NO is a complete sentence !!!

Who really has our best interest in mind ? Our parents, our family, our husbands, or our wives ?

It has been said that NO is a complete sentence.

If you have heard these words spoken, you know who I got them from.
She is very famous.

As children, our parents are supposed to do the right thing and keep us safe, to keep us from personal harm, and from making mistakes. When my parents said the word NO, it came with usual violence that followed.

I reflect that as a boy, listening to my parents talk among their friends, I learned a great deal about what was coming. The abuse heaped on me was high, and that usually coincided with something I heard them say.

I knew right from wrong. Obviously. Disobedience was usually met with abuse, from both my father and my mother. Alcoholism was the fuel.

I’ve often said that, and I repeated this story earlier tonight, with one of my guys, that as a teen ager, I was an upstanding citizen, employee and friend.

I had the right friends, I had the right jobs. But that all changed when you introduced alcohol into my life. Then, everything went out the window.

I forgot …

How many of us forget things when we drink ?

Alcoholism followed me out into the world, and was waiting to take me down, on the first occasion I walked into a club and drank. Coming out, as I did, IN a club, with the people I wanted around me, with the right music, and experience, made that night epic. And it was.

Nobody was there to say NO. Never, ever.

From twenty one, until I hit twenty five, No was not part of my lexicon.

Until the night I walked into that bar, unawares of who was watching me then. I got my drink, took a stool, and sat down, surveying the environs of that little hole in the wall. It was definitely rough and tumble. And I was definitely looking for rough and tumble.

Then Todd stepped out of the shadows and made his entrance, said hello and changed the course of my life. I’ve said before that encountering Todd, in my memory, was akin to meeting Almighty God, Incarnate.

Because in time, I would seriously need God.

Todd knew I was looking for trouble, and in one cursory inspection of me, inside and out, he figuratively said the word NO.

That was the first time I reflect that thought, here. I’ve never said that before and had not thought of it before.

I got my way into his employ.

My drinking followed.

After a crash and burn suicide experience, and trying to drink myself dead, for the first time, both Todd and Bill, sat me down and tried to get me some much needed help. Suicide survivors meetings, will make anyone drink more than they had originally started with.

A year later … On July 8th 1994, the world caved in on me and I was diagnosed with AIDS. Told to go home, kiss my ass goodbye, and wait to die.

I called Todd home from Provincetown and I told him I was gonna die.

He said and I quote …. NOT ON MY WATCH !!!

Over the next 46 days, I attempted to kill myself.

On the 46th night, drunken and in a coma in a club parking lot, Todd appeared with my friend Danny. That night, Todd definitely said the word

NO !

“This has got to stop. And I am going to make it stop, if it kills me in the attempt.”

As a young gay boy, nobody had ever said the word no to me. I could command, just about anything. Alcohol, Drugs, Sex …

Nobody ever denied me my pleasure, because, I was young, tanned and good looking.

Give someone AIDS, and UGLY goes deep to the bone.

You don’t know what it is like to go from Hero to Zero in twenty four hours flat. To have your family, your friends, and your boyfriend, go running for the hills, never to return, or support you.

I was alone. But was I really alone ? NO

Todd was the only human concerned with keeping me alive. I said this earlier tonight, He could have chosen anyone else in that bar, to save. He chose me. Don’t ask me why, but he chose me.

If I had to hazard a guess, I would call that Divine Intervention.

These stories are all stacked in my PAGES —> over there.

The discussion of the word NO has been on going for the last month, or short a month by a few days.

Todd knew what I needed. He was the only man on earth who knew that kind of information. The day he told me that I could, and should trust him, I knew I could trust him. Implicitly.

He never spoke a cross word to me. He got angry for sure, many times because in the beginning I was willful, arrogant, and stupid.

I learned quickly, that if he looked at me directly, and I saw how either BLUE or GREY his eyes were, told me all I needed to know, without a word spoken between us.

I told my friend tonight that NO is a complete sentence.

We are lucky in this life to be able to count, just ONE other person, in our life, the one who has our best interest in mind. Today, I am that one person for a few people. As is my husband for me.

In reality, my husband does not hold a candle to Todd. They are completely different people. Todd’s role in my life was EPIC. And I will never see that kind of EPIC again.

Many nights, Todd said NO to me for one reason or another. And over time I trusted everything he said to me, as if it was God speaking wisdom, because if you look at me today, and wonder why I am still alive?

There are only two possible answers: Todd read God.

I knew that obedience was key. I learned that early on. In our dynamic leather relationship, I was obedient to one man, Todd.

He kept me safe from myself. He kept me safe from everybody else. I was on a very short leash, so to speak, AND I was sober too. Or getting sober.

The Fidelious Charm he erected over the bar worked its magic.

I spent many, many hours, inside that charm filled space. It became the proving grounds for life lessons, love lessons, and survival lessons.

All that Todd was and is today, is deep within me. Every word spoken, every lesson he taught me, every ounce of love he had for me too. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I can even pat myself on the back if need be.

I don’t need anyone to do that for me today.

Confidence, Humility, Compassion, Love …

The day I said goodbye to Todd, he said these words to me ..

If you do one thing, in this life, you will help another human being the way I helped you. You must carry forwards good fortune and love. Because if you don’t, I was a waste of time.

Todd, for sure, was NO waste of time, or effort, on his part.

It has been many years since the last time I spoke to Todd, but I have. I don’t have his number any longer, because it is filed on an old hard drive that is sitting in a box, in my bedroom.

You never know when GOD is going to step out of heaven and grace your life. Will you know it when it happens?

We are connected to all that is, by the particles that make us human. Those biological building blocks that began the universe UP THERE !!!

A little bit of the universe is found within each of us. Deep within the make up of our bodies. The universe, UP THERE, is filled with the building blocks of life, OUT THERE. It seeded the earth and human came to be.

So that little piece in us, is directly connected to the whole of the universe. We are connected, by invisible umbilical to the universe Out There.

The universe is always listening. For we are connected to it temporally.

The universe knows what we need before we think it. But the universe respects our free will, it never imposes itself on us. But gradually entices us with breadcrumbs, and Angelic, and Godly counsel.

We should be so blessed to recognize God when He shows up.

I know God. I’ve met Him, in the flesh. He spoke to me, He cared for me and kept me alive, to do, this … To talk about Him and what he means to me, to certain people in my circle.

I’m still alive. There is no question God had something to do with it. However, in the thick of dying, I never thought about God, I thought about Todd. Because it was Todd, who had my best interest at heart.

And I would love to think, if he met me in the flesh today, he would be pleased with the man I became.

There is a God, and I am not God, and my navel is not the center of the universe.

If you don’t have humility for the simplicity of life, you loose…


Wednesday: Shadow, Darkness, Reality

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Life is never perfect. And over the years, I’ve taken my lumps for sure.

“We are not a glum lot …” The Book Says. And also, “We did not get sober to be miserable.” However, people ARE miserable.

There are some issues, we all carry in the shadows, parts of us consigned to the darkness, that really never sees the light of day.

In reality, at some point, we all reach a breaking point. We get hit with a trigger, and life goes sideways. In the world of reality, people seem to skip over water, until they hit a personal tragedy, a death, or illness, or a major life change.

Some ride it out. Others turn to addictive substances to blunt the pain, and to barricade ourselves from the darkness and shadows.

Alcoholics and Addicts are imperfect people. We are all imperfect people, because we are fallible human beings. And shit happens.

There are a few lessons, I’ve learned over the past little while. I’ve written about them before, but they bear repeating again.

We are angry people. Because it was our resentments that drove us to drink and use. That anger lies dormant, until, like I said above, it is triggered. We are people who might have been abused, mentally, emotionally, physically, or sexually.

Shit like this, when it occurs recedes to the darkness of our hearts and minds. And we spend a lifetime drowning that pain with substance. For some, we get to the bitter end, and find ourselves in rooms together, getting sober, once and for all.

The Book and The Work tells us how to get sober. The Book also mentions that we are not doctors, and if outside help is necessary, “you should really consider it …” Not many people do that.

Over my time in the rooms, I’ve watched people. Studied them like lab rats. I know my peers, better than they know themselves. I’ve watched people hit the skids, and those occasional, bottoms, we hit in sobriety.

  • People drink and use again.
  • People go out and never return.
  • Some people end up dead.

I’ve watched, over the years, men and especially, some of our women, hit emotional bottoms in sobriety. Of all the women I watched hit that hard ground, none made it. Why they did not make it, is related to how their peers reacted to their emotional tumult.

Alcoholics are unforgiving. Sad but true.

Alcoholics do not like to think about, or even sit in the same space with someone who is in difficulty. Because we are uncomfortable with UNCOMFORTABLE …

Transparency is important in sobriety.

Being honest with who you are at all times, is the code of conduct. Many do not live this way. Believing that they need to project a calm exterior to their friends, where everything is OK, when in reality, we are broken up inside and dying from within.

It takes a long time to figure out how to be transparent. But I’ve worked hard at being true to myself and my friends. Being Calm and Zen takes work. Always putting ones best foot forward also takes work. And pounding the pavement takes its toll on us eventually.

When I hit my bitter end, after the Tragedy of the Heart, my calm, zen, exterior faded, and my broken, emotional, suffering soul, rose to the surface. This freaked people out, and they all ran for the hills screaming.

People did not treat me kindly, nor with compassion, when I was in pain. They just piled more pain on top of what I was carrying outwards, already.

Alcoholics are unforgiving …

I watched people, react to my emotional breakdown, and it was not pretty at all. Because we really don’t want to look at shadow and darkness sitting among us, while we are in meetings, because we are trying to show you that everything is good.

When it really ISN’T.

People do one of two things here. ONE, they turn inwards,and ignore what it right in front of them. As they are looking at us suffering, they know, or might be, suffering in their own silence, something that happened to them in the past.

That item that I above listed as, Never Seeing the Light of Day.

Or TWO, the trigger is so strong, that they cannot ignore that item within them, and they go down the proverbial rabbit hole, and they seek to figure out what the pain is, how it happened, and how to finally, Once and for All, turn out the darkness and shadow into the light and healing.

It took my emotional melt down for people to turn inwards on themselves. Because it was raw and terribly emotional for me. And when all my friends and peers turned away and told me To Go … They could not handle my anger and THEIR FEAR.

Alcoholics live in FEAR. Sad but True.

It has only been AFTER the FACT, that I know what happened to some of my fellow men and women. After witnessing my meltdown, some of them had their own meltdowns.

Some of my friends and fellows sought out professional help for long standing pain that had been buried in the darkness and shadow of their souls for their whole sober lives.

And it was only then, that some, found empathy for me.

Humble Pie to admit that we have sinned against each other terribly.

The other day, I got an email from a friend, after telling her that my father had died. She is on her own fact-finding mission now. Another friend, is also on a fact-finding mission himself too. Spurred on by my public emotional breakdown.

What I found offensive here is that, I got a second email a few days later, requesting my presence at a certain meeting. I went to that certain meeting on Sunday evening. Where both of these fact-finding friends, roost.

I am introduced to a literal, By The Book, Step Eleven process and am invited to participate in this venture. The caveat is this …

My friends, both, seem to think I need professional help, NOW.

When I was in the thick of suffering, nobody wanted to know me, offer me kindness or any help whatsoever.

They did not want to bother with me.

I may look stupid, but I am NOT stupid.

If I needed professional help, I would have sought it out.

I sought out all the help I needed from people I trusted. And that was good enough for me. I’m not quite sue how to react to this, because I think my friends mean well, and I think they are trying to amend their behaviors.

Just because you got help for yourself, does not automatically mean that I need the same help for myself too.

Daddy is dead. No need to go barking up that tree any longer. I have no use for him now, he’s dead, good riddance. His energy will dissipate and die along with him. And soon the cunt energy will go the same way and for the first time in all of our lifetimes, we will ALL be FREE.

The Thursday Before Christmas

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The mass exodus of people going home for the holidays is in full swing. Our numbers have dropped by more than half, over the week. Tonight, we sat half the room. The final list is out of who will be open and who will be closed on Christmas.

This year, Christmas is on a Monday, and we will host a meeting on Christmas Night, at Notre Dame de la Salette, for Monday Central. Monday Central is the Oldest Meeting in the city, by years. It was opened by the founders of Montreal sobriety, all those years ago.

Many of my friends will be away for the holiday, so I am cooking Christmas dinner on Wednesday, next week, when folks return home. Christmas is a very quiet affair, here at home. It isn’t about money and tons of gifts.

We will keep it simple again this year. Hubby was not pleased with that assessment, but it is what it is. It’s not like we both NEED anything particular, as in THINGS.

A few of my friends are still in the thick of exams through tomorrow. I’ve been working with many of them, to keep them, above water, working to keep them from going under and ending up “in the weeds” so to speak.

Over the last week, I’ve been talking to my friends and fellows, and many of them are freaking out over what they hear coming out of my mouth. When I took my cake last week, I had said that sobriety is work. It takes work, and if you aren’t doing WORK, then why are you sitting in the room ?

I believe that if you aren’t studying your friends and those folks who have time and even those who don’t have a lot of time, then why bother getting sober ! If you are just going to a meeting and occupying a chair, because we’ve told you to do meetings, and when you leave that hall, you forget what you have just heard, then why go to meetings, if you aren’t taking anything away from the experience.

My friends freak out when they hear me say that I own this space and that when I get home from a meeting, I do home work. I write everything down and I study my friends like lab rats. I know my friends intimately. More intimately than they probably know themselves.

This little fact tends to freak people out on a grand scale, because I’ve breached their anonymity, by writing down my thoughts about them. If I told you their names, and shared specific personal information about them, THEN, I would be breaking anonymity, as far as I am concerned, I can carry any message from a room, as long as I keep the human I am talking about anonymous.

If I have a conversation with you, my life is my business. If I give you advice, and you shake your head at me or tell me to fuck off, it is open season.

I get sober, and stay sober, by watching everything that my friends and fellows do. If you succeed, I succeed. If you fail, I learn from that failure, and I do not repeat your failure behavior. I collect every piece of wisdom I hear. I write it all down, and post it here.

If I am not sharing the messages I am hearing from you, out there, then why am I getting sober, in the first place ? Tonight, my thirty year sober friend said to me, on the way home, when I told her how I get sober said … Why are you taking folks inventories ?

I don’t … I just collect words and I parse them and I use them to my advantage.

The only two things people are concerned with are One, their anonymity and Two, doing actual work to get sober. They don’t want to be talked about and they also don’t want to work for their supper …

I’ve seen, over the past few months, how specific people have stopped coming to specific meetings, for one reason or another. Their absence is noticeable. I know they aren’t showing up.

People do not like the fact that they are subjects of sober scrutiny. I’m finished with people and places that don’t do me any favors. People have proven to me that they cannot be accountable, nor reliable.

They do not bother to step up and be counted as sober folks and help people who are in the weeds and in pain. They’d rather just walk by and say nothing, and not offer a single word of support or love.

ANGER

Anger has arisen in the rooms as of late. And it isn’t just with me either. The waves of ANGER have risen among men and women alike. Since my meltdown, we all learned that many alcoholics, men and women alike, LIVE in FEAR.

You don’t know, if you don’t ask or witness this but, many people have extenuating circumstances to their lives. Many people have deep seeded problems that lie, in the darkness of our minds, never to see the light of day.

When I hit the skids and had my emotional breakdown, and my emotional control went wacky, people were clearly freaked out. People are afraid of me, afraid of the anger I was displaying. I wasn’t acting out or hurting anyone, but I was sharing in open community, what was going on inside my head, in real-time.

People fear what they ONE, either don’t know, or TWO, what they fear themselves. I am not the only human in the rooms here, who has been through the emotional wringer over the past year.

I had a conversation with an old friend, a lady friend, who is long sober, who has also walked through the anger wing of sobriety herself. And she took a sober hostage along the way, and he was so scared of her, that he dumped her clean and clear.

Alcoholics do not do anger … Because they live in FEAR.

The rooms, might not be the best place to figure out your emotional business in open community, but I did not have a professional therapist in my back pocket, and for the life of me, NOT ONE ALCOHOLIC said the words, “I know how you feel, this is what I did !” Not One of my fellows even offered to help me out or point me in the direction of help, at any point of my insufferable journey of self discovery.

I walked it ALONE.

The only saving grace was that I knew what to do. I kept showing up, and I did service. Because I knew if I did those TWO things, I would stay sober.

And FUCK what everyone else had to say about my suffering.

They were too busy judging me and tutting behind my back to each other, because not one of them offered any kind of sober help or even simple love.

People might be sober, and now I know that many of my friends suffer in silence, their own demons. I know this because they all ran in the other direction when I was in the thick of my anger and pain. They saw in me, something of themselves. Their own anger and pain because of abuse or something from their past.

Folks don’t want to look at themselves. But when you are freaking out, in front of them, and they see fear, anger, pain and suffering, all my friends walked away.

I know what my experience has been. And how people treated me.

And to this day, One person has come to me and made amends, because now SHE can empathize with me, my anger and pain, because she walked through her own, over the past year, and she needed to know what I did when she walked away.

I told her the truth.

People don’t like the truth.

And they surely don’t like my scrutiny about their behavior.

It is what it is …

If we do not learn in sobriety, then why bother getting sober in the first place, if you are just sitting in a room, taking up space, while you bury what is within you, never to see the light of day, until one of us goes off the deep end ourselves and suffers seriously.

Alcoholics, many of us, are not well, across the board, and over the past year, we have seen these things take place. And we watched them react in fear.

Because FEAR is the default …

That is scary …

In the Hour of Need

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“I know how you feel, let me tell you what I did …”

If you need to pray for spiritual help,
Saint’s John Paul II and Mother Teresa are your best bets…

You never know when life is going to turn on a dime and force you to face reality in a way you did not expect.

My best friend suggested I find someone (outside the fellowship) to talk to. And I had a contact up my sleeve. Last week, I made contact with a friend who was my academic adviser, mentor, professor and friend or many years.

We met when I began University in my second year of sobriety.

At that time, the run up to the Iraq war had begun, and expats here in Montreal, were marching in the streets. Not to mention everyone who joined in as Canadians. \

That was my first foray into Montreal Demonstrations. Let me tell you, Montrealer’s really know HOW to Demonstrate. We do it for any kind of reason, and we have the numbers to prove it.

Back then I was warned to sew Canadian flags to my backpack, so as to not get singled out and pummeled by demonstrators. That was a rude awakening for sure.

When I moved here, back in 2002, I was not settled in the life I wanted just YET.

I had one foot in the South, and one foot in the North.

I had not figured out my loyalty or where I stood in the world, because, I had made the move, but it took time to find my feet, so to speak.

Today I am 100% Canadian. Both my feet are firmly planted in Canada.

I have only one connection to the U.S. which is necessary, because it pays our rent.

I reminded my friend today of sage advice he had given me all those years ago, because it applied to our conversation today.

Not knowing where to turn or what to do, and not trusting myself just yet, I needed to learn how to navigate the city, the university and my life.

My friend said this:

IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO GO, OR WHAT TO DO, SIT DOWN.

SIT DOWN RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE. TAKE OUT YOUR MAP, AND FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE TERRAIN AROUND YOU. TAKE STOCK, OBSERVE YOUR SURROUNDINGS AND GET A FEEL FOR WHERE YOU ARE.

CONSULT YOUR MAP AND FIND YOUR PLACE. WHEN YOU ARE SATISFIED THAT YOU HAVE THAT FAMILIARITY, AND ARE READY TO MAKE A DECISION ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NEXT, ROLL UP YOUR MAP, AND TAKE THAT NEXT STEP.

BUT NOT BEFORE YOU ARE SURE OF WHERE YOU ARE GOING.

I thought I needed to talk to my friend. In the end, I think he needed to talk to me.

My life is littered with little pieces of information, across a wide spectrum of topics. Like I said before, there are things I KNOW, for CERTAIN.

Life and Death are two of those certainties.

You never know what is gonna come at you. I sat with my friend, in the same cafe, that I spent 3 months talking to Elder’s Christensen and Sorensen. That is where I was introduced to the LDS Faith.

That was a whole other discussion. Let’s not go there.

Let’s just say that, that particular coffee shop, holds a very important place in my heart because that was where Spencer and I became best of friends.

I have a little of Spencer within me, which was very useful to me today.

My friend’s initial email said that … A lot had changed since we last saw each other, and somewhere, deep within me, I knew that the news was not going to be good. I was prepared for that possibility today.

I was right.

I know what it feels like to have someone tell me that I was gonna die. And I know what it feels like when someone close to you says the same thing, that they are going to die.

Today, my friend told me that he was terminal. That he had small cell Cancer, and that there was no cure, that every two months he goes for scans and right now, things are ok, but Fuck, you never know do you ?

What do you do in cases like these ? Swallow hard and try to find the right words to comfort and of understanding.

Been there, done that.

Spencer said to me earlier that I was in the right place for the right reason.

That my friend needed to talk to me, more than I needed to talk to him.

Spiritually speaking, we both are from Religious backgrounds. He teaches and IS an Anglican Priest. He was my teacher when I was working on my B.A. in Religion.

We both are Papabile.

And he knows my take on Saint John Paul II.

John Paul II always said that suffering is Salvific.

That there is saving grace in suffering, that suffering is something humans must do, it is unavoidable. Looking at it spiritually through John Paul II’s lens … We are saved through our suffering.

For many, many years, as a pope watcher, I studied John Paul II intimately. Like I have studied Francis intimately too.

I jokingly said to my friend today that maybe he should pray to John Paul. You never know when the intercession of a saint might work.

He admitted that he was in the Final Season of his life, and that he really needed to know what his calling was to be at this juncture of time. I asked him the very same question.

I told him what I did and how it felt. He told me to listen to God and to survey my life and see what I do well. And maybe, in determining what I do well, just might be, in certainty, what I need to do now.

We asked the same question of each other, HE had the answer for both of us.

Normal, mortal, human beings, never think about death and dying until it hits them squarely between the eyes.

We in fact, my friend as professor and I as student, had a class together called:
Death and Dying.

Nobody thinks about dying till they lose a parent or child. That is the ultimate loss. Friends and extended family, might be serious, but the further you travel from the trunk of the tree, the less the sting.

Having experience in Death and Dying, sets me apart from all of my friends and fellows. I have knowledge that not many people have inside of them, because I have been to the graveyard myself and picked out my plot.

Then I survived and realized that I did not need it.

While working at the bar, all those years ago, Todd’s lover Bob, lay in the graveyard that was located just across the street from the bar itself. Todd knew death already. And around us the next onslaught of death was taking place.

Todd kept me too busy to focus on dying.

That Pin Point Precision knowledge saved my life.

I know that with the utmost certainty.

If it were not for Todd’s Love and Grace,
(read: If not for God’s Love and Grace) I would not be here right now.

We all will die but it is not up to us to make the decision as to when.

However some want that choice here in Canada, to choose their own route, method and date. I want that choice for myself, I do really. I’m not going to end up in some hospital shitting in a diaper, unable to speak or feel.

I am going to go out on my own terms.

Today began another journey of walking someone I love to the final gate.

With Courage, Love and Compassion.

Friday: Tolerance … And It’s Price

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Sadly … Another friend of mine from my former second fellowship has relapsed.

That would be three in total …

It is a common theme over the past months, of people we know, very well, from around town, are stuck, and have either gone back out and are still out, or as in tonight, a friend I know well, for many years, who had some time, decided to jump out of a window and use again.

If you have decided what we want and are willing to go to any length, then you are ready to take certain steps.

Addicts and Alcoholics are terribly INTOLERANT people.

And the Friday meeting, is one of those meetings, that has been through the crucible of intolerance. In as many years, we have all stayed around, through adversity and intolerance, we survived.

Intolerance has cost us a great deal over the years. People with time, deciding at one point to be intolerant of some who come to that meeting, because they feel welcomed, were, at one point, asked to leave, because of intolerance of some of our number.

Tonight, one of the men who fled that drama, was sitting in the room. I have not seen him in many many months.

Everyone sitting at that table tonight, must have been thinking about what happened to us, a while back, when friends became enemies, and silence fell and people fled that meeting.

Because of INTOLERANCE.

God, in his infinite wisdom has done for us, what we could not do for ourselves.

Wisdom speaks to me tonight and says … If you stay, and you pray, God Will Move.

Once again, I am sitting in a room, and God is moving among us.

Last year, intolerance raised its ugly head and disbanded an entire community of people, sending people running for the hills.

Sadly, three of those intolerant people, used and drank again. And they have, over the past few weeks, returned to the sanctity and acceptance of the Friday meeting.

Is that Odd or is that God ????

I left a community, and people left me in return, because of intolerance.

I remained at the Friday meeting, making it my home group some time ago and I have been sitting in that room, doing service, and waiting on God.

God has not disappointed …

“Gradually we began to be able to accept the other’s sins as well as their virtues. We coined the potent and meaningful expression “Let us always love the best in others – and never fear their worst.”

“Finally we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong. When this happens, we approach true tolerance and we see what real love for our fellows actually means.”

Shit happens in meetings, and more especially in business meetings.

Normal everyday alcoholics, while sitting in a meeting, practicing tolerance, will step into a business meeting, and the gloves will come off and dust begins to fly …

Tolerance goes right out the window.

I’ve seen what intolerance does to people who are terribly intolerant. And at one point, I pointed that out to a particular friend, and in doing so, cost me several friendships.

Some of those friends decided against their better natures to use again.

This is what happens when communities fall apart, and contacts disappear.

People use again, because they feel that they cannot talk to you because of

  • FEAR
  • SHAME
  • EGO

I sat with that friend, before the meeting, and I am sure that look of pity crossed my features when he told me that he was just a week clean and sober.

And I asked one question … What did you NOT do that you should have DONE ?

Those answers are always the same.

A Room is a Furnace. A Crucible. A Testing Ground. An Ego Buster. A Humility Teacher.

We are all wounded, one way or another. And at times, the best of us, gets swallowed up by the worst of us. And usually that happens in front of and to our friends, who are closest to us.

The chair spoke tonight and he said … We are evilest to those closest to us, and we are gracious and accepting to a perfect stranger …

He also added: Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, and Hate leads to Suffering …

We quote the Jedi in our meeting on Friday.

All I can do is be present.

 

 

 

 

Monday: DENIAL is not a River in Egypt

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The book says that “The only thing that has to change in sobriety, is Everything.”

The book also says that “Anything you put before your sobriety will fail, that sobriety must come first, even if we think it doesn’t have to be.”

They say that “Once you take away the drugs and alcohol, and we sober up, we learn that we begin to FEEL. The question is, what do we do with these feelings?”

A meeting that falls after something tragic, or politically charged, is hard. Because people are trying to figure out what they do with their fear, or their sorrow, or their pain, or their anger or their rage?

My friends are trying to navigate that fine line between Chaos and Order. To navigate being Responsible, or to deciding not to be responsible. That is the fine line we walk, in the rooms.

When we get sober, and we leave behind the chaos that followed us around for all the years we drank and used, order comes. This usually throws people off.

  • What do I do with that order?
  • How do I engage,
  • How do I become responsible, and finally,
  • What is my place in the grand scheme of things.

Nobody should ever tell you, inside a room, that what you feel is wrong, or irrational, or childish. Nobody should ever feel that they have to tone down their feelings when they are coming at you at 100 miles per hour.

A young lady I know, was in pieces tonight over all that has happened, here in Quebec, and worldwide. She needed to know what to do with her feelings, and how to deal with them…

Feelings come and go. And sometimes they are overwhelming. I know from emotional catastrophe. I also know what it felt like for someone to call me irrational during one of the hardest moments in my life, not so long ago.

I think, in my opinion, that we should feel what we feel, in whatever degree it comes to us. And when that happens, if we do this thing soberly … Depending on how much time you have, not to allow our feelings to push us out to either drink or use.

Having people around us when the waters are choppy are crucial, so that we are not alone in the boat, whilst navigating choppy seas.

  • I will stand with you, and allow you your space,
  • And I will support you,
  • In whatever way I can.

Pandora’s Box is open, and the Monster I warned everybody about is wreaking havoc in the United States. We must find a way to stop him.

Uncertainty rules the day. Fear is ruling the day as well. Sorrow has filled the hearts of many, because on Monday night, we meet in a church, INSIDE the church. Where we are safe, warm, and secure.

Last night, in a similar sacred space, the sanctity of life and the sanctity of the practice of religious faith was rocked with a deranged young boy, with Far Right leanings, a boy who WAS a Navy and then an Army Cadet …

A fucking Cadet … for God’s sake …

Walked into a prayer service and began shooting innocents. Six are dead, many more were injured, some critically. Reports are all over the map, so I stuck to the basics. But today I had to post the face of this young boy, one of our own Canadian boys, who lives in this free country, where he was educated and lived.

And in a split second he took on the role of Judge, Jury and Executioner …

It was not a Muslim man, perpetrating injustice on his own people, it was a Francophone CITIZEN who killed a handful of innocents.

If we deny what we feel,we minimize our own expressions of those feelings. Because for so long we drowned what we felt with booze and drugs. And now so many are in this place, of not knowing what to do with themselves, because we are all feeling a wide expanse of feelings …

Anger, Sorrow, Fear, Rage, just to name a few…

People are sad, people are angry, people do not know what to do with all that is going on in the world. And we also know, or will find out, that on a grand scale we are powerless to affect change or do anything but express how we feel, to whomever will listen.

We can attend memorials. We can march in the streets. We can sign petitions.

We can sit in our depth of feeling and let the water roll over us and take us and drown us, or we can allow the water to wash over us, and we learn what to do with what we are feeling in a positive and constructive way.

The only thing I can share with you is what I do when I am feeling any one of the above referenced feelings … I talk, I cry, I scream, I rage, then I write.

We must Stand as ONE, we must Speak as ONE, we must Act as ONE.

Defiantly.

To the bitter end.

We must not give up our rights or our freedoms, where ever you live, in what ever country or state. We must fight for our dignity, respect and rights of every human being, as the Constitution gives us as Citizens.

If the government thinks that they can just rip the Statue of Liberty off her plinth and forget the words etched on her tablet and spit in the face of the millions of people who passed by her looking for a better life, they are WRONG. Very WRONG.

Here in Canada, we must state categorically that we abhor violence and the killing of innocents. The houses of religious practice are sacred, and should be respected that way. Because if you come and taint our house of worship with your violence, you incur the wrath of the very God you seek to destroy.

We will punish you to the fullest extent of Canadian law.

We Remember, We Mourn, We Feel, We are Sad, and we are With You.

The killing of innocents is abhorrent.

The banning of people from achieving a safe, secure, and solid home, where they can live without war, suffering or hunger, is abominable.

Do You Hear Me Mr. Trump, It Is Abominable.

You are abominable.

Hear us, as we Speak, March and Rise as ONE.

We Will Never Be defeated. We Will Never Bow to Terror. We Will Stand up and be Counted.

We are Québécois, We are Canadians. We are Americans.

We Are the People.

 

Thursday – Fear

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Selfishness – Self-Centeredness ! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self seeking, and self pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so.

Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible… B.B. Pg. 62

How many of us, Man or Woman suffer from FEAR ? And, how many of those Men and Women, would admit that to others, or better yet, to ourselves, that we are fearful in some way, shape, or form ?

Fear is pervasive and terribly detrimental to all of us. I don’t know a single human being in my life, that has not, in one way or another, suffered from FEAR.

We heard about FEAR tonight. We also heard about SELFISHNESS and DELUSION.

Every story is unique. no two stories are the same. Certain aspects of our stories do track the same, in the form of feelings and emotions. It is the circumstances of each story that differ. Spend enough time in the rooms, and you will eventually identify with something you have heard.

After years of Deep Dive Drinking, Lies, Secrets and Delusions, our man made it to his first meeting. How he got there, is unknown. Skeptical as our man was, “there had to be an angle to this group of people…” Before he could hit the exit to escape his first meeting two men cornered him and said …

“We Love You, We Need You, Please Come Back …”

For him, and as well for many of us, who come to the rooms, delusional and sad, those of us who think we are unimportant, unlovable, and needed, hearing this phrase, changed the trajectory of his life for a time.

Indeed, he did return. And he stuck. For a while.

Knowing the right thing to say to someone who is new to the room is dicey.

I heard a friend say on the way home tonight …

YOU CAN’T SAY THE WRONG THING TO THE RIGHT PERSON AND
YOU CAN’T SAY THE RIGHT THING TO THE WRONG PERSON …

I know, from experience, that words matter. And I also know, in retrospect, that I may have the right words sometimes, and everybody is happy. But there are also times, when words are needed, and I need to say those words, and they maybe unexpected to those sitting in the rooms, those words can be dividing.

Coming from a very abusive home, fear was something I knew very well. Having and Jekyll and Hyde father, you never knew who was going to show up on any given day.
But that did not make me drink. As, an alcoholic. Yet …

But when I was told that a drink, or TWO would set the stage for acceptance, I took that direction as gospel. The fear of not finding my way in, or to not be accepted, added to my need to “get it right, the first time.” I may have found my way in, but that period of my life was exceptionally insane, chaotic and did not lead to any success whatsoever.

My addiction to alcohol, turned me into a liar, a cheater, and a selfish beast.

Take away the alcohol, at any point in the timeline, I am still a liar, a cheat and I am still selfish, albeit, a dry or better, a sober, liar, cheater and selfish.

There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings whic the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it.

When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.

The reason we continue to go to meetings, to listen and do The Work, is that sobriety is progressive, when you work the program set before you.

BUT – If you, at any time, think that You’ve got this, that You are ok, and then the delusion sets in that, maybe I don’t need meetings or a sponsor or the book any more, what comes next can be disastrous, and even deadly for some.

Sobriety Looses It’s Priority.

After nine years, our man reached this point. And went out for TEN YEARS.

The progressiveness of positive forward momentum, turns into the progressiveness of backwards spinning. Which leads to a drink. And for some, we all know, never make it back.

They end up in either Jail, in an Institution, or they end up DEAD.

While our man was out, he drank, heavily. Keeping Secrets and telling Lies.

But you know, we never completely escape our secrets and lies.

Our man was stopped by the police, drunk ! He went to jail, lost his license for a year, and now has a criminal record. All this, he kept from his wife, who was an ALANON. Don’t you know…

In order to keep the secret, our man drove his car, with a suspended license, for that entire year, so his wife would not find out. He wove an intricate web of secrets and lies to cover his tracks.

In the background of this story, is a nondescript young lady, who witnessed our man in jail. Years later, knowing our man’s daughter, told her that she had seen him in jail.

The daughter sat on this information until one pivotal night.

Our man had left his room, to get ice for a drink. His daughter intercepted him in the kitchen, and asked him, if he had ever gotten a DUI ???

CAN WE SAY BUSTED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A family meeting was called the next day, and the lies became truths. That one lie did not go over well at all.

Eventually our man found his way back. And is nine years sober, this time around.

Fear can kill. The Drink can kill. Lies can kill.

There is a solution.

We Love you, We need you, Please come back …

The most important words we can speak to another suffering alcoholic.