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

Archive for February, 2015

Friday … Learn, Serve, Love

tumblr_l8s7v2G5CF1qaz2rlo1_500 steffrawrCourtesy: Steffrawr

It was a little frigid tonight. It is cold still, at (-13c/-23c w.c.) It was the wind that made the transits rough tonight.

It was a quiet day. Friday, “the best day of the week, and the best night of the week.”

I spent the day shopping for the anniversary party tomorrow night. One of my friends asked if I had gotten a card, I will need to do that on the way tomorrow evening. But I said that he could bring a card if he liked. You can never have too many cards.

I left around twenty after six, and made my transit clean. Halfway up the bus transfer one of my friends got on the bus, and we got to the church a little after seven. The room was lit, and one of our men had already set up the room, got the milk and was making coffee. There was little to do.

We had almost an hour to sit and chat.

We’ve been comparing notes between friends lately, how much time have you got, how did you get that far, how many meetings do you make a week. Then the discussion turned to age. We had been talking about a friend of mine and how old he really was, and I was like, really? Are you kidding me?

None of my friends, look their age, in a good way.

After all that pickling with drugs and alcohol, our bodies were preserved, so now into sobriety, we get to perfect our temples of God. I forget that folks with serious time in the high double digits are about ten years ahead of me on the time line.

I’m not quite fifty yet myself, but I am surely on the way there.

Fifty is the new Thirty … It’s all about attitude and taking care of ones self.

The room was full. We had guests. And we had cake.

The reading … A.B.S.I. … “In All Our Affairs…”

“The chief purpose of A.A. is sobriety. We all realize that without sobriety we have nothing.

However, it is possible to expand this simple aim into a great deal of nonsense, so far as the individual member is concerned. Sometimes we hear him say, in effect ‘sobriety is my sole responsibility. After all, I’m a pretty fine chap, except for my drinking. Give me sobriety, and I’ve got it made.

As long as our friend clings to this comfortable alibi, he will make little progress with his real life problems and responsibilities that he stands in a fair way to get drunk again. This is why A.A.’s Twelfth Step urges that we practice these principles in all our affairs. We are not living just to be sober; we are living to Learn, to Serve, and to Love.”

When I got sober, this second time around, it was a good thing that I did not have a whole lot on my plate, responsibility wise. I had a roof over my head, a part time job, and meetings to go to. And I was fine with just that, because that was about all I could handle.

For months I was read to, I was ministered to. I was fed and I was encouraged to STAY.

When I got HERE, something in my head said that it was ok to “expect!” WRONG!!!

I thought I needed things, that in the end, I really did not actually need, or got.

For the first year, I did meetings. All day and every night. I had a great sponsor who cared for me and in the end I cared for him deeply. Sadly, egos got in the way.

At the one year mark, I decided to go back to school. I also added a relationship. And I added the apartment that we live in today.

I went to meetings.

Then we had to clean up the wreckage of hubby’s past, we had to learn how to shop and cook for two. We had to learn how to pay bills responsibly, and it took 13 years to become financially secure. That one took a very LONG time.

I was making a home together with my then boyfriend. I was learning a great deal of how you take care of another human being, because, let’s face it, I was barely taking care of myself, when I quit drinking this time around.

Shit happened. it got very dark for a year.

I had to step up and be responsible in ways that I was woefully unprepared for.

AND I was starting my University Career.

If I did not have the meetings, and the people in those meetings, I would never have gotten this far.

In all my affairs …

I got sober first. And I put sobriety first. Before I did anything else, I went to a meeting. I spoke with my sponsor, I did service, I made my home group, every week, for more than thirteen years now.

I’ve said before that life came in stages. And not all at once, yet you would observe that at the one year mark, I added several things, that came unexpectedly, but were divinely ordained.

If one particular moment did not happen the way it did, in that very moment, I probably would not be where I am today, and where we are together.

You never know when Mr. Right is going to appear, or when that moment will present itself to you. So if it does, you better be ready to act. I chose to act. And in the end we won.

If you put anything BEFORE your SOBRIETY, you will loose it.

Trial and error proves this adage amongst my friends.

I hear my friends talk about themselves. Some of them are bat shit crazy, even in sobriety. And I love them warts and all. We are all crazy to some point, which is why we need to gather and talk amongst ourselves daily and weekly.

I’ve learned how to be responsible. In stages. And over the past two years, I’ve been able to really give back what was freely given to me.

I can’t tell you the pride and happiness I feel, knowing that tomorrow night, one of my guys is taking his 1 year chip. How do you quantify a years worth of work, in helping another human being rebuild his life, from the ground up. Now I have four of them. They are all building lives for themselves.

My heart is full.

If you aren’t giving back, WHY ?

There is no greater joy than walking another human through sobriety together.

I practice these principles in all my affairs.

Having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of THESE steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

Live Long and Prosper – I Have Been and Always Shall Be Your Friend

leonard-nimoy-spock-star-trek-2Leonard Nimoy died today – He was 83 years old

What would our collective lives look like had Star Trek not been part of them.

I was born in 1967, and grew up in the decades that followed. The Star Trek series on tv was part of our lives from early on in my life. These pivotal characters Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Chekov, Scotty, and Sulu especially, created a world for us to be part of.

Growing up in a time when the Star Wars to begin with, followed by Star Trek motion pictures, was an event. To go to the theatre to see these films, was spectacular. One film followed another, and there was that intense anticipation of the next film coming down the pike.

There was no internet or torrents nor any other cheat to get that next sneak peek.

You had to wait for the next feature film release.

Star Wars was more Cathartic for me, Star Trek was an adventure. We anticipated both sets of films equally, as they were released. I think that anticipation made it all so much better. The not knowing and the way each film played out, was part of the movie going experience.

We learned a great deal about those characters, and they, in turn, informed us about our own lives and how we see the world, and treat others, in that world. The notion of the Federation of Planets, was akin to, I would think, the United Nations.

And we all know how that federation turned out !!! Not so much …

The evolution of Star Trek was a huge part of my growing up. Seeing the cast move from the small screen to the Silver Screen was amazing. To watch them grow into themselves on film was very different from who they were on tv.

Spock was that integral part of all the films. He was the one who spoke wisdom and patience and he stepped up to save his friends from ultimate death, and in the end, died himself to save others.

And I remember the anticipation of the Search For Spock, and what would happen in the next film, and weren’t we all surprised when we found out that he indeed did regenerate from the Genesis device and was back in our lives.

The whole theatre cheered for him.

He always had played that crucial part of logic and also humor in later films. He endeared himself to the public through his humanity.

Now in this generation, J.J. Abrams brought us the next incarnation of Star Trek for a whole new generation. And Spock plays that crucial role of mentor to the younger Spock (Zachary Quinto). This was a true tribute to the character of Spock and the longevity of his life on film and as part of the collective consciousness of the world. He brought the titular character back, to hand off his history into the hands of the younger, to take into his new life and role of the keeper of the Vulcan people.

In the 1980’s with the dawn of the VCR and the Beta Max machine, we had all the great films in our collective “collection” that we watched over and over and over again.

Start Trek morphed into the television series du jour. All of those incarnation of the Star Trek theme own their success to the longevity of the Star Trek name and its history.

  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine
  • Star Trek The Next Generation
  • Star Trek Enterprise
  • Star Trek Voyager
  • The Star Trek Next Generation Film Series
  • And countless Star Trek specials

Star Trek, in its long life has carried generations of humans into Worlds Unknown.

“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Star Ship Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Well that Five Year Mission has lasted generations.

Spock holds a hallowed place and memory in my life, and I think that goes the same for all of us.

We will miss him. And we honor him today. God Speed Spock.

Eternal Rest Grant Him and May Perpetual Light Shine upon Him.


Thursday … Hoping for Spring … and … Time

$_57The weather is slowly starting to get better. We are still in the mid teens on the minus side at night, and single minus digits during the day. And by next Wednesday, snow or rain, with a temp of PLUS (2c) …This would be our first positive temp all season long.

Usually, as seasons go, by the end of winter, temps rise enough for rain to fall, which begins washing away snow, salt and all that crap that has been buried for the entire season.

The negative, is all the trash, cigarette buts, and clutter that has been buried all winter appears out of the snow. Which sends city workers into a frenzy to clean it all up, which takes a long time.

Today was a mixed bag. I really had no plans for the day, but I knew when I hit the end of the dream that was going on in my head, as I lay in bed, I wasn’t going to stay in bed any longer. So I got up.

I had thought of doing laundry over the weekend, but I had plenty of time to do it this afternoon, so I dropped my laundry into a machine, did my grocery shopping and cleaned up around, I killed several birds at once. I set them to dry and came back down and showered and I was in a Spring Shopping Mood, and I have been “Spring Shopping” online for a few days now, Looking, Listing and Saving stuff for future purchase.

A Wish List is a useful tool.

I know better than to impulse shop before I’ve investigated my options. So while my clothes were drying, I took a stroll to a new sneaker shop that recently opened, up the block. They paid good money to have someone come and paint a huge mural on the side of the building that faces my building, it was a good visibility decision. (but now they are building a super condo building just beside it which is going to ruin its visibility).

High End Sneakers is Big Business.

Usually, you get a sneak peek, or a shop will pop up in a city for a limited run, or there are underground high end shops located in several cities world wide, that are not known by the general public and only for those who “know” where they are and know the code word to get past the front door. (That is a thing)

In the past, I’ve had to employ good sleuthing to find sneakers online. My Tumblr and Google, and Ebay and a bank account are what I use today. So I went to this store. There were two guys having a conversation in French, while I browsed. Neither acknowledged me in the store.

They had a select line of sneaker, some more ostentatious than others, the wilder the style, the higher the price. Prices ranged from $150 cad to $250 cad. That was way out of my budget. I saw variations on styles I already own, but nothing I considered buying. It was a short visit.

I returned home and resorted to my original thought. I opened Ebay and began to surf. The Spring line is out across the web, and I had a list of stuff I had seen online recently. There were several styles that I was looking at, by color, style, maker and price.

I ended up with the sneaker pictured above. Men’s Adidas, D Rose 3.5 Black, Red and White.

I am an Adidas man, Shoes, Clothing and Sports gear. These rare shoes clock in a $160.00. I had a refund sitting in my account for twenty dollars, and these came to a final price of $68.00 plus shipping, which brought it close to $100.00. I paid less than $100.00 in total. I made my sale before 5 p.m. And as I walked of of the meeting at 9 p.m. They had already been shipped.

Same day service is a plus.

We left for the meeting, thankful that it was warmer than it has been at night, recently. The same crowd of intrepid meeting goers came. The speaker came from one of our rehab houses here in the city.

This particular site offers a 3 month series, in house meetings, counselors, meals, a place to live and they work you into meetings, as you go along. Some don’t want to be there, but some do.

Some make it, but many don’t.

After you complete your stay, you take a two year aftercare journey, which is mandatory for every person there. You are on a short leash.

So all in all, the run lasts for almost 3 years start to finish.

Meeting Makers make it.

We heard “Insanity” for almost an hour. I was waiting for the moment of clarity, so was my friend.

The one thought that got my attention, was his take on “TIME.”

While he was out there, drinking and using and hurting all the wrong people, he lost things; jobs, homes, girlfriends, and so on. His coping skill was to just “wait it out” and somewhere in his head he thought that if he just waited long enough, things would get better.

His drinking and using escalated. His girlfriend dumped him and married someone else. His using got even worse, if it could get any worse, from what he had already detailed for us. He tried to “wait it out” thinking that she would leave her husband and come back to him.

She didn’t.

How many of us, when we are in the thick of it, try “waiting this out, not really hoping for an end to what ails us, but a wait and see, without the expectation of resolution.”

The end finally came. Honesty dawned upon him. And he told on himself.

He got the help he so desperately needed. Now he is clean and sober almost three years. He is still inside the treatment program, but he gets out to his home group, which is on the West End of the city, and he came to us tonight.

When we get sober, “TIME” takes on new meaning.

I learned this lesson the hard way, walking into my first meetings here with expectations on my list of things I thought I wanted. WRONG !!!

It was good, those first few months in Miami that we counted days. I went just to make sure my friends stayed and came each night to count their days. Out of twenty newbies, nineteen made it.

Counting days, is something we don’t do here, because there aren’t many meetings, on consecutive days at the same location, to be able to do that properly. There are a couple, but not seven days or nights a week.

Sobriety is a full time, Four Season, Make it or Break it kind of job.

People count their days with their sponsors. And at certain meetings, we give consecutive month chips. This goes for the M.A. side of things as well. For the most part, we count 30, 90, six months, then the year mark. And multiples thereafter.

We learn, in the beginning, if you are lucky, the lesson about 24 hours in a day, and One Day At a Time.

Time takes on new meaning.

And if you are really lucky, time turns around for you and instead of working against you,

Time works For You.

We learn patience, which takes time. We learn compassion, which takes time.

And we get sober. That definitely takes time.

The more time you put in, the more you get out of it. It’s all about attitude.

You either bemoan getting clean and sober, or you embrace it. If you embrace it, the much needed attitude adjustment begins to take place. That is the miracle of the program.

We move from waiting for the hell to end, to hoping for the good to come.

Everyone has their journey he said. Some take longer to get here. Some make it, some don’t.

He wanted the help. Had he gone a few days longer, his life expectancy was in real danger.

Grateful for his life today, he is alive, happy, joyous and free.

And don’t we all want to be Happy, Joyous and Free ?

Everybody is sober tonight.

Next week, I will have all my guys in the same city again. Saturday my first takes his year.

I am a blessed man. God is good to us. He has moved heaven and earth for my guys.

And I am grateful.

More to come, stay tuned …

Tuesday …P.I.D. or Pitiful, Incomprehensible, Demoralization

tumblr_l87c92E6eN1qzh5j8o1_500 tylerbearCourtesy: Tyler Bear (Archives)

It got warmer. Much warmer. Last night, we sunk to a new low of minus -32c, overnight.

It was so cold, that the water distribution system in Montreal, is frozen. In many places, pipes burst, and the frost is so deep, and the snow is so packed, and it is so cold, that city workers cannot keep up with trying to fix all those pipes. Many families in the city have been without running water for almost a week now. And with no fix coming soon, you would understand them getting very testy about now.

Lows this week will range in the mid teens, and daytime temps will run in the single minus digits. Which is a hell of a lot better than it has been these past two weeks. Mother Nature, it seems, just wants to fuck us all over a bit more, before it gets warmer. And warm cannot get here sooner.

Workers are doing all they can, but thawing pipes and fixing broken water mains, are a long term problem with no easy or quick solution. Not to mention, most of Montreal’s water distribution system is hundreds of years old, as it stands, and seriously needs an overhaul, sooner than later. And that brings with it the fact that there is not enough money in the coffers, not enough man power, and the people’s willingness to deal with massive construction ending up with traffic jams, closed roads, and a nightmare, that is playing out as we speak in several areas in the city.

Just as one large pipe is replaced and fixed, the traffic headaches that result from that work, is unacceptable by Montrealers. They need the work, and spend twice the time grumbling about traffic.

But we need this work and there is no good time to tear up roads and lots to replace infrastructure because people who use those roads and lots can’t. It is a never ending nightmare.

It has been an early start to the days, and tomorrow is my last early morning for this month.

Today I was up early, did some surfing, went back to bed, got up, did some more surfing and went back to bed, only to get up an hour later for good and had plenty of time to prepare to go out. I did get ready early, and I was You Tubing for a while, and at 4 o’clock I was like, “ok, I got to go now!” I suited up and layered appropriately and made it to the Metro.

I made my transit nicely. And got to the church and cranked it out and then I looked at my phone to see what time it was, and it was twenty to five. I had, left really early, and arrived really early, I had packed a book to read, in any case. The church lady came to see who was upstairs early, it was me, and we had a laugh together.

It was just a funny afternoon.

We sat a good number. Old timers, newbies, and several in between. We are in week 8 of Joe and Charlie, and today we listened to the first part of their discussion of Bill’s Story. It was a long episode.

When the First Edition of the Big Book was published, the first 164 pages, they were written and have never been changed to this day. Yet the First Edition, was targeted at very low bottoms, because that’s what you had in the 20’s and 30’s.

Over four publications, the stories have been changed, updated, some added, some taken out. In the fourth edition, you find a cross section of stories, that range from deep bottoms, to high bottoms. A little bit for everybody.

**** It is Wednesday right now, as I finish this post ****

Last night, I took the train home and got here and unloaded, and changed out and literally, as I sat down at my desk, my phone rang. Having a nest of pigeons, is a full time job. But I would not have it any other way right now. The calls lasted until dinner time, then, I was off to bed because I had to be up with the birdies this morning.

So, getting back to my story now …

Bill’s story is a complex story. And I’ve read it many times. But recently, I was reading it with one of my guys and stuff was jumping off the page. If you go back and read, you will indeed realize that steps are written into the story. Steps that had not yet been written by Bill, yet he takes you through them in his way.

He had a career that was going well, until alcohol was introduced to him. Then everything went South. After several drinking bouts, hospital stays, and sobering up, he met Dr. Silkworth. It was then that the light went on for him and he got sober.

Imagine, back then, he was alone in a world that did not have meetings nor fellowship. In order to stay sober, he had to find someone else to share his story with. We really have it good today. We have meetings, we have each other and we have the books to read.

Bill had to hit rock bottom and experience, Pitiful Incomprehensible Demoralization in order to finally “get it” and get sober. Thus the fellowship began to grow, one or two at a time, and not all succeeded, but eventually, they counted 100 folks sober in the fellowship.

I’ve twice hit that pitiful state. I don’t necessarily remember, at the moment, if I actually thought about drinking, when I drank. I was more apt to “follow the leader” and do what they did, because in 2001, times were tough. Tragedy was all around us, and the best escape was the bottle.

When I finally gave up, I was done. Finished. It was pretty bad, that my drinking had gotten so out of hand, incomprehensible. And I know, when I hit my first meeting, I was demoralized. I was ashamed of myself, and I certainly could not look myself in the mirror without cringing.

Once I got connected, it all became clear. I was told what to do, I realized what I wanted to do, what was in my best interest, and I did those things. And here we are, 13 plus years later.

I am living my best life. I am doing what I love. I might not be rich. But I have everything I need.

I work with my guys, daily. I call my sponsor, daily. And that is good.

I’ve seen hell several times. I don’t ever want to go back there.

My first guy takes his One Year Cake on Saturday night, and I could not be more proud of him.

Gratitude. Lots of Gratitude.

More to come, stay tuned…

Sunday Sundries … The Sun Shone on Us And we were Glad

tumblr_l8yrf9m0gc1qb730lo1_500 thiswillnotdefineusCourtesy: This Will Not Define Us

The Oscars are on. The opening number just ended. We love N.P.H !!!

It was a warm one today. Warmer than it has been recently. (-5c/-12c) We had a little snow last night, and in certain places (read:Westmount) snow is piled up about two feet deep in some yards.

It has been a beautiful weekend.

It was an early night last night, and there will a number of early mornings this week. I have to drop labs tomorrow morning, and I have a midweek doctors appointment. Has it been six months already? My doctors have dropped me from four visits a year down to two visits.

The Super hospital is opening in a few months, so they are consolidating services and closing hospitals as they are absorbed into the larger super building. To that end, my one clinic at the General is staying open, but that may change this week. My other doctor is seeing me at his private office on the other side of town, but I don’t see him until April.

I departed on time and we cranked out set up and our guys and ladies, came to do our hour prior read and discussion. I can honestly say that I am inspired by my guys. They, each in their own way, inspire me to be a better person.

The sun shone down on us today and God was good, prayers were answered and a miracle took place, all in the space of ninety minutes. If you don’t believe that miracles happen, they do.

We sat a small group.

One of our women gave birth to a healthy baby boy yesterday. We are so proud of her. Babies in A.A. are miracles in themselves, because the women who gave birth to them are miracles as well. The miracle baby phenomena now counts four children strong.

It was the last Sunday, therefore a Tradition meeting. Second month, Tradition Two.

“For our group purpose there is but one authority – A loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.”

I am not God. And I am not the center of the universe. And it isn’t all about me either.

Over the years, I’ve learned a great deal about this tradition, because I have seen what egos and attitudes do when they collide in a meeting. And I have been guilty myself, of being less than charitable or kind. We all have grown past these problems and all the players are good men and women. Each in our own ways.

We see Tradition Two come together at every business meeting. I can sit back and let my friends partake in the miracle that is recovery. Everyone plays a role in the group, and as a community, and finally in their own recovery. We defer to our chair for wisdom, and to God to guide us. And that model seems to work.

It was a night for miracles. And I am grateful to have been present to see it happen.

A good night was had by all. Please pray for our guys.

More to come, stay tuned …

Saturday … Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad for You

tumblr_l5w58oqu5c1qaay1oo1_500 twinkobsessionIt is a balmy (-9c/-15c w.c.) folks were saying last night, that they would take single digit cold, rather than double digit cold, since we have weeks to go until this possibly could end.

I departed uber early for the church, seeing our set up man is in Boston this week, and I promised that I would make coffee and set up with a friend. We have six tables that we use, and last night, one of them was trying my patience. I popped the leg open and it would not set correctly, so after a little elbow grease a few kicks here and there, and some massive angry strikes, I bent the hell out of it and prayed it would stand up all night for the meeting.

After several grunts and the pounding of fists and kicks, my friend said to me that she never wanted to see me angry because I was scaring her …

I had to warn sitters at this location, not to lean too heavily on the table, because it was entirely possible the table would fail and land their shit, phones and coffee on the floor …

Thankfully the table held for the entire meeting.

We sat a full compliment and read from A.B.S.I. #93 … Atmosphere of Grace

“Those of us who have come to make regular use of prayer would no more do without it than we would refuse air, food or sunshine. And for the same reason. When we refuse air, light, or food, the body suffers. And when we turn away from meditation and prayer, we likewise deprive our minds, our emotions, and our intuitions of vitally needed support.”

In the beginning we learn about these two important aspects of recovery, prayer and meditation. Some take to it and others may not, but in time, it works it way into our lives, whether we want it or not. Because at some point, we end up saying … “Oh, God …(insert any request here)”

The ritual for me is when I get out of bed, I make my bed, and we have a futon, so that also helps in making sure I get on my knees at the start of the day.

Then I have my cards at my computer, and my serenity prayer over my desk, and the love reading from our wedding on the tv. Little things placed strategically around the house, ever reminding me to stop and think, pray, meditate.

The other good location for prayer and meditation is the bathroom. A couple times a day I stand in front my medicine cabinet and take my pills. And for the most part I am grateful, but then again, sometimes I never think about gratitude. The bathroom is the place that I am alone, with my thoughts, and as happens usually, I think about people a lot.

I guess I need reminding to be mindful of myself, others and God.

It was a good night overall.

Last night I ate an entire package of jello pudding. Chocolate of course. I was not aware that eating something tasty would end up ruining my night’s sleep, but it did. And now I know I can’t eat massive amounts of jello pudding before bed, because it makes me sick. UGH !!!

It has been an ongoing experiment, the last few months, of what I can and cannot eat any more. Does that happen to you? I just find that certain foods I used to enjoy eating, fruits, breads, and assorted sweets, I can’t eat any more. Not sure why, but it is what it is …

Too much of a good thing is bad for you !!!

So today was another “have to do laundry on a Saturday” again.

I sorted my basket and got everything ready and then found out I was out of detergent, so I had to get dressed and hit the market. UGH ! So I did a shop, came home and did my laundry. It is drying now and I have to go up and fold soon.

Yay, more to come, stay tuned …

Thursday … Should I Stay or Should I Go ???

tumblr_ld9721OgLN1qzhiyso1_500 canada kidCourtesy: My friend Joel … Canadian Photography

We are sitting at a very frigid (-17c/-29 w.c.) We did not get the snow they called for “yet” but whatever is on the ground, is, at this hour, not where it fell to begin with. It is very windy which made it doubly cold on the transit tonight.

Things have been moving forwards nicely. We are amid the first pre-sale of the Spring Round Up that will happen in May. This is the first big sober event of the year in Dorval.

The meeting tonight was sparse. This kind of weather is keeping people indoors, instead of traveling to a meeting. The core group who always show up, showed up.

We’ve talked about young people at great length here. And we’ve also talked about what happens when they don’t have like minds in the room with them when they come in. (read:They Don’t Stay).

Or they stay for a bit, get it together, then they decide to leave and not come back.

I’ve written this story over and over, and tonight, I heard it come from a speaker.

Everything happens for a reason. And not long ago, a friend of mine said to me that maybe I needed my slip for this period of sobriety to come and work for me. The first time being a gift, and the second time, you really have to work for it.

Our woman came in in her twenties, and the older hens, were, not up her alley. But she stayed sober for a year. Upon attaining her year, her husband said to her that “now she was well, and that she didn’t need to hang out with “those people” any more.”

Little voice says … hmm. I think you are right.

16 years go by, the obsession to drink has been absent for a while.

A while later she is sitting at dinner, and a client orders wine. Little voice says, “you can have some wine” and she has one glass, then another, which leads to MORE.

In a few weeks time she is drinking as bad as she was before her first hit.

Her second hit, later in life, she realizes that she needs help, and does rehab.

Not a very nice and plush, Spa Rehab. But the down and dirty, just out of jail rehab…

She returns to the rooms, and as she enters the hall, a woman who knew her from her first hit, almost twenty years earlier, greets her at the door. “There are no small miracles.”

Now she has a job, working in a rehab here in the city. And you would count yourself lucky to be able to say, that every day, she sees miracles happen. How many of us have jobs that allow us that kind of grace?

Funny, I see a lot of things, meet a lot of people, and hear many stories along the way.

And sometimes God shows me that things that I have observed really do happen to human beings.

It’s not all, just in my head.

It was a good night. Saw some friends, got a ride home. Brrrr….

More to come, stay tuned …

BVB Borussia Dortmund … Marco Reus Gear

borussia-dortmund-2014-2015-puma-long-sleeve-ucl-home-shirtI just UN-bagged my Borussia Dortmund gear that I ordered from UK Soccer Shop.

They have the BEST gear, at the Right price. And if you are wise, and like a deal, stuff goes up on sale at certain times. And that’s the time to buy …

The availability of Soccer Gear in North America is non-existent. You can’t buy soccer gear from any seller that serves the U.S. or Canada. It is just not a market they cater to. You have to go off continent to find reputable, top of the line, Soccer Gear seller. Or you go to Ebay.

The U.K., and all points East is where you have to go to find gear. Then you have to find a purchase model that works for you, then there is the currency conversion in the end.

I must also say that the quality of their stock is fantastic. I’m really loving this jersey. And like I said a few days ago, it would not surprise me if Marco’s stock starts to rise sooner than later.

Now I have the Germany Mario Gotze World Cup jersey #19 and the sox to match.

I have F.C. Bayern Munich Mario Gotze jersey #19 and the sox to match

I also have BVB Borussia Dortmund Marco Reus jersey #11 and the sox to match.

And this spring, when it gets warmer, I can purchase all the shorts to go with those kits and make them complete. I am one German Jamming Man.

The exchange rate from Canadian Dollars to Pound Sterling or the Euro is not so hot right now, but an investment is an investment. If a deal appears, you can’t say no to a deal.

And we get GOL tv on our cable package. So I get European games here at home.

Online retail pays off in certain cases. If I see a certain products; clothing, shoes, sox, sneakers, cleats, etc… on the web, like on Tumblr, or on a player, let’s say, I can plug that into Google and find a seller. I also run it through Ebay at the same time. I got World Cup Gear on Ebay for a steal. Then when Mario came up, at the World Cup, I found UK Soccer Shop, and I have been shopping with them ever since.

They carry Gear from all over the world. They have great customer service. They ship world wide, and most importantly, you can use Pay Pal, which does not require a credit card. All of my online purchase points are Pay Pal sellers.

With my Ebay account, I can shop world wide, and thanks to Google Translate, I can shop on Euro sites, which sell by the Euro, which is sometimes expensive. You can find great quality clothing in Europe that you can’t get anywhere else in the world.

Pay Pal, You can do business World Wide and never have to resort to credit again.

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

You know the phrase, “The customer is always right?” right?

Back in December I made a purchase from a certain company here in the city. It was not the first purchase I have made from them, that I was dissatisfied with. In past cases, I just ate it. In this most recent case, gear I purchased (molded silicone) (@$30.00) ripped apart and was rendered useless.

I’ve since found more than one purchase point, selling the same item, for the same price. They are in the U.S., so you have to calculate the exchange rate at time of purchase. I looked online at the shop in the village for the same product, and it came in at twice the price, but with a reputable source.

I’ve since asked for a refund, of the original item, priced at $30.00, and the answer has since been NO. Since I made that purchase with Pay Pal, I have opened a complaint ticket. Now they know I’ve got a defective product, and if I get no response, (which I have yet to get from the seller) I can escalate it further.

So with that said, last week I went to the village and spent twice that amount ($60.00) I spent on the above purchase for the same product, just better quality from a reputable company in Europe.

These kinds of items come with proviso’s.

Not all of them that come off production lines are 100% reliable.

Once again, tomorrow I have to travel into the village to return said item, because it has ripped apart and it is only a few days old. I’m sure they will exchange it without a problem. It just seems to me that every time I venture into this territory, something inevitably goes wrong.

I guess sometimes, “The customer is not always right …”

Update: This morning I was up early and went to the village, got there a bit before opening, but they did refund my purchase, without a word. $64.00 in the bank … Woosh …

Tuesday … So Many Things to Share

tumblr_mxoqlpeQWH1r00y5xo1_500 bandgCourtesy:Bandg

We are keeping with the Winter theme tonight.

We are sitting at (-14c/-16c w.c.). It was much warmer, if warmer can be a thing in the middle of Winter, than it has been as of late. And it was nice to have buses available on my extensions, meaning I did not have to walk from the stations.

It was a quiet weekend. Almost mundane in how our lives have become so routine. I was so bored on Saturday afternoon, that I did laundry, for the first time, on a weekend. I seem to hit the wash room with the freedom to use my super washer, because nobody else is doing laundry.

Sunday, I had dressed for the meeting, and I was layered because it was frigid. I walked up my usual path, and through the Forum building, and went to cross Atwater into the mall. I crossed the street and took a step on to the other side of the street, onto the sidewalk. I put my foot down, and I slipped on ice and fell face first onto the sidewalk. My headphones went flying, my coat got dirty, and the brand new Bayern Munich white shirt I was wearing was covered in icy mud stains.

I got to the church and one of my friends said to me that my shirt was dirty. I did not know how dirty it was because the mud was all the way across my backside. I took off that shirt and thought to rinse it in the sink, (a bad decision) it was useless. Needless to say I was pissed.

Which set up Monday for another round of laundry in less than three days. Now I am back on schedule with laundry on a weekday, instead of the weekend.

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


In the evening, when I don’t have to be anywhere, we nap before dinner. A couple hours of downtime usually is a good thing. Yesterday, I had this really cool dream about time travel and worm holes and slip stream travel. The dream began in my friends living room, and morphed into a space dream, I’m not sure how that happened or why, but it was a great dream, and I woke up with it and remembered the dream.

Today, I was sleeping my afternoon, prior to getting up and getting ready to go, and I was in my favorite drinking establishment, and I had a drink in my hand. I then drank that drink, and in the dream, it only took that one drink to get me to black out mode. I felt the alcohol go down, I felt the drunkenness of the drink, and I woke up, thinking that I was drunk, that I did indeed take a drink.

I don’t usually have drinking dreams. This one was particularly vivid.

I got to the meeting and waited for my sponsor to get there, we had been talking about dream between ourselves prior, and one of my friends said to him that I had a drinking dream, and his response was, “That a drinking dream is good for us, and that it means we are doing something right.” It means we are healthy. Well, after that dream I wasn’t particularly healthy, when I woke up.

It made me stop and check that I did not have any alcohol in the house.

Not that I sleep walk to the SAQ (read: Liquor Store) right up the street and buy liquor !!!

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

Today, as I said, was much warmer than it has been. I made my transit and it was good. When I got to the other end, there was a bus in the bay, which meant I didn’t have to walk down the hill.

Today’s edition of Joe and Charlie spoke about “Craving.”


We might crave some kind of food, or something salty, fruity, spicy, or sweet, bread, so forth and so on. I get these kinds of cravings, when I need to have one of these foods. I also get the “thirst of death” when I could drink an entire bottle of lemonade in one swig … That is a thing.

But when it comes to alcohol, we might want a drink, and we might take a drink. Once we’ve introduced alcohol into our system, the phenomena of craving begins, because like most alcoholics, we start with just one, and who, really, can have just one?

One leads to more which leads to insanity.

I don’t think I ever craved alcohol. I just drank. I had to have it, one way or another. In the end, it went part and parcel with my Saturday Dance Hall Party. Music, Lights, People, Alcohol. Not necessarily in that order. The bar opened early to give you time to nurse a drink or two before the main dance hall opened, we would drink first, the rest would follow. All I wanted to do was skip the preliminaries and get right down to business. I didn’t crave, I was well into delusional obsession.

They also talk about the feelings that rise, once we get sober. Everything doesn’t all of a sudden get rosy red and wonderful. We might have been drinking to drown or to forget. But if you take away the alcohol, everything that you may have been trying to avoid, when you sober up, there they are …

Where ever you go, there you are…

I wasn’t trying to drown my feelings, I was delusional, in thinking that alcohol would stop time from moving forwards, and prolong my immaturity a little while longer, until the time came, and it did indeed, that I was forced to stop and decide to grow up.

Which led to the decision to move here. Which leads me nicely into the next topic.

I was packed up and ready to go on Shrove Tuesday 2002. My friend Steven (read: the man who would not marry me, much to my dismay), had taken me to the post office and I mailed myself (here) all my things that I boxed. Then he drove me to the airport the next day.

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, was my trip from Miami to Montreal. It was the tail end of Winter that year. I did not look back. So it is with great pride I can say that tomorrow is my 13th anniversary of coming to Canada.

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

523981_heroaWhen I left this afternoon, there was mail in my box. When I got home, there was more mail in my box. Did I forget to get the mail yesterday? I think so. During the holidays, we used to get two mail deliveries, one for letter mail, and another for packages. Today, my Marco gear came in the mail.

JOY !!!

Another week, another adventure. We’ll see what kind of high jinx we can get into.

More to come, stay tuned …

Our Flag … The Maple Leaf … Turns 50 today

freestyle-skiing-winter-olympics-day-20140210-202248-596 alex bilodeau Gold mens mogulsFreestyle Skiing Winter Olympics – Alex Bilodeau Gold Men’s moguls

Who better to showcase on this special birthday.

Happy Birthday Maple Leaf

Sunday Sundries … Thoughts, Amends, and Everything Else

tumblr_lm5d60Hzy01qzhzruo1_500 flickr jamesclearCourtesy: Flickr James Clear

It is frigidly cold. So cold that we thought we might get frostbite walking to and from the church.

We are sitting at that frigid (-21c/-32c w.c.) at this hour. The wind does not make it any better.

Yesterday we celebrated love by sharing a great dinner and exchanged cards. I noticed in my travels that the pharmacy has cleaned out all the Valentines stuff, off the shelves and there are boxes of stock ready to be unpacked, for what I imagine is St. Patty’s Day in March.

I departed on time and boy was it cold. I got to the church and one of my friends was already there so we cranked it out and waited for our folks to come, those who are reading with us before the meeting.

On this frigid night, a handful of folks came out. We read from the Twelve and Twelve and Step 9.

“Made direct amends to such people where ever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Every time I read this step, I get more insight to the process. I this this list is useful:

  • There will be those who ought to be dealt with just as soon as we become reasonably confident that we can maintain our sobriety.
  • There will be those to whom we can make only partial restitution, lest complete disclosures do them or others more harm than good.
  • There will be other cases where action ought to be deferred,
  • And still others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make direct personal contact at all.

I’ve made this pass before. And to this day, it is all about me. Still …

The people I owe amends to, don’t have a clue as to who I am today. When people turn away from you because of who you are, it makes it kind of difficult to deal with. When children are created, simply to be sibling rivals, that is a problem. When the first child is branded a mistake, and the second child, the make up child, what does that say about the parents?

I don’t know my brother. The last time I laid eyes on him was more than twenty years ago. The last time I laid eyes on my parents it was 2001, for only twenty minutes, then they were gone.

It is 2015. I don’t think I owe amends to people who don’t even know I exist, or that they choose not to acknowledge my existence. Because if i am real about this, I only want two things. One, I want my dignity back, and Two, I want to be acknowledged as a living, feeling, human being.

So we are back to all about me.

One of my friends, tonight said, that We are supposed to be agents of healing, not for us, but for them. How can you heal a hardened heart? What would that look like? You can’t change someone who is homophobic, hateful, ignorant, and bigoted. This is truth, I am not making this up.

Sometimes, it is better to just walk away, and let people be. And this has been a long and coming road in sobriety. With the dawn of Facebook, knowing where someone is, and also knowing they know that you are on here as well, makes it just as difficult. I’ve made my introductions and to this day, there has not been one word coming in my direction. So fuck me …

Like I’ve said before, the only thing I can do for me today is live my amends by staying sober, and growing up. And I am a work in process. The day you finish learning is the day one dies.

And I am sure as shit not there yet.

Another week begins. More will follow.

Stay tuned …

Friday … Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

tumblr_lndtyet7pF1qhlja3o1_500It is February. It is Cold. There is snow all over the place. We are sitting at (-22c/-30 w.c.) at this hour.

The truth is, people are tired of the cold and the darkness. And that seasonal funky depression is setting in across the land. We could use a little warmth and sunshine right about now. But the other truth is that Winter has set in deeply, and we really don’t know when it is going to end.

If those pesky rats told us six more weeks of Winter, that means no relief until at least the end of March. And if history is our guide, April or May is the closest we will get to Spring like weather.

My guys are all in the mix, as well not to mention, a great number of folks who hit the Friday meeting.

It has been a busy last couple of days. And very successful too.

Friday is as Friday does. I had nothing special to do. I met with some folks over the afternoon, and did some shopping for the day. The push for Valentines Dollars was in high gear today. This, the one day we get to show our love for our significant others, by the giving of cards, chocolate and flowers.

We do cards here. So I left uber early to sort that out. When I got to the pharmacy to do that, there were crowds of people in the store. There were flower sellers in the mall proper. People were greedily grabbing every possible little thing that was on sale. It was card and chocolate madness.

Thankfully, I am pretty good at cards. It did not take me long to find the one that I was going to buy, and get in line with everyone else to pay. American Greetings and all those other card makers are making a killing tonight. I get to the register and she swipes the card … $11.00 dollars please !!!

Eleven dollars, are you shitting me ?

On the way home, I had to get some stuff for dinner. I walk into Provigo and there are flowers all over the place, carefully placed in the “Impulse Purchase Area” That wide swath that exists directly behind the Express Check out. On the Impulse Purchase rack are tons of chocolates in pretty boxes.

So $11.00 dollars for a card, chocolate probably runs between $10.00 and $25.00 and flowers will run you probably $20.00 … You aren’t getting out of this store for close to $40 or $50 bucks.

I’m sorry, but I’m not spending that kind of cash.

Last night we got a tweet that the water main break at my Laurier Station had been fixed and that all the buses that had been redirected to other places, have returned to their original locations today.

Which was really good news, because it was/is frigid outside and having to walk blocks to find a bus was/would be a challenge.

We sat a good crowd. Like I said people are frazzled. And the topic was:

Walking Towards Serenity.

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

When we are frazzled and at our wits end, and we are awash in emotion, and sometimes they aren’t that good, and we believe we are at the end of our ropes, hang on. This too shall pass. Keep going. Take another step forwards. Do the Next Right Thing.

The reading talks about that moment of doubt, that I can’t go on, I can’t do it, I don’t have the strength.

This is that moment when taking another step forwards will pay off. We take that step, we make that call, we get ourselves to that next meeting. And tonight, we heard folks talk about not wanting to get out of bed and weather the cold to come out, but they came, nonetheless.

And it was a good thing they did, because everybody said the same things, in their own words.

There have been many instances in my life where the chips were down, and things seemed bleak, and I was not sure that I could make it another step or another day. Trials and tribulations will do that to us.

When I got sick, the began getting sober, knowing that I was going to die, within months, I wanted to drown my sorrows and what was left of my mortality with booze. Todd had other plans for me.

And a good thing too.

While I was happy, sitting at home, counting the days until I was dead, I had a job, and that job saved my life. I was pushed to deal with reality with whatever strength I had. But I had the aid of people who knew my plight. I strung days together. Then I strung weeks together. Then I strung months together. And finally, I got to the point, that I was still alive, and began to string together years.

Twenty years later, all that work and taking one day at a time, I am still here.

I did that walk. I learned to get out of my misery and walk towards the living light.

Facing ones mortality is a very tough deal. Many people who are sick with terminal illness and those who are fighting every day to live from various issues like Cancer, AIDS, and every other assorted sickness, time is not our friend. And we either give in and die, or we stand up and we fight to live.

People have resiliency.

I’ve seen people rise from sickness and from their deathbeds and walk again.

Life does not all of a sudden get rosy and happy when we get sober. And for some, it seems that life throws at them, everything but the kitchen sink. And it is our challenge to walk with them and carry them through the tough times, always encouraging them that nothing lasts forever.

It will get better and that This Too Shall Pass.

It might be frigid outside and in many places there is so much snow that cities are closed up and schools are shut down and mother nature keeps throwing snow, snow and More Snow at us.

And it is cold.

We can’t all get on a plane and head south. We just have to soldier through it, until it is over.

We are / You are not alone.

There is hope. Come, Show up, Make that call. Don’t give up or give in.

Life may suck right now, but it will get better.

Everything’s gonna be alright.

More to come, stay tuned …

Thursday … Marco & Mario and Everything Good !

maro mario 2Marco Reus and Mario Gotze – Borussia Dortmund

Mario Gotze played for Borussia Dortmund (#10 jersey) And Marco with (#11 jersey) both played on the German National Team, winning the World Cup against Argentina. A Goal, Gotze “hopes people will remember for a long time.” Marco’s Number (#11 jersey) may become very popular in the near future if my bets are correct. Mario now carries (#19 jersey) for F.C. Bayern Munich.

“Who wanted to see Marco Reus in a Bayern Munich kit? Sadly that scenario is all but dashed for the next 3-5 years as today Marco Reus signed a new contract with Borussia Dortmund that will see him stay in yellow and black through the end of the 2018/2019 season.

The new contract will reportedly pay Reus €10M per season which is in line with most of the upper end salaries at Bayern Munich. According to Kicker, Reus even turned down a nearly double wage offer from Real Madrid to stay with his hometown club. The new contract will also remove what was a €25/30/35M (reports range wildly) buy-out clause from the German international’s contract ensuring that die Schwarzgelben can retain last season’s German Footballer of the Year for the next 4-and-a-half seasons.” Bavarian Football Works

Borussia Dortmund, is the team that brings together great football players to make them shine, some of them stay, and some of them have moved up to F.C. Bayern Munich. The German teams are filled with powerhouse players, that participated on the German National Team at the last World Cup.

Marco Reus is the newest “It Guy.” Signing a multi-million Euro contract for Borussia. His star is on the rise, and his stock will just get better. So it was that today I invested in Borussia Dortmund gear from the U.K. I bet, not far from now, his gear will become as popular as Mario’s did playing for Germany and now Bayern Munich.

I got a great deal for gear that was on sale, I’m not sure Marco’s new contract news is making waves to sell out gear, just yet. But I am sure that is not far off.

Since we get a channel called GOL TV, I get to watch live matches from Europe right here in my living room. Not to mention subscribing to Bavarian Football Works on Facebook, I get all the latest news.

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

The week was supposed to kick off on Wednesday, but the bank system has a mind of its own. Today was the kick off for this fiscal session. Early on, I thought about sleeping in late, but I had things to do and I needed the afternoon to do them. I was up and around early I had a fact finding mission to take care of for my friend out in N.L. (read:New Foundland). She is coming back in the spring and we are working to line up daycare for her daughter and a new home for both of them.

It takes a village to raise a child. And Our little “village that could” is no different.

Thank God for technology and the internet.

I just scan all the paperwork into my system, and load it into an email, and in a flash it is already there for tomorrow morning. No having to travel between here and there to get things done.

I pondered the thought of a trip into The Village for a visit to my favorite store. I left the CLSC (read: Community Service Center), and went down into the Metro next door. I tried to load my card from the ticket machine, (I never do that because it always fucks with my card) and why would this time be any different? It fucked with my bank card, which meant I had to leave the metro and walk down to Jean Coutu, to load my card correctly.

It was a To and From Priape journey that took less than an hour, and I also got to talk to my favorite sexy salesman at the shop. Really, the only reason I shop there is because of this sexy man. What you can’t get here on this end of town, you can get there. Yes, the prices are higher, and I could have shopped online, but the exchange rate is really shit right now.

I did some supermarket Safari because we needed food and drink. We have what is called a P.C. Plus card that accrues points for things you buy at the market. It gives you points based on items it chooses from the things you buy often. It usually takes about two to three weeks for that shop information to make it into points. It is tailored for every shopper, based on their shopping habits.

This month has been particularly good. All of my usual items made it to the card and this weeks selection was even better. I get points for spending money, and I get points for buying food as well.

At 20,000 points you get $20.00 off your grocery bill. That usually takes a month.

It is a WIn Win…

It has been snowing on and off for the past three days. And it is getting chilly as well. Temps will be falling over the weekend again. We have two full weeks left in this month, then it is March.

Let Us Pray for an Early Spring …

I really don’t want to have Winter go as far as May again.

How do you know Spring is here ? When temps rise and remain above 10c for a week, that is when we open the windows for the first time since last Fall. That happens occasionally, then temps drop below and rise again. The first month of Spring is usually hit and miss.

When we left for the meeting tonight, it was snowing. And it was cold.

We listened to another young person share her story. It was a great meeting.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

Stroke … Do You Know the Signs ?

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 12.17.52 AMThis story begins on Carmi’s Blog, and the article: Winding Down the Day that Was

Because this story involves one of my long time friends here on the web, I thought that I would share with you my story, as it pertains to this subject … STROKE.

Back in the day, (circa 1979-1982) both sets of grandparents were still healthy, alive and able.

In my junior year in Junior High School, that would have been 8th grade, we got a call from Connecticut and my uncle on the phone saying that my father’s mother, had had a stroke, and was in hospital. What we did not know then, made all the difference.

Simply put, nobody knew what to do, us, or the medical community.

My grandparents lived in a ranch house, with a grand staircase to the second floor and the bedrooms, it would have been a challenge to get a gurney up those stairs, and ambulance service, back then was almost non- existent as it is today.

Time was of the essence and too much time was lost, in treating her properly. They did not have the drugs we have today to take care of patients. So time and medication was limited and the damage was done. My grandmother had total right side paralysis and lost her speech, save for a few four letter words that she shouted at any given moment.

My father took me out of school, at age 13 and charged me with the task of magically showing up at her bedside, in the hopes that my just being there, would rouse her out of her stupor, and that she would see me, the first born grandson she doted upon, and get up and walk and speak normally.

That did not happen.

We took a night flight out, and the next morning we were taken to the hospital. I walked into her room, grammy’s face was half on the pillow, and half sliding off of her skull. She was drooling and bunched up due to paralysis.

I fainted and my skull hit the floor, which sent me to the E.R. to be checked out.

Over the next few days, I sat with her trying to get her to speak, to see letters, and see flash cards, hoping against hope that she would rise up. I failed at this mission. And I don’t think my father ever forgave me for failing this mission.

There were no special therapy houses or clinics. No special wards for those who were suffering. Patients with debilitating issues were sent to the city hospital (read: Insane Asylum) where psychiatric patients were locked up, but there was a ward with regular beds, stuck in between.

That hospital was abominable. My grand parents, together, never got the care they deserved.

A year to the date my grandmother had her stroke, my grandfather was felled by his own.

Now both were in long term care, (read: Asylum) and were moved from site to site.

My father packed up their house, sold off everything that he could, sold the house, and brought my grandparents to Florida, where we could see them daily, or weekly, as it was.

My grandmother moved from a wheelchair to a cane over the next ensuing years. My grandfather was less limited, and only became more of a pain in the ass.

They moved from one care home to the next. They never really rose to the challenge of being able to properly care for long term patients who needed specific care. They were mistreated by staff. The nurses did a half ass job, and some even stole money and clothing that we would give them / buy them over the years.

It was terrible.

Both my grandparents died later on in my life. I was devastated.

My father was never the same, after this entire ordeal. It fucked him up for life.

So the signs … F. A. S. T.

  • FACE … Is your face drooping
  • ARMS … Can you lift them
  • SPEECH … Can you form words, speak
  • TIME … Call 911 immediately

There are several types of strokes, that may happen over a period of time, but they all end up the same way, with a blood clot that travels to the brain, and cuts off oxygen to the brain, therefore causing the death of brain cells and the stroke.

If you think you are having any of these symptoms, stop, pay attention, get help immediately.

  • Do Not Wait.
  • Do not Think, ah, this is just a little problem, it will go away …
  • Think, Act, Get Help Immediately

It could save your life or the life of someone you love.

Sunday Sundries … Boy Is It COLD Outside !!!

thunder-snowWe are sitting at (-14c / -26c w.c.) at this hour.

And Man, was it cold out there tonight. We had snow, and lots of blowing snow, and it was cold.

I departed early to meet my guys at the church, and it was a good thing too. There was three feet of snow piled up outside the church door, which meant I had to find a way to get the door open so that I could get at the shovel, to shovel the snow away from the door at least. There was no shoveling the walk, because snow fell all night long, and I made several trips outside to shovel the stoop so that people could get inside. There was too much snow at the end of the night and I had to jam the door shut and try to get it locked a secure when we left.

Aside from the shitty weather, people came. It seems that folks are deciding against going out when it snows this way. It is too much for our older generation to go out in this kind of weather.

We sat a good group and we read from the Twelve and Twelve, and Step Eight.

“Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

It is a good thing, that so many of our men and women are “In” their steps. Everyone seems to be devoted to The Work. Going through the steps is a useful tool so that we hear the steps read, followed by a discussion. Whether you are at that point or not. It gets the creative juices flowing and folks get a preview listening to people, who are either at this point, or have been past this point in The Work.

A common theme that arose from our discussion was one particular thought:

When we make our list, of people we have harmed, and we write them down, we must be sure to put ourselves on that list as well.

When we attend the Roundups every Spring, we hear A.A. speakers, along with an Alanon Speaker. People in the rooms, are usually not familiar with those who have been affected by our alcoholism. That is another point of learning for folks who do the round up. We don’t often think of those we hurt until we sift through the steps. Most of us are so self centered that we only think about ourselves, and how others hurt us …

Another fellow shared that he sits in this place that “why should we forgive others, when certain people did hurt us, intentionally, and did it without any thought about the consequences?”

Forgiveness is about letting go and releasing us from that kind of thinking.

The read mentions the family dynamic. And my family was fucked up for a long time.

I’ve said before that when it was good it was really good. My parents provided well beyond what they could have. We had everything we ever wanted and more. On the flip side, when it was bad it was very bad. My father was a very angry, vicious, bitter and abusive man.

How does one forgive a man who abused you severely for decades, told you, you were a mistake, and should never have been born, then when finding out I was Gay, called me an abomination, and toss me out of the house because he could not have a fag under the roof. Then add insult to injury, when I got sick and almost died, that same man would encourage me to die quickly, and humiliated me before friends and guests over the holidays. He was an alcoholic. But he was also a man.

I put my family on the list. But since we do not talk today, and have not spoken in more than a decade, I have tried to make amends, but they fell on deaf ears. So fuck me right ???

All those people I hurt in the past are miles away, and out of sight and mind.

When I moved here, I began my life with a clean slate. I was sober. I have not hurt anyone in the ways I hurt those I did when I was drinking and using. Today, sober people make mistakes. We hurt one or anothers feelings and we correct those mistakes in the moment, or in the day.

My sponsor explained to me his life, which is very similar to mine. We did what we had to do to get and stay sober. We make no excuses, because we want to survive. Amends may come or they might not. It is about our frame of mind and whether we live in forgiveness, or reside in resentment and anger.

I choose to live in forgiveness.

With age comes wisdom. I know the story, forwards and backwards. I’ve studied all the characters involved. Some people choose to live in their ignorance and call it Christianity. I can’t help someone who lives in that space. I choose to call it what it is, and I let it go.

All I ever wanted from them is respect and my dignity restored. I did not get that. I won’t ever get that.

What I am, what I suffer from, and who I am married to is more important to them than WHO I am.

This is WHO I am, like it or not.

It was a great, honest discussion.

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

Over the weekend, I was watching an old web series made by a friend of mine who lives in South America, Venezuela, to be exact. He and and his merry bunch of moto bikers travel the mountains and he films it on a Go Pro. So I’ve got the entire collection from the last round. Then on Christmas, they visit shanty towns and those less fortunate, and the give Christmas presents to all the children along the way. It’s a very good thing …

So we have the video, and then, there is the music. I have a program that will capture music from video and creates Mp3’s. I spent the weekend, sorting through video and music and I created entire new music playlists. Then I upload them to my phone, and it lets me sort them into playlists and to sort them as to the order I want the music to play in.

Over all it was quite a successful weekend.

Everybody is happy, sober and doing well.

More to come, stay tuned …