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Archive for April, 2015

Thursday … You Can’t Get Sober and Keep Your Ego !

tumblr_mny6xdcYk61qmbg8bo1_500Courtesy: The Moon and the Stars and the Ocean

Wow, it seems like ages since I last wrote something. Not that there hasn’t been anything to really write about, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t sure I had anything interesting to write.

Monday was M.A. night, I get to see my guys all together for a meeting. Tuesday it was another chapter on Joe and Charlie, we put the cd on and let it roll. It was a good thing that I had looked at the clock when I did, because this particular chapter was going ON and ON and ON.

That’s what happens when we get to Step four in The Work. Anyways by twenty five past seven I shut off the cd and we had a very abbreviated sharing.

Wednesday was my night off.

I’ve been doing some online shopping, and I made a purchase over on Ebay and made the payment and all that stuff. That night I get a note from the seller saying that she could not ship the item through the mail because of its weight, and her other options like Fedex or UPS was going to run in excess of $75.00 … I was like WTF ???

So this was the first time a seller actually voided a transaction, which has tied up funds on the Pay Pal side, since when you make a purchase with Pay Pal, they automatically, electronically send funds to your sales point ahead of them coming out of your bank.

I went online and found a similar product to the ones I really wanted, from a seller in Pennsylvania. Their shipping rates Ground to Canada were $30.00 via UPS, including taxes and fees. I am waiting on my package that should be here Monday.

The weather has been great all week. It has been warm. The kind of warm that is heavy and not much breeze, so it seemed warm in the apartment, I  half imagined putting the A/C in the window but it is way to early to hang the box.

We set off on time for our Thursday meeting. But the STM had other plans. We usually miss a bus that usually passes as we walk up the hill. We had hit that early bus by chance a couple of times, today, though, the bus was late, and it was packed to the rafters. And successive stops just added more bodies to the bus.

We got to hear a young person share tonight. I identified a lot with what she had to say about drinking, partying, expectations and higher education.

It was a good thing I quit drinking before I moved here. Tonight we heard another insane story about what the drink leads some to do just to keep the buzz going for as long as they could.

Now mix copious amounts of alcohol, the desire to be great and unique, and the attainment of Grad School degrees all at the same time.

It is a well known fact, in one particular educational institution, that once you cross the bridge from a bachelors degree into Grad School, it is necessary for you to find yourself, build your ego and become better than your fellows.

Grad school is an egomaniacs play ground.

I tell this story about my time in university.

I did ten years working on two degrees, one in Religion and one in Theology.

The Theology department really wanted me for their Grad program in Theology. I had the grades, and they bent over backwards to fit me in. That was in the late spring after my last graduation.

I had a tight group of friends. We had been friends since the beginning, traveling the same trajectory. By the end of that next summer, we all returned for our first semester of Grad School.

The day I walked into class, that very first day, I knew something was off. Those people I had called friends, didn’t even notice I was in the classroom. They had “cliqued” amongst themselves, and I did not get the memo …

I think I am pretty easy going, and I really didn’t see the writing on the wall about the ego I should have acquired over the summer. I did my best to be part of, but it was clear that I was knocked out of the loop socially.

I had the grades for a while, but my work began to slip. I could not perform like my friends, I wasn’t one of them, so that put me at odds with them. I reached the 2 “C” rule, and they, as hard as they tried to get me in, they turned on me and showed me the door, unceremoniously.

I had been shut out.

Now, I watched several of my friends go through this, and they drank over it, after being sober for a while themselves. I didn’t want to make those same mistakes. I stayed sober, I ended my grad school run with a slow, fail out of the system.

You can’t get sober and keep your ego !

Our young lady spoke to this problem about her ego and how she has managed to let go of some of it, for where she is today. Some people believe that A.A. may not be the only way one can and should get sober.

Perish the thought…

We all take the route that serves us best. There are more than one way to skin the proverbial sober cat. I will never say that you must take this path or that path. All I will say is that If you have a problem with the drink, we have a solution.

Thankfully, she is heading into the solution.

She just isn’t kicking and screaming her way down the steps.

It was a good night.

The summer begins in earnest this weekend. People will begin coming and going so quickly for the next three months.

Stay tuned…

Sunday Sundries … OH !

tumblr_m9goegijlk1qkbo6bo1_500 freshie (2)Courtesy: Freshie

It was a rather quiet weekend. The weather has been iffy all day/evening long. It has been spitting rain on and off for a few hours now. The majority of it fell while we were in action inside the church. We are in single digit positive temps, still a little chilly.

After last night’s writing there isn’t much else to tell.

We have a nest on our balcony. Over the last few weeks, two very brave pigeons have been scouting out our balcony. They aren’t afraid of humans, they seem to like sharing the space. A few days ago, I noticed that one of them is sitting on a nest that they built under the patio furniture. They carved out a space for themselves tucked in a spot that is dry, covered and out of direct sunlight. I put out some bread and a water bowl for mama.

Yesterday the mate visited the balcony, he was carrying more twigs for the nest. He seemed a little spooked by my presence, and took off for the neighboring building where they usually roost during the day in the sunlight.

I’m guessing we will have chicks sometime soon.

We were talking over dinner that those pigeons picked a difficult spot to have chicks, seeing that we are 17 stories up and one false start is going to end up with dead chicks if they aren’t proficient in learning how to fly.

I don’t know where they all go at night to rest. On a good day there are more than 50 birds in the grouping in our neighborhood. I’ve never been able to suss out where they go at night.

I was out early and the weather was holding. My Sunday guy is in Germany until Wednesday so it was just me for set up, the girls soon followed. We sat a small group, and read from the Twelve and Twelve, and Tradition Four.


Every group is different, no two groups are the same. The take away from this reading is simple, “Try not to be so damned serious with yourself.”

In the Traditions we read the goings on of the early groups as the books were first put out and the first groups were forming. Lots of people had grandiose delusions of grandeur. They wanted to build super hospitals dedicated to the sobering up of the masses. They wanted to build multi-story building catering to every aspect of the recovery process. It was truly a trial and error process. Some things worked, and others didn’t.

Well, we know how that ended … Keep it simple stupid !

I had those dreams of grandeur myself at one point. The plans for that dream are here on the blog if you know where to look.

Club rooms are located in many places. And they work for some reason, out there.

The way meetings work here, on both the English and French sides, meetings fall on particular nights, and there are very few meetings that hold their meetings several nights a week in the same location. They tried to open a club room here a while back, and it failed miserably.

Meetings are location specific, and serve a certain area by location.

On the island of Montreal, the city is partitioned by invisible lines that demarcate each area of the island. People usually stay within those boundaries. They very rarely leave the comfort of their particular zone. So trying to consolidate a number of meetings from where they are now, to one central location, under one roof, is a futile effort, because of these little facts.

It would remove the contact for a particular zone and disrupt the delicate balance of meeting location and the people it serves.

So that is a thing …

Another week is coming. Packages are in route and should be here tomorrow, and another to follow in a weeks time. In two weeks we travel to Vermont for the Spring session Intensive Step workshop. There are a dozen Montrealer’s attending, the max capacity is forty two.

I’m pretty sure we will max out the facility.

I’ve given you all some things to think about, places to get involved, and people to get up and stand by and speak for. It only takes one person to change the world.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

More to come, stay tuned…

We Are Here

918I was born in 1967 in a small town called New Britain Connecticut. Family was all one had, in whatever form they came in. And I was lucky that I HAD all the family I could use because we all lived fairly close, a short walk or a short car ride from point A to point B.

Back in the day gender roles were set in stone. The binary system was held in place and I never heard or saw any “other” gender role or met anyone who lived “outside” the norm.

But history tells us that Gay existed well before I was born, and it was a silent life of hiding in the shadows and living your lifestyle behind closed doors, or in places that you could be yourself, but in my reading of history, those stories are few and far between.

I didn’t know that “other” existed until I was in grade school and happened upon reading material my father had collected and was reading around us, as if to say, leaving mags around the bathroom was commonplace and not “wrong.”

I had a little transistor radio with one of those little ear pieces that I listened to at night. And I was so interested in a certain radio show that played during those years. You wouldn’t find them on any dial today, or maybe you would, on some internet channel. Times have changed.

There was a particular radio show hosted by a woman who invited guests on to her show in the hopes that she would hook those guests up with callers. One guest piqued my interest when he identified himself as a Master, and was looking for a sub. I didn’t know what that was, or maybe I did, after reading my father’s mags…

This was not a heterosexual match up show, it was a Gay match up show. This guy was a regular on the show.

What was this, and why did I find it so appealing ???

I could read by that point in my life. And I read well.

Along with Readers Digest, Playboy and Penthouse magazines another little booklet was meat and potatoes. I wasn’t interested in titty girls and naked women. Variations was written for the person who straddled the sexual fence.

After my rebellion at day care, I had a key to the house and that’s where we went after school. I was a nosy little shit and I had to know everything about family. And I was like that for many years after that. My father (in hindsight) was living a double life. I know that today.

The words he spoke, were very different than the actions he was displaying behind the scenes. His internalized homophobia was rampant. I think he read magazines and lived vicariously through them, while he abused me terribly, hoping to beat the “gay” out of me later on.

My father would not have a GAY in his house, but he was one himself, he wasn’t just bisexual, it was full on gay.

My mother was not exempt from this. She actually participated.

They say gay is a choice. Let me ask you this, can a child make a choice of that kind of proportion and know for sure that is what they are or want to be? Or as happened, I came across informative reading that 100% informed what side of the sexual orientation coin I would later land.

It wasn’t a choice. I knew. I knew right then and there. But I didn’t know what it meant.

Fast forward into our last move into the house we lived in the longest.

I did not know anyone who was gay, or better yet, I had never met anyone who was transgendered. My parents kept us out of the social discussion. I listened to them talk about the Queers and the Gays and those sick people with AIDS, who should just die already.

My parents met other families, some with means, and others not so much. All of these kids, us and those we came to know, grew up together. Family dinners, holiday banquets, birthday parties, and summer barbeque’s were the stuff of legends.

My introduction to Gay had begun.

One of my friends, who is still my friend to this day, I call her mom my step mom, because where my mother failed, she had stepped in and filled that role. She would have wedge wood china dinner parties, and invited people from across the spectrum.

That is where I met the gay men who would facilitate my walk across that proverbial bridge, when it came. I straddled the orientation line because my father would beat me after every dinner party we attended to make sure he would beat the Gay out of me. He abhorred Gay, but he loved reading about them, and having sex that was well outside the normal vanilla sexual slant.

My parents were not so vanilla they loved their chocolate side.

I dated girls throughout high school. I kissed girls, but I had never had sex with a woman, never have, and never will. I could never be who I wanted to be, as I was educated in what that meant by people who were.

When I learned to drive, and get around, I discovered Gay “in community.” Back in those days, pride flags were something I learned about, because they told me what I needed to know, as I drove through particular neighborhoods.

The “Gay community” moved from one section of the city to another, trying to find a footing for itself. And they went from sparse to the entirety of Coconut Grove proper. There were gay stores, gay shoppes, gay bars, and gay festivals.

Later when Gay grew, us gays moved from the mainland to the beach. Miami Beach, the mecca for retirees and snowbirds, now shared space and lives with the gays. It took a long time for that community to grow and then flourish. And it did.

I could not stay in Miami to be gay. My father would not have a gay child in his family.

I moved away to be gay. My alcoholism came along for the ride.

Over a decade saw me hit new highs and lows, and over time I not only became the gay in my family, I became that gay with AIDS in the family. Two strikes and I was out.

It was the gay community who stepped in when I really needed it. When my parents tossed me to the curb, it was the gays, who took me in and I am still alive because of just how good they took care of me. Over a hundred of my friends died, but I survived.

Because I did what I was told.

I listened to real people, gay people, show me how to survive. And if you think gays are not compassionate or loving, you are dead wrong. You say we are sick and perverted, well, some are, and I love them for it. What is life without a little “spice.”

Where Heterosexuals failed to take care of their children, where very sick homosexual adults were tossed into the streets, kicked out of their homes, tossed out by lovers, the good gays stepped in and did what they had to do for the least of these.

I fell away and walked out the door on four years of sobriety and it was the worst mistake I have ever made. When I returned from my disastrous gay odyssey to hell, I moved to the Beach.

Rental assistance afforded me an apartment two blocks off the beach, in a gay friendly building with gay friendly people who had my best interest in mind. But I was still drinking.

I prayed for an alcoholic to bring me back, and he appeared.

I was thirty four. I wasn’t a beach boy. I didn’t have the looks nor the money.

So on my first sober day, I returned to a gay meeting. Nobody noticed me.

What I did find was a group of straight men and women who did welcome me and provided everything I would need to live soberly.

I moved to Montreal. By this time, by my family’s standards and resentment list, I had four solid strikes against me.

If you want to be gay and live a life of your dreams, move out of the United States.

Every day I read articles and watch videos of just how sick heterosexual people are. I read articles about heterosexual people doing the worst indignities to the least of these.

Every day we are bombarded with all kinds of actions that are abhorrent to me abhorrent to all of us.

I am ashamed to call myself an American. There is only one reason I retain my citizenship.

But for all intents and purposes, I am a Canadian.

Gay is all over. From city to city, from province to province and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Here we have marriage equality. We can walk down the street holding hands and not fear some asshole making a scene. Cities have dedicated Gay Villages.

Here is where my gay education took another step in its evolution. At a particular meeting I was introduced to a trans woman, who we all love and respect. I actually heard her speak a few weeks ago.

Who knew from trans boys and girls, men and women?

In the last ten years or so, gender rules and assignments have expanded. It the most wonderful time in our lives. No longer in the shadows, kids, young people and adults are making their stands to proclaim who they are.

But in the United States, sadly, beatings, killings and suicides are the norm.

Around the world we know that LGBT people are being killed, ostracized and imprisoned for who they are. Sadly the world is not moving ahead with acceptance and love.

I’ve known a handful of young kids battling with who they were born as, coming to see who they really are. Some have been in transition for a while now. There are pockets of locations where kids are being allowed to explore who they are, with support and love, but that is far from the norm.

Kids killing themselves because of internet trolls and hatred by family and friends is terribly disturbing. We have to step up and be their voice in a world that wants to only shut them up.

Over the last few years I have become friends with a family that is remarkable. One son is gay, One daughter is in transition at age six, and the third son is in the mix.

I’ve witnessed what it takes to parent a transgendered child. Parenting any child is hard work, it is a lifetime calling for parents. And we know, by what we are hearing and seeing, children are being born into families that really, should never have had children to begin with.

That is another stark reminder of just how sick some parents really are.

We’ve witnessed celebrities born into celebrity lives. Growing up one gender, and today a handful of them are who they really want to be. The transgendered community is growing in leaps and bounds after a handful of celebrity transitions.

Last night was a watershed moment for Bruce Jenner. It was a watershed for all those boys and girls still in the mix, making lifetime decisions about who they would like to be and who they really are.

We Must speak for them. We must stand up for them. We must accept them.


We must love each other, even if we do not understand why they are doing what they are doing.

Phil said this last night, “I may not understand but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, respect!!!”

Kanye said it best …”I am nothing, if I can’t be who I am!” Being true to ones self is the key to a life flourishing.

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Kids are killing themselves because of bullying and indignity.

We must stop this trend any way we are able.

It takes a village to raise a child, and an even bigger one to raise a trans kid.

Who do you know today? Do you know a gay person, Do you know someone with AIDS, I am sure all of you know someone who has faced or is facing a terrible fight for life because of illness.

How many of us know families with trans children in them?

You shall love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your spirit, AND you should love your neighbor as yourself.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Thursday – One Thing After Another

francisLocation: Syria, Subject: Isis Militants Those Killed: Gay men …

“You are Gay, and before we kill you, we will embrace you like a human.”

Then they stoned two men to death, in front of a crowd of people.

You think these words spoken by Pope Francis are timely ???

I still think we need a crack team of commandos to go in there and slaughter Isis militants.

Kill them as unmercifully as they killed so many people who should still be alive.

End of Rant …

Last night I cracked Connor Franta’s book, “A Work in Progress.” This afternoon I finished the read while sitting in my doctors office. (More on that later)

I read a lot of books. I have an entire library of books in my bedroom. An avid reader will probably know, words are everything. What words are used, how they are used, and what those words mean, in the context of the story. Every book is an opportunity to learn a little more about its author.

As I was reading, certain words and phrases jumped out at me.

Because he writes with very familiar phraseology, enough to notice if you are paying attention.

However, there is no mention of any kind of association, and he may just know the words, without the context I was ascribing to them. It may just be his writing style.

But if you ask me, it sounds all too familiar !!!

Our young author, in his twenties now, tells us his story. He shares with his readers just how important the digital age is to his life and by extension, the rest of us … “unless you are forty” you probably don’t know much.

He writes:

“The social generation has taken over. If you don’t tweet on the daily, receive dozens of likes on instagram photos, and know what the heck Tumblr is, then you best get to Googling because you’ve been left behind.

Or you are like forty …”

I found this was the only point in the story where I laughed out loud.

I am forty seven years old. I grew up in the 80’s. The only phone we had was connected to the wall in the kitchen, or if you were lucky, you had your own extension in your bedroom, and I did.

Social media was the local roller rink, or the shopping mall, (Dadeland or The Falls), or church youth groups, specifically. If you wanted to see your friends, you went to their house. And if they were good friends, you most likely spent numerous nights sleeping at friends houses, which I also did frequently.

Social media came late for me. My first computer was a gift from a friend in 2001, and that little box played the crucial role of connecting me to Canada. If it weren’t for that fact and a letter from the government, I would not be here today.

Anyways, social media. I am connected. This blog is nine years old. I have a You Tube account. There are actually videos, made by me, there. I Tumble. That’s where my photos come from. I joined Twitter a year ago to stay in contact with my friends, and that has grown into a social media platform for the blog as well. I have been on Facebook for almost nine years.

That is where I keep up with all my friends in one location.

With one click here, I can publish to all of my social media platforms, all at once.

Every gay boy has a coming out story. No two are the same. Connor is no different. But he was a blessed young man. Coming to know ones self is tough. Especially, when we think we are different. The process of coming to terms with sexual orientation can be long and arduous.

Connor figured that out for himself. On his time. In his own way. He chose who to tell, and when, and then he told his parents. They did not reject him, they turned around and told him they loved him and that that would never change.

How many gay kids get that kind of unequivocal support from parents.

I didn’t.

I knew, before I knew what it was. I listened and decided that coming out would be detrimental to my existence. I moved away to be gay, and my alcoholism followed.

The rest is history.

Oh to write our memoirs at twenty-something… He has his whole life ahead of him. A lifetime of experiences he has YET to have. People he has YET to meet. Places he has YET to go.


tumblr_ljxktkG7IG1qdizh9o1_500 lovepainandhopeI had things to do today, places to go, people to see. On any regular day, I just go with the flow and my days usually goes with little thought to the what, why or the how of it.

I left with plenty of time to make my three train transit and get to my doctors appointment early, because I am always early, in the hopes that I maybe get in the door early, and get out of there early for a change. (Thank God I had Connor to keep me company).

I arrived twenty minutes early for a three o’clock appointment.

There are usually a few people waiting. And usually two doctors seeing patients.

Not the case today. The crowd that was there were all seeing one man. My Doctor.

I read my book, and I finished it as well. And still I waited. When the secretary called me in it was four thirty. I am pretty patient when it comes to the doctor. So shortly before I got called, I calmly walked up to the counter and inquired how long I would be waiting.

While I waited my sponsor called. I was supposed to meet him at his house to pay for the retreat in May, today was the deadline for payment. So he called me and said that he needed to attend to one of his guys, and could we amend our plans. I managed a yes.

Not knowing when I would be back on the Metro to get home.

At four thirty I went in and started a conversation. About halfway through, doc got a call from someone who must be working at the new Glenn Site. They spent a shitload of money building that monstrosity.

Millions of dollars spent were funneled into corrupt people’s bank accounts.

They built the hospital without consideration for specific needs, for certain departments. So unclaimed space is at a premium. So I listened to half a conversation about what my doctor needs in the new hospital and why, then I heard the other speaking to the effect that, I don’t think we can provide for your needs as you need them, so you will have to take whatever you get.

Doc says … The lives of my patients are on the line here, the words “crash cart” were tossed into the conversation. So that is a thing he says …

The guy responds … Well, I cannot provide what you need.

Doc says … Then I will meet you and we will go to the site and figure this out.

Conversation continues for a bit but does not end with a positive resolution.

We then resumed our discussion, diabetes is being a pain in my ass, my numbers are too high, something needs to change. Then I tell my doc about the pill pushing for a problem I did not have, (and he checked my blood pressure and it was GOLD).

Diabetes doc prescribes a pill for my blood pressure. Tells me to fill it and apply for a home meter that would be free and get sent to me once I visited their site. That was four months ago.

I did not fill the script and I did not take the pills as directed.

So today my doc tells me that the pills he wanted me to take were not actually FOR my blood pressure, but FOR a problem called, Microalbumin.

Something to do with blood and my kidneys.

What the actual fuck ???

Diabetes doc did not tell me any of this. Probably because he had interns in his office doing their homework on ME. He didn’t tell me what he should have told me, instead he gave some excuse.

I did not take the pills.

Meanwhile, the words diabetes doc didn’t say to me, appeared in my chart for my doc today to see and show me on his computer.

So my doc says to me, take the pills and don’t tell George that you talked to me.

I was not very happy.

On the flip side, my T-cell count stands at 1,358. That’s the highest it has been.

I left the office at five fifteen. I had forty five minutes to make my three train transit back into town. I had to stop at the pharmacy and drop scripts to be filled, go to the bank, get my cash I needed and then hit the grocery store all before six fifteen.

My sponsor was waiting outside my apartment when I got out of the grocery store.

In the end, it all got done. I hate having to race the clock.

I was home for forty five minutes, before I had to leave again for the Thursday meeting.

Every meeting is different. And I have learned a great deal from everyone who has spoken on Thursday night. Tonight was no different. What we are seeing and hearing is older folks, in their fifties, sixties and seventies, coming into the rooms much later in life. Older folks, with a few years under their belts. The later the entrance, the longer and painful the run up to insanity and their turning point.

Tonight I heard something different.

People don’t hit their bottoms, there are no bottoms, only an elevator, and it is up to us what floor we decide to get off on.

Our man tonight shared and his message was simple …

“You don’t have to suffer as long as I did in order to get here.”

In other news, I hit another fellowship along with some of my sponsees who also attend those meetings. I am all for trying to forget my slip and the drugs I did, and marijuana I smoked. I try to forget it because it was a horrible stage in my life.

It is a place I rarely go. I never talk about it. And I like it that way.

But that is the issue.

The longer I sit in that room, the more the nightmares and memories haunt me. I am ashamed of the person I became, I don’t know how I could have sunk so low as to go from a middle class white boy who was just an alcoholic, to a looser, white trash, trailer dwelling, drug abusing, pot smoking miscreant with no hope of a life or a way out of the pit of hell I dropped myself into, without having an escape plan ready, should I have needed it.

In the end, I had one friend who knew where I was, who supplied me with the one way ticket out of hell, and gave me a place to recuperate after my near death beating experience.

That man was my angel.

When I made that transit, I never touched drugs or marijuana again. I never went looking for them again, even when I got back to Miami. I still drank, because it was easy and I had the money to pay for it. But even that got old in the end.

And I got clean and sober 100%.

I needed to find someone to talk this out with, I need to dump this shit on someone who can help me navigate this stage of my recovery that I seem to be embroiled in. My sponsor did not use drugs, so I needed to find someone who did. And I found him.

My friend who celebrated twenty seven years sober tonight, is my guy.

I love him to death. He is one of the greatest men I know. Tomorrow we are getting together before the Friday night meeting to chat this out.

If you are going to get clean and sober, then you need to hit all the dark spots and bring that shit into the light of day, so you can deal with it and get over it.

Easier said than done.

But it is a start.

All in a days work they say.

More to come, stay tuned …

Tuesday – New Books And Assorted Other Topics

connor bookToday is release day for “A Work in Progress” written by Connor Franta.

In his debut memoir, Connor Franta offers a look at his Midwestern upbringing as one of four children in the home and one of five in the classroom; his struggles with identity, body image, and sexuality in his teen years; and his decision to finally pursue his creative and artistic passions in his early twenties, setting up his thrilling career as a YouTube personality, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and taste maker.

Go to his Website, Order the Book, Subscribe etc, etc …Connor Franta Website

I pre-ordered Connor’s book a couple of weeks ago when he first introduced it to the world on his You Tube channel. I got it in the mail today. What would we do without the internet? If you order the book or buy it retail, (which is also a thing today) go to the website and put in your order number or receipt number for all sorts of goodies.

Sadly, Canada is not on his book tour schedule, just now … Aw, booooo !!!!

This would be book number 4, on my reading list right now. I am still in my read of Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs. I guess I will have to shuffle my reads a little, which puts Connor on the Next Book to Read list.

The weather has been spotty showers, but rain is in the cards all week long. The good thing about Montreal is that if it rains, it isn’t for long, we don’t usually get torrential rain very often. If you are a conspiracy kind of person, you would not be surprised if I say that they spray enough shit in the sky over the city so often, that I am sure that has something to do with how rain falls, and how storms are created over the city. I’ve written about that before.

I set off with all my goodies, supplies and made my transit. The rain stayed away this evening and that was a good thing. We sat a fair group. And Joe and Charlie talked about Steps Three and Four.

All I want to say about that is “Been there, done that.” I am currently on my Step Six with my sponsor. In a few weeks we will be heading to Saint Anne’s Shrine in Vermont, just about an hour over the border on the lakes of Vermont. We are not in the mountains any longer, but this retreat space sits on a lake and is a religious location, there are shrines, and outdoor theatre seating area, I suppose they have events outside. That’s our next travel event.

It was a good day and a good evening.

Just a short entry tonight.

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … Thoughts

7 cardinal rules for lifeI think these lessons kind of point to what I am going to write below.

The normal human being, is mostly concerned about themselves. It is always about them, and how the rest of the world perceives them, and also how they perceive themselves. For most, the insane amount of time we worry about the exterior parts of ourselves, is the obsession of millions of people. We see it every day on social media. All it takes is one troll to get the ball rolling, and then we get “wildfire.”

Then a kid kills themselves because of said troll and their minions.

What a blessing to have learned all these lessons in sobriety. Real lessons that I use on a daily basis. It isn’t all about me. And it never really is. i was so happy when I got this down.

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

It has been a stellar weekend. Albeit a little chilly this evening on the way home. They told us that it was going to rain for days, and to be prepared for lots of rain. A few drops fell yesterday early on, but it did not last, and skies remained clear and blue all weekend.

Last night I hit an off meeting to spend time with some of my guys. And I will get to see them tomorrow for the groups anniversary. Funny that the anniversary for an M.A. meeting falling on 4/20 !!! There’s a joke in there somewhere.

I told my friends that I would bring the weed …

Sobriety – Life – Work – and Everything that comes with it …

People get sober for a myriad of reasons. When we have been to hell, one way or another, we need to find some way to pick up the pieces and move forwards. You know there are many types of people in meetings, those who have full lives, some who have half lives, and those who have no lives.

Sobriety – as the Big Book says, “The only thing you have to change in sobriety is everything.”

Most people balk at this idea and they find or invent ways in which they choose to do things. They do it their way, they make half measures, or they adopt this way of living and they make it work.

When I came to Montreal, I had no life. So what I did was meetings, all the time, every day, until the next activity came to pass for me. One thing led to another and then life began in earnest. BUT the one thing I did that I kept doing, was my meetings. I worked very hard at building my outside life, around my meeting nights. And I was successful and still am to this day.

You build your life around your meetings, not your meetings around your life.

If you put anything before your sobriety you will eventually loose it. That is fact, I can prove it if you need it.

People who have lives, may find it difficult to amend their lives, and add sobriety to those lives, because they say they have no time to devote to sober things, like meetings, calls and working with others.

Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got.

It took me 11 years to find the route to finding my message, and that took a lot of work, prayer and help of a sponsor.

Some people need sobriety,  then there are those who want it.

Sobriety is a gift that once in the game, we try to encourage you to adopt it and make it yours. We encourage you to find ways to make sobriety work for you instead of against you. Sobriety is something you live into on a daily basis.

It is a process that some find encumbering. They are reticent to adopt those rules or suggestions we give to to enhance your lives. BUT if you start with something small, and later find that it worked, then you add a little more and see if that works for you. So forth and so on.

Some people with full lives or busy schedules may find it a problem to HAVE TO do everything they are told to do, or suggested to do when they come in.

**** **** ****
It was a wonky start to the evening. I was up washed and ready to go early. Now several things were supposed to happen in a certain order. My cup man bought us cups for two meetings from Costco the other day, and I needed to bring him cash from one kitty.
I packed my bag, and left for the church. Halfway through the Forum complex, I noticed that I had forgotten my wallet at home. I was going to be late. I turned around and walked back home, got my wallet, returned an email to a friend while on this stop. I didn’t take any cash from my kitty bag, and made a second departure for the church.
I got to the church a few minutes before my early team got there. It was all good.
We were standing outside the church when my cup guy showed up, and I was like, “shit, I forgot the cash.” Thankfully I had some cash in my wallet, 2/3’s is better than none, I guess.
The reading was “The Businessman’s Recovery”
Another war story taking place at the dawn of A.A. Our man goes from good to terrible inside of two years. He worked far a field for a while prior to the War. He enlisted, became a member of the armed services and his drinking took off in earnest.
Fearing prohibition in the United States, and not being able to drink freely, he decided to remain in Europe to continue his drinking unabated. He ends up in a sanitarium, sick and confused.
Miraculously, he is introduced to Bill W.
Someone this evening said that when she got sober, all she had to do was Google A.A. and there it was.
Imagine the odds of finding Bill W. in ones hospital room in the 1940’s.
What are the odds ???
This guy seriously lucked out. Imagine finding another alcoholic where you lived in the 1930’s or 1940’s. There were no tools like social media or computers. I just find it amazing that for some, the most opportune moment presented itself to certain human beings.
Is that ODD or is that GOD ???
The story is told, we get his introduction to the program, and the story continues with our man telling us just how good he has it and how his life has changed, everything changed for the better.
An old timer commented that – the meat and potatoes were missing from the story …
How did he go from sad and destitute to happy in a few sentences?
Well, it is implied that “something” happened. In between down and out and utter happiness, comes all the work that we must do to attain sobriety. All those things it took me YEARS to figure out, because I had not seen it until it was introduced to me and I adopted the practice for myself, and then for my guys.
There is the Book, The Steps, The Work … so to speak.
You just don’t come in the door and miraculously get happy all at once. It just don’t work that way, and I’ve never seen it work that way either.
Some people balk when we make suggestion to them that “aren’t in the Book.” Why do I have to do, what I am told, everything we share is suggestive only. You either want to be in it to win it or you aren’t. Sobriety and happiness are progressive. The more you put into your sobriety, the happier you are going to be.
It’s really simple.
Alcoholics are painfully stubborn. We over think things, we philosophize ourselves to death, and we worry about things like “I really need to know the gender of God…” before I can move forwards.
Really, REALLY ??? are you serious?
It’s like that Nike slogan ………… Just Do It !
Do you want to be RIGHT or do you want to be HAPPY ?
Simple question.
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …

Friday – Celebrations of Time

tumblr_na1os98mxP1t7d7l8o1_500 freshieCourtesy: Freshie … Celebrating the Montreal Canadiens who played tonight in their playoff championship on the road to the Stanley Cup finals, and mourning the loosing club of this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs… What a disaster !

Spring has finally come to Montreal. And people are loving it. For the past few days, it has been warm enough to go out in shirtsleeves at night. But I carried a hoodie just in case.

It has been a wonderful and warm couple of days. All the rain they said would fall, did not materialize at all. Skies remained blue through the week and into tonight.

Synchronicity – Coincidence – Is it ODD or is it GOD …

Not long ago, I told a story about how the universe is alive and is listening to what we say and watching what we do. And the universe has a funny way of letting us know that it is present in our lives, even if we don’t subscribe to that kind of thought.

I noticed that we have been missing certain people in the meetings. And one particular young lady came to my mind the other night, quite surprisingly. Yes, I hadn’t seen her in a while, I sent that thought out on a Tuesday evening, and the universe responded Thursday night.

I got to St. Matthias early and was sitting out front, and my young lady waltzed up the street to the church. Funny, this is another example of universal consciousness being alive and well.

Yeah, she decided to come to the meeting on her own.

I asked the universe to send her to us.

And she showed up.

Is that ODD or is that GOD ???

Tonight we sat a full house. The topic … “That Spiritual Angle.”

Spend enough time in a room, and we begin to find our spiritual angle. The one that works for us. And I think, among all the meetings I go to on a weekly basis, the Friday night meeting, is the place where our young people, and older people as well, have been actively cultivating their own spiritual angle.

God, Higher Power, Spirit, whatever you call it, has been a constant subject in our meeting for more than a year. That conversation arises from the frequency that As Bill Sees It, deals those topics out. There is a lot of God in that little book.

I’ve learned a lot about the spiritual angle from my friends. In fact, I have come to need it and rely on it and also come to respect what that means to my friends, and how they see the world. We think we must know everything when it comes to God, and some don’t want to know anything about God, but on Friday, we all meet in the middle to discuss it and in that discussion we have evolved.

There is more than one way to skin the proverbial sobriety cat.

Belief and Faith is individual to each of us.

Everybody respects where each of us are on the time line. And nobody sits there and preaches one way or another, like they have the definitive answer. That would be presumptuous and arrogant to say the least.

Knowing God from many directions is very useful in working with others.

It was a full night of friendship and fellowship. The house was packed. And we celebrated three of our number in their Second sober anniversaries. Two is a big deal. The chip is silver and oval in shape and style, rather than the bronze medallion.

When you get your Two, you keep it close, because when you get to Ten, that silver chip, gets dipped in Gold and you get it engraved for your tenth anniversary.

Kind of tradition in Montreal.

Everyone is important in every meeting. But the most important person in any meeting is the newcomer. Celebrations in our group are festive and meaningful, because of the population. Chips are important to our young people, because they see us, and each other celebrate time, and that gives them hope that the gift is there for them as well.

When I began to attend this meeting, it was a small meeting with no more than twenty five people in the back hall around a smaller table setting. I watched two particular people come and and claim a chair for themselves.

Over the last two years our little meeting blossomed into what it is today. We are in the main hall with double the head count, so many heads in that count that we split the group up for sharing so that everyone has a chance to speak.

Tonight, three very important members of our group took their two year cakes.

My recommendation is that you find a meeting to call home, and STAY in that group for as long as it takes. For as long as it takes, will give you the opportunity to watch your fellows get sober. Watching light come to ones eyes and the shadow depart is a blessing. And you too will see what others are experiencing, and you will have those moments too.

I’ve watched my friends come, stay, and get sober, and tonight they hit the Two mark.

We are all so proud of them. Because we are family. That is why those who come, come, and stay, because of that welcome and love freely given.

A good night was had by all.

On my transit back, I saw advertisements on our Metro TV. In many stations, there are flat screen tv’s that show arrival times, weather, news briefs and assorted others media sorts.

Our Glenn Site Hospital that I told you all about some time ago, opens officially on April the 26th. The first of the many hospitals that are moving to the Glenn, is the Royal Victoria, just a stones throw from home. They will commandeer 40 ambulances for a two days, transporting every patient in the Royal Vic to the new Glenn site.

That is going to be One Huge Project …

The Children’s Hospital, just up the street from home moves on May 26th, one month after the Royal Vic transfer. They will also follow the ambulance protocol. Then the old building will be demolished and a new public park will be built on that site.

In a couple of years, there will be plenty of green space, just up the block.

It was a great week. Spring is here, and people could not be happier.

More to come, stay tuned …

Designer Baby

BabyL2Sometimes my image gallery comes in very handy. I spend a good amount of time looking for images for the blog.

So that is a thing.

It was a very productive day today. And it was another stellar day, but rain is on the way.

My laundry day has been moving from one day of the week to another. Wednesday was always my laundry day, because it was an off day. But for the last month or so, laundry has been moving across the week, and even to the weekend when necessary.

I did laundry today.

We have one H.E. washer and six regular washers. Every time I go upstairs to do laundry, I have to wait for the person ahead of me. There is a sign in the wash room that states a ten minute rule for laundry left in either the washer or dryer.

Being patient is not a strong suit when it comes to laundry. And I have taken to counting the ten minute rule when it comes to my schedule…

I got my laundry done, went grocery shopping and got the super to come fix a light switch that was on its last leg. When they came to treat us for our ant problem a few weeks ago, the team that did it came in and wrecked the apartment removing all the plates on all of the electrical outlets, switches or plugs, and leaving poison behind them. They were none too gentle with some things.

It only took a couple of minutes for our guy to fix it.

I spent a couple hours surfing the net, and then I took care of some chores I needed to do, in getting the clothing, stuff and shoes changed over for Spring. What do you do with old shoes???

I chucked them into the closet for now. But really I should bag em and toss em.

I took an abbreviated nap, which ended prematurely when hubby got home.

We made it up to the stop, and as we walk up the hill to catch said bus, usually one passes by and we get to wait for the next one. Tonight, that early bus was still back up the street so we made an earlier bus than usual, which got us to the church early.

Our set up guy got the message loud and clear that the institutional chairs go in the back of the room and the patio chairs go up front. Last week he had not placed the comfy chairs out and several of us switched our chairs before the meeting.

There are things you never ask someone.

  • Like, never ask a lady her age.
  • Never OUT a friend.
  • Someones sexual orientation is not necessary information, unless given to you directly.
  • And Never, Never, offer your personal gossip to someone, about someone else, to others.

It was a last minute thing, our speaker was a pinch hitter tonight. And he was a friend.

Every gay has a story about what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now.

Synonymous with our program of recovery.

  1. It doesn’t pay to be the designer baby of the family
  2. Reparative Therapy is useless
  3. Parent should love their children, no matter what, how often, that is not the case
  4. Money can’t buy you happiness
  5. People, Places nor things will ever define us
  6. You – Define – You
  7. Sometime taking the bus and being happy, is better than driving a Mercedes Benz and being miserable

I wonder how much money our man spent in therapy, to get over reparative therapy, that was supposed to change him and failed …

What happened? A martini would be good right about now, so it was.

Having faced death either ones self, or having witnessed a death in your family, is something you cannot take from a human being. Death changes you in ways you just cannot imagine.

Most people, take life for granted. And they mock those of us who have been to hell and have stories to tell. And I just look at them and say … “one day it will come for you, and it will be over!”

Then you will understand.

People who have yet to face death themselves, are clueless to the pain we have seen. Hence, taking life for granted.

People who get sick, don’t usually have a choice.

They get sick, they suffer, they come close to death and (1) survive, and/or (2) pay the ultimate price. In my case, I can’t plead innocence. I still, to this day, don’t know the who, what or why, I got sick, or who gave it to me. And I stopped worrying about that, because once its done, it is done, I had to get on with living or I was going to die like all of my friends.

My friend lost his brother, which took him to the lowest point in his life. And one night, in his garden at home, with a martini in his hand, ready to drink, the thought came to him …

“My brother didn’t have a choice, BUT I do …”

He put down that drink and returned.

He’s got a few months in. It isn’t a cake walk, by any stretch.

Moving from filthy rich and privileged, to taking the bus, I don’t need things to define me, is one hefty swing from one extreme to the other.

Portioning a house one shared with someone for over twenty years, ending that relationship,  jettisoning those “things” that need to go, and making peace with that process is difficult.

He did what he had to do, He is doing what he needs to do. And he chose not to drink over these things, God is doing for him what he cannot do for himself.

Sometimes I feel sorry for my friends, because of life’s lumps. Sometimes I weep during a meeting, because I just can’t understand that some human beings, should never have children, yet here we are, telling our stories, as survivors of those parents, who should not have had children to begin with.

There is a question I asked myself on the way home. I’m not sure that it would be prudent or beneficial to ask it to anyone else either.

My friend is sober tonight, and we are all grateful for that blessing.

Another friend took her twenty two year cake tonight. That woman is the woman who handed hubby his Big Book when he got sober, just before we met. She got him sober, and he has been sober ever since. She has been a fixture in my life for many years.

It was a very good night.

Everybody is sober another night.

More to come, stay tuned …

Human connection and love is what we need to be addicted to

indexLifted from: McGuire on Life, Disability and Grief

A while back, I was introduced to Tim McGuire’s blog by someone I respect and admire. He is one of the most insightful men I read on a daily basis. Go, Read Back, Identify.

I read an immensely powerful and provocative story this weekend that has me thinking about our journey.

The story attempts to debunk the long-held belief that the drug causes addiction. It has always been a bit of a no-brainer that heroin, cocaine and alcohol cause us to become addicted. I have always subscribed to the theory that some people have the “gene” and some don’t. This story takes a totally different approach and argues that human isolation is the real issue. The argument seems logical and the research seems convincing. The author, Johann Hari, who has written the book,  Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs writes, “Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It’s how we get our satisfaction. If we can’t connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find –the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it ‘bonding.’ A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn’t bond as fully with anything else.” The writer draws this conclusion: “So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.”

That strikes me as nothing short of profound and sets down an extraordinary challenge for all of us. If addiction comes from loneliness and isolation then certainly the addicted person owns some of that. As a friend of mine says, “It’s an inside job.”

Yet, I am taken by our fundamental obligation to love people fiercely and with joy. I have become preoccupied lately with that overpowering sense that I need to love people openly and with abandon.

It is only in the last couple of years that I have become willing to tell male friends that I love them. And, I notice that the expression of affection is more often greeted with enthusiasm and a return of the emotion these days.

As the “me” culture seems to become more rampant, selfishness tends to overwhelm us. It strikes me as logical that selfishness leads to isolation for others in or around our lives. If we are all focused on ourselves that leaves little time and space for embracing the lonely and isolated.

I find brief but important connections can be made with a joke and friendliness in the coffee shop, the grocery story and even on walks around campus. It is naive to think that each connection we make can save someone from addiction. However, a habit of friendly connection strengthens the human bonds between people and just might make other addictive “bonds” superfluous.

Tim J McGuire is the author of “Some People Even Take Them Home” A Disabled Dad, A Down Syndrome Son and Our Journey To Acceptance

Sunday Sundries – Take The Long Way Home

tumblr_mffbw4Gf101qckcjqo1_500 cameronjohnCourtesy: Cameron John

Today was the best day we have had, in recent memory. We hit teen double digits today, the breeze was light, and the skies were blue. Still, I layered and wore my jacket.

Last night I spent the evening with my friend from California. I was telling some friends earlier that I ate better this week, than I have in months. Going out to dinner is rare for us, so eating out three times this week was a treat, but a drain on my wallet.

Tuesday night we had dinner at the hotel, a little steep for an Angus burger. Wednesday we hit up Rueben’s Deli for some delicious Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, phenomenal. Last night we hit up Baton Rouge in the hotel complex, you either are a Rib person or a Prime Rib person. We haven’t been to this particular restaurant in years. So we feasted on chicken tenders to start and I had a whopping 12 oz cut of Prime Rib. Fantabulous !!!

I got home close to 1 a.m.

I finished reading “Eyrie” by Tim Winton. It was a good read. I enjoyed reading something written by someone from a different continent, and entirely different way of seeing the world. It was a great story. It was all about loss, austerity, how people come together and work it all out, and just how life is very funny.

The main character, Tom, was a high end spokesperson for an organization, who took a hit and lost his job, ended a relationship, and is, in many ways broken. Coming from money into almost poverty is a common story across the board. He finds a woman living in the same building and on the same floor as he, who he knew as a young person. Coincidence or Providence ?

She has a grandson, she is caring for while his mother does a stint in prison.

Shit happens. They team up and have a go.

The father of the boy is a meth head, and has nothing to do with his son. But grandma gets his things from him, carrying Tom in tow as protection and jealousy, and procures the car as well, that was her daughters. The ex father cooks up a plan to extort money from grandma because she parades our Tom, in front of him and he thinks that she has money or access to money … and they want that money, for no good reason.

They eventually fail at this endeavor.

The story is slow moving from the first word almost halfway through the book, when Winton then cranks up the story and things get heated. Here I am getting all excited for a wham bam thank you mam crescendo to earth shattering conclusion, and what I got was a soap bubble popping.

Very underwhelming. Boooo !!!

Tuesday night we went by Indigo before dinner and I picked up two other book written by Tim Winton, “Cloudstreet” and “Breath.” There is plenty more to read.

I opted to turn next to the next book in the Kathy Reichs/Temperance Brennan series, “Break no Bones.”

There are three other new books by my bedside to dive into for the next little while.

I was out early for tonight’s event. I took the tunnel outbound and made a stop at the Five Season’s grocery store on the way and I noticed that “Little Mount Greene” is half the size it was last week. Little Mount Greene is what we call the mountain of snow that has been piled up all winter, just off Greene on the way to the church.

Imagine a snow pile that is roughly, 50 feet long, end to end, about 7 feet tall at it highest peak, and is about four feet deep from sidewalk to the parking lot behind it.

Today the pile is about three feet tall, and a dozen feet long now, and about three feet in depth to the lot behind it. It is melting ever so slowly. The church lawn is almost bare, save a few spots near the church building where snow still sits.

Tonight’s read: Feminine Victory.

The first portion of Experience, Strength and Hope is the stories from the First Edition of the Big Book. Back in the thirties, alcoholism was a mans problem. Women were long suffering housewives, trying to keep a home, maybe working, and caring for children, meanwhile suffering the ravages of alcoholism that is taking a toll on their husbands.

Alcoholism was not the purview of the female gender.

That all changes, when early on, the first women in the program appeared at meetings, and found their seats and their voices. Early A.A. was not kind. The norm, white, middle class or poor blue collar workers were the bread and butter of early meetings.

In several documentaries, meetings had to deal with racial issues, whether to allow black men into white meetings, they also had issues with other folks who showed up plastered. Women were another issue for those men of old. In some meetings, alcohol was served. And we all know how that one ended.

Suffice to say, we have learned from our progenitors.

The Traditions guarantee “anyone” a seat in any room, “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.” Had this tradition existed before, well before, it was written, would have solved many of the problems facing the early groups at that time.

That did not solve all of A.A.’s problem. There are those who are not so accepting of “other” than we would like. But A.A. is constantly evolving.

Anyways, women.

Out story tonight was written by one of the first women to add her voice to the collection of stories in the book. Meaning she lived during the time just prior to the writing and codification and printing of the first edition. Women were just as equal to the men when it came to the disease of alcoholism. On the main, the story is the same. The insidiousness of alcohol, the slow descent into hell, and the issues of selfishness, self pity and resentments are the same.

Through the Four editions of the Big Book, the spectrum of writers expands. Although the first 164 pages of the book remain the same, there are those who say that a Fifth edition should be printed, to reflect today’s age, wisdom, and should be written in 21st century language.

It was a good night. Everybody is alive and well.

I was the last one out of the church, everybody had walked on. And I put a little Xanadu on the tunes, and started walking home. It was so nice outside this evening that I opted to walk outside instead of taking the tunnel, the long way home.

It was a very pleasant walk.

The week begins tomorrow and it will be the warmest it has been since last fall.

More to come, stay tuned …

Friday – The Golden Age, Comfort, and The Mountain

FC Barcelona v UD Almeria - La LigaCourtesy: VIP Football Collection. Lionel Messi FC Barcelona

And the week closes, so glad that we are here. Yesterday it was just wet and cold. Tonight it was chilly, and very windy. We’ve been promised warmer weather in the coming days.

Yesterday we were at St. Matthias for our weekly Thursday meeting. We got to hear stories from one of our Golden Ager’s. I’ve been seeing him around for months. Figured he had all this time and his wife is one of us as well. Last night the chair introduced him to us and he told us that he only had four years, and that he was seventy five years old.

You do the math …

I admire our old timers. They are a wealth of wisdom and love. Sometimes people come to alcohol late in life, after living a full life with decades of hard work, wives, kids and family. In our man’s case, he was sober, for the whole of his life, until his first wife was diagnosed and died as a result of Breast Cancer. A tragedy of the magnitude was the kicker that took our man into the pit of despair.

But the stars aligned and his kids were paying close attention to his deteriorating life.

In the end he ended up strapped to a bed, for ten days. Then he landed in the local rehabilitation center, that we are all familiar with. He did not take right away, he was older than all his housemates, and even older than the man who owned the place.

He got sober.

When it was time to leave, he did not know what to do, or where to go, or how to navigate into this next portion of his life, in his words, he was “scared.” By placing one foot at a time in front of the other, he did the sober dance. He hit his meetings, and did lots of service.

Promises do come true in sobriety.

It is quite the love maker of men and women.

A couple years in, being homed in a particular meeting on the West End, he met, dated, and eventually married a wonderful woman in sobriety. After such tragedy and sadness, and a trip into the pit of hell, our man survived with the help from those who knew him and loved him best, and now he is a very bright light shining for everyone to see.

He told a story about his childhood home, where they are still finding bottles and flasks of alcohol that had been hidden all over the house and basement by his father.

Which brings me to this story about my grandfather, my father’s father.

My grandparents had a huge, 2 bedroom house in Connecticut. I spent a good deal of time in this house, as I did my other grandparents, and my aunts houses.

So my father’s father was a type 3 alcoholic. A bottle stashed in every location he would sit or stand, inside and outside the house. But he was hiding a secret that nobody knew about, until after they had both died.

My father went to close the house, sell what he could, and save whatever he wanted. He has a number of vintage 78 record player, and old phonograph such and so forth.

The house had a huge basement with a root cellar for canning and storage. But the surprise was hidden stapled to the rafters underneath the flooring. Yes, he drank, copiously. But my grandfather was saving for a rainy day it seemed. He had amassed about ten grand in hundred dollar bills, in individual envelopes stapled to the underside of the basement rafters.

In total it was quite the hefty rainy day fund.

This leads us into Comfort …

Today’s reading from A.B.S.I. – Taking our Comfort

I chose the word comfort because it gives me food for thought.

As a young child, I spent a great deal of time, in places that offered comfort. Alcoholism was very alive and well in all of our lives. Amid that insanity, were oases of comfort and calm. As children we don’t usually have to worry about going without, or having too little.

I never went without, and growing up, I seemed to have everything I ever wanted, but I was not a child who demanded MORE. I can’t really put my finger on when MORE became a concept that meant anything as a young person.

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

When I moved out of home out on my own, I think I began to cultivate the need for more.

I didn’t want more money, I didn’t want more things. I wanted more friends, I wanted more party, and I surely wanted more alcohol. I can’t tell you where I learned this, if it was a lesson I was taught as a young person. It just happened.

I was never comfortable drinking, because there was always something attached to my drinking. There was always a hunt or a desire. I wasn’t just drinking to be comfortable, I was drinking to be more, because I was told that the only way into the LGBT community was through the consumption of alcohol. And more if you could get it.

I started hitting mountains early on. They kept getting progressively bigger. I seemed to climb well for a while. Until I hit the proverbial Andes, or better yet, the Himalayas.

In 1994, the biggest mountain I would ever see, came into view. I would eventually climb and conquer that mountain, with the help of my guides and helpers.

After that experience, nothing would top that.

Sobriety takes work. It isn’t a cake walk by any stretch of the imagination. Sobriety is a mountain. And the only way up is by the Steps. They just keep coming, no matter how much time you have.

For a long time, we learned how to live and to live together. We learned how to manage life, money and love. It has been a long climb, that has lasted for thirteen years. Last fall, we summited that mountain.

Today, we are comfortable in every way. We are not spoiled. And we do not need “more” than we have. It took a long time to get used to having “enough” because for many years, we barely had enough. So we take nothing for granted.

Everything is where it should be.

God is in His heaven and everybody is sober another night.

More to come, stay tuned…

Columbus was an Alcoholic … Maybe !


Don’t you know you can only sail to the north east end of the Mediterranean sea, then travel by land  But what if we sailed in the other direction? Don’t you know if you sail out there your going to sail off the end of this sucker?

Columbus had to be an alcoholic, ” I believe the world is round, I do not believe that it’s flat,” then he made one of the most drunk statements the world has ever heard: ” I believe that we can get East by sailing West.” Now if that isn’t drunk thinking, I don’t know what is.

  • Many of his mannerisms indicated he was alcoholic,
  • When he left he didn’t know where he was going,
  • when he got there, he didn’t know where he was,
  • when he got back he didn’t even know where he had been,
  • but what really made him a real alcoholic is a woman financed the whole trip for him.
  • She did that twice.

Columbus followed a little formula, the world is always known, that if you want to change anything at all, there are certain things that have to take place. The first thing you have to do in order to change anything is to be willing to do so.

Circumstances are what make us willing.

Trying to find the new trade route to the East Indies, is what made him willing to change.

The second thing you have to do to change anything, is to believe you can do so. “I believe the world is round and not flat, and I believe you can get East by sailing West.” But his belief didn’t do him any good either cause he’s still standing on the shore of the ocean the day he expressed that belief.

Some days, weeks, months, years later, he did the third thing He made a decision. He said “by golly I’m gonna go find out that this thing is really round and not flat and can you really get East by sailing West,” but his decision didn’t do him any good either. Because he was still standing on the shore of the ocean the day he expressed that decision.

Some days, weeks, months, years later he did the next thing you have to do, he started taking action. The first thing he did he went to the king of Portugal to get the money, but the king was a very astute business man and said “there’s no way I’m not gonna let you have this money cause you’ll sail out there and sail right off the edge of this sucker and I’ll loose it all.”

That’s why Columbus ended up with the Queen of Spain.

Sweet talked her out of the money. On the promise that he would bring back gold, silk. spices and all the goodies of life. She gave him the money. He bought three ships, he put provision on those ships, he put crew members on all those ships And they began going East by sailing West.

Sailing West, day after day after day, now we don’t know for sure but we have a suspicion that on that first trip he hired a special sailor and put him on the bow of that lead ship at night with a lantern and he whispered in his ear said, “I believe this thing is round but if you see the edge of this damn thing, you holler so we can get turned around in time.”

Now after having sailing West for several days, he got results. They found land on the other side. Which was the result of the action that they had taken. Now we know that he thought that it was the East Indies, it wasn’t, it was the West Indies, but he’d proven himself that the world is not flat, it is round and you will not sail off the edge of it.

He turned right around and came back to Europe.

Went right back to the Queen of Spain, and she said to Columbus, “where are the gold, silk and spices you promised you would bring me?” And he said “sweet heart I’m sorry but I didn’t find any but he said, tell you what I’ll do, if you refinance me I’ll go back. Trust me honey please,” this time I’ll find it. And she refinanced him, and he got some more ships and more provisions, more crew members they begun sailing East by going West, but with one big difference, the second trip he didn’t hire that special sailor, put him on the lead ship by night, this time he went back on faith.

He went back on knowledge. The first time he went back on belief. you can’t start with faith, the only thing you can do is start with belief, make the decision, take the action, get the results, then you will have faith.

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

I thought I’d start this post with this story. It comes from Joe and Charlie, speaking to the chapter in the Big Book called “We Agnostics.”

It was a beautiful day today. It is getting warmer by the day. It was also a great day because one of my best friends is here for 10 days for a work conference, all the way from California. It is our yearly get together. Along with a third friend who lives here, we make the three Musketeers.

What’s Behind the now “white door?”

The door I told you, the other day was blue, is now white. The space is a vacant cavern. When they built this store, they put in a glass wall that fronts the space. It extends all the way up to the Mezzanine floor above. That glass enclosure is now papered over.

I guess they don’t want to expose us to the transfer of the space to the new occupants. Yes, that is a true statement. New occupants are coming, and the signs say “SOON.”

I haven’t checked to see if they removed the outside signage yet, but I am sure that will take place very soon.

I went to the meeting, we had a good showing. The jobs are taken for the next month. I came home for a bit to write up the story above, actually I transcribed it word for word from the CD we are listening to weekly. It was just too good a story to let pass by and not note it here.

Then my friend from the states arrived at his hotel, down at Place des Arts and we went for dinner in the hotel, because it was too late to go find an open restaurant. Tomorrow we get a few more hours to go eat and hang out. Our third will be busy curling tomorrow night.

It is late,

More to come. Stay tuned …

Easter Sunday … Tradition and a Story …

title_ten_commandments_blu-rayWhat is Easter, without the tradition of the most beautiful movie ever made, Cecile B. DeMille’s
The Ten Commandments.

It has been a very good weekend. The weather is a little chilly. We saw double digits the other day, but it was short lived. Then snow fell, just enough to turn to ice and slick up the sidewalks.

This week will see temps begin around (+3c) to the end of the week at (+11c). We stay in the negative at night for most of the week, right now. But I know that Environment Canada is very iffy when it comes to long term weather.

My Easter celebration, that almost wasn’t, started last Wednesday, I was in the store and turkeys were on sale, and I was perfectly willing to let it slip by. But a sale is a sale. If I can pull off a holiday dinner for less than $50.00 I say, “why not!”

It was decided.

Last night I prepped and cleaned out the fridge, (read: I tossed everything that was in Tupperware from the fridge, so that I had containers for left overs). And indeed, after feeding my family, there were leftovers to be had.

I invited my traveling buddy to dinner. He will always have a chair at my table for any holiday dinner. And there are others that do well for him as well. He is well taken care of.

We dined early this afternoon, food, conversation, fellowship.

I departed for the church promptly at four. A holiday is prime time for halls to be open, for anyone who needs them. It has always been my custom, that if I had a key to a church on a holiday, whatever that holiday is, that hall is always open.

So it went. My Sunday guy came early and it was good conversation.

Each one of them is unique, and each one of them push me to be more than I am, to be a better person. Which leads to tonight’s read. The Unbeliever, from Edition One Big Book.

Our man, again hospitalized due to his alcoholism, is in a bad way. He sees no way out, and does not know why he is the way he is. From insanity, a thread emerges about a story of a man, who had some success, the possible “solution.”

At once a man came to scoff, comes to the end and believes …

From insanity to belief in ten pages. Along the way we get this actual line from the story:

“A person never knew a lesson until he tried to pass it on to someone else. And that he found out every time he tried to pass this on it became more vivid to him.”

Every conversation is an opportunity to polish your understanding and expand your soul. In order to be able to give, you need first, to fill your soul. God cannot fill a vessel that is full (read: full of Garbage). We live in a society that on one hand embraces knowledge and the attainment of it, because that is the key to financial success, in the form of work. Then there are those who could do without education, the ones that skip the line, and get into it early, woefully unprepared.

You then find two types of people. The ones who learn and hoard their knowledge and never give back, then there are the others, the ones who come to learn, and find ways to give it back.

We are not supposed to hide our lamps under bushels baskets.

Today I learned about forward motion and giving all that you have, because God gives us so much. Some take life very seriously, and are grateful for every morsel. I know someone like this, and he shares with me his lessons, and I get to share mine with him. Together we make good on thought and conversation.

You give, with all you have, when you realize just how good you have it.

It is not about ones ego or pride. It is not about want nor desire.

Every day, we get a little, and over time that little becomes enough. That lesson did not come to me overnight. That lesson took years to unpack and understand.

“Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got.”

I worked for everything that I have. And as God as my witness, I spend each day of my life giving back to the world, what I was freely given. And those I call friends, and those I work with, all turn around and give back what they have to those who need it.

Insight is very useful. Another tool that has taken years to polish. It isn’t perfect, but serves me well, when I need it. I always find that when I need words they come, and if I need something in life, I ask, and usually it comes. And if my friends ask, I give whatever I can.

We sat a fair crowd. The reading was ( … ) good.

The conversation was all about the ( … )

What is in between the ( … ) Go outside tonight and look at the stars. See the space between them. Imagine the infinite that exists in between all that we can see.

At night I go out on my balcony. And in between 8 p.m. and midnight, Orion makes his way across the sky, from East to West. I count every star. I always look for Betelgeus, the brightest star in the constellation of Orion. The one that is always on the verge of explosion.

But that star is always there. Flickering in the night sky. From that far away, I can see the flicker and the stars. There is much time and space between us, that is unfathomable.

That is a pretty big ( … )

I look at my life, and I see where the ( … ) lies. My twenties were one BIG ( … ) Then I got sick, almost died, and got sober. I began to live and learn valuable lessons. But I was not prepared to inhabit those lessons. I didn’t know how. I guess I should have, but it is what it is.

Then I took life into my hands and away from God.

I hit another ( … )

I went out, almost died, and made my way back.

Life began anew. I had lessons to draw upon to make this transition into sobriety mean something. I had no problem with God, nor turning it over. I knew how to trust, that could have been bad, but turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

Today I spoke about the ( … ) something I know what it means and how to use it properly.

Tonight’s story was free flow conversation and thought, with many ( … ) in between.

Some found that jarring. But others saw the ironic insight it brought to them.

It was a beautiful day and magnificent evening, spent with my friends.

On the way home, well, on the way out as well, I stopped at the target space. The space is one big open cavern. The store has been dismantled. Everything is gone. The bad dream, that had so much promise, is over.

Only a BLUE DOOR remains in its place.

Is that a sign, an omen, of what is to come?

Stay tuned …

More to come


He Is Risen … A Reading from the Gospel of John

10-HeIsRisen( by He Qi, China)John 20:1-18 …

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Sobriety Loosing It’s Priority

tumblr_llkcok2XIT1qbo6vuo1_500 korybalskiCourtesy: Korybalski

Before we peruse tonight’s fare, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of your readers, Twitters, Facebookers and so on. Belief, Faith and Practice was a huge hit across the web. We saw more traffic come across the blog in the last few days than we usually do in a months time. And we got several retweets and a bunch of new readers, and comments as well.

I’m really grateful to all of you. That is why I write. To hopefully make a difference.

Mother Nature has been very good to us these past couple of days. And overnight to night, we drop from double positive digits, to a minus (-2c) tonight into tomorrow, with 5 to 10 cm of SNOW.

UGH when will it end, I ask you ???

What’s Behind the Blue Door ???

The Target space is empty. All the merchandise that was left is now gone. All the shopping carts and branded left overs have also been removed. Their Roll-Top front door, has been taken out and framed, and a regular double door, (that is BLUE) now stands in its place.

All bets are on …

Last night we were at St, Matthias for the Thursday meeting. A friend I know, because he hits my Tuesday meeting, was in the hot seat. Every story is unique. I’ve never heard the same story twice. Suffice to say that when all was said and done, many of us were humbled. And I came home with more questions than I did answers. Sometimes I question where I am in my life, and how I got here, and why I have it the way I do. It is not an indictment of terrible or bad or poor, life just is what it is.

Always be kind to other human beings, because you NEVER know the burdens they carry.

For you parents out there, a little warning …

Be careful the lies you tell your children. Because one day they may come back and bite you in the ass…

That is another story all together …

With warmer weather outside, people are beginning to shed their winter gear. And there is open grass, all the snow is melting. The church yard is all grass, a little on the wilted, buried under snow for months and need a little sun and time to dry out.

It was a good showing tonight. And the topic was “Slip.”

The percentages of slips are very high in our community, from young people to those with a wealth of time under their belts. The stats out there, in some peoples estimation, is that the program of recovery is not very good. There are those out there, who say that what we do is a waste of time, because the success rate is so low.

On my side of the coin, at least our people get a fighting chance of getting clean and sober, and finding the solution, we are all trying to figure out, each in our own ways.

When I got sober the first time, I racked up a few years, despite the grim outlook that was in front of me. I survived. But it wasn’t always sunshine and roses.

Having someone tell me that I wasn’t welcome and to go away, was the first domino that fell in my progression towards my epic slip.

My sponsor, who worked at the bar with us, moved out West, and after he left, I never hooked up with another sponsor. I started drifting away, quietly and slowly.

I’d watch the same faces come, take a lap around the room, and then go back out.

Repeat… Repeat… Repeat…

I was troubled. I did not understand they why?

Tonight I heard a young woman say that she stopped asking why, because we need to live in the now, in this moment, because that is all we have.

A handful of men, that were sober, when I was sober, all went out at the four year mark.

During that time I was planning my departure. I had connected with someone who I thought, or was led to believe, would complete me. Because don’t you know, once we get rid of alcohol and drugs, there is still that Hole in our Soul.

I had one HUGE hole that needed to be filled.

The day I packed up and left, was the day my friend found out I was leaving. They were not happy with me, and several of them tried to talk me out of going. I wasn’t listening to them, I had to do what I was going to do.


I drank – I used – and almost died in the process.

I never want to forget what it was like, the last year before I made my way back. I never want to see national tragedy again. I never want to have to drink, because everyone else is drinking because of tragedy.

The World never needs to see another 9 – 11. Or the aftermath that followed.

We are defenseless against the First Drink.

And at some point in your sobriety, there will come a day, that the only thing that stands between you and your next drink, is your Higher Power.

A good friend of mine told that story about being ten years sober, and finding himself in the South of France, at a family party, and nobody but his young cousin knew he was sober. They popped a twenty five year old bottle of champagne to celebrate family, and my friend was in the deep end of the pool. Facing utter destruction and the first drink, that young cousin slipped him a glass of mineral water, as the group raised their champagne filled flutes in salute …

He avoided that drink, because the hand of God stepped in for him in that moment.

  • Come to a meeting.
  • Connect with others.
  • Find like minds.
  • Get phone numbers.
  • Do not isolate.
  • Talk to others.
  • Don’t make rash decisions in early sobriety, in fact don’t make them at all.
  • Stay out of relationships for the first year.
  • Always talk through a decision with another sober member.
  • Don’t take on life by yourself
  • There are always options, and You are Not Alone any more.

The Easter Triduum is upon us.

A blessed Passover to you and Happy Easter to those who participate.

My holiday post will go up tomorrow around noon.

We have guests coming for Easter Dinner on Sunday afternoon, and the meeting to follow.

More to come, stay tuned …