What do you do for Labor day? For many on the East Coast, this weekend is the final weekend of Summer, the last weekend to party it up, before season closes.
The weather has been up and down. Rain here, rain there. I, however, got out and back without a drop which was good. I was up and ready to go with plenty of time and sat on my hands for the last half hour before I finally hit the door.
I got to the elevator bank, and there was a woman waiting, the button was pushed. But there was silence. You can hear the elevators coming up and down the shafts, so we stood there for five minutes, ten minutes, no elevators …
I pushed the UP button because the Up brings the elevator right to the floor directly. When you push the DOWN button, the elevator NEVER comes directly to the floor you are on. It always goes up to come down. I don’t know why it does that.
Well, Up didn’t work.
Another of my floor mates came to wait with me, and the elevators were not coming for some ungodly reason. So we walked down seventeen flights of stairs to reach the atrium. I Hate Stairs …
When I got down to the first floor, elevator ONE was stuck in the basement, and elevator TWO was on its way up. A little late for an up since we walked down the entire building…
When I finally got the the church, the door was open and the lights were on, a couple of members got there before me and said that the doors were unlocked when they got there, which means the super must have opened up for me early.
We cranked out set up and sat a full house. We had a bunch of visitors from out of town and we read Tradition Eight… The main take away:
“Money and spirituality don’t mix.”
You can’t turn a profit off of a Twelve Step call. Alcoholics who suffer, some go to rehab, and then they come to us. Some come to us directly. In any case, what would it be like if we charged folks for their sobriety?
There is not a dollar figure large enough that would compensate someone for giving it away. The Book reads “…Freely received, so freely given…”
The rooms gave me everything that I ever wanted or needed. The people in my life I could not put a dollar figure on. When I give it away, to the people I work with, you could not put a dollar figure on the emotional feeling of gratitude one gets, when people you work with get better.
I’ve seen “sober coaches” recently in the news, always coupled with someone who is trying to get sober, usually a celebrity … I wonder how much money they make a week as they “coach” someone into sobriety? And I wonder if that model works?
I mean if you have to pay someone to keep you sober, I think that speaks to the effort or lack there of said effort each sufferer puts into his/her own sober journey.
Yeah, I’ll get sober, my way. I will hire a coach to shadow me 24/7 in all my public events, and I will stay sober. I might not necessarily go to meetings on top of this, or maybe I might, but we’ll see …
We heard about Humility. We heard about Gratitude.
In New York, someone has to keep the doors open in the G.S.O. And someone needs to keep our G.S.O here in Montreal staffed and working. If you read the BOX 459, that comes monthly from New York, you can read all about how the system works, who gets paid and who doesn’t, and WHY?
The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking. And Our common welfare comes first, personal recovery depends on A.A. Unity.
Each group has jobs, that rotate each month. And people do group service to give back for what they have been freely given. And you can’t put a dollar figure on that knowledge.
When a celebrity or a professional comes through our doors, who they are and what they do for a living is left at the door.
There is that separation between the human being and what they do.
However, I know of a handful of sober folks, I count among my friends, who work in recovery houses and rehabs. We know where they work, but when they hit a meeting, they are who they are. I’ve never heard someone mix business with pleasure.
In time you come to realize just how much of a pleasure going to meetings is, because you get to see the people you got sober with, the friends that you have made and we get to share amongst each other what we learn on a weekly basis. And that is a pleasure.
So that is a thing …
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Late night television has been hit and miss the past few weeks. The summer season is coming to an end, and we hit that [buffer zone] between summer and fall programming that always coincides with Labor Day.
Last night we got an encore presentation of “We Were Here.” It was the only worth while program on television at that hour. I guess God had a plan. This documentary has been showing an awful lot this summer. As if to say … This isn’t over, we need to think about this and remember. And we need NOT to forget.
Seriously, how can I forget?
I love one of the final thoughts in this piece about “The Ghost.”
People who lived through that era of time, either watching someone they loved get sick and die, or working on the front lines of treatment and service, Once we have gone through this crucible, we come out the other end. And for some, they never reconnect to life, or to a purpose, and thereby, become a ghost, traveling through life, not connecting, and never finding a purpose for themselves.
I as well, am married to someone younger than me. Who never saw this happen. He did not live through what I did. He did not watch all his friends die gruesome deaths like I did. But when we connected, he got on board 100%.
I’ve had two periods of sickness in the last thirteen years. But it wasn’t a death watch. And I haven’t had another AIDS related illness since.
I know how I got through that period. But I took me a long time to find a purpose in my life, rather than pissing my life away with drugs and alcohol. That point came and I found a purpose, or I thought I did.
When I got here, and was sober a year, my after care counselor asked me “so what do you want to do now?” She gave me an option to find a purpose. I was attached by that time. I went back to school. I had my meetings and good friends.
I found my purpose, and I share that purpose every day with my fellows.
There is that empty space in my heart for all my friends who did not get so lucky. I remember. I miss them. I never forget them. I think about them every time I open my medicine cabinet. The moment I forget or I stop opening that cabinet, I sign my own death warrant.
I remember What it was like, What happened and What it is like now.
How gracefully that thought crosses all the events in my life succinctly.
I have a story and that story matters.
Maya says … When you know good, Do good. When you learn, Teach.
That is what I do every day.
More to come, stay tuned …