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Step Ten

Friday … Fathers and Their Babies …

rockyAnother busy week is in the books. Lots of people to see, things to do, Steps to be worked for some, and sharing meals with people I care about. That’s the kind of week it has been.

The weather has been stellar. Lots of Sun, Heat and a little humidity, but not like the heat they are getting over in Europe or down in the South. Thank God … For air conditioning…

This week I practiced being present to my friends, and breaking bread with them as well, two of the most important things we can do to create “Connections.”

Which leads quite nicely into the next paragraph.

The Opposite of Addiction is Not Recovery it is “CONNECTION.”

I heard this a while back, probably on another Ted Talk. Today a friend of mine who works in Colorado posted another similar talk to his feed. So I went and watched it.

One can never get enough of Ted Talks in my opinion.

When we were/are out there using, for most of us, we are isolated, and alone. And we engage in soul destroying activities like drinking and drug use. We become, “Disconnected” from ourselves, our families and our friends.

A well known psychologist in the U.S. studied this problem, also looking at how the U.S. and other countries punish, shame, incarcerate and disconnect addicts from their lives and others.

In Portugal, they decriminalized all drugs and began providing “connections” for them. They got them help, the state actually participates in rehabilitating addicts back into society, wherein they go to a business and say to them … “if you will employ this person, we will pay half their salary.”

They are building people up, instead of tearing them down.

Punishing, shaming and incarcerating addicts is the wrong approach, as said by those who have studied this problem, Worldwide.

Another scientist took lab rats and in one case, put a solitary rat in a cage, with two water bottles. One was regular water, the other water laced with heroin.

The lone rat, with no connection or activity, drank the heroin water until it was dead.

He placed another rat in a cage with the same two water bottles. But in this cage he added a rat run, with slides, caves and things to do. The second rat, ignored the heroin water, never drinking from that bottle and it stayed clean.

He never mentions ways to get sober in his talk. The entire talk was centered around making human connections, for addicts, and just how we can do that for our friends and families.

The Human Connection is the most important aspect of our lives, whether we are using drugs and alcohol or not. In today’s day and age, with the prevalence of social media in all its forms, humans are devolving into their smart phones and gaming consoles and music delivery systems and totally disengaging themselves from other human beings.

Everywhere you go, people are connected to some kind of electronic device.

On the bus, on the train, and even while driving a car, sadly …

When people in our groups come to us, they are broken, soulless, and alone. But for one reason or another, they have come to a meeting. The most important part of the meeting, for any meeting, is when we welcome the newcomer.

We invite them to connect. We invite them into the one act that might change their lives in ways they can’t imagine, at that very moment.

But it is the connection we try to make.

We offer our time, we offer our phone numbers, and we offer coffee and meals, to bring people into our lives, because we cannot keep it, unless we give it away.

And then you hear those words, maybe for the first time in a long time …

YOU ARE NOT ALONE ANY MORE …

For many, this is the first time they have heard those words in a long time.

Today, being present, available and accountable to my friends is what I do with much of my free time. And you would be pleased to hear someone tell you just how important that connection was and is to them, and how that connection sustained them during dark times.

“PRESENCE” IS THE GREATEST GIFT WE CAN GIVE FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

Over the last two to three years, I have worked very hard at “Connections.”

And that has been the huge difference in the lives of people I count as friends.

Every night we come together, to connect. And that is the God’s honest truth for our Friday Night Meeting. People come to this meeting to see their friends. It is the one night a week, where we are all in the same space at the same time, it is the best night of the week for us.

Tonight, we heard a reading from a very old Grapevine and the second portion of the reading was taken from Step Ten. The nightly inventory.

The reading warns us about the fact that we have no opinion about outside issues. And the reading centers around the models people use to get better. People, worldwide, use various tools to be better, to get better, and for some, to get clean and sober.

Be that Religion, Spirituality, Counseling, Therapy, and many other modes of help.

The Book tells us that we do not own the monopoly on sobriety. And we are also not the Be all End all solution to your problems.

However we offer “A” solution.

The step reading talks about restraint of tongue and pen, and how important that little phrase should have on what we think, what we say and how we say it.

The flip side of this notion comes like this, as was stated by one of our women.

“Yes, we should always practice restraint when we might keep our mouths shut, unless we have something to share, BASED on life experience, but also, to know when to say NO, you have stepped over a line, and you are wrong, and I need to stand up for myself.”

There is a fine line between argumentativeness and Self Preservation and Boundaries.

I’ve been in situations where I was attacked and I had to learn how to defend myself, whether that dealt with my personal being, my education, and my sober life. In the end, I just had to leave them alone, wait patiently, they would tire of attacking me, and finally go away.

This is true …

  • I earned a B.A. in Religious Studies
  • Certificates in Theology and Pastoral Ministry
  • I am unabashedly a Gay Christian
  • I’m sober almost fourteen years
  • And I am married

It took the attainment of these things for me to see the wisdom in the words that are contained in the Book and the Twelve and Twelve. That has taken many years of study and guidance of fellows and my sponsor.

It has been a beautiful week. I have beautiful friends.

On the way to the meeting and on the way home, I saw two fathers carrying their sons in those body hugging wraps. It was so sweet.

On the train ride home, a family was in my car, and dad was carrying his son, holding him close to his chest, hand on his head, and it just made me smile a big smile. And it warmed my heart to see love like that between father and son.

All kinds of warm fuzzies …

It was the BEST night of the week once again. As is usual.

More to come, stay tuned …