Gym Journal 9 Jan 2019

After a leisurely lunch with a friend, I hit the gym for the first time today. Wasn’t quite sure where to begin. I scoped out the entire gym to look see what was going on. The gym is set in the Old Forum building, spanning two floors of West facing windows.

The Cardio space is on the first floor with the locker rooms. The weights are on the second floor, in separate rooms for bar bells and weight machines in the other.

I thought wise to get a lay of my abilities on Cardio today. So I found a lone treadmill and set up the mountain program and ran 4 miles. It came easily.

It is kind of intimidating lifting weight with other guys. But I have all the gear I need to lift and the Odyn fitness clothing we all spent inordinate amounts of money on, to look good in the gym.

There are specific fitness classes offered so I might do that over the next little while, while I get my feet wet.

The 8th day of the New Year

I’ve been sitting in a place of sadness for the past few days. But life had to go on. There were responsibilities to follow through with, and people who I needed to see, and meetings to hit.

Acceptance is the key to ALL of my problems. And moreover, “Nothing, Absolutely Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.”

Where ever you are, in the grand scheme of things, we are where we are supposed to be, at any given moment on the continuum.

My father has been dead, one calendar year, yesterday on the 7th. I have not heard from my mother, nor my brother, on this matter YET !

I feel insignificant. I feel like certain people in my nuclear family don’t even, under the pain of death, admit that I even exist, that my humanity does not even matter, nor makes a difference in this world.

I hit the meeting last night, (boy was it BITTERLY cold outside). And I shared on this topic. Today, I was feeling like shit, and I was up before dawn because my stomach was tossing and turning, so I got up and took something for it, and farted around here for a bit. I went and ran some errands, and spent the afternoon doing nothing special.

I had committed myself to a friend this evening. I knew I was supposed to hit a meeting, off schedule, because I wanted to see one of my friends. I took a shower and got dressed and hit the meeting.

The topic came from Page 417 … Everybody knows 417. That is the reading about Acceptance. And I said out loud, that I hate this passage, and I’ve hated this passage since the day I first got sober, because when I was at my worst, the old timers used to quote this page to me, ad nauseum.

I was like, Go Fuck Yourselves with this acceptance bullshit.

The book is correct, even when I want what I want. Just because we stop drinking and using, our minds still exist. Obsessions and feelings still remain. Some days are better than others. Today I was feeling insignificant. and I did not want to hit the meeting, but I made a promise to show up.

So I Showed Up !

And got bitch slapped in the process by the reading.

That nostalgic side of my brain goes into over drive during the holidays, because I want what I want, come hell or high water. But I know, I’ve always known, that I cannot control other people.

Evil exists. I know it exists.

And I know certain people would rather eat dirt than to allow me to speak my feelings to them. They will never acknowledge my existence, because if they did, they would have to allow me my voice, which they have shut down my light by turning off my light switch. Because that’s how they operate. I watched them do this to others as a kid and now they do it to me, because they are inherently EVIL !

On the way home, I went by the Econo Fitness gym, which is right up the street, and joined the gym. I bought the platinum plan which allows me to access any gym in the system city wide, so I can work out with friends in other gyms, within the gym system.

I called one of those friends on my walk home, and he reiterated to me that he cares, and his wife cares, and his family cares, and that people care that I exist. And that woe are those who cannot see how good a human being I am. Those words came from him, and not me, by the way.

I am the best I can be. I am kind and gracious. I help others. I go out of my way to be a good human citizen of my community. Not a day goes by, that I don’t do something good, because I can, not because I need to do something to make myself or my ego expand, exponentially.

I am a good human being. I am a good friend. A good sponsor. A good husband. And a good member of my city and my community here at home.

Sobriety does that to you eventually.

If you stay with us, it will be like having a gold quiver of bows on your back. And when a problem arises, you will be able to reach back into your quiver and select the right bow, and string it in your bow, and THWANG !!!! Always hit bullseye every time.

Lorna shared this story with us about when she got sober some 34 years ago. She was slipping and not sure she’d stay with us, and the above story was told to her, by her sponsor. And for Lorna, that was the hook.

I know what to do, even when I don’t want to do, what it is I am supposed to do. Those are called direct acts against my will.

The Next Right Thing …

3rd Day of the New Year

This is a happy photo. Spending time with my best friend and his girlfriend, in a place they love, together. It is important, now, more than ever, to make time for our friends, to be present for each other, without distractions.

Today was a busy day. We had chores to do, errands to run. Bills to pay, groceries to shop for and to do some much needed laundry.

There are many young people from far and wide whom I follow on Instagram. Many of them, serious influencers. Over the last little while, I’ve been considering my strengths and weaknesses. And just how much I can do physically, within my abilities.

Today I put my fitness plan into action. There is a gym, with full amenities right up the street, and they offer a wide range of classes, yoga, a thirty minute speed track workout program and many other appealing things, that I can do, every day, if I wanted to.

This was the sort of last box on my list of things to do, to build upon my medical good fortune. Being on a diet for so long and seeing physical results in real time, means that if I add a little activity in the gym, I will hit the goal I am planning on hitting, over the next year.

I’ve collected enough gym gear, in clothing, that I won’t have to repeat an outfit for more than a months time now. Tomorrow I receive a delivery of the latest Lithium line from Odyn. They are HOT !!!

I’ve talked to a few of our fitness trainers within our group over the last little while, in planning my fitness plan and setting some manageable and attainable goals. Slow and steady wins the race, so slow and steady will be the plan.

I think also this year, among my friend group, I would like to spend a greater amount of time being present and doing what I do best. Working with my friends. A little kindness goes a long way. It was a particularly tedious holiday for many, and now that that is over, after the hard work many of us employed to help those who found it difficult, to now, work at maintaining our kids.

They all know what to do now. Everybody seems to be in a good place, seeing that all of our kids survived another holiday season sober. Now we need to give them work to do, to step up their games, individually.

It does not take much to be present, so long as you put down your phone and say away from social media, as long as you can.

This is the year we all need to be good to ourselves. To listen to our bodies, and if need be, DIAL DOWN the gym and activity, because if we don’t listen to our bodies, it is to our own peril.

Make this the year of change. Good Change.

2019: Goals, I Don’t Want to become Old and Fat !!!

I know how people make New Year Resolutions, and though they might stick for a few weeks, in the end, resolutions become failures. I follow a particular gentleman who lives in Toronto and is a body builder. I want his body, but that is just impossible. Anyways, he posted the other day saying that he hoped that people in the gym system would be kind, respectful and tolerant of newbies in the gym, this New Year.

Like the Gym, the rooms get a bit more traffic come the new year, with people who either think they have a problem, or they come and deny they have a problem and just want to cut down, so to speak … They show up.

I’ve been on this Keto Diet for more than two years now. I’ve lost 50 pounds so far, and my tummy is beginning to disappear, ever so slowly. My friends over at Odyn are supportive and we all want the best for each other. The fitness Gods and Goddesses are role models for the rest of us, who want to not only dress the part, but actually Be The Part too.

I have a distaste for Old Gay Fat Men. I don’t want to get any older and also, I do not want to gain weight to make me Old, Gay and FAT ! UGH !!!

I am active, I walk a lot. I eat a healthy diet. I don’t eat junk food and I diet appropriately. I watch many of my friends I grew up with, and they have their fair share of medical problems. My approach to self care, differs from the way many of my friends self care. My friends struggle and I talk to them, but they don’t want to listen, nor take on board most of what I say, so I am talking to deaf ears.

Many of my friends have grown up, but more distressingly, they have grown OUT. I don’t want to grow out, any further than I have due to my own medical challenges. We tweak my drugs every so often, which then has a direct impact on my body both medically and physically.

A membership at the local gym is in the cards. This is not a resolution, per se, but a commitment to myself and my friends, that I want to step up my fitness game, not become a gym bunny, or some wanna be fit guy.

This is the real game. Not a dress rehearsal. I don’t want my fifties to be a DOWN THE HILL roll into old age. I don’t want to become a miserable old fat gay man. I just think old and fat is repulsive. It’s not a look I want for myself. Almost all of the hair on my head is still dark, however I have a wisp of grey, ala Jamie Curtis style.

This is the year to make change. Take care of yourself. Be good to yourself, and be fit, as you can. If you can move well, then make it work for you.

2019 The Blank Page Opens

New Years Eve began very early yesterday morning. The last chore to end the year was a visit to the General to drop labs for my January appointments. Killing two birds with one stone is my usual habit.

I was up at 5:45 in the morning, it was still dark outside, and it was also bitterly cold. Pondering the thought that a huge number of people would be at the lab before I got there, had me up a little earlier than usual, if only to beat the horde of people we usually see on any given morning at 6 a.m.

I got to my bus stop and there was no bus, and I was the only one waiting for said bus, at 6 a.m. The bus arrived a few minutes later, and only a handful of people got on. That boded well for the first trip of the day.

I got upstairs at 6:30 and there was nobody waiting. Not One Soul. I took my number, went outside for some air, and returned to the lab being open before 7. Which is highly unusual. I was the only one waiting, so I was the first person in the lab to make my drop. In all of ten minutes I was on my way home. It was still dark outside.

I waited longer for buses, in both directions, than I did waiting for the lab to open. I asked the lady at the desk what was up, because usually the place is crawling with people. And she told me that probably nobody thought the lab would be open this morning.

I got home with plenty of time to make some tea, and ring in the New Year in Sydney Australia at 8 a.m. EST. I posted those pics after the event, because I had screen grabbed a few shots live as they happened. I have to say that Sydney’s fireworks show was massive. Probably the best fireworks show I had ever seen. We have a Fireworks festival here in Montreal every summer. This mornings show was massive. There were fire barges all up the waterway from East to West, including all the fire power they put on the Harbor Bridge.

I have a web cam link to Sydney harbor and a dedicated channel that simulcasts the show direct from Sydney live, on a larger server with more band with than the simple cam channel I use. They cannot handle all of the massive traffic the show generates online.

Later in the morning, I got an email from ODYN.

I had ordered a new set from their latest collection of the Lithium line. On the right is the Lithium Triton top. I have a full Triton set coming. Via DHL Express, which should have them here by Thursday.

Their work times run 21 to 28 working days to sew each piece, and the whole crew has been waiting on their shipping confirmations as well. The Gods of Odyn sent us all shipping notices this morning. An entire batch of new clothes are winging their way to friends far and wide as we speak.

I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions, but I have two in mind at the moment. Both of which are possible and manageable. I made a commitment to my Odyn friends, and they are keeping me on point, so to speak.

I took a nap for the afternoon and then prepped for the New Year’s Eve meeting at our Monday location. The really Big New Year’s Eve young people’s party was last night, so attendance was a bit sparse, but we sat a good group. It was a fruitful discussion.

All of our folks had places to go that were safe and had no alcohol or the temptation to even ponder the thought. How can you compete with over a 1000 sober folks packed into a dance hall for the ball drop ?

As the night wore on the temps dropped lower than they were when I was outbound. And by the time I reached my final metro stop to walk home, it was snowing.

We had dinner, watched the ball drop in NYC had some bubly and called it a night. Well, I am still up at 3:30 a.m. UGH

Time for bed.

Happy New Year, you are looking at a blank page, what story will you write this year, it is your to make or break. This is the real deal, not a dress rehearsal, so make it good.

G’nite …

Year End Review 2018

Instead of writing an entire expose of the past year, I thought I would share the first thought that made it into print, the first entry of every month of 2018. A little retrospective, of course. Enjoy !!!

January 2018 …

In 1998, at four years sober, every man I knew, at that four year mark, walked out the doors and drank and used again. Including myself.

At that time, it was the messaging, that just solidified my decision to take my life back into my own hands and go out. When an alcoholic walks up to you and says Get Out and Don’t come back … what are you supposed to do, when you figure out, your options at that point are very slim, on the ground.

February 2018 …

I wrote this letter to my Spiritual Director the other night. It is pertinent to my life today, because it reflects my growth in certain areas of my life at the moment.

I hope that things have gotten a bit better than they were a few days ago. Sometimes it’s a bitch having to recite and accept those pesky slogans …

They might come in handy when necessary, but when they become prayer mantras, that’s the worst, because you know, you have to totally “Turn it over, right ?”

How many times had I heard, Stick with the Winners, and Stay until the Miracle happens, and This Too Shall Pass … UGH

March 2018 …

It has been a few days since my last update. It has been a busy time for everybody all around. We have a family wedding in May, it will be the first time, in many years that the entire family will be in the same location at the same time, to celebrate my niece Melissa and her husband to be, Stephan’s wedding.

We have watched our nieces and nephews grow up into fine young adults. And we spoil them whenever we get the chance. Holidays are always a big deal for our family. We will be traveling to Southern Ontario (on the train) a first for us.

In July, one of my guys, Juan is going to marry his fiancée Nadia, in a very intimate setting here in Montreal. We’ve been working very hard at keeping them “on the beam” so to speak. Juggling school, work, wedding preparations and life, is a tall order. But, like they say, “we have a program for that!”

April 1 2018 – Easter Sunday

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

John 20: 11-18

Now Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

May 2018 …

Two years ago, this very week, May 1st, 2016 to be exact, Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Western Canada was a tinder box, and went up in flames. We covered that tragedy here on the blog. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, thousands upon thousands of homes were burned to the ground.

But, resilient as people are, Fort McMurray is on the rebound as rebuilding has been going on since the all clear was sounded.

Seasonal changes have been occurring … This is fact.

Winters have been long and arduous. The snow pack is deep, again this year. Snow has been falling to the ground across Canada into the month of May this year. Here in Quebec, Winter went so long, we thought it would never end.

June 2018 …

Have you ever loved something so much, that you thought at one point, that you would do that thing for the rest of your life ? Climb the ladder of success, in a field/job, a sport, in music, or a trade ?

And what happens when you reach the point of success, let’s say, “going to an Olympics in Beijing as a Canadian athlete at the top of ones game.” And then having the tables turn on you, and that sport you loved, and gave it all of your heart and soul, and then that passion for the game DIES within, and alcohol becomes your best friend and companion.

July 2018 …

Staying the course, and always doing the next right thing, is good sound advice.

When the chatter in my head is running at fever pitch, and my emotions seem to rule every decision or thought at times, I know that I need to stop and take a break.

Read: I need to STOP and Pray !!!

Funny how things fall into my lap, when I most need them. Or, little signs from somewhere outside of myself, seem to appear, in front of me, at the oddest moments.

I have told the story about my I-Phones tendency to shuffle me a speaker, one speaker in particular, when I really need a talking to. It seems to know me better than I know myself at times, which begs the question … Are Our I-Phones sentient ???

August 2018 …

My birthday was the 31st of July. The morning of my birthday, when I got up and out of bed, I was still alive. I saw my doctor a couple of days before my birthday, and once again, I thanked him for keeping me alive another year.

This incarnation of my blog reached it’s First Anniversary. Thanks to cowards and their dishonesty. People would rather eat dirt, than be honest.

Without my doctor, where would I be right now ? I Don’t Know …

The people that mattered, celebrated my birthday, each in their own special ways.

September 2018 …

Summer is officially over. We did not Labor, over the Labor day weekend.

However good news did come.

October 2018 …

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond

Have you ever wondered, how did we get here? Where did we come from?  Why here and Why now? Why are some countries rich, and others poor? Why do human live where they live today, and where did the first peoples come from?

Being an avid reader poses challenges now and then. Picking up a substantive book, and reading it from cover to cover, requires time, treasure and commitment. I have several substantial books in my “read” library stack. It took me quite a while to consume Guns, Germs and Steel. Not only does this book require time and treasure, it demands of its reader, patience, understanding, and a desire to learn; something that I found, was enlightening and educational.

Jared Diamond begins some 13,000 years ago, when the world was first populated with hunter gatherers. The continents were finding their places, ice ages, came and went. And early humans, as archeologists have studied began to populate the earth. When oceans were shallower, and land bridges existed, in several locations on the earth, people moved here and there.

Indigenous peoples worldwide don’t garner very much respect from the conquering peoples who overtook them. There were multiple indigenous communities worldwide, before the proverbial “white man” came and either infected them with disease, enslaved them to serve, relegated them to reserves or killed them outright in wars and conquests.

This book is methodical in its approach to humanity. And in pain staking detail we learn what peoples lived in prehistory. We learn where they lived to begin with and where they moved, on the earth as time progresses.

We learn how advances in food production, disasters of germs and disease, and the advancing industrial revolution, where guns and steel overpower those who did not have them.

We learn that in historical times, conquest and war, dispensed with entire groups of people. You did not only get the peoples who took up conquest, but the people who suffered because of it. The people who were here, before we got here, grew into some, successful communities. In the end, those vibrant indigenous communities were laid wasted by diseases brought by the conquerors, and the wars perpetuated in the names of Kings, Queens or Country.

As the continents were solidified, where people lived either assisted their success or advanced their demise. Where you lived, in relation to the latitude of your environs, either helped you, or harmed you. The success of peoples, farming, livestock, and growth all depended greatly, on where you sat, on the earth, in terms of latitude and longitude.

The spread of all things necessary for life, worked well, in areas with an expansive East – West axes. Those countries with North – South, axes, did not fare so well, the population and spread of food, animals and technology flourished in the Eurasian, East West Expanse of location.

There is a direct correlation between the location of a people, and the environment they found themselves in. From the Equator, reaching either North or South, temperate regions flourished. Guns, Germs and Steel tells the story of how the world became what it has.

Time, Distance, Location and the problems associated with location either helped peoples grow and succeed, or they took much longer to achieve certain benchmarks in their human existence. All things moving East – West grew faster than those things moving North – South.

Time is measured in hundreds of years,  The movement of people, goods, animals, and agriculture took TIME. And it seems that in pre-history, time is a very important component in the building of peoples, world wide.

Jared Diamond spins a very intricate web of story telling about Time, Talent, and Treasure. How the world built itself, learned how to govern itself, farm the land, produce food, and be able to store that food over Time, and then industrialize, are very important factors in human existence.

Guns, Germs and Steel is not a simple story, it is complex on many levels and explains the difficulty early peoples faced, in maintaining a home, finding food to eat, and learning the hard way, especially, “what not to eat.”

Every continent on the earth has a particular Origin Story. Every peoples who populate the earth, where ever that may be, also have complex Origin Stories. This very complex but wonderful study of humanity is one of the best books I have ever read, on the subject of just How We Got Here !

How each continent and how each people on each continent arrived where they did, and prospered to the level they are at today is studied exhaustively in this text. The Origins of People, Language, Customs and Lives and how all these things moved from one area of the world to other areas of the world is fascinating.

No stone is left un-turned by page 444 …

Pulitzer Prize books must contain certain factors that I always look for, IF a particular book has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Because I have read a handful of winners, that turned out to be real losers.

Guns, Germs and Steel is a Winner !!!

Read This Book !

November 2018 …

I’ve been sitting on my thoughts over the last little while. Two things I try to avoid, discussion of Religion and politics. The world has so much going on, that I have opinions about, that sometimes, I think to myself, “why bother?”

December 2018 …

December 9th 2018 came and went without fanfare.

The phone only rang once all day. The Big Celebration will take place on Friday night, at our regular Friday Night meeting. It is our Anniversary Meeting/Christmas Party. And I will take my cake as well.

I’ve been trying to figure out where I sit in the grand scheme of things, a little drop in the Big Ocean of the Universe. I’ve not quite figured that out just yet, so I am still flying by the seat of my pants.

A while back I had a conversation with a friend who is at year seven in his transition, today. Back then, amid some strife in his life, I told him that “What people think of us is none of our business.”

Not long ago, while talking together he parroted back to me that phrase, but he could not place where he had originally heard it. And I said, “that was a sober thought, and it sounds like something I would have said to you in the past. So it went.

We talked about what he calls being “Emotionally Self Sufficient.” Not relying on others, judgments, critiques, support or not support for us, to dictate the men and women we become.

I don’t usually worry about what people think of me, on the whole. It used to bother me when people, in public would critique my outfits or judge me one way or another. I kind of grew out of that insanity. Albeit, the hard way.

It had to be purged amid a pass through my steps this past Fall.

The one thing that haunts me to this day is the nostalgic portion of my brain that gives credence to the thought that people would grow up and finally want to make peace, after a lifetime of vitriol and hatred. In the back of my head I believe that every human has One Redeeming Quality, that can overcome whatever hardness in their hearts, if only they would find it within themselves. Alas, that has not happened.

I really cannot stomach that there are people in my life who hate me and want nothing to do with me because I am Gay and that I chose to take hold of my life, and go my own way, and do my own thing, and I believe, I did a good job so far. Some people don’t get it, and fault me for leaving a nuclear unit to break out on my own. Let’s remember that these same people, pushed me away and out of that nuclear unit, because I was Gay.

So Fuck Me !

There are so many good things in my life today. Today was my Quit Day, smoking cigarettes. I’ve been on Chantix for more than a week now, and just crossed the second week dosing of higher doses of medication. Which has seriously curbed my desire to smoke. That is a thing.

Working with others has kept me busy and on point. Trying to be the best human I can, and teaching lessons to others, that I learned myself many, many years ago, today. Not too many people pay attention to my stories, but there are three men who will listen.

And when I say to them, TRUST ME … I know what I am talking about, because it comes from a place deep within my soul. From the man who saved my life, and said those words to me, when I needed to hear them, and I have survived more than twenty five years now.

Hindsight is truly a gift these days.

Christmas shopping is going on. I did the bulk of my shopping on Tuesday. I had to travel into the Village for some things. And the central village Metro Station is closed for renovations until next June 2019. So I had to figure out how to get out of our intermodal Berri Station, which houses several Metro lines on three levels, down into the ground. The main Montreal bus station and all associated towers and service offices. There are many ways out of the station, but if you take the wrong tower exit, you end up in a particularly “other” area of town that you actually wanted to end up in.

There is a little snow on the ground. It is unseasonably below average cold, but it should warm up into positive numbers come the weekend. Long range forecasts says that snow showers will fall on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We are hosting a Christmas Dinner party for a friend, his wife and her mom. Their Second Christmas dinner here at our house.

It will be grand.

All in all life is good. I am still sober. And all is well.