Courtesy: BillyPazionis Flickr
I would first like to thank all of you who responded to my post yesterday. All your advice was well taken. Since yesterday was a holiday I could not make any headway into information until today.
Last night I filed a grievance with the Administration of the hospital where I am being treated. And I also filed a complaint with the ombudsman who emailed me to say that they would be contacting me.
I am going on with my life because obsessing over dying is not fun.
I was up and around to get out early for the meeting and we took the 90 bus to Vendome. It wasn’t raining but the sky was dark.
The topic was Growing up from As Bill Sees It.
And this is what came to mind.
I was diagnosed about a month before I got sober in 1994. I had to fight tooth and nail to survive because there weren’t dedicated doctors to care for the sick and no social system to engage to get care.
I was forced to grow up quickly and without question because it was just me, save for my crack assistance team who cared for me. Everyone else had scattered.
I had to be hyper-vigilant with my health care providers and I held them up to severe scrutiny and high expectations because this was my life we are talking about. You did not lie to me and you sure as shit did not fuck with me in any way.
If you said something or said you were going to do something for me – you did it and if you didn’t I made life hell for you until you made your word. I had to do that because people are human and sometimes they talk shit.
When I moved here, I got into the clinic at the hospital where I have been. The top dog was my doctor and I released my stranglehold on people opting to trust blindly what I was told.
I laxed my grasp and my hyper vigilance.
I trusted a man without question. Now he has eroded that trust with the way he seems to be treating me. You don’t tell someone you are going to die without proof or FACT. End Point …
Now we wait to see what they administration will do with my case. I will be on top of this as the days progress.
Your prayers and advice are always appreciated. Please keep in touch and I will be in touch.
More to come, stay tuned.
It was a gloomy day out as I prepped to leave for the evening. And loathed to carry my umbrella, I wore a hoodie and had my tuque in my bag, just in case.
There have been discussions about my sharing my thoughts on death and the fact that my doctor is adamant that I am to drop dead soon. The consensus is that I should definitely get a second opinion – a new fresh set of eyes to look at my file and give me some constructive truth.
All of my labs are fine. There was no discussion of them directly or in passing. My HIV numbers are all nominal – like they have been for more than a year. Tomorrow I will call the clinic and make my request. And if they can accommodate me then I will take my business elsewhere. I am not going to sit here and ruminate over dying. That is the farthest thing from my heart and mind and I don’t appreciate someone taking that tack with me and give me no further information. based on his appraisal.
It rained …
I made my transit across the square with a stop at Pharmaprix both on the way out and on the way back. The mall is still in remodeling phase. Lots of empty space and walls up all over the main floor.
I noticed last night, that the Seville crane was being taken down. They completed that mission over the weekend. I guess that means no more heavy lifting for phase three any more. There are a few stacks of bricks on the property still waiting to be used. In the main large space underneath phase three is Adonis, a small chain grocery store. That should be a welcome change.
There are lots of plans going on for this end of town. We’ve not heard anything since the proposal to raze the Provigo and build a high rise building in its place, and move Provigo further up the block in the old Omer de Seres space, but there is a condo sign out front of that space, so it may not be taken up by Provigo unless they build up – out of the main building into a high rise condo.
We sat a modest number of folks. Die hard Sunday night attendees. We are at Chapter 8 – to Wives. When the book was published long ago, it was geared to men. Not many women were represented in the room just yet, but this chapter was written to the few who began women’s recovery in the rooms.
We read the first few pages of what the lay of the land was for the woman with an alcoholic in their lives, and just what happens to relationships and businesses and work lives.
And I wonder… What would have happened if this solution based answer to the problem of alcoholism was introduced to my family? Because back then, in the 40′s for my grandparents, the 50′s and 60′s for my parents, women married for better or for worse. They were in it good or bad. My mother’s sister was smart, she did not marry into the problem of alcoholism. She stayed clear of what she was witness to through the eyes of her siblings, family and friends.
I ran roughshod through my family life. Dad was a Jekyl and Hide drinker. And he could flip the switch on his personalities with ease. When it was good it was good, but when it was bad it was worse.
My parent’s were not solution oriented people. Alcoholism existed. Deal with it, but never speak of it or go to find a solution for it. What happens at home stays at home, no one need know about this blight on our family.
Thank God I am sober today. I am grateful for all good things.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned…
All the rain they promised us – did not materialize. However hard it tried to spit rain over night. Enough fell to wet the streets and douse the trees with a little moisture, but significant rain did not fall.
It has been chilly on the side of cold, cold enough to warrant a hoodie on top of a shirt, because I was cold wearing only a sweatshirt this evening. We stuck to the tunnel to transit from here to the church and back.
We arrived at the church and the hall was a mess of people, tables and chairs all over the place and people were coming and going hastily. We learned soon after that the great St. Joseph’s Oratory Choir performed at the church this afternoon, hence all the people.
We sorted out tables and chairs, and stacked the piles of chairs and put the ones we did not need back in the store room. Clean up took a few minutes and then we sorted out the room for the meeting that followed.
We sat a fair number of folks, and finished our reading of Chapter Seven, Working with Others. The final passage we read deals with family and relationships and how to navigate sticky places in new found sobriety.
The best I can be when working with others, is just to be present. And usually God will direct the scene as He sees fit. That’s why we have the twenty minutes prior and twenty minutes after guide. Because that’s when we got to work with others. Presence, the greatest gift you can give to your fellows.
*** *** *** ***
It is a parent day today. And navigating them is pretty artful. This is where I get to Debbie Downer a bit.
The last time I saw my mother was for twenty minutes on New Years Day 2001, when my parents arrived on my doorstep for an impromptu visit deigned by my father, but not long enough to create a “sticky memory” I don’t remember the substance of the visit or the words said, but I do remember the defiant “NO” I got from my father as to hosting a lunch for the three of us before they headed back on the road to Sarasota.
End of that thread …
Honor thy Father and Mother … The bible says so. I don’t see the logic in honoring someone who does not deign to recognize or honor me.
Being Gay and HIV+ were always the kickers in our relationship.
But I thought that when children grow up and become adults, they should be able to make decisions for themselves hopefully good ones that will help them prosper and grow further.
I made two decisions in sobriety – the first and second time, that served me. I took my right to exist and to move on from dire straits and was punished for making adult decisions. It was far better to be resentful and angry, rather than support a child in his decisions about his life. Fuck me …
My move to Montreal was fraught with anger. How dare I piss on my American heritage and dishonor my father by taking a birthright that was mine to take and leave all that I knew for a place that I would make my home.
Ohhh the anger …
My father spoke family gospel and what he said was the end all be all of any argument. And so it went. I spent a year, a calendar year, trying to salvage a relationship with my mother.
I wrote, called, sent packages, etc … to no avail.
My parents were so put out by my decision to move North that silence and punishment was their only recourse. But of course that was their modus opperandi.
The last conversation I had with my mother went this way … And I quote …
“If I or your father ever get sick or die, You will not be contacted, ever !!!”
That conversation took place more than 11 years ago. Fuck me …
Faggots do not get respect, nor dignity. AIDS ridden children get nothing but scorn and indignation. When the chips fell where they did people scattered, including my family. I had no choice or say in the matter.
I was fucked from the word Go !!!
So happy Mother’s day to you all.
How do you pray away the ache the rises in the heart about things you cannot change nor do anything to make better ???
I still don’t have the answer to that question.
It was a good day. Friends, fellows and a meeting. It can’t get better than that.
More to come, stay tuned…
Once again today they told us it was going to rain. As I was preparing to leave for the evening, it didn’t look like rain, and I hate carrying my big umbrella, so I left it here at home.
We arrived at Laurier and caught the bus, and on the way it began to spit rain. It did not last long. And after the meeting we hitched a ride to Sherbrooke Metro and still no rain fell. When we arrived at Guy to walk home the ground was wet, so it must have rained on our side of the mountain.
But you know, they have been spraying the skies for weeks. I watch these planes coming from the West, from the direction of the airport, way up high, they did not take off from our airport because the planes are up so high in the air. Most of the time there are a pair of planes spraying chemicals from west to east over the downtown core. I saw a plane spraying just the other day. Some say it is just air streaming from the planes – but if you listen to radio, chemical spraying is happening all over the place.
Why didn’t the rain come ???
We sat a full room, and then some. We are reading once again As Bill Sees It.
In God’s Hands …
” When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.”
The consensus among my fellows tonight were “turning it over” “surrender” “letting go” so forth and so on.
Hindsight is 20/20 and if I am honest, my surrender began much earlier than when I made the conscious surrender of the drink.
A series of events lined up for me – that surely did not come from my hands. There was no other place to go, no other place to live and no other thing to be doing. I had surrendered myself to the grand scheme of things, so to speak.
When I finally met the end of my drinking, and I uttered the prayer for an alcoholic to come into my life, essentially, I was turning it over to God. He would either grant the prayer or He wouldn’t.
Within days an alcoholic appeared in my life and escorted me to my next first meeting. And within weeks, the stars began to align. Not by my hand, and not by my doing, the shortcomings of others played out into my hands. And the sign from God was to answer the call and follow.
And that is what I did.
One thing led to another and I ended up here. And the rest, they say, is history.
I never imagined in all my life, that life would have ended up where it has. But I suited up and I showed up and God did the rest.
This is why we read the books cover to cover, over and over again.
This is why we go to meetings every day, over and over again.
And this is how we stay sober. One day at a time, turning it over, and letting it go. It takes work, and the payoff can be fantastic. If you get out of the way and let God do the heavy lifting.
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…
What a day !!! What a day !!!
We hit the sack early last night, because bright and early this morning we were up preparing to go listen to Hubby defend his Master’s Thesis on the Tea Party.
But before that all happened, I did not sleep much at all last night, and I got out of bed around 5 a.m. because I got a bug up my ass … And I should know better than to get up out of bed to do what I thought would be easy and painless …
I’ve been singing songs from old movies lately, to myself. And I thought, why not download the tunes for my phone. So I did that. Now my SD card in my phone, a 2 gig SD, is very itchy. It is tempermental when I try to add or subtract music from it, and I should know better then to try doing this while hubby is still in bed, or when he just goes to sleep late at night.
After several failed attempts to get the two files moved from my hard drive to the sd card, my computer crashed and fucked up my sd card. I don’t know what I did to it, but it wouldn’t work. Hubby was not having any of my drama this morning because it was all about him.
He set off around 8:30 for the college and I went over about 9:30. It was a small gathering of panelists and guests. Hubby had printed out his 20 page presentation to follow. And it was a full stop SUCCESS !!! He blew his readers and his adviser out of the water. There were two rounds of questions from the panel and on the first round, one of his readers just twisted him up and was on this “Debbie Downer” trip.
Needless to say, Hubby fought tooth and nail for his defense. The second round was much better. Lots of compliments and kudos. In the end they granted his Master’s Thesis Defense. His supervisor said that he did far better work than an M.A. researcher, and it was good enough for PHD work. And after their consultations after the presentation, they accepted his thesis fully and without any needed revisions. Which is quite a feat of academia.
We were all so proud of him !!!
After the ordeal we went our separate ways, I had errands to run to drop off our rent for the month of May. It was lunch time, so I missed the secretary. But it got paid. On the way back through the tunnel and the mall, I stopped at the Telus store to try and get my sd card fixed. That was a no go. They said that I could reformat the card on hubby’s laptop, but he didn’t have a reader converter. UGH!!!
I did some sundry shopping on the way in, had some lunch and went to bed around 2:30. It was a great nap because at the end I was having this massive technicolor dream about Christmas and as someone asked me a question like, “are you coming for Christmas??” I woke up.
Actually, hubby was woken up first. Me thinks we have a ghost in the apartment. Because things happen, the tv turns on by itself, not all the time, and not predictable. So about a minute before my alarm clock was set to go off, the tv turned on by itself again !!!
I got dressed and departed for the evening event, which was a trip out to St. Michel to pick up our new cabinet for the group at the church. The cabinet is beautiful. Just what we needed. And just the right size.
On the way out I stopped by the Telus store because I had called them to see if I could buy an sd converter card for the laptop, and they said that a brand new sd card comes in the packet. They don’t sell separately. The girl that helped me earlier was still there and I asked for a 2 gig sd card, and she sold me a 4 gig sd card for the price of a 2 gig sd card … SCORE !!!
Hubby left me some directions on the way home to shop and get groceries and now we are home, he is having Chinese food for dinner and I am having Subway.
Later on, I need to reinstall ALL my MUSIC AGAIN !!! UGH Kill me now ! Albeit on a larger sd card so that should be painless, Let Us Pray !!!
All in all it was a great day.
More to come, stay tuned …
It has been a sunny past couple of days. And the excitement is rising. Hubby finally finished writing his 160 page thesis for his Masters Defense which comes tomorrow morning. Two years of blood, sweat and tears culminates in a twenty minute presentation in front of the M.A. Advisers and his thesis readers.
We are nearing the end of the month and May is just around the corner and the dawn of Changing Attitudes. Tomorrow night we will travel up town to pick up our new cabinet and bring it to the church for installation. And the ritual filling of that cabinet will follow soon after. There is a list of things we need to get sorted and purchased for the first meeting. It is all very exciting.
I met a friend to head over to Tuesday Beginners for the meeting tonight. Everyone was happy to see me since my absence from the group. My seat that I have always sat in was waiting for me with lots of love and hugs.
My sponsor had a gift for me, which is why I went there and not to Vendome Beginners tonight. I now have a copy of the original manuscript for the Big Book. prices run in the hundreds for copies of the manuscript. There is a link in the pages to the site where it can be purchased. That will be a good read.
Our ladies took us on a journey through Living Sober tonight and the topic read was “Getting rid of Old Ideas.” I was third from the end and we didn’t get all the way to the end to get everybody in.
I heard many good things that resonated with me. Having been in for a few years, Having left safe harbor and left to my own devices, I got to the point where I was ready to allow someone else do my thinking for me. I believed that I was missing something and someone and in allowing someone else into my thoughts, I invariably put myself in danger and that facilitated my slip.
But at some point, the end of June 2000, I had had enough. I was extricated from my no win scenario and the taking back of my life began. I put down the drugs and shady behavior and I never looked back. I had been beaten almost into the floor and I needed certain help, which came.
I never picked up a drug again. I did, however continue to drink because I “thought” that that would bring me into community. I “thought” that the drink would magically make me one of many instead of just the One I had been. I was living a sad existence and I would pour my sorrows into a cup and drink them away believing that things would magically change. Alas, they did not.
I became sick and tired of being sick and tired. I finally made my way back, through the help of another member. From that day forwards I began to change the tape in my head. I divorced myself from the thought that alcohol would solve my problems, and surrendered myself to the people who helped me sober up the second time.
The running theme in sobriety for me is that I allowed sober people to help me stay stopped. Certain people in sobriety presented themselves to me, I believe, on God’s dime, to help me and help me they did. I pulled that last geographic in sobriety and left the old me where he was. I never looked back.
I learned a great many lessons the first couple years I was sober. I found a sweet spot here and the people in my life were good for me. I could stay stopped. I became confident. I became strong. I became whole. All these things did not come over night. And it took work to get here.
I still had old ideas running in my brain when I got here and thank goodness the folks here saw them and God removed all those old ideas in due time. I learned to trust God again. And I trusted my friends and fellows. And here we are going on twelve years. The longest I have been sober in my life. I have no desire to go backwards, only forwards.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned…
The days have been bright, and kinda windy. It was very blustery last night on the way to St. Matthias. The skies were darkening as we began our transit across town for our Friday meeting.
We are reaching the last pages of As Bill See’s It. And today’s reading was taken from page 164 in the Big Book. A vision for you.
When we first open the book, and begin on the blank page, there is actually a first blank page in the book. This reminds us of how blank our lives are, now that we have reached this point, and we are prepared, somewhat, to make some serious admissions and get into the program. The illness of body, mind and spirit are laid out for us and we read about the disease of alcoholism.
The book is laid out :
- The Forewards
- Bill’s Story
- There IS a Solution
- More about Alcoholism
- We Agnostics
- How it works
- Into Action
- Working with Others
- To Wives
- The Family Afterward
- To Employers … and
- A Vision for You
The first 164 pages of the book contains all you need to get the job done. We read and learn about the steps. We read the book, And we set out to clean up our side of the street, to the best of our ability, After a few readings of the book we come to learn that there are 182 promises in the book. And this last chapter, a Vision for you, is a recap of the 12 steps in short form. What we have read and worked on is reintroduced to the reader, once you complete the book work.
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 meditations what you can do 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 fellow. 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.
Imagine 75 years ago when A.A. was in its infancy. The book was fresh off the press and began to be disseminated amongst groups and individuals scattered all over the United States, Canada and farther afield in time. Imagine what it must have been like to see the first peoples getting sober and coming to this page in the book. This was all they had before meetings grew and became organized.
Sobriety does not come over night. One day at a time. And I spoke on the line that says “Obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got …”
There are things that have to happen in order for you to be able to talk the talk, once you begin walking the walk. It is like collecting puzzle pieces and putting them in your tool box. Every meeting, Every share, Every reading and every day we don’t take a drink, we collect bank time. Every opportunity to learn something is bankable. In order to give – you have to live …
And from that living bank, we get to give it away because it was freely given to us. All those men and women who are long sober have given of themselves in opening meetings, sharing and talking, listening and being present, we learn from them.
Obviously, I cannot tell you things that I do not have experience with. otherwise I am talking smack or talking out of my ass. Every word I write comes from my heart, based on what I know and what I have learned. Every meeting I go to I get to experience a little more sobriety from someone else. And in turn I can return home and tell you what I learned.
Tonight it rained on us. We got soaked on the way home. I did not think to carry my umbrella – not that I like carrying an umbrella. But we made it home in one piece.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned…
It rained today. But more sun is on the way for tomorrow and much warmer temps by the end of the week.
The FLU has been a formidable foe here at home. It just won’t go away. And I’ve been plying hubby with pills and trying to get him to eat every day. I’ve been shopping for foods that he will eat and be able to keep down. I cooked for us last night and have left overs for tonight’s dinner. He asked for Indian for dinner tonight so I bought him a couple of meals that hopefully he will eat.
We’ve been hitting the hay earlier than usual for the last week. Which has totally thrown my schedule off – but sleep is something we need. My nightly ritual has been chopped to death and my body is not responding with proper working.
I was up early today because I had to drop labs for my HIV doc today, seeing my appointment is on May 15th, it takes a month to prep my labs. I marked the testosterone box on the lab sheet just to see where my numbers are, seeing my body is doing what it wants to do, and not what I want it to do !! UGH !!!
I walked over to the stop for the Cote de Neiges bus, and another bus was sitting there in its place. I got on. The bus pulled away from the stop and up Guy towards Sherbrooke. Instead of continuing up the hill he turned left and I freaked out. Where was he going? As the hill was blocked off because of construction and we ended up at Atwater to go up the hill the other way to get up the hill and cut across above the construction and to the hospital. Crisis averted…
I stopped by the diabetic clinic to get my appointment and lab sheet, I thought my doc would want to see me sooner that six months from now. He was out and the nurse said he would see me in six months unless my sugars were high, which they are not. They’ve gone down considerably on the double Glyburide.
I crossed the hall to the test center, the room was packed to the rafters. usually Tuesday early is a good day to drop labs because there aren’t so many people, usually. That wasn’t the case today. I took a number. I pulled a 53, and the number on the wall sign was on 20.
I had time to kill. So I prayed.
A couple of recitations of the Serenity Prayer worked its wonder. They ran the numbers and I got right in.
The phlebotomist, I think she was green, because she kept looking for a vein for about five minutes. I have good veins and I said to her, if you can’t get the needle in the first time, please find someone who can. She hit her mark, and nine vials later she let me go. I made it to the 144 stop with a few minutes to spare until the next bus passed by.
I came home and farted around while hubby built up some steam to get out of bed and I decided to take a nap and he followed. Sleep is good. I’ve been using my alarm clock frequently, and it seems that I set it and don’t use it because I get up just prior to it going off naturally. I sorted myself out and got ready to travel for tonight’s meeting.
It was a good meeting. I saw a bunch of friends I need to see often, because they are kind and I feel better when I am hanging with them. The topic was ANGER !!
Anger is a dubious luxury that alcoholics cannot afford to have. People are angry. Everyone is trying to navigate their feelings. Our emotions don’t just go away when we get sober. They are stronger without medication and inebriation.
Coming from the home I did – with all the mental, physical and spiritual abuse that was heaped on me – I always find it amazing that I never returned the favor. The older I got, I put distance between myself and those angry people.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with AIDS that anger took over my life. I was all over the place with emotions. I was spinning out of control. Trying to drink my feelings away until I took my last drink.
I learned a lot of lessons during that time. Working in a bar while getting sober was just what I needed to keep me busy. Todd kept my mind focused on work and my sponsor kept my sobriety in check. I had to learn how to harness my anger and turn it into useful energy, rather than a destructive source.
Do you know how much power negative emotions carry? If left to their own devices they will destroy you. Anger seeps into your soul and your heart. It bleeds power from your t-cells. When the body is in conflict, so the body goes.
Learning how to turn negative energy into healing energy took a long time. But I learned how that worked. Anger is wasted emotion, because in the end we are powerless over people, places and things. The more energy you waste on people that don’t matter – the farther down the ladder you get. We need to rise above our anger – pray – and let it go. Anger hurts us from the inside.
This is a tough lesson to teach newbies. They have to live into this way of life. And the only way we can transmit these lessons is to suit up and show up at as many meetings as is necessary for them to leech from us how it works.
We had two cakes at the end of the meeting. A 24 and a 27 year cake. Our man who took his 27the year cake has changed so much in the last year. He was hopeless for such a long time. And I’ve been seeing him on Tuesday nights regularly. He is 185 pounds lighter than he was a year ago. He has come a long way, and we all love him dearly because he is kind and gracious.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned…
“What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”
“Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities.”
It is Sunday. And it seems that we have run our course with flu. After a week of sniffling and coughing and sleeping and not eating very much, because let’s face it, when we are unwell the last thing we want to do is cook full meals. I’ve tried to eat something good at least once a day. Hubby is feeling better today.
I had errands to run on the way out and arrived at the church on time. For some reason the coffee pot seemed slow in perking. I don’t know what’s up with that, but eventually we had good black coffee.
We had a good showing. And we finished reading Into Action and steps ten and eleven. The next chapter is totally devoted to Step twelve in Working with others.
This week was a study in how to be of service to others. Namely hubby. When push comes to shove and I practice these principles in all my affairs, it seems that everything works as it should – because I am not in the way of God.
It has been a very fluid week. Actively working my daily inventory for the house and for myself it is the action that matters. There were plenty of opportunities to meditate and pray as we spent a great amount of time in bed.
It is good we are reading through the book, and we get to hear other folks talk about how they understand the reading and how it applies in their lives.
If we ask God to direct our thinking at the beginning of the day, and we live in God’s will, our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
Take good thoughts in a send good thoughts out.
It was a good meeting. Everybody was happy. We took caravan home.
More to come, stay tuned…
How do you participate in your marriage? Are you the shopper, the cooker, the laundry doer, or the go to work-er, the eater, the player, what role do you play?
Here at home we have the roles down pat. Hubby takes the lions portion of work on a daily basis. He is also the breadwinner, the student, the teacher, the bill payer and house cook. And when the roles changed when I finished school he stepped up and took control of the every day routine of the house.
I come and go as I please, I shop for what I need at the store that he doesn’t buy, and I eat, sleep and sit here on the box.
But when necessity changes and he goes down, as he has been down all week with the flu, somebody needs to step up and get on with home care. It started with doing the daily grocery shop, the pharmacy runs for medications and elixirs, and taking care of hubby. And also do loads of laundry. I haven’t done laundry in a while, so it was something to do this week. One needs clean towels and underwear !!!
I had forgotten how much money it takes to confidently run a home from start to finish. I’ve been running every day, shopping and sorting out our needs and tonight I changed the sheets, cleaned the bathroom and cooked some dinner for us.
Taking care of house and home is a fine science. And having ample cash in the bank is crucial to the proper working of home. And we are finally at that stage of our marriage and relationship that money is there. And we don’t spend one unnecessary penny.
I just wanted to state that maybe I take him being the one in control for granted sometimes, having to step up and be the doer is quite a challenge. But it is rewarding because I still got it. I can be accountable and responsible. I know how to take care of us in all things. It is not an easy job. That’s one of those things you learn about when you get married. How to make it all work, well…
Hopefully we are at the end of this flu experience. At least that’s what I hope. I’ve had enough hacking and sneezing and sleeping all hours of the day and night.
More to come, stay tuned…
“As we grow spiritually, we find that our old attitudes toward our instinctual drives need to undergo drastic revisions. Our demands for emotional security and wealth, for personal prestige and power all have to be tempered and redirected.” As Bill Sees It …
It snowed today. Big Wet Snow that piled up on street corners and on sidewalks making getting around very dicey. But we soldiered on to meet a fellow ay Laurier Metro, we were needed to be present and so we were. To support our chair and our fellows at the meeting. People come for fellowship and honest discussion. There was plenty of that for sure.
The reading was a warning … that life does not remain static, that everything changes and we must roll with changes and grow when it is called for. We can’t all remain seventeen or twenty when we are in our thirties, fourties and on and on.
As life changes, we change. The way we see the world changes over the years we remain sober. Because when we get sober, we do not do so to remain woefully miserable, but to become happy. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
It doesn’t come over night, and it doesn’t come easy. Life is challenge and we must work for every crumb we get.
Lots of friends at the meeting and blessedly a ride home. I had to shop and take care of house errands and grocery shop for us. I’ve been doing things that hubby usually does when he is well. I can be accountable.
More to come, stay tuned …
The week has begun. The flu is going around. Hubby has been hacking and choking for a couple of days. And I have been banking on the fact that I take so many pills a day, that my immune system should be jacked up.
However feeling discombobulated, my brain a little mushy, I headed to the Tuesday night meeting at Trinity. I like that meeting because many of my friends go to that meeting. And any excuse to see friends is good in my book.
The topic came from Living Sober and the first slogan … Live and Let Live…
Is there someone in your life that just gets under your skin? Someone that irks you no matter how good a mood you might find yourself in? I can think of only one person in my case. I’ve learned to pray that stupidity away over time. We don’t usually attend the same meetings so we don’t cross paths very often, praise Jesus.
Putting slogans to work early in sobriety is a good thing to do. They give you the ability to work on your life in 24 hour increments, which is all we have to start with.
That is all for right now.
Need some drugs and some sleep and maybe some food.
More to come, stay tuned…
The international Day of Remembrance has begun in Israel. The day that we remember the 6 million Jews, and many others that went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps. Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
These – Bad Arolson is where the millions upon millions of files for Nazi records have been kept and for years now been open to the public for research purposes.
Yad Vashem. The Holocaust museum in Israel.
You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter
Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,
Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.
Survival in Auschwitz
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…
What a busy week it has been. And it has only just begun. Our new group is meeting on Sunday afternoon to go over the specifics and odds and ends of putting together a brand new meeting from scratch. Exciting and Daunting.
Tomorrow will be a busy day for our folks. The Tuesday meeting is having a group conscience tomorrow morning with all their new members. This may prove to be quite a meeting of minds and attitudes. Thankfully I won’t be there.
Saturday evening the community of sober Montreal will meet at Victoria Hall for fellowship and food and to meet trustees from New York City who will be speaking prior to the screening of “Bill W.” a documentary. It is a sold out event. There will be more than 200 folks showing up – which is always exciting.
Tonight we headed up the plateau for North End English. A new man is in the chair this month so we went to support him and to see the others who come. I am liking this meeting because there is open and honest discussion on the topic from the book we are reading, “As Bill Sees It.”
” Even so, when making specific requests, it will be well to add to each one of them this qualification: … if it be thy will.” A.B.S.I.#329
We spoke about prayer and we spoke about God. We heard good things from folks who have been waiting and trusting in God in their lives, and it was all good news. When we let go and trust, God seems to move vividly.
And some, even with time, are having a hard time navigating the “time of transition or down time.” The question, “What the fuck does God want from me came up…”
One of our men is on his way to finding a concept of God that works for him. It is a grace to witness someone coming to find their “god” small g. Because not a lot of people trust “God” Big G. But the process of coming to believe is one of grace and love. And what we heard tonight from him was this …
If I go within, and find that quiet place, where everything is good, and the feeling is good, and I contact “someone” and it is good, then it is good for me. It may not be God at the moment, but he is frustrated at fighting this “good.” But he has realized that there is “good.” And what is God, if he isn’t good ???
Many of us have come to realize that we don’t ask for things directly. It seems the direct route is harder to accomplish rather than thy will be done. In Catholic circles they say that if you wish anything of God, that you take the back door route and ask Mary to intervene on our behalf. Mary gets things done.
But you can’t offer that kind of advice at a meeting. With people having trouble with the God word, what are they going to do with Mary to boot ?
In my life, I’ve found that making plans, in the long run, is pointless. I have done this in the past, made lists and expected things prematurely, when in reality God had other plans. And with this I would get resentful and angry because I expect. And you know what happens when we expect !!!
I try to stay in my day today. To say my prayers and to turn it over and trust that God knows what he is doing. I kind of like, flying by the seat of my pants, not knowing all the answers, or know what is coming or how things are going to go.
It was a good night. Lots of friends and a little gratitude.
Always try to end your day saying Thank You and having a little Gratitude.
Thursday has come and almost gone. Things are moving ahead on our new meeting. We are gathering on Sunday to talk over the specifics and to contribute to the needs of the group. We need a coffee pot, We need a cabinet to store our things in. Both these items may run us $50.00 or more. People are moving here in the city and we may be able to pick up some things on the cheap.
This evening I met with a couple of friends for a meal and fellowship before the meeting, and we just squeaked in under the wire at the meeting itself, as the readings were going on. Thankfully there were seat available to sit in up front.
Our speaker had a good share. Some take away points:
- If you pull a geographic to change your surroundings when you drink, where ever you go – there you are.
- The journey into hell can take two shapes, short and fiery, or long and painful, which route did you take?
- Alcoholism is a bastard of a disease. Cunning, Baffling, Powerful and Patient.
- We should have had an idea in teen years the extent to which we would become alcoholics, but many of us missed that cue.
It doesn’t matter where you go in the world to escape your alcoholism, because beer and wine taste the same where ever you go. It may be exotic at first, but the effects and disaster of the drink is the same.
Sobriety is so very important, because it is mental, physical and spiritual. You have to cultivate sobriety and care for yourself. Once we get past the mental obsession, we maintain spirituality and the physical body for ever.
It was good to spend time with new friends just joking around and talking. I don’t have many friends who I gather with aside from meetings.
Just a little gratitude.
That is all…
More to come, stay tuned…
Yes, that is a McDonald’s across the street from the Cathedral, as the building sits on Ste Catherine’s Street downtown. I took these shots on a vigil some time ago, because there is snow on the ground in the series. Blessedly, there was no snow, but it was chilly outside, and the flame was very big.
It was a glorious night. Many followers attended the service which ran two hours from start to finish. Tonight we hear the five great readings from Scripture from Genesis, a reading from St. John Chrysostom, Exodus, Homily on the Passover by Melito of Sardis, and once again from Exodus, and ending in the Gospel of Mark.
My friend and fellow Deacon Donald was there serving at the mass, he is to be ordained a priest this fall 2013.
From the darkness of the church, the paschal candle is carried into the church where it is proclaimed “Lumen Chrisi” Light of Christ. And we then light our candles one from another and candle light shines as the readings were done, and finally in a flurry of bells and organ and choir sing … Alleluia He is Risen.
A good night was had by all.
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and we shall gather at 6:15 for the tradition meeting for the month at St. Leon’s.
The cross that sits atop Mount Royal during the “interregnum” or in between, is turned purple. And today we would see purple on vestments for Good Friday services.
This is the day that Christians mark the crucifixion and death of Jesus on the cross and the church is in mourning. Tony Campolo is oft to preach the message about it being “Friday … But Sunday is coming…”
Also to mention the words ” I Thirst …” one of the last seven statements Jesus makes from the cross before his death. The words in Hebrew I have tattooed on my right bicep. This meditation which has been spoken about in the memoirs of Mother Teresa focuses on Jesus and his thirst for our love and devotion.
Tonight’s topic from the book As Bill Sees It spoke about ” Providence.”
There is a question on the first blank page of my Big Book :
ARE WE GOING EASY ON THE GOD STUFF ???
At some point in our lives, one way or another, we come face to face with coming to believe in a power greater than ourselves. Many of us grew up in some form of religion, one way or another. The odds are high that we have all been introduced to God sometime in our lives.
For the person coming in for the first time, God is a dirty word, a repellant, something to be avoided at any cost ! One way or another we process steps 1,2,and 3. We come, we come to, and we come to believe.
And even today there are folks who still struggle with the notion of God. But even if they cannot locate God – there is a passion to stay sober – to live – a power that moves them forwards, one day at a time.
The reading talks about never pushing our own agenda on those who have not come to the point of recognizing God for themselves, but we should be kind and observant, but never egotistical to believe that we have “all the answers” for anyone else in the room.
For every person in the room, there is a concept of “something.” From the simple “group of drunks, good orderly direction, get out doors even.” God is cultivated in each life to their abilities and their belief system.
Providence … To be provided for …
Coming off my slip, I prayed to God. Specific prayers of need and desire.
1. For the hangover to mark the end
2. For a member to come into my life
3. To get me to a meeting
One, Two, Three … all three prayers came to pass in succession. I took my last drink. An alcoholic came into my life and brought me to my next first meeting.
In Hindsight, I had completed One, Two and Three before I hit my first meeting. I knew where God was, and I believed. I just needed to ” come to.”
It is providence for me to say that everything I need in my life has come from the rooms, one way or another. I’ve never had to go outside the rooms for anything. I always tell people that if there is something on your mind or a need you have, take it to a meeting.
God does provide.
Lots of friends and fellows tonight, great fellowship and a ride home from the meeting. All in gratitude.
Tomorrow is the great Easter Vigil.
More to come, stay tuned …
Another week has begun, Passover began for my Jewish friends and family, and it is holy week in the Christian calendar. The most holy or Highest Holy days of the year. We will be partaking in services at the Cathedral on Saturday night for the Easter Vigil Choir mass – which is always a good production.
It was a busy day today. We spent the morning writing letters to the government and the bank who holds my student loan – the government is trying to hold me responsible for paying a $3000.00 loan, that should have been converted to a bursary because AIDS is a major functional disability and they did not adjust my account properly – and they did this to hundreds of thousands of other students as well. So we are contesting the loan payback and requesting the government to retroactively correct my file. Let Us Pray !!!
After a short power nap, I got ready to go for tonight’s meeting at Trinity Memorial this evening. We sat a fair number of folks. 90 % had less than a month. And a few with multiples of years. And it is a beginner’s meeting, so precedence goes to the newcomers.
We read from the Big Book … 32-33.
… Most of us have believed that if we remained sober for a long stretch, we could thereafter drink normally. But here is a man who at fifty-five years found he was just where he had left off at thirty.
[the man got sober - and went back out and never returned]
We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again:” Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.
There is that pesky warning once again repeated in the text. Some folks just don’t read the book.
Many of our young people, find it a challenge to pick up the book and really commit with their hearts, the tough task of self appraisal and inventory. Long before we get to the God issue, the admission of the problem is necessary. And being young and impervious, so they think, of alcohol, they either remain on the outside looking in, or stuck in the revolving door [ in and out and in and out.]
Who really wants to get honest with themselves and have to, in due time, speak those words to another, let alone God himself ? I suppose that if you are at the point of utter incomprehensible demoralization, there is no other way but up.
How do you impress upon young people that this is the only way to get better and that just thinking about it and saying the words and warming a seat will keep you sober and lead you to a happy and fulfilling life. However hard the task to begin with, if we can commence to drink, at some point, we will commence to get better. Because to drink for us is to die.
I waited for the end of the meeting to share, hoping that the newcomers would take up the hour talking, and they did. I’ve spoken about my SLIP experience ad nauseum.
What did I know, and when did I know it ?
Alcoholism was rampant in my family. Three generations worth. It was there, and because we were taught never to talk about it or seek a solution, God forbid, it existed untreated and undiagnosed. I never said to myself that I would never become my father or my grandfather.
I had to move away to be Gay, because my father would never had stood for a faggot under his roof. At 21 I moved away to begin my adult life, with not a one tool for proper living. Who knew from responsibility. Jackpot after jackpot occurred and I did not know what to do.
But stopping drinking was not a choice I entertained.
Would that someone said the word STOP … in my twenties ? Had someone that knew me and my life story, said the word stop, would I have listened ? And I imagine that my life would have been so different had I gotten help then.
Everything happens for a reason. And this is the cross I bear to this day. I am sure that my alcoholism and stupidity played a part in my diagnosis at 26. The boy who I was with at that time, lied to me then killed himself. So I was fucked from the word Go!!!
I got sober in spite of the fact that I was trying to kill myself with the drink, not to feel the sorrow of knowing that I was standing on deaths doorstep and that I was surely going to die in a matter of time. I had the date marked on a calendar, I knew the day I was supposed to die.
The powers that be made an executive decision on my behalf, and while they remained in my life I was safe, safe from myself, and safe my alcoholism. But like all good things, they also come to an end. And I was left alone in a world that I knew not, because of the world that I was living in the past few years.
I had to relearn how to live in the world without the protection and direction of Todd and Roy. I stayed sober for a couple more years, but it just wasn’t the same. Once I hit my death date and I was still alive, I had to figure out what to do next ? Because I had not planned on living that long and the world was at large.
I was going to meetings. I had friends. BUT …
The heterosexual men in the room that I spent most of my meetings were dead set against my attending meetings at that room, and they told me so to my face.
I stayed sober in spite of them. But after while, I strayed away from the book. I had no sponsor, and I wasn’t communicating with someone I trusted. And I made an executive decision in sobriety that doomed me to my slip.
They say we plan our slips ahead of time…
All the boys at four years went out, including myself. And the slip was worse because I not only drank, but I became a drug addict. Thankfully when I came to the end of my drug use, I moved away from the source, and I never looked back, and never returned to using, even though I kept drinking for more than a year before I was led back to the rooms.
I know that feeling of shame and remorse. Having to begin at the beginning and how others think of me, because it was all about everyone else at the start. And the book also says that
“at some point we get hit by the Grace of God and we get sober”
And that happened to me and countless others.
The desire to drink left me and never returned. I can attest to the words in the book, I have a healthy respect for what it says and how it applies to my life.
And at eleven years, safe and sound was not working for me and I needed to change it up to freshen my sober journey, so I started attending this beginners meeting. To hear stories and meet new folks. Because one day, I may be present at the right moment and say the right thing, and maybe help someone never have another drink again …
The message take away:
A. That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives
b. That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism
c. That God could if he were sought
You never have to ever drink again … It can be done, one day at a time.
i thought of you, while in the shower
and i thought of how nice it’d be
to have your things among my things
along the bathtub’s edge
and i imagined myself running out of soap
and using yours
and wearing you to work, and the grocery store
and i imagined that night, laying down beside you
and smelling your neck
and finding out where all my soap had gone
One on One
This photo, a very sacred photo of a charm that we, as young people were given on our first high school retreat, called the One on One. Over that weekend, back in tenth grade, we were introduced to a spiritual relationship with Jesus. And we came to know God and Jesus and we were called to commit to a life of Christian service to one another. How I wish I knew then, what I do today about religion, faith and God. It would have been much easier. The large cross is Jesus and the smaller cross is us.
This was our Jesus …
We had our mountain top experience, then we had to come back into the world and be Christians. And that was a task that I was woefully unprepared for. Which is probably why I chose the path I took when I moved here. Today I know my Jesus and I know my God. I also know who God is and who God isn’t.
Funny that …
*** *** *** ***
The weekend is almost over. And things are happening. The weather is beginning to warm up a bit. The snow is melting. Walking through Westmount this evening I saw snow piles that reached about 10 feet in some places. At the church the snow is melting off the lawn and grass is starting to peak out from underneath.
I was out early for set up, and that went quickly, have tunes will travel. We sat a fair number of folks tonight. And we continued reading through the steps. Last week we finished Step five, so tonight’s reading covered Six and Seven.
The reading there are only one paragraph covering Six and Seven, and moved right along to Eight and Nine. We have heard to night about the book titled “Drop the Rock” which covers in detail steps six and seven.
We also heard from one of our men that shadows of step three can be found in step six, if you have read the book. Once we write our inventory and speak it to another, we get ready, “To have God remove all these defects of character” and then humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.
And moving right along to steps eight and nine, made a list and began to make amends. This is a big chunk of work to do, with very little reading from the book. The text moves rather quickly over these steps. And once we complete five we look back at our list and think about, ponder and name our character defects and shortcomings.
I heard an old timer woman say that it took years for her to cultivate her spiritual tool box to work on defects and shortcomings. My sponsor told me when I worked through my steps this last time was that defects and shortcomings never really go away.
But I have a choice to act out or act upon, and return to self will, (which runs riot if we allow it), It is a daily step work that is required. And thought this is daunting at the start, the longer we stay sober the more investment we can make into step work.
We’ve heard that step work is a daily regimen, that if we are diligent, we never really stop working our steps, because in any situation (out there) we can fall back into old habits and reactions. So that’s why we have meetings. To show up and recharge to be able to go out into the world and do the right thing.
Most of our folks tonight are amid their steps. Lots of beginners at the head of the bunch on Steps one, two and three. A good bunch working step four. Some doing their fifths soon, and some working on six and seven.
The discussion did not move past seven, it seemed the spirit in the room focused on what was necessary, which in turn really helped some of our guests feel better about step work.
Do we take time each day to say our prayers and reflect on what needs to be lit and what needs to be worked on? One day at a time, is daunting when applied to steps, and it struck me when it was spoken tonight, that if we don’t do what we need to do on any given day, we will sink into self and quite possibly drink again.
While I was sitting there listening, the shares came around to me quickly tonight and I didn’t have a lot of time to formulate what I wanted to say, but the first thing that came to mind was a memory of my youth.
I was a raging alcoholic who lied, cheated and schemed to get what I wanted and I really didn’t think twice about it, the lies and deceit just came. And I am of wont to tell myself that I was young and inexperienced. I didn’t know what responsibility meant, and I didn’t. I just could not work out how to live on my own for the first time, pay bills, pay for a car, pay rent, buy food, and still have money to drink with. And in my adolescent brain – because I surely was not a responsible adult yet, I tried every trick in the book to maintain my addiction.
The older I got, I perfected the art of drinking. But I fell into the trap of dishonesty and irresponsibility several times over. It took me a long time to grow up. There is a passage in the Big book that tells part of my story to a tee.
Once upon a time, I had a good job. People liked me. I had a roof over my head, and a good woman who took me in after family fell apart. And I screwed her over big time. At the time, this is prior to my first sobriety. I was drinking away my rent money, and one night I returned home from a party night, still reeling from the drink, and my lady friend had her son there waiting for me, with locks changed and told me that I could not get in until I paid my rent.
She as getting sober at the time. I did not know this for many years later when we crossed paths eventually at a meeting. I was the alcoholic running roughshod through her life, I hurt her – in the end I spent the next week borrowing clothes to go to work finally getting paid – I paid my back rent and she asked me to leave.
That turned out to be another adventure in insanity. The theme of geographic was still in play. So was my alcoholism. I would not get sober for a number of years just yet.
There are clear character defects there. Things I did, things I said, things I didn’t say but should have, and one great big amend I had to make to my friend. By that time I was a couple years sober the first time – but I was coasting on meetings. I wasn’t rooted in the book, I wasn’t working like we work today.
And that turned out to be my own undoing. Because I went out.
And boy did my character defects rise up and bite me in the ass. My next geographic turned me loose into the lives of others, and onto drugs in a way that killed me inside. Stuck in a no win scenario, I had to play the game close and tight. Another undoing. Any addict will tell you that anything goes when you need a fix. Thank God when I walked away from that life, it was over for good.
At the end of my drinking, it was just me. And myself and I. I had a studio, work and a roof over my head. But I was barely surviving. In the end I got sober and pulled another geographic. Where I am now. And since I came here sober, I left my past far far away. All those defects stayed with them there, so I thought.
Once again in sobriety, I thought I was entitled. That God owed me and that I should have all that I wanted now. I guess you call that self centered, and selfish.
Here is where the lesson of one day at a time began to play in my life. Even before I started working my steps, my glaring defects were on display for everyone else to see and the one thing they kept telling me was “keep coming back, stay in your day, one day at a time.”
I’ve had the odd ego attack in sobriety. I have said things that I was not proud of, in sobriety. But that was a long time ago. And I am a few more year sober now, and I look back and see where self will ruled the day. I sank my anchor in a safe harbor for a long time, and I coasted.
And now we are in shake up mode, and we are amid the steps, and reading them now brings to mind the more work that still needs to be done on a daily basis. I often like to think that this is the way things go …
You work your steps, write them out, say your prayers and then God gives you some time to work them out in your life. I have found in the past that I would learn a concept and then get to try my hand at making it work. And life and responsibility grew the longer I stayed sober.
I’ve become sober, accountable, reliable. I get to work my issues out in the face of my peers. And they reflect back to me what still needs to be done. We are constantly recovering… One day at a time. One moment at a time. One experience at a time. One person at a time.
Progress not perfection.
Once again we saw tonight what happens when you stop going to meetings and take back your will … Member going back out to drink. For weeks now we have been hearing the warnings. I don’t think folks are paying attention. Yet !!!
We are given a daily reprieve based on our spiritual condition. Because we have a malady of body, mind and spirit. And if we don’t feed our body right, and feed our mind positively, and feed our spirits Spiritually, we will never be whole.
Jane Fonda says that we are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole.
I want to be whole. I want to walk through that arch at some point, free from the bondage of self and my alcoholism. It is coming, soon, very soon …
Pray for us.
Holy Week has begun, will you be participating in the services of your choice of faith? How will you feed your spirit over the next week? And what will you do to prepare for the coming of Christ from the cross ???
More to come, stay tuned.