Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Parliament Hill Ottawa. A Wordpress Production

Money

Friday – “Complete Security?”

pope_francis_quote_graphic_1024x512-1-1024x512“Fear of People and of Economic Insecurity will leave us.”

It was another stellar day today. And it was a Go, Go, Go kind of day.

I had some shopping that I needed to do early on, then I was set to have a meal with Baby Mama, while baby LuLu was napping.

I spent some cash on some new summer clothes, that I was in great need of. One of my friends, is a huge inspiration and has great sense in clothing. And as I was shopping, I was thinking about him. I found a few items that were on sale, and I had never seen the shirts before, so that was a deal.

I returned home and went to buy a meal for our lunch date. Single Motherhood is no walk in the park. And trying to build a home by ones self is a daunting task. Thankfully, she is not alone. We have an entire team of folks on twenty four hour duty for her.

While the baby was sleeping, (thankfully we had two hours of peace and quiet) we ate and spoke of many things. People have been coming and going for the past few days. A crib was delivered last night. Today, another woman brought curtains and more pillows for her bed. She also donated an entire bedroom suite for her bed style. So far, the bedrooms are complete with bedding, curtains and furniture. The last room to be furnished will be the living room. We are seeking a driver to ferry them over without having to pay a small fortune for a mover.

I brought new clothes with me to change into because I needed to hit the Shadows meeting at five, where on of my guys picked up his two month chip. Now he is two months clean and sober from all substances. Next month, on his third month, we will assign him a single date for both, so that he is tracking one timeline instead of two.

We went for pastries after the meeting, then hiked back to his house up the mountain, where we found his fiance home from a day of bridal dress shopping. We invited her to come for the Friday Night meeting. I was very pleased to see a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on her bedside table, which started one serious discussion of all things “Potter.”

YAY for Harry !!

A few minutes later, we made a fifty one bus to the Friday meeting. I usually take that bus, but coming from the East, traveling West. This bus was an Eastbound route. I quite enjoyed the bus ride because the route is a remarkably touristy ride, past beautiful neighborhoods that I had never seen, with million dollar houses, and tall stone churches with pristine yards. It also goes past Saint Joseph’s Oratory, the most important of churches here on the island.

We all decided, in the near future to spend a day trekking this route together as a day event.

We made it to the meeting with about thirty minutes to spare. And we scored the ever important Front Row sobriety seats at the table. And the topic tonight talked about “money,” which in turn lead to the mention of the PROMISE, noted above…

It was good to hear shares from across the spectrum concerning this topic.

After I had said my piece about how we learned to respect money and how to properly use it, pay bills, buy food and still have ample, if only just enough, I thought of a particular story that I wanted to write about here.

Do you remember back in the day, father’s went to work and made the money, and mom was in charge of spending it, properly. Back in those days, we did not have credit cards, (we’re talking about the seventies) we either had cash, or when necessary, a check.

I remember my mother using the checkbook, with the ledger.

We would go to the grocery store, and wait in line for the manager of the store to sign off on a check, affording my mother the ability to spend a certain amount of money. Over time that amount would rise. In the eighties, when big box grocery stores appeared, the all important check approval routine was still alive.

Alcoholism was alive and well in my family. My father provided everything we ever thought we needed, but we were not spoiled with riches and spoils. When we moved for the last time as a family, my father climbed the financial ladder so well, it afforded us a three bedroom house, with two car garage, a one acre yard, with many fruit bearing trees, and the biggest ticket item, a screened in, in ground pool.

We had arrived.

Among the families we grew up with two were middle class white, and the third, was the richest family we had ever come to know. They had the same lot, same size, same acreage, and pool, but they were “better off” than my father had ever known. My father could not compete, but he damned well tried. One Ups man ship was the call of the day.

By the time I moved out of the house, I knew how to take care of a house. I had had several part time jobs, so I knew the value of the dollar and the ethic of work. But with stars in my eyes, and alcoholism on my back, I set off to find “gay” in the gayest city of Florida, Orlando, the home of the Tragic Queendom and the ever popular “Parliament House, hotel, pool bar and show lounge.”

Sadly, Alcoholism was rampant. I was powerless and my ethic of work for money fell apart.

The money I spent on alcohol over the decade of my twenties, would probably have bought me a home. And the cash my father paid out to get my car back from repossession, took a direct hit on their retirement for sure. One fact my parents never forgot.

Where they managed money and drank, well on both accounts, I failed at miserably.

After I was diagnosed with AIDS, I was shit house poor. Thankfully the money Todd paid me, more than compensated for my financial situation. What I did not know in the beginning, was the price I would later pay for survival. Back then, twenty one years ago, we got second hand medication from dead people to start with because there was nothing new on the horizon.

Two years later, in 1996, I fell, quite unexpectedly, into a treatment program in Miami, where I began to pay the ultimate price. Imagine how much life saving drugs cost, when you have no insurance. And you are living on social assistance, (that’s welfare speak).

Medication ran thousands of dollars a month. THOUSANDS !!!

Thousands that I did not have, even working under the table, until I got so sick, I almost died to get on disability. I literally stopped taking my pills, did not shower for weeks, and ended up in that social assistance office, where I literally coughed on my social worker, and fearing for her own life, she finally signed off on my application, after four rounds at trying.

That was a sub human existence.

I would not wish that ordeal on my worst enemy.

I am sure, had I stayed in the states, I would be long since dead already.

I think about the things we did to stay high and drunk boggles the mind.

And the amount of money we poured into our addictions.

I don’t know how I survived. Maybe my will to live, was alive and just waiting for me to finally stop and get straight. Or something greater than myself had my survival on His mind.

After getting sober this time around, all those years ago, we had a bare apartment, with shoddy furniture, broken appliances but a roof nonetheless.

It only took thirteen years for us to learn about money and how to use it properly. We learned what it was like to have nothing, together, to having a little, and sometimes barely enough. But over time, we learned how to respect money and we learned about what “enough” was.

Today we have enough.

I’ve never been so grateful in my life for health, life and love.

Instead of spending THOUSANDS of dollars a month for medication in the U.S.A. For all of my medication, ALL OF IT, I pay no more than Eighty dollars a month.

You think the decision to move North was wise ???

I do. Certainly.

More to come, stay tuned …


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 …

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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 …


Max … It was One of those kind of Days

tumblr_n83pqvNPSx1sl8dabo1_500 rugbysockladCourtesy: Rugbysocklad

Sometimes the photo has nothing to do with the days post. I just happen to like it …
So that is a thing …

Anticipation is growing as we close in on Hubby’s first real paycheck in months. A paycheck we really need to begin sorting out our finances and stop worrying about enough food to eat, and being able to afford said food as well.

And this morning I woke with an hour to go before my first appointment of the day at the bank.

I came over to Max and pushed the button on the tower ,,, crickets …

I pushed the button again … crickets …

Nothing, Nada … Nope, not gonna do it for ya …

I called hubby at work and for the next thirty minutes we trouble shot the problem. When we came to the agreement that something was seriously wrong with Max, Insanity took over. Max is temperamental and shit always happens when we can least afford a Big Bucks solution.

I had to shower and get out the door for my appointment at the bank. By the time I left the bank, hubby was on his way home. He fiddled with the box a bit more and deduced that it was the power supply because there was no juice getting to Max’s Mother Board.

I was meeting with one of my guys soon after, so hubby left for Microbytes to buy a new power supply and since he knew how to install it we avoided a huge charge for someone to install it. So that saved us some cash.

Summer is officially over. Folks are returning from their vacations and summer jobs out of town. And by the end of next week, we should all be back in full swing with school, meetings and other assorted goings on.

Earlier in the week, the church called me to cancel tonight’s meeting because of an event in the church occurring at the same time as the meeting. Thankfully, the super at the church, found a work around for us, which meant the meeting went off without a hitch this evening.

I had to make a minor adjustment to the set up, and add to that attendance was down, way down. I wasted an urn of coffee and put out twice as many chairs as we needed, but what the hell, when in Rome …

It was a wing it kind of night. We had a round robin discussion of hot topics around the table which was good, because we only sat six guys around the table. It was all good.

It could have been a worse day. And it could have cost us much more. Hubby is very efficient and knows his way around a computer.

All well that ends well.

More to come, stay tuned …


Homeless, Hungry, Drunk and High … Redux. The Rebirth and Renewal

 

cabot 2I wrote this some time ago, well, a LONG time ago. July of 2007.

This is Cabot Square – and the Children’s Hospital to the Left of frame.

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Since this writing took place, Cabot Square is now closed and fenced in. It is being re-purposed to reopen soon. The Children’s Hospital is slated for closure and demolition in 2017. It will become a great green space along with Cabot Square.

The area referenced the Stretch from our home towards Alexis Nihon, (the Old Seville Theatre) has been razed, and brand new condos were built on the site, which has rejuvenated this end of downtown. The Hotel du Fort, which was heavily populated by Native peoples was sold and is being turned into condos, so there is no place to stay unless you are a tenant or a condo owner in this section of town.

The Sports Bar on the corner has more than tripled in size all the way down to the Karaoke Bar, which is mentioned here as well. The Old Omer De Sere’s building is slated for rebuilding into brand new High End Condos. Which is across the street from the New Seville Condos.

Starbucks and a brand new Adonis grocery store fronts the Seville complex, on the ground floor.

The entire area around Cabot Square is under renovations. And only a couple of defunct shops still remain from the past, still boarded up.

The AMC Theatres were bought out by Cineplex Odeon, Which now owns the old Forum. But all the downstairs shops, eateries, and Future Shop have all since closed and the ground floor is now dark and vacant. Which is a terrible blight on the Cineplex building.

Pekarna and Tim Hortons is the saving grace for the ground floor shops. They both do good business.

The city hired Reintegration teams and counselors that have been teamed up together with Native men and women to address the problems that this posts addresses in detail. It took almost a decade to see these changes come into effect.

The Homeless are still on the streets. ALL of the men who were homeless that I reference here, are still on the street today in 2014. Dans Le Rue still ministers to the street kids and the missions and homeless shelters are still full to bursting. Fall is coming and soon, Winter will follow. And the homeless will need all the help they can get. But the city has finally found the money, time and commitment to see our most needy on the street are found, named, repatriated and or resettled here.

The Can/Bottle exchange does very good business daily. I see the same men and women coming in with boatloads/shopping cart loads of cans and bottles, and the Provigo keeps up with them, especially when there is an event on the strip.

The angry, belligerent folks I also mention below are gone now. But only one remains. She wants money and will swear obscenities at you if you don’t give and I’ve told her so on several occasions. But life has toned down in as many years with what we used to see on a daily basis.

There is business to be had, and the owners of the many businesses that have opened on this end of the strip will NOT tolerate the homeless or the squatters on the sidewalks, which has facilitated the purchase of prime street frontage where massive terraces now sit for the season until winter when they roll them up until next year.

I still see the same poor folks out front of the grocery stores, but not so many young people much any more. But every now and then.

It works when we purchase already prepared food, and we feed the poor when we can. But it is still overwhelming because I would go broke if I did that every day. And we are not rich people.

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Posted:July 25, 2007 … I was six years sober at the time of this writing.

I guess I am not a thinker, by the standards of some. There are blogs that I read that put my writing of certain subjects to shame. I cannot tell you of the forest or the trees, the birds or the animals, the river or the trail.

I don’t talk about heavy metal drinking and the stupid things I did last weekend so that my friends can read just how much of an insane member of society that I really am. I have my own insanity in my sobriety. And just because I am sober, did not make it all better as I mentioned earlier tonight.

What can I tell you that would make you think? If you walk out the front doors of my building you face the BattleNet 24 Internet Gaming Station. They are always open and never close. There are three radio stations in the building that this cafe is located on the ground floor. The Towers, as I call it is a North – South facing building. We are an East – West facing building.

You cannot walk 50 paces in any direction from this building and NOT run into a busker looking for food, money and beer. There are two pubs located within 200 yards of our front door, and one karaoke bar with pool tables. Our Asian community loves karaoke. I live in what we call the Concordia ghetto area, since we are only a few blocks from campus.

There is an architecture museum across the street on Rene Levesque above the tunnel that I have visited before, when they had an open house and also they had a wonderful Expo ’67 exhibit on the anniversary.

There are 20 churches within walking distance of my home. Pentecostal, Evangelical, Catholic (French) and Catholic (English), Bethel Baptist and Franciscan friary that is due to be closed right around the corner from here.

Are you thinking yet? This will get your juices pumping… I wrote it some time ago on another blog I owned.

A fellow is dealing with the “homeless” factor in his ministry of life. And so I left him some words of advice, But I don’t know how else to tell you this, but share with you Montreal‘s daily ritual.

We have recycling posts (street collecting boxes – that have since been removed in opt for recycling in the stores primarily) all over the city where the homeless go and collect cans and bottles from these depots and they go to the grocery stores to exchange their “returnables” for more beer and wine money. They troll the kiosks and metro platforms and street garbage cans for returnable merchandise day and night. They ride the metro from one end of the city to the other every night. The stores will not sell beer and liquor after 11 pm to stem the problem. In Ontario you cannot buy liquor or beer on Sundays, but in Quebec you can.

So the tide of homeless drunks starts to rise as the stores open and they “stock up” for the morning. Downstairs on the corner (just outside) my front door they sit on the corner begging drugs and money. Out front of the grocery store and on every street corner and in the spaces in between, they sit like hookers who have claimed their spot on the sidewalk.

They are all over the place, “Literally!”

You cannot walk 50 feet in any direction in Downtown Montreal and not get begged for cash or food. Or smell POT in the air from the street kids!!! The kiosks are even worse. One cannot get through the door with out passing by someone sitting IN the doorway where you have to navigate around them, or find them sleeping, “Sprawled out” across the floor in doorways drunk and comatose!

They piss in the kiosks, they throw up on the floors, they beat each other up, and the men are “PIMPING” the women, so you see there is a whole “other” dynamic.

At night, as the evening “MEETINGS” commence they wait like buzzards for free coffee and what ever food is set out for the attendees. And they become belligerent and vocal and VIOLENT towards the people who want a cup of coffee and a cookie because that’s why we have coffee and cookies to help calm them down( the people in recovery). We have decided not to engage the homeless any longer and the city wide “homeless” directors (there are they in Montreal) men who run in homeless circles, powerless to affect change because people are set in their ways.

We have missions in town here that specialize in the feeding and housing of homeless people, every day and every night. The first problem is the sheer NUMBERS of homeless people who have migrated East from the west and up from the U.S. and down from the North, Yes, it IS a very sad reality.

There are natives who are stuck in the divide between their leaving their reservations for the bright big city, they don’t make it and end up hooking and begging in the park, they become addicted, well most are already addicted to something or other, when they get here, and they never return to their homes for fear of persecution and alienation, so they sit in the parks all day and night and troll the strip here in Downtown for cash. They are violent and painfully in trouble with each other. Come sit in Cabot Square with me and watch. It is truly sad.

IN the WINTER when the temps drop to (-20 C ) and farther, the homeless think that they can sleep in the kiosks because of the warmth of the trains, think again. They lock the kiosks at night and the homeless end up on the streets in doorways and under bridges and such. The missions go out with buses trying to get them off the street before they freeze to death. Some don’t make it and invariably, we loose a number of homeless people each Winter.

It is a rude saying, but, If you feed a stray animal they will continue returning to eat as long as food is available. And you know what that means. You will be spending allot of money on a problem that will not go away because of their lack of ability to get off the street and societies apathy to step up and help them as a community! “Oh, but it’s NOT our problem!”

Yes it is and no it’s not.

By whatever default – people end up homeless out of one circumstance or another. NOW, the reality is, DO they want off the street, if you ask any of them here, they will say NO!! So they choose to stay on the street, when they know that help is available and rehabilitation is possible.

Most of our homeless population will not ask for help, (the natives by example). They are a sad lot. Drunk, Addicted, Violent and Doomed by Default. Montrealer’s are FED UP with the population of homeless who have overtaken the streets and green spaces and Metro Kiosks. And the city does SQUAT!! They do nothing, they see nothing, they say nothing.

So what can we do as a religious body, to feed, clothe and assist the homeless, NOT Very Much.

It is a long standing problem with no city wide attention, as of yet. Most Christian people can talk the talk, but they cannot talk the talk and walk the walk for fear of being seen doing something that Jesus would have done, to go out on a Sunday and minister to the poor. Only one man I know did that from Dans le Rue – and he retired and moved away and someone else is taking care of his kids now.

Oh what would their friend and family say if they were seen cavorting with homeless people, God forbid they follow you home! or what happens if you get attacked by one on a bad day or night? Dealing with the homeless here is a dicey business, you never know when one will try to beat you up or stab you for some cash or drugs for their next fix. A homeless person is not above violence. Especially when it comes to jonesing off of drugs. That is for sure on any Saturday night or the full moon.

The “soup truck” cavorts through downtown daily feeding the multitude of young people who hang out at the Berri Metro selling drugs and hooking and such. It is very sad, that if you walk through the village on any corner at any time, they sit there, in their leather and spikes, boots and makeup, with their placards begging for food.

Some of our homeless populations are handicapped (in wheelchairs) and some of our young people have PETS!!! YES dogs and some have more than one. SO it is not only a feed the human story, it is a FEED THE PET AND THE HUMAN STORY!!!

How do we help them, well one at a time, rehabilitation is possible but at the end of the day it is useless. They stay on the streets because they know no different. The shelters and feeding stations are powerless and TOO POOR to feed the multitudes because the city won’t fund the missions and shelters. So individual churches go out and try to make a dent in the sea of the hungry and downtrodden, but alas, they are too numerous and we are too powerless to help so many who are in need.

The worlds poor, are rising in number and dying by the thousands daily in 3rd world and poorer countries, they are dying in the big cities, unnoticed by the daily hum and ritual of every day life and the business of work and survival.

Think before you put yourself out there and try to tackle a cities homeless problem, it takes alot of work, money, food and prayer. And not to mention Fortitude. I am all for helping the homeless, but I know how to pick my battles wisely. I don’t mean to sound so discouraging, but this is the reality in my big city!!

No one is immune to the homeless – we are called to share and to give – but when is enough enough?? If i gave a quarter to every homeless person I saw on the street every day, I would have NO money to feed myself on a daily basis.

THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY OF THEM TO COUNT AND HELP!!

What the saddest fact is in the homeless populations here are the women who have young children, and are on the streets. Just at Cabot square, the mothers work the Upper kiosk at the top of the escalators, and their kids beg at the bottom of the escalators. Junkie mothers with kids in tow, is terribly disturbing, Along with their “pimps” who abuse both the children and the mothers!!

What the fuck is that ??? And we are powerless to change them. Because they are stuck. There are NOT enough resources to help them off the street, get them into rehabs (waiting lists are 6 to 8 months in Quebec) and who is gonna take the children? Like family services has the ability to care for every homeless child and young person on the street? NO!!

There are natives from the many reservations and Inuit locales at all points North. They come to have their children cared for at the Children’s hospital right up the street from here. They pile out of vans, buses and cars. Some are transient and some are better off than others. When a native leaves their reservation in Quebec, it is every man and woman for themselves. Nobody gives a shit. And if they do not assimilate, they end up in a park and on the street, because they get “hooked on whatever” and they don’t repatriate.

There is – along Ste. Catherines Street a city block long mural on the wood that barricades the burned out and empty buildings that LITTER the West end of Downtown like broken defunct sentinels of lore. If you walk from here to Alexis Nihon Plaza, there are Inuit women who are vicious, belligerent, and sometimes violent. If you pass them by when they are drunk and high they swear obscenities at passersby.

They accost people for smokes and money. They are there, in the same spots day in day out… Because they have no place else to go. Cabot Square in the locale in my neighborhood where all native peoples gather. It is a rallying point for the “troops” so to speak. I pass homeless kids in front of the grocery store and I buy them cooked and prepared foods from the deli. We don’t give the kids cash, but we feed them. But they choose to stay on the street, so what are we supposed to do?

We write about these issues and nothing gets done, and I am not a rich aristocrat with money who is sitting on the land on the West end, and developers have not been able to get the land released for development. If it DID get released, we could clean up this end of the city and make it beautiful. But all we see when we walk down the street is hungry, homeless, drunk and high folk, and the burned out decrepit buildings that haven’t seen life in over a decade. The mayor does nothing…

Politics and Crime…

I could go on and on and on… But you get the picture.

If cities and local governments do nothing as they always have, this problem will continue. Until the Worlds governments take a BIG LONG LOOK at the homeless and hungry populations and they DO something concrete to stop it, we will be having this conversation until we all die.

This is a world wide problem, and no you are not alone in your quest to be Jesus, but I know that Jesus is not a “half measure” kind of man, so pick your battles wisely. Mark Kelly from CBC News did a “Seven Series Report” here in Montreal on the homeless last Winter, did it do any good for the city? Not One Bit.

The shelters are still overflowing and they can’t help everyone that Montreal calls homeless and destitute. I know a man who comes to my meeting. He’s been in the program longer than I’ve been in Montreal (now almost 7 years) and he is homeless and prefers the shelter to a life. I look at him and he still doesn’t get it but who am I to judge?

Sometimes the disenfranchised are hopeless which is sad, because I have come so far in the last six years, but many are still where I found them so long ago.

And that is sad…


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 …


Sunday Sundries … Countdown

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Courtesy: Sweet soles

Mother Nature is in a tug of war at this hour. The clouds moved in today and attempted to drop rain on us earlier, i felt a few drops and that was it. I figured the skies would open during the meeting and soak us. That did not happen. But it is dark and foreboding at this hour. It’s not a question of if it will rain, but when at this point.

If I were still drinking we would be amid the great countdown to the birthday, which is on Thursday this year. The drinking party would have begun on the seventh day out and we would party every day ending with a grand slam drinking event that always took place on the birthday.

 

Thank God I am no longer drinking. And that I have never had a drink here.

I spent the afternoon with my sponsor going over the shift that is taking place in my brain and got his advice on what I should be doing, what is my responsibility and what is not. Marriage is work, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Knowing what to do, how to do it, when to do it and when not to do it … Learning careful and thoughtful ways of speaking … and how two people relate to each other, in the many ways possible. We even had “THAT” conversation.

You know, “That” conversation …

The most intimate way two people communicate.

So that was a thing.

I arrived at the church a half hour early because we were just up the road at Second Cup, and i cranked some tunes and cranked out set up. My coffee gal showed up and we made coffee and sat and talked for a while. She was also chairing tonight, which was a tradition meeting.

7th month, 7th Tradition … Money !

“Every A.A. group should be self supporting declining outside contributions.”

They had a tough time with this one, back in the day. But wisdom spoke when the fellowship decided to decline outside contributions because … “Whoever pays the piper is apt to call the tune.”

We need money to keep a group open. It costs a pretty penny to open a meeting in today’s day and age. Among five original members, our Thursday night meeting just makes rent on a monthly basis, because we cover whatever we are short at the end of the month. We haven’t been able to raise prudent reserve yet, a year later.

Then one factors in a coffee pot, literature, supplies, cups, coffee and a cabinet to put your stuff in AND then pay rent on a monthly basis.

I was told wisely, when we opened that “if the group is meant to be, God will make it so, and so far He has. Larger groups make more cash on a weekly basis and keep a prudent reserve and covers all their operating expenses. It is vitally important that we keep the doors open because you never know who is going to show up on any given night.

If I calculated how much money I wasted on alcohol, I try to put money in the kitty when I can.

Then the entire question of financial security came up. Many struggle with this issue, and so keeping the doors open is an imperative. It is suggested that at home, one should have a prudent reserve of three months salary in the bank, in case of emergencies …

We’ve never been able to do that, as of yet.

Money makes the world go round, and is one major cause of all marital discord, along with sex, secrets and infidelity.

It was a short discussion tonight, lots of passes. I had expected a larger crowd, but we were happy with who showed up. We are set for jobs next month.

It was a good night overall.

More to come, stay tuned …


Throwback Tuesday … If Only … Thoughts

tumblr_lz5457StmH1rp4e81o1_500 pbjars danielCourtesy: PBJars Daniel

Life is easing up. Things are back on track. as much as they can be. But we are not out of the woods just yet. And I hate feeling like a hostage in my own home, but it is what it is. It took me to get to a meeting and picked a topic that it crystallized for me, just what was going on in my head

… “If Only!”

When I was drinking, that last miserable year 2001, I was deep in denial, and full of excuses and justifications concerning “If Only” and what that would do for me. The story goes, I wanted to retain my youth, (i.e. I feared growing up), I wanted into a specific community, that upon today’s review, I could not keep up with even if I tried.

I could not drink every day, or every night, that was too much, so I ended with the binge. If only I was accepted and made part of, but then I thought tonight, “would that have curbed my drinking or stopped it?” No, it wouldn’t have, because the community I wanted into drank daily. They did high end drugs and drove high end cars and had high end lives that were sunk in a bottle at 5 every evening.

Too much for me.

I got sober, in spite of myself. And in the end I moved away from the drinking. Like when I put down the drugs, I moved away from them, and did not go looking for them again. Likewise, when I moved here, I was sober, I did not have a drinking history here, and I wanted to keep it that way.

I may have put down the drink finally, But I still had me, and my brain. And what was contained between my ears. In early sobriety I started asking questions like, “what if I don’t get this, or don’t have that, or what if I don’t get what I want when I want it …”

That’s popular … What if I don’t get what I want … classic !

I learned how that was going to go down. I can’t say that I liked it then, and I am not saying I like it now, but it is what it is …

I don’t like where I am right now. If only things were a bit different, or our specific situation were different than what it is, if only we had more, more of what is the question?

I don’t know what more looks like, when we struggle just to have something.

And over the weekend, and into last night, I knew I had sunk into the “If Only and the What If’s. And I know when I get to this point, I usually say something wrong, or shoot my mouth off at someone – nobody in particular. And I had to sit with that knowledge until I worked it out and that came this evening.

I may have quit drinking. I surely have not quit thinking. And even though I am sober a while, I still find myself with a thinking problem on the odd occasion.

One of our gals said tonight at the meeting she heard from a speaker that “A.A. you are either ON it or you are IN it. Think of a submarine. When that baby goes down, you don’t want to be On it, you want to be IN it.

There is a solution. I’d rather not live in my problems. Hence, more work.

Nuff said …

Throwback Tuesday …

A long while ago a good friend gave me an I-Tunes gift card. We are a p.c. family. And so we don’t do Apple anything. I tried at one point to make a purchase from U.S. I Tunes, and that did not go well, so I sat on my card until this morning. I downloaded I Tunes for p.c. and searched for the record I had originally wanted to buy, and it was in the Canadian library.

Dionne Warwick, Hot, Live and Otherwise … 15 tracks Live.

I had this double vinyl record when I was a teen-ager. I had an extensive record collection. I tunes is like Christmas morning every day. Amazing what they have on offer. I’ve about filled an 8 g.b. sd card in my phone. I am going to have to delete some shit to make space for the new music I have gotten from that gift card. Boo Yah …

I also got a copy of Juice Newton’s Greatest Hits. She is an odd one. A little pop and a lot of country. She was featured on Solid Gold several times during the 80’s, and Dionne Warwick was a host for a while.One of my friends out in Cali made me a podcast with lots of 80’s music and now I am getting around to finding them on I tunes.

Back when one had a hand held tape recorder with cassette tapes. I would record music from the tv into my tape recorder and listen to it until I could buy a record or two.

Sometimes I had taped entire shows on cassette to play, I went through a had to have it roller skate kind of phase.

Xanadu came to mind the other night because I heard a cut from E.L.O. “All over the World” on a bumper cut on overnight radio. So I had to download the soundtrack and the movie while I was at it. I remember that both my parents got to see this movie, on separate occasions, I got to see it several times overall. “Whenever you’re away from me …”

We are back to Staying in the day. I need to speak to my sponsor sometime soon. He has been busy with family from out of the country. It will all come around.

That’s my snapshot of the day today.

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Safe Haven

tumblr_n82z2y89Vp1sv37tvo1_500 blamboyzCourtesy:Blamboyz

The weather as of late has been stellar. This is the kind of weather that we all are saying we could use all the way till Winter. August is just a short ways away, and the weather will begin to transition. You could say that this portion of time coming up is my favorite time of year.

August usually brings with it Hot, Humid and miserably warm days. Finally after years of suffering through this period with just a fan, we have a.c. that is a blessing.

Looking across the country lately, we here in the East have had it good. Fires, floods and storms have been battering the central and western regions of the country. You would have thought that after the brutal winter we had, that life would settle down and be normal. Mother Nature has had other ideas.

It hasn’t been a very easy week. And I pray God that things settle down and we can begin the next chapter of our lives. I am not very happy at all. When hubby lost his job and went on unemployment, the clock started ticking. Unemployment only lasts for so long, and then one is shit out of luck, and you either (1) go on welfare … which we don’t qualify for, or (2) he gets a job and rejoins the workplace.

I haven’t been as vocal as I should have been, and I let it slide that we can call this problem a mental and emotional issue, because Bi-Polar disorder has its issues. And I can only allow so many excuses as to why he won’t re-engage.

This last week, the money ran out. He has not a job yet. We are going without because I did not know we were on the last check until it was too late. Oh, btw, there is no more money coming.

And I am like and what are you doing about that?

“well I am taking my sweet ass time trying to find a job, while bills go unpaid and the fridge is empty and there are things I need and can’t afford because there is no money in the bank.”

I am not well with this at all.

This weekend C.V.’s have been updated and sent out for a Monday desk arrival. Not sure where that is going to go, but it better get us somewhere or else I may just blow a gasket.

the book says that “fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us …”

WHEN ???

We sat a good group tonight. Reading from the Big Book, and Safe Haven.

Another story from the brutal set of stories that have been written. This one, by a man who, because of his alcoholism, penned this story while in prison.

And the book says … “There is a saying that alcoholics either get sobered up, locked up, or covered up.”

It was a good night.

That is all for now. enough complaining …

More to come, stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries … Windows of Opportunity

tumblr_ln5vibOhgK1qcy8x7o1_500 theworldshavoc

Courtesy: The Worlds Havoc

The weather has been on our side as of late. It has been just beautiful here on our side of the country. However not so much out West. From Ice Bergs on the East Coast to Sun in the Center and finally rain and floods out West, it hasn’t been a cake walk for so many. We are keeping many in our thoughts and prayers.

I’ve had a jumble of thoughts running through my head as I work on my fourth step work, and as that work coincides with readings from literature, my brain has been on overdrive for a few days. And rather than sit here and drop verbal diarrhea, I have spent the past few days sitting on my thoughts, allowing them space, and trying to find the balance of feeling what is there on the surface, and then being cool with letting them go, and not hanging on to shit that has nothing to do with today.

It is one thing to speak to my guys and then my friends and giving them sound advice, it is quite another thing to listen and take my own advice on board. I am a work in progress.

My fears, guilt, and resentment lists are short, but what is on the lists is strong and potent. The past is just that, the past. It has no bearing on the present, or on the day.

Estrangement is a funny beast.

I have problems coping, as an Adult, with how another human being can just shut off one’s light off and plunge them into darkness as a punishment for sin or non-compliance.

How does one live with themselves when you intentionally place another human being in the DARK?

You silence their voice and kill their spirit.

How does one go on with life, knowing that your voice is not important, and that your life is not important in the grand scheme of things?

When we are born, we have family. Whether good or bad, it is out of our control.

We grow up and find our way into the world, on whatever path we take. I certainly went through my fuck up phase. I did my own damage. But in the same breath, damage was done to me as well.

Post fuck up phase, we move into our age of enlightenment. I got it once, and I got it a second time. I made my series of life decisions that were meant to keep me alive, fed and a roof over my head.

Family is supposed to be thicker than blood. Family is the most important part of our lives, either the one we came from, or the one we create on our own. I did not choose my family of origin. They are the ones who shut my light off.

Today, I have my family of choice. And that has worked for me.

The time had come for me to sever the connection with family of origin. Because that was a toxic situation. Today, I am guilty of many things. I made self serving choices. Self centered choices, that were necessary for my life to move forwards.

But that light switch is still off. And it will never get turned back on.

OMENS

Some time ago, an omen came to me. It appeared and it happened more than once.

This omen has presented itself to me before. And always took place after a death. And I respect this omen as truth. But this time there was not one but two omens to appear. They came as a pair.

I blew it off as coincidence.

But the more I ponder them, the more it has become clear to me that it wasn’t just coincidence. They were sent. I had no part in the sending. But I was part to the appearance. I know what the omen means.

So that is a thing.

I know I can’t change what’s done. And I am coming to accept that I won’t ever get to speak my mind, as I think I need to. Because at this point, what is it going to matter? What good could come of it?

I made the shift. I had to make it. That was what had to happen, to guarantee my survival. People got bent. We are all adults. It is sad that as an adult, my decisions were seen as a slight and irreconcilable. How does that work?

Do you parents punish your kids when they make adult decisions? We all make decisions in life. And most likely, not everyone may be happy with the decisions we make, but I would have thought, maybe stupidly, that people would grow to respect and acknowledge our truth.

That did not happen.

And that is a thing.

One day, thanks to social media, and the progress of communication, the people who need to find me, when they get to make that decision, will. I am hoping that one day we will all find the pieces.

Because like Troy Dunn says, “You can’t find peace, until you find all the pieces.”

My puzzle is in pieces.

So that is a thing.

There is a storm blowing about, and I am in the eye of the storm, so to speak. As long as I stay in the center, eventually it will all work out.

You can either get stuck in the storm or you can navigate around it. I hope with my time (in) that I have learned how to navigate.

So that is a thing.

More to come, stay tuned …


Passports, Paperwork and Pigeons Oh My !!!

canadianpassport1

It was a beautiful day today. But for every good day, we must deal with at least two days of winter to follow, as has been the case. A winter storm warning is up and they say that 15 to 20 cm of snow will fall tomorrow.

God Help Us All …

I was up with the birdies this morning. After staying up well past a decent bed time, damn those books … But it is so good !!!

I was off to the Government Offices here in the city to hand in and pay for my passport. I was very pleased, it took all of 30 minutes and I was out of there. Hit to Pocket $120.00 CAD for a 5 year passport.

I dropped off some paperwork for hubby in the same building. I was out of the building close to 10 a.m. with the whole day ahead of me.

My sponsor is very excited that we will be able to attend together The Mad River Barn Sober Retreat in May. A weekend workshop of speakers, steps and fellowship. This will be my first trip out of the country since my honeymoon in 2004.

It was a great night to be out and about. We hit the Friday meeting as usual, and we talked about “Companions.”

It was a good thing that the right people appeared in my life when they did, because they made a huge difference in who I am today. You could not buy the support we get in these rooms in the real world.

If you need help in today’s world, you better have the bucks to pay up forwards, sadly, folks who need real help can’t get it because they can’t afford it, or even sadder, the lack of resources is a serious problem all over the place, not only here in Canada.

But we do what we can for each other. We do our best.

I picked up a new pigeon today.

Very grateful to be of service.

All is well in the world.

More to come, stay tuned…


Friday … Snow, Realizations, Material Achievement

tumblr_ljdkbd5ReD1qztrv0o1_500 voodoovoodoo

Courtesy: Voodoovoodoo

The other night I heard a man say that he wanted snow …

Well, we got snow. A lot of it. Piled up all over the place. However, the estimated final snowfall total, was a bit less than we expected, which meant that life did not come to a stand still because of snow.

That usually doesn’t happen here. We need a good snow fall to incite panic and travel stoppages on our streets. We haven’t had that kind of snow event, yet, this winter.

I saw lots of flowers, roses, bouquets, bottles of wine, being carried on the Metro from place to place on my travels tonight. Even though the weather was shitty going into today, people made the most of it.

Thankfully the trains were all running properly. However the buses were a bit slower than usual because of piled up snow. I imagine the plows will begin working this weekend.

We sat a largely male crowd with a sprinkle of women here and there.

The topic … Material Achievement.

By the time my father was in his forties, he had amassed a wife, two kids, a home with a huge yard, a riding lawn mower, a two car garage with two cars to to in it, and a pool.

We were living large. But it was still a competition to see who had the most toys and who would win. Sadly, my father did not have all the nice toys that some of our neighbors had, so he came in third place.

It seemed that alcoholism did not affect the attainment of wealth. It was part of that wealth. It came with the territory. A trade off, you might say.

In order to have nice things, you needed the alcohol.

Sad, that I am in my mid forties, and all I have to speak of is a husband, a 1 bedroom apartment, enough food in my fridge, a roof over our heads, and the rent payed on a monthly basis.

It’s not about money or wealth. We hear stories from the many about the evils of money and how money can’t buy you happiness. One story in particular, a friend of mine, over the holidays, has a good paying job, but he is a humble servant. Goes to see his family on Christmas, and is repulsed by the fact that the rest of the family thrives on Big Ticket Items and large sum money pot presents. You can tell, from his point of view that he cannot compete with his family on the money front. And he doesn’t want to either.

Alcoholism and drug abuse took too much from me. Twice in my lifetime I have lost everything that I owned because of alcohol and bad decisions.

On my slip, I moved my house and all of my wealth that was considerable to a new home. Which turned out to be the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. Because when it was over, the cops took me and on that day they told me that I could only take what I could carry and leave.

I left everything behind. My life, My things, Almost everything that I owned. Save for what I could carry with me.

Granted, coming into sobriety the second time, when I moved countries, I had a few boxes, a couple of suitcases, And that was it.

I remember those first few months living here, I thought I was entitled. how wrong I was. That began a journey of learning just how much I needed, how I was going to get it, and keep it, and make it work.

I went back to school. I worked my ass off for two degrees, that translated into NOTHING. I learned a lot, but what I learned served no one but the folks in the meetings and you here my readers.

I am not rich. We live simply and Spartan.

Coming from a life of having everything and more, and moving into a life where it took work, blood sweat and tears to get here, I don’t know if it seemed that it came so easily when I was a teen ager? For all the good things we had, there was that trade off … Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I survived the great purge of 2013. We own what we need. We gave the rest to charity over Christmas.

We have the trinity of needs, and that is all …

The roof over our heads,
Food in the Fridge and,
A warm bed to sleep in.

And we are grateful for those things on a daily basis.

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 …


A Grateful Heart … Day 24 of 365

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Courtesy: Alexander

Another cold night. But not as cold as it was last night.

We are sitting at (-11c / -21c w.c.) and they are calling for snow. Not sure how they are working that one out I guess we will see.

The running joke in sober circles is this … If you can’t come up with a topic that isn’t half bad or useful to the group, the default is Gratitude…

And the people groan in their chairs …

I have to look and see just how many times the subject of gratitude comes up in As Bill Sees It. It is timely since the last few weeks of readings, it was bound to come up sooner or later.

Firstly, it is Friday and I had done laundry yesterday and all my shopping so I had not much to do today, so I slept in. Meaning I skipped my morning routine again. My bed is much warmer with me in it, than when I am sitting here in front of this box.

Hubby came home at his usual time, and joined me for the afternoon nap period, usually if I am up we take an afternoon nap. But because this was a meeting night, nap is earlier and shorter. Twice I got up and pushed back my alarm. I had the half mind to stay in bed and not get up but that is not a good reason to skip a meeting.

I got up at the latest prep point to be out the door by 6:30. Which I made with no problem. Transit was quick and easy. Lots of people in the stations – but the trains were not packed.

I arrived at my usual time to my friends joking and cutting the rug and we finished set up between a handful of guys. Lots of irreverent jokes being shared.

It was a full meeting. However not full enough to warrant splitting the group into two.

Every day is a day to be grateful. It is an unspoken gratitude.

Coming from a country where I had to choose whether to buy food, or pay my rent or purchase much needed medication that I so needed, I came here where those questions were settled on the first day I got here.

I have a home. I have food that I purchased in my fridge. And I can afford all of my medication every month. And they say the U.S. affords everyone what they need, when they need it.

Not so for people with terminal illnesses who live below the poverty level in a country that boasts that everyone is taken care of. Not True …

I am still alive. And that is the base for everything else. Everything else is icing on the cake. Along with Awakenings came lessons that were so very important for me to learn right off the bat.

Over there —> under the title The Lesson about Approval is one of them.

I can’t begin to put to words the amount of gratitude I have for the men who kept me alive and focused on living when everyone else around me was dying horrible, painful deaths. Why I was chosen is beyond me. Not everyone had the willpower to commit to living, and they made their exit choices. Those choices were removed from me from the get go.

I would live, they would see to it, and wild horses would not stop the march into life that took place.

I may not openly live in gratitude on any given day, because I am enjoying certain aspects of ability that have come by way of work and sobriety and lets not forget marriage.

I may not practice full gratitude on any given day, I am blessed to have everything I need today, I just don’t make use of everything on any given day. It doesn’t mean I am not grateful.

My cup overflows.

I accept where I am today. There is nothing I really need beyond what I have, but on the odd occasion I add to my list of “things” I like and want. But those wants are very small, I don’t live in want.

On the main, it is simple, I don’t have to be popular. I don’t have to be rich. And I don’t need any more letters added to my already hard learned degrees I have earned.

I’ve seen what higher education does to people. It makes them crave more, and it feeds their egos, and people become “better than” and that happened in my social circle. Friends I have had since I got here have excelled in their studies and no longer take the time to be my friend. They have far bigger fish to fry, and why do they need to associate with me now?

People like that you have to let go and give them to God and wish them all the good things that you want for yourself. The resentment prayer …

I hope you get all those things I want for myself and more …

My friends who know me joke to me “Let it Go and Turn it over…”

It is a mantra that is passed between us in lighthearted conversations and even on the odd day by text. Little reminders that we do think of each other and we take each other seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

I am grateful for every person I know in the rooms. I watch them come in and come to, then eventually they find their voice. Which is what happened on Thursday night. A young man I am getting to know has been around for a few weeks, and he comes in and says little. And for the first time the other night, he spoke. And tonight at the Friday meeting I was able to speak to him and congratulated him on finding his voice.

I get to see all this going on around me. So many people to be grateful for because they are my friends. You just can’t be a part of this circle and NOT be grateful, simply…

It is the weekend.

More to come, stay tuned …

 

 


Page 9 of 365 … However Much I Booze

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Courtesy: Alexander S.A.T.C.

The weather is getting downright balmy as of late. And it is only going to get warmer going into the weekend. We are sitting at (-10c/-15 c w.c.) but it is balmy. The flip side to this is after the freezing rain and the bitter cold over the past few days, everything is iced over. Sidewalks, roads, and not a lot of abrasive set out to make it passable.

We sat a full compliment tonight. Our chair invited a number of friends to “back him up” tonight because we had a bit of departure from the same ole same ole … Which was a good thing. New angles and new points of view are always nice to hear.

Sometimes recovery can get stale and old.

“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it.

The inconsistency is made worse by the things he does on his sprees. Coming to his senses, he is revolted at certain episodes he vaguely remembers. These memories are a nightmare. He trembles to think someone might have observed him. As fast as he can, he pushes these memories far inside himself. He hopes they will never see the light of day. He is under constant fear and tension – that makes for more drinking.”

B.B. pg. 73

Compared and contrasted to “The Who’s However much I Booze”

I see myself on t.v. I’m a faker, a paper clown
it’s clear to all my friends that I habitually lie; I just
bring them down

I claim proneness to exaggeration
But the truth lies in my frustration
The children of the night, they all pass me by
have to drench myself in brandy
In sleep I’ll hide
But however much I booze
There ain’t now way out […]

I loose so many nights of sleep worrying about my
responsibilities
Are the problems that screw me up really down to
him or me
My ego will just confuse me
Some day it’s going to up and use me
Dish me out another tailor made compliment
Tell me about some destiny I can’t prevent
And however much I squirm
There ain’t no way out […]

Won’t somebody tell me how to get out of this place?!

All the world’s a stage and we are merely her actors …

The memory that rose for me listening to these readings was of that block of time from the night I came out, to moving to Orlando, and beginning my life as an adult (so I believed). I failed …

I met friends who facilitated me coming out to my best friend on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. That ended badly.

I packed my house and moved to Orlando to an apartment I HAD to have but could not afford. Working at the Tragic Queendom was pointless. It was the greatest stage one could have at this time in our lives.

Everything revolved around the drink. Life, Friendship, Sex, Parties. The list goes on and on. I never had liquor at home. Drinking was an OUT event, on a nightly basis. I mean Disney built a whole entertainment Village across the road from where we lived, just outside the parks, to party and to drink. Imagine a bunch of different themed clubs, discos, party places, for the sole purpose of drinking, (a lot of liquor on a nightly basis) it was heaven.

Disney created the stage. We were merely actors.

Then you add in The Parliament House, Pool, Hotel and Entertainment Complex on Orange Blossom Trail, and Gay reaches its zenith.

Drag, Dancing and drinking … Every weekend. and most night’s when you got bored of Disney. It was a little slice of heaven. it was the best of times – it was the worst of times. I saw it all, did it all, and experienced various emotions, and had many experiences under its roof.

We were young, pretty and cheek of tan. twinks in their twenties acting like we were in our thirties. Backstabbing was a parlor game. And if you had a boyfriend, the ultimate goal was for someone to sleep with him behind your back. Single men were a dime a dozen, the big pay day was the “couple.”

Work and responsibility was one aspect of life that I couldn’t pin down or be responsible. But drinking and the act was all that mattered. And I did it well. There are many memories of these times I hold dear. Friendships I had, with folks long since dead now. Dancing, music and fellows.

But it did not end well. Alcohol killed the party. Because it only went from bad to worse. I could not act any longer. The picture was bleak. I don’t know how I navigated that time into survival. But I live to tell.

I just hung onto that lounge act for as long as I could. And that takes me to my mid-twenties. I got sick, I wanted to die, and alcohol was the vehicle. And even that failed me. I lived … and Got Sober.

Ego took over and sobriety lost its priority.

And even then, I was in my mid thirties now, trying to hold on to the facade of my twenties, trying to look twink, when twink went out the window a decade prior. UGH …

We are coming to know who we are in sobriety. We are coming to be the person we were meant to be. Because when we start drinking, we stunt our growth, emotionally and mentally, and we remain that age until we quit the drink and come to. Then we have to deal with all that baggage and grow up at whatever age we come in…

It has been a journey, to say the least.

I wasn’t sure that I would have survived that slip, because there was no logical or easy way out. Thank God for mercies and angels. Because I got to live again after that hell.

The rest they say is history.

More to come, stay tuned …


Page 1 of 365 … 2014… In the Beginning

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Today, we all have 365 blank pages to write about our lives.

What is it that you will write this year ???

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

The year 2013 went out like a lion. Much of Canada is under a dome of frigid cold across the board. Tonight we are sitting at (-20c/-28 w.c.) at this hour.

Today is the day we get to hear all the stories about what happened to most folks last night, how much they drank, and how hung over they are today. And we also will find out very soon, just how many folks make that admission/realization and come to the rooms, looking for sobriety, whether it be by their own choice, or by a spouses encouragement.

We will be here to welcome anyone who crosses our doorways.

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

We bid goodbye to 2013 very quietly last night. And it turns out that in the past year many good things came to pass which set us up for a hopefully prosperous 2014.

We finally surmounted and conquered “Fear of people and of economic insecurities will leave us” after waiting almost twelve years to see that promise come to fruition.

It was a year of learning, and trusting. I came to know, trust and love my friends in new ways. They carried me when I couldn’t stand. And for the love of my friends, changes were made to insure that I would have quality time with each of them on a weekly basis.

Marriage is defined in how much you loved your hubby/wife/partner. It wasn’t the best year, but we attacked the bad and we succeeded.

This year I vowed not to let us sink into the mire of U.S. television again. There is just too much that rots the mind, and kills the spirit out there, and if it doesn’t have to do with living here, we don’t need to feed on it any more.

In the year 2013, I hit more than 200 meetings.
That is a total (roundabout – 2,496) meetings over 12 years.

I have grown up in many ways. I’ve learned how to be more assertive, yet, carry myself humbly. I’ve worked very hard at making my little world a little brighter for my friends and fellows. It has been a strong year for us here in Montreal.

We ended the year in a meeting, and we all went home to our families for the festivities. Aside from Party programming, there was not much else to watch. We un-boxed our wedding flutes for the midnight toast. And we toasted the New Year, and by 12:05 a.m. we were done with tv parties.

New Years has become such a non-event. Without all the friends I had as a young person and the dinner/party/parade event that was the Orange Bowl Parade and Dick Clark to ring in the New Year, it just isn’t the same.

Those times are long gone. But on the good side, all of those people who were there then are still around to celebrate on Facebook.

The day was quiet. Hubby is home from work today and we’ve just been farting around online. I did my laundry for the week, and it seemed many others had that idea as well. Which happened a random act of kindness to a neighbor I had never seen before. Everything is closed today, including some meetings, so no meeting tonight. But there will be one tomorrow.

Not a lot going on today. It is way too cold to be out and about on this frigid day. And that frigid is supposed to last for a number of days.

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

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And for the start of 2014 we get this reflection for today …

“I am a Miracle”

The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.B.B. pg. 25

At 4 p.m. today we watched some Touched By an Angel and the Petey episode. It is one of the most special episodes I have ever seen.

I always loved the annunciation…

“I am an Angel sent by God, to tell you that God loves you very much.”

For many years during the darkest time of my life, Touched by an Angel was my touchstone. And became participant in how I would live the rest of my life, where life decisions were concerned.

May your lives be filled with Love, Respect, Joy and Peace.

All my hopes and wishes for this the first day of 2014.