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Archive for December, 2013

Last Meeting of 2013 on the Last Day of the Year

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Courtesy:Fashionisineverybody

How do you ring in the New Year? Do you bar hop? or maybe be invited to a private party at someone’s home? Do you travel to an exotic city or maybe New York for the annual ball drop?

It is bitterly cold out in our fair city. We are in a deep freeze, so you must be hearty to be outside or travel tonight, because it is damn cold. We are sitting at (-18c/-26 windchill) at this hour. However it is not as windy as we expected, and we took longer routes to stay off the streets tonight.

Instead of taking the bus, the most direct route to the church, it was cold, like I said, and the hopes that the Westbound bus would be running in a timely fashion, after last week’s fiasco, we opted for the Metro and a short bus ride down the hill to the church from the opposite direction.

Since I had the keys, I had to leave early to open the church tonight. Taking the underground route is a little quicker and you avoid overland travel while it is bitter out.

Thank goodness for visitors. It was totally worth it to open the hall tonight, because they made the meeting special.

Why do you hit a meeting on a holiday? Of course, to see your friends. And you show up. Because that is what we do, even in the bitter cold.

There were cookies, and lots of coffee and a humble group of folks.

We read from A.B.S.I. # 88 Will Power and Choice.

“… As we continue to make these choices and so move toward these high aspirations, our sanity returns and the compulsion to drink vanishes.”

A bottom is the usual sign that you are finished drinking. It is experience that most people reach one at some point. And the holiday’s are some of the toughest times to get sober and stay sober.

Why get sober tonight? Of all nights to stop drinking.

The one night to kill all nights where drinking is concerned?

New Year’s Eve …

It is usually the day after, or the week after that people have had some serious drinking event on New Years that ends up becoming a bad memory – not a great event to log into your scrap book for eternity.

In 2001, the year where everything went wrong in the world, and where tragedy struck, I had several attempts at racking up some sober time, but in the end, it took almost all that year to reach my bottom.

I was not a daily drinker. So there was not a compulsion to drink every day. I had graduated to the one night a week binge drinking. But after several (not knowing how I got home from the bar after a bender) signaled to me that I was finished. And I got sober in the month of December this time around.

Christmas Eve 2001, was spent with fellows in a midnight meeting surrounded by friends. And New Year’s Eve was spent in the home of friends so we had some place to go that was safe and comfortable.

Once I put down the drink, like the drugs, I walked away from them and I did not go looking for them again. I knew I was done drinking, that the binge and not knowing was enough to show me that I had a serious problem.

Fast Forward 12 years …

Another year has passed. And I began the last day of the year, the same way I started the first day of 2013, In a Meeting. I went through my archives last night, looking for ideas to post a retrospective, but I’d rather the blog speak for itself.

We saw 24,000 views this year. That is a lot of people.

We saw a huge number of subscribers – always welcome.

We had a great little meeting tonight. I got to see my friends, and that is what matters right? On the way home we took the overland route, which is a bus ride across town to downtown.

Two stops up a freeloader got on the bus. You know them, the ones who get on the bus penniless, and pass-less. And some even wallet-less.

So this guy gets on the bus, and is checking all his pockets, he can’t pay the fare. But it is a holiday and the driver lets him ride. So you know these freeloaders who get on the bus and sit at the head as well, have this compulsion to run their mouths the entire ride, until they reach the stop where they are going to get off the bus.

God Give me Strength !!!

Let’s keep the driver busy in conversation so that he doesn’t see that I can’t pay the fare, and let’s talk to every other person on the bus and wish them a “hot woman” on New Years, and that we all get sex tonight, and assorted shit like that.

Most people get on the bus and they sit down and mind their own business or talk to each other or on their phones. But on the odd occasion, you get the freeloader who has loose lips !!!

It is almost 9 p.m. just a few more hours until the end of 2013.

I thank each and every one of you for coming and reading and following. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. And we will be here in the coming year, just as we have been this past year, sharing, writing, and exploring what some time “in” get’s you if you are persistent and you persevere.

Happy New Year from Montreal.


2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Music is life, And I have a LOT of life

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This post is all about music. once can never have too much music to listen to. Music has been a constant companion throughout my life. When I was a young person, I had quite the record collection.

Record players have gone the way of the dinosaur, unless of course you find yourself in a D.J. Booth, and even there, the CD is ever present. I found it difficult to mix cd’s, I’d rather mix a record instead.

I have a phone, and I use it, but for the most part, it is my music delivery system. And an 8 gig memory card does the trick and will hold an inordinate amount of music, which means I will never go without music EVER !!!

What is on my player these days?

I am listening to PINK … The Truth about Love. A fantastic piece of music. Not to mention, if you’ve haven’t seen her in concert, she is a must see if she comes to a city near you. Hot Hot Hot !!!

For those of you who like some hard grunge music, I give you Breaking Benjamin. I kind of love their music. I was introduced to them with their hit “The Diary of Jane.” They’ve put out several albums …

Phobia
Dear Agony
We Are Not Alone … and
Shallow Bay – The Best of Breaking Benjamin.

If you like a little dark and dirty, screaming and grungy, soft rock and everything in between, then this is your band.

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s with the dawn of MTV, I love that 80’s sound, and everything about it. And I return to those roots with the 80’s Diva Taylor Dayne and her greatest hits. Coming through my 20’s and clubbing throughout those years, 80’s music was a theme, in the clubs and on the radio and on cassette. Numbers like:

Prove Your Love
Don’t Rush Me
Heart of Stone
I’ll Be Your Shelter
I’ll Wait
and the great Barry White cover of Can’t Get Enough of your Love
This is a must have piece of music if you grew up in the 80’s.

It is said, for this next selection … That Katy Perry had quit drinking during the writing of PRISM, her latest offering.

I really love this album. It is poppy, carries good beats, And many of the songs carry undertones of someone who “might” understand recovery.

Several cuts I enjoy …

Spiritual, is my favorite
By the Grace of God
Choose your Battles
It Takes Two
Unconditionally
Legendary Lovers

In fact the entire album is great. Every cut flows into the next and each song carries a message. She clearly is talking about relationships in this album, coming off one bad relationship into another, the music moves from one extreme to another.

I love an album that I can listen to straight through from beginning to end, not get bored, or have to skip one cut or another, and Katy Perry delivers that kind of listening experience.

For all you little Monsters out there, yes, I am also listening to Lady Gaga.

Some initial reviews of her latest offering were not kind. But music is subjective, and if you are loyal to a particular artist, then reviews mean nothing. You listen because you love that artist, not for the acid reviews artists can get from the press.

However … Unlike Katy Perry, Dear Momma Monster gave me skips and uncertainties.

This piece of music took some time to get into. The first few listens I was skipping all over the place, not sure if I liked the cuts or not. After seeing her on a Muppet Special over the holidays, I fell more into the album. Seeing music presented live, sung and danced out, made a difference in my listening experience.

I really like…

Aura
Venus
Manicure
Do What you Want (Featuring R Kelly)
Swine
Donatella
Fashion
and of course Applause

I cover A LOT of music spanning the entire alphabet. Depending on what mood I am in, where I am traveling, and how much time I have to invest in a listening, there is a bevy of music on my phone to impress.

This is just the most recent collection of music I added to my library over the last month. What are your favorites? What are you listening to?

Do share …

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Blue Edition

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Courtesy: chinchinalqueraje

It has been mild these past two days. And the weather is going downhill from here. Environment Canada isn’t very reliable because they change their minds by the hour. But tonight they say snow, and coming soon, (-20c and below) temps are on tap for the next few days.

They are still clearing snow from the streets downtown. And what fell as snow turned to ice because of drizzle and overnight the stuff that melted is now iced over in many places. Walking was hit and miss on the trail to the church.

The way temps are shaping up this week, it is going to be a bitter New Year’s Eve this year. I don’t know if I could handle being penned in for hours and hours waiting for that damned ball to fall.

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

I got an email from Germany on Saturday saying that my package had shipped. They sent a German tracking site, so we will see just how long it takes a package to travel from Germany to Montreal. I paid for good international shipping, so hopefully a week to ten days should be sufficient.

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

Yesterday was eventful. Hubby and I went on an adventure to the mall to purchase my new glasses. It’s been 5 years since my last check up and my eyesight has suffered. The doctor was sympathetic saying that my new script would be much different than the ones I am carrying around now.

The checkup was $70.00 and then we went to look at frames. I had already selected several frames, most which were vetoed, but I did get my first choice, a very nice, sleek pair of Blue Ray Bans. They are really sweet. We got a couple discounts and when all was said and done, the entire deal cost us $433.00. Which came under budget.

The doctor wants to do a further Retina Scan which is an additional charge and takes two hours to perform. I had not budgeted for that yesterday so I have to go back some time. They will do dialation drops which take an hour to work, and then do the scan photography. Before, on my last visit, that job was farmed out to another doctor, but they said they could do it there for me when I have time.

We had lunch in the Eaton Center Food court, which was a nice finish to the afternoon.

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

Today, I left uber early because I could not reach the super at the church to make sure the heat was on for us, thankfully, someone shoveled all the snow off the path and the radiators were on. Probably because they needed to heat the church above today, so the whole system was on.

The radiator unit is interconnected for the entire church. When they are on the hall is toasty, for the most part, they are not on during the week, because it is not cost effective to heat the entire building all week, so we are a bit chilled in the hall, aside from the booster heater in the doorway to the hall, which really doesn’t do much. Sitting in the hall without main heat is chilly.

With the weather going downhill this week, the system is supposed to turn itself on when the temps hit (-20c) which will happen on consecutive days in the coming week.

We sat a modest crowd. During winter, attendance is hit or miss, depending on the cold. And it is the holiday’s so people are here and there. The last Sunday of the month is a tradition. December is Tradition Twelve. it got mixed reviews.

It was a good night. I got to see my best buds tonight, which was a treat. The stars all aligned for that to happen. People were in the right place at the right time to facilitate a group hug. So that was nice.

One more holiday night to go. The biggest night to get plastered.

Our Tuesday Hall is open on New Year’s Eve. And it will be bitterly cold, which means it might be a hit or miss event. We shall see.

It was a good weekend.

More to come stay tuned…


Friday … “In The Zone”

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Courtesy: Untouchable Halcyon

The weather got a bit mild as of late and will remain for a few days, until Mother Nature throws FRIGID at us next week. Kind of imagine that we are going to sink into “Saskatoon cold” next week, (-20’s – -30’s) kind of frigid.

It was a normal day. I rearranged my eye appointment for tomorrow which means hubby comes along to see what kind of frames I had chosen, like he has veto power over my choices !

If it’s Blue, It’s Mine !

There was not much else to do today. Since my purge of social media in the past few days, I have stopped partaking in news or topics on tv that have nothing to do with living in Canada, which is a good rule, because we don’t have to be drawn into all that much and shit that goes on down south. And I’d rather not bring that energy back into the house.

I’ve had enough of garbage television and social media. It just rots your brain and does you no good and only reminds you just how fucked up the rest of the world is, not that Canada doesn’t have her own problems, not like the problems and crap that goes down in the U.S. on a daily basis.

I spent the afternoon napping. And once again I was in this fabulous dream, and it just kept going and going, and I was quite enjoying it.

Every time the dream cycled around, the situation changed. And I had a choice whether to continue the dream, or settle down and stop. I chose to continue the dream, and it just got better.

It was like a life competition and there was another person I knew IN the dream with me, they did their thing and I did mine. At first I kept getting burned by the OTHER, until I figured out what to do properly.

I traveled three cycles in the dream, and I knew I was up against the clock, because I set my alarm for 5:30 and it was like 5:15 at one point, glazing my eyes up to the clock trying to hold onto the dream a bit longer.

Eventually I woke up and ended the dream, but I could have gone on, had I stayed lucid. Then I had to make a decision, whether to get out of bed and prep for the meeting, or stay in bed and sleep some more.

I got up and got ready to go, and I left early. Most of the side streets, our street (Fort) and De Maisonneuve have not been plowed so there is still snow piled high all over the place, and the city said that all the snow would be plowed already, yeah right … they still can’t get the city complete in 5 days.

We sat a small crowd. I made a full pot of coffee figuring we’d have a full house because it was mild out, but that didn’t happen. It was a good discussion anyways.

A.B.S.I. # 33 Foundation for Life …

“…in praying, we ask simply that throughout the day God place In us the best understanding of His will that we can have for that day, and that we be given the grace by which we may carry it out…”

Twelve and Twelve p. 102

People took the entire reading in many directions. It kind of gives one perspective to where folks are in their own personal journey with God and praying and meditation, and learning to incorporate the three together.

One of our Long Sober members speaks of being “In the Zone.”

It doesn’t matter what you call it, God, Spirit, Higher Power, praying for God’s will and knowing God’s will usually occurs when we are in the zone with the power greater than ourselves. Some of my friends see the world in stark differences. One of my friends cannot speak the name of God, because he just doesn’t know if there is one, he is very serene man, who believes that goodness is the heart of all things. He sees the world of beauty around him, yet God is absent from the beauty.

Over the last 46 years of life, I have found that as long as I stay “in the zone” and staying “on the path” whatever that path is, it is a conscious choice of remaining in God’s will, whatever that is, on any given day, is the best place for me to be.

If I decide to step off the path, I know that life will eventually end up in the shitter, emotionally, physically and mentally. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.

I dredged up an old hurt. But every year I learn something different about the topic and myself. Which eventually ends up in the God’s will column.

I don’t know where I heard it or where I learned it but

“Every person has one redeemable quality”

No matter how difficult they might have been or how abusive they have been as well.

I reach out to people who have been alienated from my life by the choices I made for myself in sobriety, because I thought that those decisions would net me life, liberty and freedom, and a better quality of life.

And you’d think that as children grow up and they learn about life, and they start making life decisions, that family would rise up and be proud that they have chosen a life path that netted them the best standing in life. That did not happen for me. Hence, alienation…

I acted again this holiday season out of kindness, and it netted me nothing. And once again, it must be God’s will that this was to come to pass. That is wasn’t time yet, and since I am powerless over people, I have to let them come into their own on God’s time.

I have let go of the expectations that they should come on board in MY time.

There is the difference.

I made decisions based on self. Wholly for my own good. I needed release from the curse of being born “a mistake.” I could not live up to the life of the man I was originally named after. But the question remains, if you loved him so much, so much so that you gave me his name, how could you abuse me so badly as you did for so many years?

Secondly, the next life decision I made was for my well being, and a better life because the life I was stuck in, was a no win scenario.

Never tell lies to your children, because one day they will learn the truth, and heaven help you when they do, because the truth WILL destroy the teller of the lie.

I ended up here, and the rest is history. I flourished. And I lived.

It is God’s will, I did what I had to do, for me. And people copped great resentments and bitterness. You’d think twelve years later, they would evolve. They haven’t.

My aunt says it more succinctly, every year they prove just how much of an asshole they are.

It doesn’t pain me like it used to. It encourages prayer.

We pray, and we meditate. Prayer is talking TO God, and meditation is that quiet place that we work on listening FOR God. If w take the time to pray, we must cultivate the same time to wait on God to speak to us, in whatever way he chooses. That takes time and practice.

If I skip my prayers, I am usually dis-eased. And my day will clearly be out of sync. So I set time aside and my prayers are set out for me to see every day when I get up and before I got to bed. I can’t NOT pray, if I’ve created the space to pray.

I wanted a fuller life, better sobriety, so I need to do the work.

It was a good day. Tomorrow will be a great day.

Then the weather goes into the shitter. Let Us Pray !!!

More to come, stay tuned …

Oh, and welcome to all my new subs. It’s good to have you on board.


Christmas Roundup 2013 … The Day That Was

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Courtesy: Lauren Marek Photography – John Thomas Marek

The day turned out to be very stress free and calm.

My massive dinner preparation in my tiny studio kitchen (really, you can’t open the fridge and the oven at the same time) was a success.

The 15 pound turkey went in at noon and was promptly done baking at 3:30. Hubby whipped up some green beans, and I cooked the gravy and stuffing. Add to that some cranberry sauce and black olives (an old family tradition) and the table was ready.

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

Meanwhile, during the baking time, hubby bought me an 8 gig memory card for my phone. I had one, but it up and died on me a few months ago.

I took my phone to Telus to weep incessantly over my loss, and the kind girl at the shop took pity on me and sold me a 4 gig card for a 2 gig price. Which was sweet.

That’s the one I’ve been using. BUT I have more than 4 gigs of music on my hard drive. And I’ve been wanting the 8 gig. Voila I got one.

Hubby schooled me in the whole transfer all my 4 gig data back on to the hard drive file on my desktop, replace the 8 gig card in and transfer all my 4 gig files onto my 8 gig card. Which took about 30 minutes. I then piled on everything I had in my files onto my phone.

Now I have more music on my phone than I can listen to in a years time. Not that I travel all that much from point A (home) to point B (my meetings). But good music comes in handy when setting chairs and tables several times a week. So that was a success.

The HTC Hero is a very user friendly phone. All you have to do is drop and drag your folders into the memory and it all works itself out. After I un-docked the phone from the computer the phone did all the heavy lifting and sorted all that music out for me.

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

Our guest arrived while the turkey was resting. I made a savory turkey this year with butter, onion salt and poultry seasoning. Mix the dry goods with butter and spoon under the skin over the breast meat, and with the rest of the butter, smear the top of the turkey cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 3 1/2 hours.

We have a handy electronic meat thermometer/checker thingy, that you program “turkey/or other meats” into the screen/display and it monitors your baking until the turkey/other meat reaches the proper temperature.

It also helps to have a massive broiler pan with lift out basket. It makes baking a breeze. The juice drops to the bottom keeping the bird high and dry.

Dinner was a success. For dessert we had profiteroles.

They are a Canadian delicacy. Small puff pastry balls filled with whipped cream. Very yummy. Thank my Mother in Law for the introduction!!

While hubby regaled our guest with conversation, I was able to wash all the dishes, put them up to dry, desiccate the  bird into storage containers, it all went very smoothly.

We took an evening nap around 6 for a few hours, because we were all stuffed to the max, and very sleepy ! And it happened again today, I went to sleep and I was having this really intense dream, I was lucid and paying attention to how it was turning out and I had reached the climax of the dream and wouldn’t you know it … hubby had set his alarm clock and as always happens, that damned buzzer always gets me in the end, and I never got to finish my dream !! UGH …

We got up around 9 and watched more tv. Really, there was nothing we really wanted to watch so we settled on the marathon of “All you can Eat” with John Pinette. I’m sick of food now.

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

I have been looking at the Sk8erBoy site for ages. I’ve had it bookmarked for ages as well, but I haven’t shopped there, because they are in Germany. And I can’t read German. I looked at the site tonight and they have an Ebay Store in Germany.

I opened a second/third window and tuned in Google Translate and Paypal, and with a little effort I was able to place an order from Canada to Germany for some crew sox that I really wanted. A few dollars later, well, a lot more dollars later, I now have two bags of sox on the way from Germany.

sk8erboy

It is after 1 a.m. now and Me thinks it is bedtime. We will load up the laptop with 940 Toronto radio station to pipe in Coast to Coast because they are playing all that Christmas shit on our local radio station that usually carries the program.

It was another successful HoliDAY.

Hubby got his mega pay for his vacation and we earmarked it for new glasses for me, so tomorrow I have to call an re-re schedule my appointment for this weekend if I am able.

YAY new glasses for me !!!

Boxing Day Tomorrow, for all of you brave enough to venture out to shop till you drop, Good Luck with that. Better you than me …

More to come, stay tuned …


Christmas Day 2013

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Courtesy:Sunsurfer (Special Archives)

It is a cold day in Montreal but not so bad in the sun. We are sitting at (-18c/-24c w.c.). The turkey is ready to go into the oven, and we are having a friend over for dinner.

With Christmas music playing on Galaxy tv, we opened gifts. All of my gifts went over well. Not that we spent oodles of money on each other. The holiday is all about sharing a meal with good friends.

I did get a few goodies like an 8 gig memory card for my phone. My old one cranked out and blew up on me. And when I went to Telus to get it replaced, they gave me a 4 gig for a 2 gig price. A steal. But after I got home I realized that the card was too small. Oh Well …

I’ve been shuffling music on and off the card I have now, and I almost cranked it the other day, nothing makes the heart fall faster than seeing your phone say “sd card corrupt !!!”

I needed in a great way, a new pair of headphones for my computer since the ones I’ve been using have been broken and were all taped up to keep the ears in tact. Now I have a brand new pair.

Hubby bought a few communal gifts for us. And I also got a nice sweater to add to my collection. All in all it was a nice haul.

My eye appointment is on the 11th of January so hubby can come with me and help me pick out frames. That will be an expensive day for sure.

Glasses and frames are not cheap especially when you need progressive lenses, they cost a bit more than regular lenses. Which I need.

May your day be Merry and Bright.

Merry Ho Ho Ho

More to come, stay tuned …


Twas the Night Before Christmas

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VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis lauded Jesus’ humble beginning as a poor and vulnerable baby as he celebrated his first Christmas Eve Mass as pontiff Tuesday in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Francis has dedicated much of his nine-month-old papacy to drawing attention to the plight of the poor, of children, and other vulnerable members of society.

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The bells of St. Peter’s rang as Francis, who turned 77 a week ago, walked briskly up the main aisle of the basilica for the ceremony, which began Tuesday 2 1/2 hours before midnight.
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Keeping with the theme of humility he has set for his new papacy, Francis carried the statue instead of an aide, and kissed a knee of the figure of the newly born Jesus.The occasional wail of babies in the basilica contrasted at times with the sweet voices of the choir.
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The Argentine-born pope has also encouraged his flock to be a joyful church, and he called Jesus’ “the light who brightens the darkness.”
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In the world’s history and our own personal history, Francis said, “there are both bright and dark moments, lights and shadows. ” He added “if our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us.”

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At the Vatican during the homily, Francis quoted the Apostle John, saying “‘whoever hates his brother is in the darkness”‘ and “‘does not know the way to go, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”‘

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Wow, Pope Francis really knows how to hit it hard. I so needed to read this passage reported from his first Christmas Eve Mass.

“whoever hates his brother is in the darkness… Because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

So true So true…

It is the Holiday before the Holiday. And as usual, traveling in the night was problematic. There were more buses going East, than buses going West. So on the way out we waited and waited …

We sat a humble group of folks, who came out of respect for the meeting and also, just for the chance to spend time with each other, before we all wandered off to fulfill family obligations this Christmas Eve.

The chair double dipped tonight, on a topic that, for many, is on the front of many brains during these days, Anger and Resentment.

“Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men, but for us alcoholics it is poison.”

I have been a bit angry and resentful.

The one thing I pray for every year, has not come to pass for me, again this year. And they say that if you pray for something, you must take the next action, thereby giving God an IN to help along that which you pray for.

I opened the holidays with a great effort, out of kindness and love. I took great pains to act in kindness, and once again, it was ignored.

Fuck me …

With all that is going on in the world, the lack of respect of each other from certain celebrity and certain family and politicians, is unnerving and upsetting.

And this week I reached a tipping point.

I culled my twitter account, now only including a handful of folks I want to follow. It bothers me to high heaven, the lengths some will go to denigrate and disrespect other human beings just because we are gay.

I am sick to death of politics.

I am sick of reading, watching, and focusing on people who do nothing but drink, get drunk, and fall down. So I have culled all those folks off my social media platforms. Maybe I am getting old in sobriety, but I just can’t stomach folks who drink alcoholically. Over and Over and Over … And think it is good video to watch on a daily basis.

The same went for Facebook. The only reason I keep it open is to stay in touch with friends here and there. I have culled all that shit that has gone too far and makes we want to puke.

We are Here, We are Queer, Get Used to It.

For Fuck sake …

God damn the celebrity with vile and unacceptable word of condemnation. And fuck the politicians who support them, and the media who give them time on their front pages and on news casts.

God Damn them all to hell.

It’s Christmas for Fuck Sake. Can’t we all get along for one day?

No, that would be too fucking difficult.

Thank the Baby Jesus I live up here, above the Northern Border.

I don’t give a shit about U.S. politics, celebrity with foul mouths, and all those people who rent them free space, because of the First Amendment.

Bullshit … Take them fuckers off the air for good.

Read your God Damned Bibles and try for some compassion and love.

And Jesus Wept !!!

It was good to see my friends. It is the one space on a regular basis that I get to spend time with people I care about and who care about me.

Tomorrow is Christmas. We shall cook and serve others.

I was promised a good story to read after presents tomorrow, so YAY for that. Thanks to a good friend.

I hope you all have a blessed Christmas filled with Light, Joy and Love.

More to come, stay tuned …


Twas The Day Before Christmas

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Courtesy:MagicalNatureTour

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the mall,
Shoppers were shopping, I happened to join them
and I got it all …

It has been a quiet weekend here home alone. I must say that I hate being home alone. it is very disquieting. However I did get some nice sleeps out of it. I still cannot cook for one.

Today was all about shopping. Money from the honey came this morning and I was up with the birdies and I was off to the mall by 10 this morning.

It was a bit chilly outside, but manageable. I made two trips into the safari for some things on the way out and the way back.

The trains were not packed and the mall was quite calm. I didn’t see marauding hoards of folks trying to break down the mall to get stuff.

My first stop was at Lens Crafters to make an appointment to get my eyes checked – I really need a new pair of glasses. The ones I have are dying a slow death, and it has been years since I had them checked.

I am supposed to get my eyes checked every year because of my HIV issue, eyesight gets worse year after year, reading up close and seeing the tv menu is a bit blurry. So that appointment is on Monday next.

I opted to go look for frames early so hubby can come with me and help me choose the ones he likes. I found several cool, blue frames that are way cool. But they are a bit pricey, at a 30% discount with lenses and the frames.

I was saddened to hear that Crab Tree and Evelyn closed, which meant I couldn’t get hubby’s Christmas spray. And I didn’t feel like traveling all the way to Ogelvy’s to find it. Too much hassle.

I wanted to get in and out in the shortest time possible.

Hubby wanted a new fry pan, so it was off the The Bay to find it. They are a little pricey, but hell, it’s Christmas right?

I always try to find one meaningful present that doesn’t have to do with cooking or food. So I stopped in at my favorite Hallmark store and found just the right little figurine, a Hermy from Rudolph. That was pricey too. But hell, it’s Christmas right?

I came home via Atwater, thinking I might hit up Target on the way back to look see, but that didn’t happen. I bypassed the store opting for munchies at Micky D’s.

I made a second safari pass at Provigo for some last minute things, desserts for tomorrow and dinner for tonight. Quick and easy.

I arrived home near noon and wrapped my presents and placed them under the tree, I straightened  up a bit and now I am awaiting the return of hubby from Ottawa shortly.

We have a meeting at 6:30 this evening for the troops in NDG. I am hoping for a nominal crowd. Tomorrow, Christmas Day is an off day, and Thursday, Boxing Day is the Men’s meeting at 7:30.

Hope all of you are shopped, wrapped and prepared.

Merry Christmas

More to come, stay tuned…


Sunday Sundries … The Sunday Before Christmas

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Courtesy: TTG Greenwich Village

We seemed to have skirted the worst of the storm. Conditions were not that bad, seeing the storm was just getting started last night over dinner. It was more blustery late last night, today, it seemed the storm had worn itself out. Toronto got the worst of it.

I was up early today, knowing that the heat needed to be on in the church and that I would probably have to shovel snow, I departed much earlier than usual, to make sure the job was done by the time folks started showing up for the meeting.

And even in this inclement weather, we turned out a good group for the meeting. All our workings to keep the meeting open paid off again tonight.

It is the last regular Sunday of the month, and we began reading from the Big Book, and the “Keys of the Kingdom.” About a pioneer woman of A.A. from the 1930’s.

To begin with, a light discussion of young people in their twenties these days and how they were getting along and the state of things with the world wide web at their beckoning … was had before the meeting.

We were reminiscing about growing up in our days, the 80’s and early 90’s and then we read the first part of this story, and it was in the writers twenties that life began to go downhill because of drinking.

“… Doctors were advised to attend patients who could be benefitted by medicine. With the alcoholic, they could only give temporary relief and in the last stages not even that. It was a waste of the doctors’ time and the patients’ money. Nevertheless, there were a few doctors who saw alcoholism as a disease and felt the alcoholic was a victim of something over which he had no control. They had a bunch that there must be an answer for these apparently hopeless ones, somewhere. Fortunately for me, my doctor was one of the enlightened.

And then in the spring of 1939, a very remarkable book was rolled off a New York press with the title Alcoholics Anonymous…

the writer goes on to say –

… I stayed up all night reading that book. For me it was a wonderful experience. It explained so much I had not understood about myself, and, best of all, it promised recovery if i would do a few simple things and be willing to have the desire to drink removed. Here was hope. Maybe I could find my way out of the agonizing existence. Perhaps I could find freedom and peace, and be able once again to call my soul my own.”

B.B. pgs. 271-273

The theme of the night seemed to be “twenties.” And I have to say that I survived my twenties, I don’t know HOW I survived them, bringing to mind how much I was drinking, and how many dead end relationships and jackpots I had gotten myself into.

I believe you call it “barely living, and just barely surviving.”

I ended that bad run in Fort Lauderdale. In my last dead end relationship, and soon to be death sentence life. Thank God I made ONE fateful decision in that time period to enter ONE particular bar. And happened onto the man would would become my savior.

From the moment we set eyes on each other, it was love. More like deep respect, because from first glance he knew more about me than I knew about myself. I set forth a plan of action to prove myself worthy to be counted among his friends, and soon to be employees.

I was a drunk, on the skids. I faced several soul ending situations that, in mortal men, would have killed them, and I was surely on my way had those men in that time not stepped in to get me some much needed help.

Indeed I got sick. And indeed I almost died. Had not Todd stepped into my life when he did, I surely would have died a miserable death, like the friends we watched die around us in the ensuing years.

I got sober, August 23rd, 1994. I did meetings, and I read the book, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what I did with the book. Because in hindsight, compared to this time around, the book was not prominent in my recovery, had it been, at the time I needed it, I probably would have remained sober, and not pulled that stunt that took me out.

My twenties was a blur of time, I can piece together bits and pieces of memories. The sober moments in between drinking events. I left home woefully prepared for the Big Wide World. And for almost two decades, I was just barely existing.

It wasn’t until I decided in my mid thirties that indeed it was time to put down the drink and accept that fact that I had to grow up. There was no two ways about it. I had squandered too many years trying to recapture the fountain of youth, all to my detriment.

I worry for some of the young people I follow today. Wrapped up in a box and not having time on the outside learning valuable lessons to get them on in life. Lessons I did not learn until it they were forced upon me by time and circumstance. There had to be something more for me to find.

Luckily, grace came upon me and the rest is history.

I was relieved of the desire to drink. When I put it down and walked away, it was the last time I would do so, cross my heart and hope to die. There were only two occasions in early sobriety that I felt like drinking, because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I was successful.

By the grace of God and the fellowship of A.A. I haven’t had a drink in more than twelve years. I have a way of life that revolves around meetings, and serving others and the book.

That is all I know. It is life and existence.

I can’t change the past, nor do I wish to shut the door on it. Because for all the worst times in my twenties, there were, interspersed, moments of happiness and joy. There are specific moments I wished lasted longer, memories I wish I could write a more happy ending to, people I grew to love but faded from my life because of stupid decisions.

It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.

I survived it all, not for my own strength. Something greater than myself had surely been on my side, seeing I am still here, and can live to tell you stories about those times. I lament that I should have realized it then, early on, alas, it was not the time yet. There was much more furnace to burn me, years would pass before I get to the point that I had been burned enough. But for a short while I attained respite.

But stupidity and ego took hold, and I consciously stepped back into the furnace for a few more years of fire. Time and hindsight remind me now that if I don’t heed the oracle of sobriety, I am destined to repeat stupidity and ignorance.

Thankfully we have the book to keep us mindful of what can happen if we let our minds take us back to self and ego. We are reminded of our powerlessness against the first drink, and that the only cure, on a daily basis, is the reprieve from alcohol we get, based on the condition of our spiritual condition.

Christmas is just around the corner, and we will all be here to welcome whomever needs a place to go.

Merry Christmas.

More to come, stay tuned …


Braving an “Ice/Snow” Storm for a Friend !!!

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Courtesy:Flickr JamesClear

A winter storm warning has been in effect since dinner time. We are sitting at (-8c/-17c w.c.) at this hour. And it it is just past midnight now.

Snow has been falling for a number of hours, and it only will get worse as the hours tick by. This is my “Home Alone” weekend, as hubby took the 1 p.m. bus to Ottawa to visit his family for Christmas.

I always have problems filling the hours I spend alone. And add to that I have to feed myself as well. I never usually have to think about grocery shopping or cooking dinner because that is always taken care of.

So the other day I did a safari and bought all kinds of foods I think I might like to cook for myself. And tonight it was steak with a little veg.

I took an evening nap, since I had nothing better to do and at the end I was stuck in some horrid nightmare that the only way out of it was to get myself out of bed. And it still remained !!!

I redecorated the bathroom seeing it is all painted and pretty. Now my bathroom looks lived in and useful again. We were living in two room during the build / paint job.

I showered and then cooked some dinner whilst watching some Harry Potter, thanks to the Twelve Days of Spacemas …

Saturday is usually my off night. But I am home alone and needed distraction, so I suited up – muff, gloves, toque and jacket and my ranger boots, and headed off to the Young People’s Meeting just up the road from here. It is within walking distance, and that was good.

A good friend of ours took his 1 year chip tonight. We have watched him over the last year battle and scrape up time, and he was victorious. He is a different man today, thanks to the program and the folks in it.

It was good to go out and be seen and participate in a meeting.

The topic was spirituality. How do you, what do you, where do you?

And what’s with all this God shit ???

Higher Power (As We Understand Him)

G.O.D. Group of Drunks/Druggies

Three, Seven, Eleven shuffle …

Post them where you see them every day as reminders.

Lots of young people struggling to find God in any way, some have found him, but everybody there is willing to at least try.

And that’s a start.

There are 3, yes, THREE SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS !!!

more to come, stay tuned …


25 Years and Other Things

tumblr_mrx5ut0Per1qajreeo1_500 bossyboysCourtesy:M Styles – BossyBoys

It was a milder night tonight, than it has been earlier in the week. But going into the weekend, it’s going to be a mixed bag, a little bit of everything for those who are inclined.

Today was touch up day for the bathroom. Yesterday they finished the bathroom, and I have to say I am very pleased with the results. The bathroom still retains the same dimensions, space wise, but the removal of the plastic liner opting for white tile, opens up the space, and the bathtub is a little larger than the one we had.

Seeing I could not shower last night, I took a bath. Something I don’t usually do, a shower is quicker. The bath seemed a little more luxurious in the wider tub. They put in a brand new drain. When they took out the old tub they also removed the old connection pipe and put a new one in its place, so the water does not “pool” in the tub when you shower. And the water drains much quicker now, where before it took a while for the water to drain, because it was not draining properly.

Now we have been told that the building folks are going to repaint the bathroom white. It should have been today, but I guess they weren’t up for it, and I really wanted the afternoon to myself, so I could take an extended nap, because for the last week, I haven’t been sleeping as much as I would have liked. I got that nap today. Boo-Yah !!!

I was up and out early because I had to make stops on the way out before the meeting. The mall is a very pleasant place to shop. There are not marauding hordes of shoppers. The planners did a good job is taking into consideration, traffic flows in the open spaces.

I set up and sat and waited for the guys to show up. We would be missing a few folks, and at 7:30 it seemed like it was going to be discussion amongst ourselves, then a couple more folks turned up, which made the whole meeting meaningful. We are attracting more folks from other meetings, who are returning over and over.

It was my bud’s 25th Sober Anniversary, and there was cake and conversation. Which was nice.

We read from Living Sober and “Avoiding Drinking Situations.”

I offered Lorna’s Epicurean Feast story from her book. The story about after 32 years of sobriety, going to an exclusive dinner and almost drinking, because the wine was so good and would enhance the pasta.”

In the end the take away was this:

At some point in every sober person’s journey, there WILL come a time when the only thing standing between You and a Drink, will be your Higher Power.

It doesn’t matter how much time you have, long or short, And you can’t prepare for it with just going to meetings. One has to have cultivated a relationship with a power greater than themselves that they can turn to when the moment presents itself.

It is the holiday season, and we see it every year, the lengths some people go to to avoid drinking situations. And we know what happens when trying to plan, one gets so overwhelmed that they go out and never return.

I’ve seen hundreds of people fall victim to the holiday temptation over the years. Some just can’t handle the prospect. But every year we work to prepare folks for the holidays.

Like I’ve said the time is ripe. Lots of folks come in before Christmas to be sober for Christmas, and the others come in on the First of January, as a new years resolution, to get sober because the holidays were a mess.

A few points of order:

  1. YES, you can always change plans.
  2. YES, if it overwhelms you, DON’T  GO
  3. YES, you can go, but also, you don’t have to go alone
  4. “I don’t like what I become when I drink.”
  5. “I’ve had enough!”
  6. “You don’t have enough alcohol for me!”

This is the last weekend before Christmas to get your shopping done.

THERE ARE 5, YES “FIVE” SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS !!!

More to come, it ain’t Friday yet.

And we are having a sober holiday party tomorrow night.

It will be festive.

More to come, stay tuned …


Does the Holy Father really mean “Every man and woman?”

Pope Francis in a selfie photo

“The love of God is not generic. God looks with love upon every man and woman, calling them by name.”

Pope Francis tweeted this today. And it made all kinds of news.

Pope Francis is a Holy Man, and he has said plenty already that has been noticed, and been dissected …

After reading his biography by Paul Vallely, I wonder …

On a flight he was quoted saying “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”

Vallely writes,”he [Pope Francis] has opposed same sex marriage and gay adoption but spoken out strongly in favour of civil unions and equal rights for homosexuals.”

Afterword, pg. 197.

If you read about Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, from the man he was in Argentina, and his evolution into the man he is today, as Pope, there is definite evolution. And it seems that he is hitting all the right notes, and he also seems to be well informed of just how he is being perceived in the world at large.

He has recently been branded as a Marxist by the Christian Conservative Right for his views on Capitalism and the Poor.

To understand his stance on the poor one must read about his work against Liberation Theology as a Jesuit leader, and his redirect years later to a total embracing of the poor and their plight and of Liberation Theology and its focus on the poor. His work in the slums of Argentina became revelatory, and how he sees the world and the people close to him.

I just hope that when the Pope uses this sweeping language of “all inclusive” that he means all and not just some.

Pope Francis wants a Poor Church for the Poor. And he has said that he wants the church [read:Rome] to go OUT to the people, instead of waiting for them to come to the church [read: Rome].

His words seem heartfelt. I just hope this transformation into Pope is branching across every walk of life. For if he is genuine, this breath of fresh air is just what the Church needs. And Francis is the man to do it.

Let us pray for the Holy Father.


Tuesday – The Great Build of 2013 and Many Other Things…

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Courtesy:Teq (special archives)

It was a bitterly cold and snowy evening. But first …

Last week our “super” said that this would be the week that they were going to rebuild our bathroom.

Monday at 7:45 in the morning the workers showed up and worked all day long, pulling down the ceiling/rebuilding the ceiling, replacing the old bathtub/putting in a new bathtub, putting up fresh drywall in the enclosure, and putting in new water pipes in the wall for the new set up.

I haven’t had a bathroom for two days now.

There are two bathrooms up on the 20th floor, on the pool deck that we have been using instead. There are two shower/toilet set ups just outside the sauna. In all the years I have lived in the building, I have never used the pool deck or the facilities there until this week.

Monday evening they said they would be up here at 7:45 this morning, so we were both up. Hubby stayed home to work, and we waited…

There was pounding going on somewhere below our apartment, it could have been the builders in the adjacent building or they were tearing up another bathroom below ours, but you could hear the drills and pounding one would associate with hard work.

Around 9 a.m. my guy showed up, and yes he was late, because they were tearing apart another bathroom in the building. It seems that the owners of the building are spending a good chunk of money rehabilitating apartments recently.

They are very good with making sure that things run properly and that if there is a need, that it is taken care of. All I know is that the hole in my bathroom ceiling has been there for months and months. They finally got around to it this week.

Today they tiled the bath area. It looks really nice. They have spackled the entire bathroom, where all my doodads hung, Tomorrow they will grout and finish the plumbing and we will finally have a working bathroom.

After two days of being up at the crack of dawn, it seemed, and spending all day (up) not having my daily nap, has thrown me all out of whack. My little loveseat is not habitable as a sleeping couch.

I went upstairs and showered and shaved, (without a mirror), I’ve never attempted to shave without a mirror before. It was quite easy. I was ready to go early, but I was timing my departure to coincide with the key holder so I would not be stuck outside in the cold again tonight.

I had my gloves in my bag, because I haven’t needed them until this evening. It was snowing when I left and there is snow piled up all over the place, they haven’t gotten to our neighborhood with the trucks yet.

Did I mention it was bitterly cold out???

I got to the stop and the snow was piled up more than a foot deep besides the sidewalk. They plowed the main drag, and pushed the snow onto the wide sidewalk. Then the smaller plow plows the sidewalk proper. Which then creates a burm of snow between the sidewalk and the street, which doesn’t give you any space to stand roadside because of piled up snow, thankfully someone had dug a 2 foot path through the snow berm from the sidewalk to the street.

My hands were freezing, so cold they hurt, and then I fished my gloves out of my bag, by that time it was too late. But I put them on anyways. And I waited for a bus. It was close to 5 o’clock, and traffic on Sherbroooke going West was a nightmare. Eventually, TWO buses showed up, one after another. And I went to get on the bus and I took a step into the bus, and took a dive into the bus landing face first on the floor of the bus onto my knees.

The driver was like “WHOOPS !!!”

I got up, and paid my fare. The bus was empty for a few stops. On the way, like I said, traffic was bumper to bumper, and we passed a third bus going West towards Decarie, where the 24 turns North.

I arrived to an open door and a warm meeting space. We made some coffee and settled in. The chair arrived, and there were three of us as 6:30 approached. Thankfully, it became a meeting when several others showed up late, thanks to the fucked up buses/traffic running late or not at all. Falling snow and piled up snow is a problem for traffic.

People tend to loose their marbles when that happens.

We read from A.B.S.I. Number 5 – Maintenance and Growth.

But the reading is all about anger and resentments. Hence …

“Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men, but for us alcoholics it is poison.” B.B. pg. 66

We knew why the chair chose this reading, because we had chatted before the meeting about it. But it became appropriate for the group assembled. Some with serious time, some with a little time, and some with mere days. My buddy celebrates 25 years today, and I didn’t get around to call him earlier, my bad. He got to the meeting in any case.

The discussion went around the table. And with each person the topic was magnified and polished. I don’t get angry very often, but I get cranked by that odd newcomer who steps over a boundary, and that has happened recently. It took a couple of days but I got over it.

Aside from those minor instances, I don’t usually rent free space to people who vex me for very long. But I have spoken before about old hurts that reside in my heart and mind. And someone spoke about family and boundaries, and emotional sobriety, and wanting to be heard and standing ones ground.

It is the holidays, and all I want for Christmas it for certain people to acknowledge me and show some love and acceptance. I’m a human and I deserve to be loved and not shunned/shamed and placed in the dark for years and years because of bitter resentment.

Old, bitter, resentments and anger is a healthy trait of my family of origin.

That is not who I am or part of my lexicon. And every year I go through the motions of trying to beg God for a little grace, but that grace is a two way street only getting one way effort on my part.

You might pray God to do something, but if you don’t take the action first, how can He help you?

I can’t expect active, living alcoholics to get it. I can’t make someone want to be part of my life. However hard that vexes me. I just have to go on with those who do care about me. That is all.

Don’t rent free space in your brain to people who don’t deserve space.

Anger is pointless emotion, it only hurts you.

And if you realized just how little people think of us, those who vex and trouble us, that we think/crank about them when we harbor resentment and anger.

Do you really think that assholes and egos spend as much time pondering us from their position?

No they don’t. So why waste time on them?

Tomorrow I get my bathroom back. And the angels will sing…

Hallelujah !!!

THERE ARE SEVEN SHOPPING DAYS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS !!!

More to come, stay tuned…


Sunday Sundries – Digging Out

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Courtesy: Spoonsdammit

We survived the latest round of snowfall on our city tonight. There is snow all over the place, piled up in huge drifts, the sidewalks were passable, but they have a huge snow clearing operation coming.

Many cars are snowed in where they are parked, either being stuffed due to plowing of streets and dumping snows on unwitting cars, or cars that have been parked since yesterday and have not been moved. That is going to be a problem, having to shovel out a car, to make way for the plows and cleanup to start.

I was up and ready to go uber early. I figured we’d have a small crowd, and probably the snow had not been shoveled at the church, which it wasn’t. So I set up the room and went looking for the shovel, which was up in the church. It took me half an hour to shovel the sidewalk, there was a lot of snow piled up because of the street plowing.

And I pegged it right, We sat a small group, the diehards who come, in any weather, because they needed a meeting. We finished up. “He Sold himself Short” from a founding member of Chicago A.A.

“The latest part of my life has had a purpose, not in great things accomplished but in daily living. Courage to face each day has replaced the fears and uncertainties of earlier years.

Acceptance of things as they are has replaced the old impatient chomping at the bit to conquer the world. I have stopped tilting at windmills and, instead, have tried to accomplish the little daily tasks, unimportant in themselves, but tasks that are in integral part of fully living.”

When we read the histories there is a great deal to learn from the founders of A.A. all over America and Canada. These handful of folks went to great lengths to get and stay sober. This story taking place just prior to and then the eventual printing of the Big Book, show just how hard it was to stay sober.

People traveling from many cites (around) the central U.S. to Akron to work with the founding group, including Bob and Bill. Spending time there “charging ones batteries” and then returning to their cities of origin. Bring new prospects from one city to another to sober them up, and thereby guaranteeing ones sobriety in giving it away to someone new.

This particular story is a warning that sobriety is an “Everyday” process. And our writer gives us that checklist of things we need to do every day to stay sober and carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

And we heard tonight that even having time in the program does not equate sobriety. I’ve said before that you might have some time, but you may not be totally sober.

He writes: “That was my lesson, that one could not take the moral inventory and then file it away; that the alcoholic has to continue to take inventory every day if he expects to get well and stay well.”

We need, every day to spend time connecting to a Power Greater than ourselves. Pray and spend time talking to others, sponsors, sponsees, etc… We need to hit a meeting, and talk with other like minded folks, making a daily inventory and at the end of the day a Tenth Step and night time prayers.

If you build your life around these tenants of practice, life will get fuller. A drunk can’t have life and not practice the tools given to them. I learned early on that I had to build my life around sobriety, that sobriety came first, before anything else, and our man, in this story states the same belief.

It was a great little meeting. Folks showed up and that was a good thing.

More to come, stay tuned…