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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

IS IT WORTH IT???

PICTURE HANGING IN MY (PRIVATE?) BATHROOM!

"Sometimes, it feels like being hung

out to dry, after being shot and gutted."


After reading a blog by FINDON earlier today, I began changing my mind on the meaning of blogging to me. Is it selfish, or selfless, or some of both? Is is worth the effort? Should I stay with it?

I DO enjoy writing. A certain lack of rules regarding content is almost like an AA meeting, without a chairperson. Is that good or bad? It suits me F.I.N.E. FINDON pretty well set it out for me, how to direct my thoughts--for now.

Selfishly, I do learn so much from your posts, and your comments on mine and others' blogs. I see a lot of give and take here, plus a lot of support and love among the Peeps...my peeps, your peeps, I love you all! My program would have a great failing without you, and my heart a great hole. So I'm IN it for the long haul! Please stay sober with me!
--blog-a-roni




IS IT WORTH IT????

OK, I'll go ahead and say it, 'humility' be dammmmmed.

When I read a blog like yours, Findon, it renews my desire to continue blogging. Because, I'll tell you, sometimes it seems like such a fruitless exercise in futility--like, is anyone really out there receiving any benefit whatsoever?

Sometimes, after I write a particularly personal, almost embarrassing post, I feel like I'm being hung out to dry, after being shot and gutted.


Or am I just salving my Ego, by coloring my life for cyberspace? (Color me RED!)

I again (momentarily?) realize that it is SO worthwhile, to get these posts out every day, and that we all DO have an impact on each others' recoveries, on our very lives.

In a blog world like ours (in which you so warmly welcomed me last July) I would think there would be SO many disagreements, arguments, petty jealousies, and shoot-outs. But....none, there are just none! Is that not amazing?

All of us seem to realize that we either find safety in the togetherness of the recovery lifeboat, or sink, alone and lonely, into the depths of oblivion. It is that way with me. I'll play it safe. (Hey, this has morphed into a serious blog. Wow!)

Thank you, FINDON! Thank you. Now I shall continue to get out a blog every day--almost like a deadline. WAIT A MINUTE! Should I really be thanking you??? Hmmmmm? Or NOT! -grin!

Peace, and LOVE,
Steve E

SIX THINGS

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY--SIX THINGS

SIX OR SEVEN--WHO'S COUNTING
AT LEAST IT'S NOT 55 FRIDAY!!!

Clean and Crazy (aren't we all???) has tagged me for the following exercise in gratefulness...six minor wonderful examples of what makes me happy. I'll try to be brief, but you know me by now -grin!

SIX THINGS AND SIX PEEPS

1. Elderly couple sitting in Perkins restaurant, in a booth, facing each other. Each has that "glint" in their eyes, and each look as if they've been (like most of US?) 'around the block'. Punch Line: ...and they are TALKING with each other, and each is looking into the eyes of the other. This makes me SO happy, to be a witness to love which has endured who-knows-how-much in the way of challenge, change, and simply life. Life is BIG!


2. Happiness is wearing my gold cross. It weighs heavily around my neck. So I'm aware of it almost always. It is pret-ty large, and is the only gold I own, except what is in my teeth. I absolutely love, it. Recently blessed by a priest, it shines even more! This cross reminds me that my soul is "marked" by God, baptized (drenched?) in alcohol, chastened by chaos, paced for peace. And that same "marked" soul is continuously in danger of slipping and falling, in one way or another...in one place or another. ("If ya don't make mistakes, ya got no chance to grow" --me)


3. Seeing families walking together. We live in a predominantly Spanish/Haitian neighborhood, and frequently I notice a mother, father, and four or six little ones, --some in carriages--walking, who knows where, maybe to market? Or to the park?

4. Behind them a short distance are two adult Muscovy Ducks, followed by a dozen ducklings. The little ones walk, then run to catch up, then repeat. Walk, run, walk, run....and it is so like the little children trying to keep up with their parents. What pleasure to observe these neighborhood happenings.


5. I love having my own bathroom. And I'm not old enough yet to have my own bedroom--thank God! It is heavenly (a bathroom??) to have a place to call my own!


6. Music, especially Christmas music, really sends me into a higher plane of existence. I start playing the Messiah and the Carpenters' Christmas album in July each year. The heart becomes warmer. And change sometimes takes place.


7. (Ooooops, can you say "sixen"?) Last, in this too-short list, is the wonderful
anticipation of "Who is waiting around the next corner--on the street, in the market, at the mall, a gathering, a meeting?" Who has God planned to put in my path today? And what does God wish me to do? Oh, the joy of knowing that He does have SOMETHING for me, or else I would not even BE here, sober, free, happy, serene, and enthusiastic about life!!!

Six Peeps I am supposed to select, to continue this business of "getting to know one another" in a more intimate fashion...but I cannot do that (choose people) comfortably. So please, whoever might enjoy this short simple exercise in Gratitude, join me in doing so. You are ALL invited. You are ALL thought of in a most kindly manner.

Thank you ALL for being here, I feel finally a part of it now.


Peace, and Love,

Steve E

Friday, May 29, 2009

THE PAST HAS PASSED

FORGET THE PAST THAT SLEEPS


Regret nothing. Not even the sins and failures. When we view earth's wonders from some mountain height we do not spend our time in dwelling on the stones and stumbles, the faints and failures, that marked our upward path.


So with me. I must breathe in the rich blessings of each new day - forget all that lies behind me.

I am so made that I can carry the weight of twenty-four hours, no more. If I weigh down with the years behind, and the days ahead, my back breaks. God promises to help me with the burden of today only, the past He has taken from me and if I, foolishly, choose to gather again that burden and bear it, then, indeed, I mock God to expect Him to share it.

Whether for happiness or distress each day is ended. What remains to be lived, the coming twenty-four hours, I must face as I awake.

A soldier on a march carries only what he needs for that march. Would you pity him if you saw him bearing too the overwhelming weight of the worn-out shoes and uniforms of past marches and years? And yet, in the mental and spiritual life, I do these things. Small wonder our poor world is heartsick and weary.

NOT so must I act.

This one thing I must do, forgetting those things past--press toward the mark, asking God to put someone in my path today who God wants to help, using me, of course! And I ask Him to give me the Strength, the Power, the Words which I need to do his Will.

Peace, and LOVE for all of you blogger-friends!
Steve E


Modified for use in my blog. For source, click HERE!

PG B'DAY

AND MANY MORE!
LOVE,
STEVE

NOTE: Prayer girl URL

Thursday, May 28, 2009

DINNER(S)

DINNER ON SANIBEL--OURS AND HIS


DINNER

Today was Prayer-Girls and my 18th wedding anniversary. Years ago a counselor told me and either my second or third wife, that I was a "three-year" spouse. I never gave it much thought then, but after 18 years, well, I still haven't given much time to the predicted "three year" syndrome.

We drove the new small SUV to Sanibel Island, to a place called "Sanibel Cow". It is a restaurant, the kind which--midst very loud C & W music--sports signs on the wall, e.g., "Unattended Children Will Be Given A Double Espresso, and a FREE PUPPY!"

It is a place where I found out the rooms for "HEIFERS" and "BULLS" were NOT Hockey players' Locker Rooms.


Did I tell you the music was LOUD? Did you HEAR ME? I really truly LOVE Country Music (in lieu of my usual Bach or Beethoven or Dvorak or Mozart--all in my head) but I also enjoy knowing whether I'm still breathing--or not. Also, I wish to be aware if we have been hit by a suicide bomber or if the walls are shaking from quake-like vibrations of Reba McIntyre plus a two-thousand piece orchestra of guitars and basses.

My AA program of recovery has enabled me to sit uncomplainingly with cotton in my ears, as PG and I 'mangaied' on EXCELLENT Lobster Tails. A scrumptious dinner we enjoyed--yes, I broke that nasty, bad, old "fasting" thing after a couple weeks, and just added back five of the lost 15 pounds this evening...almost.

Whoever is reading this and does NOT have a GPS system in their vehicle, ya gotta get one. It is fabulous! I'm sitting here right now, still in awe over that technology. Of course, now I want--yes, really WANT!--an iPhone, or Blackberry or something similar...just GOTTA have it! Maybe someone out there who is upgrading has a "used" (called "nearly-new?") which they could format and sell?

"In five hundred feet, turn left, then get into the right lane for one hundred feet, then turn right..." (What a sweet-sounding voice!) "go straight ahead for thirteen miles..."

Driving home, we pulled back the roof door--well, it is an electrified sunroof--and sat in the cool breezes from the Gulf of Mexico. A Sea Gull passed directly over our sunroof--car moving--with a fine-looking fish dinner lodged in his beak. I mean we could have reached out and touched the bird--or could have stolen his 'catch'.

It is these brief moments in life which we cherish forever, and one day say, "Do you remember when....?" "Oh yes, that was back when we were......" "...And we were sober then, and are sober still..."


And Thursday morning I shall attend meetings at 7 and 8, and do yard work, and prepare some music stuff--read: practice violin! And I will do my best to stay sober and hope you will also.

Peace, and LOVE,
Steve E

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

FIRST WEEK BLOGGING

NEW BLOGGER STEVE JULY 1, 2008
(SANS THE DRINK!)


All twelve Peeps below may help themselves to the SUPER COMMENTS AWARD...just copy it from the sidebar and use it, delete it, pass it on, or do nothing. It is yours for the taking--because you are the people who have been here for ME for more than ten months...almost daily commenting thoughtful and heartfelt words on my blog, and many others. Thanks to you ALL!

"I BELIEVE MORE IN THE UNSEEN
THAN IN THE SEEN."

Mary Christine might probably recall better, but I'll give ya what I got. One nice late June day in 2008, I typed into a search engine the letters "AA". I was provided immediately Mary's blog, and, fortunate for me, her Email address was shown in ABOUT ME. Not for a long time had I met someone so helpful, so spiritual (I could "feel" it), and so nice, a complete stranger to me, and I to her.

In my thoughts (and words) we "hit it off"! In her thoughts--if any--were probably words like, "Who IS this jerk-off?" (Not exact words, of course-grin!). I was merely in search of a venue to vent, a place to expound, a page to publish. And I knew nothing--absolutely NOTHING about how to implement a blog.

During several traded Emails, Mary Christine 'talked' me through the process, and offered helpful hints, tricks and advice. She let me play around with it for about 10 days, and then one day "linked" me to her blog, and asked others to respond on "my blog". Imagine the smile on my face when I received bona fide comments from "real AA bloggers"! I learned then...that interaction is blogger happiness. I cannot thank Mary enough for what she did for me, then and now.

THE WELCOME WAGON
The following Peeps are those who
welcomed me in early July 2008...
and they are all still blogging daily!

1. Mary Christine


2. Shadow, my true friend,
lovely Shadow! You were first to welcome me here after MC did her "magic". And you and I stayed friends all these ten months, almost daily, how did that happen? All I can bet, is that God is here all this time, and now, with you, me, and all of us. And who knows how, or why--but God IS working tirelessly and always, behind the scenes.

All we must do is cooperate. And you surely DO!

3. Kathy-Lynne: Girl, seems like I've been reading you for years instead of months. Interesting how we all get to know one another pret-ty good, over months. In the beginning here I was skeptical, not believing half of what was written. But in the day-to-day battle of blogging, I have found that truth reigns--it could not be otherwise, and hold up under these daily conditions.

It is risky...blogging. I lay out my heart for inspection frequently, and once in awhile it gets trampled--but not by the people on this blog today.

4. Commentator was Banana Girl (or "J"), and what a bunch of sobriety I have found in you, dear lady. Thanks for being there...and here. I just know I want to say this to you, and each person on this list of twelve: that I admire your recovery programs, and I will be forever grateful to you all, and I love you.

5. Hello, Pam (Pammie). Thursday July 10, 2008 I 'met' you for the first time. I have enjoyed your humor, your sharp wit, and your strong, strong AA program so much--girl, you will never know! You are the good friend of my "appointed" mentor, Mary (she said), and somehow that makes you special in my mind. Even though I seldom 'see' you on my blog, I somehow 'feel' you there now and then. One day I hope to have a coffee with you, and look right into those 'knowing' eyes...and see those Gifts with which God has endowed you.

Your blog may not have been created to save souls or lives, but, in effect, you save both, in many ways, many days.

6. dAAve...what can I say? I think you are the greatest! I suspect we share the same brand of humor, although yours is much more refined--don't want to use the word "distilled"!!! And your blogs and comments for all these months have been insightful, perceptive and helpful to many and me. Thank you for so much!

7. Syd, I fell in love with your blog, your charm, your logic, your virtues, and your willingness to share everything, and your helpful advice for all. Your comments are always well-thought and succinct.

8. Zane: Where ARE you, Zane? DAMMMIT man, get back in here...I need you, I miss your honesty, and your down-to-earth writing style

9. Every time, Shannon, that I have a misunderstanding with a blog-friend--and that would include you, of ALL people!--and we resolve our problem, a new level of love is experienced by me. It's like, if I don't ever make a mistake, how could I EVER grow? I also love you for being there last July 10, to welcome me into this wonderful blog recovery community! Thank you!

10. Lou, Lou. We've also been through a lot--but mostly you. What a year this has been, a year of so much positive growth. You are a treasure, a pleasure to read, to comment, and many have grown in spirituality because of your God-directed efforts on these blogs. You are indeed appreciated, Lou.

11. Scott W...you were there for me right from the start. Although I see little of you these busy days, I see much of your work. I read your stuff every single day, for if I miss a day, I may well miss also an opportunity to help someone else, using a phrase, a sentence, a thought, a piece of your self which I might find there. Thank you forever, Scott W.

In one way or another, you all said to me, "Welcome Home, Steve. You belong here. Come in, sit down, have a cup...And then God took over." Grateful!

Peace, and Love,
Steve E

Monday, May 25, 2009

"PO POOREE"

"Super Comments Award" from blog-buddy Kristin (click).
One day Kristin will own and operate her first
coffee--and "other"--house...No, by "other"
I did NOT mean THAT!




UPDATE: Couple days ago I blogged about our new RAV4 with the GPS--and how it erroneously 'thought' we were going home, and told us to "turn around". And we could not even turn it off, nor program anything else. Today, five days later, on our way to Starbucks for my "B'day coffee" we were stopped at a red light. Suddenly I got the GPS to perform! Just as suddenly we both realized--and laughed about it for a Blong time--that you cannot program a GPS while moving, ya gotta STOP! Holy crap, that was not in the User Manual. Just wanted y'all to know how stupid are sober violin players -grin! "Yes Ma'am! You may be right, Ma'am"!


WOW!~ I am impressed at the scope of these blogs we're blest with. The number of people who sent me--in one form or other--happy birthday wishes was astounding! Well, to put an end to all that I've got to get out another blog--quickly.

"JUDY"

To start--and this may or may not be the topic (topic...get that! Big Word, for "random thoughts!"). This morning I was sitting across the room from a newly sobered girl, "Judy". I'm familiar with her sponsor, and a couple of her friends. At this particular meeting, none of them were present. I had seen Judy walk slowly into the room, looking fearful, apprehensive, well, you know! Just out of treatment.


I had met Judy the day before, and now she was sitting directly across the room from me--where 70 occupied chairs were set in circular fashion--but she did not see me. She did know I was a long-timer, and her sponsor had informed her I was one of the "safe" males. (Boy, have I got HER fooled (old but not dead!)...maybe not?)

Judy is--by far--not a "looker"...suffers from anorexia, skinny as a nail, missing a few teeth, and is obviously sick, both inside and out. Well, I finally caught her eye, and gave her my best smile (shit, I'm always smiling in the morning--and afternoon--and evening!). She looked panicky, and thinly returned my smile. So I made an effort to acknowledge this waif across the AA room during the meeting. She smiled a bit more each time, however unenthusiastically. Hmmmmmm.

Later, Judy's sponsor and I were chatting. She told me Judy said to her that one of the nicest personal things to happen to her in thirty days (time in treatment) was "that old man" (me) giving her a welcoming and reassuring smile, "across a crowded room".

Note: I had a different topic in mind for this blog, but just cannot wrap my thoughts around much else--except the way God will use us, if we let him. It can be through a simple smile--a recognition, a nod. I do not have to use ten minutes of conversation, or three pages of blog material. I can do as little (as much?) as say with my eyes that I see you, I know you, I respect you, I hope you return, I love you.

And I can only convey that, if it is true! And it IS!


Peace, and LOVE,
Steve E

Memorial Day 2009 And B'DAY


MEMORIAL DAY 2009
AND BIRTHDAY NUMBER 76

WWI I have no recollection. There were some old men around the country area where our farm was located--outside Cincinnati. One had no legs, one was missing an arm, one fellow was always shaking with "the nerves", but these, to me, were just has-been fellows who'd run into some hard luck.

Then came WWII in which I had relatives fighting on Guadalcanal beaches, flying B-17 Bombers over German cities. One cousin was shot down over France and parachuted onto a French farm. The French farmer turned him in and he became a prisoner for almost four years. He used to write letters (called V-Mail) which had been greatly censored. But he did get by writing things like, "They feed us a lot of Bologna (pronounced 'baloney!' by all who knew him) over here." One cousin was in the Anti-Tank Corps in North Africa. He came home with all limbs attached.

The most favorite stories were told me by Bobbie Benson, a neighbor. A U.S. Marine, he fought hand-to-hand combat with Japanese soldiers on Guadalcanal. His descriptions of firing a sub-machine gun at enemy soldiers, snipers, hiding high up in palm trees, are the stuff of which movies were made.

In fact, the early August 1942 beach landings, he would relate to us, were such danger-filled hours, until some security was established, that anyone who came out alive was truly by God Himself destined for future greatness--not in the eyes of the world, but in spiritual sightedness. I got to feel, taste, see, and smell the horrors of war through the eyes of a Marine who had spent sleepless nights on blood-soaked sand.

Though I was too young to be part of the military, much of what I remember was from a point of view of the home front war. It was well-waged, important, and a necessary spoke in the great wheel of effort which eventually won out over the forces of the Axis. I wore military garb from the age of 8-13. Stuff that cousins and friends sent me from "over there"...

Yes, I remember the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sitting on their front porches, with one or more flags in the window behind them, signifying that a son or a husband or father would never return home bodily, but would be buried on a foreign shore.

And I pray silently and often for those who went before, and those who are now giving of their time, their jobs, their homes, their health, their wonderful early years, their comforts, their arms, legs, minds, and yes...their lives. And my prayer begins with "THANK YOU!"

I can only hope we make our lives and our country's life worth all what they have given. I hope we don't FK this thing up, as Dr Bob S might have said to Bill W. (They changed Dr Bob's words to "Let's not louse this thing up, Bill."---grin!)
________________________________________________________________________

In the other half of this blog, I wish to letch'y'all know, today May 25 is my birthday. I never put much stock in my own birthday. In fact, I have great plans for the day. Included are mowing the grass (Ugh!) trimming LOTS of bushes, weeding, washing, sweeping, etc.

It could even be a two-day celebration, because there is NO WAY I can get all that done by myself tomorrow. Of course, my day will begin with kneeling (a fairly new 'thing' for me!), two AA meetings, and great bike rides, then to work in the yard.

Almost forgot, I promised Prayer Girl I'd join her for coffee at a Starbucks, don't know the time yet, whenever she is free of her meetings, and sponsee meetings, etc. I can hear someone thinking, "Isn't that just 'precious'? A birthday coffee at Starbucks!" Well.....yeah!

I feel like I've short-changed my blog when I don't write about alcoholism recovery but ya know, nearly half my life has been lived in sobriety. I should begin to start acting my age (but not today--or tomorrow!).

Guess I'm just me, but trying to change--it is so slow--change. WHO said hurry it up a bit? Hmmmmmm, time to end this blog, with wishes that while we all stay sober today, we will also all experience Peace, and LOVE.


Steve E

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A SUNDAY LETTER TO A BLOGGER-FRIEND

GROVE PARK INN--ASHEVILLE, NC


LETTER TO A BLOGGER FRIEND


Saturday afternoon, I sent a message to blogger friend Catherine Vibert
who lives in Asheville, NC. Halfway through the message, I realized this was my blog for Saturday night/Sunday. So here it is.

Consider it just an Email to/from a friend, which, after all, it IS!
Only read this if you have time to listen to a self-centered old guy reminisce. The venue is Brevard and Asheville, NC and summer 1952. It is about a "lost love".

The conductor of Cincinnati Symphony had befriended me, and sent me and my violin to Brevard Music Camp (it was called then). Goal was for me to gain experience in playing lots of different composers, and become groomed for a position in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

There I was, a farm boy just graduated from "Hahh Skou", traveling out-of-state for the first time. I promptly was booted from the Music Camp for drinking beer. (Maybe that's where we got the term "boot camp"?) Also unappreciated were my attempts to teach the younger camper-musicians how to freeze beer, and drink what's left, and ounce-for-ounce receive a much greater effect/benefit.


Anyway, I got back into the camp, and good graces of the staff, by pretending humility to the Director ((Dr)James Christian Pfohl), etc., and did my job well, playing violin in all the functions, and traveling around the most beautiful state of NC in the adult (read: "drinking") orchestra.

We performed symphony concerts several times in "The Great Hall" at Grove Park Inn. I spent a memorable eight-week summer in the area, even talked "Southern" when I left. Back on the farm they could no longer understand my words.


The most memorable event of that summer of '52 was the occasion of my falling headfirst and headlong--and deep--in love (for the seventh time?--just a guess!). But as I look back, that girl Sondra (Sonnie) Wishart could easily have been my wife for all these years--not that I have regrets. This is simply "memory lane" after all.

What a lucky woman--Sonnie! She might have been put through the chaos of hell itself as I burrowed and buried myself into alcoholism. Certainly she would have left me after the usual ten years of begging, pleading, counseling, slapping and fighting.
PLEASE NOTE: I don't DO those things any more! I wouldn't even know HOW.

Back to remembering, though--the hillside, that knoll surrounding Grove Park Inn, where acres of soft grass were kept green for as long as possible. It was there, in broad daylight, we did become passionate, and performed "all but", ya know? How else would I know the grass was "mattress-soft"?

There followed six weeks of my (don't really know about 'her') being so in love, as to have been willing to die for this girl, the love of any dream I could have imagined. Sonnie stayed as the subject of my dreamworld for a number of years after. She lived in Asheville with her aunt.

Today I have no idea if she is alive even, and ours is a short-story long discarded from my arsenal of dreams.
I pray today that Sonnie is as blest as I, with a spouse who cares for, shares with, and loves her, with a big heart of gold!

Prayer Girl and I have been married (next Wednesday, May 27) for 18 years! That's nearly a record for both of us. It is certainly a record if we are reporting "happiness" ratings. And I love my Prayer-girl! THAT'S for the record.

I love others also--a lot! It might even seem like I throw the word "love" around a bit--that may be true, but I DO mean what I write and/or say! After all is said and done, what is there else.......but LOVE!


And yes, I did become a symphony violinist. These days I play strolling gigs, club dates, weddings-on-the-beach, funerals, and at least two masses every weekend at St Elizabeth Seton in Naples.

I love LOVE my Alcoholics Anonymous Program and the AA membership. I love my Higher Power, God, and I love my families.


And on top of all that, I love especially the regular--and not-so-regular--bloggers, in-and-out-of recovery, who are an endless source of help for me and my still sometimes screwed-up thinking.
While we all are in this "love-fest", why don't we make a plan to stay sober another day--like maybe today???

Peace, and (of course!) Love,

Steve E

IT'S DECISION TIME! A "BLONG"



DECISIONS, DECISIONS!

I make many decisions during a lifetime. Some are little, what's-for-dinner type. Others are huge--questioning...with whom shall I live the rest of my life? It takes me less than ten minutes to go through a familiar store, pick out a shirt, pair of shoes, and a belt. I takes me no time to order from a menu...(I simply ask the server what she/he would order today?)

I can book an airline ticket in less than a half hour. I researched, chose, configured to my own specs, and bought a computer on line, all within an hour. Plus, I ordered that computer from a company (I love them!) which I had never heard about, and do not know. The company "Puget" is about 3,400 miles from our house. And I own a computer with a useful life anywhere from 5-10 years.

I decided to buy a brand new Toyota RAV 4, spending well over $20,000 in a single two-hour period on a Saturday morning. A quick, nearly spontaneous decision was made (with Prayer Girl--she drives the car) to hand over that kind of cash to a stranger, who has a stack of papers--written in legalese--for me to sign.

How quickly, how easily I make decisions regarding my quality of life for years to come.

And yet, yet...how difficult for me to have made, or for many of us to make that decision in our Step Three of Alcoholics Anonymous Program of twelve Steps. Step 3 is:

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Sounds simple, sounds easy--well, it IS!

Some members spend literally YEARS on this step 3, often going back out to the crazy chaotic life which "used to be" and is again. The words, tried and true, "Don't Die On Third" from a 1925 baseball story by William Cameron ring for us in AA today. Don't Die On Third Step, people.

Yet some will say, "But I haven't really 'taken' this step yet."

I 'took' the step in a formal manner with my sponsor, as I read the Third Step Prayer out of the Big book, and he explained it to me. And I read from page 63 in our Big book:


"God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!"

"You see", said my sponsor. "You are asking for victory over your difficulties (drinking, thinking, obsessing, selfishness, Pride, whatever!) for only ONE reason. That you may show others the Power and Love which your God has for you--and which is within close reach of everyone." Just ONE reason I am asking for help, HA! So simple. None of this AA program is Rocket Science, believe that!

But I queried him, "Just how DO I work this step? 'Making a decision' doesn't seem like much of a commitment to me." That's when he told me the "KEY" to the working of the Third Step. Key is to continue on with the rest of the steps. From working the following steps, will come the realization of Step Three. Culmination of the Third Step is revealed to me, as I work on steps 4 through 12. Isn't THAT a fancy act? Thank you, Bill W.

In fact, often overlooked is the 'caveat' which Bill W added to this prayer/step. He wrote on page 63 of Big Book, "We thought well before taking this step, making sure we were ready: that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to him." In other words, don't do this step without some though This decision is not something to be made lightly, such as I made buying a computer and a car. I am talking "life-and-death here, MY life or death, and maybe others.

So I made the decision, I was sincere, I understood the weight of the decision, and I was ready to move on...and did. Now...for the punch line:

Oh, how I wish I could do this perfectly, or all the time! Just to let God direct every facet of my life is still a goal, not a fact. However, on those occasions when God IS my director, when I DO listen to God (usually through you bloggers, or my sponsor, or members at AA meetings), life becomes SO much easier. Now and then, no longer just rarely, I am allowed to reach a state of serenity that I never thought possible on earth. These are momentary happenings, not lasting...well, sometimes the euphoria stays through a morning, or an evening.

Very VERY helpful is "KNEELING" first thing every morning. It works! Try it! I KNOW it works! Do it! I do it! I just slide out of bed onto the floor, and I feel loved by my Creator. I say the third Step prayer in my own words. And I know the day will unfold as it should.

I'm rambling, so time to end this is NOW! Thanks for reading. All I can offer you is Peace, and Love,
Steve E

Friday, May 22, 2009

LAUGH AND LIVE



The same man who wrote this:


"Humor is the prelude to faith,
Laughter the beginning of prayer!"

and this:

"What is funny about us is precisely that we take ourselves too seriously."

wrote also the following:

"The Serenity Prayer.....

GOD, grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference."

Yep, I do know there's more, but believe me,
I am lucky to remember this much!

And I DO remember the first meeting I ever 'chaired', when it came the "moment of silence...followed by".......crap! All I could remember was the first word, so I said it, more or less like, "Oh, GOD..." and the whole room chimed in with, ..."grant me the serenity, etc."

As you can see, I had support right from the beginning of my AA 'career'! Hopefully, when I notice a newbie struggling with whatever service she/he is performing, I am there to offer loving support instead of hateful ridicule...or a prideful, "I told you so."

That's enough from me for now, I have a need to let you know once again that I am in love with Alcoholics Anonymous, and with our small, united blogging community.


"Thank You" does not properly express my gratitude. I must show you my appreciation by working with others, and performing with a smile what little is asked of me. And yes, I do these few things with enthusiasm and with love. Ask anyone around here.

Peace, and Love,
Steve E

Thursday, May 21, 2009

WORK THE STEPS, STEVE!

TOYOTA GPS--BUT READ THE MANUAL!


JUST READ THE BOOK
AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!

Finally getting out a blog for Thursday. Gotta letcha all know how our trip in the new RAV4 went (Naples FL to Lakeland FL). As I might have mentioned, the car came equipped with a GPS system which does a whole lot more than "position" us, or map our trip.


There are a certain number of logical (illogical?) steps to perform in order to receive full advantage of this technology. I/we did not RTFM (Read The F'n Manual). NOTE: WE DID NOT WORK THE STEPS!As a result, our "home" address appeared as our "Destination". A further result was that at EVERY Interchange all the way north on I-75 (and other roads) we received a message which resembled the following: "Get off at this Interchange and turn around. You are going in the wrong direction." The screen was telling us in essence to "Go Back Home". And we didn't know how to change it--or even how to turn it off!

We kept laughing at this blunder, thankfully, the only major one of the two days.

I apologize for not getting around to read all of your blogs, but will try to catch up. A quick overnight visit with MsFirefighterPants is not a favorable time to sit in a room and blog away the night. I tried to stay up later than, etc., but I went to bed at 2 AM and 'other' went to bed at 4 AM. Even I don't stay up that late--since that is nearly time to rise and pray, coffee-up, and praise the day!

So I, for the first time in a Blong time, went 30 hours without an AA meeting, and without blogging! And I did not think it could happen. Ever! But it did. And we did have loads of laughter, some good conversations, and shared some loving memories

I just pray to God my great wish, that everyone who is reading this, may one day be given an opportunity (God's Grace) to have these same kinds of spiritual experiences, of forgiving, amending (mending), remembering, caring, sharing, supporting, and loving one another.

Peace, and LOVE,
Steve E

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TELEPHONE CALL AND VISIT


GOOD OLD STEP TWELVE
PLUS TWO-DAY HOLIDAY

Folks, ah'm jus' sittin' here. tryin' to figure out somethin' ta blog....when the phone rings: True story! I just this minute ended the conversation.

RING!

Steve: Hello
Voice: Hey Steve, this is Don.
Steve: Don? Which Don?
Voice: C'mon, Steve you know ME!
Steve: Well, give me a clue.
Voice: We met a year ago at an AA meeting. I'm in New York.
The reason for all the noise is I'm hangin' out here
in a train station
Steve: (OMG) LOL, And you think I rememb.....
Voice: Steve, you TOLD me to call you.
Steve: (sigh!) Oh, and have you been sober since then?
Voice: Oh yeah. Few days now and then. A week here,
a week there...YOU know how it is...
Steve: What do I know? I know one thing. I stopped drinking
more than 18,000 times, one or two times every day
for more than 25 years
Voice: How's that again?
Steve: Every time I passed out, I stopped drinking! I never
"got drunk--from 'drunk'". I always "got drunk
from 'sober'"!!! So, once sober, just STAY that way.
Voice: I'll have to think that over...heh, heh.
Steve: Tell me again. Who are you?
Don: Don Cnhrewyzce (sounded like) from New York!
Steve (Having NO idea, no clue) Oh, THAT Don!
Don: I'm going into a 'spensive rehab, run by Friars in upstate NY.
Medicaid is paying the bill. 90 days $100,000. Whaduya
think of that?
Steve: (Thinking of THAT!) Ummmmmmm. Tell ya what. Call me
when you get out of that monastery or whatever...
Don: I could call you tomorrow. That's when my booze will run out.
Steve: Ninety DAYS, call me in ninety days! OK?
Don: OK. Goodbye, my good friend.
Steve: (What????) Yeah, goodbye, Don! Thanks for calling! You made my day, man!

And he really did make my day.

Imagine, out of millions of people-choices, he called ME! What could be more of an honor? Thank You, God. He will call me August 24th...ya know what day THAT is? (I just looked it up!)


We are leaving Wednesday morning early for an overnight visit with my daughter MsFirefighterPants, be back Thursday evening...Did I tell ya, our new car has an electric circuit for 120v equipment, such as--you KNOW it--a COMPUTER! I can blog while we're traveling!

Prayer Girl is probably saying, "Over my divorced body!" Guess I should not read and comment on blogs while visiting my daughter--maybe she will take a shower, or take "Chief" (BIG dog) for a walk. Point is, I'll try to say "Hello" to you all, but if I cannot, please flog me gently. And let me "walk the plank" off a three-meter board into warm water.

I'll be back with a blog Thursday night, even if it's only the weekly joke from the Thursday-night "cookie" meeting. Thank you all SO much for comments, messages, and other stuff--support and helpful suggestions.

I love you bloggers...you must know that by now. You might be weary from hearing about it?

Peace, and Love,
Steve E

Monday, May 18, 2009

A TUESDAY RETROSPECTIVE

HOW I SEE ALL LIFE

IN RETROSPECT

Every day I read blogs and comments from nearly two dozen Peeps. My head shakes slowly back and forth, as I am simply awed at the eruditeness of the bloggers in our select little group. Your blogs are written with style, imagination, honesty, and a certain humor which could only be derived from experiences of living a period of years in abusive and/or self-abusive/destructive circumstances.

So many of the comments left by followers on each blog are written in an atmosphere of caring, sharing, and loving tenderness. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the directness of responses to problems others might be suffering. I am cheered by enthusiastic responses of long-timers to newer recovering peeps, and the newer members' to 'older member' comments. Often it surprises me (it should not, After all, it IS God working here, not us peeps -grin!) and warms my heart to read how one of us was really and truly helped by remarks from another.

To add to this mixture the fact that many--most?--of us have never met; do not know each other's last names; in many cases not even first names; have no idea what we all 'look' like; in some cases are recovering from different illnesses than alcoholism; ALL have a sense of a Higher Power directing our lives; ALL express here a spirituality, which would lead an outsider to sincerely believe that we meet together at least once a week, in person! And ALL express themselves in superior fashion...in poetry, prose, photos and blog layout.

Further, many of us share openly with one another now--or have in our archives--stuff that even our near relatives and close friends do not now, and may never, know about ourselves. We speak with each other as if we are a large family--the only difference being that we don't fight! I have seen and read these amazing blogs for nearly a year.

The same ten people who welcomed me online here are still blogging, for the most part, daily. Their welcoming words remain engraved in my heart, more than the welcome words said to me at my very first AA meeting. BECAUSE, back then I was in such a fog I couldn't remember anything. Now I CAN put together some loving memories and store them in my private and secret place. If ever I'm having an "off" day, I call on those happiest of memories, which immediately pick me up.

Even on an operating table in surgery, these fondest of memories--of my real family, and of my virtual family, you bloggers, past and present--are what now help to keep me serene and at peace. And all is well and good...because I KNOW now that God is directing my life and yours--to the extent that we allow Him.

For all AA members, and God Who introduced us, I am so grateful! To my sponsor, and those I sponsor, and did sponsor, and will sponsor, I am grateful. To my families! I am grateful. And I owe so much to those who were here for me, as I walked in the door of AA all those years ago. And I thank with all my heart those who were here for me online nearly a year ago. And my gratitude is also for all others who have come on these blogs since, and those who, for one reason or another, have left the blog world. You ALL have had a part in my learning experience, since I usually do what you tell me. And we CONTINUED to grow along spiritual lines. We CONTINUED to take personal inventory...the word "continued" appears in other places in our literature. I think of this existence as one great continuum, of which I am a very small but important part.

Truly, in Service and Love.
Peace,
Steve E

AA FELLOWSHIP

"FELLOWSHIP HALL?"





STEVE: WALLFLOWER

For a Blong time I have been an in-and-outwardly shy, timid and bashful person. Of course, alcohol loosed some of my inhibitions for about 25 years. But even in Alcoholics Anonymous I continued to suffer with delusions of inadequacy, when outside my group setting, away from the meeting hall.

Sitting in meetings, sharing and working, I am very, VERY enthusiastic, and feel totally "at home". Confidence is my middle name. This is the truth, in any meeting, any city, anywhere, any time.

Outside of the meeting rooms is a different story. I began two months ago having "breakfast with a few of the guys" every Friday after the morning meetings. It has been enjoyable for me, but continues to be an uneasy affair. For one thing, the guys are 20-30 years younger than me. For another, they are all successful in business and life, in their prime. I do not believe any one of them has ever drank under a bridge, unless they were building it, or painting it. Pretty sure none of them ever slept under one. I did. In winter. In Cincinnati. Drunk.

However, we do all suffer from a common, deadly disease, alcoholism, that killer illness which told me I was F.I.N.E., when my life was utter chaos.

Mary C wrote in her Sunday blog, "If you are new to AA, please avail yourself of the fellowship." How timely those words arrived as an addend to my thoughts on a blog for tonight...

Well, I am not new to AA, but I have suffered an inability to avail myself of the full benefit of the fellowship--for many years. At Christmas parties, Gratitude Dinners, Conferences, I have either been, or 'felt like being' a wallflower, unable to join socially with others. Understand, this HAS gotten better as the years zipped by, but I felt a real lacking in my program, which truly affected my peace and serenity.

Today, Anna and I attended an AA birthday party for a friend, at which were about 40-50 local peeps. A girl had handed me an invitation only a week ago, which in the past, I likely might have turned down, thinking I had to go there and "put on a front" of being happy, etc. And I thought, "What in the hell. I AM happy! There is no acting on that score, so what IS the problem...Steve?" Seems as it is a habit, formed long ago in early childhood--like age 4-5-6--when I would not allow ANY one to know me.

We went to the party, and were one of the last to leave, I had such a good time--also I believe Anna enjoyed it. Probably a dozen or more people I've known for years, in actuality I never 'knew' them. And I'm sure some got to know me, because I AM not a quiet guy after a few drinks--COFFEE, guys!

I learned what a pleasure, what FUN it is, to "...avail myself of the fellowship." It is free, it is simply for the asking, it is for participation, and for me, it is learning. And how do I learn? Certainly not by listening, reading, thinking, meditating...but by DOING!

And do you know, God was at that birthday party! God was in almost every conversation which happened there. It was evident in behaviors--no fights, no quarreling, no harsh words or looks. It was evidenced in the genuine caring, sharing and laughter, and the love shown by all to all.

How wonderful is our fellowship. To think that I used to hate the word: Fellowship. Without it I might not continue to grow along spiritual lines--note that word CONTINUE? Important!

I truly love you, bloggers, and that love grows as I listen to what you tell me, and then DO it! Thank you, all! And today is a sober day for all of us. Right? "Yep!"

Peace and Love,
Steve E

Saturday, May 16, 2009

SUNDAY'S INSPIRATION OR MEMORIES?


INSPIRATION

For tonight's blog I had in mind two topics but could not become enthusiastic about either. Then I read a blog from a really classy daily contributor to our little group of AA, Alanon (and "other") recoverers. Mary Louise (Mary LA) began her May 16 blog describing herself as "dance, dance, dancing" in the cold, pelting, late autumn South African rain. Click HERE. The remainder of Mary's blog is devoted to her alcoholic friend who is living in a "danger zone" (my words).

For some reason, my mind whirled back to a time when I was "in lust" with a ballerina, who also "liked" me, the alcoholic violinist. The ballerina chose (wisely so -grin!) to further her dancing career instead of her potentially chaotic life with me.

Some few years before, Nat King Cole recorded--and sold a gazzilion copies of--the song "Dance, Ballerina, Dance", in which the lyrics (below) portray a situation of a ballerina whose career choice overruled her heart choice, resulting in a lost love.

For a musical change, click on the sad words of this song out of yester-year. In less than four minutes you will learn a bit about popular music during the early alcoholic life of Steve E:

NAT KING COLE sings DANCE BALLERINA DANCE

Lyrics:

Dance, ballerina, dance
And do your pirouette in rhythm with your aching heart.
Dance, ballerina, dance
You mustn't once forget a dancer has to dance the part.

Whirl, ballerina, whirl
And just ignore the chair that's empty in the second row.
This is your moment, girl,
Although he's not out there applauding as you steal the show.

Once you said his love must wait its turn
You wanted fame instead.
I guess that's your concern,
We live and learn.

And love is gone, ballerina, gone
So on with your career, you can't afford a backward glance.
Dance on and on and on
A thousand people here have come to see the show
As 'round and 'round you go
So ballerina, dance
Dance, dance!


______________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for being with me this Sunday in May. You--ALL of you bloggers are in my prayers and in my heart.

Peace and Love,
Steve E

TODAY'S STEVE STUFF

Just how does this thing work? GOOD!


Q. Say, how does this AA program work?
A. Good!

Q. What the heck do you do, since you don't drink?
A. Everything else!


We bought a brand new Toyota RAV 4 yesterday, will pick up today. It has this GPS screen to die for. Then I got to thinking, $28,000 for a GPS, which we have not needed ever before yesterday? (Will they throw in a sun roof, just what "cancer-skin" Steve has always wished for?)

I'm going to a couple AA meetings this morning, it is the best way I know to start my day. Prayer Girl is going with me--her once-a-year foray into early morning AA.

The Peeps there know I'm married, but some of them will think I'm bringing a biker girl friend. So we'll introduce to those who are new.


Today is my favorite of favorites from GOD CALLING, May 16...I marked it 28 years ago. To capsulate this day's message:

"Never weary in prayer. When one day man sees how marvelously his prayer has been answered, then he will deeply, so deeply, regret that he prayed so little.

Prayer changes all. Prayer re-creates. Prayer is irresistible. So pray, literally without ceasing.

Pray until you almost cease to pray, because trust has become so rock-like, and then pray on because it has become so much a habit that you cannot resist it.

And always pray until Prayer merges into Praise. That is the only note on which true prayer should end. It is the Love and Laughter of your attitude towards man interpreted in the Pray and Praise of your attitude towards God"


Later today, I get to play violin at mass. Beautiful Day! Thank you AA. thank you bloggers, thank You God!

Peace, and Love,
Steve E

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This Neno Award is strikingly original, and I love it, the graphic, and I love that Linda Socha, of Psyche Connections thought to tag me for it! Right now, I'm too sleepy to pick out recipients, although everyone I know qualifies...I think?

Please click on this one-minute video, it is FUNNY!
PERFECT LITTLE GIRL--MOMMY'S LITTLE HELPER

video


Welcome, bloggers to my
Friday Happy Hour.

Blogs and comments of mine lately have been so serious, that I forgot to smile and laugh...can you imagine that? And Italy just broke away from the Continent, and is floating aimlessly around the Mediterranean Sea -grin!

Each Thursday night it is one of my privileges at the "cookie" meeting, Naples group of AA (about 200 peeps), to be their librarian. One of my favorite duties is to have a prepared joke to tell, to prove we are really not a glum lot. The jokes have been going so well, I'd like to share one each Friday--from the night before. Here goes:

__________________________________________________________________________________

On his 74th birthday, a man got a gift certificate from his wife.
The certificate paid for a visit to a medicine man living on a
nearby reservation who was rumored to have a wonderful cure for
erectile dysfunction. After being persuaded, he drove to the
reservation, handed his ticket to the medicine man and wondered what
he was in for.

The old man slowly, methodically produced a potion, handed it to
him, and with a grip on his shoulder, warned, "This is powerful
medicine and it must be respected. You take only a teaspoonful and
then say '1-2-3'. When you do that, you will become more manly than you have ever been in your life and you can perform as long as you want."

The man was encouraged. As he walked away, he turned and asked, "How do I stop the medicine from working?"

"Your partner must say '1-2-3-4," he responded. "But when she does,
the medicine will not work again until the next full moon."

He was very eager to see if it worked so he went home, showered,
shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine, and then invited his wife
to join him in the bedroom. When she came in, he took off his
clothes and said, "1-2-3!"

Immediately, he was the manliest of men. His wife was excited and
began throwing off her clothes. And then she asked, "What was the 1-2-3 for?"

Ok, bloggers. If ya don't like the respite, lemme know and it will never happen again--until next Friday!

And smiling and laughter is so akin to happiness, love and peace. I believe the world could use more of ALL of it...at least my world!

Love, and Peace,
Steve E

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A GOOD DAY!

"OH! THIS HAS GOT TO BE A GOOD DAY, MOMMY!"

AND A GOOD DAY

IT TURNED OUT TO BE

HEEELLLLLP! My bike won't start. Of course, I blame Suzuki Corporation, my wife, all of South Florida with it's battery-hating heat, the catholic church, Musicians Union Local #1 (Cincinnati), my cat Burt, ...but after all it IS the fault of One and only One--GOD! Right? Wrong! Needless to say--maybe I won't say it, then--oh well, I left the F'ing ignition on, and the running lights refused to turn themselves off...for hours. Didn't they realize they were in the garage?? Hmmmmm?


About a month ago someone at my daughter's home suggested strongly that I invest in a good battery charger, preferably a slow-charge-type. I do not like "slow" anything...but for once, AA program clicked in and I bought the charger the next day. Whaddya know...it WORKS! Bike started up, like brand new.


Recently had to buy a set of new tires. Thank God there's but two of them. Only 10,000 miles. Bike is exactly one year old. And riding has been the most fun I've had in many years--since my last bike! Expensive tires, though.


Otherwise, life for me this week is meetings, blogging, not eating, drinking (aw, come on, YOU know--water!) practicing violin, playing at mass, living and loving God's creation--all of it. An acquaintance at the early meeting who rides, told me this morning how he loves the different odors on his way early in the AM.

As we began to enunciate the different smells, I told him I love the farm scents we encounter, skunk, horse's poop, sausage cooking in an un-windowed home, a hint of the approaching rain, which never did arrive, and oh! this morning, some cut hay drying in the pasture, onions growing wild, motor exhaust, burning rubber from big trucks, gasoline, chewing gum, perfume--WOW!--and more perfume. And I go haywire over honeysuckle!


At an 8:30 PM Step SIX meeting tonight, some girl was instructing us on the Eastern religions, philosophies, practices, and benefits derived from them. Needless to say, the seventeen alkies in attendance were enthralled with her 14-minute presentation. I would have stopped her, but it is not one of my 'regular' meetings, and the chairperson was also a know-most-of-it-all type peep.


At this same meeting which is not on my regular route, I sat at a table of a stranger, thinking he might be a person new to our rooms. He was a visitor from Philadelphia, sober since August 1984, and we hit it off. Imagine, not one person was even saying "hello" to this guy. He will meet me tomorrow at the 7 AM meeting. He is kinda shy! Maybe he's with the wrong guy--me?


Also got invited by four other men to join them for breakfast Friday morning, just because they want me to be with them, or they want to be with me, I don't know which, don't care. But it IS wonderful to be loved in that fashion--that people want me to join them in "fellowship" STILL boggles my mind!


AND, (still same meeting) I received an invitation for Anna and me to an AA (navel) birthday party Sunday afternoon! To think I almost didn't get ready to GO to this meeting....

Enough of my "Ravings". Yesterday was "Ranting". Just wanted to share one of my daze, which began at 5:20 AM. And a midnight phone call from a friend is ending this day.


Love to all "youse" guys and girls, and let's all join Mary Christine in staying sober today--maybe even happy, and without serious pain!


PEACE and LOVE,

Steve E

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

THE LAST RANT TONIGHT

RANT...OR DIE!


RANT: NUMBER 2
A "CHIP" MOMENT


Recently I witnessed a "chip" moment when, in our area, we give out a chip for continuous sobriety time. To do or not do this is a group-by-group decision, and not my rant. My Coin is a reminder--in my pocket always--of where I came from, and the fantastic trip to where I am now!

The following, however, really pissed me off. The "chip person" held up the one-day-to-one-week chip, asking for whoever might qualify, and wish to be recognized as a "new or returning" member. When nobody came up, the chip-guy almost whispered, "If anyone wishes a 24-hour chip, and is too shy to come up and get one, see me after the meeting, and I'll give it to you in private." If I had been a female newcomer attending I might have wondered WHAT he was wanting to give me "in private"....

In My Opinion, some reasons for someone new being asked up front to receive a "Desire" chip, is to inject a small dose of humility right off the bat; to let others see who is new; to allow the new person to feel a part of, rather than--you know--apart from; to get accustomed to the feel of coming away from the "back wall, to the front of the room"--which is a real achievement for many of us.

I believe we in AA sometimes thwart the initial growth and therefore the staying power of new people, by lining the bed of the newcomer with a feather mattress.

Really, I LOVE new people, as do you bloggers. I shall NEVER forget the first morning after I was "introduced" to this online group of bloggers with a link to my new blog on "ONE'S" blog. A whole long list of 12 comments appeared welcoming me to the "group", and how welcomed I DID feel! Have I ever thanked you for that? Every one of those "welcomers" is still here (12 of you) except for a lady named Ann P., sober about 35 years now, age 76--does anyone know her URL? If so, please get it to me. Thanks!

A wondrous thing about the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. I can keep making mistakes, keep screwing up, making amends, F**king up again and again--and STAY SOBER all the while! How about that? I've heard it called "the process"...and I'm in that process, now and forever. Amen.

Peace and LOVE,
Steve E

Monday, May 11, 2009

TUESDAY RANT

RANTING OR HUNGRY?


"WHO IS WILLING TO SPONSOR???"

One of the gifts of Alcoholics Anonymous, is the 'system' of sponsorship in place. It is voluntary for both the sponsor and the one being sponsored. That seems to work. If one does not use a sponsor and gets drunk, she/he probably was supposed to do that in order to be able to surrender, to become willing to accept a few spiritual principles.

There is a practice (in one of my home groups) where the chairperson announces to a gathering of 150-200 AA members, "Whoever is willing to be a sponsor, raise your hands, and keep them raised". I have been sponsoring men for many years. I do not need to be asked if I am "willing". I've never met someone in AA who is NOT willing.

If nobody answers the call (to raise hands), the group is asked to come on, be good AA's, etc., to the point of embarrassing those who might be qualified, but who do not believe in that process.

This "picking a sponsor out of a sea of hands in the air" takes away initiative we might be trying to transfuse to the new person: in early sobriety, she or he has but ONE choice--other than to drink, or not--which is theirs alone to make. "Who shall I ask to help me?" It has always worked well this way. Sort of like "Let God have a hand in this...please."

Long-time sober peeps might know what I'm talking about. They will also know these are only MY opinions. More-or-less "assigning" an unknown person to be a sponsor reduces even further the new person's capability to later "...make a decision." It also deletes a bit of the fun of wondering "Who" I should ask. The new person might seek advice from some who "looks and sounds OK". They will seldom be misled.

So let us PLEASE allow the new person to find their OWN first sponsor? (It worked for me!) Let them try, maybe make a bad choice, and try again, and make another poor choice, try again--and stay sober the whole time they are doing this.

I'm not used to "ranting" so I have one more rant (a better one!) for tomorrow night--tonight's is just practice!

I am grateful to be allowed to rant, to be allowed to be wrong, to be allowed to keep coming back (although I never have had to do that--yet!), to be allowed to love you all NMW, and to be allowed to stay sober NMW, thanks to you and my God!

Peace, and LOVE,
Steve E

Sunday, May 10, 2009

FOR MONDAY Steve Starvation Diet (SSD)

Ya must KNOW, this is not 'moi' -grin!

STEVE'S "STARVATION" DIET (SSD)

I have not eaten a single bite of solid food since last Tuesday May 5th. Here is a bit of background:

Five years ago I was snoring a lot at night (maybe in the daytime also -grin!) and would stop breathing for long periods during sleep, according to my wife. So doctor suggested I visit a "Sleep Disorder Clinic". After the usual nights spent in bed at a doctor's office, I was diagnosed with apnea, obesity, (260 pounds) and a flabby piece of fat in my throat. I do not recall the technical term.

In lieu of surgery in my throat, I opted for a weight loss plan, which consisted of six 90-calorie drinks daily of a powdered vitamized formula named MEDIFAST. I was to drink these powdered supplements, blended with water only, 6-8 Oz. each, spaced through each day. Oh, I forgot: NO FOOD! Nothing to eat. Drink lots of water was the other instruction. N.O. F.O.O.D. (OK, OK, I got it!)

For seven weeks I fasted--except for the chocolate-flavored water--not a bit, not even a crumb. Doctor did not believe I did not eat. I explained to him, that I KNOW addiction, and one bite--like one smoke, or one drink, would make null the whole process. Anyone who has ever fasted for more than several days can recall how energy levels rise, activities thrive, and the brain seems to come to life (in a fashion -grin!).

Well, I lost 58 pounds in seven weeks...49 days! I wanted to zip below 200, to maybe 160-180, but doctors both said it was too 'fast', dangerous for a man my age--HUH! My age, fancy that! I could finally wear trousers which had not fit me for 25 years! Also I felt better then I had in many years, and mentally--what a "high"!

So, having found myself to be slipping upward on the scales these days (225), I decided to have another "go", but without the doctor visits and weekly blood tests and I have not had a single bite of food since a banana last Tuesday May 5th. the Medifast I ordered online from a place in California. I won't link them, because I am not a doctor. Although you'd not know that from my "helpful" diagnoses, now and then on these blog comments...bad! BAD! I keep trying to just say "No"....

Anyway, I just wanted to let y'all know where I am in this thing. Next report, in about ten days. Maybe I'll quit this stupidity before then! So far, eight pounds gone Tuesday through Sunday, some of that is "water weight" whatever that is--I really don't care! It's a shorter belt-line which is my goal. (I guess "shorter blogs" should be my other goal -grin!)

As for Weight Watchers...well, I gave that a try about 15 years ago, by mistake. I walked unknowingly into an AA-OA Meeting. A cannon was pointed at me, and fired--when I said I would NEVER give up Hershey Bars! Being sober 20 years at the time did not impress them. Nor did it impress me! Nor does "not eating" impress me, I just do what I do. Usually I do not discuss my "diet", so there may not be a sequel.

And Peeps...I sure LOVE y'all! Thanks for reading!

In LOVE and Service,
Sincerely,
Steve E