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.

Monday: It’s COLD outside

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We are sitting at a freakish (-10c/w.c. -14c) It is bitterly cold. The first cold snap that has fallen on the city this season. People are in serious denial. On my travels tonight, I heard many of my friends say that they dressed for minor cold, this morning, because it was a bit warmer than it is at this hour. Temps dropped throughout the day and we arrived at the -10c by the meeting hour.

Folks were not properly dressed for COLD.

I had shopped for my Winter wardrobe a couple of weeks ago. I was prepared to brave the cold, as I see just what I can get away with “looks wise” with the proper layering and shoes.

The march towards the holidays has begun. The tree will go up later this week, as we need to shop for new lights and ornaments.

It snowed over the last 2 nights, and there is a fine sheen of ice covering the sidewalks around town. On the way out, climbing the hill from Place des Arts Metro station was a chore. People were slipping and sliding instead of having purchase of their boots.

We read from The Big Book on Monday nights. This evenings fare covered the topic of anger and resentment. Both, the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics, anger and resentment can kill us, or more likely, a stint with a bottle or two.

We’ve been circling around the inventory steps for a while now. Reading the before or after portions of the read, where the inventory is concerned.

This past summer I worked my last round of steps with my Spiritual Directors. The read tonight, mentions that if we hold resentments within, we rob ourselves of being in “The Sunlight of the Spirit.” And whatever we do not expose to the light, remains in the dark, for as long as life remains hidden.

This last pass at my steps I learned that I had to expose all of my resentments, because I had been holding back, a few tactical stones in my arsenal. Those stones, hanging on in my back pack were becoming too cumbersome and I had to let them go, in order to move forwards with my life.

I want my day in court. I want words to be spoken to me, because I was not the cause of all my families problems. People make choices in life, and that’s the truth. What happened when people made those choices, resulted in my conception and subsequent birth. I had nothing to do with those choices.

My parents like to say that I am the cause of all of their problems.

I’m not.

They owe me words. Apologies. Forgiveness.

I will never get that from them, and they will go to their graves, bitter and resentful. That has nothing to do with me, in the end. it is all about them and not me.

Being totally spiritually free is the key to sober success.

It has taken almost the whole of my sobriety to get here.

And it is about time.

Friday … Meditation, Try It

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The rain finally rained itself out. And it has been cool today and into this evening. We are sitting at (6c). The next three nights, the temps are going to plummet (-9c,-12c,-14c) over the next three nights.

Mother Nature is taking the piss again.

Friday is usually a busy day, that runs until we step into the hall for the Friday Night Event of the week. This afternoon’s conversation with one of my guys, we read through Steps 10 and 11, tonight’s read and discussion was all about Step 11, meditation and creating and bettering our relationship with our Higher Power, (as we understand it).

Before kick off, I spoke to a friend of mine who is divorced, and has a 4 year old. It was Easter and we compared notes. The baby got her first taste of chocolate and other Easter candy this year, and when it was time to go, she was left in her mother’s hands. And she bounced “off the walls” for hours before finally going to sleep. My friend had his daughter over the weekend, and he did the same, (read: Contraband candy and chocolate) then handed her off to her mother, whence madness took over and the bouncing off the walls, as well.

We had a good laugh…

Over the years, I have tried to work on a routine where quiet time is built into my day.  There are times during the day when I sit quietly. I don’t usually watch tv during the day, which is useful. I have instituted a NO Politics Policy when I am home.

In the morning, I am home alone, and I have those first couple of hours to sit still and ponder my day, and what needs to be done, and if there is nothing I really need to do, then horizontal meditation is my goal.

I find that meditation comes quite easily when I am in the bathroom. When I stand in front of my mirror, I speak the names of people who bring me comfort or who have a direct impact on my life. By thinking/speaking/ a name, I offer that thought to God, and I do that daily.

Moments of gratitude for what those people did for me.

The story about Todd and the Bar, and his direction to leave my baggage at the door, and only focusing on the job I had to do inside the building. When I think about that now, that was a form of meditation. I was able to let go my worries of dying and of living, opting for only thinking about what I needed to do on any given night, for a specific period of time.

During this time, I certainly tried to be willful and get my way, and piss and moan and complain, and I did that often, but with lessons learned, I was able to stop KVETCHING and just do my job, and that was it.

As long as I had that structure with someone administering that direction I was good to go. But when I was on my own, left to my own devices, it all went to SHIT.

I had to walk my road, I guess.

Now the second time around, I have those people in my life, who give me certain direction and keep me on the path, correctly. I’ve learned that my bank of lessons and teachings is vast and full. And it is my job to use those lessons OFTEN.

At the end of the night, hubby goes to bed at a set hour of the night, which gives me a chance to settle down and to begin the quiet. The tv goes off, the day is wound down, I run my final online cycle, then I shut the computer off.

I prep my jug of water, my fresh fruit that I eat before bed, I wash the final dishes, shut off the lights, and turn in for the night.

I get into bed, and I read …

That is so important, to have that few hours, or maybe just an hour, to read. The radio is either on or off, depending on the material being offered on any given night.

When I turn the lights out finally, the days routine is over.

In the morning, it starts all over again.

Wash, rinse, repeat…

There are also prayers, fragments, slogans, and mantras, that are located within visual range of my desk, and at a moments notice, I can just look up and take that moment to repeat whatever it is I am looking at.

Sometimes I parse prayers, or fragments, into bite sized pieces.

When we pray, we speak our words to God, then we are called to meditate, and we listen for God to respond. Sometimes inspiration comes, sometimes it doesn’t.

In that case, I need to seek His voice from my friends, MEETINGS …

It all works, the harder you work it.

That is your challenge.

It was a good night.