Nothing pisses me off more, than a room of few people, an hour fifteen for a meeting, 45 minutes to share, and a chair with the penchant for egg timing people from the chair.
I go to meetings to listen to my friends. And I go to meetings to hear God speak to me. And if the share gets to me, you bet your ass, I am going to take all the time I want.
We have two Hasidim men who come to our meetings out of their communities. We had a woman who had just days, and she was in pieces trying to get her words out. There were old timers who just sat there and tutted me every time I said to the chair to put his goddamned egg timer down and let people finish.
It wasn’t like we were pushed right up against the hour. No we had 45 minutes, and everyone should have gotten the time they needed to speak.
And Be Damned your Egg Timer … Damn it to Hell.
I made it a point, when our Jewish friends came, to make them feel comfortable and welcomed and supported and all. They usually come in late and have to catch up, which means, if time allows, you Let Them Talk, for Christ’s sake !
I never egg time anyone. And I’ve never egg timed anyone in a meeting that I chair. Not in all the years I have chaired any meeting in this city. There are very few occasions that I’d stop someone from going on and on and on. We all know, in the rooms, who they are.
The last time I had to kettle someone was after the election and a man started ranting and raving about politics and Donald Trump, at a Friday Meeting. We don’t do politics in the meeting. That’s in the Preamble.
The share got to me, and I had things to say, and I picked up my phone and said to the chair that, “I had 30 minutes to speak, and I was going to take every minute I wanted.”
My former sponsor and her boyfriend were sitting in the circle TUTTING me.
That meeting is the hall at St. Leon’s where I got sober. The room where I saw God. The room that has been a weekly fixture in my sobriety for more than 15 years.
And you’re gonna egg time me ??? You Fucker …
**** **** ****
This morning I went to sit for my first design appointment for my birthday tattoo. My guy did not show. This is the image of the tattoo as my consultation began. The boy on the stairs, walking towards time, over the ocean.
It is a black and white image. No color to speak of.
The discussion went along, and we eliminated the clock works from the image. The clock is now a spiral configuration. The stair case is also Spiral, with the boy climbing a Spiral set of stairs, and in my mind’s eye, his shirt is red.
We are going to go along a blue theme. Having One Color, and many hues, is much cheaper than going full-bore, with many colors on the same tattoo.
The reason being is that your paying by the hour. Each color is, in and of itself, one set of color. And every time you have to change colors, you have go to through a cleaning process, eating your time and your money.
The outline is black. The ocean is blue, and whatever else needs to be colored will be a hue of blue, except my required red shirt on the boy.
The Clock denotes … TIME.
The Past, The Present and The Future.
The Stair Case … Is self-explanatory if you are in recovery.
We all know what Stairs or Steps mean.
The Ocean … Is life in all its turbulence.
The Boy’s shirt is … RED. A nod to my journey with AIDS.
One single shot of color. And the boy is going UP the stairs.
Not looking back or coming down. He is moving forwards.
The Clock is ticking, The steps are in front of you, and the water is gurgling below.
The Journey Home …
There is also a Kryon Parable about Michael and the Angels. A story I’ve read over and over again. Michael has suffered a terrible tragedy, the loss of his parents, he is living a dead-end life, and there is no one special in that life either. He gets mugged and almost killed. While in the ER he has a vision of an angel, who he tells, “That all he wants is to go home!”
The angel facilitates his way out of the hospital after a benefactor pays his bill and tells him to pack his things and prepare for the Journey Home.
In the story there are seven angels who teach Michael about life, in seven very colorful houses along the way. The last house is the House to go HOME.
Michael’s final walk, is up a staircase, to a door marked HOME.
Then he threw up …
If you’ve never read the story, you won’t get the last sentence.
People who know me, know I am a gentle man. And I never raise my voice or get angry. But the last few months has changed all that. I am more apt to speak my mind a bit more openly, even if it pisses my friends off and imbalances the power in the room.
I may not be in the chair, but if you displease me, you will know it for sure.
I’ve never walked out of a meeting before, ever.
Tonight I did … Wanting a drink !
I read today that at 8:17 in MANY Canadian cities, fireworks will welcome the beginning of Canada’s 150th year. Here in Montreal, 5 to 10 cm of snow is supposed to fall this afternoon into the evening. So I don’t think we are going out.
The non-alcoholic bubbly is chilling in the fridge. And the flutes are ready to go.
We actually bought two really pretty crystal flutes when we got married in 2004, for the wedding. Along with a special candle. All three are only used today on New Year’s Eve. Then they go back in the box for another year.
Happy New Year, my reading monkeys.
May 2017 be a much better year than the last.
I’ve been allergic to nuts the whole of my life.
This afternoon, I went to buy a cake for MY cake this evening. I was not really paying attention to the cake that I was buying beyond, it looked chocolate. So I bought it.
The meeting went on, all about a Boomerang …
The discussion went all over the map.
In the end, I reflected back to our folks, that a year ago, to the date, exactly, North End English was in open rebellion between the addicts and the alcoholics. The latter wanted the former to be tossed out on the street, because they were not primarily alcoholic, but addicts come to A.A. because they feel comfortable in A.A. meetings.
This is common. Folks who are other (A’s) sometimes start their journey’s in our rooms, and they either root and stay, or they branch off to their respective fellowships. Our Friday meeting has a very healthy addict population. When we split the meeting for discussion, as always happens, the addicts go to the back room, leaving predominantly the alcoholics at the main, front, table.
A year ago, the battle for who had ultimate authority was playing itself out. One of my best friends, the man who gave me my chip tonight, was the top dog in this fight.
One night, things got physical between He and I. It was the first time, I had ever been assaulted in a meeting. That night, I walked out of the meeting and did not return for months.
My best friend and I were, to coin a story line …
In the Deathly Hallows, when, Ron gets all up in Harry’s business, and starts ranting and raving about “We thought you knew what you were doing, that you had a plan!” That argument escalated where Hermione had to put a shield charm up and something had shifted between Harry and Ron.
“… Harry felt a corrosive hatred towards Ron: something had broken between them.”
“Leave the Horcrux, Harry said …”
That night when my friend attacked me, it was corrosive angry hatred.
My sponsor, then, told me to leave the meeting and not go back and to keep my mouth shut. For months on end, the two of us ended up at the same meetings, and not a word spoken between us.
Do you know how hard it is to see a friend in a meeting and know that human being hates you? It can drive you to DRINK ! That went on for months and months. And I was not allowed to say anything, to allow God to do what He was going to do.
When I took my chip a year ago, I spoke about the strife between someone who was a best friend, who turned into someone who hated me.
A week later, I had gone to my regular Tuesday meeting, and he was there, waiting for me to arrive. That night, we had a spiritual experience. I had kept my end of the bargain up, and did as I was told, and let God do what God was going to do.
In the end, God did what He needed to do.
We pledged never to ever argue again. And from that day forwards, we’ve been the best of friends.
It was my then sponsor, my friend and I, who on a particular road trip to Vermont, a couple of years ago, had the opportunity to visit Bill W’s home, and Bill and Lois’s graves, which are located not very far from where Bill was born, in East Dorset.
That day I had placed my chip on Bill’s grave, as is tradition, when you visit Bill’s grave, you leave a chip, for someone who might come later, might need that particular chip.
We have since come full circle in a years time. And I had asked my friend to give me my chip because in the past, certain people, my friends, were instrumental in helping me stay sober and sane.
When an Alcoholic thinks he has all the answers, and that he or she is in control or thinks, that they might be in a position of power, that is when, and most don’t, realize that we are getting into choppy waters, and maybe we need to step back and look at our motives.
North End English had that terrible experience of some alcoholics who thought they knew best and knew better than God did. We lost an entire group of people in that battle, who never came back.
The meeting survived, but the format was tweaked and the statement in the preamble reflects that …
North End English maintains the Primary Purpose, and the Third Tradition, as it is stated in our literature, You are an A.A. member if you say so …
That paragraph goes on to say, that you are a member if you say so, nobody can keep you out. The meeting went with the abbreviated statement of inclusion.
After the meeting, I went to cut the cake. Not noticing the peanut butter cups, until I further examined the cake, after I had eaten some of the frosting off the knife I was cutting the cake with …
When anaphylaxis began to set in…
My throat started to constrict, I was loosing my voice and my tongue began to swell.
There was No Epi Pen anywhere, had this gotten worse. I could have died right there.
Do Not Eat the food, if there are nuts anywhere near you.
I won’t make that mistake again…
A comment that came in just now, I will explain in detail …
I’m curious about your change in church allegiances; first it was banners all about the pope, pope, pope, pope! Now it’s LDS. You know that neither of these institutions will ever accept you as a gay man, right? LDS has even given you the ultimatum.
My observation about you is that you seek a system of rules that will keep you sober and safe; The Catholic Church was first, now it’s the LDS church. Both absolutely and completely anti-gay. Although, let’s face it: the Mormons are ever so much more polite about it.
It’s our relationship with our Higher Power, independent of any institution, AA included, that is at the heart of our sobriety.
That’s why the lady stomped out when you asked her to delay her trip: she didn’t have that internal strength in place and was relying on external institutions to manage her sobriety for her. She knew it in that moment, and was pissed off.
What are you looking for outside that you don’t already have inside? Work on *that* rather than wanting people to like you. It feels to me as if there is an ancestor (Father? Mother? Aunt? Uncle?) who you are trying to please. Ignore them and please Jeremiah. For once figure Jeremiah into the equation. Be self-centered in a good way, because that is where your center IS.
The stewardess tells you to put your oxygen mask on first: if you’re not conscious, you can’t help anyone else. Jesus tells us to take the beam out of our own eye before even thinking about trying to help our neighbor. We can only give when our own cup overflows.
Just like the lady who couldn’t tell her adult children she couldn’t come to England, I know that you have a lot of rules about why you can’t put yourself first. Examine them. AA is supposed to be all about self-examination first, and helping others SECOND, AFTER you get truly sober. And I’m not talking about white-knuckled strict adherence to the rules as a substitute for true inner serenity and sobriety here.
Alcohol is not cunning, baffling and powerful — I don’t care what the big book says: the ginormous hole in your soul that needs constant feeding IS. Fix that. See it. Acknowledge it. Fill it with good things. I wish you the utmost best.
So, I’ve spent fifteen years adhering to the rules and suggestions of those I most trusted. And they have served me well, because I did not CRACK UP and I am sober still. And I think I am a little more sober this year, than I was last year.
At this time last year, there was open rebellion in the Best Night of the Week Meeting, and the alcoholics and the addicts were in open combat, and I chose a side and stuck with it. That almost ruined certain key relationships in my life, and when I took my chip last year, it was very apparent that I was terribly upset with one of my best friends in the world.
For the last two and some odd years, I had been serving a second fellowship almost entirely, and at the end of my run, my cup was empty and I left them to seek my own renewal. That has only been a few months in the works today.
I also left another meeting that was totally unhealthy for me, because of the toxic people in that meeting, so that cut me back to just two meetings a week, where I am homed today, the Thursday meeting and the Friday meeting where I open and set up as well.
I had come to the realization that I was not taking care of me, opting that if I served others dutifully, that I would stay sober. This was not a really good tack, because I know now that I really want to take care of me. And I wasn’t…
Which leads to the LDS.
On that fateful day a few months ago, the elders appeared and opened dialogue. If you have read back some ways, I explain how we get around GAY in the LDS. The marriage issue is just a paper formality that is the stumbling block NOT my homosexuality. I am on the back side of Gay today. Been there, done that.
There is a reason and a method behind my pursuits. I’ve explained in detail in several posts listed below.
I talked to Heavenly Father prior to the Elders coming to me and set my 50th birthday as the cut off day to sever ties with everything that was not serving me. HE, in his infinite wisdom, set that plan into action much earlier than I had expected it to begin.
Hence where I am right now.
After seeing my friend crack up last night, I realized just how hard I worked to stay sober, by following the rules like Gospel, because had I done things that I saw my friends do, or had I taken a tack that some of my friends did, I would not be of such sound body and mind as I am today.
You might have the time, but you may not be very sober …
I’m really not in a bad place. I am happy, all things considered. I have everything that I need, and I seek contact with Heavenly Father on a daily basis. And for the most part I find Him when I seek Him. I know that for sure.
In reaching this anniversary, I was prepared to do what I needed to do for me, spirituality was one segment, and self care was the other. I am just trying to work out what I need to do, where I need to go, and whom to seek for advice. Because I am nothing without those I trust. And there are just a chosen few that I do trust today.
Over the last year, it has been made plainly aware that there are just some people I should stay away from, even though they are WELL double digit sober.
They might have the years, but they are certainly not sober, and I really do not want what they are peddling. So I’ve moved on from those folks over the last year.
Approval … As alcoholics and addicts, we are always seeking approval, one way or another, and I admit I am guilty of that myself. I want to be seen as a human being worthy of love, and human decency from people who will never give that to me, and that has been a thorn in my side for the whole of my life, and I am turning the page on that, and I’ve been working on that for some time.
That is going to take some more work, to be honest.
Self centered and Selfish for me … I’ve never been keen on doing things for me, however I do do thing for me on a daily basis. Meanwhile in the meetings, the plan of action is always to serve everyone else, to the exclusion of ourselves, because in serving others, we get to stay sober. Working with others also suggests that that work will guarantee sobriety.
But I know from experience, that throwing myself into serving others on a one to one basis is all time consuming and taxing on my spirit and I am glad that I have just my two guys that I work with today.
I am trying to find the balance, and I am seeking balance in places that most of you tell me are unwelcoming and judgmental. That may be the case, but I have found the work arounds, to a certain degree. And I enjoy the LDS community and the people in my ward. They are loving and kind people who only want the best in each of us who are part of that contingent of men and women. Elders and Sisters included.
I know what I need to do, these realizations have been coming for some time. And I have listened to my spirit more, and stepped up my prayer and spiritual life, and I am seeking spirit in the LDS church, because when they came to me they offered a way of life that was truly engaging and open to possibilities. And I was ready to hear their message and become part of something I had not found in the Catholic, Anglican and other faiths that I had studied and been part of for the last decade and a few years here in Montreal.
I know where I come from, and I may not know where I am going, but this journey is still ongoing, and I am seeking the way, the best way I know how and I am trusting Heavenly Father, that He knows the way and in time will show me, one day at a time.
Heavenly Father has a plan, I just need to Trust, have Faith and Believe.
Over the last few months after working this round of steps, and seeking a New Experience with the women who were in my study pod, I did have a new experience, and at the end of those studies, I learned just what I was seeing for the first time, and found out just who certain people were, on their insides, and I chose to walk away from that toxicity.
When people show you who they are the first time, believe them …
I’ve encountered old timers with LOTS of time, who turned out to be charlatans and fakes. And that truly turned my stomach and sent me into a tail spin earlier this summer after the shooting in Orlando. That was a totally catastrophic emotional bottom that I had never experienced before. And it took me months to work myself out of it.
I don’t suggest anyone go through that kind of emotional bottom if possible, but you know, shit happens.
Sobriety has been a challenge, and for the last year, I pounded service till it bled me dry and my cup was empty at the end of the summer and I have been endeavoring to refill that cup with good meetings, good people, and a smattering of service because I still feel that a little service goes a long way to keeping my head on straight.
It keeps me rooted in the basics of sobriety and keeps me mindful of where it all started, and why I still go to meetings, and why I want to stay sober.
Because I don’t want to CRACK UP like some of my friends are CRACKING UP.
At least that suggestion is still in active motion. I can’t NOT do service.
It’s like tossing a loonie in the basket …
My chip and its giver are stuck in San Diego at this hour, so we postponed my anniversary for one week, until next Friday.
More to come later tonight.
Thanks for your comment Bill, it was very much appreciated.
In five days time, One of my best friends, will give me my fifteen year chip. And many of my best friends will also be in attendance. People have been calling to confirm they will be there. They did not have to do that, but my friends are special people.
I’ve been in my head all weekend, thinking about everything that has happened over the past seven months in my sobriety. A long time ago, a sponsor of mine gave me some sound advice …
People might have time (read: Years) but they are not necessarily sober …
Sadly, he fell victim to his own wisdom. We are still friends to this day.
It has come to pass, that men and women who have been sponsors have failed in many respects. They all have had YEARS, but in the end they lacked empathy, kindness, understanding and compassion.
People do not listen to you and invest in your life, BUT then when it is expedient for them, they toss your hardest hurts in your face and stab you in the heart with them.
That is reprehensible.
Over the last fifteen years, I have done, everything that I had been told to do, when I first got sober fifteen years ago.
- Get a Home Group – check …
- Make Coffee – check …
- Set up chairs and tables – check …
- Never miss your home group unless you are sick or dead – check …
- Never put anything before your sobriety, or it will fail – check …
Fifteen years ago, they told me these things. And I accepted them as gospel. And I built for myself a framework of meetings and service. And I stuck to that schedule for all these years later. The SAME schedule. For fifteen years …
For the last three years, I was involved in two fellowships, which led me to doing six meetings a week. I had keys to multiple churches and buildings and I served my friends and fellows, because for a long time it was only me and a couple of others to do all the work.
In September I backed away from that other fellowship, because my friends failed to learn simple lessons I tried to teach them. KINDNESS…
I had hoped that in serving others, I would impart a simple lesson of
“giving back and reciprocation.”
For all these years, I have asked simple things of my friends and people I attempt to invest in. Like phone calls to their friends, and if I invest in someone, I ask the same in return, that they invest in me.
I know, in past decades, how heavy a house phone was. And lifting that 200 pound phone was always problematic. But today, we have cell phones and smart phones that weigh next to nothing, and to this day, it still exists, that people CANNOT BE BOTHERED to use them.
I mean why do you have a cell phone ???
- Snap chat
- Instagram !!!
I am truly saddened and disappointed in so many people, that those thoughts have consumed my brain for the last few days. Old timers that were shit heads and assholes, and young people who cannot be bothered to step up and be accountable.
As long I was there, it was assumed that I would always be there, so they did not have to show up or do anything in return, because I was doing ALL the WORK.
I have also learned that I cannot hold my friend and fellows to any standards.
They cannot rise to any challenge I have given them. Sadly, that was our failure to communicate.
We cannot and should not expect anything from the alcoholic or addict. Because they are selfish, self centered and ignorant of anyone else but themselves.
Like we do not get that, after all these years ? Like We cannot see that and we know ?
Many times over the past year, I have had addicts and alcoholics tell me to go fuck myself when I have asked them to do simple things, like think of others, think of me and to do simple things, like show up, be accountable, and call …
Those simple things are so heavy that they cannot lift them.
Because time and time again, they fail at the simplest things.
When working with others came into my life I attacked it with vigor. And I did the best I could do, with what I had. And for a while that worked. And people had a specific visual of who I was based on what they saw and heard.
That all changed on one specific day when I got angry at the group for failing to do what was asked of them. And in that moment their delusions were smashed and all those young men I worked with, all walked away, because one day, I got angry.
People in the fellowship fail to learn the lessons of Giving Back. The lesson that is in the simple Things, given freely, without expectation, is they key to fellowship and community.
I don’t know what I could have done differently to affect change in any way better.
One of my friends, said last week that when someone tells him something or asks him to do something it is his right to question they WHY and in most cases he ignores that piece of advice, because most young people are only concerned with what is in it for them and what they can get out of any interaction.
It is all about THEM.
I’m tired of giving and giving and giving and not one person coming back and reciprocating or saying thank you or stepping up and being accountable.
Another Christmas is going to come, and the Christmas morning that I feel I deserve at age 49 will never come. I have been waiting for this particular Christmas Day to come for more than 30 years. And I will not get it this year …
Or any other year, and this I will take to my grave…
I testify that the Big Book is true. And what it says is true as well.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, andwhat we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps.At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But wecould not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Everybody, it seems, wants the easier softer way, because they cannot do for others or be kind to others, or to reciprocate.
This is NOT our failure, it is theirs …
This is what I have learned at year fifteen.