Canada Day July 1 – 2014

sidney-crosby-team-canada jasonhuskins

We salute our Country and who is more Canadian than Sid the Kid !!!

It is Canada Day today. 147 years since Confederation.

It is the final Canada Day Celebration for one of my guys. Kind of bittersweet, but it is what it is. It was another SCORCHER of a day today. We are sitting at a balmy 27c with a humidex of 34c. And not a cloud in the sky for miles.

We could really use some cooling rain tonight.

My little a.c. unit in the bedroom is chugging away, trying all it can to do its job, but with the heating of the day, We get sun on our side of the building from noon until sunset, the concrete building roasts in the sun, the living room usually sits ten degrees warmer than the bedroom. UGH …

It was moving day, but there were few people taking part from our building recently. It seemed everyone took the advice to stay where they were unless it was imperative or necessary for them to move.

I traveled underground so I did not spy mounds of furniture on the sidewalks. But the scavengers were out in force today. I am sure on tonight’s news we will find out how many pets have been boarded or left on the streets again this year.

It was also the Canada Day Parade down Ste. Catherine’s Street. I could hear the drums from my bed, but I was not in any mood to get up and go watch. With the Sports Bar on the corner, and an open grocery store, it was most likely a very full liquor event.

I set off early because the Metro was on Holiday hours, and I expected a long wait for a train, which wasn’t the case at all. And I made all my connections in good time both outbound and on the return.

It was a small gathering. We got to meet new folks, and even got to exchange numbers with him. That was a good sign. We changed up the topic, since the chair was a no show.

We talked about “Changing Old Routines” from Living Sober.

The Big Book says that

“The only thing we need to change when we get sober is EVERYTHING!!!”

Getting sober is a spectator sport.

Spend enough time in the same city, around the same meetings, and watch the same people year in and year out, you get to practice everything that was good and avoid everything that was bad. Getting sober in “community” offers plenty of work/study.

There are a few members who have been through the ringer over the past 13 or so years for me. I’ve watched them, and I’ve listened to them speak over the years, and they have been my greatest teachers of what To Do and what Not To Do.

When it came to university, when I started in 2003, I listened to gripes and grievances from students about administrations and about their studies.

Most people who have graduated from higher education, went nowhere. Not many professional students got jobs they could depend on, and many of them drank over that. Some of my peers went on to graduate degrees, and Master’s Programs, only to fizzle out and drink as well. Success was right on the cusp of happening.

But alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful.

And for some, they don’t need an excuse to drink. For some, the urge came, and the next thing they knew, they had drunk.

And the book says … We are defenseless against the first drink !

Shit happened. I hate that my friends are suffering. I don’t understand how I skated through all this time, and I have not picked up a drink. Yet, my friends, who I have known for all these years, have gotten stuck in the revolving door.

Every person in the room has a story to tell. And if you miss listening to those stories, and you find yourself staring down the drink, there are options. Obviously, I have done something right, whether there is a right or a wrong way to stay sober.

I don’t want to drink. And that is a one day at a time effort. I formed my routines when I moved here. I met some of the right people, and some of the wrong people. But I stayed the course. I have been present for thousands of meetings over the years, and watched my friends get sober, and then get drunk.

People would rather choke than ask for help. And that is a HUGE problem.

And if I sit in the group as I did tonight, and tout the rewards of my sobriety, that would be like punching my friends in the face for no reason. I could not bring myself to talk like that in front of men I respect. We all have our demons. I am sad for my friends, I can’t force what I know on anyone. But in the same breath, I can safely say that because of those revolving door friends, I have stayed sober.

And I am just one of them, in the end. Because it isn’t all about me or my ego.

Humility and ego deflation is the name of the game.

To drink is death for many, and the options are clearly mandated.

Change your routines.
Get thee to a meeting.
Don’t isolate.
Find a sponsor, AND call that sponsor.
Get into the book.
Talk to others,
Reach out your hand and ask for help.

I can’t get anyone sober. I can point in that general direction and tell you how I have stayed sober. I must believe that almost thirteen years of sobriety has taught me something about sobriety.

Our newbies are struggling. What are the Steps and how do I do them? We have been working with them as much as we can, but beyond, “take it easy” and “one day at a time” isn’t working for them. At least they are showing up.

I can’t tell you how much better my life is living above the Northern Border.

Canada has been everything I had hoped and a lot more. I don’t know where I would be had I not made that fateful decision almost 13 years ago.

There is a steep learning curve to learning how to live life when you are raised in a different country and come here fresh. There is so much to learn. And it has been an exciting thirteen years.

That is my snapshot of the day as it was.

More to come, stay tuned …