Courtesy: Michael Shainblum Photography
There was an incredible Solar Eclipse earlier today… I slept right through it. But I have an amazing image to show you, if you missed it.
Overheard at the Meeting tonight: Imagine … How many people stopped their lives to look up at the sun, all at the same time, across the globe. What an amazing day it was.
Yesterday afternoon, Hubby was admitted to the Jewish General Hospital Emergency for an emergency operation to remove a sub-sebacious cyst on his lower spine. The operation was a success, and he was home, inside of three hours, post op.
Today was spent in follow-up doctors appointments and trips between home and the pharmacy. All is well.
This morning, well, at 6′ o clock a.m. I was up to go drop labs for my diabetes blood work, since being on Teujeo insulin now 2 months.
I got there uber early, so that I could get in and out quickly. Which is where this post will materialize. When you check in at the desk, they swipe your cards and file your work into the computer system for your bar code stickers for your vials.
I sat down with a young lady, who was going to do the deed. She asked my name and my birth date. I responded as usual, then added that I had just turned fifty a couple of weeks ago.
With a little amazement, she asked me how fifty felt ? I told her that I did not know yet, being so close to the epicenter. I furthered that explanation with what happened to me when I turned forty and beyond.
That, it was at the forty mark and beyond that point, that I began to have spiritual experiences, in the way I saw the world around me and what I actually could say, with some certainty, that I KNEW things for sure.
I was using spiritual language, like I knew what I was talking about, and the words came out so freely. She responded with …
Well, that happened to me when she turned thirty. She said …
She told me that she had heard things all her life from her parents and family and that when she hit the thirty mark, she had the same feeling of enlightenment.
For a moment I was jealous, thinking, “Shit, you mean I could have had that for me at thirty, had I been in the game of growing up when I hit thirty ???”
I did not say that, but it was what I was thinking in the moment.
I missed thirty, thirty-one until I finally hit thirty-four, when I got sober the second time and had made the decision to grow up finally. AND even then, it took a further six years of sobering up and learning what life as a grown man would look like, and how I would inhabit being a grown up man for myself.
When I turned forty and years after, if you have been following this blog all those years ago, you would have read the way my life changed in miraculous ways over the last ten years.
Last Monday we talked about resentments from the resentment section of the steps. I did not get a chance to share before the hour was up.
Tonight we read the passage in Step Nine, and the Ninth Step Promises.
“The Spiritual life is not a theory … One must LIVE a spiritual life.”
How one does that, follows the process of sobriety.
Along with the Preamble, we repeatedly hear How it Works, The Promises, and A Vision for You, over and over again.
Our chair read the Promises. And everyone in the room got to think about them, from their perspective, in their specific sober experience.
Having been sober this long, and being fifty now, I see the wisdom of the Promises as they happened for me, what order they came in, and when the final Promise we had been waiting for to come, did finally come.
“FEAR OF PEOPLE AND OF ECONOMIC INSECURITY WILL LEAVE US …”
That was the last one to come, and it only took thirteen years of waiting for it.
We just were not sitting on our asses begging God to just give that one to us.
Over the long history of our relationship, I would read a passage, hear it talked about in a discussion, and then hear a speaker talk about it in a speaker meeting.
Then God would say, “OK, Now you’ve heard all you need to know. NOW go work it out for yourself.” And so it was.
We would get a glimpse of freedom, as each day, week, month, and year that passed.
God would give us a peek, a little money, and we had to learn how to use it wisely, save it when necessary, and spend it where applicable.
Life was like that. God would give me a glimpse of what life would look like. That happened over and over again.
We certainly had our work cut out for us, on every aspect of sober life. It was not a cake walk, by any means. We learned our lessons well.
Imagine how many times you hit meetings over almost sixteen years, and hear those same readings, over and over again.
That is what is really GOOD about the BIG BOOK. Because the book tells us, right on page 112, In the chapter – To Wives … READ THIS BOOK.
If you are in step work, you would know about reading the book. Safe to say, I’ve been reading this book, over and over for more than fifteen years.
Now I am Fifty. What kind of wisdom do I have about the book today ?
I don’t know, I’d have to sit and think about this a little bit.
We shall explore this topic further in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Suffice to say, I shared a spiritual experience with a complete stranger this morning and that was a blessing for her and for me.
You never know who you will sit with on any given morning and what they might ask you.
More to come.
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.
I am seriously hoping for Icebergs …
This is the year, we all make serious strides in life. The Promises have materialized for many people, all at the same time. I helped to keep my friends “on the beam” while we traveled through “Ambiguity.” Tonight, I can say that we’ve all crossed a new threshold in sobriety, across the board.
Today I did something I have never done before. I booked a ticket to St. John’s New Foundland for Easter weekend. Traveling to St. John’s is not cheap, but since we crossed another threshold at home, I was able to make good on my relationship with Mama and Lu.
I had schemed in my head, what I really wanted to do for this trip. I was not going to tell anyone I was making the trip, and wait until the week “OF” to tell mom that I was coming and not to tell Mama.
Hubby said to me that might not be a good idea, so I slept on it over night, and this morning I called mom to tell her what I was planning to do, and she told me that I should call Mama and tell her.
I waited all day to make one phone call …
I leave on the 13th of April, and spend 4 days in St. John’s and I return on the 17th. This is the farthest East I have traveled in Canada. In my first year sober, we took a road trip to Halifax, driving the 18 hours each way. This time I am doing it right.
Almost three years ago, I made a decision to invest in Mama and Lu, before Lu even entered the world. It all began with a single phone call. My relationship with Mama and Lu is the most important relationship I have with any of my friends, because Lu is part of my life.
Lu’s biological father wanted Mama to abort Lu when she was pregnant and to this day wants nothing to do with Lu at all. He’s just a big horses ass. Who takes no responsibility for the fact that he fathered a child, and is out of sight and out of mind ever since Lu was born. Aside from Grand pa, I am the only OTHER MAN in her life today.
I helped raise Lu for the first two years of her life while they lived here, but like all good things, they come to an end, and mama returned to family in New Foundland.
I may not be her biological father, but I am part of her daily life. I participate in the parenting process from far away, on a daily basis. And not long ago, I was on the phone with Lu and she tossed another new word at me … She calls me Daddy …
I remember the night she said my name for the first time. Now I have a new day to remember, the day she started calling me Daddy.
I sent Christmas to St. John’s in December. I am bringing Easter with me in April.
Sobriety gives us so many good things once we put down the drink (and the drugs).
Many people think, when they finally stop that life is going to end if they cannot drink and party like they used to and that sobriety is going to be absolutely BORING !!!
I can tell you, categorically, that that is NOT the case at all.
Our speaker tonight tells the story about socializing with old friends (today) in sobriety. She might be sober and does not drink, her friends though, can’t drink like they used to because they are much older, and CANNOT BOUNCE BACK LIKE THEY USED TO …
Life gets real, when we start to age …
I don’t think I would have made it to this point, had I kept drinking.
I am very happy for my guys and their gals.
One couple has crossed the Financial Insecurity Promise. The other couple, we are planning a wedding and costing a honeymoon for next Spring. And we are all working together, soberly.
And it is freaking AMAZING !
If your sobriety isn’t exciting, and life changing, what do you need to do to Step up your game ?
It is all about how you play your game.
Can you ever not feel heartbreak?
It is never a dull moment in my life. The past twenty four hours, has been a whirlwind of discussions, feelings and heart breaking truths.
You all know the story. I have been writing it for ages now. When I moved to Canada my mother’s last words to me were “If your father or I get sick and die, nobody will call you.”
Then she hung up on me… That was fourteen years ago.
I had not spoken to either of my biologicals since.
I got sober, and grew up, and now I am here today. However, there is unfinished buisiness, when it comes to step work and clearing the wreckage of my past. There has always been an uncertainty that has existed.
Unfinished business so to speak.
With the passing of my cousin Carol yesterday, I made an adult decision to call my mother this afternoon, and speak to her. That was a really bad decision.
She did not know who I was.
Nor was she interested in anything I had to say to her, and she said that nothing that I had to say mattered, and that none of them, wanted anything to do with me any more.
She went on to say that from the day that I was born, until the day I walked out of that house, what I did to her, as a child, was ten lifetimes worth of pain that is unforgivable. So she blames me, (read:my childhood) for all of her problems.
I asked her about that childhood, and said that my alcoholic, vicious, abusive father who wanted me dead at any cost, that was all bullshit ??? I asked her if my life experience was real, she said no. She said that I was just delusional. That all the abuse and negative shit was all in my head and never happened.
My brother, as I was told, wants nothing to do with me either, once again, because of our childhoods and what I did to him.
I was the first born child, I had three years on him. Three years of love and affection from family that desired that I survive. My father always said, for the whole of my life that I was a mistake and should never have been born.
When my brother came along, he was the son my father wanted.
He bred that child to be my opposite. To always fight me and to never agree with or support me whatsoever. I own the adult decisions I made in his regard. And I said to my mother that I wanted to speak to him to explain the specifics, but once again, she said he didn’t care and did not want to know.
So fuck me.
She also offered a few choice family secrets, truths she probably thought, would taint my visual and feelings towards my aunt. A very long time ago, a secret was floated in front of me. A secret that I had no information on, and did not who to ask it about, or figure out.
And like all secrets, eventually they come out into the open.
Now I know the secret. Does it change anything? No.
My mother lives in a world that is delusional. That what I think, and what I experienced was not real and never happened.
She attempted to paint her sister into a corner accusing her of family heresy and accused her of theft and betrayal. All lies.
When I pressed her to extend the conversation, she abruptly said that she did not care about me and that she had to go.
Then she hung up on me …
Cue dialtone …
I called my sponsor right away. I was in shock. I was heartbroken. I thought at least she would come to the table and want to know, but she didn’t. She doesn’t care, neither do my father nor my brother.
This evening, I spoke to my aunt. And while I was sitting in the meeting this evening, my cousin called from B.C.
I got up and left the meeting and ended up talking to her for more than an hour.
Tonight, I know many things about truth and family. Tonight I know that we, as a family, have a special gift, of second sight. And I learned a great deal about one of my uncles, who lives here in Quebec. Something I never knew, but it makes perfect sense, why we, the children of our generation, are so gifted.
In the end, my life does not matter to those who it should matter. I can go to bed tonight, and sleep with a clear conscience. There are some people who just aren’t supposed to be in our lives for specific reasons. I know tonight, that those three human beings will have to answer to God in the end and not me.
This is entirely Not about Me.
My cousin tonight confirmed a great deal of truth for me. And for that I am grateful.
Does it pay to be idealistic and have a belief that inside every human being is a shard of redeemability? No.
I was not offered forgiveness nor redemption.
I was offered revulsion and scorn and bitter vindictive spite.
I am told by a friend that I need to pray for them, and I agree. They need my prayers more than I need my own prayers, because between God and myself I am good.
But for them, there is not much hope for redemption and forgiveness.
But I am not God.
And God always forgives, He never tires of forgiving. So says Pope Francis.
I don’t understand how human beings can be so vindictive and hateful.
It seems, you can never go home again. At least for me.
When I spoke to my cousin about Home, she corrected me firmly with the fact that I am HOME. Montreal is Home. And that is where I need to be.
They don’t care, That is not home. And I don’t need them in my life any longer.
Of that I am God damned fucking sure…