Saturday – Halloween

tumblr_lb2snxcVRo1qzcspxo1_500 neko 1303Courtesy: Neko 1303

This is one of those images, that only apply to one day/night per year.

It sits in my image bank just waiting to be used. Tonight is that night for Neko.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (show) has taken Montreal by storm. It has been a smash hit this season, with sold out shows, and additional shows added. One of my guys is playing in the band, and everyone else has been to see it this week. I’ve not been 100% to go club hopping, but I am on second string to make sure the meetings are open for those who are going to show up.

I coming close to feeling myself. But not quite there yet.

I have rested all week, to make tonight possible. Everyone is out at the show, and or going to Halloween parties tonight. I opened the M.A. meeting hoping that someone would come. And in the end it turned out we turned out a meeting for a newcomer and a couple of others.

The day I was asked to chair the meeting tonight, the only thought in my brain from that moment on was “willingness, to go to any length to get/stay clean and sober.

It was appropriate for my guys tonight. I know tonight, that I am in the right place for the right reason, because my experience matters to my friends.

It was a great night and a great meeting.

All is well.

More to come, stay tuned …

Approaching Halloween – The GOLD Pill and the Week that was

tumblr_msohxxcSvW1qkwkmpo1_500 minhos21The weather is cooling off. And tonight, I am just burning up.

Last week, I was visiting the baby, and she coughed and sneezed on me, and now I’m not feeling 100% tonight. (It would get worse, much worse) Last night I went to the pharmacy to find some high powered drugs to take, because I was going downhill very quickly. This morning (Sunday) at 5 a.m. I was a mess, and thought for a moment, that the Pharmaprix on Guy used to be open 24 hours. I got dressed, bundled up, walked the four blocks over, (in a rain storm) and wouldn’t you know it, they were closed…

I came back home and got back into bed until 9 when the Pharmaprix at Alexis Nihon would open. Thank God for commercials. Because I went and got a name brand elixir to take to help me. I took a hit standing outside the mall not waiting to get home. I waited an hour, and it didn’t seem to be doing anything. So I took a second hit, that did the trick. I spent the better part of the day hacking into a tub. UGH !!!

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, and spend your down time healing, so that you can go out for a couple of hours and do what you have to do, because you have the only key to that particular church basement…

I am still a mess.

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

Last week, Tuesday, I saw my doc. He gave me a clean bill of health. And the discussion continued about changing my twice daily meds (that I only take once a day, but he does not know that) to a single dose pill. I get thousand numbers and nobody is none the wiser.

But I wonder if that has a direct impact on the fact that if the baby sneezes or coughs on me, I get sick within hours ?

The new pill is called TIVICAY. It is a single does HIV medication. That is combined with three other pills that I take, in conjunction with my other medications, nightly. I dropped the script at the pharmacy on the way home, and picked it up on Wednesday morning.

Canada has socialized medicine. We are covered by government insurance. We also have hubby’s insurance to cover other things we might need. I go to pay for my pills, thinking that it would not be so much, I was wrong.

The Tivicay alone cost $599.48 Yes, that’s five hundred ninety nine dollars…

In the end, I paid a grand total of $60.00 for a thirty day supply.

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

I have been taking the new pill for almost a week now. As you might have noticed, this is the addition to this post, which I started on Sunday last, and it is now Friday October 30th.

I have been sick as a dog all week. I’ve spent a good chunk of money on medication that I am still taking today. Baby Mama ended up in the hospital on Tuesday morning because of an adverse reaction to medicine she was taking. So I took the entire week off, which is totally out of character for me, to miss a string of meetings because I was sick.

But my friends stepped up and helped me out. And so this weekend, I return the favor by opening a couple of meetings while my friends get a night off. It’s all good.

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

Last night, I got out of the house for the first time in almost a weeks time, for the Anniversary party for Saint Matthias Group. I can’t remember the date at the moment, but they are in the high sixties, and can claim for fame that their group has been in the same location at St. Matthias for over six decades, when A.A. first came to Montreal in the 1940’s.

Quebec A.A. began with Dave B. A lone member. From there the group grew to twenty five people. A single meeting opened, and spawned two others. Rounding the meetings out was a third meeting at Snowdon. The Westmount meeting moved to St. Matthias and has been there ever since.

The house was uber packed, with probably more than 150 people in attendance. Our speaker came from the South Shore, a woman I have known for the entire time I have been sober. She is sober some 45 years now.

At the end of the meeting, before food was served, there was a sober countdown. Starting with fifty or more years of sobriety, there was one man with that much time. Counting down all the way to One Day, there was one man with one day of sobriety in the room. After the meeting, I said to him, that he was the most important person in the room tonight.

In the end, we counted more than 1,145 years, 9 months and 4 days of sobriety.

We did not stick around, as there were so many people scrambling for free food. So we came right home.

Tonight is my last night off. The pesky cough is still lingering, and my voice is half of what is was, so I get to whisper… UGH !

More to come, stay tuned …

Tuesday – The Express Lane is “8” Items or Less …

tumblr_kzh2y6mHMA1qzmauvo1_500You don’t know you are doing something right, until you read that suggestion in a book, and you realize that you have been using that suggestion all along. That for years and years, you’ve heard the same suggestions, the same slogans, and read and re-read the same books over and over again. And only with a good amount of time and hindsight, can you honestly say that, you have learned to incorporate those lessons into every day life, and be able to safely say that “yes, they really work…”

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

Last Night was a Marathon Television experience. Elections are usually that way. Early on in the evening, we were sitting here watching Labrador, New Found Land, and the Maritime votes come in, and they were all Liberal Red. By 8:15 p.m. with the science of mathematics and statisticians crunching numbers at the highest levels, CTV called a Liberal Win.

I was flummoxed !!!

I was screaming at the tv, like “how do you know this shit? How can you call this election so early?” Thankfully, hubby was there to explain a little more.

This wasn’t my first Canadian election so this was not new news for me.

When the polls closed at 9:30 p.m. across a major swath of the country, the numbers started coming in fast and furiously. It was then we knew that the Red Wave was on its way across the country. We just did not know then, if it was going to be Minority or a Majority.

I think people were surprised to see just how well Justin did in the end.

We got rid of our Prime Minister. The A.B.C. vote worked.

We also recovered many Orange Wave NDP seats, and turned them Liberal Red.

Over time we learn about the men who lead us, and a good friend of mine wrote tonight that:

“The test of a man isn’t shown when he wins but when he loses.”

Both Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair got the raw end of the deal.

The government was replaced, the Prime Minister lost his job, BUT, he won his seat. Close to the time he was supposed to make his concession speech, his press core published a release saying that even though Mr. Harper won his seat, but lost his government, that he would indeed step down as the Conservative Leader.

He did not mention stepping down in his speech. But He spoke eloquently and kindly. It could have been a slash and burn concession, but Mr. Harper took the high road.

And he should be commended for that. Mr. Harper has true character.

Mr. Mulcair, in the same vein, took the high road. He also won his seat in Parliament, but he lost the election to Mr. Trudeau. It was apparent, well before election day, that the NDP was on life support, and that the tide did indeed swing out of his favor over the Niqab debate.

I also heard from a commentator last night that:
“The tide, raises all boats…”

If you stayed up until Prime Minister Elect Justin Trudeau made his acceptance speech, you would have heard him echo many of the ideas he had stated along during the campaign.

I’m really proud that Justin won. I’ve supported him, unfailingly since he was elected Liberal Leader, when not many people were in his camp.

The hopes of Canada rest on his shoulders.

As Rachel says: “Watch this space.”

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

At this point of my life, hubby has given the the ability to chart my own course in life, to do what I do best, and to know that he has my back. The relationship pendulum has swung in his direction for this portion of our journey.

I have my daily routines. My daily chores. And then everything else.

What I choose to engage is my choice. What I choose to invest in is also my choice.

Today was a busy day, as it turned out, and I was also reminded that I was not in control.

I had a doctors appointment. And knowing from past appointments, no matter what time I get there, I am going to wait, and wait, and wait …

I scheduled this appointment so that it would not run up to my early evening activities. I had thought, that I would get in and out in short order, and have room to play.

Not so Grasshopper !!!

It took me 40 minutes to make my transit, I arrived 45 minutes early for a 1:30 p.m. appointment. Thankfully I brought a book with me. I read until my eyes crossed, then I listened to the Virgin Radio station that was playing in the office overhead.

I finally got to see my doc at 3:30 p.m. He was on call for three of our hospitals, all of our hospitals, patient records and information are on one massive main frame that can be accessed remotely from any hospital or doctors office, needless to say, he was no happy.

The office was full of people waiting to see him, and at one point, I sadly got up and had to ask where I was in rotation, because I had someplace to be at 4:30. Bad Boy !

My numbers are really good. Seeing where my body was traveling that week. The night before I dropped labs, mama and the baby were in hospital, sick. Tuesday morning when I got home, I dropped labs. Wednesday night was Madonna, and at 6 a.m. Thursday morning, i got so sick, I thought I was going to die.

I was up over a thousand again this round. Go figure …

I was sure that my numbers would have tanked, seeing that I was heading for a major illness.

Wrong !

He also spoke to me about a medication change. This has been an ongoing discussion for the last year or so. Finally he agreed that the time had come. My numbers have been high enough that he has decided to begin changing my medications to new single dose HIV meds.

Round one begins tomorrow.

I got out of there, around 4 p.m. and a 40 minute transit to travel to be on time.

Thankfully the trains were on my side. I made it to my next point with ten minutes to spare. Since it was on the Orange line, just below my Blue connection.

The Tuesday meeting is not doing well. And we heard tonight that two more meetings in town, in the English side are closing. That would be five meetings that have shut their doors in the last three months.

There are projects on the table to try and bump up our numbers, but it seems that option one, is not going to happen. The logistics of mama’s and babies and finding the right time, space and help is not easy. Option two begins in November with our newsletter push. If that doesn’t work, then it might come down to option three … shutting the doors.
We are just not bringing in the seventh tradition to warrant keeping a dying meeting open.

I got home and hubby ran some errands and I went grocery shopping …

And wouldn’t you know it, I had six items in my cart and I was in the express lane. As I approached said lane, the couple ahead of me had a pull basket, FULL of SHIT !

Yes, I counted all twenty five items in your basket …

UGH !!!

Easy Does It they say …

Sunday Sundries … Canada Votes Tomorrow and Other Assorted Topics

maple leaf redThis leaf was found on the ground, and set into this photo. What a unique photo incorporating all that is Canada. I really like it.

It has been a very busy week. I haven’t had time to sit down and write, because life is happening at warp speed as of late. However busy it has been, this week, I have had moments of just being present for my friends.

PRESENCE…

I have spoken a great deal about “presence.” And how important that is to others, as well as for ourselves.

Life, it seems, as of late, has been full of opportunity to just be present.

Every day, there is Something to do. Places to go. People to see. Meetings to attend.

I spend a good chunk of time with the baby. And the game is changing up because our friends have now, more time to commit to being present themselves. Which is giving baby mama time to step outside of motherhood, to find the woman she was, before the baby. But she has found that she does not remember the woman she was.

So the task at hand is to realize who she is today.

And we’ve begin the process of being present for her, so that she can take some time to herself during the week, to find herself. It is a good thing.

I have other friends that just need to be loved. The consensus for some of my fellows is that they can’t devote time to people who aren’t “in the game” or “in it for the solution.” I differ in this process. I believe that just being present to begin with, is a start.

We’ve all had things to do this week, which were tedious, and stressful. And on one particular afternoon, I sat with my friends, just to be there, to offer them strength and to witness a change in the way of things.

There have been many ways that “presence” has been presented to me.

This has been a long running theme in my life.

We talked the other night about Ego and Self Esteem. When I think about these two words, images flood my mind.

Nothing kills an ego, faster, than looking down at an overflowing toilet full of shit and piss, because someone has stopped up the toilet with a cup placed backwards in the system.

And knowing that YOU have to clean it up. And not complain about it either.

Todd did a good job at teaching me valuable lessons, I get to draw upon to this day. I’m really grateful that I had the life I have lived up to this point. Because in the end, it has played out quite nicely.

When I came out, I don’t think I ever thought about self esteem. Because I was just a boy, who, with a little alcohol, would find myself, and others, and I would be one of many, just like myself.

The alcohol did for me what I could not do for myself. Until it stopped working.

My brand of alcoholism, was always, trying to find something, do something, or be someone that was unattainable, for one reason or another. I was finished when I put down the drink for the last time. Who I am today, is a direct result of all the work I have put into myself over the last almost fourteen years.

I had to get to the end of whatever road of misery I was on. It was good that I did not have much in the way of things, or money, or responsibility. It was an uphill battle. My life’s career from my teens into adulthood was fraught with complications.

I did have that two year break in the trend of misery, and had the opportunity to live the two best years of my life, with Todd. For a brief time, I knew who I was, I had self esteem, and my life was honored by men I respected and adored.

We read these stories of the folks from the second edition of the Big Book tonight.

I had not wealth, nor title, nor achievement to my name, when I was drinking, and a good thing too. Because it would have been wasted opportunity. God, in his infinite wisdom, held achievement just outside of my reach, until I was finished destroying myself.

They say, that good things come to those who wait …

I’ve learned the fine art of patience and persistence. One day at a time. Sobriety is a long term proposal, that for most, is too daunting to see right now. Which is why, one day at a time, is so useful.

Mortality, or the threat of loosing it is another ego buster. Knowing that your life hangs in the balance, and you are surely going to die, because everyone else is dying or already in the ground, so buckle up and hang on for the ride. Been there, done that …

I get two daily reminders of just who is in charge, and why I am still alive …

Just looking at my medicine cabinet is a sobering thought. That keeps shit real.

LIQUOR LIQUOR EVERYWHERE AND NOT A DROP TO DRINK …

Living in a big city, with mass transit, that, at certain times of the day, is a nightmare, brings with it a myriad of people, riding the rails. And there are a million and one stories I could tell about them.

Usually, if you travel during rush hour, it is a forgone conclusion, that at some point, the trains are going to stop, for one reason or another. If you travel after 8 p.m. the party crowd tends to ride with arm fulls of beer.

The other day I was on the train, and a gaggle of girls was traveling in the same direction I was. One girl had a bottle of Triple Sec, a second girl had a bottle of Vodka, and a third girl had a bottle of Jim Beam. For a few minutes I sat there, trying to figure out a drink combination from these three liquors …

Having been a bartender myself, I knew what I was trying to figure out.

But I had never used these three in conjunction with each other in the past.

Finally, I had to say to myself that it was either shots or mixers.

Either way, I was glad it wasn’t me carrying any bottles.

Tonight, I had a meeting with a friend, before the meeting to discuss group business. And we headed to the church a little early. And a good thing too.

The streets were packed with parked cars, the organ was cranking in the church, and we walked into the hall, and the smell of booze was sickening.

Apparently a memorial service was going on upstairs, and a wine bar was prepared down in the hall to cap off the service. Our main table was covered in glasses of red and white wine. Funny that all this wine was all over the place, and here were a few members of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting coming to set up a meeting.

That was the closest I have come to open liquor being served in as many years.

Can you say … “Oh, you can have just one … It won’t hurt, will it?”

We set the coffee pot perking and waited out the group to imbibe and go. Which ran the entire time period from when we got there, to six fifteen, when the meeting was supposed to start.

We had to work around them, and set up the room, as we quietly, ushered them out by turning down the lights, and saying nothing. It was all good.

CANADA VOTES 2015

It has been a contentious Seventy Eight Day Campaign. The leaders of our Federal Parties have been battling for votes for the longest campaign yet. Our Conservative leader, the Honorable Stephen Harper is about to loose his position, in an election that is still, too close to call.

The Conservative Party is on its way out, because an overwhelming number of Canadians say that it is time for change. But just what that change will look like is too close to call tonight.

We vote tomorrow. I voted in early voting last weekend.

The Liberal Party, headed by Justin Trudeau, The New Democratic Party, headed by Thomas Mulcair, The Parti Quebecoise headed by Gilles Ducepp, and The Green Party headed by Elizabeth May, are all vying for a position.

We have a Green Party. They are not in contention for leadership, but more supportive role in the government. They hold a few seats, and hope to more than double their numbers which will give them negotiating power in coalitions in the next parliament.

It will be a dead heat between Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau for Prime Minister.

The man who wins the most M.P.’s by riding, across the country, will be our next Prime Minister.

I am rooting for the younger, Justin Trudeau.

Stay tuned. It is going to be one rip roaring ride.

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries – Thanksgiving

tumblr_lszd4uVmug1r1nriuo1_500 christopherjordanCourtesy: Christopher Jordan

It has been one fully packed weekend. And the rain stayed away. YAY !

All my planning and preparations came to fruition today. I cooked a massive Thanksgiving meal for my family today. This year, Baby Mama and Baby Lu Lu joined the table along with hubby, Bill and myself. It was my crowning achievement, to bring all of us together to share a meal.

I had ordered a HUGE turkey from my favorite butcher, which he gave me a deal on. It came fresh and already cleaned, so it went from freezer to fridge to oven ready. And it came off without a hitch. My Butter/Rosemary/Honey recipe was a smash hit.

It was important that I included everyone at my table. The baby had a great time. She ate and then we let her loose and she had a ball, running around the apartment laughing and giggling.

She loved the mirror we have in the bedroom, but she was amazed at my book collection. Lu Lu is a bookworm, even at her age. We have an entire collection of books at their house for her, which we read to her, often. She sat on my bed, and pulled one book after another off the pile and thumbed through them.

It was the first time that hubby and Bill got to meet the baby and share space with her. I was totally consumed with spending the time with her and mama.

The meal was a success, the dishes got done, and I set off for the meeting on time.

My coffee gal was waiting for me at the church, so we had a long chatty conversation.

I’ve never felt so alive as I did tonight.

And spending the couple of hours with friends was a great end of the day activity. On the way home I got to spend time, with another friend, I don’t always get to see during the week, so that was great.

Tonight’s Read was another story from the First Edition of the Big Book. I have a First Edition Big Book, that was published in 1939. The Story … Lone Endeavor is part of the collection in the book we are reading called Experience, Strength and Hope.

There is an asterisk at the top of the story that reads:

“This story appeared ONLY in first printing of the First Edition.”

Which means, it does not appear in any other edition printed, but we have it to read, because the story is so important. It tells the story about how the fellowship, that did NOT even have a book to send, because it had not even been printed, let alone, was incomplete, at the time this story took place.

The story begins with a mother, concerned for her son’s welfare and life, reads an article about a doctor who seems to have considerable experience, helping men stop drinking. It is the early 1930’s. She is so concerned that she writes New York City to ask for help, for her son.

Letters cross from one side of the U.S. (read: West coast) to the other (read: East coast).

The book is not complete, the only chapters ready for consumption are the First Two Chapters of the book. That would be Bill’s Story and There is a Solution. Those are numbered one and two in my first edition. The doctors opinion, is listed as xxii.

The office in New York sends a multilith copy. Their response to the mother reads as follows:

“About a hundred men, here in the east, have found a solution for alcoholism that really works. We are now preparing a book hoping to help others who suffer in the same way, and are enclosing a rough copy of the first two chapters. As soon as possible we will forward rough copy of the rest of the proposed book.”

“We are sending you a pre-publication multilith copy of Alcoholics Anonymous. We would appreciate hearing about your son’s condition and his reaction to this volume, as this is the first time we have had an opportunity to trying to help as alcoholic at long distance. Won’t you please write us?

Sincerely Alcoholics Anonymous.

multilith: definition: a brand name for a small photo-offset printing machine.
In the end, the son does receive these first two chapters. He is alone, on the West Coast, with only what he has om hand.
And wouldn’t you like to know, that he Got It on the first pass.
There wasn’t a fellowship out there to turn to. He had no personal contact with another alcoholic, Yet. But he got the message, and he turned around and started helping others in his town.
He not only Got it, but got sober, and knew what to do with what he had received.
Would we have had that kind of knowledge and fortitude like that? From two chapters, he got sober, and found others to share it with.
He later writes to New York, telling us that he read those two chapters, and got sober.
He did not have a fellowship of people to turn to. He did not have anyone there to explain what he was reading, or meetings to go to, (at that time, yet). He did not have the lingo we have today.
I imagine for myself, what reading just the first two chapters mean to me, and if that would have been enough, to help me get and stay sober?
The one word that came up in the circle after the read was Willingness.
He sends his story to New York by mail. And he explains his journey to get sober. We certainly take for granted what we have. Tonight’s read, tells us how it really worked without all the bells and whistles and an entire fellowship to turn to.
It was one human being talking to another, via a Very Long Distance.
Incredible.
The story closes with this communication: Via wire …
“Just received letter, may we have your permission to use letter anonymously in book as first example of what might be accomplished without personal contact, important you wire this permission, as book is going to printer.”
His wire arrived next day:
“Permission granted with pleasure, lots of luck.”
This particular story does not appear in my copy of the First Edition, which I said was printed in 1939. So there must have been an earlier printing than the one I own.
How do you end a day like today?
Lots of Gratitude.
More to come, stay tuned …