         //assign the white/red LED transition button as an input
  pinMode(SWITCH, INPUT);                          //assign the red LED strip turn-on switch as an input
  pinMode(LSWITCH, INPUT);                         //assign the left "focus" LED button as an input
  pinMode(RSWITCH, INPUT);                         //assign the right "focus" LED button as an input
//Red LED strip (this works to transition between the red and white strips)
void loop() {                                      // begin loop
  buttonState = digitalRead(TBUTTON);              // define TBUTTON state as buttonState
  val = analogRead(0);                             //define analog input as val
  if (buttonState == HIGH) {
    analogWrite(REDSTRIP, val/4);                  
    } else {
    digitalWrite(REDSTRIP, LOW);
  //white led strip
  buttonState = digitalRead(TBUTTON);              
                                                   // this work EXCEPT!!! when the "TBUTTON" is held the white LEDs  
  if (buttonState == HIGH) {                       // constantly go through a loop of dimming down to 0 and resetting
    for (fade = 0; fade == 255; fade++); {         // back to 255 and dimming back down to 0 and on and on... (likely because I used some
      analogWrite(WHITESTRIP, fade);               // of the code from the "dim in and out like a sleeping mac" example
      delay(8);                                    // in the "getting started with arduino" guidebook) and what I would like it 
}                                                  // to do is fade in and stay on when held and fade out and stay off when released
                                                   // as well as cancelling out the red LED strip when the white strip is active 
  } else {                                         // (which is currently working)
    for (fade = 255; fade >= 0; fade--) {
      analogWrite(WHITESTRIP, fade);
      valL = digitalRead(LSWITCH);                 // read and store the input value of the Left beam button
      if ((valL == HIGH) && (old_valL == LOW)) {
        LbuttonState = 1 - LbuttonState;
      old_valL = valL;
      if (LbuttonState == 1) {
        digitalWrite(LEFT_LED, LOW);
      } else {
        digitalWrite(LEFT_LED, HIGH);
        valR = digitalRead(RSWITCH);                 // read and store the input value of the Right beam button
      if ((valR == HIGH) && (old_valR == LOW)) {
        RbuttonState = 1 - RbuttonState;
      old_valR = valR;
      if (RbuttonState == 1) {
        digitalWrite(RIGHT_LED, LOW);
      } else {
        digitalWrite(RIGHT_LED, HIGH);

Your code
is very hard to
follow, because
it is inconsistently

You would
be far better off putting
every { and } on a new line (and eliminating useless ones)
and using Tools + Auto
Format to properly indent the code.

There is no switch statement in you code. Therefore, there are no cases. Therefore it's hard to understand what your problem with the switch statement is.

Ok, I auto formatted the code and spaced out the curly brackets but when I went to remove some of them if wouldn't compile the sketch because they were missing. Unless you are saying that they are in all the wrong places (hence ,why there's 6 closing brackets at the very end of the sketch) then I understand what you are saying, and that it needs some Tidying.

There is no switch statement in you code. Therefore, there are no cases. Therefore it's hard to understand what your problem with the switch statement is.

as far as the switch statement goes, I didn't get that far yet.
I tried it on one of my earlier versions of this sketch and couldn't get it to work.
I guess I will start small on a more simple sketch to get the hang of how they work and how to get it to work in my case. thanks for your input