It has been a very exciting couple of days.
Monday early on, my lady friend and I set out for the airport, via the express shuttle from our local Metro Hub. Arriving at the airport, Baby Mama’s flight was due in twenty minutes early, which only gave us a few minutes heads up to get flowers for mama and a balloon for LuLu.
In the arrivals area, there is a barrier that one is not supposed to cross, into the baggage claim area proper. People were crossing the barrier in front of us.
Across the arrivals hall we spied baby mama and LuLu coming. I crossed the barrier and went and greeted her and gathered her luggage and stroller/car seat contraption.
It was a cathartic moment, the day we all worked so hard for, for the last year.
There were tears and lots of hugs. Then the realization that mama was here and that it really happened.
We gathered the bundles and ourselves and took a taxi to her condo where she is staying. It is right down the hill from where she will be living come July 1st.
I have to say that AIR BNB have some really nice properties. And kind folks running them.
The condo is a basement suite with washer/dryer, (read: Fully furnished to high spec) Full kitchen/dining room, Full size bed/room, Fully stocked bath. Security system and A.C. and Heating. The living room is handsomely furnished with a flat screen HD tv and surround sound stereo system.
While we unpacked, the reality was starting to hit.
My lady friend took mama and baby grocery shopping, my old sponsor picked me up and we headed home to get the boxes and furniture that has arrived here for the baby. We drove back to the condo and unpacked and I put together the furniture and un-boxed the rest of the goodies baby mama had ordered.
We were all famished and exhausted, it seemed neither of us got very much sleep Sunday night, we ordered some Chalet Barbeque and shared a simple meal. Miss LuLu was a handful and was beginning to realize she was some place new, a new home and lots of new faces.
I think it was all a little too much for LuLu.
We took our leave around seven, when the second string ladies came to visit with mama and baby, so she was not alone. By the time I got home, I was pooped. I crashed.
This evening I met mama and we walked up to the meeting, stopping to show her where she would be living next month. Everything is local. The daycare is just down the road next to the new hospital complex, adjacent to the Vendome Metro station.
The new apartment is up the hill just a few minutes walk, and is equidistant between Villa Maria and Vendome Metro’s. The Tuesday meeting is just across the street from home.
The folks at the meeting tonight were warm and welcoming. The issue of the baby did not come up, it was wise that people kept that opinion to themselves, because by the end of the meeting Mama was in tears of gratitude that she was so warmly welcomed.
All part and parcel of who we really are. Warm and welcoming.
We finished Joe and Charlie. 35 weeks of Big Book lectures.
And the angels sang, Hallelujah !!!
If there is one thing this group has proven in the last year, is that we will go to any length to help our friends. Inside or outside the room. It took a village to make this event yesterday come together. Finding a home, seeing it and securing the address, going to the daycare and arranging baby care, (that was no small task). Then taking care of arrival and getting into her home, away from home.
This is departure week for my guys. Summer Camp starts next week, so people are traveling to get settled in early. Summer Camp is home away from home, it gives our folks another perspective so that they can devote their other skill sets to the task at hand.
Bittersweet because they will be gone until late August.
We are all very grateful and we could not be happier to have baby mama and miss LULU home with us. Their new chapter of life is now open.
More to come, stay tuned …
I’ve said before that Friday is the best day of the week. Because the best meeting of the week falls on Friday night. And all of my friends are in one place all at the same time.
It was a quiet day. Not having much to do, left me with plenty of time, to do nothing.
Sometimes, doing nothing is just as important as doing something.
Being busy is too easy, learning how to manage ones time, with intervals of nothingness is pretty useful. At the stage of the game, being kind to myself and doing things just because is the norm.
I had to pick up an anny card on the way out for one of my guys, as we were celebrating his third anny tonight amongst our Friday friends because I was out of town last weekend.
The fallout continues from last weekend. I am still processing my emotions and I am still seeking counsel from my old timer friends.
Tonight, we discussed working with others, in a round about sort of way.
It was a sold night of things shared. Having solid friends who care about you early on seems to have been the key ingredient for our folks.
From the reading:
“Our chief responsibility to the newcomer is an adequate presentation of the program.”
Today, I know that my sobriety is not all about me. I’ve come a long ways from where I was the first few weeks of sobriety. And I am thankful for what I learned this time around. I wasn’t rushed to make any decisions, or start my steps before it was timely.
The right people were there when I most needed them, in the right ways.
In the beginning is was important to count my days, as the meetings was at the same time and at the same location every night of the week. Montreal sobriety forces you to really work for your time, having to travel to different locations on a nightly basis.
In the beginning it was about healing my soul through fellowship and food.
Funny, food always follows fellowship.
It is an integral part of getting sober. We do our best work over breaking bread with one another.
I was told, not long ago that I must remember to always live in the solution, and to always work towards that solution in working with others. That is my job with my guys.
That seems to work.
One of my friends is just weeks in and tonight he wanted experience, strength and hope about Step One … The only step you must do 100%.
We admitted we were powerless and that our lives had become unmanageable.
Powerlessness … That word still dogs me to this day.
That has been a real learning word.
I can’t save anyone. I can’t save the world. I can’t change anyone. I can ONLY change me.
Just a short entry tonight.
More to come, stay tuned …
Watching your friends grow up and become who they are meant to be, and having played a part in that upbringing, makes me a little proud. It takes a village, and on Friday night, the village showed up to celebrate one of our own, in his Album Release Party.
The little club called “Upstairs” not far from home, was a great experience. It probably seats no more than maybe a seventy five people at once, with the tables and bar area filled to capacity. We dined on good food, we had great conversation among friends, and we marveled in the brilliance that is the group of musicians who played new music for us.
My friends are not only smart, they are brilliant in their own ways. I am really proud to call them my friends. A good time was had by all.
This weekend marked another first for us. I haven’t been to a live concert since before moving to Montreal. On Saturday we scored tickets to Madonna’s next concert, “Rebel Heart,” which plays in September. Madonna is one of those artists that every gay man must see in their lifetime. Cher, Bette Midler, Barbra, and a few others are required attendance. I got to see Bette back in the late 90’s.
So that is a thing …
We are really enjoying our new HD experience. Our tv habits have changed slightly, seeing we have channels we did not have before the switch. But we need to amend our package to enable more channels that are closed at this time.
Mother Nature is not finished with the snow as of late. We got a brief taste of Spring last week with positive temps, over the weekend, temps dropped, and that’s not the only thing that dropped, we got about five inches of snow last night. Temps are going to dance above and below freezing this week. UGH … when will it finally end ???
I departed as usual, and had to stop for milk on the way out. Our groupies showed up for read and discussion prior to the meeting. We were missing a number of folks on the night. Some of my friends came out to the meeting, and I took notice of them when they showed up, because I had not seen some of them in some time. Once again, the adage proved true, that if people stop showing up, it is a foregone conclusion that they might drink again …
Tonight, that was definitely true.
It doesn’t take much. One momentary lapse, one moment of indecision, and a drink is close at hand, and that little voice says to us …”Aw, you’ve got this drinking thing licked … You don’t need those meetings any more …” How about another one for good measure ?
The whole idea of the Twelfth Step, from one of my friends, is to become a better person.
I was in the chair tonight, as our gal who usually fills that position was out, and I was elected chair for the evening. One must be graceful under pressure, as friends get up and take chips again, after a long period of sobriety.
We are finishing up the steps this week and next. Step Twelve is a twenty page read, so we did half tonight, and the rest next week. We did not quite get around the room.
When I think of Step Twelve, the first thought that came to mind as I was reading this portion of the read was the line from A Vision for You, that
“Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got !”
There was a good reason that for a long time, I went to meetings, and did service. But that’s all I was doing at that time. I needed someone to tell me what I needed to do to get into the game in a new way. I had to return to the basics. Read the Book, Say my Prayers, and Work Hard at the game of sobriety. Well it isn’t a game, it is a solution for living.
I did all those things that I was told to do, God took care of the rest.
I finally had ears to hear and eyes to see and words to share. That didn’t come over night. Working with others, in twelve step fashion, did not come overnight either. I needed a message within me in order to share the message with another human being.
It is one thing to hit a meeting and share inside of a discussion. This, yes, is also a form of twelve step work. This work is on a different scale than working one on one with one person at a time.
When God saw fit that I was ready to give it away, my guys began to show up in my life, in one way or another. For the first time I was confident in my words, and in what I knew, but that was just a start. Over the last year, I have worked on my words, and the way I relate to my guys.
Working with others is a twenty four hour a day job. When ever Where ever for however long.
When the phone rings, I answer it.
This Winter has again proved it’s not the BIG things that take us out, it is those LITTLE things that sneak up on us from underneath. This is called the broken shoelace syndrome.
It’s not the bitching partner, but the broken shoelace that takes us out …
The words … Constant Vigilance are so important.
I do what ever I can. But sometimes, even that isn’t enough.
So it falls to the words I use and how I use them that will either help or hinder.
I have to know how much of me to put forwards, and how little as well. I feel like, to explain it better, I must find that “tremulous balance of just enough and not too much.”
That perfect amount is not always possible. Which is why I must practice daily.
The more I work, and the better my practice, the easier the balance comes.
It isn’t all about me, and never usually is. I must decrease so that He may increase.
I’m a little grateful, a little proud. A little sad, but a bit relieved.
All of our folks are sober tonight. And that is a start for the week.
More to come, stay tuned …
We thought that the weather was going to get better, tonight, it snowed. It was cloudy when we started the meeting, and there was inches of snow on the ground when we left. Tomorrow’s hopeful positive digit temp, has been brought down to a solid zero (0c) tonight.
As of late, children have been in the news, and not for good reasons.
In What the Fuck News …
The first case, a mother was convicted because she poisoned her son with salt, that eventually killed him, all the while she was blogging about his illness, prior to his death …
A second case involves a Muslim mother, (we know this because proceedings are having to be translated into Arabic) she beat and starved her two twin daughters to death. A gruesome story, and the other day the judge stopped proceedings to ask the mother Why did you do that ???
I mean, WHAT THE FUCK OF IT ALL ???
A third story involves “Free Range” parenting … Two small children, were allowed to walk to the neighborhood park by themselves. Because the parents practice “free range parenting.”
The police were called and the children returned home and six police cars followed, with C.P.S service workers to indict the parents for child neglect… Meanwhile, the kids are playing outside in the yard, unsupervised, and the neighbors are going MADDDDDDD ….
I’ll tell you a secret story about children …
When I was in grade school, we used to be bused to daycare after school, my brother and I. We did that for a long time, but at one point, I was like, NO MORE DAYCARE … In those days we had private bus service with door to door transport for our neighborhood.
I forced the driver, to take us home, instead of day care. I was probably not more than ten. This was in the 1970’s in Miami. After that day, my parents gave me a copy of the house key, and from that point on, both my brother and myself went home after school, forever more. Nobody noticed. Well, the spinster lesbian couple across the street knew we were there alone, and minded us if need be.
Nobody blinked an eye, there was no C.P.S issues. Who would you call (back then) to report two small kinds home alone for a few hours, until their parents got home from work? I learned responsibility, I took care of the house, I cleaned, I cooked, (we got our first microwave oven) that was a bit of excitement.
I understand the safety issues of allowing children to navigate neighborhood streets alone, in today’s day and age. There are too many perverts, and sickos on the street and you never know who is going to harass, or kidnap and kill your children if you don’t have eyes/hands on them 24 – 7 …
Let’s just leash them and let them wander around the yard aimlessly, or keep them locked in the house or at some day care center where someone can watch them while the parents can’t !
It is not the same world I grew up in … sadly !!!
I just had to get that off my chest …
I’m better now
So it snowed. We sat a good group. We finished Bill’s Story, via Joe and Charlie.
This is important, why?
I’ve spent thirteen years reading the Big Book, over and over and over. I worked my steps several times and I am in them right now. Last year, our Sunday night group, finished a cover to cover read through the book as well. That took more than a year of Sundays.
There are meetings all over the world, and I know that many meetings use the book as source.
You could go from reading the book, to reading a chapter, to reading a page, reading a paragraph, and finally, reading a sentence. Each chapter/paragraph/word leads into the next in a specific way. Each chapter has its job, to tell you something certain, factual. Which leads into the next chapter, which tells you something certain and factual, so forth and so on.
You could parse down to sentences and words.
For the last year, I have had the honor of working with sponsees. Each of them see me weekly, for a chat/read/discussion. Over the past year, I’m reading the book four times, at the same time, with four guys. Separately.
Like I said I’ve read the book. But it wasn’t until I read it with a sponsee, that words began to jump off the page at me as we read together. I saw things, and realized things, that I had not, in the past. I’m fairly certain, that after spending years reading the book myself, with others (in a group setting), I learned something. So that wisdom was in my brain,
The first section of the book hasn’t changed in over seventy five years, so after so many years, we should have been able to memorize the front of the book. I do know certain sections by rote. And I know the rest of the read, because I’ve read it so many times now.
Nothing will guarantee us sobriety, like working with another alcoholic.
I mean, that’s how it works, doesn’t it?
I am working with a new guy and he is concerned that I should be getting paid for what I am doing in the meeting, and in working with him. I don’t think I explained how that works very well. Someone has to get paid for working with others, he asked ? I gave him his Big Book, and stuff to read, on the side, (we give books to newbies) better they go home with someone, rather than sit in the box collecting dust.
Tonight we heard Joe and Charlie talk about these insights from the book, in the chapter called, “Bill’s Story.” The steps hadn’t been written yet, as the book had not been thought of when Bill got sober in the beginning. But in writing Bill’s Story, the steps are written out. He tells us the steps he took to get sober. Those steps originated in Ebbie’s witness of the Oxford Group, Ebbie told Bill about getting sober himself, and they worked through the One, Two, Three Shuffle.
Bill wasn’t having any of that Religion Shit.
But he came around when ( in squiggly writing ) the book says, “Well why don’t you find a concept of your own ?” With that statement, Bill got on board. He then tells us how he saw, and understood the rest of Oxford’s Steps and how he turned their short list of proposals, into the twelve steps as we have them today.
Funny how Bill negated all that religious shit, when he got sober, but as he sat writing the book, he had religious men, who were advising him on spiritual matters.
And that’s the God’s Honest Truth.
There are those issues that split many people along fracture lines.
The concept of God is problematic. God is problematic. So find your own, but there lies the contradiction between the Big Book, and As Bill Sees It.
It reads: “You can find a concept of your own, whatever works for you is good, then the reading goes on to say, all that is well and good, but in the end it always comes back around to God.”
Well, fuck me sideways on Tuesday !!!
When we get sober, we get new hearts, new eyes, new livers, and new lives. The longer you stick around you get to polish the temple of God we inhabit and so on. The longer you stick around, the more we learn, and that knowledge comes to bear when we sit down with another alcoholic, and do The Work together.
It can be that good !!!
More to come, stay tuned …