Monday: Extra — RITUALS

can-front.jpg

When we move away from home and go to college, all bets are off.

I can tell you, that many of our kids are indoctrinated into colleges here in Montreal, through the vehicle of FROSH. The pre-university activity, of welcoming new students into the system, by inviting them into communities, that revolve around alcohol.

Every year, it is the same story.

There are a hundred BARS located on every corner, as far as the eye can see, because we live in a neighborhood that serves two universities, Concordia and McGill.

Every year FROSH begins a few weeks out, during Orientation.

The groups form, and for nights on end, they cruise the streets in town Bar Hoping. Cups in hand, beer and liquor follow.

Tonight, one of our kids, graduating from McGill, spoke at a meeting. She kept a secret, and only told her sponsor the other day. She was advised to share tonight.

THE BEER IN A BOX RITUAL …

When she began university, as a drinker, the group she is affiliated with had all the members buy a can of beer, and put that beer IN a BOX, for safe keeping. Those boxes have been crated and stored for what is about to happen in a few days time.

On the thirteenth, those boxes will be opened by the group. Each member being devoted to their friends, because of the university and their major of study, will be present.

My young lady friend, has her beer she put in that box, while she was drinking. And it is waiting for her. She got sober, since then.

On April 2nd … this same young woman will hit One Year Sober.

A few days before the beer extravaganza.

Tonight we heard that she wants that drink. She is going to drink that beer, no matter what, because these are her friends she has gotten to know over her university career.

These are her friends, who supposedly have her best interest in mind …

She knows that if she drinks, it will only be ONE DRINK, RIGHT ???

The next day, she can come back to a meeting and pick up a Beginner Chip, and start being sober once again.

She may not forget that she HAD been sober, or what she knows about herself today. And that life is linear, she can pick right back up, where she left off.

After she spoke, I got my three minutes in.

And told the story of Lorna Kelly, and how at over thirty years of sobriety, she was faced with a drink, for one reason or another.

On Mother Teresa’s Death Bed, while a priest was saying mass over Mother’s bed, he went to hand her a HOST, dipped in WINE. And she said to the priest, NO, I cannot have the host dipped in wine. NO WINE … Flummoxed he stepped aside her to a sister who did take the sodden wafer.

He came back around with a dry host and she received the Body of Christ.

In the end, Mother Teresa, stuck out her hand and took Lorna’s in her hand and said these words …

Very Good Lorna, You Must Protect Your Special Gift…

Mother knew Lorna was sober over thirty years.

I told two stories in three minutes to get my point across.

If you take a drink, and the rest of us don’t know about it, because it is a secret, is taking that drink, with impunity, still ok ?

I told my young friend that if she TOOK that drink, SHE would know.

And God would know.

You can do one of four things …

  • YOU CAN DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE WRONG REASON
  • YOU CAN DO THE WRONG THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON
  • YOU CAN DO THE WRONG THING FOR THE WRONG REASON OR
  • YOU CAN DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON

My young lady friend believes she must complete the ritual to be validated among her friends, whom she has known her entire university career. She believes that taking ONE drink, will mean, only taking ONE drink.

So I posed the question to her … What if she drinks that beer, and someone hands her MORE, will she stop at ONE, or will there be MORE to FOLLOW ???

What Would You Do ???

Monday: The Infinite Ocean

o-BRENE-BROWN-ORIGIN-MAGAZINE-facebook

It was a very wild weekend here. Knowing that Daylight Savings was going to begin on Sunday, did not dissuade me from living my life as I always had, before.

Going to bed early, just for the sake of going to bed early, seems to be, beyond my capabilities. I just have to crank out a couple more hours out of my twenty-four, THEN go to bed, WHERE I grab a book and I read for ANOTHER hour, before shutting off the light for the night.

Sometimes, we just need to GO TO BED ALREADY !!!

Saturday night, I was burning the AFTER-Midnight oil. Knowing that I HAD to be up at SEVEN in the AM, to be at the Hospital, at Vendome by EIGHT in the AM.

I stayed up to fart around as usual, so it wasn’t until around 2 that I finally went to bed. I set my phone for SEVEN, and sure as shit, SEVEN did come around, sooner than I would have liked. But who am I to listen to conventional wisdom ?

I got dressed, and headed through the tunnel to the Orange line, which is a straight shot to Vendome, three stations up the line. I took the tunnel, the new access for everyone, including the Handicapped patients who visit the new MUHC Hospital.

Let me tell you how much grief was wrought because they built that entire hospital project, but did not have the foresight to build an accessible tunnel FROM the Metro station to the Hospital, in one fell swing …

That would have been too esasy!!!

They did not plan accordingly. And after much wringing of hands and complaints lodged to the city, the city caved and spent extra millions of dollars to tunnel from the station to the hospital, AFTER the FACT.

I get to the hospital around 7:30 and get lost trying to find my way into the hospital, because getting in, is half the fun.

On a Sunday Morning no less.

The only people AT the hospital at 7:30 in the morning are those working INSIDE, and Security. The halls are all devoid of life. I want to get outside for smoke before hand, because you CANNOT smoke on Hospital property.

I quietly Exit the building, wherein I get locked out of said hospital, and after trying three separate entrances with locked doors, and only a security button and a speaker to talk to, I find my way back into said hospital, trudging through MUD and SNOW on the far side of the building, having to find my way BACK to where I really needed to be for my appointment.

I get to the department, and the lights are off. The desk is devoid of life, thankfully, I see a young man exiting the same location and ask him where I can find a sign of life, and he says to me… “OH, they will come and get you … just have a seat and wait…”

Ten Minutes later a nurse comes to fetch me and the CT Scan takes all of five minutes.

I just spent the better part of an hour navigating the damned building for the climax of a FIVE minute CT Scan of my back…

Thank you for making your appointment this morning, have a nice day.

I took the Metro back to Atwater to drop off some scripts that needed to be refilled, that I would pick up later. I walk back home and gather my granny cart, and walk BACK to the mall to do my grocery shopping for the next few days …

BECAUSE ??? You might ask ??? There is SNOW in the forecast for the next three days.

I don’t want to be stuck without ample supplies and have to go out in a snow storm to grocery shop trying to pull a wretched granny cart through the snow.

Been there, Done that already.

I get home from my shopping trip and crawl back into bed. I sleep for the entire day and into the night. I had turned my phone off and was comatose for hours. I got up for dinner and some tv. By 11 p.m. I had such a head ache that my head was spinning and I was nauseous.

I took some Naproxen and crawled back into bed. I felt so sick. Not sure where that came from but, that was a thing.

I slept through until my haircut appointment this afternoon.

I have a HIGH and TIGHT haircut, that we tweaked just a bit. My friends, this evening seemed to like it. Because several people commented, which was unusual.

We read from the Big Book, and the topic of Resentments.

You’d never know how many of us drunks, YOUNG and OLD, have serious DADDY ISSUES. Everybody shared on the topic. And as usual, our trusty time-keeper kept us all to a three-minute time limit on sharing.

Which at the end of tonight’s meeting, spoke to him about.

Another of our kids went back out. She was hanging on the periphery of the room when I spoke to her before the meeting. I gave her some sage advice, and asked her to sit among everyone, and not on the back wall, as some do, to stay out of the fray, for all intents and purposes.

She did not make it through the entire meeting. I think the topic was a bit rough for her, so she bolted before the meeting even ended.

A friend of mine, lost his mother recently. We are kin to the same problem. Parents with memories and resentment lists like ELEPHANTS.

They NEVER Forget …

As sober people, what is done is done. Carrying around resentments is like carrying rocks around our necks, in sacks only we can fill, OR empty, whenever we choose.

My friend realized, long ago, what game she had been playing. And he chose to take the high road, and access the infinite ocean of power we have within our reach, when we get sober. Taking that high road, was not always the easy road. But he walked it.

He made peace with his parents and escorted his mother to her death, valiantly. Because he embraced love and compassion, and the infinite ocean of love around him, and he carried that love back to his family, doing good, small things, OFTEN.

I don’t have that luxury of doing Good, Small Things, Often.

One, because my brother hates me as hard as my parents hate me. And Two, I cannot even get him to acknowledge my humanity as a human being, let alone, answer any of my texts to him, beyond his …

I GOT YOUR TEXTS AND I DID NOT READ THEM. STOP TEXTING ME ALREADY BECAUSE I AM NOT INTERESTED IN KNOWING YOU.

So fuck me for trying.

My friend talked to me for a bit after the meeting and when I got home, I caved to pressure of compassion and emotion, and I texted my brother AGAIN.

I give him three days before he tells me to fuck off again…

I have not spoken to my mother, not that she wants to even talk to me, but I wished to express my condolences to her, but if I cannot raise my brother, as he is her gatekeeper now, and he isn’t speaking to me, I will never get to my mother.

So she will go to her grave even more angry and bitter than my father was.

Sometimes sobriety and the truth sucks, because there is not a snowball’s chance in hell, that I will get anyone to recognize that I am ALSO a human being, with feelings of my own.

I might have made the bed I am sleeping in right now, by choices that I made twenty odd years ago, but they were direct results of my family telling me to fuck off and DIE ALREADY when I was very sick and closer to death than I am today.

It isn’t ALL my fault for the state of family affairs today.

I would love to believe I have access to my friends INFINITE OCEAN of possibilities, but that just AIN’T the case with my family. For my family, you can NEVER go HOME.

Tomorrow I have a Two O’clock appointment with the smile specialists. I HATE, with all my soul, the dentist. But I need serious help, and it’s gonna cost serious money, that we know we don’t have, to complete the job successfully.

I am praying for small mercies and maybe a little miracle of financial ability of the part of an institution to be able to finance what I need IN HOUSE, and not using an outside firm where I am going to pay interest for years, before I can even think of paying off a job that is probably going to cost THOUSANDS of DOLLARS, start to finish.

UGH !!!

It’s time to go to bed already.

More to come. Stay tuned …