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Archive for October, 2015

October 31 – R.I.P Lily and James Potter

tumblr_lb4ve0DuAg1qacnrho1_500Thirty four years ago tonight, Lily and James Potter gave their lives to save their son, Harry Potter. We remember them and say “long live Harry Potter.”

The Last enemy that shall be destroyed is death ,,,


Saturday – Halloween

tumblr_lb2snxcVRo1qzcspxo1_500 neko 1303Courtesy: Neko 1303

This is one of those images, that only apply to one day/night per year.

It sits in my image bank just waiting to be used. Tonight is that night for Neko.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (show) has taken Montreal by storm. It has been a smash hit this season, with sold out shows, and additional shows added. One of my guys is playing in the band, and everyone else has been to see it this week. I’ve not been 100% to go club hopping, but I am on second string to make sure the meetings are open for those who are going to show up.

I coming close to feeling myself. But not quite there yet.

I have rested all week, to make tonight possible. Everyone is out at the show, and or going to Halloween parties tonight. I opened the M.A. meeting hoping that someone would come. And in the end it turned out we turned out a meeting for a newcomer and a couple of others.

The day I was asked to chair the meeting tonight, the only thought in my brain from that moment on was “willingness, to go to any length to get/stay clean and sober.

It was appropriate for my guys tonight. I know tonight, that I am in the right place for the right reason, because my experience matters to my friends.

It was a great night and a great meeting.

All is well.

More to come, stay tuned …


Approaching Halloween – The GOLD Pill and the Week that was

tumblr_msohxxcSvW1qkwkmpo1_500 minhos21The weather is cooling off. And tonight, I am just burning up.

Last week, I was visiting the baby, and she coughed and sneezed on me, and now I’m not feeling 100% tonight. (It would get worse, much worse) Last night I went to the pharmacy to find some high powered drugs to take, because I was going downhill very quickly. This morning (Sunday) at 5 a.m. I was a mess, and thought for a moment, that the Pharmaprix on Guy used to be open 24 hours. I got dressed, bundled up, walked the four blocks over, (in a rain storm) and wouldn’t you know it, they were closed…

I came back home and got back into bed until 9 when the Pharmaprix at Alexis Nihon would open. Thank God for commercials. Because I went and got a name brand elixir to take to help me. I took a hit standing outside the mall not waiting to get home. I waited an hour, and it didn’t seem to be doing anything. So I took a second hit, that did the trick. I spent the better part of the day hacking into a tub. UGH !!!

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, and spend your down time healing, so that you can go out for a couple of hours and do what you have to do, because you have the only key to that particular church basement…

I am still a mess.

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

Last week, Tuesday, I saw my doc. He gave me a clean bill of health. And the discussion continued about changing my twice daily meds (that I only take once a day, but he does not know that) to a single dose pill. I get thousand numbers and nobody is none the wiser.

But I wonder if that has a direct impact on the fact that if the baby sneezes or coughs on me, I get sick within hours ?

The new pill is called TIVICAY. It is a single does HIV medication. That is combined with three other pills that I take, in conjunction with my other medications, nightly. I dropped the script at the pharmacy on the way home, and picked it up on Wednesday morning.

Canada has socialized medicine. We are covered by government insurance. We also have hubby’s insurance to cover other things we might need. I go to pay for my pills, thinking that it would not be so much, I was wrong.

The Tivicay alone cost $599.48 Yes, that’s five hundred ninety nine dollars…

In the end, I paid a grand total of $60.00 for a thirty day supply.

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

I have been taking the new pill for almost a week now. As you might have noticed, this is the addition to this post, which I started on Sunday last, and it is now Friday October 30th.

I have been sick as a dog all week. I’ve spent a good chunk of money on medication that I am still taking today. Baby Mama ended up in the hospital on Tuesday morning because of an adverse reaction to medicine she was taking. So I took the entire week off, which is totally out of character for me, to miss a string of meetings because I was sick.

But my friends stepped up and helped me out. And so this weekend, I return the favor by opening a couple of meetings while my friends get a night off. It’s all good.

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

Last night, I got out of the house for the first time in almost a weeks time, for the Anniversary party for Saint Matthias Group. I can’t remember the date at the moment, but they are in the high sixties, and can claim for fame that their group has been in the same location at St. Matthias for over six decades, when A.A. first came to Montreal in the 1940’s.

Quebec A.A. began with Dave B. A lone member. From there the group grew to twenty five people. A single meeting opened, and spawned two others. Rounding the meetings out was a third meeting at Snowdon. The Westmount meeting moved to St. Matthias and has been there ever since.

The house was uber packed, with probably more than 150 people in attendance. Our speaker came from the South Shore, a woman I have known for the entire time I have been sober. She is sober some 45 years now.

At the end of the meeting, before food was served, there was a sober countdown. Starting with fifty or more years of sobriety, there was one man with that much time. Counting down all the way to One Day, there was one man with one day of sobriety in the room. After the meeting, I said to him, that he was the most important person in the room tonight.

In the end, we counted more than 1,145 years, 9 months and 4 days of sobriety.

We did not stick around, as there were so many people scrambling for free food. So we came right home.

Tonight is my last night off. The pesky cough is still lingering, and my voice is half of what is was, so I get to whisper… UGH !

More to come, stay tuned …


Tuesday – The Express Lane is “8” Items or Less …

tumblr_kzh2y6mHMA1qzmauvo1_500You don’t know you are doing something right, until you read that suggestion in a book, and you realize that you have been using that suggestion all along. That for years and years, you’ve heard the same suggestions, the same slogans, and read and re-read the same books over and over again. And only with a good amount of time and hindsight, can you honestly say that, you have learned to incorporate those lessons into every day life, and be able to safely say that “yes, they really work…”

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

Last Night was a Marathon Television experience. Elections are usually that way. Early on in the evening, we were sitting here watching Labrador, New Found Land, and the Maritime votes come in, and they were all Liberal Red. By 8:15 p.m. with the science of mathematics and statisticians crunching numbers at the highest levels, CTV called a Liberal Win.

I was flummoxed !!!

I was screaming at the tv, like “how do you know this shit? How can you call this election so early?” Thankfully, hubby was there to explain a little more.

This wasn’t my first Canadian election so this was not new news for me.

When the polls closed at 9:30 p.m. across a major swath of the country, the numbers started coming in fast and furiously. It was then we knew that the Red Wave was on its way across the country. We just did not know then, if it was going to be Minority or a Majority.

I think people were surprised to see just how well Justin did in the end.

We got rid of our Prime Minister. The A.B.C. vote worked.

We also recovered many Orange Wave NDP seats, and turned them Liberal Red.

Over time we learn about the men who lead us, and a good friend of mine wrote tonight that:

“The test of a man isn’t shown when he wins but when he loses.”

Both Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair got the raw end of the deal.

The government was replaced, the Prime Minister lost his job, BUT, he won his seat. Close to the time he was supposed to make his concession speech, his press core published a release saying that even though Mr. Harper won his seat, but lost his government, that he would indeed step down as the Conservative Leader.

He did not mention stepping down in his speech. But He spoke eloquently and kindly. It could have been a slash and burn concession, but Mr. Harper took the high road.

And he should be commended for that. Mr. Harper has true character.

Mr. Mulcair, in the same vein, took the high road. He also won his seat in Parliament, but he lost the election to Mr. Trudeau. It was apparent, well before election day, that the NDP was on life support, and that the tide did indeed swing out of his favor over the Niqab debate.

I also heard from a commentator last night that:
“The tide, raises all boats…”

If you stayed up until Prime Minister Elect Justin Trudeau made his acceptance speech, you would have heard him echo many of the ideas he had stated along during the campaign.

I’m really proud that Justin won. I’ve supported him, unfailingly since he was elected Liberal Leader, when not many people were in his camp.

The hopes of Canada rest on his shoulders.

As Rachel says: “Watch this space.”

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

At this point of my life, hubby has given the the ability to chart my own course in life, to do what I do best, and to know that he has my back. The relationship pendulum has swung in his direction for this portion of our journey.

I have my daily routines. My daily chores. And then everything else.

What I choose to engage is my choice. What I choose to invest in is also my choice.

Today was a busy day, as it turned out, and I was also reminded that I was not in control.

I had a doctors appointment. And knowing from past appointments, no matter what time I get there, I am going to wait, and wait, and wait …

I scheduled this appointment so that it would not run up to my early evening activities. I had thought, that I would get in and out in short order, and have room to play.

Not so Grasshopper !!!

It took me 40 minutes to make my transit, I arrived 45 minutes early for a 1:30 p.m. appointment. Thankfully I brought a book with me. I read until my eyes crossed, then I listened to the Virgin Radio station that was playing in the office overhead.

I finally got to see my doc at 3:30 p.m. He was on call for three of our hospitals, all of our hospitals, patient records and information are on one massive main frame that can be accessed remotely from any hospital or doctors office, needless to say, he was no happy.

The office was full of people waiting to see him, and at one point, I sadly got up and had to ask where I was in rotation, because I had someplace to be at 4:30. Bad Boy !

My numbers are really good. Seeing where my body was traveling that week. The night before I dropped labs, mama and the baby were in hospital, sick. Tuesday morning when I got home, I dropped labs. Wednesday night was Madonna, and at 6 a.m. Thursday morning, i got so sick, I thought I was going to die.

I was up over a thousand again this round. Go figure …

I was sure that my numbers would have tanked, seeing that I was heading for a major illness.

Wrong !

He also spoke to me about a medication change. This has been an ongoing discussion for the last year or so. Finally he agreed that the time had come. My numbers have been high enough that he has decided to begin changing my medications to new single dose HIV meds.

Round one begins tomorrow.

I got out of there, around 4 p.m. and a 40 minute transit to travel to be on time.

Thankfully the trains were on my side. I made it to my next point with ten minutes to spare. Since it was on the Orange line, just below my Blue connection.

The Tuesday meeting is not doing well. And we heard tonight that two more meetings in town, in the English side are closing. That would be five meetings that have shut their doors in the last three months.

There are projects on the table to try and bump up our numbers, but it seems that option one, is not going to happen. The logistics of mama’s and babies and finding the right time, space and help is not easy. Option two begins in November with our newsletter push. If that doesn’t work, then it might come down to option three … shutting the doors.
We are just not bringing in the seventh tradition to warrant keeping a dying meeting open.

I got home and hubby ran some errands and I went grocery shopping …

And wouldn’t you know it, I had six items in my cart and I was in the express lane. As I approached said lane, the couple ahead of me had a pull basket, FULL of SHIT !

Yes, I counted all twenty five items in your basket …

UGH !!!

Easy Does It they say …


Prime Minister “Elect” Justin Trudeau

Justin-Trudeau-and-his-wife-Sophie-GregoireAnd so it goes … Every Vote Counted. Canada spoke, and Change took place.

We congratulate Mr. Trudeau on his spectacular Majority Government Win

184 Liberal Seats Across our proud nation.

He will do Canadian’s proud, I am sure.

Well Done Justin.

Print


Sunday Sundries … Canada Votes Tomorrow and Other Assorted Topics

maple leaf redThis leaf was found on the ground, and set into this photo. What a unique photo incorporating all that is Canada. I really like it.

It has been a very busy week. I haven’t had time to sit down and write, because life is happening at warp speed as of late. However busy it has been, this week, I have had moments of just being present for my friends.

PRESENCE…

I have spoken a great deal about “presence.” And how important that is to others, as well as for ourselves.

Life, it seems, as of late, has been full of opportunity to just be present.

Every day, there is Something to do. Places to go. People to see. Meetings to attend.

I spend a good chunk of time with the baby. And the game is changing up because our friends have now, more time to commit to being present themselves. Which is giving baby mama time to step outside of motherhood, to find the woman she was, before the baby. But she has found that she does not remember the woman she was.

So the task at hand is to realize who she is today.

And we’ve begin the process of being present for her, so that she can take some time to herself during the week, to find herself. It is a good thing.

I have other friends that just need to be loved. The consensus for some of my fellows is that they can’t devote time to people who aren’t “in the game” or “in it for the solution.” I differ in this process. I believe that just being present to begin with, is a start.

We’ve all had things to do this week, which were tedious, and stressful. And on one particular afternoon, I sat with my friends, just to be there, to offer them strength and to witness a change in the way of things.

There have been many ways that “presence” has been presented to me.

This has been a long running theme in my life.

We talked the other night about Ego and Self Esteem. When I think about these two words, images flood my mind.

Nothing kills an ego, faster, than looking down at an overflowing toilet full of shit and piss, because someone has stopped up the toilet with a cup placed backwards in the system.

And knowing that YOU have to clean it up. And not complain about it either.

Todd did a good job at teaching me valuable lessons, I get to draw upon to this day. I’m really grateful that I had the life I have lived up to this point. Because in the end, it has played out quite nicely.

When I came out, I don’t think I ever thought about self esteem. Because I was just a boy, who, with a little alcohol, would find myself, and others, and I would be one of many, just like myself.

The alcohol did for me what I could not do for myself. Until it stopped working.

My brand of alcoholism, was always, trying to find something, do something, or be someone that was unattainable, for one reason or another. I was finished when I put down the drink for the last time. Who I am today, is a direct result of all the work I have put into myself over the last almost fourteen years.

I had to get to the end of whatever road of misery I was on. It was good that I did not have much in the way of things, or money, or responsibility. It was an uphill battle. My life’s career from my teens into adulthood was fraught with complications.

I did have that two year break in the trend of misery, and had the opportunity to live the two best years of my life, with Todd. For a brief time, I knew who I was, I had self esteem, and my life was honored by men I respected and adored.

We read these stories of the folks from the second edition of the Big Book tonight.

I had not wealth, nor title, nor achievement to my name, when I was drinking, and a good thing too. Because it would have been wasted opportunity. God, in his infinite wisdom, held achievement just outside of my reach, until I was finished destroying myself.

They say, that good things come to those who wait …

I’ve learned the fine art of patience and persistence. One day at a time. Sobriety is a long term proposal, that for most, is too daunting to see right now. Which is why, one day at a time, is so useful.

Mortality, or the threat of loosing it is another ego buster. Knowing that your life hangs in the balance, and you are surely going to die, because everyone else is dying or already in the ground, so buckle up and hang on for the ride. Been there, done that …

I get two daily reminders of just who is in charge, and why I am still alive …

Just looking at my medicine cabinet is a sobering thought. That keeps shit real.

LIQUOR LIQUOR EVERYWHERE AND NOT A DROP TO DRINK …

Living in a big city, with mass transit, that, at certain times of the day, is a nightmare, brings with it a myriad of people, riding the rails. And there are a million and one stories I could tell about them.

Usually, if you travel during rush hour, it is a forgone conclusion, that at some point, the trains are going to stop, for one reason or another. If you travel after 8 p.m. the party crowd tends to ride with arm fulls of beer.

The other day I was on the train, and a gaggle of girls was traveling in the same direction I was. One girl had a bottle of Triple Sec, a second girl had a bottle of Vodka, and a third girl had a bottle of Jim Beam. For a few minutes I sat there, trying to figure out a drink combination from these three liquors …

Having been a bartender myself, I knew what I was trying to figure out.

But I had never used these three in conjunction with each other in the past.

Finally, I had to say to myself that it was either shots or mixers.

Either way, I was glad it wasn’t me carrying any bottles.

Tonight, I had a meeting with a friend, before the meeting to discuss group business. And we headed to the church a little early. And a good thing too.

The streets were packed with parked cars, the organ was cranking in the church, and we walked into the hall, and the smell of booze was sickening.

Apparently a memorial service was going on upstairs, and a wine bar was prepared down in the hall to cap off the service. Our main table was covered in glasses of red and white wine. Funny that all this wine was all over the place, and here were a few members of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting coming to set up a meeting.

That was the closest I have come to open liquor being served in as many years.

Can you say … “Oh, you can have just one … It won’t hurt, will it?”

We set the coffee pot perking and waited out the group to imbibe and go. Which ran the entire time period from when we got there, to six fifteen, when the meeting was supposed to start.

We had to work around them, and set up the room, as we quietly, ushered them out by turning down the lights, and saying nothing. It was all good.

CANADA VOTES 2015

It has been a contentious Seventy Eight Day Campaign. The leaders of our Federal Parties have been battling for votes for the longest campaign yet. Our Conservative leader, the Honorable Stephen Harper is about to loose his position, in an election that is still, too close to call.

The Conservative Party is on its way out, because an overwhelming number of Canadians say that it is time for change. But just what that change will look like is too close to call tonight.

We vote tomorrow. I voted in early voting last weekend.

The Liberal Party, headed by Justin Trudeau, The New Democratic Party, headed by Thomas Mulcair, The Parti Quebecoise headed by Gilles Ducepp, and The Green Party headed by Elizabeth May, are all vying for a position.

We have a Green Party. They are not in contention for leadership, but more supportive role in the government. They hold a few seats, and hope to more than double their numbers which will give them negotiating power in coalitions in the next parliament.

It will be a dead heat between Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau for Prime Minister.

The man who wins the most M.P.’s by riding, across the country, will be our next Prime Minister.

I am rooting for the younger, Justin Trudeau.

Stay tuned. It is going to be one rip roaring ride.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries – Thanksgiving

tumblr_lszd4uVmug1r1nriuo1_500 christopherjordanCourtesy: Christopher Jordan

It has been one fully packed weekend. And the rain stayed away. YAY !

All my planning and preparations came to fruition today. I cooked a massive Thanksgiving meal for my family today. This year, Baby Mama and Baby Lu Lu joined the table along with hubby, Bill and myself. It was my crowning achievement, to bring all of us together to share a meal.

I had ordered a HUGE turkey from my favorite butcher, which he gave me a deal on. It came fresh and already cleaned, so it went from freezer to fridge to oven ready. And it came off without a hitch. My Butter/Rosemary/Honey recipe was a smash hit.

It was important that I included everyone at my table. The baby had a great time. She ate and then we let her loose and she had a ball, running around the apartment laughing and giggling.

She loved the mirror we have in the bedroom, but she was amazed at my book collection. Lu Lu is a bookworm, even at her age. We have an entire collection of books at their house for her, which we read to her, often. She sat on my bed, and pulled one book after another off the pile and thumbed through them.

It was the first time that hubby and Bill got to meet the baby and share space with her. I was totally consumed with spending the time with her and mama.

The meal was a success, the dishes got done, and I set off for the meeting on time.

My coffee gal was waiting for me at the church, so we had a long chatty conversation.

I’ve never felt so alive as I did tonight.

And spending the couple of hours with friends was a great end of the day activity. On the way home I got to spend time, with another friend, I don’t always get to see during the week, so that was great.

Tonight’s Read was another story from the First Edition of the Big Book. I have a First Edition Big Book, that was published in 1939. The Story … Lone Endeavor is part of the collection in the book we are reading called Experience, Strength and Hope.

There is an asterisk at the top of the story that reads:

“This story appeared ONLY in first printing of the First Edition.”

Which means, it does not appear in any other edition printed, but we have it to read, because the story is so important. It tells the story about how the fellowship, that did NOT even have a book to send, because it had not even been printed, let alone, was incomplete, at the time this story took place.

The story begins with a mother, concerned for her son’s welfare and life, reads an article about a doctor who seems to have considerable experience, helping men stop drinking. It is the early 1930’s. She is so concerned that she writes New York City to ask for help, for her son.

Letters cross from one side of the U.S. (read: West coast) to the other (read: East coast).

The book is not complete, the only chapters ready for consumption are the First Two Chapters of the book. That would be Bill’s Story and There is a Solution. Those are numbered one and two in my first edition. The doctors opinion, is listed as xxii.

The office in New York sends a multilith copy. Their response to the mother reads as follows:

“About a hundred men, here in the east, have found a solution for alcoholism that really works. We are now preparing a book hoping to help others who suffer in the same way, and are enclosing a rough copy of the first two chapters. As soon as possible we will forward rough copy of the rest of the proposed book.”

“We are sending you a pre-publication multilith copy of Alcoholics Anonymous. We would appreciate hearing about your son’s condition and his reaction to this volume, as this is the first time we have had an opportunity to trying to help as alcoholic at long distance. Won’t you please write us?

Sincerely Alcoholics Anonymous.

multilith: definition: a brand name for a small photo-offset printing machine.
In the end, the son does receive these first two chapters. He is alone, on the West Coast, with only what he has om hand.
And wouldn’t you like to know, that he Got It on the first pass.
There wasn’t a fellowship out there to turn to. He had no personal contact with another alcoholic, Yet. But he got the message, and he turned around and started helping others in his town.
He not only Got it, but got sober, and knew what to do with what he had received.
Would we have had that kind of knowledge and fortitude like that? From two chapters, he got sober, and found others to share it with.
He later writes to New York, telling us that he read those two chapters, and got sober.
He did not have a fellowship of people to turn to. He did not have anyone there to explain what he was reading, or meetings to go to, (at that time, yet). He did not have the lingo we have today.
I imagine for myself, what reading just the first two chapters mean to me, and if that would have been enough, to help me get and stay sober?
The one word that came up in the circle after the read was Willingness.
He sends his story to New York by mail. And he explains his journey to get sober. We certainly take for granted what we have. Tonight’s read, tells us how it really worked without all the bells and whistles and an entire fellowship to turn to.
It was one human being talking to another, via a Very Long Distance.
Incredible.
The story closes with this communication: Via wire …
“Just received letter, may we have your permission to use letter anonymously in book as first example of what might be accomplished without personal contact, important you wire this permission, as book is going to printer.”
His wire arrived next day:
“Permission granted with pleasure, lots of luck.”
This particular story does not appear in my copy of the First Edition, which I said was printed in 1939. So there must have been an earlier printing than the one I own.
How do you end a day like today?
Lots of Gratitude.
More to come, stay tuned …

Thursday – Some People Don’t make It !

tumblr_m187ytnKBN1r3fvxmo1_500 thedarkblueThe weather is definitely cooler. The trees have begun their turns. Lots of yellows in the neighborhood. But I haven’t noticed bursts of color in other parts of my commute, as of yet. I was standing on my balcony today and noticed the trees.

The first holiday of the “2015 Holiday Season” is just days away. I went book shopping the other day and I noticed as I came down the stairs to the check out, that they had CHRISTMAS CARDS, out for sale. We are the beginning of October right now. I stepped up to the checkout and looked at the young lady behind the counter and said …”Christmas cards, really, REALLY !!!”

God Give Me Strength !

I’ve finished my read of The Great Reformer, Pope Francis.

It’s difficult not to love a man who lives simply, loves deeply and wants to bring Jesus to the people in every walk of life. A man who calls us to serve, “the least of these” because we can and we must. He wants to build community across racial, socioeconomic, ethnic and religious borders.

The church has had its stance on several fronts that hasn’t changed since the 1960’s. Some of these stances are never going to be changed, and others, it seems are on the table for discussion.

The Pope came to the U.S. with a specific goal in mind. He stayed away from Hot Button issues, however the Papal Nuncio to Washington, who famously, served in the Vatican during the run up to the conclave that elected Jorge Bergoglio pope. He had a major faux pas in bringing that anti-Christ woman to meet the pope. He clearly failed and we are told may pay dearly for that appearance.

One must admire a man, who has stayed “on message” for most of his priesthood. Prior to the Dirty War, Jorge Bergoglio saw the world in a specific way and he treated his priests and others, in a way that was not so papal. Jorge’s saving grace was his spiritual transformation that turned his world upside down. The message changed. And a man who only served the church became a man who served the people. And that changed the entire ball game.

The Pueblo Fiel, the People of God, are the most important part of church. Without them, there is no church. Francis’ entire ministry hinges on serving everyone. And that goes for everybody. Although Francis has shared certain words on specific subjects, the fact that he welcomes “everybody” is telling. We are all people of God, no matter our orientation, background, sin or omission.

If we don’t go out and love our brothers and sisters, who is going to do that for us ?

You might want to judge Pope Francis on his few words, or on what he might be saying, from behind the safety of Vatican walls, but you cannot ignore how Francis goes about his days and nights, the austerity in which he lives, and the way he sees church, which is a total 180 degree change from the Old Guard Papacies.

It is written that Pope John Paul II was a great man, who certainly had his faults. No pope is perfect, as Jorge reminds us. Nobody is perfect. Only God is perfect. I relate the story on one Christmas, before John Paul II became infirm, a group of Cardinals came to greet the pope and ignored the Swiss Guard standing at attention outside the residence. They did not greet him, nor did they acknowledge him either.

Afterwards, Pope John Paul II came outside and spoke to the young man and had a chair for him to sit down, because the Pope had brought him some food to eat. The guard replied that he cannot sit down, “on the job!”

The Pope replied … Well, I am the Pope, have a seat and eat this treat …

This story is a highlight in Pope John Paul II’s reasons for canonization.

When Francis was elected, he shunned extravagance. He paid his bills like any other priest. He rebuffed the papal suite and rooms to go with it. Like John Paul II who wore hand me downs, and very little expensive clothing, Pope Francis is particularly similar to John Paul II in many ways.

I am highly literate on John Paul II.

Pope Francis lives in Casa Santa Marta in a small 2 room apartment. He shares his meals and masses with those who work in the area, in the Vatican, and the residence. He does his daily prayer and meditation to start out every day at 4:30 in the morning.

He works during the day, and at night, he goes into his rooms and changes into simple street clothes, and goes out to meet the poor, to serve them and to be with them. His outreach to the “least of these” is an example of a holy man who forgoes the trappings of Church, and simply goes out and does what is right.

His concern for “the people” and as well, his Church, is indicative of a man who came to Rome, not expecting to become Pope. He had asked certain people back in Argentina to continue their jobs, that he would be back very soon.

As we know, things change. In a very simple but direct address to the cardinals in the pre conclave meetings, swung the pendulum in his favor. And it was because of that 170 word speech, Jorge Bergoglio became Pope.

He never got to go home again. And after becoming Pope, he still calls his friends, and invites them to visit, and he has brought the world he came from, into the world at large.

Before you judge someone or rely on preconceived notions about Pope and the Church, I highly recommend you read what has been written about Francis. It was a truly enjoyable reading.

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Some People Don’t Make It

Another Thursday and another speaker. This night was reserved for our local DCM. That would be “District Committee Member,” who serves our district of the Island of Montreal fpr the area.

I, for example, hold a position as GSR for one of my home groups. That would be “General Service Representative” The GSR is the go between the group and the district. We meet once a month, to discuss news, hold workshops and do service for our specific groups.

Anyways …

The main message from her tonight was this … We should be so grateful for what we have, and to recognize just what we have in the rooms. That our program is one of “Spiritual Transformation,” that in order to reap the benefits, we heard it again tonight, we must be prepared to go to any length.

It seems the women have the market on this call.

They know what to do, and they do it gladly and willingly.

Some women suffer much more than the men do. And maybe this is why they work it as hard as they do. And some of us men, emboldened by their example have adopted their practices.

Some alcoholics come from alcoholic homes. And others come from homes where they never saw their parents take a drink. Many of us have siblings who drank, got sober, and either by their example we followed in their footsteps, or we got here on our own steam, many of those siblings went back out and paid the ultimate price.

I know, that a good number of our membership have lost family members to the disease of alcoholism. Which makes it a little more personal, why we stick so close to what we have and we go to any length to keep this going, even in the worst of times.

In the end, one of our men took 31 years. There was lots of Cake to go around.

There is only one book I need to read in order to understand where I come from, and quite possibly where I might be going if I stick around long enough to see the miracle happen for myself and my friends.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries – Emotionally Unavailable

maybeThey say, or it was said to me, in the beginning, that

“The only thing you need to change when you get sober, is Everything !!!”

There is a common thread running this past week. Change …

In speaking at length with my sponsor, last week, his advice to me was simple. I need to avoid certain people, to the best of my ability, keep my mouth shut, and not attend the Friday meeting any longer. Because of the unhealthy topic on the table, I am told to just stay away, and not involved myself any further in the drama.

So I add another night to my baby watch.

When does a baby, realize time (read: what day is it), days and presence?

The baby is clearly awake to certain things that we did not expect her to be at this point.

I have a regular, consistent schedule, with Mama and the baby. Sunday afternoons in the park, Wednesday dinner, and now Friday dinner. This past week, we changed up my arrival times, to coincide with the baby going to bed. Instead of her staying up later, we try and put the baby down at a more manageable time.

Wednesday, Mama asked me to come later than I usually do. Not a problem. In the early evening, Mama tried putting the baby down, before I had arrived. But the baby wasn’t having any of that. She wouldn’t go to sleep, and was clearly acting differently.

I’ve kept this Wednesday date since July, so it is consistent. We are now October.

I arrived at the apartment, and mama came down to let me in, and the baby was wide awake.

Clearly, so it seems, she realized, we think, that I had not come, as early as I usually do, and we think, the baby has a grasp on time and presence. I set down dinner, and mama put the baby down and she went for some toys. We put her in her chair to eat, usually she will eat dinner that I make on top of the dinner she gets earlier (read: baby food).

She indeed did eat some chicken, we spent half an hour together, the baby then decided it was ok to go to bed, we think, because she had seen me, and maybe she had been missing me earlier, she demonstrated behavior we had not seen before, in this manner.

Saturday I went to the Saturday meeting, a new addition to the weekly schedule.

I have a book in the works, that I haven’t been writing towards, because I’ve been mulling things around in my head these past few weeks. And it revolves around family. This topic has been on the front burner these past few days.

And again, it was talked about in today’s reading.

Our guy, living in the early 1900’s, told a story about San Francisco before the big fire that destroyed the city. So the story is older, and appears in the First Edition of the Big Book.

Simply, our guy became a drinker, to get over the fact that his father was emotionally unavailable to him growing up. Not satisfied with staying in one place, he starts moving from one location to another. Eventually joining the army, and seeing action in the Great War.

He tells his mother, on the day of his deployment, that if he survives the war, that He will come home and be present and make his home with his mother.

He indeed survives. But already, he is drinking himself two ways from Sunday. Always being able to find liquor, even if it was banned to American troops, as was said in the story.

Anger and Resentment, fear and missing something are all good reasons for an alcoholic to drink, right? Yes …

I have many thoughts in my head tonight. And I chose not to speak at the meeting. But as it went around the room, family was the topic of conversation.

I don’t know when, as children, we ever got the “talk” about being emotionally available to our parents or our brother’s and sister’s. I didn’t. I guess you could say, growing up, that I WAS emotionally available. I had to be, both my parents were consummate drinkers. I had my brother to consider. But as far back as I know it to be, my father always encouraged my brother to be my rival, never to listen to me, or respect me either.

That is a thing.

Growing up, when I got to that jumping off point, and I knew I had to go, I indeed moved out. My brother drove my car up, while I was in the moving truck. We never really had emotional conversations, and he was just “doing a job.” Either to get rid of me, or not, I don’t know.

But in the end, I left. And I left him behind, with my drinking parents.

Should I have thought more about this? Was there more I should have done for him?

This is one particular existential question I ask myself.

Later in life, my brother was never my keeper. Nor my protector. Nor someone I counted on for anything. He never stepped up and said or did anything for me, even when I got sick. He could not have been bothered, either way.

And that was the way we left things in the end.

I wonder, if my parents ever think about emotional unavailability. The fact that when I moved out, i was only thinking about myself, and nobody else. And in the end that was a problem. Because as repulsive as it is, I was irresponsible, and in the end, laid my problems on my father’s shoulder’s without any thought.

He did what he thought he should do, and he bailed me out, the the tune of $30,000.

That was a kick in the rubber parts.

He never mentioned it. And I never brought it up either. But the damage was done.

When I moved out I was emotionally unavailable to the parents, who became emotionally unavailable to me when they figured out I was gay, and it got even worse when I got sick.

As long as I was a straight boy, my father had time for me. Sex talks, learning to drive a car, taking care of the house and cars, he was all in it. Up and Until he figured out that I was gay. So he drank, he beat me regularly, and never said a word about it, ever.

Like He’d ever admit what a fuck he was and what he did to me.

It was like they were relieved of their responsibility, and the fact that maybe they should care, and maybe they should be present and help me, one way or another. But they had made their choice, I was on my own, my father’s humiliation at Christmas Dinner was a dead give away.

Neither my parents, nor my brother and his wife, nor myself are in any way emotionally available to the other. There is just a black pall over us, the lights are out and communication is not a possibility. I made my choices, and now live with the circumstances for those choices.

My brother and my father are both on Facebook. And to this day, neither one wants to even be my friend, or speak to me. And to this day, this fact blows my mind and turns my insides out.

We aren’t getting any younger, and my delusional self longs to believe that one day we will all wake up from this terrible nightmare, and all sit at the same table to talk.

Fat Chance …

I know better than to try and put into words what is in my head. That would be too much emotional and mental energy to point in a direction that probably, still to this day, would be met with silence and derision.

Alone and with one’s thoughts … A mixture, for some, that would lead right back to a drink.

I don’t have that option, it is NOT an option.

I can’t drown my thoughts with alcohol like I used to. And sometimes growing up and coming to is a bitch, because the longer we are sober, and the more hindsight we have to the past, and the more meetings we go to, and topics come up, we re-tread old pain and sorrow, and see it from another perspective, once again …

What do we do with it, when solutions are not forthcoming ?

God only knows, right ???

More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday – Feed the “Right” Fire

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Our local weather has indeed turned. We are sitting at (10c) at this hour.

Last night it was cool enough to warrant a little heat, just to break the chill. Today, as it happened, I crated the A.C. for the Winter. We won’t need it again this year. It was cool and comfortable all day, but as the sun went down, it was markedly cooler.

I broke out the winter jacket and my toque collection.

It is October already, can you believe it? Thanksgiving is not far away. The second Monday in October, but I always cook on the Sunday. And This year I have a full table, with the addition of Baby Mama and Baby LuLu. Which meant, today, I went to my local butcher shop and ordered a 15 lb turkey that will be in on Monday for pick up.

It was a full day of coffee dates and get togethers. I had more coffee today than I usually drink in a weeks time. My tummy is not happy at all.

We headed out for our usual Thursday fare. And a very good friend of mine was in the hot seat.

I’ve known her since she came in. I’ve been present for her, at several meetings in town. And tonight, we got to hear her share.

Oh to be young again.

It is, on one hand, great to see young people in the rooms. But at the same time, it is terribly sad to know that alcoholism is an equal opportunity predator. I was as young as she, when I came in the first time. But I lacked a lot of what I see today in our young people. And I don’t see it the same way in many people, but there are a select few who, have learned about:

“Feeding the right fire.”

I haven’t heard those words in a long time from any of my friends, put so succinctly.

Once a fire is lit, in order to keep that fire burning, we need to feed it with fuel. And for many of us, as young people, we learned of “fire” and were enamored by it. It was warm and soothing, and in the beginning, it kept us warm and shed light on our pains, and fears.

More like, burned away our pains and fears …

But like many, once that fire was lit, it felt so good, that we heaped all the fuel onto that fire that we could to keep the burn going for as long as we could.

Sadly, in the end, we all came to that terrible “Crash and Burn” end.

Some end up in jail, some end up in hospital, many end up dead.

My young friend, at the end, was lying in a tub of water, a broken bottle on the side, and thinking that she could not go on any longer, contemplated joining the “27 Club.”

Ten points if you get that reference …

Most women I know, when the end comes or life takes a serious turn, they do what comes natural, “they call their mothers.”

That started the ball rolling, not to mention closing up shop, moving provinces, and living under “family rehab” as she put it.

She, like many, fed that fire of addiction to its bitter end. She had to stamp it out, once and for all. And she needed help. Months later, she came to us. Now she is one of our gang.

A beautiful young woman of courage, faith and beauty.

She talked of spirituality, that which she chooses to call God. And she warned us tonight that recovery is no laughing matter. And is not for the feint of heart.

Shit is going to get real, and it is going to take work.

Those who begin and end their days praying and meditating, interspersed with meetings, inventories, sponsors, and sponsees down the line, learn about the “Right Fire.”

Spirituality is a fire, that when lit, will warm our hearts and keep us warm in the cold. Because alcoholism is a cold and patient predator. But if we learn early on, what that fire means for each of us, that becomes powerful, personal flames.

Today we feed the Right Fire. And we do what is necessary to keep that fire burning.

Because we all know, each of us, what it felt like to get burned from the inside out, gong down in a hail of drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t pretty in the end.

But as young people, we get sucked into bad fire, and once sucked in, we are on for the ride until it kills us.

Thankfully, our young people lived through burning destructive fire.

Now they are here, safe, clean and sober. They never have to go back.

The rooms might not have been where they really wanted to end up, but for most, I can safely say today, was the best choice they have all made in their lives.

And I get to know these young people.

The best part of my community is that young people are so glad to have us.

That thanking hug was the best part of the night.

Not to mention giving my number to a man, on his valiant return after a slip.

Pray for him.

Feed the RIGHT fire within …


The Pope – Why He is Against Same Sex Marriage – By The Book !

popeapologize-660x330The Great Reformer, Pope Francis. Austen Ivereigh

At this section of the book, I have just read, our writer is telling the story of how a then Cardinal Bergoglio, went head to head with the Argentine Government over Same Sex Marriage. And clearly states, in print, that the current Pope’s stance on gay marriage, was set well before he entered his pontificate.

The news that Pope Francis met with AND encouraged Kim Davis to “Thank her for her courage and to Stay Strong” is a strong black mark on this historical Pontifical Tour of the United States.

This is a blatant show of force, by the Pope, who does not live in a bubble, that there are issues that have been well trod in Bergoglio’s past.

Pope Francis is a very savvy man.

Who ever orchestrated this meeting, for whatever reason, meant for it to be a secret meeting. But the news that has since leaked out, someone in high places brought Mrs. Davis and her husband to the Papal mission in Washington D.C.

This is a blatant slap in the face for many of us who were wowed by Francis’ message of love, charity, inclusion and social justice. But like I tweeted earlier, The Pope’s stance on Gay Marriage was already set.

This is NOT new news, or a new church decision. It is a Papal belief that is ardent and strong, born out of reflection and contemplation, and solidly enshrined from the Bible.

We should not be surprised that the Pope can be so polarizing on certain topics. His entire history as a young man, a priest, Jesuit and now Pope, is one of contrast and contradiction.

Page 314 – 315…

… But that day another, private letter that Bergoglio had sent a fortnight earlier to the four Carmelite Monasteries of Buenos Aires was leaked – how and why is not known. Its dramatic language ensured that is dominated the headlines and eclipsed the public statement. The letter to the nuns had been described as a “dangerous tactic” that back fired. But it wasn’t tactic at all. It formed no part of any political or internal church strategy, and was never intended to be made public.

Bergoglio had an intense devotion to the Carmelite saint Therese of Lisieux and was close to the Carmelite nuns in Buenos Aires, He had great confidence in their power of prayer, and has often over the years sent the nuns letters asking for their prayers for this or that intention, especially when he was under pressure. This was no exception. “It was a letter in which he was sharing what was in his heart with his intimates, intercessors, in the language of spiritual people,” says Bergoglio’s close collaborator.

The Cardinal told the Carmelites what he discerned at stake in the same sex marriage legislation: a serious threat to the family that would lead to children being deprived of a father and a mother. It was “a frontal attack on God’s law”; not simply a political battle but a “bid by the father of lies seeking to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

He went on to ask for the nuns’ prayers for the assistance of the Holy Spirit “to protect us from the spell of so much sophistry of those who favor this law, which had confused and deceived even those of goodwill.” He had spotted the serpent’s tail, with all its usual telltale signs: hysteria, division, confusion, envy.

This was “God’s war,” as he put it later in his letter.

Allowing gay people to marry required that the ancient, natural, God given institution of matrimony be stripped of the very thing that made it a reflection of the divine plan: the bonding of man and woman, and the begetting and raising of children by their natural parents in a relationship of permanence and sexual exclusivity.

As Bergoglio put it in his official public letter, a law that recognized marriage as male – female did not discriminate but appropriately differentiated – appropriately, because a man – woman bond, like a child’s need of a father and mother, were core human realities.

To try and make marriage something else was “a real and serious anthropological step backwards.