In my studies of Religion, I spent a great deal of time, studying the Holocaust. I took specific classes taught by men who were there, and men who’s family were lost in the camps. I took a Master Class on the Holocaust as well.
We also have a Holocaust Museum here in Montreal, that I have visited on several occasions. And on this 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I post these words written by Primo Levy, in honor of all those who were lost, those left behind and words to future generations to never forget.
People who forget the past, are destined to repeat it …
- If This Is a Man
- You who live safe
- In your warm houses,
- You who find, returning in the evening,
- Hot food and friendly faces:
- Consider if this is a man
- Who works in the mud,
- Who does not know peace,
- Who fights for a scrap of bread,
- Who dies because of a yes or a no.
- Consider if this is a woman
- Without hair and without name,
- With no more strength to remember,
- Her eyes empty and her womb cold
- Like a frog in winter.
- Meditate that this came about:
- I commend these words to you.
- Carve them in your hearts
- At home, in the street,
- Going to bed, rising;
- Repeat them to your children.
- Or may your house fall apart,
- May illness impede you,
- May your children turn their faces from you.
**** **** ****
Canadians, for the most part, are hearty, strong people, who take what ever Mother Nature throws at us. Snow, for many parts of the country is a norm for at least six months out of the year. Love it or hate it, it is part of our daily lives. The snow storm is one thing, a blizzard is a whole other kettle of fish.
I haven’t seen a blizzard here in Montreal is some time. And since Winter began, our weather forecasters have not really hit the nail on the head when it comes to knowing what the weather is going to do. Several times, we have been warned over the air to expect significant snow fall, that never materialized. So this past week when weathermen in the U.S. were warning people to run to the hills, take cover and hunker down for a historic blizzard ever, I kind of rolled my eyes.
Let’s incite fear and insanity into the lives of millions of people. Let’s shut down the city from top to bottom and turn people’s lives upside down. “because of some snow …” UGH !!!
… Momentary pause to fold laundry …
It was “Do things Wednesday” today. The confluence of many things coming together meant busy busy from early on this morning. Our management takes very seriously, the threat of bugs or any kind of creepy crawly infestation.
Our latest threat is ants … Several apartments have seen more bugs lately, than we have seen in years. I’m not sure where they are coming from, but they made their way all the way into the tower into apartments high up. With a list of affected apartments, they came this morning and tore the apartment apart, taking all the electrical sockets apart and putting poison in the walls.
I had cleaned in anticipation of this coming, and we were told that no prep would be necessary, they lied … So that was this morning.
I needed food, so I went to Provigo and packed a cart full of stuff. I also needed to do laundry, and it seems they have changed the rules in the store, and are no longer giving change at the cashes. I did, in fact get change, but that might change the next time I need it. Which means a trip all the way up the road to the bank, which is a real pain in the ass, when Provigo is right there on the corner.
Just another pain in the ass decision.
I usually do laundry early in the day, to avoid the dinner crush for machines. Most folks are at work or school during the day so I get my machines without waiting. I was the only one up there today, and just finished laundry a short while ago.
Last night, we sat a small group for the meeting. We are listening to the Joe and Charlie Tapes that cover the Big Book. It is a 35 week adventure. The talks run from ten to twenty five minutes with a discussion that follows. It has been hit and miss. People (read: some people) find it annoying. And some stopped coming all together. But after last night’s meeting, and after hearing what our old timers said about … Sometimes you just have to sit down, shut up, and listen, we decided to stick to our guns and not cave because of criticism.
I went ahead and sent notices to our Area Web administrators, and the literature counter as well, notifying them of the format change. That will definitely drum up some more business. We barely hit our monthly cash expenses, with less people, the seventh is less as well, and we have to pump money in to pay our rent and buy coffee.
We are expecting snow for tomorrow and Friday …
More to come, stay tuned …
It has been on the cold side. as of late. Tonight we are sitting at (-10c/-17c w.c.). Yes, it is cold and people were muttering tonight that an early spring would be nice. However, it isn’t as bad a last years winter cold.
Rewind back to Tuesday for a few moments. After my emotional melt down over the past week, I had dinner with my sponsor Tuesday before the meeting, and I shared with him everything that was going on in my head. His thirty years sober yields much wisdom from his perspective.
Blessedly, the nightmares stopped. Working ones steps actively, comes with the warning that over time, we get to review the past, or certain memories from the past, in greater detail, which usually coincides with brain overdrive.
I’ve never really sat down and talked about portions of my story, because I just haven’t. And I’ve been pondering other fanciful stories that are sitting on the front of my brain tonight.
Among other stories is this one …
I once had a job, at the Port of Miami, working for Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, during their Sovereign class release. Those were really good times. The job I had prior to this stint, was in a travel agency, where I was manager. I was a young and vibrant alcoholic. In the office we drank, openly, and shared it with clients.
Funny, almost all of those folks I worked with later got sober, including myself.
Working at a Cruise line was Top Drawer employment. Every ship that was put into service, brought with it the employee party on board with open bar, as much as you could drink so forth and so on. That was always a fiasco. Every good thing that happened to the company was shared with the employees, ten fold. It was not uncommon to get a champagne lunch frequently.
The bar I drank at sat halfway between the port and where I was living during this time. I would leave work and hit happy hour for starters. I would drink and then drive home, usually eyeballing the road. I would change my clothes and return to the bar for the night shift. I drank my weight in alcohol, and it was good to be “in” with the bartenders, and the bars use of “drink tickets.”
Every night the “drink tickets” would go out, but the colors changed every night. You bought a drink, you got a ticket. We all had “drink ticket” boxes in our cars, where we could go to get the tickets we had collected over the weeks, every night we went out to drink.
It was not pretty, I could have killed someone. This was not a joke.
I only lasted there for a couple of years. Then things got really out of hand. I was renting a room in a mansion owned by a good friend. A woman I loved and respected. When I was kicked out of my parents house again, because I was gay, she took me in. And I took advantage of her terribly.
By this time I was commuting to drink. I wasn’t happy with Miami drinking, So I would drive to Ft. Lauderdale to drink, and then drive all the way back to Miami on a full stomach. My ability to find the worst deadbeat friends and boyfriends was my specialty. I was a total failure.
I was drinking away my rent money. I was either late, or I had none to pay out. Which ended up with me coming home in the middle of the night drunk, and finding the door locks changed and her son at the door, telling me that I could not come in until I had the money to pay for rent. Which landed me back in Ft, Lauderdale, commuting from there to work, I finally made the rent, and was asked to move.
What I did not know, at that time, was that the woman I lived with, and had worked with at the travel agency for so long, was getting sober. Much to my surprise. I was the alcoholic tornado running wild through her life. If you read the Big Book, there is a prominent story about me.
Years would go by, and when I finally got sober that first time, after a few years in, I had moved from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. One afternoon I decided to hit a meeting, so I walk in the room and who is sitting IN the Room was my lady friend. Needless to say I had some serious amends to make to her.
There are little, read it in the Big Book stories, I can tell about my life.
Some of them are funny, but the moral of the story is this … Nobody asked or said Stop.
I’m not sure I would have been ready to turn it over and stop anyways.
We are listening to Joe and Charlie on Tuesday nights. If you never heard them before, they are an experience. It is hit and miss with our folks. Many did not make it past the first night. And they did not come back. This week we heard all about the Big Book.
Writers write books all the time. Every story has its method, its storyline, and its form. The Big Book has its method. You can drill down from the book, to the chapters, to the paragraphs, and even down to the sentences. The Book is a manual about how to get sober. Each chapter is written to tell a certain story, and share with you certain truth. Each chapter leads from Chapter One through the first 164 pages of the book.
- Each chapter speaks to certain information, which leads into the following chapter.
- Chapter One talks about the problem.
- Which leads into Chapter Two, There is a Solution,
- Which leads into Chapter Three, more about alcoholism.
- Chapter Four, We Agnostics,
- And into Chapter Five, How it Works,
- Chapter Six, Into Action,
- Chapter Seven Working with Others, and so on.
Within each chapter is written stories, with words written that string together.
- You can read the Book
- You can read a chapter
- You can read a paragraph
- And, you can read a sentence.
In other places, this coming from people who traveled far and wide, Certain meetings run on the Big Book, and all its derivations. These four choices are the stuff of meetings in many places.
It has taken me years to see this wisdom. I’ve read the book, several times. I’ve been to meetings over the years where all we did was read the book. But it was only when I saw the women reading the book together with their sponsees, week in and week out, that that was something I wanted to do as well.
I don’t read the book with my sponsor, but we are actively working our steps.
I learned what I needed to do to step up my game in sobriety. And I did that.
Tonight I heard my OLD read: Former – sponsor speak at the Thursday night meeting.
I heard the message. I’ve heard it before. He did not say anything new to me. His story is unique, and he was my sponsor for a long time, until the fire was lit for me. He talked about his story, and when it came to the words … I Worked my Steps, or I am working my steps, I did not hear that.
At twenty five years sober, he was trying to Live the steps. He has three sponsors. One, his higher power, a Second service sponsor, and a Third, who lives in East Asia.
There came a point in our relationship that I knew I had to do something different, and I did that.
It is all well and good to go to meetings, find a home group and give back. Read: Do Service.
That is all well and good, and can take you along for a while. Sobriety offers us a wealth of work and a wealth of experience, if we fire up and find someone to feed that fire, I did that.
I could not sit still any more, after hearing New Yorkers tell me how they do it and WHY?
Today, I work it like New York.
It begins with prayer. And runs into the Book. And into Meetings. And then working with others.
I read the book with my guys, every week. All three of them, at different times, get to read the book with me, and I get to see the book through their eyes and through their understanding, along with mine.
The one thing that the speaker said tonight was … “That if I lived to be 150 years old, I could not repay what A.A. has given me.” With that sentiment I agree. That goes the same for myself.
My sober journey is different than all my friends. Not many people can commit to hard core working it for all it is. A friend I know, who has been to all the meetings I have, and to round ups as well, got sober for a while, over the holidays he drank. He came back and I gave him my number and said, call me every day, because his sponsor was out of the country.
People balk at Call me every day …
I told my sponsor about that the other night. And he gave me direction with what to do now.
I did that tonight. I said hello, I shook his hand, and that was it. He did not want to have a conversation with me past hello. And that’s fine.
I reach out to folks, I give my number, but usually, if you don’t use that number within 48 hours of getting it, you won’t use it at all. On Tuesday night, I put my number in a Big Book for a newcomer, my phone has yet to ring.
Ah well… what can you do ???
This afternoon I had to make the trek to the other side of the city to see my doctor. A health issue arose a few days ago, and was causing me intense pain and discomfort, I called him on Tuesday, I got to see him today, Thursday. The pain has subsided. But the problem still exists.
I thought that the removal of my piercing was the issue, and the healing process that went awry? That was not the case. Diabetes is a little monster. It seems I am having issues with my body in relation to my diabetes. That was a surprise. How often do you get to show your dick to your doctor?
That was a first for me in all the years he has been my doctor.
He told me what to do and he prescribed medicine to treat the problem.
I only get away so far, before my body revolts and does something totally out of left field.
Diabetes will do that to you.
On the Great side, I lost 9 pounds. And I lost two inches on my waist. My doctor is pleased.
I was very pleased to see him up and around and able to walk.
The last time I saw him, he could not walk without a cane, or holding on to furniture. He got old very quickly when his body turned on him. He has since had hip replacement surgery, and he says now, he is made of plastic, and titanium. My good old bionic doctor that could…
It was a good day. All’s well that end’s well.
More to come, stay tuned …