Guess Who's Coming to Dinner …

tumblr_lcohemMneG1qcgdygo1_500 alexander

Courtesy: Alexander

It has been an interesting week. Today was the warmest day yet this season. When I left the house it was (16c). I downgraded my coat to a hoodie for the first time.

I have friends in far flung places. The internet has changed the way we meet people and form friendships. I have a small group of intimate friends. People I can call on at any time, if I need them. I have a circle of friends who share common interests. Some are here in Montreal, and some are in the U.S.

The other night I signed into Facebook, and one of my friends in the U.S. sent me a message. Which was totally out of character for him, we kept missing each other to chat live. So we traded a few more massages.

On Tuesday night, I get another message from a friend who lives here. He had asked me to meet him for dinner, which is, once again, out of character for him. Because it is always me who initiates a dinner date, not the other way around. I couldn’t make it Thursday (tonight) or Friday. So we planned to get dinner last night (Wednesday).

So I have two friends trying to get my attention at the same time, which was odd. They are in a certain social circle of common interest, but I failed to make the connection, if there was one.

I headed out to dinner last night thinking that something was wrong, and it would be made known to me over dinner. I arrived at Dundee’s and my local friend was waiting outside for me, and escorted me over to our table.

As we turned the corner, there was someone already sitting at the table. Waiting.

It turns out that a friend I have known for more than ten years online, came to Montreal to attend a conference. And they planned to surprise me with a dinner together. (color me surprised). It was a fantastic night. We are planning to get together on Saturday for a tour day around the city.

You never know what will happen when you invest time into people from afar. One day they might turn up on your doorstep to say thank you.

Today, as I said was a great day. Lots of sun, dog walkers and people out enjoying the weather. I arrived at the church and cranked out set up and returned to the church stoop to enjoy the evening.

We sat a good number. Both my sponsees were there. We are all working to help them manage life as term comes to an end over the next couple of weeks.

We read from the Big Book and pages 86-87.

“…upon rising we set forth the day, say our prayers and make our way into the day…” so forth and so on.

Everybody has their method of practicing the program. Some better than others, and some put forth No effort what so ever in working. And we saw again tonight what that kind of attitude towards sobriety does to someone, they DRINK again.

I can’t help a stubborn individual, and I have extended my hand and my phone, to no avail. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink …

Over the years, I have learned a few things. My Do Over has had its advantages.

In the beginning I did a ton of meetings. I found a home group, I stuck and stayed. And over the years, looking back, As life progressed, i was faced with certain issues and problems. I would come to my home group and other assorted meetings and I would share, listen and ask questions afterwards.

A lesson would come up. We would talk about it, we would study the book a bit. Then I would get time to settle into the new lesson, to digest it and THEN I would get a chance to practice that lesson in real time life.

So the cycle … Lesson, Reading, Sharing, Learning, Integration, then Application.

This has been the routine of my entire sober life this time around.

Last year, almost to the date, life began to turn on me. My relationship with my old sponsor was coming to an end. I was stagnant. I went to the Roundup last may and my sobriety was turned upside down.

I learned about how they worked it in New York. A HUGE departure from the way we do it here. I heard the lessons.

  • Work the Book, don’t only just read it and forget it.
  • If you have lots of time, can you recite the prayers? If not, you aren’t working hard enough.
  • Are you working with others?
  • Do you have a sponsor who is active in the book/steps/sponsorship?
  • What are you doing to augment your sobriety?

I knew then that my sobriety was stagnant and I needed to make a change. I decided to leave my home group of 11 years. I did that.

A fellow came to me and asked me to help him open a new meeting. We gathered a group of men and made it happen. And in three weeks that little meeting we started will celebrate its First Anniversary.

I studied the book, And I handed my life over to newcomers for a year. I found a new home group with young guys I could be present for and that work carried me to my anniversary last December.

I did not connect with a new sponsor until a couple of months ago. And by process of elimination, I asked a long time sober man at my new home group to sponsor me. We went to lunch and he interviewed me for the position. To make sure I was serious.

He got me into the book. Not only reading it but actively working my steps. I had to call him every day for the first month. I did that. Last night I forgot to call him amid all the excitement. So I called him earlier today and apologized for not calling last night, and he replied that I was off the hook, that I didn’t have to call him any more because I completed the month requirement. “You’re finished” he said.

I replied … “what do you mean I am finished?” I want to call every day, I need that daily connection with you, I am not finished.

His reply … “good for you, I am glad you have chosen to keep this up.”

So I learned my prayers, I read/worked the book, and was active in several groups. I had been in a dry spell, (read: Not sponsoring anyone directly) And then God stepped up and offered me two guys to work with within days of each other.

That is a very good thing. Now that I learned about sober investment a bit harder, and I did that harder, I was ready to work with others intimately.

The cycle had repeated itself once again.

And we are a couple months away from another Roundup, with guests from New York once again, and now I get to carry my sponsees through that event. Which is too cool for words.

My sponsor and I are traveling to Vermont the beginning of May for an intensive weekend. And the round up is two weeks later. It has been a very good year.

Sobriety becomes how much you invest in it.

You need to order your life around your meetings, not your meetings around your life. I can’t stress that enough. Put your sobriety first, then life can happen. Find a home group, make it your own. GO to your home group every week, without fail.

Life will begin the change.

It was a great night. Everybody is sober another night, some not so much.

It is what you make it.

More to come, stay tuned …

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