Sunday Sundries … Incurable
The weather is holding. The skies were blue with not a cloud in sight. But it is still chilly. We’ve got some SNOW and then some RAIN coming over the next 48 hours …
But I heard from the tv lady that Spring was coming, we just have to wait for it to get here.
The weekend is almost over. Not much to say about that. We sat a small group last night and we talked about Step 10, and Getting In Touch (read:Using Phone Therapy).
Tonight, we sat a dozen people. And damned if our chairman, held staunch to his fucking egg timers. We ran on time, and twice, I had to tell him to put down that god damned egg timer for God’s sake. He was not happy with me because he left without saying a word after.
Sometimes you have to let certain people talk until they are finished. Especially, if they have been sober 10 times the length you are sober… Maybe you really need to hear with that guy is saying and not be obsessed with how long he spoke for.
He wasn’t paying attention to what was being said, for that egg timer in his hand.
Tonight’s read came, once again, from Living Sober.
It is the only book our chair has read in full.
The topic was Alcoholism is an incurable and fatal disease.
I’ve said before, that I am the only person I know at this time, who has a story like mine. I don’t know any gay men, who got sick and survived and got sober along the way. There are none in the rooms that I go to, on a regular basis. Which makes my story unique.
However I am not unique. But it is my story.
I know from incurable diseases. If I had stayed sober, from day one, this year would have been my 22 year sober. Alas, this year WILL be year fifteen, in December.
From birth, into my youth, alcoholism was present. I knew what it looked like, what it felt like, and I also knew, that I did not want to be like any of that.
My father’s father had had a stroke in my teens, a year to the date after my grandmother had her stroke. They both survived a long time. But both died.
My grandfather had developed cirrhosis of the liver, which indirectly contributed to his death in the end. So I knew what that looked like, in the end as well.
I had an education on alcoholism and what it could do to you if you drank.
And I drank anyways. I drank to live and I lived to drink. And I suffered from not only alcoholism, but the disease of MORE.
In my twenty fifth year, I suffered the first debilitating death caused by suicide. My ex, James killed himself, and I was the one to identify his remains, five days after.
On the way home from the morgue that day, I stopped at the bar I was working at and drank myself into the ground. And I did that for a week after, every night.
My boss (read:Todd) and my friend Bill, got me into therapy, that, in the end was as bad as drinking every night. After many weeks of hearing suicide war stories, I had had enough.
I went back to life. I later heard from a friend that he had killed himself because he had AIDS. That was an unconfirmed suspicion on the part of all those involved.
But a year later, I would find myself in a clinic, getting tested myself And didn’t I end up with it myself in the end. I sometimes wonder where the point of transmission was.
This is a question I long harbored. I know of, or more to the point, remember when, it could have happened; in a haze of drugs and alcohol.
When the doctor told me I was going to die, I had a moment. Well, a few moments.
I called Todd home from Province town. Told him I was going to die.
Then for the next month and a few days, I attempted to drink myself dead, because I was hell bent on not dying the way I was watching people die all around me. I was going to go out on my own terms and in my own way.
It was amazing, that while I was sober and trying to survive, all my friends who came to the bar, who were sick, went out on their terms in heir own way, and sometimes by their own hands. Alcohol, Drugs, and Suicide. (read: Friend/Love/Doctor assisted suicide).
Todd had other ideas for me. He set the rules and I followed. Those rules also included getting sober, because it was going to be part of the way he would save my life.
Back in the 90’s, doctors were scarce. And drugs were all but non-existent.
What we did have, from the miracle worker Marie, were drugs that were harvested from the homes of the recently departed. They would go out, bring those drugs to the “farm” they would repackage them, and luckily, there was a doctor who was familiar with AIDS who could give them to us. It wasn’t a matter of prescription.
Nothing was regulated. We gave what we could and were grateful for small mercies.
There were no drugs ON the market that were prescribable.
Not yet at least.
At that time I was dueling DUAL diseases, both were incurable. AIDS would never get that cure or answer. However, the plan of action, outlined in the Book, would help us get sober, and that worked.
Hindsight shows me that I lacked a great deal in “Work.” I was more concerned about survival. Sobriety came in a far second.
I did survive.
I was sober four years, when the ache got bad, and the hole in my soul erupted.
I know what the voice of the snake of alcoholism sounds like, and what it said to me, and at that time, I listened to it, it was rapturous. I was not bothered by AIDS, because I was still alive, and that became secondary to filling the hole in my soul.
I stopped focusing on survival, and not drinking. I turned my attention to filling that hole with the same force that I drank with. That was detrimental.
Because that decision, took me out for a long time.
I was stupid. I knew better, and I ignored that truth.
They say alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful. It is also patient.
It is said, that while we are in meetings, alcoholism is out in the parking lot doing pushups.
I survived a slip, that could have just as easily ended my life. And nobody would have been the wiser about it. Save the one human being who knew where I was, and got me out of there, in one piece.
Back in Florida, in 2001, things were not good at all. But I had had several periods of forced sobriety before I made my way back.
I had my last bottom. I remember it still. I was still alive after all that self abuse.
I really could have died, miserably.
GOD had other plans for me, I am sure of that. There is a God. If you want proof, I have given it to you here and now.
THIS IS a GOD story, all the way.
What I got this time around is a life beyond my wildest dreams. And today, that is a direct result of The Work.
The message came at the right time, from the right person, whom I respect a great deal.
I did the WORK. unlike the first time, I remember reading the book, but I never worked “Steps” however I did have a sponsor. I got sober, in spite of the assholes who were betting on my slipping, that first year. So it wasn’t like I was doing anything great to make that happen.
Todd had the plan and I worked that plan, and I both lived and got sober.
I’ve arrested my alcoholism, but that is only a grace provided by my spiritual condition on any given day. What you get OUT of sobriety, is directly connected to the WORK you put into it.
I know what happens when folks slack off. They get spiritually, mentally and emotionally sick. And now they have to claw their way back into sane sobriety.
By Working their program.
I don’t ponder dying from AIDS, and I haven’t in a very long time. I don’t either ponder dying from alcoholism either. But I know if I slack off on either front, I am a DEAD MAN.
By taking care of one incurable, I maintain BOTH. They feed off each other.
I don’t have time to get complacent. If I do I am DEAD.
And I know I don’t have another recovery in me.
You only have one life. What do you want to do with it? There are so many options.
If you aren’t doing what you love, then why not ?
If you knew you could do what you love and make that work for you, wouldn’t you want to try? I know, for many, they can’t do what they love and make it work because money is the root of all evil, and we have to keep the roof over our heads.
If you could do what you love and get paid for it handsomely, wouldn’t you want to try?
Sobriety is not about misery. Sobriety is about Happy, Joyous and Free.
If the program doesn’t work for you and if you think you can do better out there on your own, we will GLADLY refund your misery.
It’s your choice.
For many, there really is NO other choice.
Gratitude is the Attitude.