The normal human being, is mostly concerned about themselves. It is always about them, and how the rest of the world perceives them, and also how they perceive themselves. For most, the insane amount of time we worry about the exterior parts of ourselves, is the obsession of millions of people. We see it every day on social media. All it takes is one troll to get the ball rolling, and then we get “wildfire.”
Then a kid kills themselves because of said troll and their minions.
What a blessing to have learned all these lessons in sobriety. Real lessons that I use on a daily basis. It isn’t all about me. And it never really is. i was so happy when I got this down.
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It has been a stellar weekend. Albeit a little chilly this evening on the way home. They told us that it was going to rain for days, and to be prepared for lots of rain. A few drops fell yesterday early on, but it did not last, and skies remained clear and blue all weekend.
Last night I hit an off meeting to spend time with some of my guys. And I will get to see them tomorrow for the groups anniversary. Funny that the anniversary for an M.A. meeting falling on 4/20 !!! There’s a joke in there somewhere.
I told my friends that I would bring the weed …
Sobriety – Life – Work – and Everything that comes with it …
Sobriety – as the Big Book says, “The only thing you have to change in sobriety is everything.”
Most people balk at this idea and they find or invent ways in which they choose to do things. They do it their way, they make half measures, or they adopt this way of living and they make it work.
When I came to Montreal, I had no life. So what I did was meetings, all the time, every day, until the next activity came to pass for me. One thing led to another and then life began in earnest. BUT the one thing I did that I kept doing, was my meetings. I worked very hard at building my outside life, around my meeting nights. And I was successful and still am to this day.
If you put anything before your sobriety you will eventually loose it. That is fact, I can prove it if you need it.
People who have lives, may find it difficult to amend their lives, and add sobriety to those lives, because they say they have no time to devote to sober things, like meetings, calls and working with others.
Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got.
It took me 11 years to find the route to finding my message, and that took a lot of work, prayer and help of a sponsor.
Some people need sobriety, then there are those who want it.
Sobriety is a gift that once in the game, we try to encourage you to adopt it and make it yours. We encourage you to find ways to make sobriety work for you instead of against you. Sobriety is something you live into on a daily basis.
It is a process that some find encumbering. They are reticent to adopt those rules or suggestions we give to to enhance your lives. BUT if you start with something small, and later find that it worked, then you add a little more and see if that works for you. So forth and so on.
Some people with full lives or busy schedules may find it a problem to HAVE TO do everything they are told to do, or suggested to do when they come in.
It is the final push for holiday shoppers. One day left to get that done. I am very glad that I did not partake in shopping madness this year. The whole shop till you drop mentality has worn off over the past few years. It’s not like we need “things” above and beyond what we already have. Breaking the bank on Christmas gifts is something we don’t do. We shop for the nieces and nephews, and simple gifts for the family that we exchange every year.
So that is a thing …
Last week I ordered some new headphones for both hubby and myself. When Target opened I purchased some Skull Candy headphones that did not last very long before they crapped out. I went to their website and found the warranty and filed a claim for a replacement pair. I sent them back and they gave me a credit towards a new purchase, which I redeemed last week.
Sadly, the style that I had was no longer in stock, which meant an upgrade purchase for another pair, which were more expensive, and I bought two of them to boot, in actuality, I got my credit, towards the pair, and then paid the difference. This year I lucked out in that all the places I purchased from this season all took PayPal, so I didn’t need a credit card.
Here in Montreal, ads have been pushing shoppers to use their Interac Cards, rather than a credit card. An Interac Card is our debit card that pulls directly from your bank account.
The packages was mailed last Wednesday, and it took a few days to get here from Surrey B.C. Yesterday I waited all day for the mail, because the office was only open yesterday and today to receive packages, then it would be by slip and pick up afterwards. I made several trips downstairs to check the mail to no avail. By 5 o’clock I resigned myself that the mail wasn’t coming.
Hubby got home and we set down for a nap for a few hours before dinner, and at 7:15 p.m. there was a knock on the door. The mailman actually walked my box upstairs to me instead of leaving me a slip. I was pleasantly surprised. Now there is a Big Box under the tree for Thursday …
All my peeps are where they need to be for the holidays, and a few of them are traveling tomorrow because of work responsibilities.
Environment Canada issued us weather warnings a few days ago because of a massive storm, they predicted would begin pelting us with freezing rain and rain for the next three days. It was damp out all day, but no drizzle nor rain fell. However, I carried to the meeting just in case. And in the end i got a ride back up to the train.
I departed on time and made my transit. Many of our regular folks are out of town, so tonight’s meeting was going to be hit or miss. We sat a usual small group. Minus a few heads. Folks brought all kinds of holiday foods; cookies, crackers and cheese, and the always freshly perked coffee.
The past few weeks, we have been filling time with discussion topics until January, when we will begin a new format, one that I have never seen before in sobriety. We are running the Joe and Charlie tapes for the next few months, beginning in January.
Tonight we read from an old Grapevine, “Having fun in sobriety…”
All of us with time, told similar stories. We range from a few weeks, to a few months, to a number of years, then the jump to 25 and 30 years sober. We had a single newcomer attend tonight, who is in his first weeks. Listening to folks with time talk about how they have “fun” in sobriety is somewhat problematic, because in the beginning, who is having any fun, having come fresh off the street, finding that they are alcoholic and need help, and listen to people talking about having fun!
Many people I have heard speak to this topic, talk about walking down into a church basement, and much to their surprise, expecting bag ladies and bums with trench coats and brown bags, come to find that there are actual, well dressed, happy, smiling and joking people at the bottom of the stairs, and how disconcerting this was for them on their first days in.
I heard lots of good things, like:
- Getting sober in a city I never drank in, in watching and listening to people who come and go, I learned where not to go, and where to go, what not to do and what To Do.
- I found a Home Group and got connected
- I had a sponsor from the very beginning
- I was never alone for very long
- I kept busy, meetings, aftercare, service
- I maintained a stable meeting schedule that has served me well over 13 years
- I did not do what my friends did
- But I did do what I was told by the old timers
I spoke about learning what responsibility was, and how that came over time. I first connected to a home group and got active. I’d hear something in a meeting, a topic or a lesson. We’d talk about it over time, I’d learn the lesson, then get time to work it out in reality for another period of time.
That’s how I learned responsibility. It came in stages, over months and years. I met each challenge, soberly and with good advice. When I was sober a year, I took on a second challenge, University. Then a third, was a relationship, (not in your first year, they say) I squeaked in at 11 months.
As long as I used my meetings properly and kept to my schedule, worked with my sponsor and listened accordingly, life tended to work out in my favor. Because I was rooted and In It.
Over the past almost three years I have been IN IT TO WIN IT.
Which is an entirely different beast than when this all started. Sobriety has totally ramped up and my life has never been the same. I imagine, in my minds eye, if a fire this big had been set under my ass in the very beginning, what the possibilities could have been. But I am where I am and life turned out the way it did, by the design God set out for me.
All in its good time I guess.
Yes, you too will learn to laugh, to have fun and live life to its fullest. That’s what the Promises talk about, and also A Vision for You.
We did not get sober to be Miserable.
For we are not a Glum Lot.
Sobriety is our goal, and church basements or bell towers are instrumental for that to happen.
We learn how to live outside those spaces over time. That’s the whole idea, isn’t it ?
I don’t go to sticky places, I don’t shop in liquor stores, I don’t go to bars or clubs. I stay away from city festivals that require one to drink. Listening to my friends, who get stuck in the revolving door, I’ve learned what Not to Do. And that lesson plan paid off in spades.
You Will Get Happy.
One day at a time.
Stick around until the miracle occurs.
Another week in the books. The weather is holding. Our fair city has been lucky so far, from where we sit, geographically on the map, the latest round of nasty weather has passed us by, either to the North, or to the East and into the Maritimes. Right now we are in sitting in the sweet spot.
Did you brave the crowds to shop till you drop today? I wouldn’t be caught dead in a mall today even if you paid me. On the trek back from the meeting, the stops that are located in shopping complexes, there are two (McGill and Peel) there were hoards of people with bags and boxes and all kinds of holiday goodies on the train. Traffic was certainly up tonight.
Tuesday I wrote about Step 11 and the insights I had to this point on the topic.
Last night I was corresponding with a fellow who is sixty days sober, and miserable.
Now, there are massive numbers of subscribers to this blog, many of them are women, few are men, a good number of them are in varying degrees of sobriety. The interesting ones, I bookmark so I can go back and read and maybe participate. And I do that tentatively. Lately it seems that people are hit and miss when it comes to the program. I don’t overstay my welcome, and I certainly know when to leave.
… Obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got …
The word God keeps coming up for discussion, and the problem of the fact that the Judeo-Christian God is written into the book so boldly. There are a few points I want to make. Bill gives a caveat, in the four word phrase … As We Understood Him… But if you read As Bill Sees It, there is a paradox phrase that states … You can believe in whatever you want, as long as it works, BUT, it always comes back around to God.
Lots of people have problems with God for one reason or another.
- People have prejudices against God because of (C)hurch
- People don’t always believe in God
- People feel alienated by the (C)hurch or her ministers
- People hate God because of certain life story issues
I watch people get sober. I have done that for the better part of thirteen years. And I’ve witnessed every scenario you can think of. People who come with a negative spin on God, usually take a long time to (1) find a power greater than themselves, (2) They do it without ever mentioning the word God, or (3) they make peace with God in the end, and they find new ways to approach God.
In the past few months, several of our men, have expressed their disdain for God, especially, when we got to the reading in A.B.S.I. that says … It always comes back around to God.
Last night I said to someone who has a problem with the program and God, that yes, the word God is in the book. And not everybody is comfortable with that word, and they find ways around it. I’ve come to realize that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
God, as we understand him. As YOU understand him.
In the Past, there has been a desire to remove the word God from the reading, and the steps. And I’ve seen splinter groups form who have rewritten the steps to placate those who hate the word God.
You know, if you can’t stomach the word God, with its Judeo-Christian connotation, then we come to a new interpretation. Yes the word God is there. But if we remove the taint of religion and intention from the word God, and we re-appropriate the word with your own concept, then God can work for you.
And that is what I have said to the guys I work with, and that seems to work for the good of all.
If you are trying to get sober, all by yourself, there are ways to end your suffering.
This is where reading, listening and the powers of deduction come to bear.
I come and I read you. I listen to what you are saying, and I get a feel for who you are and what you are going through, and if I have words, I share them, from my point of view and my experience.
I’ve done that on several occasions.
One woman I used to read, came to the decision that the fellowship was a cult.
I walked away.
The next man I read, the one listed above is sober on his own, he can’t stomach God and he doesn’t do the fellowship. This after I participated in a discussion of what early sobriety can look like then I share some tips and suggestions that seem to work for the rest of us.
- Read the Book
- Get thee to a meeting
- Call another alcoholic
- Work with another human being
- Find ways to fill free time with useful work, passions, hobbies
- Read Living Sober
I left one comment about God (see above) and said a few words about staying sober on one’s own. If you think you can do it alone, then more power to you. I just know that for me and for many of the people I call my friends, we could not do it alone.
Especially going through the holidays, sober for the first time.
I know what worked for me, that solution may not work for you.
- We did not stop drinking because we were lonely.
- We stopped drinking because we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable.
- I know that I did not get sober to be MISERABLE.
- I got sober to be Happy, Joyous, and Free
If you are miserable, then may be you should do something about it. Find a place to BE. There are places to BE that you won’t be ALONE any more.
People are who they are, I cannot change anyone, or get you sober. All I can do is point the way and tell you my stories and share my experience.
Step One – WE admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable. Part two of Step one is this … I am powerless over People, Places and Things.
That includes YOU.
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Last night, was a very bittersweet night. Our little men’s group that could, came to an end. A little over eighteen months ago, a handful of men, some from the Tuesday Beginner’s Group and a few from downtown, and a few from Verdun, came together to open this new meeting.
Since I have a history with the parish in Westmount, they gladly gave us space, and were happy to have us in the parish. We opened a modest meeting with a handful of folks. Over the last year, we have had our issues with one another. Winter last year almost did us all in. We learned about each other in ways only a brutal winter forced us to look at.
We lost several members to work, illness, and extenuating circumstances. We tried to make it work, but in the end, we weren’t attracting new folks to come, albeit, the same faces came week after week, but that did not pay the rent. A few months ago, we began to consider closing. It was a bad omen for me, that our cabinet we paid a pittance for, broke. I did not fix it. Too much trouble.
Last night was our last night meeting.
We divvied up the spoils. We donated all the literature to other meetings, we sorted out stock of cups, coffee and materials, to the other meetings in the church and to our Tuesday meeting at Vendome and the Yellow Door. The only things we kept were the coffee urn and the tea kettle, because at the moment, there was no need from any of the groups we all go to on other nights.
So that was a thing …
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Tonight it was chilly. I layered appropriately. Arrived at the church early, and we waited for a key. We cranked out set up which affords the opening crew to chat about our weeks as they happened. The Friday meeting is the end of the week rallying point for those who come.
We are all sharing the holiday together, in varying forms of who is here and who is home for the holiday and who is coming and going. One of my sponsees is coming in from Pittsburgh on the 13th of December and he is triangulating dates and get togethers in advance to maximize his visit with the maximum number of people.
Holiday parties have been organized and sign up sheets for food are going around. Christmas and New Years fall on Thursday this year. Hopefully, everybody will be open because our little meeting is now closed. Which means, probably that we will hit St. Matthias Christmas Night.
Tonight we read from A.B.S.I. and “Selfish” …
“If we cannot or will not achieve sobriety, then we become truly lost, right in the here and now. We are of no value to anyone, including ourselves, until we find salvation from alcohol. Therefore, our own recovery and spiritual growth have to come first – a right and a necessary kind of self concern.”
We get sober for ourselves. Some folks take a long time to realize that, which ends up in several attempt to get sober, first for others, then finally they see the value in getting sober for ones self.
Yes, this is a selfish program, that is laid out in a way that the steps are, in the order that they are written for maximum usage, by those who work them dutifully. We get to look at ourselves, warts and all, we get to look at the wreckage of our pasts, we get to clean it up and clean ourselves up, we learn, we share, we clean, we pray, then we give at away.
- You cannot transmit something you haven’t got.
- This is a selfish program
- In order to keep it you have to give it away
- The past is our greatest treasure – there is great wisdom in that statement
- A Searching and Fearless moral inventory will lead you to Freedom and Hope
- It is in giving that we recieve
- It is by understanding that we understand
- It is having compassion for others, that compassion is returned
- It is by loving that we get love in return
- We have to love ourselves, before we can love another
- God cannot fill a full vessel, one must empty the vessel in order for it to be filled
- If we don’t clean house, how can we give to others?
“This great experience that released me from the bondage of hatred and replaced it with love is really just another affirmation of the truth I know: I get everything I need in A.A. – and everything I need I get. And when I get what I need, I invariably find that it was just what I wanted all the time.” B.B.pg.552
Just a little hint of what I scored over the past week.
Yes, it is Thursday, and it rained tonight. And now I can say that I’d rather it SNOW than RAIN !!!
Hopefully, that wish will come true over the weekend.
It has been an interesting week so far. Lots going on, and not all of it is good.
Tuesday we sat a full house, and read from the Twelve and Twelve, and Step Nine.
And I have to say that this pass through the book, at this particular meeting, is changing lives for the better.
We’ve been fortunate to keep the same group of people through this series. And we’ve grown quite close in the reading and sharing on each Step. Having just done the Men’s retreat a couple weekends ago, has given me insight into my own program and words that I can use when we discuss the steps together.
I heard a story that really hit me. coming from one of my friends.
Step Nine is the amends step. There are four types of amends …
- There will be those who ought to be dealt with just as soon as we become reasonably confident that we can maintain our sobriety.
- There will be those to whom we can make only partial restitution, lest complete disclosures do them or others more harm than good.
- There will be other cases where action ought to be deferred
- And still others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make direct personal contact at all.
With these four situations, most folks are all over the map. I can identify several situations that I fall into myself.
My friend spoke about an amend he needed to make to an uncle who is long deceased. On his last slip, he missed the final moments of his uncles life, opting for the drink and more cocaine. Only three days later he happened upon him, dead in his bed.
He told the story and I wept a little.
They say that our departed family, or friends, are never far away from us, when they cross over. But his supplication was almost serene prayer, to God, to his uncle, where ever they are.
It was the most courageous thing I’ve ever heard my friend say, in all the years I have known him.
And I did not waste the opportunity to tell him so, and to tell him that I was sure his uncle heard his amend and forgave him, and loved him. In particular, he was buried out of the parish church we sit in – at our meetings. Consider that a double whammy prayer.
I so pray that my friend was encouraged to stick and stay.
If we do our work correctly, and well, and we touch at least one person and help them change their lives and get better, then we have succeeded in our mission.
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My weekly list of things to do, has of late been interrupted by a day of rest. It was a trend that was part of my life for a long time. and I am not sure if it is because my doc added new medication to my regimen, or that I am burning the candle from both ends again … But Wednesday has become my day to do nothing but sleep.
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Discussion has begun within our small group of men at our Thursday Men’s Group about closing the meeting. We have a core handful of people who show up every week, and tonight we heard from them in regards to this issue. But put plainly, we pay $100.00 a month in rent. The founders supply coffee, milk and other supplies from our pocket, as the seventh goes directly to the rent payment every month.
We are not attracting new folks on a regular basis, there are too many other meetings, that have been open for decades that have core attendees. And we haven’t been able to pull folks from their other meetings. In the beginning, we had hoped to pull folks who were not really tied down to a specific meeting, and only a handful of men qualify in that respect.
It is more akin to a social gathering for our small group of men who came together initially to put the group together, but over the last eighteen months, we’ve lost several founders and just recently as last week. So the question remains, if we make kitty for the month we will keep the meeting open. Because it does serve a purpose for our men. But on the wider scale it does not serve a purpose to be of maximum service to God and to men. They just aren’t coming.
We have yet to make that decision, the thought is we will see where the kitty takes us this month and decide later.
But the closure of the meeting is still on the table.
One of our newbies chaired the meeting and we talked about Acceptance from The Daily Reflections. And as usual, when that word comes up, we all turn to page 417 in the Big Book …
- Acceptance is the KEY to all my problems and
- Nothing, Absolutely Nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.
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I was up early today because I had a plan. And executing that plan meant getting out of bed earlier than I usually do, because it is a meeting day, so daytime hours were precious.
We have a new super washing machine upstairs that does twice the work, for 75 cents more than a regular washer. Two loads of clothes for the price of one. I did my laundry, showered and got ready to go in between.
I folded the laundry, put it away and headed out for Indigo Books in the core.
I must tell you that having Thanksgiving in October and a quick hop over Halloween, Christmas has come to Montreal.
Alexis Nihon is decorated with Silver stars and purple neon. We saw our first decorated Christmas tree, lit with all the baubles, in Westmount Square on the way home. When I got to Place Montreal Trust this afternoon, the giant Christmas tree is in its beginning stages. The frame is up, the flat screen tv decorations are up as well.
Instead of baubles all over the tree, there are a handful of screens around the tree showing different things. There is also the train that circles the bottom of the tree eventually. They haven’t yet completed the grand mall decorations.
I walked into Indigo and thought to myself, that several of Santa’s Elves shit sparkles and glitter all over the store. Because they are totally into the Christmas sales mode. Over the past several months, they have been restructuring the store, ( i.e moving books from one location they used to be in, to another section, only to move them again to where they all are right now.)
I was headed to Horror to find Christopher Rice’s – The Vines … Which I had to special order because they were out. Then I had to find where they put that class of books, because they weren’t where I had last seen them. I found a grumpy old man who took me to the new section that wasn’t there, the last time I was up there. But when it came to asking him if he could order me a book, he grunted at me and asked someone else ( read: a member) to do it for him.
That was a God moment. A member working in my favorite book store.
So I got my copy of Anne Rice’s, “Prince Lestat.” And ordered a copy of “The Vines.”
When we last saw Lestat, reading all the other Vampire novels, Pandora, Vittorio, and the Vampire Armand, Lestat has been comatose, lying on the floor of an abandoned convent, located in New Orleans, and is said to be haunted by a little girl. Nobody knows when he will wake, or if he will wake again from his self imposed slumber.
Now, Anne Rice has brought Lestat into this age. And with all the bells and whistles that exist at this time, what will he do, how will he react, and what kind of story did Anne weave for him? She has said that before she started writing this book, she wasn’t sure what she was going to write after her werewolf series. But she said that Lestat began talking to her, and she listened and this next book is the result.
I’ve never been disappointed by any Rice novel, from either mother or son. Two completely different writers.
I went back to fiction and found the next book in the Temperance Brennan series written by Kathy Reichs, a book called “206 Bones.” Now I get where she gets her titles. If you read her, by this point in the reading game, you too will have figured that out. And if you don’t, that might get you to read her.
I headed to cash … and once again, there was elf sparkle and glitter shit all over the ground floor.
I was standing in line waiting to pay, and I spied one of our women buying books of her own. We got to talk for a couple of minutes. That was another God moment.
I was craving B.K. and there are two in the mall. One in the food court pit in the basement of the Eaton Centre, and a second one below the main staircase to the Scotia Bank Place Theatres. I opted for the second because it was close to the Peel Metro and I only had a few minutes to scarf my food to get on the train and get back to Alexis Nihon for my scheduled haircut.
Taking a short break to eat dinner .. be back soon !
Chicken Fettuccine is the BEST !!!!
After completing my meal, I had fifteen minutes to make my transit up two stops and to the salon.
I walked through the mall to the Peel Station. As I crossed the turnstile, a train was in the station. I ran down the stairs and across the platform, only to be met with doors shutting in front of me. FUCK !!!!
I hate when that happens.
The next train was five minutes out. I waited.
The train pulled into the station. The doors opened, and remained open. They did not close as they usually do.
That was the first sign, something was wrong …
Then we heard those tell tale “Tones of death …” Meaning that the line was down.
The announcement came over the p.a. system. There was no ETA of re-establishment of service.
We waited …
The clock is ticking still …
The train doors shut, and the train took off. They must have worked fast to turn it around.
I made my appointment.
There is a new haircut sweeping the male persuasion as of late. They come in various styles.
I’ve seen this cut on one of my favorite actors, he wears it well, now I wear it well.
I had the rest of the afternoon to fart around until I had to leave…
And that’s where we are at the moment.
Tomorrow is Friday, more to come, stay tuned …