Lorna Kelly once said, in her wisdom about alcoholism,
“Only You know what you do in secret…”
The Book says, that at some point in your sobriety, the only thing that will stand between YOU and a DRINK, will be your Higher Power.
The Book also says that, the obsession of EVERY alcoholic is this …
“That one day, we will be able to drink normally like other people.”
The Thursday meeting did not disappoint again, tonight. One of my friends spoke. What goes on in Vegas, is supposed to stay in Vegas. Well, we know tonight, that adage is not really true.
All it takes is a shot of tequila while standing in a pool at an expensive hotel on the strip. Take a sober man, put him in a POOL with his fellows on a business trip, far from home, disconnected from his sobriety, and hand him a shot !!!
At first, he tosses the first magical elixir SHOT into the pool, much to the consternation of his fellows, so they hand him a second SHOT, this time, he downs that shot, and is off to the races. One shot devolves, from that expensive Hotel pool on the strip into seedy hotels off the strip, lots more alcohol, girls, and illicit drugs.
Thank God he had the presence of mind to STOP. He takes himself to the airport, a few days short of completing this business trip, and pays $2500.00 for a plane ticket, and comes home.
Straight men, in the corporate world have it really bad because we heard him say that the corporate world is COLD, and that MONEY is COLD.
14 months ago, that few night slip took place. Thank God, 14 months later, he is sober.
At the end of the meeting, the 12 step rep got up there and handed the chip.
Surprise, surprise, a man I know well, got up and took that chip.
Many years ago, a man came in. Reticent, and Unrepentant. At that time, I was not as sober as I am today. And what I did not know then, I would not figure out, what I did not know, until I was on the other side, looking back at it, right now today.
Nonetheless, one night, after a meeting, I sat with this man, and gave him the speech. Told him what I was doing, and how I work with others. Needless to say, he did not want what I was selling.
And to this day, he still does not want what I am selling.
You can only WHITE KNUCKLE it for so long. Because eventually, YOU are going to drink again. My gay friends, in the rooms, have not much love for me, because they all think I am a bit mental, and crazy, and they are, and have been the most judgmental about my personal appearance and my presence in meetings.
For the whole of my sobriety, I have watched people. I’ve listened to them talk. And I know what they are doing, and what they are not doing. I know, many things about my friends, that they don’t even know about themselves, until they drink again.
My particular friend, has been white knuckling it for a long time.
Here was a SURRENDER that was YET to happen…
My friend is a member at the Monday meeting. And for the last many months, he comes in, shakes hands perfunctorily, and sits down. For the last many months, he has been more OBSESSED with a light switch on the wall, rather than paying attention to reading the book, that we have been reading religiously for the last 14 months.
He is more concerned with that fucking light switch, rather than his sobriety.
Because he is the guy who shuts the switch, turns on the switch, and when to flip the switch.
He’s been doing this for months. Now I recognize that behavior, looking back at it, because I heard many times before, that if you are disconnected at meetings, that you really need to reconnect, at your own peril.
Over the weekend last, he thought to himself, and he said this to the room that,
“If I had a drink, one drink, in SECRET, nobody would know …”
Well, God knew. And He knew as well.
Stubborn pig-headed queer men are the bane of my existence. My gay friends don’t want to know me, and they are fixated on topics that I have already walked through myself, but over the past year, these are the same men who shunned me and snickered at me, while I was in my cups and at my worst, mentally and emotionally.
My friend took a drink, in secret, hoping nobody would find out.
I may not have been as sober as some think of me today. But the good God’s honest truth is, I am still sober, and I did not drink, even in the worst of my personal hell over the past year, I stuck it out, white knuckling it, as I figured this hell out for myself.
Yet, I have the presence of mind at meetings to pay more attention to my friends, than on my own self. I read the book, I share from my heart. My straight friends are A LOT more supportive in the grand scheme of things, than my gay friends.
Somewhere, deep in my consciousness, now that tonight took place, that the warning signs were there all along. I had seen them materialize. I knew what they looked like, now on the other side of an intentional SLIP.
Lorna warned me, warned us. Because this man was sitting in the same West Island Round up when she spoke those words to us about the Secrets we keep to ourselves and having to guard our secret moments, we keep to ourselves.
More than once, in her share, she said and I quote …
Alcoholism, is like a snake, slithering through fine china and wine glasses, across the table, at an epicurean feast fit for a queen, is always there. And on the second night of that feast, a fellow lady at the table suggested to her that she drink, to “enhance the pasta dish,” and in that moment she had a choice, to DRINK or NOT to drink.
She put down her fork and knife, put her hands in her lap and said the Serenity Prayer to herself. Thereby avoiding a slip at that table.
The day after, she had an emotional breakdown in her room thankful that she had God in her corner and that she knew what to do in that moment of choice …
She did not drink that wine, and was sober until the day she died almost a year ago, in the Thirty something sober range….
The Book of Forty is closing. The Book of Fifty is about to be opened.
I know God is in my life because my spiritual directors, Spencer and Randall kept me on that connection every day.
I am sober and made my Statement of Faith the other day in my Inventory …
Monday I will be Fifty … And I will be SOBER…
There is a God and I am not He.
Some of my friends are not so lucky.
The Book says, an alcoholic Will Drink Again. Lorna said that We must be diligent in our secret spaces.
And Mother Teresa said to Lorna, on her sickbed that…
YOU MUST PROTECT THIS SPECIAL GIFT … (read Sobriety)
The fact of life, when you are sober is, Life Does Not Stop, It Keeps On Going.
I know that feelings pass, as the days go by. The less we hold on to impermanent things, the better off we are. I’m sad about the death of a man who was uber talented. But that was yesterday. Being so many degrees separated from the epicenter of tragedy, tells me that I can mourn and move on.
So we move on.
I left really early, so I could commune with the dead via music. I arrived at the church with PLENTY of time to do my thing, ALONE. About ten minutes to seven, I was finished setting up and I went to sit outside.
Squirrels were bouncing through the tree canopy. And something very spiritual happened. Something I know to be true to me, that hasn’t happened in a very long time.
Birds are a very significant signs in my life. As I was sitting outside on the steps, I looked in a tree nearby, and there was a Red Breasted Robin sitting in the branches.
She came out of the tree, and landed about six feet from where I was sitting. And she came close and ran around the ground around where I was sitting.
The red breasted robin is significant, because the robin is a spiritual manifestation of my grammy. When ever she comes to visit, it is the robin who shows up.
All my dead relatives came back as birds. My grammy, my grampy and Memere.
That was spiritually significant. I had not been visited like that in a very long time.
We sat a full house, and then some. Lots of visitors from out of town. We are amid the summer visitor rush. The Friday night meeting is unique in many ways. There is not another meeting like ours, in all the city, on the English side.
Tonight’s read spoke about: The Honeymoon. Or as some may call it, the Pink Cloud period that sometimes takes place, in the weeks and months following our entry into the rooms.
Once you sink into your chair and you find your voice, one begins to participate in greater abilities. It seems, for some, that the realities of life, have been suspended.
We spend a little time with our fellows, and some of those fellows become friends as we find our ways. That is a good thing. We may need a little respite from the insanity we have come to learn how to let go of.
My warning to newbies is always the same …
You might be sitting on your pink cloud and everything seems in order as the insanity you walked away from is abated for a while. But like all things natural, life does go on around us. It just does not take a vacation.
It is just waiting for us. And hoping that we’ve learned something minimal by now is the key, so that when the cloud edge comes, you don’t fall off of it, and hit the ground with a THUD. Some go back out, and drink and use again, shit happens.
I’ve seen this happen. So I encourage our men and women to stick close to others in the rooms. Find commonalities. Use the rooms as they present themselves to you.
You CAN, figuratively, GET anything you need from the rooms. That worked for me famously. But times have changed. The rooms fifteen years ago, are not the rooms of 2017.
For me, the first eleven months were really great. I was connected. I had a sponsor that i was connected to with an umbilical cord through my first anniversary.
Sobriety, like life, happens, and sometimes sober people do really Un-Sober things.
At the eleventh month mark, I met my then boyfriend, and the race took off.
That Christmas of 2002, hubby went home to Ottawa and he gave me keys to the apartment we live in today, and said I could stay here, while he was gone.
I never left … tee hee
That was the beginning. Once that train left the station, it never stopped.
The honeymoon was definitely OVER.
Learning how to have a sober relationship took A LOT of work. Learning how to be responsible for another human being, was the beginning of my reaching the point I had been looking for for the whole of my life.
When does a boy become a man ??? Gay or Straight, the answer is the SAME.
Boys become MEN when we learn to put the needs of our significant others before our own.
Putting a home together took YEARS.
This apartment was sterile, dirty white. Take out containers were all over the place. The tv was black and white and had rabbit ears. We did not have a computer. We did not have food in the fridge. We did not have two nickles to rub together.
There were 300 empty beer bottles on the balcony, that took months and months to return, so we could buy groceries. Hubby was a pot head, so we had to cleanse the apartment of weed, rolling machines and papers … UGH !!!
Yesterday I was reorganizing the closet and I found another rolling machine, and a package of papers … Does this ever end ???
Needless to say, it was one thing after another. Mental illness happened. I learned how to care for my boyfriend who was sick for almost a year. That was a huge challenge.
Then he woke up, and we got married …In November 2004.
The Honeymoon was deferred until December that year. Things were honeymoonish for a few weeks.
That did not last for long.
Thirteen years would pass, until that final PROMISE came to pass …
Fear of People and of Economic Insecurities will leave us …
The grind of life took us on a life changing journey together. And we survived it.
In year thirteen and beyond life got exponentially better.
It was clearly NOT a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination.
We both worked our asses off. Went back to school, we amassed 5 University degrees between us.
Sobriety grew on us and not without its challenges.
Life is SO much better today than it was a little more than fifteen years ago.
I had 11 months of non stop meetings. I had 11 months of a sponsor who was part of my life on a daily basis. I had aftercare rehab counseling for two years when I got sober this time. I had everything I needed and NOT a single thing more.
I worked my ass off, for twelve years in sobriety, before BOB came into my life and turned my sober life upside down. I thought I was doing everything right, WRONG …
Bob introduced me to Intense Prayer and Meditation, like I had never heard before.
Three – Seven – Eleven …
My sobriety was definitely enhanced.
Twelve through fifteen was all about learning MORE about the book.
Year Fifteen has been one Hellacious, Terrible, Emotional, Nightmare.
I never want to go through this kind of pain ever again in my life.
In ten days, I will be Fifty years old.
It works if you work it.
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The first really BIG weekend in Montreal has begun. The F1 Grand Prix, is the penultimate event of the season for the city and the millions of people who come from far and wide to participate.
It only gets better from here, with the Festival Season that opens over the next month.
I did nothing all day. I did my shop early and came home and crawled back into bed. I’m not opening any longer, which frees me to head out a little later than usual. I got ready to go and took my time in getting to the church. The transfer out was quick, and I arrived at the church to find a friend sitting on the church steps, enjoying the sun, so I sat with him for a bit and chatted.
A new group of young men are on the stage to open and set up. We, (read: the group conscience) spoke and we handed the keys and responsibilities to them, so that they would be responsible and show up and become service hounds in the process.
Experience over the years has taught us one true thing …
Service will keep you sober.
The reading WAS Step Three …Actually … The Step Three Prayer.
I heard many things spoken. But one young man said something that I actually wrote down. Step Three is an important step. It is the first step where a prayer is asked of us.
It asks of us to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him.
Step Three reads: Made a decision, to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
This appears on Page 63 of the Big Book.
The three most important words in the Big Book, appear on page 112.
Read This Book …
This young man said: Surrender has to come first, before we utter this prayer out loud. Our surrender affects everything else that comes afterwards.
The Quality of my surrender dictates how everything will turn out.
How much do we surrender when we pray ? 10%, 50%, 100%
I can concede that I need to “Turn it over,” But in my case, my surrender usually has conditions, or the usual, “Yeah BUT.” My sponsor said to me, not long ago, that I needed to open my fist and turn my hand towards God and Let Go Absolutely.
With No Conditions, or Explanations or Expectations.
Surrender is the whole point of getting sober.
I can’t – He Can – So I will let Him.
We cannot do this thing alone, which is why we need to go to meetings, and we also need others. I know, for me, that when I pray to God, I am either going to get an Up/Down response, or if the Up/Down does not come, I need to go to a meeting and listen to my friends and get a vertical person to person response.
If God does not talk to me directly, I usually find that He speaks through other people in any meeting I go to. It usually works that way for me.
Lately, God needs my attention. And I either accept that or I do not. I know that when God needs my attention, he removes something from me, in order that I have more of me to pay attention to Him.
That is either the removal of people, places, things or activities.
We believe that we always need to be engaged. Always doing something, helping everyone else, trying to wrest control over a situation that might be OUT of control.
I’ve been spread too thin for too long. People have taken advantage of my good will. And eventually, I get pushed over my personal limit of Fuck It …
So I sat in front of the church this evening, with nothing to do, talking to a friend.
That was a particularly good God Moment.
When I got sober the second time, I was ready to surrender. And in the moment when I got on my knees and prayed to God, I surrendered.
The rest you can say is history.
Because I am right here, right now.
And We did not drink today.
And together, the entire room, spoke with one voice, The Third Step Prayer.
It was a good thing …
Today, I paid my yearly domain fees. And we embark on another year of writing. The first post on this blog was posted on November 30th 2006. That is 11 years worth of writing. And today begins year number 12.
Earlier today, Face Book reminded me of things I have written in the past, that back then, were cross posting across all my social media. Today, it does not, except Twitter. On April 20th 2009, I wrote an extensive post on the Gospel of John. And as I re-read that passage today, I was amazed at how academically oriented I was, because I was still in University at that time. And I thought to myself …
I can’t believe I wrote that post.
It was amazing to me today, to see what and how I was writing throughout my university career. I mean, I don’t write like that today, except once in a blue moon when I really write something that is useful and pertinent.
I only kept a few of my course folders from university when I was studying Scripture and the Gospels and my Gnostic class notes.
***** ***** *****
Last weekend, I spent 5 days with Mama and Lu. Part of that time was spent crafting with Lu. Play Doh, Coloring, Puzzles, Markers, Stickers, so forth and so on. I had not touched a coloring book, oh, in ages, I guess. Mama told me that she found coloring with Lu to be really therapeutic and calming. So one night we sat and colored together and I left my pages tacked to the refrigerator there at home for them to look at.
Today, while out shopping, I went into our local Art Shop, which is on the ground floor of the mall, and they had a HUGE selection of Adult Art Therapy coloring books. I looked through all of them until I found one that appealed to me. In the end, I came away with 100 Mandalas.
What is a Mandala ?
With that book, I selected a deluxe set of colored pencils, instead of markers, because some of the art is very intricate and requires a fine hand with color.
If you haven’t colored since you were a kid, I highly recommend it. Turn off the computer and the tv, turn off your phone, and spend an hour coloring. You will feel so invigorated, it may change the way you spend your days.
So that is a thing …
This evening we sat a small group of folks. Passover and Easter have come to an end, and we were missing a good number of regulars. And tonight we heard a young lady speak. We are taught that we never say NO, unless we just can’t get up there and talk.
I’ve spoken before about the trials and tribulations of our young men and women. Young people in their twenties, going into their thirties, have difficulty finding their ways into sobriety and life, when they are so young. Unlike a good number of men and women who are much older than they are.
A young person, coming in on their first pass, into a room full of old people IS daunting.
Because they don’t see anyone like themselves. And in the suburbs and locations Off Island, many of those far off communities are filled with older folks who have moved off island to either retire or raise their kids away from the city. Our young lady grew up off island, in the burbs, to parents who were in the program while she grew up.
Kids being kids, we cannot, as members, get in the way of their spiritual journeys, I’ve heard it said by parents, in the program, while raising kids, that yes, they brought their kids to meetings early on, and yes, those parents can be positive role models for their kids to … Not to Do What We Did…
In the end though, they had to allow their young people to do what they needed to do, as in grow up and move away, go to school. They, as parents, could only do so much, without blatantly saying … Anything.
One night our young lady heard her mother tell her that:
Well, you know, You have the ISMS …
Having family in the program while we are drinking, can be both a blessing and a curse. But the one thing that stuck with her early on is this …
She could not enjoy her drinking while she tried to control it, And she could not control her drinking while she was enjoying it …
A conundrum for sure …
In the end, at twenty seven, she made it in. And in a couple of months will celebrate three years. Having to get up and tell people what it was like, what happened and what it is like now, she told us all the things she is NOT doing concerning her sobriety. Which spoke to her, telling her that she really had nothing to say, because she was resting on her laurels and really is not engaged as she should be, and she knew that going into tonight.
They tell us and the book says: If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it then you are ready to take certain steps…
I know for me, in years One through Twelve, I was going to meetings, working my steps, and going through the motions. In year twelve is when Bob from NYC sparked a fire under my ass and told me what I needed to do.
The Three, Seven and Eleven Shuffle …
Go to your Big Book … Copy out the Three, Seven and Eleven Prayers, right from the book, and post them where you will see them every day.
Some days, prayer is hard in coming. Some days I cannot be bothered. And some days, I cannot pray at all. But I see those words daily. They are on my computer … Where I put them almost four years ago.
Sometimes I just read the words. Sometimes I pray the words. Either way, I am taking the forward action of acknowledging the word printed in front of me.
I was told that if I did that, that my life would change. And in a matter of months, God shifted the cosmos for me and indeed, my life did change.
And that life is still in motion.
That was the advice I gave the crowd tonight as I gave away the Desire Chip ….
If you do this, and you pray, and then return to page 164 and read and re-read A Vision for You, you will know what you need to move forwards, and with that knowledge of what you really have to offer another human being, when your bank is full, then God will bring people to you..
In His Time and in His Wisdom…
It never fails …
Our story tonight, comes via a man who is of the Jewish faith. This story highlights the conundrum that many face, when they come to the rooms. The dichotomy of a program of recovery, that operates on a Spiritual, rather than religious model.
You can’t get away with calling a program of recovery “Spiritual” when the word “GOD” appears in the Book, and through the steps. This One Single Three Letter Word, keeps many from getting sober, no less, having a spiritual experience that everybody needs, at some point in their journey.
How do you separate the Religious from the Spiritual ?
…The last big hurdle was closing the meeting with the Lord’s Prayer. As a Jew, I was uncomfortable with it and decided to talk to my sponsor about it. So I said, “The Lord’s Prayer bothers me. I don’t like closing with it.” “Oh,” he said, “what’s the problem?” “Well, I’m Jewish and it’s not a Jewish prayer.”
“Well then,” he said “Say it in Jewish.” I said, “It would still be the Lord’s Prayer.” “Right,” he said. “Then say something else that you like. Your Higher Power, whatever you call it, is helping you, and you need to say thank you.”
That was a big step for me; I finally began to separate the religious aspect of my life from A.A. Spiritual program. Now the big difference to me is that religion is the RITUAL, and we all differ there, and SPIRITUALITY is the way we feel about what we do. It’s about my personal contact with my personal Higher Power, as I understand Him.
I laughed to myself as I read this story. This man, who came in, and against his better nature, did get sober, and found a life beyond his wildest dreams. He, a Jew, comes in and has problems, not with G-d but with The Lord’s Prayer, and its recitation to close a meeting.
I’ve spoken about the promise made to God, by Memere, about me, when I was just a boy.
Last night, I was reminded of that promise, by a passage in a book I am reading at the moment about Pope Francis.
The biographer is telling the story of the child, Jorge Mario Bergoglio and how his grandmother introduced him to a life of faith and prayer. A story, very similar to mine.
It was my grandmother who took me to church, promised me to God, and faith followed me, and God was always there, I just wasn’t always interested in listening.
Until I got sober the second time.
I read this passage last night and it rang so very true for me …
May the Man not betray what he promised as a child …
I had not made that initial promise, but I HAD made a promise to God, in church, as I was being groomed to enter the seminary. And while there, I did promise God my life, from that point in my limited life, to the extent I believed I could.
It only took me thirty four years to figure out that I needed to rekindle that promise and make my way into life with God in the drivers seat. And to be honest, I was good for that.
Life is there, for you to choose what you are going to do with it.
But if you are on Train B, and you are on your Do Over, better buckle up and do this right, because you may never get another kick at the proverbial can of sobriety.
Petty complaints, and a lack of trust and faith will destroy someone coming in the rooms with an “I Know Better” attitude.
It was Chabad, A Jewish Organization, who pointed the way for me, and IS the bedrock of my program of recovery. An Organization that still operates in our city today.
I find it funny, that our writer tonight, is a Jew who has problems with a Christian Prayer, and it was a Jewish Organization that helped me get and stay sober.
I owe them a debt of Gratitude.
A factual memory that rises to my mind when reading this story… The story of Louis and Irene Ziff, survivors of the Holocaust, and the Auschwitz concentration camp. I knew this couple well, they were friends of the family when I was a boy. They used to dine at our table for many years, before they both died.
I remember them fondly.
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.
My story begins a long time ago, in a nondescript church, with Memere and God.
On that day, she had a conversation with God, and the covenant was made. And for the whole of my life, God was there, running in the background, even if I did not always want Him or see Him.
When we are born, we are given a body, a soul and a spirit. Our bodies, some say, are the temples of God, created in His image, and we should take care of that body, soul and spirit. Because it is the only one we have, and this is not a dress rehearsal, this IS the BIG SHOW.
When we reach the age, where addiction begins, nothing else matters, but the consumption of whatever we are addicted to, unto the bitter end.
I know what Humility is. I have spent an inordinate amount of time seeing where, I had to humble myself before God. And there were those times.
I am a man who desires structure. A man who desires to be with others, and not left on his own. I need that communion with those who participate in my life. I need a steady hand, every day that I live this life. I am nothing without those around me.
For a great portion of my twenties, I craved a new addiction, “Acceptance.” And what ever I had to do to get it, I did it. Not only did I never “find my way into acceptance fully,” it seemed, in retrospect, that “I would never arrive.”
My drinking career did not last that long. But for a very long time, I was abusing myself, disrespecting my body, my soul, and my spirit. And I had turned away from God, because I had forgotten that a covenant existed between God and myself.
If you think you can run your life, for the whole of your life, addicted and abusive, your God-given body, soul, and spirit is polluted.
I heard a friend say that at times, God might take something away, but He also gives something back. And my life, as it was lived, up to today, has been a series of God taking things away, however harsh it may have been, in God’s wisdom, I believe He knew what He was doing.
I had abused my Godly Covenant. I had forgotten.
Human beings are supposed to make it in the world, against all that happens, we are supposed to go out into the world, be fruitful and multiply. Well, I may be fruitful, but I sure as shit did not multiply. Thank God …
In the gay world, we are told we must be fit, sexy, tanned, rich and pretty. We are told that in order to “belong” we must imbibe great alcohol and do great drugs, because that is what we gay boys do. At least that was the message I got in my twenties.
I was fooled into a delusion that took me to the bitter end. Because I was none of those things, but for a few short years. Alcohol is capricious, patient and cunning.
I believe now, that God knew exactly what He was doing all the time.
But at the point where I had humiliated myself in public, drank myself into the ground and sexed myself up to the point that I was going to die because of my actions, God needed to get my attention, once in for all.
The Evangelical crowd believed that AIDS was the Gay’s punishment for sinning and that AIDS was what we earned by sinful behavior. They wanted us to die. And they vehemently encouraged us to die.
God brought me to my knees, in grand fashion. With plague …
He took away my ability to be fruitful and to be sexy and to be sexual. He removed me from that insanity, I thought I really needed, come hell or high water.
In retrospect, Was my sex life all that it was cracked up to be? No…
Only when I drank.
Taking away that part of my life was part of the deal. But God did not leave me, he incarnated and came into my life in human form. Todd came and saved my life.
I was going to learn some humility. And that is exactly what had happened.
I learned over the course of two years, what humility meant, and why it was important.
Humility was necessary to survive. Approval may not come all the time. And we must stand up and know that we are good. That we can be good to ourselves.
HUMILITY — Definition: When your toilet is stopped up with a cup placed backwards in the bowl, and shit and piss fill the bowl and is all over the floor, your job is to get that cup out of the toilet and clean that mess… humility …
We know today, well at least some of us do that:
My belly button is NOT the center of the universe. Therefore I am not the center of the universe.
As long as I was orbiting my sun, my moon and my stars, I was good. As long as that hand was there, and I was not alone, I trusted Todd with my life and I flourished.
We know that time came to an end. I did not know what to do. Honestly, I did not know what to do with myself or how I was going to survive on my own.
I tried for a while, until A.A. asked me to leave and not come back.
Never tell an alcoholic to go away and not come back. Because if you do that, their life becomes your problem.
Once you speak words, you can never take them back.
I had to venture on one last odyssey. God was there, on silent mode. But I had to get to the point that I recognized that I was done abusing myself.
And that night, I got on my knees and humbled myself before God.
And with miraculous Godly power, God moved heaven and earth to bring me back into my covenant.
The rest, I can say, is history. Good history.
The steps are written in a certain order and should begin with the First, through the Twelfth. Because we need to admit, come to, and decide that (God) for me, is the director and I am a servant. Then I need to clean house and throw out the trash.
Only then can we entertain the word Humility. Step Seven is all about humility.
A familiar exercise is to read the Twelve and Twelve and Step Seven, and highlight how many times the word humility appears in that step work.
God giveth and God taketh away …
And I know that I could never have provided myself with what God has given me over the last fifteen years on my own. I was no normal mortal human being who was supposed to go into the world and make it on my own.
I had no idea how that was going to work.
Alcoholics and Addicts in recovery, We Get Our Do Over…
In the rooms we find what we have all been missing. I’ve proved, over the years, that God can be found in the rooms of recovery. I’ve seen Him move among my friends.
And He has moved in my life. Over the years, little by little, God has removed certain things from my life. In order that He might give me something better.
An Empty vessel that can be filled with grace. A Body, Soul, and Spirit that is Clean and Sober, that can flourish and be of service to my fellow-man.
Having lived as long as I have, I surely do not take my life for granted.
People rely on me. They trust me. And they love me. If I took for granted one day, of this covenant that I now inhabit, I would surely lose my life …
A long time ago, I had a conversation with God. And I told him that I was ready to sacrifice my life in order to serve God.
An entire lifetime would go by, until I reached the point where the time was right, the moment had arrived, the ground was fertile, and I was ready to step up and serve God with all that I had.
For me, in order to serve God, in hindsight, required great sacrifice.
It has taken me a lifetime to realize just what that meant.
Tonight a friend reminded me of why we were sitting in that room tonight.
Because God giveth …
“Almost the only scoffers at prayer (and meditation) are those who never tried it enough.”
Friday the 13th began very early this morning, when I was awoken out of a sound sleep with reflux and heartburn that lasted for more than two hours. So bad, it was, that I got dressed and went to the pharmacy to get some medicine. Twenty dollars later, and a walk back home, I was feeling better.
I later attempted to go back to bed, for a medically induced period of sleep. And my phone rang right in the middle of a dream, so sleep ended abruptly, again.
People come and people go from my life so often, that I am used to being alone. I am learning that sometimes, people in my life, are only there for a short period of time, and my mourning the loss of friends is getting shorter. I am getting much better at letting things go quickly, instead of holding on to beating myself up for one reason or another.
The other thing that is meaningful to me is that, I am an emotional being. In a few days, here in Canada, another Bell Let’s Talk Day is coming. That day, is spent shedding light on those suffering from mental illness, depression or any form of mental issues.
I’ve been on anti depressants for decades. When you are going to die, and you’ve got nothing to live for, the people in my life, my doctors and my shrinks took very good care of me, so that I did not, in fact, DIE…
Last year was an emotional shit show. I lost an entire community of friends over the fact that I got angry in front of them, and that shattered the calm and sedate demeanor facade that everybody hung on to so hard.
I accept now, that yes, I can be emotional. Because when I stuff my feelings nobody wins. And I am tired of always having to be Happy, Joyous and Free all the time, when on the odd day, I want to strangle some people until they choke …
Some people, in the program, are seriously afraid of me and avoid me like the plague. Like I am just going to get up one morning, and find that I feel nothing any more and never say that “hey you are an asshole, or that is fucked up, or you are full of shit, you fake bastard.”
Tonight we read from A.B.S.I. and shared on prayer and meditation.
The little door in my brain opened and I saw something I had not noticed before. I’ve been practicing prayer and meditation, on and off, for the whole of my life. Some periods were longer than others.
The visual that came tonight was this …
When I got sick, and Todd had stepped into my life, and gave me certain directions, that that specific structuring of my life, was, in part, meditation. I went to work every day, and I learned over that time, how to still my mind. Rudimentary practice.
I had a heart, mind and soul, that was in terror of dying. The rat in my brain was spinning that emotional wheel at 150 miles per hour. When I approached the building we worked in, I had to learn how to shut that part of my brain OFF.
And when I stepped across the threshold, all I HAD to THINK about was WORK.
Let me tell you, that that took a long time. But once I had the lesson, it came in handy.
I did not have to think about being sick, or how I was going to survive, or that I was going to die. I turned my will and my life over the God, (read: Todd) every day that I worked for him, until the day he left for California.
Even back then, now that I look at it now, twenty three year later, it may not have been meditation to me then, but a practice in compartmentalization. And that practice did wonders for me, because it worked.
I know, today, that I have a daily ritual. A certain order to my day. There is stillness in my life, daily. I start my day quietly. And I like it that way. I have prayer reminders all over the apartment. I see them all day and I see them before I go to bed.
Every day I have to stand in front of my medicine cabinet, for one reason or another, several times a day. And that is when my mind goes on autopilot. I see people in my minds eye. I say their names to myself. I remember them, daily. In a way, those moments standing there, are really for those who did good for me and saved me and continue to help me.
At the end of the night, I return to stillness. I do my final prayers and meditation when I shut down this box, and I go to bed. I spend an hour in bed reading, NIGHTLY.
Every night, unless I am dead tired, and I just shut off the light and go to sleep.
I don’t often think about prayer, or meditation, or gratitude, in word form, like Oh, I need to pray, or meditate, or be grateful, for God’s sake …
I pray. I meditate. And I am grateful. Every day. Those aspects of my life are integrated into how I live my life, on a daily basis.
If you take any kind of medication for any reason, you understand gratitude if you are still alive because of that medication, WE are grateful for every day those pills still work. How can you NOT be grateful for the ability to get up every morning, and know those pills are keeping you well and helping you survive.
Prayer and Meditation, the conscious contact with that, that is greater than yourself is necessary for any modicum of serenity.
I’m still here. There is still work to be done. My friends and my husband need me to be here, so in order to do that, I have to take care of me, and it begins with prayer, and a little gratitude and some meditation.
When we crank up the heat on Prayer and Meditation, our lives change.
If you don’t at least try it, how do you know, that it wouldn’t work for you too ?
There is so much shit going on in the world, and social media is rife with crap that we need not take part in. Shutting that all off for a few minutes a day, may just save your sanity.
Because, let’s face it, INSANITY is coming to the White House, and it is going to be there for at least four years, unless we find a way to get rid of that insanity, one way or another.
Thank the baby Jesus, I live above the Northern Border.
About 80,000 people have been told to evacuate their homes as wildfires swept into Israel’s third largest city of Haifa. The fires follow a two-month drought and are being fanned by strong winds in the north of the city. Wildfires are also threatening homes near Jerusalem and in the West Bank.
If you pray … Now would be a good time to do so. This is NOT a good situation at all.
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It was a full day of “things to do” here at home. And once again, I missed the parade. I had other things to do, after I had decided to force myself out of bed, because I would rather had slept in, but there were chores to do.
I am quite efficient when it comes to chores and shopping and cleaning all at the same time. I drop the laundry in to wash, i come back and scrub the bathroom and vacuum the apartment. By that time it is time to dry. Once the dryer is started, I have sixty minutes.
I change up and go do my grocery shopping, and return home with 17 minutes to spare. I fold my laundry and have the rest of the day free to do whatever comes to mind.
A common question that is tossed back and forth between Rafa and myself is:
What are you reading ???
I got three new books this week:
- The Suitors – by Ben Ehrenreich, a retelling of the Odyssey
- The Bone Collection – by Kathy Reichs – Highly anticipated read
- Cross Bones – by Kathy Reichs – another Highly anticipated read
This week the news came from the Mission President, after our one young man returned home to Idaho on Monday, that a good number of our Montreal NDG team is being broken up and scattered to all points. My second Elder who was on my team has been moved to Lasalle, at the end of the Green Line. Another Elder from the Mandarin side is going to Ottawa. And one of our Sisters is moving to the Singles Ward, up in Outremont.
I know who is replacing my team at the moment, but I am awaiting introductions and to ask for an appointment to see the Mission President myself. Hopefully we can reach some kind of agreement or consensus. We shall see.
So to be honest, I am in Spiritual Limbo at the moment. I came all this way with a certain team of young men, only to have everything be ripped apart by ending missions and moving people from here to there.
My books from Deseret Books are still in the pike.
Tonight we heard some good wisdom from a visitor from out of town, who is here for the Winter. Instead of fleeing to somewhere warm in semi-retirement, he came here instead. Like he said, Montreal is an infectious city. Once you visit, you WILL return, and most likely STAY.
The numbers of members with MANY YEARS going BACK OUT is a problem. Just as well
The numbers of members with LITTLE TIME going BACK OUT is also a problem.
I’ve spoken of this before. And tonight we heard one reason why old timers go back out and drink/drug again …
They (read: Old Timers) have TOO MANY YEARS, AND NOT ENOUGH DAYS.
They tend to forget, after so long, what the feeling felt like to have their last drink, or what that last hangover felt like, or what their first day sober looked like.
The other side to that coin is this … People who suffer catastrophic illnesses like Cancer or something along those lines, they get sick, they have an operation or chemo or treatment of some sort, some survive and some do not.
It is common for sober people who have been through the mill to one day just say:
Fuck It … And they drink again. After what I have been through A drink isn’t going to kill me. I survived a particular illness so I get a dispensation …
My friend Togani took his 34 year cake from a friend. I saw some friends and arranged for my chip to be gotten and to plan my cake in a couple of weeks.
It was a good day.
Every time I listen to this talk, I am moved to ask, seek, and knock. It moves me to pray everything that is in my heart. To know that Heavenly Father loves me, and that in the fullness of His time, whatever my missions turns out to be, will be made known to me. But as always, not on my time, nor my will, but in Heavenly Father’s time, and His will.
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Every moment of precious prayer can be holy time spent with our Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
In the struggles of mortality, we are never left alone to accomplish our work, to fight our battles, to face adversity or unanswered questions. Jesus Christ taught with a parable “that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” He told of a judge who did not honor God and did not have any regard for mankind. Repeatedly, a widow came before him, pleading to be avenged of her adversary. For a while, the judge would offer her no relief. But as a result of her faithful, consistent pleading, the judge finally thought, “Because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”
Then Jesus explained:
“Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him … ?
“I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.”
And then the Lord asks this question: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”1
Prayer is essential to developing faith. When the Lord comes again, will He find a people who know how to pray in faith and who are prepared to receive salvation? “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”2 We are children of a loving Heavenly Father, and we may enjoy personal communion with Him when we pray “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ”3 and then act in accordance with the answers we receive by the promptings of the Holy Ghost. In faith we pray, we listen, and we obey, that we might learn to become one with the Father and the Son.4
A prayer of faith opens the way to receive glorious heaven-sent blessings. The Savior taught:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”5
If we expect to receive, we must ask, seek, and knock. In his search for truth, Joseph Smith read from the scriptures, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”6 In answer to his prayer of faith, the heavens were opened. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, descended in glory and spoke to Joseph Smith, ushering in the dispensation of the fulness of times. For us, miraculous healing, powerful protection, divine knowledge, liberating forgiveness, and precious peace are among the answers that come when we offer up a “soul’s sincere desire”7 in faith.
We pray to our Father in the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Ghost, thus engaging all three members of the Godhead in our utterances.
We pray to our Heavenly Father and Him only because He is “God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting … , the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them.” As our Creator, He gave commandments that we “should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom [we] should worship.”8
As you pray to Heavenly Father in faith, “he will console you in your afflictions, … [and ye may] feast upon his love.”9 President Henry B. Eyring shared that his father’s prayers during a losing battle with cancer taught him the deeply personal relationship between God and His children:
“When the pain became intense, we found him in the morning on his knees by the bed. He had been too weak to get back into bed. He told us he had been praying to ask his Heavenly Father why he had to suffer so much when he had always tried to be good. He said a kindly answer came: ‘God needs brave sons.’
“And so he soldiered on to the end, trusting that God loved him, listened to him, and would lift him up. He was blessed to have known early and to never forget that a loving God is as close as a prayer.”10
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ because our salvation is in Christ, and “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”11 We come unto the Father in the sacred name of Jesus Christ12 because He is our Advocate with the Father and He does plead our cause.13 He suffered, bled, and died to glorify His Father, and His merciful petition on our behalf opens the way for each of us to obtain peace in this life and everlasting life in the world to come. He does not want us to suffer longer or endure more trials than needed. He does want us to turn to Him and allow Him to ease our burdens, to heal our hearts, and to cleanse our souls through His purifying power. We never want to take His name in vain with rote and repetitious words. Sincere prayers offered in the holy name of Jesus Christ are an expression of our devoted love, our eternal gratitude, and our steadfast desire to pray as He prayed, to do as He did, and to become as He is.
We pray by the power of the Holy Ghost because “he that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God.”14 When we pray with faith, the Holy Ghost can guide our thoughts so that our words harmonize with the will of God. “Ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.”15
“It is not only important that we shall know how to pray, but it is equally important that we shall know how to receive the answer to our prayer, to be discerning, to be alert, to be able to see with clear vision and understand with clear intention God’s will and purpose concerning us.”16
President Eyring shared: “I have had prayers answered. Those answers were most clear when what I wanted was silenced by an overpowering need to know what God wanted. It is then that the answer from a loving Heavenly Father can be spoken to the mind by the still, small voice and can be written on the heart.”17
As the Savior entered the Garden of Gethsemane, His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. In His agony, the only one He could turn to was His Father. He pleaded, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” But He added, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”18 Though sinless, the Savior was called upon to “[suffer] pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind,” including the sicknesses and infirmities of His people. “[He] suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance.”19 Three times He prayed, “Father, thy will be done.”20 The cup was not removed. In humble, faithful prayer He was strengthened to go forward and fulfill His divine mission to prepare for our salvation, that we might repent, believe, obey, and obtain the blessings of eternity.
The answers we receive in prayer may not be what we would desire. But in times of trouble, our prayers become a lifeline of love and tender mercy. In our pleading, we may be strengthened to go forward and fulfill all that we have been ordained to do. To His Saints living in perilous times, the Lord says, “Let your hearts be comforted … ; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.”21
Whether we pray privately, with our families, at church, in the temple, or wherever we are; whether we pray with broken hearts and contrite spirits seeking forgiveness, heavenly wisdom, or simply the strength to endure, we pray always with full hearts, drawn out unto God continually for our welfare and the welfare of those around us. Sincere desires offered in a spirit of gratitude for abundant blessings and gratitude for the lessons of life instill in our hearts steadfast faith in Christ, a “brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.”22
Prayer is a gift from God. We need never feel lost or alone. I testify that every moment of precious prayer can be holy time spent with our Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I did not get a single hit from last night’s post. I imagine that it was not the right moment, and the feeling I have been sitting with is this: I am ok. I am on the way. I know where I am headed.
The last Discussion was about the process to Baptism. But first I need to meet with the Mission President for Quebec, before that can happen.
I’ve been listening to Voices of Hope every day. And they say, in our rooms that, eventually, one day, you will hear someone tell your story. After over a dozen testimonies listened to, I heard a young man tell the story I am living at the moment.
How, being Gay turned out and where that led him. Then, in a fluke of Heavenly Father prompting, he and a friend were in an Asian grocery store, in the Bay Area, and on his way out, a Missionary was walking in.
In a moment, he was enlightened to talk to the missionary. Which led to some questioning who he was, what he was, and how he could find himself, talking with a Missionary.
One conversation led to more Missionaries, which led him to Baptism.
Like myself, he got to the other side of Gay, and is working on finding his better self, through the Atonement and the Gospel and the Savior.
I needed to hear someone talk about this specific journey. What does one do when they find, that they are on the other side of Gay.
Thinking back, if I could talk to my much younger self, I would give him other, better choices to make. More options, that I did not have at the time. There was no other option for me, so I engaged in the gay community.
As my life progressed, I found less and less attraction for the gay community. I found less and less need for the community as well. Because I’ve spent the last fifteen years, living among my straight friends in recovery.
However, I have some gay friends in the room, we don’t hang out, outside the room. And I invite one of my elderly gay friends to holiday dinners here in our home, that is a tradition we have had for several years.
I don’t desire to be with other men. And I really don’t sexualize men in public. I might think, Hey, he’s cute or has a cool haircut, and that is normal. I just don’t LUST after guys like a sick puppy would.
I’ve been married for twelve years, and for the last fifteen years, I have worked on myself and have grown spiritually and soberly. Hubby, on the other hand has not. He is not interested in personal growth beyond his job and his laptop.
So two sober people living under the same roof. One is stagnant, and the other has moved farther along the life road. And now I am here.
On the Other Side of Gay.
I believe Heavenly Father is calling me to my better self.
I want to be Baptized in the Church.
Sunday I am going to church for the first time in ages. I am hoping that will lead to something I really desire.
Hello out there. Today is October 2nd – I’ve noticed in many places, the leaves are beginning to turn. Thanksgiving is next Sunday and I am cooking a feast for my little family once again.
Imagine, next Monday, here in Canada, The battle for Christmas will begin. An entire month earlier than you folks down in the U.S. of A. They won’t be closing up Halloween shops until the end of the month, and in the meantime, the competition for WHO puts up Christmas decorations FIRST is always a holiday mystery.
I know that in St. John’s New Foundland, Christmas trees are up in stores there already. Winter always hits the Atlantic Provinces first.
It has been a very busy week.
This week my meeting routine takes a turn for something a little bit different. My sponsor has encouraged me to seek out a new adventure, since completing this round of “Booking.” (read: The Steps)
The Set Aside Prayer
God, please set aside everything I know about
The Twelves Steps
And You God
So that I can have a new experience, Please let me See the Truth
Tomorrow night, we hit a new meeting, just down the hill from home, called “Love and Tolerance.” It’s very close to home, and very convenient.
Before the meeting we had been talking about changing it up, and my sponsor then asked me to do something totally out of left field. I’ve been learning French, via the Metro Method, (read: There are tv’s in most of the Metro Stations that show news, weather and train times) and they all run in French. And I’ve noticed that my French is getting better, well, my reading comprehension.
With that said … I am going to start hitting our sister meeting on Thursday night, ( Jeudi St. Leon) at the same church we meet on Sunday night’s, IN FRENCH. My friends from that meeting, who are native Francophones come to Sunday night, and other English meetings to learn, or improve their English. So they invited me to come on Thursday to begin integrating into the French community, which will be something totally new for me.
I brought home a French Big Book to look over, and one of my friends is going to send me the prayers, translated into French so I will at least learn them before Thursday.
Instead of hitting an English meeting, I will be hitting a French meeting.
Saturday is still up for grabs. I hoped to initiate a Saturday night Date night for hubby and myself, seeing we never go out ever unless it is a special occasion for dinner or something.
Fall is certainly on its way. My favorite season of the year, because in just a few short months up here in the North we traverse three seasons, and everything changes so much, very quickly. And in the Fall we get to see the Majesty of Mother Nature in all her Grandeur.
Tomorrow morning, bright and early, (read: The ass crack of morning 8 a.m.) the building workers will begin the destruction of my balcony. They have been knocking down all the balcony banisters and walls on the entire building. 7 apartments. Ours is the last one to be started. Last week, they asked if I would clean all the crud that was on the balcony floor, (read: All that Shit that has been under the floor boards for the last 42 years).
And I was like, “How am I supposed to do that ? I don’t have a freaking shed in my bedroom with cleaning tools and leaf bags, and by the way, a shovel would be great for that kind of thing.” Our Super came up and told me this in French, and I did not get it at first, so about half an hour later the building manager came up to translate, when I then inquired about “Tools and Bags.”
They got me a square shovel and a handful of bags. A plastic shovel at that.
There is a hanging wall of plastic over the opening and I stirred up a shit load of dust in doing the job, I failed to remind them that I am immuno-compromised and that I will probably get sick from dust and allergens from the shit on the ground…
Of course I did …
2 leaf bags later, I had completed said work.
Now tomorrow at the crack of dawn, jackhammers will announce the arrival of morning before I even get out of bed. Which at such time, I will have no choice but to get out of bed because my bed, is just inside the balcony door, and sleeping while jackhammers pound the building is a lost cause.
More to come. Stay tuned …
Francis passed under the gates alone, wearing white robes and skullcap. After meeting the survivors, he placed a candle at the Death Wall, where prisoners were executed by the Nazis, before continuing on his own.
The Pope stopped to pray at the prison cell of Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Catholic friar who sacrificed his life to save that of another man. The Church made him a saint in 1982.
Pope Francis knelt for many minutes in the underground cell, illuminated only by the light from a tiny window, the Associated Press news agency reports.
The Argentine Pope is on a five-day trip to Poland.
During a World Youth Day rally in the southern city of Krakow on Thursday, he urged compassion for migrants.
He told hundreds of thousands of people that “a merciful heart opens up to welcome refugees and migrants” – a statement that puts him at odds with Poland’s anti-immigrant right-wing government.