Saturday: Elder Speak …

Spencer 3

Elder Christensen, Right of frame.

Once again it looks like you are passing through rough water. I find it helpful sometimes when things like this happen to consider the destination. If the place I am going outweighs the pain, setbacks, and annoyances of the journey, then the trip is worth it.

I suppose what I am saying is take a moment perhaps to consider your goals. You recently hit a huge milestone in sobriety and in life, and now looking forward it might be a good idea to think about the big picture of who you want to be and what you want to accomplish.

When you have a vision for yourself, annoying and offensive people and situations cease to be worth your mental energy worrying about. Understand also that your experience will always set you apart from people who don’t get it yet. Sometimes a teachers greatest asset is being patient with stupidity.

kneel

If life gets too hard to stand, Kneel.

I talk to God, an awful lot. And I know this about God, that if I pray, and wisdom does not come to me personally, then I need to go out and listen to my friends talk.

Wisdom direct, is a vertical process, top – down.
Wisdom indirect, is a horizontal process – person to person.

They say, that our minds are not some place we should go often, or ALONE.

I sought spiritual advice last night at the meeting, from a man I trust with my troubles. Before I went to bed, I sought advice from one of my spiritual directors, who use to live here, but now is back in Provo, Utah, and Brigham Young University.

Thankfully we have a Google Hang Out tonight. And it’s General Conference Weekend in Salt Lake City, at the Temple. One of my favorite Speakers, Elder Robert D. Hales, has been admitted to hospital, at 85, he is not doing so well.

Last General Conference he gave a talk on Becoming a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I wept listening to his talk. He is involved with The First Quorum of the Seventy.

Last night, I scheduled off from my service commitment for next week, opting to see if I could get a reservation at my bed and Breakfast in Ottawa for Thanksgiving weekend next weekend.

Yes, Thanksgiving comes early in Canada. The second Sunday in October.

Then we hold our breaths because the Halloween shops opened over a month ago, to get a jump on business. And after Thanksgiving, it is a game to wait and see WHO puts up Christmas Decorations first, in the city malls and stores.

That usually does not take long at all.

Last year, the Pharmaprix we use regularly, started playing Christmas music in November, and people freaked out and went crazy.

It was obvious that they had to turn it off because of the backlash from customers.

I’ve decided to back off the meeting that is causing me strife. I don’t need the headache, and its not like I need to hit a meeting every night of the week. I’m far enough from the drink, but I know, that I am never far from a drink.

The length of my arm, so to speak.

Monday and Friday serve their purpose well. And I don’t have to sit in a room with people who are Spiritual Sand Paper.

You know what that feels like, “Sand paper on a baby’s ass ???”

God is listening. And I hear Him quite clearly.

The Spiritual Connection and the Spiritual Principles are there for a reason.

I know how to use them …

 

 

Friday: Liver, Lover, Lawyer

19029726_10155372118702731_359503408334335110_n

The weather has definitely changed. Temps have dropped ten degrees over the last two nights. We are sitting at 12 c right now.

It was a very tiring day. I’ve been in my head for days now, and I know tonight, that I have been renting space in my head to people who really do not matter to me, in the great scheme of all things sober.

The hamster was on the wheel all day today and most of last night.

The Lesson about Approval is sitting on my dashboard right now, and I know it because I spoke about it to the room. And the lesson is appropriate right now. But, not trusting my own head with what was inside of it, I talked to another long sober friend, who has known me since my first day of sobriety here. He comes to the Friday meeting, so it was good to speak to him.

In any ideal world, we’d all love each other and be best friends, and there would not be the drama and strife. But like I have been told already by a friend that:

The Fellowship is One BIG Hospital. And we are all not on the same floor.

It also was said tonight that, in many places, it is like being right back in High School, the way people treat each other and act in public.

I just know, right now that, I cannot stand sitting in a room full of people who do not matter to me. In the three meetings I do attend on a weekly basis, there are good people in each meeting. People who care about my welfare and well-being.

Save for that batch of really BAD APPLES.

The trick is sitting in that room, and going to the meeting for the reason it is intended, and not to go and let bad apples rattle my cage every week.

My Monday and Friday meetings are good meetings, with good people. Lots of newcomers and people I know.

I have time. A good chunk of time. And my friend tonight said to me that, I am a trusted custodian. That’s what people like us do now. We go, do some simple service, and then sit back, and let the newcomers run the show.

I am reminded that on Friday, that is where I shine the brightest. People know me, and they appreciate that I am devoted to that specific community. On Monday, I am also a trusted custodian. I can go and hang back. I don’t need to be on the front line at every meeting any longer.

Go where you are appreciated and stay away from places that you do not need to be.

I do my homework, every night. I do step work with people. I’ve completed a round of steps not long ago. The words that were spoken to me a long time ago still matter:

Just because people have TIME, does not necessarily mean that they are SOBER.

That is so fucking true right now.

I heard a comment from an out of Towner tonight. And that comment went along these lines …

There are three reasons why someone comes into the rooms:

  • Their LIVER
  • Their LOVER, or
  • Their LAWYER

We laughed out loud when it came out, because we’ve never heard this saying before.

The reading tonight spoke towards Humility and Principles.

There are things, suggestions, that we hear when we first come in. Over the years, now that I have time and experience to talk towards, we know those suggestions are true.

For example:

  • 90 meetings in 90 days ( if you have the time to do it )
  • No Relationships in the First Year
  • Service will keep you sober
  • Live – Easy – But – Think – First
  • If you put anything before you sobriety, you will Lose it
  • If you are getting sober for anyone else but yourself, you won’t stay sober
  • Sobriety has to be All About You, and not your Liver, Lover, or Lawyer
  • Yes, your liver is important, and your wife/husband/sig. other are important but
  • You can only get sober for you, and be able to make it work

I know what I should do. I got good advice from good friends who care about me.

This is what I need.

Not everybody in a room is going to like you, or has to like you. Sobriety ranges across the board. And long sober people don’t necessarily act sober or even think about it, because many of them are “socially connected” to each other, in the terms that some particular meetings, served by some old timers, is just a social club. And if you are not part of that social club, then they don’t pay you any mind, while you are there, and most definitely when they travel to other meetings to hear each other speak !

I do not need to seek approval or attention from people who won’t give it or pay it out.

Friday is still the BEST night of the week.

Thursday: It MUST be the GAY

FullSizeRender.jpg

When I moved to this city, I was the “new kid on the block.” I did not know anyone, but the friend I had come to visit, who would help me root and find a new home.

I was sober.

I hear my friends, my gay friends, tell their stories, and inside my heart breaks, because at some point, on my journey, I too, was once like they are today.

When I walked into the room, that would become sober central for me, I met women. A lot of women. Who were KIND to me. They offered me work to do, so that I would return the following week.

Over my sobriety, I have learned how to be kind to everybody.

I am, without fail, kind to everybody, gay or straight. I’ve not been unkind to anyone I know. I am observant, I am present, I listen, and I watch people. I know them.

There is NOT ONE gay member in this city, who wants to know anything I have to offer, even if I go out of my way to be present and to be KIND. I don’t understand.

REALLY !

On the flip side, my straight friends, are kind to me, in ways, others are not.

We all want to be seen, and heard. And to do that, requires a little bit of honesty.

Little by slowly, as we thaw out from disaster, and we find our chair, and we get comfortable IN that chair, we begin to find our voice.

Then it is all downhill from there …

I know what it is like to be shunned and be tossed out into the street, by people who should have known better. I know what it feels to not love myself, or to be kind to myself, or always beating myself up for one reason or another.

How it Works talks about learning how to be honest with one’s self.

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those people who do not recover are people who cannot or will not give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are CONSTITUTIONALLY INCAPABLE of being HONEST with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living that demands rigorous HONESTY.

Being kind, I think, over time, demands rigorous honesty, even when it hurts.

Over the last year, I have been through the most painful period in my sobriety. Something I have in common with who I heard speak tonight.

Some people get what they need, and others do not. Save, that over that worst year of my sober life, I kept going to meetings, and talking my head off, even if nobody wanted to do anything, because nobody did anything. But I kept showing up.

You’d think that the gay men and women, would rally round each other and support one another. Oddly, I have been kind to all of them, even though, my fellows cannot bring themselves to be kind in return.

I don’t know, it MUST be the gay. My kind of Gay.

I am the only SURVIVOR of the scourge of AIDS in this city. That makes me an outcast. However, gays, share many things in common. The same feelings, the same emotions, the same problems, and the same struggles. Been there, done that.

I’ve been nothing but kind to everyone. Always going out of my way to be supportive. And like I said, everything I have done in sobriety, is directly correlated, to what I saw, and what I see going on around me.

Sadly, how can you be sober, and NOT be honest with your peers ?

How can you not sit in rooms, night after night, week after week, month after month and year after year, and not collect tons of data on your friends, and when the time is right, to be able to walk up to someone and say … Get the Fuck Honest for God’s sake !

How to you carry the message, when folks don’t want to know what’s wrong or they don’t want your help ?

I met a newcomer the other night. Young, Gay, just moved to the city, needs someone to work with, needs to root, and find his way in …

I listened to him. And I spoke as well. I reached out – my phone has YET to RING, and after the meeting he was sitting a few rows behind me and I was like, HI !

Another gay, who I am overly critical about, because he is full of shit, I’ve spent the whole of HIS time in the rooms, trying to be his friend, and to help him, to no avail.

I write a lot. People do not like that I write A LOT. People do not like that I tell stories about the work I do, so brutally honest. People don’t want to be reminded about what they say, or what they do, in community.

How do you get sober, and not plan on doing any of the leg work to get there ?

I am back in the saddle next week. After taking a sober break from my Thursday meeting, because I pissed off a gay, because I told a story about his stupidity. Now we sit in the Thursday meeting together, mere feet apart, across the center aisle, and I know he has shit to say, and I have shit to say because I have worked on my script, every time I lay my head on my pillow at night.

And I know better.

I know that if I open my mouth, it ain’t gonna be sunshine and Jesus. If I shoot my mouth off, it won’t serve the greater good, nor move us toward God or goodness.

I know the difference between doing the Right thing for the Wrong reason, and, doing the Wrong thing for the Right reason. I know the difference between right and wrong, and good and evil.

The word Honesty came up several times tonight.

And I have been nothing but honest all the time. I’ve been brutally honest, even in my darkest hour, with people, whom I thought would stand with me and offer me something, ANYTHING.

Nope. Not Gonna Do It.

Fuck me for being honest.

I don’t know any other way to stay sober, but be honest in all my affairs.

Straight people are more at ease with me being honest, than Gay people.

Maybe it’s because I am older ? Fifty ? Sober ? Alive ? Honest ?

I don’t know, I just don’t get it.

I know what it is like to be fueled by alcohol and drugs, into doing things that when they were going on, seemed pleasant ? I followed the lie that alcohol was going to bring me Into Community and make it all work in my favor.

If someone will love me, then I don’t have to love myself, right ?

If love involves, self-denial, or actions that are below board, or pushing you to do something that you would not otherwise do when you were sober, is just WRONG.

How many times did I continually make that mistake ?

When I was tossed from that meeting, long ago and I went all out to find someone to love me, because I could not love myself, ALONE, I almost died in that Love Attempt.

Oh God, the things I did, in sobriety, that just fucked me up, because there was nobody who was there to say STOP for fuck’s sake.

When they tell us to STAY OUT of relationships in our first year, that is SOUND advice. I know, off the top of my head, how many of my friends ignored that little nugget of wisdom.

Nope, Not gonna do that …

I know, how many of my friends, are sunk in the “I cannot be alone, ergo, I am going to go find it, even if it comes between me and my sobriety.”

And I hear my friends struggle.

I know what it is like to put the RIGHT human, in the role of Higher Power – That definitely was Todd. Because when Todd stepped into my life, he was on a mission to save my life, and had I not done what he told me to do, I would be dead today.

I also know what it felt like to put the WRONG human in the role of higher power, when I did not know any better, IN sobriety. Oh the horror  !

I just know that I work my ass off to be the best human I can be. I have enough men and women in my circle who keep me honest and sober, in spite of myself. Not that I really have a problem with listening and taking advice. I would rather know what to do from long sober members, than trust what is in my head on any give day, which is why I go to certain meetings.

How difficult is it to be kind, even when it hurts ? Very difficult.

An observant alcoholic, who sees, listens and talks about what he sees, is a threat to people’s sobriety. I write here to help me, and maybe help You.

As long as I don’t mention names, I can carry the message outside that room.

I mean, why do we go to meetings, if we don’t bring home and unpack what we just heard, and use it to learn from, by writing it all down ?

I’ve been doing this the whole of my sobriety.

Honestly, I really cannot understand why honest kindness is so difficult.

Some people are sicker than others. And not everybody is going to want whatever sobriety you are peddling. That’s their loss not mine.

We are always moving towards greater complexity (read: God) and I practice being Godly and kind and honest. Some people just don’t see it that way.

Sobriety is Not Always Sunshine and Unicorns.

But I came to the point where I sat with God and I asked for my life to change. God did not disappoint. Hence the last year of my life was the WORST year of my sober life, yet to date.

It was Raw, Painful, Honest and Difficult.

Nobody came and sat with me. Nobody offered a word of hope or consolation. Nobody knew what to do with an overly emotional Gay.

What did I do ?

I kept going to meetings and I did service, like I was taught to do from the very beginning, and that kept me sober and sane. People were looking at me and measuring their words carefully. None of them offered anything but standard fare:

Keep coming back, It will get better, Do some service.

It would have been a lot easier if someone had sat down with me and showed me a game plan, alas, I had no playbook. No plan. I rode the wave as God bore it for me.

God was there, in the little things. And people now get what they get. Many don’t care, nor want to participate in my sobriety, in any capacity.

I have friends, who care. And for that I am grateful.

One friend in particular tonight, said as much.

Not Always Sunshine and Unicorns …

Wednesday: Playboy

19282317236

A Young Donald Trump on the cover of Playboy Magazine, 1990.

When my family moved into house number two, in Miami, when I was in second grade, it was a serious upgrade from our two bedroom duplex in Homestead Florida, where we first hit land when we moved from New Britain Connecticut to Florida, in the early 1970’s.

In 1992 – When Hurricane Andrew ran over Florida, Homestead Florida was wiped off the map. It was like a nuclear bomb had gone off and destroyed everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.

It took more than ten years to rebuild that city to what it is today.

Anyways …

My brother and I went to-day care after school for many years, until the day I staged a revolt in the bus taking us there, and I demanded our private bus driver to take me home. That day I got a key from my mother, and she went back to work, full-time, and I became my brother’s keeper for the rest of my life.

We were, what you could call, “Free Range” kids back then.

We knew how to go home alone after school, open and lock doors, in relative safety.

We had “neighbors” back then who paid attention to everyone else’s kids, because we usually wound up, in someones family room or back yard climbing trees and such.

I was more interested in family secrets. My brother did not like nor love me, because my father bred that kid to hate me from the word Go.

I spent every alone hour rifling through every little secret my parents had to themselves.

And I realized that what my parents SAID in the open and the Scripture they preached so vehemently, was NOT the same as what they did behind closed doors, namely, their bedroom door.

You would have thought my father had a Degree in Theology. The way he preached.

I HAVE DEGREES IN THEOLOGY AND WORLD RELIGIONS TODAY, IN FACT…

My parents lived a secret life, that nobody knew about, except me. However, I did overhear, one night, them discussing their sex life with the neighbors, whose daughter was a friend.

Back then, pornography was alive and well, (in the early 1970’s). It had been around a while, because my father had box upon box of porn stacked in a closet in the garage. Over the years, I did a lot of reading. I was in grade school. By the time I hit the sixth grade, I had already figured out what side my bread was buttered on.

I relate this story about Hugh Hefner.

There were, back in the hey day of the Great Miami Beach, big hotels, with huge chandeliers in their lobby’s, the family visit past time, was to drive up Ocean Drive, and Collins avenue, to peer inside those hotels as we drove by.

There was, also, a Playboy Dinner Club on Miami Beach.

My brother and I were so lucky one night, when my father took the family, my mother included, to have dinner in said “Playboy Club.” The women were beautiful, in their skimpy outfits with their bunny ears and powder puff tails. That’s about all I remember of that night.

I wasn’t interested in women.

My father’s reading habits were varied. For the rest of my years, through puberty, my father left pornography in the bathroom, where he would indulge.

They thought their secrets were safe, they weren’t.

I don’t think they really thought that their kids would indulge in a little smut every now and then while we contemplated our navels sitting on the toilet.

Never … Ever …

Along side the Reader’s Digest, was Playboy, Hustler and a little magazine called “Variations.” This happened to be my favorite smut. Because it included stories about men.

My father came home from the Viet Nam war, in the 1960’s with a skeleton. I was named after that skeleton, and for the rest of my life, my father abused me mercilessly, telling me that “I was a mistake and should never have been born,” even knowing that he had named me after a soldier he loved, who was killed in that war, and when he came home and had his first son, he named me after that soldier in honor of him, only to turn around and beat me senseless every chance he got.

My father, being the good father he thought he was, one night, took me to The 94th Aero Squadron restaurant, alongside the Miami International Airport, to give me my Birds and the Bees talk.

That restaurant still exists today. I have a link on my desktop to the webcam atop that building, to watch jet liners take off and land.

I was approaching puberty you see, and he thought it wise to give me a hand up, while with the other, He Beat and Abused me Severely.

The closer to homosexuality I got, the harder the beatings got as well. Because on the Down Low, he was reading Gay Porn, and I had come to believe that if it was good for my parents, then it was good for me. And if they could do something deviant, (I did not know what deviant meant back then) I could do something deviant too.

And everything would work out for me.

Well, it didn’t.

I had ample years to prune my puberty tree. I knew before I hit junior high that I was gay, but I had to “Play it Straight” for the cameras. Girlfriends, Prom, Dates, you get the picture.

I never once, openly admitted I was Gay. Not Once. I never said those words to my parents. But by the way my father abused me, and my mother allowed it to happen under her watch, they both knew, whether I said those words or not.

“Mom and Dad, I’m Gay.”

I think we can all agree, that every pubescent boy growing up from the early days of Playboy Magazine, till today, probably credits Hugh Hefner with their first orgasm, or quite possibly, their first wet dream.

There was, back in the day, a radio show, that I used to listen to late at night, on my little transistor radio, with the little single ear piece. Back then, on the radio, there were these, what I like to call, “Alternative Variations” on the dating game phone call in shows.

Back then, gay was done in secret, at night, under the cover of darkness, because God forbid, someone find out that you were gay, or that gay even existed, “In community!”

My father gave me the ammunition to build my secret life, that he was living. The same secret life, behind closed doors, and behind my mother’s back.

My father would never admit, to his grave, that he leaned Gay, while “Playing it Straight” for the cameras and the progeny he spawned.

When I hit twenty-one, my shrink, a friend of the family, had taken me aside and gave me some sage advice.

This is what he told me to do:

I want you to go to the local Gay Bar. Park the car, and go inside. Sit down on a stool and relax. Have a drink, hell, have two drinks, and see what happens. He also told me that alcohol was going to be the lubricant that was going to magically make me acceptable in the gay community of Miami. That was the WAY IN …

My alcoholism had already taken off by then. The first night, I was legal to drink, the race was on. And my alcoholism grew to steroid proportions.

os-parliament-house-sale-20150929

I moved to Orlando to be Gay because thats where every gay boy comes Out of the Closet and also, in Orlando, every gay boy worked at Disney World.

Which was TRUE.

My twenties, were a blur. Alcohol, Sex, Drugs, Irresponsibility …

Until the years that I began to work for Todd. A year before I was diagnosed with AIDS, 1993, through until Todd and Roy moved to San Francisco, in 1996.

I was twenty six when I was diagnosed with AIDS. My family did not want to have anything to do with me, and to this very day, they don’t have anything to do with me.

I got sober on August 23rd 1994. That lasted until my fourth year of sobriety.

I had a two-year window to learn everything that Todd would feed me, in learning how to survive AIDS, what to do in case of emergencies, and those PEARLS of wisdom he dropped into my life.

With Todd gone from my life, I could not keep it together. People in sobriety were very mean. When I spoke at that meeting at three years sober and was told by another alcoholic that “They did not condone people like me and that I needed to go away and not come back” my fate was sealed and my slip was not far off in the distance.

On my thirtieth birthday I legally changed both my first and last name.

EMANCIPATION…

In my thirty forth year, I moved from the United States to Canada, SOBER.

So here we are, mere weeks after my fiftieth birthday this past July …

On December the 9th, 2017, I will hit Sixteen years of Sobriety.

Hugh Hefner is dead. And Probably every boy with eyes to see, has probably, one time or another, thumbed through a Playboy magazine.

As Catholic as my parents were, and as staunchly, they believed that homosexuality was a sin, punishable by death, pornography was part of our house hold. My father left it out to be consumed. And I did.

I don’t know anything about my brother, save we grew up in the same house. He went on to marry and have three kids. And going on thirty years now, he’s never said a word to me edgewise. I don’t know him, nor his family.

And the last time I saw my mother, was on New Years Day 2001, in Miami Beach, for all of twenty minutes while my father waited for us to visit, while the car was running, parked in a fire zone, in front of the building I once lived in.

When I moved to Montreal, my mother cursed me saying that “If either one of them got sick and died, that nobody would call me nor tell me where they were buried.

I never spoke to my mother again, but three times, in the past sixteen years.

Last Summer, 2016, I called my mother to tell her that my cousin Carol had died.

Her response …

“You were a mistake and should never have been born.”

You know, at forty-nine years old, those words still stung. It took me months to get over hearing her say that to me AGAIN. Having heard those words come out of BOTH their mouths for the whole of my life.

That’s my truth about Hugh Hefner and Pornography.

Sunday: Visitations

189168_10150465006385354_4160211_n

My Memere, on Empress of the Seas. I guess I was around 22 years old. She is my memory and my spiritual angel.

It has long been known that several of us, in my family, are spiritually connected to the universe, and the Other Side. Over all my years, I have been the human, in my branch of the family, that receives visitations.

My cousin, Sandy, on my Aunt’s family branch is the other. My Uncle Guy, is clairvoyant and is a healer. I know this because of stories that my cousin told me over the past couple of years.

A few months ago, I had gotten to the Friday meeting early, and I set up the room, and went to sit on the stairs outside. It was sunny and breezy. There are century trees growing in the church yard all around St. Viateur church.

Birds are the vehicle which family returns to me. And on that particular evening, a red breasted robin came down from the tree tops and stood on the ground right where I was sitting. She came over and stared at me. And I knew in that moment, who it was. I was all alone, and there she was.

This afternoon, I was sitting at my desk doing some editing work and in my minds eye, I was sitting in my Memere’s car, as a younger version of me. (This memory actually did take place) and I gather, she needed me to remember it, right then in that moment.

It was like I was yanked out of my body as I was sitting here, and into her car.

(BAM !!!!) and there I was in the front seat with Memere at the wheel.

She was driving us to the home where my Pepere (grandfather) was living at that time. She had moved him from the home they shared, to a home, because he was just getting too old for her to properly care for him.

We drove up to the building and parked the car, and we walked into the hall, past the dining room and into Pepere’s room, which had a bed, a dresser, and a table. It was an incredibly vivid visual I was seeing, as if I were standing there myself, right then and there.

This kind of visual has been coming to me on and off for a little while. Last week I was sitting at my desk, sewing some garments that needed to be mended, and I was humming a song from The Little Mermaid, “Poor Unfortunate Souls” sung by Ursula the sea witch.

And I could see, in my minds eye, my step mom, Nancy. She was larger than life when i was a teen-ager. She would wear these really colorful MuMu’s around the house, and I could see and hear her walking around the family room, singing this song. It was so vivid. I dropped a note to her oldest daughter who I am still friends with.

After this little vision trip, I wrote to my aunt and asked her if the month of September or this weekend, for some reason is special for any reason in particular, and she wrote back to me that Pepere had died in the month of September. This was way back when I was a kid. Probably a teenager, because we went back to Connecticut for the funeral and my brother got drunk and sick on a bottle of cheap Blueberry Schnapps.

These little visual trips into the past usually happen when I am really not engaged with something really time consuming or difficult. Usually, when my mind is free to wander, or those on the other side can easily get my attention.

Now I am waiting on a response from my cousin about this little trip earlier today.

Hungry, Homeless, Drunk and High (2017 Edition)

IMG_0370

I am approaching, very soon, sixteen yeas of sobriety, in December. And Almost sixteen years living at this address. You will read below some dire statistics, if you read all the way down over years and years of this post being written organically.

Our Prime Minister, The Honorable Justin Trudeau, spoke at the United Nations the other day, and he spoke of Indigenous Peoples, and the fact that Canada, as a nation, has humiliated them for centuries.

Canada aims to make amends over the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Inquiry.

This topic is part of my life, on a daily basis.

And has been a part of my life, since the first meeting I ever attended here in Montreal, Easter of 2002.

Over the years, I have written pieces on our homeless populations, and how it was, when I first moved into this particular neighborhood and just how DIRE the situation was back in 2002.

Homelessness is a cause dear to my heart. I have written the Prime Minister about it several times over the years, and nobody seems to want to lend an ear to my musings about what we need to do for ALL of our Indigenous populations, nation wide.

My vision is wide-reaching and would see the multitude of Third World Communities, that exist, inside a First World Country, brought up to First world existences. Bringing safe drinking water, appropriate housing, connection to critical infrastructure akin to connecting communities to their closest big city, by location, and helping the multitudes of people who are STILL on the streets all over Canada, today.

Alas, my inane writings about hope and civilization are ignored at the highest levels.

But, let me tell you about my home, as it is today.

I am going to reference the neighborhood as it is today, because later on, down below, you will read, what it was like from the very beginning.

I live on the corner of Tupper street and Fort. A block off Ste. Catherine’s street, a tunnel walk to the Orange line south, three blocks to the green line and Atwater to the West, and another three block to another green line station, to the East.

There WAS a radio station across the street, they are now on the East end. The Battle-Net shop is gone, and a nail salon resides in its place.

The Sports bar, on the corner up the block has tripled in size, and the karaoke bar is shuttered and is in reno state. The Omer De Serres, was knocked down, and a fifteen story condo building went up and is still in build mode, completion was set back a year because of the Pit Excavation. But they are due to fully be operational in a few months time. The new Le Square condos went up adjacent to the park and is open for business.

The SAQ liquor store vacated the Forum for Le Square recently. The Pekarna pastry shop has been closed for some time, and walls went up inside for renovations that have yet to begin. The Tim Horton’s at The Forum is the only ground floor shop that really rocks around the clock as it is open 24/7. Then there is the theatre that has very little traffic.

Rumors abound as to what could be done with that building.

My hair dresser is located on the same block as the Seville, they opened a few months ago, and Alexis Nihon is in varying stages of renovations, as new stores are going in, old stores are being moved, inside, and the Canadian Tire is the Anchor store in the mall now.

We also have a Winners on the third floor and a brand new Marshall’s going in, in the fall, on the second floor, and the brand new iteration of the IGA grocery, that I shop at daily, along with the P&A Grocery up the block above Ste. Catherine’s street.

The Adonis grocery store at the Seville Project (Condos and store) are alive and humming. That is up the block, across the street from the Odeon Cinemas at the Old Forum.

The Provigo that I reference as the “Returns Grocery” no longer exists. The Toyota repair shop bought the old Provigo, as a car show room today.

Let me tell you how emotional we all were, the shoppers and the staff, as that store approached the close of business. Everybody was in tears for days. It was very sad indeed, however some of the old employees now work in other capacities IN the neighborhood.

So now all returns go to the IGA up at Alexis Nihon Plaza up the street.

The Children’s Hospital has been closed for some time, when the MUHC was built down at the Vendome Metro, a bit away from here, and is slated for demolition soon, to make way for a community project of housing, schools and day care.

Cabot Square, has come a LONG way from its dirty past. The park was resurfaced and the Vespasian Building in the park now serves Meals and Coffee to the Indigenous community that gathers IN the park today.

My Friend David, a sober member, who has been my friend for the whole of my sobriety, got sober, he is of indigenous background.

When he had some time under his belt, he joined the city in a project of renewal for our Indigenous community. He has an office IN the Vespasian building. He is IN the park during the mornings and he walks the city, with a group of others, who serve the populations needs.

The city invested A LOT of money in trying to help the community at large.

The Atwater Metro Kiosk that I mention in past writings has been shut down for some time. It is being rebuilt and reconfigured. The homeless populations that were once too numerous to help, have dropped considerably over the years.

Alas, some of the old faces and people I spoke about before, are STILL on the street. The squeegee kids are gone. The punk rockers are gone as well. Although the Homeless with Pets still exist.

There is one particular guy who has (I kid you not) a Saint Bernard. 

He sits in front of Alexis Nihon with his dog quite often. This has become the new rallying point for indigenous homeless. Some sit in the park, and some are violent and mouthy. There are occasional spats among families and couples. But for the most part the Cabot Square park is peaceful and has a peaceful air about it.

Cabot Square is the rallying point for indigenous affairs in this section of the city. They host events, music, food, and support for each other. When the park reopened to traffic, it was solely dedicated to our indigenous population.

With all available living space now converted into apartments and condos, there is nowhere local for indigenous populations to live, other than in homes of their own, or if they are on the street, (ON the Street, or in shelters).

David rally’s the troops. I provide everything that I can to his work, be it sober materials, referrals, or just help whenever he needs it, whenever he calls me, since I live just up the street. The people who need help go to him, then he sends them to me, in meetings to help try to get people sober.

Many of our indigenous women, who were numerous when I first got sober many years ago, are still sober to this day. They now work in their respective communities at all points North. Trying to bring a message of sober living to their respective communities.

So you can say, in 2017, life is MUCH better for everyone all around.

The neighborhood has been totally refurbished, new buildings have gone up and are now populated. The city has more than tripled occupancy in the area in the last five years.

With the demolition of the old Children’s Hospital and the eventual building of several condo and social housing units based on the family model, because there really is no family housing in this area other than smaller condos, the city hopes to bring families to this section of town, in the coming years, as space is provided for them to live.

Seven towers will go up. A school is to be built on the site. A park will be added with daycare and family and social space. This IS a daunting project, but when completed it will be the crown on Downtown West End Montreal.

There you have it. Hungry, Homeless, Drunk and High in 2017.

Now for a bit of history, you can read the journal as I saw it.

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

ALEXIS-NIHON-4_LORES2

I wrote this some time ago, well, a LONG time ago. July of 2007.

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

Since this writing took place, Cabot Square is now closed and fenced in. It is being re-purposed to reopen soon. The Children’s Hospital is slated for closure and demolition in 2017. It will become a great green space along with Cabot Square.

The area referenced the Stretch from our home towards Alexis Nihon, (the Old Seville Theatre) has been razed, and brand new condos were built on the site, which has rejuvenated this end of downtown. The Hotel du Fort, which was heavily populated by Indigenous people’s was sold and is being turned into condos, so there is no place to stay unless you are a tenant or a condo owner in this section of town.

The Sports Bar on the corner has more than tripled in size all the way down to the Karaoke Bar, which is mentioned here as well. The Old Omer De Sere’s building is slated for rebuilding into brand new High End Condos. Which is across the street from the New Seville Condos.

Starbucks and a brand new Adonis grocery store fronts the Seville complex, on the ground floor.

The entire area around Cabot Square is under renovations. And only a couple of defunct shops still remain from the past, still boarded up.

The AMC Theatres were bought out by Cineplex Odeon, Which now owns the old Forum. But all the downstairs shops, eateries, and Future Shop have all since closed and the ground floor is now dark and vacant. Which is a terrible blight on the Cineplex building.

Pekarna and Tim Hortons is the saving grace for the ground floor shops. They both do good business.

The city hired Reintegration teams and counselors that have been teamed up together with Native men and women to address the problems that this posts addresses in detail. It took almost a decade to see these changes come into effect.

The Homeless are still on the streets. ALL of the men who were homeless that I reference here, are still on the street today in 2014. Dans Le Rue still ministers to the street kids and the missions and homeless shelters are still full to bursting. Fall is coming and soon, Winter will follow. And the homeless will need all the help they can get. But the city has finally found the money, time and commitment to see our most needy on the street are found, named, repatriated and or resettled here.

The Can/Bottle exchange does very good business daily. I see the same men and women coming in with boatloads/shopping cart loads of cans and bottles, and the Provigo keeps up with them, especially when there is an event on the strip.

The angry, belligerent folks I also mention below are gone now. But only one remains. She wants money and will swear obscenities at you if you don’t give and I’ve told her so on several occasions. But life has toned down in as many years with what we used to see on a daily basis.

There is business to be had, and the owners of the many businesses that have opened on this end of the strip will NOT tolerate the homeless or the squatters on the sidewalks, which has facilitated the purchase of prime street frontage where massive terraces now sit for the season until winter when they roll them up until next year.

I still see the same poor folks out front of the grocery stores, but not so many young people much any more. But every now and then.

It works when we purchase already prepared food, and we feed the poor when we can. But it is still overwhelming because I would go broke if I did that every day. And we are not rich people.

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

Posted:July 25, 2007 … I was six years sober at the time of this writing.

I guess I am not a thinker, by the standards of some. There are blogs that I read that put my writing of certain subjects to shame. I cannot tell you of the forest or the trees, the birds or the animals, the rivers or the trails.

I don’t talk about heavy metal drinking and the stupid things I did the last weekend so that my friends can read just how much of an insane member of society that I really am. I have my own insanity in my sobriety. And just because I am sober, did not make it all better as I mentioned earlier tonight.

What can I tell you that would make you think? If you walk out the front doors of my building you face the BattleNet 24 Internet Gaming Station. They are always open and never close. There are three radio stations in the building that this cafe is located on the ground floor. The Towers, as I call it is a North – South facing building. We are an East – West facing building.

You cannot walk 50 paces in any direction from this building and NOT run into a busker looking for food, money and/or beer. There are two pubs located within 200 yards of our front door, and one karaoke bar with pool tables. Our Asian community loves karaoke. I live in what we call the Concordia ghetto area, since we are only a few blocks from campus.

There is an architecture museum across the street on Rene Levesque above the tunnel that I have visited before, when they had an open house and also they had a wonderful Expo ’67 exhibit on the anniversary.

There are 20 churches within walking distance of my home. Pentecostal, Evangelical, Catholic (French) and Catholic (English), Bethel Baptist and Franciscan friary that is due to be closed right around the corner from here.

Are you thinking yet? This will get your juices pumping… I wrote it some time ago on another blog I owned.

A fellow is dealing with the “homeless” factor in his ministry of life. And so I left him some words of advice, But I don’t know how else to tell you this, but share with you Montreal‘s daily ritual.

We have recycling posts (street collecting boxes – that have since been removed in opt for recycling in the stores primarily) all over the city where the homeless go and collect cans and bottles from these depots and they go to the grocery stores to exchange their “returnables” for more beer and wine money. They troll the kiosks and metro platforms and street garbage cans for returnable merchandise day and night. They ride the metro from one end of the city to the other every night. The stores will not sell beer and liquor after 11 pm to stem the problem. In Ontario you cannot buy liquor or beer on Sundays, but in Quebec you can.

So the tide of homeless drunks starts to rise as the stores open and they “stock up” for the morning. Downstairs on the corner (just outside) my front door they sit on the corner begging drugs and money. Out front of the grocery store and on every street corner and in the spaces in between, they sit like hookers who have claimed their spot on the sidewalk.

They are all over the place, “Literally!”

You cannot walk 50 feet in any direction in Downtown Montreal and not get begged for cash or food. Or smell POT in the air from the street kids!!! The kiosks are even worse.

One cannot get through the door without passing by someone sitting IN the doorway where you have to navigate around them, or find them sleeping, “Sprawled out” across the floor in doorways drunk and comatose!

They piss in the kiosks, they throw up on the floors, they beat each other up, and the men are “PIMPING” the women, so you see there is a whole “other” dynamic.

At night, as the evening “MEETINGS” commence they wait like buzzards for free coffee and what ever food is set out for the attendees. And they become belligerent and vocal and VIOLENT towards the people who want a cup of coffee and a cookie because that’s why we have coffee and cookies to help calm them down( the people in recovery).

We have decided not to engage the homeless any longer and the city-wide “homeless” directors (there are they in Montreal) men who run in homeless circles, powerless to affect change because people are set in their ways.

We have missions in town here that specialize in the feeding and housing of homeless people, every day and every night. The first problem is the sheer NUMBERS of homeless people who have migrated East from the west and up from the U.S. and down from the North, Yes, it IS a very sad reality.

There are natives who are stuck in the divide between their leaving their reservations for the bright big city, they don’t make it and end up hooking and begging in the park, they become addicted, well most are already addicted to something or other, when they get here, and they never return to their homes for fear of persecution and alienation, so they sit in the parks all day and night and troll the strip here in Downtown for cash. They are violent and painfully in trouble with each other.

Come sit in Cabot Square with me and watch. It is truly sad.

IN the WINTER when the temps drop to (-20 C ) and farther, the homeless think that they can sleep in the kiosks because of the warmth of the trains, think again. They lock the kiosks at night and the homeless end up on the streets in doorways and under bridges and such. The missions go out with buses trying to get them off the street before they freeze to death. Some don’t make it and invariably, we lose a number of homeless people each Winter.

It is a rude saying, but, If you feed a stray animal they will continue returning to eat as long as food is available. And you know what that means. You will be spending a lot of money on a problem that will not go away because of their lack of ability to get off the street and societies apathy to step up and help them as a community!

“Oh, but it’s NOT our problem!”

Yes it is and no it’s not.

By whatever default – people end up homeless out of one circumstance or another. NOW, the reality is, DO they want off the street, if you ask any of them here, they will say NO!! So they choose to stay on the street, when they know that help is available and rehabilitation is possible.

Most of our homeless population will not ask for help, (the natives by example). They are a sad lot. Drunk, Addicted, Violent and Doomed by Default. Montrealer’s are FED UP with the population of homeless who have overtaken the streets and green spaces and Metro Kiosks.

And the city does SQUAT!! They do nothing, they see nothing, they say nothing.

So what can we do as a religious body, to feed, clothe and assist the homeless, NOT Very Much.

It is a long-standing problem with no city-wide attention, as of yet. Most Christian people can talk the talk, but they cannot talk the talk and walk the walk for fear of being seen doing something that Jesus would have done, to go out on a Sunday and minister to the poor. Only one man I know did that from Dans le Rue – and he retired and moved away and someone else is taking care of his kids now.

Oh what would their friend and family say if they were seen cavorting with homeless people, God forbid they follow you home! or what happens if you get attacked by one on a bad day or night? Dealing with the homeless here is a dicey business, you never know when one will try to beat you up or stab you for some cash or drugs for their next fix. A homeless person is not above violence. Especially when it comes to jonesing off of drugs. That is for sure on any Saturday night or the full moon.

The “soup truck” cavorts through downtown daily feeding the multitude of young people who hang out at the Berri Metro selling drugs and hooking and such. It is very sad, that if you walk through the village on any corner at any time, they sit there, in their leather and spikes, boots and makeup, with their placards begging for food.

Some of our homeless populations are handicapped (in wheelchairs) and some of our young people have PETS!!! YES dogs and some have more than one.

SO it is not only a feed the human story, it is a

FEED THE PET AND THE HUMAN STORY!!!

How do we help them, well one at a time, rehabilitation is possible but at the end of the day it is useless. They stay on the streets because they know no different. The shelters and feeding stations are powerless and TOO POOR to feed the multitudes because the city won’t fund the missions and shelters. So individual churches go out and try to make a dent in the sea of the hungry and downtrodden, but alas, they are too numerous and we are too powerless to help so many who are in need.

The world’s poor, are rising in number and dying by the thousands daily in 3rd world and poorer countries, they are dying in the big cities, unnoticed by the daily hum and ritual of every day life and the business of work and survival.

Think before you put yourself out there and try to tackle a cities homeless problem, it takes a lot of work, money, food and prayer. And not to mention Fortitude. I am all for helping the homeless, but I know how to pick my battles wisely. I don’t mean to sound so discouraging, but this is the reality in my big city!!

No one is immune to the homeless – we are called to share and to give – but when is enough enough?? If I gave a quarter to every homeless person I saw on the street every day, I would have NO money to feed myself on a daily basis.

THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY OF THEM TO COUNT AND HELP!!

What the saddest fact is in the homeless populations here are the women who have young children, and are on the streets. Just at Cabot square, the mothers work the Upper kiosk at the top of the escalators, and their kids beg at the bottom of the escalators.

Junkie mothers with kids in tow, is terribly disturbing, Along with their “pimps” who abuse both the children and the mothers!!

What the fuck is that ??? And we are powerless to change them. Because they are stuck. There are NOT enough resources to help them off the street, get them into rehabs (waiting lists are 6 to 8 months in Quebec) and who is gonna take the children? Like family services has the ability to care for every homeless child and young person on the street? NO!!

There are natives from the many reservations and Inuit locales at all points North. They come to have their children cared for at the Children’s hospital right up the street from here. They pile out of vans, buses and cars. Some are transient and some are better off than others. When a native leaves their reservation in Quebec, it is every man and woman for themselves. Nobody gives a shit. And if they do not assimilate, they end up in a park and on the street, because they get “hooked on whatever” and they don’t repatriate.

There is – along Ste. Catherines Street, a city block long mural on the wood that barricades the burned out and empty buildings that LITTER the West end of Downtown like broken defunct sentinels of lore.

If you walk from here to Alexis Nihon Plaza, there are Inuit women who are vicious, belligerent, and sometimes violent. If you pass them by when they are drunk and high they swear obscenities at passersby.

They accost people for smokes and money. They are there, in the same spots day in day out… Because they have no place else to go. Cabot Square is the locale in my neighborhood where all native people’s gather.

It is a rallying point for the “troops” so to speak. I pass homeless kids in front of the grocery store and I buy them cooked and prepared foods from the deli. We don’t give the kids cash, but we feed them. But they choose to stay on the street, so what are we supposed to do?

We write about these issues and nothing gets done, and I am not a rich aristocrat with money who is sitting on the land on the West end, and developers have not been able to get the land released for development.

If it DID get released, we could clean up this end of the city and make it beautiful. But all we see when we walk down the street is hungry, homeless, drunk and high folk, and the burned out decrepit buildings that haven’t seen life in over a decade. The mayor does nothing…

Politics and Crime…

I could go on and on and on… But you get the picture.

If cities and local governments do nothing as they always have, this problem will continue. Until the Worlds governments take a BIG LONG LOOK at the homeless and hungry populations and they DO something concrete to stop it, we will be having this conversation until we all die.

This is a world-wide problem, and no you are not alone in your quest to be Jesus, but I know that Jesus is not a “half measure” kind of man, so pick your battles wisely. Mark Kelly from CBC News did a “Seven Series Report” here in Montreal on the homeless last Winter, did it do any good for the city? Not One Bit.

The shelters are still overflowing and they can’t help everyone that Montreal calls homeless and destitute. I know a man who comes to my meeting. He’s been in the program longer than I’ve been in Montreal (now almost 7 years) and he is homeless and prefers the shelter to a life. I look at him and he still doesn’t get it but who am I to judge?

Sometimes the disenfranchised are hopeless which is sad, because I have come so far in the last six years, but many are still where I found them so long ago.

Friday: Who’s in Charge ?

A.A. #3 Bill D.

People in our lives, exist in certain degrees of separation from our center orbit, or universe. Depending on who they are, their relation to you, or the level, of your friendship, we keep certain people close, while others, remain in an orbit, of our determination.

We sit in the center of our universe, but we are reminded that we are NOT the center of the universe. Our family and our friends orbit locally, close to us, or farther out.

I have experience.

Sixteen years of experience in the rooms, and Fifty years life experience on this planet. Fifty years of life is not something to sneeze at.

Fifty is A Lot of time. That’s fifty orbits around the sun. No Small Feat …

Coming into sobriety the first time, had its challenges. And every human being who stepped onto my life path, played a role. Whether that role was good or bad.

I’m really grateful that Todd was on my path, because if it were not for him, I would not be here right now. He saved my life, and set me up for life success.

That was No Small Feat Either.

When it came to the rooms, I could have done without them, because the messaging and the delivery folks, were less than supportive.

Yet, today, I can safely say, I learned from those people, just what NOT to do.

Today, I know, I am hypercritical.

I am very good at what I do. Because every human being I know, in the rooms today, has been part of who I have become. Every decision my friends made, every good piece of advice they spoke either to me or to a meeting, is part of who I am.

On the other hand, every stupid mistake they made, every bad piece of advice I listened to, or every action that flew counter to who they were, and who I am, played a role in who I am as well.

I talk about my friends. I may not tell you their names, but you get to hear my experience of what goes on around me. I can carry the message, and I DO that. Some people do not like that I tell stories about them. But if we do not learn from others and share those lessons, we are wasting valuable resources for sobriety.

It was good, back in the day at the S.O.B.E room, I did not have to do anything, but show up. People were good to me. They loved me. A handful of that original group of men and women are still part of my life, almost sixteen years later.

The Only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.

When I moved to Montreal, at five months sober, I walked into Tuesday Beginners, and I rooted there. I walked into a meeting hall, run by a gaggle of women.

Women rule the world. Just saying …

They told me what I needed to do. First things First.

They had a notebook, full of rules and regulations. This is 2002.

Before I could do anything substantial, I had to do service, for a certain period of time.

That meant Coffee, Chairs and Tables. Greeting and just Being PRESENT.

After a period of time, I was able to Chair the discussion meeting. Along with the sundry grunt work. After a year, I could chair the second Speaker meeting. Because how can you toss a newcomer into the chair of a speaker meeting, and THEY go out and find speakers for your meeting ??? That ain’t gonna happen.

You needed time in the room, around other alcoholics and some SOLID experience in sobriety, in order to serve at a greater capacity any room in the city.

That’s why GRUNT work is so very important.

WAX ON WAX OFF. PAINT THE FENCE, UP DOWN…

It took me TWELVE years to understand what it was that I HAD, in my bank, in order to begin giving it away. It took Bob from New York City, to come here and speak to a Round up, and give me the necessary tools to be able to know, with certainty, what the book says, why it works, and what I needed to do in order to give it away.

He taught me the Three, Seven, Eleven Shuffle …

Nobody, HERE, knew this. Because I had never heard those words from anyone in the rooms here, not even from the man I called my sponsor. Nor from the women getting sober around me either.

Over the years, from day one in Montreal until today, people have come and gone from my life, for one reason or another. A few, VERY FEW of those original folks that were there in the VERY beginning are still a part of my life today.

They either have moved away, or moved to another section of the city, OR I have outgrown their usefulness.

Outgrowing people is a common theme.

We must begin to understand that FIRST, alcoholics are HUMAN BEINGS.

None of us are perfect, by any stretch. NOBODY.

I’ve found, over my years, that people can only do so much for us. They only understand to the level of their own perceptions. Be they newcomers, Middle runners, or folks with Double Digit Sobriety.

I can look back at my years, and I know everyone who walked with me, a short time, or a long time.

And I know who is in the ARENA with me now.

Some chips are more front of mind than others. Some years are more prominent than others. A certain specific stages of my sobriety, I was HOMED in certain meetings, with certain members for a certain reason.

I HOMED at Tuesday Beginners for eleven years. I took my Ten Year Chip at Friday West End, because I was in that meeting to listen to OLD TIMERS with Serious Double Digit Sobriety.

Men and Women who knew the founders.

Yes, back then, there were old timers still alive, who knew the founders. Founder of the Program, in the States, and most importantly, Dave B, who founded A.A. in Quebec.

Eleven Through Fifteen I relocated to other meetings, for one reason or another.

They say,

“ALL YOU NEED IS A RESENTMENT AND A COFFEE POT TO OPEN A MEETING.”

IT ALSO TAKES, AT THE LEAST, $300.00 TO OPEN A MEETING.

Over my years, watching people, seeing what they do, listening to what they say, and then see how they treat people around them, have been lessons in action.

Do their actions agree with their sobriety ? Do they align ?

I was often reminded that “Just because people have TIME, does not necessarily mean that they are SOBER.”

This is the curse of sobriety. In my opinion. Like I said above, we are all Human Beings, and we are only capable, based on our abilities and our perceptions.

Heterosexuals are at a disadvantage working with a Homosexual.

People who are not GAY, cannot possibly identify with my particular story. Nor are they capable of stepping up and being present, accountable, reliable, and supportive.

Very few Gay men want to talk about AIDS, or FEELINGS, or EMOTIONS.

And very few Straight men wanted to walk with me through my minefield of cathartic emotional pain over the last two years.

Long Sober alcoholics with serious Double Digit Sobriety, failed me miserably.

Men and Women.

Like I said, people are only able, based on their abilities and perceptions.

NO TWO Men or Women are at the same place, on the sober spectrum, at the same time.

And a good long sober lady friend of mine, who is about to hit THIRTY YEARS, has said to me recently, that:

A.A. is One Big Hospital. But Not everybody is on the same floor. And when I have (when we have) a problem with someone else, then we must turn our selves to our own mirrors and look at ourselves, and see what needs to change in us.

Because we cannot change anyone else…

Our Leaders are but trusted servants. They Do Not Govern.

I learned all those years ago, how to DO GRUNT WORK.

We teach you how to do Grunt Work, from the very beginning. Because one day, YOU will become a trusted servant to a meeting, or your district, or your city, province, or country.

An Old Timer at our Friday meeting said this tonight …

Rooms just don’t open themselves. Coffee does not perk itself either. Literature does not magically appear from inter-group on its own. The chairs and table do not mysteriously appear set in place by themselves either. The treasury does not bank by itself.

Someone has to do the work.

If there was no one to open the door, make the coffee, set up and do all the GRUNT work, there would be no meetings.

In time, someone, in some meeting, is going to hand you a key and tell you, it is your job to make this particular meeting SING.

In my second year, of sobriety, I was handed the Key to Tuesday Beginners, and I had that key until I hit the twelve-year mark.

To this day, I have a church key on my key ring.

I am still doing service. But these days, All I do is show up and open the door, and make coffee. The rest of the GRUNT work is up to our newcomers on Friday Night.

People come into our lives, for a specific period of time.

It is wisdom that Family, Friends, Fellows, and Others, are not necessarily supposed to be with us for the whole of our lives.

People WILL COME and they WILL GO.

That is a fact of life.

People are human, and resentments can be very real, very raw, and very dividing.

It has been my experience, that there are sober members in the rooms, with serious double-digit sobriety, who want nothing to do with me because I have been critical about them in the past.

Gay men with serious double-digit sobriety, don’t want to know me either, because they cannot identify with my particular story, or my particular bent on sobriety, because at fifty, for me, I really don’t want to be like them, nor do I want what they have, certainly because of how they treat me in community, in front of everybody else.

I have my best friends. Those whom I cede authority. Those people who love me for who I am and what I am, flaws, warts and all.

People I trust have my best interests in mind. They will tell me when I need to stand down, and be quiet. When I need to listen, and when I really need to change.

Not every sober member in the rooms has that much authority in my life.

A very few select men and women hold that rank in my life.

Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.