Re-Evaluation

Today was a great day.

One of my friends returned from Summer vacation a new man. And he remarked to me, upon seeing me, for the first time in three months, that I too had changed.

We both took the Summer to re-evaluate our lives, learn new skills, and make positive changes to maximize our time, as individuals, and as friends.

We had a pow wow prior to his departure, and we both had goals that were attainable, (provided we put in the work) but, as you know, life does not toss you roses and teddy bears all the time.

For both of us it was a challenging Summer for each of us, in our own ways. He shared his story with me, and I shared my story with him. We both came away with a new appreciation of possibilities.

I believe I am about to make another turn, in my sobriety. I told him what has been going on with people, young and old. Told him about the misery in the rooms in many places, and my irritation with negativity and misery and the fact that there are battles I cannot win, and people, I will never please, and work that I do, for people who really take advantage of my good hardheartedness.

And that the Alcoholic WILL DRINK AGAIN.

Give people an inch they will take a mile.

He reminded me that I really don’t have to over extend myself, because I have done my job for King and Country. I know what my strengths are, and if I don’t need to hang around drunkenness and misery, then DON’T.

I don’t have to stay in places that thrive on conflict and misery. He told me that I might be on to something, because the way I explained things to him, it seemed to him, that people won’t step up, but will make snide comments because I am on the ball, so to speak. I have goals and I pound the pavement, and people see that and for many, they are jealous about what I have, because they won’t step up and do the same for themselves.

He also told me that I really helped him and that in that help, I changed his life in ways he never imagined.

He was grateful. And I was humbled.

Todd always told me that if I wanted to do right, then pick the people with promise and potential and take them under my wing and teach them what I was taught by Todd, and thereby changing lives, one at a time, in ways they nor I ever imagined.

I have done that.

There is a solution, available to everyone. It just seems that people are more comfortable in complacency and misery. Because not many want the challenge I put to them. I even scared a boy away from the rooms, by asking him to pray, and to do some step work, hell I even bought him a really nice journal to write in, and he’s never hit another meeting since. It’s been about a month now and he’s been MIA.

The other night I completed phase One of my full transition. Getting rid of distraction. I scrubbed my computer, and closed all of my distraction accounts, and deleted them from my system.

I am making good use of my CB-6000 right now.

Tonight I completed phase Two, of my transition. The Rage Cage has been purchased and will go out sometime tomorrow, with a receive date of probably next week. I went to The Tire to see if they had the solder supplies I need to seal the deal, so that I don’t have to trek all the way to St. Henri and hit the Home Depot instead. Thankfully, in a few hours I will go to The Tire up the block and get the necessary wand and metal solder wire.

We will be prepared to make it all happen as soon as the Rage arrives.

I have a goal in mind, and I am making it happen. I have all the necessary support to be successful and now I have the permission of my guides to make certain changes I wanted to make, but I needed to run them by sound minds before I put my choices into action. First I needed to know if I was right, if my thoughts were clear, and I explained the issues correctly to make a solid judgment call.

With that said … My final plans are coming into fruition.

By next week, a new chapter in my life will begin, in ways I had never imagined just a few short months ago. I had a prophetic dream one night, I acted upon it the next day, and here we are with a totally new perspective on Life, Chastity, Obedience, Humility, and Friendship.

Grateful …

Thank You God.

Gym Journal 9 Jan 2019

After a leisurely lunch with a friend, I hit the gym for the first time today. Wasn’t quite sure where to begin. I scoped out the entire gym to look see what was going on. The gym is set in the Old Forum building, spanning two floors of West facing windows.

The Cardio space is on the first floor with the locker rooms. The weights are on the second floor, in separate rooms for bar bells and weight machines in the other.

I thought wise to get a lay of my abilities on Cardio today. So I found a lone treadmill and set up the mountain program and ran 4 miles. It came easily.

It is kind of intimidating lifting weight with other guys. But I have all the gear I need to lift and the Odyn fitness clothing we all spent inordinate amounts of money on, to look good in the gym.

There are specific fitness classes offered so I might do that over the next little while, while I get my feet wet.

Saturday: Odds and Ends, and Everything In Between

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On my trip to see Alexander, we engaged in serious debate about the state of the world. I am not the best at politics, world issues, and everything in between. Our lives at home consist of one cable news channel, and at 11 p.m. we turn to CTV for our nightly news fix.

I cannot go to bed without the last word coming from Lisa LaFlamme.

I’ve never been totally political, as in, devoted to politics or politicians of any stripe. I’ve always known where I sit on issues of the day. But expanding my brain to other news outlets only began when I moved to Canada in 2002. And over the time I have lived here, I’ve explored other points of view.

Alexander encourages that I step out of my bubble and echo chamber to see the world from other points of view. And this is one reason I love my best friend, because he is from somewhere else, (read:Brazil) and he has world knowledge that I do not. He has a smarts about him that no one I know have themselves.

So I read, I watch, and I listen to other points of view. If you polled me online, I rank in the NDP sphere of thought. But I voted for Justin. And he is proving to be a challenge to me.

Alexander sits on the Conservative side of life. And that is NOT a bad thing at all. Because he forces me to see the world, like he sees the world. He challenges me to spread my vision and take in others words, and not just accept words by people I am accustomed to listening to.

Politics and world events are two different spheres for me. I care very little for U.S. politics. And I do not consume politics like I used to because I cannot be bothered on a daily basis to know or listen to repetitive redundant news about a mad man in the Oval Office.

Cannot Be Bothered.

I spend a good amount of my sober life, buried in books. I learned long ago, while in University, that reading “other literature” that situate itself “around” a topic I was studying, as it went along, was very useful.

Reading side literature around a specific topic whether that literature be fiction or non-fiction, built a world for me to engage with on a wider basis, rather than on a single note in time.

I read, Every night.

There are places in the world that interest me. There are social issues that I am passionate about as well. Issues in the world, and issues right here at home are on my dashboard, quite often. I worry about our less fortunate, our homeless, and our indigenous population.

Because I am in the rooms, I’ve seen so much suffering. Friends of mine, in the program have gone on to work in those specific areas of helping the less fortunate. So I am engaged in their work.

Studying Religion and Pastoral Ministry opened my eyes to World Religions, as well, taking care of those people I am engaged with on a daily basis. I have stayed away from posting anything incendiary on this blog, certain world issues, that I am not clearly well-rounded or well versed on, to write coherently or knowledgeably.

I’ve always been interested in Israel and Palestine. Our Jewish Community here in Montreal served my early sobriety solely. The Chabad organization does work all over the city for many people, I just happened to be one of those people.

During my studies I spent time at the Ghetto Shul at McGill during my Judaism studies. And I often said that if I would become anything other than a Christian, I would certainly be a Jew. Palestine is a new subject for me, since being introduced to that area by a friend who wrote a book on the subject, from a point of view we don’t hear about ever.

When I finished the book, all I could write about was what was in Ben’s book, by the words he wrote. Which began my reading slant into books that were written, on the ground, within the Palestinian community. There are not many in circulation, that don’t begin with a premise situated in Israel, and merely spits on Palestine.

I need to figure out what I know, what I need to know, and where I sit on the spectrum of politics and on the ground situations. I know where I would like to be, but that point needs to be plotted on a map so that I can see it clearly.

Israel and Palestine is such a deep topic with some serious history, people, and problems, that I am unable to touch because of the complexity of the state of that area of the world. But while in Ottawa, I picked up another tome that I am reading at the moment.

I just cannot read a handful of books and expect to be able to write anything that is worthy of print on this blog, because that would be stupid and green of me.

The entire Middle East is a quagmire of instability, political strife and religious intolerance. And we just cannot say, incendiary things about people we know little about or those points of views or lives that we don’t even care about informing ourselves about, because it is easier to hate outright, then find a point of agreement or understanding.

How many people do you know who really care about the Middle East beyond blanket hatred of those we don’t even know, or care to know ?

Because they are not “Christian?” or “Jewish?”

If we don’t read, or listen to other points of view and study areas of the world that interest us, and take the time to get informed, how can we relate what we are reading/studying?

That is a thing …

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Colorful Metaphors

Any Star Trek fan knows the line from Star Trek IV the Voyage Home, where Kirk and Spock are on a bus, and Spock relates his confusion of people’s use of “Colorful Metaphors.”

I don’t know if it is age, or my sensibilities to certain colorful metaphors and words, used by people I listen to, or something else, but I’ve grown weary of people using certain language.

Since the dawn of the Pod Cast, when I got my I Phone for Christmas, my nightly bed time schedule was shifted when I started listening to Pod Casts. They competed with my traditional book reading time before bed.

Over the past few months, I’ve listened to a number of Pod Cast presenters. And I’ve come to the point that the Ardent Screaming Host, or the host who litters his show with the word FUCK, every other word, I just delete their shows from my phone.

I love me some Bill Maher. But he is incessantly insane. And over the last month, I’ve also grown weary of him as well, because his devolution into insane screaming by the end of the hour podcast.

People who talk on the Pod Cast, are not bound by ethical language rules. Although many men and women, do take listeners into consideration when it comes to words. Others, not so much. I just don’t have the mental energy to listen to people swear and use foul language. It is just no longer appealing.

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Social Media

Over the last year, I have had to unfriend many people from my Face Book Profile. Certain friends litter my time line with shit I am not interested in, and they persist. Others, all they can do is post POST after POST of political bullshit, incessantly.

I went as far as to neuter my feed from showing me anything related to topics I have no interest in. That meant turning certain people off, for my own well being and sanity.

Aside from news online, that I do consume, Face Book and Twitter are two sources of news and current events that I utilize on a daily basis. But I don’t do either on my phone, so I deleted the apps from my phone.

  • I make phone calls on my phone.
  • I listen to music on my phone.
  • And I Pod Cast on my phone.

That’s it.

I am trying to set some news boundaries for myself. I have built a wall around me on social media that is useful, because I have a life, and I am not connected to social media 24/7. That is insane.

I turn on my computer when I wake up, I run my set. All those sites I look at and participate in and when I am done, I just shut off the computer until I need it again, and I go read, or better yet, I nap …

All the time…

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Sober Realizations

I wrote to a friend of mine recently …

I no longer have the desire to engage most people who believe so strongly what they do, contrary to any evidence of acceptance and respect of humanity in others. Religion, like politics, are two areas I intentionally stay away from, because I know who I am, and what I know, and that is good for me. Sobriety teaches me that I don’t always have to argue when it is not necessary to do so.

He replied that this portion of my comment is a post in itself.

I spend my days working with others. I spend a few nights a week in meetings. Only three meetings a week now, instead of my prior, six meetings a week, spread over two fellowships.

I love what I do. Because the men and women I work with are accountable. We are all moving forwards. And that is a really good thing. Because I am not a born leader, however I think I “could” lead. I’ve had time in the past where what I did and what I said meant something to those I spent time with.

You never know WHO you are going to meet or what conversation you are going to have with them, until the meeting happens, and conversations take place either before or after.

I want a clean break going into my fifties.

God has made that something that I work on daily. Recently, certain friends have gone dark, for one reason or another, that I am not understanding at the moment, but it is what it is.

I have a routine that works. I have a life that is fulfilling. I have friends whom I love and adore. And a best friend, second to none.

Discussion was brought up the other night, by someone I trust, when he asked me why I just did not adopt the baby, and give her a father, who wants to be in her life, and someone she can rely on, because I am reliable and accountable to her and Mama.

And my reply was this … I want the biological father to pay his dues like the law states. Because he is a dead beat and a looser. And I want him to pay up.

I don’t want to step in and absolve him of any responsibility towards the baby.

I need to research this before I head to New Foundland in April.

I think I know what I want of life and of myself. But that is subject to change because sobriety is not a one trick pony.

Shit happens. Life happens. And you never know what to expect when you walk into a room full of your friends and fellows.

You might just learn something you did not know, or realize something you had not before, and it wasn’t until that particular moment that God opened up your eyes and spirit. And you heard something you realized you really needed.

But did not realize you needed it until right then.

This is the filler that happened between the lines over the last little while.

Sobriety is Magic. Sobriety is Miracles. Sobriety is God, it is Us and it is We.

I love the “We” that I am part of today.

Tuesday -My Chance To Live

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How often, in life, do we get the chance, to live a life of our choosing ?

So many people in the world, never get that chance. For some, they never leave the house, or the neighborhood they were born in/grew up in.

Some believe they are safe and insulated from the rest of the world if they just stay where they are, and they never leave, they never visit other places, and they get stuck in a way of life, that chooses them, instead of them choosing it.

But if you never leave the comfort of your home, and go out and see the world, how will you know if your life is as good as it can be, without finding out whether it could be better ?

Many people in the world are constrained to the life they live, because jobs are scarce, and the necessity of making money to keep a roof over ones head, is primary, so they are stuck in a dead end existence, never able to be upwardly mobile.

How many people do I know, who are stuck in that rut and are miserable, because the only distance they put in their lives, between fact and fiction, is a book, on a commute to and from work … MANY !!!

University used to be a place where work was rewarded with a piece of paper that guaranteed you upward success because you studied hard and have new knowledge that would serve the world and make it a better place for YOU and THEM.

Now, that same university degree, isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.

How many people do I know who went to university, got good grades, and for a while, may have had a position in a career that was going places, then lost said position, and now sit in a cubicle, taking up space, warming a chair, staring into a computer screen eight hours a day, bemoaning the fact that they once had IT, but don’t have it ANY MORE… MANY !!!

For most of my life, I stayed in one location (read:Florida) aside from my tragic decision to explore the mid west, to my detriment, only to return bruised and broken.

But the universe conspired to help me leave that life behind, and strike out for greener pastures above the Northern Border, and a new life in Canada.

I never imagined that life would ever get this good, or that it could get as good as it is. Because people with AIDS in the United States, on government disability, and state assistance, are locked into a certain life, not of their own choosing. I was one of those people. I have a friend who is locked in that life, but he makes it work for himself, even if much of his life was chosen for him.

I got my ticket out of Dead End Existence. And I am forever Grateful for it.

Tonight, we read “My Chance to Live.” A story about a young lady who got sober in her teens, after a short but disastrous career with the bottle and illicit drugs.

Many kids come in, And I say that with respect. Many come, but few stay and even fewer make it to adulthood, without returning to that grind of party, party, party.

Young people who come in, never see the wisdom of such a choice, when they are in the middle of it. They moan over the fact that, maybe some of their friends can drink responsibly, and drug occasionally, but THEY can not.

They don’t see the long haul as viable solution. The ones who fuck off, go back out and they learn just what a horror addiction can be, because some of them return, much more bruised and broken, then when they showed up the first time.

The numbers are low, for the ones who come and stay the first time, but those numbers rise, when a venture into “experimentation” turns into a return to the rooms.

We all reflected on this reading tonight, and everyone had a different identity point with said story.

I have said before that when Todd was in my life, and always looking over my shoulder, and giving me a reason to push forwards, and giving good advice, and protecting me from the world, I prospered. And I flourished.

But when he moved away, I did not have that wise counsel, and for the life of me, I could not figure out a way to make it in the world by myself. And that fact, translated into spinning out of control, trusting no one, and keeping secrets and telling lies.

That ended up in a disastrous slip.

I needed people. I could not make it on my own. I needed help badly.

When  I returned to the rooms, that protection picked up right where I left off, years before. Which led me here, to more people, who would be good for me, for all the right reasons.

I can not make this life, on my own.

Our young lady talks about drinking to fit in … Been there, done that.

Our young lady talks about blackouts … Been there, done that.

But at nineteen, she found her way in, because she had a waitress job, and these happy, smiling, laughing alcoholics came to her establishment, over and over, and at one point, they invited her to a meeting, and the seed was planted.

All she wanted was to get out of this job and get away from these happy, smiling people. But when that happened, she realized that she began to miss them. So she found her way into the rooms for the last time. And she stuck and stayed.

She goes on to talk about progress:

Following the principles laid out in the Big Book has not always been comfortable, or will I claim perfection. I have YET to find a place in the Big Book that says “Now you have completed the Steps; have a nice life.”

The program is a plan for a lifetime of daily living. There have been occasions when the temptation to slack off has won. I view each of these as learning opportunities.

When I am willing to do the right thing, I am rewarded with an inner peace no amount of liquor could ever provide. When I am unwilling to do the right thing, I become restless, irritable, and discontent.

It is always my choice.

Through the Twelve Steps, I have been granted the gift of choice. I am no longer at the the mercy of a disease that tells me the only answer is to drink. If willingness is the key to unlock the gates of hell, it is action that opens those doors so that we may walk freely among the living.

There is a vast amount of wisdom that every young person in the rooms today, needs to hear, so that they stay. We all felt that this story resonated a great deal for all of us.

I think, many sober people can attest to the “It Gets Better Phenomena.” And i, for myself can also add that, over the last fourteen years and four months, everything that I ever needed came from the rooms, and the people in them.

I’ve never had to leave the circle for ANYTHING.

And today, I get to turn around and give it back, in full share, for my friends. Years sober, a few university degrees, years of life experience, and sober living, have changed my life in ways, I never foresaw.

But today, I can honestly give it back in spades.

What a feeling it is, to know that your contribution to the circle, changes lives for the better. It isn’t about me, but with God’s help, I get to give back. I am a confident man, who has talent and love to give back to my friends. And I do that gladly.

My heart is full.

I came, I found, and this is my chance to live …

“Live, Live Live, Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving…”

20 point if you can tell me where this quote comes from …

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Today I surfed Le Square’s website. And my floor numbers are correct. Today they poured the twelfth story. There are two more to go, to top it all off, fourteen and fifteen.

I say in a matter of weeks the entire build will be completed.

The build out on the lower floors continue. I am sure that they are ahead of schedule now. The weather has been cooperating, so construction is taking full advantage of blue skies and lots of sun.

La Catherine is building the next floor over the garage. Soon they will be out of the pit completely.

More to come.