Thursday … You Can’t Get Sober and Keep Your Ego !

tumblr_mny6xdcYk61qmbg8bo1_500Courtesy: The Moon and the Stars and the Ocean

Wow, it seems like ages since I last wrote something. Not that there hasn’t been anything to really write about, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t sure I had anything interesting to write.

Monday was M.A. night, I get to see my guys all together for a meeting. Tuesday it was another chapter on Joe and Charlie, we put the cd on and let it roll. It was a good thing that I had looked at the clock when I did, because this particular chapter was going ON and ON and ON.

That’s what happens when we get to Step four in The Work. Anyways by twenty five past seven I shut off the cd and we had a very abbreviated sharing.

Wednesday was my night off.

I’ve been doing some online shopping, and I made a purchase over on Ebay and made the payment and all that stuff. That night I get a note from the seller saying that she could not ship the item through the mail because of its weight, and her other options like Fedex or UPS was going to run in excess of $75.00 … I was like WTF ???

So this was the first time a seller actually voided a transaction, which has tied up funds on the Pay Pal side, since when you make a purchase with Pay Pal, they automatically, electronically send funds to your sales point ahead of them coming out of your bank.

I went online and found a similar product to the ones I really wanted, from a seller in Pennsylvania. Their shipping rates Ground to Canada were $30.00 via UPS, including taxes and fees. I am waiting on my package that should be here Monday.

The weather has been great all week. It has been warm. The kind of warm that is heavy and not much breeze, so it seemed warm in the apartment, I  half imagined putting the A/C in the window but it is way to early to hang the box.

We set off on time for our Thursday meeting. But the STM had other plans. We usually miss a bus that usually passes as we walk up the hill. We had hit that early bus by chance a couple of times, today, though, the bus was late, and it was packed to the rafters. And successive stops just added more bodies to the bus.

We got to hear a young person share tonight. I identified a lot with what she had to say about drinking, partying, expectations and higher education.

It was a good thing I quit drinking before I moved here. Tonight we heard another insane story about what the drink leads some to do just to keep the buzz going for as long as they could.

Now mix copious amounts of alcohol, the desire to be great and unique, and the attainment of Grad School degrees all at the same time.

It is a well known fact, in one particular educational institution, that once you cross the bridge from a bachelors degree into Grad School, it is necessary for you to find yourself, build your ego and become better than your fellows.

Grad school is an egomaniacs play ground.

I tell this story about my time in university.

I did ten years working on two degrees, one in Religion and one in Theology.

The Theology department really wanted me for their Grad program in Theology. I had the grades, and they bent over backwards to fit me in. That was in the late spring after my last graduation.

I had a tight group of friends. We had been friends since the beginning, traveling the same trajectory. By the end of that next summer, we all returned for our first semester of Grad School.

The day I walked into class, that very first day, I knew something was off. Those people I had called friends, didn’t even notice I was in the classroom. They had “cliqued” amongst themselves, and I did not get the memo …

I think I am pretty easy going, and I really didn’t see the writing on the wall about the ego I should have acquired over the summer. I did my best to be part of, but it was clear that I was knocked out of the loop socially.

I had the grades for a while, but my work began to slip. I could not perform like my friends, I wasn’t one of them, so that put me at odds with them. I reached the 2 “C” rule, and they, as hard as they tried to get me in, they turned on me and showed me the door, unceremoniously.

I had been shut out.

Now, I watched several of my friends go through this, and they drank over it, after being sober for a while themselves. I didn’t want to make those same mistakes. I stayed sober, I ended my grad school run with a slow, fail out of the system.

You can’t get sober and keep your ego !

Our young lady spoke to this problem about her ego and how she has managed to let go of some of it, for where she is today. Some people believe that A.A. may not be the only way one can and should get sober.

Perish the thought…

We all take the route that serves us best. There are more than one way to skin the proverbial sober cat. I will never say that you must take this path or that path. All I will say is that If you have a problem with the drink, we have a solution.

Thankfully, she is heading into the solution.

She just isn’t kicking and screaming her way down the steps.

It was a good night.

The summer begins in earnest this weekend. People will begin coming and going so quickly for the next three months.

Stay tuned…

Sunday Sundries … OH !

tumblr_m9goegijlk1qkbo6bo1_500 freshie (2)Courtesy: Freshie

It was a rather quiet weekend. The weather has been iffy all day/evening long. It has been spitting rain on and off for a few hours now. The majority of it fell while we were in action inside the church. We are in single digit positive temps, still a little chilly.

After last night’s writing there isn’t much else to tell.

We have a nest on our balcony. Over the last few weeks, two very brave pigeons have been scouting out our balcony. They aren’t afraid of humans, they seem to like sharing the space. A few days ago, I noticed that one of them is sitting on a nest that they built under the patio furniture. They carved out a space for themselves tucked in a spot that is dry, covered and out of direct sunlight. I put out some bread and a water bowl for mama.

Yesterday the mate visited the balcony, he was carrying more twigs for the nest. He seemed a little spooked by my presence, and took off for the neighboring building where they usually roost during the day in the sunlight.

I’m guessing we will have chicks sometime soon.

We were talking over dinner that those pigeons picked a difficult spot to have chicks, seeing that we are 17 stories up and one false start is going to end up with dead chicks if they aren’t proficient in learning how to fly.

I don’t know where they all go at night to rest. On a good day there are more than 50 birds in the grouping in our neighborhood. I’ve never been able to suss out where they go at night.

I was out early and the weather was holding. My Sunday guy is in Germany until Wednesday so it was just me for set up, the girls soon followed. We sat a small group, and read from the Twelve and Twelve, and Tradition Four.

Autonomy…

Every group is different, no two groups are the same. The take away from this reading is simple, “Try not to be so damned serious with yourself.”

In the Traditions we read the goings on of the early groups as the books were first put out and the first groups were forming. Lots of people had grandiose delusions of grandeur. They wanted to build super hospitals dedicated to the sobering up of the masses. They wanted to build multi-story building catering to every aspect of the recovery process. It was truly a trial and error process. Some things worked, and others didn’t.

Well, we know how that ended … Keep it simple stupid !

I had those dreams of grandeur myself at one point. The plans for that dream are here on the blog if you know where to look.

Club rooms are located in many places. And they work for some reason, out there.

The way meetings work here, on both the English and French sides, meetings fall on particular nights, and there are very few meetings that hold their meetings several nights a week in the same location. They tried to open a club room here a while back, and it failed miserably.

Meetings are location specific, and serve a certain area by location.

On the island of Montreal, the city is partitioned by invisible lines that demarcate each area of the island. People usually stay within those boundaries. They very rarely leave the comfort of their particular zone. So trying to consolidate a number of meetings from where they are now, to one central location, under one roof, is a futile effort, because of these little facts.

It would remove the contact for a particular zone and disrupt the delicate balance of meeting location and the people it serves.

So that is a thing …

Another week is coming. Packages are in route and should be here tomorrow, and another to follow in a weeks time. In two weeks we travel to Vermont for the Spring session Intensive Step workshop. There are a dozen Montrealer’s attending, the max capacity is forty two.

I’m pretty sure we will max out the facility.

I’ve given you all some things to think about, places to get involved, and people to get up and stand by and speak for. It only takes one person to change the world.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

More to come, stay tuned…

We Are Here

918I was born in 1967 in a small town called New Britain Connecticut. Family was all one had, in whatever form they came in. And I was lucky that I HAD all the family I could use because we all lived fairly close, a short walk or a short car ride from point A to point B.

Back in the day gender roles were set in stone. The binary system was held in place and I never heard or saw any “other” gender role or met anyone who lived “outside” the norm.

But history tells us that Gay existed well before I was born, and it was a silent life of hiding in the shadows and living your lifestyle behind closed doors, or in places that you could be yourself, but in my reading of history, those stories are few and far between.

I didn’t know that “other” existed until I was in grade school and happened upon reading material my father had collected and was reading around us, as if to say, leaving mags around the bathroom was commonplace and not “wrong.”

I had a little transistor radio with one of those little ear pieces that I listened to at night. And I was so interested in a certain radio show that played during those years. You wouldn’t find them on any dial today, or maybe you would, on some internet channel. Times have changed.

There was a particular radio show hosted by a woman who invited guests on to her show in the hopes that she would hook those guests up with callers. One guest piqued my interest when he identified himself as a Master, and was looking for a sub. I didn’t know what that was, or maybe I did, after reading my father’s mags…

This was not a heterosexual match up show, it was a Gay match up show. This guy was a regular on the show.

What was this, and why did I find it so appealing ???

I could read by that point in my life. And I read well.

Along with Readers Digest, Playboy and Penthouse magazines another little booklet was meat and potatoes. I wasn’t interested in titty girls and naked women. Variations was written for the person who straddled the sexual fence.

After my rebellion at day care, I had a key to the house and that’s where we went after school. I was a nosy little shit and I had to know everything about family. And I was like that for many years after that. My father (in hindsight) was living a double life. I know that today.

The words he spoke, were very different than the actions he was displaying behind the scenes. His internalized homophobia was rampant. I think he read magazines and lived vicariously through them, while he abused me terribly, hoping to beat the “gay” out of me later on.

My father would not have a GAY in his house, but he was one himself, he wasn’t just bisexual, it was full on gay.

My mother was not exempt from this. She actually participated.

They say gay is a choice. Let me ask you this, can a child make a choice of that kind of proportion and know for sure that is what they are or want to be? Or as happened, I came across informative reading that 100% informed what side of the sexual orientation coin I would later land.

It wasn’t a choice. I knew. I knew right then and there. But I didn’t know what it meant.

Fast forward into our last move into the house we lived in the longest.

I did not know anyone who was gay, or better yet, I had never met anyone who was transgendered. My parents kept us out of the social discussion. I listened to them talk about the Queers and the Gays and those sick people with AIDS, who should just die already.

My parents met other families, some with means, and others not so much. All of these kids, us and those we came to know, grew up together. Family dinners, holiday banquets, birthday parties, and summer barbeque’s were the stuff of legends.

My introduction to Gay had begun.

One of my friends, who is still my friend to this day, I call her mom my step mom, because where my mother failed, she had stepped in and filled that role. She would have wedge wood china dinner parties, and invited people from across the spectrum.

That is where I met the gay men who would facilitate my walk across that proverbial bridge, when it came. I straddled the orientation line because my father would beat me after every dinner party we attended to make sure he would beat the Gay out of me. He abhorred Gay, but he loved reading about them, and having sex that was well outside the normal vanilla sexual slant.

My parents were not so vanilla they loved their chocolate side.

I dated girls throughout high school. I kissed girls, but I had never had sex with a woman, never have, and never will. I could never be who I wanted to be, as I was educated in what that meant by people who were.

When I learned to drive, and get around, I discovered Gay “in community.” Back in those days, pride flags were something I learned about, because they told me what I needed to know, as I drove through particular neighborhoods.

The “Gay community” moved from one section of the city to another, trying to find a footing for itself. And they went from sparse to the entirety of Coconut Grove proper. There were gay stores, gay shoppes, gay bars, and gay festivals.

Later when Gay grew, us gays moved from the mainland to the beach. Miami Beach, the mecca for retirees and snowbirds, now shared space and lives with the gays. It took a long time for that community to grow and then flourish. And it did.

I could not stay in Miami to be gay. My father would not have a gay child in his family.

I moved away to be gay. My alcoholism came along for the ride.

Over a decade saw me hit new highs and lows, and over time I not only became the gay in my family, I became that gay with AIDS in the family. Two strikes and I was out.

It was the gay community who stepped in when I really needed it. When my parents tossed me to the curb, it was the gays, who took me in and I am still alive because of just how good they took care of me. Over a hundred of my friends died, but I survived.

Because I did what I was told.

I listened to real people, gay people, show me how to survive. And if you think gays are not compassionate or loving, you are dead wrong. You say we are sick and perverted, well, some are, and I love them for it. What is life without a little “spice.”

Where Heterosexuals failed to take care of their children, where very sick homosexual adults were tossed into the streets, kicked out of their homes, tossed out by lovers, the good gays stepped in and did what they had to do for the least of these.

I fell away and walked out the door on four years of sobriety and it was the worst mistake I have ever made. When I returned from my disastrous gay odyssey to hell, I moved to the Beach.

Rental assistance afforded me an apartment two blocks off the beach, in a gay friendly building with gay friendly people who had my best interest in mind. But I was still drinking.

I prayed for an alcoholic to bring me back, and he appeared.

I was thirty four. I wasn’t a beach boy. I didn’t have the looks nor the money.

So on my first sober day, I returned to a gay meeting. Nobody noticed me.

What I did find was a group of straight men and women who did welcome me and provided everything I would need to live soberly.

I moved to Montreal. By this time, by my family’s standards and resentment list, I had four solid strikes against me.

If you want to be gay and live a life of your dreams, move out of the United States.

Every day I read articles and watch videos of just how sick heterosexual people are. I read articles about heterosexual people doing the worst indignities to the least of these.

Every day we are bombarded with all kinds of actions that are abhorrent to me abhorrent to all of us.

I am ashamed to call myself an American. There is only one reason I retain my citizenship.

But for all intents and purposes, I am a Canadian.

Gay is all over. From city to city, from province to province and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Here we have marriage equality. We can walk down the street holding hands and not fear some asshole making a scene. Cities have dedicated Gay Villages.

Here is where my gay education took another step in its evolution. At a particular meeting I was introduced to a trans woman, who we all love and respect. I actually heard her speak a few weeks ago.

Who knew from trans boys and girls, men and women?

In the last ten years or so, gender rules and assignments have expanded. It the most wonderful time in our lives. No longer in the shadows, kids, young people and adults are making their stands to proclaim who they are.

But in the United States, sadly, beatings, killings and suicides are the norm.

Around the world we know that LGBT people are being killed, ostracized and imprisoned for who they are. Sadly the world is not moving ahead with acceptance and love.

I’ve known a handful of young kids battling with who they were born as, coming to see who they really are. Some have been in transition for a while now. There are pockets of locations where kids are being allowed to explore who they are, with support and love, but that is far from the norm.

Kids killing themselves because of internet trolls and hatred by family and friends is terribly disturbing. We have to step up and be their voice in a world that wants to only shut them up.

Over the last few years I have become friends with a family that is remarkable. One son is gay, One daughter is in transition at age six, and the third son is in the mix.

I’ve witnessed what it takes to parent a transgendered child. Parenting any child is hard work, it is a lifetime calling for parents. And we know, by what we are hearing and seeing, children are being born into families that really, should never have had children to begin with.

That is another stark reminder of just how sick some parents really are.

We’ve witnessed celebrities born into celebrity lives. Growing up one gender, and today a handful of them are who they really want to be. The transgendered community is growing in leaps and bounds after a handful of celebrity transitions.

Last night was a watershed moment for Bruce Jenner. It was a watershed for all those boys and girls still in the mix, making lifetime decisions about who they would like to be and who they really are.

We Must speak for them. We must stand up for them. We must accept them.

WE MUST LOVE THEM.

We must love each other, even if we do not understand why they are doing what they are doing.

Phil said this last night, “I may not understand but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, respect!!!”

Kanye said it best …”I am nothing, if I can’t be who I am!” Being true to ones self is the key to a life flourishing.

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Kids are killing themselves because of bullying and indignity.

We must stop this trend any way we are able.

It takes a village to raise a child, and an even bigger one to raise a trans kid.

Who do you know today? Do you know a gay person, Do you know someone with AIDS, I am sure all of you know someone who has faced or is facing a terrible fight for life because of illness.

How many of us know families with trans children in them?

You shall love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your spirit, AND you should love your neighbor as yourself.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Thursday – One Thing After Another

francisLocation: Syria, Subject: Isis Militants Those Killed: Gay men …

“You are Gay, and before we kill you, we will embrace you like a human.”

Then they stoned two men to death, in front of a crowd of people.

You think these words spoken by Pope Francis are timely ???

I still think we need a crack team of commandos to go in there and slaughter Isis militants.

Kill them as unmercifully as they killed so many people who should still be alive.

End of Rant …

Last night I cracked Connor Franta’s book, “A Work in Progress.” This afternoon I finished the read while sitting in my doctors office. (More on that later)

I read a lot of books. I have an entire library of books in my bedroom. An avid reader will probably know, words are everything. What words are used, how they are used, and what those words mean, in the context of the story. Every book is an opportunity to learn a little more about its author.

As I was reading, certain words and phrases jumped out at me.

Because he writes with very familiar phraseology, enough to notice if you are paying attention.

However, there is no mention of any kind of association, and he may just know the words, without the context I was ascribing to them. It may just be his writing style.

But if you ask me, it sounds all too familiar !!!

Our young author, in his twenties now, tells us his story. He shares with his readers just how important the digital age is to his life and by extension, the rest of us … “unless you are forty” you probably don’t know much.

He writes:

“The social generation has taken over. If you don’t tweet on the daily, receive dozens of likes on instagram photos, and know what the heck Tumblr is, then you best get to Googling because you’ve been left behind.

Or you are like forty …”

I found this was the only point in the story where I laughed out loud.

I am forty seven years old. I grew up in the 80’s. The only phone we had was connected to the wall in the kitchen, or if you were lucky, you had your own extension in your bedroom, and I did.

Social media was the local roller rink, or the shopping mall, (Dadeland or The Falls), or church youth groups, specifically. If you wanted to see your friends, you went to their house. And if they were good friends, you most likely spent numerous nights sleeping at friends houses, which I also did frequently.

Social media came late for me. My first computer was a gift from a friend in 2001, and that little box played the crucial role of connecting me to Canada. If it weren’t for that fact and a letter from the government, I would not be here today.

Anyways, social media. I am connected. This blog is nine years old. I have a You Tube account. There are actually videos, made by me, there. I Tumble. That’s where my photos come from. I joined Twitter a year ago to stay in contact with my friends, and that has grown into a social media platform for the blog as well. I have been on Facebook for almost nine years.

That is where I keep up with all my friends in one location.

With one click here, I can publish to all of my social media platforms, all at once.

Every gay boy has a coming out story. No two are the same. Connor is no different. But he was a blessed young man. Coming to know ones self is tough. Especially, when we think we are different. The process of coming to terms with sexual orientation can be long and arduous.

Connor figured that out for himself. On his time. In his own way. He chose who to tell, and when, and then he told his parents. They did not reject him, they turned around and told him they loved him and that that would never change.

How many gay kids get that kind of unequivocal support from parents.

I didn’t.

I knew, before I knew what it was. I listened and decided that coming out would be detrimental to my existence. I moved away to be gay, and my alcoholism followed.

The rest is history.

Oh to write our memoirs at twenty-something… He has his whole life ahead of him. A lifetime of experiences he has YET to have. People he has YET to meet. Places he has YET to go.

SO MANY YETS !!!

tumblr_ljxktkG7IG1qdizh9o1_500 lovepainandhopeI had things to do today, places to go, people to see. On any regular day, I just go with the flow and my days usually goes with little thought to the what, why or the how of it.

I left with plenty of time to make my three train transit and get to my doctors appointment early, because I am always early, in the hopes that I maybe get in the door early, and get out of there early for a change. (Thank God I had Connor to keep me company).

I arrived twenty minutes early for a three o’clock appointment.

There are usually a few people waiting. And usually two doctors seeing patients.

Not the case today. The crowd that was there were all seeing one man. My Doctor.

I read my book, and I finished it as well. And still I waited. When the secretary called me in it was four thirty. I am pretty patient when it comes to the doctor. So shortly before I got called, I calmly walked up to the counter and inquired how long I would be waiting.

While I waited my sponsor called. I was supposed to meet him at his house to pay for the retreat in May, today was the deadline for payment. So he called me and said that he needed to attend to one of his guys, and could we amend our plans. I managed a yes.

Not knowing when I would be back on the Metro to get home.

At four thirty I went in and started a conversation. About halfway through, doc got a call from someone who must be working at the new Glenn Site. They spent a shitload of money building that monstrosity.

Millions of dollars spent were funneled into corrupt people’s bank accounts.

They built the hospital without consideration for specific needs, for certain departments. So unclaimed space is at a premium. So I listened to half a conversation about what my doctor needs in the new hospital and why, then I heard the other speaking to the effect that, I don’t think we can provide for your needs as you need them, so you will have to take whatever you get.

Doc says … The lives of my patients are on the line here, the words “crash cart” were tossed into the conversation. So that is a thing he says …

The guy responds … Well, I cannot provide what you need.

Doc says … Then I will meet you and we will go to the site and figure this out.

Conversation continues for a bit but does not end with a positive resolution.

We then resumed our discussion, diabetes is being a pain in my ass, my numbers are too high, something needs to change. Then I tell my doc about the pill pushing for a problem I did not have, (and he checked my blood pressure and it was GOLD).

Diabetes doc prescribes a pill for my blood pressure. Tells me to fill it and apply for a home meter that would be free and get sent to me once I visited their site. That was four months ago.

I did not fill the script and I did not take the pills as directed.

So today my doc tells me that the pills he wanted me to take were not actually FOR my blood pressure, but FOR a problem called, Microalbumin.

Something to do with blood and my kidneys.

What the actual fuck ???

Diabetes doc did not tell me any of this. Probably because he had interns in his office doing their homework on ME. He didn’t tell me what he should have told me, instead he gave some excuse.

I did not take the pills.

Meanwhile, the words diabetes doc didn’t say to me, appeared in my chart for my doc today to see and show me on his computer.

So my doc says to me, take the pills and don’t tell George that you talked to me.

I was not very happy.

On the flip side, my T-cell count stands at 1,358. That’s the highest it has been.

I left the office at five fifteen. I had forty five minutes to make my three train transit back into town. I had to stop at the pharmacy and drop scripts to be filled, go to the bank, get my cash I needed and then hit the grocery store all before six fifteen.

My sponsor was waiting outside my apartment when I got out of the grocery store.

In the end, it all got done. I hate having to race the clock.

I was home for forty five minutes, before I had to leave again for the Thursday meeting.

Every meeting is different. And I have learned a great deal from everyone who has spoken on Thursday night. Tonight was no different. What we are seeing and hearing is older folks, in their fifties, sixties and seventies, coming into the rooms much later in life. Older folks, with a few years under their belts. The later the entrance, the longer and painful the run up to insanity and their turning point.

Tonight I heard something different.

People don’t hit their bottoms, there are no bottoms, only an elevator, and it is up to us what floor we decide to get off on.

Our man tonight shared and his message was simple …

“You don’t have to suffer as long as I did in order to get here.”

In other news, I hit another fellowship along with some of my sponsees who also attend those meetings. I am all for trying to forget my slip and the drugs I did, and marijuana I smoked. I try to forget it because it was a horrible stage in my life.

It is a place I rarely go. I never talk about it. And I like it that way.

But that is the issue.

The longer I sit in that room, the more the nightmares and memories haunt me. I am ashamed of the person I became, I don’t know how I could have sunk so low as to go from a middle class white boy who was just an alcoholic, to a looser, white trash, trailer dwelling, drug abusing, pot smoking miscreant with no hope of a life or a way out of the pit of hell I dropped myself into, without having an escape plan ready, should I have needed it.

In the end, I had one friend who knew where I was, who supplied me with the one way ticket out of hell, and gave me a place to recuperate after my near death beating experience.

That man was my angel.

When I made that transit, I never touched drugs or marijuana again. I never went looking for them again, even when I got back to Miami. I still drank, because it was easy and I had the money to pay for it. But even that got old in the end.

And I got clean and sober 100%.

I needed to find someone to talk this out with, I need to dump this shit on someone who can help me navigate this stage of my recovery that I seem to be embroiled in. My sponsor did not use drugs, so I needed to find someone who did. And I found him.

My friend who celebrated twenty seven years sober tonight, is my guy.

I love him to death. He is one of the greatest men I know. Tomorrow we are getting together before the Friday night meeting to chat this out.

If you are going to get clean and sober, then you need to hit all the dark spots and bring that shit into the light of day, so you can deal with it and get over it.

Easier said than done.

But it is a start.

All in a days work they say.

More to come, stay tuned …

Tuesday – New Books And Assorted Other Topics

connor bookToday is release day for “A Work in Progress” written by Connor Franta.

In his debut memoir, Connor Franta offers a look at his Midwestern upbringing as one of four children in the home and one of five in the classroom; his struggles with identity, body image, and sexuality in his teen years; and his decision to finally pursue his creative and artistic passions in his early twenties, setting up his thrilling career as a YouTube personality, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and taste maker.

Go to his Website, Order the Book, Subscribe etc, etc …Connor Franta Website

I pre-ordered Connor’s book a couple of weeks ago when he first introduced it to the world on his You Tube channel. I got it in the mail today. What would we do without the internet? If you order the book or buy it retail, (which is also a thing today) go to the website and put in your order number or receipt number for all sorts of goodies.

Sadly, Canada is not on his book tour schedule, just now … Aw, booooo !!!!

This would be book number 4, on my reading list right now. I am still in my read of Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs. I guess I will have to shuffle my reads a little, which puts Connor on the Next Book to Read list.

The weather has been spotty showers, but rain is in the cards all week long. The good thing about Montreal is that if it rains, it isn’t for long, we don’t usually get torrential rain very often. If you are a conspiracy kind of person, you would not be surprised if I say that they spray enough shit in the sky over the city so often, that I am sure that has something to do with how rain falls, and how storms are created over the city. I’ve written about that before.

I set off with all my goodies, supplies and made my transit. The rain stayed away this evening and that was a good thing. We sat a fair group. And Joe and Charlie talked about Steps Three and Four.

All I want to say about that is “Been there, done that.” I am currently on my Step Six with my sponsor. In a few weeks we will be heading to Saint Anne’s Shrine in Vermont, just about an hour over the border on the lakes of Vermont. We are not in the mountains any longer, but this retreat space sits on a lake and is a religious location, there are shrines, and outdoor theatre seating area, I suppose they have events outside. That’s our next travel event.

It was a good day and a good evening.

Just a short entry tonight.

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … Thoughts

7 cardinal rules for lifeI think these lessons kind of point to what I am going to write below.

The normal human being, is mostly concerned about themselves. It is always about them, and how the rest of the world perceives them, and also how they perceive themselves. For most, the insane amount of time we worry about the exterior parts of ourselves, is the obsession of millions of people. We see it every day on social media. All it takes is one troll to get the ball rolling, and then we get “wildfire.”

Then a kid kills themselves because of said troll and their minions.

What a blessing to have learned all these lessons in sobriety. Real lessons that I use on a daily basis. It isn’t all about me. And it never really is. i was so happy when I got this down.

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It has been a stellar weekend. Albeit a little chilly this evening on the way home. They told us that it was going to rain for days, and to be prepared for lots of rain. A few drops fell yesterday early on, but it did not last, and skies remained clear and blue all weekend.

Last night I hit an off meeting to spend time with some of my guys. And I will get to see them tomorrow for the groups anniversary. Funny that the anniversary for an M.A. meeting falling on 4/20 !!! There’s a joke in there somewhere.

I told my friends that I would bring the weed …

Sobriety – Life – Work – and Everything that comes with it …

People get sober for a myriad of reasons. When we have been to hell, one way or another, we need to find some way to pick up the pieces and move forwards. You know there are many types of people in meetings, those who have full lives, some who have half lives, and those who have no lives.

Sobriety – as the Big Book says, “The only thing you have to change in sobriety is everything.”

Most people balk at this idea and they find or invent ways in which they choose to do things. They do it their way, they make half measures, or they adopt this way of living and they make it work.

When I came to Montreal, I had no life. So what I did was meetings, all the time, every day, until the next activity came to pass for me. One thing led to another and then life began in earnest. BUT the one thing I did that I kept doing, was my meetings. I worked very hard at building my outside life, around my meeting nights. And I was successful and still am to this day.

You build your life around your meetings, not your meetings around your life.

If you put anything before your sobriety you will eventually loose it. That is fact, I can prove it if you need it.

People who have lives, may find it difficult to amend their lives, and add sobriety to those lives, because they say they have no time to devote to sober things, like meetings, calls and working with others.

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

It took me 11 years to find the route to finding my message, and that took a lot of work, prayer and help of a sponsor.

Some people need sobriety,  then there are those who want it.

Sobriety is a gift that once in the game, we try to encourage you to adopt it and make it yours. We encourage you to find ways to make sobriety work for you instead of against you. Sobriety is something you live into on a daily basis.

It is a process that some find encumbering. They are reticent to adopt those rules or suggestions we give to to enhance your lives. BUT if you start with something small, and later find that it worked, then you add a little more and see if that works for you. So forth and so on.

Some people with full lives or busy schedules may find it a problem to HAVE TO do everything they are told to do, or suggested to do when they come in.

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It was a wonky start to the evening. I was up washed and ready to go early. Now several things were supposed to happen in a certain order. My cup man bought us cups for two meetings from Costco the other day, and I needed to bring him cash from one kitty.
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I packed my bag, and left for the church. Halfway through the Forum complex, I noticed that I had forgotten my wallet at home. I was going to be late. I turned around and walked back home, got my wallet, returned an email to a friend while on this stop. I didn’t take any cash from my kitty bag, and made a second departure for the church.
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I got to the church a few minutes before my early team got there. It was all good.
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We were standing outside the church when my cup guy showed up, and I was like, “shit, I forgot the cash.” Thankfully I had some cash in my wallet, 2/3’s is better than none, I guess.
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The reading was “The Businessman’s Recovery”
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Another war story taking place at the dawn of A.A. Our man goes from good to terrible inside of two years. He worked far a field for a while prior to the War. He enlisted, became a member of the armed services and his drinking took off in earnest.
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Fearing prohibition in the United States, and not being able to drink freely, he decided to remain in Europe to continue his drinking unabated. He ends up in a sanitarium, sick and confused.
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Miraculously, he is introduced to Bill W.
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Someone this evening said that when she got sober, all she had to do was Google A.A. and there it was.
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Imagine the odds of finding Bill W. in ones hospital room in the 1940’s.
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What are the odds ???
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This guy seriously lucked out. Imagine finding another alcoholic where you lived in the 1930’s or 1940’s. There were no tools like social media or computers. I just find it amazing that for some, the most opportune moment presented itself to certain human beings.
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Is that ODD or is that GOD ???
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The story is told, we get his introduction to the program, and the story continues with our man telling us just how good he has it and how his life has changed, everything changed for the better.
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An old timer commented that – the meat and potatoes were missing from the story …
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How did he go from sad and destitute to happy in a few sentences?
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Well, it is implied that “something” happened. In between down and out and utter happiness, comes all the work that we must do to attain sobriety. All those things it took me YEARS to figure out, because I had not seen it until it was introduced to me and I adopted the practice for myself, and then for my guys.
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There is the Book, The Steps, The Work … so to speak.
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You just don’t come in the door and miraculously get happy all at once. It just don’t work that way, and I’ve never seen it work that way either.
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Some people balk when we make suggestion to them that “aren’t in the Book.” Why do I have to do, what I am told, everything we share is suggestive only. You either want to be in it to win it or you aren’t. Sobriety and happiness are progressive. The more you put into your sobriety, the happier you are going to be.
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It’s really simple.
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Alcoholics are painfully stubborn. We over think things, we philosophize ourselves to death, and we worry about things like “I really need to know the gender of God…” before I can move forwards.
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Really, REALLY ??? are you serious?
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It’s like that Nike slogan ………… Just Do It !
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Do you want to be RIGHT or do you want to be HAPPY ?
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Simple question.
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A good night was had by all.
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More to come, stay tuned …

Friday – Celebrations of Time

tumblr_na1os98mxP1t7d7l8o1_500 freshieCourtesy: Freshie … Celebrating the Montreal Canadiens who played tonight in their playoff championship on the road to the Stanley Cup finals, and mourning the loosing club of this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs… What a disaster !

Spring has finally come to Montreal. And people are loving it. For the past few days, it has been warm enough to go out in shirtsleeves at night. But I carried a hoodie just in case.

It has been a wonderful and warm couple of days. All the rain they said would fall, did not materialize at all. Skies remained blue through the week and into tonight.

Synchronicity – Coincidence – Is it ODD or is it GOD …

Not long ago, I told a story about how the universe is alive and is listening to what we say and watching what we do. And the universe has a funny way of letting us know that it is present in our lives, even if we don’t subscribe to that kind of thought.

I noticed that we have been missing certain people in the meetings. And one particular young lady came to my mind the other night, quite surprisingly. Yes, I hadn’t seen her in a while, I sent that thought out on a Tuesday evening, and the universe responded Thursday night.

I got to St. Matthias early and was sitting out front, and my young lady waltzed up the street to the church. Funny, this is another example of universal consciousness being alive and well.

Yeah, she decided to come to the meeting on her own.

I asked the universe to send her to us.

And she showed up.

Is that ODD or is that GOD ???

Tonight we sat a full house. The topic … “That Spiritual Angle.”

Spend enough time in a room, and we begin to find our spiritual angle. The one that works for us. And I think, among all the meetings I go to on a weekly basis, the Friday night meeting, is the place where our young people, and older people as well, have been actively cultivating their own spiritual angle.

God, Higher Power, Spirit, whatever you call it, has been a constant subject in our meeting for more than a year. That conversation arises from the frequency that As Bill Sees It, deals those topics out. There is a lot of God in that little book.

I’ve learned a lot about the spiritual angle from my friends. In fact, I have come to need it and rely on it and also come to respect what that means to my friends, and how they see the world. We think we must know everything when it comes to God, and some don’t want to know anything about God, but on Friday, we all meet in the middle to discuss it and in that discussion we have evolved.

There is more than one way to skin the proverbial sobriety cat.

Belief and Faith is individual to each of us.

Everybody respects where each of us are on the time line. And nobody sits there and preaches one way or another, like they have the definitive answer. That would be presumptuous and arrogant to say the least.

Knowing God from many directions is very useful in working with others.

It was a full night of friendship and fellowship. The house was packed. And we celebrated three of our number in their Second sober anniversaries. Two is a big deal. The chip is silver and oval in shape and style, rather than the bronze medallion.

When you get your Two, you keep it close, because when you get to Ten, that silver chip, gets dipped in Gold and you get it engraved for your tenth anniversary.

Kind of tradition in Montreal.

Everyone is important in every meeting. But the most important person in any meeting is the newcomer. Celebrations in our group are festive and meaningful, because of the population. Chips are important to our young people, because they see us, and each other celebrate time, and that gives them hope that the gift is there for them as well.

When I began to attend this meeting, it was a small meeting with no more than twenty five people in the back hall around a smaller table setting. I watched two particular people come and and claim a chair for themselves.

Over the last two years our little meeting blossomed into what it is today. We are in the main hall with double the head count, so many heads in that count that we split the group up for sharing so that everyone has a chance to speak.

Tonight, three very important members of our group took their two year cakes.

My recommendation is that you find a meeting to call home, and STAY in that group for as long as it takes. For as long as it takes, will give you the opportunity to watch your fellows get sober. Watching light come to ones eyes and the shadow depart is a blessing. And you too will see what others are experiencing, and you will have those moments too.

I’ve watched my friends come, stay, and get sober, and tonight they hit the Two mark.

We are all so proud of them. Because we are family. That is why those who come, come, and stay, because of that welcome and love freely given.

A good night was had by all.

On my transit back, I saw advertisements on our Metro TV. In many stations, there are flat screen tv’s that show arrival times, weather, news briefs and assorted others media sorts.

Our Glenn Site Hospital that I told you all about some time ago, opens officially on April the 26th. The first of the many hospitals that are moving to the Glenn, is the Royal Victoria, just a stones throw from home. They will commandeer 40 ambulances for a two days, transporting every patient in the Royal Vic to the new Glenn site.

That is going to be One Huge Project …

The Children’s Hospital, just up the street from home moves on May 26th, one month after the Royal Vic transfer. They will also follow the ambulance protocol. Then the old building will be demolished and a new public park will be built on that site.

In a couple of years, there will be plenty of green space, just up the block.

It was a great week. Spring is here, and people could not be happier.

More to come, stay tuned …