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Sunday Sundries – PRIDE Ottawa Weekend

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Photo: The Parliament of Canada, with projected laser and photo story.

I am back at home tonight, after a whirlwind trip to our Nations Capitol, Ottawa. It was Pride Ottawa this weekend. Saturday was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine and humidity. Today (Sunday) was not so nice.

We stood in the rain with thousands of people to watch the Annual Pride Parade in the Nations Capitol. Rafa lives in the heart of the Village, so we had ringside seats for the parade this afternoon. We got lots of beads, water bottles, assorted condoms in pretty packaging, and other assorted items that were handed out by the marchers in the parade.

I have over fifty images from the weekend, that I will upload this week.

Ottawa is a really great city. It was the first time that I was on the ground exploring the area Rafa lives in. We had dinner at King Eddie’s Saturday night, and then we walked around the Parliament Hill neighborhood, ending up on The Lawn of Parliament Hill, for the Grand Fireworks display and the nightly, Northern Lights, Laser Light Show, that is a bilingual presentation, displayed ON the Parliament Building itself. This show runs nightly through September.

It is a genius presentation with lasers, lights and imagery covering the history of Canada.

There were thousands of people on the lawn. We had arrived a little over an hour prior to the show, so we had front row seats on the lawn, directly in front of Center Block.

Many years ago, when I got my citizenship, there was no party, no singing, no national anthem to be sung. Just my certificate and a welcome greeting by our NOW mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre.

We visited Parliament Hill, on our Second Christmas together, Hubby and I, but it was Christmas so we did not see anyone from the government.

Last night, Saturday, We sat on the lawn, watching this fantastic presentation, and at the end, they played the Canadian National Anthem. As the song began we were sitting, midway through, I was seeing people, get up and stand.

I got up and stood … I got very emotional, and stood there and sobbed.

Every time I hear the anthem played, especially at an Olympic Games, my heart swells with Pride for my country. Last night, I had a Spiritual Experience, during the anthem.

It sealed the deal for me, as a Citizen of our great country.

I got my Anthem, On the Hill, With my Best friend, who became a citizen, himself, last year.

To be on Parliament Hill, to celebrate our history with thousands of residents and thousands more tourists, I could not have been more proud to be a Canadian today.

And today, Sunday, we spent the day together at Pride.

I have lots of observations about people, places and things, to write about concerning Pride and the politics we saw in action. There was definitely a political agenda going on.

The whole fluidity issue, the racial divide and the struggle within the whole LGBTQ community, was apparent. There were many more girls and women at the parade, but not so many white men. Lots of families, tourists, and folks with serious axes to grind with the political establishment, other factions of the gay community, and the lengths our young people, on all sides, want to be heard and legitimized.

More on that later this week, once I’ve had time to think it all through.

 


The Last Paragraph – Justice Anthony Kennedy

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored today’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States, is sometimes made fun of for his notoriously purple prose. But today he managed to close his opinion with one of the most beautiful passages you’ll likely read in a court case. I teared up. So did a few other Slate staffers.

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Sunday Sundries, Episode #2 … Honor thy Father and Mother

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Exodus 20:11

יא  כַּבֵּד אֶת-אָבִיךָ, וְאֶת-אִמֶּךָ–לְמַעַן, יַאֲרִכוּן יָמֶיךָ

עַל הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ.  {ס}

Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

The day passed without feeling or anger. And it would have gone untouched, had not a good friend of mine called me tonight, inquiring if I was “ok.” I knew what he meant, and I answered that I was. But after ruminating over this, I owe this letter to posterity.

In a months time I will be 48 years old. I have lived well past my expiration date, as doctors told me several times that I was going to die. God, it seemed, has other plans for me, because I am still breathing.

God spoke to Moses, and these words are inscribed on the stone tablets Moses brought down from the mountain. This is one commandment that I cannot abide with. And it doesn’t abide with me either.

How could one honor thy father and mother, when they could not honor their first born son. How could they create progeny, abuse them throughout their lives and turn on them with hatred and condemnation, and ask a child to “just die already” and expect to be honored themselves?

My father’s two phrases he used to toss around like the scripture he quoted from a bible that he never opened were:

  • Blood is thicker than water
  • Be careful the words you speak, because once you speak them, you can never take them back.

When I was a young boy, I listened well to everything that was spoken by both my parents. I knew I was Gay, before I knew what Gay was. But by the time I had learned what it was, and that I was Gay myself, remaining under my father’s roof was not something I could do and survive, because he tried several times as a child to kill me, chasing me around the house with a bat, only to be thwarted by vigilant grandmothers who protected me from him.

I moved away, but alcoholism followed me where ever I went.

I was a problematic alcoholic, what I did not know created rifts with my parents.
To this day, I don’t think they ever forgot nor forgave me.

I always lived apart from my family, mainly because I knew they would not approve of my lifestyle, and they did not. They made that perfectly clear well before I left the nest. When I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994, I turned to my family. I called them together to tell them and to ask for help and support.

How do you think that turned out? It didn’t …

Along with my then boyfriend, all of my friends, and my fucking family, everybody walked away. My mother worked in home health care, and knew AIDS patients in her line of work. She knew fairly well, what was going to happen to me, in the end.

Do you think that gave her compassion or love? It did no such thing.
No she just wanted the faggots to “just die already !!!”

That Christmas, 1994, I went home for the holiday, against my better judgment. I knew what was coming. I was locked in at night. I could not use the phone, nor could I visit anyone while I was there. On Christmas day my father set a card table in the living room with a plastic chair. He set me a plastic plate, and plastic cutlery and a plastic cup.

The rest of the guests sat at the dining room table and ate in front of me, while I was separate from the group itself. My father humiliated me in front of friends and guests. The son of one of the guests left the main table and came and sat with me so I would not be eating alone. The next day they invited me out on their boat and they asked me for forgiveness for what was done to me, and how horrified they were to see my parents do that to me in front of others.

I NEVER went home again.

I got sober the first time. And a few years in, my father granted me visits with him when he would travel to Miami from Sarasota. But every time he visited he would belittle me and ponder my death right in my face.

One night, on the way home from dinner, (while on the highway) he started in on me. I asked him to stop the car (on the highway) where I got out of the car (on the highway) and walked miles home by myself. I told him never to come back and see me.

The first time I got sober, I was not of right mind in many ways. I was not very sober. As I am sober today. And I made several decisions based on self that were less than charitable.

My sponsor agrees that certain decisions were not self centered but were made out of self preservation.

I pissed my brother and his then fiance off, which afterwards, they would never communicate with me ever again. And that has been their story for more than twenty years.

I could not live up to the man they named me after upon my birth. How could a gay, HIV+ faggot live up to the honor of a man who died fighting a war in Viet Nam? I legally changed my name to be done with them. That was a direct strike across the bow of their battleship.

Years would pass. I would be sober, I would drink, and I would return to the program in due time.

On New Years Day, January 1st 2001, I was sober. I had not drunk. I had just returned from a job at a nightclub, where I had worked an all nighter. Just coming home and getting into bed, my phone rang. My mother was on the line saying that they were in Miami, and would be coming to see me on their way back.

A little while later, they rolled up and my father parked in a fire zone (read: No Parking in a fire zone) with the car idling. I said to them that we could go out for breakfast and that I would pay for parking and food. They said no.

I had twenty minutes to visit with my mother. We walked around the block where I lived. I walked her back to the car, she got in the car and they drove away. I had twenty minutes with my mother after years of no communication or visits.

I later found out that my parents has been in Miami for a week prior to them showing up on my doorstep. A week !!!

I never saw either of them again, to this day …

I got sober on December 9th 2001. I was sober a few months, when the lies my mother told us as children came up. My mother, being a Canadian citizen when I was born, lied to us, saying she was an American.

I got a letter from the Canadian Government soon after offering me a birthright certificate into the country if I met the criteria, which I did. I sent the check and the paperwork.

The way I was living in Miami was not viable. I was barely surviving, even when I got sober.

I turned my sights on Canada. I came up on Easter Ash Wednesday 2002. I stayed a week, I loved it, so I stayed another week. I found a doctor and a home. I flew back to Miami, for a few days, to pack and sent everything North.

Three day later, I left the United States for good. I never looked back.

Moving to Canada was akin to High Treason on my American Father’s honor.

For the following two years, I worked very hard at relationships with my parents. At the two year mark, my mother called and said:

“If me or your father get sick and die, nobody will call you. Nobody will tell you where we are buried.”

That was the last time we spoke.

It is now 2015. I am closing in on Fifty. I am sober. I am alive. I have a life, a home, a husband and all the things I ever wanted and more. I could not be any happier. The life I have today, would never have happened had I stayed in Miami, I would have probably died sooner.

I am an idealistic man who has dreams of grandeur.

I am a lot more sober than I was fourteen years ago, and much more sober than I was the first time, close to twenty years ago. I work very hard at living and being sober.

With the dawn of Facebook, several family member are on the site. And to this day, they refuse to communicate with me. Every year that goes by, and I am still alive, I get angrier and angrier.

All I want, before I die, is for certain human beings to acknowledge me and the life I live.

If I am to honor thy father and mother, they need to step up and honor me, if only for the fact that when they asked me to die, I lived … How can you turn your backs on your children in their hour of need? How can you live with hatred and scorn for so long?

Happy Fucking Fathers Day you hateful old man …

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Lets stop baking gay wedding cakes.

jasons cakeLifted from: Jeremy – Don’t Eat Trash

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

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

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

Nope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


We Are Here

918I was born in 1967 in a small town called New Britain Connecticut. Family was all one had, in whatever form they came in. And I was lucky that I HAD all the family I could use because we all lived fairly close, a short walk or a short car ride from point A to point B.

Back in the day gender roles were set in stone. The binary system was held in place and I never heard or saw any “other” gender role or met anyone who lived “outside” the norm.

But history tells us that Gay existed well before I was born, and it was a silent life of hiding in the shadows and living your lifestyle behind closed doors, or in places that you could be yourself, but in my reading of history, those stories are few and far between.

I didn’t know that “other” existed until I was in grade school and happened upon reading material my father had collected and was reading around us, as if to say, leaving mags around the bathroom was commonplace and not “wrong.”

I had a little transistor radio with one of those little ear pieces that I listened to at night. And I was so interested in a certain radio show that played during those years. You wouldn’t find them on any dial today, or maybe you would, on some internet channel. Times have changed.

There was a particular radio show hosted by a woman who invited guests on to her show in the hopes that she would hook those guests up with callers. One guest piqued my interest when he identified himself as a Master, and was looking for a sub. I didn’t know what that was, or maybe I did, after reading my father’s mags…

This was not a heterosexual match up show, it was a Gay match up show. This guy was a regular on the show.

What was this, and why did I find it so appealing ???

I could read by that point in my life. And I read well.

Along with Readers Digest, Playboy and Penthouse magazines another little booklet was meat and potatoes. I wasn’t interested in titty girls and naked women. Variations was written for the person who straddled the sexual fence.

After my rebellion at day care, I had a key to the house and that’s where we went after school. I was a nosy little shit and I had to know everything about family. And I was like that for many years after that. My father (in hindsight) was living a double life. I know that today.

The words he spoke, were very different than the actions he was displaying behind the scenes. His internalized homophobia was rampant. I think he read magazines and lived vicariously through them, while he abused me terribly, hoping to beat the “gay” out of me later on.

My father would not have a GAY in his house, but he was one himself, he wasn’t just bisexual, it was full on gay.

My mother was not exempt from this. She actually participated.

They say gay is a choice. Let me ask you this, can a child make a choice of that kind of proportion and know for sure that is what they are or want to be? Or as happened, I came across informative reading that 100% informed what side of the sexual orientation coin I would later land.

It wasn’t a choice. I knew. I knew right then and there. But I didn’t know what it meant.

Fast forward into our last move into the house we lived in the longest.

I did not know anyone who was gay, or better yet, I had never met anyone who was transgendered. My parents kept us out of the social discussion. I listened to them talk about the Queers and the Gays and those sick people with AIDS, who should just die already.

My parents met other families, some with means, and others not so much. All of these kids, us and those we came to know, grew up together. Family dinners, holiday banquets, birthday parties, and summer barbeque’s were the stuff of legends.

My introduction to Gay had begun.

One of my friends, who is still my friend to this day, I call her mom my step mom, because where my mother failed, she had stepped in and filled that role. She would have wedge wood china dinner parties, and invited people from across the spectrum.

That is where I met the gay men who would facilitate my walk across that proverbial bridge, when it came. I straddled the orientation line because my father would beat me after every dinner party we attended to make sure he would beat the Gay out of me. He abhorred Gay, but he loved reading about them, and having sex that was well outside the normal vanilla sexual slant.

My parents were not so vanilla they loved their chocolate side.

I dated girls throughout high school. I kissed girls, but I had never had sex with a woman, never have, and never will. I could never be who I wanted to be, as I was educated in what that meant by people who were.

When I learned to drive, and get around, I discovered Gay “in community.” Back in those days, pride flags were something I learned about, because they told me what I needed to know, as I drove through particular neighborhoods.

The “Gay community” moved from one section of the city to another, trying to find a footing for itself. And they went from sparse to the entirety of Coconut Grove proper. There were gay stores, gay shoppes, gay bars, and gay festivals.

Later when Gay grew, us gays moved from the mainland to the beach. Miami Beach, the mecca for retirees and snowbirds, now shared space and lives with the gays. It took a long time for that community to grow and then flourish. And it did.

I could not stay in Miami to be gay. My father would not have a gay child in his family.

I moved away to be gay. My alcoholism came along for the ride.

Over a decade saw me hit new highs and lows, and over time I not only became the gay in my family, I became that gay with AIDS in the family. Two strikes and I was out.

It was the gay community who stepped in when I really needed it. When my parents tossed me to the curb, it was the gays, who took me in and I am still alive because of just how good they took care of me. Over a hundred of my friends died, but I survived.

Because I did what I was told.

I listened to real people, gay people, show me how to survive. And if you think gays are not compassionate or loving, you are dead wrong. You say we are sick and perverted, well, some are, and I love them for it. What is life without a little “spice.”

Where Heterosexuals failed to take care of their children, where very sick homosexual adults were tossed into the streets, kicked out of their homes, tossed out by lovers, the good gays stepped in and did what they had to do for the least of these.

I fell away and walked out the door on four years of sobriety and it was the worst mistake I have ever made. When I returned from my disastrous gay odyssey to hell, I moved to the Beach.

Rental assistance afforded me an apartment two blocks off the beach, in a gay friendly building with gay friendly people who had my best interest in mind. But I was still drinking.

I prayed for an alcoholic to bring me back, and he appeared.

I was thirty four. I wasn’t a beach boy. I didn’t have the looks nor the money.

So on my first sober day, I returned to a gay meeting. Nobody noticed me.

What I did find was a group of straight men and women who did welcome me and provided everything I would need to live soberly.

I moved to Montreal. By this time, by my family’s standards and resentment list, I had four solid strikes against me.

If you want to be gay and live a life of your dreams, move out of the United States.

Every day I read articles and watch videos of just how sick heterosexual people are. I read articles about heterosexual people doing the worst indignities to the least of these.

Every day we are bombarded with all kinds of actions that are abhorrent to me abhorrent to all of us.

I am ashamed to call myself an American. There is only one reason I retain my citizenship.

But for all intents and purposes, I am a Canadian.

Gay is all over. From city to city, from province to province and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Here we have marriage equality. We can walk down the street holding hands and not fear some asshole making a scene. Cities have dedicated Gay Villages.

Here is where my gay education took another step in its evolution. At a particular meeting I was introduced to a trans woman, who we all love and respect. I actually heard her speak a few weeks ago.

Who knew from trans boys and girls, men and women?

In the last ten years or so, gender rules and assignments have expanded. It the most wonderful time in our lives. No longer in the shadows, kids, young people and adults are making their stands to proclaim who they are.

But in the United States, sadly, beatings, killings and suicides are the norm.

Around the world we know that LGBT people are being killed, ostracized and imprisoned for who they are. Sadly the world is not moving ahead with acceptance and love.

I’ve known a handful of young kids battling with who they were born as, coming to see who they really are. Some have been in transition for a while now. There are pockets of locations where kids are being allowed to explore who they are, with support and love, but that is far from the norm.

Kids killing themselves because of internet trolls and hatred by family and friends is terribly disturbing. We have to step up and be their voice in a world that wants to only shut them up.

Over the last few years I have become friends with a family that is remarkable. One son is gay, One daughter is in transition at age six, and the third son is in the mix.

I’ve witnessed what it takes to parent a transgendered child. Parenting any child is hard work, it is a lifetime calling for parents. And we know, by what we are hearing and seeing, children are being born into families that really, should never have had children to begin with.

That is another stark reminder of just how sick some parents really are.

We’ve witnessed celebrities born into celebrity lives. Growing up one gender, and today a handful of them are who they really want to be. The transgendered community is growing in leaps and bounds after a handful of celebrity transitions.

Last night was a watershed moment for Bruce Jenner. It was a watershed for all those boys and girls still in the mix, making lifetime decisions about who they would like to be and who they really are.

We Must speak for them. We must stand up for them. We must accept them.

WE MUST LOVE THEM.

We must love each other, even if we do not understand why they are doing what they are doing.

Phil said this last night, “I may not understand but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, respect!!!”

Kanye said it best …”I am nothing, if I can’t be who I am!” Being true to ones self is the key to a life flourishing.

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Kids are killing themselves because of bullying and indignity.

We must stop this trend any way we are able.

It takes a village to raise a child, and an even bigger one to raise a trans kid.

Who do you know today? Do you know a gay person, Do you know someone with AIDS, I am sure all of you know someone who has faced or is facing a terrible fight for life because of illness.

How many of us know families with trans children in them?

You shall love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your spirit, AND you should love your neighbor as yourself.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.


Tuesday – New Books And Assorted Other Topics

connor bookToday is release day for “A Work in Progress” written by Connor Franta.

In his debut memoir, Connor Franta offers a look at his Midwestern upbringing as one of four children in the home and one of five in the classroom; his struggles with identity, body image, and sexuality in his teen years; and his decision to finally pursue his creative and artistic passions in his early twenties, setting up his thrilling career as a YouTube personality, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and taste maker.

Go to his Website, Order the Book, Subscribe etc, etc …Connor Franta Website

I pre-ordered Connor’s book a couple of weeks ago when he first introduced it to the world on his You Tube channel. I got it in the mail today. What would we do without the internet? If you order the book or buy it retail, (which is also a thing today) go to the website and put in your order number or receipt number for all sorts of goodies.

Sadly, Canada is not on his book tour schedule, just now … Aw, booooo !!!!

This would be book number 4, on my reading list right now. I am still in my read of Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs. I guess I will have to shuffle my reads a little, which puts Connor on the Next Book to Read list.

The weather has been spotty showers, but rain is in the cards all week long. The good thing about Montreal is that if it rains, it isn’t for long, we don’t usually get torrential rain very often. If you are a conspiracy kind of person, you would not be surprised if I say that they spray enough shit in the sky over the city so often, that I am sure that has something to do with how rain falls, and how storms are created over the city. I’ve written about that before.

I set off with all my goodies, supplies and made my transit. The rain stayed away this evening and that was a good thing. We sat a fair group. And Joe and Charlie talked about Steps Three and Four.

All I want to say about that is “Been there, done that.” I am currently on my Step Six with my sponsor. In a few weeks we will be heading to Saint Anne’s Shrine in Vermont, just about an hour over the border on the lakes of Vermont. We are not in the mountains any longer, but this retreat space sits on a lake and is a religious location, there are shrines, and outdoor theatre seating area, I suppose they have events outside. That’s our next travel event.

It was a good day and a good evening.

Just a short entry tonight.

More to come, stay tuned …


Belief, Faith and Practice …

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When is it important to expect Belief, Faith and Practice to be unified?

I have given you some comments via other writers on the recent rash of states decisions to promote the practice of hate and exclusion, in the name of religion or the practice of ones faith, or the fear that the freedom to practice their faith and religion is being diminished because a Christian would have to serve his brother or sister, and that brother or sister being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered.

I can say, with pride, that I earned degrees in Religion and Theology.

I can also say, with pride, that I have the faith of a family and faith of my own to draw on.

When it comes to recovery and my belief, my faith and practice, are rock solid. I have no doubt, in my mind, that there is a God. And I am not He.

Today I speak with my voice to tell you that I am FED UP with governments choices when it comes to legislating hatred on a state level as well as on a governmental level. I am FED UP with Christians who speak from both sides of their mouths, when it comes to faith and practice.

When can you call out a Christian for being not – so – much – a – Christian?

For every man, woman and child on earth, there is a way to practice faith, be that faith among the lists of faiths that are claimed on the earth.

Some say they know God.
Some say they know their Bibles.
Some say they they speak for one, and believe in the other.
Then there are those who know neither.

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

I have, in the past, been called to task for my faith and my practice, when it comes to my education as a Homosexual Christian. I have, in the past, been victimized by one particular church in the United States, who seem to think that being a Homosexual and a Christian, are incompatible with God’s word. That I could not possibly be both. That I can’t be both.

That what I am, is incongruous with who I claim to be.

Today I want to call out all of those Christians, that Speak the name of God, out of one side of their mouths, and also speak and practice hatred out the other side of their mouths.

I don’t believe that God honors a human being that speaks His name so confidently and at the same time can speak and practice hatred and bigotry.

You cannot claim to speak for God and speak His name, and do the exact opposite by your actions. Your faith must abide with your practice.

God does not abide in Hate
God does not abide in Bigotry
God does not abide in Homophobia
God does not abide in Exclusion
Jesus Christ, as I live and breathe, never condoned exclusion
Jesus went out of his way to pointedly INCLUDE everyone that was excluded

We are amid Holy Week and Passover right now. The most blessed and anointed time of the liturgical year for Christians and Jews. Everything we claim to be and the faith we claim to practice, began during Holy Week.

Was everything that Jesus did and said, faith and practice, just words in a book? How can you look yourself in the mirror every day and call yourself Christians, when you cannot stand up and do and say what Jesus asked you to do and say?

What did he say?

For what ever you do to the least of these you have done to me.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

You cannot serve two Masters.
You cannot serve God and hate your fellow man or woman
Your Faith and Practice must abide
Live the Word, Breathe prayer

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

We cannot stand by and allow the Right, The Christian Right, to roll over and rip apart the fabric of the nation, that we are all a part of and the world at large. We cannot allow Christians who profess Christian faith to oppress and exclude our brothers and sisters, because of their sexual orientation.

This is NOT a just cause.

This is plain and simple. I’m really not sure what Bible these people are reading, nor where it is written that based on ones “Faith and Practice” I (read: GOD) Divine you the right to exclude your fellow man or woman, because of their sexual orientation ! Where did God ever mention exclusion of Gays and Lesbians, Bisexuals or Transgendered humans?

We’ve had this discussion. It is appropriate to mention Matthew Vines and his groundbreaking book, God and the Gay Christian. He, with his minions of believers, are changing the face of Christian faith and practice. We have discussed those seven biblical passages that the most vehement of Christians, still stand behind that allow them to hate and exclude.

When I was a child, I was introduced to God, by women I revere and honor to this day. Everything that I am, came from what they taught me about Life, God, Faith and Practice.

My parents claimed to be Christians, Catholics and Believers. They spent decades waiting for a man of God to absolve them for their choice in preventative birth control, when Holy Mother Church, kicked parishioners out of the fold, because of their choices of preventative birth control.

They eventually got that absolution. They turned around and served God to the best of their ability. And they did that work gladly and without complaint. But when it came to the fact that I was a homosexual, their faith and practice splintered.

They began to speak out of both sides of their mouths.

Well before I ever decided to come out of my self imposed closet, I knew, well and good what they actually thought about Jews, Niggers, Dark skinned Asians. and Homosexuals. I knew this was truth because I listened to them for years, pontificate their hatred and bigotry and serve God at the same time.

My father abused me terribly, because he feared me becoming a homosexual, because I was friends with adult homosexuals and that was an abomination. And he was going to beat homosexuality out of me if it was the last thing he ever did.

But they could not serve two masters. Practice went by the wayside. I cannot tell you what their faith looks like today, because I, along with my aunt Paula, have been blacklisted by the family, shut away in the darkness of radical faith and resentment, to have our voices and lives shut in the dark, never to be acknowledged.

When I got sick and came very close to death, from AIDS, I turned to my family for faith, support and practice. They in turn, turned their backs on me and denied me love, faith and family.

The last holiday I went home for Christmas, my father humiliated me in front of a table full of guests they had invited for dinner. He went on to encourage me to “die quickly!”

My mother, a Christian, a Catholic, at one time, worked in Home Healthcare for the sick. She served the least of these, albeit grudgingly. Every night after work, with colleagues in tow, would come home, pop a beer or two, and talk about the faggots with AIDS that they had to visit with medication to help keep them alive, and their only wish, in that moment, was that for them just to die already !

My parents called me things like dirty homosexual.
They called me sick.
They called me an ABOMINATION …

And they claimed they could use these kinds of words because they read it in their bibles. And believe you me, we had a bible. I never saw them open it nor read from it.

I knew what good faith and practice was. I went to church. I served God. I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary, only to be told that my faith and practice were not good enough to pass muster and they told me to leave and not return.

In my darkest night of horror, the family I trusted to stand with me did not. When I needed them the most, they were absent, by choice. Because of their faith !!!

It then fell to the man named Todd who stepped in and became God incarnate, and he saved my life, when I should have died, by the side of the road, alone and destitute.

He chose to step in. He chose to save me. From all those others in our circle, he picked me.

Because He loved me unconditionally, as God loved me unconditionally.

The family I came from, could not and would not love me unconditionally, because of their faith and practice. Because I was one, a homosexual, and two, because I had AIDS, therefore God’s judgment came down upon me and He spoke my death to them.

Sadly, families all over North America still believe, in faith and practice, that because we are Homosexuals, and some have AIDS, God has spoken his condemnation upon us for our past transgressions and for who we are as human beings.

Therefore we are owed no Love, Respect or Salvation.

It is ABOMINABLE for a Christian to speak out of both sides of their mouths. You cannot serve God and hate your neighbor. You cannot claim to Love God and hate your neighbor.

You cannot love God and Hate your neighbor.

Every day you decide to hate your neighbor, or exclude your neighbor you spit in the face of Jesus and you desecrate the faith you proclaim. You did not do as Jesus asked you to do.

Therefore, can you, Christian, still call yourself a Christian, and hate your neighbor?

That answer is NO !!!

What Would Jesus Do ???

… Jesus Wept …


Sunday Sundries … Shuttered

tumblr_lx332xnuMf1qajbwho1_500 justathoughtfulmindCourtesy: Justathoughtfulmind

We are sitting at a Zero degrees this evening. A bit cool. Slowly, ever so slowly, the snow is melting and bits a pieces of grass have been uncovered in the neighborhood.

On my way out, I passed through the mall, and it is with great sadness that I report tonight that our little Target that couldn’t has been shuttered. What was once a store brimming with possibility, is now an empty shell of its former self. Gone too soon.

Now Target Canada has to make something of all of the branded items that are now useless, like scooters, bags, and shopping carts that bear the Target name. Destroying them is useless, they will have to go back to the U.S. in its closure settlement.

All the Target stores are set to be fully shuttered over the next two weeks. The mall proper will now remove all the signage that hangs inside/outside the mall.

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

It is the last Sunday of the month, we sat a fair crowd tonight. And we read Tradition Three:

“The Only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

The story I am about to repeat, I have never heard come from another human being I know, who is in the room today.

“We were resolved to admit nobody to A.A. but that hypothetical class of people we termed ‘pure alcoholics.’ Except for their guzzling, and unfortunate results thereof, they could have no other complications. So beggars, tramps, asylum inmates, prisoners,queers, plain crackpots, and fallen women were definitely out.

Yes sir, we’d cater only to pure and respectable alcoholics.”

Twelve and Twelve pg. 140

The first time I got sober, was in the fall of 1994. I then relocated from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. I was two years sober at the time of this story taking place. I was attending meetings at a Club Room called “The Coral Room,” in South Miami. A club room hosts meetings all day and night seven days a week.

I was attending an evening meeting, that counted a few hundred in attendance at that particular meeting. Around my two year anniversary, the chair asked me to speak at that meeting. I accepted the invitation. Mind you, I had a lot going on during this period of time.

I was one, trying to stay sober amid still learning how to survive my AIDS diagnosis, just two years earlier. I had about reached my death date, and I was still alive, I did not die, and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do now. Nobody knew what to do when they were supposed to die, and were still living.

So that was a thing …

Imagine. a room full of people. I got up there and began my share. Partway through my share, I hit that rough patch, when I disclosed … Hindsight tells me that I should have not disclosed

One by one, men began getting up from their seats, and left the building. In the end, about 100 men had gotten up and left. I finished my share, some clapped, I don’t remember the rest. What I do remember was walking outside after the meeting and was greeted by one of the men, who seemed to want to speak for the rest of them saying:

“We do not accept people like you, we don’t respect people like you, we would like you to leave this meeting and do not come back in the future…”

What the Fuck ???

There were other meetings to go to in this room at other times. I never went to this earlier meeting ever again. But the damage was done. I did not have a sponsor. I did not touch the book, however I was going to meetings, I just wasn’t present for myself to do any good.

I no longer trusted anyone in the program from that point on. I hung on barely.

Two years would pass, and I took my leave of meetings. I went back out and drank again, much to the dismay of the people I counted as friends.

Upon my return a few years later, my friend Troy took me to my next First Meeting. It was a gay meeting at SOBE. (Sober on South Beach) Nobody noticed me, so I hung outside until the 10 p.m. meeting, where I met the people who would welcome me and help me stay sober.

I was sober four months when I moved to Montreal. I was new in the city, and new to the meetings here. One Friday night I went to a meeting on the West end of the city. There was a group of folks at this particular meeting, and they plied me with twenty questions about myself.

You know, the who, what, where and why of it all …

Upon considering my answers, the Patriarch of the meeting stepped up to me and said:

“We think that it would be better if you got sober somewhere else, don’t come back to our meeting.”

This would be the second time in sobriety that someone told me to leave a meeting and go somewhere else to get sober…

Thirteen years later, I’ve never set foot in that hall on the West end. It is a good thing that people usually stay in their general vicinity for their meetings, because I never crossed paths with some of those ignorant fucks ever again.

There are some sick people in the rooms.

When push comes to shove, we are all suffering alcoholics and addicts. Stats today confirm that the presence of dually addicted people are high across the board. Today, we turn no one away, no matter who you are, or where you come from.

We are ALL afforded the chance at recovery and a full share in the Solution that awaits every man, woman and teen ager who walks in the room on any given night.

Hearing “Go Away,” twice in recovery could have ended very badly the second time.

But I did not have a drinking history here. I never drank here and I wasn’t going to try, at any rate. I found meetings to go to where I would not be judged based on my sexual orientation, or my medical situation either. For a while I went to gay meetings and meeting where nobody judged me.

Over the last decade, the dedicated LGBT meetings have fallen apart, and LGBT people assimilated into mainstream meetings across town.

If you think you have a problem with alcohol, there IS a Solution.

Tradition Three guarantees you a seat in any meeting world wide.

It was a good meeting. Next month we begin reading Experience, Strength and Hope. Stories from the First, Second and Third editions of the Big Book.

More to come, stay tuned …


Mob Cheers as ISIS Militants Throw Another ‘Gay’ Man to His Death

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ISIS militants called their latest victim a ‘child of Lot,’ claiming he committed the ‘crime’ of sodomy.

BY  Thom Senzee Advocate.com

A man reportedly in his early 20s was thrown from the rooftop of a tall building in Raqqa, Syria, for the alleged “crime” of being gay, according to The Daily Mail.

Raqqa, the de facto capital of the terrorist group which calls itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is the latest setting in a series of grisly executions recently carried out by ISIS militants against men accused of being gay.

The most recent atrocity seems to have drawn an especially large and enthusiastic crowd, according to accounts the Daily Mail reported from an activist group calling itself Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. The Mail identified a banner that can be seen in photos and video of the murder as that of militant group’s propaganda unit, Al Hayat Media Centre.

As with other antigay executions carried out by ISIS, several photos and videos of the horrifying event have emerged. All are disturbing, perhaps most especially a photo showing the blindfolded young man, so far unidentified, tumbling face first toward the ground and flailing in mid-air.

The Mail also reports that there is video showing two unmasked executioners escorting their victim to the rooftop, while also capturing the entire travesty with cameras on their cell phones.

The first reported execution of men who militants claimed were “gay” took place last November, though family and friends of the victims reported that the men were targeted because they opposed the ISIS occupation, not because they were actually gay. Since that time, there have been credible reports of public crucifixions of people convicted of other “morals” and religious crimes.

Just last month, an older man was thrown from a roof in Tal Abyad, Syria, for the “crime” of “having a homosexual affair.” When the still-unidentified victim survived the seven-story fall, militants and bystanders stoned the man to death.


This is what Religion has done to Us.

5057 Take a look at these horrific images that depict two men thrown from the roof of a building as a crowd watches them fall to their deaths, and they purport to show the bloody Islamic State (ISIS) carrying out public executions before an audience in Iraq’s Nineveh province. And the two victims’ alleged crimes?

They are believed to be GAY.

5058This is extremism at its WORST. Ideology that dictates this kind of atrocity is not religion. Once again, we see that (1) If your religion tells you to go into a public place with a gun and kill people, you need to find a new religion. And (2) If your God tells you to toss a human being off the roof in front of spectators, that is NOT God speaking to you.

These are unequivocal. There are no two ways about it.

I repeat myself when I say that killing an innocent for any reason is a crime against humanity when it is grossly dictated by someones ideology. This is utterly disgusting and repugnant.

These people, need to be stopped.

What do we capture them and send them through War Crimes tribunals, or do we administer vigilante justice and just kill them outright. Crimes such as these warrant the biblical punishment of an Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for a Tooth.

This is just how this kind of atrocity makes me feel.

God – NO GOD – demands human lives for glory or Jihad. NO GOD !

Where is God while all these kinds of atrocities are taking place? If God did exist, He should act definitively and without mercy. Let the punishment fit the crime.

Smite these men into eternity. No virgins, No redemption, and NO mercy !!!


Sunday Sundries … Brrr It’s Cold !!!

tumblr_mrh2a45JQ31rydszfo1_500 iheefzCourtesy: Iheefz

It is another single digit night, with a low coming in tonight of (5c). Last night, it was very chilly.

In weeks time, the temperatures have dropped considerably and a friend commented tonight

“Where the fuck did September go?”

We usually get to the end of September before we hit single digits, but that is not the case here right now. I decided last night to crate the A.C. for another winter. We actually turned the heat on to take away the chill last night.

The Sun tossed earth huge C.M.E’s but we here in Quebec, well, most probably, Montreal, did not get to see any auroras. But many in Canada did get to see them. It was clouded over, overnight both Friday and Saturday night.

It was a quiet weekend, and it was interesting last night, when we went to bed, there was no background hum of the A.C. Just the sounds of the streets rising into the tower.

I set off uber early to work with a friend on a new blog project. That is always fun, trying new things, and seeing what WordPress has to offer new writers. It was all too much to try and fit into a 90 minute consult. Finding the right theme, with the right perks takes time and patience. Knowing what you want the blog to do, is key, then you find a theme and template to match.

WordPress offers a huge amount of choices.

I have been using the same template and interface for many years. I have tweaked my site for optimum efficiency. If you go and make a serious changes with a new template, then you have to go back and redo everything that you had done already for a new space. That takes too much time, and I don’t need that kind of headache.

We got to the church on time, having walked up the block from Second Cup, and cranked it out and made coffee. It was a good crowd. Some new faces, and good discussion.

We read the story “A Vision of Recovery.”

We will soon be at the end of the book before too long.

I listened to the read, and I kind of trolled off topic, since a handful of folks started a tangent thought, so I fed off that for my contribution.

The same themes come up, but I took notice of “Insanity, Promises, Words and Higher Power.”

The insanity of the fact that, it is never just one, there is always more. The promises we make to people in our lives, namely family, that always get broken. I was reminded of what my father always said to me … “Be careful the words you speak, because once you speak them, you can never take them back.” And finally, finding a higher power, or a concept of one.

In the story our man is in the deep end of the pool, not knowing what to do, either attend a neighbors party and drink again, call his sponsor, who did not answer his call, or call on God to help.

He chooses the latter saying, “Well I guess it’s just you and me bud!”

He survives that night, and eventually gets into a meeting and sobers up.

The story ends with two years of sobriety, and his mention of working his Eighth Step.

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

I’ve said before that my steps have been incomplete since the day I got sober, because of extenuating circumstances. You can’t make amends to someone who does not want to be in your life, for reasons well out of your control.

You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, and create the family that you want.

Many people I know, in the rooms, have done just that. We’ve all build our family out of our fellows, male and female. Sometimes you need to detach from people, places and things that do not serve you anymore. In sobriety we grow up, sadly, some people on the outside, do not …

I can’t compete with some of the words spoken to me by family. It’s funny, my father thought that he was the fount of wisdom, and that every words he uttered, advisory or not, was to be obeyed and never questioned.

Sadly, he spoke words, but did not heed them himself.

I remembered those words. So you could say that I was an alcoholic, who did not speak. Rather, I acted. And they say that actions speak louder than words. My actions probably screamed, and I am paying for those actions to this day.

We all grow up. And move into our adulthood’s and lives. There will be people who may not necessarily agree with your choices and the way we choose to grow up. And I’ve learned that expecting someone (read: Family) to grow up and understand is one expectation too many.

Especially when you hear the words …”If either your father or me die, no one will call you and no one will tell you where we are buried.”

Be careful the words you speak, because once you speak them, you can never take them back.

Sadly, she did not heed those word either.

Another week is upon us. It will be a great week, because I will get presents in the mail.

Everybody is sober another night.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … On the Road

tumblr_l7kzzjlD3L1qzqhkho1_500 twinkobsessionCourtesy: Obsession

Do you ever have a moment like this, when you did something and you should have done something else, and grabbed your head and went “UGH!!!”

They say, in recovery, that “Where ever you go, there you are …”

Which is timely with the introduction of tonight’s read: On the Road

As alcoholics, how many years did we spend, traveling from one place to another, trying to find ourselves, or a life, or something like it?

Our writer tonight, travels roads all over the earth, looking. This after being young and getting blackout drunk and trying to kill his stepfather, the judge says “You can either go to Juvie, or you can leave town until you turn 21!”

Not wanting to go to juvie, our writer takes to the road in search of himself, but never finds himself until he darkens a room of A.A. He spends the better part of his life drinking his way around the world and back again, until he takes his last drink.

And even then, he really did not connect. And every time a sponsor “lovingly suggested” that he do some work, he would summarily fire them and move on to someone else, who had, he thought, a much easier softer way.

Some years into sobriety, say, around the two year mark, we enter what we like to call,the “angry years” where nothing fits, everybody is wrong and has no idea. And if we stay sober through this we eventually get to what we next call the “jumping off point.”

This is the stage where we say “SHIT or get off the Pot !”

There are many ways to approach recovery. I get the slow starters. I understand the questions, the uncertainty, the fear, of just how am I going to live, now that I am trying to get sober, and what will my life look like and what will I do if I can’t have just one???

Come in, sit down, and relax. All the jobs have been taken. Listen and have an open mind.

Eventually, you will hear your sponsor speak, and that is when you know what to do. OR you could just cold cock it and put it out there, that you need a sponsor, and see who rises to the occasion.

That works just as well.

Back to On the Road …

Growing up, I listened to my parents talk, A LOT ! Drunk and Sober. I heard a lot of things, and realized in my journey, that to be myself, I could not do that at home. I had to get out.

My shrink at the time told me what to do …

He said, and I quote “The best way to become part of a certain community is , to go to the bar, sit down at the bar and have a drink. Hell, have two if the spirit moves you, and see what happens.”

The entire decade of my twenties was wrapped up in one sentence.

On a bar stool, looking pretty, talking the right game, drinking the right liquor, and watching what happens.

I can’t tell you how many times I moved during those ten years. I had a brief foray into staying put from 26 to 28, but as soon as I was left to my own devices, I was off and running again. Until I hit my mid thirties. I had finally had enough of trying to find some place I could call my own.

I had come to that “Jumping Off Point” I was 34. Uneducated, by university standards, but wise on finding my way through poverty and sickness. I got sober again, and for a time, I settled where I was because I needed what my friends had and I needed to learn how to get sober again. I did that.

But in the back of my mind, and in my heart, Where I was, was not where I wanted to be.

Montreal was the stopping point.

I had been educated, I was sober, and I had a birthright in hand, that facilitated my last move.

It was the last step, in becoming the man I wanted to be, somewhere that I would call HOME.

Someplace that I could be ME, that I could be free of the past. Free of the pain, sickness and poverty that I was living in prior to my last move.

This time I had ammunition. This time I did it the right way. I found a home, I found the rooms, and I met people who would get me into the life I wanted.

The best piece of advice I heard the first week was this:

Go to meetings. Find a home group.

Build your LIFE around your MEETINGS, not your MEETINGS around your LIFE.

I did that. And I’ve been successful for the last 12 and some years. I never deviated from this advice, unless of course, I could not find another night to have class. Your home group is sacrosanct. You never miss your home group, no matter what. it should be your first responsibility.

Only 2 semesters in ten years did I ever have to miss my home group.

Our young people, in their twenties who are in the nest right now, are still trying to figure out who they will become and how they are going to get through school and life and be social, and NOT drink.

That is a tall order. It is a tall order for most folks coming in the room at any stage of the game. We all say that same thing … How can I survive this life and not drink?

I had to get to the point that moving from place to place was no longer working. I had to get to the point that I was ready to grow up and learn how to live in my skin, and become the man I so wanted to become.

Finding that “PLACE” is integral to success.

Because, where ever you go, there you are …

I was getting too old to keep looking, and not finding. The time had come to either SHIT or get off the pot, so to speak. I had no more time to waste, time was of the essence. And If I didn’t take that chance that I had, I would never have gotten here.

And I like HERE.  I want to be HERE. I love HERE.

If you don’t know where you are going, then STOP. Sit down where you are and rest. Look around you and survey your surroundings. Study your location and the people in that location. Consult your life map and ask your questions. THEN when you are ready to take that next step, gather your map and your things and take that step.

Growing up was not as hard or as painful as I thought it would be. When I was still drinking, all that mattered was having the delusional life I thought I wanted. WRONG !!! Knowing that where I was at that time, was not where I wanted to be, I think contributed to what I did next.

But I had to put the drink down first to be able to make a conscious life decision.

The rest they say is history.

All my guys are good. I Skyped with Pittsburgh, everyone is well. Our little group is sober another weekend. And we are good to go for the next week.

More to come, stay tuned …

OH, and I SCORED a #19 Germany – Mario Gotze World Cup Jersey. Pictured below and on the sidebar !!! Ten Cheers for EBAY !!! YAY !!!


Sunday Sundries … The Elevator’s Not Working, Use the Steps …

tumblr_lyv23dDgvu1ronyvyo1_500 tyleroakley

Courtesy:Tyler Oakley

What do you do for Labor day? For many on the East Coast, this weekend is the final weekend of Summer, the last weekend to party it up, before season closes.

The weather has been up and down. Rain here, rain there. I, however, got out and back without a drop which was good. I was up and ready to go with plenty of time and sat on my hands for the last half hour before I finally hit the door.

I got to the elevator bank, and there was a woman waiting, the button was pushed. But there was silence. You can hear the elevators coming up and down the shafts, so we stood there for five minutes, ten minutes, no elevators …

I pushed the UP button because the Up brings the elevator right to the floor directly. When you push the DOWN button, the elevator NEVER comes directly to the floor you are on. It always goes up to come down. I don’t know why it does that.

Well, Up didn’t work.

Another of my floor mates came to wait with me, and the elevators were not coming for some ungodly reason. So we walked down seventeen flights of stairs to reach the atrium. I Hate Stairs …

When I got down to the first floor, elevator ONE was stuck in the basement, and elevator TWO was on its way up. A little late for an up since we walked down the entire building…

When I finally got the the church, the door was open and the lights were on, a couple of members got there before me and said that the doors were unlocked when they got there, which means the super must have opened up for me early.

We cranked out set up and sat a full house. We had a bunch of visitors from out of town and we read Tradition Eight… The main take away:

“Money and spirituality don’t mix.”

You can’t turn a profit off of a Twelve Step call. Alcoholics who suffer, some go to rehab, and then they come to us. Some come to us directly. In any case, what would it be like if we charged folks for their sobriety?

There is not a dollar figure large enough that would compensate someone for giving it away. The Book reads “…Freely received, so freely given…”

The rooms gave me everything that I ever wanted or needed. The people in my life I could not put a dollar figure on. When I give it away, to the people I work with, you could not put a dollar figure on the emotional feeling of gratitude one gets, when people you work with get better.

I’ve seen “sober coaches” recently in the news, always coupled with someone who is trying to get sober, usually a celebrity … I wonder how much money they make a week as they “coach” someone into sobriety? And I wonder if that model works?

I mean if you have to pay someone to keep you sober, I think that speaks to the effort or lack there of said effort each sufferer puts into his/her own sober journey.

Yeah, I’ll get sober, my way. I will hire a coach to shadow me 24/7 in all my public events, and I will stay sober. I might not necessarily go to meetings on top of this, or maybe I might, but we’ll see …

We heard about Humility. We heard about Gratitude.

In New York, someone has to keep the doors open in the G.S.O. And someone needs to keep our G.S.O here in Montreal staffed and working. If you read the BOX 459, that comes monthly from New York, you can read all about how the system works, who gets paid and who doesn’t, and WHY?

The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking. And Our common welfare comes first, personal recovery depends on A.A. Unity.

Each group has jobs, that rotate each month. And people do group service to give back for what they have been freely given. And you can’t put a dollar figure on that knowledge.

When a celebrity or a professional comes through our doors, who they are and what they do for a living is left at the door.

There is that separation between the human being and what they do.

However, I know of a handful of sober folks, I count among my friends, who work in recovery houses and rehabs. We know where they work, but when they hit a meeting, they are who they are. I’ve never heard someone mix business with pleasure.

In time you come to realize just how much of a pleasure going to meetings is, because you get to see the people you got sober with, the friends that you have made and we get to share amongst each other what we learn on a weekly basis. And that is a pleasure.

So that is a thing …

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

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Late night television has been hit and miss the past few weeks. The summer season is coming to an end, and we hit that [buffer zone] between summer and fall programming that always coincides with Labor Day.

Last night we got an encore presentation of “We Were Here.” It was the only worth while program on television at that hour. I guess God had a plan. This documentary has been showing an awful lot this summer. As if to say … This isn’t over, we need to think about this and remember. And we need NOT to forget.

Seriously, how can I forget?

I love one of the final thoughts in this piece about “The Ghost.”

People who lived through that era of time, either watching someone they loved get sick and die, or working on the front lines of treatment and service, Once we have gone through this crucible, we come out the other end. And for some, they never reconnect to life, or to a purpose, and thereby, become a ghost, traveling through life, not connecting, and never finding a purpose for themselves.

I as well, am married to someone younger than me. Who never saw this happen. He did not live through what I did. He did not watch all his friends die gruesome deaths like I did. But when we connected, he got on board 100%.

I’ve had two periods of sickness in the last thirteen years. But it wasn’t a death watch. And I haven’t had another AIDS related illness since.

I know how I got through that period. But I took me a long time to find a purpose in my life, rather than pissing my life away with drugs and alcohol. That point came and I found a purpose, or I thought I did.

When I got here, and was sober a year, my after care counselor asked me “so what do you want to do now?” She gave me an option to find a purpose. I was attached by that time. I went back to school. I had my meetings and good friends.

I found my purpose, and I share that purpose every day with my fellows.

There is that empty space in my heart for all my friends who did not get so lucky. I remember. I miss them. I never forget them. I think about them every time I open my medicine cabinet. The moment I forget or I stop opening that cabinet, I sign my own death warrant.

I remember What it was like, What happened and What it is like now.

How gracefully that thought crosses all the events in my life succinctly.

I have a story and that story matters.

Maya says … When you know good, Do good. When you learn, Teach.

That is what I do every day.

More to come, stay tuned …


Smash it, Bash it, Give it All You Got !!!

car smashCourtesy: University of Pittsburgh

It has been a very nice, quiet week so far. All the pieces have lined up in our favor. And we began to rebuild our empire from the pit we have been in for so long. The weather has been stellar as of late. There was cloud in the sky, and it piddled a little before the meeting tonight.

And looking out from my balcony, over to Cabot Square and as far as I can see, the first signs of Fall have begun to appear. On the grand scheme, the signs are still not apparent. But on the small scale, if you know what you are looking for, the signs are there, namely that there are a handful of trees in our neighborhood, looking down from above, that have begun to lighten, ever so slightly.

In the sea of green the one off tree amongst the many, lighter shades are there.

Amazing, we are at the end of August already. Labor Day is this weekend. Students go back to school next week, and the march to Thanksgiving will begin in earnest very soon. It will be a grand affair this year with the infusion of funds into the house as of late.

So that is a thing …

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

What’s up with that car you ask ???

A good friend moved to Pittsburgh recently to pursue his PHD. A very daunting task at that.

Monday was his first day of class. And upon arriving at the university, this car, posted above (imagine in your minds eye, a fully operational and intact vehicle) was sitting on the quad, as you can see in the photo.

There were people gathered around it, and someone had a sledge hammer in their hands and was pounding the car with all they had. So He had to find out what was going on. Upon closer observation, a group was hosting this event, and for the price of a Dollar($$$), you too could bash the hell out of this car too.

Unable to pass up a great deal, (to work off those pre-class jitters) He paid his dollar and heaped tons of abuse on the already falling apart car.

Have you ever seen a “Let’s sledge hammer this car to death event” on a university campus before?

Not me …

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

It was a regular Thursday night. I had stops to make on the way, so I left early. I had chores to do at the church, before we settled into the evenings groove. Namely, those little pegs you find in build project from IKEA, were a serious problem for our little “cabinet that could.”

Every time you put something on “that” particular shelf, it would fall, and the pegs scatter all over the floor or into the assorted boxes we have in the cabinet. So, with trusty Elmer’s Glue in hand, I attempted to fix said cabinet, which took me considerably longer than I had expected because the pegs were scattered all over the place and getting the shelf (out of/and into) the cabinet is a chore in itself, and trying NOT to knock the glued pegs out of their slots was the goal, that took some work …

Hopefully the pegs will never fall out of their holes ever again after tonight.

We sat a small group. We have been members short as of late. Our business meeting was painless and went off without a hitch. We read from the Daily Reflections, August 19 …

A Frame of Reference…

Which speaks to the 4th Step, even though we are in the eighth month of the year, which is solely centered on the Step of the corresponding month.

“Referring to our list (inventory) again, Putting out of our minds the wrongs others had done, we resolutely looked for our own mistakes. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened?” B.B. Pg. 67

This portion of the step concerns the fourth column. The one all about us.

There are many people working their step four,as dictated by the Vermont Men’s Step intensive group members. Myself, My sponsor, Other men who we are both sponsoring, and so on and so forth.

It is a departure from the normal “by the book” process. And is done in stages. Stage one deals with your history from birth to the present day, Stage two deals with Fears, Guilts and Resentments. I am stuck at this stage two until the end of the weekend, when my sponsor finishes his up while out of town.

And with tonight’s discussion, I am rethinking my Step as it has panned out.

As a child I grew up in a home that had mixed messages, and assorted frames of reference. I had no voice, no way to defend myself, and no ability to speak my mind. I was forced to play by the rules dictated to me. I made decisions as a young person.

The first major decision I made as a teen ager was to move out of the house and on my own.

I could not be gay in my home.
I could no longer live by the dictates of my father
The abuse was too much and too frequent.

Was that choice selfish? Yes.

But every decision after that was a total failure.

From the age of twenty six to twenty eight, I was forced to make decisions based on self preservation. And I am not sure if self preservation can be considered self centered or selfish? The times dictated that certain decisions be made or else death was a serious end of things.

So I made them. But not alone.

They say when you slip that in essence, “you are giving God’s gift back to Him, saying I don’t want it any more…” I made that decision, on my own, to my own detriment.

Purely selfish and self centered.

During that first sobriety, prior to my slip, I began to construct the life I thought I wanted at that time. Changes I thought were necessary to achieve that, had to be made, so I made a first decision.

Self preservation … Selfish or self centered? You tell me …

After my slip, and in a sober frame of mind, I chose to continue constructing the life I thought I wanted at that time. These decisions would be the final death knell to who I was, in opt for who I wanted to become and where I was going to live and how I was going to do that and get there.

Self preservation… Selfish or Self Centered? You tell me …

I pissed off the right people. People who made my life meaningless, and abused and degraded me. I took a spoon and dug my father’s heart out of his chest and handed it to him on a platter.

Fuck you. Watch this. This is totally about ME.

Coming from where I was (at that time) socially, mentally and economically, bankrupt and poor and living below the poverty level, to where I am today, food, meds, a roof and a life that I could not have imagined thirteen years ago, I made these decisions for self preservation.

Extenuating Circumstances you might say ???

To this day, for some, my voice has been silenced. To this day, for some, my life is inconsequential and unimportant and unworthy of mention.

I benefited from my decisions. Solely made for my benefit as an adult. I struck out for new shores with life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness in mind, and I got it in spades today.

You can’t choose your family. And having three strikes against you is terminal justice for them.

Every time I go back and look at this step as I am working it, I ask these questions of myself, in front of my peers and my fellows. I am not looking for approval. Because this is who I am today. I did these things. And if I am guilty for self preservation, then I am guilty as charged.

No one in my family stood by me when the chips fell where they did. And to this day, they refuse contact so my steps will be woefully incomplete when I finish them, because in the end I won’t get the end I think I deserve or what any loving, feeling human being is deserved by right of existence.

So be it … This is my lot.

So that is a thing as well.

It was a good night. Everybody is sober and happy.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … It’s Happening Right in Front of You !!!

tumblr_mpn14j3Iqv1qd1vj6o1_400 hauntedboyCourtesy: Haunted Boy

It is Sunday …. My favorite day of the week… Well, second favorite behind Friday Nights.

Another weekend in the books. Not a whole lot going on. Mother Nature has heaped shitty weather upon us for the last week, and tonight I listened to many grumble about the weather. There is a marked change in the weather as of late.

I think the seasons are beginning to turn ever so slowly.

Fall does not begin for some time, but that never stopped mother nature from dropping pissy weather on us for days at a time.

All the pieces came together tonight. The entire team of players was present, which makes a meeting all the more polished. And we sat a fair number. And we both read/and/discussed the entire circle with a short overage.

Tonight’s story – Twice Gifted.

When you get sober, at some point in your sober journey, you may hear another human being tell your story, sometimes exactly. It may take some time, but the odds are good that there is someone out there who has lived your story in their lives.

Then there is the second option. That eventually you will open the book and read a story and come to find that the writer of said story lived your life and has written it down for your benefit, and to the benefit of others.

For myself, I am mentioned twice in the book. Once as an alcoholic tornado running roughshod through the life of someone else. And that episode cost me a very good friend and ended a wonderful relationship.

The second time was in the above mentioned story. It so happened tonight that when the reading got to me, I started my paragraph and quickly noticed that it was word for word, my life in print. Kind of eery if you ask me. 

The writer does not stop at drinking young, she gets to the point that her drinking has caused her to suffer cirrhosis of the liver, and required a liver transplant, which she indeed gets, which leads to sobriety.

How many alcoholics suffer illness of one form or another stemming from their abuse of alcohol?

Many …

And how many alcoholics ended up with life threatening illnesses directly related to the abuse of alcoholism?

Many …

I listened to the rest of the story that was read tonight and a thought came to mind.

When I was a child, my grandfather was a drunk. And suffered cirrhosis of the liver, he also had a stroke and those combined took him to his death when I was a teenager. There was no love lost there.

My father was also an alcoholic, but not to that extent. He skated by, and how he skated by I do not know, because he was a top notch drinker, along with my mother.

And I mused tonight … I read the book each week. And the more I read, I came to the realization during tonight’s read that as a young boy, the Big Book was open and was happening all around me, in living color, for me to see and experience. Alcoholism was rampant. Nobody said anything about it, perish the thought. I watched the consequences happen for people who drank too much, several times over.

Nobody knew from recovery or quitting the drinking.

And You think I would have learned something, as in (Don’t do this too!!!)

Nope, Nada, Nothing.

I can’t tell you when or why I contracted AIDS. I was involved with someone (read:James) who had it, but I did not learn this fact until after he killed himself. I do remember on several occasions coming to the end, being in the wrong place, doing things I should not have been doing with people, I was drinking around the clock.

Back in the day you could drink 23 hours a day, and on several occasions, I took the city up on that offer. I could drink happy hour away, drink through the night, drink after hours till the bars closed, then take an hours break, and start all over again the next morning. I was young and back then I was still pretty, until I got tainted. Alcohol facilitated many episodes between other alcoholics, which may be construed as quite possibly, unsafe, sexually …

Peeling back the onion the longer I am sober, takes me back to places I haven’t thought about in more than twenty years. But that’s what the stories are there for, to remind you of how insane your drinking was ( read: in your case-based on your history).

When life is fueled by alcohol, and everyone you knew, drank, and every day of your life revolves around the drink, you don’t think about stopping, nor do you think about anyone else who is not directly involved with imbibing. And that was the story of my twenties, until I was diagnosed in 1994, then everything changed.

Life had finally caught up with me and I was slapped with a severe dose of reality.

Death was the end, that’s how it was supposed to end.

God had other plans for me.

Once you get sober, the beginning is the outside job. You get cleaned up. You might even get new clothes. You wash and get to your first meeting. The longer you stay sober, and you begin to peel the onion, the job moves inside. And for the rest of your days, you will be peeling back the onion, the job is never over, and never ends, (unless of course you drink again).

It was a great night. Lots of good people, coming together to be together, and everyone is eternally grateful for having a place to go …

More to come, I still have a post to finish.