Tuesday: Let’s Talk About Sex !


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.


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.


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:


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: The WORK that keeps on Giving


We heard many good things about step work tonight. The good thing about or little community is the variance of people, time, and experience. Having a cross-section of people talk about experience, is good for everyone in the long run.

Many of us, with some serious time, have tried every “new thing on the block” to spice up sobriety. Over the years, visitors have come from other places to share with us, how they approach THE WORK.

For me, and many of my friends, this little jaunt into “New Methods” began in the year 2012. New Yorker’s who live here, part of the year and back home, at other times, had a method. Many saw it, watched it work for others, and then attempted that work for themselves.

I met a few people over the years, who taught me new methods of The WORK and also about Prayer. It was then, that I began to arduously make prayer work for me. Not that I had not set myself the duty of prayer before. Bob just told me how to step up my game. I followed his direction, and that changed the entire ball game for me.

Today, I hear some of my friend talk about where they are. Some have grown tired of trying new things, and many of us are in a place today, where we recognize that being perfect is not necessary. And that like some, we just want to be loved, and feel ok.

The push for continual growth has slowed for many. Many of my friends are in a “down time” place today. Those with time, have a desire to feel where they are and to experience life as it comes, “in the moment.” However, the work continue, in any case.

We’ve not seen “new methods” come to us over the last little while. So we have been regurgitating the latest method were had been working with. For many, that has grown old and tired. Some have disappeared, a few have resurfaced over the past little while.

Everybody is different, and no two people follow the same proscriptions for sobriety. I think it bears saying that, listening to each other, and sitting with each other often, that is where God is going to speak to us. Through others, in community.

I know that if I don’t hear from God directly, I need to hit a meeting and listen attentively.

Steps are progressive. They never end. You work steps, over and over. The longer you stick around, we grow up. I heard a man say, tonight, that when he realized that he had, Grown Up, in sobriety, that the steps became useful, because he recognized his own progress.

They say that when we started drinking and using, the age we were, AT THAT TIME, is where we stop growing up. Which then tells you, when you got sober, what age you will begin at. I was twenty-one for a long time. A very long time.

Folks who come in late, (in terms of age) don’t necessarily recognize how emotionally and mentally immature they are when they come in. But like my friend mentioned tonight, when he came in he was 41. With a mental age of 21.

When I came in at 34, I was stuck in the mental age of twenty-five, when my drinking was just off the charts, and I was going to die. We’ve all recognized, in ourselves, just how much many of us have grown up, over the years.

Tonight we read Page 75… The reading dealing with steps 5 through 7.

How after we speak our inventory, we go home and take out the book, and review the first five proposals, taking time to realize if we have done things right. Have we a firm foundation. Have we skimped on the cement, Have we left anything out…

There is ONE paragraph on Step Six. Not a whole lot of direction or advice on what to do. Then the book launches in the Seventh Step Prayer …

God, I am now ready for you to have ALL of me, good and bad …

I have heard, over the years that Steps 6 and 7, are the steps we live in for the rest of our sober lives, even having worked all the way through Step 12.

Character Defects and Shortcomings … They never go away. We just learn how to mitigate the damage we can wreak on others.

I told this story tonight. It’s an OPRAH story about Step Work.

By Steps Six and Seven, we should have conscious contact with a Power Greater than Ourselves. In any case, we should have figured out that equation by now.

Many don’t …

Anyways. Oprah talks about God in this way …

God speaks to us. All the time. On the first pass, God whispers to us. If we miss the first whisper, He whispers again. If we miss it the second time, God hits us over the head with a TWO by FOUR. If we miss it the third time, God drops a WALL on top of US.

That is exactly how God has gotten my attention in the past. I kind of need that critical, in my face, kind of God experience. Kind of like egging God on to show himself.

I know better. NOW. Because I know God exists. I’ve met Him in the flesh.

How often I forget that truth.

Over those years following 2012, I was attending Men’s retreats in Vermont, with a bunch of evangelical straight sober men, who talk out of one side of their mouths, then do the opposite in action.

Working through character defects and shortcomings was an In Your Face, God experience. I missed the whispers. I got whacked by the two by four, then had the wall dropped on me. Before I actually realized what was going on.

That’s the way it has been for me. Things I need to see, in myself, come to me through other people around me. I see what I need to recognize, through the behavior and defects and shortcomings of other sober people standing in front of me.

Which is why I don’t travel in those circles any more. God abhors a hypocrite.

So do I …

Life is cyclical. And runs in cycles. The longer you are sober, the more WORK you do, and the more you grow up and remain sober, these life cycles continue to rise and fall.

Issues we see on our dashboard, early on, are seen with the eyes and perspective of early sobriety, on the first pass of Steps. Those issues and lessons come and go. If we are wise, we learn on that first pass, in perspective.

Those issues don’t go away. They just get “put to bed” for the time being. Until we hit another round of steps, and life continues to grow. Sooner or later, those old problems and old issues rise again. Cyclically.

BUT, now, we see those same old problems and issues with new eyes and new perspective. And that growth continues, the longer we are sober.

It is like a jeweler who polishes Gem Stones. Each issue that rises, gets a cut on the jewelers wheel. Each cut, brings that Gem Stone (read: YOU) into greater perfection. Life is cyclical, and gem stones are continually cut and polished.

We may never reach total perfection, but if we stay sober and we do the work and we grow up, we are a little closer to who we could become, rather than who we once were.

Life can be good. But that takes time and work.

Stick around till the miracle happens.

Friday: Change is not Easy !!!

A.A. #3 Bill D.

The only thing that is constant in this life is CHANGE. Whether we like it or not, or if it is good or bad, comes quickly, or takes its sweet time, change happens.

When it comes to change within a meeting, there is bound to be friction. It is a known fact that there are business meetings, then there are BUSINESS MEETINGS. The latter are much worse than the former.

And I’ve sat both, in as many years…

Our Friday group prides itself with serious time, as in members with serious time. And the various others, who are scattered over the time-line. I am the G.S.R for our Friday meeting, hence it is my job to chair, moderate, and attempt to keep everyone on the same page and not let the proceedings, get out of hand.

The Friday meeting is the “Meeting of the week!” It is the only meeting of its type, IN that particular neighborhood, Outremont, it is the only ANGLO meeting, in that area all week, and it is populated by a broad spectrum of “people.”

PEOPLE: being the operative word here.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, so that they may solve their common problem and help others to achieve sobriety.

We all know that the spectrum of orientation identifiers has broadened, in the last decade or so. In the last five years, and even closer, the last year or so, our Friday membership calls many “people,” as members.

The Friday meeting has had its share of controversies over the years. And when time got tough between the addicts and alcoholics, the latter calling for the banning of the former from the room, caused major heartache for months and months, until God sorted it all out, and the room survived, as well as her “people.”

With the appearance of trans-rights and the broad spectrum of people who don’t necessarily identify as Men or Women, today’s discussions are centered upon the word PEOPLE.

We do not discriminate based on addiction, or sexual orientation. We learned that lesson the hard way. The clause in our preamble reads,

We are committed to the primary purpose, and the third tradition, as it states in our literature, You are an AA member if YOU say so.

In order to bring all the parties back to the table in civility and respect, the alcoholics decided, after months of heart wrenching silence between friends, that we cannot tell anyone who walks through our doors that they cannot belong and stay.

In that fight, I took the side of the addicts, because many of them are founders of the meeting, way back from the day when there were only less than a dozen people showing up for the Friday meeting. Now we are a compliment of almost FIFTY members.

My best friend, an alcoholic was on the other side. After a serious physical confrontation one night, our friendship seemed to end, for as long as it took for God to sort this issue out.

In the end … God did for everyone what we could not do for ourselves.

Today, the buzz word is People.

Within our numbers, are some who took issue with the words MEN and WOMEN, in the preamble. Which has not changed since the dawn of the fellowship. Three months ago, one of our young men, set a motion on the table of our business meeting.

His motion was to amend the Preamble, to read, Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of “People,” who share their experience, strength and hope with each other …

There are other “people” who sat at that table, that night and seconded the motion for consideration. The motion went into the minutes of the meeting.

Our policy, on the ground, simply, is to give each motion, placed on the table, three months grace period for conversation and consideration for everyone who is an active member to assess their positions on any given motion discussed.

Tonight, we all agreed, after three months of back and forth on this issue that we really need guidance from the Area Committee, and guidelines for figuring out how we should properly deal with this request.

If a change is made to a group that is crucial, like format, preamble, chips, or any major change to the inner workings of the group, then we convene a much deeper and specifically charged Group Conscience, to decide what the final vision will be.

For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority, a loving God as He may expresses Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants they do not govern.

The “People” who first placed this motion of the table for consideration, have not been present IN the meeting, over the last many months, as in attendance, and they have not been present in further business meetings, where this old business is still on the table for consideration.

Tonight, for the first time, in as many months, the person who set the motion on the table was in the room, but decided against attending the business meeting afterwards.

Among our group, the discussion has gone around and around. We’ve discussed the absences, of those who made the initial presentation. We’ve discussed the reasoning behind he verbiage change to new group members who do not necessarily understand the growing complexity with gender identification within a meeting.

Alcoholics are alcoholics. Why fix something that hasn’t been broken. The preamble is read at every meeting, and very few, (I can count two) meetings, here in the city who have amended their preamble to read either shorter or longer texts.

The Group Conscience was brought up, as the legal formality to make any pertinent changes to meeting formats. That motion was put down quite succinctly by many.

We attempted to vote on the verbiage. It was a close, vote, but the YAY’s were the majority. And the members sitting around the table, due to the absence of those who first made the motion, negated the vote, and tabled a motion to carry the topic till next month, and next week I need to meet with the inter-group secretary to put in place safeguards and set rules of order so that by the end of February, we can finally sort this issue out, once and for all.

I can tell you that this is the first meeting, in my repertoire that the sexual orientation identification discussion has arisen. Times are changing and as a meeting, the Friday meeting, is a welcoming room to everyone.

Nobody is turned away, for any reason.

This does not make my job any easier. As Chair of the business meeting. After the meeting, on the way home, I received high marks from my friend for being impartial and respectful to everyone sitting at the table. That was a good thing, I guess.

But it isn’t about me in the end. It isn’t my job to judge or adjudicate.

Thursday: “It’s Ok … I’m GOOD”

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

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

The drugs and alcohol are just a symptom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shit Happens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warts and All …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happens ?

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

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

We are going to go ONE of THREE places:

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

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

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

100 % SUNK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because one day, those people will save your sobriety.

And most likely, Your Life …

Friday: Liver, Lover, Lawyer


The weather has definitely changed. Temps have dropped ten degrees over the last two nights. We are sitting at 12 c right now.

It was a very tiring day. I’ve been in my head for days now, and I know tonight, that I have been renting space in my head to people who really do not matter to me, in the great scheme of all things sober.

The hamster was on the wheel all day today and most of last night.

The Lesson about Approval is sitting on my dashboard right now, and I know it because I spoke about it to the room. And the lesson is appropriate right now. But, not trusting my own head with what was inside of it, I talked to another long sober friend, who has known me since my first day of sobriety here. He comes to the Friday meeting, so it was good to speak to him.

In any ideal world, we’d all love each other and be best friends, and there would not be the drama and strife. But like I have been told already by a friend that:

The Fellowship is One BIG Hospital. And we are all not on the same floor.

It also was said tonight that, in many places, it is like being right back in High School, the way people treat each other and act in public.

I just know, right now that, I cannot stand sitting in a room full of people who do not matter to me. In the three meetings I do attend on a weekly basis, there are good people in each meeting. People who care about my welfare and well-being.

Save for that batch of really BAD APPLES.

The trick is sitting in that room, and going to the meeting for the reason it is intended, and not to go and let bad apples rattle my cage every week.

My Monday and Friday meetings are good meetings, with good people. Lots of newcomers and people I know.

I have time. A good chunk of time. And my friend tonight said to me that, I am a trusted custodian. That’s what people like us do now. We go, do some simple service, and then sit back, and let the newcomers run the show.

I am reminded that on Friday, that is where I shine the brightest. People know me, and they appreciate that I am devoted to that specific community. On Monday, I am also a trusted custodian. I can go and hang back. I don’t need to be on the front line at every meeting any longer.

Go where you are appreciated and stay away from places that you do not need to be.

I do my homework, every night. I do step work with people. I’ve completed a round of steps not long ago. The words that were spoken to me a long time ago still matter:

Just because people have TIME, does not necessarily mean that they are SOBER.

That is so fucking true right now.

I heard a comment from an out of Towner tonight. And that comment went along these lines …

There are three reasons why someone comes into the rooms:

  • Their LIVER
  • Their LOVER, or
  • Their LAWYER

We laughed out loud when it came out, because we’ve never heard this saying before.

The reading tonight spoke towards Humility and Principles.

There are things, suggestions, that we hear when we first come in. Over the years, now that I have time and experience to talk towards, we know those suggestions are true.

For example:

  • 90 meetings in 90 days ( if you have the time to do it )
  • No Relationships in the First Year
  • Service will keep you sober
  • Live – Easy – But – Think – First
  • If you put anything before you sobriety, you will Lose it
  • If you are getting sober for anyone else but yourself, you won’t stay sober
  • Sobriety has to be All About You, and not your Liver, Lover, or Lawyer
  • Yes, your liver is important, and your wife/husband/sig. other are important but
  • You can only get sober for you, and be able to make it work

I know what I should do. I got good advice from good friends who care about me.

This is what I need.

Not everybody in a room is going to like you, or has to like you. Sobriety ranges across the board. And long sober people don’t necessarily act sober or even think about it, because many of them are “socially connected” to each other, in the terms that some particular meetings, served by some old timers, is just a social club. And if you are not part of that social club, then they don’t pay you any mind, while you are there, and most definitely when they travel to other meetings to hear each other speak !

I do not need to seek approval or attention from people who won’t give it or pay it out.

Friday is still the BEST night of the week.

Friday: Who’s in Charge ?

A.A. #3 Bill D.

People in our lives, exist in certain degrees of separation from our center orbit, or universe. Depending on who they are, their relation to you, or the level, of your friendship, we keep certain people close, while others, remain in an orbit, of our determination.

We sit in the center of our universe, but we are reminded that we are NOT the center of the universe. Our family and our friends orbit locally, close to us, or farther out.

I have experience.

Sixteen years of experience in the rooms, and Fifty years life experience on this planet. Fifty years of life is not something to sneeze at.

Fifty is A Lot of time. That’s fifty orbits around the sun. No Small Feat …

Coming into sobriety the first time, had its challenges. And every human being who stepped onto my life path, played a role. Whether that role was good or bad.

I’m really grateful that Todd was on my path, because if it were not for him, I would not be here right now. He saved my life, and set me up for life success.

That was No Small Feat Either.

When it came to the rooms, I could have done without them, because the messaging and the delivery folks, were less than supportive.

Yet, today, I can safely say, I learned from those people, just what NOT to do.

Today, I know, I am hypercritical.

I am very good at what I do. Because every human being I know, in the rooms today, has been part of who I have become. Every decision my friends made, every good piece of advice they spoke either to me or to a meeting, is part of who I am.

On the other hand, every stupid mistake they made, every bad piece of advice I listened to, or every action that flew counter to who they were, and who I am, played a role in who I am as well.

I talk about my friends. I may not tell you their names, but you get to hear my experience of what goes on around me. I can carry the message, and I DO that. Some people do not like that I tell stories about them. But if we do not learn from others and share those lessons, we are wasting valuable resources for sobriety.

It was good, back in the day at the S.O.B.E room, I did not have to do anything, but show up. People were good to me. They loved me. A handful of that original group of men and women are still part of my life, almost sixteen years later.

The Only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.

When I moved to Montreal, at five months sober, I walked into Tuesday Beginners, and I rooted there. I walked into a meeting hall, run by a gaggle of women.

Women rule the world. Just saying …

They told me what I needed to do. First things First.

They had a notebook, full of rules and regulations. This is 2002.

Before I could do anything substantial, I had to do service, for a certain period of time.

That meant Coffee, Chairs and Tables. Greeting and just Being PRESENT.

After a period of time, I was able to Chair the discussion meeting. Along with the sundry grunt work. After a year, I could chair the second Speaker meeting. Because how can you toss a newcomer into the chair of a speaker meeting, and THEY go out and find speakers for your meeting ??? That ain’t gonna happen.

You needed time in the room, around other alcoholics and some SOLID experience in sobriety, in order to serve at a greater capacity any room in the city.

That’s why GRUNT work is so very important.


It took me TWELVE years to understand what it was that I HAD, in my bank, in order to begin giving it away. It took Bob from New York City, to come here and speak to a Round up, and give me the necessary tools to be able to know, with certainty, what the book says, why it works, and what I needed to do in order to give it away.

He taught me the Three, Seven, Eleven Shuffle …

Nobody, HERE, knew this. Because I had never heard those words from anyone in the rooms here, not even from the man I called my sponsor. Nor from the women getting sober around me either.

Over the years, from day one in Montreal until today, people have come and gone from my life, for one reason or another. A few, VERY FEW of those original folks that were there in the VERY beginning are still a part of my life today.

They either have moved away, or moved to another section of the city, OR I have outgrown their usefulness.

Outgrowing people is a common theme.

We must begin to understand that FIRST, alcoholics are HUMAN BEINGS.

None of us are perfect, by any stretch. NOBODY.

I’ve found, over my years, that people can only do so much for us. They only understand to the level of their own perceptions. Be they newcomers, Middle runners, or folks with Double Digit Sobriety.

I can look back at my years, and I know everyone who walked with me, a short time, or a long time.

And I know who is in the ARENA with me now.

Some chips are more front of mind than others. Some years are more prominent than others. A certain specific stages of my sobriety, I was HOMED in certain meetings, with certain members for a certain reason.

I HOMED at Tuesday Beginners for eleven years. I took my Ten Year Chip at Friday West End, because I was in that meeting to listen to OLD TIMERS with Serious Double Digit Sobriety.

Men and Women who knew the founders.

Yes, back then, there were old timers still alive, who knew the founders. Founder of the Program, in the States, and most importantly, Dave B, who founded A.A. in Quebec.

Eleven Through Fifteen I relocated to other meetings, for one reason or another.

They say,



Over my years, watching people, seeing what they do, listening to what they say, and then see how they treat people around them, have been lessons in action.

Do their actions agree with their sobriety ? Do they align ?

I was often reminded that “Just because people have TIME, does not necessarily mean that they are SOBER.”

This is the curse of sobriety. In my opinion. Like I said above, we are all Human Beings, and we are only capable, based on our abilities and our perceptions.

Heterosexuals are at a disadvantage working with a Homosexual.

People who are not GAY, cannot possibly identify with my particular story. Nor are they capable of stepping up and being present, accountable, reliable, and supportive.

Very few Gay men want to talk about AIDS, or FEELINGS, or EMOTIONS.

And very few Straight men wanted to walk with me through my minefield of cathartic emotional pain over the last two years.

Long Sober alcoholics with serious Double Digit Sobriety, failed me miserably.

Men and Women.

Like I said, people are only able, based on their abilities and perceptions.

NO TWO Men or Women are at the same place, on the sober spectrum, at the same time.

And a good long sober lady friend of mine, who is about to hit THIRTY YEARS, has said to me recently, that:

A.A. is One Big Hospital. But Not everybody is on the same floor. And when I have (when we have) a problem with someone else, then we must turn our selves to our own mirrors and look at ourselves, and see what needs to change in us.

Because we cannot change anyone else…

Our Leaders are but trusted servants. They Do Not Govern.

I learned all those years ago, how to DO GRUNT WORK.

We teach you how to do Grunt Work, from the very beginning. Because one day, YOU will become a trusted servant to a meeting, or your district, or your city, province, or country.

An Old Timer at our Friday meeting said this tonight …

Rooms just don’t open themselves. Coffee does not perk itself either. Literature does not magically appear from inter-group on its own. The chairs and table do not mysteriously appear set in place by themselves either. The treasury does not bank by itself.

Someone has to do the work.

If there was no one to open the door, make the coffee, set up and do all the GRUNT work, there would be no meetings.

In time, someone, in some meeting, is going to hand you a key and tell you, it is your job to make this particular meeting SING.

In my second year, of sobriety, I was handed the Key to Tuesday Beginners, and I had that key until I hit the twelve-year mark.

To this day, I have a church key on my key ring.

I am still doing service. But these days, All I do is show up and open the door, and make coffee. The rest of the GRUNT work is up to our newcomers on Friday Night.

People come into our lives, for a specific period of time.

It is wisdom that Family, Friends, Fellows, and Others, are not necessarily supposed to be with us for the whole of our lives.

People WILL COME and they WILL GO.

That is a fact of life.

People are human, and resentments can be very real, very raw, and very dividing.

It has been my experience, that there are sober members in the rooms, with serious double-digit sobriety, who want nothing to do with me because I have been critical about them in the past.

Gay men with serious double-digit sobriety, don’t want to know me either, because they cannot identify with my particular story, or my particular bent on sobriety, because at fifty, for me, I really don’t want to be like them, nor do I want what they have, certainly because of how they treat me in community, in front of everybody else.

I have my best friends. Those whom I cede authority. Those people who love me for who I am and what I am, flaws, warts and all.

People I trust have my best interests in mind. They will tell me when I need to stand down, and be quiet. When I need to listen, and when I really need to change.

Not every sober member in the rooms has that much authority in my life.

A very few select men and women hold that rank in my life.

Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.

Monday: Spiritual Fitness


Another week has begun. Our Monday meeting reads from the Big Book. Tonight we read from Page 100 – 101 …

This reading speaks of “Spiritual Fitness.” If you read the Big Book with someone who has read it themselves, and practices Spiritual Principles, one would understand what it really means to be “Spiritually Fit.”

Spirituality and God are those two topics that stymie people until they are able to wrap their heads around them. Most people don’t want to know about spiritual principles. They just want to know how to stay sober. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Staying sober, gets easier, if you can employ the spiritual principles taught in the book and in other books we read on the outside: Ref. The Spirituality of Imperfection.

The first thought that came to mind as we read this passage was my own story, of the period of time, which began a year before I had my last drink, and the two years that followed, when I finally did get sober, and what happened.

I had worked my way into the employ of Todd in 1993. We had built the bar from the ground up. The bar had its official opening in April of 1993.

I was bar tending that night.

My sponsor, who was not yet my sponsor, but would eventually become him, was getting sober. On his cash register sat a hard cover copy of the Big Book.

I would ask him, from time to time, what that Big Book was … I knew that it was called a Big Book, because I could see the embossed letters on the front cover.

His answer was always the same…

“When you are ready, I will tell you what it means …”

That took a year.

When I took my last drink, and Todd swept me off the pavement, at the COPA, I never took another drink. Yet, I was still employed at the bar..

Todd would sit me in his office before shift, and he would SPIRITUALLY CENTER me. Todd was not a member, but in all his wisdom, he knew what I needed before I ever knew I needed something myself.

Todd had spiritual qualities. And he knew how to use them with me. Don’t ask me where he learned them, but they were in his trusty toolbox at his disposal. God was certainly there with us. Because if Todd had not stepped in and saved my life, I surely would have died a long time ago.

Todd – read GOD, was there, all along.

That freedom of knowing that “I never had to drink again” was salvation.

During this time when AIDS was killing everyone around me, I was one of a few men, in that building, that were sober. While my friends were all drinking and drugging themselves to death, I was ABLE and I was PRESENT.

For what it was, those first two years, while I was going to meetings, AND reading the book, I received more spiritual teaching from Todd, than I did from any man who sat in a room with me at meetings.

I could do anything, as long as Todd and my sponsor were there. I never had to look very far for confidence and love.

I’ve always said that if a time machine were ever invented, I would go back to this two-year period provided, everyone and everything could be the same. Suffering, sex, drugs and alcohol. And the men … Let s not forget about the MEN.

The reason I went out was stupid. I should have known better. But not having anyone to confide in, and keeping secrets to myself, was my death knell…

When I moved to Montreal, Sober … I did not have to worry about bars or liquor stores or the infamous Depanneur.

Depanneur – Corner store, located on almost every corner in Montreal proper and then some.

I began life sober here. I did not have to drop my friends, nor worry about bar hopping or drinking at home.

Only twice, in the first two years of sobriety did I ever utter the words: I want a Drink.

Once because of stupid people at the rehab I was going to. The other was on Christmas that year I had moved here. I was at a meeting hosted in a fellows home.

It was a Mansion. And we all sat around a mahogany dining table. All 30 of us.

One man in particular, “DON 86” was in the circle. That was his tag line. My name is Don and my sobriety date was August 1986.

That night he had shared that in his living room, he had a large curio cabinet, where he kept his alcohol. That alcohol was kept on a shelf where fine “down-lights” lit the bottles from behind, giving the magic elixir a beautiful light.

He then added, that he would drink from those beautiful bottles every now and then.

My brain was cranking as he said that.

He was sober since 1986, sitting in the circle as a sober man. Yet he drank. And maintained his sobriety date of August 1986.


I was beginning to levitate out of my chair. Two friends, one on either side, placed their hands on my legs, beneath the table, and whispered, “Ignore what he is saying…”

I am still sober, almost sixteen years later.

You Never have to Drink AGAIN.