Friday … Watching Loneliness Vanish … That Moment of Silence

SONY DSCCourtesy: Curve of the Earth (Archives)

Damn … It is COLD outside. We are sitting at (-17c/-23c w.c.) Winds are light, but it is still Frigid.

The week ended in a flurry of people, places and meetings.

The Work continues as new folks have been introduced into our sober family.

Pigeons have pigeons, which means we all have considerable work to do.

Friday is always the best day / night of the week.

I quadruple layered for my trip tonight, and yes, the rubber boots came in very handy.

Or should I say, Footy !!!

They keep my feet nice and toasty, not to mention warm European sox to go with them. A good portion of my wardrobe comes from other places.

I departed early because of snow en route. Tonight’s theme was, “you just missed the train …”

Both going and on my return, there were trains in the station, but my timing was a little off, because I watched them all leave without me, and I had to wait and entire cycle for a train. During rush hour, trains run every 3 to 4 minutes. Off hours trains run every 6 to 9 minutes.

Up on the North End, they are still plowing snow. It was piled up all over the place. The mini dozers were corralling snow for later pick up tonight. Which made it tricky for buses so they dropped us on the street, outside the berms.

We sat a large crowd as usual. And as I said, Friday is the best night of the week.

Every meeting begins the same way, but Friday, is a little different.

This is the place that all our friends come to. It is the rallying point for the weekend. Fellowship after the meeting is part and parcel of going to the Friday meeting. It is part and parcel for many meetings, it gives our young people stuff to do outside the meeting.

When we sit together, around the table, there are small table lights on the tables, and not that oppressive overhead fluorescent light. We call it Mood Lighting …

The chair rings the bell, and calls the room to attention, makes the necessary announcements. Then invites everyone to take a moment of silence before we say the Serenity Prayer.

And I wait all week for this one moment.

Our collective, friends, family, fellows and elders, take a deep breath and center ourselves for a moment, chairs go quiet, the room gets quiet, and for that moment it feels like we are ONE.

Then the chair calls for prayer, and it is spiritual song.

It is that way at every meeting, and everybody is important. Every moment of silence to think perhaps of someone out there or in here who is suffering …

The sound of my friends voices is music to my ears. This is the one night where we are all together in the same room at the same time. One says that “there is an energy in the room, that is palpable.”

The reading, from A.B.S.I. Watching Loneliness Vanish.

People drank to escape, People drank to be alone. At the bitter end, we are all alone, in varying degrees, suffering and lonely. We hear the common story from old timers about the slogan, that isn’t on a placard in many meetings, however it can be found,

“YOU ARE NOT ALONE ANY MORE.”

It is better to be on the inside, I heard it again tonight. I heard another young person speak about The Work Passionately, and suggest, quite seriously, that The Work is the way to go. That it saved their life after returning from a devastating slip.

Proviso … Sober people get lonely too. It is not uncommon.

That little voices tells us we are different and have nothing in common with others, which in turn, keeps us from connecting and engaging. And little by slowly, the space grows between people, and if that space gets wide enough, a slip is not that far off.

People suffer from “I am unique” and “I like to be alone and isolate.” Our young women are devastated by these ideas. They seem to suffer more the terminal uniqueness than do our young men. But we do find our men, don’t connect right away either, that takes time.

The girls feel, too much, the boys think, they over think too much. Both troublesome problems.

I tell and retell this story over and over, and it still gets discussion.

The first time I got sober, I was waiting to die. I was going to meetings in a hall that treated me like a race horse, with wagers on my head as to when I would skip out and drink again.

So that first year was a lap around the race track, and on my anniversary, I took that chip and told the guys there to go Fuck themselves… I never went back to that meeting. I had a job that I loved. I was well cared for. Everyone was sober, my sponsor worked there as well. I was safe for those two years.

I had everything I ever needed or wanted. I had a safety net that kept me alive, fed and sober.

When that run ended and I was the only one who did not go West, I was alone, and left to my own devices. I did not carry what I had inside forwards. i was clueless about what I was supposed to do with nobody to help me do it.

(Read: Move city, Move House, carry a life forwards, stay sober).

Remember I lived in the South, technically. Florida was South, and people were as ignorant and heartless as they were all over the deep red south.

At the two year mark, I was asked to speak to a particular meeting. Of course I said yes.

What I did not think about was disclosure and how that would go over.

There were a couple hundred folks in the meeting. As I was telling my story, the men began to get up and leave the hall, 100 men got up and left the hall while I was speaking. When I finished, I went outside to find them waiting for me. One stepped up and said …

“We don’t respect people like you, please leave this place and don’t come back.”

Go get sober some place else.

Now, I am a twenty something kid, with a bulls eye on my back. I was alone. New to the area and that meeting hall, I did not know anyone except a couple of folks. And they tell me to leave and not come back.

I was lonely, I was alone. Fighting a battle by myself, one to stay sober, the other was to stay alive.

The loss of my sober family and secondly, this toss off comment, drove me out the door and into a slip that almost killed me, because I went looking for something to make me NOT alone, it was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life.

Insert Slip Story Here … I’m not gonna tell it

On my way back, I had three friends. Two were out of sight and out of mind, the third was my drinking/drugging buddy. I lived alone, I worked alone, I had no life, and so I went to the club every Saturday night with my buddy. He would dope up and I would drink myself black.

Delusional thoughts of if I drink enough, they will notice me and take me in. If I drink enough, I will never grow up and I will become part of the “beach crowd.” None of those things happened.

I knew the last drink, when it came. I prayer for deliverance via another alcoholic.

He came.

I went to my first gay meeting. That did not go so well. Nobody noticed me. So I sat outside the hall until the 10 p.m. meeting where Fonda, Ed and Rob and Christian found me, alone on the stoop.

Fonda gave me a hug, and welcomed me into the room and brought me coffee.

They noticed me. And from that moment, I was never alone again.

With some time, I arrived here, sadly, a second time, I heard another alcoholic tell me to go get sober somewhere else. That I was unwelcome in their meeting. I never went back there to this day.

You want to alienate a human being who is new, alone, and seeking help,

Tell them to go get sober somewhere else.

It is a good thing I stuck around. I tell this story as a warning to the pitfalls of the human condition in the rooms. You need to connect, because there are sick alcoholics in some rooms. And they justify their ignorance behind sexism, homophobia, egos and attitudes. Good Christian values.

I did all the right things. I met all the right people. I owe my life to the fellowship in Montreal.

I’ve never been more happier than I am today. I am in it to win it. I do what I am told.

We are deep in The Work. All of us. Nobody is alone in our sober family.

NOBODY…

Now that I work with others, and I give it away, and I teach The Work to my guys, they are now teaching The Work to their guys. We are four generations strong tonight.

We are part of a grand collective of many faiths, hearts, traditions and languages.

Unified under a common affliction. And we deal with it together as one.

Nobody is left out in the cold. Our men and women know they are no longer alone.

You too can Never be alone again …

Gratitude. Lots of Gratitude.

More to come, stay tuned…

Thursday … It’s Better to be on the Inside

tumblr_lw1xczBKEE1qfbc2to1_500 weheartitWe are sitting at a balmy (-1c/-7c w.c.). Today was grey and dreary. We did not even see the sun once today. And as I was leaving, snow fell over the city. It started slowly, but as we got to the church, it was really coming down. Just enough snow fell to pile up but not enough for a plow, however plows were out salting and carelessly and with no real effort, plowing the rut of the plow as it went by.

It was a careless day, I really did not have much to do, I sat and doodled around here for a few hours, then called it a day at 3:30 for an afternoon nap. I was up and ready to go by the time I had to go, and like I said, it was snowing when we left for the bus. Had I looked outside before I went downstairs, I would have chosen my rubber boots instead of my sneakers.

Cause they got WET !

It was a good evening. One of my friends spoke. I’ve known her since she came in, a few years ago. We travel in the same circles, and hit the same meetings during the week. There are several groups of young people who travel in packs all over the city.

The Girls, The Guys and The Gays.

Getting sober with your friends is the way to do it. Because when we were out there, many of us did not have many friends, and the ones we did have we eventually alienated them and ignored them into obscurity.

That’s a common theme amongst our young people.

It is also a really good thing that our young people embrace the thought that:

IT IS BETTER TO BE ON THE INSIDE … than on the outside.

That being on the inside, gives us the feeling of being part of, the direct opposite of how we felt when we were out there, being all alone in our misery.

All of our young people are in the rooms, and they are actively working and doing service.

Another common theme amongst our young people, is just that, they are young.

In the beginning when they first came around, they saw us old folks getting sober, and that little voice spoke to them saying “Aww you’re young, you still have a few years of good drinking and using to go, why get sober now, you can always come back when you are thirty or forty, and turn your lives around!”

So they may have stayed a bit, but eventually went back out only to prove to themselves that NO, they did not have any more youth to waste on misery and addiction.

Even then, the road was tough. The world is not kind to our young people. This is the third revelation for them, and in the beginning they found it a daunting process to stay sober, being so young and not having lots of them together (As they are NOW) It seemed to me, they came in, in stages and not all at once. So each of them needed to find their ways.

They did not initially get connected (As they are NOW).

That took some work, honesty, humility and self determination.

I can safely say that all of our young people are connected to home groups of their choosing, they are in their steps, and they are present all the time.

They are PRESENT in their recoveries.

Having them at the meeting tonight, gave us old timers the opportunity to speak to them and check in and chat for a bit. Our young people are truly kind people. We cheer for them and we hope for them, and in getting sober with them, we get to see them grow up into honest, humble young adults.

Growing up in the real world is a challenge for any human being, and many young people don’t make it. They come from other places, to Montreal, where it is Bright Lights and Big City, booze, liquor, beer and drugs are aplenty.

Many of them got caught in that web of misery, until they found their way to us.

Montreal is not New York, size wise. But you can surely find your way into depravity and darkness, because it is everywhere. Where there is a bar, there is darkness, for those who get caught up in addictive behavior.

Who didn’t Cheat, Lie and Steal, when they were out there?
Who didn’t ignore that little voice that said, “I don’t think you should do this!” and ignore it?”
And Who didn’t push the envelope when it came to MORE, and not More in a good way?

It seems to me that our young people suffered their own torment, and went to places they really should not have, but addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful. Their journey to hell. might have been shorter than ours, (We who came in much later in life, and went to the bitter end ourselves).

So they all now know, that had they stayed the course, they might not have survived, pounding the drugs and alcohol they way they did, because they were young and invincible…

We not only get to get sober with these young people, we get to participate in, hopefully a good way, in showing them how to grow up into sober adults. That this isn’t the end of the road for them socially, emotionally and mentally.

It takes a village to raise a child in the real world. It is no different in the rooms.

By being present to them, by listening to them, and by sharing with them, they listen to us and they either take it or leave it, but they are always respectful. Everybody in the rooms plays a part in raising our little village of young people.

There is no greater challenge for us than sponsoring a young person.

I mentioned at the top that many did not connect right away. Now, after several round ups and hearing how others, in other places got, and get sober, many of our young people are hooked into THE WORK. They are hooked up with sponsors who are taking them through The Work.

Hence … It is better to be on the inside, rather than the outside.

Hearing our young people talk about the rewards of sobriety so young fills my heart with joy.

Because that tells me that they’ve got it.

We just have to keep the fields fertile for them to flourish.

And that takes PRESENCE. Everybody’s presence.

Presence is the greatest gift you can give another human being.

All my guys, and all the girls, and all the gays are sober another night.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

Wednesday … The Past, The Present, SnowMageddon, Ants and Life

yellow_star_of_davidIn my studies of Religion, I spent a great deal of time, studying the Holocaust. I took specific classes taught by men who were there, and men who’s family were lost in the camps. I took a Master Class on the Holocaust as well.

We also have a Holocaust Museum here in Montreal, that I have visited on several occasions. And on this 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I post these words written by Primo Levy, in honor of all those who were lost, those left behind and words to future generations to never forget.

People who forget the past, are destined to repeat it …

  • If This Is a Man
  • You who live safe
  • In your warm houses,
  • You who find, returning in the evening,
  • Hot food and friendly faces:
  • Consider if this is a man
  • Who works in the mud,
  • Who does not know peace,
  • Who fights for a scrap of bread,
  • Who dies because of a yes or a no.
  • Consider if this is a woman
  • Without hair and without name,
  • With no more strength to remember,
  • Her eyes empty and her womb cold
  • Like a frog in winter.
  • Meditate that this came about:
  • I commend these words to you.
  • Carve them in your hearts
  • At home, in the street,
  • Going to bed, rising;
  • Repeat them to your children.
  • Or may your house fall apart,
  • May illness impede you,
  • May your children turn their faces from you.

**** **** ****

tumblr_me70e8djqB1qas1mto7_500

Canadians, for the most part, are hearty, strong people, who take what ever Mother Nature throws at us. Snow, for many parts of the country is a norm for at least six months out of the year. Love it or hate it, it is part of our daily lives. The snow storm is one thing, a blizzard is a whole other kettle of fish.

I haven’t seen a blizzard here in Montreal is some time. And since Winter began, our weather forecasters have not really hit the nail on the head when it comes to knowing what the weather is going to do. Several times, we have been warned over the air to expect significant snow fall, that never materialized. So this past week when weathermen in the U.S. were warning people to run to the hills, take cover and hunker down for a historic blizzard ever, I kind of rolled my eyes.

Let’s incite fear and insanity into the lives of millions of people. Let’s shut down the city from top to bottom and turn people’s lives upside down. “because of some snow …” UGH !!!

… Momentary pause to fold laundry …

It was “Do things Wednesday” today. The confluence of many things coming together meant busy busy from early on this morning. Our management takes very seriously, the threat of bugs or any kind of creepy crawly infestation.

Our latest threat is ants … Several apartments have seen more bugs lately, than we have seen in years. I’m not sure where they are coming from, but they made their way all the way into the tower into apartments high up. With a list of affected apartments, they came this morning and tore the apartment apart, taking all the electrical sockets apart and putting poison in the walls.

I had cleaned in anticipation of this coming, and we were told that no prep would be necessary, they lied … So that was this morning.

I needed food, so I went to Provigo and packed a cart full of stuff. I also needed to do laundry, and it seems they have changed the rules in the store, and are no longer giving change at the cashes. I did, in fact get change, but that might change the next time I need it. Which means a trip all the way up the road to the bank, which is a real pain in the ass, when Provigo is right there on the corner.

Just another pain in the ass decision.

I usually do laundry early in the day, to avoid the dinner crush for machines. Most folks are at work or school during the day so I get my machines without waiting. I was the only one up there today, and just finished laundry a short while ago.

Last night, we sat a small group for the meeting. We are listening to the Joe and Charlie Tapes that cover the Big Book. It is a 35 week adventure. The talks run from ten to twenty five minutes with a discussion that follows. It has been hit and miss. People (read: some people) find it annoying. And some stopped coming all together. But after last night’s meeting, and after hearing what our old timers said about … Sometimes you just have to sit down, shut up, and listen, we decided to stick to our guns and not cave because of criticism.

I went ahead and sent notices to our Area Web administrators, and the literature counter as well, notifying them of the format change. That will definitely drum up some more business. We barely hit our monthly cash expenses, with less people, the seventh is less as well, and we have to pump money in to pay our rent and buy coffee.

We are expecting snow for tomorrow and Friday …

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … Words .. Experiential

tumblr_nevv18edhk1sl7p6vo1_500 freshieCourtesy: Freshie

We are sitting at (-14c/-23 w.c.) It is COLD.

I got ready to go and thought I was properly layered, but when I got downstairs, and went outside, I turned around and came back up and put another layer on, just to be safe. I have this odd problem of always leaving my scarf at home, then regret leaving it behind, once I get outside.

#First World Problems

The U.S. is bracing for a record breaking blizzard over the next few days.

I’m reading all these, “End of the world, Armageddon like reports” threat to human life, dangerous conditions coming … Don’t get caught out in the storm kind of warnings.

Here in Canada … Ah, just another snow storm … We live for them. At least some of us do !!!

Once again, Montreal is sitting in that sweet spot. Environment Canada is not calling for snow, except for a couple days this week, but no storm or accumulations are in the forecast.

It was a quiet weekend. Last night, hubby went to bed as usual, and I stayed up to watch a Nova program and at 2 a.m. on the nose, I was sitting here and darkness fell. Once again, the power went out and we were plunged into darkness. No heat, no water, no electricity.

And I said to myself, it will be a quickie and the power will come back on. Twenty minutes, tops. Well, twenty minutes turned into forty, and forty into sixty minutes. No Joy.

I had plans. Mother Nature had hers, guess who won?

I had the light from my phone. After waiting for an hour in the dark, I resigned myself to the fact that No, indeed, the power was not coming back on any time soon. I got myself ready for bed, took my pills and covered the bed in blankets, because we had no heat. And I went to bed.

At 4:30 a.m. in the morning, the power came back on.

The T.V. the computer, the radio, and the clocks all whirred back to life. I got up and adjusted the clocks, rebooted and shut down the computer, and went back to bed.

We seem to be on a different circuit than the rest of the neighborhood, because the streetlights in the neighborhood did not go out, and the rest of the buildings that sit next to ours all had power, while we were sitting in the dark. My friend who lives two blocks from here (East), went dark as well, so a big section of this section of downtown, went dark again.

I left early to meet one of my guys for our Sunday read and discussion.

We are reading the Big Book together, and we are on Chapter Six … Into Action.

This section covers steps five through ten, that’s as far as we went.

None of the words in this section of the book have been changed in seventy six years. Yet, I am reading the book actively again with someone else. And we read through the Ninth Step Promises and a new word came to me, as I explained what they meant for my guy.

Sobriety is all about perception, and the changing of our perception. It is also Experiential as well.

Reading the Promises people usually zero in on:

“We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”

For a program that is so “forwards thinking,” we sure do spend a great deal of time, dwelling on the past. In order to move forwards, we need to learn from the past. It is in getting rid of the wreckage of our past, cleaning house, working our steps, and helping others, that true freedom will come.

I’ve seen promises come true in my life, and in others lives.

Sometimes quickly, Sometimes slowly.

Some promises, seemed, to be unapproachable or unattainable in my life. But after years and years, the one that dogged me to the end of the earth, finally came to pass.

I said to my friend tonight that the Promises are Experiential. That was the first time I had ever said that word, in relation to reading them. And I caught the use of the new word. And they are …

We get the book in the beginning. And someone reads it with us. This is, in my opinion, time sensitive.

We don’t read on the first day and expect any of it to make sense. But when the time comes, we (read: Sponsors and Sponsees) know when the time is right to start reading.

We’ve read the first five chapters. And we begin our steps. Meanwhile we are reading through the book from the beginning each week. Are we putting the cart before the horse ??? No …

At first we read through How it works, and up to Step Three. That is when I introduced Step One to the one who is ready to start. Meanwhile we are reading. We had the discussion about adding prayer to ones day. Steps Three and Seven Prayers, every day. From the beginning. And we see how that is working on a weekly basis.

We’ve now read up through Step Nine. And the homework is to read pages 84 through 86, covering Step Ten. Now we have begun the book, introduced prayer, and we now add a daily review, from the start. The Tenth Step.

This is where I deviate from process and tweak The Work.

Having something to look at and write on a daily/nightly basis, gives us something to talk about. If you get used to writing right away, as practice, and use it as a tool to see ones progression, that’s a good thing, Yes ?

We might not have eyes to see in the beginning, and we may not have ears to hear, in the beginning, but if we introduce “things to do” in the beginning, then we cultivate those eyes and ears.

Getting sober is all about experience. We have had experiences, some we may wish to forget, and in time we get to see/learn about the wealth of those experiences, and in time, we learn that wisdom.

Every time we look at specific situation and stories we get to look at them, with the eyes we have “in the moment, at that time.” And every successive look we get, over time, we have new eyes to see and new ears to hear with. The cyclical nature of time and the past repeats, hence the wisdom of:

Not regretting the past nor wishing to shut the door on it.

This ties directly into the reading for tonight. January, Month One, We read Tradition One.

“Our common welfare comes first, personal recovery depends upon A.A. Unity.”

There is wisdom there. And it comes over time.

How does an organization run properly and well, if there are no bosses, no money and no real organization and nobody in control? They ask …

Take a rag tag bunch of drunks, give them a coffee pot and a church basement, and see what happens. I’ve spent thirteen years getting sober in St. Leon’s Church basement.

When I came, there had already been over fifty years of experience in that said hall. A lot of people, a lot of experience, tried, tested and proved. I walked in not knowing anyone, not knowing anything, and needing help. They welcomed me, they gave me simple jobs to do, and I sank in.

That unifying presence welcomed me, took me in and taught me everything that I needed to know, on a need to know basis. When we walk in the door, and down those twelve steps (yes, there are actually twelve steps down into the church basement) whatever is going on outside stays outside, and the purpose of the rooms become clear, if we stick around.

We know that we can’t do this alone. And we also learn, that once we darken the doors, we are no longer alone, that we don’t have to be alone any more, unless we want to hold onto our misery.

The unifying purpose of the rooms is to welcome the newcomer and share the message of recovery with the alcoholic who still suffers. Only an alcoholic or a drug addict, can help another. Because we have shared experiences. Where else can you go and listen to people share, and realize that hey i was there once, I did that, they were there once, and they did that too !!!

Each group has its ways and means. Passed down through the years from those who came before us, and we carry them forwards, tweaking them as necessary, to serve the greater good. We rely on the goodness and faith of a power greater than ourselves, God as he speaks to us in our group conscience.

I’ve never had to leave the security of the A.A. Circle for any of my needs, in more than thirteen years. Because I was taught that if I had a need and if it was necessary, that I should take it to a meeting and speak it, I did that, the rest, they say is history.

I came to the rooms knowing not much. And for many years I sat in the warm and safe nest. During that time I made a lot of meetings, and did service. Two years ago, after eleven years of nesting, the fire was lit and my quest for MORE began.

What alcoholic isn’t obsessed with wanting MORE ???

I listened to people tell me about More, They told me how to get More, how to practice attaining More, and told me that if I did these things, MORE would come.

Then miraculously, I’ve been working on MORE. And More came. I was then ready to step up and be able to share the message with the alcoholic who still suffers. You just don’t step into the fray from the beginning and have everything you need to do and share The Work off the bat …

Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got !!!

It took me more than eleven years to see that wisdom. And now the fire of More burns.

The sisters of recovery and the brethren of New York live in this solution based fire of More.

I get to share this with my guys, and they get to share it with their people.

It’s freaking amazing.

Unity, Recovery, Service … The Three Legacies.

We come, We come to, And we all come to believe. Each in our own way.

The goodness of the rooms are fortified in that, for every human being there is experience. No two people are the same. How useless we would be if we were all the same. But we are unified under one common purpose to recover from a hopeless state of body, mind and spirit.

Rooms are everywhere. We are everywhere.

Where else can you go in your life where people are genuinely interested in your welfare, without the expectation of personal gain, who only want to see you succeed and will go to any length to help you get there ?

The world is a busy, noisy, wonderful and terrible at the same time, place.

But once you step in the door, you will find calm in the middle of the storm, a place that you can go to unload for an hour and recharge your batteries for a pittance.

All the money in the world won’t get you freedom from pain and misery.

All the money I spent on drugs and alcohol, I can never get back; and I wasted a ton of money drinking and drugging myself into a stupor. Today my loonie goes a lot farther in my recovery, than it did when I was using.

We have a solution. That works.

It is what we do.

More to come, stay tuned …

Friday … Our Nightly Review … a.k.a. 10th Step

tumblr_mz3e3aHkI71sv37tvo1_500 cameronjohnCourtesy: Cameron John

Sometimes the image speaks to the message I will write, and sometimes, it is just an image.

We are sitting at (-2c / – 9 w.c.) at this hour. Not as chilly as other nights, and they tell us there might be flurries, maybe that is a stretch…

I went to bed a little late last night, and I spent some time reading before bed as usual. I did not have anything pressing that needed to be done today, but I woke up and knew that I wasn’t going back to bed again, like I usually do. I don’t watch daytime t.v. and I can only sit in front of this box for so long before I want to pull my hair out, so with nothing to do, I usually nap …

Not the case today.

I did some supermarket safari, early. I usually do it on my way home from the meeting. I’ve been waiting for several packages to come in the mail, so there were excessive trips down to check the mail throughout the day, because our mailman comes at his leisure and not on schedule.

No Joy today.

I got ready to go early, which meant I departed early, I needed to pick up a script at the pharmacy and it was on my way out. I got lucky all my trains were prompt and running for that matter. When I got to the church a friend told me the green line had been down the entire rush hour period.

Honestly, trains ONLY go down during rush hours. Totally Predictable.

I did not see anything on social media prior to leaving. I made my transit and I have hours and hours of music on my phone, and I listen to certain songs over and over – In a certain order, by single selection. I have a collection of dance hall mixes that I like, and if I had the equipment, I would seriously consider mixing my own sound files. Alas, no mixing board here.

My little phone does amazing things. It also has a mind of its own. Androids do funny things. If you upload a tune, in a specific folder, my phone will sort that music by itself, and shuffle those tunes into the select screen, in the order it wants, and not necessarily the way I want. It knows where music comes from and how to sort it. I’m not sure how it knows this, but it does.

I have a few sorted files of dance hall mixes, all single shot pieces. They aren’t on an album, but I’ve pulled them singularly, and sorted them where I want them. On certain files, my phone makes no distinction, but on others, it auto sorts music the way it wants to.

  • You get the album sort screen.
  • You get the artist sort screen.
  • You also get the “single” screen, where it lists every song alphabetically
  • Then you get a “playlist” screen – Those you create on your own

My phone creates playlists by itself. I am not sure how it does that, but it has pulled certain music that I listen to often, and sorted it into playlists. I finally decided to create a couple new playlists, one is dance hall mixes and the other is my Annie Lennox massive mix. Very cool …

Those playlists will cover an entire transit from one end to the other.

Tonight’s fare was a reading from A.B.S.I. and the Nightly Review, a.k.a the Tenth Step.

Steps are merely suggestive. At some point or other, you do them, in the order they come in, with a sponsor, is your best bet. Listening to others from other places, there is wisdom in doing certain things, and in my opinion, there are things I ask my guys to do, which fall out of order. Some old timers have told me that I am wrong in my approach, my sponsor, on the other hand says that, if it works, then keep doing it.

A nightly review, for anyone, is something we learn to do later on in the process. I am of the mind that if you start with prayer and you learn to write, from the start, it becomes second nature. Writing a list gives us (my sponsees and I) something to talk about nightly. So they write. I write as well.

The calling every day, is something that is a tall order for some. It is something that does not come easily, and for years, I did not do that either, until I was shown how that worked, by people who were doing it themselves. I adopted practices from many, into one set process that is my sponsor model.

My sponsor gave me certain things I must do every day and for that matter every week.

  • Call me every day
  • Make a meeting with me once a week
  • Work your steps
  • Help others

I do this every day and every week. I had to practice, myself, these things, before I could be able to share them with others. “Obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got !”

Everybody has their comfort level as to what they can or will do to stay sober. And I think about this thought, most of our folks went to the round ups in 2013, and 2014. They heard the same messages I heard, and we all go to the same meetings every week. I can see now, two years later, where those messages got me, and how I applied what I learned and made it my own. And also where my fellows are in this same time period.

I also know, now, that people with considerable time, are comfortable, dropping anchor in a familiar meeting, doing service, and navel gazing. They don’t feel the need to spice it up, or crank up the heat in any way, that would shake their equilibrium. And I wonder why ?

There is a reason my old sponsor is not my sponsor any more. He was comfortable sitting in his chair and not going to the round ups as we all did. It was also the way he spoke to me that cranked me up in a negative way. I don’t allow people to shit on me no matter how much time they have.

Last night I heard him share. I did not get to speak to my sponsor at great length today because he was busy entertaining guests at home, so after the meeting tonight, I spoke to another friend who’s got twenty five years as well, and he is in a different place than other folks with the same time.

I explained to him my observations. He knows me personally, and he knows how I do my thing. He knows my guys and we hit the same meetings week in and week out. He does meetings across several spectrum meetings, A.A. C.A. and such in two languages. French and English.

He listened to me talk, then I listened to him talk. He explained to me how he sees things, and what observations he has himself. He went on to explain how he sees life at his twenty five years and what he does, and how he does it.

This is a program of action, that is merely suggestive.

You either take the action or you don’t. It’s very simple.

At some point I was fired up to do something MORE. I wanted MORE. Some people are comfortable with doing just enough. And doing nothing more than what they believe is what they should do.

And nothing more.

I’ve had more than a decade to figure this out. And it has been a fact finding, and practice inducing activity. In the beginning, I sat and listened, and did what I was told. I sat in meetings, did my steps, did service and got comfortable, until the ladies came and shook up my world.

That changed my entire trajectory.

Listening to New Yorkers talk, just fired me up to want to do more and to push the envelope as far as I could in The Work. When my guys came, we spoke of what we could do together, they wanted to get clean and sober, by any means. So The Work became their work as well.

I’ve talked about giving my number and expectations.

My sponsor explained it this way.

  • If someone approaches ME and asks me to help them, I offer them my plan. I ask of them the same things my sponsor asked of me. They get my number and they follow the plan. It is their decision to step up and do the work, or they don’t. They came to me.
  • If I approach someone and offer to help them, and give my number, then I cannot expect any return on my investment. They did not ask me, I offered. Again, it is their decision to either do or do not do something. I can say, call me every day, and we know how that turned out. Calling every day is a tall order for many people. I went to them.

For every human being in the program, there is a way to do it. No two people are the same, and no two people do the same thing, unless of course you follow the suggestions of your sponsor.

In New York, you do The Work, as it is given to you, the way it is given to you, by the book. They have rules for their meetings in New York. Something we have never done here, to the extent they do it there, so when they came here and told us how they did it, most people tuned out to the severity of just how hard they work at it and share that message with others.

Things are way laid back here.

I had never heard of these methods until I met folks from other places. Even when I go to Vermont and I listen to folks there talk, they don’t do it the same way either. The path I choose to walk myself and with my guys is an amalgamation of the methods they use in New York, with a tweak here and there.

How it Works says … “If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.” I have my method. My guys chose to follow them, and they are all the better for it. And I am as well. Thanks to New York and my sponsor.

It is the weekend. The weather is looking up. Everybody is sober and happy.

What more can you ask?

More to come, stay tuned

Thursday … The Story So Far

tumblr_lhm3taXmPm1qbk0jto1_500 thrashcoreCourtesy: Thrash core

It has been on the cold side. as of late. Tonight we are sitting at (-10c/-17c w.c.). Yes, it is cold and people were muttering tonight that an early spring would be nice. However, it isn’t as bad a last years winter cold.

Rewind back to Tuesday for a few moments. After my emotional melt down over the past week, I had dinner with my sponsor Tuesday before the meeting, and I shared with him everything that was going on in my head. His thirty years sober yields much wisdom from his perspective.

Blessedly, the nightmares stopped. Working ones steps actively, comes with the warning that over time, we get to review the past, or certain memories from the past, in greater detail, which usually coincides with brain overdrive.

I’ve never really sat down and talked about portions of my story, because I just haven’t. And I’ve been pondering other fanciful stories that are sitting on the front of my brain tonight.

Among other stories is this one …

I once had a job, at the Port of Miami, working for Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, during their Sovereign class release. Those were really good times. The job I had prior to this stint, was in a travel agency, where I was manager. I was a young and vibrant alcoholic. In the office we drank, openly, and shared it with clients.

Funny, almost all of those folks I worked with later got sober, including myself.

Working at a Cruise line was Top Drawer employment. Every ship that was put into service, brought with it the employee party on board with open bar, as much as you could drink so forth and so on. That was always a fiasco. Every good thing that happened to the company was shared with the employees, ten fold. It was not uncommon to get a champagne lunch frequently.

The bar I drank at sat halfway between the port and where I was living during this time. I would leave work and hit happy hour for starters. I would drink and then drive home, usually eyeballing the road. I would change my clothes and return to the bar for the night shift. I drank my weight in alcohol, and it was good to be “in” with the bartenders, and the bars use of “drink tickets.”

Every night the “drink tickets” would go out, but the colors changed every night. You bought a drink, you got a ticket. We all had “drink ticket” boxes in our cars, where we could go to get the tickets we had collected over the weeks, every night we went out to drink.

It was not pretty, I could have killed someone. This was not a joke.

I only lasted there for a couple of years. Then things got really out of hand. I was renting a room in a mansion owned by a good friend. A woman I loved and respected. When I was kicked out of my parents house again, because I was gay, she took me in. And I took advantage of her terribly.

By this time I was commuting to drink. I wasn’t happy with Miami drinking, So I would drive to Ft. Lauderdale to drink, and then drive all the way back to Miami on a full stomach. My ability to find the worst deadbeat friends and boyfriends was my specialty. I was a total failure.

I was drinking away my rent money. I was either late, or I had none to pay out. Which ended up with me coming home in the middle of the night drunk, and finding the door locks changed and her son at the door, telling me that I could not come in until I had the money to pay for rent. Which landed me back in Ft, Lauderdale, commuting from there to work, I finally made the rent, and was asked to move.

What I did not know, at that time, was that the woman I lived with, and had worked with at the travel agency for so long, was getting sober. Much to my surprise. I was the alcoholic tornado running wild through her life. If you read the Big Book, there is a prominent story about me.

Years would go by, and when I finally got sober that first time, after a few years in, I had moved from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. One afternoon I decided to hit a meeting, so I walk in the room and who is sitting IN the Room was my lady friend. Needless to say I had some serious amends to make to her.

There are little, read it in the Big Book stories, I can tell about my life.

Some of them are funny, but the moral of the story is this … Nobody asked or said Stop.

I’m not sure I would have been ready to turn it over and stop anyways.

We are listening to Joe and Charlie on Tuesday nights. If you never heard them before, they are an experience. It is hit and miss with our folks. Many did not make it past the first night. And they did not come back. This week we heard all about the Big Book.

Writers write books all the time. Every story has its method, its storyline, and its form. The Big Book has its method. You can drill down from the book, to the chapters, to the paragraphs, and even down to the sentences. The Book is a manual about how to get sober. Each chapter is written to tell a certain story, and share with you certain truth. Each chapter leads from Chapter One through the first 164 pages of the book.

  • Each chapter speaks to certain information, which leads into the following chapter.
  • Chapter One talks about the problem.
  • Which leads into Chapter Two, There is a Solution,
  • Which leads into Chapter Three, more about alcoholism.
  • Chapter Four, We Agnostics,
  • And into Chapter Five, How it Works,
  • Chapter Six, Into Action,
  • Chapter Seven Working with Others, and so on.

Within each chapter is written stories, with words written that string together.

  • You can read the Book
  • You can read a chapter
  • You can read a paragraph
  • And, you can read a sentence.

In other places, this coming from people who traveled far and wide, Certain meetings run on the Big Book, and all its derivations. These four choices are the stuff of meetings in many places.

It has taken me years to see this wisdom. I’ve read the book, several times. I’ve been to meetings over the years where all we did was read the book. But it was only when I saw the women reading the book together with their sponsees, week in and week out, that that was something I wanted to do as well.

I don’t read the book with my sponsor, but we are actively working our steps.

I learned what I needed to do to step up my game in sobriety. And I did that.

Tonight I heard my OLD read: Former – sponsor speak at the Thursday night meeting.

I heard the message. I’ve heard it before. He did not say anything new to me. His story is unique, and he was my sponsor for a long time, until the fire was lit for me. He talked about his story, and when it came to the words … I Worked my Steps, or I am working my steps, I did not hear that.

At twenty five years sober, he was trying to Live the steps. He has three sponsors. One, his higher power, a Second service sponsor, and a Third, who lives in East Asia.

There came a point in our relationship that I knew I had to do something different, and I did that.

It is all well and good to go to meetings, find a home group and give back. Read: Do Service.

That is all well and good, and can take you along for a while. Sobriety offers us a wealth of work and a wealth of experience, if we fire up and find someone to feed that fire, I did that.

I could not sit still any more, after hearing New Yorkers tell me how they do it and WHY?

Today, I work it like New York.

It begins with prayer. And runs into the Book. And into Meetings. And then working with others.

I read the book with my guys, every week. All three of them, at different times, get to read the book with me, and I get to see the book through their eyes and through their understanding, along with mine.

The one thing that the speaker said tonight was … “That if I lived to be 150 years old, I could not repay what A.A. has given me.” With that sentiment I agree. That goes the same for myself.

My sober journey is different than all my friends. Not many people can commit to hard core working it for all it is. A friend I know, who has been to all the meetings I have, and to round ups as well, got sober for a while, over the holidays he drank. He came back and I gave him my number and said, call me every day, because his sponsor was out of the country.

People balk at Call me every day …

I told my sponsor about that the other night. And he gave me direction with what to do now.

I did that tonight. I said hello, I shook his hand, and that was it. He did not want to have a conversation with me past hello. And that’s fine.

I reach out to folks, I give my number, but usually, if you don’t use that number within 48 hours of getting it, you won’t use it at all. On Tuesday night, I put my number in a Big Book for a newcomer, my phone has yet to ring.

Ah well… what can you do ???

This afternoon I had to make the trek to the other side of the city to see my doctor. A health issue arose a few days ago, and was causing me intense pain and discomfort, I called him on Tuesday, I got to see him today, Thursday. The pain has subsided. But the problem still exists.

I thought that the removal of my piercing was the issue, and the healing process that went awry? That was not the case. Diabetes is a little monster. It seems I am having issues with my body in relation to my diabetes. That was a surprise. How often do you get to show your dick to your doctor?

That was a first for me in all the years he has been my doctor.

He told me what to do and he prescribed medicine to treat the problem.

I only get away so far, before my body revolts and does something totally out of left field.

Diabetes will do that to you.

On the Great side, I lost 9 pounds. And I lost two inches on my waist. My doctor is pleased.

I was very pleased to see him up and around and able to walk.

The last time I saw him, he could not walk without a cane, or holding on to furniture. He got old very quickly when his body turned on him. He has since had hip replacement surgery, and he says now, he is made of plastic, and titanium. My good old bionic doctor that could…

It was a good day. All’s well that end’s well.

More to come, stay tuned …

This is what Religion has done to Us.

5057 Take a look at these horrific images that depict two men thrown from the roof of a building as a crowd watches them fall to their deaths, and they purport to show the bloody Islamic State (ISIS) carrying out public executions before an audience in Iraq’s Nineveh province. And the two victims’ alleged crimes?

They are believed to be GAY.

5058This is extremism at its WORST. Ideology that dictates this kind of atrocity is not religion. Once again, we see that (1) If your religion tells you to go into a public place with a gun and kill people, you need to find a new religion. And (2) If your God tells you to toss a human being off the roof in front of spectators, that is NOT God speaking to you.

These are unequivocal. There are no two ways about it.

I repeat myself when I say that killing an innocent for any reason is a crime against humanity when it is grossly dictated by someones ideology. This is utterly disgusting and repugnant.

These people, need to be stopped.

What do we capture them and send them through War Crimes tribunals, or do we administer vigilante justice and just kill them outright. Crimes such as these warrant the biblical punishment of an Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for a Tooth.

This is just how this kind of atrocity makes me feel.

God – NO GOD – demands human lives for glory or Jihad. NO GOD !

Where is God while all these kinds of atrocities are taking place? If God did exist, He should act definitively and without mercy. Let the punishment fit the crime.

Smite these men into eternity. No virgins, No redemption, and NO mercy !!!