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Cold

Thursday … It Is COLD !!! … If You are Breathing, You have a Chance …

tumblr_lm5d60Hzy01qzhzruo1_500 flickr jamesclearCourtesy: James Clear Flickr

Boy, is it FRIGID outside tonight. We are sitting at (-15c/-21c w.c.). We got a little snow, and city workers, are tonight, hurriedly trying to clear snow from the streets. There is good news coming in the way of positive numbers beginning on Sunday with a trend moving from Zero to plus (+7c) by Wednesday next week.

That warmth cannot come sooner, as February was the coldest month on record here in the city.

Yesterday I welcomed a friend back from the U.S., the long nightmare that was Pittsburgh is over.

We had lunch, did some shopping, and sorted out various things that he needed to do so that he can reconnect with the community here. I had not been to the core malls in some time, so while we were there yesterday, we happened into Indigo Book sellers. and I invested in the next two books by Kathy Reichs, in the Temperance Brennan series, and last night, I could not get to bed early enough to start reading them.

Today was quiet. I was sleeping, and at one point, the same dream scene kept repeating itself over and over again, so I knew it was time to get out of bed, to try and reset the cycle. As I can only sit so long in front of this box, I spent some time surfing and stuff like that, and when I completed my circuit, I had two hours before I needed to get ready to go… I went back to bed for a short run.

Winter has not been kind to our folks. They are choosing to stay home, instead of venturing out in this frigid weather. I’ve been noting as well, some of our old timers have been MIA for a while. Which is out of character for some of them.

One of those men, returned to the fold this evening. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and I was starting to worry about him. Weren’t we all surprised when he got up there and spoke.

My friend has a number of years in, twenty seven to be exact.

For a while now, having listened to old timers talk and share at meetings, I know some things about them. Each of them approach the program differently. No two of them do it the same way, and I’ve written here, recently about folks who are just comfortable to warm a chair and occupy space.

If you hit enough meetings, and listen well, you sometimes get nuggets of wisdom, here and there.

I’ve talked to my friend who spoke tonight, in great depth over the months that have passed, and asked him why some folks, have put down their roots and roost where they are, and others keep to the notion that there is always something new to learn, and if you have the time to invest, they why not do that ?

While we were out there, most people have experiences of certain individuals who step in and stop us in our tracks which begins the slow grind out of hell, into life. As was the case for my friend.

He was working in a hospital, barely hanging on to life, trying to dry out after another ritual alcohol infused dance with massive amounts of cocaine trip. He was ordered to get a medical check up by his boss. So he goes to this office and sits down, as the doctor has his back to him. He, “the doctor” turns around and looks at my friend squarely and without skipping a beat says quite bluntly …

“Alcohol and Cocaine huh !!! ” Exclamation point …

He had not set eyes on my friend, nor knew his state. But he pegged him substance for substance.

That doctor knew him and began to sort him out and get him help.

The doctor tells him emphatically …

“You go and talk to this guy, do it now, Do it now, DO IT NOW !!!”

In a few months time, and after a few ins and outs, the miracle happened.

  • The admission of powerlessness over his chosen substances
  • The realization that there was a kernel of faith inside of him from his childhood
  • And that that Power Greater than himself could actually help him

This was another example that most of us are either born into – or are educated in, some kind of faith background. And for some of us, when we come in, are provided the grace to be able to appreciate it for what it was and is, and allow that grace to save us.

I am very keen to know and to learn perspective from my long sober friends.

That kind of dictates or allows me to see where I am in the grand scheme of things. I’m not just walking around aimlessly not doing anything with my time. That I am, in fact, using my time properly, I’m invested in my own sobriety, and I am invested in the lives of my friends at large, and then, on a daily basis, I am invested in the lives of the guys I work with.

Constant. Daily, By The Book.

My friend tells us that “If we are alive, and breathing, we have a chance to live a life of our wildest dreams, in the program.” Simply, “if you are breathing, YOU have a chance !!!” Exclamation point !

You never know when God is going to step in and sort you out. Be mindful.

In my life, God, or angels, or particular people, stepped in when I most needed it and gave me a chance to get out of hell and get sorted out and clean up my life. When that happened in my life, it was not by my own steam, or by my choice, in those cases, it was divinely ordained. There are no two ways about that.

My friend tonight, had that same experience, when he most needed help.

God stepped in and rescued him from hell.

One day at a time, this past January, he celebrated twenty seven years sober. And in April, he will turn sixty six years young, Some old timers, with oodles of time, have aged very gracefully.

Others, not so much.

I remember the words spoken by another long sober member here …

CONSTANT VIGILANCE !!!

Alcohol and drugs are pernicious, patient and deadly.

If you go back out, it is a foregone conclusion that you will return to where ever you left off, when you quit, and will wind up in a much bigger jackpot that you could have imagined.

Meetings, Prayer, Meditation, Working with Others …

When you come to us, you get the recipe for life. My friend lives in that recipe.

i want men like him in my life, because they challenge me to cook.

What are you cooking ???

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Thoughts, Amends, and Everything Else

tumblr_lm5d60Hzy01qzhzruo1_500 flickr jamesclearCourtesy: Flickr James Clear

It is frigidly cold. So cold that we thought we might get frostbite walking to and from the church.

We are sitting at that frigid (-21c/-32c w.c.) at this hour. The wind does not make it any better.

Yesterday we celebrated love by sharing a great dinner and exchanged cards. I noticed in my travels that the pharmacy has cleaned out all the Valentines stuff, off the shelves and there are boxes of stock ready to be unpacked, for what I imagine is St. Patty’s Day in March.

I departed on time and boy was it cold. I got to the church and one of my friends was already there so we cranked it out and waited for our folks to come, those who are reading with us before the meeting.

On this frigid night, a handful of folks came out. We read from the Twelve and Twelve and Step 9.

“Made direct amends to such people where ever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Every time I read this step, I get more insight to the process. I this this list is useful:

  • There will be those who ought to be dealt with just as soon as we become reasonably confident that we can maintain our sobriety.
  • There will be those to whom we can make only partial restitution, lest complete disclosures do them or others more harm than good.
  • There will be other cases where action ought to be deferred,
  • And still others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make direct personal contact at all.

I’ve made this pass before. And to this day, it is all about me. Still …

The people I owe amends to, don’t have a clue as to who I am today. When people turn away from you because of who you are, it makes it kind of difficult to deal with. When children are created, simply to be sibling rivals, that is a problem. When the first child is branded a mistake, and the second child, the make up child, what does that say about the parents?

I don’t know my brother. The last time I laid eyes on him was more than twenty years ago. The last time I laid eyes on my parents it was 2001, for only twenty minutes, then they were gone.

It is 2015. I don’t think I owe amends to people who don’t even know I exist, or that they choose not to acknowledge my existence. Because if i am real about this, I only want two things. One, I want my dignity back, and Two, I want to be acknowledged as a living, feeling, human being.

So we are back to all about me.

One of my friends, tonight said, that We are supposed to be agents of healing, not for us, but for them. How can you heal a hardened heart? What would that look like? You can’t change someone who is homophobic, hateful, ignorant, and bigoted. This is truth, I am not making this up.

Sometimes, it is better to just walk away, and let people be. And this has been a long and coming road in sobriety. With the dawn of Facebook, knowing where someone is, and also knowing they know that you are on here as well, makes it just as difficult. I’ve made my introductions and to this day, there has not been one word coming in my direction. So fuck me …

Like I’ve said before, the only thing I can do for me today is live my amends by staying sober, and growing up. And I am a work in process. The day you finish learning is the day one dies.

And I am sure as shit not there yet.

Another week begins. More will follow.

Stay tuned …


Friday … Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

tumblr_lndtyet7pF1qhlja3o1_500It is February. It is Cold. There is snow all over the place. We are sitting at (-22c/-30 w.c.) at this hour.

The truth is, people are tired of the cold and the darkness. And that seasonal funky depression is setting in across the land. We could use a little warmth and sunshine right about now. But the other truth is that Winter has set in deeply, and we really don’t know when it is going to end.

If those pesky rats told us six more weeks of Winter, that means no relief until at least the end of March. And if history is our guide, April or May is the closest we will get to Spring like weather.

My guys are all in the mix, as well not to mention, a great number of folks who hit the Friday meeting.

It has been a busy last couple of days. And very successful too.

Friday is as Friday does. I had nothing special to do. I met with some folks over the afternoon, and did some shopping for the day. The push for Valentines Dollars was in high gear today. This, the one day we get to show our love for our significant others, by the giving of cards, chocolate and flowers.

We do cards here. So I left uber early to sort that out. When I got to the pharmacy to do that, there were crowds of people in the store. There were flower sellers in the mall proper. People were greedily grabbing every possible little thing that was on sale. It was card and chocolate madness.

Thankfully, I am pretty good at cards. It did not take me long to find the one that I was going to buy, and get in line with everyone else to pay. American Greetings and all those other card makers are making a killing tonight. I get to the register and she swipes the card … $11.00 dollars please !!!

Eleven dollars, are you shitting me ?

On the way home, I had to get some stuff for dinner. I walk into Provigo and there are flowers all over the place, carefully placed in the “Impulse Purchase Area” That wide swath that exists directly behind the Express Check out. On the Impulse Purchase rack are tons of chocolates in pretty boxes.

So $11.00 dollars for a card, chocolate probably runs between $10.00 and $25.00 and flowers will run you probably $20.00 … You aren’t getting out of this store for close to $40 or $50 bucks.

I’m sorry, but I’m not spending that kind of cash.

Last night we got a tweet that the water main break at my Laurier Station had been fixed and that all the buses that had been redirected to other places, have returned to their original locations today.

Which was really good news, because it was/is frigid outside and having to walk blocks to find a bus was/would be a challenge.

We sat a good crowd. Like I said people are frazzled. And the topic was:

Walking Towards Serenity.

“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”

When we are frazzled and at our wits end, and we are awash in emotion, and sometimes they aren’t that good, and we believe we are at the end of our ropes, hang on. This too shall pass. Keep going. Take another step forwards. Do the Next Right Thing.

The reading talks about that moment of doubt, that I can’t go on, I can’t do it, I don’t have the strength.

This is that moment when taking another step forwards will pay off. We take that step, we make that call, we get ourselves to that next meeting. And tonight, we heard folks talk about not wanting to get out of bed and weather the cold to come out, but they came, nonetheless.

And it was a good thing they did, because everybody said the same things, in their own words.

There have been many instances in my life where the chips were down, and things seemed bleak, and I was not sure that I could make it another step or another day. Trials and tribulations will do that to us.

When I got sick, the began getting sober, knowing that I was going to die, within months, I wanted to drown my sorrows and what was left of my mortality with booze. Todd had other plans for me.

And a good thing too.

While I was happy, sitting at home, counting the days until I was dead, I had a job, and that job saved my life. I was pushed to deal with reality with whatever strength I had. But I had the aid of people who knew my plight. I strung days together. Then I strung weeks together. Then I strung months together. And finally, I got to the point, that I was still alive, and began to string together years.

Twenty years later, all that work and taking one day at a time, I am still here.

I did that walk. I learned to get out of my misery and walk towards the living light.

Facing ones mortality is a very tough deal. Many people who are sick with terminal illness and those who are fighting every day to live from various issues like Cancer, AIDS, and every other assorted sickness, time is not our friend. And we either give in and die, or we stand up and we fight to live.

People have resiliency.

I’ve seen people rise from sickness and from their deathbeds and walk again.

Life does not all of a sudden get rosy and happy when we get sober. And for some, it seems that life throws at them, everything but the kitchen sink. And it is our challenge to walk with them and carry them through the tough times, always encouraging them that nothing lasts forever.

It will get better and that This Too Shall Pass.

It might be frigid outside and in many places there is so much snow that cities are closed up and schools are shut down and mother nature keeps throwing snow, snow and More Snow at us.

And it is cold.

We can’t all get on a plane and head south. We just have to soldier through it, until it is over.

We are / You are not alone.

There is hope. Come, Show up, Make that call. Don’t give up or give in.

Life may suck right now, but it will get better.

Everything’s gonna be alright.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Boy Is It COLD Outside !!!

thunder-snowWe are sitting at (-14c / -26c w.c.) at this hour.

And Man, was it cold out there tonight. We had snow, and lots of blowing snow, and it was cold.

I departed early to meet my guys at the church, and it was a good thing too. There was three feet of snow piled up outside the church door, which meant I had to find a way to get the door open so that I could get at the shovel, to shovel the snow away from the door at least. There was no shoveling the walk, because snow fell all night long, and I made several trips outside to shovel the stoop so that people could get inside. There was too much snow at the end of the night and I had to jam the door shut and try to get it locked a secure when we left.

Aside from the shitty weather, people came. It seems that folks are deciding against going out when it snows this way. It is too much for our older generation to go out in this kind of weather.

We sat a good group and we read from the Twelve and Twelve, and Step Eight.

“Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

It is a good thing, that so many of our men and women are “In” their steps. Everyone seems to be devoted to The Work. Going through the steps is a useful tool so that we hear the steps read, followed by a discussion. Whether you are at that point or not. It gets the creative juices flowing and folks get a preview listening to people, who are either at this point, or have been past this point in The Work.

A common theme that arose from our discussion was one particular thought:

When we make our list, of people we have harmed, and we write them down, we must be sure to put ourselves on that list as well.

When we attend the Roundups every Spring, we hear A.A. speakers, along with an Alanon Speaker. People in the rooms, are usually not familiar with those who have been affected by our alcoholism. That is another point of learning for folks who do the round up. We don’t often think of those we hurt until we sift through the steps. Most of us are so self centered that we only think about ourselves, and how others hurt us …

Another fellow shared that he sits in this place that “why should we forgive others, when certain people did hurt us, intentionally, and did it without any thought about the consequences?”

Forgiveness is about letting go and releasing us from that kind of thinking.

The read mentions the family dynamic. And my family was fucked up for a long time.

I’ve said before that when it was good it was really good. My parents provided well beyond what they could have. We had everything we ever wanted and more. On the flip side, when it was bad it was very bad. My father was a very angry, vicious, bitter and abusive man.

How does one forgive a man who abused you severely for decades, told you, you were a mistake, and should never have been born, then when finding out I was Gay, called me an abomination, and toss me out of the house because he could not have a fag under the roof. Then add insult to injury, when I got sick and almost died, that same man would encourage me to die quickly, and humiliated me before friends and guests over the holidays. He was an alcoholic. But he was also a man.

I put my family on the list. But since we do not talk today, and have not spoken in more than a decade, I have tried to make amends, but they fell on deaf ears. So fuck me right ???

All those people I hurt in the past are miles away, and out of sight and mind.

When I moved here, I began my life with a clean slate. I was sober. I have not hurt anyone in the ways I hurt those I did when I was drinking and using. Today, sober people make mistakes. We hurt one or anothers feelings and we correct those mistakes in the moment, or in the day.

My sponsor explained to me his life, which is very similar to mine. We did what we had to do to get and stay sober. We make no excuses, because we want to survive. Amends may come or they might not. It is about our frame of mind and whether we live in forgiveness, or reside in resentment and anger.

I choose to live in forgiveness.

With age comes wisdom. I know the story, forwards and backwards. I’ve studied all the characters involved. Some people choose to live in their ignorance and call it Christianity. I can’t help someone who lives in that space. I choose to call it what it is, and I let it go.

All I ever wanted from them is respect and my dignity restored. I did not get that. I won’t ever get that.

What I am, what I suffer from, and who I am married to is more important to them than WHO I am.

This is WHO I am, like it or not.

It was a great, honest discussion.

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

Over the weekend, I was watching an old web series made by a friend of mine who lives in South America, Venezuela, to be exact. He and and his merry bunch of moto bikers travel the mountains and he films it on a Go Pro. So I’ve got the entire collection from the last round. Then on Christmas, they visit shanty towns and those less fortunate, and the give Christmas presents to all the children along the way. It’s a very good thing …

So we have the video, and then, there is the music. I have a program that will capture music from video and creates Mp3’s. I spent the weekend, sorting through video and music and I created entire new music playlists. Then I upload them to my phone, and it lets me sort them into playlists and to sort them as to the order I want the music to play in.

Over all it was quite a successful weekend.

Everybody is happy, sober and doing well.

More to come, stay tuned …


Friday … Watching Loneliness Vanish … That Moment of Silence

SONY DSCCourtesy: Curve of the Earth (Archives)

Damn … It is COLD outside. We are sitting at (-17c/-23c w.c.) Winds are light, but it is still Frigid.

The week ended in a flurry of people, places and meetings.

The Work continues as new folks have been introduced into our sober family.

Pigeons have pigeons, which means we all have considerable work to do.

Friday is always the best day / night of the week.

I quadruple layered for my trip tonight, and yes, the rubber boots came in very handy.

Or should I say, Footy !!!

They keep my feet nice and toasty, not to mention warm European sox to go with them. A good portion of my wardrobe comes from other places.

I departed early because of snow en route. Tonight’s theme was, “you just missed the train …”

Both going and on my return, there were trains in the station, but my timing was a little off, because I watched them all leave without me, and I had to wait and entire cycle for a train. During rush hour, trains run every 3 to 4 minutes. Off hours trains run every 6 to 9 minutes.

Up on the North End, they are still plowing snow. It was piled up all over the place. The mini dozers were corralling snow for later pick up tonight. Which made it tricky for buses so they dropped us on the street, outside the berms.

We sat a large crowd as usual. And as I said, Friday is the best night of the week.

Every meeting begins the same way, but Friday, is a little different.

This is the place that all our friends come to. It is the rallying point for the weekend. Fellowship after the meeting is part and parcel of going to the Friday meeting. It is part and parcel for many meetings, it gives our young people stuff to do outside the meeting.

When we sit together, around the table, there are small table lights on the tables, and not that oppressive overhead fluorescent light. We call it Mood Lighting …

The chair rings the bell, and calls the room to attention, makes the necessary announcements. Then invites everyone to take a moment of silence before we say the Serenity Prayer.

And I wait all week for this one moment.

Our collective, friends, family, fellows and elders, take a deep breath and center ourselves for a moment, chairs go quiet, the room gets quiet, and for that moment it feels like we are ONE.

Then the chair calls for prayer, and it is spiritual song.

It is that way at every meeting, and everybody is important. Every moment of silence to think perhaps of someone out there or in here who is suffering …

The sound of my friends voices is music to my ears. This is the one night where we are all together in the same room at the same time. One says that “there is an energy in the room, that is palpable.”

The reading, from A.B.S.I. Watching Loneliness Vanish.

People drank to escape, People drank to be alone. At the bitter end, we are all alone, in varying degrees, suffering and lonely. We hear the common story from old timers about the slogan, that isn’t on a placard in many meetings, however it can be found,

“YOU ARE NOT ALONE ANY MORE.”

It is better to be on the inside, I heard it again tonight. I heard another young person speak about The Work Passionately, and suggest, quite seriously, that The Work is the way to go. That it saved their life after returning from a devastating slip.

Proviso … Sober people get lonely too. It is not uncommon.

That little voices tells us we are different and have nothing in common with others, which in turn, keeps us from connecting and engaging. And little by slowly, the space grows between people, and if that space gets wide enough, a slip is not that far off.

People suffer from “I am unique” and “I like to be alone and isolate.” Our young women are devastated by these ideas. They seem to suffer more the terminal uniqueness than do our young men. But we do find our men, don’t connect right away either, that takes time.

The girls feel, too much, the boys think, they over think too much. Both troublesome problems.

I tell and retell this story over and over, and it still gets discussion.

The first time I got sober, I was waiting to die. I was going to meetings in a hall that treated me like a race horse, with wagers on my head as to when I would skip out and drink again.

So that first year was a lap around the race track, and on my anniversary, I took that chip and told the guys there to go Fuck themselves… I never went back to that meeting. I had a job that I loved. I was well cared for. Everyone was sober, my sponsor worked there as well. I was safe for those two years.

I had everything I ever needed or wanted. I had a safety net that kept me alive, fed and sober.

When that run ended and I was the only one who did not go West, I was alone, and left to my own devices. I did not carry what I had inside forwards. i was clueless about what I was supposed to do with nobody to help me do it.

(Read: Move city, Move House, carry a life forwards, stay sober).

Remember I lived in the South, technically. Florida was South, and people were as ignorant and heartless as they were all over the deep red south.

At the two year mark, I was asked to speak to a particular meeting. Of course I said yes.

What I did not think about was disclosure and how that would go over.

There were a couple hundred folks in the meeting. As I was telling my story, the men began to get up and leave the hall, 100 men got up and left the hall while I was speaking. When I finished, I went outside to find them waiting for me. One stepped up and said …

“We don’t respect people like you, please leave this place and don’t come back.”

Go get sober some place else.

Now, I am a twenty something kid, with a bulls eye on my back. I was alone. New to the area and that meeting hall, I did not know anyone except a couple of folks. And they tell me to leave and not come back.

I was lonely, I was alone. Fighting a battle by myself, one to stay sober, the other was to stay alive.

The loss of my sober family and secondly, this toss off comment, drove me out the door and into a slip that almost killed me, because I went looking for something to make me NOT alone, it was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life.

Insert Slip Story Here … I’m not gonna tell it

On my way back, I had three friends. Two were out of sight and out of mind, the third was my drinking/drugging buddy. I lived alone, I worked alone, I had no life, and so I went to the club every Saturday night with my buddy. He would dope up and I would drink myself black.

Delusional thoughts of if I drink enough, they will notice me and take me in. If I drink enough, I will never grow up and I will become part of the “beach crowd.” None of those things happened.

I knew the last drink, when it came. I prayer for deliverance via another alcoholic.

He came.

I went to my first gay meeting. That did not go so well. Nobody noticed me. So I sat outside the hall until the 10 p.m. meeting where Fonda, Ed and Rob and Christian found me, alone on the stoop.

Fonda gave me a hug, and welcomed me into the room and brought me coffee.

They noticed me. And from that moment, I was never alone again.

With some time, I arrived here, sadly, a second time, I heard another alcoholic tell me to go get sober somewhere else. That I was unwelcome in their meeting. I never went back there to this day.

You want to alienate a human being who is new, alone, and seeking help,

Tell them to go get sober somewhere else.

It is a good thing I stuck around. I tell this story as a warning to the pitfalls of the human condition in the rooms. You need to connect, because there are sick alcoholics in some rooms. And they justify their ignorance behind sexism, homophobia, egos and attitudes. Good Christian values.

I did all the right things. I met all the right people. I owe my life to the fellowship in Montreal.

I’ve never been more happier than I am today. I am in it to win it. I do what I am told.

We are deep in The Work. All of us. Nobody is alone in our sober family.

NOBODY…

Now that I work with others, and I give it away, and I teach The Work to my guys, they are now teaching The Work to their guys. We are four generations strong tonight.

We are part of a grand collective of many faiths, hearts, traditions and languages.

Unified under a common affliction. And we deal with it together as one.

Nobody is left out in the cold. Our men and women know they are no longer alone.

You too can Never be alone again …

Gratitude. Lots of Gratitude.

More to come, stay tuned…


Thursday … Busy Day and … The Return

tumblr_l9aodkIKWb1qzk77co1_500 singlifessongCourtesy: Sing Life’s Song

Can I tell you how cold it is outside right now? (-11c/-15c w.c.) Brrrrrr…

After yesterday’s excitement and Boo Yah purchase, today had to get even better.

And it did.

Today was beauty day, well, my appointment with my stylist. The ever evolving haircut continues. Let’s just say, it is a work in progress.

Not to mention, on the train (that story is coming) on the way out there was a very very HUMPY Montreal police officer on the train, with a version of “the haircut” and I was like M.E.O.W. come arrest me please !!!!

When I left for the mall, I really had no plan beyond getting my hair cut.

You know what happens to me whenever I make a plan right?

God Laughs …

My sponsor is M.I.A. for the past two days, and I am having a love affair with his answering machine, which he jokingly replies when I say that is … “that is the safest relationship.”

So, I packed my bag with warm fuzzies and I left my headphones home, because, I wasn’t going anywhere far, that would require music to follow.

It was 12:30 and I was already out. And I put in an order at inter group for chips that I was going to go get tomorrow. Standing in the mall, I decided to check the service office hours, which were from 1 until 7 this evening.

I thought to myself that I would charge my Opus card, walk from the mall home to get my headphones, and walk to the next Metro Station, which is 3 blocks East of home. The mall is 3 blocks West of home, so that was my plan.

Did I mention that it was cold?

I chose not to go home, instead I got on the train and headed to the East End to pick up chips.

It was a 30 minute commute out East, and a trudge up the Olympic Park Hill, yes, that Olympic Park. The BIG O … Where the 1976 Olympics took place. There is a nice coating of ice citywide on all the sidewalks. UGH !!!

I am superstitious about chips.

  • Your sponsor is supposed to get your chip, (He asked me to get it instead)
  • You don’t get your chip prior to the actual anniversary
  • And you don’t touch your chip until it is handed to you by your sponsor

It is bad juju to break any of these conditions !

My chip was waiting for me, and I asked the kind lady to bag my chip and I shared with her my superstitions. (cue eye roll and the thought … Oh those alcoholics !!!) While I was there I purchased chips for my guys in advance, since I was there already, and their dates don’t come up for a few months, in any case, I have them all now.

Another 30 minute commute back to where I started, and had some Micky D’s for lunch, and then got home close to 3 in the afternoon.

I skyped with a friend who lives in Pittsburgh, and who is coming home for Christmas next week !!!

Cue Happy Dance …

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

The Return – A First Share

Our men’s meeting closed last week, which frees up a meeting night. Our little band of happy men decided that we would indeed return to the regular Thursday night speaker meeting at St. Matthias church, which is just up the road from St. Leon’s (where our men’s meeting met).

We arrived to a great welcome, since we haven’t seen folks on Thursday in 18 months. We were joking amongst ourselves on the bus that we should have worn our royal jewels, diamonds, sapphires and Gold !!! Really make a Liberace entrance …

You don’t know that you miss a certain meeting, until you spend a good amount of time doing something else. I missed this meeting. It has been a staple meeting for many years, and when we chose to open the men’s meeting, we knew we were knocking off tradition.

Anyways …

Lots of people I know, lots of people we all know. It was good.

My favorite human being, because he is stately and humble and kind was in the chair.

Our young speaker got up there, and knocked it out of the park.

Some meetings are hardline singleness of purpose meetings, where you can only talk about alcoholism and nothing but. And I’ve seen people get up and leave a meeting midway because someone up there says the word “Drugs!”

And in the 21st Century, what alcoholic is NOT cross addicted??? The numbers are staggering!

Guesses, anyone ???

It seemed that nobody gave a shit, in any case.

Our man got up there and told a story that tugged at my heart. I laughed, I felt sad, I felt sorry for him, and in the end, we were all proud of him.

You could have dropped a pin in that room, nobody got up, nobody left, nobody said a word.

Why?

Because we all respect the man who chaired the meeting, and the young man who got up there to share and because of the people who run that meeting. These are all truly respectable people, who do good things for all of us.

It is Grace when you get to sit in a meeting and hear a newcomer speak for the first time.

Because, how often and always, those of us with time, forget what it was like to be newly sober, or coming back, and have to get up there and share experience, strength and hope for the first time.

We all did it, many of us have forgotten what that felt like. And what it sounded like.

Tonight we were reminded, every single one of us in that room.

Our chair said afterwards, of the young speaker, that, “when I asked him to speak I did not know him, but when I asked him, he said yes, and now tonight, I know him a bit better.”

Never say no to a request to do any kind of service.

Bittersweet … The longer I stay, the worse it gets for some. Leave a meeting for a while, and then return, and witness people who decided to toss it away and go back out, only to show up and take another beginner’s chip. People with serious time go out, and it is unnerving. And it makes me think about either, what I am doing right? or what they are doing wrong?

There is a simple list of things to do to guarantee not going back out.

And I bang those things into my guys heads over and over…

Sadly, not everyone can exceed expectations. The revolving door still exists. And sadly, people I knew 18 months ago who were long sober, are once again, trying again. You never know what pulls people out the door, but I do … cunning baffling and powerful …

One moment of indecision, one lapse in thought, the 12 inch gulf between ones head and their heart.

How did they slip through the cracks? How does that happen when they used to be connected to a home group, doing service and staying sober?

I’m really grateful that I am sober another day. Because I know, in an instant, I could be right back there, hating myself and starting over. I choose not to do that, and I am willing to go to any length to stay where I am right now. I worked too damned hard to get here, to piss it away with a momentary lapse in judgment.

Serenity – Acceptance – Courage – Wisdom – Patience – Appreciation – Tolerance – Strength

The long version of the Serenity Prayer in brief …

A good day and a great night.

At least for tonight, all of our folks are sober one day.

More to come, stay tuned …