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Sunday Sundries … Anniversary Edition …

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Today has been a day of anticipation. The first snow storm of the season is on our doorstep. The Ave Maria moment we have been waiting for since last winter. So tonight we wait for the maiden to arrive and we will welcome her into our lives for another season. They say it will snow BIG snow overnight. And it will be glorious.

We’ve been bemoaning the weather men because they just could not agree on a forecast, but it seems Environment Canada is sticking to its story of a Storm Warning for the city at this hour, and that hasn’t changed all day, so we shall see.

We were up early, hubby is working away on his next few chapters due to his supervisor before Christmas. I headed off for some supermarket safari because I won’t want to go out in shin deep snow tomorrow.

I headed out early for the church, and when I got there, the place was blazing with light from the church. Tonight was the holiday concert which ran into our allotted time slot. Which was glorious.

It was a good group. Lots of friends came tonight, some that I have been missing as of late. We sat a full complement. And we read from the Big Book, chapter 2, “There is a Solution.”

“We are a people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship,  friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful…

The feelings of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement that binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution…

This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.”

In the portion of this chapter we read about the many “types” of alcoholics. And from our numbers we heard tonight who inhabited which description. And just how precarious some find themselves, to think a drink is dangerous, and to take a drink, suicidal… We all agree that we can’t never have ” just one…”

We went the entire period and squeaked in everyone who wanted to share.

And I remarked that I began to drink as a young man. Being a third generation alcoholic was my lot in life. My grandfather was a type A drunk. “The bottle hider.” My father was a type B drunk. The “Jekyll and Hyde” alcoholic.  I was neither. I never drank from a bottle, never hid alcohol. I never drank at home, and always in the company of others. Because for me, drinking was done to “fit in.” At least that’s what I was taught.

In my early young life, all I wanted was to be like my father. And as I grew up and Jekyll and Hide would come to visit, I remember saying that I would never become my father. But as I aged, I became an alcoholic, just like my father, to a certain degree. Not to the degree that I had witnessed in my life, but I did run my own circuitous path, into sobriety eventually. Twice …

Another year has passed. And I get another candle on the cake, and another medallion on Tuesday night. I would like to think that I earned my keep this past year. In retrospect, God gave me just enough to keep me busy and away from the drink for another year. I stay close to the book and my fellows.

I communicate with my friends at least once a day. I do service for my fellows and I give freely of what was so freely given to me, one day at a time.

I have great friends, who care about me and I about them.

But therein is the choice we all make for ourselves. We can be a participants in our sobriety or we can just sit there and warm a chair on the outer circle. Most of my friends are front row participants. Very few choose to sit on the outer circle.

I get to listen to folks share about sobriety at every meeting I go to. And we, with time, get to hear, reiterated, why we are here, and for what reason, and why we could never go back to the way it was, because to drink is to die. Because for me, I don’t know if I have another recovery in me, if I go back out.

I remember what it must have felt like for my friends when I embarked on my near fatal slip. I was not communicating, I was isolating, and I know in my heart of hearts that I truly hurt my friends. People who were long time sober when I came back the second time.

I know that look that came upon me when I finally crossed the bridge from the beach to the city on Christmas Eve at The Poinciana Meeting. They were all there to welcome me, but in hindsight, I knew the looks on their faces. That pained pity look of “wow, that could have been me…” “But for the grace of God, I am still sober…” All those things I would say to myself now, seeing folks coming in and out having gotten stuck in the revolving door of alcoholism.

Now that I have banked 11 years … Hindsight is my best teacher. I know what lengths I will go to to stay sober, and what is possible when I work with another.

And I know for me, as the book says,

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

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

May God bless you and keep you—until then.

This is what you find at the end of the first 164 pages of the Big Book. It has come to pass that for a while we work our steps. Then we get to put them into practice in our daily lives. And we work a little more, and we get more practice. And we keep working on and on, day after day, month after month and year after year.

And sometime in the future you mark your first year, then five, and hopefully ten, and further up the line where I sit at 11 years.

I am really grateful for my friends and my fellows, and for my sponsor. Who tells it like it is, honestly and from his heart. “You don’t want to go back there because you know what will happen if you do…”

I got a card from friends today along with a packet of prayers from the Big Book. And I will close with these words:

My Creator, show me  the way of patience, tolerance, kindness, and love…

Goodnight from Montreal. More to come, stay tuned …


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