Lotta Birthdays Today

Tonight my friends sat with me at the men’s meeting and we celebrated my birthday together. However my sponsor is in Vermont, but he called to wish me a happy. Nobody believed I was fifty two today. My much older friends are too kind in saying that I sure as shit do not look fifty two and I certainly don’t dress like a fifty two year old man.

I was standing outside the church with a friend and he commented that I don’t seem like I want to really grow old. He is right.

I got a call at 9 am this morning from my friend Juan, then made a date to have coffee with a new friend. He and I see things very much the same when it comes to the book and THE WORK. That conversation lasted two hours.

I came home for a bit, and my Elder Friend Spencer Skyped me surprisingly and this year, instead of his banjo, played happy birthday on his guitar. Nothing like an Elder Serenade for your birthday.

With a few hours to kill, we watched some tv, however my favorite tv news host was MIA again today. I was like, we can turn the tv off now, because I really don’t care what anyone else has to say about current events.

I departed early with cake in hand for the meeting, and arrived well before the business meeting was to start. We end the month tonight with the Seventh Tradition. Money and Spirituality.

It was a lively discussion of all things money from a sober perspective of men who are much longer sober than I am. The one perk, one of my friends and I have today, is that we both read Our Great Responsibility. A book of compiled talks given by Bill W, and a few others, including Lois, his wife, at the General Conferences from 1940 until Bill’s death in 1971.

The archivists in New York General Service Office, took all of the talks Bill W gave, that had been taped for posterity, and lovingly transcribed them all in a book form. Reading the book, I was struck very deeply with the knowledge I now have of just how important the Non-Alcoholic and the Alcoholic Trustees had for the fellowship, even back decades before I was ever born.

Bill said repeatedly that, We Can’t Screw This Up. The fellowship MUST Survive, and go on, for time to come, because several times they all mention US. Us as in the unborn alcoholics who would come after they were long gone. It was so beautiful reading the words of someone who cared deeply that the fellowship would be here, when each of us would need it.

It also tells the story of the struggle to get the first edition printed, the squabbles about money, and property, ego and of Humility. It was not easy, by any stretch what took place, but in the end, here we are.

And I could not be more grateful for those men and women who served General Conference and took such care to make sure the foundation they had lain down would survive for those of us who are here today, all over the world. They had not a clue, how the fellowship would blossom all over the world, in so many languages.

There were a whole group of us celebrating birthdays today. Who knew so many of my Instagram contemporaries shared the same day together, along with a family friend’s son Noah, who turned a bright nineteen years old today. I’ve watched Noah grow up from his earliest years when I became friends with his dad. He was just a small boy when I met his dad. Now he’s a bright, smart, good, and kind young man, like his father and grandfathers.

I don’t know if fifty two is any different than fifty was, and I probably won’t know for some time, until I get a little hindsight to look back on this day. Which is why I am writing it all down before I go to bed.

I lived, the boy who Lived. Thank you Harry Potter.

More to come, Goodnight.

Friday: Willingness

21751811_10155665400987731_4009539288824048357_n

It is definitely COLD outside. It is a breezy, cold (-8c/w.c. -16c) We broke out our cold weather gear, scarfs and gloves tonight. It was a quick transit out and back.

I had to double-check my dates earlier today, and quickly organize a chip and cake for one of my guys tonight. Luckily, I had a special chip to give and on the way out bought a card, cake and utensils.

The reading tonight spoke about human will and its value. Willingness became the topic of conversation. We all had our stories to tell.

I know that trusting myself, and what is right and good, took a long time to learn how to trust, and believe that what I had to do and did do was, actually, the right thing to do.

Back in the day, when I needed constant supervision and assistance to learn how to survive a death sentence, Todd was that sound “mind and body” in my life.

Everything he taught me, all those years ago, are still in play to this day. I know today that if I do not know what to do, I close my eyes, and I return to the original lesson that taught me what to do.

I needed someone in my life, to the degree that Todd was in my life, for as long as it lasted. As long as he was looking over my shoulder, I was good.

When he moved away, and I was alone, I could not make the link between what I learned from him, and what I needed to do to carry forwards that practical knowledge. When you leave a fully structured existence and one returns to the real world outside, making that very important connection is crucial.

I failed at finding and making that connection work for me. I just could not find it, in front of me, by myself. And in time, as the messaging and people changed in my life, I walked out the doors of the rooms, taking my will back with it.

I told my friend Dave one of my sordid stories about my slip, before the meeting, sitting with my friend who took his chip tonight. Neither had ever heard me tell that story before. And for the life of me, I cannot fathom how I ended up the person I had become, insane, addicted to drugs and putting myself in situations that could have ended up very badly.

There is a God. I am sure of that today.

When I came back, I was no longer alone. I turned my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understood Him, in the people who helped me clean up that second time.

When I moved to Montreal, I did the right thing, FIRST.

I connected with a room and its people.

Women make the world go round …

I count my blessings that the group of women I turned my life over to, that first year, did what they could to make sure I stayed sober. My rehab counselors, the women in my Home Group, and the many people, men and women, I met along the way.

I am working on my anniversary post right now.

For a long time, in sobriety, I did not trust myself with making decisions, that I did not run past at least a handful of people, before I acted on anything. I did not trust my head nor my decision-making skills.

Early on, I was faced with one drama after another. The shit just kept coming, one day after the next. I was sober a little more than a year, I had begun my university career and my husband was mentally ill.

I stuck to the routine I learned how to do since day one.

I hit a meeting every day, sometimes more than one meeting a day. I did service. I took care of my family, to the best of my ability. I did not really have time to think, but while at a meeting, I learned what I needed to do to NOT DRINK, that day.

As long as I DID NOT DRINK, everything else would fall into place.

I strung days, weeks, and months together, that wound up years.

I learned how to trust God, in trusting my friends.

That plan has played out to my advantage. But my trust in the fellowship and many of its members has fallen to the lowest approval rating in all my sober years.

I’ve never felt such anger, resentment and bitterness towards other drunks. Because that is what they are, just a bunch of crazy drunks.

I know that I do not want to be like any of them. And I also know, what the voice of God sounds like, because like we are told, constantly, that:

If you want to hear the voice of God, then go to a meeting.

Today I trust myself. More than I have ever trusted myself before.

There is a God and I am not God.

Thanks be to God for that.

Friends celebrated two and three years tonight. There was cake.

We all laughed and had a glorious night.

Step Eleven says that: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

If sobriety has taught me anything, it is that a Spiritual life and Spiritual practice make everything better. As long as I stay out of my will, and connect daily with God’s will, everything will work itself out – in God’s time.

God’s time is perfect.

We surely need the perfect to guide us, in today’s world of utter despair and insanity.

The world is coming apart at the seams.

This is what dishonesty does to the world when it exponentially explodes out of control.

Friday … Let THEM eat the cake !!!

tumblr_m187ytnKBN1r3fvxmo1_500 thedarkblue

I’ve been allergic to nuts the whole of my life.

This afternoon, I went to buy a cake for MY cake this evening. I was not really paying attention to the cake that I was buying beyond, it looked chocolate. So I bought it.

The meeting went on, all about a Boomerang …

The discussion went all over the map.

In the end, I reflected back to our folks, that a year ago, to the date, exactly, North End English was in open rebellion between the addicts and the alcoholics. The latter wanted the former to be tossed out on the street, because they were not primarily alcoholic, but addicts come to A.A. because they feel comfortable in A.A. meetings.

This is common. Folks who are other (A’s) sometimes start their journey’s in our rooms, and they either root and stay, or they branch off to their respective fellowships. Our Friday meeting has a very healthy addict population. When we split the meeting for discussion, as always happens, the addicts go to the back room, leaving predominantly the alcoholics at the main, front, table.

A year ago, the battle for who had ultimate authority was playing itself out. One of my best friends, the man who gave me my chip tonight, was the top dog in this fight.

One night, things got physical between He and I. It was the first time, I had ever been assaulted in a meeting. That night, I walked out of the meeting and did not return for months.

My best friend and I were, to coin a story line …

In the Deathly Hallows, when, Ron gets all up in Harry’s business, and starts ranting and raving about “We thought you knew what you were doing, that you had a plan!” That argument escalated where Hermione had to put a shield charm up and something had shifted between Harry and Ron.

“… Harry felt a corrosive hatred towards Ron: something had broken between them.”

“Leave the Horcrux, Harry said …”

That night when my friend attacked me, it was corrosive angry hatred.

My sponsor, then, told me to leave the meeting and not go back and to keep my mouth shut. For months on end, the two of us ended up at the same meetings, and not a word spoken between us.

Do you know how hard it is to see a friend in a meeting and know that human being hates you? It can drive you to DRINK ! That went on for months and months. And I was not allowed to say anything, to allow God to do what He was going to do.

When I took my chip a year ago, I spoke about the strife between someone who was a best friend, who turned into someone who hated me.

A week later, I had gone to my regular Tuesday meeting, and he was there, waiting for me to arrive. That night, we had a spiritual experience. I had kept my end of the bargain up, and did as I was told, and let God do what God was going to do.

In the end, God did what He needed to do.

We pledged never to ever argue again. And from that day forwards, we’ve been the best of friends.

It was my then sponsor, my friend and I, who on a particular road trip to Vermont, a couple of years ago, had the opportunity to visit Bill W’s home, and Bill and Lois’s graves, which are located not very far from where Bill was born, in East Dorset.

That day I had placed my chip on Bill’s grave, as is tradition, when you visit Bill’s grave, you leave a chip, for someone who might come later, might need that particular chip.

We have since come full circle in a years time. And I had asked my friend to give me my chip because in the past, certain people, my friends, were instrumental in helping me stay sober and sane.

When an Alcoholic thinks he has all the answers, and that he or she is in control or thinks, that they might be in a position of power, that is when, and most don’t, realize that we are getting into choppy waters, and maybe we need to step back and look at our motives.

North End English had that terrible experience of some alcoholics who thought they knew best and knew better than God did. We lost an entire group of people in that battle, who never came back.

The meeting survived, but the format was tweaked and the statement in the preamble reflects that …

North End English maintains the Primary Purpose, and the Third Tradition, as it is stated in our literature, You are an A.A. member if you say so …

That paragraph goes on to say, that you are a member if you say so, nobody can keep you out. The meeting went with the abbreviated statement of inclusion.

After the meeting, I went to cut the cake. Not noticing the peanut butter cups, until I further examined the cake, after I had eaten some of the frosting off the knife I was cutting the cake with …

When anaphylaxis began to set in…

My throat started to constrict, I was loosing my voice and my tongue began to swell.

There was No Epi Pen anywhere, had this gotten worse. I could have died right there.

Do Not Eat the food, if there are nuts anywhere near you.

I won’t make that mistake again…

Thursday – Israel is Burning

_92642284_mediaitem92642283

About 80,000 people have been told to evacuate their homes as wildfires swept into Israel’s third largest city of Haifa. The fires follow a two-month drought and are being fanned by strong winds in the north of the city. Wildfires are also threatening homes near Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

If you pray … Now would be a good time to do so. This is NOT a good situation at all.

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

It was a full day of “things to do” here at home. And once again, I missed the parade. I had other things to do, after I had decided to force myself out of bed, because I would rather had slept in, but there were chores to do.

I am quite efficient when it comes to chores and shopping and cleaning all at the same time. I drop the laundry in to wash, i come back and scrub the bathroom and vacuum the apartment. By that time it is time to dry. Once the dryer is started, I have sixty minutes.

I change up and go do my grocery shopping, and return home with 17 minutes to spare. I fold my laundry and have the rest of the day free to do whatever comes to mind.

A common question that is tossed back and forth between Rafa and myself is:

What are you reading ???

I got three new books this week:

  • The Suitors – by Ben Ehrenreich, a retelling of the Odyssey
  • The Bone Collection – by Kathy Reichs – Highly anticipated read
  • Cross Bones – by Kathy Reichs – another Highly anticipated read

This week the news came from the Mission President, after our one young man returned home to Idaho on Monday, that a good number of our Montreal NDG team is being broken up and scattered to all points. My second Elder who was on my team has been moved to Lasalle, at the end of the Green Line. Another Elder from the Mandarin side is going to Ottawa. And one of our Sisters is moving to the Singles Ward, up in Outremont.

I know who is replacing my team at the moment, but I am awaiting introductions and to ask for an appointment to see the Mission President myself. Hopefully we can reach some kind of agreement or consensus. We shall see.

So to be honest, I am in Spiritual Limbo at the moment. I came all this way with a certain team of young men, only to have everything be ripped apart by ending missions and moving people from here to there.

My books from Deseret Books are still in the pike.

Tonight we heard some good wisdom from a visitor from out of town, who is here for the Winter. Instead of fleeing to somewhere warm in semi-retirement, he came here instead. Like he said, Montreal is an infectious city. Once you visit, you WILL return, and most likely STAY.

The numbers of members with MANY YEARS going BACK OUT is a problem. Just as well
The numbers of members with LITTLE TIME going BACK OUT is also a problem.

I’ve spoken of this before. And tonight we heard one reason why old timers go back out and drink/drug again …

They (read: Old Timers) have TOO MANY YEARS, AND NOT ENOUGH DAYS.

They tend to forget, after so long, what the feeling felt like to have their last drink, or what that last hangover felt like, or what their first day sober looked like.

The other side to that coin is this … People who suffer catastrophic illnesses like Cancer or something along those lines, they get sick, they have an operation or chemo or treatment of some sort, some survive and some do not.

It is common for sober people who have been through the mill to one day just say:

Fuck It … And they drink again. After what I have been through A drink isn’t going to kill me. I survived a particular illness so I get a dispensation …

My friend Togani took his 34 year cake from a friend. I saw some friends and arranged for my chip to be gotten and to plan my cake in a couple of weeks.

It was a good day.