Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. B-Down Gobo Light Show – Memories. A Wordpress Production

Birthday

December 9th 2014 … Thirteen

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Courtesy: Billy Pazionis Flickr

I offer you “Thirteen” a retrospective.

In May of 2013, I had been at Tuesday Beginners for eleven years. The New York women came to us and I began to watch them and listen to them. I watched what they did for a while and I longed for that kind of life to come to me.

The end of May came with the West Island Round Up. And I heard Lorna Kelly speak, along with a host of others from New York. And I learned, much to my dismay, that I’d been warming a seat for years, and not really doing anything about it. Comfortable at just being a talking head and showing up and doing service.

One of the men who spoke talked about prayer … I prayed, but not with the intensity or meaning that our man was trying to get across to the people sitting in front of him while he spoke. Three, Seven and Eleven, every day, like you mean it. You have the book, why aren’t you working it?

This is how we do it.

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT !!!

Are you listening??

I faded from my then sponsor and decided to go it alone. It was time. Days, turned into weeks, which turned into months. I changed up my meetings, added the Friday A.B.S.I. meeting, and I was doing the work, praying and being present for my friends.

In the Summer of 2013, I decided to leave Tuesday Beginners, opting for the “other” beginners meeting that was on earlier, because that is where my friends were, or, more to the point, the young men of that I needed in my life and it ended up, this meeting carried me through some tough times. And I gave back to that meeting.

On my 12th anniversary, December 9th 2013, I asked a friend to give me my chip, so it went. Since then, Vendome Beginners moved to the location we are at now, albeit in smaller numbers, we have a committed group of folks who come week in and week out.

There was an old timer there, who had the years, and I was in the market for a new sponsor, in January this year, we went to lunch and he interviewed me for the position. He had a few rules that I must agree to follow. I was supposed to call him every day for a month. I did that. At the end of the month, on the last day, I called him, and he said to me that I did not have to call him anymore. And I was like “What?” But I want to call you every day. That was the answer he was looking for.

It has been close to a year, and I call him every day. He also started me on the journey with the Men’s Intensive Big Book, Steps, Study. We have been working our steps in tandem with each other. My sponsors sponsor, my sponsor, and then myself. I had been doing the work, praying and acting As If.

And God seemed to be pleased because he sent me young men to work with, something my life had lacked for all the years I was sober. They have taught me many things, about themselves, and about myself, and about us.

In May of 2014, he invited me to my first Men’s Intensive Weekend at Mad River Barn, in Vermont. Being the only Queer in the bunch, I told them my stories about getting sober in certain groups. And the fact that people sent me away because I was gay! That changed everything. It was the first weekend where men from other places listened to me and spoke kindness to me. I came home from that weekend with lessons I still use today. I work the same way with my guys, that my sponsor works with me.

The weekend after then Men’s Intensive, it was my hope to share a round up with my guys. It was an ok weekend. The singleness of purpose problem was a barrier for my guys, and they felt left out of the US and segregated to just them and the just us club. But the message was clear from the Atlantic Group.

The Mantra was “THE WORK.”

Since May I have talked about the work, and how that has panned out over the past seven months. In October of 2014, we again returned to Mad River for the Fall Men’s Intensive weekend. Sadly, that would be the last time we visited that Inn. This time around, I was asked to speak. Actually, before I even got home from the Intensive in May, an invitation to speak was waiting for me when I got home. So I had months to prepare. I did not get a notice on what I would be speaking on in any case.

Half our number came for the weekend. People were not pleased with the Inn from the last visit and the price had gone up considerably. Nonetheless, I was the opening presenter for Steps One and Two for the weekend.

I met some of the same men as the first time, but also got to meet several other men who had come for the first time. I had been working my steps, working with my guys, and I talked about that with the guys, a handful of them disagreed with my style and approach, and voiced those opinions.

My Sponsor listened to what I had said and told me to ignore them.What I was doing was working, so don’t get caught up in old men being pissy.

On the way to the Mad River Barn, My sponsor, myself and a friend, took an excursion to East Dorset Vermont to visit Bill’s House, where he was born and was raised. We also visited Bill’s and Lois’s grave with a group of women making an intensive weekend there at the house. It was a life changing event for me, and for all those who were there.

Standing on Bill’s Grave, speaking about recovery, to others present, changed my life. I had the opportunity to visit the man who started it all. Then attend an intensive weekend, and then bring all that home for my guys, my friends, my fellows, the list goes on and on. On the way home from that weekend, we visited the next site of the Men’s Intensive for Spring 2015. A little place called Saint Anne’s Shrine in Vermont. About an hours drive from here.

We have celebrated Thanksgiving and we are coming up on Christmas.

Three seems to be the magic number for me. A few weeks ago, I was introduced to a man who came to our Sunday night meeting, and since. I’ve become his sponsor. You loose one, God gives you another one. They say, when you work with others that, you might find folks to work with, and they might decide that drinking is far more fun, and take leave of you. But when one goes, there is always someone waiting in the wings to take their place. And so that has happened.

The Pre-Cake roller coaster did not take off this year.

There were no massive upheavals, no major issues, no major problems. It has been a slow burn. However, this year, I have not only had myself to work with, but my guys and my sponsor. I’ve really had no down time to think of myself. When the phone rings, it rings, I answer.

It is one thing to be present for your own sobriety, it is totally a different fish, when you are accountable to young men with whom you work with. They call every day. We talk every day, except when life takes precedence. I meet my guys once a week to talk, to read the Book, and to do Step Work. One of my guys moved to the states, this past fall for his M.A. so we Skype every week.

Thank God for technology and sponsorship.

They have totally kept me on my toes and busy with something to do and something new to think about on a daily basis. Working with others is the greatest joy you can have in sobriety. Because it isn’t about me, it’s about them. I’ve truly grown this year, in ways I couldn’t have imagined. All because I have done my work.

Now they do their work.

Continuing the story … This post is a two parter. It is Tuesday and mother nature dropped snow on us today. A little worried about people not coming, my sponsor says … “We went to any length to drink, snow or whatever, people will come, don’t fret!”

Our usual group of folks came. We called New Foundland to talk to one of our women who is up there with her new daughter, and I thought that it would be nice for all of us to talk to her, so we did that. Have phone will chat !!!

We covered the second half of Step twelve. There were lots of laughs and giggles, but it was all business.

So what can I say for sobriety, I am in my steps. My sponsees are in their steps. My sponsor is in his steps. We’ve now heard the steps presented three times in the last year. Twice in an intensive weekend, and once at our meeting for twelve weeks.

This journey to where I am today, started some time ago, and only now can I say, I’ve reaped the rewards of really working my sobriety for all its worth. No roller coaster, no drama. Everything is where it should be and all is well in my world.

It was bittersweet because one of my friends, who was sober, when I FIRST got sober, was here tonight. He got stuck in the revolving door for a long time, and now he is back. He’s got six months. And I think about him a lot. Had he stuck and stayed he would be long sober, longer than I am today, had he stayed. But he didn’t.

I did everything I was told to do. I’ve been blessed to be able to maintain the sober schedule I built thirteen years ago. And I did not deviate from that schedule. Ever. I stayed sober. Many of my friends did not.

What did I do right, and what did they do wrong?

We are all suffering alcoholics. Some got better, some didn’t. At least tonight, all in our number are alive, well and sober.

I am very grateful for all that I have.

Thanks for reading. More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Listening to the Wind … Messages … Seeds

coffee cupThe weather held for the weekend’s festivities. The summer concert series is in full swing. There was and will be lots of music to come over the next couple of weeks. Osheaga was this weekend, and Coming up will be Thirty Seconds to Mars (Jared Leto and friends) with guests Linkin Park. That was a ticket i would want to buy, but coming in close to $100.00 is a little steep. I, however have all the latest music on my phone already. I’m not sure I want to find myself in a mosh pit with screaming teen-agers.

I guess I fared well with all that’s going on in my head and heart. You can’t make someone love you and you sure as shit cannot change someone who is stuck in hate and ignorance. However broken hearted I am about the situation, I must remember that I am powerless over people, places and things. I did however send another message through last night when I got home from dinner, the channel is still open and I haven’t been blocked “Yet.”

We had dinner with my sister in law while she waited on her kids to attend the concert last night they got home close to midnight, and mom left for Ottawa this afternoon and another set of parents are here to chaperone them another night and to La Rhonde tomorrow then they will all return to Ottawa Monday night.

It was another festive Sunday afternoon. The weather has been glorious and we will take it while it lasts. I cranked out set up and sat outside on the stoop to await my peeps. And we sat a full room. I had imagined that we would get through the entire story (read wise) and have a full discussion, But we read the entire circle (Listening to the Wind) and I stopped the read a few pages short, it was quite a long story with lots of insanity, and that’s where I left it tonight, next week we will get the resolution and the solution of the story.

Folks were like “damned … I really wanted to get to the end …”

Keep em coming back for more is my take on it.

Which leaves us only a few pages of reading next week, because we usually only stick to one story at a time, since we are in the “total insanity” chapter of the stories in the back of the book.

In the fourth edition, several stories were removed from older editions, several new stories were inserted, and a few were renamed from older editions, and there are several topical sections that set apart sets of stories as they were published.

Insanity was the one thing I took away from this read.

When I left home, all that I knew how to do was drink. Who knew from responsibility. We were young and pretty back then. And I lived in an apartment complex heavily populated with Disney employees. You either were one, or you knew someone who was.

It seemed that what ruled the day was the amount of alcohol one could consume on any given night, and between the gay bars, Southern Nights and the Parliament House, and the Disney bars located at Downtown Disney, we had all of our bases covered. You could drink very cheaply no matter what night it was. And who you were friends with usually dictated the alcohol and drug consumption. I was not interested in drugs early on, alcohol was much cheaper and it was legal.

From beginning to end, several times, I was the alcoholic running riot through people’s lives. And reading from the back of the book, in several stories, you could insert me into a story because at some point I was the writer.

For whatever reason, I graduated from staying in one place and attempting to live responsibly, which at one point I could not, and many room mates later, and several failed relationships, most ending in horrible ways, I began the geographical moves. I followed the boys from town to town.

I moved from Miami to Orlando to be gay and come our at the Parliament House. I failed at relationships so I moved on to Daytona Beach and Up and down the coast for a period of time.

I was always on the loosing end, meaning that I had lost everything several times. I had a couple of neat room mates. But that only lasted so long. There had to be alcohol and there also had to be good sex. Because if you were young and pretty, the world was your oyster.

In my twenties I remained slender and cute for a while. I eventually ended back in Miami for the grand crash and burn. And from that jackpot I rented from a friend, and ruined that relationship over alcohol.

When I lived in Orlando I dated a young man who I was very much in love with, but he was a seasonal Disney employee. And while the getting was good, we dated. And every day after work, we would talk and it would either be “Bottle or Blender?”

You were either going to bring a bottle or you would bring the blender.

We would get tanked, watch Mary Poppins drunk and then the night would take off. That was during the best of times. Eventually I transited into the worst of times. i really did not know why i was having such problems. Because nobody ever mentioned alcoholism to any of us, not that any of us would have responded well to an inquiry like that.

Nobody said STOP.

Nobody ever intimated that any of us had a problem with our drinking.

Imagine what life would have looked like had I gotten sober in my twenties.

The rest they say is history. I am learning so much this time around. Every day it is something new. I read, I talk to friends, I study the book, and I look at the past with new eyes. I almost feel sorry for that young man that I was. I had some friends, but no one substantial to stop me when I should have been stopped. I “wung it” for a long time.

Eventually someone did step in and tell me to Stop.

I had no choice then. Death was the only alternative. And I did not want to die.

I am committed to my sober journey and the sober journey’s of the men i work with. We are all planting seeds in our own ways. We all have something to give, depending on what we have in our virtual banks of sobriety. But the book does say that …”Obviously you cannot give something that you don’t have …”

Which is why we keep coming back for more.

I am ok tonight. Tomorrow we move on.

More to come, stay tuned …


Wisdom sets In … Motives … It takes Two to Tango

maybeThe city is humming with people coming and going. The Osheaga Festival opened tonight and runs through the weekend, The Berri Transit station was packed with concert goers this evening.

I guess I was right when I said last night that wisdom usually follows a question, and so it has. I sent an email to my sponsor last night before I went to bed, and he followed up with a call today to speak about what I wrote him. He said I did the right thing in opening communication, stating that I was long sober now and that I / we are getting old to harbor such resentments.

Every human being wants to be seen.

Every human being wants to be acknowledged.

Every human being is worthy of dignity and respect.

So looking back on yesterdays post, the question that was posed tonight was, what are our motives and why do we do certain things? Beyond simple connection, my motives are certainly self centered. To make waves, to be petulant and to point fingers.

We, as alcoholics have done damage to others, for the most part, we try to avoid and not see our part in these damages.

Children of abusive alcoholics are certainly victims of indignities beyond their control.

So that is a thing.

When you tell a child that he was a mistake and should never have been born, you damage that child. When you beat that same child into submission continuously, you damage that child.

When that child grows up, he has learned that he was a mistake. That he should not be here, and that takes a toll on that person. And when you follow up that indignity with verbal abuse that he is an abomination and that (having contracted AIDS and is mortally sick) you remind that person that they are less than and that they should die already, what do you think goes through the mind of that person?

When I got sick, I, In turn got sober. I was doing the best I could with what I had. I was young, and I was dying. So I thought. The doctors certainly thought that. When family turns their back on you and humiliates you in front of others, that is an indignity.

I made several decisions during my first sober period that were all about me. I really did not have a sponsor, Puddles had moved to California so I was on my own then. What did I know about sober decisions and correctly motivated actions? First, I made a certain decision about my brothers wedding and I was only thinking about myself. I hurt some people in this process.

I would never be forgiven for that, to this day.

My parents lived in Sarasota and my father would come to Miami on business and he would visit me, only to remind me how abominable I was and that I should die already and leave the family once and for all, because I was unacceptable and an abomination.

One particular night he was in rare form after sharing dinner together, and he started in on me and I asked him to stop the car ( On the Highway) I got out of said car and told him never to come back and visit me until he grew up.

I walked away, down the highway and walked all the way home by myself.

You see my father fought in Viet Nam, (and he fell in love). That soldier was killed in action, Who knew from gay in the 1960’s. My father named me after a dead soldier. He abused me and beat me telling me that I was mistake. I realized that I, as a gay, infected man, would never live up to the honor of that dead soldier. Hence the name change.

Some time later I had a spiritual experience. It came and I acted on it. Again, another decision made in “all about me” mode. I must have been 28 or 29. I went to legal aide, spoke to a lawyer and soon after I had legally changed my name. I was going to reclaim myself once and for all so that whatever life I was going to have, would be of my creation. I would kill that person my father thought was a mistake.

So that is a thing. 

It was a complete dagger to my parents hearts.

My father, the man who for years abused me and degraded me, telling me that I was mistake, would get his comeuppance. I would have the last word for his indignity.

I went on with my life. I survived …

A long time ago, my soldier father met a Quebecois woman, (my mother) they got it on in a drive in theatre in a Ford GTO. And she got pregnant. My ultra Catholic grandparents most likely forced him to marry her because she was carrying his child.

My father buried a secret that I learned about throughout my life. He hated Gay, because he was a heterosexual man with homosexual leanings, and that was abominable to him. Internalized homophobia …

The dog who barks the loudest has the most to hide.

She was STILL a CANADIAN when she had me and my brother.

In 1967 they were married, with me in the oven, at the wedding. I was born in July of 1967. My brother followed in 1970. My father wanted to purge every Canadian family member, ritual, tradition, and way of life from her. He would make her a God fearing, Blood thirsty American, if it was the last thing he would do.

My mother was naturalized in 1974, and became an American.

Fade to black …

Years later we came upon a lie about their actual wedding date. We were told they were married in 1965, and I was born in 1967. And we happened on that lie when on their 25th wedding anniversary, we bought a gift, had it engraved, only to learn the dates were wrong.

Hmmm…

I always say “Never lie to your children, because eventually those lies will come out.”

I stayed sober through my 4th anniversary. And followed several of my friends out the door and into my slip. I came back to Miami in 2000. I had a job that paid cash. I had a studio apartment just off the beach, on Miami Beach. My parents were really not a part of my life, unless they chose to be because I was a faggot with AIDS and an abomination.

When I got sick, they turned their backs on me. And humiliated me.

They had humiliated me in front of guests at a Christmas dinner a year before and I swore that I would never darken their door again. My mother accused me of indignities she thought I had committed on someone I met only once.

On New Years Eve 2000 – into 2001, I was working in a bar doing lights. I went into work at 7 pm on New Years Eve and left work around 8 am the next morning with a mound of cash in my wallet. I went to bed and soon after my phone rang, it was my mother on the phone, telling me that they were in Miami and wanted to see me. (They had been here for a week, but only decided to contact me on their way out of town).

I was happy to oblige. They showed up a short time later. My father parked the car in a no parking zone out front of my building and gave me twenty minutes to speak to my mother. We walked around the short block, while he waited in the car. I even offered to take us all out for breakfast, which they categorically said NO to.

Twenty minutes later, my mother got in the car, they drove off and that was the last time I saw my mother.

So that is a thing

In December 2001, I got sober the second time. I was given a computer which led to my meeting people here in Canada. One thing led to another and I received a letter from Canada stating that If I was born between certain dates, and my mother was a Canadian, that I could apply for a birthright citizenship.

Since my mother was still a CANADIAN in 1967, both myself and my brother were afforded birthrights into Canada.

You know what I did right?

I was living in a dead end life, alone, having to choose between paying for food, or paying rent, or buying medication. Because I could not afford to do all three at the same time.

A friend sponsored me into Canada, helping me pay the fees for the application. At Easter time in 2002, April or May, I traveled to Montreal. I stayed two weeks. I had filed for citizenship and went back to Miami, packed my belongings, got on a plane, and did not look back.

A few months later, I was living in Verdun. I got a call from Sydney Nova Scotia. An office worker just happened to pick up my envelope and opened it which began the paperwork process officially. Things needed to be added to the file.

It was then that Immigration Canada went after my mother.

Her paperwork was not in order regarding her naturalization papers and her birth certificate. They needed to be fixed OR they would deport her back to Canada. Needless to say my mother was not very happy with me.

I crossed the border. It was all about survival for me. I was going to have a life, or die trying.

That was the last straw for my father. I left the country of my birth, the very country my father fought to defend in Viet Nam. He told me I was spitting on my birthplace and my country.

That was unforgivable.

Once again, I had stabbed my parents in the heart.

Now I repeat … Parents are supposed to raise children into adults who make their way into the world and make something of themselves. And what ever decisions they make, whether you agree with them or not, you should at least respect them for their decisions.

Aren’t parents supposed to acknowledge their children’s successes?

My mother did in fact correct her paperwork and in February of 2003, I became a Canadian Citizen. I hold dual citizenship today.

My parents were not happy with me at all. I worked very hard for two years trying to keep communications open between us, but in the end, I eventually failed.

My Mother’s last words to me were ” If either me or your father die, nobody will call you and nobody will tell you where we are buried.”

We never spoke again.

So I ask you, who was right, and who was wrong? And who is guilty ???

I got married in 2004. I returned to university and earned two degrees. One in Religion and a second in Pastoral Ministry. I spent two years following that in Cegep, because I had those credits afforded to me by the government.

I have been sober 12 and a half years. Since my moving here my family and I have been estranged. And they say, it is All My Fault.

A few years ago, I found my brother on Facebook, and that twisted my heart. I tried to speak to him and he blocked me. And that broke my heart. I thought that we had grown up and could try and reconnect. That did not happen.

Facebook fucked with my sobriety in a big way.

On July 30th, this year 2014, the day before my birthday, my aunt calls to tell me that my father was on Facebook. And while we were on the phone I looked him up and sent him several messages hoping against hope that he would reconnect. He did not.

Once again, Facebook fucked with my sobriety.

On one hand I want redemption, and acknowledgement and finally some dignity and respect. On the other hand, I want to shoot off my mouth and incite anger and make a scene.

Not all very sober motivated actions.

I wrote here and asked the question. I spoke to my sponsor today and hit a meeting tonight.

And I got my answer.

Always Check your motives …

I did what I needed to do. I opened a door. Whether he responds, is entirely up to him, if he does re-engage or he does not re-engage, I am powerless over people, places and things.

I have to go on with my life.


It’s My Birthday …

reasonsSome people will say that Facebook is so wonderful because it connects you to people and gives you something to obsess over every day. I would add that Facebook is a double edged sword that on one hand brings me my family of choice, whom I adore.

On the other hand it opens up a can of worms that I’d rather not entertain, but I have a very sick perverse need to make a statement and get a rise out of certain people, because you know what, I am worth respect and dignity. I’ve earned it.

And some people, think I am unworthy and that I should be kept in the dark as a punishment for my choices, all of which were made because of certain people in my life, at that time.

They are the reason I became who I am today.

Hating someone because of their sexual orientation is so 1990 ! Hating someone because they made a decision to make important life decisions to stay alive, housed and fed is just so fucking selfish. I made selfish choices because they had to be made, because my life was on the line. And I wanted to live and live well, not die in a hole by myself.

Parents have children to raise them into well rounded adults who can go out into the world and make something of themselves AND when we grow up, aren’t parents supposed to be supportive and respectful of the choices we made as adults ???

Somewhere along my journey, my life became unimportant therefore, irrelevant of notice and should be scorned to the N’th degree.

To put it mildly, I would like nothing better than to become a battering ram and explode like a motherfucking bomb on certain people.

I live. I Lived. I survived.

I earned a place in this world, and no matter what you may think of me,

And they say that “what people think of me is none of my business.” I grapple with that.

I’ve earned respect, dignity and love.

It is obvious to me that certain people didn’t get that memo. And at this stage of the game at 47 years old, I want to sit on my soapbox, grind my teeth and become a very petulant faggot who is stark raving mad at injustice and ignorance.

I learned how to be petulant and sit on my soapbox when I was diagnosed with AIDS. That anger paid off when I needed it. Because when life depends on the responsibility of others to do a job, (well) that you must rely on for survival and they fail to perform said job well, becoming a cast iron bitch really pays off.

I’ve not forgotten how to be a cast iron bitch.

But they say that “Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men, that an alcoholic cannot afford.”

And on my birthday, at my Men’s Home Group this evening, we talked about anger and resentments from Living Sober.

I’ve learned in the past few years that I am a very nostalgic Queer man. In many ways.

I wax nostalgic about the past. I long for a specific period of my life to repeat itself, with all the people I knew in that life to be alive as well, knowing full well that we cannot go backwards, and the best of times and the worst of times was really, the best years of my life so far. In a way.

I have spent the last few years collecting things from my past. Photographs, memories, music, so forth and so on. The few family members who are active in my life and who love me for who I am have done wonders to help me with those collections.

I am also a very nostalgic alcoholic. Sickly and perversely,

I hold on to old anger and resentment, but they reside in a specific part of my brain, and only when poked at with a stick do I go there. Facebook gives me that stick to poke them with.

It fucks with my brain, my emotions and my sanity.

I think unclean thoughts. I think up old memories and I long to get up, get angry and become a petulant queer just to fuck with them because of the terrible way they have treated me for decades. I go places in my brain that mere mortals should stay away from. My brain is a location that without proper gear and a hard hat and safety goggles, that one should stay out of. Because I can become spiteful and nasty in a moments notice, Zero to Sixty in 2.0 seconds …

No Very Sober At All …

Wonder, I can be safely sane and spit venom from the other side of my mouth all at the same time. I learned this ability from the right people, who do this to me today.

I’ve learned a great deal about wisdom in my growing age. It began when I turned 40. It has been a long journey of learning certain wisdom, because I have enough years behind me to know for sure that I was there, then, and I learned something, and now I have certain hindsight to know wisdom, for sure. One of my guys asked me tonight what did I learn at 47?

I did not have an answer for him, wisdom usually comes after. Not before. And maybe this tirade of injustice will bear fruit and teach me some wisdom? This is how I am feeling at the moment, it is good that I have the ability to be honest and write it all out so that when I speak to my sponsor tomorrow, I can tell him what I said tonight and what happened and why.

Marines are supposed to be Tough. Strong. Honorable. Honest.

Sadly. there is one particular U.S. Marine who is a coward.

It is sad in today’s day and age that people can punish other people, family and ignore them like they do not exist. That we are unimportant. That we don’t matter.

Queer does that to you.

Hate does that to you.

Ignorance does that to you.

AIDS does that to you.

I get to sit here and pound my fist and make my mark in the world. Because if I don’t, who will?

And is it important in the end? They say you can’t get sober and keep ones ego, and that it isn’t all about me, and that I am not really all that important. And that I should accept where I am and thank heaven that I am alive and be grateful for God’s mercy and kindness and love.

It ain’t very sober but I still make the statement … Don’t you know who I am ???

Don’t you want to know, aren’t you curious? More than a decade has passed and I went on with my life despite your hatred and ignorance. Now I want to swing and scream in your face and provoke you to notice me and for once in my life, respect me. Acknowledge me …

That’s all I got. I am spent. Time for dinner.

More to come, stay tuned …


I am here, I survived, and that matters …

Do you believe in Love

Today is my birthday. Last night I got an odd call from my aunt. Strange that she called because we usually speak on Facebook. Nonetheless, she called, and I figured there was a reason for the call, hoping that she had something to give me, and she did.

It seems my estranged father is on Facebook. He had sent my cousin a friend request, which she denied, and so I sent my father one right then and there. My brother is also on Facebook as well, but he has blocked me. So I looked him up while we were talking and started a short conversation with him. I invited him to friend up, and also to come by here and look me up and also sent him my mobile number to see if he would “man up” and call and speak to me in real time.

Today I am 47 years old. And in a maudlin kind of way, I am reflective. I am currently re-reading Halfway Home by the late Paul Monette, who died of AIDS around the time I was diagnosed in 1994.

I wonder if certain people wonder who I am today, and what I have done with my life and how I have chosen to live that life? And I wonder, does it really matter? Yes, it does. For the one fact that I survived a dreadful disease and I lived and that alone should be a point of respect. I have dignity, a life and I live it fully.

I have been sober now almost 13 years. The running joke is that if I lived to see another birthday, I would live to see the next Christmas. So I made it to my birthday today, so I will make it to Christmas.

So many years have gone by for old resentments and anger to fester any longer. I am too old and sober to remain angry and resentful. And I expect that others should be grown up enough to accept life on life’s terms and come to the table, like sane adults.

I matter. I lived. I am alive. I have earned my place in this world. I have earned the respect of my friends and my peers. And I have earned the love of a good man who cares about me and my life, and cares for me like no other has or had.

You just don’t know what years of silence does to someone.You just shut someones light off and plunge them into darkness, it is cruel and unjust. And you should be ashamed of yourself.

Here I am, take it or leave it. This is who I am.

Good and bad.

I lived, God Dammit. Respect !!! You owe me that much. That I lived…


Happy Birthday Harry Potter

tumblr_mqrucpPYsl1ro4l1eo3_500tumblr_mqrucpPYsl1ro4l1eo1_500tumblr_mqrucpPYsl1ro4l1eo2_500July 31 … A very Auspicious Day. We share a birthday today.


Friday … Celebrations, Rain and The Soberfest Continues

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Courtesy:Minhos21

Friday is brought to you by the NUMBER 3 …

And it is raining. It has been raining all evening and will rain through tomorrow. But it won’t be a total washout for the Victoria Day (Read:Planting weekend) Long Weekend.

I noticed that the carpet and runners have been put down in the upper floors of the building. And I like what they have done with the new decor. Dark earth tone carpet with the same tone wall runners and baseboards.

The door frames are a dark green and the doors are a lighter shade of green. They are working on the lower floors as they are working their way down the floors.

Meanwhile at Alexis Nihon, the shoppes on the Southern side (left hand side) of the ground floor are opening. They have moved spaces from the floor above down one tier. Not sure what they are going to put in their places, but they are all boarded up.

The glass enclosed elevator that spans the entire mall, which will give access to handicap shoppers and shoppers alike direct access to the mall. Something this mall has lacked in the past. There is an elevator, but it is out of sight, out of mind.

The food court shops on the escalator bay are almost complete. A new Dagwood’s is in process. Along with a juice bar, a yogurt bar the round area on the ground floor is almost complete.

The brand new renovated I.G.A. is almost complete. They have sorted out the store and broadened their footprint and added a glass wall open to the mall side. I haven’t been inside sine they started the reno. I don’t usually shop there.

There are still a few unoccupied bays on the ground floor. The competition between Timmy’s and Starbucks keep steady traffic in the massive seating/eating area that fronts Target and around the sides of the escalator bay.

They are working on the facade of the mall’s exterior, putting up new signage around the entire mall, on Atwater and along Ste. Catherine’s. All this exterior work has upset the bus stops that front there.

Cabot Square. caddy cornered to the mall is under renovations and all the bus stops on the square and on Ste Catherine’s are all fucked up. Along with the square lane closure, traffic is funneled into one lane going East. It’s a bit of a headache.

As it was raining when I left for my commute, I thought that I would leave a bit later than usual, so that I would miss set up. Well, that was stupid. In both stations trains were waiting, so that transit was fast. I caught a bus sitting in the bay and arrived at the church around 7:15. The door was locked and I was there first.

We waited about twenty minutes for the key holder and we just had time to finish set up before everybody showed up. It was a fair crowd. The same faces came to celebrate twin anniversaries tonight.

Two of my friends received their Three Year chips from their sponsors.

Our man is one who I respect with all my heart. When he came he was a shell, and over the years he opened his life to us, and he opened his life, his home, his car and his goodness to anyone who needed it. He is my Go To Guy. He never says no. And he is always there for men who are in distress. He has cared for the least of us, and has given a great deal to our community.

Our woman, I met when she came in. She was a mess but quickly came to and started off on the right foot, and took to sobriety like a duck to water. The past year has been difficult for her. She has seen hardship and has traveled all over for work and family. She has come a long way.

Today’s reading was “Alone no More.”

We may not have families or domestic bliss. And when we come in they tell us that we are no longer alone. For some that takes time to sink in. Here in our rooms we get to choose our new family and build the ties that we want with the people we care for and respect.

The Friday meeting is a very cohesive family unit. We come every week, not for the book, or the room, but because of her people. We celebrate, we mourn, and we all work together for the betterment of every person who comes down that staircase from all over the world, near and far.

There was lots of conversation, cake and celebrations.

A good night was had by all.

And tomorrow, is night one of the West Island Round Up.

Folks are all fired up – it will be fantastic.

More to come tomorrow…


Friday … True Ambition

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Courtesy:TylerOakley

Temps are going up. It actually rained tonight. A good sign that Spring is making a good attempt at driving winter away. But one more snowfall is in the cards for Saturday and Sunday. We will be well above the freezing mark over the next few days.

It was another one of those days, I had an idea for the evening, and I went and planned an evening with hubby, but when He got up from his nap he nixed my plans. UGH ! Return to regularly scheduled programming …

I departed amid a little rain, people were carrying umbrellas, but really, why? Have toque will travel. I made my transit in good time and arrived to half the room complete so I helped finish up, quietly and without words and needing none.

We filled the room, and everyone was there, pigeons included. Nice, I get to see them regularly which is a good thing.

We talked about ambition, true and false. We talked about fear, pride, humility and humiliation. Humility is NOT humiliation. When it comes to ambition, I think I have some. But in good measure in all the right ways I think. My friends and fellows keep me in check, in realizing what is really important and why my friends ARE my friends.

Our men are good men, every one of them, each in their own way. I learn something different from each of them on a weekly basis.

Who knew a year ago, that after the West Island Roundup that it would come to pass that God would grant me certain graces and place me in the right place at the right time. It is coming on a year that sobriety took a turn.

And in all that time, I learned from my friends, just what we do, and why? And for what reason. I am where I am and I am satisfied with that. I have been ambitious about sobriety, and endeavored to work with my guys and I have done that.

And now I get to work one on one with my guys who came into my immediate life from the universe, at just the right time.

It was a great night. We had three cakes. And three firsts, again.

I have been doing the Friday meeting for more than a year, And it has been a year that I have participated in the journeys of our celebrants tonight. We are all the better for their presences. Each of them brought lessons we all needed to learn.

I am not my father. And what I have today is representative of how my life, my sobriety and the gifts of the program have given me. I don’t have the cars, the children, the house with a yard, pool, and riding lawn mower.

Life did not pan out that way for me. Alcoholism took its ransom and the rest they say is history. It isn’t all about me, I am not the center of the universe. I have everything I need, and that is good for me.

I have the friends I need. They are all a blessing. They keep me humble.

It is one thing to have ambition. But quite another when you have people who keep one right sized, so ambition is metered, and not get out of hand.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Not the Center of the Universe

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It has been freakishly cold as of late. We are sitting at a calm (-12c) at this hour, and we had a soft dusting of snow, it was all very romantic.

Last night, we had a GSR meeting and we almost froze during our trek. It was hovering around (-30c), and it was COLD !!! I had three layers of clothes going, my coat and my scarf wrapped around my head, trying to keep warm, and several times, my glasses froze over. UGH !!!

It was a busy day today. I had coin for laundry ready to go, and unlike most week days, where the laundry was free, it seemed that a ton of people were trying to do laundry all at the same time. And there is a ten minute rule up there, that says if your laundry sits longer than ten minutes, tenants can move your stuff from either machine.

I don’t like fussing with someone else’s laundry if I don’t have to because if you do, someone is going to fuck with yours just because they can.

All the washers were engaged. So I waited and waited and waited…

One poor bloke popped up on his phone and was standing in the laundry room having a conversation meanwhile his machines were done and I was like, “ya know, I am waiting for some machines you moron !”

STOOPID !

I got all my laundry done, thanks be to god.

I even got a short power nap in before having to get ready to go. My sponsor picked me up on the way so we could work on my steps. Today was his 30 years sober anniversary, so we had to get a cake to bring to the meeting, which was a treat.

I have officially completed Step One.

We sat a good sized crowd. Baby mama was there. She is learning that we are all there (by “we” I mean all her friends) to help her do things, like heavy objects and errands that may task her physically, because she is a high risk pregnancy, and the other day she went across town to lug a bag full of clothes home. She paid dearly afterwards.

We were all like, why didn’t you call? So, yeah !!!

We read from A.B.S.I. and the topic was Humility.

That seems to be a running theme as of late. A long time ago, I stood to learn a few things about life, the world and my place in that world.

I am at my best when I am serving others, because that is where I excel.

I learned the lesson about approval –> over there …

When does a boy become a man? When he can put the needs of others before his own. That was a two part answer. Because I had to learn the lesson but much later on in my life I crossed that threshold.

It is good that I don’t have to do everything on my own. That there are people who fight on my side. And that today I can ask for help. In the end, I asked for help, and I got here. So that lesson was not wasted on me.

I am teachable. I am not alone. I am not the center of the universe. And the world does not revolve around me.

That I have everything that I need, Someone to call every day, and people who need me to show up and be present, all these things keep me right sized. And that is a good thing.

It was a great night. I saw all my friends, we had cake, and it was good.

More to come, stay tuned …


Happy Birthday Lily Potter … Jan 30 1960

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James Potter, born 27 March 1960, died 21 October 1981
Lily Potter, born 30 January 1960, died 31 October 1981

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Happy Birthday Lily !!!


Celebrating 12 years of Sobriety

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Courtesy: copyright image Walter Jenkel

It is a frigid night. Much colder than we have seen as of late. We are sitting at (-19c /-23wc) . We are under a weather warning for the rest of the weekend, with snow fall around 15 plus cm.

With it being Friday the 13th … I took every precaution to make sure that tonight’s festivities would go off without a hitch. I texted my bud late last night to make sure he packed for the meeting, since we were meeting up before and that he wasn’t going home to NDG before meeting us. It would have been too much to go all the way out to NDG and back.

We arrived early and helped set up the room along with the folks who were there already. I noticed tonight that a fellow I have been following for a long while is looking really good these past two weeks. He’s engaged and doing service. Always a good sign.

It was a full house. All of my friends were there. And several folks came just because it was my cake night to see me and to share in the night.

As always reading from A.B.S.I. and #31  In God’s Economy

“In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.”

I heard a lot of good things. And before we knew it, the hour was up.

Folks are learning to live life on life’s terms and to accept their part in just how bad their disease got them and how deep in a hole they were in before they came to and started recovery. It was good.

At the end of the meeting my bud got up and shared a bit about us, it’s been a little more than 2 1/2 years we’ve been friends. And you never know when something you might say to someone, given the opportunity, will change their lives. And save them.

Tonight I have a bright shiny twelve year medallion on my key chain.

WOOOSH !!!

It seems one night – the time was right – and the opportunity was there – and I shared a bit, and it changed his whole life journey.

I don’t remember. But he does.

This year was all about presence and newcomers. If it wasn’t for my friends, I would not be here for sure.

Reach out, lend a hand, engage your friends, and speak, use words if necessary. You never know one day that something you might share may save a life.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned…


11 Years. The Past Year, The lessons learned and the next phase, Year 12 …

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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.

MARRIAGE …

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.

EMOTIONAL SOBRIETY

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.


Royal baby: Kate gives birth to boy

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Courtesy: BBC News online

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby boy, Kensington Palace has announced.

The baby was delivered at 16:24 BST at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, weighing 8lb 6oz.

The Duke of Cambridge said in a statement the couple “could not be happier”. He and the duchess will remain in the hospital overnight.

The news has been displayed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in line with tradition.

A bulletin – signed by the Queen’s gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who led the medical team that delivered the baby – was taken by a royal aide from St Mary’s to the palace under police escort.

The document said: “Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm today.

“Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”

When the news was announced, a large cheer went up from well-wishers and journalists outside the hospital while a large crowd greeted the posting of the bulletin outside Buckingham Palace.

The Kensington Palace press release said the Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth of his son, who will be known as the Prince of Cambridge and who is third in line to the throne.

“The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news,” it said.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said the names of the baby – who was delivered in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s – would be announced in due course.

The Prince of Wales, in a separate statement, said he and the Duchess of Cornwall were “overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild.

“It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy,” he added.

“Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone’s life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future.”

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the duke and duchess spent time bonding with their son before they told the family their news.

Royal doctor Mr Setchell described the new arrival as “wonderful baby, beautiful baby”, our correspondent added.

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking outside Downing Street, hailed the “wonderful news”.

“It is an important moment in the life of our nation but I suppose, above all, it’s a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple who’ve got a brand new baby boy,” he added.

He said the Royal Family could “know that a proud nation is celebrating with a very proud and happy couple tonight”.

May God bless this family with love, health and happiness in their shared life ahead”

Archbishop of Canterbury

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I am sure that people across Scotland will be absolutely thrilled to hear the news of the birth of a baby boy to the Royal couple and will want to join me in wishing the proud parents many congratulations.”

And Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones congratulated the couple “on behalf of the people of Wales” as “they enter their journey into parenthood”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, meanwhile, said he was “delighted to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the arrival of their baby boy”.

“Along with millions here and around the world, I share in their joy at this special time,” he added.

“May God bless this family with love, health and happiness in their shared life ahead.”

Catherine and Prince William had arrived at the hospital at 06:00 BST ahead of a Kensington Palace announcement that she was in the early stages of labour.

The world’s media had been camped outside St Mary’s for days in anticipation of the birth.


Tuesday Thoughts – Anniversary Part 2 …

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Courtesy: ChrisCodyyy

There are certain people in my life, or some I wished were part of my life that I would like to pose this question to … Because it pertains to our topic this evening.

But First …

There is snow on the ground, or what’s left of what fell the other night. In Westmount, all the yards I passed were covered in a blanket of snow that stuck.

I was up early today and as you can only sit in front of this box for so long before utter boredom sets in, I set off for the church a half hour earlier than usual to see just how much farther the Seville Project is coming along, and if my count is right, they are capping the 21st floor on Phase Three, It seems that another floor is going to go up next as the elevator shaft and columns for another floor were being poured today.

They are coming along quite nicely with the ground floor spots, which house a BMO Bank branch, they moved the rental office from the original space on our end to one farther West, underneath the Phase Three tower.

I cranked out chairs and two pots of coffee and a tea pot which went over very well tonight. It is quicker to perk a 10 cup pot of hot water, rather than use the tea kettle and having to wait for it to heat water, the stand alone coffee pot was used by many folks tonight.

We sat 45 folks. The room was full of new faces and a handful of newbies. It was a good crowd. The chair read from the Living Sober book, “Avoiding Anger and Resentment.”

It was an appropriate reading as it gives us a chance to read a passage that contains a spot checklist of feelings and emotions that may crop up in our days, not that I entertain anger or resentments, but looking at the short check list there are things I can ponder on any given day.

I am always on the lookout for pearls of wisdom from our women and tonight I was not disappointed as one of them spoke these words …

” An expectation is a premeditated resentment…”

I know that when I got sober this time, I carried around an expectation wish list for God of things that I thought I needed, now rather than later. And that list was dispatched with in due time. They did not quite fester into resentments. But more like annoyances, that were dispatched with “stay in your day” and “One day at a time” and “keep coming back.”

I’ve been angry in the past. And I can tell you exactly the day, location, and at whom I was angry at on that given day. It was volcanic, targeted and I threw my keys across the church and marched my ass out without another word.

Those I got angry with, did not stay long. And it was “be gone with you.” So it went. That was the last time I got really angry. It was one night, no more than twenty minutes and it was over with. I’ve never gotten so angry again. Needless to say that I don’t deal well with assholes with Egos… They just grate against my skin like petting a kitty backwards…

I don’t surround myself with people who would trigger anger. I have friends who are calm pools of water, Margaret Craven would call them “The Pool.” Then there are some people I know who are “Chek-wa-la” Fast moving water.

I try to stay out of Chek-wa-la.

Most of my friends from the rooms I see on a weekly basis. At meetings. Very few have graduated to “friendship outside the room” like “let’s go for coffee or something.” I have pissed some folks off here on the blog, and I know they copped resentments, it’s not my problem. How many times does one have to apologize in open community. any who …

I come from a family that was steeped in anger and resentments. My parents are the masters of cut and silence. My brother and his wife have followed in those social gospel teachings from my father, who preaches a solid line that must be followed or you yourself fall victim of the cut and silence.

I was the peacemaker. For the whole of my life, I worked diligently at mending fences and trying to hold together family. Over my lifetime, I watched my parents get pissed off for one thing or another and cop a resentment and cut and silence folks like my aunts and uncles, friends, neighbors, and especially my mother’s sister Paula. They ripped her to shreds.

I watched them punish people like 5 year old’s.

I did things in sobriety that were in my best interest. The first decision I made for myself I did during my first sober period. If I was the mistake that should never have been born, I just made sure that prophecy came true.

The second decision that I made for myself entailed my move North. Both these decisions were nails in my father’s casket. And I hammered them in quite deeply. BUT… once I was settled here, I spent the first two years here trying to mend fences and maintain family. I FAILED !!!

My mother told me in on uncertain terms that if she or my father got sick and/or died, I would not be notified and that keeping ties was unworkable. Those were the last words I heard from my mother more than 10 years ago.

And I battle resentments over family. I cannot change them. And every year I get to look at these resentments and I have to cope with what I cannot change. And it burns like hot chili peppers going down my throat.

11 years sober.

I finally decided to attempt communication. My mail would have arrived there this week. Now we wait to see if I get a response from them. I am not getting my hopes up. They are still angry at me, for many things, but because I am a non-person, a Persona Non Grata, Once the door is shut on you, you don’t exist.

Being Gay and HIV+ are my two killers.

I cannot change my sexual orientation and I sure as shit cannot change the fact that I live with a terminal disease. The door was shut on me well before I made these two life decisions. Fuck me …

I failed to follow the family gospel, because I did not share the same beliefs that my father passed down as gospel. I cannot change them. And I am powerless over them. It doesn’t elicit anger but a sickening in my stomach that people hold onto shit for years and years – choosing silence and punishment rather than communication and repentance.

Acceptance is the key to all of my problems…

What if you wake up one day and you’re not angry any more ???
I don’t get angry. You’d think that the next thought is …

I don’t get angry, I get Even!!!

My family was good at the ” tit for tat ” game. And I guess that in sobriety I played that game too.

There are only so many decades you can listen to “you were a mistake” and there are only so many times a parent can belittle or talk smack about you to your face that eventually you do something about it.

Your son is gay, instead of love, they chose hate.

Your son is HIV+, instead of support, they chose condemnation.

I was fucked from the word go, doubly so …

But my Belief is this: That everyone has a redeemable quality. At the root is the fact that we are not meant to be alone, and we only get one family, no matter how fractured that is. And I go barking up this tree every year. WHY ???

I don’t fucking know.

I want to be known. I was here. I lived. I survived. I have earned Respect and Dignity. Is that too much to ask for in this life?

What do you do? Get angry, Get even ??? People with AIDS were being thrown into the streets by family. I had nowhere to go. LGBTQ kids, to this day, are being tossed from their homes because they are gay.

That’s a familial tragedy.

I could no longer live under the hate/condemnation umbrella. I had to do something, or I was going to either drink or die. I chose the first.

And now I am here 11 years later. I am the boy who lived …

If you don’t want to be part of my life, so be it. But I tried. I am powerless over people, places and things. I don’t ask very much from my friends. And they say in sobriety, not everybody is going to like you or want to be your friend. Thank God I can live with that truth.

People with AIDS don’t waste time with people who aren’t in the gang.

You are either with me or you are not. It’s very simple.

I ain’t gonna chase you. I am 45 years old. I am sober 11 years. I survived the drink and the drugs. I survived AIDS – 19 years.

I’ve earned respect,  because I am a dignified man.

I am not angry any more. It’s a waste of time and emotion. Why allow useless people to rent free space in your brain, for no good reason???

The end of the night came with whoopla and applause. My sponsor had a card, a medallion, and a small gift for me. We had cake. Everybody left happy.

A good night was had by all.

Wau Lam… That is all.

More to come, stay tuned.


Sunday Sundries … Anniversary Edition …

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Courtesy:Spunkyhunks

Today has been a day of anticipation. The first snow storm of the season is on our doorstep. The Ave Maria moment we have been waiting for since last winter. So tonight we wait for the maiden to arrive and we will welcome her into our lives for another season. They say it will snow BIG snow overnight. And it will be glorious.

We’ve been bemoaning the weather men because they just could not agree on a forecast, but it seems Environment Canada is sticking to its story of a Storm Warning for the city at this hour, and that hasn’t changed all day, so we shall see.

We were up early, hubby is working away on his next few chapters due to his supervisor before Christmas. I headed off for some supermarket safari because I won’t want to go out in shin deep snow tomorrow.

I headed out early for the church, and when I got there, the place was blazing with light from the church. Tonight was the holiday concert which ran into our allotted time slot. Which was glorious.

It was a good group. Lots of friends came tonight, some that I have been missing as of late. We sat a full complement. And we read from the Big Book, chapter 2, “There is a Solution.”

“We are a people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship,  friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful…

The feelings of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement that binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution…

This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.”

In the portion of this chapter we read about the many “types” of alcoholics. And from our numbers we heard tonight who inhabited which description. And just how precarious some find themselves, to think a drink is dangerous, and to take a drink, suicidal… We all agree that we can’t never have ” just one…”

We went the entire period and squeaked in everyone who wanted to share.

And I remarked that I began to drink as a young man. Being a third generation alcoholic was my lot in life. My grandfather was a type A drunk. “The bottle hider.” My father was a type B drunk. The “Jekyll and Hyde” alcoholic.  I was neither. I never drank from a bottle, never hid alcohol. I never drank at home, and always in the company of others. Because for me, drinking was done to “fit in.” At least that’s what I was taught.

In my early young life, all I wanted was to be like my father. And as I grew up and Jekyll and Hide would come to visit, I remember saying that I would never become my father. But as I aged, I became an alcoholic, just like my father, to a certain degree. Not to the degree that I had witnessed in my life, but I did run my own circuitous path, into sobriety eventually. Twice …

Another year has passed. And I get another candle on the cake, and another medallion on Tuesday night. I would like to think that I earned my keep this past year. In retrospect, God gave me just enough to keep me busy and away from the drink for another year. I stay close to the book and my fellows.

I communicate with my friends at least once a day. I do service for my fellows and I give freely of what was so freely given to me, one day at a time.

I have great friends, who care about me and I about them.

But therein is the choice we all make for ourselves. We can be a participants in our sobriety or we can just sit there and warm a chair on the outer circle. Most of my friends are front row participants. Very few choose to sit on the outer circle.

I get to listen to folks share about sobriety at every meeting I go to. And we, with time, get to hear, reiterated, why we are here, and for what reason, and why we could never go back to the way it was, because to drink is to die. Because for me, I don’t know if I have another recovery in me, if I go back out.

I remember what it must have felt like for my friends when I embarked on my near fatal slip. I was not communicating, I was isolating, and I know in my heart of hearts that I truly hurt my friends. People who were long time sober when I came back the second time.

I know that look that came upon me when I finally crossed the bridge from the beach to the city on Christmas Eve at The Poinciana Meeting. They were all there to welcome me, but in hindsight, I knew the looks on their faces. That pained pity look of “wow, that could have been me…” “But for the grace of God, I am still sober…” All those things I would say to myself now, seeing folks coming in and out having gotten stuck in the revolving door of alcoholism.

Now that I have banked 11 years … Hindsight is my best teacher. I know what lengths I will go to to stay sober, and what is possible when I work with another.

And I know for me, as the book says,

Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.

May God bless you and keep you—until then.

This is what you find at the end of the first 164 pages of the Big Book. It has come to pass that for a while we work our steps. Then we get to put them into practice in our daily lives. And we work a little more, and we get more practice. And we keep working on and on, day after day, month after month and year after year.

And sometime in the future you mark your first year, then five, and hopefully ten, and further up the line where I sit at 11 years.

I am really grateful for my friends and my fellows, and for my sponsor. Who tells it like it is, honestly and from his heart. “You don’t want to go back there because you know what will happen if you do…”

I got a card from friends today along with a packet of prayers from the Big Book. And I will close with these words:

My Creator, show me  the way of patience, tolerance, kindness, and love…

Goodnight from Montreal. More to come, stay tuned …