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Archive for June, 2010

When I get home, I put on pajamas

My hubby and I never wear street clothes at home. We have what we call “cozies” that we wear around the house all the time.

Toosday …

Courtesy: Go Smoke a Tree

Another day has come and gone. The day was successful. Week in, Week out, the routine never changes. I don’t know what I would do if this routine changed or disappeared. It is the best few hours of the week I have to take care of me.

Numbers were low for the first meeting. But we made up for those low numbers at the later meeting. The kitty was full and we sold some literature which bumped up our take for the night.

We had a speaker we invited from Finchley last Friday come and speak tonight, and man was he on fire. Once he got started he just kept on going until he was finished. It was miraculous.

The city is in festival mode. The fireworks festival goes every Saturday night, Canada Day festivities take place on Thursday. The Queen is in from England for a nine day tour of Canada. And she and Prince Phillip will be taking in the festivities in Ottawa for Canada Day. We will get to see them on television.

The Jazz Festival is on at the arts section of the city. Lots of music, festive parties and lots of people to see for the next 10 days. Montreal is the place to be during the summer months. After a long and arduous winter – Montreal makes up for cold nights in spades during the summer.

We are late on the Pride festivities for the year. Pride won’t be here until the end of July. Lots of things to write about during the month of July. It seems that I will be revisiting some old haunts this year. I have been sharing with some of my friends lately and it seems that the topics of discussion surround many similar threads from my life.

Life moves forwards, things change, people change. Decisions have been made and new paths are being trodden as we speak. So we shall see where life takes us in the next few weeks.

I encourage you to write, leave comments, ask questions.

Buckle up – it may be a bumpy month ahead.

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Fancy Monochrome

Fancy Monochrome

Principles before Personalities …

Courtesy: Danny Alexander

“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”

In other words, who you see here, what you say here, when you leave here, let it stay here.

Another night has come and gone. And another adventure was on hand for tonight’s meeting bonanza. Rick and I had talked about going to a new meeting here in town over in NDG earlier today.

That meeting is called Principles before Personalities …

It is not listed in the meeting booklet yet, as it is new. But, it is listed on the Area 87 website. So I took a power nap and got up to get ready to go. Rick and I agreed to meet at St. Columba’s church in NDG, where “Saturday Night Follies” used to be. It took me 45 minutes to get there via 2 trains and a bus ride.

We got to the church at the same time, sadly, there was nobody there and the church was dark. Woops … somebody goofed.

Thanks goodness for Big Brian. He always saves the day. He had said that he thought the meeting met at the unity Church on Girouard Ave. in NDG… The same location as 5 o’clock shadows during the week.

We got back in the van and headed over there, it is just a short drive from where we were. We were looking out for coffee drinkers and smokers outside the church. We hit paydirt.

You never know what you are going to get when you step into a meeting on any given night, and tonight did not disappoint. We were standing in the park across the street from the church socializing, and a member walked up to us and shook our hands. She paused in front of me and asked me if I remembered her. Yes, of course I did.

If I told you that Montreal is so big, but sober circles are very small, you’d imagine that over time, you would cross paths with the same people over and over again. Rick and I hit two meetings besides our own this week and we crossed paths with people we never see at our meeting. Except this week, which I spoke about earlier in the week, we had new visitors to our meeting and over the past few days we have crossed paths with them at several meetings we have gone to.

Anyways, I digress … We got some coffee and sat down in the hall, and at this particular meeting they have a lot of readings. AA readings I have never heard before, they read a very old preamble statement from the old Bill and Bob time, which was interesting.

Little did I know that the woman who approached me in the park would be the speaker for the evening. Now, this particular member and I have a past. Early in my sobriety, I was involved with a particular group of people. David was my sponsor. She (the speaker tonight) was a good friend. She was like a mom to me and we all took care of each other. We spent an inordinate amount of time together going to meetings, out to eat, conventions and the such.

David was my best friend. Our relationship was as close a relationship you could get without saying so. We were connected at the hip and the heart. On my first sober anniversary, I got my first piercing. To mark the occasion. Every time I touch myself I think of him. He is a part of my soul and body. But like it goes, all good things must come to an end. On the night of my cake on my first anniversary, there was a dust up at my home group, David went one way and I went the other. We never spoke again after that night, after he cursed me that “I would drink in less than a month.” I outlived that curse, that was almost 9 years ago. I am still sober.

It seemed at the time that that is when the paths diverged. We all went our separate ways. I stuck to my home group, I had school, a new relationship in the oven, so I wasn’t traveling around the city like I used to. Over the years this little knot of people would cross paths, but we would never speak to each other.

The speaker for tonight’s meeting, my old friend, had visited our meeting once or twice over the past eight years. She spoke about coming to the rooms, and how she got here as a young woman and what it was like in 1985 in Montreal sobriety. So it has been twenty five years for her now.

In my early sobriety, she had a sponsor named John Mack. He was a god. He sponsored minions of people including this friend. Into my first year of sobriety, John got sick and died. My friend here, was besides herself in grief. I spent more than a week at her house taking care of her, her kids, cooking and just being present.

John was cremated and they had his service at a church in Lake of Two Mountains, outside the city. We had gotten there early for the service and someone asked if there was a Big Book on hand. I had mine in my bag. So the family asked if I would mind if they put my Big Book on the altar in the church during the service. Of course I said yes. Some people were pissed off with me, they copped resentments after wards. I outlived those resentments.

During her share tonight she mentioned how members in the program had helped her immensely during her sobriety when she really needed the help. I felt like she was talking to me at that moment, because of flash of recognition passed between us as she spoke that line.

At the end of the meeting I waited until people said their thanks and I had grabbed my booklet and wrote down my number to give to her and she had mentioned that the area needed people to work on projects going on at the moment, so this was my in, I approached her and asked her to give me a job, something to do … I handed her my number and hugged her and invited her to coffee sometime, and she said that she would like that. An amends is on the way, and maybe a rekindling of an old relationship. I hope so.

On the way out I remarked to Rick that I felt like I had been punched in the chest. God speaks and when he does, sometimes it is quite loud and straight to the head. I guess it is time to commit to what I started, and see this through.

All in all it was a good night. I got to ride the trains and hit another meeting. I love this city and the people in it.

That’s all for now, more to come, stay tuned…

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Danny Alexander


The Year Was 91

Finchley …

Courtesy: Danny Alexander

Spurred on by Miguel’s challenge on Tuesday night, getting out of my comfort zone was on tap for tonight. I got together with Rick for coffee and conversation about sobriety earlier tonight.

We hit a local Second Cup for some caffeine and conversation. Sitting out on the veranda of the coffee shop was a little cramped for me, too many people sitting so close together and one couple had their dog with them, it was ok.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I feel change is on the horizon and after listening to Miguel on Tuesday night, I have been a little dis-eased for the past few days. So I thought that I could step up my relationship with Rick bringing another soul into the circle. And I have to say, he rose to the occasion. In the past there were always issues between me and my “Straight” counterparts. That’s why I don’t usually bother with people because of what has happened in the past. But all went well.

We set off for a meeting on the West end tonight, and once we got there I told him what happened with that particular group when I walked into that meeting cold one night a long time ago and identified myself, and I was abruptly told that I could find some place else to get sober, that “people like me” are not welcome at said meeting.

He then decided that we did not need to go to this meeting, so we headed a little further up the lane and ended up at Finchley West end for a double speaker meeting. It was enjoyable. We heard a couple of great speakers and he invited them both to come speak at our meeting on Tuesday in the coming weeks, so not only was it auspicious that we got there, we got a couple speakers from it as well.

On the way home Rick mentioned going to a meeting tomorrow night called “Principles before Personalities.” So I have something to do tomorrow night as well.

I am on the right track. Rick mentioned that it sounded like I was working my steps in my head going over my fourth step seeing what needs to be changed and what needs to be gotten rid of. Things are good tonight.

I need to eat, it’s well after 11 p.m.

More to come, stay tuned …

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Sky Blue Sky

Sky Blue Sky

Fancy Monochrome

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Go Smoke a Tree

Sky Blue Sky

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Alt XY

The Curve of the Earth


Courtesy: Danny Alexander

One of the helpful hints we talk about at our home group is this phrase. H.A.L.T. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. These four things, are trigger points for someone in recovery. We are warned to avoid these things, and if we sense them looming in front of us, then we need to take action immediately. Watching out for these things helps in maintaining sobriety.

Tuesday has come and gone. It was a good day. As usual the day always progresses the same way, week in and week out. I went by the store on the way out to get milk and jumbo coffee cups, because our guests like the jumbo cups so we try our best to accommodate all the requests we get.

The meetings held their own tonight. We had a large group of mainly women at the early meeting, which is unique. Men usually outnumber women when it comes to the early meeting. Most of the faces were new to us this week. Most of those new faces were sober less than  a year. I mused aloud to Rick after wards that I wondered where these gals came from, as we have never seen most of them before. Freshies are good, they keep the old timers young and sober.

We packed the house for the 8 o’clock meeting, and Rick hooked a rock star speaker whom I knew from early sobriety. He used to come to our meeting religiously when I was first getting sober, then life happened, he got married and had a couple of kids, and tonight we got to hear his experience, strength and hope. All I could say (I was in the chair tonight) was WOW… I was speechless …

My personal assessment after the meeting was this … I am missing something. I want what he has, less the wife and children. H.A.L.T is looming ahead of me. I have, as of late, been feeling a little lonely and it is starting to grade on my nerves.

As of the last few months, my number of friends have all but disappeared. People that I was friends with for a number of years, decided that they no longer wanted to be friends with me, because of my honest assessment of the way our relationships were progressing. It’s hard being sober sometimes, because sometimes you have to share things that might upset the fine balance of relationships to the point where they end up on the line. One of those friends, has lost his father in the last two weeks, and by second hand notice, I learned of his passing from another blogger who happens to be friends with him.

I broke my silence and sent him my condolences, knowing fairly well that whatever I said to him did not guarantee a response because of what has already transpired. So be it … I am powerless over people, places and things.

With the end of school for me, my association to people ended as well, not that I called any of my peers “friends” by any stretch of the imagination. The only contact I have now with people on a regular basis is at my home group.

I don’t know who to trust any more. I don’t have anyone to talk to about what’s going on in my head. I am spinning on auto pilot. Louise is on her own reconstructive journey with cancer, so she is out of my loop. With enough of her own shit on her plate, that takes her off the list of people I used to talk to on a regular basis.

I hit more meetings in the last week, and in talking to Rick tonight, I realized why I did not go to other meetings, because people never change and even Rick has noticed the same things that I have problems with some people in Montreal sobriety.

I need something more than what I am getting right now. And I feel like if I don’t do something about this now, it is going to come around and bite me in the ass sooner or later.

July is always a bad month for me. It is remembrance month for me, it is anniversary month for my issues with AIDS, and it is my birthday at the end of the month. I am not getting any younger.

I don’t think any of my friends on Face Book pay one bit of attention to anything I write here – it cross posts there as well. But it keeps people connected and this week I hit the 4,000,000 coins in Farmville. I am at level 41 and halfway to 42.

It was a good night. I am ok right now. I just see a change coming, and I don’t know what that change is, but I think it is going to be necessary, I think sobriety is about to take a right turn somewhere up around the bend. I know it’s coming and I am going to work on avoiding the ill effects of an upheaval in sobriety.

Usually signs like these foretell the need to ramp up on meetings and stay in contact with other people in sobriety. That’s what I need to do right now.

“Constant Vigilance is what is necessary …”

More to come, stay tuned …

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The Curve of the Earth

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Alt XY / Sky blue Sky

Alt XY

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Fancy Monochrome-

I just love his photography…

Cornerstone …one of the only stated in the book, LGBTQ meetings on the English side of Montreal.

Was a meeting hubby and I used to go to many a year ago. But after a dustup with another member over his desire to die from AIDS we left and never went back.

For the last few months, every time I set foot in the bathroom to shave after I shower, I get a mental flash of some of the people that went to this meeting. I’d been ignoring these little “omen” mind flashes. But in the last couple of weeks, I began to wonder why this particular meeting was on my mind.

Tonight I set out to find out how that meeting was doing. It isn’t pretty. I got ready to go with plenty of lead time to get there nice and early, should there be people there to converse with. I got there twenty minutes early. It is just a couple of stops up on the green line.

I walked upstairs to the room as I remembered where it was and there was nobody there. No coffee perking, no set up, no body. I went back downstairs to make sure the address was correct. And I sat outside the door to the building and waited for someone to show up. I waited fifteen minutes. It was now 5 to 8. The meeting starts at 8, so I thought. I was wrong…

The member who chairs the meeting is still chairing the meeting so many years later. And he got started setting up and it took him 30 minutes to ready the room.

In years past, this member was re-known for his stylish flower arrangements, and his fancy and beautiful candle sculptures. All that was gone tonight. No fancy candles, no beautiful flowers.

He hung the slogans on the walls, and brought out two hurricane candles in the tall glass containers. (I call them blessed sacrament candles) because they burn for more than 12 hours from start to finish.

I was told that the meeting has shrunk, that none of the members I once knew come to the meeting any more. On a good night you could pack 20 people in that room. Tonight, with the chair, there were 4 people. And wouldn’t you know it, the chair puts me on the spot right there and asks me to speak for him. I had no warning, he gave me his rules for sharing and times me out at 30 minutes. Talk about flying on auto pilot. I had no time to prepare, I just wung it.

I guess I hit the time mark, because I finished a few minutes before 9 p.m. One of the other people who showed up was a friend from another meeting and his problems at the moment were greater than any of ours at that moment. So we had a mini meeting before the meeting.

After I finished, the other member there said a few words of thanks and my friend and I went out for a smoke and to talk more about his problem. Hopefully I will be able to help him out on Monday, we shall see.

So that’s 4 meetings I have been to this week. 2 on Tuesday at my home group, one last night and one tonight. Now it’s time to eat and chill.

More to come, stay tuned …

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Milky Bar Kid

Sky Blue Sky

Walking the Walk …

I’ve got time on my hands, and I really need to get out of the house on a regular basis, because I am starting to get a little cabin fever. None of my online job searching sites have coughed up any leads.

I only got one hit last week for a job in Toronto, and I am not in the position to uproot my family and move. But it was one hit off my resume, I’d love to get back into travel, the perks are sweet. But sorry guys, I can’t interview for your position. Not yet at least.

I’ve got a new meeting list booklet in my backpack. I might as well put it to good use. It has been a number of years since I went to a meeting in another part of town. This is what happens when you live in the downtown borough. You don’t have to go more than a few blocks to get anything that you need, and there are plenty of meetings downtown that one never has to go outside the general area.

Today, I decided that I wanted to get out of town and go to a meeting somewhere else in the city, that would be NDG. NDG is West of downtown, it’s a totally different part of the city, more suburban and family oriented.

I got myself up and ready to go out for the 8 p.m. meeting at St. Augustine’s church in NDG this evening. That is a 40 minute commute from home and two trains away. A short hop on the green line to Lionel Groulx and then a change over to the Orange line up to the Villa Maria stop, then a short walk to the church just down the road from the station.

Talk about culture shock. The meeting is in an airy bright room upstairs in the tower of the church. There were only 2 familiar faces, people who come to our meeting on Tuesday nights. But there was a room full of people I did not know. One of the old timers and his wife came to the meeting, everyone got up to shake his hand or hug him all the way around the circle, when he got to me, he said that he remembered me … yes, it’s been a number of years since you last saw me. I don’t get to NDG that often. It was nice to be seen.

I like the little meeting. Maybe I will go again sometime. It was a discussion meeting and the topic was forgiveness … Let’s just jump into the deep end of the pool why don’t we? I spoke towards the end of the meeting, listening to new people share on an old topic was fresh. Even with the dawn of Face book, those step nine amends are still out there, and I don’t think I will ever get to make my amends or get forgiveness because of the way people live today, and that’s not my problem, is it? So I have to pray for them and pray away what needs to be rid of.

There were a good bunch of freshies there, I wonder what other meetings they are going to, I wanted to stump for my meeting, but in the end I decided against that. When the meeting was over, I did not hang around to converse, I just walked back to the train station to come home.

That was my adventure for the day…