Courtesy:Thiswillnotdefineus (special archives)
I always try to find the right image to go with a post. This is one of those “right” images.
Monday December 9th, 2013. 12 years to the day I attended my Second First Meeting. I have said so many times in the past that up until that day I had already begun to talk to God. And surrender came when I realized that I was finished drinking, again…
We should all say a thank you to Troy for taking me to the meeting. I wonder if he is still sober today?
WHEN YOU KNOW RIGHT, DO RIGHT …
I think the theme of this past year has been “newcomer.” I may not have been a direct sponsor to anyone in particular, but I made a decision to leave my home group of 11 years to move to another Beginners Group made up of young men and women, with days, months and a few years of sobriety.
One young man in particular, one Sunday night, shared parts of his story about how he came in this last time. Struggling badly, he called his father in Europe. Our young man had been to meetings but found them not his “cup of tea.” His father flew to Montreal to see and consult.
They shared, and the question came … his father is long sober. How did dad get sober? And he confidently replied … In Meetings and A.A.
Needless to say he was floored. Our young man came in and got sober.
I did not know him very well when we met on that particular night. But something in him moved me because I spoke about him to a good friend on the way home that night. And ever since that night I have been keeping up with him, and over the last year we have become great friends.
And it is timely because that young man will give me my chip on Friday night December 13th at North End English.
All of the young men at this beginners meeting are special men. They never say NO when you ask them to do something for the greater good. And over the last year, I have had my hard times. I will touch on that later on in this post, suffice to say, when I needed a friend, they were there for me.
Like I said the theme is newcomer. And I feel like I have put my sober journey this year in the hands of newcomers. I’ve tried to practice presence. To be there for them as equally as they have been there for me.
I’ve not always been a good member. Because I have been less than forgiving with certain newcomers. And that is a fault.
A shift in my consciousness took place in May during the West island Roundup. Where we met for a weekend of talks given by speakers from New York City. My life has not been the same since. I wanted so badly to attain New York Sobriety. Whatever that means.
We don’t do sobriety like New York, here. Montreal is much more laid back. I have said in the past as well, that the women I know from Tuesday Beginners and Room of our Own, do it so much better than the men.
So I have kept my relations with them up to speed, even if we don’t see each other as often as I would like, because since leaving Tuesday’s I don’t see the women. But I call them often.
I’ve struggled with where I am going. I’ve struggled with sponsor. I felt at one point that we were both on different pages after the roundup because I went and my sponsor didn’t. He had his reasons, and I respect them.
But our relationship was changed in huge ways.
A long time ago, a friend of mine got sick with Cancer. And I made a conscious decision to be present to him in any way he needed. And I have honored that relationship to this day. We attend meetings together, and we are homed at the Thursday Men’s meeting, which we founded in May of this year.
Something happened a couple of weeks ago at another Thursday Meeting, my sponsor was there and after the meeting we chatted and he asked my friend if he was taking care of me … Now that I think on it today, my friend has been the closest thing to a sponsor as I have had. Seeing we spend a great deal of time together.
This is provident because yesterday when I talked to my good lady friend about an issue on my mind, we touched on many issues. And I talked about my sponsor and she told me that maybe it was time that I moved on and that finding a new sponsor was important, and that once I did that, he would help me take care of my old sponsor. This is new ground here.
I’ve learned a great deal in the past year. Across many fronts.
In April of this year, one of my friends, another former member of the Tuesday meeting said he wanted to form a new meeting. And he pulled together a few hands, and I pulled a few hands together, and the six of us put together a new meeting. It was one of the biggest undertakings we had ever done in sobriety. It took over $300.00 to open a meeting, from space, to rent, to supplies, just to open the door.
The rest they say is history.
We have population. And a fine group of long time sober men. I was told that we should open the meeting and let God do the rest. He did …
I’ve had some issues with people and that has been a challenge. I did not do the right thing on several occasions, and I have learned from those lessons. I took for granted where I am at this point, and I forgot what it was like to be newly sober. As was pointed out to me recently. This is an ongoing issue that is on my plate right now.
This year saw my marriage and my husband and I almost falling apart. That God Damned George Zimmerman trial almost killed us. Mostly because my husband finished his schooling and was homing in on his defense, and got pulled into this trial and spent every waking hour watching feeds from the states.
Our finances fell to an all time low. We were close to being broke. And I was not happy at all, and it wasn’t until the bottom of the hole was staring me in the face that I finally put my foot down and said something.
I relied on my boys like no one had. And they rose to the challenge with me and they took care of me. And I survived this test …
Yeah it went like this …
“I don’t know if I want to be married to you anymore!”
The earth shook, to say the least. And it seemed that God was watching from the sidelines, because I felt like I had been forsaken, but that was all to change. We survived his defense, and it went perfectly. And after that followed the biggest event in our marriage, hubby landed a job that has set us on new paths financially, now we have been digging ourselves out of the credit hole he put us in over the past six months. And that has been a challenge.
I’ve worked to be a good husband. And relationships are hard work, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Sometimes things go well, and sometimes they don’t. You roll with the punches and the tide.
I am not ready to surrender my marriage. Even though I came close.
Christmas is not far off as I begin writing this after 1 am on a Thursday night. Gifts are not necessary, but we do gift. Simply. We don’t spend oodles of cash on the holiday for material things. We do spend more money on my holiday dinner instead.
It is far better to cook, share and eat than be burdened by “Things.”
SUGGESTIONS TO THE CLUTTERER …
Lorna Kelly writes in a book about clutter and at some point you are long sober, that it comes time to pair down your life and rid yourself of all that shit you’ve collected over the years.
When we get sober, we are empty shells with baggage for days. We sober up, we clean up, we start meetings, and we start working our steps. And over many, many years, it seems, we clear out the wreckage of the past.
And in this eleventh year, I have read “The Camel knows the Way and In the Footsteps of the Camel.” And I think after several read throughs. I have taken to heart what I read because it made sense to me recently.
This new knowledge began the Great Purge of 2013.
This is recent information because it just finished the other day. Suffice to say that there are very few “things” we have kept, mainly because it doesn’t belong to me so I couldn’t throw those things away.
But I did toss every item that was communal. Shit from the balcony, old files, trash we kept and didn’t toss when we should have. I sorted through every piece of clothing we owned and tossed 2 boxes and 4 leaf bags full of clothing in the charity bin. Someone will have a Merry Christmas this year.
YOU MUST PROTECT THIS SACRED GIFT …
While hubby works, I am a stay at home housewife. I clean, do laundry, shop and do all those things that need to be done during the day. I have cultivated time to pray and meditate. Having the house to myself is a good thing because I can devote time to all my sober activities.
Prayer has become something I truly rely on. And I need reminders. That has been a theme in my life. Reminders… A good friend gave me a packet of prayer cards that I use every day. I have tacked the Third Step, the Seventh Step and Eleventh Step prayer on my computer So that the first thing I do in the morning is pray. And it is the last thing I do before I turn the box off and go to bed.
Sunday’s are a Big Book Meeting. Tuesday’s are Beginner’s Meetings, Thursday is the Men’s meeting, and Friday is for me, the As Bill Sees It meeting, where I will take my chip on Friday night. I have been religious about my meetings, and on those nights, hubby has his space aside from our together time.
Every day is different. The social tape that plays out changes every day. It is something that I have learned about after hubby fell sick Bi-Polar. That after he rose from the dead, the tape of the day began to play. And it took a long time to notice it, but it became very clear to me what the tape meant.
You know, the way you communicate with your husband or wife? The little inside jokes, the things only you would know? Sayings from movies, that are in common, jokes from comedians? The little things that pass between you on any given day?
We enjoy our time together. And every day there is something different. The tape is never the same two days running. When hubby got our cell phones, basically so that I could keep in contact with him while he was at Uni, communication took on a new purpose.
Many many years ago, when I was much younger I used to bar hop with my friend Ricky. We worked at R.C.I. together. And we hit up Uncle Charlies every night after work. He met his husband, on the first pass. They connected and have been together ever since.
They had a hole in the wall apartment with a card table, an old sofa and a few chairs. And over the past fifteen years built themselves quite the home.
I always longed to have what they had. And it took my coming to Montreal and sobriety to gift me that which I had so longed for. And it was on the first pass that I saw my then boyfriend, who eventually became my husband. And now nine years later we have turned that hole in the wall apartment into quite the home. We are climbing the financial ladder.
Those Pesky Ninth Step Promises were slow in coming. And just this year, the final promise of “fear of people and of financial insecurity will leave us” has come to pass, so I mention this gently and carefully, because I don’t want to jinx it.
That promise it seemed, was the one that dogged us for so many years. And I think that we have been fired in the crucible for so long, that it was finally time to get out of the heat of the oven. We have long term goals, some of which were promised to me long ago, and are still outstanding. I wrote about them in that long ago post “The State of Our Union.”
We have reached a new benchmark in our lives, and I am hopeful that the next stage of our lives will bring some good news. I hope we are on the up and we keep that momentum, because falling would be heartbreak.
MISERANDO ATQUE ELIGENDO
Translated: Unworthy but chosen.
Pope Francis translates it as “By having compassion and by choosing.”
Just like John Paul II who believed that suffering and pain was sacred, that in the suffering one’s soul comes closer to Christ. Pope Francis once wrote that “Pain is not a virtue in itself, but you can be virtuous in the way you bear it.”
Living with a terminal disease only held at bay with a concoction of powerful pills, does not mean that there is not suffering, either mentally or physically. I have survived another calendar year. Which is no small achievement. This is part of my sober message to my fellows. People do not see death until it hits them right between the eyes. Living with “diseases” is for many a difficult burden.
People tend not to look at the inside of a person, because what they see on the outside looks normal and healthy. It has been a year of remembrance for me. It seemed that quite frequently there was some kind of documentary on television (READ: “We Were Here”) reminding me that I must remember, that we must remember.
It’s been a while, two years, since the last time I spoke at a meeting, which fell on my 10th sober anniversary. You could say that I am off the speaking circuit.
I don’t know if I am totally emotionally sober. I am finding that part of me holds on to old pain. Over the past few days I have written some stories about memories. And at the moment, I am of the mind that someone owes me an apology. I bore the burden of abuse as a child, defending my mother and brother, yet they stand unified behind a man who denies my existence and has shut off my light because of the family gospel.
I have this internal dialogue going on in my life and I hear myself saying things I so want to say to someones face, to shake them and throttle them close to death … words for my father, who has kept me in the dark and silence for the last twelve years …
LOOK AT ME GOD DAMMIT. SEE ME. ACKNOWLEDGE ME FOR CHRIST’S SAKE. I AM 46 YEARS OLD. GROW THE FUCK UP AND STOP BEING A SON OF A BITCH !!! YOU BASTARD !!! FUCK YOU !!!
There are many thing I would like to say and the one thing I wish at this point in sobriety is that I am heard, and that my voice counts. And that my life has not been a waste of time or effort.
But in reality, this may never come to pass, because in this family dynamic, nobody won.
Like Nelson Mandela, he had to rise above all the hate and abuse to become the man that he did, to lead a people and a nation. And holding on to hate and anger only would have tied him down, emotionally and mentally. He had to let it all go in order to move forwards.
Sobriety is the practice of letting go on a daily basis. If it doesn’t concern me and it isn’t my problem, then don’t entertain it. And if someone irks you who is fresh in the program, but for the grace of God, folks in early sobriety don’t have the time we do to understand many things. Life took years and years to come together and we can’t expect a newbie to come in the room and grow on with “miracle grow.” It doesn’t work that way.
It has been a long haul this last year. I made it and lived it, and nobody can take that away from me. I’ve earned this day, one day at a time.
AND ON THIS LAST NIGHT OF SOBER YEAR 11,
Sunday December 8 – 2013 …
It was early, and I departed early, and set up quietly. A good friend showed up and we had a good time. And on this last night of my sober year, I was reminded why I go to meetings. It is the holiday season, and people are suffering. And as I have alluded to above, I forget what it was like to be newly sober the farther I get from my last drink.
But they say that the farther you get from your last drink, the closer you get to your next drink ! Thank God for newcomers who come, join, and tonight chaired the meeting. I am reminded of the important points: Meetings, Sponsorship, Fellowship and a connection to a Power Greater than Myself.
A man came in with a friend, I could smell alcohol from where I was sitting.
And admitted that he was in bad shape, that he was an alcoholic. In a blackout he hit his wife last night, and he doesn’t remember the rest …
I’ve been there, the darkness, the not knowing, but I know what happened to get me here. I needed life, I needed sobriety, I needed something more than I had had and the only place I could get it was in a meeting.
Before the book was published, the Oxford Group had spirituality and six steps … (1) Complete deflation, (2) Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power, (3) Moral inventory, (4) Confession, (5) Restitution, and (6) Continued work with other alcoholics.
It all sounds so simple and it is – once you get in the door, you dry out and come to.
Then the journey begins. And what a beautiful journey it has been the last year. I would not be here if not for the people I call family, in my life. I am grateful to be reminded of what matters, and why I serve my home group, because if I do not open the door, then people would have no where to go.
And for that I am responsible !!!
Christmas is right around the corner.
THERE ARE 15 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS.
Thanks for your time and support all these years.
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. And I had plenty of time on my hands which meant I was out and about really early today. Set up was quick and painless. And I hung outside on the church stoop for a while before the first person showed up early.
As it was the last Tuesday of the month, it was business meeting day and with a fair number of attendees we got a lot done and reorganized and adjusted to meet everyone’s needs and motions.
We have decided to stick with three major books to read from for the next 90 days, the Big Book, the Twelve and Twelve and Living Sober. We have been seeing a good number of newcomers come in and stick around for more than a week or two. So we have been focusing on the Big Book. Which is a good thing.
We’ve covered the first part of the book steps One, Two and Three. Today we read from the book and Step 4. I recognized that, as we read from the book, that entire swaths of passages were highlighted.
And I was like, Hmmmm… there is a snake stirring in my gut…
I have been “feeling” as of late. And somewhat isolating from my sponsor. I have known this for a few days now. And I have been avoiding my own feelings because I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to my sobriety and my feelings.
My sponsor stresses the importance of Steps 1,2,and 3. And he shared tonight that certain steps carry with them more import than others. I worked my steps through during the 17 week intensive I did (partially) last Fall. I did not stay in the group because I had issues with people and personalities. So I left off early.
Needless to say, I feel convicted by our women to look closer at myself and take a look at my feelings and honor that I am feeling them and that I need to sit down with my sponsor sometime soon and we arranged tentative dates on the way home.
I wanted to share a passage with you:
“The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men and women of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.” Pg. 68 B.B.
Writing out our Fourth Step we follow the columns. All the way across, to not only look at what others have done, but what rests on our side of the street. Because this isn’t about you, it is about me.
“We heard talk of humility and becoming who we were meant to be,” I can’t recall the exact quote I heard but it went something like this.
Resentments Kill, and if we harbor resentments, the drink is not far away. And the book says that there are no justified resentments. But if I am honest with you, I am beginning to feel fear creeping up my ass into my daily affairs.
Never tell an alcoholic that you are going to do something and take care of this and that, and that we are going to do this and move there and everything is going to be peachy keen. I have fallen into this little trap and I am trying to stay one step ahead of resentment and remember that this isn’t about me, but justifiably, this directly affects me.
According to the grand plan that had been set forth to me (and I have it in writing) that hubby was supposed to be finished with school with the letters M.A. added to his name.
And that this fall term he was supposed to be teaching, something he wanted to do and this was supposed to carry us into financial freedom and the final act was supposed to be a move into bigger digs and we were to start replenishing our old furniture and electronics for new stuff.
And Hubby was going to step up to the plate and take care of me forevermore. And that we would want for nothing.
This grand plan seemed too good to be true and I should not have placed so much energy in hoping that all these things would fall into place and that the timeline would have come into fruition.
Sadly it hasn’t…
I should know better than to hope that my Bi-Polar husband would rise to the occasion and follow through with his words of action. But being Bi-Polar is capricious. And we are stuck in a low cycle, which means that upwards motion is supposed to follow, hubby has failed to launch.
And I can’t be angry about this because I should understand the difficulty that Bi-Polar presents. It is far better for me not to harp on what was supposed to be and become bitchy and indignant because things aren’t happening the way I thought they would. And copping a resentment is pointless. Because it isn’t going to get me anywhere.
But fear is creeping up my ass in any case.
I don’t know where my next meal is coming from. I don’t know when we will have money to grocery shop. People have been providing for us, while hubby figures out what he is going to do. I don’t know what the hell hubby is doing to provide, because right now he is not providing enough. And teaching went out the window and now I am waiting on the next plan of action to come up.
I had my eye on the prize, I had my eye on that promise that says
“fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us!”
That one fucking promise has been dogging us ever since we got sober.
And here I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Because of my own personal limitations due to assistance I get on a monthly basis. Because I live with AIDS I am covered by a stipend plan. And if I was to find work, (not that I am looking for work actively) I would loose that stipend and if I lost that stipend and I get really sick (god forbid) I would not be able to get it back because of the hell I had to go through to initially get on that plan. The U.S. Government would rather people with AIDS die quickly and so they can deny us security.
So does it seem right that I have resentments?
Did I place too much hope in the future?
Have I unrealistic expectations?
or any expectations at all?
At once we commence to outgrow fear …
The room was full. We sat more than 50 people. We drained to coffee pot once again, which means either we buy a bigger urn or make more coffee in the urn we use. I’ve been making full urn for the last few months. We didn’t get all the way around the inner circle so a handful of people did not get to share.
Constant Vigilance !!!
This has been my brain drain for the moment. Thank you for reading my rambling thoughts about my sobriety.
More to come, stay tuned …
I have a few special relationships that I don’t really talk about very often because for some, all I am is a sounding board when times get tough. I have two foster sons that I adopted into my life a number of years ago. There was a time that I was out there and these young men came to me from afar and I invested in their lives. And have been there for them for more than 10 years now.
And over the years I have talked them through many difficult moments in their lives. I can’t be everywhere for everyone. But my phone is always on, and you never know when the phone is going to ring on any given night.
I have a policy with my boys that I am there for them at what ever hour of the night or day. I never turn someone away and I spend as much time with them as is necessary.
There came a time on Face Book that tempers flared and words were said and the world came crashing down on me, and my boys and I went separate ways, so to speak. And years went by that the phone did not ring. But never did a day go by that I did not think about them and how I could repair the rift between us.
And that day came and I made amends and today one of my two boys still talks to me. And it seems for all that it is worth, he has had the weight of the world on his shoulders with one drama after another. His father dying due to Diabetes. And his little brother is mentally ill, and now his mom has a severe case of MS, with lesions on her brain. She is very sick. And little bro is moving in with my boy come spring.
My boys are men now and I guess I should tell you that. I’ve seen them grow up from mere teenagers with teen age angst into men dealing with serious issues in both of their lives.
It has been a number of months since the last mercy call came in. And just the other night my boys crossed my mind. I saw the thought come in, and linger and then flit out the side of my brain. I don’t usually call them, they call me. I believe that a friendship works both ways, I can’t be the one who does all the work. It just doesn’t work that way. If you can’t call me then why bother. But these boys are different. I let them live their lives with all the teaching I can give them. Every so often he calls and I top up his emotional tank.
Tonight it was very upsetting to hear how bad mom is and that Jacob needs special care and he’s not getting it so we talked about how we would go about getting him care and having to file for power of attorney to take care of him properly because he is incapacitated. And when they move in together something will have to be done to take care of him.
On another front, my other boy (John) and I have been in this relationship for more than 10 years. And we have been to hell and back over many issues in his life and I have seen him through many bad spots. And I was saddened to hear that he is very sick with his Crones disease. It is very debilitating for him and he has sunk into a pit of despair that I don’t know if we can extricate him from it.
Added to that he deals with mental illness like hubby so I am well versed on that front, and I know what to do for him, it’s just getting him to accept the help we are trying to offer him. And I am powerless to do anything from here and I don’t know what to do, but give advice and tell Karl what I know and what to do.
What do you do when you resign yourself to living in such a sad state of affairs? And how do you get them out of that hole? There are two very serious issues one is mental and the other is physical. If you don’t treat both, properly, then you aren’t going to get better. You have to treat the mental issues properly and get the brain to be working optimally. Because the brain talks to the body, and the brain is either sick or healthy, and what the brain tells the body, the body eventually believes. And that takes time. And can’t be done all by yourself. It takes two people to take care of someone who is mentally ill.
Secondly, the Crones disease is debilitating and can kill you if not properly treated accordingly. They are taking a drug route to try to get the problem under control, but how long do we have to wait for that situation to get better? Meanwhile he is suffering mentally and needs serious help and I am here and he is there so far away (Texas). It is just a very sad state of affairs.
Karl needs to commit to taking care of his friend and our friend. And all I can do is impress on him that if he should decide to invest further that he is in it for the long haul. No matter what, he can’t give up and walk away because there is nobody else that can do what he can do, with me coaching him from the sidelines. This is what we do for partners, though they aren’t really partners in the strictest terms, Karl is all John has. They have each other and it has fallen onto Karl’s shoulders that he is now the primary care giver.
And this is not about me or my ego. But a desire to see my boys live solid and whole lives even if they have been dealt these kind of cards. It hasn’t been easy which is why my phone is always on. I never know when they are going to call or how bad the situation is going to be on the other end of the phone.
Tonight’s episode is the worst it has gotten in my memory and I don’t know if I can save either one of them. And I fear something bad is going to happen and I am powerless to do anything save get on a plane and go down there and take care of things myself, which would mean lots of money for a passport and airline tickets. And that is last case scenario.
I did what I can do at the moment as the situation was explained to me and we talked through every possible outcome, what needs to be done in each situation and what to do next. I am hoping to get news on our discussion over the next 48 hours. And we will see what John allows me to do for him or if he will even accept talking to me since the rift between us still exists.
Whatever happened happened, and this is now and there is greater need for help and not in rehashing what has gone under the bridge so long ago. I just don’t know what to do and so I will wait on Karl to report back to me so we can take the next steps in getting John the care he needs to get him out of the hole of hell he is in.
Prayer … we need lots of prayer. We need miracles. In the form of social assistance in Houston and San Antonio. I need to find people in medical circles and mental health circles to help us. When Jacob moves in with Karl, we will need legal advice for power of attorney papers and so Karl is able to take proper care of his little brother. If you are down South and can help us, now is the time to let me know so I can line things up for them.
It’s a shot in the dark that any of my readers would have this kind of ability.
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.
*** *** *** ***
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 …
I’ve been to New york City. I’ve stood in Time Square and drank it all in. But I’ve never been to Time Square on New Years Eve. I mean once you get penned in, what if you have to pee ??? What do you do??? Where do you go with millions of people being penned in at the same time. Where do they go??? It’s a conundrum.
One day maybe …
I learn something new every day. And sometimes it takes a conversation to make that a truth. I have very few friends I talk to on a regular basis. I see people at meetings and I know them on Facebook, but only a handful of people make use of my time.
I said this after I turned 40 that there came a change in myself. I began to realize that I “knew” things. Truly as the nose on my face. I began to realize that I had enough experience behind me that I could speak to people from a place of experience and not just spout bullshit to hear myself speak.
And that came with age. It also comes with experience. Some of my wisdom came by way of teaching that I was given over the years just after my AIDS diagnosis. I learned how to read people. You had to know how to do this when dealing with the public having a red X on your face, knowing you were soon to die, that you didn’t waste time with people who did not matter to you because wasted time was just that wasted time. I use this little nugget of truth in my daily life now in sobriety. And the gift is only enhanced the longer I am sober.
Because as I grow up as a man, and as I grow in sobriety, and having lived this long with AIDS, if you are a waste of time, I am not going to waste my time with you. I can spot bullshit at 50 paces and in sobriety this is very useful.
My sponsor is apt to say that there are people with time who are sober in number only. And at first glance you should respect everybody on their personal journey because you never know what they have been through and everyone’s life is important.
The drawback here is that people with SOBER time comport themselves differently. There are people with time who clearly have not invested in their own sobriety enough to grow up and it shows when they open their mouths and you get to know them over time, and you see what gifts have manifested themselves in them. There are many people with time, that I know, who are clearly not SOBER.
I attribute this ability to see and hear with the combination of factors that I have lived with for more than half my life. I was taught the lessons in my mid twenties. And you hear the lesson and you get to perfect it over time. And because I have lived so long – I have learned to perfect it to a degree that is sometimes scary, even to myself.
Then, you get to hear new lessons, based on the originals from a new teacher. And you hear the lesson, again, and you take the knowledge you have and you expand that knowledge on top of the new lesson you are hearing. And that makes your personal arsenal of tools even greater and stronger.
Every time we work our steps we uncover a layer from our lives. We peel back another layer of the onion. And this is a continual process, it is not done in one fell swoop. You don’t work your steps on the first go and take the plunge and do the BIG DIG and expect to survive the process. What comes to the surface on this pass is what we deal with. And only that. It isn’t brain surgery.
Can you tell I am working steps with sponsees? Every conversation I have with them gives me an opportunity to reflect on these thoughts over again. I don’t often get to use certain tools until the opportunity arises and they come to bear.
I have begun to live my best life. I have listened to lessons on self, and others. I am responsible for the energy I give out and the energy I bring to myself. When people show you who they are the first time, believe them. And when bullshit opens its mouth and speaks, call it for what it is. BULLSHIT !!!
Sometimes when the dynamic isn’t just right, and you get that HMMM… Something just isn’t right, I see it. I see it now. And I can recognize it. Then I have a choice. I can stay in that situation or I can extricate myself from it. This is a new tool for me. It’s only recently that I have had the opportunity to put the lesson into action.
We are amid steps 6,7,and 8 now. Character defects and shortcomings. The task of making the list for ourselves. For every negative defect there is a positive attribute that one can aspire to. I’d like to think that I work on my defects on a daily basis. And as well my shortcomings.
I think being in a relationship for so long has afforded me the opportunity to make changes in my life in the way I relate to my husband and others. We’ve been together going on 11 years now, and marriage changes everything. And hubby’s Bi-Polar diagnosis and treatment was a game changer.You either take it on full force and you become a man, or you walk away and leave them to deal with in on their own. I decided to stick and stay.
I was committed to him from the day we met. I knew the very day we started dating that he was the man I would spend the rest of my life with. And it began with that idea. I never imagined that it would have taken us to this point in our lives, but relationships are organic and they change over time.
Illness changes everything.
I did not have much to work with when he got sick. I knew very little, but where there is a will there is a way. The one thing I kept doing was going to meetings. I had good people in my life who gave me sound advice. I learned how to care for another human being. From the bottom of my heart, from sun up to sun down.
If I tell you that all that I was had been purged and tested under fire, I mean just that. With Explicit certainty. I was only a couple of years sober when this all started and I had to stay one step ahead of the wave and meetings gave that to me. All those negative character defects were purged. Because you get sober and you go to work, and you give and you learn, and from that comes love. Of self, others and of God.
I may not have known at the time what was going on, but now that I look at it from this perspective over the years, all those negative defects and shortcoming are shown to me in vivid detail every day I live with my husband. And when I miss something, hubby is right there to remind me who I am and what is important to the both of us. So I’ve had a number of years to continually work on these lists.
I go to meetings, I share, I talk to my sponsor and I work with others. It is not an exact science, and opportunities to work with others might be just presence at a meeting, or really getting into the mud and dirt with a sponsee and working it all out with them. And over the years I can count on one hand the people who have given me this opportunity.
They have even begun to critique me while I sit in meetings. They have told me of certain things I do, certain foibles and actions that occur when I sit and listen to people share. It seems my bullshit meter manifests itself openly, and if you pay attention to me for any length of time, it will appear. This is very unsettling because it is not something I do openly or with knowledge. It just happens.
I would like to think that my marriage has afforded me certain gifts of becoming the man I want to be, because I give of myself 100% every day of my life where my husband is concerned. And he tells me when he needs something specific and we talk all the time about what is going on. And when he sees something wrong, he speaks his mind. He is sober as well, but because of extenuating circumstances and his choice, he does not go to meetings. But he knows when I need a meeting and he tells me so every so often, he makes sure that I do what I need to do for myself every day.
Mental illness is not kind.
It takes from both the sufferer and the partners involved in their lives. There are challenges and there are good moments. And after a med change we wait for things to get better. Meds can be brutal and I must be present emotionally as well as physically. I don’t have time to waste on needless issues of self. I don’t have time to feed my ego or be an ass. And some may say I have a huge ego. I don’t know if that is true. Only one person in the last ten years went head to head with me over their ego and I survived them and so did our meeting.
When I got up to speak a few weeks ago, it was a very humbling experience. Because no matter how much thought I put into what I wanted to say, in the end what came out was what was necessary to get my message across and that is not my ego at all. When you open yourself up to a room full of people and you make declarative statements of coming out to strangers both as gay and living with AIDS it changes you and it changes them.
And like I stated above, once you say the words, you can never take them back.
You then get to witness how people begin to act around you. And like I have said, I can spot bullshit at 50 paces. I always wait for contempt and the sly eye look, because you can see it in people’s eyes. And in their stance, and the way they speak after the fact. And I have to say that I have never met a more genuine bunch of people as I have at Friday West End. And I am ever blessed to have them in my life.
I don’t know why I used the title above, because this hasn’t been a post about resolutions or and wishful thinking. So I changed the title now …
Resolutions are useless when you live on borrowed time. I could die tomorrow, and that is the truth. I have a terminal disease that could take me at any time. Normal humans don’t live with this kind of sentence. They have no idea what I live with on a daily basis. So I usually don’t make New Years Resolutions.
I strive every day to be present for my husband because he is my greatest joy, ten times around and twice on Sunday. The rule is if I make it to my birthday in July, I will live to see Christmas in December. And If I live through Christmas in December, I will live to see my next birthday. And that is how I live my life, after so many years of learning how to live on Borrowed Time.
What do I want to do in 2012??? I want to finish school at the top of my game. I want to be a better husband. There is always room for improvement as I get soberer. I want hubby to finish his MA and make a decision on what we will do next! Because I am just waiting on him to tell me where we will be going from here, whether we stay here or we move, whether he gets a teaching gig and we remain living here. As long as I can get money to study then that’s the most beneficial way to live. And as long as there is money I will study.
My spiritual director has plans for me that I have shared with you already. And those plans are long haul plans and will not come to fruition in the short term so we shall see where that leads. I need to pray more, and find a community to become part of. That’s really a goal for 2012.
I really want to change my body. I really need to get into new shape because this old shape is wearing on me emotionally. You know you plow someone with radical drugs for more than 17 years and you get what you are stuck with. I’ve kind of settled for this pear shape. Resigned to the fact that I am not ever going to recapture my 26 year old shape any time soon, but a glimpse would be nice.
I want to surpass the 26,000 page views this blog has had in the last calendar year. I want to write more on varying topics of interest. And maybe I will get to answer those burning questions that have been posed by searchers who have come to the blog with very specific search terms.
Wouldn’t you all like to know if Lisa Laflamme is gay or not ??? And does that really matter to you all? But it is the top searched term on my stats board. She is a professional news anchor, and I don’t make it my business to out people. Famous or not. I never have and I never will…
It will be another sober year. Time to redouble my efforts with sponsees. To work with others more, and to give time to my two meetings each week. I make myself pretty available. But very few people take me up on that offer.
A casual observation … If you ask me for my number and I give it to you, you’d better use it. It is fact that if a number is not used within the first 48 hours of getting it, you won’t ever use it. And that is just plain fact and proven. Just saying …
Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can never be regained
My ninth grade math teacher Ms. Jackson used to say this to the class every day she set a test in front of us. And I’ve carried that thought throughout my whole life.
Do you think that if you lived on Borrowed Time that you would make greater use of your time and life? Or would you be the same person you are today???
Think on it and share …
That is all, time for bed. More to come, stay tuned …
It is the middle of the night, there is dead air on the radio, I am missing the radio show that I wanted to listen to tonight, and it has been two days since hubby’s meltdown and freak on me, it has been two days and I have not said one word to him or him to me.
I was feeling a bit disheveled and so I headed out to a late night meeting here just up the street and I struggled to listen to/hear the speaker who shared tonight, the room was dark, and I guess all I wanted to do was sit in a church and say my prayers and do the ‘ritual of the meeting.’
Tomorrow is Sunday and I can hit a few more meetings to get myself out of the house. I hate silence but it is the only weapon I have in my arsenal, that is useful, because if I say anything it provokes a physical altercation with hubby, he has anger issues. He started swinging again this morning and I was not going to put up with that behavior, so now we live in silence. We will see what happens tomorrow…
You want reality? This is reality.
When is too much and when does one say, “Alright, I’ve had enough of this shit!”
I’ve had enough of this. God grant me Serenity…
What a waste of a day today. They say that Money is the root of all evil. And it is one of those subjects that can cause a marriage to fall apart, along with infidelity, and boredom. Today is hubby’s birthday, and I got up early and got myself dressed and went shopping for some goodies for his birthday – I wrapped his gifts in the shopping mall and put them in a nice little bag and brought it home.
I was all smiles and giggles because he wasn’t expecting anything – I make sure that I don’t forget birthdays, anniversaries and the like. I took out the bag and handed over the loot, and he starts screaming at me about money, like there wasn’t enough to go around, not that I spent a LUMP of cash, I had budgeted out my money for the month and then the bills, rent and food.
Did I mention that after this little tirade that I handed him the receipt and told him that If he needed the cash so bad that he can go return everything that I bought him for his birthday!!! I am supposed to be able to read his Fucking Mind and know where every penny is and I am also supposed to divine from him what he needs from me every month. Because if I don’t ask, he doesn’t tell me anything… It’s just his way …
So he had a freaking conniption fit and he threw a notice from the UPS man who came while I was out, and I had a duty to pay on a package that came and so I called up UPS to track the package and he is just having a shit fit … I paid my bills, I paid our loan payment, I paid the lump of the rent, and I pay for food daily. So he sits down and writes me a list of things he needs this month – it is the 6th of the month, and with all the bills that must be paid, there is very little cash left for the rest of the month.
Let me explain… I think I mentioned that the Hydro Quebec bill went unpaid for six months, and three months ago we got a turn off notice because there was a bill over $600.00 that needed to be paid immediately. He did not pay the bills on time, and now we are paying the price having to spend every penny we bring in at the moment to try and catch up on bills, and still afford food and sundries. Let’s add to this total our monthly medical bills that run us almost $100.00 each.
I don’t know what I am supposed to do when I hand money hand over fist every month and it just does not seem to go far enough. Ms. Vanity needs hair color, makeup and a beauty appointment before he will walk across the stage next week to get his god damned diploma. He wants a new pair of shoes, which he will get from a gift card we got over the holidays. So he hands me a list of things that he needs to have this month, and I then deposited more money into his bank account this afternoon. He still wasn’t happy, so FUCK ME!!!
Where does the insanity end???
I need a drink…
I hate money. We just cannot catch a break.
One never knows when the dam is going to burst and the flood of emotions that will follow are going to occur. Over the last few weeks I have been trying to help hubby deal with his rejection by McGill University in the most helpful ways I can. Alas, I have failed in that effort.
I don’t know how to help him cope any better than I can, with all that resources I have at my disposal and people for him to speak to. How do you keep someone safe from the world? It has been a very upsetting day because hubby came home from his routine day of school and errands and he was a psychotic mess. Today we broke furniture and came to blows and I was the target of his assault. I guess I am not doing enough to help around here and that my efforts are useless and I do absolutely nothing to help him, in his own words.
We warned him of this happening. We tried to stave off the disappointment, but he is going to deal with his misfortune as he will, you can talk, talk, and talk, but as I said yesterday, people are going to have to figure it out on their own time and in their own way. So I have been sitting back watching this all come about, and they say silence gives consent right? He says that I do not talk, which is untrue. He thinks that I won’t listen without judgment, which is untrue. He has flown through this cycle very quickly and to damaging ends.
All this work he has done, has been for naught. The climbing the mountain has brought him no accolades, no scholarships, not acceptance by his peers and in his mind this has been a total outright evil rejection by a system that does not want him. We must add that as a mature student the stakes are different. We are much older that the regular university student – we may get good grades, and we may have to work harder than the rest to get ahead, but in hubby’s mind there is no difference. But there is…
Now he has to start from the beginning again and work on a second BA because his BA in English does not qualify him for very much and all of his friends got further academic acceptance including financial promissory notes of support for schools ‘out of province.’ So we talked about moving…
There are not many choices left to him to consider and the best viable plan is to return to Concordia this summer and continue his studies in communications where he has been studying for the last three years, this is not a choice he made easily, and it came with much revulsion and gnashing of teeth. How could he achieve such academic greatness, graduating with distinction and at the top of his game and not get one iota recognition from anyone further? Although on a personal level, all of his advisers told him that he is brilliant and smart, those words have fallen on deaf ears. He doubts everything that is being said to him because there was no pay off in his graduation. There isn’t going to be a huge celebration for him…
I don’t know how to help him cope any better than what I am already doing, because every time he gets angry he comes after me. and Fuck me for trying right??? In the Big Book it says that there are no justified resentments and that expectations are something that we cannot afford to have to a certain degree. Anyone knows that when you sets your sights too far up and your expectations find themselves in the stratosphere that the fall from those heights can be fatal. Hubby has had a fatal fall from heights that even I cannot save him from…
His attempt at surmounting McGill university was an exercise in futility and we all warned him of that, he did not listen. He was going to do things his way and be damned the ones who tried to deter him from starting the climb. They say that when climbing Everest [Sagarmantha] if you do not approach the mountain with respect and reverence and you do not honor the time told traditions of the climb, that you will fail at summiting the peak. McGill university was the closest to Everest that hubby was going to get, and he came at the mountain with expectations, an ego and a handful of really virulent resentments. And what did the mountain say to him…….. “You shall not summit my peak!”
He doesn’t want to attend any functions with other students because he has been humiliated at the highest degree, he only told his best friend and myself what happened. And graduation is going to be another upsetting event in his litany of fuck all events of this academic year. Many of them are moving forwards, where hubby, it seems, is only moving backwards with his going on to another BA instead of MA work.
All of his friends will be moving away and beyond and he will be stuck here, doing it all over again, and for him that is such punishment that even he cannot seem to bear at the moment. I am powerless to stop this from happening and I am not God, I cannot change the time line we are on. I am powerless over people, places and things.
So I am useless, All I do is sit here and do nothing, I contribute not enough and I am not pulling my weight around here. fuck me!!! I am without words for what happened today. I’ve been assaulted, insulted and read up one side and down the other for remaining steadfast and solid. At least I followed the program to the best of my ability and I only thought about drinking once today…
God grant me serenity…
On a Saturday night several weeks ago, this pastor was working late, and
decided to call his wife before he left for home. It was about 10:00 PM,
but his wife didn’t answer the phone.
The pastor let the phone ring many times. He thought it was odd that she
didn’t answer, but decided to wrap up a few things and try again in a
few minutes. When he tried again she answered right away. He asked her
why she hadn’t answered before, and she said that it hadn’t rung at
their house. They brushed it off as a fluke and went on their merry
The following Monday, the pastor received a call at the church office,
which was the phone that he’d used that Saturday night. The man that he
spoke with wanted to know why he’d called on Saturday night.
The pastor couldn’t figure out what the man was talking about. Then the
man said, ‘It rang and rang, but I didn’t answer.’ The pastor remembered
the mishap and apologized for disturbing him, explaining that he’d
intended to call his wife.
The man said, ‘That’s, OK. Let me tell you my story.
You see, I was planning to commit suicide on Saturday night, but before
I did, I prayed, ‘God if you’re there, and you don’t want me to do this,
give me a sign now.’ At that point my phone started to ring. I looked at
the caller ID, and it said, ‘Almighty God’. I was afraid to answer!’
The reason why it showed on the man’s caller ID that the call came from
‘Almighty God’ is because the church that the pastor attends is called
Almighty God Tabernacle!!
If you believe that God answers prayers then pass this on. God bless!
READ EACH SENTENCE SLOWLY AND THINK ABOUT IT.
Love starts with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a tear.
Don’t cry over anyone who won’t cry over you.
Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to
Don’t let the past hold you back, you’re missing the good stuff.
BEST FRIENDS are the siblings God forgot to give us.
When it hurts to look back, and you’re scared to look ahead, you can
look beside you and your BEST FRIEND will be there.
Nobody is perfect until you fall in love with them.
I got this from Evan tonight, and thought I’d share it with you.
It has been a most trying time in our home as of late. The ending of the Winter term is just two weeks away, I have a 12 page paper to write for Christian spirituality, thank God most of it is already written here. My Introduction to Theology class has become a nightmare with a professor flying by the seat of her pants, and tonight after a guest lecturer she dropped a bomb on us that something was wrong and that we would be informed as to what will be occurring in the next two weeks. Needless to say that 100 students are shaking their heads wondering why they ever took the class to begin with.
Over a month ago hubby sent his application to McGill for his Master’s Study in the Department of Communications. Living with a bi-polar person has its drawbacks and for the last two weeks we’ve been living in a ticking time bomb of a situation that really was coming to a head and this morning that head came to pass.
I was awoken with a knock at the door, we were not expecting anyone and it must be a door to door salesman, I was surprised when someone from Hydro Quebec was standing outside the door telling hubby that they were going to turn our power off for failure to pay the $600.00 balance on our account. Hubby has been cycling at 100 mph for the last two weeks and he was short on patience and I had more than once over the last few days tried to diffuse his anxiety and impatience and I failed at trying to stop his meltdown that came this morning.
He took off out the door and was on top of this guy like a hawk on prey. It was not pretty and he was swearing and yelling at this guy who only wanted payment in some form or fashion. I was sitting at this desk, which is adjacent to the front door and I grabbed the checkbook and started writing out a check for money we don’t even have in the bank.
I was terribly frightened when I realized that hubby had not paid one penny to the account in over six months, and the Hydro bill is on his checking account online, this was not news to me because I saw the $600.00 bill come through the mail, and I assumed that he had been making payments to the account since winter began, well, I was wrong!!!
The law states here that Hydro cannot turn off your power during the winter because many homes here are heated by electric power which we have as well. Along with my own issues and working with my kids and writing to others in my little circle here, I have tried to detach from hubby’s insanity and tried to remain serene and calm, all the while, hubby has been spinning around the apartment like a tazmanian devil spinning at 100 mph…
My little calm eye of the storm came to heads with my violently screaming husband this morning, needless to say, that was how today began. I handed the man his check that was post dated for the first of the month for $200.00 which means I start next month with a deficit of $200.00, and all the bills will have to come afterwards. Not to mention the rent.
Hubby headed to class without one word to me, and I went back to bed for a couple hours of more sleep which failed me in the end, I was so upset that I got up and ruminated over how I was going to handle this situation later in the day.
I had to meet Ms. Nikki for coffee and we talked this through so that I could get off my chest what I needed to so that I could bring some resolution to this cycle this evening. We had a guest lecturer which Ms. Nikki was coming with me to see, a fellow priest whom we are both friends with. We got the “union” bombshell by the chair of the department and now we are all in a holding pattern as to how this class is going to conclude with hopefully passing grades for all of us who are on this roller coaster ride from hell.
I got home, and the phone rang, it was one of my kids calling to talk, and that is how the night progressed. Thank God for small miracles, I didn’t have to deal with the wreckage from earlier in the day, so I logged onto my messenger and we spoke for over an hour, I did not say one word to hubby and he did not say one word to me either. Although after Big Brother, he cooked us dinner and we ate in total silence…
I did not bring up the morning melt down and he did not bring it up either, and so that is where I left it. Unspoken about… I just did not think it wise to close the night with another argument about his attitude, excessive expectations and his arrogant attitude as of late. I don’t have the patience to reiterate what I’ve been saying to him for weeks, like stay in your day, let go and let God and just relax for God’s sakes…
Oh the joys of living with a Bi-Polar nut case.
I can understand his feelings that he is brilliant in his manic state. And he is, but when he cycles, he cannot stop from coming full circle emotionally, and I been watching him cycle faster and faster and I worked to encourage him and to remind him that he has to keep his feet on the ground and not allow his manic state to run riot over him, which in the end it did.
He knows that other students, less intelligent than him are getting acceptance letters from school all over the province and some from other schools in other areas of the country, and he is angry that it is taking the admissions process this long to send him his letter of acceptance.
This admission to McGill is a demon exorcising action, from his drinking past, because once he was a musical prodigy studying music at McGill when he was a lot younger and he flunked out when he started drinking. So there are many layers to what is going on here right now, and I am powerless to stop what is going on and I can’t move it ahead any faster than it is moving. We make plans and the best laid plans are just that plans. We make plans and God laughs…
His attitude sucks, his “better than anyone else” complex has gotten the best of him and over the last week he has transformed into a really ugly person that I don’t even know. And I don’t want to know, so I have tried to stay detached from this monster doing what I do every day following my routine and making sure I am spiritually aware of everything going on around me so that I don’t get sucked into the maelstrom.
It’s 2:30 in the morning and I am sitting here writing listening to 80’s music, thank God for silence and small miracles. So that’s what’s going on in my little world tonight. If you feel up to it, rifle a few prayers my way, would you… I could use them about right now…
When it comes to finances, I can’t say we have mastered that area of our lives yet. But we manage. Trying to find financial balance while trying to manage food, medications and bills seems a daunting task. But it can be done.
I imagine that by now, you and your wife have figured out the cycles that pass with Bi-polar disorder and I hope that you have been paying attention to the list of observations that I published for you to look at and use.
The first rule of thumb is to not loose hope or give up because of things that are outside your control. This darkness that comes with depression affects you and not only you but the people around you, so like I said last night, you have to stay above the water and fight.
Paying for medications it seems for many is a real issue. I know that they can be costly. That is one gift of living in Canada, we don’t pay those extreme prices for medications that you do in the United States.
You can’t allow or you should try not to allow the depression to overwhelm you because if it does, you will end up in the pit of despair. I can’t encourage you enough to observe these places you find yourself in and then report them to your physician so that they can moderate your medication to help keep you out of the pit and not bounce into the stratosphere getting too high. The goal here is to find the even middle ground to be operable and functional, and not so upset and depressed.
That will come in time if you are working diligently to find a solution, even if things around you seem to be falling apart. You have to remember to stay in your day and live one day at a time – that will lessen your worries about what is to come and keep you pointed in the right direction. I know this is hard. But you must fight.
Crawling back under the covers and ignoring the world around you is not going to help you or your wife, you have to fight the urge to bury and hide, even if that means forcing yourself every day to do something like get out of the house, go for a walk, go to the store and such and so forth. Take time every day to be good to yourself to keep from entertaining the darkness. Find things to do that keep you going. Find projects to keep your mind focused. Do things together.
Find your Passion – DO IT – Money will Follow
If your dreams are freaky, then that is another sign to look at, your sleep and dream cycles, because if you are not resting well or not sleeping well at night, that affects your daily life and cycles. I know when hubby is not sleeping well and is agitated so make sure you pay attention to those cycles as well. Good sleep cycles will help your awake cycles.
All of these factors will play into proper management of your bi-polar disorder. I know that this is a lot of information to swallow, and that is why a bi-polar person needs a second person involved to help see the ruts, to observe the cycles and be able to, with a little certainty, help you and your physician along.
Stay above the wave my friend, there are always solutions, if you know where to look for them, be they in a church community, social services, and medical assistance programs. I would investigate your community to see if there are any services that you can attach yourselves to to help get by.
Pray… and know that we pray for you and that we support you and we are hopeful that you will become victorious, you just have to believe that that is possible. And do not loose hope … There is light at the end of the tunnel. Keep walking, and know that eventually, you will find the mix that works for you and one day it will just happen, the lights will come on and you will have figured it out. And there salvation will be waiting. And life will continue.
I guess I should get in the habit once again of writing at the end of the day and to do my lists as I used to. It is very gratifying to know that people are reading the stuff I post here, as it seems, once again, there are readers who do not comment much of the time, but from time to time they appear and say thanks for a post or a thought. You never know how people are going to react to religious writing.
I skipped class tonight to go to church, because it was asked of me to attend. The Rev. Canon told me, through her intermediary that if I was going to be part of a Church and write about that church, then I better get my ass into the church.
Rolheiser writes about the four pillars of Christian practice and becoming a concrete part of a church community is the area that I am lacking. I left early enough to have time to sit and pray before the service started and to read my daily devotional for Lent.
I usually attend services at the Cathedral on Tuesday’s as it is my recovery day and the day that I take to care for my needs aside from everyone else’s. My church buddy is in Florida until April, so I go alone, but I am not alone, because there are others that attend daily mass as well.
I spent time praying for my friends, and my family, for the community that is this blog and for all those who I read on a daily basis, and yes I do mention each of your names to God when I pray. But tonight’s prayers were troubled. Because I am praying for one soul in specific who is in such a bad way lately that I don’t think she will ever get out of the darkness, and that is her choice. Which leads me to my next point.
I have served as a trusted servant for my home group going on seven years. Every Tuesday like clockwork. I have sat with my friends at coffee talk every week like going to church, only this church is in a diner at the mall up the block. I listen to people, I minister to their needs and I offer them pastoral care and a prayer here and there.
My good friend Ms. Nikki is in such a rut that her misery is starting to get to me. She sits in the dark and laments her past, the men she loved and the sex she cannot have any more. At fifty seven she is still spry and when encouraged, she can talk a mean game…
She has issues and I know this, but now she has pulled back from some of her duties to our home group because she just cannot commit more time, I have no idea why, she doesn’t have a life outside of Sunday mass, work and Tuesday’s with me. Yet she is miserable and like I said, misery loves company. She won’t leave our coffee clutch because I think that if left to her own devices she would go insane, without another set of eyes on her issues.
I honestly do not know how to help her. God if I did, If there was a miracle cure to get her out of the dark, you bet I would take it, right now in fact. So I pray for wisdom and guidance. I suit up and I show up as I would any other day.
I am chairing the 6:30 meeting this month and at 6:30 I bang the gavel on the table and I announce “It’s 6:30, let’s have a meeting.” Yesterday I did that and one of our long term members, a wise old man, with time under his belt and years of stories to offer the newcomer, says to his companion, “what an ass, he has to tell us what time it is?” I heard what he said because he said it loud enough so that I would hear him, and so I looked at this old man and replied across a crowded room “Marvin you are always the smart ass!”
He didn’t say a word the entire meeting and was outside with a friend when I left. I bring this up because I am powerless over people, places and things. The fact that I was quick with a comeback surprised even me that I said it, but I don’t regret it. I run a tight little ship at my home group I’ve been at this for some time. I don’t take shit from anyone, be that shit pointed at me or anyone else in the room. It just bothered me.
So we pray for Marvin tonight…
Did I mention how unimpressed I am with my Introduction the Theology class? And that it did not phase me one bit to skip class tonight because I am so bored with the material! I am a bit critical when it comes to professors, and the fact that some of them are droll, they stand up front and read from papers, occasionally write on the board, but that spark is missing, and after four years at Concordia I can tell you within days what kind of class this is going to be, just by the carriage and demeanor of the prof…
*** The Secret ***
Oprah has Louise Hay and the authors of “The Secret” on her show today. I saw The Secret [movie] but I did not read the book. I am all for the power of intention and the wealth that positive thinking can do for you, I just don’t put much stock in the laws of attraction when it comes to money and finances. But if you have a spare $100,000 to give away, I would surely accept your donation…
I did my list when I saw the Secret, and I posted it here on the blog, then I thought that that was not my style and presumptuous to tell you all what I want in the ways of the laws of attraction and financial freedom. I don’t make bones about money, that is the one area of our marriage that we still struggle with six years later. There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything I can for my kids, my husband and for my chosen few. There isn’t enough money coming in that, we didn’t have to worry about food and medications every month, or paying ALL the bills on time, and negotiating with the bank every month with our loan payments.
If you go to school, the province gives you financial aide to do that. But if you work aside from that financial aide, they take away money from you. If you work full time, you can’t get financial aide at all. And us two being disabled students, AIDS is still a disability, and I don’t call on it much, mind you, I haven’t been really sick in a years time (knock wood) and hubby has his medical issues as well. So we are balancing bills, life, medications and food and the balance is shaky to say the least.
I don’t need a million dollars, although I do play the Lotto 649 on occasion when the jackpot rises above 25 million dollars. I don’t play every week though. I do a lot of work with people just because, just because I am an anglophone in a bilingual province where I refuse to learn the second language. Because Spanish is my second language. I have this god forsaken Religion Degree, and what has it done for me, Not One Fucking Thing…
I want a job, on my terms, working the hours that I can and will. I am not working for some clock punching asshole who is going to begrudge me or judge me based on my orientation or disability. I want to build my own office where I can work my own hours and see who I can, when I can, and by my own rules and on my own terms.
I want to work for myself because I am worthy of that work because I give selflessly to everyone in my social circle, and one day that work in my circle is going to pay off in real financial dividends. But you see, these are not expectations, because I know what expectations do to someone in recovery.
But these are my terms.
I don’t need a mansion, I like where I live. I just need a bit more space. I would love, one day to be able to walk into a bank and get a loan for a house. A place for my kids to come visit without being on top of us. I don’t need a car, I do right well on bus, metro and walking around the core. I don’t need a car. We live pretty spartanly. We live a happy life, albeit, we are always on our toes around here.
I want to publish a book, this project that is in online form in the pages of this blog, I would like, one day to find my writings here on every gay boys bedside table. I want my AIDS memoirs to find themselves in the collection with the great AIDS writers of the 80’s and 90’s who are all long since dead now. Lessons, tools, guidance and wisdom that was hard earned, does not come cheap. I don’t make a penny writing my ass off on this blog. And unlike many reads I know, I’ve stayed away from talking about ministry and donations. Because that would jinx a good thing going here.
We give freely of what was freely given to us.
But one time, someone did ask me about when I was going to start charging for advice, and my answer to her was this? What gives me permission to charge for advice? Yeah I write, I’ve got this degree and 40 years of wisdom and hard fought life in my head and heart, is it worth enough to say ok, if you want what I have, you’re gonna have to pay for it…
No that’s not how the rooms work. I don’t know how that works. I can’t imagine what it would be like to transition from this writing space to a space of my own in an office where I am making money for my family and for myself. I cannot imagine what that day will look like or if it will ever happen.
It’s after 4 am and I really need to get to bed, so that’s all for now…
I’ve been wary to sit and write this post because this blog is just over a year old and so let’s look at the stats live at this moment:
We have had 72,887 Visits
Best Day Ever: December 5th 2007 with 570 hits
There are 978 posts
and Akismet has caught over 90,207 spam messages…
So I am going to bounce between the then and now as I write this, I thought that might be a way to approach this end of the year post, to see what I was thinking a year ago at this time.
I haven’t really thought about the end of the year review but in reading some other of my fellows like Zeitzeuge, I guess I should write it down, before I forget. I live my life on a different wavelength – unlike my fellow, I am married, and I am sober, so relationship issues are somewhat the same, but are different. When you are sober and get married everything changes. Add to a marriage a bi-polar rapid cycling man and an HIV positive man and you’ve got yourself a pretty green pickle of a situation. Sero-discordant issues are a reality, but not as much any longer. Life is an issue, problems arise, but we deal with them as they come up.
We don’t live on year to year expectations. We have been on an path, so to speak. Our lives are lived in the pursuit of happiness, in as many ways as one can have it. The work that goes into “making a relationship work” is a force of nature. It is a willingness, an energy that I have no idea from where it comes, how one taps it, or how to control it. I guess this energy comes from the fact that “I made a promise” before my friends, family and before God.
A relationship takes on new meaning when vows are spoken and promises are made before God, at least that means something to me. Add to that – that my husbands Bi-Polar issue started well before our marriage and I chose to stick it out and be a man and do the right thing. That commitment has carried me through until now. It is the promise I remember – the man I knew then – and the man I know today. They are not the same man by any stretch of the imagination.
I don’t focus on my “Positiveness” like some of my fellows. The only place the word AIDS or HIV appears is in my sidebar profile. I only talk about it when necessary. Aids does not define me, nor does it limit me, nor does it make me any different than any other man or woman, it used to.
But the older I get and the longer I survive, the less important what I am or what I have becomes or exists to be for me. So what I am Gay, HIV positive, so forth and so on.
WHO I am is more important than WHAT I am… with age comes wisdom. That I can share that wisdom with others through the medium of a Blog makes each one of us important to those who read us. And that makes us accountable and responsible and reliable to be good men and women. To think of others when we write to try and leave the world a better place than when we came into it.
Now: [Sagarmantha] The Holy Mountain
That was my opening salvo a year ago almost to the day, December 28th 2006. Much has changed since that time. Hubby and I have been married a little more than three years now [November 2004], and we have settled into a calm and quiet routine of life. Marriage has been an adventure. It by no means has been easy, not that it was difficult. We have just refined the way we live, and we pay attention to things a lot closer than normal couples. When we met in the Fall of 2002, it was instantaneous, and we’ve been together ever since. I don’t know what it would be like if I was ever alone again…
I just cannot imagine how lonely it would be…
Bi-Polar depression and its treatment has taken a marked cost from my marriage and I have to deal with that to the best of my ability. They say if there is not love, money, sex and power in a marriage, then what good is it? Well those things all add to a marriage, but when you strip a marriage down to the bare bones, it is the little things that make a marriage work. Problems aside, I’d never leave, because it would break too many hearts.
Living in a sober household, dealing with issues of marriage gives a sense of perspective when speaking to other bloggers and readers. Navigating major depression and AIDS in the 21st century is a lot different than it was in the 90’s. Sensibilities have changed about gay men and women. The world has become desensitized to the “gay agenda” some like to think. In many parts of the world over the last year, LGBTQ people have been recognized, albeit, not enough recognition on all fronts, but I think we have made some forward progress. My readership is very mixed. My readers come from all over the world, men and women, gay and straight, etc, etc…
I have worked hard over the last year to be the man I say I am. I have walked the walk and talked the talk. Learning how to be a spiritual man on the inside and share with you that spiritual man on the outside has been very challenging, to say the least. I cannot think one thing, write another and try to walk on thin ice… That’s just not me…
I guess you can say that I live an authentic life…
I have also spent a great deal of time reading and participating in the online community of bloggers. I take that part of my life very seriously. I devote time every day, EVERY DAY to read your blogs. I pray for all of you, and I participate in your good times, and I mourn with you in the sad times. And I may not comment all over the place, but when I feel I have something to offer, I will comment.
And there are some blogs that I comment regularly on, those young men whom are growing into fine men themselves, having an older set of eyes on certain issues brings perspective. I know what it is like to be young, and horny at age 20 and up… I know what it is like to go out into the world… I have faced my demons of AIDS, Addiction, Alcoholism and Depression. And I lived to tell …
We are still sober. I am religious about meetings. My hubby tends to stay away from them, yet we share the same family of friends. Those people we call friends are family to us, because they have direct access to our lives 100%, they participate in our daily lives, and they have helped us when we really needed it, those friends we can call on night or day…
Being HIV positive now 13 years later, who knew!! Did I ever think that I would survive this long? No. Not in the beginning. In the beginning, I counted the days, until I hit that first year of being POZ, then I began to think on 5 year terms of survival. When I hit the ten year mark, things in my life had already begun to change. I was in the hands of a very capable doctor who treated patient zero – that man is still my doctor.
I don’t see disease in the same way that my contemporaries or fellow poz men see it. I may not be politically active nor do I spend time working in the field of AIDS work, just because I refuse to cave to the language police in Montreal. And nobody in this city has given me one dime or offered me one word of support or assistance in all the years I have lived in this city, aside from the hospital clinic.
Many years ago, I applied to work in this field here in Montreal and people [straight and gay people] looked me dead in the eye and told me that I was uneducated and unqualified to work in the AIDS community. Needless to say, in the last six years I have never attended one aids function, one fund raiser or one walk!
I do my best outreach right here on this blog. I cannot tell you how many hours of time I have spent working on those [Pages] over there on the sidebar. I have wept, cried and relived every memory that exists in my brain to pour that knowledge out in written form, I always hoped that one day my writings would be published, yet that dream still eludes me.
I don’t dwell on being sick, it does not suit me. My husband does not dwell on my illness. In fact we don’t dwell on illness at all. Although we manage both together, it never comes up in conversation. The only time we talk about sickness, is at the end of the day when I medicate or we have to refill a prescription. I don’t give my diseases any more power than I must. The less power you give an addiction or sickness, the more energy you have for life. Now I know that there are some illnesses you cannot avoid because of what they force you to live through, or experience, I am grateful that I have not had to walk that road. I have lived a clearly blessed life these last six years.
I do not know how I did it. I just walked the road, one day at a time…
I take care of me. I take care of my husband. And he takes care of me. I eat well, I sleep well, and I pay attention to the little details of life, at age 40, how can you not?
I’m clean and sober. Many of my readers are in a program of recovery in some way shape or form. I don’t [we] don’t have the pressures of parties, the pressure of relationships with people who drink, drug or party. I incorporate my sobriety into my writing every chance I get because [the program] principles are universal for everyone. Gay or Straight, male or female, God created them… If we all live by the good word and the good path, the world would be a better place, and it all begins with me.
If I can do it, YOU can do it…
I graduated from university last June 2007. I now hold a B.A. in Religious Studies and I am currently studying for my Pastoral Ministry Certificate in the Department of Theology at Concordia University. Who knew that I would LIVE and that I would start a university career at age 36 and graduate before my 40th birthday??? who knew…
I still mentor my [pod of young men] and I have even added a few more over the last year, and this again, is another important aspect of my life and personal work. I truly enjoy working with them and seeing them grow into fine young men and outstanding community participants in their respective communities. My two sons are doing well. They both have great lives, they have great jobs, they have great friends. I love them more than life itself, and sometimes, even more than my husband…
My maternal instinct is very strong. Every once in a while I will get that pang of wanting children, and maybe one day we will adopt, but not today, but when we get to that financial point in our lives, we will. I need the house before I bring another soul under my roof again.
There is an entire community of online men who participate in helping raise great men into the universal consciousness. You all know who you are, and how much the work we do with others means so much to me and to those we minister to. We all have a stake in raising great young people. The world is going to hell in a hand basket, yet here we have an oasis of calm, guiding life coaches, mentors, fathers and supporters.
I’m sober 6 years and a few weeks now. December 9th was my Sixth Sober Anniversary. I am 40 years old, I have lived with AIDS now going on 14 years. I am Married, now three years.
And I am Living my Best Life. Does that sound familiar?
We have worked hard at maintaining community. We have worked hard at supporting every one of our readers. We have reached out into the cyber sphere with prayers, advice, strength and hope. We have shared with you freely – everything that we have and everything that we have learned in as many years when it comes to addiction, bi-polar depression, AIDS, alcoholism, sobriety, and just plain life…
I count myself blessed to be a part of this community. And I try to live up to the expectations that I see in others. I want to be part of community, so I work hard to contribute to that community. How can you be part of a community and not contribute what is freely given to you? That is an impossibility.
I’ve been up, I’ve been down. I’ve shared in the deaths of many parents in the last year. I never talk about mine, because many years ago, my mother told me that ‘if either she or my father got sick and died, I would never be contacted’ so I’ve buried them emotionally, because to not know is sanity, and I choose not to know, because to know would mean certain insanity for me.
And I would not be responsible for my reaction.
But many of my closest friends have lost parents, and I suffered each loss with them, I have taken each loss to the church and prayed until it hurt. You all know who you are. They know that I am here and where to find me if they need me.
In the end we walk the path, up the mountain, we live and we die,
The lesson of this life is this:
You have a choice in who you engage and who you do not
We are powerless over people, places and things
We are only responsible for our sides of the street
You don’t have to be a victim, if you stay out of the drama
Empowerment is a gift, Take it and Use it, or Loose it
To live is to learn how to go to your death with dignity and respect
There are a lot of lessons I am forgetting, but You know what they are if you read here often.
Stay in your day
Wasted time is Wasted time
Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can Never be regained!!!
Live – Easy – But – Think – First
Live and Let Live
Easy Does It
But for the grace of God
Think, Think, Think
First things First
Ok, that’s all I have to say about 2007. Coming soon, Predictions for 2008…
Stay tuned babies… goodnight…
May the Light of God shine upon you, May he bless you and your family, and may the peace of God rest with you, and bless your holidays with a multitude of Love and Joy!!!
You letter was the most beautiful gift this Christmas…
You and your family will forever be in our prayers and thoughts.
It is SNOWING in Montreal at this hour. We will have a white Christmas after all…
Hubby is on the 11 am bus and will be home by lunchtime, YAY!!