Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Living Life on Life's Terms. A Word Press Production.

Posts tagged “Relationships

Special Essay: Man, Friend, Father, Guide

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This is my little Easter Bunny, isn’t she cute ???

When I got sober again in 2001, the thrust of crossing that bridge into sobriety, meant that I also decided to grow up and become a man.

A real man.

A man I would be proud to be.

For many years, I really did not know what that looked like, but the one man I learned from was Todd. He was a real man. A man I loved and wanted to be like, in every way possible, because, in him, he was love, compassion and strength personified.

He was GOD.

It is now almost sixteen years since I made that decision to cross that bridge. And I have not looked back since. I’ve learned a great many things in the past stretch of time.

What Todd gave me, was the education in knowing how to take care of another human being. I learned how to be present. I learned how to be courageous, to be bold, to be smart, and how to love unconditionally. I learned how to serve. I learned how to give from my heart at all times, to the most number of people, to the best of my abilities.

My father had fatal flaws. But like my father, I provide. I hear him in my mind speak to me, at least, the few phrases I use on a daily basis.

Once you speak words, you can Never take them back.

Sadly he did not listen to his own advice when it came to me.

  • I don’t speak falsehoods
  • I don’t speak negativity
  • I don’t speak arrogantly
  • I don’t speak from ego

When we get sober, not only do we put down the drugs and the drink, we put down all that we used to be, in order to become who we are meant to be.

That is a daunting process for both men and women.

In the beginning, we may not know just how far we can go, and/or/ how far we need to go. The sky is the limit. And I think that depends on just how much of life we take a bite out of as our lives progress.

How far can we go ? Well that depends on you.

How far do we need to go ? As far as is needed.

Relationships are always dicey in recovery. Because the recovery mixture may differ.

You might find someone in the rooms, and you might find someone outside the rooms. Getting that mixture right is the challenge. Both participants in relationship need to figure out what each of us needs to bring to the table to make a relationship work.

Marriage is a JOB. A FULL TIME JOB. Marriage is work.

For us, at least, marriage was not a cake walk by any means. But we succeeded.

When Mama walked into my life a little over three years ago, I had a few months to begin a friendship with her before she went back to New Foundland to have Lu.

After Lu was born, I took the step of solidifying our relationship. I made the decision that I was going to invest in Mama and the baby. That choice is one of the most important decisions I have ever made.

If Todd were to see me today, I am sure he would be proud of me.

The baby is a full-time job.

The day I arrived in St. John’s, Lu was at daycare, so I had a few hours alone with Mama to get oriented to the schedule and the routine. And we were both pleasantly surprised when she got home with grandma. She took to me immediately.

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Our days usually began around 6:30 in the morning or 7:00 if we were lucky. We at least had time to drink a cup of coffee, before we were off to the races. The day usually began with crafts: like Play Doh on the kitchen floor at 7:00 a.m.

If it were a regular day, Lu went to day care with Grand ma around 8:00 a.m. for the day and come home around 4:00 p.m. Having grand ma living just up the road is key to this routine working, because when needed, we can hand Lu off to them for a few hours.

They have the TV with the TREE HOUSE channel.

READ: Crack for babies …

Since it was a holiday weekend, we had Lu 24/7. And let me tell you, that having a three-year old with a solid streak of attitude can be a challenge. Lu is determined to do her own thing, whether you like it or not. And her mood will turn on a dime, if you piss her off or say NO.

She knows the word NO, it is one of her favorites.

Mama does not have a tv, nor cable, nor a computer in the house. And she does not want either of them in the future. Which means that if you are home with Lu, you are interacting with her ALL DAY LONG !

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I colored these Christmas pages out of one of Lu’s coloring books.

You don’t know how calming and wonderful it is to sit and color for an hour with a child. I loved every minute of it.

We read, we play, we color, we dance. If we are lucky, we get an afternoon nap.

If we don’t get that nap, dinner usually follows around 6:00 p.m. Bath time around 7:30 and bedtime, AH BLESSED BED TIME comes right around 8:00 p.m. on a good night.

I can’t tell you how good it felt to be disconnected from my computer and social media for five days. I really did not miss it. However, when I got home, I thought to myself that I was not sure I could live a disconnected life 24/7.

I had a book, SHANTARAM by Gregory David Roberts with me. I cannot tell you just how GOOD this book is. At 936 pages, it is a daunting read.

If you read any book this year, Shantaram is the one to read. Because there is an ample sequel to that book on the store shelves right now.

This weekend proved to me that I can be daddy, and do it well. On Easter Sunday, Lu had a meltdown in front of the family. It was not pretty. And in the end, I ended up fireman carrying her out of the house and tossing her into her car seat and bringing both Lu and Mama home.

They both passed out from emotional stress. Mama in her bed and Lu on the living room floor, because she passed out sitting at the table with me coloring. I laid out a blanket and some pillows and I let her sleep until she woke up.

Which meant I got a few hours to myself to lay on the sofa and baby sit while I read my book.

Having a child is not easy. Being a father/or/father figure is not easy either.

But I have learned just what kind of man I really am, because of the words I speak and the actions I take. I have virtue. I have faith. I have smarts.

All that I am, is an amalgamation of all the men I know. The good and the bad. Then I get to decide what I am going to do based on the decisions that need to be made.

Mama and Lu are full-time decisions to be ME.

In addition to my husband, Mama and Lu are the most important people in my life. Because I have been Lu’s father since the day she was born, because the man who participated in creating her, wanted us to abort her when Mama was pregnant.

Today, we are fighting in court for Lu’s child support.

And we know, right now, that we might not get anything close to what we want from him, however, I have stated my case to our lawyer. The hard, unvarnished truth of a man who is a Legend Liar and irresponsible and blind to his obligations as the biological father of our little girl.

In the end, she will be my daughter. But first he will pay his dues.

By the Law.

Which makes me the best man Lu has in her life besides grand pa.

I am the man I am because of that first decision to grow up and become a MAN.

I would not have changed anything.

St. John’s is a beautiful place to live.

Just saying ….


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.