Friday – “Complete Security?”

pope_francis_quote_graphic_1024x512-1-1024x512“Fear of People and of Economic Insecurity will leave us.”

It was another stellar day today. And it was a Go, Go, Go kind of day.

I had some shopping that I needed to do early on, then I was set to have a meal with Baby Mama, while baby LuLu was napping.

I spent some cash on some new summer clothes, that I was in great need of. One of my friends, is a huge inspiration and has great sense in clothing. And as I was shopping, I was thinking about him. I found a few items that were on sale, and I had never seen the shirts before, so that was a deal.

I returned home and went to buy a meal for our lunch date. Single Motherhood is no walk in the park. And trying to build a home by ones self is a daunting task. Thankfully, she is not alone. We have an entire team of folks on twenty four hour duty for her.

While the baby was sleeping, (thankfully we had two hours of peace and quiet) we ate and spoke of many things. People have been coming and going for the past few days. A crib was delivered last night. Today, another woman brought curtains and more pillows for her bed. She also donated an entire bedroom suite for her bed style. So far, the bedrooms are complete with bedding, curtains and furniture. The last room to be furnished will be the living room. We are seeking a driver to ferry them over without having to pay a small fortune for a mover.

I brought new clothes with me to change into because I needed to hit the Shadows meeting at five, where on of my guys picked up his two month chip. Now he is two months clean and sober from all substances. Next month, on his third month, we will assign him a single date for both, so that he is tracking one timeline instead of two.

We went for pastries after the meeting, then hiked back to his house up the mountain, where we found his fiance home from a day of bridal dress shopping. We invited her to come for the Friday Night meeting. I was very pleased to see a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on her bedside table, which started one serious discussion of all things “Potter.”

YAY for Harry !!

A few minutes later, we made a fifty one bus to the Friday meeting. I usually take that bus, but coming from the East, traveling West. This bus was an Eastbound route. I quite enjoyed the bus ride because the route is a remarkably touristy ride, past beautiful neighborhoods that I had never seen, with million dollar houses, and tall stone churches with pristine yards. It also goes past Saint Joseph’s Oratory, the most important of churches here on the island.

We all decided, in the near future to spend a day trekking this route together as a day event.

We made it to the meeting with about thirty minutes to spare. And we scored the ever important Front Row sobriety seats at the table. And the topic tonight talked about “money,” which in turn lead to the mention of the PROMISE, noted above…

It was good to hear shares from across the spectrum concerning this topic.

After I had said my piece about how we learned to respect money and how to properly use it, pay bills, buy food and still have ample, if only just enough, I thought of a particular story that I wanted to write about here.

Do you remember back in the day, father’s went to work and made the money, and mom was in charge of spending it, properly. Back in those days, we did not have credit cards, (we’re talking about the seventies) we either had cash, or when necessary, a check.

I remember my mother using the checkbook, with the ledger.

We would go to the grocery store, and wait in line for the manager of the store to sign off on a check, affording my mother the ability to spend a certain amount of money. Over time that amount would rise. In the eighties, when big box grocery stores appeared, the all important check approval routine was still alive.

Alcoholism was alive and well in my family. My father provided everything we ever thought we needed, but we were not spoiled with riches and spoils. When we moved for the last time as a family, my father climbed the financial ladder so well, it afforded us a three bedroom house, with two car garage, a one acre yard, with many fruit bearing trees, and the biggest ticket item, a screened in, in ground pool.

We had arrived.

Among the families we grew up with two were middle class white, and the third, was the richest family we had ever come to know. They had the same lot, same size, same acreage, and pool, but they were “better off” than my father had ever known. My father could not compete, but he damned well tried. One Ups man ship was the call of the day.

By the time I moved out of the house, I knew how to take care of a house. I had had several part time jobs, so I knew the value of the dollar and the ethic of work. But with stars in my eyes, and alcoholism on my back, I set off to find “gay” in the gayest city of Florida, Orlando, the home of the Tragic Queendom and the ever popular “Parliament House, hotel, pool bar and show lounge.”

Sadly, Alcoholism was rampant. I was powerless and my ethic of work for money fell apart.

The money I spent on alcohol over the decade of my twenties, would probably have bought me a home. And the cash my father paid out to get my car back from repossession, took a direct hit on their retirement for sure. One fact my parents never forgot.

Where they managed money and drank, well on both accounts, I failed at miserably.

After I was diagnosed with AIDS, I was shit house poor. Thankfully the money Todd paid me, more than compensated for my financial situation. What I did not know in the beginning, was the price I would later pay for survival. Back then, twenty one years ago, we got second hand medication from dead people to start with because there was nothing new on the horizon.

Two years later, in 1996, I fell, quite unexpectedly, into a treatment program in Miami, where I began to pay the ultimate price. Imagine how much life saving drugs cost, when you have no insurance. And you are living on social assistance, (that’s welfare speak).

Medication ran thousands of dollars a month. THOUSANDS !!!

Thousands that I did not have, even working under the table, until I got so sick, I almost died to get on disability. I literally stopped taking my pills, did not shower for weeks, and ended up in that social assistance office, where I literally coughed on my social worker, and fearing for her own life, she finally signed off on my application, after four rounds at trying.

That was a sub human existence.

I would not wish that ordeal on my worst enemy.

I am sure, had I stayed in the states, I would be long since dead already.

I think about the things we did to stay high and drunk boggles the mind.

And the amount of money we poured into our addictions.

I don’t know how I survived. Maybe my will to live, was alive and just waiting for me to finally stop and get straight. Or something greater than myself had my survival on His mind.

After getting sober this time around, all those years ago, we had a bare apartment, with shoddy furniture, broken appliances but a roof nonetheless.

It only took thirteen years for us to learn about money and how to use it properly. We learned what it was like to have nothing, together, to having a little, and sometimes barely enough. But over time, we learned how to respect money and we learned about what “enough” was.

Today we have enough.

I’ve never been so grateful in my life for health, life and love.

Instead of spending THOUSANDS of dollars a month for medication in the U.S.A. For all of my medication, ALL OF IT, I pay no more than Eighty dollars a month.

You think the decision to move North was wise ???

I do. Certainly.

More to come, stay tuned …

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