Friday: G.O.D. Group Of Drunks


It has been an interesting week. I’ve always wondered when the other shoe was going to drop for me. Medically …

It seems 50 is going to bring me challenges that I was not expecting in any way. Over the past few months, I have had episodes of serious pain, in my back. So severe that I had to get serious pain killers. Thankfully, I’ve only had to take one so far.

I’ve been to see a osteopath, and she worked on me for an hour a few weeks ago, so I have access to her as often as needed. At $100.00 a visit, that ain’t cheap. But insurance now covers 80%.

Two weeks ago I saw my doctor. who went into my image file when I had my osteoporosis check up and bone density tests and my x-rays of my back, and he missed this little problem, when those tests were done, because we were not looking for a problem, with my bones. So it was overlooked.

He looked again, now that I presented pain issues in a location that had not, in the past bothered me. And he found bone deterioration disease in my spinal column. Namely in L 3-4 and 5. On Sunday last, I had a CT scan on my back. This week, my doctor told me that I really needed to be seen by a spinal surgeon. He therefore took that scan to a consult with said spinal surgeon, that I am still waiting to hear from.

With that said, I am on desk duty. No heavy lifting of furniture, which means that set up has come to an abrupt end. I had to call in the reserves to help me out. My friends all stepped up to do what I cannot do any longer.

Thank God I can still make coffee …

Tonight we read about the fellowship and its humble origins. Appropriate that I started a new round of Big Book study, with one of my guys, before the meeting tonight. A.B.S.I. touched on that topic tonight.

We Should Not Toot Our own Horns, nor take credit and be self-congratulatory.

We all put our pants on one leg at a time. I am not the center of the universe. There is a God, and I know that I am NOT God.

What we cannot do alone, we can do, sitting in a room with our friends, together. If I pray, if we pray, it does not matter to WHOM we are praying, but that we ARE Praying.

A very respected old-timer once said that in a meeting …


It’s that simple.

I also know that if I pray to God, which I do … And I don’t get a direct answer from God, then I know I have to hit a meeting, and listen to my friends. With the proviso that if I go seeking an answer, I have to be attuned to listen for that voice coming from around me.

We take very seriously the work we do as a group, on Friday night. And when one of our people fades, and hits the skids, everybody steps into action. On Monday, I went to the meeting and met a friend, sitting on the periphery. Looking forlorn and lost.

She had drunk again.

Not long before, she was standing up front handing out Beginners chips…

I asked her what happened ? She told me.

Giving someone sober directions, while in an alcoholic stupor, does not work.

I gave her sober advice any ways. Welcomed her, told her we loved her and asked her to sit within the group, and NOT on the periphery.

She did not make it through the meeting in one piece.

She left before I could get to her, by the end. I did not see her go.

Tonight, as a group we spoke about what we can do together, and how we all keep RIGHT SIZED, and everything in perspective. That perspective only works when where are sitting in the same room together.

At the end of the meeting another friend took her two-year cake.

As the crowd of congratulations dispersed, my young lady was standing in front of me, all smiles. She has been sober three days. She thanked me for speaking to her and keeping her within the group circle and not having tossed her aside because she drank again.

She took a chip on Wednesday night.

What we cannot do alone, we CAN DO together.

It takes a village …

And we are a village, for sure.

You never know when you are going to save a life.

Constant Vigilance !!!

Thursday: Skets and More

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As the latest Nor’Easter wreaked havoc in points South and East of Montreal, we did not escape getting a bit of snow this week. It snowed for two days, on and off, and a considerable amount of snow is on the ground. So much snow, that crews are out at this hour, clearing snow off streets and highways.

This week, a year ago, Montreal was hit by a severe snow storm, a snow storm so severe that it rendered city management, the Police, and Fire Rescue, unable to make conscious decisions about saving motorists that were stuck, “IN THE HUNDREDS” on highways inundated by snow for more than TWELVE HOURS or MORE.

It was not pretty at all. That bungle at the highest levels of city government and public service, told the citizens of this city, that we really don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

But that was last year. This is today.

Sunday is the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, the track of the parade was shifted to another artery, namely De Maisonneuve. A street that runs East – West, With traffic coming One Way, Westward. For the parade, the traffic will be reversed moving Eastward, with the step off, beginning one block West, On St. Mark.

St. Mark is the drainage point for the Highway off ramp in this neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the city continues highway rebuilding over the weekend, as the new Champlain Bridge is not yet complete, and the continuing demolition of the raised highway, that runs East – West (the Ville Marie Highway).

The rebuild of the arteries of the Turcot Exchange has been going on for years now, and is far from being complete. With the Parade changes, and the Step Off being moved to an artery that takes traffic OFF the highway, and the entire closures of highway ramps for access to and access from the highway, are going to paralyze the city for the entire weekend, with the parade on Sunday afternoon.

The weather will be good, however a bit cold at (-3c) the low Sunday night dropping to (-16c). On Parade Sunday, in the past, it had been much colder, with snow. At least the snow that is on the ground, will be cleaned up by Sunday. It should be alright.

Tuesday and Wednesday are my days off. And I take full advantage of not having to be anywhere or have any work that needs to be done, save chores and grocery shopping.

This afternoon my new Skets came in the mail. Ebay had been telling me that they would not be here for another week. I do know that the Ebay collection Center in Erlangar, Kentucky had been snowed in for many days, and I was sure the mail would be hung up until things cleared out.

Nothing usually stops the USPS from delivering the mail. Through rain, sleet, snow and blizzards, nothing stops the USPS from delivering the mail …

Got to see old friends tonight, and one of them spoke for us.

I have not seen this particular friend in a long time. He hangs on the West end of town, and does not usually come East, into Westmount or up on to the Plateau where I hit meetings. This friend is just a few months older than I am. But what shocked me, when he walked in tonight, was that he went totally grey. I was like Holy Shit …

Is that what 51 looks like ?

I mean, I have a shock of grey hair that hangs in the middle of my forehead.

I call it my Jamie Lee Curtis grey look. I love that she accepted her ageing process and welcomed it, unlike so many in “the business” who color their hair to death, to stave off even the littlest bit of hair going grey.

My stylist and I joke about my streak of grey, it is stylish I think.

Tomorrow is Friday. The nest day/night of the week.

More to come.

Monday: The Infinite Ocean


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 …


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 …

Wednesday: Open Doors

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Keeping it together, when we mourn loss, is sometimes sketchy. Emotions come and go, just like feelings. The farther from the point of impact, one gets, doesn’t necessarily put one in the clear. This is so true, depending on the circumstances of the loss.

Our kids are mourning.

I think, all of us, who are adults, feel for them deeply. Even more, if we, ourselves have children of our own. It is terrible and sinful that trolls in space have been demeaning and degrading the suffering of our kids.

I’ve heard it sad today that the next President needs to be a rousing, angry bunch of kids. They are on the march, and they are moving society and a nation, all by themselves. Albeit, with some superpower support from some in Very High Places.

I grew up in Florida. Over my lifetime, growing up, we had seen our fair share of crime that hit our home several times. But life was safe. I mean seriously, when I was an elementary school kid, we had keys to the house and we would come home after school and have all afternoon to hang out and play.

Our schools were safe. We really never saw the kind of violence that our kids have seen over the last ten to fifteen years. People had guns, but, if memory serves, we never thought about using them on each other.

Let alone, on our Kids …

I don’t ever remember any kid I knew, in any school I attended who had problems or issues that would have pushed them to kill innocents, because they walked into a gun shop and bought an automatic weapon, just for kicks.

There were plenty of guns in our house. And we used to go out to the Everglades and shoot cans and rocks. And there are always plenty of guns shows that used to pop up all over the place. But guns were not so much an issue when I was a kid, not to the extent guns are an issue today.

We need smart, and proper gun control.

We need to vote OUT those politicians who are in bed with the N.R.A. All those men and women who have taken SIX DIGIT SUMS from the N.R.A. for their continued

We need to wrest control of society from all those who think that guns don’t kill people, and that guns are the constitutional way of life for everyone. Because that is the way it is for so many today. We need human beings in government, because the government is a mockery and a joke.

We need Serious change. And if anyone can do that, OUR KIDS CAN.

Stand with our kids. Support them. Love them. Raise them up.

Over the past little while, I have been posting stuff on Facebook for my friends I grew up with to read, because they all knew my father, and my family, all too well.

What I did not expect was what happened today.

I had been grocery shopping and my little “granny cart that could” was straining to hold everything that I had packed in it for the walk home. On the way back, I ran into a friend I got sober with, all those years ago.

He is of Native decent. And he is sober, almost as long as I am. after he got sober, a few years in, he went to work on the streets of Montreal, caring for the Inuit and Native populations who are strewn all over the city. He has an office, in Cabot Square, right up the street from home, and that is where we found each other this afternoon.

We are friends on Facebook, but we don’t connect there. He has been reading my writings, as they went up. And he was really excited to hear of recent events concerning my father.

He told me to mind my dreams and pay attention to them seriously. Because he said that if I am being visited, it is because my doors are open.

My doors have been open for the whole of my life, is why family, all returns to me after they have passed on. I shared with him that story earlier.

People don’t have to like us he said. Some people are just angry, and may not accept who we are today, even if we are sober. Trying to make restitution and goodness, sometimes is hard in coming. And sometimes we don’t succeed.

The one thing we have in our favor, is that We Are Sober Today.

I needed to hear his words today. They went right where they were needed.

You can always count on your friends. At least I can.

Always keep your doors open …

Tuesday: Let’s Talk About Sex !


You know a meeting is going to be interesting, when we hit page 69, in the Big Book. The Paragraph that begins with … Now About Sex !

A fellow who is a bit dyslexic, shared last night, that instead of going to page 69, he went to page 96, where it says:

Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer …

Kind of apropos when you go back to page 69, and we hit the sex inventory.

Sex is a taboo topic across the board.

Yet, sex is one of those issues that either keeps people suffering in their addictions, because let’s face it, sex and alcohol, go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other, can you? OR, sex, is one of those issues that send people back out to drink and use again, because they cannot either, one, face the issue head on, or, two, cannot get enough of it.

Shame, Fear and Guilt rank right up at the top of the list of reasons why we shy away from this topic. I mean really, I don’t know one single old-timer, in my time, in the room, who dared even to ask about my sex inventory. What straight man or woman wants to hear a gay man’s tale of woe?

Both men and women feel Shame, Fear and Guilt. Equally. 

They just rarely admit that in open community.

Everybody struggles with this question … How can I have sex sober, when all I know is sex while drunk and high? Many of my gay male friends struggle. I don’t have all the answers. All I know is what worked for me.

We all know the First Year Rule… No relationships for the first year.

How many people, follow that advice ? NOT MANY !!!

Really, do we really know ourselves in early sobriety, if we have not written a complete and honest (what is considered honest, in your first year) inventory ? Do we really know what makes us tick, if our sponsors don’t run through the ENTIRE inventory process ?

We all struggle. We just won’t openly admit that to many. Even our sponsors.

Until we do a fifth step and our sponsors look at us and say … YEP I did that !!!

I heard many good things last night. Honesty and forthrightness is common in our Monday group of young people. They are starving, well, not necessarily starving, but they are eager to jump right into dicey discussions, because we don’t often, NOT often enough, speak about this topic.

One of my friends says that sex is like oxygen. You need both, on a daily basis. And if he needs to check how sober he is, on any given day, he looks at his sex conduct.

When my father died, I wrote my sex inventory, in a letter to my brother. Telling him the story he needed to hear, right from the horse’s mouth.

My sex education began at home. With reading material my father had left out for public consumption. My father, when I hit puberty, in my early teens, did talk to me about sex, because he thought that would be helpful to me. Sadly, I was already gay by then, and he did not mention men to me at all.

In school, sex education began in Junior High. That was an eye-opening portion of our lessons. Right down to the actual birth of a baby, live and in color, in film format.

When I moved away to be Gay, alcohol, I was told, would “grease the wheels.” All I had to do was sit in a bar and drink, and wait for fireworks.

Back in the day, we all had certain assets. I knew what mine were.

Nightly BINGO was on the table, all the time. I moved into an apartment complex, right near the Tragic Queendom. That little section of town, just off Hotel Plaza Boulevard, was chock full of complexes filled with boys who worked in the Queendom.

Yes, that’s right … MANY a gay boys work at the Tragic Queendom.

If there was alcohol, drugs were not far behind. And sex, well, that was a given. I loved that period of time, mainly for “some” of the people who were alive back then. I could care less about many of the boys I was involved with. Because, let’s face it, we were not men in our twenties, because the mainstay of my twenties was irresponsibility.

Really not a MAN quality for sure.

I got burned more often than I cared to admit or cared for. Sad really. But who knew, I was in it for the long haul way back when? I did not hit that point, until I hit the ripe age of thirty-five.

There was no book on good gay sex, or how to be a good gay man. I mean, I knew how to date, and drink, and have sex. Beyond that, all bets were off. Rent needed to be paid and food put in the fridge, stuff like that.

Blender or Bottle …
The one relationship, I was truly fond of was Charlie. I really liked him. We spent a lot of time together, watching Mary Poppins, drinking and having sex. I don’t know what it was, but he was the real deal. There was no ruse or pretension. We both knew what we wanted from each other, and I think that was what was the difference from all the other boys I had dated in that period of time.

Either he or I would call and ask only one question. Bottle or Blender. If that was the question asked, sex was imminent.

No fuss, no bull shit.

Money was hard to come by, for me. Even when I was employed for what little time, I remember being employed. A lot of the time, I think about the time I spent traveling from point A to point B. Riding the Orlando, Daytona corridor and up to the Palm Coast, down to Fort Lauderdale and even Miami.

The pivotal period of time came when I hit twenty-five. And on that auspicious night I walked into the Stud, for the very first time. I had darkness in my heart and mind, and from the shadows, off stage, Todd (read: God) was watching.

Todd, the only human being, in my life, that harnessed the Power of God.

Knew, from our very first conversation, what was going on in my head. And in one fluid action, he sealed that deal for me. And endeared me to himself forevermore.

He knew, I wanted something hard. Little did I know, then, that He would have my better interest in mind. Because He did.

That fantasy life, I thought I wanted and dreamed and pined about, never came to fruition. Not Ever. Not One drop from that well.

Even working in a leather bar all those years did not produce one drop of sweet, dark, nectar. Even when I begged a certain couple to engage me.

Boulder-dash !!!

Todd was protecting me from myself, all along. And let’s face the reality, no one wanted to have sex with a man with AIDS, at least me, for that matter. Because many other infected men were riding the hobby-horse, all over the place. I just could not tap that well, for the life of me.

ONCE … not long into the drama, I was bar tending one night, and I happened upon someone who drew a fancy to me. It was probably the shorts and leather I was wearing that particular night.

After hours, we hit the COPA for drinks and some dancing. Later we went to his place to do the deed. I needed to DISCLOSE.

We were half-naked walking in the front door, and I just blurted it out. It was the first time, I would have had sex, after my diagnosis. I may have been deathly sick, but I looked good doing it, for better or worse.

I saw fear cross his brow … I never watched some one put their close back on so fast in my life. It was like the SLO MO film being rolled backwards right in front of me.

He asked me to leave and never speak to him again. And for that matter, he continued to patronize the bar, for the next year, ignoring me like I did not even exist.


A few years into sobriety, I hit that wall of people in the rooms, who did not want me around them. Which sent me into my head, and opened that chasm of the HOLE in my SOUL. And that whole sordid affair with a slip, drugs and alcohol.


We cannot live in If Only’s though.

Today, I know very well, that I cannot be trusted, in many cases, to my own thoughts alone. If for one moment, I don’t use the barometer check, I am in trouble.

All I need to do is close my eyes and visualize Todd. And ask one question:


What would Todd Do ???

When I met hubby, fifteen years ago, we had a short few months of dating and sex, and shaking up together, before the walls caved in on us, and he got very sick. From his nervous breakdown, to today, I can count on one hand, the number of times we have had sex, in fourteen years.

Because within his treatment for Bi-Polar disorder, what the doctors did not tell me, when we began his treatment, was this …

The man who went into treatment, was NOT the man I got on the backside.

Those toxic drugs cleaved away half of his brain. And the man I knew from me. He was entirely another human being when he woke from his slumber off the sofa.

Lazarus might have been raised from the dead, but he was no longer Lazarus.

In the gay world, disease is a deal breaker. Some said walk away, others counseled me to stay the course. I stayed the course. And a good thing too.

Relationships are not all about sex when intimacy is the goal. The good thing today, is that we have intimate time together. Sleeping next to each other, napping, or at night, is a most intimate time for both of us.

Just laying next to him in bed is just something else.

The breathing, the rhythm. The quiet. Intimate …

We reviewed our conduct over the years past. Where had we been selfish, dishonest or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealousy, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, and what should we have done instead?

In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal or our future sex life. We subjected each relation to this test – was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us live up to them. We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.

Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it.

I can honestly answer these questions today. I know what my ideal is. One thought that always reminds me of who hubby was, and is, is this …

I never want to break his heart.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

Thursday: Let’s Make a Deal


Every so often, one is in the right place at the right time, to hear a message that speaks directly to you. A few days ago, I said something in a meeting, about myself. Tonight, I heard those same words, spoken back to me, confirming that observation I had made about myself was, indeed, true.

Those words are: “When I Think I Need!”

Our lady speaker tonight, is the sponsor of one of our members of the Thursday meeting. Our speaker is 74 years old, and has been sober, more than 44 years. She comes from Old World Montreal, and Griffintown.

For the history buff, Griffintown, is located in a very desirable location in the city. It is in the East end, and close to Old Montreal. A very long time ago, the only desire of folks who lived in Griffintown of old, was to GET OUT OF GRIFFINTOWN, and not go back.

It was said tonight, how ironic that many of us could not afford to get into Griffintown today. Because real estate prices are astronomical. Way back when, Griffintown was a terribly POOR section of the city. Many had next to nothing, but family, and whatever two nickles they had to rub together.

Come from nothing, stories of alcoholism, are fraught with pain and serious issues.

We laughed and we were struck, stone cold silent, too.

Two things that stuck out for me tonight. One, she mentioned a story about the old television game shows, like Let’s Make a Deal, and The Price is Right. The venerable Monty Hall and Bob Barker. Two men, the world over, came to know very well, if you grew up, in the era, of these shows among many others.

When I was a boy, my mother’s mother, Memere, spoke very little English. Coming from Quebec, she was entirely French. And in those days, she used to talk to me in French, that I remember. To help her learn English, Learn how to grocery shop in English, and Learn her numbers, so forth and so on, watching TV game shows was what we did daily.

The second thing that struck me was, ” When I Think I need …” I heard her say these words, at the tail end of her share tonight. It came back to me this way, because the other night, we were talking about Step One, because a newbie was in the room.

I have said, in the past, that the first time I was getting sober, the messaging was way off. And because of that, I did not stick and stay. And I surely did not trust a single soul, that they would honestly, have my back, and know better than myself, what was good for me.

At one point, sitting in a late night meeting, my brain went into “I Think I Need” mode. And got stuck there for a very long time. I did not know any better, knowing for sure that I could not or would not trust anyone, with what was going on in my head.

Suffering from “I THINK I NEED, and, The HOLE IN MY SOUL” I was going to end up in really big trouble. At the time, I put my plan into action, I had no idea, what I was going to end up doing and sacrificing, to fill that HOLE.

I know today … that if I even Think that I need something … it is probably true that I really don’t need anything, but MORE A.A.

The second time when Todd (read: God) stepped into my life, turning my will and my life over to Todd (read:God) on a daily basis, taught me, what it was I really needed.


Even today, I sometimes find myself lacking in this department. But I am more mindful of my thoughts, and my decision-making skills. Lately, my memory has been off. And I find that disturbing. When I need a pick me up, I know that all I have to do is close my eyes, and picture Todd (read:God) in my mind’s eye.

I know today, that I need very little.

I know who to turn to and who to trust. I know who has my back and who it is that will tell me surely, quite honestly, “Maybe you just need to sit and stay a bit harder!”

The words are here, in the program. The people are here, in the program. The answers are here, in the program. 44 years of sobriety, coming from the world of having not very much, and ending up in serious trouble, over and over again, miracles do happen.

At one point, our lady friend tonight, was summoned to her medical office at work, and the doctor had asked her to look at herself in a long mirror. By that time, she was young and pretty. On the flip side, she had not bathed in weeks, deciding to wear the same old clothes, and just adding a compliment of makeup and baby powder to her wardrobe.

The doctor looked at her and said … “Look at what you have become!” He took out his trusty little pad, and began to write. On that slip of paper, he jotted down a number for A.A. and told her that WE had the answers she needed.

WE, as THEM, Back in the Days, when I was just a child …

Thank God for people who work the phone lines. You don’t hear it very often, people actually admitting that it WAS the phone line that got them in the door, but way back when, before the dawn of a cell phone, or the internet, for God’s sake, there was the phone, that brick that usually was stuck to your kitchen wall, or on your bedside table.

As a kid, I had both. A phone in the kitchen, and later on as a teenager, I had a phone in my bedroom, hard-wired into the wall. With a ten foot cord …

She took that number and thought to herself, maybe I should make that call.

It was a good thing she did.

It took a while, but at one point, members brought a meeting to her home. And very gently, after astute observations of her in the meetings, that “She might feel better if she washed herself.” Because, in early sobriety, she could not bathe herself, opting for the more makeup and baby powder route.

We hug in A.A. A LOT.

People would hug her and come away with a layer of baby powder on their clothes, wondering just what she had inside of her clothing.

She bathed for the first time in a very long time.

That was the first miracle for her.

44 years later, many more miracles followed.

We all know what they are tonight. I laughed with her and I was struck silent by much of her story. And several times, while she spoke, I kept asking myself …

For God’s sake … When is the miracle going to happen for her ?

The story was long and arduous. Many people, who come from the world of “not much to very little” have stories unlike the rest of us. And it is well and good that we hear these stories, because it keeps the rest of us humble and grateful for small mercies.

Alcohol is capricious and very capable of removing every good thing in our life.

The good thing is, Once we come in, time and time again, miracles happen, and very often, we get to hear the good stuff, when people get things back in sobriety.

I am grateful for sobriety today.

Monday: The WORK that keeps on Giving


We heard many good things about step work tonight. The good thing about or little community is the variance of people, time, and experience. Having a cross-section of people talk about experience, is good for everyone in the long run.

Many of us, with some serious time, have tried every “new thing on the block” to spice up sobriety. Over the years, visitors have come from other places to share with us, how they approach THE WORK.

For me, and many of my friends, this little jaunt into “New Methods” began in the year 2012. New Yorker’s who live here, part of the year and back home, at other times, had a method. Many saw it, watched it work for others, and then attempted that work for themselves.

I met a few people over the years, who taught me new methods of The WORK and also about Prayer. It was then, that I began to arduously make prayer work for me. Not that I had not set myself the duty of prayer before. Bob just told me how to step up my game. I followed his direction, and that changed the entire ball game for me.

Today, I hear some of my friend talk about where they are. Some have grown tired of trying new things, and many of us are in a place today, where we recognize that being perfect is not necessary. And that like some, we just want to be loved, and feel ok.

The push for continual growth has slowed for many. Many of my friends are in a “down time” place today. Those with time, have a desire to feel where they are and to experience life as it comes, “in the moment.” However, the work continue, in any case.

We’ve not seen “new methods” come to us over the last little while. So we have been regurgitating the latest method were had been working with. For many, that has grown old and tired. Some have disappeared, a few have resurfaced over the past little while.

Everybody is different, and no two people follow the same proscriptions for sobriety. I think it bears saying that, listening to each other, and sitting with each other often, that is where God is going to speak to us. Through others, in community.

I know that if I don’t hear from God directly, I need to hit a meeting and listen attentively.

Steps are progressive. They never end. You work steps, over and over. The longer you stick around, we grow up. I heard a man say, tonight, that when he realized that he had, Grown Up, in sobriety, that the steps became useful, because he recognized his own progress.

They say that when we started drinking and using, the age we were, AT THAT TIME, is where we stop growing up. Which then tells you, when you got sober, what age you will begin at. I was twenty-one for a long time. A very long time.

Folks who come in late, (in terms of age) don’t necessarily recognize how emotionally and mentally immature they are when they come in. But like my friend mentioned tonight, when he came in he was 41. With a mental age of 21.

When I came in at 34, I was stuck in the mental age of twenty-five, when my drinking was just off the charts, and I was going to die. We’ve all recognized, in ourselves, just how much many of us have grown up, over the years.

Tonight we read Page 75… The reading dealing with steps 5 through 7.

How after we speak our inventory, we go home and take out the book, and review the first five proposals, taking time to realize if we have done things right. Have we a firm foundation. Have we skimped on the cement, Have we left anything out…

There is ONE paragraph on Step Six. Not a whole lot of direction or advice on what to do. Then the book launches in the Seventh Step Prayer …

God, I am now ready for you to have ALL of me, good and bad …

I have heard, over the years that Steps 6 and 7, are the steps we live in for the rest of our sober lives, even having worked all the way through Step 12.

Character Defects and Shortcomings … They never go away. We just learn how to mitigate the damage we can wreak on others.

I told this story tonight. It’s an OPRAH story about Step Work.

By Steps Six and Seven, we should have conscious contact with a Power Greater than Ourselves. In any case, we should have figured out that equation by now.

Many don’t …

Anyways. Oprah talks about God in this way …

God speaks to us. All the time. On the first pass, God whispers to us. If we miss the first whisper, He whispers again. If we miss it the second time, God hits us over the head with a TWO by FOUR. If we miss it the third time, God drops a WALL on top of US.

That is exactly how God has gotten my attention in the past. I kind of need that critical, in my face, kind of God experience. Kind of like egging God on to show himself.

I know better. NOW. Because I know God exists. I’ve met Him in the flesh.

How often I forget that truth.

Over those years following 2012, I was attending Men’s retreats in Vermont, with a bunch of evangelical straight sober men, who talk out of one side of their mouths, then do the opposite in action.

Working through character defects and shortcomings was an In Your Face, God experience. I missed the whispers. I got whacked by the two by four, then had the wall dropped on me. Before I actually realized what was going on.

That’s the way it has been for me. Things I need to see, in myself, come to me through other people around me. I see what I need to recognize, through the behavior and defects and shortcomings of other sober people standing in front of me.

Which is why I don’t travel in those circles any more. God abhors a hypocrite.

So do I …

Life is cyclical. And runs in cycles. The longer you are sober, the more WORK you do, and the more you grow up and remain sober, these life cycles continue to rise and fall.

Issues we see on our dashboard, early on, are seen with the eyes and perspective of early sobriety, on the first pass of Steps. Those issues and lessons come and go. If we are wise, we learn on that first pass, in perspective.

Those issues don’t go away. They just get “put to bed” for the time being. Until we hit another round of steps, and life continues to grow. Sooner or later, those old problems and old issues rise again. Cyclically.

BUT, now, we see those same old problems and issues with new eyes and new perspective. And that growth continues, the longer we are sober.

It is like a jeweler who polishes Gem Stones. Each issue that rises, gets a cut on the jewelers wheel. Each cut, brings that Gem Stone (read: YOU) into greater perfection. Life is cyclical, and gem stones are continually cut and polished.

We may never reach total perfection, but if we stay sober and we do the work and we grow up, we are a little closer to who we could become, rather than who we once were.

Life can be good. But that takes time and work.

Stick around till the miracle happens.