Spiritual Axiom

There is a Spiritual Axiom, that comes in Step Ten, that says:

“That every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with US.”

Tonight, was the second pass through Step Ten, as it is October, and the tenth month of the year, hence, we spend a month working Step Ten. We hit this passage last week, at my men’s meeting, and I had the same response I did tonight.

I disagree with this Spiritual Axiom.

I write a tenth step every night. Sometimes it is not perfect, because much of what I do is never perfect, and is a work in progress. I learned a long time ago to allow people to do what they are going to do, say what they are going to say, and treat me the way they are going to treat me.

I give you enough rope to hang yourself.

I may not be the best sober man in the world, but I sure as shit, do not treat my fellows the way my fellows treat me. I’ve never been unkind or uncharitable with my friends. In fact, I go above and beyond with anyone and everyone.

Over these many years, I watched people do what they are going to do, and say what they are going to say. And for me, I am honest, to a flaw. I really don’t hang on to resentments. Because I don’t waste precious mental energy and space on people.

So, like I have said about this spiritual axiom, that I don’t agree with … If you piss me off, I will tell you that you pissed me off, plain and simple. AND if you are an asshole, you better believe that I will share my opinion of you that “YES, You Are an Asshole.”

Do you know how many assholes there are in the rooms of AA in Montreal? Do you know how many straight men carry the moniker of asshole? Do you know how straight men treat me in group settings, on retreats, and especially when we share meals?

Do you know how many alcoholics reached out to me to try and help me when I went through the worst period of my life in sobriety, a few years ago? NOT ONE.

Do you know the alcoholics who asked me to leave a meeting, because I was a bit too emotional for the women in the meeting, and that I was scaring them, and please, could you leave this meeting and not return?

Do you know how many alcoholics spent any time trying to help me learn how to cope with devastation and anger after the shooting of fifty young people in a bar I used to drink in?

NOT ONE !

nobody offered me a single bread crumb or intimate that they were interested in helping me get better. No, rather, they watched me suffer for more than a year alone, by myself.

ALONE !!!

So the Spiritual Axiom says that if I am disturbed, no matter the cause, there is something wrong with ME? Are you fucking kidding me ?

I met a man from Miami today, visiting the meeting I went to after dinner today. He just happens to be a member of the Coral Room, where I got sober the first time, when I was very sick with AIDS, and someone asked me to speak, and so I spoke that night.

100 men had gotten up and went and waited outside for me to finish. Then one of them had the Gaul to say to me: “We don’t condone people like you. Leave this meeting and Never Come Back.”

I told our visitor that story after the meeting and all he could say was, “How Unfortunate.”

Yeah, I drank over that statement. I returned in 2001 at SOBE. And I asked him if he went to SOBE, and he replied, No I don’t go there, I try not to go to that meeting hall. I was like, well, that’s where I got sober after that crash and burn out of the Coral Room.

I’ve got some time, and I also have an honest view of my peers and what they do and what they say in front of me and to me.

After the meeting wrapped up tonight, I was unceremoniously told that I was inappropriate in meetings. I do not dress appropriately. And because of that, I should really dress down for meetings, because women won’t walk up to me to get a beginners chip, if I am in sports wear. I was told my dick was showing too much.

Funny how many people are consumed with the way I dress and the size of my DICK !

I’m really getting fed up with my fellows, and how I have to change who I am, and how I dress, and what I am wearing, and what jewelry I decide to wear in public. I don’t care what you wear, or the jewelry you wear, or how you look. I really don’t give a shit.

But people have proven to me over the past few months how prudish they really are. And how sensitized they when they look at me and right off, judge me for what they believe I am trying to say, statement wise, by my dress and choice of jewelry.

FUCK ME !

I’m not playing this game any longer ….

Intentionality

The talk, recently, is about God.

I like to talk about God, because He is an integral part of my existence. God has been the thread that has woven into my life from the very beginning. And I can relate all those stories over and over. Just thinking about all the close passes of God, in my life, only reinforces the fact that, I am intimately connected to God.

For a long time, I was not sure I could live up to that standard, or if that kind of God conscious life, was even tenable. I was not sure, I could safely abide in God, in all things, or if I had to try and make it, out there, in the “real world.”

I am the kind of person, who would rather, cede control to someone or something, other than myself, because I know, deep down, left to my own devices, I really do not do very well, because of my monkey brain.

With Todd:read:God, I was able to turn it all over, all of it, and trust that He had my back, and I did not ever have to second guess him, “outwardly” that is. That took some time, but once I let go, all was well.

For a very long time, I did not trust myself to make right decisions. For a long time, I did not trust my own thoughts, or my own words. I always second guessed myself, when it came to what I know, and how I know it. And I sat on my hands.

Yes, I would talk, but it was always superficial talk.

If I needed to do something, learn something, or make a decision, for years, and years, I would always have a number of people, that I would run my choices by, people I trusted, whom I believed, would direct me to the right choices.

Once piece of advice I got was this:

At one point, I did not know where I was going. early on, after I moved here. One foot below the border and the other above it. I was unsure of my moves, early on.

The advice goes thus: If you don’t know where you are or where you are going, then st down, where you are. Take out your map, study the map, and study your surroundings. Get a lay of the land, and everything in it.

When you have done all that, being fully informed as you are able, make your next choice, roll up your map and start walking.

You can always sit down and consult your map.

The map usually has one point on it, with a red dot, that says: You are Right Here. The map does not extend very far into the future, for it only tells you where you are, and gives you a little headway, but not too much to overwhelm you.

It’s only been in recent months that I’ve begin to trust what I know and how I know it, based on the fact that there aren’t very many people, critiquing what I say in public. The chatter in my head is less than it used to be, but it is still there.

I talk about prayer this way.

If you sit, and you pray, are you moving your hands and arms outwards, away from you, or are you moving your hands and arms, towards you? Are you praying intentionally, or selfishly. Outwards:Intentional, Inwards:Selfishly.

When I talk about prayer, and I move my arms away from myself, I get a flutter in my chest, a feeling of right. That I offer my prayers in an outwards fashion. I don’t usually pray for myself specifically. But I, for the most part, converse with God.

Like I need to tell Him shit … That He already knows about.

But prayer is humility. It is a humbling to say to my God that I don’t know, and I would like to know, as I need to know it. I don’t have all the answers, but I know they will come, in due time.

To talk to God, like I would talk to Todd. I know how to do that.

I much more, trust the process, because I know, that I am in God Grace.

For a long time, I thought, that I would have to live in the world “out there.” And I did not like the world out there. I did not like it at all. As long as I was in Todd’s world I was fine.Inside a very finite circle of love and care. When Todd moved away, and I had to make it in the world “out there” my life became a disaster.

When I moved into the world here, in Montreal, I found another circle of care and love. I found good people, with good intentions, who did for me what I could not do for myself, until I learned how to do for myself.

I live inside that circle today.

I don’t have to go outside my circle for anything. For the last eighteen years, the circle has provided for me, in many ways.

God is in the center of that circle. I know that, intimately.

When we pray, we should always pray “Thy will be done. Or, If it is Thy will.”

What ever I ask for, I speak the words, If It Is They Will, and Not Mine.

Because I know how off my human will is. Left to my own will, my life becomes a disaster.

When I was safely inside God’s will, over the years, life got good. I see the differences in how my life went along, when I was running the show. it was not good at all.

Last night I wrote about the whispers, the two by four, and the brick wall.

God is pretty specific with me. He cuts me no slack, because He knows that if you give me an inch, I will take a mile. If I can get away with selfish, I will take it.

That has been the ongoing lesson lately. Selfishness.

God has been pruning my tree as of late. And He’s been pretty specific about it too. He isn’t joking around. This is big business. Getting rid of selfishness.

My Elder spiritual adviser tells me that I have been through the furnace. And I have reached the next frontier with God.He wrote the other day:

“I have read every word of what you wrote. And I am proud of you. Proud that you can speak these words to yourself. Proud that you have the courage to speak them to others. Proud that that you are here, proud that you have walked this road and made such astounding progress since the lowest of the low had you in its grasp.

You have arrived at the final frontier, the last great sacrifice that God demands of his sons when they truly seek him. That sacrifice is consecration, a complete turning of body, mind and spirit towards Gods purposes. Consecration, like sobriety, like conversion is not an event, but a process, and you are on the path. Consecration takes the mundane and makes it holy…

You have been where your children are. You have walked their path, you have carried their sorrows. Now you stand a few steps above them, you have matured, you have mastered, you have received a measure of light above them. Now turn, and stretch out the hand that was stretched out to you. Speak the words that your Father spoke to you, and the same words that one day your children will speak to their sons and daughters. 

Adopt them. Love them. Cherish them. Raise them to do good. Teach them that there is a God in heaven who loves them enough to save them. Be patient with their shortcomings. Catch them when they fall. Admonish them when they act against what they know.

Reach down and strengthen them when their knees are shaking and they are learning to walk. Be the father that you needed at their age in the process. One day they will write their stories, and when they write your name, a tear will come to their eyes, and a lump will come to their throats, as they write your name.

Jeremy:read:God.

These are Godly words.

I need not say anything further. Except to say: Grateful.

What Will The Newcomer Think?

Today I was wearing a variant of this outfit, in Blue, rather than Black, but Under Armour in any case. I saw this photo in one of my streams and decided on replicating it in my wardrobe. I have several different iterations of said color scheme. Any color goes with white 3/4 tights, as long as your sock and shirt colors match.

I devote myself to breaking the mold of just what a 50+ year old man can wear in public. And the men who know me all have smart ass remarks about my looks. I really do not care what people have to say about my looks or my methods.

I’ve learned not to care what others think about me. I have more people who support me, rather than deride me openly.

Today in particular, my old sponsor who is up in the twenty six year range was sitting outside the church with another elder friend at thirty years sobriety. My old sponsor looked at me and said:

“You know you should really stop wearing your underwear out in public, I mean really, what will the newcomer think if they see you dressed that way?”

I should have pulled down my pants and showed him my brightly colored patterned underwear that I WAS wearing underneath my white tights.

But I digress …

I had posed a question to my elder friend sitting next to him, and he turned his face away from me, and answered my question by posing the answer to another man standing ten feet away, as if to say, he acquiesced to my old sponsors admonition about my wardrobe choice tonight.

I noticed …

Newcomer won’t come near me because they all think me a little strange, but I do have my friends in the younger bracket. I mean, I will socialize and I do, and I share when necessary, but overall, I am interested in their progress and mainly keep tabs on my kids where ever I go, on any particular night.

I told the story about the boy I cornered with the three, seven, eleven shuffle last week. He’s been MIA for days and skipped all the meetings we used to share in common. I hope I did not scare him away because I asked him to pray, as the Book Says … and that He does not DO GOD.

Oh well, you win some and you loose some, I guess.

We spoke about Step Seven tonight:
Humbly Asked Him to Remove our Shortcomings.

I always tell the same story when talking about Step Seven.

Many years ago, just after I was diagnosed, and getting sober at the same time, I have said before that Todd knew more about sobriety than any man I knew or have known since.

He was in essence: God. As I understood Him.

One night, on a busy weekend, I was on duty and the main bathroom was packed and someone put a RED CUP in a toilet backwards. The toilet was overflowing with shit and piss and other sundry fluids.

Todd called me over and said to “Clean the bathroom.” My response was “I don’t do toilets!” He said a second time “Clean the bathroom” Which my response did not change. He went into the kitchen and brought out a pair of rubber gloves and demanded quite forcefully, that I should reconsider and go and Clean the Bathroom.

I had nowhere to go but to follow orders.

I did indeed don the gloves and attacked the bathroom and the backed up toilet. At the end of shift, Todd spoke to me saying this:

Do you know why I had you clean that messy toilet? Everything he told me to do was connected to some lesson about the present and maybe the future. I said No…

His answer was loving and kind. He said that if I could clean a shitty toilet, that if I got really sick and ended up in a shitty diaper one day, that I would then know what to do for myself.

Lesson learned. Humble Pie it was …

Many men I knew who were vibrant and alive, ended up sick, demented, and lying in their own shit. I had a friend for a while who was damned to diaper living and it was demeaning. It was terrible for him. And I swore then and there, I would rather die than to end up sick, demented, and lying in a shitty diaper.

Thank God I never saw that kind of sickness in my own life. And for that I am forever grateful for small mercies.

Humility … for me, is knowing my place in the world. I am not better than anyone else, I know what I know, because I’ve studied life for the whole of my life and I’ve been sober quite a long time now. You cannot take that away from me. My life experience nor my sober knowledge.

I am not the center of the universe and my belly button is not the center either, and finally:

There is a GOD, but I am NOT GOD.

I know what enough means, and I am ok with having enough. Because for many years in early sobriety, we had very little, and for a long time, we did not have Enough. And we had to make it work.

Enough is not lost on me.

Keep it simple, Help someone else, because you can, and not because you expect something in return.

Last week, I went to intergroup to buy a chip for one of our men at the men’s meeting on Wednesday night. I did not say anything about it, but I got his cake, card, and candles.

We gave him the whole ritual of cake and chip.

On Saturday morning, my sponsor called from Vermont. I missed his call because it was early and I was still sleeping. He called to tell me that he had heard about the anniversary celebration, and he said: “Well Done.”

I had not told him about what I was doing, because he’s out of country right now, but several of the men in the group called him to tell him what I had done, a good thing for someone else.

I did not expect praise nor did I do it for the praise, it was the right thing to do for someone. Kindness goes a long way in making friendships work.

But it was nice to hear the words … Well Done.

Something Todd would have said to me.

It made me smile inside.

Primary Purpose

Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Tradition Five … That is the resounding answer I received from the many men I count as friends over the last two days.

There is a reason the fellowship has done well, for over 80 years. They did not get it all, RIGHT, on the first pass. It took trial and error, mistakes and failures, to find the solution to make us work together to help the alcoholic who still suffers.

The first bit of advice I got about the topic I wrote about last, was this:

A meeting is there for one purpose. To help the alcoholic who still suffers, to keep the doors open for those who need it most, and to help those who not only want it, but are WILLING to do the work to get better.

I heard that last week … The program is not for those who need it, or those who want it, the program is there for those who are WILLING to do the work, which is outlined in the Big Book.

We read a passage from the back of the book on Tuesday night, and the writer was talking about Big Book meeting she went to in the beginning of her sobriety, and she writes …

“What I found out was that people who attend Big Book meetings on a regular basis tend to READ THE BOOK AND DO WHAT IT SAYS.”

She learned how to be sober, by watching other sober men and women get sober themselves. In simple terms one of my sponsors said was this …

MONKEY SEE – MONKEY DO !!!

If you want to quibble over semantics and words in the literature, you must ask yourself, ARE YOU AN ALCOHOLIC ? Because if you are, then sit down, take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth and listen.

We aren’t concerned with what word you use to signify who you are, you are in the room for one reason, to STOP drinking and GET sober. If you aren’t here to do that, then maybe you should go back out and drink, until you are ready to get sober.

The old timers I call my friends were adamant about this last night.

People are so hung up on what we call them, as it relates to the literature, and we know that the literature is dated, and sexist, and God oriented, but the literature has stood the test of time. And so will you, if you stay the course.

The fellowship is evolving, but if we begin changing the core values and significance of the hallowed literature to appease one faction or another, we loose the spirit in which those words were written, by Bill, Dr. Bob and the first 100 sober people in the 1930’s.

This is the Way It Is …

On a Double Decker bus in Ottawa with my best friend …

Watching coming out videos today, bring back certain memories and invoke certain feelings, about my own story.

I traveled to the South Shore last night, for a meeting at the famous Beaver Rehabilitation Center. Over the years, I’ve heard some old timers tell stories of their time there, and a particular nurse who worked there until about a decade ago. On the way the driver of the car, told me her stories of that famed nurse, Joan.

I learned a few more things about new friends last night. Which was nice. and I also learned that the car driver’s sobriety date is the SAME as mine.

December the 9th … She in 1987, me in 2001.

But back to where I am at the moment. I’m kinda sad.

Like I said above, I watched a new coming out video from a young man on You Tube. And I wrote to him, that his story was the most honest, tender and loving story I had ever heard. Coming Out is a daunting proposition.

He faced his trials and in the end he had success. His friends came round, his mom came round, and his sisters came round, eventually.

And I think … People are who they are. And I was and am powerless over people, places and things. The other night we talked about “Acceptance.”

I wonder, why people say the things they do, why they act the way they act, and why the world went sideways when I was a kid. I’m gonna be 52 in a few months and I think to myself, what a waste of time and effort. I really believe I was sold a terrible bill of goods.

People treated me so unfairly. And never gave me the opportunity to speak my words and defend myself. It was better to push me away and shut off my light and silence my ability to speak, rather than hear what I really have to say.

Coming Out, I was sold a bill of goods. I was told certain truths. And I ran with that delusion, until it did not serve me any longer. And I’ve written in the past, quite recently, The life I really wanted and desired, never came to fruition, and in the end I got the life, I got. It wasn’t necessarily the life I wanted, but it is the life I got.

I’m not sure I would have changed the life I have, or the way it played out, because life is good today, and I should not be resentful or bitter about not getting or getting.

We spend inordinate amounts of time sitting in meetings, listening to our friends, or people we think are our friends. And it still makes me wonder about people, when I hear some of the things that come out of their mouths.

And I think to myself, WHY ?

An entire section of my life is non-existent. An entire family of people have nothing to do with me, because of choices I made. But really, I was gay, and gay was abominable, so I had to move away from home, because I was pushed away.

THEN they blamed me and said it was all my fault. That I was the cause of all of their problems. When I was the one who got away from a very abusive situation, and people. I got out for my own good, my own safety and my own sanity.

So Fuck me for self preservation.

So many years have passed and nobody seems to care that I am alive or have a life or have words to speak to certain people. And I find that wasteful today. I think that people have just gone down a rabbit hole and never came back up.

People have a choice. And I wonder, why people made the decisions they did, because at this point in my life, I see the wasted opportunities, the wasted years and years of punishing silence.

Why because I was Gay or later, was diagnosed with AIDS?

I had two coming out experiences. The first was much happier than the second. Because when I came out, it was on my own terms, in the location I wanted, with the people I wanted to be there, when I made my entrance into the gay community of Orlando.

I think to myself, that certain people in my life did what they did and they said what they said and they chose the line they were going to follow, for better or for worse.

I lost on all accounts, because an entire group of people walked away from me, and left me on my own to survive. Thank God, Todd was there, because if it wasn’t for him, I would have died many years ago.

I just think it is utterly so sad that I am where I am, still asking the same questions I asked decades ago. All I want is to speak, to tell my story to people who don’t want to know me. To explain the what, where, why, and how. On my own terms, in my own voice.

But people don’t or won’t deign to stoop to my level and listen to me. I am just not that important. And there is just too much water gone under that old bridge.

I find that utterly sad. It just makes me so sad and sick inside.

My father went to his grave, never knowing me. never speaking to me, and never allowing me to say what I needed to say to him before he died. And that was his choice, not mine. My mother is going to same way, and so is my brother.

None of them want to know. Or want to listen.

So Fuck me for self preservation

Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can never be regained.

My maths teacher, in 9th grade, used to write this sentence on the black board before every test or exam. And I remember those words till today.

So many people have wasted too much precious time. That we’ll never get back. Time is of the essence.

God is in control. And maybe it is better that way.

Because I surely don’t want to make these kinds of decisions.

Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.

Misfortunes of Others

At the end of the day, it is character that either makes you a good person or a bad person. At the end of the day, when you speak of others, it is what you say about those people, that tells us just what kind of person you really are.

The Anonymity Statement says:

Who you see here,
What you hear here,
when you leave here,
let it stay here.

We keep to this statement, when discussing certain topics. I amended my writing method to reflect BRAVING, as stated by Brene Brown.

Over the holidays, we hit more meetings than usual, to keep up with our kids, to make sure they stayed sober, over the holidays. We kept rooms open on the holidays and we were on top of our community as whole. In the end, everybody succeeded. And we were all glad for that.

On Christmas Night, we hit a meeting we don’t usually hit, but it was Christmas, and friends who came to dinner, here at my home, wanted to hit that particular meeting, because it is close to my home.

The room was full. And a number of my friends, were in attendance.

As the share, on the topic, went around the room, one particular man, who struggles himself, chimed in on the discussion. I’ve been around a while, and I know how many passes, many of my friends have made, at trying to get sober. Some make it, many do not.

One thing about recovery … we don’t revel in the suffering of another human being. So when the comment came out of his mouth, everyone took notice of what he said, and I quote:

I really love to watch people go back out and drink. I “get off” on seeing someone fail at getting sober. It makes me feel superior to them.

This very same man, is a member at our Thursday meeting, and had been our Twelve Step Rep. The job, representing our group as a whole, to welcome the newcomer, or those coming back from a slip.

He was the one person we put in the job to be welcoming, to be respectful, to represent the fellowship with respect, character and humility.

Tonight, at the business meeting, we set out to vote on setting new people into term jobs for the group. The Twelve Step Rep, was one of those jobs.

Our man, spoke up, and nominated himself, again, for the job.

There were several of us sitting around that table, tonight, who heard this man speak those words at the Christmas meeting.

This has been a bone of contention between us for weeks now. Because nobody disagreed that the words spoken were disagreeable. And in his defense, we should not have brought up something he said, in Another Meeting, and bring up his words at anther meeting.

The Anonymity Rule applies.

One of my friends brought up the comment. And myself and another, who had been sitting in said meeting, knew of the issue, because we were there.

He argued the anonymity statement, and was offended that we would bring up a comment he spoke, against him.

We disagreed with him.

It all comes back to character.

All of my friends, at differing lengths of sobriety, said that they really did not think that someone who “gets off” on someone else’s misfortunes, should retain the job, of welcoming someone who had an unfortunate slip or someone coming to their first meeting.

It is hard enough walking into the room, the first time. We all know this. Everybody knows this. My friend said tonight, that he would rather see someone who had a little more humility and a little less judgment of those who suffer, giving out the chip.

Needless to say, the meeting did not end well. And the Twelve Step job is still vacant. The chair of the business meeting decided to stay the vote and table it till next month, so we could calm down and rethink our positions on said issue.

Nobody has the right to judge anyone else, we are all in the same boat. Some longer sober than others.

I have my time in the rooms, and I’ve heard many things said, in the anonymity and safety of any room I go to.

I’ve never heard another member say that they “get off” on people’s misfortunes. You might think that, but I’ve never heard the sentiment spoken in open community.

Comments like this leave a bad taste in our mouths.

Let’s say I drank again, and walked into a room, and hit my next, First meeting. And I had to do the walk, up to the table, and take a chip again.

Now, what if I knew, that the human handing me that chip, “got off” on my misfortune ? What would that say about the health of the fellowship, or the group as an entity of sobriety ?

I know better than to talk about my friends here. Because the last time I did that, the flame and vitriol that was directed at me, by sober people was terrible.

We might think many things to ourselves. That all changes, when we make terrible judgment calls about our friends, especially if they are suffering. In open community.

What people hear in meetings, stays with them, when they walk out the door, and sometimes words we hear, affect us, and affects those people if they have a roll to play in a meeting. You might be anonymous in a meeting, but if you say something that is repulsive, everyone who heard you say whatever it was you said, will remember those words.

This is a lesson in sobriety for sure. We can all learn from this situation, and how we should deal with this kind of issue. Sobriety is about getting better and becoming better men and women.

Sobriety is not about getting off on someone else’s misfortunes.

It all comes back to the questions of character and sobriety.

Year End Review 2018

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 slogans …

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 honest.

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 come from?

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 progresses.

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 location.

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 existence.

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 Gay.

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.