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Archive for October, 2012

Lily and James Potter …

James Potter, born 27 March 1960, died 31 October 1981

Lily Potter, born 30 January 1960, died 31 October 1981

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Page … 268


Tuesday Post Sandy …

Courtesy: Sneakerfreakin

Forecasters here at Environment Canada called for rain and wind, nothing happened here Downtown overnight. However hundreds of thousands were without power last night due to Sandy, we had some wind last night and a spit of rain this afternoon. They forecast rain for the rest of the week.

I had contingency plans set up had there been a lot of rain, hopefully the church would not have flooded out. Thankfully, the rain has all but stayed away overall.

I kept watch on the weather radar overnight, and it seemed that most of the rain bypassed the island for points North and south, moving to the West. It was very uneventful. Thankfully.

There may be some stormy weather tomorrow, we shall see. I was keeping an eye on New York via the Port of New York webcam that we usually use for sail away’s on weekends. It was a busy night, I never saw so many watching at once, during the 8 to 9 p.m. hour there were over 3,000 people watching the cam.

Funny that during the brunt of landfall last night in the Rockaways, on cam we saw cars driving up and down the road on the bay side and people milling about watching the water rolling onshore from the sea … In the midst of a storm, there were handfuls of knucklehead spectators watching water and waves come up over the coastline.

Joe My God, kept a good eye on the city, posting photos as they came in from the massive flooding in the city.

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

It being uneventful and rain staying away, I was out early for the meeting and set up was quick and painless. We had lots of cake, cookies and fresh fruit brought by one of our members, which was sweet of her.

The room was full. And we finished the read from the Twelve and Twelve and Step 4. I heard a lot of good things and having done my 4 and 5, I was able to share on topic and what came to pass on my step work.

The mantra of “Just Do It” was repeated several times.

I enjoy our meeting because we get learn so much from each other, the intensity of the women of our meeting, spurs us on to work just as hard, but like I said the other day, it isn’t about competition but growth.

Good things are happening. A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries – Placing the Finite self into the hands of an Infinite God …

Courtesy: Love Pain and Hope

They say the rain is coming. Environment Canada has not issued any warnings for Montreal just yet. But rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week coming. Never turn your back on a storm, because if you do, you may find yourself in a situation that you probably could have avoided had you heeded the warnings.

We shall see just what happens here.

It has been a very uneventful weekend. Last Tuesday night I took heed of the advice given out at the Tuesday meeting and overnight Tuesday night, I sat with my Big Book and wrote out my 4th step. It wasn’t perfect, but what I had written was useful and directive.

I have this desire to compare myself to the women of our group, and how they work their sobriety. And I want, or Long to have, what they have. But with my sponsors eyes, we both realized that it is good to admire them from the outside, seeing how they work and the intensity of their daily lives, but we agree that we could not keep up with the intensity that they work.

There is A.) My program, B.) Your Program and, C.) The Program.

Sobriety is not a race, nor a competition.We come together at meetings to read, share and discuss our journey’s in sobriety, and we work “the program” to each their own. We all have our paths, and they are all different. Like the book says that “we are a group who would not necessarily mix, outside the room, but once we cross that threshold, we are unified by the one truth, we come to be freed from the desire to drink and the illness of alcoholism.

God will reveal things to us on a need to know basis, as we are ready to receive that knowledge, each according to their gifts. I admire, as does my sponsor the way that our women live their lives, but there is a difference to the way we approach sobriety, for the men and the women.

We spent a good ordinate amount of time talking this evening about my 4th step. I went over everything that I wrote down. The resentments, grudges, and my character defects. And my sponsor says that over time, our character defects lesson, but never go away. And when they do pop up, I can decide whether I want to “go there, or to abstain.”

I spoke about my dis-ease. And where I thought I should be based on what I see in other people, and once again, it isn’t about competition. Both my sponsor and I see the wisdom in doing small things every day to augment our sobriety.

  • Daily Prayer – Yes
  • Daily Reflections – Yes
  • Gratitude lists – Yes
  • Community service – Yes
  • Group service – Yes
  • Greeting at a meeting – Yes

We agreed to adopt some of the practices our women do on a daily basis, now in our lives. It is better to be a seeker of grace than a selfish user of grace. And there are things we can do to connect us to the power greater than ourselves.

Time to place our finite selves in the hands of an infinite God.

I need, at times, to just do a brain dump with my sponsor. And we agreed to take time out on a more regular basis to get together to spot check and discuss whatever is going on with us. My grand sponsor, it was said, will not be around for a great amount of time, with his age in his 80’s now, and being half a world away for the next 7 to 8 months, my sponsor is on the search for someone to fill that gap in his sobriety. He has seen the benefit of having a sponsor available and close to call on a moments notice if needed.

It was good to take this inventory and to take stock of where I am so that we could plot a course of where to go from here. Dis-Ease managed !!!

It was the last Sunday of the month, hence it was a Traditions meeting, and we read from the Twelve and Twelve, and Tradition 10.

“A.A. has no opinion on outside issues, hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”

Bill had his hands full with the first folks he tried to get sober. And the primary and single purpose of the movement was to help the man who still suffered. And in those first decades of putting A.A. together, Bill had the ear of many good men of good character, temperament, and faith. And with their counsel the steps and traditions were written and later codified into the charter at the international convention where the traditions were accepted and solidified.

It is good that A.A. has no opinion on outside issues, and that at a meeting we stick to the singleness of purpose, to help the person who still suffers. What lies in the domain outside the room, remains outside the room, where we are concerned. We all have opinions, (I) have an opinion, but the only thing that matters in the room is one alcoholic helping another alcoholic. That is why we place principles before personalities.

From the Book we read about the Washingtonian group. A predecessor of our movement of A.A. They began with the same question we did, and they tried to find the answer. But in that search, it became problematic that personalities went before principles. They became occupied in outside issues on a national stage, and tried to change the drinking habits of a nation, instead of trying to stay sober themselves. And that movement fell apart. A.A. learned from this group and Tradition 10 came to be.

I respect Singleness of Purpose. It protects me and you.

A good night was had by all. Next week we continue with the Big Book. It is all very exciting. Now with the dispensing of my 4th and the sharing of my 5th, I get to move on in my sobriety to bigger and better things.

More to come, stay tuned …


Wild Turkey …

Courtesy: Monkeyshinehim

They say a “storm is a coming …”

It is going to rain, and rain, and rain some more. Whether or not we get snow during this major storm event is up for grabs. But Sandy is posing a threat to the Eastern Seaboard and Atlantic Canada and they are saying that things could get very messy when all is said and done.

With weather holding here, I was up and out early for the meeting. When I got to my stop there were people already waiting for the bus, that must NOT have come on time, and we ended up waiting more than 40 minutes for a bus. 4 Buses passed in the opposite direction, and when the bus did get there, it was packed and standing room only. UGH I hate the 24 bus …

I could have walked all the way to St. Matthias.

The room was packed. And tonight we got a real treat. A visitor from California, a man with 25 years has been visiting and I have seen him at several meetings this week, Sunday, Tuesday and now tonight, Thursday. So we have heard snippets of wisdom from him over the week and tonight the chair asked him to speak.

Our man found his way into the room via an informal intervention and started doing meetings after a wash and dry rehab. He came to meetings and listened to what was said, but when it came to God, he was having none of that. A series of personal losses in his life, left a gulf between he and his God. Needless to say, he did not take well to recovery, and he drank over it, so ten years passed from his first meeting to his next meeting.

He told us that he had a job, a wife, a family, house and job, and to his eyes, his life was not unmanageable. But he was thrown several curve balls, his marriage was falling apart, he wasn’t speaking to his son and his daughter was diagnosed with Bi-Polar depression. Needless to say he had nowhere to go but to a meeting.

And that he did. I heard a familiar message of “if you have a problem, you take it to a meeting.” Because at a meeting you will surely meet one of us who can help you, be sad with you, be happy for you, and to celebrate milestones with you.

And twenty five years later, our man has not had the desire to drink. That might be all well and good, but with that came a warning … “At some point in your sobriety you will be faced with the fact that you don’t have a defense against the first drink.” The only defense you have is your spiritual connection with the God of your understanding.

Several times in sobriety our man was faced with the drink. Or the thought of a drink. It says it in the book several times. That the time will come when we do not have a defense against the first drink!!!

I’ve had that experience myself. Every day I walk past the beer cooler at the grocery store I have a choice. And every time I walk by the liquor store I have a choice. And when I sometimes get in the elevator and the building drunk is taking the same car I am reminded of the drink.

That stale smell of rancid beer sickens me. And I have a choice.

All we have is a daily reprieve based on our spiritual condition.

Our man spoke about the voice of God. Something he admitted to us because only an alcoholic understands what the voice sounds like. He shared about the fist time he spoke a prayer and meant it and in that moment he heard the voice of God say … You are going to be alright !!! He may have has issues with God, but in that moment of need and desire, God responded to him.

You will always find what you are needing in a meeting.

That has come to pass for me over the last decade and more. I never have to go very far to get what I need. I’ve never had to go outside the circle for much of anything. I rely on the folks in my meeting like none other. And God had always provided. Not on my time, but on God’s time.

Not my will but Thy will be done  !!!

It was a great message. We had two anniversaries. A two and a twenty five year cake. We heard how we get on with life without the drink, and how we can get rid of the ISM’S, I, Self and Me …

A good night was had by all. Our visitor leaves to return to the States on Saturday. We wish him safe travels and I asked him to come back and visit us soon.

More to come, stay tuned …


“Dis-eased…”

Courtesy: Yahuh

It was a crisp fall day today. Blue skies, flecked with cloud. Cool, but not cold. Perfect hoodie weather. I had errands to run on the way to the church which went without incident. So that’s all good.

Set up was quick and painless. And I was done earlier than I had presumed. It was well before 5 o’clock and I was done and sitting out front watching people and traffic go by.

We had a packed house tonight. 48 folks. It was a busy night. There are a huge bunch of women at our meeting. They out number the men. And some of our women were really early to sit and read their books. It is nice to see folks coming early.

As it stands we are at the front of the Big Book on Sunday. However this coming Sunday is the last Sunday, so it will be a tradition meeting. I called a few friends before the meeting to touch base with them. Hoping that I might see them over the weekend.

Today we read from the Twelve and Twelve, and Step 4 …

I’ve been feeling a little bit funky, to be honest. I dropped a post about Trudging the Road to Happy Destiny the other night, I wasn’t sure where I was on the map about the road, but it crystallized itself tonight at the meeting.

If I am spiritually honest, I am not on the same spiritual page as my sober sisters. We read halfway through the step and the discussion went around the table, and came to me, I was at a loss for words. And I mumbled some shit about who, what and where.

And on the way home, I spoke to my sponsor about feeling spiritually funky. And we heard one of our guests talk about “just doing a step 4…”

Don’t worry about perfection, just get it out and get rid of it.

I am lacking in that there is work to still be done, when it comes to steps. I totally get 1, 2 and 3. The foundation steps to take us into 4, and 5, and the rest of the steps.

The last time I worked in a step intensive, I dropped out halfway through because of assholes and egos. I could not be bothered to share in the group and I did not follow up on that with my sponsor.

And I am good at comparison. I see what others are doing, and I hear what they are saying and if I am honest, I wish I was on the same spiritual page that they are on. They pound out steps and gratitude lists and all that good stuff …

And here I am placidly traipsing through the daisies, aloof and not really bothered with my inability to sit down and write something substantial.

What to do about all this? I need to sit with my Big Book and write out a formal 4th step and take a look at how I am really feeling. I have had my family issues and there is fault on both sides of the street.

I come from a long lineage of tit for tatters. Grudge holders anonymous for life. But like I heard tonight, I read the book, and felt that things were all about them, when really, I am the one in the program, they are not. So I have to turn the magnifying glass on myself.

I am far from perfect, and I feel like God has hit my reset button in my head, because I am feeling this “Dis-Ease.” Which means that I can pay heed and do something about Dis-ease or bury my head in the sand and do nothing.

I am Dis- Eased tonight.

It was a good night. Lots of people and fellowship.

More to come, stay tuned.


Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny …

Courtesy: Sqwhirlly

It’s 3:30 a.m. on Monday morning. And hubby is asleep in the bedroom, late night radio is droning on with stuff I really could not care less about. It is about this time that I shut off the computer and crawl into bed with a book.

I usually follow the same routine whatever night it is. I thought that I would open a page and start writing a stream and see what comes out. It has been a week full of people and personalities. And I am doing what I do best … meetings and service.

I get up early and my weekly routine consists of three meetings a week and maybe church on Sunday, however, I haven’t been very “religious” about my Sunday observances. I should get back on to that.

I try, on meeting nights, to get to the meeting early. The “get there early and stay late” practice is something I try to do. And I find when I do that I can participate in the lives of my friends much more when I am present.

Presence is the greatest gift we can give our friends.

It does not necessarily mean that we have to speak, but we do get to listen. And I find that my friends are used to the “meeting before the meeting” and the hug. And the shaking of hands and the greetings for visitors as they come down the stairs.

Like I said in an earlier post, Sunday’s it seems is the day for visitors from far away places. Be they famous or just regular salt of the earth folks. The Sunday meeting is a great place to people watch.

Sitting out front of the church and greeting people as they walk up the drive is very heart warming. Tonight for instance, an older man with a cane visiting from Los Angeles walked up on us hanging outside and as he walked up he commented, “Why this looks like there is an AA meeting here!”

A second guest at the meeting remarked that she felt at home because someone was at the door to shake her hand. Just that simple task of being present, presents itself. You never know what is going on in someone’s life when they come down the stairs or approaches from the street, what burden they are carrying deep down.

And I guess it is a good thing that I have some time, and sometimes some speak to me about their pain, and I can offer a kind word and say that the pain will pass and the noise in your head will pass and in time you will find the silence you crave.

That Power Greater than Ourselves never gives us too much that we cannot handle, and meetings make it possible for folks to drop their burdens on the table for a time so that they too can gain perspective from those of us with good amounts of time under our belts.

And it isn’t about pious sanctimonious crap, if the opportunity presents itself, I try to find the right words to say, even if they are simple or stupid.

I have kept this routine of Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday meetings steady for a long while now and I made Sunday my second home group where I do service since I have keys to the church it serves me well to be there.

It’s amazing what accountability does to you when you are a key holder. Entire meetings hang on the one who has the key to the door. And the one who makes coffee, because folks like their coffee strong and dark. And the earlier it is ready the better. Nobody likes waiting for that damned little orange light to come on, people need their coffee and sooner than later.

It seems that the first thing an alcoholic needs is a good cup of coffee and some sweets, they get into their groove and find a seat and you can visibly see the load come off their backs as they sit down and take their first sip of coffee.

One thing that stood out at the meeting earlier tonight was gratitude. Why do we read the prefaces and the forwards? Why is it important? Because the book includes them at the front of the book, and isn’t the purpose of a book to read all the words from cover to cover?

I like that thought about the first page in the book being blank … And that when we first open that book, we are just like that blank page, when it comes to our problem with the drink. Hence the book tells us to “Read the Book!”

It is strange listening to folks share on the forwards. Some find them boring, some find them interesting for the historical data. Some get a bump from reading about the founders and just what a gift those founders gave us in writing this book. For some the gratitude comes quickly and for others it comes in time.

Each “gets the book” each according to their gifts. Some people take the book home when we give it to them and they rifle through it end to end and come away with absolutely nothing on the first pass. Which is abundantly clear why we need to read the book with them in a group setting.

I have heard in the past that the longer you are sober the more internal the journey becomes. Over the first decade you deal with the wreckage and you clean up the carriage, so to speak. Ten years on, I am looking at the next portion of my journey.

The beginners meeting is the place that we introduce to the newcomer and the one with time, the books. For the next six months at least, we are reading the Big Book on Sunday nights. Cover to cover. And that may take a long time to do so in manageable chunks with discussion on what we have read.

On Tuesday we work with three primary texts, the Big Book, The Twelve and Twelve, and Living Sober. So there is no shortage of opportunity to work on sobriety in depth than reading the books with us.

I really enjoy reading with my fellows. Women. Each and very one of them. They live, breathe and pray those words on the page. They read, and they write and they pray and then discuss amongst themselves, they write gratitude lists and call each other every day. Then they bring that knowledge to a meeting and read the same passages again with the rest of us, and it is there that gratitude rises.

It might be a paragraph, or a sentence, or just a single word …

And the light rises … The AHA moment appears …

There is subtle nuance and compassion in the texts. And like I have shared here already, that every time I read something in a group, I learn something new about the book, and my sobriety. And I learn what that particular person has learned about that exact passage or word, and how it impacted them.

Then I get to share that knowledge with you.

I guess that’s the take away from this post … Read The Book !!!

When you get to the end of the first 164 pages you get to read this. Which is why we read the book, say our prayers and share with others in the rooms because we can tell you this …

A VISION FOR YOU!

Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.

May God bless you and keep you—until then.


Kateri Tekakwitha becomes North America’s first aboriginal saint

Courtesy: Stefano Rellandini Reuters photo

By The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press – 20 hours ago

VATICAN CITY – Kateri Tekakwitha ( Kat’-er-ee Teka-KWEE’-ta), a woman credited with life-saving miracles, has become North America’s first aboriginal saint after a canonization mass at the Vatican.

Tekakwitha was among the seven saints Pope Benedict XVI added to the roster of Catholic role models Sunday morning as he tries to rekindle the faith in places where it’s lagging.

Aboriginal Canadians and Americans in traditional dress sang songs to Kateri as the sun rose over St. Peter’s Square.

They joined pilgrims from around the world at the Mass and cheered when Benedict, in Latin, declared each of the seven new saints worthy of veneration by the church.

Tekakwitha, who is also known as “Lily of the Mohawks,” was born in New York state in 1656 before fleeing to a settlement north of the border to escape opposition to her Christianity.

She died in 1680 at the age of 24. Her body is entombed in a marble shrine at the St. Francis-Xavier Church in Kahnawake, a Montreal-area Mowhawk community that was expected be well represented among the 1,500 Canadian pilgrims set to attend the celebrations.

The process for her canonization began in the 1880s and Tekakwitha was eventually beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980.

According to a longtime deacon at the Kahnawake reserve, an event six years ago is widely viewed as a miracle which sealed Tekakwitha’s canonization.

The case involved six-year-old Jake Finkbonner, who belongs to the Lummi tribe in Washington, said Ron Boyer, who was appointed by the Vatican in 2007 to help make the case for the canonization.

Finkbonner was knocked over while playing basketball, striking his lip on a post. The incident led to the boy developing a high fever which landed him in intensive care where doctors determined he had a flesh-eating disease.

The deacon said Sister Kateri Mitchell, a Mohawk from the Akwesasne reserve, happened to be visiting the area and was summoned by the family. She had a bone relic of Tekakwitha which was held to Finkbonner’s chest as his family prayed.

According to Boyer, at that point the infection stopped spreading and began to heal.

Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, is among 17 bishops who were to make the trip to the Vatican, while House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer was also expected to attend Sunday’s mass.


Sunday Sundries …

Courtesy: Thinkin’ Antiker Flickr

It has been a blustery weekend. We had rain over the past couple of days and nights, and the clouds at one point were streaking across the sky, and it seemed they were almost low enough to touch from the balcony. Having a balcony 17 stories up, we have a good view of the entire Western sky across to the mountain and often the clouds dip down to encircle the mount top and the Western sky scrapers.

I was out early tonight because one of our members was sick and could not make it to set up, so I made coffee and set up for the meeting. I’ve been adding chairs to the room because we usually get an influx of people, right as the meeting starts, and one of my friends said tonight about all the chairs I put out, and I said “if you put chairs out, people will show up!” We filled all the chairs and then some tonight.

Sunday is always a good night because once again the same crowd showed up to read further into the Big Book, and we had guests from other parts of the world which is always nice. It seems that the weekend meeting is the one where we get visitors from other places, not so much on Tuesday nights.

We finished reading the forwards to the 3rd and 4th edition, and several things jumped off the page for me on this pass through this section of the book.

First, that the 4th edition went to press in November of 2001. I got sober this last time the beginning of December 2001. And I was a few months into sobriety, when at Shadows, a meeting here in the city, my then sponsor Perry, handed me the Big Book that I have used to this day. I have several Big Books in my library here at home. But the one I use on a regular basis is a 4th edition, highlit in several colors having been through the first 164 pages several times in sobriety.

Secondly, I noted that over the past few weeks, that not so much paragraphs that jump out at me, but single words jump off the page, and I’ve read these books ( The 12 and 12 and the B.B.) multiple times, and to this day, I find that single words get my attention, when in the past I did not notice them. And this thought was shared by one of our guests tonight.

Words might not make a difference, but I find that when we sit in a meeting with others reading the same text, someone eventually picks out something that I might have passed over before or had not read the passage in that way before either.

Third, in 1936 A.A. began with 100 people. Mostly men, and very few women. And from the text we read that “We are a people who normally would not mix” and that thought often pops up in many sections of the book. it is mentioned twice in the text.

“Since the 3rd edition was published in 1976, worldwide membership of A.A.
has just about doubled, to an estimated two million or more, with nearly 100,800 groups meeting in approximately 150 countries around the world.”

Imagine that from the original 100 men and women, we have grown now to more than two million people worldwide. This simple text written about the suffering alcoholic and giving the solution that so many would read and take to heart has changed the world. Which is why it is so important to read the forwards before beginning the Doctors Opinion, to take note of progress and to remember the history of the who, what, where and why … before you hit the first words written by Doctor William D. Silkworth M.D.

I’ve heard many different takes on the book, as to what is written on the first few pages of the book, Why the first page of the book is blank … Because when we open the book, the blank page reminds us of just how much we know about our alcoholism, on the first pass … We are as blank as that first page.

Over the years all  my blanks pages and margins and below and above the text are written key notes and observations of things I’ve heard from others when studying the book.

Recently, I’ve heard members sharing about meetings that they have attended in other parts of the world, and I heard it again tonight, that at certain Big Book Meetings, they dissect the book, paragraph by paragraph and word for word succinctly and totally, getting down to the nitty gritty of the word for word study of the book.

We spent the better part of the entire summer reading from “Experience, Strength and Hope” the stories from editions 1, 2 and 3 … And now we are getting to the “Meaty” part of the program as it is presented in book form.

The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism.

I enjoy reading with my fellows, because it is there that I find commonality with every person in the room, who are trying to find the solution to their malady of Mind, body and spirit. A simple program for complicated people written with care and compassion by the founders Bill, Bob and the first 100 …

More to come, stay tuned …

 


Anniversary at St. Matthias …

Courtesy: RThompson80

It was another stellar day in the neighborhood. Blue skies and comfortable temperatures. It was a crisp, clear night for hoodies. We got many things done today so that was nice. I was out early for St. Matthias, because it was the 65th anniversary tonight.

The church was packed to the rafters. I decided not to stay for food since hubby is cooking dinner shortly. There were more than 100 people there, and at the end of the meeting we had a sobriety countdown and overall there was more than 900 years of sobriety in the room. When they called ten years I stood up, I didn’t notice any others at that point, but lots of people with double digit sobriety.

Our speaker had more than twenty years of sobriety. I had never heard him share before. We heard the history of the meeting read and our man’s story takes place early on. He mentioned that the first meeting he went to was Tuesday Beginners. But like many it took several kicks at the can to come in and really “get it.”

He spoke of pages 23 and 24 of the Big Book …

“We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. The experience of any alcoholic will abundantly confirm this.”

We heard him say that once he started drinking, he could not stop.

But once you come in and begin to accept that you need help, the spiritual experience can then take place. God is or He isn’t. It’s very simple. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do ourselves.

And that was the message. That we had a problem, and in the program we find the solution, and in that we come to recognize a power greater than ourselves and life begins to come together again. And it had for our man and for many others in that room tonight.

It was a good night. More to come, stay tuned…


Pausing on Step 10 …

Courtesy: Masternservant

It is a bit cool tonight. And it was so all day today. We are sitting at 4c at this hour. It was a beautiful blue day today and breezy. The house was busy all day and I was up and ready to go early this afternoon.

I headed out for the church with plenty of time to set up and sit outside and watch people go by. I cranked out chairs and tables and I finished before 5 o’clock which meant I had plenty of time to kill. I had reading material, but opted instead of listening to some new tunes I bought the other night.

If you’ve never heard of Marina and the Diamonds (Electra Heart) and Florence and the Machine (Ceremonials), there is some stellar music on those tune list. I really enjoyed both of these selections. You can find them on I-Tunes.

The problem with I-Tunes here is that you download the program onto your computer and when you open the program you can search for music on your store (i.e. the Canadian store or the U.S. store). If your music doesn’t appear in your store the program automatically steers you to the other store. And even if you have a gift card, like I was using, I live in Canada and tried to make a purchase on the U.S. side but it wouldn’t let me complete the purchase because I did not have a U.S. address, (which is one of the purchase steps) which meant I had to go back to the Canadian store to make my purchase.

Ugh !!! I miss going to HMV or other record stores to but the actual disc.

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

The room was packed, we sat 41 folks. Funny, that the room is open early but people started showing up fifteen minutes till 7 like a mad rush to find seats, in order to get a chair on the main table you need to be here 30 minutes prior. A bunch of our women came early to read their books together.

We continued on Step 10 tonight. And I concurred with some folks who spoke on the same topic of personal restraint.

“Our first objective will be the development of self restraint. This carries a top priority rating. When we speak or act hastily or rashly, the ability to be fair- minded and tolerant evaporates on the spot. One unkind tirade or one willful snap judgment can ruin our relation with another person for a whole day, or maybe a whole year. Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen.”

Like one of our women said tonight … Sometimes I need a pause button on my computer, because I have a propensity to publish before I think, then end up in the drink in being hasty…

So I’ve pissed off a few people over the past few months. And certain members took it upon themselves to chide me for my penmanship… I just wrote them off to be honest. But some others I made a mistake, and I acknowledge that.

It was a full period of shares, we went long in the end. But it was all good.

I got some good news today in regard to finances here at home, and it wasn’t soon enough that the wheel turned in our favor for once. The wheels can now move into motion for the holidays. Since they are on the doorstep now.

All in all it was a great day. I hope you had a great day today as well.


I Didn’t Deserve to Lose You: An Open Letter to My Anti-Gay Parents

Lifted from: The Huffington Post (Link Here)
written by Shura Lopez

These are some of the things I would say to my parents as well. Well, from my point of view, the sentiments and feelings are the same, boy or girl. It happened to me as well. family walking away.

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

Dear Mom and Dad,

I was filling out an application the other day. It asked me what I felt my greatest accomplishment thus far was. I thought for a moment and answered that I am most proud of surviving all that came with coming out to you as a lesbian.

I am an adult and a college student with a job and a life apart from you. I’ve been told that I don’t need you, and for the most part I rarely think about your absence. I have said before that I sometimes forget that I ever had parents; my life is too busy to dwell. Part of that is denial, isn’t it? Being 20 years old hardly makes me an adult, and one always needs family, no matter his or her age.

I have lost friends, extended family and mentors as a result of coming out, but all those are secondary to parents. Friends come and go, extended family move about and expand, and mentors are replaced as one ages, but parents are needed. My first mature relationship, my first heartbreak, when friends turn on me, my big adventures, my successes and failures — I want to share these experiences with you. I’m supposed to share them with you. I want you to be the first to know about my engagement. I want you to help me with the wedding planning. I want you to come with me to pick out my dress. I want you, Dad, to walk me down the aisle. I want you to be excited when my wife and I announce that we’re expecting your grandchildren. I want you to be there when those children arrive.

But you won’t be. You will turn up your nose, as you have done since I came out, and as you will continue to do. You will be somewhere in Tennessee, ranting about my sins, while my brother and older sister take your place at all these milestones.

I have always been a hardheaded, independent kid who never quite fit into the conservative, legalistic Christian box you had set up for me. Maybe it was easy for you to step away from me. You have to understand: I have spent most of my life attempting to run away from myself. The first thing I was ever told about homosexuality came from you, Dad. You were explaining that I couldn’t join Girl Scouts because “they let homosexuals be den mothers.” You elaborated, “Do you know what homosexuals do, Shura? They rape children.” I was 8. Several months earlier I had been introduced to rape by a monster in a rest-stop bathroom outside Savannah. I didn’t want to be a monster.

And if the sermons and radio programs that I was constantly hearing were correct, I didn’t want to go to hell, either. Everything in our conservative Christian world was telling me that I was disgusting, perverted, ruining America and dangerous to children. I hated myself. I was willing to do anything to get away from myself, including suicide.

Yes, I was a difficult child. I wasn’t easy to raise, or easy to love. And in the years leading up to my coming out, I was perhaps the most difficult.

You may not have suspected that I was anything but straight, but others did. From 15 to 17, when I wasn’t living with you, I had few friends. Instead, girls would loudly accuse me of looking at them in a sexual way, called me “dyke,” “fag” and “lez.” They would strip down in front of me just to accuse me of masturbating to the image later. The harassment culminated in a month during which two girl would slip into my bed at night, pin me down and sexually assault me, all while whispering in my ear, “You like this, don’t you, dyke?” I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone about any of it, because I didn’t want the subject of my sexuality to come up. I thought it would be written off because of the suspicions.

I was right. When I came out to you last year, that was one of the first things out of your mouth. “Why did you whine about those girls?” you demanded. “Didn’t you like it, girls touching you? You like that. Why did you pitch a fit about it?”

Let me provide you with an answer: I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve believing that I was disgusting, a monster or going to hell because of others’ ignorance and hatred. I didn’t deserve being ostracized and harassed because of others’ ignorance and hatred. I didn’t deserve to have my body violated because of others’ ignorance and hatred. And I didn’t deserve to lose you because of your ignorance and hatred. But all those things happened to me.

As a result, I have grown up. I have learned to stand on my own two feet and keep myself from being affected by others’ actions. I have learned to be confident in myself. I have learned that in life there are hard choices to be made, and I have learned to make them. I have learned to rely not on others for my validation but on myself. I have learned to love myself.

My life is not always easy, partially because of your absence from it. How I am going to pay for college and where I am going to go on school breaks are constant worries. But you are the ones who are truly missing out. I will do great things. I will bring about positive change in this world. I will have a beautiful life. I’m quite convinced that my future kids will be adorable and ridiculously cool. You will miss out on all that.

I feel sorry for you. Your hatred, your ignorance and your fear are blinding you and took away your daughter. I will not dwell on this. I have living to do.

With all my love,
Shura


Leave the Seed Alone …

 

What a dreary, wet and blustery day it has been in the neighborhood. The kind of weather that elicits the desire to just stay in a warm and cozy bed for the day. But I could not stay in bed for there were things to do today.

I didn’t know this, but Zeller’s is having a liquidation sale on all items in the store. It seems that the store at Alexis Nihon Plaza is closing at the end of the year and in its place will be a sparkling new TARGET store. YAY for Target, one of my favorite stores from the U.S.

It was raining while I was prepping to leave for the meeting tonight. I broke out my winter coat for the first time this season … nice and warm and huggy. I grabbed my big umbrella and set off. When I got downstairs it was barely raining at all, and I did not feel like bringing it upstairs, so I carried it to and fro.

We set up early and had time to sit and relax before the meeting. One of my fellows from the meeting texted me last night asking me to chair for him because he was in Quebec City until Monday. So we began reading the Big Book from the very first page.

We read through the preface, and forwards to the first and second editions. I had asked several members if we should skip those readings and opt to begin with the doctors opinion, but we decided on starting at the very beginning of the book.

I have told you over the past few entries about what I am learning from others in the meetings, that some people read the book and parse word for word, and I learn something new at each and every meeting. Tonight was no different.

There is a reason that the preface and the forwards are at the beginning of the book, because it give us some context to the where and why of the publishing and sharing of the book from the inception of A.A. more than 70 years ago.

During that read, the writer mentions the people who participated in the formation of the book, those opinions that mattered and what individual contributions each of those folks made to the movement of A.A. And from that we arrive at the many different other “reads” like A.A. Comes of Age, Bill and the Old timers, The Jack Alexander article and so forth and so on.

We carry all those books at Sunday Niter’s. But not a lot of people take the time to invest reading the history of A.A. and how it came to be. We usually set the off with a Big Book at the beginning. But we have found that reading the Big Book on ones own is useful, but it is far better to read the book along with someone else, like in a group setting or with ones sponsor.

And so that began tonight, reading the Big Book from the very beginning and all the way through to the very last story in the fourth edition.

I heard a lot of good things tonight. And once again I heard something from one of our women that struck me as insightful. She was working with a suffering alcoholic, but it seemed the help she was offering was going in one ear and out the other, and her sponsor told her to just let go and “leave the seed alone.”

Sometimes when working with others, the message is received and it takes right away, and then there are other times that we just have to plant a seed and leave it alone to germinate and take root. And that may take some time.

We are powerless over people, places and things.

It was good to hear from my friends at the meeting. For many of my friends, tonight is the only night we see each other at the same meeting. so it was nice. Hopefully they will show up and read along with us next week and successive weeks to come.

Recently I met a young person on Tumblr who asked for some assistance because he needed help and so I reached out to him and pointed him in the right direction and he responded that he attended his first meeting. So I dropped him a note, to which he did not reply as of yet, so I guess I just need to leave the seed alone.

It was a good weekend. All is well. It is raining and miserable. But they always say that if you don’t like the weather in Montreal, wait twenty minutes.

I hope you all had a good weekend.

Goodnight from Montreal.


An Honest Days Work Ep.2 …

Courtesy: SingLifesSong

Wow, what a busy day it was today. I am POOPED !!!

I was up with the birdies this morning, and out well before I usually rouse from my slumber. Hubby had to be up early for work as well. So we both hit the bed early last night. Comfy bed, Lots of pillows, a warm comforter and voila …

Yesterday I called my sponsor to see if he felt the earth move up on the hill where he lives and the earthquake was all the talk at the meeting tonight. But we aren’t there yet. Anyways, he asked me if I could get up early in the morning, and I said of course. Good he said. He took me on a job site today to do an honest days work.

Our first foray into working together was at a cottage up North cutting down trees and cutting wood to stack for the winter. That was an intensely good time. I learned how to use a chain saw, chop wood, use a log splitter and then stack cords.

Today was an entire new skill set that I had to learn on the fly. We met at St. Leon’s and set out for Homo Depot for some sheet rock drywall for a ceiling job we had to do today.

The house was beautiful, however small on the second floor, we were working in a very small bedroom that was filled with furniture and “stuff.” It took all day, but we set in a brand new ceiling that we had to anchor to old wood slats in an old house.

If you know anything about dry walling, You need hands, and lots of them to get the board into the air, right side down, then use these special struts to hold the board in place while one begins to use a power screw driver to drive 2 inch screws into “hopefully” a beam or a slat.

I spent the day climbing a ladder, unscrewing screws from the ceiling where they did not hit their mark, and got more screws into the ceiling. I don’t do well with power tools. So I was using a hand held screw driver to do my work.

It’s a lot of hard work measuring and scoring drywall. You measure twice and cut once. Then you have a shaver and a cutter tool to refine the edges. Every cut had to be specific because we only had 4 sheets of dry wall, and we used up every last bit of it covering the ceiling.

After we got the ceiling up, I got up on a ladder and plastered the nail tracks, because when the screw driver hits a screw, correctly, the screw is imbedded in the sheet rock and you have to plaster over the screw flush to the board. And leave no residual or extra plaster on the ceiling because you want a clean board when you paint.

This went on all afternoon.

I left the job site close to 5 o’clock. Took the 104 down Sherbrooke, to Alexis Nihon to do some shopping, pick up pills and to recharge my bus pass because I was using the tickets I was saving for tonight’s trip to St. Matthias.

I came home. Checked the mail, watched a little tv.
I showered and departed home around 6:30.

They were calling for rain, after a day of blue soft cool skies.  As I was waiting for the bus there were others waiting as well. And when the bus came it was PACKED!!!!

I hate when they do that, sometimes they schedule buses frequently, and sometimes they stack them back to back. When no bus comes, and then you miss a route bus, then the next bus comes on that route, and too many people stacked up, UP the Line, pack the bus. And by the time it got to Chomedy, the bus was full to bursting.

I arrived at St. Matthias way early. They moved the meeting from the hall downstairs to the small meeting room upstairs in the church proper. Imagine your living room PACKED with chairs. We carried up stacks of chairs from the basement to sit in, and we were not disappointed. The room was BURSTING !!!

A woman came from the suburbs. 5 years into another sober journey. She got stuck in the revolving door. Let’s just say that when all was said and done, I commented to my friends that, “that’s what I enjoy, listening to a crazy woman’s fifth step in front of a room of listeners.”

It was a terror story of WHY we say that you should never get involved in a relationship with anyone, and with good reason, someone from the program, for at least the first year of sobriety. Because she rattled off the long and distinguished list of all the deadbeat, drug addicted, drinking men who only made it worse for her.

It was a nightmare … That’s all I have to say about that !

Now I am home, and watching Vice President Biden beat down VP candidate Ryan. And what a BEAT DOWN it has been …

That’s all for today.

The 10th of October was my busiest day ever with more than 500 hits on the earthquake post. Go Figure… Word Press tells us to TAG our posts. I did that and overnight my blog was hit more than 500 times in less than 24 hours.

Goodnight.


Montreal EARTHQUAKE !!!

An earthquake just shook Montreal and surrounding areas.
Seismic website here.
Automatic detection of seismic event: magnitude 4.5 – 10 Oct 0:19 EDT – LONGUEUIL, QC region

We were sitting here watching tv and the building shook from the inside. We’ve never felt a significant shake like this ever …

CTV Montreal Link Here
Published Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 1:29AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 1:48AM EDT

Many in the Montreal area were roused from sleep just after midnight Wednesday, when a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck.

According to Natural Resources Canada, the  earthquake’s epicentre was in the Longueuil area.

Allison Bent, a seismologist with Earthquake Canada, said the quake occurred at 12:20 a.m.

No immediate reports of serious damage could be verified.

The earthquake sent some rushing into the street, with many Quebecers taking to Twitter to share what they experienced.

“We felt a strong tremor here in Terrebonne at aprox 12:20a.m.,” said CTV viewer Monette Bouvier in an email. “It was very impressive. (It) started like a boom then shook our large house with vibrations until they got lighter then stopped. It lasted a good 30 or more seconds!”

This Natural Resources Canada map provides information on where the earthquake struck, and where it was most intense.

The quake was felt over a large area of souther Quebec and extended into parts of southern Ontario, confirmed Bent.

She said Wednesday morning’s tremor was smaller than the June 2010 earthquake that struck between Ottawa and Montreal — a 5.0 magnitude quake.

An earthquake of this magnitude is considered mild.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the largest earthquake in the history of the province was in 1732, and measured in at 6.2.

Read more: http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/4-5-magnitude-earthquake-hits-montreal-area-1.989496#ixzz28sAP6fxR


Step 10 … A Day’s Reflection …

Courtesy: ChrisCodyyy

It was another stellar day in the neighborhood today. Grateful for sunny skies and cool temps – because they may not last much longer. It was spoken today that the leaves in the neighborhood, on a great scale are just “meh” and not the varied colors we have seen in years past. There were no real bright colors on the mountain yesterday. And there were only patches of color here or there. It is kind of disappointing that Fall did not spark a great color turn. However, trees here in the core have all turned bright yellow and some of the trees are on their way to being leafless as piles of leaves are scattered all over the streets below home.

It was a good day. I was out early because I wanted to take a look at the Seville Project (condo’s) that are going up across the street from here. Phase III is going up quickly. They are on tap to get the latest floor poured over the next few days. Phase III tower is taller than phases I and II. And from the building display in the office, each tower has a garden on the roof including a pool for each building.

We have a pool here on the 20th floor, that is small and enclosed within the building. But there are commanding views of the South Shore and facing into the core. Our view is of the West End and Westmount Square.

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

As it is the 10th month of the year, our chair set us up to read from the Twelve and Twelve, and Step 10. “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

We sat a full room. And we covered the first portion of the read so that the entire group was able to share on the topic. Which went the entire period. And it was interesting to hear the different variations that come up from the various folks around the room have. Either, not having reached step 10 yet in their own personal journeys, or to hear how those with time work this step and how they interpret the text.

As usual, I heard several comments that made me take a second look at the words on the page and to notice (read: Parse) the words and how they are written. I hadn’t noticed this little gem, but it was spoken about by one of our fabulous women …

“In all these situations we need self-restraint, honest analysis of what is involved, a willingness to admit when the fault is ours, and an equal willingness to forgive when the fault is elsewhere. We need NOT be discouraged WHEN we fall into the error of our old ways.” Pg. 91

Reading this passage and parsing the words … The writer who has put down this step in print speaks to us and the words themselves presupposes that we are human and will make mistakes. The word WHEN is word specific.

It doesn’t say “IF” but “WHEN.”

I had never noticed this phrasing. I have said it before and I will say it again, every week I learn something new about my sobriety from listening to the women who come to our meeting. They really get down to the A to Z’s of the steps. Word for word. They write them down, they pray about them, and they discuss them on a daily basis with their sponsors. I mean if you want an example of comprehensive sobriety, look no further than the women in our group.

(which means, I  guess you have to be here to benefit from their wisdom.)

But I try to share these pearls as they appear at the meetings.

Uncle Bill, my “grand-sponsor” showed up to the meeting tonight. He lives up in Matisse on the Gaspe Peninsula up in Northern Quebec. He has spent the past few days visiting and taking care of business for his upcoming trip to Asia for the winter. Everybody gets excited when he says that he’s been sober since 1950 !!!

That is 62 years of sobriety.

And the words just roll off his tongue. Yes he does step 10 at the end of the day, in reviewing the day as it was lived and making notes where necessary, because we really should not have to take our day to bed with us, carrying resentments, anger or hurts with us. Step 10 allows us to write down our day and get it out of our heads and onto a piece of paper or an electronic form of paper (read:Blog) and finding it better to let go and turn it over to our higher power so that when we wake the next morning, we have a fresh slate to begin with, and not one cluttered with shit from yesterday.

With it being Thanksgiving yesterday and knowing we have a crop of newcomers in the room, it was a blessing to hear gratitude come from them tonight. Some with mere months under their belts, talk about the “change” they see in themselves and how others (read:Family) see changes in them and were to verbally confirm that they notice and admire the change that has come about.

Our young people are so important to listen to because sobriety is working for them because they show up and the listen and then they go into their lives and they make it work, or more to the point, their higher power’s  take the reins.

It was really good to hear them speak.

Since we were talking about gratitude and step 10, I spoke about my day yesterday and having spent a few hours with  my sponsor. And there is a theme to our get togethers. And that entails NATURE.

Once he took me up North to cut down trees and make firewood for another member, at his cottage. It was the most honest day’s work. There is just a freedom having spent time in the woods cutting wood and stacking it in cords.

And yesterday we spent a few hours walking the many trails that wind all around the summit of Mount Royal. Like I said yesterday, Mount Royal is a huge plot of green space and forests in the middle of this concrete jungle we call Montreal.

Sometimes we don’t need to speak words. And not an unnecessary word is spoken. We can just be in the peace and quiet of the forest. And I have some really great photos that I posted yesterday.

I was reading this months “Grapevine” and they are having a photo contest for the 2014 calendar, and I am thinking of entering one of my photos into the contest. We’ll see how that turns out. It might be a little too religious since the photo is of the cross that sits atop the mountain and is lit white at night.

I had the good fortune to get up on the mountain during the “Interregnum” when the cross was lit “Purple” to designate the period between Popes, after the death of John Paul II and before the election of Benedict the XVI. There are very few opportunities to experience history making moments in our city, and that was one of them.

It was a good day. I hope you all had a good day.

Thought for the day for you to work on:

Do you take your day to bed with you, good or bad. Do we dwell on our anger and resentment to the point that it infects us with ill emotions, or do we put down our day and let it go before we hit the pillow and we go to bed with a clear conscience.

That’s the beauty of Step 10 … We CAN let it all go.

Goodnight from Montreal.