The world out there, is fraught with complications. And the art of talking is just a jumble of noise. But in the rooms, we have found connections, and people who speak a common language. We have words, the rest of the outside world does not.
Which is why, I believe in the adage from a Ted Talk I head not long ago:
The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is CONNECTION.
How many of us come from broken homes, riddled by alcoholism and addiction, or from families stuck in a toxic mix of profanity, emotional, mental and physical abuse?
And how many of us turned to addictive “things” to blot out the pain of what happened to us as children and young people? And how many people do I know today, in the rooms, that fit all of these identifiers, and went to hell, only to find themselves in rooms with us, trying to find salvation, peace, and a quality of life they never knew existed, that only comes when we decide to come, listen, get honest and believe in the power of US, and that they are no longer alone.
Something I have learned in almost fifteen years in this movement, that even though I went to university, and earned several degrees in areas that I thought would get me somewhere, only to find that was not quite the case, I found a home, and a place to be myself, and to connect to people, who “would not necessarily mix” in real life.
We come from a myriad of places, we are professionals, musicians, artists, students, housewives, husbands, gay and straight, transgendered, we are all different.
Once you cross that invisible threshold of the doorway, everything that you are outside this room, is inconsequential, to who you are while inside. It may take some time, but eventually, we realize just what WE have together, that the world OUTSIDE does not.
For me, this has been a really good social education experience, getting to know people, listening to their stories, and over time, we decide what amount of investment we are going to make in a Group, and Individually.
At some point, when you find your seat, and you stay in that seat, for a while, you can’t help but invest in the lives of your friends. Because in time, we begin to see just what we each have to offer somebody else. When we learn that we are not the center of the universe, and that it isn’t all about us, and we begin to put the needs of someone else before our own, we realize that we indeed have grown up.
For the whole of my life, I was afraid of growing up. Over time, I leaned about good men and women. When I most needed the help, certain men and women came into my life and saved my life, from a death that ended quite gruesomely.
But when it came to trying to work that all out on my own, by myself, I failed miserably.
When I came back around the second time, I agreed with God, that yes, this was a good time to put down the fight and the isolation, and do the right thing.
Trying to find that GAY community that was supposed to take me in and make me whole, did not materialize. And the alcohol and drug route was unnecessary. But I had to walk to road that was only mine to walk. Try as I might, drinking and using my way along, I could not find my way into a community that was light years ahead of me, and did not even notice that I was there.
It was in the rooms of Montreal, that I found commonality. In the beginning there was a community of gay men and women, but AIDS has not been kind. And I survived them.
I moved into the general population, because there were certain folks who invited me to become one of, many. So I stayed and I grew up. Little by slowly.
In sobriety, I met my now husband. It was this relationship, in sobriety, that I learned how to put the needs of my husband before my own. The rest is history.
In the end, I realized that I indeed had become a man. A man who learned how to love himself and others. Out of the ashes and rubble of the past, I emerged into a life that is beyond my wildest dreams.
Over the years, people have come and gone. The older generation has grown older, and retreated into their lives, and they don’t come around any more. However, there is a population of old timers that come to many of the rooms I go to on a weekly basis.
But for the most part, today’s fellowship in Montreal is full of young people. So what does one do with that ? We come, and we listen. And when the time is right, as does happen now and then, we find points of entry into the lives of others, and we (read: My generation) do have lessons to impart.
But first we need commonality, and then Connection.
For the most part the stories are all the same. We all come from varied backgrounds, but when it comes to addiction, and drinking and using, the commonalities are there. The themes are the same across the board.
I’ve watched many of my friend battle to get better, and miraculously, they all have succeeded, they grew up and are good men and women.
If you come, and you stay, eventually, you may find, that at some point, you engaged a conversation, and you might not think that a particular conversation went any where, but if you stick around, you might witness something you said to someone, play out in front of you.
That is the Miracle.
Everybody in the world wants to be happy, and to be loved for who they are. And to love the one they choose to be with, gay or straight, or transgendered. But how often, is that NOT the case. And how often do we see, toxic families, who have turned on their children and spat on their lives and existences ?
And those kids turn to drugs and alcohol to make it all better or to drown the pain.
Everybody suffers, men and women. It is just a matter of how much suffering you are going to go through, before you turn it over and come to US.
The world is a sick place.
The world is not a better place, because of hatred, homophobia and bigotry and racism. There are too many ISMS.
In our little world, what we offer is safety, we offer connection, and we offer love and a way out of hell. Little did I know, for myself, the amount of support, love and connection I would find here.
Every day, I work very hard to make connections, to love, to be part of, and to learn.
You can’t pay for an education like the one that we get in these rooms. No university degrees, No Masters, No PHD’s. This is hard knock life.
Miracle do happen. You just have to connect.