Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Temple – Salt lake City. A Word Press Production.

Meditations

Saturday … Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad for You

tumblr_l5w58oqu5c1qaay1oo1_500 twinkobsessionIt is a balmy (-9c/-15c w.c.) folks were saying last night, that they would take single digit cold, rather than double digit cold, since we have weeks to go until this possibly could end.

I departed uber early for the church, seeing our set up man is in Boston this week, and I promised that I would make coffee and set up with a friend. We have six tables that we use, and last night, one of them was trying my patience. I popped the leg open and it would not set correctly, so after a little elbow grease a few kicks here and there, and some massive angry strikes, I bent the hell out of it and prayed it would stand up all night for the meeting.

After several grunts and the pounding of fists and kicks, my friend said to me that she never wanted to see me angry because I was scaring her …

I had to warn sitters at this location, not to lean too heavily on the table, because it was entirely possible the table would fail and land their shit, phones and coffee on the floor …

Thankfully the table held for the entire meeting.

We sat a full compliment and read from A.B.S.I. #93 … Atmosphere of Grace

“Those of us who have come to make regular use of prayer would no more do without it than we would refuse air, food or sunshine. And for the same reason. When we refuse air, light, or food, the body suffers. And when we turn away from meditation and prayer, we likewise deprive our minds, our emotions, and our intuitions of vitally needed support.”

In the beginning we learn about these two important aspects of recovery, prayer and meditation. Some take to it and others may not, but in time, it works it way into our lives, whether we want it or not. Because at some point, we end up saying … “Oh, God …(insert any request here)”

The ritual for me is when I get out of bed, I make my bed, and we have a futon, so that also helps in making sure I get on my knees at the start of the day.

Then I have my cards at my computer, and my serenity prayer over my desk, and the love reading from our wedding on the tv. Little things placed strategically around the house, ever reminding me to stop and think, pray, meditate.

The other good location for prayer and meditation is the bathroom. A couple times a day I stand in front my medicine cabinet and take my pills. And for the most part I am grateful, but then again, sometimes I never think about gratitude. The bathroom is the place that I am alone, with my thoughts, and as happens usually, I think about people a lot.

I guess I need reminding to be mindful of myself, others and God.

It was a good night overall.

Last night I ate an entire package of jello pudding. Chocolate of course. I was not aware that eating something tasty would end up ruining my night’s sleep, but it did. And now I know I can’t eat massive amounts of jello pudding before bed, because it makes me sick. UGH !!!

It has been an ongoing experiment, the last few months, of what I can and cannot eat any more. Does that happen to you? I just find that certain foods I used to enjoy eating, fruits, breads, and assorted sweets, I can’t eat any more. Not sure why, but it is what it is …

Too much of a good thing is bad for you !!!

So today was another “have to do laundry on a Saturday” again.

I sorted my basket and got everything ready and then found out I was out of detergent, so I had to get dressed and hit the market. UGH ! So I did a shop, came home and did my laundry. It is drying now and I have to go up and fold soon.

Yay, more to come, stay tuned …


Tuesday … Prayer and Meditation

tumblr_lqejw9RhgD1qbrivdo1_500 wrestlingisbestCourtesy: WrestlingisBest

With the weather holding steady, it is cold, but not bitter. We are sitting on the plus side at this hour, but temps will fall into negative numbers overnight. There is a lot of work going on in the neighborhood things that need to be done now, before it starts to snow in earnest. Closer to home, roofers are busy on several buildings. Not sure why they waited this long to get work done, but I guess apartment leaking is rampant all over the place.

Last night I made plans, and you know what they say happens, when you make plans…

God laughs.

With those plans in mind, I was up early. My entire day was planned around a single phone call, I was ready at the appointed hour, squeaky clean and raring to go. And this is when God laughed at me. I had an entire afternoon to fill at this point. I could have gone back to bed for a nap, but that did not happen. I really did not want to watch tv, because we all know what is monopolizing the airwaves as of late.

N.I.M.B.Y.

I packed up my bag with assorted books, milk, styrofoam cups, and my tunes, and I set out for the church. Holiday shopping has not swung into “frenzy mode” just yet. This year, Alexis Nihon has gone to greater lengths than in years past to celebrate the holidays. There is a stage on the mezzanine level with an animated reindeer that talks, a stage for performers, and a full schedule of things to come and see over the next few weeks.

There is massive construction going on in NDG … where the church is. There is work going on on all the major roads that connect several neighborhoods to bus lines and Metro stations. Which means, roads are closed and a handful of buses are rerouted around the work, which means, taking a bus to an original stop, that bus goes somewhere else now, which is a real pain in the ass.

A major thruway that connects lower NDG with upper NDG is closed. Which means one has to walk either up the hill or down the hill, if you need to access a location on that street. On the main, this is cut and dry, you walk. If work isn’t finished soon, we will be walking in the snow and the cold.

I made that mistake last week, forgetting that the bus route I needed to take was rerouted, I got on said bus and a few minutes into the ride, when the bus went straight instead of turning left, I was like, to the bus driver … “I want to get off here! and he says, you can’t get off here,” and he kept driving and in the end I had to back track to the church where I originally wanted to go ! F.M.L.

So I walked from the Metro to the church tonight.

All of my peeps came. So it was a good night.

We broke Step 11 into two parts. Tonight was part two.

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

God.

Who is God.

What is God,

What is God’s will ?

And how do I know when it is God’s will ?

Moment of clarity … I know the rule about expectations. I also know the rule about praying for something that is unreasonable or unattainable.

Prayer … raising of the heart and mind to God.

Meditation … waiting/listening for the answer.

When one studies Religion, as I have, one learns about prayer and meditation. Every tradition prays, and also meditates. Some are better at it than others. It is true that when most people pray, they expect an answer, soon, very soon, and sometimes absurdly soon.

Like, right now would be good…

I don’t know about you, but God has never spoken directly to me, even with a degree in Religious Studies. I know how to talk to God. But I don’t know what His voice sounds like.

Which brings this clarity :

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with (Others).

When you think about it, it is more than likely, we may not think about it this way, right off the bat, but, when we pray, if God is going to speak, to any one of us, it is probably going to come from someone else, someone close to us.

Prayer and meditation then becomes an active endeavor. If you don’t listen well, nor take the time to do so, actually make time to listen, amid the business of the day, maybe you should. I’ve learned how to listen. Building prayer and meditation into your life can be learned. And the more you do it, the better it gets.

I have set prayers I say. We have set prayers we say at every meeting. Very often, I see prayer requests come across Facebook, for this intention or that one. In that moment, I bring said person’s image into my mind, and I speak their name to God. And throughout my day, the faces of my friends, or those that I think about in the moment rise and I speak their name to God.

When I have a resentment, it usually goes … “God give them every good thing I want for myself and more.” Then I get to think about that prayer. It becomes a meditation.

Most people cannot sit still for more than five minutes, let alone, allot 5 minutes to meditate. We are usually too busy to stop. But for those who make time to “STOP” the benefits are endless.

If God is going to speak to you, I can confidently say, that the voice will be familiar to you.

God’s will ? Thy will not mine be done.

When you can turn a prayer for a particular end to an open ended prayer, I think that is God’s will. We don’t know what God’s will is, but when we let go and let God, things usually turn out alright.

Bad things happen to good people.

Sometimes, disease and illness are unavoidable.

And for the most part, we are all going to the same place when we die.

When we can turn a selfish prayer into a humble prayer, we find God’s will. It may not be to our liking, but if we can let people and situations go and give them to God to sort out, it turns into “Thy will. not mine be done.”

A friend’s father is very sick with cancer. In the beginning she would pray for God to heal him, there is no healing in the offing. Now she can pray for her father and say, Thy will not mine be done. She has released dad into God’s hands. It is out of our/her hands. There are just things that medicine cannot heal or stop.

Letting Go and Letting God is a huge step in spiritual growth.

If we have the important three things in life, praying for more, is pointless.

If we have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, and a warm bed to sleep in, we are in a much better state than millions of people on this earth.

Kind of puts it into perspective doesn’t it?


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

tumblr_lyv23dDgvu1ronyvyo1_500 tyleroakley

Courtesy:Tyler Oakley

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

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

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

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

Well, Up didn’t work.

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

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

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

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

“Money and spirituality don’t mix.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

We heard about Humility. We heard about Gratitude.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that is a thing …

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

we_were_here_full_size_wb

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 …


Moments of Grace … Friday

tumblr_m92o047WHu1qbrivdo1_r2_500 wrestlingisbestCourtesy: Wrestling is Best

It is the end of the week. All is quiet on the Western Front. The night time temps have dropped ever so slightly, enough that a second layer is comfortable, but not too warm. I broke out the fleece hoodie I love.

I had set my alarm clock when I went to bed last night, and woke up early, as usual. I never sleep up to the bell. I am usually 20 minutes early. When I got up I was a little foggy, I was getting ready to Get Ready to go and realized that I had two hours instead of one until my usual departure.

I downloaded a Brazilian Movie … “The Way He Looks.” Hoje EuQuero Vollar Sozinho.

It is in Portuguese and has no subtitles. UGH … There have been a bunch of Gif’s on Tumblr from the movie itself that I find romantic and cute. Today someone posted the title of the movie and I actually found it. Something to do later.

I left a few minutes late, and got all the way to my bus connection, there was about twenty people ahead of me in the line up and no bus. We waited. A bus pulled up and stopped short of the stop itself where you get on the bus. The driver got out … She got out of the bus, and walked towards the drop zone of that same bus/metro stop as it approaches the terminus at that station, she got on a second bus that eventually pulled up behind her bus, and both drivers took off for the kiosk to get munchies.

Transit workers, Police and Firefighters are in a battle with the city over their pensions, and trains buses, police cars and firetrucks are festooned with protest stickers. Some are covered all over the place. (I’m not sure how you get all that sticky-ness off of a vehicle or the trains and sorts.)

Transit workers come to work in street clothes, and they take their time when it comes to schedules, but they aren’t supposed to derail timetables and schedules. Both buses were loading passengers and I opted for the first bus at the stop. I got on the bus, ready to swipe my card …

And she smiled at me … It was just one of those moments.

I rode to my stop and arrived early as usual and we set up and chatted a bit. We sat a full house, but not enough for groups.

There are moments during our days, that time seems to stop. When our chair opened the meeting, we usually start with a moment of silence for the alcoholic who still suffers, but tonight she added that maybe we could take that moment and remember that darkest point when we took that last drink, and what it felt like, prior to the Serenity Prayer.

Take a moment … Think … Remember … Prayer …

And then it happened. I was sitting in a room full of my friends I truly care about, and we said the Serenity Prayer with those thoughts on our minds.

It was like music to God being sung…

I don’t know, it just hit me squarely. It was one of those moments, suspended between time and space.

So that was a thing …

The reading: “Renew your Effort.” from A.B.S.I. pg 68

Speaks to a slip, and the feelings of shame, guilt and regret.

Not everybody that comes in the door the first time, “get’s it” and remains sober. Many of us have a slip or two in our stories, some have more, but at the Friday meeting, our sober quotient is very high.

There is nothing more disconcerting than that look of “pity” from folks, when one comes in, off a slip, Or that one might look down upon, or shame another because of a slip. We work very hard on Friday’s to be as loving and welcoming to everyone, no matter where they came from on any given night.

And that approach has served us well, and carried our friends who have slipped into longer periods of sobriety this time around.

I never understood the feelings of someone who got stuck in the revolving door, until I got to that point in my own story. I learned what that felt like. Letting my friends down who cared about me. Letting down the meeting that supported me. Giving back that perfectly wrapped gift from God and said

“Nope, you can have it, I don’t want it any more…”

I got sober in the same city, where I had been sober before. The good thing was that I was on the beach, and the club room was in the city. City folks and beach folks usually do not mix, and that was the case for me, but word did travel, when I got back in, that I was sober again. And three weeks in, the second time around, I met all my friends at a midnight meeting, just before Christmas.

I was waiting for that Pity look. I am sure as shit, people were thinking it, because I was.

I got hugs and pats on the back, and a welcome. That is what I needed. Because I was assaulting myself with guilt, shame and remorse for weeks. It took me about two months to get over it soberly.

The reading says “… could I also suggest that you look at excessive guilt for what it is? Nothing but a sort of reverse pride. A decent regret for what has happened is fine. But guilt – No.”

A slip just doesn’t happen. There are usually extenuating circumstances that contribute to a slip. A situation or a problem. Self doubt, or self hatred. For myself, it was a hole in my chest that nobody else could see, but I knew was there, and I had to fill it. It was a cathartic need to fill it, and I went to every length to try and do that, To My Own Detriment.

Which probably contributed to the length of time it took me to reach my Second Last Drink.

We are all sober tonight. It was a beautiful night. People are coming and going. Some are moving away for school this term and tonight was their last night with us until the Fall Term ends in November, which is bittersweet. Friends are back from vacation. it was good to see and be seen.

All is well.

More to come, stay tuned …


In Case of Fire …”BREAK GLASS”

Pope Francis in a selfie photoIt has been a week of change. People have come and gone. One of my men is now living in Pittsburgh and we get to talk every night, thanks to Skype. The wonders of technology never cease.

Last night we heard from a second of my men, who is moving his family back to Oshawa to his family home where the kids will have a house, a yard and parks to play in close to home, which is a big change from their 3 1/2 here in Montreal. That move takes place in a fortnight.

My third and final man is coming home in the days to come, which will be exciting since he has been gone all summer long at camp.

The Friday night commute was quick and painless, and we set up quickly and quietly. Then everyone came for the Friday night meet and greet. It was a full house by the time the meeting ended. We talked about prayer, and we talked about God.

At some point in the game, you get to God. And the Book speaks about the “spiritual experience” and the “psychic change” that has to come about to guarantee a sober life.

Everyone has a story. And at some point or other, in our drinking story, that we get to the end and we say …”God, help me, I can’t go on like this any longer !” In case of Fire, Break Glass…

There has been a lot of talk about religious faith amongst my fellows, which I am going to write about in a separate post later tonight. I read an interesting post last night about religious faith and the belief in fictional characters we find in pop culture and in film. But more on that later.

I’ve noticed along the way that there are buzz words and concepts that have popped up this time around that did not come to mind the first time around, not that I remember. That was more than twenty years ago now.

When I hit my slip, I surely was not thinking about God. He never came up. I never thought about Him. And the thought did not come to mind until I had had my last drink and I finally called out for help. I prayed, and I believe that that is all He needed to hear. You see, God allows us to do what we are going to do, usually He doesn’t act, unless we are in peril, for some.

Over there —> in the Pages if you look down to “Naked and Sacred” you can read my story about my relationship with God, when it started and how I got here.

God was part of my life. I went to church, I attended seminary, visited the Vatican. God and I were close. And as long as I remained “on the beam” my life was pretty sweet. Everything went according to plan, it was never my plan, per se, but it was a plan that worked.

But every time I stepped “off the beam” my life became a real shit storm.

I have had several shit storms in my life. Most of my twenties, half of my thirties. I had brief connection when I got sober the first time, but I account that survival to people and not God. But in hindsight, I have said that when I really needed God, (read: my diagnosis) He came to me in human form. I was so satisfied with my job and the people in my life, I really did not think about God, because He was there, right in front of me.

The second time around I learned how to trust God all over again. And I have said that from the moment I put down the drink, God moved heaven and earth to get me here. And He was running the show. I have stayed “on the beam.”

When I hit my ten year anniversary, the theme of that anniversary was ” I Thirst” a meditation from the journals of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It would not come to pass for another couple of years that God spoke to me. At the West island Roundup in 2013, I met Lorna Kelly. She went to Calcutta and worked along side the sisters and had a relationship with Mother Teresa for years, prior to her death, and later spoke in the case for her canonization.

Anyways … I read both her books. The Camel Knows the Way and In the Footsteps of the Camel. In the story in the first book is all about Calcutta. Lorna steps into the chapel and there stenciled on the wall next to the crucifix are the words … ” I Thirst.” It floored me.

It was also at that roundup that my prayer life got a huge jump start. I was coasting. And the fire that was lit pushed me to new lengths in my prayer life. And from that blossomed a new sponsor, sponsees and something entirely new for my sobriety.

But as of late, I’ve had problems finding God. I know He is there, but there are times that I can’t see him, or I forget to call out His name. And that usually happens when I am stuck on my hamster wheel obsessing or worrying about things that are way outside of my control.

In certain situations, the older I get the angrier I get about people and situations. I imagine in my minds eye that adults grow up eventually and we reach a point that darkness is overcome by the light.

That hasn’t happened yet for me.

I spoke about it last night again, because we read on resentments and anger. And throughout the meeting I heard the the older men speak, and we got two round robins in and I heard those sentences from the book that makes sense of everything that is going on …

  • ACCEPTANCE is the KEY to ALL my problems and that
  • NOTHING absolutely NOTHING happens in God World by Mistake.

God is in control, to the extent we allow that control. But God allows for self will. And when we take back our will, it usually ends up in self will run riot. I would rather not be in that place.

Where ever you are at what ever time it is, no matter what day it is, we are right where we need to be at any given moment on any given day. And that if nothing happens by mistake and I an right where I should be, then I can let go of my expectations and my fears and my pains of heart.

I got here right? Well, God got me here.

I am powerless over people, places and things.

I’ve read countless books about Karma, Family, Parables, Teachings.

One book I love is The Journey Home – a Kryon Parable.

In it the lead character looses his parents very young, and spirals into a pit of depression and loneliness until he winds up in hospital because of a robbery gone very wrong. In the story he gets to take a journey through seven Angelic Houses. And learns many lessons about life.

When we are born, we incarnate in groups usually. Everybody has their prescribed roles, agreed upon before we get here. And certain people may not be on board for the entire journey, because each contract is different. And we may not get very far, but far enough to the point that we either move apart or we die.

I believe that my family had a very short contract. We only got so far before we parted ways and i went on with my life by myself. And I wonder why that happened, well I know why, I am Gay, HIV+ and I live in another country now. Grounds for immediate dismissal.

So that is a thing.

I pray for the time when everybody grows up to a point that communication is possible. But I am not hedging my bets. Cue resentment and anger. 

Unfounded.

I must go on trusting that God knows what He is doing. Can you see I have trust issues?

I am right where I need to be and there are no mistakes.

I must connect daily, many times a day. I must be humble and get on my knees and pray.

There are no two ways around it.

I must remain “On the Beam.”

It is getting late and I have a second post to finish.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Listening to the Wind … Messages … Seeds

coffee cupThe weather held for the weekend’s festivities. The summer concert series is in full swing. There was and will be lots of music to come over the next couple of weeks. Osheaga was this weekend, and Coming up will be Thirty Seconds to Mars (Jared Leto and friends) with guests Linkin Park. That was a ticket i would want to buy, but coming in close to $100.00 is a little steep. I, however have all the latest music on my phone already. I’m not sure I want to find myself in a mosh pit with screaming teen-agers.

I guess I fared well with all that’s going on in my head and heart. You can’t make someone love you and you sure as shit cannot change someone who is stuck in hate and ignorance. However broken hearted I am about the situation, I must remember that I am powerless over people, places and things. I did however send another message through last night when I got home from dinner, the channel is still open and I haven’t been blocked “Yet.”

We had dinner with my sister in law while she waited on her kids to attend the concert last night they got home close to midnight, and mom left for Ottawa this afternoon and another set of parents are here to chaperone them another night and to La Rhonde tomorrow then they will all return to Ottawa Monday night.

It was another festive Sunday afternoon. The weather has been glorious and we will take it while it lasts. I cranked out set up and sat outside on the stoop to await my peeps. And we sat a full room. I had imagined that we would get through the entire story (read wise) and have a full discussion, But we read the entire circle (Listening to the Wind) and I stopped the read a few pages short, it was quite a long story with lots of insanity, and that’s where I left it tonight, next week we will get the resolution and the solution of the story.

Folks were like “damned … I really wanted to get to the end …”

Keep em coming back for more is my take on it.

Which leaves us only a few pages of reading next week, because we usually only stick to one story at a time, since we are in the “total insanity” chapter of the stories in the back of the book.

In the fourth edition, several stories were removed from older editions, several new stories were inserted, and a few were renamed from older editions, and there are several topical sections that set apart sets of stories as they were published.

Insanity was the one thing I took away from this read.

When I left home, all that I knew how to do was drink. Who knew from responsibility. We were young and pretty back then. And I lived in an apartment complex heavily populated with Disney employees. You either were one, or you knew someone who was.

It seemed that what ruled the day was the amount of alcohol one could consume on any given night, and between the gay bars, Southern Nights and the Parliament House, and the Disney bars located at Downtown Disney, we had all of our bases covered. You could drink very cheaply no matter what night it was. And who you were friends with usually dictated the alcohol and drug consumption. I was not interested in drugs early on, alcohol was much cheaper and it was legal.

From beginning to end, several times, I was the alcoholic running riot through people’s lives. And reading from the back of the book, in several stories, you could insert me into a story because at some point I was the writer.

For whatever reason, I graduated from staying in one place and attempting to live responsibly, which at one point I could not, and many room mates later, and several failed relationships, most ending in horrible ways, I began the geographical moves. I followed the boys from town to town.

I moved from Miami to Orlando to be gay and come our at the Parliament House. I failed at relationships so I moved on to Daytona Beach and Up and down the coast for a period of time.

I was always on the loosing end, meaning that I had lost everything several times. I had a couple of neat room mates. But that only lasted so long. There had to be alcohol and there also had to be good sex. Because if you were young and pretty, the world was your oyster.

In my twenties I remained slender and cute for a while. I eventually ended back in Miami for the grand crash and burn. And from that jackpot I rented from a friend, and ruined that relationship over alcohol.

When I lived in Orlando I dated a young man who I was very much in love with, but he was a seasonal Disney employee. And while the getting was good, we dated. And every day after work, we would talk and it would either be “Bottle or Blender?”

You were either going to bring a bottle or you would bring the blender.

We would get tanked, watch Mary Poppins drunk and then the night would take off. That was during the best of times. Eventually I transited into the worst of times. i really did not know why i was having such problems. Because nobody ever mentioned alcoholism to any of us, not that any of us would have responded well to an inquiry like that.

Nobody said STOP.

Nobody ever intimated that any of us had a problem with our drinking.

Imagine what life would have looked like had I gotten sober in my twenties.

The rest they say is history. I am learning so much this time around. Every day it is something new. I read, I talk to friends, I study the book, and I look at the past with new eyes. I almost feel sorry for that young man that I was. I had some friends, but no one substantial to stop me when I should have been stopped. I “wung it” for a long time.

Eventually someone did step in and tell me to Stop.

I had no choice then. Death was the only alternative. And I did not want to die.

I am committed to my sober journey and the sober journey’s of the men i work with. We are all planting seeds in our own ways. We all have something to give, depending on what we have in our virtual banks of sobriety. But the book does say that …”Obviously you cannot give something that you don’t have …”

Which is why we keep coming back for more.

I am ok tonight. Tomorrow we move on.

More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday … Step 3 … Humanity … Thoughts and the Weather

loveThe weather here at home has been stellar lately. Sunshine, breezy and very pleasant.

The shift in light and seasons is being noticed by some folks. I was standing on my balcony the other night, just as the sun was setting on the far side of the mountain and I noticed something I had never seen before. There are a bunch of windmills/turbines on the south shore that one can see from here, miles away, when the sun is right and there is not much haze in the sky. The same goes for the beacon lights at night.

The way that light moves around the west end of the city (where I can see) is quite incredible. For a brief few moments the sunlight wrapped around the west end, around the buildings and the highways and high-lit the turbines in a way I had never seen before. It was a picture perfect view, had I a camera that would shoot that far away. The sunset is different every night, it is never the same light two nights running.

So that is a thing …

It has been an emotional few days and I came up with new insights tonight at the meeting reading Step three with the guys. These are some new insights:

Every once in a while, When God sees fit, I am reminded of the vows I spoke on my wedding day. Usually, when I am not pleased with something, someone or myself, God steps in and points out that “Yes, You indeed spoke those words, need I remind you of them?”

For better – For worse, In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer …

I seem to forget these things when I turn on myself and attempt to wrestle my will back from God. I only get so far, before I fall flat on my face and cry uncle …

We are guilty of improper use of our will.

And once we made that decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God (as we understood Him) can we begin learning the proper use of our will and our lives.

I also did not think about the fact that Acceptance is the key to ALL my problems. Nor, did I stop to recite the serenity prayer like I should have. I am powerless over people, places and things, and that I accepted the life that I am living. I may not like it all the time, and that is ok.

I am only human.

We also learn in Step three that we, men, have problems sitting with silence and we would rather shock ourselves than sit with our feelings and the silence. I felt that as well this week. The silence was deafening. And try as I might, to fill it with something, I failed.

It was funny that I decided to perk less coffee because we always end up throwing some away at the end of the night, tonight we sat a full compliment and ran out of coffee before the meeting even started. That usually never happens. The summer season has brought dozens of visitors from out of town to several meetings that I hit. And they are making it to Thursday’s meeting.

It is said that, “At any given moment during the day, we are right where we need to be and are supposed to be.”

Once again, that word: Acceptance, rises from the book into reality.

All my guys are good. Two out at camp and one here with me. He took his three month chip tonight. It is incredible to see how far he has come in such short of a time.

The best medicine in sobriety is watching someone else get sober, from day one, over time.

To see the evolution of Person, of God and of Prayer and how they all work together.

It was timely that I got the last two weeks to chair, we spent two weeks on steps and next week is my birthday, a business meeting and a tradition.

Tomorrow I get to sit with my sponsor and talk out all this stuff with him. Then the usual Friday meeting and time with one of my guys in from camp. We are a couple of weeks from his departure from the country. The long goodbye continues …

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Tragedy … plain and simple

malaysia635This morning, the world had to stop and take a collective breath, all at the same time.

It is never a good sign when first thing in the morning comes news of a passenger plane having been shot down over a war zone !

All our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and the people who were on that flight. How do we make sense of this kind of tragedy?

Eventually, the who, what, where, when and why will be explained. Surely, this event should stoke the worlds governments to do something. Someone made a monumental mistake.

And someone should pay for this kind of indignity.

It was a sad day.

Malaysian Airlines is not having the best of years it seems, like there was a choice of which plane to shoot down, um, let’s see … maybe we will hit that “one.”

There is too much conflict going on and not enough cool heads to prevail.

But what is life without war? I mean what could possibly come of a world that lives for the betterment of humanity, peace and the respect for ALL life !

Somewhere God is up there taking the piss. What does God have to do with this ?

Nothing.

Last night I was listening to the radio and I heard a man say that the extraterrestrials were watching and would, if need be, come down and rescue us from ourselves.

I think we really need someone to come down here and rescue us from ourselves.

Life must go on, and so it did, eventually.

I prepped to go and departed a bit early to make some stops on the way. It was a stellar day to be out. The clouds drifted over and off throughout the evening. One might have thought that the skies were about to open, but thankfully, the weather held.

We sat a small group. Just the regulars. I have sponsees running their steps, so I decided that we would read from the Twelve and Twelve and Step 2.

Ah, there is that God word again. “you’re not gonna get me this time …”

I like that I work with guys who are of different minds, and need different work. And I have, at my disposal, multiple forms of step work which has come in handy. My sponsor is apt to tell me that the more work one has, the better the experience. So it goes.

I reflect …

Coming from a U.S. State that has two seasons, wet and wetter, God only shows himself when a hurricane is barking down your door. Then it is true destruction.

Moving to a city in the Northern, “northern” hemisphere, has brought me to a place with four seasons. And if you question the existence of God, or something greater, spend a year thinking about it and watch seasons roll from one to the next.

That is pretty simple, on a grand scale of things.

Our guys all have interesting stories about “coming to.” Where they come from, what it was like, what happened, and then what it is like today. And once again we make this pass across a step so we get further insight into life.

My “best thinking” got me into loads of trouble. And trouble kept me drunk.

I know I prayed for it to end. And it did. God moved in  my life, and the rest is history.

There are plenty of instances throughout my life where God stepped in to show me what can happen if I trust Him. And when that happened I did, but eventually, I took my will back, in essence, I said that “I knew better than God!” And look where that put me?

I am not God, I don’t have all the answers. And I am not the center of the universe.

If you want a sure fire test to prove that God exists, spend a season in a room and watch her people come, come to, and come to believe themselves.

I guarantee you that you will see God.

I have proof, for my eyes and my soul that there is a God and that He is good.

And I’ve watched my guys come, come to and come to believe.

That is called blessing.

Even if the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and a day cannot go by without someone killing someone else, watching the Holy Land sink further into war and planes falling from the sky, for an hour at least, in the basement of a local church, we spoke of divinity.

And it is to that Divinity tonight that we say our prayers.

May the souls of those departed rest in the hands of God, Eternal rest grant them and may perpetual light shine upon them.

If we ever needed something divine to come to us, this would be about the right moment.

God, where are You???

That is all I have for you tonight.

More to come, stay tuned…


God, I just pooped myself. A little help.

kneelLifted from: Don’t Eat Trash

There was a time in my life that I used to get up at 5:45, skate through the freezing cold of Richardson, start work at 6am, work till 12Pm, return home to eat dim sims, play a computer game for most of the day, hang out with my house mates and then continue to play a computer game whilst slowly getting drunker and drunker until i blacked out. REPEAT.

I had reasons for it all. I had been through a large patch of insomnia, and alcohol was a stupid way to attempt to beat that, whilst absent-mindedly destroying myself. I was flooded with disappointment and bitterness that meant, my natural disposition towards community was being avoided at all costs. And i worked a job that was understaffed and played on my sense of camaraderie and loyalty to work double shifts all the time.

It was not an enjoyable experience. In hindsight i almost wasted 3 years of my life doing nothing. (there were many redeeming features though, in among the haze of my failing bitter hedonism.)

I was convinced that immersing myself in a fake world and getting at least some “sleep” was pass-able.

At no stage do i wish i was back there. Other then maybe do it differently. The whole time there was a voice in the back of my head of how i was to get myself out of the repeating cycle. I played in bands that i enjoyed, i met with an array of different church groups, i had accountability groups, i let random people stay at our house, i did other christian things, attempting to somehow make shape of my life enough to pull myself up.

But that was the problem. Me.

Yesterday i heard this incredible analogy. Of a baby pooping itself and trying to clean the poop up itself. The Dad walks into the room, expecting to have to clean some poop up and there’s the baby, sitting in a huge pile of it, and the baby is like…. ‘…oh…. didn’t see you come in…. I’m just…. cleaning up some poop. Don’t worry about it, i got this Dad. I’ll be finished cleaning this as soon as i can figure out how use my legs… So you just go and hang out with Mum”

Babies can’t clean up their own poop. It’s physically, mentally and behaviorally impossible. But as adults, as children of God, we try to do similar. Taking my story as an example I once woke up in my bed, wearing clothes i don’t remember changing into the night before. It was the first time i had blacked out and not remembered a portion of my life. It freaked me out. It was one of those “This will never happen again” Moments, where you swear to yourself that you will make that not repeat itself.

So instead of putting my arms up in the air and screaming “FATHER GOD, I pooped myself and i need you to clean me up” I close the door between me and him, and begin attempting to clean myself up. I try and stand up to get some type of cloth and instead of my legs working, my baby legs collapse and i go head first back into my poop. And of course – a few weeks later, i black out again, and once again i forget a part of my life. It freaks me out less… Because i’ve had my face in a big pile of poop recently, when i tried to clean it up myself.

But as soon as we understand our relationship with the father, we spend a lot less time with our face in our own poop.

Let God clean your poop. Hug him a lot. and make smiley baby faces at him. Its kind of our job.


Turn Your World Upside Down

tumblr_l5tfderl9f1qa4w2fo1_500 free minded

Courtesy: free minded

So it rained today. God is up there taking the piss. And rained on the big party today. At least the community got a good day yesterday to do what they do.

With everything closed today, it was a hunt to grocery shop and find a restaurant that was open, ala Subway. I’ve been craving a burger and wanted one and woke up wanting one, and the burger joint across the street was CLOSED !!!

I didn’t feel like walking all the way to the mall for some Micky D’s so I settled for Subway, it is right up the street and convenient. Laundry will have to wait until tomorrow. And that is fine because it is an off day.

I headed out for my transit and that went well. I got to my connection and the buses were all sitting in the bay with drivers doing this and that. I could’ve skipped the transfer and walked, but I was like, it’s raining, and probably folks would be slow on the arrival. As WAS the case.

We had a small showing. We have a smattering of newbies, a few with time, then those of us with decades or more.

The chair read from a Grapevine and the reading was on “The Serenity Prayer.”

The topic went all over, and folks were talking all over each other. And I sat there for a while pondering prayer, and nothing was coming to mind.

I was totally blank.

I mean On my way back I prayed. When I came in, I heard the prayers and participated in the meetings, but it wasn’t like I was PRAYING overtly.

Those first few months when it came to meetings, I mean, I went, I was there, I hit massive amounts of meetings, but it was all a blur.

When I got here, I hung out, got connected. Found a sponsor. And I worked my steps that first year in. So I did the prayers from the book with my sponsor, and that was that. I had my issues coming in that had to be abandoned. And I learned a few things.

I went back to school. I studied Religion and Pastoral Ministry and Theology. So all that time, it was all about God in His many forms. I call that religious education. At the same time I was going to meetings, year in and year out.

I did what we all did. I would not say that I was paying lip service to my prayers, I mean I was praying, but I guess not hard enough. I got through and life panned out. I did whatever I was told to do, by people I trusted and respected.

But it all came to a head at the Roundup of 2013.

One of the speakers got up there and hammered the message home that “if you have lots of time, you should be able to rattle off the prayers from the book” right then and there. And like I have said before, we here in Montreal, where sobriety is concerned, we say ” Aw, we’ll do it tomorrow!” Nobody in the room could rattle off the prayers rote.

Then it hit me.

If I want what these guys are talking about and the lives that they are speaking about, I really need to step up my game. And that game began with prayer. Ardent, on your knees, pound the book, PRAYER !!!

Three, Seven and Eleven, morning, noon and night.

And so that is what I did, for months on top of months. I prayed as if my ass was on the line, and I meant it. And then I waited for the payoff.

I changed up my meetings. I spent lots of time with guys I really care about and meetings with people I love, and I did that for months on top of months.

Then a new sponsor came into my life. And we started my steps, of which I am amid today. I met a young man, whom I sponsor today. Then one night my second guy walked into my life and I took him on as well. And they are working their steps today. And just a little while ago, after a meeting a third guy wanted to connect, so three’s a charm.

The girls work New York Sobriety. And I wanted New York Sobriety. And I was going to find it no matter what I had to do to get it. Our girls here won’t sponsor guys, but they do in New York, So I had to wait for one to come to me.

I got to go to Vermont in May for a Men’s Intensive Weekend. And that was a watershed event in my life. I hit the 2014 Roundup a couple of weeks later, and that was mediocre at best. And that was the general consensus.

When I ponder prayer, over the long haul, I did it in the beginning. And it went as it went. I stayed sober. I used the Serenity Prayer all along. I’ve posted it, I spoke about it, I’ve shared about it.

It is a pervasive prayer that is said all over the place. In many forms. Long and short. Meeting after meeting. And you work your steps and as they pop up you say them when needed and then you let them go.

But I’ve learned that sober prayers, if said correctly, from the heart in the right direction can change your life, in ways you can’t imagine.

Until you DO IT.

Our young people, (read: newbies) come and they sit, yet they tell us that they don’t understand the steps or how to do them. I don’t throw Big Books at newbies. I’d rather they come for a while and sink into their chairs and get comfy in them.

It has to happen organically. You can’t force someone into a book. It just does not work very well that way. And I said as much tonight to them.

It has been a journey. And at different times, different things pop up onto the radar that we get to work on, and Prayer was the last real lesson that came in the past year that I worked on for an entire year. And that has helped me and my guys immensely.

I know who God is and I know who God is not.

Education does that for you. So it wasn’t a wasted opportunity.

Can you recite Three, Seven and Eleven from Memory?

If you can’t then maybe it is time for you to practice.

Time to eat. More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday … So Long for Now … Changes

tumblr_lgobofjaDU1qzbcvvo1_500 alex-stoddard

Courtesy: Alex Stoddard (Archives)

The weather is looking up for the next few days. It could stay like this for the Summer as far as I am concerned.

The long goodbye continued tonight. My guys are coming to the end of their time with us, and our little community is growing smaller. We said goodbye to one of my guys at the Metro station, tomorrow is move day and Saturday he will depart for the rest of the Summer. Hopefully, he takes with him all the he has learned over the past four months. Canada Wide Calling is going to be very useful.

I departed for the church and met with my other guy for set up. He is going to be a much harder goodbye because he is moving from the city in the coming weeks. I will get to see him on his off days throughout camp weeks.

Again, we have filled him with everything we have got to give.

We read from Daily Reflections, Fear and Faith.

We carry one similar trait. Most of us carry a modicum of fear from our lives into recovery. And in life, a modicum of fear is a good thing, if only to remind us that we are human, and do feel.

There was a great deal of fear in my childhood. A lot of violence heaped upon a small child, if only because he had been born to a father who did not want him. And spent the better part of a decade trying to bring about the end of said child.

What do you do when you are drilled with fear, because you are unwanted, or better yet, being told that you were a mistake. Only to grow up and see the proverbial writing on the wall, and come to know your adversity.

And your destiny …

Then with time, one grows up and has made a life proclamation only then to be branded an abomination. That only adds to the fear of being “other.”

I never made the connection, in my drinking history early on, that I was drinking out of fear. I never blamed anyone for my drinking. I was taught that to be part of that we drank. So that is what I did. To fit in.

I was young and impressionable. I seemed to “fit in” I had all the right friends and drinking buddies. I was part of a greater “Whole.” A Community of sorts. The men I called friends took care of me and cared about me, seriously. They are all long dead now. For what it was worth, I would not have changed one bit of it.

Nobody said stop.

Life threw its curves, and I got sick. It was at this point that I began to drink out of fear. Fear of misery, fear of pain, fear of pain, and most importantly, fear of Death.

I thought it would be better to do myself in before the misery, to save me from what I was seeing in my friends lives. What do you do when a doctor hands you a death sentence and actually tells you when you are going to die?

Thankfully, Todd did for me what I could not do for myself.

He kept me close. He allayed my fears. He gave me a purpose and helped me deal with my fears with practical life lessons that paid off in spades.

I lived …

Most people I know, that means, most of YOU out there, probably never think about your deaths or the end. And you usually don’t think about death until it happens to you within family or friends.

For some of us, that came in spades. What do you fear, after surviving your death date? What could be worse than facing down your own death and surviving???

Everything else after that pales in comparison.

Yes, I went out and returned. The blip on my life radar.

I made certain choices and arrived here. I really did not fear the future because I had all my bases covered. I made sure, this time, that I was going to do it right, from the get go. And I did that.

There has been fear. But I managed. We managed.

I was never alone, at any point in my journey. I worked on my fear, resentment and guilt list on this fourth. All three lists are very short.

I am powerless over people, places and things.

I won’t ever get my day to state my case to certain people. I will never get to defend my life choices to state my case for becoming a grown adult man who is successful, despite the past and the way I was treated by some.

And I have to be ok with that.

I won’t ever get to say goodbye to certain people, if only because they set the rules and I have been forced to comply, not that I haven’t tried to assert myself. People die and I am here and they are there. What do you do when you don’t get to say goodbye? You go on with your life.

When people show you who they are the first time, Believe them.

I should have heard this lesson many years ago. It would have made it so much easier.

And I have to be ok with that.

I don’t fear my death any longer. When it gets here eventually, it will come on my terms, when I am ready to go. After I have fought death to the bitter end.

We choose when we will die. When we at last release our spirits from this life, in the hope of the life after. I’ve earned that choice.

Life is good. Life is as life is.

I have everything I need. And I am ok with that. I have ENOUGH…

I am working with some new folks as of tonight. We’ll see how that turns out.

It is trues that if a number isn’t used within the first 48 hours, it will never be used.

That is why we require a call every day. I am required to call every day, for my own sanity and sobriety.

When you know, Teach. When you have, Give.

There are always people waiting in the wings for someone to reach out and say, “I think you are important.” So let’s begin.

And so we have.

Pray for my guys. They need our faith and prayers.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Acceptance … Do Right !!!

tumblr_m030k5TPq01qi4msqo1_500 rockthesox

Courtesy:Rockthesox

The weekend is coming to a close. And it was a stellar day today. God has been shining love and sunshine on us. The streets and highways are all torn up due to construction, and streets are closed due to the Tour D’lisle today.

Our folks are getting to practice Patience and Serenity in spades.

It was a great weekend.

Oprah’s Masterclass is on. Earlier was an encore presentation of Maya Angelou, and now Whoopi is sharing. It was important to listen to Maya again to remind me of how I am supposed to live(rightly), to know who I am, (a Child of God) and how to treat others, (when you know right, Do right).

It was a regular Sunday afternoon. The top of the month brought new faces to the rotation, and at the end of the meeting brought new folks who want to join. We are carrying the message and attracting folks from far and wide.

One of our founding members has left us for a new home in New Brunswick. So we are in hand off mode. New people in responsible positions to take care of the group and its expenses.

We read from the Big Book tonight, and the most (well one of the most) important chapters in the book. “Acceptance was the Answer.” We sat a huge group and we had decided to read half way and open the room to discussion. That was a good decision. We went the whole period and went over a bit in order to give everyone a chance to share.

The really Good Stuff comes in the second part of the reading … Pages 416-417.

“Acceptance is the key to ALL my problems and Nothing, Absolutely Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.”

These two sentences bring about all kinds of thinking, more thinking and denial and discussion, and finally, in time, Acceptance.

Most folks cannot square their pasts with Nothing happens in God’s  world by mistake. As in God had a plan, and we were merely actors in the grand scheme of things. But this share has to wait until next week.

Today we heard the insanity portion of the read. A doctor and his inability to “get it.” Only a good doctor knows how to prescribe all the right pills for what ailed him. And the insanity of having to manage the right mix of alcohol, pills, uppers and downers – what a nightmare.

Finally, in his story he comes to sobriety, after traveling a very circuitous route. And he says at one point … “I sat down with me” in all his insanity and someone shared on this saying that her sponsor says to this portion that that is “an Idiot speaking to an asshole.”

I know when I came back, I couldn’t sit with me very well. I needed someone to sit with me until the guilt and shame left me and I had to eventually dig myself out of self pity, my friends all stayed with me.

There are some things that in hindsight become important for people in early sobriety. And I did not see these things as important until a couple of years ago.

Yes, the Big Book has its method. It is written in a specific order, and the steps come in an order as well. And that’s the way we are supposed to read it. The stories in the back of the book are just gravy on a plate of meat and potatoes.

But working with others bring challenges. I want my guys to learn about themselves AS they work their steps and hit meetings.

We speak once a day.
We hit meetings together.
They work their steps.

At night they write 10th steps. Even though they are not there yet. They write in the beginning, from the beginning, so that they get used to writing. And each day we have something to talk about. And that is kindling for our weekly discussions that take place once a week.

Also, There are chapters in the back of the book that folks should be made aware of because, it is only my opinion, but there are crucial lessons in the back of the book that we need to hear from the beginning, because in the long run, knowing certain truths and axioms, pay off in spades when they get further into their steps.

And we (at the Sunday meeting) are working our way through the back of the book as we speak, and my guys are on Steps 4 and 2 respectively.

I want my guys to come away from The Work feeling accomplished and that their lives are changed by the process of The Work.

It was a good night. People came by the droves. Everybody had a great time.

More to come, stay tuned …

 


Sunday Sundries … Moving Forward

maybe

And the weekend comes to a close. The rains came this evening, but a couple of us missed it all and got home nice and dry.

It was a Big Day for one of my guys, but more on that later.

I headed out a bit early to make some stops on the way, and I got into the hall and chairs were already down, which made my job a bit easier. Last week we did not make enough coffee, but also, we did not expect the numbers that showed up, so we ran out.

Tonight, I made sure I filled the urn to make more coffee, not knowing, tonight, how many would show up, and I was good to think that, because we sat huge numbers again tonight. I pulled out two stacks of chairs extra, on top of what I usually put down.

We don’t usually see big numbers on Traditions weeks, still it is a good sign that lots of people like our meeting and come from all over. We had a couple from Alberta come and we welcomed them warmly.

Since it is the last Sunday of the month, we read Tradition 5.

“Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

We have heard a lot about Singleness of purpose, from the weekend, and the Primary purpose tonight. The problem with singleness of purpose, is that it alienates the dual addict. Which was a comment I heard from many after the roundup. I brought my guys, and for them alcohol is not their primary. So they were kind of put off.

This is where I think we need to amend the singleness of purpose. Because many come to our meetings, where alcohol is not their primary. And that is why I work through two texts instead of one.

With a room full of people, we got a multitude of ways to carry the message, and including how the message was carried to us. The main goal of a group is to carry the message to the one who still suffers, or is brand new, or coming back.

It is a good sign that we carry good numbers because that means we are doing our jobs and people come back every week. The Sunday meeting is coming up on 52 years in a few weeks. And since its inception, has been doing this work in our community for a long time.

After getting my ass kicked a year ago at a round up, I turned up the heat on my study and my prayers, and I worked my ass off. Which lead to a new sponsor and men to work with one on one.

The most important job I have today is carrying the message and working with my guys. It is the most rewarding aspect of sobriety that we could ever have, to be able to work with others and to pass on what we know to them.

Is it ODD or is it GOD ???

A woman I know from New York coined this phrase.

It is timely because one of my guys completed his 3rd step tonight.

I gave him all the time he needed to complete his task this evening after the meeting. And it was a great discussion about spiritual experience, and his rendition of His Power greater than himself.

There is power in any given room. We go to find it, and we go to give it. We end up sharing it, and we come away with it.

But you ask, WHAT is IT???

Ask many people, you will get many answers.

In the end, it is up to each persons concept and belief system.

How do we turn it over to It and what happens to us?

We learn in recovery that it is not something we can do alone or by ourselves. But together, unified in a single purpose, we can do for each other, what we could never imagine doing ourselves.

One day at a time, with friends and fellows, what we give and what we return becomes the power that brings us salvation.

Some call it God, and some don’t. But it doesn’t make it any less powerful.

I got to share in a 3rd step.

It was good. Very Good.

The rain came and passed us by. Which was a good thing.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Power

tumblr_lnf35rFEG61qg5qxfo1_500 falloftheromanempire

Courtesy:Fall of The Roman Empire

And it rained today. It wept rain until everyone was inside, then buckets came, and it piddled all the way home. The grass will be all the more greener in a few days time.

The Greene Avenue snow pile is no more. All washed away and the parking lot is open for business. I am sure the planting of the square will take place soon.

Another week begins. And in a few days I will be in Vermont. Boo Yah !!!

It is all very exciting. This first weekend is for the guys. Two weeks later it will be for all of us. The run up to the 40th Annual West Island Round Up has begun.

I departed early this afternoon and a good thing too. As I approached the church I saw signs on the door. (not a good sign) Something was going on in the hall that I was not made aware of.

A performance of a very famous boys choir was going on in the church. They are preparing for their tour of Europe in a few weeks. From the sounds of it, the church was packed.

I walked into the church hall, and there were tables, chairs and personal duds on all the chairs. I negotiated the use of the kitchen to make coffee as I waited out the boys to finish and for the hall to open for me.

Someone in the office did not call me, I phoned the super and he said something to that effect, that she forgot to call and cancel the Sunday meeting. (Which would have been a huge problem. You can’t just cancel same day …)

A little while later the place cleared out – with a burst of youth and exuberance !!!

We tore down the space with some assistance and reset for the meeting.

It was a huge success. Lots of people. Lots of good conversation. The writer of tonight’s story was very familiar to me and to others as well. In the end we get to hear about the power that exists in the room, in its people and how we do this thing we call recovery together.

And the line that got the most appreciation was this …

“Be Still And Know that I am God …”

A phrase that is used in many meditation circles. A mantra. A prayer.

Our folks are moving in good directions. People are finding words they never had and they are beginning to hear themselves speak. And that is a very good thing.

A bunch of us walked home together. I met with one of my guys for our weekly meeting and step work.

And the take away from this whole night? I spent a lot of money and seven years in university studying God. And in the end, the God I was looking for came to me in ways I did not expect, and only cost me loonies and toonies, over the last twelve and some years. The God I thought I would find in class, made himself known to me in the many people I have met in the rooms.

And a lot cheaper than the tuition I paid…

God moments… Sitting in a coffee shop listening to someone tell you about the God of THEIR understanding. Precious, Priceless, Divine.

It shall be exciting …

More to come, stay tuned …


Belief, Kingship, Anarchy and Indifference

kneel

Anarchy and the kingdom of wisdom.

Lifted from: Don’t Eat Trash …

Some of us go to the kings throne point at him and say “Oh, your pretty alright, I like your crown, and this throne room is pretty dope.” And then we walk out ignoring the kings power and authority and start stealing and murdering and what have you. Then our roads start crumbling, our electricity is shut off, our crops fail and we think… what happened?

We want to live in the kingdom, but we don’t want to honour its king. We live in anarchy whilst dreaming of a just and democratic society. But justice has a rule book. So do good crops, and if kings don’t get honour, or if kings don’t get even co-operation, why should kings do anything for their people? Why repair roads if the people won’t pay for them, or help with their upkeep? Why should the king pay for our electricity?

One cannot expect to acknowledge a king without giving him kingship and have that king be king. One must acknowledge and give that king kingship to be king over their lives, do build roads, to give power, to love and adore the people.

Justice, community, nation building, economics starts on the bottom. Or at least it should. By giving the righteous king his kingship. Anarchy will always breed confusion, instability and most likely corruption. But the uncorrupt king breeds love and belonging.

The lord by wisdom founded the earth
By wisdom he established the heavens.

There is a way to do things.
The king knows it.
Ask.

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

I thought that I would not have anything to write for last night’s meeting, because the reading spoke of Anarchy, Democracy and Group Dynamics. I heard the reading and listened to folks share, but in the end I had nothing to say.

I did not stay for the business meeting because of people and personalities. I guess I am not yet over them. And Friday is the only meeting during the week where I Don’t have to do service.

Late last night I spoke to my sponsor about an issue on my heart. Something I thought was necessary seeing we are traveling to Vermont with people I have no respect or love for.

Living with AIDS/HIV has its perks and its drawbacks. I learned early on who to trust, who to love, and who to cut from my life on a dime. I learned to watch people intently. I learned to listen to them actively. And I’ve learned over the years that when people show you who they are, listen to them. Thanks Oprah.

I’ve told you of the two times I was told to go somewhere else to get sober. And those two events kind of define my life, in respect to who I associate with and who I will or won’t break bread with.

One of those men who were participant to one of those events is running in my social circle all of a sudden. He comes to the Tuesday meeting but still, today, won’t say my name in my presence. I’ve watched him over the past dozen or so years in the rooms. He has his issues, his anger and his perspective.

I may or may not agree with him, but I watch him nonetheless.

Speaking to my sponsor last night, I shared the event with him and spoke of who was present during the encounter. He was respectful that I could share intimate feelings of wrongdoing with him. I mean that’s what he is in my life for, to help me get better, get sober, in all facets of my life.

He listened while I talked, and did not interrupt me, and waited until I was finished speaking to give me his sage advice. He shared with me a story from his life in response to mine, to show me that he had shared my feelings that I was speaking of right then.

He told me to pray, and to meditate. And to send light to the man I feel animosity towards. I do what I am told. The best prayer I can offer in these terms is the resentment prayer …

“I wish you to have everything I want for myself and more.”

I did my prayers and meditation. During which I visit a friend who writes. He is a believer and a man I highly respect for his challenge to pray, work for justice and serve Christ as King, and God as Father.

And during my active meditation I came across something he wrote recently, and I posted it above for you to read for yourselves. It hit the nail right on the head.

I don’t speak enough of belief, or of the faith that I work on every day. Living side by side with death forces you to reckon with God. I’ve come to know God. I’ve learned how to seek and find Him. I know who God is and who God isn’t.

Faith takes daily work, daily prayer and daily meditation. I’ve learned how to do that. It is part of my daily ritual.

The past is the past. And the pain of the past has moved from a place of pain to a place of indifference. The past is there. I can look at it retrospectively. I no longer waste time reliving or fearing, or having bitterness towards that past.

I would be wasting precious time, pinning, or hurting incessantly.

It just doesn’t bother me any more. It happened, some of it hurt. But God has taken that pain and transformed it into Grace.

In the end I am indifferent to the men and women who maligned me. I don’t share space with them, nor would I ever break bread with them, ever.

So this man has reentered my life, and I have to share a car, space and meetings with him. And I have to be good about it. To be Christian in my love and respectful because that what God expects of us.

There is no amend to make. Just a movement towards respect. To see another human being, a flawed human being, trying to get better in his own way, and I must respect his process. And to learn from him, because he has more time than I do, but not as much time as my sponsor.

The whole point of this exercise is to one day be able to forgive.

Once you move from pain to indifference, And what once bothered you, doesn’t anymore, then I am ready to forgive.

Because it is always about me right? Wrong!

We are to forgive seventy times seven. And trust that God knows what He is doing.

And to remember that We are not GOD.

When life gets too hard to stand, kneel …

More to come, stay tuned …