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Posts tagged “Feelings

Sunday Sundries: I Want A Drink …

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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.

Fuck you…

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 …

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Clock-and-Stairs 200%

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 !


Friday: Episode 1 – Spooked !

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Have you ever loathed someone with every fiber of your being ?

Sobriety brings with it a myriad of emotions, vying for purchase. And all those emotions are running through my head since I left the meeting I spoke at last night.

There are (not so) sober men in the rooms, that I loathe will all of my being. I hate them as much as I hate addiction. Sitting in the chair, looking out at the room, trying to speak coherently and honestly, watching people react to what you are saying, and seeing someone you loathe with all your being SLEEPING in his chair, playing with his water bottle, fucked with my brain.

I invited several people to come hear me speak, and that spooked me too. At some point I looked at our Matron of our meeting, sitting in the front row, and I sensed she was tapping at her watch, which threw me into fits of “shit, I need to wrap up,” it might have been that, or it might not have been that.

I had a script in front of me, and still, I was all over the place. In the end I feel like I really did not carry the message honestly, because I was all over the place mentally.

I can’t go back and change anything about what I said or did not say.

I’ve heard a long sober woman talk about the fact that in one moment she is the most resentful and angry woman, while being the most grateful and happy woman, all at the same time. All those emotions vying for attention, in that moment.

The Third tradition speaks about the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking, and nobody has the right to tell someone to leave.

Right now, I want to haul off and speak some not so sober words to a particular man in the crowd. I want to tell him how much I hate him, how much I loath his existence, and his presence in the same space I sit in.

It is like a malediction.

I cannot stand disrespectful people. I’ve known for all of my sobriety how much I hate certain people in the rooms. They make we want to spit. And say things that are not so sober.

As a gay man, there are certain heterosexual men who just make my stomach turn. I won’t break bread with them, I won’t go to the same meetings as they do, and I sure as shit do not call them fellows.

I strayed off my script because my sponsor said that I needed to stick to my story as it relates to alcoholism. Some of my script went well outside that requirement.

Figuring that I was going long, I cut short an entire section of my share.

In the end, I got good marks from my friends and the members of the group, which meant I had hit my mark. Being that the last time I spoke in front of a crowd was six years ago on my tenth anniversary.

So why do I feel so fucked up and angry ?

I felt very intimidated sitting up there, talking to people who did not care for anything that I had to say, yet they were sitting in the room with us. I might not be 20 plus years sober, but I am sure as shit not like any of those men I loathe.

Fuck Me ten ways from Sunday …


Saturday: Odds and Ends, and Everything In Between

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On my trip to see Alexander, we engaged in serious debate about the state of the world. I am not the best at politics, world issues, and everything in between. Our lives at home consist of one cable news channel, and at 11 p.m. we turn to CTV for our nightly news fix.

I cannot go to bed without the last word coming from Lisa LaFlamme.

I’ve never been totally political, as in, devoted to politics or politicians of any stripe. I’ve always known where I sit on issues of the day. But expanding my brain to other news outlets only began when I moved to Canada in 2002. And over the time I have lived here, I’ve explored other points of view.

Alexander encourages that I step out of my bubble and echo chamber to see the world from other points of view. And this is one reason I love my best friend, because he is from somewhere else, (read:Brazil) and he has world knowledge that I do not. He has a smarts about him that no one I know have themselves.

So I read, I watch, and I listen to other points of view. If you polled me online, I rank in the NDP sphere of thought. But I voted for Justin. And he is proving to be a challenge to me.

Alexander sits on the Conservative side of life. And that is NOT a bad thing at all. Because he forces me to see the world, like he sees the world. He challenges me to spread my vision and take in others words, and not just accept words by people I am accustomed to listening to.

Politics and world events are two different spheres for me. I care very little for U.S. politics. And I do not consume politics like I used to because I cannot be bothered on a daily basis to know or listen to repetitive redundant news about a mad man in the Oval Office.

Cannot Be Bothered.

I spend a good amount of my sober life, buried in books. I learned long ago, while in University, that reading “other literature” that situate itself “around” a topic I was studying, as it went along, was very useful.

Reading side literature around a specific topic whether that literature be fiction or non-fiction, built a world for me to engage with on a wider basis, rather than on a single note in time.

I read, Every night.

There are places in the world that interest me. There are social issues that I am passionate about as well. Issues in the world, and issues right here at home are on my dashboard, quite often. I worry about our less fortunate, our homeless, and our indigenous population.

Because I am in the rooms, I’ve seen so much suffering. Friends of mine, in the program have gone on to work in those specific areas of helping the less fortunate. So I am engaged in their work.

Studying Religion and Pastoral Ministry opened my eyes to World Religions, as well, taking care of those people I am engaged with on a daily basis. I have stayed away from posting anything incendiary on this blog, certain world issues, that I am not clearly well-rounded or well versed on, to write coherently or knowledgeably.

I’ve always been interested in Israel and Palestine. Our Jewish Community here in Montreal served my early sobriety solely. The Chabad organization does work all over the city for many people, I just happened to be one of those people.

During my studies I spent time at the Ghetto Shul at McGill during my Judaism studies. And I often said that if I would become anything other than a Christian, I would certainly be a Jew. Palestine is a new subject for me, since being introduced to that area by a friend who wrote a book on the subject, from a point of view we don’t hear about ever.

When I finished the book, all I could write about was what was in Ben’s book, by the words he wrote. Which began my reading slant into books that were written, on the ground, within the Palestinian community. There are not many in circulation, that don’t begin with a premise situated in Israel, and merely spits on Palestine.

I need to figure out what I know, what I need to know, and where I sit on the spectrum of politics and on the ground situations. I know where I would like to be, but that point needs to be plotted on a map so that I can see it clearly.

Israel and Palestine is such a deep topic with some serious history, people, and problems, that I am unable to touch because of the complexity of the state of that area of the world. But while in Ottawa, I picked up another tome that I am reading at the moment.

I just cannot read a handful of books and expect to be able to write anything that is worthy of print on this blog, because that would be stupid and green of me.

The entire Middle East is a quagmire of instability, political strife and religious intolerance. And we just cannot say, incendiary things about people we know little about or those points of views or lives that we don’t even care about informing ourselves about, because it is easier to hate outright, then find a point of agreement or understanding.

How many people do you know who really care about the Middle East beyond blanket hatred of those we don’t even know, or care to know ?

Because they are not “Christian?” or “Jewish?”

If we don’t read, or listen to other points of view and study areas of the world that interest us, and take the time to get informed, how can we relate what we are reading/studying?

That is a thing …

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Colorful Metaphors

Any Star Trek fan knows the line from Star Trek IV the Voyage Home, where Kirk and Spock are on a bus, and Spock relates his confusion of people’s use of “Colorful Metaphors.”

I don’t know if it is age, or my sensibilities to certain colorful metaphors and words, used by people I listen to, or something else, but I’ve grown weary of people using certain language.

Since the dawn of the Pod Cast, when I got my I Phone for Christmas, my nightly bed time schedule was shifted when I started listening to Pod Casts. They competed with my traditional book reading time before bed.

Over the past few months, I’ve listened to a number of Pod Cast presenters. And I’ve come to the point that the Ardent Screaming Host, or the host who litters his show with the word FUCK, every other word, I just delete their shows from my phone.

I love me some Bill Maher. But he is incessantly insane. And over the last month, I’ve also grown weary of him as well, because his devolution into insane screaming by the end of the hour podcast.

People who talk on the Pod Cast, are not bound by ethical language rules. Although many men and women, do take listeners into consideration when it comes to words. Others, not so much. I just don’t have the mental energy to listen to people swear and use foul language. It is just no longer appealing.

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Social Media

Over the last year, I have had to unfriend many people from my Face Book Profile. Certain friends litter my time line with shit I am not interested in, and they persist. Others, all they can do is post POST after POST of political bullshit, incessantly.

I went as far as to neuter my feed from showing me anything related to topics I have no interest in. That meant turning certain people off, for my own well being and sanity.

Aside from news online, that I do consume, Face Book and Twitter are two sources of news and current events that I utilize on a daily basis. But I don’t do either on my phone, so I deleted the apps from my phone.

  • I make phone calls on my phone.
  • I listen to music on my phone.
  • And I Pod Cast on my phone.

That’s it.

I am trying to set some news boundaries for myself. I have built a wall around me on social media that is useful, because I have a life, and I am not connected to social media 24/7. That is insane.

I turn on my computer when I wake up, I run my set. All those sites I look at and participate in and when I am done, I just shut off the computer until I need it again, and I go read, or better yet, I nap …

All the time…

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Sober Realizations

I wrote to a friend of mine recently …

I no longer have the desire to engage most people who believe so strongly what they do, contrary to any evidence of acceptance and respect of humanity in others. Religion, like politics, are two areas I intentionally stay away from, because I know who I am, and what I know, and that is good for me. Sobriety teaches me that I don’t always have to argue when it is not necessary to do so.

He replied that this portion of my comment is a post in itself.

I spend my days working with others. I spend a few nights a week in meetings. Only three meetings a week now, instead of my prior, six meetings a week, spread over two fellowships.

I love what I do. Because the men and women I work with are accountable. We are all moving forwards. And that is a really good thing. Because I am not a born leader, however I think I “could” lead. I’ve had time in the past where what I did and what I said meant something to those I spent time with.

You never know WHO you are going to meet or what conversation you are going to have with them, until the meeting happens, and conversations take place either before or after.

I want a clean break going into my fifties.

God has made that something that I work on daily. Recently, certain friends have gone dark, for one reason or another, that I am not understanding at the moment, but it is what it is.

I have a routine that works. I have a life that is fulfilling. I have friends whom I love and adore. And a best friend, second to none.

Discussion was brought up the other night, by someone I trust, when he asked me why I just did not adopt the baby, and give her a father, who wants to be in her life, and someone she can rely on, because I am reliable and accountable to her and Mama.

And my reply was this … I want the biological father to pay his dues like the law states. Because he is a dead beat and a looser. And I want him to pay up.

I don’t want to step in and absolve him of any responsibility towards the baby.

I need to research this before I head to New Foundland in April.

I think I know what I want of life and of myself. But that is subject to change because sobriety is not a one trick pony.

Shit happens. Life happens. And you never know what to expect when you walk into a room full of your friends and fellows.

You might just learn something you did not know, or realize something you had not before, and it wasn’t until that particular moment that God opened up your eyes and spirit. And you heard something you realized you really needed.

But did not realize you needed it until right then.

This is the filler that happened between the lines over the last little while.

Sobriety is Magic. Sobriety is Miracles. Sobriety is God, it is Us and it is We.

I love the “We” that I am part of today.


Tuesday: The Cork is Out of the Bottle

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I’ve spoken before about my commitment to my covenant with God. This renewal came with the introduction to the Elders. Namely Elder Christensen. This wise, kind and compassionate young man, turned my covenant upside down.

As Summer came to an end, and I knew change was coming, I had said to God that I was ready to make a serious change. I was telling a friend this morning about that particular conversation. I had given God a few months notice, that at a certain point, I would conceded my inner most self and turn again.

Well, God was having none of that. And in God’s time, everything happens for the greatest good. That day I stepped onto the Metro platform at Acadie, Elder Christensen stepped into my life. Noting that my entrance into the LDS came at a price that I was not willing to pay, what I learned in that spiritual process was not lost on me in any way.

Months prior, early in the Summer, during the month of June, my emotional safety valve was turned and the first of many cathartic emotional moments began to occur.

It is what it is.

My friend pointed out to me that maybe I need to stand on my own two feet, and trust the process and the feelings that are hitting my dashboard right now, and not need to seek approval to stand where I am. And that maybe the message is quite clear, to my friend, at least, that maybe I am being taught something particular.

GROWTH.

I don’t always see patterns for myself. Which is why, when I talk to friends, they must be “in the game” with me, not someone looking from the outside in, and giving commentary.

Who knows what the “right way” to grow up is ? How do we know we are doing this thing correctly ? Am I supposed to just mushroom, sitting in the dark, and being fed shit ? Are we not supposed to have emotions, and better yet, express them in open community ?

For the record, I give of myself, until my tanks are empty. I’ve spent countless days, hours, months and years, being of service, that led to the point where I had another emotional encounter with someone, in the past, that I had to meter what I said to him, knowing how I had to speak to him and with him, always editing my comments, so as to not put a dent in his very fragile sensibilities.

But at the point where I had to be brutally honest, and speak my mind, it may not have been pretty what I said, but what I said was the truth. I had over two years invested with this particular human being, and in the end I learned a lot about myself, and also, I learned much about my friend, and other friends, in conjunction together.

That crowd of people who sit in “Cannot be Bothered” and “Telephoneaphobia” they are maddening. One particular friend who was witness to an outburst of voice, will not call, ever. However, he sends me a cryptic text on Christmas day, that kind of passive aggressive one liner … I know you are unwell, so I am sending you positive vibes… But I won’t call you because I don’t want to have a conversation with you in any case.

The cork is out of the bottle. The genie is out of the lamp, and there will be blood.

I am at this point where the filter is off and I am running on pure emotion. And my friend, this morning said that, maybe I need to sit in my truth and continue feeling what is coming, because this might be a serious teaching moment of GROWTH.

I told God I wanted change. I said that I was ready and willing, and I guess that’s all we need to say to God, “I am ready and willing” and God responds by shifting the cosmos to meet us. And at the point, everything changes.

I can freaking see bullshit. And I know what an asshole looks like and smells like. I’ve seen people, in the recent past, turn into animals. Arrogant, self righteous, compassion-less, and stupid. And I’ve heard the words they said to me, and instead of responding in kind, I just walked away and cut them out of my life.

People in the rooms, travel on the calm and never emotional river of life. We don’t express ourselves to others and surely not to ourselves. God forbid we rock the boat or say something that might be construed as “uncouth.”

I just know, I am at a point where, I can’t stay silent any longer. My silence on certain topics just tells people that I give consent to whatever bullshit is coming out of their mouths.

They Say Silence Gives Consent.

We’ve read the books, over and over, We’ve done the work, over and over … Isn’t about time we turn it all over and let is all hang loose, and just BE ?

I don’t usually listen to my own advice, but I have said that the only thing that has to change in sobriety is everything, and that at some point, in sobriety, we are going to begin feeling. What we don’t know about that second portion is, “feeling to what extent ?”

I mean just HOW MUCH is this going to hurt … ?

People do not like that I am a bit cracked emotionally. But I’ve been listening to my friend talk about themselves, and they are CRACKED well worse than I am. Some of my friends are just plainly Fucked. I’ve heard their stories, and now I know, that I sure as shit, did not make the same decisions, nor the same mistakes they did. And I am much better for having been able to distinguish that when it really counted.

The way I am sober is directly related to all the shit I watched my friends do over the last fifteen years. I did something right. I am growing up. I mean fifty is just around the corner You’d think I would KNOW a few things by now, and be able to call BULLSHIT honestly, from the get go when I see it and hear it.

But I know, I don’t want to piss off my friends are say something that is totally out of my calm, sober and demure character. My friends have been witness to my emotional cracks in my persona. Many of them have cut me off and run for the hills.

Fuck me for being me. You really did not care about me, you were more concerned with the package than what was on the inside. Many of my friends were attracted to the image of calm and serene, but when faced with chaos and uncertainty, they all ran away screaming and yelling.

That speaks volumes about them, and not necessarily about me.

I’m really trying to find my way in this new reality. My friends are doing for me what I can’t do for myself.

And God is in the drivers seat.

Clearly in control of the bus.

Not sure where this was going, or where we ended up, but a few thoughts for the night.


Monday: Seasons – Who Are We ?

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Tonight we read another “Woman’s Story.” Because I am an Alcoholic, was written by our writer, in the 1950’s. By the end of the story, we find out that she is also 28 years sober, at the time of penning her story.

Trying to find out “Who We Are?” is a question that I think is universal, and not uniquely  an alcoholic problem.

For every man or woman in the room, there is a story about who they thought they were as kids, then progressing throughout their lives, to the point they drank trying to figure it out, and finally coming to the rooms, where FINALLY, we figured that out.

In the end our lady found out that she was gay, she moved from the city to the country, and built a garden, where she found peace and serenity.

For me, I knew I was gay which was why I had to leave home. And the one bit of advice I took as gospel was that … “In order to be part of you had to drink…”

That was SOOOOO Wrong !

There were several point in her story that I identified with. Her life began in the country and a solitary childhood and her imaginary friends, then moving to a big city, where she encountered other kids, she still felt apart from, different.

Her odyssey of alcoholism took her all over the world, looking for connection and inclusion. But those tell tale signs, the massive drinking bouts, and black outs and not knowing what she did the night before, began to haunt her.

In her mind though … She just could not be an alcoholic.

Through a series of unfortunate, or maybe fortunate events, in the presence of her therapist and friends, she came around to see that actually, she WAS an alcoholic.

How many of us, just don’t see it while we were IN IT. How many of us came around at first, thinking that “I could not be an alcoholic!” How much time did we sit in the rooms trying to figure it out, justifying our habitual drinking, until we could not fight it any more.

We hear those same words again: Fear, Guilt, Anger, Rage …

We are in a season of “feeling” right now. Something I had not necessarily seen, but the signs were there. My circle of friends is tight. And we’ve been in each others company for a while now.

We have had losses of family, the loss of friends, communities. We’ve seen insanity come to other places, and tragedy occur here at home. I guess you could say that there has been a confluence of “current events” that have shaken the equilibrium of our people.

Our writer talks about finally being able to see and experience the world around her. Be that in her garden, or among her friends, or in the rooms, she mentions the word Seasons.

In my life, I think about the first time around, and what really mattered about that period in my life. Life was coming fast and furiously, and I really did not have time to stop and breath for such a long time.

I HAD coasted to the four year mark, relatively alive.

The familiar Geographical is a common theme in many alcoholic stories. As was apparent in our writers story. I had gone to the many places she did, in my own story.

My first stint in sobriety, did not offer me what this round did. There were too many unhealthy people in my vicinity. The messaging was all wrong. I was too disconnected to know better, that I was disconnected. And nobody knew to say anything before it was too late to affect change.

Even if I did know that, the HOLE in my SOUL, was running the game at the very end …

When I got sober the second time, I was all alone, save the people in the SOBE room who took care of me. I had no friends, no family, no relationship.

I reflect on the year 2001 … I was numb through a national tragedy.

The opportunity to make One Final Move presented itself. I had nothing to loose and everything to gain. I made that move, and did not look back.

I got to Montreal, in April of 2002. In the buffer zone between the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. During that first year of time, I was living alone, going to meetings, attending after care, and I stayed sober, by doing everything I was told to do without argument.

I had eight months of being able to experience my surroundings. The people in my life, then, kept me very busy and on a short leash. In the end, it took me about two years to fully integrate into Canada and find my footing.

I remember that I had time to breathe. You might not think that that is so important, but coming out of the scourge of AIDS and surviving, knowing how hard that was and how we held out collective breaths, hoping to live, because expectations were not very high, nor were the prognosis-es, realizing that I could breathe was very important.

I had come to the point that I was One, alive and Two, sober. With those two markers out of the way, I could concentrate on living life for the first time in my life.

I was almost a year sober before I met my now husband. I had all the time in the world to get to know my world intimately and soberly. And by the time we did meet, I was ready for that portion of my life to flesh out.

The book says that the only thing that has to change in sobriety is Everything.

We see, right now, that people are feeling. In Open Community. I did not notice this until now, having spent the last year and a bit feeling, myself. But over the past few months, feelings have been on our dashboards for some time.

Spend enough time with your friends, and life happens.

My fifteenth year was, as I have said, the most emotional year I have experienced, since I got sober this time around. I’ve been “feeling in open community” and in the end, those people, whom I thought were my friends, punished me for feeling, openly.

I had not known a time where my shortcoming would be used against me by people who watched me crack under my emotions, and then say that they just could not be part of my life anymore.

Alcoholics and Addicts have very selective abilities. Many of them, placed me on a pedestal and it seemed to me, in the end, that I was supposed to be this “Vulcan type” hybrid a.l.a Spock.  Not allowing myself to feel anything.

Because when I did feel and express myself “in open community” people ran for the hills screaming and yelling…

I just cannot wrap my head around they way my friends turned around and ostracized me.

But it is what it is. I’m involved in new meetings and a new social circle.

Living in a four season country, if you take the time, there is so much to look forward to. So much to see and so much to experience.

My favorite season is Fall.

That is the season where the most happens. Falling leaves are amazing. Fall is beautiful in a country where trees and green spaces matter.

It is a religious experience, the very first night it snows. I wait for that night to happen every year. The first snow for me, is Holy.

Had I stayed where I was, in Miami, in a 2 season state, Wet and Wetter … Living in the hole I was living in, alone, I would never have flourished the way I did here.

This last move had to work, and I did all the right things.

I would never go back to the life I had for any amount of money.

Coming up on my fifties soon, all I have is time. And I need to remember to appreciate every day, because I never know when this other shoe is going to drop.

Twenty three years later, nobody knows what is going to come, or what life is supposed to look like, so we are all playing the game very carefully.

One day at a time …

 


Monday: DENIAL is not a River in Egypt

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The book says that “The only thing that has to change in sobriety, is Everything.”

The book also says that “Anything you put before your sobriety will fail, that sobriety must come first, even if we think it doesn’t have to be.”

They say that “Once you take away the drugs and alcohol, and we sober up, we learn that we begin to FEEL. The question is, what do we do with these feelings?”

A meeting that falls after something tragic, or politically charged, is hard. Because people are trying to figure out what they do with their fear, or their sorrow, or their pain, or their anger or their rage?

My friends are trying to navigate that fine line between Chaos and Order. To navigate being Responsible, or to deciding not to be responsible. That is the fine line we walk, in the rooms.

When we get sober, and we leave behind the chaos that followed us around for all the years we drank and used, order comes. This usually throws people off.

  • What do I do with that order?
  • How do I engage,
  • How do I become responsible, and finally,
  • What is my place in the grand scheme of things.

Nobody should ever tell you, inside a room, that what you feel is wrong, or irrational, or childish. Nobody should ever feel that they have to tone down their feelings when they are coming at you at 100 miles per hour.

A young lady I know, was in pieces tonight over all that has happened, here in Quebec, and worldwide. She needed to know what to do with her feelings, and how to deal with them…

Feelings come and go. And sometimes they are overwhelming. I know from emotional catastrophe. I also know what it felt like for someone to call me irrational during one of the hardest moments in my life, not so long ago.

I think, in my opinion, that we should feel what we feel, in whatever degree it comes to us. And when that happens, if we do this thing soberly … Depending on how much time you have, not to allow our feelings to push us out to either drink or use.

Having people around us when the waters are choppy are crucial, so that we are not alone in the boat, whilst navigating choppy seas.

  • I will stand with you, and allow you your space,
  • And I will support you,
  • In whatever way I can.

Pandora’s Box is open, and the Monster I warned everybody about is wreaking havoc in the United States. We must find a way to stop him.

Uncertainty rules the day. Fear is ruling the day as well. Sorrow has filled the hearts of many, because on Monday night, we meet in a church, INSIDE the church. Where we are safe, warm, and secure.

Last night, in a similar sacred space, the sanctity of life and the sanctity of the practice of religious faith was rocked with a deranged young boy, with Far Right leanings, a boy who WAS a Navy and then an Army Cadet …

A fucking Cadet … for God’s sake …

Walked into a prayer service and began shooting innocents. Six are dead, many more were injured, some critically. Reports are all over the map, so I stuck to the basics. But today I had to post the face of this young boy, one of our own Canadian boys, who lives in this free country, where he was educated and lived.

And in a split second he took on the role of Judge, Jury and Executioner …

It was not a Muslim man, perpetrating injustice on his own people, it was a Francophone CITIZEN who killed a handful of innocents.

If we deny what we feel,we minimize our own expressions of those feelings. Because for so long we drowned what we felt with booze and drugs. And now so many are in this place, of not knowing what to do with themselves, because we are all feeling a wide expanse of feelings …

Anger, Sorrow, Fear, Rage, just to name a few…

People are sad, people are angry, people do not know what to do with all that is going on in the world. And we also know, or will find out, that on a grand scale we are powerless to affect change or do anything but express how we feel, to whomever will listen.

We can attend memorials. We can march in the streets. We can sign petitions.

We can sit in our depth of feeling and let the water roll over us and take us and drown us, or we can allow the water to wash over us, and we learn what to do with what we are feeling in a positive and constructive way.

The only thing I can share with you is what I do when I am feeling any one of the above referenced feelings … I talk, I cry, I scream, I rage, then I write.

We must Stand as ONE, we must Speak as ONE, we must Act as ONE.

Defiantly.

To the bitter end.

We must not give up our rights or our freedoms, where ever you live, in what ever country or state. We must fight for our dignity, respect and rights of every human being, as the Constitution gives us as Citizens.

If the government thinks that they can just rip the Statue of Liberty off her plinth and forget the words etched on her tablet and spit in the face of the millions of people who passed by her looking for a better life, they are WRONG. Very WRONG.

Here in Canada, we must state categorically that we abhor violence and the killing of innocents. The houses of religious practice are sacred, and should be respected that way. Because if you come and taint our house of worship with your violence, you incur the wrath of the very God you seek to destroy.

We will punish you to the fullest extent of Canadian law.

We Remember, We Mourn, We Feel, We are Sad, and we are With You.

The killing of innocents is abhorrent.

The banning of people from achieving a safe, secure, and solid home, where they can live without war, suffering or hunger, is abominable.

Do You Hear Me Mr. Trump, It Is Abominable.

You are abominable.

Hear us, as we Speak, March and Rise as ONE.

We Will Never Be defeated. We Will Never Bow to Terror. We Will Stand up and be Counted.

We are Québécois, We are Canadians. We are Americans.

We Are the People.

 


Sunday Sundries – Warning, Emotional Overload Cliff Approaching !!!

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The good thing is, I know what to do.

The doctor who came to see me almost at once did not assail me with any new doctrines; he made sure that I had a need and that I wanted that need filled, and little by little I learned how my need could be met…

All of my needs are met …

It is also a good thing, that I have the support system I do, the people in my life that I have, a sponsor who I am connected to, that I have friends who really care, and family that does love me. Not to mention rooms to go to.

Many of my friends are afraid that soon, I will suffer an emotional breakdown. That the emotional overload cliff is looming … As long as I have you in my life, that isn’t going to happen.

I learned a long time ago, not to dwell too long on emotions that were toxic. Like any good alcoholic, bottling up, ignoring and denying emotions was what we did when we drank and used. We just doused/drugged the pain, but that pain eventually returned and usually with a vengence.

If I stopped too long to actually think about what was going on with me and how I was feeling, I am sure, I would have imploded by the impact of such pain.

You call me surivor. You tell me that I am amazing. You remind me what I have survived and just how strong I am. You also tell me of my faith in God. And I am told that one day, I will give myself permission to feel some kind of emotional feeling.

I know what happened to me as a child, as a young adult, and now as a man. And to tell me that I am delusional is just plain wrong. To tell me that my life does not matter and that nobody cares, and that I am unforgiveable, is utterly sick.

And reprehensible… repugnant …

You don’t know how broken hearted I feel. My heart aches …

You don’t know that pain and agony I feel in my soul, having had watched all of my friends get sick and die. You have no idea what it felt like to watch families, husbands, wives, friends, churches, employers, toss their sick significant others into the streets and leave them there to die alone.

In speaking to my cousin last night, she related a story to me that I had never heard before about my parents. Shortly after I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994, my Aunt and Cousin were in Florida for an event, my parents were there as well.

My mother told them that I was sick and going to die, without my permission, not that she even thought about that really, but she took it upon herself to Out me to family before I had the opportunity to do that myself in my own way and in my own time.

My Cousin Sandy turns to my mother and says, “Jeremy is sick and is going to die, what are we going to do for him?” My mother turns to her and says …

“What do you mean, What are we going to do for him?”

What she really meant to say was that she wasn’t going to do anything for me.

And she never did.

As a child my mother never stopped my father from beating me up. She never defended me, because if she did, he would go after her. My brother never came to my side either. When I got sick and was going to die, and I went to them for support and love, they turned their backs on me like everyone else had to the hundreds of friends I lost in that war.

My mother is a failure of a woman, a mother, and as a friend. My parents were never my friend. My father had his good points, and so did she. They gave us everything we ever wanted and more, so I must give them that.

Can we all say together … This is ABJECT FAILURE !

Todd was wise, when I got sick, to give me the tools he had given me. He knew very well, where I would go, If I remained in my head for any amount of time.

So his advice to me, every day was the same:

When you come to work, whatever problems you have and whatever emotions you are feeling are to be left outside the door, no questions asked. When you cross the threshold of that door, all I want you to do is your job, and nothing more.

Can you even understand what this little piece of advice did for me?

For however long I was at the bar, inside those walls, I did not have to worry about being sick, or even dying. I’m not saying that I did not feel anything, because there were nights when I was an emotional basket case, certifiably !!

In our relationship dynamic, I turned my will and my life over to Todd, (read: God) on a daily basis.

While my friends were drugging and drinking, and killing themselves quicker, I was skating just above the water, on a cushion of love that was complete. It was the best and the worst times of my life, in equal measure.

I survived. And that is no small feat. I fucking lived.

In the end, I really do not think about the horror of what I saw, and I don’t sit here and ponder my own mortality. Because if I do that, I will get lost in my head, and in recovery we learn that to be inside our heads for any period of time alone, is not suggested.

I’m alive and that is all that matters.

  • How I got here, was one day at a time.
  • It began with one day, tacked on to one day,
  • tacked on to a week,
  • then another, until I could tack together a month.
  • Then it was a string of months.

Finally, I reached the day I was supposed to die, and I was still alive.

The rest they say is history.

What do I feel right now? I feel Red Hot Poker Anger. If it were my decision and I had the opportunity, I would fucking loose my marbles on my parents.

The one thing is, and I have to remember this, is, that I will never get my day in court. I will never get to say all those things I want to say to certain people. I would give my ass to be able to one day have the ability to say …

You have no idea the life I lived, and the things I witnessed, and the pain and grief I went through burying all of my friends. You have no idea how hurt I am that you fucked off on me and you turned your back on me when I needed love, compassion and care. You have no idea what true abandonment did to me. What it did to my friends, and how they went to their deaths alone.

ABANDONED !!!!

My mother then reminded me yesterday that getting sick was my fault and that I did this to myself and that I am getting God’s revenge for being gay. She mentioned twice, that according to her, my actions are unforgiveable. She kept repeating to me, “your actions…”

What kind of God, puts humans like this in our lives, only to say to us that we must pray for them, and forgive them, and to love them anyways? Why? Because God, Jesus, asks us to forgive seventy times seven. He tells us to turn the other cheek.

Pope Francis tells us that God always forgives. He never tires of forgiving, it is us that err, in failing to ask to be forgiven.

Rafa, tells me that one day there will be a reckoning. That one day they will reap what they sowed. Forgiveness is not earned just because.

Penitence is required to recieve forgiveness.

My parents and my brother, are resolute in the ways they think. It was all on me, it is all my fault, and they owe no debt nor compassion towards me.

I got what I deserved.

Yes. I know what I did. I can still see it to this very day. What happened happened. What we did not know, we did not know. And before I got tossed into the deep end of the pool, AIDS was not a topic of conversation, not that I remember.

I am not blaming anyone else, nor am I asking for pity. I am only human.

I did not have time to be angry, or point fingers, I was terribly sick, and Todd did everything he could do to keep me alive. And it worked.

All of my decisions, all of my actions, were made, because that’s where I was at that specific time on the continuum. All things considered, for a long time, I lived to drink, and I drank to live, because I was taught, TAUGHT that alcohol was my way in. Nobody else offered me any other thoughts.

It was good that I had Todd for the time I had him. Because now, I am sober a long time. I grew up a great deal. I feel every day. Every day I look in the mirror and I thank God for Todd. I can’t begin to tell you what my heart feels when I think about this at length. I just want to sob and be in his arms again.

He gave me love. He made me feel important and he made me feel like I could do anything with the training I was given. And I have that today.

I don’t have time to be angry.

I don’t have time to pine about shit I don’t need to think about, (at any great length).

Revenge ? One day ! God will avenge me. I hope that I see that day come.

My mother has to live with herself. She has to live with what she said to me, not that that is going to matter to her, because she is the delusional one, not me. AND she hung up on me a second time.

I wonder how she lives with herself.

That is one fucked up self imposed prison she has there. That is a place, I would not wish on anyone. Nor a place I would ever visit.

Resentments and anger are wasted energy. People who feed on that and live in that space are pitiable.

Yes, I am angry and heartbroken.

I was reminded last night at a meeting about humility.

It is not beneath me to say I need help, nor is it beneath me to ask for help, and to say, that in certain moments I am weak, and to admit that I need my friends sometimes more than they need me. But they don’t know that.

Rafa does …

I get what I gave. God returns to me the love I have given in spades.

How do I conquer my anger? By loving my friends and my family.

I’ve learned that negative energy and negative feelings are extremely powerful agents. And that if you retain negativity, and you internalize it, it will destroy and kill you.

Very slowly.

I’ve learned how to turn that energy into useful positive energy, and that is how I remain alive to this day. Every ounce of power I can put behind the pills I take, equals supercharged positivity.

BANG !

There is no time to be sad, mad or angry. Why, What good is it ?

I spend my days doing good for those people I love. That is a much better place to live than waiting for revenge.

Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord …