It is Sunday, the sun shone. It sprinkled a bit, otherwise it was a great day.
Read: A great day is a day that I can sleep in and enjoy my bed.
Three Jewish men, all of the Hasidim faith, walk into a meeting. One is new and knows God, The second is sober 6 years, and knows Spiritual Experience and God, The Third a man of faith says … “He does not know God, an does not connect to Him, and firmly believes that Once you’re dead, it’s Lights Out and nothing more.”
It was a bright Sunday and I wore my brightest and flashiest Flower Basket pants, and after the meeting, that man walked up to me and said:
I Feel Uplifted because of your presence…
We read from Bill’s story and the last few pages, where Bill explains his spiritual experience and his witness of God in his life. He had that conversation with Ebby T. in his kitchen, and that night, has his first radical spiritual experience in his journey.
He makes a sundry pass at the steps, within his story, Steps that will be fleshed out much later as the book comes into fruition.
I like to tell my friends that if they need proof that there is a God, they need only to look at me and listen to me talk. On Saturday, I will pass my twenty-third anniversary living with AIDS, and Mark and I are still alive to this day, when over 200 of our friends went to their deaths miserably so many years ago.
One of my elder friends went to a meeting this morning and heard an old-timer with 45 years sobriety talk about Meditation. For this man, the steps are there, but the ONLY step he concerns his life with is Step 11.
Prayer and Meditation.
Prayer and Meditation does not come easy to anyone. I’ve heard many, many, long sober people talk about attempting meditation on retreats, in religious communities and still, so many years later, they cannot connect like very few can connect with meditation.
Our man lives and breathes meditation. His story strikes many deeply, when we sit with him and he talks about just how deep his meditation changed his life, and has carried him through some of the worst times in his life, we are amazed.
Because many of us, cannot even begin to know, what that feels like.
In my life, to this day, I don’t connect to deep meditation beyond the practice I do daily. I can sit still, I can be quiet, but I cannot sit for an hour at a time stilling my mind all the way through. Because I don’t know how to shut it up for that long.
I can say that, in my stillness, I can connect to God. I can connect to the Spirit. That feeling of connection is familiar to me, and it comes and goes. When it does come, I can hear the voice of God, and I hear what it says, and I listen attentively.
Inspiration comes at the oddest times, usually, in my morning meditations, and more often, at the end of the night, when I sit down to compose my Pastoral Letters to the Pastors I have in my circle. When I sit and read scripture, and write my Elder friend Spencer, or even, as I sit here, where I am right this moment, writing here.
Sometimes words come, that are not my own, they come from a place of inspiration and God. That is my belief.
I know that if I don’t hear from God directly, that I need to go to a meeting, and listen to my friends talk. My friends come from varied backgrounds. Some are just simple men and women, and some come from deeply religious communities.
Our man, this evening, who could not find God himself, just showed up, because his friends, other Hasidic men, in the program, bring him with them. They minister to him in their own ways, and do not push orthodoxy upon him, but they allow him to find his way, on his own steam.
He got to read part of Bill’s story, and he heard each of us share about God and Spiritual experience. Simply being present for a fellow-man on the path, sitting with us, after the meeting, he found the blessing of being uplifted, by a simple piece of clothing.
That simple piece of clothing I own is a story maker. Because it came from my friend Jeffrey, when he sent me them, saying that if I wore them, I would feel really good about myself, and I do. And in being in public feeling good about myself, others see and they feel good about themselves, because it seems, in recovery:
That we are so sunk in our disease, that at some point we need permission to feel anything other than self loathing and being depressed about ourselves.
I am in this place where I am more open to feel emotions. I am a bit more outspoken and rigorously honest, to a degree that sometimes scares my friends, but it is what it is.
I am more apt, not that had ever been different, to really tell you like it is, based on my life experience. I’ve been witnessing my friends fuck off on me for a long time, so I can tell you just what I think, in real-time.
July is a hard month for me. Because I am reminded of just how bad my life really got and how I almost went to my death, several times.
It is also a testament to the work that Todd (read: God) did in my life, to keep me alive, and the testament in the fact that ONE HUMAN BEING can definitely change a life.
And keep another human being alive, when all the odds are stacked against him/her.
It is also my birth month, and this year I hit the Fifty mark.
Another HUGE accomplishment, because I am still alive, all these years later.
There is definitely a God in Heaven.
This is my testimony. It is honest and true.
If not for Bill and Doctor Bob, we would all not be here, save for two drunks who happened upon one another, one night in Akron Ohio in 1935.
We are truly Blessed …
In the Original Manuscript of the Big Book, on page 26 of that manuscript, Step Seven reads: Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings, holding nothing back.
There are such religious notions, peppered throughout the Original Manuscript. Not all of them made it into the first printing of the Big Book in 1939.
I actually have a First Edition Big Book, printed in 1939.
Some of the more drastic “suggestions” that might seem, just a little too harsh for the sensibilities of those who see the Judeo-Christian influences in the Big Book, a problem in getting sober, were scrubbed from the final copy that went to print.
In one pass at my Steps a few years ago, in reading the Twelve and Twelve, approached Step Seven with this process: Read Step Seven, and find every word Humble or Humility.
Step Seven is the Step where we encounter this term. Humility.
- What does it mean,
- What does it look like,
- And how do I find it for myself ?
For me, as I have stayed sober, Humility has been defined and refined over my years.
One friend tonight said that for him, “Humility was the recognition that he was not as big as he thought he was, but also that he was not as small as he thought he was either.”
Others talk about being “Right Sized” What does “Right Sized” mean ?
My definition of Humility, at this moment, means, “I don’t know.” I also add that, one specific old timer has offered to me that, “If I think I know something, I’d better sit down, and keep my mouth shut.”
Humility asks us to be Vulnerable to that Power Greater than Ourselves.
We constantly work towards turning it over, to that Power, which I choose to call God, every day.
Humility has been the lesson that has been hammered home in my life over the last year.
When the Orlando Tragedy happened, I threw in my spiritual towel and I cursed God. I fell apart in public, and fell to my knees, sobbing, pleading God to help me, because I was bereft, and had no idea how to begin to figure out why I was on my knees sobbing.
It all begins, when we get on our knees.
We might not know the reason why ? But to defer to God, and set one’s self before God in humble supplication, begins on one’s knees.
I learned that in Seminary. Why we prayed, and why we knelt and what it meant as men who came together to learn how to follow God. The men who were leading us, in the end, turned out, not to be the finest example of humility, based on the scandals they caused during their tenures in their priesthoods.
I wanted, so badly, to count myself as a man who would serve God. I made God that promise all those years ago, as a teen-ager, with stars of God in my eyes.
That promise to serve God would take my entire life to figure out.
It has to be the right time, the ground fertile, and I would be able to fulfill that promise, one way or another.
A year ago, I fell to my knees, and was rebuked by a man who was LONG sober, rebuking me that “You think you are so special, that we should treat you differently, You are such a child.”
I could have slapped the shit out of him right then and there. I could have hurt him seriously, in that moment, but my better judgment took over, and I got up, wiped my face and walked away, keeping my mouth shut, and not saying a word or acting on my impulses.
Thank God, Elder Spencer came into my life.
I don’t think I would have made it without him, today.
Sometimes, I have shared, that I need to be Bitch Slapped by God, in order for Him to get my attention.
Oprah has a better definition of this process:
God speaks to us in a whisper. If He whispers and we miss it the first time, He will whisper again. If we miss it the second time, He hits us over the head with a 2 x 4, if we miss Him the third time, finally, He drops a wall on top of us.
I actually lived this out a few years ago.
I’m not sure God was trying to get my attention, with a catastrophic massacre of kids in a nightclub to get me to notice Him. But He had my attention for sure.
Which led to an entire year of trying to find God, after I had cursed Him as I sat where I am sitting right this very moment.
Enter Elder Spencer … There are no coincidences. Only God.
I was there at one time, now I am here.
Now I Know !
The message is loud and clear. My life and sobriety are all about God and His goodness and kindness. I can let go of that old, tired and miserable story.
Sobriety today is about Humility, Faith, Love and the Atonement.
The Atonement makes everything work.
Without it we are nothing, and can be nothing.
Humbly, on our knees, we asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Holding Nothing Back.
The Odyssey of self has returned to where it all began. It has been a long time coming, and after listening to Brene Brown talk about Vulnerability this afternoon, I got dressed and took myself back to the Sunday Evening Meeting.
Where they elected me Chair for the month of June …
My sponsor said that I needed to un-clench my fist and open my hand to God. The only place I thought that I could begin that process, was in the church I first got sober in over fifteen years ago.
The woman who led me through my booking last Summer, is important to my spiritual path, and has been for many, many years. I need her in my life, and anything that took place in the past, was amended tonight.
In sobriety, you either grow towards God, or you wilt, and drink again. I don’t want to drink again. I know who I need in my life right now, and returning to my roots, just reorients me back into spiritual truth.
“We are responsible for the energy we bring into a space…”
Urban Legend says that this thought is in Oprah’s office. Brene Brown spoke those words during the talk I heard earlier today. I was watching her talk on the Good Life Project.
We are still working on the subject of vulnerability. And I am still a work in progress.
Today the woman who led me through my booking spoke on Step 5 …
Admitted to God, to ourselves and another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs. It was a pertinent subject, seeing that it was in that particular church that I worked my last round of steps, and in turn, took my very first sponsee through his steps in that very same church basement.
Working your steps can be life changing, if you allow the process to work, as you are able, and to the level of honesty you employ yourself in your step work. Then turning around and booking a sponsee and seeing them through their steps is another life changing event for sure.
Only someone who has been through the process themselves, can lead another through that garden of self discovery, and be able to receive someones steps.
I walked to the church, overland and not through the tunnel because te sun was shining and I wanted to collect light form the sun, as I walked back into the church, and also, to have the right state of mind and be able to have a moment of repentance.
Elder Christiansen has been speaking to me about repentance over the past few weeks we have been talking. It is the lesson he is teaching at the Missionary Training Center in Idaho. My Elder is a wise young man with insight I appreciate greatly.
I need to feed my spirit and commune with God. The first place I learned how to do that is in the Church Basement of St. Leon’s Church. The location I first watched God move among my friends.
We are still in “New Experience Territory, and have come full circle tonight.”
We have all changed over the past nine months. New people are in the room, some old people are still in the room, new relationships have blossomed, and we are all the better for the spiritual journey we are all on.
That IS a good thing.
Tonight, January 9th …We read, Physician Heal Thyself. A story about Humility. A story about Higher Power, A story about Turning it Over. And this topic that I had written on some time ago, repeats itself. So I present it again.
An old friend came to the meeting tonight. A friend I have known since he came in some time ago, and I had an amends to make to him, because, on a particular night, I stood in front of a meeting, and spoke. It was the first time I had spoken at a meeting in over five years. In retrospect, I was not very sober.
I might have had some time, but on that particular night, I was all over the map. And not seeing this friend since, I have had time to see the past, in the light that I see it now.
Lessons come, but the real nugget only comes in retrospect.
And my friend said to me that he was in the market for a sponsor, that his double digit sponsor was fading away into the air and away from meetings. On the way to the metro the discussion we were having had a sense of urgency to it, incomplete though it was.
Hopefully we will cross paths again.
Juan is set to speak, for the first time in his sober journey at St Matthias on the 26th. I wasn’t sure he would accept, but he did gladly. Its a very important job when you get to do it for the first time. I’ve never heard him tell his story to a room, no one has. But I know his story from our work together over the past two years.
I’ve had some time to regroup, and re-order my life. Now I know, really, at this point, what I want, where I am going, and what I need to do to get there. I’ve made some new contacts in other meetings. I’ve taken on a service position at the Area level for the Friday meeting, which is a two year commitment. I’ve joined the Thursday night meeting, officially, and I chaired the business meeting last week. The Monday Big Book meeting has become part of my regular meeting schedule.
We are off to a good start. Everybody has work to do. We are all ordering our lives accordingly, using new tools, (read: Bullet Journal).
With that I give you … Absolutely, Completely, Thoroughly, Honestly, Redux.
RARELY have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided that you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We thought that we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Remember that we deal with alcohol – cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power – that One is God. May you find him now.
When I arrived at the point that God felt I was ready to work with others, he opened the gates and sent me my troop. And ever since then, I have endeavored to be absolutely, completely, thoroughly, honest. Over the past few days, it has been said that I have kept my troop honest. Which filled my heart with joy overflowing.
There are things we do daily, weekly, and often that keep us on the path to staying honest in all our affairs. Over the past few weeks, we have heard stories, and I have written about them here. The overarching theme lately has been, what happens when we are dishonest, when we keep secrets and when we tell lies.
I can’t repeat often enough, the warnings we are hearing from the chair at speaker meetings. Because now, I listen to my friends talk about their stories, and the varied choices they had made and continue to make, and I utter that prayer …
There but for the Grace of God go I … I could be them !
How it Works, is a staple reading, you hear at almost every meeting, one way or another. It is repetitive, and the words never change. They were written decades ago and are words of wisdom from a bygone era. After hearing this reading read, one too many times, I heard a particular woman, get up and read this passage, slowly, passionately, word for word, slowly, methodically, with a sense of meaning I had not heard before in the past.
There are two types of How It Works Readers…
- The Machine Gun barrage – from beginning to end without a breath
- The Toss it all Together reader – who does not respect the comma or period.
Tonight, we listened to it read at the top of the meeting, and we heard the reading parsed by our speaker tonight.
“Absolutley, Completely, Thoroughly, Honestly”
There comes a time in sobriety, that we think we have this all wrapped up, and we are doing well, and have no fear of that first drink. Scary …
But when the chips are down, and we are against the proverbial wall, are we able to speak to our friends and fellows, and tell them that “maybe we are not doing so well, and that we may be in trouble, and that the outsides might not be congruent with our insides?”
We go into meetings, and we always want to look good on the outside, because we want our fellows to see calm, sober, good looking people. But just beneath the surface, the reality might be that we are not really calm, or sober, or good looking.
Sometimes, we are just not 100%.
The truth is when we are able to say, “I am not okay!”
If we are rooted in honesty, even if it hurts, we can share anything with our friends and sponsors. This is where, secrets and lies, arise. They say, and I heard it again tonight, that “While we are in meetings, our alcoholism is out in the parking lot doing push ups … Waiting patiently for us outside.”
And you never know, when it is going to happen. We begin to keep secrets, and our old alcoholic behavior rears its ugly head. Our old thinking returns, old patterns return, and we slip into old behavior, oh so quietly. And we might not recognize it right away, and if we don’t, we are off to the races.
They tell us that when we hit a slip, that it is premeditated. That often, what starts as an errant thought, becomes an errant action. Time and time again, we listen to stories of people who go back out, and when they return, we hear what happened and what led them back out the door.
Sobriety Looses Its Priority.
What happens when we keep secrets and what happens when we begin telling lies, not to others, but lying to ourselves to begin with? It begins with us, in our heads. If we are not vigilant we can fall into this trap. Secrets and Lies.
It might be simple and innocuous, but after a while, becomes a snowball heading down the mountain at 100 miles per hour.
I sat there tonight, listening to a man tell a story about being sober a LONG time, falling into old behavior, and then he kept a secret and told a few lies, and then ended up in a bar, with not one beer, BUT TWO …
Then follows years of getting stuck in the proverbial revolving door. Our man is one, that I have seen in my time, who collect enough beginner’s chips to tile a bathroom with. He goes to meetings, but is unwilling to get honest. Sponsors turn him away and won’t take him on, because, let’s face it, if we are being honest, if you aren’t in the game, most men or women would not take you on, unless you are ready and willing to get honest, because this is your life/our life we are talking about.
The warning is very stark and very real.
We heard it again tonight, those similar words,
“Please, for the love of God, Do Not Do what I did.”
If you are out there in the room, and you are pondering a slip, or you are in any way feeling squirrely, or you are coming back, please, talk to someone, don’t leave this room with shit on your shoulders.
When I hear stories like this time and time again, I come home and I write them down, then I turn around and speak to my troop about warnings and prevention.
I remind them that this is not a game to be taken lightly. They need to be in the game 100%, and we work tirelessly, to maintain The Work at maximum efficiency.
Winter has not been kind to our numbers. For the last few months, on both the sides of women and men, we have heard how they have battled the bottle in sobriety.
I go to my meetings, and I know my friends, and I get there early enough that I get to spend twenty minutes talking to them. We know who the front row sobriety folks are, and we also know who the back benchers are. Which is why, at certain meetings, we have moved seats forward and off the back wall. We put out more chairs in the room proper, to make sure, everyone is sitting among everybody else.
That is why we stress, at my home groups that, the twenty minutes before and the twenty minutes after are the most important minutes in a meeting, because we get fellowship, phone numbers and friends. Not necessarily in that order.
The warnings have been clear … Absolutely, Completely, Thoroughly, Honestly.
Anything else, is a recipe for certain disaster …
For Leah, she just wanted the love of her husband, JacobRemember, Jacob thought that Leah’s younger sister Rachel was beautiful. Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah when he wanted Rachel..
Genesis 29:14-3531 When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. 32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”.33 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon..34 Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi..35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children..For Leah, she was not loved, something which she craved. So she did what women of that time were to do, have babies, male babies. And she did it really well. She thought that if she had God plus her husbands love, she would have all she needed..And so she kept trying to gain his love, by producing male babies..“Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”.“She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.”.“Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.”.Each new baby you see her heart torn out that maybe now Jacob would love her. But he never did..All these sons she was producing, and the reason was to gain the love and respect of her husband. She craved his love and affirmation just like many of us do today. She was willing to try the best that she could to gain his love. But it didn’t work..We think if only we could have the love of someone close to us, then it all would be ok, and life would be good or better or we would feel heard. But that equation never worked for poor Leah. And it really doesn’t work for us either..And then we see with her last son, a shift in her heart..35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children..This last time her focus was not on her husbands love, but on her God. Her heart changed and she decided to focus her needs her value, on God who was worthy of praise..And when she did that shift, Judah was born. When she stopped trying to gain value and love from her husband, and just from God, life came. The line that Jesus would be born into, came through that line of Judah. Life came then and there.And interestingly enough, Rachel would die in childbirth and Jacob was buried with Leah..God took notice on the unloved Leah (and he took notice on the “unloved” Jeremy too). When she stopped trying to gain Jacobs love, she was free. When she decided to gain her value and self worth from God, who was worthy of praise, she was free.
We saw this sign, Friday night, outside a resto on the way to the Friday night meeting. It has since made the rounds on Instagram.
It was another stellar day today. It’s too bad we can’t do things outside. That would be tossing anonymity out the window, wouldn’t it …
I spent the weekend with my friends, and ended the weekend with more friends.
We sat a full house, heard a speaker on Step Four, and got all the way around the room for discussion. The season of visitors has begun. In past years, our numbers spiked because we are a popular meeting on the weekend. And with concerts and filming in the city this season, we will welcome folks from far and wide.
We talked about Step Four.
I remember how, in that first year, this time around, my First Fourth was a laundry list of “WhoDunItToMe” which turned into speaking “Victimese.” This is a common thought with folks who are up there in double digit sobriety.
Over the years, repeated passed of my Fourth repeated the same shit over and over. I was not mentally ready to drop the rock, however I did read the book, “Drop the Rock.”
Last Spring, I worked another Fourth, because I was with my new sponsor, and the way he asked me to write it differed from past rounds. Instead of the Big Book column format, he had me:
- Write a dateline/emotion/table (from the year of birth to the present) which would have been 48 entries for me, at the time.
- Then the three lists:
- Fears and
This last pass was much shorter as I did not retread old material, but drilled down into myself, what I was feeling from beginning to end, to be able to chart what happened when, and how my behavior began, evolved and turned alcoholic.
Then we discussed decisions, some of which were Self Preservation decisions, therefore exempt from the inventory.
But that was not the end of that step.
The year that followed, God began to chip away at my bag of rocks I was carrying around, and after a year and some months of trying to get my attention, dropped the wall on me after the last retreat I attended in Vermont.
Which ended up in an emotional breakdown, which led to a very fast and dirty inventory of shit I really needed to write down and didn’t at the time. This period of time fell between steps Six and Seven. Needless to say when all was said and done, I had indeed
DROPPED THE ROCK(S).
A few weeks back, one of my long sober lady friends spoke at a Thursday night meeting, and she said something that stuck …
The whole point of sobriety is to become free, to let go of the past, and to live in the NOW.
Successive Fourth Steps are required as we get and stay sober. And the Requisite Tenth Step is also the daily inventory that keeps us on track on a daily basis.
Sobriety is supposed to lead to Happy, Joyous and Free.
In the long run, we don’t get sober to remain miserable and mired in the past. We got sober to rid ourselves of the past, get rid of the wreckage of our pasts, to find ourselves, to clean our side of the street, and get right with the God of our Understanding, AND to become Happy, Joyous and Free…
This is as free as I have ever felt in my life.
And the cherry on the sundae, is, when the time is right, and you begin to work with others, is to have a sponsee trust you and you, in turn, get to give it back, by hearing someone’s Fifth Step.
That changed my life in ways I never imagined.
The Steps will change your life in ways you would not imagine…
Happy Joyous and Free …
A musical impresario once asked his teacher, how one got to Carnegie Hall ? The answer was simple, Practice, Practice, Practice …
Sports, Music, Life, Love, Marriage, Relationships, Sobriety … all take Work and Practice.
The conversation of questions continued this weekend. We saw little traffic over the weekend, all the numbers were down, across the board. Not sure why, because although it was chilly, skies were blue all weekend.
On Saturday night, one of our number asked the question of herself, and then to the rest of us, “Why do I have to keep coming back?” “Why do I bother, what’s in it for me?”
What’s the matter with smoking a joint, ONE joint? Because one leads to ten, for most of us, just like One drink, leads to ten more, because we all suffer from the same malady, the disease of “MORE.”
On Friday we talked about fragments, and how they play into our daily lives, when we least expect it, and when we most need them. Newcomers still grapple with the fact that we tell them to keep coming back. And usually, it happens, often, that we ask ourselves, Why do I come here, and when is this thing gonna pay out?
I can’t tell you “When” this thing is going to pay out. Those results differ from person to person. In most meetings, we hear, “The Promises,” which come in the Ninth Step work.
And our lady who asked those questions to begin with, we asked her to read the promises, at the end of Saturday’s meeting. And I said to her, that THAT is why you keep coming back. Because at some point, those promises will begin materializing for you too.
Tonight, we continued our read of the Big Book. And as it happened, our chair drilled into Step Three, since we are in the Third month. Last week we read How it Works, which precedes Step Three. That reading is a wealth of knowledge and reverence.
In tonight’s read, we finished reading Step Three. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, As we understood Him.
The prayers in the book, are there to facilitate the work we are trying to do here. Over the last couple of years, I have worked with several of my folks, who do not believe in God, therefore this prayer is useless. But with the work, I encouraged my folks to find their own words to pray, words that resonate with themselves.
Over the years, coming back a second time, and staying clean and sober, and working Steps, I’ve learned to integrate all of them into my daily life.
God has been the constant, giving, God in my life. And has been for the whole of my life. When I decided to step off the beam and back into self, I turn from God and rotate into self. Which usually ends up in a shit storm.
I tell the same story when I talk about God, this time around. When I was done, I was done, I knew it, so I prayed. I prayed a very specific prayer. Funny that God brought me every single item I prayed for, in the order I wanted it, and I found my way back.
In sobriety, I was good for a long while. Until year twelve, when I was restless, not necessarily, irritable and discontent. But I wanted MORE and I was ready for more.
I heard Bob speak and he asked us one thing … Do you pray the prayers in the book?
The answer was a big NO.
If you want fire and more, the place to begin is prayer. And the Step Three Prayer is the first one on that list of prayers you need to speak.
If you do not pray and meditate, every day, then what you get with that lack of effort is what you are going to get. Like it or not.
I invest in my prayer life, like putting money in the bank and going to meetings, and working with others.
Why do we keep coming back, to hear things over and over again. To read the books, over and over again. To hear fragments over and over again. And to learn how to pray and meditate, over and over again.
Because eventually, God is going to hear us, and if He thinks we are ready, answers and “things” begin to happen for us. It took decades for certain things to come. It was surely not overnight.
Everything I needed, or wanted, I had to approach it from the right direction of need versus want. I would pray, and I would wait on God. I might get a peek, or a period of time where things began to appear, but not everything at once, or everything I might need.
I kept coming back, and listening to my friends talk, and I learned how to listen for God to speak, because God doesn’t speak from a cloud, He speaks from our friends, people close to us. it is us who have to learn how to listen and wait.
First you pray … You talk to God.
Then you meditate … You get quiet and learn to listen for God
Then you wait … For the answer to come. If you are always in self and in your head, you sure as shit, are not willing to listen for God’s voice to come.
You never know when God is going to speak, like I said, it is going to come from someplace familiar, someplace close, from somebody we might know. God is a mystery, that He does speak is NOT. So I go to meetings, to rooms that are familiar. Rooms I have spent inordinate amounts of time in, where I know God moves.
I have seen Him move, among my friends over the past fourteen plus years.
It seems, for many that, they have to get down to nitty gritty, to be broken enough that they finally make the decision to stop living in self, and turn it over.
Let Go and Let God.
That is why we keep coming back, because eventually, someone is going to drop a piece of wisdom that is going to hit us right between the eyes, and we finally get that puzzle piece, hopefully, early in the game, so that you don’t have to wait years and years to begin reaping the good stuff.
I stopped battling God, and I stopped, well, I really never thought of myself as God, because I am not that arrogant, today I can walk and talk with God.
I am really grateful for the life I have and the people in it.
Even if I don’t know how to accept good things, that I have never had before.
I guess God loves me.
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…