Honor

 

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Last week in Montreal, as well as over most of the Eastern Seaboard, saw temperatures rise to new record levels. as of this evening, we know of 70 people in the Province of Quebec, died due to factors including age, underlying medical conditions, and reactions to severe heat conditions. 34 of those deaths were here in Montreal.

Sadly, we know who one of those 34 men and women were.

This afternoon, after making several calls to an institutional half way house here in Montreal, where one of our men lived, got a call back about 4 p.m. The case worker informed me that sadly, one of our men had died, in the course of a work day, being overcome by heat, in the back of a moving truck.

Temps were running in the high 40’s with humidexes in the mid to high 40’s. That combination of heat and humidity was a death knell for many.

My friend, a man of honor and dignity, spent two tours in Afghanistan working for American Armed Forces. Found himself on the wrong side of the law, after being discharged, finding himself in prison. He served his time and was released a few months ago.

He arrived in Montreal and was housed in an institutional halfway house not far from my home. I met him in one of our Thursday night meetings. At least, at first, I learned his name. Soon after we got him a free ticket to the West Island Roundup, where I took him into my circle, and provided for his weekend. Many people reached out to him over the past few months.

Myself and one of my friends, stepped up to sponsor him in recovery, he having gotten sober behind the walls, came out with 3 years and change, and had he made it, would have celebrated 4 years sober in November. He went to great detail at the roundup to buy himself a special limited edition chip, that we were holding for him, until he got to where he was going.

The first day of the Round Up, he showed me what he carried with him, photos of him and his team, while in Afghanistan. He carried those photos proudly, as a badge of honor and courage. I wanted to do right by him, because he deserved that honor for serving his country so proudly in a place that was seriously dangerous.

I tried very hard to honor his work and his dignity as a fellow-man on the road with us.

I was shocked beyond words today hearing that he had died.

P.T.S.D. is wicked and harsh.

Our man suffered a great many things. He was having a hard time at it, living in a house where drug and alcohol abuse was rife, he would tell me over and over. He flirted with a second incarceration, having lost his cool at the house a couple of weeks ago. He eventually got a talking to by the administrators and was allowed to stay on at the house.

I had brought him into my home, setting up his new I-Phone with music and very soon he really wanted high-end, ringtones. That was his passion, his time in the Armed Services. He had been over several times and we were getting to know each other.

This past week, he had dropped off the radar, and went M.I.A. (Missing in Action).

I worried for him and was not going to let it go until I figured out where he had disappeared to. This past Saturday I called the rooming house and inquired about his case worker and my friends where about. I was told that case workers don’t work on weekends and that I would have to wait until today to speak to him.

I got up early this morning, after hurried texts with the other member working with our man, and made the call to the house and left a message, that was replied about 4 p.m. this afternoon.

The only thought I was entertaining was that my guy had been re-incarcerated, because that was the thought I was entertaining. I had no idea or inkling that he had passed away, I mean, how often do we, ourselves, when someone so young disappears, say to ourselves, “Well they might be dead.”

Right now we know he was clean and sober. That he died working in a moving truck in Plus 40 temps, during a heat wave. Tonight, after the meeting, I was chairing, one of my friends called to inquire how I knew what I knew and what further I could tell him, which was not much.

Contacting the next of kin would have fallen to the discretion of the house and his case worker.

Eternal Rest Grant Him and May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him.

Monday: IN ALL THY SONS COMMAND

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When does Political Correctness need to stop ?

When do we, as people, get to say, enough already with your penny ante bullshit needs for everything good and right needing to be changed because of the way you wipe your ass ?

The fluidity discussion has only grown in the last year or so, and I have seen this across many social platforms, and in my social groupings in the rooms I attend weekly. The classification of who you are, the color your skin, your nationality, your heritage, your background, your sexual identity, or lack thereof … has caused much fracas in these social circles.

Everybody is vying for a piece of the pie, so to speak.

We all want to be recognized, and respected, and equally represented, in all areas of life. Most importantly in our homes and in our communities.

Racism and Exclusion are very serious problems here in Canada.

And I am tired of having to prune my words in public and lately, when in conversation with friends, about many things, I have to actually, consciously “THINK” of what words I use in conversations that used to be so easily had. I cannot speak to friends like I used to speak to them before the P.C. Sexual Orientation/Fluidity topics have come to the fore.

Just the other day, I was talking to a friend, and within that conversation, he mentioned someone I know well and care about. Said person is on the S.O. spectrum (sexual orientation) spectrum. And as I was talking, I had to carefully MINE my words, having to actually choose words wisely, so as not to be offensive to them.

Do you know what kind of mental gymnastics that is ???

Having to carefully choose ones words, that do not come naturally, and having to think on ones feet, so to speak, making sure one uses the right pronouns or identifiers, is a real pain in the ass.

It’s like OOOPS, what did I just say ?

Did I use the wrong word there, because I cannot speak naturally, like I had been able for the whole of my life ?

They changed the National Anthem of Canada … Oh Canada …
The old version, written before W.W. I reads “IN ALL THY SONS COMMAND”
it now reads “IN ALL OF US COMMAND.”

The reference was put there to honor the memory of the great sacrifices that the many men who fought for this country in wars far and wide, that we remember them, respect them, and honor them for all eternity in song, every time we sing the anthem.

Now that has all changed.

Honor stripped from the Anthem. The memory lost to a bunch of tree hugging, politically correct pin heads, who bent over backwards and got fucked to make community more inclusive, because they just could not help themselves, could they?

  • Oh, I feel oppressed.
  • I don’t feel accepted.
  • I’m socially inept and sexually dysfunctional, and these days,
  • It is a Sin to be a MAN.
  • I mean really,
  • What the fuck WOMEN ?

Let’s just punish all the men in the world for the shortcomings of a few really bad apples. And while we are at it, let’s just change the whole fucking National Anthem for good measure!

When is enough ENOUGH already ?

I’ve spent HOURS walking the Canadian National War Museum in Ottawa with my best friend. If you’ve never been, you really need to see it.

I find it REPUGNANT that the national anthem was changed. Because the Honor, Respect and Memory of all those who died in service of Canada, have been just tossed aside for expediency and political correctness and for the whim of the female population, because they are SO HARD DONE BY, us men.

We should just RAZE the God Damned building for heavens sake now, because the hallowed honor of that building has been desecrated for sure.

I am all for respecting everyone … I mean we pray it over and over in the long version of the Serenity Prayer every night.

But enough is enough already.

This truly pisses me off to no end.

It sucks being a man. But I won’t stay silent for expediency and the fragile temperament of women who have their endless axes to grind with us.

There is a limit to my willingness to be accepting of social norms. But when you cross the line and begin to strip away honor, respect and memory from men who died for my country, you have taken a STEP TOO FAR …

The NEWS…

The Senate passed a bill that renders the national anthem gender neutral Wednesday despite the entrenched opposition of some Conservative senators.

The House of Commons overwhelmingly passed a private member’s bill in 2016 that would alter the national anthem by replacing “in all thy sons command” with “in all of us command” as part of a push to strike gendered language from O Canada.

The bill was first introduced by Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, who died in 2016. It now must receive royal assent by the Governor General before it officially becomes law.

Since 1980, when O Canada officially became the country’s anthem, 12 bills have been introduced in the House to strip the gendered reference to “sons,” which some have argued is discriminatory. All attempts have failed until now.

The song was written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908 and has been changed before — including an update that dates back to before the First World War when the author added the line that later sparked so much debate. Weir, a poet and judge, changed “thou dost in us command” to “in all thy sons command.”

‘Very, very happy’

Independent Ontario Sen. Frances Lankin, the sponsor of Bélanger’s bill the upper house, said she was elated after the bill’s passage.

“I’m very, very happy. There’s been 30 years plus of activity trying to make our national anthem, this important thing about our country, inclusive of all of us,” she said. “This may be small, it’s about two words, but it’s huge … we can now sing it with pride knowing the law will support us in terms of the language. I’m proud to be part of the group that made this happen.”

My Line in the Sand has been drawn, when it comes to Political Correctness.

I’ve had enough !!!

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Lest, we never FORGET the brave sacrifices of our men who fought for this country in wars far and wide, and forever HONOR them. This is our anthem as it SHOULD be sung.

Canada symbol on a flagpole

Thursday: Sinking into God …

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I wrote this letter to my Spiritual Director the other night. It is pertinent to my life today, because it reflects my growth in certain areas of my life at the moment.

I hope that things have gotten a bit better than they were a few days ago. Sometimes it’s a bitch having to recite and accept those pesky slogans …

They might come in handy when necessary, but when they become prayer mantras, that’s the worst, because you know, you have to totally “Turn it over, right ?”

How many times had I heard, Stick with the Winners, and Stay until the Miracle happens, and This Too Shall Pass … UGH

I thought about you last night, while at my Monday haunt. I was talking to a young man of my acquaintance, his name is John. He has quite the story, in summary though, he got to the bitter end and his marriage was in the toilet.

He came to us, and has stayed. The marriage is a work in progress. They are better for the ware and tear that took place. He’s in our rooms, and she is in Alanon …

A couple of weeks ago, John told me that he had found gainful employment finally, after his crash and burn. Starting off at ground level, he found a job as a manual laborer. In a school.

Answer: He’s a janitor.

Sweeping, mopping and shoveling snow… menial tasks but labor nonetheless. He started this week. And seems to be at peace with it.

He has found the meditative art in the quiet. His saving grace, it seems.

His wife is working in a kitchen preparing food for the restaurant, working with a friend of hers who took her under her wing so to speak. She seems to like that small quaint space. The Kitchen. It suits her well.

They got through the holidays, this year, just barely. John was one of the grouping from Monday night, we worked very hard at keeping sober over those two weeks. Everybody is still sober. Thanks be to God.

I had told John, before the meeting about my relationship with the man who saved my life, when it was most needed. Todd kept me focused and on point while at work.

He had a saying that stuck and worked miracles for me. He said early on that I could trust him, and I did, implicitly. I thought tonight, that I have not trusted anyone to that extent before or since. Now or before.

He said that as I approached the building we worked in, whatever was on my heart and worrying me, that I needed to leave it outside the doors, and once I crossed the threshold, the only thing I needed to worry about was the work I had to do each shift.

That pin point focus saved my life in the end.

So with my friend John, with all that is going on in his life right now, I shared that thought with him, that while he was IN the building, the only thing he needed to focus on was work, and not what had been going on in his head upon the approach.
Hopefully that piece of advice will stick and keep him on the beam, so to speak.

Then a God moment happened for all of us. The chair introduced for discussion, Step Three, in the Big Book, Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
How appropriate.

And here I just told the story about turning my will and my life over to the care of TODD, (read: GOD) as I understood Him.

If there is a God, I met Him in the flesh, all those years ago, and I am still alive to speak about Him to others.

Which bring me round to you … A while back, at one point, you said to me that I could not bullshit God that whatever I was holding back, needed to see the light. hence, I heard you say that and I took that last step into God.

But it wasn’t until I tell this little story to my friends that God makes perfect sense, in that, I knew without a doubt what it felt like to sink into Todd, (read: God) with complete abandon. I knew it, because I had practiced it. over and over.

With my father’s death, I have written about him. And lately I focus on his generosity when it came, and his goodness when it showed. and that when my father was good, he could do no wrong. Even if he tried.

I’m not sure that all the goodness in the world, when it came to abuses, if that cleared his good points off the score board. I’ve been trying to dream about him at night. No success there. I’m not sure he would think to come to me now. Too much water under the bridge I think.

I wonder how he died, if he was at peace, my brother was there, and the day he called me he asked me if I had had any questions about my father’s passing, at that time I said no, because there was too much anger on the dashboard to think clearly and have a lucid conversation about death. But I wonder now.

I wonder what God said to him, after this life he lived, and the manner he chose to live it in, including my mother, because I am sure she is going to have that same conversation with God He did, at some point.

I believe that they both want peace on the other side, after the lives they chose to live, and the way they chose to live them. I believe God would have wanted that for them finally. And I muse about the fact that my sainted grand mother was waiting for him when he finally got there, she was an amazing women who loved deeply.

I hope the three of them are there together, where ever that may be. My mother will have the same cheering squad when she goes, because Memere was all-powerful and saintly. She had the 1-800 number to God for the whole of my life. When she died, she came back to me for a long while.

In fact, all of my grandparents came back to me, in specific form, we all knew them when they showed up because we all saw them and interacted with them. When I was sick and going to die. grammy used to come and visit my home.

I know this because I slept with my bedroom door closed. And every morning I would get up to scattered magazines on the floor and the painting on the wall tilted. A friend who was a seer came to my home not long after and grammy was there, waiting for us.

She told him to tell me not to close the bedroom door, for some reason she could not find her way through the door closed. hence I never slept with a closed-door again. She comes to visit often and stands at the foot of my bed. But I see her. If she has that power to come back, then maybe she will share it with my father at some point, and he will find his way back to me eventually.

Sadly, my father has not made the journey back across to see me. That kind of bums me, I kind of wonder if he thinks about me there, and if he sees me from where he is. That is quite a question I have.

I kind of know what redemption feels like because I am still alive. I’ve felt the true power of God in motion. Here on earth. Very few people harness that kind of energy for me. Todd was one of them. The only one for what he was able to do for me.

Surely, if that were God, then I know. I believe that we all have One redeeming Quality, deep within. Deep in my father’s heart there was goodness, kindness and love. It just got buried with all that abuse and crap he went through.

If I know God, like I think I know God, my father was redeemed. And was forgiven. In keeping with thoughts of how good he was, I can forgive him as well. Because God would want that from us, right ?

I know how to turn it over to the care of God as I understand Him, implicitly. Been there, Done that.

Every time I know I am in deep water, spiritually, all I have to do is close my eyes and see Todd in my mind’s eye, and I know God loves me, and all of us.

So I sink into God fully and completely. Without reservation.

The Most Grown Up thing She’s ever done

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Tonight, St. Matthias Celebrated 70 years. That’s 70 years of meetings in the same location, beginning in 1947. Montreal Sobriety began back in 1945, with Dave B.

He was a sole alcoholic back in the day. And from one member we moved to a small group that ballooned to twenty members here in Montreal. There were, at that time, only three meetings on the English side.

St. Matthias was born from those three meetings. If you extrapolate over the decades, at a head count of thirty souls sitting in a room, we’ve held over 4,000 meetings, and helped countless men and women over the years. Thousands of people.

At the end of the meeting we held a Sobriety Countdown. All totaled together, we had over 3,145 years of sobriety, and 14 days. With one young man, counting his first day sober.

I know many of our young people. I’ve seen them come in, and not be sure that they are really alcoholic. Because how many young people come in and stay on the first pass ?

Not many.

But those who do make it past their first meeting and stay, the odds are very good that they will stay. It also helps, if, in tonight’s speaker, you have women who stand up and welcome you, and sit with you, and align themselves with you, as our speaker had tonight.

I know this young woman, albeit, from afar. I’ve seen her work. I’ve seen her in service, and I see her in meetings. And every time she speaks, where ever that is, I listen, very intently.

Tonight, my young lady friend became a woman.

Tonight, in listening to her speak, I told her that tonight, was the most grown up thing she has ever done in her life.

The young woman she was when she came in, has been in flux for a while now. I noticed she was in flux, I watched the transformation happen. But I did not know the finer points of the why ? Tonight, I know the why.

I’ve never heard a young woman get up and share the pain I heard tonight. I’ve never heard someone get up and own all of her story like that.

Because when she came in, she hated herself and all she wanted was to die.

It was that still, small, disconnected voice, the day she began this journey that said to her, “You know, you really don’t want to die …!”

She heard the voice, and she took action.

It was the best choice she ever made, because it brought her to tonight.

The best part of her share … “I am so grateful that today, I love myself.”

People talk about loving themselves in a disconnected way. We hear about learning to love ourselves. I believe that only through the furnace of pain and transformation, can we even begin to know what loving ourselves feels like from deep within.

I told her that what I heard from her tonight, was the most grown up thing that she has ever done in her life. That if ONE woman heard the words that were spoken, and if ONE woman walked out of tonight’s meeting and does something for herself, and if ONE woman was touched by what she heard tonight, then our speakers job was complete.

I could not have been any prouder of my young lady friend tonight.

And I told her so.

That might have changed her life. You never know.

People might not want to hear anything I have to say in general, but I am a good judge of character, and I’ve got some time, so take it for what it is.

All it takes is one sentence.

And I choose my sentences wisely, when they matter.

Canada 150 … We Are Not United

International Aborigines Festival in Malaysia

I’ve lived in Canada now 15 years. And I work in a community that suffers greatly.

First world folks who come from the First World, seem not to care about those who do not come from First World communities. Canada is a nation of many.

Many people, from many walks of life.

Before the white man came to Canada, Indigenous populations owned the land that was taken from them. Reserves were set up, and as land went to Canada, Indigenous populations were sequestered on reserves.

Many of those reserves today, are Third World Communities.

  • Many homes are condemned, because of lack of utilities and basic working ability.
  • Many Communities cannot be reached by road, either by plane, boat, ferry, or ice Roads. They are not connected to infrastructure and they should be.
  • Many homes have no running water.
  • Many homes have no heat.
  • Reserves scattered all over Canada, are far-flung, and are not connected to First World facilities or infrastructure.

The farther North you travel, the more remote the community, as far as the Arctic in the North, to the Up Coast in the West, to the farthest islands in the far North of B.C.

I have advocated for my people. I’ve written the government over the years. I work with the less fortunate in our community here. I have indigenous friends, who got sober with me and now they work within their communities, in ways that the white community does not.

Our sober communities are diverse, and our Primary Purpose tells us that we must serve every single human who walks through our doors equally. Thankfully, we do this well. We try to make a difference in our own communities.

This is not always a shared commitment across Canada.

There are too many poor Indigenous people across our land. They cannot get by alone. They cannot afford creature comforts that we take for granted. If you went to buy groceries in an Indigenous grocery store, you would pay hand over fist, huge amounts for simple food, that we pay a pittance for ourselves. They do not have access to humane health care and have to travel to larger cities to access care.

  • There is not social equality.
  • There is not economic equality.
  • There is not social equality.
  • There is not housing equality.
  • Our Indigenous populations go without all those comforts, White, Anglo, and Francophone communities expect and take for granted and feel entitled to because of their heritage and birthright as Canadians.
  • Yet, we consign our Indigenous Peoples to lives of Less Than.
  • That is ABOMINABLE !!!

Change must come to Canada across the land.

Truth and Reconciliation has begun, but has fallen short of itself. The Inquiry into Indigenous Missing and Murdered Women has fallen short of expectations. We have not served our Indigenous populations accordingly.

The Residential School program that killed the dreams of millions of children, taken from their homes, into religious communities for assimilation. Entire communities were destroyed. Languages were eradicated. Children were abused beyond what was conceived by those who thought they were doing Canada a favor by turning indigenous children into white religious Canadians.

Respect and Dignity were ignored. Our Indigenous populations demand respect, and we owe them that and so much more.

I don’t think the world knows just how much our Indigenous people suffer. They live within the borders of a country that is First Rate – First World. Yet, Our Indigenous people’s are not respected or dignified the same way we dignify each other as Canadians.

We do not even bother to stand up for those who were here long before any of us were here. Our nation spent millions upon millions of dollars to have a party of all parties to celebrate Canada’s 150th Nation wide, and here in Montreal, our 375th.

In the background, in green spaces, and in small communities and surely in all the homeless shelters, our Indigenous people reside.

Alone, Forgotten, Ignored.

We cannot justify a party for our country, when millions of our own people live Third World existences in a First World country.

That inequality is glaring and openly evident.

That Tee Pee on Parliament Hill needs to be there. Canadians need to open their eyes, their hearts and their lives to the people we ignore and disrespect on a daily national basis. We cannot claim pride for country, when members of our communities have nothing to speak of but the land we ceded them on their reserves.

The Many Indigenous people’s of Canada deserve so much more than the lip service we pay them today. We speak of how good we are trying to make towards reconciliation, and missing and murdered Indigenous women, but simply, we have failed our people who need justice, truth and peace of mind.

The heavens will rain on tomorrows party we are told.

The Great Spirit weeps for those who go without.

It is a shame that today, we do nothing more than what we think is right and just.

It is NOT Right and Just.

We owe our Indigenous Populations Respect, Dignity and Equality.

I know what my people need in my community.

It falls upon YOU to know what is needed in your communities.

We cannot claim Unity, and not be Unified for ALL Equally.

It is a shame. And it is shameful indeed.

How fully we receive – yet so many do not.

How entitled and expectant and taken for granted we live in this Country we call HOME.

In our First World lives, we ignore and commit indignities to those who came before us. We cannot continue this progression without loosing our souls and our dignity, while ignoring those who need more than we give them.

Not everyone will party with you. Because we have failed our most vulnerable.

It is the children who suffer. We have failed them time and time again.

We owe their parents dignity and hope. A job we have failed at time and time again.

Remember them as you celebrate Canada.

June 12, 2017 – A Year Later – I Remember Them

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This One Tragic Event, turned my life and my sobriety upside down. And began a Year of wandering meetings, looking for God, Seeking help for myself, that did not come as it was needed, when it was needed. I walked this road alone, save for Elder Christensen who was a balm to my soul when I most needed God.

I learned that some things in sobriety have to be experienced, felt and spoken about, even if people didn’t listen to me. Or want to listen to me. Sobriety gave me a challenge and I walked through it, the best way I knew how. I did not drink over it either.

Which was One Serious Blessing.

I’ve not be shaken to my core like this in recent memory. In the end, I grew from this, in locating my grief and experiencing the pain that rocked me to my inner core.

I remember those young people, taken too soon, from lives that were yet to be lived. I mourn for their families who will gather tomorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with them every day that I walk this earth.

I have not Forgotten. And I will Never Forget Them.

Tragedy of the Heart – Revisited

Last night around 3 a.m. I saw the first report of a shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and my heart sank. Why did he choose that club and not another, (The Parliament House) which would have been at max capacity at that hour as well, and then I was relieved that he did not choose that site as his first hit, because he would have hit my home, or, that place I called home for so long.

I chose to move to Orlando because I thought that that was a safe place to be Gay. That was where my journey of becoming a citizen of the gay community was to begin. So I moved there. I became part of a vibrant community of people I loved and respected. People who would shape the life I have today in ways I could never imagine.

Tragedy in other places, is not like a tragedy that hits at your home. Tragedy by extension and degrees of separation have less intensity when they are far removed, or far away. Last night’s tragedy hit me right in the chest. My heart broke to think that my brothers and sisters of life were targeted by a crazed gunman who wanted to kill homosexuals. Hate crime or religious ideology? That question is still unanswered.

In any case, I can imagine what that loss feels like having spent so much time IN that community for so long. I have a long and devastating relationship with death and tragedy. I lived through some of the darkest times in Gay history. And now another story of tragedy has been written.

Families lost loved ones, friends have lost friends, the community at large has lost souls to senseless violence, and the relative safety of a city that welcomed and cared for their own, is no more.

There are no guarantees of safety and freedom anymore. I look back at life some twenty or more years, and I know what relative safety felt like, to not have to fear going out to a public place and having to worry about some crazed human being stalking us like animals on a safari hunt.

Guns are too easily sought and bought. The availability of these firearms undermines the safety of every human being where ever you are. That is more so in the United States. Canada has its gun issues, but as long as I have lived here, I have never felt threatened to go out in public for fear of my life.

Every day, the fear of being killed is a new set of skills for the human being. This insidious fear has been forced upon us by those who would seek to kill us for a myriad of reasons, and nobody is safe, it seems, any longer. Relative safety is a thing of the past now.

I’ve been watching these mass killings day after day and it saddens me to no end. And now, with this latest tragedy, I am forced to speak these words in testimony to my brothers and sisters that lost their lives so tragically last night. I can do that because for a few years, I was one of those brothers and sisters.

I cannot tell you how this tragedy makes me feel. When religious ideology kills indiscriminately, my first reaction is “An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth.” If ideological killers kill to prove a point, killing humans in inhumane ways, the rage in me reacts first. All sense of Christian values leaves me.

It is reported that the gunman pledged his loyalty to Isis, which makes him an ideological killer, there is no forgiveness for those who kill senselessly because of ideology. I make no excuses for them, and I wish them direct judgment and death. It is all well and good that this gunman is dead. Because he killed his fellow humans in cold blood for reasons we still do not know, and there is no forgiveness for a human like that. Even though I know when that man made it to where ever he ended up, I was taught that whatever God there is, forgiveness will follow, even if I cannot.

There are no words I can say right now, that haven’t already been said by those who have been in the loop since last night. My heart is broken in this senseless loss of life. All I can do is say a prayer for those departed and for those who are left to pick up the pieces.

The Orlando Gay Community is family, they will survive this, in time. Phillip De Franco said this yesterday, “There is no silver lining to this story, no good ending, for now the pain is acute and one day this pain will recede and the intense feeling won’t go away, but will be less, but not forgotten.”

I stand with my brothers and sisters tonight in solidarity and hope.

I wish I could go back and be of some comfort, but that is not an option, so all I have is this place to tell you how hard this hit me and why, and to allow myself to feel this tragedy because it hits me right in my heart of hearts.

Eternal rest grant them and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Friday: Emotional Bottom …

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“In the first years, those of us who sobered up in A.A. had been grim and utterly hopeless cases. But then we began to have success with milder alcoholics and even some potential alcoholics. Younger folks appeared. Lots of people turned up who still had jobs, homes, health, and even good social standing.

Of course, it was necessary for these newcomers to hit bottom emotionally. But they did not have to hit every possible bottom in order to admit that they were licked.

A.A. Comes of Age, p. 199

My fist is un-clenched and my hand is open to Heavenly Father.

I have traveled a long way over the past year. It will have been a year on June 12th. The day, a year ago, when a crazed gunman walked into a nightclub, in Orlando, and killed 50 young people, and injured many more.

I look back at this event as the most catastrophic event in my sobriety, this time around.

In the program, I know many men and women over the last fifteen years. Everybody looks good, smiles good, and speaks a good game. Everybody is so stoic and un-moving. Nobody would ever admit that they had hit a tragic emotional bottom during their sober time, however long that sober time was.

And God forbid, ever fell apart in public. Like I had.

I was one serious scary man, in the midst of falling to pieces in public.

I know of sober people, women especially, who seriously suffered in sobriety. Not so much the men. Many people, when they hit something catastrophic like that, went back out and drank a bit and maybe used along with it, some made it back, others, did not.

It is a serious blessing that I never contemplated a drink over the last year. I did not ever actually think to myself, “I should go drink…” It never crossed my mind.

That was a Blessing. Divine, Absolutely.

And I thought to myself as I spoke tonight that, a long time ago, I made a promise to Heavenly Father, that I was willing to give Him all of me. That is a running theme in my life, for probably, a good portion of it.

There was always something in the way.

I came to Montreal, seeking God. it was God who brought me here, and settled me in the life I have right now. It is all God. All of it. Every single day, sober …

I did everything I was told to do. I was pounding the pavement doing everything I could do to serve my fellows, without complaint. I was working myself sick.

I remember the night I sat here and cursed God and threw in my spiritual towel, so to speak. The sober men and women who witnessed my emotional breakdown, accused me of self centered-ness, and needing to be treated special by everyone else.

June turned into July, August and September. The screws were being tightened. Until the final peg was hammered into place, Heavenly Father had removed certain people from my life over the Summer, and the extraction continued into September.

I was still in the process of emotionally cracking.

And all of a sudden, Elder Christensen walked into my life on a Metro Platform, after a doctor’s visit one afternoon. Spencer is an angel. Sent to me, by Heavenly Father.

I am sure of that now.

God always comes when I need Him most. And Heavenly Father incarnated, in the form of Elder Spencer Christensen. That young man loved me, 100%. He still does to this day.

I see it now, all these months later.

The theme of Heavenly Father removing impediments from me, in order for me to be open and ready to serve Him, is ongoing. This has been going on for the whole of my life.

Many sober people, LONG sober and not so Long Sober walked away in fear.

Nobody knew what to do with me, instead of trying to help me understand what it was I was going through, they condemned me, walked away from me, and left me to my own devices. I had to figure out what to do by myself.

ALONE.

It was a good thing My Elder was with me, the rest of the way.

I changed up my meetings. I hung with people I trusted. Who did not necessarily have words for me, but they did have WORK for me to do. And I did that, without question.

Over the months Spencer and I would talk, and we would pray and we would wait.

There are no coincidences, but they came, one after and another, as Elder Christensen tells the story. He had never met a man like me, when I had come along. I welcomed him into my life and into my faith. And he returned the favor by sharing The Book with me.

I now know, how many people, and in what ways, citizens in my own city, spurned him, spit on him, insulted him, and chased him away with a meat cleaver.

I am so ashamed of my fellows here.

He took me as far as the Church would allow me, when it was time for him to go home, I asked him to remain my friend, and He did that gladly and willingly.

Where the church failed, Elder Christensen excelled …

I am a child of God. And Heavenly Father has seen me through the darkest time in my sobriety. I did not go back out. I did not drink, and I did not use. I survived this emotional challenge, not in the most sober of ways, because I am not perfect, but I did my best.

I went to a new meeting, with new men and women. We are reading the Big Book. I settled in and I was safe and protected. I met my new sponsor. We clicked on very personal terms, with tragically serious commonalities.

Along with Elder Christensen. And Heavenly Father. My sponsor has kept me grounded.

My sponsor said not long ago, that I was a little too tightly wound. And that I needed to back off and open my hand to God. All the While, My Elder has been ministering to my spirit. He showed me love, respect and dignity.

One never knows when they are entertaining and Angel.

Or Heavenly Father, for that matter …

There is no guidebook giving directions on how to survive an emotional bottom in sobriety. The Only Book, is the Big Book. On page 112, it says:

READ THIS BOOK.

An old-timer, last week, spoke those words to me. He had asked me if I remembered what page 112 said, I did not. Read This Book, it says.

The Book of Mormon is True, there is a God, Heavenly Father, and Elder Christensen is his angel in my life.

I’m here, sober. I did not drink today…

But for the Grace of God.