Some people will say that Facebook is so wonderful because it connects you to people and gives you something to obsess over every day. I would add that Facebook is a double edged sword that on one hand brings me my family of choice, whom I adore.
On the other hand it opens up a can of worms that I’d rather not entertain, but I have a very sick perverse need to make a statement and get a rise out of certain people, because you know what, I am worth respect and dignity. I’ve earned it.
And some people, think I am unworthy and that I should be kept in the dark as a punishment for my choices, all of which were made because of certain people in my life, at that time.
They are the reason I became who I am today.
Hating someone because of their sexual orientation is so 1990 ! Hating someone because they made a decision to make important life decisions to stay alive, housed and fed is just so fucking selfish. I made selfish choices because they had to be made, because my life was on the line. And I wanted to live and live well, not die in a hole by myself.
Parents have children to raise them into well rounded adults who can go out into the world and make something of themselves AND when we grow up, aren’t parents supposed to be supportive and respectful of the choices we made as adults ???
Somewhere along my journey, my life became unimportant therefore, irrelevant of notice and should be scorned to the N’th degree.
To put it mildly, I would like nothing better than to become a battering ram and explode like a motherfucking bomb on certain people.
I live. I Lived. I survived.
I earned a place in this world, and no matter what you may think of me,
And they say that “what people think of me is none of my business.” I grapple with that.
I’ve earned respect, dignity and love.
It is obvious to me that certain people didn’t get that memo. And at this stage of the game at 47 years old, I want to sit on my soapbox, grind my teeth and become a very petulant faggot who is stark raving mad at injustice and ignorance.
I learned how to be petulant and sit on my soapbox when I was diagnosed with AIDS. That anger paid off when I needed it. Because when life depends on the responsibility of others to do a job, (well) that you must rely on for survival and they fail to perform said job well, becoming a cast iron bitch really pays off.
I’ve not forgotten how to be a cast iron bitch.
But they say that “Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men, that an alcoholic cannot afford.”
And on my birthday, at my Men’s Home Group this evening, we talked about anger and resentments from Living Sober.
I’ve learned in the past few years that I am a very nostalgic Queer man. In many ways.
I wax nostalgic about the past. I long for a specific period of my life to repeat itself, with all the people I knew in that life to be alive as well, knowing full well that we cannot go backwards, and the best of times and the worst of times was really, the best years of my life so far. In a way.
I have spent the last few years collecting things from my past. Photographs, memories, music, so forth and so on. The few family members who are active in my life and who love me for who I am have done wonders to help me with those collections.
I am also a very nostalgic alcoholic. Sickly and perversely,
I hold on to old anger and resentment, but they reside in a specific part of my brain, and only when poked at with a stick do I go there. Facebook gives me that stick to poke them with.
It fucks with my brain, my emotions and my sanity.
I think unclean thoughts. I think up old memories and I long to get up, get angry and become a petulant queer just to fuck with them because of the terrible way they have treated me for decades. I go places in my brain that mere mortals should stay away from. My brain is a location that without proper gear and a hard hat and safety goggles, that one should stay out of. Because I can become spiteful and nasty in a moments notice, Zero to Sixty in 2.0 seconds …
No Very Sober At All …
Wonder, I can be safely sane and spit venom from the other side of my mouth all at the same time. I learned this ability from the right people, who do this to me today.
I’ve learned a great deal about wisdom in my growing age. It began when I turned 40. It has been a long journey of learning certain wisdom, because I have enough years behind me to know for sure that I was there, then, and I learned something, and now I have certain hindsight to know wisdom, for sure. One of my guys asked me tonight what did I learn at 47?
I did not have an answer for him, wisdom usually comes after. Not before. And maybe this tirade of injustice will bear fruit and teach me some wisdom? This is how I am feeling at the moment, it is good that I have the ability to be honest and write it all out so that when I speak to my sponsor tomorrow, I can tell him what I said tonight and what happened and why.
Marines are supposed to be Tough. Strong. Honorable. Honest.
Sadly. there is one particular U.S. Marine who is a coward.
It is sad in today’s day and age that people can punish other people, family and ignore them like they do not exist. That we are unimportant. That we don’t matter.
Queer does that to you.
Hate does that to you.
Ignorance does that to you.
AIDS does that to you.
I get to sit here and pound my fist and make my mark in the world. Because if I don’t, who will?
And is it important in the end? They say you can’t get sober and keep ones ego, and that it isn’t all about me, and that I am not really all that important. And that I should accept where I am and thank heaven that I am alive and be grateful for God’s mercy and kindness and love.
It ain’t very sober but I still make the statement … Don’t you know who I am ???
Don’t you want to know, aren’t you curious? More than a decade has passed and I went on with my life despite your hatred and ignorance. Now I want to swing and scream in your face and provoke you to notice me and for once in my life, respect me. Acknowledge me …
That’s all I got. I am spent. Time for dinner.
More to come, stay tuned …
Today is my birthday. Last night I got an odd call from my aunt. Strange that she called because we usually speak on Facebook. Nonetheless, she called, and I figured there was a reason for the call, hoping that she had something to give me, and she did.
It seems my estranged father is on Facebook. He had sent my cousin a friend request, which she denied, and so I sent my father one right then and there. My brother is also on Facebook as well, but he has blocked me. So I looked him up while we were talking and started a short conversation with him. I invited him to friend up, and also to come by here and look me up and also sent him my mobile number to see if he would “man up” and call and speak to me in real time.
Today I am 47 years old. And in a maudlin kind of way, I am reflective. I am currently re-reading Halfway Home by the late Paul Monette, who died of AIDS around the time I was diagnosed in 1994.
I wonder if certain people wonder who I am today, and what I have done with my life and how I have chosen to live that life? And I wonder, does it really matter? Yes, it does. For the one fact that I survived a dreadful disease and I lived and that alone should be a point of respect. I have dignity, a life and I live it fully.
I have been sober now almost 13 years. The running joke is that if I lived to see another birthday, I would live to see the next Christmas. So I made it to my birthday today, so I will make it to Christmas.
So many years have gone by for old resentments and anger to fester any longer. I am too old and sober to remain angry and resentful. And I expect that others should be grown up enough to accept life on life’s terms and come to the table, like sane adults.
I matter. I lived. I am alive. I have earned my place in this world. I have earned the respect of my friends and my peers. And I have earned the love of a good man who cares about me and my life, and cares for me like no other has or had.
You just don’t know what years of silence does to someone.You just shut someones light off and plunge them into darkness, it is cruel and unjust. And you should be ashamed of yourself.
Here I am, take it or leave it. This is who I am.
Good and bad.
I lived, God Dammit. Respect !!! You owe me that much. That I lived…
Remember this man, your father Al?
Me at Aunt Paula’s
Memere on Nordic Empress with me
It was an interesting night last night (Wednesday). I found my father on Facebook and sent him several messages. I also sent him the link to this blog, so I thought I’d post some pictures in case he got lost, to remind him who he is and who I am today, and who is most important to me.
Courtesy: Sweet soles
Mother Nature is in a tug of war at this hour. The clouds moved in today and attempted to drop rain on us earlier, i felt a few drops and that was it. I figured the skies would open during the meeting and soak us. That did not happen. But it is dark and foreboding at this hour. It’s not a question of if it will rain, but when at this point.
If I were still drinking we would be amid the great countdown to the birthday, which is on Thursday this year. The drinking party would have begun on the seventh day out and we would party every day ending with a grand slam drinking event that always took place on the birthday.
Thank God I am no longer drinking. And that I have never had a drink here.
I spent the afternoon with my sponsor going over the shift that is taking place in my brain and got his advice on what I should be doing, what is my responsibility and what is not. Marriage is work, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Knowing what to do, how to do it, when to do it and when not to do it … Learning careful and thoughtful ways of speaking … and how two people relate to each other, in the many ways possible. We even had “THAT” conversation.
You know, “That” conversation …
The most intimate way two people communicate.
So that was a thing.
I arrived at the church a half hour early because we were just up the road at Second Cup, and i cranked some tunes and cranked out set up. My coffee gal showed up and we made coffee and sat and talked for a while. She was also chairing tonight, which was a tradition meeting.
7th month, 7th Tradition … Money !
“Every A.A. group should be self supporting declining outside contributions.”
They had a tough time with this one, back in the day. But wisdom spoke when the fellowship decided to decline outside contributions because … “Whoever pays the piper is apt to call the tune.”
We need money to keep a group open. It costs a pretty penny to open a meeting in today’s day and age. Among five original members, our Thursday night meeting just makes rent on a monthly basis, because we cover whatever we are short at the end of the month. We haven’t been able to raise prudent reserve yet, a year later.
Then one factors in a coffee pot, literature, supplies, cups, coffee and a cabinet to put your stuff in AND then pay rent on a monthly basis.
I was told wisely, when we opened that “if the group is meant to be, God will make it so, and so far He has. Larger groups make more cash on a weekly basis and keep a prudent reserve and covers all their operating expenses. It is vitally important that we keep the doors open because you never know who is going to show up on any given night.
If I calculated how much money I wasted on alcohol, I try to put money in the kitty when I can.
Then the entire question of financial security came up. Many struggle with this issue, and so keeping the doors open is an imperative. It is suggested that at home, one should have a prudent reserve of three months salary in the bank, in case of emergencies …
We’ve never been able to do that, as of yet.
Money makes the world go round, and is one major cause of all marital discord, along with sex, secrets and infidelity.
It was a short discussion tonight, lots of passes. I had expected a larger crowd, but we were happy with who showed up. We are set for jobs next month.
It was a good night overall.
More to come, stay tuned …
Hello, My name is Jeremy and I am a Tired Old Queen !!! 40 is the new 30, and in a few days I will celebrate my 47th birthday. I survived AIDS and I am in a place I never imagined or dreamed of. I am in new territory and I don’t quite know what to do with myself these days, so we are figuring it out “on the fly!” by the seat of my pants… just the way I like it …
July 24 2014
The hookup atmosphere in nightlife may have died off, but now there’s room on the dance floor for an older generation. And you don’t even have to know who Liza is to have a good time with them. (But look up Liza, by the way.)
One night, at a nightclub where I was extremely popular, I tried to get into a VIP section, thinking it would be a piece of cake, as usual. But there was a new, 20-ish guy guarding the rope there and he was quite open about not wanting to let me in. As I walked away in dejection, I heard the guy mutter to a friend, “Tired old queen!” I was so horrified I nearly fell over and reached my inevitable death state. I was 29 years old — hardly ready for the glue factory yet. But in the gay club world, where aging seems to be particularly abhorred, I was already heading toward an AARP-like milestone and clearly not eligible for VIP status anymore.
And that was nearly three decades ago! By now, I should be a “tired old queen” times 1,000. I should be shipped directly to the Elmer’s factory on a no-return basis. I’m a walking billboard for the “It Gets Older” campaign, and someone young clubbies probably need to avoid, since older people are generally a reminder of mortality, not something anyone wants to think about when they’re drinking, dancing, and enjoying their own freshness.
But fortunately for mankind, it hasn’t worked out that way. I happen to have good genes, so I look younger than I really am — no, really. Also, all these years of immersing myself in creative scenes and writing about them have given me a certain cachet, so I’ve actually been getting more appreciation than revulsion these days. And I think there’s also been a sea change in the world, a “40 is the new 30” (and so on) feeling that people get better, not older — and gays, as usual, are on top of the trend. As people live longer and garner more visibility for it, there’s not as much ickiness surrounding the fact that they’ve survived. And survived. And survived.
I haven’t had anyone — even club kids — call me a “tired old queen” in years, and I’m thrilled about that. Of course there’s still a downside to being close friends with Father Time: For one thing, you don’t always get offered opportunities because the sense out there is that you’ve shown what you can do and it’s time to let other people try it. But it’s gotten better to be a TOQ, as long as you try to stay relevant without being too needily obvious about it. You need to keep up with the upcoming gays and their references without coming off like grandpa in a scrunchie. It’s important to not lecture too much or offer Sophia Petrillo-like stories of the golden days; they’re boring, even to other old people. (Except for the delightful 29-year-old story that I started this piece with, naturally.) But you also shouldn’t go out of your way to try to sound hip, unless you want to remind people of their grizzled aunt who insists on wearing bikinis by the public pool. In general, oldies should never act like they’re on the same plane as the young, unless they’re Madonna — the only one who can possibly get away with that sort of thing.
Unfortunately, sticking to my aged references may keep me in my comfort zone, but not in others’. Not long ago, I mentioned Liza Minnelli to a 21-year-old woman, who looked as blank as if I’d mentioned Russian composer Alfred Schnittke. She’d never heard of Liza, Cabaret, or even Judy Garland. Granted she wasn’t a gay man, but still, I thought for sure there’d be a little recognition bell ringing, even if just on the order of, “Wasn’t she in the Sex and the City sequel?”
But within the gay world, even preschoolers have heard of Liza, so things are OK. And as gay marriage becomes increasingly prevalent and paves the way for more people looking for partners who’ll love them when they’re old, I think the community will focus less on the vanity, self-consciousness, and fear of aging that has often plagued us in the past. We’re not as shame-based and superficial as we used to be — for the most part — and that carries over into the way we treat other members of the community and, ultimately, ourselves. Meanwhile, my own vanity has prevented me from joining groups like SAGE, which for 46 years has provided valuable support for older LGBTs, because that would be an admission of my wizened state that would be hard to turn back from. (It’s sad, I know, but getting older is complicated.) But I’m still ready to embrace many aspects of being an old gay, as long as my brothers and sisters make room for me and my hanging flesh.
And they have been! Even in bars! These days, the younger gays don’t go clubbing to get picked up — they know they’re going to take care of that via various sites and apps — so the sight of a senior on the dance floor is no longer considered a horrifying cock blocker. More inspiringly, there’s also an open-mindedness about different types of people and their right to coexist, thanks to increased savviness, so the presence of an old queer no longer seems like a visitation from the Ghost of Christmas Future. If anything, the sight of Larry Kramer, Edward Albee, Harvey Fierstein, or maybe even little old me might perk up just about any party.
So when you see me coming, don’t start cringing and yelling “tired old queen!” Don’t even mutter it to your friend. Try instead to think of me as a welcome opportunity for some wit, insight, and Liza talk, as well as a source of information on the more oppressive (yet wilder) days of being gay. We finally woke up and were able to celebrate fat people as “bears,” why not treat older gays as pioneers and wisdom spouters? I won’t go so far as to say “Without me, you’re nothing,” but let’s face it, I definitely helped.
Illustration by Paul Tuller
The shift in light and seasons is being noticed by some folks. I was standing on my balcony the other night, just as the sun was setting on the far side of the mountain and I noticed something I had never seen before. There are a bunch of windmills/turbines on the south shore that one can see from here, miles away, when the sun is right and there is not much haze in the sky. The same goes for the beacon lights at night.
The way that light moves around the west end of the city (where I can see) is quite incredible. For a brief few moments the sunlight wrapped around the west end, around the buildings and the highways and high-lit the turbines in a way I had never seen before. It was a picture perfect view, had I a camera that would shoot that far away. The sunset is different every night, it is never the same light two nights running.
So that is a thing …
It has been an emotional few days and I came up with new insights tonight at the meeting reading Step three with the guys. These are some new insights:
Every once in a while, When God sees fit, I am reminded of the vows I spoke on my wedding day. Usually, when I am not pleased with something, someone or myself, God steps in and points out that “Yes, You indeed spoke those words, need I remind you of them?”
For better – For worse, In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer …
I seem to forget these things when I turn on myself and attempt to wrestle my will back from God. I only get so far, before I fall flat on my face and cry uncle …
We are guilty of improper use of our will.
And once we made that decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God (as we understood Him) can we begin learning the proper use of our will and our lives.
I also did not think about the fact that Acceptance is the key to ALL my problems. Nor, did I stop to recite the serenity prayer like I should have. I am powerless over people, places and things, and that I accepted the life that I am living. I may not like it all the time, and that is ok.
I am only human.
We also learn in Step three that we, men, have problems sitting with silence and we would rather shock ourselves than sit with our feelings and the silence. I felt that as well this week. The silence was deafening. And try as I might, to fill it with something, I failed.
It was funny that I decided to perk less coffee because we always end up throwing some away at the end of the night, tonight we sat a full compliment and ran out of coffee before the meeting even started. That usually never happens. The summer season has brought dozens of visitors from out of town to several meetings that I hit. And they are making it to Thursday’s meeting.
It is said that, “At any given moment during the day, we are right where we need to be and are supposed to be.”
Once again, that word: Acceptance, rises from the book into reality.
All my guys are good. Two out at camp and one here with me. He took his three month chip tonight. It is incredible to see how far he has come in such short of a time.
The best medicine in sobriety is watching someone else get sober, from day one, over time.
To see the evolution of Person, of God and of Prayer and how they all work together.
It was timely that I got the last two weeks to chair, we spent two weeks on steps and next week is my birthday, a business meeting and a tradition.
Tomorrow I get to sit with my sponsor and talk out all this stuff with him. Then the usual Friday meeting and time with one of my guys in from camp. We are a couple of weeks from his departure from the country. The long goodbye continues …
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …
Life is easing up. Things are back on track. as much as they can be. But we are not out of the woods just yet. And I hate feeling like a hostage in my own home, but it is what it is. It took me to get to a meeting and picked a topic that it crystallized for me, just what was going on in my head
… “If Only!”
When I was drinking, that last miserable year 2001, I was deep in denial, and full of excuses and justifications concerning “If Only” and what that would do for me. The story goes, I wanted to retain my youth, (i.e. I feared growing up), I wanted into a specific community, that upon today’s review, I could not keep up with even if I tried.
I could not drink every day, or every night, that was too much, so I ended with the binge. If only I was accepted and made part of, but then I thought tonight, “would that have curbed my drinking or stopped it?” No, it wouldn’t have, because the community I wanted into drank daily. They did high end drugs and drove high end cars and had high end lives that were sunk in a bottle at 5 every evening.
Too much for me.
I got sober, in spite of myself. And in the end I moved away from the drinking. Like when I put down the drugs, I moved away from them, and did not go looking for them again. Likewise, when I moved here, I was sober, I did not have a drinking history here, and I wanted to keep it that way.
I may have put down the drink finally, But I still had me, and my brain. And what was contained between my ears. In early sobriety I started asking questions like, “what if I don’t get this, or don’t have that, or what if I don’t get what I want when I want it …”
That’s popular … What if I don’t get what I want … classic !
I learned how that was going to go down. I can’t say that I liked it then, and I am not saying I like it now, but it is what it is …
I don’t like where I am right now. If only things were a bit different, or our specific situation were different than what it is, if only we had more, more of what is the question?
I don’t know what more looks like, when we struggle just to have something.
And over the weekend, and into last night, I knew I had sunk into the “If Only and the What If’s. And I know when I get to this point, I usually say something wrong, or shoot my mouth off at someone – nobody in particular. And I had to sit with that knowledge until I worked it out and that came this evening.
I may have quit drinking. I surely have not quit thinking. And even though I am sober a while, I still find myself with a thinking problem on the odd occasion.
One of our gals said tonight at the meeting she heard from a speaker that “A.A. you are either ON it or you are IN it. Think of a submarine. When that baby goes down, you don’t want to be On it, you want to be IN it.
There is a solution. I’d rather not live in my problems. Hence, more work.
Nuff said …
Throwback Tuesday …
A long while ago a good friend gave me an I-Tunes gift card. We are a p.c. family. And so we don’t do Apple anything. I tried at one point to make a purchase from U.S. I Tunes, and that did not go well, so I sat on my card until this morning. I downloaded I Tunes for p.c. and searched for the record I had originally wanted to buy, and it was in the Canadian library.
Dionne Warwick, Hot, Live and Otherwise … 15 tracks Live.
I had this double vinyl record when I was a teen-ager. I had an extensive record collection. I tunes is like Christmas morning every day. Amazing what they have on offer. I’ve about filled an 8 g.b. sd card in my phone. I am going to have to delete some shit to make space for the new music I have gotten from that gift card. Boo Yah …
I also got a copy of Juice Newton’s Greatest Hits. She is an odd one. A little pop and a lot of country. She was featured on Solid Gold several times during the 80’s, and Dionne Warwick was a host for a while.One of my friends out in Cali made me a podcast with lots of 80’s music and now I am getting around to finding them on I tunes.
Back when one had a hand held tape recorder with cassette tapes. I would record music from the tv into my tape recorder and listen to it until I could buy a record or two.
Sometimes I had taped entire shows on cassette to play, I went through a had to have it roller skate kind of phase.
Xanadu came to mind the other night because I heard a cut from E.L.O. “All over the World” on a bumper cut on overnight radio. So I had to download the soundtrack and the movie while I was at it. I remember that both my parents got to see this movie, on separate occasions, I got to see it several times overall. “Whenever you’re away from me …”
We are back to Staying in the day. I need to speak to my sponsor sometime soon. He has been busy with family from out of the country. It will all come around.
That’s my snapshot of the day today.
More to come, stay tuned …
The weather as of late has been stellar. This is the kind of weather that we all are saying we could use all the way till Winter. August is just a short ways away, and the weather will begin to transition. You could say that this portion of time coming up is my favorite time of year.
August usually brings with it Hot, Humid and miserably warm days. Finally after years of suffering through this period with just a fan, we have a.c. that is a blessing.
Looking across the country lately, we here in the East have had it good. Fires, floods and storms have been battering the central and western regions of the country. You would have thought that after the brutal winter we had, that life would settle down and be normal. Mother Nature has had other ideas.
It hasn’t been a very easy week. And I pray God that things settle down and we can begin the next chapter of our lives. I am not very happy at all. When hubby lost his job and went on unemployment, the clock started ticking. Unemployment only lasts for so long, and then one is shit out of luck, and you either (1) go on welfare … which we don’t qualify for, or (2) he gets a job and rejoins the workplace.
I haven’t been as vocal as I should have been, and I let it slide that we can call this problem a mental and emotional issue, because Bi-Polar disorder has its issues. And I can only allow so many excuses as to why he won’t re-engage.
This last week, the money ran out. He has not a job yet. We are going without because I did not know we were on the last check until it was too late. Oh, btw, there is no more money coming.
And I am like and what are you doing about that?
“well I am taking my sweet ass time trying to find a job, while bills go unpaid and the fridge is empty and there are things I need and can’t afford because there is no money in the bank.”
I am not well with this at all.
This weekend C.V.’s have been updated and sent out for a Monday desk arrival. Not sure where that is going to go, but it better get us somewhere or else I may just blow a gasket.
the book says that “fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us …”
We sat a good group tonight. Reading from the Big Book, and Safe Haven.
Another story from the brutal set of stories that have been written. This one, by a man who, because of his alcoholism, penned this story while in prison.
And the book says … “There is a saying that alcoholics either get sobered up, locked up, or covered up.”
It was a good night.
That is all for now. enough complaining …
More to come, stay tuned …
It is never a good sign when first thing in the morning comes news of a passenger plane having been shot down over a war zone !
All our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and the people who were on that flight. How do we make sense of this kind of tragedy?
Eventually, the who, what, where, when and why will be explained. Surely, this event should stoke the worlds governments to do something. Someone made a monumental mistake.
And someone should pay for this kind of indignity.
It was a sad day.
Malaysian Airlines is not having the best of years it seems, like there was a choice of which plane to shoot down, um, let’s see … maybe we will hit that “one.”
There is too much conflict going on and not enough cool heads to prevail.
But what is life without war? I mean what could possibly come of a world that lives for the betterment of humanity, peace and the respect for ALL life !
Somewhere God is up there taking the piss. What does God have to do with this ?
Last night I was listening to the radio and I heard a man say that the extraterrestrials were watching and would, if need be, come down and rescue us from ourselves.
I think we really need someone to come down here and rescue us from ourselves.
Life must go on, and so it did, eventually.
I prepped to go and departed a bit early to make some stops on the way. It was a stellar day to be out. The clouds drifted over and off throughout the evening. One might have thought that the skies were about to open, but thankfully, the weather held.
We sat a small group. Just the regulars. I have sponsees running their steps, so I decided that we would read from the Twelve and Twelve and Step 2.
Ah, there is that God word again. “you’re not gonna get me this time …”
I like that I work with guys who are of different minds, and need different work. And I have, at my disposal, multiple forms of step work which has come in handy. My sponsor is apt to tell me that the more work one has, the better the experience. So it goes.
I reflect …
Coming from a U.S. State that has two seasons, wet and wetter, God only shows himself when a hurricane is barking down your door. Then it is true destruction.
Moving to a city in the Northern, “northern” hemisphere, has brought me to a place with four seasons. And if you question the existence of God, or something greater, spend a year thinking about it and watch seasons roll from one to the next.
That is pretty simple, on a grand scale of things.
Our guys all have interesting stories about “coming to.” Where they come from, what it was like, what happened, and then what it is like today. And once again we make this pass across a step so we get further insight into life.
My “best thinking” got me into loads of trouble. And trouble kept me drunk.
I know I prayed for it to end. And it did. God moved in my life, and the rest is history.
There are plenty of instances throughout my life where God stepped in to show me what can happen if I trust Him. And when that happened I did, but eventually, I took my will back, in essence, I said that “I knew better than God!” And look where that put me?
I am not God, I don’t have all the answers. And I am not the center of the universe.
If you want a sure fire test to prove that God exists, spend a season in a room and watch her people come, come to, and come to believe themselves.
I guarantee you that you will see God.
I have proof, for my eyes and my soul that there is a God and that He is good.
And I’ve watched my guys come, come to and come to believe.
That is called blessing.
Even if the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and a day cannot go by without someone killing someone else, watching the Holy Land sink further into war and planes falling from the sky, for an hour at least, in the basement of a local church, we spoke of divinity.
And it is to that Divinity tonight that we say our prayers.
May the souls of those departed rest in the hands of God, Eternal rest grant them and may perpetual light shine upon them.
If we ever needed something divine to come to us, this would be about the right moment.
God, where are You???
That is all I have for you tonight.
More to come, stay tuned…
Sometimes, we in sobriety, think we know better than God, we call this “taking back our will!” I have been guilty of doing this on the odd occasion. But far fewer instances have happened as of late. And sometimes it takes my sponsor to point this out to me when I insinuate that I know better or that I am the center of the universe and that I am indispensable. That is a new one for me. But Jeremy hits the nail on the head with this writing.
Lifted from: Don’t Eat Trash
Jesus is sitting on the mountain crying out to God, he doesn’t really look forward to the cross, he’s not the biggest fan of pain or ridicule or, for that matter, injustice and just imagine that moment of clarity.
‘Actually father, I know a better way than you do. I’m just going to fly over to the Americas and chill out with the natives… and then make a new religion.. that’s better right?’
A ridiculous thought, but one that we replicate very often in our own lives. We live for God, we worship him, we serve him with our lives, but when that moment of needing to say yes to something we don’t really want to comes, we conveniently hear something else.
The classic one in my life is street evangelism. I’m not the most shy of people, but there have been moments in street evangelism when I hear quite clearly from God a thought, an idea, a person, a moment.
And i make excuse after excuse.
And in my mind they are very legitimate excuses. In those moments it makes sense for me not to do what I’ve been told, to come up with ‘better’ ideas than God. But it all boils down to, arrogant disobedience.
Another good one is big life decisions. When Abraham got called out of his home town, into a lot of new things, a lot of unknowns, he does so. But very easily when we are called away from our comfortable lives, or into lives we’ve even hoped for but don’t feel we deserve, we look up at God as if to say
‘Nope, I got this buddy, I know better, I’m going to get that full time job, get into debt, marry the wrong people, get distracted from the ministries you’ve called me into and then live a slightly dissatisfied life.’
This isn’t to say that God can’t use us in that life. This is also not to say necessarily that God only has one perfect will for you. (or does he?) This is about those moments when we – humans, saved, created, unimmortals – tell GOD – saviour, creator, immortal – that WE know better. That WE somehow know more than him, can see more than him…
Like a baby looking up at its parent at 2 months old and speaking perfect English to say
You know what is not ridiculous?? – Doing what God wants. Listening to him. Understanding and trusting his love.
The old testament is filled with moments of God speaking, the Israelites not listening and the consequences of said militant deafness being not great.
What do you know, that God does not?
And the weather took a turn today. It rained, and brought with it hot and muggy !! ICK…
It has been a quiet weekend. Lots of snuggling in bed and reading of good books.
If you enjoy murder/mystery stories may I suggest to you Kathy Reichs, I just happened across a couple of books given to me by a friend, and the last two I read from her, Bones of the Lost and Bones are Forever, seem to be written close together, because there are threads between them in common from both reads. Bones are Forever seems to take place prior to Bones of the Lost, but I read them in reverse order.
I got out of here early, and arrived with rain piddling on my head. It was not enough to open carry. But while I was setting up, we had a minor downpour. Several folks came down the stairs soaked to the bone.
I put out all the chairs and we sat every single one of them. We are having a good run as of late. It seems people like our little meeting because they keep coming back.
We are another story into part III of the Book. He Lived only to Drink.
Many of us picked out that our writer came from good, solid Baptist, God fearing, go to church on Sunday, stock. No alcoholism on either side, and did not begin until our man was well out of the nest and on his own. Coming from a clean and sober house, is introduced to the drink by friends. And it is love at first drink. The smells, the smoke, the tinkle of ice in the glasses…
You know where this is going right?
It does not take much time for our Good stock man to end up on skid row, poor, un-bathed, stinking and hating life, god and man.
But it only took a charitable social worker who took him into her office and shared her story with him and said the following words … “I identify with what is going on in your life…” Nobody had every said that to him amid all the misery and debauchery that became his life.
She got him to his first meeting. And he got taken in and it started with believing in the people who were in that room that night and that something was working for them.
First, it was identification. Second, it was attraction. Sobriety followed.
And after all these years, a thought came into my head as I was sitting there tonight that I had never thought of before.
The first time I got sober, it was because I had to.
I did not like the men who attended meetings in the room I got sober in. For a year, newcomers were called race horses. And they all bet with each other which one of us would go out and drink again …
I had a job. I really GREAT job. It was probably the best job I ever had and would ever have in my life. And that job kept me more sober than the meetings did. Because my sponsor worked at the bar.
My focus was on living, working and THEN staying sober. I missed the teaching that I needed to connect with people, to trust them and to work with them. That did not happen.
Life happened and I planned and executed my slip.
The second time I got sober, it was a much more healthy place I got sober in. I immediately took to my surroundings and the people who welcomed me in that night. They cared about my life and my sobriety, as proof of just how far they went to make sure I would not drink again.
I moved here a few months in. I had no job. But I did have meetings.
And I’ve said it before, I met all the right people at the right time. I came to love them, and to trust them with my life, because I needed them to create the life I had moved here to find. It has taken me 11 years to find the gift that was waiting for me, ( ala sponsor/steps/and The Work).
The right women came into my life. And taught me about The Work. Then it took a year for The Work to sink in, and that I needed to do The Work. Enter year twelve and moving towards year thirteen, I am halfway there this month.
I have stayed sober because of the meetings I go to and the people I call my friends. Everything I have came from the efforts of hundreds of people over the years who gave me what I needed when it was needed.
Where the first time I had settled into work to get me by and sobriety took a back seat, the second time, I did not have what I had the first time, and I started with just meetings and the people in them. And I have not had a desire to drink since I put it down, almost thirteen years ago.
I hope this is the last time I have to do this, because I don’t think I have another recovery in me.
People are eating up the book. And they come back each week to read more and participate in discussion where they can hear each other share. And that is a good thing.
Everybody is good. It was a good night.
More to come stay tuned…
Lifted from: Don’t Eat Trash
There was a time in my life that I used to get up at 5:45, skate through the freezing cold of Richardson, start work at 6am, work till 12Pm, return home to eat dim sims, play a computer game for most of the day, hang out with my house mates and then continue to play a computer game whilst slowly getting drunker and drunker until i blacked out. REPEAT.
I had reasons for it all. I had been through a large patch of insomnia, and alcohol was a stupid way to attempt to beat that, whilst absent-mindedly destroying myself. I was flooded with disappointment and bitterness that meant, my natural disposition towards community was being avoided at all costs. And i worked a job that was understaffed and played on my sense of camaraderie and loyalty to work double shifts all the time.
It was not an enjoyable experience. In hindsight i almost wasted 3 years of my life doing nothing. (there were many redeeming features though, in among the haze of my failing bitter hedonism.)
I was convinced that immersing myself in a fake world and getting at least some “sleep” was pass-able.
At no stage do i wish i was back there. Other then maybe do it differently. The whole time there was a voice in the back of my head of how i was to get myself out of the repeating cycle. I played in bands that i enjoyed, i met with an array of different church groups, i had accountability groups, i let random people stay at our house, i did other christian things, attempting to somehow make shape of my life enough to pull myself up.
But that was the problem. Me.
Yesterday i heard this incredible analogy. Of a baby pooping itself and trying to clean the poop up itself. The Dad walks into the room, expecting to have to clean some poop up and there’s the baby, sitting in a huge pile of it, and the baby is like…. ‘…oh…. didn’t see you come in…. I’m just…. cleaning up some poop. Don’t worry about it, i got this Dad. I’ll be finished cleaning this as soon as i can figure out how use my legs… So you just go and hang out with Mum”
Babies can’t clean up their own poop. It’s physically, mentally and behaviorally impossible. But as adults, as children of God, we try to do similar. Taking my story as an example I once woke up in my bed, wearing clothes i don’t remember changing into the night before. It was the first time i had blacked out and not remembered a portion of my life. It freaked me out. It was one of those “This will never happen again” Moments, where you swear to yourself that you will make that not repeat itself.
So instead of putting my arms up in the air and screaming “FATHER GOD, I pooped myself and i need you to clean me up” I close the door between me and him, and begin attempting to clean myself up. I try and stand up to get some type of cloth and instead of my legs working, my baby legs collapse and i go head first back into my poop. And of course – a few weeks later, i black out again, and once again i forget a part of my life. It freaks me out less… Because i’ve had my face in a big pile of poop recently, when i tried to clean it up myself.
But as soon as we understand our relationship with the father, we spend a lot less time with our face in our own poop.
Let God clean your poop. Hug him a lot. and make smiley baby faces at him. Its kind of our job.
Lifted from: Don’t Eat Trash
As God spoke in the beginning, the earth was created.
God would send prophets to point the Israelites back to the covenant and they would respond, in sack cloth and ashes or murdering the prophet. both are responses.
Recently I dialogued with God some interesting ideas about time. How i see my 28 years as long, and older than i would like, how part of me can’t be the things he has called me too because of my age, and God began to download how that was crap and I needed to look eternally. Eternity versus 28 years…. Gods miraculous power that raised Christ from the dead versus my twisted ankle and occasional heartburn thanks to raw onion – it gets ridiculous. This isn’t about me and my apparent limitations. This life is about God and his birds eye view sovereignty.
God speaks, and we can ignore or listen and stay silent. Or we can hear and respond.
Many times I have been journalling at 5am and get some sweet stuff from God, but if those things stay in my journal in ink… they lack power, life changing power. The ink needs to change to blood, and be walked out.
God hasn’t spoken until you respond.
In one way – we can report God speaking to show our spiritual holiness. ‘God told me this morning that I am going to be the queen of England’ but if we don’t believe it, if we don’t put steps in to become the queen England, then those words are close to meaningless.
In another way, we can believe that God doesn’t speak. And if God doesn’t speak then we ignore every attempt God makes to speak to us.
Communication is spoken often of not only:
information transmitted through certain media – understood by the LISTENER and responded to by the LISTENER.
God isn’t cryptic, God knows the listener better than the listener knows itself, but the listener can train itself to not understand the medium used.
We get a good idea, and think its just our own thoughts.
We get a miracle and think its just a coincidence, that it couldn’t be God that got us that thing.
We have dreams and think its just a dream.
We hear a sermon and think the pastor was just a genius.
He speaks constantly, he speaks loudly, and if we refuse to listen, then we miss out.
With the weather holding, it was another stellar day. A bit breezy and not as humid as of late.
We hosted a small group on Tuesday night. And we read from Living Sober. It is good that the same core group attends, which means over the months we have progressed together, in a roundabout sort of way.
Working this Fourth Step, I realized tonight, is like a cork screw. First we looked at life in all its years, and what we felt (emotionally) from year to year. Then we made a list of resentments, fears and guilts. Now we are looking at each entry on each list, drilling down into the respective issue and scrutinizing them, sort of like a corkscrew going into a cork.
(read: the whole drilling down action)
I left a little early and I was mostly done with set up by the time the bells rung at six. Again tonight we sat a small group. We read from A.B.S.I. and We Don’t have to live Alone.
The reading as a whole, speaks about being alone, then the reading turns specifically to steps four and five. In the sense that we are not alone any more, that steps are the way to go, and that the process of four and five seem insurmountable, but working with someone (read: Sponsor), the word does not appear in the reading, but it is implied, Eventually all the stuff we are holding on to at some point must be discussed with someone else.
I thought about what “Alone” means to me. It is one thing to want to be alone, and wholly another when we are Alone.
When I was a kid, growing up, I was really good when I was alone in my bedroom with my stereo and my records, when I was drawing, ( I used to be a good drawer), or when I wanted to be alone, I could, in essence shut my bedroom door, that was my choice.
I also had bunches of friends. At any given time, I was never really alone, ever …
When I got sick in 1994, and doctors told me I was going to die, and everybody, including family scattered, I was totally ALONE. I know what that feels like. I know what it is like to be secluded, not by ones own decision, but by the choice of others. I know what it feels like to be shut away and excluded. To be sorted into a group of untouchables.
But then, people stepped in and I was no longer alone.
And for a while that worked for me. I got and stayed sober.
When my group of friends all moved away, I found myself alone again.
Not having the structure and the people around me who created and maintained some sense of normalcy to my life, I was left to my own devices, I (in essence) was pushed into the world that I was ill prepared for and did not know what to do for myself.
I stayed sober for a while longer. In the end, after being pushed aside by people of no matter, I pulled away and into myself. I started creating “alone.” I stopped reading the book, and talking to my friends ( at that point), and I planned my slip.
And now I am really Alone, in a place I was not prepared for, with no one to call, nor nowhere to run to in case I needed to get away.
I moved from point A, to point B, to point C.
At point C, I was living alone. I quit using, but kept drinking. I like to say that during this last phase of my drinking life, had I dropped off the radar, nobody would have come looking for me.
How much worse can it get that I was delusional, thinking that the drink would bring me inclusion and acceptance into a community I thought I so badly needed and desired.
I was drinking ALONE in a dance hall full of people, who probably never even noticed I was there. Big, Buff, Beautiful people don’t notice chaff in the same room, unless of course you look and act like they do.
This time around, I stuck close to the rooms. I learned how to be part of and I worked very hard at that for the last twelve and some odd years. I learned early on that if I needed “Anything,” read this correctly – If you need anything, you bring it to a room and you ask. You’d be surprised in just how great that works. If you learn this early on, that you are no longer alone, and that you can rely on us, that when you get to a need that you need, bring it to a room. Put it down on the table or into a group and you ask. You’d be surprised to find another human being very willing to help you attain what it is you need.
I’ve not been alone in a very long time. And I choose to live that way.
They say, “Now, you are not alone, anymore.
More to come, stay tuned …