Monday: The Infinite Ocean

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It was a very wild weekend here. Knowing that Daylight Savings was going to begin on Sunday, did not dissuade me from living my life as I always had, before.

Going to bed early, just for the sake of going to bed early, seems to be, beyond my capabilities. I just have to crank out a couple more hours out of my twenty-four, THEN go to bed, WHERE I grab a book and I read for ANOTHER hour, before shutting off the light for the night.

Sometimes, we just need to GO TO BED ALREADY !!!

Saturday night, I was burning the AFTER-Midnight oil. Knowing that I HAD to be up at SEVEN in the AM, to be at the Hospital, at Vendome by EIGHT in the AM.

I stayed up to fart around as usual, so it wasn’t until around 2 that I finally went to bed. I set my phone for SEVEN, and sure as shit, SEVEN did come around, sooner than I would have liked. But who am I to listen to conventional wisdom ?

I got dressed, and headed through the tunnel to the Orange line, which is a straight shot to Vendome, three stations up the line. I took the tunnel, the new access for everyone, including the Handicapped patients who visit the new MUHC Hospital.

Let me tell you how much grief was wrought because they built that entire hospital project, but did not have the foresight to build an accessible tunnel FROM the Metro station to the Hospital, in one fell swing …

That would have been too esasy!!!

They did not plan accordingly. And after much wringing of hands and complaints lodged to the city, the city caved and spent extra millions of dollars to tunnel from the station to the hospital, AFTER the FACT.

I get to the hospital around 7:30 and get lost trying to find my way into the hospital, because getting in, is half the fun.

On a Sunday Morning no less.

The only people AT the hospital at 7:30 in the morning are those working INSIDE, and Security. The halls are all devoid of life. I want to get outside for smoke before hand, because you CANNOT smoke on Hospital property.

I quietly Exit the building, wherein I get locked out of said hospital, and after trying three separate entrances with locked doors, and only a security button and a speaker to talk to, I find my way back into said hospital, trudging through MUD and SNOW on the far side of the building, having to find my way BACK to where I really needed to be for my appointment.

I get to the department, and the lights are off. The desk is devoid of life, thankfully, I see a young man exiting the same location and ask him where I can find a sign of life, and he says to me… “OH, they will come and get you … just have a seat and wait…”

Ten Minutes later a nurse comes to fetch me and the CT Scan takes all of five minutes.

I just spent the better part of an hour navigating the damned building for the climax of a FIVE minute CT Scan of my back…

Thank you for making your appointment this morning, have a nice day.

I took the Metro back to Atwater to drop off some scripts that needed to be refilled, that I would pick up later. I walk back home and gather my granny cart, and walk BACK to the mall to do my grocery shopping for the next few days …

BECAUSE ??? You might ask ??? There is SNOW in the forecast for the next three days.

I don’t want to be stuck without ample supplies and have to go out in a snow storm to grocery shop trying to pull a wretched granny cart through the snow.

Been there, Done that already.

I get home from my shopping trip and crawl back into bed. I sleep for the entire day and into the night. I had turned my phone off and was comatose for hours. I got up for dinner and some tv. By 11 p.m. I had such a head ache that my head was spinning and I was nauseous.

I took some Naproxen and crawled back into bed. I felt so sick. Not sure where that came from but, that was a thing.

I slept through until my haircut appointment this afternoon.

I have a HIGH and TIGHT haircut, that we tweaked just a bit. My friends, this evening seemed to like it. Because several people commented, which was unusual.

We read from the Big Book, and the topic of Resentments.

You’d never know how many of us drunks, YOUNG and OLD, have serious DADDY ISSUES. Everybody shared on the topic. And as usual, our trusty time-keeper kept us all to a three-minute time limit on sharing.

Which at the end of tonight’s meeting, spoke to him about.

Another of our kids went back out. She was hanging on the periphery of the room when I spoke to her before the meeting. I gave her some sage advice, and asked her to sit among everyone, and not on the back wall, as some do, to stay out of the fray, for all intents and purposes.

She did not make it through the entire meeting. I think the topic was a bit rough for her, so she bolted before the meeting even ended.

A friend of mine, lost his mother recently. We are kin to the same problem. Parents with memories and resentment lists like ELEPHANTS.

They NEVER Forget …

As sober people, what is done is done. Carrying around resentments is like carrying rocks around our necks, in sacks only we can fill, OR empty, whenever we choose.

My friend realized, long ago, what game she had been playing. And he chose to take the high road, and access the infinite ocean of power we have within our reach, when we get sober. Taking that high road, was not always the easy road. But he walked it.

He made peace with his parents and escorted his mother to her death, valiantly. Because he embraced love and compassion, and the infinite ocean of love around him, and he carried that love back to his family, doing good, small things, OFTEN.

I don’t have that luxury of doing Good, Small Things, Often.

One, because my brother hates me as hard as my parents hate me. And Two, I cannot even get him to acknowledge my humanity as a human being, let alone, answer any of my texts to him, beyond his …

I GOT YOUR TEXTS AND I DID NOT READ THEM. STOP TEXTING ME ALREADY BECAUSE I AM NOT INTERESTED IN KNOWING YOU.

So fuck me for trying.

My friend talked to me for a bit after the meeting and when I got home, I caved to pressure of compassion and emotion, and I texted my brother AGAIN.

I give him three days before he tells me to fuck off again…

I have not spoken to my mother, not that she wants to even talk to me, but I wished to express my condolences to her, but if I cannot raise my brother, as he is her gatekeeper now, and he isn’t speaking to me, I will never get to my mother.

So she will go to her grave even more angry and bitter than my father was.

Sometimes sobriety and the truth sucks, because there is not a snowball’s chance in hell, that I will get anyone to recognize that I am ALSO a human being, with feelings of my own.

I might have made the bed I am sleeping in right now, by choices that I made twenty odd years ago, but they were direct results of my family telling me to fuck off and DIE ALREADY when I was very sick and closer to death than I am today.

It isn’t ALL my fault for the state of family affairs today.

I would love to believe I have access to my friends INFINITE OCEAN of possibilities, but that just AIN’T the case with my family. For my family, you can NEVER go HOME.

Tomorrow I have a Two O’clock appointment with the smile specialists. I HATE, with all my soul, the dentist. But I need serious help, and it’s gonna cost serious money, that we know we don’t have, to complete the job successfully.

I am praying for small mercies and maybe a little miracle of financial ability of the part of an institution to be able to finance what I need IN HOUSE, and not using an outside firm where I am going to pay interest for years, before I can even think of paying off a job that is probably going to cost THOUSANDS of DOLLARS, start to finish.

UGH !!!

It’s time to go to bed already.

More to come. Stay tuned …

Incidental Information: Severus

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Severus Snape was in the employ of Voldemort, on the night he heard the first portion of Professor Trelawny’s prophecy regarding the child who would vanquish the Dark Lord.

Would it be Harry, Or would it Be Neville Longbottom. It was a toss up.
We know now who that child was and is.

Severus had a saving grace. Lily Potter.

There were two sides to the bravest man at Hogwarts. In his death, Harry learns the truth about his nemesis and Potions Master, Defense Against the Dark Arts Master, and Headmaster of Hogwarts.

This is a convenient visual to tell this little story about my brother.

I believe in that every human being has, within them, redeeming quality.

That we carry that one part of ourselves, unseen to the rest of us, that only they might, or might not know exists. I believe, that with time, growth, spiritual awareness and truth, we eventually find that redeeming quality, and we either embrace it or we ignore it.

People have a choice in this life. To DO Good, To BE Good, and To Honor Good. or They live their lives in the manner they choose, ignoring the light and living in the dark.

I’ve learned a great deal about spiritual truth in fifty odd years of life, coming from a bevy of teachers, spiritual and secular. Along with sixteen plus years of sobriety, a university education, spiritual teaching and living in the light for the whole of my sobriety, I have come a long way, in understanding redemption.

My Father and my Mother, for the WHOLE of our lives, my brother and myself, lived in a place of judgment and resentment, and darkness. I have stories about where this might have originated.

Childhood, Abuse, Alcoholism, War, Anger, Betrayal …

We are all products of our environment.

My parents come from rough backgrounds. And who they became after we were born, was a direct result of everything that happened to them in the past. Because it informed who they would become.

My Grandmothers; Jeannie, and Camille, were LOVE. Multiplied. My Aunt Paula, was Love Multiplied. Without those three women in my life, to this day, my father would have succeeded in killing me as a child, and probably would have gotten away with it, if I ponder for a moment, justice in the 1970’s and the prevalence of PTSD, that we knew nothing about for decades to come.

Even though my parents lived in hatred and resentment, they had their moments, when you could be mistaken that they did actually love their children. Least of all me.

Poison is Poison. And Life is Life. And this is the TRUTH:

My parents created me in a heated moment of passion in the back seat of a car, in a drive in, that every time we drove past it, my mother would BOAST that I was created there, happenstance.

In the end, as time went on, I was the MISTAKE and my brother was the CORRECTION.

I grew up in this dichotomy of love versus hate. When I knew life at home was no longer viable, I chose to leave, opting never to tell anyone I was gay. My twenties were a wash out, and a complete failure. Who do I blame for what I did not know?

I left my brother in this mix. I did not come back home. I never contacted him, and he never contacted me. We lived separate lives, to this day.

He does not know me, and in the same way, I do not know him.

My mother’s curse fell down around me. Both my parents got terribly sick. My mother survived, but she is a feeble human being today, with very little to live for, but to stoke the hatred in her heart till she takes her last breath, I am sure.

As long as she still breathes, and lives under my brothers roof now, my brother will never come to recognize his One Redeeming Quality, because it is hidden within him.

YET, over the past years, that redeeming quality, presented itself in peculiar behavior, that at times belie him. He communicates with Black Listed family, on the odd occasion. Which is how I keep tabs on him, through a back channel he knows nothing about.

In the same token, when my brother uses back channels to communicate, my parents are none the wiser. What they don’t know won’t hurt them. He made specific communications prior to my father’s death.

There is a kernel of remorse within him. A kernel of goodness, A kernel of hope.

I learned this from my aunt.

When my father died, I scoured the web looking for him, only to fail. It took me to a government cypher, whom I paid for critical information that I needed.

I phoned my brother twice. The first call was Not So Sober at all. The second call I made was much more civil.

On the Wednesday after my father’s death, my brother called me, told me to lose his number and hung up on me.

He redeemed himself, when twenty minutes later he called back to apologize for hanging up on me, and we had a protracted, and rather angry exchange. But he called a second time.

There is goodness in him still.

Knowing his propensity for back channel communication, and his small attempt, in a very small way, to say something quietly, without saying it openly,

That is his TELL.

And if I am to believe my aunt, that there was a 99% chance he read my letter, tells me that part of him wants to know, however hard he tries to be angry with me, I believe that kernel is there, and when the darkness that surrounds him dies, once and for all, he will be free of that evil cunt energy.

When she is dead, that cunt; he will have to go on with his life. Once they are dead, he can carry forwards their vitriol and anger and resentment, or he will EVOLVE.

And IF he read my letter, he knows ALL the TRUTH. He knows ALL the LIES, and he finally knows MY story, from the beginning to the present day.

That will be a huge paradigm shift in his life that might take awhile to make sense, after a lifetime of not knowing me or having me in his life.

 

He was loved by the same women who loved me. That love, passed on in Jeannie, Camille and Paula is what sustains me and has sustained me for the whole of my life.

That love exists within my brother too.

He was caught in a No Win Scenario, a Kobyashi Maru scenario.

What was he supposed to do, walk away, and leave my parents? God forbid he had done that, walked away like I did, cleanly, never looking back! Imagine how this huge shit hole of a situation would have played out had my parents been left to their own devices.

I close my eyes and I can see and hear: THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES
playing in my mind. 

My brother was their care taker, because both my parents believed I was the mistake and not part of the family. My brother said to me that I had made a choice, NOT to be a part of this family. He is correct in that assessment.

What he did not know, unless he read my letter, is the WHY ?

If he read my letter, then he knows the truth from my own lips.

I give him the opportunity to redeem himself. I opened the door to his future, a future with me in it. But that will only be his choice to make, if and when the time and the climate is right. I cannot hunt him and force him into seeing the truth as it is.

He has to come to that realization on his own.

A Good Sober Sponsor, does not chase their sponsees.
We point the way to the truth and let you decide you want it.

And if and when he decides what he wants. I will be waiting.

Severus Snape will again be redeemed.

Because I am sure he remembers who I am.

Because in his small ways, his “TELL” tells me he remembers.

For all his harshness and anger and resentment, he knows deep within who I am.

And it will be a glorious day when he gets there himself.

Monday: Wisdom, After the Storm

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What happens after a storm passes ? Well, that depends on the severity of the damage, that was wrought by said storm.

After Andrew, in 1992, it was very dark, for a VERY LONG TIME.

Where my family home sat, geographically, was on the Northern edge of massive total destruction of every structure that once was whole. My parents home was destroyed, along with everyone else’s in this general area.

When power goes down, having light, is scarce. Finding light is the key.

It has been said, by the tv people, that those who have more, more money, more ability, more access, THEY will get what they need much faster, and cheaper, than others, who Do Not Have …

I know, that every day for months, I drove into the destruction area. I needed a special I.D. to get in, and out, outside of hours, because the national guard and the armed forces were guarding the areas most destroyed.

I drove in, in the morning, and I took orders from all the neighbors, of what they seriously needed, that I could procure, farther afield and bring back.

That’s because Andrew was an East – West Storm.

IRMA was a North – South Storm.

With the East West trajectory storm, you could go North of destruction to get whatever you really needed and could bring it back where things were needed.

Irma was a South to North trajectory storm. The storm encompassed the entire state of Florida from one coast to the other. Really, there is nowhere to go, in any direction, to get anything you need, and bring back to where you need it.

Community spirit degrades when we go without. People panic when they go without basic comforts like Water, Light, Warmth, Safety, Food, etc …

The list goes on and on.

Looters are famous for tossing grenades into an already bad situation. They just steal, because they believe they have a One Up on the authorities, and the residents of any given area, they decide to steal from.

They have no scruples.

With the Power Grid down, things get bad. Thankfully, Winter is not an issue. But going without creature comforts, the longer the duration of going without, get worse and compound daily. The longer one is in the dark, trying to protect what is yours, can seriously make one crazy.

I remember sleeping in a car, at the end of a street, with a gun in the front seat, so that families could sleep at night, knowing that someone had their backs. Guns were necessary, because looters and assholes were a dime a dozen in bad situations.

People, across the board need to make a list of serious needs, and then groups need to be formed by those on the outside, who can procure needs, on a need to have basis.

Food, Water, Toilet Paper, Baby Food, Blankets, Batteries, FUEL, Generators …

A working toilet is a luxury when there is no electricity nor running water.

Let me tell you …

A disaster can either make you or it will break you.

People learn how to be inventive and smart. Pooling talents and money and things one has with your neighbors, breeds trust and honor. People working together to get LIGHT and FOOD and MONEY and FUEL, works better than everyone fending for themselves.

Going from creature comforts, lights, toilets, kitchens, food, ELECTRICITY … to total darkness, no light, no running water, no electricity, is a very hard lesson.

We are so comforted knowing that we take for granted all that we have, that when a storm comes through and takes all that away in a matter of hours, and the after effects can last days, weeks, months and years …

THAT is a CHALLENGE …

When entire areas go dark, when the sun goes down, you don’t necessarily see it, but when it gets DARK, it really gets DARK. There are no BUGS, No hum of electrical lines, Nothing, Nada, Silence.

When all you see at night are stars for months on end, because it took months on end, after Andrew to get power back.

Thankfully, people did what they were told, before the re entered damaged areas. They bought generators out of location and brought them with them. And many of us supplied fuel for months on end to run those generators.

Yes, Irma was destructive, But Andrew was terribly destructive on every building for miles and miles as far as you could see and then some.

As long as you have solid structures that may be dark, but you still have a roof over year head, you are farther along than you think.

It is when there is no house or roof, or walls to live within, then you got to think fast on your feet. Where are you going to go and who is going to help you ?

Flood waters will eventually recede.

Clearing trees and clearing downed power lines come FIRST.

Electrified Power Lines can kill. We know this. Avoid them …

Do no trust a power line is NOT electrified, just because it is on the ground.

It takes some serious mental gymnastics to power through continual days and weeks of darkness.

And having a storm that blanketed the state of Florida, makes it harder to procure whatever it is you need, because in any direction, those people too, need the same things you need. There might be locations nearby that can provide, finding those areas is a MUST, and SOONER than LATER.

In times like this, it is in the Giving that Matters so much to THOSE who have very little or nothing at all.

When you leave your home to evacuate, you return to maybe something. Anything.

For many, returning to something becomes a return to nothing.

So where do we start ???

We start by helping one another, NOT stealing from one another.

We practice being our brothers and sisters keepers.

Charity begins at HOME.

If you live in a place that you HAVE, now is the time to GIVE, to those who DON’T.

This is where the rubber meets the road.

Do what is right. If you can help, HELP.

Downie takes to Parliament Hill to speak out for Canada’s Indigenous Peoples

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Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, July 2, 2017 6:57PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 2, 2017 8:23PM EDT

OTTAWA — Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie made a rare public appearance Sunday to bring attention to the ongoing plight of some of Canada’s young indigenous people, likening it to the same kind of pain young people suffered in the now defunct residential schools.

He told young people gathered at festivities surrounding “We Day,” the movement inspired by children’s rights activist brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, that they can learn a lot about the history of government-funded, church-run residential schools, where indigenous children endured widespread sexual, emotional and physical abuse.

Standing on the stage set up on Parliament Hill for Canada Day weekend, Downie said that indigenous children in parts of Canada still must travel great distances to go to school, likening it to “the pain, the torture and the death,” suffered in the residential schools.

Indigenous leaders say children regularly leave to the nearest urban centre to get education and health care services not offered in remote communities. There have been cases where the young people have died because get caught up in risky behaviour because they lack community supports.

“It is still happening even though the residential school has gone away. Kids are still having to travel great distances to live and go to school,” Downie said, with silence filling the pauses between his words.

Downie is suffering from an incurable form of brain cancer and makes few public appearances, but has used those to be a voice for the country’s indigenous peoples and the harm caused by the residential school system.

One day after the country marked 150 years, Downie used his brief time on stage to speak about the “new” country that would be born in the next 150 years.

“Yours is the first generation in the new and real Canada. I love you,” he said to applause.

“You and yours, the indigenous, together will make this a true country now, one true to your word. The new 150 years, not the old one. The new one. Exciting and true.”

The path to reconciliation was a key theme of the Canada Day weekend in the nation’s capital, which saw a group of indigenous activists erect a demonstration teepee on Parliament Hill as part of what they called a “reoccupation” to bring attention to the history of indigenous people. It was removed on Sunday.

The federal Liberals have been the focus of political heat over the party’s sweeping promises to First Nations, amid increasing pressure to comply with a human rights tribunal’s order to properly fund First Nations child welfare services.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Downie and those in attendance that Canadians and their government must accept responsibility for “our failings” as the country tries to help victims and their families heal decades-old wounds.

“Gord, your work is a powerful reminder of all that still needs to be done to acknowledge one of the darkest chapters in our history and make things right with Canada’s First Nations, Metis Nation, and Inuit peoples.”

After Trudeau spoke, a school choir performed Downie’s song “The Stranger,” the lead track off his solo album Secret Path that tells the story of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack. Wenjack died in 1966 after running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ont.

Downie had previously performed the song at a “We Day” event in Toronto in October. This time, he stood to the side, appearing emotional at times, and tipping his hat to the choir when they all donned sparkling purple hats similar to the one Downie wore during the Hip’s last tour last year.

As the choir walked off the stage, Downie shook the singers’ hands and thanked them.

Suffering and Sacrament: On Finding Connection as a Grocery Store Cashier

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Borrowed from: Stephen – S. Bradford Long Blog – Daily Reflection.

Every day, I go to work as a grocery store cashier at a family-owned business in a prosperous region of the more generally depressed Appalachian mountains. This work has transformed my life, not because it is the exciting, high-impact, high-power job so many of us dream about in our twenties and thirties, but because it brings me into direct contact with humanity.

I am sometimes astonished by the suffering, just beneath the surface, that permeates the air. I see it in the grocery store in a way I might not see it in other careers, because all humanity – the miserable and the joyful, the ill and the well, the rich and the poor – need to eat. Therefore, the grocery store is a gathering place where all social lines breakdown. We are united by the commonality of food.

I see a young man – eyes drooping, so thin I can see his spine poking against his teeshirt, dragging himself through the aisles as if he is dragging a tank behind him. I watch him through the aisles, I check him out at the register, and he is often rude, empty. Being a depressive myself, I know the marks of an inner Hell that is tearing him to shreds.

I watch people dying slowly and miserably of terminal illnesses that they cannot afford to address. Some are full of bile, their regret cast before them like a long shadow, while others are trying to soak up as much life as they can.

I remember the old woman who received a phone call while in my line to inform her that her grandson had just committed suicide. She wept, and I listened hard to her stories of her grandson. She thanked me, and went on her way.

I remember the man who wandered through my line, tears in his eyes. He looked at me as if he were starving for something I couldn’t give him, and he said, “My best friend just died of a heroin overdose. Please, please, value your friends, value every moment you have on this earth.” He wandered out the door, lost in his grief.

An old woman came through me line once, and her cart was full of frozen cakes. She met my eyes. “My daughter just killed herself,” she said. “These frozen cakes were her favorite. I will save them, I will keep them forever.”

I see meth addicts, skeletons of their former selves. I see alcoholics, the smell of whiskey heavy on their breath. I see the mentally ill, talking to people who aren’t there, and I see the homeless, wandering in from the street because we have air conditioning and cheap food. I see shreds of humanity abandoned and forgotten.

I see joy, too. I see the old woman who had finally, after years of saving money, finally got teeth. And, to top it all off, she got an aesthetist to remove all her facial hair. Now she flashes her brilliant smile at everyone she can, and she is radiant with joy. All she ever wanted was teeth, and now she has them.

In this setting, in which new suffering walks through our doors every day, mixed in with the mundane, the regular, the blithely happy, feeding the public is transformed. It’s no longer a chore, but a sacrament. When I hand people whatever nourishing food they’ve chosen off the shelves, I hear the words of Christ, “This is my body, broken for you.”

That everyday moment is transfigured into something sacred, for it is full of the recognition that this is another human soul, and that this human soul is capable of galaxies of silent suffering. That connection with suffering, and that offering up of nourishment – that is holy, that is sacred.

Every day, I am reminded that we all feel pain. We all suffer. We all yearn to be seen. And this realization fills me with a tenderness that words cannot express. I can’t put it into words, this seeing of humanity. I wish I could share this tenderness with everyone I can. I wish I could tell everyone who seems dubious of my work, “no, you don’t understand. Working in a grocery store is not a waste of time. It’s not a waste of my talents. If only you could see what I see.”

Monday: Lamentation … 417

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AND Acceptance is the answer to ALL my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

NOTHING, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.

Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes…

…Acceptance is the key to my relationship with God today. I never just sit and do nothing while waiting for Him to tell me what to do. Rather, I do whatever is in front of me to be done, and I leave the results up to Him; however it turns out, that’s God’s will for me.

This reading should be tacked at all points of view in everybody’s home, no matter who you are, alcoholic or not. It is a reading that I should have used recently, for some of my guys, and most importantly for myself.

I am told, and I tell this to my guys that, it isn’t the destination that matters, it is the journey in between that matters, and will mean something. I heard one of my guys talk about the counter-intuitive nature of the above passage.

In his work, he is sober. But his workmates are not. And the million dollar millennial has stars in his eyes, and is idealistic, and is of the mind, that if he puts in the time, work and talent, that at 35, he is going to be a millionaire, and be able to retire on that yacht in Monaco.

I am afraid, and we are afraid that the end point is nigh, and may not happen, and placing such expectation on God, is folly…

They say that: We make PLANS and GOD laughs …

Acceptance comes, daily. In the moment. Every moment.

I’ve seen people come in, having lost everything, some who have lost some, and even others, who lost nothing, but their self respect and dignity. I watch people come in and have stars in their eyes, and hear them say,

“Well, I’m going to get it all back, just you watch and see…”

And how many of those people recoup their losses on any kind of grand scale ?

Very Few …

You might get sober, and then come to realize that God has bigger and usually better plans for us, than we know ourselves. God’s time, is a long haul proposition.

Waiting for God, is like watching paint dry on a house.

Every time I read this story, or think about acceptance, I get choked up. Tears fall from my eyes, and I feel lamentation, in the worst way.

Mental Illness is serious business.

When I met hubby many years ago, he was ebullient, romantic, sexual, dynamic and young. The early months, of our relationship was filled with things, that have long since disappeared, never to be seen again.

It was good, that, at the time, people were quoting page 417 to me constantly.

Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.

Because when Mental Illness struck us, the man who went into treatment, was NOT the same man who came out the other end. The doctors failed to tell me this truth while it was happening right in front of me.

Talk about Acceptance …

Relationships are built on Love, Trust and Respect. If you commit, you commit. Even before we spoke vows in front of family and friends, shit had happened. Cruel shit, that nobody knows about, to this very day.

Not One Person …

Nobody knows how bad it got. Nobody knows the finer details of what mental illness does to a couple. But I was damned sure that what my family and friends saw, was the best possible vision of a man who survived treatment for Mental Illness. And on that very day, He was the Best Presentable Image of a Whole Man, Body and Soul.

That was the man I married. We were celebrating who HE was, in that moment.

It took me a long time to reconcile who He was, with who He became, through treatment. I kinda felt cheated that I was short changed in the end. But I was committed. Those wedding vows were tested for damned sure, before we even hit that altar.

Acceptance was the key.

It was a very good thing that I was getting sober, and I had at least 15 months in the program, before SHIT hit the FAN. Because it took all of my friends, some serious work, to keep me ON THE BEAM, for the next year of treatment.

I do not regret one day of it. I did the best I could do, given the circumstances. I did everything possible to make hubby comfortable and to care for him, to the best of my abilities. Every Single Day, and I still do, to this day.

I miss the ebullient man he used to be. And every time someone suggests this passage, I get emotional, because I know, to my very core, what this passage means to my life, in a visceral way.

We have two choices in our relationships.

  • You can either accept life as it unfolds, knowing you are powerless over many things, and you won’t have all the answers, or
  • You run, in the other direction, when life gets tough.
  • You either LOVE harder than you have ever loved before, or
  • You never love that way ever again …
  • That is what makes a marriage, every bit sweeter …
  • That you can live up to, and into those vows you speak

Marriage vows are written in a certain way. They are a warning about what may happen to you, when you least expect it, and better be informed as you stand before God, and you commit to your husband/wife/partner/significant other, that you are promising these certain unknowns.

That if they happen, you were once warned.

Running out when shit happens, is not suggested, but many people fail this test, when shit hits the fan. Which is why 417 needs to be plastered in every home on earth.

If you can accept that whatever is going to happen, probably will happen, and that God, in his infinite wisdom, ordains the universe, and that you might not get, that end point filled with expectations, you just might get, whatever God believes we are due …

That is total acceptance.

“Human devastation syndrome”

 

15896003_10101383430770686_8990300469618124644_o_0 By Charles Davis

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It feels insufficient to say that children from Syria are suffering from “PTSD.” The oft-orphaned survivors of a horrible ongoing humanitarian crisis are, likely, experiencing post-traumatic stress, but these children of war have experienced more trauma — physical and emotional — than the medical professionals who care for them have ever seen: the shredded remains of their mom or dad, blown apart by a regime barrel bomb, a Russian cruise missile, or, increasingly, U.S. airstrikes.

“Human devastation syndrome” is Dr. M.K. Hamza’s term for the orphaned end-result.

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“We have talked to so many children, and their devastation is above and beyond what even soldiers are able to see in the war,” Hamza, a neuropsychologist with the Syrian-American Medical Society, told ATTN:. “They have seen dismantled human beings that used to be their parents, or their siblings. You get out of a family of five or six or 10 or whatever — you get one survivor, two survivors sometimes. A lot of them have physical impairments. Amputations. Severe injuries. And they’ve made it to the refugee camp somehow.”

Hamza chairs the mental health committee of SAMS, whose 1,000 Syrian-American members have volunteered to provide medical aid wherever survivors of the worst war the 21st century has yet seen can be found.

“You have children who are devastated,” he said, “and this is not the end of it.”

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The emotional and material problems facing Syrian civilians are compounded every day by the crushing poverty and exploitation that Syrians experience at refugee camps — where 1 in 5 of the half-million inhabitants are under the age of 11 — and on the streets of Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan, which host the majority of the more than 4.9 million people who have fled Syria since 2011, when mass protests for democracy were met with bullets by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Another 6.3 million people are internally displaced, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, and another half a million have been killed.

“Even the word ‘poor’ is not justifiable here because it’s a less than human condition,” Hamza said, speaking from the sidelines of SAMS’ Feb. 18 conference in Huntington Beach, California.

Iyad Alkhouri, a psychiatrist who volunteers with SAMS, testified to that.

“I have patients who tell me they were touched inappropriately by their doctors,” Alkhouri said in an address to the conference. “The doctors, because [the patients] were Syrian, assumed they were ‘whores.’”

“There are girls on the streets of Beirut selling themselves — 8, 9 years old,” he said. “And then you tell their parents: Why don’t you send them to school so they can improve themselves? And they say, ‘They make $50 a day. Can you give me $50 a day?’”

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“Whatever we’re doing is just a Band-Aid,” Anas Moughrabieh, an intensive-care physician with SAMS, told ATTN:.

He’s helped care for Syrian patients evacuated to the Turkish border town of Antakya, where he’s also trained medical workers returning to treat the victims of bombings and shellings in Syria itself. “We try to fill the gaps,” he said, “but all the relief organizations — we’re just putting a Band-Aid on the wound. We’re not addressing the root cause of the problem.”

The root cause of the problem, as he sees it, is a “tyranny” that, “faced with peaceful people who were demonstrating for democracy in the beginning — it faced them with arms and airstrikes.” Nearly every hospital or clinic SAMS supports in Syria has been attacked, and nine out of 10 times it’s by airstrikes, he said, meaning those strikes were carried out by the regime or its Russian ally (the armed opposition does not have an air force).

Over 90 percent of the civilians killed in Syria since March 2011 have been killed by the regime and its allies, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, an independent monitoring organization.

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Syrian-American Medical Society – sams-usa.net

“Instead of providing resources to treat this 10-year-old child who was hit by a missile,” he argued, “we have to stop the missile before it hits them.”

But missiles and governments aren’t the only killers in Syria. “We had one hospital in Aleppo… that was attacked by ISIS thugs, and they came in actually to the ICU and killed one of the patients, who was a civilian,” Moughrabieh said. And in Idlib, the last major opposition bastion after the fall of Aleppo, an armed group “attacked one of our hospitals” and tried to take it over, he said, rebel in-fighting on the ground complementing the threat from above.

One irony, SAMS President Dr. Ahmad Tarakji told ATTN:, is that working in the same area as some of these hostile groups is enough to get one labeled as their ally. Indeed, that’s one of the major threats to humanitarian work these days.

“Anybody who is involved in humanitarian care could be labeled a terrorist,” he said. “The concept — the illusion — of protecting health care workers has been challenged in Syria, meaning you can be killed.”A child who makes it to a refugee camp in these conditions is one of the lucky ones.

“You have millions of children who are devastated,” Hamza, the neuropsychologist, told ATTN:, “and you have to ask, ‘Where is this going to lead?’” One thing is for sure, and it runs counter to the see-no-evil isolationism that, at least rhetorically, is now en vogue: “It’s going to impact the whole world.”