Sometimes you Must tell the Truth

At some point in sobriety, you learn that your experience, observations of others, and the way people behave, or act, plays out to the point that one must speak a truth. At some point, what you know, to that point, plays well with what you have learned in sobriety.

For me, I never knew if I met those qualifications…

I never thought I had anything of substance to say that mattered. And for many years, I always second guessed what I wanted to say, in regards to the community I am going to share words, within.

I’ve said before that, I never knew, if I “Had it” to give, because I got no feedback from anyone from either direction, as in, a positive criticism, or a negative criticism. People would rather tell me what they think about my clothing, or my collar, or the color of my underwear. Not that anyone can see my underwear, but that was one comment I’ve gotten.

In the last year or two, I had added the Monday and Tuesday night meeting. Both full of young people, early in sobriety. Both communities are experiencing growing pains when it comes to sexual tension, and the broadening of the sexual spectrum. I have chosen to stay out of that battle for my own sanity.

Beginners meetings, they tell us, are important, for our own goods, because it reminds us of where we have been, in order to share experience, strength and hope with those coming up the pike. I get that.

But at some point, one has to look out for ones mental health, sanity and personal well being. And painful as it is to say, I’ve outgrown my willingness to sit in a room filled with misery, and having to sit with kids who are in trouble, miserable, though, don’t want a solution, because they need to learn their lessons the hard way, because we cannot save everyone. And nobody is listening to a single thing I have said recently.

We read How It Works day in and day out, meeting after meeting. We work steps, over and over. And you never know what you are going to get from me, at any given meeting. But recently, I had a five minute rant, stream of consciousness.

And I spoke the God’s Honest Truth, Rigorous Honesty.

Today, I had a conversation with another friend who heard my share last week, and told me to my face, how bothered he was by my truth telling, that it rubbed him the wrong way. But after he left that particular meeting, took home what I had said, and thought about it further, and decided that what I had done was right. That, in the end, he agreed with me.

Most of my friends agree with my honest appraisal of people.

I am powerless over people, places, and things.

I had a conversation with the men, at my men’s group earlier tonight, and I got some help. They all know, true to form, that we only learn, and grow, when we stop making the same mistakes. My men are honest men. They tell me the truth. And I know, how long it took them to “Get it.” and “Grow up.” and “Get Sober.”

At this point, I live in the solution. And I share that solution with the folks who want to partake of that solution. Right from The Book.

You can only sit in a room full of misery and woe for so long, before the pain of listening to that misery and woe, gets to be too much. Old timers sit in meetings like that and say to themselves, “God, I’m so glad I am not them any longer…” And yes, I’ve said that to myself before as well.

I’ve grown enough to know what I can do, and how I can do any one thing. I know my friends, miss me when I don’t hit a regular meeting, I got that tonight from a lady friend who noticed I was absent Tuesday night. And I told her why I was absent. My reasoning troubled her. But it is what it is.

I have better things to do right now, than spend my profitable hours sitting in holes of misery. I’m too old for this shit. And I have better things to do. If people want my help, they know where to find me, and how to reach me. Because I am all over the city, every God damned week. I am a clockwork service hound.

You either want to get well, or you don’t. You either decide you really want to grow up, or remain the person you are, and fight the process tooth and nail. I’m tired of watching people suffer and share about it over and over. I have better things to do with my time.

You can only stay so young or so dumb, until it stops working for you.

We all must grow up at some point. You can either hang on for dear life, or you can let go and let God.

When you are ready to grow up, let me know.

Sitting on Step Work

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A very long time ago, when I got sober, this time around, I took every piece of advice I was given as Gospel. I never questioned anyone about their wisdom, or what they knew. If they were sober longer than I was, then everything that came out of their mouths was Gospel. Back in the day, it was very different, than how it is today.

I’m not sure if it is all about me, or all about them ?

I heard a friend of mine speak tonight, and I’ve been in a holding pattern for two years, waiting for God to show me, who I am supposed to speak to next. After the meeting I spoke to that friend, and told him some things about my observations.

I’m sitting on my fourth step. And it’s about to blow.

Like I said, a long time ago, I heard one piece of advice when it came to steps …

“When you write out your fourth Step, get rid of it promptly. Do Not Sit On It for very long, because the written word is like TNT. If you allow it to gather in your brain, and fester for too long, prior to doing your fifth step, disaster is coming … SOON !!!”

I took the day to sit and pray. To Sit and Listen to an Old Timer, I met in person, here in Montreal. One of two alcoholics, who presented sobriety from someplace else, to us here.

One was a woman, who was sober more than thirty-five years upon her death in 2016. The other is a long sober man, who changed my life, with one piece of advice. For these two specific people, I have their shares on my phone. And in my I – Tunes.

A while back, and I wrote about this then, that I have been going through serious heartbreak, and it has been a very emotional journey over the last two years. I was in the mall, grocery shopping one afternoon, listening to music, as I am wont to do.

Funny that my I – Phone, when it is on shuffle, does strange things that I cannot explain, because since the day I put music and shares on my phone, not once, did that shuffle bring me a speaker in the music rotation shuffle program. It never shuffled there before.

All of a sudden, like a voice from heaven, it shuffled me Lorna. It not only did it once, it kept repeating this action, five times over two weeks. I thought it funny, but I stayed on and listened to her talk to me, as if there was something I needed to hear. During this time, I needed spiritual help, that wasn’t coming from my own personal community, and hasn’t yet …

Today, as I ate lunch, I went to a virtual meeting, with Lorna speaking.

The thing that popped out today was this thought …

It’s not the newcomer that we should worry about. It is the person with TIME, real-time, that they need to be looked after. This thought rings true today. My patience for old timers runs short, because of the way I am treated in community by a good number of folks with serious time. The other, is the rate of old timers going down the proverbial rabbit hole themselves. I’ve written about this before.

Tonight I told my friend that I’ve been doing the next right thing, because that’s what I was taught to do from the very beginning. They told me service will keep you sober, that if you have anything on your heart or mind, then, bring it to a meeting.

Without the counsel of a sponsor with merit or anyone for that matter, I’ve been relying on my close circle of friends to keep me “On the beam.” I go to meetings, because I have responsibilities to those meetings, by way of service commitments.

I know, that if I don’t know, then I need to go to a meeting and do service. Because that’s all I know how to do, because it works. I suit up and I show up. I offer kind words to my friends, I offer advice where I think it might stick. Often it does not stick, because people look at me and smile that smile of … Thanks but no thanks …

I know today, that one particular young woman, from our Monday meeting is still sober because I gave her one piece of advice when she was in difficulty, and it stuck, and she is still sober to this day, despite herself.

I’m not sure what to do with heartache that won’t be soothed. I don’t know what to do with the fact that people I need to speak with, don’t want to speak with me. I’ve heard it said recently that

“Sometimes God breaks our heart to save our souls.”

That resonated with me sooo much. There are facts about my life that I cannot change. Perceptions that people have about me based on who I used to be, and decisions I made about my life

“Life preservation decisions, that I thought were tantamount to my physical, mental, and spiritual survival.”

That’s how someone showed me that making life preservation decisions are not ego driven, nor wrong, nor self-centered.

Some people have me stuck in the past, and have had me stuck in the past for the whole of my life. They blame me for all of THEIR problems, never wanting to hear my side of the story, that would explain WHY I made the decisions I did, and whom forced me to make those decisions because I felt I was trapped in a life and a title and a family name that was doing me no favors, when those people constantly parroted the words:

YOU WERE A MISTAKE AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN, YOU ARE THE CAUSE OF ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS AND IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT. AND WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE ALREADY, FOR GOD’S SAKE … GOD HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THESE ISSUES.

This litany of vitriol made me sick inside. It made me feel less than and unimportant. I may not have been SO sober the first time around, but the first of two life preservation decisions were made. The second followed the second time I got sober. Admittedly, I was much more sober the second time around when I made that decision, than when I made the first. Chalk that up to more experience and hindsight.

I have never felt so much anger, resentment, hatred, and fear, and also on the flip side, so much happiness, compassion and joy,  I have felt in sobriety.

Lorna said that and it resonates with me so much. Because when she rotated into my shuffle, I needed to hear those exact words when they came at me when they did and the right moment for the right reason.

Whispers from heaven indeed.

I’m resentful at other gay men in the rooms, who have no use for me. Men who belittle me and slander me behind my back and talk shit in my face, calling me names and judging me in front of others.

I am from a generation of gay men, whom my contemporaries have no idea OF or use FOR. AIDS distinctly puts me in a class by myself because I am the ONLY AIDS survivor from that time period STILL ALIVE today in this city, on the English side.

I am resentful at old timers who spurned me and humiliated me in front of others, then castigated me for having emotions and openly sharing them in open community, when I lost emotional control over the Pulse Nightclub shooting, that turned my emotional world upside down. Too concerned about what I am wearing on the outside, instead of what is going on inside my head and in my heart. A little fucked up if you ask me.

Instead of anyone, even the gay men I know, who DID NOT SAY those words of everlasting life:

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I DID …

Not in over two years now, has ANYONE. not one of my friends here, shared those words with me to assuage my intense emotional being inside, and that breaks my heart into pieces. I don’t understand people. They are self-absorbed and self-centered. They don’t really care about me, as I have seen from many people.

They will smile that “thanks but no thanks smile” when they walk in a room, but beyond that one pleasantry because we sit in the same room together for that hour, they have no use for me and want nothing from me, nor offer me anything of substance beyond their criticism.

I AM A STRONG PERSON, BUT SOMETIMES I REALLY NEED SOMEONE TO TAKE MY HAND AND SAY TO ME THAT EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT !!!!

Why is that so hard for some people to even consider, seeing how much many of us suffer in silence in the rooms, and even when we say that out loud, nobody steps up and says anything of substance to us.

I mean why are you even sitting in a room acting like you are sober, when clearly you are not. And you are just taking up space, where someone who really wants it, waits in the wings for that seat you are occupying, while doing nothing to better yourself !

For God’s sake, I am trying my damnedest to be the best man I can be, by studying my friends like lab rats. Because if you do sobriety like I do, then everybody who sits in a room and or stands and speaks is fair game.

I’ve watched a multitude of people get sober over almost seventeen years and I know mostly everything about them based on every word they have spoken in my presence over the years. I know every choice they made, every decision they made, every bad choice, every good choice, every success and every failure too.

I know what works and what does not work, and all of that is sitting in my sober bank ready for optimal use at any given moment.

THAT IS HOW I GOT SOBER AND THAT IS HOW I STAY SOBER.

By watching my friends either FUCK UP or SUCCEED.

 

There comes a point in sobriety when warming a chair is no longer an option, you either have to SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT !!!

There will also come a time when “Coming and Going,” Looses its appeal and dies. You either come in, sit down and stay, or you go back out and never come back. As was warned by a speaker last week from the chair.

I don’t know what I am doing, but the Next Right Thing has served me well.

Frustrated …

 

Saturday: Walking in my Shoes

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I spent the night wondering, thinking, praying … All those things we are supposed to do all the time, but for the most part, are not done all the time, and not until it is vitally necessary, to do them all the time.

I had a conversation in my head with Spencer, thinking about what he might say to me after writing what I did last night, seeing most of that post’s information came from him directly.

I spent the day with a lady friend, and I unloaded on her until I was spent.

The word that came to me, last night, we call it a “prompt” was this …

This is my journey and my experience. And there might not be anyone to give clear directions, as to where I should go or what I should do, since the sober factor among our peers is dreadfully poor.

I know what people around me are doing because it is plain, by their actions, that they have made their moves, as in, away from me.

Really, over the past few months, there really has not been a concerted effort by anyone long sober, speaking to this effect.

But like I heard last night, I need to stick to familiar meetings, with familiar people, and walk through the dark, the best way I know how, with my head held high and doing the right thing, as in, talking when talking is needed, listening when listening is needed, and being the man I am, and on the whole, keeping my mouth shut when it comes to other people in tight places.

Coming from the life I have come from, I know what it feels and looks like when people fuck off on you.

That rubs me like spiritual sandpaper.

There aren’t a whole lot of people, “in the game.” Because it seems like, most of my friends are just doing their own thing, showing up at certain meetings, and trying to figure out, on the fly, what we need to be doing, by ourselves, together.

We just have not connected outside the rooms, specifically.

Things of note:

  • Not everyone is going to like me
  • Not everyone is going to agree with me
  • Not everyone is at the same point in sobriety, so reactions will differ
  • How people react, is solely based on their abilities to cope with stimuli
  • I am Powerless over people, places and things
  • Yes, I may spend hours bitching and moaning, but life is a process
  • Experience, Reaction, Bitching, Moaning, Discussion, Resolution

The take away … I don’t fuck off on my friends. Period ! I don’t take kindly to be treated as less than, or invisible, or that people don’t respect my humanity. I don’t like what I am seeing and/or hearing from people I have known for years and years. it is like all the words I have spoken in all that time, went in one ear and out the other, and nothing I tried to do with my community made a hill of beans difference in the way my peers treat each other and myself.

I think I knew all of this information all along. But with all the noise coming in, listening to God or my intuition, went by the wayside.

I need to talk to Spencer soon. He will know what needs to be said right now.

 

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So that is a thing …