Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Parliament Hill Ottawa. A Wordpress Production

Changing Routines

tumblr_lx332xnuMf1qajbwho1_500 justathoughtfulmind

Courtesy: justathoughtfulmind

Snow falling is peaceful. A blanket of snow in the yard of the church is pretty. But what lies in between these spaces is dirty, slushy and annoying. The temperature is hovering at (1c) and the sidewalks are covered in a slushy mess that makes walking tedious.

It snowed this afternoon so there is fresh powder on the ground. And amid the snow I was carrying a huge load of things. I had a cake bundled in a carrier inside of a grocery bag, padded and protected from bumps and drops. My back pack was full of milk, cookies, books, and cards. And I had to make a stop to get a card for my friend on the way out.

I arrived at the church on time – after navigating sloppy sidewalks and cranked out set up. I left a little later than usual, and it seemed that shortly after I finished a handful of folks showed up to read. I unpacked my cake and put candles on. And our chair brought a second cake for our fellow celebrating tonight, so we had two cakes after the meeting, which went over very well.

It was a packed house. The topic came from Living Sober. Changing routines.

They say when you get sober that the only thing you have to change is Everything!!!

It was a good thing that when I got sober, the club I used to drink at closed for good shortly thereafter. That was a good omen since I had to walk by it every day that I went to my meeting.

I was seeing a counselor for a while whom I remember fondly. I had a duty to perform every week for my landlord. And I had my meetings. But one good thing is that I was never alone for very long on any given day. Fellowship was a huge component to my getting sober, since it was the holidays.

I stayed sober. And the running theme to my life would be Geographic. The problem with staying in one place haunted me. The first time I got sober, I stayed where I was because of the people in my life and the care I was receiving.

When that gig died, I had to move out on  my own. And I had to re-learn how to live in society, because the family grouping I was part of disbanded. That took a good long time. And I failed at that venture because of the unadvised and unspoken choice I made to pull a geographic to fill a void. That was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life, because it almost cost me my life.

When I regrouped and returned to the scene of sobriety, I had to relearn how to stay in one place. And that was successful – but I was still drinking. So it wasn’t that good either. When I took my last drink, I had to change people, places and things. And it was difficult to change those things seeing I lived in a city that’s claim to fame was “there is a party every day, and every day we drink!!!”

Which is why my fellows in the program never left me alone for very long. And a visit here would change my life forever. I was sober 4 months when I made my exploratory trip up here. I got connected. I went to meetings. I fell in love with this city, and I did it again. I pulled a geographic in sobriety.

I wasn’t only changing people and places. I was changing Countries. You’ve all heard this story, I’ve told it countless times. Besides being sober, I was living on bare minimums and it wasn’t a good life, so I moved.

I packed and moved. When I got here I connected with sober people. I was going to three meetings a day. I got involved with after care with a full time counselor who helped me prepare to live in a city with seasons. I got rooted in a meetings and I did what ever they told me.

Find a home group. Get rooted. And first and foremost,

You build your life around your meetings.

Not your meetings around your life.

That is the one thing I did right. And I’ve kept that routine to this day. Some 11 years a a couple of weeks now. I did not deviate from that routine at all. I lived my life around my home group. I went back to school, I fell in love and later married, soberly. I hit three meetings a week at a minimum. I do service and I help others.

Since I never drank here, I was able to build a life here. Without the threat of taking a drink in some dark and dingy club. We used to bar hop in early sobriety, on weekends. But the problem with bar hopping in the Winter is this …

First, nightlife doesn’t get started until after midnight, which means a one way trip on the subway into the village. Carrying your things in pockets with a jacket, hat and scarf, and hoping for a good coat check.

The Metro doesn’t run all night, which means a taxi ride at 3 or 4 a.m. which runs you more than $20.00, plus what you are going to spend on sundry cola and water bottles.

It was too much trouble to go out for a night of fun. And it got old. I don’t remember the last time we went out to a club, it was years ago. So that part of my life ended, and I don’t miss it.

I never drank at home anyways, so liquor in the house was a non-issue. We spent the first year of sobriety cleaning and setting up a home together. And that is what we have been doing for more than 10 years.

The only thing you have to change when you get sober is everything.

You can’t keep your old friends. Or go to your old haunts. Or do the same things you did while you were drinking. Now you are getting sober, so give yourself a chance. Really make a clean break from all that was, to all that CAN BE.

It will all make sense in time, you don’t need to know everything, you just need to follow the suggestions and things will play out in their own time in your life.

There was cake. There was conversation. Everybody went home satiated on sugar three times over. A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


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