Don’t you know you can only sail to the north east end of the Mediterranean sea, then travel by land But what if we sailed in the other direction? Don’t you know if you sail out there your going to sail off the end of this sucker?
Columbus had to be an alcoholic, ” I believe the world is round, I do not believe that it’s flat,” then he made one of the most drunk statements the world has ever heard: ” I believe that we can get East by sailing West.” Now if that isn’t drunk thinking, I don’t know what is.
- Many of his mannerisms indicated he was alcoholic,
- When he left he didn’t know where he was going,
- when he got there, he didn’t know where he was,
- when he got back he didn’t even know where he had been,
- but what really made him a real alcoholic is a woman financed the whole trip for him.
- She did that twice.
Columbus followed a little formula, the world is always known, that if you want to change anything at all, there are certain things that have to take place. The first thing you have to do in order to change anything is to be willing to do so.
Circumstances are what make us willing.
Trying to find the new trade route to the East Indies, is what made him willing to change.
The second thing you have to do to change anything, is to believe you can do so. “I believe the world is round and not flat, and I believe you can get East by sailing West.” But his belief didn’t do him any good either cause he’s still standing on the shore of the ocean the day he expressed that belief.
Some days, weeks, months, years later, he did the third thing He made a decision. He said “by golly I’m gonna go find out that this thing is really round and not flat and can you really get East by sailing West,” but his decision didn’t do him any good either. Because he was still standing on the shore of the ocean the day he expressed that decision.
Some days, weeks, months, years later he did the next thing you have to do, he started taking action. The first thing he did he went to the king of Portugal to get the money, but the king was a very astute business man and said “there’s no way I’m not gonna let you have this money cause you’ll sail out there and sail right off the edge of this sucker and I’ll loose it all.”
That’s why Columbus ended up with the Queen of Spain.
Sweet talked her out of the money. On the promise that he would bring back gold, silk. spices and all the goodies of life. She gave him the money. He bought three ships, he put provision on those ships, he put crew members on all those ships And they began going East by sailing West.
Sailing West, day after day after day, now we don’t know for sure but we have a suspicion that on that first trip he hired a special sailor and put him on the bow of that lead ship at night with a lantern and he whispered in his ear said, “I believe this thing is round but if you see the edge of this damn thing, you holler so we can get turned around in time.”
Now after having sailing West for several days, he got results. They found land on the other side. Which was the result of the action that they had taken. Now we know that he thought that it was the East Indies, it wasn’t, it was the West Indies, but he’d proven himself that the world is not flat, it is round and you will not sail off the edge of it.
He turned right around and came back to Europe.
Went right back to the Queen of Spain, and she said to Columbus, “where are the gold, silk and spices you promised you would bring me?” And he said “sweet heart I’m sorry but I didn’t find any but he said, tell you what I’ll do, if you refinance me I’ll go back. Trust me honey please,” this time I’ll find it. And she refinanced him, and he got some more ships and more provisions, more crew members they begun sailing East by going West, but with one big difference, the second trip he didn’t hire that special sailor, put him on the lead ship by night, this time he went back on faith.
He went back on knowledge. The first time he went back on belief. you can’t start with faith, the only thing you can do is start with belief, make the decision, take the action, get the results, then you will have faith.
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I thought I’d start this post with this story. It comes from Joe and Charlie, speaking to the chapter in the Big Book called “We Agnostics.”
It was a beautiful day today. It is getting warmer by the day. It was also a great day because one of my best friends is here for 10 days for a work conference, all the way from California. It is our yearly get together. Along with a third friend who lives here, we make the three Musketeers.
What’s Behind the now “white door?”
The door I told you, the other day was blue, is now white. The space is a vacant cavern. When they built this store, they put in a glass wall that fronts the space. It extends all the way up to the Mezzanine floor above. That glass enclosure is now papered over.
I guess they don’t want to expose us to the transfer of the space to the new occupants. Yes, that is a true statement. New occupants are coming, and the signs say “SOON.”
I haven’t checked to see if they removed the outside signage yet, but I am sure that will take place very soon.
I went to the meeting, we had a good showing. The jobs are taken for the next month. I came home for a bit to write up the story above, actually I transcribed it word for word from the CD we are listening to weekly. It was just too good a story to let pass by and not note it here.
Then my friend from the states arrived at his hotel, down at Place des Arts and we went for dinner in the hotel, because it was too late to go find an open restaurant. Tomorrow we get a few more hours to go eat and hang out. Our third will be busy curling tomorrow night.
It is late,
More to come. Stay tuned …
This is the meeting room in the back of the house, There is a sitting room adjacent to this space, that has couches, tables and lamps, a full working fire place. We met some very nice folks from all over the area and visitors from other places. Notice the license plates from all over the United States. There are many more tacked to the rafters all the way around this room. There is never ending coffee, a pop corn maker, and comfortable places to sit during the day when you visit and for the guests who are staying and the guests that come for meetings in the house.
The living room/piano room. Lots of literature to read, and a really great space to enjoy your special Bill W. cup of coffee. We did … enjoy the coffee. How many people can say they had a cup of coffee in Bill W’s home?
This is Bill W’s grave. You can see chips that have been placed on the headstone. There is only room for 11 or 12 chips. When you come, you bring your chip and leave it for someone else to take, when THEY come to visit the grave. My 12 year chip is now sitting here, along with many chips with anniversaries in the high 40’s. When too many chips appear on the headstone or on the ground surrounding it, the caretaker collects the chips and stores them in a shed on the property.
It is a cold night in the fair city. A little more cold than I would prefer, but manageable. We are sitting at (-5c) at this hour, and they tell us that snow will fall over night. We shall see about that …
I was agonizing over my Psychology midterm exam last night. I did all the studying that was assigned. I completed the study guide because we had to hand it in before the exam for study credits. I got to school about an hour before class so that I could read from the book, which I did. There were 55 questions on the exam all multiple choice. I sat the exam and it was challenging. I hope that my classmates read all the questions completely, because many of the questions were very similar. I only got stuck on one question out of the 55 which means that I must have done alright on the rest of the exam. I finished in less than the first hour and was home by 7:30.
My new kicks are in the pike, and hopefully they will show up here tomorrow like clockwork. USPS is not updating their site as often as I would like, but I assume that the box is here in the city and will clear customs in the morning and be delivered to me some time tomorrow. *crosses fingers*
I got out of the house early today for set up and it was usual and effortless. A group of women came to read early which was nice. I spent some time reading from the collection of Grapevines we have in the box before the meeting.
Today’s reading came from the Big Book, namely the passages that deal with Step 3, since we are in the third month of the year the chair had us read these few pages and discuss. The questions posed were – How do you know your Higher Power and if you know him/her/it – what does his voice sound like?
I’ve been reading from Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age over the past couple of days, I am only past the first chapter, which tells the story of the A.A. convention in St. Louis in July of 1955.
It was at this convention that the founders of A.A. would hand over the operations of the organizations to the many committees that had been formed for the stewardship of A.A.
I have been amazed at the spiritual rhythm that existed back in the day. And how many clerical men had participated in the early formation of A.A. and just how much Bill Wilson relied on these men to guide him spiritually to write those hallowed words in the books, and the steps and traditions. When you read from the old timers – you begin the see just how A.A. came together and what care was taken to address so many issues that came up, and they did come up …
I have written in my Big Book a question …
” Are we going easy on the God stuff? ”
Many of the founding fathers spoke at the St. Louis Convention to thousands of alcoholics, their families and friends. And they spoke of hope and of solutions. They told the stories of how this all came to be and what hopes they had for where it was going to go. There is a spiritual rhythm to the movement. And in my time in the program I have found my rhythm. And therefore I could appreciate and admire the rhythm that the old timers of A.A. had as well.
When I read from the text, I can hear the desperation that came out of adversity, and the grace that took hold and the healing that saved hundreds of thousands around the world over the first twenty years that A.A. had journeyed. The story goes on to tell the story of the world tour that Bill and Lois went on to Europe and Scandinavia and the Netherlands and Amsterdam.
How A.A. started with a lone alcoholic and how that one person in a certain city started a meeting and how others followed after them. And in each and every city, someone kindly and confidently translated the English text into the language of their location. You just cannot imagine how gratifying it is to know just how much care went into the founding, codifying and administration of A.A.
Read the literature and be amazed yourself.
So many men and women some 57 years ago heard the call to come and partake of the gift of sobriety. And each one of them had made the admission, and came to believe and then made a decision … “To turn their wills and their lives over to the care of God, as they understood Him.” And tonight we read those words again. Each word written on the page was chosen faithfully and confidently.
Every word was caressed and loved into being through the ministrations of Bill and the many people who edited the text until it met final approval and was printed for the first time. The first 164 pages of the Big Book have never been tampered with to this day. The program is set out in those 164 pages and works if you just let go and surrender.
Tonight when the reading went around the table it fell upon a friend of mine who got to read the Third Step Prayer, out of the book. We all heard it spoken. And everybody had a word to share about when they took that third step and what it meant to them and how it affected them.
The discussion went around the outer circle and then came to the table and then it came to me. And I had been thinking about this topic for a few days because I have been reading this historical information about the program. I have conscious contact with my Higher Power. And sometimes he speaks and I hear it in my heart, and other times, he speaks through other people and it takes a keen ear to know how to filter the words of man from the words of God.
And I’ve heard the voice of God … Come out of my husbands mouth. I wrote about it a little while ago in the post ” The State of our Union. ” being Poz, one knows how not to forecast or make plans ahead of nominal time. I’ve been doing the next right thing for a long time. I hit my meetings, I do service and I work with my sponsees. I have a life, a marriage and my education.
I am tired of being in school. Going to University has not served me in any professional way, except to help me polish my writing voice here on the blog. I’ll never get a job in this God forsaken city because I don’t speak French. And I’ve been waiting on God to tell me what I am supposed to do next. I have been saying that prayer for months on end. And finally the answer came …
Hubby sat up, he gave me hope for the future and said that he wanted to take care of me and to allow me to do more of what I love to do, write, work with the program and get more involved with what I do best. And this is what I do best, bar none. It gives me more joy that anything else I do, besides go to meetings and do service.
Several time over the past couple of weeks, hubby reminds me of where we are going and that hope is tangible. He has goals that are coming to fruition, if we just hold fast and do the next right thing until the day comes to make the next move, when all the puzzle pieces are in place. Then we can move forwards. We’ve been waiting for more than ten years to reach this point, so waiting a little while longer is not too much to ask.
We sat almost fifty folks around the table, the room was packed, and the coffee pot was empty when we closed up. A good night was had by all. Tomorrow will be exciting if my kicks come as I hope, and I have class tomorrow night and then the group conscience on Thursday night, for Friday West End.
More to come, stay tuned…
Courtesy: Flickr Joshua Uhl
It is cold out tonight. We got a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. They called for more snow overnight last night, which didn’t manifest. But they are plowing snow away as I write tonight downstairs on the streets around here.
We are sitting at ( -9c/ -14c w.c.). It was a quiet day. I did not sleep well last night, even after going to bed at 1 a.m. I was still awake looking at the clock at 7 this morning – I guess I finally fell asleep and slept until I had to get up and get ready to go. It was an easy set up and we had a business meeting. Members are aching for jobs to do. I don’t know how many more jobs we can bring forth without extending the length of the meeting.
And even with that, people are bitchy when it comes to lengthening the meeting beyond our hour fifteen minute meeting. There are always a handful of people who love to bitch about anything. My sponsor says that we are too spoiled with instant gratification today and people want it “Right now or three hours earlier…”
We sat more than 40 folks and we read from the Big Book, from the 4th edition story “Gratitude in Action” the story of Dave B, one of the founders of A.A. in Canada in 1944.
In Pass it On, the book I just finished reading, Bill was so worried that there were so many requests for meeting info and to find actual meetings and back in 1944, meetings were still in their infancy, with the fellowship still growing by the week.
Letters would come in to N.Y.C. and get disseminated to city centers far and wide as new meetings were founded. The First edition of the Big Book was published and sold for $2.50 a copy. They could not print them fast enough to get them to all the people who needed them.
Bill was still trying to get the word out about the fellowship – and he made several tours of the United States and Canada over a number of years carrying the message to lone A.A’s scattered across the U.S. and Canada. It took several years for AA to “Come of Age” when the books were codified – the steps and traditions set up and in place, and also that the General Service office had been created and operating at optimum performance.
Bill counted on lone A.A’s around the world to set up meeting centers and to begin to carry the message to sufferers where ever they may be. And so it went for Dave B. Here in Quebec. It is written in the book that in October of 1944, Bobbie from the New York Office wrote him saying:
“You sound very sincere and from now on we will be counting on you to perpetuate the Fellowship of A.A. where you are. You will find enclosed some queries from alcoholics. We think you are now ready to take on this responsibility.”She had enclosed some four hundred letters that Dave answered over the course of the following weeks. And soon he got answers back.
We can be grateful for this lone A.A. who was handed the job of carrying the message through Quebec and on into Canada from East to West. There are hundreds of meetings in Montreal alone. They span French, English, Spanish and even Farsi.
One can hit a meeting at several times a day in several locations all over the city. The more bilingual you are the more meetings you are able to hit. The General Service office serves thousands of alcoholics here in the city. And it all began with one man Dave B. some 68 years ago.
We went the entire period. We gained several new members this week, which brings us to fifteen members at our home group. Everybody wants to do something to be of service. And over the next few months we will be looking to expand our reach into the Grapevine, General Service and the Phones. We are looking into getting a Grapevine Membership at $50.00 a year, I need to research that this week some time.
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I have a midterm exam tomorrow in Geography and I need to do some serious studying, it shouldn’t be too bad. I’ve got a basic understanding of what he is going to ask us, but I need to go over the power points and my notes and polish off the essay question on China’s One Child Policy.
That has been the day in brief.
More to come, stay tuned …
I’ve been reading from “Pass it on – Bill Wilson and the A.A. message” as of late and I find it incredibly enlightening. I was itching to find something to read from my library lately and this is where I went.
The book is an incredible wealth of history and worth a read during your sobriety to get the real story of Bill Wilson and how A.A. came to be. Where was A.A. founded and by whom, and how Bill came to be the great leader of the fellowship to so many in his lifetime.
My Old Timer friend from the West Island is a wealth of history because he knew Bill Wilson in his early sobriety after coming back from the war, having traveled to New York to visit Bill and to hear him speak on many an occasion. I’ve been reading this book, because it gives us a point of reference to talk about when we see each other on Friday night’s.
Pass it On, Chapter 11 pgs. 190 – 200.
Bill was about to write the very important 5th chapter of the Big Book, “How it Works” and as Bill put it “There must not be a single loop hole through which the rationalizing alcoholic could wiggle out.”
The basic material for the chapter was the word-of-mouth program that Bill had been talking ever since his own recovery. It was heavy with Oxford Group principles, and had in addition some of the ideas Bill had gleaned from William James and from Dr. Silkworth.
Moreover, Bill had worked with Dr. Bob and other alcoholics in testing and sifting the workability and effectiveness of the early program. While he would be the nominal author of the fifth chapter, he was in fact serving as spokesman for all the others.
According to Bill, their word-of-mouth program had thus far been a pretty consistent procedure, containing six steps to achieve and maintain sobriety. There is no evidence that the Oxford Group had such a specific program; yet the Oxford Group ideas prevail in these original six steps, as listed by Bill:
- We admitted that we were licked, that we were powerless over alcohol.
- We made a moral inventory of our defects or sins.
- We confessed or shared our shortcomings with another person in confidence.
- We made restitution to all those we had harmed by our drinking.
- We tried to help other alcoholics, with no thought of reward in money or prestige.
- We prayer to whatever God we thought there was for power to practice these precepts.
Although these steps had helped in the recovery of New York and Akron alcoholics, Bill felt that the program still was not definitive. “Maybe our six chunks of truth should be broken up into smaller pieces,” he said. “Thus we could better get the distant reader over the barrel, and at the same time we might be able to broaden and deepen the spiritual implications of our whole presentation.”
Bill wrote the Twelve Steps, he said, while lying in bed at 182 Clinton Street with pencil in hand and a pad of yellow scratch paper on his knee. He wrote them in bed, said Lois, not because he was really sick, but he wasn’t feeling well, and if he could lie down he did: “He got into bed, that being the best place to think…”
[Bill, it is noted later on in the text, spent a good deal of time sitting and thinking and also for laying down more often than Lois would have liked, Lois was the ‘doer’ in the family, Bill was more the think and sitter].
… As he started to write, he asked for guidance. And he relaxed. The words began tumbling out with astonishing speed. He completed to first draft in about half an hour, then kept on writing until he felt he should stop and review what he had written. Numbering the new steps, he found that they added up to twelve – a symbolic number; he thought of the Twelve Apostles, and soon became convinced that the society should have twelve steps.
The very first draft of the Twelve Steps, as Bill wrote them that night, has been lost. This is an approximate reconstruction of the way he first set them down:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that God could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care and direction of God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely willing that God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly on our knees asked Him to remove these shortcomings – holding nothing back.
- Made a complete list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people where ever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Bill’s first three steps were culled from his reading of James, the teachings of Sam Shoemaker, and those of the Oxford Group. The first step had to do with calamity and disaster; the second was an admission of defeat – that one could not go on living on the strength of one’s own resources; and the third was an appeal to a Higher Power for help…
In writing the steps, Bill also produced the hard hitting promise of the introductory paragraphs, beginning, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path [‘directions’ in the earlier manuscript]. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.”
(According to an apocryphal story, Bill was asked in later years whether there was any change he wished he could make in the Big Book, and he replied that he would change “Rarely” to “Never.” Bill himself said he never considered that change.)
By then end of January 1939, the manuscript was ready for preliminary distribution; 400 copies were Multilithed and circulated to members, friends, and other allies for comments and evaluation.
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If you’ve ever wanted to know how the fellowship came to be, where the original ideas came from and how A.A. formed and how the word-of-mouth fellowship came to pass, then you should read this book. It is a valued piece of history that every alcoholic should read.
Bill did not take to sobriety on the first pass. In fact, it took him several attempts at sobriety to “get it.” In the beginning Bill was stuck in the revolving door of in and out. Drunk, sober and drunk again … And that tasked his marriage to a great detail. And once, at last, he was delivered into sobriety. And his and Lois’ marriage flourished in time.
It being the 20’s and 30’s in America, along with the war and great depression, times were very tough. Bill and Lois lost their home(s) several times, moving from home to home between members and early A.A. clubhouses in New York. Finally in January 1941, Bill and Lois finally found a home in Bedford Hills, New York.
Bill speaks about his spiritual experience in great detail in the book, and it came up every time Bill was asked to share his story. Where ever Bill went, he would always be the focus of attention at what ever meeting he went to. He was celebrated by all of them who came to know him, and for those who were blessed enough to know him and hear him speak at a meeting.
I hope you find this reading as interesting as I have.
“Pass it On”
The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world.
Courtesy: Elleusine “Edna Mode …”
We are sitting at (2c) at this hour. They tell us that snow will fall once again and gusty winds will blow overnight. It was a rather bright and balmy day in the neighborhood. The weather has been up and down and up and down for days.
But we keep on keeping on. There are things to do, meetings to set up and people to serve. And not even snow keeps us from the work of our hands.
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Things at home have been at a strain for a while now. Bi-polar depression is taking its toll on my hubby to the degree that the doc has bumped up all his meds to maximum to try and get him out of the funk he has been in for some time.
Today we had a mini state of our union meeting. And we talked about everything that has been going on, problems we are having and issues that need to be looked at. And if I don’t say it enough, I love my husband. I loved who he was before and I grow to love who he is more and more each day.
At times it seems that I am not paying close enough attention to things going on around me, and I missed a few cues along the way. But I was made aware of them today. Hubby is working hard on digging himself out of the pit of depression he has been in for some time. And work has suffered because of it, but his supervisors and fellow teachers have been trying to help him along the way as he is able.
That’s a problem with Bi-Polar depression. The lows can get really low and when you hit a high, it may be very high, but not sustainable for long periods, so one peaks and then begins the hard fall down again.
Part of hubby’s occupational therapy coming back was to give him responsibility after being down for so long in the beginning. And he has not only stepped up to the plate but he has systematically taken charge of all things house and home.
And I think to myself that I haven’t been contributing enough to this effort except in paying rent and keeping the bills up to date. But Hubby has taken charge of making sure all the major accounts are kept up.
But he has goals for both of us. Goals that I can hardly wrap my brain around.I never imagined that I would live this long nor have dreams this big.
We have been on an uphill climb for years, ever since we moved in together in 2002. We have made a home, decorated it simply and over the years we have replaced all of our electronic devices. And life has been comfortable, to a degree. But the one boulder we still are under is financial.
They say that “fear of people and of financial insecurity will leave us!”
Living with AIDS tells us that we should never look to far forwards into the future because you never know when the other shoe is going to drop …
But hubby thinks otherwise. So here is the plan.
First: Hubby is proud that I have found a vocation in the room of Alcoholics Anonymous. That I am working with sponsees and I have found two groups of people who I love to be with and who love me in return. This has been my life for the last ten years, and though it doesn’t pay out dividends in cash, it does pay out spiritually and helps us both. It is my sober head that hubby needs in his life. He said that this is my vocation. However simple it is, it has brought me joy and fulfillment.
Secondly: He has stated unequivocally that this year is the last year that I will be studying at school. The only real reason that I am still in school is because of the payout that we get for school via financial aide. Since I have had the time credit in the bank for Cegep since I did not do that earlier in life, that I would use it now and bide my time until the next door opened up to us. At least it is some contribution to the household.
Well, the door has opened.
I will finish this term in May and finally bring to a close my years of education. Since neither of my degrees in Religious Studies nor Pastoral Ministries has paid out in any functional job opportunities, the fall back position has always been my meetings.
Hubby was granted a full pay position at school which he is being paid handsomely for. And he will finish his M.A. this year and defend sometime later in the year. And in September he said that he hoped that he would begin his full time teaching at some level here in Montreal. He has all the credits and degrees he will need plus his M.A. in Sociology to put to good use.
Thirdly: Our apartment has done well for us over the years. But the time is coming that we will be looking to move from here into something bigger with new furniture and new carpets and new bedding and just all around new things. His long term goal is to find a condo somewhere that would suffice that we could possibly be able to afford come the end of the year, once he hopes to be making good money. The only caveat here is that I want a view. Nothing on the street and not in some squat 40 year old building.
I will be afforded the luxury of living off my assistance from the states and what ever other money I need from hubby’s pay. Hopefully these goal will come to fruition as he sees it. And why shouldn’t it, seeing that he has done all this work and not for naught. Once he finishes his M.A. good paying work should follow.
The fact that I could not find a job that I would love to do to save my life is apparent. I am not going to become a barista at some doughnut shop or work some retail job in some box store nor sling burgers at some burger joint. I did not go to university for seven years to have to stoop to that kind of work at my age. You’d imagine that somewhere on the net, with all the business profiles and contacts I have that a job would present itself, well it hasn’t. Which is why I deleted all my university contacts from my LinkedIn profile. They havent served me so why maintain those connections. Really ! Really !!!
Hubby has stated that his goal in life is to become a teacher, it is something that he loves to do and he does it well. And I will move into a role of house husband. Taking care of house and home, shopping and taking care of things while he works.
I will do my meetings and keep my end of the sober bargain up. Maybe I will branch out and devote more time to A.A. in some other service oriented way. That has always worked for me in many areas of my life. I am going to be 45 this year. And I will have been living with AIDS for now 18 years.
I never expected to live this long. And I have been biding my time trying to help us out by keeping busy and bringing in some cash to the house over the years and going to university for my degrees. We’ve never set these kinds of goals out before, but hubby will turn 40 this year and he wants to move and shake. So we will move and shake.
This all sounds good on paper. But making it all happen according to plan is the challenge. Because you know what they say, “You make plans and God laughs” and “the best laid plans are just that, best laid plans.” Don’t bank on them coming true.
Hubby seems to be of the belief that his accreditation will pay off in spades which will put us in the position to move and shake. And he wants me to do what makes me happy. He cares more about taking care of me and working, in ways I had never imagined before. The way he spoke the words with such conviction blew my mind. I was having flashbacks of our wedding day, standing there reciting our wedding vows.
Wedding Vows do mean something to me and hubby. That is for sure.
I have accepted my lot in life as it has come happily and without complaint. And all that time, biding my time until the next door opens is just about here. It’s only a matter of time.
It’s a tall order. But I have faith in hubby. And he loves me enough to move up and take the lead and let me do what I do best. Working with others and going to my meetings. And if somewhere – something opens up so be it and if it doesn’t then so be it …
That’s all for now …
On Sunday night I hit a meeting, my usual Sunday night meeting. While I was there, there was talk about a phone shift that needed to be filled. And I agreed to take the shift which was tonight from 6 to 11.
I had plans to go to the mall and do some shopping before heading out of town to the east end and I was up and ready to go three hours before my call time of 6pm.
But alas, as I was getting ready a cold wind started to blow and it got very dark all of a sudden and in a flash the skies opened up and it poured down rain, cats, dogs and little fishes.
It was 3 o’clock. It seemed that I was not going to brave the pouring rain with an umbrella to make it to the Metro Station a few blocks away. Instead I watched some Oprah and headed out around 5 to the east end.
When I got to the other end of the city it was still pouring down rain. I got soaked on my walk to the office. It was very quiet. Since the office is closed for holidays until Wednesday, there were only three people in the building. The offices were closed.
I was early for my shift. And sat down in the chair at 6 when my friend Conrad finished his shift. As is usual, on the night shift, the calls are repetitive. The same handful of people who call over and over and over again. I call them the mumblers. Because that’s what they do, “mumble.”
I don’t know if they were sober or drunk, so all I could do is listen to them mumble until either they hung up the phone or another call comes through. A second group of people are sober and are shut ins and they call just to talk to another warm body.
The third group of people who call are the hopelessly drunk and miserable people. The ones who tell me they are miserable and that they want to die.
It gets really aggravating when the same people call who have death wishes. I can’t help them and they can’t help themselves. Some end up in jail and hospital or institutions.
I once used to go to a certain meeting here in town, and at that meeting there was a man who had aids and was a few years up the road from me, and when I met him I wanted to know how he stayed alive so long, because I was not there yet. And every week he would piss and moan about wanting to die. This went on for months and months.
And it was close to Christmas when this happened, that he came out that night and started his rant. The room was full of folks. Most of them rolling their eyes and huffing and puffing. And he was so wanting to die. So I got up that night and opened a second story window and said “Alright motherfucker you want to die, here let’s go I’ll push you out the second story or better yet you have a gun, let me shoot you myself.” I was so livid listening to him pine for death.
Needless to say he shut up. And when I left that meeting that night, it would be the last time I ever went to that meeting. Today that meeting barely exists. None of the old members still populate it.
So tonight my death wish caller called me several times. She’s been doing this for months now. I don’t know how to help her. All I can do is listen to her. We all know who she is – we keep a log of troublesome calls, aside from logging in all the calls we get on a given day/night.
I got one honest call from a family who is powerless to help a family member mired in her alcoholism. People go through so much in life. Deaths in the family, personal tragedies, addiction, alcoholism and depression, just to name a few issues off the top.
Sometimes people call to get advice on how they can help their family members get sober. We are powerless over people, places and things. So I talk them through the litany of things they can do. Literature they can get, meetings that are open that they could accompany said family members to so that they aren’t alone. Or even to have said person call the phone line and talk to one of us.
But I can’t magically get anyone sober. You have to want it. And in Montreal it takes work to get sober. The variety of meetings offered here each week make it easy to get to a meeting, there are over 500 meetings in Montreal on many language fronts. French, English, and Spanish.
But getting around in Montreal to meetings takes determination. Especially when it is (-20c) outside. There are very few meetings that run all week, at the same time, at the same location. The 7 am, the noon meetings, and 5 o’clock shadows.
They all meet in the same space every day.
For any other meeting, you have to travel be it by bus, metro or walking. Even better if you have a car. If you don’t have a car and you are hoofing it, you have to plan your days accordingly. Some meetings are open, and most are closed.
I don’t know if anything I shared with that family will work. I did what I could with what I had before me. Hopefully they will get that person back into the rooms, one way or another.
It is summer and the attrition rate here in the meetings goes down in the summer and begins to rise into the holidays. People find it hard to navigate their lives with open terraces service beer and spirits all over the city. It is too easy to get alcohol and people loose their wills to get and stay sober.
When the weather changes habit will change with it. It always happens in the fall.
I left the office at a quarter to 11. The alarm goes on at 11 and we have to be out of the office by 11 sharp. So I packed up the office, took out all the trash, cleaned up the coffee pot and headed back to the metro station.
I got on the train and the lights were blinking on and off in the cars. I noticed that at some point the speed of travel was getting slow. And at one point, in the middle of the tunnel the train stopped dead between stations. The lights went out and we sat there on the tracks until the power was restored and we finally got under way at full speed.
That has never happened to me on any train in recent memory.
I got home around 11:30. Had dinner and now I am writing here.
At least I worked another phone shift. Hopefully I helped at least one person tonight.
More to come. stay tuned…
It rained today, cats dogs and little fishes.
I watched the sky roil overnight, there is something to the weather in this city. The clouds dip low in the sky and last night before I went to bed I stood on my balcony looking up at the sky, and it was dark and foreboding. The clouds were lit up from beneath by lights on the ground and from on top of buildings.
When the clouds dip over the city the orange light of the streetlights reflect upwards and around the mountain from the opposite side of it, the white light shines on the clouds hanging overhead. It is quite lovely.
This afternoon I was up and around early, and the skies finally opened up and it rained down over the city. But it did not last long. Showers never last more than 30 minutes when it is pouring cats, dogs and little fishes. So it had cleared up well before I left for set up.
Since it was the last Tuesday of the month, we had a business meeting at 6:15 which meant that I needed to get finished early. Which I did. I was out front to greet by 6 when people began to show up.
We had 36 people show up. Many of them came late. It seems that across social media sites online and in older meeting books, the time has not been updated. People are still using the old meeting lists which list the old (two meeting format and old times). And there is an online listing of the old meeting time which was brought to my attention. I need to get that fixed.
We sat the entire table early. And people kept showing up either they were late or they were coming for 8 o’clock – the room was packed. We talked about acceptance from a story from the back of the book. We went the entire period. And then some.
As usually happens, if I don’t make decaf, people want it. And we haven’t been making decaf to save on supply monies. And I have been making less coffee in the big pot because we throw away too much coffee at the end of the meeting.
So for the last few weeks I have been making less coffee. Tonight, I made too little coffee and the pot ran dry before the end of the meeting. So next week I have to go back to making a full pot of coffee. Hoping that the numbers are on their way up for the long haul. Vacations are coming to an end. In the next month classes will begin at Dawson and the local universities. So that should bump up the numbers.
The kitty was full. And we are stocked for a few months with coffee and other supplies. A good night was had by all.
Acceptance is the key to all my problems. And I have to remember that I am powerless over people, places and things.
That’s all for tonight.
More to come, stay tuned…
It is 2:30 a.m. and it is a humid 28c. The humidex is 38c.
Holy Fucking Shit !!!
It was sweltering last night and I did not get very much sleep because It was just way too hot. We don’t have AC in this apartment. None of the apartments have ac in this building. Unless you hang one yourself. It isn’t supposed to be this hot in Canada.
But the globe is warming… don’t you agree?
The heat dome they tell us is parked over central Canada and over most of the United States.
I planned to get out of the house this past evening to go to St. Matthias. There is water main work on Sherbrooke street so the busses are detouring off the main down from Sherbrooke, so getting to any point inside the detour area means that you have to walk in.
It being almost 30c in the sunlight posed certain problems like staying cool. It was swelteringly hot all day into the night.
I got up around 6 and took a cold shower and got ready to go. Hubby had filled several bottles in the fridge last night so we had plenty of cold bottled water to carry with us, and he packed my bag with a couple of bottles.
I set my route to the church through all the underground city in Westmount Square and the Forum. I walked from Greene to Cote St. Antoine down Sherbrooke. I was a sweaty mess when I got to the church.
My friend Cliff was standing outside the church greeting people as they walked up, we were watching the sky, it was 7:30 p.m. and the clouds were beginning to bunch up in the sky over the city. A storm was brewing above us, I figured it wouldn’t rain for a few hours at least.
One of my friends showed up at the meeting, fresh out of rehab 3 days ago and he didn’t look very good, he stunk of beer. He sat down and we spoke to him about why he chose to drink? It is an insidious disease, this alcoholism.
He tried the “just one” experiment, which led to ten more.
Good for one, good for ten … he said…
He was drunk. Yet here he was back again trying to get sober once more. Sad this member can’t seem to stay on the wagon. He is stuck in the revolving door and it seems to be spinning faster than he can keep up with it.
It was a good meeting. I hate when people mumble … Trying to pay attention to what the speaker was saying was a problem tonight.
Mumble Mumble Mumble …
I gave our drunk friend my phone number, since I know his sponsor, is out of town for 2 weeks in Cottage Country. We’ll see what he does with it. I pointed him to the next meeting at 7:30 tomorrow morning – well, this morning. And he may hit a meeting tomorrow night.
I am going to Friday West End Friday night.
I left the meeting and walked halfway home, when I got to the edge of the detour I waited for a 24 bus to come and take me the rest of the way home, which was good because it was lightening pretty fiercely overhead. The storm was still building.
I got home a little while later and thunder started pealing across the sky. The heavens opened up and it poured down rain for half an hour. That’s the problem with these night time rain events. They flare up out of nothing, they build up to a raging storm and it drops a little rain, that doesn’t make a bit temperature difference over the city. The pavement is still steaming from an all day assault from the sun, and yes it rained but it is still 28c outside.
When it rains it only rains for a brief amount of time. The storms piss themselves out too quickly to make a dent in the days heating. It doesn’t rain long enough to impact the days heating.
Then the clouds blow away out of the city as fast as they came in. The sky is cloudless at this hour.
The seasons need to start changing already. August is only a couple of weeks away. Hopefully by the weekend we will get some relief. They are calling for the teens later on in the weekend at night, so we’ll see how that pans out.
I wish it would snow already …
I knew what this entry would be called prior to looking for an appropriate image to convey what I was trying to say … hence this bum shot of Mickey Mouse …
Can you say “HEAT!!!” it is 23c/26c humidex. And they say it’s only going to get worse over the next few days. People all over Canada and the U.S. are sweating to the oldies.
And what did you say ??? I think the globe is warming … What we wouldn’t do for a storm or maybe a hurricane to take the edge off. All this heat could lead a lot of states into heat emergencies and storm prevalence.
So yeah, where was I, oh yes, heat … We don’t have AC in our apartment. I haven’t begun to complain about the heat because as soon as I do, it will be winter again. What I wouldn’t do for some cold right now.
It was an exciting day. Last night I re-read the for umpteenth time the last few chapters of The Deathly Hallows, just so I could have the text fresh in my brain for today’s movie event.
Like I said earlier … The book tells the story better than the film did. They did not do justice to the end of the book properly, and because they left certain aspects of the book out of the film, the story got warped.
It was a slow afternoon at the theatre. But in the end most of the theatre we were in was filled. They gave us 20 minutes of pre-film trivia and infomercials.
“Please turn off your phone before the movie starts…”
About halfway through the movie this francophone woman gets a phone call during a tense scene in the movie and she actually let the phone light up, ring and then she took the call… As soon as the phone light went on the whole theatre was on top of her … Shut the fucking phone off you stupid bitch…
We got home around 5 o’clock. I had a few hours to kill before I was headed out for the Friday night meeting. And I had intended to take a nap for a couple of hours seeing I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. Well, that didn’t happen …
I set off for the meeting around 8. It was a pleasant night to travel. The trains were light and so were the buses.
I half expected my sponsor to be at the meeting and he wasn’t. Either he went to the movies instead, or got in from work too late and was tired. So I didn’t get to talk to him about the movie. Maybe I will ring him tomorrow.
SO our speaker was long time sober, but she was a bit frail. Lugging around an O2 tank, that was bigger than she was. She has had a few bad years in sobriety. She broke both her arms over a single weekend, suffered a full coronary that almost killed her, and she is stage 5 emphysema …
She mentioned all that to us because after all of that she never considered taking a drink. And then she said it felt like she is being visited by the SHIT FAIRY !!! Who keeps dosing her with tragedy after tragedy.
Even in sobriety – we don’t escape growing older.
She gave us a great message and we had two cakes as well. A 2 year and a 5 year. I remember both of mine 2 and 5. I am coming up on double digits in a few months. The Big 10 …
Who knew I’d live this long, and I am sober to boot …
I’ve seen through all the Harry Potter books, and all the films.
As one friend of mine said last night – the end has come, my childhood is over, time to grow up.
So long Harry.
But I am sure we will hear about your children in due time.
“I fink, therefore I fam…”
Lots of news for this Friday.
The last mission for the space shuttle took off from Cape Canaveral this morning. To the cheers and tears of millions of watchers. The end of an era.
A friend made mention of this topic on his blog and I got a fleeting memory that ran through my brain of a much younger me standing in a daycare center many moons ago when the first shuttle took to the air on the back of a special built 747 that lifted it into the air for a first run at flight.
Later on in my life I got to travel to California as a teen-ager to visit friends out at Edwards Air force Base and one day I got to see the desert landing strip for the shuttle.
I have also been to Cape Canaveral many times in my childhood to tour the grounds and the shuttle launch pads. When I lived in Orlando, if the shuttle was taking off, especially at night, you could pull off the road and the flash from the takeoff would over power and light up the night sky as far as the eye could see. I got to see a few of those launches from the roadside.
The space program will never be the same again. An era is coming to an end.
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The Royal Tour of Canada has come to an end. And it was a huge success. Millions of people got to see the royal couple and Quebec did its damnedest to make a scene but in the end the assholes who picketed were mostly ignored. I think Canada comes away from this with big press all over the world. It was a win win scenario.
Now we will see just how daunting the visit in the U.S. will be and we will see just how relentless the paparazzi will be in chasing the couple all over Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
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Tonight was the first of the two U2 concerts here in Montreal. I was on my way out to my meeting tonight on the orange line, and the cars were packed from one end to the other. Stops were taken longer than the usual 30 seconds for doors open to doors closed. They were packing them in on the way up town.
The local Montreal traffic division had hoped that people would leave their cars at home and stick to rail and bus to get to the hippodrome, and it seems to have been a huge success. I was riding on the train listening to the concert on my phone, watching people traveling to the concert at the same time.
I got to the meeting and met my sponsor and we chatted a bit. It was a good night. A good time was had by all, and he dropped me off at the metro on the way home so I didn’t have to wait for a bus to get to the station.
It seemed that as soon as the concert was over with, the skies opened up and it poured cats and dogs. I was watching the late edition of the news and saw that they were getting soaked on air. The rain eventually moved south over down town. Which cooled things off quite nicely.
Another day, Another sober day alive and well.
Sometimes I feel insignificant in the greater scheme of things.
Onwards and upwards…
Courtesy: 1Etranger (Sean Ashmore)
The weather held out. It was much warmer than usual today, but it is summer and we should be thankful for warm days. There are only so many more weeks of summer and the season change will begin in earnest.
The parade stepped off around 11 out front of the building. The good thing with holidays is that they always step off right in front of our building from the streets below the tunnel on Ste. Antoine and Rene Levesque. A good time was had by all. The pubs were full on our end of the city.
But all eyes were on National TV and the celebration in Ottawa of Canada Day and the continuing visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It seems they were a big hit.
But all that is going to change because of the leftist separatist anti monarch animals in Quebec and Quebec city. They are going to be the tarnished black eye that is going to embarrass all of Canada to the rest of the world.
The anti Monarch protest is planned and tomorrow we will see just how much air time they get on the national news. Fucking animals…
But for today it was a good day.
Last night I headed over to St. Matthias for the Thursday night meeting, and wasn’t disappointed. I had never heard the speaker who spoke – he was a couple years in and older than me, we all have similar threads to get here.
The buses and Metro’s were all running up to speed both nights, I didn’t have to wait for either last night and tonight.
Tonight I headed over to Friday West End for a meeting. And it seems there is a trend going on with speakers being of the LGBT persuasion. In our own special way they are celebrating pride in sober fashion. My sponsor was waiting out front when I got to the hall but we didn’t sit together and I slipped out after the meeting and didn’t say goodbye to many folks.
A good night was had by all.
Tomorrow the Royal Couple will be here in Montreal for a few hours, I don’t know if I want to brave the heat and crowds over at St. Justine’s Children’s Hospital. there are a couple of things on the schedule for tomorrow before they board a naval vessel for the sail up to Quebec City over night.
Time for din din …
More to come, stay tuned…
It has been a very eventful weekend so far. Thursday I worked my regular shift at the help line from 1 to 6. By the time I got home from the East End it was close to 7 and I got sorted out and thought about hitting St. Matthias at 8, but I did not have enough time to change and hit the bus stop in time to make the bus, so I stayed home.
Friday night I set out for Friday West End, amid rain. It has been raining on and off for the last two days. I made it all the way there without rain falling on me. I had spoken to a man on Thursday at the phones and directed him to his first meeting on Friday night and so I waited outside the hall to see if he showed up, and he did.
While I was standing out there another member walked up to me with that gleam in his eye, he stopped in front of me contemplating a question. I knew he was up to something. So I waited on him to speak. “Can I ask you a question?” he says, I responded “yes” he went on to tell me he needed a fill in for tonight’s Saturday late night shift at the phones. I told him that I could make the shift. So that was that.
The meeting was great. The speaker was “family” I listened to her start her share and she mentioned her “friend” in passing, later on she referenced her “partner” I listen for little tell tale signs of familiarity. We have a good number of LGBT members who frequent that meeting Friday nights.
It is a good feeling, we don’t have a dedicated LGBTQ meeting any more, the one that was that meeting has seen better days and not many attendees. I went one Friday night many months ago, and there were only 3 people there, including myself. We are spread all over the city in different meetings. There are a lot of LGBT members at Sunday Nighter’s, Friday West End, and Tuesday Beginners.
Pride is coming up the end of July and the first week of August.
Last night there were great celebrations in New York City with the passage of Gay Marriage rights in the biggest city in the U.S. Oh to have been in the village last night with all the revelers.
We congratulate New York. That’s one more US state on the list.
Today, it rained. And rained some more.
I got out of the house early for my 6p.m. shift at the phones. The trains were light on passengers on the way out. I reached the office with 30 minutes to spare. I hung out out front for a bit and the lady who was working the afternoon shift was a bit adamant that she finish her shift and I was like, whatever you want.
I sat with her for a bit, and that did n0ot sit well with her so she packed up her stuff and decided to go home early. Which meant that my shift started at 5:30.
It was a quiet night. Not many calls. But the calls I did get were tough. People in desperation and sadness. There isn’t much I can do for them but to listen and try to help them get to where they need to get, or to do something other than what they were doing before they called.
It was 7 ‘o clock on one call and a caller needed a meeting right then and there. And he was in a section of the city on the north end where there wasn’t a meeting in either French or English. And he was sobbing. I gave him two meetings to choose from, one at eight and one at ten. The early one was in Verdun, the other one was close to Atwater and Rene Levesque. I don’t know if he made either one of them, but I called a friend of mine who works the later meeting and warned him that this man might show up and to expect him. I hope he made it somewhere.
Then it got quiet for a few hours. I had a couple of books in my bag to read during the down time. And the computer was on in front of me. I had dinner around 8:30 with the never ending coffee pot.
The last call I got was at 10:30. A woman called who was in the midst of great sorrow, she too was sobbing. We talked for a while about things and we discussed solutions for her sorrow. “We don’t have to drink.” And she had been sober a long time, but she fell out over tragedy. “why don’t you call your sponsor, I am sure she would want to hear from you!” In the end she made the call. Hopefully she will make it back tomorrow or the next day.
Around 10:40 the French side decided to shut down shop and hit the road. They came to tell me they were leaving, I didn’t want to be the last man out so I logged off and shut down the computer, shut down the coffee pot and emptied the trash and left with them. I walked back to the Metro it was close to 11 by the time I got there. The train was empty on the way back in.
We got as far as Papineau metro on the East end of the village and the platform was packed. There must have been a Fireworks show at La Rhonde. The amusement park on Ille St. Helen. I got home around 11:15.
Hubby made pizza and now SNL is on.
It was a long night, I hope I did some good tonight and helped some of the people I talked to tonight. We can only pray for them now.
More to come, stay tuned…