This is a happy photo. Spending time with my best friend and his girlfriend, in a place they love, together. It is important, now, more than ever, to make time for our friends, to be present for each other, without distractions.
Today was a busy day. We had chores to do, errands to run. Bills to pay, groceries to shop for and to do some much needed laundry.
There are many young people from far and wide whom I follow on Instagram. Many of them, serious influencers. Over the last little while, I’ve been considering my strengths and weaknesses. And just how much I can do physically, within my abilities.
Today I put my fitness plan into action. There is a gym, with full amenities right up the street, and they offer a wide range of classes, yoga, a thirty minute speed track workout program and many other appealing things, that I can do, every day, if I wanted to.
This was the sort of last box on my list of things to do, to build upon my medical good fortune. Being on a diet for so long and seeing physical results in real time, means that if I add a little activity in the gym, I will hit the goal I am planning on hitting, over the next year.
I’ve collected enough gym gear, in clothing, that I won’t have to repeat an outfit for more than a months time now. Tomorrow I receive a delivery of the latest Lithium line from Odyn. They are HOT !!!
I’ve talked to a few of our fitness trainers within our group over the last little while, in planning my fitness plan and setting some manageable and attainable goals. Slow and steady wins the race, so slow and steady will be the plan.
I think also this year, among my friend group, I would like to spend a greater amount of time being present and doing what I do best. Working with my friends. A little kindness goes a long way. It was a particularly tedious holiday for many, and now that that is over, after the hard work many of us employed to help those who found it difficult, to now, work at maintaining our kids.
They all know what to do now. Everybody seems to be in a good place, seeing that all of our kids survived another holiday season sober. Now we need to give them work to do, to step up their games, individually.
It does not take much to be present, so long as you put down your phone and say away from social media, as long as you can.
This is the year we all need to be good to ourselves. To listen to our bodies, and if need be, DIAL DOWN the gym and activity, because if we don’t listen to our bodies, it is to our own peril.
New Years Eve began very early yesterday morning. The last chore to end the year was a visit to the General to drop labs for my January appointments. Killing two birds with one stone is my usual habit.
I was up at 5:45 in the morning, it was still dark outside, and it was also bitterly cold. Pondering the thought that a huge number of people would be at the lab before I got there, had me up a little earlier than usual, if only to beat the horde of people we usually see on any given morning at 6 a.m.
I got to my bus stop and there was no bus, and I was the only one waiting for said bus, at 6 a.m. The bus arrived a few minutes later, and only a handful of people got on. That boded well for the first trip of the day.
I got upstairs at 6:30 and there was nobody waiting. Not One Soul. I took my number, went outside for some air, and returned to the lab being open before 7. Which is highly unusual. I was the only one waiting, so I was the first person in the lab to make my drop. In all of ten minutes I was on my way home. It was still dark outside.
I waited longer for buses, in both directions, than I did waiting for the lab to open. I asked the lady at the desk what was up, because usually the place is crawling with people. And she told me that probably nobody thought the lab would be open this morning.
I got home with plenty of time to make some tea, and ring in the New Year in Sydney Australia at 8 a.m. EST. I posted those pics after the event, because I had screen grabbed a few shots live as they happened. I have to say that Sydney’s fireworks show was massive. Probably the best fireworks show I had ever seen. We have a Fireworks festival here in Montreal every summer. This mornings show was massive. There were fire barges all up the waterway from East to West, including all the fire power they put on the Harbor Bridge.
I have a web cam link to Sydney harbor and a dedicated channel that simulcasts the show direct from Sydney live, on a larger server with more band with than the simple cam channel I use. They cannot handle all of the massive traffic the show generates online.
Later in the morning, I got an email from ODYN.
I had ordered a new set from their latest collection of the Lithium line. On the right is the Lithium Triton top. I have a full Triton set coming. Via DHL Express, which should have them here by Thursday.
Their work times run 21 to 28 working days to sew each piece, and the whole crew has been waiting on their shipping confirmations as well. The Gods of Odyn sent us all shipping notices this morning. An entire batch of new clothes are winging their way to friends far and wide as we speak.
I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions, but I have two in mind at the moment. Both of which are possible and manageable. I made a commitment to my Odyn friends, and they are keeping me on point, so to speak.
I took a nap for the afternoon and then prepped for the New Year’s Eve meeting at our Monday location. The really Big New Year’s Eve young people’s party was last night, so attendance was a bit sparse, but we sat a good group. It was a fruitful discussion.
All of our folks had places to go that were safe and had no alcohol or the temptation to even ponder the thought. How can you compete with over a 1000 sober folks packed into a dance hall for the ball drop ?
As the night wore on the temps dropped lower than they were when I was outbound. And by the time I reached my final metro stop to walk home, it was snowing.
We had dinner, watched the ball drop in NYC had some bubly and called it a night. Well, I am still up at 3:30 a.m. UGH
Time for bed.
Happy New Year, you are looking at a blank page, what story will you write this year, it is your to make or break. This is the real deal, not a dress rehearsal, so make it good.
Instead of writing an entire expose of the past year, I thought I would share the first thought that made it into print, the first entry of every month of 2018. A little retrospective, of course. Enjoy !!!
January 2018 …
In 1998, at four years sober, every man I knew, at that four year mark, walked out the doors and drank and used again. Including myself.
At that time, it was the messaging, that just solidified my decision to take my life back into my own hands and go out. When an alcoholic walks up to you and says Get Out and Don’t come back … what are you supposed to do, when you figure out, your options at that point are very slim, on the ground.
February 2018 …
I wrote this letter to my Spiritual Director the other night. It is pertinent to my life today, because it reflects my growth in certain areas of my life at the moment.
I hope that things have gotten a bit better than they were a few days
ago. Sometimes it’s a bitch having to recite and accept those pesky
They might come in handy when necessary, but when they become prayer
mantras, that’s the worst, because you know, you have to totally “Turn
it over, right ?”
How many times had I heard, Stick with the Winners, and Stay until the Miracle happens, and This Too Shall Pass … UGH
March 2018 …
It has been a few days since my last update. It has been a busy time
for everybody all around. We have a family wedding in May, it will be
the first time, in many years that the entire family will be in the same
location at the same time, to celebrate my niece Melissa and her
husband to be, Stephan’s wedding.
We have watched our nieces and nephews grow up into fine young
adults. And we spoil them whenever we get the chance. Holidays are
always a big deal for our family. We will be traveling to Southern
Ontario (on the train) a first for us.
In July, one of my guys, Juan is going to marry his fiancée Nadia, in a very intimate setting here in Montreal. We’ve been working very hard at keeping them “on the beam” so to speak. Juggling school, work, wedding preparations and life, is a tall order. But, like they say, “we have a program for that!”
April 1 2018 – Easter Sunday
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
John 20: 11-18
Now Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do
not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go
instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and
your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
May 2018 …
Two years ago, this very week, May 1st, 2016 to be exact, Fort
McMurray, in Alberta, Western Canada was a tinder box, and went up in
flames. We covered that tragedy here on the blog. Hundreds of thousands
of people were displaced, thousands upon thousands of homes were burned
to the ground.
But, resilient as people are, Fort McMurray is on the rebound as rebuilding has been going on since the all clear was sounded.
Seasonal changes have been occurring … This is fact.
Winters have been long and arduous. The snow pack is deep, again this
year. Snow has been falling to the ground across Canada into the month
of May this year. Here in Quebec, Winter went so long, we thought it
would never end.
June 2018 …
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.
July 2018 …
Staying the course, and always doing the next right thing, is good sound advice.
When the chatter in my head is running at fever pitch, and my
emotions seem to rule every decision or thought at times, I know that I
need to stop and take a break.
Read: I need to STOP and Pray !!!
Funny how things fall into my lap, when I most need them. Or, little
signs from somewhere outside of myself, seem to appear, in front of me,
at the oddest moments.
I have told the story about my I-Phones tendency to shuffle me a speaker, one speaker in particular, when I really need a talking to. It seems to know me better than I know myself at times, which begs the question … Are Our I-Phones sentient ???
August 2018 …
My birthday was the 31st of July. The morning of my birthday, when I got up and out of bed, I was still alive. I saw my doctor a couple of days before my birthday, and once again, I thanked him for keeping me alive another year.
This incarnation of my blog reached it’s First Anniversary. Thanks to
cowards and their dishonesty. People would rather eat dirt, than be
Without my doctor, where would I be right now ? I Don’t Know …
The people that mattered, celebrated my birthday, each in their own special ways.
September 2018 …
Summer is officially over. We did not Labor, over the Labor day weekend.
However good news did come.
October 2018 …
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond
Have you ever wondered, how did we get here? Where did we come from?
Why here and Why now? Why are some countries rich, and others poor? Why
do human live where they live today, and where did the first peoples
Being an avid reader poses challenges now and then. Picking up a
substantive book, and reading it from cover to cover, requires time,
treasure and commitment. I have several substantial books in my “read”
library stack. It took me quite a while to consume Guns, Germs and
Steel. Not only does this book require time and treasure, it demands of
its reader, patience, understanding, and a desire to learn; something
that I found, was enlightening and educational.
Jared Diamond begins some 13,000 years ago, when the world was first
populated with hunter gatherers. The continents were finding their
places, ice ages, came and went. And early humans, as archeologists have
studied began to populate the earth. When oceans were shallower, and
land bridges existed, in several locations on the earth, people moved
here and there.
Indigenous peoples worldwide don’t garner very much respect from the
conquering peoples who overtook them. There were multiple indigenous
communities worldwide, before the proverbial “white man” came and either
infected them with disease, enslaved them to serve, relegated them to
reserves or killed them outright in wars and conquests.
This book is methodical in its approach to humanity. And in pain
staking detail we learn what peoples lived in prehistory. We learn where
they lived to begin with and where they moved, on the earth as time
We learn how advances in food production, disasters of germs and
disease, and the advancing industrial revolution, where guns and steel
overpower those who did not have them.
We learn that in historical times, conquest and war, dispensed with
entire groups of people. You did not only get the peoples who took up
conquest, but the people who suffered because of it. The people who were
here, before we got here, grew into some, successful communities. In
the end, those vibrant indigenous communities were laid wasted by
diseases brought by the conquerors, and the wars perpetuated in the
names of Kings, Queens or Country.
As the continents were solidified, where people lived either assisted
their success or advanced their demise. Where you lived, in relation to
the latitude of your environs, either helped you, or harmed you. The
success of peoples, farming, livestock, and growth all depended greatly,
on where you sat, on the earth, in terms of latitude and longitude.
The spread of all things necessary for life, worked well, in areas
with an expansive East – West axes. Those countries with North – South,
axes, did not fare so well, the population and spread of food, animals
and technology flourished in the Eurasian, East West Expanse of
There is a direct correlation between the location of a people, and
the environment they found themselves in. From the Equator, reaching
either North or South, temperate regions flourished. Guns, Germs and
Steel tells the story of how the world became what it has.
Time, Distance, Location and the problems associated with location
either helped peoples grow and succeed, or they took much longer to
achieve certain benchmarks in their human existence. All things moving
East – West grew faster than those things moving North – South.
Time is measured in hundreds of years, The movement of people,
goods, animals, and agriculture took TIME. And it seems that in
pre-history, time is a very important component in the building of
peoples, world wide.
Jared Diamond spins a very intricate web of story telling about Time,
Talent, and Treasure. How the world built itself, learned how to govern
itself, farm the land, produce food, and be able to store that food
over Time, and then industrialize, are very important factors in human
Guns, Germs and Steel is not a simple story, it is complex on many
levels and explains the difficulty early peoples faced, in maintaining a
home, finding food to eat, and learning the hard way, especially, “what
not to eat.”
Every continent on the earth has a particular Origin Story. Every
peoples who populate the earth, where ever that may be, also have
complex Origin Stories. This very complex but wonderful study of
humanity is one of the best books I have ever read, on the subject of
just How We Got Here !
How each continent and how each people on each continent arrived
where they did, and prospered to the level they are at today is studied
exhaustively in this text. The Origins of People, Language, Customs and
Lives and how all these things moved from one area of the world to other
areas of the world is fascinating.
No stone is left un-turned by page 444 …
Pulitzer Prize books must contain certain factors that I always look
for, IF a particular book has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Because I
have read a handful of winners, that turned out to be real losers.
Guns, Germs and Steel is a Winner !!!
Read This Book !
November 2018 …
I’ve been sitting on my thoughts over the last little while. Two things I try to avoid, discussion of Religion and politics. The world has so much going on, that I have opinions about, that sometimes, I think to myself, “why bother?”
December 2018 …
December 9th 2018 came and went without fanfare.
The phone only rang once all day. The Big Celebration will take place
on Friday night, at our regular Friday Night meeting. It is our
Anniversary Meeting/Christmas Party. And I will take my cake as well.
I’ve been trying to figure out where I sit in the grand scheme of
things, a little drop in the Big Ocean of the Universe. I’ve not quite
figured that out just yet, so I am still flying by the seat of my pants.
A while back I had a conversation with a friend who is at year seven
in his transition, today. Back then, amid some strife in his life, I
told him that “What people think of us is none of our business.”
Not long ago, while talking together he parroted back to me that
phrase, but he could not place where he had originally heard it. And I
said, “that was a sober thought, and it sounds like something I would
have said to you in the past. So it went.
We talked about what he calls being “Emotionally Self Sufficient.”
Not relying on others, judgments, critiques, support or not support for
us, to dictate the men and women we become.
I don’t usually worry about what people think of me, on the whole. It
used to bother me when people, in public would critique my outfits or
judge me one way or another. I kind of grew out of that insanity.
Albeit, the hard way.
It had to be purged amid a pass through my steps this past Fall.
The one thing that haunts me to this day is the nostalgic portion of
my brain that gives credence to the thought that people would grow up
and finally want to make peace, after a lifetime of vitriol and hatred.
In the back of my head I believe that every human has One Redeeming
Quality, that can overcome whatever hardness in their hearts, if only
they would find it within themselves. Alas, that has not happened.
I really cannot stomach that there are people in my life who hate me
and want nothing to do with me because I am Gay and that I chose to take
hold of my life, and go my own way, and do my own thing, and I believe,
I did a good job so far. Some people don’t get it, and fault me for
leaving a nuclear unit to break out on my own. Let’s remember that these
same people, pushed me away and out of that nuclear unit, because I was
So Fuck Me !
There are so many good things in my life today. Today was my Quit
Day, smoking cigarettes. I’ve been on Chantix for more than a week now,
and just crossed the second week dosing of higher doses of medication.
Which has seriously curbed my desire to smoke. That is a thing.
Working with others has kept me busy and on point. Trying to be the
best human I can, and teaching lessons to others, that I learned myself
many, many years ago, today. Not too many people pay attention to my
stories, but there are three men who will listen.
And when I say to them, TRUST ME … I know what I am talking about,
because it comes from a place deep within my soul. From the man who
saved my life, and said those words to me, when I needed to hear them,
and I have survived more than twenty five years now.
Hindsight is truly a gift these days.
Christmas shopping is going on. I did the bulk of my shopping on
Tuesday. I had to travel into the Village for some things. And the
central village Metro Station is closed for renovations until next June
2019. So I had to figure out how to get out of our intermodal Berri
Station, which houses several Metro lines on three levels, down into the
ground. The main Montreal bus station and all associated towers and
service offices. There are many ways out of the station, but if you take
the wrong tower exit, you end up in a particularly “other” area of town
that you actually wanted to end up in.
There is a little snow on the ground. It is unseasonably below
average cold, but it should warm up into positive numbers come the
weekend. Long range forecasts says that snow showers will fall on
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We are hosting a Christmas Dinner party
for a friend, his wife and her mom. Their Second Christmas dinner here
at our house.
It will be grand.
All in all life is good. I am still sober. And all is well.
Another successful holiday is in the books. The plans I’d spent weeks and months putting together, came to fruition. The good thing about being sober, so long, is that, we get to chose with whom we celebrate the holidays with and why.
In my experience, And I said this to one of my guys tonight, after dinner, was this … Not in the last few years, have I ever witnessed another sober human being, walk up to me and say those magic words, and they are:
“I Know How You Feel, Let Me Tell You How I Dealt With That.”
Lorna and Bob, two long sober members from New York spoke these words to us, in person, a number of years ago. There are only a few people, guys I work with, who heard these words too, because I have shared them with my guys. It was obvious, when we sat together as a Round Up Group, many folks I know, forgot those words. And I muse that, when I was in a difficult place, nobody had those words, as Lorna says are “Of Ever Lasting Life.”
There are folks, I know today, when I show up to particular meetings, out of my regular schedule, like tonight’s meeting on Christmas Night, at my old home group where I spent the first TWELVE YEARS of my sobriety, say to me, “Why don’t you call me ever?” Most people I socialize with already have my number, because I give it freely.
If I give someone my number, there is a reason I do that. So that THEY would use it, when I ask them to use it. People don’t like being told what to do, even when they tell me they are in difficulty, and they ask my advice and sit and listen to what I say in response. Usually couched in my response, if not spoken directly is this … “If you ask me for advice, and I give it freely, because I make time for all of my friends, is that you reciprocate!”
I walked into a meeting with one of my dinner guests tonight, and half a dozen people noticed what I was or wasn’t wearing. I was out of my usual choice of clothing, because I was entertaining tonight, so I went a little conservative, instead of my sporty spice look. They did not ask me how I was doing, or wish me Merry Christmas, they only wanted to comment on my outfit.
A handful of others, as I made the rounds before the meeting, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas that was sitting in the room, and shaking every hand, said to me …”Why don’t you ever call me?” My standard response came out quite easily. “If you really wanted to speak to me, you, yourself, would pick up that 2000 pound phone and use it for the purpose it was made for … To Be Used.
How much does a cell phone weigh, I ask you ?
Folks know I am reachable, 24 hours a day, and that I always answer my phone. I just don’t go out of my way, with just any alcoholic, to spend time, listening to them piss and moan. Tonight, there were a number of miserable young people sitting in the meeting. Kids, who, last year, celebrated their first sober holiday in living memory, many of them made it to year two. Because I told them, to their faces, that “if they stayed sober over last Christmas, that they indeed would stay sober.” Many of them listened to that advice and were successful. A handful did not make it. And were back for round two tonight. I watch my young people closely. I am present for all of them. I show up, so that THEY show up too.
So many people are miserable in their lives, and those people drink. There are also miserable people in sobriety, and they don’t drink. I talk to my guys often about this paradox. People stop drinking, yet they maintain their misery, like a rock around their necks.
When really … They can jettison that rock at any moment. When I say that to them, they look at me quizzically, as if to say, “Yeah Right.” You make it sound so easy. And things are easier said than done. Because folks make that conscious decision to remain miserable and sad.
We read from the Big Book and A Vision For You tonight. The portion of the passage that says at some point we come to the day that we cannot imagine life WITH alcohol or WITHOUT it. THEN, we will know loneliness unlike anything we ever known. And we reach the jumping off point.
We will want the end.
The reading goes on to speak of the fellowship and what we can do for each other, when we reach the jumping off point. When you come to your Home Group, and you connect, and you STAY, your life will change.
I show up so that others see me show up to tell them that ANYTHING is possible. It CAN be DONE. It takes Work. Consistency. Faith. and Action.
People WITH TIME, look at me strangely. People with little time look at me strangely. They cannot figure out, why I am so serene and happy.
Vulnerability takes Courage.
For a couple of years, I’ve been vulnerable. I speak my mind. I share honestly, and to the point. I am out there, in good times, and in bad times. I tell people when I am feeling sad, or angry, or happy. I no longer edit my words in public. People do not like it when I am deadly honest. People cannot understand why I speak honestly and with soul.
I am an Alcoholic who wants to get well. To live a good life. To know why I tick the way I tick, and to work on my character defects and shortcomings.
We might work steps, some more often than others. Many forget that Steps Six and Seven are the steps we work for the rest of our lives, on a daily basis.
My guys know this. And they struggle the same way I struggle, when they come to me and ask my advice, when sometimes I have no idea what to say to them, as I tell them how I dealt with those very same issues. The only way I know how to help another human is to tell them the truth, even if I don’t have a clue, what I am supposed to say, at least I say something.
Over the weekend I was home alone. And I rang up a friend, I’ve known for more than forty years now. Facebook, that necessary evil, makes it possible to keep in touch with people who matter to me, sober or not.
She asked me about me, and I asked her about her. I told her my story, and she told me one of hers. She said, and I quote … “If you don’t concentrate on your step work when it comes to certain people in my life, actually STEP the exact issue, you are going to become as bitter and angry as they are.”
She goes on … You know steps better than I do, of course I do, she’s not one of us. But she knows enough about me today, that she can offer that kind of advice, because I will listen to her when she talks to me. Because, we often don’t have an opportunity to talk for over an hour, like we did Sunday night. She was right. I shared that at the meeting tonight.
Everybody looked at me strangely. What are you talking about? I knew what I was talking about. Now I know what I can do now. The conundrum of sobriety is this … There aren’t a whole lot of people I want to talk to, to any depth, because only a handful of people I know today, would even offer to invest in me. Even sober …
A long timer said tonight, that he’d been hitting many more meetings than usual because his shift at work has changed. But he notices the disparity of not a whole lot of long sober people. They are either moved away, sick themselves, or dead. He hangs around with NEW BLOOD. He sees how many of us, who were around or, more, still around from the years when we got sober together. Few of us, are still around.
There are too many chair warmers. People want to get sober. Yet, they don’t want to put in the time and the work necessary, to get where some of us are, on the path to happy, joyous and free.
Not long ago, one of my kids, after facing a raft of losses in his life, walked into the meeting, on Thursday, a couple of weeks ago, and said to me and to God, as I stood there “Where are the fucking PROMISES?” God certainly has not dropped them on me,” at his almost ninety days of sobriety.
New comers hear us read those pesky promises day in day out, week in and week out. And they suppose that God is gonna drop Promises on them like Manna from Heaven, as needed, with no toil or tilling the ground so that the garden bears fruit.
A garden is not gonna bear fruit or anything, if you aren’t going to get your hands dirty, and get down and dirty in the mud with the rest of us. So many people want the PAYOUT with no LABOR.
I look at them and a giggle to myself. If you only knew.
Promises don’t drop out of heaven like Manna. They come when you invest in THE WORK. And you put your time in getting sober. You just cannot walk in the door and expect God to just lay it on you because you just walked in the room.
Because that’s exactly what I said when I came in this second time around. I actually gave God a list of “Things I wanted, Expected, because I HAD ARRIVED!”
Long Sober folks laughed at me and said: KEEP COMING BACK !
Talk about lessons in humility.
I worked my ass off for the whole of my sobriety. My best friend said it all when I took my 17th chip a couple of weeks ago … I don’t stop, I am always looking for the next big challenge. I ask people for help, even if they are less sober than I am. Newcomers saved my ass this past year. My lady friends who worked steps with me changed my life in ways I cannot explain.
Some of my kids are lock, stock and barrel, Confident Adult Women.
I’ve watched them grow up around me and in front of my own eyes. And that is what I wanted this round. So I asked for help, and help arrived. Because I was willing to sit, read, and to listen.
Because some of my women have solid, hard core sponsors, who don’t hand out bull shit, but expect hard work and honesty from their women. Some of my friends HAVE IT. Many do not. But they could, if they put in the work to get better, instead of pissing and moaning about how miserable they are in sobriety.
And I am oft to say … You know if what we have does not work for you, we’ll refund you your sobriety, and you can go drink again, and see if that works better.
Common wisdom of people who are long sober, or sober longer than I am, say this … Alcoholism might stalk me in the back of my head, and I hear it speak to me and woo me into the false idea that a drink would be nice.
Long timers, who are sober twenty plus years, know the kinds of drinkers and addicts they were when they got sober. They know how insane their lives were, and none of us are going to give it up for the chance to try some new drug or flavor of alcohol that some of our young kids drank or drugged with.
Our young people have that conscious choice in front of them. They can root and stay, and work and learn, and get better, OR they can warm a chair and bide their time, until the opportune moment they can say FUCK IT and go back out and drink and use some more.
Common wisdom also says that the odds of finding a better buzz, or a better drug, on a relapse will be better, is false. Because eventually you are going to wind up in a worse place the next time they chose to use, a bigger jackpot, even jail, or institution, or God Forbid, DEATH.
I know misery. I’ve been miserable too. And I am one of those men who will admit that in open community. Not many pay attention to anything I say.
But if I wear something irregular, they WILL SAY something to me.
Funny that !
I don’t have time for misery or anger or bitterness. My nuclear family have invested, lock, stock, and barrel on the alcohol, and the misery, anger and bitterness. Because they speak to me in those kinds of words.
I know those words. And from my mouth to God’s ears …
I WILL NEVER BECOME YOU !
I’ve been sober now seventeen Christmases. I’ve been sober longer than all the years I spent drinking and drugging. I’ve spent more holidays sober now, than I have ever, in my life, even as a kid. Because in my family, alcohol was a food group. If you did anything, it was bracketed by an alcoholic beverage of some kind. Beer or Spirits.
I’ve never been so cognizant of how subtle the fine line of sanity and insanity. Because I skate on that line often. And I know how precarious that skate is sometimes. So I stick with the winners. I suit up and I show up for my life, on a daily basis.
I heard a guy talk on Instagram earlier before I started writing this post and he said … IF YOU WANT CHANGE, IT IS EVERY DAY.
EVERY DAY !!!
EVERY DAY !!!
CONSISTENTLY, RELIGIOUSLY, WHEN YOU WANT TO AND WHEN YOU DON’T. WHEN PEOPLE SEE YOU, AND WHEN THEY DON’T.
IF YOU AREN’T IN THE ARENA WITH ME GETTING YOUR ASS KICKED LIKE ME, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOUR CRITICISM.
Brene Brown … The Man in the Arena Speech. Teddy Roosevelt.
CHEAP SEATS ARE EASY. GET IN THE ARENA AND FIGHT FOR GOD’S SAKE. BECAUSE IF YOU AREN’T FIGHTING LIKE ME, YOU HAVE NO ROOM TO CRITICIZE ME.
Some sober folks are in the cheap seats, and they want to criticize, and not do any heavy lifting. Sobriety isn’t cheap seats, work. Sobriety is IN THE ARENA FIGHTING FOR ONES LIFE and SANITY.
Tonight, we talked about Selfishness and Self Centered-ness.
Alcoholics have a particular ability, when we are IN The Work.
At some point, we are part of “community.” We find our places, we like to go. We find the people, we want to be our friends. We find a sponsor, who is going to be the sounding board for all of our nonsense, and bullshit. I heard a friend say tonight, that the man he works with is a noble, kind and loving human being.
Many of us, in that room, strive to be noble, kind and loving.
Being Noble, Kind and Loving, should be prerequisites to working with others.
They say that alcohol and drugs are but the symptom of a more serious problem. Those key words like: Selfish, Self Centered, and Fearful, are some of those things we deal with on a daily basis. Ego is anther one of those things I heard mentioned tonight.
The Big Word my friend used in this context was:
Concupiscence. Ardent, Longing, Desire.
He mentioned the word in, not the sexual connotation, but in the “Wanting More for himself.” And not in a selfish way. I think, that once we get a handle on our addictions, and we begin to rebuild our lives, from the ground up, at some point, we begin to become Right Sized, then we can safely begin to entertain … Wanting more for Ourselves.
If you are just sitting in a room, hoping Osmodically, that you are gonna GET IT, or FIND IT, you aren’t … One has to put in the work.
Some people, some of my friends, all they want, out of this life, is something more for themselves. Some of those wants might be grandiose, or grand. Been there, done that myself.
I’ve learned over the years, that I do want more for myself, but within reason.
It may not sound like I read the book, or practice all that needs to be practiced, on any given day, but in sixteen years and a few months, I have internalized a lot of the book, and what it tells us to do, on any given day. I’m no MONK, and I am surely not a SAINT.
But I try, on a daily basis, to be right sized. Working with others, keeps us right sized. Because I have known some, whose heads get too big, and they outgrow their pants, and when that happens, people are in trouble.
Over the last little while, an old timer with serious time, has gotten on his high horse. He’s outgrown his pants. His ego is riding the hog. And he shot his mouth off at a business meeting, and everybody sitting there witnessed it.
Last week, as alcoholics are won’t to do … I called him on his bullshit. Who else, can spot bullshit and ego at fifty paces ? WE CAN.
That old-timer told me to go fuck myself.
Who was right and Who was wrong ?
That particular old-timer tonight said that He did not believe in Altruism.
When we take an hour out of our nights, and go make coffee and set down chairs and tables, and we set up a meeting, ONE, we are helping ourselves, First … TWO, we are doing it because we are helping those who are gonna show up, on any given night.
Every time we put the needs of another before our own, we think altruistically.
I know, sure as the sun rises every day, that the day I decided, many years ago, in early sobriety, that the needs of my then boyfriend, were more important than my own, when he got terribly mentally sick, and I decided to STAY and not RUN away, I put all my eggs in his proverbial basket. And I took care of him.
That is when This Boy Became a Man.
I am sure as shit, I know this for sure. Because I spent the better part of my life waiting for the moment when I would cross that proverbial bridge, into my Man Hood.
It was only, in the service of someone I loved, that I became the man I am today.
Being in the rooms, helped me more than I could ever have imagined. Watching and Listening to other addicts and alcoholics, get clean and sober, and grow up themselves, helped me grow up myself.
All these years later, I can call bullshit and ego at fifty paces. Many of us can.
It takes courage for someone to say to themselves, and maybe to you, that,
“yeah, I think I am being an asshole …”
Rather than the affirmative response, you get told to Go Fuck Yourself.
How dare you call me on my shit, when you only have sixteen years of sobriety ?
Well, I am in the book, I do the work, I do the prerequisites, and I am sober. Sober to the degree I am at, at the present moment. And YOU my friend are an asshole and you have outgrown your pants, and your ego is getting a little grand for the rest of us. And not many of us are going to take the time to say something because they know you are going to tell them too … To Go Fuck Themselves on Holy Sunday …
One of my friends plays a “Selfish Game.”
She opens a conversation and talks until the other person, stops; and asks about HER. If it takes too long, she cops a resentment. Because for a long time, life was all about HER.
That’s why, the first question I ask of my friends, is All About Them.
Because we all need a little Happy Dog Photo. I LOVE this photo.
The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week orb a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink. pg. 24 BB.
I’ve heard it said that if something in the Big Book is written in Italics, then it is VERY important. And we should pay close attention to whatever is said.
After a weekend of sleeping in, and considering my next move in sobriety, tonight I hit my Monday meeting. It was as if I was hung over, mentally, and I thought to myself, on the way that, “I really needed a meeting.”
I don’t often get that jonesing feeling like “I really need a meeting” often. Today I noticed it right away. I got there early, because we were in a secondary location the past two weeks, and last week I missed, and this week I got LOST, trying to find a building that was just one block from where we usually meet.
Thank God for underground shopping malls.
I saw my friends. Some of whom took chips. Others, whom had drunk again over the weekend. Drinking again … This has become common lately. It breaks my heart that my friends all know me, and many of them have my number. None of them choose to use that number. I don’t get it.
I tried, once again, to make connections.
I know that I work very hard at sobriety, and I know today, that I have certain answers. I know certain things, CERTAINLY. Some of my friends, I think, might be put off with certainty. People come to meetings, but really, they don’t want the truth.
It’s like they enjoy rummaging around in the dark scrounging for the answer they want, which is not necessarily the answer they really need. But walking around in the dark seems easier than buckling down and accepting certainty and sobriety, once in for all.
I don’t understand that either.
I asked a friend, with serious time, before the meeting, “Hey James, what is it I need to know, because my anniversary is approaching,” and he said to me that “I really need to trust my higher power with that question. That only HE would tell me what I need to know.”
So I am Not God.
I also know that if I don’t hear directly from HIM, that I need to leave home and hit a meeting and listen to my friends, who might speak for HIM, to Me.
That’s usually how it goes for me.
One of my sponsees is a month out from his third anniversary next month. BOTH his anniversary and mine (in December) both fall on a weekend, which means we get our chips, respectively, in a meeting the week after.
I’ve been practicing my script over the past few days. Because I like to practice the barbed words I want to use in front of certain people, who fuck all …
Not really sober thinking is it ? Nope it isn’t.
I said to my friend, who drank over the weekend, that:
You Don’t Ever Have to Drink Again …
It’s in the book. I’ve said it before. But my friends would rather hit the bumper and drink again and again, knowing the truth is right in front of them, yet they choose to avert their eyes from the truth, because for many, they just cannot fathom a life without using and drinking.
I know what that feels like. Let me tell you what I did … As Lorna would say.
When I got sober this time around, I was so fear ridden with the prospect of growing up and becoming a man. I think that is why I continued to drink, until drinking more was NOT a viable option any longer. I had no choice. I had to sober up.
I was just not going to walk into a room alone. I had to have help.
I prayed for HELP and help ARRIVED.
I know how you feel, let me tell you what I did …
These are everlasting words of hope and faith. These are the words that can change a life. If only my friends trusted me.
I am powerless over people, places and things.
You can’t force someone into sobriety. They have to come upon it on their own.
Many stand at the barrier and look over it. Some of my friend succeeded at walking through it, into sobriety. A handful of my friends are still standing there, waiting for the PUSH they really need. I quietly sit there, and beckon.
Over and Over and Over.
Fear and Pain are great motivators. Some of my friends are stuck in fear and pain.
Sobriety is a selfish pursuit. Go to your meeting for YOU and only YOU.
And Fuck all what anyone else might think or say.
I’ve learned that over fifteen years and ten months.
Now, a little faith from Pope Francis …
In his Monday homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis focused on the parable of the Good Samaritan. He said one who helps another “get up” is on the “right path to Jesus.”
POPE FRANCIS “This is very common habit among us. We see an ugly calamity and pass by and later read about it in the newspapers, painted with a bit of scandal and sensationalism. Instead the Samaritan, a pagan and sinner who was traveling ‘saw and did not pass by: he had compassion.’ St. Luke describes it well, ‘He saw; he had compassion; he went to him and did not remain far away, but went closer.”
He concluded by asking Christians to examine which type of Christian they are and if they constantly are available to help others.
SUMMARY OF PAPAL HOMILY “This is very common habit among us. We see an ugly calamity and pass by and later read about it in the newspapers, painted with a bit of scandal and sensationalism. Instead the Samaritan, a pagan and sinner who was traveling ‘saw and did not pass by: he had compassion.’ And St. Luke describes it well, ‘He saw, he had compassion, he went to him and did not remain far away, but went close by.
“This is the mystery of Christ who became a servant, who humbled and annihilated himself and died for us. Jesus is the Good Samaritan who invited the doctor of the law to do the same. The mystery of Jesus Christ is not a children’s tale, the parable reveals the depth and breadth of the mystery of Jesus Christ. The doctor of the law did not understand the mystery of Christ but he surely understood the human principle behind it – that every man who looks from above at another man down below, does so only to help him get up. One who does this is on the right path to Jesus.”
“The innkeeper understood nothing of this, bewildered at meeting someone who did things he never heard before. This is what happens when one meets Jesus. The Holy Father urged Christians to re-read this parable and examine themselves on their attitude – a robber, a cheater, a corrupt man, a priest, a Catholic manager, or a sinner. Do I approach and make myself a neighbour and servant to those in need like Jesus?.”
It is pouring down rain at this very moment in Montreal.
The time has come to make some changes again. The writing has been on the wall, and Heavenly Father is gently pushing me in new directions. I can trace back, not so long ago, what this looked like, when the Elders came to me and ministered to me. Elder Spencer is still a part of my life today.
General Conference took place last weekend. I participated via stream. Lots of good things shared and spoken.
I guess I want to talk about gifts and movements.
I thought about this the other day, and I’ve been ruminating on it ever since.
Am I the only drunk who goes to meetings and pays attention ? It seems that not many people pay the amount of attention to what they hear, like I do. You hear that Anonymity Statement, we have a few in the rooms here. Each of them different.
But the one I go with is this …
You can carry the message outside this room, but names and personal details stay here. We use this one on Friday Night at the A.B.S.I. meeting.
I go to several meetings, or have been. I’ve since cut my meetings by one.
In talking to my friend Sean the other night, he’s got time, like I have time. He is sober as long as I am sober now. He has a family, kids, (plural) and he does business in Asia a lot of the time. Seeing him often, is hit and miss. But we spoke.
Getting back to Heavenly Father and the prompts…
You know it’s time to go when these things begin to happen.
When your ideas on certain subjects begin to lose traction, and people begin moving away from you or avoiding you, it’s time to go.
When what you are hearing from your friends, push you to realize that, between us, we are on totally different pages, in sobriety, it is time to go.
When you realize that some people just do not like you. When you realize that some people do not respect you, and treat you differently, among your peers, it is time to go.
When you begin to regret walking into a particular meeting because of the people you share that room with, and the purpose of that meeting, becomes inconsequential to the people in the room, it is time to go.
And finally … When sober people you either know, for a long time, or men and women you work with, find out you are human and not Vulcan, and they turn on you and walk away, IT IS TIME TO GO !
I’ve been going to meetings for the whole of my sobriety. This blog is a testament and a record of most of the meetings I have attended over the past 16 years.
In those sixteen years, I have had to shut down, export, import and re-Domain this blog three times. Each reason is different. And usually has to happen when flamers and hackers and Evangelical Christians come knocking on my front door.
I opened this domain and blog in response to an alcoholic who thought I had broken his anonymity by telling a story about him on my former blog. He never bitched about what I wrote about until I started talking about him specifically. Yes, he lives here, and goes to the same meetings I do, but he has no respect for me, nor my presence, nor my life.
Anyways … I was thinking, Am I the only drunk who pays attention at meetings, pays attention so hard, that I come home after a meeting, I transcribe what I heard for you here and for me as well ?
I mean, how the fuck do we learn how to get sober, if we don’t study our friends behaviors, choices and actions over time ?
That’s how I got sober. By watching my friends do STUPID things over sixteen years.
Watching other people ACT is the best way we learn how NOT to BE.
Which is how WE Become US.
I am done with going to places where people don’t respect me. I am done going to meetings where people ignore me around other people, and treat me disrespectfully.
Sean, told me to go to meetings where I am a trusted custodian. Those would be the Monday Central Meeting and the Friday North End English Meeting.
We all have gifts. Heavenly Gifts. Before we got here, Heavenly Father, or the powers that be, handed us a script. A job, so to speak.
Past Lifers would say that if we got here again, then, there was something we missed or screwed up, on our last visit. And now we get to work it out all over again, hoping we hit the mark this time, and not have to do this all over again …
Re-incarnators talk about how we get to reincarnate with people we knew in the past life we just left, or several lives before that. The proviso is that, we come back with a contract, which is unlike the former contract we were on. This time around we may be together for the whole journey, or maybe part of it.
There are reasons God put us here. Mainly, to learn Love, Dignity and Respect. To help our fellows and our friends. To learn how to GIVE, and not take.
The world need to learn how to LOVE … AGAPE LOVE …
Gifts … We all have them. We may not know what they are, it is our job to figure that out while we are down here, in the ways we relate to others, the work we do, and the service we give to our friends, family, peers and fellows, men and women alike. The love we share, the respect we give, the dignity we attribute and give to others.
Do you know what your gifts are ? Are you aware of them ? I am of Mine.
And to a greater degree now.
I’ve listened to my friends for a LONG TIME.
I hear them, they make stupid decisions, do stupid things, they hurt, they drink, they use, some get back, many don’t.
I seriously pay attention to every human being who talks in front of me. I KNOW all of my friends intimately. They probably don’t know that, until I walk up to them and say such things like …
Been there, done that.
Maybe you should try something else.
I can help you through this portion of your journey.
I see you did this, and paid dearly for it, now I am giving you a tool to make sure you don’t make that same mistake again …
And you know what they do ?
They take a step backwards,
They look at me with those eyes like
Are You Fucking with Me ?
You can’t be serious ?
Fuck your advice, even if you are sober sixteen years and haven’t drank or used in all that time.
Even if you have experience,
I don’t want YOURS !!!
Fuck me for trying …
When these things happen, IT’S TIME TO GO !!!
I have ears to hear, and eyes to see. I mean that’s what God gave them to us for right ? I use those gifts to help my fellows, and I know today, none of that matters to a majority of them.
Which is why I need to move on to better pastures where the grass is green and the sober time is low, and people who want my message may be receptive to it. Because a few people with little time, and a lot of people with A LOT of time, have no need for me or want me around.
Thanksgiving is Sunday, here in Canada.
And I joked with a friend who works up the block that, within days of Halloween Night’s end, Christmas decorations will go up. Every year it is a contest to see who is gonna jump the gun this year and play Christmas music in their stores, and put up decorations in their shopping malls or stores.