Friday Thoughts – End of Day

I am re-evaluating what I want. It has been a tough week, but in the end, it all came together. Two nights spent with the people I love, always does the trick, even if my head is in my ass.

Commitments were made and Along the week, I’ve come to a number of decisions that I think will turn out well, as time progresses. I quit one habit, and on Sunday, I quit the other bad habit. And I should be good to go, to put the next round of decisions into action.

Many of my friends have taken up running. A LOT of running. Over the past few months, I’ve watched my friends hit new highs in their lives, and do things they never thought possible before, just by lacing up a pair of sneakers and hitting the neighborhood streets.

Completion of Marathons have been the task du jour.

I have, in my bank, new routines to follow. An old timer I know very well, has been good to me as of late. When I need to pick his brain, about anything, he always obliges.

This afternoon I had a conversation with a local friend who is running a half marathon the end of April. And we got to talking about a race in October that we both might run together. After inquiring about training with him, he was not sure he was the right fit for me, knowing his own strengths and weaknesses as a teacher.

But my old timer friend came up in conversation, because he is associated with our Running Room, here in Montreal. Tonight, I saw him at the Friday night meeting and we spoke about a plan.

Firstly he said this … One, you are over fifty. Two, he said that we both carry about 170 pounds a piece. And Three, he said that over taking myself in trying to complete a distance that is, at the moment, out of my league, would be unwise. So we set up a plan of attack, with simple goals to reach over the next month. Then we will regroup and see where I fall on the running scale.

I’ve got a good six months to train up.

One of my friends worked steadily at distance, over a long period of time. He ran a marathon and ran a personal best and got a medal for it. My other friend Jack. walked out his front door and trained for two weeks. TWO WEEKS, having never run before in his life, and completed the Stadium to Sea run in Los Angeles last week, with a 3 hour time.

But they are much younger than I am and in a lot better shape.

Being HIV Positive and a Type 2 Diabetic has its challenges. Being over fifty is my big downfall. I’m no spring chicken and I have to approach any goal and temper that goal by my present disabilities and hopeful abilities to win.

I have a plan. Sunday I put it into action, after I cross off another bad habit and directly affects me lung capacity. Smoking !!!

Take away touching ones self, and point positive sexual energy in another direction is very useful. It focuses you unlike any other focal method. It makes you a better fighter, a better runner, and a better human being.

I’ve learned over the last little while that when I think I know what’s good for me, that usually turns out to be bad advice, because if I act on my own will, it usually turns out anti climactic.

I should never take my own advice ever. Because I loose on every front.

I got a couple of new books in the mail today. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and If On A Winters Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino. Both books came highly recommended by my writing teacher. He reads like I do, like a mad man. He also works in publishing, and is an author himself.

Usually what he reads, ends up on my read side table by my bedside.

So the week, five days, on self denial has passed. I am more the better for it. I don’t allow myself to take my own advice. Even if I want to.

Tonight we talked about the Sacred Circle, and what we can find within it, and when necessary, if needed, to go outside the sacred circle for help, that’s what we do. We are not doctors nor economists, nor marriage counselors.

If you need help that the rooms can not provide, Bill tells us that “If he was humble enough to seek outside help when necessary, and it was good for him, it might just be good for ourselves too.”

I have great friends who will go the distance with me. I have the best friends, and I am grateful for each and every one of them.

Thanks for reading. More to come.

Happy Weekend.

Uncomfortable

I posted earlier today about my head space this morning. it only got worse as the day progressed. I’ve been uncomfortable all night long. And even spending time with people I love, did not ease the discomfort.

I’m still stuck in my body.

There are things we get to talk about with our friends, those things could be any topic, for any reason, and my friends would listen. There is only one person who has been brought into the Fidelius Charm. There is nobody else, in on the charm.

He has challenged me to become the best version of myself. Which is why he is within the Charm.

And I’m not sure I should bother him, at the moment, because I know he’s filled with his own anxiety about the end of term and the amount of work he has to pump out in the next ten days.

What I have left, is pouring myself out here, and recording how my days are going, from one day to the next. As my daily routine goes forward, knowing what I know at this very minute, being around my friends makes me a little uncomfortable.

I have good friends, mind you, who would never question anything I tell them about me, because they all know me, very well. Sometimes better than I know myself.

I’ve added another layer of who I am to the mix, a few days ago.

On a separately Other track …

I was told tonight, by a good lady friend, that, certain doors have not opened up to me, on one arc of my story, so she told me to just put one foot in front of the other, until that particular door opens.

Because Sobriety does not have a destination …

Making choices, putting a plan into action takes certainty, or a little bit that sounds like certainty. You don’t know if the plan, will flourish in the future, so all we can do is put one foot in front of the other, and stay in our days.

Where have I heard that little gem before ???

Sobriety, and Life in Sobriety is about the day you are in, and even the moment you are in, right now.

Any choice you make in sobriety, is tempered by how well you deal with a twenty four hour period. And when you can’t talk about what’s going on with you, you need to figure out where you are going to drop your thoughts, which is why this platform exists.

For the longest time, this was about my readers. I posted content for my readers. But that tack changed when Brene Brown became part of my life.

This week, I decided that I was no longer drumming for readers or support from the outside world. I decided days ago, to spend my writing time, working on me, in open community.

I had to reconsider what this blog functioned as. BRAVING this blog, the way it was, was no longer tenable.

Now, I turn the attention off of others, and onto myself. For better or worse. I don’t have any gay friends, inside or outside the rooms. That means a no go, for open discussion on just about anything not relatable.

I know I can talk to my Fidelius Charm partner.

Now is not the moment, though.

I get to think out loud here instead.

Putting one foot in front of the other …

Erotica …

When time permits, naps usually take place.

Sometimes when I nap, I pass from sleep state, into rem state. I know the feeling when I pass through that veil, and go somewhere else for a little while.

I felt the shift happen. And my mind lit up like a Christmas tree. I have never had a dream, like the one I had this evening. It was the most erotic dream I’ve ever had. It was totally of a topic I’ve never thought about, or concerned myself with for myself.

And I don’t usually write this kind of “sex charged” kind of material in open community. But If I don’t write it down now, I will forget it in an hour.

I was visiting friends, and everyone was having a good time. And we found, underneath the mattress in a bedroom, items that one does not usually have around the house, unless of course you were into that kind of kink.

Kink … is my middle name …

If you visit the kink side of life, in either the gay world or the straight world, kink is a thing, for some it is a way of life, some more than others.

Men and women do all kinds of kinky things, alone or together.

Male Chastity is a kink I am familiar with. I have watched it come into being, a while back, and at one point, chastity was all the rage in gay circles. Even the kinky straight people were getting in on the game. There are tons of straight kink sites who offer chastity devices.

Nothing like a kinky mistress to lock up her mans cock, so only she can enjoy it, and deny him the ability to touch it himself or get off …

It’s a great way to STOP a man from touching himself, for short periods of time, for long periods of time, and for the hard core players … To once and for all deny someone their dick FOREVER.

This does take place. I’ve seen straight couples do it, and I’ve seen some intrepid gay men do it too. All you need is a tube of epoxy, or a rivet gun. You can disable a lock permanently with epoxy or to rivet the lock permanently LOCKED !!!

Then You Are Fucked !!!

I don’t ever write about sexual topics here, but the dream continues.

I found a chastity device I thought was attractive, and I took the time it takes to actually put one on, sans the locking device. We were all joking around having a good time, and one of my friends walked up behind me and put a lock on my device. It’s hard to fight when there are more of them then there are of you.

Now I’m locked in this device, with no way out of it.

One of my favorite kink dealerships, offers a Platinum Key Agreement for $175.00 in the domestic U.S. Market. You buy your device and the additional $175.00 plan, and they send you your kit, along with return UPS envelope and your agreement that you fill out and sign. You send the pack back to them, WITH your keys, and you are off on your own adventure.

They will execute your plan as you desire. And will only return your keys when the time has been served. And not a day before…

Sadly, this Platinum service is not available in Canada. You’d have to find another human who will do the job, sans the $175.00 fee.

Anyways, where was I ?

Oh yes, Chastity.

The dream went on and on, for what seemed a long time. It’s almost a badge of courage if you take the plunge and actually lock yourself up. And to have someone who is equally as involved as you are.

Then I found myself in a forest, in the setting of a VR game. (VR-Vitual Reality). It was a familiar scene, with one of my friends there. One in particular. He shall remain nameless for the moment.

One of my friends and I talk sex a lot. In fact, the topic of sex has come up several times with three of my friends. Young men in sobriety, they like their alcohol, but more importantly, they really like sex.

And in early sobriety, they tell us, quite wisely, DON’T GET INVOLVED in your first year. Some of my friends don’t listen.

You know, you tell someone not to touch the stove because it is hot, REALLY HOT … and what do they do ? They Touch the Stove and get BURNED.

Admitting quite easily that they heard you, but still felt compelled to see just how hot the stove was.

One of my friends was in this dream. Another human being who could seriously learn from a stint in a chastity device.

Because if you cannot have sex with either a man or a woman, all of my friends in the program are straight, so they want to have sex, but we tell them not to, for their own well being and the well being of any girl who they are going to end up breaking her heart … as is usual for many !

What can you advise them to do ? Masturbate. Slap the Monkey, Crank one out, you get the idea.

The problem with masturbation comes with the added and quite possibly a tangent addiction … PORN.

Men are not immune to Internet Porn availability. We talk about it often enough, so I can address it here.

Sex is an issue that comes along with alcohol and drug addiction. Porn is just as addictive as alcohol and drugs, and can lead one into seedy behavior, if you don’t nip it in the bud. This only works if whomever you are talking to, has enough courage to be honest in all their affairs.

Back to the dream: Anyways, my one friend, who is nameless at the moment, asks me what this little device does, and instead of telling him, what it does, We lock one on to his member … so he can feel what it does to him.

We all laugh gleefully.

The dream continues for a bit, and in the end, I am locked up, along with my friend, and the dream fades to black.

Which then leads me to get up and search my sellers for a chastity device. There are a few sellers, that I shop from, by the by. Mr. S, Fort Troff, and Priape (here in Montreal).

Chez Priape – Sex Shop in Montreal

With the exchange being in the toilet, and knowing what the shipping charges are coming up from the U.S. I’m not going to spend over $200.00 CAD to buy internationally.

Looking closer to home, well, actually, just a few stops down on the Green Line, into “The Village” is our local, sex shop. In the village you can find sex, in all its forms. You can hit a Sauna, and find it. You can hit a bar, and find it, or you can go to a shop that specializes in all things SEX.

Little sex shops are scattered liberally all over the city. I usually shop at one a couple of blocks from home, just up the street, because I hate making the trip into the village, because that particular Metro Station is closed until June, and in minus -20c, I’m not walking from one end or the other, Papineau or Berri, into the village.

But it is warmer now than it has been all season.

I found me a device. It isn’t cheap, and I like that. I have had friends, in the past, who walked down this road, and made purchases either locally, or from international sellers, that ended up really becoming trouble for them.

If you’re gonna lock yourself up, better it be stainless steel or high grade plastic with genuine locks and keys. If you shop on the cheap, you will get what you pay for … CHEAP !

Some metal goods from other places, rust, fall apart, and caused serious medical issues for some of my friends. I’m not gonna go down that road myself.

So, are you sexual ? Do you like Sex ? Does this little piece titillate you?

It got my engine rolling.

Was the best damned dream I’ve ever had.

We Will Lose Interest in Selfish Things

They say, or it has been said, “That at some point, you are going to hear someone tell your story.”

When it comes to storytelling, there is not another human being, on the English side, who has a story like mine. All the men I knew, in early sobriety, who had AIDS, are long since dead. I am the last.

Which leaves a sparse gay community of men, in my social circle, who are still alive today. I don’t have anything to do with those gay men, because our community is quite fractured.

Reciprocal friendships are hard to come by.

I am grateful that I have a handful of reciprocal friends. It may be a character defect that, people might think of us, by the by, and make the out call. I don’t sit at home and wait for an out call. I cannot be bothered to do that today.

I spoke about the Old Brewery Mission Meeting, that I attend on Sunday mornings. I like my Mission folks. They are great men and women. The Matriarchs are headed to Egypt right now for a three week tour of Cairo, the Nile river, and Saqqara.

The cycle of speaker/chair was interrupted Sunday. So I stepped in to chair and one of my friends, was asked to speak, as we restart the chain again.

Like I said above, at some point someone is gonna tell your story. I also said that nobody in this city, has my specific story. But, I heard my friend, on Sunday, tell his story. There are common themes between us.

When we drink and/or use, that theme is a constant because, if you are in the room, you abused the drink and the drugs. I’ve been dissecting my story over the years, and I can say that, when I was much younger, I was a good kid. I was a good son (take that or leave it), I was a good citizen, a good employee, and I was responsible, until alcohol took over.

As a younger employee, I really was not interested in drinking all the time, it wasn’t something I did regularly. Only when invited out to drink with friends, or when we threw a party in high school.

When alcohol was present, I became absent. I know this.

I had some of the best jobs a kid could have, growing up. I did really well, under pressure, and I did my job, as was needed.

When I moved away from home, with the delusion that was given to my inner memory bank, I was of single vision.

“Drink your way in, Wait for fireworks.”

I had eyes for one particular apartment, in a particular complex, that I clearly could not afford. I had a new car, that I could not afford either, and I had a job, that I went to, but in the end, everything was lost.

It is amazing to me, how selfish I became when it came to the procurement of alcohol. You cannot imagine, the amounts of alcohol I poured into my system on a weekly basis. And how narrow my honesty became.

The alcohol might have “gotten me in the door” but it did not “keep me in the club,” so to speak. Addicts and Alcoholics will lie, cheat and steal from their mothers, to score …

I justified my alcoholism against the abuse heaped upon me by my father. I called it Pay Back. All the lies I told, to hit my father where it hurt, worked.

I got the car.

But a lifetimes worth of resentments followed. And my father went to his grave, never knowing me, or even speaking my name on his deathbed.

We believe, for a while, that the drink and the drugs work, because we are getting one over on everybody else. Until that stops working.

OR

UNTIL A STOP SIGN APPEARS….

Like my friend on Sunday, we both got hit with the Stop Sign.

We both got deathly ill, and death WAS a foregone conclusion. We were both supposed to die. Thankfully, we are both, still, very alive.

We both knew what we did, once doctors told us we were going to die. My friend had serious health issues, that he found a work around to drink. Even at the worst of times, he figured out how to get and drink alcohol.

In my worst of time, waiting for the other shoe to drop, was excruciating. I was watching what was going on around me, in real time. The very ugly, painful, miserable, march to death, for my friends with AIDS.

I knew what was coming, and I had decided from the get go that I was not going to go out that way. I wasn’t doing drugs so much, but I was surely drinking to kill myself. As fast as I could hasten death, would have been good.

My friend, at his blotto end, found recovery, via rehabilitation.

I did not.

Rehab came to me, in the guise of Todd (read:God).

I had a room to go to. And I had a job. The room was not so healthy for me, neither was the bar, because what right alcoholic in recovery, makes his money working in a bar, of all places ?

I did. Because Todd was my boss.

All those negative things we do in active addiction, at some point, comes to a halt. And we have a choice to make. Go on to the bitter end, or we decide to live.

Selfish things, became something I was made aware of early on. The easiest way to change this tape, in our heads, is to actively do work against our wills.

Those would be: Hitting a meeting, or working with others.

I did hit meetings. but more importantly, I did not only work with others, I worked for others. Todd knew, that the less I thought about ME, or thought about what was going on in my head, the better.

The Brain/Thought Partition method worked wonders.

My friend having lived this long, volunteers several days a week, at Hospitals, Rehabs, and the Old Brewery Mission. He knows what to do today, to lengthen his life.

It was through hard work, on a daily basis, that saved me. You cannot avoid the specter of death, when everyone around you is dying. And selfishly, they choose to drink and drug themselves sick, into death. I watched this selfish behavior go on under our roof.

True, that family, friends, lovers, and employers had tossed all of these very sick men to the curb to die alone. We could not care for so many, all at once. It was way too much to take in and handle.

It was truly the worst of times.

But, there were some of us, who did whatever we could, on a nightly basis, to ease the pain, somewhat. We had what were, at the time, the best healthcare providers, we could find. Because there were NO dedicated doctors or clinics.

Hospitals would begrudgingly take AIDS patients into lock down, sterile wards, as nurses and doctors would MOON SUIT UP to touch us, fearing for their own lives, like we were there to INFECT THEM, by our mere presence in their wards. That was truly heartless and cruel.

Friends, seeing what had gone on with patients in hospitals, decided that they would never go to a hospital. But die, outside, on their own terms. Is that selfish ? I mean, really, when you have no choice, but to take what is left of your life, into your own hands, what is the other viable choice?

Todd knew many things about me. He knew how destructive I could become, if left alone. He also knew, the dark inner sanctum of my heart, and he went to great lengths to keep me at arms length from any man, who walked into the bar on any given night.

He was protecting me from myself, across the board.

You cannot remain selfish, when the work you do, every night, is working with others, or for others. I had a job. A really great job. I loved that job.

I wish I could go back in time and revisit that time, with one proviso: All the people who were there, need to be there again.

The Promises speak of many things changing, as we get sober. They don’t all come at once, and for sure, they might take a lifetime. I know how long they took to come to me.

The job we have in sobriety, is to be vigilant, on all those warnings that the Promises speak of, as changing. If we remain in our alcoholic stupor, we will suffer the negatives, for as long as they are given fuel.

We have a choice in sobriety, which wolf we are going to feed.

Illness, with a death diagnosis, does not discriminate.

When it comes to death, when someone mentions that word within a share, I sit up and listen. That commonality, is stark among us. People get sick, some get better, or end up in remission. But a good percentage do die.

Death is the end for everyone.

For some of us, we have faced our death days, and lived to tell the tale.

Which I do proudly, whenever I get the chance.

If you want to get OUT of yourself, work with OTHERS.

Giving It Away

Lorna Kelly …

On the way to the meeting tonight, I listened again to Lorna speak. I constantly learn new things on every pass. And she says, in the beginning of her shares …

“It would be arrogant of me to think that something I say could possibly help you, when in reality, God thinks I need a lot of help …”

We talked about giving it away. The reading from A.B.S.I was a wonderful read tonight. It brought back many wonderful memories for all of us sitting at the table. Among our group is our local rehab coterie of men and women who come from far away, to get a handle on their stories, and to stop putting gas on an already burning fire that is addiction.

We’ve taken them to our hearts in a way that we have not seen in a long while. They have endeared themselves to us, and we have adopted them into our family. In a little over a week, they will leave Montreal for places far and wide. And hopefully, something they have heard in the past twenty one days will stick.

Talk about memories, always gives rise to much Gratitude.

When this kind of discussion begins, everyone always starts with the day they walked into our specific room, feeling how they felt, when they walked in the door, and how warmly they were met and how they were cared for, in ways they did not imagine could be possible.

Lorna is apt to say, and she does say, that “Every time I speak, I must get my story straight, because every time I tell it, I see it differently, than the time before.” She goes on to say that “Only those folks with long term, LONG TERM sobriety, can really get their stories in a cellular way. We learn how isolated we really were in the bitter end of our disease.”

Working with others came up as well. Nobody has a firm grasp on how that works, because for every man and woman sitting in the room, there are ways of reaching out and working with others.

Some feel that stepping out of their comfort zone and chatting up a newcomer is daunting. And it is.

Over the last little while, I have been testing my chops in asking hard questions and seeking hard answers. Because I question what I know and how I know it, and how to apply what I think I know, against, what I do not.

I step out and ask questions, to which some old timers look at me cross eyed and tell me just to shut up and say nothing, keep my mouth shut and sit here and be shoveled shit night after night like they do.

NOT !!!

It was twelve years before I walked into working with others, because I did not know what I did not know. I did not know I had what it took, nor that I really had a grasp on my own story, to be able to help another human being with their stories.

When I met Bob, and he turned me on to Intentional Prayer, the Three, Seven, Eleven shuffle, he told me that at some point, those words would work themselves into my heart, and out to the universe. And he said to me that if I did this prayer ritual, my life WOULD change.

And it did…

The first time my phone rang in the middle of a meeting, was a surprise. I did not know the boy on the other end, of the line, and I did not know how he got my number, but at that point, he was hysterical, and he called me, of all people.

I finished the meeting and went to him, which began a two year odyssey of sobriety. It was a hard slog, and we learned a lot about each other. But in retrospect, I think an entire group of people had an idealistic vision of me as a placid, non feeling, eunuch, that felt nothing and could do no wrong. And that was sustainable until it wasn’t.

One fateful business meeting was all it took, to shatter the placid calm, layer of myself, when in a moment of stress I raised my voice, and all of my guys went running for the hills, never to speak to me ever again.

That was not a very good outcome of working with others.

Business meetings will do that to you, eventually.

At least I have my guys today, that I have been working with for multiple years, and out of that work, came two best friends who care about each other, their significant others, fiancees, and wives.

Along the way, I have a friend, outside the rooms. A young man who we have cared for, for many years, who stood up for me at my wedding as my best man. Two days ago, his wife gave birth to their fist son, Benjamin.

His first wards to me were these …”Oh My God, his feet are so small!” And I replied, “Yes, you have a little person to care for now, do your best.”

I’ve seen marriages, proposals, and now children come for my friends. My best friend Juan and his wife were married last July and my best friend will be married in 2020. And my buddy in the states is a new father.

We could not be happier for all of them.

Lorna goes on to say that “She does not know if she even ‘has it’ until she has given it away.”

Working with others begins with a conversation. A common idea, a common feeling, a common story element, that brings two people together to talk about that commonality. What happens next is all up to our Higher Powers.

I have a friend, I’ve been working with for a little while. He is newly sober, and came to a meeting one night and begged God the Promises. And I told him to hurry up and wait !

That begging began a discussion, that is still on going.

You never know, one of my best friends said tonight, that something you might say, the littlest of compassion, or the kindest of words, can change the trajectory of someones life in a way we might never have seen, had we not stepped up and shared a little bit of ourselves with someone in difficulty.

It happens … Not very often, so when it does, people pay attention to little things.

Kindness and warmness of heart is key. We never know when someone walks into our space where they are, in their lives, so we talk, honestly and truly. The Friday meeting is a special meeting, because it is the only one of its kind, in “living room” appeal.

Tonight, we tripled our attendance. The weather is growing warmer by the day, and so people are coming out of hibernation, and returning to the old haunt once again, and we could not have been more grateful tonight.

You don’t know what you don’t know. And you don’t know that you have it, until you give it away. And if you don’t try, you remain ignorant of your own abilities. So we encourage our men and women to step boldly into their sobriety and step up and be counted.

You never know if something you have can change a life for the better.

If not Now, When ? If not Me, then Who?

Every day we have a chance to be kind. It is far too easy to be kind, than to be unkind. It takes more energy to be unkind and uncharitable.

Spend your energy wisely.

It will do you and the one you help more good than you ever imagined.

One Day at a Time.

Gratitude Overflowing …

Old Brewery Mission

It is Monday. The weather is frightful. With minus (17c) outside and winds are gusting upwards of 70 km. In other places, roads are impassible and cars are piled up on the highways in Ontario.

Thankfully, I had done all my shopping over the weekend, so as to not having to go outside, until I need to hit a meeting. I can usually shop for four or five days at a time.

The weather people tell us that Spring is on the way, in a few weeks time. And they call it “an abrupt turn into Spring from Winter.” Like it’s gonna happen overnight.

I’ve been spending my Sunday mornings at the Old Brewery Mission, making new friends and networking into another phase of my sobriety. I’m in talks with a few friends who work “in the system” of rehabs, to find a suitable place for me to set down some foundation, and do some work in other areas of the city, with new folks coming in.

It is quite a chore, because not all rehabs run on the same system of hiring and responsibilities. It is harder in some circles to get a job in that field because of the paperwork and commitment one must make to the cause. And I understand that needed commitment. On Friday night, I spoke with a friend who explained the system to me. Over the next little while, he is going to see if he can find me a spot, doing some rehab work, either for pay or no pay. It’s not like I am looking for steady employment, because I cannot, due to my disability payments, bring in steady amounts of money.

I make enough to survive. I am just looking for something else to do, in sobriety, to augment my own program and see if I can work in that field and maybe do something good for others.

The Sunday meeting facilitates meeting other people, you don’t necessarily see in other meetings, because of the progressive nature of the chair/speaker system. Every week the chair changes and also the speaker changes. One week you speak, the following week you find a speaker and that speaker, chairs the next week, ad finds a speaker, so forth and so on.

Other than that, all is well.

I Know How You Feel

The One thing that unites alcoholics comes down to one phrase:

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET ME TELL YOU HOW I DEALT WITH THAT

The One Thing we can always count on, in the rooms, is there is usually, I don’t say always, because I am unique, usually someone who identifies with what we say, and can offer wisdom, based on their own experience.

Sadly, I’ve only heard this sentence spoken by one human being, in all my years of sobriety. Lorna, was the woman who shared this piece of advice with us, to give us hope that we were not alone in our struggles.

She gave this advice, because she knew Mother Teresa of Calcutta. They spent a lot of time together, prior to Mother’s death. Mother Teresa knew of every kind of suffering, and she knew how to deal with every kind of suffering. The one area that stumped her, was the Alcoholic.

She would ask Lorna about alcoholics, about meetings, and about Lorna’s story. She was so interested, Lorna once quipped to Mother, “Mother, are you sure you don’t have a problem?” At which point, Mother would genuinely giggle out loud.

The one thing Mother Teresa did not have was A STORY. She did not have those words of everlasting life…

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET ME TELL YOU HOW I DEALT WITH THAT.

I keep Lorna, close to my heart. Since she passed a few years ago, her words ring truer every day that I stay sober, because it is she I go back to when I need the voice of an elder who I knew personally, had conversations with, and fellow shipped with here in Montreal.

I had several conversations earlier tonight with friends. And the wisdom I draw upon, is mostly observational and my skills at listening attentively. I trust very few people in sobriety, with ME. I share myself quite liberally with my peers, and those I work with on a regular basis.

My experience with long sober people is hit and miss. As How it Works says, “We are not saints.” That can be said for every one of us. We have learned recently that, under the cover of anonymity, people feel safe to say just about anything in open community, with the proviso that, nothing they say, can be used against them, somewhere else.

My lady friend who chaired the business meeting that got very ugly, said to me tonight, that the wisdom she drew was this … “There are points in my journey that I have shared certain things, “in community” that, now make me cringe, that I even said what it was I said.”

Alcoholics are not perfect. By any stretch.

But we try, at least. I’ve been trying for a very long time, to keep it together and become more spiritually fit, as was pointed out to us this evening, by our speaker. I might be sober, but, if I am not spiritually fit, then why bother?

It concerns me, deeply, the lengths I go to to work my program, be present, do service, and help others. What is most egregious is that, there is not one old timer, that I know, over as many years, who has walked up to me and asked me out for coffee, to chat, to point something out, or just to connect.

I have experience with men who have time, and have wronged me in the worst way, who, still to this day, have never returned to set the record right. So I stay away from those men. I don’t talk to them, I don’t attend the same meetings they populate, and I surely don’t carry their numbers in my phone.

I just don’t find it advantageous to go out of my way to be friends with someone who really does not care about me, period!!!

I sit in meetings right now, and I wonder, does anybody notice? Not that I am speaking about my ego, because I am not.

I’m speaking honestly.

I have three friends, right now, who have my number. My best friends, and a young man I work with occasionally. They are the only three people who use my number regularly. Old timers come to meetings, say hello, and beyond that, any other words are negligible.

Over the last many years, when I was in the dumps, and in need of another human being, to step up and say those magic words to me, when I was at my worst, during the very worst period in my entire sobriety, not one man or woman came and said anything to me.

Yes, I admit that an Angry, Gay, Alcoholic, is not pretty. Being who I am, being a Gay, HIV+, Crazy, Alcoholic does not register, because there is NO ONE in rooms who share any segment of my story, with me.

Yes, we might be alcoholics, but nobody seems to be interested in conversation, beyond pleasantries while sitting in the same room.

I thought to myself, before I started writing this piece, that I feel like I’ve been sold a harsh bill of goods. Like I have been short changed. Since the day I got sober, no one has presented the book to me, in any form, that resembles any sober method, I have heard worked in other places.

Last fall when I worked my last round of steps. I was given a glimpse of what the secrets of the Big Book Held for me. By someone not my gender, nor my age, nor the length of sobriety. I chose her because of who she was and what she represented to me at the time. Yes, we read the book, I worked my steps again, but when we got to page 164 … she was done, so to speak.

She had walked me through the front of the book, and I was on my own to divine whatever it was I am supposed to figure out, with another layer of sobriety laid open.

I’ve said this before … Sober, Old Timers, are thin on the ground. Sober, Spiritually Fit, Old timers, are even more rare. The choices in our section of town are thin.

I stay away from Terminally Straight Men, for obvious reasons.

What does a hockey loving, pussy chasing, terminally straight man, have in common with a Gay, HIV+, Crazy alcoholic, beyond a shared addiction to alcohol. I’ve watched men like this in community. Their history with interactions with me, were less than stellar.

I’ve said this before, I only take to being ignored, so far. Especially, if ignoring me includes a meal. If you cannot bother to break bread with me and share a table with me and get to know me, then why bother ???

People like to quote the book to me. And tell me how inclusive they are, as fellow alcoholics, and how people care about each other, until it comes time to sit down for a meal, as one, two, then ten men, walk by and sit somewhere else, to eat, rather that be caught dead at my table,

I have your number…

So I wonder, does it matter that I go to meetings? Does it matter to anyone that I have been spinning my wheels for a long time, and that long sober counsel is evidently missing from my life. And that I am drawing at straws to figure out how to stay spiritually connected to my higher power.

I do homework. I am always looking to find the next best thing to learn about myself. Cue me some Brene Brown, some Oprah, and Ted Talks, and sober shares by old timers who live somewhere else, who came here to speak at a Round Up, so I have them on my phone. So I can readily go back and listen to them talk to me.

You know, I could sit in the middle of a meeting and yell “FIRE” and see if I get a reaction. I know, it is against the law to walk into a space and yell the word “FIRE!”

I don’t know if people, listen to me, to the degree that I listen to them? I’ve spent the better part of my sobriety, listening to everybody else. And from that listening exercise, I have observational data about my peers. If you sit in the same room for any length of time, let’s say 12 years, and you’ve watched people come and go, some stay, some grow up, others, not so much, you learn a lot about your peers.

I said this yesterday, In as many years, I know, directly, everything that my friends did in sobriety. I listened to them talk, to bitch and moan. I watched them make decisions, and act, and from all this data, I got sober, by either doing what was working, or NOT DOING what did not work.

I made decisions based on how others attacked similar problems and situations. I sought the advice of people I trusted. I stayed sober, by the book, doing what I was told to do, by those who came before me, and set the table for my success.

Sobriety in 2019, is not the same sobriety of 2001.

I said this earlier, old timers might still be around, who were sober when I came in, whether they are stable, spiritually fit, sane, old timers, is the question. I can count on one hand, how many people, from my specific sobriety period, who are still sober, on their first pass.

I’ve practically outlived my friends, in sober terms.

I don’t necessarily believe I am always spiritually fit, and I admit there is always room for improvement. I don’t always have all the answers, but if faced with working with others, I draw on years of observational data, and years of listening to people suss out how to deal with situations we find ourselves in today.

There are very few, if any, folks, who will approach me and offer an opportunity to share, beyond sitting in the same room for an hour.

WHY ???

I don’t know why.

It think it goes like this … Friendship is Reciprocal. Or Supposedly, that’s how friendships work. At least, my friends reciprocate.

If pressed, in sobriety, when you ask an alcoholic to do something, the stock answer is always Yes. Inside a meeting.

Usually, if you ask an alcoholic to do something outside a room, the yes answer is a 50 / 50 chance.

If you sit at home, hoping that certain alcoholics are going to think about you, or call you, or invite you out for coffee, or even call to see if you are ok, after some particularly, serious meeting, or issue I laid on the table for consideration, the reciprocal action is absent.

I stopped being kind and over extending myself, my husband, and my dinner table, to people who never reciprocated. I’ve changed up my holiday roster of invitees. I don’t feed old timers, like I used to, I stopped associating with the old, catty, and vindictive queers.

Not One Gay Man, in the rooms, has anything in common with me. And they have made that perfectly clear to me over the years. You know, after a few meetings, who are your friends, and who puts up with you, because you share a meeting. And I know who does not care for me, or my style of sobriety.

There is no love lost on many people. I know, for the last seventeen years, who stood with me during my stormy period and who did not. I kept on, keeping on, by doing what it was I was told to do when I first got sober.

Suit Up, Show Up, Make Coffee, Shake Hands, Be Present, Listen

These simple guidelines did the trick. I am still sober.

I tell them to young people, and they look at me with the Side Eye. Like I am someone from outer space. Folks getting sober, make life so much more complicated today. When a simple suggestion, if followed to the letter, WILL produce immediate results, folks would rather eat dirt.

Fuck me for trying …

I’m feeling all kinds of fucked up right now.

Not sure what I should do right now, so I will sleep on my words, and tell my best friend, tomorrow.

At least I have three friends, at the moment, I can count on.

Old Timers, not so much.

I go where I think I need to go, and talk to people I am familiar with, who at least, have known me for a long time, who don’t necessarily communicate outside a meeting, because they have lives, too.

It is Friday. The Best night of the week, at least it used to be.

It is Winter …