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

A meeting for AA folk

Friday West End …

Friday has come and gone. A very productive day as well. I had called the college to speak to the coordinator of the French classes to see if I could change up my schedule, because once they place you, that’s it. I had left a message and this very kind woman called me back and we spoke for a little while. She explained about the course and why I was put where I was. Which means I am locked into a 90 course hours French immersion class on Mondays and Wednesdays for the next six months. OH GOD …. Can I do this ???

They say the older you get the harder it is to pick up a language. I got some facebook messages tonight from my francophone friends list and they have volunteered to help me through this. So that’s one in my favor.

I did some tumbling earlier. I got behind because of a hiccup last night in my nightly ritual. But I am back on my nightly routine.

Tonight the gang of three hit Friday West End. The room was packed as it usually is. There were a lot of people there. The Who’s who in Montreal sobriety. We are all a bunch of big celebrities aren’t we. It was a double whammy night with our speaker and Al taking his 20 year cake tonight.

Tonight was the second night this week that we heard a speaker who had come and got sober and decided at one point to leave the program and go back out and drink, and have to come back defeated my booze and drugs. It is just a reinforcing message that alcoholism is a cunning and baffling disease and it is also progressive.

Nothing guarantees our sobriety like working with new comers. And Rick and I have been carefully guiding our young Matthew in all things sober since his departure from the rehab a couple of weeks ago. He has almost 80 days now. We will celebrate his 90 day mark at the home group in the coming weeks.

Our speaker talked about not feeling all the “right” as she shared, she also mentioned that she would be taking her 12 year cake in the next two weeks. And I mused to the guys on the way home that she was on her “pre-cake” roller coaster ride. Matthew asked me to explain what that meant …

It usually begins about 30 days out from ones anniversary. When things in life begin to change, circumstances may be going good, or they might take a turn for the bad. You get emotional and start obsessing over things a little too much, which tends to get you going into your head, and everybody knows that an alcoholics head is not someplace most people go alone or without a hard hat. You begin to assess your life and your sobriety.

Every year you stay sober the pressure gets worse. Because you have a lot to think about over all the years you’ve been sober. Sometimes you get to escape this roller coaster, because you have learned how to pray and meditate and you maintain that conscious contact with the God of your understanding and things go swimmingly.

My anniversary is in December and I got sober before the holidays so that is always an exciting month for me. My anny on the 9th and Christmas and New Years to follow. I love winter sobriety. Because the winter separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls because you really have to work for sobriety in the winter because we are always traveling to meetings in the sleet and snow.

They mentioned at the meeting tonight that the area was beginning a sober shuttle to begin service this winter in the city, making sure people can get to meetings if they don’t have transport. I mean we are a completely covered by mass transit city. But you still have to walk from point to point to make meetings and 20 below is still 20 below. And that is cold …. brrrrr….

It is the weekend and we are jamming to SEA 89.5 on the digital dj box and tomorrow is St. Matthias 9 a.m. discussion meeting. I am going to try my damnedest to get to the meeting in the morning which means I should really get to bed in the next hour and get a good night’s sleep.

So I guess that is where I will stop for tonight.

Stay in the loop, and we will see you on the flip side…


Matthias …

It was a good day today. I spent the balance of the day at the AA help line. I got 10 phone calls over 5 hours. It was good I brought a book with me.

It is funny. They went so far to buy a computer for the office. It is loaded up with everything. And it is locked down. You can log in, and it opens up an Internet Explorer browser page, that only opens to one site. And only one site. The area 87 home page for meeting listings. Everything on the browser is in French. And the computer is password protected so it won’t let you surf while you are there.

At 1 pm the sun was shining out and it was beautiful. At 6 pm when I left the sky was leaden dark and it looked like Armageddon was going to happen. We were 12 stops from home at Pie IX station and it took 30 minutes to get home.

I got home, changed my clothes, called Rick and I left for St. Matthias. I walked through the mall and into the Westmount Square Tunnel. I met my friend Danny walking the same route. So we walked together. I even got a lesson in Westmount Architecture on the way. The walk seemed less trouble when you are with someone else.

Young Matthew was there. It was good to see him. It was a great meeting, the room was packed. We had a good time.


Keeping it Simple…

Courtesy: The Curve of the Earth

It was a gorgous day today. The sky was blue, the breeze was blowing and everything in my world was fantastic.

I had to go up to intergroup to get literature for our home group, and I also picked up a collectors medallion from the 75 annual convention that took place in San Antonio in July. I don’t get my 9 year medallion until December.

While I was there, I stopped by the office where the English help line is located, since I am working the phones on the 26th of August. I was pleasantly surprised to see my old friend Stan there manning the phone lines. He is a wise old bird, with a wry sense of humor. We got to talking a bit, and he said that it seems that people are loosing enthusiasm for meetings and “doing service” in AA.

The old timers are staying home, and newcomers are not rooting themselves in home groups like they used to when I got sober. Which also speaks to the fact that there are only 4 active members doing the work at TB, and only 2 of us chairing both meetings, getting speakers every week. More on that in a few …

The next time I go up to intergroup I have to bring my camera, because the office is 2 blocks from the Olympic Stadium complex, when Montreal hosted the Summer Games in 1976. It is quite a beautiful building when you get up close to it. I have to get some pics before season ends and winter sets in.

I got home with a couple hours to spare before leaving for set up. I left with plenty of time to get all my work done with plenty of time to finish “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult. I did not like the end of the book. All that story telling to end on a page and a half of text … What a rip off… I have to go back and read the last chapter again.

So we talked about “Opportunity” during the first meeting, and there was a good group of people there. A few newbies, a few oldies, and a few in-between. One of my pigeons, who came to our meeting many years ago, but left, came back tonight. We remembered each other. Hopefully he will come back next week.

We had 24 people show up for the late meeting and the kitty was quite full for the night. We even picked up a new member, a young man from Portage Rehab center here in Montreal. We got him signed up and loaded his book with phone numbers. Hopefully he will use them and hit some meetings with us in the coming weeks.

Our speaker for the night was a very quiet and humble man with considerable time, and one who gives back whenever he can, we’ve been trying to get him to our meeting for the past month, and tonight the stars aligned and he was able to make it and speak.

I guess I have been practicing the fine art of patient listening to speakers from across the spectrum lately. It is a good lesson to work with in sobriety. For an hour, don’t think … just listen …

So that was my day. Full, Free and Complete …


Walking the Walk …

I’ve got time on my hands, and I really need to get out of the house on a regular basis, because I am starting to get a little cabin fever. None of my online job searching sites have coughed up any leads.

I only got one hit last week for a job in Toronto, and I am not in the position to uproot my family and move. But it was one hit off my resume, I’d love to get back into travel, the perks are sweet. But sorry guys, I can’t interview for your position. Not yet at least.

I’ve got a new meeting list booklet in my backpack. I might as well put it to good use. It has been a number of years since I went to a meeting in another part of town. This is what happens when you live in the downtown borough. You don’t have to go more than a few blocks to get anything that you need, and there are plenty of meetings downtown that one never has to go outside the general area.

Today, I decided that I wanted to get out of town and go to a meeting somewhere else in the city, that would be NDG. NDG is West of downtown, it’s a totally different part of the city, more suburban and family oriented.

I got myself up and ready to go out for the 8 p.m. meeting at St. Augustine’s church in NDG this evening. That is a 40 minute commute from home and two trains away. A short hop on the green line to Lionel Groulx and then a change over to the Orange line up to the Villa Maria stop, then a short walk to the church just down the road from the station.

Talk about culture shock. The meeting is in an airy bright room upstairs in the tower of the church. There were only 2 familiar faces, people who come to our meeting on Tuesday nights. But there was a room full of people I did not know. One of the old timers and his wife came to the meeting, everyone got up to shake his hand or hug him all the way around the circle, when he got to me, he said that he remembered me … yes, it’s been a number of years since you last saw me. I don’t get to NDG that often. It was nice to be seen.

I like the little meeting. Maybe I will go again sometime. It was a discussion meeting and the topic was forgiveness … Let’s just jump into the deep end of the pool why don’t we? I spoke towards the end of the meeting, listening to new people share on an old topic was fresh. Even with the dawn of Face book, those step nine amends are still out there, and I don’t think I will ever get to make my amends or get forgiveness because of the way people live today, and that’s not my problem, is it? So I have to pray for them and pray away what needs to be rid of.

There were a good bunch of freshies there, I wonder what other meetings they are going to, I wanted to stump for my meeting, but in the end I decided against that. When the meeting was over, I did not hang around to converse, I just walked back to the train station to come home.

That was my adventure for the day…


Twofer Tuesday …

Over the past few days I have been pondering a few of my relationships with people. I am bothered by the way people treat each other and the way that some of my friends have just gone off the rail. People are responsible for the choices they make and it seems as of late that one of my friends is sitting in the corner of the bar BANGING himself in the HEAD with a HAMMER… And I can’t stand to watch it any longer. So with that I clicked the little (X) on their Facebook Profile and unfriended him. I can’t sit and watch this train wreck of a life continue. It is like watching an alcoholic DRINK…

Today was my day off to do with whatever I pleased. I went to see my spiritual director this morning and then went to noon service at the Cathedral. Sometimes you got to take it to the church to get an answer from the almighty. We spoke about school and my troubles this term with my abilities and no answer came to either one of us. And the more I ponder this topic and the more people I talk to about it I get the sense that I am in a growth period and I am learning to exist in a new pot.

There is more space to move and my roots need to grow into deeper soil. I may not like where I am, and it may be painful at the moment for me but a little pain won’t kill me and if I stick with the program it will pay off in the end. I think I am close to a decision on this matter and it all comes down to personal application. Do I fuck off and not apply myself or do I buckle down and get it done? Failure is NOT an option.

Today’s topic was: Staying away from that first drink …

The farther one is away from the past drink the more one tends to forget what it was like in the beginning – trying to stay away from that first drink in early sobriety. But I do remember what that was like. It was Jean Baptiste Day and I was at the Old Port during the party and hordes of people were walking around two fisting glasses of beer and wine and I was in the thick of it wanting to drink, but I didn’t .

It is good to hear the newcomers talk about where they are today. The meeting was packed and that only made the meeting much more rich. The more people the more shares. It was a great meeting. Remembering when it hurt reminds us of where we can end up if we take that first drink again…

I stayed for changeover and the second meeting. Tonight we heard a woman speak, and she was glorious. Sober now over 20 years she took us back into old Montreal years ago. It was good to hear her speak. You can hear it in their voices when someone really Gets the program. She is a reminder why even people with 20 years or more of sobriety need to keep going to meetings, because we forget what it was like and that is a very important factor in thinking a drink if one is not careful.

I did not drink today. I took care of myself and my sobriety. Now comes the work. I guess I need to ground myself into the ice and do the trek. I am here so I better do the work required of me.

Time to eat …

That’s all for now, more to come, stay tuned …

OH and one more thing I forgot to mention. Last night I was Facebooking and I got a message from my girlfriend Fonda. Now Fonda is my girl. She was the woman who welcomed me to my first meeting back in South Beach when I got sober this time around. She is a kool cat and she is well traveled. She’s been out West at Yosemite and California. So I called her and we talked for a while about where she is now and what she is up to. It was good to catch up with someone from my early sobriety. She was instrumental in helping me stay sober those first few months, especially over that first set of holidays in 2001. I spent a lot of time at her house with friends from the meeting there.

It is good to keep in touch with sober members…


Must … Write … Words …

So Tuesday has come and now it is going. I did not sleep well last night, and this morning I got up and was sick – not a good start to the day. Nothing like the taste of bile in ones throat trying to get back to sleep, it did not go well. So I got up and watched a little of the view and some Martha and went back to bed to try and get some more sleep.

I got up in time to shower and dress and get my ass to the church to do set up. The weather has been almost balmy with snow flurries coming and going all day long into tonight.

It was a quiet night, we had about fifteen people for the discussion meeting and it was nice. I spent the hour sitting and listening to others because I was going to speak at the 8 o’clock meeting.

I have been ruminating over this share for the last two weeks, I parsed every word and rehearsed every bit of my story. I took a lot of time to think about my childhood and I came away from the experience with a lot of insight about what really happened and I have new lessons that I have learned about my life that I had not thought about in a long time.

You know I look back at my childhood and this is what comes up. Everything that I would do and the boy I would become was directly influenced by everything that I learned about my parents dirty little secrets, what they said at home, how they acted at home and how they acted in public.

There was enough material to assist me in making serious life decisions before I knew what those decisions were and how they would impact my life later on as I grew up. Hey if mom and dad were doing it, then it must not be bad and if they were doing it, then others might be doing it too. I just wanted to be like them. I had made certain choices very early on in life. I knew what I liked and what I didn’t. My father provided me with all the reading fodder I could ever desire from the word GO!!! ohhhh there go them skeletons rattling away in that closet.

I know that the choices I made as a young adult were totally impacted by what I heard come out of my parents mouths as I grew up. Living in a dysfunctional home with bigot, racist, homophobic and antisemitic parents shaped the man I would become. I would never adopt the way they thought and I would never utter the words that they said to me, to others and to themselves.

It was survival of the fittest and someone up there likes me. That pact that I talk about in Naked and Sacred that my grandmother made with God worked, because I am still here and tonight I spoke at my home group for the first time in as many years. It was a very select handful of people who showed up and they got an hours worth of stories from me.

What did I learn about me?

There were certain lessons that I did not learn the first time I got sober that would not be made aware to me until the second time around. Certain things I did not look at in early sobriety that I should have. I did not think when I planned my slip, I wasn’t thinking straight … They say that we plan our slips down to the second, and I did that. And that slip took me to the brink of Hell and I survived.

Why did I drink to begin with? I am still not sure. Maybe because drinking was something we were raised to do, it was something that I was encouraged to do when I came out. Alcohol would be the vehicle for social interaction with my fellows. And it was and it did. I remarked to Rick on the way home and I spoke about it in my share that there is a whole section of my life from 18 to 24 that is a complete BLUR !!! I could not bring up one single set memory from that period to relate in my share tonight. Was it the alcohol and drugs, is it my age, or I am I just not supposed to remember…

I told all the right stories. I spoke about history and mystery. I talked about James’ suicide and what that did to me and how that took me to the brink again, and then i talked about being diagnosed with AIDS and that I tried to kill myself with the drink but failed and that I got sober that first time. I talked about the lessons I learned the first few years and I thought about the mistakes that I made that only facilitated my slip out the door and my long geographic that I pulled for what … love ??? No it was hell … H E L L …

I talked about coming back to Miami and then 9-11 and the story that surrounded the beginning of my return to the rooms of AA. I also shared about how I became a character out of the Big Book and I actually fulfilled one of those roles in the lives of my friends. An irresponsible, thoughtless drunks.

I related the stories of when I was a travel agent and we used to take trips to far away places on free passes – first class – with free booze. They all laughed when I told that story. They were a bit jealous that I we got away with that kind of behavior and nobody stopped us until one by one the adults from that story all got sober, and we all did over the last 20 years.

BOOZE it is insidious. Alcoholism is a disease of the mind. It takes us on fanciful journeys to find pixies and fairies. It was fun for a while, I must admit that there were good times for the most part, with all the people I knew then, all of them are dead now, long since gone … At some point the alcohol got the best of me and took me to the gates of hell. I survived …

I think about my childhood. It was not a good place. Living with Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide was not fun. Being abused as a child is never pretty and having lived through this would toughen up any kid to grow up and be bitter and jaded. I didn’t grow up that way, I just self medicated. Rick commented to me that he too has particular memory losses, that he remembers the hellacious times and not the good times. Maybe that’s necessary to keep us on the straight and narrow.

I guess I am thankful that I did not grow up to be like my Father or my Mother. They are where they are and I am where I am, and today I am ok with that. I don’t need to know any more, because then I would become invested in lives that mean nothing to me today. Dead – Alive – who knows – I don’t care really, it wouldn’t make any difference to my life right now.

I got in under the 45 minute mark and tidied up the final phase of sobriety in less than five minutes. Had Ginette not shifted in her seat I would have kept on going, but I looked at my watch at the end and I was right up against the hour. I stood, I spoke my truth and told my story. It was a very different story than the last time I told it because of what I learned with a little reflection, introspection and hindsight. So I guess I need to archive this piece here so that it goes with my AA story as it evolves.

That pact that memere made with God so many decades ago is still working. I am still alive and breathing, there is a God. And tonight those 14 people in that room got to hear my experience, strength and hope. Everyone shook my hand at the end of the meeting. I am free tonight …

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be aligned to You oh God, our light, our Hope and our Strength …

That’s all from Montreal tonight.


Sobriety …

Tuesday has come and gone and it was a good day. This semester I get to return to my weekly routine of going to the church early to do set up by myself, and I like it that way. It is my time to be quiet. It is my time to commune with divinity in my own special way. Having the room beneath the church makes the room hallowed and special for me and many others.

It was a cold day out, and it got colder as night fell. It was a hasty walk through the streets to get there, because Westmount Square only lets you out 2 blocks from the church from home. Most of my commute is underground, minus the two blocks from home to to mall – and 2 blocks on the other end.

We had a small group of people for the early meeting, but as usual, when the group is small – the silence is good – because in the past silence was the deathknell for any meeting. But I think we take the silence in this particular room to spend meditating and cultivating the conscious contact with the God of our understanding.

These days, I stay for the speaker meeting at 8 p.m. so I get in two meetings for my week. Today’s topic for the early meeting was Acceptance. It was a good topic and it generated some really open sharing. They say that “Acceptance is the KEY to all my problems.”

I got to spend some time talking to one of the women who come to the meeting afterwards. It was all good. We shifted the room and set up for the later meeting.

Tonight I was asked to thank the speaker, as I was the week before. That means that I have to pay attention to everything that the speaker says – not that I don’t pay attention to speakers when they come to share at our meeting. They say that eventually in the rooms of AA that – at some point you will hear someone share your story from the front of the room.

Tonight got really close. Except my story diverges from the path and turns in a totally new direction. And that is where my head is and has been for the last week. I’ve been ruminating and pondering and obsessing over the past much more than I have been over the last year. Is that a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know yet. But I know that I will be speaking at my home group next Tuesday night and It has been over a year since I spoke at any meeting in the city since.

I remember the first time I shared in a meeting of AA, way back in the day when I got sober the first time. I was about 2 years sober when someone asked me to share for the South Miami Club Room of AA in Miami. The room was huge, and it was packed. There must have been 200 people in the room that night, and at the point where my story diverges from the heterosexual path of life, 100 men got up and walked out of the meeting and waited outside until I was finished sharing.

I walked outside and one of them walked up to me and said to me and I quote

“We don’t agree with your lifestyle, and You should not have been asked to share here, and you won’t be asked to share here again. And we’d ask you to never come back to this meeting again, we have no need for someone like you here.”

This little story sticks in my memory very clearly. And it tempers the way I share in any meeting where ever I go. We used to go to a gay meeting downtown on Friday nights, that meeting was a discussion meeting, that I stopped going to years ago. And there aren’t many gay meetings running in the city any more – times have changed – so I integrated to my home group, and my sexuality really isn’t an issue to my friends but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be an issue for others.

The last time I spoke at a meeting it was in the same space as our meeting on Tuesday, but that meeting met on a Sunday. And there were only 5 people in the room to hear what I had to say. Needless to say it did not go over well, because they never asked me back again. I don’t do the Sunday meeting there anyways.

So I have to speak next week. Do I speak what is the true story or do I sanitize it for the masses? That’s the question I wrestle with. We shall see next week.

Stay tuned for that update…

That’s all for now. More to come, stay tuned …


Hindsight …

God dammit if my satellite radio player isn’t working tonight !!! It must be the weather… It is snowing in Montreal tonight. So I’ve loaded up a Chad Fox podcast and that is playing as I type tonight.

I have a lot on my mind tonight. People and places, times and tribulations. It has been very quiet with hubby gone, I have time to myself to think and be alone. I don’t get to be alone very much being married. So time to myself is a prized possession.

Last night was a little funny because I had to go to bed alone. I hate sleeping alone, but alas, family is family and hubby is doing his part to celebrate the holidays with his family.

Today is Tuesday and it was also my home group tonight. I was unnerved all day, time was just going by too slowly. So around 4′ o clock I got in the shower and got ready to go. I had to go by Provigo to pick up my cake for tonight.

Yes, I made it 8 years … Who knew I’d live to see today…

When this journey began fifteen years ago I had 18 months to live. The doctors told me to kiss my ass goodbye and call it a day. When the drink did not kill me, because I tried… To kill myself with the drink … God had other plans. And there were key people in my life then that stepped in to help save my life.

Danny
Roy
Todd
Farkle
Billy
Bill M.

I went into rehab and started my dance with sobriety on August the 23rd 1994. I would stay sober 4 years, if I knew then, what I know today, I would never have made that fateful geographic that took me out the door for 18 months of living hell. But you know, hindsight is 20/20. I have had a lot of time to think about the past and see the path that was laid before me. And really, to be honest, I haven’t spent a great deal of time thinking about the past, it is just something that I really don’t dwell on.

But tonight I hit two meetings at my home group and I had time to sit and ponder the past 8 years of “this” sobriety, and in a greater circle the last fifteen years. I should be dead… I should have died years ago … Which brings me to the eternal question that I ask every Christmas of God, “what am I still doing here?”

When I look back retrospectively over the past, I came to believe before I came to because someone up there liked me enough to set this path out that I walked, I wish I had had all this wisdom in my head then, but I didn’t. I had to walk it out “One day at a time.” When you are staring death in the face – and counting the days until you are supposed to die, you either learn how to live or you wait to die and learn nothing in between. There were too many people in my life then, that wanted and willed me to live. I think that those first years living with AIDS was consumed by working at the STUD. I was too busy to think about dying. And I think that that saved my life.

I walked the road. I had to stumble and fall, and learn to pick myself up again after my terrible crash and burn. God knew what he was doing. When I returned to home base after my slip the path was there, and I walked it.

Looking back I know that God was moving heaven and earth for me, and it seemed that I was paying attention to the signs and omens. I knew the way back to the rooms, but I was ashamed to come back because I was going to get sober AGAIN in the same city that I got sober in to begin with. And sober circles are very small … people know … and they knew I was on the rebound…

I prayed prayers – I needed certain things … And each prayer was answered.

  1. I needed a place to live – and it came …
  2. I needed a job, that came with the apartment
  3. I needed to stop drinking – the hangover of death came
  4. I needed to meet another alcoholic – Troy came into my life
  5. I needed to get to a meeting – I did that for Troy’s 1st anniversary

I remember all the people who were instrumental in my getting sober this second time. Fonda, Ed, Charlie, Shane, Billy, Christian, and a litany of others that I can see in my minds eye but I can’t recall all the names. I got sober over the holidays and that was tough. But my friends stuck with me one day at a time, one hour at a time, one night at a time… and I stuck and stayed…

The first time I got sober in 1994, the ambulance came and they got me breathing again, and Danny took me home and lived in my apartment for a week, he would not leave me alone. I went back to work and went through rehab and found a group to get sober in. They were not as kind to me as the second group of people. Because back then, to get sober, one had to face the gauntlet of people betting against you that you would drink once again ….

I remember picking up my first medallion – Fuck You you bastards, I stayed sober, against all your bets and pressure to go back out and drink.

I worked in a bar, but I did not drink, because Roy was my sponsor and he worked in the bar too, his partner was the owner and my boss. If it wasn’t for what Todd did for me in those first years of living with AIDS I surely would have died. There aren’t enough thank you’s in the world to repay what he and all of them did for me when I needed it the most. I am totally grateful for all the gifts that came into my life … I miss my friends. But I guess I am a testament to the power of prayer and the work of a tight group of family that saved my sorry ass. So many of my friends went to grisly miserable deaths, and I was there through all of that, and I lived. Why ???

I pulled a second geographic in sobriety, but the second time I did it the right way. I got hooked into the rooms and found a place to live and people to help me stay sober and it seemed to work. I got hooked into Tuesday Beginner’s 8 years ago and the rest is history. So much has come into my life over the past 8 years that I am amazed by all the gifts. I have seen trials and tribulations and it hasn’t been easy, but Rick summed it up for the meeting tonight – “I came and I stuck, and I toughed it out one day at a time, and I made it to 8 years …”

And I lived to see another Christmas …

We don’t talk about that aspect of my life, and really it isn’t something that I fret over or think about any more, I think I may take it for granted sometimes, that maybe I forget that I am living on borrowed time. I don’t dwell on day counts or the fact that I live with a terminal disease. When I play that card at my meeting it shocks people. I am still alive, and surely there must be a God because let’s face it, if there wasn’t a God and I did not come to believe then I surely would have died long ago.

I guess that’s all for now. I need to go throw something together for dinner it is nearing 10:30 p.m. and I haven’t eaten all day …

Thanks for all your good wishes. This post will cross over on Facebook so I have to mention those folks here now. Thank you for my sobriety …

Christmas is in three days … woo hoo …

More to come, stay tuned…


Who's Driving the Bus ???

Do you believe in Love

Lifted and augmented from Kickin Tina – My Friend Rod

“There is a saying in recovery which is “who’s driving your bus”. this is in direct correlation to a next stage of recovery. Once someone gets the chemicals out of their body and their brain, and let go of the obsession to re ingest, there is a new situation that appears on the foreground.

It consists of the mess that had been covered up by too much pills and liquor that now moves into the foreground. Many many times, people who get sober will find themselves involved in what would seem insane behavior because they haven’t done any work learning how to live life on life’s terms. They haven’t healed childhood traumas, they haven’t forgiven perpetrators and still hold resentment. They haven’t tried to grow or just don’t know how. This is often referred to in twelve step as a dry drunk.

It’s not surprising. So many people seeking recovery have been under the influence for the greater part of their adult lives. To know how to roll with anger, frustration, worry, anxiety, or boredom is completely new to them they have no experience at coping either with the big stuff or the little. And I cannot forget fear. Fear is at the root of so many issues, and I still find that I am afraid of things that are no longer even relevant in my life.

So many people put down the pipe, the straw, the needle, or the bottle. But if they want peace, they will need to strive for personal growth beyond just getting sober or clean. They will have to stretch their hearts and minds beyond their comfort zone.

At least this is my experience. I have now encountered this question at several junctions in my recent life…. “who’s driving your bus?” and I have to wonder who is driving. I think it’s not the guy I want it to be.

It is affirming to have direction. I need it in my life.”

I’ve never heard this saying before in recovery here. That’s why it is good to read recovery blogs from other places, because one day you might hear something that might be useful. Getting clean and sober is like peeling an onion. If you don’t do it correctly, you might miss a layer and pull off a chunk when all you really wanted to do was reveal one thin layer…

Once we take away the drugs and alcohol, the haze before our eyes starts to clear out. The fuzziness between our ears starts to sound like “sound” and our bodies begin to heal themselves from all the destruction we visited upon ourselves.

That’s why it is always good advice – not to do this alone.

For some we need medical assistance. For some it takes detox and rehab. For a few who are brave, and have some modicum of courage we can walk into a meeting admitting out faults and weaknesses and we allow a group of people to lead us into a life of recovery. The problem I have with some people in my recovery circle is simple –

“You can’t keep your ego and get sober at the same time.”

For some they just can’t let go and that becomes a stumbling block to their recovery and puts a very large speed bump in the room as it were. With the EGO still driving the bus, recovery may come, but not in the way it was intended.

I’ve seen a lot of people attempt to get sober over the last 8 years of my belonging to a group. And I’ve seen many people get stuck in the revolving door of  using and attempting to get sober – but alas, they can’t string together but a few days. FEAR is a great motivator. A motivator for change. And FEAR can be the decisive fist that grips people in the chest and won’t let them go. It is hard to watch someone sit in fear without a way out.

That is why we suggest that you don’t do this alone. So that if someone can help you let go of it, and stand with you, then in a little way, that fear is not so bad, until it recedes for good.

Getting clean and sober takes time. A lot of time. But with that comes patience and when patience comes, grace will follow. You can’t rush sobriety. It has to happen on its own, on God’s time and not ours. When we finally admit we are powerless over drugs and alcohol, we come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.

I’ve seen a few who would not let go, and sanity never came, and they went back out…

Who’s driving the bus? If you can’t handle the driver that’s in the drivers seat, then might I suggest you find someone who can drive your bus for you until you are able to drive it yourself. That’s what the program of recovery gives us when we give in and let go… we find THE BUS DRIVER… or He finds us…

Some people don’t come to recovery with feelings one way or another about the great bus driver, but eight times out of ten, they find him and they allow him to drive for awhile. He may have a copilot for a while, but eventually we can loose the copilot.

I had to relearn how to do many things after my slip. It was not easy, but I was not alone. I had people in my life who helped me out. Every day and Every night. One day at a time. But having done it once before, I got back on the bike and started riding again soon.

Eight years on, I know who’s driving my bus.

Do you know who’s driving your bus?


Who’s Driving the Bus ???

Do you believe in Love

Lifted and augmented from Kickin Tina – My Friend Rod

“There is a saying in recovery which is “who’s driving your bus”. this is in direct correlation to a next stage of recovery. Once someone gets the chemicals out of their body and their brain, and let go of the obsession to re ingest, there is a new situation that appears on the foreground.

It consists of the mess that had been covered up by too much pills and liquor that now moves into the foreground. Many many times, people who get sober will find themselves involved in what would seem insane behavior because they haven’t done any work learning how to live life on life’s terms. They haven’t healed childhood traumas, they haven’t forgiven perpetrators and still hold resentment. They haven’t tried to grow or just don’t know how. This is often referred to in twelve step as a dry drunk.

It’s not surprising. So many people seeking recovery have been under the influence for the greater part of their adult lives. To know how to roll with anger, frustration, worry, anxiety, or boredom is completely new to them they have no experience at coping either with the big stuff or the little. And I cannot forget fear. Fear is at the root of so many issues, and I still find that I am afraid of things that are no longer even relevant in my life.

So many people put down the pipe, the straw, the needle, or the bottle. But if they want peace, they will need to strive for personal growth beyond just getting sober or clean. They will have to stretch their hearts and minds beyond their comfort zone.

At least this is my experience. I have now encountered this question at several junctions in my recent life…. “who’s driving your bus?” and I have to wonder who is driving. I think it’s not the guy I want it to be.

It is affirming to have direction. I need it in my life.”

I’ve never heard this saying before in recovery here. That’s why it is good to read recovery blogs from other places, because one day you might hear something that might be useful. Getting clean and sober is like peeling an onion. If you don’t do it correctly, you might miss a layer and pull off a chunk when all you really wanted to do was reveal one thin layer…

Once we take away the drugs and alcohol, the haze before our eyes starts to clear out. The fuzziness between our ears starts to sound like “sound” and our bodies begin to heal themselves from all the destruction we visited upon ourselves.

That’s why it is always good advice – not to do this alone.

For some we need medical assistance. For some it takes detox and rehab. For a few who are brave, and have some modicum of courage we can walk into a meeting admitting out faults and weaknesses and we allow a group of people to lead us into a life of recovery. The problem I have with some people in my recovery circle is simple –

“You can’t keep your ego and get sober at the same time.”

For some they just can’t let go and that becomes a stumbling block to their recovery and puts a very large speed bump in the room as it were. With the EGO still driving the bus, recovery may come, but not in the way it was intended.

I’ve seen a lot of people attempt to get sober over the last 8 years of my belonging to a group. And I’ve seen many people get stuck in the revolving door of  using and attempting to get sober – but alas, they can’t string together but a few days. FEAR is a great motivator. A motivator for change. And FEAR can be the decisive fist that grips people in the chest and won’t let them go. It is hard to watch someone sit in fear without a way out.

That is why we suggest that you don’t do this alone. So that if someone can help you let go of it, and stand with you, then in a little way, that fear is not so bad, until it recedes for good.

Getting clean and sober takes time. A lot of time. But with that comes patience and when patience comes, grace will follow. You can’t rush sobriety. It has to happen on its own, on God’s time and not ours. When we finally admit we are powerless over drugs and alcohol, we come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.

I’ve seen a few who would not let go, and sanity never came, and they went back out…

Who’s driving the bus? If you can’t handle the driver that’s in the drivers seat, then might I suggest you find someone who can drive your bus for you until you are able to drive it yourself. That’s what the program of recovery gives us when we give in and let go… we find THE BUS DRIVER… or He finds us…

Some people don’t come to recovery with feelings one way or another about the great bus driver, but eight times out of ten, they find him and they allow him to drive for awhile. He may have a copilot for a while, but eventually we can loose the copilot.

I had to relearn how to do many things after my slip. It was not easy, but I was not alone. I had people in my life who helped me out. Every day and Every night. One day at a time. But having done it once before, I got back on the bike and started riding again soon.

Eight years on, I know who’s driving my bus.

Do you know who’s driving your bus?


Sermonette #1 T.B.

Do you believe in Love

Here at Tuesday Beginners over the last seen years we have welcomed hundreds of people who have come down those stairs to attempt to get sober. Some came fresh out of rehab and stayed a little while, but eventually fell away. Some came fresh off the street after drinking or coming back from a slip.

What all these people had in common was that they all had issues. Some were bitter and angry, some had egos the size of Mack trucks. And some just didn’t like the fact that a faggot was chairing meetings here and that wasn’t my problem it was theirs.

Over those last seven years all those people I have explained above are all gone now. Try as they might, to get sober and get right with themselves and God, they failed and ended up leaving our group. But never a week goes by that I don’t remember each of them when I put down chairs because I know where they used to sit. Which brings me to the here and now.

I have been a member in good standing in this group for over seven years and I have earned my place in this chair and in this group. I have had my moments be they good or bad, but thanks to the steps I have seen through those bad spaces. Live and Let Live I say.

Which brings me to the crux of this sermonette. As a member of this group and a member who has invested over seven years of his life to it, if you or anyone else in this room has a problem with me – for any reason – it is your problem and not mine. They say that if you have a problem with someone that you must first look at yourself and see where that problem resides within yourself. I will not tolerate any punk, person or junkie coming into my meeting and giving me ultimatums and threats.

If you have a problem with this group and you cannot get past your own egos and chips on your shoulders, then I kindly invite you to vacate your seat and walk out the doors of this hall and don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you. People like you have come and gone from this meeting and we have outlived them. We will outlive you as well if you can’t get past your demons and egos. I for one will no longer put up with them and you can take that to the bank.

Let me reiterate that if you can’t get along with everyone here in this meeting, then maybe this meeting isn’t for you and I invite you to go find a meeting that better suits your needs and will feed your ego in ways that we will not.

And now for the topic of the night…

You can’t have an ego and get sober at the same time…


Experience, Strength and Hope…

What a day it has been! It has been a quiet weekend, I had not heard from my son all weekend, until the middle of this afternoon. He has been seeing a young man who has a problem. With the drink. His opening salvo was “I’m gonna kill him!” Junior drank an entire bottle of scotch last night and 3/4 of a bottle of vodka and he passed out from his exploration.It’s not my place to call someone an alcoholic but this binge drinking has been a common habit of his.

We are powerless over people, places and things. You cannot help someone who does not want help, or does not realize that their drinking is a problem, even if we see it, until he owns his problem, all we can do is point the way and be there when he hits his bottom. So what did I do with this information, I took myself to a meeting.

Sunday niters meets in the same hall as my Home Group, Tuesday Beginners. I went to the Big Book Meeting, and we read from the stories in the back of the book, “Listening to the Wind!” It is a story about a Native American woman who gets sober, against all odds. Page 458 in the Fourth Edition. It was a lively discussion. I stayed for the second meeting which is a speaker meeting. And low and behold the chair had asked for someone to speak. I asked him how much time was necessary for a speaker, and he said that any length of sobriety would be fine.

I have been in a very nostalgic mood for the past few days, coming up on my anniversary on July 8th. He asked me if I would speak for him, and I said yes. If you follow this link to [Sunday Niters. Org] They tape the speakers, so after midnight tonight, if you go to the webpage and click Archives, you can hear my share on the world wide web.

There is hope, There is Light, There is Alcoholics Anonymous. If you think you have a problem with alcohol and you need help, you can visit [AA.org] and get help.

There are no coincidences…


How I got sober…

I guess you can say that a series of events conspired to get me to sobriety. I was heading in this general direction for a few months before I had gotten sick and tired of being sick and tired. I came off a long and terribly painful slip, I was trying to rebuild my life from nothing once again, and I found a land lady who decided that it was her duty to try and help me heal my wounds. She gave me a place to live and added to that she gave me a job when I really needed it the most. Little blessings…

I was a binge drinker then and so I was drinking for the entire week in one night. I had a job that paid me well and over those last few months I always tell this story about Troy. Troy was a boy who came into my shop looking for work. I hired him, and every day he would come into work and say “I did not drink today!” Well, I clapped my hands and said well done.

I had prayed for that last hangover, which came. The second prayer was that God put an alcoholic in my path. Over the few months that Troy worked for me he would say every day that ‘he didn’t drink’ until 4 months later we were on a delivery and he said that he was taking his One Year Cake and that maybe I would like to join him at a meeting, which I accepted his invitation. The third prayer was that I get to a meeting. I was ready for God to make his move. I was waiting for the signs to come together and they did.

I never took another drink. December 9th 2001 was my first meeting back. Which is the day I picked up my white poker chip. My sign of surrender. Getting sober in the same city “Again” that I got sober in the first time was a challenge, because I was ashamed and I did not want the many people I got sober with the first time, to see me crawl back into a meeting sorrowful and beaten down as far as I had been during my slip.

I had a month to clean up. Miami is a big city and sober people come and go, and news traveled fast in those days, and on Christmas Eve 2001, I went into the city for a midnight meeting and everyone I knew in my first recovery was there, and they clapped and cheered as I walked in the hall that night. I think it was one of the best nights in my sober life. I was free, and forgiven, and loved and that made all the difference to my sobriety that none of my friends judged me because I was doing a terrible job judging myself already.

I started working my steps. I starting reading the Big Book. I had a meeting every day at the same time in the same place that served me well. That 10 p.m. meeting did wonders for me because I was a late night drinker and I partied at night and I could not party any more, and all my friends I made at that home group helped me immensely.

Five months into sobriety I came to visit Montreal, I liked it so much I decided to move, and get my citizenship. I went home to Florida and packed up my little life and pulled up stakes and set off for the promised land. And that’s what it has been like for the last almost seven years. I would not have changed anything as it came to me – God blessed my life, God blessed my sobriety because this has been a wondrous life and I am truly grateful.

I did my homework. I went to meetings, I found my way into this beautiful city and I did not look back. The hard work here in Montreal is that there is only 2 meetings in this city (on the English side) that meets every day at the same time every day. If you are going to get sober in Montreal, you are going to have to work your ass off because there are over 500 meetings in the city every week, and you must travel to get to these meetings. There is no luxury way to do it. You find the time, You make the time, and you schedule your life around your meetings, and that is what I have done for the last six years and four months.

Thank you for my sobriety…


Made a Decision…

John 10:22-30
The Unbelief of the Jews

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

Tonight’s topic: Step Three…
“Made a decision to turn our will and our life over to the care of God, as we understood him.”

The THIRD STEP Prayer
[As adjusted from the book Alcoholics Anonymous, page 63, line 14]

God, I offer myself to You —
to build with me
and to do with me as You will.

Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Your will.

Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them
may bear witness to those I would help
of Your Power,
Your Love,
and Your Way of life.

May I do Your will always.

Amen.

**********
How do I turn it over? Where did I learn about turning it over? When did I decide to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understood him? A long time ago, I worked my steps inside a 17 week intensive with a group of men, who in fact, I have not seen any of them in quite some time. Go figure…

I spoke about Step Three in the context of actual working the steps in my daily life. Steps One, Two and Three, “I can’t, He can, so I will let him” I have heard said even tonight. Step Three is that prayer that one says in their morning meditation, to begin the day. Over the last few years I have worked on the first three steps in my daily meditation… “… like one big exhale…”

All I know is that when I take my will back, my day usually falls to pieces. I am powerless over people, places and things. I can’t change what other people will do. I can adapt to the universe and turn it over and do God’s will, every day. But this did not come easily. Working steps become a life process and no longer a step process. The longer you stay sober, and you can actively APPLY these steps in every day life, AND you can see actual results come to pass for you and for others, then you will know that it works.

I know when I got sober, I lived on my time, on my terms and on my expectations. It took me a year to get past my expectations as God, one by one said “No, No, NOT YET, and Definitely NOT!!!”

I had to let go and let God…

The second time this occurred was when I was two years into my life here in Montreal, having crossed the border and with war looming, I was still an ex-pat without a method or a means to define himself. I had one foot in one country and one foot in the other and I was lost as to what to do, or how to move forward. I had hit the proverbial wall. I was having major culture shock. I sat with my academic adviser and mentor and he gave me this advice:

“If you don’t know where you are or who you are and you are not sure of the place that you are sitting in, at the moment, then sit down in this place and get to know it. Feel it, hear it, see it and experience it. In this moment find your footing and yourself. When you are familiar with all that’s around you – take out your map and look at it. Plan your next step, and when you are ready, take that next step, but not until you have become familiar with where you are standing.”

I had to let go and let God…

But what about me???

The next time I had to work this step was truly the most important lesson in my life. In 2003 my hubby got sick and had a nervous breakdown and he went down for the count. For months I was lost in the dark, wandering from day to day, not knowing what to do or how to help him. I wanted my will back and I wanted something for me. I “wanted” I don’t know if I was expecting too much? I don’t think I can name this as expectation, but more selfish, in the middle of the night wanting more more more…

Until I heard Saul tell this story:

An elderly man walked into the hospital ER to have some stitches taken out of his hand. He sat in chairs and was pensive and kept looking at his watch. He caught the attention of a passing nurse, who decided to take care of him. The nurse took him into an exam room and started the procedure. While making small talk, the nurse was troubled when he kept seeing this man always looking at his watch. He inquired of the old man if he was in a hurry? The man replied, yes I have to keep an appointment. The nurse inquired further if the man needed further medical care, and he replied No.

The man started to shake and the nurse was hurrying along and they spoke further, the elderly man said he had to go have breakfast with his wife, and that he had breakfast with his wife every day at the same time and he had to keep to the schedule.

You see, the elderly man said, my wife has Alzheimer’s disease and every day I eat breakfast with her, yet she does not know who I am. And the nurse inquired WHY did he have breakfast with his wife every day even if she no longer remembered who he was?

The old man replied… “Because I remember who she is!”

I never again asked the question, “What about me ever again…”

I had to let Go and Let God…

What about me went out the window – with all my expectations. This was the crucial moment when this boy became a man. I learned about putting the needs of another before my own, without expectation, wanting or resentment. I had truly learned how to turn it over…

I can’t tell you how to do Step Three, but I can tell you how it worked for me. You can’t move forward with the rest of the steps until you really understand and can wrap your mind around One, Two and Three, because the rest of the steps come in right order for the rest of your life.

Until you get One, Two and Three you should not move on to four, five and six… Because if you cannot turn it over, and know what that means, you should not attempt the inventory, the lists and the amends…

The steps were written in the order they were by wise men and women.


11:11, Sobriety and Assorted other topics

frozen-therm.jpg

[Paragraphs people!! Write nice short paragraphs!!] Break up the text for the love of God! I am having issues with some of my reads because I won’t take the time to sit and read verbal vomit on the page. If you block write, change it up folks…

Have you experienced the [11:11] phenomena? Those moments when you look at the clock and the time usually has a [11] component to it, like this morning, I woke up and looked at the clock it said [9:11a.m.]. Now this is something that has been discussed on late night radio for months and months.

I don’t usually stare at the clock all day, like I have better things to do with my time, right, but over the last few weeks, my [11:11] experience has been growing daily. They say that those who notice the [11] phenomena are people who are beginning to vibrate at a higher spiritual level.

As 2012 approaches, many predictions made over the last few months, and of course over the New Year, sees a spike in spiritual experience for those who are looking for it to happen. Little indicators that people are starting to pay attention to. The [11:11] phenomena is just one of them.

**********

I had plans today. I actually made a list of things I needed to do today, and dammit if God laughed in my face this morning when I got up. The weather is quite frightful outside. It is a bitter [-14c with a wind chill of -22c] outside.

I was going to go shopping at the mall. But it is freaking cold outside, and I am not going to freeze my tits off to go shopping for things I really don’t need!

I was going to go to the campus bookstore and buy my books for the new term, and wouldn’t you know it, the campus is still closed until tomorrow! god dammit… I paid my tuition balance so I could register another class on my portal, and wouldn’t you know it, the school computers are not posting online payments to our portals yet, so I can’t register until they open the portal… god dammit…

So after learning that my best laid plans for the day were shot to hell, I decided to remove every vestige of Christmas from the apartment. It’s all gone. The ornaments are all neatly stored in their boxes and the tree is in its nice box, [that is falling apart after 4 years of abuse] and all the decorations are now gone! Thank Christ it’s over with… That damned tree has been up since the day after Halloween!!!

I made a little shopping list for the grocery store and I set off for the corner. The snow drift out front of the building is now 20 feet high. The plows came through last night and there are snow drifts all over the downtown core now, and I estimate that the downtown core clean up won’t start for at least three days…

From my front door of the building to the corner downstairs, is about 200 yards. It was so cold outside and the wind is blowing at 15 clicks, I got to the front doors of the store and I had to stop and catch my breath, I walked around the store pushing my cart like some robot who had just walked through the deep freeze… It is freaking cold man…

I did my reads. I left a few comments here and there.

drinking.jpeg

If YOU or someone YOU KNOW has a drinking problem, may I suggest the following solution: [AA.ORG] We can’t get someone sober. We can’t do for them what they must do for themselves. All we can do is offer support and calm and steady guidance towards the most logical solution. If you think you cannot just have one drink, or you are binging and you are steadily fucking up relationships because of your drinking, then there is a solution. And it isn’t about ME and it isn’t about God. Sobriety is about YOU and what you can do to stop the cycle of self abuse.

I know, I’ve been here. Many of my reads, [the gay boys] drink. AND drink heavily. I don’t usually comment where drunkenness is an issue because people think I am self righteous and arrogant, and that the god factor in sobriety is useless to them. So I have been told. Yet my friends continue to self abuse. And it is my choice to read or not read. Today I left a comment over on Real Euphoria because I care. But like I said, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink…

All we can do is offer a suggestion of a solution, serenity and sobriety for those who really need it. All I can do is talk about my experience and tell you that I was one of those people, once. There are meetings worldwide, in almost every country around the globe. Australia has meetings, I know this. I’ve met sober Aussies…

***********
IMVU!! Do you IMVU??

Danny got me to join this online virtual reality Im service. The account is free, you get to create an avatar and buy clothes in the store and really create spaces in the virtual community. Last night, I loaded up my virtual dj station into my player and I usually haunt the [Gay Raver Room] in the public room forums. It is quite fun actually to have some music playing in your headset and see your avatar dancing on the dance floor.

I guess I spent two hours listening to music from the 1980’s and dancing in the club. I had a few conversations with people and unlike going to a real bar, you don’t have to leave the house. So if you have some spare time and you want to meet up with me at my virtual club one night click the link above and join [my avatar is Guest_jeremiah1350]…

Its fun. It is much different than sitting in a cold white im box on yahoo or MSN…

So that’s the kind of say it has been so far. Maybe I’ll write some more later…
This is the time for change. To start anew. Join me in the journey into 2008!!!