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Living on Borrowed Time … 2012 prospectus …

Courtesy: Fashionisineveryone

I’ve been to New york City. I’ve stood in Time Square and drank it all in. But I’ve never been to Time Square on New Years Eve. I mean once you get penned in, what if you have to pee ??? What do you do??? Where do you go with millions of people being penned in at the same time. Where do they go??? It’s a conundrum.

One day maybe …

I learn something new every day. And sometimes it takes a conversation to make that a truth. I have very few friends I talk to on a regular basis. I see people at meetings and I know them on Facebook, but only a handful of people make use of my time.

I said this after I turned 40 that there came a change in myself. I began to realize that I “knew” things. Truly as the nose on my face. I began to realize that I had enough experience behind me that I could speak to people from a place of experience and not just spout bullshit to hear myself speak.

And that came with age. It also comes with experience. Some of my wisdom came by way of teaching that I was given over the years just after my AIDS diagnosis. I learned how to read people. You had to know how to do this when dealing with the public having a red X on your face, knowing you were soon to die, that you didn’t waste time with people who did not matter to you because wasted time was just that wasted time. I use this little nugget of truth in my daily life now in sobriety. And the gift is only enhanced the longer I am sober.

Because as I grow up as a man, and as I grow in sobriety, and having lived this long with AIDS, if you are a waste of time, I am not going to waste my time with you. I can spot bullshit at 50 paces and in sobriety this is very useful.

My sponsor is apt to say that there are people with time who are sober in number only. And at first glance you should respect everybody on their personal journey because you never know what they have been through and everyone’s life is important.

The drawback here is that people with SOBER time comport themselves differently. There are people with time who clearly have not invested in their own sobriety enough to grow up and it shows when they open their mouths and you get to know them over time, and you see what gifts have manifested themselves in them. There are many people with time, that I know, who are clearly not SOBER.

I attribute this ability to see and hear with the combination of factors that I have lived with for more than half my life. I was taught the lessons in my mid twenties. And you hear the lesson and you get to perfect it over time. And because I have lived so long – I have learned to perfect it to a degree that is sometimes scary, even to myself.

Then, you get to hear new lessons, based on the originals from a new teacher. And you hear the lesson, again, and you take the knowledge you have and you expand that knowledge on top of the new lesson you are hearing. And that makes your personal arsenal of tools even greater and stronger.

Every time we work our steps we uncover a layer from our lives. We peel back another layer of the onion. And this is a continual process, it is not done in one fell swoop. You don’t work your steps on the first go and take the plunge and do the BIG DIG and expect to survive the process. What comes to the surface on this pass is what we deal with. And only that. It isn’t brain surgery.

Can you tell I am working steps with sponsees? Every conversation I have with them gives me an opportunity to reflect on these thoughts over again. I don’t often get to use certain tools until the opportunity arises and they come to bear.

I have begun to live my best life. I have listened to lessons on self, and others. I am responsible for the energy I give out and the energy I bring to myself. When people show you who they are the first time, believe them. And when bullshit opens its mouth and speaks, call it for what it is. BULLSHIT !!!

Sometimes when the dynamic isn’t just right, and you get that HMMM… Something just isn’t right, I see it. I see it now. And I can recognize it. Then I have a choice. I can stay in that situation or I can extricate myself from it. This is a new tool for me. It’s only recently that I have had the opportunity to put the lesson into action.

We are amid steps 6,7,and 8 now. Character defects and shortcomings. The task of making the list for ourselves. For every negative defect there is a positive attribute that one can aspire to. I’d like to think that I work on my defects on a daily basis. And as well my shortcomings.

I think being in a relationship for so long has afforded me the opportunity to make changes in my life in the way I relate to my husband and others. We’ve been together going on 11 years now, and marriage changes everything. And hubby’s Bi-Polar diagnosis and treatment was a game changer.You either take it on full force and you become a man, or you walk away and leave them to deal with in on their own. I decided to stick and stay.

I was committed to him from the day we met. I knew the very day we started dating that he was the man I would spend the rest of my life with. And it began with that idea. I never imagined that it would have taken us to this point in our lives, but relationships are organic and they change over time.

Illness changes everything.

I did not have much to work with when he got sick. I knew very little, but where there is a will there is a way. The one thing I kept doing was going to meetings. I had good people in my life who gave me sound advice. I learned how to care for another human being. From the bottom of my heart, from sun up to sun down.

If I tell you that all that I was had been purged and tested under fire, I mean just that. With Explicit certainty. I was only a couple of years sober when this all started and I had to stay one step ahead of the wave and meetings gave that to me. All those negative character defects were purged. Because you get sober and you go to work, and you give and you learn, and from that comes love. Of self, others and of God.

I may not have known at the time what was going on, but now that I look at it from this perspective over the years, all those negative defects and shortcoming are shown to me in vivid detail every day I live with my husband. And when I miss something, hubby is right there to remind me who I am and what is important to the both of us. So I’ve had a number of years to continually work on these lists.

I go to meetings, I share, I talk to my sponsor and I work with others. It is not an exact science, and opportunities to work with others might be just presence at a meeting, or really getting into the mud and dirt with a sponsee and working it all out with them. And over the years I can count on one hand the people who have given me this opportunity.

They have even begun to critique me while I sit in meetings. They have told me of certain things I do, certain foibles and actions that occur when I sit and listen to people share. It seems my bullshit meter manifests itself openly, and if you pay attention to me for any length of time, it will appear. This is very unsettling because it is not something I do openly or with knowledge. It just happens.

I would like to think that my marriage has afforded me certain gifts of becoming the man I want to be, because I give of myself 100% every day of my life where my husband is concerned. And he tells me when he needs something specific and we talk all the time about what is going on. And when he sees something wrong, he speaks his mind. He is sober as well, but because of extenuating circumstances and his choice, he does not go to meetings. But he knows when I need a meeting and he tells me so every so often, he makes sure that I do what I need to do for myself every day.

Mental illness is not kind.

It takes from both the sufferer and the partners involved in their lives. There are challenges and there are good moments. And after a med change we wait for things to get better. Meds can be brutal and I must be present emotionally as well as physically. I don’t have time to waste on needless issues of self. I don’t have time to feed my ego or be an ass. And some may say I have a huge ego. I don’t know if that is true. Only one person in the last ten years went head to head with me over their ego and I survived them and so did our meeting.

When I got up to speak a few weeks ago, it was a very humbling experience. Because no matter how much thought I put into what I wanted to say, in the end what came out was what was necessary to get my message across and that is not my ego at all. When you open yourself up to a room full of people and you make declarative statements of coming out to strangers both as gay and living with AIDS it changes you and it changes them.

And like I stated above, once you say the words, you can never take them back.

You then get to witness how people begin to act around you. And like I have said, I can spot bullshit at 50 paces. I always wait for contempt and the sly eye look, because you can see it in people’s eyes. And in their stance, and the way they speak after the fact. And I have to say that I have never met a more genuine bunch of people as I have at Friday West End. And I am ever blessed to have them in my life.

I don’t know why I used the title above, because this hasn’t been a post about resolutions or and wishful thinking. So I changed the title now …

Resolutions are useless when you live on borrowed time. I could die tomorrow, and that is the truth. I have a terminal disease that could take me at any time. Normal humans don’t live with this kind of sentence. They have no idea what I live with on a daily basis. So I usually don’t make New Years Resolutions.

I strive every day to be present for my husband because he is my greatest joy, ten times around and twice on Sunday. The rule is if I make it to my birthday in July, I will live to see Christmas in December. And If I live through Christmas in December, I will live to see my next birthday. And that is how I live my life, after so many years of learning how to live on Borrowed Time.

What do I want to do in 2012??? I want to finish school at the top of my game. I want to be a better husband. There is always room for improvement as I get soberer. I want hubby to finish his MA and make a decision on what we will do next! Because I am just waiting on him to tell me where we will be going from here, whether we stay here or we move, whether he gets a teaching gig and we remain living here. As long as I can get money to study then that’s the most beneficial way to live. And as long as there is money I will study.

My spiritual director has plans for me that I have shared with you already. And those plans are long haul plans and will not come to fruition in the short term so we shall see where that leads. I need to pray more, and find a community to become part of. That’s really a goal for 2012.

I really want to change my body. I really need to get into new shape because this old shape is wearing on me emotionally. You know you plow someone with radical drugs for more than 17 years and you get what you are stuck with. I’ve kind of settled for this pear shape. Resigned to the fact that I am not ever going to recapture my 26 year old shape any time soon, but a glimpse would be nice.

I want to surpass the 26,000 page views this blog has had in the last calendar year. I want to write more on varying topics of interest. And maybe I will get to answer those burning questions that have been posed by searchers who have come to the blog with very specific search terms.

Wouldn’t you all like to know if Lisa Laflamme is gay or not ??? And does that really matter to you all? But it is the top searched term on my stats board. She is a professional news anchor, and I don’t make it my business to out people. Famous or not. I never have and I never will…

It will be another sober year. Time to redouble my efforts with sponsees. To work with others more, and to give time to my two meetings each week. I make myself pretty available. But very few people take me up on that offer.

A casual observation … If you ask me for my number and I give it to you, you’d better use it. It is fact that if a number is not used within the first 48 hours of getting it, you won’t ever use it. And that is just plain fact and proven. Just saying …

Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can never be regained

My ninth grade math teacher Ms. Jackson used to say this to the class every day she set a test in front of us. And I’ve carried that thought throughout my whole life.

Do you think that if you lived on Borrowed Time that you would make greater use of your time and life? Or would you be the same person you are today???

Think on it and share …

That is all, time for bed. More to come, stay tuned …


I Thirst … The Year that was 2011 …

“I thirst,” Jesus said on the cross when Jesus was deprived of every consolation, dying in absolute Poverty, left alone, despised and broken in body and soul. He spoke of His thirst – not for water – but for love, for sacrifice.

Jesus is God: therefore, His love, His thirst is infinite. Our aim is to quench this infinite thirst of a God made man. Just like the adoring angels in Heaven ceaselessly sing the praises of God, so the sisters, using the four vows of Absolute Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Charity towards the poor ceaselessly quench the thirsting God by their love and of the love of the souls they bring to Him.

Mother Teresa writes:

Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much is the love He has for each one of you – beyond all what you can imagine … not only He loves you, even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy…

*** *** *** ***
This will be my 2,582nd post…

We begin this tale of the last 365 days at nearly the end, because that is where I think we need to begin. I re-read my end of year 2010 report to try and get a sense of what I need to write about this year. So many things have happened this year and I haven’t written out an outline, I will then free write …

First, we need music. Barbra Streisand … A Piece of Sky …

The winter 2010-2011 school season was a success. I did very well in my courses and finished at the top of my game. Not much happened over the summer so I took off those months. There wasn’t much in classes that I really wanted to take. I went to an inordinate amount of meetings over the summer.

This past Fall, I pursued my education at CeGep this year with as much zeal as I could muster. After two semesters of French, I decided that I would no longer pander to the language police here in Quebec. I would rather eat glass then study French another day in my life. So I gave it up on the first day of the third semester. I sat in the chair and the prof started in and I sat until the break and then I left. Never to return. I had had enough of that …

That night I decided to study Western Civilization instead. So the Fall Semester I studied Sociology, following in my husbands footsteps. Added to that was Western Civilization. Both courses I did fantastically well. I had great teachers and a little help from my friends in the form of free textbooks and occasional coaching from the side. That’s what you get when you go to meetings. People truly want to see you succeed and if they can, play a part in that success. So thanks to Eric and Hubby for their help.

Last year I spoke of Hubby’s doing well in University. And today I can say with a proud heart that he has more than exceeded all of our expectations. He not only was a student in the Graduate Studies program for Sociology, he taught a section of tutorials this past semester. Something he worried about – but to me, looking at it from the outside, it was effortless. He just is the most fascinating man I know. He did it all like a Master…

On the medical front, I lived another year. All my numbers have been above the 1000 mark. My good run has been extended this past year. My doctor never varies from his talk to me whenever I see him. He says the same thing like a litany that never changes. Loose weight, stop eating junk food and exercise. The theme never varies. However I can report that I did lose some weight over the last year. I changed up my diet – hubby is a very health conscious cook.

My diabetes numbers have been nominal to the degree that the last time I saw my doc for that it was for five minutes. He has dispensed with the whole triage, dietician and extensive medical history and check up for a brief looking at the number on my meter – signing off on refills and sending me on my way.

The other night at a Christmas dinner at a friends, I met a man who is diabetic and we talked about our respective situations. I seem to be doing so well and he has all but given up he says “you only get one life, so might as well live it” and not in the good way either. You see this happen with certain people who can’t be bothered to take care of themselves correctly and follow medical advice, and at that I shake my head, I keep my council and I let it go. He takes pills to control his diabetes, but he doesn’t test daily, nor does he do what he is told. Which is a shame, because in the end it may kill him one day and that would be a loss.

The same goes for people with HIV. I get them newly diagnosed and I talk them into a life plan and we find them the next step to survival. Most of the men I have worked with in the last calendar year have dispensed with my advising. It is not something they wanted to continue, so I must let them go. If they live or die is entirely up to them.

Another of my fellows on the HIV train was dumped after a long term relationship by the man who fell out of love with him and over a steak dinner divulged that he did not love him anymore. This sent my friend into a tailspin that almost killed him. I warned him not to use or drink. But what did he do? He went out in a blaze of glory.

Where everyone was pissing and moaning about lost love, I was the only one to warn him of the consequences of a major slip in recovery after being sober for so many years. My counsel fell on deaf ears and he used heavy narcotics in a haze that almost killed him. And with that I took my leave of him. He ended our friendship over this.

One of my guys got sick, ended up in the hospital and had a near death experience. That experience sent him out the door into a drunken drug filled stupor for a few months only to end up in rehab, and in a haze of forgetfulness calls me one night begging my help once again. I can proudly say that today that man is sober and clean. He has a few months sobriety and is actively working his steps with me in a 12 step intensive. One of the only success stories I can talk about on the HIV front.

Another year in the books as year 44 came around this past summer. I am soon heading for fifty. Can you believe it??? Me at 50. Who knew. But we are not there yet. One day at a time … I read the book Aging with HIV, and in the book I am at the near beginning of the scale, not so old as the men in the book, but I am getting there slowly. In reading the book, I learned what concerned men going into their 50’s. Most of the issues I read about, I have already dealt with in my sobriety.

This past year has been one of disappointments in people. As I stated above the theme is recurring several times over. When people show you who they are the first time believe them…

A long time friend who I had been counseling, listening to and confiding in for the last ten years trying to be her friend just pissed me the fuck off. After 23 years of sobriety, she admitted after the fact that she was drinking and lying to me all the time, prior to her return to Montreal this past fall. I am beginning to learn just who is my friend and who paid me in lip service over the past year.

Suffice to say that I held my tongue quite well when she picked up a desire chip after 23 years at my home group. I sat on my feelings and stuffed them until they almost choked me. And one night words were spoken. Words I can never take back. It all came out one word after another …

I am not ashamed that I caved. I mean what are we unfeeling cyborgs? Can’t I feel an emotion and put it out there? Well, that was another ending. I said my piece and she felt victimized and reported me to her sponsor as a bad man. I ended that friendship in a blaze of glory. She went back to Florida. If she is sober is up to her and God.

I am beginning to find my voice as a man who knows himself. I have spent the better part of the year taking care of me and learning all those lessons that Oprah had to offer in terms of Life Class. And I put to practice all those things that she says will help us become who we are meant to become.

Being true to ones self. Knowing and being responsible for the energy we give out and what energy we bring to ourselves. When people show us who they are the first time, believe them. Things like this …

Every day of my life is book-ended with meetings. That formula for success is what I attribute my successes. I have this year crossed a huge mile marker which I will touch on a bit later. If I have a night free, you can usually find me at a meeting somewhere. Tuesday Beginners has been a part of my life for more than ten years now. And it served me well.

Over the summer, my sponsor and my friend Dave, who is a proud daddy today used to travel to different meeting on Friday night. From the South shore to the West End to NDG. We did this for weeks on end until I had enough of traveling from here to there. I wanted to invest in somewhere certain. You can’t invest in a meeting and their people if you are not a weekly attendee. So I decided to go to Friday West End by myself.

I set a goal for myself and that goal was to go and wait for God to tell me what to do. I went, week after week until the voice gave me direction. And I knew it one night when after the meeting I felt the urge that this is where the next chapter of my sobriety was to open. So I joined the group a few months ago. I needed three months of service to become a proper member, and so I did that gladly.

I would go and set up chairs and make coffee. I sat in the same chair week in and week out. People began to notice me, not because of what I was doing, but because of my presence in the same spot week after week. People started talking to me, I learned their names, and made some friends. An old timer and his wife from Dorval. I have spoken about them before.

The next chapter of my sobriety was opening up. I did my time and got into the rotation as a full member. And then everything changed. And it was the greatest gift I have ever been given in sobriety. Firstly there was the night we were in the church for the meeting – it was the first time I was responsible for setting up and doing all the grunt work because most of the group was out of town that night, and the hall was being used the next day for a church bazaar so we were in the church proper and that night we all had a spiritual experience. It was the most beautiful night on my life, listening to a young lady play the piano. It was angel speak. The night was a HUGE success. And it did not go unnoticed.

The fall came and went. I am still doing service every week. Now I am the designated coffee maker. That along with minor set up skills I am an upstanding member of Friday West End.

Weeks before my 10th sober anniversary, I had been in a really deep conscious contact with my God. My prayer life I stepped up. I was reading holy texts and I came across Mother Teresa once again. A book I had once dismissed, I picked up again, just by happenstance. And I was convicted … The story of how she began the Missionaries of Charity with “I Thirst …” I knew that was going to become the marker for my anniversary.

On certain big anniversaries, I was taught in early sobriety, you make an offering to God for your sobriety. I did it on my first anniversary with a piercing. And now at ten, I needed to do something big. I made a few calls and visited a few tattoo parlors in the core and settled on Adrenaline. I talked it over with hubby and he gave me the green light to get the tattoo I wanted. I prayed about it for a week. And on the Friday prior to my anniversary, I got that tattoo. It was all the rage at Friday West End. Since I Face booked it everyone wanted to see it, and so it went. I was really proud of myself.

And also as it came to pass that I was approaching my 1oth sober anniversary, is when God stepped in and gifted me. The Friday before my anniversary, the chair asked me to speak, ON my anniversary. On that same night our matriarch asked me if I would take my cake on that next Friday night. (Now I was prepared to wait until the 13th at TB’s to take my cake) But she had other plans for me.

She asked me if I had my 2 year silver oval medallion. Yes, it was in my wallet. I gave it to her and she took it and sent it off to the jewelers to be Gold Plated and engraved with whatever I wanted on it … “I Thirst…” is on that medallion now.

I talked to my sponsor about sharing. And he said as long as I keep my ego in check, all should be well. That Friday came to pass. I got up there and knocked it out of the park. I don’t remember all of what I said. But whatever I did say made a difference in my life and the lives of the members of the group and others as well who came to hear me speak. It was the most exciting night of my life in recent years. Then I got my cake and my GOLD medallion. It was the most exciting moment in my sobriety so far.

The people of Friday West End gave me a gift that I could never repay. They gave me a memory that I can take to my grave as being had. And I am forever grateful to them for that. We are a great happy bunch of drunks that do good things every Friday night for every person who walks in our doors.

We had our anniversary the following week and we had over a hundred and some odd people. We had food galore and fun, fun, fun. I even got to thank that speaker because the chair thinks I am so eloquent in thanking capabilities. I don’t know if it went over as good as I wanted because of the man I was thanking. Some stories are tougher than others to thank because of content and experience. And he was rough trade… But I did my best.

On the 13th of December I took a second chip and celebrated with Cake at my original home group. To show to newcomer that it can be done. Many old friends came to help me celebrate. We had lots of cake and conversation. So I have a ten year medallion to keep forever, and one to share with someone coming along to their tenth… December has been one very exciting month.

The holidays have come and are nearly gone. The weeks are just flying past, as if to say, let’s get this year over already !!! Christmas was a big BLUR on the radar screen. And it is Tuesday late night once again as I write this. I was so busy over the holidays that I forget that the day came. Our home Christmas was sandwiched in between cooking for home, setting up for an evening meeting and attending a second Christmas dinner all on the same night.

And with great effort the world is going to welcome in the New Year in the way they know how to do… With lots of liquor and celebrations. I talked to a friend on Tumblr earlier and I said that all those young people won’t know what hit them after imbibing copious amounts of liquor and smoking the best weed out there. What a waste … But what can you do???

We will take in the New Year as we always do. With our Crystal Goblets and a little non-alcoholic bubbly. We will watch the ball fall and kiss on the moment and then we will go to bed and listen to Coast to Coast AM and the yearly predictions show for 2012. This year proves to be exciting, with Armageddon knocking on our doors on December 21st 2012.

PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR. TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE SOMEWHERE SAFE BECAUSE IT IS ALL SUPPOSED TO END. WE CAN ALL KISS OUR RESPECTIVE ASSES GOODBYE BECAUSE THEY TELL US THE WORLD WILL COME TO AN END.

At Least the Mayan’s have given the preacher world something to go on about for the last year. And needless to say it will only get worse as the date draws nearer. So we will see who the forgiven/saved are and who is going to suffer damnation, hellfire and sorrow.

And that is how we will close out the year that was 2011.

What did you do this year that is noteworthy? Share those thoughts with us.

I really want to thank all the people who have subscribed to this blog, and to all my readers out there. From all over the world. Especially, Bear Toast, Rod, Vincent and the rest of you. Thank you for a great year. It has been a joy writing for you – and you have helped me polish my voice so to speak.

I am in touch, so you be in touch.

I love your faces.

WC:  3,173 Post 2,582


Lesson #11 – Your Life Speaks to you in a Whisper …

Courtesy: PBJars aka Daniel

Listening to your life as the whisper comes, so that you don’t get hit with a brick or have the brick wall coming down on top of you.

Life whispers to you all the time. Every single experience is speaking to you.

If you don’t get the whisper it gets louder, and then the thump comes, then it becomes a brick upside your head and the crisis becomes a disaster and the house comes down on top of you.

Are you paying to the signs that are coming at you on any given day? Do you pay attention to your life or are you just going through the motions of living not giving a care to what is going on around you?

When you get that feeling that “Something isn’t right!” that feeling, hmmm…
means Pay Attention.

Everybody has it, we are all born with it. Anybody who pays attention has the ability to feel the feelings that are speaking to you. Who’s around you, what’s around you.

If you’ve never felt it, it is time for you to pick it up and start using it.

You know that voice, that itty bitty voice that speaks to you and for most of us we know it’s there. It is almost like a conscious contact kind of voice … It says, do this, don’t do that … Don’t go there…

It’s happening all the time every day of our lives.

What was the original whisper, what was the sign?

The voices of the world will drown out the voice of God if you let it, so that is your real job, is to pay attention to your life, to lift you higher and to live a better life.

Everything that’s happening around you are signals for you to pay attention. Get in in the whisper and the brick wall doesn’t have to come down on you.

If it doesn’t make sense … IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE !!!


Friday Joy Rising …

Courtesy: The ever cute RawrDaniel

I got an email last night from a fellow traveler who said that “This is what God wants you to know today …”  And the quote was short and simple.

“Today, you are to work in helping your fellows to get to the place you are now!”

You have experience and life lessons to teach people all that you are and all that you have to offer them, to help them to get where you are today. And it is Friday and it is Joy Rising night.

On Friday nights I get to participate in a collective. To bring people joy and good news. We get once chance a week to extend ourselves to our fellows and to make joy rise.

When the opportunity presents itself the words will come and we will lead our fellows and friends to where we are on our own personal journeys.

It is apparent to me, in my limited scope, that God is moving through the field right now. And he is giving us our mandates as we approach this season of Advent. And he is speaking to his people and telling us that this is who we are to be at this moment in time and for the near future.

Mother Teresa tells us that we should abandon ourselves to God completely and without reservation, and secondly that God thirsts for our love, our suffering and our sacrifices.

Winter is coming and the long dark days of the season are coming, and we need to be prepared in extending our hands and hearts to our fellows here in our respective fields. And like a friend of mine wrote tonight that he has been doing his job whilst, he is searching for the next right thing to do, God stepped in and said to him… that he is a simple preacher and that is all for this moment.

If you are busy looking for the next big thing, what are you not paying attention to in your immediate surrounding? If you are looking too far outside yourself, you might miss the one thing you need to see right in front of you.

Let it be written in the book of life that this year, this holiday season that we resolve to bring joy into as many lives as possible.

You have it within you. And only you know what joy you can bring to another’s life. Pick someone, a group or a community and give to them. Abandon yourself to others this holiday season and bring joy to the lives of your friends, fellows, families and people you come in contact with.

You have to find happiness within consider for a moment Your Breath … Let that fill you up, and let that build up within you… And let the joy rise …


You are responsible for your life …

Courtesy: Homesick

Now is the time for you to look back at your life, to see what happened, forgive the past and move forwards in your life.

When you take responsibility for your life, things begin to change.

Say the Serenity Prayer… Stay off the emotional roller coaster with people and live your life to its fullest.

All of life is about energy. Based on the way you think about your life. Everybody is an energy field. Who you attract, who you draw towards you to remind you who you are to mirror you back to yourself.

People are energy. Who are you attracting to you? Good energy or bad energy?

Left brain is Doing ? The Right brain is the Being .

I’m in here, come find me.

Take responsibility for the energy that you bring into your space.

You cannot continue to move forwards in life, if the energy surrounding you is bringing you down. Watch out for those energy suckers out there, don’t buy into that.

You are responsible for the energy you bring into the room.

We all have an energy source and what you give out is what you get in return. Do people make you feel good around them or talking to them or do they make you feel bad? Pay attention to the energy around you.

Your instinct speaks to you in different ways. Are you paying attention?


When you know better you do better …

 

When you realize that the person that you were or the actions that you were doing were not who you were, then you realize that the time has come to make a change and become the person you are meant to be.

This is the time for change. We are not who we were or what we have done, I’ve typed this thought before, this is the time to become who we are meant to be.

One of the greatest teachers is doing something that you shouldn’t be doing. To teach you that there is another way to do things.

It is possible for anybody to awaken and to do better.

What does it mean for you, When you know better – you do better.

Figure out what you need to do to see change and make the change.


The Burning …

Courtesy: I’ll be the sun …

Last night I came home from the meeting after talking to my sponsor and I had a lot to think about, and I was encouraged not to make any decisions right away about what I wanted to do with “the letter.”

I watched Oprah’s Life Class last night, “Joy Rising…” I just needed something good for my soul and to forget the pain that was in my heart for an hour. After that I tuned in some Military Channel and 2 docs on WW I.

It will be on my final exam for my Western Civ class so I thought maybe I should watch them. But there are so many parties involved in the Great War and the assassination that started the whole deal. I am not sure how one would approach the essay on this topic.

I got to bed after 3:30 in the morning. Forgetting that CJAD goes off topic from Coast to Coast at 3 am in opt for those infomercial vitamin specials. I usually pipe in AM 640 Toronto from the computer, but last night it slipped my mind.

I got into bed and curled up with a good book. Come be my Light, the Mother Teresa evidence for canonization.

I had started reading the book when I first got it, and about three quarters way through it, I wanted to throw it against the wall because she made me so angry. So I put the book down. And put it back on the shelf. I only picked it back up the other night and finished the read through, so I thought I would start reading it again from the beginning since I am in a righter mind to accept the message.

And with all that’s going on in  my head, I hear Mother Teresa saying to me that I have to give it all to Jesus, my life, my love, my suffering and my happiness and joy. Just give it all over, because Jesus suffered so much for us, that we should be united with him on the cross…

Just what I needed to hear at this point in my sobriety.

Family …

I was born to a 60’s couple of mixed background in the Northeast U.S. in a bastion of ultra conservative Catholic parishes. After my brother was born my mother had a tubiligation and was ex-communicated from the church because it was birth control. Doctors said she couldn’t have any more kids, so let’s tie the tubes shall we… It’s a good thing there were only 2 of us.

I was baptized and given a name. A name that wasn’t mine to begin with. He was a soldier who fought with my father in Viet Nam. He was killed and my father was never the same. I am making this all up from my lifetime’s observations and studies of the gay man, and the self hating gay man.

My father came away from that war with secrets. I am sure of it today.

Everything I learned about being gay as a kid, came directly from my father’s bathroom reading material and the collection of magazines he had hid in the garage. Thanks to a little snooping on my part I had enough reading material to last me months and months.

If my father was totally straight, and totally Catholic by the book, hell, fire, and damnation, why was he exploring variations ???

When my father began to heavily abuse me after drinking himself into a stupor he would recite this mantra with every swing of the belt … “You were a mistake and should never have been born…” This went on for almost twenty years.

I was supposed to carry a name of a dead soldier that had something to do with my father emotionally, and he was beating me, in the name of the man he named me after, what was going on in his head?

1. Was he in the closet and hating the man who died?

2. Was he beating me to exorcise his own demons?

3. Was he just an angry man all around?

4. Or was he just beating me to beat me?

When I turned 30, I was sick as a dog, and frequented my death bed. That was only four years into my AIDS diagnosis. I was still suffering in big ways. I had not leveled out yet. And I knew my parents were not on board. None of my immediate family was on board.

I sat in my living room one night watching tv, and I was reading my bible listening to Pearl Jam and it all happened just like that.

Jeremy’s Spoken …

I knew that had I died my family would have swooped in and taken my body and my life and condemned my eternity to some slum burial in some backwater graveyard without proper identity and recognition. It would have been as if I had not existed at all. I was dead, who would know any better ?

So I went to court and legally changed my name. To keep them from ever having any part in my care or burial. I had legally divorced my family out of my life. But that decision took on a life of its own.

So to date I was (1.)  Gay (2.)  HIV + (3.)  Legally changing my name.

I had nailed three nails in my proverbial casket…

It took me all these years to work out what it all meant.

It wasn’t my fault.

When people show you who they are the first time, believe them. I needed this realization 20 years earlier.

When I changed my name, in essence, my father’s beating mantra of “You were a mistake and should never have been born” became a self fulfilling prophecy. I had killed that boy, he wanted dead when I was growing up. I had given him the very thing he wanted so much himself.

Even though I tried to be the good son, there was no way I was ever going to make a dent in the damnation that I was facing from the very beginning. They were set in their ways. And I wasn’t going to change them no matter how hard I tried. Once I sealed the deal, it was done for me.

And it took me till today to make this connection for myself.

I have been waiting for lightening to strike. A miracle to happen. And like I said last night, sometimes the miracle comes from a direction you didn’t expect.

My prayers to Blessed John Paul II and to Mother Teresa were answered.

Long ago. In a universe far far away, I once prayed for my father’s death. I prayed that prayer for years. Waiting for God to smite him. So that I could ride in on my white horse and save my mother and reclaim her for myself. This before any of these changes took place. I was sick and had no where to go, and I assumed that if the old man was dead, I could move to Sarasota and take on my mother’s care as my life’s work. Ever the savior !!!

He didn’t die. I went on with my life. And here we are today.

Coming to Canada was the final nail in my coffin. I had spit on the heritage of my bleeding deacon U.S.A. war veteran father. How dare I cross the border and take my mother’s heritage? Because when he imported her she had to forswear her origins and deny her roots. She didn’t complete that task until 1974. Both my brother and myself were born with birthright Canadian Citizenship, because mum was still technically, Canadian.

Tonight after some prayer and meditation, I took that letter I wrote to them and placed in my fire can on my balcony, and I burned the letter and flushed the ashes down the toilet.

As far as I am concerned this issue is finished. I cannot change them. It is not my fault. And in the end I learned a few lessons that took almost half my life.

And some say sobriety is a cake walk … NOT !!! 23 days …


Lesson #1 The False Power of Ego …

Courtesy: John Thomas – Lauren Marek Flickr

You can’t learn to love yourself until you know who you are…

It is the connection to the true self – rather than the disconnect with the ego self.

Living in fear keeps you running from your life, living in peace is coming towards your life. Live in the space of awareness of who you are in peace.

The ego is the true desensitization from your real self.

The ego is the false sense of self.

The ego can get ugly, when it rears its ugly head. We can see it in other people, and we can’t necessarily see it in ourselves. But it is when we can recognize when we are coming from “ego” and when we are coming from our true selves.

You sometimes see it in the rooms. You can usually spot it at 50 paces. It’s happened to me and our group in the past, and we survived them. You can’t get sober and keep your ego. It just doesn’t work.

It is never too late to discover the real truth of who we are.

“No-thing” really defines who we are. And we are enough.

Your ego shows up every time we come from a place that we are not.


Lesson #25 You’ve always had the Power …

Courtesy: TotallyTrent

There is a greater force out there, a greater power, a force. And once you tap into that power, you have it yourself.

Only you have the power to make changes in your life. So what are you going to do with that power?

I’ve heard it said that “If we can dream it, then we can do it…” That was the thought behind the Horizons pavilion at EPCOT many years ago. They had a big dream about what the world would look like in the 21st century ….

What kind of dream do you have for your life? What would you like to see change? And if change is necessary, then why aren’t you making those changes? What is holding you back ?

You life is a reflection of the way you think. What you believe is what you become and one person can make a difference and that person is you.

IT IS ACHIEVABLE !!!

You start exactly where you are and you go from there…

It doesn’t just happen, there is a process … It’s up to you to figure out what that process is in your own life.

All life is about growing who you are meant to be. We all get to a point in our life that something has to give. And then change is necessary. It may take a crisis or come in an A HA moment… If you are not where you want to be, then why not? And if why not, then what’s next ? What has to give for you to make that connection and change your life in ways you’ve never dreamed of ?

Everybody has their own time, and everyone gets to that moment that change becomes possible. That we realize that opportunity presenting itself to you.

What is the dream for your life ? If you don’t have a dream, then start having a dream, if you are willing to let every step take you in that direction. You deserve the best that life has to offer you. You deserve the best version of yourself. Because you were born, you deserve the best life possible.


#24 Newton’s Third Law …

Courtesy: Billy Pazionis

F0r every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Whatever energy you put out, in return that energy is coming back to you.

When a lesson comes to you, What kind of energy comes with it?

The energy you generate creates your life …

Your life is reflecting back at you what you are at all times.

The person you are attracts like people to your life.

If there are loving people in your life, then you are loving…
If you are an angry person, you will attract angry people into your life.

What are you doing to draw people towards your self.

Who do you want to be in the world?

Sometimes you have to divorce your friends and sometimes your family, because at some point, you learn who you are and who you want to be and you will say, I will not allow you to treat me this way …

Maybe they will come back around and you will be able to reconcile. And sometimes that doesn’t happen.

I had to divorce myself from m y family because of the way they were treating me and they took it as a slight and hence, the silence. One day they may come back around and if it happens so be it, and if it doesn’t so be it.

An intention is a soul goal.

Being assertive isn’t being negative. If you come from a position of love, it is truth. You are speaking truth.

Learn by observing your day. Listen for the whisper before the brick wall falls down on your head.

Open yourself up. Whatever you need to be the best person, bring it.

The universe is so big. Align yourself with it.

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION or are you just going through the motions???

When you ask for it, you get the opportunity to do it.

When you pray for courage, you get an opportunity to be courageous.

It’s not like God is going to zap you with courage, but brings you to the point where you find it yourself.

Put it out, and watch what comes back to you.


Lesson # 23 Slow Down …

Courtesy: Endzeit

Here in this moment, Are you present in this moment or are you somewhere else?

Being in the present moment, gives you an opportunity to see that ordinary moments are a gift. And if you aren’t paying attention to the moment you might miss them.

The gift of being able to step back and appreciate the present moment.

Facing your own mortality forces you to either run away and feel sorry for yourself or you begin to live as it was your last day. It forces you to grow up and hopefully you get the lesson of “the present moment” is so important.

There is nothing like being told that you are going to die and the doctor gives you your death date and all you can do is either wait to die or you start to live.

I’ve been in this situation more than once in my life, and because of certain people in my life helped me see that living was the most important choice I could have made.

Why wait until you are terminally ill to start living. Is it because it is too late or that there is not enough time to do what you want to do? A lesson I learned one day after having a near death experience and I went to the garden and asked all my questions but when I came back I had none. And a wise man said to me that why am I waiting to die to ask my questions, ask them now. Find the answers and do what you need to do before it’s too late.

Every year that I live, I get to do something else that I had not thought about doing before. I may not be the richest man or have the mansion of my dreams, but I have something today that I did not have just a few short years ago. I am living my best life I think.

I’ve learned some serious lessons in my life and I can share them with you here.

Relationship to self is key … When you’ve got a change and somethings not working you have to make a choice to do something to figure it out.

If you don’t give yourself the time to restore your life, then you might run empty and have nothing else to give to others and to yourself.

Take the time, live in the moment and take care of you …


Lesson #20 Joy Rising Friday …

Courtesy: Rawrdaniel

Daniel is joy … and cuteness to boot !!!

How do you find joy in your most difficult times?

I think I find joy in doing for others. To make things happen and to brighten someones day or night, as I am mostly a night person. Tonight Joy rose in the little church of Saint Columba’s. We had a beautiful concerto concert by an aspiring piano impresario who studies at McGill University. Everyone was touched by her playing and for a few precious moments, we were caught up in the joy rising.

I guess I have been in a difficulty free zone for the last little while. Living in the moment and day to day makes things a bit easier. I try not to get bogged down with difficulties.

Can you feel the joy rising ???

Shug: More than anything God love admiration.
Celie: You saying God is vain?
Shug: No, not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off when you walk by the colour purple in a field and don’t notice it.
Celie: You saying it just wanna be loved like it say in the bible?
Shug: Yeah, Celie. Everything wanna be loved. Us sing and dance, and holla just wanting to be loved. Look at them trees. Notice how the trees do everything people do to get attention… except walk?
[they laugh]
Shug: Oh Miss Celie, I feels like singing!

That is one of the gifts of the program of recovery. Because we learn to take the spotlight off of ourselves and to put it on others. We are given a gift every day and with that gift we are to give it away freely of that which we are freely given.

You get involved with a group and do service, you become responsible and for an hour a day you take the stress and strain off of someone else by giving of yourself. You don’t need to get paid or to be recognized all the time, but it is when what you do makes a difference for someone else.

My old timer friend from the West Island comes with his wife to the Friday meeting and we were all sitting in the church listening to Maria play the piano and his wife, several times over was amazed at hearing such sacred music. For a little while I believe that joy rose in every heart in that church.

Two nights a week I get to give it away. Once at my original home group on Tuesday night’s, and secondly on Friday nights on the West End. it is like welcoming someone into your home for an hour to gather with friends and to share in the wonderful gift of sobriety.

That is joy rising …

Are you bringing joy into someone life each day?

And if you aren’t then why not?

Build it into your life, do something joyful for someone else and then joy will come back to you ten fold.

Joy is the fuel of the heart …


Lesson #18 Do Your eyes light up when your child walks in the room?

The worse you can do to a person is make them invisible.

Everyone wants to be appreciated and validated.

What your face tells people is important. Are you happy that they are around, do you appreciate your children, spouses and friends?

I had munch with a good friend today. He always lights me up when we get together. We have great talks about life and our hubby’s. And I appreciate his taking the time to have a meal with me. Breaking bread is an important component in my life. Friends that really matter to me break bread with me. That is quality time well spent.

“I see you …”” I see who you are …”

“We are all connected.”

We should take a moment when we see someone to take a moment and see their being, a moment of understanding. Extending yourself compassionately to them. It changes the energy dynamic amongst people.

A thought from the other night on tragedy … Oprah mentions that the worst thing a person can have done to them is silence. Not hearing that one matters, not acknowledging them, or believing them either. For more than a decade I have been persona non grata and my mother made a choice long ago that she married her husband and that in all things she would side with him, even if that side was wrong, and she left us to our own devices. My father preaches a family gospel and since I fall outside that family gospel, I am nothing … And that kills me inside … That at age 44 they can perpetuate this kind of family punishment.

“Validate what I say … for god’s sake.”

When people can’t give you what you need you need to be able to move on to a better space. With people who will treat you better.

My mother did not stand up for me when my father was abusive. She did not see me nor did she help me, and that perpetuated into my adult life. But that is something that my father decreed when he imported a wife to the states. Those 1960’s marriage vows forced by a Catholic Church are terribly detrimental.

When you are in relationship with another you should always mirror what the other is speaking so that you can heal the damage of the past. To see how the relationship you had with your parents good or bad or indifferent how that impacted you in such a way that you carry it into your adult life.

When you have been made to be invisible as a child that energy is taken out on other people in your life when you grow up.

To my family today in 2011 I am invisible. And that kills me inside.

But I would never treat my husband with that kind of abuse ever. Every day we live together we see each other, we listen to each other, we lift each other up and support one another. That is what marriage is all about for us.

We all want to be validated…

Do you hear me, does what I say mean something to you???

 

 


You can rise from the ashes of your life …

Flickr Evan Mischelle

We are to learn from each others pain and to rise up out of that pain.

When tragedy happens, how do you move on with your life?

You don’t have to take giant steps, but little steps, just holding on to what you have is important.

Tragedy … What is that, in my vernacular? Loss, grief ? I don’t know if I have anything that has happened in my life that qualifies as tragedy.

Does losing everything you own in a blaze of abuse qualify? Does the loss of a family member you were so very close to as a child qualify? Does being diagnosed with a terminal disease qualify? Does loosing 164 of your friends to AIDS qualify?

I’ve seen plenty of tragedy in my life…

When tragic things happen you have to create something new. Moving away from tragedy is difficult. And it may take the rest of your life, but we all have a purpose and if we are still here, then we have a purpose. And god knows what that purpose is even if we don’t at the moment.

I don’t know, but a few stories come to mind about tragedy. I’ve told them here on the blog, they are chronicled over there in the pages. Having friends and family walk out of your life because you are sick was tragic for me.

The loss of family and the punishment of eternal damnation and silence has been a tragic punishment for me. And not knowing what to do with that, but I had to, at some point, put it to bed, because I am powerless over people, places and things. For some, I will never be a man, or a friend or a son, a brother, or an uncle. I will forever be seen as that fag that got aids and got what he deserved…

When you see someone rise, then you see that rise is possible.

I lost very crucial people in my life when I was so young. Before I knew what those kinds of feelings were, I had to deal with those losses as I was able. Watching my family crumble around me was some of the most painful times in my young life as a teenager. All I have is memories of who they were, because after the strokes across the board, everything changed. Several lives were snuffed out in a moments time, and I could not pull them back over the veil.

And I think that to this day, my father has never forgiven me for that.

But that may be all in my head, but it is what I feel when I think about it, and why he became so violent with me and my brother and mother. The demon alcohol took hold and he became a monster. So I think of my loss in retrospect to what it did to the adults in my life who had no coping skills to speak of.

Whatever the ashes are, there is a way through, a way up and a way out of it…

I’ve got, in a few week time, a decade of sober time behind me. And I see my life as it was lived, and I am so grateful to have what I have today, the people I have in my life, the experiences I have, and the wisdom of 44 years of life behind me and I can sit here and write to you and to say …. You can rise …

You can rise, You can rise, YOU CAN RISE …


Lesson 16 Following your Gut …

Courtesy: Endzeit

“NO”  is a complete sentence…

Voice of your inner being …. “Something is not right.”

The feeling itself is the warning sign … And it is in the knowing that right now you should be paying attention to the signs, and not a minute later, now.

Maybe you should “Stop” “Don’t open the door” “Don’t get out of the car” But if the feeling comes and something is not right, pay attention…

Natures way of signaling you … Sweaty palms, racing heart, raising of hair … These are things you should be paying attention to.

Studying sociology and the living of life has brought some insight to people and the society I live in. We had an exercise to do something deviant over the past week, and to write an essay on it.

Like facing the wrong direction in the elevator, staring at people on the metro, asking for someones seat on a bus or on the train, I’d never ask someone for a seat if some one is already sitting in it. That just goes against my social norms.

But I also realized that people are in their own little worlds on the bus and on the train, but on the inside we are really hyper vigilant to notice things that are “just not right.” Standing on the platform waiting for a train, or standing at a stop waiting for a bus, people follow certain social norms. And those who aren’t from here, visitors or people who don’t know how we do things here are readily recognizable.

I learned that the first month I was living in the city.

More stories …

Never allow yourself to be taken to a second location … NEVER !!!

We all are connected to our musical devices when we walk, travel, train and bus, and Oprah says that the music takes us away from the present moment and what may happen in that moment. And it stands that when I was trying to be deviant on the train or on the bus, people were paying NO attention to me, but paying attention to whatever they were listening to at that moment.

But I figure that if something was going to go down, in the moment, we would react in an appropriate manner.I wondered in this exercise if people were paying attention to their surroundings or just along for the ride, getting from point A to point B.

Are you paying attention to the signs, the whisper, the intuition and the silent warnings in your head???

Hmmm…… somethings off. Listen to your gut.