Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. AIDS – THIS IS MY PRIDE – SURVIVAL !!! A Wordpress Production

A.A.

Thursday – If I sit down …

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Courtesy:Followeed

It is December and it has been one hell of a week so far. There is much to say, and there has been plenty of opportunity to speak words, or better yet, write them down. Tonight is that night.

Tuesday was December 1st, World AIDS Day. The yearly date when we honor all those who have died, and for those of us who survived that period of tragic times, we remember.

A particular story came to mind on Tuesday, that I thought about writing down “Again” but decided against it. Suffice to say that those of us who were diagnosed with AIDS or today, HIV, we go from Hero to Zero in no time flat.

Back in the day, AIDS was a death sentence. Today they call it a “manageable condition!” Every new diagnosis under ANY circumstances is very sad.

You would think, in today’s gay community, and for that matter, anywhere in the world, that an ounce of prevention would go a long way, yet there are those who continually decide to play Russian Roulette with their lives. Or are caught up in behavior that is detrimental.

One cannot claim ignorance about disease today.

There are still millions of reasons why we can’t stop marking this day, until a cure is found, that would be available to every single human being, to eradicate this scourge.

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Once again, now in the U.S., two deranged killers walked into a service center, and killed 14 people in cold blood, and injured many others.

This is just terrible. And there are not enough words to say that is going to make a hill of beans difference, to those who could do something, but they don’t. There aren’t enough prayers to be said, or vigils to attend that are going to change anything.

Sometimes it is well and good to just not say anything, because someone already has said what we are all thinking, and we are powerless to do a god damned thing.

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

Sometime last weekend, I did something to my back. I am not sure what it was, or when it happened, but I have never felt the degree of pain I am feeling today, in all my life. My back is killing me, and I have resorted to taking pain killers just to be ambulatory.

Addicts and painkillers are not a good mix.

At least here, I can phone up my pharmacy and get over the counter medication. In many Canadian pharmacies, they keep assorted drugs behind the counter, so if you know this, that opens up treatment. I don’t need a script nor do I need to see my doctor, but I will see him on the tenth, if I survive that long …

This afternoon baby mama came over to use my computer and as we sat together, she remarked that etched on my face was the look of pain. I can sit down, but there is no guarantee that I will be able to get back up. During our visit, I had several Holy Shit, moments, where I thought I was going to pass out.

I have only so many pills left, before I need a doctors note, and it is the weekend, so no doctor till next week now. And I sure as shit ain’t going to no E.R. because I will sit there for hours and hours, um NO!

It has been rainy / cold the past few days. Rain, that falls in conjunction with below zero temps, means ice on sidewalks.

I half thought to stay home tonight, but decided to go to St. Matthias and hit a meeting. I left earlier than usual, because walking, reaching, bending and stooping is quite the task, which requires some serious deep breathing and equilibrium.

I got to the church and visited with friends before the meeting, and as a friend sat next to me, I had a Holy Shit moment, and I told her that if I sit down, for any amount of time, that I may not be able to get back up.

I waited until the seventh tradition was started and tried to get up, gritting my teeth, because I had to pee … That was a tedious moment for sure. I did get up, but it wasn’t pleasant.

It was a good meeting, nonetheless.

I was talking to my sponsor and a few friends on Tuesday night, and I was explaining that I was riding that “roller coaster of insanity” and what was going on in my head and they responded with, “yup, you are one of us …”

We pushed my cake back until the 20th, because next Sunday is early, and my anniversary falls on Wednesday the 9th. And superstition dictates that you never take a medallion early.

The 13th, is my sponsors Home Group Anniversary on the West End at Loyola. So He will be there, while I do service at my Sunday Home Group. Which leaves the 20th as the first Sunday we can both be in the same place at the same time.

What is good about living in Canada, is this … When shit goes down anywhere else, the media goes crazy. And for the most part, for what it is worth, Most shit going down elsewhere, has nothing to do with us, and when necessary, which is often, I can either turn the channel, shut down my computer, or turn the tv off …

There is so much tragedy. I can only take so much saturation about death and destruction, not to mention, Republican Presidential hopefuls.

I have little patience for crock of shit politics.

Thank God for cable t.v.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Cold with a chance of flurries

 

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It is Sunday, and this new interface is called “Calypso,” and I don’t like it at all. It is very wonky, and all JAVA, and is supposed to be better than sliced bread … Um, NO !

I want my old post editor back. Much more user friendly.

It is on the cold side, the past two nights. We saw flurries fall a couple of times today, but there is NO snow in the forecast in the next week.

It was an odd weekend. I saw the baby the other night, and she was sniffling and coughing. On Friday morning at approximately 5 a.m. i was hugging the bowl, sick as a dog for twelve hours.

I find that I am so thirsty for anything to drink, and I went to the store twice and spent $30.00 on drinkables, yet I could not quench that thirst, it was insane, not that I kept anything down enough to enjoy it. Hubby brought me meds after work, and I took them and was able to sleep until almost 11 p.m. because I was up so early and did not sleep all day long.

I had the funkiest dream … I was stuck in this warehouse of 70’s and 80’s stuff, like video games, toys and it got crazy when I was sitting in an old style Burger King, playing with toys and food. It just kept getting odder and odder, and it was never ending. Back in the day, I had specific toys, and things I liked. Roller skates, and Solid Gold on tv. It was just odd because I’ve never had visuals like this before.

Saturday, I had things to do, and responsibilities that I had to be present for, so there was no time to lay in bed and feel sick or sorry for myself. I had back to back meetings in another fellowship I belong to. During our two hour break between them, I had dinner with friends, down line, and we watched some John Oliver on You Tube.

We’ve been talking about rigorous honesty of late. It is funny, that the one section of my life that I wanted to forget and never talk about or mention to anyone, has become my greatest teacher, and brought me into the lives of men who have changed my life.

This morning, well, for a while now, I’ve been riding my pre-cake roller coaster, that 30 day period that comes before you take your anniversary cake, when your brain goes on overdrive, and one begins to obsess over needless and useless shit.

But this morning, I needed a brain drain, so I got up and opened a word document, and wrote my script for my share on my anniversary next Sunday. I had very specific things to say, so I wrote them down, so I would not fuck it up. It is going to be explosive.

Tonight we sat only a small number. Lots of people still out sick, and we did not empty the coffee urn once again. wasted coffee…

It was Tradition Night, and the eleventh month, means the eleventh tradition. Attraction rather than promotion. That topic of anonymity came up but not many people spoke towards it.

What I did have to say was that the first time I got sober, the room I was in was very nasty and not attractive at all, but that’s where I could hit a meeting, however harsh my peers were towards newcomers. That shitty experience, only added to my alienation from the program and my eventual slip. I had come in contact with enough assholes and homophobes that I was totally turned off with participation and sobriety.

The second time I came in, it was a whole other story. The right people showed up at the right moment, and were very good for me. And when I moved to Montreal, (read: No cell phones yet), I met great people who were attractive in many ways. They took me in and took care of me, and spent time with me, so I was not alone.

I remember one really fun memory… My sponsor at the time, Dave, took me to the mountain in the middle of the night, to climb.

There is a mountain in the middle of the city. There is a trail you can walk, up and down. But on this night, he said that we were going to climb to the top, up the side, and not use the trails. It was odd, but very fun. That was just one of the many attractive things that I did in early sobriety. The other was a few months in, 4 alcoholics climbed into a Toyota and drove all the way from Montreal to Nova Scotia on the Atlantic coast for some meetings, and a whale watching tour. That was 17 hours each way. It was fun but a bit irresponsible.

It was a good night. More to come, stay tuned…


Thursday … Bring Hope … Stepping up the Game

tumblr_ma62hlMxSo1rdkscno1_500 rthompson80Courtesy: R Thompson 80

It has been cold. Manageable cold. We are sitting at (-6c/-11c w.c.) Someone at our local news station tweeted that tonight it would be (-20c) overnight … She was wrong again !!!

The flu is going around. People are dropping like flies. Hubby came down with it late last week, and it was only a matter of time before my body gave in. It has been a slow grind this week, trying to fight the flu, yesterday I got up early and went to the pharmacy to get some flu medication, which I have tried not using, hoping my system would prevail.

That has not been the case.

I traveled to the meeting solo tonight, as my friend I usually travel with came down with the flu himself. They have been shifting all of our buses, and they have updated the schedules for Spring which came into effect yesterday. Our local 104,and 138 buses come and go on their own schedules, so I left early to make sure I would hit a bus, on schedule. I won …

It was a good showing. We got to hear someone who is not from our grouping. I’ve not seen him at any of my meetings around town, and it was the first time I’ve seen him around. Getting to hear folks who are not from the routine grouping is a treat.

When he finally hit the wall, and conceded defeat in a rehab here in the city, the first attempts at sobriety were marred by less than stellar people who really could not help him, nor understand how far down into hell he really got. (read: they were not alcoholics or drug addicts)

I don’t know how a psychologist or therapist who is neither, can offer experience, strength and hope to someone who is looking for just that … HOPE !!!

He made it eventually. And in April will have eight years.

I heard the words …”I was looking for hope”

I hope that for my friends, and my guys, that I offer them hope.

I saw my lady friend from the Sunday meeting, and I had a chance to talk to her tonight about how she was doing and how I could help her, we discussed how she was going to Step Up Her Game.

Everybody knows what to do. Well, at least most of us do.

Taking those most important steps, on one’s own, or even with a sponsor can be daunting.

I can’t sit back and hope that the local women will step up and do their jobs. Today I employ all my faculties and I take the time to talk to my lady friends, to help them stay sober, and to offer what I can to them, as often as I can.

I’m not a woman, but I do have the time banked.

I think it is better to be able to offer experience, strength and hope and DO IT, rather than watch folks slip through the cracks, and then out the door. If I can prevent that from happening, man or woman, I will do that today.

There is another lady friend who has gone MIA for more than two months, and I don’t have her number, but tonight I was able to find where she left it. I need to call her tomorrow, and see what’s up.

We see it all the time. Folks come in, they get the cloud, they start getting things back, and life picks up for them, and then all of a sudden they DISAPPEAR …

And I warned her and several other women who were in her shoes that I was concerned for their longevity, that all this early excitement and happiness would not last and that they needed to know the facts, and how to prevent falling off the cloud and going out the door, warning.

Some listened, others did not.

If I don’t step up who will ? My friends matter. All of them. Today I know the price too many pay and I would rather step up and do something first, because I can and I am able.

I have a message.

And that message matters to me and my life.

Our Madonna tickets came in the mail today. Something long term to be excited about.

Tonight, all of my friends are sober another night. Tomorrow we will gather at the Friday meeting.

The best day / night of the week, Friday North End English.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … The Last Step, Music, and Everything Else

bs bees 2The B’s Bees … Live Concert Friday Night

Watching your friends grow up and become who they are meant to be, and having played a part in that upbringing, makes me a little proud. It takes a village, and on Friday night, the village showed up to celebrate one of our own, in his Album Release Party.

The little club called “Upstairs” not far from home, was a great experience. It probably seats no more than maybe a seventy five people at once, with the tables and bar area filled to capacity. We dined on good food, we had great conversation among friends, and we marveled in the brilliance that is the group of musicians who played new music for us.

My friends are not only smart, they are brilliant in their own ways. I am really proud to call them my friends. A good time was had by all.

This weekend marked another first for us. I haven’t been to a live concert since before moving to Montreal. On Saturday we scored tickets to Madonna’s next concert, “Rebel Heart,” which plays in September. Madonna is one of those artists that every gay man must see in their lifetime. Cher, Bette Midler, Barbra, and a few others are required attendance. I got to see Bette back in the late 90’s.

So that is a thing …

We are really enjoying our new HD experience. Our tv habits have changed slightly, seeing we have channels we did not have before the switch. But we need to amend our package to enable more channels that are closed at this time.

Mother Nature is not finished with the snow as of late. We got a brief taste of Spring last week with positive temps, over the weekend, temps dropped, and that’s not the only thing that dropped, we got about five inches of snow last night. Temps are going to dance above and below freezing this week. UGH … when will it finally end ???

I departed as usual, and had to stop for milk on the way out. Our groupies showed up for read and discussion prior to the meeting. We were missing a number of folks on the night. Some of my friends came out to the meeting, and I took notice of them when they showed up, because I had not seen some of them in some time. Once again, the adage proved true, that if people stop showing up, it is a foregone conclusion that they might drink again …

Tonight, that was definitely true.

It doesn’t take much. One momentary lapse, one moment of indecision, and a drink is close at hand, and that little voice says to us …”Aw, you’ve got this drinking thing licked … You don’t need those meetings any more …” How about another one for good measure ?

The whole idea of the Twelfth Step, from one of my friends, is to become a better person.

I was in the chair tonight, as our gal who usually fills that position was out, and I was elected chair for the evening. One must be graceful under pressure, as friends get up and take chips again, after a long period of sobriety.

We are finishing up the steps this week and next. Step Twelve is a twenty page read, so we did half tonight, and the rest next week. We did not quite get around the room.

When I think of Step Twelve, the first thought that came to mind as I was reading this portion of the read was the line from A Vision for You, that

“Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got !”

There was a good reason that for a long time, I went to meetings, and did service. But that’s all I was doing at that time. I needed someone to tell me what I needed to do to get into the game in a new way. I had to return to the basics. Read the Book, Say my Prayers, and Work Hard at the game of sobriety. Well it isn’t a game, it is a solution for living.

I did all those things that I was told to do, God took care of the rest.

I finally had ears to hear and eyes to see and words to share. That didn’t come over night. Working with others, in twelve step fashion, did not come overnight either. I needed a message within me in order to share the message with another human being.

It is one thing to hit a meeting and share inside of a discussion. This, yes, is also a form of twelve step work. This work is on a different scale than working one on one with one person at a time.

When God saw fit that I was ready to give it away, my guys began to show up in my life, in one way or another. For the first time I was confident in my words, and in what I knew, but that was just a start. Over the last year, I have worked on my words, and the way I relate to my guys.

Working with others is a twenty four hour a day job. When ever Where ever for however long.

When the phone rings, I answer it.

This Winter has again proved it’s not the BIG things that take us out, it is those LITTLE things that sneak up on us from underneath. This is called the broken shoelace syndrome.

It’s not the bitching partner, but the broken shoelace that takes us out …

The words … Constant Vigilance are so important.

I do what ever I can. But sometimes, even that isn’t enough.

So it falls to the words I use and how I use them that will either help or hinder.

I have to know how much of me to put forwards, and how little as well. I feel like, to explain it better, I must find that “tremulous balance of just enough and not too much.”

That perfect amount is not always possible. Which is why I must practice daily.

The more I work, and the better my practice, the easier the balance comes.

It isn’t all about me, and never usually is. I must decrease so that He may increase.

I’m a little grateful, a little proud. A little sad, but a bit relieved.

All of our folks are sober tonight. And that is a start for the week.

More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday … “It … Won’t … Come … OUT !!!! “

dentist-chair

Mother nature is fucking with us again… We went from PLUS 6c yesterday and last night, to a bitter – 6C today, with an 8c wind chill. She isn’t wanting to go quietly it seems…

You know, right away, that this might not go so well, if you are sitting in this chair yourself !

Yesterday, my day began with a trip to the dentist. A place, I know I must go to occasionally, and in the same breath, a place I loath with all of my being. Not knowing where the new office was, I had scouted it out on Google Maps the night prior. I was happy to know that the Metro, went right there, and it was a short walk down a hill, which meant, I didn’t have to ride a bus across town with all those people, pushing and shoving. Give me a Metro Any day…

I left with plenty of time to make my transit across three Metro lines, And I even got there early, that was a plus, since I was really hungry and there was a Micky D’s right up the block.

I ate …

I returned to the office, my dentist is a bright and cheery British woman, with great Chair Side Manner. I need that, because when I sit in the chair my anxiety level jumps about 300%.

Anytime a doctor has to stick a metal pick in my mouth, I get jumpy…

We started with a discussion about my teeth, and I needed to get some thing off my chest about them and what I thought was a serious problem, was not all that serious in reality.

But like we heard tonight at the meeting, “An alcoholics mind is someplace we should not go into alone…”

She was working with an assistant. And protocol for a patient like me is “Moon Suits, Masks and Double Gloves …”  You get used to that over time.

She gave me some topical and we waited, then she stuck that inordinately LARGE needle in my mouth, which sent me skyward at one point. Right out of the chair …

A little while later, probably laughing to herself, she grabbed a pick and started tugging at my broken tooth. She said …”You’ll feel a little PRESSURE !!!”

NO SHIT Sherlock !!!

It wasn’t going without a fight. A little tugging, turned into a LOT of tugging, she moved from the pick to a pair of pliers, and the tooth was firmly in my jaw, she would later tell me that I have great bones in my head …

Now she is tugging away, and it ain’t coming out. She gets to her feet and is tugging back and forth, imagine my head going to and fro and from side to side, as she wrestled the tooth out of my mouth.

It did not go quietly.

My gums and my mouth hurt like a bitch a day later …

She sewed the hole left by the missing tooth, closed and she briefed me as where she wanted to go next, in my toothy adventure.

I did not commit to a next appointment.

Dinner last night was a fiasco. I’ve never had a problem eating before. I had a problem.

I have four days of antibiotics to take and Advil for the pain. You never imagine that trying to tug a tooth out of a mouth can cause all kinds of ancillary problems, at the rate she was tugging and pulling she was totally killing my mouth.

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

Today was an exciting day. I started out for the grocery store, and the mail came really early today, and I walked into the office to ask the manager to look out for a delivery, and as I crossed the doorway, there was a HUGE box waiting for me.

I took it upstairs and returned to my shopping trip before I took care of the delivery.

I had an HD box, in a box, I had an HD TV in a box, and a monstrosity of a tv to get out of the way in order to set up said HD goodness. Thank God the old tv is on a table top with legs, because I was able to carefully walk it out of its spot to another spot in the living room, out of the way.

It weighs more than a handful of small children !!!

Very carefully, I unpacked everything, had my tools ready, “some assembly required!!!”

The HD box runs off of a computer link from the box to the tv. And cable comes from the wall to the tv, and the hd cable from the box to the tv. I am very glad that a kind man at Videotron was able to walk me through installation and programming the system remotely.

They had to turn on the box and then reprogram it when I could not get the damned remote to do what I wanted it to do which needed a box reboot.

But the nice man got me up and running.

The living room is two thirds complete. New furniture, New TV, all that is missing are some window treatments, and the build will be complete.

I wish the provincial tax man would do his job, sooner than later.

There are two tax men. The Government tax man and the Provincial tax man. We get hit twice every year, but at the same time, as of this year, we actually get something back.

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

This evening we hit a meeting. And one of my friends, who is 32 years sober spoke.

I’ve known her all my sober life. She comes to my meeting on Tuesday. She is crazy as a loon, like my sponsor is, (he’s got 31 years now) but they are both good people.

“A.A. is in the business of communication she said.”

“A.A. is also in the business of perspective”

She sticks to basic teachings. Home Group, Sponsors, Meetings.

I forgot one MAJOR component … PRAY like MAD !!!

She lamented that some people with LONG time sobriety stop coming, because they believe they have learned all they need to learn and they are reaping their rewards now…

She also reminds me why she, at more than thirty years, keeps coming back, is to remember why she comes, to know what happens to people who stop coming all together…

They go back out and drink, well, some of them do.

Just because you take the alcohol away, doesn’t cure us of what the problem is. We move from having a drinking problem, to having a thinking problem.

An alcoholics mind is not a place we should ever go into alone.

Even long sober people get into the funk. As has happened to our woman. She was married to a sainted A.A. member who had panache and class. He adored her and doted on her and they had a long life together, until his death three years ago.

Sober people mourn, and sometimes that can get very difficult. Especially when you are in the middle of the darkness. But she did what she learned to do, all those years prior. She called her sponsor, she went to meetings, she worked with other women.

They kept her sober and she stayed sober.

i want to be like her, and for that matter, be like my sponsor, one day, when I get to the BIG double digits. Not that I might live that long, because I am on serious borrowed time already.

That’s the story …

Tomorrow we are skipping the Friday meeting to go to a concert, where one of my guys is playing in his band. Very exciting…

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … “Thy Will Not Mine Be Done”

indian thought

It is getting warmer. This week we will see positive temps all week long. We are hopeful, that we’ve seen the last of snowfall, and sub zero temps, for the season.

After last night’s adventure in building furniture, I am mentally exhausted. But we must get on with the things we need to do, because that is what we do. Last night, before I went to bed, I set the clocks forward, so in a matter of minutes, I lost an hour, and went to bed at 3 a.m.

I had obligations to my guys today, and I could not just, “take a day off.” I got to the church on time, having taken my sweet time to transit the tunnel. We sat a large group tonight. We were reading Step Eleven, and it is quite a long read, that went all the way around the room.

The St. Francis Prayer is part of this read. I had the blessed opportunity, back in October, to visit Bill’s home, and also to visit his grave, along side Lois, his wife. While we were there we shared with a group of women doing the same visit. And we closed our visit, with the St. Francis prayer, holding hands, standing on the spot where Bill W. is buried.

This prayer has a very special meaning in my heart because of where it has appeared in my sober life, and who I was with and where I was at the time. I have that prayer card, I got from one of those visiting women, in my Big Book. It is one of my most treasured possessions.

With the read completed, the same thought ran through the room, that:

Prayer, is the action of asking from God, and Meditation, is waiting for the answer.

In our busy lives, how many of us, take the time to sit still and listen? I’ve said before that I don’t hear God’s voice directly, He hasn’t stepped out of heaven and addressed me personally. But there was a time, when I walked with God, together, on this earth. I truly believe that during that period of time, God manifested Himself in a human being, for my benefit, and also for the benefit of all the men who lived and worked under that umbrella.

If God is going to speak to us, that communication is going to come from someone very close to us. It will come from a voice we recognize, and when we least expect it. We might say a prayer, and then hit a meeting, and as usually happens, an answer will come, if we are listening for it.

Hindsight is very useful, as we read this step tonight. I can see ways I employed the practice of prayer and meditation. When I got sick, I must have prayed, because God then appeared, in the guise of a man who would save my life. Was I lucky, or was I just in the right place at the right time?

The practice of coming to work, and leaving my life outside the building, and only having to think about what I had to do on any given night, was difficult at first, but I grew into it. The whole, “turning ones mind off of him/her self, to something higher” is the whole idea behind meditation.

I got to practice turning off my head. And it worked.

Today, my brain, is not a place I like to go alone. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, to shut it off. When I want to get still and quiet, that is when my brain goes on overdrive, because I have either started my day in quiet, or I end the day with quiet, and my brain says,

“Oh, undivided attention … Let’s Get It On !!!”

Prayer and meditation comes when I need it most. I have prayers scattered about my apartment that remind me that I can pray at any time during the day or night. I get on my knees during my day. I have to consciously practice gratitude, because I don’t necessarily think about it. I take it as given, which I think is the wrong attitude to have.

I talked about luck with a friend of mine.

Does God direct luck or does luck exist independently of God?

I have been in the right place at the right time, but I have also been at the wrong place at the wrong time as well. Am I lucky to be alive and sober? Was that luck, or divine intervention? Can I attribute survival and sobriety to living well, taking my pills, doing the right thing?

When my eyes are on the Prize (read: God), I am the luckiest man in my life. I don’t necessarily call this luck, I call it having a connection with the God of my understanding. It is historical fact that, when I turn my eyes away from the prize (read: God) I fall into disaster, and really bad luck. Every Time.

Living well past my due date, has been practicing mindful survival. Every day I stand in front of my medicine cabinet, as I pop my pills, I am medicating my body, nourishing my soul, and at the same time, I am asking for another day. This is an entirely silent process. And sometimes I am not even aware of the three fold action. I kind of forget gratitude, and take being alive for granted.

In that I mean, Thank you rolls off my lips at the end of every day, and not when I am in the medicine cabinet. Since learning how to pray actively, and meditate daily, part of my brain is always connected to that higher power. And sometimes, it even acts in my best interest, when I need to stop and breathe.

That happened last night, as I was assembling our coffee table.

In the moment that I wanted to hurl the screw driver across the room, I had momentary blinks of the thought that I need to take a moment, and center. and breathe, before I shot off my mouth.

it was an automatic action that came from within, my brain on auto pilot.

I don’t know what God’s will is for me or my friends. I just do what I do every day, without fail, I follow the same ritual daily. I hit the same meetings, I call my sponsor every day, I speak to my guys, every day, and I do the right thing, as often as I can.

This is conscious active work – every day – without fail.

Sometimes I think about God, and last night, I said to my friend that I seem to have God’s favor, because my life is full, I have everything that I need, and I am satisfied with having enough, I don’t always think that I am worthy of God’s favor, what ever that favor is ?

I just do my days. like I have been doing my days, for the last twenty odd years now.

And it seems to work. Why is that ?

Many of us have to take medication for one reason or another. And I firmly believe that a drug is only as good, as the positive thought you put behind that pill you take. It is akin to prayer. I will take my pills and I will (WILL) those pills to do their job, every day, with all the positive energy I can throw at them from within.

Let me tell you that that took decades to learn about.

Let me tell you that there is IMMENSE POWER in Negative thinking. Negative thinking will kill you. It almost killed me. But I was taught how to turn negative thinking and negative thoughts, into Positive Power to change my life. So add all that shitty negative thought, and turn that into powerful positive thought, you have a double whammy, Total Positive thought Bomb.

It changed my life, and it can change your life as well.

Living life is a full time job, and needs all the help it can get, because of my certain disabilities and medical issues, and add to that recovery. If I sink into the morass of self pity, doubt or any of the plethora of negative self talk I can do, I am a dead man.

I still do not know, and I have asked God this question over the years, “Why did I live, and all of my friends died?” Why did you choose me, and not them? Why did they not get a fighting chance like I did? Was I in the right place at the right time, with someone to take care of me and give me a chance as I had?

At that time, everyone was begging for one more day. My friends didn’t get them, like I did. Why? Was God there? Why am I still here and they are not? These unanswerable questions haunt me, and I think about them often. But there are no answers. All I know is that I survived.

You can’t do without prayer and meditation, just like you can’t do without air, water or food.

I’ve learned how to pray, and I know how to listen. And I take the time to sit and listen.

That is grace.

I am so grateful that I am satisfied with having enough. And not having all the answers. If I had them, I would be God, and I am surely Not God.

More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday … It Is COLD !!! … If You are Breathing, You have a Chance …

tumblr_lm5d60Hzy01qzhzruo1_500 flickr jamesclearCourtesy: James Clear Flickr

Boy, is it FRIGID outside tonight. We are sitting at (-15c/-21c w.c.). We got a little snow, and city workers, are tonight, hurriedly trying to clear snow from the streets. There is good news coming in the way of positive numbers beginning on Sunday with a trend moving from Zero to plus (+7c) by Wednesday next week.

That warmth cannot come sooner, as February was the coldest month on record here in the city.

Yesterday I welcomed a friend back from the U.S., the long nightmare that was Pittsburgh is over.

We had lunch, did some shopping, and sorted out various things that he needed to do so that he can reconnect with the community here. I had not been to the core malls in some time, so while we were there yesterday, we happened into Indigo Book sellers. and I invested in the next two books by Kathy Reichs, in the Temperance Brennan series, and last night, I could not get to bed early enough to start reading them.

Today was quiet. I was sleeping, and at one point, the same dream scene kept repeating itself over and over again, so I knew it was time to get out of bed, to try and reset the cycle. As I can only sit so long in front of this box, I spent some time surfing and stuff like that, and when I completed my circuit, I had two hours before I needed to get ready to go… I went back to bed for a short run.

Winter has not been kind to our folks. They are choosing to stay home, instead of venturing out in this frigid weather. I’ve been noting as well, some of our old timers have been MIA for a while. Which is out of character for some of them.

One of those men, returned to the fold this evening. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and I was starting to worry about him. Weren’t we all surprised when he got up there and spoke.

My friend has a number of years in, twenty seven to be exact.

For a while now, having listened to old timers talk and share at meetings, I know some things about them. Each of them approach the program differently. No two of them do it the same way, and I’ve written here, recently about folks who are just comfortable to warm a chair and occupy space.

If you hit enough meetings, and listen well, you sometimes get nuggets of wisdom, here and there.

I’ve talked to my friend who spoke tonight, in great depth over the months that have passed, and asked him why some folks, have put down their roots and roost where they are, and others keep to the notion that there is always something new to learn, and if you have the time to invest, they why not do that ?

While we were out there, most people have experiences of certain individuals who step in and stop us in our tracks which begins the slow grind out of hell, into life. As was the case for my friend.

He was working in a hospital, barely hanging on to life, trying to dry out after another ritual alcohol infused dance with massive amounts of cocaine trip. He was ordered to get a medical check up by his boss. So he goes to this office and sits down, as the doctor has his back to him. He, “the doctor” turns around and looks at my friend squarely and without skipping a beat says quite bluntly …

“Alcohol and Cocaine huh !!! ” Exclamation point …

He had not set eyes on my friend, nor knew his state. But he pegged him substance for substance.

That doctor knew him and began to sort him out and get him help.

The doctor tells him emphatically …

“You go and talk to this guy, do it now, Do it now, DO IT NOW !!!”

In a few months time, and after a few ins and outs, the miracle happened.

  • The admission of powerlessness over his chosen substances
  • The realization that there was a kernel of faith inside of him from his childhood
  • And that that Power Greater than himself could actually help him

This was another example that most of us are either born into – or are educated in, some kind of faith background. And for some of us, when we come in, are provided the grace to be able to appreciate it for what it was and is, and allow that grace to save us.

I am very keen to know and to learn perspective from my long sober friends.

That kind of dictates or allows me to see where I am in the grand scheme of things. I’m not just walking around aimlessly not doing anything with my time. That I am, in fact, using my time properly, I’m invested in my own sobriety, and I am invested in the lives of my friends at large, and then, on a daily basis, I am invested in the lives of the guys I work with.

Constant. Daily, By The Book.

My friend tells us that “If we are alive, and breathing, we have a chance to live a life of our wildest dreams, in the program.” Simply, “if you are breathing, YOU have a chance !!!” Exclamation point !

You never know when God is going to step in and sort you out. Be mindful.

In my life, God, or angels, or particular people, stepped in when I most needed it and gave me a chance to get out of hell and get sorted out and clean up my life. When that happened in my life, it was not by my own steam, or by my choice, in those cases, it was divinely ordained. There are no two ways about that.

My friend tonight, had that same experience, when he most needed help.

God stepped in and rescued him from hell.

One day at a time, this past January, he celebrated twenty seven years sober. And in April, he will turn sixty six years young, Some old timers, with oodles of time, have aged very gracefully.

Others, not so much.

I remember the words spoken by another long sober member here …

CONSTANT VIGILANCE !!!

Alcohol and drugs are pernicious, patient and deadly.

If you go back out, it is a foregone conclusion that you will return to where ever you left off, when you quit, and will wind up in a much bigger jackpot that you could have imagined.

Meetings, Prayer, Meditation, Working with Others …

When you come to us, you get the recipe for life. My friend lives in that recipe.

i want men like him in my life, because they challenge me to cook.

What are you cooking ???

More to come, stay tuned …


Tuesday … Rambling About Many Things … Insight About Others

tumblr_lbphrtqohD1qbs0f7o1_500 noneedtoaskmynameCourtesy: The Gargoyle – Nothing like a little vertigo !!!

We thought that the weather was going to get better, tonight, it snowed. It was cloudy when we started the meeting, and there was inches of snow on the ground when we left. Tomorrow’s hopeful positive digit temp, has been brought down to a solid zero (0c) tonight.

As of late, children have been in the news, and not for good reasons.

In What the Fuck News …

The first case, a mother was convicted because she poisoned her son with salt, that eventually killed him, all the while she was blogging about his illness, prior to his death …

A second case involves a Muslim mother, (we know this because proceedings are having to be translated into Arabic) she beat and starved her two twin daughters to death. A gruesome story, and the other day the judge stopped proceedings to ask the mother Why did you do that ???

I mean, WHAT THE FUCK OF IT ALL ???

A third story involves “Free Range” parenting … Two small children, were allowed to walk to the neighborhood park by themselves. Because the parents practice “free range parenting.”

The police were called and the children returned home and six police cars followed, with C.P.S service workers to indict the parents for child neglect… Meanwhile, the kids are playing outside in the yard, unsupervised, and the neighbors are going MADDDDDDD ….

I’ll tell you a secret story about children …

When I was in grade school, we used to be bused to daycare after school, my brother and I. We did that for a long time, but at one point, I was like, NO MORE DAYCARE … In those days we had private bus service with door to door transport for our neighborhood.

I forced the driver, to take us home, instead of day care. I was probably not more than ten. This was in the 1970’s in Miami. After that day, my parents gave me a copy of the house key, and from that point on, both my brother and myself went home after school, forever more. Nobody noticed. Well, the spinster lesbian couple across the street knew we were there alone, and minded us if need be.

Nobody blinked an eye, there was no C.P.S issues. Who would you call (back then) to report two small kinds home alone for a few hours, until their parents got home from work? I learned responsibility, I took care of the house, I cleaned, I cooked, (we got our first microwave oven) that was a bit of excitement.

I understand the safety issues of allowing children to navigate neighborhood streets alone, in today’s day and age. There are too many perverts, and sickos on the street and you never know who is going to harass, or kidnap and kill your children if you don’t have eyes/hands on them 24 – 7 …

Let’s just leash them and let them wander around the yard aimlessly, or keep them locked in the house or at some day care center where someone can watch them while the parents can’t !

It is not the same world I grew up in … sadly !!!

I just had to get that off my chest …

I’m better now

So it snowed. We sat a good group. We finished Bill’s Story, via Joe and Charlie.

This is important, why?

I’ve spent thirteen years reading the Big Book, over and over and over. I worked my steps several times and I am in them right now. Last year, our Sunday night group, finished a cover to cover read through the book as well. That took more than a year of Sundays.

There are meetings all over the world, and I know that many meetings use the book as source.

You could go from reading the book, to reading a chapter, to reading a page, reading a paragraph, and finally, reading a sentence. Each chapter/paragraph/word leads into the next in a specific way. Each chapter has its job, to tell you something certain, factual. Which leads into the next chapter, which tells you something certain and factual, so forth and so on.

You could parse down to sentences and words.

For the last year, I have had the honor of working with sponsees. Each of them see me weekly, for a chat/read/discussion. Over the past year, I’m reading the book four times, at the same time, with four guys. Separately.

Like I said I’ve read the book. But it wasn’t until I read it with a sponsee, that words began to jump off the page at me as we read together. I saw things, and realized things, that I had not, in the past. I’m fairly certain, that after spending years reading the book myself, with others (in a group setting), I learned something. So that wisdom was in my brain,

The first section of the book hasn’t changed in over seventy five years, so after so many years, we should have been able to memorize the front of the book. I do know certain sections by rote. And I know the rest of the read, because I’ve read it so many times now.

Nothing will guarantee us sobriety, like working with another alcoholic.

I mean, that’s how it works, doesn’t it?

I am working with a new guy and he is concerned that I should be getting paid for what I am doing in the meeting, and in working with him. I don’t think I explained how that works very well. Someone has to get paid for working with others, he asked ? I gave him his Big Book, and stuff to read, on the side, (we give books to newbies) better they go home with someone, rather than sit in the box collecting dust.

Tonight we heard Joe and Charlie talk about these insights from the book, in the chapter called, “Bill’s Story.” The steps hadn’t been written yet, as the book had not been thought of when Bill got sober in the beginning. But in writing Bill’s Story, the steps are written out. He tells us the steps he took to get sober. Those steps originated in Ebbie’s witness of the Oxford Group, Ebbie told Bill about getting sober himself, and they worked through the One, Two, Three Shuffle.

Bill wasn’t having any of that Religion Shit.

But he came around when ( in squiggly writing ) the book says, “Well why don’t you find a concept of your own ?” With that statement, Bill got on board. He then tells us how he saw, and understood the rest of Oxford’s Steps and how he turned their short list of proposals, into the twelve steps as we have them today.

Funny how Bill negated all that religious shit, when he got sober, but as he sat writing the book, he had religious men, who were advising him on spiritual matters.

And that’s the God’s Honest Truth.

There are those issues that split many people along fracture lines.

  • Religion
  • God
  • Spirituality
  • Faith
  • Practice

The concept of God is problematic. God is problematic. So find your own, but there lies the contradiction between the Big Book, and As Bill Sees It.

It reads: “You can find a concept of your own, whatever works for you is good, then the reading goes on to say, all that is well and good, but in the end it always comes back around to God.”

Well, fuck me sideways on Tuesday !!!

When we get sober, we get new hearts, new eyes, new livers, and new lives. The longer you stick around you get to polish the temple of God we inhabit and so on. The longer you stick around, the more we learn, and that knowledge comes to bear when we sit down with another alcoholic, and do The Work together.

It can be that good !!!

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … It Can Be That Good

tumblr_lw1xczBKEE1qfbc2to1_500 weheartitCourtesy: We Heart It – Four is the magic number !!!

February is behind us, Thank God and hallelujah !!!

It is not so bad tonight, (-6c/-9c w.c.) with light snow falling. Wednesday is still pegged to be the best day of the week coming. A positive temp, in the middle of negatives. That is a start.

This week, is sitting in the minuses, but next week, we will flirt with just above and just below zero. This comes from the weather channel 14 day outlook. Hopefully March will be the transitional month there is snow on the map, into March, so we will see how that plays out.

It has been a fabulous weekend. And this week will see all my guys reunited here in Montreal.

Last night there was lots of cake, cards, and candles, and medallions.

Nothing can compare with seeing your folks achieve milestones.

The First Year is the hardest. But he came, he saw, and he conquered. It doesn’t get any easier from this point but Two Years is the Silver Oval Chip, that once you get it, you keep it, and hopefully, when you reach ten years, that chip gets engraved and dipped in Gold for Ten Years. That’s a tradition here in the city, if you know who to go to to get that done.

Today I left early because I had to meet with one of my guys and set up for the meeting. We had our meeting before the meeting, and new folks in new jobs, and we sat a good group. In keeping with the series, we read Step Ten …

“Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

Once again, a few of us, when all was said and done tonight, scratched our heads, over things that were spoken. No two people work the program the same way. So you have to give them that.

When I realized that I wanted MORE, I had to find a sponsor that was MORE.

I had things I needed and he had some requirements for me as well.

  • Sponsees call every day
  • We meet once a week to chat
  • We read the book together weekly
  • We make one meeting a week together
  • And they do daily inventories from the beginning

I can’t ask another human to do something that I am not doing myself. If I am going to talk the talk, I better walk the walk. I do that.

There are several types of 10 step inventories. From the small, to the exhaustive. From up to the minute, to the seasonal house cleaning. A daily inventory, only if brief and simple, in the beginning, is useful for everyone. It gives one a chance to look at ones day, in simple terms, and gives us something to talk about daily. So by the time we hit step ten, eventually, in the series, they are used to writing, and have it down as rote.

It has been proven that this model of recovery works, at least for my guys it does.

I learned this from women I respect and love, and if they can do it, I can do it too. It was just that, not many men, that I know, are committed to recovery as hard as I am or as the women are. It’s a stepped up game that is proactive, engaging, and workable.

Each of my guys are unique. Each has their own needs, so I have to work with each of them and set them up for their strengths, and to help their weaknesses into strengths. In turn, I can tell you that they push me to be a better man every day. They challenge me to grow.

Working with others, is the best job you can do in your sobriety.

Sobriety is a full time job, and working with others, just makes that job much better.

It is Transformational. It will change your life in ways, you could not even imagine.

It is going to be an exciting week ahead. And I am SOOOO ready for it.

More to come, stay tuned …


Tuesday …P.I.D. or Pitiful, Incomprehensible, Demoralization

tumblr_l87c92E6eN1qzh5j8o1_500 tylerbearCourtesy: Tyler Bear (Archives)

It got warmer. Much warmer. Last night, we sunk to a new low of minus -32c, overnight.

It was so cold, that the water distribution system in Montreal, is frozen. In many places, pipes burst, and the frost is so deep, and the snow is so packed, and it is so cold, that city workers cannot keep up with trying to fix all those pipes. Many families in the city have been without running water for almost a week now. And with no fix coming soon, you would understand them getting very testy about now.

Lows this week will range in the mid teens, and daytime temps will run in the single minus digits. Which is a hell of a lot better than it has been these past two weeks. Mother Nature, it seems, just wants to fuck us all over a bit more, before it gets warmer. And warm cannot get here sooner.

Workers are doing all they can, but thawing pipes and fixing broken water mains, are a long term problem with no easy or quick solution. Not to mention, most of Montreal’s water distribution system is hundreds of years old, as it stands, and seriously needs an overhaul, sooner than later. And that brings with it the fact that there is not enough money in the coffers, not enough man power, and the people’s willingness to deal with massive construction ending up with traffic jams, closed roads, and a nightmare, that is playing out as we speak in several areas in the city.

Just as one large pipe is replaced and fixed, the traffic headaches that result from that work, is unacceptable by Montrealers. They need the work, and spend twice the time grumbling about traffic.

But we need this work and there is no good time to tear up roads and lots to replace infrastructure because people who use those roads and lots can’t. It is a never ending nightmare.

It has been an early start to the days, and tomorrow is my last early morning for this month.

Today I was up early, did some surfing, went back to bed, got up, did some more surfing and went back to bed, only to get up an hour later for good and had plenty of time to prepare to go out. I did get ready early, and I was You Tubing for a while, and at 4 o’clock I was like, “ok, I got to go now!” I suited up and layered appropriately and made it to the Metro.

I made my transit nicely. And got to the church and cranked it out and then I looked at my phone to see what time it was, and it was twenty to five. I had, left really early, and arrived really early, I had packed a book to read, in any case. The church lady came to see who was upstairs early, it was me, and we had a laugh together.

It was just a funny afternoon.

We sat a good number. Old timers, newbies, and several in between. We are in week 8 of Joe and Charlie, and today we listened to the first part of their discussion of Bill’s Story. It was a long episode.

When the First Edition of the Big Book was published, the first 164 pages, they were written and have never been changed to this day. Yet the First Edition, was targeted at very low bottoms, because that’s what you had in the 20’s and 30’s.

Over four publications, the stories have been changed, updated, some added, some taken out. In the fourth edition, you find a cross section of stories, that range from deep bottoms, to high bottoms. A little bit for everybody.

**** It is Wednesday right now, as I finish this post ****

Last night, I took the train home and got here and unloaded, and changed out and literally, as I sat down at my desk, my phone rang. Having a nest of pigeons, is a full time job. But I would not have it any other way right now. The calls lasted until dinner time, then, I was off to bed because I had to be up with the birdies this morning.

So, getting back to my story now …

Bill’s story is a complex story. And I’ve read it many times. But recently, I was reading it with one of my guys and stuff was jumping off the page. If you go back and read, you will indeed realize that steps are written into the story. Steps that had not yet been written by Bill, yet he takes you through them in his way.

He had a career that was going well, until alcohol was introduced to him. Then everything went South. After several drinking bouts, hospital stays, and sobering up, he met Dr. Silkworth. It was then that the light went on for him and he got sober.

Imagine, back then, he was alone in a world that did not have meetings nor fellowship. In order to stay sober, he had to find someone else to share his story with. We really have it good today. We have meetings, we have each other and we have the books to read.

Bill had to hit rock bottom and experience, Pitiful Incomprehensible Demoralization in order to finally “get it” and get sober. Thus the fellowship began to grow, one or two at a time, and not all succeeded, but eventually, they counted 100 folks sober in the fellowship.

I’ve twice hit that pitiful state. I don’t necessarily remember, at the moment, if I actually thought about drinking, when I drank. I was more apt to “follow the leader” and do what they did, because in 2001, times were tough. Tragedy was all around us, and the best escape was the bottle.

When I finally gave up, I was done. Finished. It was pretty bad, that my drinking had gotten so out of hand, incomprehensible. And I know, when I hit my first meeting, I was demoralized. I was ashamed of myself, and I certainly could not look myself in the mirror without cringing.

Once I got connected, it all became clear. I was told what to do, I realized what I wanted to do, what was in my best interest, and I did those things. And here we are, 13 plus years later.

I am living my best life. I am doing what I love. I might not be rich. But I have everything I need.

I work with my guys, daily. I call my sponsor, daily. And that is good.

I’ve seen hell several times. I don’t ever want to go back there.

My first guy takes his One Year Cake on Saturday night, and I could not be more proud of him.

Gratitude. Lots of Gratitude.

More to come, stay tuned…


Sunday Sundries … The Sun Shone on Us And we were Glad

tumblr_l8yrf9m0gc1qb730lo1_500 thiswillnotdefineusCourtesy: This Will Not Define Us

The Oscars are on. The opening number just ended. We love N.P.H !!!

It was a warm one today. Warmer than it has been recently. (-5c/-12c) We had a little snow last night, and in certain places (read:Westmount) snow is piled up about two feet deep in some yards.

It has been a beautiful weekend.

It was an early night last night, and there will a number of early mornings this week. I have to drop labs tomorrow morning, and I have a midweek doctors appointment. Has it been six months already? My doctors have dropped me from four visits a year down to two visits.

The Super hospital is opening in a few months, so they are consolidating services and closing hospitals as they are absorbed into the larger super building. To that end, my one clinic at the General is staying open, but that may change this week. My other doctor is seeing me at his private office on the other side of town, but I don’t see him until April.

I departed on time and we cranked out set up and our guys and ladies, came to do our hour prior read and discussion. I can honestly say that I am inspired by my guys. They, each in their own way, inspire me to be a better person.

The sun shone down on us today and God was good, prayers were answered and a miracle took place, all in the space of ninety minutes. If you don’t believe that miracles happen, they do.

We sat a small group.

One of our women gave birth to a healthy baby boy yesterday. We are so proud of her. Babies in A.A. are miracles in themselves, because the women who gave birth to them are miracles as well. The miracle baby phenomena now counts four children strong.

It was the last Sunday, therefore a Tradition meeting. Second month, Tradition Two.

“For our group purpose there is but one authority – A loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.”

I am not God. And I am not the center of the universe. And it isn’t all about me either.

Over the years, I’ve learned a great deal about this tradition, because I have seen what egos and attitudes do when they collide in a meeting. And I have been guilty myself, of being less than charitable or kind. We all have grown past these problems and all the players are good men and women. Each in our own ways.

We see Tradition Two come together at every business meeting. I can sit back and let my friends partake in the miracle that is recovery. Everyone plays a role in the group, and as a community, and finally in their own recovery. We defer to our chair for wisdom, and to God to guide us. And that model seems to work.

It was a night for miracles. And I am grateful to have been present to see it happen.

A good night was had by all. Please pray for our guys.

More to come, stay tuned …


Saturday … Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad for You

tumblr_l5w58oqu5c1qaay1oo1_500 twinkobsessionIt is a balmy (-9c/-15c w.c.) folks were saying last night, that they would take single digit cold, rather than double digit cold, since we have weeks to go until this possibly could end.

I departed uber early for the church, seeing our set up man is in Boston this week, and I promised that I would make coffee and set up with a friend. We have six tables that we use, and last night, one of them was trying my patience. I popped the leg open and it would not set correctly, so after a little elbow grease a few kicks here and there, and some massive angry strikes, I bent the hell out of it and prayed it would stand up all night for the meeting.

After several grunts and the pounding of fists and kicks, my friend said to me that she never wanted to see me angry because I was scaring her …

I had to warn sitters at this location, not to lean too heavily on the table, because it was entirely possible the table would fail and land their shit, phones and coffee on the floor …

Thankfully the table held for the entire meeting.

We sat a full compliment and read from A.B.S.I. #93 … Atmosphere of Grace

“Those of us who have come to make regular use of prayer would no more do without it than we would refuse air, food or sunshine. And for the same reason. When we refuse air, light, or food, the body suffers. And when we turn away from meditation and prayer, we likewise deprive our minds, our emotions, and our intuitions of vitally needed support.”

In the beginning we learn about these two important aspects of recovery, prayer and meditation. Some take to it and others may not, but in time, it works it way into our lives, whether we want it or not. Because at some point, we end up saying … “Oh, God …(insert any request here)”

The ritual for me is when I get out of bed, I make my bed, and we have a futon, so that also helps in making sure I get on my knees at the start of the day.

Then I have my cards at my computer, and my serenity prayer over my desk, and the love reading from our wedding on the tv. Little things placed strategically around the house, ever reminding me to stop and think, pray, meditate.

The other good location for prayer and meditation is the bathroom. A couple times a day I stand in front my medicine cabinet and take my pills. And for the most part I am grateful, but then again, sometimes I never think about gratitude. The bathroom is the place that I am alone, with my thoughts, and as happens usually, I think about people a lot.

I guess I need reminding to be mindful of myself, others and God.

It was a good night overall.

Last night I ate an entire package of jello pudding. Chocolate of course. I was not aware that eating something tasty would end up ruining my night’s sleep, but it did. And now I know I can’t eat massive amounts of jello pudding before bed, because it makes me sick. UGH !!!

It has been an ongoing experiment, the last few months, of what I can and cannot eat any more. Does that happen to you? I just find that certain foods I used to enjoy eating, fruits, breads, and assorted sweets, I can’t eat any more. Not sure why, but it is what it is …

Too much of a good thing is bad for you !!!

So today was another “have to do laundry on a Saturday” again.

I sorted my basket and got everything ready and then found out I was out of detergent, so I had to get dressed and hit the market. UGH ! So I did a shop, came home and did my laundry. It is drying now and I have to go up and fold soon.

Yay, more to come, stay tuned …


Thursday … Should I Stay or Should I Go ???

tumblr_ld9721OgLN1qzhiyso1_500 canada kidCourtesy: My friend Joel … Canadian Photography

We are sitting at a very frigid (-17c/-29 w.c.) We did not get the snow they called for “yet” but whatever is on the ground, is, at this hour, not where it fell to begin with. It is very windy which made it doubly cold on the transit tonight.

Things have been moving forwards nicely. We are amid the first pre-sale of the Spring Round Up that will happen in May. This is the first big sober event of the year in Dorval.

The meeting tonight was sparse. This kind of weather is keeping people indoors, instead of traveling to a meeting. The core group who always show up, showed up.

We’ve talked about young people at great length here. And we’ve also talked about what happens when they don’t have like minds in the room with them when they come in. (read:They Don’t Stay).

Or they stay for a bit, get it together, then they decide to leave and not come back.

I’ve written this story over and over, and tonight, I heard it come from a speaker.

Everything happens for a reason. And not long ago, a friend of mine said to me that maybe I needed my slip for this period of sobriety to come and work for me. The first time being a gift, and the second time, you really have to work for it.

Our woman came in in her twenties, and the older hens, were, not up her alley. But she stayed sober for a year. Upon attaining her year, her husband said to her that “now she was well, and that she didn’t need to hang out with “those people” any more.”

Little voice says … hmm. I think you are right.

16 years go by, the obsession to drink has been absent for a while.

A while later she is sitting at dinner, and a client orders wine. Little voice says, “you can have some wine” and she has one glass, then another, which leads to MORE.

In a few weeks time she is drinking as bad as she was before her first hit.

Her second hit, later in life, she realizes that she needs help, and does rehab.

Not a very nice and plush, Spa Rehab. But the down and dirty, just out of jail rehab…

She returns to the rooms, and as she enters the hall, a woman who knew her from her first hit, almost twenty years earlier, greets her at the door. “There are no small miracles.”

Now she has a job, working in a rehab here in the city. And you would count yourself lucky to be able to say, that every day, she sees miracles happen. How many of us have jobs that allow us that kind of grace?

Funny, I see a lot of things, meet a lot of people, and hear many stories along the way.

And sometimes God shows me that things that I have observed really do happen to human beings.

It’s not all, just in my head.

It was a good night. Saw some friends, got a ride home. Brrrr….

More to come, stay tuned …


Tuesday … So Many Things to Share

tumblr_mxoqlpeQWH1r00y5xo1_500 bandgCourtesy:Bandg

We are keeping with the Winter theme tonight.

We are sitting at (-14c/-16c w.c.). It was much warmer, if warmer can be a thing in the middle of Winter, than it has been as of late. And it was nice to have buses available on my extensions, meaning I did not have to walk from the stations.

It was a quiet weekend. Almost mundane in how our lives have become so routine. I was so bored on Saturday afternoon, that I did laundry, for the first time, on a weekend. I seem to hit the wash room with the freedom to use my super washer, because nobody else is doing laundry.

Sunday, I had dressed for the meeting, and I was layered because it was frigid. I walked up my usual path, and through the Forum building, and went to cross Atwater into the mall. I crossed the street and took a step on to the other side of the street, onto the sidewalk. I put my foot down, and I slipped on ice and fell face first onto the sidewalk. My headphones went flying, my coat got dirty, and the brand new Bayern Munich white shirt I was wearing was covered in icy mud stains.

I got to the church and one of my friends said to me that my shirt was dirty. I did not know how dirty it was because the mud was all the way across my backside. I took off that shirt and thought to rinse it in the sink, (a bad decision) it was useless. Needless to say I was pissed.

Which set up Monday for another round of laundry in less than three days. Now I am back on schedule with laundry on a weekday, instead of the weekend.

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

Dreams

In the evening, when I don’t have to be anywhere, we nap before dinner. A couple hours of downtime usually is a good thing. Yesterday, I had this really cool dream about time travel and worm holes and slip stream travel. The dream began in my friends living room, and morphed into a space dream, I’m not sure how that happened or why, but it was a great dream, and I woke up with it and remembered the dream.

Today, I was sleeping my afternoon, prior to getting up and getting ready to go, and I was in my favorite drinking establishment, and I had a drink in my hand. I then drank that drink, and in the dream, it only took that one drink to get me to black out mode. I felt the alcohol go down, I felt the drunkenness of the drink, and I woke up, thinking that I was drunk, that I did indeed take a drink.

I don’t usually have drinking dreams. This one was particularly vivid.

I got to the meeting and waited for my sponsor to get there, we had been talking about dream between ourselves prior, and one of my friends said to him that I had a drinking dream, and his response was, “That a drinking dream is good for us, and that it means we are doing something right.” It means we are healthy. Well, after that dream I wasn’t particularly healthy, when I woke up.

It made me stop and check that I did not have any alcohol in the house.

Not that I sleep walk to the SAQ (read: Liquor Store) right up the street and buy liquor !!!

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

Today, as I said, was much warmer than it has been. I made my transit and it was good. When I got to the other end, there was a bus in the bay, which meant I didn’t have to walk down the hill.

Today’s edition of Joe and Charlie spoke about “Craving.”

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We might crave some kind of food, or something salty, fruity, spicy, or sweet, bread, so forth and so on. I get these kinds of cravings, when I need to have one of these foods. I also get the “thirst of death” when I could drink an entire bottle of lemonade in one swig … That is a thing.

But when it comes to alcohol, we might want a drink, and we might take a drink. Once we’ve introduced alcohol into our system, the phenomena of craving begins, because like most alcoholics, we start with just one, and who, really, can have just one?

One leads to more which leads to insanity.

I don’t think I ever craved alcohol. I just drank. I had to have it, one way or another. In the end, it went part and parcel with my Saturday Dance Hall Party. Music, Lights, People, Alcohol. Not necessarily in that order. The bar opened early to give you time to nurse a drink or two before the main dance hall opened, we would drink first, the rest would follow. All I wanted to do was skip the preliminaries and get right down to business. I didn’t crave, I was well into delusional obsession.

They also talk about the feelings that rise, once we get sober. Everything doesn’t all of a sudden get rosy red and wonderful. We might have been drinking to drown or to forget. But if you take away the alcohol, everything that you may have been trying to avoid, when you sober up, there they are …

Where ever you go, there you are…

I wasn’t trying to drown my feelings, I was delusional, in thinking that alcohol would stop time from moving forwards, and prolong my immaturity a little while longer, until the time came, and it did indeed, that I was forced to stop and decide to grow up.

Which led to the decision to move here. Which leads me nicely into the next topic.

I was packed up and ready to go on Shrove Tuesday 2002. My friend Steven (read: the man who would not marry me, much to my dismay), had taken me to the post office and I mailed myself (here) all my things that I boxed. Then he drove me to the airport the next day.

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, was my trip from Miami to Montreal. It was the tail end of Winter that year. I did not look back. So it is with great pride I can say that tomorrow is my 13th anniversary of coming to Canada.

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

523981_heroaWhen I left this afternoon, there was mail in my box. When I got home, there was more mail in my box. Did I forget to get the mail yesterday? I think so. During the holidays, we used to get two mail deliveries, one for letter mail, and another for packages. Today, my Marco gear came in the mail.

JOY !!!

Another week, another adventure. We’ll see what kind of high jinx we can get into.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Thoughts, Amends, and Everything Else

tumblr_lm5d60Hzy01qzhzruo1_500 flickr jamesclearCourtesy: Flickr James Clear

It is frigidly cold. So cold that we thought we might get frostbite walking to and from the church.

We are sitting at that frigid (-21c/-32c w.c.) at this hour. The wind does not make it any better.

Yesterday we celebrated love by sharing a great dinner and exchanged cards. I noticed in my travels that the pharmacy has cleaned out all the Valentines stuff, off the shelves and there are boxes of stock ready to be unpacked, for what I imagine is St. Patty’s Day in March.

I departed on time and boy was it cold. I got to the church and one of my friends was already there so we cranked it out and waited for our folks to come, those who are reading with us before the meeting.

On this frigid night, a handful of folks came out. We read from the Twelve and Twelve and Step 9.

“Made direct amends to such people where ever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Every time I read this step, I get more insight to the process. I this this list is useful:

  • There will be those who ought to be dealt with just as soon as we become reasonably confident that we can maintain our sobriety.
  • There will be those to whom we can make only partial restitution, lest complete disclosures do them or others more harm than good.
  • There will be other cases where action ought to be deferred,
  • And still others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make direct personal contact at all.

I’ve made this pass before. And to this day, it is all about me. Still …

The people I owe amends to, don’t have a clue as to who I am today. When people turn away from you because of who you are, it makes it kind of difficult to deal with. When children are created, simply to be sibling rivals, that is a problem. When the first child is branded a mistake, and the second child, the make up child, what does that say about the parents?

I don’t know my brother. The last time I laid eyes on him was more than twenty years ago. The last time I laid eyes on my parents it was 2001, for only twenty minutes, then they were gone.

It is 2015. I don’t think I owe amends to people who don’t even know I exist, or that they choose not to acknowledge my existence. Because if i am real about this, I only want two things. One, I want my dignity back, and Two, I want to be acknowledged as a living, feeling, human being.

So we are back to all about me.

One of my friends, tonight said, that We are supposed to be agents of healing, not for us, but for them. How can you heal a hardened heart? What would that look like? You can’t change someone who is homophobic, hateful, ignorant, and bigoted. This is truth, I am not making this up.

Sometimes, it is better to just walk away, and let people be. And this has been a long and coming road in sobriety. With the dawn of Facebook, knowing where someone is, and also knowing they know that you are on here as well, makes it just as difficult. I’ve made my introductions and to this day, there has not been one word coming in my direction. So fuck me …

Like I’ve said before, the only thing I can do for me today is live my amends by staying sober, and growing up. And I am a work in process. The day you finish learning is the day one dies.

And I am sure as shit not there yet.

Another week begins. More will follow.

Stay tuned …