DRINKING ALCOHOL TAUGHT ME HOW TO FLY
THEN IT TOOK AWAY THE SKY

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ONE STEP AT A TIME


STEP ONE


About one week ago, Hank tagged me to blog about Step One. I procrastinated for a few days--too busy, ya know--until I forgot completely. Reading Mary Louisey's October 24 blog (scroll down to find it) on the Second Step, reminded me to get on the stick:


When I became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I admitted that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable. I realize the first step includes the word "We" which meant to me I needed you. How TRUE! Because I had tried SO many times to stay stopped. Note that hundreds (thousands?) of times I had stopped drinking, when mostly I went into my hour-or-two of oblivion.

I stopped drinking many times every day, every time I screwed the cap on the vodka bottle or put the cork back on the wine bottle. But I could not STAY stopped, could not STAY sober. I promised myself--countless times--that "this is the last one...ever". Oh, my puzzled brain, when next morning I'd awake looking straight up at birds sitting on power lines, looking down at me. I experienced frequently that remorse known only to addictive people (or great sinners?), when occasionally remembering where I had been, what I had said and done, and to whom.

In March 1974, I had been seeing a counselor, who had me cut way back on my alcohol consumption, way back to 1 little pint of vodka per day. (I remember buying a case of pints on sale.)

On Monday, March 18, he said to me, "Today is the day of your last drink. Tomorrow night you will attend your first Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have arranged for someone to meet you there. Good luck."


At my first AA meeting, I heard the following words, but did not remember them. "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:


1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable."

And since my life was at that time in complete, utter CHAOS, I sensed that I was in the right place. And, here I am--October 2008--still free of alcohol, and free of SO much more! Often have I pondered why some of us--many of us--do not make it. The difficulty seems to arise in those of us who never really admitted that we were powerless over alcohol. We had a mental reservation. We kept debating with ourselves and finally reached the wrong answer.

In Step One, right next to 'powerlessness', (or under?), 'surrender' comes to mind as SUCH an important word/concept for me. I DO recall thinking this: "Please, AA people, tell me what to do. I am helpless and hopeless. I cannot do this. I want to drink SO badly, it's been 20 hours now."

I had given up. I had surrendered. I had lost all mental willfulness, all physical energy, and could fight no more.

Even though I've not drank alcohol for many years, I know, in my heart of hearts, a drink is only a slip of the mind away--for me. I must constantly think about how to give this (sobriety) away, in order to keep it. And, still, here I am...and this I remember always, a quote from I don't know where:

"The dead drug leaves a ghost behind. At certain hours it haunts the house."


soberoni

Friday, October 24, 2008

IS GOD WORKING?

Picture yesterday was posted in error.
Above is the boat we have chartered for our
7-night Gratitude Cruise through the Caribbean

GOD IS WORKING,
EVEN AS WE ARE NOT!

Sugden Theater is the name of a playhouse in downtown Naples. Groups such as The Naples Players produce theatrical presentations throughout the year. It is one outlet for retired, and/or visiting actors and actresses, dancers, singers, etc., to perform. In Naples however, it a far cry from "typical" small-town theater. The shows here are first-rate in the small-town, resort category.

I have long wanted to see if I could still cut the mustard in an orchestra pit, but the opportunity just never happened. This afternoon I received a call. They need a violinist to "fill in" for this Saturday night performance. The caller even told me that I was at the bottom of his list of available players. -grin-

In the past, at such a remark, I would have already been "busy"--yeah, busy sitting at home blogging! Or watching TV, or riding my bike. But, you know, I was 'inspired' to recognize the caller's honesty. It was almost as if (this might be stretching it!) it was God Calling, to say, "I'm sending you a chance to play this show, get back in the swing of playing with others, under a conductor. Do your best, and We'll take it from there."

So, tonight (Thursday) I attended the performance, and sat in the orchestra pit next to the violinist I'll be replacing. Sort of like "Show-and-tell"?? Try to understand the next paragraph, in the light of someone learning how to play the music--like I did tonight--just by listening to the orchestra, and taking notes.


This reminds me SO much of a Charlie Brown "Peanuts" comic strip: Charlie's uncle wants to learn how to play the violin, so he goes to a concert, to see how the violinists DO it. He goes home, only to find that he cannot even play one note. When Charlie asks, "What is he going to do?" The answer: Oh, he's going back next week, and try it again, but this time he'll sit real close, up front!"


It is like a newly sober woman or man, sitting at meetings, never working the steps, never getting a sponsor, never making coffee, or setting up chairs and tables, never sharing...in other words, not practicing our beautiful program, yet expecting the result to be a happy and peaceful sobriety. It just ain't gonna work that-a-way.

Anyway guys, say a little prayer for me--I'll have to get Prayer-Girl on it also. These shows last several weeks each, and so playing a few throughout a given year COULD pay for the October 2009 Eighth Annual Fall GRATITUDE CRUISE!*


mustard-cutting-a-roni


*In case ya missed yesterday's blog,
we're sailing
Sunday on the Freedom of the Seas,
(as of now) the largest passenger liner afloat.
Day after tomorrow we'll board for the 2008
Seventh Annual Fall Gratitude Cruise

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
(First stanza of Sea Fever by John Masefield)


Sunday afternoon, October 26, 2008 Anna and I will be off on our first ever cruise. For seven nights--returning the following Sunday--our hotel will be the ship, (pictured above) Freedom of the Seas 4,300 passengers and 1,300 crew can live on this floating city. About 250 of the total will be us Alcoholics Anonymous on the Seventh Annual Fall Gratitude Cruise. Among the other several-thousand humans will no doubt be other recovering alkies.


Ya know, I am naturally excited about this mini-vacation, the food, the peacefulness, the fun, and the food! But what I'm REALLY looking forward to is the opportunities to meet, greet, and get to know others, in and out of our program. My heart pumps faster as I await this future. I really mean that.


It is Thursday, and I'm still hoping to latch on to a laptop before Sunday. So addictive am I, that I would definitely give up my motor scooter--if that were a condition--to keep in touch with my truly wonderful new friends of our Alcoholics Anonymous blogging community. Those who know me will realize what a profound statement I just made. Those who know me will realize how true that is.

Aside from my AA meditations books, and a few 'assorted electronic toys', the only "stuff" I'll be taking is my violin. If I didn't practice for a whole week, I'd have to start as a beginner again--and that would suck!

Sort of like if I don't practice these principles of AA in all my affairs...before long I'd again start as a beginner in our program of Twelve Steps. That's the way it is, and I love it.

As I fondly think about all you bloggers and those who comment so wisely--or humorously--in our AA blog community, I KNOW I'll be humming that old song, of which beginning words are: "I can't stop lovin' you...No matter what I try to do...etc.


Since this does not happen until Sunday...the purpose of this message is to give y'all a heads-up, just in case one or two of you might miss my blongs.

ahoy-a-roni

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

CAN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS

Lake City, CO is down there somewhere--see it? Click on pic to enlarge.
Good AA group, fine restaurant, and ICE CREAM parlor.
Oh, and real estste sales. And beauty all around!!
Little over an hour from Powderhorn, CO.



IT CAN'T GET ANY
BETTER THAN THIS--

CAN IT?


Well, I used to say that many years ago, every day. Then came a bunch of years that I thought could not get any worse...but they did. And that was in sobriety. Now, I'm in complete agreement with ZJ (ZaneJabbers), when he says , "It just will not get any better than that!" Well, maybe not 'complete' agreement. Because each time I say that or believe it...it DOES get better!


It used to be I was wary of people who (almost) always said, "I feel GREAT!" In fact, I don't even remember anyone saying that constantly...consistently. But I do say it, because that's mostly the way it IS, friends. And it has been that way for a long time now. Sure, there are little quirks now and then...we're not talking PERFECTION here! OK?

One recent habit of mine these days is--when riding my bike--asking God to let me be an instrument in delivering His and AA's message of sobriety. And please to let me know what He wants me to say or do, and with whom. Well, my Higher Power has been 'right on' with this.

Yesterday, on the way to a 5:30, I asked that He allow someone to be helped by me at the meeting. Before I got in the room--out in the parking lot--a strange lady walked up to my bike and she seemed to need special help. So I gave her my wife's phone number and said, "If a man answers, hang up" -grin- ...or ask for Anna. Who would EVER figure she might call. She DID!


This morning before the meeting, I met a guy (who was having trouble "with the God thing", you know what I mean?). I said if he'd stay for the meeting, he would hear some "good stuff" around the room of 86 people--many of them long-time sobers. As you'd guess, he DID hear some wonderful words of wisdom, some real bon mots--and so did I.

Later, I saw him with his sponsor. He was visibly moved and I overheard him say, "...and I was not even going to come into the room this morning, when Steve gave me a 'push', and I received the most marvelous revelations about my Higher Power...."

BTW, I HAD prayed to God--on my way to my meetings at 5:30 AM--to allow me to assist in His work this morning. And also, I knew ahead of time, the topic for today, because I was chairperson! Ha! Sneaky!


And so ends another day
When I may humbly say
and in Gratitude--pray
"It just doesn't get any better than this!"

sober-roni

Monday, October 20, 2008

EASIER SOFTER WAY?



This angel is on Prayer Girl's desk. Name is Flex (Flexible) PG pictured it recently
and I thought you'd like to know--it isn't just a --you know--Internet pic.


THE EASIER SOFTER WAY



The daily, hourly and minute-by minute action of turning my will and my life over to the CARE of God as I understand Him (MY Higher Power) is a piece of our program, that if I skip it, is like going to a play, walking out before Act III, and returning at the beginning of Act IV. I just might miss something.

Why did I not let go, and let God? I'll tell you why, it was because I did not want to give up my power--as if I HAD any power! I pretended that I was 'in charge'. I had pretended all my life. I believe, looking back, that was/is the most difficult shortcoming of mine. That, and denial that I had any problem, whatsoever.

I became willing to give it up, that I had to finally ('humbly') say to God, "I'm ready! Take it away, please. I cannot do this alone". And He DID remove it. But, even yet, this grave emotional problem returned, now and again. What did I miss? Aha! In Step six is an unobtrusive little word, "ENTIRELY"! How important are those little every-day words in our steps? Bill W. was ever so careful with words. He communicated to us through our Big Book, utilizing great consideration and thoughtfulness.

I sometimes say to my Higher Power, "Please God, You choose for me today, what to do and say. I will go about my necessary daily chores, try to be where I'm expected, but You will decide WHO to put in front of me, and when. Further, I HUMBLY ask You to give me words to say, Your words of support and comfort, Your message of Peace and Love." Wish I could remember to say this every wakeful hour.

NOW! When I DO say--and mean--words like that to my Higher Power, it makes life oh! so much easier to live. (The easier, softer way?) Taken from me--and automatically, it seems--made for me are numerous decisions through a given day. Mostly small decisions, which lead, sometimes rapidly, to more important ones. And, if I am maintaining my spiritual life, my day likely will end with a good measure of serenity, and an even larger portion of happiness.

easier-softer-way-a-roni

Sunday, October 19, 2008

MY GRATITUDE LIST





On these blogs I read so many gratitude lists. Some are short. Others, not. But all are evidence that we are progressing. "We", because likely I am experiencing--more or less--the same gifts for which others are grateful. And reading your lists reminds me why I need to thank my Higher Power, daily, even hourly. Since I do not write my own list often on here, I depend on those who do. And so I am grateful today for the GRATITUDE LISTS of my friends

Thank you SO much!
usingyou-a-roni

I was asked to speak for nearly an hour at an AA group last night (Saturday). In the past I have been asked to speak a couple dozen times (or more?) during my 34-year period of AA sobriety. Always, without fail, my nervousness has overcome all else, and my talks--in my opinion--were of no value whatever to anyone else, nor to me. My mind went completely blank--always.

Last night, however--and one week ago, on a Thursday night--my message seemed to spill out so clearly, succinctly, and well--again, in my opinion--that the surprise didn't hit me until I was biking home. And I could not help myself from being overcome with gratitude. Gratitude to God, for teaching me, all these former years, how to deliver experience, strength, and hope to others. God allowed me to relax, enjoy, and actually 'have fun'. He also allowed me to discover another of many gifts He has bestowed upon me. My thoughts have been so positive today (really, as usual, I guess!), and I love SO much my Higher Power, and that part of Him I can now see in others.

No more do I fear that what I say from my heart will be rejected by some, ridiculed by others, or given accolades. My words are no longer MY words, ya know what I mean?

To a great extent, these have become my own: a new freedom, and a new happiness; serenity and peace; knowledge that my experience DOES benefit others; no longer do I harbor thoughts or feelings of uselessness and self-pity; interest in my AA friends AND others has entered my life in wholehearted ways; really now, believe this--my attitude and outlook on life has changed; economic fear has left me, even in these so-called scary times; I do not fear people (in fact, just recently I have made amends to several AA members, long-standing hard feelings have been washed away with SO few healing words); some situations I can now handle with ease, which used to trouble me horrendously; all I needed was willingness, for God to do things to and for me, which I could never bring about on my own.

Oh, my God, I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. My life (at this moment!) is truly being run by You, and I have finally 'let You in'--and I am ready and willing to do Your Will. Please show me what, and lend me the power I'll need, and keep me just enough healthy to do these things for You. I have no expectations. It is still one-day-at-a-time and that is the ONLY way I can live.

This life is exciting, and I am excited...and I have not had a coffee for over five hours, so this is the 'real' Steve E. here...writing.

real-a-roni

Saturday, October 18, 2008

REFLECTIONS



REFLECTIONS


My daily 6 AM meeting format uses Daily Reflections as the topic. This morning a girl--about age 30--walked into the room, and promptly introduced a topic. I'll call the girl Alma:

Alma befriended Betsy, her partner in a local treatment center for sixty days. In a sixty-day live-in program one gets to know another pretty well, in fact, better than anyone else in the world. That's what I hear, anyway. Alma and her 'best friend' Betsy (fictitious) each have three small children, are married, have the same problem--the disease alcoholism, etc. Each came out (graduated? See what I know?) five days ago. They kept in close touch. They were both determined to 'make it' this time around.


Betsy did not 'make it'. She died in her sleep of an overdose, next to her unknowing husband, who found her unwake-able . Alma has lost a good friend. Possible her best friend. Possible NOT her only friend, because Alma knew what to do, where to go.


Alma went to the hospital, said goodbye to her friend, cried with Betsy's husband and family. Then Alma got out her phone list--that list which so many leave untouched, having never been used or thought about. Alma made use of that list by calling the numbers and talking to AA people. Then Alma drove to the gas station, she knew she'd be needing to drive places. Alma said she had a bad Friday. She attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous at 8:30 PM, then turned around and was awake very early, so came on over to the 6 AM meeting, stayed for the 7 and the 8 o'clock also.

As I was leaving the 6 AM room to wait some minutes for the 7 AM to begin, I noticed a woman kneeling with Alma. J is Jewish, and was kneeling to pray with Alma. I turned around, asked permission to join them. As I knelt there also, I heard the most profound communication from J. her words were as healing as a Rabbi might have intoned. And her counsel had a wonderful spiritual effect on our small threesome, kneeling at the couch.

I got up to excuse myself, and Alma reached over, touched my arm, and I cried as our eyes met. I just told this story to Anna, who said, "Well, Blog it!" As I got up to leave, I noticed that two other men had joined us, silently kneeling in the room. How impressive! Alma had just been told how her 'best friend' was REALLY her 'best friend', even in death--she left Alma an inheritance message. "Stay with A.A. Stay with these people. Stay close, stay sober, and trust your Higher Power." One day, Alma will Pass It On--this message of spreading the good news of hope, understanding, and love.

Alma, my wife Anna is "Prayer Girl" on the Internet. And so please believe, you are being remembered often these early days in your sobriety, and in your trials. Love,

Steve E
.

Tonight I speak again at the 8 PM meeting. I intend to read-- verbatim--this story, at the end of my talk.

Friday, October 17, 2008

ONE BEAUTIFUL DAY

A friend gave me a foot-long cutting from an Angel Trumpet tree. All I did was stick it in the ground and water it, and talk to it. The odor it emits at night is SO like Jasmine, even more close to honeysuckle. and it covers the neighborhood with its beautiful smells. Angel statue is a reminder of my Guardian angel Flex (flexible).

Do not touch your monitor. This plant is poisonous!

ONE BEAUTIFUL DAY!


When Anna bought her motor scooter (Yamaha Morphous 250cc) she also bought a "Maintenance Agreement" which would over the course of 3 years, save her a few hundred bucks. Salesman said "With this card, you will be pushed always to the front of the line for service." And that HAS been our experience with other bikes, other dealers.


It took an hour to travel to the dealer in Ft Myers, and we figured to have a nice lunch, pick up the bike and head for home. NOT! Service man told us we could have our "vehicle back in 48". I said, "You mean between 4 and 8 PM?" NOT! he meant 'come back in 48 hours'. Well, that's 2 days. If my only means of transportation is my bike, I'm in deep doo-doo.

It's a 39.3 mile walk back to Naples.

OFF-BLOG:

In Marathon terminology, that's THREE "half-marathons" (13.1 miles each half!). I'm really grinning (yeah, right!) over this business of a non-runner--couple days ago--writing a comment implying that running a half marathon is like doing something only halfway. When the BS quits flying, it begins to pile up. I know about these things. -grin- (I used to drive the team pulling the manure spreader!)

BACK ON BLOG:

We tried to obtain a refund of (well, the whole $799) and the manager and owner said "NOT!"


But they finally did take care of us--in a fashion--and I could see some problems among the staff behind the service desk...service???

Here's the part where AA paid off. We had already been there an hour and our paperwork had not even been attempted. I told the manager that he and I were very fortunate. When he asked Why, that was my cue: I told him that 35 years ago, he would have called the police by this time. And I would have been on my way to the Ft Myers jail, and quite a few really beautiful big bikes would have been destroyed.

Because I used to go berserk over matters of this magnitude. And I told him what Alcoholics Anonymous did for me (and today, for him, better believe it!). He smiled. I think we could become friends.

If I am a "meeting-goer", who sits there day after day (enjoying the AA 'show') and simply just doesn't drink, the end of my day would have had a different outcome. But I am a meeting goer AND a "step taker". That has taught me over many years, to ask myself the question, "Just how important Is It?"

And I ask my Higher Power for help. And He does help. And adversity can be turned into a learning experience for all involved.


pissedoff-a-roni?


Lagniappe!
Picked up a nail in MY rear bike tire. "Service Dept. Mgr." said $300 for new tire, plus $70 to install it. Biker Friend, also World Renouned Phtography Expert Jim H. "plugged" it...for FREE! Saved us $370+tax. Thank you friend. Thank You, God!

Please understand that the best part of this event was not the 'saved' $370+tax...but being with a guy I like, if only for 15 minutes. With a really 'cool' guy, yes, a friend. WWW="What a Wonderful World"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BAREFOOT BOB

BAREFOOT BOB

FROM BAREFOOT'S PAGES



The following is taken from the pages of Barefoot Bob's Collected AA Writings. About 12 years ago I met Barefoot on his web site. Then I met him in person as his catamaran was laid up in a boat repair facility on Pine Island, off the coast of Ft Myers, in the Gulf of Mexico. I had been following his daily logs (a blog?) as he set sail alone for distant lands.

His main-mast tore off in a storm, and his boat was lifeless. He never made it, as far as I know. He IS alive and well now, back in Idaho. When I read he was laid up just over an hour from Naples, I biked up there and paid him a surprise visit. He was exactly my age, AND he sobered up in 1974, my year--so we shared stuff right off. Following is an excerpt, an example, of his online copious, and colorfully- written material:


THE IMPORTANCE OF THE
THIRD LEGACY OF SERVICE



Could Bill W., Dr Bob and the 'first 100' have survived without service to each other? Those of us alive and sober today are a result of their service in writing the Big Book, AA Comes of Age, the 12 and 12, and all the rest of the AA literature, and the tremendous work and sacrifice required to keep the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous going.


Could they just as well left out Chapter 7 in the Big Book, and that 1st paragraph which states, "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics!".


Could they have done nothing but sit around and just not taken the first drink?


Of course they might have done just that, but if they had, you and I would still be out there or dead! Thank God they didn't forget us, but if we want it to continue we will have to get off our dead butts and do something besides talk about it!


The absolute importance of the AA Credo must be ingrained in the consciousness of the AA member--


I AM RESPONSIBLE--

When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help,


I want the hand of A.A. always to be there.

AND FOR THAT I AM RESPONSIBLE!

To Give of Ourselves from the Fullness of Life as we have found it to be,
to those who have not yet found Life to be Full, is the key to continued Sobriety, Happiness, and Serenity.

Love and Peace,

Barefoot

Barefoot's AA Collections is also linked in my sidebar under "Places I Go Often"

barefootfriend-a-roni

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PLAY BALL!

Johnny Bench

PLAY BALL!


In early grade school, at the time I received the "Back-To-The-Future" nickname ALKIE, the guys all played baseball during recess. I was a 'country bumpkin', the local yokel, so to speak. Right off the farm, carrying a violin case, and I was what you might say, untrained (bungling, inept, clumsy) in sports.


So when it was time to "play ball", we first-graders would all line up, and the two 'captains' would start picking their players. Naturally, the best ones were chosen early, and the worst--me--would be standing after all others were being assigned their positions.


Then, the argument began (every day!) as to who would be saddled with Alkie, the guy who consistently struck out, overthrew home plate, missed fly balls, ran the wrong way, etc. Eventually, I was told, while at bat, just to stand there, "don't swing". And mercifully, they let me 'walk' every time, so at least I would get on base. This was real 'charity'.


One day I said to myself, "To hell with it, I'm gonna SWING." And I hit the ball so far, I could have run the bases twice! Thereafter, I was accepted as a possible outfielder, batting cleanup--fourth in the lineup.

But I would NEVER forget the feeling of being left out, being put down, being 'less than', being the clodhopper farmer, who couldn't "swing it."


Eleven years later I was a violinist in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. But that grade school crap long lingered. My self esteem had been injured beyond repair, except it went away when I drank, which by then was most of the time.


In early 2008, I had been informed that my grade school chums, of the class of (OMG!) 1947, would be holding a reunion in Cincinnati in late September 2008, (several weeks ago). I became so excited to see these people, see how they'd aged and I had NOT -GRINNNN- that I accepted immediately their invitation. Through the summer I thought carefully about going back to my home town/home school at this time. I've been there often enough, but did I wish to go THIS time?
I have to admit...if this class reunion would've happened in Gatlinburg TN, or in NC Blue Ridge Mountains, I'd have BEEN there without hesitation.

Rightly or wrongly, I considered that if we made the' pilgrimage', I'd miss Blogging, the daily two or three meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, the 'comforts' of home, the wonderful, happy motor scooter rides, and playing at the Sunday masses one weekend.

So I did not pack up and make the reunion. I was missed. I've been sent pictures, notes, and stories, none of which really excited me.

Ya know what excites me? Your blogs and your comments on all the other blogs, and the sharing (never used to like that word) and real caring that goes on here. The side Emails which support us, the occasional phone conversation which ring tones of love, and daily communicating, all--for me--put together a family like which I've never known.

SO....even though my old classmates probably would have still called me "ALKIE", I would have made sure that they knew I am now ANOTHER SOBER ALCOHOLIC. Maybe that would have been reason enough to attend. Hmmmmm?

Thanks for reading--if anyone DID! -grin-


playball-a-roni

THE "GOD THING"

At age 10, I used to go back on our farm, and 'clean up'
in a creek such as this. I do not have a credit to publish.



THE "GOD THING"


This morning I was given the opportunity to chair a meeting. 80 people is a lot for a discussion, but we do it every single morning of the year (just had a thought: I counted 81 people, and $88.50 in the basket--I think that's good for "these hard times"). I always love to chair--and I never ask, "Does anyone have a topic they wish to discuss?" I figure they should have asked me beforehand. Also, I have heard some mighty weird topics come spontaneously from the floor.


So, my topic was (is now) "Knowing God". And I wanted to cram everything I've learned about God into 12 minutes, not an easy chore. So I tried this: that if I know God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not know their Higher Power, no explanation is possible, and only a fool would attempt to define "It". Often have I been that fool!


So, where are we then? How can I learn about God, how can I acquire knowledge of my Higher Power? The answer to that is hanging on the walls of most rooms where Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held--Our wonderful Twelve Steps! In the taking (working) of those Steps, THAT is the way I found "It". provided I have become open-minded. If it's not hanging there on the wall, then try our wonderful Big Book, page 59, the Steps are there...


NOTE: There were the usual ,
"old-timer's group"--Hell, I AM an old-timer--sitting together, who believed (and said so!) that we did not need to talk "God" in a room where there were a dozen people with fewer than 90 days sobriety. I disagree, but did not say so. God will speak to whomever needs to hear. That's what I now believe.

Later, I find (again!) in our BB, Chapter 2, Page 25 ..."The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous." (italics mine)

It seems to me that if our Big Book speaks freely about God and "our Creator" so early, (Chapter 2) page 25, then this "Higher Power", or "God Thing" should not necessarily be kept under wraps--from a beginner's eyes--for too long.

Today, I am grateful to have a 'room'--YOU readers, my real friends!--where I can vent, if I feel even in the slightest... "wronged". I got 'happy' again, just writing this to you. Thanks for listening. I ask God to bless this day for each one in our blog community.

sober-roni

Sunday, October 12, 2008

NOT ABOUT ALCOHOLISM

As Long As We Keep Clean Our Side of the Street

As you may notice, this Blog has no reference to our wonderful program.
I attended four meetings today, and just wanted the rest of the day day OFF!
But didn't want to miss a day on the BLOG. Is that addiction, or what?

Guess I'm a bit 'down.
My Dolphins blew it today.

I feel like the Indian who, when he saw that his dog had jumped off the cliff, said "Doggone!"
That's where we got the expression.

(Stayin' in the day in a doggone, sober, dog-day sort of way--but HAPPY...HAPPY! -grin-)
Sorry, Pam!


TO GOD
FROM:
THE DOG


Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?


Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the' Chrysler Beagle'?

(Editor Note: There IS the Greyhound Bus, ya know!)

Dear God: If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?

Dear God: We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?


Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.


Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?

Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good dog.


1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it OR after they throw it up.

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.

3. The Litter Box is not a cookie jar.

4. The sofa is not a 'face towel'.


5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.


6. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.


7. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of saying 'hello'.


8. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table.


9. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house - not after.

10. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.


11. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch.


12. The cat is not a 'squeaky toy' so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.
P.S.

And, Oh Yes! Dear God: When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back?
OH, Thank You, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

Posted by a VERY grateful doggie

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'M JES" SAYIN'....


Steve at his computer after Miami loss...

Miami Dolphins is MY TEAM, guys. And it breaks my heart to lose to Houston by one lousy point! (And I probably just lost six readers!) Have to find some replacements, maybe Kyle will start reading my blog?

GIVING
:

Ya know, sometimes I meet someone coming in the door of Alcoholics Anonymous, who is really down-for-the-count. And I have a natural tendency to want to help....e.g., give him/her a few bucks.


Then I think, hell no, he'll just go and drink it up, etc. But ya know, in 'giving', I give, not directing how it'll be spent. I've heard that we should take the person out to lunch, instead of giving him cash. Well, OK, whatever...the point is--"giving".


Yep, giving...good for the soul. The most rewarding 'giving' is to give someone in need, something to fill that need (Like a gift certificate to a grocery store?). And I do it ANONYMOUSLY! Doesn't that sound COOL? Yes, it is the ultimate "cool'! They usually suspect "who did it?" But they never know for sure! Cool! I cannot help but think that my Higher Power enjoys that, also?

"In giving, do not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing!", as the saying goes...


I WAS THERE (AGE 8)


Returning from a hard day's work in the fields, they used to say to the hired hands, sitting high atop the mule-drawn wagonload of hay (the workers were by then guzzling their White Port), "Don't fall off the wagon!"

I always thought they meant actually 'fall off the wagon' which was piled high with the last hay load of the day. ...and by gosh, that's what they DID mean! Wonder if that's where the term originated? Well, it surely affects my sobriety, not knowing the correct answer to this and other similar questions!


UNSEEN SPIRIT


Occasionally I 'feel' a presence in a room with me, or on the highway, or in a field, or in a church, or in an AA meeting, or as I drop off to sleep. I wonder, was that the "Unseen Spirit" about which we've all read and heard? I like meditating on the 'Unseen Spirit'. I like meditating! That might be a fewtchah topic one day soon. Ha! Now steveroni is into "Previews of Coming Attractions"--holy crap! -big grin-

Friday, October 10, 2008

HODGEPODGE...

"The Climbing Tree"

HODGEPODGE....

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS



You probably have not noticed that somewhere on these blogs, or in comments, once a day, I purposefully write out the words "Alcoholics Anonymous". And when I give a talk, I'm sure to say those words a couple times. (BTW, last night's talk at the 'cookie' meeting went real well--it's finally come to be FUN for me when I'm asked to give a talk!)


There is a reason why I prefer to use the words, instead of just "AA". Of course, we all know for what the acronym "AA" stands. But it keeps me better focused on the real meaning of the two most important words in my life ever. Alcoholic, that's the real ME! And Anonymous, which is often NOT me. I do SO need the humility which comes with anonymity. I have a need to hear those two words spoken aloud by either me or someone else--often and daily.

THE DOUBLE "A"

Couple years ago I knew a recovering alcoholic, who always (well, for two months!) referred to our society as the "Double A". He only said that at eleven meetings, because he got drunk after that, and no one has seen him since. Salute to the "Double A".


BEETLES' "YESTERDAY"


"Yesterday.......
...all my troubles seemed so far away,

...as I returned from comatose;
...and I began to breathe again."

HERE WAS ME:


I found this paragraph in our Big Book--it defines EXACTLY my characteristic drinking/sleeping behavior for the two or three years before I was led to Alcoholics Anonymous. .....

"And I remembered the creeping horror of the interminable night, in which I slept for short spells and woke dripping with cold sweat and shaken with utter despair, to drink hastily from my bottle, and mercifully pass out again."
Edit: (And again, and again, and again. Then morning came, fucking, crappy-day morning.)


'You're insane, you're insane, you're insane' pounded through my brain with each returning ray of consciousness...and I drowned the refrain with alcohol."

--Taken from a story in Big Book: "WOMEN SUFFER TOO", pg 224 (3rd Edition)


ME TODAY:


You could not find a more consistently happy guy on this planet! (Ask my wife, Anna. She thinks I am TOO happy!) I am sober, and at peace--at least for today--with my Higher Power, Whose Name is God. I LIVE for waking, and enjoy from the first sip of coffee, my activities, which these days are mostly AA-or St Elizabeth Church-related. I love my family, my AA friends, and other friends. Especially my Blog-world friends do I love--sometimes I believe you are the closest relationships I have. Maybe that's bad, I don't think so. My Higher Power speaks to me often during a given day through you wonderful people. Thank you, thank you!


inheavenonearth-a-roni

Thursday, October 9, 2008

ACCEPTANCE


Acceptance: Alcoholics Anonymous is a Gift from God. However, a gift is NOT a gift unless it is accepted by a recipient. It takes two for a giving to be completed. Every gift is twice blest, in him that gives and him that takes. (Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice...greatly paraphrased)


Meeting last evening was on "acceptance". Good topic. Most everyone shared, and the thoughts centered about accepting my alcoholism--more than simply admitting it? (I always thought admitting MEANT accepting, but whatever.


Next prevalent thoughts were that I need to accept persons, places, and things, as they are--for the most part--because there is VERY little outside myself, that I can change. Even when I disagree with persons, speakers, meeting consensus, groups, governments (Ooops!), and other things, I must learn to accept them.

Well, sobriety has become a habit which I'm enjoying, and so I try to grow in this virtue which used to sound to me quite trite (rhyme!), e.g., "acceptance". And I AM lots more accepting than in the far--OR recent--past. But a thought did occur to me during the meeting. NOTE: Watch out, Steve--a thought! Thoughts are BAD for me, especially when I'm alone...or with someone.


I have become a happy person, mostly a fun person, a spirit-filled person. As long as it fits into God's will (I only discern this under adult supervision, BTW), I'll DO it. Sometimes I'll get away with it! (Joke)

I find that people in general, especially old men (I'm only 75!) seem to dislike hearing someone claim to be in a happified state more than one day a week. So I've decided to accept being happy, and to proclaim it--as long as it may last. I accept it and just let those guys enjoy drinking their unsweetened lemon juice.

More and more I am noticing how happified (yes, it's a word!) I've become these past few years, with only a few indentations in overall serenity. It is only as THE result of our (my) program. So I will live in today in an acceptance kind of way. Ha! I LOVE it!


I'm speaking tonight at the "cookie" meeting, 8 PM, and I'm gonna tell them about you people, and what an impact you have made on my program, my life, and my lack of free time and SLEEP!


I am Grateful for:

being an alcoholic


AA

family


church


happiness

MOTOR SCOOTER!!!


health

AA Friends

special friends


And CERTAINLY though last...by FAR not least--you, my blog community.


accept-a-roni

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ANOTHER "P" WORD?

ANOTHER "P" WORD?

P

This is a story about P and his (our) Higher Power. Bloggers, you'll have to supply the name, because it is that name we all know so well a.k.a., Mickey. I tried to reach P to receive permission to use his first name--but "P" will have to do. Besides, this is about our Higher Power at work, not about P....or me! OK?

A number of years ago, a man named P came into our Tuesday Men's meeting, and left, then returned, then went out again, ya know what I mean. He joined the 'special research team of AA'--those who try out some more drinking, so the rest of us don't have to.

About a week ago, I noticed P again back in the room at the daily 7 AM "Early Dawn" Group. He announced he was returning. He looks good, and is a friendly chap. Fact is, he's an alcoholic and likes to drink. How unique! Duhhh. Well, P now has about 10 days or something like that, and after this morning's meeting I met P. again.

I was on my motorbike, stopped at a light, and P drove up beside me, handed me his card, said, "Please call me some time today. I want to talk to you." Well, naturally, my pride said to me, "Steve, this man finally has an acute awareness of the ONE person who he should seek to be his sponsor--Me! Right?" WRONG!!!

I was all set to blog tonight that I had a pigeon named P, I'd call him P II, etc., etc.

Digress now a minute here: This past Monday night I posted a blog about an early "Turning Point" in my AA life. God granted me the power to make a phone call, and my life was saved that night in 1975. Well, the topic of the meeting Tuesday morning (I chaired it) was "One Turning Point" in your life. P was there.

Back to real time: Today P, at that stop light in heavy traffic, handed me his card to call him. I made several calls, no answer. Finally, we connected. I was expecting him to say, "I need a sponsor". No. Instead, here, in essence is what he said:

"Steve, I want to thank you. Yesterday was one of the worst days in my life. The morning at my business was chaos. My habit when things were falling to pieces--always--was to go out at noon, and return to work the next day with a huge hangover. And so would have begun another drunk, probably this time with disastrous results."

P continued: "However, I remembered your sharing that morning about your huge 'Turning Point' when you had a choice between using the telephone, or embarking on a probable life-ending drunk....and you called for help. What a beautiful story."

P said, "And I thought to myself, if Steve could do that, so can I. So I called my sponsor C, and he and I talked, and worked it all out, and I'm still sober, and I'll see you tomorrow, Thursday morning, at the 7 AM meeting. Just wanted you to know, God IS working in my life, through you today! Thank you, thank you."

What a wonderful way to end my day. I cannot even begin to inventory things I might have done wrong today, for all the joy P's call brought me. There were other lightning-bright and illuminating events which happened around me and to me today. But this is just short of becoming a Blong, so I'll finish with expressing my heartfelt gratitude to God, AA, my wonderful meetings and friends, and for the unexplainable love God has put in my heart for you bloggers, on whom I rely so much for my continuing process of growing in spirituality!

blong-a-roni

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

WE OWE IT ALL TO GRANDMA...

Grandma Moses, 1953
September 7, 1860December 13, 1961


HOWDY DOODY, GRANDMAS


A BLONG:

Noticeably, several of the contributors to these amazing blogs are Grandmothers, and I just would enjoy to comment on that momentarily.


Grandmas are God's special gift to children, and (you know who you are!) you certainly are one of those gifts! A Grandma sometimes is 'taken for granted' by her own children, occasionally even 'used' as in "...please watch the children, I have something important which needs attention!" But Grandchildren know! They know who their Grandma is. They know that she means to them kindness, compassion, love, care giver, candy, a gift. A child realizes that Grandma IS a gift, and gladness fills the heart of a child, when told that, "Grandma is coming!"


There is something very spiritual about a Grandma. She has been a mother to a mother, or a mother to a father. She is the link between me and my ancestors. Grandmothers--since Eve--hold the key to spiritual togetherness, that spiritual connection of all humankind, from never to ever, from eterne to eternity.


My (very much German) Grandma saved my younger brother's life. he had fallen down from a hayloft onto concrete floor on his head (big-time fracture) and temperature was 106+ & he went into convulsions. He had turned the color of a purple grape. Grandma quickly assembled a tub filled with ice, and held him in it. Doctor said that act saved his life. (I was 8 years old...Jack was 3). We lived on the farm at that time. Old Grandma was simply visiting that day. Everyone else panicked. This is my recollection.


Another memory which stands out, is a happening in the year 1944. We had just acquired a new Victrola record player-recording machine. The heavily-weighted needle cut grooves into a plastic-type disk, thus was sound transmitted onto media, which could be retrieved with the record player. That's about as scientific as 'soundman-a-roni' can get! -grin- And so...Grandma was chosen as one of the first to 'cut a disk' or 'make a record'.


I'll never forget the sound of her Germanic-laden words, as she 'prayed' in her fashion, for the farm, the livestock, the hired hands, for all her own children, for the success of their businesses. Grandma prayed for her many (more than 40) grandchildren. Then she took another tack, prayed for the poor cold, wet, muddied and bloodied soldiers (on both sides) in Europe, in her mother country, those dying souls, who had not even the barest of chances to develop, live, and grow.


My real surprise came then, like a gunshot--I heard her pray for those who "could not put down the drink", those whose "...lives were in shambles, due to their obsession with alcohol." She did not use the word 'alcoholism', or 'alcoholic', but I knew of whom she spoke.


Funny, but that was the age when my own nickname had been reduced from 'Alkaseltzer' to 'Alkie'. None at that time realized that my nickname, the casual word 'Alkie', would soon prove prophetic, and would define my existence for the next thirty years.


And I would never, in a thousand years have believed, even thought for an instant, that you YOUNG Grandma Triathloners, and others like you, would let God work through you to save MY life. And now I know the secret...you did it so that you might stay sober, and so that I might be one day helpful to other alcoholics.


And you did (stay sober) and I AM (helping other 'Alkies')! I'm EVER so grateful!


Love ya, Grandmas!

--gramps-a-roni

Monday, October 6, 2008

WE STOOD AT THE TURNING POINT


WE STOOD AT THE TURNING POINT


A topic at the "New Dawn" Group 7 AM meeting Tuesday morning will be "The turning Point". I know this because I am chairing. Whatever topic one of the 65 people might wish to suggest, I can easily work it around to "Turning Point"! (NOTE: I prefer the 6 AM meeting, usually from 10-15 people.)

This evening, I got to thinking over some of the numerous turning points in my life, before and after I walked through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA saved me from a horrible period of continuing suffering, which probably would have have been followed by a horrendously painful and early death, that's true. But AA provided me a wonderful second (chance at) life of spiritual growth, usefulness, and participation in the game of enjoying this earthly existence.

The preface to today's turning point blog, is that I had my last drink the night BEFORE I entered into the inner sanctum of this fellowship , so wrongly named as one of the "self-help" programs, available to the insanity-laden drunk. This is an "unself" program, it is centered around "Selflessness". Each of our Twelve Steps begins with an invisible word "We", which actually IS the first word in the First Step. We don't drink, we go to meetings, and we help others--and we do lots of other stuff -grin-.

One year after I became a non-drinking member of AA, I came home--sober--one evening to an empty house. Gone was my wife, my children, all utensils, all furniture, I mean EMPTY! There was an old telephone on the floor, unplugged. I figured someone forgot to grab it on the last trip out. I was so heart broken. My spirit was gone. My 'feel-good' felt bad. I was shaking, sweating, my stomach felt as if I had been punched. And I was again "Alone and Lonely. I knew that loneliness such as few do. But all that was nothing that a good quart of vodka could not take care of, and make "all better"--instantly!

And I wrestled with this problem for a good length of time. Finally, I plugged into the socket that old phone and called our 24-hour Club. It was 8:50 PM. I asked whoever answered to send someone to my house NOW! I hurt bad, was only an inch from a drunk. Well might I never have recovered from that one.

Fifteen minutes later Tim came to my house, and he sat, listened, and watched, as I moaned and cried--more like sobbed. And he hugged me. First time ever a MAN showed that unexplainable love for me, that compassion, that identifying moment, as if to say to me,

"I know.
I've been where you are.
And I have been given a way out of my chaos.
I can show you the way,
if you are willing to work and learn,
and let God do the things you cannot."

Tim was my second sponsor. Often I think of Tim, and thank God for putting him into my life.

I realize each of us have similarly-placed events which we recall from time to time. Very few events in this life do I own. Well, this one I own. This one is mine! It is one of my most cherished early gifts.


NOTE: The second most prevalent "Turning Point" in my AA life happened during the past three months, that of being able to see myself more clearly--and at the same time meet all of you bloggers--on a daily basis, by writing and commenting. And it has been good for me. And I LOVE it, no mistake about that!

Thank you! With great gratitude,

turningpoint-a-roni

Sunday, October 5, 2008

KICK STANDS UP!


KICK-STANDS UP
Sunday

This Sunday afternoon, it was my hidden thrill to be a part of (other than apart from!) a group of 100 two-wheeled motor vehicles, usually known as "Hawlees", or Harley Davidson(s). One of these vehicles was a motor scooter (mine). The destination today was Bonita Springs, FL. There, we joined in the celebration of a man's life.

Tim G. was a "do-it" type of guy, into everything associated with alcoholism recovery--he was "a part of"...
Tim was killed back in August 2008, when a truck broadsided his "Hawlee". He was a very active member of several groups in Naples, did the jail and treatment center scenes, sponsored guys, attended many meetings, and was truly loved by all who knew him, and many who did not.

His wife, riding her own Harley that day, was involved in the same accident and severely injured. She only recently recovered enough to host a memorial celebration service for her husband. In typical Alanon fashion, she had Kleenex boxes strategically located to catch alcohol-free tears which were flowing throughout the ceremony.

It was impressive to me, a first-timer, adhering to the almost exciting command, "KICK-STANDS UP!" at 1:15 PM sharp. It was almost as with one click, stands were locked in place and engines roared. I kept feeling lots of hot air on my legs, blowing like engine puffs, and I recall thinking, "Oh wow, how embarrassing for the only motor scooter (mine) to be disabled before we got out into the heavy traffic.


I yelled my problem to the fellow next to me, and he pointed for me to look at the huge twin pipes on the monster several yards in front of me. Sure, it was his exhaust--puff...puff--which was making my trouser bottoms flap and blow as if in a hurricane.

We were instructed to go neither fast, nor slow, but reverently, and emergency flashers were on. Question: How do you make a Harley ride reverently? Answer: You pray that the guy close behind you at 61 mph is also working a good program of recovery. (I made that up, that's why it ain't very funny!)

The point here was that I was made to feel so much at home. These bikers, dressed in holey-kneed jeans are just not as rude and gruff as they seem--and they DO smile and laugh! But they seldom let 'normal' people see that side of themselves.

At one busy cross-street, the guy next to me and I were caught at a stop light, no way to run it. Besides, there were 50 bikes behind us--and 50 bikes in front of us (sound like a joke?). It dawned on me that he and I were now leading the split-off section. So I told him I'd never led a convoy before (hell, never even been IN one!), and this huge, muscle-bulging man said he's never led before either! So, we did the 'job', with superlative maneuvering and directing.

However...I confessed to him that I didn't know where we were going, that it would be up to him. That's when he said HE didn't know either, where we were headed. All we knew was the name of a church in Bonita. But, we did get us all there, in spite of our novice-like approach.


This was for me, another in a long list of God-shots in sobriety, which I would never have contemplated when drinking. No one else would have contemplated asking me to join them either!


All 300-400 people said the Serenity Prayer, and it gave me that sort of 'rush' you get when at a conference or convention of 20,000, all saying our usual stuff. It was goose-bump time.


I've been to dozens of AA funerals spanning years of "membership", and I do not say it lightly, that this one was the first which was actually FUN. Thank You, God, for a safe, fun, ride. A biker cannot ask for more.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

LITTLE OF THIS AND A LITTLE OF THAT



A LITTLE AA AND A LITTLE AMU STUFF (AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY)



Really I have not the slightest clue what this blog entry has to do with sobriety. Well, for one thing...the writer is me, and I'm sober! Another Happy Day!

BTW, I think I should let y'all in on a secret. Up to now, only Mary C has known that Prayer Girl is my wife Anna. She's getting pretty busy these days, but I certainly hope she continues to blog...I believe Anna has a lot to offer us. And she prays a lot...to Someone Who listens a lot! She's as much a 'keeper' as all you, my new friends on these blogrolls. (IMHO!)


Ramblings:

One of my Adult Supervisors:

A real sober lady I know uses the term "adult supervision", when speaking of her sponsor, or others to whom she looks for counsel. She humbly and consistently provides uncommonly common-sense advice to all who seek it, and has developed a devoted 'following' of alcoholic recoverers. This fine woman says that she keeps herself removed from pot, cocaine, alcohol, and mind-altering men!

One story is about a guy who walks into the bar and orders a double scotch, neat (no ice, no water). Immediately he orders and drinks another, then another, and another. After about 20 'anothers', he gets up to leave, and the bartender says to him, "Hey, the first drink you ordered is still sitting here, untouched." The weaving fellow slurs back at him, "Well, they told me that it was always the first one which would get me drunk."


New City, New University:


Ave Maria's Oratory (photo above) is now a parish church. Ave Maria, Florida sort of resembles a refined, and very catholic, Disney World section. In only a couple short years, the city now boasts that oratory, Ave Maria University with dormitories, a grade school, and a town, with a coffee shoppe! And People actually have moved there. It is 20 miles from the 'end of the world" so-to-speak. It's about 36 miles from our house, all country-type roads.

Anna and I attended the dedication where I had to pretend lameness in order to get a seat for the 2-plus hour event. Bishops, priests, nuns (from Spain--they are professors at the university), students, tourists and townspeople populated the palace-like structure.

We met and traded email addresses with people from Germany and England--we were even invited to spend time as guests by the British couple.

Before ending this posting I've GOT to tell y'all about Ave Maria dedication service. Most of the singing (even the mass) was sung in LATIN...OH! the JOY! It's been so many years since I've heard such beautiful choirs and soloists (AMU students) and expert organ handling. The acoustics rivaled many concert halls. I will not go deeper into this, because it would become a REAL blong!


Couple other times I rode out there on Flex (bike), once to meet a guy who works in Ave Maria, and wanted to stay sober. We attended the nooner mass, and he bought ME lunch! We were making progress for a few weeks, when he suddenly decided he is OK. This happened about two months ago.


I look forward to later today, visiting all your blogs, maybe even commenting (Ha! As if you could stop me from that.)

Received a few posts from Patrick this morning, thought he was long gone. It must be him who someone was blogging about the other day (getting rid of one more obnoxious blog visitor?) And Mr Paranoia thought she was referring to me! But, again, I'm still learning, "Steve, it's just not about you!" Well, thank God, again this time, it's NOT!

Friday, October 3, 2008

can't see the forest for the trees

AVE MARIA, FLORIDA
TWENTY MILES FROM NOWHERE



can't see the forest for the trees


A lover pressed his suit unsuccessfully for many months, suffering the atrocious pains of rejection. Finally his sweetheart yielded. "Come to such-and-such a place, at such-and-such an hour," she said to him.

At that time and place the lover finally found himself seated beside his beloved. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a sheaf of love letters that he had written to her over the past months. They were passionate letters, expressing the pain he felt and his burning desire to experience the delights of love and union. He began to read them to his beloved. The hours passed by, but still he read on and on.


Finally, the woman said, "What kind of fool are you? These letters are all about me and your longing for me. Well, here I am sitting with you at last, and you are lost in your stupid letters."



"Here I am with you." says God, "and you keep reflecting about me in your head, talking about me with your tongue, and searching for me in your books. When will you shut up and see?"



from THE SONG OF THE BIRD, by Anthony deMello
, Page 101
"The Talkative Lover"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WHO...me? busy?


WHO...me?


Today I was asked to speak at the rather large "cookie meeting" October 9. That will be fun for me, because it is the group where I walked into Alcoholics Anonymous for the first and only time in March 1974. There is only one lady left from those long-ago days. She is in Alanon. She is not young. About 200 people usually go there on Thursday nights.

I have many friends who attend regularly--from other groups. A lot of us go to a lot of meetings, and feel very much at home in a lot of groups.


My Home Group is the New Dawn 6 AM and 7 AM every day, and I go there every day.


Also I'm speaking at the ******Club October 18, that's a Saturday 8 PM. It's called a "structured" meeting, because men must remove their hats. I laugh at this--should not men remove their hats ANYWAY? And they require that the speaker wear a tie. I might wear a tie, might not.

I used to say,
in an UNhumble way,
"I only wear a tie when they pay me."

But that thinking is in the past also, so I'll put on a (Ughhhhh!) clean shirt and a tie, no doubt.


Also I was asked to chair for October the Tuesday morning 7 AM meeting which is a Topic-discussion. That will be easy. After all these years, I have beaucoup topics, except when I 'blank out'.

And these people are my friends, at least that's the way I see them. Often I hear God speak to me--through them. That used to be the only way I could be reached by God, through others. But sometimes (seldom) he sneaks into my brain while I'm meditating, with no distractions--none.


Also Anna and I and about 250 others who we have not yet met, are going on an AA cruise leaving October 26 returning November 2. There will be many more people aboard than us alkies, but a coffee room will be open 24/7 for that week, and we'll have meetings, meetings, etc.

Seems as if God thinks I need some extra doses of humility this month, or maybe these activities have piled up, for me to just see if I can Keep a tiny bit of humility? It's in His hands anyway, because that's where I've put it all.


Also playing masses at St Elizabeth Seton is a weekly thing for me now, this week Saturday at 4:30, and Sunday at 7:30. The times are my choices. I love doing that. But the congregation likes it all so much also, that I have to keep my ego in check. I just remember that I'm using God's gifts, in His house, for His people, and many other persons are engaged in many other activities, most of which are not so visible (nor aural!). But ALL are so very worthy.


This Sunday at 1 PM, lots of bikers (and me) are assembling in Naples, to ride to Bonita Springs to attend a memorial service for AA biker Tim G. He was killed recently when a truck slammed into his Harley. His wife sustained severe injuries also (on her own Harley) in the same accident. She will be there Sunday.

I've never ridden with a hundred bikers before this. Of all the things I have going, this is the one which scares me. Maybe (oh, this again?) let go, and let God? Hmmmmmm?


I wish you all Sobriety, Peace, and God's love.


busyguy-a-roni