It was another beautiful day in the neighborhood. Much warmer than it was yesterday, and we will take any day full of sun, as we can get. It might be the second week of June, but before we know it, it will be the beginning of September, and Summer will all but be gone.
For the past few months, I have witnessed new members coming to our rooms, that we have not seen, at all, in the past. Montreal’s Jewish community is legendary. When I got sober, this time around, it was the Jewish Chabad community, who took me in and cared for me when I needed it most.
Whenever I am able, I give back, until I am empty.
It seems, as of late that, we are serving the Hasidim community on a much more personal level. I’ve been listening to our men talk, about their struggles, their families and their troubles with addiction.
Addiction knows no barrier when it comes to the who and the why. Everyone is fair game. With communities that are insulated, they usually deal with daily problems, “in house, among themselves.”
Montreal is a city that is based in communal living. With many religious and ethnic communities existing side by side. But again, there are certain conversations that are only dealt with, inside the sacred circle of that respective community.
For a handful of men, they have left the security of their communities, and they have found their way into our rooms. And I have been paying attention to them, personally.
Today we read from the book, and the chapter: The Perpetual Quest.
It is a story about a woman, who reaches her bottom, and finds her way to the rooms, in her city. The portion of the read I focused on was the last three pages of the story, where she hears just what she needs to do to stay sober.
I chose the reading, because, if we could cut, copy and paste this portion of the story, and hand this document out to newcomers or, more to the point, to anyone who has a desire to stop drinking, we would have our work done for us, in one swing.
Many people talk about the suggestions.
Service, Meetings, Big Books, Steps and Sponsors.
Everybody hears the same message, from the get go. Many of us would rather eat dirt, than follow a simple suggestion.
This problem exists everywhere. There is a lot of anger being spoken about. Yet, we come to meetings, anyways. Because we are told that if we show up, the rest will fall into place.
Getting sober is just the tip of the iceberg for many members and my friends. Many people come with multiple problems, and are cross addicted, or have more than, “just a drinking problem.” And I heard those words spoken again tonight.
Our new men, who come from their respective communities have said to us that they deal with more than just drinking. And people across the board, beg the question, “what do I do with the twenty four hours, each day?”
One answer I heard tonight was, “well, as long as you are sitting in a meeting, you can knock that hour off the time line.” And “the more meetings you fit into your weekly schedule, the less time you have to spend in your head.”
When we come into sobriety from whatever addiction we inhabit, we begin to cleanse the temple of our bodies, that God has given us.
I was not sure how to approach this topic with our men, I just spent the last hour with my Elder friend Spencer and he gave me some sound advice, at how to bridge faiths.
Now I have an idea of what I need to do. God brings certain people and problems into our lives for a specific reason. We either know what to do, or, we know other people, who might know what to do, or we ourselves learn what it is we need to know, in order to serve the greater good.
I have faith. I have the book. I have my knowledge. And I have God, in my pocket.
If some have left the security of insulation, searching for a solution they need, because they have suffered and have transgressed their scriptures and proscriptions and doctrines and covenants of Judaism, they have come to places that I exist in.
I have a desire to help them, and tonight, I was taught, what it was that I did have, by someone I respect fully, and now from him, I know what I can do, with the tools God has already given me.
There is a three fold recipe that is necessary for transmission:
- One, you need a Human Being
- Two, you need the Book
- Three, you need a problem that you can give context to, teaching wise
If you have these three dynamic pieces, miracles happen.
Spencer was at the MTC this week, and he met a young missionary.
While Spencer was here, in Montreal, he worked in Cornwall, a few hours drive from Montreal. While there he ministered to our young man’s grandfather, who was, later, baptized in the church.
His grandson, our young Elder in training, there in Utah, had met Spencer here, while on his mission. It was a Miracle Full Circle moment for him. Because our young man said to him, weren’t you in Canada, that answer was yes. Weren’t you in Cornwall, that answer was also yes, he put the pieces together that before our young man was called to his mission, he met Elder Spencer here in Canada, during His mission.
How often do you see someone in a foreign country, and meet them and share time with, and then find out that they are right in your own back yard, preparing to go on their very own mission ???
That is a miracle for sure.
It was a quite bitter day today. It has been snowing, ever so lightly for the past 24 hours or so. We are sitting at -7c with a wind chill of -14c. It was a bit nippy on my transit out and back.
With the holidays over with, like we expected, the first Sunday of the month was a huge success. The room was full to bursting. Some new and young faces, everyone was happy to be there.
With the new year comes a new meeting to the St. Leon’s space, this time, on the French side. We sorted the group out and arranged for them to have a cabinet in the storage room, a coffee pot, and cups. We have been sharing books and supplies among several meetings, so that meetings can save some money in not having to but supplies that are already there, in storage on nights we are not in session.
The Sunday library of books, is being tapped by my Tuesday meeting across town. Instead of buying a box full of new books, we trade them back and forth, as they are needed, because they are sitting in the cabinet collecting dust.
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The photo above, taken in Akron, Ohio, back in the 1920’s is of A.A. number #3, Bill D. This is the photo that hangs in most every A.A. service office around the world. It is the photo that has circulated for decades. His story appears in the 1st edition of the Big Book, as A.A. Number Three.
Tonight we read the story “He Had to be taught,” this particular story, coming at the head of section three, in Experience, Strength and Hope, comes from the Third edition and is quite a long, arduous, and painful story, that takes place in the mid to late twenties.
Our man, in this story, is one sick puppy. He is a war torn alcoholic. World War One is mentioned in the story, but it seems our man does not make it into the war itself.
His war is a war with the bottle.
He learns to drink, by watching a guy, sitting in a bar, drink a martini. He does not like alcohol at this point, this episode comes at the start of his story. On the way to a sports banquet, our man and his friends end up in a bar, where they begin drinking. And not knowing how to drink, is watching a stranger, (in his words) “Throw back a martini.”
Slug for slug, drink for drink, olive for olive, our young man tosses back a martini. He doesn’t like it one bit, but this episode starts him on his way. This one drink, lands him in a black out, and then he is off to the races.
Having money, a good job, a wife and kids, and posperity, the good life is short and because of the drink, all are lost. Page for Page, folks in the room were all thinking the same thing …
Can we please stop … This story is just too much !
A friend of mine, after the meeting, was talking to me in the bathroom, saying … Bill and Dr. Bob must have decided to be kind to our man, in allowing him to write this entire story out, because it went on for pages and pages. It is just one war memory after another, and in relation to Bill or Dr. Bob’s own stories, was much longer than the founders.
He tries religion, Christian Science to be exact, but they fail to keep him engaged. Finally, in the hospital, our man’s brother and Dr. Bob begin to help him sober up. But all he wants, is for (in his own words again)
“these clowns, to just give him a drink, and leave him alone.”
He gets a double dose of paraldehyde, while in the hospital and he looses a number of days, he goes comatose on a Thursday, and wakes up the following Sunday.
In the end, it is Bill D. who appears in his room, and talks him around to getting sober, after Bill D. tells him his story.
Finally our man gets it, and gets sober. His final comment in the story is that:
at the start of the day He asks for what is God’s will for him, each day, and then to the best of his ability to follow that, and at the end of the day be grateful to God for all that happened during the day. He does that continually, and at the time of writing this story, he is sober 18 years.
Bill D. A.A. #3 in Akron, is the man who gets our man in the story above sober. Bill D’s story, A.A. number #3, appears in both the First Edition of the Big Book, on page 182 and is carried into the fourth edition as well.
I had to read and re-read that particular story to figure out some semantics. Bill D. appears as the message carrier for the “man who needed to be taught.” But, Bill D’s actual “story” is separate from this telling, and appears separately.
Ok, now that I have all my Ducks in a row. Because as I wrote this out, it was all out of sync and I had to put it in chronological order.
The First week of the New Year begins tomorrow.
Make it count !!!