Selfish Pursuits

We’ve been focused on The Book this week, and the two fold nature of alcoholism. The allergy to alcohol and the mental obsession of the mind. Which then follows into the spiritual malady that takes place when we introduce alcohol into our systems.

When I was a teen ager, I drank with my friends. Often. Whenever there was a party, we had that party all planned out, from beginning to end. We had plans that were executed to make sure everyone went home, a little more sober, than when they drank at said party.

All these years later, as I attempted to make amends to long since friends, none of them seemed to want to reconnect nor know me today. And they all have their reasons, and I know some of them.

I was working my way out of my closet. When it comes to the allergy, I cannot square that in my lexicon. I think I bypassed the allergy and went straight to Obsession.

My shrink, at that time, was coaching me out of the closet, so I trusted, implicitly, what he said to me. Because there was nobody else, giving me advice, as to how I was supposed to “Break Into” the gay community of the late 1980’s.

He told me, and I quote “The only way in, was through a BAR. I want you to go to said bar, sit down and have a drink, hell have two. FIREWORKS will happen. Wait for Fireworks.”

That was the advice I got. And I stuck to that advice.

Drinking became an obsession. Because as deluded as that advice was, it deluded me into fantasy and wishful thinking. These fantasies and deluded thinking, took me in and stunted my mental growth from the age of twenty one until I hit thirty four, when I put down the drink for the last time.

I drank because it would bring me what I wanted. When it was good, it was good, but in the end, it got very bad. I drank for fireworks, every time.

And it was in a bar at seven in the morning, on that fateful day that brought me more than fireworks, it brought me death along with them.

When I got sick, the mere thought of fireworks, became a MUTE point. I could not get laid for the life of me. Nobody wanted to have sex with a marked human being who was going to die. That was a bitter pill to swallow. But I swallowed it nonetheless.

When Todd moved away, left to my own devices, and nobody to tell me otherwise, I took a stab at selfish pursuits once again. That did not end up good, in any sense. What it brought me was drug addiction, in a dead end location, alone, and no way out. And I had to just bide my time and hope that the cavalry would show up.

The cavalry did come.

But my drinking obsession was not over. I just could not fathom, growing up or accepting that one very important portion of my life was over. That was the second bitter pill I needed to swallow.

In the end, that black outs got too much. And I finally put down the drink and came to my next first meeting to start over again.

In sobriety, I’ve read the book, as we continually read the book during the week at assorted meetings. And I am reminded WHY I am alcoholic and why I put down the drink. Because I am not like normal people. One drink is too many and a hundred drinks are not enough.

God, it seems, is still is action mode. He’s always in action mode. it is just sometimes, I don’t want to listen to Him. At my own peril.

It is what it is.

I know my selfish behaviors. The ones we never talk about in open community. The ones that haunt every man in the rooms today. But there was another option. And I spoke about it. And now I am doing something about it.

You can’t rid yourself of character defects and shortcoming, if you do nothing about them, wishfully thinking that if you just wait them out, they will disappear, the longer one is sober.

It doesn’t work that way.

Sobriety is ever changing, if you are up for the never ending ritual of change. You won’t get better or become better, or become spiritually fit, unless you allow God to prune the bush every once in a while.

I heard it said, for one friend, that when he got sober, his sponsor told him that “if it was in the book, he believed it, and that settled it for him.”

He is Very Long Sober today.

I want to become Very Long Sober like him too.

But in order to become that, I have to work.

Honor Thy Father and Mother

In my life, I’ve studied the Bible. Religion. Theology. I know my teachings, and my faith life. The bible says, “Honor thy Father and Mother.”

I disagree with the Bible.

I don’t honor either of them. And never will.

Today is Mother’s Day. Everyone I know, inside and outside the rooms, whether sober a long time, or a short time, is to repair their bridges to their parents, because you only get one shot. Once they are dead, it will be too late to do anything.

The last time I spoke to my mother, probably three years ago, she said the same litany to me. Her favorite stab me in the heart phrase is this:

YOU WERE A MISTAKE AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN

In my life, when it counted, when I really needed guidance, they tossed me to the four corners and said, “Have at it, we are done with you.” I left home, because they would not allow their gay son, to live any longer, under their roof. My father had ample opportunity to kill me, and He did try, valiantly.

I THINK OUT LOUD TODAY, WITH THE PREVALENCE OF GUNS IN OUR SOCIETY, WE HAD A SHOTGUN AND A PISTOL IN THE HOUSE AT ALL TIMES, LOADED AND LOCKED. IT WAS A VERY GOOD THING THAT I NEVER RETALIATED FOR THE ABUSE HEAPED ON ME BECAUSE MY FATHER KNEW I WAS GAY, AND WAS GOING TO BEAT THE GAY OUT OF ME.

When I got sick, and was going to die, I called a family meeting, and begged for support and help. My Mother, My Father and my Brother, said nothing. They did nothing. They did not help me, or even deign to pick up the phone and call to see if I was ok, in all of almost thirty years since.

I survived, By The Grace of God and a key few people.

Todd was the leader of that rag tag group of men who kept me alive.

I lived because strangers to me, other than work colleagues, stepped up and decided that I would live and that they would see to it that I did live.

I LIVED

On New Years Eve Night into Day 2001 – I had worked an all night shift at the bar, doing lights, and got home around 8 am New Years Day. I got into bed to sleep, and my mother called at 9 am and told me they were in Miami, and HAD been in Miami for an entire week. Unbeknown to me. She said they were coming to visit on their way out of the city.

My father drove up, parked the car in a fire truck emergency zone, and gave my mother TWENTY minutes to visit with me. We walked around the block, we spoke, and she got in the car, and they drove away.

That was the very last time I saw both my parents alive.

My Father Died on January 7th 2018. Hating me with his last breath.

When I moved to Canada in 2002, I spent two years, every other week sending mail to Florida, trying to get my mother to respond. I mailed packages of stuff, and letters. For two years I did this every other week. My mother did NOT respond, ONCE.

Over the ensuing years, I would call my mother when I thought it was appropriate, like a death or something big, I thought would be important to tell her. She usually said the same thing to me.

YOU WERE A MISTAKE AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN.

I do not honor my Father or my Mother. They did not honor me, nor did they support me, after they figured out I was gay. They did not help me when I was sick. They never once called, none of them called, my Father, my Mother, nor my Brother, in this lifetime, to see if I was still alive.

I think about my father now, more often. I connect him to a particular piece of music that I wrote about some time ago here. I talk to him too. I see the good that he had, and I try not to dwell on the bad that was there too.

I think my mother is still alive, she lives with my brother, and they both want nothing to do with me.

So fuck me for trying.

I spoke to my brother three days after my father died, and he said and I quote: “I don’t want to know about you nor your story. They all blame for for all of their problems.

They say that it was my choice to leave the family, like I did, but none of the take responsibility for the parts each of them played in pushing me out of my home so young, to severely crash and burn as a young alcoholic.

I made self preservation decisions, because I wanted to live, because of all the shit heaped on me for my entire life. I did not decide one day just to up and go because of only myself. I made those decisions, based on repeated mental, emotional, and physical abuse.

My parents only wish, during the years I was living alone and on the edge of death was this … They just wanted me to die, already, and could that be today, for God’s sake !

They did not care if I lived, because they were only concerned with my impending death. And I was not going to give them one single opportunity to be able to claim my corpse and do whatever they wanted with it. I would probably have ended up in some cemetery, buried alone, if even that, for all of eternity.

NO FUCKING WAY

It really is a bitch being almost 52 years old, being sober almost 18 years, and learning so much about life and people. I respect the place of humanity in my life. And it breaks my heart every year to know that the family of origin I had, will not grow up to the point, where they would deign to speak to me. You don’t abandon your children. Gay or Straight.

Happy Mother’s Day you Bitter Old Woman. I hope you choke on your words, when you take your last breath.

In Order to Move Forward, We Must Review the Past…

We’ve all done things, that we might not want to own up to. It is difficult watching the massive amount of strife going on all around us.

The easy out for what ails us here in Canada, is N.I.M.B.Y. (Not in my back yard). It is far too easy to just turn the channel and ignore what is going on in the world, but I cannot.

In the past little while, a good number of the women I grew up with for the last 40 years, have stated truths, that I had no idea had happened. What do you say to your friends, when they say, out loud, that they too, have been sexually assaulted as young girls.

In a time when we all spent inordinate amounts of time together, sharing meals, homes, and bedrooms. Somewhere in the middle of our lives going on, my friends were violated.

I had no idea.

Human beings are flawed. None of us are perfect. Show me a human being without a skeleton in their closet. I was raised by parents who had skeletons in their closets.

I was having a conversation in my head the other day with the brother who refuses to acknowledge my existence, when I ponder my dead father, and the possibility that my mother will die, and as I was told, nobody would tell me. So I talk to them in my head, when I sleep.

How can you be angry at me for my choices, when it was You to begin with who pushed me out into the street alone, with no street smarts, and left me to the wind, because you could not reconcile your skeleton with my reality.

My father abused me, in every way possible.

So when my friends say, out loud, their truths, I can safely admit that I get it. I understand.

They call it the Reckoning …

The world has exploded and chaos reigns at the moment. It is not safe for any of us, right at the moment. It has been said by wiser men than I that,
“People who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it…”

Drinking is not an outside issue for many of us. The severity of just how much one drank, and the situations that followed are what worries us.

I can share a story about high school. A story that many of the boys who participated in this story, would never admit that they participated in them.

I know this because, at one time or another, I went looking for old friends, and they point blank told me to get lost. They had moved on, and I was not invited to join them, because “I” had the drinking problem, don’t you know.

Much drinking took place in my social circle. We even had our own dedicated “Funnel” that was employed at odd times of serious drinking.

Boys and girls drank together. Not that I knew what went on with my friends, to a great degree. But when boys and girls would drink together in the same room, the girls were afforded their dignity. I know this because if girls were invited to the party, they were given certain directions, prior to drinking with us.

We had designated drivers, and after such heavy metal drinking parties, my friend’s sister would gather the girls to clean them up, and change their clothes, and drive them around town, while they puked, to get it out of their systems, before a second designated driver, brought them safely home.

My best friend, who was my best friend for a number of years, transgressed our friendship, by sexually violating my cousin one night. That transgression cost us a friendship, when my father made a call, fifteen hundred miles from home, to my cousins father, who flew to Florida to confront my best friend to ask him “why did you take my daughter’s virginity?”

I don’t know, to this day, the words spoken by my uncle and my father to my then, best friend, because decades later when I quizzed him about that night, he rebuffed me and hung up the phone.

Not a shining moment for him I guess.

Drinking does take a toll on the drinker, and every single person in the orbit of said drinker. Because if you drank like we did, and we know, right at this very moment, a certain man, drank as hard as we did when he was a kid, and he refuses to own up for his actions.

I can tell you from personal experience, that blackout drinking is common. I can also tell you that my friends who were educated in religious institutions, along side the secular schools, drank hard, and some even harder than we did. Because if you were educated by the Brothers of St. Christopher, You’d Drink Too !!!

There are regrets I have to this day. Mistakes I have made. People I have hurt. Memories that won’t go away. Visuals that are burned into the back of my brain. There are things each of us, will take to our graves.

Sometimes, letting sleeping dogs lie, is the best advice.

There are just some stories that will never be righted, for one reason or another. There are some people, who will never allow us to be recognized as humans, imperfect humans, who just would like to be loved.

For once in our lives.

Help Will Always Come

Hogwarts-castle-harry-potter-166431

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

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

Read: I need to STOP and Pray !!!

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

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

Thursday night, after the meeting I was really emotional and I realized that I was not done mourning the passing of my father. Because of a comment made about him, amid a conversation with a friend, at the earlier meeting.

We were talking about care giving and being a care giver for family and significant others and how tasking that is on everyone involved. A few days prior to this chat, the National News carried a story about just this topic, and how the province of Quebec is going to step up and help care givers of patients and family in assisted living facilities.

I told him the story about my father, when I was in eighth grade, how, when his mother had a very serious stroke, and in a VERY LUCID moment, outside of his alcoholism, he thought that IF he took ME to Connecticut to see her, he believed, from somewhere deep within him, that if she looked at me and recognized me, that she would in essence,
WAKE UP!

What we did not know about serious stroke paralysis was apparent.

Who knew from the now famous “Stroke Treatment” delivered within a very short time from falling into stroke, can avert serious paralysis. That drug did not exist in the early 80’s.

We took a night flight out and arrived late that evening in Connecticut. My uncle picked us up and took us to his house. The next morning we ate breakfast and they drove me to The New Britain General Hospital.

I was not prepared at all for what was coming.

We got to Grammy’s room, and she was laid out, drooling spittle, half her face was in her lap, and the entire right side of her body was paralyzed. I took one look at her, and I fainted. My head hit the tile floor and I ended up in the emergency room that morning.

She indeed, did NOT wake up. However, she knew who I was. I could not rouse her from her lethargy. I sat on her bed for a few weeks time, to no avail.

In the end, a few weeks later, I returned home defeated. My father was crushed.

It is my belief that he held that little trip against me and never forgave me for not being able to do the job, HE BELIEVED, I needed to do for him. His alcoholism cranked up to 200%. And the abuse ratcheted up 200% as well. Whenever he drank, it was me he came after.

Which is why, as time went on, I found other houses to stay in, so I did not have to be at home. I spent an inordinate amount of time sleeping at successive friends houses over the ensuing years, just to get away from my father.

A functional abusive alcoholic can have lucid moments of brilliance and compassion and thought. Interspersed with the drinking came incredible kindnesses. My father paid dearly, in “Things” to assuage my pain that he himself caused me.

When my friend mentioned to me the other night that “My father KNEW that  my grandmother loved me more than any other, i.e. my brother, it was me he took on this trip because “we” (my grandmother and I are spiritually connected).

When I got very sick, it was Grammy who visited me and stayed with me, when everyone else fled the scene. It took a psychic to tell me this, because she would come into my apartment and my bedroom door was always closed, (at that point) at which time she would move pictures on the walls, and scatter magazines all over the floor, until I invited my friend to come over and tell me what was going on …

In his words to my ears: He told me Grammy was standing in my living room, and had been there for a long time, looking after me, and she could not quite figure out how to get through the door, (after which time, I never slept with another bed room door closed, to this very day). She still visits me on occasion here !!!

That comment unnerved me to the degree that I came home an emotional mess and when I got home, I sat down and wrote it all out and did my Step 4 at the same time.

I went to bed Thursday night, not so myself.

Friday, I left for the meeting as usual. I got to the church, and unlocked, and began my set up routine. I was still, not in the right frame of mind. I grabbed the coffee pot, from the cabinet and lo and behold, a single sheet of paper fell to the floor at my feet, from the stack of papers we have to one side of the cabinet.

I picked it up, as it fell face down, on the floor, and took a look at the newspaper clipping. It was a newspaper clipping telling the story of the house where Bill W. was born, in East Dorset, Vermont.

The house is NOT on any map. You would have to know, before hand, where you were going in order to get there, because there aren’t any signs along the way saying …

DSCF3270 (2)

THIS WAY TO BILL’S HOUSE !!! This is the actual house as it is.

Anyways, I read the article and thought to myself, wow, I had never seen this article in the cabinet before, so there has to be a reason it fell out, onto the floor, at just the most opportune moment.

Which hearkened me back three years to the weekend that my then sponsor, my best friend Joe, and I, were on our way to a men’s intensive at Mad River Barn, not far from East Dorset that very weekend.

DSCF3286 (2)

And ON THE WAY … We visited Bill’s house where he was born. We also visited Bill and Lois’ grave, just up the road in a very small and non-nondescript cemetery. If you did not know the cemetery was there, you’d not know to go there and pay your respects to the Founder and his wife.

Coming back to the present moment, I was in my head, clearly not myself, standing there alone in a church basement, with this piece of paper in my hand, and the very clear and resonant memory in the front of my brain.

Another of life’s synchronicity.

These little spiritually ignited occurrences happen often to me. And when I most need them, HP does the trick and sends me a sign from above, to remind me, that I am well cared for, and there is always someone up there, looking out for me.

The weekend was a success. It has been Hotter than Hell in Montreal since last Friday, and the heat wave will continue through Thursday night, later this week.

It has been UNBEARABLE !!!

I am chairing this month at the Monday meeting, and we read from the Big Book. Before the meeting I was sitting outside the hall, thumbing through my Big Book, looking for a suitable passage to share with the group. And I happened upon the story:

Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three … Pioneer of Akron’s Group No. 1 The first A.A. group in the world …

And I came to the end of the story where he is having breakfast with Bill and his wife Henrietta, and Bill says to her:

“Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.”

This one sentence is A.A. Gold…

The reading, in the end, speaks about an Absolute State of Grace and Gratitude.

Which brings me this realization as I am sitting here typing these words that:

If you don’t have a topic for a meeting, the default is ALWAYS

GRATITUDE !!!

We’ve come full circle now.

When Passion Dies

Olympic-Stadium

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

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

When I was a boy, I had a gift for music. Beginning as a small child with a little organ, and graduating into the BIG LEAGUE with a double Decker two keyboard Wurlitzer organ that I was a master at playing.

I took private lessons, had lessons in school, and competed at Regional and State musical competitions. 12 years of music, died, on one fateful evening, when my drunken father grabbed my organ seat,(Leather bound, heavy mahogany furniture) and threw it at my mother, to try to hurt her.

I grabbed my fathers throat and said to him that after that stunt I would never play that organ again, so he might as well, send it back to where it came from.

All those years of musical genius went down the drain. And I never touched another keyboard for the whole of my life.

The passion died, because of principle, not because the gift died within me.

When I hear someone talk about a passion that is specific, let’s say, sport, not everybody is cut out to train and compete at the Olympic Level.

The stress of being a young athlete, away from home, not knowing ones asshole from their elbow, and finding the companion of alcohol to fill the whole of the need for external approval, is a killer.

I know this also, the lesson about approval comes to mind with Todd all those years ago, thinking that I needed him to tell me that I did a good job, every time I did a particular job, because I did not trust myself or my inner self. He taught me that lesson, hard and fast.

When you cannot look yourself in the mirror and be kind to ones self and always beating ones self up, always needing someone else to affirm us, is the death knell for mental health and stability.

Oh how the mighty fall. I’ve known athletes who threw in the towel and sabotaged their careers because of drugs and alcohol.

Once you get that Olympic Tattoo on you, you can never remove it. It will always be the constant reminder of who you once were, and where you had been. Only Olympic Athletes get that specific tattoo. it is a rite of passage.

RTXT3VO-jpg_213819

But we come in and we are messed up emotionally and mentally. Character defects running rampant. Arrogance and egotistical behavior abound, until we hit the proverbial wall of humility and humiliation, because of our attitudes, lies, and cheating.

And if we don’t get right, we will never get sober, ever !

Humility is a long hard lesson to learn for a lot of people, myself included.

But I know what it looks like and feels like today.

We all sabotage our lives with drugs and alcohol. The good news is, that there Is a Solution. One of the only solutions that work …

You – We – Us – Together – In a Church Basement – As often as Necessary !!!

You don’t have to go to the bitter end and sabotage a life of promise, you can always make that choice, for many, they could not make that choice alone.

Save for a few friends who did.

Self Sabotage is a familiar story line.

Sad that such promise went to pot, because of insecurity, ego, arrogance, and cheating.

Olympic careers are made out of a life of hard work, dedication and stamina

Very sad, that such a passion died for one of our young people.

But he is sober a few years now. Regretting nothing, because he is renewed every day.

Because he is with US now.

The Family Afterward

 

Sober Concept Wooden Letterpress Type

This painful past may be of infinite value to other families still struggling with their problem. We think each family who has been relieved owes something to those who have not, and when the occasion requires, each member of it should only be too willing to bring former mistakes, no mater how grievous, out of their hiding places. Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now. Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have – the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. PP. 124 B.B.

We’ve never discussed this chapter of the book before tonight. After the reading, I waited for a more educated friend to give his take on this particular paragraph. And so it went. This chapter, written by the first 100 who got sober, are addressing the family afterwards, those families who had seen recovery happen for those first 100.

Well before the dawn of ALANON. Well before there was support for those who had suffered because of an alcoholic in their lives and families.

Which is why, at most large sober gatherings, ALANON is represented and afforded a place at the table. This past weekend, we had a representative from ALANON from Oakville, speak to the Round Up gathering.

In the Promises that come in Step NINE, we are told that
“We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.”

Those who come into the rooms, do so at their own peril, for the road to recovery is fraught with hard truths and hard work, to clear away the wreckage of the past, make inventories, speak those inventories, and figure out what makes us tick, then as the steps progress, we make those lists of people we need to make amends to.

Family, Friends, Employers, Institutions …

I’ve said many times before that sobriety is cyclical. Each pass at the steps, and each discussion, and each share, and each inventory we process, we make our lists. We process that list, and we file it away for posterity.

But as it always happens, some things die-hard. And quite often, the same issues pop up on inventories, over and over again. We read the same book, we work the same steps, and over time, we discuss and retread the same material over and over again.

As the cycle repeats itself, our lives are like the rough rock (read:Jewel) that finds itself on the polishing wheel of the master jeweler, Let’s call him GOD.

When we come in, beaten and bruised, we settle into our seats. Conventional wisdom speaks to the need to begin steps right away. I’ve heard this said by many old timers with solid track records in working with others.

I take a more Liberal View of Recovery.

I’ve been around a few 24. I know what happens when people come in the door the first time. We welcome people from far and wide, and invite them in for coffee and conversation.

People need to find their feet, so to speak. Before we throw steps at them, they really need to get a bearing on their surroundings, first. They need to find their seat, and get comfortable sitting in that seat. For many, that takes a long time.

Even though they might walk into a Big Book discussion meeting, does not necessarily mean that we throw them into the deep end of the pool right away, which is why we are discussing the book.

Steps begin, as usual. And the first pass at the stone occurs. The first cut is made. Then the Master jeweler looks at the stone to see how his cut looks, and then decides on which next direction he is to take or which cut he wants to impress on the stone.

Each pass at life issues, in the cyclical manner that recovery is, we tread over old material, but each consecutive pass, over the years, we see old pain and experience in the light of the day we are looking at it. In the moment. 

Each day moving forwards allows us to see each issue with new eyes, in new light, with a little more sober experience, strength and hope under our belts.

Every time we tell our stories, they become founts of wisdom for some, and for others, their stories are brutal reminders of just what kind of animal the alcoholic was, before he or she came in.

But in the light of a new day, may come to see the wisdom of the above referenced passage.

Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have – the key to life and happiness for others.

We all have stories. Some far worse than others. Listen to a gathering of old timers telling stories about their lives, after decades of sobriety. Women and Men.

The themes are usually the same, the circumstances, though, differ widely.

They stuck around until the miracle happened for them. As we are advised, to stick around ourselves.

Families afterwards, and families during the clearing of that wreckage need a place to go to figure out who THEY are. And they figure out, for some, like our ALANON speaker this weekend, had to figure out for herself, because she was clueless at the start, that she indeed had been affected by an alcoholic during her lifetime.

Telling stories is not only beneficial for the drunk, telling stories is also beneficial for the families, friends, and significant others, of those who are with US in the ROOMS.

The offshoot of sister programs for people in recovery are as numerous as the (A) Groups that exist today. Which is why A.A. and ALANON work in tandem with each other so well.

We all have STEPS.

We all figure out who we were when we were using and drinking, and the sister members figure out who they are in tandem. They, like us, find solutions to their problems, as we find solutions to ours.

When I moved away from home I was 21 years old. What did I know of the big wide world I was walking into, I had no idea, but my ALCOHOLISM knew very well.

It knew who I was, it knew what I was. And it dictated where I was going to go and what I was going to do. All that valuable education and values, and morals went out the window when it came to my ALCOHOLISM.

I told strategic lies to certain people, because I was drinking my money away, faster than I could make it. And back then making money was the problem I faced over and over.

I’ve been out of my family home for thirty years now. I’ve seen my family, namely my mother and father a few times over the years. And I saw them even less, after I got sober.

I did not see my brother at all, after I moved away except, once, for Christmas many years ago.

All three of them tell the same story about me …

To this day, they blame for all of their problems. AND they blame me for the lives that happened, even though I was not even in the same state, or today, even in the same country.

Even though, when my father died in January, I attempted to make contact, to be a brother, and a son, to my brother and my mother, respectively, they kept the line, that I was not a part of this family, and that I was the cause of all of their problems.

None of them would have ever thought to find help, in ALANON or any sister program, because over the past twenty-five years of my life, I have been in and out of the rooms.

And since I got sober this last very long stretch, I made countless attempts at reconciliation and amends. Every attempt fell on deaf ears.

Fuck me for trying …

I wrote last night, about the forty-five year sober woman who spoke on Saturday night, at the keynote address. And I told that story to the group tonight. About my conversation with her.

She really did not want to make time to listen to me, after learning, after the fact what she had said and done to other sober members, over the weekend.

And her assertion that my behavior as a member of A.A. was unacceptable, casting aspersions, on my ability to know how to behave in a meeting, and I did not argue with her. I took her advice, and just walked away. shaking my head.

She told us her story and we are supposed to hold her up as a paragon of “right sobriety” seeing that she is as old as God. And we are told to never question the wisdom of an old-timer, because they have so many years of lived sober experience.

I call BULLSHIT on that.

I can tell you how many times old timers, or groups of them, have shunned me in a meeting. Telling me to leave, and never come back. That people like me are not condoned in the rooms of A.A. And that maybe I need to find someplace else to get sober, because they did not want me sitting in the same room with many of them.

And on Sunday, I shared ONE particular story of the worst day in my sobriety, when I was an emotional mess, the WORST day of my life in more than twenty-five years. And I told her how an old-timer with more than thirty years of sobriety, shunned me and insulted me and demeaned me.

And she had the balls to say to me that …
I DID NOT KNOW HOW TO BEHAVE IN A MEETING ???

I’ve been nothing but honest whenever I tell my story. I share openly here, because it really does not matter if I break my anonymity. As long as I don’t tell you I speak for anyone other than myself.

I represent nobody or any fellowship.

All I do here is tell stories.
I let you decide whether you want to read, comment or follow.

Every life matters. No matter who you are.

At the end of the meeting a member trans woman walked up to me and whispered in my ear …

I gather, that I understand what you meant when members told you to go. I get it that you were tossed out. She then told me how she was tossed out of meetings, and nail salons, and restaurants, because of who she is today.

Honesty is always the best policy.

You never know when someone in the room you sit in, will identify with you.

And say something kind in return.

Monday: Sobriety Through New Eyes

23167748_10155808087217731_3813351174623982239_n

This past week, a new rotation of working with others began. On Friday night, last, I started a new round of the Big Book, with one of my guys. It is interesting to see how my friends and fellows are growing up in sobriety.

Tonight, I sat with a young lady friend.

I sing her praises often, because I’ve seen her grow up before our very eyes over the past couple of years. I listen to her speak at meetings, and share within discussions, and with that said, I asked her to take me through the book, with her eyes and experience.

The thought when we approach the book, as of late is – Having a New Experience.

From the get go, reading the book with someone new, who is taking you through those hallowed pages, is a gift. I know my lady friend, and this endeavor is for me to learn what she knows, and how she came to know it.

I’ve been through the book with seasoned sober men and women over the past five years. I survived them. I don’t even see any of those men and women from the past, in meetings I go to. That is a thing.

People with A Lot of time under their belts have time, and the method is the same, as the book does not change. What changes is the presentation, and what each presenter believes is important for us, as followers to pay attention to.

My lady friend is a few years in, and I have “years” on her, what I don’t have, is her perspective, from her point of view. Tonight, as we began the read, I have already learned more from what we read tonight, than I had read over all the years I have been sober.

I’ve been lead through the book, with a template that has made the rounds, from sources in New York City. Now, I have a series of passes through the book, with that method. This time I wanted something new.

I get to go through the book, and I am walking one of my guys through the book at the same time, so he will learn, exactly what I am learning from my work.

Double Whammy !!!

Tonight, we hit Step One again, because we hosted newcomers at the meeting. The rule of thumb is, if it is your first meeting, we always default to Step One.

As we look back, we feel we had gone on drinking many years beyond the point where we could quit on our will power. If anyone questions whether they have entered this dangerous area, let them try leaving liquor alone for one year …

The room snickers together…

If they are a real alcoholic and very far advanced, there is scant chance of success…

For those who are unable to drink moderately the question is how to stop altogether. We are assuming of course, that the reader desires to STOP… This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it – the utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.

When I left home, I really had no practical experience of living alone. I had always lived under someone else’s roof. Namely, my parent roof. I knew right from wrong, at least I thought I did, until it came to alcohol.

An alcoholic will break their standards quicker than they can lower them.

My body was just as fucked up as my brain was. What did I know then? Not Much. Who knew from values and morals, when the desire to drink to excess was the name of the game from the word GO ?

I know a lot of young people, who are working towards sobriety. Every time we hit Step One, I hear more insanity than I am capable of fully understanding.

Who knew, what my life would have looked like, if, on the first pass, when I got sober the first time, had someone like my friends today, had presented me the book, THEN, in the way they present the book TODAY, how different my life would have been.

But I had much bigger fish to fry, back in the day. And eventually, we all get to the point where FATE steps in, and God drops out of His heaven and says … STOP.

I was gifted with the word STOP, when it counted. It was the messaging that did not welcome me when it mattered. Nobody, I knew THEN, knew the book, as we KNOW the book TODAY.

I committed to my road. Or more to the point, my road committed to me, because it was ME that made those decisions based on self, and my base desires. We know today, that if it isn’t water, food, or sleep, it’s all about US.

And we have to be vigilant about ourselves when it comes to everything else, that does not have to do with staying alive, rudimentary.

IT NOT ABOUT GETTING SOBER IT IS ABOUT CONNECTING WITH THE POWER THAT IS GETTING ME SOBER.

Each of us is destined for that psychic change that will guarantee us hope. Then we can cultivate values IN a Power Greater than Ourselves.

One of my friends, a few months in, does not know if he GETS Higher Power. I heard him say tonight, though, he is months sober now. He landed a stellar job, by fluke. Before, he was into hard drugs, then alcohol, then he hit rock bottom.

Before he would say … The only thing I look forwards to is Friday night, so I can go out and get hammered. NOW, he says quite confidently, that He looks forward to Friday because he hits our meeting, on Friday night.

On Sunday’s he works in a soup kitchen in a homeless shelter every Sunday. Later on Sunday night, he hits his Home Group, Golden Slippers, where he does service, every week. We ingrained in him, Home Group, service to humanity, service to others in the room, sponsor and the book.

There is the obvious shift of perception.

Higher Power is doing for him what he could not do for himself.

I am extremely proud of my friend. It takes a village, and when he walked in, the village rose to meet him, along with all the others. I pay critical attention to him, because of who he is, the chosen profession he works in and also, he crossed my path at the right moment. I am engaged 100%.

Knowing his back story, tells me that if he fails, he has MUCH to lose. And we cannot let him fail. This is entirely on him. As long as we are present, daily, failure is NOT an Option.

There is much gratitude in the air tonight.