Another Sunday is upon us, And tonight’s 88th Oscars Show. The “White People’s Choice Award.” We hurried through our Sunday meeting so that Everyone could get back home in time for the show start.
Last week ended with a delivery from Down Under. My package took about two weeks in transit and arrived at the drop spot on Thursday evening. Everybody remarked how much they liked the red sneakers. I happen to agree.
Friday we sat together and talked about Responsibility. On the way there, just outside the hall, the sidewalk was permanently iced over, as of late, iced over sidewalks, and I do not get along. With my wrist wrapped up, I took a dive on the ice, and this time, I fell correctly, as in, not on my hand, and rolled across the sidewalk like a stone.
The month is at its end. But not before we celebrate a major milestone for one of my guys on Monday night. There will be cake …
As it is the last Sunday of the month, we covered Step Two. I asked a friend of mine to do the honors tonight, and he hit it out of the park. In asking a back bencher to participate in a meeting, he got to hear himself talk about steps, and his reflections on how he “came to believe.”
Some say that belief is an action, that you just don’t walk into a room, and BAM, get it all at once. God is the loaded word that so many people battle with. And I’ve seen that some of our young people, who have been battling, have disappeared from the meetings. And we have spent a great deal of time, with out friends, carrying them along and such.
Winter has not been kind to our numbers.
Like my friend tonight, as my slip progressed to the bitter end, I did not call on God to help me, until I was totally, FINISHED. I put down the drugs, and walked away, that was time and distance. I did not speak the name of God. I continued to drink, until I drank my last drink.
My delusions of acceptance through drinking did not materialize.
I was done. I knew I was done, I needed help, and only God would provide that help, So I prayed. Kind of Steps One, Two and Three all at once.
But tonight, I retunred to one theme that has been on my radar for the last few weeks, and I mentioned it again last night at the other meeting.
That idea of turning it over to a power greater than myself. And coming to believe that that power was going to do for me what I can not do for myself.
I, so easily, return to my diagnosis of AIDS, because if you want proof that there might be something bigger than us out there, and that God just IS, then you need look no further than myself.
When I get up in the morning, and I am still breathing, twenty two years later, when I should be dead already, God does exist. I met him in the flesh, He came to me, and saved me from utter death and destruction. He told me what to do, how to do it, and when. What ever power that came from God – read: Todd, embued me with life.
And so I walked forwards and I lived. But my freedom from addiction was not yet completed. I had to have one more kick at the can, so it seemed, not that I was testing God, because when I made that mistake, I did not even ponder the mightiness of God and what He had done for me.
I was blinded by addiction. Blinded from seeing and calling on God for help. Because there was no God in that moment, and no way out, so why bother ?
I survived that slip. Why ? I do not know why, I just did. Which leads me to believe that God had plans for me and that He was not done with me yet.
There is a God and I am not He.
Spend time with your friends in common spaces, for periods of time, and you too will see God for yourself, you just have to give it time. And a little open mindedness.
A pill is only as good as the power you put behind them. If you just take pills and HO HUM it all the way, you might get mediocre results, you might even survive and get better.
But when one learns that thought is powerful, and one learns how to redirect negative energy into positive pathways, your energy becomes endless.
One day after another, day after day, medication after medication, believing that everything is going to be alright, I learned that everything was going to be, and IS alright.
I don’t know where it comes from, or why me ?
I just know there is something bigger than me running this show. I don’t know where it comes from or why it is here, with me, but it is. Why has God chosen to be there for me is beyond me, because I am not all that special.
But He continues to bless me every day.
And for that I am eternally grateful.
Survival from a death sentence, reminds me daily, that If I take my life for granted, this, all of this, will be taken away.
There is no room for stupidity or ignorance at this stage of the game. Like I have said before, we are in uncharted territory, and doctors are watching me like a hawk.
More to come.
Tonight, we return to an old post, because we have come full circle on a Step, that I wrote about over a year ago, but is relevant, because I heard it mentioned tonight at the Friday meeting, from an old timer.
We return to May 26, 2015 and the post, Now, Later, Maybe, Never:
This post came, amid our Joe and Charlie tapes and Step Nine. Tonight, we read from A.B.S.I. “To Take Responsibility.”
Learning how to live in the greatest peace, partnership, and brotherhood with all men and women, of whatever description, is a moving and fascinating adventure. But every A.A. has found that they can make little headway in this new adventure of living until he first backtracks and really makes an accurate and unsparing survey of the wreckage they have left in their wake.
Some time ago now, I made a phone call to my mother, on the occasion of a death in our family, because I thought it was the right thing to do. I was wrong.
The conversation went the way it did, and ended up in her taking my inventory, and blaming me for all of her problems, and also, all the problems for my brother. I did not get a word in edgewise, and she hung up on me, leaving me to wonder just what the fuck was up with her and why had she turned into a bitter old woman.
A friend with lots of time, likens amends to planting potatos. You put the seeds in the ground and you wait for the plants (read: Crops) to grow. If you dig them up prematurely, there won’t be any vegetables to harvest. So you have to wait out the process, and not act prematurely.
I am an idealistic man with dreams of peace on earth and everybody finally getting along, because we aren’t getting any younger, so I made that call, with the faint hope that I could speak truthfully. Again, that didn’t happen.
I am amid my steps again and working through Step Eight right now. I don’t really have any fresh amends to make. Because I don’t live in that space. The bulk of my amends fall into the Never category.
I believe that if you are going to point the finger at me for all of your problems, then be respectful and allow me room to speak myself.
Another old timer with LOTS of time, spoke too tonight. He has a large family with lots of siblings. When he went to make his amends, he got read his inventory as well. In speaking to his siblings about the past, (everybody being raised in the same house for twenty years) you would imagine that the experience would have been the same for all living under the same roof.
But what he found was that the siblings came out of this discussion looking like they were raised on different planets. With such different perspectives and so on.
I’m willing to listen to people in my family tell me their points of view, but, they, in turn, should afford me the same right to speak my mind as well. Which had never happened to this date.
You just don’t drop your ATOMIC bomb, then run home and hang up on people, so you don’t have to listen to anyone elses rebuttal or explanations.
That is not fair at all. But when has life EVER been fair …
**** **** ****
We return to old words for the rest of tonight’s post …
May 26th, 2015 …
It is said that alcoholism is a three fold disease. Spiritual, Mental and Physical.
In steps One, Two and Three, we realize our powerlessness, we come to believe in a Power Greater than Ourselves, and we decide to turn it over. For many, this might be their first time around with (a) god. But many know who God is, and they have turned away for one reason or another. That solves our spiritual problem.
In Steps Four, Five, Six and Seven, we set to paper all those things that hold us back. Resentments, Guilts, and Fears. After an exhaustive, moral personal inventory, we clear away the wreckage of our pasts. Then we unload it upon someone we trust. We figure out from that inventory our character defects and our shortcomings.
It is also said that we continue to work Six and Seven for the rest of our lives.
That solves our Mental problem.
In Steps Eight and Nine, we make our lists of those we need to make amends to, and prepare to do so, as we are able, with this proviso …
An Amends list is not something to take lightly, depending on how much damage you have done to yourself and others. (read: Family, Friends, Employers etc …)
Many come to this point and balk. So Joe and Charlie give us this tool:
- Make Four lists:
- Those we can make amends to NOW
- Those we could make amends to LATER
- Those whom we could MAYBE make amends to at some point
- And those we will NEVER be able to make amends to
Reading the text out of the Big Book, Bill covers almost every single situation that might turn up for someone working at this juncture of The Work.
Many an old timer took to the work slowly. But it is what it is. Amends cross many areas.
- Family and
At some point in ones sobriety, we should complete this list, in any way possible, because we drank, for some, in any way possible. And if we had to Beg, Rob or Steal it, alcoholics and addicts have done that. It may take a lifetime, but we only have ONE lifetime.
So we better make it a good life, in the end.
I’ve done these lists. There are people on each of these lists. With the dawn of sobriety the second time, I had to make amends to certain people, which I did early on, because I could.
When I got sober the second time, about a month in, I met those friends I ditched opting for a geographic, instead of honesty and respect. Those amends were made directly, face to face.
Let me tell you, that was not easy. It took everything I had to look my friends in the eyes and ask for forgiveness.
With the dawn of Facebook, I made amends to my friends whom I had not seen in many years. Many of my drinking friends, are sober themselves, so that made it a bit easier, because they were in the program, and the amends were mutual and went both ways.
There is one woman, a good friend of mine, who is still in my life today, who WAS in my life through every stage of my life in recovery the First and Second time.
We had THAT discussion.
She forgave me. But to this day, my heart aches, every time I think about her or see activity on Facebook, because I have unfinished business with her. You see, she was the only friend who was financially involved with helping to take care of me when I was really sick, my family had long since backed out of any responsibility or desire to help me.
And she carried me to my geographical move and then she left and went on to her own geographical cure. I was all the way OUT, she was only PARTIALLY the way out.
Life went on. But I owe her more than asking for forgiveness. One day I hope to make full financial restitution to her in my own way, for everything that she did for me. But I have yet to say these words to her, because they have been a long time coming.
Then on the final list, are those who I will NEVER be able to make amends to. Those are the people who walked out of my life for various reasons, (which are all about them, and not about me, but really, it is all about me no matter how you cut it).
I was an Alcoholic. I was Gay, I was living with AIDS, and I reside in Canada.
All these things are liabilities.
So fuck me for surviving…
We’ve come a long way over the last year or so. Each pass at the steps gives us perspective, insight and then the gift of hindsight. The greater the vision, the greater the effort to sober up.
We grow up when we get sober, and hopefully, we do it right this time.
Maybe NOW, Maybe LATER, MAYBE sometime, and sadly, quite possibly NEVER.
**** **** ****
Steps come up in order for a reason. Every time I come around to this point, I return to old words to see where I am on them, Right Now.
Facebook is still the bane of my existence, but it has proved very helpful for the family who have decided to be IN my life TODAY. And the friends who still call me their friends as well.
I try, every day, to be a good man, making good decisions, and right decisions. I am not the man I was a year ago, or a decade ago. I live in the now. Every day.
I can’t sit here and wait for people who don’t want to be in my life, to get here, because that is wishful thinking. I must go on. The best way I know how.
I love my friends, and my family. Life is beautiful and it would be wasteful to pin ones hopes on reconciliation, when the reality is that it may never come in my lifetime, and maybe, one day, all I will get is to stand over someones grave and have THAT discussion I want to have now.
The dead are just that dead.
More to come, stay tuned …
The weather is NOT working in our favor. We are sitting at a tremulous ZERO at this hour, but it is a WET and DAMP cold outside. The rain, freezing rain, snow, more rain, cycle has been going for the past few days. Yesterday it rained, the city flooded and power was knocked out for tens of thousands of homes in the city.
Last night, amid pouring rain, sleet and snow, I ventured out to have dinner with baby mama and the baby. It wasn’t the best night to go out, by far, and I had my duck boots, so I was good to go, even if I got soaked on my transit.
It has just been miserable.
This morning I did ALL the laundry, including the Winter Gear.
Today, it was misty and piddled rain and snow all day. I had plans to go out and get chips for my guys, which is a train ride across the city to the Montreal Stade Olympic, (read: the closest, most recognizable, landmark) on the way to the intergroup office, on the East end.
It was a come and go event.
On the way back, It was wet and puddles. At one point, I was waiting at an intersection to cross the street going towards the Metro. I was wearing clean, DRY, laundered clothes.
As I stood there, in front of a puddle that was a foot deep, the light had changed to green, I spied a car coming towards me gunning the light, and the driver blew through the puddle AT FULL SPEED.
The wave came up, and drenched me head to toe, I had stepped back, forseeing this catastrophe, but still, I was happy with clean, DRY clothing. Now I was sopping wet.
I got back on the Metro and came home, and crawled back into bed for a few hours before the evening event.
In many stories we hear the “What it was like…” and for some, what it was like was bad, then there are others, who’s what it was like, is biblical in proportion. Tonight, we heard a real “jackpot story of biblical proportions.”
For some, it is just alcohol, but for many, in today’s world, DRUGS factor in a great deal.
At some point, in our lives, we get to certain markers in time. One of those markers is the EITHER / OR circumstance.
A back story is necessary to set the scene for you.
Enter, young girl, barely making it at nineteen. Stuck in a haze of drugs and alcohol and organized crime. Bartending for less than savory clientele. But successful, nonetheless, until she hits the Either / Or.
She says that: When NOTHING runs out, you never realize there is a problem.
After the final night of partying, she is done, fried, finished, Kaput !!
She wakes up to find a friends wallet left behind, knowing that friends pin number, she goes to the bank and steals ALL of her friends money. A few hours later, a very calm friend comes to her, and very quietly says:
EITHER You call daddy, and get my money back, OR I call daddy and get my money back !
I felt the chill of FEAR run down my spine when she said this…
Cue, secrets, lies and deceitful behavior over months and years, and a daddy that does not need to know the fine minutea, of addiction and theft. Because our young woman is “daddy’s girl” and needs not know …
So begins the slow march out of hell.
Young people who come in, in their twenties, don’t stay. We see this over and over. They just can’t get past, “I’ll never be able to drink and use again, how will I live my life, what will my life look like if I am in my twenties and how will my friends deal with that truth, my life is OVER and how will I get by?”
There are two routes into the rooms.
- From the bottle and drugs to a meeting (or)
- From the bottle and drugs into REHAB then to a meeting
Some of us were never given the choice of rehab, or volunteer to go there on our own. But there are some, who realize, within the haze, that there is only one way out of hell, and being locked up for a series of months to “clean up” will do them some good.
Then you do your time, and come to us. Shy, quiet, wanting to do it “her way” coming to meetings, but leaving the heart and mind at home. Thankfully, the first people she was introduced to welcomed her, and let her be, in that, she had a place to go and people who were REALLY looking out for her.
She, at least, did one thing right, she kept coming back.
Deciding to clean up the outsides first, did not do her so well, but that’s the road she chose. The only problem is, the rooms are an INSIDE job. She wasn’t ready to even ponder, the insides.
Eventually she got there.
And finally, the people who welcomed her, and kept an eye on her for all that time, when she came and went on her own speed and at her own drive, turned into just the right people she needed to get started on THE WORK.
Sometimes you find love where you least expect it.
We applaud everyone who makes it in. And the greater lesson for those of us already here, is that after you put down the drugs and alcohol, the inside job begins, the hard part is, not allowing sobriety to go to your head…
Hence: Right Sizedness…
You cannot get sober and keep your ego.
It just does not work that way, I’ve seen too many people get sober, gain some time.then it goes to their heads, and they have what I call, “The EGO attack” and they go back out, or just plain disappear. And you never see them again.
Been there, seen it, lost very good people to the Ego Attack.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are all or nothing propositions.
Not an Either / Or, proposition.
When your supply, never runs out, you don’t realize there is a problem, until your addiction (read: Secrets and Lies) are staring you in the face.
Grateful for small mercies, our woman tonight, cleared away the wreckage of her past, gives freely of what she has found, and she joined us.
She has a family AGAIN, and she is a WHOLE WOMAN.
Inside and Out.
You never know where your speaker is going to come from.
Hit those speaker meetings ladies.
The lovely snow that fell on Friday night, is all but gone. We had, at least for a little while, one glorious night that was just perfect. It takes time to be able to appreciate the cold, and snow when it comes. Sometimes snow falls and it is just ok, then, other times snow falls, and it is glorious.
People are moaning about February, and their seasonal affective disorder, February is almost over, and in past years, it was so cold and bitter outside, (read: Arctic Vortex) that we did not venture outside for fear of frostbite.
This February has been remarkably much warmer than in past years. I was standing outside the church with a buddy tonight, and he remarked that it was a lot brighter, in that, the sun is going down later and later each night.
People are in need of “The Light.”
I’ve learned, as of late, how grateful I am that I have two hands. Because with my wrist injury, I am not totally proficient with my left hand. And I am having to make due with what I CAN DO with my injured hand, in addition to my left.
I went to my Saturday meeting last night, and I was having trouble putting on my duck boots, and my friends, without skipping a beat, spent the evening helping me into and out of my boots.
I felt like a fucking 5 year old not being able to put on his own shoes !
Little things have been cropping up quite regularly now, that have kept me in the middle of the boat, as in, “The Now.” I’ve become reliant on my friends, and each of them, in their own ways, have been there, because that is who they are.
Being reminded, often, that I am growing older, wares on my sensibilities. I try very hard to stave off the ageing process. I stopped dying my hair, and I’ve let it begin its eventual turn to grey/white. I keep it short enough that I have a little whisp of grey hair, that lends to my haircut.
Hearing my doctor say that “You might have osteoporosis” was something I was not quite ready to hear come out of his mouth. But I am pushing the half century mark, as it is, and I am not getting any younger.
This life of mine, IS in uncharted territory. I should not be here, yet I am here, and the medical profession, is learning, as I am learning, what it is like to have survived the AIDS years, and be still alive and pushing 50 …
Doctors are not sure of longevity. They do not know what the future is going to look like, and every day, still alive, is new. We are making our futures, ourselves.
Mortality and Longevity, reminders that this is the now, are usually two ideas that the basic human being does not ponder often, until they hit them themselves or loose someone they love. We are too busy making the money that isn’t ours, or will be spent on paying debts and taxes, and ending up with all too little of it.
Who has time to think ab0ut life and death, or how long one is going to live. Yes, we are all going to die one day, but for some of us, mortality is branded on our foreheads as constant reminders of our exact pinpoint location in the universe.
So tonight we read from the Beginners Book, for the final discussion week, and the chapter, “How is your Now.”
It was a great discussion, because every man and woman who sat with us tonight, was somewhere, in the now. One of my friends, who is sober a while, was working a job he hated, with dread every day, and last week he got fired …
Tonight, he admitted, honestly, that when they fired him, he did not panic or go crazy or want to drink, he was like YEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSS !!!
Thank God, I don’t have to go to that job tomorrow.
We hear repeated ideas like Staying in your day, Living in the moment, and anecdotes like: “We make plans and God laughs …”
Some folks can’t stand these simple rubrics yet they keep coming back for more each week. They just haven’t Let Go Absolutely !!
Lately I am reminded that I have certain work that must be done, people to see, and meetings to get to. I am also very aware of certain friends, have dropped off the proverbial radar, and it is not my job to chase them and baby sit them either.
If you are not in the game, then you are on your own. If you can’t put the time in or pick up the phone and do what you need to do, it isn’t my job to sit here and constantly remind you of that.
Winter is weeding out people from my life over the past month and I need to take care of me, but I also need my friends. And they know who they are and why they are important to me.
Simply put, You are either “In the Solution, or you are Not.” And sponsors are giving the same advice to all of us lately, we aren’t baby sitters. Get in the game and engage, or don’t. Some of my friends have all but given up on the game, resentments are the Number One offender, some of my friends didn’t get that memo.
I love my Now and the people in that Now.
A good night was had by all.
It has been One Long Day …
Never let it be said that Socialized Medicine is terrible or not very good.
Never in all my years, living here in Montreal, have I gone without, or not been able to see my doctor whenever I need him, at a moments notice, anytime, any day.
The good thing about my doctors, is, that both of them (are) brothers, and work out of the same office, on different days. And in an emergency, both are available, even off hours.
So today, I had a morning appointment to get my diabetes numbers. I got there early, and as usual, the office was full, ours is a family office so multiple generations show up for appointments. I waited …
When it was my turn, I had not sat down for five minutes when I told George that I had fallen and seriously hurt myself. The appointment went out the window and he listened and then took immediate action. Since I see my doctors offsite, not in a hospital complex, I get personalized service with one stop shopping.
The Metro stop which I use to get to the office is centrally located, with all ancillary offices tucked in the same neighborhood. Within three blocks are all that is needed, however, I do use the Montreal General Hospital for my lab work. That is the only reason I set foot in a hospital.
George sent me for x-rays, which cost me a whopping $10.00 for the dvd copy of my x-rays. I walked to and from the image center and back to the office.
I have a crack in my wrist, it isn’t broken or fractured, just a small crack in the bone in my wrist. No cast required, I do have a pressure wrap that I got. The hand is swollen, and purple, and the pain is sometimes excruciating. I have pain killers when I need them, and my doctor said it will heal, as long as I take care of the hand and not agitate it any more than it is. But my right hand is my dominant hand, and certain things I have trouble doing, like bathing, showering and dressing. I have limited movement in that hand right now, and limited range of motion.
It is ok.
I left home at 10:30 a.m. and got back home at 4:45 p.m.
That might be a long time, but I am willing to wait my turn, in return, I get the best care for the tax dollars I pay yearly.
**** **** ****
I departed early to make a stop on the way, it was cold. I arrived at the church in good time. It is the best night of the week for many of us.
We talked about Trust …
It was a good discussion. But the icing on the Friday cake, was sugar pie.
One of my good friends, a man I adore, came with his family, to celebrate his three year anniversary. He has come such a long way in those years. He trusted us with his life, and we, in turn, gave his life back to him.
We come in dirty, dejected, sad and disillusioned. Not knowing who we could or should trust. But where on earth can you go, and find people you CAN trust, trust with your life and your spirit?
The rooms provide.
We clapped and we cheered and everyone went home, just a little bit better than when we walked into the room tonight.
Before the meeting, I was standing outside talking to Mama Bear, and a great wind blew through the trees, and knocked ice and snow from a pine tree that is at least a hundred feet tall. It began to snow, ever so gently.
When we left the church there was a blanket of snow on the ground. It was not as cold as it had been just an hour earlier. I walked home with “my person.” Everyone has “their person.” It was a great walk home for both of us.
Took the train home and had a nice dinner.
Now it’s time to hit the sack …
It hasn’t been the best day of the week. After our messy weather went through the other night, the snow and water that was standing, FROZE, and now there are inches of ice on all the sidewalks.
Early this afternoon, I went to do my shopping for the day, and on my way home, I rounded the corner on our block, and I took a dive on slippery ice. I had bottles of soda in my backpack, and a bag full of food and my tunes in my ears.
I took a step, and “Whoosh” my feet went out from under me, and I fell to the right side and fell on my right wrist, that went “Crunch.” I had lost my breath, and everything went flying. I was a bit disoriented, and I sat on the ice, screaming. A man, walking down the sidewalk, stopped and helped me get up, because I could not get up on my own steam.
I tentatively got the the building and came upstairs. My back was killing me and I could not use my right hand, which just happens to be my dominant hand. Not sure if it is broken or sprained, but it is fucked up for sure. I unpacked and changed and took some advil, but the pain was already going to my head. I started sweating and the air went out of my ears, and I almost fainted.
I shut everything off and crawled into bed, hoping that I would feel better after a nap. I had left over pain killers from my doctor, that I had not used, so when I got up, I popped one down, which made things a bit better, but not by much.
I don’t have full range of motion in my hand, so bathing, putting on clothing, and even shaving was a challenge. UGH Fuck me …
I see one of my doctors tomorrow morning, and there is a radiology office up the street, maybe he can get me in there for x-rays.
I slept the better part of the afternoon. And got up and attempted to shower and get dressed. I would hate to have to admit that I needed help doing both at that moment, and I had to meet a friend for the meeting this evening.
I left on time and got to the coffee shop up the block, only to realize that I forgot my wallet at home, so I had no money, nor my bus pass. UGH … My friend paid for my bus fare out and back, so that was good.
**** **** ****
A man walks into a bar, and sits on his stool and orders two drinks, the first one he tosses over his shoulder, the second one he drinks, then says …
“It’s the first one that gets you drunk …”
That was the take away for tonight. When we get soberm life goes on, and sometimes shit happens, but we don’t have to drink. Our lady tonight just crossed the 26 year mark, one day at a time.
Before she got sober, she lamented that she dreaded day after day, one day at a time. Then she got sober, and learned how to embrace, “One day at a time.” And little by slowly, keeping things simple, she has not had a drink, since the day she walked into the rooms.
I dreaded each day when I was on my way back, because I was stuck in a life that I did not want to live any more. I sure as shit, wasn’t going to live the way I was living for very long. Change had to happen. And Change did happen.
And I ended up here, and the rest is history.
I haven’t had a drink in a few 24 hours. I do as I am told and I don’t take that first drink. Life is really good.
Time flies when you are having fun.
Amazing that I can type with two hands. Wasn’t sure I would be able to do so.
Warnings went up yesterday across Quebec and Ontario as a massive winter storm was coming up from the Great Lakes overnight. Montreal, sits in what I like to call, “the sweet spot.” Montreal is an island, surrounded by rivers to the North and South. Mountains are off to the farther North, and the Townships to the East.
Where we sit geographically, is the sweet spot, depending on where/how the wind blows. Sometimes we get a direct hit, but mostly, we have been getting glancing blows with extreme weather heading up to our North and West, or beneath us, to the South and East to the Maritimes.
First, freezing rain warnings went up, then snow to follow, and then straight rain tonight. Overnight it snowed, just enough to be bothersome. Then the freezing rain fell, and then straight rain. Just enough snow fell, just beneath the need to plow, and the fact that what did fall as snow, turned into slush and mush through the day.
The snow that fell piled up. And when traveled through, causes ruts for puddling rain that followed. On corners where the snow/slush/rain coincide, are inches deep puddles of water that extend out from sidewalks into the streets. Ground saturation dictates that what water is not absorbed into the ground stands, and it is cold, and those puddles freeze over … MESSY !
I opted for sneakers, when I should have gone with my duck boots because the trek out and back was hellish to say the least. I don’t understand how, pants get so dirty when traveling around. All the way around, up to the knees. I have to wash my pants every couple of days, because they get wet, salty and crusty. Pain in the Ass.
I have to sponge bath my sneakers daily, because of salt, snow and muck. UGH!
My Tuesday meeting with Mama bear was cancelled, so I waited for hubby to get home to use his pass for the Metro, so I didn’t have to buy tickets for mine.
I used both transfers so that I didn’t have to walk down the hill. The entire church parking lot was now a skating rink. The church rules state that we must take off our sodden shoes and boots, and leave them in the vestibule of the church tower, before going upstairs.
We do this gladly, as they provide footy sox for us.
We were 8 tonight. Our room, is also the CCD room on Sundays. And there are french doors to the room, which usually stay open. But there has been dance traffic going to the third floor, so I shut the doors as the meeting started.
The doors closed, and we heard a “CLICK,” we thought nothing of it.
Halfway through the meeting, one of the dance ladies from upstairs came down to our room, and tried to open the door. It would not open. A little panic set in when we realized that we were locked in a second floor room, with the bathroom outside, our shoes downstairs, and the only way out was OUT the Emergency Door down the back staircase, sock footed, into slush and mush.
Naturally, the meeting devolved into trying to force the door open, which was stolidly, not going to open, no matter the force we applied to the doors. The shares went to shit, because the momentum was lost and the only thing we all wanted to do was to get that damned door opened.
We made a call out for help, in that, the good church lady who works in the church walked up and was now standing outside a locked door, which would not open. She had a tool box with her, now you might ask …
How was she going to get tools through a locked door ???
Simply, there was a 2 inch round hole in the door, which she was able to pass us screw drivers which we used to dismantle the door frame, then the lock from the inside, which had JAMMED locked shut. It was major door surgery.
It took us about half an hour to get the door opened.
Crisis averted …
We go to meetings.
And we leave meetings.
Never before, in the history of meetings, have we ever been “locked in a room” like this.
In the end, we ended the meeting, as a friend and I worked on the door, the church lady joined us for the final prayer, and we all went home.
Last week, I did some shopping, because, I only get so much cash that I can spend on me, every two weeks. I don’t usually spend cash on stuff I don’t need. But give me a couple of new books, or something I have been shopping for for weeks, and I am good to go.
I bought a pair of Speed Three Black/White Adidas trainers some time ago, which came all the way from Amsterdam, via Ebay. They come in two colors: Black/White and Red/White. The Red/Whites, I had seen on Amazon, but because I am in Canada, they would not ship to me. So they went on my wish list.
Last week, I logged into Ebay, and I got a seller’s note stating that a seller in freaking AUSTRALIA had the shoes I wanted, in my size, for just the right price.
Our Loonie is in the crapper, at .71 cents, U.S. I do not cross border shop because I loose 30% of my money in the exchange. I have to spend (CAD/US) thirty dollars more for every hundred that I spend, which turns into $130.00 spent on items that cost half that.
Cross Border Shopping = NO NO.
The Australian exchange was .03 cents apart. CAD .71 to AUD .74 …
It was a sweet deal. I got a nominal purchase, for a slight variance in the exchange which was not a waste of money. Now they are on their way to me.
The weather is frightful. But everyone is good right now. It is Mid Term season, with a two week break to follow. It has been a good couple of days so far.
More to come, stay tuned …
It is FREAKING COLD outside. We have had several days with minus TWENTY c temps. Right now, at this hour, it is ( -20c with a wind chill of -30c ). Cold is one thing, but add wind to that equation and things go downhill very quickly.
Cities all over, are having to work overtime, making sure the homeless in our city and in other cities, Canada wide, have some place to go. Sadly, we find that some folks do not take kindly, to human kindness, and they insist on braving the cold outside, and not going to a shelter or a Hot Spot.
Yesterday, I went to the store to find a card for hubby. I picked the first one up and read it through, but not far enough. It had what I wanted, so I took it. When the checkout girl tried to ring it up, it did not want to scan, because the card was not in the system, so she had to enter it manually. I should have known then, something was wrong with the card.
I got home and set it aside for later. Before I went to bed I went to sign the card, and it was then that I read it all the way through, and at the bottom of the words was the phrase, “Merry Christmas!!!” Fuck me, I had bought a Christmas Card that was still on the shelf in February ….
Thank God for White Out …
A couple of swishes and it was just another card. Problem solved.
We sat a small group tonight. What better place to feel loved and part of, on the manufactured personal Holiday, to make you feel terrible for being single, but in a meeting. That’s one really good thing about the rooms. We are open all the time, holidays and regular days. Once you cross the threshold, you are not alone.
I have a friend who has been going through a tough time, as of late, having to move house and restart his life. It has been quite emotional. So all the way through I have been Tweeting him daily, cheering him on and letting him know I was there.
He had said that he really did not want to hear happy happy Joy Joy, so I let him be for a few days, until the wave passed. Last night, he gave me his update, and sure enough he survived the move and was successful. And he thanked me for being his personal cheering squad.
I think it is good for everyone to have at least one person, in our corner, cheering us on, just because. Because you never know how much that is going to mean to someone who might need it, right when they need it.
Tonight we read from the Beginners Book again, and the read spoke about a man and his sponsor, who would ask him, when they met, “how do you feel inside?”
I know for me, feeling were something I had. Feelings made me feel better, scared me to death, almost drove me crazy, and sometimes, got me into real trouble. We did anything and everything not to feel. And now we are sober, we get to feel. And sometimes that can be overwhelming for many.
I related a story about when I came in this last time, how bad I was feeling, and how for the first two years, I wore a baseball cap, and a hoodie, and all I could do was stare at my shoes. I would come to a meeting or meet my therapist, and never look people in the eyes, because I was ashamed of myself. That lasted a long time.
It wasn’t until I hit the two year mark that someone noticed that I turned my ball cap around, and I had raised my head for the first time since getting sober. I began to feel better about myself.
We all have bad days, but the rooms persist in being there for everyone who comes. And we are never alone, good or bad, sad or happy. We sit together and we talk about how we feel, and listening to our friends, invariably, we get to feel better, inspite of what ever shit we are going through.
Yes, it is cold. But it is ok.
I know I am loved, and sometimes I wonder why I am blessed with someone who loves me the way he does, but he does. And today, that is enough.
Happy Valentines Day…
Courtesy: Flickr James Clear
It has been a full week of things to do, people to see, meetings to hit, and once again, lessons learned along the way.
This is exactly how we are feeling tonight. A little cold, a little snow, but not as bad as they had warned it would be, however, we will see minus twenties tomorrow night. We had been warned that temps would drop off tonight, and get really bitter out, but that wasn’t the case at all.
Snow has been falling steadily all night long. And that has moderated how cold it got tonight. Snow was piling up on sidewalks, but not enough to warrant plows or city work to clear them. So we plodded along.
I did not make all my visits this week. The flu is going around, and it was hit and miss in the middle of the week, and I spent more time sleeping then I did anything else, whenever I could sleep.
The “February misery” is in full swing and my friends, well, some of them, are down in the dumps and I just don’t have the patience or strength to sit and get into the misery pot with them, so I have just stayed away …
Winter, it seems, decided to come, however late. last night a veiled warning came from the tv people that by Tuesday, something big was possible, meaning …
BIG SNOW !!!
I ventured out Thursday night, last night, to my regular meeting, and heard a friend of mine share. On Tuesday we read from the Big Book, and the story in the back of the book called … “Women suffer too …”
Last night, my lady friend told a story that I was not aware of when she came in, but it does relate to our first meetings together, and what shape she was really in, then, and I had no idea. Things were a bit rough for us and I was on my way to changing homegroups at the time, so I really did not hang around for the story.
I went to run some errands for another fellowship on the way out, that did not pan out, because of missed people who needed to be present. So we will make another attempt next week. I had time to kill, so I took the long way round the city on the Orange line, instead of the two train switch. I was hoping to get to ride on the new train again, but alas, that did not happen today.
I met with Rafa for our Friday coffee conversation. We talked about F.O.I.A. inquiries into the Syrian resettlement plans that the government has undertaken. And just how much money they are spending in resettlement, healthcare, jobs and assistance.
In several locations, (read: Armed Forces Bases) they have moved soldiers from their barracks, into hotels. Read (Killing local Tourism) Meanwhile, they are renovating the barracks, for civilian use, and not only that, they are spending chunks of cash on building Mosques in cities where there are none, to accommodate the refugee population, meanwhile, back at home, the government is killing and closing Catholic churches, and ending programs, and turning away our own, in our own cities, and our own traditions and the faith of a country, (read:Catholicism), and unbeknownst to the greater population at large, they are building faith communities for people they are trying to resettle here in Canada.
They are not asking them to assimilate. But in Quebec, assimilation is what is required to live here, in no uncertain terms. It doesn’t sound that way in other places. Let’s just spend millions of dollars on building communities for refugees and meanwhile, screw over your own population.
Now, I am not saying that this is not a good idea, but when you take from your own and strip religion and customs from your own people, and strip away monies and services, and turn around and plunk massive cash into religious congregations,and buildings in order to carry a foreign faith structure into Canada, that’s when I wonder just what they are trying to do.
There are plenty of Canadian population that live in Third world conditions, in our First world country. And the government does nothing to help them, AT ALL. People go without proper shelter, food, healthcare, and assistance and nobody has any power to affect change in these situations.
Our Liberal government decided to resettle ten of thousands of refugees here in Canada, that was an election promise. But now we are hearing what they are really up, behind the scenes, because of FOIA requests.
Since this resettlement program began, Immigration and Resettlement, has been very reticent to actually tell its people, ITS OWN CITIZENS, just what they are doing, how much money they are spending, and for what …
I am all for helping the underdog.
BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF YOUR OWN PEOPLE.
Not good at all …
I also think that more money needs to come to bear from other countries in this coalition to help those in need. And our government in Canada, really needs to sit down and re-evaluate their own populations needs and take care of our own, who have gone without for so long, (read: Generations).
If Truth and Reconciliation is our guide, we need to step up and do right by those who are still suffering to this day with sub standard living situations.
THAT IS A MUST.
You can’t justify spending billions of dollars on refugees and not take care of your own. But the government would say that what we do, is different from the rest. And that we must do this to be better Canadians as a whole …
Yet, your own people go without.
If this information we are now reading gets to the greater population, at large, confidence in our new Prime Minister is going to sink, and sink quickly. And once confidence is lost, the fall of the government is next, and another election will be in the cards.
Just a few thoughts, that have run amok, a bot off topic, but there you have it.
A good night was had by all.
The Extended Goodbye – Suzy Lake Web Link
I thought that I would never see this place again, after the Grey Nuns moved from the Mother House, just up the block from home. After they sold the building to Concordia University, the crypt was sealed, the nuns buried here would rest there for all eternity, Mere D’Youvilles resting places were moved out, and all of her furniture that had been kept here on display, for those who were lucky enough to get to see it, was all moved to the South Shore, and to Old Montreal.
The Grey Nuns have several properties on the Island of Montreal and on the South Shore. This crypt rests beneath the Mother House, and is the final resting place for some of the nuns, throughout the history of the order.
When Mere D’Youville died, she was laid to rest here at the Mother House, located underneath the main altar in the church upstairs. There were two display cases that her body laid in state for the nuns to see. When she was under consideration for Sainthood, she was moved to another display, with plate glass. There is an old copper pot that holds small prayer requests that the nuns would drop into her casement, and they were left there for posterity.
Aside from these resting locations were her living furniture, her bedroom and most importantly, her Prayer kneeler. I visited the crypt a number of times while my great aunt Sister Georgette was alive, before she died of cancer.
The nuns always invited me to see the treasure that was kept in this room. I have a small pouch that I was given when she died, that holds Sister Georgette’s Rosary, a scapular, and Mere D’Youvilles, relic that she carried close to her heart. I also have shreds of wood, from Mere D’Youville’s casket.
When Sister Georgette died, I inherited most of her spiritual items, and they sit on my bedroom meditation shelf, along with relics and religious items from all over the world’s most venerated churches and spiritual locations.
I was on Tumblr the other night and I saw this photo by a local photographer Suzy Lake, link above, and I thought to myself, “wow, she got to see the crypt before they sealed it for all of eternity.” I knew immediately where this phot was taken.
A whisper from my Great Aunt to remember …
She would always tell me … “Do something good.”
**** **** ****
After an exciting morning riding the train, we arrived back home, shortly before noon. It was a chill afternoon. I did not get my disco nap in.
I set out on good time this evening for the Sunday Meeting. We amended the format and shuffled some things around. I chose a topic from a Beginner’s Book. It was a short two paragraphs, which took everybody by surprise, but sparked good discussion. Last week we ran long, lots of people, and a jumbled format. Tonight we sat a handful of folks, and we ended short. But it seems the amended format works.
You don’t have to drink today … which sparked discussion about:
- Living on the 24 hour plan
- Not drinking
- Going to meetings
- And most importantly … THE STAY
There is a quote at the top of the page from the Big Book that says:
“We are sure that God would like us to be happy, joyous and free…”
I look back over the past 14 years and I know that it took me a long time to learn how to stay in my day, “the 24 hour plan.” A LONG time. In the beginning, I was happy, but I wasn’t HAPPY …
I would hear a topic, read some of a book, go to a discussion, then God would give me some serious time to practically work out every single lesson, every single word, every single step, over the years.
It wasn’t a cake walk, by any means. Happy would come, but just only so much happiness, metted out sparingly. Because you don’t get it all at once. I had to work day and night for every sober day, with every challenge that was put on my path.
You know, Two days stand out in the JOY column. The day I asked hubby to marry me and the day we got married. These were the best days of our lives. It was Joy overload.
Freedom, did not come for a very long time, and it only arrived probably a little over a year ago. That would be in year 14. All the Promises have come to pass. And let me tell you, that was also, NOT a cakewalk, by any stretch. One final promise took more than a decade to come for both of us.
I kept going to meetings. I did the work as it was laid out for me, I worked with others, and I loved hard.
Good things did come to pass for me and countless others.
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God, admit your faults to Him and to your fellows, give freely of what you find and join us. And we will surely meet some of you as you trudge the road of Happy Destiny.
May God bless you and keep you until then.
This morning with great fanfare, the STM, our Metro Operator rolled out the new Azur Metro Cars. They are sleek, and stylish. The cars are big and roomy, with interactive screens for station and progress information. On the doors are lights that show door progression, from White, in motion, to Green, for open doors, and Red for closing doors, with the familiar closing door chime, which is used across the fleet on the Orange line. They are brightly lit, and have new door confirgurations, the doors slide on the outside of the train car, instead of the old rolling inside the pocket frame of the car itself, which gives the windows much more prominance.
A member of the STM staff took photos of us on the outboud trip, so as soon as they upload them to their site, I will post them here.
We met the Train/Metro at Georges Vanier Station, which is at the bottom of the hill, right down from home. Here are the photos I took.
The Approaching Train …
The gang of three, minus me, our friend Matt and hubby on the Metro.
Hubby and myself, with Matt the photographer.
The Train, at the Terminus, Cote Vertu, for the track switch. We waited on the outbound side and rode the train back towards home.
We were in the first car. These are the views from the cab, looking into the tunnel ahead. One, at Plamondon Station, and Two, the train in motion, in the tunnel. There were too many people trying to get “the shot” kind of people in the way photo.
Overall, we were very pleased with the new trains. They will make the transits much easier, with more space, wider doors, and they are wheelchair acessible, in as wide. Now the STM needs to finish adding elevators to the rest of the stations, to allow everybody access to the underground system.
There are a number of elevator projects in various states of “build” but are not quite ready for usage. Which is a shame.
More to come, later this evening.
Stay Tuned …
Canada is about to write off Winter … The balmy temps, the lack of snow, the rivers that did not freeze, the ice rinks that are useless right now, are all playing into Winter misery for Canada as a whole. But the TV people tell us that next week, temps are going to plummet. Mid Week next week we will hit substantial negative temps for the first time in weeks.
It was a usual Friday, that kind of sorted itself into a theme of sorts. I read the Big Book with one of my guys earlier today, we are working the book again, so that he can work it with one of his guys. We covered Step four, and the reading we did this afternoon came up again, in the meeting this evening.
Instincts, Society, and Sex …
People tend to clam up when these topics come up, because it is personal to many sensibilities. Tonight we heard candor, honesty, and truth.
And tonight, I wasn’t the only fruit in the basket, but my story is harsh, brutally honest, disgustingly sad, and totally, 100% mine.
When I did my Fourth Step, my sponsor ignored my sex inventory. Not sure if that was a good thing or not, this time around. And I don’t talk about it to anyone else, except one person, my best friend.
Tonights reading talks about instincts and what we are God given to survive in this world, and then create society. It closes with mention of our sexual natures as being something given by God, to be used correctly and wisely.
Sex is a taboo topic usually. Nobody wants to air their dirty laundry, but when we hit our steps, the main idea is to be rigorously honest. But this is usually not the case, the first few times around. Because, really, who wants to talk about the dark and desperate things we did when we were drunk and high?
It is fact that when I came out, my shrink told me to go to the bar, have a couple of drinks, and see what happened. He said the only way into the Gay community was going to be through a bar, and the associated alcohol.
And where do all young gay boys go who live in Florida go for their Coming Out Experience, but Orlando and the Parliament House. And where do we work? At the most Magical Place in the World, the Tragic Queendom.
The alcohol was good. The drugs were even better. And for every human being in my very wide social circle, sex was the main course, after the appetizer of alcohol.
I was caught up in a world that was amazing, cruel, beautiful, and ugly, all at the same time. I never knew backstabbing could be an Olympic Event.
My twenties was a blur of drugs and alcohol. And that posed a serious problem for me, but nobody clued me in to that at any point. That was part and parcel of who we were and where we lived, worked and partied.
I was great at never staying in one place. And I, like many people in the rooms, suffered from loneliness, and the “Hole in the Soul.”
Then in sobriety we have to look at those times when we were Selfish, Self Centered, Self Seeking and Dishonest and Fearful…
Young and Beautiful got you only so far, to close the deal, that required the right amount of drugs and alcohol.
In the end, this deadly mix, was my own undoing. Here is where my story deviates from the norm, and falls into the pit of hell, misery and death.
It took a long time to recover this specific memory. I know where I was, what I did and with whom. A fatal decision that almost cost me my life. In those days, it did cost me my life, the life I thought I had.
Falling in Love and breaking up is a universal story across orientation lines.
Nothing compares to having to tell the boy you are dating, and are in love with, that you are sick, and going to die, then watch him pack his things leave and never return.
What follows is unthinkable but was very real. Everybody walked away. Family, Friends, Lovers, you name it.
I went from Hero to Zero in a matter of hours. The distance between feast and famine are very slim, when it comes to AIDS.
We bemoan being alone these days, nobody really wants to be alone. We all need to be loved and to love. When everybody in your life walks away, all you have left is you. There is no other choice.
Thank God for Todd.
This was the harshest lesson I ever had to learn, to see the true nature of human beings at their worst, in the face of death and destruction. In mere days, hours and minutes, I witnessed human being turn, from human to animal, and watched them do things to other human beings that were unconscionable.
I would not know love for a very long time. I would suffer the slings and arrows of the hole in my soul, and the need to be loved at any cost; secrets, lies, geographics, drugs and alcohol.
Another deadly combination.
It was in sobriety that I learned how to be alone, and be ok with it. I was done fucking with my life, I was ready to grow up, and I did everything that I was told to do, even if I really did not want to listen, because my life depended on it.
I learned good values and good morals. I learned how to be part of society and build my life from the ground up. I had love in my life, albeit from an odd source, but it was there for a while.
Then an ego showed up and wrecked the fine balance of sobriety between us.
And on that fateful day, in St. Leon’s Church basement, love walked through the door. And I knew, in my heart, that hubby was it.
I would never be alone, ever again. Love came. Not without trial and tribulation. God tested the bonds and the vows well before we hit the church, and well before I popped the question.
There are five non-negotiables:
- Alcohol and
For most people, but most notably for the gays, if one part of this equation is lost, then one becomes unloveable, leaving is all but certain. This was very true, very early in my young life.
Last night we heard a man tell his story, in vivid detail, about the man he was when he drank, and what he did, and where that got him. And he spoke in front of his wife and a room full of sober folks.
How many of us identified with his descriptions, feelings and shortcomings.
Selfish, Self Centered, Self Seeking, Dishonest and Fearful … These questions appear over and over in the book. The important inventory duties we have to do OFTEN in sobriety IS a must.
The past is the past. I am sober for today. And there is love in my life.
I am very grateful for small mercies and God’s grace.
Another day in the books. Goodnight.
Monday, Environment Canada put up warnings that we were going to get big snow followed by sleet and freezing rain, that would, in fact, impact traffic and travel, Tuesday night, through Wednesday. The TV people were parroting those same weather warnings as well. People were freaking out, and that is never very good.
Yes, it did snow, accidents did happen, and it also rained. The temps rose to a positive 9c degrees, that same day. When I got up, there was very little snow on the ground, a dusting, you might call it, and it was pissing rain.
The warnings did go up, the rush hour was a mess, but a major warning that is put up days before an event, never bodes well for us as a city. In most cases, they get it wrong, and people die because of them.
By Wednesday, I had been feeling a little bit Blah, I was feeling old, and I sat with that, I spent most of Wednesday sleeping, I guess I needed it.
I got up to do laundry that was about it.
Today, I had things to do, people to see, and possibly a meeting as well. I had not planned on the meeting, but I was sitting with one of my guys, and he asked if we were going to the meeting, thinking quick, I said, yes, we’ll hit the meeting.
It was a really good thing we did, because tonight’s speaker just drove home the conversation we began at Timmy’s an hour prior.
The take away … “You Can’t Fly on One Wing …”
If you are an alcoholic, you might understand this sentence.
Alcoholism is called Alcoholism, not Alcoholwasum.
All of us agree on one thing, most of us cannot fathom having just “one drink” and leaving it at that, or drinking “some” wine, or “some” liquor. Drinking for many of us IS an all or nothing proposition.
Our man tonight, spoke about stopping at a bar one night, knowing that he was not going to have just one drink, If he was in for one, he was in for two, then he was in for twelve … for that matter.
“You Can’t Fly on One Wing ….”
That night, after years of hostages and drinking and drugging his desire for not wanting to be alone, a thread that leads from the beginning to the bitter end, follows him into the bar. Drunk and stupid, he propositions the bar maid.
She turned to him, and gave him a withering look of utter disgust.
He went home alone that night. The good thing was that in a way she did go home with him, figuratively, when he woke the next morning, it was the visual of her face of disgust, that was burned into his brain.
Then a moment of clarity …
Our man called his father, who had been sober, since he was thirteen, told him to come to us, and find some “friends.” He did that. That was not his last drink, though, a few more would follow, but he is sober today.
His father, God willing, will celebrate 50 years sober this Spring.
Our man knew the drill, had a sober family member in the house, and time under his belt in Alateen. He watched his father bring a meeting into their house for years before it finally settled where it is today, THEN. It wasn’t like he did not know what alcoholism was.
But he became an alcoholic, and spent the better part of thirty years, drinking.
But for the grace of God, today he is married to a fine woman, from the rooms, now twenty years. He also said, that he wasn’t sure if he could have a relationship with a “civilian.”
I sat with my friend, who is embarking on hopeful marriage and career, who heard our man tonight, tell his story.
Warning Lights were flashing …
God has great sense of timing, in everything that HE does.
Two friends took cakes tonight. One a woman we all know and love, took nineteen years. It has been a very hard year. She buried her son last fall from a drug overdose, and like her sponsor said tonight …
Through all that pain and misery, she did not drink, and that she stayed in the “middle of the boat.”
Most people never find their way to the rooms, and they end up dead. Even if we are family or friends. Sad but True.
One of my mentors, a man I love, took his twenty six year cake as well. His story is another that remains in the front of my brain.
It was a good night.
“You Can’t Fly on One Wing…”