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Literature

Tuesday … Much Better than Monday !

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Courtesy: Dying Won’t Kill You

Today it was much warmer than it was yesterday (it is still cold) and last night. As I said over the weekend, things would get worse, before they got better. With the wind chill last night, temps dropped to Minus (-26c) over night. It was windy, and brutal. The shelter buses were running all over town gathering the homeless to take them to sites that had beds for them.

And I actually heard one of them say, on the news last night, that “some homeless folks won’t take shelters up on a warm bed and hot food and coffee, because of pride, and obstinacy.” Sadly, they would rather sleep in a snow drift, or in a cardboard box, or under a bridge instead.

The metro platforms across the city are choice sleeping sites because they are warm, BUT they aren’t open all night, and will eventually have to be vacated, so they end up outside in any case.

No matter how hard we try to work with those who have nothing, some choose having nothing rather than accept help. Kinda makes you throw up your hands …

All the snow that fell in the previous week, has turned to ice. They have not plowed several streets near home or in NDG tonight. So all those snow drifts that exist, are now ice castles. it was a dangerous trek tonight, with sidewalks and streets covered in ice, and then snow fell this evening to top it all off … This cold snap continues through the week, and we will see minus twenties again.

After my Sunday event of trying to get from home, to the church and back home with dry feet failed, I had to do something. My favorite pair of boots failed on me again. I had a hair appointment Monday afternoon. Afterwards I went to “The Tire” to check out pro style rubber boots. I must say that they aren’t cheap. Fifty dollars later I had a pair of my own.

I had a conversation with a friend last night and told him about my trek and purchase, and I learned something from him … “Never let your feet get wet and cold” because that will kill you fast !

I’d never heard that before. But I never had a problem with wet socks and feet up until now. I always managed to get around slush puddles well. It was just terribly bad on Sunday. They had cleaned up that mess overnight, don’t know how they did it, but the puddles were all gone today.

I made the trek out this evening. When I got to the other end, it was slip and slide all the way down the hill to the church. People were lined up like penguins following each other step for step, managing the slick ice covered sidewalks.

We began a 35 week survey of the Big Book, with Joe and Charlie. Joe and Charlie are two sober members that host Big Book Weekends. I don’t know if they are still alive today, but we have the tapes, nonetheless. Once you get past the southern accents and the drawl speaking, and some don’t, they go over the book section by section. But they don’t just go over the book, they tell stories around the section of the book they are on.

Reading a book on any given subject is good. Going to university to learn about a topic or subject is good. You have a book to read, lectures to hear, and papers to write in the end. But I found over ten years of study, reading books that lie “around” my subject was also a good decision.

I have all kinds of books in my library that touch on many areas of let’s say religion, or theology, or spirituality … and on and on. Then I have books that I’ve collected that I have read to broaden my reading into other, familiar areas. I call that “Side Literature.”

The Big Book, is a stand alone read. It tells us about the problem, what doctors and others say about the problem, as it pertains to them, then it tells us the method on how to get sober, and offers a solution to our three fold problem, that being bodily, mentally and spiritually.

You can get sober if you read the book, hopefully with another set of eyes, to help you along. I’ve been reading the book for more than thirteen years, and to this day, every time I read from it, something new comes to light, even if the words are still that same.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve read all the historical books: A.A. Comes of Age, Dr. Bob and the Good old timers, Language of the heart (Grapevine articles), and Pass it On.

Aside from the main story told in the Big Book, the “side literature” speak about all those involved in the very first years, decades into today. It is good reading. The broader view of the main players in the fellowship give insight to how it all happened.

Now I listened to the first section of the tape tonight, and I heard the guys talk, and I knew what they were talking about and the who, what, where and why, because I added the side literature. This is all added knowledge for the guys I work with.

For a long time, I skimmed the surface. And that was sufficient to a point. And I thought tonight, that yes, I read the books, worked my steps, and did all that was told to me. And that was all well and good, again, for a while …

But I witnessed people doing something different, and I wanted to do it too. And I stepped up and joined the party going on around me. I went to round ups and listened to new people tell me how they did it, and what happened because of that work, again, I wanted that too. So I stepped up my game, and I did what they told me to do, and that made all the difference in my life.

There is a wealth of information to be had, if you know where to find it. All those books you see on the literature table at any given meeting, are meant to be read, not just meeting decoration on a table nobody really pays attention to. Yet we put it out at every meeting.

Pamphlets and literature are what keeps up going in between meetings.

This is merely a suggestion … Read the Books.

A new study method was introduced tonight. Not everyone was pleased with that choice. Hopefully they will come back for more, because this is a long haul project.

A good night was had by all. More to come, stay tuned …

It was a good night. More to come, stay tuned …


Tap Tap Tap …

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“The way you make people feel says a lot about you.” Jordan Bach

Add another stellar day to the calendar. At the sun’s zenith this afternoon, it was quite steamy out. And the sweaty, dirty, humpy roofer men were up on a second roof just cranking out another new roof.

Several of these men took matters into their own hands as I watched them cut the sleeves off their shirts because it was so steamy up there, out in the sun.

They have another day’s work ahead of them, but the roof is covered and they still have a layer of roofing to put down.

It was a glorious day. I ran some errands, did some supermarket safari this morning after waking in the middle of a very strange dream.

I was on a sinking ship and then found myself in a foreign place, but at the end of the dream, I met up with someone who had been looking for me and knew my name and where I came from … The rest of the dream is gone and I woke up before I could figure out just what was going on.

That’s what usually happens in these technicolor dreams that take place at the very end of a sleep cycle.

I almost went back to bed to see if I could reconnect with the dream and let it play itself out, but that never happens either. Once a dream ends, it is impossible to reconnect to it, later …

I’ve not been able to work that one out.

So I got up – dressed – went to the store – got my laundry money and came home and proceeded to do laundry for the week since we were on our last pairs of underwear in the dresser.

You know its time to do laundry when you run out of clean underwear…

I departed early because I had stops to make on the way and I arrived at the church early and cranked out set up – I had brought a book with me but I was satisfied with listening to music on my phone.

I can’t get enough of Fleetwood Mac.

We sat a full compliment. One of our elder statesmen was in the chair. And he chose to read from Daily Reflections and The Spiritual Angle.

There was a healthy discussion of all things spiritual. From quoting the Big Book and hearing the sainted words of sponsors past, and what each of us has learned about the spiritual path, that is recovery.

One friend has returned to church looking for God, and in that quest to find God, he has a lot of questions. Then he said this … “I’ve never had a spiritual experience of the extraordinary kind, but the educational variety”

And I am half waiting for God to drop out of heaven and tap me on the shoulder and say “Hey, here I am, I wasn’t lost, you were…”

Another member said that if we only took the time to get quiet, and listen for that still small voice, we would make room for God to make His presence known to us.

Tap, Tap, Tap … “This is God, Here I am. I’ve been sitting her waiting for you to find me. All you have to do is look within and notice the breath in your lungs and the life you have – and there I am.”

I’ve lived a long life to this date. And there are many occasions I could tell you about where I saw or felt God’s presence.

The most important spiritual experience, well two of them in fact that happened when I was in seminary and just after I left was when David came to me after he had died.

The first time was the night of his wake – I was there. I returned to the school and went into the chapel to pray. I was alone, and along the back wall of the chapel were confessionals. I heard a door open and footsteps that moved from the back wall to the altar in front of me. The sacrament candle exploded and illuminated the high mural on the back wall above me.

And there was David, standing in front of me wearing my favorite shirt, the one he appeared to me in twice. And he said not to be sad, that he was free.

I have a Miraculous Mary medallion that his mother gave me when he died. I wear it still, to this day. I never leave the house without it.

The second time David appeared was in San Francisco. I had gone on a trip to San Francisco with colleagues. I went on a Mission District tour of an old church. In the graveyard was a life like statue of St. Anthony, our patron saint.

I heard a voice that bade me to follow. So I did. i walked into the church and up to the lectern and a voice said to me “look up …” I looked up and there was David standing on the balcony above the congregation seating.

God exists. And He does great things for us.

When I got sober the first time, God made manifest in the guise of Todd, who became my greatest champion. When I was sick, he took care of me, when I cried, He held me, when I was lost, he found me. And in my worst times, he lifted me up, unlike any other man, IN MY LIFE !!!

I did not die, But I lived.

There is a God.

Over the past almost twelve years, I’ve attended hundreds of meetings in the same space since I got sober. That’s many meetings. That’s hundred of people that have come and gone from those rooms.

If you want to see God – go to a meeting. Participate in someone else’s life. Watch them, over time, get clean and sober. 

See the life return, see the light rise in their eyes, and watch THEM find a God of their own understanding, trust me, you WILL see God.

You never know when something you say, may bring God closer to someone than He’s ever been.

I know that this spiritual practice we engage in takes time, and like all things, takes practice, prayer, and patience. I know that after all these years, my spiritual practice has given me words that are not mine at times.

During my days, a multitude of situations may arise. People come into my life right at the right moment, or vice versa, I come into their lives at the right time, because I get to share words with them. I find I have words in my heart that appear when needed and are useful.

Sometimes a kind word comes, a teaching, a lesson from experience, that I get to pass on to someone who might need it. And that has happened in the past few days. On a number of occasions.

When do you pray ???

It depends. It depends on the moment, and what is in front of me. I have friends all over the world by association and in person. Those people I know personally, and those I follow as part of a specific community.

Numerous times a day, someone writes … “Please pray for this or that…”

And momentarily, I stop and I say a prayer. I send light in a specific direction to a particular person. And in the moment I connect with the God of my understanding and WE participate in the life of another, if only for a moment.

Then, at the end of my night, when I sit here and close my day, I recall all those people from the day, and I mention them to God once more, as I give them over for the night into the hands of God.

I’ve learned how to do this over time.

I also realized today after hearing someone mention “church” at the meeting tonight, that he was sitting in Phillips Square … Which is a small square downtown with a statue and several street shops, where people congregate, and across the street from there is Christ Church Cathedral.

And this man walked across the square and went into the church, where he sat down, and eventually knelt to pray. And in that moment, he sat with God.

I realized that yes I go to the Cathedral for services on the odd occasion.

But I miss the sacrament.

I miss the tabernacle and the presence of the Body of Christ in the church.

There are hundreds of churches in this city. Most of them tourist traps. I used to travel to Old Montreal to Notre Dame Cathedral Church/Sacre Coeur to pray before the blessed sacrament.  I haven’t done that in a long long time.

But that message made itself perfectly clear to me as I was sitting in a meeting.

Is that ODD or is that GOD ???

I know for me – God exists.

I’ve made space for him in my life.

And that took almost twelve years of sobriety to realize.

And I think I will end on that note.

Goodnight.

More to come, stay tuned …


Is there life after the drink? wait for it …

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Courtesy: Rockthesox

They say it is gonna rain. However I made my trip out and back without issue. But it was rather humid and a little sweaty … We are under a severe thunderstorm watch this evening.

It was a regular Tuesday night, all my friends were accounted for at the meeting, and the chair was out of town, a friend stepped up to chair, and he handed me the Big Book and asked me to find a topic for the evening.

Since we are reading from the book at another meeting, and over the last month, the same topics have been given to discuss, I was tiring of hearing the same lines over and over, (although some would say that we need that repetition to get it in our heads), I chose to go with something hopeful and encouraging.

“We have shown how to get out from under. You say, “Yes, I’m willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?”

Yes, There is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in A.A. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.

“How is that to come about?” you ask. “Where am I to find these people?”

You are going to meet these new friends in your own community. Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds. High and low, rich and poor, these are the future fellows a A.A.

Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey.

Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of:

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

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

This was an interesting topic. Because it elicited a good amount of silence around the table. It is difficult for our newcomers to be given such hope so early. They are still getting used to coming, and learning and doing and learning how to “BE.” To become a human being instead of a human doing.

We’ve discussed over and over ad nauseum the problem, the solution, the problem and the solution. I thought it would be good to hear a major promise …

“The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead…”

That is a major promise. And we get it inside the first 164 pages of the book, in the lead up to the Vision for You statement.

We read previous to this passage on pages 152-153 that “he cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping off place. He will wish for the end…

Going from the insanity of the drink and life being in the tank, to the hope of finding out about the problem and finding the solution, and then learning that the best years are to come is massive in the life of the hopeless and downtrodden.

We are learning how to live within the book, because within those pages is hope and identity. Over the past few weeks the roller coaster has been running at full speed and I have been challenged like no other time in my relationship. Enough that I almost ended it. Save for wisdom from meetings and friends.

I have to hang on to the hope that the most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. I have to stay out of my head and keep the hamster off the wheel, because if I engage in insane thinking, insanity ensues, I will go crazy.

This is what happens when you try to get sober for two instead of one. UGH !!!

It was a good day. We are all hopeful.

More to come, stay tuned …


Talk Amongst Yourselves …

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Courtesy:Tumblr Photography

It is July 4th, or so it was a little while ago. It is well after midnight right now. And I wasn’t going to write – but I changed my mind.

Forest Fires up in Northern Quebec is wreaking havoc on the electrical grid here in the city. Now for the second day wide spread power outages have zapped the city into the dark. Yesterday it was the Metro and La Rhonde amusement park and cityscape outages, and today hundreds of thousands were without power at the dinner hour leaving homes dark, restaurants unable to serve patrons, it was mayhem for a few hours, until they restored the power.

It seems that the church and at home, the power never went off.

I left uber early because I needed to pay the rent to the church, and instead of making two trips back and forth, I just opened the hall and set up around 4:30. I had brought a couple of books that I am working on reading, that kept me busy for a while, when I wasn’t out front people watching.

I hope this is not a bad omen … but not one guest came to the meeting tonight.

Not One …

Thankfully we have several founders who show up without fail because it is a home group for them, and that left six of us for the meeting. Needless to say, I improvised with the format, but I kept my topic just the same.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from Alcoholism.

The only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for membership, we are self supporting through our own contributions.

A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.

Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Copyright A.A. Grapevine, Inc.

It comes as a surprise that in all the years of sobriety, we have heard this reading read at the beginning of every – or most all the meetings – one goes to anywhere, anytime by any group. Over and Over ad nauseum.

Never in my entire time in sobriety have I ever heard someone bring it up at a meeting for discussion. But when we attended the West Island Round Up, I heard a long time member, 32 years, speak about the Preamble. And how important it is as a document that should be up there with the Declaration of Independence.

I heard her speak it again on tape once again here at home. And I decided that the next time I was in the chair I would introduce this reading and put it up for discussion. I had hoped for people to come to the meeting and the discussion go on for the entire period.

But we were six tonight. So we had a leisurely discussion amongst friends what we thought about the reading and what we have learned about it from our multi-year sober journey. As there are members with more than twenty years, a couple with a few years, and myself with 11 and a half years.

We did not go the entire hour. We closed up early and came home.

Like I said I hope this wasn’t an omen of things to come, because we won’t be able to keep the doors open without people showing up and contributing…

That is all for now ….


Out of the Field they Come …

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They say the weather is going to change for the worse overnight and into tomorrow. The usual plans are now up in the air depending on whether or not the heavens open up and dump torrential rain upon us like out in the prairies.

Just thinking about torrential rain brings back terrible memories because of what happens to our city when it rains a little too much. Highways flood, streets flood. Our 1800’s drain system of the city become overwhelmed and water goes everywhere.

If we are lucky the church won’t flood like it did some time ago. Hopefully that much rain won’t fall, and we will escape the ills of the city along with mother nature.

It has been a quiet couple of days. Lots going on down south to which I am proud to witness in my lifetime. Not the balance of the U.S. states who DON’T have marriage equality, in my opinion, once the tidal wave begins will fall like dominoes and everybody will be a participant in being “equal” — still Florida does not have marriage equality so it matters not to me or my life at this point. So we can be hopeful of the future.

It was a breezy night and I arrived at the church with plenty of time to set up and enjoy the weather in the garden before the meeting. It is my belief that if we get one, or better yet two newcomers at the meeting, we get to do our jobs and do God’s work well.

As was the case tonight, new faces came and participated. As the meeting progressed and the shares began we learned a great deal about each other. And what we have learned is that there is a whole “other” group of people out there suffering in their addictions and one of our men is part of that grouping.

Sadly, I have to concur that there aren’t many open and affirming A.A. groups that openly support and welcome LGBTQ members. I have seen it in my own life.

And today I ONLY participate in groups that folks are Open and Affirming to ALL and not just Some.

I was sorry for them and inquired at the end of the meeting what I could do to help, hopefully we will see our new friend again and be able to reach out and minister to those who need it and are afraid of coming …

We shared on the run up to Step Three … “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.”

The notion of changing our lives, turning it over, letting go of ourselves and become interested in others, coming to know a Higher Power and allowing him to guide our lives from this point on.

But so many people get stuck here and some never move past the log jam. And this is all down to what the world, society, and religion has forced down our throats about who God is and what he will do to us if we err and sin …

I heard something that resonates … When one of our men came in and got to this point, his sponsor said this to him … God is God is God. However it falls, God is God. Find him in your own way and come to believe that He will help you if you are ready.

Group of Drunk
Going Out Doors Good Orderly Direction

It’s all the same thing. The biggest help that Bill and Bob gave to the fellowship come in one short sentence. “God … As we understood him.”

It opens the door to those who have had such issues with God that they can’t come to believe because of the hang ups. No two powers are the same. No two alcoholics are the same. But eventually we find a power greater than ourselves.

What is His Work, and how do we do it well ???

That line shows up on page 63 of the Big Book. In the beginning it was all down to service to a group. To begin rebuilding your life, you had to give of yourself at the group level and become Part Of so that you can become One Of.

Suit up, Show up and be one of many, instead of alone and lonely.

I’ve said in the past and I repeat it often that “PRESENCE” is the greatest gift we can give each other. The meeting before the meeting and the one that follows the meeting is very important to outreach and working with others.

I come early, I set up and make coffee so that when YOU show up, we can have a coffee and chat a bit and i can get to know you better. That’s the whole purpose of community. Man is not meant to be alone. But there are those out there who are alone, and it is always my hope that one day I could walk out into the field with my fellows and welcome and affirm folks who are out there suffering.

Changing Attitudes, Tuesday Beginners, and Sunday Niter’s, Vendome Beginners and North End English are ALL open, welcoming and affirming.

We will welcome you and be part of your lives. We have all known suffering and pain, and through our groups we will help you heal your souls.

That is what I believe that Jesus would have wanted us to do. Because He always did what was right in front of him, he never really had a plan, it all played out day to day. But he welcomed and affirmed. Loved and cared for the least.

And that is what we do too … What is in front of us.

Tonight we had work come, and show up, right in front of us. Hopefully the words we shared tonight will nest and foster our guys to come back and visit us again.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned…


Faith and Acceptance

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The week has come to an end.

It is raining out … So much for a dry and sunny weekend for the Formula One Race on Sunday. But mother nature still has some time to pull it out for the city.

Tonight we ventured to North End English. We noticed tonight that the tables were moved out into the common room for the meeting, to allow more folks to be “in the meeting” rather than “sitting on the outside looking in.”

The topic came from As Bill Sees It. And mentions Faith and acceptance and goes on to talk about Humility and Love …

I need my meetings like I need air in my lungs. Once you begin to attend ANY particular meeting, you begin to invest in the many lives of the folks who also go to that meeting. The Friday night meeting is a place that I can be honest and let go my inhibitions to share certain things opting to let it all go, because others, let it all go as well.

We go to meetings because we need them to learn how to live, but more importantly, I go because I need my friends around me. They need to hear me and I need to hear them. It is mutual interest in each others journeys.

I have faith. Meetings are my calling. It is what I do with myself. There is a roof over our heads, which I pay for every month like clockwork.

I benefit from assistance I get from the states because of AIDS. It is constant, I can rely on it. However hard some may think I need to “just get a job ! ” I answer with … Find me a long term job that is gonna pay me clear $900.00 a month like clockwork. Knowing I don’t speak French and that if I got a job I would forfeit my monthly stipend. There is safety in the plan I am on now.

It is tedious. Some just don’t get how tedious it is.

I have humility to say, I don’t have all the answers, and I can bow down and ask for help, rather than trying to do it all by myself. It isn’t about my ego. It is all about God and God’s time.

Acceptance is the key to all  my problems. Trust was mentioned tonight, as in how do you find it and what do you do with it? I trust my friends, and I trust my husband. That’s what you get in a long term relationship, trust and love.

Recently, I have just been walking forwards. Since the roundup I have had spiritual experiences. Yet I haven’t found the person who is supposed to brief me on what to do next. I’ve been on this quest for some time now.

I walk forwards, as things and people in my life have been in turmoil. I am powerless over people, places and things. I just have to trust, and I’ve done that and so it goes. Everything I need has been provided for. And I am just walking and doing the Three, Seven and Eleven shuffle.

I called in a favor tonight from a friend. Hopefully he will be able to assist me.

One of our men took fifteen years tonight. And like me, he spoke directly to me and to others in the room, that he needs us to be present for him to stay sober. and that was quite a little wink from God, like, keep doing what you are doing.

All will be well.

It was a good night.

More to come, stay tuned…


Tuesday, First Things First …

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Courtesy: Jonathan by Pete Taylor on Flickr

The week has begun. And mother nature is making up for so much cold and snow with gorgeous days filled with sunshine and warmth. Rain is in the forecast, the trees and green spaces are greening up very nicely. But we also need to be watered.

As is usual, I was up and ready to go early this evening. With it being so nice outside, getting to the meeting early payed. We spent the time before the meeting sitting outside the church talking – the meeting before the meeting.

The room was full. We sat almost every chair. And we read from Living Sober, and First things First. It is good that newcomers come to this meeting, and we get to hear how they parse and put to use the slogans and passages from the book in their lives, as they get sober. Oh the pains of early sobriety !!! Everything is upside down and things are crazy and life hasn’t fallen into shape just yet, so the struggle continues for them.

it is also good the people with considerable time are interspersed between the newbies, and we all listen, because it is the newcomer that keeps us with time around.

One of our men quoted H.A.L.T … Hungry Angry Lonely and Tired

Another spoke of what he learned in his first ten years, in hindsight, and what changed in the second decade of his sobriety. And why he still goes to meetings as often as he does. So that he never picks up that first drink.

It is funny what stories come to mind for me when I go to a meeting. And they seem apropos to the topic at hand.

Getting down and dirty I spoke. The first time I got sober, it was medically necessary. I was diagnosed with terminal illness and I was given my end date. I got and stayed sober. I did everything I was told to do, in a first thing first method. And I never strayed very far from those directions, and they saved my life.

Yes, I counted to days until I was supposed to die, and however hard my sponsor, then, chided me, I did it anyways.

When I got to my death date, I was still alive. And With that I had to figure out what I was going to do next. That led me to four years of sobriety. But slogans and pointers became less and less used. And I began to fade from the program and my sobriety lost its priority. S.L.I.P.

I took my good health for granted and made that fateful decision to upgrade my alcoholism to drug addiction. Surely that step up should have, in no uncertain terms, knock time off my timeline.

I was fully shot by the time I took my last drink the second time. Kicking the drugs was easy, because I put distance between me and them and never looked back. But the drink took longer to stop, because I was wrapped up in “ME.”

But I eventually put down the drink, and got sober the second time. Still alive and having a life was something that I was trying to save, once again. Coming here I found a place, a meeting and a doctor.

The geographic was the best decision I had ever made. Because I have achieved things I never thought would be possible. Sobriety paid off because I was given certain direction. And I obeyed that direction. I built my life around my meetings, I listened to the slogans and read the books from cover to cover.

And to this day, we are still reading to same books, cover to cover in some instances. And a reading here and there. All those things I heard in early sobriety are still being said almost twelve years later.

First things First …

I need quiet time in the morning. I need to say my prayers. I need to order my day, and get to a meeting. I need to take my pills and I need to eat. And when I am tired I need to sleep.

The thought that God could pull the rug out from under me still remains visible in my rear view mirror. I’ve been on a good run for a long time. And if I forget or ignore first things first, I am doomed.

There is order in my day today.

Most of my friends are sober, so, if I want to see them, I need to carry myself to a meeting. I need to arrive twenty minutes early and stay twenty minutes late.

I need to stay out of my head. I need to talk to my sponsor regularly. I need to work with newcomers. I need to give back.

…But obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got …

Which is why we go to meetings, and we read the books and we share. Where else are you going to learn what it is to give and what to give, if you don’t stick around and learn?

Thank God for newcomers. It all seems easier, now that I am here, and not there. However I don’t begrudge them their struggles. If it was so easy peasy, we wouldn’t work so hard getting sober.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned…


The Garden …

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Courtesy: Mauvo

We are sitting at (2c) at this hour. And a snowfall warning is in effect for tomorrow, they say 15 to 25 cm of snow will fall, which is pretty big for the month of March. If totals are high over the city on this round, we could see a repeat of piles of snow everywhere. Stay tuned on that front … it will be exciting.

The last week of the month has not been kind, and being a few days early and a few dollars short, I got another chance to practice humility and honesty. I don’t fear being honest, and having to ask for favors on the odd occasion.

The pharmacy fills my medications ahead of time, and they called today to say they were ready, but the $85.00 total was out of my budget and my hands today. Thankfully, my words is good, and I get another credit today so that I could get my meds and pay on Thursday.

The weather has been balmy the past couple of days, the calm before the storm, the sun even made an appearance for a while today. I set off for the church around 5, with stops on the way pegged my arrival around 5:30.

My newbies did not show up for set up. So much for accountability. I got the urns perking and jammed out setup before the 6:15 business meeting began. We gained another handful of members tonight, which brings us up to I think 25 members. I need to add them to our email member list.

We sat 50 people tonight. And the chair had us read from Came to Believe. The read comes from the back of the book, page 103, Changing Beliefs.

The quote that stood out to me was: “There is good in all of us. Seek it out, nurture it, tend it, and it will flourish.”

This passage touches on the Steps and most importantly, Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him. It also talks about “coming to believe.”

At the end of my drinking career, I was a lonely lone drinker, in a room of people who cared not that I was standing there. My self esteem was shot, and I was alone. And had I dropped off the face of the earth, prior to coming back in, nobody would have missed me. And that’s the truth.

I had nothing to loose when I came back. And thank God that people took me in and helped me begin to rebuild the life that I was living. I pulled a geographic in sobriety here. The only thing I did right was spending two weeks prior getting to know the city, find meetings and connect.

The journey began when I started doing meetings here. I needed someone to take me by the hand and show me how it was done here. And I got that from my sponsor at that time. The journey to learn about God began. Because I had to find the God of my understanding once again.

They told me to keep coming back, to stay in my day, to turn it over. It took me a long time to learn what these things meant. Akin to planting a new garden. I came here, and began to till the soil, so to speak.

I started going to meetings, I began to plant my seeds, THEN I had to give the garden time to grow. If you’ve never planted a garden, you can’t rush the growth cycle. It is going to grow on God’s time. I became willing to wait on my garden, when at first I thought I needed a full garden, RIGHT NOW !!!

Wrong …

Many people talked tonight about Coming to the rooms, Coming to, then Coming to believe. Notice the steps are gradual. Everybody is unique and it may take some time to come to believe. And that’s where willingness comes in.

The other thing I heard tonight is that what ever is going on in my head, the act “AS IF” works if you work it. Also, just suit up and show up, you never know how you will help someone by just showing up.

At one time we may have thought terrible and unreal things about ourselves, and when I came in to the rooms, like many others like me, the people in the rooms loved me and believed for me until I could love myself and believe for myself. The paradoxes of sobriety ring true.

Obviously we cannot transmit something that we don’t have ourselves.

Come to meetings, keep going to meetings. Learn about yourself and your fellows. Read the book. Work the Steps. Honesty, Willingness and Open mindedness is key. Stick around until the miracle occurs.

Give freely of what you have been given.

Plant your garden, and watch it grow. Patiently.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Unity, Recovery, Humility …

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Courtesy: Lauren Marek

The weather is turning warmer, well, warmer than it has been as of late. It is manageably cold, (-13c/-19c wc) at this hour, but not frigidly cold.

There are a lot of thing percolating in my brain tonight. I’ve mentioned that lately sobriety is coming in small bits and pieces or more like words that jump off the page, the ones we read over and over, but lately, I’ve been noticing and making note of words that come up haphazardly. I’ve also been very grateful for meetings because you never know when someone is going to say a word that y0u need to focus on and keep in mind.

The warnings are stark. Lessons I learned early on in sobriety have nested and become habit. The warning is this … You know what will happen if you decide you no longer need meetings!!! A long time friend is battling his demons and fellows were called upon to get him to a hospital because he just cannot stop drinking. Alcoholism is cunning, baffling, powerful and (patient).

I’ve heard it said before that while you are sitting in a meeting, alcoholism is waiting out in the parking lot doing pushups.

Today’s lesson is Humility.

And the fact that today I have humility. I take comfort in that I have the tools to ask for help, and not feel ashamed of not being enough or having enough. I’ve learned this lesson but it keeps repeating itself in my life even today.

We are not rich people, and sometimes not being rich is a problem because we need money, and not having money is a constant fear. The end of the month has come and we are a few days early and a few dollars short. I have been out of medication for two days but they were filled at the pharmacy for me ahead of time, they have a new loyalty renew program now. Meds usually run me close to $80.00 a month. I just don’t have $80.00 in hand right now.

Hubby tasked me with the job of being honest once again. And I am at peace with being honest, and speaking honestly, and being able to admit when I need a favor or a kindness from someone. And not feeling ashamed at being so honest.

I stopped at the pharmacy on the way out to see if they could cut me a a few days pills, which is a pain in the ass, and luckily my total bill for the month was only $10.00. And I looked at the young pharmacy lady and said …”I don’t have $10.00 on me right now…” She replied, “well, here you go, come and pay when you can.” (which will be Thursday)…

Simple kindness …

I called hubby from the mall to tell him that I got my meds and he replied, “all’s well that ends well.” So it was.

I arrived early and helped set up the room and folks came early so we had a meeting before the meeting. Sunday’s are a day to catch up on friends and fellows to sort out the week coming and to check in and plan to be of service in kind ways. People are not used to asking for help and today’s Tradition came from the book… Tradition one … “Our common welfare comes first, personal recovery depends on A.A. Unity.

It is cold, people are tired of the cold. And folks are finding it a challenge to stay connected and talk to fellows on a daily basis to check in so that if needed we can try and help. Where else can you go, to share what’s on your mind, with like minded folks, anywhere in the world, on a daily basis?

Why do we go to meetings? Because on our own, we could not lick this problem of alcoholism. We need the group to help us stay sober. And there is the warning again about what happens if you stop going to meetings, or finding that you don’t need meetings.

We are complicated people. And this is not a complicated program. Nobody is going to tell you what to do or what to say or command you to do anything. But we find ourselves, going back into our heads and getting crazy. And that’s why people showed up tonight. To take an hour out of their day to reconnect with a power greater than themselves.

We are not supposed to keep what we have, lest we loose it. We have to continually give it away. And we do that in little ways. We do that with a phone call, or a coffee date, some let’s get together time, doing service, but simply by just suiting up and showing up.

Last Sunday a friend came to the meeting and we sat through the meeting and we shared on topic and at the end of the meeting came the Serenity Prayer where he spoke to words You and Me. And I was receptive to You and Me.

This Sunday he came again, and at the end of the meeting we spoke and I was able to share with him how the words he said touched my heart and my mind and how grateful I was for the lesson that came to me simply. And he in turn told me the story of where he heard the iteration of the prayer, from a fellow traveler now living Down Under. So “You” and “Me” traveled from one to another and another.

Saturday night I hit a meeting and I heard another word that leap out at me that I was able to put into perspective something from my life that had since, evaded me, until a member spoke words that I was ready to hear.

Sobriety is coming in single words. Simple sentences.

I guess that’s the gift of coming back. The literature never changes. The words on the page have been there for decades. And week in and week out we read the same words, we say the same prayers, and we do the same things over and over again rote …

Now 11 years in, I am finding that I read the books and see and hear the words, and now, simply, words are leaping off the page and into my field of vision. I’ve also heard it said from long sober folks who speak the words “once you stay around for awhile, the outside job becomes an inside job.”

At the end of the meeting a young man got up to take his 2 year chip from his sponsor, who didn’t have a chip in hand for him, BUT another member just got his 2 year chip a few days ago, “and it’s about giving it away right” … so he dipped into his pocket and handed over his 2 year chip to our young man so that he could take a real chip from his sponsor.

What was it like for me at two years? that was 2003. I stayed sober. I had decided to go back to school, in my thirties, I attained Citizenship. I sat through culture shock and integrated into society here in Montreal. If it weren’t for the people who were part of Tuesday Beginners at that time in my life, my life would not have turned out the way it did. I relied on my home group unlike any other group of people, perhaps except Sober on South beach.

I had begun a sober relationship which later turned into a marriage. And today we are nine years married and eleven years together.

I came, I rooted. I listened. And I served. And I do that today.

I came, and I learned from the group, and in time I learned about giving it back freely. I get to rid myself of my ego and my attitude. When I cross that threshold of the room, I am just one of you. I am not better or worse. I am just me…

And on any given Sunday, when  bunch of me’s show up and we share, we find we are no longer alone. That we don’t have to be alone, or do this alone. And there’s the gift of the group and our common welfare.

I am grateful for simplicity, my friends and everybody who showed up today.

Wau Lam … That is all …

More to come, stay tuned …


Taking back my day …

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Courtesy: Freshie

The day was bright with lots of sun. It has been very mild in the city over the last few days. We are sitting at (-1c) at this hour, and flurries are on tap overnight, but we shall see. Much of the snow on the ground is melting. On the way to the church there is snow piled up here and there. But the lawn in front of the church is popping up amid melting snow.

We were up early today and we did our supermarket safari this afternoon instead of waiting for the afternoon rush hour. I had to take bottles back today. I attempted to do that the other day, but the bottle warriors beat me to the machine, with their loads and loads of bottles and cans.

It is a gamble if you bring back your recyclables and be able to use the machine. There was somebody at the machine when I got down there and I started running my bottles into the machine and 3 bottles in it stopped, the bag was full, which is when you have to go alert the speed cashier to tell a bag boy to come and collect the full bag and reset the machine. Thankfully, that got done quickly and I finished running my bottles.

A few of our newbies told me last week that they would show up early to help set up so I was going to leave close to 5 o’clock, but I was ancy so I called them to confirm, and a good bunch of folks are sick with the flu and they all skipped the meeting.

I left around 4:30 and walked through the mall.

I noticed today that the new Target has taken up a larger footprint, on the ground floor – it keeps growing one day to the next. Now they have appropriated all the space in the mall proper closer to the Metro tunnel entrance. Many of the phone kiosks that were located to that (right side) of the ground floor are now gone. And the new work wall sits about 50 feet from the front of the existing edifice (of the old Zellers) proper.

They have pushed all the way out possible from the front of the empty store and on the left of the entrance, down the entire side of the mall proper. On the right hand side moving left to right, from center, all the way down to the Yellow shoe store, which is about as far as they can push sideways/outwards into the mall walkway moving towards the gateway arch into the metro station.

It is a lot of space.

There is one diner kiosk that sits back to back with the new work wall (right of center) that has not been moved – yet !!! And they have put up the new front work wall right up to the back of the chairs that sit around the little diner.

All this space appropriation means that Target will have a very large footprint on the ground floor. In moving outwards into the mall proper, the walk way from the escalators from the mezzanine floor (street level) is cut by half.

If they appropriate more storefront property from the mall, that would kill the two existing diners that still sit where they have sat for years. The store is going to be BIG. We will see how much more space they may take up in the coming weeks.

The floor plans seems to be divide and conquer, because they keep changing up the footprint. There is not much more space they can take from existing vendors that occupy what is left of the ground floor. I did notice that there is a welcome sign on the front of the construction wall directly in front of what I assume will be the store front proper.

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

Since I was alone, set up went by rather quickly, and I was finished by 5 o’clock. and I sat outside for a while until the girls started showing up. We were a full house tonight. We sat 46 folks. The chair has us read from Chapter 2 of the Big Book, “There is A Solution.”

“We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired. If what we have learned and felt and seen means anything at all, it means that all of us, whatever our race, creed, or color are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a relationship upon simple understandable terms as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try.” pg. 28

We reflect on these words. This chapter offers us “A” solution. Which if you stick around a while becomes “THE” solution. They say that in the beginning we come to the rooms, then we “come to” and finally we “come to believe.”

Alcoholism is a disease of mind and body. And one day, if you stick around, you may have a spiritual experience that will change the game for you. As it has for countless others. Long time sobriety is contingent on the state of our spiritual condition on any given day.

On my anniversary, friends gave me a packet of all the prayers in the Book, which I have sitting here by the computer. I use them here and there. And today I realized that I need to use them every day.

I’ve been talking about the rat on the wheel situation, and I heard one of our ladies speak to this thought tonight as well. Once we stop drinking, and we find the solution to the drink problem, what comes next is the Think Problem.

And I allowed my brain to basically move out of my day. The further I spread my brain the more trouble I find myself in. Which means I have to reign in my brain and focus on today. With the 24 hours that I have today. And I have to listen to my friend Will when he iterates the Serenity Prayer thus …

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (YOU)

The courage to change the things I can (ME)

And the Wisdom to know the difference.

It was so simple, and I missed the cue for days. So Simple, two words, YOU and ME. When you parse the prayer into its constituent pieces it becomes so easy. And today we read from There is “A” solution. Thank god for simplicity.

Because I can really complicate things … so do we all at times.

We had two cakes. Two of our members took cakes. Both women, one took her 5 year cake … And we share this thought, at 5 years you hear that POP sound, which is your head coming out of your ass.

5 is a good round number.

You come in, you take your multiple months, then your year, then two, then five, ten, twenty and so on and so forth. And if you stick around you get to our second cake and that was 21 years. The women at our group are a tight bunch. And the sober sisters grow a little larger this year. They all keep us in line.

We had cake, lots of cake. Lots of new folks. Lots of conversation. A good night was had by all. Everybody left with food for thought. Which is always good.

Wau Lam… that is all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Holiday Haul …

WeNeedToTalk

It is cold out. We are sitting at a balmy (-10c) at this hour. I was up early and I dithered around the apartment trying to decide whether or not to go shopping. Hubby was doing laundry, so I showered and get ready to go.

The trains were packed at the 3 o’clock hour. Since we sit between 2 stations on the Green line, schools were all letting out. I headed off to Peel Metro.

I wanted to run into the Hallmark store beneath Scotia Bank Place Theatre where I do most of my holiday shopping. For the last few years, I shop here because of the family who owns the store. They are gracious and kind and I enjoy their store. I bought two boxes of Christmas Cards and a gift for a friend.

I set off for Bentley in The Eaton Centre to buy a new backpack – since I have destroyed the one I have. I go through backpacks quite quickly. The one I was using was ripped and really needed to be replaced. I found one that I liked and bought it. It was big enough that I could stuff my old one inside along with some items I bought at Hallmark.

I walked through Eaton Centre towards Place Montreal Trust to see the Christmas tree. I thought they would put up the one they have been using for the past few years, with the train running beneath it, but was pleasantly surprised to see a new tree. The old tree had huge ornaments that moved, spun and danced on the outside of the tree.

This years tree was more interactive – with big huge screens with different moving scenes on them. I should have taken a snap, but the tree was too big to get with my phone camera, so I will take my Nikon up there later on.

I stopped in at Indigo. And like I thought it was a Book Bonanza.

So many good books to choose from. I wanted a copy of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, which is one of the best books I have ever read. I had once bought a copy, and last year Yann Martel came to Montreal for a book reading, and he signed the copy I had and I sent it off to Will (of Not Adam not Steve) fame. Yann is his favorite author so the gift was a real happy moment for him.

I got another copy today along with “We Need to Talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. Many of the folks who work at Indigo highly recommended the book. Hubby said he would get me a gift card for Christmas. Which is good because there is a stack of books I want to get.

I saw a book by Linden MacIntyre called “Why Men Lie.” It is a hard cover book and from the dust cover seems to be set in the same period of his novel, “The Bishop’s Man,” which I have read several times over. There was another novel called “The Long Stretch,” on the bookshelf, both books seem to house the same characters. I wasn’t sure if they were a trilogy or stand alone books.

I looked this question up … The Long Stretch, The Bishop’s Man and Why men Lie is a trilogy. Called The Cape Breton Trilogy. (wiki) Now I have to get both the copies I haven’t read yet.

I could have shopped till I dropped … but I walked with two books, instead of many. It is very hard to say no to buying books because books are life. If I had a job, and I applied to them several times over the years, to no avail, I would work in a book store. That would be a dream job.

I got some lunch on the way out. I was craving me some Burger King, so that’s where I ended my shopping journey. It was a good haul. Now I need hubby’s Christmas list, so I can to shop for him next week.
Le Coeur Montreal was decorated with fantastical Christmas trees and recycled green and red bottles lit from within in different holiday shapes of trees, ornaments and decorations.

The train was full on the ride back. I went back to Atwater to come home through Alexis Nihon Plaza.

When I got home, I removed the patches that I had sewn on my backpack and prepared to sew them onto my new one. It is almost a ritual. When I first moved here – and the demonstrations began against the war, people told me to sew Canadian Flags on my backpack. And since then I have collected them from places I have visited like Parliament Hill in Ottawa and other places of note. That took me about an hour to finish. I was very happy with the way it turned out.

It was a good day. More to come, Stay tuned …


Saturday Night Follies …

The Midnight hour is upon us. Saturday Night Live is on teevee and I am sitting here trying to write something interesting.

Hubby was out all day, well into the evening, which allowed me to sleep in with lots of peace and quiet. I got up early in the afternoon and began working on my final book review of  “What is Gnosticism” by Karen L. King.

I did not do a good job on the first review so I had to do it again, which meant that I had to read the book AGAIN, which I did – and try to zero in on something specific, which I did this time. I found it difficult to talk about most of the book because of the language and terminology. There are some books you read that just seem written way above ones head, unless you are a biblical scholar.

Hopefully I did what I was supposed to do. This would be the first of three assignments that have to be done by the end of the month. I still have a paper to write about Sophia. That is coming along.

I am also working on my characterizations of Samuel chapters 24 and 26, the two stories about David and Saul. I had an appointment with my Prof yesterday and she gave me some helpful advice. She mainly said that I should have a full presentation ready and that I should take this assignment and have fun with it. So that’s what I am doing.

Tomorrow is the annual St. Patty’s Day Parade. The green line is painted all the way down Ste. Catherine’s Street and the barricades are on the corners and I noticed that they put up a slew of no parking signs up on the street we live on, because the parade steps off on our street up from the tunnel on the next block down. It will be mayhem down there all day tomorrow, thank God I did all my shopping today, so we won’t have to deal with the crowds and the barricades.

That’s all I have for you tonight.

More to come, stay tuned …


St. Irenaeus – Proof of the Apostolic Teaching

StIrenaeus

The Three Articles of Faith

And this is the drawing up of our faith, the foundation of the building, and the consolidation of a way of life. God, the Father, uncreated, beyond grasp, invisible, one God the maker of all, this is the first and foremost article of our faith.

But the second article is the Word of God, the Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord, who was shown forth by the prophets according to the design of their prophecy and according to the manner in which the Father disposed; and through Him were made all things whatsoever. He also, in the end of times, for the recapitulation of all things, is become a man among men, visible and tangible, in order to abolish death and bring to light life, and bring about the communion of God and man.

And the third article is the Holy Spirit, through whom the prophets prophesied and the patriarchs were taught about God and the just were led in the path of justice, and who in the end of times has been poured forth in a new manner upon humanity over all the earth renewing man to God.

Seven Heavens

But the earth is encompassed by seven heavens, in which dwell Powers and Angels and Archangels, giving homage to the Almighty God who created all things, not as to one having need of anything, but lest they too be idle and useless and accursed.

Therefore the Spirit of God in His indwelling is manifold, it is enumerated by Isaias the prophet in the seven charismata resting on the Son of God, that is, the Word, in His coming as man. For he says: the spirit of God shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness; the spirit of the fear of God shall fill him.

Hence the first heaven from the top, which encloses the others, is wisdom; and the one after it, that of understanding; but the third is that of counsel and the fourth, counting from the top downwards, that of fortitude, and the fifth that of knowledge, and the sixth that of godliness; and the seventh, this firmament of ours, full of the fear of the Spirit, who lights up the heavens.

For after this pattern Moses received the seven branched candlestick always burning in the sanctuary, since it was on the pattern of the heavens that he received the liturgy, as the Word says to him: Thou shalt do according to all the patterns of what thou hast seen on the mount.

Side note: Lectue information…

It is said that when the angel Lucifer was cast out of heaven, (the seven heavens) that he fell down to the firmament, because the firmament was seen as a dome, a ceiling.


Rowling's fairy tales on sale in December

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a book of five fairy tales by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, will go on sale on Dec. 4.

Rowling and The Children’s High Level Group, a British charity that Rowling co-founded to help vulnerable children throughout Europe, announced Thursday that they hope to raise more than $8 million Cdn for the charity from sales of the book.

Rowling has signed over royalties to the work to the charity.

There will be three editions of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and it will be published by Bloomsbury in Britain and by Scholastic in the U.S. They will both produce editions that will sell for about $14, featuring additional commentaries on each fairy tale from Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and an introduction by Rowling.

Amazon will also produce a 100,000-copy leather-bound collector’s edition priced at about $101, which will try to replicate the look of the original handwritten tales.

Rowling initially wrote and illustrated seven copies of the book. She gave six away as gifts and one was bought by Amazon at an auction last December for more than $4 million.

“There was understandable disappointment among Harry Potter fans when only one copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was offered to the public last December,” Rowling said in Thursday’s announcement.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series, as a gift left by Dumbledore to Harry’s friend Hermione, and provides clues that help destroy Harry’s nemesis Lord Voldemort.

Rowling, whose seven Harry Potter books have sold more than 400 million copies and have been translated into 64 languages, wrote the Beedle tales last year after finishing the final Potter book.

She has called it her goodbye to a world she lived in for 17 years.


Rowling’s fairy tales on sale in December

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a book of five fairy tales by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, will go on sale on Dec. 4.

Rowling and The Children’s High Level Group, a British charity that Rowling co-founded to help vulnerable children throughout Europe, announced Thursday that they hope to raise more than $8 million Cdn for the charity from sales of the book.

Rowling has signed over royalties to the work to the charity.

There will be three editions of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and it will be published by Bloomsbury in Britain and by Scholastic in the U.S. They will both produce editions that will sell for about $14, featuring additional commentaries on each fairy tale from Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and an introduction by Rowling.

Amazon will also produce a 100,000-copy leather-bound collector’s edition priced at about $101, which will try to replicate the look of the original handwritten tales.

Rowling initially wrote and illustrated seven copies of the book. She gave six away as gifts and one was bought by Amazon at an auction last December for more than $4 million.

“There was understandable disappointment among Harry Potter fans when only one copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was offered to the public last December,” Rowling said in Thursday’s announcement.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series, as a gift left by Dumbledore to Harry’s friend Hermione, and provides clues that help destroy Harry’s nemesis Lord Voldemort.

Rowling, whose seven Harry Potter books have sold more than 400 million copies and have been translated into 64 languages, wrote the Beedle tales last year after finishing the final Potter book.

She has called it her goodbye to a world she lived in for 17 years.