Monday: Extra — RITUALS

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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 ???

Friday: G.O.D. Group Of Drunks

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It has been an interesting week. I’ve always wondered when the other shoe was going to drop for me. Medically …

It seems 50 is going to bring me challenges that I was not expecting in any way. Over the past few months, I have had episodes of serious pain, in my back. So severe that I had to get serious pain killers. Thankfully, I’ve only had to take one so far.

I’ve been to see a osteopath, and she worked on me for an hour a few weeks ago, so I have access to her as often as needed. At $100.00 a visit, that ain’t cheap. But insurance now covers 80%.

Two weeks ago I saw my doctor. who went into my image file when I had my osteoporosis check up and bone density tests and my x-rays of my back, and he missed this little problem, when those tests were done, because we were not looking for a problem, with my bones. So it was overlooked.

He looked again, now that I presented pain issues in a location that had not, in the past bothered me. And he found bone deterioration disease in my spinal column. Namely in L 3-4 and 5. On Sunday last, I had a CT scan on my back. This week, my doctor told me that I really needed to be seen by a spinal surgeon. He therefore took that scan to a consult with said spinal surgeon, that I am still waiting to hear from.

With that said, I am on desk duty. No heavy lifting of furniture, which means that set up has come to an abrupt end. I had to call in the reserves to help me out. My friends all stepped up to do what I cannot do any longer.

Thank God I can still make coffee …

Tonight we read about the fellowship and its humble origins. Appropriate that I started a new round of Big Book study, with one of my guys, before the meeting tonight. A.B.S.I. touched on that topic tonight.

We Should Not Toot Our own Horns, nor take credit and be self-congratulatory.

We all put our pants on one leg at a time. I am not the center of the universe. There is a God, and I know that I am NOT God.

What we cannot do alone, we can do, sitting in a room with our friends, together. If I pray, if we pray, it does not matter to WHOM we are praying, but that we ARE Praying.

A very respected old-timer once said that in a meeting …

IT DOES NOT MATTER WHOM YOU PRAY TO, ONLY THAT YOU PRAY…

It’s that simple.

I also know that if I pray to God, which I do … And I don’t get a direct answer from God, then I know I have to hit a meeting, and listen to my friends. With the proviso that if I go seeking an answer, I have to be attuned to listen for that voice coming from around me.

We take very seriously the work we do as a group, on Friday night. And when one of our people fades, and hits the skids, everybody steps into action. On Monday, I went to the meeting and met a friend, sitting on the periphery. Looking forlorn and lost.

She had drunk again.

Not long before, she was standing up front handing out Beginners chips…

I asked her what happened ? She told me.

Giving someone sober directions, while in an alcoholic stupor, does not work.

I gave her sober advice any ways. Welcomed her, told her we loved her and asked her to sit within the group, and NOT on the periphery.

She did not make it through the meeting in one piece.

She left before I could get to her, by the end. I did not see her go.

Tonight, as a group we spoke about what we can do together, and how we all keep RIGHT SIZED, and everything in perspective. That perspective only works when where are sitting in the same room together.

At the end of the meeting another friend took her two-year cake.

As the crowd of congratulations dispersed, my young lady was standing in front of me, all smiles. She has been sober three days. She thanked me for speaking to her and keeping her within the group circle and not having tossed her aside because she drank again.

She took a chip on Wednesday night.

What we cannot do alone, we CAN DO together.

It takes a village …

And we are a village, for sure.

You never know when you are going to save a life.

Constant Vigilance !!!

Thursday: The Depths of Sadness

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When Father Mark Brian, arrived at Kingcome Village, on the Up Coast of British Columbia, and met the indigenous population that lived there, he did not know, what he did not know, until he learned what he did not know, until he learned it.

One of those “things” he did not know, at first, is why, every time he looked at one of his “people” because they were his people, the sheep in his flock, there was no pretension about him, no ego to boost, no needs to be filled, he had to “come to know them,” as they were, as God would have had it, all along, that one thing was “The Depth of Sadness” that was in the eyes of all the Indians of Kingcome Village.

If you have never read Margaret Craven’s, I Heard the Owl Call My Name, I highly recommend you find a copy.

Tonight, I heard one of our women speak, for the first time, in our meeting. She has been sober a long time, almost twenty-five years. She came in, in her twenties, but the road to sobriety was LONG and ARDUOUS.

In the beginning we all laughed with her. Midway into the story, I stopped breathing. I could not take a breath, for the life of me. I was sitting on the edge of my chair, holding my breath, just waiting for the miracle to take place.

Because she really needed a miracle.

When we begin to drink, we do not know what we do not know. If we continue to drink and add drugs to that mix, there is certainly, MORE, that we do not know.

Not listening to warnings, or following rules, and doing everything that one can to circumvent the rule of good, sane, human behavior, is going to lead us into a jackpot that can’t possibly be escaped.

Bad friends, Bad boys, illicit behavior, drugs and alcohol do not have very good endings. I know this, from my own personal experience.

My friend tonight, had the jackpot of everything that was bad, in her life. Because she did not know, what she did not know.

We do stupid things in our youth, and many, do not survive their mistakes. I did stupid things in my youth, to Todd’s credit, and by the Grace of God, I did survive my past.

When a bad boy, becomes a bad marriage, what is the logical ending of this very bad scenario ? A BABY WILL MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER …

Hell, let’s keep drinking and drugging, have one healthy baby, born without a problem, and let’s add another baby …

Bring into this really serious bad situation, a couple of attempts to sober up, that fail, and four months into a second pregnancy, the husband activates an intervention.

Mom is now CIRCLING the DRAIN …

What, I don’t have a problem. IT’S ALL HIS FAULT …

Can you see where this is going ?

Pregnant, addicted and insane, people begin to PRAY for her second baby to be born healthy. Mom cannot, for the life of her, understand WHY her friends are praying for her baby, because in her words, She Did Not Have a Problem …

Luckily, amid this point she hits rehab, again. And walks through the doors, only to turn around and say to us, “Don’t you know who I am ?”

  • I don’t do rules
  • I don’t pay bills
  • I don’t pay rent, and I sure as shit
  • DON’T TAKE THE BUS …

How do you imagine this is going to end ? Not well, as I was hearing this story.

Still sitting on the edge of my chair, and not breathing, I had not noticed I was holding my breath, until the Miracle happened.

The right woman walked into our woman’s life and took her in, homeless, hungry, drunk and high, void of emotion, having lost her husband AND her children, she had no place to go.

My friend learned about rules, via the suggestions. She learned how to pay bills, by attaining welfare, thereby being able to pay her rent, TO this SOBER Woman. And she went to meetings.

Her sponsor told her to hit ninety in ninety. And better yet, take a newcomer chip every day for the first thirty days.

Back in the day … Her day, and back in my day … when we got sober, suggestions were not suggestions, per se, they were life savers. You either did them or you didn’t, because if you did not do as you were told, sobriety would never happen for us hard-headed, arrogant, entitled men and women some of us are, when we came into the rooms.

Newcomers today scoff every time we mention suggestions to them. They would rather eat dirt, then put forth the energy and commitment to the work sobriety entails, if you really want Top Drawer Sobriety.

The Miracle began to happen.

My friend did exactly what she was told to do, like I did, what I was told to do, from the very first day. Next April, by the grace of God, she will hit Twenty Five Years Clean and Sober.

Her kids, now in their twenties, never saw mom drunk. They were too young when she finally took her last drink. One of her sons, recently, asked mom to accompany him to pick out an engagement ring for his now fiancee …

Most women, in the rooms, could not possibly get how incredible this little act is, unless you have kids, that you were able to keep, having not lost them, indefinitely, due to your alcoholism and drug addiction.

Most of the women I know, lost big, having lost those miracles we call children.

But our woman, tonight, has the husband, who was there at the intervention, and she has her kids, THREE KIDS, now in their twenties, in tact.

Happy, Joyous and Free.

As she closed her share, I remembered to breathe. And I noticed my friends sitting to my right hand side, had also stopped breathing at some point.

I knew, for the very first time, in all my years of sobriety, those words that Mark Brian had to figure out for himself …

The Depths of Sadness, in his people’s eyes.

What he did not know, is what we all do not know, when we come in, until we hear another drunk, tell their story to us.

The Depth of Sadness …

Thank God for the rooms, and SOME of the people in them.

Thursday: What You Send Out Comes Back

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Today was a beautiful day. The shift in my life continues. If you are not growing while you are getting sober, then, you are wasting valuable time.

I got a major clothes haul in the mail, a few more pieces for my sporty wardrobe. There is a major piece on its way right now.

I did my chores and my grocery shop, and had the rest of the day to fart around, and get a power nap in, before I had to go. One of my lady friends, lined up my speaker for the evening. And she is a critical woman in my life.

My friend took her lumps early on in her sober journey. After a crash and burn, and the loss of everything good in her life, a husband, children, family, and friends, she ended up in the familiar “Spa Rehab” that many of our women characterize their rehab experiences as.

That is a common theme with some of our gals. We all know what that Spa is …

She came out of rehab and landed back here in Montreal. That was just the beginning of shit that happened to her. Not long after, doctors told her that she was going to die, because she trashed her liver.

Thankfully, because she was sober, she got on a transplant list. Cue the Hurry Up and Wait period of time. In that time, she was very sick and on the edge of death. By God’s Grace, a donor was found. We hauled her off to the hospital and sat with her from start to finish.

I can report that my friend is indeed, Alive and Well.

I had not seen her since I began this trek with my personal well-being. And like most of my friends, she was flabbergasted with how good I looked. She said to me, that I looked really well, and add to that, she noticed that my entire “being” had changed. She commented that “the energy I was giving off was the biggest change.”

Both of us have experience in recovery and rehab. We are both schooled in nutrition and both of us are on the “real food diet.” We compared notes together and found that we were on the same page mentally, emotionally and physically.

Sometimes listening to our friends talk from the chair, is just what the doctor ordered.

Sobriety brings many gifts to us. But they only come when we are ready to receive them. One thing she focused on was her belief that what we send out to the universe, comes back to us, from the direction we sent it out.

Over time, we learn that sending out negativity and sorrow, turns into positivity and happiness. Because a little bit of the universe, is inside of us, and a lot of the universe lies UP THERE, in the firmament, we are connected, every second, to all that is …

The universe is always there, paying attention to our progress. My friend is a prime example of what is possible when you get well. We take care of the insides, and over time, the outsides begin to match us pound for pound.

We only want good things to come to us, so together, like many others in our lives, we send goodness out, and in time goodness returns.

Another thought was this …

Once we get sober and we begin to honor our bodies, soberly, we must turn inwards and honor our spirits and our well-being. Over time, the Inside Job, turns into an all out Outside Job.

90% of feeling good is looking good.

Me No Frumpy Man …

Everybody has noticed. And it looks really good on me. People are amazed at the positive progression that I have been on. And my lady friend is right up there with me.

People who face serious adversity, and some, even death, we see life in a way that most don’t. Because if you survive a trip into mortal territory, and you survive, one never takes for granted the life we have been spared.

All of my friends – a good number of them – have faced medical challenges over the last year, and on certain nights, we get to sit in the same room together and share experience, strength and hope.

Life is good. Everybody is well. And we are all sober.

Claim your life, Honor your spirit, and be Good to Others.

The Universe is paying attention.

We are all very thankful that we did not drink today.

One little drink, would really fuck up a good thing.

Which is why we go to meetings.

Thursday: God Is About His Business

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This visual of the “Jam Jar” came up in our Elder discussion tonight.

My Elder friend works at the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah. As a leader, it is his job to bring new missionaries into service. And hopefully before they depart Provo, they will have a basic understanding about what they need to have within, a foundation in service, to be able to give, and a working knowledge about The Book, they need to share.

Ministry and Sobriety are very similar.

In my life, and in my experience, service is the foundation for survival. When I was very ill, and Todd was taking care of me, the “doing” of service was the tool or lesson, so to speak, was where we began.

In Sobriety, this time around, way back when, people in the rooms, basically said, “You will do this, and learn to love it.” It wasn’t a suggestion, it was Gospel. Service was the beginning of getting sober. And service is something I live by, to this day.

Today’s generation cannot be bothered when you tell them what to do, because they look at you and say to your face … “You’ve got to be kidding, You can’t be serious, Why do I have to get my hands dirty, to stay clean and sober ???”

People don’t want to be told what to do, but in reality, this is what you NEED to do. It will keep you humble and focused on doing for others, just because, because this is what I did, and it worked for me.

People today, don’t have respect for long term experience. They cannot wrap their heads around it, service. Like us, Young Missionaries who come to the center, need to know how to serve and get their hands dirty in the classroom, because when they get into the field, they might need to get dirty, or wash dishes, or rake leaves, or something like that.

And if they are not prepared to give FIRST, they surely won’t be able to share the book, well, or at all, because they won’t have foundational abilities to give.

Having Elder Christensen in my life today is SO important to my spiritual growth. I have spiritual teachers in my life, spread all over the word, that I speak to regularly, who keep me on the spiritual beam, so to speak.

So here is my jam jar, filled with every little lesson I can teach you. Take that lesson filled jam jar home with you, open it and begin to use the tools within.

In the beginning, all we want you to do is serve others.

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Tonight we heard a woman from our community speak. What she shared, struck me familiar, because I had heard some of her story in others, in the past. Familiar themes exist in a community, and you hear of them every once in a while, they are not constant.

After several stops and starts, our woman makes her first pass at the rooms. She reaches her year and her husband says to her, after all that work that …

“You did a good job this year, getting and staying sober. Now you are CURED, you don’t need THOSE PEOPLE any more.”

What does she do? She walks away, and never returns. But she does stay sober for SIXTEEN YEARS.

She gets a real estate job, and she wants a particular listing. She takes this client out for dinner and a local ritzy restaurant in Westmount, very close to home. The waiter walks up to the table and the client orders a glass of wine.

Our long sober woman, takes a five second pause, while she considers ordering a glass of wine for herself. Those Five Seconds, change her life. She does indeed say to herself that, wow, I’ve been sober all this while and I haven’t had a drink, a glass of wine, how much harm can that cause ?

She orders a glass of wine and then has a second.

In six weeks time, from that point, she looses her marriage, her children, her job, and those clients she covets.

Four years of in and out begin.

Women suffer too …

By this time, almost twenty years have passed and she has not logged another long sober period, until she has a blackout and comes to, in her living room, surrounded by 20 wine bottles, laying on her living room floor.

She makes the call, and tries to find herself in a ritzy, spa, rehab. She does not.

There is a rehab here called Toxico Stop. It is rough and tumble. Not the kind of place a ritzy Westmount wife would find herself in. But that’s where she ends up.

A few of us in the room tonight were familiar with it, so it made us all giggle …

She meets some serious drug addicts and learns about heroine, and crack and all kinds of sordid addictions. All this is unfamiliar territory for her.

Three weeks later she comes out and finds herself at a meeting, and at the door, are two women, who knew her from almost twenty years ago. They recognize her and they take her in.

They give her the ground rules.

  • You’re gonna go to these meetings,
  • you are gonna do service,
  • and your gonna READ the BOOK.
  • These are non-negotiable.

It was like that for me too, fifteen years and six months ago as well.

NON NEGOTIABLE.

Drunks and Addicts today, don’t want non-negotiables. They don’t want rules. And they sure as shit, don’t want to be told what to do. Because let’s face it …

It’s us who are crazy, not them. I would never listen to your suggestions, firstly, because this is the way ( I ) am going to get sober. They say …

The above notes experiences, I have heard them all before, never all together, but as bits and pieces of several story tellers.

Our woman is sober today. By the Grace of God.

She’s not so focused on old timers, but finds joy and humility is working with New Comers. Because they have the most to teach us about ourselves and our sobriety.

I know what I have to do now. I know who I want to be. I want to be like my Elder friend Spencer. And in order to be like him, I have to act, every day, LIKE HIM, and in that be LIKE Heavenly Father.

True to God and True to myself and my Fellows.

This is where it begins, and will follow.

Monday: Twice Gifted

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“… Some years have passed, and as I look back from the clarity of this moment, I know that the way here for me could not have been by an easier path. I would not willingly have stopped the course my life was on. I needed harsh reality to see the damage that alcohol abuse causes, in so many ways. I needed to be forced into acceptance and humility.”

Some alcoholics and addicts chase our diseases to the gates of insanity, institutions and even death … Some end up locked up, or covered up. Then there are those of us, who’s ships were righted, in the middle of the storm, and got to a safe port, and the opportunity to change our lives for the better.

In this story, our writer tonight, is a woman. Who went from childhood, directly into alcoholism. She passed GO and did not collect her $200.00. And before she GOT IT, she really had GOTTEN IT.

Cirrhosis of the liver, that is … 

If you don’t think the girls won’t or don’t party like the boys, some girls are just another kind of party animal, and they go all “Lampshade, Bat Shit Crazy” before their cards come up. Our woman tonight, got to the bitter end, medically, before she wizened up.

Then she gets sober and has the audacity to say this, remember, now how hard a party girl our little lady was … She writes:

“By the time my name was placed on the transplant waiting list, I had become very sick. My liver had progressively continued to shut down, and the official wait had really begun. I had no way of knowing how long it would be before a suitable organ would become available or how long it would be before I rose to the top of the list.

At times I felt resentful of the selection process, the tests, the close supervision of my A.A. program, and the seemingly endless wait. Unquestionably it was only because of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous that I was able to let go of that resentment.”

She’s the one who sunk herself into this pit of sickness and almost death, and at one point SHE gets resentful at the lengths her transplant team was going to to make sure she was sober and taking care of herself.

What transplant team is going to give a healthy organ to someone who is just fucking off, and is really not the human being who really deserves another kick at the can ?

A good few of us needed a swift kick in the ass, before we got sober.

My sponsor paid his price. He was an inter-venous drug use, and got AIDS and Hep C, and all the baggage that came with it, much earlier in the timeline than I did. He got sick in the 1980’s. Before there really was BEFORE in my own story.

I paid the price as well. Alcoholism and Drug Addiction took me to death’s doorstep and I was diagnosed with AIDS as well, I got it in 1994. Still, there were no doctors or drugs for me, and they would not come for a number of years, in my personal timeline.

Thank God for Todd… Really ! I should just thank GOD.

I was in A.A. the first time, for a long time. But like I have said before, I had bigger fish to fry than just staying sober. I mean, I did stay sober, as long as the messaging was telling me to stick around until the miracle happened.

The miracle did happen. I LIVED…

When I moved town from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, the messaging went from Stick Around to Go Away. And that devious, slick, steady and patient little voice begins talking to us, and when that happened to me, ALL bets were off.

I wasn’t listening any longer. I needed to fill the Hole in my Soul. That alcohol and drugs would be connected to that seeking, never entered my brain. And when I got to the other side, there was no escape route, no way out.

I was FUCKED, ten ways from Sunday.

Had the cops not come for me, I probably would have died out there, and nobody would have been the wiser, because nobody knew where I was, save one human being, who did indeed called the cops for me.

I put my life in serious danger. I took my tenuous health for granted and fucked myself over for sex. I did not get the sex, what I got was drug and alcohol addiction, ten times over, what I had left behind the first time.

All because Alcoholics looked at me and said the words ….
GO AWAY and DON’T COME BACK.

Never Ever tell someone coming in, to go away.
Never ever speak that way to another human being, ever.
You never know the challenge that that human being is facing.

Tonight, some folks, in the room, on their second pass, asked this question, What did I NOT have the first time, that I DO have this time ?

The answer was simple. They have US. They have LOVE. They have FELLOWSHIP. They have SPONSORS, they have FRIENDS, and they have THE BOOK and MEETINGS.

And simply, They are NOT ALONE any more.

And we never have to drink again.

For many, in our intrepid group of sober men and women, the problem is NOT the obsession to drink, but the MENTAL aspect of sobriety that is shaking the trees.

The Three Pronged Approach :

  • The Physical
  • The Spiritual and
  • The Mental

Many of my friends deal with this mental aspect of alcohol addiction on a daily basis. That little voice in the back of our heads, that is just waiting for us to slip up and think something stupid.

That’s why we keep coming back, to make sure all three areas of our lives are covered.

For the REST of our LIVES.

One Day at a Time.

Thank the baby Jesus that I am still alive and SOBER.
And thank the Baby Jesus my friends are all still alive and SOBER TOO…

Thursday: Good for another Year !

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Today, I paid my yearly domain fees. And we embark on another year of writing. The first post on this blog was posted on November 30th 2006. That is 11 years worth of writing. And today begins year number 12.

Earlier today, Face Book reminded me of things I have written in the past, that back then, were cross posting across all my social media. Today, it does not, except Twitter. On April 20th 2009, I wrote an extensive post on the Gospel of John. And as I re-read that passage today, I was amazed at how academically oriented I was, because I was still in University at that time. And I thought to myself …

I can’t believe I wrote that post.

It was amazing to me today, to see what and how I was writing throughout my university career. I mean, I don’t write like that today, except once in a blue moon when I really write something that is useful and pertinent.

I only kept a few of my course folders from university when I was studying Scripture and the Gospels and my Gnostic class notes.

***** ***** *****

Last weekend, I spent 5 days with Mama and Lu. Part of that time was spent crafting with Lu. Play Doh, Coloring, Puzzles, Markers, Stickers, so forth and so on. I had not touched a coloring book, oh, in ages, I guess. Mama told me that she found coloring with Lu to be really therapeutic and calming. So one night we sat and colored together and I left my pages tacked to the refrigerator there at home for them to look at.

Today, while out shopping, I went into our local Art Shop, which is on the ground floor of the mall, and they had a HUGE selection of Adult Art Therapy coloring books. I looked through all of them until I found one that appealed to me. In the end, I came away with 100 Mandalas.

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What is a Mandala ?

Oriental Art. a schematized representation of the cosmos, chiefly characterized by a concentric configuration of geometric shapes, each of which contains an image of a deity or an attribute of a deity.

With that book, I selected a deluxe set of colored pencils, instead of markers, because some of the art is very intricate and requires a fine hand with color.

If you haven’t colored since you were a kid, I highly recommend it. Turn off the computer and the tv, turn off your phone, and spend an hour coloring. You will feel so invigorated, it may change the way you spend your days.

So that is a thing …

This evening we sat a small group of folks. Passover and Easter have come to an end, and we were missing a good number of regulars. And tonight we heard a young lady speak. We are taught that we never say NO, unless we just can’t get up there and talk.

I’ve spoken before about the trials and tribulations of our young men and women. Young people in their twenties, going into their thirties, have difficulty finding their ways into sobriety and life, when they are so young. Unlike a good number of men and women who are much older than they are.

A young person, coming in on their first pass, into a room full of old people IS daunting.

Because they don’t see anyone like themselves. And in the suburbs and locations Off Island, many of those far off communities are filled with older folks who have moved off island to either retire or raise their kids away from the city. Our young lady grew up off island, in the burbs, to parents who were in the program while she grew up.

Kids being kids, we cannot, as members, get in the way of their spiritual journeys, I’ve heard it said by parents, in the program, while raising kids, that yes, they brought their kids to meetings early on, and yes, those parents can be positive role models for their kids to … Not to Do What We Did…

In the end though, they had to allow their young people to do what they needed to do, as in grow up and move away, go to school. They, as parents, could only do so much, without blatantly saying … Anything.

One night our young lady heard her mother tell her that:

Well, you know, You have the ISMS …

Having family in the program while we are drinking, can be both a blessing and a curse. But the one thing that stuck with her early on is this …

She could not enjoy her drinking while she tried to control it, And she could not control her drinking while she was enjoying it …

A conundrum for sure …

In the end, at twenty seven, she made it in. And in a couple of months will celebrate three years. Having to get up and tell people what it was like, what happened and what it is like now, she told us all the things she is NOT doing concerning her sobriety. Which spoke to her, telling her that she really had nothing to say, because she was resting on her laurels and really is not engaged as she should be, and she knew that going into tonight.

They tell us and the book says: If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it then you are ready to take certain steps…

I know for me, in years One through Twelve, I was going to meetings, working my steps, and going through the motions. In year twelve is when Bob from NYC sparked a fire under my ass and told me what I needed to do.

The Three, Seven and Eleven Shuffle …

Go to your Big Book … Copy out the Three, Seven and Eleven Prayers, right from the book, and post them where you will see them every day.

Some days, prayer is hard in coming. Some days I cannot be bothered. And some days, I cannot pray at all. But I see those words daily. They are on my computer … Where I put them almost four years ago.

Sometimes I just read the words. Sometimes I pray the words. Either way, I am taking the forward action of acknowledging the word printed in front of me.

I was told that if I did that, that my life would change. And in a matter of months, God shifted the cosmos for me and indeed, my life did change.

And that life is still in motion.

That was the advice I gave the crowd tonight as I gave away the Desire Chip ….

If you do this, and you pray, and then return to page 164 and read and re-read A Vision for You, you will know what you need to move forwards, and with that knowledge of what you really have to offer another human being, when your bank is full, then God will bring people to you..

In His Time and in His Wisdom…

It never fails …