Uncomfortable

I posted earlier today about my head space this morning. it only got worse as the day progressed. I’ve been uncomfortable all night long. And even spending time with people I love, did not ease the discomfort.

I’m still stuck in my body.

There are things we get to talk about with our friends, those things could be any topic, for any reason, and my friends would listen. There is only one person who has been brought into the Fidelius Charm. There is nobody else, in on the charm.

He has challenged me to become the best version of myself. Which is why he is within the Charm.

And I’m not sure I should bother him, at the moment, because I know he’s filled with his own anxiety about the end of term and the amount of work he has to pump out in the next ten days.

What I have left, is pouring myself out here, and recording how my days are going, from one day to the next. As my daily routine goes forward, knowing what I know at this very minute, being around my friends makes me a little uncomfortable.

I have good friends, mind you, who would never question anything I tell them about me, because they all know me, very well. Sometimes better than I know myself.

I’ve added another layer of who I am to the mix, a few days ago.

On a separately Other track …

I was told tonight, by a good lady friend, that, certain doors have not opened up to me, on one arc of my story, so she told me to just put one foot in front of the other, until that particular door opens.

Because Sobriety does not have a destination …

Making choices, putting a plan into action takes certainty, or a little bit that sounds like certainty. You don’t know if the plan, will flourish in the future, so all we can do is put one foot in front of the other, and stay in our days.

Where have I heard that little gem before ???

Sobriety, and Life in Sobriety is about the day you are in, and even the moment you are in, right now.

Any choice you make in sobriety, is tempered by how well you deal with a twenty four hour period. And when you can’t talk about what’s going on with you, you need to figure out where you are going to drop your thoughts, which is why this platform exists.

For the longest time, this was about my readers. I posted content for my readers. But that tack changed when Brene Brown became part of my life.

This week, I decided that I was no longer drumming for readers or support from the outside world. I decided days ago, to spend my writing time, working on me, in open community.

I had to reconsider what this blog functioned as. BRAVING this blog, the way it was, was no longer tenable.

Now, I turn the attention off of others, and onto myself. For better or worse. I don’t have any gay friends, inside or outside the rooms. That means a no go, for open discussion on just about anything not relatable.

I know I can talk to my Fidelius Charm partner.

Now is not the moment, though.

I get to think out loud here instead.

Putting one foot in front of the other …

Key Holder

After yesterday’s technicolor dream and the prophetic nature of the message, I followed through to the end this morning.

I had researched my quest last night, and decided to go with my local seller, Priape and save some serious cash, on the exchange and shipping from the U.S.

The man who works in the fetish shop in the basement was there when I arrived. I’ve known him for over 18 years. We’ve been friends since the day he started working at Priape, and we’ve become good friends. So he knows all about me and my fetish likes and dislikes. Because he’s the one who sold me on every purchase I’ve ever made in the shop.

That is a good contact to have.

I learned a long time ago, when I moved to Montreal, that in Montreal, sex is a common subject. It is not taboo, and the fact that I said yesterday that there are sex shops scattered all over the city, speaks for itself.

In the Gay Village, Priape is our flagship store. We’ve kept that store open in the darkest of times, when at one point the shop had been sold, and they were going to just shut it down for good. We, the community, had other plans. We got the store re-opened and it rocks the community.

When I worked for Todd back in the 90’s, the bar was a hard core fetish bar, serving the leather community. Right up my alley. But Todd knew I had a dark side, and he kept men and myself apart, on purpose. Because he knew I could get into serious trouble if left to my own devices, which is why Todd took me in and forbade me to engage, and forbade the men in the bar to ever touch me, Period ! Those rules saved my life.

Because I can tell you honestly, that some of the hard core leather men who were sick (then) took down many of my younger friends in my age group. They got them addicted to drugs and alcohol, then infected them with AIDS, and all of them died in the end. I was the only young leather man left standing alive, when all was said and done.

Hundreds of people died. And I survived them all.

Moving to Montreal, I attempted to break into the community, that took a lot of work, but in the end, I failed because of the two solitude’s. If you did not speak French in a mostly French neighborhood, you were finished.

But I made some good connections in the process. The men at Priape became friends, who did not judge me because I did not speak French.

The Male Chastity fetish was born a couple of years ago. I watched it rise on Tumblr and within the limited Leather Community I was following online. After the dawning of this little denial of sex began to rise, the straight community took hold of it and ran with it.

The race to build the Best Mouse Trap began.

There are many companies that claim to have the best product. And since that dawn, I have watched the evolution of it grow exponentially. I know my personal sellers. Some ran well with it, where others, only dabble here and there.

Friends of mine, here in Montreal, engaged in this kink. I knew this because they told me so. I was kind of jealous that my friends had better sex lives than I had.

Truth … 17 years ago, when my husband was diagnosed as Bi-Polar II Rapid Cycling and the drugs were introduced to his body, over the ten months they dosed him with the myriad of drugs they were trying to see if they worked, at the end of the line, the man who went in, was NOT the man I got when he came out the other side. Our sex life all but died. We’ve not had sex, but maybe twice in the last 17 years. So fuck me now.

Let’s just say, that if I want to jerk off, I can. And there is nobody who is going to see or stop me.

Over the last little while, I’ve been in conversation with my friend, who shall remain nameless. He knows my situation, because he has his own.

I went to the shop and got my device. My friend showed me how it worked, and how it went on. I came home and wow, what a nightmare getting it on, but once it was on, it wasn’t coming off.

It isn’t a denial in full, until you give your keys away to someone who will hold them for you, for whatever period of time, until you want them back.

I had to get rid of my keys today.

I made the call to my friend, and we met for coffee and had quite the conversation. Because I told him, he was part of the dream last night. We talked honestly and openly.

I handed him my keys and told him that I did not want them back until the end of the summer when he comes back into Montreal for school. Now I am fucked until at least September. There is no going back now, I did not keep a back up key here, because that would be a temptation to cheat and unlock the device early.

He is going home to Alberta after this term, so he won’t even be here, to give me the keys back, even if I wanted them. He will have them on him. So I am doubly fucked.

But he agrees that knowing he’s holding those keys, will seriously remind him that he is also in the same boat as I am. Because he has the same issue that I do. So he knows he can join this challenge if he wants to. But just holding the keys, right now, is enough a deterrent to interrupt the cycle.

Lockup began at 11 am this morning. And will run, until at least September.

I don’t have the keys. And the device is locked.

The Catholic Church’s Dirty Little Secret …

St. John Vianney College Seminary Miami Florida

In the years 1986 – 1987, I spent that year, in a college seminary in Miami. The sainted priests of my home parish really thought I had a calling to the priesthood. They worked very hard at my formation prior to entering the seminary. Altar Boy, Eucharistic Minister, so forth and so on.

I loved the Pastor, Priests, and the many other people who served my parish so dutifully and loyally. We were a family. And I was safe. When I needed help the most, in my most desperate hours of illness, after I was diagnosed, the men of my parish really stepped up their games for me.

I really had nothing to loose, entering the seminary. My parents were going to get rid of me, and not have me under their roof any longer, that was good for all of us. I would no longer be abused mercilessly, but on the down side, I would have no support from home, except the parish priests.

I was two years out of high school, having completed a year’s scholarship at the community college. But I was destined for greater things.

I took all my tests and psychological exams. And I guess I passed well, because I was in, that fall. It was a learning curve for sure. The residence was located above classrooms of the main building, with double occupancy, Murphy bedded rooms. You were not alone at any point, unless your room mate was in class or off campus.

A retinue of priests were housed in the building with us, on each end of the building. And it seemed all was well, but something was just not right, all around.

I had not come out of the closet, because I figured that If I made it, I wasn’t going to have to worry about my sexuality because I would be serving Holy Mother Church. Not that being gay was top of mind, because it really wasn’t. I had eyes into ministry and I was singularly focused.

The other odd thing was that many GAY priests, and priests who had been diagnosed with AIDS, or had other parish issues, were sent to our school, to either teach, or be in ministry positions to the class in residence, and say mass every day and on Sunday.

Gay WAS a thing. It DID exist. Right in front of me. Nobody talked about it, but it was clear and out in the open, if you knew to look for tell tale signs of homosexuality. I had pretty good GAYDAR then.

There were three Catholic institutions that were located on a plot of land, who shared common outside space and school precincts. There was Christopher Columbus Boys High School, St. Brendan’s across the green space from our buildings. And the Seminary.

Out back of the three sites were baseball, and soccer fields. A communal pool, that was fenced in, and a perimeter road that circled the high school and the seminary grounds. We spent nights after dinner walking that circle, night after night.

I knew, after while, which of my classmates were gay. That was pretty apparent to me, at least, yet I asked no questions. EVER.

It was common knowledge that gay priests were in residence with us, and nobody batted an eye over that. The first rector of the institution had issues with the drink, and they sent him away to rehab. Which incensed me to no end, and I lobbied long and hard to get him back.

He was replaced with a papal wannabe Rector Andy Anderson, who thought himself Divine. And pranced around and acted like he WAS the pope, when he was in public and when he said mass. I hated Andy Anderson with every fiber of my being. I hated his sanctimonious attitude and his pride and arrogance as a priest.

HATED HIM !!!

Several of my classmates were sanctimonious pop tarts who walked around like they were above everyone else. Many years later, MANY years later, I turned on the tv once, and saw, one of my sanctimonious classmates saying mass on television. I was revolted for sure.

During the day and on Friday we had assigned chores every week, like mowing the grass on the quad, cleaning the house and the chapel, and odds and ends jobs.

One of the jobs we had during the day was serving the high school next door to the seminary, since we shared common space and their cafeteria. We served lunches and took care of the cafeteria. But I noticed that several of my upper classmates were passing notes to many of the boys as they came through the lunch line.

It was not kosher at all …

One night as I walked the quad after dinner one evening, I was behind the school, walking past the baseball dug outs and IN the dug out were several of my classmates having sex with kids from the school next door.

I averted my eyes so as not to notice, and kept walking. I was sure, I had seen what I had seen. Not long after that incident, I was approached by several of my classmates who made it perfectly clear to me that I should never tell anyone what I saw. They confirmed to me what it was that I did see, by telling me to shut up and keep quiet.

Or I would pay a price.

Each week we had spiritual direction, with a certain priest we had chosen to see on a regular basis. And I kid you not, it was like sitting in front of an inquisitor. The first question, every time I sat with my spiritual director was this … “Did you touch yourself this week, and how many times did you touch yourself ?”

Spiritual direction took a backseat when it came to sexual information.

Now, even if I had masturbated whenever I could get away with it, I’m not saying I did or I didn’t … I wasn’t going to give that priest the sexual satisfaction of hearing about “If I touched myself, and how many times I did so.” In essence, I lied to his face …

And I think to myself, you know, “Masturbation is a far lesser sin, then fucking kids in the dug out out back of the school after dark.”

But I didn’t ever say that to anyone.

Many years would pass, after my unceremonious expulsion from the seminary in the Spring of 1987. I was told by Rector Andy Anderson, that I was not ONE OF THEM, and that I did not pass my yearly review as a seminarian, so I had to go.

That unceremonious expulsion sent me on a tirade about God. I was terribly angry at God for a long time. I had later come out of the closet and was at one of the major gay watering holes in Miami one night, when five of my classmates walked into the bar, and hung out and drank and cruised like the other gays in the building.

But They Were Seminarians, Still in Formation at the College.

The Church today is facing the biggest problem of its life. Sexual abuse in the church by priests. They used to say that a homosexual man could not be ordained into the priesthood. After I left the seminary, they purged, or attempted to purge homosexuality out of seminary life.

I don’t think they succeeded.

Because when I was in that seminary, most every single priest in residence was GAY, or had AIDS and was GAY. And half of my classmates were GAY.

Over that year we hosted two retreats for prospective men who wanted to come into the seminary. A couple of them made it in, but after helping them unpack and sort themselves out, I knew it would not work for them, and they later were dismissed.

I NEVER had a gay issues in my home parish and the men and the priests who served my home parish were upstanding, respectable men with integrity and morals. All of them, were great men to me. I would never speak a bad word about any priest I knew growing up.

It wasn’t until I hit seminary that that all changed for the worse.

I studied Religion and Theology at Concordia University here in Montreal, and one of our Monsignors was one of my instructors. At the end of term I had to write a 40 page prospectus. I wrote on the care of the LGBTQ community, and how the church could facilitate that. He then offered me a place to work in the diocese when I graduated.

I did not get the job, and the offer was rescinded.

Because I was GAY.

The church is not perfect, by any stretch. And Gays, do exist in the church today and priestly abuse is a FACT, which the church has turned a blind eye to for decades and decades. Because of the culture of silence and coverups, by the highest men in the curia and the papal offices.

Decrees can come from Rome by the hour, but the farther you are removed from the center of power, the more diluted the order and the less the orders can be enforced by local Bishops and clergy. The farther you get from Rome, the Bishops around the world control the diocese they administer.

The farther away Bishops are, take more latitude in enforcing Papal decrees and laws. What happens in Rome, does not necessarily happen in North America or Latin America, or in any other far flung location, removed from the seat of Holy Mother Church.

We know who were abused, we hear about it very often. Pope Francis needs to be decisive and stern and certain with punishment and prosecution.

There is no room for men of the cloth who abuse boys and girls.

That is abominable.

And God Wept …


This is the Way It Is …

On a Double Decker bus in Ottawa with my best friend …

Watching coming out videos today, bring back certain memories and invoke certain feelings, about my own story.

I traveled to the South Shore last night, for a meeting at the famous Beaver Rehabilitation Center. Over the years, I’ve heard some old timers tell stories of their time there, and a particular nurse who worked there until about a decade ago. On the way the driver of the car, told me her stories of that famed nurse, Joan.

I learned a few more things about new friends last night. Which was nice. and I also learned that the car driver’s sobriety date is the SAME as mine.

December the 9th … She in 1987, me in 2001.

But back to where I am at the moment. I’m kinda sad.

Like I said above, I watched a new coming out video from a young man on You Tube. And I wrote to him, that his story was the most honest, tender and loving story I had ever heard. Coming Out is a daunting proposition.

He faced his trials and in the end he had success. His friends came round, his mom came round, and his sisters came round, eventually.

And I think … People are who they are. And I was and am powerless over people, places and things. The other night we talked about “Acceptance.”

I wonder, why people say the things they do, why they act the way they act, and why the world went sideways when I was a kid. I’m gonna be 52 in a few months and I think to myself, what a waste of time and effort. I really believe I was sold a terrible bill of goods.

People treated me so unfairly. And never gave me the opportunity to speak my words and defend myself. It was better to push me away and shut off my light and silence my ability to speak, rather than hear what I really have to say.

Coming Out, I was sold a bill of goods. I was told certain truths. And I ran with that delusion, until it did not serve me any longer. And I’ve written in the past, quite recently, The life I really wanted and desired, never came to fruition, and in the end I got the life, I got. It wasn’t necessarily the life I wanted, but it is the life I got.

I’m not sure I would have changed the life I have, or the way it played out, because life is good today, and I should not be resentful or bitter about not getting or getting.

We spend inordinate amounts of time sitting in meetings, listening to our friends, or people we think are our friends. And it still makes me wonder about people, when I hear some of the things that come out of their mouths.

And I think to myself, WHY ?

An entire section of my life is non-existent. An entire family of people have nothing to do with me, because of choices I made. But really, I was gay, and gay was abominable, so I had to move away from home, because I was pushed away.

THEN they blamed me and said it was all my fault. That I was the cause of all of their problems. When I was the one who got away from a very abusive situation, and people. I got out for my own good, my own safety and my own sanity.

So Fuck me for self preservation.

So many years have passed and nobody seems to care that I am alive or have a life or have words to speak to certain people. And I find that wasteful today. I think that people have just gone down a rabbit hole and never came back up.

People have a choice. And I wonder, why people made the decisions they did, because at this point in my life, I see the wasted opportunities, the wasted years and years of punishing silence.

Why because I was Gay or later, was diagnosed with AIDS?

I had two coming out experiences. The first was much happier than the second. Because when I came out, it was on my own terms, in the location I wanted, with the people I wanted to be there, when I made my entrance into the gay community of Orlando.

I think to myself, that certain people in my life did what they did and they said what they said and they chose the line they were going to follow, for better or for worse.

I lost on all accounts, because an entire group of people walked away from me, and left me on my own to survive. Thank God, Todd was there, because if it wasn’t for him, I would have died many years ago.

I just think it is utterly so sad that I am where I am, still asking the same questions I asked decades ago. All I want is to speak, to tell my story to people who don’t want to know me. To explain the what, where, why, and how. On my own terms, in my own voice.

But people don’t or won’t deign to stoop to my level and listen to me. I am just not that important. And there is just too much water gone under that old bridge.

I find that utterly sad. It just makes me so sad and sick inside.

My father went to his grave, never knowing me. never speaking to me, and never allowing me to say what I needed to say to him before he died. And that was his choice, not mine. My mother is going to same way, and so is my brother.

None of them want to know. Or want to listen.

So Fuck me for self preservation

Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can never be regained.

My maths teacher, in 9th grade, used to write this sentence on the black board before every test or exam. And I remember those words till today.

So many people have wasted too much precious time. That we’ll never get back. Time is of the essence.

God is in control. And maybe it is better that way.

Because I surely don’t want to make these kinds of decisions.

Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.

Hatred Kills …

I have an uncanny ability, to see dead people. For the whole of my life, every family member, in my family, who has passed on, has come back to me, specifically. I’ve spoken about this many times before. But it bears repeating for this entry.

I was born to a couple, who, in the 1960’s were avid Catholics, who towed the party line when it came to sex and procreation. Be fruitful and multiply the church said. No Birth Control. No Premarital Sex. So Forth and So On.

My parents did not heed those words very carefully, and I think that if the local priest found out about the Premarital Sex, they would have been in hot water, so to speak. But eventually the church would catch up to them many years later when my brother was born, and the doctors told my mother that she could not have any more children. With that said, doctors performed a tubiligation. A No No when it comes to religion.

My parents were summarily EXCOMMUNICATED from the church.

So, I was born. And we were off to the races. For the whole of my life my parents beat into me a trinity of vitriol. The main point was this:

“You were a mistake and should never have been born.”

They kept that line going for more than fifty years. FIFTY YEARS.

The last time I saw my parents alive, and in person, was on New Years Day January 1st, 2001. Almost a year, till the day I got sober again, on December 9th, 2001. But I was stone cold SOBER the day we had a very abbreviated visit. Little did they know what would happen over the next calendar year for me and for them.

Being legally Gay was nail number ONE. Legally changing my name to protect my body and soul from defilement by my parents who hated me, was nail number TWO. Then jumping the border in April of 2002, was nail number THREE.

They were not happy I jumped the border, in order to survive and to get a life I thought was mine for the taking, since nobody was interested in being family, or better yet, being my friend. My brother included.

To this day, I am a mistake. I am the cause of all my families problems. And as my mother told me the last time I spoke to her in person, that litany was repeated, with another piece of information, she dug deep into my heart, because she is a stone cold bitch… “If I die, nobody is going to call you.”

My father came back, a couple of weeks after he died to say he was “sorry.” My mother had visited me prior to this a number of years ago. This time she appeared and stayed here for two days and nights. Repeating the litany of vitriol and telling me she was dead. Kind of odd, that in person she said just the opposite to me, in person. And now that she was supposedly DEAD, she came back to rub it in my face.

I wonder if God had anything to do with this skullduggery ???

I cannot for the life of me reconcile how parents can create a child then spend its entire life, telling him that he was a mistake and should never have been born, and hating on me so hard.

Well, I know how they do it. Because both my brother and myself lived in the same house they did when they copped resentments and dug in for the kill, with shutting off family light switches for LIFE !

If they hated, the kids were to hate. If they did not like someone, the kids would not like them either. In obedience of my father’s hateful edicts and rules. Summarily, I did not agree with blanket hatred, but my brother was eager to please. And my father bred my brother and trained him very well, in the fine art of spiteful hatred, just BECAUSE.

When my father died, nobody called. I learned of his death from my cousin, who lives in B.C. who sent me a death notice on my Face Book account. That was a shit show. For it only took three day for my brother to deign to call me back after the horrid message I left him.

He did not want to hear anything from me, nor wanted to hear my side of any story at all. With that he hung up and that was the last time I spoke to him, on January 10th, 2018.

So my mother shows up and tells me it’s over. Nobody called, and to this day not one person in the family I speak to, nor anyone else, can corroborate this news FROM my mother in spirit form, to me in HUMAN form.

FUCK ME !

The Big Book tells us that “Resentments are the number one offender for an alcoholic.” We do not have the luxury of justified anger nor resentment, lest it drags us back to drink, or better yet DEATH.

My parents feed off anger and resentment, Like Good Alcoholics will. So I should forgive them and let it go right? WRONG!

I did not get my day in court. I did not get to speak my mind to anyone. Because if anyone allowed me to speak my mind, that would legitimize my existence, and they would be forced to listen to me speak about my EXPERIENCE.

My parents and brother are all about DE-LEGITIMIZING my existence. Because if they allowed me my voice to speak, they would have to accept my existence and my experience as valid and worthy of attention.

Not So Fast Grasshopper …

The delusion, well, the Utopian delusion, that I believe that in every human there is a kernel of compassion, and goodness. If they choose to tap it. And I woefully believed that one day we would all grow up, and come to the table and reconcile and sing Kumbaya together …

Well, that delusion is now smashed !!!

I haven’t seen my brother in probably thirty odd years. When I was sick and dying he NEVER called, nor did he ever visit me. Not ONCE. Never called to see where I was, or why I left, and what the real story was, because he was defiled by my parents, because he was the one who STAYED.

I was the one who LEFT. Because over my lifetime, I knew what they were thinking, because I spent a lifetime listening to them talk between themselves and others, about social, sexual, and political topics.

GAY and AIDS were at the top of that list, not to mention Blacks, Jews, and Homosexuals.

(These are the politically correct terminologies, the words my father actually used, should never be spoken in public)

My parent could quote you Bible verse and scripture, when in reality, they had a Bible, but never tapped it in my presence. They usually stuck to the seven phrases, Evangelical Christians use against all things homosexual.

Funny that.

So my brother is eternally mad at me, saying that I chose not to be part of the family, what he lacks is the WHY I chose to walk away, and who forced me to walk away, with variants of hatred and death coming from their mouths.

When people tell you shit like “you’re a mistake,” and when you are going to die, to try and hasten your death, by asking you to “Just Die Already,” something is wrong with that picture, don’t you think?

I had every right to protect myself from people who, I knew, that if I died they would be next of kin, and could come in and take me where ever they figured they thought I should spend eternity, by myself, in some unmarked grave somewhere, or better yet a box, stuffed in a closet, God Forbid !!

They would never have had an urn of my ashes in their house… No way Jose.

So I took those matters into my own hands to prevent that from ever happening. Then I jumped the border, much to their consternation.

I am damned if I do and I am damned if I don’t.

How do you reconcile this dilemma? I have no idea.

A wise friend told me tonight that:

“And yet…you’re here, and not a day goes by that you don’t cast your own light on the lives of others, including mine. In spite of your founding environment, you succeeded in pursuing a life of purpose and kindness to others. I hope you never lose sight of the good, my friend Jeremy, because there’s so much of it in you.”

I love my friends …

Nuff said …


Thursday: It MUST be the GAY

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When I moved to this city, I was the “new kid on the block.” I did not know anyone, but the friend I had come to visit, who would help me root and find a new home.

I was sober.

I hear my friends, my gay friends, tell their stories, and inside my heart breaks, because at some point, on my journey, I too, was once like they are today.

When I walked into the room, that would become sober central for me, I met women. A lot of women. Who were KIND to me. They offered me work to do, so that I would return the following week.

Over my sobriety, I have learned how to be kind to everybody.

I am, without fail, kind to everybody, gay or straight. I’ve not been unkind to anyone I know. I am observant, I am present, I listen, and I watch people. I know them.

There is NOT ONE gay member in this city, who wants to know anything I have to offer, even if I go out of my way to be present and to be KIND. I don’t understand.

REALLY !

On the flip side, my straight friends, are kind to me, in ways, others are not.

We all want to be seen, and heard. And to do that, requires a little bit of honesty.

Little by slowly, as we thaw out from disaster, and we find our chair, and we get comfortable IN that chair, we begin to find our voice.

Then it is all downhill from there …

I know what it is like to be shunned and be tossed out into the street, by people who should have known better. I know what it feels to not love myself, or to be kind to myself, or always beating myself up for one reason or another.

How it Works talks about learning how to be honest with one’s self.

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those people who do not recover are people who cannot or will not give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are CONSTITUTIONALLY INCAPABLE of being HONEST with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living that demands rigorous HONESTY.

Being kind, I think, over time, demands rigorous honesty, even when it hurts.

Over the last year, I have been through the most painful period in my sobriety. Something I have in common with who I heard speak tonight.

Some people get what they need, and others do not. Save, that over that worst year of my sober life, I kept going to meetings, and talking my head off, even if nobody wanted to do anything, because nobody did anything. But I kept showing up.

You’d think that the gay men and women, would rally round each other and support one another. Oddly, I have been kind to all of them, even though, my fellows cannot bring themselves to be kind in return.

I don’t know, it MUST be the gay. My kind of Gay.

I am the only SURVIVOR of the scourge of AIDS in this city. That makes me an outcast. However, gays, share many things in common. The same feelings, the same emotions, the same problems, and the same struggles. Been there, done that.

I’ve been nothing but kind to everyone. Always going out of my way to be supportive. And like I said, everything I have done in sobriety, is directly correlated, to what I saw, and what I see going on around me.

Sadly, how can you be sober, and NOT be honest with your peers ?

How can you not sit in rooms, night after night, week after week, month after month and year after year, and not collect tons of data on your friends, and when the time is right, to be able to walk up to someone and say … Get the Fuck Honest for God’s sake !

How to you carry the message, when folks don’t want to know what’s wrong or they don’t want your help ?

I met a newcomer the other night. Young, Gay, just moved to the city, needs someone to work with, needs to root, and find his way in …

I listened to him. And I spoke as well. I reached out – my phone has YET to RING, and after the meeting he was sitting a few rows behind me and I was like, HI !

Another gay, who I am overly critical about, because he is full of shit, I’ve spent the whole of HIS time in the rooms, trying to be his friend, and to help him, to no avail.

I write a lot. People do not like that I write A LOT. People do not like that I tell stories about the work I do, so brutally honest. People don’t want to be reminded about what they say, or what they do, in community.

How do you get sober, and not plan on doing any of the leg work to get there ?

I am back in the saddle next week. After taking a sober break from my Thursday meeting, because I pissed off a gay, because I told a story about his stupidity. Now we sit in the Thursday meeting together, mere feet apart, across the center aisle, and I know he has shit to say, and I have shit to say because I have worked on my script, every time I lay my head on my pillow at night.

And I know better.

I know that if I open my mouth, it ain’t gonna be sunshine and Jesus. If I shoot my mouth off, it won’t serve the greater good, nor move us toward God or goodness.

I know the difference between doing the Right thing for the Wrong reason, and, doing the Wrong thing for the Right reason. I know the difference between right and wrong, and good and evil.

The word Honesty came up several times tonight.

And I have been nothing but honest all the time. I’ve been brutally honest, even in my darkest hour, with people, whom I thought would stand with me and offer me something, ANYTHING.

Nope. Not Gonna Do It.

Fuck me for being honest.

I don’t know any other way to stay sober, but be honest in all my affairs.

Straight people are more at ease with me being honest, than Gay people.

Maybe it’s because I am older ? Fifty ? Sober ? Alive ? Honest ?

I don’t know, I just don’t get it.

I know what it is like to be fueled by alcohol and drugs, into doing things that when they were going on, seemed pleasant ? I followed the lie that alcohol was going to bring me Into Community and make it all work in my favor.

If someone will love me, then I don’t have to love myself, right ?

If love involves, self-denial, or actions that are below board, or pushing you to do something that you would not otherwise do when you were sober, is just WRONG.

How many times did I continually make that mistake ?

When I was tossed from that meeting, long ago and I went all out to find someone to love me, because I could not love myself, ALONE, I almost died in that Love Attempt.

Oh God, the things I did, in sobriety, that just fucked me up, because there was nobody who was there to say STOP for fuck’s sake.

When they tell us to STAY OUT of relationships in our first year, that is SOUND advice. I know, off the top of my head, how many of my friends ignored that little nugget of wisdom.

Nope, Not gonna do that …

I know, how many of my friends, are sunk in the “I cannot be alone, ergo, I am going to go find it, even if it comes between me and my sobriety.”

And I hear my friends struggle.

I know what it is like to put the RIGHT human, in the role of Higher Power – That definitely was Todd. Because when Todd stepped into my life, he was on a mission to save my life, and had I not done what he told me to do, I would be dead today.

I also know what it felt like to put the WRONG human in the role of higher power, when I did not know any better, IN sobriety. Oh the horror  !

I just know that I work my ass off to be the best human I can be. I have enough men and women in my circle who keep me honest and sober, in spite of myself. Not that I really have a problem with listening and taking advice. I would rather know what to do from long sober members, than trust what is in my head on any give day, which is why I go to certain meetings.

How difficult is it to be kind, even when it hurts ? Very difficult.

An observant alcoholic, who sees, listens and talks about what he sees, is a threat to people’s sobriety. I write here to help me, and maybe help You.

As long as I don’t mention names, I can carry the message outside that room.

I mean, why do we go to meetings, if we don’t bring home and unpack what we just heard, and use it to learn from, by writing it all down ?

I’ve been doing this the whole of my sobriety.

Honestly, I really cannot understand why honest kindness is so difficult.

Some people are sicker than others. And not everybody is going to want whatever sobriety you are peddling. That’s their loss not mine.

We are always moving towards greater complexity (read: God) and I practice being Godly and kind and honest. Some people just don’t see it that way.

Sobriety is Not Always Sunshine and Unicorns.

But I came to the point where I sat with God and I asked for my life to change. God did not disappoint. Hence the last year of my life was the WORST year of my sober life, yet to date.

It was Raw, Painful, Honest and Difficult.

Nobody came and sat with me. Nobody offered a word of hope or consolation. Nobody knew what to do with an overly emotional Gay.

What did I do ?

I kept going to meetings and I did service, like I was taught to do from the very beginning, and that kept me sober and sane. People were looking at me and measuring their words carefully. None of them offered anything but standard fare:

Keep coming back, It will get better, Do some service.

It would have been a lot easier if someone had sat down with me and showed me a game plan, alas, I had no playbook. No plan. I rode the wave as God bore it for me.

God was there, in the little things. And people now get what they get. Many don’t care, nor want to participate in my sobriety, in any capacity.

I have friends, who care. And for that I am grateful.

One friend in particular tonight, said as much.

Not Always Sunshine and Unicorns …

Tight Rope Redux …

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Today is February 20, 2017 … And we revisit the stories in the back of the book. I wrote on this story back in May of 2016, the last time we crossed this story in reading.

This read comes, inside of a new group of people, in a new year, and the shares generated by this read were varied. There are a handful of LGBT folks in this meeting. Both men and women.

In the group, now, there are two of us who are HIV+.  I did not know this before. And after the meeting I spoke to my friend who has more than 35 years being POZ, from back in the First Gen of the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s.

He is heterosexual, and has a wife and children. And comes from the Old Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York Crowd. I am the other. I am Gay, and have lived with AIDS for more than 22 years now. I now have a new benchmark to aspire to. Because when I first moved to Montreal, when I met men who were sick, all I wanted to know from them was how did they get further up the road than I was at. They are all dead now.

I don’t know but a couple of people, over the years, who are like me.

And I said again tonight to a room full of heterosexual alcoholics, that I would gladly trade my medicine cabinet for theirs or give them sickness for a bit so they can understand what it is like to really suffer with an illness that has no cure. Which leads back to last night’s entry about Re-Orientation…

So I am sharing the post that I wrote more than a year ago, because it says everything that I wanted to talk about tonight. The sentiments I wrote about still exist today in our rooms here in Montreal. So you stay away from those sick meetings and abhorrent people.

**** **** ****

May 31, 2016 …

There is something to be said about “tolerance for those with different struggles.”

Somewhere I heard that it is easier to ACT yourself into a new way of thinking than to THINK yourself into a new way of acting …

This line appears in the above titled story when our man gets to his first series of meetings, after a crash and burn drinking experience. He sits with his sponsor, not so sure about God or Higher Power, and the suggestion of “Act as If” comes.

This story, appears in the fourth edition of the Big Book. Our man, in this story, is Gay. He cites that he is three years sober, he had surgery on his back, his father died, a relationship ended, and the AIDS epidemic started to hit home among his friends and acquaintances. Over the course of the next few years, almost half of his gay friends had died.

This is a Fourth Edition story. Because of the time period cited above. It could be placed anywhere from the 1980’s through the 1990’s, for the sole reason he cites the AIDS epidemic, specifically.

This story and mine are very different. But the writer says, in the beginning, that he comes from a conservative religious family, where alcohol was present. And he had not “Come Out” until he was in college when he began to consider his sexual orientation.

A familiar story in the gay world, in the beginning, when considering whether to come out or stay in the closet, the many lives we live and the faces we put forward, trying to fit all the boxes, with what society says we should be. A business man, a professional, an alcoholic, a friend, and maybe a lover.

So for some, we play the “Straight game” and we play the part, until either we hit that proverbial wall of self discovery, and stop the denial and make the jump, or we remain in the closet hating ourselves and everything about us, because we are living a lie, that, in the end, will eventually, end badly.

I had to play that game, for fear of loosing my life, until I could not do it any more.

Hence the death march into Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and Suicide for many.

Our writer, grew up, and moved away and began attending college, where he began to explore his sexuality. By then he was already drinking.

I grew up in a home where alcoholism was the norm. I knew I was different well before I learned what it meant for me. But my father, with homicidal tendencies, was never my friend. However he had his moments.

I remember the night he took me to the 94th Aero Squadron – a restaurant on the airport runway system at Miami International, for my Birds and the Bees discussion. I could not tell him the truth.

My story may not be unique, but I never tire of thinking about it, and how my life would have been very different, had I STAYED IN THE ROOMS the first time I got sober. But that was not my experience.

Getting sober in the age of AIDS was difficult. Because I could not drink, I had quit. Todd had given me that ultimatum and made it stick. So I was getting sober, and learning how to survive, while all my friends around me were going down in flames. Every night, was as if they were living the last night of their lives, with the copious amounts of drugs and alcohol that went around under my nose.

They are all DEAD.

I think that when it came down to it, with the bar, and Todd’s influence, I had everything I needed. I could have done without the room I was getting sober in, because those men were not kind at all, and made the first year hell for the newcomers.

Having to compete for your year chip is much harder than working for it freely. Sobriety is NOT a RACE. There are no horses to bet on, just a human being trying to get better, under seriously awful circumstances. And this truth did not make it any easier, although it should have.

Then you move to a new city and a new room. And you get asked to speak. And after that event, a man walks up to you and says: “We don’t condone people like you here, leave this meeting and don’t come back!” W.T.F.

Obviously this story had not been printed in the late 1990’s, and from what I remember, not many of those folks, had even the Big Book in the room.

During this time, the preceding years and for many years after, straight people, straight businesses, churches, funeral parlors, you name it … banished sick gay men to the gutter and left them there to die alone. Awful Hateful Abhorrent Prejudice. 

That event in my early sobriety just killed any ambition I had towards sobriety.

To this day, there are hateful people, in our rooms.

With all that is going on in the world, we need all the help we can get. Rooms should welcome and be supportive. But that is not always the case.

Even today, being any shade of L.G.B.T.Q is perilous.

There is no room, in this world, for hatred of a human being because of their chosen way of life. I talk of just how fluid life has become, and how binary it has been for eons of time.

There are a handful of people I know in the rooms I go to who fall under L.G.B.T.Q.

Some are allowed, and nothing is said, then there are those, who, for one reason or another, come and go, and many of them are back out there drinking, because of intolerance and stupidity.

Here is the kicker in this story …

In all the service positions our man held (GSR) and others, He never felt obligated to conceal or deny his sexuality. He says… I always felt that the representatives of the groups in my area were concerned only with HOW we carried the message of recovery, NOT with what I might do in my personal life.

Only if that were reality for ALL meetings in general.

It is not…