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Depression

Tuesday … So Many Words to Say

tumblr_ly4f173sus1qcv34vo1_500 flickr joshuauhl terminal 2Courtesy: Joshua Uhl – Flickr – Terminal 2

You never know when a little gift will appear out of nowhere and makes it all possible !

The Canadian Government has addressed the recent call to kill unbelievers by terrorists. To the extent that Citizens who have left the country to fight along side them, and there are many, their passports have been revoked. In addressing public safety, we are told that the governments eyes and ears are open, and that we are safe. Montreal has always been a safe city. But with this round of violence in the world, one never knows. Let Us Pray …

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I want to address something that took place on another blog I read from Far Far Away …

A.A. is a place for people who think they have a problem with drinking. As per the Traditions, A.A. has no opinion on outside issues. Many people suffer from depression and other assorted illnesses, that must be treated with proper medical treatment and supervision.

There is a fine line between abusing prescription drugs, and taking them properly as directed.

Members, for the most part, are NOT doctors. I’ve never met a medical doctor in the rooms in all my years. Many of us suffer from depression in and out of sobriety. And many of us take pills to treat that depression, on top of that I myself take a handful of pills for my HIV twice a day.

I’ve been in a few scrums with militant members on the topic of medical treatment and for some, their take that sobriety and clean time is contingent on the fact that we either take or choose not to take our medication as directed.

IF YOUR SPONSOR OR ANY OTHER MEMBER TELLS YOU TO STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICATION, OR TELLS YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT SOBER OR THAT YOU CANNOT MAINTAIN SOBRIETY WHILE TAKING MEDICATION, YOU CAN PROPERLY TELL THEM TO FUCK OFF.

Nobody has the right to tell you what to do with your own body when it comes to your health and well being. NOBODY ! Medicinal treatment is an OUTSIDE issue.

This discussion has been going around with many of my friends as of late. Too many people suffer in silence because of the stigma of mental illness, depression, and myriads of emotional problems. We are all humans who deserve to live good and healthy lives, and if that health is contingent on medical treatment, you take the treatment and those who would beg to differ fuck em …

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Any Harry Potter fan will know the genius of Hermione Granger. And most of you may have heard about the HE FOR SHE campaign for Gender Equality. Emma Watson, gave an impassioned speech at the United Nations recently. Her speech was lampooned and derided and some even went as far as to tear her apart online and on social media for her desire to see gender equality and her call to the men and boys of the world to take the pledge to support women, where ever they may be, around the world, to help them achieve gender equality across the board.

As for myself, I made my pledge to the cause earlier today making myself Man #79,536 …

Join the cause : He For She.Org

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This morning we got a little gift, which took me out and about to run assorted errands and some shopping here and there. The IGA has a run on coffee, needless to say, coffee has become a major food group for some, so many of us have been buying multiple cans of coffee to put in storage as we need them. We don’t usually get this chance, coffee being so cheap. Many of the meetings I open for have spent considerable cash buying tins.

I needed a new Under Armour jersey to wear with my Germany Team Jersey. I went to the Sports Experts at the mall, and was pleasantly surprised that a good number of the shirts were 50% off, regularly $60.00 a piece. File that one in the WIN column.

I did a good supermarket Safari and got coin for laundry. I figured while the getting was good, I better cover all my bases so I don’t have to go back and forth between here and the store over and over.

Hubby got home a little before I had to leave, which meant I did not have to charge my card with tickets, since he has a monthly pass. I left a little early and already, the sun is setting a little earlier, because it was coming dark by the time the meeting got started, and we used overhead lights instead of a lamp we have because our bulb blew …

We split up the read on Step Four tonight.

I haven’t actually read this step in a while, and many things jumped out at me. I don’t remember doing this step, the first time I got sober. But I do remember my first fourth Step when I got connected here when I was sober a number of months.

It was a long and drawn out process. I wrote pages and pages. In order to stay sober, say some, you need to do a fourth. Many who attempt a fourth in early sobriety, without proper support, drink again. I saw that happen on a number of occasions, in consecutive Twelve Step Intensives.

You start a group of 25 to 30 men or women for that matter.

Everybody is excited to start. By Step three, people start getting ancy and agitated. We lost at least half our men in number when we hit the fourth step. Many of them drank again because the thought of writing it all down was terribly scary.

That happened each time I sat in an intensive.

This time I worked my Fourth with my sponsor of Thirty years. He is working HIS fourth step with his sponsor as I work mine with him. This weekend he is going to Vermont to do his Fifth, and I will do mine soon after.

I think I have learned a lot about my life and how I lived it now that I have been sober for this period of time. Each time you do a fourth, it gets easier. The farther you get from your last drink, and the more you grow up, because the book talks about the man who is still drinking, never grows up until he puts down the drink, the more insight you have into your own life and the life of others.

I get it, I grew up in an alcoholic family. What happened happened. Nobody ever said the word alcoholic, and no excuses were given for what went down, the way we were treated, or the way people acted. We just chalked it up to our lot as family members of an active alcoholic.

I understand now the role I played in people’s lives. I was educated in the drink, but my transgressions were dealt with very heavily. What my parents got away with in their alcoholism, did not happen when I started drinking. They picked apart every decision, they picked apart my life, and punished me for making life – survival – decisions, in sobriety.

When I moved away, it was just me. The only connection I had to home was the car I drove and almost lost because of my drinking. That was  HUGE strike one on me. Thankfully, I did not get to strikes two and three.

Oh wait … I did. Strike two – I was Gay. Strike Three – I am HIV+ …

There were a couple of extra strikes when I made life decisions and moved here. That would be strikes four and five.

From the eyes I have today, I can see why my steps went the way they did in early sobriety. And that kind of insight only comes with time. Lots of time, patience and self appraisal.

I had a really great conversation with a friend tonight prior to the meeting about family, tradition, faith and how that all works in our favor. I see some who have such wonderful family traditions. They practice faith because of tradition. They might not necessarily believe in God, or if there is a God, but they believe in a tradition, in relatives; fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers.

What is handed down traditionally, is so powerful in our lives.

You can’t force anyone to believe in God. And you can’t force the book, and its words, down any ones throats either. But if you gently speak to tradition and of family and of faith, the door is eased open just a bit. I encourage my folks in this respect, and hopefully, one day, their light will shine.

At least that is my hope. One day at a time.

More to come, stay tuned …


I May Not Have Another Recovery in Me … Reflections on Death

tumblr_ljxktkG7IG1qdizh9o1_500 lovepainandhopeCourtesy: Love Pain And Hope

It has been a very sad twenty four hours. And I am conflicted.

Up front we must remember that:

  • Never judge another human being, because you really don’t know the struggles they have.
  • Tolerance for those with different struggles
  • But for the grace of God, That could have been me.
  • Every Life is sacred, and we should never take life lightly, or decide to end it prematurely.

I have always said, that if I drank again, I am not sure that I would have another recovery in me because I have used up all my chits. People are talking. And once again, we face the stigma of mental illness and the added struggles of addiction and alcoholism.

I wonder if he had a sponsor? I wonder who he was talking to, because in the end, he wasn’t talking to anyone but himself. And the pain must have been immense to decide to take his life while there were people in the house that could have stopped him.

Married folks usually sleep in the same bed. But they did not. And he went to bed alone, got up alone, and took his life alone.

I’ve seen friends with twenty or more years of sobriety go back out and drink again. For some, to drink was a conscious choice. They knew they were going to do it and they did.

And if they do that, the odds on return get slim, the more time you have.

Alcoholism is the disease that in hushed tones, speaks to us, ever so quietly, “come on, you know you want one, and yes, you can have one, it really isn’t a problem.”

One of my close friends of many years, suffered from breast cancer. Beat it, went through surgery, chemo, reconstruction and came out the other end and one night at dinner, she drank, and not only once, it went on and on.

For months I spoke to her daily, and she did not tell me she wanted to drink, nor that she HAD drank. And one night at a meeting, she got up and took a desire chip. I was so angry. Words were spoken, and our friendship died in that moment. I haven’t seen her since.

It is common to watch people with substantial sober time go out and drink again.

It is terrible and sad.

My sponsor told us and others at the meeting that if we had a sponsor, made use of them, we did not drink, and hit a meeting and worked our steps, that we would not drink today.

His line is very simple… If I did not drink today, it was a good day.

I have several truths.

  • I suffer from depression
  • I have lost love to suicide, so I know how that feels, and what it took for me to recover.
  • I am an alcoholic, who by the grace of God, hasn’t had a drink in almost thirteen years.
  • Suicide is NEVER the answer. No matter what.

When James killed himself in 1993, I was devastated. I was the one who went to the morgue to identify what was left of him due to decomposition. And it was his mother who said to me on the day I signed his remains to be transported home that “For the rest of my life, I hope that when you close your eyes before you go to sleep each night, you see his dead body.”

To this day, if I close my eyes, I can see him lying on that gurney DEAD.

You know what I did on the way home? I went to the bar and drank myself into oblivion. And I did that for days, weeks, a month. Until Todd and Bill stepped in and got me help. I sat in a survivors of suicide group for weeks and weeks.

I’ve seen trauma, I have watched my friends die on my watch. When I was diagnosed I needed serious help. I was suicidal. But there were active people in my life who were there to help me and get me the help I needed. I was not alone.

Why was there nobody who knew what was going on with him? Where was his wife, who was in the house, who did not check on him, and left him there.

People suffer from the “2000 pound phone syndrome.” Addicts, alcoholics and regular people just like you. We’d rather suffer in silence, than pick up that phone to ask for help, because nobody would understand what we are going through and if we are in pain, we do not speak that pain for fear of judgment.

So we suffer in silence.

That is why we go to meetings, we have sponsors and we take numbers.

So that you are no longer alone and that someone will care when you decide to call.

Hubby is Bi-Polar. I lived through his diagnosis. I lived through months of testing drugs until we found the mixture that worked. And I live with the man he is today, because I remember the man he was when I met him. And I was In it to Win It. I married him for all those reasons we speak in our vows. I live them every day of my life. He is never alone.

So we restate that when someone goes out and drinks again, after however long they are sober, the chances of them returning are very slim.

There is a gamut of feelings that take place when we go out.

  • Shame
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Insecurity
  • beating ones self up
  • self loathing

I know I felt a number of these when I finally decided to come back. And it probably would have been worse, had I had a real chunk of sober time that I pissed away.

Which brings up another point. I know what was going on when I went out, and what mistakes I made with the decision to do what I did. TODAY, I know what happens when someone chooses to drink again. I am connected in ways I was never so connected, back in the day.

They say that we plan our slips. And there are only a few inches between us and that next drink. The space that lies between the bar top and our mouths. Just a reach away.

Addiction and alcoholism can be managed. But it takes someone willing to go to any length to stay sober. And even that is a slim proposition. I see people come in and warm a chair for months and months and then decide that a drink would feel better, and they drink again.

At some point we (read:Me) reaches out to a newcomer to get them connected to what they need to be doing so that they don’t have to make that decision. Once they are connected, the decision is already made for them.

I wonder what sober circles for celebrities looks like? Are they in it to Win It?

Depression, on top of addiction and alcoholism is a trifecta that can kill.

And it did. AGAIN.

Usually, when the pain gets so bad that you cannot see light at the end of the tunnel, and you decide to either (1) get help or (2) take your life … there are options.

Suicide is Never an option.

But when we get into that tunnel vision of “all about me” and that “nobody cares or would understand the pain I am in” or “I just can’t face life on life’s terms and I need to get out” how do we help you out of that darkness?

That is why, in sobriety, we are connected to the people we work with on a daily basis. And if professional help is necessary, we help you find those resources so that you can get better.

It is an affront to God to take ones life prematurely.

Only God should choose the time and place of our deaths.

Because when you die, there will be a ripple effect on the water that will flash all over the earth, to whatever extent as your star has risen. So many questions. Why didn’t we know, why didn’t you ask for help, we could have prevented this man from taking his life.

There is no shame, pain or problem, that brought out into the light of day that cannot be surmounted and conquered. There are ALWAYS options.

You don’t have to die to kill the pain.

Because you take a little piece of all of our hearts with you to the grave. And for that we will never be the same. The closer to the event horizon the worse.

We spoke of gratitude tonight.

  • I am grateful for my sponsor, my friends, and my pigeons.
  • I am grateful that I have all that I need
  • I am grateful that I have the medication to take to keep living and be able to afford them
  • I am grateful that I have not had a desire to drink
  • I am grateful that there are people to call, and places to go so that I am not alone
  • I never get to the point that suicide is ever an option.

You DO NOT have to die to kill the pain. There are always options.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is: 1-800-273-TALK.

If you think you have a problem with alcohol click: AA.org 24 hours a day.

Talk to someone, make that call. You are never alone.


Thursday … Solutions

tumblr_ljxktkG7IG1qdizh9o1_500 lovepainandhope

Courtesy: Lovepainandhope

It has been grey and dreary the past couple of days. Supposedly, we were supposed to get a major snowfall, and warnings went up. There is no new snow on the ground. We are sitting in that tremulous place between cold enough for snow, and too warm for snow. It was a bit wet and rainy, meaning we are on the warm side, but flakes fell tonight, I don’t think it is cold enough to support any great snowfall. Temps are moderating over the next few days.

People are fed up of winter and want it to end, now.

Hopefully the planet may begin it’s tilt towards the sun and Spring will get here. None too soon.

Good things are happening in the neighborhood. Work continues on the Sports Bar/Resto. The grand opening of the entire restaurant is the beginning of April. Our Building management is in redecorate mode. They have been spackling and painting, today I learned that they are pulling up all the carpet and putting new carpet down. All the apartment doors will be painted (correctly) this time around.

The last time they painted them, the doors were closed, so there is a trim of other color where the door meets the jam. This time they are painting the doors (open) so that the entire door gets new paint. It’s a little (read: pain in the ass) because of security. We will manage.

Our good rent increases are going to sprucing up the building, at least our money is going towards home and not the pockets of management.

I got an early start today. We have to make a trip to the Canadian Government Service office just up the road tomorrow, to file some paperwork for hubby and to get my passport application in the works.

I arrived at the church early and set up was quick and painless, I wanted some time to read my book “The Borgia Betrayal.” A good 15th century papal thriller, another book from my patron of good books, we are on a theme lately.

We sat a humble group. And we read from Chapter 2 of the Big Book, “There is a solution.”

Our young people are in bad shape for one reason or another. This winter needs to end, and the sooner term ends in university the better. We are in support mode.

All we can do is stand with our guys and do what we can to ease the Dis-Ease that pervades them.

It was a good night.

More to come, stay tuned …


Suffering Transmuted A.B.S.I.

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Courtesy: M&S

The weather has turned these past two days. We are sitting at 12c at this hour, and we will drop into single digits again tonight. All this to say, I grabbed a hoodie out of the closet before departing tonight, on top of a long sleeve shirt.

It was beautifully a blue sky today and our corner of the world is seeing a lot of traffic in the form of young, shirtless, screaming and cheering frosh students on their nightly Pub Crawl. Oh to be young and drunk !!!

Not for me …

I left a little early so that I could make stops along the way and to have a peek of the mall as it is unfolding before us. New shops are almost finished and will open soon on the ground floor. Work is still ongoing on the facade outside the building.

I gathered all my kitchen stuff out of the cabinet and noticed that there was a minor flood in the kitchen, and as I grabbed the coffee tin from its box, I turned around towards the counter and the lid lifted and I dumped an entire can of coffee on the floor in the kitchen.

I panicked !!!

I could not see throwing the entire contents into the trash, so I grabbed as much coffee off the floor and put it back into the tin. At least I saved a months worth of coffee. I grabbed the mop bucket and tried to clean up the mess and mop up as much of the minor flood as I could. The church service man came in just before the meeting and I showed him the water leak, he said they would look at it in the morning.

As luck would have it … I set out enough tables to sit a bunch of men. Alas, the numbers did not turn out. Here I was hoping for a three-peat.

But what WAS good was that those people who really needed a meeting came in any case. Along with the group members, we had a couple of folks who are battling their demons. I like to say that if we get two guests in on a meeting, then we are doing our job. Carrying the message to someone who really wants it.

I was in the chair. And we read from As Bill Sees It. My ongoing devotion to the spiritual experience of Dr. Bob continues. I thought earlier this week that we would read from A.A. Comes of Age, but I found a passage in the smaller book that touched on what was on my mind.

The reading speaks of just how hard it was for Dr. Bob to progress when the craving for alcohol was so strong. That the work of forming Akron’s Group Number One, was a guiding force in how he stayed sober, along with the work of Bill, and Sister Ignatia.

There is death in the air amongst our group. And it seems that with each passing week there is a death or two to report among our men, and we all walk through the suffering of each other. I sat and listened, before, during and after the meeting to the conversations of fellows.

Life is changing, and the past is gone. Some of our men are finding it a challenge to live amongst the people of the street and remain gracious under pressure. We, as men, are all growing older. Sundry aches and pains are cropping up more and more, and we are all, in one way or another feeling our own share of them.

We are growing older as is our respective families are growing older. And change is happening and there is nothing we can do to stop it. And some are also finding it a challenge to be present and assistive to family while trying to be innocuous and allow people to maintain their self respect.

It is going to be a long season for some of our men. Our young man who is days sober is finding it challenging the stave off the craving for alcohol. But he will succeed if he keeps doing what he is doing. Staying in touch, spending time with other members and making it to a meeting when he can. I hope so much for his success. At least he is showing up despite the cravings.

In my own experience, when I put down the drugs and walked away from them, and put physical distance from the location and the usage of them, I did not go looking for them again. I did not crave drugs. Ever again.

When I came to my last second drink, I walked away from alcohol. I put it down and had meetings to go to and people to fellowship with. The club I drank at closed its doors just after I got sober, so the draw of the location died with the doors closing.

I pulled a geographic in sobriety to a city that I had no drinking history in. Only once, in my first year of sobriety did I crave a drink, because of proximity and not due to stupidity. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and extricating myself from that situation saved me.

Thankfully, I do not crave a drink. I’ve spent the better part of twelve years learning how to stay stopped. Many of our men rely on the power of prayer, even if it feels like we are chained to a prie dieu, at times, we don’t pick up because playing the tape all the way through is disastrous.

We served the men who came tonight. And they are sober one more night. We spoke about the 24 hour clock, and I encouraged our young man to stay on course and to do what he needed to do to stave off his craving. And to stay connected and keep close to the meetings.

Failure is not an option for our men.

Life is weighing heavy on the hearts and minds of our men, Please keep them in your prayers.

That is all.

More to come, stay tuned …


All men of faith have Courage …

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“The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. We ask him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.”

Page 68 Big Book

Thursday. Location: Montreal. 18c with clear skies

The weather has been very amenable. It was cool enough last night to open the windows for a bit. The month is quickly coming to an end. When I was much younger and quite more stupid, the run up to my birthday usually began one week out. The barhopping and drinking in earnest would begin. And each night all the way up through my birthday would entail much, much more booze.

And we all know how that ended…

July is always a tough month. But it the most important month of the year. It is not only the month of my birth, but the month that I learned that my mortality is on the line.

July 8th comes and goes every year. And I mark it with respect and dignity. People seem perplexed that I would mark an event like this openly. At a meeting not long ago, I shared this piece of info in community and got stares and questions afterwards.

In the beginning I had to learn how to live one day at a time. In fact, I had to learn this lesson more than once. Both instances were based on certain factors in my life.

I would string a few days together. And mark a week. And if I lived a week, I would mark two. And at the end of a month, I would be brave and mark another month. Such is the case when doctors give you your actual “End Date.” And tell you to go home and settle your affairs because death is imminent.

This year I kept to myself mostly. But with Pride every year, come the memorial public television shows like We Were Here and Milk. Many people I assume who have lived through the dark times of the 80’s and 90’s may have book collections that mark the tribulations in print.

Paul Monette is the consummate author of the AIDS years, having lived, loved and died from the disease. I have all his books in my library. And for the most part, I keep them as memorials. To remember how bad it was and to be ever mindful that I may go the same way.

I spent the past week of nights reading “Living on Borrowed Time.” The book details with great pain the months and years that comprised the life and relationship that Paul had with his husband/partner Roger.

It is difficult to read but important for me to pay homage to the men who were there when it all began, who died well before I came along with AIDS. But times were not much different in the early 90’s – there were dedicated drugs, nor doctors to treat us. We were treated like hazmat patients. We would be quarantined in space capsules in rooms away from general population and doctors and nurses would gown up like martian hunters to come near us.

The Christians called it God’s revenge for homosexuality.

Employers fired us. Landlords threw us out on the street. Family and friends and lovers left us because we were sick. Mortuaries would not process nor bury the sick.

But we did. All of it.

Every year I live is a great big Fuck You to the Christian Right. For all those people who left me on the roadside including my family I can only say I lived and I have lived well. I am the man I wanted to be.

Because men of faith took me in and gave me life when you turned your backs on me. And hence the thousands of men who were sick and went to their graves with what little dignity they had in their souls.

I lived … And I am still alive.

Tonight;s reading speaks about God, and no apologies. Courage and fear.

To live with a disease that is going to take your life one day is courage. Not taking a drink one day at a time, is courage. Learning how to live knowing you are going to die with certainty of a disease that is ugly and dirty is harrowing.

AIDS is not pretty. But neither is alcoholism. Both are takers.

But in today’s day and age, both are treatable and manageable.

After 19 year living this way, the fear of dying still exists in the back of my head. But every day I take my pills I earn a day of life. It is my job to take pills every day, if I do nothing during my day, the two actions I make are to take my pills.

I do what I need to do every day, every week and every month to stave off the drink. I don’t know how else to stave off dying. But I don’t fixate on dying, because if I do, I will only hasten the end for which I have been avoiding for more than a decade and almost two.

Our little men’s group is holding its own. We get the by and by visitor to come, but for the most part, it is a conversation between friends in a familiar space.

Do you have courage? How do you live it every day?

More to come, stay tuned…

 


The Bed Came With Me …

tumblr_ma62hlMxSo1rdkscno1_500 rthompson80

Courtesy: RThompson80

The weather is looking up. There might be a little snow in the long run, but it looks like sun for the next few days. It was a good day. As usual I met my friend to take the 104 to the meeting this evening. A little windy made it a little chilly waiting for the bus.

There are many paths into the rooms. And no two people take the same route, however similar the stories, we grow up, we have our first drink, we love it too much, our lives become unmanageable, we loose things … wives, husbands, children, homes, cars … you get the story!

Then we find our way here …

I’ve seen our speaker for tonight at Tuesday meeting. And at first, when he sat down with his big voice, I figured he was an old timer and would be reminiscent, but I was mistaken. Our gentleman is a generation older than I am today. And he came to the program much later in life, than many others.

He grew up in a large family, and he spent a almost a decade in a boarding school where he was raised, caned and learned discipline. He lived a good long life. Wives, children and a big beautiful home up North that he built himself on a plot of land passed down three generations. So it was a heritage property.

Our man really did not have time to drink, after relating his resume to us, he had his hand in many cookie jars at once, and the drink really did not present itself to him, like he said … “I didn’t have time to drink !”

The older we live, the harder it is to deal with tragedy and loss. First a divorce and a second marriage, only to loose his wife to cancer a few years ago, that just devastated him. Cooped up at home, up North, all alone, left to his own devices, he picked up a drink, and another, and another.

Feeling helpless and worthless because of a tragic loss, he felt that he served no purpose, so why not drink ? Push came to shove and a decision had to be made, it was time to sell the 4000 square foot home, and eventually move into a 4 room apartment in the city.

He continued to drink, until at one point, having to buy furniture for his new home, and not being able to make heads or tails of the building instructions, called his son for help.

Son arrived with sister in tow and our man had a bad knee and ended up in the hospital – not for a day – but for a month. Wait he says … “I need a drink!” No, there was no drink. They strapped him to a bed for 10 days, and he figured this out because he tried to use the bathroom and the bed came with him …

Cue laugh track …

After his stay in the hospital, looking forwards to going home, his son informed him that there was “someplace for him” And that would be a rehab here in the city. A three month stay and two years of aftercare, kept him pretty busy.

The catch here was he was much older than the kids who were there as well, and there were rules, ugh, don’t you hate rules? I think it is much harder to get sober and stay sober, the older you are when you come to the rooms.

He did as he was told. He did his ninety and ninety. He did more than that too. He had made a decision. He was either going to stay sober or he was going to drink. And he says, “once you make up your mind, it is made up, now you just have to follow through.”

And he surmounted and conquered the drink, his next goal was smoking, after 55 years of smoking he put them down and has not smoked since. And I can tell you that quitting smoking is daunting, and can lead to a drink if not done correctly.

The promises come true. And some of them have come true for our man. He has a beautiful granddaughter, from his son’s relationship. He has a new wife today and he is sober a little while now. Every story is unique and never boring.

We laughed, we felt sorrow, and we rejoiced in the news of a newborn.

But most of all we cheered our man who got up there and knocked it out of the park. Well done.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Bill W: “To be helpful is our only aim.”

Bill_Wilson,_Founder_AA

William Griffith Wilson (November 26, 1895 – January 24, 1971), also known as Bill Wilson or Bill W., was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), an international mutual aid fellowship with over two million members belonging to 100,800 groups of alcoholics helping other alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety.  Following AA’s Twelfth Tradition of anonymity, Wilson is commonly known as “Bill W.” or “Bill.” After Wilson’s death in 1971, his full name was included in obituaries.
Wilson’s permanent sobriety began December 11, 1934. Wilson suffered from episodes of depression. The most serious of these occurred between 1944 and 1955. In 1955 Wilson turned over control of AA to a board of trustees. Wilson died of emphysema complicated by pneumonia 42 years ago in 1971. In 1999 Time listed him as “Bill W.: The Healer” in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.


“Read the Book…”

Courtesy: Untiltheacropolis

It is Thursday and a whole bunch of us played hookey from St. Matthias tonight to go see “The Bill W” story at Cinema du Parc. My sponsor, myself and another friend headed out early because traffic was a beast, but we still got there early.

The theatre is a quaint little building with two screening rooms, a small sugar shack for candies and popcorn. I noticed out front of our hall that public information had set up a kiosk with pamphlets and questionnaires for folks attending the showing.

The film is doing so good that they are extending the run through next week.

While we were waiting for the film to start a gaggle of women from our home group showed up along with other members we see at other meetings.

The film was a documentary about the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W. and I had read a great deal about his life from our library of old timer literature which I have written about here on numerous occasions.

There were members who spoke on camera and historians who had written books on topics like Bill, and other assorted titles. They gave perspective to the story and members shared bits and pieces from their own stories interjected here and there.

But seeing actual film and photos from the early days, from the 1920’s all the way through Bill and Lois’s lifetime was nice. They spent a great deal telling the story of how the Book came to be and how it was financed and how much trouble there was in the beginning – but in time it all worked out.

They went on to tell of group consciences that caused folks problems and issues with the movement because as of yet the traditions had not been written. And there were problems like (for example) a group in Virginia had members who drank during meetings, (I laughed out loud), and another issue was in the days past people of color showed up at meetings and were asked to leave the meetings because of their skin color. Eventually the group took a second vote and admitted them to meetings as “observers.”

Hence the traditions came to be and the groups were taught the 12 traditions that have held the fellowship together for more than 70 years.

It was said of Bill, that he was / is a genius. A man who changed the face of the 20th century in founding our movement and the lives he saved through his work.

The 12 steps – Bill wrote sitting in bed with a pencil and a yellow notepad. The original steps from the (Oxford group) were six in total and now grew to 12, Bill mused that 12 was providential in religious and spiritual circles.

The steps kept us on the path and later the traditions would keep the groups on the path. The divinely inspired notion of “god as we understood him” was a strike of genius. The reach of this notion was widespread.

Many discussions were had by the early members over the wording and verbiage of the passages from the book. And since their writing, hasn’t been changed since.

A good amount of work went into writing chapter 5 – How It Works. This was the script of what A.A. is, how it works, speaks of the suffering alcoholic and explains through the steps how we might recover from this disease of body and mind.

Once the movement got started and began to mushroom out all over the U.S. and later across Canada and then the world, the publishing and dissemination of our literature grew exponentially.

The movement would grow to the point that Bill came to the decision that A.A. would have to be handed back over to the members because Bill and Lois, were living lives in the public and people held them both in highest esteem. And Bill could never escape the needs of so many groups of drunks.

A major theme that comes out of this problem for Bill was that of depression. If you read any historical material on Bill, you will have read that he suffered almost unending deep and dark depression from which he thought he would never recover. But things like LSD and Vitamin B3, were experimental drugs to help cure alcoholism and depression.

Bill had help in a small group of people who worked with him. It was hard in the 1920’s through the 1940’s to get the word out when poverty was a national problem. Bill and Lois lost their home, at one point, and relied on the good graces of members to find places to live and cars to drive.

Towards the end of Bill’s life he was faced with the fact that he wanted to go back to his human life and not be such a “deity” in the eyes of the members. He was stuck on a pedestal that members had place him on and it was such hardship for him – he wanted us to take the reins and let him go be just Bill …

On January 24th, 1971 Bill died at the Miami Heart Institute. He had addressed the Miami A.A. conference with a few short words, but was returned to the hospital where he died later that day.

Over 2 million people are counted in our numbers, in hundreds of languages and located in countries and territories all over the world. And it all came down to this one man, Bill Wilson.

We owe him and Lois a debt of gratitude for their work and their lives and testimony. Because had Bill not had that spiritual experience and meet the men he met in his life, A.A. would never have gotten off the ground.

There are scattered all over this blog articles and writings that I have written over the years that give testimony of how A.A. found it’s legs, who helped pass the message and those who were responsible for the spreading of the A.A. message.

The old timers would tell you to Keep Coming Back…

The book says “I earnestly advise every alcoholic to read this book through (the Big Book) and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray.”

William D. Silkworth, M.D.


Late Night Caller …

Courtesy: Pat

I have a few special relationships that I don’t really talk about very often because for some, all I am is a sounding board when times get tough. I have two foster sons that I adopted into my life a number of years ago. There was a time that I was out there and these young men came to me from afar and I invested in their lives. And have been there for them for more than 10 years now.

And over the years I have talked them through many difficult moments in their lives. I can’t be everywhere for everyone. But my phone is always on, and you never know when the phone is going to ring on any given night.

I have a policy with my boys that I am there for them at what ever hour of the night or day. I never turn someone away and I spend as much time with them as is necessary.

There came a time on Face Book that tempers flared and words were said and the world came crashing down on me, and my boys and I went separate ways, so to speak. And years went by that the phone did not ring. But never did a day go by that I did not think about them and how I could repair the rift between us.

And that day came and I made amends and today one of my two boys still talks to me. And it seems for all that it is worth, he has had the weight of the world on his shoulders with one drama after another. His father dying due to Diabetes. And his little brother is mentally ill, and now his mom has a severe case of MS, with lesions on her brain. She is very sick. And little bro is moving in with my boy come spring.

My boys are men now and I guess I should tell you that. I’ve seen them grow up from mere teenagers with teen age angst into men dealing with serious issues in both of their lives.

It has been a number of months since the last mercy call came in. And just the other night my boys crossed my mind. I saw the thought come in, and linger and then flit out the side of my brain. I don’t usually call them, they call me. I believe that a friendship works both ways, I can’t be the one who does all the work. It just doesn’t work that way. If you can’t call me then why bother. But these boys are different. I let them live their lives with all the teaching I can give them. Every so often he calls and I top up his emotional tank.

Tonight it was very upsetting to hear how bad mom is and that Jacob needs special care and he’s not getting it so we talked about how we would go about getting him care and having to file for power of attorney to take care of him properly because he is incapacitated. And when they move in together something will have to be done to take care of him.

On another front, my other boy (John) and I have been in this relationship for more than 10 years. And we have been to hell and back over many issues in his life and I have seen him through many bad spots. And I was saddened to hear that he is very sick with his Crones disease. It is very debilitating for him and he has sunk into a pit of despair that I don’t know if we can extricate him from it.

Added to that he deals with mental illness like hubby so I am well versed on that front, and I know what to do for him, it’s just getting him to accept the help we are trying to offer him. And I am powerless to do anything from here and I don’t know what to do, but give advice and tell Karl what I know and what to do.

What do you do when you resign yourself to living in such a sad state of affairs? And how do you get them out of that hole? There are two very serious issues one is mental and the other is physical. If you don’t treat both, properly, then you aren’t going to get better. You have to treat the mental issues properly and get the brain to be working optimally. Because the brain talks to the body, and the brain is either sick or healthy, and what the brain tells the body, the body eventually believes. And that takes time. And can’t be done all by yourself. It takes two people to take care of someone who is mentally ill.

Secondly, the Crones disease is debilitating and can kill you if not properly treated accordingly. They are taking a drug route to try to get the problem under control, but how long do we have to wait for that situation to get better? Meanwhile he is suffering mentally and needs serious help and I am here and he is there so far away (Texas). It is just a very sad state of affairs.

Karl needs to commit to taking care of his friend and our friend. And all I can do is impress on him that if he should decide to invest further that he is in it for the long haul. No matter what, he can’t give up and walk away because there is nobody else that can do what he can do, with me coaching him from the sidelines. This is what we do for partners, though they aren’t really partners in the strictest terms, Karl is all John has. They have each other and it has fallen onto Karl’s shoulders that he is now the primary care giver.

And this is not about me or my ego. But a desire to see my boys live solid and whole lives even if they have been dealt these kind of cards. It hasn’t been easy which is why my phone is always on. I never know when they are going to call or how bad the situation is going to be on the other end of the phone.

Tonight’s episode is the worst it has gotten in my memory and I don’t know if I can save either one of them. And I fear something bad is going to happen and I am powerless to do anything save get on a plane and go down there and take care of things myself, which would mean lots of money for a passport and airline tickets. And that is last case scenario.

I did what I can do at the moment as the situation was explained to me and we talked through every possible outcome, what needs to be done in each situation and what to do next. I am hoping to get news on our discussion over the next 48 hours. And we will see what John allows me to do for him or if he will even accept talking to me since the rift between us still exists.

Whatever happened happened, and this is now and there is greater need for help and not in rehashing what has gone under the bridge so long ago. I just don’t know what to do and so I will wait on Karl to report back to me so we can take the next steps in getting John the care he needs to get him out of the hole of hell he is in.

Prayer … we need lots of prayer. We need miracles. In the form of social assistance in Houston and San Antonio. I need to find people in medical circles and mental health circles to help us. When Jacob moves in with Karl, we will need legal advice for power of attorney papers and so Karl is able to take proper care of his little brother. If you are down South and can help us, now is the time to let me know so I can line things up for them.

It’s a shot in the dark that any of my readers would have this kind of ability.


The State of Our Union …

Courtesy: Elleusine “Edna Mode …”

We are sitting at (2c) at this hour. They tell us that snow will fall once again and gusty winds will blow overnight. It was a rather bright and balmy day in the neighborhood. The weather has been up and down and up and down for days.

But we keep on keeping on. There are things to do, meetings to set up and people to serve. And not even snow keeps us from the work of our hands.

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

Things at home have been at a strain for a while now. Bi-polar depression is taking its toll on my hubby to the degree that the doc has bumped up all his meds to maximum to try and get him out of the funk he has been in for some time.

Today we had a mini state of our union meeting. And we talked about everything that has been going on, problems we are having and issues that need to be looked at. And if I don’t say it enough, I love my husband. I loved who he was before and I grow to love who he is more and more each day.

At times it seems that I am not paying close enough attention to things going on around me, and I missed a few cues along the way. But I was made aware of them today. Hubby is working hard on digging himself out of the pit of depression he has been in for some time. And work has suffered because of it, but his supervisors and fellow teachers have been trying to help him along the way as he is able.

That’s a problem with Bi-Polar depression. The lows can get really low and when you hit a high, it may be very high, but not sustainable for long periods, so one peaks and then begins the hard fall down again.

Part of hubby’s occupational therapy coming back was to give him responsibility after being down for so long in the beginning. And he has not only stepped up to the plate but he has systematically taken charge of all things house and home.

And I think to myself that I haven’t been contributing enough to this effort except in paying rent and keeping the bills up to date. But Hubby has taken charge of making sure all the major accounts are kept up.

But he has goals for both of us. Goals that I can hardly wrap my brain around.I never imagined that I would live this long nor have dreams this big.

We have been on an uphill climb for years, ever since we moved in together in 2002. We have made a home, decorated it simply and over the years we have replaced all of our electronic devices. And life has been comfortable, to a degree. But the one boulder we still are under is financial.

They say that “fear of people and of financial insecurity will leave us!”

When ???

Living with AIDS tells us that we should never look to far forwards into the future because you never know when the other shoe is going to drop …

But hubby thinks otherwise. So here is the plan.

First: Hubby is proud that I have found a vocation in the room of Alcoholics Anonymous. That I am working with sponsees and I have found two groups of people who I love to be with and who love me in return. This has been my life for the last ten years, and though it doesn’t pay out dividends in cash, it does pay out spiritually and helps us both. It is my sober head that hubby needs in his life. He said that this is my vocation. However simple it is, it has brought me joy and fulfillment.

Secondly: He has stated unequivocally that this year is the last year that I will be studying at school. The only real reason that I am still in school is because of the payout that we get for school via financial aide. Since I have had the time credit in the bank for Cegep since I did not do that earlier in life, that I would use it now and bide my time until the next door opened up to us. At least it is some contribution to the household.

Well, the door has opened.

I will finish this term in May and finally bring to a close my years of education. Since neither of my degrees in Religious Studies nor Pastoral Ministries has paid out in any functional job opportunities, the fall back position has always been my meetings.

Hubby was granted a full pay position at school which he is being paid handsomely for. And he will finish his M.A. this year and defend sometime later in the year. And in September he said that he hoped that he would begin his full time teaching at some level here in Montreal. He has all the credits and degrees he will need plus his M.A. in Sociology to put to good use.

Thirdly: Our apartment has done well for us over the years. But the time is coming that we will be looking to move from here into something bigger with new furniture and new carpets and new bedding and just all around new things. His long term goal is to find a condo somewhere that would suffice that we could possibly be able to afford come the end of the year, once he hopes to be making good money. The only caveat here is that I want a view. Nothing on the street and not in some squat 40 year old building.

I will be afforded the luxury of living off my assistance from the states and what ever other money I need from hubby’s pay. Hopefully these goal will come to fruition as he sees it. And why shouldn’t it, seeing that he has done all this work and not for naught. Once he finishes his M.A. good paying work should follow.

The fact that I could not find a job that I would love to do to save my life is apparent. I am not going to become a barista at some doughnut shop or work some retail job in some box store nor sling burgers at some burger joint. I did not go to university for seven years to have to stoop to that kind of work at my age. You’d imagine that somewhere on the net, with all the business profiles and contacts I have that a job would present itself, well it hasn’t. Which is why I deleted all my university contacts from my LinkedIn profile. They havent served me so why maintain those connections. Really ! Really !!!

Hubby has stated that his goal in life is to become a teacher, it is something that he loves to do and he does it well. And I will move into a role of house husband. Taking care of house and home, shopping and taking care of things while he works.

I will do my meetings and keep my end of the sober bargain up. Maybe I will branch out and devote more time to A.A. in some other service oriented way. That has always worked for me in many areas of my life. I am going to be 45 this year. And I will have been living with AIDS for now 18 years.

I never expected to live this long. And I have been biding my time trying to help us out by keeping busy and bringing in some cash to the house over the years and going to university for my degrees. We’ve never set these kinds of goals out before, but hubby will turn 40 this year and he wants to move and shake. So we will move and shake.

This all sounds good on paper. But making it all happen according to plan is the challenge. Because you know what they say, “You make plans and God laughs” and “the best laid plans are just that, best laid plans.” Don’t bank on them coming true.

Hubby seems to be of the belief that his accreditation will pay off in spades which will put us in the position to move and shake. And he wants me to do what makes me happy. He cares more about taking care of me and working, in ways I had never imagined before. The way he spoke the words with such conviction blew my mind. I was having flashbacks of our wedding day, standing there reciting our wedding vows.

Wedding Vows do mean something to me and hubby. That is for sure.

I have accepted my lot in life as it has come happily and without complaint. And all that time, biding my time until the next door opens is just about here. It’s only a matter of time.

It’s a tall order. But I have faith in hubby. And he loves me enough to move up and take the lead and let me do what I do best. Working with others and going to my meetings. And if somewhere – something opens up so be it and if it doesn’t then so be it …

That’s all for now …


Let’s Talk about Mental Illness …

I created this post a long time ago for some of my readers since it is something that we deal with on a daily basis. Dealing with depression in our home is daily work. Being HIV + now so many years, I have dealt with my own needs and having been in therapy many times over the last 17 years has helped me immensely. Staying sober now is how I deal with my daily issues. I have tools to help me stave off problem days.

But for many, getting much needed assistance is far from coming. Talking about mental illness has been taboo for so long, that in today’s day and age with all this technology, how can we not talk about it.

Depression is a problem that many deal with, getting proper help is a problem. Because for most, there aren’t enough doctors to go around and medication is not cheap, once you get a diagnosis. If you get a diagnosis.

But it is important that you get from the problem to a solution. If you suffer from mental illness or you think that you might have a problem, there are solutions. All you have to do is speak up. Tell someone, get the help you need, because if left untreated mental illness can kill.

And it is not only the sufferer that suffers, it is the family, the siblings, the parents and spouses that have to deal with you on a daily basis. And I can tell you that when hubby was diagnosed after his nervous breakdown and subsequent Bi-Polar II Rapid Cycling diagnosis, if I did not have a support system to help me, I am sure it would have been much worse.

We had issues with insurance providers and health care providers. But eventually we found a good psychiatrist for hubby to see, who still maintains him as a patient today, so many years later.

I can’t encourage you enough that if you have a problem and if you speak out that you can find the help you need. It also falls on the people around you to help take care of you. Because it takes more than one person to take care of someone who is mentally affected. The patient themselves and someone to take notes and to assist the doctor in making sure that the treatment options taken on are really working. It is our observations that help medical professionals to do their jobs well.

That is why I created this Bi-Polar Rapid Cycling post and it can be found in my Pages, down on the sidebar of the blog. You can always find it on the front page once this posts gets buried once again.

If you have a problem, then let’s talk about it …

So without further adoo, here is that post.

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

What have we learned boys and girls about the Bi-Polar disorder. The right medication is the key ingredient to success. Finding the right match of medication to make the light go on in the tower and for life to be regained. It took ten months of mixes and matches to find the right mixture and dosages of medication, not to mention the time I waited for the medication to work.

Bi-Polar runs on the system of cycles. They do not all run concurrently and they don’t all make the whole of a person, and sometimes they don’t even make sense, but added together they will, they run on their own timetables and sequences. Every person is unique and each of us carries our own issues and dilemmas. Issues do not go away without bringing them into the light for examination and information and study. What do I know about my husband:

  1. KEEP A JOURNAL of your progress and the Bi-Polar person
  2. Journaling can become very crucial to self help and to help others like US
  3. The more knowledge you collect the better you are at predicting the future by maintenance and vigilance
  4. You are your own best physician, take the time to learn it will benefit you BOTH
  5. I learned this with HIV, I know my body better than any doctor that I will ever see
  6. It is my knowledge that helps a doctor to treat me optimally!!
  7. Therefore what you observe becomes knowledge for a Psychiatrist or Psychologist and the GP following the patient
  8. Sexual issues are at the top of the list
  9. Mommy issues are just as bad
  10. Is he sleeping too much or too little
  11. Is his mind racing all the time or not enough
  12. Is he not motivated Enough to live each day to his fullest
  13. Is he Overstimulated – therefore halting the creative process
  14. Is he depressed for longer periods of time, therefore maybe a medication needs to be removed, tweaked or changed
  15. Is he emotionally stable on a steady day to day basis for longer periods of time
  16. Is he up or down or too much or one or the other
  17. Does he eat in regular intervals or binge eats during certain hours
  18. Because he’s in recovery and not going to meetings – I have to take that into consideration because I still go to meetings.
  19. Is he exhibiting addictive behavior, food, sex, ambivalence, smoking
  20. Is he being irresponsible with money
  21. Is he eating too mcuh and not getting satisfaction with each meal
  22. Are there other medical factors we need to look at
  23. Thyroid, genetic or emotional issues
  24. Does he have enough structure to fill his day
  25. Is there too much structure for him (overstimulization)
  26. Does he feel fulfilled socially
  27. Should we enroll him in school – University – goals are important
  28. Are his classes stimulating him to his maximum potential
  29. Boredom is KEY here… Most bi-polar people are inner geniuses and don’t know whether it is mental or creational
  30. When the High is Too high, the fall is too great
  31. When the Low is too low, it will take some work to bring him up
  32. Creation at optimum levels for him is a recipie for disaster because he does not know when to shut the valve off and that creates hysteria in his head
  33. Finding BALANCE is Key to proper maintenance
  34. Making sure one cycle does not become troublesome – that’s where I failed to see the problem
  35. Making sure he has psychological support – someone other than me to talk to
  36. I can only do so much for him, the rest is up to him
  37. Medical supervision with the Psychiatrist is important to make sure we are monitoring the medication levels properly. This is very important. It takes a LONG time to figure out, most don’t know this, but the closest person to the patient should follow the trends of ups and downs to find the trend of good and bad.
  38. I spent a year studying his behavior to help his doctor find the right mix, adding to that his own observations as to how the medication made him feel and how he progresses with certain meds, throughout the medical process of divining the right medication mixture.
  39. Keeping an eye out for odd behavior is also important. Over long periods of times cycles can become natural cycles if you don’t catch the bad ones quick enough. This is not an easy task.
  40. Re-Integration has been an issue. How do you explain two lives at different stages of living after someone has been absent for months ata time, and you, the spouse and family went on with their lives, while you (the patient) were down for the count. I still go to meetings and have a life along with monitoring YOU, if YOU the patient do not take the proper steps to catch up, you will always be behind the lead runner in the race.
  41. Pushing a bi-polar person to change is useful – being angry is also useful –
  42. Responsibility is an adult necessity, and if you can’t be responsible, then we will treat you as we need to, until you can rise to the occasion. Irresponsibility with money, food and sex is Unacceptible.
  43. Bi-polar depression is a diagnosed mental problem and should be dealt with accordingly. With proper care and multi-pronged approach one finds their way. I am still trying to figure out how to be in two places at the same time, and to be in two heads at once. This is a challenge, because I am not God.
  44. Detecting the cyclical behavior is a learned behavior, just like certain other behaviors are learned.
  45. One must find the balance between a bi-polar person abusing you and taking advantage of you and the bi-polar condition being a daily handicapp and a crutch. My husband tries to do both sometimes at the same time.
  46. Whining and complaining about being forced off your ASS will not be tolerated. You want something to complain about, I’ll give you one problem to really complain about! I don’t want to hear about your complaints because you sure as shit don’t want to hear mine.
  47. Does he have occupational therapy, (The Gym, landry, house chores, getting out of the house) Sitting on ones ass or sleeping too much is problematic and can bite you in the ass
  48. A Spouse or family member of a bi-polar person needs a break at least for an hour a day or one day a week. sometimes that is impossible, so you build in structure to allow you both to have time for yourselves.
  49. Make sure you take care of your needs first, if you are sick or dead you are useless to care for anyone else, right !!
  50. Bi-Polar is just as much a mental disorder as a behavioral disorder and by watching key behavior patterns or cycles, along with medical treatment and supervision, one can manage their condition with a responsible partner to help them along the way
  51. Do not take no for an answer, fight, kick, scream, make sure he gets better
  52. FAILURE is NOT an option
  53. Treatment can work, but you have to be able to invest time and patience into wanting to find a solution and living through the darkness, because it does get light, and times will get hard, but you figure it out
  54. WALKING AWAY from a sick person is unconscionable, some people cannot hack the life of the patient spouse, this is what separates the MEN from the Boys and the WOMEN from the girls.
  55. Illness can either make or break your marriage, which are you going to choose?
  56. For Better or for Worse, in Sickness and in Health, in good times and in bad, till Death do us part, Did you say the same vows WE did?
  57. Marriage is a battle and I am a fighter. Are YOU?
  58. Never say Die, Never say NO, Never give up, there are ALWAYS solutions, IF you know where to find them
  59. Talk to everyone you know
  60. Trust only those you must
  61. Not every doctor knows his asshole from a hole in the ground
  62. Finding the right Bi-Polar doc is as important as finding the right GP or HIV doctor, half ass men in white coats are a dime a dozen, finding the right doc takes time, KNOWLEDGE and perseverance
  63. Know thine enemy frontwards and backwards
  64. To Thine Own Self Be True…
  65. Learn the signs of problems before they rear their ugly heads and tip you off balance, this is where I failed, over the last few months
  66. Every cycle has its marker tags, learn to spot them quickly
  67. Cycles can be time sensitive, moon cycle sensitive, each cycle runs on energy it comes and goes sometimes quickly sometimes slowly
  68. Cycles can last a few days or a few weeks or a few months
  69. Remember the good cycle and try to keep the bad cycles at a mininum
  70. PROPER VIGILANCE !! DAILY VIGILANCE!! DAILY MAINTENANCE
  71. There is a God, if there wasn’t I probably would not be here at this moment
  72. Pray, Pray and Pray some more…
  73. Find your faith, or FAITH will find you
  74. Trust me on this one…
  75. Evil exists in the face of illness – it taunts you and makes you feel small and insignificant and powerless, and useless, FIND the Path to not falling into the trap
  76. Pray, Pray and Pray some more
  77. I know this very well…
  78. Prayer – Acceptance and Powerlessness are helpful to help you stay grounded and humble
  79. Sometimes I cannot do this alone, that’s where YOU come in
  80. We can Do this Together
  81. You are not alone
  82. Bi-Polar is manageable – I am still finding our way, now 3 years after his diagnosis, we are a work in progress
  83. One Day At A Time…
  84. You are right where you need to be at any given moment on any given day
  85. Pure Intent and Open Mindedness really help ones journey of faith and life
  86. Illness either kills you or makes you stronger
  87. And That which does not Kill You makes you Stronger
  88. I am not dead yet, I am not finished living my life, So God says…
  89. It is all about the Mystical Life we each live in our own way
  90. Find your Mystical roots and you will find your way through the now and into your future
  91. I don’t live in the past – It distracts from the NOW…

Funk …

funk

Cue up some music: Sea 89.5 Worldwide.com…

So I have been in a funk for a few days. Kind of feels like a little depression I don’t know if I am working stages once again without knowing it.

It seems that I am suffering from an acute case of Applied Human Sciences student funk. The more one studies the topic of interpersonal relationships the more one changes because of what one is learning in the class. My mind races and all the baggage of the past few months is creeping up on me now. And I don’t have an outlet for all that insanity since I stopped going to meetings. That’s another problem in itself that I will explore further down.

I’ve been feeling the loss of people in my life in an acute way. And it bothers me still, and I am powerless over people, places and things. A few weeks ago one of my friends sucked me into working on our final paper for New Testament studies and it was going really well, we have been busting our asses over sources and writing the paper itself. And after our last jam session my friend started writing a final draft that I was included in working on, choosing our words carefully and writing a solid work. And then he went radio silent when I asked him to email me a copy of the first pages of the paper.

What happened was this: A few days later (last Thursday) he said to me after class that (with his arm around my shoulder) all buddy buddy and so told me that he did not feel right sharing what we had worked on together and to save face I nodded my head in assent not to throw him off because I’ve been cultivating this relationship very closely over the last year … and now he’s come to the point of push me – pull me .

After the fact I was really bent over this. I was a little resentful and angry. I chose not to attend the conference on Friday because I was in response mode and I did not trust my emotions. Yeah so he used me to get to a certain point and then dropped me like a bad habit once again. At least that is how I am processing this event. It is not sitting well with me at all.

I have a rough draft of the paper (on paper) that I was writing out as he was typing into his laptop and I can write the paper by myself – I have the same information that he does so why am I fretting over this like this? Because I am feeling bent over being treated this way. I imgined that once we started that we would take this to the very end together. I guess I was wrong.

Friday morning I got up out of bed and was sitting here checking my mail and hubby was sitting on the sofa and he blurted out that he was going to his parents over Easter and ………. I could have the house to myself (cue the internal conversation – I was not invited to go). It’s not I was expecting him to include me in his plans – but once again I am sitting here like saying what the fuck??? Does nobody care about my feelings? Or is this a big test from God to see just how I am going to react to these goings on. I know that my going to Ottawa would be “touchy” since there is bad blood between me and his brother – but it would have gone over better for me had he asked a question instead of making a blank statement of intent. Am I being too touchy here? He knows that I enjoy having time to myself when he goes to Ottawa, I’ve just got family on the brain right now. And the fact that I have none is rearing its ugly head right now in advance of the upcoming holiday…

This is another example of Applied Human science funk…

So I wrote the good Rev. Canon Joyce the other night looking to see if she was available and she’s been very busy working and now she’s leaving for a pastor’s retreat until Wednesday but she can see me after then. I need to get the parish schedule for the Holy Week events at the Cathedral. Since I will be home alone I don’t have to worry about hubby – because I will be going to church over the weekend. Once again, this year, I will be celebrating Easter alone. I am used to this now, one day someone will notice this little fact and it will change but until then so be it.

Meetings – I have been away from meetings for a month now and it is starting to affect me emotionally. Not having that weekly contact with people is starting to make me a little crazy. I know it is about time for me to start looking for someplace else to go to meetings – but I am weary about putting myself out there once again – I just don’t see the value in investing in another group after all the heartache that I have been through since December. I just don’t know if I can do this right now. But I know I have to because the longer I stay away the more crazy in my head I am going to get.

Not having contact with anyone is making me a lot crazy in the head. All the people I used to talk to on a regular basis are absent from my life and that leaves me sitting in the middle of the room all by myself. I converse with hubby when I need to – but it seems that all of my friends I relied on once are all gone from my life. There has been a dynamic change in my social life and it is starting to make me crazy and bitter. People are going to do what they do whether I like it or not and all of them forget that there are two people in this dynamic and not just once, and it seems that people do not pay attention to the collateral damage they create by doing what they did. And this goes for all the stories listed above.

I am aware of what is going on in my head a bit more because this is the process we are working on in Applied Human Sciences and I understand where I sit in the grand scheme of things. So I am going to talk to my prof on Monday after the class to sort myself out.

I am thinking about the future and what I am going to do after I finish this certificate and I investigated applying to McGill for a Masters of Divinity degree in the Fall and that is going to cost me $100.00 and secondly I am applying to Concordia for my MA in Theology which is another $100.00 in administration and application fees. I know that I can get into the MA program here at Concordia but I am not sure I can get into McGill with the GPA I had at the completion of my BA a few years ago.Everything costs money and there are no guarantees except in staying where I am.

Decisions – Decisions – Decisions…

So that’s where I have been over the last few days…


An Invitation

the-only-necessary-thing

The invitation to a life of prayer is the invitation to live in the midst of this world without being caught in the net of wounds and needs. The word “prayer” stands for a radical interruption of the vicious chain of interlocking dependencies leading to violence and war and for an entering into a totally new dwelling place. It points to a new way of speaking, a new way of breathing, a new way of being together, a new way of knowing, yes, a whole new way of living.

It is not easy to express the radical change that prayer represents, since for many the word “prayer” is associated with piety, talking to God, thinking about God, morning and evening exercises, Sunday services, grace before meals, sentences from the Bible, and many other things. All of these have something to do with prayer, but when I speak about prayer as the basis for peacemaking, I speak first of all about moving away from the dwelling place of those who hate peace into the house of God …. Prayer is the center of the Christian life. It is the only necessary thing (Luke 10:42). It is living with God here and now.   – “Prayer and Peacemaking”

I wanted to write to something because I am feeling a bit bored and uninspired and I meant to start reading the Nouwen text but I’ve been so tired as of late, that I haven’t done any reading before bed, which is when I do my reading. I am hoping to take the hour at the diner tomorrow to sit with myself and read with a good cup of coffee.

Let us look at the above referenced scripture from the Gospel of Luke: 10:38-42

At the Home of Martha and Mary

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I understand this passage as the Lord saying that Mary chose to do the right thing, to sit and listen to what the Lord was saying. I wonder if we stop enough in our days to sit and listen? I know that with break upon us, I could use some more “sit down and listen time.”

I’ve been feeling really agitated for the last few days. With our days free now, hubby and I can nap together in the afternoon, but as of late, I haven’t been able to still my brain long enough to take a successful nap. When it takes too much mental power to still the mind, a nap is more torment than relaxation. I am more exhausted when I finish napping than when I went into the nap.

I’ve been fixated on my slip as of late. When I lay my head on the pillow, I can see the sights and feel the feelings as if I am standing in the middle of the nightmare of a life I was living then. I’ve worked really hard to purge that 18 months out of my mind. My shrink has been helpful in prescribing meds that will help me sleep at night, because lately, once again, I’ve been tormented and tortured by my past.

I figured if I worked hard on my sobriety and stayed out of my head that it would get better. And for the most part it has been better. The more distance I put between my “slip life” and my “sober life” today, the better I seem to be. Maybe I need to spend more time in prayer…

I don’t know why I am fixating on the past. But it is bothering me to no end. It was just one big, huge nightmare, that I just want to forget. And I have done a good job in letting go of the past, [am I holding on to something that I need not?] I don’t know the answer to that question.

I am fixated on items from my past. 5 photo albums, 2 statues and a music box, to be specific. I don’t know why I need to have them, but when I left my slip behind, I left everything I owned behind as well. I had one opportunity to flee with the police, taking only that which I could carry and never to look back. And I did that, and 8 years later I am still fixated on those damned “things.”

It is written that we don’t need to carry that kind of baggage on the journey of life because memories reside within us – we don’t need the weight of carrying all that “stuff” with us. If we are to travel fleetly, then we need to let go of all those items that will weigh us down.

When I fled my slip, I let go of everything that I owned. I left behind all my mementos and keepsakes that my grandmothers gave me and some that I had inherited after their deaths. And sometimes I get resentful about that. But I would never go looking for those items now. I would never make contact with my abuser or his family.

But I am haunted by those items. It is as if they are calling out to me for some strange reason and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why? Am I subconsciously worried about forgetting what they looked like or that I am not doing enough to carry on their memories? I just don’t know.

I know that the holidays are coming, and family is a real sticking point in my recovery. Every year that goes by and “silence” remains it just drives me closer to insanity. I deal with these thoughts every year. I just don’t understand how human beings can choose to live in silence and carry resentments for so long. But that’s the way it is in my family. I just don’t get it, and the older I get the more it bothers me. Once again, I am not going to waste time or emotional energy for nothing in return. Oh well, I just have to sit this one out. Turn it over and Letting it Go…

It sucks that the friends I had in sobriety, the ones I talked to about everything are gone now, I find it such a cop out that just because someone moved up the green line, its not like they could take time to come and have coffee with me, but once again, I am powerless over people. Because I have no one to talk this shit through with now, I would not dare discuss the past with hubby because it upsets him terribly when I talk about it. So you get to read it …

I am powerless over people, places and things…

Tomorrow is Tuesday, it will be a better day than today…


Dis-Eased…

I’m feeling a little [dis-eased] tonight. I am not feeling right in my skin. And it feels like I am down on my knees trying to find grace. They say that “at any given point of the day, you are right where you need to be at any given moment in your day.” I am not feeling very well at the moment.

They say that “If you have a problem with someone else, that the problem lies within yourself.” And I need to find out what it is within me that has me in such a shitty place. I am not sober enough? Am I not praying enough? Am I not feeling enough compassion? And where do I draw the line, if there is a line to draw, between the right feeling and the wrong feeling. And is/does my dis-ease with people ever become justifiable? I mean I bust my ass to do the right thing, when others in my social circle take, take and take and never make headway in their progress. I am not feeling compassion at all. And you know what, that’s ok because maybe I need to learn something? I wonder if I am suffering from a lack of humility? Because God knows, I try to do my best every day, and some days I just fall short.

Does there ever come a day when you can say that you have arrived? Or are we always in the state of “getting there, and we are not quite there yet, but just keep walking a bit further and eventually you will get there!”

I really want to help my friends out of their darkness, and it seems that some of my folks have no earthly desire to get out of their darkness, and so they sit in their piles of shit and grown mushrooms. And does that reflect poorly on my abilities or my sobriety, that maybe people are not moving as fast down the path as I am, I know that for sure. Everyone must walk their path, on God’s time, not on my time.

Today’s topic was “Are you willing to go to any lengths to stay sober?” It is stated in the Big Book that half measures availed us nothing, we stood at the turning point. We asked his protection and care with complete abandon. I don’t know why I am fixated on my sobriety as I have been the last few days, I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I have gone to any lengths to stay sober, to work my program and today I am accountable because of the time, effort and care I have banked over the last seven years. I just don’t show up every week and warm a chair, I am an active participant in my sobriety and I think that is one of the issues that I am fixated over, that others just show up and just warm chairs, they talk the lingo and play the game, but at the heart of it all, there is no substance. And I have a problem with that. So that is my problem too, right? Impatience? Misunderstanding? Ego? Arrogance? Self Centeredness?

I’m so tired of listening to misery from my friends week in and week out, the story never changes. We have a program, a program of action, a program of recovery. They say, “Easy come, Easy Go!” Why do some people get on the bus and they do the work and they get honest and become Happy, Joyous and Free!!! We want everybody to get to Happy, Joyous and Free, don’t we? I think this all came to a head on Saturday when I realized that I was at a certain place in my sobriety and that “that” meant something to me in that moment. And that was my moment to have.

You can please some of the people, some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people, all of the time. And some people will never change, although change is possible, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink. Sometimes I want to shake a throttle some of my friends because they are so stubborn and immovable that it drives me crazy. And I think that that is something that I have to work on through prayer. But for Christ’s sake, do I always have to be a people pleaser? Do I always have to say, well, they are where they are because that is where they are, and you have to afford people latitude, and that I can’t be judgmental or pissy about it, I just have to deal with it. IMPATIENCE!!!

I’m just not in a good place…

At some stage of this game I get to the point where I sit and look around me at my friends and I say “For Christ’s sake SHIT or get off the POT!” If you don’t want what we have, after seven years of being here, they maybe it’s time for you to go. I want to be what someone called himself a “Lifer!” I just think that at some point that misery has to come to an end, because I am getting tired of being around it, listening to it and seeing people sit in misery week in and week out.

Now you might say, “well Jeremy, if you don’t like it or you are unhappy, then leave…” I have pondered that question for the last little while.

I’m just not in a good place…

I’ve ranted enough, I’m going to go eat and talk to my hubby…

Until later peeps…


Meltdown…

One never knows when the dam is going to burst and the flood of emotions that will follow are going to occur. Over the last few weeks I have been trying to help hubby deal with his rejection by McGill University in the most helpful ways I can. Alas, I have failed in that effort.

I don’t know how to help him cope any better than I can, with all that resources I have at my disposal and people for him to speak to. How do you keep someone safe from the world? It has been a very upsetting day because hubby came home from his routine day of school and errands and he was a psychotic mess. Today we broke furniture and came to blows and I was the target of his assault. I guess I am not doing enough to help around here and that my efforts are useless and I do absolutely nothing to help him, in his own words.

We warned him of this happening. We tried to stave off the disappointment, but he is going to deal with his misfortune as he will, you can talk, talk, and talk, but as I said yesterday, people are going to have to figure it out on their own time and in their own way. So I have been sitting back watching this all come about, and they say silence gives consent right? He says that I do not talk, which is untrue. He thinks that I won’t listen without judgment, which is untrue. He has flown through this cycle very quickly and to damaging ends.

All this work he has done, has been for naught. The climbing the mountain has brought him no accolades, no scholarships, not acceptance by his peers and in his mind this has been a total outright evil rejection by a system that does not want him. We must add that as a mature student the stakes are different. We are much older that the regular university student – we may get good grades, and we may have to work harder than the rest to get ahead, but in hubby’s mind there is no difference. But there is…

Now he has to start from the beginning again and work on a second BA because his BA in English does not qualify him for very much and all of his friends got further academic acceptance including financial promissory notes of support for schools ‘out of province.’ So we talked about moving…

There are not many choices left to him to consider and the best viable plan is to return to Concordia this summer and continue his studies in communications where he has been studying for the last three years, this is not a choice he made easily, and it came with much revulsion and gnashing of teeth. How could he achieve such academic greatness, graduating with distinction and at the top of his game and not get one iota recognition from anyone further? Although on a personal level, all of his advisers told him that he is brilliant and smart, those words have fallen on deaf ears. He doubts everything that is being said to him because there was no pay off in his graduation. There isn’t going to be a huge celebration for him…

I don’t know how to help him cope any better than what I am already doing, because every time he gets angry he comes after me. and Fuck me for trying right??? In the Big Book it says that there are no justified resentments and that expectations are something that we cannot afford to have to a certain degree. Anyone knows that when you sets your sights too far up and your expectations find themselves in the stratosphere that the fall from those heights can be fatal. Hubby has had a fatal fall from heights that even I cannot save him from…

His attempt at surmounting McGill university was an exercise in futility and we all warned him of that, he did not listen. He was going to do things his way and be damned the ones who tried to deter him from starting the climb. They say that when climbing Everest [Sagarmantha] if you do not approach the mountain with respect and reverence and you do not honor the time told traditions of the climb, that you will fail at summiting the peak. McGill university was the closest to Everest that hubby was going to get, and he came at the mountain with expectations, an ego and a handful of really virulent resentments. And what did the mountain say to him…….. “You shall not summit my peak!”

He doesn’t want to attend any functions with other students because he has been humiliated at the highest degree, he only told his best friend and myself what happened. And graduation is going to be another upsetting event in his litany of fuck all events of this academic year. Many of them are moving forwards, where hubby, it seems, is only moving backwards with his going on to another BA instead of MA work.

All of his friends will be moving away and beyond and he will be stuck here, doing it all over again, and for him that is such punishment that even he cannot seem to bear at the moment. I am powerless to stop this from happening and I am not God, I cannot change the time line we are on. I am powerless over people, places and things.

So I am useless, All I do is sit here and do nothing, I contribute not enough and I am not pulling my weight around here. fuck me!!! I am without words for what happened today. I’ve been assaulted, insulted and read up one side and down the other for remaining steadfast and solid. At least I followed the program to the best of my ability and I only thought about drinking once today…

God grant me serenity…