Thursday – Isolation in Recovery

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It has been a very exciting week, here in the neighborhood. Wednesday, the New and Improved Canadian Tire opened, quietly, and the people came, by the droves. I was in the mall that day, and had noticed myself, that the store was open.

I spent some time perusing the new digs. As I had seen, behind brown paper, they had set up a “living room space” to one side of the entrance. Also on that side, to my surprise, they built an indoor green house. In that green house were tropical plants, flowers and other assorted flowering trees and bushes.

They are familiar to me because they all grow in temperate climes, but I’m not so sure they will survive a winter in Canada. However, The palms and hibiscus bushes are tempting to buy for my balcony. That is a big maybe for the future.

The store is very large, and occupies the entire footprint of the old Target. They did a fantastic job at stock. A much wider selection of goods that you might need at a moments notice. You could furnish an entire home from this store.

I wondered how they were going to work in an automotive section, because the old store up stairs had access to the car park. They did this by turning the entire left rear section of the store to automotive stuff. There is a huge car park above the mall and is accessible by elevator that sits in the middle of the mall proper.

Le Square, has been pouring a floor a week and setting the forms for the floor above. They have been working long hours. This week, they poured the ninth floor, and today they put up the forms for the tenth.

On the lower floors, they have cleared the scaffolding and began framing the lower floors. Much of the second floor is framed for windows and balconies. They completed almost all of the second floor window framing today. I think they are trying to speed up the ready to open deadline. And while the weather is good, they are taking full advantage of it.

This also means now, that our view of the mall is fully obstructed. Booooo !

The outdoor terraces that front all the bars/restos/and dining establishments have begun to be built for the season. They have been going up all week. This is going to double customer service across the board. Soon, these establishments will be making money hand over fist.

The Bixi season opens this weekend. And this year they are offering a free day to ride, on the last Sunday of the month. This may be very popular to raise ridership, because Bixi has not done very well in years past, yet the city brings them back yearly.

Oh … if you don’t know what Bixi is, they are a bike riding company that rents bikes for a fee, based on subscription. Bixi stands are located all over the city, at key locations. Each station has up to twenty bikes that can be rented, ridden and dropped at other Bixi stations around the city. It’s just another form of public transportation. The city has invested in miles and miles of dedicated bike paths, across the city.

That is a thing …

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

There is something to be said about treating everybody fairly, with dignity and respect.

The Thursday M.A. meeting had its second round tonight. We sat a full table. And we welcomed friends from other fellowships as well. We’ve been plugging our meetings at those other fellowships to see if we can attract more folks to those meetings, and that plan seems to be working.

The Thursday meeting is a “Topic Jar” meeting. Each attendee gets a slip of paper, which they contribute a topic, that goes in the jar. Then we toss the lot and pick one, for discussion for the evening.

Tonight’s topic … Isolation in Recovery.

The first time I got sober, in 1994, it was not pretty. How do you maintain sobriety, when an entire room full of people, is betting on your demise. Back then, I really did not have a choice of where I got sober, because I did not have a car, so getting from point A to B, we difficult. Anyway, I digress …

I stayed sober, despite that negativity. And when I took that first year medallion, I told all those catty queen to go fuck themselves, and I never went back to that meeting.

When I moved to Miami, after Todd and company departed for California, I got connected to a room in Coral Gables, Miami. The Coral Room. This was a club room, open all day, many meetings, many languages and formats.

At the Two year mark, I was asked to speak for the first time. This is the night I got hit with the second bad experience in sobriety. I spoke. Men got up and left the room as I was speaking, waiting outside for me at the end of the meeting who then said to me:

We don’t condone people like you, leave this meeting and don’t come back.

You want a reason to isolate, these two instances are prime real estate.

How could you trust another stranger with honesty, truth and your sobriety?

I went to other meeting, I had friends, but I kept them at arms length. Isolation began, as I trusted no one, and I kept to myself, all the while working with others, and maintaining friendships. But I was the only FRUIT in the basket at that time.

So there were things I never talked about to anyone, because I was gay, and had AIDS as well. I kept secrets and At the point of no return, I planned a geographic, all by myself, and told no one, even until the day the moving truck was parked out front of my apartment.

My friends were like HUH ? Shaking their heads as I packed the truck and then drove away.

I moved to be with another human being, who I had hoped was going to fill the hole in my soul. But what I got, upon arriving was a joint and a beer.

There was no way out. And nobody to save me now. I was Isolated…

I just moved from being isolated in one location, to another. The first location I was at least sober, but I had no sponsor, or The Work, as I know it today. The second location, there was no sober solution or help. I was on my own.

Some potheads, smoke in isolation, and they use in isolation. Even when we smoke and use with others, once we consume, isolation takes over. Then we get selfish, and not want to smoke or use with others, because that limits what we have because we have to share.

And many of us turn away from others, isolate further, smoke up harder and remain stoned for days and weeks at a time.

There is nothing more isolating, then, going to a pot party where copious amounts of pot will be consumed, and once that happens, everybody goes into their own heads and trips, until they come to and you either go home, or you smoke up more, and more, and MORE.

Utter Insanity …

I know today, that I need people. I am not alone. And from the beginning, my friends drilled into me that fact. They gave me jobs to do, responsibility, a little at a time. And since that first day of sobriety, I have had a job to do.

I have someplace to be every night now.

I’ve had a key to a church on my key ring, for more than ten years. And this week, I began a two year commitment as treasurer for my Sunday Evening Meeting. I also keep the money for my Tuesday meeting as well. But the Sunday gig is a massive undertaking, since we are treasury for two meetings and not just one.

I learned ways to never be alone. I did exactly what I was told to do, and I kept that tradition up for the whole of my sobriety, so I am Never Alone.

Which is why, it is so important to get newcomers in the door, give them a little time to adjust, then give them a job. SOON. It keeps them out of their heads, it connects them to a group, and gives them something to do on a regular basis.

Because we all know what happens when we start isolating in sobriety.

But on the flip side, we also learn how to be with ourselves, and be ok with that.

There is a difference in “being with ones self” and “Isolating.”

I love my alone time. I need that as well as I need to be with others. It took me a long time to adjust to having alone time, because in the beginning I was never alone.

When I got involved with hubby, I was not alone ever again. And we had to learn how to live with each other. Life progressed, things changed, we grew up, and now we practice the fine art of “Being together,” and “Being Alone.”

In sobriety, it is fully your choice, but we can safely say, You Are Never Lone Again.

That’s the power of one Alcoholic or Addict, talking to another.

The Power of Connection.

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, IT IS CONNECTION…

Addiction Isolates. But we have a solution for that,

Connection …