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Archive for March, 2014

Sunday Sundries … Go Somewhere else, You Aren’t Welcome Here !

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It snowed last night. There is a lot of snow piled up all over the core. Many are hoping that this was the last round for the season. In the past we have had snow all the way into May. The temps will moderate and rise over the next few days, so I am not sure they will spare the expense to clean it up off the streets.

It was a quiet weekend.

I departed on time and when I got to the church, there was three feet of snow piled up in front of the church doors, covering the stoop and out into the walkway. The shovel was inside the door, and I had to get the door opened to get it, which took some serious pulling and shoving a door barricaded by snow. It took me a couple of passes to remove all the snow, which is piled up at least three feet on either side of the doors, where the bushes are covered with ice and snow.

It is the last Sunday of the month, and we sat a fair number which was good. Several of my friends whom I haven’t seen in a while came and that was a good sign. We read from the Twelve and Twelve and Tradition Three …

“The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

Many talked about finding similarity when they got here, and over time realized that they were not that different from their fellows. Secondly, the word God popped up in conversation. Step Three and Tradition Three kind of go hand in hand.

Every time we read this tradition I zone in one one specific passage from the reading:

“We were resolved to admit nobody to A.A. but that hypothetical class of people we termed ‘pure alcoholics.’ Except for their guzzling, and the unfortunate results thereof, they could have no other complications. So beggars, tramps, asylum inmates, prisoners, queers, plain crackpots, and fallen women were definitely OUT. Yes sir, we’d cater only to pure and respectable alcoholics!

Emphasis added …

The first time I got sober, was in an LGBT room catering to gay sober folks. It was not a cake walk, as I have shared before that newcomers were regarded as race horses that should be bet on to see who would go back out and drink first.

I stayed sober, in spite of them, and on my first anniversary, I told the crowd to go fuck themselves. In my second year of sobriety, I moved from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. I was still counting the days to my death date doctors had given me when I got sober. I was on the bubble, to say the least.

I got connected to a club room in South Miami, (The Coral Room). The room was open all day and hosted meetings all day and night. Around the second year of sobriety, someone asked me to speak at a speaker meeting. It would be the first time I had ever spoken at a meeting in sobriety.

The room was packed. At least more than a hundred were in the room. And I got up to the podium and began to speak. Getting around to my diagnosis and my living with AIDS came up and as I started this phase of my share, all the men got up and left the room and went outside to wait until I was finished speaking.

At the end of the meeting I went outside and one of the men stepped up and said to me

“We don’t support or condone people like you, so please go somewhere else to get sober!” Needless to say I was floored.

I remained at that room for another two years, but I went to other meetings where I felt some sense of belonging. I pulled back, I stopped reading the book, I did not have a sponsor AND I trusted no one. Which directly led to my slip.

I went out on my fourth anniversary. Following all the men who went out at the four year mark. When I came back, I was on the beach, and went to Sober on South Beach for my return. They welcomed me and did not judge me.

A few months later, I ended up here in Montreal. I was five months sober the second time, and I was hitting different meetings all over the city.

Here in Montreal there are invisible lines drawn between the different Burroughs, and sections of the city. For the most part, people who live in one section of town, never cross that boundary to go to other meetings in other parts of town.

So one night I was in the West End. And hit a Friday night meeting. I was new in town, Did not know anyone and I hit this particular meeting. At first they welcomed me and then drilled me with twenty questions. As we talked they got an idea of my situation and my status.

Once again I heard those words … “We don’t condone people like you, please go somewhere else to get sober, you aren’t welcome here!”

That is something you don’t really hear about. People being told that they are not welcome and to go somewhere else. Especially if a particular group follows the traditions.

I never went to that meeting again, and for many years I never went to NDG for a meeting for a long time. On my tenth anniversary I spoke at a West End meeting and I told this story. People were shocked but some were not. This only solidified for me the fact that there are sick people in the world, and I should stay away from them. I haven’t spoken at a meeting since that night.

Tonight we read Tradition Three, and I shared this story once again. Many of the old timers at the Sunday meeting have never heard me tell that story before. We are a welcoming meeting. There are several LGBT folks at the meeting.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to Stop Drinking.

One of my sponsees was sitting right next to me, he was moved.

This lesson runs deep, because we must treat everyone who comes in the door kindly, compassionately, and with care. If we judge and are careless with our words, they may leave and never come back again.

No matter who you are, what age you are, what orientation you are, man, woman, boy or girl, everyone is welcome at our meetings, well welcome at ALL the meetings I go to.

There are assholes here and there. Sick alcoholics who can’t see past their own prejudices. Sadly, that is part of the times.

We transcend those barriers in many meetings, and that is a good thing.

It was a good night. Jobs are taken for the month of April. Painless…

Everybody checked in, everyone is well and good to go.

More to come, stay tuned …


Friday … True Ambition

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Courtesy:TylerOakley

Temps are going up. It actually rained tonight. A good sign that Spring is making a good attempt at driving winter away. But one more snowfall is in the cards for Saturday and Sunday. We will be well above the freezing mark over the next few days.

It was another one of those days, I had an idea for the evening, and I went and planned an evening with hubby, but when He got up from his nap he nixed my plans. UGH ! Return to regularly scheduled programming …

I departed amid a little rain, people were carrying umbrellas, but really, why? Have toque will travel. I made my transit in good time and arrived to half the room complete so I helped finish up, quietly and without words and needing none.

We filled the room, and everyone was there, pigeons included. Nice, I get to see them regularly which is a good thing.

We talked about ambition, true and false. We talked about fear, pride, humility and humiliation. Humility is NOT humiliation. When it comes to ambition, I think I have some. But in good measure in all the right ways I think. My friends and fellows keep me in check, in realizing what is really important and why my friends ARE my friends.

Our men are good men, every one of them, each in their own way. I learn something different from each of them on a weekly basis.

Who knew a year ago, that after the West Island Roundup that it would come to pass that God would grant me certain graces and place me in the right place at the right time. It is coming on a year that sobriety took a turn.

And in all that time, I learned from my friends, just what we do, and why? And for what reason. I am where I am and I am satisfied with that. I have been ambitious about sobriety, and endeavored to work with my guys and I have done that.

And now I get to work one on one with my guys who came into my immediate life from the universe, at just the right time.

It was a great night. We had three cakes. And three firsts, again.

I have been doing the Friday meeting for more than a year, And it has been a year that I have participated in the journeys of our celebrants tonight. We are all the better for their presences. Each of them brought lessons we all needed to learn.

I am not my father. And what I have today is representative of how my life, my sobriety and the gifts of the program have given me. I don’t have the cars, the children, the house with a yard, pool, and riding lawn mower.

Life did not pan out that way for me. Alcoholism took its ransom and the rest they say is history. It isn’t all about me, I am not the center of the universe. I have everything I need, and that is good for me.

I have the friends I need. They are all a blessing. They keep me humble.

It is one thing to have ambition. But quite another when you have people who keep one right sized, so ambition is metered, and not get out of hand.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday … Freedom

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Courtesy:Ingayswetrust

It snowed today. Just a dusting. And they say it will snow more overnight, then changing to rain…Temps are going up. We will see a (10c) over the weekend. How I know Winter is over is when we get a full weeks worth of (10c’s). At that point we can turn off the heat and open the windows for the first time since last fall.

It was not a good night last night. I turned in early and early this morning I awoke with a migraine headache that was killing me. Then I ended up tossing everything in my stomach. You would have thought I drank too much and was praying to the porcelain God !!! Not very pretty …

I popped some Advil and went back to bed, with my head pounding. Eventually I got back to sleep and woke up a few hours later, none the worse.

All my fellows I entrusted with things to do came through today. I often give my friends things to do when I need something for a particular group, and it always seems to work. Never say No when another member asks for help.

I am learning that if I don’t step up, I might miss an opportunity. A friend I follow is expecting his first child very soon, and he says that one must act, and always work to bring something new into the world. You could be that change, that good thing, that good word, something like that.

And so it goes.

I learned tonight that the great “West Island Roundup” is once again going to be open the 17th and 18 of May in Dorval with speakers from NYC. It will be a good weekend to spend with my sponsees doing something together. Tickets are $30.00, another expense for the month of May. The second weekend of May we are going to Vermont for a retreat, at $120.00. May is going to be one expensive month. But monies worth spending for sobriety.

We sat almost the entire group and a guest tonight. Another successful business meeting was held. May 1st is our First Anniversary. It really has been a very fast year. And the group has only grown, which is always a good thing.

We talked about Freedom from Today’s Daily Reflections.

We all came to the rooms for one reason to another. And in turn we all have seemed to realize how freeing that decision was in our lives. And later, on in time, the grace that came from having a free choice to choose what we want to do with our lives, vis a vis Sobriety.

I could not have written the story that took place over the last thirteen years. God has been good. I am free. I do what needs to be done, on any given day, and I serve my fellows to the best of my ability.

You can’t get sober and keep your ego. Sadly, some forget that.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Tuesday … Just a Phone call Away

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Courtesy: TapThatGuy – Central Park NYC

The weather is looking UP ! We dodged the bullet with that NorEaster that is headed to all points East and North. Thanks Be To God … It was a bright and sunny day and they tell us that warmer temps are coming soon. Let Us Pray …

Winter can’t come to an end sooner. People are fed up and tired of the long drag.

I was up early today with errands to run to the bank to cash coin for my meeting so that we could pay rent tonight. I had a stop to make on the way out which brought me up to the parish a little after 5.

We sat a good little group. Next week is our 3rd anniversary. I chaired for a friend and read from A.B.S.I. I put two topics on the table, Gratitude from today’s Daily Reflections and the second reading, which all played out well.

The meeting was a blur because I got a call prior to the meeting that took my attention away. I spoke about planting seeds and what has been going on in my life as of late.

It is something special to be book-ended with someone I am accountable to every day and the young men I get to work with because of grace. I did the right thing and put myself out there and God saw and was pleased.

My mind was elsewhere because I needed to meet a young man after the meeting and that was the only thing on my mind. So my sponsor rushed me to the Metro and I rolled off to meet him on campus.

You never know when the phone is going to ring, and who might be on the other end and what God will call you to do when the call comes. I am honored that our young men trust me and I get an opportunity to share with them.

You need a plan. And the courage to put that plan into action. And sometimes, when it happens, you need to be able to tell someone to go Fuck themselves.

The only way to see a plan work is to put it into action. And trust in the process one day at a time. I find that when I need words, I have them, and there is God.

We always get what we need on a need to have basis.

My young man needs our prayers.

What is the last sentence of the Serenity Prayer ?

Not my will, but Thy will be done … (Twelve and Twelve pg. 41)

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … It Might have been Worse

Going Home - (HDR London, England)

Courtesy:Blamethemonkey Flickr

It has been a very good weekend. One day bright and sunny leads to a day of snow and greyness. It snowed on Saturday from morning to mid-afternoon. I looked out the windows and it was snowing for a few hours, and at one point I looked out and abruptly, the snow stopped, the clouds parted and the sun came out. It was almost miraculous.

There is snow piled up appropriately. But they won’t be collecting it. It will have to melt from where it has fallen.

I have spent the better part of the weekend in my warm bed, in between my routine comings and goings. I can only sit here typing or surfing on the box for so long before I want to pull my hair out. When I finish surfing all my assorted sites and whatnot, I complete a circuit.

And I am done for that period.

And usually, when I have time on my hands, I turn the box off and nap. I’m not really interested in television, even that gets boring. I mean how many episodes of Chopped can you watch in one weekend. And how many hours can you spend watching the hunt for Flight 370? We watch certain shows ad infinitem:

  • Chopped (U.S. and Canada)
  • Ancient Aliens
  • MSNBC news (the only news channel that is on daily)
  • CTV National News
  • The Universe
  • Nat Geo
  • AHC (Amercan Heroes Channel)
  • Deadliest Catch – New Season April 22nd YAY !!!

Like the box, I get fed up with tv as well. And I make good use of my pillows.

I was off on time, I had to stall because my coffee mate was coming late, and I had a stop to make on the way out, which brought me up to the church about 5 and I set up the room, but left the coffee open for her to do when she got there.

We sat a full room. The last regular meeting of the month, and we finished up reading: “It might have been worse” from the Big Book.

After reading this story I thought that everyone who comes in should read this story from the back of the book, because it outlines so much information and answers many questions and refutes all the excuses we use to believe that we don’t really have a problem and it isn’t that bad, and I did not loose everything before walking in here …

It speaks about what the program doesn’t do, and in the end it comes down to Step One … “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

He goes on to say at the end of his story: “When I joined A.A., I did so for the sole purpose of getting sober and staying sober. I didn’t realize that I would find so much more …”

With the room filled with folks with varying time some with days, some with hours, some with years and some with decades, we ran the table with reflection of why we were in the room tonight.

When I came back, my slip had gotten worse, and I almost did not survive, save for the angel who saved me. In the end I knew I was coming to the end of the drink for me, and the only way I knew to stay stopped was in the room. Which is where I ended up and where I stayed.

THE STAY IS TERRIBLY IMPORTANT !!!

A while back I went through a personal crisis in my program, because I was seeing the women pound the book and they loved hard and studied hard and they passed it on and reaped the rewards of sobriety. I wanted that too, but the men just don’t do it that way, so I thought. It took me a long time to find the vein. And I did find it in my sponsor.

I am accountable to him every day. I call every day. I am working my steps and I am giving back and participating in my sobriety. And in terms of working with others, I have realized that (only recently) that I am engaged to the top and opportunity has presented itself to work with a sponsee who took on a new sponsee and we are three generations in now.

And that was only possible because I am connected in a way that I had not been for a long time. What I receive I can give away confidently.

Freely !

We have come full circle. Another great night.

More to come, stay tuned …


Passports, Paperwork and Pigeons Oh My !!!

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It was a beautiful day today. But for every good day, we must deal with at least two days of winter to follow, as has been the case. A winter storm warning is up and they say that 15 to 20 cm of snow will fall tomorrow.

God Help Us All …

I was up with the birdies this morning. After staying up well past a decent bed time, damn those books … But it is so good !!!

I was off to the Government Offices here in the city to hand in and pay for my passport. I was very pleased, it took all of 30 minutes and I was out of there. Hit to Pocket $120.00 CAD for a 5 year passport.

I dropped off some paperwork for hubby in the same building. I was out of the building close to 10 a.m. with the whole day ahead of me.

My sponsor is very excited that we will be able to attend together The Mad River Barn Sober Retreat in May. A weekend workshop of speakers, steps and fellowship. This will be my first trip out of the country since my honeymoon in 2004.

It was a great night to be out and about. We hit the Friday meeting as usual, and we talked about “Companions.”

It was a good thing that the right people appeared in my life when they did, because they made a huge difference in who I am today. You could not buy the support we get in these rooms in the real world.

If you need help in today’s world, you better have the bucks to pay up forwards, sadly, folks who need real help can’t get it because they can’t afford it, or even sadder, the lack of resources is a serious problem all over the place, not only here in Canada.

But we do what we can for each other. We do our best.

I picked up a new pigeon today.

Very grateful to be of service.

All is well in the world.

More to come, stay tuned…


Thursday … Solutions

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Courtesy: Lovepainandhope

It has been grey and dreary the past couple of days. Supposedly, we were supposed to get a major snowfall, and warnings went up. There is no new snow on the ground. We are sitting in that tremulous place between cold enough for snow, and too warm for snow. It was a bit wet and rainy, meaning we are on the warm side, but flakes fell tonight, I don’t think it is cold enough to support any great snowfall. Temps are moderating over the next few days.

People are fed up of winter and want it to end, now.

Hopefully the planet may begin it’s tilt towards the sun and Spring will get here. None too soon.

Good things are happening in the neighborhood. Work continues on the Sports Bar/Resto. The grand opening of the entire restaurant is the beginning of April. Our Building management is in redecorate mode. They have been spackling and painting, today I learned that they are pulling up all the carpet and putting new carpet down. All the apartment doors will be painted (correctly) this time around.

The last time they painted them, the doors were closed, so there is a trim of other color where the door meets the jam. This time they are painting the doors (open) so that the entire door gets new paint. It’s a little (read: pain in the ass) because of security. We will manage.

Our good rent increases are going to sprucing up the building, at least our money is going towards home and not the pockets of management.

I got an early start today. We have to make a trip to the Canadian Government Service office just up the road tomorrow, to file some paperwork for hubby and to get my passport application in the works.

I arrived at the church early and set up was quick and painless, I wanted some time to read my book “The Borgia Betrayal.” A good 15th century papal thriller, another book from my patron of good books, we are on a theme lately.

We sat a humble group. And we read from Chapter 2 of the Big Book, “There is a solution.”

Our young people are in bad shape for one reason or another. This winter needs to end, and the sooner term ends in university the better. We are in support mode.

All we can do is stand with our guys and do what we can to ease the Dis-Ease that pervades them.

It was a good night.

More to come, stay tuned …


Tuesday … Happiness Comes Slowly

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Courtesy: Benc0bane

Spring is 2 days away. Yet, Winter and Mother Nature are dug in for the long haul. We had a beautiful, sunny day today. But as usual, good days are usually followed by grey and wintry. Wednesday is going to bring 10 to 15 cm of snow, AGAIN !!! And more snow will fall on Thursday, which probably means that it will be another noisy weekend.

Yesterday I got coin for laundry, which meant I had thought to do laundry today, but I took a page out of a friend’s playbook today, and when I finally decided to roll over and get out of bed, it was after 2 in the afternoon.

So much for plans …

I should enlist hubby to do chores since he is home during the day. There are bottles to go to recycling and things to be done around the apartment.

I left early because I was ready early. The trains were all running on time and I made my bus on the other end nicely. They are doing a lot of work at the church still, as the room was a mess, and there is crap set all over the place, so I had to clean up to host the meeting, and shortly thereafter, my coffee mate showed up.

We sat a small group. Mostly members of the group. The reading came from the Daily Reflections and: “Happiness comes slowly.”

“… happiness isn’t something I can “demand.” It comes upon me quietly, while I serve others.”

The reading in it’s entirety, from January 17th … Speaks about extending ones hand to a newcomer and the happiness and gratitude that comes when we help another human being.

Which got me to thinking about when I returned the second time. I really wasn’t thinking about what I could get, firstly, the thought I think was, I could no longer drink, and the only place I knew that I could get help with that was in the rooms, and God provided that way back.

I was pretty well shot. Coming back in to the city where I had been sober, and being found out, (read: my return) would eventually get around, and I would have to face the friends I left in haste when I went back, and had to deal with those feelings, and the looks from my fellows …

Eventually that took place.

I spent the first few months drinking in everything around me. Listening to speakers, sharing at discussion meetings, outings and meals with my friends. It was stability that came first off.

God had prepared the way for me, of what was going to happen next. I hold to the belief that the way events took place could only have been divinely inspired. And I ended up here.

That is when my thinking got a little wonky.

Once I had been here a while and I rooted, my head began to swell. And I started demanding from God. I formed a list of expectations that were well out of my grasp at that time. The old timers kept telling me to “keep coming back” and to “stay in my day.” That took a long time to learn.

It started with arriving early and staying late. Setting up chairs and tables, and making coffee. I did whatever I was told to do. At a point in sobriety, I “Coupled” and that began the building of our home we still have today.

Happiness came. But it did not come over night, but it came, one day at a time, and it still comes at that pace. There may come a time that we say to ourselves that we are not happy with what life has given us and that we want MORE, which, in reality, stems from our alcohol use and the need for MORE.

I’ve learned this past year that sometimes, More is too much. And that I should be happy with what I have, because it took more than twelve years to get here, one day at a time. Today I can be happy with what I have, and that I don’t need or require MORE.

I put my sobriety first, I try to work with others, and reach out.

I am in my steps and in the book.

I am content. And most of my friends are content. We are all learning from each other. Which is humbling.

I got to see my friends. It was a good evening.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Why??? St. Patty’s Day Parade in the Cold

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Courtesy:DyingWon’tKillYou

It is Sunday, and it has come and almost gone.

We are sitting at (-12c/-21 w.c.) at this hour.

Today was a drunks paradise. The annual St. Patty’s Day parade took place earlier today. There was sunshine, and that was the only good thing, because it was COLD ! I could hear the parade from our balcony.

When I departed around 4:30 there were stragglers or hanger’s on in front of the Karaoke Bar and the Sports Depot restaurant on the corner. Leaving our building there were remnants of party goers all over the place, as is usual.

I think the cold played a part in steeling down the crowds, who wouldn’t be hanging around outside for any length of time.

I made good time to the church. Set up was a breeze. I brought out more chairs than we needed, because last week we sat them all and then some. We sat a good crowd, even with the cold. Lots of folks were jittery because of the parade and the swilling of alcohol all over the place.

Our reading tonight is all about the BIG WHY?

“Because I’m Alcoholic.”

Another adventure story about the pitfalls of the drink, when you drink to excess, and life becomes unmanageable. Lots of identifying. I enjoy listening to our young people parse certain readings, because they give us fresh eyes on an old problem.

But then there is the BIG HOW !!!

Another thread that popped up was the “finding who you are when you end the drunken hunt for more, and start working a program of recovery.”

That is a common theme. We move from the sketchy life of illusion and fantasy, when we continue to try and reinvent who we are believing that alcohol is some magic elixir that is going to transform us into someone all brand new, with all the right words, tools and friends, to a sober, one day at a time, self renewal, when the real “US” starts to appear.

There is a zinger line at the end of the story that came as a surprise.

And from one of our women came the one word I can’t get enough of:

STAY …

I’ve said before that when I came in, I hunted, then I rooted, and then I stayed. I had many places to go, but I stayed in One of them. I stayed for all these years. And as happens, some familiar faces show up here and there, folks I watched come in, come to and meet God.

Our young people do not practice stick and stay very well.

Some are over achievers, some are still stuck in old patterns and some haven’t yet decided on where they think they should be. But I see signs that some are settling down and return to the same spaces for the past few weeks.

Just so you know, for all you over achievers … and workaholics …

Even God took a Day Off …

The other night I was at my Friday meeting and a friend was there, hiding in the back row, with a highlighter in one hand, a book in the other and his phone in his lap. And I said to him … “this hour is about you, and not about homework, take an hour off and relax…” And his reply was that he couldn’t, that he had too much to do …

That seems to be a common response from many of our young people. They are mired down in books, papers and due dates. And that combination is driving many of them stark raving mad. And this will continue well into April when term ends.

Me thinks that many of them bit off a bit more than they could chew when it comes to school and work and trying to make it all work, inside of 24 hours, and they are multitasking in meetings, which is a shame.

They should be able to put down the phone for an hour and suspend the highlighter just as well.

At least everyone is alive and well, and most importantly, Sober …

Our young people stayed close and made it through the day today.

A moment of gratitude.

Tonight my sponsor took his 30 year chip along with another fellow that came into town with his wife from Nova Scotia.

It was a good night.

More to come, stay tuned …


Some Days I Feel like This …

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There are some days, like today, where this image is appropriate.

One day the sun comes out, the next, it is shrouded in cloud.

One day it is cold, the next a bit warmer, and tonight going into tomorrow calls for rain, only for 12 to 20 hours we will rise above zero, enough to give us rain, then it is back down into minuses.

More snow will fall the middle of next week.

I got up early today after having a dream about Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. It was a sweet dream, in the dream we were very close.

Then I woke up … I hate when that happens !!!

Hubby has left the job that was such a godsend, and paid the bills, because not all political aspirations can succeed. So he is home with me during the day, and I am getting used to him being here when I have my daily routine and ritual. Now that has to run with him present.

I am two steps away from completing my passport application. One, I need photos and Two, I see my guarantor on Monday for lunch.

Had my old passport NOT been so expired more than a year, I could have used the One Click form which was much easier to complete. I had to use the old method, the one where you have to jump through several circus hoops and get all kinds of signatures and legal proof of cit and recommendations and a legal guarantor.

The ease of which this has come to completion is a reminder that on any given day, I get what I need. And that I have all the people I need in my life. My cup is filled.

Tonight I purposely left later than usual, because of the fact that particular people are setting up, that I try not to interact with. But from point to point took 40 minutes. I arrived first, besides the set up guy.

He was almost finished. And we had 45 minutes to wait for the meeting to start. It is a good thing that my sponsor tells me to be kind and to be wary and to do the right thing in all situations. It was not as intense as I was fearing. Since I held out my hand it was empowering and kindness in action.

Today’s Topic, “Daily Acceptance.”

I cannot blame anyone else for the fact that I am an alcoholic. I don’t ever remember pouring liquor down my throat in an act of defiance or anger.

The old adage …”You hurt me so I’ll show you, I’ll hurt me!”

In the end my drinking was all self centered. All I cared about were the magical qualities that the drink was supposed to give me, but didn’t. It wasn’t about others, it was all about me.

On a daily basis, we have a daily reprieve, based on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake, so why tonight, am I sitting in the pity pot bemoaning what I don’t have?

One of my friends sitting next to me tonight, after I spoke, tilted his head over towards me and said “well, in this case the word is Fuck them.”

Succinct.

Blood is not thicker than water.

Sometimes we must build the family we need.

And in the rooms, as well as my tight social circle, I have everyone I need.

There is that small space in my heart that breaks because there are living human beings in this world bound by blood, who want nothing to do with me. And like a good alcoholic, I want to make it all better. And no amount of words or energy I put into these thoughts, is wasted time and energy.

Determining long ago that I would never become my father, or treat people the way he did all the time I was growing up, All those folks he alienated, I worked so hard at making it better behind his back.

I have those people in my life, who are active and supportive.

How can one live with themselves knowing that you hate so deeply?

I just cannot understand, 46 years now, and I still don’t get it.

I may ask the questions of God, and to this day he is mum, on the subject.

So my friends are right – Fuck Them.

It was a very quick ride home. The bus came right away, the trains came one after another, and in a flash I was back in my burg.

I got to see my friends. What a blessing.

I have everything that I need. So some gratitude.

I don’t need anything more than what I have in my yard.

Life is good.

More to come, stay tuned …

 


Keepers of the Faith

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Courtesy: Ash (special archives)

It snowed last night. They call it a “freak” snowstorm that came from the U.S. It was a good dusting. There are piles of snow in all the correct pile up zones, that will facilitate snow removal eventually, but not a “we need this snow gone now, because there is too much of it” kind of way. A little snow will fall again tomorrow, then freakishly it will warm up and there is actually “rain” in the forecast for Saturday.

Friday – well it is Friday in Australia, the Queen Mary 2 visited Sydney Harbor, Australia. And one of my blogger/twitter friends is visiting Sydney for his birthday, (which is Friday the 14th) I tweeted him this info so that he and his mom can go see her. I watched her sail into the harbor before sunrise (Sydney time).

The sun came out today melting low snow spots. Funny that depending on what side of the wind you were on, there is snow piled up. But in other places, there is no snow accumulation. Case in point …

I walked through the tunnel to the church as I usually do. I arrived at the church and the walkway had been cleared all the way down to the asphalt. It looked like someone had shoveled the snow before I got there.

After set up I went back outside and noticed that parts of the yard out front were free of fresh snowfall. The last remains of snow and ice that fell some time ago and turned to ice, was open to the air. Yet there was snow piled up in other areas and not uniformly across the yard.

Meaning the wind blew snow off the lawn and into piles against the church building. There was plowed snow on the street, Westmount has their own snow plows, they don’t rely on the city plows.

I settled in to wait for the guys to show up. We were a small group tonight, we were missing some folks. But the time was well spent for those who did show up.

We read from “Came to Believe,” the red book. There are two red books, one is a step work booklet, the other is larger (the Came to Believe).

Fortuitously, we read about Step 3 … “What? I don’t Know…”

Fortuitous because this week I am working on my Step Three homework, I have two weeks to finish it. Within that homework, I must memorize the Third Step Prayer … I should already know it, I know pieces of it, I just have to put those pieces together, because at some point, my sponsor and I will recite that prayer together as part of my step work.

I am working on my passport application in the coming days so I can get it into Passports Canada for my trip to Vermont in May for a weekend workshop.

When one speaks about Step Three, it is a foregone conclusion that yes, we are going to talk about God. OR a God of our understanding. For all the people in the room, on any given night, there is a concept of a power greater than ourselves.

For a long time, I knew who God was. I am alive, still, which means there is a God. Because had I not had faith, at the right time, I am sure I would have died, long ago. It was at the time that God made manifest to me in the guise of the man who saved my life.

I’ve told that story over and over.

“Coming to” a second time, things were different. I rooted in one specific hall, that we still use to this day. I’ve gone to many meetings over the last twelve years and a few months. But many folks, prefer this one particular room. (The Hall at St. Leon’s Church) Westmount.

Arriving at the hall is a grand church built in the 1900’s. There are the requisite or fortuitous 12 steps (down) into the hall. There are actually 12 steps. And you arrive at the receiving area into the main hall. Where for a good 60 plus years, there has been a meeting in that hall.

I learned about spiritual experience here. I learned about people in that room. I built theories to explain what happens to people who make that 12 step journey, day in day out, month in and month out, year in and year out.

You learn a wealth of sobriety coming to the same room over a long period of time. Hundreds if not thousands of people come through those doors in any given year. And if they keep coming back, and you keep coming back, eventually God is going to show up.

I’ve seen God.

I’ve seen Him come into a room, sit down, and learn. And at some point, as is the usual case, He makes himself known to me, I can only speak for myself. That happens when someone new comes in for the first time, and over the next days, months and years, they come to learn about that Power greater than themselves.

And eventually, they themselves have a spiritual experience.

When after days, months and years, their inner light begins to flicker, then it begins to burn. That light rises from the heart and body, into the brain and rises above. I’ve seen it happen a few times, when the light goes on in the tower and they see God themselves.

That for me is God. Right there in that specific moment.

God manifests himself.

It may be a trick of light, or I can call it miracle. I’ve seen God’s light shine in that room. I’ve always said that God prefers that room, because He visits that room on the odd occasion.

You just have to be in the moment.

You may also hear God speak at a given meeting. You never know when you sit down with something heavy on your heart, and someone speaks from their heart, and in that moment, as if on cue … God whispers.

You can be a stone cold Atheist, or Agnostic, or someone who just doesn’t know who or what God is. Eventually, the spirit moves, and from every walk of life and way of life, a Power Greater than ourselves becomes known. You may not or you may never call it God.

So let’s call it Spirit. Let’s call it the people.
Let’s call it a Group of Drunks.

Whatever you call it, make it your own. In your own time, in your own way. It is a blessing to have my friends around me on any given night. They have made me who I am today.

And for that I am grateful.

Spring is just days away now. Let us hope for an end to this long suffering Winter.

More to come, stay tuned …

 

 

 


Facing the Music

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Courtesy: Hotfreshandcute

It was another beautiful day, but this is the calm before the real storm.

We are under a Winter Storm Warning tonight. Snow will come down and quite possibly, when all is said and done, 20 cm of snow should fall. Which means snarled travels, and snow removing operations will be needed come the weekend.

I did some last minute shopping on the way home so I do not have to go out of the house tomorrow. I won’t have to go out until Thursday.

I set out this evening and the trains were all working quite well. The sun has been shining and with the new windows in the space we are in, we get the evening sun set.

It was a small crowd and we read from A.B.S.I. – Facing the Music.

“Are you really placing recovery first, or are you making it contingent upon other people, places or circumstances?”

Shares were all over the place on this one. The passage talks about making right decisions and facing the music right where we are and utilizing the program to do these things.

There really was no music to face, except that I could not drink any more, after coming to that conclusion this last time. There was no loss nor people to make amends to or issues that were outstanding.

I had 4 months of decompression and time in the program again prior to moving here. And Like I’ve said already, I hope I don’t have to take another drink, again … One day at a time.

Priorities…

Sobriety comes first, no matter what, why or who.

I learned that lesson when I came here. I rooted and got active. And I’ve maintained my sober routine for a long time now. It seems to work for me. Before I make a decision, I run it past someone, hubby or my sponsor. If I need anything, I take that need to a meeting.

I was given a fridge magnet some time ago that says:

“I Always do the right thing, after I’ve tried everything else.”

That keeps me mindful of not wasting the right decision. Not wasting my time circling the drain. Just do it the right way the first time.

I completed my Step 2 tonight. It is a step that can be utilized in many areas of life, not only sobriety.

Keep it simple. Don’t drink today, call your sponsor and get to a meeting. If you do these things, one day at a time, you won’t ever have to drink again.

Step 2 – practice … Speak to another alcoholic. I did that tonight.

The storm is coming, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Crossing the River of Denial

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Courtesy:Everythingsmagic

What a difference a day makes …

Today was beautiful. The sun was shining, the air was warmer than it has been, and many folks commented on just how much a difference a day’s worth of sun meant to them.

We lost an hour last night. I was sitting here doing stuff about 1:30 a.m. this morning, and by the time I was finished 2 a.m. turned into 3 a.m. I crawled into bed with my snacks and settled into the book I had to finish, and the next time I looked at the clock it was already 4:30 a.m. That really knocked me … so I turned the light off and went to bed.

I was up and ready to go early, and I left a few minutes early, and I did not hear from my “second” prior to the meeting and so I put up the coffee pot and finished setting up and she turned up a few minutes later. There is a missing lag of ten minutes where you can be really early, or a little late.

Today I was a little early …

Our matron was MIA and I got a call shortly after finishing asking me to chair tonight. And it was a bumper crop. We filled every chair set out. Just to the brim but not a drop over. We are working our way through the back of the book. Tonight’s read: “Crossing the river of denial.”

Growing up in a family with alcoholics, true blooded alcoholics, was a challenge. Knowing that fact, and coming to learn that we never spoke about it, nor ever said the word alcoholic, made it acceptable. Sort of.

Was that denial ? The fact that nobody ever pegged one another as having a problem? I guess it was.

Coming out of the nest, nobody said those words to me either. But I had a problem, and when I got caught, so to speak, nobody said that word.

I don’t remember ever coming to the point that I denied I had a problem. I guess if you don’t say the word, and you keep going, it isn’t a problem. I never denied the problem. But I kept on going.

Denial is not a word I have used. Reading this story … if you read along with me, our girl gets herself into many scrapes with the law. And the drink was always someone else’s problem. I could never blame anyone else for my drinking. I was the one pouring it down my throat.

But as a young person I remember my mother’s words, like yesterday, when she told me that “I’d better never get arrested, because I would be on my own.”

That stuck in my head and somewhat moderated my drinking. I only got stopped once at a check point. I lied my way out of that one, thank god.

During my slip, I came in contact with the police much more often due to the fact that a second person was always in trouble and they always came after him and not me. I was very very lucky. And thankful.

Once our girl made it in, she did what she was told. And never drank again. I came in the second time, I did what I was told, and I hope that I never have to drink again. One day at a time…

I’ve been thinking about certain folks I haven’t seen in a while. Many of them travel in the same groups. Tonight they all showed up. They say be careful what you pray for. I pray for people, and god sends them to me at a meeting.

I got a meeting in, I did some service. I need to work on my Step 2 and get that completed for Tuesday.

A beautiful day ends in a beautiful night. There is snow in the forecast. I guess today was a fluke. But a good fluke at that.

More to come, stay tuned …


Facing Down Ones Demons

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Courtesy: Korybalski

The week comes to a close. It is warming up, well, warmer than it has been in as many days. Looks like we may get some snow in the coming days as well. But nightly lows are warmer than they have been.

Last night I spent a good three hours reading “Innocent Blood,” Writers take artistic license with story telling, I believe it is a stretch for one of the story arcs but we will see where that goes tonight.

I was up and ready to go for an early departure. I usually get to the hall early, and it was a very tense situation when I got there tonight. I spoke some time ago about toxic people and the fact that one is present in the meeting on Friday nights. He had the key and for a bit we were alone in the hall, and so I bit the bullet and approached and just extended my hand to him and he shook it, and it seemed that what was done was done and that was then and this is now.

I feel relieved…

It was a full group that split into two for discussion and the topic from A.B.S.I was about anonymity.

They say that “if what you hear here can help someone in their sobriety, then by all means use it, but leave the names and personal details here.”

I don’t have a problem with folks knowing especially on my personal social media locations. All of mine are interlinked so if I say something one place, it appears on several sites at the same time.

The friends I have on Facebook, many of them are sober. It is an understanding we have with each other that we support and encourage each other on special days and on difficult days.

As long as I keep certain details out of my posts, I am not breaking anyone’s anonymity. You get the story about the day and that particular meeting. Because you never know when you might share something that might make a difference in someone’s day.

I claim my seat at a meeting and I maintain that seat. I have one at several meetings. And it is from that seat that I might share on any given  night, and one day, some one might need to hear what I have to say, which is why I stress the importance of finding a seat and learning to love it, because from there you could do great things.

Just as well, this is my space, my seat, so to speak. These words appear several places once I push the publish button. So my friends know who I am and what I am about.

I support my friends and my community. It’s no big secret.

I do what I can for the greater good.

It was a good night. I am much calmer now that I’ve broken the ice.

More to come, stay tuned …


Conceding to Our Inner Most Selves …

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Courtesy:Curveoftheearth (Special Archives)

Another week is drawing to a close. The theme of cold persists. Temps are moderating, and will rise in the next week. We are still in minus digit territory tonight.

It was a normal Thursday. We begin step 2 this weekend.

I was up early today to do some safari. I departed early to make some stops at the mall on the way out, and I was at the church earlier than I expected, so I had time to set up and read some more of my book “The Samaritan Secret.”

I was very pleased when my friend Danny showed up and had the next Installment of the Blood Gospel series. If you enjoy a good religious, supernatural, archeological story, then The Blood Gospel is a good choice, written by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell. The second book in the series is called Innocent Blood. We got a copy last week and it is being passed around, and I have it now.

We sat a small group. Many of our guys were absent. We read from the Big Book and the opening salvo from More About Alcoholism. The first few paragraphs of the read could be substituted for How It Works.

“Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove that we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.”

In working the First Step right from the book, we come to the point that we have to make that concession that indeed, we could not drink like normal people. That we indeed had to admit that we could not just have one, therefore MORE. And that the only cure for our problem has to be complete abstinence from alcohol.

Because in the end we are led to the point of pitiful, and incomprehensible demoralization.

Been there, done that.

It is sad because we learned this past week that a friend I grew up with lost her husband to the disease of alcohol and Bi-polar disorder. We are all mourning with her. Sadly her husband did not find the cure, and it took him to his grave. Like we need reminders of the severity of addiction to alcohol and the scourge of mental illness, that, when combined are disastrous.

In working my steps with my sponsor, the last portion of the homework last week asked us to commit to paper our bottoms. I had two.

And from the reading tonight, I thought more about my last one. I would walk into the bar on a Saturday night with a lump of cash. There would be an hours worth of drinking before they opened the main hall, giving the crowd a head start on the first buzz.

At midnight the hall would open and the music would start. We would all, well, I would maintain my composure until the 1 a.m. bell that would always mark the beginning of stage two for the night. They would blast the dance floor with Cold Gas and the music would pound.

I imagine that by 1 a.m. I had drank several drinks. And somewhere nearby the bartender I knew would serve me up to a point. That’s where things get fuzzy. I imagine that eventually he cut me off. And I ended up on the doorstep in a haze. And some lucky person poured me into a cab and either myself or someone else told that cabbie where to go.

Because I always ended up at home in one piece. I probably knew how to get home, even in a blackout. I know that at some point towards the end I knew I was licked. I watched a lot of Oprah at work and was coming to the point where I said that first prayer, then the second and the third.

The alcoholic I really needed made himself known to me, and I believe that that interaction was divinely inspired.

I could not have pulled off that little miracle on my own, nor would I have known where to find someone who had put down the drink and was standing in my shop on the day I admitted my problem to him.

All those illusions and delusions had to be smashed. The alcohol was not going to make me younger or prettier. It wasn’t going to magically turn me into one of “them.” And I was done. I never thought about others, nor that one would ever be enough, because when I drank it was for MORE.

That is a constant theme … MORE !!!

We had to conceded to our innermost selves…

I knew I was done, and today I know that I can never go there again.

Mother Teresa says to a member I am familiar with that
“You must protect this special gift.”

Once you cross that invisible line, and many don’t see it, but you just know that at some point, you may cross it, and from that standpoint, there is no turning back, you either sink into the pit, or you stop digging and work your way back out.

You reach your bottom, when you stop digging.

We mourn the loss of our man, and we pray for his family.

May he be a reminder of just how perilous this life can get.

Eternal rest grant him and may perpetual light shine upon him.

More to come, stay tuned …