Yesterday was a BIG day. It was the final responsibility for me to close Baby Mama’s chapter here in Montreal. For the last few months, since she and the baby have gone, it fell to me to clean out the apartment, get rid of all the baby furniture and goods, which had been done early on.
Yesterday was the final move. I chose to wait on this move, to aid one of my friends who needed help to move to HER new apartment yesterday. So we coordinated a date to move so that we had one truck, and three moves planned. Yesterday evening we had a truck rental for a three hour block. We loaded up the furniture going to her apartment and then loaded everything else she needed moved into the truck and made a one stop load/unload run.
We then went back to Baby Mama’s and loaded the bedroom set and trucked it over to my apartment. Now we have completely replaced ALL the old furniture with new stuff. This was Baby Mama’s gift to me when she decided to move.
I cleaned up the apartment. locked the door, and turned in the keys to the management. And with that, this chapter is now closed.
The tough part of yesterday was the my “former” sponsor was driving the truck. I was emotionally and spiritually prepared for whatever was going to go down. But when I got in the truck, not a word was mentioned.
No words, No apology, Nada, NOTHING.
On the way to my apartment building my sponsor hit a car with the truck and damaged it. He got out of the truck and said to me, in front of my husband, “Let’s get out of here and nobody will know who hit the car.”
Hubby was not amused. We left a note on the car for the driver, telling him what happened, and to contact me today, which he did.
“Former Sponsor has no scruples, and is cold and calculating.”
He could not extricate himself from the situation any faster than he did. When he realized that he had done something uncouth, he took off in the truck to return it.
Now I am stuck dealing with a damaged car, and a truck rental company, because I was the one who rented the truck, but wasn’t the driver of said truck.
And do you think he called me today to inquire if everything was alright? Nope, Nothing, NADA … He abandoned me to deal with this alone, like he wants nothing to do with this, when he was the one who caused the accident.
FUCK ME !
Tomorrow, on the busiest day in Quebec moving history, July 1st, people will be all over the place, because tomorrow is MOVING DAY in the entire province of Quebec. And I have to go there and take care of my refund and an accident insurance claim.
This evening was our regular Thursday night gathering. We listened to Step Six and a Speaker, afterwards. Once again, I listened to my friends, before I said a word.
Reading: The Spirituality of Imperfection.
I shared what I had to say. And after the meeting, a friend waited for me to talk. He has a particular view of the program, the people in it, his experience, and his knowledge of my story. I’ve said before, that my friends are paying closer attention to me, than I am paying attention to me.
He made several observations.
Several times I’ve had run in’s with Heterosexual Men who’ve sent me away, told me to leave, and recently, been bullied to tears, by my “former” sponsor.
There is a pattern there.
We spoke about my reading, and what the book says, and he added that, “at what point, do you own your feelings and who you are, and be able to express anger and sometimes righteous anger for the right reason, and say, Enough is ENOUGH.
Some of my friends, tell me that I have to allow him his feelings and reactions, to give him permission to be who he is, at 32 years sober, to treat me the way he treated me, being part of “Community” striving for a “Spiritual solution” with others, who we are supposed to care about and support.
Community, as the book says, is supposed to be a safe place, where like minded people, are heading in the same direction. People who care about each other, don’t knock one another down, they don’t humiliate them, or bully them.
Friends don’t do that to friends.
My former sponsor was NEVER my friend, and for most sponsors, in the circle he runs in, sponsors are not sponsees friends. And that should be acceptable ?
I did not get a phone call, in all these days and weeks. Yesterday, I did not get one word of concern or accountability. And I was prepared for that as well. So that did not burst any bubble for me.
But my friend, this evening, said, perfectly clear, that I really should not allow someone to get away with what I have let get away with, and not said a word sideways. At what point, am I going to own ME, and say things that might not be politically correct or sober, for that matter.
Because “Silence gives consent.”
Some of my friends, encouraged me to not say a word, and allow what happened, as “well, he was treated badly as a child, so that should give him permission to treat others, that way.” Um, NO.
Some of my friends have told me that “He is cold heart-ed and that that is who he is and not to expect the proper response, even with 32 years of sobriety.
I have also been told, by a friend, that, “You might have the time, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are SOBER.” Wise words …
Those who I trust for advice have said what they have said, advice wise. I’m in the book, talking to Holy people. The other day, I spoke to my spiritual director about forgiveness, and told him what happened, and he said that I am justified in my feelings.
Someone in a Spiritual Mentor/Sober Sponsor/Adviser Position, if said person crosses the line where trust and respect is the rule, and they betray that trust and respect, then you let them go and you walk away.
Note … If you are in an abusive relationship, you have two choices, You either leave and move on, or you go back for more punishment.
Pathological abuse by someone who is long sober, is COLD and CRUEL. And one should never allow another human being to treat you any less than, for any reason.
The hell with sober time.
Friends don’t shit on each other. And people working towards the same goal, of spiritual growth and healing, have love and compassion, and treat each other with respect, at least, that “should be the rule, right?” Obviously, that isn’t the case for some.
Every day brings another point of view, when I talk to my friends, and I get another angle on perspective. I think that is a good thing.
It is sad. Because I have entered into a Paradigm shift in sobriety. If I don’t stick with my friends right now, I am sunk.
Tomorrow is Canada Day.
It is also the best night of the week, because all the people I care about will be there, less my best friend, who will be celebrating on Parliament Hill tomorrow evening.
His move went well, they love the new apartment, and they are only 5 blocks from Parliament. Cool Beans. I know where I am going when I visit them.
End of Rant…
BREAKING NEWS: Professor McGonagall was spotted in front of 10 Downing Street.
The Ministry of Magic is taking over for the muggle P.M.
Only a Harry Potter Fan will understand this image.
BBC Europe News
Pope Francis has said that the Roman Catholic Church should apologize to gay people for the way it has treated them.
He told reporters that the Church had no right to judge the gay community, and should show them respect.
The pontiff also said the Church should seek forgiveness from other people it had marginalized – women, the poor, and children forced into labour.
The Pope has been hailed by many in the gay community for his positive attitude towards homosexuals.
But some conservative Catholics have criticized him for making comments they say are ambiguous about sexual morality.
Speaking to reporters on his plane returning from Armenia, the Pope said: “I will repeat what the catechism of the Church says, that they [homosexuals] should not be discriminated against, that they should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”
Pope Francis said the Church should seek forgiveness from those whom it had marginalized.
“I think that the Church not only should apologize… to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by [being forced to] work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”
In 2013, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said then.
Saying those words, does not change what the Catholic Church, still holds fast to, in Church teaching on the subject of homosexuality.
I will say that Francis, in my readings of him, He is Pastorally inclined to support many people, but the Church Minions, as old as they are, are still stronger than the Pope. Francis can say all the words he wants, but his hands are tied by the Curia to really make official change to Church Canon.
He may want to support, love and respect the LGBT community. But the men who sit in the Curia are old and set in their ways, and real change does not come easily to the Church that is as old as the Catholic Church.
‘The national team is over for me,’ Barca superstar says
The Associated Press Posted: Jun 27, 2016 12:55 AM ET
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2016 1:46 AM ET
Lionel Messi said he is retiring from international soccer after Argentina was beaten 4-2 by Chile on penalties in the final of the Copa America on Sunday.
The greatest player of his generation, and one of the best all time, still without a title on Argentina’s national team.
“The national team is over for me,” he told the Argentine network TyC Sports after Chile beat Argentina for the Copa America title Sunday night. “It’s been four finals, it’s not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over.”
Of course, Messi was speaking in the aftermath of the emotional defeat and could change his mind. Argentina’s next competitive match is a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in September, and the top-ranked Argentines are considered among the early favourites to win the 2018 World Cup in Brazil.
Chile beat Argentina in the final for the second straight year, 4-2 in the shootout following a 0-0 tie that ended an expanded 16-nation edition in the United States to mark the championship’s 100th anniversary.
Messi, five-time FIFA Player of the Year, winner of four Champions League titles and eight Spanish La Liga crowns with Barcelona, was crushed. Much of his nation had counted on him to bring home its first major title since 1993.
He’s also Argentina’s all-time leader with 55 goals in 113 international appearances.
Playing two days after his 29th birthday, Messi lost a final for the third year in a row and the fourth time overall with Argentina. There was also the 2007 Copa final with Brazil, when he was still a wunderkind, and then an extra-time defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup.
“Messi’s numbers are unparalleled and I think they’ll remain that way forever, because it’s impossible for a football player to do what Messi has done,” said Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who is from Argentina. “My generation can’t compare him to Maradona — that’s for my generation, because of what Maradona did for Argentine soccer. But I think the best player ever played today here in the United States.”
It has been steamy HOT these past few days. We have seen a string of 30+c days, with humidexes in the mid thirties. Rain is on the way for the beginning of this week.
On Friday, I was at Rafa’s house and he gave me a book, well he gave me several books, the one I chose to read was “The Spirituality of Imperfection,” Storytelling and the Search for Meaning by Earnest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham.
If you are a Big Ole Drunk, this book, is spiritual Gold, as a friend said to me earlier tonight. The book came to me at a crucial point in my spiritual quest for understanding.
“You cannot expect to receive anything, if you don’t extend the same courtesy.”
Meaning: After considerable thought and conversations with my inner circle, and reading about spiritual imperfection, I have come to a new understanding of life, my character defects and my shortcomings.
At the beginning of the modern age, the nineteenth-century nun Saint Therese of Lisieux rediscovered the original sense of prayer as a cry for help. From total darkness, in utter desolation, she cried out, echoing the call of the crucified Christ: “J’ai soif”… I thirst
The insight is constant: our darkness – our sins, our doubts – it is a thirst … for “God,” for “the spiritual,” for whatever might alleviate this painful side of the human condition, for whatever might somehow fill the empty hole in our human be-ing.
We seek help for what we cannot face or accomplish alone; in seeking help, we accept and admit our powerlessness. And in that acceptance and admission, in the acknowledgment that we are not in control, spirituality is born.
Spirituality begins in suffering because to suffer means first “to undergo,” and the essence of suffering lies in the reality that it is undergone, that is has to do with not being in control, that it must be endured. We may endure patiently or impatiently, but because we are human beings, because we are not at each and every moment in ultimate control, we will suffer.
When I read this passage, I almost fell out of bed, because that is where I was reading, because the words “I thirst” have serious meaning to me. Firstly, I found that passage in a book about the late Mother Theresa of Calcutta.
When I turned 10 years sober, I had that phrase tattooed on my right bicep. Later, during the Roundup where we met Lorna Kelly, a woman who had been long sober, came to speak to us, and she tells the story about going to Calcutta to meet Mother Theresa.
In her book, “The Camel Knows the Way,” Lorna travels to Calcutta, and in the chapel of the Mother House written on the wall, adjacent to the crucifix, are the words …
I Thirst …
I have come full circle.
For the third time in sobriety, the words, “I Thirst,” have appeared.
Knowing that we are all human beings is too easy. But to understand that humans are imperfect, and that we have to understand the phrase:
I’m Not All Right, and You’re Not All Right, but that’s okay – That’s All-Right.
You cannot begin to expect to receive, let’s say, compassion or kindness, or understanding, or forgiveness, until YOU can fully, have compassion, give kindness, forgive, and have understanding.
The next thought that hit me was that, and I almost choked on these words myself, when they came, but, I have to forgive, and then let go.
I can either remain stolid and resolute in my hardened heart and punish and incriminate another human being, thereby, never allowing myself spiritual growth, OR, I can admit my powerlessness and lack of humility, in this case, and say, God help me, because I cannot do this on my own, I don’t know how!
This is where I am tonight.
We’re entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.
I am ready. For God to remove my defects of character.
READY — To Be Prepared…
Steps One through Five are preparation for Six and Seven.
The Spirituality of Imperfection is an ongoing process.
I took a few days off from writing, because I’ve just been emotionally numb. Over the past month or so, the blog sphere has lost a number of writers, I have followed for a long time. And in other social media area, friends of mine have gone silent, because the mediums are changing widely, from what their intentions were some time ago.
I have taken the advice of friends to cut away people, places and things that do not feed my life, hence, I have deleted a huge number of blogs I used to read, regularly, because of the vitriol that has been published across the web, that I just cannot stomach any longer.
My conviction stands, “If it does not affect me directly, then I don’t need to read or see it.” I get enough news via my television, I just don’t need to consume it during my day, online.
Last night, I watched the BBC online as the votes came in on BREXIT.
I am not politically savvy, so I don’t want to speak towards a story that I don’t fully understand. But suffice to say, The elder generation, by vote numbers, have voted to remove the UK from the European Union. The youth vote, by numbers were high for the STAY decision.
Was this a good decision, I don’t know. And what will happen to the UK once this decision moves forwards. Change is never easy.
Borders, Immigration, Jobs, Financial Security, Young and Old, so many factors have come to be in play with this decision.
I will watch and see how this plays out, along with you.
In other news, My updated meeting schedule came into effect this week. After hours and days of thought, I am somewhat disillusioned with people in the rooms. And I am not so keen to speak in the rooms, trust has become a paramount issue for me, and so, with that, I turn to those friends I trust the most to carry me forwards for the foreseeable future.
My inner circle of friends are few in number, and they know who they are. And I have told them all so, recently. It has been a strange week, meeting wise. My brain is still numb and I am working to take care of me. I’ve been sitting in meetings, and just listening to my friends and fellows speak, rather than talking myself. I’m not sure how long that will last, I guess, until I find my footing again. And that might take some time.
Wednesday, I have a job to do for Baby Mama, the last task, that needs to be completed, to move the final items of furniture to where they need to go, and to finally turn the keys in to the manager on Thursday. With that task completed, Baby Mama’s chapter in Montreal will come to an end.
Tonight, Rafa and I walked our last walk home from the meeting. He is leaving Montreal on Monday. We had an early dinner together in Jean Mance Park, and had DQ on the way home. My Friday ritual with my best friend is finished.
At least, there is a room in their new apartment for me to stay in when I go to visit.
The focus of this blog will be changing a bit, as I change, so does what I will be writing about and sharing with you. For the next little while, I will be exploring what this next portion of my sober journey will look like, with people coming and going, and regrouping with my inner circle.
The summer is going to be difficult with so many people gone or moved away. Keeping the meetings open and on script will definitely change, as numbers drop drastically. The M.A. fellowship has taken a direct hit on population and attendance these past few weeks, and it is not going to get any easier. So we are just going to have to wing it for the time being.
I have said before that certain friends, are paying closer attention to me, than I am paying attention to me. So they provided me with things to do, and kept me “In the circle,” because I had pondered leaving the circle for a while, and it was as if, one of my friends had read my mind, and gave me certain direction as to what he thought I should be doing now. And it was a good thing too.
This, and next weekend are long weekends for us. Today was a provincial holiday for Quebec, and next weekend is Canada Day. July is a very serious month. I mark two specific dates in the month of July. One, the day I was diagnosed, in 1994, July 8th, 12:00 noon, and Two, my birthday, July 31st, Harry Potter and I share One Great Day.
Stay tuned …
Thank you to all those who have subscribed and for all of you who still read.
We begin a new week, with the realization that shit happens, people die, and that what we are left with is the question, WHY?
Making sense of senseless killings will go on, because last week, wasn’t the first, and most certainly, won’t be the last. How do we protect our children, when those with the power to do something concrete, stand on their ground and say,
“we don’t really give a shit, because big money pays our salaries, and if we make change, that would put our jobs in jeopardy, and we can’t have that happen.”
Life is full of paradoxes. There is always a right answer for most of them. But how do you do the right thing, when you feel, on the inside, that doing the right thing, is not going to kill the ache in your soul, but in order to move forwards, you must do the right thing.
Push Me – Pull Me
My friends, (you all know who you are) have been on top of me the past week, and it seems for some time. Some of my friends here, are paying more attention to me, than I am paying attention to me.
I listened to all of the people I trust. And I heard all of their points of view, and took into consideration, everything that they said to me.
Tonight, I resigned my position as treasurer of the Tuesday meeting. I turned over the kitty to a friend, who also now has my set of keys to the church. I will not be returning to the scene of the crime. I’ve fired my sponsor, and have decided to take a while and just be with my friends.
Before this sponsor cycle began a couple of years ago, when I was between them, I hung close to the men I trust in my circle. I had changed up my meetings so that I could be with them and they carried me for a number of months when I needed it the most.
Last week, one of those men, handed me a set of keys for the Friday Night North End meeting. I took them, but had no idea why, I inherited them to begin with. On Friday, last, I asked him why he gave me the keys and his answer was simple, he said:
“You need the service.”
This week begins with a dropped meeting, and an open night, and responsibility for opening and closing the Friday meeting, which was the only night, during my week, that I did not have to do anything resembling responsibility.
Things change …
This week also marks the beginning of the exodus of people out of Montreal. Some of my guys are working at camps in Ontario for the summer, Rafa, is leaving me again, moving to Ottawa with his girlfriend. She was accepted to University in Ottawa. Friday is his last Friday meeting, which also closes our chapter of Friday coffee conversations.
My best friend, is also the one who comes and goes from my life, often. At least they aren’t going very far, Ottawa is only a 2 hour bus ride from Montreal. And they are moving into an apartment that has a guest room. I will be commuting between Montreal and the Capitol now to see him.
Our M.A. family, is shrinking in number as well, because of all the folks leaving for the summer and moving away permanently, which leaves just a few of us to open/host/and close the three M.A. meetings here in Montreal. Summers are very sparse when it comes to regular members and visitors from out of town.
On the other hand, Festival Season is in full swing. And if past years are a guide, the Sunday meeting will pick up over the next two months. The timing on the Sunday meeting is popular among entertainers and guests from out of town.
Everybody has something to do at the moment, which keeps us all out of trouble.
If you need to get out of self, the best solution for that, is to do for others.
They never said, Sobriety was going to be easy. Last week, was the worst week of my life, since I got sober this time around. Now I know, for certain, who my real friends are, and who cares and who does not.
I walked through my feelings, and let them come, as they came. I did not stuff them nor ignore them. I did not sink into self pity, but I tapped my extensive network of friends, spiritual men and women, and I talked it out until I could not talk any more.
I am staying away from Old Timers.
Change is the only constant in our lives. Our job, is to learn how to navigate those changes with grace, strength and serenity.
People come and go from our lives, for various reasons, and I must be grateful for the time I had with them, while they were here.
But you are not going very far.
Love the people in your life, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Pray for those left behind, they need it more than I do. And never forget them.
I have a history of people in A.A. turning their backs on me. And I have written about those occurrences many times. I’ve been talking to my support team (read: Friends) this week. I have been listening to them give me advice and talk to me about my expectations, my resentments, and seeing a human being, human beings being fallible, and the fact that people are people, and I must allow them the latitude to be who they are, even if I don’t agree with them.
My old sponsor told me once that: YOU MIGHT HAVE TWENTY OF MORE YEARS OF SOBRIETY, HAVING YEARS IN SOBRIETY DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE NECESSARILY SOBER. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.
I am getting one line of advice from the men in my life, well, some of them, not all of them. I am also getting a second line of advice from my women. Some of the men encourage me to stay the course and be the better man, and return to the scene of the crime.
My women are in agreement with the thoughts that, my relationship with my (now former) sponsor has run its course, and that it is time to find someone new. And the other piece of advice came from baby mama, who said that, it is time to go. And that that time had passed long ago, but this episode only drives the point home, that it is time to go.
I’ve made my decision. That I will keep to myself right now.
Never kick someone when they are down. Never deny someone their feelings, or better yet, your lack of feelings. Never belittle someone and ignore that we feel something, never tell someone who is on the ground, on their knees sobbing inconsolably, that they are acting like a “CHILD.”
So I was thinking after the meeting tonight about the Responsibility Statement, that A.A. uses for its fellowship.
I AM RESPONSIBLE
WHEN ANYONE, ANYWHERE
REACHES OUT FOR HELP, I WANT
THE HAND OF A.A. ALWAYS TO BE THERE
AND FOR THAT: I AM RESPONSIBLE.
On Tuesday, inside the meeting, the hand of A.A. was there for me, but when I walked outside the meeting, a long time sober member, pulled that hand away, denied me my feelings and said that my feeling were not important, and not worthy of compassion and then called me a CHILD.
My (read:Former) sponsor, may be thirty plus years sober, but he is clearly not sober, and clearly NOT a responsible member of the fellowship.
This would be the third time I was turned way from the fellowship by a member who was longtime sober.
My sponsor said that: I think I am so special, and that I expect people to treat me differently than everybody else. That I think myself SPECIAL. He called me selfish, then denied my feeling as “over the top, and therefore not important.”
Then to end this scene, He called me a CHILD.
I hear people on the tubes speaking about they way they felt while still in the closet, and how some people made them feel small, and insignificant; and not important or part of.
OUR lives matter, every LGBTQ human beings, life matters.
Heterosexual people, (read:MEN) have no idea what we go through growing up in a world that tells us that we should “CONFORM” and that in certain circles, homosexuality is in congruent with the Bible, and that we are an ABOMINATION.
Do you know how hard it is for us to eek out a life for ourselves in that kind of atmosphere? Times have changed, yet those same proscriptions still exist for many.
On my knees, sobbing, inconsolably, a man of many years in age, and triple decades in sobriety, made me feel “other, small, and insignificant.”
He irrevocably killed the way I see him and respect him.
I have no time, the inclination, nor the desire, to maintain a relationship with anyone who kicks me when I am down.
Reflections on Tragedy
When I began drinking and using, I did it to fit in, to be part of, because, I was told, that the only way in, was through a bar, and several drinks.
I know, for a very long time, drinking and using was fun, because it made me part of and accepted among my peers. That lasted, through sick relationships, the wrong people in my life, and ended in the first of two major tragedies in my life.
When James, committed suicide, and I was drawn into this event, not of my own choosing, but by the choosing of my parents, and his parents, I was irrevocably scarred for life. Four days later, they found his body, (or what was left of it) and on the fifth day, the coroner called me in to identify those remains.
I remember the smell of the building, the drawing of the curtain, and seeing a corpse that was half of who he was when he was alive. I also remember what his mother said to me in the end, when I signed his remains away to be sent home for burial.
She said, and I quote … I hope for the rest of your life, what you see, every time you close your eyes, is my sons dead body.
I have had that vision in my head for more than twenty two years now. I don’t often think about it, but for a time, a VERY long time, I did.
This was the episode that turned enjoyable drinking into an ESCAPE.
Drinking and using was no longer an exercise in FUN. It became an exercise in ESCAPE.
I drank and used until I could not feel any more. And I did that day in and day out, and every night for almost two weeks, until Todd and Bill stopped me, and got me into therapy.
I sat in a family, “Survivors of Suicide” group for many weeks, listening to war stories, that, in the end, did not stop the pain, but only made it worse. But all the while, while I was at work, my drinking was curtailed by Todd.
A year later, still drinking, I faced the Second tragedy. This one much closer to home, it wasn’t someone else, this time it was ME. You never forget the person (read: Doctor), the time, or the place, when a doctor says to you, “Jeremy, you’re going to die, this is the end, go home get your affairs in order, and wait to die. You have so many months left to live!”
Now, I was not only drinking to escape, I was drinking to Kill Myself. Because I was not going to go down in utter sickness and despair, like so many of my friends.
I tried very hard to end my life, but once again, my friend Danny, and Todd were there that night when I almost died, and they took me up from the pavement and the ambulance, and began to care for me, and in the end, saved my life.
I know when I crossed that line from pleasurable drinking into escape drinking.
I know today, that I am an alcoholic and an addict. I also know that I suffer from the disease of MORE. I know that when alcohol, then a substance, was put in front of me, I participated. Funny thing is, that when the substance disappeared, I didn’t go looking for more. And that is a funny thing. Most addicts who use, will go to any length to get MORE, and use MORE, until they crash and burn or die.
I, on the other hand, always had something to fall back on, and that was alcohol. It was there, it was much cheaper, and the well never went dry. I could always drink as much as I was able, which, in the end, was not enough.
When I slipped, into active addiction and alcoholism, it wasn’t for options of choices. Because by location and people present, I really had no choice but to USE. Until the day the cops came and took me away and said, “Time to Go. The Shit Show is Over.”
I put down the drugs, moved back home, and continued to drink.
When 9-11 happened, on that day, I thought my brother was one of them, and I was worried, even if he wasn’t part of my life, which he wasn’t. When I was told he was not, ONE OF THEM, my view shifted.
I mourned in a particular way. I was shocked in a particular way. I experienced this tragedy in a particular way. I watched A LOT of television, namely ABC News. I remember the night I was watching Peter Jennings on tv.
I wrote to him and had his ON AIR email address. And a couple of days later while he was broadcasting 24 hours a day from the set, live, he looked haggard, and disheveled.
I TURNED TO MY COMPUTER AND WROTE HIM THIS MESSAGE:
PETER, PLEASE UNBUTTON YOUR JACKET AND LOOSEN YOUR TIE AND UNBUTTON YOUR SHIRT, RELAX AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH.
A few moments later, I’m watching him on tv. And he stopped, unbuttoned his jacket, loosened his tie, and his shirt, and he breathed. I have that moment recorded on a vcr tape, that I still have to this day.
I mourned with my friends, but I did not have a cathartic reaction to it. I did not cry, I did not get overly emotional. We did as we were told as a community, (read: Follow the rules of mourning, and be sad.)
Sad … Check.
When the mourning period ended, the community had an idea to raise funds, so the bars opened, and we drank all the alcohol we could, to raise money that went to New York City.
I got sober in December of 2001. Several months after this tragedy. I kept drinking through this tragedy because I HAD to DRINK, then the HAD to drink for a cause, turned into HAD to drink because of a delusion I held so close to me.
Until that delusion was smashed, and I found my way back to the rooms.
I’ve been sober now, fourteen and a half years. I have faced my share of tragedy and sadness in my life. But I never had the reaction to those sad moments, like I had the reaction I had to the Shooting in Orlando on Sunday morning.
It wasn’t overseas, It wasn’t in New York.
It was an attack on MY community. The LGBT community. AND it happened in a place that I called HOME. A place that I was intimately connected to. AND it cut me to the core.
When I saw the quotes:
GOD OPENED UP HIS ARSENAL OF GUNS AND KILLED THOSE FAGGOTS IN THE BAR,
GOD KILLED ALL THOSE FAGGOTS BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL PEDOPHILES
I WAS EMOTIONALLY, SOBERLY, RELIGIOUSLY, AND HUMANLY DEVASTATED.
And for the third time in my life, I felt despair unlike any despair I have felt in many years. I threw in my religious towel, I threw in my belief towel, and I threw in my sober towel.
For some time, I sat here and questioned the existence of God, and the depths some Christians would go to to denigrate other human beings. That was the moment I found a new existence. Baby Mama says that I have EVOLVED.
It would have been very easily, to get dressed and go downstairs and DRINK. And believe you me, I seriously considered that option, unlike any other time in my life.
But I chose Not to Drink or to Use.
I was in shock until Tuesday night. When I hit my home group meeting. A place I thought was safe, and welcoming. I did not plan to fall apart and become a sobbing mess of sadness and utter despair.
My sober sister said to me yesterday that: “Sometimes it is good to fall apart in sobriety.”
That is what happened.
The people in to room, gave me the space to cry and to feel and to speak. Aside from my sponsor, who was none to happy with the phrase …
WITH ALL THE PEOPLE I KNOW HERE IN MONTREAL, ONLY ONE MEMBER CALLED ME, ONE !
That was Rafa. He knew what to do, he cared, and he called, and continues to call daily, with several texts in addition.
After that meeting my sponsor began his attack of words.
Once again, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, turned their back on me. A member with triple decades of sobriety. Someone, some of my friends say, is worthy of respect, even if he is fallible. I disagree.
ONE, on the grounds that He was my sponsor, and TWO, because He is a longtime member of the fellowship.
He did NOT care. He did NOT support me, he chose to speak those words to me.
And as a gay man, with some pride and value and morals, I give people A LOT of latitude, and A LOT of space, to either help me, or HANG themselves.
In my life, there are those who have HELPED and SUPPORTED me along the way, THEN, there are those who have HUNG themselves.
My sponsor has HUNG himself.
That is the problem with a good number of heterosexual men, I have met in my life. It is a sad statistic. But they exist.
I like to say, YOU FUCK A FAG, YOU GET FUCKED RIGHT BACK.
With No Lube.
Just some thoughts for you to ponder.
Trust only those you must. Never give someone the key to your soul, without a payment.
That payment is respect, dignity, friendship and TRUST.
If you fail on any one of these requirements, I cut you loose, FOREVER.
I will never allow you to be part of my life, any more.
This past week the neighborhood reached a milestone. Le Square is almost fully built out with primary drywall up on all fifteen floors. The first image is the frontal view, as you see, there are huge floor to ceiling window spaces that have not yet been built out. But on the backside in photo two, the fifteen floors are almost fully built out. The ground floor retail spaces have been fitted out with windows, and also, you can see in this photo how many windows and balcony suites have been completed. You can see the build out platform connected to the building itself bringing build materials up and down the building.
La Catherine, foreground, in this photo, is completing its fifth floor, they are on a 7 to 10 day build schedule, before they pour the floor. This build is a lot more intricate in the materials and how they are building, versus the way LE Square went up so very quickly. Not to mention, La Catherine has a small build crew of only a dozen men, so the build is taking much longer.
The third image is of the rain storm we had the other day, I took the photo as rain was beginning to fall over Verdun an the river. You can actually see, rain falling.
- Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
- Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
- Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
- Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
- Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
- Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
- Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
- Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
- Cory James Connell, 21 years old
- Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
- Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
- Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
- Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
- Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
- Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
- Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
- Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
- Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
- Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
- Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
- Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
- Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
- Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
- Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
- Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
- Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
- Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
- Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
- Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
- Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
- Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
- Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
- Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
- Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
- Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
- Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
- Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
Learn their names. Our stolen cannot be left forgotten. Rest in power. #orlandostrong
Today was all about taking care of me. I got up early, I took a shower and I got dressed. I called the Rabbi before I left the house. I took the Metro up to The Chabad House and the Rabbi was waiting for me.
In a short few minutes, I spoke what was on my heart and my need to seek answers. The Rabbi knows everything. We trust his word without question when he speaks to us. He is always there, day in and day out caring for us, those of us who come to Chabad.
He gave me sage advice.
He said, that in times like these, with all the hate and death all around us, running somewhere else, is not going to make it any better. He told me to stay where I was and not run. He told me that with what he knows about me and the work I do, the work we all do, that we MUST pump as much good into the world as we can, from where ever we are.
Good work takes great commitment and great responsibility.
With that he left me to attend the afternoon meeting with my friends.
He took the time to listen.
I came home, and continued to take care of me. I called a second Rabbi, who is a woman who helms a synagogue right around the corner, her secretary called me back and said that Rabbi was out of pocket for a while, and won’t be back till the end of next month.
BUT, she invited me to Temple on Friday night for service.
I made a second call to an Anglican priest, my friend and mentor who fell away from me. I made a call to the Cathedral and i was kindly given the number where I c0uld reach him.
He is seeing me next Tuesday afternoon.
Then I called Boo. And we have been speaking on and off all day long. Much needed.
She gives me the space to be me and she listens.
I called Rafa and we have spoken several times today.
Rafa talks to me, AND he listens, and has been by my side every day without fail.
I went to my regular Tuesday meeting. The read went around, so did the shares. I waited till the end, and I started speaking. Then I started crying, and sobbing and fell into a massive ugly cry.
I said … When Sunday happened, and the world was rent, only ONE, ONE alcoholic called me to see if I was ok. You could have dropped a pin in the room. I was a mess.
I’ve never cried like that, ever… Well maybe at Grammy’s funeral.
Every body gave me the space and the time to be raw in real time. Nobody said a word.
My sponsor was not pleased with what I said.
After the meeting my sponsor called me out to talk.
We sat, I started talking, and the sobs began again. I said many things, and this is what he said to me:
- That You think you are so special
- That we should treat you differently than anybody else
- That I expect special treatment, “NO, I said, try a little compassion!” no answer
- I continued to talk and sob
- I was sobbing and said, “All these kids are DEAD, and my friends are hurting, they fear going to work and school, they are afraid and won’t leave the safety of home because of all of this. And I can’t help all of them from here…”
- His last words to me were this
- YOU ARE ACTING LIKE A CHILD ...
With that said, I got up and walked away. I got on the bus and came home.
He did not say “I’m sorry, or I feel for you, Or even, I don’t understand.” He did not extend a hand or an arm to console me because at that point I was inconsolable.
I just walked away.
On the way home I called a second member who was sitting in the room with us and heard what I had to say.
He listened to me and he spoke kindness to me. And gave me some advice as well.
I need to take care of me. I need to be good to myself. I need to ride out my feelings, and not stuff them in a box and deny them.
He said to rest, not think about what happened. and let it rest for a couple of days.
I spoke to Rafa and Boo.
Now I need to eat and watch some banal television.
More to come.
I have come to the end of my road with “tolerance for those with different struggles.” I have come to the end of the road, trying to be a presence, in the Christian community, as a gay man. I have come to the end of my road, with intolerance by people who claim to love Jesus, but hate me, based on a 2000 year old book.
I have come to the end of the road with trying to be a First Class Citizen, in a world where today, the LGBTQ community knows for certain where we rank on the life spectrum, and just how INSIGNIFICANT we really are to a great number of people.
This LOW BROW, INTOLERANT, VINDICTIVE, REPUGNANT AND HYPOCRITICAL BODY OF FAITH – I am DONE with you.
Repugnant phrases like:
“GOD OPENED UP HIS ARSENAL OF GUNS AND KILLED THOSE FAGGOTS IN THAT BAR”
“IT WAS ALL OUR FAULT THAT WE WERE KILLED BECAUSE GOD IS PUNISHING THE GAYS, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL PEDOPHILES.”
THIS IGNORANT INTOLERANT HATE SPEECH IS REPUGNANT.
I mean really, what kind of shit like this comes out of the mouth of a human being who professes to be Christian ?
I AM SURE THAT GOD, IN HIS INFINITE WISDOM, DOES NOT HAVE AN ARSENAL OF GUNS TO KILL ANYBODY.
And the height of arrogance, is that for some, who think they speak for God, across many religions, condemn us and speak of our deaths as if God ordained that action, that ANY God would ordain any action such as killing innocents.
I’ve spent my entire existence trying to find a place that I could just be ME. After half a lifetime of being told that it was an ABOMINATION to be who I wanted to be.
And I listened to a podcast today with a man who spoke about finding your life and moving forwards and letting go of people, places and things that no longer serve us.
In 2002, I was thirty five years old, and with two consecutive decisions, I made serious changes in my life, and crossed a border, to live the life I wanted to live.
Because for so long, I heard over and over again, that I was a mistake and should never have been born, then after that came the request that I just DIE ALREADY !
Over my lifetime, the continual occurrence of people telling me NO YOU CAN’T, is high.
I am ASHAMED to be associated with America. And I have been for a long time. If I did not need the government for certain reasons, that would have changed, long ago, but it is what it is.
I am so thoroughly FED UP with certain communities, faith and public, and I know that there are more GOOD people, than BAD people. Rafa said, that the minority opinion may be small, but they are VOCAL, and WELL PLACED.
I came to Montreal to find a life, and the life I have is truly more magnificent than I would have ever imagined the day I got off that airplane that April day in 2002.
Even now, after almost fifteen years sober, and a career in academia, in the beginning my advisors and professors, and my friends were telling me YES you CAN.
At the end of that road – when all was said and done, my advisors, my professors, and the men of faith involved in the rest of my life, all said the same thing … NO YOU CAN’T …
Being gay in the 2000’s is a hell of a lot better now than it was forty years ago. We have made great strides in social acceptance, and legal status in many places. And as soon a we were legal here in Montreal, we stepped into a church and made it official.
There are many reasons that life did not lead in the direction that I had hoped. “Faith in Practice” in four season territory, is a tough sell. There might be thousands of churches in Montreal one could go to, but getting to them in minus 20c cold is problematic.
So I could not fulfill a major pillar of Christian practice. I moved to another denomination where I was told YES you CAN. And for a while that worked for me. But I learned along the way that I was not intellectually stimulated by clergy or the congregants that I met. Even if that congregation was open and affirming.
I would attend social events, and discussion forums, and feel like the odd man out among CLERGY and their friends. There was a building I could go to to celebrate the Eucharist, but it didn’t go far enough for me because I missed an integral part of my faith practice and it might seem insignificant, but to me it means much, much, more.
The tabernacle is the focal point of why you go to a Catholic Church. The presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
These days, you don’t really find a tabernacle that is open to the public like it is in other places that I have lived. So that was a no go for me.
A very well known man, my first adviser, professor, and friend, the man who was the driving force behind who I would become, made the jump from Catholicism to the Anglican Communion, so he could be in full communion with a faith body where he and his partner were accepted 100%, lock, stock and barrel.
He attained Holy Orders in the Anglican faith, and our connection all but dried up.
I am only so tolerant when it comes to people and places. If I want something, or need something or someone, I know who to ask. And you only get three chances to do what I need. If I have to ask you more than three times for something and in response I get a smart ass remark, I’ve lost my patience for you and your institution.
At the end of my Theology work, when I completed my studies and wrote a thirty page prospectus for the Catholic Church in Montreal, I handed that work in and it got raved reviews and several promises by men high up in the hierarchy of the church, who asked me to prepare for some serious work in the church for my community. I was sure I was on my way, but in the end, what I got, again, was NO YOU CAN’T …
I have come to the end of my road with NO YOU CAN’T.
I have come to the end of my road with intolerant people who claim to love Jesus, but hate me – hate us. Now I know those numbers are smaller than those Christians who don’t hate us.
There was a time, during my university career when a certain Evangelical Church spent 18 months harassing and spamming me with hatred, because being Gay and Christian was in congruent and not possible because the Bible said it.
They eventually went away. It only took 2 degrees to get rid of them.
I read, I read A LOT.
My library is full of books of Popes and Saints. I know all the stories, and I know what I like and what I do not.
I’ve read every book that has been published on Pope Francis. Fr. George Bergoglio. I know what this man thinks, I know what he has said. I know the man he is. And Pope Francis has made grand gestures towards inclusion, but his hands are tied when it comes to the Catholic intelligentsia and the Roman Curia.
Old habits die hard, and the only way the LGBTQ community will ever get full inclusion is for the entire OLD GUARD machine to die and get replaced. That would take several generations, still …
I am still a Second Class Catholic in a church with over a billion members.
I know many good Catholic men of faith in this city. And I know what they all think of me. There are churches I could go to, and be fully accepted. Montreal is a very tolerant and open community where faith is concerned.
Living a BMW life, makes life a little difficult, getting around a city where a real car would come in very handy.
To This End … I no longer want to participate in a community where vitriol and hatred are everyday speak. I no longer can afford it emotionally, mentally, religiously, and spiritually.
I am sickened to DEATH with the hatred that is being meted upon our grieving community right now.
I am SICK to DEATH of this HATRED.
My heart is broken and I am emotionally shattered over the killing of all those young LGBT people. All those lives snuffed out by a deranged, unstable, terrorist.
I no longer want to identify myself with the Christian denomination.
I am done with you. Finished.
My desire to be GOOD and to LOVE still exists. That’s what we learn in recovery. To love ourselves once again, and learn how to love others genuinely.
I am GOOD, I do GOOD for everyone I know, in the spirit of love and Christian faith and practice.
But my Christian faith is GONE. Forever …
WE are taught to be Humble and Kind. To be who WE really should be, instead of who WE had been.
And I find that the more I see innocents get killed because of Hatred, Ideology and Homophobia, my Christian belief in Love and Forgiveness goes right out the window.
And I am FUCKING ANGRY AS SHIT ! My Heart is Broken and I am shattered. And I don’t know where to go or what to do.
My Anger and Belief in Biblical Revenge and Retribution has clouded my vision and my heart and I am heartsick, and that can’t go on much longer.
Rafa, said I should sit on this and think. I’ve done all the thinking I need to do for now.
Now is the time for action, to do something, to find someplace SAFE to BE ME.
NONE of my faithful brothers and Ministers have said one single word of love or support, none of them.
Where are the leaders of faith when GOD seems to be M.I.A.
WHERE THE FUCK DO WE TURN ???
I SURE AS SHIT DON’T HAVE THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION.
McGill Ghetto SHUL Passover
A long time ago, I made a faith profession, during my studies, that if I ever jumped the Catholic / Christian ship, I know where I would land.
I have a number and tomorrow I am following my heart and my soul.
I’ve asked myself many questions today, I’ve done my inventory, I talked it over with a friend before the meeting, and she suggested, I have a conversation and see where it leads me.
I don’t know where God is right now. Because He is not here at the moment, when the world really needs God.
I’m going to go look for Him, because He’s not where I was told He would be.
Tomorrow begins the next quest on my spiritual path.
Last night around 3 a.m. I saw the first report of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and my heart sank. Why did he choose that club and not another, (The Parliament House) which would have been at max capacity at that hour as well, and then I was relieved that he did not choose that site as his first hit, because he would have hit my home, or, that place I called home for so long.
I chose to move to Orlando because I thought that that was a safe place to be Gay. That was where my journey of becoming a citizen of the gay community was to begin. So I moved there. I became part of a vibrant community of people I loved and respected. People who would shape the life I have today in ways I could never imagine.
Tragedy in other places, is not like a tragedy that hits at your home. Tragedy by extension and degrees of separation have less intensity when they are far removed, or far away. Last night’s tragedy hit me right in the chest. My heart broke to think that my brothers and sisters of life were targeted by a crazed gunman who wanted to kill homosexuals. Hate crime or religious ideology? That question is still unanswered.
In any case, I can imagine what that loss feels like having spent so much time IN that community for so long. I have a long and devastating relationship with death and tragedy. I lived through some of the darkest times in Gay history. And now another story of tragedy has been written.
Families lost loved ones, friends have lost friends, the community at large has lost souls to senseless violence, and the relative safety of a city that welcomed and cared for their own, is no more.
There are no guarantees of safety and freedom anymore. I look back at life some twenty or more years, and I know what relative safety felt like, to not have to fear going out to a public place and having to worry about some crazed human being stalking us like animals on a safari hunt.
Guns are too easily sought and bought. The availability of these firearms undermines the safety of every human being where ever you are. That is more so in the United States. Canada has its gun issues, but as long as I have lived here, I have never felt threatened to go out in public for fear of my life.
Every day, the fear of being killed is a new set of skills for the human being. This insidious fear has been forced upon us by those who would seek to kill us for a myriad of reasons, and nobody is safe, it seems, any longer. Relative safety is a thing of the past now.
I’ve been watching these mass killings day after day and it saddens me to no end. And now, with this latest tragedy, I am forced to speak these words in testimony to my brothers and sisters that lost their lives so tragically last night. I can do that because for a few years, I was one of those brothers and sisters.
I cannot tell you how this tragedy makes me feel. When religious ideology kills indiscriminately, my first reaction is “An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth.” If ideological killers kill to prove a point, killing humans in inhumane ways, the rage in me reacts first. All sense of Christian values leaves me.
It is reported that the gunman pledged his loyalty to Isis, which makes him an ideological killer, there is no forgiveness for those who kill senselessly because of ideology. I make no excuses for them, and I wish them direct judgment and death. It is all well and good that this gunman is dead. Because he killed his fellow humans in cold blood for reasons we still do not know, and there is no forgiveness for a human like that. Even though I know when that man made it to where ever he ended up, I was taught that whatever God there is, forgiveness will follow, even if I cannot.
There are no words I can say right now, that haven’t already been said by those who have been in the loop since last night. My heart is broken in this senseless loss of life. All I can do is say a prayer for those departed and for those who are left to pick up the pieces.
The Orlando Gay Community is family, they will survive this, in time. Phillip De Franco said this yesterday, “There is no silver lining to this story, no good ending, for now the pain is acute and one day this pain will recede and the intense feeling won’t go away, but will be less, but not forgotten.”
I stand with my brothers and sisters tonight in solidarity and hope.
I wish I could go back and be of some comfort, but that is not an option, so all I have is this place to tell you how hard this hit me and why, and to allow myself to feel this tragedy because it hits me right in my heart of hearts.
Eternal rest grant them and may perpetual light shine upon them.