“… Some years have passed, and as I look back from the clarity of this moment, I know that the way here for me could not have been by an easier path. I would not willingly have stopped the course my life was on. I needed harsh reality to see the damage that alcohol abuse causes, in so many ways. I needed to be forced into acceptance and humility.”
Some alcoholics and addicts chase our diseases to the gates of insanity, institutions and even death … Some end up locked up, or covered up. Then there are those of us, who’s ships were righted, in the middle of the storm, and got to a safe port, and the opportunity to change our lives for the better.
In this story, our writer tonight, is a woman. Who went from childhood, directly into alcoholism. She passed GO and did not collect her $200.00. And before she GOT IT, she really had GOTTEN IT.
Cirrhosis of the liver, that is …
If you don’t think the girls won’t or don’t party like the boys, some girls are just another kind of party animal, and they go all “Lampshade, Bat Shit Crazy” before their cards come up. Our woman tonight, got to the bitter end, medically, before she wizened up.
Then she gets sober and has the audacity to say this, remember, now how hard a party girl our little lady was … She writes:
“By the time my name was placed on the transplant waiting list, I had become very sick. My liver had progressively continued to shut down, and the official wait had really begun. I had no way of knowing how long it would be before a suitable organ would become available or how long it would be before I rose to the top of the list.
At times I felt resentful of the selection process, the tests, the close supervision of my A.A. program, and the seemingly endless wait. Unquestionably it was only because of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous that I was able to let go of that resentment.”
She’s the one who sunk herself into this pit of sickness and almost death, and at one point SHE gets resentful at the lengths her transplant team was going to to make sure she was sober and taking care of herself.
What transplant team is going to give a healthy organ to someone who is just fucking off, and is really not the human being who really deserves another kick at the can ?
A good few of us needed a swift kick in the ass, before we got sober.
My sponsor paid his price. He was an inter-venous drug use, and got AIDS and Hep C, and all the baggage that came with it, much earlier in the timeline than I did. He got sick in the 1980’s. Before there really was BEFORE in my own story.
I paid the price as well. Alcoholism and Drug Addiction took me to death’s doorstep and I was diagnosed with AIDS as well, I got it in 1994. Still, there were no doctors or drugs for me, and they would not come for a number of years, in my personal timeline.
Thank God for Todd… Really ! I should just thank GOD.
I was in A.A. the first time, for a long time. But like I have said before, I had bigger fish to fry than just staying sober. I mean, I did stay sober, as long as the messaging was telling me to stick around until the miracle happened.
The miracle did happen. I LIVED…
When I moved town from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, the messaging went from Stick Around to Go Away. And that devious, slick, steady and patient little voice begins talking to us, and when that happened to me, ALL bets were off.
I wasn’t listening any longer. I needed to fill the Hole in my Soul. That alcohol and drugs would be connected to that seeking, never entered my brain. And when I got to the other side, there was no escape route, no way out.
I was FUCKED, ten ways from Sunday.
Had the cops not come for me, I probably would have died out there, and nobody would have been the wiser, because nobody knew where I was, save one human being, who did indeed called the cops for me.
I put my life in serious danger. I took my tenuous health for granted and fucked myself over for sex. I did not get the sex, what I got was drug and alcohol addiction, ten times over, what I had left behind the first time.
All because Alcoholics looked at me and said the words ….
GO AWAY and DON’T COME BACK.
Never Ever tell someone coming in, to go away.
Never ever speak that way to another human being, ever.
You never know the challenge that that human being is facing.
Tonight, some folks, in the room, on their second pass, asked this question, What did I NOT have the first time, that I DO have this time ?
The answer was simple. They have US. They have LOVE. They have FELLOWSHIP. They have SPONSORS, they have FRIENDS, and they have THE BOOK and MEETINGS.
And simply, They are NOT ALONE any more.
And we never have to drink again.
For many, in our intrepid group of sober men and women, the problem is NOT the obsession to drink, but the MENTAL aspect of sobriety that is shaking the trees.
The Three Pronged Approach :
- The Physical
- The Spiritual and
- The Mental
Many of my friends deal with this mental aspect of alcohol addiction on a daily basis. That little voice in the back of our heads, that is just waiting for us to slip up and think something stupid.
That’s why we keep coming back, to make sure all three areas of our lives are covered.
For the REST of our LIVES.
One Day at a Time.
Thank the baby Jesus that I am still alive and SOBER.
And thank the Baby Jesus my friends are all still alive and SOBER TOO…
My Aunt Paula and my cousin Sandy.
What would the world be like with NO Women ???
How often are women treated as second class citizens, toughing it out, trying to climb the ladder in work, taking care of babies at home, shopping, cleaning, cooking and everything else that us men, don’t do ourselves.
I think men fail to realize that WOMEN make the world go round. Women are under appreciated, and mostly scorned for wanting better for themselves.
I am a man of the late 1960’s.
My life was filled with women. Across the board.
It fell to the women of our family to do all of the heavy lifting, when it came to family, because all of the men in our family were saddled with work and alcoholism. And the women bore their crosses well, and rarely complained about their lots in life.
If it were not for the women in my early life, I surely would have ended up dead, because that is what my father intended from the very start.
We lived in Connecticut. Most of the family were concentrated in New Britain, but aunts and uncles were scattered in other areas, one needed a car to get to.
My Grandmothers, Camille, and Jeannie, and my Aunt Paula, were my main caregivers. I could not have asked for better people in my life than them. They provided for everything that I might have needed.
Back in the day, we lived simple lives. We did not want for anything, because we had everything we needed. I don’t ever remember any of them going without. But back then, there really was not much else we needed to “get,” like I said, life was simple.
We had a large family that was extended from Canada. The Québécois faction of the family always gathered at Aunt Paula’s house during the summers. Aunts, uncles, cousins and everyone else in between.
I knew I was loved by everyone else, except my biological parents. The women in my life fought to keep me alive. In the words of Toxic Parents, my mother was the silent woman in the family. She did what she had to do to survive.
My father imported her from Montreal, and began to strip away every vestige of who she was, who she knew and he pried her apart of every family member that stood in the way of him making my mother, “In His Image.”
She would become an American Wife, if it killed him in the process.
For a long time, my mother gave us what we needed, and growing up, my brother and I, never wanted for anything. We climbed the social and economic ladder very quickly and very successfully. My mother was not perfect, but she provided. My mother, like my father, was a successful functional alcoholic.
As a young person, I listened very carefully to every word I heard come out of my parent’s mouths. And it was from those words, that I made my life decisions, because they openly shared what they abhorred, and sooner or later, I would become all of what they abhorred.
My mother suffered. And today she is a shell of who she once was, and is a miserable, insufferable, vindictive, bitter old woman. I don’t know who she is today.
I was the one who got out. Who broke the mold, and lived the life, in the end, today, that I was meant to live.
As I grew up, illness began to creep into our lives. And little by slowly, the women in my life began to disappear. My brother and I would travel North to visit family on vacations and during the summer.
Memories of my brother are negligible. He is not a person who is heavily imprinted in my memory at all. My brother, taught to be my adversary, kept a fair distance from me, even if we were in the same house at the same time, and that included during family vacations.
Camille and Jeannie, and Paula, kept a good eye on me. They taught me about life, family, love and devotion. And I was devoted to them, and still am to this very day.
In the eighth grade, Jeannie suffered a tragic stroke, and the woman she was disappeared, and as hard as I tried, I could not bring her back from the abyss. She was gone. She lost her memories, most of her movement, and much of her speech.
She remained a tragic disabled woman, along with my later stroke ridden grandfather. They lived in rest home after rest home, in Miami, until their eventual deaths, when I was in High School.
Camille languished in a rest home in Connecticut, as I grew into my twenties. When I got sick with AIDS in 1994, my mother banned me from family gatherings, however, I did go home once for Christmas, where my parents humiliated me in front of a dinner table full of friends and family. I never returned…
In my twenty-ninth year, I was living in South Miami, I had been very sick at the time, and Camille died. For weeks after her death she visited me. I wrote letters to my mother, dictated to me by Camille, and I mailed them blindly, as they came to me. My mother must have thought I was crazy, because she never mentioned the letters to me ever.
When the funeral was arranged, in Connecticut, I was devastated. Now the only other woman I was connected to, who I knew loved me inside and out, was dead. My mother banned me from going to the funeral. I had a lump of cash, I was sitting on, and I thought to myself that I would go anyways, but that did not happen.
My mother did not want any other family to know I was sick. Because she was ashamed of my presence. I knew, from listening to her talk over the years, before I left home to “come out” I knew what she thought of homosexuals, and especially, men who had AIDS.
I was now, one of them. I had become abhorrent.
It was my experience, that my grandmothers, and my aunt loved me unconditionally. My mother, did not, in the end. Like all human beings, we fear and abhor what we do not know or understand. And it was my experience that normal human beings who loved their families and children, turned into raging animals, who did not know their asses from a hole in the ground when it came to AIDS.
I’m kind of glad that Camille and Jeannie never saw me, as sick as I had gotten. They had only seen the best of who I was, as a young child, into my early teens. AIDS came after they began to depart my life.
All of my family, Alexander, Jeannie, Camille, Carol … Each one of these people, came back to me after they died, in one form or another. I knew them. I saw them. I experienced them in the spirit world.
Jeannie came back to me and used to stand at the foot of my bed for years. When I got sick, living in Fort Lauderdale, Jeannie, had come back and she watched over me for a year. I know this because a friend of mine, who was a medium, at that time, visited me, and confirmed she was there in my apartment.
Alexander came back, when I was in high school. So did my uncle Paul, who returned to my uncle’s house in Connecticut. As the story went, in the end, Paul and Alexander, brothers in life, reunited in death at my uncles house, after they both appeared in two cities, for two families at the same time.
My Aunt Paula was a dignified woman, along with my cousin Sandy. My mother had a love/hate relationship with them. Resentments ruled our family dynamics. At one time or another my mother was pissed at one or the other, throughout my entire young life.
AIDS killed my family. It shattered the very foundation of all we had been.
I moved to Canada in 2002, to follow the maternal blood line of my mother, back into the historical past of our family, much to her consternation.
I then met my great-aunt Georgette, who was living just two blocks from the apartment I live in today. I had two years with her, before she died of cancer, I collected all the stories she had of herself and Camille, because sister Georgette’s family, took Camille in when the Spanish Flu killed thousands of people in the twenties and thirties. Camille had been orphaned by the flu.
My life, is a testament to the dignity and love that I received from the women who made me who I am today. I had but a few generous years of them in life. My life today, is a testament to their spirits that inhabit me.
You might not consider the strength of the human spirit, but it is a life force that can sustain human life. Because I am still alive.
My aunt Paula and my cousin Sandy are a part of my life today. They love me for who I am and both of them contribute to my life today and I am grateful for their presences.
Now, in sobriety, I know many women. In the beginning it was the women who helped me get sober. All the women who ran Tuesday Beginners, when I came in, taught me How it Works, and What to do to stay sober. Margo, my therapist, the first two years of sobriety, took care of me in every way possible. Margo set me on the road to my university education. It was she who afforded the decision to do “something for me” after reaching a year sober.
There are too many women to mention all of them in this post. All of those women who have been or are, presently, part of my present sober life.
Like I said, at the top, Where would we be without the women in our lives ???
Women make the world go round.
Don’t you know you can only sail to the north east end of the Mediterranean sea, then travel by land But what if we sailed in the other direction? Don’t you know if you sail out there your going to sail off the end of this sucker?
Columbus had to be an alcoholic, ” I believe the world is round, I do not believe that it’s flat,” then he made one of the most drunk statements the world has ever heard: ” I believe that we can get East by sailing West.” Now if that isn’t drunk thinking, I don’t know what is.
- Many of his mannerisms indicated he was alcoholic,
- When he left he didn’t know where he was going,
- When he got there, he didn’t know where he was,
- When he got back he didn’t even know where he had been,
- But what really made him a real alcoholic is a woman financed the whole trip for him.
- She did that twice.
Columbus followed a little formula, the world is always known, that if you want to change anything at all, there are certain things that have to take place. The first thing you have to do in order to change anything is to be willing to do so.
Circumstances are what make us willing.
Trying to find the new trade route to the East Indies, is what made him willing to change.
The second thing you have to do to change anything, is to believe you can do so. “I believe the world is round and not flat, and I believe you can get East by sailing West.” But his belief didn’t do him any good either cause he’s still standing on the shore of the ocean the day he expressed that belief.
Some days, weeks, months, years later, he did the third thing He made a decision. He said “by golly I’m gonna go find out that this thing is really round and not flat and can you really get East by sailing West,” but his decision didn’t do him any good either. Because he was still standing on the shore of the ocean the day he expressed that decision.
Some days, weeks, months, years later he did the next thing you have to do, he started taking action. The first thing he did he went to the king of Portugal to get the money, but the king was a very astute business man and said “there’s no way I’m not gonna let you have this money cause you’ll sail out there and sail right off the edge of this sucker and I’ll loose it all.”
That’s why Columbus ended up with the Queen of Spain.
Sweet talked her out of the money. On the promise that he would bring back gold, silk. spices and all the goodies of life. She gave him the money. He bought three ships, he put provision on those ships, he put crew members on all those ships And they began going East by sailing West.
Sailing West, day after day after day, now we don’t know for sure but we have a suspicion that on that first trip he hired a special sailor and put him on the bow of that lead ship at night with a lantern and he whispered in his ear said, “I believe this thing is round but if you see the edge of this damn thing, you holler so we can get turned around in time.”
Now after having sailing West for several days, he got results. They found land on the other side. Which was the result of the action that they had taken. Now we know that he thought that it was the East Indies, it wasn’t, it was the West Indies, but he’d proven himself that the world is not flat, it is round and you will not sail off the edge of it.
He turned right around and came back to Europe.
Went right back to the Queen of Spain, and she said to Columbus, “where are the gold, silk and spices you promised you would bring me?” And he said “sweet heart I’m sorry but I didn’t find any but he said, tell you what I’ll do, if you refinance me I’ll go back. Trust me honey please,” this time I’ll find it. And she refinanced him, and he got some more ships and more provisions, more crew members they begun sailing East by going West, but with one big difference, the second trip he didn’t hire that special sailor, put him on the lead ship by night, this time he went back on faith.
He went back on knowledge. The first time he went back on belief. you can’t start with faith, the only thing you can do is start with belief, make the decision, take the action, get the results, then you will have faith.
**** **** ****
I thought I’d start this post with this story. It comes from Joe and Charlie, speaking to the chapter in the Big Book called “We Agnostics.”
It was a beautiful day today. It is getting warmer by the day. It was also a great day because one of my best friends is here for 10 days for a work conference, all the way from California. It is our yearly get together. Along with a third friend who lives here, we make the three Musketeers.
It is the night after the First Night of the New Year 2017. I was terribly upset when, after an inquiry about our year end reports, to hear that Word Press decided not to produce them this year.
Today the holidays end. Everybody goes back to work tomorrow, and I get my house back. Having another soul sharing the same footprint for two weeks, is trying…
My friend Juan and I hit the Monday Big Book Meeting down the hill. And we were all glad to see that our hearty band of men and women survived the holidays clean and sober.
Tonight’s fare: The House wife who drank at home.
I had to hide, as a great many people in A.A. have had to do. I did my hiding in the hampers and in my dresser drawers. When we begin to do things like that with alcohol, something’s gone wrong. I needed it, and I knew I was drinking too much, but I wasn’t conscious of the fact that I should STOP. I kept on.
My home at that time was a place to mill around in. I wandered from room to room, THINKING, DRINKING, DRINKING, THINKING. And the mops would come out, the vacuum would come out, everything would come out, but nothing would get done.
Toward five o’clock, HELTER-SKELTER, I’d get everything put away and try to get supper on the table, and after supper I’d finish the job up and knock myself out.
I never knew which came first, the thinking or the drinking. If I could only stop thinking, I wouldn’t drink. If I could only stop drinking, maybe I wouldn’t think. But they were all mixed up together, and I was all mixed up inside.
And YET I had to have that drink…
This was my portion of the read this evening. Reading this passage soberly, with the appropriate emphases, speech and tone, we all laughed at the insanity.
It may not have been funny at all, when we were hiding bottles and drinking and thinking and being all over the map when it came to feelings, only to finally realize that we sat in the middle of the balance …
I can’t live with alcohol and I can’t live without it …
I just have to have that One Last Drink …
Coming to the rooms, in the very beginning, was no laughing matter for many of us. I know for me, it was One Very Long Slog the second time. I was shot to death. I was a sad human being, it was definitely NOT a laughing matter.
How can we laugh at someone’s misfortunes when it came to alcohol ?
Well, stop drinking, and come to the rooms. In time, as we read the Big Book, read, and re-read it again, and again, we realize just how bad it was, and with some sober time under our belts, how good it really is now.
Tonight, we all laughed. As was mentioned by some of our folks.
But the laughter, was tempered, by the fact that, some of our number have lost family over the holidays, and that it was not all shits and giggles for some. And we knew that.
But you know, they got through it, with us, Together. They were not, and are not alone.
It is the New Year. And there are those out there, who muddled through the holidays, spitting and sputtering. And there will be those who have realized that they cannot go on the way they have been carrying on, for how ever long the slog has been for them.
Numbers will bump over the next month.
- For those who think they drink too much
- For those who have decided to cut back and come in, but not to stay
- For those who KNOW for sure, they drink too much
- And those who come in via the courts
We who are in it to win it, will listen to people tell their stories and just how insane it was for them, and how they just need to get a handle on their drinking, and they will be good, and they can go back to their lives … and drink again.
The odds are not good, in the month of January, for those who come in and may not, or will not stay. They just need a place to DRY OUT for a bit.
In reading this story, our house wife speaks of SURRENDER…
I went to closed meetings and open meetings. And I took everything that A.A. had to give me. Easy does it, first things first, one day at a time. It was at that point that I reached SURRENDER. I heard one very ill woman say that she didn’t believe in the surrender part of the A.A. program. My Heavens !!!
Surrender to me has meant the ability to run my home, to face my responsibilities as they should be faced, to take life as it comes to me day by day and work my problems out. That’s what SURRENDER has meant to me.
I surrendered once to the bottle, and I couldn’t do these things. Since I gave my will over to A.A., whatever A.A. has wanted of me I’ve tried to do to the best of my ability…
A.A. gives us alcoholics DIRECTION into a way of life WITHOUT the need for ALCOHOL. That life for me is lived one day at a time, letting the problems of the future rest with the future. When the time comes to solve them, God will give me strength for that day.
My grandfather was a bottle hider, as was our house wife tonight. I identified with her story, because I had met her, early on in my life, She was my Grandfather.
My father did not hide bottles. He had a liquor cabinet and a rolling stock bar. He did not hide anything. He drank in open company. The more the better. My parent’s always encouraged us to DRINK. And drink at home, they would even supply the alcohol, no questions asked.
For me, I never kept alcohol at home. I never bought it at a liquor store. I had to go out to get it. That was the adventure. The Going out to Get It.
When I realized that I could not drink every day any longer, I became a BINGE drinker.
In my mid thirties, deluded still, in the belief that if I drank enough, someone would notice me. After the first drink, all bets were off.
In the end, I would have that first drink, and be totally smashed. Several more drinks would follow, and finally, I would go from the club to waking up in my bed, through two locked doors, after someone rushed me out of the club, into a taxi, and got me home.
To this day, I do not know who performed that chore every Saturday night, that I went out to BINGE.
But I am grateful for whomever it was, because this could have ended very badly, someone UP THERE was paying attention, and did for me what I could not do for myself.
You Don’t have to ever drink again.
There IS a SOLUTION.
The rooms await, with people in them, there to welcome you and to be your friends.
One day at a time.
We are so privileged to have the resources we do today.
If you travel to the island of Crete, in Greece, and are looking for another alcoholic, or a meeting, one has to travel through back alleys, and little lanes, to the door of an old Greek Orthodox Church, where you will find a door, with an A.A. medallion, stuck to it.
And quite possibly, you will also find two ex-pat British men who, for 42 or 43 weeks a year, spend their time on the island of Crete. Two men, probably the only English meeting you will find there, will help you stay sober.
Imagine, if you will, in the year 2016, that there are only THREE people, who have the life saving message of how to quit drinking. There is no book, There are no meetings. There are only three men, in the whole of creation, that have the message, to offer …
In the story, A.A. Number Three, the story of Bill D. the man in the bed, is the founder of the first A.A. group in the world, in Akron Ohio. The Very First group.
When he received the message, it was only Bill and Dr. Bob.
“They said to me, Do you want to quit drinking? It’s none of our business about your drinking. We’re not up here trying to take any of your rights or privileges away from you, but we have a program whereby we think we can stay sober. part of that program is that we take it to someone else who needs it and wants it. Now, if you don’t want it, we’ll not take up your time, and we’ll be going and looking for someone else.”
Bill and Dr. Bob meant business. Because it was THEIR sobriety on the line. If they did not carry the message to a suffering alcoholic, then they were in jeopardy of drinking again.
Do you really need it or want it ???
Imagine if we were back in the day, knowing we had a serious problem, a sickness of the mind and the body, and there was no one around, to help us figure it out, save for just two men, who succeeded in stopping the drink.
We are just so lucky.
The next story in the founder’s section of the Stories in the back of the book is “Gratitude in Action,” The story about Dave B. who founded A.A. here in Quebec in 1944.
A.A. in Quebec began in a nondescript home, in the basement of said home, before A.A. found its way into a local church.
We are indebted to this intrepid group of men and women, for laying the groundwork for the system we have that keeps us sober.
I heard some friends of mine talk tonight about family members on the other side of the world, (read: S. Korea) where there are NO meetings in English and the only contact they have with another alcoholic lives here in Montreal.
I also heard a friend talk about some women who got sober around the same time my lady friend had, a little over two years ago. I warned them all about LONGEVITY. I warned them that sobriety was a LONG HAUL proposition.
That the Pink Cloud would come to an end, and if you are not focused on the long haul of it, you will fall off that cloud and drink again. A couple of those lady friends are still IN the meetings, they STICK around and have stayed.
But for some of those women, who were heavy alcoholics who ended up in institutions and hospitals, and lost their homes, kids, cars and THINGS, each of them rebuilt from the rubble, and then decided that they did not NEED us any longer.
They might be sober still, but they have gone off on their own.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing ? I’m not sure.
It’s not my problem.
Where ever you go in the world, you can, for the most part, find a meeting, in the local language, or better yet, in English if you are lucky. But no matter where you go, in the world, there are people out there to carry the message, even if we don’t speak the same language.
Sobriety is universal.
It was said tonight, by another of our women, that:
If it is the the only thing we find in the rooms, we find God, Spirituality.
The book says:
I came in A.A. solely for the purpose of sobriety, but it has been through A.A. that I have found God.
Bill D, goes on to say … I feel that is about the most wonderful thing that a person can do.
God has been a part of my life for the whole of my life. When it was good, it was good, but when it was bad, it was very bad. But in all my years, I never imagined that I would turn my ENTIRE will and my life over to the care of God, as I understood him.
God was present the first time I got sober, in the guise of Todd.
The problem was that Todd was not IN the rooms. But he gave me a plan to live and he kept me sober on the outside. The room I was attached to, was unhealthy and sick. I did not want to be in that room, but it was the only one close enough to walk, because I did not have a car, and other meetings were too far away and transit sucked.
My first sober stint was unhealthy and I did not connect, and decided not to stay.
Read: Taking back my will to fill the HOLE in my SOUL.
What I did right the second time was this … It began with prayer.
I had, functionally, committed to Steps One, Two and Three, the very night I decided I was done drinking, for the second time.
I made my first meeting in a room that welcomed me and asked me to stay. It was a healthy – safe – supportive space to get sober.
In deciding to grow up, it was in the rooms that I achieved that, with people who helped me stay sober, grow up and become a man. Coming to Montreal, was 100% a God decision.
And God has not done me wrong.
This would only be the SECOND time I post something about
“He who should not be named.”
My Father Once said to me:
ONCE YOU SPEAK YOUR WORDS, YOU CAN NEVER TAKE THEM BACK…
I’m totally sure that the U.S. Election IS IN the BAG.
There is no recovery, no apology, nor any words to redeem him now.
He’s FINISHED !!!
Fried, Done, Cooked, Boiled, BURNED and TRASHED ….
It is raining. And has been raining All, Day, LONG ! Many things were going on today, and I had to get out of bed early, because we needed some repairs to our fuse box, and I had an appointment later in the afternoon, on the East end, and it was pouring down rain all afternoon. And I really did not want to go out in the pouring rain ….
Even with an umbrella …
The repairs were made, sadly, a couple of hours before I was supposed to leave, I got a cancellation call from The Maison that my masseur was stuck in the townships with a flat tire. (Townships – To the East and South of Montreal – a little far away).
When the coast cleared and I was free of commitments, I gladly poured myself back into my warm bed for a couple of hours. (read: Being good to myself).
It was a joyful evening, as we had a fellow join us for his first (read: Second first) meeting. It is hard having family in the place of suffering and not being able to do anything for them, because all we can do is attract rather than promote.
And we’ve been working really hard at attraction.
We got to the meeting with time to spare. And as I sat down, the chair asked me to thank the speaker. Common themes are repeating themselves, albeit, from different generations of people.
For a second week in a row, our speaker had not one, but BOTH parents in the rooms for more than twenty years. And rather than push the rooms or preach the goodness of its people, the parents waited, listened, and then, when the time was right, then say, quite clearly and out of character, that “Maybe it is time for a meeting.”
Both the gentleman last week, and our young lady tonight, came in by a suggestion from a parent. And it worked. Both are sober today.
The theme of tonight’s share was:
SITTING ON THE FENCE IS NOT A COMFORTABLE PLACE TO BE …
Some, who come in so young, are not quite sure they fit in, at first glance. They come, sit in a few meetings, then leave, because they are either:
- A. Thinking they are too young to get sober
- B. What will my Old friends think
- C. I can’t get sober when my friends drink and drug
- D. It just isn’t the right time for me
- E. I’m too young to be an alcoholic. I still have good years to drink more…
- F. I’ll do it when I’m Thirty …
So they go back out for further experimentation, until they hey rock bottom, and usually, once you come in and see, your drinking is screwed up for the rest of ones life.
So the BIG push to the bitter end is usually a tragic crash and burn.
Do I or Don’t I ? What will life look like ? What will my friends think ? How will I survive without drugs and alcohol, in my twenties …?
Hearing our young lady share, she spoke the “Litany of the Young People.”
How many young people do we know “out there” who could use what we have “In here?”
And how many make it IN and how many do NOT ?
I have to applaud our young people, every day. Because they have courage, that I did not have. But like them, at one point, I was told, that I WAS going to get sober, NOW.
We hear common themes among our young women. That of:
- Self Loathing
- Negative Self Talk (Read: Saying things to ourselves things we would never say to another Human Being)
- I’m not like all of you
- It’s really Not That Bad !!!
- Lonely and Heartbroken
- and finally … Desperation and Hopelessness
We hear this from the men, to a degree, but for the women who come in, (Read: At any Age) these feelings are only magnified times TEN.
The men just don’t connect like they should, because guys just don’t do that kind of thing.
But between the women, the pain runs deep, and they ponder that maybe there won’t be another woman in the room who can identify.
Sadly or more positively, ALL of our women share common threads. And it isn’t until they really connect, that they see that they are No Longer Alone.
I’m very happy that our young men and women, who are IN today, have stuck and stayed. They did what was suggested. They come, the all have Home Groups. Some, who have been a little while, are giving it back in working with others.
Then there are those whom are beginning to connect in ways they had not, in the beginning, and they have stepped it up a notch.
It was a good night.
April and May are the Big Roundup and Pioneers Roundup weekends. Every year, we all wait for the programs of sober events that fall during this period. Spring has begun, however, Mother Nature is going to toss negative temps at us all weekend. UGH!
Spring is a good time to get sober, because if you participate, often, You Too can turn up the heat and really raise your game better than it ever has been.
One of our Women celebrated her first year sober. There was Cheesecake !!
A good time was had by all.
The weather has been all over the place this week. We hit an all time low the other night, with a dip to minus – 24c overnight, it was quite frigid. Last night it was downright balmy, in relation to that big dip into the minus category. Tonight, it was a bit colder than it was last night.
It has been a full week of activity. Meetings are beginning to populate after the holidays, across the city. Wednesday night I went to visit the baby, and I have to say, she is adorable. She has long brown hair that we have yet to get cut, so we have resorted to pony tail and the other night, she had pig tails. She’s very aware, and she is beginning to show distinct personality. She is also beginning to find words. She has a few expressions like “I know … Uh Oh! … No, No, No … and Mama …
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Today was a full day of things to do. A friend and I went to see Star Wars, The Force Awakens, this afternoon, in Imax. I don’t get it, that the theatre we went to was not fuller than it was. There were only ten people in that entire theatre for the afternoon showing.
Having seen the first Star Wars movies when they were originally released in the 1970’s and having grown up with all of the films over 48 years of life, I had expectations.
In the end, we learned that there is a lineage. Generations of Jedi, and generations of characters that are new. And the original grouping came back for the story.
The First Order is now the Dark Side. And then there is the Resistance. The battles were epic. The cinematography was absolutely amazing. I wondered out loud, where they found the locations to film such amazing and majestic locations.
There are three new backstories that need to be fleshed out. And the original thread was re-introduced, with the addition of successive generations of family, that also need to be fleshed out.
The film ends with a finding of a certain Jedi by the new young heroine. Which totally leaves the next film to explore.
It is well worth the time and money to see this film. And I haven’t spoiled anything for you …
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I had very little time for transition from film to my weekly Thursday meeting. I dropped off my shopping, and turned around and set off by myself for the meeting.
A very good friend spoke. The last time I heard her share, the take away was, “That she was waiting for her husband to leave!”
She was drinking heavily when she got married, and she took a hostage, who, in time, said to her that “he did not like the woman she became when she drank!”
She eventually found her way to us. And on her first meeting she witnessed two events. A Three year anniversary, which she just could not wrap her head around, how she would stay sober for three years, on her first night. The second, was a Thirty Day chip.
Now that was more manageable. 30 days …
She saw, in the eyes of that particular woman, HOPE.
And that kept her coming back for more. A good thing too.
Because she has grown into a fine woman, who is still married to the man she was waiting for, to leave. He stuck around.
It wasn’t what she said that stuck with me this round, but what the thanker said in his Thank …
“How Extraordinary that life becomes Ordinary …”
Who drank for show, or how many of us drank, and that became notariety, being popular amongst our fellows, because of the amount of liquor that we could throw back …
When in reality, our friends were making comment on that fact that “We drank so much…”
It takes time, and it is also said that for some, we get sober, and we think that now that we are sober, that all of life, is going to be great.
But that isn’t reality, really.
Life comes as Life on Life’s terms. It is not easy, shit happens and we are not impervious to tragedy, in our lives, or in the lives of our friends.
The good thing is, when tragedy strikes in sobriety, we don’t have to drink. In time, we realize that we don’t have to drink over anything, if we stick to the rooms and the people in them.
Sponsors, are truly remarkable people. I see my friends getting sober, and I hear what they have experienced, and they survived tragedy after tragedy, and did not drink.
And that comes down to meetings, friends, and sponsors. Who took time out of their lives to make sure that they stuck and stayed, and that the God of our understanding did what we could not do ourselves.
You never know when God is going to speak, and when He does, it’s gonna come from someone we know, someone close …
When we drank, most of us, well, I did, drank for excitement, for the thrill, and the hope that something BIG was gong to happen.
Well, shit did happen, and for most of us, it wasn’t very good.
We ended up in a room, a room full of alcoholics. And we were the last to know or to admit that we were alcoholics, even though the writing was on the wall all along.
And in the end, we get sober, life goes on, shit happens and we hear a man say to us tonight that:
ISN’T IT EXTRAORDINARY THAT LIFE IS SO ORDINARY ???
I never have to drink again.
I love my ordnary life, my husband, my friends, and the baby.
My heart is full.