NO is a complete sentence !!!

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

It has been said that NO is a complete sentence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I forgot …

How many of us forget things when we drink ?

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

Nobody was there to say NO. Never, ever.

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

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

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

Because in time, I would seriously need God.

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

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

I got my way into his employ.

My drinking followed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

NO !

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

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

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

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

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

I was alone. But was I really alone ? NO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are only two possible answers: Todd read God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Confidence, Humility, Compassion, Love …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


When Hope Fails …

This piece was written by my Spiritual Director. I wanted to share it, AND write on this subject, because I have experience with Hope.

When Hope Fails

I was talking with someone who has decided not to hope any more. “Why?” I asked. “Because when the hope is unfulfilled, it hurts too much, so it’s better not to hope.”

There’s something wrong with that. But I understand it.

Proverbs 13:12
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.”

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
“but when dreams come true, there is life and joy”

I want to talk about hope a bit today. And I want to start in the Psalms.

Psalm 33:13-22
13 The LORD looks down from heaven
and sees the whole human race.
14 From his throne he observes
all who live on the earth.
15 He made their hearts,
so he understands everything they do.
16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king,
nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
17 Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory– for all its strength, it cannot save you.

God has a wonderful perspective of us and our little things. Nothing is hidden from his eternal, creating eyes.

He is able to see the whole human race, every heart, every mind, every one of our thousand secrets.

He’s able to see your motivations, that indeed you meant well even if it didn’t come out as you had hoped.

He created the hearts of men and women, to beat and beat and beat and give them life and breath. And Hopes and Dreams.

So, it says, “He understands”. Like no one else in creation.

He understands our desires. He understands our wishes. He understands our hopes. He understands our dreams.

He understands, and wants to remind us that sometimes our perspective isn’t great. Sometimes we can only see from here to the other side of the room. He see’s into eternity.

See, we often place our hope in the wrong things.

He reminds us…
A powerful army isn’t strong enough for a king. A good horse won’t give you victory, it can’t save you.

Strength won’t save us, neither will might.

The health system, blessed as we are to have it, won’t save us.
The government can’t save us.

We place our hopes in these powerless things.

We hope in due process. In the legal system.
We hope in our money, to provide a way out.
We hope in others to help us out.
We hope a relationship will work out.
We hope for a great job.
We hope in our children to make the right choices.
We hope for great presents.
We hope in our parents, to be perfect.
We hope that the pastor will have some answers.
We hope to roll up the rim and win!

Yet John 16:33 says “In me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

Take Heart!

What happens when our strength isn’t enough? When our armies fail and our warhorses are not enough? What happens when hope fails and is deferred?

Lets continue in Psalm 33

18 But the LORD watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.
19 He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.

Remember the one who’s perspective is from eternity?
The one who see’s everyone, who knows your heart?

He says he will watch over those who respect Him.

Those of you who rely on his unfailing love.
He will rescue you from the anguish of death. He will keep you from eternal death, and provide you with eternal life.

And, he will keep you as you live through seasons of famine. Not just physical hunger, but emotional hunger, spiritual dryness.

He won’t always stop the famine from coming, but he is able to keep you alive through it!!!

He won’t always stop the illness, or the poverty, or the joblessness, or the dryness. But he can keep you alive through it.

He will walk with you through the hopelessness. Through the heartsickness of unanswered hope.

You see, often we place our hopes in the things that can’t save us. In the temporary things that we can’t change. In our power and might.

We may even place our hope in Christ to change the story, the situation, yet that may not be the very best for us.

When our hope is deferred…
When it feels like God has not heard us…

We have 2 choices.

1. Get bitter
-Get angry. At God and humanity. And yourself.
-Never hope again because it always fails you anyway.

Or

2. Trust in God. Refocus your hope.

Remember, the one who loves you, who knows you, who made you.
When hope fails, we need to raise it up a level.

PSALM 33
20 We depend on the LORD alone to save us.
Only he can help us, protecting us like a shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
for we are trusting in his holy name.
22 Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.

When our only hope is in man’s strength and ability, and that fails, it means we’ve been aiming to low. We need to lift our focus higher.

Only He can help us. Only He can protect us as life goes on all around us.

Because our hearts rejoice in him. They find life and meaning in knowing Him.

A few weeks ago I attended the funeral of a friend who had been ill for some time.
1970’s heart attack. Heart disease for years.
Put on a heart transplant list, became too ill for that.

As he was dying, and his human hope was deferred a final time, he was able to rejoice and be glad. Because he knew the one who knew him. He trusted in God and his heart rejoiced.

For his family too. The funeral was a real, true celebration of hope. And Gods faithfulness through life and in death.

This is how it is possible for those who have experienced tremendous brokenness and hopelessness, to actually rejoice and be glad. Because they knew the maker of their hearts.

Where is your true hope? In the things of this earth? Or in the things of Heaven?

Have you had hope deferred, even by God? He who knows and created your human heart understands.

Lift up your eyes, your broken hearts.
Trust the one with the higher perspective. Trust in God.

This is my story about HOPE.

When one is faced with a terrible situation, and the end of the line is your next stop, one really learns about hope. When we are faced with odds that are against us, we learn about hope. When doctors tell you that you are going to die, go home, kiss your ass goodbye, and wait to die …

You learn what hope is. Because before you get there, hopelessness really does set in, because there is no light at the end of the tunnel. And the light you do see, is the train coming at you, at 100 miles per hour.

Before hope sets in, if the odds are really dire, you think to yourself, that “no, I’m not gonna die that way, so I am going to take matters into my own hands, and do what I think is best for me.” ” No, I am gonna kill myself, my own way, so as to defer sickness and pain, in the short term.”

Then, GOD steps out of Heaven, and says … STOP !

Heaven is always respectful of our free will. Heaven never pushes itself on us, but holds its breath, to see which way we will choose ?

I had two choices. I could STOP, or I could go to the bitter end, and blot out the suffering, until Death did come for me, on my twisted terms.

I know God. I’ve met Him. I walked with Him, and I communed with Him.

God had other ideas. Hope was not one of them, because there was no hope. True, I was gonna die, sooner or later. I knew that. But words were spoken, out of love and compassion.

Those words told me that I did have a choice, about how I was going to attack death, and live to tell the story. That was he decision I made.

God was there. I was not alone. All I needed to do was follow directions.

Now, you might ask, how did you find the path to hope ? I didn’t.

I don’t know how you bounce back from being told, “You are going to die, there is no hope, so get on the ride, and ride it.”

Sometimes, when you are marked for death, there is no return. Sadly, the percentages of life after death diagnosis are slim. I’ve seen both sides of this coin in as many years. I know, that sometimes people die. That illness and sickness is capricious.

I can tell you what I did, every day.

Inside the four walls of the bar I worked in, was a safe space. The good thing about psychology is this, “sometimes it works.”

I had much going on in my mind at that time. Worries that were beyond my capacity to grasp them. I had serious issues. Death, was just one of them. My alcoholism was the other. I had to attack BOTH at the same time.

Needless to say, life had become Hopeless.

I was not moaning over the fact that I could not drink any longer. Once I got passed the point of acceptance, drinking became a non issue. I was working in the belly of the beast, in a BAR, for God’s sake.

Really, death was the only dance I had to dance.

I had to start stacking alive days. So we could say, in Jimmy Settle terms, was that July 8th 1994, was my first death day.

Every day forwards would become another “death day.”

I came to work. But the day this all began, it was a challenge. I was loved, and that’s what mattered. I was told that I could follow directions, and if I did, I would live. I was down for that from the get go, no matter how hard I battled against my worse nature, because I kicked and screamed and cried an awful lot, in those first few months.

But I listened to advice, and I did what I was told. And every day that I lived, I trusted in the advice given. Come to work. Leave the baggage of the outside world, OUTSIDE the door. When you cross the threshold, the only thing you need to think about, is the job you are given, on any given night, and ONLY that.

Getting to shut off my brain, for a few hours, on a nightly basis, worked.

I did not have to think about dying, inside. Because I watched it come for everybody else around me, in the patrons who were sick, who patronized the bar I worked in.

They all Died. I survived them all.

I stacked enough days, that when I got to my literal “death day,” and I was still alive, I went on with life. I don’t think you can call this hope, because, I was still very sick, and death, was still a “Clear and Present Danger.”

When you live with “Clear and Present Danger” one learns how to govern expectations, and life itself.

I have twenty five years of living with Clear and Present Danger.

I take nothing for granted.

I’m no longer hopeless. I don’t suffer from a three fold disease, Mental, Physical and Spiritual disease. Alcoholism is an every day job. Living is a bit higher on that list. As long as I live, and I don’t drink today, I have a fighting chance.

If I take my will back and decide that I am going to go it alone, I am literally FUCKED !!!

I know God. I’ve met Him. If I close my eyes, and sit still and be quiet, I can see Him in my minds eye, and I can even hear His voice.

I’m alive. And if you find hope in this story, then I did my job.

Hope comes, when you stack enough ALIVE DAYS together, and you live, longer than you thought you would, not only does hope come, but more importantly, GRATITUDE comes.

Gratitude does amazing things when you have no hope. Because if you can be grateful for one thing a day, there is hope.

You cannot have hope and NOT be grateful, because a by product of gratitude is hope.

That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Blessings …

On September 23, 2016, I had walked back to the Acadie Metro Station coming home from a doctors appointment. On that day, two Mormon Elders were standing on the platform along side me, down the way.

One of them approached me and said “Bonjour..” I replied in English, “Hello.” The Elder wiped his brow and exclaimed, “Oh, Thank God you speak English.” That began a wonderful relationship with the other Elder standing with him, his companion, my best friend Elder Christensen.

Many conversations were had over hot chocolate, over the next few months before Elder Christensen returned home, for he was on the tail end of his two year mission, here in Montreal. It has been two years since the day we first met, yesterday, on the calendar.

This is Elder Christensen’s blessing, that came last night. A little late, but perfectly in God’s time to come now…

Jeremy, Your letter was a catalyst for a God moment. I read, then God spoke. I left Montreal without leaving you the blessing he had for you. I give it to you now, and I hope you can forgive me for being so consumed in myself as I was leaving that I didn’t have the frame of mind to listen to what God had for me to give you then.Today God reminded me of that duty.

You know God better than the vast majority of people, inside or outside of codified religion. You know him because he has worked in you the miracle that he has offered to all his children, but precious few have accepted. The same God that walks the halls of temples lives in the hearts of addicts, sinners, and wayward souls.

He takes those places and makes them holy. He blesses them, enables their growth, and gives meaning and life to the stories that flow from those states. He lets his children suffer so that his work can be made manifest in us.The lower we go, the higher we can one day climb. I believe no one has suffered more than God, and that is what makes him God.

I believe in a God who weeps. I believe in a God who could care less about handbooks and checklists. I believe in a God who knows from experience what it feels like to be Spencer Christensen, Jeremy Andrews, and every other person who has lived and died and will yet live and die on earth. I believe in a God who is a perfect father, who has no desire to see his children burn.

The only punishment that we face in relation to God is that one day, we will be brought back to that infinite expanse of love, truth and mercy that we existed in before this life and will continue to exist in afterwards, and for those that have denied their nature by living lives of hate and lies, and covetousness will have to exist submersed in a sea of something so fundamentally opposed to their nature that it will be pure agony.

The same light that makes heaven shine makes hell burn. We all go back to the same light, and you, Jeremy, know that light. But it does not burn you. You rejoice in it, and it will only increase in you, for many years to come until he calls you home to experience a fullness of the joy you find in him.This light changes us. It purifies and redeems and gives us strength and direction.

To people who live in the dark, that light is hell. They will run the other direction. They have become the dark, and the light is opposed to their nature. You have seen them come into the rooms. I have seen them in their houses, on their streets. They enter, God begins to shine, and they begin to burn. Then they have to choose. Will they keep walking into the light? Will they trust God enough to let him burn them, refine them, and change their desires? 

I am a human being. I fell the same as every other man has fallen. I am a sinner, and without God, I am nothing. I am subject to temptation to let the dark in, I have resisted it, and I have given into it. I have had dark in me, and I have had light. I have been on he beam, I have been off the beam. One of my favorite missionaries in the Book of Mormon wrote

” I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true;And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God.” Alma 18:34

The only man who ever walked this earth in perfection was Jesus Christ, the God who suffers,the God who weeps, the God who does not care about handbooks and checklists, the God who knows what it feels like to be me and you. His invitation to be perfect came with this help: We are to be perfect in him, not on our own. He will deal with the demands of justice. We simply have to be changed by his mercy.

Another verse from the Book of Mormon:

“Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot”. Moroni 10.


If I have attained anything spiritually, it is because for all my faults, I do love this God of mine with all my might, mind, and strength, or at least I try to. I have heard his voice. I have seen him fill my life with purpose and clarity. I have felt so loved that I could not hardly believe how beautiful it really was. His grace has been sufficient for me.

Four years ago, because of that grace, I chose to live the life of a healer and a priest. I got as close as I could to him, in his house, and I promised him all my time, talents, and everything that he has blessed me with, and which he would yet bless me, to building up the kingdom of God on the earth.

I promised to live the laws of sacrifice and obedience to the natural laws that come from the light of God. Every day since I have worn the tangible reminders of those covenants.  I have fallen short of those oaths more times than I could count, and more time than I can count, he has forgiven me and made me better with each failure. I hope you can do the same.

My mission is to give God’s children God’s messages and deliver his blessings. He has both for you, Jeremy.

His message is this: He loves you with a love that is so intense and glorious that it defies all human comprehension. He is so intimately aware of your struggles and pain, knowing you because he never at any time has let anything befall you that he hasn’t felt himself. He loves that you know him, and he wants you to know him even more. He brought you out of hell to prepare you for heavenly purposes. One day your story will change the lives of millions.

Read his words, do his work, and you will live to see your life become a window through which hope will shine to those who suffer in darkness because of the weakness and foolishness of men.

He would like me to bless you. I do so as if i had my hands upon your head, as your brother and fellow son of God. 

Jeremy Andrews, by the authority of the holy priesthood which I hold, and in the name of Jesus Christ, I bless you with power, and with patience, and with strength equal to the demands that have been placed upon you, and will yet be placed upon you preparatory to your callings and responsibilities in the work of God upon the earth.

I bless you that you might advance in a fullness of the light of Christ,that he may bless you, purify you, and give you peace as you minister to his children on earth, and that if you will prove faithful in walking according to that light that you have felt, and you will continue to feel, that a merciful God will prepare the way for you, and make available to you all the blessings, privileges, and peace that come from eternal covenants with God.

These blessings will be yours according to your diligence in obeying the truth in the light that you have already received, and that you will continue to receive line upon line until your work is done. All these things I bless you with, In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

God have mercy on me for such a late blessing. I’ll never shut my ears like that again.You are loved, Jeremy. By God, by me, and by those who owe you their lives and sobriety.


Elder Christensen

A Year Later

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My birthday was the 31st of July. The morning of my birthday, when I got up and out of bed, I was still alive. I saw my doctor a couple of days before my birthday, and once again, I thanked him for keeping me alive another year.

This incarnation of my blog reached it’s First Anniversary. Thanks to cowards and their dishonesty. People would rather eat dirt, than be honest.

Without my doctor, where would I be right now ? I Don’t Know …

The people that mattered, celebrated my birthday, each in their own special ways.

A week has passed.

This is what I know right now.

I really do not care if people like me or not. I really don’t care what people think about me, what I wear in public, or how they perceive me.

I know who my friends are. And right now, I know, for sure, that most people, do not care for my brand of sobriety or lifestyle.

I’ve learned how to be Honest. I’ve learned how to be Vulnerable in public. I’ve seen how other people react to my honesty. They don’t like it at all. And would rather eat dirt, than to say anything directly to me. And that’s ok with me.

I don’t need validation from anyone but God. I also know, that if I need to hear God, I know where to go to hear His voice.

The other day, we talked about Acceptance. Page 417, in the Big Book. Acceptance is the answer to all my problems. That’s what the book says.

I know, from years of listening to people SPOUT the wisdom of Acceptance, that some think that Acceptance, says that I have to accept people who use the Looser Line that says: Well that’s just who I am.

They use Acceptance like a Get Out Of Jail Free Card.

It allows alcoholics who don’t care about personal growth or empathy for others, to just sit in the place of being an ASSHOLE.

There are so many assholes out there right now, it is astonishing.

All I want out of this life, is to be Honest. To know how to do the Right Thing, even if it goes against every bone in my body. I work very hard to be a good human being to everyone. Even when much of the people I see, DON’T.

They don’t care about anyone but themselves. People are so consumed with the clothing I wear, and sit in judgment so deep, that it makes me sick.

One of my friends hit a First tonight.

He mentioned Brene Brown. He too, has listened to every one of her talks, and read several of her books, like I have over the past two years. He did it in just a few months.

But he spoke language I Understood and Identified with.

I don’t trust a whole lot of people, that I cannot throw very far. And that’s ok with me. I might not be connected to certain people, like some of my friends are, but if I have to compromise my standards and values, for someone in particular, to want to work with me, I’d rather go it alone.

Because the choices in Men of Sober, Good Standards, LONG Sober, are very few and far between. I know who to talk to. And I know who to avoid.

I’ve lived another year of experiences. Some of those experiences were good, some were not. People don’t have to like me. And I have grown to accept that.

I’m a strange Gay Man of fifty-one years, twenty-five years living with AIDS. And almost seventeen years sobriety. No one has the same life qualifications and identifications.

Once again, I know who my friends are.

And for the moment, that will have to suffice, until conditions change on the ground.

I do what needs to be done. I serve my community. I help my friends. I am kind.

I know my values and my morals. I may not always know the right thing, but like my friend tonight, I trust the little voice in my head more today, than I have in the past.

If it Doesn’t Feel Right, then Don’t Do It.

Fifty One … Made It Another Year

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“… They show how the change came over them. When many hundreds of people are able to say that consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith.”

We Agnostics, page 51.

Tonight, we ended the month of July, with me in the chair, and we talked about God, Prayer, and Faith.

One over arching comment I heard from my friends is that for many of them, the thought of God, the practice of prayer, the admission of humility and the profession of faith, is a natural part of who they are.

They don’t necessarily “think” about God or Prayer, or Humility, or faith, every minute of the day. Those constituent parts of who they are present in everything that they do, every day. These parts are, in and of themselves, separate, but are unified in a single thought … Presence and Service.

The old story rose in my mind as I sat and listened. And I told it again. Even if my friends have heard me tell this story over and over.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away … Cue the Star Wars Theme …

God has been an integral part of my life, for the whole of my life. Memere and Grammy made sure that I knew of God, and that God loved me.

Memere, one day, when I was very young, took me to church and presented me to God, standing on the altar of that church, where she had a conversation with God, about me.

That visual is burned into the back of my mind.

I served God to the best of my ability, to the extent that in my second year of college, after high school, I ended up in Seminary, studying to be a priest.

I devoted my life to God, in every way possible. But I was not like the others. I did not do evil things that the others had done. I never broke my vows to Mother Church, during that year, and I thought that would get me by.

It didn’t.

At the end of that year, the rector, whom I had issues with personally, said to me that I was not “one of them.” Therefore, it was his decree that I would be told to leave the seminary.

Talk about being resentful and angry about God.

My alcoholism took off full-bore. And lasted until my 26th year of life. I told God to go to hell, that I did not need Him. Took back my will and my life, and pursued life.

I had come out of the closet not long after.
That only added to my alcoholic woes.

On one morning, as I sat in that bar nursing a drink at 7 a.m. fate strolled in to greet me and I danced. That morning would be the last morning.

What I did not know would eventually almost kill me.

On July 8th 1994, I got those words. “You are going to die.” A few days later I called Todd home from vacation and told him I was going to die.

As God as my witness … I may have turned my back on God. But God, in His wisdom, got my attention once again.

Never be thankful for a terminal disease.

Sometimes a fatal disease is just that, a fatal disease.

I took my life in my own hands that morning, and did what I did. And I am the one to blame for my misfortune. It is my fault.

God got my attention. Then He stepped out of Heaven and soothed my soul.

What Todd did for me, I will never forget, will always be grateful for, and remember as long as I breathe air. I will tell his story as many times as I can, because if this story dies. I die with it.

It is the power of God that makes this story critical.

Todd promised me, if I turned my will and my life over to him and trusted him with my life, that he would see to it that I survived. I may have kicked and screamed for a while, but that did not last very long.

As my friends died around me, one after another, and every day that I lived, is a testament to the Power of Todd, Read: GOD.

On the day I said goodbye to him, standing next to his car, as he got into that car, and shut the car door, he forgot to give me one small piece of information,

“What was I supposed to do now.”

I lament that he did not give me that much-needed piece of information. We were so caught up in goodbye that I don’t think that thought crossed his mind, in that moment.

When he drove off, my life drove off with him.

I could not make it alone. I had no idea what to do or how to do it.

All of the people who were still alive, already made the trek West. I was the only one who stayed. I stayed because of my heart. I stayed because I was sure, my father would die, and I would make my stand and go to my mother, and reclaim her from my father, and care for her for the rest of my days.

Obviously, that plan never happened.

My parents would rather eat dirt, than accept me as a human worthy of love.

On January 7th 2018, my father died. I got that one wrong.

My mother spit in my face, once again, saying to me that I was a mistake and should never have been born. This is the very same woman I was hedging my bets of saving and being part of her life.

Got that one wrong too.

I did drink again.

At the end of my drink binge, I called out to God. Begged Him for help.

I prayed three prayers in order of necessity.

  • A hangover
  • An Alcoholic
  • And Get me to a Meeting

God did those very things for me, in the order I needed them, miraculously.

I was on the return arc, when Troy walked into my business and his first words to me were: I did not drink today …

Troy was that blessed alcoholic whom God sent. Troy took me to my next, First Meeting. I stayed for the later 10 pm meeting and met the folks who would bring me back to life again. Those original folks are still in my life to this day.

God granted me a few dispensations. And created a number of miracles.

I ended up crossing the border, attaining Canadian Citizenship, I am still sober, almost seventeen years later. And had you told me, back in Miami, back in the day, that my life could have looked like it does today, I would have laughed at you and called you crazy.

God moved heaven and earth. And God’s saving grace has made me whole.

There IS a GOD, and I am not God.

Although, I did meet God. I spoke to God. I worked for God. I served God, every day I walked into work and served those men, who are all dead now, until they all took their last breaths on this earth. I was with many of them. When their families tossed them into the gutter and into the streets, I was there, with a few friends, who cared for the sick, until they eventually died, in our arms.

None of my friends died alone. Not One Of Them.

Nobody knows the intricacies of this story. Nobody really cares, even the gay men I know today. They know nothing about AIDS or Living with AIDS. They really don’t care for my stories, because they cannot identify.

If my story dies, I will die with it.

Which is Why, till the day that I take my last breath, I will utter the name of Todd and thank God for saving my life, all these years.

I made it to 51.

Let’s PARTY !!!

Help Will Always Come

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Staying the course, and always doing the next right thing, is good sound advice.

When the chatter in my head is running at fever pitch, and my emotions seem to rule every decision or thought at times, I know that I need to stop and take a break.

Read: I need to STOP and Pray !!!

Funny how things fall into my lap, when I most need them. Or, little signs from somewhere outside of myself, seem to appear, in front of me, at the oddest moments.

I have told the story about my I-Phones tendency to shuffle me a speaker, one speaker in particular, when I really need a talking to. It seems to know me better than I know myself at times, which begs the question … Are Our I-Phones sentient ???

Thursday night, after the meeting I was really emotional and I realized that I was not done mourning the passing of my father. Because of a comment made about him, amid a conversation with a friend, at the earlier meeting.

We were talking about care giving and being a care giver for family and significant others and how tasking that is on everyone involved. A few days prior to this chat, the National News carried a story about just this topic, and how the province of Quebec is going to step up and help care givers of patients and family in assisted living facilities.

I told him the story about my father, when I was in eighth grade, how, when his mother had a very serious stroke, and in a VERY LUCID moment, outside of his alcoholism, he thought that IF he took ME to Connecticut to see her, he believed, from somewhere deep within him, that if she looked at me and recognized me, that she would in essence,
WAKE UP!

What we did not know about serious stroke paralysis was apparent.

Who knew from the now famous “Stroke Treatment” delivered within a very short time from falling into stroke, can avert serious paralysis. That drug did not exist in the early 80’s.

We took a night flight out and arrived late that evening in Connecticut. My uncle picked us up and took us to his house. The next morning we ate breakfast and they drove me to The New Britain General Hospital.

I was not prepared at all for what was coming.

We got to Grammy’s room, and she was laid out, drooling spittle, half her face was in her lap, and the entire right side of her body was paralyzed. I took one look at her, and I fainted. My head hit the tile floor and I ended up in the emergency room that morning.

She indeed, did NOT wake up. However, she knew who I was. I could not rouse her from her lethargy. I sat on her bed for a few weeks time, to no avail.

In the end, a few weeks later, I returned home defeated. My father was crushed.

It is my belief that he held that little trip against me and never forgave me for not being able to do the job, HE BELIEVED, I needed to do for him. His alcoholism cranked up to 200%. And the abuse ratcheted up 200% as well. Whenever he drank, it was me he came after.

Which is why, as time went on, I found other houses to stay in, so I did not have to be at home. I spent an inordinate amount of time sleeping at successive friends houses over the ensuing years, just to get away from my father.

A functional abusive alcoholic can have lucid moments of brilliance and compassion and thought. Interspersed with the drinking came incredible kindnesses. My father paid dearly, in “Things” to assuage my pain that he himself caused me.

When my friend mentioned to me the other night that “My father KNEW that  my grandmother loved me more than any other, i.e. my brother, it was me he took on this trip because “we” (my grandmother and I are spiritually connected).

When I got very sick, it was Grammy who visited me and stayed with me, when everyone else fled the scene. It took a psychic to tell me this, because she would come into my apartment and my bedroom door was always closed, (at that point) at which time she would move pictures on the walls, and scatter magazines all over the floor, until I invited my friend to come over and tell me what was going on …

In his words to my ears: He told me Grammy was standing in my living room, and had been there for a long time, looking after me, and she could not quite figure out how to get through the door, (after which time, I never slept with another bed room door closed, to this very day). She still visits me on occasion here !!!

That comment unnerved me to the degree that I came home an emotional mess and when I got home, I sat down and wrote it all out and did my Step 4 at the same time.

I went to bed Thursday night, not so myself.

Friday, I left for the meeting as usual. I got to the church, and unlocked, and began my set up routine. I was still, not in the right frame of mind. I grabbed the coffee pot, from the cabinet and lo and behold, a single sheet of paper fell to the floor at my feet, from the stack of papers we have to one side of the cabinet.

I picked it up, as it fell face down, on the floor, and took a look at the newspaper clipping. It was a newspaper clipping telling the story of the house where Bill W. was born, in East Dorset, Vermont.

The house is NOT on any map. You would have to know, before hand, where you were going in order to get there, because there aren’t any signs along the way saying …

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THIS WAY TO BILL’S HOUSE !!! This is the actual house as it is.

Anyways, I read the article and thought to myself, wow, I had never seen this article in the cabinet before, so there has to be a reason it fell out, onto the floor, at just the most opportune moment.

Which hearkened me back three years to the weekend that my then sponsor, my best friend Joe, and I, were on our way to a men’s intensive at Mad River Barn, not far from East Dorset that very weekend.

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And ON THE WAY … We visited Bill’s house where he was born. We also visited Bill and Lois’ grave, just up the road in a very small and non-nondescript cemetery. If you did not know the cemetery was there, you’d not know to go there and pay your respects to the Founder and his wife.

Coming back to the present moment, I was in my head, clearly not myself, standing there alone in a church basement, with this piece of paper in my hand, and the very clear and resonant memory in the front of my brain.

Another of life’s synchronicity.

These little spiritually ignited occurrences happen often to me. And when I most need them, HP does the trick and sends me a sign from above, to remind me, that I am well cared for, and there is always someone up there, looking out for me.

The weekend was a success. It has been Hotter than Hell in Montreal since last Friday, and the heat wave will continue through Thursday night, later this week.

It has been UNBEARABLE !!!

I am chairing this month at the Monday meeting, and we read from the Big Book. Before the meeting I was sitting outside the hall, thumbing through my Big Book, looking for a suitable passage to share with the group. And I happened upon the story:

Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three … Pioneer of Akron’s Group No. 1 The first A.A. group in the world …

And I came to the end of the story where he is having breakfast with Bill and his wife Henrietta, and Bill says to her:

“Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.”

This one sentence is A.A. Gold…

The reading, in the end, speaks about an Absolute State of Grace and Gratitude.

Which brings me this realization as I am sitting here typing these words that:

If you don’t have a topic for a meeting, the default is ALWAYS

GRATITUDE !!!

We’ve come full circle now.

The Front of The Book

Sober Concept Wooden Letterpress Type

I’ve said this a few days ago, about myself, and tonight, I can safely say, that the thought rings true for many of my friends.

“We don’t know what we don’t know, until we know what it is that we did not know then, that we know now …”

You don’t hear the same information from people who have significant time, but you do hear significant information from men and women who are DEEP IN THE BOOK, in ways that their contemporaries are not.

I am sitting with a young woman who is taking me through the book, through her eyes and experience. Tonight, I heard a friend of mine, a woman, whom I witnessed get sober, from her very first day, say something that I had never heard before.

It seemed that many people in the room, sat up a little straighter and grabbed their pens and highlighters to mark what she was talking about.

We read tonight from Page 34 … A brief summary in a few sentences:

As we look back, we feel we had gone on drinking many years beyond the point where we could quit on our will power… Though you may be able to stop for a considerable period, you may yet be a potential alcoholic…For those who are unable to drink moderately the question IS HOW to STOP altogether. We are assuming, of course, that the reader desires to STOP…This is the baffling feature of alcoholism as we know it – the utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or wish.

My friend spoke about pages earlier in the front of the book, pages 20 and 21.

The earlier pages of There is a solution, asks several questions, and the hope is that through the power of example the one who reads with us, with ample experience in the book can ask the reader … Is this YOU ? Is this YOU ? Is this YOU ???

If you have identified with anything in the book, as to the stories and examples the first 100 sober men and women are telling us that, for the reader, there Is a Solution.

The question becomes How to STOP altogether ?

The book then says that a Spiritual Solution is required. And if you are like many of my friends, in the rooms right now, God is a dirty word. But in We Agnostics, the entire chapter speaks to us about finding A POWER Greater than Ourselves.

Whatever is going to help us get and stay sober, one serious psychic and spiritual change must take place. Whatever it is, has got to be something greater than ourselves, and has to come from somewhere OUTSIDE of ourselves. Because we alcoholics know, that left to our own devices, and our own wills, we could not stop on our own, no matter how great the necessity or wish.

An Alcoholic will always find the wiggle room …

The Brilliance of The Big Book is this … And I can speak to this because I know it is true.

Listening to Joe and Charlie tapes for years and years, we know how the book is written. Each chapter is headed with a topic. And each page is written with explicit detail. Each page follows into the next. On each page, each paragraph is written with care.

You can take a chapter, and boil it down to that chapter title. You can turn to any page, and ideas appear on each page. Paragraph follows each paragraph. And within each paragraph are sentences that can be further distilled into single thoughts.

Chapter –> Page -> Paragraph -> Sentence -> Word …

There is rhyme and reason to the way the first hundred men and women composed this book. It is brilliant. Bill did not take this on himself. Which is why each edition of The Big Book is prefaced with the story about the First 100 who successfully got and remained sober till their deaths later on.

There are meetings in Texas that I know of, that they read the Big Book, sometimes One paragraph at a time, One sentence at a time, and even better, One word at a time.

They pick a paragraph, or a sentence, or even a word and they meditate on it, then they all talk about it. I know this because some of my friends who travel for business attended meetings in Texas and had this particular experience with other sober men and women.

On my slip, as I made a slow return to the rooms, I arrived back in Miami. But I was not going to walk into rooms where I had been summarily dismissed and asked to leave and not return. I stayed away, and relocated onto Miami Beach. It was July 2000.

I was off the drugs, because I had left them where they were, more than 1000 miles away. But alcohol was still in play. I had part-time work, that I could not do drunk or hung over, working with computer lights in a nightclub, so I did not drink.

On 9-11 tragedy struck and Miami Beach went DRY for two weeks. All the bars closed, all the liquor stores shuttered. There were no parties, no clubs, no nightlife for two weeks.

On the 14th day out, bar owners thought it wise to raise money for New York City. And the easiest way to get money in the door, was to bargain with the drinkers.

They wanted our donations for New York. And the way they did that was to offer free alcohol based on the amount we donated on each pass at the particular bar location.

We paid dearly for every sacred drop of alcohol that we drank for months after, saying to ourselves, that we were doing something good for New Yorker’s.

The beach drank every drop of alcohol from a radius of 50 miles in every direction.

Mischief Managed …

I wasn’t done drinking. I had not even pondered a return to the rooms, until I was good and ready. When the night came that I uttered that specific prayer to God to bring me an alcoholic, I sat and I waited.

And as God as my witness … A few days later, Troy walked into my place of business to interview for a job. His first words to me were: “I did not drink today…”

I smiled and said how good for you. And left it at that.

I hired him on the spot.

Over the next thirty days, He would come into the shop and preface anything he said or did with the same phrase … “I did not drink today…”

On the thirtieth day, we were together on a furniture run, and I broke my anonymity to him, saying I was on my way back, which he replied without a skip in the conversation that I could come to see him take his first year cake a couple of days later.

That would have been December 9th 2001.

I have not had a drink since.

There is a God, and I am not He.

You might not think God capable of moving heaven and earth for us, but I can safely say that over twenty-six years now, I am still alive, I survived, I am sober a few 24 hours, and that God does move heaven and earth, because He did for me.

And I can safely tell you all this with certitude.