Monday: The Last Story in the Book
Tonight, our little intrepid group of men and women, finished a full reading, cover to cover, of The Big Book. This herculean task, once begun, took over a year of reading.
The front of the book is much more labor intensive, than the last portion of the book (the stories).
It was said that, and many of us concurred … For the last many months, we have been sitting in a speaker meeting, (reading) stories from speakers telling us their stories, but it was US that gave voice to those story tellers.
The last story in the book, is titled A.A. Taught him to handle sobriety …
The concept of Living Sober is not unfamiliar.
If YOU got sober, you probably were introduced to a little blue book called: Living Sober. If you have not seen it, don’t know of it, or have not yet read it, I highly suggest you go find a copy, and Read The Book.
It was good, this time around, that the first few months in the rooms, I had the opportunity to have the book “Read” to me in meetings. Because back then, I could not hold a book, nor read it either.
When I moved to Montreal, in my infancy of sobriety, I had access to a meeting that was dedicated to this little book.
These things I know to be true for me:
- I wanted to Grow Up and become a Man (did not know what that was)
- I wanted a new life, SOBER.
- Those decisions I made twenty and sixteen years ago, played out
- I move to Montreal SOBER
- I rooted, stuck, and stayed (I did everything I was told to do and then some)
- I spent most of my thirties, and ALL of my forties in sobriety
- Next Monday I will be FIFTY, sober
- I am alive and well today
- AND I have a choice today, in WHO I want to be, TODAY
- I have a choice in WHO I want in my life today, and who I don’t
- I know, NOW, I think, what this past year has been for …
For fifteen years I have been doing things, By The Book. Listening to People tell me what to do and how to do it, and when to do it, and not complain …
A little over a year ago, now looking back at it, after working a serious round of inventories and lists and writings, that ONE cathartic event, was God, ripping the band-aid off my wounded heart, which sent me into disarray and confusion.
I had to learn the hard way, that not every sober man who is Double Digit sober, is not necessarily SOBER. I have learned that Double Digit sober Women, have issues well beyond those of an alcoholic nature, watching them react adversely to my emotional upheaval.
It seems that Emotional Upheaval is not something long sober people are schooled in, talk about, or deal with openly, in front of others. Because in the end, NONE of them could help me.
None of them wanted to talk to me or listen to me talk. Many of them told me to go because Emotional Upheaval is not a kosher subject to honestly talk about in community.
I have THREE friends who have allowed me to talk, without judgment and shame.
I must say that our little Monday meeting has served me well. It was the one place I could go, on a weekly basis, and talk. Openly. Honestly. Without Judgment.
I know today that I need to cut another group of people out of my life, because they do not align with my morals and values. I know today, that I CAN Choose what I do with the rest of my life, as in who I want to work with, why that is important, and why people who only take from me, without giving anything back does not align with the way I work my program.
I see things now, a little more clearly. I’ve walked many people through their Steps. Several times. I am currently walking a few souls through Steps right now.
I see how many of my friends fall into certain un-sober behaviors.
People are selfish, self-centered and self-seeking. This is fact. I know what it looks like and what it sounds like. I said this earlier today, as long as I am feeding the pigeons what THEY want to hear, and listen to them talk about THEMSELVES, and I stay away from talking about ME, everything is kosher.
As soon as the stream of consciousness stops, and I turn the conversation to helping ME instead of helping THEM, my friends tell me to Shut Up.
Earlier, before the meeting I was talking to my best friend, and he was dismayed when I told him this story, of recent events. Like I said, I have THREE non judgmental friends.
- My Best Friend
- My Mennonite Preacher Adviser
- My Mormon Elder Best Friend Spencer
My spiritual advisers asked me to work a serious inventory of writing, prayer and letting go and forgiving. Brene Brown has taught me about Trust, Vulnerability, Shame and Guilt. Timber Hawkeye has given me Buddhist teaching that I found very useful.
I did those inventories, as I was asked to do, by men I trust with my soul. I spent time, each day, listening to learned men and women talk about things I needed to know.
I’ve spoken, in the past about … NOW I KNOW …
I was talking to a fellow before tonight’s meeting about turning Fifty next week, and I shared about what happened to me when I turned forty and beyond. When that little door in my brain opened and I began to KNOW things, for sure.
Having forty years behind you of practical life experience was useful to me. And at forty, I had six years of sobriety behind me, A LOT of Oprah in my bucket, lots of books read, and a university career in the works as well, I knew, intimately, that I KNEW THINGS for SURE.
Now I have almost fifty years of practical living experience behind me, and God has been stripping away all those things He thinks I don’t need any more. And I know, when I turned forty-nine last year, that I told God that I was ready for the Big Time.
I asked Him to lay it on me …
For sure, God did not waste any time in laying it on me thick.
For the last little while I’ve been nursing pain and sorrow and old expectations. Oprah once said that, wisdom comes:
“When You Give up the Idea/Expectation that life could have been any different.”
Life did not turn out the way I had expected. Life did not turn out the way I hoped it would. My desire for all the adults in my life, to grow up, and one day, come sit at a table and be able to be civil and have discussion, and everything would be alright, never happened.
And I have to let that old idea go.
I asked for a spiritual cleanse. I uttered those words to God. I said it. And as God is, in my life, when I am ready, and even when I am not ready, God threw down that gauntlet.
And He was not kidding either.
This is the make or break week in sobriety.
Tonight, is the Seventh night out.
The seventh night out from my birthday. When I drank, the party would officially begin, tonight. It would begin slowly, methodically. And the party would last, seven nights, with the grand crescendo, on the night of my birthday, with the BIG BLOW OUT.
Honestly, This is how it used to be. And I think that Twenty Six, was the last year that this routine practice took place. I was waiting to die, and trying to kill myself.
Thank God, Todd, (read God) stepped in and stopped that circus.
God has been very good to me. I must admit that. God has been gently moving me forwards. A handful of men, acting on His behalf have carried me gently to this point, and I am grateful to all of them.
Randall, Spencer, and my best friend.
So now, I know, I have a choice. Who Do I want to be, and who do I want in my life ?
I know those answers.
This is it. The next chapter to be written, is in the wings. I think I know what I need to do and why.
They never said sobriety was going to be easy. In my case, at eleven months of sobriety, God dropped me into the deep end of the pool. Over the last fifteen years, both hubby and I survived the deep water swim.
I grew up and became a man.
Tonight we read the book and the story-teller said that, it is not so much about quitting the drink, But more importantly, HOW to live SOBER.
One day at a time, I’ve learned how to do that.
Not everyone who has time is necessarily Sober.
I am ok tonight. A little bit more at peace.
At some point we quit fighting everyone and everything, and we stop and pick up that simple kit of tools laid at our feet, and we begin …
To learn how to Live Sober.