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Medical Issues

Tuesday … So Many Words to Say

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

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

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the extent that Citizens who have left the country to fight along side them, and there are many, their passports have been revoked.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join the cause : He For She.Org

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

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

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

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

We split up the read on Step Four tonight.

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

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

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

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

That happened each time I sat in an intensive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to come, stay tuned …


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

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Courtesy:Tyler Oakley

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

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

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

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

Well, Up didn’t work.

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

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

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

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

“Money and spirituality don’t mix.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

We heard about Humility. We heard about Gratitude.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that is a thing …

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

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

Seriously, how can I forget?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have a story and that story matters.

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

That is what I do every day.

More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday … Daily Acceptance, Brilliance and Loving One’s Self

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Courtesy: Oriental Tiger

The weather was a bit iffy tonight. Dark skies and spitting rain hung over the city through the rush hour period. After the rain storm, there has not been a repeat.

I left early to go shopping on the way out there is a birthday tomorrow. Our local card seller always has a great selection of cards, they could be read as embracing the LGBTQ community, or that the creator took into consideration who might purchase their cards. I found one to my liking and went to pay, When she rang it up, that nice pretty card cost me $9.00 …

Somebody is making a killing off the greeting card trade.

I could buy an entire box of Christmas cards for $9.00 …

Highway robbery me thinks …

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I’ve been having dental issues. And dental issues cost money. And having no insurance past Ram Q, for prescriptions, we pay out of pocket for everything else.

There is a dental clinic within the I.D.T.C. department where I see my HIV doc. So I called the clinic yesterday and they gave me the number. I called and then spent two days playing phone tag. I got a call just before the meeting from the dentist who agreed to see me. Then she told me how much it was going to cost …

Cue the groaning machine … $100.00 UGH …

Now we have to find the funds because I have been on a steady dose of Advil for a couple of weeks and I have an appointment on Thursday.

Let us Pray …

Set up was quick and painless. Our chair read from A.B.S.I. #44

“Daily Acceptance”

“Our very first problem is to accept our present circumstances as they are, ourselves as we are, and the people about us as they are…”

It took me a long time to understand how this works.

First we learn about Powerlessness. Over people, places and things.

We also learn that “Nothing, Absolutely Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.”

And finally that “Acceptance is the KEY to ALL my problems.”

And then we have to square all these axioms in our present condition. Easier said than done.

I had to come to the point that old pain was dimmed enough that I eventually became indifferent to it. And that the past is just the past. It carries no weight in today and has no place in the future.

As we rise, we say our prayers, (we are supposed to do that,) and we turn our day over to God. Usually the Third Step Prayer suffices.

I have no control over anything or anyone during my day. BUT I am responsible for my words, actions and reactions.

I cannot change anyone else but me.
I can’t change the outcomes of situations.
And for me Expectations are a no no …

I do what I can every day to help someone else. I work to be present for my friends far and wide. And I take care of me. Because when I do that, I can then take care of other folks.

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Why are brilliant people plagued by self doubt, self loathing and self hatred?

Is it their ego? Or that they cannot be perfect? Perfection is so outdated.

I feel so terrible when I hear that someone is in the dumps. How can someone be so brilliant, and hate themselves so hard? I just do not understand.

So I do what I can. I try to fill the vessel with light and love.

That’s the best I can do.

My other guy is graduation on Monday Morning and I found out that an old time friend who moved to the U.S. to teach will be here for the graduating class Monday afternoon. So we hooked up earlier to plan a get together while he is here.

So that’s exciting.

It was a full day, a good meeting, a sand end, but everybody is sober another day.

So that is something to be grateful about.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Physician Heal Thyself

wine statement

Courtesy: Friend on Facebook

It was a good day. hubby was away in Ottawa celebrating his brother’s 50th birthday, family, friends and a mariachi band were on tap. It was a successful visit with family he doesn’t get to see very often in the same place at the same time.

When I am home alone, I find that I don’t know what to do with myself, and I admit, that I hate sleeping alone in our bed. It is just very odd going to bed alone, and not have him sleeping next to me.

It was a regular Sunday night. We sat a nominal group and the reading lent to some raw emotions. Funny, that we come in, we begin the process of getting sober, and inadvertently, we begin to get really honest.

Our chair spoke tonight … “Where on earth can you go to hear such a diverse group of people speak about their lives with such honesty?”

We completed the reading “Physician Heal Thyself.” Which is a loaded story. We make our admission, we come to believe, and then we make a decision to turn our will and our lives to some joker, who we can’t see???

What is with that? How do I do that? Who is He and how is He going to help me? With all my complicated problems and assorted issues?

There is the word again … God

Our ma speaks about the steps, he also touches on How it Works, Page 58 in the Big Book. Several things jumped out at me during the reading.

“Half measures availed us nothing … and Nothing, Absolutely Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. The latter comes from another section of the book, but I repeated it for others in the room.

Some of my long sober friends are bent out of shape for one reason or another, and we are all living life on life’s terms, and sometimes those terms rub us against the grain. And sometimes unfair.

I’ve been relying on the book much more as of late.

“Nothing, Absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.”

Sometimes that is a bitter pill to swallow. Because at times, life is not fair and in the end whatever happened, happened, and we have to live with that therefore this line comes to bear.

I’ve said before that this time around, I did things very differently. I relied on people first. I had moved to a new place, and I was newly sober. I thought that I was entitled to a few “needs .. read: Wants” because I was back in the rooms.

God has a sense of humor. Because his reply never wavered.

No!

No!

Not Today!

Ask me later

Definitely Not …

It took me a while to get that message. If it weren’t for the folks in the room, I probably would have self imploded. I stuck and I STAYED.

In the U.S. where I once lived, at the end there, I was living below poverty. I had no health insurance. I relied on the charity of many groups to provide me with the things we all take for granted, food, furniture, assistance, etc … And at the end it was like this, I needed medication, I needed food, and I needed to pay my rent. I could NOT do all three at the same time.

When I moved here, all that changed. And over the past twelve years, I’ve learned to be grateful because I get everything I need, when I need it, as I need it. There is no juggling and having to choose whether to buy medication or buy food, or pay rent.

And the running theme lately is “Half measures availed us nothing.”

I’ve been falling into behavior that is not very grateful and appreciative of all that I have. God has provided all those things to me, and I’ve never had to go outside of the groups to get anything, within moderation.

I have everything I need, and sometimes I forget that. And I do not follow what I should be doing, when I get into, “I don’t feel like it today, maybe tomorrow or maybe later…” (reference: My medicine cabinet)

If I am in gratitude, I make use of everything that I have, and not take them for granted. How easily we forget to be grateful.

Who is God? Ask the universe. It is that which is unknowable, but he knows who I am, and He hears me. And I go to a meeting and I hear Him speak to me.

It was good to sit and listen. it was good to be able to share with newcomers, and to greet new guests, and to see friends I always get to see on Sunday night. I am very thankful.

Another week begins.

More to come, stay tuned …


Crazy S.O.T.B. Let’s visit shall we

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In Memorium and to remember where I came from … I will be sharing with you stories that need to be remembered, because if we forget, they all died in vain … November 2013 …

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Cue the music – start the fog machine – blue light GOBO slow pans across the floor through dimly lit space, and the first beat comes…

I am alone, it is early, the bar is not yet open, but I am there alone. Just me, the music and the spirit of God. Well, what little spirit of God there was at that time of my life. It is mid-summer in Ft. Lauderdale. I have just told Todd that I was going to die…

He wept.

Over the next few weeks, the teaching would begin. The team rose to the call, one of the boys was sick and was left on the side of the road with nothing but what little dignity was left in his soul. All I needed would be provided come hell or high water. Wild Horses would never stop the charge for life. We were all sick, we were all dying. Save for two people in the entire organization. My champions would save me, if I wanted it or not. Death was not an option and I would either get it or I would die…

So it began…

At that time, the temple of sin was alive and things happened so quickly that if you blinked you would miss it. The temple was filled with every earthly delight, Dante would have been pleased with our Garden of Earthly desires, carnal, profane and truly sinful. I loved every minute of it.

The rule was set…

You have a life, outside the temple. When you come to work, you leave your baggage at the door, do not bring it in here. No exceptions. Come to work, and you will serve me your Master and do whatever you are told without question without complaint, is that clear!

Yes Sir…

I took that time of my life as sacred and profane, but that is another story. You can read about the Sacred and the Profane over there in Pages… This is another thread to a long running story of how this boy was made a man, a saved man, a profane man, and in the same vein Sacred. You never know where your lessons are going to come from, and you are grateful for the wisdom and time people took out of their lives to care for you and teach you lessons that nobody else was going to teach you. So pay attention Little One.

This is your life we are talking about…

The gobos are tracking across the floor slowly through smoke and mirrors as the music plays just for you. I learned very early on, in that space that music would identify particular moods, paint particular pictures. Farkle and I had a ritual. He IS the only one left from the fray of men who lived and died from the temple of sin. We began each shift in our own way, begging god another night, another day, another minute. I was surrounded with warriors fighting their own significant battles with AIDS. I was not hit by the KS demon. I was not plagued by things I saw and witnessed, thank the creator. It was ugly. It was brutal and it was most importantly the fight of the century for all of us. Many men went to their deaths in our arms. We bathed them, clothed them and in the end we buried them.

Angry Larry…

When I got sober there was a man with AIDS named Larry, he was a drunk like me. But he was unique. He sat with a bottle on the table and a loaded revolver to shoot himself. He carried that gun with him and showed it to every one of us, and he told us relentlessly that he was going to kill himself. He got sober with the rest of us. Over the years following his spiritual awakening, he did something that no one else thought to do.

People with AIDS were being left in the streets. Mortuaries would not process sick people, they would not touch a body that had been infected with AIDS. Families would not bury their children. We did that. Larry opened his services to the community and he became another champion of the cause. I knew him. He eventually got rid of the gun, so I heard.

For a few minutes during transition, I would warm up the smoker, fire up the turntable and start the computer so that I could worship my God to the music of my soul. I did that every night. I worshiped whatever was going to save me.

I was servant to the men. I was servant to my Master. I was a slave for God, be he dressed or undressed. You never saw God until you witnessed true beauty of the soul in all its carnality. There is something sacredly profane about this part of my life. What went on inside the temple stayed in the temple. Many months would pass and I battled my demons of alcoholism before I finally fell into the pit of death, and there happen to be somebody watching from the sidelines.

Danny saved me that night. He was the man who cradled me in his arms, oxygen mask on my face and had called the paramedics to try and revive me. Danny took me home that night, and did not leave my apartment for a week. He fed me, bathed me and cared for me, under that watchful eye of my Master Todd. When the word was spoke, action was taken, and hell hath no fury if you did not jump when told to. Todd was very protective over his boys and men.

We were reminded that Todd had lost love to AIDS. Bob was buried across the street in the cemetery that faced our building. It was hard – it was painful, and it was sacred. Kevin and Larry did things for me that no man ever did for me in the real world. We were the three musketeers. We were the team to beat in bar management and service. We ran a tight ship and we were accountable, respectable and reliable. We proved a mighty force against the odds we all faced.

Let’s get it on…

Shift was begun at eight. The wells were filled the beer was stocked and the ice bins were full. Put your money in the drawer and let’s get the music thumping. Like clockwork at the strike of eight bells the first note hit the turntables. They were lined up around the building. Cars were parked all over the place. The temple worship had begun. Heaven was found amid the souls of suffering men who knew they were all marked for death, but for tonight, whatever you desired was fulfilled. You could drown away your sorrow and dip into the well of living water if you wished as well. You have never lived until you party like your dying with crowds of undulating flesh as far as they eye can see. The ghosts of those men now inhabit the fantasies and dreams I have still to this day.

One by one, two by two, they died in our arms. We held them until they took their last breaths. Memorialized in the careful and blood soaked threads of quilts, as the years went by, they started collecting by the dozen, then by the hundreds. If you’ve ever seen the entire quilt unfurled, all the men who were part of my life in those first years of my epidemic life, they are all together in death, as they were in life. Memorialized until the end of time. And we remember each of their names.

So many young boys torn from life before they knew what hit them. Men who infected them had died as well. Many of my friends were taken on trips that were detrimental to them, and just robbed them of life that was still left to live.

Todd saw to it that I would never go there…

You come to work, dress as you will, you obey me and do not waver from my eye, for I know your carnal desires and you are too young to tempt the devil with his dance. Because I surely did not know what could befall me if the right charmer enticed me into his web of desire, and they all knew I was fair bait. But in order to dine from my buffet, you needed explicit permission of my Master, who never allowed any man to defile me like many had been. I was off limits. I never crossed the line provided because that meant disrespect and I could never bear to break my Master’s heart with disobedience.

I loved Him, and He loved me – I had many problems. I was depressed and angry and resentful. I had the scars of traumatic visions of my dead lovers corpse in my head, and the words of his mother still ring in my ear today “I hope that every night until you die, that you see the corpse of my dead son in your field of vision.” That curse still lives with me and will go with me to the grave. Five day old corpses are not pretty. I had to identify the remains when all was said and done. Save that he was wearing jewelry that I could identify and part of him was still recognizable – God forgive me…

I remember that day, it was early afternoon the morgue called me from work to come and do the deed. I drove in and looked upon him in that room, I wept tears that burned into my soul forever. I just could not imagine – the pain was so hard to bear. I drove over to the bar. Bill was working behind the bar. I drank until I could not stand up on my own. I drank for a week, straight…

Todd and Bill needed to find me a solution and quick, because I was on the outs.

I started suicide therapy in a group setting that lasted 32 weeks. Nothing like rehashing death week after week, until the pain was purged from your soul, but is it ever? Months went by until I got my news.

But they cared for me in all my brokenness. A young angel would earn his wings back. Come hell or high water. In the end, when all was said and done, at the end of the day I survived, but so many did not. And each night I offer them prayers in hope that when I meet my death that all of them will be waiting for me in the Temple Of Earthly Desire in the promised land of the Kingdom of God, where the sacred and profane are mingled with the blood of the Almighty and the blood of my friends who have gone before me, on that day we will be cleansed of our sins.

And forgiven by God…

Amen

Goodnight angels of men

In a church,by the face,
He talks about the people going under.

Only child know…

A man decides after seventy years,
That what he goes there for, is to unlock the door.
While those around him criticize and sleep…
And through a fractal on a breaking wall,
I see you my friend, and touch your face again.
Miracles will happen as we trip.

But we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We get a little crazy
No we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We are a little…

Cray…cray…cray…

…Crazy yellow people walking through my head.
One of them’s got a gun, to shoot the other one.
And yet together they were friends at school
Ohh, get it, get it, get it, get it no no!

If all were there when we first took the pill,
Then maybe, then maybe, then maybe, then maybe…
Miracles will happen as we speak.

But we’re never gonna survive unless…
We get a little crazy.
No we’re never gonna survive unless…
We are a little…
Crazy…
No no, never survive, unless we get a little… bit…

Oh, a little bit…
Oh, a little bit…

Oh…
Oh…

Amanda decides to go along after seventeen years…

Oh darlin…
In a sky full of people, only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
In a world full of people, only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
Crazy…
In a heaven of people there’s only some want to fly,
Ain’t that crazy?
Oh babe… Oh darlin…
In a world full of people there’s only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
Isn’t that crazy… Isn’t that crazy… Isn’t that crazy…

Ohh…
But we’re never gonna survive unless, we get a little crazy.. crazy..
No we’re never gonna to survive unless we are a little… crazy..
But we’re never gonna survive unless, we get a little crazy.. crazy..
No we’re never gonna to survive unless, we are a little.. crazy..
No no, never survive unless, we get a little bit…

And then you see things
The size
Of which you’ve never known before

They’ll break it

Someday…

Only child know….

Them things
The size
Of which you’ve never known before

Someday…
Someway…
Someday…
Someway…
Someday…
Someway…
Someday…


The Doctor Can’t see you today

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Courtesy: Rockthesox

After all the drama yesterday, I think … I did not panic. I cleaned myself up as I was able and I called someone to get help.

Today, I had set the alarm clock to get up in the morning because I needed to call my doctor and see if I could see him today. But he was in meetings all day and won’t be in the office all next week … I couldn’t push myself out there and demand to be seen. I guess God is looking out for me, in any case. I went back to bed and slept all day long.

I got up in time to shower and get ready to go. Since it was just me, I left uber early. It seemed tonight that the trains were a bit, waiting, is that right? I got into Guy and there was a train in the station. I just walked down the stairs – I figured the train was going to leave without me, but it hung there and “waited.” I got on and into the system.

On the connection the train was in the station and we were on our way.

I arrived to our trusted servant of the Friday meeting, and I helped him set chairs out. It was the next right thing. We had about 50 minutes before the meeting started. people started showing up about half past seven.

It was a nominal crowd. Not a gang busters flush of folks. People were out of sorts because of last weeks black out and no meeting.

We read “True independence of the Spirit.”

The more we become willing to depend upon a Higher Power, the more independent we actually Are. Therefore, dependence as A.A. practices it is really a means of gaining true independence of the spirit.

One of our newbies read the steps at the beginning of the meeting, and where ever the word God appeared, he substituted it with the words “Higher Power” it was interesting listening to the steps spoken in that format.

The first time I got sober I had the opportunity to see god become incarnate in the guise of the man who took such good care of me.

We all know this story, because I’ve written about it ad nauseum.

When that relationship ended, and he moved, I couldn’t find my way back into the world, and I turned inwards and eventually took myself right out of the game.

The second time I got sober, I learned again, what it meant to rely on someone else for my sobriety. It was good to be cared for, to be fed both physically and spiritually. When I moved here, I had to get to know an entirely different group of people. None of the people I got sober with then, are in my life today.

I have a new group of friends. People I participate in life with, people I trust and people I go out of my way to be family to. Because they are special folks. And the best gift I can give to my friends is to be “Present.”

God is there, in the midst of things. Each morning I turn it over and say my prayers. I acknowledge God in my life and I give the day to him.

Even when I have just fallen down a flight of stairs, I turned it over.

I was going to be taken care of. All I had to do was pick up the phone.

After the meeting, I got to my stop and waited a bit. A bus pulled up and I got on. I didn’t really look to see if it was the “right” bus, but it was a bus, nonetheless. It followed the same track as the 51, but when it got to Laurier, it made the turn into the station and kept going. It eventually stopped on the far side of the station, it was then I realized I had got on another bus, I just haphazardly got on the bus, thinking that it would take me where I needed to go. And it did …

It was a quick transit home. I did some shopping on the way back.

All is well. I am a little sore, my back still hurts. And my head is a little tender. Laying on the pillow last night was a little painful, so I had to shift how I put my head down. At least there is no blood.

More to come, stay tuned …


I Fell Down a Staircase and Other Exciting Things

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Courtesy:RThompson80

It has been a bad day.

I had plans, but they got shot to hell.

I thought that I’d start laundry and go run a few shopping errands while my clothes dried. I went to get coin and came up and gathered my laundry. I take the elevator UP and I usually take the stairs DOWN.

My washing was finished and I went up to change them to the dryers. I was coming DOWN the stairs and I was coming down the 18th floor CEMENT staircase. I live on 17.

There was no issue with the stairs just a few twenty minutes ago. But on this second trip down, that was not the case. I was clipping along coming down and I hit a stair four or five steps from the bottom. There was water on the stairs.

My feet flew out in front of me, I was in the air, I came down on my back against the stairs first, and the wind got knocked out of my lungs, I couldn’t breathe. Then my head hit a stair and I cracked my skull open.

There was blood all over the place. I grabbed my head and it was bleeding profusely. I crawled into my apartment and went to the bath to rinse my head and there was blood all over the tub. I grabbed a towel and applied pressure to try and stop the bleeding. I went to the phone and called my office girl downstairs (it was an emergency) told he that I fell and hit my head and I was bleeding all over the place. I wasn’t sure I needed to go to the hospital, she sent up the super to check me out and there is an inch and half gash on the back of my head.

He said he didn’t think I needed a trip to the ER. Because really, you only go to the ER here if you are dying and never any other time.

I called hubby and asked him to stop at the pharmacy to get some supplies and he came home from work to follow me and make sure I didn’t faint or get sick, I don’t think I have a concussion. The bleeding finally stopped and I finished the laundry.

I have a huge lump on my back from the hit on the stairs, my elbows are bruised from the fall, they were killing me during the meeting.

I got a nap in for a few hours before I set out for the church. I haven’t had any other “head” problems to speak of.

Now on to something new and exciting …

The Great Reveal began today.

They have uncovered the Target store. There is a huge glass wall and overhead window that extends to the second floor (the mezzanine).

It looks good from the outside. I am not sure when they will be open for business, but it can’t be too far off.

They are tiling floor on the mezzanine level, I walked through on the way home. All that shopping I planned to do earlier in the day had to wait until this evening. And I went by two stores and did not find what I was looking for – oh well.

We sat a good number.

We talked about Letting Go and Letting God.

I can do that today. I can live in my day, 24 hours, I keep my expectations to a limit, and I don’t involve myself in other people’s drama, but I am concerned for them as friends. It is different.

It was a good night, after a frightful day.

Now we will see how long it takes for my head to heal. My body is very slow on the mending process, thanks to my HIV. I need something for my back because it is killing me. Maybe a rub and some Advil.

UGH …

That is all.

More to come, stay tuned …


By The Numbers – Sept 18, 2013

world-aids-day

It is a glorious day today. A little cool, a lot of sun. And a great morning to travel for my fall clinic visit.

I arrived early and a very gregarious nurse did my triage and (she chose to use a side room and not an exam room) which led to a conversation that went long, and another nurse came in and interrupted us and said there were other patients waiting…

My visit with the doctor was stunning. It seems this new G.O.M.B.S. diet is working.

(Greens, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Seeds) See Joel Furhman

I’ve been on this diet for 5 months now. I’ve lost a few pounds, and there is promise that if I loose more weight, my diabetes medications will be pulled.

My numbers are WAY up.

My cardiac test at Hotel Dieu came back normal.

My blood tests for cardiac numbers was normal. (read: Lower that usual)

My sugar number was 4.5 – BUT my Triglycerides are up at 11. Strange that my sugars are so low and the triglycerides are up so high??? Doc doesn’t have an answer for this and aside from my dietary changes, they should come down.

My T-Cell numbers are as follows:

12 Aug 2013  VL 39 copies cd4% 43 (low) cd4ABS 1591 cd8% 42

16 Apr 2013  VL  39 copies cd4% 45 (mod) cd4ABS 1080 cd8% 42

03 Jan 2013   VL  39 copies cd4% 45 (mod) cd4ABS 1440 cd8% 39

All the numbers were spot on. Doc was happy. He said I had the highest t-cell count in the clinic. Must be the pills…

It was a good start to the day.

Now I am doing laundry … UGH !!

More to come, stay tuned …


Crazy S.O.T.B. Revisited July 8, 2013 #19

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Cue the music – start the fog machine – blue light GOBO slow pans across the floor through dimly lit space, and the first beat comes…

I am alone, it is early, the bar is not yet open, but I am there alone. Just me, the music and the spirit of God. Well, what little spirit of God there was at that time of my life. It is mid-summer in Ft. Lauderdale. I have just told Todd that I was going to die…

He wept.

Over the next few weeks, the teaching would begin. The team rose to the call, one of the boys was sick and was left on the side of the road with nothing but what little dignity was left in his soul. All I needed would be provided come hell or high water. Wild Horses would never stop the charge for life. We were all sick, we were all dying. Save for two people in the entire organization. My champions would save me, if I wanted it or not. Death was not an option and I would either get it or I would die…

So it began…

At that time, the temple of sin was alive and things happened so quickly that if you blinked you would miss it. The temple was filled with every earthly delight, Dante would have been pleased with our Garden of Earthly desires, carnal, profane and truly sinful. I loved every minute of it.

The rule was set…

You have a life, outside the temple. When you come to work, you leave your baggage at the door, do not bring it in here. No exceptions. Come to work, and you will serve me your Master and do whatever you are told without question without complaint, is that clear!

Yes Sir…

I took that time of my life as sacred and profane, but that is another story. You can read about the Sacred and the Profane over there in Pages… This is another thread to a long running story of how this boy was made a man, a saved man, a profane man, and in the same vein Sacred. You never know where your lessons are going to come from, and you are grateful for the wisdom and time people took out of their lives to care for you and teach you lessons that nobody else was going to teach you. So pay attention Little One.

This is your life we are talking about…

The gobos are tracking across the floor slowly through smoke and mirrors as the music plays just for you. I learned very early on, in that space that music would identify particular moods, paint particular pictures. Farkle and I had a ritual. He IS the only one left from the fray of men who lived and died from the temple of sin. We began each shift in our own way, begging god another night, another day, another minute. I was surrounded with warriors fighting their own significant battles with AIDS. I was not hit by the KS demon. I was not plagued by things I saw and witnessed, thank the creator. It was ugly. It was brutal and it was most importantly the fight of the century for all of us. Many men went to their deaths in our arms. We bathed them, clothed them and in the end we buried them.

Read the rest of the story over there in the PAGES …


The Second Opinion …

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Let’s visit the doctor shall we?

I got up this morning and decided to call the ombudsman office to see if there was any movement on my file. I left two messages. Both useless. I later found out that this office is useless when it comes to patient issues.

I sort of hoped that my diabetes doctor would be in his office at the clinic today, it being Thursday, I wasn’t sure. But I called anyways and was rewarded with a full conversation about what happened last week.

He was sure that I misunderstood Chris, when he said that I was gonna die. And I assured him that I did not misunderstood the words “You’re gonna die!” Hr then offered that he would speak to Chris about what he said and get back to me. In the meantime he said “NO, you’re not going to die…”

So that was a good start to the day.

The city has been under a boil water order for more than 24 hours now. That is more than a million people, on and off the island fighting over bottled water in the stores, and businesses trying to stay open with a biol water order on.

UGH !!!

Do you know how many coffee shoppes closed for the day today because they are on the water main to make coffee and other drinks? Millions …

It was a muggy muggy day. It poured here and there, and I carried an umbrella and it did not even rain on me while I was in transit.

This evening we used two tea pot water boilers and I bought instant coffee, hot chocolate and assorted teas for the meeting.

We sat 11 men. And the DCM for the area came to inspect the group so we can be added to the next meeting list coming out soon. We read from the 3rd edition of the Big Book, a story from the back.

It was all good. Lots of gratitude tonight.

That is all.

More to come stay tuned…


In Need of Counsel …

world-aids-day
I am in need of counsel. I am troubled and afraid. You know that I am HIV+ for almost 20 years now. And I’ve been seeing a specialist here in Montreal at the MUHC, McGill University Health Center. Which is in the process of firing hundreds of employees because of budget cuts. I don’t think this is here or there but it is part of my story.
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My doc (Chris) has been my doc since 2003. And for the past few months he has been dire in his warnings. They say if you get a message once, and you don’t heed that message, that God speaks again, and you should take heed. A few months ago, I went to see my doc for my fall checkup, (I go every 4 months). He told me that I was going to die. And he left it at that. He did not give me counsel or explain. And left me to go home with this news.
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That afternoon I went upstairs to see his brother, (George) who is my diabetes doctor and I told him what Chris has said to me. He rushed me up to cardio to get a cardiogram. Done. I took the results to both clinics and went home. We are of the understanding that if there is a problem, that they would call. No call came.
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That test sat in my file for four months. No word. No call. so I guess no problem ???
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On Wednesday I went for my spring check up and my blood work, and all my labs across the board. All my labs are above board. Not one thing out of place. The norm for me. Once again, my doctor came in looked me dead in the eye and said that I was going to die. He also said that there was an abnormality on the cardio test, which he failed to contact me when the test was done. That was clearly an error on his part.
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No explanation. no words of comfort. Not One Word.
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He said that he would call Cardio and get me booked in and call me on Wednesday afternoon. Because he is sure that it is imminent that I am going to drop dead without notice. But he did not say that to me. But I imply that is what he means. They did not book me. They did not call, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.
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I’ve been sitting on this secret for almost a week, Because I cannot contact the clinic till tuesday because of the holiday tomorrow. And I haven’t told my husband what my doctor told me because I don’t want to scare him or upset him, until I know what the hell is going on.
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How do you go about firing a doctor? Everybody I am talking to in my meetings say the same thing, that I need a new pair of eyes on my file. and that I need a second opinion because my doc has been on an emotional down for a while, he is moody and obsess about nothing.
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I just can’t see how I have fucked up my life right now to hear that I am going to die and soon? All I have done this past year is tighten up the ship, eat right, take my pills and go on with my life.
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I am stuck in between disbelief and incredulity. If I sink into the truth and accept the end is near, I will go crazy without someone to explain how this is coming to be because my doctor has failed to properly inform me as a patient.
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So I’ve been working on the assumption that he is full of shit and that my numbers are good and nominal and that he is just fucking with me in the worst way. I am not ready to die or accept that he is telling me the truth without further discussion about my mortality or why he is so hung up on  me dying !
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I don’t know what to do …
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So that’s my story right now. I could use some help.
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Thanks
Jeremy

Two-fer Thursday

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It has been an interesting past couple of days. And I chose not to write yesterday because I was waiting on a medical call from my doctor after our short but terse visit together.

Obviously, he says one thing, then does another.

Because of what he said at my appointment was of such import and dire warnings that he should have followed up on what he wanted to do next.

Alas, I am still waiting…

By the Numbers …

16 April 2013   VL 39 copies  CD4% 45  CD4Abs 1080

02 Jan 2013   VL 39 copies  CD4% 45  CD4Abs 1440

07 Aug 2012  VL 39 copies CD4% 44 CD4Abs 1276

My t-cells seem to fluctuate around that thousand mark. But as long as my percentages remain at 45% there is no worry from my doctor. I got copies from my file/chart that has a more explicit history of my treatment.

Two appointments ago, my doctor mentioned that a change is coming for my treatment plan. The new regimen is not online yet here in Canada. So I remain on what I am taking until then. Probably six months to a year out.

Secondly, my doctor has been fixated on my heart. A fixation that has only grown in earnest this appointment yesterday. He tells me one thing, then I go to see his brother for my diabetes issues and George sends me for a cardiogram.

I dropped two copies off to both clinics. Now, it is understood that if a problem arises that they would call me immediately because something needs attention right away.

I’ve been working on that assumption for all these years. So I dropped that lab off and got no response.

Yesterday at my appointment my doctor mentioned in passing that there was some abnormality on the scan. He did not elaborate. He then went on this tirade that I was going to drop dead.

Or have a heart attack soon, as in IMMINENT !!!

He has been about this warning for some time. However he does not elaborate on the warning. Frustrating.

He wanted to order a battery of tests. A stress test and all that goes along with it, and he left it at that. He said nothing encouraging to me yesterday. He was very grim. However good my labs were, he seems fixated on my mortality.

More than usual. Is this about him or me I wonder !!!

Since cardiac issues run in my family, not to mention strokes, I am on God’s good graces, seeing my father has had several heart attacks, and both his parents were knocked down by terrible debilitating strokes. I should be right in line for some catastrophic heart related issue … Let Us Pray !!!

I left that appointment shaking my head. Not knowing what to feel or whether I should really be worrying. The secretary at the clinic was supposed to make arrangements, check with my doc and call me back.

Now, had this been an immense emergency, like needing these tests right away, they would have already contacted me into the cardiac clinic.

They haven’t … No call at all, two days later. Should I worry or not? Do I give in to serious ruminating and worry that my mortality is in jeopardy? I have no clue, so until such time I get a call or further warning, I am going to go on with my life.

An issue has arisen with the Quebec government and my financial aide file. They say I owe them almost $3000.00 in back loans. AIDS and HIV are disability issues and that loan should have been converted to bursaries long ago but weren’t. When I applied for financial aide, I submitted a disability form in late 2003. They are fixated on this date as my diagnosis date. They are wrong.

My diagnosis date was July 8th 1994. Not November 2003.

I have to contact my primary care physician in Miami to get him to send some notes up here to verify that I was treated in their clinic prior to my arriving here in Canada. Ugh !!!

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

Today is Thursday. I usually don’t sit here and stare at my monitor all day long. so instead I sleep until I need to get up and go. Which is what I did today.

I was up early and out by twenty to six for the meeting. It has been on the cool side the past few nights. And on the way home I was chilled.

We sat a fair number and hit kitty goal again tonight.

Our chair read from the Big Book, and Chapter Five … How it Works.

“If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.”

One line. Lots of words. People all over the place on the topic of steps.

There is a note in my Big Book on Step Twelve …

Having HAD a spiritual awakening as THE result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

In my book I have this notation at Step 12 … There is no other result if you work the steps…

We talked long and hard about steps, where we all are at the moment, what he did, how we did it and what happened afterwards.

Suffice to say that at ten years, I had a spiritual awakening. I have worked my steps again since then. I live in my steps today, to the best of my ability.

I am not perfect. I still have issues, with myself and a few others. Not many others. But still. I do what I can every day to help someone else.

It was a good night.

More to come, stay tuned…


Tuesday, First Things First …

tumblr_mej2v9HEkh1rsritzo1_500 shinybrat - jonathan by petetaylor on flickr

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…


Would that they have said the word STOP !!!

where are you going

Courtesy: ShannonBoh

Another week has begun, Passover began for my Jewish friends and family, and it is holy week in the Christian calendar. The most holy or Highest Holy days of the year. We will be partaking in services at the Cathedral on Saturday night for the Easter Vigil Choir mass – which is always a good production.

It was a busy day today. We spent the morning writing letters to the government and the bank who holds my student loan – the government is trying to hold me responsible for paying a $3000.00 loan, that should have been converted to a bursary because AIDS is a major functional disability and they did not adjust my account properly – and they did this to hundreds of thousands of other students as well. So we are contesting the loan payback and requesting the government to retroactively correct my file. Let Us Pray !!!

After a short power nap, I got ready to go for tonight’s meeting at Trinity Memorial this evening. We sat a fair number of folks. 90 % had less than a month. And a few with multiples of years. And it is a beginner’s meeting, so precedence goes to the newcomers.

We read from the Big Book … 32-33.

… Most of us have believed that if we remained sober for a long stretch, we could thereafter drink normally. But here is a man who at fifty-five years found he was just where he had left off at thirty.

[the man got sober – and went back out and never returned]

We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again:” Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.

There is that pesky warning once again repeated in the text. Some folks just don’t read the book.

Many of our young people, find it a challenge to pick up the book and really commit with their hearts, the tough task of self appraisal and inventory. Long before we get to the God issue, the admission of the problem is necessary. And being young and impervious, so they think, of alcohol, they either remain on the outside looking in, or stuck in the revolving door [ in and out and in and out.]

Who really wants to get honest with themselves and have to, in due time, speak those words to another, let alone God himself ? I suppose that if you are at the point of utter incomprehensible demoralization, there is no other way but up.

How do you impress upon young people that this is the only way to get better and that just thinking about it and saying the words and warming a seat will keep you sober and lead you to a happy and fulfilling life. However hard the task to begin with, if we can commence to drink, at some point, we will commence to get better. Because to drink for us is to die.

I waited for the end of the meeting to share, hoping that the newcomers would take up the hour talking, and they did. I’ve spoken about my SLIP experience ad nauseum.

What did I know, and when did I know it ?

Alcoholism was rampant in my family. Three generations worth. It was there, and because we were taught never to talk about it or seek a solution, God forbid, it existed untreated and undiagnosed. I never said to myself that I would never become my father or my grandfather.

I had to move away to be Gay, because my father would never had stood for a faggot under his roof. At 21 I moved away to begin my adult life, with not a one tool for proper living. Who knew from responsibility. Jackpot after jackpot occurred and I did not know what to do.

But stopping drinking was not a choice I entertained.

Would that someone said the word STOP … in my twenties ? Had someone that knew me and my life story, said the word stop, would I have listened ? And I imagine that my life would have been so different had I gotten help then.

Everything happens for a reason. And this is the cross I bear to this day. I am sure that my alcoholism and stupidity played a part in my diagnosis at 26. The boy who I was with at that time, lied to me then killed himself. So I was fucked from the word Go!!!

I got sober in spite of the fact that I was trying to kill myself with the drink, not to feel the sorrow of knowing that I was standing on deaths doorstep and that I was surely going to die in a matter of time. I had the date marked on a calendar, I knew the day I was supposed to die.

The powers that be made an executive decision on my behalf, and while they remained in my life I was safe, safe from myself, and safe my alcoholism. But like all good things, they also come to an end. And I was left alone in a world that I knew not, because of the world that I was living in the past few years.

I had to relearn how to live in the world without the protection and direction of Todd and Roy. I stayed sober for a couple more years, but it just wasn’t the same. Once I hit my death date and I was still alive, I had to figure out what to do next ? Because I had not planned on living that long and the world was at large.

I was going to meetings. I had friends. BUT …

The heterosexual men in the room that I spent most of my meetings were dead set against my attending meetings at that room, and they told me so to my face.

I stayed sober in spite of them. But after while, I strayed away from the book. I had no sponsor, and I wasn’t communicating with someone I trusted. And I made an executive decision in sobriety that doomed me to my slip.

They say we plan our slips ahead of time…

All the boys at four years went out, including myself. And the slip was worse because I not only drank, but I became a drug addict. Thankfully when I came to the end of my drug use, I moved away from the source, and I never looked back, and never returned to using, even though I kept drinking for more than a year before I was led back to the rooms.

I know that feeling of shame and remorse. Having to begin at the beginning and how others think of me, because it was all about everyone else at the start. And the book also says that

“at some point we get hit by the Grace of God and we get sober”

And that happened to me and countless others.

The desire to drink left me and never returned. I can attest to the words in the book, I have a healthy respect for what it says and how it applies to my life.

And at eleven years, safe and sound was not working for me and I needed to change it up to freshen my sober journey, so I started attending this beginners meeting. To hear stories and meet new folks. Because one day, I may be present at the right moment and say the right thing, and maybe help someone never have another drink again …

The message take away:

A. That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives

b. That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism

c. That God could if he were sought

You never have to ever drink again … It can be done, one day at a time.


By the Numbers Jan 23 2013 …

world-aids-day

It is another bitterly cold day in the neighborhood. We are sitting at (-23c/-36 wc) at this hour. Cold enough to freeze fingers and faces in a matter of minutes. So getting around and waiting for buses was a challenge.

Doc say that I am doing remarkably well on treatment plan. No changes were made to the regimen yet. So here are the numbers:

03 Jan 2013  Viral Load 39 copies  Cd4% 45 Cd 4 abs 1440
07 Aug 2012 Viral Load 39 copies Cd4% 44 Cd 4 abs 1276

15 May 2012 Viral Load 39 copies Cd4% 45 Cd4 abs 1350

10 Jan 2012 Viral Load 39 copies Cd4% 43 Cd4 abs 1333

What’s good are the cd4 percentages the higher they are the better the numbers. My Cd 4 abs are high again. Which is good.

The downside to treatment are my sugars. They are all out of whack and my daily tests have been spiking on the high side and the tests they ran last time speaks to this problem, so I need to get them back under control. My fixation with juices must end and I need to curtail my diet some more.

My next appointment isn’t until May, but I see my diabetes doctor the beginning of February.

Time for lunch and a nap.

More to come, stay tuned …