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

Monday, August 31, 2009

DAY EIGHT

My Friend Duncan: Everywhere
I stopped were peeps like him.
This world is just packed
with good, nice people!

See "Story-of-the-Day" BELOW




REST STOP AREAS


Met fellow biker at rest stop with his lady. I told him when he's MY age, he should think about riding a scooter also. Guess what? He WAS my age, he was wearing a similar gold cross (big!), and so I said we have three things already in common. He asked, what's the third. I told him that "we each have pretty girls much younger than us, except mine is in Naples. (Boy, did HIS girl ever smile!!) And HE is from Ft Myers! What else?
Sadly, he is NOT an alcoholic. (If ya need to know why I wrote "sadly", ask your sponsor --grin!)

ALICE

A girl who now lives in Charlottesville VA, she was with us in Naples for many AA meetings. And we ate "Mexican" tonight (Friday)...and became spectators at a spectacular country music offering under the largest tent I've ever seen. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people were there. Alice walked me there after "Mexican" and then we hit the 8 PM AA meeting.

Really a good old-fashioned "sharing" meeting. Yours truly spoke first--naturally--and gave them a large slice of my mind. So then I could listen through the rest of the hour, and try to learn something. I did not learn. Well, I learned a bit more about "tolerance" --grin! I just enjoyed the peeps and their "take" on things sober.


Tomorrow (Saturday) Alice is taking me on the grand tour, which includes a visit to Thomas Jefferson's "Monticello". that just could be another spiritual experience. We might check out the Farmers' Market, which is famous in these parts. AMENDED: "Tomorrow" never happened.

STORY OF THE DAY:


On the scooter, I decided (thanks, Alix) to ride some of the "Road Less Traveled", and it was thoroughly a fun ride...nearly 200 miles of much winding road, past pastures and through thoroughfares, "over hill and dale". At one point at a red light someone called my cell, but since I could not talk while riding, I picked one of those "closed" gas stations, to get some shade, and make a couple calls.

While sitting there, I saw this guy (See photo at top of blog) come out of the closed, empty, obviously out-of-business gas station, figuring he would ask me to leave. Well, he was one up on me...he asked me to STAY! Yep, stay, make my calls, enjoy the shade, while he admired my scooter.


We talked for what seemed like 5 minutes, but was more like FORTY-five, and just hit it off! As it turned out, he owns the whole corner, is rebuilding a gas station, "Super-Mart" and will sell motorcycles and motor vehicles. Young and really going places. We talked about my symphony 'daze', and when he brought me out a couple bottles of cold water--well, I just knew then, that he would be successful. "Who is kind to others surely will upon himself have kindnesses bestowed." --S.

That's about enough for this short (Ha! I don't DO "short") blog, for Monday morning, Eight days out from Naples.

Peace.
Love.
Steve

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Quick One SUNDAY

Hey Gang of Bloggers

Happy Sunday to y'all! from steveroni (Steve E) in Charlottesville, VA. This is the home of TSR (The Second road), as many of you know. Every Sunday evening is an hour hosted chat on TSR. Yeah, ya gotta ceate an account on TSR (if ya don't already have one) in order to chat.

Tonight for one hour, 8-9 PM I have been asked to "host" the (FIRST) chat originating from the Headquartes of TSR. Previous Sunday chats have been hosted from remote locations. Jinx and A. Miles will be sitting right there alongside me to make sure I "tow the mark"...i.e., no cussing or four-letter words. Only "four-letter" word allowed is "DO-IT" which is what they keep telling me. "Do it, Steve!" Live your life according to the Principles of our twelve Steps, etc., etc.

TSR is a service for all addicts, of (may I say?) any persuasion. If this is not correct, I'll know about it right away, because TSR peeps are looking over my shoulder here.

NOW...it is heavenly to be a guest here at Jinx's home for a couple days. Relaxing, going to meetings, sight-seeing, drinking espresso, LOTS of program "talk", need I say more?

I miss my lovely lover, PG. I miss all you peeps. I miss my Home group(s) in Naples FL. I do not miss my motor scooter, because I rode it up here to Virginia, 1000 miles. I want to call myself Steve MILES! But A Miles rode 22,000 miles to earn that titled surname.

Hope to see you this evening. And if not, you are remembered in my prayers.

Peace
Love.
Steve

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday morning


NOTE: This is my response to an email message, and with time constraint, I just decided to post it, so you all can know where steveroni "is at" in his head, and his heart!
Trust God
Clean house
Help others
Love everyone
S

Cindy...thanks for your response! It is Sat morning, and I've just been taken to a Starbucks here in Charlottesville, VA. I have been without Internet Access for almost 24 hours! So they had to transport me in a strait jacket. And I


Ahhhh! COFEE! And being online--I think I'm in heaven! Shaking while writing--Many who read this will understand (I'm gonna put it up on the blog in a few minutes).

And yes, I have stories. The peep I'm staying with will give me the "tour". While I enjoy "seeing" new places and things, it wreaks havoc with my bogging LOL. Looking forward to visit Monticello, Tom Jefferson's place.

Thank you for your prayers for safety...that is far more important than the blogs. I'm still just loving EVERY MILE of the scooter ride! REALLY.

This afternoon I'll be visiting TSR (The Second Road), which was my original reason for coming up here. I had written that I'd like to visit up here, and one of the peeps who keep TSR in business (A. MILES is her name) wrote some thing like, "YEAH! Everyone always says they will come to visit--and none of them EVER do..." And so I wrote back, that was all I needed to hear! I am COMING.

Well, I'm here. But never in my wildest dreams did I foresee the wonderful, beautiful, daily (sometimes hourly!) Spiritual happenings in my life and the lives of others...as a result of this ride. I have more faith and trust in God than I ever could have imagined. I realize I'm baring my soul here, but this message just seems SO important for me to send to you now.

I'm being paged to go on my "tour"...so, see ya all later.

Peace.
Love.
Steve

Thursday, August 27, 2009

DAY FOUR


All that is left are NAMES on a rock,
and a field of green grass. WHY?

TRAVELER'S FOOD

So when did I say everything is perfect? Was that only last night? I dined this evening at a HARDEE'S. About 35 years ago I said it would be the last time, then. Well, why did I think it would be different this time ________(fill in the blank)? All I can say is that it was a rude ride, the staff was rude, other customers were rude, I was "ruded". There were a few transactions being carried out in brown unmarked paper bags.


Any minute I expected the customers to be pointing to me, while saying to the police, "HE did it. HE brought this stuff in here to sell. HE is a 'dealer'. HE is the one whose scooter outside is sitting there with its lights on...." WHAT? My BATTERY! Wow, did I break out of that lethargy, like fast. Anyway, this has nothing whatever to do with tonight's blog...MAYBE!

WHEN IS WAR EVER "CIVIL"?

I visited a Confederate Cemetery this afternoon, along the highway--well, eight miles off the highway. There is only one you know. Ooops, i mean one million of them! It was the scene of a horrendously bloody battleground, Averasboro. The battlefield today is so peaceful, green grass smiling up at me, acres of it. A few battle remnants, ramparts I noticed. And I saw the quiet, the sereneness of those beautiful pastures, sitting there with little left but the memories they hold of that great fight in the mid 1800's.

The places where armies battled until many of each side were dead, are everywhere strewn here in the southland, and each battlefield has its own stories of horror. Yet they are so much the same, kill or be killed--or both, brother or not. And, be BRUTAL!

Unfathomable is the dichotomy of the picture above. I stood there, and I could hear the passionate screaming of men with their blood spilling freely from torn-off limbs. I listened to the feint sounds here and there of "Mama. Help me, Mama!" The cursing, the shouting, the obscene yelling, the canon blasts, the small arms' firing away at other humans just like ourselves. (See, I even put myself into the battle!) Even the horses who wanted to escape, but just did not know how...nowhere safe to run.

One mini-second in history it is a field of complete, total, and real, chaos, and the next mini-second of eternity it is the holiness of the courage and bravery buried there under fields of green, not of dreams, unless we count nightmares.

I was allowed the sight, the sounds, the feelings in that lonely, green farmland as I knelt and prayed, not for those men, but for the suffering defenseless mothers and innocent wide-eyed children who have been and are abused daily, hourly. Always. Before, during and until...the end of time.

I pray they might find their "Second Road" home, to sanity, to peace, and in happiness. This battle is not fought in muddy fields, but in living rooms and bedrooms, the world over. God, please have mercy on these, the least....

These wars of unspeakable happenings remind me of my alcoholism. How is it, my life one minute in eternity was one of utter chaos with annihilation of whatever did not conform to "my will". Once a life of recovery began and was taking shape, one eternity-minute of past time had transubstantiated itself into the following eternity-minute, characterized by some bit of peace and serenity now and then. God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. Isn't that just truly marvelous! And God is doing that for any of us who sincerely ask. So let's ask, peeps.

Back to the first paragraphs: HARDY'S hamburger palace was no good for me 35 years ago, and obviously it is still no good for me...but I HAD to try it out "one more time." It did not kill me.

Alcohol was no longer good for me years ago. And I had better not try it out "one more time" or it could well kill me, and maybe--needlessly--others. (See, there WAS a way to tie that in with sobriety!)

NOTE: While I was writing, I received a call from "B" in Naples. I do not know him. He had been drinking. And I talked wayyy too long with him. He wanted me to "come over and we'll talk". He would not listen to me say that I am in North Carolina, and it would be difficult. I get SO tired of people telling me how much sobriety they "had in the past." But it is normal for us to try and make ourselves look good...no matter how bad we really look. Maybe nobody reading this has that problem. Maybe it's just me--and Mr B in Naples, who will awaken with a headache in the morning, as I will NOT!

Hey guys, I'm on my way to Charlottesville VA in morning. Gonna meet PG's sponsee there for dinner Friday evening. She will take me to farmer's Market Saturday. I know her, she used to live in Naples, and we sat in many meetings together. We will go to a meeting at 8 PM tomorrow night.

Later, Saturday evening I'm going to "take a tour" of TSR (The Second Road) and meet face-to-face Jinx and A Miles, the peeps who keep that place alive. And I AM excited about all the opportunities to meet other recoverers whose programs I respect and admire. We're all in this together, guys.

Only 200 miles today
$30 motel--no coffee, Should have known.
Scooter runs like new
Body tired
Glad I got biker jacket
Have not gone down yet
Still it gives confidence
Bike thinks I-95 means 95 mph
Gonna get me some tomorrow--dinner--FOOD!
Miss my peeps at home, lots of them.
It will make reunion sweeter
Miss prayer girl
I know she would like to be out here
But in A/C car, not on scooter.
I am LOVING every mile.
Believe that!!!!!
I love life
I love LIVING life
I, I, I, I, it's ALL about me, yes?
Thank you Kristin.
For lovely words in my behalf
On The Second Road (TSR)
You are a sweetie.

So let's be cheerful (well it's NOT required --grin!)

And SMILE, even when I do not feel like it.
And find 'some ting' like PEACE in our lives.
And love, yes, love one another.
Steve

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

THIRD DAY OUT--WOW!!!


MOTEL IN WATERSBORO, SC
WHERE I WAS TREATED LIKE
A VISITING APOSTLE (LOL, LOL)


DAY THREE
ANOTHER MIRACLE DAY

After what some insomniacs might term "a good (four hour) night's sleep", I found myself at a 7 AM meeting in St Augustine FL. You know how it is when I (we) say to myself, "I'll just skip this 7 AM gig, there are more important things to do, gotta get on the road, etc.

Well, you've probably guessed already, that the meeting I got to was SO good, it was one of those "knock-your-socks-off" meetings, topic 9th Step and responsibility.


I'm so wiped out on "How do I stay sober for the next five minutes" meetings. I needed one "just for ME" meeting. This one filled the bill. The best that St Augustine had for me, and I was blest to have got myself there. I just KNEW God was pushing this morning. So whatever happens the rest of this day for me, will be tainted with responsible spirituality.

Sure I must change, peeps. I have to remember though, it is GOD Who will be changing me. All I have to do is cooperate. Sound easy? It AIN'T!

I have a disease which included in its diagnosis a growing spiritual cancer. This began long before I was a drunk. and this malady kept growing and stayed with me long after I stopped drinking. And we have found a cure for this cancer--discovered nearly 75 years ago (actually, before that!). That answer is our wonderful, lovely, Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

God IS taking care of us. God DOES love us. God DOES want us to care for, and love each other. God IS watching over me on this trip, and seeing that it is a worthwhile happening, and that I am blest to be out here, experiencing different peeps, and differing viewpoints (although not too different!).

In fact, TWO people in St Augustine asked for my email and blog address. And for once in my life--I remembered to get THEIRS!!!

If this happens to become my blog for Wednesday, I'd just like to add here that sobriety for us all is my prayer for today. And God, if You can mix in a little love, tenderness toward others, sanity (for me!), Peace, even a bit of "happy?"

ONE FUNNY: When asking the construction office on the road, if they might know of a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, the lady directed me several miles down US-1 to a corner, where, she said with a straight face, "On the right you'll see a STROUD'S LIQUOR STORE. And on the left, you'll notice an ABC Liquor Store...and that's where you'll turn. To the RIGHT!" Then realizing how she was quoting me directions, we BOTH laughed!

It is still WEDNESDAY...6 Hours later...I am sitting in an unnamed berg, "he" tells me it is Watersboro, SC. Stopped here to get off the road, I was fatigued...read: ZZZZZZZZ! So I pulled into this little motel, asked the manager if I could pay for an hour of Internet time, because I'll be moving on after that. He said, "NO!" Told me I can use his access for FREE!

PLUS, right now he is making me the second of two (I can't have more!) ESPRESSOS with milk! He said I'd need this to stay awake for a few more hours riding. I could not have been more surprised, how nice he is/was. PLUS a beautiful PEACH, I mean, a prize winner!

People EVERYWHERE just go out of their way to be nice to me--my "whole outlook" on my fellow mankind is changing RAPIDLY. So, it is another clue for me that God is here on this trip, guiding my steps, even as to where I get off the road to find a coffee, and Internet Access. Praise You, my God (as I understand You)! You are caring for and showing Your Infinite Love for ALL your creatures.

If any of you peeps are suffering tonight with ANY thing, mental, physical or spiritual...please PLEASE join me in letting our Higher Power handle it HIS way...not mine, or yours. Especially when it comes to staying sober. We CAN do that today--if NOTHING else. Right? Amen.

Peace.
Love.
Steve

This will be my Thursday blog, posted earlier than usual. Okay? Sorry i cannot get to write many comments, but I'm trying to read as many as time allows. I love you ALL!

Wonder if the peep who reads this blog from Columbia, SC, would contact me: fiddlemn@gmail.com please. I'll be there in about two weeks or less, and have a question about the university there. I'd sure appreciate it. TIA.
Steve E

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

MY KINDA CLUB

















Serenity Club in St Augustine, FL

AMENDED: MY DEEPEST APOLOGIES: Don't know HOW my blog got all Fk'd up last night. I certainly am not "doing bad things". My sleep habits might need changing??? Four hours is not enough even when you're having fun--at my age--at ANY age! SO! I know what to do. If you arrived here before 9:00AM Wednesday, please give it another read...not that it's that worthy, but it HAS been altered a bit...a LOT! Thank you. Steve E

RANDOM THINKINGS
ON A TUESDAY NIGHT


Our cat has Bulimia Nervosa. Really. I think he eats just for the fun of it--like me. Eating is just something I do to kill some time. I've killed LOADS of time in my day...ask my stomach--you'll hear the echo.

I'm staying in a flea-bag called Comfortable Inn tonight. Right across US-1 there is a nice, clean McDonalds. After the 8 PM AA meeting in St Augustine FL, I'm gonna git me a Burger! Went to a Step meeting at 5:30 PM, and will get to a 7 AM tomorrow before leaving this place. Don't yet have a plan for tomorrow...well, it's happening now, peeps. I'm "wasting more time" (if ya missed it, that means eating).

NOTE: Of course my Big Mac is meatless--isn't that what "milk-fed Angus" means?

My scooter has good brakes (front and rear ABS) but I have found they stop better (and faster) when they are carrying 300 FEWER lbs.

Meeting tonight (beginners') was kinda not good...one lady ranted for a blong time about her husband. REALLY ranted. And said SHE was not an addict OR alcoholic. Since chips were being passed out, she insisted on getting her "annual", said she deserved it. I just said "chips are not strictly AA anyway, give her the whole BOX!"

But it's not MY group....(sigh) No, they did NOT boot me out. But a few wanted to! It is not without reason that one of my email user names is trblmakr1@comcast.com Only special peeps are given that address, so now you know who you ARE!

NICKSWIFE:

I just left the chat room at TSR (The Second Road) and it is one of my favorite places to be, maybe "THE" favorite. I have been praised, I have been corrected and criticised (with loving care). I have seen people show up there with HUGE problems, and return most every evening for a while, and actually begin to get better! There is a certain group who "show up" with some regularity and it is quite freely a "say-what-you-think" place...with reservations. This is where several weeks ago I met.......

.........A "chat-room chatter" and non-blogger named nickswife, a one-month veteran of the chat room, was on my "visit" list. I will try to keep this "My Story", but if I slip, Ummmmm. I could see immediately that I had become an instant piece in this family puzzle.

Nickswife's family are caring, loving people--who "say it like it is". They do not couch their thoughts in riddles, or weak humor, (like I am always trying to). And it was a thorough pleasure to spend time with this example of a whole family, with in-laws, etc., all so happy, and so cheerful, and so KIND with one another. And they welcomed me--a stranger--as if I had been there all along. They will all be in my prayers for a long time to come--right there on my list, with you blogger peeps. (Key word is STILL "Love"!)

Wednesday might just become a "travel day"....Don't know how far I can go. Going to drop into a South Carolina city, but that is probably ten days away.

Peace, dear peeps. I really feel a oneness here, so just allow me space on this pink cloud for more time--please. More tomorrow.


Monday, August 24, 2009

DAY ONE






















First day of trip I enjoyed a private guided tour of a
museum of statue and art. A whole estate literally
LITTERED with wonderful works of art
in every medium--in Orlando FL


A "GOD" DAY

Took it easy first day out, only traveled about 250 miles. And everything got wet except my scooter and me. How can this be happening? Good planning--I just travel between the drops. (That came from a boy, age 8.)

My bike is carrying weight of 450 pounds (204 kgs) including me, and so that brings (bike weighs 550 lbs.) total weight to a half ton (455 kgs).

One scooter-rider (me), hiding under a bridge, in a downpour on a short span of I-4 near Orlando, FL, was feeling sort of lonely around noon today.

Next bridge where I sought shelter, two more riders joined in to make a party (real bikers!), and under the bridge after that (four miles down the road)...three became five. The last bridge we sheltered under, there were SIX of us, all asking things like "Where you from?" What do you do?" "Got a cigarette?" you know--real GUY stuff! --grin!

Really impressive to me was how all six of us who are so different in outward lives and appearances, are yet so much alike, so much the same in our basic needs, desires, wishes, habits, feelings, sorrows, gladness, pain and happiness. We just want freedom and peace, and love. Actually, that's what we DID talk about. Imagine!

God is good to me on this trip. Instead of cursing the biting rain-pellets, I got to praise God, by joining with his creatures in fun and fellowship, and sharing of the water bottle. Water, peeps! WATER, Okay?

I am thoroughly and kingly ensconced in the home of an Alanon blogger 'friend' in Orlando Florida on this, my first night out. I've even been invited by her and two roommates to have dinner "out" at 9 PM. And I shall BE there!

And I'm sitting on my wonderfully soft--even if strange--bed while writing this blog. It is just SUCH a warm feeling for me, a stranger, to be accepted into someone's home, our only mutual credentials being an honest look-in-the-eye between two peeps. Interesting how that can be, yes? I'm telling you, my peeps, God is with us today, and may God be with us ALL, and keep us from harming ourselves--or anyone ELSE! Ya HEAH?


Peace and Love,
from Steve

Sem Ting!


Constant Attenuation


CONSTANTLY CONSISTENT


You know, it is usually I who dictates the ups and downs of my life--but there are several constants.

1. I don't drink, and have not for a long, long time. My first 15 years of being sober were slow going for me. I was a very sick man emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically. Looking back, treatment with counseling might have moved the clock a bit faster. But, with working our program, our Steps, I and my sponsor always felt that was enough. And it worked for a number of years.

2. A second constant in my life has been hiding inside me always, but only the last 20 years in AA have I allowed it to thrive. (So I've not drank for 35 years. So what? You know what that makes me? OLD! and sober.) This second constant is my lifetime, innate enthusiastic happiness, now in regards to sobriety, AA, God, life, health, finances, others' recoveries, Recovery Blogs, wonderful Peeps!, and meeting either hundreds--or one-at-a-time AA members, new and old.

3. I love all kinds of music, except--you know--well, most rap. I won't even capitalize the word rap. In orchestras through the years, I had the privilege of playing second violin most of the time. That allowed me to hear all the parts of the whole symphony over and over. I never was bored with that. As a result, I'm able to "replay" whole symphonies in my head during a day. What is playing tomorrow, I cannot choose. In the mornings, a melody will begin, and before I know it, the sun is high in the sky--and I'm in full "concert" mode.

Some people will ask me "What composer is "on" for today. It might be Debussy, Beethoven, Shostakovich, or any number of composers. But this is one of my constants which keep me level MOST days.

4. There are other "constants", but I'm thinking the most consistent is a growth--no, not a carbuncle--in my relationship with God. It is evolving into some sort of change in my life, a new attitude toward my fellow creatures. Sure, I would like to see everyone happy. I'd like to have had something to DO with it. (Ego, ego...let go, let go...let God, let God!) Alas (alas??? Where'd THAT come from?), I'm learning again to live and let live, SOME of the time. But I still would enjoy--and praise God--to see everyone happy again. Enough with the "I told you so" bull shit.

5. And this will be my final "constant" for this blog. Every time--EVERY time I see something wrong in another's behavior, if I look at myself, I think (IF I'm being truthful) that would, could, or was, or may again be...ME! Because, peeps, we are all SO much alike. How is that so? I do not know. But I DO know the truth of it. And I did not have to get drunk to find that.

I can show you all what a great guy I am, when you do not know me from Crapola. We can ALL be F'King SAINTS here on line. Let's hear it for the real saints...NOTE: Ya almost gotta DIE first!

Hey I've said enough. This began as a nice quiet blog and turned into a rant of sorts. Forgive me if I sound upset, because I'm not, really. I'm NOT. REALLY! NOTTTT, DAMMMMMIT!

I'll be Bach! Have a sober day, and it could well be a day of peace, with a dash of happiness...and mix well with bunches of LOVE. OK?
Steve

Sunday, August 23, 2009

THREE, TO GET READY...





Saddle bags, courtesy of A Miles
TSR (The Second road)



Sunday I will be spending the day getting my sh*t together for leaving Monday morning. So probably no comments from me for a couple days. But I already have a terrific story to tell y'all on Monday--if the involved parties will allow it. So I guess you should be relieved--no comments, one quickie posting. More later in week. gotta learn how to use the GPS and new camera, guys. Thanks for reading my on-and-on-and-on writings tonight.

THEN

Imagine for yourself a young man, entertainer, musician, bartender, glad-hander, drunk, alcoholic. At home this extrovert became the complete opposite. He turned into an idiot, shaking, ready to live gloom-and-doom. This supposedly "happy" man-on-the-street, at home became a dedicated total and complete introvert, full of fear, paranoia, and alcohol. No doorbell nor telephone was EVER answered by this guy. I know. Actually, I knew him well. Well, actually, he was ME!


NOW!

Flip ahead a good number of years, and you'll see a guy who DOES walk around talking to strangers, some believe him to be crazy, shooshing their children out of the way "of the madman" --grin!

And here goes this same madman, former "Mr Paranoia", riding fearlessly up the road to walk into strange meetings, in strange towns, and meet the same people I know and love, here, there, everywhere. I am confident that the same spirit of love and friendship which I experience in the rooms in Naples, will be everywhere on my trip. The same atmosphere of oneness which I find consistently on the blogs will be in all the rooms.

Several peeps have been a wonderful help to get me started on this trip, which will be Monday morning. A. Miles, who I met in the TSR (The Second Road) chat room, sent me two saddle bags to use for these weeks. They look brand new, and are fitted to my Scooter. She also sent some armor.

Okay, I didn't know what is "armor". It is shaped rubber padding which fits inside a bike jacket, strategically placed to protect body parts (no, not THOSE body parts, Zane!) which are most likely to sustain damage in a highway spill, i.e., shoulders, elbows, back, well, you know now also.

A friend at tomorrow's meeting is giving me a demon bell. This is a tiny bell that motorcycle riders tie under their bikes, and this bell-shaped metal piece, is supposed to catch and keep the demons as they stalk your bike. I'll take any superstition that's been working for a long time. I had never heard of this practice.

I'm going to have to leave my violin home, it is just of too high a value, to take out on the road on a scooter, it's worth about TEN scooters. I dislike leaving it home. No, PG would not sell it--well, I'm almost sure--but it will be difficult to start playing again after 2 or more weeks "off".

As of now, my tentative itinerary looks like this, with no time table:

Orlando FL
St Augustine FL
Jacksonville FL
Charleston South Carolina
Columbia SC
Charlotte North Carolina
Richmond Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
Norfolk VA
Newport news VA

Return via alternate route TBA

Peeps, I plan to take you ALL with me on this jaunt...just hope I can find the time to write.

Peace, and Love, from
Steve

Why not live soberly and enthusiastically today. Let us pray for troubled peeps who may be in minor depressive modes today, that God will give them the gift of SERENITY
!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

LEARNING IN A COFFEE HOUSE

Come on in and get connected.


PERSISTENCE

Well...here I am, sitting in a Starbucks, blogging. for several weeks I have been trying to get online here. A friendly corporation named ATT has been working hard for me, to keep me from gaining access to the Free Starbucks Internet access, two hours each day. Finally, they succeeded in getting me pissed off enough to make some calls and complain (covered with sugared maple syrup), so now I'm set for the next couple weeks.

It is time for a list, maybe an "I have learned" List. Okay,

I HAVE LEARNED

That respect for each other is VITAL in our attempts to help one another.

I've learned: Forgiveness is God-like. Anything less is NOT.

God is in charge, always and forever.

Because of that I now know what is peace.

What love is.

That I now know Who is the God of my understanding.

Where that God is.

To appreciate gifts I have received from others, even when they are not aware of it.

What goes around DOES come around, both good and bad.

To anticipate with happy expectation, the unknown where I am riding

To let God be m guide, to listen to that "voice inside".

That when I am full of music, all is well

Music in my head, that is...full symphonies, I can "play" at will. Love it!

AND I have learned to have compassion for those who are in distress in their family life, their work life, spiritual life, their health, mental and physical lives.

Let us pray that we all stay sober today, No Matter What.

So Peeps, Peace be with us all.
And may we LOVE one another.
Seek God's Will, and God's Power.
And if it is "right"...DO it!

I am learning that we only live once. I have heard that expression for three quarters of a century...and it finally is making sense.

Friday, August 21, 2009

55 WORD FRIDAY


Mr G-Man is THE man to tell when you
have posted a 55-word story for Friday
...Thinks he knows it all--and he DOES!


1972: Most of these 55 words are taken from a letter to me
from my father. He died five days later...I edited this
remembrance, written by his Daughter-in-law:

In the spring
You called him home
Buds are springing
Crocus blooming
He spaded and planted.
Daffodils and tulips growing
In the spring
You called him home
New birth for us all.
Wild animals and birds
Pear tree much alive.
In the spring
You called him home.
Blind and Deaf
He now sees and hears.

Bloggers, this is sort of a repeat, for that I apologize.

Polly's cookies were GREAT tonight. It was a speaker meeting, one alcoholic, and one Alanon (once a month, we give Alanon a chance for rebuttal!)...terrific messages, both. Librarian told a joke, as usual. Since he (me) will be "on the road" next week, that joke will be the "Word-55"...next Friday.

Love you, Bloggers.
Peace be with all of us.
Steve




Wednesday, August 19, 2009

AVE MARIA PARISH ORATORY


NEW TOWN, NEW CHURCH,
NEW UNIVERSITY, NEW AA MEETING


We had heard that a new AA meeting had started up about 35 miles out in the swamps of SW Florida, in a place called Ave Maria, a community of about two years. (I call that "new.) So four of us set out Monday night, since the group had asked for support from Naples AA members.

Meeting topic was a chapter in our big book called "To Employers". It is not my favorite place in the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous. I find it difficult to relate to a CEO who decides to keep an addict-alcoholic on the payroll while he seeks treatment, looking forward to the day when said addict would become a producing person. Yes, I admit there are some redeeming elements to the material, but in today's market, a boss is quite likely to tell the alcoholic-addict to "take a hike", since profits demand cutbacks,especially of dead wood.

Central to the Ave Maria community is the Oratory, pictured above, around which is clustered a large circle of Italian architecture of shops and apartments. After the meeting a few of us crossed the square (well, the circle!) to the Oratory, to check out the interior, and to just be "quiet, at peace" for a period of time.

Th night lighting played its softness throughout the church, which itself is reminiscent of an Italian Cathedral. Above the high altar hangs an imposing, near-gigantic cross icon of multi-tonnage. Two choicely placed spotlights made the cross symbol to shadow itself on either of two ceiling areas, giving views of different perspectives waayyyy up there. What magnificence!

Prayer Girl did what she does...prayed! Actually, PG made a fairly abbreviated "Way of the Cross" around the whole place, a place made for meditation. It occurs to me right now that I forgot something.

Up high and to the rear in a choir loft is situated the $1.2 million pipe organ, and on the keys was someone practicing, working on a piece by the great genius and icon of music, J.S. Bach. The playing was done in registers which emitted sounds ethereal throughout the Oratory. Just marvelous it was.

What blessings we received, for our taking the few steps across the traffic-less brick paving into a sanctum, a bit of heaven on earth. The Bach being played was with fitting passion.

Many interpret Bach in a square and pedantic, even boring manner. But any composer who fathered 24 children (Bach) had to write music with passion as its hallmark. So with Bach. (Enough of today's music lesson?)


What does this have to do with recovery? Well we started out to participate in an AA meeting. On the way home we had a "meeting after". This was Monday evening.

Right now I am in a passionate mood to join you all in being sober and clean today.

Peace
Love.
Steve

DON'T STEP INTO WINDOWS


RIGHT INTO A VISTA OF WINDOWS

One evening a couple daze ago I walked right into an Office Max store--literally. A glassed door was sliding to open (so I thought) RIGHT-TO-LEFT. It was actually closing, RIGHT-TO-LEFT. I figured ya always walk into the right side of a doorway. And I did. Right into an ultra-clean plate glass windowed area. Just where I thought I should have walked. Big mistake. Prayer girl kept me from falling, The manager brought me a chair and an ice bag.

Another lady said, "The same thing happened to my daughter just three days ago!"

We got her name and address as a possible witness, just in case.

She stayed to support us, and talk, to keep me awake, I guess. I could feel the swelling begin to rise on my forehead. And it became reddened, the color of a summer Naples sunset. (Wow, Steve--wax a little poetic here why dontcha?)

Anyway, here's the story: As soon as Prayer Girl put her hands on my head, I felt the familiar high degree of heat from her hands go right through my head.

And this, I swear to you, is what happened in fewer than five minutes. My (forgot to mention) horrible headache disappeared. The redness became a "Florida off-white". And the swelling went back to a normal-sized "big" head--mine. (And we have a witness!)

I do not know what exactly happened, the cause. I do not need to "know" what happens. I feel and see and know the results. There were no prayers, no incantations, not even "holy" thoughts. We spoke about "normal" things, sobriety, the Steps. We chatted about the cute little Sony Cyber-shot, and the GPS which I had gone there to check.

And, everyone was trying to get me to go to the hospital. Yeah, right! that's just what I needed, a bunch of probing instruments investigating my inner bodily functions for three days--including my head. OMG, what might they find there?

So, we finally came back home. this was Sunday evening.

Tonight (Tuesday) Office max called,to find out how I am. Of course, says I, "GREAT!" And they will be sending me a $50 certificate toward any store purchase. HA! I'm going there tomorrow, and run into the other door. BANG!

DUCK NEWS

We have a new prospective "mother duck" beginning to construct a new nest in the same rock bed as the one in June, immediately outside our front door. This means A LOT to me...it means A LOT of coming and going through the garage door for about eight weeks. Oh well, let Mother Nature and mother Duck do their stuff.

Fear not, I won't be blogging a blow-by-blow of this hatching process. Once was enough. Actually, I think the duck population here is looking for publicity, maybe they had a meeting. It IS known that ducks hereabout are looking for bread subsidies from a bill now before congress--and passage seems likely. --grin!

(Ooohhh, Steve, did you have to open that can of egg yokes?)

I suppose after reading this blog, that you KNOW the author is a "real" alcoholic (whatever "real" means!) named Steve.

What you may not know is that the author prays for Peace for ALL us Peeps, and that we show love for one another, and let's STAY SOBER today!
Okay?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

GOD THE DOCTOR

TV DOCTOR HOUSE


BOTH GOD AND THE DOCTOR SAID.........


Monday I had a "regular checkup" doctor appointment. There is one medical problem which has worsened considerably since the last visit. I had decided to not mention this to the doctor (Like shhhhhh! don't tell my sponsor!).

You see, I have a scooter trip planned, and I was pretty certain doctor would say, "No. You cannot go". I did not want to let you bloggers know I was too old, too sick, too this or that--to behave like a forty-year-old. Well, Peeps, I "bit the bullet".


For several months I have been planning (in my head) to get on my Suzuki motor scooter and just "ride, ride. ride". To justify the fulfillment of this desire (whim?) I decided to take to the Blue Highways (colored "blue" on street maps), stop in towns along the way to anywhere, and visit meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. As my evolving "dream" inched closer to reality, I realized I'd like to visit blogger peeps along the way for coffee and possibly a meeting.

The next inspiration to hit me, was that I might stop in for a face-to-face with the Peeps at TSR (The Second Road) "Where Everyone Knows Your User Name". TSR is fast becoming my favorite place (Blogs and Chat) to "hang out" on the 'net. Of course it is recovery based, but not "all AA". I thoroughly enjoy the diversity--I had to "learn" that.

Then, a couple weeks ago I learned that one of my granddaughters was to have (did have!) a baby August 11 (can you say "Great Grandchild"?) in North Carolina.

DIGRESS HERE:

The 7AM AA Monday meeting's topic was "Let Go And Let God", a familiar phrase in most recovering minds.

So, on my ride to the doctor's office, I actually said this: "God, if the doctor tells me to stay home, I will consider that it is against Your Will for me to go, and I will just let people know what happened. My trip only matters to me, after all. Everyone has their lives to live." I--still so full of myself--continued fighting this great ego-deflation thing. I mean, how can YOU all NOT be completely immersed in my doings? Hmmmmmm?

Confession: I did ask God to please allow me to go--but don't tell anyone...Okay?

A GREAT PEACE CAME OVER ME. Peeps, this was "huge" for me, to finally realize exactly what "turning it over" means. Ride or not ride is insignificant, I begin again to see that God's Will is what reigns always and forever. Praise God Who knows what is best for us all....

TIE UP LOOSE ENDS HERE:


1. Doctor said, "Go, have a 'God-good' time. Be careful out there!"

2. My wife Prayer girl does not wish to "ride" for a number of personal reasons.

3. A. Miles of TSR sent two beautiful saddle bags for me to use. May God bless Peeps like A. Miles and Jinx (of TSR), not as much for the welcomed saddle bags, as for the prayerful thoughts behind every act they perform to be nice to a fellow human. I learn from these people. My thanks and prayers are for and with you and yours, J., and A.

4. Let us seek to do what is the next right thing. I know what that is when I become still...and know that He is God--not me. Also I can see things when I'm looking through a non-drugged mind--and yes, I believe "Pride" is also a drug.

5. I'll get to hold my (very Irish) first great grandchild. I SO desire to be given that spiritual moment.

6. Please God, bless us all, and Love all us Peeps!
I love you, Bloggers!
And I will stay sober with you today...


Steve

Monday, August 17, 2009

R U Kidding Me???


Just HAD to throw this into the mix today...Sorry for double dipping!

See y'all later--or earlier?
Steve

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"AM I AN ALCOHOLIC?"

I know this is an old tired picture, but
someone out there needs to see this.
Maybe me? Well, not today!
DD



ARE YOU ONE TOO?


I was asked this question by a blogger today, "Do you think I am an alcoholic?"

Well, it took me back, because I'm just not used to a point-blank question like that on line. First, how in the world could I ever decide who has our illness? Since the disease "Alcoholism" has very little to do with drinking--if anything, he who asks the question must not know the definition of an alcoholic.

Neither do I!

All I can really know about is my own insane living, thinking and behavior while I was seriously spending 25-plus years (drinking great daily volume) developing my disease. I became full of the following: fear, paranoia, guilt, remorse, lowest of esteem (well who needs ME?), selfishness--we call it "self centeredness"--hatred of God and man and woman, and all living things, complete denial, self aggrandizement, and a complete disregard for anything but my own concupiscence, my own instant satisfactions in all aspects of life, alone, or with others. NOTE: this is not a complete list.

I already can figure who will know what that word "concupiscence" means, and who probably will not. (That's how well we get to know one another in just a year's time). It's one of those dumb things I had to memorize in high school. It is real. And it was true.

So, back to the question: "Am I an alcoholic?" I absolutely LOVE our Big Book "Alcoholics Anonymous" (from which our fellowship got it's name), and Chapter 4, p.44 "We Agnostics" has something on this topic. The first paragraph gives me a benchmark, so to speak, by which I may loosely determine if I AM or am NOT an alcoholic:

We Agnostics

"IN THE PRECEDING chapters you have learned something of alcoholism. We hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic. If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer."

Of course, if I read that and start to analyze one word at a time, there just might be something wrong with me, i.e:

"Well they DID use the word 'probably', that lets ME off." "'Honestly' why would they put that in there, HONEST, who? Me? Are they joking?" "I quit 'ENTIRELY' almost every day, maybe two times a day...so why do they make a big deal out of 'entirely'?" "And 'little control'...OK, I ALWAYS control my drinking. I just always WANT to drink a lot!"


(And on and on we go, fooling ourselves.) Until down the line somewhere after three wives (husbands), a few jail or prison stints, some bloody happenings, the loss of a whole slew of friends, a DUI or 5 DUIs (Driving Under the Influence arrests) I finally at long last, after everything was lost, find that chaos reigned in my life. I finally admitted defeat, and showed up at the door of Alcoholics Anonymous.


And here I learned, and (thank God) keep on learning how to live, how to treat others with respect, how to stay sober and happy (or sad) at the same time, how to love, really LOVE, and how to talk to God, the One I understand. And how to CHANGE!

And "change" continues even to this very day. And I am here to tell you God's gifts just keep rolling in, and I'm hoping I can give some away--none of the Gifts are money, by the way! God doesn't usually deal in cash. His gifts are MUCH more valuable and long lasting. They consist in things like Peace...and Love.

Thank you for being here, Peeps!

I wish you and yours God's PEACE.
I wish you God's LOVE...and mine also.
Steve

Saturday, August 15, 2009

CHILL, CHANGE, AND GREEK CHILI

Here is how I picture myself about a week
from now, scootering through the ALPS of
the US, the appalachian mountains This
picture has nothing to do with tonight's blog.

MY SIX WORDS
FOR YESTERDAY
(SATURDAY)...

Have become the
title for Sunday's blog:

"LIKE TIDES...
LIKE WINDS......
EVER CHANGING."

So much I pray this may be allowed me--to be ever changing. I feel it, know it is happening. But I usually cannot point to it, and say: There, that is what is changing today. It just has to happen in God's way, in God's time.

Funny thing! Early in my days of not drinking (in AA) all I heard was "Don't drink", and "Go to meetings". Then one day it dawned on me that you had said way back then, "'OH! And you must change everything about you, all about your self, beginning with your thinking, all the way to your style of haircut".

Well, I thought "Change the things I can...and certainly I cannot change my thinking! So I'll start with the haircut". I figured I'd "work up" from there.

I am finally remembering--because I've heard it more recently--that when you long ago told me I must change "everything", you were serious. You even said, "If there's anything, ANYTHING about you Steve, which does not need changing, we will notify you." I don't know about YOU, but to me, this is strong, heavy-duty shit.

So, through the years, I was allowed one thing, then another, to be kept: such as I could keep my job (bartending), my hobby (daily boating in the South Florida waters), my family (their choice). Very little else.

I am grateful that in the meetings in which I participate, this same message of the necessity for change is pounded into each new person (and old person!). And, do you know, in the several groups I frequent, we are having very few drinking slips. A LOT of thinking slips, and behavior slips. I am finding that God, when I let Him, gives me the grace to make those changes in my actions. He does not make it easy, but He is thorough.

So yesterday, instead of changing how I think--IF I think--I got a haircut! Today I took my wife to SKYLINE CHILI PARLOR, for a Greek-styled delicious bowl of chili. Yes, it's good. And I went to ONE meeting instead of THREE. And I made a couple new blogger friends on here. So, I guess I'm not too old to change, to make some differences in my life, and possibly in the lives of others, in town and on the road.

This blog seems boring to me...I just could not get it "going". Tired is the word. But my point is that we never just stand still. Like the creations of nature itself, we are ever-changing...getting rid of the old, bringing on the new.....or we rot and die.

Bloggers, let us stay sober today, and stay away from Greek Chili. Okay?

I Love you all, believe me.

Peace,
Steve

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Prideful Pride

I have two related "55"s, not necessarily fiction. If these are not satisfactory just mark "FAIL" on my paper, and I'll retake the course next semester. Also, I'm including the titles in my word count--is that permissible? Mr G-Man, please answer , inquiring minds want to know.


Number ONE:
About Pride:
Rabbi, is there nothing that I do about which I may be proud?
The Rabbi spoke: There was a man who sang so well, people remarked, "What a voice he has. He sings divinely." Just then a fellow happened by who said, "Well, if I had his voice, I'd sing that well, too".


Number TWO:
A reflective thought about SIN: Rabbi, you have been teaching us about sin. Here is my question: "What, in your judgment is the greatest sin in the world?" The Rabbi thinks, then speaks: "The greatest sin in the world is that of the person who sees other human beings as sinners." (In other words...Pride!)

Thoughts expressd in these two 55s are taken from somewhere in the writings of Antony De Mello S.J. I can't find which book. I am grateful to have recently "discovered" his powerful messages on peace, prayer, meditation, living and dying.

Flash Fiction Friday 55

is a story written in exactly 55 words.
Let the G-Man know if you write one
and read the ones of your fellow writers.

STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!

SHHHHHHHHH!

RESTRAINT OF TONGUE
WILL NOT KILL ME

I think of possible scenarios in which not saying something...not speaking up, might actually kill. Someone else...or me.

Example: When the hangman says, "OK. Last chance. Do you wish to tell us WHO did it? If so, you may go free." (I'd probably keep mum, not believing him or her.)

For me, it is when--early in the party--the host says to me, "Here's a little drink (a little pill?) for you. Let's drink together, for old times' sake". It is past time to say, "Goodbye, I suddenly feel ill". (gotta go Puke --grin!)

HOWEVER

Please note: The following is not an hourly, nor a daily occurrence. Whatever it may be, it is but a fraction of my otherwise happy, joyful and free me. My life, I am certain, is frequently one of God using me to help another person, another alcoholic.

During this past year, maybe longer, my head is in "loose" mode. In other words, if I think something (whether I believe it or not) I say it, write it, or do it. Without thinking it through, as "we" used to say, and still say.

Sometimes it is almost as if I am age 7 again, roaming the hilly, summer forests in the far-reached acres of the farm. Back then fantasy ruled my life. I became whatever, whoever, whichever, wherever my thought led me. I was everywhere from being born--up to and including dead. I should have studied writing. I could have written the autobiography of my 94-year life--at age 20. And it might have been somewhat accurate. (And it might have sold!)

Alcoholics Anonymous has taught me--is teaching me--to think before I write, say, or do...anything. It is time to begin being 70 instead of 7.

SLEEP DEPRAVATION

The problem for me about sleeping is not the waking up part. Usually, I slide right out of bed and onto my knees, 'talk' to God for a few minutes. And then, up and "take on the day." My problem is going to bed at a sensible (ha!) hour.

This afternoon I took a 'short' nap beginning around 4PM. I woke up at 9:30PM, did not know whether it was day or night, not even what day it might have been. It was weird, like in "those" days of yesteryear.

Even though I am writing this blog, I perceive some hidden messages in here. Maybe I'll look back and find them.

Just this minute I read a short blog by Patty of "Calm Acceptance" (yeah--Calm-- that's me, LOL). I could have simply copied her blog, except for last 7 lines (with permission, of course!), instead of painfully writing out pages from my own soul's inner sanctum.

This I DO know. I have not had a drink today. I have prayed, gone to a meeting, and will be at a meeting in the morning at 7. A "cookie" meeting tomorrow night is a weekly highlight for me. Writing these notes (blogs) to my peeps is a highlight of my day--almost every day. As it is now another day, Thursday, I plan to stay sober with all of you today. Please.

Peace (for me, too!)
Love you Peeps.
Steve

I "like" the saying that I heard in a meeting--"Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut." (Time to quit "liking it" (the advice) and start "using it"!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

GOING AWAY, BUT NOT TODAY

GEOGRAPHY LESSON:
Name the States

RIDE 'N GLIDE

Most of you who read this already know that in a couple weeks I will be riding my scooter (alone) up the east coast from Naples, FL to somewhere north of Miami to St Augustine, Jacksonville, and to a final destination...Richmond Virginia. I'm leaving either August 22, 23, or 24 (Sat, Sun, or Monday.)

After 2 weeks--for the return , I plan to follow I-85 line to Charlotte North Carolina, then to Charleston, South Carolina. From there, back to home, Naples, FL. I have no route planned for that. Maybe through Orlando ("around" Orlando?). I'd like to "do" Mt Dora.


A lot of this ride will be on the "Blue" highways. My GPS will take care of that. And, of huge benefit is that time is not critical. I'm gonna get there when I "get there".

If you are a new reader, I am just coming off my Freshman Year of blogging. And I'm learning. Still learning. BOY, am I "learning". Sheeesh!

For this upcoming scooter trip, I have to admit to a little fear, mainly in my lack of planning. I know I have to get a list of dealers for my Suzuki Scooter, I'll need an oil change. I AM getting a GPS, a couple saddle bags (I think?) a jacket with "armor" (pads around shoulders, elbows, etc.)...and I 'want' a nice tiny camera--I'm looking.

Also, using my laptop, I'll find AA meetings wherever I stop. Have to buy a newspaper to find out where I am??? --grin! (Yesterday's blog!)

So if any Peeps between Naples, FL, Richmond, VA, Charlotte NC, Mt Dora FL, are interested in meeting a sober guy on a scooter, let me know, at fiddlemn@gmail.com. That is the address I'll be receiving mail on the road also. If anyone responds, I will send you my cell number, in case you want to alert me to an AA meeting along the way.

Many years I scoffed (?) at those who said they wished to "find out who they are". Well, I think it's about time for me to trudge that road. I hope to return in several weeks "with a whole new outlook" on life. (sigh)...ANOTHER one? This all sounds so selfish to me as I write it now. But I am praying that God will ride with me and guide me along the way to unselfish happenings.

Another purpose of my ride is to meet a few blogger-friends face-to-face, take my enthusiasm to meetings, and blog my daily thoughts--BIG deal, huh?

An unexpected treat is that I shall visit and hold my first Great-Grandchild. (It) is being born right about.......NOW!

ADDENDUM: 8PM First Great Grandson named Michael Patrick BORN

Peeps, I'm hoping for some spiritual recovery here, so if you feel so inclined, please add me to one of your prayerful thoughts through the day.

"Let us be sober today.
Let us have some peace today.
Let us love today."
Steve

NOTE: As "Riding Day" gets closer, I'll letcha all know more about my plan which has not yet been formulated.

Monday, August 10, 2009

WHERE ARE WE???


GET OFF PLANE AND
BUY NEWSPAPER


Airports are prime spots for newspaper sales. I'm always looking for some local stuff. Local tidbits, which are the same as the local tidbits in my home town. And a newspaper is handy for covering the monitor on a laptop, to cut down on glare. And the scores from baseball, basketball, football, tennis, hockey, and golf are all there. In fine print. In smallest font. From little league, to high school, to college, to semi-pro, to Professional team, all are represented.

But last night a fellow--the speaker--told us, in a voice, almost bragging (loudly) about his "unique" experience. "Ya, well, there ah was at a airport. Ah had tu buy a dammm newspaper to find out where ah wuz!". The room stayed quiet. Nobody laughed.

Because almost everyone had been in that place, done that thing, with the same excuse--we had blacked out before buying a ticket to somewhere.

It reminded me of the days I toured as a member of a symphony orchestra. We played a different town every night for six weeks each winter. We went everywhere, traveling the county's twin-railed highways on sleeper cars called Pullman's. About twenty of us (half the violin section) walked around each new town in the early morning--10 AM--trying to "guess which city we were in".


No fair looking at the Passenger Terminal signs! No fair asking the locals! Once on a frightfully cold windy, snowy day, the consensual guess was a tossup between Fairbanks Alaska, or Denver Colorado. (It was Denver.)

During those years I checked hundreds of newspapers in their stands, just to see what place we were playing that night. Also I got the weather report. Miami Beach (and Miami) were my favorite destinations. Not only were these places nicely warm, I could tell immediately where we were, by the Spanish-styled architecture.

How in the world many of us could get our arms and legs and fingers working by evening time (because of the cold, of course!) in order to come together in a decent performance of major symphonic works, I've never yet figured out. Because man, some of us were so stinking drunk, it was all we could do to sit in our chairs without falling on the floor. Night after night.

I keep saying "we" and "ours", but ya know--maybe it was just ME! Just maybe. Go figure.


And oh, the newspaper--yessss--the next morning, would have a story on the last page, 4-C about how the "....symphony orchestra last night played as with velvet fingers softly stroking petals of tulips, as the lilting melody of the Second Movement peeked through the curtains of the introductory chords."

I could have puked in the critic's lap as she was writing that drivel.

My next move was to a job where I could be always surrounded with a group of about 95 of my closest friends. They had names like "Gordons", "Beefeater", "Early Times", "Bond and Lillard" (fondly called by the intelligentsia, B and L , "Smirnoff", "Justerini and Brooks" (J and B), "Cutty Sark"...you get the idea?

So my drinking and I progressed downward rapidly to Rapid Eye Convulsions, Comatose Electra, Blind Stupor, Imbecilic, and just plain "helpless drunk".

About 12 years later I ran into something I thought was a ladder. I was told it had 12 Steps, all UP. And though I'm afraid of height (except in an airplane --grin!) I took the climb, and I am still here "Come Hell Or High Water".


I have not had a drink since the night BEFORE my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Today I do a lot of things around AA, but one thing is above all others in importance: I do not drink today NMW, "No Matter What". And I pray that you do not, also!

And Peeps, I love you all.
Peace.
Steve

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Don't Shoot! I am ME!

My Past Perception of Inter-Group in Naples


TSR


Wow! was that ever F.U.N. I was "host" for an hour (Sunday 8-9 PM) of chat with the topic "My Turning Point" on TSR "The Second Road". I realize now what it means to be "host". It merely means there will be at least one person residing--not presiding!--on line the whole hour --grin..(just kidding, A Miles!). It was a truly great experience, I certainly wish to thank A Miles and Jinx for inviting me

Wha'da'ya Know: INTER-GROUP IS "US"

Alcoholics Anonymous remains for me the only complete program for recovery for alcoholics of my type. At it's deepest, most devout, fervent level, AA remains for me the many-million-times, tried-and-true, one-on-one unselfish caring, sharing, helping, loving (please do not misinterpret this word "love") staying sober together and growing together.

Without this program, and my practice of the Twelve Steps, I will die. I know that. I have been there. It has been a long time, but I see people every day who remind me, even though they speak not a word. I see it in their eyes, and I either talk with them, or pray for them, or both.

For a long time--several years, in fact, there was enmity between Intergroup and the AA groups around town. This was brought on by, and a result of, some misadventure, or at least seeming misbehavior (which is just as bad) within the local AA community. So I, who had been raised in AA before we had local Intergroup, was predisposed to thinking Inter-group quite unnecessarily formed, that its purpose was simply to squander money from the groups.

A month ago I attended my first Intergroup meeting, wanting to see for myself what all the fuss was about. To my amazement, there was no fuss. There were no knock-down arguments.

I went back to my "cookie meeting" group to report (with a mouthful of Polly's chocolate chip cookies!) that--wonder of wonders...INTER-GROUP IS US! This group of good, sober peeps volunteer to keep AA business as usual moving in the Naples surroundings. These people are there/here to help the groups, in any way--the best way that they know how.

So it is not "they" and "them" but it IS "US". All us! Who would of thunk? Now that I know that, my next stop (after SC, NC, Virginia, GA, and WEST VA) is District (GSR). My group figured one meeting at Inter-Group was enough, and while I was still filled with AA "service" enthusiasm, they elected me GSR (Group Service Representative). First meeting for me will be in September. You will read about it here, I guarantee.

I could go on about other "things" but this is not a day to rant, maybe that day will never arrive--I hope not.

One thing though, our Inter-Group throws a lousy Beach Party--NO COFFEE! Ooops, that was yesterday's blog....

Meanwhile, that we all stay sober today, that's all I'm asking.

In Love and Service.
Steve

I'LL HAVE ANOTHER ONE

You're mine! You're mine! All mine!

ADDENDUM: Go here to find out what I am doing tonight at 8 PM.
Now click these blue-colored words: The Second Road --It is an online community where people can communicate, interact, learn, and live while facing addiction.
Hope to see some of--well, ALL of youse guys there, 8-9 PM Eastern.

ADDICTION UNCOVERED


It was a beautiful day at an AA Intergroup Beach Picnic one week ago. Because of regular afternoon showers we drove the car
instead of riding scooters to this affair. Of course with a car, parking was a half mile from the event, located in Wiggins Pass State Park, a really nice, miles-long beach park in SW Florida.


After arrival and lugging all our paraphernalia (my gosh!) I was already tired. So I went to get a coffee. It was about 12 noon. The volunteer told me, "We do not serve coffee at these functions". She said it, like "We do not serve alcohol at these functions". And...she did not bat an eyelash. I thought she was certainly joking. "You are joking, right?" No joke, Steve, there WAS no coffee.

Now, for a long time, I had been LIVING on coffee--not Dee-calf. COFFEE! Maybe a gallon a day. Too much? Who knew? It had become my very lifeblood.

I started feeling jumpy. I perspired. I became immediately nervous. I was actually, really, truly "Restless, Irritable, and Discontent". I began making a real scene, my first in many years. I was, like, well, a drunk without his morning bottle of vodka. I was transported back in time. Way back. I'm not gonna say how far back, because it could be taken the wrong way.

Peeps, I was in serious pain. I ached inside and out. My hands shook. I do not drink water, Gatorade, 7-Up, tea. Colas make me burp or hiccup. I had already been up early, been to meetings, everything was fine about the day...except...no coffee, at an AA beach function, with guest speaker, and a meeting.

What does one do? Well, i became part of the solution, rather than a continuing part of the problem. I nervously walked the half-mile to our car.

It took a full hour, walking, traffic, etc., but I made it to a Starbucks, came back with four huge coffees (three for me!). At Starbucks I had a big one while waiting for the rest of the order. I must tell you--I hate this--with my first sip of the soothing hot, nearly-black liquid, I again experienced that sense of ease and comfort which came at once by taking a drink of...coffee!

This is not a funny thing. I found out how much of a craving I had developed. And do you know, I had no idea it was that bad. I did not realize I was hooked on a drug all these years, which affects my body and my brain. I am sitting here now at 2:00 AM drinking, well, you know...COFFEE! And as soon as I hit the bed, I'll be able to shut it down to sleep in several minutes.

I use coffee as a sleep aid. I shake when I do not have it. Coffee soothes my nerves. Coffee lets me live. Now you know another "bad" thing about me. How many more? Stay tuned!

Let us ALL have a sober good Sunday!

Stll loving you, Peeps!
Peace.
Steve