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Archive for January, 2014

Pass the Bottle … Captain Morgan Day 31 of 365

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Courtesy: Stalker

“Nobody can cause more needless grief than a power-driver who thinks he has got it straight from God.”

A.B.S.I. #38

Service is a thankless job. And on any given day, the jobs need to be done, regardless of people. I have done the same thing week in and week out for as long as I can remember. I never know what God’s will is, but I try to do the next right things that presents itself to me, regardless of people.

And in the end the answer is very simple. Those damned slogans get you ever time. And tonight’s fare is: Live and Let Live …

And also that I am powerless over people, places and things.

It was a quiet end to the week, after my verbal diarrhea last night.

I was out and at the meeting in short order. It was a full house. Friday’s are good nights because we get to see each other, and put whatever’s on our minds on the table and you always get something back.

On the way home I came very close to the drink. A drink. As I got on the Laurier train there was a group of young people sitting together and one of them had a can of something, another had a fifth of Captain Morgan which they were passing amongst themselves.

That was about as close as I’ve come to the drink – an Open drink for that matter, in a long time.

People are seeing the same abuses I am seeing. It is not all in my head. Because you are doing it to others, and we see it. We’ve been seeing it for weeks. This does not bode well for the future, because you are turning people away and if they go, I go. plain and simple.

I am fed up.

I have been  myself. I have been honest, and I have been kind. And I feel, and because of that I will NOT stay silent. And I am going to speak my mind accordingly. And you have been warned.

If you old men think you are going to intimidate us into silence, think again. A meeting is not about power, but the sharing of experience, strength and hope. Not passive aggressive behavior.

Just because you have MOMMY issues, does not mean that we are going to let you and your MOMMY walk all over us. Think again.

MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY !!!!

You are only as sick as your secrets. And Actions speak louder than words. Once you speak the words you cannot take them back, and by acting you speak, even without words. We see You.

It was a good night.

More to come, stay tuned …


Happy Birthday Lily Potter … Jan 30 1960

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James Potter, born 27 March 1960, died 21 October 1981
Lily Potter, born 30 January 1960, died 31 October 1981

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Happy Birthday Lily !!!


The Past – Our Greatest Treasure – Day 28 of 365

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Courtesy:Tortoisehare

It is the end of the month. Usually the last week of the month was a week of fear and nerves. For many years, the last week of any month was hit or miss, whether or not we could buy groceries or pay bills… ugh the insanity.

Things are much more stable.

The last week of the month means a flurry of business meetings, and hurried discussions to get pertinent information into the Blue Sheets for the next printing … the next deadline is Feb. 01.

It was a great day to be out and about, but a little rather cold, it was quite bitter yesterday and evening with frigid cold, wind and blowing snow that fell over the morning hours. The roads were treacherous. We are not faring very well with this Winter in many areas.

There are only 51 days until Spring !!!

I set off for the train and my transit was quick and easy. We sat a fair number of folks tonight and we read from Daily Reflections.

The Treasure of the Past …

I have heard this line often … Don’t compare … Identify !!

From birth we are STUCK with the family we were born into. And from birth until TODAY, shit has happened. And the Big Book says that …

“Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.”

For most, it is hard to conceive that all the shit that happened in our lives happened for a reason, and that nothing happened by mistake.

But I think I can see the wisdom in this statement that Bill writes to us.

We all have a past, good, bad or indifferent.

For many, based on my reflections and those I have heard over the years, there was alcohol and abuse of some form or another, that has to be made peace with if we wish to live freely and hopefully.

I could point a finger at family, friends, lovers, the list goes on and on. I could blame all these people for what they did to me, and in some cases, what I did to them. Someone pointed out this evening that “We read our Daily Reflections – but those in Al-Anon read their own as well. And that if we had them, to read, we should,” because families suffer from us as we have suffered from them.

Nothing happened in my life by mistake. Everything happened because of a reason. Whether I accept that reason or not. There was a mix of good and bad. For every Good day, there were a number of bad days. The sober family days were interspersed with drunken stupor days.

I lived a life. For the most part, I believe I did well. I survived my life.

My parents might tell you the moment I became a problem for them. And they had many problems with me. My father wanting me dead, my mother never intervening. My parents did not do gay, and for what it was worth, they surely did not do AIDS.

Alcoholism was an equal opportunity taker …

Everybody drank. Nobody escaped.

I fucked up as a young person. And there is a list of memories and activities that I remember. Some quite fondly. I can’t say that all of my past was terrible. But there were moments.

But God was looking down and placed certain people in my life at the RIGHT time and the RIGHT moment to carry me through those times.

From my childhood I had the right family, some are now long since dead, and some are still alive. And I can proudly say that YES I have family in my life who are part of my life whenever I need them.

The people who mattered stayed. And those who DON’T matter went.

We all have memories. Baggage. Wreckage of our past.

In the beginning – early sobriety – many of our young people cannot see how important their past is. BUT, they have returned again and again.

Still Alive. And for today they are sober.

It is the STAY that is important.

It takes a long time to make peace with our pasts. That takes time, people, steps, reading, and praying. Time heals all wounds. BUT the caveat here is that we have to grow to the point where we allow ourselves to be healed of the pains, hurts and scars that we carry from the past.

If we live in the past, we hang on to everything in the past.

If we live in the future, we are missing today.

Which brings us back to Today. All we have is today. 24 hours.

Life is cyclical. Repetition is a fact of life. It happens. We get it.

Meetings are cyclical. We read the same readings, we read the same books, and we talk about the same topics over and over and over again.

Why? Because we learn from repetition.

As we get sober and stay sober, we reach the point where we become courageous enough to embark on our steps. And for many that is a daunting prospect.

At a point, we begin to write. The lists, the hurts, the people and the reasons and causes. The character defects and the shortcomings.

The cleaning house stages … Steps 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 !

In step 8 we make a list of all people we have harmed and became WILLING to make amends to them all.

But 8 does not come before 4. There is an order.

Step 4 – Made a searching a fearless moral inventory.

Which is where the wreckage of our past rises. In all its gory detail. For some all that wreckage is clear, and for most it is foggy and disrupted.

Every moment we survived is a victory when we get sober.

For every bad thing that happened to us, we reap the reward once we find sobriety and peace of mind. And in time, we will (if we are able) to make amends with others, and allow them to go on with their lives, whether they remain in our lives is up to them.

We are powerless over people, places and things.

Polishing the Gem:

I said above that life is cyclical. And as we hit meetings and we share, and we work our steps – over and over again, the baggage comes up. And as we work our steps, we let some of it go, little by slowly. It may take months, years, rounds of steps and lots of 4’s and 9’s.

But the pain of the past grows fainter as we get and STAY sober.

Life is a gem, with all its facets.

And as we revisit the past, that gem comes up for a new cutting and polishing. Every time we rehash the past we take a swipe at the gem.

And we get to look at a given (particular) situation or pain from a new point of view. Because sobriety changes by the day, we change by the day, and if we grow in sobriety, the past moves farther away and the pain of the past grows dimmer.

In time, that gem gets cut and polished and refined.

I’ve not come across ANYONE who has a fully refined gem.

We are all a work in progress. And we continue to be a work in progress until we take our last breaths in this world.

The past only affects us to the degree we allow it. Just like people. How they affect us is up to us. Here we learn about boundaries.

We grow up when we get sober. Little by slowly.

And eventually we see the wisdom in “Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.”

Because where there is pain, a lesson blossoms. Where there is strife, a lesson blossoms. And where there is hurt, a lesson blossoms…

In time – We will not Regret the Past nor wish to shut the door on it.

The past is a treasure, that’s why so many people scrap book.

Embrace it. Learn about it. Share it.

One day, Some day, you might walk into a meeting and share a story or two and that one day someone might be sitting there and identify with you and in the end you lift them up with your words …

You can make it happen.

More to come, stay tuned…


Sunday Sundries … Day 26 of 365

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Courtesy:WeHeartIt

Another week begins, And another Sunday comes and goes.

I was out on time, it was a little cold out. Not as cold as it has been. There will be lots of sun this week, with moderate temps. That’s a good thing.

Spring is 53 days away now.

It being the end of the month, the last Sunday of the month, it is a Traditions night. The first month, the First Tradition.

Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.

I’ve heard it said again tonight that the steps prevent us from suicide and the traditions prevent us from homicide…

We maintain individual sobriety with the steps, and we maintain group sobriety with the traditions. We’ve all heard the stories about experiences in certain groups, and in the long run, the groups have outlived them.

I don’t know if I had the capacity to get sober on my own. I have said it before that men and women are not meant to be alone. And we find, in sobriety, that once alone, we are no longer alone.

The first time I got sober was different then this time around. I did things very differently this time. I started with getting to know people, all over Montreal. I went to numbers of meetings that first year.

I took the “Root Route.”

I made a decision to home in a certain group and stay…

The STAY was very important.

I learned – once again – not that I didn’t learn this the first time – that there was work to be done to put on a meeting. And that everybody was important because we all contributed. In one way or another.

I had done that the first time, but I wasn’t invested fully the first time because of people and personalities. I did not enjoy being looked at as a race horse, that should be BET on, in case he did not win the race.

The second time around, there were no bets, no race horses and no races to be won, save staying sober one day at a time.

The church hall at St. Leon’s has seen me through more than twelve years of sobriety. Imagine spending more than twelve years being part of the communities that meet in that room to this day …

The better part of that time was/is sharing the journey with all of the folks who come there, week in and week out.

Spring – Summer – Fall and Winter.

It was easy getting sober in a single season location. And it was easy getting sober when there were club rooms, in the same location, every night of the week, it was too easy.

Yet I made it difficult.

Here in our fair city, you really have to work for your sobriety. People, places, seasons and all. The good thing about so many meetings in so many places beats a single meeting in the same place. Because if you don’t like people you meet, you can always go somewhere else.

And seasons presents the true challenge to getting sober … SNOW !!

Finding a meeting, learning how to get there, learning how much time it takes to transit from point A to point B – meet and get home in four seasons is a challenge. That is a true test for every person who lives in seasonal locations. It is good that there is always someone there to turn the lights on a make some coffee …

The coffee maker is the most important person in a meeting … Just saying… A meeting without coffee is life without spirit. It is one of the first jobs you get in the rooms. The most important job.

Well, twelve step rep is also very important.

First you get your cup of coffee, then you get your chip, and hopefully there are people to welcome you in.

All of the groups I belong to work tirelessly to welcome the newcomer. We are there early, we listen and we invest.

That is why the STAY is so important.

We maintain one day at a time. We invest, one day at a time, and as a group, we bring together many minds, to share a multitude of experiences for everyone who comes on a nightly basis.

Our newcomers are learning about who they are. I admire their courage and I am blessed to be part of their journeys. They never said that it would be easy, and once again tonight I heard about an old timer who swallowed her whole foot, up to her thigh, because she smart assed a newcomer.

I’ve said it before … You might have the time, but you may not necessarily be so sober …

There is no room for rudeness because of the language barrier. And we hear tonight that the divide between Francophones and Anglophones is still alive and well. Assholes and elbows …

It seems that we can’t all just get along for the sake of unity.

Some old timers sure know how to drive away newcomers by shooting off their mouths.

STOOPID !!!!

It was a good month. Our folks are all doing fine. All the jobs are taken for the next month. And we continue on …

More to come, stay tuned …


A Grateful Heart … Day 24 of 365

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Courtesy: Alexander

Another cold night. But not as cold as it was last night.

We are sitting at (-11c / -21c w.c.) and they are calling for snow. Not sure how they are working that one out I guess we will see.

The running joke in sober circles is this … If you can’t come up with a topic that isn’t half bad or useful to the group, the default is Gratitude…

And the people groan in their chairs …

I have to look and see just how many times the subject of gratitude comes up in As Bill Sees It. It is timely since the last few weeks of readings, it was bound to come up sooner or later.

Firstly, it is Friday and I had done laundry yesterday and all my shopping so I had not much to do today, so I slept in. Meaning I skipped my morning routine again. My bed is much warmer with me in it, than when I am sitting here in front of this box.

Hubby came home at his usual time, and joined me for the afternoon nap period, usually if I am up we take an afternoon nap. But because this was a meeting night, nap is earlier and shorter. Twice I got up and pushed back my alarm. I had the half mind to stay in bed and not get up but that is not a good reason to skip a meeting.

I got up at the latest prep point to be out the door by 6:30. Which I made with no problem. Transit was quick and easy. Lots of people in the stations – but the trains were not packed.

I arrived at my usual time to my friends joking and cutting the rug and we finished set up between a handful of guys. Lots of irreverent jokes being shared.

It was a full meeting. However not full enough to warrant splitting the group into two.

Every day is a day to be grateful. It is an unspoken gratitude.

Coming from a country where I had to choose whether to buy food, or pay my rent or purchase much needed medication that I so needed, I came here where those questions were settled on the first day I got here.

I have a home. I have food that I purchased in my fridge. And I can afford all of my medication every month. And they say the U.S. affords everyone what they need, when they need it.

Not so for people with terminal illnesses who live below the poverty level in a country that boasts that everyone is taken care of. Not True …

I am still alive. And that is the base for everything else. Everything else is icing on the cake. Along with Awakenings came lessons that were so very important for me to learn right off the bat.

Over there —> under the title The Lesson about Approval is one of them.

I can’t begin to put to words the amount of gratitude I have for the men who kept me alive and focused on living when everyone else around me was dying horrible, painful deaths. Why I was chosen is beyond me. Not everyone had the willpower to commit to living, and they made their exit choices. Those choices were removed from me from the get go.

I would live, they would see to it, and wild horses would not stop the march into life that took place.

I may not openly live in gratitude on any given day, because I am enjoying certain aspects of ability that have come by way of work and sobriety and lets not forget marriage.

I may not practice full gratitude on any given day, I am blessed to have everything I need today, I just don’t make use of everything on any given day. It doesn’t mean I am not grateful.

My cup overflows.

I accept where I am today. There is nothing I really need beyond what I have, but on the odd occasion I add to my list of “things” I like and want. But those wants are very small, I don’t live in want.

On the main, it is simple, I don’t have to be popular. I don’t have to be rich. And I don’t need any more letters added to my already hard learned degrees I have earned.

I’ve seen what higher education does to people. It makes them crave more, and it feeds their egos, and people become “better than” and that happened in my social circle. Friends I have had since I got here have excelled in their studies and no longer take the time to be my friend. They have far bigger fish to fry, and why do they need to associate with me now?

People like that you have to let go and give them to God and wish them all the good things that you want for yourself. The resentment prayer …

I hope you get all those things I want for myself and more …

My friends who know me joke to me “Let it Go and Turn it over…”

It is a mantra that is passed between us in lighthearted conversations and even on the odd day by text. Little reminders that we do think of each other and we take each other seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

I am grateful for every person I know in the rooms. I watch them come in and come to, then eventually they find their voice. Which is what happened on Thursday night. A young man I am getting to know has been around for a few weeks, and he comes in and says little. And for the first time the other night, he spoke. And tonight at the Friday meeting I was able to speak to him and congratulated him on finding his voice.

I get to see all this going on around me. So many people to be grateful for because they are my friends. You just can’t be a part of this circle and NOT be grateful, simply…

It is the weekend.

More to come, stay tuned …

 

 


Awakenings … Day 23 of 365

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Courtesy:Lauren Marek

After last night’s shit storm of memory and pain, I got many words from my friends since last night’s post. Amazing that people actually read what I write so this effort is not pointless…

It is cold, cold as in bitterly cold. We are sitting at (-20c/-30c w.c.) at this hour. A smidgen of heat was perceptible at the church this evening which made folks very happy. But it was a cold transit, in any case. We lucked out with a ride home afterwards.

Tonight’s Topic: Awakenings …

“Is sobriety all that we are to expect of a spiritual awakening? No, sobriety is only a bare beginning; it is only the first gift of the first awakening. If more gifts are to be received, our awakening has to go on. As it does go on, we find that bit by bit we can discard the old life – the one that did not work – for a new life that can and does work under any conditions whatever.”

Bill W. A.A. Grapevine, December 1957

I knew exactly where I was going to go when we read this passage at the meeting. It tied directly into what was going on in my head after last night’s fiasco. Awakenings …

I can safely say that I have had many awakenings. Sobriety is only a bare beginning. I got to do it over twice. The first time around there was definitely an awakening. Learning to trust another human being with my life “in any case and under any struggle,” all I had to do was trust, do what was in front of me as I was told, and not worry about ANYTHING else.

The First awakening …

When I turned 30, and I told you the story about what I did when I turned thirty last night, I made a life altering decision to discard the life that wasn’t working opting for one that would. In hindsight, I had no idea how that was supposed to begin or where it was supposed to take me. But I made the break, I let go of the old, and I created something new, just for me, between God and myself.

The Second awakening …

No one could have stopped me from making that huge mistake in sobriety in allowing sobriety to loose its priority, and took that jaunt to the God forsaken place that almost killed me.

But I battled back, little by slowly, taking the scenic route by the beach and the pretty beach boy approach to futility. The time was coming and there were no two ways around it. It was time to grow up or die a miserable death. I decided to grow up and get sober again.

The Third awakening…

I got sober in December of 2001. Moved country in 2002. And attained Citizenship in 2003. I stayed sober. I lived through severe culture shock and learned how to protest and to coexist with conflicted feelings about where I was physically to how I was feeling emotionally, and what I was going to do about those things. Ultimately sobriety carried me through.

The Fourth awakening …

I met the right people at the right time. I had relationships that changed the course of my life for the better. Learning that some folks are only meant to be in your life for just a season or two, then they leave you and you must find your way to new people who will pick up where they left off to carry you further, until you can walk on your own.

The Fifth awakening …

Towards the tail end of my first year of sobriety, I was walking into St. Leon’s church and (then) hubby was walking out the same door, of St. Leon’s church, two people passing at one specific moment, would be a major turning point of my life. I had not expected God to throw a man into my life like he did, but He did …

We dated a few times. We were both getting sober. I graduated from my basement bug ridden flat in Verdun to a 17th story apartment in the sky with the fabulous view of downtown and Westmount. That fortuitous moment passing in that doorway changed my life and hubby’s life.

Many trials and tribulations visited us over the last 12 years. Mental illness, work problems, 2 university careers, and a marriage were just some of the highlights.

The Sixth, Seventh and Eighth awakenings …

Working ones steps is necessary to begin the awakening. Yes, I encourage you to get warm in your chair, feel it, get comfortable in it and get used to the people you meet on any given night. Knowing full well that if you are sitting in your chair on any given night, some night, some where, your life will meet another life and that life may be changed forever just because you are there, that you invested and that is an awakening.

If I look back at my entire life as it was lived and I click any post or page on this blog, there is a life story. And in many cases, each of those individual stories is an awakening.

There have been so many more that it would take me days to write them all out. I just wanted to tell you something new, the most recent spate of awakenings.

Promises are awakenings. When we come in we get asked to read them in the hopes that if we play nicely, work our steps, diligently and honestly, to the best of our abilities, Those Promises will come true for YOU TOO.

Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, they will always materialize if we work for them.

It took almost twelve years for a particular promise to materialize for us.

We prayed for it, we waited for it, sometimes impatiently, sometimes patiently, because what can you do? You can’t rush a promise – it don’t work that way. They just come, when the time is right and you are at a point in sobriety that that (one promise) you have been waiting for will make the deepest impact on your sober journey.

Every lesson you learn in life is an awakening.

Every meaningful memory in your life is an awakening.

Every good person in your life is the possibility of an awakening.

Make good choices. Make sober choices. Make wise choices.

But before you make a choice, a decision, or a step you are unsure of, you better run it by at least one person before you do, so you don’t make the stupid mistakes I made in sobriety, that took me out and almost killed me.

Awakening … Never think with your crotch and never put sex before sobriety.

Awakening … Never allow ANYONE to dictate your life choices for you. You are in charge of your life, never hand your life to anyone unless they are spouse, partner or lover.

Awakening … Marriage is for life. If you aren’t sure you want to be married, do the fridge shuffle … Write out your vows, between you and the one you are with. Put them on the fridge and live into them.

When you can live into them, THEN marriage is possible.

Not before…

Awakening … Once you speak the WORDS you can NEVER take them BACK … be careful with your words.

Life is a series of awakenings. Are you paying attention to yours???

I hope so.

More to come, stay tuned …


Robert Donald Logue

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I want to share a story with you tonight. A life story, of a man I never knew, but he was the man my father named me after, the day I was born on July 31, 1967.

He looks so much like my father did at that age. It is uncanny !!!

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Robert and my father fought in Viet Nam together. Robert was killed and my father survived. My father brought the ghost of the war home with himself, and with the family he would later create, the abuse of war became clear.
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I visited this man at the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington D.C. in my teen age years. I knew where he was engraved. I heard the stories, but there was just something missing from the picture. My father created a shrine in his Sarasota home to this dead man. A connection I could never pin down as somewhat .. homoerotic …
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When you fight in war, your comrades are family and you go above and beyond to care for them and make sure they survive.
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Alas, Robert was killed.
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My father gave me his name. I guess he thought that he would honor his dead friend with his name going to his first born son. That honor only lasted a short time.
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For many years, my father would chase me through the house with bats, axes and anything else he could find to hit me with, saying that I was a mistake and should never have been born. It was a good thing that my grandmothers, and my aunt stood in between him and me several times because he surely would have killed me as a child. My mother never stood in the way or told him to stop. Because if she did he would go after her worse, and it was his rule that she never engage a beating …
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In my childhood I figured out who I was, and what I would become, far younger than when I learned what those words meant.
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Gay … Homosexual.
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I studied it, I read about it, from the various library my father had collected and left around the house for me to read, including the library that was in the garage for me to find.
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I knew I was different.
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I always said to myself that I always wanted to be like my father and that if it was good for him THEN it was good for me.
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I was like him.
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However, he thought I was an ABOMINATION and that I was a MISTAKE and should never have been born.
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Gay was unacceptable in our house.
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A good Catholic family could have no room for a gay son.
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Yet my father had Gay secrets in the house, by his hand and his decision.
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For all the years I was living under his roof he would abuse me heavily.
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My father was an alcoholic. It was a family disease.
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Alcoholism IS a family disease.
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He would go after my mother and my brother and I would invariably egg him on to hit me and not them. Was that chivalry?
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I played the organ, and quite well. I had achieved new heights in my musical repertoire. Until the night my father took my organ bench and THREW it at my MOTHER.
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That night I said to my father that after that alcoholic episode I would NEVER play another note as long as I lived and I never touched another organ in my lifetime.
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When I was introduced to gay men in the form of Elton and Garcia at my step mothers, home over dinner parties, my father got more brutal with his abuse. It got worse.
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I spent more time living at my friends homes than I did in my own to get away from my father and his abuse.
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I never came out to my father. I just moved away to be gay.
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A decision that dogs me to this day because when I moved away I was woefully UNPREPARED for the world at large. I made mistake after mistake. I drank my money and fucked over my father by getting my car repossessed. He paid off the dealer and I got the car back, but I know my father never forgot my lapse in judgment.
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When I was diagnosed with AIDS, I called a family meeting. And rallied the troops to make sure I had support.
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I did not get it.
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My father would say that I GOT WHAT WAS COMING TO ME AND THAT I SHOULD DIE BECAUSE I WAS A FAG !!!
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At a family Christmas dinner, my mother had a young friend in a neighbor that took care of her and took care of the house and the land while my father was about his work out of town.
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That weekend I shopped and bought Chris cd’s and gifts out of thanks. On the way home we delivered these things to his house not far up the block.
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My mother had a heart attack and accused me of many things.
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That night at dinner, in front of guests, my father sat me at a card table separate from the guests, with plastic plates, forks and cups because he did not want me using his utensils, and he HUMILIATED ME in front of a house full of people.
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The next day the family invited me out on their boat because they felt so bad for me. I never saw them again after that holiday, and it was the last holiday I ever went home to visit family.
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My father continued to come visit me in Miami when I was so sick. He would demean me and belittle me. And the physical abuse he heaped upon me as a child became emotional abuse.
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He never had a good word to say to me, so much that one night on the way home from dinner, he was berating me in the car, and I asked him to stop the car on the highway and I got out of the car on the highway and walked all the way home and I said to him to never come visit me again.
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On my thirtieth birthday I was sick. I was sure I was going to die. I used to watch Touched by an Angel. On that one night I was sitting watching tv and I had my Bible and a Pearl Jam cd in the other hand and the world changed and I heard the voice of God…
.
It became clear what I was going to do.
.
“Jeremy’s spoken … from my bible and that cd.”
.
I called legal aide and set forth to change my name from Robert Kalan to Jeremiah Andrews. Jeremiah was the beginning and Andrew would come get me when I died, hence Andrews.
.
I sent that name change decree to my parents. I had once again, nailed another nail in my father’s casket, so to speak.
.
I had dishonored Robert and I had dishonored my father.
.
And the sacrifice that has existed within me from the day that I was born. I killed that part of me that for so many years, my father wanted dead by his own hand.
.
I got sober on August 23rd, 1994. And stay sober for four years. I went out and got drunk and high and regained sobriety on December 9th 2001.
.
I was working in a bar as a light man on New Years Night 2000/2001.
.
I worked until 9 am that next morning, January 1st, 2001.
.
I got home and got into bed. My phone rang and it was my mother. Little did I know that my parents were in Miami for a weeks time and were on their way back to Sarasota that morning and wanted to stop by and see me.
.
I had a lump of cash in my wallet. From my work shift.
.
When they arrived I offered to take us all out for breakfast so we could spend time together. My father said NO that he was in a hurry and gave me twenty minutes … TWENTY MINUTES… to visit with my mother.
.
We walked around the block, I don’t remember what we said, but my father waited in the car with the car RUNNING …
.
She got back in the car and that was the last time I saw my mother.
.
I moved to Canada in April of 2002. I had really dishonored my father by leaving the country of my birth to follow my maternal heritage. I became a Canadian Citizen in February of 2003.
.
I nailed a further nail in my father’s coffin.
.
My father married a woman and told her the rules. It was by his hand she was alive and that he would dictate the rules of marriage and life. He had knocked her up before marriage, and in those days that was tantamount to sin. So he was forced to marry her. We wonder what he would have done, had he not been forced to marry, hence, I was the mistake that should never have been born! Lies were told in a child’s life. Never LIE to your CHILDREN because one day those lies will come up and woe to you who said those lies, because they may one day come back to bite you in the ASS… One of those lies led to my Citizenship. They at least did one thing for me in a good way …
.
The last thing my mother said to me after a year of trying to keep up communications with Sarasota was this … “IF YOUR FATHER OR MYSELF DIE, NO ONE WILL CALL YOU AND YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHERE WE ARE BURIED ….”
.
That was the last conversation I had with my mother more than 12 years ago.
.
Fuck me for living …

Pages 20-21 of 365 … Tuesday Thoughts

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Courtesy:Singlifessong

A dome of frigid cold has descended upon our fair city, but as long as you stay out of the wind, and your outside travel is short, it isn’t so bad. We are sitting at (-22c/-25 w.c.) at this hour.

Snow may appear over the weekend as it stands right now, but it is snowing points South of here. We are safely above the Jet Stream and it is just cold.

Today’s themes : Serving my Brother … Choice … and the Solution …

I was traveling alone tonight, in both directions, so I got to take the train out and back, which was fine with me. I rather enjoy the transit because I get to listen to some tunes.

The week started off quiet. The flu is making its rounds in my circle of friends, and having survived my brush over the last couple of weeks, I have been resting and staying inside as much as possible.

I departed for the train on time and arrived at my normal call time and started sorting out the room, it was a busy day at the church with a viewing, funeral (in the church) and reception in the bell tower, so the place was alive with people when I got there.

For a room with no windows … (they are replacing them) the room was quite toasty. The windows are boarded up and plastic is over the spaces.

We sat a small group tonight. There was an anniversary in Westmount tonight, so numbers were low. But it made for a very intimate affair.

We read from There is a Solution, and the subject of choice. That is the second time in a weeks time that that subject has come up, which means I have revisited that topic in my brain several times now.

“No one likes the ego deflation and the leveling of our pride and the self confession…”

When I hit my last drink, there was no ego, nor pride, because I was not proud of being a drunk, there was nothing prideful about it. Both times I reached that last drink, I was shot from within. There was no where to go but up.

Being somewhat functional as a drunk, I put myself in the trusted hands of people who cleaned me up, sorted me out and got me help that I needed, in both instances. The first more importantly than the latter.

A lesson that keeps coming up is serving others. Which is mentioned in today’s Daily Reflections. Putting the needs of others before our own, be they spouses, partners, friends or fellows, knowing where you fit in the grand scheme of things – keeps one “right sized.”

We all put our pants on the same way, unless of course you are wearing diamond studded or gold plated pants, our clothes are the same thread.

I can be useful today. I’ve always tried to stay useful. Even when I drank. Because there was always the down days when one had to perform duties that were responsible, and I was able to do that.

It was a nice quiet evening with friends that I only get to see tonight. Which is why I am homed at this group.

After the meeting I got a drop at the Station and took the train home. I arrived at my switch platform and I was standing on the platform waiting for the train, and I noticed, off to my left, a man was laying on the station pavement just outside the bumper yellow stripe, on the train platform.

He was moving, albeit, in a “I’m laying on the ground, drunk sort of way, rolling from one side to the other” I was hoping that he wasn’t rolling in the direction of the tracks. Because it is a fall from the platform down to track level. Nobody was paying him any mind. There was no security or police on the platform, and as I pondered that fact, the train rolled into the station, and we all got on the train. I didn’t see the man get up.

Had he gotten close, there were plenty of folks to act.

A short ride later I was at my station.

They are shifting the ground floor footprint below the escalators. It seems they are putting in a second seating area in front of Target to serve two new food services opening soon on the up side of the escalator. The spaces that have been closed since the reno began are coming online in the coming weeks, so we will see action on the ground floor around the space.

Cineplex Odeon purchased the AMC theatres (At the Forum) last summer and are just now getting around to removing their branding from the Forum exterior and putting up new signage. In fact there is new signage going up across the way at Alexis Nihon as well.

The mall is slowly coming to completion.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries Pgs. 18-19 of 365

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Courtesy: Blamboyz

Warning Will Robinson Warning !!! Snow Squalls coming overnight. And it is going to bet cold once again. Just to reinforce that Winter is far from over.

It has been a quiet weekend. Not a whole lot of anything going on.

I departed early to make some stops along the way. I trained a newbie on coffee and set up. When we arrived the hall was strewn with tables and chairs all over the place. We had to break down their set up, in order to put together our set up. With two of us, it was a short order.

We sat a small group tonight. Lots of people were watching football and could not be bothered to come to the meeting, which is why I chaired. I got a text just as I was leaving asking me to fill in for a friend.

We finished Fear or Fear. And we went around and did not fill the entire time slot. We broke down the room and once again, I walked home alone, so I took the tunnel and had to stop at Pharmaprix to pick up my pills and do some shopping.

That was it for the weekend.

More to come, stay tuned…


Pages 15-17 of 365 … Choices, Observations, Humility

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Courtesy: Weheartit

The week has come to an end. A little cold, a little mild, a little snow here and there. Winter, it seems, is loosing its punch. We might be thankful for small mercies. The closer Spring gets the better. I am not writing every day because rehashing the same standards day in and day out get boring and I want to write when I have something to say.

This weeks theme brings us up to date with Choices, Observations and Humility. Last night we talked about choices, the either having them or not, or making them or not. And our chair gave us food for thought with the synergy of philosophy and sobriety.

“… Choice belongs most properly to virtue and determines one’s character. […] Choice is not shared by irrational beings while desire and spiritedness are. And a person lacking self-control acts while desiring something but not choosing it, while a person with self-control conversely acts while choosing something but not desiring it.”

Aristotle

Firstly, choice … I drank because it was a moral imperative. It was something that had to be done, there was no other choice. I made several “choices” during my down times that put in place people and assistance that I would eventually need. I know I made those choices for the right reasons. But soon after situations arose that demanded drink. Because that’s all I knew how to do. I was stuck, emotionally and mentally.

Until Todd stepped in and said “No More …”

When I chose to fade away and follow my crotch instead of listening to reason and sober advice, I made that choice. I had no idea what was waiting for me on the other end. Drugging and drinking was a moral imperative. There was no other way around it. I put myself in danger, into a situation that had no way out.

Until someone stepped in and took me out.

I was moved, far away. I put down the drugs and that was that. I came back home and had many sober periods. But in 2001, when all hell broke loose, drinking became, once again, a moral imperative. There was no way around it, as I saw it, at the time.

Until I had my last drink.

I knew it was coming. I had prayed for it. I made a conscious choice to put it down for good again, and I did not go looking for it.

Observations …

I have been doing the same thing, day in and day out, for as long as I can remember. A long time ago, I learned some lessons about people. I learned how to read people, to watch them and to take notice of those little things that most people let slide. As a man living with AIDS we had to do things differently because at the time, our lives were on the line.

That little quirk of mine is still in operation.

Like I said, I still do what I do every day, every week. I am present, I do my job and people come and go as they always do. People know my routines. But I’ve noticed in the past few weeks that things are changing. And I see what’s going on.

Tonight’s reading from A.B.S.I. was on Humility.

It was a packed house. We are counting down to our last meeting in the St. Viateur Space. As we are being kicked out in March, because they are rehabbing the church and need the space, and they won’t be permitting us to return after the rehab, so we are looking for a new hall.

It was said a few nights ago, on the radio that most people suffer from one major character defect … Righteous indignation.

Both sides have it. What ever side of the topic you sit on. Both sides believe that they have the God’s honest truth and that truth is above any criticism or discussion.

When I achieved my academic credentials, there were some who thought that because I was gay, I could not possibly know God as I learned. And that my truth was not valid, because I was gay.

Gay and God are not congruent.

I learned a valuable lesson. At some point the righteous indignation ends and people will eventually tire of berating you and leave you alone.

Like I said above, I watch people.

You can’t keep your ego and get sober at the same time.

When I finished my undergraduate degrees and chose to enroll in Master’s Studies, I was welcomed hand over fist. The faculty was falling all over themselves to get me in the door.

It just so happens that it was the same falling all over themselves that eventually kicked me out of the program when I failed to make the grade.

My fellow students, the very same students that I had studied with for the last seven years, who were my friends, and broke bread with me and studied with me and we friendly, changed …

In a few months time, they rose above me. They rose above themselves. it was very apparent that something had changed because my friends were no longer my friends. New alliances were formed and new grouping popped up – circles that I was no longer privy to. They were …

Better than me because they were Master’s Students …

It took me some time, because I tried to adapt. I tried to change into someone who would be acceptable. I was going against the grain.

It was a bitter pill. On top of being less than, I could not keep up the appearances and the grades. I was not one of them, as as soon as I failed to make the grade, I was booted faster than you can say BOOT !

What I learned?

I put my pants on the same way you do.

I am not better than anyone else.

I usually put the needs of others before my own.

If I am not Right Sized, I will surely feel it.

We must decrease so that He may increase…

I feel just like anyone else. People are not paying attention to their actions and decisions. Pity you…

More to come, stay tuned …


Pages 13&14 of 365 … And We’re Back !!!

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Courtesy: Wrestlingisbest

And we’re back.

I am feeling much better than I have since last week. I think I’ve killed this cold/flu feeling. And I took yesterday off because the thought for the day, I have repeated over and over recently. I didn’t have anything worth writing about.

After a few days above (Zero) we are headed back down into minuses and it looks like snow is coming, I figured as much. I got up with plenty of time to fart around and prep for the meeting. I half pondered a nap in between, but decided against it.

I left a few minutes early and was rewarded by prompt trains and buses. I don’t see why folks have such issues with coming to this particular meeting, I mean it isn’t fucking rocket science … Get on the damned train and ride it up the hill and take the bus one stop down, or better yet WALK for Christ’s sake.

Tonight’s topic : Acceptance … And I will add … He Will Drink Again …

The sad fact of our Tuesday meeting is a good number of folks stopped coming long before the move. Some of those, after the fact, are going to other meetings, the rest have drank. I don’t know what we need to do to make these kids stick and stay, but we failed another newcomer.

I knew going into the holiday’s this year that it was going to be rough. And I should have given a number out and collected a few for myself. I addressed several Christmas Cards, that went undelivered because some were out of town, and others stopped coming to the meeting COLD.

I knew it, I KNEW it … You miss one meeting, well there might be a good excuse, then you miss a second meeting, and a third … Our guy has been on my mind for weeks and with no way to find or contact him, he showed up tonight, and he drank over the holidays. Fuck me !!!

People are just not connecting for some reason. It is far easier to go out and drink and drug, than committing to sticking and staying. And you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink…

This time I got my number out there and got one in return. Our young people are struggling with acceptance. How do I accept the person I was, and hope, on the other hand, to become the person I want to be?

How do I reconcile the two sides?

We can’t change the past. And they say that we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. Shit happened. But now we are here. It takes time to get to a place where we finally accept that we are who we are, warts and all. And that Life gets better, one day at a time.

There are no people to blame for my drinking and using. I made that decision. And in the end, I got out of that hell. I did not drink because of anyone or that it was someone’s fault that I kept drinking, until I got to my second Last Drink.

I have no one else to blame but myself.

When I relocated in sobriety, I left all that shit, all those problems, and all those people, thousands of miles behind me. Out of sight and out of mind. Grateful I am not them, by any stretch.

I am powerless over people, places and things. And if I accept that axiom, then, I am free to live. It would be my choice to entertain drama or pain from you, which I choose not to entertain drama or pain from anyone.

If I engage in your life, I choose to do so. And I accept whatever happens between us. I can’t save anyone, or get them miraculously sober.

However hard I would really like to in certain cases. All I can do is point the way to the light. And hope that they follow into the light.

We’ve done everything logically possible to get people in the door. If they don’t show up, we are powerless over them. What we’ve got is what we’ve got. At least we have the ones who show up.

I was overjoyed to see the folks tonight. We’ve reconnected to our base group, and hopefully they will now stick and stay.

Let Us Pray !!!

Acceptance is the key to all my problems.

More to come, stay tuned …

 


Page 12 of 365 … The Stoop Edition

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Courtesy:TheTrueMeaningofLife

It was a balmy night tonight. Piles of snow are slowly melting, it seems we are on a warming trend. But by the end of the week, they say snow or flurries.

Spring is only 67 days away… March 20, 2014.

Shall we begin the count to the end of winter, or towards the beginning of Spring? Or is Mother Nature going to throw us another curve ball like she did last year, with a bang of snow and cold to cap off a long Winter?

I’ve not been feeling 100% as of late, and I slept a good stretch into this afternoon. Nothing is better for me than a good night’s sleep. I was up and ready to go early because I needed to hit the Dollar Store for some candles for my Tuesday meeting. Mischief managed !!!

Arriving earlier than I intended meant that set up was done with a lot of time before folks started to arrive. We sat a full room (plus) …

We welcomed back friends who traveled far away for the holidays which was very nice. I was so proud of our girls who weathered the holidays and came back to us sober.

It was a “getting to know you again” meeting tonight. People are back from their holiday adventures and they all came for the meeting. All bright and shining faces.

We read through “The Missing Link, and Fear of Fear” It is so good to hear everybody share on a multitude of things that popped up in the reading.

I listened to all the voices, the good orderly direction and the group of drunks. Talking about a Power that is greater than ourselves.

Imagine … pondering the idea that there is something greater than ourselves. It is so much bigger than us, that it would take a lifetime to wrap ones head around it.

God as WE understood him.

Not God as I understand him.

What do we collectively see, feel, experience, share? That word, God, the make or break word in the book that either sends you back out (not wanting anything to do with God) or you find a seat, breathe, and sink into the group of people there, looking for something to make their lives better.

With variants of time and experience in the room on any given night, there is a thread of want. To find something that is greater than ourselves. It doesn’t come overnight. But gradually.

It was spoken about the evolution of how some “came to” and how, over time we find IT. Well, it finds us. God is not lost. But seems to have been lost in the funk of alcoholism. Over time, as we commit to showing up, and we listen with open hearts and minds (Hopefully) we begin to sense the power in the room, in other people, and over time, then it comes to us.

For every person in the room, there is a spiritual thread/path. No two paths are the same. I come to the rooms, to find it, to share it, to learn how others found it. If you stick and stay long enough, You can watch God move amongst the people. I’ve had that experience a number of times.

In the story “Fear of Fear” the writer of the story is attending meetings for her husband because he is surely one of us, but she isn’t. And she takes a moment and goes out to the stoop of the hall outside for some air, where she invariably comes to meet a kind woman who greets her and listens to her words, and truth is spoken … Our woman realizes that indeed she is one of us.

When I arrived the second time, at my second First Meeting, it was a gay meeting, and I sat there, out of sight and mind. Kind of oblivious to the people in the room, and they were oblivious to me. It was all kind of a blur.

I went outside after the meeting for some air. This was a club room, so another meeting would be starting in a while. I spent a good amount of time sitting on that stoop in the days and weeks to come. Soon a couple showed up, a woman and her significant other. They greeted me and asked me if I was waiting for the meeting, which I replied yes …

I got that hug. And someone who connected with me.

To this day, those two people are still in my life. A handful of folks from the SOBE room are still in my life, via facebook. We spent a great deal of time sitting on that stoop to welcome folks in.

That “meeting before the meeting” and invariably “the meeting after/or better yet the meal after the meeting” was such a blessing. We ate out probably every night those first few weeks I was getting sober.

With Lincoln Road just up the block from where we were, places to eat were plentiful. We don’t do that so much here, you really have to work at finding something that is open post meeting in the core, which means whomever joins you, you’re going to have to travel to find food.

Montreal is too spread out and it is far easier to find a coffee shop rather than a sit down restaurant to dine at.

The New Year has begun with some great energy. I just hope our folks carry it through. One day at a time …

Today is day 12 of 365. Stick to your plan. You can do it.

More to come, stay tuned …


Page 11 of 365 … The Snarfle Edition

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Courtesy: Iheefz (Chicago Photography)

I am snarfling, sniffling, sneezing and feeling all kinds of woozy !

All they have been talking about on the news is flu. And I don’t recall being near anyone who was sniffling. I went to bed last night medicated and I slept most of today away.

It is miserable and raining today. The iced over snow is melting, but I’d rather it snow than rain. But we are on a warming trend here after days and days of bitter cold. I heard something mentioned on tv that Spring was only some 70 days away ???

I kind of like this sleeve, I wish I could see more of it, it looks very whimsical and fun. Not that I am in the market for a sleeve, just yet, I would have to really sit down and draw one up. Then find the money to fund it.

Today’s topic is The 100% Step …

We are amid the month of January and we are still focusing on Step one this month. We revisit this step every day of our lives, it is the only step that we must do 100%. That admission is total and honest.

I skipped the meeting last night, because I wasn’t feeling up to traveling and doing set up, It was just not moving me. So instead I napped during the evening.

Hopefully we will be back to writing something more substantial tomorrow.

More to come, stay tuned …


Page 10 of 365 … I’m a SK8ERBOY

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Today’s post is brought to you by SK8ERBOY …

Guess what came in the mail today, all the way from Germany?

Well, not today, I got the drop notice in my letterbox yesterday.

After all that farting around to get my name on the drop sheet downstairs, they did not even attempt a drop.

We have these post offices in pharmacies located all around the city. We also have dedicated post offices for mail (out) only. But if you visit any major pharmacy here, they usually will have a mail/drop facility.

It is easier to drop at a drop location than to carry around packages to individual homes or apartment blocks. So you get a drop slip with the location of your drop which you then have to go pick up.

IMAG0020

These have been on my “want” list for some time, and I just never got around the putting in an order mainly because of the currency (the Euro) and the foreign website (which is in English, but the store is in German).

Thanks to Google Translate, it made the whole purchase worth it.

I don’t think I’ve paid so  much for six pairs of sox in my life, you would have thought that I’d go for some exotic underwear that would cost just as much, but we don’t do exotic underwear here.

My collection of exotics just grew by six. You see it on Tumblr. You put it into Google, and you come out with a website or Ebay store. Every exotic shoe/sock purchase I’ve made originated on Tumblr.

The weather is a bit iffy today. Flurry snow is falling, and they say freezing rain is going to follow, which will only complicate the icy conditions on the roads and sidewalks.

I think I am coming down with a cold. I’ve got that I want to sleep and achey feeling going on, so I may nap this afternoon.

I did some safari on the way home from the post office but I didn’t get anything for lunch, but I have frozen chicken in the freezer I could bake up, but I am not hot and bothered about it just yet.

I think that’s all for right now.

More to come, I am sure …


Page 9 of 365 … However Much I Booze

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Courtesy: Alexander S.A.T.C.

The weather is getting downright balmy as of late. And it is only going to get warmer going into the weekend. We are sitting at (-10c/-15 c w.c.) but it is balmy. The flip side to this is after the freezing rain and the bitter cold over the past few days, everything is iced over. Sidewalks, roads, and not a lot of abrasive set out to make it passable.

We sat a full compliment tonight. Our chair invited a number of friends to “back him up” tonight because we had a bit of departure from the same ole same ole … Which was a good thing. New angles and new points of view are always nice to hear.

Sometimes recovery can get stale and old.

“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it.

The inconsistency is made worse by the things he does on his sprees. Coming to his senses, he is revolted at certain episodes he vaguely remembers. These memories are a nightmare. He trembles to think someone might have observed him. As fast as he can, he pushes these memories far inside himself. He hopes they will never see the light of day. He is under constant fear and tension – that makes for more drinking.”

B.B. pg. 73

Compared and contrasted to “The Who’s However much I Booze”

I see myself on t.v. I’m a faker, a paper clown
it’s clear to all my friends that I habitually lie; I just
bring them down

I claim proneness to exaggeration
But the truth lies in my frustration
The children of the night, they all pass me by
have to drench myself in brandy
In sleep I’ll hide
But however much I booze
There ain’t now way out […]

I loose so many nights of sleep worrying about my
responsibilities
Are the problems that screw me up really down to
him or me
My ego will just confuse me
Some day it’s going to up and use me
Dish me out another tailor made compliment
Tell me about some destiny I can’t prevent
And however much I squirm
There ain’t no way out […]

Won’t somebody tell me how to get out of this place?!

All the world’s a stage and we are merely her actors …

The memory that rose for me listening to these readings was of that block of time from the night I came out, to moving to Orlando, and beginning my life as an adult (so I believed). I failed …

I met friends who facilitated me coming out to my best friend on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. That ended badly.

I packed my house and moved to Orlando to an apartment I HAD to have but could not afford. Working at the Tragic Queendom was pointless. It was the greatest stage one could have at this time in our lives.

Everything revolved around the drink. Life, Friendship, Sex, Parties. The list goes on and on. I never had liquor at home. Drinking was an OUT event, on a nightly basis. I mean Disney built a whole entertainment Village across the road from where we lived, just outside the parks, to party and to drink. Imagine a bunch of different themed clubs, discos, party places, for the sole purpose of drinking, (a lot of liquor on a nightly basis) it was heaven.

Disney created the stage. We were merely actors.

Then you add in The Parliament House, Pool, Hotel and Entertainment Complex on Orange Blossom Trail, and Gay reaches its zenith.

Drag, Dancing and drinking … Every weekend. and most night’s when you got bored of Disney. It was a little slice of heaven. it was the best of times – it was the worst of times. I saw it all, did it all, and experienced various emotions, and had many experiences under its roof.

We were young, pretty and cheek of tan. twinks in their twenties acting like we were in our thirties. Backstabbing was a parlor game. And if you had a boyfriend, the ultimate goal was for someone to sleep with him behind your back. Single men were a dime a dozen, the big pay day was the “couple.”

Work and responsibility was one aspect of life that I couldn’t pin down or be responsible. But drinking and the act was all that mattered. And I did it well. There are many memories of these times I hold dear. Friendships I had, with folks long since dead now. Dancing, music and fellows.

But it did not end well. Alcohol killed the party. Because it only went from bad to worse. I could not act any longer. The picture was bleak. I don’t know how I navigated that time into survival. But I live to tell.

I just hung onto that lounge act for as long as I could. And that takes me to my mid-twenties. I got sick, I wanted to die, and alcohol was the vehicle. And even that failed me. I lived … and Got Sober.

Ego took over and sobriety lost its priority.

And even then, I was in my mid thirties now, trying to hold on to the facade of my twenties, trying to look twink, when twink went out the window a decade prior. UGH …

We are coming to know who we are in sobriety. We are coming to be the person we were meant to be. Because when we start drinking, we stunt our growth, emotionally and mentally, and we remain that age until we quit the drink and come to. Then we have to deal with all that baggage and grow up at whatever age we come in…

It has been a journey, to say the least.

I wasn’t sure that I would have survived that slip, because there was no logical or easy way out. Thank God for mercies and angels. Because I got to live again after that hell.

The rest they say is history.

More to come, stay tuned …