Gratitude

Sobriety tells us that one thing will change, when we come in. Sobriety says that the only thing that will change is EVERYTHING.

I know, for me, that it was only time that would turn my life into what it is today. Back then, telling someone to buckle up and ride the coaster until it stops, people usually got it.

Now, in today’s I-Phone world of I want it NOW, and quite possibly, could you give that to me, YESTERDAY ? That’s what we deal with today.

Telling my friends to buckle up and ride the coaster does not translate very well, in the climate where, we can get it NOW, at just a few clicks.

I have really great friends. People who love me for me, and I love them for them.

Today, people are kind to me, just because. I put myself out there, here, and because of that, the universe gave me a gift of kindness from a perfect stranger, who read something I wrote here.

While I was writing the post that appears below this one, for the kindness on its way to me tomorrow, I got two phone calls.

A few months ago, I met a young man, fresh and raw. He was days sober. And he was at one of my home group meetings.

That night, he came into an empty room, as I was sitting there, alone with him. He got down on his knees and prayed the OH GOD Prayer …

Those words are simple … OH GOD I NEED THE PROMISES NOW.

I did not know this young man. But I was present for the prayer. That night a relationship began, and still goes on today. He had lost his girl friend because of his using. He just lost a job that was his life, because the mall that housed his business, raised the rent to a level that they could not possibly afford. Overnight, they moved out and the business never recovered.

With days of sobriety under his belt, I said a few words to him.

Buckle up and ride the coaster until it stops.

What he did have that many don’t, was someone to ride the coaster with him, until the ride stopped.

The first phone call I got this afternoon, was from that same young man. At 6 months and a little longer, he had applied for a job, out of province. That recovery business, hired him on the spot. He called to tell me he was moving away in a few days time.

The conversation continued. And he said this, after while: I really appreciate your support, and I value your friendship, and I commented to him that in the beginning it was he who opened the door to our friendship, and that it would be up to him to shut it.

He then said:

What door, there is no door, I ripped it from the hinges.

Now I will be traveling to Nova Scotia to visit him once he gets settled and finds a good place to live where he can host guests.

He rode the coaster, good and bad, tough and easy. Finally the coaster has pulled into the station. Tonight, we got off the ride together.

Really grateful for people in my life. And for the kindness of strangers.

The second phone call was from another good friend who only had good things to say to me about his life. We’ve been friends since the very first meeting he walked into. I’ve been present for both of these men, 100%.

Sobriety is not easy. but when grace comes and settles in, life gets really good, and the only thing I can say is this …

If it were not for the rooms, I would not have everything that I have.

It came on God’s time, not mine.

And I am not God.

Thank God.

Gratitude !!!

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Parisians are mourning tonight, as one of the most important cathedrals in the world, burned. it is said, at this hour, that 60% of the cathedral has burned, but major portions of the church building has been saved.

Worry was that the Rose Windows on the North and South faces of the building would collapse. It seems at this hour, that they indeed are still intact, after firefighters in Paris doused the building with water, saving whatever they could, after an immense burn that has taken good portions of the roof and the church spire down.

I’ve never been to Paris, but I have friends who live close to the city and have shared their thoughts with the world.

Notre Dame has survived more than 800 years, and has survived manic holy men who attacked statues in the church and the building also survived wars, unscathed. Fire, on the other hand is capricious. It does not discriminate, as to what it chooses to eat.

We offer our prayers to the firefighters of Paris, and to the city of Paris and her many people, who have been standing guard close to the fire, singing hymns as a community.

This, the holiest week in the Catholic Church, marks from Palm Sunday, yesterday through to the Easter Triduum next Sunday.

The loss of Notre Dame Cathedral cannot be understated. Emmanuel Macron has said that a vigorous rebuilding program will begin, once the flames have been extinguished and an assessment of the damage is complete. Then the world will come together and we will rebuild the church.

Monday: Can It Really Be That Simple ?

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Five years have passed, since I met Bob and Lorna here in Montreal, at the Dorval Round Up. They, members of The Atlantic Group, in New York City, had been invited here to share their methods of working The Book, and their brand of sobriety.

It came as a surprise to me, when at one point, Bob looked at the crowd, from the lectern and raised The Book in his hands and asked if people actually read the book ?

People shook their heads … No they didn’t.

He then continued with a question …The Prayers, that are in the book, Do you say them, The Prayers, he questioned ?

People shook their heads … No they did not know the prayers from the book.

After that talk, I went up to Bob and asked him what he meant, because I was twelve years sober at that point and had read the book many times over, and worked series of steps as well. Nobody took the constituent parts of the book, and ever broke them up for me, giving me a plan of action to follow.

People in Montreal Sobriety are like … Aw, we’ll do it later…

Bob said to go to the book and write out the Third, Seventh, and Eleventh Step Prayers on paper and put them where I would see them. Pray them, say them, recite them daily.

By then, a friend had given me the very same prayers on little cards, which I did attach to my computer, so I would see them all day and night.

Everything starts with prayer and meditation.

Just prior to the Round up, I met some of my long time women friends, now, working steps with their women, then. They read the book before meetings, and they were doing this 10th step, which turned into an arranged phone call the next morning.

I Had no idea what that was all about, but many guys were intrigued.

Months went by, prior to the Round Up, watching this go on in front of us. We finally asked some of the women to sponsor us, so we could do it too …

They said No to that request.

Bob said to me, at that Round Up, that if I prayed every day, like I meant it, or would learn how to mean it, that my life would change.

It did … About six months later.

A Vision for You, comes to mind.

I finally knew, what it was that I had to give. One night my phone rang, and not long after I met my now best friend, too. Since that time, only my best friend and my friend Juan, still exist in my sober working life.

But I know what it is that I have to give.

I’ve got five years of working the Book, the Steps and the Prayers, the way I was taught to do, by people, who were not from here.

I talk about this process to people at meetings, and they cannot seem to wrap their heads around this Very Simple Process.

The Big Book, is NOT Rocket Science.

It took Bob and Lorna to show me how it was done. I learned that process, and I have refined that practice, over the last five years. I took another soul through the book this past fall. He’s sort of disappeared since.

I use the tenth Step and the eleventh step daily myself. And I show new prospects how to write a simple inventory at night, even if they aren’t at step ten or eleven yet. Because if you begin to practice prayer and meditation, early on, you will know how they work when you finally reach that point in your steps.

Basic simple inventories are good for simple, on the ground conversations, later. Because they give us something to talk about. Like a simple template.

Our young people cannot be bothered to ponder simple templates.

That’s just too much to process for them.

And I heard it again tonight. One of my young people, whom I have reached out to over and over, tell us how insane he is in his head and that he needs simple direction to get himself on the beam, and I just stared at him incredulously …

Really ? What have I been telling you over these past six months ????

Numb and Dumb …

The Book is not rocket science.

The message has been lost on complicated minds.

Six dead in Quebec City Mosque Terror Attack

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The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, January 29, 2017 9:33PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 29, 2017 11:56PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 29, 2017 1:05 AM EST
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QUEBEC — The president of a Quebec City mosque says he has been told that six people have been killed and eight more injured some critically, in the building.

The shooting took place at Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec, in Quebec City.

Mohamed Yangui says he heard the news from witnesses.

Police tweeted there were deaths and injuries but didn’t say how many victims there were.

They said two suspects were in custody.

A live video feed on a Facebook page of a mosque showed images of multiple police vehicles and yellow police tape.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tweeted Sunday he was deeply saddened by the loss of life.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard reacted on Twitter by calling it “barbaric violence.”

“All our solidarity is with those who are close to the victims, the injured and their families,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also weighed in on the tragedy.

“Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City,” he tweeted. “My thoughts are with victims & their families.”

The mosque in question had a pig’s head left outside the building last June.

The head was wrapped in paper and accompanied by a note that read “Bonne (sic) appetit.”

Prominent Quebec politicians denounced the incident, which came in the middle of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset.

Nous sommes tous Québécois, Nous sommes avec vous maintenant et pour toujours. Tu n’es pas seul. Nous sommes une communauté. Nous sommes Canadiens.

I offer my sincere thought and prayers to the families of those lost, to the Muslim community of Quebec City. We categorically agree that this act was cowardly. 

We will Stand With You. Now and Forever… We Are Canadians. We will Never Bow to Terrorism.

The Night Before, The Night Before, New Years Eve

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“Accept the Past with No Regrets. Handle the Present with Confidence. Face the Future with No Fear…”

Montreal weather, this week, has been all over the map. A flurry here, some freezing rain there, terribly dangerous conditions ensued. As the rain came to an end on Tuesday, Wednesday, it was warm enough that all that ice melted, not before wreaking havoc on the population.

Last night, clouds began to form from fronts coming from the Great Lakes, and warnings went up for some serious snow to fall. It snowed all day, and into the evening. When all was said and done, there was about 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground.

Twitter exploded early this evening telling riders of rapid transit, that buses would be running late (read: Or not come at all) because of heavy snowfall.

I listened to Rafa’s advice, so this afternoon, I downloaded the UBER app to my phone and filled in all the info for tonight’s trip.

I told the app where I was, and where I wanted to go. I set up my payment option and hit the “Request UBER.” Within three minutes my driver was at my front door. He actually called me while I was coming down in the elevator to tell me he had arrived.

I will NEVER take another TAXI in Montreal, so long as I live here.

Taxi drivers here in Montreal have been up in arms about UBER operating here and decimating their bottom lines and livelihoods from direct competition.

If there is one dishonest taxi driver out there, there are more, I am sure !

Thank you UBER.

This will be the last post of 2016. I am looking forward to the WordPress end of year report that comes on New Year’s Eve. After a year of writing, I get the specific stats on just how well we did this year in regards to trends, numbers and readers.

God has been very busy this year, taking many of the most important people that entertainment has ever seen, and will never see again.

In 1977, I was TEN years old, ( My apologies ) when Star Wars came to New Britain, Connecticut. The first time we saw Star Wars was at the Twin City Theatres, across the street, from the store my mother worked in when I was a kid. The name escapes me at the moment.

Star Wars has been a HUGE part of my life, for all of my life. I remember when Return of the Jedi came out, And I specifically remember sitting in the theatre, weeping. I had had a spiritual experience, one of many through the franchise of films.

“Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, You’re my only hope ….”

While God is calling home luminaries of stage and screen, there are those who are speaking petitions to the Almighty, to remove certain people off the face of the earth, specifically. By name …

And I have to agree with them.

Death is never a good option, but, while God is doing what He is doing, why not take a few more for good measure !!!

Let Us Pray …

It is crunch time in the rooms of recovery. We’ve been prepping for this weekend for an entire year. making sure our folks have everything that they need, in terms of time and sobriety. And we even have printed worksheets for people to take home with them, along with a copy of Living Sober, for good measure.

Christmas and New Years can be real killers, both Figuratively and Literally.

As is usual, the stats go down through the weekend, and come January 1st, the stats rise and we welcome folks from all over, to the rooms. We’ve worked very hard this season to anchor our men and women in the rooms.

But, in the end, it all comes down to choices.

There are sober places to go on New Year’s Eve, all over the world.

Sober people really know how to throw a good New Years Eve Party. At least we do, here in Montreal. There are several choices one can make here in the city. Nobody has to be alone, or need to drink. You don’t have to be alone.

I thought about writing a retrospective on the past year, but decided against it.

Good Riddance 2016. It was my toughest year in sobriety for many reasons.

In the end, I am still sober and I listened to good advice where necessary

People might have LOTS of years, but some of those men and women, are not very SOBER.

There but for the Grace of God go I.

Let us turn towards goodness, hope and love.

Goodnight, for the last time in 2016.

I thank all of you who have stayed around, for those who read, and for a certain author, of my acquaintance, who LOVES the LIKE button.

You know who you are.

Many words have been written this year.

On Saturday we will see just how many words were written.

Thank You So Much.

 

 

 

Sunday Sundries … It's Friday but Sunday's a Coming …

Compassion.jpgI once heard a preacher preach a sermon many years ago, when I was a boy. And the thought was … “It is Friday, but Sunday’s a coming …” and this thought was repeated in succession … “It’s Friday but Sunday’s a coming …” And he repeated these words until they caught up in fire-like fervor and the crowd was on their feet repeating … “It’s Friday but Sunday’s a coming…”

The reference was to Christ dying on the cross, on Friday, we all wept for him, in his humanness and brokenness. And we sat vigil on Saturday through the darkness in the hopes that He would rise again. And that came to pass, as Sunday dawned and the stone was rolled away, Jesus had risen from the dead, and in that there was victory over death … It’s Friday, but Sunday’s a coming …

Today all over the world people are coming together to pray for the little ones and for their families, and also for the children still alive today. We join their prayers and we say … “It may be Friday, but Sunday is coming …”

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I was sitting here last night as I usually do, Tumbling and farting around. And someone I know said to me that “Wouldn’t it be nice to just get shit faced drunk?” And this isn’t a thought that I usually entertain very often. Having just taken my cake, I should be wrapped up in the whole celebration in the knowledge that I haven’t taken a drink in more than 11 years. But for the Grace of God. And one day at a time.

But last night, I sat here and entertained the thought all the way through to its tragic end. It was like a yearning in my chest that I was for a few moments “thirsty!” And I sat here and thought about what it would feel like to just go out and get shit faced drunk …

I don’t usually entertain people who drink heavily nor do I spend time reading someone’s writing about just how much they drank the night before and how much alcohol that they imbibed. It is painful to read, to watch and to know. But so many young people I know today find comfort at the bottom of a bottle. it is a rite of passage to be able to drink others “under the table,” but that’s just the start of a long and sometimes never acknowledged drinking problem. shit happens.

So I was good to read from the book tonight and that there were a handful of beginners in the room who also needed to hear about “the solution.” And that for us, there is a solution. It is all laid out in the book. Along the reading we stop to skip back to the appendices II – Spiritual experience.

“Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience CAN recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.

We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.

There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation… ” Herbert Spencer.

Snow is falling over our fair city tonight. And the expectation is for more as the week progresses. It was a good day. The snow began early this afternoon, falling slowly and sparsely, but as the night went on, picked up speed.

I left early because I had a couple of stops to make on the way. And that was quick. Our Zeller’s here at Alexis Nihon will only be open for two more days, the final push to rid the shelves of useless items goes on in earnest. Soon the store will close and begin its transformation into a brand new Target store.

The church was open and bright. Thankfully the heat was on and it even got toasty as the meeting started. We sat a full compliment. We read a fair chunk of words and we completed the chapter, “There is a solution.”

These are the times when we find ourselves in a quandary about what we are going to do with ourselves, and for many, how am I going to get through the holidays without a drink … I think the worst time to get sober, is over the holidays. But this was the time that I came into the rooms in 2001. Just weeks shy of Christmas and New Years. And thanks to my fellows I did not drink, one day at a time. And here we are some 11 years and a few days more.

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A friend said to me tonight that he was troubled by the tragedy that took place on Friday. That it is bringing up memories of his childhood, coming from the life he did, deep seated anger still resides in his soul. Our man will be sober 24 years tomorrow. And he is seeking God in ways, never before sought. Trying to find something that he feels he lacks.

Tragedy happens. And God knows that only the human who committed the crime knows just what he was doing, or not doing. Gay men and women, and Gay marriage did not bring upon this town a tragedy so horrific that it is almost unspeakable. The killing of innocents. The killing of Children.

And let me profoundly say to the depraved family that has vowed to picket the funerals and wakes of little children, You are evil … And you should be stopped. I do not name you by name, because to do so would give you press. Surely everyone who will read this will know of whom I speak.

Gay Marriage, Fags and community at large did not bring this wanton tragic event to befall this town and these little children.

And how dare you speak that God is angry for gay marriage and killed these little children because God was angry …

I pity you fuckers. and God wept.

It is far too easy to get angry, because anger so deep seeded can upset our applecart of life. It does no good to harbor anger in our souls. Anger does us no good in sobriety, and when it comes up, we look at it, acknowledge it and quickly let it go, for this too shall pass. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.

Many people are suffering. Little children are dead tonight, and there isn’t anything we can do to bring them back. So we must surrender the little ones to God, who is love, life and peace. God did not smite the little ones because of anything. God had nothing to do with the killing of innocents. Don’t you dare even speak those words, because to do so would be to utter blasphemy.

God has NOTHING to do with the killing of innocents.

We will move past this in time. Time will heal the wounds of those who mourn, and one day, the sun shall rise, and it will be glorious.

Pray God, that he blesses the meek and small. Pray God that these little children are carried to the arms of the loving God in his endless mercy and tenderness. Eternal rest grant them and may perpetual light shine upon them.