I’ve been thinking about this image all day long. It goes along with our theme tonight:
After my not so sober post on Sunday, we return to regularly scheduled programming.
We begin on a very happy note.
We are still experiencing on and off rain/sun/rain again/sun … weather
Tuesday, the city was under a severe storm warning all evening, into the night. The threat of rain, and the size of Baby LuLu’s stroller, was the deciding factor for hitting the meeting.
The rain won.
We began reading Living Sober. This book is probably the third most important book to read in early sobriety. The most important book, first, is our meeting list book, because it has all the meetings listed in the city (read: over 500 meetings a week). Second is the Big Book.
Living Sober is the book we suggest our new folks to read because it gives you actual practical advice about how to “live sober,” if only that in the beginning. We are faced with certain situations and life experiences that, when we used and drank, were really, not an issue.
But now we’ve given up the drugs and alcohol, how do we manage and mitigate those situations soberly, when before we used to use? There are many chapters in this book, that talk about various situations, feelings, problems that we may face, now sober.
Along with other sober human beings, having a book that tells you what to do, is also very useful.
But nothing beats talking to another human being when times get tough.
That’s what we are all here for.
Wednesday Night Cookery …
With Baby Mama moving back, we’ve all been working very hard at making sure she has everything she needs. On Wednesday evenings, I go over to her house and I cook a meal that we share, and she gets leftovers for the rest of the week. This is so I ensure she is eating, not that she isn’t, but a little more food is good. Next week she moves into her forever home.
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Which leads very nicely into tonight’s offering.
We got to St. Matthias early. I got to reconnect with a friend that I spent a good deal of time with, discussing some very serious topics the other night. He listened to what I said and that proved to be useful to him.
Then as we walked back inside the hall, a very familiar woman was talking to our greeter. I had not seen her in a while, she is a West Islander, so seeing her in the city, is a treat.
It was a double treat, because, she was our invited speaker.
She is on her way, God willing, One day at Time, to her five year mark this fall.
The last time I heard her speak was more than four years ago, which would have put her, just inside her first year.
There are no “Bests” in the rooms. We usually don’t think that way. But one of my guys was in the meeting and at the end he said to me that “her share was the best share he had ever heard.”
I have to concur…
The routine in the room is “what it was like, what happened and what it is like now.”
That is the method.
Every delivery of that method differs from person to person, woman to man, young to old.
I’ve said before, that hearing people share, more than once, or even several times in sobriety, allows me to hear wisdom in their words.
Where, in the beginning, we hear the story, and at times, said speaker might be in the middle of their story, so the resolution into “what happened” might not be over yet. They might not understand or see the wisdom or grace of portions of their story, until they are standing on the other side of it, or even, having the wisdom of time, and hindsight to be able to see their progress in certain areas, or have concrete feelings one way or another about their story as a whole.
Here in Montreal, the odds of hearing someone more than once is high. That depends on how many speaker meetings you hit in any given week over long periods of time.
Those odds go up, if you hit meetings here in the city AND hit meetings on the West Island.
I know of a handful of people I’ve heard speak at a speaker meeting more than once. Some, also hit discussion meetings, but many don’t.
Tonight, we laughed, we cried, we sobbed and came full circle and laughed again.
It is very rare to hit all of these in one night.
The loss of a child, I believe, is one of the greatest heartaches, any mother or father can go through, and I can’t touch that feeling because I’ve never lived it.
- Most don’t make it out.
- Many go back to the bottle, usually much heavier than when they were just “drinking for effect.”
- Now they were drinking for an entirely different reason.
And let me tell you, this kind of drinking would usually end up in death, for any normal drinker, but for an alcoholic, it is suicidal drinking.
Survival from this kind of drinking is a miracle.
At some point, man or woman, we get to the end of the line. However we get there, we get there, usually in a haze of delusion, or a crash and burn situation.
When the end came for our woman, she made that crucial call.
The man who took that call, was sitting in the room with us tonight.
Hello, Alcoholics Anonymous, my name is ______ HOW can I HELP you?
His first sentence was “IT’S GOING TO BE OK!”
For a woman who had never heard that before, that was earth shattering.
She took herself to what we call “the Squirrel Cage” on the West Island.
The squirrel cage is a small meeting with a handful of folks, which is an offshoot of the main meeting which used to be held at the same time, in the same location, in a different room.
So one used to have a choice. Today, only the Squirrel Cage remains.
A member was at the door, in her words … “600 year old man …”
He welcomed her warmly, took her to get a cup of coffee and sat her down.
She wanted to slink in and not get noticed. We are savvy alcoholics, if you had not figured that out yet. Anyways, at the end of the meeting, folks took her into their hearts, 100%.
She really wasn’t sure about the program or the work involved, but she had to walk her road.
You hear the same things in the beginning.
- Go to meetings
- Read the Book
- Get a sponsor
- Do the work
Reticent to do all these things, they took time to begin. She sure as hell was not going to get a sponsor, and if she did, it would be a man, like mistakes she had already made.
They told her to find a woman ? A woman, she responds? “Yes a woman.”
In the end she met, in her words… “Hitler.”
Sometimes we need a swift kick in the ass to get started. For most, this approach sends people running for the hills, but there are those who take certain concrete directions from the get go.
Sometimes there is no better time than the present to get started.
And her sponsor said to her …“IF YOU WANT WHAT THE PROGRAM OFFERS, THEN GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO SOMETHING !!!!”
You know, I didn’t get that exact message when I came in, but I was willing to go to any length to get and stay sober, so I did everything I was told, without question. Because the first time was a gift, the second time I had to really work for it, and I worked it for all it was worth.
I was eleven year sober when I heard that exact message.
IF YOU WANT WHAT THE PROGRAM OFFERS, THEN GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO SOMETHING…
Our woman got off her ass and she did the work. She did something that most people balk at, looking into our stories, seeing the pain and heartache, for her this was immense, dealing with the wreckage of her past and making peace with it.
Then the suggestions of prayer and meditation rose.
In her words …”You want me to pray to a God, who took my child?”
You must be kidding.
The vehicle for her prayer life began with her child that she lost.
In her words … “My child came into my life, only to die, and bring me to this place of grace.”
She has come full circle.
She needed her child to get to a certain point. Now, with a few years of wisdom, she was able to let her child go back to God, where He could use her.
All along, there is her son, who now is almost twelve years old. A child that has seen her through all her mishaps and bad decisions. A child who, himself, once or twice, said to her,
“REALLY? Do you think this is a wise decision?”
Her son, had that kind of intuitiveness.
At the end, with him sitting in the passenger seat, mom in her pajamas, no seat belt, drunk, wraps her car around a tree, he survived. When the car stopped, he got out of the car and ran for his life, screaming for help.
Can you imagine what that little boy feels after living the life he had up until that point?
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On moms first anniversary, she asked him if he wanted to come, he said no …
On moms second anniversary, she asked him if he wanted to come, he said no …
On moms third anniversary, she asked him if he wanted to come, he said no …
On her fourth anniversary, she asked him if he wanted to come, this time he said yes!
A few days ago, he said to her, “October is coming soon? mom said yes,
and he said, I want to be there.”
These are just snapshots of the entire message.
Points that I think were important to talk about.
Who can you call, and get help, right then and there?
Where can you go, and find people who “know” where we have been and not run?
Where can you go, and have your life change and to see dreams come true, in certain order?
We might be a rag tag bunch of alcoholics. But when push comes to shove, we will move mountains to see you succeed. I don’t know any other place that this is possible.
There is no place I would rather be, then here in this life, with my kind of people.
Because I would not have the life I have, or the lives we have, if not for these people.
We laughed, we cried, we sobbed and we laughed again…
I love my life.
More to come, stay tuned …