Thursday – If I sit down …

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Courtesy:Followeed

It is December and it has been one hell of a week so far. There is much to say, and there has been plenty of opportunity to speak words, or better yet, write them down. Tonight is that night.

Tuesday was December 1st, World AIDS Day. The yearly date when we honor all those who have died, and for those of us who survived that period of tragic times, we remember.

A particular story came to mind on Tuesday, that I thought about writing down “Again” but decided against it. Suffice to say that those of us who were diagnosed with AIDS or today, HIV, we go from Hero to Zero in no time flat.

Back in the day, AIDS was a death sentence. Today they call it a “manageable condition!” Every new diagnosis under ANY circumstances is very sad.

You would think, in today’s gay community, and for that matter, anywhere in the world, that an ounce of prevention would go a long way, yet there are those who continually decide to play Russian Roulette with their lives. Or are caught up in behavior that is detrimental.

One cannot claim ignorance about disease today.

There are still millions of reasons why we can’t stop marking this day, until a cure is found, that would be available to every single human being, to eradicate this scourge.

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Once again, now in the U.S., two deranged killers walked into a service center, and killed 14 people in cold blood, and injured many others.

This is just terrible. And there are not enough words to say that is going to make a hill of beans difference, to those who could do something, but they don’t. There aren’t enough prayers to be said, or vigils to attend that are going to change anything.

Sometimes it is well and good to just not say anything, because someone already has said what we are all thinking, and we are powerless to do a god damned thing.

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Sometime last weekend, I did something to my back. I am not sure what it was, or when it happened, but I have never felt the degree of pain I am feeling today, in all my life. My back is killing me, and I have resorted to taking pain killers just to be ambulatory.

Addicts and painkillers are not a good mix.

At least here, I can phone up my pharmacy and get over the counter medication. In many Canadian pharmacies, they keep assorted drugs behind the counter, so if you know this, that opens up treatment. I don’t need a script nor do I need to see my doctor, but I will see him on the tenth, if I survive that long …

This afternoon baby mama came over to use my computer and as we sat together, she remarked that etched on my face was the look of pain. I can sit down, but there is no guarantee that I will be able to get back up. During our visit, I had several Holy Shit, moments, where I thought I was going to pass out.

I have only so many pills left, before I need a doctors note, and it is the weekend, so no doctor till next week now. And I sure as shit ain’t going to no E.R. because I will sit there for hours and hours, um NO!

It has been rainy / cold the past few days. Rain, that falls in conjunction with below zero temps, means ice on sidewalks.

I half thought to stay home tonight, but decided to go to St. Matthias and hit a meeting. I left earlier than usual, because walking, reaching, bending and stooping is quite the task, which requires some serious deep breathing and equilibrium.

I got to the church and visited with friends before the meeting, and as a friend sat next to me, I had a Holy Shit moment, and I told her that if I sit down, for any amount of time, that I may not be able to get back up.

I waited until the seventh tradition was started and tried to get up, gritting my teeth, because I had to pee … That was a tedious moment for sure. I did get up, but it wasn’t pleasant.

It was a good meeting, nonetheless.

I was talking to my sponsor and a few friends on Tuesday night, and I was explaining that I was riding that “roller coaster of insanity” and what was going on in my head and they responded with, “yup, you are one of us …”

We pushed my cake back until the 20th, because next Sunday is early, and my anniversary falls on Wednesday the 9th. And superstition dictates that you never take a medallion early.

The 13th, is my sponsors Home Group Anniversary on the West End at Loyola. So He will be there, while I do service at my Sunday Home Group. Which leaves the 20th as the first Sunday we can both be in the same place at the same time.

What is good about living in Canada, is this … When shit goes down anywhere else, the media goes crazy. And for the most part, for what it is worth, Most shit going down elsewhere, has nothing to do with us, and when necessary, which is often, I can either turn the channel, shut down my computer, or turn the tv off …

There is so much tragedy. I can only take so much saturation about death and destruction, not to mention, Republican Presidential hopefuls.

I have little patience for crock of shit politics.

Thank God for cable t.v.

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … Cold with a chance of flurries

 

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It is Sunday, and this new interface is called “Calypso,” and I don’t like it at all. It is very wonky, and all JAVA, and is supposed to be better than sliced bread … Um, NO !

I want my old post editor back. Much more user friendly.

It is on the cold side, the past two nights. We saw flurries fall a couple of times today, but there is NO snow in the forecast in the next week.

It was an odd weekend. I saw the baby the other night, and she was sniffling and coughing. On Friday morning at approximately 5 a.m. i was hugging the bowl, sick as a dog for twelve hours.

I find that I am so thirsty for anything to drink, and I went to the store twice and spent $30.00 on drinkables, yet I could not quench that thirst, it was insane, not that I kept anything down enough to enjoy it. Hubby brought me meds after work, and I took them and was able to sleep until almost 11 p.m. because I was up so early and did not sleep all day long.

I had the funkiest dream … I was stuck in this warehouse of 70’s and 80’s stuff, like video games, toys and it got crazy when I was sitting in an old style Burger King, playing with toys and food. It just kept getting odder and odder, and it was never ending. Back in the day, I had specific toys, and things I liked. Roller skates, and Solid Gold on tv. It was just odd because I’ve never had visuals like this before.

Saturday, I had things to do, and responsibilities that I had to be present for, so there was no time to lay in bed and feel sick or sorry for myself. I had back to back meetings in another fellowship I belong to. During our two hour break between them, I had dinner with friends, down line, and we watched some John Oliver on You Tube.

We’ve been talking about rigorous honesty of late. It is funny, that the one section of my life that I wanted to forget and never talk about or mention to anyone, has become my greatest teacher, and brought me into the lives of men who have changed my life.

This morning, well, for a while now, I’ve been riding my pre-cake roller coaster, that 30 day period that comes before you take your anniversary cake, when your brain goes on overdrive, and one begins to obsess over needless and useless shit.

But this morning, I needed a brain drain, so I got up and opened a word document, and wrote my script for my share on my anniversary next Sunday. I had very specific things to say, so I wrote them down, so I would not fuck it up. It is going to be explosive.

Tonight we sat only a small number. Lots of people still out sick, and we did not empty the coffee urn once again. wasted coffee…

It was Tradition Night, and the eleventh month, means the eleventh tradition. Attraction rather than promotion. That topic of anonymity came up but not many people spoke towards it.

What I did have to say was that the first time I got sober, the room I was in was very nasty and not attractive at all, but that’s where I could hit a meeting, however harsh my peers were towards newcomers. That shitty experience, only added to my alienation from the program and my eventual slip. I had come in contact with enough assholes and homophobes that I was totally turned off with participation and sobriety.

The second time I came in, it was a whole other story. The right people showed up at the right moment, and were very good for me. And when I moved to Montreal, (read: No cell phones yet), I met great people who were attractive in many ways. They took me in and took care of me, and spent time with me, so I was not alone.

I remember one really fun memory… My sponsor at the time, Dave, took me to the mountain in the middle of the night, to climb.

There is a mountain in the middle of the city. There is a trail you can walk, up and down. But on this night, he said that we were going to climb to the top, up the side, and not use the trails. It was odd, but very fun. That was just one of the many attractive things that I did in early sobriety. The other was a few months in, 4 alcoholics climbed into a Toyota and drove all the way from Montreal to Nova Scotia on the Atlantic coast for some meetings, and a whale watching tour. That was 17 hours each way. It was fun but a bit irresponsible.

It was a good night. More to come, stay tuned…

Thursday … Bring Hope … Stepping up the Game

tumblr_ma62hlMxSo1rdkscno1_500 rthompson80Courtesy: R Thompson 80

It has been cold. Manageable cold. We are sitting at (-6c/-11c w.c.) Someone at our local news station tweeted that tonight it would be (-20c) overnight … She was wrong again !!!

The flu is going around. People are dropping like flies. Hubby came down with it late last week, and it was only a matter of time before my body gave in. It has been a slow grind this week, trying to fight the flu, yesterday I got up early and went to the pharmacy to get some flu medication, which I have tried not using, hoping my system would prevail.

That has not been the case.

I traveled to the meeting solo tonight, as my friend I usually travel with came down with the flu himself. They have been shifting all of our buses, and they have updated the schedules for Spring which came into effect yesterday. Our local 104,and 138 buses come and go on their own schedules, so I left early to make sure I would hit a bus, on schedule. I won …

It was a good showing. We got to hear someone who is not from our grouping. I’ve not seen him at any of my meetings around town, and it was the first time I’ve seen him around. Getting to hear folks who are not from the routine grouping is a treat.

When he finally hit the wall, and conceded defeat in a rehab here in the city, the first attempts at sobriety were marred by less than stellar people who really could not help him, nor understand how far down into hell he really got. (read: they were not alcoholics or drug addicts)

I don’t know how a psychologist or therapist who is neither, can offer experience, strength and hope to someone who is looking for just that … HOPE !!!

He made it eventually. And in April will have eight years.

I heard the words …”I was looking for hope”

I hope that for my friends, and my guys, that I offer them hope.

I saw my lady friend from the Sunday meeting, and I had a chance to talk to her tonight about how she was doing and how I could help her, we discussed how she was going to Step Up Her Game.

Everybody knows what to do. Well, at least most of us do.

Taking those most important steps, on one’s own, or even with a sponsor can be daunting.

I can’t sit back and hope that the local women will step up and do their jobs. Today I employ all my faculties and I take the time to talk to my lady friends, to help them stay sober, and to offer what I can to them, as often as I can.

I’m not a woman, but I do have the time banked.

I think it is better to be able to offer experience, strength and hope and DO IT, rather than watch folks slip through the cracks, and then out the door. If I can prevent that from happening, man or woman, I will do that today.

There is another lady friend who has gone MIA for more than two months, and I don’t have her number, but tonight I was able to find where she left it. I need to call her tomorrow, and see what’s up.

We see it all the time. Folks come in, they get the cloud, they start getting things back, and life picks up for them, and then all of a sudden they DISAPPEAR …

And I warned her and several other women who were in her shoes that I was concerned for their longevity, that all this early excitement and happiness would not last and that they needed to know the facts, and how to prevent falling off the cloud and going out the door, warning.

Some listened, others did not.

If I don’t step up who will ? My friends matter. All of them. Today I know the price too many pay and I would rather step up and do something first, because I can and I am able.

I have a message.

And that message matters to me and my life.

Our Madonna tickets came in the mail today. Something long term to be excited about.

Tonight, all of my friends are sober another night. Tomorrow we will gather at the Friday meeting.

The best day / night of the week, Friday North End English.

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … The Last Step, Music, and Everything Else

bs bees 2The B’s Bees … Live Concert Friday Night

Watching your friends grow up and become who they are meant to be, and having played a part in that upbringing, makes me a little proud. It takes a village, and on Friday night, the village showed up to celebrate one of our own, in his Album Release Party.

The little club called “Upstairs” not far from home, was a great experience. It probably seats no more than maybe a seventy five people at once, with the tables and bar area filled to capacity. We dined on good food, we had great conversation among friends, and we marveled in the brilliance that is the group of musicians who played new music for us.

My friends are not only smart, they are brilliant in their own ways. I am really proud to call them my friends. A good time was had by all.

This weekend marked another first for us. I haven’t been to a live concert since before moving to Montreal. On Saturday we scored tickets to Madonna’s next concert, “Rebel Heart,” which plays in September. Madonna is one of those artists that every gay man must see in their lifetime. Cher, Bette Midler, Barbra, and a few others are required attendance. I got to see Bette back in the late 90’s.

So that is a thing …

We are really enjoying our new HD experience. Our tv habits have changed slightly, seeing we have channels we did not have before the switch. But we need to amend our package to enable more channels that are closed at this time.

Mother Nature is not finished with the snow as of late. We got a brief taste of Spring last week with positive temps, over the weekend, temps dropped, and that’s not the only thing that dropped, we got about five inches of snow last night. Temps are going to dance above and below freezing this week. UGH … when will it finally end ???

I departed as usual, and had to stop for milk on the way out. Our groupies showed up for read and discussion prior to the meeting. We were missing a number of folks on the night. Some of my friends came out to the meeting, and I took notice of them when they showed up, because I had not seen some of them in some time. Once again, the adage proved true, that if people stop showing up, it is a foregone conclusion that they might drink again …

Tonight, that was definitely true.

It doesn’t take much. One momentary lapse, one moment of indecision, and a drink is close at hand, and that little voice says to us …”Aw, you’ve got this drinking thing licked … You don’t need those meetings any more …” How about another one for good measure ?

The whole idea of the Twelfth Step, from one of my friends, is to become a better person.

I was in the chair tonight, as our gal who usually fills that position was out, and I was elected chair for the evening. One must be graceful under pressure, as friends get up and take chips again, after a long period of sobriety.

We are finishing up the steps this week and next. Step Twelve is a twenty page read, so we did half tonight, and the rest next week. We did not quite get around the room.

When I think of Step Twelve, the first thought that came to mind as I was reading this portion of the read was the line from A Vision for You, that

“Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got !”

There was a good reason that for a long time, I went to meetings, and did service. But that’s all I was doing at that time. I needed someone to tell me what I needed to do to get into the game in a new way. I had to return to the basics. Read the Book, Say my Prayers, and Work Hard at the game of sobriety. Well it isn’t a game, it is a solution for living.

I did all those things that I was told to do, God took care of the rest.

I finally had ears to hear and eyes to see and words to share. That didn’t come over night. Working with others, in twelve step fashion, did not come overnight either. I needed a message within me in order to share the message with another human being.

It is one thing to hit a meeting and share inside of a discussion. This, yes, is also a form of twelve step work. This work is on a different scale than working one on one with one person at a time.

When God saw fit that I was ready to give it away, my guys began to show up in my life, in one way or another. For the first time I was confident in my words, and in what I knew, but that was just a start. Over the last year, I have worked on my words, and the way I relate to my guys.

Working with others is a twenty four hour a day job. When ever Where ever for however long.

When the phone rings, I answer it.

This Winter has again proved it’s not the BIG things that take us out, it is those LITTLE things that sneak up on us from underneath. This is called the broken shoelace syndrome.

It’s not the bitching partner, but the broken shoelace that takes us out …

The words … Constant Vigilance are so important.

I do what ever I can. But sometimes, even that isn’t enough.

So it falls to the words I use and how I use them that will either help or hinder.

I have to know how much of me to put forwards, and how little as well. I feel like, to explain it better, I must find that “tremulous balance of just enough and not too much.”

That perfect amount is not always possible. Which is why I must practice daily.

The more I work, and the better my practice, the easier the balance comes.

It isn’t all about me, and never usually is. I must decrease so that He may increase.

I’m a little grateful, a little proud. A little sad, but a bit relieved.

All of our folks are sober tonight. And that is a start for the week.

More to come, stay tuned …

Thursday … “It … Won’t … Come … OUT !!!! “

dentist-chair

Mother nature is fucking with us again… We went from PLUS 6c yesterday and last night, to a bitter – 6C today, with an 8c wind chill. She isn’t wanting to go quietly it seems…

You know, right away, that this might not go so well, if you are sitting in this chair yourself !

Yesterday, my day began with a trip to the dentist. A place, I know I must go to occasionally, and in the same breath, a place I loath with all of my being. Not knowing where the new office was, I had scouted it out on Google Maps the night prior. I was happy to know that the Metro, went right there, and it was a short walk down a hill, which meant, I didn’t have to ride a bus across town with all those people, pushing and shoving. Give me a Metro Any day…

I left with plenty of time to make my transit across three Metro lines, And I even got there early, that was a plus, since I was really hungry and there was a Micky D’s right up the block.

I ate …

I returned to the office, my dentist is a bright and cheery British woman, with great Chair Side Manner. I need that, because when I sit in the chair my anxiety level jumps about 300%.

Anytime a doctor has to stick a metal pick in my mouth, I get jumpy…

We started with a discussion about my teeth, and I needed to get some thing off my chest about them and what I thought was a serious problem, was not all that serious in reality.

But like we heard tonight at the meeting, “An alcoholics mind is someplace we should not go into alone…”

She was working with an assistant. And protocol for a patient like me is “Moon Suits, Masks and Double Gloves …”  You get used to that over time.

She gave me some topical and we waited, then she stuck that inordinately LARGE needle in my mouth, which sent me skyward at one point. Right out of the chair …

A little while later, probably laughing to herself, she grabbed a pick and started tugging at my broken tooth. She said …”You’ll feel a little PRESSURE !!!”

NO SHIT Sherlock !!!

It wasn’t going without a fight. A little tugging, turned into a LOT of tugging, she moved from the pick to a pair of pliers, and the tooth was firmly in my jaw, she would later tell me that I have great bones in my head …

Now she is tugging away, and it ain’t coming out. She gets to her feet and is tugging back and forth, imagine my head going to and fro and from side to side, as she wrestled the tooth out of my mouth.

It did not go quietly.

My gums and my mouth hurt like a bitch a day later …

She sewed the hole left by the missing tooth, closed and she briefed me as where she wanted to go next, in my toothy adventure.

I did not commit to a next appointment.

Dinner last night was a fiasco. I’ve never had a problem eating before. I had a problem.

I have four days of antibiotics to take and Advil for the pain. You never imagine that trying to tug a tooth out of a mouth can cause all kinds of ancillary problems, at the rate she was tugging and pulling she was totally killing my mouth.

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Today was an exciting day. I started out for the grocery store, and the mail came really early today, and I walked into the office to ask the manager to look out for a delivery, and as I crossed the doorway, there was a HUGE box waiting for me.

I took it upstairs and returned to my shopping trip before I took care of the delivery.

I had an HD box, in a box, I had an HD TV in a box, and a monstrosity of a tv to get out of the way in order to set up said HD goodness. Thank God the old tv is on a table top with legs, because I was able to carefully walk it out of its spot to another spot in the living room, out of the way.

It weighs more than a handful of small children !!!

Very carefully, I unpacked everything, had my tools ready, “some assembly required!!!”

The HD box runs off of a computer link from the box to the tv. And cable comes from the wall to the tv, and the hd cable from the box to the tv. I am very glad that a kind man at Videotron was able to walk me through installation and programming the system remotely.

They had to turn on the box and then reprogram it when I could not get the damned remote to do what I wanted it to do which needed a box reboot.

But the nice man got me up and running.

The living room is two thirds complete. New furniture, New TV, all that is missing are some window treatments, and the build will be complete.

I wish the provincial tax man would do his job, sooner than later.

There are two tax men. The Government tax man and the Provincial tax man. We get hit twice every year, but at the same time, as of this year, we actually get something back.

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

This evening we hit a meeting. And one of my friends, who is 32 years sober spoke.

I’ve known her all my sober life. She comes to my meeting on Tuesday. She is crazy as a loon, like my sponsor is, (he’s got 31 years now) but they are both good people.

“A.A. is in the business of communication she said.”

“A.A. is also in the business of perspective”

She sticks to basic teachings. Home Group, Sponsors, Meetings.

I forgot one MAJOR component … PRAY like MAD !!!

She lamented that some people with LONG time sobriety stop coming, because they believe they have learned all they need to learn and they are reaping their rewards now…

She also reminds me why she, at more than thirty years, keeps coming back, is to remember why she comes, to know what happens to people who stop coming all together…

They go back out and drink, well, some of them do.

Just because you take the alcohol away, doesn’t cure us of what the problem is. We move from having a drinking problem, to having a thinking problem.

An alcoholics mind is not a place we should ever go into alone.

Even long sober people get into the funk. As has happened to our woman. She was married to a sainted A.A. member who had panache and class. He adored her and doted on her and they had a long life together, until his death three years ago.

Sober people mourn, and sometimes that can get very difficult. Especially when you are in the middle of the darkness. But she did what she learned to do, all those years prior. She called her sponsor, she went to meetings, she worked with other women.

They kept her sober and she stayed sober.

i want to be like her, and for that matter, be like my sponsor, one day, when I get to the BIG double digits. Not that I might live that long, because I am on serious borrowed time already.

That’s the story …

Tomorrow we are skipping the Friday meeting to go to a concert, where one of my guys is playing in his band. Very exciting…

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … “Thy Will Not Mine Be Done”

indian thought

It is getting warmer. This week we will see positive temps all week long. We are hopeful, that we’ve seen the last of snowfall, and sub zero temps, for the season.

After last night’s adventure in building furniture, I am mentally exhausted. But we must get on with the things we need to do, because that is what we do. Last night, before I went to bed, I set the clocks forward, so in a matter of minutes, I lost an hour, and went to bed at 3 a.m.

I had obligations to my guys today, and I could not just, “take a day off.” I got to the church on time, having taken my sweet time to transit the tunnel. We sat a large group tonight. We were reading Step Eleven, and it is quite a long read, that went all the way around the room.

The St. Francis Prayer is part of this read. I had the blessed opportunity, back in October, to visit Bill’s home, and also to visit his grave, along side Lois, his wife. While we were there we shared with a group of women doing the same visit. And we closed our visit, with the St. Francis prayer, holding hands, standing on the spot where Bill W. is buried.

This prayer has a very special meaning in my heart because of where it has appeared in my sober life, and who I was with and where I was at the time. I have that prayer card, I got from one of those visiting women, in my Big Book. It is one of my most treasured possessions.

With the read completed, the same thought ran through the room, that:

Prayer, is the action of asking from God, and Meditation, is waiting for the answer.

In our busy lives, how many of us, take the time to sit still and listen? I’ve said before that I don’t hear God’s voice directly, He hasn’t stepped out of heaven and addressed me personally. But there was a time, when I walked with God, together, on this earth. I truly believe that during that period of time, God manifested Himself in a human being, for my benefit, and also for the benefit of all the men who lived and worked under that umbrella.

If God is going to speak to us, that communication is going to come from someone very close to us. It will come from a voice we recognize, and when we least expect it. We might say a prayer, and then hit a meeting, and as usually happens, an answer will come, if we are listening for it.

Hindsight is very useful, as we read this step tonight. I can see ways I employed the practice of prayer and meditation. When I got sick, I must have prayed, because God then appeared, in the guise of a man who would save my life. Was I lucky, or was I just in the right place at the right time?

The practice of coming to work, and leaving my life outside the building, and only having to think about what I had to do on any given night, was difficult at first, but I grew into it. The whole, “turning ones mind off of him/her self, to something higher” is the whole idea behind meditation.

I got to practice turning off my head. And it worked.

Today, my brain, is not a place I like to go alone. Sometimes it takes a lot of work, to shut it off. When I want to get still and quiet, that is when my brain goes on overdrive, because I have either started my day in quiet, or I end the day with quiet, and my brain says,

“Oh, undivided attention … Let’s Get It On !!!”

Prayer and meditation comes when I need it most. I have prayers scattered about my apartment that remind me that I can pray at any time during the day or night. I get on my knees during my day. I have to consciously practice gratitude, because I don’t necessarily think about it. I take it as given, which I think is the wrong attitude to have.

I talked about luck with a friend of mine.

Does God direct luck or does luck exist independently of God?

I have been in the right place at the right time, but I have also been at the wrong place at the wrong time as well. Am I lucky to be alive and sober? Was that luck, or divine intervention? Can I attribute survival and sobriety to living well, taking my pills, doing the right thing?

When my eyes are on the Prize (read: God), I am the luckiest man in my life. I don’t necessarily call this luck, I call it having a connection with the God of my understanding. It is historical fact that, when I turn my eyes away from the prize (read: God) I fall into disaster, and really bad luck. Every Time.

Living well past my due date, has been practicing mindful survival. Every day I stand in front of my medicine cabinet, as I pop my pills, I am medicating my body, nourishing my soul, and at the same time, I am asking for another day. This is an entirely silent process. And sometimes I am not even aware of the three fold action. I kind of forget gratitude, and take being alive for granted.

In that I mean, Thank you rolls off my lips at the end of every day, and not when I am in the medicine cabinet. Since learning how to pray actively, and meditate daily, part of my brain is always connected to that higher power. And sometimes, it even acts in my best interest, when I need to stop and breathe.

That happened last night, as I was assembling our coffee table.

In the moment that I wanted to hurl the screw driver across the room, I had momentary blinks of the thought that I need to take a moment, and center. and breathe, before I shot off my mouth.

it was an automatic action that came from within, my brain on auto pilot.

I don’t know what God’s will is for me or my friends. I just do what I do every day, without fail, I follow the same ritual daily. I hit the same meetings, I call my sponsor every day, I speak to my guys, every day, and I do the right thing, as often as I can.

This is conscious active work – every day – without fail.

Sometimes I think about God, and last night, I said to my friend that I seem to have God’s favor, because my life is full, I have everything that I need, and I am satisfied with having enough, I don’t always think that I am worthy of God’s favor, what ever that favor is ?

I just do my days. like I have been doing my days, for the last twenty odd years now.

And it seems to work. Why is that ?

Many of us have to take medication for one reason or another. And I firmly believe that a drug is only as good, as the positive thought you put behind that pill you take. It is akin to prayer. I will take my pills and I will (WILL) those pills to do their job, every day, with all the positive energy I can throw at them from within.

Let me tell you that that took decades to learn about.

Let me tell you that there is IMMENSE POWER in Negative thinking. Negative thinking will kill you. It almost killed me. But I was taught how to turn negative thinking and negative thoughts, into Positive Power to change my life. So add all that shitty negative thought, and turn that into powerful positive thought, you have a double whammy, Total Positive thought Bomb.

It changed my life, and it can change your life as well.

Living life is a full time job, and needs all the help it can get, because of my certain disabilities and medical issues, and add to that recovery. If I sink into the morass of self pity, doubt or any of the plethora of negative self talk I can do, I am a dead man.

I still do not know, and I have asked God this question over the years, “Why did I live, and all of my friends died?” Why did you choose me, and not them? Why did they not get a fighting chance like I did? Was I in the right place at the right time, with someone to take care of me and give me a chance as I had?

At that time, everyone was begging for one more day. My friends didn’t get them, like I did. Why? Was God there? Why am I still here and they are not? These unanswerable questions haunt me, and I think about them often. But there are no answers. All I know is that I survived.

You can’t do without prayer and meditation, just like you can’t do without air, water or food.

I’ve learned how to pray, and I know how to listen. And I take the time to sit and listen.

That is grace.

I am so grateful that I am satisfied with having enough. And not having all the answers. If I had them, I would be God, and I am surely Not God.

More to come, stay tuned …

Thursday … It Is COLD !!! … If You are Breathing, You have a Chance …

tumblr_lm5d60Hzy01qzhzruo1_500 flickr jamesclearCourtesy: James Clear Flickr

Boy, is it FRIGID outside tonight. We are sitting at (-15c/-21c w.c.). We got a little snow, and city workers, are tonight, hurriedly trying to clear snow from the streets. There is good news coming in the way of positive numbers beginning on Sunday with a trend moving from Zero to plus (+7c) by Wednesday next week.

That warmth cannot come sooner, as February was the coldest month on record here in the city.

Yesterday I welcomed a friend back from the U.S., the long nightmare that was Pittsburgh is over.

We had lunch, did some shopping, and sorted out various things that he needed to do so that he can reconnect with the community here. I had not been to the core malls in some time, so while we were there yesterday, we happened into Indigo Book sellers. and I invested in the next two books by Kathy Reichs, in the Temperance Brennan series, and last night, I could not get to bed early enough to start reading them.

Today was quiet. I was sleeping, and at one point, the same dream scene kept repeating itself over and over again, so I knew it was time to get out of bed, to try and reset the cycle. As I can only sit so long in front of this box, I spent some time surfing and stuff like that, and when I completed my circuit, I had two hours before I needed to get ready to go… I went back to bed for a short run.

Winter has not been kind to our folks. They are choosing to stay home, instead of venturing out in this frigid weather. I’ve been noting as well, some of our old timers have been MIA for a while. Which is out of character for some of them.

One of those men, returned to the fold this evening. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and I was starting to worry about him. Weren’t we all surprised when he got up there and spoke.

My friend has a number of years in, twenty seven to be exact.

For a while now, having listened to old timers talk and share at meetings, I know some things about them. Each of them approach the program differently. No two of them do it the same way, and I’ve written here, recently about folks who are just comfortable to warm a chair and occupy space.

If you hit enough meetings, and listen well, you sometimes get nuggets of wisdom, here and there.

I’ve talked to my friend who spoke tonight, in great depth over the months that have passed, and asked him why some folks, have put down their roots and roost where they are, and others keep to the notion that there is always something new to learn, and if you have the time to invest, they why not do that ?

While we were out there, most people have experiences of certain individuals who step in and stop us in our tracks which begins the slow grind out of hell, into life. As was the case for my friend.

He was working in a hospital, barely hanging on to life, trying to dry out after another ritual alcohol infused dance with massive amounts of cocaine trip. He was ordered to get a medical check up by his boss. So he goes to this office and sits down, as the doctor has his back to him. He, “the doctor” turns around and looks at my friend squarely and without skipping a beat says quite bluntly …

“Alcohol and Cocaine huh !!! ” Exclamation point …

He had not set eyes on my friend, nor knew his state. But he pegged him substance for substance.

That doctor knew him and began to sort him out and get him help.

The doctor tells him emphatically …

“You go and talk to this guy, do it now, Do it now, DO IT NOW !!!”

In a few months time, and after a few ins and outs, the miracle happened.

  • The admission of powerlessness over his chosen substances
  • The realization that there was a kernel of faith inside of him from his childhood
  • And that that Power Greater than himself could actually help him

This was another example that most of us are either born into – or are educated in, some kind of faith background. And for some of us, when we come in, are provided the grace to be able to appreciate it for what it was and is, and allow that grace to save us.

I am very keen to know and to learn perspective from my long sober friends.

That kind of dictates or allows me to see where I am in the grand scheme of things. I’m not just walking around aimlessly not doing anything with my time. That I am, in fact, using my time properly, I’m invested in my own sobriety, and I am invested in the lives of my friends at large, and then, on a daily basis, I am invested in the lives of the guys I work with.

Constant. Daily, By The Book.

My friend tells us that “If we are alive, and breathing, we have a chance to live a life of our wildest dreams, in the program.” Simply, “if you are breathing, YOU have a chance !!!” Exclamation point !

You never know when God is going to step in and sort you out. Be mindful.

In my life, God, or angels, or particular people, stepped in when I most needed it and gave me a chance to get out of hell and get sorted out and clean up my life. When that happened in my life, it was not by my own steam, or by my choice, in those cases, it was divinely ordained. There are no two ways about that.

My friend tonight, had that same experience, when he most needed help.

God stepped in and rescued him from hell.

One day at a time, this past January, he celebrated twenty seven years sober. And in April, he will turn sixty six years young, Some old timers, with oodles of time, have aged very gracefully.

Others, not so much.

I remember the words spoken by another long sober member here …

CONSTANT VIGILANCE !!!

Alcohol and drugs are pernicious, patient and deadly.

If you go back out, it is a foregone conclusion that you will return to where ever you left off, when you quit, and will wind up in a much bigger jackpot that you could have imagined.

Meetings, Prayer, Meditation, Working with Others …

When you come to us, you get the recipe for life. My friend lives in that recipe.

i want men like him in my life, because they challenge me to cook.

What are you cooking ???

More to come, stay tuned …