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.
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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 …
The weather has been looking up. The rain has stayed away and blue skies have been prominent today. The only complaint I have today is that on several fronts, construction or building clean up started way too early this morning. I’ve never seen a vacuum so big as the one that is hanging on the side of the consulate building right now. It literally is a HUGE collection bin (read:vacuum) on the ground floor, with a tube that reaches more than ten stories up the building. And it roared all day like a jet engine. Just a mere few meters away from my balcony. UGH …
I was up and down like a Yo Yo all day until I finally had had it with noise and I got up.
The sadness train has left the building, because Baby Mama and Baby LuLu are scheduled to depart Montreal on the morning of the 18th. Just two weeks away. We are now in clean and move mode, scheduling trucks and movers to move the furniture to other places in the coming month.
Move Day is July First. That is, EVERYBODY moves in Montreal on July First. So you can imagine the gridlock on trucks and traffic on that one day of the week. It is a sheer nightmare. So we are hoping to get this all wrapped up before the end of June.
Let Us Pray …
We sat a bumper group tonight, and read another “Women’s Story, Student of Life.” And once again, the men piped up, I wonder why I never read this story, because, you dumb ass, you skipped it because you didn’t want to read another woman’s tale of alcoholism.
This story has tragic appeal.
But just as material losses are not necessary to indicate alcoholism, material gains are not the true indications of sobriety. The real rewards aren’t material in nature.
I have friends now because I know how to be a friend and I know how to nurture and encourage valuable friendships.
Most importantly, I know who I am. I know my goals, dreams, values and boundaries, and I know how to protect, nurture, and validate them. Those are the true rewards of sobriety, and they’re what I was looking for all along.
I came to A.A. in order to stop drinking; what I received in return was my life.
The story of a young woman, never seeing alcoholism or dysfunction in her home life, leaves the nest, and enters college. And never drinking before, she attends her first of MANY fraternity parties.
She has a drink, then she has MORE, ends up sick as a dog, tossing her cookies in a bathroom stall, and after all that she gets up from the bowl and she thinks …
OMG I’ve arrived, Give me MORE, I like it …
It is like sitting at the bar, with a stiff shot in a nice little shot glass, and you grab that shot and toss it back, as it bites your throat as it goes down, and you lick your lips and repeat that phrase …
OMG, I like it, Give me another …
When she had a moment of self appraisal with one of those alcoholism questionnaires, she grades high, in the “never had those losses,” so I must not be an alcoholic!
But she writes that in the end, it was ALCOHOL that was the LIE.
Alcohol, it is a lie, an evil, insidious lie, and I chased that lie for a long time, even when it was obvious that I was going nowhere and killing myself while I was doing it.
And how many of us fell for that lie, and went down this road ourselves, until we indeed, hit our respective bottoms, and quit digging, and realized just how duped we were by the LIE of Alcohol ?
After a little bit of time, she is sitting in a meeting, and gets asked to speak, for the first time, and the story goes:
It was the second meeting that clinched my resolve to pursue sobriety. There were about thirty five people in attendance, but the space was small, so the meeting seemed very crowded. Being from out of town, I stood up and introduced myself when asked to by the chairperson. Later on in the meeting, the chairperson called on me to share. I got up and somehow walked over to the microphone and podium – I’ve never been so nervous in my life. But the words came out naturally as I described the events that led up to the meeting that night.
As I spoke, I looked around the room. More importantly, I looked at the faces of the people in the room and I saw it. I saw the understanding, the empathy, the love. Today I believe I saw my Higher Power for the first time in those faces. While still up at the podium, it hit me – THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR ALL MY LIFE.
This was the answer, right here in front of me. Indescribable relief came over me; I knew the fight was over.
How many boys and girls, not yet adults, move from home into university settings, or into early job prospects, and moving away from home for the first time, and we hear this lie told to us, that “Alcohol will get you where you want to go, and if you don’t hear that one, you get that “first drink, give me more phenomena!”
I lived my story backwards. I started in Hell and began loosing in the first few months of leaving home. And even with those losses, I took my lumps, and just kept going. That was the bulk of my twenties, until I got sick at 26.
I had a two year break from misery, to meet and conquer death, soberly. That was a success, but the lie was not over, I had not hit that final bottom.
But when I did, in 2001, at 34, I was licked. I was done. I knew where I had to go, and I prayed that God would get me there, and He did.
The rest is history.
Some things I heard this evening:
- I can’t stand looking in the mirror, even sober
- I feel less than, because I am being hit with life lumps and I don’t quite know what to do with them
- Well, I’ve got some time, and sure as shit, life is not getting better for me
- When are the Promises going to begin coming ?
- I don’t know who I am
It is the same for everybody, woman or man. When we come in, life may suck, but you haven’t had a drink in a while, so stick with it. Just because we get sober, God doesn’t turn around and flatten the mountains and raise the valleys to meet us.
Life is as Life is going to be. This is Life on Life’s terms, raw and unadulterated.
It ain’t easy, and now you know about the lie, because you fell for it. And now you are learning how to live with the truth. So sit down, shut up, take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth, and pay attention.
You put one foot in front of the other. You Join a Group. You get active. You do some service, and try a little gratitude for today that you did not drink or drug.
My sponsor really likes simplicity:
If you did NOT drink or drug today, then that is a good start.
Alcoholics love control, complexity, and sitting in ones own shit.
The problem with sitting in ones own shit, is that, eventually you begin to smell like shit, and who wants to hang around someone who is sitting in a shit pile for very long ?
Not Many People.
I can’t give final answers to any of the questions above. All I can tell you is that it took a very long time for the Promises to come true, more than a decade for some, so hang on while the roller coaster is in motion.
Life is not easy, just as Sobriety is not any easier either.
But you are here, I suggest you come back for more.
It will get better. If you want results, you have to DO the WORK.
You cannot reap benefits from a program that you do not work conscientiously.
Women suffer Too …
The weather is NOT working in our favor. We are sitting at a tremulous ZERO at this hour, but it is a WET and DAMP cold outside. The rain, freezing rain, snow, more rain, cycle has been going for the past few days. Yesterday it rained, the city flooded and power was knocked out for tens of thousands of homes in the city.
Last night, amid pouring rain, sleet and snow, I ventured out to have dinner with baby mama and the baby. It wasn’t the best night to go out, by far, and I had my duck boots, so I was good to go, even if I got soaked on my transit.
It has just been miserable.
This morning I did ALL the laundry, including the Winter Gear.
Today, it was misty and piddled rain and snow all day. I had plans to go out and get chips for my guys, which is a train ride across the city to the Montreal Stade Olympic, (read: the closest, most recognizable, landmark) on the way to the intergroup office, on the East end.
It was a come and go event.
On the way back, It was wet and puddles. At one point, I was waiting at an intersection to cross the street going towards the Metro. I was wearing clean, DRY, laundered clothes.
As I stood there, in front of a puddle that was a foot deep, the light had changed to green, I spied a car coming towards me gunning the light, and the driver blew through the puddle AT FULL SPEED.
The wave came up, and drenched me head to toe, I had stepped back, forseeing this catastrophe, but still, I was happy with clean, DRY clothing. Now I was sopping wet.
I got back on the Metro and came home, and crawled back into bed for a few hours before the evening event.
In many stories we hear the “What it was like…” and for some, what it was like was bad, then there are others, who’s what it was like, is biblical in proportion. Tonight, we heard a real “jackpot story of biblical proportions.”
For some, it is just alcohol, but for many, in today’s world, DRUGS factor in a great deal.
At some point, in our lives, we get to certain markers in time. One of those markers is the EITHER / OR circumstance.
A back story is necessary to set the scene for you.
Enter, young girl, barely making it at nineteen. Stuck in a haze of drugs and alcohol and organized crime. Bartending for less than savory clientele. But successful, nonetheless, until she hits the Either / Or.
She says that: When NOTHING runs out, you never realize there is a problem.
After the final night of partying, she is done, fried, finished, Kaput !!
She wakes up to find a friends wallet left behind, knowing that friends pin number, she goes to the bank and steals ALL of her friends money. A few hours later, a very calm friend comes to her, and very quietly says:
EITHER You call daddy, and get my money back, OR I call daddy and get my money back !
I felt the chill of FEAR run down my spine when she said this…
Cue, secrets, lies and deceitful behavior over months and years, and a daddy that does not need to know the fine minutea, of addiction and theft. Because our young woman is “daddy’s girl” and needs not know …
So begins the slow march out of hell.
Young people who come in, in their twenties, don’t stay. We see this over and over. They just can’t get past, “I’ll never be able to drink and use again, how will I live my life, what will my life look like if I am in my twenties and how will my friends deal with that truth, my life is OVER and how will I get by?”
There are two routes into the rooms.
- From the bottle and drugs to a meeting (or)
- From the bottle and drugs into REHAB then to a meeting
Some of us were never given the choice of rehab, or volunteer to go there on our own. But there are some, who realize, within the haze, that there is only one way out of hell, and being locked up for a series of months to “clean up” will do them some good.
Then you do your time, and come to us. Shy, quiet, wanting to do it “her way” coming to meetings, but leaving the heart and mind at home. Thankfully, the first people she was introduced to welcomed her, and let her be, in that, she had a place to go and people who were REALLY looking out for her.
She, at least, did one thing right, she kept coming back.
Deciding to clean up the outsides first, did not do her so well, but that’s the road she chose. The only problem is, the rooms are an INSIDE job. She wasn’t ready to even ponder, the insides.
Eventually she got there.
And finally, the people who welcomed her, and kept an eye on her for all that time, when she came and went on her own speed and at her own drive, turned into just the right people she needed to get started on THE WORK.
Sometimes you find love where you least expect it.
We applaud everyone who makes it in. And the greater lesson for those of us already here, is that after you put down the drugs and alcohol, the inside job begins, the hard part is, not allowing sobriety to go to your head…
Hence: Right Sizedness…
You cannot get sober and keep your ego.
It just does not work that way, I’ve seen too many people get sober, gain some time.then it goes to their heads, and they have what I call, “The EGO attack” and they go back out, or just plain disappear. And you never see them again.
Been there, seen it, lost very good people to the Ego Attack.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are all or nothing propositions.
Not an Either / Or, proposition.
When your supply, never runs out, you don’t realize there is a problem, until your addiction (read: Secrets and Lies) are staring you in the face.
Grateful for small mercies, our woman tonight, cleared away the wreckage of her past, gives freely of what she has found, and she joined us.
She has a family AGAIN, and she is a WHOLE WOMAN.
Inside and Out.
You never know where your speaker is going to come from.
Hit those speaker meetings ladies.