When to Speak

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I changed up my routine today, to make time for a noon time meeting, because a lady friend I adore was speaking. The first time I heard her speak, at the Thursday meeting one night not long ago, I was transfixed by every word she said.

Some of our women friends have similar tragic stories that have downward spirals that, at one point listening to her tell her story, I was saying to myself, “there is no way she can pull out of this death spiral she is in…”

Everybody around me is holding their breaths, waiting for the Miracle to Occur.

And for each of them, the Miracle really did happen. Miraculously !!!

Today I heard something I did not hear before …

At her worst, after loosing her kids, and in a funk, trying to get it together, her sponsor tells her … “Just call home, let your kids know you are still alive…”

Little pieces of advice that seem innocuous at the time, turn out to be the beginning of the building of the bridge, that will eventually lead her back to her kids AND sobriety.

She and I have something in common. A very special education in sobriety.

She came in twenty-five years ago, and I, almost seventeen years ago, respectively.

We both came in bedraggled. And we walked into a room and were overwhelmed by the people in those respective rooms. And by the grace, we both DID what we were TOLD to DO.

Without question. Without argument.

Because in her words from the other night …

YOU WANT TO ARGUE WITH HAPPY ???

The goal in this life is to be happy. Across the board, in all our affairs. Some find it, others do not. Some take the long road, others, get it right away and walk the short path.

She said to me today that, sobriety is too loosey goosey. People are too easily distracted by shiny things and their phones. Nobody wants to follow the simple plan that we both know works.

People want to argue semantics and Happy !!!

UGH.

Yesterday I was grocery shopping, as I am wont to do every few days. We collect plastic and we recycle at the store before we shop. While standing at the machine I noticed a familiar face at the can drop next to me.

I knew this man. He was sober, when I first came in, almost seventeen years ago, and worked at the rehab center I was affiliated with back then, where I had after care and my counselor sessions.

Key words … He WAS sober.

I’ve seen him around over the years. Many of the men and women I knew from those years back then, have all mostly disappeared from the area and the rooms. There aren’t many people from the Old World left in Montreal.

Yesterday, he was disheveled. His clothes were torn and dirty. He was wearing a white sneaker on his left foot, and a green high top sneaker on his right.

While I was depositing my bottles he stopped me amid swing to ask me why I was putting metal into the plastic machine. I stopped and responded with, “why would I put metal in a plastic machine?”

He turned away and walked ahead of me into the store. I did not follow him around, because I don’t know him, like I know my friends in town, so striking up a conversation would have been awkward to say the least.

I kinda wanted to ask him where he had slept the night before and had realized he was wearing two different shoes and why his clothes were ripped and dirty.

You kinda know the answer to those questions pretty quickly, on the first pass.

He had a bag of cans he probably collected from metro bins and garbage cans on his way into the store to get his meager change to buy whatever he could afford for that trip.

Outside the store another friend of mine who does outreach to the Indigenous Community here in the city, was standing guard in the hallway outside, watching his people gather.

Where ever people gather, there is bound to be strife among them. Thankfully he is armed with burger vouchers for McDonald’s in the mall right in that area.

People are more amenable when they have food in their stomachs. So before he steps in the say anything, he hands out food vouchers to anyone who wants them.

He does more than that. He is counselor, medic, affairs officer and the grand poobah of the downtown core.

There is suffering all around us. for those of us who live in this neighborhood. I’ve been here seventeen years now, and I know how bad things can get on a good day. Even worse on a bad day.

Sometimes you don’t have to say anything at all. And for the most part, not saying anything is the best policy, because you don’t know the back story you are witnessing at the moment.

Rather not embarrass people on the down and out with observations, they probably already know about themselves, so they don’t need a reminder of how rough they might look at the moment, even if what you want to say would be meaningful to YOU.

So I say hello. I nod. I observe. And I record data.

I know how many of the people I knew who were sober once, are out there on the street today, down and out.

Why some people fall through the cracks and end up back out on the street I don’t know. Some people just fall away. Was it because of people, from the past, who shunned folks away? Those of us who did not attach to certain cliques ?

I met a man who had fifty-eight years of sobriety today. He knew the Montreal Founders. Men and women who are still around from THAT FAR BACK, are few and far between.

They usually come out of seclusion for their cakes to show us, that you CAN be sober for decades and be happily married and happy in general.

Many people at that noon meeting suffer needlessly.

They just don’t connect, even though they know where to go and who to talk to.

And for that we are grateful for small mercies of sobriety. And we utter that slogan, that people usually ignore or don’t know what it means …

THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD …

I could be one of them.

Sober at Christmas, Suffering is Optional

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Fifteen years ago, the home we live in, to this day, was very different. Hubby and I had met just a few short weeks shy of Christmas, 2002. The apartment was dirty white. There were over 300 beer bottles to return on the lanai. The tv, was a small black and white set, that had foil rabbit ears and hardly worked. We had no stereo system. We had no furniture, and we had no money either.

That Christmas hubby was going home to see his parents, I was living in Verdun, on the backside of the Island, in a basement apartment that I hated. Hubby handed me a set of keys and invited me to stay here.

I NEVER LEFT !!!

Our first Christmas together was a sad affair. Like I said above, we had no money. We didn’t even have a Christmas tree. And no presents to speak of. We had each other. That fateful pass through a door at St. Leon’s was fate, tempting us.

Fast Forward, fifteen years to 2017 … The tree we have, is the first tree we bought together at Christmas Number Two. 2003. The ornaments have changed, over the years, and the apartment surely has changed as well.

We Painted, Cleaned, Scrubbed, Bleached and Sterilized the apartment. We have new furniture that we finally could afford after many, many years. We have a flat screen HD tv, with a stereo surround sound system my in-laws bought us, a number of years ago.

We keep things simple. Because God likes simple. That is the way He fed us. SIMPLY.

If a holiday falls on a meeting night, where ever that meeting might be located, if it is possible, that particular room is open. And usually, I have keys to that particular basement hall, anyways. We have always hosted friends for dinner over the years. This year, I changed up my game, and dis-invited the Queers. And Invited my friend Juan and his fiancée for Christmas dinner on Wednesday evening.

We are doing the “Couples” thing together.

Tonight we hosted Monday Central at Notre Dame de la Salette, up on Parc Avenue. If the room is open, people will come. Thirty odd folks came for the meeting. Several of them were suffering through their first Christmas sober.

Christmas Sober is a gift … Suffering is Optional.

Many of my friends don’t listen to a single word I say to them.

I can tell you that a handful of my friends, (well fellows) who have my number don’t use it, yet they show up where ever I show up. And many of them are addled. And many of them are not yet ready to admit that their suffering is getting on their nerves. And I quietly sit in a meeting, and I listen to them talk about suffering and IF ONLY, they would just get it over with and ask for help …

Nobody wants to ask for help. And I am sure as shit not going to volunteer to help them. I gave out my number and said one thing … Call Me … My phone still does not ring.

FUCK ME

A number of our young people are away. So whomever was still here, was at the meeting tonight. Several of them were suffering through their First Christmas Sober.

All I could say was … It Does Get BETTER … Stick around.

Make it easy, show up and do service. THAT will definitely keep you sober.

Putting the needs of another before your own, will show you sobriety from a totally different angle. We heard this bit of advice tonight from one of our young women.

Our young people suffer needlessly. Many of them have been around a while, testing the proverbial sober water to see if it is pure. A handful of them tonight, admitted to the rest of us, that when they finally admitted they had a problem, and gave the fellowship a fair shake, and they committed to doing to work as they were told to do by the rest of us, that life definitely GOT BETTER.

People who HATED Christmas, who have kids, who gave in and put up their trees FOR their KIDS, because Christmas is about the KIDS and not necessarily about US, and are in their Second sober Christmas, having kicked and screamed through their first one, see the wisdom of relenting and putting the needs of their kids before their own.

Christmas does not SUCK sober.

We are a family of people who really care about each other, care enough to open a room and make coffee, (tonight we brought it in from Timmies). People are just floored that someone they barely know, but see at meetings, care enough to give their very best on Christmas Night, just because … of them …

We share a common bond as people who would NOT normally mix.

Alcoholism is an equal opportunity taker and does not discriminate.

The fact is this, there is a room, full of people like you, working the same program of simple work, however complicated you make it.

Just Show Up …

Memory in Time – Thanksgiving

How the Grinch Stole Christmas courtesy Cartoon Network

“Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we go …”

Tonight I heard a friend say about recovery, “I’m not sure what I really wanted to ‘recover’ from my past, but when I was drinking, at certain points, there was some fun, but that eroded away very quickly, after the first drink.” He went on to say that “there may have been a time in our past that we connect to in a way, we don’t connect to others, maybe that’s where recovery of time begins.”

I always hold dear a place and time in my mind’s eye. I go there often, because my visual of that location is clear and present.  The house in my memory is long gone now. The land was razed, the trees chopped down, and land appropriated by the drinking establishment next door, has shrunk the old family plot by half.

The house now exists only in my memory. Holiday’s were born in the homes of grandparents and aunts and uncles. I don’t have memories, young memories, of any place other than the homestead in my mind’s eye.

Later on, as I grew up, those memories are more fluid. Because as I grew up, we made family memories in the homes we inhabited later on. Holiday’s were special, as long as family cared for and loved each other. As soon as the “us versus them” reared its ugly head, memories became painful to remember.

And all I want to do is FORGET !

At a point in the timeline, there were three families who shared holiday cooking responsibilities. The biggest house, could hold the most people, so it became my step mother who provided the bulk of my teen age holiday’s.

Thanksgiving usually began early in the morning, with brunch at home, with the yearly Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The turkey would be in the oven by lunch time and the requisite football games would begin. So would the drinking.

Depending on the house picked for the dinner, people would begin to gather in great numbers, the open bar was a welcome event for all, the kids included, because my parent preferred that we drank at home, it was even encouraged.

At my step mothers house, the kids always ate at the kids table, off the kitchen, while we were younger. As we grew up, we would find our places at the adult table. That little kitchen table has many memories attached to it. But it was with great fanfare when we found ourselves seated with the adults for dinner, with adult conversation and the requisite adult drinking.

There was never a bad memory made at any dinner table. It was what happened after that dinner that was the problem. My father, the hateful man he was, every time we sat to eat a meal, would cringe at those seated at the very same table. Those “homosexuals” just made him sick. Add to that the fact that I could carry on a decent conversation with said homosexuals made my father’s blood boil.

Upon arriving home, he would beat me senselessly to make sure he beat the gay out of me, upon every occasion of sitting around that particular table.

Years would pass, as the abuse was heaped on me. Until one eventful Christmas, after I was diagnosed and headed for death, at my parents home in Sarasota, that my father humiliated me in front of all the guests at a Christmas dinner, that I vowed, then and there, never to darken my parents door or any table for any holiday ever after.

Twenty two years have passed since that memorable day. I remember it like it was yesterday, because the very next day, the family who sat at that very table and witnessed my humiliation, hosted me on their boat. And I explained what had happened and why.

I am not sure my parents kept that friendship going after that event. But there is the empty chair at their table now. I do not know what is worse, “Knowing you pushed a son away from home from that table intentionally, or that every year, the memory of me still exists in the minds of everyone who sits at that table. Or does it ?

Do they remember me ? Do they care ? Probably not. The last words my mother said to me many months ago, like the litany she spoke for years …

You were a mistake that should never have been born.

Nobody cares that I am not there, because to this day, nobody has come looking for me. We are not getting any younger, and in the idealistic part of my brain, I see adults coming to their senses and realistically, one day, that table would be full.

Alas, there is no love. So no love lost.

But those memories of the time I would recover for myself exist in my mind’s eye and in my heart, because it was there that love was born. True love. True compassion. True family connections that no living person can take from me, because those memories exist within me.

When I moved to Montreal almost seventeen years ago, I came with the hope of recovering memories connected to the maternal side of my family. I have a friend, Nigel, who is part of my recovery circle. Whom tonight, I handed a copy of the maternal family tree that goes back to the 1600’s.

We are hoping that his family tree, is, in some way, connected to mine. We shall see in the coming weeks, as they pour over the document I provided him with at the meeting.

Holiday’s are sacred times to build memory, to pay respect to those who came and went before us, to remember, those who gave us life and BEGAN holiday memories for us, while we were still too young to care or to know better of memory.

Grammy, Memere, Aunty Paula and all the other family who built the first memories for me, in their houses, are top of mind tonight. I remember you.

Holidays are a time for family and for love and for making memories.

Go Make Memories …

If they cannot be made for you, then start your own tradition in your own homes.

Do not go someplace that will only bring you misery and pain, and push you to want to forget than to remember.

Saturday: Odds and Ends, and Everything In Between

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On my trip to see Alexander, we engaged in serious debate about the state of the world. I am not the best at politics, world issues, and everything in between. Our lives at home consist of one cable news channel, and at 11 p.m. we turn to CTV for our nightly news fix.

I cannot go to bed without the last word coming from Lisa LaFlamme.

I’ve never been totally political, as in, devoted to politics or politicians of any stripe. I’ve always known where I sit on issues of the day. But expanding my brain to other news outlets only began when I moved to Canada in 2002. And over the time I have lived here, I’ve explored other points of view.

Alexander encourages that I step out of my bubble and echo chamber to see the world from other points of view. And this is one reason I love my best friend, because he is from somewhere else, (read:Brazil) and he has world knowledge that I do not. He has a smarts about him that no one I know have themselves.

So I read, I watch, and I listen to other points of view. If you polled me online, I rank in the NDP sphere of thought. But I voted for Justin. And he is proving to be a challenge to me.

Alexander sits on the Conservative side of life. And that is NOT a bad thing at all. Because he forces me to see the world, like he sees the world. He challenges me to spread my vision and take in others words, and not just accept words by people I am accustomed to listening to.

Politics and world events are two different spheres for me. I care very little for U.S. politics. And I do not consume politics like I used to because I cannot be bothered on a daily basis to know or listen to repetitive redundant news about a mad man in the Oval Office.

Cannot Be Bothered.

I spend a good amount of my sober life, buried in books. I learned long ago, while in University, that reading “other literature” that situate itself “around” a topic I was studying, as it went along, was very useful.

Reading side literature around a specific topic whether that literature be fiction or non-fiction, built a world for me to engage with on a wider basis, rather than on a single note in time.

I read, Every night.

There are places in the world that interest me. There are social issues that I am passionate about as well. Issues in the world, and issues right here at home are on my dashboard, quite often. I worry about our less fortunate, our homeless, and our indigenous population.

Because I am in the rooms, I’ve seen so much suffering. Friends of mine, in the program have gone on to work in those specific areas of helping the less fortunate. So I am engaged in their work.

Studying Religion and Pastoral Ministry opened my eyes to World Religions, as well, taking care of those people I am engaged with on a daily basis. I have stayed away from posting anything incendiary on this blog, certain world issues, that I am not clearly well-rounded or well versed on, to write coherently or knowledgeably.

I’ve always been interested in Israel and Palestine. Our Jewish Community here in Montreal served my early sobriety solely. The Chabad organization does work all over the city for many people, I just happened to be one of those people.

During my studies I spent time at the Ghetto Shul at McGill during my Judaism studies. And I often said that if I would become anything other than a Christian, I would certainly be a Jew. Palestine is a new subject for me, since being introduced to that area by a friend who wrote a book on the subject, from a point of view we don’t hear about ever.

When I finished the book, all I could write about was what was in Ben’s book, by the words he wrote. Which began my reading slant into books that were written, on the ground, within the Palestinian community. There are not many in circulation, that don’t begin with a premise situated in Israel, and merely spits on Palestine.

I need to figure out what I know, what I need to know, and where I sit on the spectrum of politics and on the ground situations. I know where I would like to be, but that point needs to be plotted on a map so that I can see it clearly.

Israel and Palestine is such a deep topic with some serious history, people, and problems, that I am unable to touch because of the complexity of the state of that area of the world. But while in Ottawa, I picked up another tome that I am reading at the moment.

I just cannot read a handful of books and expect to be able to write anything that is worthy of print on this blog, because that would be stupid and green of me.

The entire Middle East is a quagmire of instability, political strife and religious intolerance. And we just cannot say, incendiary things about people we know little about or those points of views or lives that we don’t even care about informing ourselves about, because it is easier to hate outright, then find a point of agreement or understanding.

How many people do you know who really care about the Middle East beyond blanket hatred of those we don’t even know, or care to know ?

Because they are not “Christian?” or “Jewish?”

If we don’t read, or listen to other points of view and study areas of the world that interest us, and take the time to get informed, how can we relate what we are reading/studying?

That is a thing …

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Colorful Metaphors

Any Star Trek fan knows the line from Star Trek IV the Voyage Home, where Kirk and Spock are on a bus, and Spock relates his confusion of people’s use of “Colorful Metaphors.”

I don’t know if it is age, or my sensibilities to certain colorful metaphors and words, used by people I listen to, or something else, but I’ve grown weary of people using certain language.

Since the dawn of the Pod Cast, when I got my I Phone for Christmas, my nightly bed time schedule was shifted when I started listening to Pod Casts. They competed with my traditional book reading time before bed.

Over the past few months, I’ve listened to a number of Pod Cast presenters. And I’ve come to the point that the Ardent Screaming Host, or the host who litters his show with the word FUCK, every other word, I just delete their shows from my phone.

I love me some Bill Maher. But he is incessantly insane. And over the last month, I’ve also grown weary of him as well, because his devolution into insane screaming by the end of the hour podcast.

People who talk on the Pod Cast, are not bound by ethical language rules. Although many men and women, do take listeners into consideration when it comes to words. Others, not so much. I just don’t have the mental energy to listen to people swear and use foul language. It is just no longer appealing.

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Social Media

Over the last year, I have had to unfriend many people from my Face Book Profile. Certain friends litter my time line with shit I am not interested in, and they persist. Others, all they can do is post POST after POST of political bullshit, incessantly.

I went as far as to neuter my feed from showing me anything related to topics I have no interest in. That meant turning certain people off, for my own well being and sanity.

Aside from news online, that I do consume, Face Book and Twitter are two sources of news and current events that I utilize on a daily basis. But I don’t do either on my phone, so I deleted the apps from my phone.

  • I make phone calls on my phone.
  • I listen to music on my phone.
  • And I Pod Cast on my phone.

That’s it.

I am trying to set some news boundaries for myself. I have built a wall around me on social media that is useful, because I have a life, and I am not connected to social media 24/7. That is insane.

I turn on my computer when I wake up, I run my set. All those sites I look at and participate in and when I am done, I just shut off the computer until I need it again, and I go read, or better yet, I nap …

All the time…

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Sober Realizations

I wrote to a friend of mine recently …

I no longer have the desire to engage most people who believe so strongly what they do, contrary to any evidence of acceptance and respect of humanity in others. Religion, like politics, are two areas I intentionally stay away from, because I know who I am, and what I know, and that is good for me. Sobriety teaches me that I don’t always have to argue when it is not necessary to do so.

He replied that this portion of my comment is a post in itself.

I spend my days working with others. I spend a few nights a week in meetings. Only three meetings a week now, instead of my prior, six meetings a week, spread over two fellowships.

I love what I do. Because the men and women I work with are accountable. We are all moving forwards. And that is a really good thing. Because I am not a born leader, however I think I “could” lead. I’ve had time in the past where what I did and what I said meant something to those I spent time with.

You never know WHO you are going to meet or what conversation you are going to have with them, until the meeting happens, and conversations take place either before or after.

I want a clean break going into my fifties.

God has made that something that I work on daily. Recently, certain friends have gone dark, for one reason or another, that I am not understanding at the moment, but it is what it is.

I have a routine that works. I have a life that is fulfilling. I have friends whom I love and adore. And a best friend, second to none.

Discussion was brought up the other night, by someone I trust, when he asked me why I just did not adopt the baby, and give her a father, who wants to be in her life, and someone she can rely on, because I am reliable and accountable to her and Mama.

And my reply was this … I want the biological father to pay his dues like the law states. Because he is a dead beat and a looser. And I want him to pay up.

I don’t want to step in and absolve him of any responsibility towards the baby.

I need to research this before I head to New Foundland in April.

I think I know what I want of life and of myself. But that is subject to change because sobriety is not a one trick pony.

Shit happens. Life happens. And you never know what to expect when you walk into a room full of your friends and fellows.

You might just learn something you did not know, or realize something you had not before, and it wasn’t until that particular moment that God opened up your eyes and spirit. And you heard something you realized you really needed.

But did not realize you needed it until right then.

This is the filler that happened between the lines over the last little while.

Sobriety is Magic. Sobriety is Miracles. Sobriety is God, it is Us and it is We.

I love the “We” that I am part of today.

Now You See it, Now you Don’t

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The old Children’s Hospital, which was closed last year, when the new MUHC was opened just up the road at Vendome, has been sitting, empty, vacant, waiting for someone to buy the building, design a plan, and execute that plan.

It seems, we have a plan now …

Courtesy: CTV News Montreal

City council is expected to approve a plan next week to build a half-dozen high rises, a library, a community centre and possibly a school at the site of the former Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Last week the hospital confirmed that Montreal developer Luc Poirier had purchased the building and the land that lies at between Atwater Ave. and Sussex St., and between René Levesque Blvd. and Tupper St. for $25 million.

Poirier sold his interest to Philip Kerub, who along with Devimco, Fiera Capital Corp., and the FTQ’s real estate fund are investing $400 million in the plan to build six buildings that are 20 to 30 storeys tall, and a three-storey building.

Kerub will renovate the three-storey former nurses’ residence that lies at the corner of the lot, and said he will preserve and restore its current envelope. Kerub will also build a tower that will house a hotel, office space, and “high-end condominium units.”

Devimco president Serge Goulet said his company will build the other towers that will include 600 condos, 600 rental units, 160 social and affordable housing units, and a community centre.

The Devimco towers will also include room for stores.

Plans for a school are still being worked out. If a primary school is built, it would be an eighth building on the site, and would decrease the amount of greenspace in the area.

But with close access to the metro and Alexis-Nihon Plaza, developers believe the site is bound to be a hit.

“Location, location, location,” said Brian Fahey of Devimco. “You also have to take into account that we’re going to be respond to demands for people looking for greenspace and community activities.”

The block’s footprint will also expand by removing a section of Lambert Closse St. and incorporating Henri Dunant Park in the northwest corner.

Richard Bergeron, the Executive Committee member in charge of downtown Montreal, said he wants to see a development like this every year for the next 15 years.

“If you look at the objectives of the downtown strategy the goal is to have 50,000 more inhabitants in downtown Montreal from now to 2031. We need to get this objective, to reach this objective, more or less 1,800 new housing units year after year,” said Bergeron.

“If you compare to Toronto, Toronto had 80,000 new inhabitants in the last 10 years downtown.”

Bergeron was enthusiastic that the development has condos, apartments, and social housing in the same location, combined with community services.

“We need that density, that quality of project. We need projects with mixed-use like this project has to have the city that we want,” said Bergeron.

The opposition at city hall pointed out that most of the condos and apartments will be between 700 and 800 square feet, pretty tight for a family.

“We believe and the housing department has done studies that indicate there’s a market for that,” said Executive Committee member Russell Copeman. “If families want homes that are much larger than that, they’re not going to find them in downtown Montreal,” adding that having roughly 2,000 people living in the area will help merchants including those in the old forum.

“We have a marvelous opportunity to contribute to, as Mr. Bergeron said, to the rejuvenation of this neighbourhood,” he said.

The entire project, with its 1,400 housing units and 600 underground parking spots, will be subject to public consultations beginning in January.

If all goes according to plan the demolition of the hospital will begin next summer, and two towers could be completed next year, with the entire project finished in five to seven years.

This is what will appear, a block from home, over the next seven years …

deveopment

Jeudi – La Dixiem Etape – The Tenth Step

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God, Let me have a new experience, Let me see the truth …

My new and improved meeting schedule began on Monday night, with a meeting, right down the hill from home. A ten minute walk through the tunnel to Georges Vanier Metro.

Now I know, where several of my friends disappeared to, when they left meetings we used to do together. This particular Monday Meeting is a Big Book study …

Like I can’t get enough of the book as it is.

Tonight, I attended my first meeting in French. In all these years of meetings, I never ventured across the solitude’s for a French meeting, because  I’m Anglo.

My friends, including my sponsor opened this meeting, specifically to open a “New Experience” for folks who want something a bit different. It’s a carbon copy of the Sunday Night meeting, being a literature discussion, only in French.

Having read the Big Book for all these years, in English, I know what it says. And after all these years talking about said book, I know what to say, on various topics. We read from the Book tonight, and the 10th Step.

Not shying away from a challenge, They asked me to read first, which I had a huge paragraph, in French, I read like a Boss… When the share went around the room, I was on the tail end, so I had time to think about what I wanted to say, I just needed to find the right words, in the right tense, in the right order. And I was able to speak “In French” for the first time, in a room full of Francophone folks.

And we talked about The Tenth Step. Having just completed these steps with my sponsor, I knew the territory and what I wanted to say. I think I made sense, in the end. Everybody was proud of my effort.

My friends were impressed with the fact that I made the effort to talk, and not just sit there and not say a word. It always goes, if you make the effort, and not hit the nail on the head, people understand. But if you don’t try, it’s a bad reflection on you.

I had a French Big Book here at home that I was reading off and on all week, practicing my reading and comprehension. Like I said, I know the book, so reading it in French was really not a stretch. I understand and comprehend more than I give myself credit for.

Learning a second language “in the rooms” is sometimes easier than learning it in a classroom. Because on both sides, the words are exactly the same. However, the French Big Book, is twice as FAT as the English Big Book.

My Francophone friends use English meetings to practice and hone their English, in the same way, I want to practice and hone my French, the same way. Knowing people in said meeting makes it a bit easier, because if I get stuck, I get help.

But, You Must Make the Effort …

Sunday Sundries – October Welcome

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Hello out there. Today is October 2nd – I’ve noticed in many places, the leaves are beginning to turn. Thanksgiving is next Sunday and I am cooking a feast for my little family once again.

Imagine, next Monday, here in Canada, The battle for Christmas will begin. An entire month earlier than you folks down in the U.S. of A. They won’t be closing up Halloween shops until the end of the month, and in the meantime, the competition for WHO puts up Christmas decorations FIRST is always a holiday mystery.

I know that in St. John’s New Foundland, Christmas trees are up in stores there already. Winter always hits the Atlantic Provinces first.

It has been a very busy week.

This week my meeting routine takes a turn for something a little bit different. My sponsor has encouraged me to seek out a new adventure, since completing this round of “Booking.” (read: The Steps)

The Set Aside Prayer

God, please set aside everything I know about

Myself
The Twelves Steps
A.A.
Meetings
And You God

 So that I can have a new experience, Please let me See the Truth

Tomorrow night, we hit a new meeting, just down the hill from home, called “Love and Tolerance.” It’s very close to home, and very convenient.

Before the meeting we had been talking about changing it up, and my sponsor then asked me to do something totally out of left field. I’ve been learning French, via the Metro Method, (read: There are tv’s in most of the Metro Stations that show news, weather and train times) and they all run in French. And I’ve noticed that my French is getting better, well, my reading comprehension.
With that said … I am going to start hitting our sister meeting on Thursday night, ( Jeudi St. Leon) at the same church we meet on Sunday night’s, IN FRENCH. My friends from that meeting, who are native Francophones come to Sunday night, and other English meetings to learn, or improve their English. So they invited me to come on Thursday to begin integrating into the French community, which will be something totally new for me.

I brought home a French Big Book to look over, and one of my friends is going to send me the prayers, translated into French so I will at least learn them before Thursday.

Instead of hitting an English meeting, I will be hitting a French meeting.

Saturday is still up for grabs. I hoped to initiate a Saturday night Date night for hubby and myself, seeing we never go out ever unless it is a special occasion for dinner or something.

Fall is certainly on its way. My favorite season of the year, because in just a few short months up here in the North we traverse three seasons, and everything changes so much, very quickly. And in the Fall we get to see the Majesty of Mother Nature in all her Grandeur.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, (read: The ass crack of morning 8 a.m.) the building workers will begin the destruction of my balcony. They have been knocking down all the balcony banisters and walls on the entire building. 7 apartments. Ours is the last one to be started. Last week, they asked if I would clean all the crud that was on the balcony floor, (read: All that Shit that has been under the floor boards for the last 42 years).

And I was like, “How am I supposed to do that ? I don’t have a freaking shed in my bedroom with cleaning tools and leaf bags, and by the way, a shovel would be great for that kind of thing.” Our Super came up and told me this in French, and I did not get it at first, so about half an hour later the building manager came up to translate, when I then inquired about “Tools and Bags.”

They got me a square shovel and a handful of bags. A plastic shovel at that.

There is a hanging wall of plastic over the opening and I stirred up a shit load of dust in doing the job, I failed to remind them that I am immuno-compromised and that I will probably get sick from dust and allergens from the shit on the ground…

Of course I did …

2 leaf bags later, I had completed said work.

Now tomorrow at the crack of dawn, jackhammers will announce the arrival of morning before I even get out of bed. Which at such time, I will have no choice but to get out of bed because my bed, is just inside the balcony door, and sleeping while jackhammers pound the building is a lost cause.

More to come. Stay tuned …