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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

WEDNESDAY APRIL FOOL'S DAY


steveroni SR. b DEC. 1905---d APRIL 1, 1978

This is the inspired spontaneous writing of Nancy, upon hearing of my father Steve E. Sr's., death. Almost every word in this writing was taken out of Pop's final typed letter--March 25, 1978--to us.
Pop was deaf and blind.


Written 4-4-78: In memory of Steve E Sr. who died 4-1-78

In the spring
You called him home

Crocus bloom
Buds are springing

He spaded and planted,
Daffodils and tulips still growing

In the spring
You called him home

New birth for us all,
Wild animals and birds

Pear tree much alive,
Thanks again

In the spring
You called him home

Blind and Deaf
He sees and hears

Crocus Blooming
Buds are springing

In the spring
Of the Risen Christ
You called him home.

--Nancy

Bloggers, there is one more, these mean so much to me, as does the memory of this man--my father, who died on April Fool's Day 1978

4-4-78 In memory of Steve E Sr.

God, You took my friend
I love him so...

He was a God-like man
But that You know.

You took him in the spring
About the time You took
Your Son.

He was blind and deaf, Lord
You gave him such a
Huge Cross.

But Pop never HAD a cross.
ASK him.

He loved Your world
And he saw it with
Your eyes, Lord.
He saw it with love.

It's a lonely-looking world
Now, Lord
I'll close my eyes, Lord
From time to time
Maybe I can see
What Pop saw.

You were right, Lord
"The blind shall see."

Please Lord, tell him I miss him so.

--Nancy

In LOVE and service,
Sincerely,
Steve E.

UNCOMMON BECOMES COMMON


Hello. We have very little in common, except that I LIKE you. Do you want to be my friend? We may allow calmness, a feeling of wholeness, pleasure and happiness to rise as one, out of our friendship--our togetherness--at least for today. Thank You, God!
The cat and the bird to the right, are examples of "friends" from two different worlds, who know none other than that happiness which their collaboration as friends engenders. (My cat--Bert--told me he's seen enough "ugly dog" pictures on the blogs to last him nine lifetimes, so I posted a "Cat" shot today, to mollify him and me--and my TWO lifetimes.)


FRIENDS plus ATTACHMENTS

One of my good blogger friends--click on: Kristin--inspired this topic with her Monday blog. However, I had already been thinking about it--while riding my bike Monday morning in the new dawn--on my way to the meeting of the NEW DAWN group. To be really truthful, these thoughts were beginning to form during a phone conversation with my wonderful friend of nine months, who lives near Denver.

My family is first, they are (to an extent) lovingly non-removable, non-renewable, and irreplaceable. But I gotta tell ya--I CHERISH MY FRIENDS! And maybe too much.

Friends are truly among God's greatest gifts to me, they are the stars in my earthly heaven. They enjoy to see me happy, they are saddened instantly in the time of my sorrow, they silently thrill if God has allowed me an accomplishment of note, they are--to me--PURE GOLD! Yet, they are not "attached!"

My friends and family mingle into that 'circle of wagons' which become guardians of my oftentimes wayward thoughts and behaviors, my support in neediness, and love...well, just 'because'.

The problem--if indeed it be a problem--arises when I depend on that friend or friends, or family, or Motor Scooter, or house, or car, or job, or group so much so, that I would base my happiness on that 'connection' alone.

In other words, if I say to a friend (etc.) "I depend totally on you for my true happiness", that's not a good sign, buddy. I can say (think) something like this, properly: "When you and I are together, a happiness arises between us, which I cherish as God's gift to each of us, for the (moment, day, year(s), whatever)." Then, "When you--or I-- must move on, I will thank Him who lent you to me for these memorable moments, and I will be grateful to God, for my knowing, loving, you."

Invariably--in those cases--God does have something else in mind for each of us...but it is not easy to "let go", and let Him.

Of course, I am occasionally blest with nurturing a relationships as "friends-for-life" and who of us does not wish for more than a few of those? I have several friends--of course--and keep always open-minded to greet any new people God has waiting for me, whether on blogs, in AA meetings, at work, at play, or even in my families.

I must remember that a friend is put in my life by God, for His Own use and purposes. When God blesses a friendship, much can be accomplished for Him, in His Name

One more thing. A true friend of mine does not have to be always in agreement with me conceptually regarding politics, religion--even AA--or my understanding of a Higher Power. Just that we support one another in each other's world. Saying that--I have to admit, that a seemingly perfect match of friends is those who DO share many persuasions of beliefs -grin! (Now, who is prefekt?) LOL!

Hopefully and most assuredly, how 'bout all you friends join me in staying sober this Tuesday!

Peace, and love, my blogging Peeps.
Sincerely,
Steve E.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

BUSY DOING THINGS


IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS


This Sunday night I am in such a good place in my head. This is a result of some of the following experiences today:

Attended two meetings.
Played mass.
Visited with friends.
Stayed sober...as if...what else? -grin
Went to Step meeting (extra) 5:30 PM.
Talked to Fire Engineer daughter.
Visited with Anna's daughter, a 27-yr old sweetie.
Prayed.
Helped someone...really!
Phoned an out-of-town AA friend in evening.
Watched few minutes of TV--Hubba-hubba(?).
Ate a BIG homemade Sundae w nuts, etc., etc.
Spoke with Flex several times today.
Flex and I have become GOOD friends.

At different times today I became:

A part of.
A student.
A teacher.
A listener (although I really did the talking -grin!).
A know-it-all.
A know-nothing.
A Big Book Thumper.
NOT an AA Nazi..No, no.

I felt today:

Needing.
Needed.
Respected.
Crazy. (Not unusual!).
Listened to.
Caring.
Loving.
Loved.
The most important: HUGE Gratitude.
God's grace.

A SPECIAL Thank You everyone, for your timely help last week...I'll NEVER forget those moments of prayerful love, and caring shown by you, my wonderful 'peeps'. Though some of you may leave, and some arrive, and some return, I'll always love you ALL. Some times I think, "Steve, that's too much 'love' to be throwing around like confetti, it must not sound (or be) genuine".

Then I remember, He said something about 'Faith, Hope and Love...and the greatest of these is LOVE.' So THERE! Wherever, Whatever, However, Please stay sober with me today NMW.

In love and service,
Sincerely,
Steve E.

THIS AND THAT....

HE: I WONDER IF TULIPS SMELL?
SHE: I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THEY HAD NOSES!

LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT
AND EVERYTHING ELSE



Saturday, got to attend two AA meetings. Played violin all through the 3 PM Vigil Mass. I have some really beautiful arrangements which are obbligatos to the music liturgy of the whole mass, and I get to do the same thing today, Sunday, at the 10:30 AM. That will be after two more AA meetings. What a wonderfully spent weekend!


It was almost three years ago. I had been playing mass for about a year. The choir director and I had become good friends. We even shared private stories. One day I confided to her about my 'situation' with the catholic church--not being allowed to receive Holy Communion. She listened. The following Sunday, she abruptly stopped playing the communion hymn, grabbed me by the arm, walked me up to the altar, and we both received the host. And it was a huge emotional, spiritual and moving experience for me. It was the first time I had received the Host in over forty years! We both stood on the altar steps and cried...in front of 1,300 church members. No one but she and I knew what had just transpired. A soul had been blest and energized! Me.

She--her name, Jane--was one of several who played a prominent role in my return to the church of my 'yoot'. Every chance I had, was an opportunity to deny God. I was really a tough cookie for God to allow the many miracles He brought about in my life. Never give up. Never despair.

Of course, the biggest miracle was the gift of God's grace to stay sober, the gift of the Twelve Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. That gift was wrapped into the same package with all you members of AA. Without the patience, tolerance, and experiences of you peeps, I would have passed out, and passed on, many years ago. Because, as you all know, "I" had to become "we" and "we" had to become "all of us in cooperation with our Higher Power, God".

This week I have a couple violin gigs, plus "a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a little bit of everything else". That quote has a history:

Each morning--about fifteen years ago, when I would ask Joel (a retarded client), "What ya been doin', Joel?"...his answer was--for five years, every day--"Oh, Steve...a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a little bit of everything else!"

I loved that guy--he taught me so much about life. The simple, uncomplicated life. The life of peace, acceptance, dependence, not CO-dependence. His soul now rests. He now has great knowledge, and great peace.


Today--again, finally--I'm hearing the birds sing, the pattering of a slow rain, and I can smell the roses, even the TULIPS!

In HUGE GRATEFULNESS, love, and service,
Sincerely,
Steve E.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"ALL BETTER"

Saturday morning:

I commented on another's blog this morning:

You wrote:
"I feel so very alone,
and
"I am scared

I hope an angel came and removed these things from you during the night.

I asked 'Flex' to help me, if it's God's will, and this morning I KNOW the prayers of this blog community were heard. and the intentions heeded.

In your case also?

If not, I'll ask Flex to help YOU today.

YOU KISSED IT AND MADE IT BETTER!

It matters not whether you believe it or not, but I have a Guardian angel who I named Flex--real name Flexible! This angel is 'sort of' my 'go-between' between me and God. So I talk to Flex often through a day, as a friend. And he 'responds' in ways that I alone experience.


This past 24 hours I have felt the power of 'group' prayer as never before. It is TRUE...when an army of us goes to our Higher Power asking for something legitimate--within the confines of His Will--our prayer(s) beg the performance of miracles. And they happen!

Anyway, that's some of what I believe. It works for me. And it's because of the love expressed in comments on my blog, the kind thoughts I actually felt, coming from you--the direct result of which is that today is a better day for steveroni (me). And I'm off to a 7 AM meeting at the NEW DAWN GROUP! Now is THAT appropriate...or what?

In love and service, and true gratitude,
Very Sincerely,
Steve E.

Friday, March 27, 2009

steveroni-a-roni


FRIDAY NIGHT.....
Double dipping today--Sorry 'bout that!

Hey blogger friends. When have I asked for help here? Maybe, but I do not recall.

Now...now, I NEED YOUR PRAYERS, peeps. Right now, steveroni is down...way down. This late Lent and Eastertime must be a bad time of year for me. (It is...)

Really don't need (don't want? -grin!) a bunch of advice, comments, etc. Just remember me when you lie down to sleep tonight. Ask God to smile His Friendly smile on this soul in Naples which hurts.

NOTE: This is not a 'poor me" thing here. This is a "What in the hell happened?" thing. No headache, etc. Just thoroughly wet eyeballs, that won't quit.

I am NOT normally a depressed-type guy...also I DO NOT handle it well. Came on suddenly, like lightning, and then thunder. The storm SHALL end--it must. I'll 'will' it to end. That's not working, though.

All I can write at this time is THANK YOU! This has GOT to be gone by morning.

In love and in need of service,
Sincerely.
Steve E.

FRIDAY...RIDE THE BUS


ALCOHOL vs ME...

Sometimes, as I look back, I realize that I once was almost run over by a large bus. The approaching bus was (is) alcohol, and I had been sitting on the street, asking to be run down. Finally I boarded the bus which was named "ALCOHOL" and guess where the bus at long last stopped? Right at your front door--a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous!


How appropriate! I've been thinking--and saying--for years, that "God brought me to AA, and AA brought me to God". Well, now I know it was BOOZE which brought me here (of course, God allowed that!).

Without my old friends--Bourbon, Scotch, VODKA, 190-proof stuff with the brand name "ALCOHOL", Southern Comfort, etc., etc.--I'd never have found you. And I might have become and remained forever a non-drinking dolt, a dummkopf, an idiot.


So two notions come to mind (dangerous--for me--are 'notions' and 'mind'):


1. I owe alcohol. What? I owe alcohol respect, appreciation and admiration. The power alcohol has--for me--is second only to the Power of God Himself. I thank my friend alcohol for bringing me thus to a life of peace, happiness, love, serenity, and fulfillment. This friend sure was (and could evermore be) a hard taskmaster. He made me to fight right off from the ropes day after day, week after week, and year after interminable year.

Unaware, I fought doggedly for the right to be here. Now that I AM here, I can see, hear, touch, feel, think, and BE. I could never do those things before you showed me the way, people--you members of Alcoholics Anonymous!


I used to be consumed with my 'wonderful' self. I have found that frequently now I am consumed with love and gratitude...to you all, and to my God!

2. I owe someone else. Who? I owe whoever is on that 'bus' (which is named ALCOHOL) to be waiting for them at the end of the line. Whenever he or she arrives, there must be someone to meet and greet them with a smile, a handshake, maybe a hug.

And I will welcome them into a life of freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom of choice, and the real freedom I would offer is that freedom to BE. AA gives me now the freedom to be whatever I wish, the freedom to follow His will NMW (No Matter What!)!


And.....I shall not drink alcohol today. How about you? OK! That's what I thought! -grin!


Carmen: Hope you're still "with it"...

In Love and service,

Sincerely.

Steve E.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Back in the day



Joe Boats:

Way back when, our (nice) cabin cruiser sat in a private little dock--all its own--on Rock Creek, right behind our house. On this boat was my favorite place to be, either making a run down the waterway toward Marco and beyond--or, short out-in-the-Gulf-of-Mexico trips.

I had taken and passed the Coast Guard Auxiliary Small Craft Course. I knew a little. To be honest--I knew TOO DAMMM LITTLE! But we got by, had many great days on the water, even did some (UGH!) fishing, mostly just Snook and Redfish, Flounder, and out in the Gulf, Grouper. I'm NOT a fisherman, but others in my family were line-throwers.

One wondrous sunny summer morning, my son Joe--his nickname was/is "Joe-Boats"-- between 2-3 years of age was playing in the back yard. Where does a boy go in the back yard, when his name is Joe-Boats? Well, he was climbing all over the boat. This was common, he just LOVED everything water and boat!

In the same area, I was enjoying my afternoon quart of vodka, reclined in a hammock. This was common. Minutes slipped by, peaceful moments of the type, "All is right with the world". The minutes of silent 'serenity' began adding up, when I sensed something 'not' right--I had not been hearing the laughing sounds of a child, Jo-Boats, playing around the yard.

I looked for him, my heart began to rev up to a speed fueled by adrenalin. Suddenly I realized, he must have fallen into the filthy water atop which rode our boat. Under the boat was about three feet of water, then a good foot or two of pure crappy mud. Believe me, I ran in my drunken stupor, mentally rushing into my "sober-up-quick" mode, and was standing above the dock and boat, peering down into the murkiness. About six inches of space separated our boat from the concrete dock, a slight breeze kept blowing the boat one way, then the next.

Peering at me from under the water, staring upwards, were two eyes wide open in fear, and a little head just below. He was submerged, then went under the boat completely, as it moved to close the space.

The rest of this story I had forgotten, but recently, Joe recalled it for me. I had jumped into the creek, fully clothed, wallet, glasses, watch, and all else still on me, reached under the boat as far as I could without drowning myself. The barnacles had taken deep root, and were cuttingly sharp. But I got hold of some fuzzy hair, attached to a fuzzy head, and pulled Joe and me to safety. We both sprawled upon the grass, hind of spent. I was so happy, I cried...sobbed.

And for the first time in many years, I prayed fervently a "Thank You" to the Almighty God, Who saved my son that more-than beautiful sunny summer morning.

This was before sobriety had even occurred to me. Before it was evident to me that being in a continuous state of inebriation around the clock, with fitful by-the-hour sleep, was NOT a normal way to live. It was another eight months before my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. And, here I am. "Do with me what you will, just tell me what to do." These were my words to the gang at my second meeting. "Tell me what to do"...and they did. And I did.

In gratitude to this beautiful program of AA, these God-given Twelve Steps, the members who have gone before me and given of themselves unselfishly, and finally now..........you bloggers. How could one be more blest than I?

Note to Carmen: the following line is for you, too!

In peace, friendship, love and service,
Sincerely.
Steve E.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WEDNESDAY...I SAW TWO SHIPS


Note: The intention of this post is not to show the
despair we experience, but rather that recovery
IS available--it is free--it is wonderful! --Steve E.

My friend N, woke one sunny Sunday morning in 1993. Beside her was her husband. He was not snoring. He was not sleeping. He was not breathing. He had died so peacefully, none of the usual characteristics of death lingered in the room.

N had been working a stressful job--overworking it, I'd say. Like 14-18 hours every day. She consciously decided to work as much as possible--no days off--to bury her grief. She managed many people and departments, and had one boss.

Most of her peeps--and her boss--loved her much. All prayed and cajoled--finally begged--for her to take a vacation, to meditate, to pray, to grieve. To no avail were their greatest efforts. They were rewarded however, with her acknowledgement that she indeed, could put to good use a day off, away from the club.

Hence came this scribbled poem, the morning of her first 'day away' in two months:

april 03...written by ns

DAY OFF

we miss you so..
on your day off

isn't she sweet
oh how talented

she can do anything
she is so happy

life is so good
good to you

did you have a
wonderful day off

yes I put a gun
to my head

pulled the trigger
it was a day of rest.....n

Pleased, and SO HAPPY am I to report that the gun did not fire. N always was a very hard and dedicated worker. She was and still is very talented in painting, pottery making, stained glass art, concrete working (art), glazing, ceramics, sewing, needlepoint, decorating, tiling floors, antiquing cabinets and furniture and, well...you name it!

Accompanying the talents of N, is one of her many gifts from God, that of 'getting along with people'. N is growing (and willing to grow) in spirituality, as we all are working to do. N and I were very close at one time, a many-years-blong drunken time. Then we began to drift apart, as two ships might sail from one another, on two different oceans.

Recently meeting N again, after a long period of time, has validated my belief that everyone can be friendly--even friends!--loving the God we see within each other, rejoicing in the recovery of one another, and gratefully praising Him for what He has wrought, in our corner of the world of sobriety.

As I read the blogs today, I am so aware of the good He is bringing me--and you, dear bloggers, through these pages of truth we write daily. These blogs allow me to detail my AA life in all my affairs. And occasionally you might discover some of my thoughts here. Thank you for reading this post. And God's PEACE be with all of us!

In love and service,
Sincerely.
Steve E.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

YESTERDAY


OK. I've received several notes which objected to my

ealier picture of Big Teeth, etc. So here is the actual
(yeah, right!) picture of my dentist and assistant -grin!
Now that all the comments are in, no one is left to be
offended...maybe...hopefully?

YESTERDAY
(amended)

For fifty years I have avoided dentists until it was either make the appointment--or die. And so I ended up with lots of teeth missing--one-by-one...gone! Well, at least I don't know where they are-grin!

About forty years ago a dentist friend in Naples loaded my mouth with gold, so I could receive six different AM radio stations--in my head! Women tried to abduct me (yeah, Steve, in your dreams!) for the gold I would cough up one day. Guys called me Fort Knox, then shortened that name to Old Fort. Well, you can guess what that sounded like: "Hey, ya old fort"! (See?)

So, although my teeth are all 'in there' like as in 'permanent partials'--they are glued in and onto "other" teeth, the few remaining. I have had a dozen root canals, lovingly named by dental assistants as RCs. The permanently-glued teeth fit right over RCs and an unknowing soul--if interested--might say, "He still has all his teeth." In a way that's true. Because I bought and paid for them.

My latest dentist is a 'high-end' guy, he also has a law degree, is young, has a family of five to support. His office is located on the second floor overlooking the bay of Naples. Each 'workroom' is equipped with the absolute latest in 'stuff'. That's all I can call it--STUFF! Little things go into my mouth and send out beeping signals in different tones, each meaning something BAD. I tell the nurse what actual musical NOTES the beeps are making. She is unimpressed.

OK, the beginning. Upon entering the office, I am offered orange juice, coffee, a sweet roll, or bottled water. This the eighth time I've been there, so I know the routine. Have breakfast, Steve! I'm then ushered into what could be the "captain's lounge" atop a cruise liner. The ceiling-to-floor and wall-to-wall picture window is really a painting...wait! NO! it is Naples Bay. Hundreds of anchored boats--all kinds and sizes, mostly B.I.G. are swaying in the light morning breezes, many of them worth millions.

Gazing at this beautiful scene from the comfort? of a dentist's chair, I watch the birds, hoping some of them would be there when I left the place. In order to give me some good financial luck! The assistant dental lady asks me what channel I'd like to watch? I say none. Next she brings in an iPod, shows me how to use it, and, through the finest of Bose headphones, I'm listening to Beethoven's great Ninth Symphony. I mean, this place is HEAVEN!

I've been needle-stuck in my mouth hundreds of times, but never with not even a slight hint of a prick on the gum, until this morning. The dentist, a church friend, told me he will do a procedure he NEVER does. Knowing how un-wealthy I am, he is going to do two fillings UNDER the gum line, and save me thousands of bucks, as in RCs and partial replacements. I think that's F.I.N.E. Really! (When I was age 15, a filling cost $3...now a single filling goes for $300. That's with TV, remote, iPod, Bose heads, a picture window, and totally painless procedures.

As I left that office I thanked God for loving, caring health-care people, that I could pay them, and that two hours seemed like 15 minutes--in a dentist's office "RC" chair.

Also, the two tooth aches which I've been harboring for 5 months, are miraculously GONE today! They were getting bothersome. I never told the dentist about them. Thank You, God!

Ya know, AA says to take care of our health, so that we are then free to help others. It sure makes sense. Ill health is part of that ..."seemingly hopeless state of mind and body..." from which the first 100 in AA recovered, according to the first paragraph in the Forward to the First Edition of the Big Book.

Let's all stay well--and sober, today...together! OK?

In love and service,
Sincerely,
Steve E.

NOTE TO PAM:
Pam, that's IT! I'm quitting blogging. Now, and forever.
Hereafter, I shall keep my blog and name, etc., but I will just link to your blog. Because since last July 1, you have said everything I wish I had written. Every single friggin' DAY! OK? -grin!

Monday, March 23, 2009

ABOUT ME--AGAIN?

MIGRAINE HEADACHE

The above photo has nothing to do with the following blog entry. I am just glad I do not suffer with migraine headaches. I pray for those who do. "Please alleviate their pain, Dear God." -Steve E.


THIS IS ABOUT ME!

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


Some years ago I discovered this passage from the story "Women Suffer Too" in our Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous". The story begins on page 200 (Fourth Edition). This excerpt, which I captured as my own--because it WAS me!--is on page 202.

Whenever I'm the designated "speaker" at an AA meeting, I begin with those two sentences...and I read them oh, so slowly, because every comma, every word, so important, is just ME--through and through. And I can recall the feeling, relive the moments, hours, days of the several, final--190-proof--booze-soaked years that all my nights, and some days, had then become. It all boiled right down--for me--to this: LIFE...or DEATH!

My wish is to let you all know exactly from where I came--this blubbering idiot (me)--so that when I show you where and how I entered into a life of sobriety, that beautiful dawn, that light of a new day, you will know. Yes, you will believe and know of God's Power, God's Love, and God's Way of Life. You will know because I told you so, and I was there...

My prayer is that I may do His will always. That is all I ask for me.

I'm filled with gratitude, love, and wishes that we all enjoy another sober day...Monday!

In love and service,
Sincerely.
Steve E.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

COUPLE PROMISES OF AA




FEAR and BAFFLING INTUITION


Pages 83 and 84 in our Big Book "Alcoholics Anonymous" lists some promises (below) which come true in the lives of many of us who work this Program of Twelve steps:

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.

No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

Self-seeking will slip away.

Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

At first reading many moons ago, I did not understand anything, much less how anybody in the world could live a day (or an hour -grin!) without getting hammered. There was NO WAY these so-called "promises" would ever or could ever one day apply to me.

Two stood above the others in utter unbelievable nonsense:

1. "Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us."

So fearful and paranoiac was I, toward the end of my drinking career, my eyes always faced down. I was continuously filled with guilt and shame. Low, low self esteem was my trademark. And I never had money left for the children's needs, or so I figured. But I managed my--maintenance--Quart-a-day habit quite well.

Now, it has finally become an unthinking habit of mine, to look at everyone I meet, eyeball-to-eyeball. It amazes me how much can be learned just by gazing into another's eyes.

For in another's eyes
Where it is--truth lies! --steveroni

2. "We will intuitively know how to handle things which used to baffle us."

This has plagued me since I was age two or thereabouts. And it continues to act as my nemesis. I never, ever had that common sense--which I've noticed abundant in others--to make a 'right' decision, about anything--anything. This 'learning disorder' preempted my learning from mistakes.
As an active (drinking) alcoholic, this malady worsened over years....and then I got sober!

Sober now, I find that most alcoholics of my type "intuitively' know how to lie, cheat, steal, drink, and not much else--intuitively, that is. My intuition gene has been forever disabled. I have, from my early AA days, translated this (#2) to read: "I will intuitively be baffled by things which I used to know." Of course, this is true--when I was drinking, I knew everything about everything. Sober now, "We realize we know only a little." (BB Page 164, line 11)

Although I may yet find things "baffling", at least no more am I "babbling" -grin!

In real LOVE and service,
Sincerely,
Steve E.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

AA-FOUR STEPS?


FOUR STEPS???

"Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.


Admit your faults to Him and to others.

Clear away the wreckage of your past.

Give freely of what you find and join us."

--Alcoholics Anonymous, p 164, last paragraph, 1st four sentences


These four sentences--simply and succinctly--entrust to me all I must know, in order to stay sober and live sober. My beautiful Twelve Steps have been given to me here in a version I can memorize, internalize, live with, and work with.

When I find someone troubled by the word or action of meditating, I feed them this group of principles, to think about, to get to know, to love.

I listen in disbelief when someone new in the program reads the Big Book, and says in all seriousness--and in truth!--"I read that chapter and really like it. I could identify with what Bill Wilson was trying to say there."

And I look at the new man--or woman--and remember silently to myself the many times I read the Big Book in my earlier daze. There were no letters or words in my book. Just hundreds of pages of fly shit. (My mother used to call them fly specks, but we knew what she meant -grin!)

But as time and coffee healed me physically, my eyes began to see better, and my brain......well--uh, hmmmm--how should I say this? My brain was not too well meshed right from the start. Let's face it, 1933 was NOT a good year for me--I was born! Things went downhill from there.

But, I digress!

The year 1974 WAS a good year for me, but I was unaware of that fact. Things began to slowly drift uphill. Alcoholics Anonymous was the reason. And after about a year, I could see the words on the pages, but still did not understand them. Even now, I do not understand a whole lot. But I DO know this. It works!

Of course, everyone knows that MY "primary purpose" here is to make me look good, make me sound funny, knowledgeable, and endear you to my heart. When in fact I might--when the weather and the wind are right--hear one of you say, "How did HE get here? Boy is HE a sicko. Well, they say 'some are sicker than others'. I hear he is a 'Big Book Thumper'. And he always brags about how long he's been sober, Ugh...and he just LIVES in meetings. NOBODY can be happy all the time like THAT!"

IF anyone is new here and read that paragraph, I'd better 'splain. IT WAS IN JEST! OK? Anyway, when I start 'jesting' it's time to say "Goodbye" or "good night". With the usual signature L.O.V.E. I have for you bloggers...enjoy a GREAT and SOBER weekend! Yessss!

In love and service, (no jesting there)

Sincerely.
Steve E.

Friday, March 20, 2009

GRASS...NO, NOT THAT KIND!


















GRASS: PERSPECTIVES

A few years ago, we spent several thousand on a 65' well, electric submersible pump. FREE water, for the yard! This past winter there have been gushers, which, if they were oil wells, we'd be really worried about all our money about now. However, my problem was not money (since we do not have any!), but getting all the sprinkler heads in working order.

So, after one-and-a-half years of careful "engineering study and research" (I tell my wife!) it was time today, to just bite that metal bullet, and "get down and dirty" once again. And I fixed all but one! So our yard is up very late tonight, and I hear it saying (whispering) (whisper!) "Thank you, Steve...thank you, Steve...thank you!" (Or was that Prayer Girl--she's been after me to do this for weeks.)

What a difference a day makes
...and a few thousand gallon of water! I could see the grass turning green as it drank--or was it simply getting wet? Either way is Okay. However, that exquisite springtime smell is already sneaking its way from ground to nostril. It is rather a scent, than an odor or smell. It should be caught in a bottle and sold as perfume...or how about a "springtime cocktail"? Bartenders could name it "Grrrrrrrass"! I can just 'hear' a customer--in an effort to shorten the named drink--saying, "Hey barkeep, give me a little a**! (Oh, NO! Steve, you gone and done it again--just lost all four readers!)

I once wrote a poem about a blade of grass, and how it must feel to be trampled, mowed, fertilized, half-killed by "Feed-and-Weed", drowned , left alone, dying of thirst--for months! Only to be mowed, cut down as in a long-overdue haircut...and I lost the poem. I only recall the first few lines. I really am sorry, because it was a favorite to me:

My Friend, A Blade Of Grass

See the glistening green blade!

Please! Careful with that spade

Trillions may call him 'brother'
...
But there'll never be another
Exactly just like him

In the glistening green glades of blades.


--Steve E.


In about two weeks, our lawn will be up to its old nose-thumbing ways, growing high enough each week, so I'll have to mow it every ten days, now through October. Every year--for the last 15--I've said (and will repeat it now!) "NEXT year, we're going to farm out this job." I do not wish to die while committing murder, killing the glistening green blades of the glistening green glades.

At least when I'm working outside these days, my perspiration is not dominantly alcohol--but, ahhhh! well...OK, SAY IT, Steve! COFFEE, my current "drug of choice". There, I broke my anonymity! Again!

Here I am, still loving all youse guys--yes, ALL! (Except one!) So please add me to your prayer lists. The more I think things are becoming OK, the more I need prayers. Since I was told not to pray for myself--exception: the 'foxhole' variety. I really depend on your prayers to whoever is your Higher Power: It, She, He, or....?

In love and service,
Sincerely.
Steve E.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WHAT A DAY

A RARE MOOD?

What a Day This Has Been
What A Rare Mood I'm In....

...and something tells me to stop right there, before I begin to get into trouble. Please do not ask me why! However...this HAS been an awesome day for me--Wednesday March 18, 2009. It began in the usual habitual manner, got up at 4:40 AM, made it to the 6 AM, stayed for the 7 meeting. About 80 people attended the Big Book meeting at 7. And when they asked for any "annuals" (meaning sober anniversaries) I got to tell them, "Yeah, ME! 35 years". Prayer Girl, was sitting on the opposite side of the oval spaced chairs from me, and we both walked toward each other, and she gave me a medallion, and a B.I.G. hug--the kind bloggers would recognize! --and a B.I.G. kiss.

Yep, right there in front of everyone and God Himself...shameless was she! Embarrassed was he! Yet he (me) enjoyed it immensely, as y'all can imagine. But she is so young to be fooling around with an old man like me...and pretty, too! Prayer-Girl was smiling just like I remember her on her wedding day.

I got to sit with Don B, my sponsor--who I love--and stayed for the 8 AM meeting with him. Later, a fellow who I sponsor asked me to lunch at a Skyline Chili Parlor. Boyoboyoboy! Good! And even better, since he bought! We also got caught up with each other's happenings. And I only spilled a spoonful of chili sauce on my white shirt. Nobody even notices it--unless I turn around to face them -grin!

Next thing I knew, God wasn't finished yet with making my Sober Anniversary number 35 the most memorable I've experienced. No sooner I walked in the house from lunch with Ted M, than the telephone rang with a call from Denver, and I knew who that was before she said "Hello?" It was of course--well, how would any of you know?-- my very favorite "blogger-girl" on the line. Here now, I have to ask, How many of y'all have had "Happy Birthday" sung over the phone to you by the sweetest voice of Mary Christine? (Look it up: Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday" to Jack Kennedy, U.S. President.) Note to self: Steve, let's not get carried away here now, OK?? OK!

Anyway, it was wonderful to be remembered, especially by someone who I thank God often for allowing to be part of my later (blogger) sober life. Bless you, MC., I mean it!

Later, I had a violin gig at one of the thousand Country Clubs here. The occasion was Italian Night. Imagine, the day after St Patrick's Day, the pianist and I played 3 hours of Italian music. Oh, one of the things about that job, it was so easy to work. First, my stress level was at real low tide, because of the "happies" during the day. But MAINLY because it was the first time I've played with this guy's music since I had my eyeballs repaired, and new "Restor" lenses installed. I COULD SEE THE MUSIC! No guessing the notes or their meter.

And so, I began my blog tonight: "What a day this has been, What a rare mood I'm in...." and it's time for bed. I apologize for not reading and commenting on all your blogs Wednesday, but will try to play catch-up from now through Sunday.

--smiling-a-roni

Happily, In love and service,
Sincerely.
Steve E.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I NEVER HAD ANY FRIENDS!


NO WONDER I NEVER
HAD ANY FRIENDS!!

This past week, I have got so serious,
that I really needed an emotional break,
and so I'm blogging today a poem I wrote
in 1959 while I was drunk out of my mind.
I hope and pray that your sensibilities may
not be offended. It will never be my wish
to alienate anyone here.

This is a warning--the following
is NOT the usual "steveroni" fare. This was
actually written on the 24th Anniversary of
Alcoholics Anonymous...but CERTAINLY I
was not aware of that fact!
--Steve E.

HOT EVENING IN JUNE 1959

So glad I'm not a dog
With families of fleas
Would not be a flower
And get stung by bumble bees
But wish I were a bird
So I could shit on everybody.

Would never be a lion
With all that fluffy fur
Cannot see myself a cat
Afraid of every Grrrrr--
But I wish I were a bird
So I could shit on everyone.

A horse? Never!
Work, work, work all day
And not either a fish, just
To be caught in the bay
But I wish I were a bird
So I could shit all my "friends".

I will not be a cow
And have you pull and tug
You won't hit me with your DDT
'Cause I will not be a bug
But I'd LOVE to be a bird
So's I could shit on you.

A duck I will not be
'cause he can't fly high
A 'Zookey'---nosiree!
You may be one, not I
But when I'm a bird
I'll first shit on you

Not a cow, lion or cat
Not a bug, horse, or 'Zookey'
But let me tell you, my friend...
When you look up to see----
Tweet-tweet, splat...splat
.........................think of me!

-Drunk Steve E. 6/10/1959

In love and service (Somehow that line doesn't seem to fit?)
Steve E.

Monday, March 16, 2009

MARY LA--ANNIVERSARY!! TWO YEARS


Bonus BLG (short blog!):

Mary LA is an AA Loner, in S Africa. She has nearly non-existent access to meetings, and blogs every day. She is a professional. I mean professional WRITER (and gourmet chef--really!). Her writing is impeccable (whatever that means -grin!). If you are not acquainted, or one who goes there daily, I urge you to visit her blog HERE, check it out, at least wish her HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

I believe it will be March 17th in her country in an hour or two. Thank you for responding, peeps...


In love and service,
Sincerely,
Steve E.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

FINAL (BLONG!) "POP" STORY


SEE NO EVIL...HEAR NO EVIL

POP: PART TWO

To understand more fully what's going on here, you might wish to read POP: PART ONE (Saturday March 14, '09...otherwise, (insert 'salute' here!) "CARRY ON, SHARGENT"!

The following is only as I, Rosanna Anna Dana--Oooops, I mean Steve E. (hope ya got that one?!) recall, and there may be inconsistencies...but I was present for some of this story.

My father, also Steve E., who I shall call Pop, was totally blind. Twenty-five years before he died, he suffered nerve deafness, and in a matter of a few years, became totally deaf. He used a Tellatouch, a device which helped end social isolation for hundreds of deaf-blind children and adults.

My parents and three siblings (I was the--ahem--oldest of us four) moved (down-sized) to a 25-acre farm with a nice pond, and new house, and quite a large barn. Being the 'free spirit' I was (did I hear "am"?), I had moved miles away from that group of people--my family--as soon as I could, somewhere around age 17, 18, or 19. A lot of my life is a bit hazy, due to my great friendship with the gang: Smirnoff, Bond and Lillard, Jack Daniels, Rot Gut, Thunderbird wine, etc. I was always...ALWAYS...surrounded with many of those kinds of friends--the only ones who "really cared". Frankly, they were all I cared about, to tell the truth.

Gobble Gobble Gobble:

It was in these 'digs' that Pop raised turkeys for a number of years. In the incubators he rolled the eggs daily. After the birds hatched he nurtured, fed, watered and talked to them, even though he could not hear them. Each year he raised upwards of 200 birds, slaughtered them, cleaned them, wrapped them, weighed them and retailed them, one at a time, mainly at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some he froze for use throughout the year. All this while not seeing, or hearing a blessed thing, in complete isolation, except for that Tellatouch. He did have family help for these activities. We are products of a large German tribe.

I remember visiting my parents, and playing my violin. Of course, he could not hear it. He would put his hand right on the instrument grabbing it tightly, feel the vibrations, and give us a mile-wide smile. Those moments did give me a thrill. You see, I wasn't all bad--yet. But our disease--alcoholism--had me well-hooked years before.

After some time, six miles was not enough distance between "us and them" so wife number three and I moved 1,200 miles beyond, to Naples FL, in early 1965. Still ensconced in this village, I and wife number four, "Prayer Girl" live very active and (I think?) happy lives in Alcoholics Anonymous.

At the Beach:

Pop and Mom visited each winter for about seven years, lived in a 'mobile home' (hate that word also!). Using the Tellatouch seemed to be such a chore for adults, either not wanting to try something different, or shy of the "deaf-blind" guy, who knows.

Children however, LOVED to play with the little typewriter look-a-like, and they flocked around Pop whenever he was at a pool or the beach. He loved children--and children loved him. That's the way it was. They also enjoyed swimming with him, he was a good swimmer. Problem was that he'd go out in the Gulf, reach one of the barrier sand spits, and not know which was the way back to shore.


Imagine being out there, unable to hear a thing! Strangers often shouted to him that he was swimming toward (Houston?) Texas. They did not know he was deaf AND sightless. One of my sisters brought down to Naples a 100-yard boat line, tied it onto his swim trunks, and anchored it on my mother's chair. She tugged, and he returned to the beach.

At his deathbed--we had not realized he would be dead in three days--I wrote to him on the Tellatouch, "Pop, I love you, I have always loved you." He nodded that he understood, but did not respond. He did ask for a cup of water, and we 'talked' about some other things, before I left, with tears in my eyes. That's the last time I saw him alive. I was age forty-five.

Two nuns wrote a book about him after he died, title: "LIVING WITH JOY" That is the way everyone saw my father. He died in 1978, I was four years sober. NOTE: In our book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Step 12 dissertation begins, "The Joy of Living is the theme of AA's Twelfth Step..."

I hope that one day when I have 'crossed over' it could be said of me, "He did live with Joy, No Matter What!" (And he lived with L.O.V.E. in his heart!) AND THAT WOULD ALL BE TRUE! -grin!

In love and service.
Sincerely,
Steve E.

MY SUNDAY MORNING:

Funny but NOT Funny

"Funny thing happened on the way to the office..." (Actually, it happened at a meeting.) First, I am really having one of those 'bad' days which I usually only read about (others).

Second I'm not sure why after all these years a situation has taken on much more meaning than it deserves. I left a meeting this morning before it was over--I could not stand for mt peeps to see me cry.

It came over me to share that my long-dead father never once said to me, "I love you, son." In fact, on his deathbed I told him I loved him, and he could not respond, although he was quite able to 'talk'--with me using his Tel-a-touch. He just could not even get out the words.

And, after a lifetime of being singled out as five hundred 'dumb jackasses'
He had been SO handicapped throughout his 'happy' life, that I felt SO guilty about not liking, loving, him. Rather what I had felt--maybe still feel, was hatred. How aweful is that?

So I had to leave the meeting and zip home to tell whoever will read this that I did cry a little bit on my bikeride home...and I hesitate to say this.....but I even had a brief thought about how nice a quart of Early Times might be, not a drink--a quart!

Immediately I knew "trouble" was brewing--bad use of word, grin!--and asked God to get to me quickly. Angel Flex, "HELP!" Then a car full of beach-goers pulled alongside of me at a light (a light which is NEVER red!) and we chatted a minute, they were happy, smiling young people. They yelled at me as they pulled away, "Have a nice day, Steve!" (These were strangers to me, get it?)

So, as of right now, I AM F.I.N.E. but I did want to get this off my chest, and to write it out makes me feel SO much better.

If anyone is reading this, you are not expected to comment, because this IS my blog #2 today. There may even be a third...after mass.

In MUCH love, service, and gratitude for you all.
Sincerely,
Steve E.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

POP: PART ONE


NOTE: The following sketch of my early relationship with my father will continue Sunday night, or Monday. There IS a whole other chapter.

POP: PART ONE

My father was totally blind. He was owner-operator of a dairy farm in Ohio. That is the place I grew up. Around two hundred head of cattle made up the chief source of income. Also we experienced the raising of pigs, horses, chickens, guineas, sheep, two goats, lots and lots of cats, a few dogs (collies, shepherds, mixes, etc.), and other stuff I cannot remember.

My sister and I raised Hereford steers in the 4-H club for showing and auctioning at the county fair.

Steve (my father's real name...also) was a man admired, respected, and carefully listened to, by all--I mean ALL--who met him. Humor, and a great enthusiasm for living and life, were characteristics of his which were admired by all, even me. Sometimes I just wish I had some of that zest for life, that lack of fear of being a little "different", that joie d'vivre which is SO lacking in this great and wonderful, and well-blest country where we live. (Truthfully, I DO have quite a bit of all that stuff -grin!)

SOME MEMORIES:

On a cold, darkened, wintry morning with ice everywhere, old snow hanging around--even the snow felt itself cold at 10 below zero--the old John Deer would sometimes rebel and refuse to start. Six (seeing) hired hands had tried and failed to get the tractor moving. My sightless father climbed right up there, fooled with the engine, worked a little magic, asked for a pint of gas, poured it right into the carburetor, did a few more unseen magic gestures...and...FOOOM! BOOM BOOM, that old one-cylinder piece of machinery began to roll into action for the day's work.

He could put his hands on any one of the fifty cows milking, and tell whoever was interested, how many pounds of milk the cow produced in a day (two milkings), the butterfat content, when her next calf was due, when she birthed the last one, how old she was...etc. Oh! And her name--we named our cows, it was a real "family" business. (Don't anyone get 'smart' here, OK?)

Everything was retail, eggs, butter, cream (coffee, and whipping), buttermilk, cottage cheese, eggs, chocolate milk, ice cream (Pop used to tell little kids that chocolate milk came from the black cows). He loved children, and they loved him...always...except me!

All through my 'formative' years, Pop called me--out loud, in front of anyone--five hundred dumb jackasses. He said this in German, but everyone--especially me--knew what he meant. And he never...never EVER said those words to another human--just me!

I read constantly here and elsewhere, about some of the girls being horribly abused, even raped by their relatives, and beaten, and I pray for them, and sometimes I cry a little when I read some of your stories. But, ya know--I did not realize it--that I was also abused, in a fashion. I have not got it all figured out yet, but even though I inherited many of my father's (hopefully) good character traits, I hated him for many years. Yes, I am another one of those guys: I never once heard my father say, "I love you, son!"

Two sisters and a brother, who he told often that he loved them, all grew older with their own issues and problems. These were different from mine. My real problem was between my ears, where I planted and nurtured the seed of alcoholism--that "thinking disease"--which lasted from about age 12 to age 40. Actually, I still HAVE it...as we all know, it never goes away. It is always there in the attic of my mind, waiting patiently for whatever trigger, or series of events, will again give it the life it craves. It is the ghost of the dead drug, which will haunt me when I least suspect.

This week, Wednesday I will celebrate my 35 year anniversary of the day of my last drink. The day after my last drink, a Tuesday, I attended my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Slow it has been, but finally, even I am seeing some result. For one thing, the BIG result...I am still alive. I do not dwell on other results, because that is certainly a changing state of mind and body.

Mostly though, I can sure tell you I'm a HAPPY guy, almost always at Peace, and so, SO full of love for life itself, yours and mine! Lately I have been closing my blogs and Emails with: "In love and service..." because that sounds a lot more AA-ish to me than, "OH! How I love all you wonderful bloggers, and AA,an God, etc., etc." Know what I mean???

But today is different! I'm gonna tell you like it IS. I DO love you all! I love reading your blogs, your comments, commenting on your blogs. And I love WRITING blogs. And when I think of the few of you out there who will read this and enjoy it, my heart is near to exploding with love--for you AND the others. Please KNOW THAT!!! ...And I love "Prayer Girl".

In Love and Service,
Sincerely.
Steve E.

Friday, March 13, 2009

HE SAID...SHE SAID...GOD SAID

First half of my life I wasted, asleep like "Bert"
...Now I wish I COULD sleep like "Bert"!!

HE SAID--SHE SAID...

He said, "OH! To start 'life' over again at age fourteen!"


She said, "...and DIE all over again?" (We were age 25.)


This snippet is from a conversation which happened (I was "he") fifty years ago. Some memory hook brought it vividly back to me this morning. And I am thinking she was SO right! Die all over. Die again. Finally, thankfully, it has passed, it is in the past, that life is dead. (But I cannot forget the ghost of my addiction, ready to haunt the house in which it lives...me.)


At age 25, I somehow knew I was killing myself, suicide-by-bourbon. Later on I used different bullets-- Vodka, Gin, Brandy, Scotch--I used beer only to quench the occasional need, that rising from a sense of thirst. All these ammunitions had in common one poison--alcohol. The gun I used was my own mind. My True God--Booze! Something which I L.O.V.E.D.

Liquor was one substance in this world on which I could count to make me whole again, strong, handsome, deep-voiced, whatever I was not!
As a Jekyll-Hyde combo, I survived surgical procedures, two heart attacks (before age 35), weddings, deaths, births, trips, years of boating, orchestral experiences, auto wrecks--called non-accidents-- pain and suffering (due in part to my F'Kg up three wonderful marriages), and being so often broke. I still wonder, from where came the money to buy booze?

I now realize that--for me--the greatest tidal wave through which alcohol actually might have helped me live--was feeling for many years that I was unloved, undeserving of love. I was as certain of that as I was of being alive. I held those thoughts close to myself though, for fear of being--I dunno what--found out?


On the plus side, I had extremely LOW self esteem! (That's a PLUS?! Ya gotta climb up from SOME starting place -grin!)) At the same time I did know everything about everything.
I always worked at jobs, ranging from cleaning out gutters and shoveling manure...to playing the same evening--costumed in full dress--in the Cincinnati Symphony, accompanying Roberta Peters (GOD, what a voice, and all else, too!), a coloratura soprano-of-the-day.

I might have known something was wrong when three thousand people stood applauding, and I, with others, stood to accept it, tears rolling down my face because I knew nobody loved me......What a jerk-off!

AND THEN GOD SAID....

Had I not heard of God? Eight years (Sisters of Charity) plus four years (Jesuits) of masses, training, praying often throughout each day, how could I not believe? Well I did NOT! But I sure pretended good. I acted my way through forty--devout-filled, yeah!--years of life.

You know what happened next? Of course you do. God--not letting on Who He was--took me by the hand, and brought me to you. YOU! And during time--oh so long a time!--you and God healed me, with my cooperation. We all did this together. And even today we continue to all do this together for each other, and for one another!
Happiness for me today, is being willing--with adult supervision-- to do God's will...and doing God's will, whenever and wherever it is put in front of me. Sure I came in late, age 40...and made it in time for Act III...but hey, what about that guy in the 'other' Big Book, who worked the fields the final hour, and got paid the same as those who had labored all day long? Hmmmmmm?

"What's the point?" (Private joke!) The point is that I know now that each of us is loved by God. Next point is that we are all loved by others, especially those who chose us to "come into my closet, come under my bed, where you'll find me hiding,
the fear in my head..."--Hope

Let's cooperate with God and stay sober together today. OK?

In gratitude, love, and service,

Sincerely.

Steve E.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

TWO TOPICS C'MON, TWO???

ORATORY AT AVE MARIA TOWN, FLORIDA



Visiting an AA Room? From out of town?
Try a Little Humility...


Topic yesterday at 5:30 PM meeting was a bit unusual: "If you could have but ONE and only one of AA's tools, which would you pick, to help you stay sober?" I was thinking, "Here we go again, some egomaniac chair person is working to find topics which are "far out" so as to make an impression."

As the sharing traveled around the room, it seemed as if the folks were giving quite a lot of thought as each made the singular choice of one tool only, to keep.

Slogan after slogan was quoted as important to some, also virtues, also certain steps to others. Finally my turn, and I held up my nicotine-stained, cellophane-covered Big Book, stating that it had everything in it that I needed to know and do, in order to stay sober, and it has done so quite well for a very long time.

Don't forget, I've sat in this very room for many years. OK, a burly, mountain-climbing visitor from NC chimed in right after me, actually making fun of "...some of you people who are Big Book Thumpers, holding that thing up, and think you know everything...etc., etc." (Huh? Who? Me?) Thank God, no anger, no resentment, etc. When did THAT happen?

Well I learned something, but I do not think the mountain climber did. That something was, "If I am ever visiting in an AA room, don't start in picking on the guy (humble me?) who just about everyone there knows, trusts, and loves! It is not the way to get invited to dinner after the meeting with the girls and the boys"!

Ave Maria Town

What a wonderful ride from our house to the town of Ave Maria last Saturday! Perfect weather for riding, and perfect timing, between meetings and mass. The 28 miles takes 40 minutes--since Prayer Girl was riding 'shotgun' (WITH a shotgun!)--and joggers were passing us, it seemed. -grin!

Long before we were in the town limit, we saw in the far distance, the tall cathedral-type oratory, with its buttressed interior, standing sentinel in the center of our county--Collier County is larger than the state of Rhode Island...but that ain't sayin' much, of course!

The semi parish church--surrounded by a town rivaling Disney World's "Main Street"--is guarding tomato fields, and lots of 'other' fields..you can figger it out. No nooner mass, but there are three others at variously-scheduled times. We could not stay. Lots of foreign visitors, almost like a pilgrimage atmosphere. And well it should be, this is a most beautiful new--old fashioned--church, spacious interior, you need opera glasses to see the choir loft.

During the week are scheduled two Latin masses, and one on Sunday. I mean, the university choir sings the old Gregorian chant masses which I learned and loved as a child--and still love, YESSSS!
Oh! so beautiful!!! Heavenly.

Forgot to mention this is all surrounded by Ave Maria University, dormitories, all the popular facilities, where not too many moons ago was....nothing! Amazing!

However, the most important building, and the most sought, the most appreciated, is the town's only coffee shop, The BEAN of AVE MARIA where mass is celebrated on the TV screen's EWTN station. A sign announces, "Do Not Change The Channel"...

Anna and I enjoyed our two-hour walk around the town and visit to the oratory, and also enjoyed our ride home. We learned that an AA group is beginning within a couple weeks (wonder what's taking them so long? They ARE catholic, ya know!) I will get out there and see if I can help. It will be a nice, slow, peaceful, stressless ride.

I'm happy to be home with my computer...next one HAS to be a laptop! Teemed up with a Blackberry or an iMAC or some such.

Bless you all
In love and service,
Sincerely,
Steve E
.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

BREAKNECK EXPRESSWAY

QUICK TRIP--QUICK BLOG

Monday and Tuesday I went on a short 3 hour ride to visit Firefighter-daughter-girl K. She has a good job, her own house, four dogs. One dog is named Chief, same name as her boss's title--who is not a newspaper editor, as in "Good morning, Chief!" K and her mother N share the same house, and also lots of stuff.

On my run up to her city, I must admit to traveling at a speed just above the limit--well, an honest program begs me to say, I went well--that is, waaaay above the posted limits. Seems to me a speed limit should be set by the driver, when there are none others in the area...within 40 feet, anyway. So, I told myself that it was high time--after 8,000 miles--to "blow out the carbon" as we used to say 120 years ago.

Once the carbon was blown out (is that when it feels like I've broken a couple of bones AND the sound barrier?) I couldn't get the bike to slow down, it seemed to have a mind of its own which said, "What's the difference between 90 mph and 95 mph?" As it turns out it's only about $140.00 difference. Let's see...well, WOW! let's double check that. OK, $140 buys enough gasoline for me to travel 3,500 miles. Hmmmm! I may have to rethink this whole 'speed' business.

Back to the topic--chocolate.

My daughter and I went on a five-minute grocery shopping spree, well just a couple small items, ya know? And one of our choices was a big box of red, ripe strawberries. The sign read $3...save $6. So, anytime I'm getting something at 33% of it MSRT, I'm IN! Anyway, they were LUSCIOUS! And my daughter's mother N (yessss, ex-wife (#3) OK? So NOW ya know...) heated up about a thousand Hershey's Chocolate Chip pieces, and they smelled SO GOOD aflame...and she burned the living "H" out of them.

Firefighter K came home, and was running for the extinguisher, when she saw she would be attacking a small bowl of "chocolates-en-purgatorie". So, another "pot-o-choc" was heated, and do you know, that dish of chocolate-covered strawberries was the best I've had...ever. We all three pigged out.

Went to an AA meeting with N, a disappointment. About 70 people around a circle of tables, with about 5 guys, (leaders) explaining the Big Book line-by-line, sometimes word-by-word. These fellows were "Joe and Charlie" wannabe's--and it was almost pathetic. You who know me, must realize that for me to describe it that-a-way--it had to be B.A.D. But it was a good lesson in the virtues Patience and Tolerance. So there IS a reason for everything, Santa! And we met a few people, made a few friends, spread a bit of good cheer, you know the drill. And I LOVE that drill!

Long ago, then-wife N had arrived at the door of AA one year after my entry, and daughter became a member of the newly-formed Alateen group in Naples. Yesterday we all three had a "Blong" of a long session, remembering old times: again, the good, the bad, and the ugly...and there were plenty of all three components. But it was fun, a family which used to live together--now good friends--enjoying, sharing, and catching up on times past, present, and a bit of daughter-future tossed in.

Twenty years ago, I could not begin to imagine a scene of us three sitting during an evening, on the same lanai, speaking in civil, normal tones, civil and normal words--words of tolerance, support, understanding, and yes, even of love...the love of God for us all. Next trip up there, Prayer Girl will accompany me...she's been there already. That will be probably in about a month.

Meanwhile, I'm going to be a part of those joining MC in staying sober today--whatever day this is..."I'm IN".

In love, and service.
Sincerely,
Steve E.