Monday: Flooded with Feeling …

Do you believe in Love

Friday night I saw some folks I don’t usually see at the Friday meeting. In fact, I haven’t seen either one of them since last September. Not a call, Not a meeting, Nothing …

Saturday I spent time with one of my women I work with. And she told me a story, about one of those men I saw the night prior. Many, Many months ago, our man went to Florida and he used, pissing away 11 years of sobriety … I know, of him, that he stopped coming to meetings for a long time, so long, that I was given his key and his treasury responsibility. He did not call, nor did he talk to me or anyone else in that particular room, for that matter.

Now I know why … He used and came home and isolated and kept a secret. For MONTHS. And I know, from his history, how hard he worked to get sober, quoting the book, like he knew the book, like the back of his hand … He didn’t …

Friday night, he sat next to me, and did not say two words to me all night long. He and my other friend left after the meeting and did not stay to talk.

This is what happens when you stop going to meetings, you stop talking to people, you keep secrets and your sobriety looses its priority.

Sad. That particular meeting did not feed him, like it needed to and he stayed away from meetings that might have fed him and kept him “on the beam.”

But addict for addict and alcoholic for alcoholic, we are going to do what we are going to do, and damn the torpedoes.

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You never know what is going to rise to the surface, when you step into a room.

Tonight’s read talks about:

  • Drinking,
  • Drinking some more.
  • Driving Drunk,
  • Driving drunk some more.
  • Going to a meeting because it meant more for them, rather than for us,
  • Coming to realize that “hey, maybe I’m an alcoholic too !”
  • Coming, Coming to, and Making a decision …
  • Speaking the Third Step Prayer for themselves …

Flooded with Feeling, has been the story of my life for the past good chunk of months. Many of my friends, men and women, are in this mix right now, themselves. The Monday night meeting is a wealth of experience, strength and hope.

The line that stuck out in this story goes like this …

“I just wanted another drink …”

 

My Momma once said to me that: “You better Never find yourself in jail, because if you do, I will never bail you out, you will be on your own.”

I did listen to some of the advice she gave me, however backhanded that single piece of advice was, when it was delivered. I did, many times, get behind the wheel while intoxicated. And it is a good thing that nobody ever got hurt. Because I was seriously stupid. But what is an alcoholic going to do ?

Nothing stands between us and that next drink …

Happy hour only lasted from 4 to 7. Then you had to go home, change your office clothes for dance clothes, and return for the nightly debauchery. Over and Over and Over.

Until one day, You become a character written about in the Big Book, being that tornado, running ragged, in the life of someone trying to get sober at the same time.

Sadly, I would remain that tornado for three more years, until Todd stepped in and said the word STOP. I am amazed, that all the people I drank with, who got sober, before I did, never said a word to me, while I was IN IT. And to this day, I don’t know why they didn’t try to help me. Because the trajectory of my life would surely have been different, had that actually happened, but didn’t.

Our man, in this story, relates his approach to the Third Step and the Prayer. While on the phone, with the lady friend who took him to his first meeting, he writes that “while on the phone he read the Third Step Prayer to her… then afterwards he returns to the prayer and repeats it to himself.”

When I got sober the first time, I had Todd in my life. And every night, coming to work, the practice was, to turn my life over, every time I crossed the threshold into the bar. I practiced that task every night for two years. I learned how to do that and trusted in the man I was turning my life over to, because I am still alive.

When I got sober the second time, It was just me, and my prayer to God. There was nobody else out there, holding my hand. And let me tell you just how unsure I was of myself, not knowing IF I could TRUST myself alone … IF I could do it RIGHT.

It did not come for a long time, the revelation of Todd and Step Three, being the incarnation of God Himself in my life when I really needed it. I did not make that connection until I began to relate my memoirs on this blog many years ago.

I had seen God, in the flesh. I knew there was a God, all along. I knew the drill. I just did not trust anything that I did, on my own.

But I am getting better at it, today.

Over the years, I’ve watched the men I worked with, who for some, did not necessarily believe in God, how they worked around the Third Step, each for their specific sensibilities. The Friday meeting has been a proving ground for our young people, who also, many of them, could not see past the word God, and got and stayed sober.

Many of them came, stayed a bit, left, and never returned.

Even though we spent years studying the word God, trying to find work around’s to allow the belief in whatever worked until they figured God out for themselves.

Every day, we have an opportunity to learn something new about ourselves.

Do I want a thimble full of God, one day at a time, or
Do I want a bucket full of God, one day at a time ???

And when is it that I realize that I am a drop in the big ocean that is humanity (read: God). And that I am one with ALL that is, because a little of all that is OUT THERE, is within me, and that a little piece of WITHIN ME is one with all that is OUT THERE.

And that, as I live and breathe, the universe out there, knows, before I even utter a single thought, prayer or word …

How amazing is that ???

 

 

“Human devastation syndrome”

 

15896003_10101383430770686_8990300469618124644_o_0 By Charles Davis

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It feels insufficient to say that children from Syria are suffering from “PTSD.” The oft-orphaned survivors of a horrible ongoing humanitarian crisis are, likely, experiencing post-traumatic stress, but these children of war have experienced more trauma — physical and emotional — than the medical professionals who care for them have ever seen: the shredded remains of their mom or dad, blown apart by a regime barrel bomb, a Russian cruise missile, or, increasingly, U.S. airstrikes.

“Human devastation syndrome” is Dr. M.K. Hamza’s term for the orphaned end-result.

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“We have talked to so many children, and their devastation is above and beyond what even soldiers are able to see in the war,” Hamza, a neuropsychologist with the Syrian-American Medical Society, told ATTN:. “They have seen dismantled human beings that used to be their parents, or their siblings. You get out of a family of five or six or 10 or whatever — you get one survivor, two survivors sometimes. A lot of them have physical impairments. Amputations. Severe injuries. And they’ve made it to the refugee camp somehow.”

Hamza chairs the mental health committee of SAMS, whose 1,000 Syrian-American members have volunteered to provide medical aid wherever survivors of the worst war the 21st century has yet seen can be found.

“You have children who are devastated,” he said, “and this is not the end of it.”

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The emotional and material problems facing Syrian civilians are compounded every day by the crushing poverty and exploitation that Syrians experience at refugee camps — where 1 in 5 of the half-million inhabitants are under the age of 11 — and on the streets of Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan, which host the majority of the more than 4.9 million people who have fled Syria since 2011, when mass protests for democracy were met with bullets by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Another 6.3 million people are internally displaced, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, and another half a million have been killed.

“Even the word ‘poor’ is not justifiable here because it’s a less than human condition,” Hamza said, speaking from the sidelines of SAMS’ Feb. 18 conference in Huntington Beach, California.

Iyad Alkhouri, a psychiatrist who volunteers with SAMS, testified to that.

“I have patients who tell me they were touched inappropriately by their doctors,” Alkhouri said in an address to the conference. “The doctors, because [the patients] were Syrian, assumed they were ‘whores.’”

“There are girls on the streets of Beirut selling themselves — 8, 9 years old,” he said. “And then you tell their parents: Why don’t you send them to school so they can improve themselves? And they say, ‘They make $50 a day. Can you give me $50 a day?’”

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“Whatever we’re doing is just a Band-Aid,” Anas Moughrabieh, an intensive-care physician with SAMS, told ATTN:.

He’s helped care for Syrian patients evacuated to the Turkish border town of Antakya, where he’s also trained medical workers returning to treat the victims of bombings and shellings in Syria itself. “We try to fill the gaps,” he said, “but all the relief organizations — we’re just putting a Band-Aid on the wound. We’re not addressing the root cause of the problem.”

The root cause of the problem, as he sees it, is a “tyranny” that, “faced with peaceful people who were demonstrating for democracy in the beginning — it faced them with arms and airstrikes.” Nearly every hospital or clinic SAMS supports in Syria has been attacked, and nine out of 10 times it’s by airstrikes, he said, meaning those strikes were carried out by the regime or its Russian ally (the armed opposition does not have an air force).

Over 90 percent of the civilians killed in Syria since March 2011 have been killed by the regime and its allies, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, an independent monitoring organization.

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Syrian-American Medical Society – sams-usa.net

“Instead of providing resources to treat this 10-year-old child who was hit by a missile,” he argued, “we have to stop the missile before it hits them.”

But missiles and governments aren’t the only killers in Syria. “We had one hospital in Aleppo… that was attacked by ISIS thugs, and they came in actually to the ICU and killed one of the patients, who was a civilian,” Moughrabieh said. And in Idlib, the last major opposition bastion after the fall of Aleppo, an armed group “attacked one of our hospitals” and tried to take it over, he said, rebel in-fighting on the ground complementing the threat from above.

One irony, SAMS President Dr. Ahmad Tarakji told ATTN:, is that working in the same area as some of these hostile groups is enough to get one labeled as their ally. Indeed, that’s one of the major threats to humanitarian work these days.

“Anybody who is involved in humanitarian care could be labeled a terrorist,” he said. “The concept — the illusion — of protecting health care workers has been challenged in Syria, meaning you can be killed.”A child who makes it to a refugee camp in these conditions is one of the lucky ones.

“You have millions of children who are devastated,” Hamza, the neuropsychologist, told ATTN:, “and you have to ask, ‘Where is this going to lead?’” One thing is for sure, and it runs counter to the see-no-evil isolationism that, at least rhetorically, is now en vogue: “It’s going to impact the whole world.”

Friday: The Language of the Heart

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Why, at this particular point in history, has God chosen to communicate His healing grace to so many of us ? Every aspect of this global unfoldment can be related to a single crucial word. The word is “communication.” There has been a life saving communication among ourselves, with the world around us, and with God.

From the beginning, communication in A.A. has been no ordinary transmission of helpful ideas and attitudes. Because of our kinship in suffering, and because our common means of deliverance are effective for ourselves only when constantly carried to others, our channels of contact have always been charged with the language of the heart.

There is a reason that the Friday night meeting is the BEST meeting of the week. There are times when the depth of gratitude appears and we are reminded just how lucky was all are to be sitting together in a darkened room for an hour.

They say that the opposite of addiction is not recovery, but CONNECTION.

We all need someone in our lives to stand in our corner and cheer for us. We all need that one particular friend, who is going to show us love and encourage us to step out of our boxes and expand to meet the world head on when we get clean and sober.

The words Gratitude, Silence, God and Rooms came up in discussion.

Another friend spoke about how scientists found Seven planets orbiting a cool dwarf star, Trappist One, some 39 light years from Earth. And if we can prove LIFE on another world, in the coming decades, that is going to blow all of our socks off and change the face of humanity as we know it.

I talked about silence. And how important Silence is to me. I also talked about “The Spirituality of Imperfection,” a book that is making the rounds with the men I work with. And just how important that book is, in teaching us to be spiritually aware, connected to God and connected to one another.

One of the things I think, is important in the lives of my men, is that we learn how to pump GOOD into the world. To ourselves, to our spouses, to our friends, and also to the people we work with on a daily basis.

Pumping good into the world, just for the sake of it, is not the goal here, but for us to engage our fellows with communication that may, one day, come back to us …

Juan works with our young millennial who is stuck in tunnel vision which I wrote about a few days ago. Juan’s job is to pump as much good into his young friend, that one day, he might sit in his office, and have a moment for himself, maybe a moment of clarity, and walk up to Juan and say … “Remember when you said “this” to me, well I get it now !!!

We need to communicate on many levels every day, with many people. And this is something we work on every day, to engage, polish and hone our messages. Because one day, all that work will come back to us, when we least expect it.

That is why, working with others is crucial for our recoveries. The communication of self worth, faith, love and charity can change a life, in ways we just cannot imagine. Which is why we hone our skills together, so that we can welcome a newcomer and spend precious time with them “showing them the ropes.”

God, is the hardest word to communicate to new folks. As we heard tonight, from one of our young men, who is in rehab here, who came from an evangelical home, who later turned his back on God, and went down the addiction rabbit hole, only now, “Coming to, to finding out, who the God of his understanding is, one day at a time.”

The words, keep coming back are appropriate here, because each day we return for another dose of sobriety, we hear communications and we see God (read:Higher Power) move in the rooms.

When I realized this, early on when I got sober this time, watching other people have spiritual experiences themselves, proved to me that there was something outside of myself that was working on my friends. And I wanted that for myself, so I kept returning to particular meetings, watching my friends get sober.

It was the chase for spiritual experience.

Something I tell people who are new, is the most thrilling aspect of going to meetings. Instead of chasing a buzz or a high, or a drunk, we chase healing, spirituality and in the end, God.

Last week, I got on a bus, traveling from Montreal to Ottawa. That ride, is the most peaceful ride. I can find my seat, usually, two rows from the back, on the right side. I sit down and I sink into my seat knowing I am turning my life over to the driver. And however long it takes us to get from point A to point B, is how long it will take.

I just sit back and enjoy the ride.

The return trip, both times I made this transit, is a quiet ride. The “coming home.” People usually sit quietly, not necessarily listening to music or reading, but it is like, we all know, we are, “returning.” And this ride is almost silent, aside from the bus moving and creaking along.

Last fall, on the way home, we were rewarded for our silence. Because as we entered Downtown Montreal, on the highway, a bright, Rainbow stretched from one side of the city to the other. It was magnificent. Everyone on the bus was stunned by the beauty of God.

What do we do at meetings is, we learn to turn off the chatter in our heads. We learn how to sit still. We learn how to listen. And we learn how to communicate.

And one day, it will happen for you, when you sit in a room and you share from your heart, and someone walks up to you afterwards, and says, “what you said changed my life…”

In the rooms, we expect miracles, because where else can you go and witness the miraculous ?

 

 

 

 

Thursday: Dueling Dragons …

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It was a pleasantly BALMY day in Montreal today. This week, we saw temps that are darn right Springy … But we are warned that it won’t last, and that March is going to keep us in the cold for another month.

This week saw all kinds of change.

I live with competing dragons in my system. And either one can be in control, but not both at the same time. And one never knows who is in control until I drop labs. This round, my HIV is in good check but my Diabetes is all out of whack.

On Tuesday I went to clinic one for my lab drop session. Both brothers were in attendance, I got to kill two birds with one stone. The drawback is this, depending on who rules the roost, medication has to be adjusted, and you can’t adjust one side without adjusting the other accordingly.

Doctor Chris, over the years, has managed my medications very well. Because I’ve been testing drugs for him for many, many years. And if they work for me, (in our respective medical circle of drug testers), we are the main line to getting drugs approved in Canada on the whole. So what we do is very important for the community at large.

One by one, over the last five years, my twice a day drugs, have been dropped, opting for once a day dosing medication. But the Once a Day dosing takes time, because the new drugs in the pike were taking longer than usual to get to me, (read Us).

This week, new drugs came online finally. But, if you change one side of the equation, then you have to change the other in conjunction. HIV medications and Diabetes medications, don’t always work together. And I don’t know if one or the other is working well, without trial and error dosing.

If the trend drops either way, the HIV drugs come first.

If I don’t live, no other drug is going to make a difference. So Doctor Chris has to make sure that any new drug he gives me now, needs to plays nice with Diabetes drugs. This round, Diabetes lost.

A new Single dose HIV medication came online … EDURANT

Before I could take this pill, Doctor Chris had to make sure it would work with everything else I was taking already. It didn’t. Which meant my Diabetes drugs had to be tweaked.

Doctor George dropped my Janumet, because Metformin cancels out any good the Edurant will do. Which means I am down one Diabetes drug. And that was the end of that appointment.

Wednesday, I saw Doctor George at his clinic and along with his trial nurse, tried to figure out what they needed to do to make up the difference.

Three months ago, I went on Trulicity injections, once a week at a low dose. Now, it seems, that the low dose was not enough, because I am not managing well at all.

While they conferred together, I stepped on the scale and learned that I dropped ten pounds over the last six months. I knew something was up, when I put on a pair of hubby’s skinny jeans and they fit, WELL.

My Diabetes team upped my Trulicity to double the dose, weekly, along with Invokana, I have a bottle of Glyburide hanging in the wings if need be.

When I got home, I sat down with my nutritional map and planned another tweak to my diet, I am working to eliminate sugar intake at all levels. I put the new plan into action, and I have three months to see how all these changes work together.

If this series works, as it is hoped it will, I will manage both dragons better, and that is the plan. I can produce 1200 t-cells with my eyes closed. That is a given. I am over the ten year mark where my viral load is still undetectable.

Diabetes on the other hand is a capricious lady, who does not play well on the playground.

I have to test every other day to check my trends. I don’t have to prick myself every day any more. The Trulicity is a slow release, weekly dosage. Now that dosage is doubled, along with a moderated dietary plan, it should all work.

Now we dose for this observation period. And I hope to see further weight loss, and better numbers overall.

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Tonight’s take away … I would be ok, if everyone would just leave me alone.

How many of us got to this point before we stepped into the rooms.

Our speaker tonight got sober in December of 1994, the same year I got sober the first time, and I was reminded that had I stayed the first time, I would be 23 years sober now.

But that was not meant to be, and as he said to me, I had a hiccup.

 

 

 

Tight Rope Redux …

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Today is February 20, 2017 … And we revisit the stories in the back of the book. I wrote on this story back in May of 2016, the last time we crossed this story in reading.

This read comes, inside of a new group of people, in a new year, and the shares generated by this read were varied. There are a handful of LGBT folks in this meeting. Both men and women.

In the group, now, there are two of us who are HIV+.  I did not know this before. And after the meeting I spoke to my friend who has more than 35 years being POZ, from back in the First Gen of the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s.

He is heterosexual, and has a wife and children. And comes from the Old Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York Crowd. I am the other. I am Gay, and have lived with AIDS for more than 22 years now. I now have a new benchmark to aspire to. Because when I first moved to Montreal, when I met men who were sick, all I wanted to know from them was how did they get further up the road than I was at. They are all dead now.

I don’t know but a couple of people, over the years, who are like me.

And I said again tonight to a room full of heterosexual alcoholics, that I would gladly trade my medicine cabinet for theirs or give them sickness for a bit so they can understand what it is like to really suffer with an illness that has no cure. Which leads back to last night’s entry about Re-Orientation…

So I am sharing the post that I wrote more than a year ago, because it says everything that I wanted to talk about tonight. The sentiments I wrote about still exist today in our rooms here in Montreal. So you stay away from those sick meetings and abhorrent people.

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May 31, 2016 …

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 sole 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 ROOMS 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 had not been printed in the late 1990’s, and from what I remember, not many of those folks, had even the Big 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: IDEALISTIC MILLENNIAL MILLIONAIRE’S DISEASE IS FATAL !!!!

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All we have is this one life, and in the words of the Queen of Ireland …

This is the Big Show. There is no Dress Rehearsal. This is it …

We only get one shot at this life.

We are born, we grow up, are educated in whatever way that education comes, and we are turned loose on the world to make our marks, to get good jobs, have families, and later, children, and hopefully we make some money to live on, and also, to have a little to retire with as well.

We go into the world with our certain world views on ethics and work habits. The world is an unpredictable place, and nothing is ever a given.

Especially if you are addicted to one thing or another …

There is a certain millennial of my acquaintance. He is young and has a good job. But at age twenty-six, all he knows about life, is pounding himself into the ground, working like a madman, trying to make as much money as he can, so by the time he is thirty-five, he will have made enough money to retire on a yacht somewhere, other than in Montreal.

  • He overcompensates in the hopes that he is recognized as a hard worker, therefore, indispensable, and a secure employee.
  • He believes that overcompensation will get him the Golden Ticket and a Million dollars by age thirty-five.
  • He does not work nine to five .. but eight to seven-thirty. He does not see the world as his workmates do. He is focused on one point in time, “retirement at thirty-five.”

But as it went, he mentioned, in passing, that he was not feeling well, and had to see a specialist for a certain medical problem.

You could say that “A Yellow Sign” went up in front of him.

I just wonder, how many YELLOW SIGNS will have to go up, in front of him, hopefully keeping him from ever encountering a RED SIGN of Major Problems ???

We are worried that he is working himself into sickness. Because we know how he sees his job and the end point he desires, and wild horses will not keep him from victory.

Yes, we need a job, something to do, and money in the bank, BUT AT WHAT COST ???

I know, I have friends who are older than me, who have jobs. Some of them enjoy what they do, and work is enjoyable and fruitful. Others, work nine to five, stuck in a cubicle, never seeing the sun at all. They ride a bus for an hour to get into their city centers, they get up in the dark, go to work in the dark, and at the end of the day, they come home in the dark.

Miserable …

All this, in order to secure employment and some cash, but not much.

Some of us were educated in specific studies, that, in the end, did NOT translate into long-lasting, fruitful careers, and we were stuck with something we’d rather not do, but are forced into because of the economy or the lack of really good work opportunities, in our respective fields of study.

I’ve mentioned, in past entries, the concept of the DO OVER, we get when we get clean and sober. The world OUT THERE, does not know of this concept. Most men and women go into the world and they get stuck, in environments that might not be healthy or good for them, but they persist, because it is all they could get.

They might never ponder Re-Orientation.

How many of us go into life and get that really good job, from the get go ? And how many people, out there, get stuck in a life of ambiguity, having to settle for a barista job in a coffee shop, biding ones time, until that Parliament Hill Job opens up ???

Been here, seen it, recently celebrated the emergence out of ambiguity.

But my young millennial friend works with someone I know, who is concerned that our young man is going to kill himself for an ideal, that might not ever happen, because there are no givens in this life.

There is respect in serious work ethics. That young people go out into the world and find their place, in a good job, that PAYS. But At What Cost to their lives ?

I spoke tonight about this topic with a friend, who, like I said, is concerned.

He has, in the past, tried to talk to our young man, to no avail. Our young man is not interested in listening to reason or direction.

How do we help people when we see an opportunity to help them? How many people, really want our advice when it comes to wealth and power? Single focus idealism is good to a certain degree, I just don’t know many people, who came INTO money, coming from without.

I don’t know many successful money spinners that did not pay their dues, one way or another, or came from money so they really did not have to work very hard to get theirs.

In my life, I was a tornado spinning on a collision course with destiny. My aptitude to work hard, honestly, and with integrity was tossed into the trash when my alcoholism took over.

I did not know any better, nor did I really care, either way, where drugs and alcohol were concerned.

God had to throw a Very Big RED Stop Sign in front of me to STOP my forward momentum.

I needed a serious Re-Orientation. AIDS did that for me.

We don’t wish terrible circumstances to befall anyone we know, so that they Re-Orient.

But I wonder, if I could give you sickness for some time, or trade my medicine cabinet for yours, would YOU STOP and take stock and Re-Orient your life, in order to make a change that might really benefit you in the long run ?

God took me out of the world of dating, men and sex. Once and for all. Because that’s what my life turned into in the end.

It was good that I did have a job that paid, a roof over my head and a doctor and minimal drugs, when they counted, when I needed them. But that only lasted so long.

My Re-Orientation was not complete. And would not be complete until I moved to Montreal in 2002. In the end it was not until I hit my late forties that the process came to total fruition.

The possibility that we go into the world, and GET that really good job, that we ENJOY doing, beyond the simple paycheck to make ends meet are slim.

We know many people who are stuck, working jobs they hate and have no passion, because it is all they could get, and are doomed to sit in a cubicle forever …

The koan of “Find your passion, DO IT, money will FOLLOW” is a fallacy.

What a rude awakening that was.

I may not make money doing what I do today. Because I don’t.

But at this stage of my life, I am in a life situation where, I am provided for handsomely. Which frees me to do whatever I want, on a daily basis, because I want to, and not because I have to …

I’ve spent the past fifteen years in University, In the rooms of recovery, listening to people talk about their lives, and just HOW they worked out their Do Over’s.

I have hundreds of books in my library here at home that I have actually READ.

I have, almost fifty years of life experience to bank on and talk about.

I see people, out there, spinning aimlessly, without direction or thoughts to their futures beyond punching a clock, taking home a pittance, doing work they don’t enjoy.

I told my friend tonight what happened to me, in order for God to get me to Re-Orient.

That covenant between God and myself was still in action. A promise was made, long ago, and God needed my attention.

Failure was NOT an option.

Every man and woman out there, has a duty to serve their creator, whomever that creator is. We are duty bound to go into the world and make a difference, with honor and integrity.

And when we get the chance, we try to help our fellows, do the right thing, for the right reasons, and the right intentions.

What would it take for you to consider what you do for a living ?

  • Do you enjoy your job?
  • Do you make good money, Yes or No ?
  • Are you killing yourself trying to work yourself to death all for a paycheck ?
  • Is what you do Fulfilling to your spirit, Yes or No ?
  • If you had the opportunity to Re-Orient, would you ?
  • And if you could, what would you do with the rest of your earning capacity ?
  • What goals do you have for your future prosperity ? Are they attainable or not ?
  • And if they aren’t, how CAN you get there from here ?

Just a few question that came up in our discussion tonight.

You don’t have to settle for just punching a clock and killing yourself in order to retire in your thirties with all the money in the world, you believe you will make between now and then.

Idealistic Millennial Millionaire’s Disease is FATAL …

I don’t personally know any millionaires.

Most of my friends are just getting by, some are miserable, some are not. But it is all in the way you see the world, and how you approach personal success.

SOBERLY …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ottawa – The Nation’s Capitol

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It has been whirlwind weekend spent with Alexander in his new home town, Ottawa. I’ve been disconnected from the internet since Thursday. And I really did not miss it at all.

It was good to spend time with my best friend and see the city, in the Winter. He lives in the heart of The Village. Just blocks from Parliament Hill. He just landed a new job working on the Hill for an MP. We toured the neighborhood where he will be working. The building sits between the Canadian Supreme Court building and Parliament Hill. MP’s are spread over several buildings, because they are numerous, so they could not be located in One Building.

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Canada’s Supreme Court …

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This is the building Rafa will be working in very soon. Very Swanky !!! Next door to the Courthouse.

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon touring The Peace Tower and the Memorial Hall. We missed out on an English tour of The Hill, tickets were sold out. I’d never seen that part of Parliament Hill before. And I have a bunch of photos from the Tower, looking down over Quebec (Gatineau) and Ottawa Proper.

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I read “Shake Hands with the Devil,” written by Romeo Dallaire. It took me over a week to read. And while up the tower I took photos of places that he mentioned in the book. He was living on the Quebec Side, while in Ottawa, and several times in the story he crosses a certain bridge and finds himself in Confederation Park, where he finally hit his bottom, over a bottle of scotch.

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We then visited Memorial Hall, where the names of all the soldiers who have been killed in the service in Canada’s Military are inscribed.The room is quite magnificent, and holds a wealth of meaning to our country.

The last time I was in Ottawa, last Fall, we attended a multi-media presentation which was projected on the face of Parliament Hill, and tells the story of how Canada came to be and how Parliament Hill was built.

Yesterday, we got to see the Tower from the inside and hear the story told by a guard in the Hall. And she shared with us all the constituent pieces that make up the room, from the stones on the floor, to the conflicts carved on the walls, and the several Books of Remembrance, located all around the room.

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All of the soldiers who have died in the service of Canada, in all the conflicts over the decades, their names are written in Memorial Books. There are several. Every day at 11 a.m. the page of each book is turned by the keepers of the hall.

If you are family, of any soldier, in the books, you can communicate with Parliament, when your family members name appears on the page turned for that day. You can come to Memorial Hall and witness the page being turned, to pay respects to your honored dead.

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After our tour, we headed for the Rideau Canal, which runs through Ottawa from the Ottawa River, across the city. The river is frozen, and is the worlds biggest skating rink. There were hundreds of people skating all along the river, which we walked for quite a bit, on the ice.

It Was Cold !!!

By the time we finished our afternoon event, we pulled up to the Rideau Center Mall, for some rest, warmth and quiet. Sitting in the food court, which was unlike any I had ever seen before.

All in All we walked about 8 kilometers over the day, from beginning to end. We went back home to rest for a bit before we hit a Thursday Night meeting in Ottawa. On Friday night we hit another meeting in the neighborhood close to home. The meetings we hit were close and within walking distance. It was good to hit a meeting each night and meet other alcoholics in the city. We did some service, and found Rafa someone to work with, I hope.

We visited the Book Bazaar located just down Bank Street from home. This used book store was HUGE and covered two floors with books piled from floor to ceiling. We spent some time looking around and I picked up a couple of books. If we had more time, and serious amounts of money, one could do some serious damage in a shop like this.

After the meeting Friday night, we came home just knackered. So we all went to bed early, and slept in late this morning. Rafa treated Meg, and myself to a breakfast of champions, which was nice to break bread all together.

This afternoon, I went to play some Dungeons and Dragons with Alexander and his friends. We did not get very far, because I had to catch my Uber to the Bus Station around 2.

Our bus departed Ottawa at 3 p.m. stopping in Kirkland and at the Airport here in Montreal, before ending its run at the central bus station at Berri.

The trip out took four hours because we got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic because our major highway system is under construction and is all torn up as they rebuild the whole entire structure.

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Parliament Hill snowed under …