It is December and it has been one hell of a week so far. There is much to say, and there has been plenty of opportunity to speak words, or better yet, write them down. Tonight is that night.
Tuesday was December 1st, World AIDS Day. The yearly date when we honor all those who have died, and for those of us who survived that period of tragic times, we remember.
A particular story came to mind on Tuesday, that I thought about writing down “Again” but decided against it. Suffice to say that those of us who were diagnosed with AIDS or today, HIV, we go from Hero to Zero in no time flat.
Back in the day, AIDS was a death sentence. Today they call it a “manageable condition!” Every new diagnosis under ANY circumstances is very sad.
You would think, in today’s gay community, and for that matter, anywhere in the world, that an ounce of prevention would go a long way, yet there are those who continually decide to play Russian Roulette with their lives. Or are caught up in behavior that is detrimental.
One cannot claim ignorance about disease today.
There are still millions of reasons why we can’t stop marking this day, until a cure is found, that would be available to every single human being, to eradicate this scourge.
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Once again, now in the U.S., two deranged killers walked into a service center, and killed 14 people in cold blood, and injured many others.
This is just terrible. And there are not enough words to say that is going to make a hill of beans difference, to those who could do something, but they don’t. There aren’t enough prayers to be said, or vigils to attend that are going to change anything.
Sometimes it is well and good to just not say anything, because someone already has said what we are all thinking, and we are powerless to do a god damned thing.
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Sometime last weekend, I did something to my back. I am not sure what it was, or when it happened, but I have never felt the degree of pain I am feeling today, in all my life. My back is killing me, and I have resorted to taking pain killers just to be ambulatory.
Addicts and painkillers are not a good mix.
At least here, I can phone up my pharmacy and get over the counter medication. In many Canadian pharmacies, they keep assorted drugs behind the counter, so if you know this, that opens up treatment. I don’t need a script nor do I need to see my doctor, but I will see him on the tenth, if I survive that long …
This afternoon baby mama came over to use my computer and as we sat together, she remarked that etched on my face was the look of pain. I can sit down, but there is no guarantee that I will be able to get back up. During our visit, I had several Holy Shit, moments, where I thought I was going to pass out.
I have only so many pills left, before I need a doctors note, and it is the weekend, so no doctor till next week now. And I sure as shit ain’t going to no E.R. because I will sit there for hours and hours, um NO!
It has been rainy / cold the past few days. Rain, that falls in conjunction with below zero temps, means ice on sidewalks.
I half thought to stay home tonight, but decided to go to St. Matthias and hit a meeting. I left earlier than usual, because walking, reaching, bending and stooping is quite the task, which requires some serious deep breathing and equilibrium.
I got to the church and visited with friends before the meeting, and as a friend sat next to me, I had a Holy Shit moment, and I told her that if I sit down, for any amount of time, that I may not be able to get back up.
I waited until the seventh tradition was started and tried to get up, gritting my teeth, because I had to pee … That was a tedious moment for sure. I did get up, but it wasn’t pleasant.
It was a good meeting, nonetheless.
I was talking to my sponsor and a few friends on Tuesday night, and I was explaining that I was riding that “roller coaster of insanity” and what was going on in my head and they responded with, “yup, you are one of us …”
We pushed my cake back until the 20th, because next Sunday is early, and my anniversary falls on Wednesday the 9th. And superstition dictates that you never take a medallion early.
The 13th, is my sponsors Home Group Anniversary on the West End at Loyola. So He will be there, while I do service at my Sunday Home Group. Which leaves the 20th as the first Sunday we can both be in the same place at the same time.
What is good about living in Canada, is this … When shit goes down anywhere else, the media goes crazy. And for the most part, for what it is worth, Most shit going down elsewhere, has nothing to do with us, and when necessary, which is often, I can either turn the channel, shut down my computer, or turn the tv off …
There is so much tragedy. I can only take so much saturation about death and destruction, not to mention, Republican Presidential hopefuls.
I have little patience for crock of shit politics.
Thank God for cable t.v.
More to come, stay tuned …
11 years ago tonight, with family and friends present, we exchanged vows and spoke sacred words. Today, we continue to live into those words. Tonight, we had dinner at the fabulous FIRE GRILL, once again.
I have shared before that there are three restos, that are at the top of the budget when it comes to dining out …
- Fire Grill
- Rueben’s Smoked Meats
- Baton Rouge
This short list is a foodies paradise of good eats.
I am grateful that I live in Canada. Due to recent events, in the world, people are at odds, and words are being spoken, that are totally, out of left field. I’m not sure most folks, politicians and leaders alike, know what they are saying.
My tight group of friends are at odds with each other, because of differing views of current events, and what each of them thinks, as to what we should do and how we should do it.
The ties of friendship are being tested. And if a second conversation that needs to take place, because the first one began and ended badly, doesn’t heal the rift, I am afraid that my circle will be broken over non-negotiable statements.
We are Canadian. And we, for the most part, share Canadian values, and for some, that is not good enough. Everybody has a right to their opinions, because of their origins, how they were educated, and how they each decide to live their lives.
No One Person has the definitive answer, because, let’s face it, we don’t. I don’t think a real, tangible, solid, workable answer is possible amid the heat of argument and prejudice.
Let us keep each other in our thoughts …
Notice I did not say “prayers…”
Religion has become a dirty word. People are choosing to incriminate all, due to the actions of “a few.” And that does not bode well, for an entire community of people, world wide.
One day we will see this for what it really is, and we will shake our heads and say to each other …”Was I really that stupid?”
Yes, we really are that stupid.
At least I can unfollow people. And I can turn the channel, and better yet, I can totally turn off my computer when it all gets to be too much of hateful overload.
More to come, stay tuned …
“… Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself; trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended.”
We have tweaked the blog a bit. A little bit of change, with a few new images and a new header we are featuring. This photo comes from my preacher friend Gordon in Texas. This was his worship space where he ministered to his flock for many years, before giving up his church to go into the field and find God.
We are in a rain today, sun tomorrow, rain to come, and sun to follow kid of pattern this week.
Today we were on the upswing.
I spent time with a friend, and we followed that with a meeting. Tonight, the night was still bright at nine o’clock as I walked to the bus stop on the way home.
Tonight’s topic: Trouble – Constructive or Destructive
I listened to the reading twice and I did not think that I would have anything to say, until a friend drew upon this line from the reading.
Troubles … I’ve had my fair share of troubles. God has a funny was of making his presence known, and that usually happens when I am in serious trouble. Someone up there is watching me and keeping an eye out for me as well. Because I seem to have navigated this life, well, sometimes living on the edge it might seem, at certain times.
When have we transcended our troubles ?
And at what point point does transcendence take place ?
What would you call transcendence, how would you know ?
An old timer once said to me that, in order to see wisdom, you need two things:
The benefit of time, AND the experience of hindsight.
When we find ourselves in trouble, sometimes that trouble might seem, insurmountable when we are in the middle of it. And it might seem that trouble will never end. In most cases, save certain troubles, let’s say, life and mortality, troubles come and troubles go.
It is how we manage these troubles that matters.
As a young person in my family home, there was trouble. And I surfed it to the best of my ability. When I moved away, that trouble ended, but that did not last, because where ever I went, trouble seemed to follow. I must consider my youth and naivete. Add to that, my own blindness to the one trouble I had, that I never realized was a trouble (read: Problem).
Often when we read the Big Book, Bill had a certain way of writing. He never used the same word twice. If he was trying to get a point across to you, he would use as many words, that meant the same thing, without telling you that that was what he was doing, and I did not learn this until recently, when someone pointed this out to me.
You could use the word “trouble” or you could interchange the word with “problem.”
I skated through life, until I hit my mid twenties. I thought I was getting by, when I really wasn’t. I was involved with someone who was walking trouble. When that relationship went south, one night I walked into a bar, alone, and on that night, my life changed.
God began his slow emergence into my life. He knew better than I did, that pretty soon, I was going to need his help, because the trouble that was coming, would rock my world.
I can share these stories with you, because I know for a fact that in certain cases, I squarely faced trouble, and I transcended them.
TROUBLES SQUARELY FACED …
I was at work on a Sunday afternoon, and my mother called out of the blue. She tells me that my ex boyfriends mother called HER, to find out if I had seen him, because his mother could not reach him.
A few days would pass. Eventually, the police got involved. We found him a few days too late, and by that time he was long since dead. By this time, I also had the bar job at night. And God, in his infinite wisdom was right where He needed to be.
And not a minute too soon.
Suicide is never a good thing, for the one who kills themselves, nor for the persons they leave behind. How do I describe what it felt like to have a coroner call you and ask you to come and identify remains ? How do I quantitatively explain the gravity of such a request?
Do you know what a corpse looks like 5 days in ? I do…
His mother’s last words to me, after I identified him, and signed the papers to send his body home for burial were these …
“I hope for the rest of your life, the last thing you see when you close your eyes is my son’s dead body !”
I can tell you that twenty two years later, I can still see him, as I did on that fateful day.
I was still drinking. Let me tell you, I drank A LOT of liquor in the days that followed that day and that specific conversation. God was watching. Very closely. My friends, at one point, tried to intervene in my excessive drinking. They got me into therapy. Suicide survivors therapy.
For months, it seemed, I sat in a room, with family members, who were left behind. And I listened to them recount their specific war story every time someone new showed up. I kept on drinking, and I was working at the bar.
Todd passed an edict that nobody could drink while on the job. Ok, that was cool. There was plenty of time to drink after hours. And I did that. For a calendar year.
The second big trouble hit. I get a call from a certain friend, who tells me that my ex killed himself, because he was diagnosed with AIDS. Well nobody told me that !!!
Soon after that, I got very sick. I was in the middle of two tragedies.
One, facing the loss of a life, Two, facing the end of my own life.
That is when God stepped in definitively and took control.
Mortality, that, is one of those troubles that many don’t surmount and win.
Death is a forgone conclusion…
I can tell you that in both situations, I surmounted those two troubles, and I have transcended them. I have more than twenty years experience of time and hindsight, to offer.
When people began to get sick, it was inside a flurry of live fast and die young.
Where all of my friends decided to go out in a blaze of drugs and alcohol, Todd decreed that he would never let me go that way. He stepped in and kept me focused on living and surviving. He chose me, out of all those sick men to help. Probably because everyone I knew, including my family, tossed me to the gutter and I was alone.
All of my friends are dead. I am, very soon, going to cross my twenty second year, and I am still here. Those two very cathartic events in my life have come and gone. And while I was in the middle of them, it seemed that they would never end.
I can tell you squarely, my troubles came to an end.
I don’t know why I am still alive, nor why I lived and everyone else is dead.
God, is the only one who knows that answer, and He hasn’t shared that answer with me.
That means I get to tell this story as many times as I have to, to teach you all what can happen when one allows God to come step in and take control. Hopefully, these specific two stories will change a life for the better.
And maybe, just maybe, I will save a life.
I did not know what “Calm Courage” was. Todd did. I did not know if I would live or die. Todd did. I did not know life would end up this way, Todd did.
I don’t know how he knew, but he knew things that I needed to know.
I know … Now …
When I finally got to “that day” (read: the day I was supposed to die) And I was still alive, Todd helped me decide what I was going to do with myself. I was going to live.
I can tell you, that it was not the easier softer way, No, I took the long way round.
In the doors, out of the doors, back in the doors, I survived a third cathartic “trouble.”
God stepped in a third time and saved from me from imminent death.
Since I got sober the second time, my troubles seem insignificant, when I look at them against the lens of having survived suicide, my own mortality, and a near death experience.
There is no trouble I can’t face and deal with.
Unlike, many people on the earth, who walk around (some, blindly and not knowing from one moment to the next), I have someplace to go when I need help. It might cost me a loonie ($1) or a toonie ($2) at best, or it might cost me the price of a cup of coffee.
How much would you pay for someones life experience if you knew that experience would save your life? You can’t monetize life experience.
The rooms provide things for us, that normal human beings probably spend thousands or more dollars trying to find solutions to their problems.
If only everyone was an alcoholic.
They would have access to our fathomless bank of experience.
Today I have “calm courage.” I know this, because my experience has shown me where it saved my life, when I should have long since died.
I don’t often recognize it and sometimes I take it for granted.
All I need to do is stand in front of my medicine cabinet.
More to come, stay tuned …
It was the hope that the many voices around the world, would bring hope and strength to young people who were, at that time, suffering from bullies and negative attitudes.
The other night, a friend of mine, put up a video on the fifth year anniversary of his original video talking about just where he is right now, five years later. His message:
IT DEFINITELY GOT BETTER !!!
This blog has been the center of my life, for many years, and where we are today as a community is a result of all the work I have done for the past five years and more.
So much has changed in the last five years, that it would take me hours of going through past posts to give you an idea of just what happened.
I was 42 when It Gets Better began. I was beginning to figure out that wisdom was beginning to come and that has only deepened over the years. I am 47 today. I would not have changed anything about the journey.
In the gay world, the youngsters tend to think us old fogies are now, “Over the hill” and could not “possibly still be relevant.”
I assure you that I am not over the hill, nor irrelevant.
I have a history and a story that needs to be remembered and shared, because young people of today’s generation have no idea what it was like just twenty years ago. Because that is when the story really starts.
As Dickens writes: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Things were pretty bad and they really needed to get better.
And in the end it took twenty years for that to come to fruition.
The dawn of social media bright all kinds of trouble with it. Insulated kids who were alone and at home after school, now had the tools to reach out to their peers and the rest of the world. That was not necessarily a good thing. Because we all know what happened.
Social Media brought the instantaneous attack to the fore.
You didn’t have to wait to have conversation locally, thoughts and feelings went global, like wildfire, overnight. And young people, like their adult counterparts were fair game.
Then we saw the ugly side of humanity enter the picture and teens began to kill themselves because of haters and internet trolls. For them it was not good, and it needed to get better.
I am here to tell my young readers that It Does Get Better.
You just have to hang on and walk forwards. Believe in us. Some of us have seen life get very ugly, we have seen human beings get very ugly (without the aid of social media) to begin with.
Suicide is Never an option. Your Life Matters. Every one of you matter. Even if you can’t imagine what that means on a greater scale, but you do.
All you need to do is page back and read. The history of what it was like, what happened and what it is like is here for you to study and learn from.
In just the last calendar year, life has changed so much.
Having all that we need, and being satisfied with that is no small accomplishment.
All you need to have is someone in your corner rooting for you. Someone who speaks kindness to you and supports you. If you can’t find that at home, find it here with all of us. Amid all the ugly internet assholes, there are genuine people who care about you and all we want is for your happiness and survival.
You’ve come so far and you have your whole life ahead of you.
Life is about the Journey, not the destination.
Just keep walking. Believing. Trusting.
We are out here.
You are never alone.
It Does Get Better.
The weather is holding, which was very good tonight.
As the weather gets good, things to do outside increase. There is no time to waste when the weather is this good, because sooner or later, Mother Nature is gonna piss on us.
Tonight in Montreal, was the Tour La Nuit. The first of two bicycle events circling the Island of Montreal and the mountain. The Big Bicycle event comes on Sunday with the Island wide riding event.
I had checked on the transit website before I left to make sure I would not find my travel route blocked. Well, that did not go so well. I departed with PLENTY of time to get up to the church, and made it all the way to my bus transfer, and wouldn’t you know it, there was a stoppage sign on the pole at the bus stop. On TOP OF THAT there was a bus sitting in the bay, with a driver behind the wheel, going no where fast.
I stood for a bit, I had my tunes and my patience was ok. But that did not last. People started leaving the bus queue and others were talking to the driver. I waited, patiently. After while, with the bus still sitting there, I went to talk to the driver.
No Bus – Streets Closed – If you gotta get there, you are gonna WALK !!!
I half decided to turn around and come home. I got past the turnstile, and almost to the platform, and met one of my friends coming from a train that just went through. I told him, “no buses…” And his reply was, “well, we’ll walk it, 20 minutes tops!” I know the route, I could walk it blindfolded.
So we walked a mile to the church.
All the main streets were blocked off. The tour began at seven and began to wind its way around the island of Montreal. Numbers were nominal. We sat two groups. People had decided to walk the mile to the meeting instead of turning around and going home.
The weather was on our side tonight.
Two kinds of Pride
“The prideful righteousness of “good people” may often be just as destructive as the glaring sins of those who are supposedly not so good.”
In sobriety, is there any kind of good pride? Not really.
We are supposed to become, humble, quiet, right sized people. Knowing that we only know a little, that more will be revealed to us. That we are not the center of the universe and that that world does not revolve around us.
I don’t have all the answers.
I’ve learned a few things about pride, righteousness, arrogance and bullshit.
Over the years, I have learned to pick my battles wisely. Like my fellows, I have various opinions on every sordid topic that we are all reading and seeing on tv, hearing on the radio, and seeing in print. I just choose not to give you my opinion, unless that opinion is backed up with honest truth, book studied knowledge and/or practical life experience.
Over the years, I have dealt with certain self righteous people. Over the years, I have dealt with people who thought that I could not possibly be honest and sober (read: at that point in my sober journey). Even when those certain people were rifling through my life tearing me apart in word and action,
I learned that I should never engage negative criticism, for ANY reason whatsoever.
Just wait a while, keep your mouth shut and eventually they will tire, and they will go away.
Eventually they got tired, and they went away.
I survived, two of the biggest hits to my pride and my life, a few years ago.
I can say that I added a few letters to the end of my business card. Twice. And that paid out to one community that disparaged me in ungodly ways. I can also say that I stayed sober, after being hit by people who wanted to drag me through the mud because of my choice in recovery methods.
Now in my late 40’s I do know certain things as truth. I know who I am, and what my message is and what my goals are. And its not about self righteous pride or ego. I have enough people in my life that keep me in check.
We all laughed at ourselves for an hour. That was right sizing.
I walked all the way back from the church to the Metro. 20 minutes tops.
There were thousands of people riding their bikes around the city, all lit up, some dragging baby buggies behind them. It was very exciting and people were in a festive party mood. Many people had front row balcony seats to watch the spectacle.
The Summer Festival season has begun. For the next three months the city will be buzzing with activity across the board, from concerts, to Pride festivals, to fireworks, to the Best Jazz Festival in the world in July. Let us not forget, the biggest draw of the summer will be the Montreal Grand Prix, that is the crown jewel in Montreal’s crowning events.
I got on the train, came home, and in the end, I got here, at the same time I usually get home on a Friday night. No loss there.
More to come, stay tuned…
I 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.
“You are Gay, and before we kill you, we will embrace you like a human.”
Then they stoned two men to death, in front of a crowd of people.
You think these words spoken by Pope Francis are timely ???
I still think we need a crack team of commandos to go in there and slaughter Isis militants.
Kill them as unmercifully as they killed so many people who should still be alive.
End of Rant …
Last night I cracked Connor Franta’s book, “A Work in Progress.” This afternoon I finished the read while sitting in my doctors office. (More on that later)
I read a lot of books. I have an entire library of books in my bedroom. An avid reader will probably know, words are everything. What words are used, how they are used, and what those words mean, in the context of the story. Every book is an opportunity to learn a little more about its author.
As I was reading, certain words and phrases jumped out at me.
Because he writes with very familiar phraseology, enough to notice if you are paying attention.
However, there is no mention of any kind of association, and he may just know the words, without the context I was ascribing to them. It may just be his writing style.
But if you ask me, it sounds all too familiar !!!
Our young author, in his twenties now, tells us his story. He shares with his readers just how important the digital age is to his life and by extension, the rest of us … “unless you are forty” you probably don’t know much.
“The social generation has taken over. If you don’t tweet on the daily, receive dozens of likes on instagram photos, and know what the heck Tumblr is, then you best get to Googling because you’ve been left behind.
Or you are like forty …”
I found this was the only point in the story where I laughed out loud.
I am forty seven years old. I grew up in the 80’s. The only phone we had was connected to the wall in the kitchen, or if you were lucky, you had your own extension in your bedroom, and I did.
Social media was the local roller rink, or the shopping mall, (Dadeland or The Falls), or church youth groups, specifically. If you wanted to see your friends, you went to their house. And if they were good friends, you most likely spent numerous nights sleeping at friends houses, which I also did frequently.
Social media came late for me. My first computer was a gift from a friend in 2001, and that little box played the crucial role of connecting me to Canada. If it weren’t for that fact and a letter from the government, I would not be here today.
Anyways, social media. I am connected. This blog is nine years old. I have a You Tube account. There are actually videos, made by me, there. I Tumble. That’s where my photos come from. I joined Twitter a year ago to stay in contact with my friends, and that has grown into a social media platform for the blog as well. I have been on Facebook for almost nine years.
That is where I keep up with all my friends in one location.
With one click here, I can publish to all of my social media platforms, all at once.
Every gay boy has a coming out story. No two are the same. Connor is no different. But he was a blessed young man. Coming to know ones self is tough. Especially, when we think we are different. The process of coming to terms with sexual orientation can be long and arduous.
Connor figured that out for himself. On his time. In his own way. He chose who to tell, and when, and then he told his parents. They did not reject him, they turned around and told him they loved him and that that would never change.
How many gay kids get that kind of unequivocal support from parents.
I knew, before I knew what it was. I listened and decided that coming out would be detrimental to my existence. I moved away to be gay, and my alcoholism followed.
The rest is history.
Oh to write our memoirs at twenty-something… He has his whole life ahead of him. A lifetime of experiences he has YET to have. People he has YET to meet. Places he has YET to go.
SO MANY YETS !!!
I left with plenty of time to make my three train transit and get to my doctors appointment early, because I am always early, in the hopes that I maybe get in the door early, and get out of there early for a change. (Thank God I had Connor to keep me company).
I arrived twenty minutes early for a three o’clock appointment.
There are usually a few people waiting. And usually two doctors seeing patients.
Not the case today. The crowd that was there were all seeing one man. My Doctor.
I read my book, and I finished it as well. And still I waited. When the secretary called me in it was four thirty. I am pretty patient when it comes to the doctor. So shortly before I got called, I calmly walked up to the counter and inquired how long I would be waiting.
While I waited my sponsor called. I was supposed to meet him at his house to pay for the retreat in May, today was the deadline for payment. So he called me and said that he needed to attend to one of his guys, and could we amend our plans. I managed a yes.
Not knowing when I would be back on the Metro to get home.
At four thirty I went in and started a conversation. About halfway through, doc got a call from someone who must be working at the new Glenn Site. They spent a shitload of money building that monstrosity.
Millions of dollars spent were funneled into corrupt people’s bank accounts.
They built the hospital without consideration for specific needs, for certain departments. So unclaimed space is at a premium. So I listened to half a conversation about what my doctor needs in the new hospital and why, then I heard the other speaking to the effect that, I don’t think we can provide for your needs as you need them, so you will have to take whatever you get.
Doc says … The lives of my patients are on the line here, the words “crash cart” were tossed into the conversation. So that is a thing he says …
The guy responds … Well, I cannot provide what you need.
Doc says … Then I will meet you and we will go to the site and figure this out.
Conversation continues for a bit but does not end with a positive resolution.
We then resumed our discussion, diabetes is being a pain in my ass, my numbers are too high, something needs to change. Then I tell my doc about the pill pushing for a problem I did not have, (and he checked my blood pressure and it was GOLD).
Diabetes doc prescribes a pill for my blood pressure. Tells me to fill it and apply for a home meter that would be free and get sent to me once I visited their site. That was four months ago.
I did not fill the script and I did not take the pills as directed.
So today my doc tells me that the pills he wanted me to take were not actually FOR my blood pressure, but FOR a problem called, Microalbumin.
Something to do with blood and my kidneys.
What the actual fuck ???
Diabetes doc did not tell me any of this. Probably because he had interns in his office doing their homework on ME. He didn’t tell me what he should have told me, instead he gave some excuse.
I did not take the pills.
Meanwhile, the words diabetes doc didn’t say to me, appeared in my chart for my doc today to see and show me on his computer.
So my doc says to me, take the pills and don’t tell George that you talked to me.
I was not very happy.
On the flip side, my T-cell count stands at 1,358. That’s the highest it has been.
I left the office at five fifteen. I had forty five minutes to make my three train transit back into town. I had to stop at the pharmacy and drop scripts to be filled, go to the bank, get my cash I needed and then hit the grocery store all before six fifteen.
My sponsor was waiting outside my apartment when I got out of the grocery store.
In the end, it all got done. I hate having to race the clock.
I was home for forty five minutes, before I had to leave again for the Thursday meeting.
Every meeting is different. And I have learned a great deal from everyone who has spoken on Thursday night. Tonight was no different. What we are seeing and hearing is older folks, in their fifties, sixties and seventies, coming into the rooms much later in life. Older folks, with a few years under their belts. The later the entrance, the longer and painful the run up to insanity and their turning point.
Tonight I heard something different.
People don’t hit their bottoms, there are no bottoms, only an elevator, and it is up to us what floor we decide to get off on.
Our man tonight shared and his message was simple …
“You don’t have to suffer as long as I did in order to get here.”
In other news, I hit another fellowship along with some of my sponsees who also attend those meetings. I am all for trying to forget my slip and the drugs I did, and marijuana I smoked. I try to forget it because it was a horrible stage in my life.
It is a place I rarely go. I never talk about it. And I like it that way.
But that is the issue.
The longer I sit in that room, the more the nightmares and memories haunt me. I am ashamed of the person I became, I don’t know how I could have sunk so low as to go from a middle class white boy who was just an alcoholic, to a looser, white trash, trailer dwelling, drug abusing, pot smoking miscreant with no hope of a life or a way out of the pit of hell I dropped myself into, without having an escape plan ready, should I have needed it.
In the end, I had one friend who knew where I was, who supplied me with the one way ticket out of hell, and gave me a place to recuperate after my near death beating experience.
That man was my angel.
When I made that transit, I never touched drugs or marijuana again. I never went looking for them again, even when I got back to Miami. I still drank, because it was easy and I had the money to pay for it. But even that got old in the end.
And I got clean and sober 100%.
I needed to find someone to talk this out with, I need to dump this shit on someone who can help me navigate this stage of my recovery that I seem to be embroiled in. My sponsor did not use drugs, so I needed to find someone who did. And I found him.
My friend who celebrated twenty seven years sober tonight, is my guy.
I love him to death. He is one of the greatest men I know. Tomorrow we are getting together before the Friday night meeting to chat this out.
If you are going to get clean and sober, then you need to hit all the dark spots and bring that shit into the light of day, so you can deal with it and get over it.
Easier said than done.
But it is a start.
All in a days work they say.
More to come, stay tuned …
Boy, is it FRIGID outside tonight. We are sitting at (-15c/-21c w.c.). We got a little snow, and city workers, are tonight, hurriedly trying to clear snow from the streets. There is good news coming in the way of positive numbers beginning on Sunday with a trend moving from Zero to plus (+7c) by Wednesday next week.
That warmth cannot come sooner, as February was the coldest month on record here in the city.
Yesterday I welcomed a friend back from the U.S., the long nightmare that was Pittsburgh is over.
We had lunch, did some shopping, and sorted out various things that he needed to do so that he can reconnect with the community here. I had not been to the core malls in some time, so while we were there yesterday, we happened into Indigo Book sellers. and I invested in the next two books by Kathy Reichs, in the Temperance Brennan series, and last night, I could not get to bed early enough to start reading them.
Today was quiet. I was sleeping, and at one point, the same dream scene kept repeating itself over and over again, so I knew it was time to get out of bed, to try and reset the cycle. As I can only sit so long in front of this box, I spent some time surfing and stuff like that, and when I completed my circuit, I had two hours before I needed to get ready to go… I went back to bed for a short run.
Winter has not been kind to our folks. They are choosing to stay home, instead of venturing out in this frigid weather. I’ve been noting as well, some of our old timers have been MIA for a while. Which is out of character for some of them.
One of those men, returned to the fold this evening. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and I was starting to worry about him. Weren’t we all surprised when he got up there and spoke.
My friend has a number of years in, twenty seven to be exact.
For a while now, having listened to old timers talk and share at meetings, I know some things about them. Each of them approach the program differently. No two of them do it the same way, and I’ve written here, recently about folks who are just comfortable to warm a chair and occupy space.
If you hit enough meetings, and listen well, you sometimes get nuggets of wisdom, here and there.
I’ve talked to my friend who spoke tonight, in great depth over the months that have passed, and asked him why some folks, have put down their roots and roost where they are, and others keep to the notion that there is always something new to learn, and if you have the time to invest, they why not do that ?
While we were out there, most people have experiences of certain individuals who step in and stop us in our tracks which begins the slow grind out of hell, into life. As was the case for my friend.
He was working in a hospital, barely hanging on to life, trying to dry out after another ritual alcohol infused dance with massive amounts of cocaine trip. He was ordered to get a medical check up by his boss. So he goes to this office and sits down, as the doctor has his back to him. He, “the doctor” turns around and looks at my friend squarely and without skipping a beat says quite bluntly …
“Alcohol and Cocaine huh !!! ” Exclamation point …
He had not set eyes on my friend, nor knew his state. But he pegged him substance for substance.
That doctor knew him and began to sort him out and get him help.
The doctor tells him emphatically …
“You go and talk to this guy, do it now, Do it now, DO IT NOW !!!”
In a few months time, and after a few ins and outs, the miracle happened.
- The admission of powerlessness over his chosen substances
- The realization that there was a kernel of faith inside of him from his childhood
- And that that Power Greater than himself could actually help him
This was another example that most of us are either born into – or are educated in, some kind of faith background. And for some of us, when we come in, are provided the grace to be able to appreciate it for what it was and is, and allow that grace to save us.
I am very keen to know and to learn perspective from my long sober friends.
That kind of dictates or allows me to see where I am in the grand scheme of things. I’m not just walking around aimlessly not doing anything with my time. That I am, in fact, using my time properly, I’m invested in my own sobriety, and I am invested in the lives of my friends at large, and then, on a daily basis, I am invested in the lives of the guys I work with.
Constant. Daily, By The Book.
My friend tells us that “If we are alive, and breathing, we have a chance to live a life of our wildest dreams, in the program.” Simply, “if you are breathing, YOU have a chance !!!” Exclamation point !
You never know when God is going to step in and sort you out. Be mindful.
In my life, God, or angels, or particular people, stepped in when I most needed it and gave me a chance to get out of hell and get sorted out and clean up my life. When that happened in my life, it was not by my own steam, or by my choice, in those cases, it was divinely ordained. There are no two ways about that.
My friend tonight, had that same experience, when he most needed help.
God stepped in and rescued him from hell.
One day at a time, this past January, he celebrated twenty seven years sober. And in April, he will turn sixty six years young, Some old timers, with oodles of time, have aged very gracefully.
Others, not so much.
I remember the words spoken by another long sober member here …
CONSTANT VIGILANCE !!!
Alcohol and drugs are pernicious, patient and deadly.
If you go back out, it is a foregone conclusion that you will return to where ever you left off, when you quit, and will wind up in a much bigger jackpot that you could have imagined.
Meetings, Prayer, Meditation, Working with Others …
When you come to us, you get the recipe for life. My friend lives in that recipe.
i want men like him in my life, because they challenge me to cook.
What are you cooking ???
More to come, stay tuned …
We are sitting at a frosty (-18c/-27c w.c.) with a low tonight going down into the (-30’s). Where Ontario is, at this hour, under a snow storm warning, there is a blowing snow advisory up for us, but we are not expecting snow until tomorrow. With 10cm falling during the day.
Thank Goodness I don’t have to go out tomorrow…
It was a quiet weekend. This evening I left a few minutes early, because I had a stop to make on the way. It usually takes me half an hour to make my transit. However today, I must have made good time, I had not looked at my clock when I arrived at the church, but cranked it out as usual. When I finished, one of my friends had arrived and I noticed that it was only 4:40 on the clock.
Time must have sped up or I left earlier than I had thought. Any who, it’s all good.
A few folks showed up early to sit and read, having the room open much earlier, allows for folks to come in a be able to sit and read for an hour, prior to the meeting.
Our Matron was away, and I was elected chair by a friend, so I chaired.
We read from the Twelve and Twelve and Step 7 …
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings!
The buzz word for Step seven is Humility. Where does it come from, and how do we get it?
“Humility, as a word and as an ideal, has a very bad time of it in our world. Not only is the idea misunderstood; the word itself is often intensely disliked. Many people haven’t even a nodding acquaintance with humility as a way of life. Much of the every day talk we hear, and a great deal of what we read, highlights man’s pride in his own achievements.”
“… We saw we needn’t always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility. It could come quite as much from our voluntary reaching for it as it could from unremitting suffering. A great turning point in our lives came when we sought for humility as something we really wanted, rather than something we must have. It marked the time when we could commence to see the full implication of Step Seven: “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
One of my terrible shortcomings is the fact that over my life, my disregard for God, my living in “all about me,” and taking life for granted, usually landed me in the column of being bludgeoned into humility. This is one very long list of things that happened.
There was a time, that alcohol was ruling my life, when did it not rule my life, you might ask ???
In my twenties, I really could not give a shit about God or what was right, as long as it went my way. The drink, then the social interaction that came from it, fed my emotional, and sexual appetite. I really did not have a handle on the issues of the time (Read: AIDS), I was more concerned with getting a drink, and what would come with it.
When you take life for granted, a myriad of things can happen.
I was screwing myself into a tight hole. Literally !!! I made mistakes. I was not safe. In the heat of the moment, under the control of alcohol and with the drugs that usually came with it, meant that we were not thinking about circumstances, and shit happened.
I can’t be sure of the who, what or why of it. (what’s done is done)
I talk about all that God mumbo jumbo. How, for a time I was a good Catholic boy in seminary. Had they asked me to stay, instead of telling me to go, probably my life would have been different. But I took license with freedom, and took advantage of it as well.
My twenties was a futile effort in growing up. And I know that now. And I paid dearly for that error.
Loosing things, like cars, apartments, personal items happened. But I would just pick up and start over where, that would take place. Then I lost a loved one, to suicide. That loss was horrible. I drank my way past it, right into a therapy group for thirty two weeks.
But God really didn’t have my attention yet. It was still all about me. But Todd was there.
I was still unwilling to bow or get on my knees …
Lessons about humility began in earnest.
I was dating someone at the time, when I began to sero-convert. I got very sick. They gave us these little wallet cards that had this information on it … If you are having these symptoms, you might have AIDS.
Working at the bar brought me into direct contact with AIDS, and people with AIDS, and Todd made it perfectly clear, what my job was, To serve others, and not myself.
I did get sick. I did get AIDS. Doctors told me I was going to die.
I called Todd back from his vacation. He met me at the bar, and I told him that I was going to die.
He wept …
I was ready to bow. The end was coming, and I had nothing to loose any more.
Over the next two years, working at the bar, I had several opportunities to get humble.
I remember each one of them, like it was yesterday.
Every time I returned to “All about Me,” Todd would throw a lesson at me, to humble me.
Working in a bar was dirty work. Men are pigs, and they don’t think for a moment about others, and that bothered me. They would put cups in the toilet backwards and let shit and piss flow all over the floor, and it was my job to clean it up. However hard I protested, Todd ordered that I do the job and not complain.
I had to get on my knees.
Then he would add the clincher …
He would say that “If you can clean up others shit, one day you will be able to do it for yourself.”
I’ve said before that in Todd, God became incarnate. He was the man who saved my life, however hard I protested, at times, He had my best interests in mind. He took it upon himself to see that I lived, and did not die. Every night I came to work, I followed the rule.
“When you come to work, you leave your life outside the door. You come in and do your work, without question. And leave the rest to me.”
I turned my will and my life over to the care of God (read: Todd) every day.
I learned a great many things, that I have collected over in the PAGES.
I learned to serve others, and not worry about me or my needs. I learned valuable lessons like approval, ego, pride and humility. While people were drinking, drugging, and partying, and at the same time, they were dying all around me, Todd and I stayed one step above the water.
Being a servant, does not give you much time to be arrogant or prideful. Todd would have none of that. He kept me on a very short leash. One look and I would kneel.
Today, I am alive. Todd succeeded in keeping me alive. I owe my life to him. And I say that with all the humility of my being. If you want the whole story you can read it in pages.
I began my nights on my knees. And ended them on my knees.
There was no time to waste. When everybody fled, Todd stood firm. In the beginning, I had to grow up and I had to do what ever I was told to do, without question, and yes I did grow up. I learned a great deal from this experience.
When Todd moved away, I ended up alone. I had tools. I had my lessons.
But at the same time, without that hand in my life, I did not know what to do. But I survived.
Problems with people, attitudes and assholes, took me for a ride. I spoke about the space that grows between people, and that slip that is not far behind … That slip came.
Upon my return, I was not ready to bow …
When I knew the end was coming, I knew the end was coming, I got on my knees.
You see, I survived. I lived. I took that for granted. Which kept my slip going for a while longer.
I prayed for things from God. And One, Two, Three, prayers came to pass.
I had One, admitted I was powerless, Two, came to believe, and Three, made that decision.
I decided to grow up, and ended my run here. That is when I learned more about humility.
I got connected, found a home group, and I did service. All because that is what they told me to do.
You can’t keep it, unless you give it away.
I met my now husband, and I learned how to give to my partner, boyfriend, now husband.
I became a man, when I learned how to put the needs of another before my own.
Now that I think about that phrase, I learned this lesson with Todd. However I did not see it.
Even today, I see shades of self centeredness. It returns in my memories.
When life gets too hard to stand, kneel …
I take for granted that I lived, more often, than I like to admit. And I usually don’t think about being grateful for being alive, except of course, every time I stand at my medicine cabinet and take my pills.
I rely on doctors, my medication and God for life. I also rely on God to help me stay sober.
I grew up. I’ve learned my lessons about being beaten into humility.
There is so many things to be grateful for. If I think of all of them at the same time, I would weep.
More to come, stay tuned …
Over the last calendar year, Sunday has been the best day of the week, as posting goes. I completed 52 weeks of Sundays which is a good run. So let’s keep up that momentum.
We are sitting at a balmy (-5c) at this hour, and snow is on tap for tonight into tomorrow. And twice, in as many days, our local tv weather presenter is warning us of an impending storm coming for the end of the week where we should expect “SIGNIFICANT” snow fall. Remember the last time they spent a week warning us of impending doom, it never really materialized.
The end of last week saw the reunification with my guys who have been away for the holidays. We all gathered at the Friday Night Meeting, where we, once again, spoke about God, as we understood him, which parlayed into thinking about Step Three.
You can’t force the God concept on people, one must allow them their process, and coming to the same meetings over and over, people have moved in one direction or another, which is a good thing. The post holiday, “getting back into the swing of things” is taking place.
I had an appointment with another of my guys tonight, so I departed uber early to meet him at the church. After last weeks meager showing we sat a good crowd tonight. We did a little reading of the Book, and we have commenced with “THE WORK” for another human being. Chapter five in the Big Book begins with How it Works, which runs into Step Three. And before we hit step three, we have to get through one and two.
The reading tonight, from the twelve and twelve, was Step Five. In a room full of people, there were many, “haven’t gotten there yet, and a few, doing my step four now, and many who haven’t touched pen to paper in some time, which leads to the following … “my life is unmanageable and I am miserable, I haven’t been working my steps, and I really should, at some point…”
Since the Round Up in 2013, when the fire was lit for me I’ve been on the journey of a deeper sobriety, starting with the book, a little prayer, and a new sponsor. Over the last calendar year, I attended two men’s retreats, which book ended my steps four and five, respectively. After months of working on myself, and working with my guys, It came around to me. I’m currently working on my Step Six.
This past Summer, I wrote my fourth step and at the beginning of the Fall, I sat with my sponsor and did my fifth step. They say, or I heard it said, and I think it came from Oprah, that
“It takes a long time to understand and see the wisdom of ones life …”
Or something to that effect.
It is suggested, that once you’ve been in for a while, you start your steps. There is wisdom in that thought, but experience has shown us that people need their process, and when they are ready, they are ready, everyone’s process is different. With that said, I’ve done my steps several times since I got sober this time around.
But it wasn’t until this round, that I had sufficient perspective on my story, how it unfolded and where I was then, and where I am now. What ever made it to paper then, was what it was, and we dispensed with it accordingly. But since I am really pounding The Work, I’ve allowed the lotus flower to blossom a bit bigger.
“Instead of peeling a stinky onion, sobriety is like a lotus flower, a beautiful blossom.” Lorna Kelly said that when she spoke here a couple of years ago.
The process that I undertook with my sponsors guidance, was impressive. It took a while to complete it, but when it was finished and we talked about it, I listened to my sponsor tell me some of his stories and in the end, I knew that everything was forgiven.
Jeremy speaks about forgiveness: We might have something on our hearts and we turn to God to give it away, and God, forgives everything, right then and there. Then we have a choice, we can allow the ever cleansing forgiveness to wash us clean, or sometimes we think in shades of forgiveness, that everything is not totally made clean. And we tend to hang on to stuff we really should let go, forever.
In The Book it tells us that God is or He isn’t. He is Everything or He is Nothing !
If God is everything, than He knows all, loves all and forgives ALL.
End of story …
And that is the wisdom that I have learned in my step work this time. I’ve said before that life and sobriety are cyclical. Every time we look at the past, we see it in a different light, depending where we are in our process. I haven’t committed any grievous acts, and the past is the past. I haven’t racked up many terrible resentments, fears, or guilts either, but I had a few. (that were old to begin with)
“Taking this book down from our shelf we turn to the page that which contains the twelve steps. Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything, for we are building an arch through which we shall walk a free man at last.” Is our work solid so far? Are the stones properly in place? have we skimped on the cement put into the foundation? Have we tried to make mortar without sand?”
That’s what we all want, that New Freedom.
I may not see it every day. Or feel in in my heart, all the time. I am a little bit freer that I had been in years past. And this specific insight, I have realized, is important to my progress, because I get to apply this insight with my fellows.
The evolution began when I turned forty. Things began to make sense to me. I can’t explain it unless to say that when we turn forty, we have forty years of experience behind us, to be able to look at our pasts and say, “yeah, I’ve been there and this is what I know, and truly understand and be able to relate that knowing to ourselves and to others.”
The next phase of life, in my estimation, begins at forty.
In the Gay scheme of things, forty is over the hill. To any twink or young gay out there, forty is past the prime and becomes unimportant or useless. We are too old to relate to the youngsters, and that is true, but for those of us who survived into our forties, having lived through the crisis of AIDS, we are certainly important to the history of us all. Our lives matter, however hard, some seem to dismiss us from the greater life conversation. Because we are forty or older.
Youth tends to ignore us, opting for young and hip.
This has become a many layered life. I’ve seen progress over many areas of my life. And it all comes down to being sober, and doing the work, talking to my sponsor and working with my guys.
I could not ask for more, I have everything that I need today.
What else is there to say?
A good night was had by all.
More to come, stay tuned …
The World is battling the greatest fight of its spiritual life. And we as its people must stand and declare ourselves ready and willing to battle the darkness and proclaim the Light as loud and as Hard as we can. We cannot allow the powers of darkness to win this battle, no matter where this battle is taking place. We must stand up for Justice, Freedom and for Life.
There is no middle path. This IS the path.
Many words have been written about recent events taking place a world away from us. Many of my contemporaries have written words extolling the virtue of a free press and the ability to express ourselves as we wish, in our respective countries where the rule of law is Democratic. Yet, no one I know and have read, approaches this subject matter as I have done so.
**** **** ****
It was another cold day, snow fell, but it was much warmer today in relation to how cold it has been earlier in the week. I could not reach my friend who usually travels with me on Thursday night, his phone was busy all day, he did not respond to email, and he is elderly, so I worried.
I half hoped that he was just busy and would meet me at our designated spot to catch the bus, but that did not happen. I got to the park side stop and the bus followed soon after. I arrived at the church and spoke to another friend who attempted to reach our friend by cell at the meeting.
We came to figure out that the power has been out at his building, which is only 1 block away from us, all day long and was only restored around 7:30 this evening. He was trapped in his building. They had no water and no generator to operate their elevators, so the entire building was held hostage all day long into the night.
I knew several days ago who our speaker was going to be this evening. When I got there, the chair asked me to thank the speaker. Little did I know what was going to be said.
Every story is different. We are all different. But there may be shared events in our lives that cross the identification line. I heard several threads that I identified with.
There is something to be said for people who find themselves trapped in a body that is not theirs, and realizing this problem, find a solution, then grow into the people they are meant to be. I speak here for the courage and trials of someone who is transgendered.
I’ve known our speaker for as long as I’ve been sober. We’ve crossed paths over the past decade or more but I’ve never heard her full story until tonight.
She mentioned things that I really did not think about before, but were parts of my own story.
My father fought in a war, loved another man, lost that man in war, and came home and created a life and named that child after the man he lost in the war. In hindsight, I could never fill the shoes of the man I was named after. I was living a life stuck between great love and great hatred.
Our speaker was born into a family that lost a child, and she was the replacement, but she could never fill the shoes that had been left empty by death.
My extended family loved me hard and fought for my survival for years. Where all my father wanted to do was destroy me and kill me, and repeatedly told me that I was a mistake and should never have been born.
She spoke about grievous death.
Early in my life, I suffered grievous deaths, when I lost my father’s parents to strokes, that in the end took their lives later on in my life. But at the time, as a teenager, I worshiped the ground they walked on, the loss was acute. I had lost my greatest protectors. And I faced a much worse threat of imminent death, had my father succeeded in his desire to see me finished.
Those two events took a serious toll on my father and the family by extension. Loosing the people who loved me in opt for parents who did not love me as they should have, left me at a great disadvantage.
I knew early on that I was different, that something was off. I could not name it, but my survival and listening to my folks talk amongst themselves and friends, told me exactly what my problem was and what I had to do to escape.
Alcohol was the vehicle I used to get me where I thought I was supposed to go. And for a decade or more, I never thought about the love I had lost and just how much that loss affected me in my soul. It was like I had entered a time of suspended animation, what was going on inside of me was put to sleep by the repeated use of alcohol.
When the other shoe dropped and I lost the only other human being that cared for me more than the mother who bore me, and was denied the right to attend her funeral because of my homosexuality and my sickness from AIDS, I was devastated. That was a terrible blow when I was newly sober the first time. My parents believed I was insignificant and that I did not matter.
That theme was echoed by our woman tonight.
I would experience several more grievous deaths, and insist that I had to drink to escape the visual and emotional damage those deaths had caused me. How could I live with the vision of a dead boy on an autopsy table, half there and half not, for the rest of my life?
it would take the threat of death to stop my suicide by alcohol.
I had forgotten what it meant to be loved. I had forgotten what it meant to be comfortable in my own skin, because for as long as I could remember, I was never comfortable in my own skin, because growing up, I was a mistake and that I did not matter. I guess the alcohol soothed that ache.
But I never attributed my alcoholism to those factors. I just drank.
Because that what I was told to do to become who I wanted to be.
I spent a little more than a decade, drinking and searching for someplace to BE.
I did not find it because like they say, where ever you go, there you are.
You can’t escape yourself, you carry your baggage with you where ever you go.
I could not escape myself no matter how hard I pounded the alcohol.
This self realization our speaker spoke about in her life, happened to me at age twenty six. Someone loved me in my rawness. Saw that I needed to be loved and cared for, and that was the cathartic experience I needed to begin to build the life I wanted. I had two good years at self realization.
I lost the calm, loving hand that guided my life and was left to pick up the pieces, which did not go so well, and I returned to king alcohol.
The turning point came when I put down the drink the second time. I was broken and delusional, like I have shared many times before. I had a choice to make and I made it.
The changes I began in early sobriety the first time, were completed the second time I got sober.
I set the stage for where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, and why…
My father believed that extended family was useless, that they must be eradicated from out nuclear family lives because they did not fit in with his worldview of complete domination and control. He succeeded in alienating every living person who cared about me in any way.
In the end, when I moved to Montreal, it was an entirely spiritual decision.
My Grandmother, the woman I adored more than life itself, my mother, who had lived here most of her life, until she married my father lived here in Montreal. And later as I learned from my mother in one of our final conversations, I learned of another human being connected to my past.
I came here to connect to the spiritual root of my family. I came here to connect to the spirit of those women whom I adored and were blessed to have in my life, for the short period of time I had them.
That decision was a direct stab to my father’s heart of hearts. I knew that.
I had executed three knife hits to his heart, those hits were unforgivable in his eyes.
I really did not care. How can I respect a man who would never respect me?
The time was ripe for me to grow into the man I was meant to be. And that is when my life intersected with our speaker tonight. I met her in familiar places. We spoke together and we shared together.
We are spiritual beings having a human existence she said. And on our journeys, we are gifted by God to share a bit of the journey together. As we find ourselves and grow into the men and women we are meant to be.
I’ve come through the crucible of hatred and bigotry and homophobia. I’ve come through the crucible of AIDS, and I survived and I live today to tell that tale. My friend who spoke tonight lived through her own crucible being born into a body that was not hers, and she undertook the steps to rectify that problem. And today she is a shining light of love, perseverance and hope.
I did not realize until tonight, just how much the loss of certain people in my life so early in my life had truly cost me. But I did learn about unconditional love. I learned about family, what family really meant, because my family did not live that way in reality.
The kernel of love, faith and family was planted in my garden well before I needed it.
It took me until I arrived in my mid thirties to realize where those kernels were in my soul and I had found the place to plant them, here in Montreal. Once I was settled here, the kernels were planted by God, and I lived one day at a time, and one by one, those kernels sprouted into the life I live today.
I am reminded of just how much I was loved by those who I deemed most important.
I am reminded of just how great a loss it was when they departed my life.
And I chose, by coming here, to honor those women who gave me love and life.
When I crossed the northern Border, there was no turning back.
To be who I wanted to be cost me a nuclear family.
Any L.G.B.T.Q. person will attest to this, that at some point in our lives we are faced with a choice, to live inside a closet or inside a body that is not ours, always looking for who we are meant to be while battling those around us who demand we remain in the boxes they put us in for their own sakes and not for ours, or we break free and we create the family we want with the people who mean the most to us.
Too many teens have died because of this lack of care and love. We MUST break that cycle of abuse and death, if there is to be a future for our young L.G.B.T.Q. people.
I did what I had to do. I do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it, because even today, I see that life, as it was lived, in a different light, once again.
Sobriety, like life, is cyclical.
Every time we get to review the past, we find further insight to it.
I find it amazing that my friends constantly give me food for thought on any given night.
All it takes is a little time, and a bunch of drunks sitting in a church basement to realize life changing truth. The truth we all share, as we become the men and women we are meant to be,
One Day At a Time.
Guess what came in the mail today …
The excitement of the holidays has begun.
We welcomed friends who arrived from out of town, just in time for the Friday Night Meeting. People will be coming and going over the next two weeks, and our social schedule’s for those weeks have been already planned to maximize all the time we have together, before people go back to their respective schools across Canada and the United States.
In other news … Unlike the downtown core, where there is little snow piled up, basically because it has already been plowed away, up on the plateau where the Friday Night Meeting resides, there is snow piled up ALL over the place. Cars are buried, sidewalks are passable because the city workers plowed away enough snow to make them passable.
I suited up, with many layers, incorporating my new jersey, front and center, bundled up and headed out. There are 2 stations on the same line that are equidistant from home, one up towards the college, Eastbound, and the other down to the mall, three blocks Westward. I needed tickets in any case, and I can get them at the pharmacy, which is in the mall, above the train station.
So that was my plan.
There were lots of people coming and going. People are certainly taking part in the holiday shopping binge. The mall stations were packed with merry holiday goers. So I made my transit, and I was amazed to see that my phone actually works on the train across both the Green and Orange lines.
They have been upgrading the cell reception and service across the core stations and it seems they tweaked the outbound stations on the Orange line, that I take to get to the meeting. For the second time recently, I got a live text while in the tunnel, with the train in motion. YAY Telus !!!
We sat a good group. A friend that I haven’t seen in some time, came, and actually, I had been thinking about him specifically, over the past few days, and I like to believe that when we think of people. we send a ripple out to the universe, and within hours, or sometimes, days, they show up.
The universe is funny in that way.
These are hard times indeed. Our folks have been coming from other places, and new folks that don’t usually come, have shown up and visitors from out of town are in for the holidays. We are happy to oblige. We talked about A.B.S.I. and “We cannot live alone.”
This particular reading speaks about steps four and five respectively.
“… We cannot wholly rely on friends to solve all our difficulties. A good adviser will never do all our thinking for us. He/She knows that each final choice must be ours. He/She will therefore help to eliminate fear, expediency, and self deception, so enabling us to make choices which are loving, wise and honest.” Grapevine August, 1961.
I remarked to a friend that there is always something to take away from every meeting. It might be a word, an exercise, or just an identification.
In the beginning, folks are very leery about step work. Especially when they consider the “what we think” daunting process of writing our step four. Then speaking it through Step five. Tonight, there was not one horror story. Many of us have done them, and found that they were truly enlightening, freeing and liberating. Everyone had a unique story to share on the topic.
We heard about a writing exercise, that is said to be the most powerful writing exercise that is used at the famed Betty Ford Clinic.
- Pen to paper – Write out the Third Step prayer
- Pen to paper – Write out three lists: Resentments, Fears and Gratitude list
- Pen to paper – Write out the Seventh Step prayer
We do this on a daily basis, first the prayers, then our lists for that respective day. You must put at least three things on the Gratitude list every day. And as we do this writing exercise, we watch how items move between the lists and eventually land on the gratitude list.
If you can commit to this writing exercise, it will prove to be a most useful tool.
Every little bit of experience pays off from time to time. Our young people can never get enough of stuff to do to keep them “on the beam.” And those of us who have some time and experience, adding a little something here or there tends to be very useful in our daily ritual of prayer and writing.
I am very keen on having the guys I work with follow simple suggestions.
Like I mentioned yesterday, eventually, for better or for worse, your sponsor should help you along with tools that will make your life easier, which is to say, a good sponsor knows what they are doing, and I work very hard to be that person. And If I suggest something to my guys, again, for better or for worse, following a suggestion usually ends up in the positive column often.
If I’ve done it, or heard that it can be done this way, or know someone who had results doing something specific, I do it myself, then I suggest that idea out, and I watch the results.
It all comes down to The Work …
You are either In It or you are IN IT TO WIN IT …
Which leads back to How it works, chapter five … If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.
Little did I know, how that sentence changes in literal meaning, the further IN IT you get.
I mean, this seminal reading we hear ad infinitum at every meeting, read over and over, day after day, night after night, these words now leap off the page when I hear them read. Because now I know what it feels like to go to ANY length.
Imagine it only took me eleven years to understand this.
It took another member who was IN IT to tell me that I need to be IN IT and how to do that.
What a rush …
I love my life. My friends. My fellows.
It was a love fest tonight, that will continue until January 5th.
I’ve heard about gratitude living, and there I usually roll my eyes …
But I truly know what that feels like and means for me.
We need people in our lives, but in the end, the final choices should be ours alone, given with good guidance from people we trust. Not having to pollute ourselves helps a great deal in learning how to make right and good decisions, soberly …
More to come, stay tuned …
Courtesy: Billy Pazionis Flickr
I offer you “Thirteen” a retrospective.
In May of 2013, I had been at Tuesday Beginners for eleven years. The New York women came to us and I began to watch them and listen to them. I watched what they did for a while and I longed for that kind of life to come to me.
The end of May came with the West Island Round Up. And I heard Lorna Kelly speak, along with a host of others from New York. And I learned, much to my dismay, that I’d been warming a seat for years, and not really doing anything about it. Comfortable at just being a talking head and showing up and doing service.
One of the men who spoke talked about prayer … I prayed, but not with the intensity or meaning that our man was trying to get across to the people sitting in front of him while he spoke. Three, Seven and Eleven, every day, like you mean it. You have the book, why aren’t you working it?
This is how we do it.
THIS IS HOW WE DO IT !!!
Are you listening??
I faded from my then sponsor and decided to go it alone. It was time. Days, turned into weeks, which turned into months. I changed up my meetings, added the Friday A.B.S.I. meeting, and I was doing the work, praying and being present for my friends.
In the Summer of 2013, I decided to leave Tuesday Beginners, opting for the “other” beginners meeting that was on earlier, because that is where my friends were, or, more to the point, the young men of that I needed in my life and it ended up, this meeting carried me through some tough times. And I gave back to that meeting.
On my 12th anniversary, December 9th 2013, I asked a friend to give me my chip, so it went. Since then, Vendome Beginners moved to the location we are at now, albeit in smaller numbers, we have a committed group of folks who come week in and week out.
There was an old timer there, who had the years, and I was in the market for a new sponsor, in January this year, we went to lunch and he interviewed me for the position. He had a few rules that I must agree to follow. I was supposed to call him every day for a month. I did that. At the end of the month, on the last day, I called him, and he said to me that I did not have to call him anymore. And I was like “What?” But I want to call you every day. That was the answer he was looking for.
It has been close to a year, and I call him every day. He also started me on the journey with the Men’s Intensive Big Book, Steps, Study. We have been working our steps in tandem with each other. My sponsors sponsor, my sponsor, and then myself. I had been doing the work, praying and acting As If.
And God seemed to be pleased because he sent me young men to work with, something my life had lacked for all the years I was sober. They have taught me many things, about themselves, and about myself, and about us.
In May of 2014, he invited me to my first Men’s Intensive Weekend at Mad River Barn, in Vermont. Being the only Queer in the bunch, I told them my stories about getting sober in certain groups. And the fact that people sent me away because I was gay! That changed everything. It was the first weekend where men from other places listened to me and spoke kindness to me. I came home from that weekend with lessons I still use today. I work the same way with my guys, that my sponsor works with me.
The weekend after then Men’s Intensive, it was my hope to share a round up with my guys. It was an ok weekend. The singleness of purpose problem was a barrier for my guys, and they felt left out of the US and segregated to just them and the just us club. But the message was clear from the Atlantic Group.
The Mantra was “THE WORK.”
Since May I have talked about the work, and how that has panned out over the past seven months. In October of 2014, we again returned to Mad River for the Fall Men’s Intensive weekend. Sadly, that would be the last time we visited that Inn. This time around, I was asked to speak. Actually, before I even got home from the Intensive in May, an invitation to speak was waiting for me when I got home. So I had months to prepare. I did not get a notice on what I would be speaking on in any case.
Half our number came for the weekend. People were not pleased with the Inn from the last visit and the price had gone up considerably. Nonetheless, I was the opening presenter for Steps One and Two for the weekend.
I met some of the same men as the first time, but also got to meet several other men who had come for the first time. I had been working my steps, working with my guys, and I talked about that with the guys, a handful of them disagreed with my style and approach, and voiced those opinions.
My Sponsor listened to what I had said and told me to ignore them.What I was doing was working, so don’t get caught up in old men being pissy.
On the way to the Mad River Barn, My sponsor, myself and a friend, took an excursion to East Dorset Vermont to visit Bill’s House, where he was born and was raised. We also visited Bill’s and Lois’s grave with a group of women making an intensive weekend there at the house. It was a life changing event for me, and for all those who were there.
Standing on Bill’s Grave, speaking about recovery, to others present, changed my life. I had the opportunity to visit the man who started it all. Then attend an intensive weekend, and then bring all that home for my guys, my friends, my fellows, the list goes on and on. On the way home from that weekend, we visited the next site of the Men’s Intensive for Spring 2015. A little place called Saint Anne’s Shrine in Vermont. About an hours drive from here.
We have celebrated Thanksgiving and we are coming up on Christmas.
Three seems to be the magic number for me. A few weeks ago, I was introduced to a man who came to our Sunday night meeting, and since. I’ve become his sponsor. You loose one, God gives you another one. They say, when you work with others that, you might find folks to work with, and they might decide that drinking is far more fun, and take leave of you. But when one goes, there is always someone waiting in the wings to take their place. And so that has happened.
The Pre-Cake roller coaster did not take off this year.
There were no massive upheavals, no major issues, no major problems. It has been a slow burn. However, this year, I have not only had myself to work with, but my guys and my sponsor. I’ve really had no down time to think of myself. When the phone rings, it rings, I answer.
It is one thing to be present for your own sobriety, it is totally a different fish, when you are accountable to young men with whom you work with. They call every day. We talk every day, except when life takes precedence. I meet my guys once a week to talk, to read the Book, and to do Step Work. One of my guys moved to the states, this past fall for his M.A. so we Skype every week.
Thank God for technology and sponsorship.
They have totally kept me on my toes and busy with something to do and something new to think about on a daily basis. Working with others is the greatest joy you can have in sobriety. Because it isn’t about me, it’s about them. I’ve truly grown this year, in ways I couldn’t have imagined. All because I have done my work.
Now they do their work.
Continuing the story … This post is a two parter. It is Tuesday and mother nature dropped snow on us today. A little worried about people not coming, my sponsor says … “We went to any length to drink, snow or whatever, people will come, don’t fret!”
Our usual group of folks came. We called New Foundland to talk to one of our women who is up there with her new daughter, and I thought that it would be nice for all of us to talk to her, so we did that. Have phone will chat !!!
We covered the second half of Step twelve. There were lots of laughs and giggles, but it was all business.
So what can I say for sobriety, I am in my steps. My sponsees are in their steps. My sponsor is in his steps. We’ve now heard the steps presented three times in the last year. Twice in an intensive weekend, and once at our meeting for twelve weeks.
This journey to where I am today, started some time ago, and only now can I say, I’ve reaped the rewards of really working my sobriety for all its worth. No roller coaster, no drama. Everything is where it should be and all is well in my world.
It was bittersweet because one of my friends, who was sober, when I FIRST got sober, was here tonight. He got stuck in the revolving door for a long time, and now he is back. He’s got six months. And I think about him a lot. Had he stuck and stayed he would be long sober, longer than I am today, had he stayed. But he didn’t.
I did everything I was told to do. I’ve been blessed to be able to maintain the sober schedule I built thirteen years ago. And I did not deviate from that schedule. Ever. I stayed sober. Many of my friends did not.
What did I do right, and what did they do wrong?
We are all suffering alcoholics. Some got better, some didn’t. At least tonight, all in our number are alive, well and sober.
I am very grateful for all that I have.
Thanks for reading. More to come, stay tuned …
It is a momentous day today. And it was a very productive day today.
I was up very early this morning, with a plan in mind to get many things done early and have the afternoon free to fart around. I made one phone call to make a hair appointment, that I wanted in the morning, because, like I said, I was up already. What I got was a 2 p.m. appointment, which shifted my morning into the afternoon, because I wanted to make one trip and not several.
I thought about going back to bed, but thought better. Today is our tenth wedding anniversary, and I wanted to do something special, since tonight and tomorrow night I am busy.
I trashed an old monitor that’s been sitting in the living room gathering dust. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, since it is electronic, so I dumped it in the basement for the super to take care of. Then I cleaned up the apartment, and decided that I would put the Christmas Tree up.
I un-crated the tree and put it up, and loaded it up with lots of lights. We usually wait until the first snow to put the tree up. And it’s not so much a bother really, so that is a thing…
I went and did my grocery shopping early on.
I had to fill a few hours of time, I usually loathe daytime television. And I am finding that the massive amount of “stupid news” in the news is beginning to get on my nerves. I wish there was another page I could assign as my homepage instead of Yahoo or Bing or BBC. UGH !!!
My take on the news is this … If it ain’t Canadian, It’s not my bother… And most of that shit news is coming from all points south. But the Canadian Yahoo picks up every stupid news story that comes across the wire on any given day.
I mean really, people are being denied marriage rights in the states and with the push of marriage equality coming to South Carolina, we’ve broken into the RED south. And as of a few days ago, Charles Manson, was given a fucking marriage license to marry some tart who is trying to exonerate a killer who is in prison for life, and some say she is “smart???”
Let’s deny marriage rights to gays, yet let’s give a murderer a marriage license !!!
The world is seriously coming to an end me thinks …
I got prepped to go early, I really did not have a plan in mind, besides getting my hair cut. So I headed out to the mall with plenty of time. My favorite card store was having a sale on Christmas Cards, and I needed a card for hubby, so that was stop one. This year I was smart, I bought regular sized cards, and not those micro cards that aren’t mailable.
I saw a commercial on tv for this great little griller from T-Fal. It would make a great little Christmas present. So stop two was Canadian Tire. I was terribly disappointed to see that that little gift was running a whopping $300.00 !!! Certainly out of my price range.
I went and looked at decorations, like we need more? We have a huge box of baubles that we have collected over the years and we really don’t have any extra room for another storage box for more baubles.
I went and had some lunch. My one guilty pleasure, fatty, fast food. It was good !!!
Finally I made my hair appointment. It was pretty cut and dry. High and tight, just like Papi !!!
I’ve seen many variations on this haircut, and it seems to be the most popular cut as of late.
I made my way home with a couple hours to waste before my evening departure.
When the sun went down, the temp’s plummeted. But it wasn’t as cold, early on, as it was on the way home. They have rerouted sidewalk traffic up the block, because workers have dug up the entire walkway in front of the Forum, and they created a pedestrian lane counter traffic with big cement barricades.
I got to the church. There is a nice blanket of snow on the yard. I am sure this will be a good first layer of snow, that will now pile up over the winter. The shrubbery by the main door is covered in snow.
We sat a small group. And the writing is on the wall. We won’t be going into December. I now have both keys, to turn in for their deposits, $25.00 a head. And I am slowly redirecting supplies to other meetings, since others can use them so we don’t have to bring them home and store them.
We don’t have very much in the way of supplies, but we do have a $65.00 coffee urn that will go into storage. And the literature as well. I might just donate it to the other house meetings. They will go to good use.
We talked about self acceptance, which lead back around to page 417.
Acceptance is the KEY to ALL my problems.
It was a nice little discussion. We walked home, and it was bitter.
**** **** ****
So monumental day today… Ten years ago today, hubby and I were married in front of family and friends, at the Loyola Chapel on the Loyola Campus of Concordia University. It was the most responsible decision I have ever made in my life. We made a good choice. Marriage is a good thing.
I don’t see why some people in America can’t support marriage equality for every one. But like I said above, it ain’t Canadian, so why bother? Another great reason I left the U.S. when I did, because I have certainly more rights and privileges and a better life than had I stayed down there.
Life is beautiful, Marriage is beautiful. Family is beautiful. I could not have asked for more.
That was the day as it happened.
More to come, stay tuned …
The week came to an end, uneventfully. There were meetings and people, and everybody is good. I kinda dropped into a funk Friday, and took the night off, since it is the only night that I don’t have to do anything, or be responsible for putting on a meeting. I was not feeling all of myself, and if I can borrow a phrase … I was in the “lurgy!” Just feeling Blah and lethargic. I slept the balance of the weekend away. Sometimes my body just needs to sleep, and when that happens, I have no choice but to listen. That comes with the territory.
I departed early tonight to get coffee, which is on sale for a couple more days. We’ve been scooping up multiple cans of coffee for all the meetings in this area. IGA is good for cheap coffee, since my Costco shopper has been MIA for a awhile.
We sat a good crowd. We read “Gutter Bravado” from the Big Book, pg. 501.
We read the whole circle, but did not get back around before time was called.
We sit a good bunch of young people at this meeting. All of them are at different stages. The constant is that they keep coming back, no matter what. They’ve all decided to come for the solution, and that if they come, eventually the path will open.
The story tonight says many things …
- “Sobriety is about the journey and not the destination.”
- 3 Words of the Twelve Steps continue, improve, practice
- Humility is the Key
I picked up on a few things from the read, and a clear picture opened up in my brain as soon as I closed my book. Our writer spoke about his drinking as like a musician, “Practice, Practice, Practice.”
He tells the story of growing up in the Mid West in the 1960’s and visiting the West Coast and how enamored he was with it. He talks about school being a futile effort and then he decided to strike out West, where he quickly devolved into a hobo.
He wasted a good portion of his young life sunk in the bottle and other assorted drugs and such. I could identify with a stretch in the story. I came from an alcoholic home. And my parents used to green light us, drinking at home, they rather preferred us drinking at home than outside.
My drinking picked up in High School, to the extent that at the end of that run, I could have failed out of high school, had it not been for the hand of providence and the truth. I can see, looking back that it began with beer, as long as it was available. We threw in the odd bottle of hard liquor when we could get it. You could say, quite easily, that I spent a few years practicing my drinking before leaving home.
I had to go, and never thought about staying. Nobody offered me another option. And at that point, I did not know what was good for me. I had some good jobs, that paid well, and I did well in them. But the theme was alcohol. And nobody ever said Stop …
If you are a young person, my warning is simple. Don’t waste your young life sunk in a bottle or on drugs. Young people cannot contemplate sobriety early in life because, how would they live without it, until it becomes a problem and the need to be led out of that mine field.
A young life, barely out of the starting gate of life is better off clean and sober. Yes, we all have to have some drinking history, but it is proven that many young people have found their way to us, because it got too bad for them. I don’t know what my life would have turned out like or where I would be right now today, had I gotten sober when the very first warning flag went up. But like I said, I was too dumb, too stupid or too drunk to care, and nobody said STOP.
That is the most important word … STOP !!
I needed to hear it from someone else, because left to my own devices, I did not stop nor would I have stopped. I would have killed myself with the drink rather than facing the music of AIDS so many years ago.
Todd saved my life. And I am forever grateful to him for that life he saved.
I was in a middle class family. But the thought that they would assist in paying for college was a far stretch. I got a years scholarship for junior college, which I used up. But getting any farther was pointless, because One, I didn’t have the grades and Two, I could not afford it.
I grew up, decided that to be myself I had to move away, and the adventure of moving to a new place, only lasted for so long. A few months earlier, I visited Orlando and some new friends I had made. They lived in a certain apartment complex just down the road from the Tragic Queendom.
I loved the complex and set forth the idea that I must live there as well. And that is exactly where I ended up. I barely had the money to afford it, I had a job, that did not go very far, because I was drinking away my car payments, rent and bills. I was terribly woefully ill prepared to be responsible for myself. I was not ready, and nobody stopped me, so I guess silence gives consent.
When I got sick in 1994, Todd said STOP and THAT was ENOUGH. For the first time I got a stab at responsibility and peace of mind. So lets say I began drinking at an early age, (my teens) and stopped for the first time at twenty six. I was on the wagon for a few years.
When I came back the second time I was in my mid thirties. Too old to be young, and too stupid, sunk in the visions of a delusional mind. I was just hanging on. When I made that decision to stop, God stepped in and my life took a turn for the better.
Now almost thirteen years later, I never imagined that my life could be this good, that I would be where I am, with the people I want in my life and the partner I always wanted to have. We all have to trod our own paths. I know that had ONE day changed in the past, had one thing changed along the journey, I probably would not have arrived here and live this life I am living.
Everything happens for a reason. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.
Some folks are not meant to be in our lives forever. You never know when the lesson is going to happen. I must have missed the warning signs, or was too stupid and drunk to realize they were there, but I didn’t care about anything that getting my next drink, in my twenties … FUCK !!!
It did not take long for alcoholism to get its grubby hooks into my soul.
I was fucked from the word Go !!!
Thank God I did not die along the way.
A friend of mine had lunch with a friend who is wanting to make it in, but hasn’t yet. And she came to the meeting and said to us all, what a grace it was to be in that conversation, but she had a question for God … “You have a plan, right ???”
There is a plan. It is not mine. It will become yours once you make that decision. I can’t tell you how it works, or why it works, or what it will do for you. You only need to decide you want a solution, and as soon as you do, heaven will shift and take you in, and put you on the best journey of your life,
All is well. We celebrated a cake. Lots of happy sober people.
More to come, stay tuned …