Wednesday: Thoughts and Things

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It is pouring down rain at this very moment in Montreal.

The time has come to make some changes again. The writing has been on the wall, and Heavenly Father is gently pushing me in new directions. I can trace back, not so long ago, what this looked like, when the Elders came to me and ministered to me. Elder Spencer is still a part of my life today.

General Conference took place last weekend. I participated via stream. Lots of good things shared and spoken.

I guess I want to talk about gifts and movements.

I thought about this the other day, and I’ve been ruminating on it ever since.

Am I the only drunk who goes to meetings and pays attention ? It seems that not many people pay the amount of attention to what they hear, like I do. You hear that Anonymity Statement, we have a few in the rooms here. Each of them different.

But the one I go with is this …
You can carry the message outside this room, but names and personal details stay here. We use this one on Friday Night at the A.B.S.I. meeting.

I go to several meetings, or have been. I’ve since cut my meetings by one.

In talking to my friend Sean the other night, he’s got time, like I have time. He is sober as long as I am sober now. He has a family, kids, (plural) and he does business in Asia a lot of the time. Seeing him often, is hit and miss. But we spoke.

Getting back to Heavenly Father and the prompts…

You know it’s time to go when these things begin to happen.

  • When your ideas on certain subjects begin to lose traction, and people begin moving away from you or avoiding you, it’s time to go.
  • When what you are hearing from your friends, push you to realize that, between us, we are on totally different pages, in sobriety, it is time to go.
  • When you realize that some people just do not like you. When you realize that some people do not respect you, and treat you differently, among your peers, it is time to go.
  • When you begin to regret walking into a particular meeting because of the people you share that room with, and the purpose of that meeting, becomes inconsequential to the people in the room, it is time to go.
  • And finally … When sober people you either know, for a long time, or men and women you work with, find out you are human and not Vulcan, and they turn on you and walk away, IT IS TIME TO GO !

I’ve been going to meetings for the whole of my sobriety. This blog is a testament and a record of most of the meetings I have attended over the past 16 years.

In those sixteen years, I have had to shut down, export, import and re-Domain this blog three times. Each reason is different. And usually has to happen when flamers and hackers and Evangelical Christians come knocking on my front door.

I opened this domain and blog in response to an alcoholic who thought I had broken his anonymity by telling a story about him on my former blog. He never bitched about what I wrote about until I started talking about him specifically. Yes, he lives here, and goes to the same meetings I do, but he has no respect for me, nor my presence, nor my life.

Anyways … I was thinking, Am I the only drunk who pays attention at meetings, pays attention so hard, that I come home after a meeting, I transcribe what I heard for you here and for me as well ?

I mean, how the fuck do we learn how to get sober, if we don’t study our friends behaviors, choices and actions over time ?

That’s how I got sober. By watching my friends do STUPID things over sixteen years.

Watching other people ACT is the best way we learn how NOT to BE.
Which is how WE Become US.

I am done with going to places where people don’t respect me. I am done going to meetings where people ignore me around other people, and treat me disrespectfully.

Sean, told me to go to meetings where I am a trusted custodian. Those would be the Monday Central Meeting and the Friday North End English Meeting.

Newcomers.
Simple Service.
Respect.

We all have gifts. Heavenly Gifts. Before we got here, Heavenly Father, or the powers that be, handed us a script. A job, so to speak.

Past Lifers would say that if we got here again, then, there was something we missed or screwed up, on our last visit. And now we get to work it out all over again, hoping we hit the mark this time, and not have to do this all over again …

Re-incarnators talk about how we get to reincarnate with people we knew in the past life we just left, or several lives before that. The proviso is that, we come back with a contract, which is unlike the former contract we were on. This time around we may be together for the whole journey, or maybe part of it.

There are reasons God put us here. Mainly, to learn Love, Dignity and Respect. To help our fellows and our friends. To learn how to GIVE, and not take.

The world need to learn how to LOVE … AGAPE LOVE …

Gifts … We all have them. We may not know what they are, it is our job to figure that out while we are down here, in the ways we relate to others, the work we do, and the service we give to our friends, family, peers and fellows, men and women alike. The love we share, the respect we give, the dignity we attribute and give to others.

Do you know what your gifts are ? Are you aware of them ? I am of Mine.

And to a greater degree now.

I’ve listened to my friends for a LONG TIME.

I hear them, they make stupid decisions, do stupid things, they hurt, they drink, they use, some get back, many don’t.

I seriously pay attention to every human being who talks in front of me. I KNOW all of my friends intimately. They probably don’t know that, until I walk up to them and say such things like …

  • Been there, done that.
  • Maybe you should try something else.
  • I can help you through this portion of your journey.
  • I see you did this, and paid dearly for it, now I am giving you a tool to make sure you don’t make that same mistake again …

And you know what they do ?

  • They take a step backwards,
  • They look at me with those eyes like
  • Are You Fucking with Me ?
  • You can’t be serious ?
  • Fuck your advice, even if you are sober sixteen years and haven’t drank or used in all that time.
  • Even if you have experience,
  • I don’t want YOURS !!!

Fuck me for trying …

When these things happen, IT’S TIME TO GO  !!!

I have ears to hear, and eyes to see. I mean that’s what God gave them to us for right ? I use those gifts to help my fellows, and I know today, none of that matters to a majority of them.

Which is why I need to move on to better pastures where the grass is green and the sober time is low, and people who want my message may be receptive to it. Because a few people with little time, and a lot of people with A LOT of time, have no need for me or want me around.

Thanksgiving is Sunday, here in Canada.

And I joked with a friend who works up the block that, within days of Halloween Night’s end, Christmas decorations will go up. Every year it is a contest to see who is gonna jump the gun this year and play Christmas music in their stores, and put up decorations in their shopping malls or stores.

Saturday: Elder Speak …

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Elder Christensen, Right of frame.

Once again it looks like you are passing through rough water. I find it helpful sometimes when things like this happen to consider the destination. If the place I am going outweighs the pain, setbacks, and annoyances of the journey, then the trip is worth it.

I suppose what I am saying is take a moment perhaps to consider your goals. You recently hit a huge milestone in sobriety and in life, and now looking forward it might be a good idea to think about the big picture of who you want to be and what you want to accomplish.

When you have a vision for yourself, annoying and offensive people and situations cease to be worth your mental energy worrying about. Understand also that your experience will always set you apart from people who don’t get it yet. Sometimes a teachers greatest asset is being patient with stupidity.

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If life gets too hard to stand, Kneel.

I talk to God, an awful lot. And I know this about God, that if I pray, and wisdom does not come to me personally, then I need to go out and listen to my friends talk.

Wisdom direct, is a vertical process, top – down.
Wisdom indirect, is a horizontal process – person to person.

They say, that our minds are not some place we should go often, or ALONE.

I sought spiritual advice last night at the meeting, from a man I trust with my troubles. Before I went to bed, I sought advice from one of my spiritual directors, who use to live here, but now is back in Provo, Utah, and Brigham Young University.

Thankfully we have a Google Hang Out tonight. And it’s General Conference Weekend in Salt Lake City, at the Temple. One of my favorite Speakers, Elder Robert D. Hales, has been admitted to hospital, at 85, he is not doing so well.

Last General Conference he gave a talk on Becoming a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I wept listening to his talk. He is involved with The First Quorum of the Seventy.

Last night, I scheduled off from my service commitment for next week, opting to see if I could get a reservation at my bed and Breakfast in Ottawa for Thanksgiving weekend next weekend.

Yes, Thanksgiving comes early in Canada. The second Sunday in October.

Then we hold our breaths because the Halloween shops opened over a month ago, to get a jump on business. And after Thanksgiving, it is a game to wait and see WHO puts up Christmas Decorations first, in the city malls and stores.

That usually does not take long at all.

Last year, the Pharmaprix we use regularly, started playing Christmas music in November, and people freaked out and went crazy.

It was obvious that they had to turn it off because of the backlash from customers.

I’ve decided to back off the meeting that is causing me strife. I don’t need the headache, and its not like I need to hit a meeting every night of the week. I’m far enough from the drink, but I know, that I am never far from a drink.

The length of my arm, so to speak.

Monday and Friday serve their purpose well. And I don’t have to sit in a room with people who are Spiritual Sand Paper.

You know what that feels like, “Sand paper on a baby’s ass ???”

God is listening. And I hear Him quite clearly.

The Spiritual Connection and the Spiritual Principles are there for a reason.

I know how to use them …

 

 

Home Coming – Elder Christensen

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Photo: Temple – Spencer right in photo.

Here’s the story of my homecoming! Thanks for the challenge and for the trip down memory lane.
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November 22nd, 2016, came so much faster than I thought it would. My mission seemed to end as fast as it had begun. The last few days where a whirlwind. We had to make transfer calls, pack bags, prepare the area for the next elders, and all at the same time, I was trying to process exactly what it would mean to go through such a radical change.

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We had a final devotional in the Laurier Chapel, and we all took turns sharing the highlights of our missions. There was not a dry eye in the room. It felt so good and hurt so much all at the same time. The day finally did come, and on the way to the airport, it felt unreal, as if it where all a dream and I was going to wake up any minute. I couldn’t believe I was going to see my parents and my sisters again after years being apart.
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We arrived at the airport, and I shook hands and hugged the same Elders I had trained with in the MTC two beautiful years earlier. I still keep in touch with every one of these lifelong friends. When the plane took off, I looked out one last time at the Saint Lawrence river, and had to hold back my tears. It was as if I were leaving home all over again. My friends and my family were down there. People that I loved deeply and was so sad to leave. I was leaving wards and branches that had loved me and my companions, taking care of us, supporting us in our work, and becoming lifelong friends.

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The first flight seemed to go fast, and we landed for a connection in Chicago. My layover was over five hours, so I had a long time to walk around the airport. I had so much on my mind, that I alternated between walking around and sitting quietly in the waiting areas. I thought about going to see a little of Chicago, but I just felt like I was too engrossed in my thoughts to enjoy any of the sights there. I just sat there thinking about the life I was leaving and the life I was starting. I also felt so tired. I realized how much I had been running on adrenaline for my mission, especially during the last months.
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I was working so hard that I hadn’t even had a chance to get my hair cut. It was much longer than I would have liked, and it probably looked a bit sloppy. I was wearing the same trench coat that I wore on my first night as a missionary in Joliette Quebec, freezing clear down to my bones and wondering how I would ever survive in this place where I could not even speak the language. Today was cold like it had been then, the same time two years ago.
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Missionaries stick out like sore thumbs to other members of the church, and several times, people would come up and ask “Are you coming or going, Elder?” It felt good to be surrounded by community even in such a strange place. The hours ticked by in that airport, and I started realizing just how tired I really was.

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I was drained to the core. My body mind and spirit had gone to their limits. Now that I literally had nothing to do but wait, it was as if my whole soul finally breathed a sigh of relief. I wandered over to my terminal and sat down, feeling like a washed up piece of driftwood. I somehow felt like I still had energy, not tired enough to try and sleep, but I was just worn completely out. I felt totally emptied. I don’t remember how long I sat there, in that weird state.
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I was jarred back to reality by a voice asking “Elder! How are you?” I looked up to see a lady, clearly a member of the church, holding half a pizza in her hand. “Elder” she said “I can’t eat the rest of this, would you like some?” She had hardly touched that Pizza, and it was probably a lie, but suddenly it downed on me that I hadn’t eaten in hours, and I was so tied up in my thoughts that I hadn’t even realized how hungry I was.

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I gratefully accepted and we started talking. As it turns our, she was not only going back to Idaho, she was in my same stake. She knew a lot of my friends. She new Ashton Wise and her family, my stake president, and many others. We passed about an hour waiting there. Another man sat down next to us, and we somehow started up a conversation with him. As it turns out, he was a youth pastor, and we had a great talk about God with him.
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Finally, the plane was ready, and I started the last stretch of my ride home. It went so fast, and I will never forget the feeling of passing down over Boise, and seeing the spires of the Boise Idaho temple lit up in the night.
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We touched down, and I realized that my parents were on the other side of the door. This sweet sister who had stopped to talk to me asked “Are you ready for this?” I don’t remember what I said, I was too excited now. I passed through the corridor, and through the glass doors I saw my mother for the first time in two years.
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They opened and there was a huge shout as I was welcomed home by a crowd of friends and family. There were posters, there were balloons. Mom hugged me first, then Dad, then my sisters. My lips were really dry, because I smiled so wide that I actually split my lip. My uncle and aunt with my cousins were there too. We drove home, and we talked about so much. It was late at night when we pulled into our driveway.

As is tradition in our family, we knelt down to pray together before we all went to bed.

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My Dad said “Spencer, it is definitely your turn to say it.” I said it in French, and as I spoke to God in that language that I had grown to love, the language of my family in Quebec, my heart was breaking. I stared up at the ceiling for a while, in my own bed. One of my best friends, who was also just recently home from a mission, was staying the night, and I was grateful to have him there.
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It still felt weird to be alone, and besides that, I still wasn’t released from being a missionary, so the rules of having to be with a companion 24/7 still applied. We talked a little before falling to sleep. We reached the same conclusion. It had been a hard two years. It had also been the best thing we had ever done in our lives.
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The next day, I called president Christensen, (no relation, but my wonderful stake president) to let him know that I was home safe and that I could be released. He was out of town, so he sent one of his counselors to formally release me. Now, when a missionary is set apart to begin his service, it is a very important, private, and sacred occasion.
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The stake president, who reads directly from the assignment given by one of the twelve Apostles, lays his hands on the missionaries head, usually with his/her father and everyone else in the family who has been ordained to the priesthood. He sets you apart as a missionary specific to the area of the world where you have been called by inspiration to serve, and blesses you with all the rights, powers and privileges you need to teach the gospel, along with any other blessings he feels inspired to give you.

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A release, on the other hand, is much more direct, simple, and even abrupt. President Nelson, the counselor who released me, came over to our house. We had a short talk about my mission, and we enjoyed catching up on each others lives.
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He then said, “Elder Christensen, are you ready to be released?” I said something about being ready. His next words stung. He said: “Then Brother Christensen, acting under the authority of President Christensen, I release you from your obligations as a full time missionary.” I instantly felt different. There was a moment of silence. Then he quietly said, “Its time to take off your tag.” I did so. I stared at it for a few seconds with a deep sense of loss.

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That next Sunday I was asked to speak in church. Christmas was coming and that was the spirit that prevailed that day. There were so many reunions that I lost count. Friends and family had traveled long distances to be at this meeting where I would report my mission.
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My grandparents, uncles and aunts, and so many friends were there. the meeting was about to start, so I took my seat on the stand next to the other speaker and my father, who was also my bishop at the time. Suddenly, I see Ashton Wise, one of my best friends, walking up the aisle.
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I jumped down to hug her and thank her for being there, and I remember being shocked at how thin and small she felt. She had just come back from a mission herself, and I could feel the difference. She was tired too. She had lost weight, and had a touch of laryngitis, so she spoke with a froggy voice. I wanted to sit down and talk about her experience, but I had to speak, so she went to the audience. I honestly had prepared very little for this twenty minute talk.
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I had a few notes, but I didn’t look down much at all. After two years, I had plenty of material. I did my best. I shared the funny moments, and they laughed. I shared the miracle moments, and they cried. And I did too. It stung so bad to have to come home from a live spent in the service of something so much bigger than me. I shed many tears.
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That was the beginning of accepting I was home, and that I needed to find my new identity in the work , because the work was only beginning.

Thursday: I Don’t know but I am trying to find out, OK !

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Last night, I heard from my Spiritual director, who lives in another province, tell me that his doctors have told him that he was terminally ill, and that he has an illness that will eventually take his life, as it had taken the lives of his grandfather and father alike.

God is really the most important vital sign. If he wants you to stay, there is not way you can go, and if you are meant to go, there is no way to keep you here.

I am a very lucky man, to have a young man in my life, who has this kind of Wisdom.

I have walked many people through this minefield, that is the most unknown of places. That place of One day, being alive and fearless, to the next day, when a doctor tells you that your days are numbered, and that eventually, your body will not be able to do what is had been doing for over fifty years, and death is imminent.

How do you tell someone you care about, that they need to remember to breathe, and as long as there is air in their lungs, they should live ??? That was the exact advice I gave my friend, along with those wise words from my Elder.

If your heart, knowing it is, at some point, going to give out on you, turns towards the finality of death, and you forget that living is still on the table, that usually hastens death quicker.

No matter how dire the warning and the knowledge that all the cards are on the table, and death is going to come sooner than later, My friend, at least, HAS a game plan, a plan of action. I just thought that reminding him that he still had a life, a family that needs him, a wife who is living the journey with him, children flung all over God’s world, who still need a father, I needed to remind him, that right now,

LIFE is the most important thing in his life.

If we wake up, every morning, and we are alive … Then that IS a GOOD day.

I don’t know, but I am trying to find out, OK !

Every Thursday night, when I get home, I dial an Elder on my I Phone. And with the latest technology, I am in the presence of a young man I love, who is my friend, and spends some of his time, with me. Just like we did when he was here.

I learned this week, that my Elder friend is Pre-Med. I am totally in awe of him, knowing who he is, and how he sees the world, Folks, we are going to have one really great doctor some day, I’m just sayin ….

I am truly grateful.

NO, is not part of my vocabulary…

Last week, I was on the hunt for product. And Google had led me down many dead ends. But from those Google results, those results were coming from the Pacific rim. Australia and New Zealand.

I know someone who lives in Australia. So I tweeted him asking him for his help. I got a reply, and that reply said two things. NO, and I cannot help you.

Never say NO to me. Ever.

I mean that in the best of terms. I don’t ask my friends or people I know for many things. And after doing whatever homework I needed to do, and I get to the point that I need to ask someone for some help, and you tell me NO, from the get go … Before you even hear the WHY I asked you for help You can …

FUCK the right off …

In recovery, NO is not part of our vocabulary. Obviously, there are some people I know who are too self centered and selfish to want to even ponder the thought of being of some help to someone who asked for it.

Anyways, This week has been very good. I found product I wanted. One of my friends helped me as a mail drop, because I could not get delivery to Canada, and that package is on its way today. Two other packages are also on their way as well, another from the U.S. and one from the U.K.

I returned to major seller platforms and U.K. Websites that proved to be genuine.

I heard it said to me that if you get asked to speak at St. Matthias, then you have MADE IT.

This is what our young lady said first tonight.

Obviously, I have not MADE IT YET … And I’ve been sitting in that room for more than twelve years. And nobody has ever asked me to speak there.

We heard a newbie girl speak tonight, just over her first year. I thought to myself, I did not speak for a very long time, when I first got sober. There is some wisdom to putting a newbie in the hot seat, early on. Because they get to hear their story, at that specific point IN their journey, from their own mouths.

ONE, it gives them early perspective. And TWO, they get a baseline in where they are, because after the meeting, they are going to hear everyone in the room, thank that person for their share, and then offer them some wisdom from their own journey.

In the end, our young lady told her story, and then heard from the rest of us, what she might expect if she sticks around …

On Being a Man …

We are MEN, trying to figure out what it means to be a MAN, AND trying to figure out HOW to get there.

In our little group of friends, all of us at various ages, in the rooms, are trying to figure out what our manhood’s are going to look like, and what we want our lives to look like, and some buzz words that pop up are Humility, Integrity, My Elder also adds the words God and Spirituality to the mix, these, I think are crucial for a well rounded life as a man, in the rooms of recovery.

We all agree, among ourselves, that a Spiritual Foundation laid with care, can be one of the most important components in someone’s life.

Man or Woman.

And by extension, One of my guys has Million Dollar Millennial on his watch.

We are fathers to boys, who don’t really have fathers in their lives, trying to figure out what to do for the most people, to the best of our abilities.

I don’t know, but I am trying to find out, OK !

Friday …There are Options, Its Your CHOICE

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This afternoon, I got a letter from a friend. My young Elder Friend who returned home to Idaho, prior to the holidays, wrote me, sitting inside the grand library at Brigham Young University.

The hallowed institution B.Y.U has educated some of the finest young men and women in all of North America. Our Elder served his two year Mission here in Montreal, where we met, just a few months before his departure.

What little time we spent together was jam packed with Love, Faith and Hope. The Elders had a purpose coming into my life, and in the end, the fact that the LDS church states quite clearly their view of “one man and one woman,” has prevented me from becoming a full and baptized member of the church.

But, his words to me were thus … “You came into our lives for a reason, and Heavenly Father knows that reason. We are converted to the Gospel, and NOT the church. So whether you are baptized or not, there is a place for you, and Heavenly Father will never let you down. There were just too many God moments shared between us to discount the hand and spirit of Heavenly Father. So believe me when I tell you that he loves you and so do I…

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Last night, I began reading The Dispossessed, by Szilard Borbely, Translated from the Hungarian, by Ottilie Mulzet. I was hooked on the first page. The first page.

I have a stack of books on my bedside table right now. All going at some point. I am expecting a follow up tome by Viet Thanh Nguyen, titled “The Refugees.” I had read, a few months ago, his first novel called “The Sympathizer” which won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for literature. Along with Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, also a Pulitzer Prize winner, was the best book I had read last summer.

The Refugees, comes out in February. I almost missed the title, thanks to Indigo’s Pulitzer Prize listing, saved another book for me to read.

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I said this as the Holiday’s began. I gave a dire warning to my friends. All of them, over a series of weeks. I made sure that every single one of my friends had my number with solid directions to call if they needed to, at any time, for any reason …

My phone did not ring save for Rafa and Juan calling to check on me.

Tonight, was the best night of the week, because it is the best meeting of the week. As I said, my phone did not ring. One of my friends, who lives not far away, offered to drive me out and back tonight. He was, WAS, clean and sober just a short 4 months, this time.

When I got in the car tonight, he was visibly shaken. New Years came and went, and on New Years Day, his lady friend packed up and left him high and dry. Instead of calling, as he was told, he took a chunk of money and got HIGH and DRUNK. Alcohol is one problem, it is the COCAINE that is the real killer.

That started the night off with a bang.

The meeting we talked about Faith without works is Dead … If a man does not expand his Spiritual life and turns around, and works with others, and gives it away, he will surely drink again …

As was tradition, we split up, and the discussion went around. Those who needed to know he had gone back out, knew. So it was a night of protracted song and dance around the room, cross-talking among ourselves, but quite directly talking to him, but not TO HIM.

After the meeting I spoke to my handful of men whom I work with directly. The men who I choose to support directly, even if they don’t want it. I am there. All those conversations led to the same conclusion …

The Holidays sucked, everybody is miserable. Thank God the holidays are over, and I wish they had never come.

Like I said, my phone did not ring except expected calls from my guys.

WHY DO I FUCKING BOTHER …

The way I have stayed sober for so many years, is that, First, I did not make the stupid decisions that my friends did. And Second, I did not do many things I watched my friends do. This holiday, I warned my friends, I gave them my number, told them to call,

Nobody called…

Thank God I am sober, and that I don’t make really bad choices.

I am never alone. You are never alone. Whether you stay clean and sober or drunk and high all comes down to A CHOICE.

Your Choice !

YOU make that choice to be sober or not. I can’t make that choice for you. Tonight I spoke to many miserable men, (all straight) by the way, who had horrible holidays, yet they did not even think to call when they could have, but chose not to call.

Fuck me for trying, I mean God the Fuck Damn …

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This afternoon I was trolling Face Book, as I am wont to do. And I came across this image… Mario in Marbella at Borussia Dortmund Winter Training.
SNEAKERS, well TRAINERS !!! Orange. Sleek. New. WANT !!!
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Do you know how hard it is to find a pair of shoes in the world ? Knowing that I probably could not find them here on Amazon or Ebay, because I did not know what they were called, so ZOOM the photo, get a good look, and load that image into Google.
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Search all the images known to NIKE … I find an image that led to a website, that did not actually have the trainers I wanted, in style or colorway. But a further search landed me on EBAY UK. Which led me to not ONE but TWO UK shoppes online that had the trainers, AND IN MY SIZE …
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Classic men’s Orange/Neon Green/Black Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31’s …
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For a cool $160.00 CAD shipping included.

Next week …

 

 

Monday: The Morning Drink, Discuss …

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Can I just say, right now, that it was terribly DANGEROUS outside tonight. A fine sheen of ice covers every square inch of real estate, sidewalks, roads, walls, etc … So much ice that walking from point A to point B was an exercise in fine balance and agility.

People were slipping and sliding all over the place.

The Morning Drink

Did you drink in the morning? For many, the “morning drink” is that fine line, that many used to justify their drinking. If you did not drink in the morning, one was not necessarily an alcoholic, or so we thought.

I have some questions about “The Morning Drink.”

  • What do you consider MORNING ?
  • Is it morning if you did not go to sleep yet ?
  • If your nightly drinking, extended into the morning, does that count as morning ?

I had knowledge of what alcoholism looked like from a family perspective. So my alcoholic practice had certain rules.

  • I never bought alcohol at a liquor store, ever
  • I never kept alcohol in my home, ever
  • I never drank in the morning
  • Once I crossed into hard liquor, I never drank beer again, so beer does not count
  • I always had to go OUT to drink.
  • Or I drank in other places, other than home

When I was much younger, I engaged in levels of alcoholism.

I was told, in my twenties, that alcohol was going to make me acceptable to others. I once had a job, where alcohol was served in the office. Later, I worked for R.C.I. International, then Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Alcohol was served at special events, during work hours, and open bar was the name of the game with new ship introductions.

Happy Hour was very useful, because happy hour got the ball rolling. Then I would drive home, change my clothes and return to the bar, for the nightly drinking ritual until last call or until the ugly lights came on.

Going out to the bar or club was a part of life. It was the lubricating event that usually sealed the deal for human sexual interaction. I drank most nights, but back then, You usually did not drink in the morning, unless ONE, there was an open bar in the a.m.,or TWO, you had alcohol at home, which I never had at home.

When I lived in Fort Lauderdale, you could actually drink 23 hours a day. Beginning at happy hour, (5 p.m.) you would begin the ritual. Then, you either stayed where you were, or you went to a secondary location to continue drinking all night, (8p.m. to 2 a.m.)

When that bar/club/location, closed for the night, you could go to a club, that was open after hours, or open into the wee hours of the morning. (2 a.m. to 6 a.m.)

When that bar/club/location closed, you would be forced to endure 60 minutes without a drink, which usually lent itself to going to the Diner to get breakfast, and give your liver a break for an hour.(6 a.m. to 7 a.m.)

At 7 a.m. one local bar opened for business. It was open for twenty three hours a day.

So if you planned accordingly, you could reasonably drink, 23 hours a day/night.

I only did that maybe a couple of times. That was pretty desperate drinking.

I know, for a fact, that on one particular morning that I continued drinking into that 23rd hour, the next decision I made, sealed my mortal well being and ended my sexual viability.

I can piece together what went down after years of trying to figure out the specifics. That morning, specifically, was the morning that I crossed the invisible line into AIDS.

I know that James was sick when he killed himself, which was a year prior to my diagnosis.

I was working for Todd by then, but I was not yet sober. It would be another year before I got sick, but I was told that I carried for well over a year, before I got very sick with hepatitis hence, activating my immune system, and AIDS exploded into my system.

Like I said, I never drank in the morning, if you want to split hairs.

If I had not gone to bed, it was not morning yet, so that did not count.

It’s that morning drink that will kill you.

It almost killed me – Literally.

Even when drugs were introduced, when I went back out, by my own hand, it wasn’t alcohol that was the problem, it was POT. Our days began with a joint and continued well into the day and into the night, all night, until you either passed out or ran out of weed.

You can see above, that my sober decision skills were nonexistent.

Even sober, I could not make things work on my own, and I certainly did not think straight when I was drunk for sure. My brain was fucked for a very long time.

Sometimes, I am under no illusion, that at certain times, I should not do anything, make any decisions, or even leave the house for that matter.

When Todd stepped into my life, He was in the game with me. I was no longer alone, and for a couple of years, under his wing, I did what I was told, I did not make ANY decisions, alone or by myself, and in the end … I Lived !!!

As soon as that guiding hand departed, and left to my own devices, you would have thought that what I learned the two years prior would play out, it didn’t.

The second time I came in, again, I was no longer alone. I put my trust in the group of men and women who helped me get sober again.

When I moved here, I connected to people, who had my back, and the best of intentions. The right people, were in the right place at the right time.

And I’ve said this recently, about my friends … I must have done something right, by NOT doing what I watched my friends do. My decision making skills were honed in the meetings, and with the people I trusted.

I never did anything without a second or third opinion.

Many of the people who got sober when I did, or came in after, and now are double digit sober, are CRACKED in the HEAD. I’ve listened to them week in and week out, and I know what decisions they made, because all those pitfalls are part of their sordid sober story.

And for some, they still, to this day, double digit sober now, Don’t have their SHIT together. Comparing apples to apples, I stayed very close to my center. I never ventured very far from it. And I think that made all the difference.

Foundations …

I was visiting with RAFA earlier tonight, and we were talking about our fellows, and that they see things in a particular way. And when they see or hear something that rocks their moral or spiritual boat/foundation, they loose their shit.

And I jokingly said, I can’t be angry, and I can’t get mad, or show any emotion, in any meeting, in any capacity, in front of any of my friends. I can’t express certain things in public, because that shakes my friends up so much, they they flee in all directions.

I got mad in a meeting, and lost three quarters of my sponsees in one conversation. Rafa, at one time, voiced an opinion, and all of our friends, ostracized him from the fellowship and the group, because he rocked their perfectly tenuous moral boat.

That Boat, I am talking about is like evangelicalism.

Evangelicals are fed one truth. Based on either scripture or a human being (read: Preacher). What they hear, and what they take in, is taken as gospel and that becomes foundational.

Alcoholics and Addicts suffer from the same malady. And I am not sure why. It probably has to do with where they come from, how they were raised, how much life experience they have outside their comfortable community bubble, where they were educated, and finally, how they see the world.

We see this situation play out with our fellows, when you introduce to them alternative ideas or concepts. Or you share an opinion that is not as conservative or as liberal as their own. We’ve seen, over the last year or so, how people react when they hear things that do not necessarily jive with their world views.

Friendships end. Meetings close. Ne meetings open because people are distressed and they need someplace safe to be, so they open a meeting, formed in their image.

People do not return to certain meetings or they go back out and drink and use, which is the most dangerous consequence to differing opinions.

Foundational Sobriety, for some, is as tenuous as the foundation of an Evangelical Christian. They believe certain truths and they bank on those truths never changing, because if they do, people usually implode.

Many years ago, I could not talk about being Gay AND being  a Christian.

That one relationship was so abhorrent to some evangelicals, that they mercilessly attacked me for years, on this blog, until I achieved my degree in Religious Studies in University. Then they just went away …

Thank the Baby Jesus …

They just could not wrap their heads around a Gay man being a Christian. That has changed for some, in today’s day and age, but not for many religious.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

My dalliance with The Church of Latter Day Saints, was an honest endeavor with honest Elders in conversation. It was the Mission President who said, in finality, that in order to be baptized in the LDS church, I would have to annul my marriage.

Not Gonna Happen.

Today, I am still waiting on a meeting with said Mission President. Tonight I got a text saying that they were trying to find time for us to meet, so there is movement there.

The ATONEMENT Is everything. It is the guiding force behind the LDS Church.

I’ve atoned, ten times over.

Good sobriety is all about Good Decision making skills.

At least, that is what I have learned so far, by the example shown by other sober people, in the program, who haven’t all made the wisest decisions, and suffered for their poor decision making skills.

Thank the Baby Jesus, I am not one of those poor souls.

Honestly ! It isn’t my ego that says that, but my soul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday – 15 Years Introspection

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A comment that came in just now, I will explain in detail …

I’m curious about your change in church allegiances; first it was banners all about the pope, pope, pope, pope! Now it’s LDS. You know that neither of these institutions will ever accept you as a gay man, right? LDS has even given you the ultimatum.

My observation about you is that you seek a system of rules that will keep you sober and safe; The Catholic Church was first, now it’s the LDS church. Both absolutely and completely anti-gay. Although, let’s face it: the Mormons are ever so much more polite about it.

It’s our relationship with our Higher Power, independent of any institution, AA included, that is at the heart of our sobriety.

That’s why the lady stomped out when you asked her to delay her trip: she didn’t have that internal strength in place and was relying on external institutions to manage her sobriety for her. She knew it in that moment, and was pissed off.

What are you looking for outside that you don’t already have inside? Work on *that* rather than wanting people to like you. It feels to me as if there is an ancestor (Father? Mother? Aunt? Uncle?) who you are trying to please. Ignore them and please Jeremiah. For once figure Jeremiah into the equation. Be self-centered in a good way, because that is where your center IS.

The stewardess tells you to put your oxygen mask on first: if you’re not conscious, you can’t help anyone else. Jesus tells us to take the beam out of our own eye before even thinking about trying to help our neighbor. We can only give when our own cup overflows.

Just like the lady who couldn’t tell her adult children she couldn’t come to England, I know that you have a lot of rules about why you can’t put yourself first. Examine them. AA is supposed to be all about self-examination first, and helping others SECOND, AFTER you get truly sober. And I’m not talking about white-knuckled strict adherence to the rules as a substitute for true inner serenity and sobriety here.

Alcohol is not cunning, baffling and powerful — I don’t care what the big book says: the ginormous hole in your soul that needs constant feeding IS. Fix that. See it. Acknowledge it. Fill it with good things. I wish you the utmost best.

So, I’ve spent fifteen years adhering to the rules and suggestions of those I most trusted. And they have served me well, because I did not CRACK UP and I am sober still. And I think I am a little more sober this year, than I was last year.

At this time last year, there was open rebellion in the Best Night of the Week Meeting, and the alcoholics and the addicts were in open combat, and I chose a side and stuck with it. That almost ruined certain key relationships in my life, and when I took my chip last year, it was very apparent that I was terribly upset with one of my best friends in the world.

For the last two and some odd years, I had been serving a second fellowship almost entirely, and at the end of my run, my cup was empty and I left them to seek my own renewal. That has only been a few months in the works today.

I also left another meeting that was totally unhealthy for me, because of the toxic people in that meeting, so that cut me back to just two meetings a week, where I am homed today, the Thursday meeting and the Friday meeting where I open and set up as well.

I had come to the realization that I was not taking care of me, opting that if I served others dutifully, that I would stay sober. This was not a really good tack, because I know now that I really want to take care of me. And I wasn’t…

Which leads to the LDS.

On that fateful day a few months ago, the elders appeared and opened dialogue. If you have read back some ways, I explain how we get around GAY in the LDS. The marriage issue is just a paper formality that is the stumbling block NOT my homosexuality. I am on the back side of Gay today. Been there, done that.

There is a reason and a method behind my pursuits. I’ve explained in detail in several posts listed below.

I talked to Heavenly Father prior to the Elders coming to me and set my 50th birthday as the cut off day to sever ties with everything that was not serving me. HE, in his infinite wisdom, set that plan into action much earlier than I had expected it to begin.

Hence where I am right now.

After seeing my friend crack up last night, I realized just how hard I worked to stay sober, by following the rules like Gospel, because had I done things that I saw my friends do, or had I taken a tack that some of my friends did, I would not be of such sound body and mind as I am today.

You might have the time, but you may not be very sober …

I’m really not in a bad place. I am happy, all things considered. I have everything that I need, and I seek contact with Heavenly Father on a daily basis. And for the most part I find Him when I seek Him. I know that for sure.

In reaching this anniversary, I was prepared to do what I needed to do for me, spirituality was one segment, and self care was the other. I am just trying to work out what I need to do, where I need to go, and whom to seek for advice. Because I am nothing without those I trust. And there are just a chosen few that I do trust today.

Over the last year, it has been made plainly aware that there are just some people I should stay away from, even though they are WELL double digit sober.

They might have the years, but they are certainly not sober, and I really do not want what they are peddling. So I’ve moved on from those folks over the last year.

Approval … As alcoholics and addicts, we are always seeking approval, one way or another, and I admit I am guilty of that myself. I want to be seen as a human being worthy of love, and human decency from people who will never give that to me, and that has been a thorn in my side for the whole of my life, and I am turning the page on that, and I’ve been working on that for some time.

That is going to take some more work, to be honest.

Self centered and Selfish for me … I’ve never been keen on doing things for me, however I do do thing for me on a daily basis. Meanwhile in the meetings, the plan of action is always to serve everyone else, to the exclusion of ourselves, because in serving others, we get to stay sober. Working with others also suggests that that work will guarantee sobriety.

But I know from experience, that throwing myself into serving others on a one to one basis is all time consuming and taxing on my spirit and I am glad that I have just my two guys that I work with today.

I am trying to find the balance, and I am seeking balance in places that most of you tell me are unwelcoming and judgmental. That may be the case, but I have found the work arounds, to a certain degree. And I enjoy the LDS community and the people in my ward. They are loving and kind people who only want the best in each of us who are part of that contingent of men and women. Elders and Sisters included.

I know what I need to do, these realizations have been coming for some time. And I have listened to my spirit more, and stepped up my prayer and spiritual life, and I am seeking spirit in the LDS church, because when they came to me they offered a way of life that was truly engaging and open to possibilities. And I was ready to hear their message and become part of something I had not found in the Catholic, Anglican and other faiths that I had studied and been part of for the last decade and a few years here in Montreal.

I know where I come from, and I may not know where I am going, but this journey is still ongoing, and I am seeking the way, the best way I know how and I am trusting Heavenly Father, that He knows the way and in time will show me, one day at a time.

Heavenly Father has a plan, I just need to Trust, have Faith and Believe.

Over the last few months after working this round of steps, and seeking a New Experience with the women who were in my study pod, I did have a new experience, and at the end of those studies, I learned just what I was seeing for the first time, and found out just who certain people were, on their insides, and I chose to walk away from that toxicity.

When people show you who they are the first time, believe them …

I’ve encountered old timers with LOTS of time, who turned out to be charlatans and fakes. And that truly turned my stomach and sent me into a tail spin earlier this summer after the shooting in Orlando. That was a totally catastrophic emotional bottom that I had never experienced before. And it took me months to work myself out of it.

I don’t suggest anyone go through that kind of emotional bottom if possible, but you know, shit happens.

Sobriety has been a challenge, and for the last year, I pounded service till it bled me dry and my cup was empty at the end of the summer and I have been endeavoring to refill that cup with good meetings, good people, and a smattering of service because I still feel that a little service goes a long way to keeping my head on straight.

It keeps me rooted in the basics of sobriety and keeps me mindful of where it all started, and why I still go to meetings, and why I want to stay sober.

Because I don’t want to CRACK UP like some of my friends are CRACKING UP.

At least that suggestion is still in active motion. I can’t NOT do service.

It’s like tossing a loonie in the basket …

My chip and its giver are stuck in San Diego at this hour, so we postponed my anniversary for one week, until next Friday.

More to come later tonight.

Thanks for your comment Bill, it was very much appreciated.