When Honesty Dies …

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Yes folks, the President of the United States is a criminal. But many knew this before he ever took office. The Office of the President of the United States has been irrevocably tarnished and denigrated.

The Hallowed Office that We The People own, is inhabited, right now, by a man who believes that Truth is not Truth, that alternative facts run the day, and that firing government employees and revoking security clearances, just out of spite, is just a natural thing he can do, with impunity.

Where are the values of Honesty, Integrity and Humility ?

I believe they are dead on arrival.

I have a basic set of morals and values that I ascribe to. I do my best at being honest in all my affairs. I work daily on integrity, and I strive for humility. Sadly, some do not see life in this same way.

Where are the men of honesty, integrity and humility ? Our government has failed us at every turn. They have stuck their heads in the sand, and hands over their eyes, and fingers in their ears.

It seems that if they do not acknowledge that something is seriously wrong with the current state of affairs, then, they don’t have to act to correct these critical government imbalances.

The President has lost his mind. He is erratic and unhinged, as some have already posited. Last night, well, early on yesterday I was watching my regular political fare and I watched as the day progressed and news was broke, all at the same hour, in two different cities and states. At 4 pm yesterday, the bottom fell out and we learned some hard truths about the man, many elected into office.

Not that we did not know what was going on, but without factual proof, as many really need to make an informed decision, but it is what it is. Now we know for sure that Michael Cohen, acted, and committed Federal Crimes at the direction of “the candidate” to pay off two women who had sexual affairs, the reason he paid off these women was for one fact …

TO INFLUENCE THE ELECTION OF THE CANDIDATE.

 

We not only have Russian Collusion to think about, we have a man, who at the behest of his boss, (said candidate) shut two women up from speaking up, so that the (so-called candidate) could win the election.

The Access Hollywood tape was just the tip of the iceberg. And the Teflon Don, survived that little burp on his timeline. But I wonder, if the Teflon coating on the Donald’s head has not worn off, and that maybe somebody in the government goes to the Oval Office and says to the President, Well, Mr. President, I THINK IT IS TIME TO GO …

WE HAVE A VOICE, WHEN IT COMES TO GOVERNMENT. AND THAT VOICE IS CALLED A VOTE. TOO MANY PEOPLE, IN 2016 CHOSE NOT TO VOTE, JUST BECAUSE. I GET IT, THE ELECTION WAS A REFERENDUM ON THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS.

BUT COME ON, NOW DO YOU SEE, DONALD TRUMP IS NOW THE GREATER OF THE TWO EVILS, WHEN YOU STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT ?

IF YOU DO NOT VOTE, YOU CANNOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RESULTS.

WE CANNOT AFFORD APATHY ANY LONGER. WE MUST ACT AS A UNIFIED PEOPLE, WHO NEED TO GET OUT IN NOVEMBER AND FUCKING VOTE.

GET OFF YOUR SOFAS, PUT DOWN YOUR BEERS AND GUNS AND DRAG YOUR ASS TO TO A VOTING BOOTH AND PUT DEMOCRATS INTO THE SYSTEM.

BECAUSE IF THE DEMOCRATS WIN ENOUGH SEATS, IMPEACHMENT IS ON THE TABLE FOR GOD DAMNED SURE

The integrity of the Oval Office ha been ruined and the only way to remove Donald Trump is to vote senators and representatives who will have the power to impeach him out of office. If he does not just up and quit under the immense pressure he is under right now.

We Must Act. There is no greater crisis than the one we are living at the present moment.

USE YOUR VOICE AND GO VOTE.

IF YOU VALUE YOUR COUNTRY AND THE MAN WHO OCCUPIES THE OVAL OFFICE, YOU WILL DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, ONCE AND FOR ALL.

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.

At What Point Can We Get Honest ?

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I heard one of my friends tonight say, about a conversation he had earlier, with a friend, that he was not sure he could be honest with said friend about the topic they were discussing.

I know my friend for many years now. I have many friends, I have known for a long time, and becoming who we are begins with getting better all the way around. We stay clean and sober, and we do the work that is given to us, Willingly.

Willingness is the key.

I have said before that I cannot do life alone. I need my sponsor, my guides and my friends. I need that voice, coming over my shoulder, that says … It’s gonna be OK.

I have a few twenty-four hours under my belt. And for a long time, I did not know what I did not know. And I know the first time I was attempting to get sober, there was A LOT that I did not know. And that worked against me, as represented by the wordsI spoke and the decisions I made, based on self. (not the good self for that matter)

Life is all about becoming who we are supposed to be. Sometimes the road is easy, but in my experience, for many people, the road has been very tough.

I spoke tonight about life. I knew, very early on, in my life, what it was that I did NOT want to be. I heard words that I swore I would never use myself. And I heard thoughts that were repugnant, bigoted and racist.

I knew …

Growing up, if you did not fit in the box my parents wanted you to check, they punished you with silence, and darkness and humiliation and resentment.

Imagine a kid growing up with that kind of negativity and trying to find your way into the world, and survive the slog!

My father went to his grave, hating me, and resenting me for becoming who I was meant to be. My mother is on that very same shit path herself. Last night, I read in this months Grape Vine, about a woman long sober, making peace with her mother, and she asked her what she could do to mend the fence between them ?

The answer was, You Could agree with me sometimes. I’m not always wrong you know.

And I thought about that conversation all day today.

I imagine going to visit my mother, in my brother’s house, where nobody knows me today, and does not want to know me, because of resentment and anger and denial. I imagine having that kind of conversation with her, knowing she spits out the same vile shit, like a script she has mastered over my lifetime.

I don’t ever think I will ever mend that fence, myself.

The second time I got sober, I began with steps that were all about ME. What people did to me, and why they deserve my scorn and hatred. I remember the first round of steps I did, and how LONG my fourth step was, and the hours it took to do my fifth.

Then I burned them.

For years and years, I’ve been working steps with different people, with different lengths of sobriety. And I have amassed a library of knowledge about myself but more importantly, knowledge about everybody else.

God has a funny way with me. The evidence is right there for me to look at. Steps Six and Seven are the growth steps. The change steps. Because we work Six and Seven for the rest of our lives. And further up the road, at Ten, we learn how to do spot check inventories and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Over the years, as I pass through Six and Seven, God shows me Six and Seven, in front of my face. I have learned to see “spiritually.” It has taken a long time to work that vision out. I know I can trust because I can see.

It is the same with some of my friends, when it comes to me. They can see, for me, when I cannot see for myself. And each of them, each in their own ways, have the voice and the temperament to sit me down and tell me like it is, when I fuck up.

Many of my friends know who they are, in each of their varying lengths of sobriety. Many of my friends are honest with me. And I see that virtue in them, in the books I have read on honesty, virtue and honor.

What I see in them, I want to become myself.

I don’t know, at what point, we can trust our vision, and humbly admit we don’t know everything, but I we know some things. In the beginning, I would not say anything to people because I did not know myself what it was I really wanted to say, even if it sounded good in my head.

Over the years, I have worked with others. And over the years I have had several sponsors. And over the years, each of them fell victim to their own character defects.

As I get and stay sober, and life goes on, and shit happens, and things get real, what I witnessed was my friends, my sponsor and other drunks, reacting to the fact that I was having a hard time. I listened to the words they said to me. And I witnessed what each of them did to me, in response to my life getting “Shit Real.”

The rooms really don’t like to see people “In the Mix” People in the rooms, don’t like to witness pain and hardship. And many of my friends and sponsor at the time, pushed me away, freaking out, because I was freaking out, and when I jumped out of my placid, quiet, reserved skin, and became a little odd and crazy, that freaked people out, because I was coming out of my skin, and for a long time at that, that quiet, sane individual became someone they did not know, or want to know.

So they all ran for the hills.

What a shame. And at that point my friends, not knowing what to do with a crazy man, in front of them, all scattered.

There are many ways to get sober. I know a friend, who is more than twenty-five years sober. She, like myself, learned how to get sober, the hard way. We walked into particular meetings, and those men and women, said one thing to us …

If you follow our suggestions, and do not argue, and you work, as we show you what to do, yes, you too will get and stay sober.

There were no two ways about it. It was their way or the highway, so to speak.

She was handed her job. And likewise, I was handed mine. A coffee pot.

We listened to old timers tell us what to do. We both had sponsors who did the right thing at the right time, for the right reason. We learned suggestions. We worked steps. We did service, and to this day, BOTH of us do service, all the time, every day.

Repetition is the key in recovery.

We read the same book, work the same steps. hear the same stories, over and over again. But as we share with each other, as we remain clean and sober, perspective changes.

Each time we make a pass at a particular story or topic or step, we see it in the way we see it IN THAT MOMENT, as it is. not particularly, the way we saw it, the last time we hit that share, or topic or step.

It is like polishing a gem stone. Each pass at the wheel makes the gem better.

We both know what we heard, all those years ago. We both know what we did, over the years, so we know what to do, because we spent the better part of our lives, treading the same things over and over. With all that time between us, and each in our own times, we know what we know, because we heard, we worked, we spoke, and we did.

She has a voice, and I have mine. Based on practical experience, strength and hope.

I talk to newcomers and I tell them what I did, and I make simple suggestions. Not many people want to hear what I have to say, because I, like my elder lady friend, come from the sober school of hard knocks.

Sobriety is not easy. And people know that from the get go.

But if you say something that is not easy … They respond with I just Can’t !

So I ask, why not ? What have you got to lose, but the old way you used to live ?

They say that honesty is the best policy. But when do we know what honesty is, and when do we know that what we have to say matters, is truthful, honest and comes from a place of humility?

That, is a tall order. And can take a lifetime to learn.

Over the years, I have worked with men and women. many of them are not in my life anymore, because when I hit the rough spot, who I became was unacceptable to their sensibilities. All that sober knowledge I spent teaching them, went for naught.

Because each of them sunk into their character defects. I saw it. I heard it, and I spoke about it too. Being honest in all my affairs was a mantra I use to this day.

I was honest with them. They did not like that. So that made me less sober or trustworthy.

Fuck Me for Trying !!!

I know today, the odds, when people come in the rooms. By what they say, and what they do, and who they listen to. The fighters and arguers, never make it. Those who justify their addictions, never get better. Until they decide to get honest.

I know sober folks who are constitutionally unable to be honest with themselves.

If I attend a meeting, for a long time, for a specific reason, to learn something, and people treat me badly, that is not on me, it is on them. When people who used to be my friends, turn out to NOT be friends, and do not have the ability to reciprocate kindness, that is on them and not me.

There are LONG SOBER men and women, whom I have known for the whole of my sobriety. We are talking people with decades of sobriety, who treat me with ignorance and silence. That just floors me.

I know who I am today. And I know what I know about each person I know. Because I have spent the better part of sixteen years and a few months, watching and listening to them in meetings.

I got sober, on the backs of every single person in every single meeting I went to. Every single day of this sober segment.

I know every decision they made. I know every mistake they made. I heard every word they said, in meetings, over and over. I watched people go back out, come back in, go back out and come back in.

I also watched some people die in that process.

If you did something and succeeded, I used that myself. If you did something and failed, I chalked it up to lessons learned. I made mistakes. I said things. I decided things too.

For the most part, I did my best, with whatever I had at the moment.

Not everybody was amused. Many people judge and are critical of me.

That is on them and not me. People are who they are, and will do what they do, so I should not let that bother me, but it does. Some don’t seem to learn and get better. They just want to be who they are. And their growth becomes stunted.

I am honest with people. Almost to a fault and that scares people, that I could know what I know, it is only that I know because I have tested all my methods over the years and I know what works.

I am in the book. I am in my steps. I am in meetings, and I do service. All the time.

I am always looking for the next greatest teacher or lesson. And right now, I am in a brand new incarnation of who I want to be, based on those I surround myself with.

I trust few.

We are all growing up to who we want to be.

Each at our paces.

I am powerless over people, places and things.

And what ever happens, a drink will not solve them.

So I hit another meeting …

Tuesday: Let’s Talk About Sex !

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

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

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

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

Sex is a taboo topic across the board.

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

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

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

They just rarely admit that in open community.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Really not a MAN quality for sure.

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

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

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

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

No fuss, no bull shit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boulder-dash !!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

HARSH !!!

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

IF ONLY …

We cannot live in If Only’s though.

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

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

W.W.T.D.

What would Todd Do ???

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The breathing, the rhythm. The quiet. Intimate …

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

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

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

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

I never want to break his heart.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

Thursday: “It’s Ok … I’m GOOD”

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We hear many things, when we get sober. Many of those little things we hear, over our time, in the rooms, is Good Sound Advice …

If you take away the drugs and alcohol, the problem still exists. That problem is US, and the grey matter that resides between our ears.

The drugs and alcohol are just a symptom.

It is important that we pay close attention to the newcomer, at their first meeting, or those coming back from further experimentation.

Tonight we heard that, we need to pay attention to those folks in the Double Digit sobriety range. We know, in our community here, that people with double-digit sobriety are JUST AS LIKELY, to go back out, as someone with little time under their belt.

The warnings are the same. We hear them spoken over and over again.

  • Get to a Meeting
  • Do Service
  • Join a Home Group
  • Connect with others
  • Tell the Truth – Always
  • Work your Steps
  • READ the BOOK
  • Learn Rigorous Honesty

Some of us, have experiences under our belts that many people do not. And that little factoid is “Personal Mortality.” We are all going to die, at some point. But life can turn on a dime in sobriety, and some of us get smacked upside the head with a terminal illness.

When that happens, we do one of two things. ONE, we go off the deep end, and we prepare to die, we give in, we suffer and we drink. and we DIE, or TWO, we turn to those who know us and love us, and we fight to live, we work, DAILY, Not To Drink.

I heard a familiar phrase tonight… “It’s OK … I’m Good…”

Something I have learned at this stage of my game is that “feelings are real” and that sobriety is NOT a cakewalk, all the time.

Shit Happens.

We learn a great deal about the people around us, when Life Goes South …

We learn, quite easily, THOSE we do not want to be like. That is a really great lesson, in the rooms. If you show up at a meeting, we must be good to everyone, because you never know what battle is being waged in their lives.

But there are those, “Who are Constitutionally Incapable of being honest with themselves.” And sometimes, it is those people who push those buttons we have within, and words are said … And we know intimately that we do not want to be like them.

People suffer in the rooms, because they choose to suffer, needlessly, or there are those who suffer, because of honest struggle, with either emotional, mental or medical problems, not of our own making.

Many of us grow up with having to be “The Strong One.” Never admitting frailty or that we have fear or pain, or that we are having a hard time. That is a serious problem, when we get sober.

If we are always ON – if we always ACT like we have our shit together, all the time, when life gets real, and we find ourselves on the bitter end of life and we are suffering, IF WE DON’T ADMIT THAT LIFE HAS BECOME DIFFICULT AND WE CANNOT MAKE IT ON OUR OWN, that we need our friends, and we don’t tell them as such, that is to our own peril.

The rooms provide. Not always to our specific needs. But there are those, Good, Long Sober folks, who are there, like the North Star. Ready, Able and Willing to Love us.

Warts and All …

How do we find these people ? We go to meetings. We connect. We learn to know our fellows, beyond sitting next to each other in those same chairs, night after night.

Because if we DON’T connect, and we suffer alone, and life gets real, and there is no one there in our lives to carry us when we cannot walk alone, life gets really tough.

The warnings are there. Spoken in such a way that everybody listened.

You go to a meeting. And you keep going to meetings. When we are feeling good, When we are feeling bad. When we look good, and When we look haggard and poor.

If we don’t connect and stay connected, we are disconnected at our own peril.

You can do anything, just as long as you don’t drink.

I know, my brain, is not someplace I like to go alone. For many, we get sober, and we gain some time, we do the work, and at some arbitrary point, we decide that “We are Good, that we are CURED … “

That little internal message is the death knell for people, all across the spectrum.

Because once it begins playing, and we believe our internal messages, the story goes: Ok, I’m sober a while, I’ve done the work, It’s OK, I’m good.” The next piece of information goes like this … Ok, I’m Good, I am cured.

What happens ?

I’m good, so I don’t have to go to meetings any more, as long as I don’t drink.

I can attest to you that an alcoholic who just does not drink, is MORE dangerous, than someone who is actively drinking. If you remove that alcoholic who is sober, from their routine of meetings, and you set them loose with themselves, the end is nigh …

We are going to go ONE of THREE places:

  1. We are going to go back out and drink or use
  2. We are going to go insane, or
  3. We are going to kill ourselves or someone else

A dry drunk is dangerous to themselves and to the people around them, especially, if those people around us are children. Sons and or Daughters.

If we don’t STICK to Meetings, religiously, and we DON’T heed the warnings as we are hearing from the chair, we are SUNK.

100 % SUNK.

There are not many people in the rooms that I trust 100% with my shit. Because I know how people treated me, when I was in the thick of sober suffering at fifteen years sober.

There were, and ARE, a handful of men and women who loved me through my pain, because I kept showing up. I kept making coffee, I kept putting down chairs.

People with time, NOTICE people who stick around. Sticking around means ONE of TWO Things … They ONE, either need that service because it is what we learn to do in ALL cases, or TWO, shit is going down in their lives, so you better pay attention and be PRESENT.

I know my friends, intimately. And I know, by action, or sometimes, by inaction, that they really need to connect and stay connected, because they are on that illusive bubble.

I know now, what I know, because I walked through a forest, not long ago and now I am on the other side. I know the warning signs. I know what I did. I used the sign posts, the slogans, I stayed close and I did what I learned to do when I came in almost sixteen years ago.

All those little things we hear when we first come in are still in play.

And it may not come to pass, and it may come to pass, sooner than you think, but if you ignore suggestions, and those little things we plug into conversations, if you don’t listen or you ignore the locally posted signs, there for your own survival, You do that at your own peril.

Shit happens. And if you are smart, you will be honest, ALL the TIME. And you won’t drink over it.

How can we be honest all the time ? We find those people who are honest with us, and in turn we can be honest with them. Find them.

Because one day, those people will save your sobriety.

And most likely, Your Life …

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 …

Tuesday: The Four Horsemen

 

A Vision for You …

Never could we recapture the great moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it. There was always one more failure.

Momentarily we did – then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the Hideous Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.

Unhappy drinkers who read this will understand !

This chapter is one of my favorites. Because at the end, this chapter tells us what we really need to know, before we look into our sober bank, and think about helping others.

It came for me late in the game, this realization. And it took some one much more sober than I was to point it out to me. And I learned the lesson.

Did you know that when we drank the Four Horsemen followed us around, without us ever noticing them, until we took that last drink. Looking back …

Did you also know that the Four Horsemen, follow us around in sobriety as well ?

Shit does not only happen to us while we drank. Shit happens when we get sober too.

And if I am Honest, when shit happened to me in sobriety, not many sober people wanted to know me, help me, or give me any kind of support, one way or another.

You never know when it is going to hit you. That one Event, That one Tragedy, That one Serious Illness, or That Next Drink.

They never warned me that sobriety could be so difficult.

I know, in the past, that I had known several women, in the rooms, who hit the shit storm, and had to muddle their way through ALONE.

Let’s just say that, after the way that people treated me, over the past year, I am a bit more harsh on people. I am a bit more Honest with my words and warnings.

I’ve spent the past fifteen years and eight months of my sobriety listening to people talk. I’ve watched them act. I’ve watched them go back out.

Some returned, many did not.

You think that what I have to say means something other than a warning to:
NOT DO THAT YOURSELF ???

If people put so much meaning into what I write or what I say, you’d think, that everybody would be long sober now.

If words mean everything, and we should taste our words before we SPIT THEM OUT, do you think that I did not think through every word I have written here over the past fifteen years?

This running record of sobriety AND my life experience is the greatest wealth of information someone suffering from the disease of alcoholism may ever read.

If we are not honest with people about everything, and if we sugar coat our words and always say YES to everyone and not rock the boat, and we let our friends continue to do stupid things, then what are we getting sober for ?

If we do not share the messages of HOPE as well as the Messages of WARNINGS, then what do we have to give?

Sobriety is not pretty. It does get ugly. And Sober people can be assholes.

I know this is true. When the four horsemen visited me on that one day that I fell to the ground and sobbed on my knees, a long sober man called me irrational and a child.

Everybody continues to blow smoke up his ass to this day, and every time I see one of those people, they stay well away from me !

I’m tired of being the pretty gay boy who loves everyone and never says the word NO to anyone. I’m tired of having to eat shit from people who turned their backs on me.

I sat in one particular room for a solid year, talking, begging, for someone to step up and help me. Not One Soul Stepped up and Helped me.

People who are long sober, look at me and say nothing.

That’s the God’s honest Truth.

Sobriety is worth every penny you invest in it. Sobriety is NOT a cake walk. Sobriety is not pretty, when it really gets UGLY. And not every sober person wants to be your friend.

People look at me and think I AM CRAZY ??? That nothing I have to say to them matters, and that the way I work my program is stupid and unnecessary ?

The Second time you really have to work for it.

I will tell you that the first time around there was a boy who could not string a week together. And for FOUR YEARS he was stuck in that revolving door. I could not figure out why he could not “Get It.”

And you know, I had to go back out MYSELF, to understand the SLIP properly.

So you think that I waste my time writing here and talking to the air night after night, and you think that what I say is wrong or rude or inappropriate ?

UNBECOMING a SOBER member of A.A. ??

Fuck You.

I worked my ass off from day one. I did EVERY single thing I was told to do, EVERYTHING.

  • I got a home group
  • I did service
  • I made coffee and set up tables and chairs
  • I went to thousands of meetings
  • I worked Steps and More Steps and More Steps Over and Over
  • I went back to university at age 36 and got TWO degrees
  • I got Married in Sobriety
  • I lived 23 years longer than I was supposed to Living with AIDS
  • I am still alive today
  • And I hit FIFTY years old last month

I fucking worked my ass off. And I talk about people, who cannot be bothered to even lift their little finger to get sober. Who moan about God and the Steps and Spirituality.

Oh For Fucks sake … Read the God damned Book

More to the point READ HOW IT WORKS and tell me if you understand the concept of HONESTY ????

YES ???

NO ???

People from other places told me, front and center, that if I did not work my ass off, that sobriety would mean nothing and that I would not learn one God damned thing.

If I did not WORK. And PRAY. And Serve. And Give.

I did that for years and years, and what did I get for that effort ? NADA !

I have a handful of good friends. I can count them on two hands.

I sponsor people, who care about me. I don’t waste my time with takers and users.

Time is precious. And sobriety is precious.

If you are not willing to do the work, then don’t waste my time.

The Four Horsemen are always there. And keeping them away is a full-time job.

TERROR – BEWILDERMENT – FRUSTRATION – DESPAIR