It was a full and beautiful day. And Now I Know …
After a year of searching, talking and listening, Now I Know, what it is I am supposed to be doing. Now I know, what brings me joy. Now I know, who I need to be with.
Now I know, that friends I am connected to, friends I have known for a long time, that I never really connected to intimately, like those that I HAD been intimately connected to, have come to the fore.
There are friends and fellows, searching for connections and solutions. And over the past week or so, new connections have been forged. And working with others has come in small and simple ways.
They say … “IF you build it, they will COME.”
A Booking (read: Big Booking) series that began last Summer 2016, with Joe from New York City, with a small intrepid group of First Gen students, worked the 12 week program. We then endeavored to find other like minded folks on both the French side and the English side.
At that time, we hosted an Open House for the French side, and 50 women showed up and a handful of men. We opened a dedicated meeting serving the French side, to sister up with the Sunday evening meeting on the English side, doing the same format.
Big Book in both French and in English.
That 50 plus group of men and women were partnered with men and women, on both sides, and over the calendar year, all those men and women, went through the Book.
Now, all those men and women are taking another generation through The Book themselves. And the 2017 campaign has opened. The initial Gen Booker’s from last Summer, are beginning a new Summer session with another Gen of men and women.
I begin my next Gen Booking myself in August, for the second time.
On Sunday last, a young man who has been showing up on Sunday’s came and asked me if he could do the Booking himself. Today, we sat for our first Booking Session, that will run 12 weeks.
Tonight, at the regular Thursday meeting, a very good friend spoke. The same man, who, when I spoke a few weeks ago, did the Thanking.
Before the meeting I sat and listened to a Fifth Step from one of my men.
Then at the meeting, I heard my friend speak. He hit many salient points that I had spoken earlier in the evening. My friend has spirit, and he has God, and He lives in the solution, every day.
And as I sat there listening, I said to myself, Now I know.
I know my message. I know my experience. And I said to my friend afterwards that, I should have known better, when I got up there and made a fool out of myself.
Now I know, what I should have said. But like a good alcoholic, breaking the rules about intention, I had to have a fucking script, thinking that I needed to tell a specific story, for whatever fucked up reason I had.
When I should have really spoken the message that was supposed to be spoken and wasn’t, and listening to my friend talk tonight, I Got The Message.
I’ve spoken my displeasure. I’ve spoken my words. And I’ve said to those who needed to hear it, “I Don’t Give a Fuck anymore…so Fuck It.”
I’ve had spiritual teaching from my Elder friend Spencer. Who is a very bright light, whom, it seems, God smiles upon, every day.
I have faith. I have God. I have a Heavenly Father who loves me, and wants the best for me, and so I am surrounding myself with really good people.
Now I Know.
I know what I want to do, and why. Every day I am presented with choices of what I AM going to allow in, and what I am NOT. Every day I am presented a choice of what I want to do. How to Pray, and what I am going to engage with.
I don’t have to engage in thinking, and acting like a miserable dry drunk.
God has been very gentle with me. And gives me that persistent PUSH in the right direction, because I hear it in my heart, and the prompts come, and have been coming far more often, maybe because I am paying attention to that Still Small Voice Within.
Tonight Elder Spencer said to me that, “if he had the chance to go back to the beginning of his mission, with what He Knows Now, he would do it in a New York Minute.
His younger sister is just a few weeks into her two year mission in Montana. And a brand new crop of young Elders and Sisters are engaged at the M.T.C. Elder Spencer is right back at the beginning of a new mission, sharing stories about His mission, with a new crop of missionaries.
Indeed, he spoke his intention to return, so God has brought him full circle to return to the beginning of a mission for a group of young men and women, with ALL of the wisdom he learned on his mission here in Montreal, that ended last Fall.
When Elder Spencer went home, I gave him homework. Home work to record the wisdom he learned here, on paper. Which he did gladly.
And that homework led him to this new job. One he had not anticipated when he got home and finished his first semester at B.Y.U.
Successfully I might add.
Now he has come full circle. And I reminded him of this blessing that he intention ed himself. We both believe that when we met and through today, that there were too many coincidences between us, that were confirmed spiritually before our eyes.
And we both acknowledge that there are No Coincidences. Only God.
I feel renewed with a new solution, based in Love and God and the Book and Prayer.
It is all about the Daily Surrender and the Quality of that Surrender.
The work is there to be done. And Now I Know…
NOW I KNOW …
This One Tragic Event, turned my life and my sobriety upside down. And began a Year of wandering meetings, looking for God, Seeking help for myself, that did not come as it was needed, when it was needed. I walked this road alone, save for Elder Christensen who was a balm to my soul when I most needed God.
I learned that some things in sobriety have to be experienced, felt and spoken about, even if people didn’t listen to me. Or want to listen to me. Sobriety gave me a challenge and I walked through it, the best way I knew how. I did not drink over it either.
Which was One Serious Blessing.
I’ve not be shaken to my core like this in recent memory. In the end, I grew from this, in locating my grief and experiencing the pain that rocked me to my inner core.
I remember those young people, taken too soon, from lives that were yet to be lived. I mourn for their families who will gather tomorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with them every day that I walk this earth.
I have not Forgotten. And I will Never Forget Them.
Tragedy of the Heart – Revisited
Last night around 3 a.m. I saw the first report of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and my heart sank. Why did he choose that club and not another, (The Parliament House) which would have been at max capacity at that hour as well, and then I was relieved that he did not choose that site as his first hit, because he would have hit my home, or, that place I called home for so long.
I chose to move to Orlando because I thought that that was a safe place to be Gay. That was where my journey of becoming a citizen of the gay community was to begin. So I moved there. I became part of a vibrant community of people I loved and respected. People who would shape the life I have today in ways I could never imagine.
Tragedy in other places, is not like a tragedy that hits at your home. Tragedy by extension and degrees of separation have less intensity when they are far removed, or far away. Last night’s tragedy hit me right in the chest. My heart broke to think that my brothers and sisters of life were targeted by a crazed gunman who wanted to kill homosexuals. Hate crime or religious ideology? That question is still unanswered.
In any case, I can imagine what that loss feels like having spent so much time IN that community for so long. I have a long and devastating relationship with death and tragedy. I lived through some of the darkest times in Gay history. And now another story of tragedy has been written.
Families lost loved ones, friends have lost friends, the community at large has lost souls to senseless violence, and the relative safety of a city that welcomed and cared for their own, is no more.
There are no guarantees of safety and freedom anymore. I look back at life some twenty or more years, and I know what relative safety felt like, to not have to fear going out to a public place and having to worry about some crazed human being stalking us like animals on a safari hunt.
Guns are too easily sought and bought. The availability of these firearms undermines the safety of every human being where ever you are. That is more so in the United States. Canada has its gun issues, but as long as I have lived here, I have never felt threatened to go out in public for fear of my life.
Every day, the fear of being killed is a new set of skills for the human being. This insidious fear has been forced upon us by those who would seek to kill us for a myriad of reasons, and nobody is safe, it seems, any longer. Relative safety is a thing of the past now.
I’ve been watching these mass killings day after day and it saddens me to no end. And now, with this latest tragedy, I am forced to speak these words in testimony to my brothers and sisters that lost their lives so tragically last night. I can do that because for a few years, I was one of those brothers and sisters.
I cannot tell you how this tragedy makes me feel. When religious ideology kills indiscriminately, my first reaction is “An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth.” If ideological killers kill to prove a point, killing humans in inhumane ways, the rage in me reacts first. All sense of Christian values leaves me.
It is reported that the gunman pledged his loyalty to Isis, which makes him an ideological killer, there is no forgiveness for those who kill senselessly because of ideology. I make no excuses for them, and I wish them direct judgment and death. It is all well and good that this gunman is dead. Because he killed his fellow humans in cold blood for reasons we still do not know, and there is no forgiveness for a human like that. Even though I know when that man made it to where ever he ended up, I was taught that whatever God there is, forgiveness will follow, even if I cannot.
There are no words I can say right now, that haven’t already been said by those who have been in the loop since last night. My heart is broken in this senseless loss of life. All I can do is say a prayer for those departed and for those who are left to pick up the pieces.
The Orlando Gay Community is family, they will survive this, in time. Phillip De Franco said this yesterday, “There is no silver lining to this story, no good ending, for now the pain is acute and one day this pain will recede and the intense feeling won’t go away, but will be less, but not forgotten.”
I stand with my brothers and sisters tonight in solidarity and hope.
I wish I could go back and be of some comfort, but that is not an option, so all I have is this place to tell you how hard this hit me and why, and to allow myself to feel this tragedy because it hits me right in my heart of hearts.
Eternal rest grant them and may perpetual light shine upon them.
A long time ago, in a jungle far far away, a man perished in the Viet Nam War.
He is a ghost in my life. A man I remember today. I may not have known him but my father did. Love has no boundaries in the theatre of war, and strangers fighting in a common fight, find companionship, security, honor and valor, together.
I carried his name, until the burden of never ever living up to his valor, courage and honor, drove me to wipe him away, the only way I knew how.
I never figured out why a man would name his son after a soldier who died in the heat of war, then tell that child, he was a mistake, and should never have been born.
It is an indictment of my father, and besmirches the name of that man who died.
Honor has its place.
I remember …
The Odyssey of self has returned to where it all began. It has been a long time coming, and after listening to Brene Brown talk about Vulnerability this afternoon, I got dressed and took myself back to the Sunday Evening Meeting.
Where they elected me Chair for the month of June …
My sponsor said that I needed to un-clench my fist and open my hand to God. The only place I thought that I could begin that process, was in the church I first got sober in over fifteen years ago.
The woman who led me through my booking last Summer, is important to my spiritual path, and has been for many, many years. I need her in my life, and anything that took place in the past, was amended tonight.
In sobriety, you either grow towards God, or you wilt, and drink again. I don’t want to drink again. I know who I need in my life right now, and returning to my roots, just reorients me back into spiritual truth.
“We are responsible for the energy we bring into a space…”
Urban Legend says that this thought is in Oprah’s office. Brene Brown spoke those words during the talk I heard earlier today. I was watching her talk on the Good Life Project.
We are still working on the subject of vulnerability. And I am still a work in progress.
Today the woman who led me through my booking spoke on Step 5 …
Admitted to God, to ourselves and another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs. It was a pertinent subject, seeing that it was in that particular church that I worked my last round of steps, and in turn, took my very first sponsee through his steps in that very same church basement.
Working your steps can be life changing, if you allow the process to work, as you are able, and to the level of honesty you employ yourself in your step work. Then turning around and booking a sponsee and seeing them through their steps is another life changing event for sure.
Only someone who has been through the process themselves, can lead another through that garden of self discovery, and be able to receive someones steps.
I walked to the church, overland and not through the tunnel because te sun was shining and I wanted to collect light form the sun, as I walked back into the church, and also, to have the right state of mind and be able to have a moment of repentance.
Elder Christiansen has been speaking to me about repentance over the past few weeks we have been talking. It is the lesson he is teaching at the Missionary Training Center in Idaho. My Elder is a wise young man with insight I appreciate greatly.
I need to feed my spirit and commune with God. The first place I learned how to do that is in the Church Basement of St. Leon’s Church. The location I first watched God move among my friends.
We are still in “New Experience Territory, and have come full circle tonight.”
We have all changed over the past nine months. New people are in the room, some old people are still in the room, new relationships have blossomed, and we are all the better for the spiritual journey we are all on.
That IS a good thing.
It is Tuesday, a day off. I watched a You Tube Video about Candice Neistat, with Bryan Elliott, which lead to a TED talk with Brene Brown, about vulnerability.
Bryan shared a quote from Brene that said:
“The depth that we are willing to be vulnerable is the measure of our courage.”
When He heard that quote, it floored him. When I heard the quote from him, I had to go to the source to understand its context.
I’ve been working to understand what the entire last year has been about, and why things panned out the way they did, and I think it comes down to being totally vulnerable, honestly and authentically.
Over my life, there have been times when I have been brutally honest, and totally vulnerable. Take for instance, finding out I was sick and was going to die.
Utter devastation makes one vulnerable, because we have lost control, we are not in control, and we end up, out of control, in many ways.
In a sense, I was too vulnerable for my own good, because in that vulnerability to be honest and authentic, scared everyone away. I was in the mix, and my friends and family could not handle the honest, gut wrenching truth.
The person that I was truly vulnerable with, was Todd. He was humble and a force to be reckoned with, when it came to my dignity and my life. Over those years, I shed a great many tears in front of him, with him, and because of him. That is something that I can say, changed my life.
A little while later, I stood up, in front of a room full of alcoholics like me and was vulnerable, once again. I alienated them, and they asked me to go away. So much for wearing my death on my sleeve.
Imagine having your heart crushed by someone when you are sharing the deepest darkest fears of your soul. In the attempt to recover from numbing your emotions for so long.
Brene says that you cannot selectively numb certain emotions, and not affect the others along with them.
In sobriety, I have been vulnerable to a certain degree. And it has taken almost all of my sobriety, to finally tap that well of vulnerability, like I have tapped over the past year.
I may not have tapped it, but it certainly tapped me.
People who are authentic:
- Have the courage to be Imperfect
- They are Compassionate to themselves first, then to others
- They believe connection is the result of Authenticity
- And they Believe that they are Worthy
- That fully embracing their Vulnerability makes them Beautiful
- And that Relationships are Fundamental parts of existence for us all
- Connection is why we are here on earth. To Connect and not be Alone
Brene goes on to say that Vulnerability is at the core of:
- And the Struggle for Worthiness
- Which is the Birthplace of Joy, Creativity, Belonging and Love
I can see, in hindsight, where I shut down that part of myself. Not necessarily a good thing, but it is what it is. You might think that I was stoic, on certain occasions, but I don’t think it was stoicism, but maybe fear, numbness and an inability to articulate what was going on in my head.
I’ve spoken about those points in life where I was totally vulnerable and sunk in a pit of despair. I can name them, because the list is very short.
- The day I identified James’s body at the morgue after his suicide
- The night I told Todd that I was going to die
- The day I said goodbye to Todd
- And the emotional response I had to the Orlando Massacre
The last episode was the worst, in many, many years. I had not cried, as I did, since James’s death, the many nights I cried on Todd’s shoulder, struggling with death and his insistence on my survival. Many tears were shed during those two years of intensive work on myself, at Todd’s direction.
That Tuesday night, at the meeting, when I fell apart, it was a cathartic response, to the story that we were reading from the back of the Big Book, the emotional state I was in, because of the massacre, and the fact that only one human being thought to call to see if I was ok.
Then the reaction of my sponsor who humiliated me and accused me of expecting to be treated differently than the others in the room, when all I wanted was a little compassion, that my fellows and my sponsor could not accommodate.
Instead of understanding and compassion, for my vulnerability, I was humiliated and shut down, by people who were incapable of understanding.
I had friends, who were long sober. Whom I thought loved me. They cared for me and supported me, and did charitable acts for me, inside of an organization that I belong to, that I have not set foot in since many months ago.
I ran my steps with a woman I trusted. I told her my deepest and darkest secrets, and she knew my story, and had been involved with my sobriety for a very long time. When I got through my steps she said to me that I was angry and that she and the other women were afraid of me and that I should, in essence, go away …
I raised my voice at a business meeting, then ensued a mass running for the hills by my friends, fellows and sponsees. I had a rough night, and got punished for it with silence and judgment by people I spent an inordinate amount of time with. And when it came time to speak to that truth, I did so. Which probably alienated them all the way gone.
So much for being vulnerable.
I have some fatal flaws that always get in the way of my relationships with others.
- I have an idealistic belief that every human being has ONE redeemable quality, that lends to forgiveness and love.
- I believe in people, from the get go.
- I trust people, from the get go, which stems from the rooms and my belief that most people are good.
- I am also judgmental of some. I can spot bullshit and arrogant men, and people who would do me harm, at 50 paces
- Living with AIDS gives me certain perspective on people, a talent I learned to save my own peril from those who would do harm to me.
This is what I have been feeling and experiencing over the past year. And now I understand it as well.
The price I paid for vulnerability was the loss of many people in my life, who either could not stand my depth of honesty or their understanding and commitment to compassion and love.
Such is life in the world of the alcoholic.
I also know today, that resentment and anger, pointed towards people,is sometimes pointless and wastes valuable energy towards others, when I should be pointing that energy towards myself. And that I need to be a bit more compassionate, understanding and forgiving, and also have a sense of pity for certain people in my life.
It is not always my fault for the reaction or beliefs of certain people in my life. I did not create them, and I am not responsible for their reactions to me, and/or towards me.
Not everyone we know, Not every one we meet, and Not everyone we spend time with are meant to be in our lives forever. In each interaction, there is a lesson to be learned about them and about ourselves.
This has been a year of learning about myself and others, in regards to the way others react to what is going on in my life, in the sense of honesty, integrity, vulnerability and authenticity.
It is true that, for the most part I am totally honest in some ways, but reserved in other ways. I don’t necessarily share my opinions, but when I do, they certainly cause people to look at me with second glances.
Hence, the loss of so many friends and fellows over the past year.
I get a sense that vulnerability comes in waves, as I am able to deal with them. And it seemed to me that they came fast and furiously for a while. It was BANG, BANG, BANG, one after the other.
That dam, failed. And vulnerability came.
I had no way to stop it once it began.
Not sure if I am done with it, but it makes sense now.
We shall see …
AND Acceptance is the answer to ALL my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
NOTHING, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.
Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes…
…Acceptance is the key to my relationship with God today. I never just sit and do nothing while waiting for Him to tell me what to do. Rather, I do whatever is in front of me to be done, and I leave the results up to Him; however it turns out, that’s God’s will for me.
This reading should be tacked at all points of view in everybody’s home, no matter who you are, alcoholic or not. It is a reading that I should have used recently, for some of my guys, and most importantly for myself.
I am told, and I tell this to my guys that, it isn’t the destination that matters, it is the journey in between that matters, and will mean something. I heard one of my guys talk about the counter-intuitive nature of the above passage.
In his work, he is sober. But his workmates are not. And the million dollar millennial has stars in his eyes, and is idealistic, and is of the mind, that if he puts in the time, work and talent, that at 35, he is going to be a millionaire, and be able to retire on that yacht in Monaco.
I am afraid, and we are afraid that the end point is nigh, and may not happen, and placing such expectation on God, is folly…
They say that: We make PLANS and GOD laughs …
Acceptance comes, daily. In the moment. Every moment.
I’ve seen people come in, having lost everything, some who have lost some, and even others, who lost nothing, but their self respect and dignity. I watch people come in and have stars in their eyes, and hear them say,
“Well, I’m going to get it all back, just you watch and see…”
And how many of those people recoup their losses on any kind of grand scale ?
Very Few …
You might get sober, and then come to realize that God has bigger and usually better plans for us, than we know ourselves. God’s time, is a long haul proposition.
Waiting for God, is like watching paint dry on a house.
Every time I read this story, or think about acceptance, I get choked up. Tears fall from my eyes, and I feel lamentation, in the worst way.
Mental Illness is serious business.
When I met hubby many years ago, he was ebullient, romantic, sexual, dynamic and young. The early months, of our relationship was filled with things, that have long since disappeared, never to be seen again.
It was good, that, at the time, people were quoting page 417 to me constantly.
Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.
Because when Mental Illness struck us, the man who went into treatment, was NOT the same man who came out the other end. The doctors failed to tell me this truth while it was happening right in front of me.
Talk about Acceptance …
Relationships are built on Love, Trust and Respect. If you commit, you commit. Even before we spoke vows in front of family and friends, shit had happened. Cruel shit, that nobody knows about, to this very day.
Not One Person …
Nobody knows how bad it got. Nobody knows the finer details of what mental illness does to a couple. But I was damned sure that what my family and friends saw, was the best possible vision of a man who survived treatment for Mental Illness. And on that very day, He was the Best Presentable Image of a Whole Man, Body and Soul.
That was the man I married. We were celebrating who HE was, in that moment.
It took me a long time to reconcile who He was, with who He became, through treatment. I kinda felt cheated that I was short changed in the end. But I was committed. Those wedding vows were tested for damned sure, before we even hit that altar.
Acceptance was the key.
It was a very good thing that I was getting sober, and I had at least 15 months in the program, before SHIT hit the FAN. Because it took all of my friends, some serious work, to keep me ON THE BEAM, for the next year of treatment.
I do not regret one day of it. I did the best I could do, given the circumstances. I did everything possible to make hubby comfortable and to care for him, to the best of my abilities. Every Single Day, and I still do, to this day.
I miss the ebullient man he used to be. And every time someone suggests this passage, I get emotional, because I know, to my very core, what this passage means to my life, in a visceral way.
We have two choices in our relationships.
- You can either accept life as it unfolds, knowing you are powerless over many things, and you won’t have all the answers, or
- You run, in the other direction, when life gets tough.
- You either LOVE harder than you have ever loved before, or
- You never love that way ever again …
- That is what makes a marriage, every bit sweeter …
- That you can live up to, and into those vows you speak
Marriage vows are written in a certain way. They are a warning about what may happen to you, when you least expect it, and better be informed as you stand before God, and you commit to your husband/wife/partner/significant other, that you are promising these certain unknowns.
That if they happen, you were once warned.
Running out when shit happens, is not suggested, but many people fail this test, when shit hits the fan. Which is why 417 needs to be plastered in every home on earth.
If you can accept that whatever is going to happen, probably will happen, and that God, in his infinite wisdom, ordains the universe, and that you might not get, that end point filled with expectations, you just might get, whatever God believes we are due …
That is total acceptance.
I had a conversation with Rafa last night. It seems that we are both running on the same steam, having both spent the better part of last week, in either anger for him, and fear for me.
It was as if, amid my week of spiritual realizations, for some reason, the spirit left me, and for an entire day, I was sunk in a pit of worthlessness, fear, and feeling devastatingly alone, and that Heavenly Father had pulled away from me.
I had not read my scriptures for Friday before I went to bed, and that may have been something I should have done when the darkness began to consume me. In any case, I did go to my scriptures before bed, and I am reading 2 Nephi.
And from Friday’s reading into last nights reading, I have kept God’s commandments, and I have kept the covenants I made with Heavenly Father. Not sure, that I needed a day in the darkness, to be able to extinguish between goodness and darkness.
In the reading Nephi talks about the Garden of Eden, and the fact that, in the garden everything was perfect and untouched, and then the fall occurred which gave contrast to a perfection that had been untouched. For if there was no evil, or no wrong, or no pain, or no struggle, we would not know what perfection and good are, because there was no opposite in existence when Adam and Eve were in the garden.
I know that Heavenly Father loves me and has my back, all the time.
Time to get ready for church.
Because we need a happy dog photo right now. It’s my favorite image too …
Every one wants to be noticed, to be acknowledged, to be seen, and to be loved…
How often we see people come in the room, and we notice them, but at the end of the meeting, we watch them walk out, because WE did not step up and say, “I noticed you.”
There are two young people in our community, that I have been watching bounce in and out of the rooms, stuck in the revolving door of alcoholism and drug addiction. I noticed them a long time ago, but back then, as my young man said to me tonight, “he wasn’t in it to win it.” But I watched.
I reminded my young lady friend of a story she shared at a meeting a long time ago, about a specific spiritual experience she had one night on the Metro. Indeed, she had forgotten that story, tonight, I reminded her of it.
I decided that the time was right to step up and do something. I asked one question of him after the meeting … “Who is invested in your sobriety?” He replied, no one specifically.
So I told him the story. We spoke for a while, and he has my number, and I asked him to call me every day, to at least, connect with one alcoholic every day, no matter what.
He is working with a man I know, who is good people, so he has a sponsor now.
My friend said something in the meeting we all thought important to remember:
“IF YOU ARE WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO BRING YOU FLOWERS, PLANT YOUR OWN GARDEN.”
A funny statement that is in tonight’s read:
I HAVE YET TO FIND A PLACE IN THE BIG BOOK THAT SAYS “NOW YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE STEPS; HAVE A NICE LIFE … “
I’ve said it before, sobriety never ends. Once you begin, buckle up, because this is a long ride, through ups and downs, good times and bad, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do you part…
See the pun there, did you notice it ?
I’ve been listening to several pod casts lately. I’ve told you about them in earlier posts. One of them is quite good. The writing is stellar, the pod cast is one I look forward to.
A couple weeks ago, I bought a couple of his books. Sold “in house” and not on the “open Market.” Halfway through the first book, I put the book down.
I think I read too much, across the spectrum. So I’m thinking to myself, someone who spends hours upon hour writing scripts, should be well versed in certain research for his books just the same. That is not the case it seems.
Reading a simple story is simple. No expectations, or demands from the read. I read for story. I read for content. I read for details and spins. Don’t waste my time with a book that goes no where, but the simple straight route from point A to point B. End of story.
I am spoiled by Kathy Reichs and Donna Tartt. I am spoiled by several other authors who write stellar books, that I am guilty of holding up expectations for other authors who “should” write like them with attention to detail and story method.
Sadly, not many writers got that memo …
October is getting closer. The holiday season is just weeks away now. I could give you a day count, but that would be a little compulsive, don’t you think ?
If you go to a meeting, notice people around you. And go say hello to at least one person before you leave that meeting. Tell them that “You were paying attention.”
I am paying attention …
You never know when you are going to save a life …
When we put down alcohol, because we are alcoholics, we know that we can never pick it back up. And when we stop smoking POT we also know that we can never smoke again.
Times are changing, and the rules of engagement are also changing.
Living with AIDS for so long, in the very first few months, I was given medicinal marijuana because I was told that it would help me eat and bulk up, and not waste away and die.
So I smoked up.
When I stopped drinking – I had to stop smoking and using recreational drugs as well. Until the day my slip began, and I picked up and began using again, only that time, the using was far worse and had serious consequences when I was done.
When I finally relented and stopped drinking, I had not smoked a joint for over a year, the drink still existed, until December of 2001.
Fast Forward to 5:30 a.m. this morning.
I had gone through hubby’s backpack a couple of hours earlier, and found a zip bag, with all the accoutrements a good pot smoker would have.
As his caregiver, when his behavior changes and he becomes despondent and catatonic sitting in the same room, I needed to figure out what was going on.
He’s just been stoned …
When we met and began co-habitating, we got rid of copious amounts of empty beer bottles and all the pot rollers, papers and assorted other things.
Color me surprised when I made this find earlier this morning.
I was LIVID …
Hubby is smoking. He made an executive decision for himself, assuming that because I was clean and sober, that I would judge him and condemn his using, and toss his shit down the toilet. That was my first word in fact. Toss It …
He did not TRUST me.
Since he kept this a secret, I was absolutely angry and pissed off.
I tried to go back to bed, but only tossed and turned. He got up to pee at 5:30 and I called him into the living room and lit into him like a madman.
Words were said. Threats were made. Tears were shed.
Many years ago, in the beginning of his Bi-Polar disorder, he was drugged heavily for ten months until we found the mix that worked. During that time, the drugs emasculated him, robbed him of who he was, and left me with someone I did not know on the back end.
I had to mourn that loss, and decided to stick and stay, because I remembered who he was.
Over the last two or so years, his shrink has been trying to get him off all those pills and to give him back some of his “Self.” That has only worked so far.
Hubby found that the odd joint, now and then, made a real difference in his Bi-Polar state (read: manic depression) and his mental functionality, so he kept smoking.
He did this by himself, here at home, when I was not here.
We have a funny service in Montreal. Pot Delivery systems. You call, they deliver.
I’ve heard of this service from some of my guys before who used it themselves.
I may be clean and sober, that doesn’t mean I am a flag toting militant judgmental prick.
I think, when circumstances warrant, and choices of what we want to do for our personal health and well being, that decision IS up to US, and nobody else. Who am I to judge?
If that time came for me, I would want the same latitude and acceptance of the choices I make when the time came. I know, I am not going to mt death miserable and shitting in a diaper, nor deluded with dementia. I have already chosen my exit plan.
What was I supposed to say, after hearing his explanation of why he made that choice, and what it means to his mental functionality and his happiness ?
Our Canadian Government is on track to legalize POT across the board in the next few month hopefully. But medicinal marijuana is available here in Montreal.
One can get a compassionate use card from Health Canada, and you can order pot online and have it sent to you through Canada Post.
There is no shame in being KIND and UNDERSTANDING.
Times are changing in many places, and we have to be accepting of those changes, knowing full well, that I cannot drink or smoke. Again.
In the end this is a Page 417 issue …
ACCEPTANCE IS THE KEY TO ALL MY PROBLEMS.
For Leah, she just wanted the love of her husband, JacobRemember, Jacob thought that Leah’s younger sister Rachel was beautiful. Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah when he wanted Rachel..
Genesis 29:14-3531 When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. 32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”.33 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon..34 Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi..35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children..For Leah, she was not loved, something which she craved. So she did what women of that time were to do, have babies, male babies. And she did it really well. She thought that if she had God plus her husbands love, she would have all she needed..And so she kept trying to gain his love, by producing male babies..“Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”.“She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.”.“Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.”.Each new baby you see her heart torn out that maybe now Jacob would love her. But he never did..All these sons she was producing, and the reason was to gain the love and respect of her husband. She craved his love and affirmation just like many of us do today. She was willing to try the best that she could to gain his love. But it didn’t work..We think if only we could have the love of someone close to us, then it all would be ok, and life would be good or better or we would feel heard. But that equation never worked for poor Leah. And it really doesn’t work for us either..And then we see with her last son, a shift in her heart..35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children..This last time her focus was not on her husbands love, but on her God. Her heart changed and she decided to focus her needs her value, on God who was worthy of praise..And when she did that shift, Judah was born. When she stopped trying to gain value and love from her husband, and just from God, life came. The line that Jesus would be born into, came through that line of Judah. Life came then and there.And interestingly enough, Rachel would die in childbirth and Jacob was buried with Leah..God took notice on the unloved Leah (and he took notice on the “unloved” Jeremy too). When she stopped trying to gain Jacobs love, she was free. When she decided to gain her value and self worth from God, who was worthy of praise, she was free.
Hello peoples, how the hell are you ? It’s been a while. I’ve spent the better part of these many days unpacking and thinking about life in general.
I’ve been sitting in a place of gratitude and respect and pride that I have for where I am, how I got here, and just what it means to really savor, Citizenship. My experience sitting on Parliament Hill with my best friend, listening to Oh Canada being sung, meant a great deal to me personally and spiritually.
I’ve been trying to understand what it meant to attend a Pride Event, after so many years, NOT attending pride at all. Pride twenty five years ago, is not Pride in 2016. Everything changes. The mission of Pride, every year, is a gathering of people, who want to be seen, want to be heard, want to be respected and want to be legitimized.
I expected to see, people like me. Men and Women from my time period, who came, survived, and are still alive to celebrate life. That did not happen. I did not see many men from my specific range of experience. I did not see any mention of People living with HIV, however, we collected package after package of specially wrapped condoms.
What I did see is many young people. Boys, Girls, Gays, Lesbians, Trans, Bisexuals. What struck us odd was the militant lesbians, especially one very outspoken black militant lesbian at the Dyke March Protest.
The trans bathroom issue was front and center. The black-white divide is alive and well. The pushing out of privileged white men, opting of course for the more politically correct minority groups, within the LGBT community.
What I think they lack in realization is that the LGBT community began as a minority group, marching for acceptance, inclusion and respect. And we have passed through those times as the LGBT community grew in number and visibility over the last two decades.
AIDS has come and gone. And is not the hot button issue it was just a mere two decades ago. What do these young people know of AIDS ? Not One Idea. Most of the kids we saw at Pride in Ottawa are young enough to have been born in recent years, never having to see or participate in the real fight for life.
So while in Ottawa, the Big Wide LGBT community is right back where it started for this new age. Pockets and small communities of young people marching for their own causes, which are today’s Hot Button Issues.
The politics and issues of the past, are no more. Our community has evolved, as the binary male/female, gay/straight, simple issues of sexuality has blossomed into what we see today and the FLUIDITY of Sexual orientation. This notion of Fluidity has broadened the spectrum of people and personalities. We’ve moved from a few voices of change, to an entire spectrum of voices fighting to be heard and legitimized.
Very complicated. And I am not the person to illuminate these topics. But a few of my friends, today, are much more well versed on this discussion. I cannot speak for what I don’t understand or fully comprehend the minutiae of the sexes.
Suffice to say, Pride … There is a difference.
How free Do You Want To Be ?
It has been a few weeks, working a new round of steps with my new sponsor. I, along, with one of my lady friends, sit on Sunday evenings before the meeting, and we do step work together.
The last few months have been trans formative. I know now, how free I want to be. Because I understand, with certain hindsight and perspective now, where I want to go because I am willing now to go to any length for spiritual freedom.
When you have new eyes on the book, and The Work, after so many years, reading and reading and re-reading, over and over again, one of my friends, tonight, said that this round of steps is teaching us to be efficient in learning How It Works, to be able to Give it Away to our sponsees.
Within our group of intrepid steppers, we all agree, in one way or another, that we are just tired of ourselves, and the things we cling to, not because we are blind to them, but because we have been made aware of just how insidious alcoholism is, and what it does to us emotionally, mentally, bodily and spiritually.
Today, I am prepared to walk away from the area of my life that has been fruitless for the whole of my life. Rafa and I spent weeks and months talking together about life, family and my book manuscript that is sitting on my dining room table right now.
I get it. We are all human. And the whole journey through my forties has been a journey of wisdom and understanding. I know, where I come from, and what makes people tick. I know the roles we all played in making this life what it became.
I am the only one, who is clean and sober today.
I can’t save anyone.
I am not Jesus Christ.
In a sort of way, I feel an amount of guilt for leaving people in a bad situation, when I decided to leave and not look back. I am guilty of hoping and denying God’s truth from reality. I know, that for the whole of my life, God has been with me, and has given me what I needed, when I needed it, in certain truth order.
But I was holding on to my will, in this one area, denying God’s will and hoping for my own will to manifest. It is time to let it go. Turn my will over to God in ALL areas of life, and not just some.
You cannot be ” Just a little Pregnant …”
So that is a thing.
Our young people are back from their summer vacations and jobs. And in the coming days, we will be sorting out meetings, jobs and money. It’s time to hand over responsibility to someone else for a while.
Fall is on its way. Cooler night temps are coming little by slowly.
THERE ARE ONLY 118 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS …
Though we of A.A. find ourselves living in a world characterized by destructive fears as never before in history, we see great areas of faith, and tremendous aspirations toward justice and brotherhood.
Yet no prophet can presume to say whether the world outcome will be blazing destruction or the beginning, under God’s intention, of the brightest era yet known to mankind.
This thought was taken from a Grapevine from the year 1962. All of the writing that has been collected in As Bill Sees It, comes from an original source, either in a book, or a letter or an article.
After the last two weeks, we have two visions of the world, the first is one of FEAR and DESTRUCTION and DEVASTATION. The second is of HOPE, FAITH and TOGETHERNESS.
We have a saying in a certain room that:
What we could not do ALONE, We can do TOGETHER.
When the fellowship began in the early 1930’s, and when we look back at history, it is either one thing or another going on in the world.
Wars, Hunger, Homelessness, Poverty, Hardships.
Today, right now, we have a choice to make. We either accept the fear filled vision, or we accept the Hope filled vision. To me there is only one choice.
WE MUST MAKE THAT CHOICE TOGETHER.
Last night, Pastor William Barber spoke so eloquently. He quoted one of my favorite passages from the Old Testament:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Tonight, we read the reading I posted above, and immediately, I imagined Bill, sitting at a desk, having witnessed the past two weeks, and penned that passage, as if he were speaking about the NOW.
And that is exactly where I went when I shared my words. A.A. has no opinion about outside issues, hence the A.A. name not be drawn into public controversy.
But everybody in that room tonight, did the same thing. We listened to words of Hope, amid a world that is sunk in Fear. Many people referenced last night’s events in what they had to say as well.
“I am concerned about those that say so much about what God says so little, while saying so little about what God says so much.”
This quote when I heard the words, spoke to me on many levels. When we sit together in a room, we come for unity, we come for safety, we come for each other, and some, come to hear God, (as he reveals himself in our group conscience).
When all is said and done, I believe that God would want us to abide in Hope, in Faith, in Brotherhood, and Justice.
People who find their way to the rooms, come from places of destruction, from places of sadness, from places of fear, and from places of no return. We know what the bitter end looked like to each of us, each in our own ways. The reading above, goes on to say that
“We do not fear the world outcome, whichever course it may take. This is because we have been enabled to deeply feel and say, “WE SHALL FEAR NO EVIL – THY WILL, NOT OURS BE DONE.”
In my life, there have been many things to fear. And those fears began, in my earliest memories, in a house that I was born into, being beaten and chased around a house listening to him say “You were a mistake and should never have been born, as that man tried to kill me more than once.”
I do not often think of this, any more. Because I lived. And I survived.
Many of my friends who faced fears early in their lives, went to the drugs and sucked on a bottle, early on, spending decades dousing those fears with anything that would take them out of those fears.
I did not have that kind of luck. I did not turn to the bottle in that way. Even though it was there in the house, I never took advantage of it. I bore what I had to bear. And over time, I found ways to get away from him, and my home. I did not use to get away, I physically moved away from fear. Spending inordinate amounts of time, living at friends houses for a number of years, while that lasted.
I would leave for school hours early just to get out of the house. And the teachers knew that, and they provided for me in their own ways.
This life of mine, has not be devoid of Fear, or Pain or Loss. Far from it. I have sat in the midst of the maelstrom of AIDS and watched my friends die, one by one. I know what it is like to face ones greatest fear … Waiting to DIE.
We must let go of FEAR. We must move past it.
And in the words of Hillary Clinton,
We must go out there and do as much good, for as many people, for as long as we can, to the best of our ability.
That is what we learn in recovery, to do good, for the many, for as long as we can, to the best of our ability.
We Will Never Bow to FEAR.
Not Now Not Ever…
There is just so much WRONG going on in the world right now. The tragedy of trigger happy cops, killing more black men, is a scourge on our collective humanity.
The NRA says that Guns don’t Kill People, People kill People.
So on that front, nothing is going to change.
Then we have a disgruntled black man, with combat intelligence, and knows how to kill people, sets out to kill white officers, because white officers, don’t know how to act accordingly, when it comes to others. (read: Black Men)
I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with a man I met a couple of weeks ago. That conversation has been about GOD. With all of this killing and tragedy going on in the world, it is too easy to be angry, maddened, and resentful at God, for allowing all this to be going on, without stepping in and doing something about it.
I don’t believe that God has anything to do with men killing men, women and children. I believe when man decides he is going to create havoc and kill another, the notion of God, or the belief in God, is forgotten.
And for those who kill because their holy scripture calls for killing, or that certain killing is God divined, this is entirely misguided and bastardized faith.
Where is God, in all of this suffering ? I don’t have an answer for that.
Every Life Matters. Every Single Human Life Matters.
No matter your skin color, your religion, your race, or your creed.
It seems that somewhere along the line, man has forgotten about the sanctity of human life. Every life is sacred, and before a man ponders whether or not to kill another man, he really needs to STOP and THINK, before he pulls that trigger.
OBVIOUSLY, Men are not thinking.
I think that collectively, we all need to take a step back from tragedy, killing, rioting, and marching in the streets calling for vengeance in retribution for wrongs committed, and we need to be reminded why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing for each other and our fellow man, woman, and child.
Everybody just needs to take a few moments to just BREATHE ….
That is all I want to say about these things. Because nothing I have to say is going to make any difference, because I am here, and the world is out there. I can pledge solidarity all I want, but I know that what is going on is Not In My Back Yard … NIMBY.
**** **** ****
I spent a fair amount of money on books last week, because Canada Post in still in negotiations, fearing either a blanket LOCK OUT of employees, or a total strike and work stoppage, which is going to fuck up mail delivery for the next little while, until they sort themselves out.
Instead of relying on the Mail, coming or not, I shopped locally,hoping to find, here at home what I wanted online.
I’ve got three new books for you to consider:
The Way to the Spring, Life and Death in Palestine, Ben Ehrenriech
When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi
Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
All three books come recommended by the Indigo staff and web bots.
I’ve chosen to begin in Palestine. The subject of Israel, and Palestine, is fraught with complications, and a subject I never write about because of my lack of knowledge of the complexities that exist in a land, that is claimed by several “peoples” and has been a source of struggle for centuries.
I would rather spend my time reading and studying, then putting words out there, that aren’t backed by study and understanding.
So that is a thing …
I completed my read of “The Spirituality of Imperfection” by Ernest Kuntz. This little book has changed my life, and the life of my best friend, who read it before me, who embodies much of what this book teaches us.
Tonight, taking from Ernest’s book, we read a bit of Bill’s Story from the Big Book, and talked about God, as in “Why don’t you choose your own conception?” or God, “As we understood Him.”
We had a lively discussion, and everyone participated.
I’ve just been very grateful for one certain man in my life right now. The man, I know today, was the embodiment of all that is good in the world, and for me, became God incarnate in my life, and kept me alive, amid years of sickness and death.
If you want proof that there is a God, I am here, twenty two years later, I am still alive.
Over the past few days, I’ve had conversations about the world “out there” and the world, that people in recovery inhabit. And how, we as recovering people, work to navigate the “world out there” while working daily, in “the world we inhabit” in recovery.
The world “Out there” is constantly stuck in the grind of produce, produce, produce, and push, push, push. Gotta get MORE, MORE, MORE, as fast as we can, or else we might miss the opportunity to ATTAIN.
The Kill or be Killed and the Eat or be Eaten mentality.
We, on the other hand, work to maintain a spiritual connection to that which gives us life and sobriety, knowing that we get what we need on a need to have basis, on God’s time and not our own.
But hopes and dreams are good and necessary, because they keep us focused on certain goals, and in the “world out there” people need to get there as quick as possible, by any means necessary, even backstabbing their fellows, just to get the quick buck.
Life has taught me one thing about that …
I can hope and dream all I want. But it is the WORK to get there, that is the challenge. Knowing that whatever is going to come, is going to come when WE are prepared to receive it, and when the time is RIGHT.
God knows what we need, before we even speak it. And in my life, I know that, before I even want something particular, I need to do the WORK to get there.
Nothing in my life came on my time table. However, some things did come, but they did not come without specific challenges. Nothing comes that easily. Ever.
All these spiritual axioms did not come, until they came. When the time was right for me to be able to study and begin to apply these axioms in my life. The Spirituality of Imperfection came to me, from Rafa, at the right moment in my life, and it has shaped who I really want to be. That will take time and work on my part.
Life is a One Day at a Time proposal.
Teaching my guys to live on that principle is going to take work on all of our parts.
Remember that being good to one another is our jobs in this life.
A kind word or a kind gesture will make someone’s day.
There is too much death and destruction going on right now. And we need to work, every day, to pump as much good into the world as we can, as we are able.
BBC Europe News
Pope Francis has said that the Roman Catholic Church should apologize to gay people for the way it has treated them.
He told reporters that the Church had no right to judge the gay community, and should show them respect.
The pontiff also said the Church should seek forgiveness from other people it had marginalized – women, the poor, and children forced into labour.
The Pope has been hailed by many in the gay community for his positive attitude towards homosexuals.
But some conservative Catholics have criticized him for making comments they say are ambiguous about sexual morality.
Speaking to reporters on his plane returning from Armenia, the Pope said: “I will repeat what the catechism of the Church says, that they [homosexuals] should not be discriminated against, that they should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”
Pope Francis said the Church should seek forgiveness from those whom it had marginalized.
“I think that the Church not only should apologize… to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by [being forced to] work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”
In 2013, Pope Francis reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s position that homosexual acts were sinful, but homosexual orientation was not.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said then.
Saying those words, does not change what the Catholic Church, still holds fast to, in Church teaching on the subject of homosexuality.
I will say that Francis, in my readings of him, He is Pastorally inclined to support many people, but the Church Minions, as old as they are, are still stronger than the Pope. Francis can say all the words he wants, but his hands are tied by the Curia to really make official change to Church Canon.
He may want to support, love and respect the LGBT community. But the men who sit in the Curia are old and set in their ways, and real change does not come easily to the Church that is as old as the Catholic Church.