Sunday Sundries – Thanksgiving

tumblr_lszd4uVmug1r1nriuo1_500 christopherjordanCourtesy: Christopher Jordan

It has been one fully packed weekend. And the rain stayed away. YAY !

All my planning and preparations came to fruition today. I cooked a massive Thanksgiving meal for my family today. This year, Baby Mama and Baby Lu Lu joined the table along with hubby, Bill and myself. It was my crowning achievement, to bring all of us together to share a meal.

I had ordered a HUGE turkey from my favorite butcher, which he gave me a deal on. It came fresh and already cleaned, so it went from freezer to fridge to oven ready. And it came off without a hitch. My Butter/Rosemary/Honey recipe was a smash hit.

It was important that I included everyone at my table. The baby had a great time. She ate and then we let her loose and she had a ball, running around the apartment laughing and giggling.

She loved the mirror we have in the bedroom, but she was amazed at my book collection. Lu Lu is a bookworm, even at her age. We have an entire collection of books at their house for her, which we read to her, often. She sat on my bed, and pulled one book after another off the pile and thumbed through them.

It was the first time that hubby and Bill got to meet the baby and share space with her. I was totally consumed with spending the time with her and mama.

The meal was a success, the dishes got done, and I set off for the meeting on time.

My coffee gal was waiting for me at the church, so we had a long chatty conversation.

I’ve never felt so alive as I did tonight.

And spending the couple of hours with friends was a great end of the day activity. On the way home I got to spend time, with another friend, I don’t always get to see during the week, so that was great.

Tonight’s Read was another story from the First Edition of the Big Book. I have a First Edition Big Book, that was published in 1939. The Story … Lone Endeavor is part of the collection in the book we are reading called Experience, Strength and Hope.

There is an asterisk at the top of the story that reads:

“This story appeared ONLY in first printing of the First Edition.”

Which means, it does not appear in any other edition printed, but we have it to read, because the story is so important. It tells the story about how the fellowship, that did NOT even have a book to send, because it had not even been printed, let alone, was incomplete, at the time this story took place.

The story begins with a mother, concerned for her son’s welfare and life, reads an article about a doctor who seems to have considerable experience, helping men stop drinking. It is the early 1930’s. She is so concerned that she writes New York City to ask for help, for her son.

Letters cross from one side of the U.S. (read: West coast) to the other (read: East coast).

The book is not complete, the only chapters ready for consumption are the First Two Chapters of the book. That would be Bill’s Story and There is a Solution. Those are numbered one and two in my first edition. The doctors opinion, is listed as xxii.

The office in New York sends a multilith copy. Their response to the mother reads as follows:

“About a hundred men, here in the east, have found a solution for alcoholism that really works. We are now preparing a book hoping to help others who suffer in the same way, and are enclosing a rough copy of the first two chapters. As soon as possible we will forward rough copy of the rest of the proposed book.”

“We are sending you a pre-publication multilith copy of Alcoholics Anonymous. We would appreciate hearing about your son’s condition and his reaction to this volume, as this is the first time we have had an opportunity to trying to help as alcoholic at long distance. Won’t you please write us?

Sincerely Alcoholics Anonymous.

multilith: definition: a brand name for a small photo-offset printing machine.
In the end, the son does receive these first two chapters. He is alone, on the West Coast, with only what he has om hand.
And wouldn’t you like to know, that he Got It on the first pass.
There wasn’t a fellowship out there to turn to. He had no personal contact with another alcoholic, Yet. But he got the message, and he turned around and started helping others in his town.
He not only Got it, but got sober, and knew what to do with what he had received.
Would we have had that kind of knowledge and fortitude like that? From two chapters, he got sober, and found others to share it with.
He later writes to New York, telling us that he read those two chapters, and got sober.
He did not have a fellowship of people to turn to. He did not have anyone there to explain what he was reading, or meetings to go to, (at that time, yet). He did not have the lingo we have today.
I imagine for myself, what reading just the first two chapters mean to me, and if that would have been enough, to help me get and stay sober?
The one word that came up in the circle after the read was Willingness.
He sends his story to New York by mail. And he explains his journey to get sober. We certainly take for granted what we have. Tonight’s read, tells us how it really worked without all the bells and whistles and an entire fellowship to turn to.
It was one human being talking to another, via a Very Long Distance.
Incredible.
The story closes with this communication: Via wire …
“Just received letter, may we have your permission to use letter anonymously in book as first example of what might be accomplished without personal contact, important you wire this permission, as book is going to printer.”
His wire arrived next day:
“Permission granted with pleasure, lots of luck.”
This particular story does not appear in my copy of the First Edition, which I said was printed in 1939. So there must have been an earlier printing than the one I own.
How do you end a day like today?
Lots of Gratitude.
More to come, stay tuned …

Mary Untier of Knots

Mary-Untier-of-Knots

[Jorge Bergoglio] Made a pilgrimage to the Bavarian city of Augsburg where, in the Jesuit church of Sankt Peter am Perlach, he contemplated s Baroque-era painting from the early 1700’s known as Maria Knotenloserin, “Mary, Untier of Knots,” which was the object of a local devotion. The painting’s story goes back to a feuding married couple who had been on the verge of a bitter separation. The husband, Wolfgang Langenmantel, had sought help from a local Jesuit priest, Father Jakob Rem, who prayed to the Virgin Mary “to untie all the knots” in the Langenmantel home. Peace was restored and the marriage was saved; and to give thanks for the miracle their grandson commissioned the painting and donated it to the church.

At First glance, it is nothing out of the ordinary; the painting shows the Virgin, surrounded by angels and protected by the light of the Holy Spirit, standing on a serpent with the child Jesus in her arms. But the middle of the painting is striking: an angel to Mary’s left is passing her a silk thread full of knots that she unties, handing on the un-knotted thread to an angel on her right.

Father Rem’s prayer to the Virgin had been inspired by an ancient formula of Saint Irenaeus: The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary.

Obedience was precisely Bergoglio’s knot. It is the key vow for Jesuits, and one he strongly believed in; it was what made mission and unity possible. Yet what he had been given was not a mission, but a means of getting him out (sic. Of Argentina) because he was an obstacle. What obedience did he owe?

Obedience comes from the Latin obaudire, to “hear” or “listen to.” The vow is meant above all to free the heart from the ego in order to listen to God, and submit freely to His will: the Virgin is the perfect model of such obedience.

What was God’s will, now, for Bergoglio, in the middle of his life?

Bergoglio took a handful of Maria Knotenloserin prayer cards back with him. In the 1990’s, after a local copy of the painting – known in Spanish as Maria Desatanudos – was hung in a church in Buenos Aires, it took off in an extraordinary way, leading Bergoglio later to say he never felt so much in the hands of God.

Sunday Sundries … Riding the Rails

Trains Depression photo Alan FisherCourtesy: Trains of the 1930’s – Photograph Copyright Alan Fisher

The weather did get better. I am sure that thousands and more enjoyed the Grand Prix this afternoon. Montreal shone in all its glory for visitors from far and wide.

It was a full day today. I visited with a friend before the main event of this evening. The construction season is in full swing, not only on local roads and highways, but also, many Metro Stations are being upgraded. I had not visited the Queen Mary district in a while, and I was there today, and the station is under construction, they knocked down and entire block of old buildings and built in its place, a modern brick build housing a Subway and a Pharmaprix, with apartments upstairs. This is noteworthy, because when I first got sober, I spent the better part of two years in aftercare, at the Chabad Lifeline House which HAD been where the new building now sits.

I went from uptown, back to Westmount for the meeting. My guys and gals were waiting for me as I arrived. I was just a few minutes off – because the trains were running on longer wait schedules.

The summer season is in full swing, as I spoke about earlier.

We sat a full number and read a story that went all the way around the room, and then halfway into it again. That’s what you get when you are reading a 13 page story. The chair reminded us of the time constraint so that everyone could share, and we hit the mark, it was fabulous.

Our story, Riding the Rods, comes from Edition One of the Big Book. Which means, all these stories took place prior to the first edition being printed in 1939.

Our man, in this story, at age 14, knew how to get around, that did not include, “walking.” Our young person began to ride the rails from one town to the next. Never staying in one place too long, In the beginning it is exciting. The travel, the not knowing, the adventure.

People did not have much back in those days, as was referenced in our story. So going to find fortune and life someplace else was appealing to some. But we are talking about an early alcoholic. At first he did not go looking for the bottle, but by default, you know he is going to end up inside one sooner or later.

Beer to start, but not the way to get over a hangover the next morning, so it was bootleg hard liquor to the rescue.

Take a hobo alcoholic, toss in a woman and a couple of kids, and what do you get?

A man who will end up with a job for a bit, but not for long. A man who will leave very little for his wife and children and take to the rails to make money but find insanity in the bottle, only to return to where he started, not knowing how he got there, needing help and is committed.

The end could have been tragic, but we always get to the Strength portion of the three part trilogy, one alcoholic, speaking to another, sharing experience, strength and hope.

At the time of printing our man had accrued two years sober, and in those times, two years, was akin to a lifetime, when all they had were each other, sitting in some nondescript living room, 40 at a time, listening to someone tell their story.

Thank God we have what we have today. Because if it weren’t for those first 100 sober folks, we wouldn’t be here afforded what we have.

Gratitude week begins on the 10th of June …

I have a friend, in the rooms today, who jumped out of his seat tonight, as we read. He is the only man I know today, who rode the rails with the hobos and tramps. At first drinking to find something he thought he needed and did not have. All the way to the end, where drinking was not for the finding, but the escape from the insane alcoholic state of mind he was in.

You know its bad when drinking to find becomes drinking to escape …

Every time I read an old story, I muse on the fact that I lived my alcohol story backwards.

In my twenties, I jumped into the deep end of the pool, all alone, with no real direction or goal or anyone to help me get there, had I had someplace to get to in any case.

I did not know from responsibility.

The more I pounded the alcohol the worse it got. I did not have a train to hop, but I certainly drove myself from one city to another and another, trying to find something, I thought was certain, and today I can’t remember what it was I started looking for.

In every stop, I had menial work, I waited tables in Daytona Beach, I sold jewelry by the inch in a shopping mall for a while, I worked in a hole in the wall bar, for Jabba the Hut, which almost took me into prostitution. All the while drinking my way around the state of Florida.

I was the alcoholic tornado twisting through the lives of friends and family.

I made a number of crucial bad decisions. I hurt all the wrong people.

The first time I got sober, I made some serious amends, others I was not so forgiven at all. I had three strikes against me by this point in the timeline, so who would forgive a gay, hiv+, on his deathbed faggot of his sins ??? Not many people.

I lived the alcoholic hell backwards. I did not have much, but what I did have I lost. I worked my way back a little, only to loose again. In the end I perfected my drinking so that I would not loose again. Once again, I got things back, but tossed it away with silent resentment and secrets.

I lost everything I owned on that last trip. And almost my life.

This is the longest I have gone, staying in the same place, sober in my life.

You could say that my childhood would be the first long term sober period staying in one place for a very long period of time. It wasn’t. We moved three times. I started drinking in my teens, and it only got worse. So let’s say from 15 to 20, I was already active. I would admit that those first fifteen years were sober, but they sure were hit and miss, when it comes to good and bad.

The last almost 14 years have been insanely good. I’ve been sober a long few twenty four hours. We live a good life. We have everything we need. Rarely an angry word has been spoken in all those years, and I’ve worked to keep the insanity at a distance.

Many of my friends all agree, that with the coming of the summer season, and the races and festivals here in the city that,

“The alcohol really looks inviting.”

Another friend, said that she, the first time, wasn’t “in it to win it.” And it took a slip to get her to pay attention and to finally be In it to win it. I tend to agree. The same thing happened to me. I had bigger fish to fry the first time, so I wasn’t really in it to win it. I was trying to stay alive.

After my slip, I got another reprieve.

This time I was in it to win it, but even that thought took eleven years to percolate in my brain, before a man pointed this out to us at a Round Up a couple of years ago.

I am In it to Win it …

A drink might sound really good at times.

I don’t think I have another recovery in me.

The founders remind us just how much we stand to loose if we give up and throw in the towel.

Failure is NOT an option, neither is taking a drink.

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … Goodbye May … Hello June

tumblr_lxerkgWVPI1r556eno1_500 followeedCourtesy: Followeed

The weather has definitely shifted overnight. Yesterday we hit the 30c mark. Today, when I left the house it was 14c. It was a little chilly, so it was a second layer kind of evening. I did not have to travel far today, the Tour De L’ Isle was today, thankfully they stayed away from downtown.

I left early and arrived at the church and was greeted by the church super. He wanted to tell me of the plans they are putting in place to uber secure the church, after the break in and theft that took place a couple weeks ago. He was able to purchase his stolen tools (read: saws, routers, and other assorted power tools), at a reduced price, less than half of what he paid for them originally, thank you Home Depot for the deals. New doors were put in and other security features will go in including an alarm in our end of the basement. Churches are very popular in the thieving ring in the city. Over the last decade, St. Leon’s has been hit several times.

I find it sad and also sacrilegious to steal from a church, especially one that is on the Heritage Site list. Surely, some people are going to burn in hell for robbing the parish.

We sat an uber full house. And we read from the Twelve and Twelve and Tradition Five.

“Each group has one primary purpose, to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

Over the years, meeting numbers go up and down. We attribute that to seasons and weather patterns, and also the frequency of hockey games.

I guess you could say that Sunday Niter’s does well in the “carrying the message” responsibility, because our numbers are way up from this past winter. Many folks, this evening, spoke to that effect. We have an open and honest bunch of folks, from across the board, with various lengths of sobriety, and we work very hard at welcoming the newcomer and making you feel at home for the hour or so you are with us.

Some of our folks keep coming back, and over time they learn to share what they have been given, and that keeps them in the loop, and reminds them of how important it is to reach out to new folks as they come in the hall. A day sober will perk someone’s life up, in unexpected ways.

Can you believe it, May is done and Tomorrow is June 1st.

Summer is some time away, but as things go here in Montreal, the Summer season has already started for tourism and the get outside event calendar. We are hopeful that our seasonal summer visitors will return. As the Summer concert series begin and film houses come to film here in Montreal, our numbers will swell. Sunday Niters is a very popular stop on the tour circuit.

Another successful month of meetings in the book. The jobs are all taken for June. The matriarch of our meeting has indicated that she is stepping down and she handed the meeting off to our small group of trusted servants, our main goal, as always, is to keep the doors open for as long as we can.

More to come, stay tuned …

Tuesday … Now, Later, Maybe and Never

friends becomeThe Up/Down temperature swings have leveled off, and today we swung into sunny, hot and moderate humidex readings. Thank God for Air conditioning. I was wise to load it up a few days ago, when they warned us that this trend would come.

When temps rise above 18c and above, things begin to get sticky. Living amid the concrete jungle, here in Western Downtown, cement and concrete buildings, warm during the day, then radiate heat when the sun goes down.

We aren’t insulated for seasonal hot and cold. This building is concrete and most apartments have windows across one entire wall, no matter what direction you face. We face West, which means, we get direct sunlight from 11 a.m. through till sundown.

That gets very warm. We get so much sun, that over the past decade or so, we had hung blinds, we papered or foiled the windows to turn sunlight away, these things did not help very much.

When we renovated the space a few months ago, we splurged on special sun sensitive roll blinds that work really well. They cut the heat quotient in a great way. With the added a.c. unit in the bedroom, we can maintain the apartment at a steady cool and comfy level.

It was so beautiful today, that I walked from the Metro to the church on the way out. (read: there was no bus waiting at the station, so I walked it).

It was our fourth year anniversary for the meeting today.

It’s very funny, our meeting.

They say, that all you need to have, to open a meeting, is a resentment and a coffee pot…

You actually need at minimum $350.00 to do it right.

And that is exactly how Vendome started. ONE pissed off alcoholic and his resentments.

Many years ago, well, four to be exact, Tuesday Beginners was in transition. We dropped from two meetings on a Tuesday Night, to just one. One of our members wanted the key and said he would operate the second meeting himself, in our space, inside our window of occupancy.

That idea was instantly nixed …

So he left, and along with my current sponsor, opened a brand new meeting right up against Tuesday Beginners, but half an hour earlier. Which put it smack dab in the middle of the Five o’clock shadows meeting at 5 and Tuesday Beginners at 7.

All three meetings are close. They are all on bus and Metro lines.

A couple of years later, I decided to leave Tuesday Beginners and followed my friends over to Vendome. By that time, the original member who opened the meeting copped another resentment with the group, and he fled. Which left us with a meeting to run and populate.

We were at Trinity for a little more than a year, then the N.D.G. Food Bank, was tossed on the street by their landlord, so they really needed a place to operate, because the food bank serves the entire N.D.G. and surrounding Burroughs. They came to Trinity.

Our meeting was tossed into the auditorium where the food bank had set up all around us, so we were sharing space with them, and several other meetings that book ended ours.

That did not go very well, and we ended up moving the meeting to where it is now. Up the hill and close to Villa Maria Metro and the 24 bus route. Sadly, most of the folks who used to come to Trinity, did not follow. We could never figure out the why? It was only 2 city blocks away.

We’ve maintained the group, albeit, by the skin of our teeth. We aren’t making seventh, hand over fist, and funds have fallen off because we can’t seem to hold over many people, they just don’t come week after week, however, we do have a small group of committed members.

Along with our anniversary today, one of our old timers celebrated 29 years of sobriety.

There was cake, and other goodies to feast upon.

We are closing in on the end of our Joe and Charlie Big Book tapes.

AH, I can hear the angels sing …

We have reached Steps Eight and Nine.

It is said that alcoholism is a three fold disease. Spiritual, Mental and Physical.

In steps One, Two and Three, we realize our powerlessness, we come to believe in a Power Greater than Ourselves, and we decide to turn it over. For many, this might be their first time around with (a) god. But many know who God is, and they have turned away for one reason or another. That solves our spiritual problem.

In Steps Four, Five, Six and Seven, we set to paper all those things that hold us back. Resentments, Guilts, and Fears. After an exhaustive, moral personal inventory, we clear away the wreckage of our pasts. Then we unload it upon someone we trust. We figure out from that inventory our character defects and our shortcomings.

It is also said that we continue to work Six and Seven for the rest of our lives.

That solves our Mental problem.

In Steps Eight and Nine, we make our lists of those we need to make amends to, and prepare to do so, as we are able, with this proviso …

An Amends list is not something to take lightly, depending on how much damage you have done to yourself and others. (read: Family, Friends, Employers etc …)

Many come to this point and balk. So Joe and Charlie give us this tool:

  • Make Four lists:
  • Those we can make amends to NOW
  • Those we could make amends to LATER
  • Those whom we could MAYBE make amends to at some point
  • And those we will NEVER be able to make amends to

Reading the text out of the Big Book, Bill covers almost every single situation that might turn up for someone working at this juncture of The Work.

Many an old timer took to the work slowly. But it is what it is. Amends cross many areas.

  • Personal
  • Business
  • Family and
  • Financial

At some point in ones sobriety, we should complete this list, in any way possible, because we drank, for some, in any way possible. And if we had to Beg, Rob or Steal it, alcoholics and addicts have done that. It may take a lifetime, but we only have ONE lifetime.

So we better make it a good life, in the end.

I’ve done these lists. There are people on each of these lists. With the dawn of sobriety the second time, I had to make amends to certain people, which I did early on, because I could.

When I got sober the second time, about a month in, I met those friends I ditched opting for a geographic, instead of honesty and respect. Those amends were made directly, face to face.

Let me tell you, that was not easy. It took everything I had to look my friends in the eyes and ask for forgiveness.

With the dawn of Facebook, I made amends to my friends whom I had not seen in many years. Many of my drinking friends, are sober themselves, so that made it a bit easier, because they were in the program, and the amends were mutual and went both ways.

There is one woman, a good friend of mine, who is still in my life today, who WAS in my life through every stage of my life in recovery the First and Second time.

We had THAT discussion.

She forgave me. But to this day, my heart aches, every time I think about her or see activity on Facebook, because I have unfinished business with her. You see, she was the only friend who was financially involved with helping to take care of me when I was really sick, my family had long since backed out of any responsibility or desire to help me.

And she carried me to my geographical move and then she left and went on to her own geographical cure. I was all the way OUT, she was only PARTIALLY the way out.

Life went on. But I owe her more than asking for forgiveness. One day I hope to make full financial restitution to her in my own way, for everything that she did for me. But I have yet to say these words to her, because they have been a long time coming.

Then on the final list, are those who I will NEVER be able to make amends to. Those are the people who walked out of my life for various reasons, (which are all about them, and not about me, but really, it is all about me no matter how you cut it).

I was an Alcoholic. I was Gay, I was living with AIDS, and I reside in Canada.

All these things are liabilities.

So fuck me for surviving…

We’ve come a long way over the last year or so. Each pass at the steps gives us perspective, insight and then the gift of hindsight. The greater the vision, the greater the effort to sober up.

We grow up when we get sober, and hopefully, we do it right this time.

Maybe NOW, Maybe LATER, MAYBE sometime, and sadly, quite possibly NEVER.

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … Insidious

tumblr_m187ytnKBN1r3fvxmo1_500 thedarkblueCourtesy: The Dark Blue

It has been an up/down kind of week last week. Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, gave us a week of roller coaster temperatures, from single digit pluses, to ground frost, to windy (I need a jacket) cool, and today we are in double digit pluses. People never knows what to pack, what to wear, so that was a thing…

Life has become very busy, and almost frenetic. I’ve spent a good amount of time with my friends, which has been a real good thing. Getting to spend time with friends outside the normal travel routes is a nice addition.

A few weeks ago, I went to see my main doc for my spring checkup. While I was there, he floated the idea that he might be able to put me on brand new next gen HIV medication. I’ve been on my present regimen for almost ten years now.

But because of the transition from multiple sites, into the main Glenn site, everything is upside down. Medical files are currently being digitized and uploaded to computers, because the Glenn is attempting to be paper free.

This has posed numerous problems.

For the last two weeks doc has been trying to find my archive file, which has all of my genetic coding information. They rotate old paper into archives and store them in the basement, so you have to actually go looking for them.

UGH !!!

We’ve been talking on and off for the past week. Monday last week, I got the call about the switch. Doc did eventually find my file, and double checked the genetic profile. When I was diagnosed many years ago they did genotypes and phenotypes to type and cross reference my particular virus type. This will tell doctors what will and won’t work, on a grand scale.

Depending on the viral typification certain drugs are automatically disqualified for future use.

Genetic testing has been useful to optimize drug success. But it also is problematic, because even if new drugs come online, if you don’t match, you don’t get new drugs. Even if they have been reworked and strengthened.

I failed the mark this time around.

Which means, I stay on the present regimen for at least another year, until the next round is released. Bummer …

I’ve been keeping an eye on my baby birdies on the balcony, and I think that mom has abandoned her chicks, because she hasn’t been in the nest for days now, and I am not sure what to do, beyond calling the ASPCA and getting someone out here to take them and nurse them.

Yesterday, it was a double layer kind of day. It was that chilly. Today we are in the twenties, and I chose to walk the outer route to the church. Everyone, well, most of our folks were at the roundup this weekend, so I pulled all the jobs tonight.

We sat a good number and read another serious war story.

The take away:

  • Alcoholism is insidious
  • If nobody says STOP the alcoholic will keep going
  • Where ever you go, there you are
  • Functional alcoholism always devolves into insanity
  • Eventually, if we are lucky, we find the solution

We read all the way around, and the shares went all the way around. What started as many message discussion, turned into a meeting for one particular woman.

Before the meeting started, I was alerted, by a friend, that there was a newcomer in the crowd, which falls to the 12 step rep.

I was feeling a little iffy early on today. I just had a sinking feeling that something was just not right. I can’t tell you where that came from, but it is what it is. I knew my Sunday guy was out at a function, and that the women were at the roundup, so nobody came in early, to either read or help set up. My uneasy-ness was confirmed shortly after the meeting started.

A friend, who is fresh, was sitting in a lump, and I knew there was something wrong.

“The alcoholic will drink again …”

You never know when it will come, but at some point, the only thing that stands between you and your next drink, will be your higher power. This time, it went unused.

Been here and done that.

It only takes a millisecond. One moment of freak. One action, putting a drink to ones lips.

For a few minutes everybody listened.

Anguish is a very heavy emotion. What do you say, what do you do?

At least she made it to the meeting, in one piece.

I just knew something was off tonight.

We strolled home, and I phoned a friend to pick up the pieces.

More to come, stay tuned …

Friday … Learn, Serve, Love

tumblr_l8s7v2G5CF1qaz2rlo1_500 steffrawrCourtesy: Steffrawr

It was a little frigid tonight. It is cold still, at (-13c/-23c w.c.) It was the wind that made the transits rough tonight.

It was a quiet day. Friday, “the best day of the week, and the best night of the week.”

I spent the day shopping for the anniversary party tomorrow night. One of my friends asked if I had gotten a card, I will need to do that on the way tomorrow evening. But I said that he could bring a card if he liked. You can never have too many cards.

I left around twenty after six, and made my transit clean. Halfway up the bus transfer one of my friends got on the bus, and we got to the church a little after seven. The room was lit, and one of our men had already set up the room, got the milk and was making coffee. There was little to do.

We had almost an hour to sit and chat.

We’ve been comparing notes between friends lately, how much time have you got, how did you get that far, how many meetings do you make a week. Then the discussion turned to age. We had been talking about a friend of mine and how old he really was, and I was like, really? Are you kidding me?

None of my friends, look their age, in a good way.

After all that pickling with drugs and alcohol, our bodies were preserved, so now into sobriety, we get to perfect our temples of God. I forget that folks with serious time in the high double digits are about ten years ahead of me on the time line.

I’m not quite fifty yet myself, but I am surely on the way there.

Fifty is the new Thirty … It’s all about attitude and taking care of ones self.

The room was full. We had guests. And we had cake.

The reading … A.B.S.I. … “In All Our Affairs…”

“The chief purpose of A.A. is sobriety. We all realize that without sobriety we have nothing.

However, it is possible to expand this simple aim into a great deal of nonsense, so far as the individual member is concerned. Sometimes we hear him say, in effect ‘sobriety is my sole responsibility. After all, I’m a pretty fine chap, except for my drinking. Give me sobriety, and I’ve got it made.

As long as our friend clings to this comfortable alibi, he will make little progress with his real life problems and responsibilities that he stands in a fair way to get drunk again. This is why A.A.’s Twelfth Step urges that we practice these principles in all our affairs. We are not living just to be sober; we are living to Learn, to Serve, and to Love.”

When I got sober, this second time around, it was a good thing that I did not have a whole lot on my plate, responsibility wise. I had a roof over my head, a part time job, and meetings to go to. And I was fine with just that, because that was about all I could handle.

For months I was read to, I was ministered to. I was fed and I was encouraged to STAY.

When I got HERE, something in my head said that it was ok to “expect!” WRONG!!!

I thought I needed things, that in the end, I really did not actually need, or got.

For the first year, I did meetings. All day and every night. I had a great sponsor who cared for me and in the end I cared for him deeply. Sadly, egos got in the way.

At the one year mark, I decided to go back to school. I also added a relationship. And I added the apartment that we live in today.

I went to meetings.

Then we had to clean up the wreckage of hubby’s past, we had to learn how to shop and cook for two. We had to learn how to pay bills responsibly, and it took 13 years to become financially secure. That one took a very LONG time.

I was making a home together with my then boyfriend. I was learning a great deal of how you take care of another human being, because, let’s face it, I was barely taking care of myself, when I quit drinking this time around.

Shit happened. it got very dark for a year.

I had to step up and be responsible in ways that I was woefully unprepared for.

AND I was starting my University Career.

If I did not have the meetings, and the people in those meetings, I would never have gotten this far.

In all my affairs …

I got sober first. And I put sobriety first. Before I did anything else, I went to a meeting. I spoke with my sponsor, I did service, I made my home group, every week, for more than thirteen years now.

I’ve said before that life came in stages. And not all at once, yet you would observe that at the one year mark, I added several things, that came unexpectedly, but were divinely ordained.

If one particular moment did not happen the way it did, in that very moment, I probably would not be where I am today, and where we are together.

You never know when Mr. Right is going to appear, or when that moment will present itself to you. So if it does, you better be ready to act. I chose to act. And in the end we won.

If you put anything BEFORE your SOBRIETY, you will loose it.

Trial and error proves this adage amongst my friends.

I hear my friends talk about themselves. Some of them are bat shit crazy, even in sobriety. And I love them warts and all. We are all crazy to some point, which is why we need to gather and talk amongst ourselves daily and weekly.

I’ve learned how to be responsible. In stages. And over the past two years, I’ve been able to really give back what was freely given to me.

I can’t tell you the pride and happiness I feel, knowing that tomorrow night, one of my guys is taking his 1 year chip. How do you quantify a years worth of work, in helping another human being rebuild his life, from the ground up. Now I have four of them. They are all building lives for themselves.

My heart is full.

If you aren’t giving back, WHY ?

There is no greater joy than walking another human through sobriety together.

I practice these principles in all my affairs.

Having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of THESE steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …