Heaven Held Its Breath

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Lorna Kelly, reverently speaks about Bill W. when she tells the story of the time, she herself, visited the Mayflower Hotel in Akron, Ohio. This is the actual phone, still located in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel, that Bill used on the day that changed the world.

Bill had traveled to Akron for business. That day, Bill had met with other business men, hoping to score a deal and make some money. Sadly, the business went South, and Bill walked away from that meeting, dejected and depressed.

He stood in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel that day. Bill was sober. But was standing at the crossroads of his sobriety. His day was shot, and he had but one choice to make, between two extremes.

On one side of the lobby was the bar. The Easy Choice. The most logical, for most men.

Nikos Kazantzakis once said that “Always choosing the sure path is treason for the soul.”

On the other side of the bar, was the phone, and the church directory.

In that moment, the angels in heaven, must have been holding their breaths, wondering, “which way will he go?” “What is Bill going to do?”

The world did not know this innocuous situation would be as critical as it became.

Bill could have chosen the sure thing … The bar and a drink.

But Bill was sober. And he thought to himself, in that moment of desperation, that he needed another alcoholic. And in a moment, he turned, away from the bar, towards the phone.

Bill made several calls, none of which produced his desired intention. The last number he called was to Henrietta Sieberling. And it was Henrietta who sent him to the home of one Dr. Bob and Ann Smith.

Ann knew her husband had a problem with alcohol. And she tried in vain to try to get Bob sober, one way or another. In the end, it was a single conversation that ignited the spark that became the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Bill had once said that, “He needed Bob as bad as Bob needed him.” from ABSI, from tonight’s reading.

Bill arrived at the home of Bob and Ann. Bob, none to sure of what to expect, deigned Bill fifteen minutes and not a minute more. Bill walked in, with everything that he had. His story. His experience. And his own story of alcoholism.

It is in the telling of ones story, not dogma, not preaching, nor from ones ego, that we can reach another alcoholic.

Bill sat with Bob for more than six hours, that first night. In the end, Bill spent two weeks in the home of Bob and Ann, helping Dr. Bob get sober.

It was an easy sell, the basic premise of getting sober. The identification was there from the very beginning. But Dr. Bob was a little slow on the uptake, and sputtered and ground himself into the ground on a few occasions with bouts of drinking ending up on an errant sofa in the end.

That day, as Bill spoke with Dr. Bob about his own Experience, Strength and Hope, the fellowship began.

The Book reads: Dr. Bob’s Nightmare … Pg 171, the first story in the Book.

A co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. The birth of our society dates from his first day of permanent sobriety, June 10th, 1935.

To 1950, the year of his death, he carried the A.A. message to more than 5,000 alcoholic men and women, and to all these he gave his medical services without the thought of charge.

In this prodigy of service, he was well assisted by Sister Ignatia at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, one of the greatest friends our fellowship will ever know.

Alcohol and drugs are the great equalizers. They do not discriminate.

Once one walks over the threshold of any meeting, we are all equal. And the cure for what ails us, is the experience, strength and hope of one another. The allergy of the body and the obsession of the mind, is solved, in spiritual principles.

Because at some point, somewhere, in that moment of indecision, the only thing that will stand between you and a drink, will be your Higher Power.

Gratitude week is always celebrated around the anniversary of Dr. Bob’s date of sobriety.

June 10th, 1935.

Solar Eclipse

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Funny this … There are only TWO Jeremy’s in the English Montreal Sober Community.

We’ve been friends for as long as we’ve both been sober. In the beginning, you could find us in the same rooms, at the same time, often.

Everybody knows who we are. Each of us have our particular stories. We are an age apart, but once we cross the threshold, everything that is different between us, disappears, for one common goal.

To stop drinking and using …

Nowadays, when we both find ourselves in the same room, which is not very often, I call this a Solar Eclipse. Solar eclipses are predictable, but happen very rarely.

Jeremy said tonight, of us, his friends, that If you want to be like someone in the room, go stand next to them. And quite possibly, strike up a conversation.

The Friday meeting, in particular, many of the people I want to be like, or have something I want for myself, are my close friends who go to that meeting.

Sobriety is a selfish program, they say … Individually, we have to get sober for ourselves. If we think, we can get sober, for anyone else, that is false, and we will fail. We have to do for ourselves, and ourselves only.

What we cannot do alone, we CAN DO together.

Each person who occupies a chair, is there for themselves. But when all these singular minds gather, our singleness of purpose is clear … Experience, Strength and Hope is the job we all have to give each other, selflessly, unselfishly, humbly and honestly.

As is often, each man and woman I know in the rooms I attend and do service in, each of my friends have something to give, in either the way they stay sober, or what they bring to a meeting on any given night.

Another of my friends, who works in a private rehab here in the city spoke as well.

The reading tonight, spoke of not being alone.

Many minds reading this particular passage, took us in several directions.

My friend said that “there are suggestions we are given, when we get sober.” We all hear them, spoken to us, from people, “In the Know.” We all hear, but not many follow to the letter, what we are, sometimes, Strongly Suggested to do …

Relationships are one of those suggestions. And the suggestion to STAY OUT of them for the first year. How many of us followed that little piece of advice ?

My friend, when he drank, always to excess, did not know how alone he was, till the drink and drugs, brought him to his knees. For many, the drink does not create connections between people. For many, drink and drugs, removed us from others, and created for us, each in our own ways, OUR OWN PRISONS.

When he finally got into rehab, himself, he heard the words.

Coming from oblivion, he did not have any semblance of ability to relate properly to anyone, even himself.

When we come in, what do we really know about ourselves ? Until we make that decision, that we are One, alcoholics, and Two, are willing to go to any lengths to get and stay sober.

He took that advice, not to get involved to heart. He spent that first year, like I spent that first year, learning how to be alone with ourselves. Because if we don’t know who we are to begin with, how can we be in relation with another, with honestly, nothing to really give, but what we “think” we have to give.

The first time I got sober, living with AIDS, I was thrust into being ALONE, in a way that broke my heart and broke my spirit. Nobody wanted to be in “relation” with anyone doomed to die a miserable death, sick and lying in ones own shit.

Hell, even my friends ran for the hills.

Thank God, I was NOT ALONE, ever, for one minute. Had Todd not been there, in the God capacity he appeared in my life, I would certainly have died, miserably, like many of my friends did.

My friend got clean and sober. Like I got clean and sober. In time, we both, met our significant others, IN the rooms. People who learn how to be alone, and spend appropriate time, learning about themselves, WORK the STEPS, at some point do learn who we are, good and bad.

Then and only then, can we be in proper relations with anyone.

The rooms, gives us opportunity how to be in relation with others, simply. Because if we keep it simple, and we go to a meeting, not expecting anything from anyone, let alone ourselves, and we just SINK IN, we learn from others, how to be WITH others.

Which is why, I surround myself, today, with men and women who have something I want for myself. Because in my friends I see attributes I want to emulate.

At the end of tonight’s meeting I told my best friends that each of them had something I want. The ladies, learn how to be ladies. The men, learn how to be men.

That kind of education, you cannot buy. INVALUABLE !!!

But the caveat is this … There are a few unfortunate people, in the rooms, that each in our own ways, we want nothing to do with. For one reason or another.

A LONG SOBER, DRY, MISERABLE, ALCOHOLIC is a black hole of misery. A few of those men and women exist in our circles today.

Recently, I called out one of those long sober, dry, miserable alcoholics at a meeting last Monday night, saying, simply, that he had been exhibiting OLD behavior. AGAIN …

He told me to Go Fuck Myself and Never speak to him again. that’s what comes out of the mouth of a man who has TWENTY NINE years of sobriety.

Many of the men in my life, have contributed a great deal, in helping me become the man I am today. A good handful of women hold that same distinction.

Long Sober women are far and few between, so when they do come around, everybody listens to them.

My friends show me that I can find contact with a Power Greater than Myself, which in turn, allows me to get in touch with THAT WHICH IS THE BEST OF ME.

We all know people, in our social circles in the rooms, who did not heed the warnings that the suggestions offer. There are two types.

One, those who simply cannot fathom being alone, at all. They need that “Other: for validation or to control or be controlled.

or Two, those, who within that first time frame, get involved, because for some, when love comes into your life, and you figure that, “This is it …” There is no better time than the present, we get on board and we ride the ride.

It is either feast or famine in the rooms.

Some of us have lucked out in sobriety, to find that particular significant other, that makes the world go round.

I have friends, who did not heed that sage advice and jumped into NOT Mr. or Mrs. Right, nope, they jumped into the fire with Mr. and Mrs. RIGHT NOW.

And like all things, that cannot be nailed down, they Come and Go.

Sometimes they come back around, and sometimes they don’t.

Some of my friends are struggling, because they cannot fathom, being alone with themselves, on the outside, even knowing they are Not Alone, on the inside.

We might be broken, sodden men and women. But with a common goal, to help ourselves, and help each other, what we cannot do alone, we can do together.

We learn how TO BE ALONE, by being TOGETHER, one hour at a time.

If you want to be like someone, go stand next to them. It won’t happen like OSMOSIS, but One CONNECTION, one CONVERSATION at a time.

We often say at the end of the Monday meeting, to the whole room, that sobriety works, because we do not do the work alone. We do THE WORK together. AND if you like what someone in the room had to say tonight, GO, Talk to Them.

That’s why we also, on Monday, stress the importance of Fellowship.

The meeting that happens BEFORE and AFTER the meeting.

If you come, and you don’t participate, and you isolate, sitting in your chair, you are going to stay miserable and broken. You can only SIT in that CHAIR, and do nothing for only so long.

AT SOME POINT YOU WILL EITHER HAVE TO SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT …

A meeting is there for several purposes. I’ve learned, in my time, just what is possible when like minds unite in a common goal, often.

You are never alone … We are never alone …
As long as you have friends in all the right places.

Friday: Change is not Easy !!!

A.A. #3 Bill D.

The only thing that is constant in this life is CHANGE. Whether we like it or not, or if it is good or bad, comes quickly, or takes its sweet time, change happens.

When it comes to change within a meeting, there is bound to be friction. It is a known fact that there are business meetings, then there are BUSINESS MEETINGS. The latter are much worse than the former.

And I’ve sat both, in as many years…

Our Friday group prides itself with serious time, as in members with serious time. And the various others, who are scattered over the time-line. I am the G.S.R for our Friday meeting, hence it is my job to chair, moderate, and attempt to keep everyone on the same page and not let the proceedings, get out of hand.

The Friday meeting is the “Meeting of the week!” It is the only meeting of its type, IN that particular neighborhood, Outremont, it is the only ANGLO meeting, in that area all week, and it is populated by a broad spectrum of “people.”

PEOPLE: being the operative word here.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, so that they may solve their common problem and help others to achieve sobriety.

We all know that the spectrum of orientation identifiers has broadened, in the last decade or so. In the last five years, and even closer, the last year or so, our Friday membership calls many “people,” as members.

The Friday meeting has had its share of controversies over the years. And when time got tough between the addicts and alcoholics, the latter calling for the banning of the former from the room, caused major heartache for months and months, until God sorted it all out, and the room survived, as well as her “people.”

With the appearance of trans-rights and the broad spectrum of people who don’t necessarily identify as Men or Women, today’s discussions are centered upon the word PEOPLE.

We do not discriminate based on addiction, or sexual orientation. We learned that lesson the hard way. The clause in our preamble reads,

We are committed to the primary purpose, and the third tradition, as it states in our literature, You are an AA member if YOU say so.

In order to bring all the parties back to the table in civility and respect, the alcoholics decided, after months of heart wrenching silence between friends, that we cannot tell anyone who walks through our doors that they cannot belong and stay.

In that fight, I took the side of the addicts, because many of them are founders of the meeting, way back from the day when there were only less than a dozen people showing up for the Friday meeting. Now we are a compliment of almost FIFTY members.

My best friend, an alcoholic was on the other side. After a serious physical confrontation one night, our friendship seemed to end, for as long as it took for God to sort this issue out.

In the end … God did for everyone what we could not do for ourselves.

Today, the buzz word is People.

Within our numbers, are some who took issue with the words MEN and WOMEN, in the preamble. Which has not changed since the dawn of the fellowship. Three months ago, one of our young men, set a motion on the table of our business meeting.

His motion was to amend the Preamble, to read, Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of “People,” who share their experience, strength and hope with each other …

There are other “people” who sat at that table, that night and seconded the motion for consideration. The motion went into the minutes of the meeting.

Our policy, on the ground, simply, is to give each motion, placed on the table, three months grace period for conversation and consideration for everyone who is an active member to assess their positions on any given motion discussed.

Tonight, we all agreed, after three months of back and forth on this issue that we really need guidance from the Area Committee, and guidelines for figuring out how we should properly deal with this request.

If a change is made to a group that is crucial, like format, preamble, chips, or any major change to the inner workings of the group, then we convene a much deeper and specifically charged Group Conscience, to decide what the final vision will be.

For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority, a loving God as He may expresses Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants they do not govern.

The “People” who first placed this motion of the table for consideration, have not been present IN the meeting, over the last many months, as in attendance, and they have not been present in further business meetings, where this old business is still on the table for consideration.

Tonight, for the first time, in as many months, the person who set the motion on the table was in the room, but decided against attending the business meeting afterwards.

Among our group, the discussion has gone around and around. We’ve discussed the absences, of those who made the initial presentation. We’ve discussed the reasoning behind he verbiage change to new group members who do not necessarily understand the growing complexity with gender identification within a meeting.

Alcoholics are alcoholics. Why fix something that hasn’t been broken. The preamble is read at every meeting, and very few, (I can count two) meetings, here in the city who have amended their preamble to read either shorter or longer texts.

The Group Conscience was brought up, as the legal formality to make any pertinent changes to meeting formats. That motion was put down quite succinctly by many.

We attempted to vote on the verbiage. It was a close, vote, but the YAY’s were the majority. And the members sitting around the table, due to the absence of those who first made the motion, negated the vote, and tabled a motion to carry the topic till next month, and next week I need to meet with the inter-group secretary to put in place safeguards and set rules of order so that by the end of February, we can finally sort this issue out, once and for all.

I can tell you that this is the first meeting, in my repertoire that the sexual orientation identification discussion has arisen. Times are changing and as a meeting, the Friday meeting, is a welcoming room to everyone.

Nobody is turned away, for any reason.

This does not make my job any easier. As Chair of the business meeting. After the meeting, on the way home, I received high marks from my friend for being impartial and respectful to everyone sitting at the table. That was a good thing, I guess.

But it isn’t about me in the end. It isn’t my job to judge or adjudicate.

Thursday: “It’s Ok … I’m GOOD”

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We hear many things, when we get sober. Many of those little things we hear, over our time, in the rooms, is Good Sound Advice …

If you take away the drugs and alcohol, the problem still exists. That problem is US, and the grey matter that resides between our ears.

The drugs and alcohol are just a symptom.

It is important that we pay close attention to the newcomer, at their first meeting, or those coming back from further experimentation.

Tonight we heard that, we need to pay attention to those folks in the Double Digit sobriety range. We know, in our community here, that people with double-digit sobriety are JUST AS LIKELY, to go back out, as someone with little time under their belt.

The warnings are the same. We hear them spoken over and over again.

  • Get to a Meeting
  • Do Service
  • Join a Home Group
  • Connect with others
  • Tell the Truth – Always
  • Work your Steps
  • READ the BOOK
  • Learn Rigorous Honesty

Some of us, have experiences under our belts that many people do not. And that little factoid is “Personal Mortality.” We are all going to die, at some point. But life can turn on a dime in sobriety, and some of us get smacked upside the head with a terminal illness.

When that happens, we do one of two things. ONE, we go off the deep end, and we prepare to die, we give in, we suffer and we drink. and we DIE, or TWO, we turn to those who know us and love us, and we fight to live, we work, DAILY, Not To Drink.

I heard a familiar phrase tonight… “It’s OK … I’m Good…”

Something I have learned at this stage of my game is that “feelings are real” and that sobriety is NOT a cakewalk, all the time.

Shit Happens.

We learn a great deal about the people around us, when Life Goes South …

We learn, quite easily, THOSE we do not want to be like. That is a really great lesson, in the rooms. If you show up at a meeting, we must be good to everyone, because you never know what battle is being waged in their lives.

But there are those, “Who are Constitutionally Incapable of being honest with themselves.” And sometimes, it is those people who push those buttons we have within, and words are said … And we know intimately that we do not want to be like them.

People suffer in the rooms, because they choose to suffer, needlessly, or there are those who suffer, because of honest struggle, with either emotional, mental or medical problems, not of our own making.

Many of us grow up with having to be “The Strong One.” Never admitting frailty or that we have fear or pain, or that we are having a hard time. That is a serious problem, when we get sober.

If we are always ON – if we always ACT like we have our shit together, all the time, when life gets real, and we find ourselves on the bitter end of life and we are suffering, IF WE DON’T ADMIT THAT LIFE HAS BECOME DIFFICULT AND WE CANNOT MAKE IT ON OUR OWN, that we need our friends, and we don’t tell them as such, that is to our own peril.

The rooms provide. Not always to our specific needs. But there are those, Good, Long Sober folks, who are there, like the North Star. Ready, Able and Willing to Love us.

Warts and All …

How do we find these people ? We go to meetings. We connect. We learn to know our fellows, beyond sitting next to each other in those same chairs, night after night.

Because if we DON’T connect, and we suffer alone, and life gets real, and there is no one there in our lives to carry us when we cannot walk alone, life gets really tough.

The warnings are there. Spoken in such a way that everybody listened.

You go to a meeting. And you keep going to meetings. When we are feeling good, When we are feeling bad. When we look good, and When we look haggard and poor.

If we don’t connect and stay connected, we are disconnected at our own peril.

You can do anything, just as long as you don’t drink.

I know, my brain, is not someplace I like to go alone. For many, we get sober, and we gain some time, we do the work, and at some arbitrary point, we decide that “We are Good, that we are CURED … ”

That little internal message is the death knell for people, all across the spectrum.

Because once it begins playing, and we believe our internal messages, the story goes: Ok, I’m sober a while, I’ve done the work, It’s OK, I’m good.” The next piece of information goes like this … Ok, I’m Good, I am cured.

What happens ?

I’m good, so I don’t have to go to meetings any more, as long as I don’t drink.

I can attest to you that an alcoholic who just does not drink, is MORE dangerous, than someone who is actively drinking. If you remove that alcoholic who is sober, from their routine of meetings, and you set them loose with themselves, the end is nigh …

We are going to go ONE of THREE places:

  1. We are going to go back out and drink or use
  2. We are going to go insane, or
  3. We are going to kill ourselves or someone else

A dry drunk is dangerous to themselves and to the people around them, especially, if those people around us are children. Sons and or Daughters.

If we don’t STICK to Meetings, religiously, and we DON’T heed the warnings as we are hearing from the chair, we are SUNK.

100 % SUNK.

There are not many people in the rooms that I trust 100% with my shit. Because I know how people treated me, when I was in the thick of sober suffering at fifteen years sober.

There were, and ARE, a handful of men and women who loved me through my pain, because I kept showing up. I kept making coffee, I kept putting down chairs.

People with time, NOTICE people who stick around. Sticking around means ONE of TWO Things … They ONE, either need that service because it is what we learn to do in ALL cases, or TWO, shit is going down in their lives, so you better pay attention and be PRESENT.

I know my friends, intimately. And I know, by action, or sometimes, by inaction, that they really need to connect and stay connected, because they are on that illusive bubble.

I know now, what I know, because I walked through a forest, not long ago and now I am on the other side. I know the warning signs. I know what I did. I used the sign posts, the slogans, I stayed close and I did what I learned to do when I came in almost sixteen years ago.

All those little things we hear when we first come in are still in play.

And it may not come to pass, and it may come to pass, sooner than you think, but if you ignore suggestions, and those little things we plug into conversations, if you don’t listen or you ignore the locally posted signs, there for your own survival, You do that at your own peril.

Shit happens. And if you are smart, you will be honest, ALL the TIME. And you won’t drink over it.

How can we be honest all the time ? We find those people who are honest with us, and in turn we can be honest with them. Find them.

Because one day, those people will save your sobriety.

And most likely, Your Life …

Friday: Significant Horizons

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Do you realize just how fucking lucky you are that you are in the fellowship

One of my friends, a very wise man said that tonight. We work with others, because it helps US stay sober. Most of us, have a very low batting average, when it comes to people sticking and staying, in the room.

People are suffering. And they, tonight, openly admitted such truths to the rest of us.

I know, that if I don’t know what to do, or where to turn, or whether I am coming or going, I stick to the basics. Most people shake their heads when I repeat this advice in open community, but it works …

If I don’t know whether I am coming or going, I make coffee. I put chairs down and set up tables. I have keys to the church and I use them religiously. I am always there, early. I know that if i show up early, others will show up early too.

I turn my will and my life over to the care of my higher power, (read: My friends), every day. I know that they have my back. Sadly, those same friends, who are struggling right now, don’t think to call me … go figure …

Our stories are well told. And not earned. Our particular suffering gives us insight to each other, that people, in the outside world, just do not have. Our shared struggles gives us the ability to help each other in ways, we will not find outside the rooms.

The city has begun rolling up the Terraces, that have been open all summer long. The weather is growing colder by the night, and soon, very soon, I imagine, the snow will begin to fall.

NOW is the opportune time to get people connected to the system that works for many of us, sooner than later. Because if we do not act now, numbers will definitely drop off.

As is the case, in this time of year, as nights grow longer and the weather gets cold, people begin to calculate just ow much time it takes them to make a transit from home to a meeting.

AND they will find every excuse NOT to show up.

If the weather goes south, and snow begins to fall, people will think to themselves, Ah, it’s cold and snowing and I can’t bring myself to head out to a meeting.

And we remind them this fact …

When you were drinking and drugging, how often did you brave a freaking snow storm to score a drink or a drug ???

People tend to forget the lengths they went to, to SCORE.

The meetings are getting Solemn. And Deep, and Difficult.

I can’t make someone show up, nor can I force them to trust me. Not many of my kids trust me with their lives just yet, so they struggle from one day to the next, when I offer them simple suggestions they just look at me askance …

Like, Really, Is it really that simple ??? Why yes, it is just that simple.

It’s obvious that they really don’t want to go to any length to get and stay sober.

But the alternative is also an option. A good number of my friends are looking at the stark alternatives to coming and showing up. They know what the flip side of this sober equation is.

To Drink or to Drug.

My friend reiterated tonight that we forget, or don’t fully realize just how fucking lucky we are to have the rooms and the fellowship. My friends really don’t have a clue about being lucky.

Our resident old-timer man said tonight that “WE ARE THE LUCKY ONES.”

It took a long time for him to Get That Fully. YEARS and YEARS.

We are lucky, we have each other, we have the rooms and we have a WAY OUT.

I may not have ALL the answers, but I do have a way of life that works.

Our old-timer also said that, “If you want to hear the voice of God, come to a meeting.”

The fellowship is easy. It is not rocket science. The book lays it out simply.

If you read the book, and do what it says to do, in the order as the steps appear, you too will get sober, despite yourself.

People are just not listening to simple reasoning.

They’d rather walk around in the dark grasping at straws, and fumbling, when really, all they have to do is pick up that 2000 pound phone and show up early.

How freaking difficult is that advice ???

Alcoholics are self-centered to the extreme and we abhor authority and direction, but when we come in, and we let go and let God, we find safety, within that very same framework the fellowship provides for us.

Simple direction. Simple suggestions. A simple program of action.

People just do not want to put in the effort, time and care.

And they will suffer for their inaction.

At least I will stay sober during the holidays, because I know what to do, even if my friend do not. And they might bitch and complain about me doing so much service, but it needs to be done, or there would not be a meeting to go to, or coffee to drink and books to read.

If service is not done, where would we all gather on a Friday night ?

A good friend took her Thirty Year Cake last night and she mentioned that at Thirty years, she had reached the point where she saw Significant horizons in her life.

It really take A LOT of time in the rooms to have these observations and realizations come to pass. I know certain things at Sixteen years, almost.

I have reached, also, certain significant horizons in my life.

Horizons are on the way, as long as we stick and stay.

Just keep coming back.

One day at a time.

Thursday: Clarity

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Most alcoholics don’t want to admit that they “feel.” Most would rather go back out and drink, when things get tough, rather than admit to their fellows that they are having a rough time of it. The Promise of the fellowship, is that, there will be good days, and there will be bad days.

And You don’t have to drink over the bad days.

Sobriety is not easy. And people struggle with emotions that come up, once we get sober. We heard tonight that, talking about where we are with our fellows, provides.

The Hand of the fellowship is always there. But not all people are able, and some are just not willing, to stick their hand out and offer it up.

However, there are those who will.

Finding those people, is like finding a needle in a haystack.

What is the key to that hunt ? You keep showing up and You keep talking. You keep talking, if in most cases, you are just hearing yourself talk, one way or another, the human who is supposed to help you WILL appear.

We also heard that a connection with a “Power Greater than Ones Self” can be a crucial part of who we become. This thought is a double-sided coin. Because not everybody in the rooms, believes in God.

The two minds are these … Those who find a God of their Understanding, and those who operate without it. There is NO right answer.

If you find the route to stay sober, more power to you.

Tonight, my friend who spoke, seriously relies on that power Greater than Himself, he chooses to call it God.

Many times, over the years, I’ve watched people come in, kicking and screaming all the way. They refute the Book, they malign the Book and the Work. Until they finally give in, and allow the program to help them.

God has always been the sticking point where we lose the most souls to alcoholism and addiction. There have been countless people, young and old, who just plainly will not accept that any God would help them, because of being burned somewhere in their past.

Over the years, I have worked tirelessly to find a route for them to find a way to get and stay sober. The whole first stage of my sobriety, people came and went over one word:

GOD…

Over and Over, people wrestled with God. Many did not make it and eventually they disappeared and never returned.

We know that there are no Atheists in Fox Holes. When it comes down to brass tacks, when we hit the bottom of our personal barrels, the only way is up, and with that up, comes a spiritual solution.

However you find that Spiritual Solution is up to you. It is there to be found, if you really go looking for it.

My friend, tonight, spoke pretty convincingly, that every day, he relies on God to direct the show. And I agree with him on this.

I’ve watched my friend get sober, and it was not an easy road to walk for him. Yet he persevered. Over the years, I gave him opportunities, in several meetings, to polish his story, and do some service. And he always stepped up and spoke confidently and honestly.

Six years, is a good chunk of time. My friend has certain clarity about his story today, that he did not have in the beginning. My old-timer friend, who thanked him, said as much, that when He was six years sober, my old-timer friend, lacked the clarity that the speaker has right now, having reached his sixth year sober.

Sobriety is not easy, and can be downright rough. And sometimes the rooms do not provide that hand we so desperately need when times get hard. So we keep showing up and doing what it is we were taught to do from the very beginning.

  • Service.
  • Coffee.
  • Chairs and Tables.
  • Shaking hands.
  • Reading.
  • Find a Home Group.

If you tack, one suggestion, on top of another, eventually, we learn how to put these simple suggestions together, a foundation will be built, that we can rely on for certain.

If You do these simple things, you will stay sober, one day at a time.

When Spirituality hits, it will hit when it is needed, and when it comes, you might be pleasantly surprised, with the How, the When and the Why.

The book is written they way it is for a reason. If you read the book, and follow what it says, and you work the steps in the order they come in, you will find a power greater than yourself, I guarantee it.

There is a God and I am Not God.

Thank God for that.

I do know, in 44 days, I will hit Sixteen years sober.

I have a little more clarity these days.

My friends never cease to amaze me with the way they see the world around us.

Grateful …

Is that ODD or Is that God ?

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For the second time in two weeks, whilst I was traveling about, today, my music shuffle landed on Lorna Kelly’s share at the West island Round Up in May of 2012.

Shifting from Music to a Pod Cast, on my I Phone usually never happened before, ever. For some oddly Godly reason, Lorna came to me in a whisper, again, I wrote about it when it occurred the first time.

Odd that Bob’s share from that same event, never comes up in rotation, but for some oddly Godly reason, she came up again today.

Last night was a hot mess. I’ve been keeping what’s going on with me outside of the house for such a long time, and after deciding I was no longer going to go to places where people are mean and hateful towards me, I was going to nap for the evening, like we usually do, but as it happened, I had an emotional meltdown in front of Hubby.

Not Pretty at all.

There are two Ted Talks I enjoy watching. One is called “The Fuck It List,” by Scott Jones. The other is “The Magic of not giving a FUCK,” by Sarah Knight.

At what point, in sobriety, are you able to say with certainty, that you don’t need a particular meeting, or that you don’t need to hang out with particular groups of people?

That is up for debate. Because even if you cut a meeting here or there, you still have to go to meetings, whether you like it or not. They are our bread ad butter of life.

There is a pattern to my meeting meltdowns, and people, places and things.

Over the whole of my sobriety, I’ve always been connected to a meeting, or several meetings. And I get situated at a meeting, do some service, and usually, as is the case, my capacity to endure meeting drama and bullshit has lessened over the years.

Alcoholics are only good for a limited amount of shelf life, until they either do something stupid or they say something stupid.

As a Gay, heterosexual men, fall n this category, all the time. The stupid, My dick is bigger than your dick, or my knowledge of hockey is the greatest, and / or I am SOOOO Sober, you’ll never be like me, routine.

I can smell an ego maniac at fifty paces. And there are certain men, of my acquaintance, that just rub me like spiritual sandpaper.

People piss me off – and I walk away from them. People are resentful that I was critical about them in the past, and many of them carry those resentments around their neck like jewelry. Over the years people have formed their opinions and to this day, many of them carry them and would rather hate and ignore me, rather than talk to me and find out what makes me tick. Not that I spared them that info at certain discussion meetings and certainly while we were reading the Big Book on Monday.

Several times I used the word FUCK in my shares, and that really got gasps from the crowd. People were like, Yup, there is something definitely wrong with Him !!!

I guess you can say that right now, there are a handful of people who are rubbing me like spiritual sandpaper. I don’t like it, but there is a lesson there for us.

This is what jumped out of her talk to day for me because this is right where I am at the moment.

We talk about peeling the onion in sobriety, Lorna likes to think of it as a LOTUS flower, that sits on a pad in the mud. It unfurls its petals all beautiful, and everything is there, the good, the bad, the ugly, the resentful and angry, the suicidal tendencies, all of it – along with all the good. The compassion, the loving, the generosity, and the gratitude.

Lorna talks about going to meetings. and how at times she FELT the most hateful, resentful, suicidal, or more angry in A.A. At the same time she felt more compassionate more loving, more generous and more grateful.

The negatives are all there, and so are the positives.

All those things are part of me, and I NEED to know those feelings, so that I can say

I know how you feel, let me tell you how I dealt with that.

The thing about US is that we have been to hell and are on the way back out of Hell.

We know how we feel, at least I do. And I am not shy about saying to someone that, You’ve done all this shit over and over, when are you going to sort yourself out, for God’s sake ?

We have a three fold disease. Mental – Physical – Spiritual … All three areas need attention all the time. If you don’t cover ALL your bases, you are on slippery ground, Lorna said. You cannot ignore one save for the other two or the other one.

  • Mental
  • Physical
  • Spiritual

Elder Spencer and I spoke last night, and we talked about gifts.

He said to me and I quote …

He said that I was like a mirror. While he was here in Montreal we spoke all the time. And I learned about him and he learned about me. When he went home, there was a two month period where we had lost communication, and his life turned upside down.

The very first night, that we talked together on Hang Out, I spoke to him in truth and told him what I had seen, in what he had just told me about that portion of his journey, and I was able t mirror back to him what he really needed to hear.

Today, he is all the better, every week that we talk, that I get to mirror back to him, what he is doing and what needs to change, and what he needs to do.

And he does the same for me. He truly has many gifts as a young person.

Hubby said to me last night, that maybe I needed to keep my mouth shut and just go to a meeting, listen, participate and then LEAVE. Don’t stop for conversation and don’t give your two cents all the time. (Which I don’t really, unless someone asks me)

There are young people I know, that I strike up conversations with after a meeting because I want to know them and I want them to know me, not that I have anything to offer, generally, but you never know when a connection is going to pay out …

Most of those older queers and other folks who hate me, wouldn’t know feelings if they dropped on them like pigeon shit. And many of them wouldn’t know honesty if it bit them in the ass.

I study my friends and fellows like science projects. I am really good at that being university trained and educated. Knowing my history of wanting to know all the nitty gritty details of someone’s life.

Hell, I did that as a kid when I was a boy. I knew ALL of my family secrets by the time I was twelve years old for God’s sake.

I am angry. I am resentful. And I am Hateful.

Now that those feelings and emotions were brought up by Lorna’s share. I can see them now, and I know them. And I know what to do with them.

People are going to do what they do, even if I say something or I say nothing.

Like I said, most people don’t like my brutal honesty or as the book calls it:

RIGOROUS HONESTY …

But that’s the way the cookie crumble I guess.

Love me or Hate me, this is who I am in sobriety at this point of the journey.