Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Living Life on Life's Terms. Powered by Word Press.

Latest

Monday: Wants versus Needs

7-cardinal-rules-for-life

 

Just as material losses are not necessary to indicate alcoholism, material gains are not the true indications of sobriety.

We heard from another young lady tonight, and her story, “Student of Life.”

Growing up, in an alcoholic house, was tedious at best. But I did have certain lessons down pat. I knew how to take care of a home, and myself to a certain degree. I went to school, and did fairly well.

I was 13, I think, when I got my first job. I was a bag boy in a grocery store. It was the first of a string of jobs I would have. And I had some seriously good jobs. They were the best. I worked a season scooping ice cream. I worked a double header in two shops that fried chicken and hot wings. I was a short order cook for a while as well. I had the chops to do a good job and BE responsible.

My parents were not going to pay for college. My first year was a scholarship that went no where. The second, I have spoken about before, in Seminary. But that did not go anywhere either. Working for a living now competed with my drinking.

When the time came to move away, you’ve thought that I would carry all the things I already knew forwards. This theme does repeat itself …

Thinking that I would carry forward what I did know …

I knew the apartment I wanted, in the specific Orlando apartment complex, because of specific people I knew who lived there, and at 21, I wanted to be them, and damned the torpedoes. I had a new car, that I could not pay for, and the expensive apartment, well outside my means, and the inability to be responsible for any of it, because of my drinking.

You’ve thought that what little responsibility I knew about, would carry forwards…

Nope, it didn’t. Because I was ruled by my addiction to alcohol.

Our writer tonight talks about the fact that she did not LOOSE anything, so she figured she wasn’t an alcoholic. But we also know that she had not lost anything, because she had NOTHING to loose, YET.

Loss is a common theme in my life, as is geographical cures, lies, and irresponsibility.

Within the first few months of moving away, I lost apartments, I lost a car, I lost jobs, I lost boyfriends. If it was not nailed down, I lost it.

Nothing in life was nailed down at all.

When I got sick and was going to die … I NEEDED to get sober. There were no two ways about it. If I was going to LIVE I was going to STOP drinking.

I had to stem the losses and get right. And that worked for a few years.

But listening to people telling me to go, disconnecting from meetings, and lying to my friends, and listening to the voice in my head, was very detrimental.

I’ve said before that, ask any alcoholic in the room, male or female, about the HOLE in the SOUL, and they will tell you that (If I ONLY had a relationship, everything would be better).

Not So Grasshopper …

My needs were warped to begin with, and the need for a human trumped my need to stay sober, in the end.

I pissed away four years sober for an imperfect human addict.

And in the end, I lost everything that I owned that time, and almost my life with it.

See, the theme is repeating itself.

The first time I got sober, it was because I needed it.

The second time I got sober, was because I WANTED it.

The blackouts and the sickness came. And I just KNEW, I was DONE.

I prayed for that alcoholic to show up, and he did. Like clockwork.

When I moved to Montreal, I had 2 suitcases and 4 boxes. That was my life.

Not very much.

In my twenties, I could not hold down a job, make money, or have a solid home. But for a brief stint, when I got sick, I had a solid roof over my head, while Todd was in my life.

When I moved here, sobriety took the drivers seat. It was all I had. And I busted my ass for all these years, and now I am here. The Promises came, albeit, very slowly. In years 13 to today, my life has taken a serious turn, and I have arrived, in a place, I never thought I’d find in this life. Because I am not supposed to still be here.

I should have died, long ago. But it seems God has other plans.

I know who I am. I know my goals, dreams, values, and boundaries, and I know how to protect, nurture, and validate them. Those are the true rewards of sobriety, and they’re what i was looking for all along. I am so grateful that my Higher Power stepped in to show me the way to the truth. I pray every day that I never turn my back on it. I came to A.A. in order to stop drinking; what i received in return was my life.

Truer words were never spoken …

 

 

 

 

Sunday Guest Post: On the Ground 2

steve-1

In the spirit of sharing, tonight I offer a post written by a friend who attended the Women’s March in Washington D.C. I trust in his words and observations, they are true and honest, with wisdom and clarity. (Sects and Violence in the Ancient World)

**** **** ****

Don’t believe the lies. Your government is lying to you already on day 1. I watched in disbelief as Trump’s press secretary for the White House, Sean Spicer, told bald-face lies the very first day of Trump’s reign of terror. I was in Washington, DC. My niece attended the inauguration. My extended family attended the Women’s March on Washington the next day. Spicer, clearly comfortable with untruth, lied through his teeth mere minutes after I myself stood outside the White House, saying that Trump’s inauguration was the best attended in history, far outstripping the paltry women’s march. Pure, unadulterated lies from the White House. My niece, and many others, noted how poorly attended the inauguration was. The evidence was in the white plastic matting, unbesmirched by mud on Saturday morning. The federal government disallowed the use of the Mall for the Women’s March. The unused matting was very clearly white the next morning. Around 8:30 on Saturday morning I saw for myself.

steve-2

 

The Women’s March may have been the most significant event of my life. I was part of something much bigger than myself. Along with thousands of others, I stood for three hours while celebrities including Scarlett Johansson, Michael Moore, and Madonna, appeared on stage to cheering crowds. There was barely room to stand. We marched past the Washington Monument to the White House. A US Security guard told us there were an estimated 1.2 million people there, making this one of the largest marches on Washington in history. Just inside that white-washed tomb Spicer was lying his face off. He castigated the press for telling lies. Wake up, my fellow Americans. On day one our new government has shown that it intends to lie and smirk its way through every attempt at honesty. My eyes did not deceive me. I was there, on the ground.

steve-3

 

I work in Manhattan. New York City is a community of some 8 million people. I’ve never in my life been in a crowd as large as yesterday’s in Washington. The Women’s March was peaceful and perhaps the largest protest in our nation’s history. Protests in over 600 cities around the world joined it. An administration of the people, by the people, and for the people would acknowledge that. The smug, implacable—and I use this word sparingly—evil administration that insists on lying to its citizens is already spinning a false narrative. I was there, on the ground. This March may have been the best use of time in my life. Beware, Americans, your government will regularly be lying to you until future notice.

steve-4

 

Friday: Extra-Ordinary Night

12289463_1092314860780733_5368461934168273242_n

 

After a day of insanity and politics, we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

I’ve said what I am going to say.

It is an odd thing that happens, not very often, but tonight, we had one of the deepest meetings, we have sat, in a very long time. So many people are suffering. From a great many things, not necessarily drugs, or alcohol, or sex.

And it was mentioned after the fact, from friends, that when we compare notes, some of us are seeing and hearing the same things from many places. It is terribly unnerving to me after so many years, that so many of my friends are hurting, and there is nothing I can do for them, until they ask.

It is a very good thing that there is a handful of us on Friday night, who are tight. My Greatest friends, those who have been around the block and then some, those friends who at times were at odds with each other, have found that we want friendship more than anything else.

When the chips were handed out at the start of the meeting, two men got up. One, sitting behind me reeked of alcohol, and was sobbing in his beer all night. He said …

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. And he SOOOO wanted to stay in Vegas, but he decided to come into the hall tonight and take a chip.”

He disappeared after the meeting, after one of our women said no to him when he asked her if he could drive her home.We got her a taxi instead. But the man slipped out before we could stop him driving home, being intoxicated as he was.

A second man, who was terribly plastered hung back, had driven to the meeting intoxicated to begin with, instead of allowing him to drive home, at the end of the meeting a group of us, (we never travel 12 step alone) decided to sober him up a bit over coffee at a coffee-house not far from the meeting.

We drove him home. Because he was in no shape to drive.

My friends are suffering. And as we listen to each other, when we talk, there is so much more shit going on than we can address in any meeting. It was spoken tonight that the holidays were not kind to our men and women. And now we are reaping what has been sown for months and months.

People are beginning to crack around the seams.

I’ve been saying this for weeks and weeks … Months really, I’m not sure what I am doing right, or what my fellows are doing wrong, but I am in a totally different place, than many of my friends who have comparable time in the rooms.

And it’s not a point of judgment, just plain skills of observation and listening.

GHOSTS IN THE ROOMS

At this point in my journey, after listening to people talk for the last few months, I have seriously worked my ass off for the whole of my sobriety. What I am hearing and what I am seeing is that there are too many GHOSTS in the room.

I can share with you this poignant story …

There are some of us, who are still alive, twenty-five or more years after the AIDS crisis. In many big cities, Ft. Lauderdale, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc … Thousands of people died, ugly, serious, and terrible deaths.

Handfuls of men survived. We are a new breed of men. About five to ten years ago, we crossed a new life line. Those of us who had survived the carnage and are still alive.

Twenty plus years away from the epicenter of AIDS.

Some of those men, who had seen the worst, and lived, did not integrate back into society, they became GHOSTS. Many of them did not find their way back, after all the suffering we witnessed. And in many places, we know who they are. We can see them, but you might not necessarily be able to distinguish them, but we can. They walk around alone, lost.

Today, in the rooms … There are GHOSTS among us. People who have some serious issues that have never been dealt with. Yet they are in various lengths of sobriety. They might have the time, but, like I have said before, many times, many of my friends are cracked emotionally. I’ve been hearing these ghost stories for months.

I don’t know what to do any more. I know so many people, because I hit the same routine meetings week in and week out. I see them and have watched them for a long time. And you cannot connect with everyone. Not everybody wants to know you past the chair you are sitting in on any given night. There are only so many people who want to invest.

But I am told, by a good friend, that there are certain men with some time from the Friday night meeting, that when we talk, people listen. They might not say anything to us, but when I talk, I am honest. I tell the truth. I only talk about what I know, and what I have observed and heard, and how all that information relates to me soberly.

I want something more. I have worked the rooms for everything they can give me. I’ve pounded the pavement for the whole of my sobriety. And now, at this point, I know, for certain, just what a good chunk of friends have been doing. Because I listen to them talk.

I am told, by my friends that I’ve walked a certain path, that has brought me to this point, that my journey is unique. From the very beginning, I made a decision, that I would listen and observe my friends. And from that, my sobriety would be built by what my friends were either doing well, or not doing well. I think I’ve made wise choices, because I see where my decisions paid off, in the ways my friends are cracked today.

I made sure that I was never alone. That I wasn’t making decisions on my own, and that I had people, across the board to talk to about various things, along the way.

Not everybody took that same route. And now I know that for sure. I’ve got enough time and the skills to hear it for myself, just how cracked many people are, and just how hard they are suffering. And for many of them, I can do nothing but listen, and where possible say something that isn’t stupid and pithy.

The rate of return for those folks who went out over the holidays are low. And we are working very hard to keep those men and women “In the Loop.” But some of my friends are still walking around shell-shocked. One of my friends in particular, is just a mess, but he is hanging on by a thread. I say very little, beyond Hi and Nice to see you again.

I don’t know what is worse … Being sober, where I am right now, or not being able to do a God Damned thing for the many who need it. I don’t have the ability to help everybody and not everybody wants help.

Some just want to be left alone. And we have to respect that.

When people need us, they will say so. We just need to keep showing up.

And we need to be honest and willing to go to extraordinary lengths to make sure, that when needed we step up and do what we need to do to safeguard the lives of those who come to our rooms.

As was the case tonight.

 

In the Words of President Trump

My Father Always said, “Once you speak words, they can never be taken back !”

16142859_1196823267100703_7627290583532624507_n

Trump inauguration: Full text of new president’s speech

_93721858_mediaitem93687891

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: Thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America, and the world, for many, many years to come.

We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth.

Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

This is your day. This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now.

You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the centre of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighbourhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.

These are the just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealised potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry;

Subsidised the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military;

We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own;

And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.

But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.

From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First, America First.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labour.

We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example – we will shine – for everyone to follow.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” (He mentions God here … )

We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected.

We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we will be protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.

In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over.

Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.

We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.

It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are “black or brown or white,” we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.

So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:

You will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together, we will make America strong again.

We will make America wealthy again.

We will make America proud again.

We will make America safe again.

And, yes, together, we will make America great again.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you. God bless America.

Thursday: Stability amid Turbulence

kneel

 

The year has begun, in our little sober world. And right now, coming off an already turbulent end to the year in 2016, things are not off to a good start.

The roller coaster has left the station, and it is full steam ahead, seat belts are necessary right now, because the ride is getting rough.

Tomorrow, the world as we know it is going to change. And we can thank all those deplorable, shit head, alt right, evangelical, don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground, voters, who are plunging the world into CHAOS …

The reports are already being circulated about just what our next president is going to do to Health Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The new administration wants to CUT, CUT, CUT the budget.

Hopefully they won’t fuck us all over at the same time. But there is a good chance that we are all going to be fucked over all at the same time.

People are protesting, all over the place. And tomorrow hubby wants to witness the United States fall into the Abyss of Insanity and I think we need to watch, for the single fact that, we need to know our enemy and know what he is thinking from the very first hour that Monster takes office.

YOU ARE NOT MY PRESIDENT MR. TRUMP. YOU WILL NEVER BE MY PRESIDENT. I DID NOT VOTE FOR YOU, NOR DO I SUPPORT YOU ONE IOTA …

The world is on edge, and people are fearful for their lives, their livelihoods, and for their families. Nobody knows what this maniac will do first. And we are POWERLESS to change anything right now.

If Democrats have half a brain, they will OBSTRUCT, OBSTRUCT, OBSTRUCT for as long as it takes, until our president looses his office. Republicans, during the Obama presidency, obstructed him from his very first day in office.

THE BEST THING DEMOCRATS CAN DO NOW IS RETURN THE FAVOR AND FUCK THE REPUBLICANS RIGHT UP THE ASS…

We cannot allow Fascism and Authoritarianism to rule one of the greatest countries on earth. If we don’t take steps to protect ourselves, nobody is going to do it for us. It falls to the citizens to stand up and tell the new president that he can go FUCK HIMSELF Ten ways from Sunday …

There is so much at stake right now, and all those people who voted for our new president, like I said before, I don’t think they truly know the monster they have released from PANDORA’S BOX …

Let Us Pray …

**** **** ****

January has begun with insanity and turbulence for many people. The call to “stay on the beam” was offered tonight, by a man who was my sponsor for a long time. My friends who had dropped off the radar and are back for another round showed up, which was a good thing. But folks are walking on shaky ground right now, and even though, we are present for them, nobody seems to want direction, which in that case means, until they ask for help, we are powerless to do anything for them.

The only thing that is true is that the only way to maintain stability is to keep showing up and doing the next right thing.

I have friends from other places, and I see them often, who are trying to keep their heads above water, and they too, won’t ask for help or are reticent to say anything, so the only thing I can do is be attentive and present when they are around.

I have people to work with right now that need all of my attention. So adding to the brood is not something I am interested in doing right now.

Yesterday, I had to process a scene and do an extraction of a shit ton of weed from one of my guys homes. Let me tell you, I did not want to carry that much weed into the Metro system last night, so the very first dumpster I came across, it was dumped.

I’ve not seen that much weed since I stopped using weed 16 years ago. And I had it in my hands. Not that I wanted to smoke it, but it freaked me out, nonetheless.

That Mission was accomplished. Crisis averted.

We are all trying to start this year off on the right foot across the board. My guys are the most important investment I have right now, which means I need to have a stable program of recovery for the next little while, which means:

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings.

My old sponsor has been popping up on my mental and spiritual dashboard for the last little while, and he spoke tonight, so that was serendipitous. I spoke to him after the meeting, so we will see where that leads.

Long Sober Folks, are not free of character defects. And they sure as shit are not perfect. And that has been made plainly aware to me over the last eight or nine months.

Over the years, I’ve heard certain statements come out of their mouths that kind of turn my stomach, because they have time, and can still be ignorant and stupid. Which turns me right off.

But the truth of the matter is that ANY stability in program is more useful than sailing my own ship for any length of time, on my own. And I need stability right now. And the picking are slim when it comes to Long Term Sobriety.

From Now through March, people will be coming and going, so the stable of STABLE sobriety will be hit and miss until Spring, and we have to take what we can get for the time being. And if I have to call in my pinch hitters, so be it. That will have to do, because that is what I really need right now.

Old timers might have the time, but I would not trust many of them, as far as I can throw them. UGH !!!

**** **** ****

We have to stand tall right now, and proceed with caution.

The world may not come to an end, but change is coming and we may not like what we get, and we are powerless over the fact that so many deplorable fuck ups voted in huge numbers that got us where we are today …

THANK YOU, YOU DEPLORABLE FUCK UPS …

This is your fault, entirely.

When the first deplorable gets on their knees to Beg for God, God will say:

YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME, BUT YOU REALLY DON’T !!!

 

 

Snow in Miami 40 years ago today

snow-in-miami

MIAMI – It was the day no South Floridian every believed they would see.

January 19, 1977… the day it snowed in Miami.

Thursday marks the 40th anniversary of what has, for now, been a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Four decades ago, a cold front swept across the state overnight, and when residents awoke, they found snowflakes falling from the sky.

The snow fell as far south as Homestead, but quickly dissipated as the sun rose over the area.

By 9:30 a.m., the South Florida winter wonderland was nothing but a memory.

**** **** ****

I remember this day. I was in 5th grade at the time. We were living at our house on 33rd street and 63rd avenue. Coral Terrace Elementary School was not far away, and we had a private bus service that took us to school.

We had one of those ancient ceramic/brick/gas heaters that was in the dining room of our house. We used it to heat the entire house, which wasn’t that big, but did have three bedrooms. Sometimes we would sleep in the living room for the heat.

The house was not wired or duct-ed for A/C or Heat.

We went to bed the night before, anticipating snow the following morning. When we got up the ground was sparkly white. Mind you, it was not a snow, one would usually see on the ground here in Montreal, by regular standards, but snow did fall.

I had one of those puffy blue winter jackets and we played in the yard for a bit before our bus arrived. There was more fun to be had at school, in the massive school field area.

That’s about all I can recall of that day.

Tuesday: Would You Be Friends with You ?

tumblr_llnyzo9gsn1qark8so1_500-eeedwfff

I am listening to a pod cast on Thompson’s Live with Cecil Baldwin, from the famed Welcome to Night Vale Podcast.

During the discussion, the question was posed, “Would you be friends with you?”

Growing up in my world, I did not have many friends during grade school, well, none that I would invite “home to play.” The first real friend I had come when I hit the sixth grade. My dark skin friend from South East Asia was banned from setting foot in our house, just because he had dark skin, and what would the neighbors say to my father, who was patently racist, if they saw my friend in my front yard.

But when it came to white friends, the sky was the limit. To this day, many of the friends I had then, are still in my life on Face Book. Face Book is this necessary evil. We are all there, posting random shit and political fare, and every once in a while, something substantial crosses my feed.

We are friends, all of us, but I don’t think any of them would welcome a call at 3 a.m. There is just a disconnect with who we were then with who we are now. There really isn’t a connection to each other, beyond a “like or reaction” to something one posts.

I have always been the same person I was way back when.

My father hated everything and everyone. He was a racist, homophobic, ignorant, and hateful man. But I have also said the he was a Jekyll and Hyde kind of man. He was good for a time, until you introduced alcohol to the conversation.

And I always knew, early on, that I did not agree with many of the things he said, felt, or expressed. I would never be like him. I would never treat people like he did. And to this day, those family members who deign to talk to me, because I am a mistake, I apply my values, morals and codes to them as well. I am not my father.

Odd it is, that some of my friends, my best friends from my high school, whom I contacted on Face Book, really did not want to know me. Friends came and went from my life quite frequently over the years. And maybe my excessive drinking played into that, or the rift between us was caused by something they chose to do, and had nothing to do with me.

Time does not heal all wounds.

When I got sober the first time, I had friends, in all the men who worked in the bar, and of course Todd and his then partner, who is now his husband. And over the last few years, I have actually had contact with Todd on the odd occasion, but the connection is not the same. I don’t think he sees me in the same light, or hold the connection we had, in the way I do. To me he is my savior. The man who saved my life. And I will be forever grateful to him, so I hold him up to a certain light of divinity.

I have said before, that in Todd, God made manifest in my life.

I have only one friend from that era in my life, Mark. Who survived AIDS along with me, and we do talk often. I’ve maintained that connection for all these years.

When I got sober the second time, I met new friends who are still in my life to this day, thanks to Face Book.

I know a lot of people in the rooms, who are friends. People who I can depend on no matter what, whenever I need them. All I have to do is ask. There are many people who fill that description.

There are only three people in my life, who invest in me beyond a room or a meeting.

I’m not sure why that is …

If I make the out call first, people answer. And having to always make that out call bothers me. And over the past few months, I decided to stop making that Out Call, and delete people who cannot be bothered to call me.

I think I would be friends with me. Because I put a great deal of work into being friends with certain people. Relationships are something that I have seriously devoted myself to since Mama and the baby came into my life.

That one relationship, in addition to my own marriage, have made me the man I am. I am devoted to Mama and the baby, and to my husband.

I am also devoted to those people who are active participants in my life.

I think I inhabit good qualities. Qualities like Honor, Respect, Dignity, Compassion, Understanding, and Altruistic beliefs. I am giving to a fatal flaw.

I know now, today, that if I over invest in people or places, it is a foregone conclusion that I am wasting my time because as I have said … Not Everyone Gives a Shit about You …

Even if you wanted them to.

I’ve found that many of the people I know, or have known, do not have the capability or will to put the effort into friendship, beyond seeing you in a meeting once or twice a week.

Is that about me ? Or is that about them ?

I treat everyone equally. In the rooms, trust is something we give freely, from the get go, because if you can’t trust people in the rooms when you come in, and most people need someone to trust, who can you trust. That is a double-edged sword…

I just know that people I know and have known, do not see relationships in the same way I do. And I think that comes out of being ostracized so hard when I got sick. Seeing how humans turned into vipers and animals. I saw people and had people treat me like pariah, at home and in the rooms.

Spending almost fifty years watching how people around me treated others so terribly and hatefully and ignorantly, and watching how my sober friends today treat each other and myself, has taught me what NOT to do to someone else.

AIDS was the furnace that emboldened me to never turn my back on a friend, or treat people without dignity or respect, because a friend is all you might have when you need someone the most.

We are spiritual beings living a human life … So many people out there tend not to think about that.

If you damage another’s spirit, you damage your own irreparably. However spiritual you might be, if you abuse the privilege of friendship and family, you will be damned forever…

Would I be friends with me, Absolutely …

Monday: Part 2 … My Chance to Live

maybe

They say that in life, this life, that there is no dress rehearsal. This is the BIG SHOW.

You don’t get a do over…

Unless of course, you are a drunk, who pissed away their life drinking, or a drug addict, who ruined what life they had abusing drugs …

And you come round and get CLEAN and SOBER.

The world out there, doesn’t really get a do over, those out there doing their thing, not necessarily hurting anyone, they are just going about their lives. But for those of us, in the rooms today, who had done damage to ourselves and others, one way or another, before death calls your name, you find your way to us …

The odds are stacked against us, when we come through the doors. Some come in and get it right away. Are struck with the gift of desperation, and they stick and stay. And they begin their do over right away.

Then there are those of us who need two and three and four kicks at the can to finally reach the point where we do get that gift of desperation, and we come to, and we then get OUR do over as well.

I’ve been living in “do over” territory for a long time. I not only survived a death sentence and outlived all of my friends, I’ve been sober almost as long as I drank. Here in Montreal, old timers like to say that, you have arrived when you reach the point in sobriety, where you have been sober as long as the time you spent drinking and using.

God gave me several “Do Overs,” Thought it wise to give me a chance to live. Because for a very long time, I was not living at all. I was merely existing. Existing to drink, Existing to use, Existing to party.

You’ve thought that facing my own mortality would keep me on the beam for the rest of my life. But as I wrote earlier today, people in the program want the easier softer way, they don’t necessarily want to follow the directions, do they ?

In my case, it was the messages I was getting that sent me back out.

Never tell someone who is hurting, trying to survive, to Leave a Meeting and Never come Back.

Those words could very well kill someone.

They were said to me.

Folks in meetings, want to fit in. To be accepted. To be loved. Because while we were out there punishing ourselves, trying to fit in, where we did not, and in the process of trying to fit in, found ourselves at the bottom of a bottle …

Our young writer of tonight’s story wanted so badly to fit in, and she just could not do it, until she allowed herself to be cared for, in the rooms.

What do you do, when you are a teenager, and you are one of us ? At first, you might not want to admit that you are defeated. That you could not possibly be one of us, that you have many more “good years” of drinking/using to do before you settle down and grow up.

Our young writer tonight, was a teenager when she hit the rooms.

Our young people here battle with the idea that they are addicts and alcoholics, and they come in and try sobriety on for size. Some stay, most don’t. Because they believe that life could not get any better, that there is no life, without the party and the self-destruction.

They have to reconcile, not drinking/using with age and their peer group.

When I came in, my first sponsor was a young man. Younger than I was. But at the time, he was ten years sober when we met, and we hit it off. But after a year, his ego got the best of him, and he got pissy and he stormed off never to speak to me again, ever. I saw him once after that fall out, at a meeting one night, and he ignored me like he did not know who I was … not very sober !

Los of people with serious time, are not very sober. And that’s the truth.

What young people don’t see, in the beginning is that, they get their do over early on, that they have their whole life ahead of them to live clean and sober. Most old timers look at the young people and muse … “IF only I had come in that early, what would my life have looked like ?”

But how do you tell someone that early on, without them laughing in your face ?

Like I said, the odds are stacked against us. And people don’t necessarily want to hear “suggestions or How To’s.”

We tried to find an easier softer way but we could not.

Among our folks tonight, I heard many snickers from my friends, because I tell the truth. A friend who is mourning a loss, who at times, is rude, heard me share in the circle before he did and commented to the rest of the group that, “He wasn’t as sober as I was, with a snicker…”

Last week, I had a conversation with a friend and he said to me that he admired me because I don’t sugar coat the truth, and when I speak, I use my words wisely. That answer came back to me from another friend this evening.

I don’t know what is worse, telling the truth, or trying to step around someone who does not want to hear the truth ?

Is it better to tell the truth or dance around the head of a pin ?

We were all young once. And we all had our fun, didn’t we ? Those out there, who skated through, with nary a problem, make it into life whole. But for some of us, that brick wall has to come down on top of us, for God to get our attention.

I’ve seen several walls fall on me in my almost fifty years on this planet.

God placed certain STOP signs in my path at various points in this journey. Some were a day late and a dollar short, and some were right on time.

I still don’t know why I lived and all of my friends are dead. I still don’t know what I am supposed to be doing all these years later. 50 is coming and I have no idea.

Like my doctor tells me … “Well we’ll just make it up as we go along.”

Sobriety does not necessarily give you the directions on what to do with your life, when we get sober, “but it DOES give you the tools to construct a ladder, with the twelve steps.”

With the right guidance, time and advice, we get to make right choices. How many of my friends, did not jump at that chance like I did ? How many of my friends hung back and held on to old behavior, people, places and things, until they got pulled down into that pit of hell, only to find much later that they should have let go absolutely.

And now some of those friends, have some time, some, double-digit time, but they are miserable shells of human beings, because they are still broken and shattered inside.

And over the past few months I’ve seen this with my own eyes, and heard their stories with my own ears, and I think to myself …

Thank the baby Jesus, I did not do what they did when I came in.

People think I am egotistical and prideful when I say that thank God I did not do what some of my friends did, and that I did not make the same choices some of my friends made as well.

It isn’t about my Ego or my Pride. It’s the God’s Honest Truth.

Because had I fucked off like many of my friends did, mentally, emotionally and sexually, an ended back out the door, drunk and/or high, I would surely not be where I am today.

Each successive time you drop off the radar and go back out for further experimentation, in the drink and the drugs, the odds of your return get slimmer. Some get back and they have to fight even harder to get back.

Sadly, a handful of those who go back out, end up DEAD !!!

None of my friends can say that I am not observant or that I don’t pay attention in meetings. I sure as shit pay attention, because I listen to my friends and in their own special way, they say out loud … Don’t do this …

This is Your Chance to Live … You might not get another do over.

FOLLOW DIRECTIONS GIVEN …

 

Monday – Give Back Unconditionally

tumblr_msohxxcsvw1qkwkmpo1_500-minhos21

What to do with the new year ? What do I do with myself ? Where am I going with this blog? I’ve been writing here for more than a decade now. Almost 12 years.

Many things have come and gone. If you told me, when I first got sober, this time around, what this life would have looked like, I would have laughed at you.

But I do know this one thing is true … The day I set foot in this apartment we still live in today, I was on my way into a life that I never imagined.

I have friends, gay friends, who love men who lived through AIDS, and are still alive. I have friends who stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park when it came to us.

Those of us who made it out alive.

Let’s just say, that I have seen a great many things over the last twenty-two years of staying alive. I see now, how every human being I knew, played a decisive role in my life that helped me to survive the horrors of a deadly disease.

Our marriage, has been a series of trials and errors. Even before we got married, we were tested through several harsh trials and errors. Practice, I call it, for the vows that we speak when we get married. Practicing non negotiables, and how to get through them.

I have a life. I have an education. I have sobriety. I have a husband. I have good friends. There is money in the bank. We have heat. Food in the fridge. Clothes in the closet.

The world has changed over the last 50 years. Well, almost 50 years for me. I did not follow the cookie cutter cycle of life choices. I took the more, harder, longer, beg, borrow, and cheat path. I thought that if I struck out on my own, on my own capacity that I would finally arrive.

That did not work. I never arrived …

God has a funny sense of humor. He never ceases to amaze me, in what He can do, when I get out-of-the-way. Over the last year, handfuls of people came into, and departed from my life.

I spent SO MUCH TIME investing in communities, and people, who, in the end, did not care one iota, in giving back, or investing in me. Now I see, where my time is best spent.

Friday afternoon I got a phone call from a friend. One I care a great deal for. Who, had to journey on his Odyssey only to return full circle, back where he started.

Drugs and Alcohol are very patient and very cunning.

Even though, over the years, I have watched my friends, and I watched them make not so good choices, and end up in a black hole, after I warned them to NOT DO THAT…

They did it anyway. And did not listen to one word I said. How many people, in the last six months have I seen fuck off and turn their backs on themselves and us ?

Too many to count.

Today, I sat with a friend for the first time in almost a year. He returned from his Odyssey, a little worse for wear, but he is still alive, barely …

This year, I am pulling back my time, talent and treasure. I will not offer those things freely, any longer. I will not put my life on the line for everyone. I have curtailed my meetings. I have set a course to hit meetings, with good people.

I invest in my meetings, and those people who come to those meetings. I have long time friends who know me in each of them. I have a solid bank of people, whom, if I needed them at 3 a.m. I could call any one of them.

I know what circle I will invest my time, talent and treasure.

I have some basic rules that I live by. Values, Morals, and Codes.

I have friends. They exist in concentric circles around me, based on how well I know them, how well I trust them, and what they can give me. This is not a selfish “give me,” but more in the sense of, most of my friends have expertise in one area or another. They do certain work in the community, and we all serve certain purposes in each others lives.

I try, the best way I know how, to give back to my friends. I will never turn my back on a friend. Because that is low down and dirty. You don’t back stab your friends.

I learned a long time ago, from Todd, how to give back. I learned how to care for human beings, on a Macro and a Micro scale. You don’t walk away from people.

Yet, in the past year, how many people walked away from me ??? And how many people, it turned out, were dishonest, and untrue and hateful ? How many times did I have to get my heart-broken in the last year, before I learned the valuable lesson that

NOT EVERYONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOU … Even if you wish they had. Not everybody has the capacity to be like us … To give a shit, to bend over backwards to be of service, only to finally see, just how little some people think about us or about our feelings.

Find your passion, DO IT, money will follow …

I used to believe in these words. I thought that, after I finally decided to grow up and do the right thing, and follow the logical life path, of any right-minded human being, that life would pay out financially.

Well, it paid out, just not in the way that mere mortals get/make money.

When People were diagnosed with AIDS, back in the day, to get something out of life, many thousands of people, sold their life insurance policies for cash, while they were still alive. That money did not go very far, when we had to pay out-of-pocket for meds that were not covered by insurance, because there was no insurance to speak of.

I had to practically kill myself, and set myself on death’s door step to get government help. Help that today, pays the rent here. If I did not have that specific help, we would not be where we are today.

Fifteen years ago, I began this journey again. And dammit I was going to make it this time, come hell or high water. Unlike many of my friends, who cannot be bothered to do what they are told, I did everything that I was told to do, and then some…

If Todd taught me one thing, it was Follow The Directions Given …

When I went back to school it was my choice. And I attacked my education with every ounce of energy I had. History has shown us, just how much we pay out in blood, sweat and tears, for a Degree, a Masters, and then a PhD, only to have the doors to the future, slammed in our faces, and all that work goes into the crapper FOREVER.

How many people do I know who did the education route, all the way up the food chain, get university jobs, never make tenure, then get fired because their jobs become obsolete, and they are replaced with Yes men and women, and we got the shaft !!!

Today, young people all over the world ask the eternal question, Should I go to University, and if I do, where is that going to take me ? Those answers are not so set in stone any longer.

People are trying to find their way into life, marriage, kids, a house and a mortgage, and a job that will pay the bills. And how many people, world-wide, work 9 to 5 jobs, making barely enough to pay the bills, and have money left over to buy food for their families ?

Jobs that just pay the bills, a cubicle job, that holds no passion or upward mobility. Jobs where people just punch a clock for that meager paycheck.

So many are starving for a life, that is more than just punching a clock. Money makes the world go round, and following your passion, will not necessarily put food on the table.

You’d need a really good gig, (read: Your passion) that would make enough money to make it profitable and workable. But the world, based on money, is never kind to those who would turn their noses up to a 9 to 5 gig.

There is so much inequality here when it comes to financial stability. Do you know that there are populations of people, here in First World Canada, that cannot take care of their families needs because they are paying out 150% of their pay into bills. People are going without heat and safety, because they have to choose between buying food to feed their kids, and paying out a shit ton of money for Hydro (Read: Electricity).

There are the very rich. There are the middle rich. There is the middle class. There are those who can barely make it from paycheck to paycheck. Then there are those who live in First World Canada, who live in Third World Conditions, the disparity is glaring …

The disparity between those who have, and those who have not is getting closer together.And the disparity between First World Canada, and Third World Canada is horribly wide.

I believe that if we as a nation, took all the money we spend elsewhere, giving to every charity known to man, and giving hand over fist, millions of dollars in aid to others, and for natural disasters, if we spent that money in building a better Canada, the disparities would vanish. Communities would be built, and the nations would come together and nobody would go without basic means for survival.

I’ve learned, in all the years, that I have lived in Canada, is that, yes, life is better than I would have ever imagined it would be, knowing how poor an existence I was living in the United States.

  • Life is very different here.
  • Truth is very different here.
  • I am very different here.

Canada has its issues. Just like any other country around the world. But we don’t have half the problems you do, South of the Border.

Let me tell you …

I have a lot to say about the ILLEGITIMATE man taking office on Friday.

Nobody wants to hear what I have to say on that matter though. But I will say this:

All those people, who believe in their bibles and theology, and nothing else, those of you who voted in HUGE numbers for a man who is incapable of being president, are in for a huge rude awakening.

Pandora’s Box is open. And the Monster is approaching. And mark my words,

Those who think they know God and speak for God, will very soon, come to the realization that they made a huge mistake, and they will call out the name of God.

And God will turn around and say to them …

YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME, BUT YOU DON’T …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday … Stilling the Mind

tumblr_l9ye08mcmu1qb0mibo1_500-fysnoopy

 

“Almost the only scoffers at prayer (and meditation) are those who never tried it enough.”

Friday the 13th began very early this morning, when I was awoken out of a sound sleep with reflux and heartburn that lasted for more than two hours. So bad, it was, that I got dressed and went to the pharmacy to get some medicine. Twenty dollars later, and a walk back home, I was feeling better.

FML …

I later attempted to go back to bed, for a medically induced period of sleep. And my phone rang right in the middle of a dream, so sleep ended abruptly, again.

People come and people go from my life so often, that I am used to being alone. I am learning that sometimes, people in my life, are only there for a short period of time, and my mourning the loss of friends is getting shorter. I am getting much better at letting things go quickly, instead of holding on to beating myself up for one reason or another.

The other thing that is meaningful to me is that, I am an emotional being. In a few days, here in Canada, another Bell Let’s Talk Day is coming. That day, is spent shedding light on those suffering from mental illness, depression or any form of mental issues.

I’ve been on anti depressants for decades. When you are going to die, and you’ve got nothing to live for, the people in my life, my doctors and my shrinks took very good care of me, so that I did not, in fact, DIE…

Last year was an emotional shit show. I lost an entire community of friends over the fact that I got angry in front of them, and that shattered the calm and sedate demeanor facade that everybody hung on to so hard.

I accept now, that yes, I can be emotional. Because when I stuff my feelings nobody wins. And I am tired of always having to be Happy, Joyous and Free all the time, when on the odd day, I want to strangle some people until they choke …

Some people, in the program, are seriously afraid of me and avoid me like the plague. Like I am just going to get up one morning, and find that I feel nothing any more and never say that “hey you are an asshole, or that is fucked up, or you are full of shit, you fake bastard.”

Tonight we read from A.B.S.I. and shared on prayer and meditation.

The little door in my brain opened and I saw something I had not noticed before. I’ve been practicing prayer and meditation, on and off, for the whole of my life. Some periods were longer than others.

The visual that came tonight was this …

When I got sick, and Todd had stepped into my life, and gave me certain directions, that that specific structuring of my life, was, in part, meditation. I went to work every day, and I learned over that time, how to still my mind. Rudimentary practice.

I had a heart, mind and soul, that was in terror of dying. The rat in my brain was spinning that emotional wheel at 150 miles per hour. When I approached the building we worked in, I had to learn how to shut that part of my brain OFF.

And when I stepped across the threshold, all I HAD to THINK about was WORK.

Nothing more.

Let me tell you, that that took a long time. But once I had the lesson, it came in handy.

I did not have to think about being sick, or how I was going to survive, or that I was going to die. I turned my will and my life over the God, (read: Todd) every day that I worked for him, until the day he left for California.

Even back then, now that I look at it now, twenty three year later, it may not have been meditation to me then, but a practice in compartmentalization. And that practice did wonders for me, because it worked.

I know, today, that I have a daily ritual. A certain order to my day. There is stillness in my life, daily. I start my day quietly. And I like it that way. I have prayer reminders all over the apartment. I see them all day and I see them before I go to bed.

Every day I have to stand in front of my medicine cabinet, for one reason or another, several times a day. And that is when my mind goes on autopilot. I see people in my minds eye. I say their names to myself. I remember them, daily. In a way, those moments standing there, are really for those who did good for me and saved me and continue to help me.

At the end of the night, I return to stillness. I do my final prayers and meditation when I shut down this box, and I go to bed. I spend an hour in bed reading, NIGHTLY.

Every night, unless I am dead tired, and I just shut off the light and go to sleep.

I don’t often think about prayer, or meditation, or gratitude, in word form, like Oh, I need to pray, or meditate, or be grateful, for God’s sake …

I pray. I meditate. And I am grateful. Every day. Those aspects of my life are integrated into how I live my life, on a daily basis.

If you take any kind of medication for any reason, you understand gratitude if you are still alive because of that medication, WE are grateful for every day those pills still work. How can you NOT be grateful for the ability to get up every morning, and know those pills are keeping you well and helping you survive.

Prayer and Meditation, the conscious contact with that, that is greater than yourself is necessary for any modicum of serenity.

I’m still here. There is still work to be done. My friends and my husband need me to be here, so in order to do that, I have to take care of me, and it begins with prayer, and a little gratitude and some meditation.

When we crank up the heat on Prayer and Meditation, our lives change.

If you don’t at least try it, how do you know, that it wouldn’t work for you too ?

There is so much shit going on in the world, and social media is rife with crap that we need not take part in. Shutting that all off for a few minutes a day, may just save your sanity.

Because, let’s face it, INSANITY is coming to the White House, and it is going to be there for at least four years, unless we find a way to get rid of that insanity, one way or another.

Thank the baby Jesus, I live above the Northern Border.

 

 

 

Thursday – Fear

tumblr_msohxxcSvW1qkwkmpo1_500 minhos21

 

Selfishness – Self-Centeredness ! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self seeking, and self pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so.

Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible… B.B. Pg. 62

How many of us, Man or Woman suffer from FEAR ? And, how many of those Men and Women, would admit that to others, or better yet, to ourselves, that we are fearful in some way, shape, or form ?

Fear is pervasive and terribly detrimental to all of us. I don’t know a single human being in my life, that has not, in one way or another, suffered from FEAR.

We heard about FEAR tonight. We also heard about SELFISHNESS and DELUSION.

Every story is unique. no two stories are the same. Certain aspects of our stories do track the same, in the form of feelings and emotions. It is the circumstances of each story that differ. Spend enough time in the rooms, and you will eventually identify with something you have heard.

After years of Deep Dive Drinking, Lies, Secrets and Delusions, our man made it to his first meeting. How he got there, is unknown. Skeptical as our man was, “there had to be an angle to this group of people…” Before he could hit the exit to escape his first meeting two men cornered him and said …

“We Love You, We Need You, Please Come Back …”

For him, and as well for many of us, who come to the rooms, delusional and sad, those of us who think we are unimportant, unlovable, and needed, hearing this phrase, changed the trajectory of his life for a time.

Indeed, he did return. And he stuck. For a while.

Knowing the right thing to say to someone who is new to the room is dicey.

I heard a friend say on the way home tonight …

YOU CAN’T SAY THE WRONG THING TO THE RIGHT PERSON AND
YOU CAN’T SAY THE RIGHT THING TO THE WRONG PERSON …

I know, from experience, that words matter. And I also know, in retrospect, that I may have the right words sometimes, and everybody is happy. But there are also times, when words are needed, and I need to say those words, and they maybe unexpected to those sitting in the rooms, those words can be dividing.

Coming from a very abusive home, fear was something I knew very well. Having and Jekyll and Hyde father, you never knew who was going to show up on any given day.
But that did not make me drink. As, an alcoholic. Yet …

But when I was told that a drink, or TWO would set the stage for acceptance, I took that direction as gospel. The fear of not finding my way in, or to not be accepted, added to my need to “get it right, the first time.” I may have found my way in, but that period of my life was exceptionally insane, chaotic and did not lead to any success whatsoever.

My addiction to alcohol, turned me into a liar, a cheater, and a selfish beast.

Take away the alcohol, at any point in the timeline, I am still a liar, a cheat and I am still selfish, albeit, a dry or better, a sober, liar, cheater and selfish.

There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings whic the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it.

When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.

The reason we continue to go to meetings, to listen and do The Work, is that sobriety is progressive, when you work the program set before you.

BUT – If you, at any time, think that You’ve got this, that You are ok, and then the delusion sets in that, maybe I don’t need meetings or a sponsor or the book any more, what comes next can be disastrous, and even deadly for some.

Sobriety Looses It’s Priority.

After nine years, our man reached this point. And went out for TEN YEARS.

The progressiveness of positive forward momentum, turns into the progressiveness of backwards spinning. Which leads to a drink. And for some, we all know, never make it back.

They end up in either Jail, in an Institution, or they end up DEAD.

While our man was out, he drank, heavily. Keeping Secrets and telling Lies.

But you know, we never completely escape our secrets and lies.

Our man was stopped by the police, drunk ! He went to jail, lost his license for a year, and now has a criminal record. All this, he kept from his wife, who was an ALANON. Don’t you know…

In order to keep the secret, our man drove his car, with a suspended license, for that entire year, so his wife would not find out. He wove an intricate web of secrets and lies to cover his tracks.

In the background of this story, is a nondescript young lady, who witnessed our man in jail. Years later, knowing our man’s daughter, told her that she had seen him in jail.

The daughter sat on this information until one pivotal night.

Our man had left his room, to get ice for a drink. His daughter intercepted him in the kitchen, and asked him, if he had ever gotten a DUI ???

CAN WE SAY BUSTED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A family meeting was called the next day, and the lies became truths. That one lie did not go over well at all.

Eventually our man found his way back. And is nine years sober, this time around.

Fear can kill. The Drink can kill. Lies can kill.

There is a solution.

We Love you, We need you, Please come back …

The most important words we can speak to another suffering alcoholic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Men’s Orange/Neon Green/Black Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31’s

attractive-mens-orange-neon-green-black-nike-air-zoom-pegasus-31-lightweight-running-shoes-ffw4g32gn55h

I got them … And not as expensive as I first thought.

Coming in at 63.40 GBP, $102.21 CAD.

With a little ingenuity, and some smart, cyber sleuthing, if you take the time to look in places you might not think will sell a similar product, you usually come up a winner.

European websites are not strange places. And you can get some seriously good products shopping over seas. The German, Netherlands, and the U.K. Market are great places to shop.

I start locally. With an image. Sports players sport top end clothing, shoes, etc … For every player on the field, the court, or the mat, there is a style. Top dollar athletes usually sport their endorsements and so you know, that product is made in bulk somewhere. You just have to know where to look for it.

And sometimes you find that if you go to a specific athletic website, you will get redirected to the site that covers where you live, (i.e. The U.S., North America, Canada, or Europe) and with that they only allow you to shop regionally, and not across borders. I have found ways around that border.

There are specific points of sale over seas, who usually carry, name brand clothing items and specialty sports wear of teams from overseas.

This recent GET, is coming from a U.K. sales point. Because, as I have said earlier, I could not find these trainers on local or regional sites, (i.e. Ebay, Nike or Google). But they did appear on European Ebay sites. With a little further research, I found the seller I just bought from (Fossartist.co.uk). Their prices were cheaper than going with EBAY UK.

The major sticking point with shopping overseas is the Exchange rate.

Before you shop, you should double check just how much you are going to spend. In the recent past, when I bought from the Euro Zone, The exchange rate between the Euro and the Canadian Dollar was quite high. Buying German, Euro, is buying at a pretty penny.

Though the quality of German made clothing is exceptional.

This was another successful get of a European made product, not found on local regional NIKE sales points in the U.S. or Canada.

Thank You Mario for the style.

I wanna be like Mario …

Mario Gotze, training in Marbella with BVB.

15826270_1236845466350709_4587233070065798177_n

Physician Heal Thyself … “Absolutley, Completely, Thoroughly, Honestly”

friends-become

Tonight, January 9th …We read, Physician Heal Thyself. A story about Humility. A story about Higher Power, A story about Turning it Over.  And this topic that I had written on some time ago, repeats itself. So I present it again.

An old friend came to the meeting tonight. A friend I have known since he came in some time ago, and I had an amends to make to him, because, on a particular night, I stood in front of a meeting, and spoke. It was the first time I had spoken at a meeting in over five years. In retrospect, I was not very sober.

I might have had some time, but on that particular night, I was all over the map. And not seeing this friend since, I have had time to see the past, in the light that I see it now.

Lessons come, but the real nugget only comes in retrospect.

And my friend said to me that he was in the market for a sponsor, that his double digit sponsor was fading away into the air and away from meetings. On the way to the metro the discussion we were having had a sense of urgency to it, incomplete though it was.

Hopefully we will cross paths again.

Juan is set to speak, for the first time in his sober journey at St Matthias on the 26th. I wasn’t sure he would accept, but he did gladly. Its a very important job when you get to do it for the first time. I’ve never heard him tell his story to a room, no one has. But I know his story from our work together over the past two years.

I’ve had some time to regroup, and re-order my life. Now I know, really, at this point, what I want, where I am going, and what I need to do to get there. I’ve made some new contacts in other meetings. I’ve taken on a service position at the Area level for the Friday meeting, which is a two year commitment. I’ve joined the Thursday night meeting, officially, and I chaired the business meeting last week. The Monday Big Book meeting has become part of my regular meeting schedule.

We are off to a good start. Everybody has work to do. We are all ordering our lives accordingly, using new tools, (read: Bullet Journal).

With that I give you … Absolutely, Completely, Thoroughly, Honestly, Redux.

RARELY have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided that you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought that we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol – cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power – that One is God. May you find him now.

When I arrived at the point that God felt I was ready to work with others, he opened the gates and sent me my troop. And ever since then, I have endeavored to be absolutely, completely, thoroughly, honest. Over the past few days, it has been said that I have kept my troop honest. Which filled my heart with joy overflowing.

There are things we do daily, weekly, and often that keep us on the path to staying honest in all our affairs. Over the past few weeks, we have heard stories, and I have written about them here. The overarching theme lately has been, what happens when we are dishonest, when we keep secrets and when we tell lies.

I can’t repeat often enough, the warnings we are hearing from the chair at speaker meetings. Because now, I listen to my friends talk about their stories, and the varied choices they had made and continue to make, and I utter that prayer …

There but for the Grace of God go I … I could be them !

How it Works, is a staple reading, you hear at almost every meeting, one way or another. It is repetitive, and the words never change. They were written decades ago and are words of wisdom from a bygone era. After hearing this reading read, one too many times, I heard a particular woman, get up and read this passage, slowly, passionately, word for word, slowly, methodically, with a sense of meaning I had not heard before in the past.

There are two types of How It Works Readers…

  • The Machine Gun barrage – from beginning to end without a breath
  • The Toss it all Together reader – who does not respect the comma or period.

Tonight, we listened to it read at the top of the meeting, and we heard the reading parsed by our speaker tonight.

“Absolutley, Completely, Thoroughly, Honestly”

There comes a time in sobriety, that we think we have this all wrapped up, and we are doing well, and have no fear of that first drink. Scary …

But when the chips are down, and we are against the proverbial wall, are we able to speak to our friends and fellows, and tell them that “maybe we are not doing so well, and that we may be in trouble, and that the outsides might not be congruent with our insides?”

We go into meetings, and we always want to look good on the outside, because we want our fellows to see calm, sober, good looking people. But just beneath the surface, the reality might be that we are not really calm, or sober, or good looking.

Sometimes, we are just not 100%.

The truth is when we are able to say, “I am not okay!”

If we are rooted in honesty, even if it hurts, we can share anything with our friends and sponsors. This is where, secrets and lies, arise. They say, and I heard it again tonight, that “While we are in meetings, our alcoholism is out in the parking lot doing push ups … Waiting patiently for us outside.”

And you never know, when it is going to happen. We begin to keep secrets, and our old alcoholic behavior rears its ugly head. Our old thinking returns, old patterns return, and we slip into old behavior, oh so quietly. And we might not recognize it right away, and if we don’t, we are off to the races.

They tell us that when we hit a slip, that it is premeditated. That often, what starts as an errant thought, becomes an errant action. Time and time again, we listen to stories of people who go back out, and when they return, we hear what happened and what led them back out the door.

Sobriety Looses Its Priority.

What happens when we keep secrets and what happens when we begin telling lies, not to others, but lying to ourselves to begin with? It begins with us, in our heads. If we are not vigilant we can fall into this trap. Secrets and Lies.

It might be simple and innocuous, but after a while, becomes a snowball heading down the mountain at 100 miles per hour.

I sat there tonight, listening to a man tell a story about being sober a LONG time, falling into old behavior, and then he kept a secret and told a few lies, and then ended up in a bar, with not one beer, BUT TWO …

Then follows years of getting stuck in the proverbial revolving door. Our man is one, that I have seen in my time, who collect enough beginner’s chips to tile a bathroom with. He goes to meetings, but is unwilling to get honest. Sponsors turn him away and won’t take him on, because, let’s face it, if we are being honest, if you aren’t in the game, most men or women would not take you on, unless you are ready and willing to get honest, because this is your life/our life we are talking about.

The warning is very stark and very real.

We heard it again tonight, those similar words,

“Please, for the love of God, Do Not Do what I did.”

If you are out there in the room, and you are pondering a slip, or you are in any way feeling squirrely, or you are coming back, please, talk to someone, don’t leave this room with shit on your shoulders.

When I hear stories like this time and time again, I come home and I write them down, then I turn around and speak to my troop about warnings and prevention.

I remind them that this is not a game to be taken lightly. They need to be in the game 100%, and we work tirelessly, to maintain The Work at maximum efficiency.

Winter has not been kind to our numbers. For the last few months, on both the sides of women and men, we have heard how they have battled the bottle in sobriety.

I go to my meetings, and I know my friends, and I get there early enough that I get to spend twenty minutes talking to them. We know who the front row sobriety folks are, and we also know who the back benchers are. Which is why, at certain meetings, we have moved seats forward and off the back wall. We put out more chairs in the room proper, to make sure, everyone is sitting among everybody else.

That is why we stress, at my home groups that, the twenty minutes before and the twenty minutes after are the most important minutes in a meeting, because we get fellowship, phone numbers and friends. Not necessarily in that order.

The warnings have been clear … Absolutely, Completely, Thoroughly, Honestly.

Anything else, is a recipe for certain disaster …

 

Columbus was an Alcoholic … Maybe ! REDUX

ninapintasantamaria

Don’t you know you can only sail to the north east end of the Mediterranean sea, then travel by land  But what if we sailed in the other direction? Don’t you know if you sail out there your going to sail off the end of this sucker?

Columbus had to be an alcoholic, ” I believe the world is round, I do not believe that it’s flat,” then he made one of the most drunk statements the world has ever heard: ” I believe that we can get East by sailing West.” Now if that isn’t drunk thinking, I don’t know what is.

  • Many of his mannerisms indicated he was alcoholic,
  • When he left he didn’t know where he was going,
  • When he got there, he didn’t know where he was,
  • When he got back he didn’t even know where he had been,
  • But what really made him a real alcoholic is a woman financed the whole trip for him.
  • She did that twice.

Columbus followed a little formula, the world is always known, that if you want to change anything at all, there are certain things that have to take place. The first thing you have to do in order to change anything is to be willing to do so.

Circumstances are what make us willing.

Trying to find the new trade route to the East Indies, is what made him willing to change.

The second thing you have to do to change anything, is to believe you can do so. “I believe the world is round and not flat, and I believe you can get East by sailing West.” But his belief didn’t do him any good either cause he’s still standing on the shore of the ocean the day he expressed that belief.

Some days, weeks, months, years later, he did the third thing He made a decision. He said “by golly I’m gonna go find out that this thing is really round and not flat and can you really get East by sailing West,” but his decision didn’t do him any good either. Because he was still standing on the shore of the ocean the day he expressed that decision.

Some days, weeks, months, years later he did the next thing you have to do, he started taking action. The first thing he did he went to the king of Portugal to get the money, but the king was a very astute business man and said “there’s no way I’m not gonna let you have this money cause you’ll sail out there and sail right off the edge of this sucker and I’ll loose it all.”

That’s why Columbus ended up with the Queen of Spain.

Sweet talked her out of the money. On the promise that he would bring back gold, silk. spices and all the goodies of life. She gave him the money. He bought three ships, he put provision on those ships, he put crew members on all those ships And they began going East by sailing West.

Sailing West, day after day after day, now we don’t know for sure but we have a suspicion that on that first trip he hired a special sailor and put him on the bow of that lead ship at night with a lantern and he whispered in his ear said, “I believe this thing is round but if you see the edge of this damn thing, you holler so we can get turned around in time.”

Now after having sailing West for several days, he got results. They found land on the other side. Which was the result of the action that they had taken. Now we know that he thought that it was the East Indies, it wasn’t, it was the West Indies, but he’d proven himself that the world is not flat, it is round and you will not sail off the edge of it.

He turned right around and came back to Europe.

Went right back to the Queen of Spain, and she said to Columbus, “where are the gold, silk and spices you promised you would bring me?” And he said “sweet heart I’m sorry but I didn’t find any but he said, tell you what I’ll do, if you refinance me I’ll go back. Trust me honey please,” this time I’ll find it. And she refinanced him, and he got some more ships and more provisions, more crew members they begun sailing East by going West, but with one big difference, the second trip he didn’t hire that special sailor, put him on the lead ship by night, this time he went back on faith.

He went back on knowledge. The first time he went back on belief. you can’t start with faith, the only thing you can do is start with belief, make the decision, take the action, get the results, then you will have faith.

**** **** ****

I thought I’d start this post with this story. It comes from Joe and Charlie, speaking to the chapter in the Big Book called “We Agnostics.”

It was a beautiful day today. It is getting warmer by the day. It was also a great day because one of my best friends is here for 10 days for a work conference, all the way from California. It is our yearly get together. Along with a third friend who lives here, we make the three Musketeers.