Blow Up … There IS a Solution

I Lost My Cookies Tonight, It Was Not Pretty At All … Rigorous Honesty Post

Almost eighteen years ago, I came in for the second time, SO, I’ve had my slip experience. The first time I got sober, nobody spoke of steps, and I did not have a sponsor, I had Todd, who was teaching me how to survive AIDS. The meeting hall I was attending was very toxic and made getting sober, harder than anything I have ever seen since.

You don’t bet on newcomers to see when they will drink again, you just do not do that.

When I came into Montreal, in month 4, when I moved here, I walked into the room that I homed in for over twelve years. I was going to MANY meetings at that time, as I had no other activity going on before I got my Canadian Papers.

In those eighteen years, the way I got and stayed sober, was by watching what everyone else was doing, what they were saying, what decisions they were making. Along with working my own program, with men who really helped me seal my sobriety. I took the good, and I left the bad. Whatever worked for you, I thought that it would work for me, but obviously, if you drank again, I did NOT … And that’s the way I stayed sober.

It has not been all a cake walk. And I have had my share of trouble in sobriety, BUT, I did not drink, at any point during the hard times. I returned to that original Home Group many months ago.

And like I’ve said, Sobriety in 2019, is not the same as Sobriety in 2002. It just isn’t. For many reasons. In the rooms, over the years, I have stuck with winners. With people, Old and Young, who are enthusiastic about the Book and the Steps. I work my steps every year. I hit several meeting a week, all of them different. I have a solid sponsor, and solid friends in the program.

Recently, I sit in beginners meetings, and all I hear from our kids is sorrow, and pain, and for the life of me, I try to help those who will listen to anything I have to tell them about staying sober, and NOT drinking again.

It has become obvious that many of those folks, did not/and do not, listen to anything I have said to them, and tonight I heard them say, in the open, that they are hurt that I would be so rigorously honest, IN a meeting.

How dare I speak as if I am better than they are.
I am not better than anyone. And those people who know me intimately know this.

But I listen. And I watch. Over the last few months, many folks sit in meetings, they don’t take anything home with them, they don’t call anyone, they don’t do anything to stave off that next drink AND: THEY DRINK AGAIN. And More Than Once.

One of our kids said she took twenty five beginners chips. She’s been stuck in that revolving door for YEARS. I watched her. She never listened to anything I said, in both fellowships we both attend, that I don’t any more.

But I said and I quote:

I am tired of going of beginners meetings. it is painful to watch people come in, be miserable, and know there is a solution, but because I am who I am, nothing I have is very attractive to ANYONE. So Fuck me for trying. I’ve been sitting in this hall for the whole of my sobriety, and I can tell you, by name, how many people drank again, and again, and again. I know everyone who did. Because if I saw you go out, I knew that something that you were doing, was not working for you, so I knew not to make that mistake myself.

I stayed sober, while many people did not.

There are only three men, sitting in this room right now, who were here when I came in, and all three of us are still sober. Obviously, we did something right. Obviously, we found the solution NOT to drink again, and that entails WORK.

When people ask me for help and I tell them what I did that worked, that work entails WORK, not just sitting in a chair, and reading the book, now and then. You actually have to work to stay sober, you just don’t get sober by OSMOSIS.

I know how many of you are suffering and I know the women are no doing well by the rate of how many of you have drank, several times over the last month, but because we are men, you won’t ask for help, when the women aren’t helping you stay sober, it is obvious those women are doing something wrong if what they are telling you, does not work AND you drank again.

I pound the God Damned pavement. I seek answers, I work the Book, BY the Book. I seek information in the most enthusiastic in the rooms. And I know what they know, so whatever I have to give, comes directly from someone, who gave that knowledge to me.

By the time I had finished, my friends were sitting a bit higher in their chairs, and All I heard after I shared was indignation by everyone else who shared after me.

All because I said something Rigorously Honest.

We read How It Works tonight. And we all know what that reading says:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol – cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power – that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Many of us exclaimed “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholics and could not manage our own lives;

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism;

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

This is IN the Book, we hear it at every meeting. And really, many people do not pay attention to the words. And I know from reading “Our Great Responsibility,” that Bill took great care with crafting the Steps based on the Oxford Group Six steps. He augmented the steps to make sure there was no wiggle room. Hence Twelve Steps.

Many early alcoholics who saw the first few chapters of the book, as it had been written in the 1930’s, were angry that Bill included so much God and so much Honesty.

I was rigorously honest tonight, and I am sure I made many enemies tonight, because I called out half measures, as the reading also speaks about. And I told the truth. I spoke about THE Solution. And that there is one.

And I closed with, we come here to learn how to STOP. How many people have I watched over the past few years, read the Big Book, cover to cover, and get to the LAST Chapter, and it tells us how to STAY STOPPED and that we NEVER have to drink again …

And I watched a number of those men and women DRINK AGAIN…

That just BLOWS my Fucking mind.

I mean really, people are afraid of honesty better yet, Rigorous Honesty. I say I can help you, but that will take some work on your part, and what does everybody say to that:

OH I DON”T WORK, I DON’T PRAY, AND I DON’T DO GOD !!!

Ok, then how the fuck are you going to stay sober when you’ve negated everything you must do, there are TWO MUSTS in the book, things we must do to stay sober, what are you going to do when the drink is in your hand and you chose to drink it rather that put that drink down and call someone who can help you?

We need to drop the walls between men and women, gay and straight, Non-Binary and Trans. We need to be able to ask ANYONE who has something to offer, has something like part of or all of the solution, ready for anyone who will listen, help you NOT take that next drink !

God give me strength …

I’m so tired of going to meeting where all people want to do is piss and moan about how miserable they are, knowing some of us sitting in that same room, are sober multiple years, decades even, who know what to do, but you won’t come up and ask, because we might ask you to do something, like Work, or Pray, or Step Work, and we know you won’t ask, because you don’t do WORK.

FUCK ME !!!

Sitting on Step Work

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A very long time ago, when I got sober, this time around, I took every piece of advice I was given as Gospel. I never questioned anyone about their wisdom, or what they knew. If they were sober longer than I was, then everything that came out of their mouths was Gospel. Back in the day, it was very different, than how it is today.

I’m not sure if it is all about me, or all about them ?

I heard a friend of mine speak tonight, and I’ve been in a holding pattern for two years, waiting for God to show me, who I am supposed to speak to next. After the meeting I spoke to that friend, and told him some things about my observations.

I’m sitting on my fourth step. And it’s about to blow.

Like I said, a long time ago, I heard one piece of advice when it came to steps …

“When you write out your fourth Step, get rid of it promptly. Do Not Sit On It for very long, because the written word is like TNT. If you allow it to gather in your brain, and fester for too long, prior to doing your fifth step, disaster is coming … SOON !!!”

I took the day to sit and pray. To Sit and Listen to an Old Timer, I met in person, here in Montreal. One of two alcoholics, who presented sobriety from someplace else, to us here.

One was a woman, who was sober more than thirty-five years upon her death in 2016. The other is a long sober man, who changed my life, with one piece of advice. For these two specific people, I have their shares on my phone. And in my I – Tunes.

A while back, and I wrote about this then, that I have been going through serious heartbreak, and it has been a very emotional journey over the last two years. I was in the mall, grocery shopping one afternoon, listening to music, as I am wont to do.

Funny that my I – Phone, when it is on shuffle, does strange things that I cannot explain, because since the day I put music and shares on my phone, not once, did that shuffle bring me a speaker in the music rotation shuffle program. It never shuffled there before.

All of a sudden, like a voice from heaven, it shuffled me Lorna. It not only did it once, it kept repeating this action, five times over two weeks. I thought it funny, but I stayed on and listened to her talk to me, as if there was something I needed to hear. During this time, I needed spiritual help, that wasn’t coming from my own personal community, and hasn’t yet …

Today, as I ate lunch, I went to a virtual meeting, with Lorna speaking.

The thing that popped out today was this thought …

It’s not the newcomer that we should worry about. It is the person with TIME, real-time, that they need to be looked after. This thought rings true today. My patience for old timers runs short, because of the way I am treated in community by a good number of folks with serious time. The other, is the rate of old timers going down the proverbial rabbit hole themselves. I’ve written about this before.

Tonight I told my friend that I’ve been doing the next right thing, because that’s what I was taught to do from the very beginning. They told me service will keep you sober, that if you have anything on your heart or mind, then, bring it to a meeting.

Without the counsel of a sponsor with merit or anyone for that matter, I’ve been relying on my close circle of friends to keep me “On the beam.” I go to meetings, because I have responsibilities to those meetings, by way of service commitments.

I know, that if I don’t know, then I need to go to a meeting and do service. Because that’s all I know how to do, because it works. I suit up and I show up. I offer kind words to my friends, I offer advice where I think it might stick. Often it does not stick, because people look at me and smile that smile of … Thanks but no thanks …

I know today, that one particular young woman, from our Monday meeting is still sober because I gave her one piece of advice when she was in difficulty, and it stuck, and she is still sober to this day, despite herself.

I’m not sure what to do with heartache that won’t be soothed. I don’t know what to do with the fact that people I need to speak with, don’t want to speak with me. I’ve heard it said recently that

“Sometimes God breaks our heart to save our souls.”

That resonated with me sooo much. There are facts about my life that I cannot change. Perceptions that people have about me based on who I used to be, and decisions I made about my life

“Life preservation decisions, that I thought were tantamount to my physical, mental, and spiritual survival.”

That’s how someone showed me that making life preservation decisions are not ego driven, nor wrong, nor self-centered.

Some people have me stuck in the past, and have had me stuck in the past for the whole of my life. They blame me for all of THEIR problems, never wanting to hear my side of the story, that would explain WHY I made the decisions I did, and whom forced me to make those decisions because I felt I was trapped in a life and a title and a family name that was doing me no favors, when those people constantly parroted the words:

YOU WERE A MISTAKE AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN BORN, YOU ARE THE CAUSE OF ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS AND IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT. AND WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE ALREADY, FOR GOD’S SAKE … GOD HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THESE ISSUES.

This litany of vitriol made me sick inside. It made me feel less than and unimportant. I may not have been SO sober the first time around, but the first of two life preservation decisions were made. The second followed the second time I got sober. Admittedly, I was much more sober the second time around when I made that decision, than when I made the first. Chalk that up to more experience and hindsight.

I have never felt so much anger, resentment, hatred, and fear, and also on the flip side, so much happiness, compassion and joy,  I have felt in sobriety.

Lorna said that and it resonates with me so much. Because when she rotated into my shuffle, I needed to hear those exact words when they came at me when they did and the right moment for the right reason.

Whispers from heaven indeed.

I’m resentful at other gay men in the rooms, who have no use for me. Men who belittle me and slander me behind my back and talk shit in my face, calling me names and judging me in front of others.

I am from a generation of gay men, whom my contemporaries have no idea OF or use FOR. AIDS distinctly puts me in a class by myself because I am the ONLY AIDS survivor from that time period STILL ALIVE today in this city, on the English side.

I am resentful at old timers who spurned me and humiliated me in front of others, then castigated me for having emotions and openly sharing them in open community, when I lost emotional control over the Pulse Nightclub shooting, that turned my emotional world upside down. Too concerned about what I am wearing on the outside, instead of what is going on inside my head and in my heart. A little fucked up if you ask me.

Instead of anyone, even the gay men I know, who DID NOT SAY those words of everlasting life:

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I DID …

Not in over two years now, has ANYONE. not one of my friends here, shared those words with me to assuage my intense emotional being inside, and that breaks my heart into pieces. I don’t understand people. They are self-absorbed and self-centered. They don’t really care about me, as I have seen from many people.

They will smile that “thanks but no thanks smile” when they walk in a room, but beyond that one pleasantry because we sit in the same room together for that hour, they have no use for me and want nothing from me, nor offer me anything of substance beyond their criticism.

I AM A STRONG PERSON, BUT SOMETIMES I REALLY NEED SOMEONE TO TAKE MY HAND AND SAY TO ME THAT EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT !!!!

Why is that so hard for some people to even consider, seeing how much many of us suffer in silence in the rooms, and even when we say that out loud, nobody steps up and says anything of substance to us.

I mean why are you even sitting in a room acting like you are sober, when clearly you are not. And you are just taking up space, where someone who really wants it, waits in the wings for that seat you are occupying, while doing nothing to better yourself !

For God’s sake, I am trying my damnedest to be the best man I can be, by studying my friends like lab rats. Because if you do sobriety like I do, then everybody who sits in a room and or stands and speaks is fair game.

I’ve watched a multitude of people get sober over almost seventeen years and I know mostly everything about them based on every word they have spoken in my presence over the years. I know every choice they made, every decision they made, every bad choice, every good choice, every success and every failure too.

I know what works and what does not work, and all of that is sitting in my sober bank ready for optimal use at any given moment.

THAT IS HOW I GOT SOBER AND THAT IS HOW I STAY SOBER.

By watching my friends either FUCK UP or SUCCEED.

 

There comes a point in sobriety when warming a chair is no longer an option, you either have to SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT !!!

There will also come a time when “Coming and Going,” Looses its appeal and dies. You either come in, sit down and stay, or you go back out and never come back. As was warned by a speaker last week from the chair.

I don’t know what I am doing, but the Next Right Thing has served me well.

Frustrated …

 

Being Kind to Ourselves

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One of my friends said to me earlier that, “my God, the weeks are just flying by!” June is halfway gone, and July is right around the corner. Everybody who lives in the Province of Quebec, loathes the first week of July. Why is that, you ask?

Because July 1st is MOVING DAY in the Province of Quebec.

For those who are green, or think that they absolutely HAVE to MOVE every year, in the month of July … Are the bane of our existences. We’ve been in this same apartment for more than sixteen years, and every year it is the same story.

People have a need to change things up on a yearly basis. BUT, if you have PETS, your chances of finding another home to live in that accepts PETS grows ever slimmer, year by year, as landlords stipulate in their lease agreements that PETS are no longer allowed.

AND we see hundreds upon hundreds of pets left on the street, or dropped in a shelter, where they MAY or MAY NOT be adopted, and therefore end up euthanized later.

UGH !!!

I heard a lady friend ask us tonight if, “we take time to be kind to ourselves?” And I had to stop and think about that for a few moments. Among my things to do on a daily basis, do I take time for me? Sometimes I do not. I can find myself with busy things to do, like chores, or grocery shopping, and cleaning the apartment.

If time allows, whenever that is possible, I nap. Nothing pleases me more than having a couple of free hours to just crawl into bed and sleep. On my days off, we have a built-in nap period, between the hours of 5 and 9.

We don’t usually watch tv, during the day, or early in the evening. Things are pretty quiet around here, and we don’t usually turn the tv on before 9 at night. We like the quiet.

One of my guilty pleasures is reading. It is part of my daily ritual. Indigo Book sellers is my go to book source. This week I selected two titles that seemed appealing. Since I finished Kingpin a few days ago, I am working my way through “Causeway” by Linden MacIntyre. I’ve read every book he’s ever written.

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Here are the books that arrived today.

I love Greek Mythology stories. One of my favorites is the Odyssey. My best friend gave me a copy, when they moved from Montreal, and I have read it several times over. Circe, I’ve been looking at for the past few weeks, and it finally made my read list this week.

The other is the book written by James Clapper. I enjoy reading books written by people who work in high places, and seeing how things work behind the scenes. I had read James Comey’s book a few weeks ago, and it seems now with the I.G. Report, he wasn’t all that honest in his pursuit of justice and transparency.

This afternoon, I took a Metro ride into the village for some shopping and some photography. A part of our city history is being retired at the end of the Summer, so I had to get some photos of the decor that hangs above the Village every Summer.

You can check them out on my Instagram. Over there —> in the sidebar.

Last month I joined The Underwear of the Month Club. The Underwear Expert Club, is an account based site, that men can join, (if you want to join and want a discount, message me)… But you get to choose how many pairs you get every month, what style, color or print, and they send you (with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING) each month, a box with assorted undies. This is the first time I’ve invested in fashionable and stylish undies.

This is a snapshot of what Montreal is doing right now.

The Summer festival season has begun. The International Jazz Festival, Just For Laughs, and many other music oriented festivals begin in the next few weeks, and the city will be buzzing for sure. If you have never been to Montreal, I highly suggest you take a weekend and come see what we have to offer.

Food, Fun, Museums, Music …

Summer is one of the best times to come visit.

I tend towards Fall myself. I don’t do crowds and crazy.

Thanks for reading.