Truth

When we were kids, what was the one thing our parents told us, that was the most important idea ? Always tell the truth.

Growing up, I told the truth. Sometimes at my own peril. I learned early on, just How Much Truth, to let loose. When alcohol entered the picture, truth and all those other necessary ideas of honesty, went out the window.

Tonight I heard what happens, when you cannot tell another lie, to cover up all the lies you had already spoken, and the world caves in on you.

There is something I cannot wrap my brain around today.

Why are people so averse to telling the truth and also, hearing the truth?

Why are people so hell bent to shut you up and walk away from friendships and relationships, because you tell the truth ?

I’ve been sober a long time now. And I’ve seen a great many things over time, and I’ve also heard many things in many places. I had this conversation with a couple of friends tonight.

I’ve said, in an earlier post, that the train of thought in our rooms is this:

Feel Nothing, Say Nothing, Do Nothing.

God forbid, I speak a feeling in open community ! God forbid, I loose my cool, or even slightly raise my voice in a public setting. An Heaven Forbid, I tell the TRUTH, in front of my friends.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned about vulnerability, guilt and shame, from the Master Teacher Brene Brown. Vulnerability is not a liability, it is an Asset. And I live by that thought today.

We go about our lives, listening to people, tell us to just shut up. Listen to people tell us, that to openly feel an emotion in the general public is not advised. To the point, we become a Vulcan.

Say Nothing, Feel Nothing, Do Nothing.

Like I said before, I am not a robot.

If someone upsets me, I feel an emotion. In sobriety, the book tells us that “Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.” And that to admit that I am Powerless over People, Places, and Things, is the first thing I need to know before I open my mouth and say anything.

The book also says that “If I have a problem with somebody else, that in reality, the problem exists within me.”

Which means, SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP.

You’re not supposed to say that someone upset you, because you are your own problem. You are not supposed to be resentful at all, because an alcoholic’s worst adversary is an unjustified resentment.

That we aren’t supposed to get angry, If we’ve read the book, and worked our steps and we are OH SO SOBER !

We all have feelings. And to just sit back and listen to people read these passages from the book ad nauseum, turns my stomach. Because I cannot ignore my feelings any longer. And I am not just going to:

SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP, and KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT !!

Why are people so afraid of the truth ? And why is it such a sin to speak the truth when the necessity of speaking said truth arises?

I see, and I listen, and I watch. I remarked also tonight, that over as many years, I hit meetings, and listen to the reading and I share whatever it is on my mind, on any given night.

And I wait, for Someone, Anyone to challenge me, to tell me to keep my mouth shut, or maybe I am not so sober, if I am having a reaction to someone or something.

The implied silence rule still applies. Say Nothing, Feel Nothing, Do Nothing.

None of my peers would ever break protocol and challenge me. Not one Old Timer has the balls to call me on the carpet or even say something like, you’re talking bullshit, or maybe:

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET ME TELL YOU HOW I DEALT WITH THAT!

I’ve never heard ANY of my friends, fellows or any old timer, for that matter, say this particular phrase to me or anyone else around me.

My best friend pissed me off. I sat on my resentment for weeks, until two nights ago, I wrote him a letter, and told him the truth. And tonight, two nights later, he has not a word for me, sideways.

He’s gonna walk away because I told him the truth. The last time I was in a situation where I was on the emotional bubble, and I spoke a truth, all of my friends, and ALL of my sponsees ran for the hills, and never spoke to me again. Because I was feeling in open community. Because I had an emotional reaction to being over worked, stressed, and tired.

Yes, I think we can be overworked, stressed, and tired. Making seven meetings a week, for months on end, doing all the work to keep an entire fellowship floating, takes a toll on you after 4 months of doing all the jobs IN a meeting, while everyone else is away on Summer Vacation. And needing people to step up and assume responsibility, is not a lot to ask for, in my opinion.

We get sober. We learn how to live soberly. We learn how to deal with life on life’s terms, and we learn how to tell the truth.

The proviso: DO NOT BE Vulnerable. DO NOT say anything, and for God’s sake NEVER tell the truth to your friends. And never tell the truth in a meeting, because like to old adage go …

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

How true those words are in today’s climate of lies and untruths.

Fuck me for being Honest.

I just don’t understand, and I wish someone would explain this to me in language I can understand.

Because I don’t lie to my friends, let alone my hubby.

At least that is a Sober Act.

Honest Appraisal

Yesterday my wise friend said a few things to me, directly.

He told me I needed to stop talking and start walking. He also said that, now that I had created a huge space in my life, by taking away the part that was problematic for a period of time, that I would need to find something to fill that gap with. He said I needed to shut up and put up.

Sometimes your friends know what is good for us. For me.

Tonight we talked about Step 10. “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

A long time ago, at one point, in the history of my former home group, that I am part of again today, we were three men. At one point, a group of women walked in, and asked to join the group.

We were overjoyed.

Those women, who came from different places, now residing here, came to us, with a practice already in place, with the women each of them were working with. They came religiously, Early! Two by two. Hours early. And they read their Big Books together. And each night, we heard them mention doing something particular … A written tenth step with a phone call the next morning with their respective sponsors.

They guys were watching this, and we said out loud, to each other, AND to the women present, that we too wanted to do this too. Women here, only work with women, not the men. So we, the men, had to figure out what it was we were seeing done, and to replicate it ourselves.

It took some time. But eventually we figured it out.

I have a specific ritual I follow daily. I start my day with meditation, I read my teacher’s morning post, that he puts up daily. And I go into my day. I don’t usually plan my days, because they are open, and I wait for opportunity to show up.

At the end of my day, I used to practice a certain task.

Monday morning, I took the action to remove that practice from my life, for a permanent period of time. Forcing me to straighten out my life, once and for all. To be honest with another human being, with my failures and faults, to own up to them and to begin trying something new, in the space that is now open to me.

My friend told me to find the action I needed to take to begin walking the walk, instead of just talking about it. Direct …

I’ve been coasting in sobriety for a long time, waiting patiently for the right old timer to walk up to me and say – Hey let’s do something together.

I’ve been waiting. But honestly, the sober bracket I am in is empty of others in the same bracket I am in, the 17 to 20 year bracket. Most of the old timers I know are over the 25 to 30 year bracket and are on their own journeys. So they don’t necessarily engage us younger men. That is lacking.

Tonight I made the God connection that began on Sunday. I know what to do. But I’ve been slacking. Too much. I have not stepped up into my own sobriety and do something concrete, because I’ve been coasting for so long, waiting for inspiration.

On the odd occasion, as it happens for me, God tried to get my attention, and I missed the calls. The end stage is, if you aren’t paying attention, God drops the wall on you. (Cue Sunday’s Prophetic Dream).

Ok, I heard you. I am listening. I took that dream to the only other human, familiar with the issue, because he has his own and we talked. And he set me straight, so to speak.

I know the book. I know the steps. I know the work. I just have not been connecting all three together.

I have the time, and now I have the inspired thought and I know what I have to do. The ball, had already been set in motion, with a handful of people I am present for.

I need the focus, the direct focus to make solid changes that stick.

Taking away a waste of effort and juice, was the first necessary step to become focused, unlike I have been all along.

When you point inner energy into a specific effort by removing the wastage, and the blocking, physically and spiritually, you get true energy that is useful and you get to utilize that energy in pin point form.

If there is something wrong in the world, it usually follows that the problem resides in me. I am not the center of the universe. And acceptance is the key to all of my problems.

I went to great lengths to stop a problem. I needed to find the focal point, and I need to shut up and put up, stop talking and start walking.

I think I know what that means at the moment.

More to come.

Reflections on 50, as we Cross into 51

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Fifty was a ripe, solid, round number.

Did you know that Harry Potter’s birthday is ALSO the 31st of July …

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There weren’t any big bells and whistles. Hell, there wasn’t even a party !

I can say, that 50 was a good year. My health is good. All the numbers are nominal. Got my summer doctors visits in, over the last two months, and we are good to go until January of next year.

My HIV is all but non-existent. With high numbers, nobody is worried, so we keep on keeping on. My diabetes is controlled well. My A1C is down and all those numbers are good to go as well.

But at fifty, men need to take a look elsewhere in their bodies, as we are hitting the age where, doctors are looking internally, to make sure the plumbing is running well, that our prostate is good, and doctors begin the tedious work of doing those cancer screenings more often.

Fifty was also the age that we need to bump up our nutritional intake, and vitamin supplements for people, 50 plus. Because it’s all downhill from here. And we have to keep up muscle mass, eat well, exercise, and take the supplemental vitamins to keep our bodies in shape.

If you are not paying attention to the engine of the car, the frame is going to begin falling apart. If the engine ain’t running well, that car, won’t go very far … so to speak.

I’ve had certain issues begin to come up that are beyond my control, both physically and economically. As we age, teeth begin to fail, erode, and to disintegrate. This is a serious issue for me.

On the negative side of fifty, my fifty year old teeth are not serving me well. Over the last year I have lost four teeth. A month ago, one of my front teeth cracked in half.

I’ve written about this earlier, as it happened. I went to get checked out by two institutions. One a professional dentistry office, and they wanted upwards of $48,000.00 for a rehab job, taking six months to complete.

I also hit the McGill Dental Teaching hospital, and they wanted upwards of $50,000.00 for the job, including braces and adjustments, taking TWO YEARS to complete the job there.

The reality of this situation is this … We cannot afford $48,000 to $50,000.00 dollars.

Our group insurance does not cover major dental issues. And No Canadian insurance outfit does either. I’ve called everyone in the book to inquire, and they all told me that the Canada insurance plans do not cover major dental.

Which means I am FUCKED !!!

I hear about Clear Choice in the States that do the work in ONE DAY. But they finance the whole shebang. We won’t qualify for a loan that large, $48,000 or $50,000.00

I feel bad going to the bank and asking for money that will take the rest of our lives to pay back, and I’m afraid that I won’t live long enough to see that completely paid off, and I don’t feel right saddling my husband with a debt larger that he can visualize and take care of himself, if I die in the interim.

A week ago, I was in Ottawa. It was grim. Knowing I was dentally challenged, made enjoying myself a bit subdued. Nobody wants to see a crack whore on film.

I feel like a crack whore …

When I got back early last week, Something happened in my mouth, and an abscess presented itself, quite forcefully. The pain was excruciating. I’d never felt such pain in my life. By Thursday last week, the pain was so intense, I was having immediate, brain reactions to said pain. The pain cycle was two hours.

Thursday morning I saw my doctor. He took a look and prescribed me antibiotics. When I got them filled, I also got some serious pain killers to go with the antibiotics.

I ate an entire bottle of pain killers over 15 hours.

Like I said the pain cycle was two hours. I timed it. I take two pain killers and the pain would subside somewhat. But would eventually crank back up to 200%, over a two-hour period and then finally peak, with screaming, insane, blinding pain in my head.

Intense pain induces a kind of insanity that I’ve never experienced before. I would swing from placid and happy to intensely bitterly short and angry over a two-hour period.

I thought I was loosing my mind.

Thursday afternoon, I was Hanging out on Google with a friend, and as the conversation went on, the pain began to ramp up and I began to unravel, in front of him. I did not tell him then and there what was going on, because I was trying to keep it together as my brain whirred into NERVES ON FIRE mode.

In the end, I cut the conversation short, and tried to gather my wits, take a pill and try to lay down and get past the fire …

The pharmacist told me that as soon as the antibiotics got into my system, that the pain would go away. That did not happen until Friday evening, when I took my last dose of pain killers, because I wanted to get through the meeting in one piece, so I loaded up before hand, to make sure I would not flip out in front of my friends.

The antibiotics are working.

Now I have to find the method and the money to try and fix WHAT I can get fixed, without breaking the bank, or having to go to the bank and ask for money, that we cannot afford at the moment.

So in financial terms, we are kind of intensely POOR …

Tomorrow we hit 51 …

I am still alive more than twenty four years later.

I am IN THE WORK. Both my guys are IN THE WORK themselves. I am reading the book with my lady friend. I am spiritually centered. I am solid in sobriety. I have good friends. I have meetings and service to do. I am doing everything right, to stave off a drink.

Sobriety serves me very well these days.

Let’s end on a good note shall we…

 

Sunday Sundries: It Could’ve Been Worse

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I am home tonight from my weekend trip to Ottawa this past weekend.

It was WET, COLD and it SNOWED for two days.

Nothing beats spending quality time with my best friend and his girlfriend.

Time Well Spent.

Thursday night, I was packed and ready to go, ready to go so much, that I did not sleep Thursday night. At least, I thought I had packed everything.

Do I openly admit that I am getting forgetful of things, important things too?

Hubby was home on Friday when I left for the bus station. I left uber early, because I thought I would hit an early bus and get into Ottawa earlier than I had planned, to facilitate scheduling on the other end.

I figured just showing up and presenting a ticket for a specific departure time, would grant me passage on an earlier bus, it has happened before. I got to the station and thought better of taking chances, and so I dropped my luggage at the ticket office and paid for a ticket change. And got a seat on a half empty bus at 11 a.m.

It was a smooth ride out. Not too bad. I had two seats to myself on the way out. About halfway to Ottawa I got up to use the restroom, and while sitting on the throne of thought, I realized that I had forgotten my insulin at home.

FUCK !

NO, Double FUCK !!

I called home and spoke to hubby. Then from the bus, I phoned my pharmacy here in Montreal, telling the girl on the other end that I was on a speeding bus headed to Ottawa and that I had forgotten my insulin at home.

That would be my insulin pens, my needles and my alcohol swabs.

Insulin comes in 5 pen boxes, and they cannot be split up. You can’t buy a handful of insulin needles because they come in a BOX too. I only had $100.00 in my wallet and $50.00 in the bank reserve.

Meanwhile, as the bus is almost into Ottawa, hubby gets a paycheck advance from his boss to cover my insulin if I needed to buy it once I got there. There was money in the bank, enough to cover the purchase. however, we were not sure if the insurance would cover another insulin prescription.

My insulin runs me over $185.00 up front. And usually it pays 80% 20%.

When I got to Ottawa, I stopped at the first pharmacy on the way to the apartment. They called Montreal and transferred my prescription to Ottawa. They ran my card, and the payment went through.

I had to buy an entire BOX of insulin, an entire box of needles, and another box of alcohol swabs. The grand total of that little forgetful mistake cost me $85.00.

That sunk my weekend into the hole right off.

Now I have more than eight months worth of insulin in the fridge, enough needles for months and months, and two boxes of alcohol swabs. Thank God sealed insulin does not go bad, if refrigerated.

Friday we hung out at coffee shops and played Backgammon. Rafa is a game player so we played games all weekend. I like Backgammon. We played two days worth of it.

Friday night after dinner we played a board game called PANDEMIC.

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I’ve never played this game before, but it was very cool. Each player picks a “role” from a bunch of cards. And each player has specific abilities in the game of pandemic. With all the players engaged at trying to stop pandemic from infecting the world, each player PLAYS against the GAME.

As each turn goes around, you draw cards from two piles. One pile of country and city cards, the other, pandemic cards that plague a city around the world. Each major city center is connected by lay lines to other cities in each region.

As the game progresses, each player works against the game to stop pandemic, but the game plays against each player as well, and each pandemic (there are 4 in total ) need to be cured, and cities cleansed. We lost that game, because at the end, the game forced the hand and we ran out of turns together.

This is a multiple player board game. We played three people, but with extension packets, you can play up to seven people at the same time.

Saturday we went to Wakefield, Ontario. A little town about a fifteen minute drive outside the city in the hills. It is a small community of artsy people. There is a town center with shops and stores, and a central hub Coffee Community Cafe.

I really enjoyed that visit. Rafa and his girlfriend are looking to buy a house outside the city to start their family and to bring the extended family into the house for a multi-generational home for their kids, in the future.

I have photos but I am too pooped to upload them right now.

Saturday it started snowing early, so that curtailed the traveling to a meeting. So instead we stayed in and watched Star Wars (Rogue One) a really decent stand alone Star Wars Movie. I had not seen it when it was in theatre.

Then we watched a Steven King movie called “IT”

I noticed while watching this movie that there were a bunch of pop culture references that have been used in SNL skits and other media around the tubes.

It was time well spent.

Everyone went to bed early, as Rafa and Megan were battling a cold between themselves. I brought a book that I have almost finished on the bus ride back. The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb. It’s a Vietnamese story.

I have been sunk in South East Asia for more than a year now. I’ve read a handful of books in that region, including the Shantaram Series by Gregory David Roberts.

Today, Sunday we hit another coffee-house and played more backgammon, before I had to head to the station for my return trip.

This time the bus was PACKED ! It had snowed quite a bit between Ottawa and Montreal, because the closer we got to Montreal, the deeper the snow pack was on the roads and in parking lots along the way.

I have a multitude of music on my phone. I picked one band. Linkin Park. They are my favorite band. And since Chester Bennington’s suicide a few months ago, I listen to them as often as I can. I had enough music that it played from the moment we left Ottawa until we arrived in Montreal, without repeating a single track.

It seemed the ride back into Montreal was LONG … Because it was pitch dark by the time we hit the station here. On the way out of Ottawa there was a multiple car accident on the highway and several rescue trucks were on the highway and several drivers had stopped to help people who were hurt. That slowed us down for a bit …

I got home around 7 when all was said and done.

Everybody has a plan. Rafa and Megan are going to be married, down the line. Juan and Nadia are getting married in July this summer. Houses, Kids, Jobs, Retirement plans. It seems everyone has a plan.

Hubby and I don’t have a plan …

While in Wakefield on Saturday afternoon, we talked about PLANS and CONTINGENCY plans. We also discussed the fact that I might be entitled to inheritance from my father’s will. Because I am his first-born son. However, my family wanted to fuck me over and have the whole of my life, there might be legal grounds for me to pursue Legal Rights to inheritance of any monies in his estate.

Even if they deny me inheritance and write me out of their wills, which I am sure they have already done, the money might be there to be had. Even if it is resentment money and that money would be dirty money, that I might not want to keep, if I did win an inheritance law suit, it would be my choice what to do with it.

I am calling a lawyer this week, to get that ball rolling.

My mother will have a shit fit and my father will be choking in his URN. Because my brother had him cremated and sent to Virginia. Where my mother now lives.

It was a very fruitful weekend. Lots of serious discussion about the future. I spoke with hubby over dinner about exactly that … The Future …

It seems, that “A PLAN” is in the works. A new law was passed here in Quebec about employers offering an opt in/opt out choice of 3% of gross pay being funneled into a bank run RRSP … That’s a retirement plan here in Quebec.

We talked about having a fifteen year plan, because by then, he will be retirement age and I don’t expect to be living in this same apartment for another fifteen years. We’ve just negotiated another years lease here this past week.

More to come.