Sunday Sundries … Go Somewhere else, You Aren't Welcome Here !

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It snowed last night. There is a lot of snow piled up all over the core. Many are hoping that this was the last round for the season. In the past we have had snow all the way into May. The temps will moderate and rise over the next few days, so I am not sure they will spare the expense to clean it up off the streets.

It was a quiet weekend.

I departed on time and when I got to the church, there was three feet of snow piled up in front of the church doors, covering the stoop and out into the walkway. The shovel was inside the door, and I had to get the door opened to get it, which took some serious pulling and shoving a door barricaded by snow. It took me a couple of passes to remove all the snow, which is piled up at least three feet on either side of the doors, where the bushes are covered with ice and snow.

It is the last Sunday of the month, and we sat a fair number which was good. Several of my friends whom I haven’t seen in a while came and that was a good sign. We read from the Twelve and Twelve and Tradition Three …

“The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

Many talked about finding similarity when they got here, and over time realized that they were not that different from their fellows. Secondly, the word God popped up in conversation. Step Three and Tradition Three kind of go hand in hand.

Every time we read this tradition I zone in one one specific passage from the reading:

“We were resolved to admit nobody to A.A. but that hypothetical class of people we termed ‘pure alcoholics.’ Except for their guzzling, and the unfortunate results thereof, they could have no other complications. So beggars, tramps, asylum inmates, prisoners, queers, plain crackpots, and fallen women were definitely OUT. Yes sir, we’d cater only to pure and respectable alcoholics!

Emphasis added …

The first time I got sober, was in an LGBT room catering to gay sober folks. It was not a cake walk, as I have shared before that newcomers were regarded as race horses that should be bet on to see who would go back out and drink first.

I stayed sober, in spite of them, and on my first anniversary, I told the crowd to go fuck themselves. In my second year of sobriety, I moved from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. I was still counting the days to my death date doctors had given me when I got sober. I was on the bubble, to say the least.

I got connected to a club room in South Miami, (The Coral Room). The room was open all day and hosted meetings all day and night. Around the second year of sobriety, someone asked me to speak at a speaker meeting. It would be the first time I had ever spoken at a meeting in sobriety.

The room was packed. At least more than a hundred were in the room. And I got up to the podium and began to speak. Getting around to my diagnosis and my living with AIDS came up and as I started this phase of my share, all the men got up and left the room and went outside to wait until I was finished speaking.

At the end of the meeting I went outside and one of the men stepped up and said to me

“We don’t support or condone people like you, so please go somewhere else to get sober!” Needless to say I was floored.

I remained at that room for another two years, but I went to other meetings where I felt some sense of belonging. I pulled back, I stopped reading the book, I did not have a sponsor AND I trusted no one. Which directly led to my slip.

I went out on my fourth anniversary. Following all the men who went out at the four year mark. When I came back, I was on the beach, and went to Sober on South Beach for my return. They welcomed me and did not judge me.

A few months later, I ended up here in Montreal. I was five months sober the second time, and I was hitting different meetings all over the city.

Here in Montreal there are invisible lines drawn between the different Burroughs, and sections of the city. For the most part, people who live in one section of town, never cross that boundary to go to other meetings in other parts of town.

So one night I was in the West End. And hit a Friday night meeting. I was new in town, Did not know anyone and I hit this particular meeting. At first they welcomed me and then drilled me with twenty questions. As we talked they got an idea of my situation and my status.

Once again I heard those words … “We don’t condone people like you, please go somewhere else to get sober, you aren’t welcome here!”

That is something you don’t really hear about. People being told that they are not welcome and to go somewhere else. Especially if a particular group follows the traditions.

I never went to that meeting again, and for many years I never went to NDG for a meeting for a long time. On my tenth anniversary I spoke at a West End meeting and I told this story. People were shocked but some were not. This only solidified for me the fact that there are sick people in the world, and I should stay away from them. I haven’t spoken at a meeting since that night.

Tonight we read Tradition Three, and I shared this story once again. Many of the old timers at the Sunday meeting have never heard me tell that story before. We are a welcoming meeting. There are several LGBT folks at the meeting.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to Stop Drinking.

One of my sponsees was sitting right next to me, he was moved.

This lesson runs deep, because we must treat everyone who comes in the door kindly, compassionately, and with care. If we judge and are careless with our words, they may leave and never come back again.

No matter who you are, what age you are, what orientation you are, man, woman, boy or girl, everyone is welcome at our meetings, well welcome at ALL the meetings I go to.

There are assholes here and there. Sick alcoholics who can’t see past their own prejudices. Sadly, that is part of the times.

We transcend those barriers in many meetings, and that is a good thing.

It was a good night. Jobs are taken for the month of April. Painless…

Everybody checked in, everyone is well and good to go.

More to come, stay tuned …

Friday … True Ambition

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Courtesy:TylerOakley

Temps are going up. It actually rained tonight. A good sign that Spring is making a good attempt at driving winter away. But one more snowfall is in the cards for Saturday and Sunday. We will be well above the freezing mark over the next few days.

It was another one of those days, I had an idea for the evening, and I went and planned an evening with hubby, but when He got up from his nap he nixed my plans. UGH ! Return to regularly scheduled programming …

I departed amid a little rain, people were carrying umbrellas, but really, why? Have toque will travel. I made my transit in good time and arrived to half the room complete so I helped finish up, quietly and without words and needing none.

We filled the room, and everyone was there, pigeons included. Nice, I get to see them regularly which is a good thing.

We talked about ambition, true and false. We talked about fear, pride, humility and humiliation. Humility is NOT humiliation. When it comes to ambition, I think I have some. But in good measure in all the right ways I think. My friends and fellows keep me in check, in realizing what is really important and why my friends ARE my friends.

Our men are good men, every one of them, each in their own way. I learn something different from each of them on a weekly basis.

Who knew a year ago, that after the West Island Roundup that it would come to pass that God would grant me certain graces and place me in the right place at the right time. It is coming on a year that sobriety took a turn.

And in all that time, I learned from my friends, just what we do, and why? And for what reason. I am where I am and I am satisfied with that. I have been ambitious about sobriety, and endeavored to work with my guys and I have done that.

And now I get to work one on one with my guys who came into my immediate life from the universe, at just the right time.

It was a great night. We had three cakes. And three firsts, again.

I have been doing the Friday meeting for more than a year, And it has been a year that I have participated in the journeys of our celebrants tonight. We are all the better for their presences. Each of them brought lessons we all needed to learn.

I am not my father. And what I have today is representative of how my life, my sobriety and the gifts of the program have given me. I don’t have the cars, the children, the house with a yard, pool, and riding lawn mower.

Life did not pan out that way for me. Alcoholism took its ransom and the rest they say is history. It isn’t all about me, I am not the center of the universe. I have everything I need, and that is good for me.

I have the friends I need. They are all a blessing. They keep me humble.

It is one thing to have ambition. But quite another when you have people who keep one right sized, so ambition is metered, and not get out of hand.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

Thursday … Freedom

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Courtesy:Ingayswetrust

It snowed today. Just a dusting. And they say it will snow more overnight, then changing to rain…Temps are going up. We will see a (10c) over the weekend. How I know Winter is over is when we get a full weeks worth of (10c’s). At that point we can turn off the heat and open the windows for the first time since last fall.

It was not a good night last night. I turned in early and early this morning I awoke with a migraine headache that was killing me. Then I ended up tossing everything in my stomach. You would have thought I drank too much and was praying to the porcelain God !!! Not very pretty …

I popped some Advil and went back to bed, with my head pounding. Eventually I got back to sleep and woke up a few hours later, none the worse.

All my fellows I entrusted with things to do came through today. I often give my friends things to do when I need something for a particular group, and it always seems to work. Never say No when another member asks for help.

I am learning that if I don’t step up, I might miss an opportunity. A friend I follow is expecting his first child very soon, and he says that one must act, and always work to bring something new into the world. You could be that change, that good thing, that good word, something like that.

And so it goes.

I learned tonight that the great “West Island Roundup” is once again going to be open the 17th and 18 of May in Dorval with speakers from NYC. It will be a good weekend to spend with my sponsees doing something together. Tickets are $30.00, another expense for the month of May. The second weekend of May we are going to Vermont for a retreat, at $120.00. May is going to be one expensive month. But monies worth spending for sobriety.

We sat almost the entire group and a guest tonight. Another successful business meeting was held. May 1st is our First Anniversary. It really has been a very fast year. And the group has only grown, which is always a good thing.

We talked about Freedom from Today’s Daily Reflections.

We all came to the rooms for one reason to another. And in turn we all have seemed to realize how freeing that decision was in our lives. And later, on in time, the grace that came from having a free choice to choose what we want to do with our lives, vis a vis Sobriety.

I could not have written the story that took place over the last thirteen years. God has been good. I am free. I do what needs to be done, on any given day, and I serve my fellows to the best of my ability.

You can’t get sober and keep your ego. Sadly, some forget that.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

Tuesday … Just a Phone call Away

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Courtesy: TapThatGuy – Central Park NYC

The weather is looking UP ! We dodged the bullet with that NorEaster that is headed to all points East and North. Thanks Be To God … It was a bright and sunny day and they tell us that warmer temps are coming soon. Let Us Pray …

Winter can’t come to an end sooner. People are fed up and tired of the long drag.

I was up early today with errands to run to the bank to cash coin for my meeting so that we could pay rent tonight. I had a stop to make on the way out which brought me up to the parish a little after 5.

We sat a good little group. Next week is our 3rd anniversary. I chaired for a friend and read from A.B.S.I. I put two topics on the table, Gratitude from today’s Daily Reflections and the second reading, which all played out well.

The meeting was a blur because I got a call prior to the meeting that took my attention away. I spoke about planting seeds and what has been going on in my life as of late.

It is something special to be book-ended with someone I am accountable to every day and the young men I get to work with because of grace. I did the right thing and put myself out there and God saw and was pleased.

My mind was elsewhere because I needed to meet a young man after the meeting and that was the only thing on my mind. So my sponsor rushed me to the Metro and I rolled off to meet him on campus.

You never know when the phone is going to ring, and who might be on the other end and what God will call you to do when the call comes. I am honored that our young men trust me and I get an opportunity to share with them.

You need a plan. And the courage to put that plan into action. And sometimes, when it happens, you need to be able to tell someone to go Fuck themselves.

The only way to see a plan work is to put it into action. And trust in the process one day at a time. I find that when I need words, I have them, and there is God.

We always get what we need on a need to have basis.

My young man needs our prayers.

What is the last sentence of the Serenity Prayer ?

Not my will, but Thy will be done … (Twelve and Twelve pg. 41)

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … It Might have been Worse

Going Home - (HDR London, England)

Courtesy:Blamethemonkey Flickr

It has been a very good weekend. One day bright and sunny leads to a day of snow and greyness. It snowed on Saturday from morning to mid-afternoon. I looked out the windows and it was snowing for a few hours, and at one point I looked out and abruptly, the snow stopped, the clouds parted and the sun came out. It was almost miraculous.

There is snow piled up appropriately. But they won’t be collecting it. It will have to melt from where it has fallen.

I have spent the better part of the weekend in my warm bed, in between my routine comings and goings. I can only sit here typing or surfing on the box for so long before I want to pull my hair out. When I finish surfing all my assorted sites and whatnot, I complete a circuit.

And I am done for that period.

And usually, when I have time on my hands, I turn the box off and nap. I’m not really interested in television, even that gets boring. I mean how many episodes of Chopped can you watch in one weekend. And how many hours can you spend watching the hunt for Flight 370? We watch certain shows ad infinitem:

  • Chopped (U.S. and Canada)
  • Ancient Aliens
  • MSNBC news (the only news channel that is on daily)
  • CTV National News
  • The Universe
  • Nat Geo
  • AHC (Amercan Heroes Channel)
  • Deadliest Catch – New Season April 22nd YAY !!!

Like the box, I get fed up with tv as well. And I make good use of my pillows.

I was off on time, I had to stall because my coffee mate was coming late, and I had a stop to make on the way out, which brought me up to the church about 5 and I set up the room, but left the coffee open for her to do when she got there.

We sat a full room. The last regular meeting of the month, and we finished up reading: “It might have been worse” from the Big Book.

After reading this story I thought that everyone who comes in should read this story from the back of the book, because it outlines so much information and answers many questions and refutes all the excuses we use to believe that we don’t really have a problem and it isn’t that bad, and I did not loose everything before walking in here …

It speaks about what the program doesn’t do, and in the end it comes down to Step One … “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

He goes on to say at the end of his story: “When I joined A.A., I did so for the sole purpose of getting sober and staying sober. I didn’t realize that I would find so much more …”

With the room filled with folks with varying time some with days, some with hours, some with years and some with decades, we ran the table with reflection of why we were in the room tonight.

When I came back, my slip had gotten worse, and I almost did not survive, save for the angel who saved me. In the end I knew I was coming to the end of the drink for me, and the only way I knew to stay stopped was in the room. Which is where I ended up and where I stayed.

THE STAY IS TERRIBLY IMPORTANT !!!

A while back I went through a personal crisis in my program, because I was seeing the women pound the book and they loved hard and studied hard and they passed it on and reaped the rewards of sobriety. I wanted that too, but the men just don’t do it that way, so I thought. It took me a long time to find the vein. And I did find it in my sponsor.

I am accountable to him every day. I call every day. I am working my steps and I am giving back and participating in my sobriety. And in terms of working with others, I have realized that (only recently) that I am engaged to the top and opportunity has presented itself to work with a sponsee who took on a new sponsee and we are three generations in now.

And that was only possible because I am connected in a way that I had not been for a long time. What I receive I can give away confidently.

Freely !

We have come full circle. Another great night.

More to come, stay tuned …

Passports, Paperwork and Pigeons Oh My !!!

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It was a beautiful day today. But for every good day, we must deal with at least two days of winter to follow, as has been the case. A winter storm warning is up and they say that 15 to 20 cm of snow will fall tomorrow.

God Help Us All …

I was up with the birdies this morning. After staying up well past a decent bed time, damn those books … But it is so good !!!

I was off to the Government Offices here in the city to hand in and pay for my passport. I was very pleased, it took all of 30 minutes and I was out of there. Hit to Pocket $120.00 CAD for a 5 year passport.

I dropped off some paperwork for hubby in the same building. I was out of the building close to 10 a.m. with the whole day ahead of me.

My sponsor is very excited that we will be able to attend together The Mad River Barn Sober Retreat in May. A weekend workshop of speakers, steps and fellowship. This will be my first trip out of the country since my honeymoon in 2004.

It was a great night to be out and about. We hit the Friday meeting as usual, and we talked about “Companions.”

It was a good thing that the right people appeared in my life when they did, because they made a huge difference in who I am today. You could not buy the support we get in these rooms in the real world.

If you need help in today’s world, you better have the bucks to pay up forwards, sadly, folks who need real help can’t get it because they can’t afford it, or even sadder, the lack of resources is a serious problem all over the place, not only here in Canada.

But we do what we can for each other. We do our best.

I picked up a new pigeon today.

Very grateful to be of service.

All is well in the world.

More to come, stay tuned…

Thursday … Solutions

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Courtesy: Lovepainandhope

It has been grey and dreary the past couple of days. Supposedly, we were supposed to get a major snowfall, and warnings went up. There is no new snow on the ground. We are sitting in that tremulous place between cold enough for snow, and too warm for snow. It was a bit wet and rainy, meaning we are on the warm side, but flakes fell tonight, I don’t think it is cold enough to support any great snowfall. Temps are moderating over the next few days.

People are fed up of winter and want it to end, now.

Hopefully the planet may begin it’s tilt towards the sun and Spring will get here. None too soon.

Good things are happening in the neighborhood. Work continues on the Sports Bar/Resto. The grand opening of the entire restaurant is the beginning of April. Our Building management is in redecorate mode. They have been spackling and painting, today I learned that they are pulling up all the carpet and putting new carpet down. All the apartment doors will be painted (correctly) this time around.

The last time they painted them, the doors were closed, so there is a trim of other color where the door meets the jam. This time they are painting the doors (open) so that the entire door gets new paint. It’s a little (read: pain in the ass) because of security. We will manage.

Our good rent increases are going to sprucing up the building, at least our money is going towards home and not the pockets of management.

I got an early start today. We have to make a trip to the Canadian Government Service office just up the road tomorrow, to file some paperwork for hubby and to get my passport application in the works.

I arrived at the church early and set up was quick and painless, I wanted some time to read my book “The Borgia Betrayal.” A good 15th century papal thriller, another book from my patron of good books, we are on a theme lately.

We sat a humble group. And we read from Chapter 2 of the Big Book, “There is a solution.”

Our young people are in bad shape for one reason or another. This winter needs to end, and the sooner term ends in university the better. We are in support mode.

All we can do is stand with our guys and do what we can to ease the Dis-Ease that pervades them.

It was a good night.

More to come, stay tuned …