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Cake

Saturday … Double Play

tumblr_np1kb7y0531rkbqteo1_500 whffboxCourtesy: Whffbox

Rain Rain Go Away, Come again Another day …

This week, it rained, and rained and rained some more. Kinda pissy rain, not a flat out pouring, however it might have, I was just out when it was just pissing …

Today, the skies cleared and we have sun and blue skies.

It is the big week this week. The project that we have been working on for more than a year comes to a head on Monday. Tomorrow we hit our last hurdle, getting space in a day care for Baby Mama’s daughter. The girls are taking care of that.

Monday Baby Mama flies in with assorted luggage and the baby. We will be meeting her at the airport Monday afternoon, and bringing her to her temporary home, until her apartment is ready on the 1st of July.

We’ve spent the last year working with her, finding her a place to live and sort out baby needs between St. John’s N.F. and here in Montreal.

There is a lot to write about, so much that a second post will go up after this one.

Thursday was all about friends, cake and major milestones.

I have known our speaker man ever since I got sober. And I’ve heard him share several times over the last decade or so. We only hit one speaker meeting during the week, so repeat performances are usually slim. Anyways, He tells the story, but what I took away from his share was the wisdom that has come about his story and how that relates to the present.

Time is the one constant that we have that polishes wisdom of our lives.

One of my long time friends celebrated thirty years. I can’t believe he’s been sober that long. He hasn’t aged a day in ten years. It is fact that he got sober in his twenties, which speaks to his longevity. I’ve known him as long as I’ve been sober as well.

The LGBT community came out in force to celebrate his anniversary.

Our guys are preparing to go away for work this summer. One of our men is in South Africa with his family for the summer, departure one, two of my guys leave Wednesday, departure two and next week for the other, departure three.

Friday was spent with people coming and going, friends came over for a visit, and then I was off to meet up with a friend before the Friday evening event. (it rained)

As Friday goes, it is the best night/meeting of the week. We sat a full house and then some.

The topic, “Freedom through Acceptance.”

When we come in, who wants to admit they are powerless over alcohol, and also, everything else in our lives? And who wants to turn it all over to a Power Greater than Ourselves in the second breath? But it is true, that when we do relent and let go and turn it over, things begin to turn around. For some, it takes longer than others.

In the end, “We neither ran nor fought, but accept we did. And then we began to be free.”

I learned the first time around that, in reality, there was no where else to go. And I knew nothing, and I needed serious help. And help stepped in. I loved this man more than I had ever loved anyone else up to that point.

So I gave it up. I allowed myself to be led, to be healed and to survive.

I’ve spoken about this before in great detail. Hindsight tells me that when I needed God the most, He came, incarnate and walked with me for that period of time. I am 100% percent sure of this fact. It happened, I survived, and today I am here because of it.

I know what that kind of freedom feels like.

When I got here, I again, had nothing, I knew nobody and I needed serious help. Over time, I met folks, went to meetings, and one day at a time, turned it over to people who knew better than I did, and I survived, and today I am here because of it.

I’ve had my God conversion. I know there is a God and I am not He. I can talk about God of the bible and God of the book. But I am better at talking about God, as He presents himself through my friends lives.

My friends are sober, they have had their own experiences. I just happen to be in the same room at the same time. We are here, we survived and today we are here because of that.

When I turn it over, to my friends and fellows, and I trust in God, as I understand Him, I thrive, I prosper, and I become strong, I gain strength when I let go and let God. I don’t need all that power or strength, nor do I need my ego. The simple power exchange between that which I know and that which I do not know grants freedom and power where I need it, when I need it.

At the end another friend took a year chip. We are all very proud of him. It has been a long year for him, but we were steadfast and we did what we could for him, and he stayed sober.

It was a good end to the week. Everybody is sober.

Another post will follow.


Lets stop baking gay wedding cakes.

jasons cakeLifted from: Jeremy – Don’t Eat Trash

I just feel like refusing to bake a gay couple a wedding cake is the worst example of who Jesus is ever. Making statements by NOT doing things doesn’t sound like Christs style outside of NOT being a member of the religious elite club.

The religious elite club seemed to have pretty strict standards of building large fences around God and those who didn’t know God. Both physical boundaries like those around the temple, and social boundaries around specific behaviours and identities (prostitutes, tax collectors etc) Jesus was great at literally destroying these fences. By whipping some cows or hanging out with those he was expected not to hang out with.

I’m not sure which Jesus-time activity is the greatest equivalent to refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, but… it seems like a stupid mountain to die a stupid death on. As the happily in love gay couple walk away from the refusal of the cake baking, are they thinking ‘Woah, Jesus must be great’?

Nope.

Baking a gay couple a cake isn’t a salvation issue. Its not a life and death situation. Baking a cake for a gay couple isn’t having sex with a dude as a dude. In fact, for a black and white conservative ‘homosexual marriage’ isn’t really a thing. Neither is non-christian marriage.

Because ‘Marriage’ is between a man and a woman and God – a “three stranded cord” to bring the glory of God on the planet and to multiply the human race to have dominion over creation in harmony with the kingdom of Heaven. Its not ordained by the state, its not ordained by the pastor even. It is a commitment between a man and a woman, agreed to by their community.

The reason the state is involved is because we forgot how to bless each other in community so the state had to stand up for the ‘injustices’ involved in crap marriages and unwanted children. Although NOW, the state involvement seems more to do with tax and inheritance than anything else.

In fact, for most black and white conservatives Christians ‘homosexual marriage’ doesn’t really seem like its a thing. Neither is non-christian marriage. Because ‘Marriage’ is between a man and a woman and God – a “three stranded cord” to bring the glory of God on the planet and to multiply the human race to have dominion over creation in harmony with the kingdom of Heaven. Its not ordained by the state, its not ordained by the pastor even.

It is a commitment between a man and a woman, agreed to by their community. The reason the state is involved is because we forgot how to bless each other in community so the state had to stand up for the ‘injustices’ involved in crap marriages and unwanted children. Although NOW, the state involvement seems more to do with tax and inheritance than anything else.

So taking away the states odd involvement in marriage, gay marriage is two people convinced that they want to commit to each other for the future and their community stands in agreement to their decision.

Now, separate to the argument of ‘gay marriage in the church’ which I believe is a completely different issue as to the leadings of the creator and saviour of the world, a gay couple, deciding to be together forever, choosing to let ‘the state’ and their community join them in celebrating their choice enter a cake baking establishment. Because that’s what a cake baker does.

They bake cakes for the consuming of said cake at specific celebrations. The cake baker is not a part of the couples community. The cake baker is not invited to the ceremony. They are simply asked to trade money for a baked good.

This representative of capitalism and creative foodstuffs then proudly stands there and refuses to do what they actually do, because they disagree with what the cake is for (which is neither illegal or effects their lives in anyway) And for some reason we think ‘I did Jesus a great service today’ as if that is the good news. That Jesus came to seek and save the lost, unless….. they are gay and want a cake.

Our crap logic and knee-jerk conservatism doesn’t just stop at gay cake making either. Our days are filled with these strange black and white decisions that we have concluded brings glory to our saviour and lover Jesus Christ when really they turn people away from the community of redemption that we enjoy and represent.

I didn’t get told about Jesus after I had become perfect. In fact i still am not, but I am counted among those called by his name, and it is saddening when we dirty that name by choosing holiness instead of love, when our job is not to be holy in our own right, we are called to be holy as Jesus was holy. Which, looks more like bringing people to God for him to love, instead of being the doorman at an exclusive club that only lets the rich, white and straight people in.


Friday … True Ambition

tumblr_lyv23dDgvu1ronyvyo1_500 tyleroakley

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 …


Memorial – And Tenth Step Speakings

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The world mourns the passing of a giant of social rights, a saint for the world to remember, and a man of peace, who we may never see again in this lifetime. Nelson Mandela, your life will be remembered for all time.

Eternal Rest grant him and may Perpetual Light shine upon him.

*** *** *** ***

How do you go on with what you want to say when a monumental death has taken place in the world…

We take a moment of silence and we pray. Something we learn to do in sobriety on a daily, and sometimes by the minute, we recite prayers. It is part of our survival, the way we connect with something greater than ourselves.

The weather tonight has been dreary. Warmer temps signal rain, instead of snow. I’d rather have snow than rain. And it prompted carrying an unnecessary umbrella, just in case.

“What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities.” pg. 85 B.B.

I awoke to the news today after a short nap. And settled into preparation to leave for the church. What better place to remember and pray, if not in the church proper, than the church basement.

We spend a great deal of time, praying in basements of churches.

I swore I would not write about what’s going on in my head, and I will respect that decision.

All I will say is that “newcomers can be our teachers.”

And it goes, that a newcomer has lodged herself right in my side like a thorn from a huge bush. There are so many things I would like to say, but time under my belt reminds me that I should pray for those with different struggles. And that I am powerless over people, places and things.

We are in the final stretch of the pre-cake roller coaster. Just a few more days and it will all be over with. God Grant me Serenity !!!

I have a certain problem that stems from childhood. Being a child of alcoholics, I tried to avoid conflicts. But more times than I want to recount, I either instigated them, or participated in them.

My father was a very abusive man, towards my mother and my brother. But nobody remembers this fact. And Many times, too many times, when my father went after them, I would step in and take the brunt of whatever he was dishing out at that present moment. I would rather he abuse me than my mother.

But that fact is so easily forgotten, because I am a FAG.

Any semblance of Manly Honor is lost on that fact in my family.

Hence, I became my father’s best whipping post.

I learned to do something particular. I could, without effort, or minimal effort, think my way out of any argument, discussion or abuse.

And that specific gift is still in operation today in my life.

When someone becomes a craw, or the proverbial thorn in my side, the chatter in my head begins. I talk to myself, I have entire conversations with other people, in preparation for an impending face off.

Because I really want that face off when I can knock you down a few pegs because of “who I think I am.” And that wreaks of All About Me.

I have always had this gift of being able to out think you. To estimate what you might say and have my arguments ready and willing. I had to do this as a young person on a frequent basis.

Have you ever had a preemptive discussion in your head? I have.

It is old wiring. It is something when old habits come to new realizations in sobriety, because they mean something different when I look at them with new eyes.

There are many things that I remember that bring up memories that I would rather forget. And old resentments that are pointless to entertain, because they only bring me pain and strife.

Like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, I know them intimately.

My father was that type of drunk. You never knew who was going to walk through the front door at night. Or who was going to barge into your bedroom for the nightly fighting/beating event.

Maybe I drank to forget. I don’t remember ever saying to myself that if I drank, whatever was in my head would disappear. I just don’t remember. When I moved away, I figured that the past would just go away.

The further distance I put between my present and my past the better.

Was that a good thought?

My drinking career began well before I moved out on my own. And I was woefully unprepared for the world when I marched out to meet it. I was a much worse alcoholic in my younger years, than when I grew older.

Chalk it up to youth or stupidity. I was young and truly stupid.

I just drank, because that’s what I learned how to do. For any reason and for any occasion. I moved from daily drinking to weekend drinking, to the last effort, the Binge drinking.

They say “With age comes wisdom.”

And on the run up to a celebration of twelve years of sobriety, I should have all this certain wisdom. I don’t know if that is true.

Lately that tape in my head has been rolling. I take it to bed with me and It follows me into sleep. And then I wake up with it, having totally mentally masturbated for hours and days.

I called a fellow lady member yesterday and did a formal 10th step.

I talked it all out. And then I called a second lady member and talked it out with her. And what did I learn from this tenth step exercise?

Love and tolerance is our code. As the prayer says, I should have tolerance for those with different struggles.

I don’t have a leg to stand on. And it is better to keep my mouth shut rather than sticking my foot into it, all the way up to my thigh.

It was a good night. Good friends, Good discussion, Good coffee.

Because I make the best coffee in Montreal.

In one week I celebrate twelve years of sobriety.

THERE ARE 19 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS !!!

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Anniversary Edition …

tumblr_mekubcOfus1rhs98po1_400 spunkyhunks
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 …


Love With No Price Tag … Redux

tumblr_mdc0veCYcU1qcynoao1_500 neko1303

Courtesy: Neko1303

The Supreme Court in the United States will be hearing arguments over same sex marriage and also D.O.M.A., the Defense of Marriage Act come this spring. Hopefully minds and hearts have changed and that these two issues get solved.

*** *** *** ***

I was going to prepare a retrospective about the last year of sobriety. And I went as far to prepare some numbers (by the book) and I took a look at some of my old posts there are hundreds of posts that have gone live over the last year.

So instead, I am recycling the title, as two former posts appear with this title from last year, so now we redux…

Looking at the Daily Reflections this month, the topic is Step 12.

” When the Twelfth Step is seen in its full implication, it is really talking about the kind of love that has no price tag on it. ”

I know at some point in later year nine, I was in the doldrums. Things were just “there” and I was looking for a little excitement. So I joined a particular group and celebrated my ten years there last December. But soon after things turned sour and people and personalities got rankled and I decided to leave said group.

I dedicated my time to my original home group on Tuesdays. And that is where I have been for the last year. I am hitting three meetings a week. I joined Sunday Niters a few months ago, even though I have been going to this meeting for a long time. And I am in the chair this month, as we have begun the big read through the Big Book.
It has been a good year. In focusing my time on Tuesdays, I have been present to lots of people there. We saw our group more than triple in size in the past year, and it is all down to our women. That has been the highlight of the year so far. I have written about them numerous times over the past months, and we have talked about them amongst the men.

Not having sponsees freed me up to spend an ample amount of time with our members and our women. I have heard it said by folks at a Sunday Meeting, that once you read the book, and you’ve been sober a long time, it becomes an inside job. The work on the frame is finished, so to speak, and now the interior work continues.

I’ve learned a great deal from our group of women who come to our meeting, we all aspire to learn as they do, to live as they do and get sober as they are. It is one thing to share a meeting with the ladies, but quite another when you get invited to share a meal or attend an event with them. And over the past few months we have dined together, gone to movies together and attended hundreds of meetings together.

I have cycled through my steps with my sponsor over the last couple of months. And the past year have been working on me. I got the opportunity to read
” 1000 Years of Sobriety,” which was a book written by folks with 50 or more years of sobriety. Many of then tell stories about Bill W.

I learned lessons about people. I learned lessons about myself. We participated on the Blog with Oprah’s Master Class and also her Life Class Series. They got a lot of traffic. This has been a year of getting to know myself.

I finished my studies last winter and hubby began his work on his M.A. in Sociology, which is coming along, however slowly. And now I am a housewife. I work at home, go to my meetings, and live life as it comes.

It was a year of friendships and building those relationships with love and care.

I have no regrets at this time. I am waiting to see what life is going to bring me now. Tomorrow is Sunday the 9th. We will read from the book and I will take my cake on Tuesday. And that is all for now …

But one more thing about love with no price tag …

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Liminality …

Courtesy: Randall – Iona Chapel

It has been a dark afternoon. With the turning back of the clocks, it was dark by 4:30 this afternoon. It is very unnerving that it gets so dark so early in the day, and therefore the night takes so long or is so long. And it will be like this until the Winter Equinox come December.

I was out early and arrived at the church before 5 to help with set up. We had a full house tonight. And finally we have begun the “meat and potatoes” of the Big Book, beginning the Doctors Opinion…

“The physician (Dr. William Silkworth) who, at our request, gave us this letter, has been kind enough to enlarge upon his views in another statement which follows. In this statement he confirms what we who have suffered alcoholic torture must believe – that the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind.

It did not satisfy us to be told that we could not control our drinking just because we were maladjusted to life, that we were in full flight from reality, or were outright mental defectives. These things were true to some extent, in fact, to a considerable extent with some of us. But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete.”

The Doctors Opinion, Pg. xxvi

Was it problematic that when I was growing up I was witness to alcoholism at its ugliest? Alcohol was the accepted norm. Nobody spoke about a problem, nor of a solution to that problem. I knew what alcoholism was before I became an alcoholic. Because from the first drink, I was drinking for the effect. And I just could not have “just one drink.” It was all or nothing.

I started drinking very early on, and alcoholism had me in its clutches for more than a decade. Were my mind and body abnormal? Was I maladjusted for life?

All the words I heard growing up was that alcohol was social lubricant. It was a necessary evil, therefore no solution to the problem was ever offered. Nobody told me that I had a problem, and amid my twenties I believed that drinking was part of growing up. That the drink would take me places and keep me acutely pickled and part of the community.

Admittedly so, I had a problem with alcoholism. I was maladjusted. I came into a world that I was woefully unprepared for. I just thought that it was all part and parcel of living. I could lie, cheat and steal for the drink. I was woefully irresponsible as a young man. And I did not know any better. Because nobody stopped to explain it to me, and I muse on the fact that had the “Problem” been brought to my attention then, would I have accepted the solution?

.

One of my friends, tonight, brought up the word “Liminal.” The dictionary defines liminality as:

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“Liminality” – The transitional period or phase of a rite of passage, during which the participant lacks social status or rank, remains anonymous, shows obedience and humility, and follows prescribed forms of conduct, dress, etc.
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In his words “coming from one phase to the next.” Moving from one stage to the next.” When I think of liminal, I automatically go to “liminal places.” Those locations that are thin, where to points meet, such as a holy place or a scared location, i.e. Iona for example. Photographed above…
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Surely I was in a place of transition, moving out of my home on my own. I was transitioning into the gay community. I was moving from one place to another, but it seemed that I got stuck there for a protracted amount of time. I did not know the way out. There were no markers or signposts signaling that “you should be here or there.” Or “move this way or that way.”
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It was the drink that dictated what I would do, who I would do it with and where I would do it and why. I had no social status, alcohol was supposed to confer upon me some magical status of accepted or having “arrived.” I was obedient to the drink, and not to any one human or direction. Humility was not part of my lexicon. But I seemed to progress, tacking one year onto the next.
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The drink kept me numbed to my feelings and ignorant of responsibility. Until I hit that proverbial wall in my mid twenties. I arrived at a jackpot that had no way out. I had escaped some of the jackpots because of my family, and I am sure that those long seeded resentments still exist to this day for them. But there was nobody there to extract me from the life jackpot I got myself into.
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But for the Grace of God go I…
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Thank God I placed myself in the company of certain men during that period. I wanted so much to be a part of a certain community, that I would go to any length to find myself accepted into that community. I paid my dues and was accepted into that community, but I was still drinking.
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It took me a year, asking Roy what was that “Big Book” was doing sitting on his register… And his answer was always the same, “when you are ready to listen, I will tell you what it means.”
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I guess you could say that I passed through many rites of passage. I had moved from one point in my life to another. And I moved from irresponsibility to responsibility. I came into my own, being part of something that was greater than myself. This time and place, of this transition, was the most important transition point in my whole life.
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It was during this period that someone told me to STOP. That I had a problem. And because of the jackpot I had found myself in, I was ready to listen. And listen I did, to every word and direction. And this was surely the worst rite of passage I think, that anyone could go through. Many did not survive this transition, many died. But I lived to tell the story…
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As long I was protected under this umbrella, with the people and within this location, I was safe. When that came to an end, I was forced to move back into my own world and devices. My will was once again, my own. I had lost all my protections. And that was my own undoing.
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Moving from that place of protection out into the open, I had not the inner voice or direction that I had come to rely on so heavily. When that voice disappeared from my life, I had only myself to listen to. I disconnected from the book, and made decisions based on feelings and not on reality.
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I had no defense from the first drink. I did not take proper precautions to safeguard my sobriety. In fact, I did not even ponder that thought. Hence, I had entered into the last rite of passage – which led me to the gates of hell – and I survived that passage – and here I am today.
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And I muse … They say that you remain the age you are at, when you begin drinking, which meant that I was stuck in my twenties, well into my thirties. I was powerless over the drink, and my life was unmanageable.
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But it was the voice of another alcoholic that I prayed for, and that is exactly what I got. The book speaks of that “psychic change” that has to occur for us to finally loose the obsession to drink. I heard the simple message of “I did not drink today,” for a number of days, consecutively…
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This was the way out. I needed that physical person to take my hand and take me into my first, Next, meeting … The desire to drink eventually left me.
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Funny that… I am on the edge of thirty days before my cake. That thought came to me tonight as I was sitting in the meeting.
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I have often warned others of the “Pre-Cake” roller coaster. Life tends to throw situations at you 30 days out from our cakes. Or we find ourselves in times of Dis-Ease… I hit that dis-ease early this year. I worked my steps, and now I start counting down the days till my anniversary.
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I am being very vigilant. This next phase in my sobriety marks the beginning of the second decade of sobriety. All the years I skipped as a young twenty year old, I got a Re-Do. The last ten years I did all the work that I needed to, to  complete that section of my life. I relocated. I met and married. I finished several degrees in University. I stayed sober.
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I feel like I have been in a transition period for a while now. Having completed all that work and personal achievement, I have been wondering what is coming next?
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Bill once said that the only change he would have made in the Big Book, was to change the phrase … Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly f0llowed our path. ( Rarely would have been changed to Never !!!) This change was never made.
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Secondly, it may have been helpful to put a calendar in the book. Because like good alcoholics, we always want to know the how and when things were going to happen. Like a calendar would have been beneficial to us to help us zone into the specific dates that a psychic change or a spiritual experience would take place.
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It is good we are reading the book in its entirety again… Because I need to be reminded of where I have come from, to ruminate over how I got here and to be grateful for rites of passage. And that I survived to tell the story.
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For the book says: “I earnestly advise every alcoholic to “read this book” through, and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray.
William D. Silkworth M.D.
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I believe in Liminal places. That is the space where we come into conscious contact with the God of my understanding. In the “places in between.” It is a place of comfort because I can do well listening to His voice and to what he has to show and tell me.

And they ate CAKE !!!

Today’s post is brought to you by Betty “Grasshopper” Crocker …

And Yes, this is me, get a good look, it may be the only photo of myself I post on here. This was taken earlier tonight before the meeting.

It was a grand day today. Last night I had to turn in early because I had a 9:45 am wake up to make a 10:30 hair appointment at Industry at Alexis Nihon. I sat in the chair and told Dee to “cut it all off…” I took 10 years off in a matter of minutes.

Meanwhile, just a few blocks from here Betty Crocker was mad at work pouring, mixing and dying cake the six colors of the rainbow for my birthday. It took Grasshopper all day long to bake the most fabulous cake I have ever seen.

He surely is my “Sweet Genius.”

On the way home from the hairdressers I stopped to pick up refills and sundry items and more test strips for my meter, which cost me $52.00 … WTF !!!

I ran into Zeller’s to see what kind of shirts/shorts they had on display and they were 2 for $20 so I bought two shirts, one pink and one blue. Fabulous !!!

I got home and hubby was out cavorting around the city doing sneaky things for my birthday. And we had a good afternoon farting around watching tv and I had a coupe of hours to take a beauty nap before the meeting.

I got out of the house early, so that I could get set up done early because I was expecting people at the church earlier than usual for cake and conversation before the business meeting.

Where else would you celebrate a birthday if your birthday fell on your Home Group night. One of my friends says that a home group is a non negotiable night. And so I brought the party to my home group and Grasshopper went out of his way to bake this most fabulous cake for me and it was really great sharing it with my friends. People were really pleased and surprised with the cake.

Members serenaded me, one of our members sung me a medley of birthday tunes – it was very special.

It not only is the rainbow on the outside, the cake is a 6 layer technicolor cake that our LGBT members were really gaga over. It was a good time. He did a really great job. We will be eating cake for the next week.

I got a few nice gifts from friends. Madame Bijoux gave me a monogrammed insulated coffee cup for the meetings, along with a singing card that when you open it sings “OH, Were off to see the Wizard …” Very Very GAY !!!  Madam amongst her fellows gave me an Angel in my pocket medallion.

It was a good size group tonight. The chair brought us a topic from an old Grapevine and the story “Drinking Again.” And so we all got to listen to our fellows talk about coming in, going out, coming in, and going out and coming back … SLIPS are not fun. They get progressively worse and the longer you stay out the chance of your making it back in gets slimmer.

It was a good share around the room. I’ve written about my slip ad nauseum so I don’t feel like writing it out again tonight. Been there done that and I don’t want to go back there, EVER !!!

When I got home hubby gave me a plaque with the Serenity Prayer on it. It is a very simple gift but has immense meaning to me. It isn’t about the gathering of things for me this year but sharing what I have with those I love the most.

One of my friends asked me if I felt different today? And my answer was not really. Maybe something will materialize later on, I don’t know. I don’t know what happens when you turn 45? All I know is that I am halfway to 50. And that’s my next long term goal. To live until I turn 50.

One day at a time …

A good night was had by all …

Grasshopper is a truly talented man with a heart of Gold, and he may not know how grateful I am to have him in my life, but I am. He made today a great day.

More to come, stay tuned…


Tuesday Tales …

Courtesy: Rusja

It was dark and then it was light, then it was dark, then it was light, then the rain began to fall, all of twenty minutes before I headed out of the house for the church.

It is currently 24c with a humidex of 31. Manageable. But I’d rather it be cooler. It’s a good thing we have air conditioning.

I was happy to get out of the house today because it has been a trying past few days and I really needed a meeting. I have to be “extra-sober” because hubby is apt to point out that my actions are not very sober, and I’ve been paying attention to my higher power as of late a little closer than usual.

Relationships are always a work in progress. You never get to “Knowing All” there is to know about relationships.

Fear of People and financial insecurity will leave us.

We work each month to make sure we pay all the bills, be able to buy meds and food and have a little left over to play with. Income levels will be changing in the coming weeks and I am getting a little concerned with how we will make it all work because of the approaching changes.

We had a dust up over the usage of my foreign debit card account this week, as I made a purchase on that card and it doesn’t hit immediately, but takes a day or two to be processed by my bank. Meanwhile, hubby went to the bank and drew out every penny out of my account for the house, without telling me he did so. So when the bank called and said I had a $50.00 overdraft on the account, I was like, why do I have an overdraft of $50.00???

Well, the charge I made on the debit card went through and there weren’t enough funds in the account to cover the charge, so they released the payment to cover the overage because I opted into overdraft coverage. Didn’t I look like a complete ass to the woman on the phone because hubby made an executive decision without telling me which set in motion a huge avalanche of possible explosive reactions…

I was pissed. One, that is my personal bank account. and Two, hubby is supposed to tell me how much money he passes from that account into his. And I did not stop to remind him that he was supposed to only take a certain amount of cash this month, hence I ended up with this overdraft.

Never let someone make executive financial decisions for you unless you are both on the same page. I really wanted to say a few choice words, but I was running on little sleep after getting up at 6:30 in the morning yesterday for the morning meeting and I did not get much sleep the night prior, so I was tired and HP was saying “time to sleep” deal with this later when your head is clearer. So that’s what I did.

I tried to take a nap, but I had one eye trained on hubby for the rest of the afternoon, seeing he is sneaking around making decisions and not communicating those decisions, piss me the fuck off …

Finally I slept.

Afterwards his response was “oh, I’ve done worse, deal with it…”

Needless to say I put my cards back in my wallet and locked him out of using them in the future without my expressed permission and guidance.

The topic for the evening came from the Big Book and the second part of “There is a solution.” And it talks about spiritual awakening and finding a power greater than yourself and using the spiritual tools that are placed at our feet when we come it to the program.

I’ve had several encounters with my higher power as of late that only speaks to this truth that once you make that connection, if you don’t use it, you loose it.

Two other happenings to tell you about …

We live in a huge building, 17 stories up. Next door – well two doors over, is a hotel and the apartment next to ours we share a common balcony separated by a wall in between.

I walked out on the balcony the other day and there was a beer bottle cap sitting on the floor. I don’t know where it came from or how it got there. Unless you really are good at aiming a projectile at our balcony from above or next door.

I didn’t say anything about it, I just tossed it into the garbage. There was no beer in the fridge and no bottles to return nor the smell of beer in the apartment. So that was good.

Then yesterday I was on the way downstairs in the elevator and a few floors below us lives the building DRUNK !!! He is an old man with drinking buddies that only come to visit when beer is involved. Anyways, he and his companion were on their way to the grocery store to return their empties and they got on the elevator and the smell almost sickened me. Someone who doesn’t drink can smell beer at 50 paces. At least I can.

So when it is thrown right into your face it is really disgusting. I know that “old person/drunk smell,” I am all too familiar with it. And I wanted to say to them that they really STANK !!! But I didn’t. I just said a prayer.

Madame Bijoux took her nine month chip Monday morning, the beer cap on the balcony, the drunk in the elevator, the dust up over cash … HP really is trying to tell me or remind me why I cannot take a drink.

Because I won’t have another recovery in me if I drink again. And although some decided to listen to the lies they tell themselves and they drank, I remember those lies, because I heard them spoken at a meeting last week.

Ah, I took a drink, no big deal, I just wanted a couple glasses of whine, because let’s face it cancer sucks and I am feeling sorry for myself so I am going to drink. I’ll just start over again… (if it was only that simple)

We touched on spirit and tools. Some people focused in on the reading, and we got all the way around the room before time was up and I got to unload. On the way home my sponsor reminded me that I could call him anytime. (I did not call my sponsor over these things that happened over the last few days).

I should have… But what would he have said, but remind me why I am in recovery and maybe I needed to hear him say that, besides talking to myself.

I am still sober and I will live through this as usual because I am sober. I think before I react and usually let it roll off my back.

One of our members took his one year chip tonight.

He made it.

And I hoped that he would find a sponsor to whom he would listen to and do what he was told to do in spite of himself. He seems to be doing that because I read his gratitude list every night. I am happy for him. I only want to see him into sobriety and for him to have real spiritual experiences, now he is a year in, there is only one way up and that is one day at a time without a drink. And I heard him say that his “outsides were beginning to look like his insides.”

“Who said that … I did the other night in a post.”

A good night was had by all.

That’s a snapshot of what is going on in my life today.

More to come, stay tuned …


The Miracle Is …

Courtesy: EErodaniell

The weather has been nippy for the last couple of days. We are sitting at 7c at this hour. Days have been nice and sunny with a breeze, but nights are still on the cool side, and they say rain is on tap for the next few days. The trees and grass really need a good watering. I’ve been noticing that the trees in the neighborhood have been slowly greening up. As the trees are coming back to life, so the seasons are slowly changing.

We are in the final three weeks of class. I have an exam on Monday night, my introduction and bibliography for my Colony Collapse Syndrome paper is due on Wednesday, and our final exam on Wednesday is on the 2nd of May, and the final paper is due on the ninth. The last Monday class is on the 14th and that is the final exam for Psychology.

I am working on a daily schedule to get all the work done and studying for exams and doing what I need to do everyday, so it’s all good.

There is an International HIV Conference here this weekend at the Queen Elizabeth that grasshopper is volunteering at. He came to the meeting tonight. It was good to see him. He’s been so busy with life lately that I haven’t seen much of him in the last couple of weeks.

Lizzy was up and around this evening to bring me for set up. It seems that someone has been pilfering things from our cupboard, first it was a box of coffee cups and tonight we realized that our medallions were missing from where they should have been, somebody is stealing from us…

It was a packed house. We drained two urns of coffee and tea tonight. And I filled both of them full upon set up.

Our speaker tonight came from the Lachine area. Almost 9 years sober. Tonight our speaker took us down a short road of qualification. If it weren’t for cocaine, he probably wouldn’t have reached his bottom as hard as he did.

Denial of the problem is so prevalent in the rooms. But eventually we/he got to the point that yes, we are addicts and alcoholics and our lives have become unmanageable. Lucky to be old schooled from Beaver (treatment house), his minder drilled into him that

“NO, you can NEVER drink again.

And SLIPPING is not an option…”

That is a good thought to remember, that NO we can NEVER drink again… not maybe, or someday or one day, but NEVER. He came into recovery via Beaver, but graduated into the rooms. And suffice to say, when he got here, he really did not want to be here, because surely he wasn’t “one of us!”

Like a good newbie, he did what he was told. He went to meetings, sorted out his life, cleared away the wreckage of his past, and began to work with others. This is the recipe for success.

It has not been an easy road for our man. Yes, when we get clean and sober, life begins to get better, but that is no guarantee that everything in our lives will magically change. Life happens. People get sick and they die. That is one fact that we really are not prepared for early in sobriety. Loss, of any kind.

But today, our man is caring for a mother who is in the last stages of a battle with Cancer and today he can be there for her. And along with his family, they care for her and will care for her until she takes her last breath. And that is a gift of sobriety.

Because we know where things could have gone … thankfully they didn’t.

The take away from tonight’s share … PAY IT FORWARD.

If you’ve never seen the film, then put it on your Netflicks Queue.

Today our man does his meetings several times a week. He works his steps along with his sponsor and now his three sponsees. He does the work, so he can pay it forward to the men in his circle. You can’t reap the rewards of sobriety until you are ready to give it away.

It was good to hear someone get up there and talk about true gratitude in action. To see just how the program works in the lives of so many each week we come together there.

And he commented about an Old Timer Tommy M, who grew up and got sober here in Montreal in the 1950’s, today Tommy M is in his 80’s and in the book I am reading “1ooo Years of Sobriety” He asks the question:

“Does A.A. work ???”

Yes, it does work. If you do the work. Suit up, show up, work your steps, clear away the wreckage of your past and give freely of what you have …

It pays off in spades when you do something kind for someone else, just because.

At the end of the meeting one of our group members took a 5 year cake.

A good time was had by all. We had food, and conversation and we all went home fulfilled again.

What kindness have you done today?

More to come, stay tuned …


Maybe it was a Cake …

Courtesy: Tap that Guy – Ben Nevis Scotland

Good evening Peeps !!! We are sitting at a comfy 15c. Skies are clear and the weekend is upon us. It was a good day today.

Yesterday in Class we were given our topic list for our analytical essays which are due on the 10th of November. Which gives us roughly a month to read, study and get them written. I think I am going to write on Copernicus. I don’t know much about the small pox epidemic/injection story and I am sure I don’t want to write about the story of the beginning of the atomic age and the building of the first atomic bomb.

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As today is Friday, it was also my week to do set up at Friday West End. I was up and ready to go by 6:30 so I set out for NDG earlier than usual. It took me less than half an hour to make the transit. I made good connections all the way across.

I got to the church and cranked out set up before the call time of 7:30. Last week, they guy who was supposed to come and help me, did not show up. Until Later. So I really did not think about him tonight because he told me he had a lot of work, he is a painter and this is painting season. So I set up alone tonight as usual. This week, he did show up at 7:30. By that time I was already done. I could not get the PA system to work properly, so he took care of that for me.

The meeting was packed. When I set up the chairs it seemed a little empty. Matt said that the church may have taken some of the chairs out of the hall, therefore we did not have many other chairs to set out.

By 9 o’clock the place was jammed. It was standing room only. We did not have enough chairs to seat everybody in the room. So many people sat on the stage to one end of the room.

The speaker had some years. And a story about total insanity. Danny asked me to thank the speaker so I was paying attention to what the speaker said. The story was very different from my own, and I didn’t get as insane as he did nor was I as crazy as he was as a teenager.

But when he got to the point that he was asked a question, the light went on in the tower and he got it …. Picture standing at one end of a telescope, and the voice coming through asks you “Do you want to get sober or Not, not, Not, not ???”

Getting stuck in the revolving door is a problem for a lot of people. Eventually he found his way out. The second thing I heard him say that he reached a point in sobriety when his sponsor told him just to take an action. Do some service, care about another human being. It was then that he realized that putting the needs of another before his own, helped him get sober. And stay sober …

Now I had something to work with.

We had a 9 monther, an 18 year and a 24 year cake tonight. Lots of sugar, lots of conversation. A good night was had by all.

I got out of there around 10:15. The bus on the way back didn’t come until 10:35 and I didn’t get home until after 11. We had a late dinner. Hubby baked a cake earlier today and after dinner I frosted it – so I had more cake here at home.

It is the weekend.

Lots to do, more to come, stay tuned …


Two Fer Thursday …

Courtesy: Flickr Evan Mischelle

Don’t you just love it when time is on your side?

The week is almost over and what a week it has been.

Lots of things going on. Gifts of the program keep coming. One of my friends at the Sunday meeting is a Sociology Professor at Concordia and he had a copy of the textbook I need for my Sociology class at Dawson. We did not have enough money to buy books this past month because of bills, but my friend gave me the book from his library stock.

Saving of $110.00 … Sweet !!!

Today the weather held, raining early in the day. We had an essay exam in Western Civilization in class tonight. I’ve been running over my notes like a madman. Last term in Philosophy we studies Greek history and the men who made it. And the term prior we studied monarchs.

I studied all last night and into this afternoon. And I even left early for school to get there early so I would have some more time to look over my notes. I was pleasantly surprised when the prof handed out the exams.

Much of the exam was on topics that I was already smart on. The Greek Polis and the explanation of how society runs, what the Polis means and what kind of government it has. I had that one in the bag.

Then she asked a second question about the 5 types of government from our notes. they would be Monarchy, Oligarchy, Democracy, Tyranny and Federalism.

The huge essay, second part of the exam was on Paleolitic and Neolithic periods of time, covering the topics of Stonehenge and the Ice Man found in the Italian Alps a couple of years ago. Both of these are examples of Neolithic artefacts, human remains and monuments.

All the topics on the exam I could have written on since all of it was historical topics covering Greece, Athens, Neolithic England, Egypt and Mesopotamia and Alexander the Great. I nailed it in the end.

Once I started writing, I did not stop until I was done, which took me less than a hour to write the exam. I was finished as she wrote 7:22 on the board. We were free to leave after the exam which set me out front by 7:30.

*** *** *** ***

I walked out front and looked at my phone and decided that I had enough time to walk up to St. Matthias and hit the 8 p.m. meeting. The room was packed. The speaker was from Ottawa. A woman with 22 years of sobriety.

Listening to old timers talk about the insidiousness of alcoholism is important. Even with time, things are not easy. People get complacent with time and for some they end up in the bottle or better yet, they end up dead. Once again tonight we heard an old timer talk about people with time, DYING !!!

The book says “Remember that we deal with alcoholism cunning, baffling and powerful,” and we can add the next word “Patient!” You never know when it is going to sneak up on you and bite you in the ass. And if you don’t recognize it before it gets you, you’re gonna end up on the loosing side of the battle.

It was a good message. Sound advice to a room full of people with varying amounts of time. At the end of the meeting one of my lady friends gave a one year chip to one of her friends. It is always nice to be at anniversary nights.

There were people at the meeting that I had not seen in a number of years. You never know who is going to turn up at a meeting on any given night.

It was a good night. I jammed an exam and had time to hit a meeting.

Two for Two…

I came home and we had pizza for dinner.

Tomorrow is Friday and Friday West End. YAY !!! Then the weekend comes.

More to come for sure, Stay tuned …

 

 


Last Cake Standing …

james-rosselle

Last night at 7 p.m. eastern here in Montreal, was the second episode of Last Cake Standing where our competitors had to put a cake together for a couple on the fly. Competitors were asked to take a limo ride with their prospective clients and when each team thought they had enough information from them, the limo would stop and they would get out and find their way back to the studios to begin working on their cakes.

Last night’s winner was Courtney. James successfully put together a great cake, and he is still in the running for the $50,000. This was the second of 4 competitions for Last Cake Standing…

The episodes are airing here in Montreal at 7 p.m. on Sunday nights with a repeat of the last episode on Saturday night ‘prior.’ That would mean that on Saturday night the last episode which aired last night will be shown again, and the third installment of the Last Cake Standing will air next Sunday at 7 p.m. on May the 3rd.