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Friday: Source of Strength

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Next week Canada will Mark the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of  Vimy Ridge in Northern France, (At Vimy Ridge) remembrance of all those soldiers from all over the world, over 4,000 Canadian Soldiers, who died in service of the war.

Tonight, we read another Vignette from Bill, taken from the Twelve and Twelve, which was written after the first Big Book was published in 1939.

I have an original 1939 Copy in my library.

When WWII broke out, out A.A. dependence on a Higher Power had its first major test. A.A.’s entered the services and were scattered all over the world.

Would they be able to take discipline, stand up under fire, and endure the monotony and misery of war? Would the kind of dependence they had learned in A.A. carry them through?

Well, it did.

They had even fewer alcoholic lapses or emotional binges than A.A.’s safe at home did. They were just as capable of endurance and valor as any other soldier. Whether in Alaska or on the Salerno Beachhead, their dependence upon a higher power worked.

Far from being a weakness, this dependence was their chief source of strength.

I’ve never read, in any literature that is in my library, an account of soldiers who were sober, prior to WWII, then going to fight that war, remaining sober throughout, and came home, and stayed sober.

I brought up this thought in the meeting tonight, because there are friends of mine who might have something to add to this question.

We know that thousands of letters crossed from the U.S. and other places to the war fronts all over Europe. I know that G.S.O. in New York City, has a gigantic archive of letters that passed from Alcoholics in the states and worldwide, who were writing to sober individuals (Military Personnel) in Europe and all over the world.

None of those stories were ever included in any of the Big Book Printings.

The visual of war, to many in the room, was pertinent. Because Alcoholism is a disease, and the battle to get sober, is not for the feint of heart. For some, the odds are stacked against them, few make it into serious sober time, on the first pass.

One of our old timers, who had met, veterans, in the rooms, when he first came in over twenty-five years ago, spoke about how serious they thought sobriety was. And that they listened to some, in those meetings, at that time, making light of the fight that is Alcoholism.

Yes, we laugh a lot in the rooms, at our miserable failures, and sordid stories about what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now. But getting sober, is a serious business, it is not a joke, or something to take lightly. Lives are on the line, and if someone who is really down and out, comes in, and hears people joking and laughing, they might run in fear, and never come back.

Many stories in my memory begin with someone down and out, walking down some stairs into a smoky church basement, and hearing jovial laughter and happiness, is somewhat jarring at first, until they get across the threshold.

Last night, we heard a friend talk about his journey, and after twenty years of not drinking (Read: Dry Drunk) he figures out that he needs to step up his game and commit to really, getting sober. Which brought him right up to Step Three.

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

What he said resonated with the many who heard that story last night.

When I was a young seminarian, I had turned my will and my life over to God. This was just another pass at God, throughout my young life. But I was conscious of this decision, and I was willing to go to any length to prove my worthiness to God.

The common man was much harder to convince.

But life has a funny way of turning out.

The next pass at God was in the guise of Todd, when I got sick, and was going to die. I know, today, that Todd represented to me, the incarnation of God on earth. I had made that same commitment to God again. But alas, I could not carry it through, because of my own inability to trust myself alone.

At thirty-four, when I put down the drink for the last time, (let us pray) I spoke to God and in that moment, I had done Steps One, Two and Three, all at once.

To this day, every day, I turn my will and my life over, because I know, that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.

In the last week, I have listened to several Pod Casts, from my favorite channel, The Art Of Charm. We’ve heard of The Hero’s Journey, James Campbell, and Narrative Building.

If you grew up in the 1970’s and onward, you might have seen a few little Star Wars Films. We were introduced to the Jedi. To Obi Wan, and Yoda. We saw, for our own eyes, and most probably, learned the mythology of the Hero’s Journey, The Force, and The Rebels fighting the Empire.

Another friend, tonight, spoke of us as Padawan’s, and not necessarily Jedi. I’m not sure I’ve met a Jedi in the rooms, to date. In the rooms, there is “A Force.” We come in and we see it in others, and we watch and listen to them, and eventually, we either want what others have, or we don’t.

In an Earlier post, we spoke about the Spiritual versus the Religious.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a spiritual program. With as many people in the rooms, there is a vision of what we are, who we are, and what we do in meetings.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

Lorna Kelly, a long time sober member of the New York Community, who died last July, says that the Preamble is one of the most important pieces of literature ever written. Because it tells us who we are, what we suffer from, and how we achieve sobriety.

Together …

It is said, that in war, that there are no Atheist’s in foxholes.

Atheism was also mentioned tonight by one of my friends, who asked the question, “What about those members or people, who may not have had identified a Power Greater than Themselves, or really believed in God, in the time of War, he wanted to know, where they were, and if they were, how they stayed sober, during the war ?”

I was reminded by one of my best friends, what I really needed to do, to safeguard my spiritual well-being, when it comes to others in the rooms. Something I have mentioned ad nauseam over the past month or so.

He also gave me some advice in stepping up my health and well-being game. He said that if I was in for a penny, that I should be in for a pound. That is something I will be adding to my life toolkit.

I spoke briefly, about two men, who went to war. Jimmy Settle, P.J. in Alaska’s 212 Pararescue Unit. Jimmy went to Afghanistan, and was shot and almost killed by the Taliban. His story is grueling. And for me, it was a very emotional experience, just reading his Hero’s Journey.

The Other is Romeo Dallaire. Who Commanded Canadian and United Nations forces, during one of the worlds worst Genocides, in Rwanda, after that of Nazi Germany of course.

Jimmy trained, went to war, came home, and served his country valiantly. Alcohol was not much mentioned in his story, because if you are going to be an elite soldier, drinking is the least of your problems. (Read: Read The Book Yourself)

Never Quit: by Jimmy Settle and Don Rearden.

Romeo, was shattered, watching and collecting visual and written proof of genocide in Rwanda as it happened all around him. Shake Hands with the Devil is one serious book. And not a tome to take lightly, by any means.

When Romeo came back to Ottawa, he was living on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River, a bridge walk to Ottawa proper. His bottom came, as one night, he bought a bottle of Scotch and walked the bridge to Centennial Park, on the Ottawa side, along side Parliament Hill. He suffered greatly, in silence, until that night, when he drank that bottle, and was found almost dead, on his stomach, drunk, with his face in the mud.

War is War, and War is hell. Death, Terrorism, Genocide, you name it, if you are fighting for your country, you pledge to serve your country to the best of your ability.

You will go into your experience, as one kind of soldier, be they Man or Woman. But we all know, from some serious experience, that the soldier you were, when you went in, you will not be the same soldier, when you come out.

We know, here in Canada, how many men and women, after serving our nation, and the world at large, came home injured, broken, and certainly changed people, on the other end.

And we know, sadly, how many of those men and women came home to ingratitude, a lack of services, no mental health services or for some, any services at all, and in the end, many, so many young men and women, took their own lives because of the trauma they experienced over seas.

Alcohol, is the least of their problems, when men and women go to war …

Bill write the above noted story, because, I believe, he either met some soldiers, heard stories, read letters, or spoke to someone as second-hand, the experience I wrote above.

Bill’s vignettes, in my opinion, were on his mental radar. He had some experience in what he was writing about, because this story comes in the Twelve and Twelve. This particular story was collected then added to that particular book, which came much later than the first publishing of the First Edition of the Big Book in 1939.

God, the three-letter word that keeps multitudes of people from freedom.

At one point in As Bill Sees It, Bill writes in one passage that your Higher Power can be whatever you want it to be. A seeming plausible system of belief, that comes as a relief to many, but on that same page, the final sentence reads:

But it Always comes back to God …

Tradition Three, in the Twelve and Twelve, expands on the idea of who can attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. You are an A.A. member if you say so, nobody can keep you out, no matter how far down you have gone… you are a member if you say so …

Over the many decades, literature has become a little more fluid, and not so set in stone as it was read, by those in the early years of the program.

God as we understand Him, can be, if you just allow it, for a moment, can be as fluid as you wish it to be. As long as we realize that there is a Power Greater Than Ourselves, and that:

We are NOT that Higher Power …

Thursday A.M. – Special Essay #2 – Change

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Taking care of those who need you to be present is a huge responsibility. The Story that keeps me ever present to Heavenly Father, and the work I do in community, comes from Margaret Craven, in her finest work, “I heard the Owl Call my Name.”

It is the story of Mark Bryan. A 26 year old young Anglican priest who is sent by his bishop to the Up Coast of Vancouver British Columbia. To serve in a native village.

The story begins with a conversation between a doctor and the bishop, as the doctor informs the bishop that young Mark is very sick and is going to die. The bishop, in his wisdom, sends him to Kingcome to serve the native community there in that small village.

Mark does not know the particulars, just that the bishop has asked him to go there, because the bishop thought that, if he had a second opportunity, that that is where HE would go.

Mark has to learn the native language before he can teach them his, and that is no easy prospect. But he persists. And over time, the spiritual experiences come to him, through the interactions with the many natives he will call family. He learns about them in order to learn how to love and serve them. And they too, do the same.

The story does not have a happy ending. Suffice to say, that in Mark’s heroic death, the little village honors him with a resting place in their great ceremonial burial ground just off the village.

If I need to know why I am still on this earth is that it is the OWL who calls the man or woman who is to die. Until that owl calls me, I’m not going anywhere…

Segue into Change …

Not long ago, a shift had begun to come into my life. I am hypersensitive to my feelings, and my emotional and mental well being, and my all around looks about town. I’ve gone back to color and my stylist keeps me groomed. I’ve changed up my wardrobe considerably, due to the fact that weight is falling off me on these new meds I am on.

I want to look good, and feel good and look good doing it too. Feeling good has everything to do with looking good… And damned what all my naysayers are saying. This is my life, and life is too precious and short to surround myself with elbows and assholes.

Not Going To Do It …

My friends are of two minds on this topic.

My straight friends look at me and say kind words of encouragement and love. They see who I am and they all know my story, everybody does, who knows me.

50 is a HUGE landmark. Because I am still alive, and will cross that bridge still breathing. I never thought I would get this far. And so I’ve hit another mental and emotional shift.

The first one began when I crossed the 40 mark. Every day, change, and emotion, was documented in the thousands of posts and pages on the this blog.

My gay friends, on the other hand, are not so generous with words. Many of my gay friends, well, almost all of them, are older than me by ten and twenty years.

They are Old. Miserable.

FRUMPY …

I will not go down to Old, Miserable and FRUMPY.

No way Jose …

My critical gay friends do not spare me insults in the rooms, because they love to pick me apart in front of the other members in the room, purposely.

It saddens me that this is happening. And I don’t need to explain my decisions to them because none of them have anything to do with my personal presentation in public.

I know, I am a bit emotional. My spiritual Director is very ill and I am doing everything I can to lift him up and support him, in this very personal journey he is on.

I’ve walked this road myself.

My Elder friend reminds me always that Heavenly Father is right there with us all the way, and that the sacrifice of the cross has brought us the Atonement.

Easter is coming and our Pope Francis encourages us to go out into community and participate and love deeply and serve totally. Because Christ shows us his face, in every single person we know, love and serve.

The coming months are going to be challenging. I just needed to document this shift as it is coming to me right now.

50 is the new 30 I’ve heard.

So I will look 30, when I reach 50, I am already on that path.

All Over the World !!!

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I have spent days, nights, hours, sweeping the net for one item of clothing. From The United States, to the U.K. and over to the Pacific Rim looking for the:

NIKE – Pro Combat Hyper-Cool Woodland Tights – Dark Emerald/Total Orange.

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Just when I thought the hunt was lost, I went back to Amazon U.S. and found one pair left for sale. However, they would not ship to Canada, so one of my friends accepted the package for me and forwarded them to me, and they arrived today.

I almost screamed with joy when I opened the package and they were exactly as I had hoped they would be in the exact colorway…

I won this round of internet searches…

Like I have said before, if someone wears it, you can probably find it, but you have to be savvy and persistent in your search.

And not take NOT IN STOCK – UNAVAILABLE for an answer.

Monday: Memories, Promises, Spirituality

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Our story tonight, comes via a man who is of the Jewish faith. This story highlights the conundrum that many face, when they come to the rooms. The dichotomy of a program of recovery, that operates on a Spiritual, rather than religious model.

You can’t get away with calling a program of recovery “Spiritual” when the word “GOD” appears in the Book, and through the steps. This One Single Three Letter Word, keeps many from getting sober, no less, having a spiritual experience that everybody needs, at some point in their journey.

How do you separate the Religious from the Spiritual ?

…The last big hurdle was closing the meeting with the Lord’s Prayer. As a Jew, I was uncomfortable with it and decided to talk to my sponsor about it. So I said, “The Lord’s Prayer bothers me. I don’t like closing with it.” “Oh,” he said, “what’s the problem?” “Well, I’m Jewish and it’s not a Jewish prayer.”

“Well then,” he said “Say it in Jewish.” I said, “It would still be the Lord’s Prayer.” “Right,” he said. “Then say something else that you like. Your Higher Power, whatever you call it, is helping you, and you need to say thank you.”

That was a big step for me; I finally began to separate the religious aspect of my life from A.A. Spiritual program. Now the big difference to me is that religion is the RITUAL, and we all differ there, and SPIRITUALITY is the way we feel about what we do. It’s about my personal contact with my personal Higher Power, as I understand Him.

I laughed to myself as I read this story. This man, who came in, and against his better nature, did get sober, and found a life beyond his wildest dreams. He, a Jew, comes in and has problems, not with G-d but with The Lord’s Prayer, and its recitation to close a meeting.

I’ve spoken about the promise made to God, by Memere, about me, when I was just a boy.

Last night, I was reminded of that promise, by a passage in a book I am reading at the moment about Pope Francis.

The biographer is telling the story of the child, Jorge Mario Bergoglio and how his grandmother introduced him to a life of faith and prayer. A story, very similar to mine.

It was my grandmother who took me to church, promised me to God, and faith followed me, and God was always there, I just wasn’t always interested in listening.

Until I got sober the second time.

I read this passage last night and it rang so very true for me …

May the Man not betray what he promised as a child …

I had not made that initial promise, but I HAD made a promise to God, in church, as I was being groomed to enter the seminary. And while there, I did promise God my life, from that point in my limited life, to the extent I believed I could.

It only took me thirty four years to figure out that I needed to rekindle that promise and make my way into life with God in the drivers seat. And to be honest, I was good for that.

Life is there, for you to choose what you are going to do with it.

But if you are on Train B, and you are on your Do Over, better buckle up and do this right, because you may never get another kick at the proverbial can of sobriety.

Petty complaints, and a lack of trust and faith will destroy someone coming in the rooms with an “I Know Better” attitude.

It was Chabad, A Jewish Organization, who pointed the way for me, and IS the bedrock of my program of recovery. An Organization that still operates in our city today.

I find it funny, that our writer tonight, is a Jew who has problems with a Christian Prayer, and it was a Jewish Organization that helped me get and stay sober.

I owe them a debt of Gratitude.

A factual memory that rises to my mind when reading this story… The story of Louis and Irene Ziff, survivors of the Holocaust, and the Auschwitz concentration camp. I knew this couple well, they were friends of the family when I was a boy. They used to dine at our table for many years, before they both died.

I remember them fondly.

 

 

Friday: Special Essay … Growing Up

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The week is over. The Friday meeting was sparse. But I did see the people I really needed to see, and have conversations. While there is massive snow on the ground in Up State New York, and here in Quebec, my friends who have skiing and snowboarding passions, they are all out on the slopes this weekend, enjoying, what might be the last snow of the season.

I subscribe to several “thoughtful” pages on Face Book and I’ve been seeing thoughts being shared on my timeline that I happen to think, can apply to me.

One thought is: “BE who you needed when you were a kid” (insert age appropriate word here) …

When I was in school, that would be Junior and High school, I attempted to be sporty.

A fact of life, that came as a tidal wave, came on the first day of Junior High School. I stepped into the locker room, and I knew, right then and there, that there was something different about me. I knew what it was, I just did not say anything to anyone about it.

Knowing what Gay was, by that term, and knowing how homophobic my parents were and still are, never allowed me to identify myself as gay until I moved away from home.

I engaged in gym for a while, while sports was something I was engaged in and was good at because my friends were sporty, and I wanted friends and to participate. I wrestled in junior high, I played soccer as well. I was a pretty good soccer player, until I attempted to go heads up for a center position, which meant you had to go head to head with the boy who held that position. Sadly, I got pretty beat up. That was the end of that run.

In high school I was on the swim team for a couple of years and I even Lettered in my senior year.

My parents were not big on my competing or participating. They would not allow me to have the tools of the trade I needed. Even if I was spending my own money to buy shoes, cleats and gear. They were funny that way …

When I got to Montreal and began to settle down and build a home, growing into a man was front and center. And all along these years now, I have allowed myself things that I really did not have when I was a kid, like nice shoes, sneakers, boots, clothing, etc …

I am different from hubby, in that he does not see the need to have “things.” He will wear one pair of shoes until they fall off his feet before he buys another pair. And I am like, we have the money in the bank, why don’t you buy some shoes and some sneakers …

He usually just shakes his head. I am prepared for any seasonal weather that Mother Nature may throw at us.

Like a good Boy Scout, I am always prepared.

Growing up in the Rooms, I have a certain idea of who I am today, and what I want from my life, and what I believe is important for my emotional, mental and personal well-being.

I keep up with trends. I try to have some style. Lately my friends have commented on my wardrobe an awful lot. This was not a point of discussion in the past. In the rooms, there is a certain amount of decorum, style and dress. Getting clean and sober, in time, means getting clean and sober in all areas of life.

Once you begin to “Clean Up” you clean up inside and out.

I watch my friends, my Gay friends. They seem to be resigned to a certain “way” they style themselves, as they all age. I don’t have any gay friends in my age bracket. The gay friends I have are all ten to twenty years my senior.

Over the past decade or so, as my body changes, my appearance changed with it. And as my doctors took me off certain drugs, that caused me to balloon, the drugs I am on now, are allowing me to lose some significant weight.

They say that the first ten pounds are a bitch. A few weeks ago, while at the doctors, I saw that fact when I stepped onto the scale for the first time in a long time, and was pleasantly surprised to see just how much weight I had lost in the past year.

Feeling Sexy, and Feeling Good inside and out are very important to me. You might find that odd. But I just don’t want to sink into some deep funk going into fifty.

I am not some old man, who has to accept that he is ageing.

Fifty is the new thirty they say. I missed out on my thirties and did not begin to grow up emotionally until I hit the ripe age of forty.

If you want to feel good, I believe one has to look good doing it too. As long as I can pull off sporty and sexy, all in moderation, then why the hell not ?

For many years, well, the last twenty-two years or so, I was subject to side effects and drug interactions when it came to my body. And for a long time, I sat in my head, thinking, well, this is how I am going to look and feel, so I better get used to it.

Because that is what most people with AIDS/HIV say to themselves. Today, there are only a few, a very little few other men who are survivors, in my immediate community, or are living with what they call the new HIV, they don’t say the word AIDS ever anymore.

But I remember who I was, then. Nobody can take that away from me.

I’m not sure when the shift began, but I felt that I needed to pick myself up and make a change. I went back on my going grey look, and dyed my hair. I’m just not ready to be defeated by grey hair like some of my friends. I moved from my special haircut to growing my hair out, until I get sick of it. Not there yet.

When I realized that I had lost significant weight, I went on a clothes haul, and bought a few new pieces of clothing.

My friends noticed.

I saw some clothing I really liked on the web. And I thought, I could rock that look too and look good doing it too. So I spent a little money, and damn, I look good.

My friends noticed.

People pay close attention to what we look like in meetings. I remember a while back, when I started experimenting with hair styles. I made a huge mistake sitting in the chair one day, and I paid for that haircut mistake until all my hair grew out again.

Lesson Learned.

I don’t want to go bald, not yet at least.

I want to feel good in my skin. I want to feel sexy, even if hubby really does not pay attention to that, he really doesn’t. He thinks about style, because I know he shops at specific shops in the city and has a certain look, he just does not notice me.

I notice Me.

I may be getting Older. And Fifty is just around the corner. But I am not going to grow old, looking old. There are men out there in my age bracket who are more sporty and stylish than I could ever be, but I will damned well try at least.

As long as I can look good – I feel good.

Living life on the edge is cool. Living on Borrowed time used to mean, acceptance of a fate of dying or waiting to die.

I don’t live, waiting to die.

Mame Dennis Said it well …

Live, Live, Live, Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving …

I am going to look good when fifty comes, and I will die trying …

I love my friends, gay and straight, some of them are just old Fuddy Duddies …

I am NOT a fuddy duddy …

 

Friday: Sacred, is the Room I find in Myself

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There are but two sins … The Lesser, is to get in the way of our own spiritual path. The Greater, is to get in the way of someone else’s spiritual path.

I see humility for today as a safe and secure stance midway between violent emotional extremes. It is a quiet place where I can keep enough perspective and enough balance to take my next small step up the clearly marked road that points toward eternal values.

The reading tonight touches on Arrogance, Attitude and Humility.

Which leads back to yesterdays quote:

I don’t know, but I am trying to find out, OK !

The Fellowship, early on, was a sordid affair. And thinking about it logically, the Big Book was written towards a certain segment of the population. And in the early years, the Fellowship grew out of trials and errors.

They really did not have a leg to stand on, when it came to knowledge or certainty.

This reading talks about some, early on, who believed they had the “Real A.A.” And that they had a definitive answer to the problem of the drink, and only they could impart this message and that, from the reading, “You better get it…”

A very arrogant approach, don’t you think ?

This reading is dates 1961. The Fellowship came together in 1939. That is only 22 years from inception, to the point Bill wrote this passage for the Grapevine. I imagine that Bill probably mulled over what he was either hearing himself, or from others, who came in contact with the men, whom this reading, refers to.

I don’t know, in my life today, WHO has the definitive answer to recovery. Because I know, for myself, that there are old timers with TIME, but they surely are not sober. There are men and women I respect, who have some time.

All I know is this … Every so often I am introduced to someone who has a method, or a practice, or a way, they work their program. Over the past four or so years, I’ve employed several practices and methods that I know worked for the men and women, I have adopted these practices from.

None of them, we could say are the End All Be All. They are merely, additions to practice and method, to incorporate, along with the Book.

Working with others, is a great way to find out for ones self, that:

No, I don’t know, but I am trying to find out. OK !

I don’t have all the answers, which is why I go to meetings and talk with people I respect, who have a little more experience than I do. We are all souls walking in the same direction, trying to figure it out ourselves.

There is no ultimate authority, except the God of our understanding as He speaks in our Group Conscience.

I know what size my pants are. And I know how big, my head can get if I am not careful.

Keeping it simple and staying out of my head is a daily task.

If either my pants or my head swell to greatly, then I know:

I must decrease so that He may increase.

Thursday: I Don’t know but I am trying to find out, OK !

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Last night, I heard from my Spiritual director, who lives in another province, tell me that his doctors have told him that he was terminally ill, and that he has an illness that will eventually take his life, as it had taken the lives of his grandfather and father alike.

God is really the most important vital sign. If he wants you to stay, there is not way you can go, and if you are meant to go, there is no way to keep you here.

I am a very lucky man, to have a young man in my life, who has this kind of Wisdom.

I have walked many people through this minefield, that is the most unknown of places. That place of One day, being alive and fearless, to the next day, when a doctor tells you that your days are numbered, and that eventually, your body will not be able to do what is had been doing for over fifty years, and death is imminent.

How do you tell someone you care about, that they need to remember to breathe, and as long as there is air in their lungs, they should live ??? That was the exact advice I gave my friend, along with those wise words from my Elder.

If your heart, knowing it is, at some point, going to give out on you, turns towards the finality of death, and you forget that living is still on the table, that usually hastens death quicker.

No matter how dire the warning and the knowledge that all the cards are on the table, and death is going to come sooner than later, My friend, at least, HAS a game plan, a plan of action. I just thought that reminding him that he still had a life, a family that needs him, a wife who is living the journey with him, children flung all over God’s world, who still need a father, I needed to remind him, that right now,

LIFE is the most important thing in his life.

If we wake up, every morning, and we are alive … Then that IS a GOOD day.

I don’t know, but I am trying to find out, OK !

Every Thursday night, when I get home, I dial an Elder on my I Phone. And with the latest technology, I am in the presence of a young man I love, who is my friend, and spends some of his time, with me. Just like we did when he was here.

I learned this week, that my Elder friend is Pre-Med. I am totally in awe of him, knowing who he is, and how he sees the world, Folks, we are going to have one really great doctor some day, I’m just sayin ….

I am truly grateful.

NO, is not part of my vocabulary…

Last week, I was on the hunt for product. And Google had led me down many dead ends. But from those Google results, those results were coming from the Pacific rim. Australia and New Zealand.

I know someone who lives in Australia. So I tweeted him asking him for his help. I got a reply, and that reply said two things. NO, and I cannot help you.

Never say NO to me. Ever.

I mean that in the best of terms. I don’t ask my friends or people I know for many things. And after doing whatever homework I needed to do, and I get to the point that I need to ask someone for some help, and you tell me NO, from the get go … Before you even hear the WHY I asked you for help You can …

FUCK the right off …

In recovery, NO is not part of our vocabulary. Obviously, there are some people I know who are too self centered and selfish to want to even ponder the thought of being of some help to someone who asked for it.

Anyways, This week has been very good. I found product I wanted. One of my friends helped me as a mail drop, because I could not get delivery to Canada, and that package is on its way today. Two other packages are also on their way as well, another from the U.S. and one from the U.K.

I returned to major seller platforms and U.K. Websites that proved to be genuine.

I heard it said to me that if you get asked to speak at St. Matthias, then you have MADE IT.

This is what our young lady said first tonight.

Obviously, I have not MADE IT YET … And I’ve been sitting in that room for more than twelve years. And nobody has ever asked me to speak there.

We heard a newbie girl speak tonight, just over her first year. I thought to myself, I did not speak for a very long time, when I first got sober. There is some wisdom to putting a newbie in the hot seat, early on. Because they get to hear their story, at that specific point IN their journey, from their own mouths.

ONE, it gives them early perspective. And TWO, they get a baseline in where they are, because after the meeting, they are going to hear everyone in the room, thank that person for their share, and then offer them some wisdom from their own journey.

In the end, our young lady told her story, and then heard from the rest of us, what she might expect if she sticks around …

On Being a Man …

We are MEN, trying to figure out what it means to be a MAN, AND trying to figure out HOW to get there.

In our little group of friends, all of us at various ages, in the rooms, are trying to figure out what our manhood’s are going to look like, and what we want our lives to look like, and some buzz words that pop up are Humility, Integrity, My Elder also adds the words God and Spirituality to the mix, these, I think are crucial for a well rounded life as a man, in the rooms of recovery.

We all agree, among ourselves, that a Spiritual Foundation laid with care, can be one of the most important components in someone’s life.

Man or Woman.

And by extension, One of my guys has Million Dollar Millennial on his watch.

We are fathers to boys, who don’t really have fathers in their lives, trying to figure out what to do for the most people, to the best of our abilities.

I don’t know, but I am trying to find out, OK !

Wednesday: Tragedy, Sorrow, Prayers

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Today, in the world, these tragedies have taken place.

France was plunged into mourning and national outrage Monday by the terrorist-style killings of three young children and a rabbi as they gathered for classes at a Jewish school in a quiet residential neighborhood of Toulouse.The lone gunman rode up on a motor scooter and opened fire with two pistols, first shooting at a group of waiting children outside the school and then following some of them into a courtyard as they ran for safety toward the building, a local prosecutor, Michel Valet, told reporters. In addition to the four people killed, six students were wounded, including a 17-year-old boy reported to be in serious condition at a Toulouse hospital.

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Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017 10:55AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 22, 2017 4:14PM EDT
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LONDON — A knife-wielding man went on a deadly rampage at the heart of Britain’s seat of power Wednesday, mowing down pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge before stabbing an armed police officer to death inside the gates of Parliament. Four people were killed, including the attacker, and about 20 others were injured.

Lawmakers, lords, staff and visitors were locked down as the man was shot by police within the perimeter of Parliament and just yards (meters) from entrances to the building itself. He died, as did two pedestrians on the bridge, and the police officer.

Our Thoughts and Prayers for those killed in these senseless Terror Attacks, and for those who are injured, their families and friends, citizens and faithful peoples.

O G‑d, full of compassion, Who dwells on high, grant true rest upon the wings of the Shechinah (Divine Presence), in the exalted spheres of the holy and pure, who shine as the resplendence of the firmament, to the soul of those who have gone to their [supernal] world, for charity has been donated in remembrance of their souls; may Their place of rest be in Gan Eden. Therefore, may the All-Merciful One shelter them with the cover of His wings forever, and bind their souls in the bond of life. The Lord is their heritage; may they rest in his resting-place in peace; and let us say: Amen.

 

 

 

Monday: Time Tracks and Do Over’s

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I have spoken about the Do Over’s when one comes into recovery. Today, I would like to expand that discussion to include time tracks.

Yesterday I sat with one of my guys and we spoke about our Million Dollar Millennium young man again. And as his story unfolds, more information has come to the fore.

Which leads into today’s discussion.

When we are born, we are born into a time track. A life that has not unfolded yet, and has yet to be experienced. One cannot choose their family. And what ever baggage comes with the parents, that baggage infects the lives of their children. There is no escaping what is about to unfold for the unsuspecting child.

We only have this one life to live. And the choices we get to make, don’t come until much later into their specific time track.

Our young man, recently shared that one thing he suffers from, Abandonment, by his parents. Divorces fuck up children, no matter what. No child escapes the pain of a divorce. This serious issue has clouded his judgment, and his life, and causes him serious grief.

Abandonment is a familiar issue, that I have heard countless times in my life. It is so serious that it can stunt, and for many, in this case, kill any life ambition or possible positive outcomes for that human being.

What ever happens to us throughout our childhoods, our teen years, then our young adult lives, all that energy, whether it is positive energy or negative energy travels with us into adulthood. And what ever that energy is, will either, infect our lives with pain and strife, or it will enhance our lives, and help us to live our best life.

Our your Millennial is saddled with negative energy that is negatively impacting his life, his life view, his upward mobility, and negatively impacts his daily life. His choices are warped, his wants and desires are skewed and the choices he is making right now, aren’t realistic, and clearly not optimistic.

Everybody has a life track. Everybody has the life we are living at the moment. And what ever baggage we are carrying around with us, either negatively or positively impacts the life we will live as the days go by.

Life Energy can either help us or harm us. Negative or Positive.

Life Energy … The Two Worlds Theory.

Our lives are a collection of family, life experiences, emotions, choices, people, places and things. What we are born into is the constant. Everything else on this list is a variable. Whatever befell us as we grew into our adult life, shapes the men and women we become.

That is either a good thing, or, a bad thing.

Adding another wrinkle to the mix, some skate through their lives, with minimal attraction to, or addiction to substance(s). But whatever factors exist that they are carrying with them, that energy is running at full speed.

Every man and woman who grows up, falls into one of two categories.

  • A – The Non-Addicted/One Life Time Track Crowd, or
  • B- The Addicted/Comes into Recovery/ Do Over/ Time Track Crowd

If you fall into Category A, then you are stuck in the life you are living, with whatever baggage and issues you are carrying, running at full speed. If you don’t hit the addiction speed bump, or fall into a life that your journey is NOT impeded by something critical, medical, addictive, or anything that might pause or stop, your forward momentum, like our Millennium young man, is living at the moment, our young man, has not had a moment where he was stopped, in order to (Re-Orient) his vision, You will suffer whatever ails you for the rest of your life, if Re-Orientation does not take place.

Track A – is the one life you were born into. Complete with all the energy you are carrying with you, either positive or negative, in full-bore, every day one after another.

There are no supposed speed bumps, warning signs, stop signs, or major life issues to warrant a Pause, a Stop, or a Re-Orientation.

In Track A – There is no do over possibility. You are in this One Life Passage.

If you fall into Category B, You were living a life, you fell into addictive behavior, you drank and used, and possibly, had a serious medical issue pop up. Or you experienced an episode that stopped you in your tracks.

If you find yourself in this Category B, and you were blessed to get that STOP sign, Congratulations. You get your Do-Over.

When we come into recovery, we have hit bottom, or we are on our way, to figuring out where our bottom is, or where it was. We are taken out of the normal circulation of life.

We either end up in rehab, or we find our way to the rooms. In either case, we spend some time beginning to (Re-Orient) our lives.

On the Medical front, a serious illness, either makes you stronger, or in many cases, where treatment varies, it will kill you. Sometimes you cannot escape the finality of a serious medical illness. That is just the plain truth. In my case, I survived, and got my Do Over.

The Steps are written in a certain order.

After a little while, we sink into our chairs, and we begin the hard work of digging ourselves out of the pit we had sunk ourselves into. As it will go, if and when we are able, we begin to look at the past: People, Places, Things, Family, Emotions, Family, Life Experiences, Emotions, and Choices we either made or did not make.

The forward momentum of the Category A life, has been stopped.

Now the Category B life begins. And this is where my theory comes to the fore.

If our Millennium young man, does not get his Stop Sign, or his Do Over, he will end up in a place, where he will make certain decisions, however good he thinks they are, with what information we have about him right now, based on his life experiences, won’t be good at all.

We know his decision-making skills are skewed, so the positive future he believes he wants, is still clouded by all the negative UNIMPEDED energy he is carrying around with him.

That Category A train has left the station, it is in full motion, and if he does not Re-Orient, that train will run right off the tracks, if he is not careful.

In the Category B train, The first train left the station. We screwed up our lives with the drink and the drugs, forcing our train to leave the tracks, and park in a station, for some undetermined amount of time, until we are ready to get back on the train with a new heading and direction, and to allow the train to get back into motion.

The difference between Track A and Track B, is, whatever forward momentum and energy we were carrying with us, (like on Track A – Unimpeded) on Track B, that momentum is stopped. The energy flow is interrupted.

In Category B – We get our Do Over. We get our Re-Orientation.

People in recovery get to stop, and review the past. We write it down, we inventory the wreckage of the past, we find out who hurt us, and who we hurt as well. We figure out our character defects and our shortcomings.

We get to make amends, and live a spiritual life, if everything works out that way. Those odds are slim at best, because not everybody makes it.

I know many people stuck in Category A. They are living the life they are living. Some are modestly happy, some are very happy, but many of them are downright miserable.

Most people in Category A, never get the chance to Re-Orient. They don’t get their Do Over. They are stuck in the cookie cutter, this is YOUR life, LIFE.

That train just keeps on chugging away. It never stops, never reaches their destination, because all they see, for some, is the inside of a cubicle, eight hours a day.

They are carrying all the energy from their entire lives, and all that energy either helps or harms that human being.

Like our Million Dollar Millennium young man, we know what all that negative energy is doing to him, by the conversations we have with him.

This is not going to end well. And if we don’t find a way to get him to Re-Orient, He may fuck up his life indefinitely, in horrible ways.

We need to move him from Category A to Category B. And Soon, without the trauma of something serious happening to him to force him into Category B.

The odds of something serious be falling him are very high right now.

The challenge we face now is, what do we Do ? What do we Say ? And How do we help him ?

People in recovery have the benefit of hindsight, of our experiences, of our Do Over capability.

How we impart that knowledge to others is critical.

The World is running in Category A.

A good number of us have been blessed to find ourselves in Category B.

It only took me this long to figure this out.

Finding may help doctors target dormant HIV

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This is big and important news. If this works, it will change the ball game in our favor. Dormant HIV has been a long and unsolved mystery. Now, the mystery begins to unravel.
CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 10:13AM EDT

European researchers say they have identified a key protein that can help them identify immune cells that are harbouring dormant HIV, opening up a new way to target these cells and pave the way for a cure.

Although HIV medications can greatly reduce levels of the virus in patients, there is still no cure. The drugs can’t kill all the retrovirus because HIV has a way of infecting immune cells called T-cells and then going dormant. The virus can remain inside the cell for years or decades, hidden from the drugs designed to kill it.

But if an HIV patient stops taking her antiretroviral drugs, the dormant retrovirus will “awaken” and rapidly begin reproducing.

AIDS researchers have long sought a way to find these T-cells infected with dormant HIV so that they can target them with therapies. But it’s remained a mystery how to identify them.

Now virologists at the University of Montpellier in France think they may have found a way to recognize these “sleeper cells.” They have identified a protein called CD32a that sits on the surface of HIV-infected T-cells.

Their experiments showed that healthy T-cells do not express the protein, and neither do cells carrying active HIV. Only T-cells hiding dormant HIV make the protein.

The team made their finding after placing T-cells in lab dishes and then exposing them to fluorescently tagged HIV. They watched cells become infected and searched for differences in the gene expressions between the infected and non-infected cells. That’s when they noticed the CD32a protein marker.

The researchers then tested their theory by taking blood samples from 12 HIV-infected people who were on antiretrovirus medication. Using an antibody that sticks to CD32a, the researchers were able to extract all the cells expressing the protein. As expected, all the cells were T-cells harbouring dormant HIV.

The research team says their finding paves the way to a better understanding of viral reservoirs. It’s also possible that CD32a could one day become a reliable marker of cells that are infected with dormant HIV, which could help in the creation of drugs to target these latent cells.

The findings are published in the journal Nature. France’s CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) has now filed for a patent for the diagnostic and therapeutic use of the biomarker.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Insitute of Allergies and Infectious Disease in Bethesda, Maryland, told Nature that the next step will be to replicate the findings by screening blood from patients of different ethnicities, ages and stages of the disease.

Fauci said he is excited about the potential of CD23a but remains cautious about the finding given the decades of research that have gone into HIV without the discovery of a cure.

The Web is Not Your Friend

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Back in the day, before the web blew up into the mess that it is today, making an honest purchase was much easier. If you stayed within the boundaries of web based purchase tools/sites, you could, with some certainty, buy an item from someone, who would then send that exact item to you, pain free…Honestly.

I know, from the past, that if I cannot find an item I am looking for on the web, then I can go to my certainty sellers like EBAY or AMAZON, and for the most part come away with whatever it was I was looking for, because sellers from all over the world congregate on these massive selling platforms.

I have strayed from my certainty sellers over the past year, expanding my hunts to web sellers, not connected to trusted selling platforms.

I know how to find clothing and shoes online. I might see something worn by an athlete, or in a photo on a photo sharing website like Tumblr or Pintrest. If you see something “in community” one can usually find it somewhere for sale. But that task takes a little more time and work than a one click or a two click process, going to a large selling platform.

It seems, as of late, that knockoff, counterfeit, and fraudulent practices have become a dime a dozen business. Last fall, I saw a pair of sneakers on Mario Gotze, when he was in Marbella. It took me some time to find those particular sneakers. And after a exhaustive Google search, I came across two websites.

Both websites were slick, pretty, dealt in foreign currency, and had the particular sneaker I wanted, in my size, in stock.

What I thought would be a straight forward honest purchase later became a nightmare. I shelled out over a hundred dollars on the first purchase to a site which was located under a CO.UK Website. Ok, CO.UK … I figured they were in the UK. Every purchase I have made within the Euro and UK zone had been, up to that point, great.

WRONG !!!

I made my purchase and I waited for the shoes to come. Three weeks later, I get a Bag in the mail, not a Box. That was the first sign of trouble. I was on my way out for the evening, so I did not open the bag until I got home later that night. Come to find out that what was sent to me was an entirely different pair of shoes, in the wrong style and in the wrong colorway.

The sender’s address was located in Shanghai China. NOT the UK.

I got screwed once.

I clicked the other website, a “different” website. It was also slick, pretty, dealt in foreign currency, and also had the same particular sneakers I really wanted.This other website also fell under the CO.UK web ID. I placed the order and then waited another three weeks for delivery.

Three weeks came and went. And the BAG not a BOX arrived again. In that bag were the exact same pair of shoes that came in the first package. The same make, the same style and the same color.

I looked at the senders address. It was the SAME address as the first package that came.

SHANGHAI CHINA …

This Shanghai group was operating under several websites, selling counterfeit goods, under the auspices of honest product placement and sales. Posing websites FULL of stock, across all manners of shoe sales.

Now out over $200.00 CAD, I had called my bank, and they directed me to the RCMP, that would be the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, fraudulent item recovery center.

THE RCMP is tasked with finding and identifying fraudulent, and counterfeit operators around the world.

Now we know that Shanghai gangsters are running a multi-platform web based counterfeit operations, utilizing web portals around the world, under many location based websites. Be they CO.UK, AU and NZ locations. CO.UK (The UK), AU (Australia), and NZ (New Zealand).

The bank refunded all the cash I had paid out back to my Virtual Visa Debit account.

The above photo – The Nike Pro Combat Woodland Tights in Dark Emerald – Total Orange has been my latest hunt online. It took a few days of work, but I covered every single seller listed in Googles search parameters.

Nobody in the U.S. or Europe has these particular tights in stock, anywhere, even in the NIKE database, as they tell me they are not available any longer.

Then I began to search worldwide, via Google. And began to come cross a handful of websites with the CO.UK, AU, and NZ, suffixes. All these sites I bookmarked in a list.

All of these sites tell me that they have, in stock, what I am looking to purchase.

How long these sites have been up, and running, is the question? It usually goes, that if you cannot find something in one region, there might be a chance that other regions in the world, might still have particular stock in house.

In the past, those odds had been high.

After several attempts to make a purchase, from several of these Pacific Rim locations, I get to the payment page, and my Virtual Visa Card is denied. On every single website.

Attached to each of these sites when you open an account to make a purchase, they give you a contact email. I emailed every site that I attempted to make a purchase from. I got ONE reply. That one website generated a payment confirmation email back to me.

Even though on the site my card was denied.

Neither of the other websites generated either a decline or a payment attempt receipt.

I emailed the site who responded with an email. I got a response back from someone on the other end. I had composed a specific email, with specific information in that email.

I gave my name, what I wanted to purchase, the Form of Payment I was using, and from where I was making my purchase, that would have been Canada.

I knew when I opened the email that came, that the human who wrote it, paid no attention to the details I had provided them. Because none of my identifying information was used to address my inquiry, back to me.

  • Like, Hello Jeremiah
  • I see you wanted a pair of Nike Woodland Tights Dark Emerald Total Orange
  • And you are shopping from Canada
  • Using a Visa Card

And most probably, English was not their first language, if they spoke English at all.

What floored me was what they then asked of me…

I was told that if I made a BANK TRANSFER to them, that they would sell me the item of clothing I wanted at a deep discount, than the price listed.

Their site was slick, had lots of supposed stock, but their site denied my purchase with a Visa card. Now they wanted, instead, a BANK TRANSFER.

RED FLAG for sure.

I called my bank and made an inquiry about why my card would not be accepted around the world, A Visa Card whether a credit card, and/or more secure, a Virtual Visa Debit Card, is accepted at any seller, who takes Visa or Master Card, world wide.

I then told the agent at my bank about the seller wanting a BANK TRANSFER, and she told me that that was something that she had not seen before.

I did NOT forward a bank transfer. I did email them back, to further inquire why their site listed credit cards as payment options, but would decline a proper credit card, opting for a closed sale, off site, via a bank transfer.

The possible Return on Investment is very slim.

Three days now, and I have not received a response from said website.

I am of the suspicion, that if a website is too good to be true, it probably is.

I emailed each and every website I bookmarked directly, through inter email contact forms with my purchase inquiries. None of them have responded.

I am discouraged in shopping the world wide web via Google, because of these experiences with counterfeit and fraudulent operators, located in China.

I don’t know who is sitting behind these websites I had bookmark and made inquiries to and since they did not accept my Visa Card, there is no money tied up in possible fraudulent online crooks.

Through my searches via Google, I returned to the honest selling platforms like Ebay and Amazon. Amazon is a pain in the ass, because I am located in Canada, and I have two Amazon Accounts. One in Canada and One in the United States.

Amazons don’t share stock together. And you cannot shop in the U.S. for the most part, because the U.S. platform will not ship to Canadian locations. And You cannot shop in Canada and get shipped across the border South.

Amazon U.S. had the one pair of tights I wanted, but they would not ship to Canada.

So I am shit out of luck.

EDIT: Friends are good to have especially if they live in the U.S. and will receive a package from Amazon U.S. I actually just bought the very last pair on Amazon U.S. and they are on their way to a friends place in Mass. And he will forward them to me.

Ebay has been less than stellar with product in recent months. I figure I am out of season, or have come to the point where stock has been depleted, as NIKE direct and UK Direct Sports websites have told me via email.

Stock has been depleted and nobody can say if this line will be repeated in the future.

I missed the boat on this item, as it had been in circulation for some time and now there is no stock, supposedly anywhere.

But if Google is to be believed when they generate positive results from a Google Search, then there are a handful of stocked shops online.

The odds that they are honest sale points are slim after the story I have just shared with you.

Face Book ADS

If you look in your Face Book feed, you might have realized that they are targeting ads to us. They are not vetting them, clearly.

Back in November, an ad came across my feed. An ad for a seller of Odd, One Off, Exclusive Harry Potter lines of creation. They were selling a One Off Exclusive Harry Potter Jacket, in several colors, with the tag line from the books … From the Specific Marauder’s Map …

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good…

Stenciled on the back of the jacket.

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Now, If you know me in real life, You Would Know that I love me some Harry Potter.

On November 30th, 2016, I ordered a jacket. I did not read the order and shipping information to begin with, because I imagined that an exclusive one off short sale, before the holidays, would have arrived “During the holidays.”

WRONG !!!

I placed the order and got a confirmation email of said order on November 30th, 2016.

Over the next few weeks, I would email said company, (Mugs and Beyond) inquiring about where my package was. Not one word came back to me.

On January 11th, 2017, I got a shipping email from Mugs and Beyond. Saying that my jacket had been shipped. I knew now that shipping would take 4 to 6 weeks from date of shipment. That shipment I realized, when they sent me the shipping confirmation, was an Asian Shipping Company.

One day after another, I checked the shipping site. The shipping number they provided me could not be located in their database. And never was located, which told me that no shipment was on its way to me.

Which was a sign that, this sale was not on the up and up.

On March the 12th, 2017, shipping fell into the 9th week out from shipping date.

No Joy, No Jacket, and I am out over another $100.00 CAD.

In total, I have been burned out of over $300.00 CAD now.

I called the bank, and reported the sale and the lack of delivery, only to be told that what I was waiting for was counterfeit goods. The seller was reported to the authorities, and a refund was initiated back to my Virtual Visa, again …

What is the moral of this story, boys and girls ???

The Web is Not Your Friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday: Snow … Warnings Ignored

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It is Thursday night. There is snow all over the place. It is piled upwards of ten feet on some streets. Cars are buried where they stood, when the plows went through earlier today.

Tonight, snow plows are working full-bore to clear streets after an EPIC snowstorm Tuesday night.

Because God Forbid, the St. Patty’s Day Parade on Sunday, gets cancelled because of snow piled ten feet high on the roadsides.

Preface … Over the weekend prior, Environment Canada and our own weather personalities were warning that BIG SNOW was coming, but that far out, they could not tell us how bad it would be. Updates were coming frequently through Tuesday night.

In the end, more than 40 cm of snow fell in blizzard conditions for more than eight hours. Overall, it snowed for more than 20 hours.

Snow began to fall around noon on Tuesday and as the night wore on, conditions got worse. Now I remind you, dear reader, that we were warned. At the midnight hour, Tuesday night, our local news radio station was live, ON AIR, calling the shots, over night.

When blizzard snow falls on a highway, all bets are off, for whomever is ON those highways, when conditions deteriorate quickly. Hundreds of cars, trucks, taxis, you name it, got stuck on highways that were NOT being plowed at all.

Absofuckinglutely cars buried in the snow. Stuck, as in Not Going Anywhere !!!

The Provincial Government in Quebec City is in charge of clearing highways. And the City government is in charge of local roads. They don’t share responsibilities.

Around midnight, the radio man was taking calls from people, live, On Air, who were stuck in their cars, as the snow piled up around them. Help did not come fast enough.

The radio people were trying to find solutions to getting people off the streets from people who had been on the streets but got home, hours later. Solutions were not coming, because help was not coming either.

People stuck in their cars stayed in those cars ALL NIGHT LONG, until daybreak on Wednesday morning. No Food, No Water, running out of gas, and some perished in their cars. Some left their cars, and tried to get out on foot, because, either they were out of gas, or they were freezing to death.

The radio men were asking residents, out and about, if anyone knew where the trucks and plows were, as it went, people were calling with only one response to that question…

The Trucks and Plows were sitting in Tim Horton’s Parking Lots, idle, while their drivers were drinking coffee as the city went to hell and people were stuck on roads they should have already been plowing, but weren’t.

Two Montrealers’ DIED in their car, snowbound on the highway. People were sitting in their cars for more than ten hours at some points along the timeline. Those two people were stuck as their car was snowed over, with the car running, trying to keep warm, carbon monoxide poisoning, coming from the car exhaust, stuck in snow killed them.

I listened to the radio all night long. And it wasn’t until around 4:30 a.m. that someone actually called the S.Q. (Provincial Police) and the S.Q. called the fire department to go save people on the highways.

The two branches of government dropped the ball, because neither could do anything properly to get people in from the cold.

ON TOP OF THAT … Adding Insult to Injury …

All the cars who got towed off the highways were slapped with a towing ticket of over $200.00 EACH. That did not go over very well. The Provincial Government coughed up the cash to pay every single ticket handed out to people who got stuck.

Let me tell you that people are pissed. And as of tonight, heads are rolling across the board because of the ineptitude of our local and provincial leaders.

All the warnings that came, were not heeded. People got in their cars, thinking that they would get from point A to point B.

Obviously, NOT …

This little blizzard of a snow storm caught everyone off guard.

The plows and trucks did not get out in time, and people are dead because of them.

There is blood on the hands of snow clearing folks tonight.

 

Monday – Shouts and Whispers

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My head SHOUTS, but my heart Whispers, So I stay out of my head …

This passage is written at the bottom of the story we read tonight; Me an Alcoholic ?

There are only certain people, whom, I know, were messengers from God.

Memere was the first. Todd was the second. Elder Christensen is the third.

I believe that when I pray to God, I don’t usually expect a direct answer, not in the past. And I know that if I pray, and that answer does not come, then I need to go sit with my friends, because answers usually come from someone close, between people.

I had a conversation with Elder Christensen the other day. On Friday I sat with my friends, who gave me sound advice, that I can trust. Over the weekend, I sat, for a long time, and I prayed, then I listened.

The conversation I was having with God, came in the form of a conversation that I was having with Elder Christensen, because his word is true, his faith and conviction are second to none. He is spiritually connected.

And he is connected to me.

Talking to him in real time the other night, was something I really needed, if only to hear him talk to me.

When I doubt myself, which is most of the time, I did not necessarily turn to prayer to confirm what it was I was hearing in response. In a moment of inspiration, I imagined the voice of the Elder in my minds eye.

All of a sudden, the words became true. I knew they were true. In that moment.

God is with me. And everything is going to be alright.

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Everything is alright in the end, if it is not alright,  it is not the end …

Big Snow is on the way. It is going to be miserable for the next few days.

Over the weekend, a Winter Hurricane Storm rolled over New Foundland. Many homes were destroyed. Mama’s roof has considerable damage and needs to be repaired. Her parent’s home roof was also destroyed in the storm, along with hundreds of other homes  across the island.

Street lights are down. Buildings have been trashed. Cars and trucks have been either damaged or destroyed due to falling trees or building material, or just that they were blow off their bottoms.

The “cities” don’t have surplus supplies of things that were destroyed in the storm, but they have some, until they run out of stock. Then they will have to ship supplies, food, building materials and the like from off island.

Say a little prayer for our people out on The Rock.

 

Saturday: Walking in my Shoes

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I spent the night wondering, thinking, praying … All those things we are supposed to do all the time, but for the most part, are not done all the time, and not until it is vitally necessary, to do them all the time.

I had a conversation in my head with Spencer, thinking about what he might say to me after writing what I did last night, seeing most of that post’s information came from him directly.

I spent the day with a lady friend, and I unloaded on her until I was spent.

The word that came to me, last night, we call it a “prompt” was this …

This is my journey and my experience. And there might not be anyone to give clear directions, as to where I should go or what I should do, since the sober factor among our peers is dreadfully poor.

I know what people around me are doing because it is plain, by their actions, that they have made their moves, as in, away from me.

Really, over the past few months, there really has not been a concerted effort by anyone long sober, speaking to this effect.

But like I heard last night, I need to stick to familiar meetings, with familiar people, and walk through the dark, the best way I know how, with my head held high and doing the right thing, as in, talking when talking is needed, listening when listening is needed, and being the man I am, and on the whole, keeping my mouth shut when it comes to other people in tight places.

Coming from the life I have come from, I know what it feels and looks like when people fuck off on you.

That rubs me like spiritual sandpaper.

There aren’t a whole lot of people, “in the game.” Because it seems like, most of my friends are just doing their own thing, showing up at certain meetings, and trying to figure out, on the fly, what we need to be doing, by ourselves, together.

We just have not connected outside the rooms, specifically.

Things of note:

  • Not everyone is going to like me
  • Not everyone is going to agree with me
  • Not everyone is at the same point in sobriety, so reactions will differ
  • How people react, is solely based on their abilities to cope with stimuli
  • I am Powerless over people, places and things
  • Yes, I may spend hours bitching and moaning, but life is a process
  • Experience, Reaction, Bitching, Moaning, Discussion, Resolution

The take away … I don’t fuck off on my friends. Period ! I don’t take kindly to be treated as less than, or invisible, or that people don’t respect my humanity. I don’t like what I am seeing and/or hearing from people I have known for years and years. it is like all the words I have spoken in all that time, went in one ear and out the other, and nothing I tried to do with my community made a hill of beans difference in the way my peers treat each other and myself.

I think I knew all of this information all along. But with all the noise coming in, listening to God or my intuition, went by the wayside.

I need to talk to Spencer soon. He will know what needs to be said right now.

 

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So that is a thing …

 

Friday: Honestly !!!

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Do we ever reach a point in our lives that we can trust that, we’ve done our best to be good, to be kind, to be giving and to be Honest, to be able to speak words that are honest as well?

I am told, by a long time friend tonight that “An alcoholic’s mind is a place we should never go alone.” Another friend also said that, it is not so important what people think about me, the important thing I need to remember is my relationship with God.

The Emotional Roller Coaster is running at full speed. And I am not enjoying the ride. For the whole of my sobriety, I’ve watched my friends and my fellows. I’ve listened to them and saw what kind of choices they have made over this long run.

Everything I learned to do, or decide to do, was always based on what others have either done or not done.

I know when I hit my forties, I found that I knew things, for sure. I had enough time and hindsight behind me to be able to, matter of factly, say with some clarity, what I really thought about whatever I was seeing.

Over the past 10 months, I’ve felt a myriad of emotions. Unlike anything I have felt in some time. I’ve talked about this before, so we are coming full circle again.

The other night I had a conversation with Elder Christensen. The young Mormon missionary I became friends with during my investigations. He is still in my life, because that was the choice he made when he went home.

My investigation came to an end, when I would not leave my marriage and OBEY the “one man, one woman, biblical concept of marriage.” All those young people who made all kinds of promises and encouraged me to continue, all fell off a cliff, so to speak.

Now I know why …

Elder Christensen, when faced with the reality that I was not going to leave my marriage, sat in on a discussion about my fate with the Missionary team. The team, as a whole, did not see me as acceptable. They did not see me as fully human, with rights to be able to decide who I was and what choices I would make.

They just stopped seeing me.

Elder Christensen told me that during that discussion, he was at odds with his team and the Mission President. He was headed home, so his view of me would not be considered because he was going home, being the odd man out.

The young elder could not understand why the others did not feel about me, the way he felt about me ? He told me that, the others failed to understand and respect my humanity and dignity. That they had problems with emotional connections.

The Sunday I was shopping and ran into the Sisters at the grocery store, they told me that I belonged and that there was always a place for me, so I sent them back to the group with one request. It is obvious to me now, that nobody cares, what I need.

If I wasn’t prepared to make an ultimate sacrifice to “become One with the Church” there was really no place for me, in that church.

The good that came out of that investigation was that Elder Christensen, is still my friend. He takes time out of his schedule to write and to spend time talking to me on Hang Out. He knows my humanity. He identified with it, and respects it.

That is a thing…

I heard tonight, that sometimes in sobriety, things can get dark. And people may not agree with me. And people may walk out of my life. The things I need to remember are  …

I have friends. I have a home group. And I have people to talk to.

Another friend reminded me of one simple axiom …

I am powerless over people, places and things.

For a while, I hoped that someone would point me in some certain direction, and tell me what I really need to know, because right now, I don’t really know what is going on.

So I wonder … Can we be honest ? And at what point in sobriety, do we get to speak up and call bullshit when we see bullshit ? I’ve spent so much time sitting on my hands, keeping my mouth shut, because people around me are so afraid of being honest, to certain degrees, that they would never say anything against the status quo …

It has just been months and months of emotion. I am just finished with people, places and things. For a very long time, after spending time with certain groups of sober people, listening to them and seeing how they treat me in open community, I just want nothing to do with them.

I imagined that when things began to change for me, with my emotions running at high speed, that someone would come along and have something to offer to help me.

No, instead, they told me to go away. That I was TOO emotional and angry and that I was scaring people away from their meetings. In essence, I needed to leave certain meetings.

So I left those meetings and all those people. Not in all these months, has anyone from the meetings I do go to, said anything to the effect that … This is what I needed to know, at this very moment.

I believe I’ve seen enough to be able to make my mind up, one way or the other. I know who I want in my life. And who I don’t.

There is a short list of people who see me and care about me, and who love me for who I am. I don’t have to hide or put on an act.

I’m just not using the phone like I should. On the way home, my friend told me that I can count on him, any time I needed him.

After the meeting, several people came up to me and said that I just needed to stick close to my home group and the people in it. Because some of my friends who go to the Friday night meeting, have known me since I came in, So They Know …

I’m just dumbfounded to realize and see how people treat each other. How people have treated my friends, and how they treat me.

I am also dumbfounded at just how insignificant I am to certain people. And that now approaching my fifties, Some people still find my presence, unacceptable.

And that for some, I will never be equal.

There must be a lesson in all these things I am seeing and experiencing. There’s got to be some cosmic God kind of truth to all of this ..

God has not revealed that to me yet …

Maybe I am supposed to walk through this and see and feel what I am seeing and feeling. To be able to identify and be able to communicate these things to my fellows, for their benefit, but not necessarily my own, just yet.

I thought people with serious time in the program would be better at advice and counsel, it is now obvious to me that, People may have the time, they are just not sober…

Not sober in the way I really need them to be sober.

There aren’t a lot of double digit sober people, who will not make the time, nor the investment to point people near them, in any certain direction.

People, in many places, do not care to invest in others, beyond sitting in a meeting with you for that designated hour.

So Fuck Me …