Misery is Optional

What happens when one finds the key and connects with the Power Greater than Ourselves, and then that (God) begins to drop Grace upon you ?

When one finally sheds light on all of us, (read: Me) When after many prod-dings of my spiritual director, to let go and let God, to turn the light on all of the darkness in my soul, and I did, in a process that took me months, I can see, clearly.

When I united a very important incarnation of myself, with the incarnation of myself today, it all began to make sense to me. When I made that final decision, to turn on the lights, and see the light, my life began to reshape itself.

I’ve made a final covenant with my God. And in making that covenant, I made a choice, a choice I am familiar with, because when I entered seminary, many years ago, I had to make certain covenants when I began my studies.

I am familiar with covenant.

I know, as an alcoholic, I am extremely selfish and self centered. And those two character defects, dog me, dog all of us. But the 9th Step Promises, speak towards what life can look like when we get to that point in sobriety.

What I know right now, and can see clearly, in my friends, is this: People know me, and are very leery of speaking to me, about sobriety, or their lives. Because I have enough life experience, at age fifty two, and almost eighteen years of sobriety, that I see what’s going on. I know how people have treated me at crucial stages of my sober journey.

And I know, that I have had to navigate my feelings, and emotions, stone cold sober. When I hit the worst phase of my sobriety, nobody wanted to touch me, the old timers saw me suffering, and saw I was angry, and they were not afraid to tell me, to myself, that indeed I was angry. I was angry at God for allowing 50 kids to get shot and killed in a bar, I used to drink in, when I was their age, back in Orlando.

Nobody, NOT ONE SOBER SOUL, Offered me a solution to my anger. I had to do that all by myself, ALONE.

I was angry at God for a long time. In order to curb that anger, I participated in reading the Big Book, cover to cover, over fourteen months. I stayed sober, and dealt with my anger, Alone. So I know …

I kept doing what I knew to be the next right thing. The direct actions against my own will, as one of my friends speaks about often.

I’m still sober. Now, unified with my God, in every way. My cup is empty, and an empty cup is filled fuller, when that cup is not holding anything, (read: That which we are holding onto in the darkness of our souls).

God can fill that cup now.

I’ve become a rigorously honest person. More than I have been, because nobody is telling me to shut the fuck up, because people know my emotional state when I am angry, they’ve all seen it in real time. And they witnessed that anger until it was abated.

What I see is not good. My kids are suffering. Fifteen kids have drank and used again, over the last three months. Meeting are failing our kids. Old timers are failing our kids.

My Kids won’t ask for help, under the pain of DEATH.

I believe that if we don’t reach out and say something now, that things are going to get a lot worse. My old timer friends WON’T do anything. They tell me, LET THEM FALL. Don’t say a word, let them come crawling to us, THEN and ONLY THEN we will help them, because they will eat humble pie and finally ASK for HELP.

They will go down in flames before admitting that they have hit bottom, and that they need help. Because MANY of our kids judge us, who have long term sobriety. They see us, yet, many of them cannot see themselves in our shoes.

Our kids are MISERABLE.

I’ve been seeing and hearing Misery for a very long time.

I know what misery sounds like.

We heard it again tonight. And once again, I told the truth. People know, that if they ask me for help, that I will give them a plan of action. Work to Do. Steps to work, Prayers to say, meetings to go to, service that must be done, to make meetings work.

Coffee does not make itself, and sure as shit, chairs don’t set themselves down by themselves either. It’s not rocket science.

Over the last five years, I’ve seen many kids come in, and TRY. But not hard enough. And they are miserable. And I ask the question, WHY?

Growth is possible. Misery is optional.

In order to get sober, one old timer said tonight, “One must pay the price.” That price is who we were, and what we had done. The price is paid, in the time and talent we spend in getting sober.

It’s not Rocket Science.

So many people, long sober, sober in between, and sober a short time, so many people are just plain stone cold sober, suffering their character defects, and they are miserable, because they won’t lift a finger to make it better.

Do you want to be a DRY DRUNK or SOBER ???

YOU CANNOT GET SOBER BY WAY OF OSMOSIS.

I just cannot put a book against your head, and you’ll have a spiritual experience, and suddenly be struck SOBER, all at once.

It does not work that way. My kids all know that, yet they would not deign to walk up to me and ask for my plan of solution. That comes right out of the book, as it was written, 80 years ago. The solution is the same, as it was 80 years ago.

Some of us know that solution, have worked the program, and have enough time to be able to synthesize sober words, into a successful plan of action for anyone who wants it.

Sadly, very few people want that solution from me.

I know why.

So I go to meetings and I tell the truth. Hopefully, if I keep telling the truth, someone is going to, in the end, want the help, to GET OUT OF MISERY.

There is a God, but I am NOT GOD.

Sobriety is a process, a painful process. But would you rather be who you were, when you drank, SOBER ? Would you rather remain miserable like you were when you were drunk?

Read Page 52 in the book, and the Bedevilments

Let go the misery and walk across the bridge over the River of Denial.

The proposition is simple.

Read the Book. It says those words on page 112. “Read This Book.”

Life can be full, bigger, happy, joyous, and free.

The choice is yours.

Misery is Optional.

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.

Thursday: “It’s Ok … I’m GOOD”

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

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

The drugs and alcohol are just a symptom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shit Happens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warts and All …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happens ?

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

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

We are going to go ONE of THREE places:

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

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

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

100 % SUNK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because one day, those people will save your sobriety.

And most likely, Your Life …