Thursday: The Depths of Sadness

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When Father Mark Brian, arrived at Kingcome Village, on the Up Coast of British Columbia, and met the indigenous population that lived there, he did not know, what he did not know, until he learned what he did not know, until he learned it.

One of those “things” he did not know, at first, is why, every time he looked at one of his “people” because they were his people, the sheep in his flock, there was no pretension about him, no ego to boost, no needs to be filled, he had to “come to know them,” as they were, as God would have had it, all along, that one thing was “The Depth of Sadness” that was in the eyes of all the Indians of Kingcome Village.

If you have never read Margaret Craven’s, I Heard the Owl Call My Name, I highly recommend you find a copy.

Tonight, I heard one of our women speak, for the first time, in our meeting. She has been sober a long time, almost twenty-five years. She came in, in her twenties, but the road to sobriety was LONG and ARDUOUS.

In the beginning we all laughed with her. Midway into the story, I stopped breathing. I could not take a breath, for the life of me. I was sitting on the edge of my chair, holding my breath, just waiting for the miracle to take place.

Because she really needed a miracle.

When we begin to drink, we do not know what we do not know. If we continue to drink and add drugs to that mix, there is certainly, MORE, that we do not know.

Not listening to warnings, or following rules, and doing everything that one can to circumvent the rule of good, sane, human behavior, is going to lead us into a jackpot that can’t possibly be escaped.

Bad friends, Bad boys, illicit behavior, drugs and alcohol do not have very good endings. I know this, from my own personal experience.

My friend tonight, had the jackpot of everything that was bad, in her life. Because she did not know, what she did not know.

We do stupid things in our youth, and many, do not survive their mistakes. I did stupid things in my youth, to Todd’s credit, and by the Grace of God, I did survive my past.

When a bad boy, becomes a bad marriage, what is the logical ending of this very bad scenario ? A BABY WILL MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER …

Hell, let’s keep drinking and drugging, have one healthy baby, born without a problem, and let’s add another baby …

Bring into this really serious bad situation, a couple of attempts to sober up, that fail, and four months into a second pregnancy, the husband activates an intervention.

Mom is now CIRCLING the DRAIN …

What, I don’t have a problem. IT’S ALL HIS FAULT …

Can you see where this is going ?

Pregnant, addicted and insane, people begin to PRAY for her second baby to be born healthy. Mom cannot, for the life of her, understand WHY her friends are praying for her baby, because in her words, She Did Not Have a Problem …

Luckily, amid this point she hits rehab, again. And walks through the doors, only to turn around and say to us, “Don’t you know who I am ?”

  • I don’t do rules
  • I don’t pay bills
  • I don’t pay rent, and I sure as shit
  • DON’T TAKE THE BUS …

How do you imagine this is going to end ? Not well, as I was hearing this story.

Still sitting on the edge of my chair, and not breathing, I had not noticed I was holding my breath, until the Miracle happened.

The right woman walked into our woman’s life and took her in, homeless, hungry, drunk and high, void of emotion, having lost her husband AND her children, she had no place to go.

My friend learned about rules, via the suggestions. She learned how to pay bills, by attaining welfare, thereby being able to pay her rent, TO this SOBER Woman. And she went to meetings.

Her sponsor told her to hit ninety in ninety. And better yet, take a newcomer chip every day for the first thirty days.

Back in the day … Her day, and back in my day … when we got sober, suggestions were not suggestions, per se, they were life savers. You either did them or you didn’t, because if you did not do as you were told, sobriety would never happen for us hard-headed, arrogant, entitled men and women some of us are, when we came into the rooms.

Newcomers today scoff every time we mention suggestions to them. They would rather eat dirt, then put forth the energy and commitment to the work sobriety entails, if you really want Top Drawer Sobriety.

The Miracle began to happen.

My friend did exactly what she was told to do, like I did, what I was told to do, from the very first day. Next April, by the grace of God, she will hit Twenty Five Years Clean and Sober.

Her kids, now in their twenties, never saw mom drunk. They were too young when she finally took her last drink. One of her sons, recently, asked mom to accompany him to pick out an engagement ring for his now fiancee …

Most women, in the rooms, could not possibly get how incredible this little act is, unless you have kids, that you were able to keep, having not lost them, indefinitely, due to your alcoholism and drug addiction.

Most of the women I know, lost big, having lost those miracles we call children.

But our woman, tonight, has the husband, who was there at the intervention, and she has her kids, THREE KIDS, now in their twenties, in tact.

Happy, Joyous and Free.

As she closed her share, I remembered to breathe. And I noticed my friends sitting to my right hand side, had also stopped breathing at some point.

I knew, for the very first time, in all my years of sobriety, those words that Mark Brian had to figure out for himself …

The Depths of Sadness, in his people’s eyes.

What he did not know, is what we all do not know, when we come in, until we hear another drunk, tell their story to us.

The Depth of Sadness …

Thank God for the rooms, and SOME of the people in them.

Special Essay: Man, Friend, Father, Guide

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This is my little Easter Bunny, isn’t she cute ???

When I got sober again in 2001, the thrust of crossing that bridge into sobriety, meant that I also decided to grow up and become a man.

A real man.

A man I would be proud to be.

For many years, I really did not know what that looked like, but the one man I learned from was Todd. He was a real man. A man I loved and wanted to be like, in every way possible, because, in him, he was love, compassion and strength personified.

He was GOD.

It is now almost sixteen years since I made that decision to cross that bridge. And I have not looked back since. I’ve learned a great many things in the past stretch of time.

What Todd gave me, was the education in knowing how to take care of another human being. I learned how to be present. I learned how to be courageous, to be bold, to be smart, and how to love unconditionally. I learned how to serve. I learned how to give from my heart at all times, to the most number of people, to the best of my abilities.

My father had fatal flaws. But like my father, I provide. I hear him in my mind speak to me, at least, the few phrases I use on a daily basis.

Once you speak words, you can Never take them back.

Sadly he did not listen to his own advice when it came to me.

  • I don’t speak falsehoods
  • I don’t speak negativity
  • I don’t speak arrogantly
  • I don’t speak from ego

When we get sober, not only do we put down the drugs and the drink, we put down all that we used to be, in order to become who we are meant to be.

That is a daunting process for both men and women.

In the beginning, we may not know just how far we can go, and/or/ how far we need to go. The sky is the limit. And I think that depends on just how much of life we take a bite out of as our lives progress.

How far can we go ? Well that depends on you.

How far do we need to go ? As far as is needed.

Relationships are always dicey in recovery. Because the recovery mixture may differ.

You might find someone in the rooms, and you might find someone outside the rooms. Getting that mixture right is the challenge. Both participants in relationship need to figure out what each of us needs to bring to the table to make a relationship work.

Marriage is a JOB. A FULL TIME JOB. Marriage is work.

For us, at least, marriage was not a cake walk by any means. But we succeeded.

When Mama walked into my life a little over three years ago, I had a few months to begin a friendship with her before she went back to New Foundland to have Lu.

After Lu was born, I took the step of solidifying our relationship. I made the decision that I was going to invest in Mama and the baby. That choice is one of the most important decisions I have ever made.

If Todd were to see me today, I am sure he would be proud of me.

The baby is a full-time job.

The day I arrived in St. John’s, Lu was at daycare, so I had a few hours alone with Mama to get oriented to the schedule and the routine. And we were both pleasantly surprised when she got home with grandma. She took to me immediately.

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Our days usually began around 6:30 in the morning or 7:00 if we were lucky. We at least had time to drink a cup of coffee, before we were off to the races. The day usually began with crafts: like Play Doh on the kitchen floor at 7:00 a.m.

If it were a regular day, Lu went to day care with Grand ma around 8:00 a.m. for the day and come home around 4:00 p.m. Having grand ma living just up the road is key to this routine working, because when needed, we can hand Lu off to them for a few hours.

They have the TV with the TREE HOUSE channel.

READ: Crack for babies …

Since it was a holiday weekend, we had Lu 24/7. And let me tell you, that having a three-year old with a solid streak of attitude can be a challenge. Lu is determined to do her own thing, whether you like it or not. And her mood will turn on a dime, if you piss her off or say NO.

She knows the word NO, it is one of her favorites.

Mama does not have a tv, nor cable, nor a computer in the house. And she does not want either of them in the future. Which means that if you are home with Lu, you are interacting with her ALL DAY LONG !

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I colored these Christmas pages out of one of Lu’s coloring books.

You don’t know how calming and wonderful it is to sit and color for an hour with a child. I loved every minute of it.

We read, we play, we color, we dance. If we are lucky, we get an afternoon nap.

If we don’t get that nap, dinner usually follows around 6:00 p.m. Bath time around 7:30 and bedtime, AH BLESSED BED TIME comes right around 8:00 p.m. on a good night.

I can’t tell you how good it felt to be disconnected from my computer and social media for five days. I really did not miss it. However, when I got home, I thought to myself that I was not sure I could live a disconnected life 24/7.

I had a book, SHANTARAM by Gregory David Roberts with me. I cannot tell you just how GOOD this book is. At 936 pages, it is a daunting read.

If you read any book this year, Shantaram is the one to read. Because there is an ample sequel to that book on the store shelves right now.

This weekend proved to me that I can be daddy, and do it well. On Easter Sunday, Lu had a meltdown in front of the family. It was not pretty. And in the end, I ended up fireman carrying her out of the house and tossing her into her car seat and bringing both Lu and Mama home.

They both passed out from emotional stress. Mama in her bed and Lu on the living room floor, because she passed out sitting at the table with me coloring. I laid out a blanket and some pillows and I let her sleep until she woke up.

Which meant I got a few hours to myself to lay on the sofa and baby sit while I read my book.

Having a child is not easy. Being a father/or/father figure is not easy either.

But I have learned just what kind of man I really am, because of the words I speak and the actions I take. I have virtue. I have faith. I have smarts.

All that I am, is an amalgamation of all the men I know. The good and the bad. Then I get to decide what I am going to do based on the decisions that need to be made.

Mama and Lu are full-time decisions to be ME.

In addition to my husband, Mama and Lu are the most important people in my life. Because I have been Lu’s father since the day she was born, because the man who participated in creating her, wanted us to abort her when Mama was pregnant.

Today, we are fighting in court for Lu’s child support.

And we know, right now, that we might not get anything close to what we want from him, however, I have stated my case to our lawyer. The hard, unvarnished truth of a man who is a Legend Liar and irresponsible and blind to his obligations as the biological father of our little girl.

In the end, she will be my daughter. But first he will pay his dues.

By the Law.

Which makes me the best man Lu has in her life besides grand pa.

I am the man I am because of that first decision to grow up and become a MAN.

I would not have changed anything.

St. John’s is a beautiful place to live.

Just saying ….