They said that rain was coming and that for sure the weather was going to change today, for the next few days. Last night, overnight, it spit rain enough to wet the streets, barely. We waited all day for the rain to start falling, and we even made mother nature happy by carrying umbrellas into the night, even though no rain fell on the way in OR on the way out.
There was hockey tonight … But numbers were nominal.
It was a beautiful day otherwise. I left early and sat outside for a while watching the people go by, and also the lilac bushes were flowering outside the church and they smell heavenly.
We sat 11 folks. We went the entire hour. We read from Chapter Three in the Big Book, More About Alcoholism.
“The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking” is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.
When I read this chapter, I start my thinking at “Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people…”
What, Who, Me … an alcoholic, nonsense.
Growing up I was a third generation alcoholic. I learned from the best examples, alcoholics through and through. Growing up I proved that I could drink like everybody else.
When I left home and moved out on my own, I proved I could drink like everybody else. Because everybody I hung out with, drank to excess. Not this “just one teetotaller.” It was More, More and MORE !!!
Both my bottoms were crash and burn bottoms. The first time, I was drinking every night, sometimes during the day, as during this time in my life I faced one tragedy after another. I was powerless to change what happened, except the fact that had I decided, I could have put the drink down, but I didn’t.
After getting sick, one night, I tried to drink myself into the ground, rather than face my own mortality. The man who kept a copy of the Big Book on his cash register for a year before I learned what it was, became my first sponsor.
This is a progressive disease, it only gets worse.
Going out and finding myself at the end of another drinking spree, years later, I returned to familiarity. There was nothing to deny, I was an alcoholic, through and through, and if I did not put down the drink, I surely would have died.
So here I am, working on year twelve. Carefully, eleven years and five months clean and sober, is the longest I have been clean and sober in my life. I am not going to even ponder picking up a drink now, because like I have said before, I moved here clean and sober, I did not have a drinking career here, and I don’t want to create one now.
That is why we go to meetings. Over and Over and Over.
That is why we read the books, from cover to cover, over and over.
We may have another drink in us, but we may not have another recovery in us.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned…
Courtesy: Jonathan by Pete Taylor on Flickr
The week has begun. And mother nature is making up for so much cold and snow with gorgeous days filled with sunshine and warmth. Rain is in the forecast, the trees and green spaces are greening up very nicely. But we also need to be watered.
As is usual, I was up and ready to go early this evening. With it being so nice outside, getting to the meeting early payed. We spent the time before the meeting sitting outside the church talking – the meeting before the meeting.
The room was full. We sat almost every chair. And we read from Living Sober, and First things First. It is good that newcomers come to this meeting, and we get to hear how they parse and put to use the slogans and passages from the book in their lives, as they get sober. Oh the pains of early sobriety !!! Everything is upside down and things are crazy and life hasn’t fallen into shape just yet, so the struggle continues for them.
it is also good the people with considerable time are interspersed between the newbies, and we all listen, because it is the newcomer that keeps us with time around.
One of our men quoted H.A.L.T … Hungry Angry Lonely and Tired
Another spoke of what he learned in his first ten years, in hindsight, and what changed in the second decade of his sobriety. And why he still goes to meetings as often as he does. So that he never picks up that first drink.
It is funny what stories come to mind for me when I go to a meeting. And they seem apropos to the topic at hand.
Getting down and dirty I spoke. The first time I got sober, it was medically necessary. I was diagnosed with terminal illness and I was given my end date. I got and stayed sober. I did everything I was told to do, in a first thing first method. And I never strayed very far from those directions, and they saved my life.
Yes, I counted to days until I was supposed to die, and however hard my sponsor, then, chided me, I did it anyways.
When I got to my death date, I was still alive. And With that I had to figure out what I was going to do next. That led me to four years of sobriety. But slogans and pointers became less and less used. And I began to fade from the program and my sobriety lost its priority. S.L.I.P.
I took my good health for granted and made that fateful decision to upgrade my alcoholism to drug addiction. Surely that step up should have, in no uncertain terms, knock time off my timeline.
I was fully shot by the time I took my last drink the second time. Kicking the drugs was easy, because I put distance between me and them and never looked back. But the drink took longer to stop, because I was wrapped up in “ME.”
But I eventually put down the drink, and got sober the second time. Still alive and having a life was something that I was trying to save, once again. Coming here I found a place, a meeting and a doctor.
The geographic was the best decision I had ever made. Because I have achieved things I never thought would be possible. Sobriety paid off because I was given certain direction. And I obeyed that direction. I built my life around my meetings, I listened to the slogans and read the books from cover to cover.
And to this day, we are still reading to same books, cover to cover in some instances. And a reading here and there. All those things I heard in early sobriety are still being said almost twelve years later.
First things First …
I need quiet time in the morning. I need to say my prayers. I need to order my day, and get to a meeting. I need to take my pills and I need to eat. And when I am tired I need to sleep.
The thought that God could pull the rug out from under me still remains visible in my rear view mirror. I’ve been on a good run for a long time. And if I forget or ignore first things first, I am doomed.
There is order in my day today.
Most of my friends are sober, so, if I want to see them, I need to carry myself to a meeting. I need to arrive twenty minutes early and stay twenty minutes late.
I need to stay out of my head. I need to talk to my sponsor regularly. I need to work with newcomers. I need to give back.
…But obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got …
Which is why we go to meetings, and we read the books and we share. Where else are you going to learn what it is to give and what to give, if you don’t stick around and learn?
Thank God for newcomers. It all seems easier, now that I am here, and not there. However I don’t begrudge them their struggles. If it was so easy peasy, we wouldn’t work so hard getting sober.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned…
And Thursday arrived and what a day it was.
The weather is turning up. And the changeover from Winter to Spring has come. The neighborhood is cranking. The sports bar up the block was pumped early on this afternoon. And with a playoff hockey game coming tonight, they were speeding forwards to getting the new dining room open for business. It is quite spectacular.
They spent a fair chunk of money on the renovation. The owner appropriated 4 store fronts to expand the bars footprint. With the original dining room open, the 5 space terrace out front plus they new dining room coming online, they have more than tripled their capacity. The sports bar has crushed the corner curse.
It was running errands day, cleaning the apartment and doing the change over. While hubby was at school and running errands for me, I cleaned the apartment and installed the air conditioner in the bedroom window. It works fabulously !!!
Last night the final piece of the meeting puzzle was delivered to me, the Costco bag of cups, donated by a fellow, was the last piece we needed to open. I packed my bags this afternoon and met a friend to walk to the church around 5:30.
We set up the room, made the coffee, went over the format sheets, set up tables and chairs, and then we waited … Surely we would have a fair number of folks, but knowing there was a playoff hockey game on, that would be presumptuous.
We sat 9 folks. Three founders, two were missing. My sponsor, a newbie and a handful of members with time. We’ve been advertising the meeting for weeks, and we are in the blue sheets. I expect our DCM to visit us next week. Along with hopefully more folks.
If you build it, they will come.
Our founder chaired the meeting. And we opened the first meeting of Changing Attitudes with a reading from the Big Book, Chapter 2, There is a solution, more specifically Page 25. This passage includes Appendix II and Spiritual Experience.
Our goal to offer the men who come to our meeting is A Solution. It was a good start to our meeting to have started here. It was a very personal meeting. And it also goes that we are here for the newcomer. And one of our guests is weeks in and working his steps for the first time.
We hit our weekly goal for the kitty. In order to keep the doors open we need to hit a weekly goal in order to pay rent, collect a prudent reserve and pay out the opening costs from the build fund. In the end we spent $318.00 dollars to open the room. Each of us founders paid into the build fund and now some purchase bills need to be paid. We will do that in due course.
I was pleased to see people come. It was very gratifying for me to be able to have come full circle in twelve years, from a newcomer at Tuesday Beginners 11 years and a few months ago, to becoming a member of Tuesday Beginners for almost twelve years, and now be able to pay it back and open a meeting of our own.
Where a member had an idea and voiced that idea to the universe and see that idea come to fruition in a months time, was miraculous. The young man who found our meeting came tonight and knocked it out of the park. I am so proud of him, and gratified to be part of the founders group.
And they say, in the book, “that we should not take ourselves so seriously!”
Meeting one, week one, is in the history book. It was a successful night all around. A good night was had by all.
Thanks for reading. More to come, stay tuned…
Lifted from: In Dodd We Trust
I recently read a book about relationships that advocated following the Five A’s:
1. Attention [to the other person, what they say and do]
2. Acceptance [of the other person, even if you do not understand]
3. Appreciation [of the positive qualities of the other person, even if there are also faults]
4. Affection [shown in an appropriate and clear manner]
5. Allowing [the other person to be who he/she is, even if you do not agree with everything]
Whew. What a week and weekend this has been. I remarked to a friend this evening that I haven’t been this busy with things to do in a long time. It is raining tonight, little wispy rain.
Our little meeting that is shaping up made a huge leap forwards today. The founders of the group met and we polished the minutes and readings, we talked about what we want to concentrate on and how things will play out. We also ponied up, paying our first months rent, which I will pay tomorrow. Word of mouth is working in our favor. All of the young men whom I have spoken to over the past few days seem positive that they will come. That may play out for a great showing on our first night (May 02 Thursday) …
We headed out to get the coffee perking and set up early for the Sunday Night Meeting. We sat a good group of folks. And we continued reading from the Big Book and Into Action through step 9.
” Made direct amends to such people, where ever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.”
We read in the book that “The Spiritual life is not a theory. We Have to Live It.
It was brought to attention that the end of that sentence is italicized, which means that it is important and should be made note of.
In my life, as it pertains to family, we had a tit for tat relationship. Many of the decisions I made, in sobriety the first time AND the second time, were in response to something that was done to me.
My father poisoned the well between my brother and myself and I haven’t been able to mend that fence. My mother was ambivalent, and she lives in resentment. In my life, if she copped a resentment against you, she would shut you off like flicking a light switch. And they did that to many family members, not only me.
Being Gay and HIV+ was a death knell. My father said some very hurtful things, and for a long time as I was growing up he would constantly tell me that I was a mistake and should never have been born. How do you counter something like that? What do you do? I did the only thing possible and I legally changed my name as to leave the family once in for all. And I was sober when I did that.
My father told me that I would never live up to the man he named me after, a soldier who was killed in Viet Nam. And a man I know my father felt something more than friendship, since a room in his house is dedicated to him openly.
Coming to Canada was another decision I made in sobriety. One because I could not afford to live in the states any more. And my mothers propensity for lying paid off for me giving me a birthright into Canada. How could I pass that up?
I tried for years to make amends. To keep communications open. I guess I expected blood from a rock, knowing my family history. The last things my mother said to me was that if they got sick and died, nobody would call me.
Fuck me for trying.
Amends are tricky things. And there were many takes on the topic tonight. Someday in sobriety I won’t be expectant of any kind of response, if there was a response. Silence is a bitter pill to swallow. But in my family silence is the tactic to punish those who have fallen out of favor.
That’s why we pray. To accept things I cannot change, and to accept that I am powerless over people, places and things.
I am grateful for the people in my life and the good things that come from meetings.
All is right in the world tonight.
More to come, stay tuned…
We are sitting at (2c) at this hour. And a snowfall warning is in effect for tomorrow, they say 15 to 25 cm of snow will fall, which is pretty big for the month of March. If totals are high over the city on this round, we could see a repeat of piles of snow everywhere. Stay tuned on that front … it will be exciting.
The last week of the month has not been kind, and being a few days early and a few dollars short, I got another chance to practice humility and honesty. I don’t fear being honest, and having to ask for favors on the odd occasion.
The pharmacy fills my medications ahead of time, and they called today to say they were ready, but the $85.00 total was out of my budget and my hands today. Thankfully, my words is good, and I get another credit today so that I could get my meds and pay on Thursday.
The weather has been balmy the past couple of days, the calm before the storm, the sun even made an appearance for a while today. I set off for the church around 5, with stops on the way pegged my arrival around 5:30.
My newbies did not show up for set up. So much for accountability. I got the urns perking and jammed out setup before the 6:15 business meeting began. We gained another handful of members tonight, which brings us up to I think 25 members. I need to add them to our email member list.
We sat 50 people tonight. And the chair had us read from Came to Believe. The read comes from the back of the book, page 103, Changing Beliefs.
The quote that stood out to me was: “There is good in all of us. Seek it out, nurture it, tend it, and it will flourish.”
This passage touches on the Steps and most importantly, Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him. It also talks about “coming to believe.”
At the end of my drinking career, I was a lonely lone drinker, in a room of people who cared not that I was standing there. My self esteem was shot, and I was alone. And had I dropped off the face of the earth, prior to coming back in, nobody would have missed me. And that’s the truth.
I had nothing to loose when I came back. And thank God that people took me in and helped me begin to rebuild the life that I was living. I pulled a geographic in sobriety here. The only thing I did right was spending two weeks prior getting to know the city, find meetings and connect.
The journey began when I started doing meetings here. I needed someone to take me by the hand and show me how it was done here. And I got that from my sponsor at that time. The journey to learn about God began. Because I had to find the God of my understanding once again.
They told me to keep coming back, to stay in my day, to turn it over. It took me a long time to learn what these things meant. Akin to planting a new garden. I came here, and began to till the soil, so to speak.
I started going to meetings, I began to plant my seeds, THEN I had to give the garden time to grow. If you’ve never planted a garden, you can’t rush the growth cycle. It is going to grow on God’s time. I became willing to wait on my garden, when at first I thought I needed a full garden, RIGHT NOW !!!
Many people talked tonight about Coming to the rooms, Coming to, then Coming to believe. Notice the steps are gradual. Everybody is unique and it may take some time to come to believe. And that’s where willingness comes in.
The other thing I heard tonight is that what ever is going on in my head, the act “AS IF” works if you work it. Also, just suit up and show up, you never know how you will help someone by just showing up.
At one time we may have thought terrible and unreal things about ourselves, and when I came in to the rooms, like many others like me, the people in the rooms loved me and believed for me until I could love myself and believe for myself. The paradoxes of sobriety ring true.
Obviously we cannot transmit something that we don’t have ourselves.
Come to meetings, keep going to meetings. Learn about yourself and your fellows. Read the book. Work the Steps. Honesty, Willingness and Open mindedness is key. Stick around until the miracle occurs.
Give freely of what you have been given.
Plant your garden, and watch it grow. Patiently.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …
It was a cloudy day, Montreal got a light dusting of snow since yesterday, and now we are under a freezing rain warning over night.
Today proved to be very exciting and fulfilling. I set out early because tonight we were celebrating Tuesday Beginner’s 55th anniversary. There was a lot of food, so much so that at the end of the meeting, we tossed food into the trash because everybody left after eating and we had too much left over and no where to store it so we tossed it.
Our most trusted woman member chaired the meeting and she read from the Foreward to the Second Edition to the Big Book. There are two schools of thought about these pages of the book. We heard a young member share tonight that she had no desire to read the forewards but skip ahead to the meat of the text.
Then there are the old timers who say that in order to gain context for the book, we must read about how the movement was begun, where things went wrong, and how the steps and traditions came together.
Our society then entered a fearsome and exciting adolescent period. The test that it faced was this: Could these large numbers of erstwhile erratic alcoholics successfully meet and work together? Would there be quarrels over membership, leadership, and money? Would there be strivings for power and prestige? Would there be schisms which would split A.A. apart?
Soon A.A. was beset by these very problems on every side and in every group. But out of this frightening and at first disrupting experience the conviction grew that A.A.’s had to hang together or die separately. We had to unify our Fellowship or pass off the scene.
In our long history of our meeting, people came and went. Many stayed sober, but moved here and there and to other groups as time progressed. I’ve seen hundreds of people come and go. A good number came for a season but decided that they did not want what we were giving. The meeting grew in numbers and we used to have a two meeting format.
But times changed and our speaker meeting numbers dropped off, so much so that the three members who were the only members for a number of years, retooled the meeting format to the Beginners Literature Discussion meeting we now employ. And this April we will celebrate 2 years in this new format.
Our group grew from 3 male members to more than twenty members of our group. Three quarters of our numbers are women. I tell the story about our most trusted female member came one week, and tens and twenties of women followed her to our meeting.
Our women bring a whole new dimension to our group. I’ve said in the past that the women do things so richly and the offer an example of true devotion and service to the book, to each other and to the steps. If it weren’t for our women, my sobriety would not be as rich as it is today.
At the end of the meeting our chair hosted a sober countdown. We began at 40 years sobriety, our first hit came at 38 years all the way down to one year. We sat almost 75 members tonight. Give or take a few heads. I wasn’t sure of the final tally. But I took down the sober numbers. Put together – we had 433 years of sobriety in the room, all together. There were also 25 folks with less than a year – and the most important – the newcomer – we had 3 newcomers with a day sober. We gave a brand new Big Book to one of those young men tonight.
I was also happy that our man who was rushed to hospital over the weekend came in and sat down as the meeting started. He did not drink today. The shares went around the room, everybody on the outer circles got to share. We went three quarters around the main table before time ran out.
We heard many good things, the most important was about gratitude. The old timers told us how they did it, the new comers shared about their struggles but for many of us, we were just happy to be at a meeting.
I had a few conversations before and after the meeting. It was good to take a little time to get to know the newcomers a little bit better. Some came to talk to me, about what they heard from me last week. And I got to share with some of our women – how they touch my heart.
I’ve been actively praying for one of our young women with a little over 75 days sober. She is in transition moving on from a breakup. And I so want her to stay sober – so we talked after the meeting. I offered her some advice because I want her to stick around. She needs to find a way to stay here, because she is on a visa and time is running out. I will be helping her figure out what to do next.
Lots of people came – all of them got to share. We had good food, good conversations and fellowship. Fellowship and being a member of a group were two things that need to be part of our sobriety. Becoming part of and being in fellowship with.
Those two things are vitally important for the newcomer to get involved.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned…
I’ve always wanted a reason to use this image …
It has been a very cold past few days. FRIGID by Montreal standards. We are sitting at (-20c with a wind chill of -27c) at this hour. The wind chill is going to drop to a bitter (-38c) overnight.
The past couple of days we’ve been keeping inside. Tomorrow I see the doctor for my latest round of numbers. We shall see how he decides to “shake things up” in my treatment plan.
Today I was up and around early. I set out early because I had stops to make on the way out and as bitter as it has been out, the getting there was the goal, without freezing on the way.
I arrived at the church close to 5 and I had just opened the store room and was heading towards the kitchen with my coffee urns and people began to arrive and the room wasn’t even set up yet.
The group met for our monthly business meeting. And many of our members showed up and we made some new decisions about the money in the kitty, how we were going to spend our surplus, to buy books and pamphlets, and for the anniversary party next week.
We invested in the Grapevine last year and it doesn’t get much traction, we sell three copies within the group and not many people avail themselves of the literature table at all, so we decided not to renew another year. Instead we will spend that money on books for newcomers and for the group.
It was a packed house again tonight. Our most loyal lady member spoke to me before the meeting, and from where she sits, on many committees in this city, our group is doing something right because we have been able to maintain good numbers for more than 2 years.
The chair read from the Big Book and Page 417.
Acceptance is the key to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.
This passage tucked farther back in the book, past the first 164 pages of the book, is important to us to be able to learn how to live life on life’s terms. And it was good to go back and read this portion of the book tonight.
While the share went around the room I was formulating what I wanted to say tonight. In hindsight the word acceptance pops up many times in the past, because there were many moments in my life, in the past that I had no choice but to accept life on life’s terms.
In 1994, when I was approaching my last drunk, I was diagnosed with AIDS, a fatal, and terminal disease. And instead of acceptance, I attempted to kill myself with the drink. Thankfully I failed at that attempt, and people and powers greater than myself took over and began to care for me, when I could not or did not have the knowledge to take care of myself.
When doctors tell you that you are going to die, and give you your end date – what do you do? There were two choices. I could go out in a blaze of glory, like some of my friends did, OR, I could buckle down and accept the sentence and turn my life over to the care of God (read: Todd) as I understood him.
I stayed sober and I stayed alive. I waited to die all along, and when I got to the date that I was supposed to die, and I was still alive, the next question was “what do I do next?” Well, you stay alive and you go to meetings and you come to work and do as you are told, trust us and we will help keep you alive.
It was very easy to say, but it was a challenge to turn my life over to God (read: Todd). But it worked. I stayed sober. For the first four years.
I made my bed and I lied in it and sobriety lost it priority and I had to do this all over again. And the second time I came to the rooms, I was much older, but still stuck in my twenties. I was hoping that the drink would magically turn me into a buff, blond beach boy with six pack abs. Well, that didn’t happen.
I had to accept that I was no longer in my twenties and that I was heading into my thirties and my behavior had to change, however I kicked and screamed on the floor like a five year old.
Acceptance is the key to ALL my problems.
Over the past eleven years, I have been able to practice the art of acceptance. And it was shared as well tonight, the use of prayer and many folks have realized the “real” way to pray the Serenity Prayer. It’s not about YOU – it’s about ME.
There are those two words, YOU and ME, again…
It must be a sign that these two words have come up again in discussion, which means that many of us have something to work with for the next little while. Which is good. I get to trust, turn it over and let go and let God.
The share did not get all the way around the room, there wasn’t enough time so a number of folks got left on the roadside. There was a lot of hanging out after the meeting. It being bitterly cold out, folks were wanting to stay in the hall and not venture out into the cold.
A good night was had by all. Next week we shall party our 55 years anniversary. My sponsor has been hunting around for old timers who came to our meeting some 40 plus years ago to complete our group history lesson to be read next week.
A good friend of mine, who has been very sick for a while and ended up needing a liver transplant – got that transplant a couple of months ago. We all have been praying and pulling for her in her days of recovery, and she came to our meeting tonight – looking very well – alive – and happy to be given a second chance at life. This was a very exciting part of the night for me.
More to come, stay tuned …
It has been bitterly cold. The weather has been changing by the hour here today. What began as snow/rain squalls earlier today has turned into clear skies and bitter cold. The Temps at this hour are (-12c/-24c with the wind chill).
It was an uneventful weekend. But it has also been very productive for me, in ways that are different from the usual days in and out. I am enjoying my daily routine of getting up early, getting things done, and having my afternoon nap with hubby. I am really loving sleep. Because I’ve been practicing my prayer and meditation and shutting down my brain for a couple of hours in the afternoon and it seems to be working very well.
I am finding that it is in simple things that make my heart sing. I am taking bits of my day and learning to be satisfied with that, instead of woofing a huge plate of things. For some, who suffer from “more, more and more” it is a daily grace to be satisfied with a nibble. And this relates to our reading from today.
I set off early for the meeting. I was looking forwards to seeing if the mall had made any other significant changes to its floor plan. And that hasn’t changed in the past week. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t.
I arrived at the church with plenty of time to set up and settle in for the meeting, On the way our chair texted me and asked me to chair for him tonight, which was cool with me. We cover for each other when it is necessary.
We sat a fair number of folks. With different amounts of time. And we read from the Big Book, chapter 4, “We Agnostics.” It was a short read tonight which ended in the Appendix II, “A Spiritual Experience.”
… We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, Honesty and Open Mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” Herbert Spencer
We are instructed, early in the Big Book, to refer to this reading amid the text of the book. I remember hearing it read at other times as we have begun reading the book from the beginning this time around.
The notion of “finding our own conception of God” is taught to us from the very beginning. Because we find that many have differences of opinions about God, be he religious or not. But in reading the book, coming to meetings and sharing with another brings perspective about this “notion of God.”
I’ve written about my God in the Pages “Naked and Sacred” and how I was introduced to God as a child. And I followed that God for the whole of my life.
At one point in my life the “powers that be” suggested that I might want to pursue God in seminary. And I eventually did that. I loved God, I loved being with God and praying and studying God. And for a year I did that with reckless abandon.
But in the end, the man who decided our fates brought me in and told me that I would not be returning for a second year, that I had not shown enough zeal or that maybe, I just didn’t jive with my fellows very well. I was just a boy, trying to find my way in a system that was bent towards ego instead of selflessness.
I guess you would say that I was very angry with God. I returned to my home and went to work with friends. And my alcoholism really got out of control. For the next several years I drank my way through life. And I did some stupid things.
So the story goes, I grew up, I drank, I got sick, and I got sober. I stayed sober because of the men who took hold of my life and helped me survive. God manifested himself in the guise of Todd, in all things. He did for me, what I could not do for myself. God made manifest in my life in great sweeping actions. God looked down on a simple boy and saved his life.
But as time went by, the universe shifted and I found myself left to my own devices. Without that controlling force in my life, I had no one to rely upon and soon I was off to the races and out the sober doorway and into hell.
Years would pass and I found my way back to the rooms. I relied on people to help me stay sober. With folks who took it upon themselves to see me sober once again, on a daily basis. I needed fellowship, someone to look to, someone to hold their hands with.
When I moved here and found my home group I had my list of wants. But the old timers kept telling me to “keep coming back” and “one day at a time.” It took me a long time to learn how to stay in my day. To learn about God, as the book directs us, and I did that.
My then sponsor, David was a godsend. We were attached at the hip for a years time. We did everything together. We grew quite close, and I loved him. They gave me my fourth edition, we read it, worked our steps and went to meetings.
At the end of a year, he still had his ego and our relationship ended. A rather sad ending. Bitter words were spoken and he cursed me saying that “I would drink again…”
On my first anniversary my addictions counselor asked me “Now that you have stayed sober for a year, what are you going to do for yourself?” I decided to go back to school. Which was the logical thing to do since the government payed my way through University.
I was sober. One day at a time. My fascination with God was apparent, since I joined the department of Religious Studies at Concordia, and met my now best friend and mentor Donald. I spent the next seven years studying God every way from Sunday. I have two degrees, in Religion and Pastoral Ministry. And I came away from university wanting more.
Since I did not make it in seminary, my thought was that if I can’t seek God through the church, I would seek him outside the church. I would climb that ladder to God from the outside of the building.
Donald, today is a deacon and will be ordained a priest this year. It was mentioned to me in passing some time ago that maybe I should consider Holy Orders. I’ve been sitting on that thought for a long time.
In order to do that I would need to complete the last pillar of good Christian practice, which is finding and settling into an active prayerful Christian community, like the Anglican Cathedral where I worship on the odd occasion. I have yet to make that kind of commitment.
That does not mean that I do not seek God in my daily life. Learning the A to Z of God, studying traditions and religions from all the major faiths in the world, East and West, left me wanting more. I had studied God, By the Book. Now I needed to incorporate that into my life.
Ten years into sobriety, I was ready for some excitement. And I got that in spades. My eleventh anniversary passed with little fanfare, this past December and I’ve been living one day at a time for ever and a day. And God has been showing me new ideas and I spoke today about that “more” mentality.
Wanting more – from my perspective is a very broad view. I look to open sky and my vision is of everything that is possible. And I’ve been learning, over the recent past that, I can’t have everything.
And I need to be satisfied with a little bit each day. I’ve been learning how to focus my needs to one simple idea a day, or one word a day, or one passage or prayer a day.
I’ve been practicing the “Parsing of Sobriety.” I’ve read, indulged and re-read the book. And like any good alcoholic, we always want MORE. You know what it is like to sit in front of a full plate of “MORE” food, and know that you can’t possibly eat all that food on one go… It is like I am on a spiritual diet.
Last week a friend offered me a prayer in his words. Subtle but effective. And I took those two words he spoke (YOU) and (ME). And so I settled into the notion of You and Me. And I have been satisfied with two words. And I meditate on those words daily, and I find that satisfying. Which relates back to my daily routine.
We read from the book today. And we talked about finding our own concept of a God of our understanding, and I heard twenty five different ideas, to chew on for the next week. And we read from Appendix II. Spiritual Experience.
Over the last eleven years, I have learned about God, and I’ve seen him make His presence known to a room full of people. I’ve seen God’s light come down from the church and alight on people’s heads and into their lives. So I am sure that God exists, I am totally sure of that fact today.
I’m still alive. I know who told my heart to beat. And I am present to my breath.
There is a particular one young girl who I have come to know in the rooms, and she has been hoofing it every day. She struggles with “thirst” yet she keeps coming back. She is amid her steps and she’s doing the work.
And for the last two to three months I find myself whispering her name to God in my daily prayers. But whispering people’s names to God is something that I just do … I so want her to stick around. And as a man, I must stay a step apart, because men work with the men and the women work with the women.
But today I stopped her after the meeting and told her that yes, I have been praying especially for her every day.
And that made a difference for her today.
God is alive, and he is tending the flock, every person, every day.
I am grateful for simplicity. I have “enough” today and I don’t need “more.”
And I am good with that.
It was a great night. More to come, stay tuned …
On the ground is where we ended up, and the only way is UP !!!
It was a sunny day today. Which made it quite mild during the afternoon. The evening was mild just as well. However there is rain in the forecast for this week, which should put a dent in the remaining snow on the ground.
I set off an hour later than usual for a 5 p.m. arrival. I did my safari on the way out and stopped off at the mall on the way through the tunnel. How things change in a matter of days, they have gutted all the shops that were on the Metro level of the mall and put up “work walls” in place of individual bays. They are working fast to get the now store up and open. But I don’t know of an ETA on the grand opening as of yet.
I cranked out set up and was done by 5:30. Our girls came in droves today. And by the 7 o’clock hour of the meeting we had sat more people tonight than we have sat since the format change some time ago. We reached 53 folks. There are six stacks of chairs in our store room which were all used, so we had to take a seventh stack out of storage to fit everybody in the room.
These are the days when meetings are really important because of the influx of newbies we saw tonight that all celebrated their first sober holidays in their lives. Numbers are up and that is a good sign. Hopefully we will be able to retain these people and help them stay sober in the long run, one day at a time.
My sponsor was in the chair tonight. And we read from the twelve and twelve and Step one, since we are in the first month of the year, and plenty of our folks who have just come in, he thought it appropriate to begin at the beginning.
Step One is the only step you must get 100% …
WE admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.
There was a pop quiz after the reading. And the questions were:
1. What is the difference between a High Bottom and a Low Bottom Drunk???
Both are in a hole, but the high bottom faces up and the low bottom faces the ground.
2. What is the second part to Step one ???
That we are powerless over people, places and things.
From the reading I was drawn to a paragraph at the end of the chapter that I had underlined, and circled in red pen … So It must have been important the first time I went through this book:
WHO wishes to be Rigorously Honest and Tolerant? WHO wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done? WHO cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? WHO wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.’s message to the next sufferer? NO, the average alcoholic, self centered in the extreme, doesn’t care for this prospect – unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.
In the beginning when the first edition of the Big Book was published, the writing was written to the myriads of Low Bottom Drunks that were coming to the rooms. But in the last seventy or so years, the bottom has been raised and people of all different ilks have come to the rooms and gotten sober.
One of my friends shared that he is glad that the bottom was raised, still being an alcoholic, he found acceptance in the rooms. And secondly that every man and woman who comes in has the ability to choose how they qualify. We are not labeled – we come on our own steam to find a place that we can all come and recover.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
It has been a long time since my last drink. And having had two kicks at the sober can has given me perspective. In the year prior to my first attempt at sobriety, I had a good job, a small apartment and good friends. My life wasn’t really unmanageable, until they told me that I was going to die from AIDS.
It was then that things got dicey. And I attempted to kill myself with the drink.
Had that intervention that took place, not happened, I surely would have died.
My family of choice stepped in, got me to a meeting and began to help me build the life that I came to inhabit. And I will be forever grateful for what those men did for me.
But I have spoken about this in the recent past. At or around my 4th year of sobriety, I was going to meetings, but I wasn’t “Going to meetings.” My support team had moved away, I was alone, I was disconnected, and I made a stupid decision, and I went out.
Years would pass and my life was truly unmanageable. I had become a shell of a person, just going with the motions. I had not only drank, but I was drugging as well, and that only drove my slip into the deep dark hole I had stupidly stepped into. And could not find the way out, in the end the way out was chosen for me.
Tonight I shared that if your life isn’t unmanageable – go back out and drink again. Because they say that if you go back out, you pick up where you left off and it only gets worse. And I can tell you now, that it did truly get worse.
The final year of my drinking, 2001 was a year of calamity and change. We all know where we were in the year 2001. And what happened. I had a stipend job. I had a small studio apartment. I was alone. I had one friend. Literally !!!
If I had dropped off the face of the earth during that time, no one would have missed me or noticed that I was gone. I have no family to speak of – I had two strikes against me, One, I was Gay, and two, I was HIV +…
I said my prayers. I met another member, who brought me to my first, next meeting. It was there that I met the next “Family of Choice” who would help me begin again. My life was not unmanageable because I was binging one night a week. I had to be functional for the balance of a week in days.
I had not lost all that could have been lost. And I wasn’t as insane as I hear people are at our meeting. Yet I was insane, because it took so long on the binge to come to realize that I could not go on doing what I was doing to my body and expect to survive with one disease already under my belt.
Alcoholism is the only disease that tells us that we don’t have a disease…
Lots of young people at our meeting are suffering. Many of them are fresh with mere weeks and some with mere days. Many are just beginning to dig themselves out of that dark and lonely hole of insanity that had them in its grip.
All we can do for them is to be there, to be Present. Offer them a kind word, a handshake and love. Hopefully our bumper crop of newbies will stick with it and stay until the miracle happens for them as they have for countless others who have passed through our room.
We have our work cut out for ourselves.
It was a good night overall. Folks were happy. We had a very successful evening with good discussion. With over 50 people in the room, we did not get all the way around the room.
Some would say that had we gone on – the meeting would have gone on for another half hour, at least. Some people get itchy when we reach an hour fifteen.
(That’s how long our meeting is naturally!)
Some people cannot sit through a long meeting, and they end up complaining at a business meeting, then they stop coming all together. And my sponsor is apt to say to jumpy people “how many hours did you spend sitting on that bar stool drinking?” that you can’t sit through a meeting that might go long ???
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …
Tomorrow is New Years Eve. And it will definitely be a cold one in the Big Apple. This year some folks I know from the Tubes will be in the crowd watching the ball fall and ring in the New Year in the middle of it all.
I went back and perused some old posts from the past year, like my prospectuses and I chose one post per month to see where my head was and whether or not it was screwed on in the right direction. But let’s start with some numbers shall we?
In the year 2011 … I posted 260 posts. Uploaded 404 photos and we ranked 28,000 page views in that calendar year.
In the year 2012 … I posted 272 posts. Uploaded 326 photos and we ranked 47,000 page views in the last calendar year.
That is a rise of 19,000 views.
The goal I had set was to best 28,000 page views and You did that.
To date there are 99 followers of the blog. Which has grown exponentially in the last year. Somebody at Word Press pushed a button for me and the last year has seen an explosion of visitors from 160 countries from all over the world. Ranked first was the United States, Second was Canada, and in Third Place is the United Kingdom.
I don’t know what turned the tide, but I was consistent with my writing, as you all came on board and the numbers began to rise, I wrote more. With the new “LIKE” feature, several weeks went by and I hit records with “liked” posts.
I can only guess that where ever you are you enjoy reading what it is that I write about. And I appreciate all that you have given me this past year.
Let’s see, what do I want to say next? I hit more than 200 meetings in 2012. Which span four nights a week at one point. But I backed down to three for the last 8 to 9 months.
I will start with my 10th sober anniversary. On December 9th 2011. A few months prior to that anniversary, I was bored with my routine, and I was looking for something exciting to happen. I was going to a certain meeting on a Friday night, a speaker meeting. There was an old timer whom I became friends with and he introduced me to many books about the Real Old Timers. One of those books was called 1000 Years of Sobriety. 20 stories from men and women who have been sober more than 50 years.
I joined that group eventually. And did service there for a few months. The culmination of my time there afforded me a Gold Dipped 10 year Medallion on my 10th anniversary. I also got my first Tattoo for the occasion.
But you know, when it comes to people, if you piss me off, I usually write you off. And I had beef with a man who turned me away from service and then I had some readers who would critique what I was writing and bash me for some of the things I was writing. If you don’t like what is here, then go away !!! I got good practice in De-Friending people on Facebook. I stopped going to that meeting and withdrew my membership. Because after a while, I came to see that I didn’t want what they were peddling.
At our Home Group of Tuesday Beginners, we grew from three members setting up and hosting two meetings a week, One a discussion and the other a Speaker meeting, we dropped the speaker and changed format to a Literature Discussion meeting at 7pm on Tuesday night. One night our most dedicated ladies came and said that she had come to join the group because she heard we needed help. And after that more than twenty women followed her.
These Women with Lots of Sobriety came. And they brought their sponsees to the meeting. And now Tuesday Beginners has 23 members. More than half of them are women. I open the room early and every week, like clockwork, they come in two’s and three’s and four’s to read for an hour. And I have grown to love these women with all my heart. They have done great things for many people.
We have become a tributary of New York City. Many of our girls are city gals who travel between Montreal and New York. And we have adopted many practices from New York at our meeting. There are so many folks that there aren’t enough jobs to go around, so we shortened the chair to two week stints, we have a gaggle of greeters, and directors for sponsorship, set up and clean up and literature folks.
The best new thing of the year is that we have a fair amount of LGBT folks at our meeting. Something that I am very proud of. For many years, LGBT folks were scattered around the city – and you would see them here and there. There is an entire city of LGBT folks in the rooms. And we have our own handful and I try to take good care of them. I share all my big events with my people. We are an open and welcoming group to all who come.
This past Winter 2011, saw me work my steps again. I started in a step group, just prior to my 10th anniversary. And I was slated to speak on my anniversary and the chair of the step group gave me a smart ass comment, which did not go over very well. Needless to say I didn’t finish my steps with them. I left the group and worked them directly with my sponsor.
I had a sponsee for a season. And that did not go very well either. And now we are no longer friends and we don’t hit the same meetings either, which is good. Words were said, egos and feelings were hurt, and nothing came of that. Sad.
I could not see sponsoring someones Face Book Statuses. That’s not how it works.
That left me free for the balance of the year to maintain my weekly routine.
I finished School at Dawson College last Spring 2012. I had used up all the credit hours that the province gave me and racked up some good grades, in the end I came away with some new knowledge having taken many different courses over two years time. And when that ended that put A LOT of time on my hands, to find something to do with.
I wrote the State of Our Union in January setting forth hubby’s time line of what was going to happen when. He was supposed to finish his M.A. last summer, and that did not happen. Thank you mental illness.
We were supposed to be riding high on the hog because with his M.A. he would be gainfully employed teaching, but he decided that teaching was not what he now wants to do. Which will parlay into some marketing job in the near future.
New income was supposed to see us into bigger digs not far from here, and we were going to furnish that space with new furniture and really great decor. And that did not happen. Hubby is still writing his thesis for his supervisor. She granted him a shit load of time to work on it. I was more “put a stick up his ass” and make him finish it already, but he is taking his sweet old time. Which keeps me in this holding pattern until he actually does finish his thesis.
We saw his best friend finish and defend her M.A. in the summertime, and now she is back here in Montreal working on her PHD. Hubby could have been there too if he hadn’t fucked off on his work for so long.
We are managing the house we live in and we are living inside of our means. We live very simple lives. This year also afforded me some of the promises. Some of the promises that have been elusive to me came to pass this year, which is a great blessing.
To date, I have lived another calendar year. Which brings us to my 18th year living with AIDS. The pills are working well. And I have been in good health for the entire year. A good year is one that nothing goes wrong with you, like flu or pneumonia or any other AIDS related sickness.
I haven’t dropped labs in some time, and I need to do that because I see the doctor in January, and they are going to have to push that back because I haven’t gone up the hill to do labs. My doctor did say at my last appointment that new meds were coming down the pike and that he would be changing up my pills in opt for some new ones that are once a day dosing and not twice. In his words, I am taking too many pills. I’ve been taking too many pills for a long time.
What have I learned this year? I’ve learned that I live simply and love deeply. Hubby and I are on the same page in many ways. We get along well and we take care of each other. I like this story that on our anniversary, hubby went to a store and bought a card, signed it and enveloped it. The next day, our anniversary I went to a second store and bought a card. Signed it and enveloped it too. And when we opened them, the cards were exactly the same card.
Every year you stay sober, in the beginning it is an outside job. You get to clean up and sort out your life. You read the books, and work your steps and things begin to change. Now that I am beyond my first decade of sobriety, it has come to pass that it has been a very inside job for me.
I have foibles and short comings. I did not do everything right this year. I made some crucial mistakes. I upset some folks, and I ended some relationships that were not working out. I don’t do well with egos and attitudes, or assholes and stupidity. Ignorant is right up there as well.
I turn back to my books that keep me on the beam. I Heard the Owl Call my Name and Nobody to Call me home. I’ve learned a lot about people in the last year. Some good, and some not so good.
I’ve read a number of books this year.
- The Bishops Man
- I Heard the Owl Call my Name
- No One to call me Home
- The Alchemist
- The Way is made by Walking
- Looking for Alaska
- Harry Potter – assorted
- The Historian
- The Wounded Healer
- The Life of Pi
- We Need to Talk about Kevin
- Many Live Many Masters
- John the Baptizer
- Christ the Lord Out of Egypt
- Memory and Identity JP II
- Why He is a Saint – JP II
- The God Box
- Out on Holy Ground
- From Boys to Men
- Halfway Home
- Living on Borrowed Time
- The Betrayal
- John Paul the Great
That’s a long list.
I think I am finished writing this piece. I’ve hit all my bullet point on my outline and I covered the bases on what is going on in my life today. The goal for the next year is to best my numbers that I posted earlier tonight.
Welcome to all my new followers. And as always, if you want me to talk about something or you have a topic that you would like me to write about just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you all for the great year, let’s now turn our eyes to 2013.
I am sure there is more to come, stay tuned …
I haven’t heard from hubby in two days time. This is the longest we have been apart since the holidays last year. He didn’t call home last night, I figured he went to bed early and forgot to call.
However, I was up late, watching tv and eating pie !!! I bought a blueberry pie yesterday because I wanted something sweet, and this pie is cloyingly sweet.
I slept in today and was up around 3. I was ready to go to my Sunday meeting early because I needed to stop off at Pharmaprix to get some things. The mall is several floors high. The shops sit on three floors accessible by escalators up and down.
Zeller’s was located on the Metro level downstairs. And out front of the store was a staircase that connected the Metro and first floors. That staircase is now gone. I don’t know how they removed it because it was a stone banister with stone steps and pretty hardy a structure. Nonetheless they took it out.
Zellers is but an empty shell of a space. It is very odd seeing the empty space. I am told, talking to friends that they are expanding the existing area – however I don’t know where they would expand, because there is no front space to take up so they would have to expand in the back and to the sides. They can’t go very far with the either because of the Metro train tracks that run along the far side of the store.
I arrived at the church earlier than planned. So I cranked out chairs and tables, my coffee lady showed up a few minutes after I got there. We had a good showing of folks for the meeting. I was happy to see some of my friends show up. We all triangulated our plans for Christmas day. I am hoping to see a good turnout on Christmas Night for the meeting.
We read from the Big Book, and More about alcoholism.
” This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it – the utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.”
Growing up in an alcoholic home to speak the word alcoholic was akin to family heresy. Everybody drank, some to excess. I guess you could say that certain family members were “functional alcoholics.” You know the ones who kept the job, the house and the family, yet stuck in the alcoholic stupor on weekends and holidays. The amount of alcohol that was consumed was excessive.
And for me as a young man, I drank to excess whenever the alcohol was available – provided by holiday events and at parties. I spent a fair amount of change on alcohol during my drinking career. I imagine that I could have spent that money of better things, but I just didn’t know any better.
In the last year of my drinking there were periods of enforced abstention. We all were sober for a specific period of time to reflect on the state of the world. That only lasted a couple of weeks and we were off the to races again.
The blackouts I was having were scaring me and I knew that my drinking career was coming to an end. I knew the way back, I just wanted divine intervention to step in and help me. And it did. When I put down the drink once and for all, I was finished. Done, Cooked, Kaput !!!
They say getting sober over the holidays are a bitch. But I’ve been successful for many years now. I’ve seen a lot of folks come in and leave, I watched people agonize over the holidays. And today I can offer simple solutions to help my friends stick and stay. It comes down to honesty, open mindedness and willingness. A desire to stop and stay stopped and the hopeful participation in sober community, especially over the holidays.
There are holiday events taking place over the next two weeks to guarantee folks a sober holiday with meetings and sober parties to attend. Some friends are serving food at a parish here in town on Christmas day, then they are coming to our meeting during the evening.
There are Christmas and New Years parties here and there. There is no reason that we have to drink – and a million reasons not to.
It will be great.
Hubby comes home tomorrow.
All is well.
Wau Lam … That is all.
More to come, stay tuned.
What do you do with a weekend full of time when your hubby is out of town until Monday??? I hate supermarket safari for one. What do you buy when you are only shopping for one? Frozen food that can be portioned and snacky foods that you can eat in between. And of course, PIE !!!
Last night, Friday, I sat around all night here alone, farting around on the computer. I watched a little tv, but I am tired and a little burned out on all the programs dealing with the end of the world.
We survived, get over it, enough already !
I was in no mood for overnight radio, because it was the end of the world extravaganza. BORING !!!
I went over to my library of movies and decided that it would be a chick flick kind of night. I have always loved Diane Lane in “Under the Tuscan Sun” it was nice to watch it again. Then I followed it with “Calendar Girls.” A double feature that carried me to 4 a.m. exactly.
I got into bed and pulled out Harry Potter and read that chapter called “Godric’s Hollow.” Since it is Christmas and all, and that’s where Harry and Hermione end up on Christmas Eve.
It snowed overnight. So we have accumulation on the ground. And maybe it will snow some more tomorrow.
Today – after surviving the near apocalypse, I slept in and rose around 3 in the afternoon. I went looking for things to do for one and decided that I would take in a movie tonight. It was nice getting out of the house for a couple of hours and the theatre is just up the block from home.
I finished reading Yann Martel’s Life of Pi on Thursday night. And one of my friends said on Tuesday last that I would not be disappointed in the film. I arrived early – the first person in the room, I got my seat way up in the back mid screen. It was a 3-D screening.
There are a bunch of cool movies coming out soon from the “coming soon” reel. The 3-d effects for Life of Pi were amazing. If you’ve never read the book, the film kept pretty close to the text. I noticed that in the film a story thread was introduced that doesn’t appear in the book, just a short story arc. I guess they added it to keep continuity in the films timeline.
The rest of the film was lifted directly from the book. I thought it would be monotonous – seeing most of the book takes place on a life boat/raft. I mean how can you embellish a life boat/raft crossing the Pacific Ocean? They did really well with that story arc. And the added 3-d dimension really helped the story along.
There really isn’t much to give away, because I am not going to tell you about the film per se, but if I were to recommend a book to you it would be “Life of Pi,” for sure. It is not a waste of time to read, and the story is riveting from beginning to end. I enjoyed how they decided to present the story telling in the format of a movie. All from the 1st person standpoint of character. That was well done.
A very enjoyable night for sure.
Now I need to cook some food for a late dinner and figure out what movie I am going to watch tonight. Tomorrow I am chairing the Sunday Niter’s meeting at 6:15. We are on chapter 3 – More about Alcoholism.
Hubby comes home on Monday afternoon – we may need to get a few things from the store before hosting a Christmas Dinner for a friend I invited to dinner the other night. I’ve cleaned the house, scrubbed the bathroom, vacuumed and sorted out the stack of papers that usually reside on the dining room table.
I have a hard time being at home alone for any length of time, since hubby and I are not usually apart for numbers of days at a time. I hate sleeping alone. He is enjoying himself with his family.
That is all.
More to come, stay tuned …
Sinai photographed from STS 109 – Shuttle Columbia March 1,2002 …
I’d imagine that if Armageddon was going to take place, this is the place we would imagine the first strike to take place, or the first event. It is 3:10 a.m. on Friday morning. Nothing happened, or should I say, nothing has happened
If you are a listener of Late Night Radio, ala Coast to Coast for any length of time you would know that all the crazies in the world listen to this show night after night. And we have been all through the list of crazies over the last year.
We have the ads for end of days Armageddon style food sales, you know, just for those moments when a disaster takes place and you need those ready to eat meals, They aren’t just for earthquakes and hurricanes Yall !!! If you have a spare couple of hundred dollars that you can plunk down for mass storage food stuffs, and you gotta have a place to put it all, and who has a spare bomb shelter in their property portfolio ???
I hear in UTAH that there are bunkers that have been prepared for today’s calamity to take place. I have also heard that the cleansing of the righteous from the non-righteous will take place today. That God is going to cleanse the earth of the sinful and errant peoples. That only the righteous will be saved from God’s judgment.
There is a town in Southern France that is supposed to be a vortex location and that when the earth meets its end, that the aliens are going to appear there and take away all those who fled to the safety of this mountain perch.
All over the tv tonight have been every kind of end of days programming. People trying to divine what the Mayans were trying to say and what that damned calendar and glyphs really have to say, since they are woefully incomplete, and the end story is all up to conjecture.
We’ve heard over the last year all those good preacher men who have foretold of the coming Apocalypse and twice they were wrong and God did not come screaming out of his heaven to take us all to heaven and send all the sinners to hell.
That would mean all of us LGBTQ folks. Because homosexuality is all so sinful and errant of God’s ways … Oh, I kid …
Did you partake in the hysteria of the end of days? Did you buy into the end of the world? Are you hoarding food, guns, ammunition and all kinds of food stuffs? Because you know, when the end comes later today it is going to be utter anarchy in the streets. People clawing and fighting for food and guns.
And those who are prepared for the end will be hunkered down in their bunkers and nuclear safe type hovels defending themselves from the marauding hordes of people who did not listen to the council of the folks who have spent the better part of the last year telling us all this it is coming and you’d better be prepared.
All this talk of financial ruin coming to the U.S. The wars over seas and the Arab spring running into Arab Winter. You never know if the Anti-Christ is going to rise from the desert sand of the Middle East somewhere like Iran or some other backwater Middle Eastern country. Because like I said above, if Armageddon was going to take place, you’d probably be looking over there for him.
I have read that the sun isn’t going to erupt in some hellish solar flare that is going to knock out the electrical and communications grids all over the world. And at this hour, I haven’t read of any earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions taking place anywhere in the world.
And when you wake and come upon this entry – having said your prayers to whatever God you pray to the night before, you will rise and the sunrise will be glorious – just like the day before.
And I am sure on Friday night on Coast to Coast they will be hosting a night of checking in with all those folks who have added to the mass hysteria that today is supposed to unleash on humankind.
Did the ancients get it right? Will we come to rise above ourselves and grow in spiritual awakening? Will we rise to the next level of humanity overnight? And what have we learn in this exercise of preparing ourselves for the end of the world. And what will we say to all those folks who are hiding in their bomb shelters as I write this.
Will we see a nuclear Armageddon from the East? Because if we do, for those of us who could not afford a bomb shelter – we are all goners … So I guess before I go to bed I should say my final prayers – kiss my ass goodbye and hope to wake up tomorrow morning.
Today my husband is traveling to Ottawa to see his family, and it may be his last meeting with them if we are to believe that something BIG will take place tomorrow some time. Who knows.
It’s the end of the world as we know it. And when you wake tomorrow – what kind of world will it be? And what will we say to all those crazies out there sitting in their bomb shelters and on mountain tops and those fleeing the big cities into the interior of the United States and Europe because the oceans are going to swell and swallow up all the coastal land. God forbid you know that volcano on the Canary Islands that is supposed to blow its peak and send a tsunami across the Atlantic and submerge the entire East Coast of the United States.
You are all FUCKED !!!
Shall we make a prediction of what all will happen the day after tomorrow?
Sit tight. I will report more as the day progresses.
More to come, stay tuned …
The plows have been working over time to get what little snow is left on the margins of the streets, Off the streets, because tonight we are in for a real DUMP!!!
All in all we may see upwards of 20cm of snow over the next two days and nights. We are now guaranteed a White Christmas. Our fridge is full of food to cook, the cabinets are stocked with the assorted fixings for Christmas dinner. Hubby leaves for Ottawa tomorrow for a few days to see his family and get the booty we usually haul in for Christmas from all the in-laws and such.
I haven’t ventured to the mall at all. There is only one gift under the tree for hubby, seeing he hasn’t really asked for anything in particular. He forbid me from buying him clothes which leaves little to purchase since we have everything we need. We don’t go out and spend oodles of money any more. it is far easier to cook a good meal – we live a very simple lifestyle.
I was up early today farting around and my usual morning routine. We had some lunch and then took a power nap about an hour or so before I had to be up to get ready to go out this evening.
I left promptly at 6:30 and arrived at my stop and a bus arrived shortly thereafter. Another member was on the bus and we walked up from the stop to the church. We set up the room in short order and sat and chatted.
It is a bitch getting old. But people in the rooms try to approach aging with dignity and courage. We are not immune to cancer and other assorted concerns. But some of my friends are finding it a challenge to do daily things. And I hear their voices speak the words … “I am finding it hard to …” And “I wish I could do …” And “my body is not what it was just a couple of months ago.”
What do you say … We all know the routine. See the doctor, get some labs done and wait to see what they say. It’s the waiting in between that is the challenge. We always want to be supportive and like a mother hen to her chicks… “It will be ok.” The word cancer is spoken with reverence because I have friends who have been down this road recently.
But we press on. Boldly and Courageously.
Our speaker came from the city. A few years sober. Got stuck in the door of dishonesty and using. The quintessential question, “Is alcohol a gateway drug to pot and cocaine?”
You start with one and it leads to another, which leads to a life of dishonesty and I heard it again tonight, our woman drank for effect, for the blackout. Because that is how it always ended for her. We scoff at people who saunter up to the bar and “just have one…” How can you just have one? I can’t have “just one!”
They talk about it in the book. Honesty, Open mindedness and Willingness.
For some of us this comes in short order when we get sober, and for others, it takes a little longer. We recognize the dually addicted here and I know the story because I was one of them too. When I regrouped after my slip, the ability to procure pot was non-existent, so I stopped toking. Cold, Clean and For Good.
But it was 2001 and we know what happened in 2001. I remained to drink for a few more months. Just because you quit drinking once, but you are still on the marijuana maintenance program, you aren’t very sober.
So it goes.
We return to the notion of honesty. however hard or bitter a pill to swallow in the face of certain situations, we eventually come to the point where the lies and dishonesty have to stop. I heard the words Selfish and self centeredness.
We’ve all been there.
Our woman finally came to at a meeting and came clean about her lies and dishonesty. She got into the book. And she got “Booked!!!” And now she is sober. Her claim to fame is that of a recovered alcoholic. “Recovered” from a hopeless state of mind and body. We never recover, it is an ongoing process every day and every month and every year. I would never utter the word “recovered” myself.
She says that we coddle the newcomer. Ah well, go to meetings, read the book and do your steps when you feel like it… NO. I was sober some months before I started my steps. But once I got to work, I did them in due course.
But she tells us that we need to get down to work. As soon as possible. Not in the throw a Big Book at you on your first meeting, but, merely suggesting that maybe you really need to get into the book sooner than later.
I know of several young people at this moment who are amid their steps since a week ago Thursday, and I haven’t seen them at any of my meetings, as I usually do. Now this could just be “I missed a meeting,” or “they are out there…”
There really isn’t an easier softer way, however hard we want that path. And people do not like being told what to do in any case. So how do you tell someone “this is how we are going to do this” and not get a fuck you in reply???
Honesty, Open Mindedness and Willingness.
You either want it or you need it. It’s your choice. You might not agree with me or our woman on this point, but if you do what you are told, life will change and things will get better. The best gift of the program comes when you get to BOOK someone and the spiritual experience happens for them and you get to witness those changes. What a blessing.
Our woman came to, got honest, she got Booked, and now she is sober. And she has had her quintessential Spiritual Experience. Don’t you want one too ???
It’s the holidays. And it is the hardest time to get or stay sober. The city will be bustling with meetings on Christmas Day and New Years Day. The West Island will be hosting at Serendipity a whole days events on Christmas. There is no excuse for not getting to a meeting. Because you don’t have to be alone.
I have it on god authority that our girls will all be there on Christmas Day as one of our women celebrates ten years on Christmas and she will be at our meeting. It will be a good day for a meeting. We will cook early here and I will open the room at 5 o’clock. And our meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Having worked in bars during my life I know the biggest days in gay bar business is on Halloween night, Thanksgiving Night, Christmas Night and New Years Eve, bar none. By 5 o’clock folks really need a drink. So the bars will be packed to the rafters.
And as alcoholics … there is only one choice. We don’t get to drink, but we also don’t have to be alone on the holiday.
And for YOU my READER, over this holiday season, please be mindful of your friends and family. Make sure you call them and spread the holiday cheer.
Take a moment out of your festivities and do something for someone less fortunate or alone.
Random Acts of Kindness count double over Christmas.
There is a God, and I am not He.
For us, we are sober by the grace of God and the program. We have a daily reprieve based on our spiritual condition. You are not alone.
Tomorrow I will be posting my Ode to Armageddon.
They say that the world is coming to an end.
But scientists tell us that’s really not the case. I just want to send an email to a certain radio host tomorrow night saying …
You big fuck up, all these past months you have only incited fear and hoarding.
FUCK YOU … The world did not come to an end as they predicted !!!
Mu ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!!
It will be a festive next few days. So Stay tuned for that.
It snowed, it warmed up, and the pretty white snow is a dark slushy brown. I did some supermarket Safari earlier today, while it was still snowing. But it all may be for naught, because rain is in the pike for this week. And the odds of a white Christmas are slim, if you believe environment Canada.
We squeaked by last year with a dusting on Christmas day. And this year we have dinner and a meeting on the same night. It will be exciting.
After reading how some of my fellows are baking and cooking goodies for the holidays, I went to the store hoping to find something tasty to add to the cake I baked tonight for my friends anniversary tomorrow.
Hopefully the choices I made will be pleasing to the masses.
I wrote out the balance of my Christmas Cards for members of the group. I feared that if I gave a card to one, that I would have to give one to all. And my sponsor said, just do it in secret so that nobody gets jealous of those who did not make the cut.
I spent a chunk sending cards out in the mail, and these were the leftovers from that event. I got a card from some of our women for my anniversary, so I put them on the list and a few others that have been a participant in my life in some way this past year. And that is how I made my decision. If you were active in my life you got a card.
So the cake is cooling. I need to plate and frost and decorate it later on.
What am I reading now …
I got a copy of “Life of Pi …” by Yann Martel.
It is one of my favorite books of all time. There are so many books in my library that many of them are favorites. I enjoy having something to read before bed. I was tiring of reading the same standards over and over again.
Hubby is out finishing his Christmas shopping so we can get them into the mail for my inlaws and my nieces and nephew. Thanks God it isn’t me out there tonight.
There are only 7 days left to get your Christmas shopping done.
Time is a precious commodity. Once wasted it can never be regained …
More to come, stay tuned …
A heavily-armed gunman opened fire inside a U.S. elementary school, killing as many as 26 people, including 20 students during a Friday-morning spree that left the country again shaken by gun violence.
State police confirmed the shooter was found dead inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, following the morning attack. The school hosts about 600 students between five and 10 years of age.
The shooter was identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the son of a teacher at the school. It appears, the shooter killed his mother at her home before driving to the school to begin his shooting spree there.
“According to sources, Lanza shot his mother in the face, then left his house armed with at least two semi automatic handguns…wearing a bullet proof vest,” ABC News reported.
Lieut. Paul Vance confirmed that 18 children were killed inside the school and two more died at a hospital. Six adults and the shooter were also found dead.
Reports suggest two handguns were recovered inside the school and a .233 Bushmaster was found at the scene. According to the Associated Press, Lanza’s older brother Ryan, 24, is being held by police for questioning.
*** *** *** ***
Last night I finished reading “We need to talk about Kevin.” And it was a tedious read for sure. In the end it is an anthology of gun violence in schools. For the writer tells the story from the perspective of a mother writing to her estranged husband about what is going on in her head. Her son Kevin did something terrible – but we don’t get the entire story until the end of the book.
Suffice to say, Kevin is in juvenile detention because he was a minor when he committed his crime. But ends up in a New York penitentiary after his 18th birthday. Kevin kills his sister, father and a number of school classmates in a gruesome fashion. Instead of guns, he uses a crossbow, after locking his peers in the gymnasium of the school.
I don’t mean to give the story away, but what happened today is eerily similar to the book, but including guns. The killing of a parent prior to the killing of school children.
I’ve never been a proponent of guns. They say guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But the equation is lacking because it is people with guns who kill people. Whomever the guns were registered to, a kid got guns and killed others with them.
I don’t know what to say after reading this book. Many people I know who have read it and the people at the book store I bought it at, recommended the book to me as I purchased it. I am truly saddened by today’s tragedy. So many kids won’t grow up to have kids and experiences themselves. Carnage is not pretty.
Now we will all ask the question WHY ???
Did this boy have problems himself ? In reference to the book, Kevin had problems from the day he was born. What were the telltale signs that trouble was amiss? Now we wait for answers to this terrible tragedy.
It’s not a copy cat. The fashion of the crime, just an eerie coincidence that I was reading this book just now. But a school shooting nonetheless.
Eternal rest grant the faithful departed and may perpetual light shine upon them evermore.
To thee do we send up our sighs mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn them most gracious advocate thine eyes of mercy towards us and show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus. Pray for us!
Today has been a day of anticipation. The first snow storm of the season is on our doorstep. The Ave Maria moment we have been waiting for since last winter. So tonight we wait for the maiden to arrive and we will welcome her into our lives for another season. They say it will snow BIG snow overnight. And it will be glorious.
We’ve been bemoaning the weather men because they just could not agree on a forecast, but it seems Environment Canada is sticking to its story of a Storm Warning for the city at this hour, and that hasn’t changed all day, so we shall see.
We were up early, hubby is working away on his next few chapters due to his supervisor before Christmas. I headed off for some supermarket safari because I won’t want to go out in shin deep snow tomorrow.
I headed out early for the church, and when I got there, the place was blazing with light from the church. Tonight was the holiday concert which ran into our allotted time slot. Which was glorious.
It was a good group. Lots of friends came tonight, some that I have been missing as of late. We sat a full complement. And we read from the Big Book, chapter 2, “There is a Solution.”
“We are a people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful…
The feelings of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement that binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution…
This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.”
In the portion of this chapter we read about the many “types” of alcoholics. And from our numbers we heard tonight who inhabited which description. And just how precarious some find themselves, to think a drink is dangerous, and to take a drink, suicidal… We all agree that we can’t never have ” just one…”
We went the entire period and squeaked in everyone who wanted to share.
And I remarked that I began to drink as a young man. Being a third generation alcoholic was my lot in life. My grandfather was a type A drunk. “The bottle hider.” My father was a type B drunk. The “Jekyll and Hyde” alcoholic. I was neither. I never drank from a bottle, never hid alcohol. I never drank at home, and always in the company of others. Because for me, drinking was done to “fit in.” At least that’s what I was taught.
In my early young life, all I wanted was to be like my father. And as I grew up and Jekyll and Hide would come to visit, I remember saying that I would never become my father. But as I aged, I became an alcoholic, just like my father, to a certain degree. Not to the degree that I had witnessed in my life, but I did run my own circuitous path, into sobriety eventually. Twice …
Another year has passed. And I get another candle on the cake, and another medallion on Tuesday night. I would like to think that I earned my keep this past year. In retrospect, God gave me just enough to keep me busy and away from the drink for another year. I stay close to the book and my fellows.
I communicate with my friends at least once a day. I do service for my fellows and I give freely of what was so freely given to me, one day at a time.
I have great friends, who care about me and I about them.
But therein is the choice we all make for ourselves. We can be a participants in our sobriety or we can just sit there and warm a chair on the outer circle. Most of my friends are front row participants. Very few choose to sit on the outer circle.
I get to listen to folks share about sobriety at every meeting I go to. And we, with time, get to hear, reiterated, why we are here, and for what reason, and why we could never go back to the way it was, because to drink is to die. Because for me, I don’t know if I have another recovery in me, if I go back out.
I remember what it must have felt like for my friends when I embarked on my near fatal slip. I was not communicating, I was isolating, and I know in my heart of hearts that I truly hurt my friends. People who were long time sober when I came back the second time.
I know that look that came upon me when I finally crossed the bridge from the beach to the city on Christmas Eve at The Poinciana Meeting. They were all there to welcome me, but in hindsight, I knew the looks on their faces. That pained pity look of “wow, that could have been me…” “But for the grace of God, I am still sober…” All those things I would say to myself now, seeing folks coming in and out having gotten stuck in the revolving door of alcoholism.
Now that I have banked 11 years … Hindsight is my best teacher. I know what lengths I will go to to stay sober, and what is possible when I work with another.
And I know for me, as the book says,
Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.
May God bless you and keep you—until then.
This is what you find at the end of the first 164 pages of the Big Book. It has come to pass that for a while we work our steps. Then we get to put them into practice in our daily lives. And we work a little more, and we get more practice. And we keep working on and on, day after day, month after month and year after year.
And sometime in the future you mark your first year, then five, and hopefully ten, and further up the line where I sit at 11 years.
I am really grateful for my friends and my fellows, and for my sponsor. Who tells it like it is, honestly and from his heart. “You don’t want to go back there because you know what will happen if you do…”
I got a card from friends today along with a packet of prayers from the Big Book. And I will close with these words:
My Creator, show me the way of patience, tolerance, kindness, and love…
Goodnight from Montreal. More to come, stay tuned …
We can just imagine in our mind’s eye that there is snow on the ground !!!
The possibility of snow does not/or will not/come until Friday, if at that. But you know what they say about Montreal, “don’t like the weather? Wait 30 minutes…” Forecasters on both websites have been amending their outlooks every night, so anything is possible.
It was a miserable rainy day today. The kind of rain that falls slowly that requires you to carry an umbrella, but not use it once you get downstairs.
I was out early, I was peckish so I went by Micky D’s for their new hot item and I have to say they were tasty, albeit, smaller versions of McNuggets. That was a tasty treat as I navigated Westmount Square.
The church was dark when I got there. Our coffee lady arrived just after I did, she made coffee and ate some old cake, that made her sick, so she left to go back home soon after we finished setting up the room for the meeting.
It was the first week of the month, as we finished the reading of Bill’s story. It so happens that after Ebby tells Bill that he should just find a god of his own understanding, what follows is a simplified version of the program. Find a God of your understanding, come to, and make your lists and then amends follows and finishes up with working with others and being of service to other alcoholics.
Also that nothing insures our sobriety more than working with another alcoholic. And everybody around the table spoke to that point. We all make it a point to take time to work with others to help them stay sober. It is very gratifying work if you can get it.
We sat a full compliment of folks. We just squeaked in everybody before the time was up. There was a good number of folks with some serious time talking to many with days, weeks, almost a year and then some. Doing for others is the name of the game. Every word parsed and digested.
I made the comments to the effect that when I got sober, in order to become a member of Tuesday Beginners, back in the day, you had to do some serious service in order to become a “citizen.” so to speak. I did lots of service.
Secondly, I learned that good sobriety meant that ones life revolved around our meetings. Not the meetings revolving around our lives. Meetings and sobriety comes first. Everything else follows. I built my life around my meetings, and that equation has served me very well over the last 11 years. People wonder if I get tired of doing service, or that I need to be replaced … Maybe I need to explain this to some people on Tuesday …
Next week is my anniversary. 11 years …
At the end of the meeting we had two cakes. One of our members took 26 years and another took 33 years. And you ask, how do you get to 26 and 33? One day at a time. There was much cake and congratulations. All in all it was a good night.
Last night we put up the tree, and the lights are fading in and out. It makes the apartment much more festive, even if there is no snow on the ground. Now we start praying for just a “White Christmas.” Last year we didn’t get serious snow until Christmas eve. Hopefully God will grant us our wishes.
The cards are all finished and ready for the mail tomorrow. If I got a card from you last year, you get a card this year. And for others, certain people always get cards, just because. I did not spend oodles of money on cards this year. What a pain in the ass. there will be twenty five lucky people out there.
We are on track for Christmas.
That is all for now. More to come, stay tuned…
It is cold out. We are sitting at a balmy (-10c) at this hour. I was up early and I dithered around the apartment trying to decide whether or not to go shopping. Hubby was doing laundry, so I showered and get ready to go.
The trains were packed at the 3 o’clock hour. Since we sit between 2 stations on the Green line, schools were all letting out. I headed off to Peel Metro.
I wanted to run into the Hallmark store beneath Scotia Bank Place Theatre where I do most of my holiday shopping. For the last few years, I shop here because of the family who owns the store. They are gracious and kind and I enjoy their store. I bought two boxes of Christmas Cards and a gift for a friend.
I set off for Bentley in The Eaton Centre to buy a new backpack – since I have destroyed the one I have. I go through backpacks quite quickly. The one I was using was ripped and really needed to be replaced. I found one that I liked and bought it. It was big enough that I could stuff my old one inside along with some items I bought at Hallmark.
I walked through Eaton Centre towards Place Montreal Trust to see the Christmas tree. I thought they would put up the one they have been using for the past few years, with the train running beneath it, but was pleasantly surprised to see a new tree. The old tree had huge ornaments that moved, spun and danced on the outside of the tree.
This years tree was more interactive – with big huge screens with different moving scenes on them. I should have taken a snap, but the tree was too big to get with my phone camera, so I will take my Nikon up there later on.
I stopped in at Indigo. And like I thought it was a Book Bonanza.
So many good books to choose from. I wanted a copy of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, which is one of the best books I have ever read. I had once bought a copy, and last year Yann Martel came to Montreal for a book reading, and he signed the copy I had and I sent it off to Will (of Not Adam not Steve) fame. Yann is his favorite author so the gift was a real happy moment for him.
I got another copy today along with “We Need to Talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. Many of the folks who work at Indigo highly recommended the book. Hubby said he would get me a gift card for Christmas. Which is good because there is a stack of books I want to get.
I saw a book by Linden MacIntyre called “Why Men Lie.” It is a hard cover book and from the dust cover seems to be set in the same period of his novel, “The Bishop’s Man,” which I have read several times over. There was another novel called “The Long Stretch,” on the bookshelf, both books seem to house the same characters. I wasn’t sure if they were a trilogy or stand alone books.
I looked this question up … The Long Stretch, The Bishop’s Man and Why men Lie is a trilogy. Called The Cape Breton Trilogy. (wiki) Now I have to get both the copies I haven’t read yet.
I could have shopped till I dropped … but I walked with two books, instead of many. It is very hard to say no to buying books because books are life. If I had a job, and I applied to them several times over the years, to no avail, I would work in a book store. That would be a dream job.
I got some lunch on the way out. I was craving me some Burger King, so that’s where I ended my shopping journey. It was a good haul. Now I need hubby’s Christmas list, so I can to shop for him next week.
Le Coeur Montreal was decorated with fantastical Christmas trees and recycled green and red bottles lit from within in different holiday shapes of trees, ornaments and decorations.
The train was full on the ride back. I went back to Atwater to come home through Alexis Nihon Plaza.
When I got home, I removed the patches that I had sewn on my backpack and prepared to sew them onto my new one. It is almost a ritual. When I first moved here – and the demonstrations began against the war, people told me to sew Canadian Flags on my backpack. And since then I have collected them from places I have visited like Parliament Hill in Ottawa and other places of note. That took me about an hour to finish. I was very happy with the way it turned out.
It was a good day. More to come, Stay tuned …
It was a cold night. I was warmly dressed, yet I was cold. I don’t usually carry a scarf or gloves, but they would have been welcome tonight. It has been two days sans nicotine, and it is going well.
I was out early and before I reached the stop, two buses passed by and I waited a few minutes for the next one, but still arrived at St. Matthias early, so I sat through their business meeting, instead of waiting outside in the cold for it to end.
Hubby spent the afternoon trolling The Bay for Christmas presents for the family the whole drama of finding and procuring “Christmas Spray” from Crabtree and Evelyn came up empty. Hubby noted that the spray he wanted was discontinued and also the store had been moved from the stall it used to located at.
I will be heading out to find cards and gifts myself this weekend. There are things I would like to get and things I really need for Christmas. I could use a new backpack since mine is ripped and fraying at the top. I copied a reading list from John Green, an author who makes You Tube Videos.
If you like to read, these are some of his book pics for the holidays:
The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubinstein
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Sula by Toni Morrison
Mansfield Park and Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Blood of the Lamb by Peter de Vries
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Matched by Ally Condie
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation by M. T. Anderson
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Aside from this list, I have some titles in mind that I want to add to my library. Which means a visit to Indigo. And if I go to Indigo, I will invariably spend a couple of hours looking at books. And that is not usually a good thing, because I will spend too much money on books. Hopefully I will receive a gift card for the holidays.
The meeting was short and sweet. I spent more time waiting on the meeting than sitting in the meeting. Our speaker came from the West Island. Just shy of ten years sobriety. One thing we see continually is that alcoholism affects a wide age group of people. And our man came from the older end of the spectrum, and when he went to rehab, after a family intervention, he was much older than many of the young people who were there as well.
I first imagined that our man would be full of sober exuberance. But I was mistaken. It was a very sobering story. Our man came to the drink late in his life and it turned his life upside down. Which means he came to sobriety much later in life as well.
We are here but by the grace of God. Just showing up to hear our man speak was a gift. To be able to support him in his sober journey is all that matters.
It was a sparse crowd. Many of our girls did not show, nor did our caravan driver, so I took the 24 home after the meeting. I left the hall, it was a quarter till the hour and a 24 was at the stop as I crossed Sherbrooke to the stop. Which brought me home earlier than usual.
Forecasters still don’t agree on snow or flurries. But there is snow on the ground tonight. Which green lights the tree to go up when ever hubby is ready for it.
It was a good night.
More to come, stay tuned …
Report From: The Canadian Press
CANBERRA, Australia – Australian bestselling author Bryce Courtenay has died of stomach cancer. He was 79.
His publisher Penguin Group said Friday that the South African-born writer died at his family home in the Australian capital Canberra late Thursday surrounded by his family and pets.
Courtenay had a successful career in advertising before writing his first novel, “The Power of One,” which was published in 1989 when he was 56. The story became a movie starring Morgan Freeman.
His 21st novel, “Jack of Diamonds,” was published this month.
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This is a very sad announcement. Bryce was a wonderful writer. All of his books are monumental. The way they are written is unlike any other author I have read. And if you have read anything by him, you will agree … Once you begin one of his books, you don’t stop till you reach the end. His ability to capture time and space and weave his stories with such amazing characters is amazing.
If you’ve ever wondered what Africa was like Bryce truly knew how to capture the people, the land and the images from his mind to paint just amazing pictures as you read. I’ve read a number of his books that are in my personal library.
If you’ve never read Bryce Courtenay … Put him on your Christmas list…
A point I almost forgot from the film this evening was the phrase “I Thirst.” It came oddly during the film, and several people who saw the film before me brought up this point, and equated the phrase as coming from Mother Teresa of Calcutta … which it did…
The notion of Thirst is a theme that runs throughout our lives, and more for the man or woman who is living a sober life. At the onset of alcoholism, we all experience the phenomena of thirst. And if we get caught up in “thirst” it takes us to our cups. And in time, and for most, the thirst grows ever more until we reach the point that we just cannot drink enough and our thirst becomes unquenchable.
But there is a solution. In the Book !!!
In order for that thirst to end, we must come to the realization that it is God who removes from us the compulsion to drink. A feat no man or woman could accomplish on their own, trying to “do it” themselves. Very few succeed at this juncture. When we hit bottom and realize that we are licked and that we cannot go on with this – there is the book.
And one day, sometime in early sobriety we reach the day that the desire to drink leaves us. And eventually we find “god as we understand him.” God is fraught with complications for many when they come in.
And I think, as I wrote earlier tonight, that the genius came when Bill W. employed the phrase “god as we understand him.” And in the beginning people come up with their own concept, be him God, or Good Orderly Direction, or simply “group of drunks” we gather together to share our stories and our experiences that become a very valuable bank of experience that we can all draw upon on a daily basis.
It is mentioned in the film this notion of “I Thirst…” And unless you are familiar with the story of just what “I Thirst” means and who spoke those words they fall on deaf ears. Where once we thirsted for drink, we come to find our concept of God and we begin to thirst for spiritual truth and peace.
We learn how to mediate thirst. We will thirst till the day we die, but to drink again would be a miserable choice in sobriety. Which is when we learn to employ prayer and meditation.
You may recognize “I Thirst” as one of the last words that Jesus says hanging on the cross. And it is this meditation that Mother Teresa has worked into a very fine meditation about thirsting for Jesus.
As I near my 11th anniversary, and having this phrase tattooed on my person, and hearing it again tonight in the film brings the meaning full circle, because I heard it spoken in reference to Bill and the Alcoholics Anonymous movement. It caught me off guard really, and I had to sit and ponder it seeing I left it off the first post. But the topic is one that can stand on its own here.
“I Thirst” is engraved on my 10 year chip and tattooed on my arm. And every day I bathe and during that I care for my ink with care and respect.
I may not thirst for the drink any more, but I do Thirst for God.
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Here is the meditation from Mother Teresa…
To the end of her life, Mother Teresa insisted that the single most important reason for the existence of the congregation she founded was to satiate the thirst of Jesus. “The General End of he Missionaries of Charity is to satiate the thirst of Jesus Christ on the Cross for Love and Souls.”
“I thirst,” Jesus said on the cross when Jesus was deprived of every consolation, dying in absolute Poverty, left alone, despised and broken in body and soul. He spoke of His thirst – not for water – but for love, for sacrifice.
Jesus is God: therefore, His love, His thirst is infinite. Our aim is to quench this infinite thirst of a God made man. Just like the adoring angels in Heaven ceaselessly sing the praises of God, so the sisters, using the four vows of Absolute Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Charity towards the poor ceaselessly quench the thirsting God by their love and of the love of the souls they bring to Him.
Mother Teresa writes:
Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much is the love He has for each one of you – beyond all what you can imagine … not only He loves you, even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy…
For me it is so clear – everything in the Missionaries of Charity exists only to satiate Jesus. His words on the wall of every MC chapel, they are not from [the] past only, but alive here and now, spoken to you. Do you believe it? … Why does Jesus say “I Thirst”? What does it mean? Something so hard to explain in words – …”I love you.” Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you – you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him.
It is Thursday and a whole bunch of us played hookey from St. Matthias tonight to go see “The Bill W” story at Cinema du Parc. My sponsor, myself and another friend headed out early because traffic was a beast, but we still got there early.
The theatre is a quaint little building with two screening rooms, a small sugar shack for candies and popcorn. I noticed out front of our hall that public information had set up a kiosk with pamphlets and questionnaires for folks attending the showing.
The film is doing so good that they are extending the run through next week.
While we were waiting for the film to start a gaggle of women from our home group showed up along with other members we see at other meetings.
The film was a documentary about the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W. and I had read a great deal about his life from our library of old timer literature which I have written about here on numerous occasions.
There were members who spoke on camera and historians who had written books on topics like Bill, and other assorted titles. They gave perspective to the story and members shared bits and pieces from their own stories interjected here and there.
But seeing actual film and photos from the early days, from the 1920′s all the way through Bill and Lois’s lifetime was nice. They spent a great deal telling the story of how the Book came to be and how it was financed and how much trouble there was in the beginning – but in time it all worked out.
They went on to tell of group consciences that caused folks problems and issues with the movement because as of yet the traditions had not been written. And there were problems like (for example) a group in Virginia had members who drank during meetings, (I laughed out loud), and another issue was in the days past people of color showed up at meetings and were asked to leave the meetings because of their skin color. Eventually the group took a second vote and admitted them to meetings as “observers.”
Hence the traditions came to be and the groups were taught the 12 traditions that have held the fellowship together for more than 70 years.
It was said of Bill, that he was / is a genius. A man who changed the face of the 20th century in founding our movement and the lives he saved through his work.
The 12 steps – Bill wrote sitting in bed with a pencil and a yellow notepad. The original steps from the (Oxford group) were six in total and now grew to 12, Bill mused that 12 was providential in religious and spiritual circles.
The steps kept us on the path and later the traditions would keep the groups on the path. The divinely inspired notion of “god as we understood him” was a strike of genius. The reach of this notion was widespread.
Many discussions were had by the early members over the wording and verbiage of the passages from the book. And since their writing, hasn’t been changed since.
A good amount of work went into writing chapter 5 – How It Works. This was the script of what A.A. is, how it works, speaks of the suffering alcoholic and explains through the steps how we might recover from this disease of body and mind.
Once the movement got started and began to mushroom out all over the U.S. and later across Canada and then the world, the publishing and dissemination of our literature grew exponentially.
The movement would grow to the point that Bill came to the decision that A.A. would have to be handed back over to the members because Bill and Lois, were living lives in the public and people held them both in highest esteem. And Bill could never escape the needs of so many groups of drunks.
A major theme that comes out of this problem for Bill was that of depression. If you read any historical material on Bill, you will have read that he suffered almost unending deep and dark depression from which he thought he would never recover. But things like LSD and Vitamin B3, were experimental drugs to help cure alcoholism and depression.
Bill had help in a small group of people who worked with him. It was hard in the 1920′s through the 1940′s to get the word out when poverty was a national problem. Bill and Lois lost their home, at one point, and relied on the good graces of members to find places to live and cars to drive.
Towards the end of Bill’s life he was faced with the fact that he wanted to go back to his human life and not be such a “deity” in the eyes of the members. He was stuck on a pedestal that members had place him on and it was such hardship for him – he wanted us to take the reins and let him go be just Bill …
On January 24th, 1971 Bill died at the Miami Heart Institute. He had addressed the Miami A.A. conference with a few short words, but was returned to the hospital where he died later that day.
Over 2 million people are counted in our numbers, in hundreds of languages and located in countries and territories all over the world. And it all came down to this one man, Bill Wilson.
We owe him and Lois a debt of gratitude for their work and their lives and testimony. Because had Bill not had that spiritual experience and meet the men he met in his life, A.A. would never have gotten off the ground.
There are scattered all over this blog articles and writings that I have written over the years that give testimony of how A.A. found it’s legs, who helped pass the message and those who were responsible for the spreading of the A.A. message.
The old timers would tell you to Keep Coming Back…
The book says “I earnestly advise every alcoholic to read this book through (the Big Book) and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray.”
William D. Silkworth, M.D.