The weather has definitely shifted overnight. Yesterday we hit the 30c mark. Today, when I left the house it was 14c. It was a little chilly, so it was a second layer kind of evening. I did not have to travel far today, the Tour De L’ Isle was today, thankfully they stayed away from downtown.
I left early and arrived at the church and was greeted by the church super. He wanted to tell me of the plans they are putting in place to uber secure the church, after the break in and theft that took place a couple weeks ago. He was able to purchase his stolen tools (read: saws, routers, and other assorted power tools), at a reduced price, less than half of what he paid for them originally, thank you Home Depot for the deals. New doors were put in and other security features will go in including an alarm in our end of the basement. Churches are very popular in the thieving ring in the city. Over the last decade, St. Leon’s has been hit several times.
I find it sad and also sacrilegious to steal from a church, especially one that is on the Heritage Site list. Surely, some people are going to burn in hell for robbing the parish.
We sat an uber full house. And we read from the Twelve and Twelve and Tradition Five.
“Each group has one primary purpose, to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”
Over the years, meeting numbers go up and down. We attribute that to seasons and weather patterns, and also the frequency of hockey games.
I guess you could say that Sunday Niter’s does well in the “carrying the message” responsibility, because our numbers are way up from this past winter. Many folks, this evening, spoke to that effect. We have an open and honest bunch of folks, from across the board, with various lengths of sobriety, and we work very hard at welcoming the newcomer and making you feel at home for the hour or so you are with us.
Some of our folks keep coming back, and over time they learn to share what they have been given, and that keeps them in the loop, and reminds them of how important it is to reach out to new folks as they come in the hall. A day sober will perk someone’s life up, in unexpected ways.
Can you believe it, May is done and Tomorrow is June 1st.
Summer is some time away, but as things go here in Montreal, the Summer season has already started for tourism and the get outside event calendar. We are hopeful that our seasonal summer visitors will return. As the Summer concert series begin and film houses come to film here in Montreal, our numbers will swell. Sunday Niters is a very popular stop on the tour circuit.
Another successful month of meetings in the book. The jobs are all taken for June. The matriarch of our meeting has indicated that she is stepping down and she handed the meeting off to our small group of trusted servants, our main goal, as always, is to keep the doors open for as long as we can.
More to come, stay tuned …
Courtesy: VIP Football Collection / via Getty Images Copyright attributed.
Lionel Messi, F.C. Barcelona
The first HUGE match of the season took place yesterday between Bayern Munich and F.C. Barcelona. Team Messi, went up against a very unprepared Bayern Squad. There are many things being said about Bayern tonight, some, not that kind at all.
Too many good players were out with injuries. Too many players were benched before the match even took place, who would not see any action, even though they were kitted up and ready to play. So the team that Bayern did field, failed in goals.
The Star Players Lionel Messi, was the King of the match, hands down. He just killed the Germans with his Top of the League playing.
I couldn’t give a shit about hockey, unless of course, it is the Olympics and Sydney Crosby is playing for Team Canada.
So that was the big sports news that I am interested in.
I was at the Thursday meeting tonight, and I heard our guy say something that really resonated with me. At some point in sobriety, we learn about people, by listening to them speak, either in person with us, or from the chair, or from their chair.
At some point we might hear something come out of someones mouth, that is a “truth” and you learn what that means for you. Sometimes people talk, and in most cases, they are unscripted and unvarnished. To a degree I am judgmental, but I also attribute my judgment to this:
“When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them.”
Oprah said it, and I have used this advice sparingly.
We are not immune to this happening to ourselves.
For a year, my little band of friends at our Tuesday meeting have been working tirelessly in the meeting, and for the most part, outside the meeting, to bring normalcy and sobriety to certain women we know, who are out with small babies.
We’ve invested in these lives because we love our women, all women. Some of those women have just moved back into the city from points farther away, and they have come to our little meeting, because we invited them to come, and guaranteed that we would all welcome them with open arms.
Couples marry and they have children. It is a natural progression in life.
Pregnant women, go to meetings. New mothers, go to meetings. And sometimes they bring their babies with them. And in years past, every “other” woman in the room, knows what to do. One by one, we play hot potato with the babies. We hold them, feed them, rock them, while mom gets an hour to go to a meeting.
That is a certainty. This is how we do things here.
On Tuesday one of our new mothers, brought her daughter with her. We had seated a small group. Caveat … babies are not naturally silent, for long stretches, unless of course they are sleeping.
She came a few times prior to this weeks installment. Every time she came, she got up and left because the baby was a little noisy. She did not get her meeting in.
A particular old timer (read: My Sponsor) who is thirty one years sober has an opinion about small children.
On Tuesday, mom was sitting, baby was chirpy, and we let it go. Nobody said anything. She stayed for the entire meeting. However, five minutes into the meeting, my sponsor was already fidgety. He got up, went to pee, and went home.
After the meeting I called him, and asked what his problem was? His response …
A.A. is not a nursery, we come to get sober, not to listen to babies cry…
This was unvarnished truth. I heard the words, I listened to them as they came out, and right away I knew, in my heart of hearts, that he was telling me a real truth. Not an opinion.
That did not sit very well with me. I said to him, pointedly, that I will not ask a woman with a child to leave a meeting, because she is carrying a baby. I will not go against the third tradition for no reason whatsoever.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
The tradition as it reads in the Twelve and Twelve states:
“You are an A.A. member if you say so. You can declare yourself in; NOBODY can keep you out. No matter who you are, no matter how low you’ve gone, no matter how grave your emotional complications – even your crimes – we still can’t deny you A.A.”
Having a child is not in the handbook. Bringing that child to a meeting, is also, NOT in the handbook.
If you read Tradition Three from the book, and you have studied the early fellowship, this tradition was really needed early on because of all of the strife, judgment and problems, those early drunks had with certain people. Some of those prejudices still exist.
It was a very good thing when the Traditions came in, because they solved a lot of problems.
But like I said, shit still happens in meetings to this day.
Traditions be damned in some people’s opinions.
So I heard that judgmental and sexist remark.
Some alcoholics get sober, some do get SOBER, and some do not. Nobody is immune to judgment or opinion. We all have them. It was my judgment that someone with thirty or more years of sobriety would “behave better” or be a little kinder or compassionate and understanding.
I did not hear that when he said, A.A. is not a nursery.
What I heard was, women with babies do not belong at a meeting. Not mine of course.
For many weeks, I have been in consultation with another Old timer. I respect him a great deal, and I have been talking to him about many things. After this small succinct conversation with my sponsor, I knew the deal was done.
I don’t agree with you, and I won’t be part of your campaign.
I just lost all respect for someone because they were honest, to a fault.
Tonight after the meeting, I asked this other old timer to be my new sponsor.
He respects me as a man, that is mutual.
Tomorrow I am getting in a car, with my present sponsor and going to Vermont for the Spring Men’s Twelve Step Intensive retreat, at St. Anne’s Shrine in the Vermont lake district.
I have shared my displeasure with him.
I paid $200.00 for this weekend. I can NOT go. One, it is nonrefundable, and Two, my husband would kill me if I stayed home.
Suffice to say, I am glad that there are two other people riding in our car. That will make the transits a bit more pleasurable.
But the deed is done. I made my decision. I trust my intuition.
I’m not going to ask my friends, that I have spent inordinate amounts of time ministering to afar and close, ask them NOT to come to the meeting with their babies. That is just NOT going to happen, not on my watch. The other women in the group would agree. You can’t kick someone out of a meeting because they are “with child.”
I will be away until Sunday.
I need to pack my bathing suit before I forget !
More to come, stay tuned …
The Oscars are on. The opening number just ended. We love N.P.H !!!
It was a warm one today. Warmer than it has been recently. (-5c/-12c) We had a little snow last night, and in certain places (read:Westmount) snow is piled up about two feet deep in some yards.
It has been a beautiful weekend.
It was an early night last night, and there will a number of early mornings this week. I have to drop labs tomorrow morning, and I have a midweek doctors appointment. Has it been six months already? My doctors have dropped me from four visits a year down to two visits.
The Super hospital is opening in a few months, so they are consolidating services and closing hospitals as they are absorbed into the larger super building. To that end, my one clinic at the General is staying open, but that may change this week. My other doctor is seeing me at his private office on the other side of town, but I don’t see him until April.
I departed on time and we cranked out set up and our guys and ladies, came to do our hour prior read and discussion. I can honestly say that I am inspired by my guys. They, each in their own way, inspire me to be a better person.
The sun shone down on us today and God was good, prayers were answered and a miracle took place, all in the space of ninety minutes. If you don’t believe that miracles happen, they do.
We sat a small group.
One of our women gave birth to a healthy baby boy yesterday. We are so proud of her. Babies in A.A. are miracles in themselves, because the women who gave birth to them are miracles as well. The miracle baby phenomena now counts four children strong.
It was the last Sunday, therefore a Tradition meeting. Second month, Tradition Two.
“For our group purpose there is but one authority – A loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.”
I am not God. And I am not the center of the universe. And it isn’t all about me either.
Over the years, I’ve learned a great deal about this tradition, because I have seen what egos and attitudes do when they collide in a meeting. And I have been guilty myself, of being less than charitable or kind. We all have grown past these problems and all the players are good men and women. Each in our own ways.
We see Tradition Two come together at every business meeting. I can sit back and let my friends partake in the miracle that is recovery. Everyone plays a role in the group, and as a community, and finally in their own recovery. We defer to our chair for wisdom, and to God to guide us. And that model seems to work.
It was a night for miracles. And I am grateful to have been present to see it happen.
A good night was had by all. Please pray for our guys.
More to come, stay tuned …
It is safe to say that nobody has gotten the weather correct over the past few days. Environment Canada states a few observations, and tv presenters tell us something totally different, then Mother Nature gives us whatever she likes.
Is it gonna rain, or snow, or flurry, or a combination of all three ?
Standing outside the church before the meeting, I could have sworn snow was falling, but there really wasn’t enough cloud cover to make it really snow. It is still chilly, and temps over the next few days will plummet into negative double digits.
All the snow that WAS on the ground, is gone now thanks to rain on Christmas Eve and above normal temps since then. I had a conversation with a friend last night who said a snow storm was coming, but none of the websites I have looked at say anything about BIG snow coming. But that isn’t to say that it isn’t possible.
Geographically, we sit in the sweet spot, it all depends on where the wind blows.
It was a weekend home alone as hubby visited his family in Ottawa. Friday I thought about just sleeping in all the time, but decided to hit the Friday meeting. The reading spoke about:
Life is not a dead end …
Over twenty years ago when I was diagnosed to die in less than two years time, at that time, if you had told me then, where I would have ended up today, I would have laughed at you. It seemed to me that life became a dead end, because I would end up dead in the end.
Todd had other plans for me. So did God. When all my friends were dying, I was in the other extreme, you could say I was flourishing. Did I get it right? When I finally accepted that life wasn’t a dead end, it came all the way around for me.
Sobriety in two hits, taught me a few things. The first time I was too busy learning how to live, to pay the attention to sobriety the way I pay attention to sobriety this time around. At the end of my slip period I was sitting in a dead end. I sure as shit would never had the life I have now, had I stayed in that dead end city, in that dead end job, with no friends or family to speak of.
But I would never have imagined that life would have gotten as good as it has, had you told me then, when I got sober the second time, where I was headed. But I guess I had some idea of where I wanted to go and what kind of life I wanted. Because I made that fateful decision that changed my life, the rest is history now.
I stuck it out. No so much in spite of myself. But because I turned it all over to people who knew better than I did. I trusted then, bar none. They did not disappoint at all.
I love my life. Sobriety is not a dead end, because, we did not get sober to be Miserable.
I did not get sober to be miserable.
This afternoon hubby returned with a booty of gifts from the family. Now we have to find the space to store all the stuff we got this year, along with all the stuff we got last year. I have a very small kitchen, with little to no counter space. And we got all kinds of spices in a nice spice rack, more olive oils and vinegars, salts, and cooking add-ons.
This year, I noticed that we only got one big wooden bowl, and not three or four baskets, which has been the norm in Christmases past, like we have any more room to store more stuff, we don’t actually.
We got a hefty food card for Provigo, so I shopped like a mad man before leaving for the meeting. We get to shop till you drop at Target too, which is what we really needed. We got practical gifts this year, rather than the normal fare.
It was dark when I left. If the days are getting longer, it ain’t happening here just yet.
But it could be worse, like minus (-20c) outside and snow all over the place. Mother Nature can remain on hiatus for as long as she wants. It’s all good.
We sat a small group. It being the end of the month, we read Tradition Twelve.
What I do and how I do it has evolved over the years. But the rules of engagement are the same across the board. I have no problem talking about me, just as long as I don’t talk about you.
Over several meetings, besides the anonymity statements that are read you hear a few other things.
The one that I think about says, you can carry the message outside this room, but names and personal details stay here. Or If what you hear here can help someone in their recovery, by all means use it, but names and personal details stay here.
Our meetings are safe spaces, where ALL are welcome. No matter what you do, how you do it, where you do it, or who you are. And that has been the norm over the past year, because of the folks who have come to our meetings from far and wide.
There was a time, when I was early in sobriety that someone said to me that an underground system had been set up in our city to keep us from them, and that certain people were being directed away from our meetings, opting for a more private atmosphere.
That is not the case today or so it seems. Our folks are good honest people who respect each other.
All is well for another weekend. The New Year is right around the corner.
I remember growing up in my teen age years, the ritual family New Years Eve party at one of my friends house. All the grand parties were held at this particular house. A fine dinner prepared for twenty or so folks, served on Wedgwood china. Beer, Liquor, Champagne and Wine aplenty.
The Orange Bowl Parade. Fireworks on the ocean. Dick Clark and the famous ball drop.
Drunken hilarity ensued.
Now we have Ryan Seacrest and his bevy of performers. We watch the ball fall and call it a night. I haven’t been to a New Years Party since I got sober. In fact, the last New Year’s party I went to/worked at was 2000 into 2001. The last day I saw my mother, New Years Day, 2001.
I got sober that following winter 2001.
That’s all for tonight. More to come, stay tuned …
I was reading a friend last night, and his latest entry “Exobiology.” Steve writes:
“Are we alone in the universe? The answer is every day growing more and more certain that we are not. Humanity may experience shortages of many things, however, pride is not among them. For millennia we’ve been convinced of our own superiority and, of late, we’ve become convinced that we must be as good as it gets.”
This was my reply to that post:
It has been a beautiful weekend. A little on the warm side, but tolerable.
A couple of weeks ago when we dropped into single digits, I figured that that was going to be the trend, so I crated the A.C. for the winter. Well, that did not last very long, and temps rose into the high twenties with humidexes in the 30’s.
It was getting too warm to sleep and the heating of the day roasted the apartment. So on Friday, I un-crated the A.C. and hung it back in the bedroom and put plastic back over the hole, so we have had the a.c. on all weekend.
A friend of mine who lives in Southern Ontario posted a tweet that it was going to SNOW down there tomorrow !! We are going to see rain for the next couple of days, with temps in the low to mid teens.
Where we are situated geographically on the map usually protects us from weather tracking North of us, and what tracks South of us. That all depends on where the jet stream is on any given day.
I left a bit early because we were down several members tonight, and it was just me setting up. And when I got to the church and unlocked the door, there were decorations hung all over the place, and I was like SHIT, there is a function and nobody told me. Thinking I was going to have to either cancel or work around them, I stepped into the hall, which was also decorated with a valentine’s theme, one of the church supers was waiting for me. The party was over, and he wanted to tell me that there was food left over for the meeting, as they were preparing to leave. “crisis averted!”
I cranked it out and went outside to enjoy the evening and people watch. Our corner is dog walking heaven. The church yard is large and many folks walk their dogs on this stretch of land. The communal poop can is on the property so we see lots of traffic night and day.
It is the last Sunday of the month, so we read Tradition Nine.
“A.A. as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”
Most words of advice, in the program, are just “merely suggestions.” The fellowship serves millions of people, from one solitary office in New York. I am involved at the group level, as a G.S.R, group service representative for the area we are in. And I do service at several groups I attend.
Someone has to open the door. To set up chairs and tables, and most importantly, make coffee.
Each group is autonomous. And we have simple organizations to make sure all the jobs are covered so that we can do what we must, and that is to welcome the newcomer. I know almost everyone I see at my meetings by name. I know their stories from what I have heard, which makes it much more important that I keep showing up, and when I can, do service to welcome them should they visit a meeting I go to.
There are jobs that must be done to insure a meeting operates smoothly. Someone needs to buy supplies, set up, make coffee, handle the 7th and such and so forth. Having opened a meeting fresh, I know that at bare minimum it needs people to form a group, and in our last case, it took $300.00 to open a meeting.
Someone had to foot that bill, pay the rent, buy all the supplies, AND a cabinet to put it all in when all is said and done. And that does not happen on its own. So each group, in and of themselves is a minor organization, put together to serve one purpose, to work with the newcomer, and anyone else who shows up.
When I got sober this last time, when I joined my home group, there were rules set out by the group, and to an extent, some of those rules still exist, as in, time limits to do certain jobs. The first job is chairs and tables, then followed by coffee. Anyone can do that. Usually three months is the time limit for 12 step rep. And a year sobriety to chair meetings. Most groups in our city are governed by simple rules that people follow, just because. It is the way you work yourself into a group.
You can’t transmit something you haven’t got … by the book.
Nobody can tell another what to do, and each meeting has its rhyme and reason. I’ve said before, what you do outside the hall is your business. Once you step over the threshold, we are all equal, serving one purpose, to reach out to and to welcome the newcomer.
That is why we suggest you join a home group and stick and stay. That will be the best investment of your time and talent. Finding your seat, having a job that you do every week, as jobs are rotated on a monthly basis, everyone gets a turn to do something. Which is also why we suggest the twenty minute rule as well … come twenty minutes early and stay twenty minutes after…
That is prime opportunity to work with others, network and to get phone numbers.
There are all kinds of things we do to serve our community. Little rules, that are not really rules, but again, merely suggestions. Rooms are life. People are the most important aspect of a meeting. And once you get into the rhythm everything falls into place.
Some have balked at the rooms, and what they do, opting for their own ideas and preconceived notions. But given a chance, and a little time in the room, you will learn that what we most care about is YOU.
Because without YOU there is no US.
And if there is no US there definitely can be no WE.
And the program is based on that most important word … WE !!!
From the top down, and side to side, each group is simply, optimally, organized to serve the greater WE at large. It all begins with WE.
Without you there can be no WE.
More to come, stay tuned …
You never know when a little gift will appear out of nowhere and makes it all possible !
The Canadian Government has addressed the recent call to kill unbelievers by terrorists. To the extent that Citizens who have left the country to fight along side them, and there are many, their passports have been revoked. In addressing public safety, we are told that the governments eyes and ears are open, and that we are safe. Montreal has always been a safe city. But with this round of violence in the world, one never knows. Let Us Pray …
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I want to address something that took place on another blog I read from Far Far Away …
A.A. is a place for people who think they have a problem with drinking. As per the Traditions, A.A. has no opinion on outside issues. Many people suffer from depression and other assorted illnesses, that must be treated with proper medical treatment and supervision.
There is a fine line between abusing prescription drugs, and taking them properly as directed.
Members, for the most part, are NOT doctors. I’ve never met a medical doctor in the rooms in all my years. Many of us suffer from depression in and out of sobriety. And many of us take pills to treat that depression, on top of that I myself take a handful of pills for my HIV twice a day.
I’ve been in a few scrums with militant members on the topic of medical treatment and for some, their take that sobriety and clean time is contingent on the fact that we either take or choose not to take our medication as directed.
IF YOUR SPONSOR OR ANY OTHER MEMBER TELLS YOU TO STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICATION, OR TELLS YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT SOBER OR THAT YOU CANNOT MAINTAIN SOBRIETY WHILE TAKING MEDICATION, YOU CAN PROPERLY TELL THEM TO FUCK OFF.
Nobody has the right to tell you what to do with your own body when it comes to your health and well being. NOBODY ! Medicinal treatment is an OUTSIDE issue.
This discussion has been going around with many of my friends as of late. Too many people suffer in silence because of the stigma of mental illness, depression, and myriads of emotional problems. We are all humans who deserve to live good and healthy lives, and if that health is contingent on medical treatment, you take the treatment and those who would beg to differ fuck em …
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Any Harry Potter fan will know the genius of Hermione Granger. And most of you may have heard about the HE FOR SHE campaign for Gender Equality. Emma Watson, gave an impassioned speech at the United Nations recently. Her speech was lampooned and derided and some even went as far as to tear her apart online and on social media for her desire to see gender equality and her call to the men and boys of the world to take the pledge to support women, where ever they may be, around the world, to help them achieve gender equality across the board.
As for myself, I made my pledge to the cause earlier today making myself Man #79,536 …
Join the cause : He For She.Org
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This morning we got a little gift, which took me out and about to run assorted errands and some shopping here and there. The IGA has a run on coffee, needless to say, coffee has become a major food group for some, so many of us have been buying multiple cans of coffee to put in storage as we need them. We don’t usually get this chance, coffee being so cheap. Many of the meetings I open for have spent considerable cash buying tins.
I needed a new Under Armour jersey to wear with my Germany Team Jersey. I went to the Sports Experts at the mall, and was pleasantly surprised that a good number of the shirts were 50% off, regularly $60.00 a piece. File that one in the WIN column.
I did a good supermarket Safari and got coin for laundry. I figured while the getting was good, I better cover all my bases so I don’t have to go back and forth between here and the store over and over.
Hubby got home a little before I had to leave, which meant I did not have to charge my card with tickets, since he has a monthly pass. I left a little early and already, the sun is setting a little earlier, because it was coming dark by the time the meeting got started, and we used overhead lights instead of a lamp we have because our bulb blew …
We split up the read on Step Four tonight.
I haven’t actually read this step in a while, and many things jumped out at me. I don’t remember doing this step, the first time I got sober. But I do remember my first fourth Step when I got connected here when I was sober a number of months.
It was a long and drawn out process. I wrote pages and pages. In order to stay sober, say some, you need to do a fourth. Many who attempt a fourth in early sobriety, without proper support, drink again. I saw that happen on a number of occasions, in consecutive Twelve Step Intensives.
You start a group of 25 to 30 men or women for that matter.
Everybody is excited to start. By Step three, people start getting ancy and agitated. We lost at least half our men in number when we hit the fourth step. Many of them drank again because the thought of writing it all down was terribly scary.
That happened each time I sat in an intensive.
This time I worked my Fourth with my sponsor of Thirty years. He is working HIS fourth step with his sponsor as I work mine with him. This weekend he is going to Vermont to do his Fifth, and I will do mine soon after.
I think I have learned a lot about my life and how I lived it now that I have been sober for this period of time. Each time you do a fourth, it gets easier. The farther you get from your last drink, and the more you grow up, because the book talks about the man who is still drinking, never grows up until he puts down the drink, the more insight you have into your own life and the life of others.
I get it, I grew up in an alcoholic family. What happened happened. Nobody ever said the word alcoholic, and no excuses were given for what went down, the way we were treated, or the way people acted. We just chalked it up to our lot as family members of an active alcoholic.
I understand now the role I played in people’s lives. I was educated in the drink, but my transgressions were dealt with very heavily. What my parents got away with in their alcoholism, did not happen when I started drinking. They picked apart every decision, they picked apart my life, and punished me for making life – survival – decisions, in sobriety.
When I moved away, it was just me. The only connection I had to home was the car I drove and almost lost because of my drinking. That was HUGE strike one on me. Thankfully, I did not get to strikes two and three.
Oh wait … I did. Strike two – I was Gay. Strike Three – I am HIV+ …
There were a couple of extra strikes when I made life decisions and moved here. That would be strikes four and five.
From the eyes I have today, I can see why my steps went the way they did in early sobriety. And that kind of insight only comes with time. Lots of time, patience and self appraisal.
I had a really great conversation with a friend tonight prior to the meeting about family, tradition, faith and how that all works in our favor. I see some who have such wonderful family traditions. They practice faith because of tradition. They might not necessarily believe in God, or if there is a God, but they believe in a tradition, in relatives; fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers.
What is handed down traditionally, is so powerful in our lives.
You can’t force anyone to believe in God. And you can’t force the book, and its words, down any ones throats either. But if you gently speak to tradition and of family and of faith, the door is eased open just a bit. I encourage my folks in this respect, and hopefully, one day, their light will shine.
At least that is my hope. One day at a time.
More to come, stay tuned …