Monday: Part 2 … My Chance to Live


They say that in life, this life, that there is no dress rehearsal. This is the BIG SHOW.

You don’t get a do over…

Unless of course, you are a drunk, who pissed away their life drinking, or a drug addict, who ruined what life they had abusing drugs …

And you come round and get CLEAN and SOBER.

The world out there, doesn’t really get a do over, those out there doing their thing, not necessarily hurting anyone, they are just going about their lives. But for those of us, in the rooms today, who had done damage to ourselves and others, one way or another, before death calls your name, you find your way to us …

The odds are stacked against us, when we come through the doors. Some come in and get it right away. Are struck with the gift of desperation, and they stick and stay. And they begin their do over right away.

Then there are those of us who need two and three and four kicks at the can to finally reach the point where we do get that gift of desperation, and we come to, and we then get OUR do over as well.

I’ve been living in “do over” territory for a long time. I not only survived a death sentence and outlived all of my friends, I’ve been sober almost as long as I drank. Here in Montreal, old timers like to say that, you have arrived when you reach the point in sobriety, where you have been sober as long as the time you spent drinking and using.

God gave me several “Do Overs,” Thought it wise to give me a chance to live. Because for a very long time, I was not living at all. I was merely existing. Existing to drink, Existing to use, Existing to party.

You’ve thought that facing my own mortality would keep me on the beam for the rest of my life. But as I wrote earlier today, people in the program want the easier softer way, they don’t necessarily want to follow the directions, do they ?

In my case, it was the messages I was getting that sent me back out.

Never tell someone who is hurting, trying to survive, to Leave a Meeting and Never come Back.

Those words could very well kill someone.

They were said to me.

Folks in meetings, want to fit in. To be accepted. To be loved. Because while we were out there punishing ourselves, trying to fit in, where we did not, and in the process of trying to fit in, found ourselves at the bottom of a bottle …

Our young writer of tonight’s story wanted so badly to fit in, and she just could not do it, until she allowed herself to be cared for, in the rooms.

What do you do, when you are a teenager, and you are one of us ? At first, you might not want to admit that you are defeated. That you could not possibly be one of us, that you have many more “good years” of drinking/using to do before you settle down and grow up.

Our young writer tonight, was a teenager when she hit the rooms.

Our young people here battle with the idea that they are addicts and alcoholics, and they come in and try sobriety on for size. Some stay, most don’t. Because they believe that life could not get any better, that there is no life, without the party and the self-destruction.

They have to reconcile, not drinking/using with age and their peer group.

When I came in, my first sponsor was a young man. Younger than I was. But at the time, he was ten years sober when we met, and we hit it off. But after a year, his ego got the best of him, and he got pissy and he stormed off never to speak to me again, ever. I saw him once after that fall out, at a meeting one night, and he ignored me like he did not know who I was … not very sober !

Los of people with serious time, are not very sober. And that’s the truth.

What young people don’t see, in the beginning is that, they get their do over early on, that they have their whole life ahead of them to live clean and sober. Most old timers look at the young people and muse … “IF only I had come in that early, what would my life have looked like ?”

But how do you tell someone that early on, without them laughing in your face ?

Like I said, the odds are stacked against us. And people don’t necessarily want to hear “suggestions or How To’s.”

We tried to find an easier softer way but we could not.

Among our folks tonight, I heard many snickers from my friends, because I tell the truth. A friend who is mourning a loss, who at times, is rude, heard me share in the circle before he did and commented to the rest of the group that, “He wasn’t as sober as I was, with a snicker…”

Last week, I had a conversation with a friend and he said to me that he admired me because I don’t sugar coat the truth, and when I speak, I use my words wisely. That answer came back to me from another friend this evening.

I don’t know what is worse, telling the truth, or trying to step around someone who does not want to hear the truth ?

Is it better to tell the truth or dance around the head of a pin ?

We were all young once. And we all had our fun, didn’t we ? Those out there, who skated through, with nary a problem, make it into life whole. But for some of us, that brick wall has to come down on top of us, for God to get our attention.

I’ve seen several walls fall on me in my almost fifty years on this planet.

God placed certain STOP signs in my path at various points in this journey. Some were a day late and a dollar short, and some were right on time.

I still don’t know why I lived and all of my friends are dead. I still don’t know what I am supposed to be doing all these years later. 50 is coming and I have no idea.

Like my doctor tells me … “Well we’ll just make it up as we go along.”

Sobriety does not necessarily give you the directions on what to do with your life, when we get sober, “but it DOES give you the tools to construct a ladder, with the twelve steps.”

With the right guidance, time and advice, we get to make right choices. How many of my friends, did not jump at that chance like I did ? How many of my friends hung back and held on to old behavior, people, places and things, until they got pulled down into that pit of hell, only to find much later that they should have let go absolutely.

And now some of those friends, have some time, some, double-digit time, but they are miserable shells of human beings, because they are still broken and shattered inside.

And over the past few months I’ve seen this with my own eyes, and heard their stories with my own ears, and I think to myself …

Thank the baby Jesus, I did not do what they did when I came in.

People think I am egotistical and prideful when I say that thank God I did not do what some of my friends did, and that I did not make the same choices some of my friends made as well.

It isn’t about my Ego or my Pride. It’s the God’s Honest Truth.

Because had I fucked off like many of my friends did, mentally, emotionally and sexually, an ended back out the door, drunk and/or high, I would surely not be where I am today.

Each successive time you drop off the radar and go back out for further experimentation, in the drink and the drugs, the odds of your return get slimmer. Some get back and they have to fight even harder to get back.

Sadly, a handful of those who go back out, end up DEAD !!!

None of my friends can say that I am not observant or that I don’t pay attention in meetings. I sure as shit pay attention, because I listen to my friends and in their own special way, they say out loud … Don’t do this …

This is Your Chance to Live … You might not get another do over.



Monday – Give Back Unconditionally


What to do with the new year ? What do I do with myself ? Where am I going with this blog? I’ve been writing here for more than a decade now. Almost 12 years.

Many things have come and gone. If you told me, when I first got sober, this time around, what this life would have looked like, I would have laughed at you.

But I do know this one thing is true … The day I set foot in this apartment we still live in today, I was on my way into a life that I never imagined.

I have friends, gay friends, who love men who lived through AIDS, and are still alive. I have friends who stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park when it came to us.

Those of us who made it out alive.

Let’s just say, that I have seen a great many things over the last twenty-two years of staying alive. I see now, how every human being I knew, played a decisive role in my life that helped me to survive the horrors of a deadly disease.

Our marriage, has been a series of trials and errors. Even before we got married, we were tested through several harsh trials and errors. Practice, I call it, for the vows that we speak when we get married. Practicing non negotiables, and how to get through them.

I have a life. I have an education. I have sobriety. I have a husband. I have good friends. There is money in the bank. We have heat. Food in the fridge. Clothes in the closet.

The world has changed over the last 50 years. Well, almost 50 years for me. I did not follow the cookie cutter cycle of life choices. I took the more, harder, longer, beg, borrow, and cheat path. I thought that if I struck out on my own, on my own capacity that I would finally arrive.

That did not work. I never arrived …

God has a funny sense of humor. He never ceases to amaze me, in what He can do, when I get out-of-the-way. Over the last year, handfuls of people came into, and departed from my life.

I spent SO MUCH TIME investing in communities, and people, who, in the end, did not care one iota, in giving back, or investing in me. Now I see, where my time is best spent.

Friday afternoon I got a phone call from a friend. One I care a great deal for. Who, had to journey on his Odyssey only to return full circle, back where he started.

Drugs and Alcohol are very patient and very cunning.

Even though, over the years, I have watched my friends, and I watched them make not so good choices, and end up in a black hole, after I warned them to NOT DO THAT…

They did it anyway. And did not listen to one word I said. How many people, in the last six months have I seen fuck off and turn their backs on themselves and us ?

Too many to count.

Today, I sat with a friend for the first time in almost a year. He returned from his Odyssey, a little worse for wear, but he is still alive, barely …

This year, I am pulling back my time, talent and treasure. I will not offer those things freely, any longer. I will not put my life on the line for everyone. I have curtailed my meetings. I have set a course to hit meetings, with good people.

I invest in my meetings, and those people who come to those meetings. I have long time friends who know me in each of them. I have a solid bank of people, whom, if I needed them at 3 a.m. I could call any one of them.

I know what circle I will invest my time, talent and treasure.

I have some basic rules that I live by. Values, Morals, and Codes.

I have friends. They exist in concentric circles around me, based on how well I know them, how well I trust them, and what they can give me. This is not a selfish “give me,” but more in the sense of, most of my friends have expertise in one area or another. They do certain work in the community, and we all serve certain purposes in each others lives.

I try, the best way I know how, to give back to my friends. I will never turn my back on a friend. Because that is low down and dirty. You don’t back stab your friends.

I learned a long time ago, from Todd, how to give back. I learned how to care for human beings, on a Macro and a Micro scale. You don’t walk away from people.

Yet, in the past year, how many people walked away from me ??? And how many people, it turned out, were dishonest, and untrue and hateful ? How many times did I have to get my heart-broken in the last year, before I learned the valuable lesson that

NOT EVERYONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOU … Even if you wish they had. Not everybody has the capacity to be like us … To give a shit, to bend over backwards to be of service, only to finally see, just how little some people think about us or about our feelings.

Find your passion, DO IT, money will follow …

I used to believe in these words. I thought that, after I finally decided to grow up and do the right thing, and follow the logical life path, of any right-minded human being, that life would pay out financially.

Well, it paid out, just not in the way that mere mortals get/make money.

When People were diagnosed with AIDS, back in the day, to get something out of life, many thousands of people, sold their life insurance policies for cash, while they were still alive. That money did not go very far, when we had to pay out-of-pocket for meds that were not covered by insurance, because there was no insurance to speak of.

I had to practically kill myself, and set myself on death’s door step to get government help. Help that today, pays the rent here. If I did not have that specific help, we would not be where we are today.

Fifteen years ago, I began this journey again. And dammit I was going to make it this time, come hell or high water. Unlike many of my friends, who cannot be bothered to do what they are told, I did everything that I was told to do, and then some…

If Todd taught me one thing, it was Follow The Directions Given …

When I went back to school it was my choice. And I attacked my education with every ounce of energy I had. History has shown us, just how much we pay out in blood, sweat and tears, for a Degree, a Masters, and then a PhD, only to have the doors to the future, slammed in our faces, and all that work goes into the crapper FOREVER.

How many people do I know who did the education route, all the way up the food chain, get university jobs, never make tenure, then get fired because their jobs become obsolete, and they are replaced with Yes men and women, and we got the shaft !!!

Today, young people all over the world ask the eternal question, Should I go to University, and if I do, where is that going to take me ? Those answers are not so set in stone any longer.

People are trying to find their way into life, marriage, kids, a house and a mortgage, and a job that will pay the bills. And how many people, world-wide, work 9 to 5 jobs, making barely enough to pay the bills, and have money left over to buy food for their families ?

Jobs that just pay the bills, a cubicle job, that holds no passion or upward mobility. Jobs where people just punch a clock for that meager paycheck.

So many are starving for a life, that is more than just punching a clock. Money makes the world go round, and following your passion, will not necessarily put food on the table.

You’d need a really good gig, (read: Your passion) that would make enough money to make it profitable and workable. But the world, based on money, is never kind to those who would turn their noses up to a 9 to 5 gig.

There is so much inequality here when it comes to financial stability. Do you know that there are populations of people, here in First World Canada, that cannot take care of their families needs because they are paying out 150% of their pay into bills. People are going without heat and safety, because they have to choose between buying food to feed their kids, and paying out a shit ton of money for Hydro (Read: Electricity).

There are the very rich. There are the middle rich. There is the middle class. There are those who can barely make it from paycheck to paycheck. Then there are those who live in First World Canada, who live in Third World Conditions, the disparity is glaring …

The disparity between those who have, and those who have not is getting closer together.And the disparity between First World Canada, and Third World Canada is horribly wide.

I believe that if we as a nation, took all the money we spend elsewhere, giving to every charity known to man, and giving hand over fist, millions of dollars in aid to others, and for natural disasters, if we spent that money in building a better Canada, the disparities would vanish. Communities would be built, and the nations would come together and nobody would go without basic means for survival.

I’ve learned, in all the years, that I have lived in Canada, is that, yes, life is better than I would have ever imagined it would be, knowing how poor an existence I was living in the United States.

  • Life is very different here.
  • Truth is very different here.
  • I am very different here.

Canada has its issues. Just like any other country around the world. But we don’t have half the problems you do, South of the Border.

Let me tell you …

I have a lot to say about the ILLEGITIMATE man taking office on Friday.

Nobody wants to hear what I have to say on that matter though. But I will say this:

All those people, who believe in their bibles and theology, and nothing else, those of you who voted in HUGE numbers for a man who is incapable of being president, are in for a huge rude awakening.

Pandora’s Box is open. And the Monster is approaching. And mark my words,

Those who think they know God and speak for God, will very soon, come to the realization that they made a huge mistake, and they will call out the name of God.

And God will turn around and say to them …