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Archive for September, 2016

Sunday Sundries – He Said “Hello”

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Life is busy. Fall has come. Single Digits followed. The A/C unit is in its box until next Summer. And we have the windows open until it gets cold at night, and they have to be shut.

Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away. And then PUSH for Christmas will begin.

UGH, God Give Me Strength !!!

For a few weeks now, folks have been in a funk. The funk of untreated alcohol/marijuana addiction. There Is A Solution. It just seems that not many people WANT that solution, and I am totally frustrated with how hard my friends want to make life, when it could be much easier.

Let’s go back to Friday.

I had a doctors appointment in the morning. BOTH my doctors have been bemoaning the fact that my sugars are up a bit, and my triglycerides are high again. Not that they’ve managed to fall with all the pills I put into my body.

My diabetes doctor wants me to further curb my diet, when I don’t even eat three meals a day, because I just don’t. I might eat lunch occasionally, when I am bothered to go get something to cook. That happens here and there. On Thursday I always treat myself to some Burger King on the way to the meeting, if I am not book shopping, or I do both.

My HIV doctor has been giving me the same complaints …

I was dumbfounded when, on Friday, Dr. George says to me …

OH I HAVE A MAGIC PILL THAT WILL DROP YOUR TRIGLYCERIDES TO ZERO …

I was like, how long have you had this ACE in your pocket ? You’ve been on my ass about this for a year, and now you decide to drop this little pill into my life now ? Now we add another pill called EZETIMIBE to my regimen for a month to see what happens. I have another appointment on Tuesday for my HIV doctor and I am going to chew him out as well.

The day gets better from there, Friday …

The Book of Mormon …

I walk back to the Metro at Acadie and I am standing on the platform and a couple of CUTE Mormon elders came down and stood next to me. One walks a little further away, and One stands just off to my left. We stood there for a few minutes, when the young Elder says to me “Salut” in French, ( Hello for those who don’t speak French) I said Hello to him in English.

He let out a breath and sighed … “Oh God, you speak English!”

Wiping his brow …

We got on the train, and a flurry of conversation began. When we got to the terminus of the Blue Line (Snowden) I was transferring to the Orange line to get to a job I was working next, our young Elder handed me his card and smiled … Call Me Anytime.

The next afternoon, I did call him back. We have a date for coffee on Tuesday evening.

I rode the Metro to Vendome and walked several blocks to a small church in Westmount where I had been hired for the day to do a theatre installation for a photography group in the meeting hall.

The group had paid $7,000.00 for a theatre sized motorized screen that needed to be mounted and hung in the rafters above the stage. This monster weighed about 400 pounds and it took 5 guys to build the framing, figure out how we were going to hang the beast and make it all work in less than five hours.

We made a trip to Home Depot and bought the supplies, and returned to build 2×4 trusses for the rafters, from which we would hang the screen. My friend (in the program) is in construction, so he had all the major tools we would need. It was a precision job to get the screen up and hung. It was a great success.

In hanging heavy machinery, you need good framing. You need solid metal works, and you need to double your fail safes, in case the brackets on the end caps of the screen give way and fail. We used high quality chain in the rigging and solid metal works for the hooks and clamps.

When all was said and done, on the way home, I said to my friend that, we might want to secure the chain looping in the rafters further, because there are two clamps on each end that connect chain to the screen. and the chain hangs from large hooks in the framing we had already hung.

If one of the clamps on the screen end caps fail, the chain is going to go into the rafters, come out of its ring, and the failing end of the screen is going to fall to the floor, and probably bring the other side down with it. My thought was, if we secure the hanging ring and the chain with a larger C clamp, that will prevent the chain from running loose and bringing down the screen.

At $15.00 dollars an hour, my advice is not cheap.

Light and sound is a great business to be in. Having built a nightclub from the ground up in the past, and working in the nightclub industry, this job was right up my alley.

The job ran me right up to my Friday night departure at 6:15. I had twenty minutes to spare when I got home. Enough time to unload groceries and change into clean clothing.

While at the doctors earlier in the day, I had updated my apps. And I’ve never seen my battery go from 85% to zero in like thirty seconds. Which meant my phone was dead for the rest of the day, because I had left my charger at home.

 

 

 


Sunday Sundries – “I’m Paying Attention”

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Because we need a happy dog photo right now. It’s my favorite image too …

Every one wants to be noticed, to be acknowledged, to be seen, and to be loved…

How often we see people come in the room, and we notice them, but at the end of the meeting, we watch them walk out, because WE did not step up and say, “I noticed you.”

There are two young people in our community, that I have been watching bounce in and out of the rooms, stuck in the revolving door of alcoholism and drug addiction. I noticed them a long time ago, but back then, as my young man said to me tonight, “he wasn’t in it to win it.” But I watched.

I reminded my young lady friend of a story she shared at a meeting a long time ago, about a specific spiritual experience she had one night on the Metro. Indeed, she had forgotten that story, tonight, I reminded her of it.
I decided that the time was right to step up and do something. I asked one question of him after the meeting … “Who is invested in your sobriety?” He replied, no one specifically.

So I told him the story. We spoke for a while, and he has my number, and I asked him to call me every day, to at least, connect with one alcoholic every day, no matter what.

He is working with a man I know, who is good people, so he has a sponsor now.

My friend said something in the meeting we all thought important to remember:

“IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO BRING YOU FLOWERS, PLANT YOUR OWN GARDEN.”

A funny statement that is in tonight’s read:

I HAVE YET TO FIND A PLACE IN THE BIG BOOK THAT SAYS “NOW YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE STEPS; HAVE A NICE LIFE … “

I’ve said it before, sobriety never ends. Once you begin, buckle up, because this is a long ride, through ups and downs, good times and bad, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do you part…
See the pun there, did you notice it ?

I’ve been listening to several pod casts lately. I’ve told you about them in earlier posts. One of them is quite good. The writing is stellar, the pod cast is one I look forward to.

A couple weeks ago, I bought a couple of his books. Sold “in house” and not on the “open Market.” Halfway through the first book, I put the book down.

I think I read too much, across the spectrum. So I’m thinking to myself, someone who spends hours upon hour writing scripts, should be well versed in certain research for his books just the same. That is not the case it seems.

Reading a simple story is simple. No expectations, or demands from the read. I read for story. I read for content. I read for details and spins. Don’t waste my time with a book that goes no where, but the simple straight route from point A to point B. End of story.

I am spoiled by Kathy Reichs and Donna Tartt. I am spoiled by several other authors who write stellar books, that I am guilty of holding up expectations for other authors who “should” write like them with attention to detail and story method.

Sadly, not many writers got that memo …

October is getting closer. The holiday season is just weeks away now. I could give you a day count, but that would be a little compulsive, don’t you think ?

If you go to a meeting, notice people around you. And go say hello to at least one person before you leave that meeting. Tell them that “You were paying attention.”

I am paying attention …

You never know when you are going to save a life …


Friday – “Complicated”

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Why do you have to make things so complicated, and do stupid things, and then ask why me when shit gets bad ??? We are complicated people who don’t necessarily follow simple suggestions, yet are honest enough to tell you to go Fuck Yourself when you tell folks that it really isn’t that bad, if you did, for once, do as you were told.

I don’t get this generation of folks, who think they own the world, and demand everything and want it for free, on demand. How many times do you have to have a brick wall fall on your ass, before you stop and listen for once ?

People are going to do what they are going to do regardless of how many times you tell them that they are barking up the wrong tree. I have worked to get my young folks back into the fold and to get active again, because so many of them have fallen away and have spent weeks and months isolating in their misery, instead of showing up and investing in each others lives. I don’t know how to get them to invest in each other beyond seeing each other at meetings !!!

The building fire alarm is ringing – hasn’t done that in a long time.

UGH …

The daily construction on La Catherine begins at 7 a.m. A mere 500 yards away from my balcony. They are working on the 15th floor right now and are close to pouring it. One more floor to 16 and the roof and they will finish in less than a month.

There is a cherry picker crane in the alley down stairs and every day, there are men IN that cherry picker riding it up and down the side of the building that faces the alley. It seems that some do not know how high the building is so they are spray painting the numbers on the side of the build, just to make sure. You know how industrial trucks and cranes have that automatic “Beep, Beep, Beep” when the truck, or crane is in reverse ?

Well, this particular cherry picker is always in reverse it seems. If it goes up it beeps, if it goes down it beeps, if they move it forwards it beeps and if they move it backwards it beeps as well. So for hours every day, all I hear is that God damned beeping.

At the same time, the company that owns this building is doing hard construction all over the facade of the building all at the same time. They are rehabbing the balconies, knocking down the banisters and rebuilding them. They came the other day and took off the flooring on my balcony ( the wooden slat flooring ) not sure what they did with it, but there is 42 years of shit strewn all over the underfloor. Feathers, dirt, rabbit shit and other assorted crap that was underneath the flooring all these years.

The jack hammers begin pounding the building at 8 a.m. every morning. Every morning !!!

Two construction sites. Both running together, first thing in the morning.

Sleeping in has lost its charm.

Our building manager has encouraged me to be patient, while this major work job continues.

UGH …

Tonight the topic was all about Step 4. And I laughed to myself. This time around, the first time I hit Step 4, I was a neurotic mess. I was 34 years old, and neurotic. I wrote pages and pages and was insufferable with the sponsor I had back then.

Fifteen years later, I see serious progress in the way I approach Step Work. For the first time in sobriety, I am clear and free of every item that first appeared on that list fifteen years ago. I have come full circle.

I’ve been living my sober life, By The Book. By some of my design, but highly dependent on the advice and counsel of those I trust. My sponsor, and my spiritual adviser and a couple of other important people in my life.

As it happened, everything came together quite spiritually. This pass at Step 4 was more spiritual than clinical. I did a good amount of writing and in the end, was given the final key to free myself from the past that has been dogging me for the whole of my life.

People who are all over the map, from day one to thirty years plus, all have stories to tell and fears to be addressed. Sobriety is a lifetime journey and never ends, and is never over, this is it, if you accept the challenge of getting and staying sober and sorting your life out once and for all. Inventories are or should be cyclical, and done often and when necessary.

If you don’t know what is in storage, how is your shop going to be profitable?

Fall is on its way. Temps are coming down, ever so slowly. October is mere weeks away, and Thanksgiving will follow soon after.

 


September 11 – We are Born to Mourn

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Fifteen years have passed, since the day the earth shifted on its axis, and in certain ways, the world, “our world” changed, and would never be the same ever again.

When I was a young man, I spent time in New York City. I visited the Twin Towers, so I was familiar with the layout of the land and the buildings.

That Tuesday morning, it was quite early, I was still in bed. My phone rang, and it was my friend Ricky on the other end. He said “You need to turn on the tv, something is happening, and I’m not quite sure what it is.”

I turned on the tv, and watched the second plane hit the building. I watched the buildings burn, like everyone else did. Then I watched them fall to the ground.

When the air plane hit the Pentagon, the only thought on my mind was my brother’s life, because I knew he might be in that building. I called my mother, whom was not speaking to me, nor was my brother, speaking to me either. I asked her where Kenny was.

She did not answer me, and then hung up on me.

I called several more times, when she finally assented to telling me he was not in Washington at the time of the attack. At least my brother was out of harms way.

I chose not to open the store that day, and I would not open the store for a number of days in the end.

I turned to ABC News and the wisdom and guidance of Peter Jennings. If any one had the power to guide, He would. That began several days of 24 hour ABC news hosted by Peter Jennings. I emailed the news station and got Peter’s On Air Email Address, and I was writing to him back and forth.

One night in particular, Peter was looking very haggard, all suited up and tightly wound. So I wrote him a note, and said …

Peter, you seem a bit wound up. Why don’t you loosen your tie and shirt and relax a bit. A few seconds later, I watched him loosen his tie and shirt.

September 11th, took its toll on Peter, and eventually killed him, because he picked up smoking and that smoking killed him.

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

Do we ever get a break from memory, from reliving the past, or from mourning ? No, we don’t.Ever !!! From the earliest days in school, we are taught all those stories of those who came before, and the many that sacrificed their lives to give us the freedoms we enjoy to this day.

We are always mourning an Event, A Human Being, A Time, A Place, a War, A Shooting, Buildings Falling, the list just goes on and on.

I wonder, if there are some out there, who are just tired of mourning.

We owe eternal debts of gratitude for family that went before us, for soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. For those who were killed unjustly, for those who were slaughtered by terrorists who only want to kill the infidel.

We mourn the loss of children shot up in a school, people shot up in public places, and those fifty young people gunned down in a nightclub in Orlando.

Today we remember and mourn all those souls who went to their deaths on air planes plunged into The World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville Pennsylvania.

We mourn the first responder’s who climbed the buildings trying to save peoples lives, and in turn lost their own in the process. For all those who were killed in those buildings in New York City, the Towers, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. Thousands of lives lost because of deranged and sinister terrorists.

For days and days, Miami Beach was comatose. The bars and clubs had closed, and we entered 14 days of mourning. I sat in an internet cafe, where the owner gave me free air time every night, to surf, to try to help in some way. I did that night after night.

At dusk, we brought candles to the beach and lit them so satellites could take our pictures from space, and be published for maximum consumption.

There was no partying, no liquor, no nothing. We mourned because that is what everyone else was doing. I was stone cold sober.

Fourteen days later the bars opened and they began to have matching funds Fund Raisers, where if we donated money, we could drink the same for free.

Over the next three months, we drank all the alcohol that was available in a 5o mile radius of the city. We were drunk for months.

The rest is history. A few days before December 9th, 2001, I had had my last drink. Troy took me to my Next First Meeting.On December 9th. My sobriety Anniversary.

And by the grace of God, I haven’t desired a drink since.

We Remember …


Perfectly HONEST ???

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“No one can teach you how to be a storyteller, you have to live to be able to do that.”
Casey Neistat

If there is one thing you should do right now, if you don’t already, Go to your You Tube Account and SUBSCRIBE to Casey Neistat. Right Now. Today. Now, Right Now !!

I’ve learned, at this point in my life that, maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken. Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better.

That is so freaking true for me right now.

Tonight we talked about Honesty. Honesty is one word that appears early in How It Works:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being HONEST with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demand rigorous HONESTY. Their chances are less than average. There are those too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be HONEST.

Before I say anything else, we must begin this discussion with the fact that we are all HUMAN, we are FALLIBLE, and we all make MISTAKES. Alcoholism is a human disease, and when we come to the rooms, however damaged and hopeless we are, some tend to forget the human quality and hurriedly ascribe some nasty word to describe fellow humans sitting in the same room with them, forgetting, that at one time, THEY were just as damaged and hopeless as newcomers are.

What have I learned in 49 years of life ?

We are born into families, be they rock solid and honest, or broken and hard pressed for any semblance of honesty or love.

As children and well into our teen years until the day we walk out of that house we were born into, walk out of said house and strike out into the great unknown.

We all carry that around with us, and that taints what we do next, (for many) and how we see the world. For me that was the great challenge. I lacked many things when I left home.

And I see that today.

Knowing all the secrets at home, and watching people live inside a secret and watch them produce a show for the outside world, where they were not their true selves, fucked me up.

My thoughts always centered around, “Well, if this is good for you (read: Your Secrets) then it is good for me.” (Read: What’s Good for the Goose, is Good for the Gander).

Gay IN secret was better than being gay OUT in the world. That was an abomination.

While all the while, I heard my parents demean me and many others, with racist, ethnic and homophobic hatred. In the end I knew I had to go. And I did.

But like I have said before, alcoholism followed me, and so did some seriously bad behavior. Namely, dishonesty, lies, and immaturity.

Honest was not something I aspired to.

In my twenties, I hit several serious situations that put me between a rock and a hard place. At first, I drank to drown. And I failed at coping with suicide. The second, when I got sick, I again, drank to drown, until Todd stepped in.

If he was one thing, he was honest. And I had to get honest to begin with, or there was no future. I learned the hard way what happens when you have to get honest, and remain silent for your own good, because the truth would cost you a lover, a home, a job, a family, and your friends.

Been there Done that …

When people show up, they bring with them everything that happened to them, everything they believe, and everything they have lost. Hope is the last thing on many minds in the beginning. And if we are honest with you, life is not a dress rehearsal, and this is not a trial run, there are no do overs.

This is it. You only get one shot. So you better make it a good shot.

Sadly, many don’t learn this the first time around. I surely did not.

Almost fifteen years later, I am still working on my Good Shot.

Honesty is something I struggle with every day. Honestly, I’ve expected better of people, and hoped in people to rise and grow up, when they are not able to do so. I’ve held onto idealistic expectations, that I will never see “This side of heaven.”

I have known for a while now, that when I turned fifty, I was no longer going to be willing to wait for people who are not part of my life today, to become part of my life. Because, as a wise man said to me tonight, “Twenty five years later, is a long time to make an amend to someone that might be sunk in their way of life, and that outcome be anything else but a big HUGE disaster.”

Good for me, my spiritual director cut me to the chase and made me see, how I was not being Honest with myself or GOD. Withholding my trust in God, and thinking that my will was the better will, and that God did not have the right answer, because the answer I have long wanted had not come YET, yet I was willing to hold on until it came, come hell or high water.

WRONG !

Over the years, being Gay and POZ, I watch people, when I tell the truth. I watch what they do, and I listen to what they say. And it is in what they Don’t Do and what they Don’t Say that I find appalling.

Sober people are just as guilty of this kind of behavior as those who live on the outside.

Today, I know what I know. And I’ve seen what I’ve seen. And I know, for damned sure, who I want to hang around, and who I don’t. They say that “Who we are is directly related to the top five people we have in our lives.”

Rafa is right up there at the top of my five list.

When we come, we bring what we have. And we cope the best way we can, based on each of our abilities to do that. Making sobriety the first priority, when we bring life into the room with us, is the challenge in making sobriety work, Honestly.

I was ready, this time around, to do whatever it took, at what ever cost, no matter what.

And I will have, very soon, fifteen years of making that system work for me. I have accrued all those years of work, honesty as I was able, and truth as I spoke, and love and care where it mattered to give away.

Not Many People are interested in my honest attempt to be a good human being.

And I have to let that be.

I know my elder friends who I speak to and trust implicitly are all on their journeys. My elder man is heading towards 65 soon, and my elder lady friend is heading towards 63, I am headed towards 50, my spiritual director just hit 53.

We are all trying to figure out wisdom of our times. We are all trying to figure out what we are supposed to know, and what is coming around the bend. I know what happened in my twenties, my thirties, and my forties.

I hit sobriety at 34. Wisdom did not begin to set in until I hit 40. I’m not sure what is going to happen when I hit 50. We all know what happened to some, who have hit the 70 mark. They got OLD very fast, became despondent, they suffer from old age that came on quite suddenly, and tragically. I don’t know but I watched what happened, I watched several of my friends age FAST. And they have faded into obscurity, by their own choices.

I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of old ideas and old expectations.

Sometimes being honest is not the wisest counsel.In certain situations.

Today I had a conversation with a friend, who is not in a good space, so I’ve been on top of that with her. She made a decision today that was detrimental to her, despite what we’ve been through together, and I know why she did what she did, and I could not be totally honest with her, because I am not her, and I am not in control of anyone but myself.

The only honest thing I could say was, Do you think that choice was wise ? Good or Bad ?

The scales of the past fall from us, the longer we work on ourselves. And truth and honesty comes in stages, and not all at once, because we are HUMAN, and we can only progress forwards, with TIME, WORK and with FAITH. As we are able, with what we have at each moment we need it.

I see that wisdom now, about how dishonestly I began my adult life. And just how long it took me to figure all that out.

That is twenty eight years later …

Better late than never.

I would rather you be honest with me, than give me the silent treatment or ignore me. Some of my friends just walk away. I’m not sure why, because I work very hard at relationships, it’s just that for some of my friends, I don’t have that kind of relationship, let’s say, that I do with my best friend or my husband.

Certain friends of mine when I ask them to be honest with themselves and me, have turned around and told me to go fuck myself.

One, they can’t be honest in recovery, And Two, they can be honest in telling me to go fuck myself.

That doesn’t make sense to me.

You cannot be all things to all people, its just not possible.

I’m honestly working on being better at honesty, all the way round.

How Free Do You Want to Be ???


Wednesday – Visual

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I have been looking at sprucing up the blog recently. I was invited to participate in a new template editor and theme maker, alas, that service is costly, and is only available for self hosted blogs, which mine is not.

So let’s introduce you to “Visual.” A brand new theme that is sleek and has specific customization features. Gone is my old busy, and all over the place sidebar. I’ve taken away all the clutter that has nothing to do with what I am writing, and gives you a more user friendly option when using mobile devices.

Welcome to new readers and thank you to all of you who have stuck around through my transitional period of life.


Tuesday – When is Medicinal Marijuana Allowed ?

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When we put down alcohol, because we are alcoholics, we know that we can never pick it back up. And when we stop smoking POT we also know that we can never smoke again.

Times are changing, and the rules of engagement are also changing.

Living with AIDS for so long, in the very first few months, I was given medicinal marijuana because I was told that it would help me eat and bulk up, and not waste away and die.

So I smoked up.

When I stopped drinking – I had to stop smoking and using recreational drugs as well. Until the day my slip began, and I picked up and began using again, only that time, the using was far worse and had serious consequences when I was done.

When I finally relented and stopped drinking, I had not smoked a joint for over a year, the drink still existed, until December of 2001.

Fast Forward to 5:30 a.m. this morning.

I had gone through hubby’s backpack a couple of hours earlier, and found a zip bag, with all the accoutrements a good pot smoker would have.

As his caregiver, when his behavior changes and he becomes despondent and catatonic sitting in the same room, I needed to figure out what was going on.

He’s just been stoned …

When we met and began co-habitating, we got rid of copious amounts of empty beer bottles and all the pot rollers, papers and assorted other things.

Color me surprised when I made this find earlier this morning.

I was LIVID …

Hubby is smoking. He made an executive decision for himself, assuming that because I was clean and sober, that I would judge him and condemn his using, and toss his shit down the toilet. That was my first word in fact. Toss It …

He did not TRUST me.

Since he kept this a secret, I was absolutely angry and pissed off.

I tried to go back to bed, but only tossed and turned. He got up to pee at 5:30 and I called him into the living room and lit into him like a madman.

Words were said. Threats were made. Tears were shed.

Discussion followed.

Many years ago, in the beginning of his Bi-Polar disorder, he was drugged heavily for ten months until we found the mix that worked. During that time, the drugs emasculated him, robbed him of who he was, and left me with someone I did not know on the back end.

I had to mourn that loss, and decided to stick and stay, because I remembered who he was.

Over the last two or so years, his shrink has been trying to get him off all those pills and to give him back some of his “Self.” That has only worked so far.

Hubby found that the odd joint, now and then, made a real difference in his Bi-Polar state (read: manic depression) and his mental functionality, so he kept smoking.

He did this by himself, here at home, when I was not here.

We have a funny service in Montreal. Pot Delivery systems. You call, they deliver.

I’ve heard of this service from some of my guys before who used it themselves.

I may be clean and sober, that doesn’t mean I am a flag toting militant judgmental prick.

I think, when circumstances warrant, and choices of what we want to do for our personal health and well being, that decision IS up to US, and nobody else. Who am I to judge?

If that time came for me, I would want the same latitude and acceptance of the choices I make when the time came. I know, I am not going to mt death miserable and shitting in a diaper, nor deluded with dementia. I have already chosen my exit plan.

What was I supposed to say, after hearing his explanation of why he made that choice, and what it means to his mental functionality and his happiness ?

NO ???

Our Canadian Government is on track to legalize POT across the board in the next few month hopefully. But medicinal marijuana is available here in Montreal.

One can get a compassionate use card from Health Canada, and you can order pot online and have it sent to you through Canada Post.

There is no shame in being KIND and UNDERSTANDING.

Times are changing in many places, and we have to be accepting of those changes, knowing full well, that I cannot drink or smoke. Again.

In the end this is a Page 417 issue …

ACCEPTANCE IS THE KEY TO ALL MY PROBLEMS.


Monday – Psychic Change

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Here we are, the last day of the Labor Day Holiday Weekend. The official end of summer here in North America. It is September. In a matter of weeks, Thanksgiving will be here, and that yearly crazy push for Christmas begins in Montreal.

The fun here is .. To see who puts up Christmas decorations up first ???

More on that later.

Rafa said to me the other night, that I haven’t been writing very much, and that is true. Spending inordinate time in M.A. does not lend to writing about sobriety so much, because of the few people we are and the sameness of every discussion we have had over the summer.

Not to mention, I curtailed my A.A. meetings, because my time was necessary to keep three meetings open all summer long.

Today I have a treat for you.

We are going to talk about Step Work. But before I do, a quote …

“Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks – drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomena of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.”

“One feels that something more than human power is needed to produce the essential psychic change. The aggregate of recoveries resulting from psychiatric effort is considerable, we physicians must admit we have made little impression upon the problem as a whole. Many types do not respond to the ordinary psychological approach.”

The Doctors Opinion

We read this section of the Doctor’s opinion last night. And very soon after the discussion began, it took a serious turn when one of our guys asked some questions about “when is it going to happen for me, because right now, nothing is happening, the second question was when are these damned promises going to start coming true for me ???”

We shifted from the topic of the book, to sharing experience, strength and hope with him.

When these two questions come up, people laugh, because we know what the answers are, and it is the same answer for both … T.I.M.E.

I know for me, that in total, all The Promises took 13 years, THIRTEEN years, to all come fully round. When is it going to happen? well, root yourself to a meeting, commit to some service, SIT and STAY for a while, (well really, a LONG time) and watch other people come in, sit down, and get sober.

I believe that there is genetic information in my body, one chromosome, that is four letters long, and that gene is M.O.R.E. Do we have the MORE gene, some of us?

Because I sure as shit do.

They say we need an entire psychic change to get sober and it stick.

I can say without a doubt that when I had my first drink, there was a psychic change. I was an alcoholic from the get go, because it started with one, but always turned into MORE.

I love MORE.

I mean, really, ONE, is that it ? No, give me MORE.

When I started using drugs, it was the same thing … One joint? No, MORE please !!!

Just the same, when I came to the end of my slip, and had had my last drink, I prayed for the first time, in like forever, to be honest. I really did not think about God at all, nor did I utter one word in prayer, up until that point.

But when I did, I experienced a psychic change.

I really have not desired for a drink, in a long time. But today, in 2016, yesterday, in fact, I said, during my 5th, that I felt like I had just put the drink down, in the sense that, certain shifts and changes in my life recently, give me that feeling like I am at the beginning all over again.

How Free Do You Want to BE ???

The great thing about a best friend, is that we can talk. About anything and everything. And Rafa and I did that, often, and for hours at a time. So my Step Four was very short.

A few resentments to speak about. What was more prominent was my FEARS list. That took much longer to suss out.

In working on the program I am on, with my sponsor, she has unique wisdom and cheat sheets she uses to mine my step work for GEMS. She has what is called a “TURN AROUND” sheet that expands feelings, defects and shortcomings. This sheet has each root word, and listed below them are the expansive list of associated terms that go with those words.

This was a great help. And from start to finish, 3 hours later, I had had a psychic shift, because when we finished, she said the look in my eyes was different than when I had first walked in.

I was FREE !!!

This walk towards freedom has been long in coming. And started with Rafa, long ago, and continued with him, and my spiritual director. Not to mention, my discussions with another spiritual mentor here in Montreal, who helped me in understanding the minutiae of Forgiveness.

So, I am in this space of “Change.” Letting go of those final vestiges of the past, meaning people, places and things, and learning what that feels like to once in for all,

LETTING IT ALL GO …

I don’t know what that feels like, but I am in the first stages of finding out, and like I said, it feels like I just put the drink down, again. I know this feeling, from the past. Yes, it is unnerving, but getting sober is a long term proposition and also, nobody said this was going to be easy.

The only thing you have to change when you get sober is EVERYTHING !!!

It is just NOT a One Off event.

The longer we are sober, and each time we work our steps, from different directions and methods, if we are diligent and work hard, and be honest, psychic changes will happen, again and again.

It is all very humbling to be honest.

I want to be the right man, the man I want to be. I’m not sure what that looks like, but if I had to be honest, the man I am, is directly related to the men I have in my life today.

Those eternal questions men ask of themselves, and of others ?

  • Who am I ?
  • Am I doing this right ?
  • How do I know when I have arrived ?
  • What is a real man, in who he is, what he is, how he becomes who he is ?
  • And my favorite, “When does a boy become a man?”

Step work really works.

I am seeing things I have never seen before, but I am now feeling feelings I have felt before, in a new context. Scary, but good in the same way.


Sunday Sundries: Mother …

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Today Pope Francis Canonized Mother Teresa into Sainthood. What is begun in the church, usually follows certain protocol. And in most cases, the Church is always right.

Whether She is Right or Wrong …

Amid controversy and medical science, The Saint of the Slums was elevated.

I’ve studied the cause for sainthood for a specific handful of men and women, of the Catholic faith, so I am truly familiar with how the process works, how it is carried out, and just how exhaustive that research really is.

I have several books in my library that outlines each process for each human being who is being investigated for sainthood. In University I studied John Paul II. I’ve read every book that has been published, “In university” and “outside of university.”

The question of the validity of miracles that must take place, and are therefore attributed to each “saint in the making” has to be verified several times over. Now we must give the Church her times, because the process for sainthood is long and storied.

And that process has been modified and tweaked, and can even be put on a fast track. We’ve seen, in my generation, what direct sainthood acclimation looks like.

In the case of John Paul II, the day of his funeral, the crowds in St. Peter’s Square, made a direct acclimation to their church, that John Paul II be elevated to Sainthood. Once certain elements were satisfied, the process began to elevate him into Sainthood.

I’ve read the book, several times over.

Mother Teresa, was one serious woman, who was friends with the late Pontiff, as you see, if you scroll down on this blog, several photos of them together. I’ve read many books about Mother Teresa. And when I talk about her, I always raise the ire of those who think that I am blind to her controversies, I assure you I am fully aware of all the trash and vitriol that has been aimed at her and myself over the years.

I have a tattoo that I got on my right bicep on my tenth sober anniversary. It is a quote that came directly from the writings from one of her biographies, “Come be my Light.”

The words, “I Thirst…” was, on my first pass, attributed to the story told of Mother Teresa’s relationship with Jesus Christ, when Jesus, on the cross, says, “I Thirst.”

Mother Teresa was oft to talk about how we should thirst for God, ergo Jesus. I took the words from her book, and put them on my body. Only to later find out, via a sober member in the fellowship, who spent time IN Calcutta working in the slums with the poorest of the poor, that the words “I Thirst” are written on the wall, of the Mother House chapel in Calcutta, adjacent to the crucifix on the wall.

This quote is also attributed to Teresa of Lisieux.The “Little Flower.”

When I met said sober member at the Round Up in 2012, and we heard her tell the story of how she went to India, to the Mother House, wanting to meet Teresa, she was terribly shocked when she finally did.

On the fifth day of her visit, Mother Teresa arrived back at the Mother House. She had been away for some time. Lorna, a Manhattan socialite, and the first female auctioneer at the famed Sotheby’s auction house, went to Calcutta, in her fine chino pants, and pressed blouse, made up like a model and her nails brightly painted, approached Mother Teresa on her home turf.

What Mother Teresa said next changed her life and the way she approached the now Sainted woman.

Mother Teresa looked at Lorna and said … Why are you made up like that? Intoning that she was lofty in her approach and that she should sell her fine rich “things” and strip her nails, and give the money to the poor …

What an entrance …

Lorna died not long ago, I remember her fondly in sharing this story. It comes from her own book, The Camel Knows the Way … About her association with Mother.

Mother Teresa was shrewd in her condemnation of worldly things. Many have said that the Missionaries of Charity were/are rolling in money, that she accepted dirty cash from dictators and rulers that were not “above board.” That with all the money in the church or convent coffers she could have done much better, but eschewed wealth at every turn.

This is a serious taint on Mother. Not to mention other accusations that she shielded pedophile priests, with full knowledge of their transgressions. Well, let’s be clear on a few items of order as well … Mother Church, has also been complicit in the shielding and shuffling of pedophile priests from one parish to another, moving them around the countries of origin, and even bring some of them to Rome.

This is not in contention. This is truth.

Many high ranking Holy figures in the church turned a blind eye to abuse, because for some, that tainted the vision of the church, and the human being. And to acknowledge such abuse openly and directly, would be casting aspersions on Holy Mother Church, therefore God Himself.

Right or Wrong, this is fact.

In the pantheon of the Holy of Holies, facts and negative associations, it seems, are ignored on the face of it, not true… That does not mean that truth was not added to the cause for canonization. When all the data is collected, there is a “Devils Advocate” who’s job is to see the flip side of the process, insuring that both sides of an argument is written in the collected works and are bound for posterity and published for mass consumption.

There are many other aspersions I have read recently about the state of the Missionaries of Charity and their austere lifestyles and the lengths Mother Teresa went to, to maintain austerity at any cost, to the detriment and health and well being of her sisters.

The Church is going to do what she does, in spite of and sometimes blindly ignoring the negativity, knowing full well, what controversy exists, in favor of popular acclimation and the faith of community.

We see this notion in the story of George Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. In his story we see the merging of “popular faith of the people” in direct competition with “the faith of Holy Mother Church.” These are two different faith practices. Common in many places in the Southern Hemisphere and South and Central America.

One cannot remove popular culture and religious practice from the people, so Pope Francis, ergo George Bergoglio, had to find a way to marry the two traditions, to bring everybody to the table of Faith in the Church.

In India there is a multitude of faiths and practices.

Mother Teresa was popular culture and popular faith. This factor has to be recognized when we talk about her canonization, in just what this move does to appease popular culture and regional religious communities where she lived, worked and died and brings everyone together in one unified community.

Pope Francis has been making saints in higher numbers than his predecessors at the same time in their papacies. If you study the trend, Pope Francis is making Saints regionally, and for specific countries, and specific communities for specific reasons. He is recognizing popular religious practice, while maintaining Holy Mother Church standards for sainthood.

There is method, reason and rationality to this process, that you would only recognize if you did the research I have into Popes, Saints, and Holy people.

This is why I went to University, to be able to speak with authority on these topics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Friday – BOOKS !! David Thomas

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I’ve had my nights filled with books for as long as I can remember. I usually shop for books based on a name, or title, or a genre. I usually know what I am looking for when I hit Indigo, here at home.

I also shop on our Indigo book seller website, and recommendations have proven to be very good. The last bunch of books I’ve read, were REALLY good. Pulitzer Prize Winners are usually that good.

The last time I went book shopping, well, the last two times I was in the shop itself, I went in COLD. Not knowing neither what I wanted to read, nor whom.

I got to the T’s and picked up two books. The first was “Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains,” by Yasuko Thanh. I’m still reading.

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The second was “Ostland” by David Thomas.

Ostland is a story about a German detective, Georg Heuser who joins the Murder Squad to find a murderer. And in the process of the story, finds himself working for the Nazis and Hitler’s Final Solution.

It is a story about the Holocaust, in a way. A story about how men were recruited from jobs where they were human and worked to help their fellow man, to be turned into animals with no consciences, who kill their fellow man.

This is one serious story of human DE-evolution.

Meantime, a second story is being weaved around the first. Paula Sierbert “Is the sole woman in a federal unit investigating at large Nazi war criminals. Among the indicted one name stands out: Georg Heuser. Siebert is haunted by one question: could this possibly be the same man as the trailblazing police detective ? The answer lies buried in the desolate wastes of the vast Russian landmass Hitler’s forces occupied during World War II and turned into a massive killing field … the place the Nazis called Ostland.

I have to say that picking up this book was a really good find. It was a terrible story, all stories about the Holocaust, no matter, from what direction that story is approached, is terrible.

I was entranced by the story. I could not put the book down. I traveled to Ottawa by bus a couple of weekends ago, and I used that time wisely to read this book.

READ THIS BOOK.

Last week, I went back to Indigo and picked up a second book, written by David Thomas. That book is called Blood Relative.

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This is a story about a couple, living in the UK. Mariana a beautiful bombshell blond from Germany, a Germany that is partitioned by the Berlin Wall. What happens to her parents and unfortunately, Mariana, unwinds within these pages.

What spurs the need to find out just what happened to Mariana, begins back at home, where Peter, her husband, begins his quest to learn the truth about his wife, after she murders his brother, Andy, in a fit of blind rage, after coming face to face with questions about her past, by a man who carries clues to her behavior on him.

Another spell binding book that is Masterfully written.

If you are a book lover like me, then these two books should find themselves on your read list.

I am working on a fourth book, The Hero’s Walk, by Anita Rau Badami.

 

 


September 1st – Back to Hogwarts

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The best day of the year has arrived.
We are going back to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.