Sunday Sundries – Relationships

tumblr_lx332xnuMf1qajbwho1_500 justathoughtfulmindCourtesy: Just A Thoughtful Mind

It was reported by my sponsor tonight, that when he awoke this morning, up North, at the cottage, that the temps were in the low single digits. We haven’t seen single digits yet, overnight, but little by slowly, the nightly lows have dropped into the mid teens.

We need at least a week of (Tens) for the trees to trigger and begin to turn.

The weekend weather was stellar but will go down hill overnight and well into Tuesday.

We sat a full house tonight, and we got the read and the discussion all the way around the room, and a cake to go with it this evening, ending right on time.

The first section of Experience, Strength and Hope, deals with the stories that were collected and published in the first edition of the Big Book back in the late Thirties.

Those first one hundred sober folks, did not have the Big Book to read, nor Steps to work, nor any of the tools that we have at our disposal today. They had their long suffering wives, their children, and a sparse handful of men, who found the solution.

Within those first 100 sober folks, who counted days and months as something incredible, they only had each other and their story telling ability. It was the spoken word, shared between one alcoholic and another. That is an incredible thought.

A common story, told by an uncommon story teller.

A common theme runs throughout those early stories, that of the:

“Sodden drunk husband, and the long suffering wife with kids in the background.”

It came up in discussion tonight, how many of the wives mentioned in most of the stories, stay. They use all their powers of refusals, denials and threats to get their husbands to quit drinking. Those first stories speak about the wives getting very savvy and find the solution, and then physically driving their husbands to “Town’s Hospital” in New York City for treatment.

They do not mention “A” particular hospital, but we know from other sources that it is indeed Town’s that many a drunk end up in. From historical literature published much later, we learn about this system and how it worked.

Funny, that in the end, for many drunk husbands, it is the wife who figures out what to do.

Back in the day, one did not read, often, of divorce, but separation is common among the stories. Divorce, was a taboo subject, and was not reported often. Which led to the comments about relationships by some of our folks tonight.

Many of our women noticed the long suffering wife, who stayed by her man.

When I was born in the late 1960’s, alcoholism was rampant. We are three generations strong in the drink. I’m not quite sure if my brother perpetuated the drink, into his own kids.

None of the women in my family would have left their suffering husbands because of the drink. It seemed that those pesky wedding vows, kept them beholden to their sodden husbands, for better or worse, and in good time and bad. They accepted their lots in life and dealt with it each in their own ways.

My father had always told my mother, that she could never leave him, because she had no place to go, and would have no money to get there either. My mother was a captive Canadian wife, whom my father assimilated into American life. She would not have had the wherewithal to find a life on her own, even if she thought about leaving him.

Alcoholism was an evil scourge for us. And God forbid, anyone talk about it openly, or complain about the drunks, running amok in our lives. Nobody ever said a word.

I imagine that today’s divorce rates are high due to many things. We see many separated and divorced folks in the room today. It is not like it was decades ago, with women not having a say in their destinies and lives.

Women today have the ability to tell us alcoholics to “Go Fuck Ourselves…”

The other discussion that came up was about guns. In this particular story, our man is drinking with his buddy. And at some point, both are sodden drunk, and are trying to figure out a way to get back into the house and past their wives, and between them come up with a number of salacious stories about how they got so drunk.

One story goes like this … Our man, sodden with the drink, is standing on a bridge, ready to jump and holding a gun to his head, and his buddy comes upon him and saves his life, and is not delivering said man to his long suffering wife… They end up, not at home, where they planned to go, but in the hovel of a space, where the buddy lives. He has a gun, and attempts to shoot himself, but the gun is empty. Which sends our man running for the hills is fear, and he ends up home, where his wife is waiting … with the solution …

Which brings up the story about Angry Larry …

One of my stories that is in the book talks about my friend Larry. He is another AIDS survivor. Back in the day when we were all sick and dying, many of us were trying to get sober as well.

Larry used to bring a loaded gun to the meeting and he would say that he would either get sober or he was going to kill himself. That went on for a long time.

Larry eventually turned it around and became a leader of the community.

Back in the day, when we were dying of AIDS, heterosexual mortuaries, Read: Straight folks, would not touch a body with AIDS. They would not prepare the dead, nor allow anyone who worked for them to have anything to do with an infected body.

People were turned into the streets.

Larry, in his infinite sober wisdom, figured out what to do and did it gladly.

He built a mortuary. He got a license and opened his services to the community.

Larry did what the straights would not. He allowed his friends to die with dignity, gave them a place to be where family and friends could mourn them properly.

Larry broke the stigma and was celebrated as a hero amongst us.

Let no one forget what he did for the least of these.

It was a good night, everybody is well.

We’ll see you all soon.

Sunday Sundries … TRUTH set me FREE !!!

tumblr_nc9hsq2i2A1syuvebo1_500 jd2canadaCourtesy: JD2Canada

It’s beginning to feel like Summer, Finally !!! This week will see temps rise into the (30’s,c) and no rain in sight for a few days. However, there are many places out West on the Prairies, and in B.C. as well, who could use some serious rain. Wildfires are burning out of control in many places, and families have been displaced or have lost everything to the flames.

Yesterday was another banner day. Spending time with friends is something we all enjoy together. We hit the mall shopping like mad women, we had a meal, and then ice cream at Place Ville Marie, where we watched the Carifiesta Parade go by. Lots of Caribbean folks, with floats playing obnoxiously bad music, very loudly, as if to add insult to injury.

We hosted another full room once again. And we seem to be on a roll with one topic the past few days. It seems the readings from all the books, as we are reading them, all have mentioned or are based around the topic of money. Again…

I get to tell you another story about money.

The title of tonight’s read is, “Truth, set me free.”

Our writer, from the later 1930’s find himself in a pickle, and then attempts to get sober, with a small “beer experiment” that did not last very long. But one day, without the ability to pay his bills finds himself financially strapped. He walks into a bank and tells the officer that he needs funds, BUT that he is an alcoholic, and he is on his way, sober. The bank officer listens to him tell the truth, (even breaking his anonymity to do so) and she turns around and speaks to him about GOD, the “Divine Comforter.”

She does not know him from Adam, yet here she is telling him about trust, doing what is right, and talking about God.

She goes on to help him, even in his truth.

He walks away from this experience with what he needs.

A friend told a similar story that happened to him. Walking into a bank, breaking his anonymity, and walking out of a bank with a credit card, being broke at the time. The woman in the bank heard his truth, and she stepped up to help him anyways.

The next night he goes to an N.A. meeting. And who is the speaker that very night ?

But the very same woman he saw in the bank the day before.

IS THAT ODD OR IS THAT GOD ???

In early sobriety, I needed many things. Pots and pans, food for my fridge and some much needed cash. In the beginning they kept telling me to go to more meetings. I did that.

My experience thus far tells me that If I have a need, that I should always bring that need to a meeting. If you have something that is on your mind, or a need you really NEED, then take it to a meeting, and SPEAK your Truth.

God seems to like us addicts and alcoholics, because you would be very surprised to hear me tell you that, in the last almost fourteen years, I’ve never had to go outside the circle of A.A. for ANYTHING.

Take it to a meeting.

That is sane, sound, advice I tell all of my friends and fellows.

I share this at meetings.

Because you would be surprised to hear someone share something they need, and inside that very hour, get positive responses and almost always, a solution.

I can’t tell you how many times that happened for me over the years.

When I was in the hole, and I needed help, I always asked for it.

And every single time I did that, HELP appeared.

God did for me what I could not do for myself, and to this day, he continues to do so for me and countless others.

I don’t know what it is about God, to do things like that, but every single time I needed help, the right alcoholic was there at the right moment.

Example …

We were in the middle of classes one term, a number of years ago, and my desktop computer crashed and burned, and was in dire need of repair. We did not have the $200.00 to pay that kind of bill. I went to a meeting and spoke that truth. At the end of the meeting a member walked up to me and handed me $200.00 in cash. We were totally floored.

Over and Over again, sober members helped me out in ways that I could not imagine.

IS THAT ODD OR IS THAT GOD ???

The book talks about rigorous honesty in all our affairs. And it also talks about having HAD a spiritual awakening as a result of THESE steps we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in ALL our affairs.

Half measures availed us nothing.

In for a penny, in for a pound.

If we are honest from the start, I can attest that God will do for you what you could not do for yourself. In EVERY area of your life. But you gotta get honest and tell the TRUTH.

More to come, stay tuned …

Thursday … FIRE IT UP !!!

tumblr_msohxxcSvW1qkwkmpo1_500 minhos21Courtesy: Minhos21

I’ve been thinking about this image all day long. It goes along with our theme tonight:

BESTS …

After my not so sober post on Sunday, we return to regularly scheduled programming.

We begin on a very happy note.

We are still experiencing on and off rain/sun/rain again/sun … weather

Tuesday, the city was under a severe storm warning all evening, into the night. The threat of rain, and the size of Baby LuLu’s stroller, was the deciding factor for hitting the meeting.

The rain won.

We began reading Living Sober. This book is probably the third most important book to read in early sobriety. The most important book, first, is our meeting list book, because it has all the meetings listed in the city (read: over 500 meetings a week). Second is the Big Book.

Living Sober is the book we suggest our new folks to read because it gives you actual practical advice about how to “live sober,” if only that in the beginning. We are faced with certain situations and life experiences that, when we used and drank, were really, not an issue.

But now we’ve given up the drugs and alcohol, how do we manage and mitigate those situations soberly, when before we used to use? There are many chapters in this book, that talk about various situations, feelings, problems that we may face, now sober.

Along with other sober human beings, having a book that tells you what to do, is also very useful.

But nothing beats talking to another human being when times get tough.

That’s what we are all here for.

Wednesday Night Cookery …

With Baby Mama moving back, we’ve all been working very hard at making sure she has everything she needs. On Wednesday evenings, I go over to her house and I cook a meal that we share, and she gets leftovers for the rest of the week. This is so I ensure she is eating, not that she isn’t, but a little more food is good. Next week she moves into her forever home.

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

Which leads very nicely into tonight’s offering.

We got to St. Matthias early. I got to reconnect with a friend that I spent a good deal of time with, discussing some very serious topics the other night. He listened to what I said and that proved to be useful to him.

Then as we walked back inside the hall, a very familiar woman was talking to our greeter. I had not seen her in a while, she is a West Islander, so seeing her in the city, is a treat.

It was a double treat, because, she was our invited speaker.

She is on her way, God willing, One day at Time, to her five year mark this fall.

The last time I heard her speak was more than four years ago, which would have put her, just inside her first year.

There are no “Bests” in the rooms. We usually don’t think that way. But one of my guys was in the meeting and at the end he said to me that “her share was the best share he had ever heard.”

I have to concur…

The routine in the room is “what it was like, what happened and what it is like now.”

That is the method.

Every delivery of that method differs from person to person, woman to man, young to old.

I’ve said before, that hearing people share, more than once, or even several times in sobriety, allows me to hear wisdom in their words.

Where, in the beginning, we hear the story, and at times, said speaker might be in the middle of their story, so the resolution into “what happened” might not be over yet. They might not understand or see the wisdom or grace of portions of their story, until they are standing on the other side of it, or even, having the wisdom of time, and hindsight to be able to see their progress in certain areas, or have concrete feelings one way or another about their story as a whole.

Here in Montreal, the odds of hearing someone more than once is high. That depends on how many speaker meetings you hit in any given week over long periods of time.

Those odds go up, if you hit meetings here in the city AND hit meetings on the West Island.

I know of a handful of people I’ve heard speak at a speaker meeting more than once. Some, also hit discussion meetings, but many don’t.

Tonight, we laughed, we cried, we sobbed and came full circle and laughed again.

It is very rare to hit all of these in one night.

The loss of a child, I believe, is one of the greatest heartaches, any mother or father can go through, and I can’t touch that feeling because I’ve never lived it.

  • Most don’t make it out.
  • Many go back to the bottle, usually much heavier than when they were just “drinking for effect.”
  • Now they were drinking for an entirely different reason.

And let me tell you, this kind of drinking would usually end up in death, for any normal drinker, but for an alcoholic, it is suicidal drinking.

Survival from this kind of drinking is a miracle.

At some point, man or woman, we get to the end of the line. However we get there, we get there, usually in a haze of delusion, or a crash and burn situation.

When the end came for our woman, she made that crucial call.

The man who took that call, was sitting in the room with us tonight.

Hello, Alcoholics Anonymous, my name is ______ HOW can I HELP you?

His first sentence was “IT’S GOING TO BE OK!”

For a woman who had never heard that before, that was earth shattering.

She took herself to what we call “the Squirrel Cage” on the West Island.

The squirrel cage is a small meeting with a handful of folks, which is an offshoot of the main meeting which used to be held at the same time, in the same location, in a different room.

So one used to have a choice. Today, only the Squirrel Cage remains.

A member was at the door, in her words … “600 year old man …”

He welcomed her warmly, took her to get a cup of coffee and sat her down.

She wanted to slink in and not get noticed. We are savvy alcoholics, if you had not figured that out yet. Anyways, at the end of the meeting, folks took her into their hearts, 100%.

She really wasn’t sure about the program or the work involved, but she had to walk her road.

You hear the same things in the beginning.

  • Go to meetings
  • Read the Book
  • Get a sponsor
  • Do the work

Reticent to do all these things, they took time to begin. She sure as hell was not going to get a sponsor, and if she did, it would be a man, like mistakes she had already made.

They told her to find a woman ? A woman, she responds? “Yes a woman.”

In the end she met, in her words… “Hitler.”

Sometimes we need a swift kick in the ass to get started. For most, this approach sends people running for the hills, but there are those who take certain concrete directions from the get go.

Sometimes there is no better time than the present to get started.

And her sponsor said to her …“IF YOU WANT WHAT THE PROGRAM OFFERS, THEN GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO SOMETHING !!!!”

You know, I didn’t get that exact message when I came in, but I was willing to go to any length to get and stay sober, so I did everything I was told, without question. Because the first time was a gift, the second time I had to really work for it, and I worked it for all it was worth.

I was eleven year sober when I heard that exact message.

IF YOU WANT WHAT THE PROGRAM OFFERS, THEN GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO SOMETHING…

Our woman got off her ass and she did the work. She did something that most people balk at, looking into our stories, seeing the pain and heartache, for her this was immense, dealing with the wreckage of her past and making peace with it.

Then the suggestions of prayer and meditation rose.

In her words …”You want me to pray to a God, who took my child?”

You must be kidding.

The vehicle for her prayer life began with her child that she lost.

In her words … “My child came into my life, only to die, and bring me to this place of grace.”

She has come full circle.

She needed her child to get to a certain point. Now, with a few years of wisdom, she was able to let her child go back to God, where He could use her.

All along, there is her son, who now is almost twelve years old. A child that has seen her through all her mishaps and bad decisions. A child who, himself, once or twice, said to her,

“REALLY? Do you think this is a wise decision?”

Her son, had that kind of intuitiveness.

At the end, with him sitting in the passenger seat, mom in her pajamas, no seat belt, drunk, wraps her car around a tree, he survived. When the car stopped, he got out of the car and ran for his life, screaming for help.

Can you imagine what that little boy feels after living the life he had up until that point?

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

On moms first anniversary, she asked him if he wanted to come, he said no …

On moms second anniversary, she asked him if he wanted to come, he said no …

On moms third anniversary, she asked him if he wanted to come, he said no …

On her fourth anniversary, she asked him if he wanted to come, this time he said yes!

A few days ago, he said to her, “October is coming soon? mom said yes,
and he said, I want to be there.”

These are just snapshots of the entire message.

Points that I think were important to talk about.

Who can you call, and get help, right then and there?
Where can you go, and find people who “know” where we have been and not run?
Where can you go, and have your life change and to see dreams come true, in certain order?

No Where…

We might be a rag tag bunch of alcoholics. But when push comes to shove, we will move mountains to see you succeed. I don’t know any other place that this is possible.

There is no place I would rather be, then here in this life, with my kind of people.

Because I would not have the life I have, or the lives we have, if not for these people.

We laughed, we cried, we sobbed and we laughed again…

I love my life.

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … Fired Again (read: Self Sabotage)

tumblr_mny6xdcYk61qmbg8bo1_500They warned us that it would pour down rain today … We are still waiting on that.

It was a beautiful day, albeit a little steamy. Everyone was prepared for rain, that has not materialized yet tonight. Today is the first day of Summer, and it is also the longest DAY of the year.

I had a long discussion before the meeting with one of my friends about family, dogma, resentments and anger. And we both agreed that it takes a pretty good amount of energy to live with these issues in our everyday lives.

I wonder what it takes to tap that kind of negative energy and from what well it comes from and how some people can live that way and be fruitful and productive.

I don’t have that kind of spare energy to devote to those kinds of things. I need all the energy I can get just to live my life as freely as I do today.

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

We sat a full house. Our men and women are engaged in step work, which is a very good thing for them and for us.

Today we read “Fired Again.” This particular story happens in the early teens and twenties, well before the conception of the fellowship. And one thinks, how did these people get better when help was still a ways away.

So the story, as it happened, fell before Dr. Bob and Bill were introduced, yet this story comes from the First Edition, which means, that our man, in this story, was introduced to the good doctor at some point in his life, and finds the solution.

Family alcoholism is not a new concept. This problem, for me, can be traced back, three generations. By the time I came along, and my brother as well, alcohol was a major food group.

It was part and parcel of everyday living. My father always said that he would rather have his children drink at home, then going out to get it. And that was the line we were fed early on, when getting beer from a 7/11 was the routine.

Alcohol, for our writer was the constant, around which he tried to build a life, get a job, find a wife, get married and have children.

You could say this story wreaks of “All About Me.”

From a very young age, driven by the disease of alcoholism, he would get work, want to be the best and make the most money, and if he found out that someone was making more than he was, he would quit said job and go somewhere else.

This routine repeated over and over again. Later he would end up fired from several jobs in succession.

This is All About Me, You aren’t paying me enough, turning to, I can’t get by, I need to make money, I want a life, a wife and money, but I am hampered by unrealistic expectations, and the desire to drink is stronger than the desire to get along with my life.

Unsatisfied with the mere gratitude and satisfaction of just having a job during that period of time, and making some money, where ever he went, alcohol followed.

We read shades of self importance, arrogance, self centeredness, and resentful attitudes.

There was no pleasing this guy, given the times he was living in. You might say that some one barely getting by, living from hand to mouth, would be satisfied with just having enough.

Just enough wouldn’t fly for him, he had to have MORE.

The disease of MORE was alive and well, even during those days.

Not only MORE, but MORE on his terms, or no terms at all.

You play the game my way, with my rules, or I am taking my ball and going home.

It is apparent that for many years, our alcoholic man, was living in his insanity, expectations that were well outside his ability to reach, and a drive that ended in the hole, monetarily, personally, physically, morally and spiritually.

Throughout the story, our guy realizes at certain points, that the drink, might be the problem. So he moderates and for a bit, even stops drinking, on his terms, by himself.

Well, we know how that routine usually works out.

The next step is sanitariums and institutions. Which he does several trips through. He attempts the Three Day Cure, once, twice, three times, and a longer stint in detox.

But he fails and drinks again.

In the end, facing a very distraught wife, sullen children, severe debts, and nothing to show for his efforts at working, due to his superior expectations, comes full circle. Finally, his wife, hears about the good doctor, in turn she turns her husband on to him as well.

Our man has a moment of clarity when he writes … “If these men can get sober and live within the means of The Solution, then I can get sober as well.”

He could not do it on his own. Alcoholics, left to their own devices, don’t have snowballs chance in hell of staying sober, without help.

Some, in today’s day and age, would beg to differ, and argue that one can, using one of many techniques today’s world can offer.

It came down to the one tried and true route …

One alcoholic talking to another.

By the end of the story, our man is introduced to no less than twenty men who found the solution, by common identification, and got sober. These first men would be the integral, core founders, of the fellowship.

Alcoholism is rampant way back. And the more dire the situations, the stronger the desire to drink. The whole mystery of alcohol is alive and well, and the attainment of alcohol was the most important task of those early alcoholics.

These first stories run on that common theme. One alcoholic talking to another. That’s all they had, each other. Can you imagine what that must have been like? It was by grace that these folks got and stayed sober. If not for them, we would not be here.

Everything we have and everything we are, comes because of those first 100 men and women.

We are lost, if we forget the contributions of the first founders.

More to come, stay tuned …

Friday … Calm Courage

kneel

“… Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself; trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended.”

We have tweaked the blog a bit. A little bit of change, with a few new images and a new header we are featuring. This photo comes from my preacher friend Gordon in Texas. This was his worship space where he ministered to his flock for many years, before giving up his church to go into the field and find God.

We are in a rain today, sun tomorrow, rain to come, and sun to follow kid of pattern this week.

Today we were on the upswing.

I spent time with a friend, and we followed that with a meeting. Tonight, the night was still bright at nine o’clock as I walked to the bus stop on the way home.

Tonight’s topic: Trouble – Constructive or Destructive

I listened to the reading twice and I did not think that I would have anything to say, until a friend drew upon this line from the reading.

Troubles … I’ve had my fair share of troubles. God has a funny was of making his presence known, and that usually happens when I am in serious trouble. Someone up there is watching me and keeping an eye out for me as well. Because I seem to have navigated this life, well, sometimes living on the edge it might seem, at certain times.

When have we transcended our troubles ?

And at what point point does transcendence take place ?

What would you call transcendence, how would you know ?

An old timer once said to me that, in order to see wisdom, you need two things:

The benefit of time, AND the experience of hindsight.

When we find ourselves in trouble, sometimes that trouble might seem, insurmountable when we are in the middle of it. And it might seem that trouble will never end. In most cases, save certain troubles, let’s say, life and mortality, troubles come and troubles go.

It is how we manage these troubles that matters.

As a young person in my family home, there was trouble. And I surfed it to the best of my ability. When I moved away, that trouble ended, but that did not last, because where ever I went, trouble seemed to follow. I must consider my youth and naivete. Add to that, my own blindness to the one trouble I had, that I never realized was a trouble (read: Problem).

Often when we read the Big Book, Bill had a certain way of writing. He never used the same word twice. If he was trying to get a point across to you, he would use as many words, that meant the same thing, without telling you that that was what he was doing, and I did not learn this until recently, when someone pointed this out to me.

You could use the word “trouble” or you could interchange the word with “problem.”

I skated through life, until I hit my mid twenties. I thought I was getting by, when I really wasn’t. I was involved with someone who was walking trouble. When that relationship went south, one night I walked into a bar, alone, and on that night, my life changed.

God began his slow emergence into my life. He knew better than I did, that pretty soon, I was going to need his help, because the trouble that was coming, would rock my world.

I can share these stories with you, because I know for a fact that in certain cases, I squarely faced trouble, and I transcended them.

TROUBLES SQUARELY FACED …

I was at work on a Sunday afternoon, and my mother called out of the blue. She tells me that my ex boyfriends mother called HER, to find out if I had seen him, because his mother could not reach him.

A few days would pass. Eventually, the police got involved. We found him a few days too late, and by that time he was long since dead. By this time, I also had the bar job at night. And God, in his infinite wisdom was right where He needed to be.

And not a minute too soon.

Suicide is never a good thing, for the one who kills themselves, nor for the persons they leave behind. How do I describe what it felt like to have a coroner call you and ask you to come and identify remains ? How do I quantitatively explain the gravity of such a request?

Do you know what a corpse looks like 5 days in ? I do…

His mother’s last words to me, after I identified him, and signed the papers to send his body home for burial were these …

“I hope for the rest of your life, the last thing you see when you close your eyes is my son’s dead body !”

I can tell you that twenty two years later, I can still see him, as I did on that fateful day.

I was still drinking. Let me tell you, I drank A LOT of liquor in the days that followed that day and that specific conversation. God was watching. Very closely. My friends, at one point, tried to intervene in my excessive drinking. They got me into therapy. Suicide survivors therapy.

For months, it seemed, I sat in a room, with family members, who were left behind. And I listened to them recount their specific war story every time someone new showed up. I kept on drinking, and I was working at the bar.

Todd passed an edict that nobody could drink while on the job. Ok, that was cool. There was plenty of time to drink after hours. And I did that. For a calendar year.

The second big trouble hit. I get a call from a certain friend, who tells me that my ex killed himself, because he was diagnosed with AIDS. Well nobody told me that !!!

Soon after that, I got very sick. I was in the middle of two tragedies.

One, facing the loss of a life, Two, facing the end of my own life.

That is when God stepped in definitively and took control.

Mortality, that, is one of those troubles that many don’t surmount and win.
Death is a forgone conclusion…

I can tell you that in both situations, I surmounted those two troubles, and I have transcended them. I have more than twenty years experience of time and hindsight, to offer.

When people began to get sick, it was inside a flurry of live fast and die young.

Where all of my friends decided to go out in a blaze of drugs and alcohol, Todd decreed that he would never let me go that way. He stepped in and kept me focused on living and surviving. He chose me, out of all those sick men to help. Probably because everyone I knew, including my family, tossed me to the gutter and I was alone.

All of my friends are dead. I am, very soon, going to cross my twenty second year, and I am still here. Those two very cathartic events in my life have come and gone. And while I was in the middle of them, it seemed that they would never end.

I can tell you squarely, my troubles came to an end.

I don’t know why I am still alive, nor why I lived and everyone else is dead.

God, is the only one who knows that answer, and He hasn’t shared that answer with me.

That means I get to tell this story as many times as I have to, to teach you all what can happen when one allows God to come step in and take control. Hopefully, these specific two stories will change a life for the better.

And maybe, just maybe, I will save a life.

I did not know what “Calm Courage” was. Todd did. I did not know if I would live or die. Todd did. I did not know life would end up this way, Todd did.

I don’t know how he knew, but he knew things that I needed to know.

I know … Now …

When I finally got to “that day” (read: the day I was supposed to die) And I was still alive, Todd helped me decide what I was going to do with myself. I was going to live.

I can tell you, that it was not the easier softer way, No, I took the long way round.

In the doors, out of the doors, back in the doors, I survived a third cathartic “trouble.”

God stepped in a third time and saved from me from imminent death.

Since I got sober the second time, my troubles seem insignificant, when I look at them against the lens of having survived suicide, my own mortality, and a near death experience.

There is no trouble I can’t face and deal with.

Unlike, many people on the earth, who walk around (some, blindly and not knowing from one moment to the next), I have someplace to go when I need help. It might cost me a loonie ($1) or a toonie ($2) at best, or it might cost me the price of a cup of coffee.

How much would you pay for someones life experience if you knew that experience would save your life? You can’t monetize life experience.

The rooms provide things for us, that normal human beings probably spend thousands or more dollars trying to find solutions to their problems.

If only everyone was an alcoholic.

They would have access to our fathomless bank of experience.

Today I have “calm courage.” I know this, because my experience has shown me where it saved my life, when I should have long since died.

I don’t often recognize it and sometimes I take it for granted.

All I need to do is stand in front of my medicine cabinet.

Instant gratitude…

More to come, stay tuned …

Sunday Sundries … Home Run, Mission Accomplished

tumblr_npm0kk2JV41rkbqteo1_500 whffboxCourtesy: Whffbox

We continue with our Baseball Themed series tonight.

Today was “D” day. The day that had to come together no matter what the cost, or time commitment. Our team of go getter ladies stepped up and took care of business.

With only 16 spots available for the 60 odd people who showed up to register their kids, we got Miss Lu Lu a spot in daycare, based on her dire need and our immediacy of placement of the baby. She got bumped to the head of the line.

There was much dancing and tears of joy for Mama. She could not have been more pleased to see this final hurdle come together as it did. Now all we need is for her to get on that plane tomorrow afternoon and come home.

It will a most festive day tomorrow, the day we all have worked so hard to see come to pass.

We spoke to New Foundland before the meeting where it was a chilly 10c, where here it was 24c and sunny.

We sat a full house. And read the story: “The Salesman.”

Once again, our story takes place in the 1920’s and eventually our man, by the end of the story had attained two years sober, at the time of his writing the story. Two years seems to be the magic number for those first 100 sober folks.

As a young man our writer comes from a farming family, and sees big business and dollar signs he imagines will come forth, if he becomes a traveling salesman.

And as stories go, he learns how to drink. Then he looses himself in the drink. And he becomes a traveling “drunk” salesman. This is not good.

He starts drinking … then stops !

“Is he gonna get it or is he not?”

He starts drinking again, and winds up in the loosing column, he stops again, this time a little bit longer !

“Is he gonna get it or not?”

He starts drinking again, and winds up in hospital, drunk and poor.

“Now, he might trip over it …”

A doctor. known for his solution oriented program, introduces our man to his men.

He’s not sure about these people, or the God angle, but in the end, it comes down to one alcoholic talking to another, with stories told, identification dawns.

He begins “The Work,” in earnest.

He writes that “it was a good thing they got him to work so soon after he quit drinking, and that kept him busy.” We are not talking about business work or making money. But it is inferred that they got him into talking to others and sharing the solution.

In the story, our writer talks about how he started his days, with a double shot of whiskey, just to get on the page. It wasn’t for the hair of the dog that bit him, but a necessary imbibing to get him rolling.

And as I sat there listening to one of my friends read this passage in the story, I had a sick feeling, I may have not had a drink in a long while, but my brain remembered just what whiskey feels and tastes like going down my throat.

As I sat there, I felt that whiskey go down my throat.

That’s never happened before.

Mindful, how close we are to the drink, if we forget what it was like, and then the next thought comes that “maybe we can handle another drink, normally!”

I sure as shit don’t know what normal drinking is, nor do I want to even contemplate a drink.

If we have nothing in common, we have our stories. The stories may differ, drinking histories, men or women, young or old, the basic theme is the same.

We began to drink, then we get taken by the drink, and end up in the loosing column with nowhere else to go.

You reach your bottom when you STOP digging.

Tonight, all of our folks, men and women, are sober, and have stopped digging.

All of us are in some way engaged with The Work, to some extent.

The themes of turning it over and letting go came up.

Who knew a room full of crazy alcoholics would have a solution to whatever ails us ?

G.O.D.

Good Orderly Direction
Group of Drunks
GOD.

One way or another, you find that power that is going to help you get and stay sober, some know what that is, others still don’t know, but they are sober another day, we all agree, that something greater than ourselves is doing the job.

Maybe it is the power that resides in each other, when we come together to share.

One alcoholic talking to another. Crosses all boundaries to that place that receives.

A good night was had by all.

Tomorrow is the Big Day, watch this space…

More to come.

Saturday … Double Play

tumblr_np1kb7y0531rkbqteo1_500 whffboxCourtesy: Whffbox

Rain Rain Go Away, Come again Another day …

This week, it rained, and rained and rained some more. Kinda pissy rain, not a flat out pouring, however it might have, I was just out when it was just pissing …

Today, the skies cleared and we have sun and blue skies.

It is the big week this week. The project that we have been working on for more than a year comes to a head on Monday. Tomorrow we hit our last hurdle, getting space in a day care for Baby Mama’s daughter. The girls are taking care of that.

Monday Baby Mama flies in with assorted luggage and the baby. We will be meeting her at the airport Monday afternoon, and bringing her to her temporary home, until her apartment is ready on the 1st of July.

We’ve spent the last year working with her, finding her a place to live and sort out baby needs between St. John’s N.F. and here in Montreal.

There is a lot to write about, so much that a second post will go up after this one.

Thursday was all about friends, cake and major milestones.

I have known our speaker man ever since I got sober. And I’ve heard him share several times over the last decade or so. We only hit one speaker meeting during the week, so repeat performances are usually slim. Anyways, He tells the story, but what I took away from his share was the wisdom that has come about his story and how that relates to the present.

Time is the one constant that we have that polishes wisdom of our lives.

One of my long time friends celebrated thirty years. I can’t believe he’s been sober that long. He hasn’t aged a day in ten years. It is fact that he got sober in his twenties, which speaks to his longevity. I’ve known him as long as I’ve been sober as well.

The LGBT community came out in force to celebrate his anniversary.

Our guys are preparing to go away for work this summer. One of our men is in South Africa with his family for the summer, departure one, two of my guys leave Wednesday, departure two and next week for the other, departure three.

Friday was spent with people coming and going, friends came over for a visit, and then I was off to meet up with a friend before the Friday evening event. (it rained)

As Friday goes, it is the best night/meeting of the week. We sat a full house and then some.

The topic, “Freedom through Acceptance.”

When we come in, who wants to admit they are powerless over alcohol, and also, everything else in our lives? And who wants to turn it all over to a Power Greater than Ourselves in the second breath? But it is true, that when we do relent and let go and turn it over, things begin to turn around. For some, it takes longer than others.

In the end, “We neither ran nor fought, but accept we did. And then we began to be free.”

I learned the first time around that, in reality, there was no where else to go. And I knew nothing, and I needed serious help. And help stepped in. I loved this man more than I had ever loved anyone else up to that point.

So I gave it up. I allowed myself to be led, to be healed and to survive.

I’ve spoken about this before in great detail. Hindsight tells me that when I needed God the most, He came, incarnate and walked with me for that period of time. I am 100% percent sure of this fact. It happened, I survived, and today I am here because of it.

I know what that kind of freedom feels like.

When I got here, I again, had nothing, I knew nobody and I needed serious help. Over time, I met folks, went to meetings, and one day at a time, turned it over to people who knew better than I did, and I survived, and today I am here because of it.

I’ve had my God conversion. I know there is a God and I am not He. I can talk about God of the bible and God of the book. But I am better at talking about God, as He presents himself through my friends lives.

My friends are sober, they have had their own experiences. I just happen to be in the same room at the same time. We are here, we survived and today we are here because of that.

When I turn it over, to my friends and fellows, and I trust in God, as I understand Him, I thrive, I prosper, and I become strong, I gain strength when I let go and let God. I don’t need all that power or strength, nor do I need my ego. The simple power exchange between that which I know and that which I do not know grants freedom and power where I need it, when I need it.

At the end another friend took a year chip. We are all very proud of him. It has been a long year for him, but we were steadfast and we did what we could for him, and he stayed sober.

It was a good end to the week. Everybody is sober.

Another post will follow.