At a meeting yesterday morning sat a young girl (well, to me, "young" is well under 40! or 50?)...whom I'll call "N", sober three weeks, and learning, yes, learning. Well, she had sat through almost the whole hour, and it was your (how--and why--DO they say it?) "garden-variety" AA meeting, ya know what I mean?
And then, in voce pianissimo, N. spoke slowly...deliberately...thoughtfully. I cannot quote, but her words said to me something like this: "You know, I've been wrestling with the "God" thing, and someone recently said to me, "God could and would, if He were sought...NOT CAUGHT".
Momentarily, her eyes and mine "caught" each other's, and my face reddened. I remembered that line. It was posted in one of my earlier blogs--and N. has been reading them, along with this "astute blogger group" -grin- of which I feel a member, of sorts--another grin.
Immediately I felt something like a powerful swoosh of God's grace, having flowed through myself, out to N., and felt also the graces flowing back to me. How seldom am I honored in that fashion--to know that God has worked through me, and alllowed me to SEE and HEAR the result within a few days!
God is so good, actually He IS goodness Itself! He is not only within reach, He is WITHIN each of us, and it is that which I LOVE in each of us. He demands this. And it will not be otherwise.
N. spoke more, with succinctness. In my opinion, she gave us--as a group--so much more than we had given to her during the hour. Truly I believe, and pray, that N. is on her way to "catching" God, but you know--I think He has caught HER! She showed an understanding of spiritual principles far beyond where three mere weeks of meetings, Steps, reading, and sponsor guidance might lead.
Sometimes I become upset with myself for not paying more attention to the news, local, national, and world. Guess I tune in the wrong newscasts, or read the wrong papers, because I get "All the news that's unfit to print". I have become just SO HAPPY with Alcoholics Anonymous, you people, and God's gifts, which He has entrusted to me for giving to others, as I have received.
WOW! Me is really on that soapbox again. Well, I'll step off it, and go read someone else's blog, and maybe, just maybe, I'll become humble enough to learn something today....maybe even before 8 AM! Steve E.
More later: ...and yes! I DID learn more , and I was forced to be humble, humble enough to accept reality, humble enough to accept certain things I cannot change, humble enough to know the world does NOT revolve around ME! Thank You, my God...and AA people!
Ummm, I suppose writing two blogs in a day could be compared to 'Double-Dipping', but I'd rather think of it as FOLLOW-UP. Yeah, right!
In a comment, Mary C let me know that St Anthony was "The Man" (to ask for help in finding lost stuff). Well, I'm here to tell y'all, "Yep! It works--if ya work it, that is" -grin.
Since early 1990's I have NEVER used a backup--for re-installing, that is. In fact, all I had then was either big floppies (I mean BIG!) or--finally--a tape backup system. But, never had NEED for that biz. Until jjjesterday (that's Spanish!). So I prayed to St A. for help, and I gotta tell you HONESTLY (one day I'll write about honesty!), I walked right into the cabinet where I had placed a 250GB external HD with a complete backup on it. Only two weeks old, yet I had literally forgotten all about it...WOW! Thank you St Anthony, and you-know-who-somewhere-in-Colorado-GRIN!
So, wanted you to know that St A did not give me the new password, but gave me the .ddb file, covering the time from ten years ago until July 15, 2008, which worked, using the old PWD. Tomorrow's blog will be another "GOD" story, whose inspiration came from this morning's 8AM meeting. Steve E.
Probably the following--lost password--will be #70 on my list of 48 Stupid Things I've Done in Sobriety:
Omigosh, I had written several blogs ahead (Alcoholic? Me?) in a database program, and, naturally I put a password on the whole thing. That was to 'protect' all of this ultra-sensitive, top-level, eyes-only trash springing from my mind. All these highly-secret documents would have, in a matter of a few days, of course, appeared on "steveroni" for the whole world to read (Ha!)...
Bottom line: I forgot the new password, it was just something I had read at that moment--a long word--with the spelling changed a bit. Woe is me, my whole life was recorded in that ddb file, which I began in 1996.
Oh well! Ya win some, ya lose some. Know when to hold, when to fold.
Does anyone remember to whom we pray to "find" a lost password. Is it st Anthony? As usual, when I need help, I exhaust all earthly possibilities, then, as a last resort, I pray for whatever. "When all else fails...pray". What a mantra! When, if I had prayed to begin, I'd have saved all that time and anxiety.
Never weary in prayer. When one day man sees how marvelously his prayer has been answered, then he will deeply, so deeply, regret that he prayed so little. --pg 89, GOD CALLING ...A.J. Russell (Also in 24-Hr Book, May 16 - Hazeldon)
So that's it for today, so far--it's only 4:30AM here in Naples. Lots more awaits. Thank you, God! Let us all LIVE AND LOVE AS FULLY AS WE CAN...WITH GREAT JOY! Steve E.
If it were not for people, places, and things...I'd be OK. --Steve E.
Some little (Ha! Little?) situation has been bothering me for months, and I've hesitated--well, procrastinated--talking about it, to ANYONE. (Little voice says, "Sponsor, sponsor, sponsor!) To me, it is a BIG character defect. Those few friends who have detected my recent uneasiness--and the reasons for it--call me "meshuga", Hebrew for "crazy". This morning I heard the word, in reference to me, "meshugana", Yiddish, for "a crazy man". Now, it's not every day I get called crazy, even though you all probably hear that a lot -BIG grin-.
Back to "serious" now: I'm a "praying" type of guy, believe in it, trust in it (prayer, that is). But I've been drifting away from that, devouring everything I hear at all these meetings, except what I do not wish to hear. "Steveroni's will be done on earth?" Well, I've been getting sicker and tireder. Been hearing those words for thirty-four years, thinking they could NEVER apply to moi, after all this sobriety.
Sobriety? What a word! Forward to the First Edition of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (It's also in all the other editions...may you find it now -grin-.) BEGINS: "We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body."
They did not say "We have recovered from alcoholism!" Why can I not remember that fact? I am, and will always be, an ALCOHOLIC. I'm a person with an incurable disease. Exactly how my disease has "flowered" during the past couple years, I cannot write, because it comes under the realm of "hurting them or others", which we strive to avoid.
Bottom line for today is, I SAW the miracle take place. I could see it in the eyes of a human being. God allowed me to witness the working of His Infinite Power, flooding through another person, to remove from me MY difficulties. And that is so that one day I may help another to do the same. And that is SO COOL!
How often have I counseled others in regard to their program, their praying, their improprieties, their "meshuga" (craziness!), and yet, over what of these have I ever become a master? Well, as of now, I'm still learning to see the point, to become "willing to grow along spiritual lines."
Following quote (message to me this morning?) is excerpted from today's entry in GOD CALLING, from "Two Listeners", edited by A.J. Russell:
JULY 28, 2008: "You wonder sometimes why you are permitted to make mistakes in your choices when you sought so truly to do My Will in those matters.
To that I say it was no mistake.... All your lessons cannot be learned without difficulty, and this was needed to teach you a lesson. Not to him who walks on, with no obstacles in his way, but to him that overcomes is the promise given."
I pray that God blesses ALL who have had a part in my sobriety, and I don't even have to know who you are. Thank YOU! Steve E. (Discovered that somone close...was praying HARD for me...)
When we eat out with old folks, seems like all they can talk about is the "place they ate yesterday." Or maybe that steak they had on June 14 1946--"Boyoboy, they shooer don't make 'em like thet any mower...". And sometimes that's ALL they talk about--is FOOD! It gives my warped sense of humor a shot of adrenalin--hey, I'm a "senior citizen", so I can write about this.
It's akin to saying, at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, "Hey, remember what so-and-so said at that meeting fourteen years ago in that Clubhouse in Ohio?"
Well, I've ALWAYS enjoyed being the 'observer'. Maybe that let me off the hook from thinking, from participating, who knows? I am NOT now (sometimes?) "The Analyzer". One day I felt like I had become the other guy, the 'observed'...paranoia? That's MY guess. Wow! So sick.
Reminds me of the joke, "Oh! Did I hurt your feelings? I'll call the ambulance!"
Another STORY begins: By choice, I've been a "people-watcher" for many years. As a retired--again, by a BAD choice--symphony violinist, I began a "career" as a violin-playing bartender. It was no easy thing to be always seeing--or sensing--the slightest whim of desire of any one of the sixty customers (all mine, no waitresses, etc!). No cigarette went unlit in "my" bar (It was actually Nick's bar, The Captain's Cabin in Naples, FL). No glass stayed sitting on the bar, empty. Every ash tray was kept clean, as if the patrons had just climbed onto the stool. AND, I made a lot of money. AND I had two heart attacks--before age 32. AND I ran a lot. AND I worked very hard. AND I drank very much. AND I ate very little. AND I was very good. AND along with filling the beer coolers, pouring the booze, mixing the "fancies", cutting the fruit, washing the glasses, I PLAYED THE VIOLIN. While I was playing, I entertained with jokes and introduced people to each other who I had judged, hand-picked to be of like minds, always myself mindful of what else was going on. Stopping fights was, thank God, a seldom necessity, but settling quarrels was an often occurrence.
During my five drunken years there (1966-1971), at least four couples became married, as a direct result of my introductions..well, maybe God's intros. As a result of those same introductions, many more developed VERY close living arrangements, either short or long-term. It was "that kind of place", but always full of mostly nice, happy people.
Except for ME! At the same time I was giving these customers the best service they'd ever experienced in a small neighborhood bar (like CHEERS...really), I constantly harbored the thought that they were "The Enemy"! You see, fear and paranoia had finally taken great hold of me, and however much I drank, I could not rid myself of those two devils.
God, although He was in me I now know, was never in my thoughts during those years. Finally--one day several years later--when I tried to "find" Him, he was nowhere to BE found. I had no clue that one day I'd read in our Big Book, that ..."God could and would if He were SOUGHT!" (not "caught", as my sponsor told me).
So, in March 1974, when I walked shakily up three steps to the church at Trinity-By-The-Cove, to my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, I REALLY would rather have died and gone to hell right at that moment. But God had other plans. My (hopefully!) final drink had happened at five minutes until midnight, the night before. And I was truly 'a mess of pottage, a gallon of White Port (daily maintenance)--going, and almost gone'...'But the Master came, and my old acquaintances still cannot quite understand the worth of a soul...the change that is wrought...By the Touch of the Master's Hand'.
Please excuse the unauthorized references to the work THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER'S HAND by Myra Brooks Welch
Hello whoever comes here If your heart is even slightly heavy today, allow Him Who has all power--God--allow Him into your soul, and allow His soothing Grace to overcome any obstacle to your feeling of peacefulness.
Those ancient Greeks had a single word which meant for them both "heart" and "soul". Sort of pronounced (don't laugh, all youse Greeks out there!) "Psookase". At any rate, since my own heart is not heavy today--but I'll just say it is in an unrestful state, I've turned to my favorite God paragraph in our wonderful Big Book. This is in Chapter to the Agnostics, Page 55. You'll find it. I've italicized, and capitalized a bit, forgive me for that license.
"We finally saw, that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly but HE WAS THERE. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us."
How I love that description, which allows my understanding of God to be totally different from your own. Yet we are talking about the same Entity...and this Entity knows always the needs of each of us. This Entity is listening all through Eternity to each of our momentary cries for help, and with certainty, supplies the answers: meaning (to me!)...read the next Chapter, HOW IT WORKS! Love Y'all, Steveroni (rhymes with "macaroni" -grin-), who is really of German descent.
My memory for the following post was triggered by Mary C's Friday blog. I still hesitate to publish this, But "THE COMMITTEE" says--GO:
Ya know, when you have lived in the halls of Alcoholics Anonymous for a good number of years, certain true stories accumulate in the old memory bank. Many of these chronicles are beautifully wonderful (as in "full of wonder") instances of God's gifts. Too many others are tales best forgotten, unless a useful purpose emerges to make them worthy of recall and repetition. The following might be one of those:
Early in my sobriety, I became aware--suddenly--of the seriousness of our disease and the fearful responsibilities we have inherited, and ..."no matter how far down the scale we have gone, we willsee how our experience can benefit others." (BB Page 84)
One Friday night at a Speaker-type meeting, a brand new guy was at the podium, I do not remember just how many hours and/or days had expired (bad word) since his last drink. However, I and other newbies were anxious to hear his talk, since HE was sober about as long a time (or short a time) as ME! (Identify...remember?).
His deportment was very poor, in the minds of some--well everyone--and he barely audibly introduced himself, really not knowing what else to say to the group of about forty. He grunted and grumbled a few words, nervously laughed in a shallow manner to hide his discomfort, and after three minutes had passed, just stood there all fidgety, almost dumb struck.Another minute or two of nothing (seemed like longer) passed.
Shaking still, a foul odor emanating from his self, he sort of blubbered (like me) and sounded like a idiot (like me). Ya see, I could RELATE AND IDENTIFY (who cares which?) with this poor soul, who vaguely knew what was expected of him, but through those glassy-wet eyes, did NOT see what was happening in the room. The folks were becoming quite impatient, waiting long seconds for the next unrelated word to reach their auditory nerves, as their grumbles and complaints began to reach HIS auditory nerves.
Well, he stumbled out of the room in tears. I guessed that people were waiting for him to soon return, because no one followed him. And me, I just figured it was par for the AA course, ya win some, ya lose some. To quote from someone's (MC!) Friday (yesterday's) blog, "Oh hell, what do I know?"
Well, Jim--I'll call him--never did return that evening. And from what I was allowed to hear, by standing near the clusters of AA people during successive meeting nights, a friend, who opened Jim's front door the morning after his first "AA talk", found a gun lying on the floor--right next to Jim's very cold, very dead, hand.
So sorry and so sad to post this episode of my AA remembrances, I yet (in my own sick mind?) somehow suppose that this IS a part of my E S and H. I'm so certain that God welcomed Jim into Eternal bliss that very day. And I pray that someone--even if only me--learned or relearned a lesson this day.
I spoke at the AA "cookie" meeting last night for about 20 minutes here in Naples, FL...and the cookies were DELICIOUS. Anyway, I lent the folks a bit of my wit, wisdom, and charm -grin- and shared with them a small segment from my great storehouse of knowledge of AA recovery -another HUGE grin-. But this I can truly say...that I had a wonderful time of it, especially munching the cookies. And everyone else was smiling also, at cookie-time...(saying, "Thank God the long-winded 20-minute talking had reached those final words!").
And the "cookie girl" of the night (An anonymous sweetheart named Polly!) gave me a little doggie bag, for home use. Which brings me to the SECOND part of this blog. At home was my sober (23 years) wife, Anna speaking in low toned voice (unusual for her!) to a girl who God had dropped into our laps--well, our HOUSE--for a one-nighter. I'll call her "K" for now. She is from a northern city, age seventeen, passing through Naples, an admitted "person with a drinking problem" and a real darling, intelligent girl with a magnetic personality. And she is a drunk! Also neither Anna nor I had ever met her before. How she arrived at our door, clean and pretty, with bag in hand, is a mystery only God knows whereof. I mean, well, we know a few specifics, but the enigma was for certain a working of God, IMO.
And so, as you all have guessed by now...we enjoyed non-stop, wonderful conversations of learning about each other until the wee hours--eating Polly's (Ummmm!) cookies, with an amount of ice cream thrown into the mix. "K" agreed to my early-hour-up schedule, and so Anna brought her to my 7AM meeting.
As you've also guessed by now, she was surrounded by a gaggle of girls (I had alerted some of them beforehand and at the 6AM meeting!) and we are fairly sure that she enjoyed her FIRST AA meeting. "K" smiled often as only the newcomer--and the old-timer--can do (hiding all the BS which is lurking behind the facade) and I noticed her attentiveness and "saw" her listening to each one who shared on this, our "Step-Day" (Third Step! How wonderful is THAT?). It has GOT to be impressive to a first-day someone, who gets a little silver chip, for first-week, etc., and then witnesses sixty-five people at 7AM on a Friday morning, laughing at themselves one moment, talking the next moment about our life-and-death disease, and in general having a GRAND OLD TIME...but serious, but serious...!
Well that's ALL of us, whether at a meeting, in a living room, in a gutter on the street, or on a huge luxury ocean liner--for a week--with a few hundred AA's, having a ball! "K" found understanding, love, and PEACE in that room this morning, and as I write this about our experiences the past twenty-four hours, it's all I can do...to not cry with happiness. I love you ALL.
Yes, Yes!!! MARY CHRISTINE, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY #24--GOD IS GOOD!
SOME DEEP SH*T HERE??
I laugh. I cry. I love. I enjoy. I relax. Humor is good. Humor gladdens the hearts of humans and spirits alike. Humor pleases even Itself, it's very Source--God--it's Creator.My father said many times to me, "Do everything--even humor--in moderation." (Duh!) He never could figure out the meanings of physical compulsion, mental obsession, (serious) craving--well, neither could I! Ha! He supposed I should achieve a balance between jesting and a certain, sometime seriousness? He supposed I could drink in moderation? He simply could not understand my love of a chaotic life--he was not one of us. Intelligent as Pop was (even though deaf and blind) he and I never meshed like other fathers-and-sons. I just could not "moderate", could not DO things half-way.
These days I occasionally feel myself kind of floating, being sustained on a plateau of sorts, remaining in an habitué of humor, of blissful unawareness of a troubled world--continually engulfed in that happy, confident, peaceful, satisfying place which seems to emanate from funniness.
But wait!Consider: If I'm not being (what maybe I alone consider) funny, I might be giving you a glimpse of who I really am. Could it be that I shun seriousness in fear of uncovering myself to you? Maybe humor has become simply another place for me to hide. Who would ever guess, ever know (or care? -grin-?)
People used to say to me, as a ten-year-old, "You? An introvert? No way. Why, you're always kidding everyone and cracking jokes!" And yet...in my very soul, I was knowing then that all was not well. In the gallery of my heart hung always those ever-present, frightening images of guilt, worthlessness, and dark sadness.In that same heart now is some acknowledgment of the fact that what is...is, what was...was, and what ain't...ain't, and so "who I am" is no longer important to me. The present truth (though REAL truth never can change), although not always now so ugly, is neither always brimming with utter beauty, contentment and serenity. So now I know this about you and me and everyone: NOWHERE ARE MORE HIDING PLACES THAN IN THE HUMAN HEART...I wonder who said that? Not me, not me! Also I'm wondering if any of this might make sense to anyone BUT crazy me? -GRIN- Laugh, and be HAPPY! ....I do! Tomorrow's posting on a lighter note..MAYBE -g-! --Steve E. 7/24/2008
once again: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY #24, Mary Christine, and many more!
These remarks are my heart-felt thoughts at this moment--I pray that no one be offended or embarrassed by the following:
24 on the 24th--ONE DAY EARLY!
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MARY CHRISTINE!
What may I say which does not make me sound like a "blog-flirt" or even a "slightly tainted old man"--to you, Mary Christine, on this day before? What words are there for me to communicate to you my gratitude, my love--for one who reached out on-line to me one day (or maybe I found you first, I do not remember). You set me on a course headed for a bunch of terrific AA, a truckload of spirituality, barrels of fun meeting new people with like minds...and...you more or less taught me how to blog.
Last night I said to my wife Anna that I do not know if it's God's will for me to be here among y'all--but it sure as heck ain't AGAINST His will!
I've recently become an early riser (BIG change!), and each morning at 4:30 AM Eastern, I cannot wait to get to my computer which is on 24/7. I need to find out ASAP what has been blogged since I fell asleep, and to maybe post my own note. It's the same in the evening. This AA guy/retired violin player, having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of these steps, is now having a spiritual RE-awakening as A result of your patience with my non-knowledge of the blog world. The sobriety, understanding, humor, knowledge, honesty and some occasional struggle for a semblance of peace--a characteristic of these blogs--is what I'm finding here. It's possibly the honesty which differentiates an Anonymous Alcoholic blog from a f-f meeting.
Almost like being on a drug has my happiness with life-on-life's terms been enhanced the past four weeks, thanks to you MC, and all your friends who have dropped by and left comments on my own blog site. I thank you, and God blesses you...please, no more scary "mountain road" stories...us old guys have old hearts, ya know?
Once more: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MARY CHRISTINE, ONE DAY EARLY...I just HAD to beat the other guys and gals. Some old bad habits just ain't yet been removed! Thank you MC, and thank you ALL. Steve E.
My Brevard, N.C., music camp experience was the best summer of my life, 1952. Dear Uncle Al sent me $25 checks, labeled "cig money". Uncle Kenneth flew down there to hear a concert, and had a picture taken with Thor Johnson (and me!). CSO conductor Thor Johnson had scholarshipped me there for eight weeks--and I came home to join (in October) the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. That first year my contract contained a "rider", that if a certain sick (violinist) member would return, I'd have to leave...but he died, and I had the job for nine more years, until I quit under my own drunken duress of fear and paranoia. Heaven forbid! Someone might find out I have another drink after others have "called it a night".
I should never have resigned (summer of 1961), but in hindsight, it was probably for the best. My drinking and insanity had many years earlier progressed to uncontrollable levels, and that strange mystical illness we all know so well--the physical craving teamed up with that mental compulsion, or obsession, along with spiritual aridness.
Anyway, I felt "more comfortable" working in a bar surrounded by all my special pretty and colorfully-labeled friends: Bond and Lillard, Old Ky Tavern, Old GrandDad, Forrester, Overholt Rye, Early times, Echo Springs, Jack Daniels, Smirnoff, etc., etc. I knew them all so well...and loved them all so well. They did for me what even God could not do, since I had not asked Him--made all my troubles and problems vanish, in that magical way.
After a time (thirteen MORE years!), all these beautifully-labeled friends began to turn against me, so that even those few times I *wanted* to stop, I simply could not, no matter how sick I became.
In Naples Florida (c1968), at age 35, I had suffered through a year of phlebitis. I recall taking coumadin pills in the hospital, then--when nurse had left the room--getting out of bed to retrieve my friendly vodka bottle for my morning fix. When the clots began moving in the direction of my heart, a surgeon removed those long-diseased veins from both my legs. At that time, the docs discovered that I had weathered two heart attacks--and had drank myself right through it all.
Five years of total abuse of self yet remained, before I sat in my first recovery group, and slowly blubbered out loud, like the idiot I had become, "What should I do? Please, someone, can you tell me what to do?"
That it was the greatest moment of my life, more certain now I cannot be...that God brought me to that place...and the people there finally brought me back to God. And that's a whole other story. Thank you for reading this, and please pray for me now! Steve E.
Mary--1974 I didn't then even know her name. She could see I was adrift. Sober three months. Living in--to some--the familiar AA limbo. She saw my fearful fear, my hopeless hopelessness, my utter despair. One night in June 1974 she simply walked up and handed me a brand new 24-Hours-A-Day-Book (Then it cost $5, now it's like $16). She did not bark at me to "Get a sponsor" or "Work the Steps" or "You're gonna get drunk again" or "You'll never make it"... She said only, "Here--read this every day", and stuck this book in my hand That was thirty-four years ago. And I still read it every day (Yes, same book!) And I'm still sober. --Steve (July 2008)... Mary died drunk several years later. God bless her! I do!
Added 07/22/08: Funny thing. Mary had said--simply--"read this"...and I did. Some years later, I was given to experience another one of those AA flashes of light (insights) when a friend said to me, "All one needs, to learn how to recover, is contained in the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous), the FIRST THREE WORDS at the top of page 112." Well I looked it up. The first three words (a continuation of a sentence from page 111) are "......................"! How simple, how complete, how true!
Note: You'll have to look it up to find out those three words! Note 2: "Twenty-Four Hours A Day" book is published by Hazeldon, Center City, MN
Each day for many moons, my wife Anna has been asking me "Well, what is the tune for today?" And I let her know what's playing--not in the concert hall or on a CD, but what's playing "in my HEAD!" Ya see, I played in symphony orchestras for years in earlier times, and many of the concerts I can just "call up" for the day (or hour) and hear the whole thing, in the right key, in tune, and especially MY OWN INTERPRETATION. So whenever a "Song-for-Today" is posted, that's what I'm hearing. TODAY'S "song" is Beethoven's Fifth Symphony in c minor. So, now ya know! Aren't you just overwhelmingly GLAD to know that?
I've never sat in a "boring" AA meeting yet, but if that is ever a happening, I now have a backup! I have played a symphony or a concerto during meetings which were NOT boring...I think...I wonder? OK, so I did not hear much, but I had that smile ("smirk") on my face--you know, that one which says, "Hey guys, look at me, I'm so serene, I'm deliriously happy (and I'm delirious!--opposite of CALM?), I'm so sober, in fact, I'm SO not listening to a thing that's going on here!". Meanwhile the character Mimi (in Puccini's opera "La Boheme") is singing her heart out, telling the lengthy, oh, so sad story of her life, her poverty, her fatal illness, her shattered hopes and dreams...all in about two minutes of a most sublimely beautiful aria (song)--ALL in my head, of course. (She sings SO beautifully! And I am the conductor--the Maestro!)
Now and then, I shall let you know what's "playing", and you shall know exactly where my head IS that day. This whole line of thought was inspired--bad word--by the near-double-fatal accident in which my favorite "online-AA" friend, Mary Christine, was involved as a passenger, as a friend of hers was driving in the mountains yesterday. So far, it sounds as if they both are doing OK. The car was totaled, MC even posted a photo of the mess. Oh, my God, thank you for sparing their lives, so they may continue helping some of us poor dorky alkys to stay sober.
ANYWAY, I got to wondering--another bad word--if I'm ever in a comatose state will I have that non-gift, of hearing whole concerts in my head? Right now I'm wondering--I hate that word--AM I CRAZY? -grin-
Hope my next contribution to this blog is more astute, or I'll be the lone reader...is that like the "Lone Ranger?" (here goes--The William Tell Overture) See what I mean? Steve E.
NOTE: This is being posted also on my "Normal People" blog. If that offends anyone, I'll remove it immediately. Lemme know!
NOTE#2: Just finished mowing the grass, so the whole world seems to be turning around--backward--or else I am! Low BP....
Lately I have been wrestling with a personal problem for which I had not the strength to resolve. This very morning I knelt and asked God to "Do for me what I could not do for myself." Later at 6AM meeting the topic was on (again?) the Promises, (BB Pg 83-84). I remember telling the group (usually only about 18 people that early) about my early morning prayer--this is serious stuff here! I seldom ask God for favors any more, because I've found that He already KNOWS what I need, or want, etc.
Bottom line: God spoke to me through a fairly new AA guy, and then an AA woman, between the two meetings. (Thank GOD I usually stay for the second (7AM) meeting!) And whooosh, my problem disolved like salt into water--which means it did not just go away, but with willingness and work...it WILL go away. What a wonderful feeling, to be associated with people who understand me, and who will not laugh at my silly foibles.
After two meetings in the early morning--"afore sunup"--I'm just getting home from a night meeting (yes, I'm addicted to meetings, I guess!) where a girl was celebrating 20 yrs, and I told them that (true) statistic, that for every one who makes it 20 yrs, 18 THOUSAND have come in, and left. And I said we are truly blest to be 1 out of 18,000, and I believe that. Imagine those odds! Almost like Lotto. Then, the tirade began--for the benefit of a guy celebrating four days...again!--that old argument about WHO is the most important person in the room, etc.? Well, I thought I was! And I'm here to let people know, that if I can do it using all these tools of our AAA Fellowship, then THEY can do it. OK? OK!
And do y'all ever hear that line, "WHO keeps us sober?" ...followed by "Our Father, etc." Well, IMO, making the Twelve Steps my life's work keeps me sober. Of course, I believe that God gave those steps to us, through a miraculous journey spanning thousands of years--but if HE keeps us sober, why do so many not make it? Is He not doing a good job? Does He love one of us more than another? Maybe in the morning I'll change my mind on all this. (Not likely! -grin-)
I pray that some will take my story, shake out all the words, and be left with the thought which remains--Steve E.
HOW IT WAS--AND HOW IT STILL IS!
How often it has been that we--well, that I--meet a new guy at a meeting, shake his hand, and make with a little small talk? I might mention God, Twelve Steps etc. I might shake his hand, give him a Big Book and a brochure full of phone numbers, and send him out into the dark night, to be alone, with the darkness of himself and his disease. Maybe that is why the following situation meant so much to me:
At a noon "Brown-Bag" meeting today, a blond--someone I've never seen before--girl I'll call "D"., related a situation of the night before. She had attended a "women's meeting", and met another young girl, only a few days removed from her last drink. The new girl had told how frightened she was, and asked the group, "What must I do tonight, what should I do when I walk out the door?" Well, the other women lined up to be helful and supportive, left her with about 20 phone numbers, and scribbled her number etc.
"D" told our group that she felt such compassion for the lost, lonely and hurting girl, that she walked over to her, grabbed her by the arm, and said to her, "Come on, Kid, you come home with me." And at "D's" house they sat and talked until 4:00 AM, then slept for a few hours, and at 7:30 AM, with a wide, bright smile on her face, the young, newly-sobered girl walked out of "D's" house. To face the day. To face the world. To face her God. Possibly to face herself? God knows. I do not need to know.
What an inspirational (emotional?) moment, for me to experience being allowed (so honored!) to be a witness to this story, one of thousands which happen every week in our world. This sharing--to me--is a telling of how today's AA ought to be, a retelling of the way AA used to be!
May God's peace be with all you bloggers. Always and forever! Steve E.
God will do for me what I cannot do for myself. I'd guess the corollary to that is, God will not necessarily do for me what I CAN do for myself? Well, it seems to me that the longer I practice this program, these Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the more I can do for myself. And yet it seems as though the longer I stay sober, the more wonderful things happen to/for me, with very little effort. It's as if God continues--in multiples--to pile the gifts onto this old guy.
It used to be I counted my friends on one hand--well, to be honest, on one finger! And that "friend" didn't really know me. This very morning I'll begin my day REAL early, with about sixty true friends, of whom some do not always agree with my behaviors, but love me nonetheless. What a wonderful gift THAT is!.
The gift, straight from God--my wife, Anna--to whom I kept saying, at AA meetings, "I like what you said". (Watch out for those words, girls, that means the bull is circling.) Then, there are those other words, which SHE said to me, as we were leaving a meeting (watch out for these words, guys!) "We have to talk". And we've been together ever since, that was about 1990. And it is not all perfect, nor ever was, but we try to remember to say, at appropriate moments, "You may be right!" to one another. Now, THOSE four words are worth embedding into our minds, hear this. YOU MAY BE RIGHT. The saying thereof does not in any way, claim that I'm not right, or that you are entirely correct.
Dear God Almighty, I'm beginning to sound like a teacher! Me don't LIKE that.
Maybe time to back down a bit.Didja all know that in BB page 132, count DOWN 16 lines, and take two words out from the beginning of the following line. Then, count UP from bottom of page, and take out two words from the right side of the page, well, we have nestled EXACTLY in the center of that page, those OTHER six words I love: "We absolutely insist on enjoying life..."
Psssst, my other six words are: ..."willing to grow along spiritual lines..." in chapter How It Works. Well, I'm rambling, just like it happens at some AA meetings. But there's always someone to say, a bit too loudly, "Thank you, Steve."...even when I didn't KNOW I was finished! Thank you, all. Love you ALL. Steve E.
Tonight I will chair an AA meeting, and while reflecting on a topic, my thoughts turned to a poem which a nun read to my fourth-grade class at St. Dominic School in Delhi near Cincinnati, OH. Then, she called on me to read it--since it was known I played the instrument referenced in the verses. And as I read, the words seemed just that--words...which had no meaning for me whatsoever. When I read it aloud tonight, my eyes will become wet at the first words, not because it's the story of a violin, but because it's the sad, then the glad, story of my LIFE! (And I cry when happy...or sad--who said that?)
Topic is: "THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER'S HAND"
"Twas battered and scared, and the auctioneer Thought it scarcely worth his while To waste much time on the old violin, But he held it up with a smile. "What am I bidden, good folks," he cried, "Who'll start bidding for me? A dollar, a dollar - now who"ll make it two _ Two dollars, and who"ll make it three?
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, Going for three". . . but no! From the room far back a gray-haired man Came forward and picked up the bow; Then wiping the dust from the old violin, And tightening up the strings, He played a melody,pure and sweet, As sweet as an angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer With a voice that was quiet and low, Said: "What am I bidden for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow; "A thousand dollars - and who'll make it two? Two thousand - and who'll make it three? Three thousand once, three thousand twice And going - and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried, "We do not quite understand - What changed its worth?" The man replied: "The touch of the masters hand." And many a man with life out of tune, And battered and torn with sin, Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd. Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine, A game and he travels on, He's going once, and going twice - He's going - and almost gone! But the MASTER comes, and the foolish crowd, Never can quite understand, The worth of a soul, and the change that's wrought By the touch......of the MASTER'S hand. ~Myra B. Welch
Been meaning to do this ever since "Lou" Emailed me to "get it on!" (about 5 hours ago =grin=)
1. I'm eldest (oldest?) of two boys and two girls
2. All four of us are again, now, communicating in a friendly and loving manner
3. I'm an "internal" catholic (according to our Father D***is), attend mass almost every day, play violin there often, and participate more than EVER in my past life
4 Please do not ask me what that means
5. I attended my 50th HS reunion. St Xavier High. Everyone looked so OLD (except moi!) Wish I could post picture on here so you could see how much Pride and Ego I'm dealing with here...do "no teeth and no hair, and fatty throat" help to make ya look young?
5a. I do not fear death--any time--but I REALLY hate growing old, maybe y'all can figure that out, also
6. I was too drunk to "walk" in ceremonies for Bachelor AND Master degree graduations, but I DID get the paper, all scholarship stuff. Imagine that, I still shake my head...
7. At age 11, I habitually opened and sniffed the five-gallon container of muriatic acid on the farm. NOW ya can figger out why I yam like I yam
8. Wanted to be a Jesuit priest. How lucky are those Jebbies
9. Would have been a BAD priest.
10. Will make a terrible saint. I'll sneak past heaven's gate, when Bruce isn't looking or he's checking in another alky
11. My mother forced me to "practice these principles of.....VIOLIN PLAYING (fooled ya?) from the age of six
12. Hated my mother for that
13. Now she's gone, I thank her daily, sometimes hourly
14. My wife Anna loves me very much, here's how I know
15. She bought me a huge (650cc) motor scooter for my birthday
16. At the same time, she purchased a wonderful insurance policy on my life...WAIT a minute....
17. Our four children, her two, and my two, all get along
18. They live far apart
19. I love my bike
20. I love AA
21. I love my wife
22. MAY I NEVER have to choose only one out of the three
23. Played violin in Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
24. At concert in Elmira NY, (my first year) I exuberantly lifted my bow, and it went sailing over the orchestra and landed on the tympani (kettle drums) during a particularly quiet, pianissimo passage
25. They did not fire me
26. I wished that they HAD fired me
27. Spent a long summer at Brevard Music Center in NC (1952) as violinist/camper/maintenance man extraordinaire. (Scholarship, remember?)
28. Fell REALLY, TRULY in love 7 times in 8 weeks in Brevard. I was 19 years old...old?
29. Spent a summer at Tanglewood in Massachusetts (big words--wanted to see if spell checker is working) playing violin
30. Played under (well, not really "under"--holy crapola!) Leonard Bernstein, Conductor
31. He was NOT a conductor on the train
32. Tended bar for many years in many places during off-seasons
33. I was the "best bartender" my boss ever SAW or knew
34. That is exactly what he said just before he fired me. Thanksgiving 1974. I had been sober for eight MONTHS for God's sake. What gives here? Did he not realize how good I was. I had even quit knocking down the cash box
35. I kept a Big Book under the bar, pulled it out when I thought someone needed help
36. I told you...muriatic acid, sniff, sniff, sniiifffff. Ahhhhh!
37. Favorite booze, Alcohol, 190 proof (that's 95% alcohol for you chemistry-deficient people) I know you're not chemically deficient
37. 190 proof BURNS, it burns, burns everything. HAAAAAAAH. I still feel the heat
38. Discovered prostate cancer last year--been treated, all done with that, except it would take a direct interference by God, for me to father children again, that's a result of my ongoing hormone shots and last year's radiation and cyberknife
39. Hormone shots are every three months (84 days apart) and retail for $2,700 EACH
40. I thank God for Medicare (Never thought I'd say something like that--if ya know what I mean)
41. My wife has 23 years in AA Program. We met at an AA meeting on Step 12. I got it mixed up with Step 13
42. Men watch out when a girl says those four words: "We have to talk!" That was 20 years ago
43. Flew to FL in 1965. In the air, I silently cried, thinking it was snowing here--all the roofs were painted white
44. Stayed in FL...who wouldn't! My gosh, there was a Liquor Store in every half-block! I'm HOME, baby, I'm HOME
45. I forget if this is 44 Questions =grin= or 48. Either way, I'm gonna go over. If you're tired quit here, the remaining is boring
46. Miracle: None of our kids are active in alcoholism or other drug addictions
47. Saw a man get run over by a street cleaning machine once. He was killed instantly. In newspaper next day
48. I did not call police. 4AM. I was completely insane with all kinds of shit, afraid I'd go to jail. Street cleaner guy didn't even realize what he did. I was alone with the dead guy. I KNEW they'd think I did it.
49. I drowned once. I was in Sea Scouts. Some fool said he smelled alcohol. They brought me back into the world. Good practice for CRP (or whatever...) I'm not good with acronyms. KUTGW
50. My father was deaf and blind--totally. He operated and managed a dairy farm, loved animals. I could easily write another 50-some items about him. When he died, two nuns wrote an unpublished book about him titled, LIVING WITH JOY. Reminds me of our 12X12, Step twelve, first sentence is: "The joy of living is the theme of A.A.'s Twelfth Step."
51. I speak fluent English...well, at least understandably so
52. I didn't do HALF the things Lou did, but my life was/IS full
53. Yes, believe ME, I am SO grateful for God bringing me here, and for YOU all bringing me back to Him. Thank you, thank you
54. You all are fortunate I'm stopping here. I could stretch this thing into 100 easily
Sober 36 years (March 18, 1974), I am a former symphony violinist who loves prose, poetry, drawing, music (of course!) art of many genres and philosophies.
Here I will write about my life, thoughts, addiction recovery, and almost anything else of which I know very little.
Laughter, happiness, peace, enthusiasm and love shape my life these days.
If you enjoy reading my stuff, please be welcomed here.
If you do not enjoy, please be nice and leave the room quietly--grin!!