We’re Always Making New Friends

Humboldt

It is almost 2 a.m. and I should be in bed. Have to be up at 7 a.m. for an 8 a.m. bus ride to the West Island in the morning. Today, A new friend and I made the trip out this afternoon. The island of Montreal is under severe construction, all the elevated highways have been knocked down, as they build new ones in their place.

If you have to travel East or West, by those very same highways, everybody is using surface streets to get around the detours. Imagine, buses, cars, and every other vehicle imaginable trying to navigate surface streets, not made for heavy traffic or multiple cars all at once.

The detour took us over an hour to navigate on a Saturday afternoon, but we made it to the community center with plenty of time before hand. We socialized and made new friends, or met friends that I see often, but not get to talk to on a deeper level, at meetings.

Not a whole lot of people from town were there today. But the numbers looked good in the “young people quotient.” There is a cross-section of folks from all over the island, with varying time of sobriety.

You know when you go to a sober gathering that you must carry several things in abundance. Munchies, Cigarettes, Kleenex, and Cash. Making new friends always entails being kind to them, from the get go. Because what you do for someone else when it matters, may impact them in ways you might not see right away. But a kindness given is a kindness received.

We got there early, and a handful of young people I know, from around town had shown up, which gives me time with each of them outside the purview of a meeting. The gatherings around the communal cigarette bin located outside the hall is the location where we network the best.

The one cigarette per person rule goes out the window. So I brought several packs with me just in case I needed them. And I did.

We heard two good shares. A young man, well, young in his forties, with 23 years sobriety, and our pinch hitter speaker this evening, an old-timer with more than 45 years of sobriety. Today’s contingent came from Toronto.

Many good things were shared. Two that come to mind at the moment are, our young man has a habit of opening meetings in his neighborhood, so that the meeting are all by his house. Because like he said to us … We Are Always Making New Friends.

Sober Folks are friends we just haven’t met yet.

Our Lady speaker talked about God. Coming from Humboldt Saskatchewan, nobody knew Humboldt until a few weeks ago, when the youth hockey team were involved in that tragic bus crash that killed so many young men and women in the bus.

She told us of the incalculable Power of Good. She might not know, at forty some odd years who God is, but she does know about the Power of Good.

We are all here for a purpose. We had to just get to hell, to find the direction into the Power of Good, to turn our lives around.

We laughed. We giggled. And we were sad, but then joy took over.

A good day was had by all. Tomorrow is a long haul day, with multiple speakers from all corners of the world, an ALA-Non Speaker, lunch and the afternoon filled with more to come.

Stay tuned…

Sunday Sundries: Weekend Wrap Up

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The CN Tower, looking towards from outside the Union Station Go Bus Platform.

After ten hours of travel today, we walked in the door to home at ten minutes to nine this evening. Today was a long travel day, and I was not sure if hubby would make it in one piece. It was touch and go, when we got to Toronto.

Our daily routine was thrown out of whack, our daily naps did not happen, and we were on the go for the entire weekend, after the nightmare beginning to the trip and the wind storm and blackout in Hamilton.

The wedding was beautiful. Seeing family was the best part. Being appreciated made it all worth it. However, like I said the other night, some people never change, and some people are just not happy at all.

But we connected with our younger nieces and nephew Adrian. We will have more game players to join us at the Board Game Cafe, when I go to visit my best friend next.

We departed Hamilton this morning at 10:15 a.m. We took the Go Bus to Toronto, because there was no Go Train service on Sunday. We were plainly tired. And the bus ride seemed much shorted than the commuter train on Friday evening. But traffic going into Toronto was a nightmare.

We drove past the lake front. It was beautiful. There was a Marathon being run on the lake front today. We did not get that far in our sightseeing.

We arrived at Union Station at noon, with three hours to kill. Since you cannot check luggage and leave it in a station, we had to drag the bags where ever we wanted to go.

Hubby was on thin ice emotionally. But he asked me what I wanted to do, and he walked with me to the CN Tower, which was not all that bad.

Toronto is a HUGE city. There is Concrete, Glass and Metal, as far as the eye can see. I mean every square block of downtown Toronto is BUILDINGS …. Yes, there is the water front property, but I imagine if you lived anywhere inside the downtown core, one must have to pay BIG BUCKS to live there.

I imagine the majority of people like us, could only afford to live in the suburbs and commute into the city for work and play. On Friday afternoon when we arrived in Toronto, Union Station was crawling with people.

Rush Hour Toronto is a nightmare.

Today, when we got to Union Station, the Go Platform was empty. I was having serious Deja Vu …

So we hoofed it from Union to the CN Tower. When we got there, I took some photos, and we started to go inside, but hubby vetoed that decision when the security agent told us it would cost nearly $80.00 CAD to go up the tower.

He was like NOPE … SEE YA !!!

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The Aquarium just outside the CN Tower. And the Roger’s Center.

I took a few more photos, and we cabbed it back to Union Station, where we had lunch, albeit we spent almost $60.00 on lunch because it was a restaurant IN Union Station and not a cheap dive above ground.

I have to say that if you have to travel a fair distance and you don’t need to fly, and you have time to waste, VIA RAIL is a great choice. The trains are clean, well-appointed. the seats are comfortable and the views on our trip out and back were stunning.

I take a bus to Ottawa, because the bus station is only 5 blocks from my best friends apartment on Bank Street, an easy walk from the Ottawa bus station.

We’ve never traveled on VIA RAIL before, and we were pleased very much with the train ride out and back. It was five hours to and five hours back from Toronto.

Our final word on Toronto was … Not our cup of tea. Hubby really does not like Toronto at all. I think if we were there with a place to stay in the downtown core, and no luggage to drag around and more time, and some ample rest before hand, we could have had a better time of it, than we did today.

We love Montreal. Our city has chic. And it has a style that Toronto does not. Montreal is NOT ALL Concrete, Glass and Metal. We got to see night-time views of downtown from the Via Rail on the way in that we had never seen before.

Makes us appreciate our beautiful city all the more.

Thursday: Drink Your Way Across Europe

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It was a beautiful day today. I did some shopping early on, and hosted one of my guys for another week of Big Book reading, (Read: Booking). I opened and set up the meeting, since many of our folks are away for a few weeks, so we are low on workers for the next month, it is all hands on deck.

We are sitting at the beginning of two weeks of National Holidays, First, here in Quebec, the St. Jean Baptiste Holiday, (For you Separatists out there) not that I have many Francophone readers, or that I am that political to tell you what I think about “Separatist Politics.”

Next weekend is Canada’s 150th Birthday Celebrations countrywide. Canada Day on July 1st, will be the BIGGEST celebration Canada has ever seen. Montreal celebrates 375 years of existence.

Needless to say, Our Provincial and City Governments have gone to great lengths to beautify the city. Millions upon Millions of dollars have been spent to bring Montreal up to speed for our tourists and to get the people on the ground excited to be living in such a wonderful city that IS Montreal.

Who am I to complain …

We who live here want to know WHY they spent so much money on shit we really did not need, while millions go without. We need so many things for our people, that we are not getting, even though the government seems to have deep pockets to spend on rock stumps on the mountain, and electrifying the Jacques Cartier Bridge for the world to see on NEWS CAMS all around the city pointed at the bridge at night.

People need healthcare. So many people need clean water, and homes that are not mold ridden and Indigenous people who live off island REALLY need lives, better lives at that. We need food on our tables, child care, medical assistance, homes, clean water, like I said, there are too many Canadians going without, while the government spend a shit ton of money on beautiful …

WHY ???

Anyways, back to this evening.

Our speaker, a young lady friend of one of our men got up and spoke. We clicked right away. I know her, because I know her boyfriend. They are sober together.

She worked in Travel for a few years. I did myself as well. While I was still drinking too.

We got to compare notes on all the sick ways we used to travel.

READ: Drink Your Way Across Europe.

Nothing was more fun, than on a Friday afternoon, getting on a plane, (in my office we ALWAYS flew First Class) because we could. Free Passes were always a nice perk.

San Francisco, New York, Chicago, London, Paris, or Rio …

The fun started before the plane even took off in those days.

She asked me if I remember any of my trips. I do actually.

I did some serious drinking in my young life. You’d imagine that I was pretty pickled before I hit the ripe age of twenty, seeing how much liquor I could put away.

I am amazed to some degree that I survived those years.

I know, for sure, that I was Stone Cold Sober, when I went to see the Vatican. Because I climbed all those stairs up inside the Cuppola to the roof of St. Peter’s to see St. Peter’s Square from that high up and the Vatican Gardens below.

I drank SO MUCH in Munich that I put a public tour bus out of commission because I was so sick inside that bus on the way back to the city, that I ended up on the pavement, and the bus went in for a deep cleaning and never went back into service.

UGH …

Not A Pretty Drunk at all. Not the most famous memory, but a memory nonetheless.

A good night was had by all.

Thursday: I’m Going to New Foundland !

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I am seriously hoping for Icebergs …

This is the year, we all make serious strides in life. The Promises have materialized for many people, all at the same time. I helped to keep my friends “on the beam” while we traveled through “Ambiguity.” Tonight, I can say that we’ve all crossed a new threshold in sobriety, across the board.

Today I did something I have never done before. I booked a ticket to St. John’s New Foundland for Easter weekend. Traveling to St. John’s is not cheap, but since we crossed another threshold at home, I was able to make good on my relationship with Mama and Lu.

I had schemed in my head, what I really wanted to do for this trip. I was not going to tell anyone I was making the trip, and wait until the week “OF” to tell mom that I was coming and not to tell Mama.

Hubby said to me that might not be a good idea, so I slept on it over night, and this morning I called mom to tell her what I was planning to do, and she told me that I should call Mama and tell her.

I waited all day to make one phone call …

I leave on the 13th of April, and spend 4 days in St. John’s and I return on the 17th. This is the farthest East I have traveled in Canada. In my first year sober, we took a road trip to Halifax, driving the 18 hours each way. This time I am doing it right.

Almost three years ago, I made a decision to invest in Mama and Lu, before Lu even entered the world. It all began with a single phone call. My relationship with Mama and Lu is the most important relationship I have with any of my friends, because Lu is part of my life.

Lu’s biological father wanted Mama to abort Lu when she was pregnant and to this day wants nothing to do with Lu at all. He’s just a big horses ass. Who takes no responsibility for the fact that he fathered a child, and is out of sight and out of mind ever since Lu was born. Aside from Grand pa, I am the only OTHER MAN in her life today.

I helped raise Lu for the first two years of her life while they lived here, but like all good things, they come to an end, and mama returned to family in New Foundland.

I may not be her biological father, but I am part of her daily life. I participate in the parenting process from far away, on a daily basis. And not long ago, I was on the phone with Lu and she tossed another new word at me … She calls me Daddy …

I remember the night she said my name for the first time. Now I have a new day to remember, the day she started calling me Daddy.

I sent Christmas to St. John’s in December. I am bringing Easter with me in April.

Sobriety gives us so many good things once we put down the drink (and the drugs).

Many people think, when they finally stop that life is going to end if they cannot drink and party like they used to and that sobriety is going to be absolutely BORING !!!

I can tell you, categorically, that that is NOT the case at all.

Our speaker tonight tells the story about socializing with old friends (today) in sobriety. She might be sober and does not drink, her friends though, can’t drink like they used to because they are much older, and CANNOT BOUNCE BACK LIKE THEY USED TO …

Life gets real, when we start to age …

I don’t think I would have made it to this point, had I kept drinking.

I am very happy for my guys and their gals.

One couple has crossed the Financial Insecurity Promise. The other couple, we are planning a wedding and costing a honeymoon for next Spring. And we are all working together, soberly.

And it is freaking AMAZING !

If your sobriety isn’t exciting, and life changing, what do you need to do to Step up your game ?

It is all about how you play your game.