Sitting on Step Work

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A very long time ago, when I got sober, this time around, I took every piece of advice I was given as Gospel. I never questioned anyone about their wisdom, or what they knew. If they were sober longer than I was, then everything that came out of their mouths was Gospel. Back in the day, it was very different, than how it is today.

I’m not sure if it is all about me, or all about them ?

I heard a friend of mine speak tonight, and I’ve been in a holding pattern for two years, waiting for God to show me, who I am supposed to speak to next. After the meeting I spoke to that friend, and told him some things about my observations.

I’m sitting on my fourth step. And it’s about to blow.

Like I said, a long time ago, I heard one piece of advice when it came to steps …

“When you write out your fourth Step, get rid of it promptly. Do Not Sit On It for very long, because the written word is like TNT. If you allow it to gather in your brain, and fester for too long, prior to doing your fifth step, disaster is coming … SOON !!!”

I took the day to sit and pray. To Sit and Listen to an Old Timer, I met in person, here in Montreal. One of two alcoholics, who presented sobriety from someplace else, to us here.

One was a woman, who was sober more than thirty-five years upon her death in 2016. The other is a long sober man, who changed my life, with one piece of advice. For these two specific people, I have their shares on my phone. And in my I – Tunes.

A while back, and I wrote about this then, that I have been going through serious heartbreak, and it has been a very emotional journey over the last two years. I was in the mall, grocery shopping one afternoon, listening to music, as I am wont to do.

Funny that my I – Phone, when it is on shuffle, does strange things that I cannot explain, because since the day I put music and shares on my phone, not once, did that shuffle bring me a speaker in the music rotation shuffle program. It never shuffled there before.

All of a sudden, like a voice from heaven, it shuffled me Lorna. It not only did it once, it kept repeating this action, five times over two weeks. I thought it funny, but I stayed on and listened to her talk to me, as if there was something I needed to hear. During this time, I needed spiritual help, that wasn’t coming from my own personal community, and hasn’t yet …

Today, as I ate lunch, I went to a virtual meeting, with Lorna speaking.

The thing that popped out today was this thought …

It’s not the newcomer that we should worry about. It is the person with TIME, real-time, that they need to be looked after. This thought rings true today. My patience for old timers runs short, because of the way I am treated in community by a good number of folks with serious time. The other, is the rate of old timers going down the proverbial rabbit hole themselves. I’ve written about this before.

Tonight I told my friend that I’ve been doing the next right thing, because that’s what I was taught to do from the very beginning. They told me service will keep you sober, that if you have anything on your heart or mind, then, bring it to a meeting.

Without the counsel of a sponsor with merit or anyone for that matter, I’ve been relying on my close circle of friends to keep me “On the beam.” I go to meetings, because I have responsibilities to those meetings, by way of service commitments.

I know, that if I don’t know, then I need to go to a meeting and do service. Because that’s all I know how to do, because it works. I suit up and I show up. I offer kind words to my friends, I offer advice where I think it might stick. Often it does not stick, because people look at me and smile that smile of … Thanks but no thanks …

I know today, that one particular young woman, from our Monday meeting is still sober because I gave her one piece of advice when she was in difficulty, and it stuck, and she is still sober to this day, despite herself.

I’m not sure what to do with heartache that won’t be soothed. I don’t know what to do with the fact that people I need to speak with, don’t want to speak with me. I’ve heard it said recently that

“Sometimes God breaks our heart to save our souls.”

That resonated with me sooo much. There are facts about my life that I cannot change. Perceptions that people have about me based on who I used to be, and decisions I made about my life

“Life preservation decisions, that I thought were tantamount to my physical, mental, and spiritual survival.”

That’s how someone showed me that making life preservation decisions are not ego driven, nor wrong, nor self-centered.

Some people have me stuck in the past, and have had me stuck in the past for the whole of my life. They blame me for all of THEIR problems, never wanting to hear my side of the story, that would explain WHY I made the decisions I did, and whom forced me to make those decisions because I felt I was trapped in a life and a title and a family name that was doing me no favors, when those people constantly parroted the words:

YOU WERE A MISTAKE AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN, YOU ARE THE CAUSE OF ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS AND IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT. AND WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE ALREADY, FOR GOD’S SAKE … GOD HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THESE ISSUES.

This litany of vitriol made me sick inside. It made me feel less than and unimportant. I may not have been SO sober the first time around, but the first of two life preservation decisions were made. The second followed the second time I got sober. Admittedly, I was much more sober the second time around when I made that decision, than when I made the first. Chalk that up to more experience and hindsight.

I have never felt so much anger, resentment, hatred, and fear, and also on the flip side, so much happiness, compassion and joy,  I have felt in sobriety.

Lorna said that and it resonates with me so much. Because when she rotated into my shuffle, I needed to hear those exact words when they came at me when they did and the right moment for the right reason.

Whispers from heaven indeed.

I’m resentful at other gay men in the rooms, who have no use for me. Men who belittle me and slander me behind my back and talk shit in my face, calling me names and judging me in front of others.

I am from a generation of gay men, whom my contemporaries have no idea OF or use FOR. AIDS distinctly puts me in a class by myself because I am the ONLY AIDS survivor from that time period STILL ALIVE today in this city, on the English side.

I am resentful at old timers who spurned me and humiliated me in front of others, then castigated me for having emotions and openly sharing them in open community, when I lost emotional control over the Pulse Nightclub shooting, that turned my emotional world upside down. Too concerned about what I am wearing on the outside, instead of what is going on inside my head and in my heart. A little fucked up if you ask me.

Instead of anyone, even the gay men I know, who DID NOT SAY those words of everlasting life:

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I DID …

Not in over two years now, has ANYONE. not one of my friends here, shared those words with me to assuage my intense emotional being inside, and that breaks my heart into pieces. I don’t understand people. They are self-absorbed and self-centered. They don’t really care about me, as I have seen from many people.

They will smile that “thanks but no thanks smile” when they walk in a room, but beyond that one pleasantry because we sit in the same room together for that hour, they have no use for me and want nothing from me, nor offer me anything of substance beyond their criticism.

I AM A STRONG PERSON, BUT SOMETIMES I REALLY NEED SOMEONE TO TAKE MY HAND AND SAY TO ME THAT EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT !!!!

Why is that so hard for some people to even consider, seeing how much many of us suffer in silence in the rooms, and even when we say that out loud, nobody steps up and says anything of substance to us.

I mean why are you even sitting in a room acting like you are sober, when clearly you are not. And you are just taking up space, where someone who really wants it, waits in the wings for that seat you are occupying, while doing nothing to better yourself !

For God’s sake, I am trying my damnedest to be the best man I can be, by studying my friends like lab rats. Because if you do sobriety like I do, then everybody who sits in a room and or stands and speaks is fair game.

I’ve watched a multitude of people get sober over almost seventeen years and I know mostly everything about them based on every word they have spoken in my presence over the years. I know every choice they made, every decision they made, every bad choice, every good choice, every success and every failure too.

I know what works and what does not work, and all of that is sitting in my sober bank ready for optimal use at any given moment.

THAT IS HOW I GOT SOBER AND THAT IS HOW I STAY SOBER.

By watching my friends either FUCK UP or SUCCEED.

 

There comes a point in sobriety when warming a chair is no longer an option, you either have to SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT !!!

There will also come a time when “Coming and Going,” Looses its appeal and dies. You either come in, sit down and stay, or you go back out and never come back. As was warned by a speaker last week from the chair.

I don’t know what I am doing, but the Next Right Thing has served me well.

Frustrated …

 

Monday: The Infinite Ocean

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It was a very wild weekend here. Knowing that Daylight Savings was going to begin on Sunday, did not dissuade me from living my life as I always had, before.

Going to bed early, just for the sake of going to bed early, seems to be, beyond my capabilities. I just have to crank out a couple more hours out of my twenty-four, THEN go to bed, WHERE I grab a book and I read for ANOTHER hour, before shutting off the light for the night.

Sometimes, we just need to GO TO BED ALREADY !!!

Saturday night, I was burning the AFTER-Midnight oil. Knowing that I HAD to be up at SEVEN in the AM, to be at the Hospital, at Vendome by EIGHT in the AM.

I stayed up to fart around as usual, so it wasn’t until around 2 that I finally went to bed. I set my phone for SEVEN, and sure as shit, SEVEN did come around, sooner than I would have liked. But who am I to listen to conventional wisdom ?

I got dressed, and headed through the tunnel to the Orange line, which is a straight shot to Vendome, three stations up the line. I took the tunnel, the new access for everyone, including the Handicapped patients who visit the new MUHC Hospital.

Let me tell you how much grief was wrought because they built that entire hospital project, but did not have the foresight to build an accessible tunnel FROM the Metro station to the Hospital, in one fell swing …

That would have been too esasy!!!

They did not plan accordingly. And after much wringing of hands and complaints lodged to the city, the city caved and spent extra millions of dollars to tunnel from the station to the hospital, AFTER the FACT.

I get to the hospital around 7:30 and get lost trying to find my way into the hospital, because getting in, is half the fun.

On a Sunday Morning no less.

The only people AT the hospital at 7:30 in the morning are those working INSIDE, and Security. The halls are all devoid of life. I want to get outside for smoke before hand, because you CANNOT smoke on Hospital property.

I quietly Exit the building, wherein I get locked out of said hospital, and after trying three separate entrances with locked doors, and only a security button and a speaker to talk to, I find my way back into said hospital, trudging through MUD and SNOW on the far side of the building, having to find my way BACK to where I really needed to be for my appointment.

I get to the department, and the lights are off. The desk is devoid of life, thankfully, I see a young man exiting the same location and ask him where I can find a sign of life, and he says to me… “OH, they will come and get you … just have a seat and wait…”

Ten Minutes later a nurse comes to fetch me and the CT Scan takes all of five minutes.

I just spent the better part of an hour navigating the damned building for the climax of a FIVE minute CT Scan of my back…

Thank you for making your appointment this morning, have a nice day.

I took the Metro back to Atwater to drop off some scripts that needed to be refilled, that I would pick up later. I walk back home and gather my granny cart, and walk BACK to the mall to do my grocery shopping for the next few days …

BECAUSE ??? You might ask ??? There is SNOW in the forecast for the next three days.

I don’t want to be stuck without ample supplies and have to go out in a snow storm to grocery shop trying to pull a wretched granny cart through the snow.

Been there, Done that already.

I get home from my shopping trip and crawl back into bed. I sleep for the entire day and into the night. I had turned my phone off and was comatose for hours. I got up for dinner and some tv. By 11 p.m. I had such a head ache that my head was spinning and I was nauseous.

I took some Naproxen and crawled back into bed. I felt so sick. Not sure where that came from but, that was a thing.

I slept through until my haircut appointment this afternoon.

I have a HIGH and TIGHT haircut, that we tweaked just a bit. My friends, this evening seemed to like it. Because several people commented, which was unusual.

We read from the Big Book, and the topic of Resentments.

You’d never know how many of us drunks, YOUNG and OLD, have serious DADDY ISSUES. Everybody shared on the topic. And as usual, our trusty time-keeper kept us all to a three-minute time limit on sharing.

Which at the end of tonight’s meeting, spoke to him about.

Another of our kids went back out. She was hanging on the periphery of the room when I spoke to her before the meeting. I gave her some sage advice, and asked her to sit among everyone, and not on the back wall, as some do, to stay out of the fray, for all intents and purposes.

She did not make it through the entire meeting. I think the topic was a bit rough for her, so she bolted before the meeting even ended.

A friend of mine, lost his mother recently. We are kin to the same problem. Parents with memories and resentment lists like ELEPHANTS.

They NEVER Forget …

As sober people, what is done is done. Carrying around resentments is like carrying rocks around our necks, in sacks only we can fill, OR empty, whenever we choose.

My friend realized, long ago, what game she had been playing. And he chose to take the high road, and access the infinite ocean of power we have within our reach, when we get sober. Taking that high road, was not always the easy road. But he walked it.

He made peace with his parents and escorted his mother to her death, valiantly. Because he embraced love and compassion, and the infinite ocean of love around him, and he carried that love back to his family, doing good, small things, OFTEN.

I don’t have that luxury of doing Good, Small Things, Often.

One, because my brother hates me as hard as my parents hate me. And Two, I cannot even get him to acknowledge my humanity as a human being, let alone, answer any of my texts to him, beyond his …

I GOT YOUR TEXTS AND I DID NOT READ THEM. STOP TEXTING ME ALREADY BECAUSE I AM NOT INTERESTED IN KNOWING YOU.

So fuck me for trying.

My friend talked to me for a bit after the meeting and when I got home, I caved to pressure of compassion and emotion, and I texted my brother AGAIN.

I give him three days before he tells me to fuck off again…

I have not spoken to my mother, not that she wants to even talk to me, but I wished to express my condolences to her, but if I cannot raise my brother, as he is her gatekeeper now, and he isn’t speaking to me, I will never get to my mother.

So she will go to her grave even more angry and bitter than my father was.

Sometimes sobriety and the truth sucks, because there is not a snowball’s chance in hell, that I will get anyone to recognize that I am ALSO a human being, with feelings of my own.

I might have made the bed I am sleeping in right now, by choices that I made twenty odd years ago, but they were direct results of my family telling me to fuck off and DIE ALREADY when I was very sick and closer to death than I am today.

It isn’t ALL my fault for the state of family affairs today.

I would love to believe I have access to my friends INFINITE OCEAN of possibilities, but that just AIN’T the case with my family. For my family, you can NEVER go HOME.

Tomorrow I have a Two O’clock appointment with the smile specialists. I HATE, with all my soul, the dentist. But I need serious help, and it’s gonna cost serious money, that we know we don’t have, to complete the job successfully.

I am praying for small mercies and maybe a little miracle of financial ability of the part of an institution to be able to finance what I need IN HOUSE, and not using an outside firm where I am going to pay interest for years, before I can even think of paying off a job that is probably going to cost THOUSANDS of DOLLARS, start to finish.

UGH !!!

It’s time to go to bed already.

More to come. Stay tuned …