Tuesday -My Chance To Live

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How often, in life, do we get the chance, to live a life of our choosing ?

So many people in the world, never get that chance. For some, they never leave the house, or the neighborhood they were born in/grew up in.

Some believe they are safe and insulated from the rest of the world if they just stay where they are, and they never leave, they never visit other places, and they get stuck in a way of life, that chooses them, instead of them choosing it.

But if you never leave the comfort of your home, and go out and see the world, how will you know if your life is as good as it can be, without finding out whether it could be better ?

Many people in the world are constrained to the life they live, because jobs are scarce, and the necessity of making money to keep a roof over ones head, is primary, so they are stuck in a dead end existence, never able to be upwardly mobile.

How many people do I know, who are stuck in that rut and are miserable, because the only distance they put in their lives, between fact and fiction, is a book, on a commute to and from work … MANY !!!

University used to be a place where work was rewarded with a piece of paper that guaranteed you upward success because you studied hard and have new knowledge that would serve the world and make it a better place for YOU and THEM.

Now, that same university degree, isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.

How many people do I know who went to university, got good grades, and for a while, may have had a position in a career that was going places, then lost said position, and now sit in a cubicle, taking up space, warming a chair, staring into a computer screen eight hours a day, bemoaning the fact that they once had IT, but don’t have it ANY MORE… MANY !!!

For most of my life, I stayed in one location (read:Florida) aside from my tragic decision to explore the mid west, to my detriment, only to return bruised and broken.

But the universe conspired to help me leave that life behind, and strike out for greener pastures above the Northern Border, and a new life in Canada.

I never imagined that life would ever get this good, or that it could get as good as it is. Because people with AIDS in the United States, on government disability, and state assistance, are locked into a certain life, not of their own choosing. I was one of those people. I have a friend who is locked in that life, but he makes it work for himself, even if much of his life was chosen for him.

I got my ticket out of Dead End Existence. And I am forever Grateful for it.

Tonight, we read “My Chance to Live.” A story about a young lady who got sober in her teens, after a short but disastrous career with the bottle and illicit drugs.

Many kids come in, And I say that with respect. Many come, but few stay and even fewer make it to adulthood, without returning to that grind of party, party, party.

Young people who come in, never see the wisdom of such a choice, when they are in the middle of it. They moan over the fact that, maybe some of their friends can drink responsibly, and drug occasionally, but THEY can not.

They don’t see the long haul as viable solution. The ones who fuck off, go back out and they learn just what a horror addiction can be, because some of them return, much more bruised and broken, then when they showed up the first time.

The numbers are low, for the ones who come and stay the first time, but those numbers rise, when a venture into “experimentation” turns into a return to the rooms.

We all reflected on this reading tonight, and everyone had a different identity point with said story.

I have said before that when Todd was in my life, and always looking over my shoulder, and giving me a reason to push forwards, and giving good advice, and protecting me from the world, I prospered. And I flourished.

But when he moved away, I did not have that wise counsel, and for the life of me, I could not figure out a way to make it in the world by myself. And that fact, translated into spinning out of control, trusting no one, and keeping secrets and telling lies.

That ended up in a disastrous slip.

I needed people. I could not make it on my own. I needed help badly.

When  I returned to the rooms, that protection picked up right where I left off, years before. Which led me here, to more people, who would be good for me, for all the right reasons.

I can not make this life, on my own.

Our young lady talks about drinking to fit in … Been there, done that.

Our young lady talks about blackouts … Been there, done that.

But at nineteen, she found her way in, because she had a waitress job, and these happy, smiling, laughing alcoholics came to her establishment, over and over, and at one point, they invited her to a meeting, and the seed was planted.

All she wanted was to get out of this job and get away from these happy, smiling people. But when that happened, she realized that she began to miss them. So she found her way into the rooms for the last time. And she stuck and stayed.

She goes on to talk about progress:

Following the principles laid out in the Big Book has not always been comfortable, or will I claim perfection. I have YET to find a place in the Big Book that says “Now you have completed the Steps; have a nice life.”

The program is a plan for a lifetime of daily living. There have been occasions when the temptation to slack off has won. I view each of these as learning opportunities.

When I am willing to do the right thing, I am rewarded with an inner peace no amount of liquor could ever provide. When I am unwilling to do the right thing, I become restless, irritable, and discontent.

It is always my choice.

Through the Twelve Steps, I have been granted the gift of choice. I am no longer at the the mercy of a disease that tells me the only answer is to drink. If willingness is the key to unlock the gates of hell, it is action that opens those doors so that we may walk freely among the living.

There is a vast amount of wisdom that every young person in the rooms today, needs to hear, so that they stay. We all felt that this story resonated a great deal for all of us.

I think, many sober people can attest to the “It Gets Better Phenomena.” And i, for myself can also add that, over the last fourteen years and four months, everything that I ever needed came from the rooms, and the people in them.

I’ve never had to leave the circle for ANYTHING.

And today, I get to turn around and give it back, in full share, for my friends. Years sober, a few university degrees, years of life experience, and sober living, have changed my life in ways, I never foresaw.

But today, I can honestly give it back in spades.

What a feeling it is, to know that your contribution to the circle, changes lives for the better. It isn’t about me, but with God’s help, I get to give back. I am a confident man, who has talent and love to give back to my friends. And I do that gladly.

My heart is full.

I came, I found, and this is my chance to live …

“Live, Live Live, Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving…”

20 point if you can tell me where this quote comes from …

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

Today I surfed Le Square’s website. And my floor numbers are correct. Today they poured the twelfth story. There are two more to go, to top it all off, fourteen and fifteen.

I say in a matter of weeks the entire build will be completed.

The build out on the lower floors continue. I am sure that they are ahead of schedule now. The weather has been cooperating, so construction is taking full advantage of blue skies and lots of sun.

La Catherine is building the next floor over the garage. Soon they will be out of the pit completely.

More to come.