It was a beautiful day today. I did some shopping early on, and hosted one of my guys for another week of Big Book reading, (Read: Booking). I opened and set up the meeting, since many of our folks are away for a few weeks, so we are low on workers for the next month, it is all hands on deck.
We are sitting at the beginning of two weeks of National Holidays, First, here in Quebec, the St. Jean Baptiste Holiday, (For you Separatists out there) not that I have many Francophone readers, or that I am that political to tell you what I think about “Separatist Politics.”
Next weekend is Canada’s 150th Birthday Celebrations countrywide. Canada Day on July 1st, will be the BIGGEST celebration Canada has ever seen. Montreal celebrates 375 years of existence.
Needless to say, Our Provincial and City Governments have gone to great lengths to beautify the city. Millions upon Millions of dollars have been spent to bring Montreal up to speed for our tourists and to get the people on the ground excited to be living in such a wonderful city that IS Montreal.
Who am I to complain …
We who live here want to know WHY they spent so much money on shit we really did not need, while millions go without. We need so many things for our people, that we are not getting, even though the government seems to have deep pockets to spend on rock stumps on the mountain, and electrifying the Jacques Cartier Bridge for the world to see on NEWS CAMS all around the city pointed at the bridge at night.
People need healthcare. So many people need clean water, and homes that are not mold ridden and Indigenous people who live off island REALLY need lives, better lives at that. We need food on our tables, child care, medical assistance, homes, clean water, like I said, there are too many Canadians going without, while the government spend a shit ton of money on beautiful …
Anyways, back to this evening.
Our speaker, a young lady friend of one of our men got up and spoke. We clicked right away. I know her, because I know her boyfriend. They are sober together.
She worked in Travel for a few years. I did myself as well. While I was still drinking too.
We got to compare notes on all the sick ways we used to travel.
READ: Drink Your Way Across Europe.
Nothing was more fun, than on a Friday afternoon, getting on a plane, (in my office we ALWAYS flew First Class) because we could. Free Passes were always a nice perk.
San Francisco, New York, Chicago, London, Paris, or Rio …
The fun started before the plane even took off in those days.
She asked me if I remember any of my trips. I do actually.
I did some serious drinking in my young life. You’d imagine that I was pretty pickled before I hit the ripe age of twenty, seeing how much liquor I could put away.
I am amazed to some degree that I survived those years.
I know, for sure, that I was Stone Cold Sober, when I went to see the Vatican. Because I climbed all those stairs up inside the Cuppola to the roof of St. Peter’s to see St. Peter’s Square from that high up and the Vatican Gardens below.
I drank SO MUCH in Munich that I put a public tour bus out of commission because I was so sick inside that bus on the way back to the city, that I ended up on the pavement, and the bus went in for a deep cleaning and never went back into service.
Not A Pretty Drunk at all. Not the most famous memory, but a memory nonetheless.
A good night was had by all.
Today was a beautiful day. The shift in my life continues. If you are not growing while you are getting sober, then, you are wasting valuable time.
I got a major clothes haul in the mail, a few more pieces for my sporty wardrobe. There is a major piece on its way right now.
I did my chores and my grocery shop, and had the rest of the day to fart around, and get a power nap in, before I had to go. One of my lady friends, lined up my speaker for the evening. And she is a critical woman in my life.
My friend took her lumps early on in her sober journey. After a crash and burn, and the loss of everything good in her life, a husband, children, family, and friends, she ended up in the familiar “Spa Rehab” that many of our women characterize their rehab experiences as.
That is a common theme with some of our gals. We all know what that Spa is …
She came out of rehab and landed back here in Montreal. That was just the beginning of shit that happened to her. Not long after, doctors told her that she was going to die, because she trashed her liver.
Thankfully, because she was sober, she got on a transplant list. Cue the Hurry Up and Wait period of time. In that time, she was very sick and on the edge of death. By God’s Grace, a donor was found. We hauled her off to the hospital and sat with her from start to finish.
I can report that my friend is indeed, Alive and Well.
I had not seen her since I began this trek with my personal well-being. And like most of my friends, she was flabbergasted with how good I looked. She said to me, that I looked really well, and add to that, she noticed that my entire “being” had changed. She commented that “the energy I was giving off was the biggest change.”
Both of us have experience in recovery and rehab. We are both schooled in nutrition and both of us are on the “real food diet.” We compared notes together and found that we were on the same page mentally, emotionally and physically.
Sometimes listening to our friends talk from the chair, is just what the doctor ordered.
Sobriety brings many gifts to us. But they only come when we are ready to receive them. One thing she focused on was her belief that what we send out to the universe, comes back to us, from the direction we sent it out.
Over time, we learn that sending out negativity and sorrow, turns into positivity and happiness. Because a little bit of the universe, is inside of us, and a lot of the universe lies UP THERE, in the firmament, we are connected, every second, to all that is …
The universe is always there, paying attention to our progress. My friend is a prime example of what is possible when you get well. We take care of the insides, and over time, the outsides begin to match us pound for pound.
We only want good things to come to us, so together, like many others in our lives, we send goodness out, and in time goodness returns.
Another thought was this …
Once we get sober and we begin to honor our bodies, soberly, we must turn inwards and honor our spirits and our well-being. Over time, the Inside Job, turns into an all out Outside Job.
90% of feeling good is looking good.
Me No Frumpy Man …
Everybody has noticed. And it looks really good on me. People are amazed at the positive progression that I have been on. And my lady friend is right up there with me.
People who face serious adversity, and some, even death, we see life in a way that most don’t. Because if you survive a trip into mortal territory, and you survive, one never takes for granted the life we have been spared.
All of my friends – a good number of them – have faced medical challenges over the last year, and on certain nights, we get to sit in the same room together and share experience, strength and hope.
Life is good. Everybody is well. And we are all sober.
Claim your life, Honor your spirit, and be Good to Others.
The Universe is paying attention.
We are all very thankful that we did not drink today.
One little drink, would really fuck up a good thing.
Which is why we go to meetings.
Thousands of homes (2,500) are flooded across many places tonight. There is much sorrow and destruction. Hundreds (over 1500) people are homeless, and many more will be, as flood waters are still rising all around the island of Montreal, and in Ontario as well.
The Canadian Armed Forces are involved with assisting those who need help, they are filling sandbags, and as of yesterday, as Montreal declared a state of Emergency, are assisting homeowners out of those flooded homes to a safe and dry location.
Montrealer’s are there, helping each other, giving food and supplies, and filling sand bags. Flooding to this extent has not been seen in decades.
Say a little prayer for those who need them right now.
**** **** ****
Tonight the Book takes a turn to a topic, that steps outside the “White” box, and we travel to another location. The Fourth Edition of the Big Book, has contemporary stories that cross many different lines, ethnic, racial, religious, and personal.
We heard a story written by a Native woman, from the Desert Southwest of the U.S.
Her story is familiar to many of us, here in Montreal. The plight of the Inuit and Native peoples of our city is tragic and devastating. In today’s world, one cannot go very far, in our city, without passing by someone who is Native or In-nu, on the street, in the Metro or in the mall; who is not either drunk or high.
Many years ago I wrote a post about this very problem, as I witnessed it, here in our neighborhood. Over a decade has passed, and though the neighborhood has been cleaned up, rebuilt and repaved, the tragedy of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction still exists.
The people who once littered the sidewalks and street corners, have just been moved, by location, because the city did a good job in displacing them from public view, and relegated them to the peripheries of the city.
They are still there.
I was very lucky, early in sobriety, to count among my friends, people from different backgrounds, Inuit and Native, White and Black, Christian, Jewish and Atheist.
For a long time, in my home group of Tuesday Beginners, because of its proximity to my specific neighborhood, on the Western edge of downtown, we counted among our group, many who came from other places, who were stuck in addiction, and had nowhere to go.
It is said, by some Natives, from many places in Quebec and all points of the compass, that “Once you leave the reservation or community, and you come to the city, it is highly likely, that you will never return from whence you came.”
That is mostly true.
The problem with those who come off reservation or community, they don’t necessarily integrate into the community here. They know no one, unless they have family, local.
On the main, many do not. Once one crosses the bridge from where you were, to where you are, and not being able to integrate, many are stuck in LIMBO. They come from afar, and then get here, and they don’t connect.
Then what happens? Here in Montreal, there is a middle ground. A No Man’s/Woman’s land that lies between normal civilization, and oblivion. There are many people, stuck in this place, one, by their own doing, and two, by the apathy of the people who live here.
Hungry, Homeless, Drunk and High … Originally written on July, 24th, 2007, I wrote an edit on August 11th, 2014, now I am writing towards that topic again tonight.
You cannot go anywhere in the city, and not cross paths, with those who are less fortunate. They are either homeless, drunk or high. And those identifiers cross all lines of existence. The white community here in Quebec, does not see others, like they see themselves. Native and Innu populations are strangers to our world, yet they live on the same streets we do, except they live ON the street, and we live above them, in shiny, clean apartment blocks.
I know of one Innu woman who came to Montreal to sober up. And she succeeded very well. She got tanked up on sobriety, and she would commute from the Far North, back to Montreal. She did that several times, before she finally decided to go back for good, and to live and work with those of her community.
Another friend of mine, who is Native, got sober, just after I did. He is still sober. Today, he works on a team of Elders and Community workers, who walk the city from our end of downtown to the Eastern Edge. Their job is to locate, assist and either integrate or repatriate Native and In-nu people’s back where they came from.
We get them help. We find them meetings, shelters, food and medical assistance. I am part of this little community operation. My friends do the leg work on the streets, and I do the work, in the rooms, to help those who find their way to us, via the teams on the street.
This is just a drop in the bucket, because the need is so great, and the numbers are so high, that many people fall through the cracks. But we try nonetheless.
Addiction is a scourge on many people. Not Just White People. This hits, very hard, our Native and In-nu populations, terribly. The need is dire. There are so many suffering humans, that the city, at large, is at a loss for trying.
Our storyteller tonight, has a harrowing story. In the end, she finds her way into sobriety. Many people found identity within the story tonight. The Hospital, Jail and Institution thread was popular. The variant of Higher Power, was also popular. And that is the thread that I went with.
“I found the Power Greater than Myself to be the Magic above the heads of people in the meetings. I chose to call that magic Great Spirit…”
Our woman was less than three years sober, at this stories inception. But she had this observation, like I had myself. She got it much earlier than I did. It took me years to be able to see this “sober phenomena.”
I sort of coined the phrase: “The Neon sign above your heads…”
It took me many, many years to begin to see it. Once I found it, that became one serious reason to Keep Coming Back, for more …
St. Leon’s church basement descends, YES, 12 Steps into the basement. There are actually 12 steps down, into the basement. Then you hang a right turn, into the hall.
IF you stick around until the Miracle happens … I am talking years and years, you too might see it. People who come to a meeting, carry with them, their troubles, on their sleeves. Over time, I began to notice this fact.
If you’ve been around awhile, you know what a newcomer looks like, and feels like, and for some, on really bad nights, what they smell like. That kind of information is telegraphed on that invisible sign above each of our heads.
For me, it took me two years, after coming in to see my sign change. People who spent the most time with me, in the beginning, noticed the marked change in my demeanor and looks.
For the first few years, I always wore a ball cap, and I never looked up, or met your eyes. I was always down on myself. Years of therapy and counseling changed that, to the point that one day, one of my counselors said to me … “Hey, I can see your eyes.” It was the first time I began to look up.
Over the years, the longer I was sober, I watched my friends and fellows get sober. I watched people come and go. I watched them get sober. And over many, many years, I watched those signs change for the better.
Some took longer than others.
Even today, as I have said not long ago, some of those signs are still carrying messages of pain and sorrow. And I see that in new ways today.
Some of my friends are still suffering, even though they are double digit sober.
Reading today’s story, we get a breath of fresh air. A tradition that is new to us, who are not familiar with Native or In-nu traditions. God as we understand Him, becomes broader, wider. We get another rendition of Spirit.
There are people out there, whom we know, that we may be the only rendition of the Big Book, they might ever see. Never turn your back on those who are still suffering out there. They need love, even more love, than we need ourselves.
Give it away, every chance that you get. One day you might even save a life.
Tonight, it rained … If there is weather going on, attendance is going to be down.
Tonight’s read: Virtue and Self Deception
I read the reading, and thought I knew what I wanted to say, and once I spoke my words, I realized that I had missed my mark. In retrospect, I lived my alcoholism in reverse.
The stories of most alcoholics usually begin with one innocuous drink, that leads to More. For most, but not for all, that’s the way it went down. Except for those people who started drinking full throttle from the very start.
I drank as a teenager. When I moved away from home, I started hard and strong. I’m not sure how I got through the first five years of my drinking. I do know that I would lie, cheat and rationalize my way into alcohol.
I was not a very honest young gay boy. Then again, none of us really were:
Young people today, have a sense of entitlement. Like we owe them something for just being alive .
I do know that I grew up in a home where alcoholism flourished. Nobody talked about it, and we always lived in fear, if we ever spoke about it to anyone outside of our four walls.
It seemed to me that silence gave consent. None of the men in our lives ever paid a price for their addiction to alcohol. My father was terribly abusive. In the end, he got away with his actions. All of them. He is a really fucking lucky man, that I did not retaliate, ever.
There were always loaded guns in our house. And Bats, and Chains, and Metal Tools, Knives and Machetes. He was very lucky that I never went in for the kill.
I do regret never beating the shit out of him, at least once, for the abuse he heaped on me. When I drank, I believed that I would get away with it. If the men in our lives did not pay for their problems, then I believed that neither would I.
I believed that if I pawned responsibility off on either of my parents, I would slide through, without being called on the carpet about my drinking.
Responsibility … That was the word I really wanted to talk about.
As a twenty-something, I was terribly irresponsible, EXCEPT when it came to being responsible for my drinking career. My drinking always came first. Everything else, came a FAR second and third.
I had a brand new car. I had to choose between paying off that car, or drinking. Can you figure out what choice I made ? A series of well told lies, brought the repo man. My father, did indeed, pay for the car, and I got it back, with nary a word about my drinking.
Did I feel guilty ? No. Not One Bit.
That motherfucker was going to pay his dues. He did.
Today, I live with that resentment high on the list of things I did that will never get forgiveness. My parents will never forgive me for my alcoholism. I will never grow up from that twenty-something that fucked them over, I will be guilty till they go to their graves.
Leaving home, was to find a life, a people, a group, ACCEPTANCE.
I was woefully unprepared to be an adult. And I did not have any clue about responsibility for my life, which is really ODD. When I lived at home, I was responsible for the house, for cleaning and the upkeep. I was my brother’s keeper as well. I had to go to school, which I did, willingly.
I graduated High School because I told a true statement to my Math teacher. I was a failure when it came to numbers, and I still am, to this day, albeit a bit better.
On the day of the final exam, I learned that all of my classmates got a preview copy of the exam and I did not. In the end I wrote a note on the last page of my exam. It said:
“I was the only student in this room, who did not get an advanced copy of your exam. Have a nice day.”
Regardless of how I did on that exam, he passed me.
I graduated High School.
When it came to employment, I was at the top of my game. I made good money doing that too, until alcohol began to cloud my judgment. As a much younger person, who had jobs, where alcohol was NOT included, I was successful.
When I began to work in my travel field, and you tossed in alcohol, all bets were off. I talk about this incessantly, many of the people I worked with and drank with, were as alcoholic, if not more alcoholic than I was. Getting on a plane on a Friday afternoon, to go somewhere exotic, so that we could drink, was not uncommon.
When I worked for a Very Big Cruise line, alcohol was served during work hours. And it was also not odd, to get on a ship on a Friday afternoon as well, to head to the Bahamas, and drink 24/7 while that ship was moving, and then some.
Many of the people I drank with got SOBER, well before I did. And nobody said anything to ME about ME.
I had to run my sordid, irresponsible, sickness ending road.
I WAS responsible for myself so long as alcohol was not part of my life equation. I knew what right and wrong were. I had morals, I was honest, I was responsible, at every one of my jobs that I had. My progression into alcoholism was jump started, when you added alcohol into my life, while I worked.
When I made the move away from home. My alcoholism followed me. And since my main goal, as I was directed by my shrink, to go to a bar, have a couple of drinks, and “see what happens,” was what I did.
My responsible sense of life went right out the window, because alcohol was the main ingredient, in my emotional, personal and sexual success.
I don’t know where my good values and honesty went. I think alcohol helped me to forget those values, virtues and honesty. Self respect went out the window as well.
I suffered from alcoholic delusions for a very long time. Like I stated above, my alcoholism began backwards. All those devastating things that usually take place at the END of ones drinking career, BEGAN on day one for me. I was an alcoholic who LOST BIG, from the get go.
I refined my drinking over the years, so as not to include anyone, but myself.
In the end I really did not need you. I had burned all of my bridges. Alcoholism helped me alienate family, friends, and coworkers. The one thing that alcohol still did for me, was to get me in the door when it came to the horizontal mambo.
Until I was diagnosed with AIDS.
Irresponsibility and really bad choices, mixed together with drugs and alcohol, pushed me over the edge, on one specific morning. In those days, in Fort Lauderdale, you could, actually, DRINK, twenty-three hours a day.
That MORNING, that I sat in a bar, and continued my drinking from the night before, I made a sexual choice, NOT a responsible choice, by any means.
The bullet was shot, and I had been hit with that bullet. Only, it took a year for that bullet to rear its ugly head in my body.
There was nobody saying to me – Maybe you should STOP. or Maybe, you should be more responsible. or Maybe you need to grow the fuck up, already …
Last night I shared with you Todd’s story.
The first choice I made, moving towards responsibility, was walking into Todd’s bar, that one night in 1993. Had I not done that, my timeline would have been fucked.
Todd – read: God, was waiting for me in that bar.
Another point I want to talk about is this: We know today, and we repeat this mantra to everyone who comes in the room that: If you put anything before your sobriety, you will fail, miserably.
I have AIDS, I was going to die, and Todd brought me to a meeting.
AIDS was a much BIGGER fish to fry than staying SOBER. I was juggling two very serious balls. And I had to keep both balls in the air at the same time.
If it were not for Todd, I would have died. I would not have made it out alive.
I was going to meetings, and reading the book, an Roy was my sponsor, who worked IN the bar with me. But Todd, was the Master in Control of my destiny.
I got responsible, it may have taken a while to get there, but I did get there.
Before Todd stepped into my life, for years before, not one human being, on my timeline, ever offered me a suggestion, a piece of advice, or uttered the word STOP.
I was working in the bar, drinking myself sick after hours, and my body was sero-converting all the while. The day I got those results, I figured that I would drink myself dead, instead of suffering the way my friends were suffering.
It was a very good thing that I did call Todd away from his vacation and asked him to come home, for me. He did that, gladly.
Todd took over and actually said the word STOP to me.
My education in survival began. My sobriety, took a back seat. If I did not survive, sobriety would not matter. I was going to meetings, marking time. The thrust of survival lead me where it did, because Todd was running the game.
For those few years, I earned dignity. I learned responsibility. I learned values. I learned morals. I learned Never to Give Up. To Fight for my life.
I was sober when Todd departed my life. I stayed sober for another two years. I moved to Miami, and went to a meeting, where alcoholics like me, heard me speak, and told me to Go Away and Not Come Back.
Imagine what that feels like, if you were fighting for your life, and fighting to stay sober, and have another alcoholic say the words: Go Away !!!
I disconnected. I became despondent. I took my life into my own hands. The HOLE in my SOUL, took over. Sobriety, took a back seat. I kept SECRETS. I told LIES.
I put the HOLE in my SOUL first.
I prearranged my slip, and orchestrated it to the best of my ability, because nobody at home really cared whether I came or went. Nobody was paying attention to me.
So Fuck It.
Eighteen months later, the cops were at the door, to extricate me from the house.
I came back home to Miami, with my tail between my legs. The year 2000 turned into the year 2001. I saw my mother ONCE.
On September 11th, 2001, we all know what happened.
Miami Beach was plunged into forced communal SOBRIETY – Because New York needed us, and drinking was outlawed for two weeks.
No bars, No Clubs, No alcohol and No drugs.
I would not get sober for another four months.
I was living in the DELUSION that if I just drank a little more, someone in the club I was drinking in, would notice me. I had lied to myself for years and years. None of those things I was told would happen, those things that needed to be lubricated with alcohol, ever happened.
I had my last drink. I was done, shattered, FINISHED.
I had to get over the border into Montreal, for my REAL SOBER EDUCATION TO BEGIN.
I was alive. I survived AIDS. I had money in the bank. A place to live. And I had meetings and the people in those meetings.
I no longer had any other fish to fry, I no longer had to juggle several balls at the same time. The only thing I had to do was STAY SOBER.
Responsibility began to set in. I had set myself up before I walked into Tuesday Beginners. And what did they do ? They gave me a job.
Coffee, set up, tables and chairs.
I did that over and over for all my years in the program.
In fact, I am still doing service at every meeting I attend, now almost sixteen years later. Because keeping it simple, always remembering that I need to act like a newcomer to keep it real, I do that gladly.
11 months in, Hubby came into my life.
My education in manhood and responsibility began in earnest.
The rest, you can say is history.
Today, I have values, morals, and virtues.
We all know that our “heads” are not places we go into, willingly, ALONE.
I know many things about myself. But I will never learn everything.
I am still alive. I am still sober. I am Responsible.
Fifty is not far off.
Responsibility got me here. Knowing I am NOT a saint NOR perfect keeps me here.
My belly button is NOT the Center of the Universe.
I am told that Step Three is very important.
Every day I have to make a decision to Turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him.
There is a God, and I am not HE.
As long as there is breath in my lungs, and I get up in the morning,
it is going to be a good day.
Hello Peeps … Very early tomorrow morning, ala 5:00 a.m. I will be on my way to the Montreal Airport and traveling to St. John’s New Foundland for five days. I will return on Monday afternoon.
The blog will be dark for that period of time, due to no internet or computer on the other end. So let us contemplate my favorite Gospel story of the Resurrection of Jesus, appearing to Mary Magdalene.
Have a Blessed Easter …
John 20: 11-18
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
One definition of a bottom is the point when the last thing you lost or the next thing you are about to lose is more important to you than booze. That point is different for everyone, and some of us die before we get there.
Our young man, at age nineteen, walked through a second story window, and had fallen twenty feet head first into a concrete window well.
He got sober after that event… YOUNG !!!
How many people get that chance to figure out their lives so young, find the rooms, and live successfully ?
There are young people in our rooms. Some of them have stuck it out, on the first pass, and made it. However, many of them made several passes, and are in the room, not so sanguine as they once were. Then there are those who came in, cleaned up, figured out they were good, left the rooms, and never returned.
Some of those young people are dead now.
Had I figured out, at twenty-eight, how to do this when I found myself alone, at that time, I would be twenty-three years sober today. Those times, were fraught with complications, and sober groups, were not so accommodating to people with AIDS.
The good thing about hindsight is this … I have recorded, on this blog, every single lesson I learned during those first two years I was sober, the first time. And on this second pass, with proper support and people in our meetings here, I’ve succeeded very well.
But I know, I don’t have another recovery within me. I know that at any point, life can turn on a dime.
The book says quite succinctly:
There will come a time, when the only thing that stands between YOU and a DRUG or a DRINK, will be your Higher Power.
Which is why, we need to connect with something Greater than Ourselves, sooner rather than later. I know, from experience lately, that those folks I see often, who are not spiritually connected, have flirted with crack pipes and heroine and alcohol.
The other night, I sat with a friend and told him what he really needed to do, if he wanted to succeed and not pick up that crack pipe again. Whether he follows that direction is still yet to be seen.
Funny that while we were reading this story, I got the portion that read:
“The speaker said, If you’re an apple, you can be the best apple you can be, but you can never be an orange. I was an apple all right, and for the first time I understood that I had spent my life trying to be an orange. I looked around at a room filled with apples and, if I was understanding the speaker, most of them were no longer trying to be oranges.”
I pride myself in knowing that if I wear something, I am completely sure that not another person in this city, owns, the same clothing I do.
I was wearing my orange outfit tonight. Everybody laughed at me.
The clock is ticking down to my departure for New Foundland on Thursday morning. While at the meeting, one of our guys showed me pictures of St. John’s from his recent trip to The Rock and what I can expect and what I should see while I am there.
When we come into the rooms, in whatever state we find ourselves in, and whatever our bottoms were, The Promises start materializing for each one of us.
Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
Our writer talks about the fourteen year mark, as he is writing his story. He was married in year nine, and had his first child in year twelve.
My route into sobriety was not easy. I persisted though, and the final promise that eluded us for years and years, finally came to pass in year thirteen.
2014 was the year that Mama and then, the baby, came into my life. A relationship that I chose to build, from the ground up. One phone call, turned into this relationship where Am now married, have a life, and a child in my life who calls me Daddy.
Besides Grand Pa, I am the only other man in her life. And on Thursday, I will get to see the little girl I have spent the better part of three years raising with Mama.
The closing paragraph of tonight’s story says:
I once knew a woman who was crying before a meeting. She was approached by a five-year old girl who told her, “You don’t have to cry here. This is a good place. They took my daddy and they made him better.”
That’s exactly what A.A. did for me; it took me and made me better.
And for that we are eternally grateful.
Always pay attention to the coffee maker, at whatever meeting you go to…
Six months ago, when it came time to change up my meetings, I realized that there was a meeting, just down the hill from home. Essentially, a 10 minute walk through the tunnel to a little church of a building, not far from home.
The Padua Center, is a building that houses the remains (read: Altar, Statues, Lectern) of an old church that was demolished, but the core of that church had been kept, and now mass is held in that building on Sunday mornings.
Many years ago, there was another meeting that was began by an old friend, who has since died. I used to go to this little meeting, when it was up and running.
Fast Forward to November 2016. I looked up Love and Tolerance in the meeting list and headed down one Monday night. Every meeting, has its resident coffee maker. One of the most unsung jobs in the fellowship. Nobody cares WHO made the coffee, but it better be damn well perked by the time those ungrateful alcoholics walk through the door.
Hell hath no fury like an Alcoholic, with coffee not ready to go…
Danger Will Robinson, DANGER !!!!
I’ve known some crazy coffee makers in my time.
That night I met our coffee maker extraordinaire. Back then, the meeting was sparsely attended, and only needed a small, 12 cup perk coffee maker. Over the last six months our intrepid coffee maker invested in a full bore 60 cup, standard issue, coffee urn.
The number of meeting attendees, has more than doubled in six months. And all of us are grateful for the coffee maker. He is there every week, busy or not, making coffee.
This past Monday, I asked him if he could give me “thirty minutes?” He understood that I was asking him to come to a meeting to hear ME speak.
Funny that …
This afternoon around 1 p.m. he texted me saying that he could not make our date for the meeting. I was on my way to the bank to prepare for my trip to N.L. next Thursday.
I came home and made two phone calls. One came back as a NO, and the other message was not received prior to the meeting. I took that as a sign, to trust God and head to the meeting as usual. While setting up, I told one of our women that I needed a speaker, and she volunteered to speak for me.
Not ten minutes later, my coffee maker texted me saying his late meeting at the office had been cancelled and that he was on his way. Little did he know that HE was the one who was speaking and not ME.
That realization came about 5 minutes before I introduced him to the room.
Color him surprised…
It all went as God had ordered it. He knocked it out of the park.
After the meeting I told him that newcomer quote I heard a couple of weeks ago that:
If you get asked to Speak at St. Matthias, You Have Arrived …
Our little Monday, Love and Tolerance meeting is a wealth of Sober Experience, that I have been tapping since I joined St. Matthias a few months ago. Lots of sober men and women who don’t usually hit the Thursday meeting, so, fresh minds are fresh stories to hear.
Last week, into last weekend, New Foundland was hit by a severe blizzard, which prompted some serious considerations of not making the trip next week, due to weather concerns. I called Air Canada, and spoke to them about weather. Then I called the bank, and tried to get some insurance on my $650.00 airline ticket. (That was a bust)
Tuesday would be the day that I would decide to either get on a plane or cancel my trip, because getting an airplane into St. John’s is dicey, frequently. Wind, Weather, Snow, are a given on any day. Tonight, it seems that the weather will be looking up, thanks to Environment Canada’s six day forecast.
I have cash in hand, and a good weather forecast, at the moment. In New Foundland, weather is never a given. All it takes is a little weather headed into that area, and Mother Nature can dump up to sixty centimeters of snow on any given day.
It has been pissing rain in Montreal for two days now. A Rain/Snow mix may fall tomorrow night, and more rain. We have heard, mentioned, double digit positive temps for this weekend … Let Us Pray …
Friday, last week, a good friend of mine witnessed me, two nights in a row, drinking my favorite Orange Soda. He was not impressed with that. On Friday night he said to me that I needed to stop the sugar intake and that I needed to look into the Keto Diet.
Saturday night, I did some serious investigating and came away with a diet plan that I was willing to work with. The Keto Diet, is strict. Lots of No, No’s. And very little leeway in the eradication of sugars and carbohydrates.
The Keto diet has a scientific basis. On the second link, you will find all the scientific data with Diabetes and Cancer patients.
I haven’t had a sip of soda in five days. I haven’t had any sugar whatsoever, in five days either. I wrote down the dietary restrictions on the fridge, and now we both eat very well, based on the Keto Diet restrictions in place.
Let me tell you that Detoxing from Sugar is BRUTAL … The first three days, I thought I was going to loose my mind. I was hormonal, and seriously demented. I had headaches, and I was terribly, emotionally, cracked.
One of my women, whom I work with, read my F.B. Page and she has serious time invested into the Keto Diet. So she called me the other night and we tweaked my plan, with a few changes and substitutions.
I spoke about having realized in February that I had, in fact, lost ten pounds, which spurred me into a radical lifestyle change, personally. I want to feel good, and look good, and look good doing it too.
People are noticing.
Thursday, after the meeting, is my “teaching night.”
My Elder friend in Utah, and I talk weekly via Google Hangout. We get to see each other and talk about how his life has changed since he ended his mission in Montreal. It was important that we kept our friendship going, because i want him in my life and we are friends, and each week, I get a little Faith Boost from him. General Conference was last weekend, this year, he got to see it live and in person. I get to watch it here at home.
His takeaway was this:
Community is important. Faith is Important. Charity is important.
Distilling a theological message to three points …
The number of walls you can knock down when ministering to your community, friends, and family, the better. We don’t need any more walls, we need community, we need love, we need charity and we need to love one another fully.
This message, in three parts, is familiar to me. I’ve heard it repeated many times on many fronts over the past month or so.
The Blessings of Easter is quickly approaching. The whole reason the Atonement is central to the church and her people. The sacrifice of the Cross makes this life possible and grants us life, love and faith.
Tomorrow is the Best Night of the Week.
Surely more to come.
“The more you realize, the more you realize that there is nothing to realize. The Idea that there’s somewhere we have got to get to, and something we have to attain, is our basic delusion.”
The week is over. The Friday meeting was sparse. But I did see the people I really needed to see, and have conversations. While there is massive snow on the ground in Up State New York, and here in Quebec, my friends who have skiing and snowboarding passions, they are all out on the slopes this weekend, enjoying, what might be the last snow of the season.
I subscribe to several “thoughtful” pages on Face Book and I’ve been seeing thoughts being shared on my timeline that I happen to think, can apply to me.
One thought is: “BE who you needed when you were a kid” (insert age appropriate word here) …
When I was in school, that would be Junior and High school, I attempted to be sporty.
A fact of life, that came as a tidal wave, came on the first day of Junior High School. I stepped into the locker room, and I knew, right then and there, that there was something different about me. I knew what it was, I just did not say anything to anyone about it.
Knowing what Gay was, by that term, and knowing how homophobic my parents were and still are, never allowed me to identify myself as gay until I moved away from home.
I engaged in gym for a while, while sports was something I was engaged in and was good at because my friends were sporty, and I wanted friends and to participate. I wrestled in junior high, I played soccer as well. I was a pretty good soccer player, until I attempted to go heads up for a center position, which meant you had to go head to head with the boy who held that position. Sadly, I got pretty beat up. That was the end of that run.
In high school I was on the swim team for a couple of years and I even Lettered in my senior year.
My parents were not big on my competing or participating. They would not allow me to have the tools of the trade I needed. Even if I was spending my own money to buy shoes, cleats and gear. They were funny that way …
When I got to Montreal and began to settle down and build a home, growing into a man was front and center. And all along these years now, I have allowed myself things that I really did not have when I was a kid, like nice shoes, sneakers, boots, clothing, etc …
I am different from hubby, in that he does not see the need to have “things.” He will wear one pair of shoes until they fall off his feet before he buys another pair. And I am like, we have the money in the bank, why don’t you buy some shoes and some sneakers …
He usually just shakes his head. I am prepared for any seasonal weather that Mother Nature may throw at us.
Like a good Boy Scout, I am always prepared.
Growing up in the Rooms, I have a certain idea of who I am today, and what I want from my life, and what I believe is important for my emotional, mental and personal well-being.
I keep up with trends. I try to have some style. Lately my friends have commented on my wardrobe an awful lot. This was not a point of discussion in the past. In the rooms, there is a certain amount of decorum, style and dress. Getting clean and sober, in time, means getting clean and sober in all areas of life.
Once you begin to “Clean Up” you clean up inside and out.
I watch my friends, my Gay friends. They seem to be resigned to a certain “way” they style themselves, as they all age. I don’t have any gay friends in my age bracket. The gay friends I have are all ten to twenty years my senior.
Over the past decade or so, as my body changes, my appearance changed with it. And as my doctors took me off certain drugs, that caused me to balloon, the drugs I am on now, are allowing me to lose some significant weight.
They say that the first ten pounds are a bitch. A few weeks ago, while at the doctors, I saw that fact when I stepped onto the scale for the first time in a long time, and was pleasantly surprised to see just how much weight I had lost in the past year.
Feeling Sexy, and Feeling Good inside and out are very important to me. You might find that odd. But I just don’t want to sink into some deep funk going into fifty.
I am not some old man, who has to accept that he is ageing.
Fifty is the new thirty they say. I missed out on my thirties and did not begin to grow up emotionally until I hit the ripe age of forty.
If you want to feel good, I believe one has to look good doing it too. As long as I can pull off sporty and sexy, all in moderation, then why the hell not ?
For many years, well, the last twenty-two years or so, I was subject to side effects and drug interactions when it came to my body. And for a long time, I sat in my head, thinking, well, this is how I am going to look and feel, so I better get used to it.
Because that is what most people with AIDS/HIV say to themselves. Today, there are only a few, a very little few other men who are survivors, in my immediate community, or are living with what they call the new HIV, they don’t say the word AIDS ever anymore.
But I remember who I was, then. Nobody can take that away from me.
I’m not sure when the shift began, but I felt that I needed to pick myself up and make a change. I went back on my going grey look, and dyed my hair. I’m just not ready to be defeated by grey hair like some of my friends. I moved from my special haircut to growing my hair out, until I get sick of it. Not there yet.
When I realized that I had lost significant weight, I went on a clothes haul, and bought a few new pieces of clothing.
My friends noticed.
I saw some clothing I really liked on the web. And I thought, I could rock that look too and look good doing it too. So I spent a little money, and damn, I look good.
My friends noticed.
People pay close attention to what we look like in meetings. I remember a while back, when I started experimenting with hair styles. I made a huge mistake sitting in the chair one day, and I paid for that haircut mistake until all my hair grew out again.
I don’t want to go bald, not yet at least.
I want to feel good in my skin. I want to feel sexy, even if hubby really does not pay attention to that, he really doesn’t. He thinks about style, because I know he shops at specific shops in the city and has a certain look, he just does not notice me.
I notice Me.
I may be getting Older. And Fifty is just around the corner. But I am not going to grow old, looking old. There are men out there in my age bracket who are more sporty and stylish than I could ever be, but I will damned well try at least.
As long as I can look good – I feel good.
Living life on the edge is cool. Living on Borrowed time used to mean, acceptance of a fate of dying or waiting to die.
I don’t live, waiting to die.
Mame Dennis Said it well …
Live, Live, Live, Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving …
I am going to look good when fifty comes, and I will die trying …
I love my friends, gay and straight, some of them are just old Fuddy Duddies …
I am NOT a fuddy duddy …
There are but two sins … The Lesser, is to get in the way of our own spiritual path. The Greater, is to get in the way of someone else’s spiritual path.
I see humility for today as a safe and secure stance midway between violent emotional extremes. It is a quiet place where I can keep enough perspective and enough balance to take my next small step up the clearly marked road that points toward eternal values.
The reading tonight touches on Arrogance, Attitude and Humility.
Which leads back to yesterdays quote:
I don’t know, but I am trying to find out, OK !
The Fellowship, early on, was a sordid affair. And thinking about it logically, the Big Book was written towards a certain segment of the population. And in the early years, the Fellowship grew out of trials and errors.
They really did not have a leg to stand on, when it came to knowledge or certainty.
This reading talks about some, early on, who believed they had the “Real A.A.” And that they had a definitive answer to the problem of the drink, and only they could impart this message and that, from the reading, “You better get it…”
A very arrogant approach, don’t you think ?
This reading is dates 1961. The Fellowship came together in 1939. That is only 22 years from inception, to the point Bill wrote this passage for the Grapevine. I imagine that Bill probably mulled over what he was either hearing himself, or from others, who came in contact with the men, whom this reading, refers to.
I don’t know, in my life today, WHO has the definitive answer to recovery. Because I know, for myself, that there are old timers with TIME, but they surely are not sober. There are men and women I respect, who have some time.
All I know is this … Every so often I am introduced to someone who has a method, or a practice, or a way, they work their program. Over the past four or so years, I’ve employed several practices and methods that I know worked for the men and women, I have adopted these practices from.
None of them, we could say are the End All Be All. They are merely, additions to practice and method, to incorporate, along with the Book.
Working with others, is a great way to find out for ones self, that:
No, I don’t know, but I am trying to find out. OK !
I don’t have all the answers, which is why I go to meetings and talk with people I respect, who have a little more experience than I do. We are all souls walking in the same direction, trying to figure it out ourselves.
There is no ultimate authority, except the God of our understanding as He speaks in our Group Conscience.
I know what size my pants are. And I know how big, my head can get if I am not careful.
Keeping it simple and staying out of my head is a daily task.
If either my pants or my head swell to greatly, then I know:
I must decrease so that He may increase.
I have spoken about the Do Over’s when one comes into recovery. Today, I would like to expand that discussion to include time tracks.
Yesterday I sat with one of my guys and we spoke about our Million Dollar Millennium young man again. And as his story unfolds, more information has come to the fore.
Which leads into today’s discussion.
When we are born, we are born into a time track. A life that has not unfolded yet, and has yet to be experienced. One cannot choose their family. And what ever baggage comes with the parents, that baggage infects the lives of their children. There is no escaping what is about to unfold for the unsuspecting child.
We only have this one life to live. And the choices we get to make, don’t come until much later into their specific time track.
Our young man, recently shared that one thing he suffers from, Abandonment, by his parents. Divorces fuck up children, no matter what. No child escapes the pain of a divorce. This serious issue has clouded his judgment, and his life, and causes him serious grief.
Abandonment is a familiar issue, that I have heard countless times in my life. It is so serious that it can stunt, and for many, in this case, kill any life ambition or possible positive outcomes for that human being.
What ever happens to us throughout our childhoods, our teen years, then our young adult lives, all that energy, whether it is positive energy or negative energy travels with us into adulthood. And what ever that energy is, will either, infect our lives with pain and strife, or it will enhance our lives, and help us to live our best life.
Our your Millennial is saddled with negative energy that is negatively impacting his life, his life view, his upward mobility, and negatively impacts his daily life. His choices are warped, his wants and desires are skewed and the choices he is making right now, aren’t realistic, and clearly not optimistic.
Everybody has a life track. Everybody has the life we are living at the moment. And what ever baggage we are carrying around with us, either negatively or positively impacts the life we will live as the days go by.
Life Energy can either help us or harm us. Negative or Positive.
Life Energy … The Two Worlds Theory.
Our lives are a collection of family, life experiences, emotions, choices, people, places and things. What we are born into is the constant. Everything else on this list is a variable. Whatever befell us as we grew into our adult life, shapes the men and women we become.
That is either a good thing, or, a bad thing.
Adding another wrinkle to the mix, some skate through their lives, with minimal attraction to, or addiction to substance(s). But whatever factors exist that they are carrying with them, that energy is running at full speed.
Every man and woman who grows up, falls into one of two categories.
- A – The Non-Addicted/One Life Time Track Crowd, or
- B- The Addicted/Comes into Recovery/ Do Over/ Time Track Crowd
If you fall into Category A, then you are stuck in the life you are living, with whatever baggage and issues you are carrying, running at full speed. If you don’t hit the addiction speed bump, or fall into a life that your journey is NOT impeded by something critical, medical, addictive, or anything that might pause or stop, your forward momentum, like our Millennium young man, is living at the moment, our young man, has not had a moment where he was stopped, in order to (Re-Orient) his vision, You will suffer whatever ails you for the rest of your life, if Re-Orientation does not take place.
Track A – is the one life you were born into. Complete with all the energy you are carrying with you, either positive or negative, in full-bore, every day one after another.
There are no supposed speed bumps, warning signs, stop signs, or major life issues to warrant a Pause, a Stop, or a Re-Orientation.
In Track A – There is no do over possibility. You are in this One Life Passage.
If you fall into Category B, You were living a life, you fell into addictive behavior, you drank and used, and possibly, had a serious medical issue pop up. Or you experienced an episode that stopped you in your tracks.
If you find yourself in this Category B, and you were blessed to get that STOP sign, Congratulations. You get your Do-Over.
When we come into recovery, we have hit bottom, or we are on our way, to figuring out where our bottom is, or where it was. We are taken out of the normal circulation of life.
We either end up in rehab, or we find our way to the rooms. In either case, we spend some time beginning to (Re-Orient) our lives.
On the Medical front, a serious illness, either makes you stronger, or in many cases, where treatment varies, it will kill you. Sometimes you cannot escape the finality of a serious medical illness. That is just the plain truth. In my case, I survived, and got my Do Over.
The Steps are written in a certain order.
After a little while, we sink into our chairs, and we begin the hard work of digging ourselves out of the pit we had sunk ourselves into. As it will go, if and when we are able, we begin to look at the past: People, Places, Things, Family, Emotions, Family, Life Experiences, Emotions, and Choices we either made or did not make.
The forward momentum of the Category A life, has been stopped.
Now the Category B life begins. And this is where my theory comes to the fore.
If our Millennium young man, does not get his Stop Sign, or his Do Over, he will end up in a place, where he will make certain decisions, however good he thinks they are, with what information we have about him right now, based on his life experiences, won’t be good at all.
We know his decision-making skills are skewed, so the positive future he believes he wants, is still clouded by all the negative UNIMPEDED energy he is carrying around with him.
That Category A train has left the station, it is in full motion, and if he does not Re-Orient, that train will run right off the tracks, if he is not careful.
In the Category B train, The first train left the station. We screwed up our lives with the drink and the drugs, forcing our train to leave the tracks, and park in a station, for some undetermined amount of time, until we are ready to get back on the train with a new heading and direction, and to allow the train to get back into motion.
The difference between Track A and Track B, is, whatever forward momentum and energy we were carrying with us, (like on Track A – Unimpeded) on Track B, that momentum is stopped. The energy flow is interrupted.
In Category B – We get our Do Over. We get our Re-Orientation.
People in recovery get to stop, and review the past. We write it down, we inventory the wreckage of the past, we find out who hurt us, and who we hurt as well. We figure out our character defects and our shortcomings.
We get to make amends, and live a spiritual life, if everything works out that way. Those odds are slim at best, because not everybody makes it.
I know many people stuck in Category A. They are living the life they are living. Some are modestly happy, some are very happy, but many of them are downright miserable.
Most people in Category A, never get the chance to Re-Orient. They don’t get their Do Over. They are stuck in the cookie cutter, this is YOUR life, LIFE.
That train just keeps on chugging away. It never stops, never reaches their destination, because all they see, for some, is the inside of a cubicle, eight hours a day.
They are carrying all the energy from their entire lives, and all that energy either helps or harms that human being.
Like our Million Dollar Millennium young man, we know what all that negative energy is doing to him, by the conversations we have with him.
This is not going to end well. And if we don’t find a way to get him to Re-Orient, He may fuck up his life indefinitely, in horrible ways.
We need to move him from Category A to Category B. And Soon, without the trauma of something serious happening to him to force him into Category B.
The odds of something serious be falling him are very high right now.
The challenge we face now is, what do we Do ? What do we Say ? And How do we help him ?
People in recovery have the benefit of hindsight, of our experiences, of our Do Over capability.
How we impart that knowledge to others is critical.
The World is running in Category A.
A good number of us have been blessed to find ourselves in Category B.
It only took me this long to figure this out.
It is Thursday night. There is snow all over the place. It is piled upwards of ten feet on some streets. Cars are buried where they stood, when the plows went through earlier today.
Tonight, snow plows are working full-bore to clear streets after an EPIC snowstorm Tuesday night.
Because God Forbid, the St. Patty’s Day Parade on Sunday, gets cancelled because of snow piled ten feet high on the roadsides.
Preface … Over the weekend prior, Environment Canada and our own weather personalities were warning that BIG SNOW was coming, but that far out, they could not tell us how bad it would be. Updates were coming frequently through Tuesday night.
In the end, more than 40 cm of snow fell in blizzard conditions for more than eight hours. Overall, it snowed for more than 20 hours.
Snow began to fall around noon on Tuesday and as the night wore on, conditions got worse. Now I remind you, dear reader, that we were warned. At the midnight hour, Tuesday night, our local news radio station was live, ON AIR, calling the shots, over night.
When blizzard snow falls on a highway, all bets are off, for whomever is ON those highways, when conditions deteriorate quickly. Hundreds of cars, trucks, taxis, you name it, got stuck on highways that were NOT being plowed at all.
Absofuckinglutely cars buried in the snow. Stuck, as in Not Going Anywhere !!!
The Provincial Government in Quebec City is in charge of clearing highways. And the City government is in charge of local roads. They don’t share responsibilities.
Around midnight, the radio man was taking calls from people, live, On Air, who were stuck in their cars, as the snow piled up around them. Help did not come fast enough.
The radio people were trying to find solutions to getting people off the streets from people who had been on the streets but got home, hours later. Solutions were not coming, because help was not coming either.
People stuck in their cars stayed in those cars ALL NIGHT LONG, until daybreak on Wednesday morning. No Food, No Water, running out of gas, and some perished in their cars. Some left their cars, and tried to get out on foot, because, either they were out of gas, or they were freezing to death.
The radio men were asking residents, out and about, if anyone knew where the trucks and plows were, as it went, people were calling with only one response to that question…
The Trucks and Plows were sitting in Tim Horton’s Parking Lots, idle, while their drivers were drinking coffee as the city went to hell and people were stuck on roads they should have already been plowing, but weren’t.
Two Montrealers’ DIED in their car, snowbound on the highway. People were sitting in their cars for more than ten hours at some points along the timeline. Those two people were stuck as their car was snowed over, with the car running, trying to keep warm, carbon monoxide poisoning, coming from the car exhaust, stuck in snow killed them.
I listened to the radio all night long. And it wasn’t until around 4:30 a.m. that someone actually called the S.Q. (Provincial Police) and the S.Q. called the fire department to go save people on the highways.
The two branches of government dropped the ball, because neither could do anything properly to get people in from the cold.
ON TOP OF THAT … Adding Insult to Injury …
All the cars who got towed off the highways were slapped with a towing ticket of over $200.00 EACH. That did not go over very well. The Provincial Government coughed up the cash to pay every single ticket handed out to people who got stuck.
Let me tell you that people are pissed. And as of tonight, heads are rolling across the board because of the ineptitude of our local and provincial leaders.
All the warnings that came, were not heeded. People got in their cars, thinking that they would get from point A to point B.
Obviously, NOT …
This little blizzard of a snow storm caught everyone off guard.
The plows and trucks did not get out in time, and people are dead because of them.
There is blood on the hands of snow clearing folks tonight.
My head SHOUTS, but my heart Whispers, So I stay out of my head …
This passage is written at the bottom of the story we read tonight; Me an Alcoholic ?
There are only certain people, whom, I know, were messengers from God.
Memere was the first. Todd was the second. Elder Christensen is the third.
I believe that when I pray to God, I don’t usually expect a direct answer, not in the past. And I know that if I pray, and that answer does not come, then I need to go sit with my friends, because answers usually come from someone close, between people.
I had a conversation with Elder Christensen the other day. On Friday I sat with my friends, who gave me sound advice, that I can trust. Over the weekend, I sat, for a long time, and I prayed, then I listened.
The conversation I was having with God, came in the form of a conversation that I was having with Elder Christensen, because his word is true, his faith and conviction are second to none. He is spiritually connected.
And he is connected to me.
Talking to him in real time the other night, was something I really needed, if only to hear him talk to me.
When I doubt myself, which is most of the time, I did not necessarily turn to prayer to confirm what it was I was hearing in response. In a moment of inspiration, I imagined the voice of the Elder in my minds eye.
All of a sudden, the words became true. I knew they were true. In that moment.
God is with me. And everything is going to be alright.
Everything is alright in the end, if it is not alright, it is not the end …
Big Snow is on the way. It is going to be miserable for the next few days.
Over the weekend, a Winter Hurricane Storm rolled over New Foundland. Many homes were destroyed. Mama’s roof has considerable damage and needs to be repaired. Her parent’s home roof was also destroyed in the storm, along with hundreds of other homes across the island.
Street lights are down. Buildings have been trashed. Cars and trucks have been either damaged or destroyed due to falling trees or building material, or just that they were blow off their bottoms.
The “cities” don’t have surplus supplies of things that were destroyed in the storm, but they have some, until they run out of stock. Then they will have to ship supplies, food, building materials and the like from off island.
Say a little prayer for our people out on The Rock.
I spent the night wondering, thinking, praying … All those things we are supposed to do all the time, but for the most part, are not done all the time, and not until it is vitally necessary, to do them all the time.
I had a conversation in my head with Spencer, thinking about what he might say to me after writing what I did last night, seeing most of that post’s information came from him directly.
I spent the day with a lady friend, and I unloaded on her until I was spent.
The word that came to me, last night, we call it a “prompt” was this …
This is my journey and my experience. And there might not be anyone to give clear directions, as to where I should go or what I should do, since the sober factor among our peers is dreadfully poor.
I know what people around me are doing because it is plain, by their actions, that they have made their moves, as in, away from me.
Really, over the past few months, there really has not been a concerted effort by anyone long sober, speaking to this effect.
But like I heard last night, I need to stick to familiar meetings, with familiar people, and walk through the dark, the best way I know how, with my head held high and doing the right thing, as in, talking when talking is needed, listening when listening is needed, and being the man I am, and on the whole, keeping my mouth shut when it comes to other people in tight places.
Coming from the life I have come from, I know what it feels and looks like when people fuck off on you.
That rubs me like spiritual sandpaper.
There aren’t a whole lot of people, “in the game.” Because it seems like, most of my friends are just doing their own thing, showing up at certain meetings, and trying to figure out, on the fly, what we need to be doing, by ourselves, together.
We just have not connected outside the rooms, specifically.
Things of note:
- Not everyone is going to like me
- Not everyone is going to agree with me
- Not everyone is at the same point in sobriety, so reactions will differ
- How people react, is solely based on their abilities to cope with stimuli
- I am Powerless over people, places and things
- Yes, I may spend hours bitching and moaning, but life is a process
- Experience, Reaction, Bitching, Moaning, Discussion, Resolution
The take away … I don’t fuck off on my friends. Period ! I don’t take kindly to be treated as less than, or invisible, or that people don’t respect my humanity. I don’t like what I am seeing and/or hearing from people I have known for years and years. it is like all the words I have spoken in all that time, went in one ear and out the other, and nothing I tried to do with my community made a hill of beans difference in the way my peers treat each other and myself.
I think I knew all of this information all along. But with all the noise coming in, listening to God or my intuition, went by the wayside.
I need to talk to Spencer soon. He will know what needs to be said right now.
So that is a thing …
Do we ever reach a point in our lives that we can trust that, we’ve done our best to be good, to be kind, to be giving and to be Honest, to be able to speak words that are honest as well?
I am told, by a long time friend tonight that “An alcoholic’s mind is a place we should never go alone.” Another friend also said that, it is not so important what people think about me, the important thing I need to remember is my relationship with God.
The Emotional Roller Coaster is running at full speed. And I am not enjoying the ride. For the whole of my sobriety, I’ve watched my friends and my fellows. I’ve listened to them and saw what kind of choices they have made over this long run.
Everything I learned to do, or decide to do, was always based on what others have either done or not done.
I know when I hit my forties, I found that I knew things, for sure. I had enough time and hindsight behind me to be able to, matter of factly, say with some clarity, what I really thought about whatever I was seeing.
Over the past 10 months, I’ve felt a myriad of emotions. Unlike anything I have felt in some time. I’ve talked about this before, so we are coming full circle again.
The other night I had a conversation with Elder Christensen. The young Mormon missionary I became friends with during my investigations. He is still in my life, because that was the choice he made when he went home.
My investigation came to an end, when I would not leave my marriage and OBEY the “one man, one woman, biblical concept of marriage.” All those young people who made all kinds of promises and encouraged me to continue, all fell off a cliff, so to speak.
Now I know why …
Elder Christensen, when faced with the reality that I was not going to leave my marriage, sat in on a discussion about my fate with the Missionary team. The team, as a whole, did not see me as acceptable. They did not see me as fully human, with rights to be able to decide who I was and what choices I would make.
They just stopped seeing me.
Elder Christensen told me that during that discussion, he was at odds with his team and the Mission President. He was headed home, so his view of me would not be considered because he was going home, being the odd man out.
The young elder could not understand why the others did not feel about me, the way he felt about me ? He told me that, the others failed to understand and respect my humanity and dignity. That they had problems with emotional connections.
The Sunday I was shopping and ran into the Sisters at the grocery store, they told me that I belonged and that there was always a place for me, so I sent them back to the group with one request. It is obvious to me now, that nobody cares, what I need.
If I wasn’t prepared to make an ultimate sacrifice to “become One with the Church” there was really no place for me, in that church.
The good that came out of that investigation was that Elder Christensen, is still my friend. He takes time out of his schedule to write and to spend time talking to me on Hang Out. He knows my humanity. He identified with it, and respects it.
That is a thing…
I heard tonight, that sometimes in sobriety, things can get dark. And people may not agree with me. And people may walk out of my life. The things I need to remember are …
I have friends. I have a home group. And I have people to talk to.
Another friend reminded me of one simple axiom …
I am powerless over people, places and things.
For a while, I hoped that someone would point me in some certain direction, and tell me what I really need to know, because right now, I don’t really know what is going on.
So I wonder … Can we be honest ? And at what point in sobriety, do we get to speak up and call bullshit when we see bullshit ? I’ve spent so much time sitting on my hands, keeping my mouth shut, because people around me are so afraid of being honest, to certain degrees, that they would never say anything against the status quo …
It has just been months and months of emotion. I am just finished with people, places and things. For a very long time, after spending time with certain groups of sober people, listening to them and seeing how they treat me in open community, I just want nothing to do with them.
I imagined that when things began to change for me, with my emotions running at high speed, that someone would come along and have something to offer to help me.
No, instead, they told me to go away. That I was TOO emotional and angry and that I was scaring people away from their meetings. In essence, I needed to leave certain meetings.
So I left those meetings and all those people. Not in all these months, has anyone from the meetings I do go to, said anything to the effect that … This is what I needed to know, at this very moment.
I believe I’ve seen enough to be able to make my mind up, one way or the other. I know who I want in my life. And who I don’t.
There is a short list of people who see me and care about me, and who love me for who I am. I don’t have to hide or put on an act.
I’m just not using the phone like I should. On the way home, my friend told me that I can count on him, any time I needed him.
After the meeting, several people came up to me and said that I just needed to stick close to my home group and the people in it. Because some of my friends who go to the Friday night meeting, have known me since I came in, So They Know …
I’m just dumbfounded to realize and see how people treat each other. How people have treated my friends, and how they treat me.
I am also dumbfounded at just how insignificant I am to certain people. And that now approaching my fifties, Some people still find my presence, unacceptable.
And that for some, I will never be equal.
There must be a lesson in all these things I am seeing and experiencing. There’s got to be some cosmic God kind of truth to all of this ..
God has not revealed that to me yet …
Maybe I am supposed to walk through this and see and feel what I am seeing and feeling. To be able to identify and be able to communicate these things to my fellows, for their benefit, but not necessarily my own, just yet.
I thought people with serious time in the program would be better at advice and counsel, it is now obvious to me that, People may have the time, they are just not sober…
Not sober in the way I really need them to be sober.
There aren’t a lot of double digit sober people, who will not make the time, nor the investment to point people near them, in any certain direction.
People, in many places, do not care to invest in others, beyond sitting in a meeting with you for that designated hour.
So Fuck Me …