Over the last few days, I have put in place, the boundaries and rules of engagement, that align with my morals and values. The battle is over, and the arena is drenched in blood and gore, and I rise victorious.
Scrubbing up from the battle and reviewing the wreckage, I know, who got in the arena with me, and who did not. I know all the people who gave me criticism and feedback that was abusive and really not what I had expected from sober men and women, let alone from some of my closest friends.
With that said, I have purged my life of people, places and things.
Thursday, last week, I was presented with responsibility that was not mine to begin with. Nonetheless, as the weekend began, I told a friend that I would engage this responsibility this week, in fact. That did not happen.
Putting the rules of engagement on the table from the beginning was a waste of time.
I chose not to engage because Friday really is not a good day to expect an institution to process an intake. Especially on a Friday afternoon. I chose, instead, to wait until the beginning of this week, to make my move for a total stranger, because I was asked.
Over the next three days, my phone rang off the hook. You’d imagine, that, if I did not answer one call, that I probably would not answer the second, third, or twelfth…
I chose NOT to answer my phone because I really was NOT in the mental space to deal with anyone else but ME over my fiftieth birthday weekend.
Mental Illness is a delicate business, and I need all my faculties to do my job correctly.
I thought I had made that clear with my, Not Gonna Touch this till Monday response.
On Sunday, my best friend met me for a day of fun, food and conversation. Having my best friend physically, with me, instead of on a long distance call, is PRIME TIME.
We took the Metro up to his old neighborhood, to get some Brazilian food and drink. On the way there, we stopped in that most dangerous place, A RECORD SHOP.
Whilst I was thumbing through records, in total bliss, my phone rang, yet again. I let it go to voice mail, again, on purpose.
As we exited the shop and made our way to food, my best friend hands me HIS phone. On HIS phone was a text, from the human being I was ignoring on purpose. Her text said and I quote …
“I know Jeremy is with you. He is not answering my calls, so I need you to tell him that he needs to call me …”
Major Fuck Up there …
What part of Not Gonna Deal with You Right Now, don’t you get ?
My lady friend not only spends her free time dialing my phone like I am some Beck and Call Boy … she expects me to answer her every time she dials my number, and she invades my personal space, while I was busy spending time with my best friend.
Like the only thing on my mind is serving the needs of a self-centered, selfish, bitch.
As I was preparing to order my food, I let it rip.
How do you properly tell someone to fuck off, nicely ???
I tried. Didn’t work …
Lunch was served in Styrofoam take out containers. And we dined like rich Romans in the park, whilst pot was being smoked left and right.
The rest of the day was blessedly void of interruptions. Thank the Baby Jesus.
Monday Morning, I crafted my final fuck off salvo.
Needless to say, my phone has not rung once, in response to said salvo.
I don’t like to be abused by my friends, or strangers for that matter. I really don’t like being taken advantage of either, because, for the record, I never say the word NO to any of my friends, unless I am sick or dead.
They expect me to always say yes, be amenable, and never raise my voice or cuss, for that matter.
Over the last year, that has all changed.
We chatted about reciprocation:
Many of my friends, sober they may be, Never reciprocate, Ever.
Especially, if that means they need to listen to me talk about ME.
Over the past many months, many of my friends took this tack with me. And over and over again, told me to just shut up. And out of the other side of their mouths, continued begging for me to help them, just the same. Just as long as I was doing for THEM.
Nuff said about that.
**** **** ****
Thursday we spoke about a fellow who was addicted to a light switch. Addicted to that light switch so badly, that he was not paying attention to reading The Book with us, let alone listen to anything that had been said over the last eleven months, I have been sitting in this particular meeting.
So I went to The Tire and bought a light switch. Something you wire into the wall and use. Tomorrow night I am going to give said light switch to that fellow who drank again with the words as follows:
Here is your light switch. I am giving it to you so that you remember what took you out the door and to another drink ! Every time you touch your dick or reach for a drink, I encourage you to “Flip the Switch!”
Gay men, are only concerned with three things: Dick, Drugs, and Alcohol.
Like I have stated before, my gay friends have no love for me, and haven’t for some time.
Sometimes, after witnessing my friends and fellows make really bad decisions, when they knew the consequences, I can’t help myself but to be brutally honest with them.
I’ve listened to this man talk bullshit out of both sides of his mouth for as many years, I have known him. Hell, I even sat with him and attempted to help him.
Many people never get past the first direction: Call Me Every Day !
Even if they own a cell phone or hell, better yet, a SMART phone. People don’t use the phone for the intention is was built for. Only for an APP…
UGH Fuck me ten ways from Sunday !!!
So, you spend YEARS listening to someone caterwauling about sorrow, and men, and drugs, and sobriety … Spinning their wheels whilst really needing us to engage you and feel sorry for you and engage with your story, as we drain our hearts in meetings week after week, and in the end, what happens ???
Every word spoken went in one ear and out the other. AND …
He drinks AGAIN.
UGH, Kill Me Now …
That I tried to help you, and you said FUCK YOU … just makes me even more angry.
Working with others has its challenges. The odds are against them all. But I can safely say that every human being I have engaged, is still clean and sober.
And I am not talking about my ego or my skills. It isn’t about me.
Is Fifty looking good on me yet ?
I’ve been sitting in meetings with my friends for over fifteen years. We have all heard the same stories, the same warnings. We’ve listened to LONG sober men and women come from distant places to encourage us to heed their warnings about drugs and alcohol.
I sit back and I listen to words. And I hear those words and I pack them in my bank. And over and over again, people do stupid shit.
It’s like a compulsion.
I hear you, but I think I am going to do THIS OTHER THING INSTEAD…
When you get sober, you have two choices.
- You sit in your chair and you pay NO attention to anyone or anything, OR
- Over time, you engage with your fellow-men and women.
- Engaging has its issues, you see, Note Above …
My friend Roger would tell me that: If I think I know something for sure, that I better sit my ass down and keep my mouth shut, for better or worse.
Thank God I have this blog that I can write whatever the hell I want and rant about stupid shit and stupid people.
FUCK ME …
They never said Sobriety was going to be a cakewalk. Getting sober is a bitch, and the odds are against us every day.
Nowadays, it’s not so much quitting the drink, but Staying Stopped.
The very last story in the book said that line. We all read it. Together. And we all talked about what that meant.
STAYING STOPPED …
And three days later, dumb shit drank again…
What part of Staying Stopped did you miss ???
UGH !!! I hate my life …
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.
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.