The Alcoholic WILL DRINK AGAIN !!!

The Book does say that: “The Alcoholic will drink again.”

There is a very solid reason why they tell us, that the girls work with the girls and the guys work with the guys, (caveat) “unless you are Gay.”

Tonight we read Step One – out of the Twelve and Twelve. Because the chair needed to hear, “Going back to basics.”

We all know that Step One is the Step, one has to get right, the first time, and every day hence… Every day we wake up and do a Step One, just to get out of bed, on the right side of said bed. I mean really, if you don’t say the words Thank You, when you wake up, every morning, you are doing something wrong.

Those of us with some time, work tirelessly every day, in meetings, and on the outside, helping others. Shit, I devote my entire waking time, week in and week out, taking care of others, in a multitude of ways, week in and week out.

The men stay away from the women, and the boys stay away from the girls, for obvious reasons. Some of our girls won’t even deign to say hello to me when they walk in the doors to a meeting, like I am some monster out to get them and do serious harm to them.

Fuck me for trying.

There is a particular gaggle of girls who travel in a pack. Most of them are first timers, but several of them are back around again. I speak to some of them, who will listen when I speak, then there are those who care not for anything I have to say to them, even if it means their lives in the balance, and alas, they drink again.

A couple years ago, when the first round took place, they all came in, just prior to the holidays, so keeping them ALL SOBER, was my first order of business. I opened meetings on Christmas and New Years. I set out chairs and I was present.

And from my mouth to God’s ears I said to them, “If you make it through Christmas, I guranteed them, that they would stay sober.” They all made their first Christmas sober, all stayed sober, into the next year, Last Christmas came and again, I was present, and I was out there, with them, and they all made a second Christmas, sober.

One by One, each in their own ways, decided to drink again. Tonight, the one remaining girl in the gaggle, spoke, AFTER I had shared, on my Step One. And much to my surprise, after two years working indirectly to keep her sober, night after night, meeting after meeting, talking to her her from the sidelines, because the girls won’t listen to the men at all …

She Drank Again. With two years and a bit under her belt.

I was shocked. But not surprised. Because over the last few months, one of the long sober woman leading this rag tag bunch of girls, drank again. Watching your sponsor drink again, is a solid shock to the sternum. And it usually strikes the fear of God into them.

When that long sober woman drank again, I was present, I knew about it because I was told about it, and I tried to mitigate the fallout. Alas, in the long run, I failed at my mission to help them all stay sober.

I am disappointed that the girls won’t cross the divide and call us when they have nowhere else to turn. When the women fail in working with women, then what do they do? Drink again, like they have no other option?

I really don’t know what to do but wish them well, and see them into this next round of sobriety from the sidelines, because we must stay on our side of the proverbial street.

People know what to do if they want to drink. They know where to go and if push comes to shove, they have options. They can ONE, go back out and drink, or TWO, they can speak to one of us, and we will be glad to help when necessary.

Sadly, the girls stay away from the men and the boys, for those obvious reasons.

Hence … The Alcoholic Will Drink Again.

Mental Health Thoughts – Sometimes there is not Enough Money

I have problems, that I cannot solve on my own.

I have a collection of old photos of myself, that either I had taken and they ended up with someone who sent them to me, or people have old photos of me that they took, and also sent to me, I look at these photos and I think to myself, I have no memory of any of these photos.

I used to be young and pretty. As a young gay boy, young and pretty went very far, if you had both of those attributes. Add some alcohol, and like my shrink once told me … Fireworks will happen.

And that was definitely the case, until I hit the trifecta of bad alcoholic decisions. I was young, I was a drunk, I was drinking at 7 am in the morning, and I had sex with two men, one of whom shot that proverbial bullet at me, and it was definitely a direct HIT.

For a while, I was still pretty, until I wasn’t.

As I grew older, I hit several key moments in my life, where I looked in the mirror and said to myself, I really don’t like who’s looking back at me.

The first time, was back in Miami Beach, years ago, when I realized I was looking at my father, and I ran to the nearest hair salon, and went from dark hair to platinum blonde.

That was an expensive, I hate myself realization.

That stage did not last very long, because I could not maintain that luxury. Or that luxury I thought I really needed.

Nowadays, when I look in the mirror, I see myself. I don’t necessarily like the visual looking back at me either. My friends would disagree with me on this. Because none of my sober friends would ever tell me to my face that I had “issues” with my looks.

I have not aged gracefully. And in today’s reality, there is not enough money, nor the insurance, nor medical coverage, to correct my personal “looks” problems.

In the last two years, my tooth issues have brought me to an all time low, in self esteem. And I’ve accepted, however terrible that statement is, that, I may go to my grave, looking the way I do, because One, Quebec insurance does not cover major dental, and Two, There is not an insurance plan available anywhere that will cover the massive work I need done.

So I’ve accepted this truth. A bitter pill to swallow.

Let me tell you, I go to meetings, and see my friends, and I see that look. Some turn their heads when I talk to them, others, just nod.

I know.

Instagram is evil. Bot not as evil as Face Book.

I take pictures of myself for my feed, and I think to myself, why do I torture myself with images of myself? I don’t smile, I won’t smile. I keep my mouth shut, and I quietly hate myself.

Things are becoming clear to me about what I want out of time right now. I know that I won’t settle for second dibs on truth and sobriety. I’m not wasting my time with people who do not see me as equal or valued.

Like I said before, being GAY in a Straight Sober World has its perks, but also has its drawbacks. I know who my friends are, truthfully. They would stand with me at any point, for any reason, at any time.

If I had the money, and I know I don’t, things would be better. But nobody is going to loan me $25,000 for major dental work. And that is the cheapest route I can take, with a dentist I have been seeing for some time now. I mean they’ve removed enough teeth that I have to carefully chew my food, in the rear on the left and in the front on the right, because I don’t have enough teeth to do the job as a whole any longer.

UGH FUCK ME

You know those boutique dentist offices that give you these beautiful pictures of beautiful teeth, will run you over $60,000 for an entire mouthful of pretty teeth. I went to two of those boutique offices over the past six months. I sure as shit cannot afford that kind of cash and no bank in the city is going to front me that kind of dough.

We might have stellar medical systems here, and I want for nothing medically, because I have two of the best doctors in the world, on my speed dial. I can get in if need be, on a moments notice.

Too bad government medical does not cover dental too.

That’s not a high priority for the Quebec or Federal Politicians.

In one breath I hate myself, but out of the other side of my life, I am grateful I am still alive and have the life I do today, and the friend I have as well.

You’d never know how much I hate myself, because I work hard at being genuine to my friends, well as genuine as I can be on any given day.

Money cannot buy everything to make everything better. That is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is the truth. And sometimes there is not enough money to go around to make everything better.

That is the unvarnished truth.

This is the Way It Is …

On a Double Decker bus in Ottawa with my best friend …

Watching coming out videos today, bring back certain memories and invoke certain feelings, about my own story.

I traveled to the South Shore last night, for a meeting at the famous Beaver Rehabilitation Center. Over the years, I’ve heard some old timers tell stories of their time there, and a particular nurse who worked there until about a decade ago. On the way the driver of the car, told me her stories of that famed nurse, Joan.

I learned a few more things about new friends last night. Which was nice. and I also learned that the car driver’s sobriety date is the SAME as mine.

December the 9th … She in 1987, me in 2001.

But back to where I am at the moment. I’m kinda sad.

Like I said above, I watched a new coming out video from a young man on You Tube. And I wrote to him, that his story was the most honest, tender and loving story I had ever heard. Coming Out is a daunting proposition.

He faced his trials and in the end he had success. His friends came round, his mom came round, and his sisters came round, eventually.

And I think … People are who they are. And I was and am powerless over people, places and things. The other night we talked about “Acceptance.”

I wonder, why people say the things they do, why they act the way they act, and why the world went sideways when I was a kid. I’m gonna be 52 in a few months and I think to myself, what a waste of time and effort. I really believe I was sold a terrible bill of goods.

People treated me so unfairly. And never gave me the opportunity to speak my words and defend myself. It was better to push me away and shut off my light and silence my ability to speak, rather than hear what I really have to say.

Coming Out, I was sold a bill of goods. I was told certain truths. And I ran with that delusion, until it did not serve me any longer. And I’ve written in the past, quite recently, The life I really wanted and desired, never came to fruition, and in the end I got the life, I got. It wasn’t necessarily the life I wanted, but it is the life I got.

I’m not sure I would have changed the life I have, or the way it played out, because life is good today, and I should not be resentful or bitter about not getting or getting.

We spend inordinate amounts of time sitting in meetings, listening to our friends, or people we think are our friends. And it still makes me wonder about people, when I hear some of the things that come out of their mouths.

And I think to myself, WHY ?

An entire section of my life is non-existent. An entire family of people have nothing to do with me, because of choices I made. But really, I was gay, and gay was abominable, so I had to move away from home, because I was pushed away.

THEN they blamed me and said it was all my fault. That I was the cause of all of their problems. When I was the one who got away from a very abusive situation, and people. I got out for my own good, my own safety and my own sanity.

So Fuck me for self preservation.

So many years have passed and nobody seems to care that I am alive or have a life or have words to speak to certain people. And I find that wasteful today. I think that people have just gone down a rabbit hole and never came back up.

People have a choice. And I wonder, why people made the decisions they did, because at this point in my life, I see the wasted opportunities, the wasted years and years of punishing silence.

Why because I was Gay or later, was diagnosed with AIDS?

I had two coming out experiences. The first was much happier than the second. Because when I came out, it was on my own terms, in the location I wanted, with the people I wanted to be there, when I made my entrance into the gay community of Orlando.

I think to myself, that certain people in my life did what they did and they said what they said and they chose the line they were going to follow, for better or for worse.

I lost on all accounts, because an entire group of people walked away from me, and left me on my own to survive. Thank God, Todd was there, because if it wasn’t for him, I would have died many years ago.

I just think it is utterly so sad that I am where I am, still asking the same questions I asked decades ago. All I want is to speak, to tell my story to people who don’t want to know me. To explain the what, where, why, and how. On my own terms, in my own voice.

But people don’t or won’t deign to stoop to my level and listen to me. I am just not that important. And there is just too much water gone under that old bridge.

I find that utterly sad. It just makes me so sad and sick inside.

My father went to his grave, never knowing me. never speaking to me, and never allowing me to say what I needed to say to him before he died. And that was his choice, not mine. My mother is going to same way, and so is my brother.

None of them want to know. Or want to listen.

So Fuck me for self preservation

Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can never be regained.

My maths teacher, in 9th grade, used to write this sentence on the black board before every test or exam. And I remember those words till today.

So many people have wasted too much precious time. That we’ll never get back. Time is of the essence.

God is in control. And maybe it is better that way.

Because I surely don’t want to make these kinds of decisions.

Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.

The 8th day of the New Year

I’ve been sitting in a place of sadness for the past few days. But life had to go on. There were responsibilities to follow through with, and people who I needed to see, and meetings to hit.

Acceptance is the key to ALL of my problems. And moreover, “Nothing, Absolutely Nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.”

Where ever you are, in the grand scheme of things, we are where we are supposed to be, at any given moment on the continuum.

My father has been dead, one calendar year, yesterday on the 7th. I have not heard from my mother, nor my brother, on this matter YET !

I feel insignificant. I feel like certain people in my nuclear family don’t even, under the pain of death, admit that I even exist, that my humanity does not even matter, nor makes a difference in this world.

I hit the meeting last night, (boy was it BITTERLY cold outside). And I shared on this topic. Today, I was feeling like shit, and I was up before dawn because my stomach was tossing and turning, so I got up and took something for it, and farted around here for a bit. I went and ran some errands, and spent the afternoon doing nothing special.

I had committed myself to a friend this evening. I knew I was supposed to hit a meeting, off schedule, because I wanted to see one of my friends. I took a shower and got dressed and hit the meeting.

The topic came from Page 417 … Everybody knows 417. That is the reading about Acceptance. And I said out loud, that I hate this passage, and I’ve hated this passage since the day I first got sober, because when I was at my worst, the old timers used to quote this page to me, ad nauseum.

I was like, Go Fuck Yourselves with this acceptance bullshit.

The book is correct, even when I want what I want. Just because we stop drinking and using, our minds still exist. Obsessions and feelings still remain. Some days are better than others. Today I was feeling insignificant. and I did not want to hit the meeting, but I made a promise to show up.

So I Showed Up !

And got bitch slapped in the process by the reading.

That nostalgic side of my brain goes into over drive during the holidays, because I want what I want, come hell or high water. But I know, I’ve always known, that I cannot control other people.

Evil exists. I know it exists.

And I know certain people would rather eat dirt than to allow me to speak my feelings to them. They will never acknowledge my existence, because if they did, they would have to allow me my voice, which they have shut down my light by turning off my light switch. Because that’s how they operate. I watched them do this to others as a kid and now they do it to me, because they are inherently EVIL !

On the way home, I went by the Econo Fitness gym, which is right up the street, and joined the gym. I bought the platinum plan which allows me to access any gym in the system city wide, so I can work out with friends in other gyms, within the gym system.

I called one of those friends on my walk home, and he reiterated to me that he cares, and his wife cares, and his family cares, and that people care that I exist. And that woe are those who cannot see how good a human being I am. Those words came from him, and not me, by the way.

I am the best I can be. I am kind and gracious. I help others. I go out of my way to be a good human citizen of my community. Not a day goes by, that I don’t do something good, because I can, not because I need to do something to make myself or my ego expand, exponentially.

I am a good human being. I am a good friend. A good sponsor. A good husband. And a good member of my city and my community here at home.

Sobriety does that to you eventually.

If you stay with us, it will be like having a gold quiver of bows on your back. And when a problem arises, you will be able to reach back into your quiver and select the right bow, and string it in your bow, and THWANG !!!! Always hit bullseye every time.

Lorna shared this story with us about when she got sober some 34 years ago. She was slipping and not sure she’d stay with us, and the above story was told to her, by her sponsor. And for Lorna, that was the hook.

I know what to do, even when I don’t want to do, what it is I am supposed to do. Those are called direct acts against my will.

The Next Right Thing …

When Passion Dies

Olympic-Stadium

Have you ever loved something so much, that you thought at one point, that you would do that thing for the rest of your life ? Climb the ladder of success, in a field/job, a sport, in music, or a trade ?

And what happens when you reach the point of success, let’s say, “going to an Olympics in Beijing as a Canadian athlete at the top of ones game.” And then having the tables turn on you, and that sport you loved, and gave it all of your heart and soul, and then that passion for the game DIES within, and alcohol becomes your best friend and companion.

When I was a boy, I had a gift for music. Beginning as a small child with a little organ, and graduating into the BIG LEAGUE with a double Decker two keyboard Wurlitzer organ that I was a master at playing.

I took private lessons, had lessons in school, and competed at Regional and State musical competitions. 12 years of music, died, on one fateful evening, when my drunken father grabbed my organ seat,(Leather bound, heavy mahogany furniture) and threw it at my mother, to try to hurt her.

I grabbed my fathers throat and said to him that after that stunt I would never play that organ again, so he might as well, send it back to where it came from.

All those years of musical genius went down the drain. And I never touched another keyboard for the whole of my life.

The passion died, because of principle, not because the gift died within me.

When I hear someone talk about a passion that is specific, let’s say, sport, not everybody is cut out to train and compete at the Olympic Level.

The stress of being a young athlete, away from home, not knowing ones asshole from their elbow, and finding the companion of alcohol to fill the whole of the need for external approval, is a killer.

I know this also, the lesson about approval comes to mind with Todd all those years ago, thinking that I needed him to tell me that I did a good job, every time I did a particular job, because I did not trust myself or my inner self. He taught me that lesson, hard and fast.

When you cannot look yourself in the mirror and be kind to ones self and always beating ones self up, always needing someone else to affirm us, is the death knell for mental health and stability.

Oh how the mighty fall. I’ve known athletes who threw in the towel and sabotaged their careers because of drugs and alcohol.

Once you get that Olympic Tattoo on you, you can never remove it. It will always be the constant reminder of who you once were, and where you had been. Only Olympic Athletes get that specific tattoo. it is a rite of passage.

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But we come in and we are messed up emotionally and mentally. Character defects running rampant. Arrogance and egotistical behavior abound, until we hit the proverbial wall of humility and humiliation, because of our attitudes, lies, and cheating.

And if we don’t get right, we will never get sober, ever !

Humility is a long hard lesson to learn for a lot of people, myself included.

But I know what it looks like and feels like today.

We all sabotage our lives with drugs and alcohol. The good news is, that there Is a Solution. One of the only solutions that work …

You – We – Us – Together – In a Church Basement – As often as Necessary !!!

You don’t have to go to the bitter end and sabotage a life of promise, you can always make that choice, for many, they could not make that choice alone.

Save for a few friends who did.

Self Sabotage is a familiar story line.

Sad that such promise went to pot, because of insecurity, ego, arrogance, and cheating.

Olympic careers are made out of a life of hard work, dedication and stamina

Very sad, that such a passion died for one of our young people.

But he is sober a few years now. Regretting nothing, because he is renewed every day.

Because he is with US now.

When to Speak

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I changed up my routine today, to make time for a noon time meeting, because a lady friend I adore was speaking. The first time I heard her speak, at the Thursday meeting one night not long ago, I was transfixed by every word she said.

Some of our women friends have similar tragic stories that have downward spirals that, at one point listening to her tell her story, I was saying to myself, “there is no way she can pull out of this death spiral she is in…”

Everybody around me is holding their breaths, waiting for the Miracle to Occur.

And for each of them, the Miracle really did happen. Miraculously !!!

Today I heard something I did not hear before …

At her worst, after loosing her kids, and in a funk, trying to get it together, her sponsor tells her … “Just call home, let your kids know you are still alive…”

Little pieces of advice that seem innocuous at the time, turn out to be the beginning of the building of the bridge, that will eventually lead her back to her kids AND sobriety.

She and I have something in common. A very special education in sobriety.

She came in twenty-five years ago, and I, almost seventeen years ago, respectively.

We both came in bedraggled. And we walked into a room and were overwhelmed by the people in those respective rooms. And by the grace, we both DID what we were TOLD to DO.

Without question. Without argument.

Because in her words from the other night …

YOU WANT TO ARGUE WITH HAPPY ???

The goal in this life is to be happy. Across the board, in all our affairs. Some find it, others do not. Some take the long road, others, get it right away and walk the short path.

She said to me today that, sobriety is too loosey goosey. People are too easily distracted by shiny things and their phones. Nobody wants to follow the simple plan that we both know works.

People want to argue semantics and Happy !!!

UGH.

Yesterday I was grocery shopping, as I am wont to do every few days. We collect plastic and we recycle at the store before we shop. While standing at the machine I noticed a familiar face at the can drop next to me.

I knew this man. He was sober, when I first came in, almost seventeen years ago, and worked at the rehab center I was affiliated with back then, where I had after care and my counselor sessions.

Key words … He WAS sober.

I’ve seen him around over the years. Many of the men and women I knew from those years back then, have all mostly disappeared from the area and the rooms. There aren’t many people from the Old World left in Montreal.

Yesterday, he was disheveled. His clothes were torn and dirty. He was wearing a white sneaker on his left foot, and a green high top sneaker on his right.

While I was depositing my bottles he stopped me amid swing to ask me why I was putting metal into the plastic machine. I stopped and responded with, “why would I put metal in a plastic machine?”

He turned away and walked ahead of me into the store. I did not follow him around, because I don’t know him, like I know my friends in town, so striking up a conversation would have been awkward to say the least.

I kinda wanted to ask him where he had slept the night before and had realized he was wearing two different shoes and why his clothes were ripped and dirty.

You kinda know the answer to those questions pretty quickly, on the first pass.

He had a bag of cans he probably collected from metro bins and garbage cans on his way into the store to get his meager change to buy whatever he could afford for that trip.

Outside the store another friend of mine who does outreach to the Indigenous Community here in the city, was standing guard in the hallway outside, watching his people gather.

Where ever people gather, there is bound to be strife among them. Thankfully he is armed with burger vouchers for McDonald’s in the mall right in that area.

People are more amenable when they have food in their stomachs. So before he steps in the say anything, he hands out food vouchers to anyone who wants them.

He does more than that. He is counselor, medic, affairs officer and the grand poobah of the downtown core.

There is suffering all around us. for those of us who live in this neighborhood. I’ve been here seventeen years now, and I know how bad things can get on a good day. Even worse on a bad day.

Sometimes you don’t have to say anything at all. And for the most part, not saying anything is the best policy, because you don’t know the back story you are witnessing at the moment.

Rather not embarrass people on the down and out with observations, they probably already know about themselves, so they don’t need a reminder of how rough they might look at the moment, even if what you want to say would be meaningful to YOU.

So I say hello. I nod. I observe. And I record data.

I know how many of the people I knew who were sober once, are out there on the street today, down and out.

Why some people fall through the cracks and end up back out on the street I don’t know. Some people just fall away. Was it because of people, from the past, who shunned folks away? Those of us who did not attach to certain cliques ?

I met a man who had fifty-eight years of sobriety today. He knew the Montreal Founders. Men and women who are still around from THAT FAR BACK, are few and far between.

They usually come out of seclusion for their cakes to show us, that you CAN be sober for decades and be happily married and happy in general.

Many people at that noon meeting suffer needlessly.

They just don’t connect, even though they know where to go and who to talk to.

And for that we are grateful for small mercies of sobriety. And we utter that slogan, that people usually ignore or don’t know what it means …

THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD …

I could be one of them.

Linkin Park star Chester Bennington’s hurt made beautiful music

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Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who died aged 41 on Thursday, had helped lead the group to critical acclaim.

Bennington’s distinctive vocals – added to the group’s blend of rap, metal, and electronic music – spawned a string of chart-topping hits.

The son of a police officer in Phoenix, Arizona, Bennington was born on 20 March 1976 and had a troubled youth.

After years of intense drug use, he got sober and joined Linkin Park in 1998.

“Growing up, for me, was very scary and very lonely,” he told Metal Hammer magazine in 2014.

“I started getting molested when I was about seven or eight.”

His parents divorced when he was 11 years old, and he went to live with his father, whom he described as “not emotionally very stable then”, adding that “there was no-one I could turn to”.

The singer quit hard drugs after a gang broke into a property where the future star was getting high and pistol-whipped some of his friends.

Bennington moved to Los Angeles and successfully auditioned to join Linkin Park.

Later in the 2000s, as the band’s success took off, he again began using drugs before returning to sobriety, telling Spin Magazine in 2009: “It’s not cool to be an alcoholic.

“It’s not cool to go drink and be a dumbass.

“It’s cool to be a part of recovery.

“Most of my work has been a reflection of what I’ve been going through in one way or another,” he added.

Formed in 1996, Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory surfed the popular wave of nu-metal, Rolling Stone magazine writes.

It eventually sold more than 30 million albums and became one of the top-selling albums since the start of this millennium.

The band has sold 70 million albums worldwide and won two Grammy Awards.

Linkin Park had a string of hits including Faint, In The End and Crawling, and collaborated with rapper Jay-Z.

Bennington was said to be close to Sound Garden’s Chris Cornell, who took his own life in May 2017.

As well as a hole in Linkin Park’s line-up, he leaves six children from two different marriages.