Tuesday – Tightrope

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There is something to be said about “tolerance for those with different struggles.”

Somewhere I heard that it is easier to ACT yourself into a new way of thinking than to THINK yourself into a new way of acting …

This line appears in the above titled story when our man gets to his first series of meetings, after a crash and burn drinking experience. He sits with his sponsor, not so sure about God or Higher Power, and the suggestion of “Act as If” comes.

This story, appears in the fourth edition of the Big Book. Our man, in this story, is Gay. He cites that he is three years sober, he had surgery on his back, his father died, a relationship ended, and the AIDS epidemic started to hit home among his friends and acquaintances. Over the course of the next few years, almost half of his gay friends had died.

This is a Fourth Edition story. Because of the time period cited above. It could be placed anywhere from the 1980’s through the 1990’s, for the soul reason he cites the AIDS epidemic, specifically.

This story and mine are very different. But the writer says, in the beginning that he comes from a conservative religious family, where alcohol was present. And he had not “Come Out” until he was in college when he began to consider his sexual orientation.

A familiar story in the gay world, in the beginning, when considering whether to come out or stay in the closet, the many lives we live and the faces we put forward, trying to fit all the boxes, with what society says we should be. A business man,a professional, an alcoholic, a friend, and maybe a lover.

So for some we play the “Straight game” and we play the part, until either we hit that proverbial wall of self discovery, and stop the denial and make the jump, or we remain in the closet hating ourselves and everything about us, because we are living a lie, that, in the end, will eventually, end badly. I had to play that game, for fear of loosing my life, until I could not do it any more.

Hence the death march into Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and Suicide for many.

Our writer, grew up, and moved away and began attending college, where he began to explore his sexuality. By then he was already drinking.

I grew up in a home where alcoholism was the norm. I knew I was different well before I learned what it meant for me. But my father, with homicidal tendencies, was never my friend. However he had his moments. I remember the night he took me to the 94th Aero Squadron – a restaurant on the airport runway system at Miami International, for my Birds and the Bees discussion. I could not tell him the truth.

My story may not be unique, but I never tire of thinking about it, and how my life would have been very different, had I STAYED IN the first time I got sober. But that was not my experience.

Getting sober in the age of AIDS was difficult. Because I could not drink, I had quit. Todd had given me that ultimatum and made it stick. So I was getting sober, and learning how to survive, while all my friends around me were going down in flames. Every night, was as if they were living the last night of their lives, with the copious amounts of drugs and alcohol that went around under my nose.

They are all DEAD.

I think that when it came down to it, with the bar, and Todd’s influence, I had everything I needed. I could have done without the room I was getting sober in, because those men were not kind at all, and made the first year hell for the newcomers.

Having to compete for your year chip is much harder than working for it freely. Sobriety is NOT a RACE. There are no horses to bet on, just a human being trying to get better, under seriously awful circumstances. And this truth did not make it any easier, although it should have.

Then you move to a new city and a new room. And you get asked to speak. And after that event, a man walks up to you and says: “We don’t condone people like you here, leave this meeting and don’t come back!” W.T.F.

Obviously this story has not been printed in the late 1990’s, and from what I remember, not many of those folks, had even the book in the room.

During this time, the preceding years and for many years after, straight people, straight businesses, churches, funeral parlors, you name it … banished sick gay men to the gutter and left them there to die alone. Awful Hateful Abhorrent Prejudice. 

That event in my early sobriety just killed any ambition I had towards sobriety.

To this day, there are hateful people, in our rooms.

With all that is going on in the world, we need all the help we can get. Rooms should welcome and be supportive. But that is not always the case.

Even today, being any shade of L.G.B.T.Q is perilous.

There is no room, in this world, for hatred of a human being because of their chosen way of life. I talk of just how fluid life has become, and how binary it has been for eons of time.

There are a handful of people I know in the rooms I go to who fall under L.G.B.T.Q.

Some are allowed, and nothing is said, then there are those, who, for one reason or another, come and go, and many of them are back out there drinking, because of intolerance and stupidity.

Here is the kicker in this story …

In all the service positions our man held (GSR) and others, He never felt obligated to conceal or deny his sexuality. He says… I always felt that the representatives of the groups in my area were concerned only with HOW we carried the message of recovery, NOT with what I might do in my personal life.

Only if that were reality for ALL meetings in general.

It is not…

Sunday Sundries – Books

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“A life without books, is not a life at all …”

A couple of days ago, I finished reading “The Kitchen House.” I did not read the sequence in order. But I started with “Glory Over Everything” which is part two.

This first novel, “The Kitchen House” tells the story of the families, both black and white, slave and free, that eventually begat,  Jamie Pyke, nee James Burton. This books tells the history of the slave quarters which were part of the larger plantation site. Reading out of order, defeated the purpose of reading.

The notions of person hood, whether, black or white, slave or free, is fraught with complications. When you mix white human beings, into a black familial groups is problematic.

The divide between white privilege and black slavery is blurred with the mixing of the races, back in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. The slave population is regarded with little respect from the white men, but they are a proud people who love each other and have definite worth in the grand scheme of things. But the relations between the white women and the slave families is a bit less harsh and unfeeling.

We read the evolution of that family unit, a white woman, introduced to life among slaves at this Virginia plantation, and what happens to them, as the story unfolds. A slave, in the vernacular, is there to serve a household. And the kitchen house, is where the slaves live while serving the Big House.

The white men, use and abuse their servant slaves, with impunity. The black women suffer the indignity of rape, however, we never see the word “rape” used in the book, but that is exactly what is happening. The women serve, as sexual objects, all the while serving the same white folk, in the Big House.

Whether their babies are viable and lives is not a concern of their white overlords.

At first we find a white woman (Lavinia) is introduced to a black family, later in the book, it is the white men who are having affairs with black women, all along being married to upper class white women.

Jamie Pyke, is a (white) child who results from the union of a white man and a black slave. In the second book, Glory Over Everything,  Jamie has run away from home, because he carries a secret, a secret of patricide. The other secret is that he is of mixed race, a mulatto mother and a white father. A secret that will either kill him, or make him a better man.

That white father (Marshall), marries the white woman (Lavinia), and elevates her out of slavery, and he rapes Belle, a black slave. Once the baby comes, he denigrates the mother and all but abuses his son, who, at the end of the story takes matters into his own hands.

There are taboos in this society. White men involved with black women, and the progeny produced. Children born of mixed race parents is problematic for their survival in society. Mixed race children bear the stigma of that parentage and could cost them their livelihoods and their lives.

The whole intermingling of the races, in both books is a very rough story line, as the author admits at the end of the book. She did not intend to tell that dark side of the story, but as it fleshed out, it became apparent that she would have to tell the more unsavory stories to complete the write process.

At one point, the white woman (Lavinia), living inside the black experience, meets a white man (Marshall), who marries her and elevates her out of slavery, into being fully white and privileged, the dynamic of personal relations is turned on its head, when the tables are turned and the black – white woman, has to learn that she is now better by marriage than the woman she was a short while ago. And the slaves she lived with and loved, are no longer family, but merely servants, who have a lower status in the grand scheme of things, and this is an honest torment.

Marshall is not a good boy, and grows into an even worse man, racially, and personally. His mistreatment of human beings and his rampant alcoholism do take a toll on him in the end.

White men, in this story, have no scruples when it comes to sexual exploitation of children and women, and their are no repercussions for their choices.

Until that fateful night when Jamie Pyke, takes matters into his own hands.

Which leads directly into the second book, “Glory Over Everything.”

 

 

 

Saturday – Voices

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Some say that, that if you start hearing voices, then you should worry …

The theme of imagination continued this evening and morphed into a discussion about Living on Borrowed Time. A concept that I am intimately connected to.

Over the past week, I’ve listened to a number of folks, talk about voices, whether that voice is of a departed child, a family member, or more importantly the voice of God Himself.

Which transitions well into the discussion of God’s will, and what that sounds like to the human being who is seeking God’s will.

I’ve said in the past, that departed family, have come back to me, one way or another. I’ve seen them, I’ve heard them, and I’ve channeled them as well.

I heard a man, a few night’s ago, talk about his endeavor to find his son, on the other side, after his murder, and how he DID connect to his son, and had intensive conversations with him, from the other side, and they wrote a book about it, together.

HGTV has some fantastic programming. One of my favorites is “Fixer Upper” with Chip and Joanna Gaines. I watched a You Tube Video of Joanna talking about her life, and her love of God, and how God spoke to her, and how her life changed because of her faith in God.

I find that incredibly moving.

Sometimes I trust the voice in my head, but most times I do not. I worry that I am just listening to myself talk to myself. Knowing what that voice is, and where it is coming from is important.

I often dream of my grandmothers. I go to their homes in my dreams. And at night, before I go to bed, each and every night, I think of them. Because what I carry in my heart, who I want to be, who I am, the life I live, is based on the love they both gave me.

And I often hear them say, that I have done well so far. At least that’s what I think and believe.

Is that ODD or is that GOD ?

I wonder if they see me and know I try and communicate with them, often.

Mediums and Psychics, would say that the dead do see us, they are always around, they are with us all the time, just beyond the veil.

I guess it is a matter of perspective.

I know that Grammy and Memere are with me. They are part of my heart and soul. I know they are there, but often, I don’t hear them, besides what I imagine they would say to me, if they were talking to me, one way or another.

It’s the same with the voice of God.

I think the voice of God comes, when we do our very best, every day, to do the right thing, whatever that thing is. Where do we learn what the right thing is? And where do we seek the voice of God?

In the past, I have said, that if I don’t hear the voice of God myself, then I need to go out and sit with my friends, because if God is going to speak to me, that voice is going to be familiar, from a familiar source, close to me.

I’ve had my personal run ins with God in the past. And the fact that I live on Borrowed Time, and I am still alive, weigh heavily on me at times.

My connection to God is a long standing relationship.

The fact that I am still alive, tells me that something greater than myself is driving the bus. I do my share of the work. Getting out of bed in the morning, doing my best, taking my pills, and leaving the worrying to other people.

What is God’s Will ? I don’t know. All I do know is that for me, if I hear God correctly, that will is to do my best every day, for those I care about, to the best of my ability.

I listened to Joanna talk about God, talking to her, and telling her to trust Him. And she knew, intimately, what that meant to her. And she had turned her will and her life over to God, and He provided for her and Chip.

I trust God. Blindly. I don’t often think about it. I just Do It.

Tonight, a friend brought up the concept of Living on Borrowed Time. This concept was introduced to me decades ago when I got sick, by Paul Monette, who wrote a book, Borrowed Time, about his lover Roger, in the age of AIDS, and how he lived, got sick, and eventually died.

I don’t know why God chose to spare me, but He did.

I don’t know why I skated above the water as all of my friends died, and I did not.But I did.

And to this day, I don’t know why I am still breathing, and what, ultimately, I am supposed to do, beyond what I am doing already ???

I have two doctors. Brothers. I trust them implicitly.

For a very long time, I worried. I waited. And I was consumed by numbers. And for a very long time, I saw my doctors quite often. Over the past thirteen years, I have tested one drug after another for the clinic. All of them, except one, passed muster for the general population.

Every doctor visit, I would get a print out of the numbers, by the book. I would then come home and transcribe them here. And I did that for years.

Then, all of a sudden, that practice stopped.

I’ve been on a good run, for a number of years, on the medication I am on. Borrowed Time still exists. But I don’t often think about that, unless someone talks about it or asks.

Quarterly doctor visits, dropped to twice yearly. I trust them with my life. And I’ve learned that if they aren’t worrying, then I don’t worry.

There are many things going on, all at the same time. A confluence of God, Prayer, Hope, Trust, Sobriety and Good Living and Love.

I also know, because of what I’ve learned so far, that I have learned how to make all this work, all at the same time, without even thinking about it, on a daily basis.

Every time I re-read a piece of literature, or have consecutive conversations, those first ideas and practices are there, I see how they have impacted my life, and how I live my life. I’ve taken all these lessons and incorporated them into daily practice.

And today I have a life, beyond my wildest imagination.

What is God’s will ? I don’t know.

What am I still doing here ? I don’t know.

But I trust the Godly wisdom in doing my best, helping others, Loving Hard, and Being Present to those I care about, on a daily basis.

I often wish that my grandmothers would come and talk to me, so that I would know it was them. But all I have is what my soul tells me. Those people who are part of my soul, speak from that place, to me.

I can’t explain it, suffice to say, I know where it is.

People you love are always with you. Inside of you.

A little piece of us, originated Out There, somewhere, and that little piece is inside of us, so we are intimately connected to All That Is. Where the souls of the dearly departed exist, and where we find God Himself.

 

 

 

 

Friday -Imagination Can Be Constructive

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Oh My God, it is Sticky, Wet and Humid tonight. Thank God we have an air conditioner. It was the best purchase we had made a few years ago. Temps have been topping out over the (30c) mark. Today we hit a record (32c) with a humidex of (36c). It was STICKY !

Rain clouds moved in mid day, and thundershowers followed. I carried an umbrella, because it was raining when I left the house, and stopped as we approached the metro. On the other end, we were early, and thunder was rolling across the sky. We had a twenty minute pour down rain event, and that was it.

The walk home was Damp, Sticky and Miserable.

I haven’t written anything since Sunday, not that I haven’t anything to write about. I just haven’t sat down and fleshed out my ideas, but there are a few.

My friend Shawn came to the meeting tonight, he was present for the shit show last Sunday night, and he brought with him the apologies of the group and reiterated that I had done nothing wrong, and that yes, that guy from out of town was an asshole.

Tonight, we sat a crowd. But when we split the group because of numbers, the balance of folks went in the back room to talk, leaving a handful of people up front. I am hearing that the addicts in the meeting are finding safety and the ability to be open an honest with what they say, in the back, instead of having to be dubious about what their addiction is. The alcoholic/addict divide is still alive and well it seems.

We talked about Imagination …

“After all, no man can build a house until he first visions a plan for it.”

I spoke a few words when we went around the room, but later realized that I had totally missed my mark with what I did say, versus what I forgot to say. So here we go:

Story time …

My Grammy’s back yard was full of gardens. The flower variety and the vegetable variety. And there was an empty lot next door, where cuttings, berry bushes, and flowers flourished for many years before it was developed later on.

When I was young, imagination and freedom was mine to have, as long as it did not intersect with my father. When it did, my imagination, was thwarted.

I was gifted in playing music. I played for many years, well into High School. I had an $80,000 dollar organ in our living room, that I played for years. I performed at recitals, and at school, and at District competitions during those years. One day my father threw my organ seat at my mother in a fit of drunken rage, I turned to him and said:

I will never play that organ again, get rid of it.

That night, my musical career was over. I never touched another keyboard to this day. I pissed that gift away because of a drunk.

My bedroom was the only room I had to myself. I had a stereo and records to play. I used to draw and sketch for a long time. I had a passion for “The Love Boat” and anything having to do with cruise ships. I had photos plastered all over the walls of my room. And I would sit and draw them intricately in a sketch pad, partial scale.

My father was well and good with disrupting anything I was doing, and at one point was so erratic that he took the door off the hinges, so I could not lock him out when he went into drunken rages and came after me. I had, at one point, put a deadbolt on my door, and that only infuriated him more, that I would put a lock on a door “IN HIS HOUSE!”

When I moved away from home, I had big dreams, high expectations, and an ass of death. In my younger days, I commanded the attention of many. But fueled by drugs and alcohol. That did not go so well at all for me. Young gay men living in Orlando were a dime a dozen.

The night I walked into the Parliament House, and its Footlight Theatre, I was transfixed and totally enamored with the resident drag queens. I spent inordinate amounts of time in that theatre over the ensuing years. I met men, who took me in and loved me, and taught me many things about “Imagination.”

The art of female impersonation was BIG BUSINESS.

Everyone in that crowd was drawn into the lives of these men, performing and competing for crowns and titles over the years. Drag was something that followed me all the way into my sobriety the first time, because I had a job at a local club, where one particular drag queen was resident hostess, the Late Dana Manchester.

I have to say that I thought English drag queen were fierce, but they could not hold a candle to the Latin Drag Queen. Especially the young Latin drag queens. They would back stab each other, steal dresses, and even destroy them, to foil a competition.

Back to Orlando.

I fell in love with those men over the years. Dana, Rusty, Carmella, and many others. To this day, a handful of the oldsters, are still alive, and celebrated the forty year anniversary of the Parliament House, a few years ago. I found them all on You Tube. It was like reliving my youth all over again, at almost fifty.

Alcohol and drugs, in the end, killed any imagination I had, once again. And It would not return until I started working for Todd. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. I never lived, until I worshiped men in Leather, dressed to kill. There are plenty of stories over —> in the pages section of the blog, you can go read, if you are so inclined.

Coming into the rooms the second time, the only imagination I had prior to that were the hazy dreams and expectations I had of the elixir of Alcohol, and what I imagined it was going to do for me in the end. Sadly, that warped imagination was sick.

When I moved here, I was sober a few months. And I started with very little to work with. But as I stayed sober and went to meetings,and listened to what was said, what was written, and what was shared, I began to hope for those PROMISES.

At a year sober, my therapist asked me what I wanted to do with my life, now that I had hit my year. I had to think a bit. Many years prior, I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary, only to end up being asked to leave. I loved it there. And I thought that if I could not get into the priesthood “through” the church, I would find my way there, from “Outside” the church.

I settled on going back to school, at age 35. And that is exactly what I did. I rode that train for ten years. Got a B.A. in Religion, and a Certificate in Theology, and then headed for the M.A. in Theology, only to break the 2 “C” rule and left education behind.

I never imagined the life I have today. I just did not have many high hopes because of my medical condition, never knowing how long I was going to live.

Funny, I am still alive.

And so much has happened in almost fifteen years of sobriety.

I’ve read inordinate numbers of books, taken a decades worth of university classes. Not to mention the hundreds of books I read when I got sick back in the nineties. Books are a world in themselves, and I devote hours each night to book reading, every night. Life without books is not a life at all.

If you had told me fifteen years ago, what this life would have looked like then, I would have laughed at you. I believe that it has been by the Grace of God, that I have the life I have, with the man I married and love.

I have the best friends anyone could ask for. I live a charmed life, doing what I do best. I help my friends, in any way I can, every day of my life. I have a home, and love. I have food in my fridge, and money in the bank, and I am ALIVE.

Is it ODD or is it GOD???

Todd saved my life. And God maintains my life.

I live simply and humbly. At least I try to.

There are a few things still on that bucket list of mine. And I am sure, in time, I will eventually knock them off of it.

All is takes is a little Imagination and a lot of Hope.

Sunday Sundries … Was it Something I Said ?

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It has been a very busy weekend. Friday night was a great night, and I was asked to speak tonight, at a meeting I had never been to, in a neighborhood, that as well, I had never been to. So that was an adventure.

Saturday morning, myself and two women friends of mine converged on Mama’s apartment to pack everything up and move it out. In a matter of hours, we had the curtains down, the items that were going to charity packed, and we did that, and got rid of bags and bags of trash. One of my women brought along another woman from her daycare here in town, with her son.

Let me tell you, she scored the “mother lode” of housewares. A couple tables, an entire kitchen, complete with microwave, toaster oven, cleaning supplies, and other assorted bits and bobs from around the apartment. We packed up her things and my friends brother came with a truck and we moved it all to their new home.

I had a few hours to nap in the afternoon, and then turned around and went back out for our Saturday meeting, and we talked about Powerlessness and Expectations.

We sat a small group, and the topic was relevant, which is always a good sign, that others in the room, had been pondering what I tossed on the table before they got there.

We spoke about meditation. Those who do it, those who can’t figure it out, so forth and so on. A couple of weeks ago, I heard a neuroscientist on late night radio talk about his work in the field of meditation, using MRI machines to see how people’s brains lit up while they meditated. Very Interesting stuff …

He spoke about meditations that were long, versus, short, and short burst meditation.

There are those who can sit for an extended period of time, and there are those who can’t. He also spoke about “Pin Point” meditation.

Pin Point meditation … Is a thought, or a place or a person, who brings you love and peace. I use this form of meditation. I sit quietly, and I go places in my head. I go to two specific places, when I need calmness and peace. Those locations, are the kitchens of my grandmothers, on both sides.

I know what the houses looked like, how they were furnished, and what each room looks like from memory. I was young, but those memories are stuck in my head for good reason, because they were safe spaces for me as a child, when life became a Storm.

I think, I go, and I sit there and just sink into the feeling of goodness they bring me.

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

Was It Something I Said ???

I haven’t spoken at a meeting in five years. The last time I spoke was on my tenth anniversary at Friday West End, when I took my ten year chip.

I guess you could say that, I haven’t been on the “speaker circuit” and nobody ever notices me in any meeting I go to, I guess, and really it isn’t about me in the end.

Friday night, a friend I know from the rooms, when he first got sober, asked me to speak at his home group in another section of town I had never been to. So I left uber early, and made it with fifteen minutes to spare.

There were probably a dozen folks. And a couple from Ontario, husband and wife. He was in, she was not. Visitors from out of town.

I spoke, I did not plan my share, nor did I edit the language I was going to use during my share. Which I guess, now that its over, maybe I should have.

Needless to say, speaking for me is either hit or miss. But every time I do stand in front of a room, there is always ONE ASSHOLE in the room.

Let’s say that my share ranked in the PG – 13 range.

I told my story, with the language I use. But this guy from out of town, started heckling me from his chair, all the way through. Nobody else seemed to have a problem with me.

After the meeting, things really got out of hand. I’ve never been critiqued like this before, I’ve met many “straight men” who seem to take issue with either myself or with something I say. But this guy ripped into me verbally, in front of all the group standing around watching. They defended my choice of words because you needed context and setting to some of my story, so colorful language does appear.

The members told him that he was out of line. And were embarrassed for me. I apologized, but the guy kept coming at me. So they escorted him out of the hall with his wife.

On the way home I got a text from the chair of the meeting thanking me and telling me that the group defended my right to language, and that indeed the visitor from out of town was an asshole.

He said in leaving that at fifteen years, I should know the traditions, and what is appropriate for a meeting. Which I do. He also said I needed to talk to my sponsor, which I did while waiting for the bus. My sponsor spoke at this meeting a couple of weeks ago at their anniversary.

He said that I should not let this asshole ruin my night.

But it has. And it left a shitty taste in my mouth once again.

I don’t know if most straight Ontario men are language virgins, or never heard a curse word before, or never heard a racial slur in their lives. But when I talk about my father, the ultimate alcoholic, you get race, you get faggot, and you get colorful metaphors.

UGH … Some men are just real fuckers …

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

GLORY OVER EVERYTHING / THE KITCHEN HOUSE

Kathleen Grissom

When my favorite book seller gives me suggestions, I usually find something to read, that I would not necessarily read of the shelf, in the brick and mortar store. But the blurbs and the synopsis usually does the trick. I’ve read a number of good books via this route.

Glory Over Everything, by Kathleen Grissom, was another good choice.

I’ve always been interested in the Underground railroad, having read other books in the past about it. “Glory” is the story of a man named James, (his adopted name) further in the book. This young boy, as the story opens, is the child of a white father and a mulatto mother. Back in the 1800’s, this is during the slave trade, plantations, and all the taboos that go along with race relations, between blacks and whites, and slaves and Masters.

This book is a true masterpiece of storytelling.

James, has to leave his home, because the woman who raised him dies in a house fire that kills her and destroys his home. With a bi-racial issue, he flees to Philadelphia in the latter 1800’s. He finds a home, after running away with a man who is a slave on the run. The black man takes him in and takes care of him, until James, learns to make it on his own in a world that is not kind to racial minorities.

Being black has its innate issues back in those days, and a white man with a connection to “blackness” by blood, is just as bad. So James lives with a secret. What plays out is a story of loss, love, children and the treatment of human beings.

This book is well worth reading.

The Kitchen House, a second book, by Grissom, I have just started. The story opens with familiar characters, that are found in “Glory.” Again, taking place in the latter 1800’s in the age of slavery and plantation houses. “The Kitchen House” is a house on a large property with the main manner house, and several other black houses.

Like I said, I’ve just cracked the book open, so I cannot comment on it yet.

And now it is time for bed.

Friday – Humility, “This IS the life you wanted Right???”

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And the week ends, on the best night of the week, with all of my best friends in my life, all in the same room. And one of my very best buds celebrated 5 years sober. Congrats to him.

But more on that later …

“To those who have made progress in A.A., humility amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.”

I feel like I’ve been stuck on Step Seven for more than a year. The way life has played out, i guess I am just more conscious of what is really going on, because at one point, God had to drop a wall on me so that I would look up, (from my proverbial smart phone). Not that I am always looking down at it. I don’t. But it does deliver tunes where ever I go.

When the reading was read, I was trying to find words to speak. It took a while, but eventually I had a thought.

There are three things that get in the way of humility for me, they are:

  • Myself
  • My will
  • And my Expectations

For a very long time, in my life, I did not know what was best for me, as the story goes.

Life was an abject failure until I hit the proverbial brick wall, they call AIDS.

And even after that happened, I still did not know what was best for me. When everybody bailed, and Todd had stepped in, I would begin, in earnest to learn a little humility.

Looking down into a toilet, that has a cup stuck inside, backwards, and there is shit and piss all over the floor, because said toilet has overflowed, and it is your job to stick your hand in there, get the cup out, then clean the bathroom.

I did what I was told to do, even if I did not want to, because those were the rules.

In the end, the lesson about the toilet was this:

If you learn how to clean up shit, when you get really sick, as was supposed to happen, and I ended up in a diaper, like many of my friends at the end of their lives, I would know what to do… Thank God I never got that sick…

Those two years with Todd, was the primer in learning how to be right sized, because I was faced with certain death, and there were things to learn, for that period. I amassed a huge bank of knowledge and lessons that would get me back into life.

But with Todd gone now, and left to my own devices, with no one to guide me further, I failed at life, miserably.

Fast forward a couple more years, and at a meeting I heard the words:

Go away, Leave this meeting and Don’t Come Back …

That was detrimental. And almost killed me.

I detached from the fellowship. I stopped communicating, and took back my will, because I thought very hard about being told to go. That was like ingesting poison.

I took leave of my senses and my friends, and stepped into a vortex of drugs and alcohol.

So much for willfulness.

Where I ended up, in that rehab house when it was all said and done, someone, a friend, sent someone to get me and take me away. Out of humiliation into humility.

Out of humiliation and into humility is a theme tonight.

I did not go quietly, back into recovery. I still had drinking to do, I chose not to go for help, until I hit another brick wall, in a haze of blackouts.

It was then, I realized, that prayer was all I had, when I took my last drink.

I got on my knees and I asked God for help.

He listened…

The rest is history.

I was not very humble when I walked into that first meeting when I got to Montreal. I was, and I don’t know where it came from, honestly, Cocky.

I had been sober a few months. I moved here. And funny, that, I walked into a meeting one night, and had verbal diarrhea. I spouted off some shit, like a list of expectations for God, now that I had come back …

Funny that, the old timers all laughed at me and told me to keep coming back.

Needless to say, that night, I got knocked off my high horse, the first time.

When ever I take my will back, or I get in my own way, or I expect things from God, myself or another human being, humility goes right out the window.

A friend of mine talked about becoming RIGHT SIZED.

My entire journey in recovery, has been a long lesson in getting RIGHT SIZED.

I chose to move here, because I wanted a better life. I needed a better life, because the one I left in the states, was toxic, terrible, and sick.

I changed everything in Sobriety. And then the geographic. The final swing of the proverbial ax.

Now that I look back on my time here, When I finally let go and let God, life began to get better, incrementally.

All these years later, I know a few things:

  • I don’t need many “things”
  • I don’t need an ego
  • I work every day to be a better me, even on my worst days
  • I’ve learned what “just enough means”
  • I’ve learned to live inside my means
  • I’ve learned the value of money. Having it, Not Having it, then Having it
  • I learned what it meant to finally Become a Man

Over the past fifteen years, as life came and went, every challenge was a test of my skills in sobriety, my skills in being a partner/boyfriend/then husband. Learning how to put the needs of others before my own.

They say that we are who we are, from the five people, we spend the most time with.

I am in good company, if I do say so myself.

Expectations, are as bad as Resentments and Anger.

Because, you know, Expectations always lead to Resentment and Anger. Plain and Simple.

A little more than two years ago, I embarked on a relationship with Baby Mama and Lu. I did that because prior to that decision, I knew Mary, in the meeting. I was there the night she walked into a meeting bewildered, because she learned she was pregnant.

After Three Pregnancy Tests…

All the women rallied round her. But that would not last. Promises were made, words were given. But in the end, words meant nothing. All the women failed in the one job that was needed. Someone to be with Mama, on the day Lu was born.

Two weeks prior to Lu’s birth, the women all fucked off. I did not know this was going on behind my back. And it came as a complete surprise to me when she told me she was returning to New Found-land to have the baby.

ALONE …

Lu was born, and the next day, I decided to call Mama. That one phone call, tuned into the relationship we have to this day. A year later, I would be at the airport the day they returned to Montreal to live.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I had gathered a number of women back into the fold, to help me welcome Mama and Lu and get them settled, in what I thought would be a forever home.

Those women, gave me their words, and for a while, went through the motions.

WHAT GOOD IS A HUMAN BEING, IF NOT FOR THEIR WORDS AND ACTIONS ???

I take very seriously, someones WORD.

Coming out of the AIDS crisis, when your life depends on the words, services or actions of another human being, if you tell me you are going to do something, then DO IT.

Don’t Fuck Me Over. Which happened countless times over the years…

How many times, in my life, have I relied on people’s words, and be terribly betrayed.

Even to this day, I only ask things of people, when I need things.

This all falls under Expectations.

Over the last year, those women disappeared, one right after the other. And at one point, Mama decided it was time to leave.

I expected my women to stand up and be counted. Because they told me that they were all worthy to be counted. And they weren’t.

In the end, ONE woman went to say goodbye, because then she realized, just what she could milk out of the situation, to appease me.

And this is what I have learned about humility …

Fifteen years ago, I made a decision that would change my life. And the journey began in earnest. There was no time to waste, because I don’t know how long I am going to be here, really …

And I turned my will and my life over to the care of a Power Greater than myself, whom I choose to call God.

Thus goes the story.

When needed God would prune my tree. When needed God would adjust my course. When needed I would get what I needed, when I needed it and not a minute before.

For the past two years, I have been totally committed to Mama and Lu. I was the only man in their lives, besides Grand Pa (and Grand Ma). Baby Daddy pays child support because we went after him legally, but aside from a deposit, he wants nothing to do with Lu.

He was the one who suggested to Mama, when she got pregnant, to get an ABORTION.

My expectations of my women were too high. They did not meet my muster, because none of them had what they really needed or the ability to do the job.

And on Tuesday night, as I sat in the meeting, my heart breaking inside, several of my women were sitting in the meeting, not caring one bit that Mama was just a few hundred yards away from the meeting hall (across the street actually), and only ONE went over to say goodbye.

I became LIVID. I stormed out of the meeting and came home. I called my sponsor and raged and ranted and raved, with many four letter words attached.

I was unhinged.

The take away from this:

HUMILITY.

My relationship with Mama and Lu was my own. This was a defining moment in my life, and it was all my own. In the end, this one relationship changed my life, even beyond my own marriage.

It was a job, a relationship I took on as my own. It started with me, and it went with me, and Mama and Lu are in New Found-land now, and it goes on with me. This was my duty, not the duty of anyone else, because I believed God’s will was to be a man and to help to the best of my ability. This was all my own and not anyone else’s.

This is the life I wanted. It was a choice I made to be present and accountable.

And God blessed it and made it work, for as long as it did. But like I said above, there was not enough of me to go around, when everybody else fucked off on us.

No matter what happened, I remain accountable. Humbly and Honestly.

I cannot rely on people, who don’t have it in them to be accountable and present. Even if they think they are, actions speak louder than words.

And that’s the way it all played out.

This isn’t about me, I am not the center of the universe, I must decrease so that HE may increase.

This is how my life turned out, because I asked for this life, and I was prepared to do whatever it took to be the best ME in my life.

God helped me live my best life. It all comes down to Humility.

This is, hands down, the best my life has ever been.

Even if Mama and Lu are far away. I did not fail them.

And they know that.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday – Back in New Foundland

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It has been a very sad week to start. I’ve been organizing and packing up Baby Mama and Lu Lu for their flight this morning back to New Found-land. Tuesday we made final arrangements as to what I need to do to close up the apartment in her absence.

The baby has not been herself lately. We took her out of day care last week because sniffles and eye infections and colds have been on the rise. And just to make sure she would be healthy for the flight this morning, we kept her at home.

Tuesday afternoon I went over to spend some final hours with them, and I did get to play with Lu Lu for a bit. I at least got a smile from her, and she let me hold her for a bit and we played ball, and I read to her for a while. But in the end, all she wanted was Mama.

At the break point, I knew it was time to go, I have the keys to the apartment, and the rent was paid for June, and now I need to move furniture where it needs to go, the rest will go to the donations center which is just downstairs.

We all walked downstairs together and that is when Lu Lu had her meltdown. I am sure she knew what was going on, because as soon as I walked out the front door, she was in pieces.

I’m very heartbroken over their departure. On Tuesday evening at the meeting, the two women that had promised to carry their share of the load in taking care of them, and being a friend, and to make sure Mama was cared for, were at the meeting.

Both failed miserably in what they said they would do. And in the end, one of them no longer speaks to Mama, and the other, I have to remind her to call, and last night, I asked her to go visit Mama before they went to bed, and after two suggestions, she begrudgingly agreed to go say goodbye. But only after I insisted she do so.

It was all I could do to stay in the meeting, because by the end I was so furious, that I ran to get the bus home, not saying goodbye to the folks who were there. Later on, I had  major PMS meltdown with my sponsor. It was not pretty.

My investment in my relationship with Mama and the baby, lasted almost a year. In the end, Mama said to me that there was just not enough of me to go around. Because the others failed to do what I asked them to do.

Now, I get to travel to St. John’s to see them in the coming months. We go back to speaking on the phone daily. I am very sad.