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 …