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Posts tagged “Observations

Thursday: If You Want What We Have …

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It is Fifty, day four.

The other day, I was traveling. And I let my I-Phone do its thing and run the Shuffle. Instead of poking around for something particular to listen to, I let my phone do that for me. I’ve not listened to a play list like the one that is playing right now.

I have SO many hours of music on my phone, that I would never get around to listening to all of it. Strangely enough, there must be an algorithm in the phone itself on how it chooses music. I have to say that I’ve listened to a lot of music over the past few days. Odd and obscure songs I really like, have played, and in a certain order, as they popped up.

Where I am mentally and emotionally, plays into the music I am listening to. Being on the doorstep of Fifty plus, not really sure where I am going, I get words of encouragement from the singers I have loaded into my system.

Chester Bennington has come up several times, in a certain order. He is dead now, and I hear his words in a different way, from beyond the grave now, instead of picturing him on a stage ALIVE. Odd but comforting. I’m sad he is gone, because he told us where he was and still he killed himself. UGH.

This afternoon, I got up and went to do my shopping. And I ran into Canadian Tire to purchase that light switch I wrote about last night, to give to my reluctant fellow who drank again. It is just a simple light switch you wire into the wall.

This afternoon, I walked another soul through their first Fifth Step, in his sober life. It was a miraculous experience, because we both learned something about ourselves together. I see honesty in him, and a desire for a new beginning.

Before the meeting, I ran my stupid idea past two very sober men, who I trust with my secrets and thoughts. They both agreed I was barking up the wrong tree, because we all agree, my fellow, really does not want to be sober, because he has not even admitted to himself that he is an Alcoholic, and that he is powerless over alcohol and drugs. And he has no desire to be Honest with even himself.

I sat on my idea for the whole meeting.

A fellow I know very well spoke. He’s just a few years ahead of me at nineteen years. He said that once we come into the rooms we begin doing good things for others, which makes us feel good about ourselves.

And we build Self Respect.

Self Respect IS important, because once you build self-respect, in sobriety, we really don’t want to fuck that up. He also mentioned honesty and willingness to do something good for ourselves now that we are sober.

He is fifty-five years old, and I just crossed the fifty mark myself. I know him, but I don’t HANG with him, nor anyone from his crowd. But I see him often, where I hit meetings, and he is consistent in work and ability.

I sat outside with my sober men before the meeting and watched people I know, from the meetings I HAD been going to approach the door. They would walk past me and not even acknowledge I am standing there, except I say their names out loud, as to say, I acknowledge you, even if you don’t ME

They don’t want to converse with me before or after the meeting. It is like I don’t even exist in their spectrum of who they talk to, before and/or after.

Many people in the rooms are like that. They will shake your hand and exchange pleasantries, but nothing beyond that kindness.

Is that all about ME or all about THEM ?

I don’t know. I just know that people (certain people) really don’t care for my brand of sobriety nor honesty in my observations of them, or the fact that I am sober a good while, and many of them are not.

After the meeting I approached my light switch fellow, and made MY PITCH.

I explained the light switch I had purchased and why I was giving it to him. I told him that he wasn’t paying attention to anything, because he sat in a meeting and read THE WHOLE BOOK cover to cover, and decided to drink again …

WHO DOES THAT ???

I know he does not think highly of me at all, being Queer like me. But I am not a Queer like many of the other Queer men I know in the rooms. And I said that to him , prefacing my remarks. He wasn’t buying what I was selling.

In closing he looked at me like I was from Mars, after handing him the light switch and made my sales pitch and replied, I don’t know what to think about this.

I hugged him and walked away.

Not sure if that little TOOL will do anything for him, but I offered a last salvo to tell him that I was paying attention to HIM and his stupid choices, because obviously, he wasn’t paying attention to anyone or anything. And I told him so.

I encouraged him that he really needed to start paying attention …

I won’t be going back to the Monday meeting because after eleven months of sitting in that room, it did not produce one human being who wanted my number nor made an effort to be my friend. No Love Lost There …

I did see another friend who hits the Monday Central Meeting where we are going, starting next week, and he welcomed that choice I had made. He is no longer going to the Friday meeting.

All of my long sober friends, congratulated me and wished me good things for my birthday, which was nice. Most of my straight friends offer me words of wisdom and counsel, quite often. The Thursday meeting is like that, in certain circles of men and women, who’ve got a lot of time.

Others, not so much.

All I know is that I am still alive and I am still SOBER. But for the Grace of God, the fellowship and the wisdom of my very talented doctors.

That’s all Very Good.

People make stupid decisions. Alcoholics make stupid decisions. People who are in the rooms, but not using them properly. The whole goal of getting and staying sober, is that we begin to learn how to live sober. Gain some Self Respect, and LIVE LIFE.

SOBER.

Over time, as you rack up time, you STOP making stupid decisions. It is obvious to me that many of my fellows, are not there yet. I told my fellow that the way I stay sober is by watching them all go to meetings, talk, act, and make stupid decisions.

Thereby, I know, exactly, what NOT to do for myself.

I’m not any better than you are, because that would be my ego talking. I just don’t make the same stupid decision that YOU do. And the fact that I haven’t had a drink in over fifteen years and eight months.

I may be from Mars, and People might think I am strange and stupid, but I am clearly sober today, but for the grace of God.

The decision was made and I am walking away from communities of people now. I am leaving meetings, and I’ve purged my life of people who have been abusing my good will and my loyalty.

It sucks being honest with myself and my friends and fellows. Because in the end, it is me who loose, because I am honest, vulnerably Honest.

Self Respect, Dignity and Honesty are key to my values and morals.

This is my Fifty Promise to Myself.


Friday: Episode 2 – Mentally Drinking !!!

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This morning, first thing, before I did anything else, I called my sponsor.

He picked up the phone.

I went about my day, with a clearer head, and a lot more calmer than I was before I went to bed last night.

I took the Metro to the meeting, and cranked out set up until a fellow showed up to help me finish. And one by one, I spoke to other men, who are much longer sober than I am, who were sitting in the room last night, while I spoke.

I am told, by one, that if there is someone in the room, who I don’t like, or who does not like me, for one reason or another, THAT is the person I need to speak to, from the chair.

And really, when are things, at any time, all about me ? But my perceptions…

I know, some, have problems with me, because I am prosperous, doing well, have good friends, and am somewhat sober.

In most cases, it is NOT all about me.

My friends tell me that I carried the message. And that my friends sitting in the room, only wanted to help me along. That’s good.

Another friend, I had dinner with prior to the meeting, tells me that at this stage in my sober life, I should be at the jumping off point, where I have not had a drink in a long time, I’ve done The Work, I am living life, well, it is time to seek spirituality a little harder.

Wednesday afternoon, my sponsor said to me that, he sees that I like regimen and structure, and order. Not in a “controlling” fashion, just orderly. He tells me that I need to let loose my fist, being clenched so hard, trying to maintain order and control, and open my hand and Let Go and Let God.

I need to practice, a little harder and trusting God.

I’m not quite there yet, even now.

And tonight, I said to the room …

My head is not someplace I should go alone. That my thoughts are dangerous, and I was reminded that, if I think I know something, and plan on talking about that, really, I should just keep my mouth shut.

When I got sober the first time, and Todd was guiding my little ship of horror, I would go to work, leave my problems outside the door, and I allowed Todd to do the thinking for me, because that is what was needed, Todd knew that if I fixated in my brain, the thought of dying, that I WOULD DIE.

And He found the way to keep me out of my head, while I was in the building. It took years upon years of hard work, to be able to do that OUTSIDE the building.

When Alcoholics told me to “go and not come back,” what was left, but the thoughts in my head. Once that happened, the disease of alcoholism, that sick little voice in my head, began working its magic, which lead to my slip.

Because I was thinking, and not thinking very well, left to my own devices.

And over the past months, as feelings and emotions came on, hard and strong, the rat in my head had become overpowering, and what happened ?

I began to mentally DRINK.

In the beginning, there is an idea. Then the thought follows. If not controlled, that thought becomes an action, which leads to a drink.

I didn’t physically pick up a drink, I just went there MENTALLY.

I planned my share last night, down the the finest detail. I THOUGHT I had something particular to say. I ran those thoughts past my sponsor, and got approval.

I sat up there last night, knowing that a major pain in my ass was sitting in the crowd, and I allowed that individual to crank me up, which sent me off script and into my head.

I got home and I was IN my head all night long.

And now I know what that feeling was, it was a Mental Drink.

At fifteen and a half years sober, I still don’t have it, that something I thought I had, looking back at all my friends, knowing where they are. I am not like many of my friends, I’ve said before, who are emotionally and mentally cracked, in double digits.

I am my own worst critic.

I know, right now, that I probably will not get up and talk in front of a room of drunks again, any time in the near future.

I had a message I wanted to speak. I wrote it down. Prepared myself to speak my truth. I can do that in meetings, talk with clarity and faith and meaning. And when I talk, inside a meeting, I am good, for the most part.

I don’t speak, often… I’ve not spoken in front of a group in over six years. So it isn’t second nature. I might hear myself talk inside a meeting, speaking to a Speaker crowd is much  different than sharing in a meeting.

And I don’t have it.

Whatever, I think I should have. Clearly, it was not my night, and I wasn’t spiritually full, and I was easily swayed into homicidal thoughts because of a single man sitting in the crown, who slept through my share … Whom I loathe with all my soul.

My sponsor repeats the thought that:

Your Sobriety and Serenity are the only things that matter now. And anything you allow in, that affects either your Sobriety or Serenity is dangerous. Because if you are not vigilant, and you allow (people,places or things) to sway you …

That is going to lead you back to a drink.

And now I know that I’ve been mentally entertaining a fucking DRINK…

Whatever I think I have, I don’t. No matter how hard I fought to get to this point, I thought I had it, until I got up in front of a room, and opened my mouth.

FUCK ME !

It matters when you get up in front of a room, to have IT.

I did not have IT, at all …

Thank God I am not perfect, nor God. I am not a saint by any stretch of the imagination.

The Books reads … We are Not Saints. Progress not Perfection. Willing to go to any lengths. Then you are ready to take certain steps.

A. That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
B. The probably no human power could relieve our alcoholism.
C. That God could and would if He were sought.


Thursday … The Shoe Store

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I was talking to an elder friend at the meeting tonight and he was in Florida for a month. He had gone to a meeting, and met a very nice woman from India. They were talking about that meeting, on that night.

Every meeting has one, we all know what it is, but nobody who really engages in their sobriety, will utilize them. Where you sit, in a room, is a good barometer of where you are in your sobriety. Some call it, “Front Row Sobriety,” however, not a lot of people sit in the front row, except for those who are used to sitting there regularly.

Many of us don’t want to sit in the very front row …

I am a second row sober man. I always sit in my same seat on Thursday’s. On Friday I sit in my regular seat, right at the front of the table, next to the chair. That is my seat.

Every meeting has a “Back Row” of seats, right along the back wall. Various people, in various meetings, sit in that proverbial back row. Some sober folks with lots of time, who don’t necessarily want to draw attention to themselves, sit in the back row.

That is common.

Then, you have those people who are the last ones in, they either come right at the hour, or just after. So all the seats up front are all taken, by the time the meeting starts. Which dictates that, if you want a front row, or front of the room seat, you have to get there early.

The back rows of a meeting, are usually sat with folks who sneak in, just under the hour mark, and fail to get a seat up front, or further to the front.

The conversation my friend had with the Woman from India, concerned The Shoe Store:

And she said to him, “You know that back row of seats ? Yeah, he said, she continued:

That back row is the Shoe Store … You have the Loafers, the Sneakers, and the Slippers.

All the shoes are represented …

We had a good laugh.

Here, we know about that back row. Those people who come in last, or late. Usually, they don’t make it till the end of the meeting. Or, they are the last ones in and the first ones out after the prayer concludes. They come and go, with negligible contact with anyone, because they really don’t want to interact with anyone in the room, for one reason or another.

Seating in a meeting is time sensitive. The earlier you get there, the better seat you are going to be able to choose, if you choose. Most of my friends always sit in the same areas.

Those who sit in the front row, or those who sit in the middle of the action, and those who tend to hang back in the pack. In an unobtrusive seat, like I said, where they do not bring attention to themselves.

In all my meetings, I do service, one way or another. So I have my choice of seat. I see everybody who comes in the room. I try and shake hands with each one of them, as one of my other elder friends said to me once …

When you shake a hand, it is very important to ALWAYS make eye contact. And you always want to SMILE. Because we want people to feel welcomed and that we mean goodness when we shake their hands, and not seem like we are put out by having to greet, when we really don’t want to greet …

Before the meeting tonight, one of my friends, whom I have not seen in a while came. And we sat outside talking about Yoga, the Gym and Work.

I know for me, as I said to her, that, “You just got to stick around…” “You just have to STAY and watch your friends and your fellows.” I know that I watch my friends, and over the past many months, I see how hard I have worked, and how little others have worked. And it shows in their carriage and demeanor, and in their words, when they speak.

The amount of work you put into your sobriety, shows up over time. And every time you hear someone talk, you get an idea of just how MUCH or how LITTLE, they are contributing to their own sobriety.

I’ve been around a good stretch of time. And I know all of my friends. I know who they were when they came in, and what kinds of decisions they made, and how fucked up things got, in the interim.

My friend added … Yeah, Shit Happens. And that is true.

I, at least, have an idea of the trajectory I am on, and where I want to go. I feel good. I look good, because for a long time, I did not look good at all. I was just hanging out, waiting for something to happen. I really wasn’t concerned with my well being, all that well. Not Good at all.

I was sober, but I was physically, COASTING …

Back in February, I got a kick in the ass at the doctors office. For the first time, in a long time, I really noticed that my body had changed for the better. I had settled for my pear shaped, bloated belly, ass hanging out HIV look.

For a good decade, I was resigned to the shape my body had taken. I had said to myself,

“Well, fuck it. This is the body God gave me so I better get used to it.”

In February, through diet, exercise and medical treatment, My body did actually shift in the positive direction. And I noticed it. Which sent me into overdrive, mentally and emotionally. I changed my wardrobe. I got sexy. And damn, I looked good.

And my friends all noticed. That has changed my outlook in ways I had not really considered.

Here we are today.

Fifty is beginning to feel good to me. And thankfully,

I am not sitting in the Shoe Store.


Saturday: Odds and Ends, and Everything In Between

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cannot Be Bothered.

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

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

I read, Every night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is a thing …

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Colorful Metaphors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Social Media

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

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

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

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

That’s it.

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

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

All the time…

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Sober Realizations

I wrote to a friend of mine recently …

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

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

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

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

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

I want a clean break going into my fifties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But did not realize you needed it until right then.

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

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

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


Thursday: Dueling Dragons …

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It was a pleasantly BALMY day in Montreal today. This week, we saw temps that are darn right Springy … But we are warned that it won’t last, and that March is going to keep us in the cold for another month.

This week saw all kinds of change.

I live with competing dragons in my system. And either one can be in control, but not both at the same time. And one never knows who is in control until I drop labs. This round, my HIV is in good check but my Diabetes is all out of whack.

On Tuesday I went to clinic one for my lab drop session. Both brothers were in attendance, I got to kill two birds with one stone. The drawback is this, depending on who rules the roost, medication has to be adjusted, and you can’t adjust one side without adjusting the other accordingly.

Doctor Chris, over the years, has managed my medications very well. Because I’ve been testing drugs for him for many, many years. And if they work for me, (in our respective medical circle of drug testers), we are the main line to getting drugs approved in Canada on the whole. So what we do is very important for the community at large.

One by one, over the last five years, my twice a day drugs, have been dropped, opting for once a day dosing medication. But the Once a Day dosing takes time, because the new drugs in the pike were taking longer than usual to get to me, (read Us).

This week, new drugs came online finally. But, if you change one side of the equation, then you have to change the other in conjunction. HIV medications and Diabetes medications, don’t always work together. And I don’t know if one or the other is working well, without trial and error dosing.

If the trend drops either way, the HIV drugs come first.

If I don’t live, no other drug is going to make a difference. So Doctor Chris has to make sure that any new drug he gives me now, needs to plays nice with Diabetes drugs. This round, Diabetes lost.

A new Single dose HIV medication came online … EDURANT

Before I could take this pill, Doctor Chris had to make sure it would work with everything else I was taking already. It didn’t. Which meant my Diabetes drugs had to be tweaked.

Doctor George dropped my Janumet, because Metformin cancels out any good the Edurant will do. Which means I am down one Diabetes drug. And that was the end of that appointment.

Wednesday, I saw Doctor George at his clinic and along with his trial nurse, tried to figure out what they needed to do to make up the difference.

Three months ago, I went on Trulicity injections, once a week at a low dose. Now, it seems, that the low dose was not enough, because I am not managing well at all.

While they conferred together, I stepped on the scale and learned that I dropped ten pounds over the last six months. I knew something was up, when I put on a pair of hubby’s skinny jeans and they fit, WELL.

My Diabetes team upped my Trulicity to double the dose, weekly, along with Invokana, I have a bottle of Glyburide hanging in the wings if need be.

When I got home, I sat down with my nutritional map and planned another tweak to my diet, I am working to eliminate sugar intake at all levels. I put the new plan into action, and I have three months to see how all these changes work together.

If this series works, as it is hoped it will, I will manage both dragons better, and that is the plan. I can produce 1200 t-cells with my eyes closed. That is a given. I am over the ten year mark where my viral load is still undetectable.

Diabetes on the other hand is a capricious lady, who does not play well on the playground.

I have to test every other day to check my trends. I don’t have to prick myself every day any more. The Trulicity is a slow release, weekly dosage. Now that dosage is doubled, along with a moderated dietary plan, it should all work.

Now we dose for this observation period. And I hope to see further weight loss, and better numbers overall.

**** **** ****

Tonight’s take away … I would be ok, if everyone would just leave me alone.

How many of us got to this point before we stepped into the rooms.

Our speaker tonight got sober in December of 1994, the same year I got sober the first time, and I was reminded that had I stayed the first time, I would be 23 years sober now.

But that was not meant to be, and as he said to me, I had a hiccup.

 

 

 


Monday: The Morning Drink, Discuss …

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Can I just say, right now, that it was terribly DANGEROUS outside tonight. A fine sheen of ice covers every square inch of real estate, sidewalks, roads, walls, etc … So much ice that walking from point A to point B was an exercise in fine balance and agility.

People were slipping and sliding all over the place.

The Morning Drink

Did you drink in the morning? For many, the “morning drink” is that fine line, that many used to justify their drinking. If you did not drink in the morning, one was not necessarily an alcoholic, or so we thought.

I have some questions about “The Morning Drink.”

  • What do you consider MORNING ?
  • Is it morning if you did not go to sleep yet ?
  • If your nightly drinking, extended into the morning, does that count as morning ?

I had knowledge of what alcoholism looked like from a family perspective. So my alcoholic practice had certain rules.

  • I never bought alcohol at a liquor store, ever
  • I never kept alcohol in my home, ever
  • I never drank in the morning
  • Once I crossed into hard liquor, I never drank beer again, so beer does not count
  • I always had to go OUT to drink.
  • Or I drank in other places, other than home

When I was much younger, I engaged in levels of alcoholism.

I was told, in my twenties, that alcohol was going to make me acceptable to others. I once had a job, where alcohol was served in the office. Later, I worked for R.C.I. International, then Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Alcohol was served at special events, during work hours, and open bar was the name of the game with new ship introductions.

Happy Hour was very useful, because happy hour got the ball rolling. Then I would drive home, change my clothes and return to the bar, for the nightly drinking ritual until last call or until the ugly lights came on.

Going out to the bar or club was a part of life. It was the lubricating event that usually sealed the deal for human sexual interaction. I drank most nights, but back then, You usually did not drink in the morning, unless ONE, there was an open bar in the a.m.,or TWO, you had alcohol at home, which I never had at home.

When I lived in Fort Lauderdale, you could actually drink 23 hours a day. Beginning at happy hour, (5 p.m.) you would begin the ritual. Then, you either stayed where you were, or you went to a secondary location to continue drinking all night, (8p.m. to 2 a.m.)

When that bar/club/location, closed for the night, you could go to a club, that was open after hours, or open into the wee hours of the morning. (2 a.m. to 6 a.m.)

When that bar/club/location closed, you would be forced to endure 60 minutes without a drink, which usually lent itself to going to the Diner to get breakfast, and give your liver a break for an hour.(6 a.m. to 7 a.m.)

At 7 a.m. one local bar opened for business. It was open for twenty three hours a day.

So if you planned accordingly, you could reasonably drink, 23 hours a day/night.

I only did that maybe a couple of times. That was pretty desperate drinking.

I know, for a fact, that on one particular morning that I continued drinking into that 23rd hour, the next decision I made, sealed my mortal well being and ended my sexual viability.

I can piece together what went down after years of trying to figure out the specifics. That morning, specifically, was the morning that I crossed the invisible line into AIDS.

I know that James was sick when he killed himself, which was a year prior to my diagnosis.

I was working for Todd by then, but I was not yet sober. It would be another year before I got sick, but I was told that I carried for well over a year, before I got very sick with hepatitis hence, activating my immune system, and AIDS exploded into my system.

Like I said, I never drank in the morning, if you want to split hairs.

If I had not gone to bed, it was not morning yet, so that did not count.

It’s that morning drink that will kill you.

It almost killed me – Literally.

Even when drugs were introduced, when I went back out, by my own hand, it wasn’t alcohol that was the problem, it was POT. Our days began with a joint and continued well into the day and into the night, all night, until you either passed out or ran out of weed.

You can see above, that my sober decision skills were nonexistent.

Even sober, I could not make things work on my own, and I certainly did not think straight when I was drunk for sure. My brain was fucked for a very long time.

Sometimes, I am under no illusion, that at certain times, I should not do anything, make any decisions, or even leave the house for that matter.

When Todd stepped into my life, He was in the game with me. I was no longer alone, and for a couple of years, under his wing, I did what I was told, I did not make ANY decisions, alone or by myself, and in the end … I Lived !!!

As soon as that guiding hand departed, and left to my own devices, you would have thought that what I learned the two years prior would play out, it didn’t.

The second time I came in, again, I was no longer alone. I put my trust in the group of men and women who helped me get sober again.

When I moved here, I connected to people, who had my back, and the best of intentions. The right people, were in the right place at the right time.

And I’ve said this recently, about my friends … I must have done something right, by NOT doing what I watched my friends do. My decision making skills were honed in the meetings, and with the people I trusted.

I never did anything without a second or third opinion.

Many of the people who got sober when I did, or came in after, and now are double digit sober, are CRACKED in the HEAD. I’ve listened to them week in and week out, and I know what decisions they made, because all those pitfalls are part of their sordid sober story.

And for some, they still, to this day, double digit sober now, Don’t have their SHIT together. Comparing apples to apples, I stayed very close to my center. I never ventured very far from it. And I think that made all the difference.

Foundations …

I was visiting with RAFA earlier tonight, and we were talking about our fellows, and that they see things in a particular way. And when they see or hear something that rocks their moral or spiritual boat/foundation, they loose their shit.

And I jokingly said, I can’t be angry, and I can’t get mad, or show any emotion, in any meeting, in any capacity, in front of any of my friends. I can’t express certain things in public, because that shakes my friends up so much, they they flee in all directions.

I got mad in a meeting, and lost three quarters of my sponsees in one conversation. Rafa, at one time, voiced an opinion, and all of our friends, ostracized him from the fellowship and the group, because he rocked their perfectly tenuous moral boat.

That Boat, I am talking about is like evangelicalism.

Evangelicals are fed one truth. Based on either scripture or a human being (read: Preacher). What they hear, and what they take in, is taken as gospel and that becomes foundational.

Alcoholics and Addicts suffer from the same malady. And I am not sure why. It probably has to do with where they come from, how they were raised, how much life experience they have outside their comfortable community bubble, where they were educated, and finally, how they see the world.

We see this situation play out with our fellows, when you introduce to them alternative ideas or concepts. Or you share an opinion that is not as conservative or as liberal as their own. We’ve seen, over the last year or so, how people react when they hear things that do not necessarily jive with their world views.

Friendships end. Meetings close. Ne meetings open because people are distressed and they need someplace safe to be, so they open a meeting, formed in their image.

People do not return to certain meetings or they go back out and drink and use, which is the most dangerous consequence to differing opinions.

Foundational Sobriety, for some, is as tenuous as the foundation of an Evangelical Christian. They believe certain truths and they bank on those truths never changing, because if they do, people usually implode.

Many years ago, I could not talk about being Gay AND being  a Christian.

That one relationship was so abhorrent to some evangelicals, that they mercilessly attacked me for years, on this blog, until I achieved my degree in Religious Studies in University. Then they just went away …

Thank the Baby Jesus …

They just could not wrap their heads around a Gay man being a Christian. That has changed for some, in today’s day and age, but not for many religious.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

My dalliance with The Church of Latter Day Saints, was an honest endeavor with honest Elders in conversation. It was the Mission President who said, in finality, that in order to be baptized in the LDS church, I would have to annul my marriage.

Not Gonna Happen.

Today, I am still waiting on a meeting with said Mission President. Tonight I got a text saying that they were trying to find time for us to meet, so there is movement there.

The ATONEMENT Is everything. It is the guiding force behind the LDS Church.

I’ve atoned, ten times over.

Good sobriety is all about Good Decision making skills.

At least, that is what I have learned so far, by the example shown by other sober people, in the program, who haven’t all made the wisest decisions, and suffered for their poor decision making skills.

Thank the Baby Jesus, I am not one of those poor souls.

Honestly ! It isn’t my ego that says that, but my soul.